No longer present from my previous review is my confusion between a blackcurrant based cordial and a Czech based tyre manufacturer, Rubena (alongside Ribena) has now become a recognised brand, not only in my house but also wider within the Hadleigh Mountain Bike club stable of riders.
My first review was of the Neptune tyres which, although, on their website are touted for dry loose conditions, stood up well and in-fact excelled in the muddy, slippery, sloppy conditions that have plagued our local trails during this wet and cold winter.
With spring however a new set of Rubena tyres landed at HMTBC Towers and along came the sun……… The last part of that sentence is clearly a falsehood, unless of course you live somewhere other than the UK. This being the case, I had to stick with the Neptunes for a few more weeks.
Last week however the sun did come and on to my newly built hard tail went a pair of Rubena’s Scylla racing tyres. There are 2 compound options for this tyre, the grey striped dual compound ones that I had on the Bamboo bike I reviewed recently (check there for a mini review, although it was horribly muddy) and the all black ‘Top Design’ Racing Compound ones now attached to my bike. There are also a number of sizes available from 2.1 to 2.25 as well as both 26 and 29er variants.
Although the sun had come our the first few outings on these tyres were ‘fun’ to say the least. Definitely inappropriate for the large amount of mud that was still around, I found myself slipping about like Bambi on ice. On a few occasions, the front would wash out causing me to have to react in milliseconds to release my clipped foot and save an embarrassing off, the more fun slips saw my back wheel trying to overtake the front after loosing rear traction mid corner. Opposite lock on a bike is kinda cool, that however is not really helping this review.
It did start to dry out however, the muddy patches became either avoidable or dismissed with a quick manual and rear wheel squelch, and the tyres started to work. We are fortunate to have some amazing variations in riding conditions, technical difficulty and surfaces along our local trails and the Rubenas worked well in most situations. The relatively shallow tread pattern on the contact surface of the tyre make for swift progress when the surface is hard packed and saw me easily riding away from my mud tyre shod mates on anything flat or uphill. The shoulders of the tyres have a deeper tread which certainly helps with confidence whilst cornering and I felt happy pushing on on most of the dryer parts of the trails.
Over the last week the trails have dried out more, and the dryer they get, the better these tyres become. The soft (ish) compound provides good grip over the dry exposed roots that now litter our trails having been washed clean by the incessant rain over the winter and there is enough tread depth and traction to tackle steep technical climbs on the now almost dry clay type surface that see me in at least a 1:1 low spinny gear.
In the last 2 rides out on these tyres, I have punctured the rear both times. Interestingly however and luckily I guess, on the way home so it did not affect my ride. On inspection it was actually a pinch puncture caused by pinching of the tube at the spoke head inside the rim. Although I am guilty of running cloth rim tape and weight weenie tubes, this did not happen on my previous tyres so I put it down to the side walls of the Rubenas being a little too flexible and moving the tube about inside, It could also of course have been me possibly running a bit lower than optimum pressures or just plain bad luck. I have now switched my tubes and rim tape out and will report back if it happens again.
Rubena have definitely started gaining a following within the club and last weekends Mud Sweat and Gears race saw at least 4 club members using them as race tyres (race report coming soon) with overall good results. Personally I think for the money, especially with the discounts provided to Hadleigh Mountain Bike Club members, you will be hard pressed to find anything as good. There will always be those who want to spend their money on Schwalbe, Maxxis, Continental etc. but spare a thought for the manufacturer you have never heard of who actually have been making tyres since 1928.
Unfortunately for Rubena, something that has been mentioned to me by several club members, their websites are diabolical and do nothing to help you see what the tyre options are, what they look like or what (British) conditions they are suited to. I hope my reviews may in some way help with that but to help a little more you can download their latest catalog in PDF format from our forum pages. **EDIT: Rubena have updated their UK website http://www.rubenacycle.co.uk/ which now features a natty interactive catalog which helps with tyre choice and has a good level of detail on all of their tyres. I still don’t like the website but the catalog is pretty cool. You can find it here http://erez.show-360.cz/erez/fsi/html/rubena_katalog_velo_2011.htm (may not work in all browsers, certainly won’t work well on mobile)
Rubena have a compete range of tyres for Road, MTB and Motorbikes and if your saving up for some new sunglasses or body hugging lycra as spring finally seems to be coming, why not save a few extra quid on your next set of tyres and give them a try.
