Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Review

2007 has been another bostin' year with plenty of knobbly action bringing many a smile...and bruise ;)
Here's wishing you all the very best for the year ahead and may your knobblies bring you great gooey lumps of happiness B)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Santa calls Early

Hello Dudes

I managed to bag a very good deal on one of the 250 sets of Formula 'The One Greg Minnaar limited edition brakes' (probably coz he’s left to join Santa Cruz who use Avid).

Here’s the Formula speal:
The one GM Ltd edition features high polish finish on the MC and calliper bodies, fancy laser etched logos, CNC alloy FCS adjuster (stroke adjust), external reach adjust and a flip-flop MC. The forged one – piece calliper features a patented cap, which gives a much more compact aspect too!

There was even a Christmas Card in the box!

Sorry no test ride yet.

My Rockshox Pike was way overdue a service; so I sent it to TF Tuned for some TLC.

They
· Stripped, cleaned & reassembled
· Full Service
· Fitted PUSH Forx factory tuning upgrade kit
· Replaced oil in Motion Control system

New parts fitted
· PUSH factory upgrade
· Samurai wiper seals
· Oil Seal
· Foam below Samurai seals
· Air piston O-rings

They did find some corrosion of the lowers; this was caused by water contamination. TF Tuned reckon they’re ok.

They did include couple tips on the Service sheet
· When adjusting the negative pressure, tip the bike upside-down to prevent the assembly lube from entering your pump and giving false reading.
· After cleaning, apply a few drops of Teflon-based lube on the upper tubes above the seals, push up & down a few times and wipe off the excess (make sure you don’t get it near your rotors)


Also I’ve gone tubeless; I fitted DT Swiss tubeless kit to the 5.1 rims. I’m running a Larsen TT ust on the rear and Nobby Nic on the front, so far they’ve held up fine!!

Sorry about the photos, I'm blaming the light levels ;-)

Have a good Christmas\New Year and hopefully I'll see you on the trails next year

Toons

LED Light Test

At this time of year I'm sure we're all being guided with some form of candle power and I found this LED article over on Bikemag.com quite interesting.

It might not be the most scientific of comparisons but it allows you to quickly visualise the difference between each manufacturers offering.

Craving the latest bulb 'n' battery technology on these dark evenings have lit up many a internet forum and I thought some of ya's might find this useful...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Free Rider 2


Has anyone else spotted this rather natty, addictive little online 'game' - Free Rider 2? It can be found over at http://www.onemorelevel.com and seems to have quite an on-line following amongst the biking fraternity. It's very simple - accelerate, brake, lean back, lean forward and turn around is all you need to navigate your BMX or MTB cycle around a home-made jump track. You can design your own tracks or load up one of the umpteen hundred contributed over the internet - you just cut and paste some weird and wonderful text code into the editor's "load" option, and presto! For a head-start, check out www.freerider-tracks.com


Before you know it, hours will have passed ;-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Canyon Nerve ESX Special Edition

Since Dozer's full squidger was 'alf'inched earlier this year our buddy has been long faced and thoroughly grumpy crankin' back on his old hard tail.

After a long running battle with his insurance, the police, campsite and his invisible friend he finally got his sensible head on and test rode a few rigs. The x3 Specialized rigs he eventually demo'd convinced him that their offerings weren't for him besides which his wallet was err'g towards the Bavarian savings several of us have recently accrued (1, 2 and the 3rd to mrsDozer).

During his quest he sensibly identified the short comings of his ol'Endozer and sat down with many a bikes geometry in an effort to find the holy grail. He now wanted a shorter, lower, tighter and more nimble single-track hacker that would also be capable with the occassional trip to "all mountain" ville.

Spurred on with the arrival of both his better half's and one of his riding buddy new rig's he crowbar'd his wallet down the internet and contributed to the Canyon Xmas party. The 5" Nerve ESX Special Edition ticked all his boxes with it's durable coil fork, rock solid accompanying kit and favourable geometry.


After a few weeks waiting (impatiently I might add) his new fully finally arrived yesterday and I'm pleased to report that it's a beaut. The quality finish we've come to expect from Bavaria oozes from end to end with some schweet finishing touches and kit. Some of the highlights are;
  • RP23 with large air can and 45 degree air port
  • '08 XT Hollowtech II crankset with drilled ring(s)
  • Uber bright, freeride lite wheelset
  • Quality stoppers with massive rotor(s) - 200mm fr/re
  • Thomson, Syntace and Selle Italia finishing kit
On the scales she comes in at a healthy 30.25lbs approx (no pedals).

