Lee Quarry – A Sort of Review

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Lee Quarry

Why a sort of review? Cos I only “sort of” rode there.

Being a little pushed for time but also being in the neighbourhood of one of the first “trail centres” I heard of when I started mountain biking a few years ago, meant that I had to give it some sort of a visit. And the sun was shining so it would have been rude not to, even if I was only able to stay for an hour or so. So here goes: Continue reading “Lee Quarry – A Sort of Review”

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We’ve come a long long way together… (Vitus Escarpe VRX Long Term Review)

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Cadair Idris

Its been two years since I decided it was time to change my full sus bike (Giant Trance X2) and after much research I decided on the Vitus Escarpe VRX.

Longer and beefier forks. Wider bars. Bigger wheels (650b). I was excited! Continue reading “We’ve come a long long way together… (Vitus Escarpe VRX Long Term Review)”

Drone filming and jumping

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Back to the top again

My mate Gary has a drone. A DJI Mavic drone. And now I want one!

I’ve found my wings again this last few weeks at a local spot and we had a great time on Saturday hitting the singletrack and the jumps in the woods.  When the woods opened out a little we thought the drone would be a great way to capture some of the action.

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Time for Take 2, or is it 3?

Its so cool to see yourself in action like this.  Regular readers of my blog will know I like to try and take the GoPro off me and the bike from time to time, but you can’t get footage like this unless you actually get the camera in the air.

Gary has previously flown RC helicopters, but his newest toy is a DJI Mavic and he’s working towards obtaining his CAA Permit to take drone flying a little further. Also if you didn’t know, you actually need a permit in order to legally fly a drone further than 120 metres and out of line of sight (or something like that).

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And that’s a wrap…

Anyway, enough of me droning on (I crack myself up sometimes), its time to let the riding and the aerial photography do the talking. So here’s the awesome results of Gary’s filming on Saturday afternoon, and go follow him on YouTube or Vimeo here.

 

All stills and the video thanks top Gary Lee / Ridgeway Drones

Throw Back Thursday – Antur Stiniog

I’ve been thinking about doing a mashup video edit from some old footage and have just been looking at some clips from last year’s trip to North Wales and found this run from Antur Stiniog.

Such an amazing place and remarkably more rideable than I thought it would be.

Its definitely quite intimidating to start with as its very steep, but its all rollable and if you control your speed anyone can find a way down the red trail.

The Blacks step it up a little but you can see that my Vitus Escpare with 150mm front, 135mm rear travel was more than capable of dealing with the rocks.

Here are some more pics from the rest of the weekend…

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I need  to go back..

Ride Through Winter The Hard Way

The Hard Way to Tackle Winter Riding
A Winter’s HardTail

There are many reasons to own and of course ride a hardtail.

As a second bike (assuming your first is a full suspension MTB of some description) it makes perfect sense. We all know the N+1 rule – so why not get a hardtail as your second bike?

They are very fashionable at the moment and in the UK in particular we have a particular taste for them and often in steel. Maybe its the simplicity, maybe its our riding style or maybe its the marketing!

There are a bunch of UK manufacturers making a tidy living out of hardtails – Bird Cycleworks, BTR fabrications, Stanton, Charge, On One etc all have a great line in hardtails and do well in the UK.  I think the profile of XC racing and the 2012 Olympics has also raised the awareness of how capable a 29er hardtail can be and us cyclists do like a new bike.

Hardtail geometry is changing too.  Longer and slacker bikes are turning what was once a tame trail machine into an aggressive trail machine and with right set up a half decent all mountain or trail centre rig.  650b wheels and 140mm forks and I think you have a very capable all year round steed that can cope with most you can throw it at.

So the landscape is changing and hard tails are getting a new lease of life – but that’s not really what I was here to discuss. But it does mean that the list of reasons to ride or even advantages of riding a hardtail is now getting longer.

  • Cheaper – With no rear shock, suspension linkage, bearings etc the set up become simpler and less costly.
  • Lighter – For the same reasons above the bike is simpler and therefore lighter.
  • Quicker – Yes they can be quicker. Shedding the weight and having a direct drive to the rear wheel with no suspension bobbing, acceleration and speed can be increased. They is a point where the benefits of suspension can be a drag – sucking you into berms, absorbing jumps for instance.  Take a hardtail to a trail centre and watch those personal best times pop up on your popular training app – oh alright Strava!
  • Easier to maintain – Now we are getting close to the winter angle I was leading with.  With less frame complexities you have less bearings and frame to clean and maintain.
  • 1 by x – The growing popularity on 1x set ups combined with a hard tail means the simplicity and weight reductions just keep on coming. No front derailleur, one less cable and shifter results in less weight and a few less items you need to look after.

Combine all these benefits with Winter riding and you have a winner!

 

So as the UK trails get wetter and muddier you want a bike that’s easier to clean and maintain then you should consider riding a hard tail.

Mine took almost an hour to clean after Sunday’s ride around the soggy, claggy soil of Wiltshire.