Back in the mid to late 80′s I was in my late teens, the fittest I have ever been and as well as being an A’ Level student, I was a mountain biker racer. I raced most weekends throughout South Wales, the Forest of Dean and surrounding areas and that was my life. My school’s ‘games’ consisted of Rugby in the Winter and Cricket in the Summer and that was it, I however got special dispensation (one of only 2 in the school) to ride my MTB during games and was trusted to do so.
Throughout this time and for another 15 years the thought of having a child was an alien one to me, I was often heard saying “I’ll never have children” or “Not for me”. The mountain biking took a back seat during and after university when I moved away from the biking mecca that is the Forest of Dean and for a while, cycling all together left my daily life.
Roll forward to 2008 and the fitness bug bit again only this time it was mainly running. After a couple of years, several marathons and one amazing cycling trip to the Alps, I decided the bike was my preferred mode of transport and wanted to get back into all things cycling. It was also about this time that my wife and I had decided it may be time after all to try for a child. Never say never…..
Since the birth of our lovely daughter Sophia 1 year ago I have really got back into cycling, specifically mountain biking. Another birth took place last year too, that was the birth of the Hadleigh Mountain Bike Club. Based on the legacy of London 2012, the Olympic track being only 3 miles from my house, I wanted to be a part of it for sure. Me becoming a part of the club, riding more and more and wanting my family involved has lead to where I am now and to writing this review.
Being 1, my daughter is now old enough to come out on the bike with me but with so many options of how to carry, push, tow and generally transport her, which is the best? We started looking at seats that attached to the bike as, in my opinion, all that towing them in a trailer is a bit boring and she is too young for a tag along type bike attached to the rear of mine. There seems to be 3 options for this type of seat, behind you, in front of you (on the bars) or between your legs (on the cross bar). After immediately discounting the ‘behind you’ option primarily because I thought “who wants to stare at my back whilst riding” and also it would be difficult to interact with her whilst behind me, we started looking at front mounted options.
Coincidentally, it was at this time my work with the Hadleigh Mountain Bike club and it’s supporters and sponsors led me to WeeRide UK who are the UK distributor for several child safety products from, amongst others, the WeeRide brand. A couple of days later, their latest offering, the WeeRide Front Safe arrived at HMTBC towers and it was time to get testing. (yes this is a product test and not a life story but you know I like a story)
WeeRide offer 2 mid mounted, front facing child safety seats, each coming in 2 variants, Standard and Deluxe. The 4 different models can be seen on their website at http://www.weerideuk.co.uk/ The product we have for test is the WeeRide Front Safe Standard which, in the middle of the range, probably makes it the most popular choice.
Opening the brightly coloured box sees 3 well packaged items, the seat itself, the mounting bar which attaches it to the bike and the ’resty bit’ (more on that later). I am not usually one for instructions, I am after all a man, however I felt compelled to read them thoroughly as this is a review which someone might read and take notice of. I can confirm the multi lingual instruction manual is comprehensive and easy to understand however if you are near an internet when you install the WeeRide, I would suggest watching the instructional videos on http://www.weerideuk.co.uk/Videos.htm which are very easy to understand and will have you up and running in no time.
Almost no time….. My first gripe with the WeeRide was that it was a little fiddly to install the bar that clamps between your seat post and headset, adjustability to any length of top tube was simple and they even include long bolts for those with oversize head tubes however with the nuts, bolts, washers, protective inserts and the clamps it takes a dextrous person to make light work of it. Once installed however it felt very safe and secure and importantly did not foul the top tube running cables on this, my old 1980′s race MTB (yes I still have it). In order to attach the ‘resty bit’ (more on that later) to the seat itself, you will need a screwdriver, normally I would not mention that but the WeeRide came with the spanner and allen key required to attach the bar to the bike so why not include the simple third tool needed to complete the job?