After reading numerous reports of how soft the standard Pike spring (medium) is we needn't have worried 'cos whilst bedding in the brakes the front didn't dive excessively. Admittedly once drops are attempted he may need the next spring up (firm) but I very much doubt he'll need an xtra-firm that most webster's suggest.

We only managed to get her put together and running smoothly last night but Dozer was chompin' at the bit to get out and give her what for, so expect a ride report soon...



Skills Training anyone?

There has been some talk about skills training in the past. Although we all seem to manage OK, my feeling is that I would enjoy the trails more if I could up my skills just a little. One choice is to ride more and 'session' particular trails sections, but I think this unlikely to happen, so having some 'pro' tuition might be a fast-track route.

I saw AQR recommended and as they do their training sessions at Sherwood Pines it seemed a practical proposition. Cost is not that bad too @ £35 a session. This year they are doing 2-day courses with the basics being covered on day 1 and more advanced stuff on day 2.

The February 23rd date might be possible for me, is anyone else interested? If there were enough I think we could organise a specific session.
What do you think?

Test Your Bike Repair IQ

I thought you'd appreciate this lickle chuckle I clocked over at BikeRadar...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pump Track

Hello Dudes

I stumbled across these photos in Flickr. It looks a very interesting project, just need to convince the wife she needs a pump track in the back garden!

Found some info on how to build a pump track

Hope everyone is set for chrimbo? I haven’t been on the bike recently due to Xmas Chores and that.

Toons

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Travel Please

Earlier this week I popped apart the Reba on my Canyon and whipped out the 15mm spacer that now boosts the front travel to match the rear (115mm). The instructions suggest oil as an internal lube (compression side) but the factory seem to have used grease - so I'm hoping the re-assembled unit will perform even better than before.

I just swapped out my original 5Spot rockers for the new 5.5" units that adorn the latest California rigs. This has propped up the bottom bracket by half an inch to 13.75" and it'll be interesting to see how it rides now with the 140mm Pike up front (130mm is the recommended front bouncer). Climbing should improve and I'm keen to see how they cope with twisty and DH, Toons seems to like 'em after switchin' from his longer travel Push rockers. I'm also hopin' that the longer rockers will release a little extra travel from the Push'd RP3 that's been a little taught since applying the Colorado mod.

So I guess I've been on a quest to increase those all important inches :p

I've not test ridden since tweakin' but I'll report back as soon as, oh and post some pic's ;-)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Push your Rockshox

TF Tuned Shox have just taken delivery of a new PUSH Factory tuning system for your Rockshox forks...

Check out the blurb here

A review on PinkBike. here

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Exit 27 Trail - Snoqualmie Cascade Mountains

Hello Dudes

Thought I'd try out the new youtube share feature.

This trail looks amazing some of the drops\gaps are huge, if I could only ride like this. That would be the dream.

The riders are Eric Svedge and Scott Petett (chap with the helmet cam) on a trail called Exit 27 near Snoqualmie

Toons

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bush Triangle

Last night I decided to thoroughly investigate an annoying squeak that hadn't been cured by cleaning the seat rails/clamp, lubing the seat post or cleaning/replacing the bottom bracket.

After removing the Hollowtech 2 cranks (simplicity itself) I decided to swap out the bearings for a set of EnduroForkSeals which Rob has found so much smoother than the originals. I had a bash at this last week but the lock tight and almost 3 years of chemical bonding kept bearing and cup together. However this time I was armed with the fabstastic bearing press (now this IS a special tool) which made the job as convenient as a trail side repair. If anyone needs to replace their HTII bearings, give me a call ;-)

Interestingly the stop gap '08 HTII cup/bearings are sealed differently from my original '05's (on the right hand side). See that the bearing is no longer "sealed" and now the "top hat" has a step to help align the loose cover. I've not been impressed with the sealing of the early units so it'll be interesting to see how these open units fair.

Armed with a Torx I then set about the rear suspension pivots, which haven't been touched for over 2.5 years and over 3k miles - with the exception of the teeny rear Horst Links. Sure they've had a few squirts of lube every now and then but otherwise they've just got on with the job. During disassembly I found one of the bottom bracket fixings was a little loose and as this link gets put through the most torque, I'd guess this was the source of my annoyance. Dang these Turner pivots are a good design - after a simple clean they look as good as new. Drifting the shafts in/out showed the bushes were still plenty tight so they remained in-situ.

