Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sneaky Peaks Ride

Anyone fancy a loop round the Peaks on Sat 21st Sun 22nd June. Chris has offered to show us round some of his local trails again, no idea which ones though :-)

I think the route will incorporate the loop he used when he was teaching people how to ride their mountain bikes, so quite appropriate.

It will be in the Ladybower area and 'The Beast' - a tricky downhill section off the top of 'Hope Cross' - I'll be doing the wimps option at the side :-)

Let me know if you are interested and I'll keep you updated.

Cheers... Dozer

Update: start Sunday, 10am at Hope station.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Only available for a couple more days, but may be of interest for those who love Afan and want to know a bit more about the area - only about 4 minutes about the MTB trails around 22 minutes in.

Monday, May 12, 2008

N Wales in September er well November then......


Place Craflwyn Hall, nr Beddgelert

Date Fri 7th November to Sun 9th, 2 nights (extendable on request)

Places available 12

Price £28.35ea + opt £8.50 linen Deposit £20 required by the end of June

Decision required by 21st May

Biking choice of Gwdyr, Coed-y-brenin and Snowdon XC

Bring bed Linen and towels


The Hall is fully booked for every weekend this year however they have the Bunkhouse available for the weekend Fri 7th to 9th November. This is the earliest available. A full week is available in the hall for 15 people £158+8.50 each Sat 18th thru Fri 24th October but if anyone wants to go for this you best let me know right away.

Price is £340 for the weekend and we have an option for additional nights either side ie Thursday or Monday at £150 per night or £12.50 each.

The accommodation is split into a 7 and a 5 (split again to a 3 & 2) with the larger having a practical dining area. There is one bunk bed otherwise all are full size singles, no blow-ups or fold downs. There are 4 showers and 3 loos in total. Linen is provided only as an additional charge at £8.50 each but includes a towel.

The property is run by the national trust and benefits from 200 acres of it's own estate.

Catering can be organised for an additional price.

I have provisionally booked it, this will expire on Weds 21st May so a quick answer is essential.

Places are strictly limited to 12 on a first come first served basis. Once I get 8 takers I will confirm the booking and request a deposit of £20 each.

The Hall is a short riverside walk from Beddgelert and stands in the foothills of Snowdon.

Coed-y-Brenin is 23 miles
Coed Llandegla is 48 miles (but on the way home)
Beddgelert Forest is 0.5 miles
Gwdyr forest is 19 miles
Machynlleth is 43 miles

The LBS is

The journey from Luton to Beddgelert is 210 miles or about 4 hours by car traffic notwithstanding.

For those not wanting to throw themselves off a mountain all day there are many facilities nearby including the Snowdon Mountain Railway.

Btw the SMR does not normally carry bikes but have told me in the past that if it's quiet when you show up they don't mind. Anyone fancy riding over the top of Snowdon??

As I see it, the accomodation here is perfect, very cheap, a good standard and spacious, the disadvantage is the long drive to Coed-y-Brenin although it's a good road and should be only half an hour at worst. If this doesn't suit you and you want something nearer, bigger or with a hot tub filled with very short sighted totty then say so now and I'll try to find something everyone prefers.

Why I bought my Giant XTC now I can post.


The bloke at the shop said it was the best thing about for £500 and I hadn't a clue!


It has 2 wheels, one in the front and one in the back, then there are a couple of shiny rough things near the middle that have a band (not like Dire Straits) that goes around them that if you stand on the steps they go round.
Then there are things called breaks (not like when a drugged up hoodlum steals your telly) but flying saucers that magically stop you!
And it has forks (not like eating take away stuff!) but spongy things that sponge in and out! Not to be cofused with the rolly things that have spongy things at both ends that the girls ride.
So thats pretty much mountain biking!


Yes you do them!


The lunatics you ride with and that weird bloke from down south wqho services my Rolly thing evey time i go but prefers horses! Funny old world!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ddave/Daahnhilla/Dangerous' 2008 Commencal Meta 4X VIP

On request of some pictures, just thought I’d write a “few” words about my little Frenchie… yeah that one with the nutbar attached to the bars and pedals!


Something I’ve been debating for a while – I love my Chameleon to bits, the aggressive handling really suits my riding style, I can rail it round berms, let it drift wide round the flat ones, and jump, drop and descend with utter confidence despite it’s uber rigid back end. That back end that accelerates at a snap. You may have read my earlier blog about the trusty steed – the handling is not suited to novices but loves to be pushed hard.