‘Resty bit’ attached (more on that later), the process of attaching the seat to the bar is so simple, a 6 year old could do it. Very cleverly however not something a 1,2 or 3 year old could do. The single thumb screw that attaches the assembled seat to the bar and therefore the bike, is between the child’s legs but only tightens or loosens when pressed hard down (imaging a child proof pill bottle from the pharmacy) making it impossible for your little one to loosen it whilst on board. The other advantage of this single screw design is that the seat can be removed and attached to another bike as desired (WeeRide sell the mounting bar separately or a pair bundled with the seat).
Final adjustments before getting Sophia in her new seat consisted of adjusting the 5 point harness and foot cups (which are height adjustable) to somewhere near where I thought they would need to be and for the observant amongst you, put some pedals on my bike. I had a quick ride around and noticed straight away I would have to adjust my riding slightly as my knees would bang on the seat in front of me. I was expecting this however and to be perfectly honest it’s a small adjustment and worth it for having the child so close.
Our first ride:
When strapping Sophia into the seat for the first time, I noticed another great safety feature. The buckle on the 5 point harness requires you to press 2 small red buttons before allowing the clips to be released, again making it very difficult for your child to make a premature bid for freedom. Once strapped in and with her helmet on (there in lies a whole other story) we were off and I have to say both mine and my daughters immediate reaction were great.
Having your child directly in front of you feels almost like they are sitting on your lap and although securely strapped in I also felt extra comfort that my daughter was between my arms as I held the handlebars. In addition to the safety aspects, it is also really easy to see her face and interact with her, pointing things out and seeing that she is looking too. As for riding the bike with the extra weight of the seat and baby it was noticeable but not difficult in any way. I have ridden a bike with a handlebar mounted seat before and this felt unsafe as all the weight was over the front wheel and more importantly the steering. The WeeRide does not have this issue and apart from knocking my knees a bit, the seat felt good.
Let’s talk about the ‘resty bit’
I am not sure what it is called, I was also not really sure what it was for however I can now say without a doubt that I am calling it ‘the resty bit’ and “It’s an inspiration…. ” The pictures on WeeRide’s website show a child asleep hunched over the resty bit which I thought was wishful thinking but my daughter did exactly that on one of our rides so it must be comfortable. There are other uses for the resty bit too, as you can see from the pictures below. It’s a sleep rest, a toy shelf, a play table and I reckon you could mount guns on it too for shooting less considerate road users like the driver who knocked me off my bike the other day (thankfully without Sophia on board).
Overall the WeeRide Front Safe is a fantastic child seat for anyone who wants to have their child, not only on the bike with them but also in a position that is safer and provides more scope for interaction than rear mounted or handlebar mounted options.
The question that most of these stories (reviews) ends with is “Would I buy one?” To that I can answer an emphatic “Yes” I like the fact that my daughter is effectively between my arms on a seat that looks comfortable (hopefully she will agree when she can talk), holds her in nice and securely, can be simply moved between my wife’s and my bike and most importantly has the versatile ‘resty bit’ for everything from a mid-ride power nap to the gunning down of inconsiderate motorists. One day, I could even mount a laptop on it and dictate my reviews to her whilst we are out riding. That, however may be some time off…..
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, there are 2 versions of the Safe Front. Whilst the ‘normal’ version I tested in this review is great and ticks all the boxes you would want, I personally would spend the extra 20 quid and go for the Delux version which has a little more padding on the seat, harnesses and ‘resty-bit’. In fact, probably the Delux + so as to get a second mounting bar and save a few quid off the combined price.
Wee Ride seats, along with a whole host of other child safety and cycling products can be purchased directly from WeeRide’s website. http://www.weerideuk.co.uk
We are near completion of our Skills Area and will be announcing dates for our coaching sessions in the coming weeks.
We would like to take the time again to thank Buff, Sue Me and HardnutZ who, as our headline sponsors, will be providing incentives and prizes for our sessions and kit for our coaches.
Check out the amazing products offered by each of these companies by clicking their logos below.
Review by – Chris Hyde
Who am I ?
“I am stronger than steel, stiffer than aluminum, have more impact strength than carbon fibre, can be eaten, drunk, used to make medicine, paper, textiles musical instruments and scaffolding”
Any ideas yet?