Whilst the suspension was on the bench I also popped the rear shock apart and gave it a quick clean/re-lube.

Everything was refitted without a hitch and I eager to give her a test ride to check everything is running ok before my next tweak arrives...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Coast to Coast (with a twist)

Over the past few months several peeps have expressed an interest in doing something a little different, with mentions of the Coast to Coast, s.Downs, Isle of Wight and even "bothies" :O

I've regularly pondered the usual C2C challenge (St Bees to Teeside) but have been put off by the uninspiring destinations (apologies to anyone who lives there!) and the fact that the popular variations all make use roads/lanes. However, I've just stumbled across a splendid variation offered by MB7.com that has really got my juices flowing;

Yes folks you read that right - "trail centres" :thumbu :D

MB7 summary; This is quite simply the ultimate mountain biking holiday. Join mb7 on the very first coast to coast tour in southern Scotland. Our route begins in Edinburgh as we dip our wheels into the North Sea at the historic port of Leith. 7 days and nearly 200 singletrack-hugging miles later and we dip our wheels in the Irish Sea. With further details here.

Taking in 5 trail centers and starting or finishing in the Scottish capital definitely appeals.

If the dates don't suit, it's too long or guiding options aren't agreeable then we could always try and string something together ourselves.

So what'd'y'all think ?
Pic's by kind permission of MB7

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pitch black and cold beer

No, not the film that helped launch Vin Diesel's' career - rather a dark night ride and the virgin outing for Les' new rig a, Specialized FSR Pitch Pro.

As the route map shows we opted to meet in Streatley (at the Chequers) for a change and then head off over the A6 and explore the eastern trails. Les cranked up from his pad and arrived well before I'd finished faffin' with all the clobber required for a winter night ride. At least it gave us chance to setup his FD on his new rig...in the granny ring the cage was rubbin' the tyre (lower limit stop) and a big to middle selection was reluctant (tension). Oh and my HID failed to start causing me much palpitations until a re-seat of the battery connector had my retina's burning :p

As Dozer wasn't 100% familiar with the trails we mapped out the route before hand and popped it on the GPS. As the screen isn't constantly illuminated I sneaked Chipmunk's L&M onto my helmet and angled it down at the bars - it's drowned by the HID so "backlighting" was the name of the game. The downcast light often had my thinkin' Chevok was gonna beam me up :p

The weather stayed dry and the chilly 3 degrees was soon forgotten after a few miles rollin' our knobblies. Rain earlier in the week had nicely softened up the surface so many sections were spent spinnin' and a slitherin', much to the delight of the posse. It seems that autumn is giving way to winter. It never ceases to amaze me how different trails look at night, especially where you're not that familiar with 'em or riding them in reverse. My repeated "loops" at junctions gave Dozer a few chuckles. I'm thankful that L&M helped light the way, although I'd have done better hammering down "the springs" if it had been pointing in front !

Apparently the Pitch was a delight to the riders nether region/thigh's with many a mumble about "I ain't had to get out of the saddle yet". He simply wafted over the trails and both he & I were surprised when Dozer face planted on a root that neither of us felt. T'was commendable for his h/tailness to entertain us. However, our fully convert was initially quite perplexed that his steed now didn't have skippin' gears, or rubbin' this, or squeakin' that ;-) He did have one sketchy moment racing DH as he hauled on the anchors (that bite) and he locked up both ends...the joys of hydro's over mechanical disc's - he'll soon learn to be gentle. As it's only the first outing, he needs to tweak the ride position /fiddle with pressure's but I reckon he's now on a winner and that we'll all be moving aside at Afan :lol

Thanks guys for a tip top blat. Oh and the post ride tipple was great, albeit a bit "parky".

Posse: Darren (Heckler), Dozer (Rockhopper), Farqui (5Spot), Les (Pitch)
Weather: 3 degrees, dry
Mechanicals: Puncture (Les)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ay Up LED Light Review

Well thanks to Farqui and some fine research I managed to identify almost every conceivable LED light option to replace my L&M Solo helmet light. My research had indicated that right now an LED manufacturer called 'Cree' were producing just about the brightest highest output LED know to man. In fact I was lucky enough to be shown a Cree development board with their latest dazzler LED fitted. It was so bright (LED, no lens) it was impossible to look at it directly even from across the office! Interestingly, I only found two manufacturers claiming to be using them and AyUp had a particularly interesting product at a cracking price (direct Internet sales again!) Its well worth checking out the Au Up site. Its well produced and there is plenty of info concerning the lights and some very good night shots of the lights in action.


