Back from Afan

This year seems to be going so quick that I don’t seem to be able to keep track of things very well. Sometimes just sitting down and typing this thing helps keep stuff in perspective. There’s definitely a lack of riding and too much time in front of computers going on, but it’s been heading that way for the last few years and these days it’s what pays the bills and finances expensive hobbies.

So one of the outcomes of the Afan weekend was the realisation of the fact that the Crossmax XLs I bought several years ago, thinking back it was at least three years ago, have finally started to show their age. The freehub is one the way out and it sounds like a demonic cross between a Chris King and an old Hope Ti Glide, with the volume turned up to max and the added twist of you don’t know when it’s going to engage or be really noisy.

Specialized Enduro ExpertI don’t supposed being run as a singlespeed set of wheels for several months helped much, but they’ve been so good I’m getting all the parts and I’m going to keep ’em running longer. Thing with disc specific wheels is that apart from stone chips and dings there isn’t that much that can wear them out. Once serviced they’ll be running on the new full susser, photos of which are now up on the site.

Now I put my hand up and say that since I stopped riding on the road, my interest in road bikes has diminished, which may explain why the new road bike project is probably nearing two and a bit years and is not really much nearer completion. When it IS finished I do hope it will look better than this, which has to be one of the most cluttered bikes I’ve seen in a while. The cranks and big E A S T O N lettering on the wheels doesn’t help.

I suspect that one of the reasons I haven’t written much about road bikes is that until the spring classics are pretty much in full swing and the action starts the world of road bikes for the occasionally interested observer is in fact fairly dull. Only once the big races start, then the previews of the new kit coming out begins and so the news actually becomes worth reading. Now the fact that Chris King have aided the current fashion for pink by introducing a new anodising colour isn’t exactly news (and to be honest I think Independent Fabrication and Eric Roman started the trend with his famous singlespeed), but now everyone seems to be getting in on the game or at least slowly catching on. Possibly more interesting is reading on cyclingnews about flaky carbon fibre and that Mavic are to re-release the Helium wheelset.

The Giro has been fairly interesting this year and it will be good to see what happens in the closing stages. There certainly seems to be less predictability in the big Italian race than there does in Le Tour. On the final road-related note, there’s a great interview with Eddy Merckx on the web and I’m sure if mountain biking had been around in his day, he’d have probably had a go at that too.

Forge used to make nice mountain bike bits and bobs, like thumbshifter mounts that converted bar end road shiters into proper thumbies. They stopped doing bike bits a few years ago now and have decided to concentrate on where the money is: motorsport parts and accessories.

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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