What if we add “I am also the staple diet of the Giant Panda, a species of grass and used to make Mountain Bikes…..”?
Yes, you are not mistaken, “I am Bamboo!”
Now before we start, lets get some facts on the table. Bamboo is a very versatile material, that is clear to see. All of the above statements are true, from gravity defying scaffolding up the sides of sky scrapers in Hong Kong, to ancient Chinese medicine to Mountain bikes made in Yorkshire….. We all, of course, already knew about the Panda..
The object of this review and of my pet panda’s desires, was I to have one, is a bonefide mountain bike with a frame made almost entirely of Bamboo. The creator of this madness?… Rachel Hammond from Scarborough based, Bamboo Bikes.
Is it madness however? That is what we are here to find out.
A quick trip around the Interweb reveals that bamboo has been used in bikes before and to great success by a company called Calfee making beautiful road bikes from said grassy substance, Rachel, in-fact, cites this as one of here influences having owned one for several years. What we are talking about here though is a Mountain Bike and we all know that’s a different kettle of ball games…My original plan was to head down to London’s Bamboo Bike reseller, Blue Door bikes to have a ride and give you a brief impression of what this thing is made of (Bamboo obviously), however thanks to a series of unfortunate/fortunate events, this review can be a whole lot longer…..
I felt at odds with myself on the drive to London to pick up the bike. Here I was driving to the big smoke, in my (carbon footprint of a small nation) Range Rover to pick up a bike that was largely ‘grown’ in the ground and more sustainable than the wind, as anyone who has ever tried to get rid of bamboo from their garden will know. My guilt subsided when I started to think about the 2 whole weeks I was allowed to have the bike and also that I was picking it up, not from the London reseller, but from Rachel herself..
Once finally parked, travelling by bike in London is much easier, I met Rachel headed for the nearest coffee shop to sit down and get my questions answered. What? Who? Why? Where? When? How? Lets answer those questions right now.
- What? - Its constructed mainly from bamboo which is sealed on this inside and out then joined together in a jig with flax and resin to form the main structure of the frame. Metal inserts are added for the headset, bottom bracket and seat tube and the rear dropouts are bonded in.
- Who? - Bamboo Bikes was the vision of Rachel Hammond who brought a team together of 5 people and her former university, Oxford Brooks, for their expertise in materials and engineering. (Their name now sits proudly on every frame)
- Why? - Quite frankly, why not? There is no denying this bike’s green credentials and we have proved that the raw materials are up to the rigours of many a tougher task (remember the scaffolding)
- Where? - The frames are made in Yorkshire, making this a true British venture. ”Made in Britain” is a moniker that’s becoming far too rare these days.
- When? - The mountain bike has been around for about 18 months now and after a long period of development and refinement Bamboo Bikes have also added a CX bike, a Hybrid and the obligatory 29er to the range.
- How? - How what? How does it feel? How does it look? How does it ride? How long will it last?…. We will answer all those questions shortly.
Back to the coffee shop: Rachel’s passion is clear through my questioning and with the bill paid, (thanks Rachel), we went outside where I was asked to ride to the end of the road and back so my initial reaction coud be seen. Personally I believed this was to prove I actually could ride a bike and was not some usurping angel of corporate espionage or a panda in a man suit trying to reclaim what was rightfully mine… I did however ride to the end of the road and back and all I could muster was “Yup, it feels…….. Like a bike”
On the way home, I made a stop in my local bike shop Velo Virtuoso to show them the bike. I had been talking about it for weeks so seemed only fair. The reaction the bike received was typical of the reaction it has had almost everywhere I have been since.. “I think I like it but I’m not sure”, ”It’s certainly different”, “Is that parcel tape holding it together?”, “Is it heavy?”, “Will it rot in this weather?”, “Will it break?” I found myself jumping to the bike’s defence and I had not even ridden it properly yet. I think the passion and enthusiasm had rubbed off on me a little and I am big on supporting local enterprise so I hoped that my defence was not unfounded.