Well you already know I love direct Internet sales and can't resist a bargain. I decided to jump in feet first and ordered just enough bits to kit myself out with a helmet light capable of a constant 3 hours at full power. Its worth noting that AyUp have proposed a number of kits for both road and MTB use. However, if this is not what you want its very easy to spec your own set....that's exactly what I did. I paid a total of £98.00 incl freight from Aus! 5 days later, the product arrived and these are my initial thoughts and beam test comments:


  • Wow, very, very small.........you will see from the picture that each lens is no bigger then a 20 pence piece. When you first see the product its a little disconcerting. It looks more like an 'Action Man' Mtb set! However, these lights are actually very thoughtfully designed and each lens barrel is made from Aluminium with a fully sealed lens. Ay Up claim these units will work frozen and under water to 1 metre......me thinks that Mr AyUp has a decent engineering background.



  • Wow, very light weight. LED light unit and battery 150 grams. This enables you to fix all to your head without noticing the difference (no battery cables to backpack required). I know this will be an upside. Last year, after a long ride using my L&M Solo with the battery stashed in my ruck sack, I forgot about the light on my head, removed my ruck sack and nearly gave myself whip lash as I dumped my sack on the floor!



  • The bike and helmet fittings are all very simple but effective. Consideration has been made to provide a replaceable breakaway fixing and a spare is provided. The charger is small and functional. I guess the accessories don't look as bullet proof as L&M kit but worse case just replace them, they are so cheep...battery£13.00...charger £12.00.

  • It appears that AyUp are continuously updating the product range. I purchased the simplest battery solution....a plug and go (I always run on max power). No switching or power options. However around Xmas they plan to launch a new battery pack with 5 beam power option including flash strobe. Something for everyone


Tested the light beam and output compared to L&M Solo Halogen and L&M HID. Very surprised at the results:

Firstly, I was expecting the lights to out perform my L&M Halogen Solo not least because I new the light colour (much whiter) would be more revealing. However, its so difficult to compare Halogen and HID watts with LED Lumen's. The AyUp site has some user comments indicating that the lights are a real challenge to HID. I was sceptical and anticipated that my L&M 13W HID would be the clear front runner probably still around 2 or 3 times brighter then the Ay Up LED. One things for sure, there is not that much difference!


  • Halogen is dead! The little Ay Up beast is whiter, has a crisper beam and is far more penetrating then I expected. Partly due to light colour and a more focused lens the Ay Up is just in a different class! Not bad when you consider the L&M Solo retails for around £180 in the UK, nearly twice the price. I really can't see that Halogen has a future.


  • The Ay Up LED does Halo but in a very usable way. The centre of the beam is very focused and the halo is created by a reduced intensity secondary beam. Oh, I specified 'intermediate' beam pattern for the lens. It's available in Wide, Intermediate and Narrow. I can't see much use for a wide because the intermediate beam is quite broad and I imagine the narrow is like a laser beam.


  • HID watch out! I am shocked to say that the light intensity of the Ay Up LED's compared to HID (13 Watt) whilst not the same is still very impressive. I had to keep switching between the two before it became apparent that the HID is brighter but more significantly provides a very clean broad, deeply penetrating light with an overall wider light dispersion. However, the Ay Up really packs a punch given its size, weight and cost. I just couldn't quite believe how well it performed against the HID. The other noticeable difference is that the Ay Up is simply feather weight by comparison.


  • HID and Ay Up together provide a very impressive solution. I've no doubt that I'll be stopping even more oncoming traffic with these two on full chat!


  • If you are thinking of buying a new light set for the first time then a twin Ay Up MTB Kit for £170.00 is one hell of a proposition. Perhaps LED will replace HID sooner then I imagined.

I will report back once I have had some riding hours with the Ay Up. Perhaps I should not get too enthusiastic until the goods have been fully tested. For those of you riding with me on the 9th Dec....I look forward to your thoughts!

Light and Motion Li-ion Solo Review



You will already know from my previous HID light review that L&M are a firm favourite of mine. Well last year shortly after purchasing my L&M HID I decided to complement it with the addition of an L&M 13watt Halogen 'Solo' light. My intention was to use this as a supplementary helmet light to provide me with that all important peripheral vision. I dropped Larry a line and saved myself around 30% in the process. Well I used my new solo all last winter and these are my thoughts:




  • Good 'white' Halogen output. However when compared to HID or LED, decidedly Yellow. I knew to expect this and I'm prepared to say that when run next to each other its a compromise. It works but it is strange looking ahead at a 'white beam object' dominated by the HID light and then looking sideways at a 'Yellow beam object' provided by the Halogen only helmet light.