I guess I’m just getting softer now I’ve got a house and I’ve tied the know (yeah, I know excuses, excuses) but I just wanted something similar, but with a few inches of travel out back to soften the blow but still have aggressive handling, small frame and burly construction. Really it had to be a 4x frame – anything else with 4/5 inches of travel would have been a bit to weak for abuse. Trouble is they’re all about £1200 +

One night though, I spotted a 2007 Commencal Meta 4X going for a damned good discounted price. After a bit of ummming and aarrring and trawling the interweb for pictures to get an idea of what it’d look like, I hit the order button and went to bed.

Got home from work, signed on and found an email sitting there from the shop telling me that they’d sold the last one on Friday, but would I like to buy the ’08 one for the same… “What’s the difference between 07/08, then,” I asked. “Just the paint job,” they said. “I’ll have one then!”

The frame arrived quickly and well packaged (sorry no pics!), and I got straight to building the blighter. A quick comparison against the chameleon showed it to have a slightly shorter seat tube, but with a good reach (as per most 4X frames) a long seat post is all that’s needed for that.

The Build

The build consisted of everything transplanted straight from the Chameleon, with the only new bits being the seatpost (different dia.), grips and cables.

The Ride

This bike is one of those rare bikes where you get on it, pedal it down the hill, get it in the air, and it just fits. No funny quirks. Oh, and did mention the grip it has in corners? Well I haven’t found the limit of that grip yet, it just does not want to drift, and I haven’t had the balls to go any faster yet. It can get a bit slack up front with 140mm of travel, as it was only designed for 110mm, but not unreasonably so. I also got used to descending as fast as I used to on the Chameleon, if not faster with just over 4” of travel out front, I still picked the hardtail smooth lines, but had the back up when I balsed it up. The back end is nice and stiff (laterally) and is quite happy to be flicked out over hips and just for the hell of it. I found myself hipping over some of the corners on that first short downhill after the climb on Dalby Red, being amazed I’d pulled it off.

Overall, I’m very happy I with my additional 4” of skill adjustment.

Spec List

  • Frame: 2008 Commencal Meta 4x VIP
  • Fork: 2008 Rockshox Pike 454 Air Uturn – Rubbish these are being “binned” as soon as I’ve finished respraying my Marz All Mountains
  • Cockpit: Easton EA70 Midrise 3.18 Bars on Thomson X4 stem, Sunline grips
  • Drivetrain: X.0 Shifer, X.0 Medium cage rear mech, XT 11-34 cassette/HG50 12-23 cassette PC971 chain
  • Pedals/Cranks: CrankBros 50/50XX or Shimano M647’s rotating on new style Shimano XT cranks. TA Specialities 36th Chainring, all kept in check by an e-13 LG1 with a white TACO.
  • Wheels: Mavic EX721 and a spare set of XM819’s both sets on Hope Bulbs
  • Other: SDG I-beam seatpost/saddle, Chris King Headset, urm that’s it I think!

Chain Lube - Purple Extreme

After spending many years using Finish Line XC wet lube I got fed up with it's magnetic like qualities for keeping hold of grit, especially the sand of my local trails. It also has a nasty habit of causing the dreaded chain suck in the rain, almost like the lube washes off after a few damp miles. I've never got on with their dry summer lube either.

Many moons ago I tried a wax based lube and found that the links got clogged up...I suspect I was over applying the stuff.

I then decided to give T9 Boeshield a try after getting recommendations from our stateside pal, Chaybo. This dry lube is much thinner than a wet'un and doesn't attract grit anywhere near as well :thumbu However I didn't find it so good in the wet with light rusting of the links and chains wearing out/stretching quicker.

So last year I changed again, this time opting to try the "lube of the moment" Purple Extreme, which has performed well over a winters worth of crankin'. It's another runny lube and applying a couple of coats (leaving each to dry) are recommended. Once dry it leaves a light waxy feelin' and after many miles of sandy, wet, dry and rocky trails the chain repels dirt with hardly any of the destructive grit lingerin' around. What little dirt adheres can easily be wiped off with a rag and the smooth feelin' links can then just be re-lubed without the mandatory chain bath of a wet lube. It also hands on well in the wet too - as seen on last Sunday's damp'n'gritty blat.

The manufacturers claim of 400miles between applications hasn't been realised (even on my commuter) but it does go a long way before the chain starts making itself vocal.

As with all dry/light lubes they aren't as quiet as chains that have been doused in motor oil but I'm happy to ignore a little mechanical noise if my chain is easier to clean and lasts longer. So I'll be keeping this colourful bottle in my toolkit for a while longer :)