My first outing on the Bamboo bike was certainly a baptism of fire (or ice and mud to be precise). It was a very cold and muddy evening ride with some members of the Hadleigh MTB Club. This is a regular ride that sees anything between 2 and 60 of us take to the local trails on a Monday night, the number of people directly correlating to the weather at the time. Monday was particularly cold and with melting snow and ice everywhere, a particularly muddy one too. The tyres on the Bamboo were my immediate concern as they were Rubena Scyllas which even new are not exactly mud tyres and these were used, there was no time to change them however so I would grin and bare it.
Lights on full, it was off into the mud and my first reaction was how stiff the frame felt, every push on the pedal resulted in instant forward motion, no slack or twist in the frame at all. This made for very quick progress on the harder forest trails, aided ironically by the bad choice of tyres. It was not long however before we got to the mud and this is where the tyres fell down. Grip was almost non existant in the sloppy stuff (these are not mud tyres) and I spent as much time going sideways as forwards. Two things became very obvious here though: 1. It was great fun and good for honing my bike control skills and 2. The Bamboo bike is extremely agile due to that stiff frame. Back on the harder surfaces I also noticed that the bike does a good job of ironing out the smaller bumps and in some respects feels like a titanium bike would
We swapped bikes over between a few of us and everyone agreed the bike felt fast and agile yet forgiving, opinion was still divided over the looks however, that was one for the pub later on. One thing we all agreed on though is that this bike looks great when it’s muddy and feels almost more at home and at one with it’s surroundings.The next big outing for the Bamboo bike was supposed to see it (and me) take on the jumps and bomb holes of Danbury. When we got there however it was way too muddy to do any justice to any of the downhill runs so we just did the XC. It was also the first outing on my new Kinesis bike so that was my steed for the day and the Bamboo remained securely in the back of the Carbon Footprint.
Week 2 saw me and my new found friend joining an outing to Bedgebury where around 30 of us spent the day riding the ‘almost’ dry trails interspersed with chocolate bars and cups of tea from the cafe. This was the day that saw the Bamboo bike really come into its own. The Rubena Scylla Racing tyres now started to make sense, the drying trails providing enough grip to be confident in the corners and over the huge number of exposed roots, there were only a few places where there was still real mud but we will ignore those. Riding the Bamboo Bike in the dry, on twisting single track was a joy, the stiffness of the frame providing instant acceleration and climbing with the forks locked out was as good as any metal bike I have ever ridden. There were a lot of exposed roots on the trails making for a very bumpy, and sometimes technical, ride, the Fox forks up front did their job well and felt a perfect match to the frame giving me every confidence to push on even over the most bumpy sections. One negative I did notice was a lot of chain slap over the bumps and it did try to part company from the rings a few times, this was probably more noticeable as my daily ride is a 1×10 setup with a clutched derailleur and this was a 3×10 XT jobbie..
There is no doubt that the Bamboo Bike attracts a lot of attention and there were many conversations within our group about is construction, how it looked and how it rides. I, after nearly 2 weeks and a good few miles, am still positive on all three counts. Why was I musing about this again? It was one of the trails at Bedgebury that did it, I’ll let the picture below do the talking:
OK, there is a question mark missing but the answer is quite simply – No!
The final section of the single track loop at Bedgebury is called “Again, Again” and consists of a purpose built trail with berms and jumps all the way down. When we got to the end, the name made perfect sense as all I wanted to do was do it again. The bike was great over the gravel surface feeling really smooth and totally composed in the jumps and through the berms. I had more confidence than I expected enabling me to really press on however a later check of Strava showed we were not really pressing on and were clearly more tired than first thought. Still it felt great and reinforced my respect for the bike made of grass.
My final day with the Bamboo bike was a cold one and I was lucky enough to gain access to Hadleigh Farm and the track used for last year’s highly acclaimed Olympic MTB events. Unfortunately, for now the track is closed to the public and most of the ‘obstacles’ are gated off so as to prevent over keen MTBers gaining access to the track and shortly later to the local A&E. I had a last quick ride of the bike over the less technical bits of the track which are mainly surfaced in gravel and the odd small rock bump and jump and my opinion remains: This really is a competent bike which is comfortable with anything you throw at it.