  • L&M advertise that the light has an adjustable beam pattern. Well its adjustable between good medium spot and poor halo diffused effect. I kept mine on the spot setting all of the time.



  • Unit is supplied with a switchable 6w, 10w and 13w output. I liked the 13w output but it only gave me 1.5hours burn time. Not really enough. The 10w lasts for 2.5 hours but does not cut it off road. The 6w is very useful for map reading on route.



  • That said what it does it does well. The beam is Halo free , broad and reasonably penetrating. However its not quite got enough 'punch' for off road use and I think it would make a really solid road light with occasional off road use. The L&M accessories are of the usual high standard.


You see, what I wanted all along was a good LED light. However, when I looked last year I was not convinced that the products available offered value for money or a suitable light output. However. that's already changed. Consequently the L&M Solo has been 'ebayed' and I guess you should read my LED light Review!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Chiltern Wendover Discovery

I've been planning an open invitation ride to give folks a sample of my local trails. I propose a twin loop of the Wendover area taking in some fine Chiltern views with a good mixture of climbs and down hill sections. To add some interest my plan is to time the ride to enable a half light, half dark circuit.


The proposed ride date is Sunday 9th December at approx 3.00pm


A convenient meeting point will be my house. After the ride I suggest we frequent my local which serves very affordable Thai food and local brew.


If you are interested then log a comment ASAP


Proposed route; Tracklog


R2

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"Singletrack" CHILTERNS RIDE - 2nd November 2007


“Squirrel chasing in the Chilterns”

Well there they were happily collecting nuts for their winter store when out of the blue a Hi-Viz clad human appeared at speed on a silver machine. Poor things must be traumatised along with quite a few pheasants and wood pigeons……These routes are relatively quiet so the wildlife are clearly not used to being disturbed, and there was a lot of wildlife to be disturbed on this occasion!!

As nobody seemed able to come out to play at the weekend and withdrawal symptons setting in big time after Afan, I decided to give myself a day off and try something new.

Originally I was thinking about Llandegla, but then Singletrack Magazine landed on the mat with a selection of routes in the Chilterns. The loop we have done from Watlington is one of my favourite ‘natural’ rides and I must have done it 4 or 5 times now. The ST ‘hard’ route also started from Watlington, but covered very little of the same ground, I was intrigued and decided to give it a go.

The brilliant weather from earlier in the week held out and so I had a fabulous autumn day for the ride. The start takes in a short section of the Ridgeway, to the west and then heads off up a woodland bridleway, a steady climb. Like the other ride this one is a series of climbs up the chalk ridges followed by fast downhill blasts, but the difference is that all the climbs can be cleared. The autumn colours were vivid and the ground deep with golden leaves – the latter made some faster section interesting, as you had no idea what lay beneath this thick blanket.

Ground conditions were good overall, only a couple of brief mud patches churned by horse riders. The only real problem lay on the climb out Turville, this was steady until it hit the woods and there the ground was very soft making it very hard going, but with the addition of leaves it became impossible for my tiring legs and I had to admit defeat this time. Fortunately the resulting downhill was very “entertaining”.

Sadly the last few miles consist of a road drag up to Christmas Common, which seemed to go on and on. I expected a great downhill run back to the Ridgeway, but it was short and not that exciting.

Overall a great ride though with plenty to challenge. I am looking forward to going back in the summer to clear that woodland climb. :-)

Route: Tracklog

Posse: Uphilla, 5Spot

Mechanicals: None

Weather: warm, sunny, dry.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Canyon Nerve XC 3.0 Review

After a few build hiccups I've mainly been stomping the XC back and forth on my daily commute and it's a definite improvement over my clunky old hard tail. On asphalt it immediately felt stable and reassuring especially in fast sweeping turns. Much to my surprise it rides light and rips up to speed quickly, shaving minutes off my ride to/from work - I just hope my legs aren't ripped apart in the process :p

Last night I escaped the "trick or treaters" and headed over to a misty Woburn for a taste of the Nerve on our beloved dirt. After initially scrabblin' and lurchin' through the roots I decreased the rebound front/rear and the rig then soaked up the roots without any fuss. With only limited time available I hammered around and started to enjoy the ride more with every crank. I did experienced more pedal strikes and after some initial frustration we both soon adjusted to predicting pedal lifts as obstacles swung by. I reckon she's got great potential for XC duties and given a few more miles off road I suspect we'd even cope with a lumpy Welsh trail or two :thumbu

Clicky for the standard specification and interestingly the geometry isn't wildly different from my 5Spot, with just 1 degree steeper HA. Naturally the two rigs handle quite differently (shorter travel/different rocker ratio's/etc) but as there are no demo rigs available the stat's were the only way to gauge if the bike would be suitable.

