Sunday, March 29, 2009


It's been roughly 3 years (to the day) since I first rode Penmachno on a set of Marin trail weakened pins. Although "rode" isn't accurate as I was completely shattered and don't remember much except the never ending pain. Both Uphilla and I were keen to revisit this trail, this time on fresh legs and also try a new loop donated by the trail pixies.

With busy weeks behind us and daylight savings kicking in we decided on a later than normal start and took a leisurely amble up the autobahn arriving at roughly 1pm, in glorious sunshine. Now don't get carried away, this is Wales and it's fickle weather also supplied a fairly brisk'n'chilly breeze that kept us from standing idly around. Although with knobblies promptly unloaded we didn't need any further encouragement to leap off up the fireroad...

My ride buddy has a fresher and more favourable recollection of this trail which helped spur on his wibbly wobby legs. After a couple of tentative opening sections (these trails ain't like those in the flat lands) we started to find our groove and start hammerin' along. The original trail follows the hillside in/out/up/down and is a relatively point'n'shoot afair with plenty of grip on hand 90% of the time. The other 10% was spent "catching" ourselves from near tumbles :p

The extended loop starts with a long fireroad descent (boo) but then show us some crackin' flowing singletrack that tempts you to lay off the stoppers and keep your speed up. Until it all gets too much and your forced to reign yourself in (a little) - beltin' stuff.

During my first visit I don't recall the wonderful almost panoramic vista of the Snowdon range, complete with snow capped peaks - awesome.

The new loop also has some of the longest board walk I've ever ridden. It's also got a fair number of turns that keep your focus at 110% Oh and a part fallen tree almost forces you to slow and duck underneath...tempting you to dab, but on we soldiered :-)

Shortly after the start I was grateful to find that the climbing eased off to a nice gradient with plenty of steady winches through rock gardens to keep you focused. The exposed, pedalie open section of the original is still there...along with the same 'orrid head wind :x

Unfortunately I missed my ride buddy take one of his now typical over-the-bars dive on a hidden dip that suddenly reared itself. Thankfully he came out unscathed.

Although the car park busier than we've ever seen it, we only saw two riders on the hillside so pretty much had the place to ourselves :thumbu

Worth the trip.


Posse: Farqui (5Spot), Uphilla (5Spot)
Mechanicals: None
Weather: Bright'n'sunny (no really!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Formula Oro K18 FCS adjuster conversion

I recently upgraded a set of Formula Oro K18 brakes to K24 spec by adding the K24 master cylinder piston and FCS adjuster. The total cost of upgrade for front and rear is around £25.00. The addition of the FCS adjuster enables the front and rear brake lever travel to be adjusted in order to ensure even/balanced application of brake force front and rear.

Exploded parts diagram and spares listing at

It's a simple upgrade and here are some pictures to demonstrate the procedure. I hope its' of use to bloggers with K18's.........

Here are the spare parts kits purchased form

The piston kit consists of a piston, seals, spring/plunger and seal grease. The FCS kit has the FCS adjuster, seal and C clip fastener.
The following picture shows how to access the master cylinder by removing the brake lever (note the small lever shaft retaining grub screw) which once removed then enables removal of the shaft and lever and provides access to the piston retention C clip. Once this is removed the whole piston assembly and FCS adjuster can be easily used to replace the original K18 piston assy.
I have already substituted the K24 spec piston and FCS adjuster in the picture shown.
Here is the re-assembled piston, C clip and retaining screw just before its assembly back into the master cylinder.

Finally, here is the master cylinder re-assembled and ready to use!

Chiltern Ride Invite

Ibstone - Chiltern Ride Invite...........

Ibstone is located between High Wycombe and Henley On Thames and is in close proximity to the nearby 'Ridgeway' village of Watlington. Watlington already has two blog posts. The first an MBR killer route, the second a fine route posted by Uphilla. It's a great area for riding and admiring stunning views, not to mention some decent MTB hills! The proposed route is just over 23 miles with 3100feet ascent. It should be a great ride to exercise the legs and lungs prior to summer or a trip to Morzine!

The proposed date for the ride is Saturday April 25th and you can see from the route map that the start point is in located close to the Pub at Ibstone Green. The time of ride is flexible as long as it allows for suitable refreshment in the pub ride!

Let me know if you are interested.