To sum up my 2 weeks with the Bamboo Bike, it has been mixed. Everyone who sees the bike has something to say about it, usually either something positive or something involving parcel tape. Everyone who has ridden it however agrees that it is a real mountain bike with real mountain bike credentials that feels stiff like carbon yet forgiving like titanium.
So the question remains: Would I buy one?
Well, yes and no, it’s a bike that divides opinion on every level except actually riding it. Personally I thought £1199 for the frame only was a little steep, however it is hand made in the UK and sustainable so somehow seems worth it. There is also no denying the credentials of Bamboo as a construction material however it’s quirky and different so difficult to make a purchase decision over a more traditional ‘metal’ bike. Finally I have come to the conclusion that as I already have several bikes made of light metal, heavy metal, plastic and carbon why not add one made of Bamboo to the collection? With Bamboo Bikes current offer of half price frames, I might just be thinking about a CX version. Alternatively, whilst giving the bike a final clean before packing it up I had a thought…..
Post by – Paul Coulson
With the first round of the Mud, Sweat and Gears MTB series kicking off at Tunstall Forest again this year, all the talk on the internet forums was about just how wet it was going to be or even how much snow might fall before the event. That’s when I received a call from my mate Michael Travers, who offered the use of “Rudy”, the Travers Bikes MTB for those inclement conditions we were going to be riding in.
Now reality has a habit of biting you in the ass more often than not, the week before the event I was stuck down with the most brutal of diseases known to man, yes that’s right, man flu. I’m a trooper and will carry on as long as I can but a few precautionary measures were called for, i.e. no training and a few early nights. Awaking on the Sunday morning at a reasonable time for a change, these afternoon races are very civilised, I felt okay but not great still and against all advice I decided to go and race. There was still a lot of internet chatter about easy points on offer just for turning up and competing in the quagmire that was expected at Tunstall forest. Reality nibbling my butt I drove and picked up my racing buddy for the day Paul Howell and then onto collect Rudy. Arriving at the MSG village in good time off we set to sign in and have a chat to the Guys at Velo Virtuoso about conditions, which in fact were not as bad as had been described. The track was relatively dry with the exception of a couple of sections of really wet muddy patches, which really did just drain all my energy. After a warm up/sighting lap back to the van for the usual carb loading and gel intake before heading to the start line. I did wonder at this stage should I change bikes and use my conventional geared bike instead of the Alfine 11 speed hubbed mud warrior that I was perched upon, a look skyward and with rain being given out as a forecast for all afternoon, I started my rain dance. Knowing that I didn’t have the energy levels to compete for the whole 5 laps and get a decent place at the end, (the top 30 score points only), I decided that from my start line position I would just go for it and hope the conditions changed and the soft people would drop out.
With the teeth of reality now sinking deep into my Gluteus Maximus, off we set and the pace is fast, very fast and I struggle to get my breathing up to pace to drive the pedals at these speeds. I settle back and get into my own rhythm and it’s not too long before I reel in some of the fast starting, slow riding people. At least that was my plan, when all of a sudden I lost the front end on a fast left hander just before the first bomb hole, the front slid and with slow reactions I was unable to release my feet from the pedals. The front tyre now griped hard on the edge of the track but my momentum was being thrown forward and over the bars I go, with a heavy landing on my left shoulder, I then flip over and my right hip smashes into the ground. My head pounded like a thousand woodpeckers had landed on me, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle all screaming out in pain, that’s it I thought, day over. Sitting in the scrub at the track side with my competitors streaming past, the adrenaline kicked in and as I’m not a quitter, with the marshal checking that I was okay, before I knew it, I was back in the saddle and shooting into the bomb hole.
Knowing that I was well outside the top 30 and not much hope for a decent finish, I decide to use it as a training session and to really get to grips with this MTB that Travers Bikes really has put together well. So for the next 3 laps I plod away and start to really think about the logic of this bike, I got to ride it a few weeks previously but conditions had been drier, a lot drier than this. Don’t get me wrong the Tunstall trials were wet not just wet enough for my fellow riders to experience bike problems that had plagued previous MSG events the year before. This bike has rigid carbon forks, but is really very comfortable and with plenty of time to get used to them I try different ways to make it go quick. Using my body as the shock absorbing system, after all my arms and legs have more travel than any MTB on the market and with no bobbing of the bike all my energy (what little I had) went straight to making the bike go forward, which it does very easily. The only time I missed the front suspension was when I was being lazy and letting the bike run through the corners with me seated, instead of me working the bike and standing to keep the power being pushed through the pedals. My only criticism of the bike on the day was with the tyres, a set of Conti x’s were just not going to work on the muddy sections of this course and had pitched me sideways many times losing all forward momentum, but as these are a personal preference, an easy problem to overcome.