Changes;
  • Levers - swapped with rear brake now on the left
  • Grips - changed to my fave Yeti's during the lever swap
  • Saddle - Fizik Gobi, watch the seat post bolts tho - they're made of cheese
  • Pedals - Time ATAC
Weight; a smidgen over 28lbs (no pedals), which is fab considering the price and fact that it's fully suspended. The large diameter tube walls sound impressively thin compared to our other rigs, I guess that the beauty of a hard alloy (7005).

Components worth of comment...

Brakes; Avid's Juicy 3's are proving to be dependable albeit noisy when wet stoppers and the larger front rotor (180 to 160 rear) provides oodles of bite. I'm disappointed by the amount of lever movement (50%) before the pads state to bite. Perhaps it's a quality control thang (fluid levels?) 'cos over the wkend we had two sets of brand new Ultimate's, one with the same 50% idle lever movement and the other with immediate bite. MrsDozer's Nerve also has lots of lever play.

Shifters; My initial cussing at Shimano shifters has been eased somewhat by Dozer pointing out that the dumb ass "finger" lever can also be operated with the thumb, ala SRAM-ies. Otherwise the drive train works fairly will with only the odd half shift experienced by the light feeling levers/mech - I'm used to a good ol'positive "clunk".

Fork; I've not yet mastered the Reba and it appears that few of my Pike learnings are applicable. However, I'm getting there and I also suspect it's still a little tight and needs a few more miles to before it starts to shine. I've noticed that the Bar mounted Poploc occasionally sticks which is easily overcome by twisting the fork adjuster - as you would without the bar lever, go figure. Rochshox's reliability will be most welcome with the amount of miles we'll steadily be clocking up.

Shock; The RP23 is an interesting beast compared to it's older RP3 which I'm more familiar with. The difference being that the 23 can be set with NO pro-pedal i.e. fully open and a user selectable pro-pedal on setting. Unlike the 3's light, medium, firm pp. It does seem psi sensitive on the Nerve as pedal bob can become quite pronounced - something I don't recall on my vanilla RP3/5Spot combo. As the shocks are the same length/stroke I'll be swapping them around once I've acquired a suitable "pin" spanner to undo the Nerve's top mount, grrr another "specialist" tool.

Tyres; Schwalbe's Nobby Nic's are proving to be dependable all rounders being both impressively fast and with reassuring bite both on and off road.

Pic's; here.

Conclusion; In the Nerve XC it seems that Canyon have themselves a nicely sorted rig that quietly gets on with business. It's shown it's versatility during both the daily grind with rapid mile crunching and also at play on our beloved dirt cosseting the rider over the rough. Stomping out of the pedals (about as scientific as it gets!) it doesn't induce any 'orrible floppy moments so it seems to be well designed and bolted together - with plenty of greased components, even the full length of the steerer.

For the price you'll be very, very hard pressed to acquire a similar spec'd fully and this internet only retailer definitely gets my vote. This particular example is only fractionally more than the frameset alone.

Future Tweaks ?
  • Reba, extend to 115mm (spacer removal)
  • Shorter stem, currently 100mm - possibly with a bit more rise
  • Nic's for Racing Ralph's
  • possibly replace the Shimano shifters/rear mech with SRAM

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Marston Vale Bang

Whilst starting a second loop around Marston Vale at the weekend, Chipmunk's rear tyre exploded with one hell of a bang. As it was UST I expected to turn around and see Dozer half covered in green slime :p Fortunately (for him) only the outer casing broke with the gloop retained.

Funnily enough, we'd only mentioned replacement boots for Chippy's ML a few nights before (the ACX's were looking a bit tyred!) and had pretty much settled on some Conti's - which'd impressed her on her Leith Hill demo.

As these are light weight I'm not sure if we'll try these tubeless just yet. They sure look fast with their chequered sidewalls ;)
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

PSA: Formula Oro K24 Recall

Courtesy of the Formula website, highlighted on MTBR.

Formula Oro Disc brake system may be the subject of a safety recall. If your bike has a Formula Oro disc brake system installed, STOP RIDING YOUR BIKE until you determine whether your brakes are part of this recall.

The set screw which secures the pin which attaches the brake lever to the master cylinder may come loose. If these set screws come loose, your brake levers may separate from the brake, rendering the brakes inoperable, and you could lose control of your bike and fall.

Check the serial number of your brakes at the brake lever. Brakes with a serial number lower than 295237 are included. If you have an affected brake set, bring it to the bicycle dealer where you purchased the brakes for inspection and repair. For questions about this recall, checkout Formula's blog.

Recall poster.

Repair instructions.

Update: Two of the posse are affected :( but at least they're aware of the issue.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ee By Gum or Dalby Forestnorth

Ee By Gum
or
Dalby Forest/North Yorkshire Moors - 25-27/04/08


Anyone fancy a weekend cycling in North Yorkshire? Lots of news about the recently opened trails at Dalby Forest (Uphilla has even tried some out).

I did a blue route about 5 years ago with the family, the hills aren’t as big as Wales and the tracks might not be as rocky, but I still think there will be lots there to test us all and have some fun at the same time. Probably spend a full day at Dalby and then ½ day on a local XC route. We have details of a few other XC routes in the area and we could always return to Dalby to repeat the sections we liked. I suggest the main riding Sat and Sun, but the keen ones amongst you can have a ride Fri and Mon.

Dalby Forest Trails
Dalby Trail Info

More Dalby Trail info

XC Route
Local XC route

Cabins, nearby at Keldy Forest
Cabin Info
3 nights Fri - Sun
6-8 std, 3 beds £259
4-6 superior, 2 beds £259

Let me know if you are interested, but to avoid the nightmare that poor old Farqui has had organising the last few trips I think I’ll let people get together themselves in small groups and book their own accommodation? It will depend on what response I get and how quickly.
Update 16/11/07 - 2 * 6-8 std, 3 beds booked for 25-27/04/08 - spreadsheet linky
Uphilla & Dozer

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Google Empire

Over the years Google (our friendly hosts) have been steadily expanding it's free offerings and it's portfolio is looking impressive;
These are crackin' functions aren't just easy to use, they're darn useful. Where would we be without our beloved blog and you've probably already checked out their spreadsheet option that we've used for costing our trips.

iGoogle - is the Google search page that started off their empire building. These days you needn't settle for the basic search box, you can include all manner of fantastic "widgets". Here's an extract of mine page that helps me stay bang up to date. On a single page and without having to trawl off to loads-a-websites, I get to see almost everything I want on a single screen;

left; Bikemagic and MTBR activity
middle; RSS/feed reader, STW news
right; emails, Knobblies activity, my calendar

All these widgets are easy peasy to setup and drag around until you're happy with the layout. Now how cool is that ? If your parental taxi driving duties are so demanding then this single offering is THE must have.

RSS/Feeds - are explained nicely on the WWW but all you need to know is what a particular website uses as it's "feed" address. Knobblies has several; one for posts, one for comments, both, etc. Enter this special feed address (not the standard web page address) into your reader which will create you a subscription. To receive all the latest activity from your chums at Knobblies, enter our feed address;

http://knobblies.blogspot.com/atom.xml.

Picasa - Google's focus isn't just restricted to web applications as Picasa, GoogleEarth, etc also have local software available for free download. Anyone who has lots of pic's stuffed into their PC would be well advised to give Picasa a try. It even allows direct blog'g from that "must see" pic you've just snapped ;)

Calendar - This has recently caught my eye with the ability to easily check another person's schedule, all from a central web store. Chippy and I are now using it to good affect and I wondered if any of the posse might be willing to sign up and give it a try ?
At the top of the sidebar you'll see a relatively new link - allowing you to view the Knobblies diary.

Checkout an extract of mine (right) showing numerous different calendars, each being very easy to show/hide.
wit
Once you've created your own diary and shared it hus, we'll then have a terrific tool for planning future trips. For those that have to work shifts, have demanding parental duties or loads-a-holiday's we'll be able to let others know when they're available. Don't worry you can restrict access to specific peeps so "her indoors" won't necessarily know what you're up to :p

Give it a try and see what ya think.

*UPDATE* here's a current snap shot of the actual Knobblies calendar
Maps - has been growing in functionality and it not only allows you to see maps and satellite imagery it also has direction/route planning. Even allowing you to click/drag the route around if you're not happy with the default. Gone are the days of typing in "go via" or "bypass" options - brilliant.