Taking the bell at the end of my 3rd lap was heaven, knowing that I was going to be a lap down at the end of the race isn’t a great feeling on a five lap race, but it was most welcome on this occasion. So with 500 meters of the race remaining, the heavens opened up, great, no chance now of making any positions up, all I was going to do was get wetter and colder. The track immediately turned greasy with this little bit of water on the surface, had it come and hour earlier the Travers Bike would have been the ideal weapon for the job, of getting me some points in this first round, but alas, reality had left it’s gnarling teeth marks in my behind. A top 30 placing, on this day, in these condition with a rider who only days before was dying, not a chance, but if the conditions had been like Codham last year and a fitter rider (like it’s owner and creator) a top 10 place would be so easy to achieve on “Rudy”.
The Codham round is next Mr Travers…….. if it rains like last year, can I……………
Post By – Michael Travers
I have been riding mountain bikes for 25 years and have seen fashions come and go, some have hung around, been perfected and become a must have and others have fallen by the way side. The most obvious part that has become de facto on a mountain bike is front suspension, the technological battle is won and its just a matter of which brand you are going to nail your colours to!
Wait a minute are we just being blinded with marketing speak? Most riders never get the chance to compare riding with and without suspension because these days even the cheapest bikes come with suspension forks already bolted on. Now I am not for one moment saying that rigid forks are aimed at the freeride/downhill crowd, but for the XC/endurance rider they are a realistic viable alternative.
The most important suspension element on any bike is you. You have far more travel in your arms and legs than any suspension forks. Learning to relax and absorb the hits on a rigid bike, picking lines and dancing your way through a rock garden, rather than blasting through the middle will only enhance your riding when you head to the big mountains.
So what are the other benefits to rigid over suspension forks?
Weight, a straight swap will save you around 1kg
• Trail buzz, nothing removes that numbing feeling from your hands you get when you have ridden for a couple of hours like a quality carbon fork
• Clearance, on my suspension forks you have a fingers width if you are lucky between the tyre and the bridge joining each fork leg together, on a rigid fork you will have 30+mm
• Climbing…no more bobbing around or scrambling for the lock out switch
• Best of all, single track. There is nothing like flying down a piece of single track with a rigid front end, no more tucking of the front wheel when you are cornering hard, no more dive of the front end when you jam on the brakes and no more wallow when you sprint out of a corner.
Saying all that, I still have a full suspension bike and I love it! When the rocks get too big or the speed gets rapid there is nothing like the confident feeling a suspension setup gives you. Horses for courses and all that…
Easter Madness Event NOW ON. 10% Off of all items for the next 10 days. Get your Children equipped for the Easter Holidays. For customers who have a current discount voucher (HMTBC Members do) you can still use these and double up on the discount. Don’t miss out, visit www.newhorizonsoutdoors.co.uk.
Hadleigh MTB Club are very proud to announce 2 new club friends who have come on board specifically to sponsor our upcoming coaching sessions kicking off in May.
Please join us in welcoming both Buff/SueMe and HardnutZ
Both companies will be providing kit for our coaches, prizes for attendees and on-going support to the club and our coaching sessions as we grow over the coming months.
For details of these companies please see the links below and if you require any further information on any of the companies or the club’s coaching plans please don’t hesitate to contact one of us or come along to the open evening on Thursday.
Club friend Rubena are pleased to be working with HMTBC and offering a massive 25% off all tyres to club members when purchased through their local reseller GMCC.
Rubena offer a range of tyres from full on mud pluggers to lightweight race tyres (review coming soon) and with 25% discount off their already low price, they are almost giving them away.
Check out http://www.rubenacycle.co.uk/ for details and our friends pages.