Google, you're doing a great job - keep it up !

Afan, Whites Level Extended

New Trail For Afan
Singletrackworld.com

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Goodbye Mars Bars...

...and free radicals - hello rich, tasty cocoa !

You Should Cocoa!
BikeRadar.com

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Afan Ride Tally

For the accountants out there, here's a spreadsheet listing the mileage/height gains from last wkend.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Penhydd

Sunday morning arrived and after numerous suggestions from yours truly, only Uphilla graced me with a preference to ride the Penhydd loop before he left. I suppose I should get used to the blank expressions folk give me when I ask 'em what they'd like to do, but to be ignored x3-4 times during the course of wkend was starting to "grate" a little by now :(

Anyhow we zipped around into the next valley and unloaded our rigs before setting off on a blat around this most excellent trail. For me, it was made all the more special by having it fresh in my mind from yesterdays ride. "Careful, don't over do it" keep rolling through my head.

Over the course of the weekend we'd dutifully waiting for everyone to bunch up after each section which then meant riders were tailing others and bobbling around all over the place. As the posse didn't appear capable of falling into an approximate line of ability/speed, I suspect the slower riders and those with less confidence then feel pressured to keep crankin' and then end up making mistakes. I know usually I do in such situations. As my mutters were for the most part being ignored, I decided to try a slightly different tack this morning with a brisk pace and to only stop and regroup after x2-3 sections. Woe betide that I only mentioned this to a couple of riders and not to the deaf posse en-mass :blush Me bad.

Anyhow, a few twisty sections passed and by the long fire road winch I noticed that peeps were strung out nicely so halfway up I halted for a regroup and breather. This seemed to work as we carried on with the remainder of the initial fire road. Atop the climb we took another breather before Rob and I started the snake rolling again through the next set of 2-3 short sections. We were by no means hell for leather and calmly cranked the dull linking sections whilst keeping an eye out behind.

Atop the long climb after A Ridge Too Far we noticed Uphilla taking a breather behind us, so carried on. A few more section flew by with Rob comparing the ride on his Flux to yesterdays on his Jekyll and before we knew it we we'd zip'd through to Genesis, 3/4's of the way around - without any sign of the others. Ah well, we figured there's plenty of 'em to look after themselves so carried on back to the trail head.

Back at the car, I noticed a missed call from Uphilla (my mobile was still on silent from the nights kip) accompanied with a panting voice message (ooh-err misses) but unfortunately I didn't really get the gist of what was said. So I sms'd him and Dozer back saying we'd see 'em at the cabins.

Around an hour later the posse returned to "base camp" with Sicknote looking somewhat worse for wear :ohmy Apparently he'd taken a tumble not long after we'd finished the initial fire road slog :rolleyes Thankfully his injury's appeared to be superficial although they still looked raw and painful...

Unfortunately no-one had a map of the trail so poor ol'Sickers had to crank on with his injury's, deserving a 10/10 ol'chap. With a nasty 3rd injury in our last two visits (not to mention the bruises acquired in Scotland) I think we're long overdue a rethink on how we approach these weekends on such techi trails;
  • My feeling is that the long gaggle of riders tripping over one another has gotta stop. So next time I propose we separate into smaller and more manageable groups - preferably of similar ability. Perhaps we can then periodically re-group or just catch up over lunch/dinner ?
  • We need to ensure that most (if not all) have a suitable map to allow for a speedy retreat should anyone become injured. This has kinda fallen off our radar as the trails are littered with handy way markers.
  • I certainly hope everyone carries a 1st aid kit...
What say you ?

For me this brought to an end another excellent weekends worth of top notch Welsh riding. Although I'd initially planned riding in the afternoon and again on Monday I decided enough was enough -I'd already slotted in an xtra ride on Friday and I didn't want to push myself too far/ injure myself again as I did last year. Tiredness and loss of concentration is fatal in them there hills, as my shoulder will testify.

See you all there again next year ???

Route: Tracklog
Posse: Darren (Heckler), DDave (Chameleon h/tail), Dom (Cannondale h/tail), Dozer (FSR demo), Farqui (5Spot), Les (Rockhopper h/tail), Rob (Flux), Sicknote (Rockhopper), Uphilla (5Spot), Zena (Fuel EX)
Mechanicals: Dozer's rear shock blew on his hire bike
Weather: clearing sky's with sunshine at the finish !

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