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Bike Check…

Bike Check…

There’ll be a few of these bike checks appearing over the next few days from some of the other guys… So, if you’ve ever wondered what a lanky photographer rides then take a look..

So here it is, HMS Five. With a wheelbase longer than an Ironhorse Sunday and looking slightly like a gate in its 20″ guise I’m yet to ride anything better for monstertrucking loose peaks descents on an XC ride. Most people comment on the black chrome Chromag bars and they are about the only piece of kit to take note of. The rest of the bike is a result of a few years of part gathering on a student (and photographer) budget.

Click the photo or here for a bigger view.

Chromag 2011

Chromag 2011

As you might of seen by now, Chromag/Shorelines have been supporting us so far this season. We were all a huge fan of Chromag beforehand, so to be able to nip into the U.K office just down the road in the centre of Sheff, is spot on.

They’ve stepped it up a bunch this year with a load of new colours and a few new products as they try to delve into other areas of the component market.

The Moon saddle. Ti railed (chrome/cheaper version optional too), super light, full bred race saddle. Available in White or Black.

The Director direct mount stem. Red or black, with in ya face Chromag lettering.

Fubar(google it) OSX bar in chrome. Available in a billion other colours aswel. Black Chrome is the nicest looking bar i’ve ever seen…

See the product being tested hard, right here:

Swinnys Ellsworth, decked out.

If you like what you see, head over to Shorelines to check the full range out and look out for 2012

Banshee Legend…..

Got out for a quick first ride on the new Legend at Le Tour yesterday….

Initial impressions are limited so far as I only cracked two laps out. I can say its very different to the Sunday I have come off, but its kinda strange to be on a DH bike again after having 6 months of exclusively riding the XC bike.

It rides much more planted than the Sunday, it doesn’t appear to be a bike that pops and floats its way down the trail, more of a monster truck charger bike…..which I think will be good for me, with a little style adjustment, as I only ride the DH bike on big tracks/races these days.
The suspension is so supple, I wound the pro-pedal all the way off as soon as I got it and headed for a run, first thing I noticed was how quiet the thing is. Literally silent. Awesome. Secondly it feels like the rear end is far far superior to any other suspension I have ridden (probably because the shock is not blown yet!) it just sits in the sag and grips like crazy! Small bump sensitivity is ridiculous, mid stoke feels great but I can’t say I have sent her into any hucker’s-neck inducing big hits yet….

This bike seems to grip like mad in the turns. I cant quite get used to it yet. I found myself struggling with some corners to be honest, Bowman noticed this on his first ride too. Its strange, I cant quite put it into words just yet, but it just feels like I am railing everywhere on the back wheel. I hope this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, its more that its so grippy at the rear, I need to get more weight over the front to get that front wheel gripping and guiding where we are going….

Anyway, enough of the chat….BIG BIG thanks to Banshee bikes, Bowman for setting it up,  and to others that helped me out with the build like Ian and Sat lad at Edinburgh bikes Sheffield and Persist components.

Bikes On A Budget

It’s fair to say that when you like riding bikes you like to ride nice bikes. This usually means spending lots of money…

The cost of having such an expensive whip caught up with me so I was forced to make the tough decision and downgrade from my 224 Evo with a Cane Creek shock, Boxxer Team fork, Saint brakes, etc. Gutted!

So, the search was on for something 2nd hand that was fairly cheap but durable enough to stand up to the beating I would unleash upon it. Straight away I looked at frames which have less travel but still a relatively slack head angle, the popular Specialized Pitch sprung to mind. There’s a reason these bikes are so common: good angles; nice looks; light weight; and durable. But… you’re still looking at spending £400 for one in an okay condition. This doesn’t sound like much to some but I knew I could go cheaper still.

After searching on the numerous internet forums (*vomit*) and ebay I still couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. Until, Duncan Philpott discovered an almighty bargain on ebay at 1am on a Sunday morning, a Banshee Rune anodised black with a DHX Air 5.0 shock in mint condition for £275. I couldn’t say no!

Here it is, not the best quality picture but you get the idea:

A few weeks later and I’m well on the way to getting grips with how it handles. When deciding on the kind of bike I wanted I knew it had to have between 140 and 160mm of travel. The Rune has 150mm of travel, perfect! For me, the sensation of riding a bike isn’t about overall speed, it’s about being as close to crashing as possible whilst still maintaining control and pushing the limits of grip. The Orange was a nice bike to ride but I don’t yet have the balls or skill to ride it on the “edge”. Another reason for having a bike with less travel is to have something easier to pedal allowing me to access trails which I would otherwise have to be driven to (not that I would ever say no to a lift…).

So, am I enjoying my time on the Banshee?

Loam Explosion!

Hell yeah! However, there are still a few changes I would like to make to enhance my experience even more. First of all, the DHX Air shock isn’t great. I need to run it at quite a high pressure to prevent it from bottoming out quite so much, however, this reduces the amount of sag. Also, I often blow through the travel on my quite shagged pikes (if you’ve seen them you’ll know how bad they are) so this combination on the steeper stuff can make the head angle pretty terrifying. Solution: Get a coil shock and a better, longer fork! Once that is done I’m pretty sure this bike will fly down a hill with ease. And I cannot wait.

On a side note: I thought it would be a good idea (let me know if you think otherwise) if I posted a youtube clip of either the song I’m listening to when it comes to publishing an article, a song I like at the moment or just something funny at the end of my posts…
Can’t go wrong with a bit of Del Boy.


Mucky Nutz!

Mucky Nutz!

Somehow muckynutz seems to have skipped our radar, but luckilly Shane got in touch last week to let us know about this awesome, new little company coming straight out of Sheffield. At first it seemed like the usual bits n bobs you’d find in any store, until we realised it’s all made in the UK!! Which you don’t see very much anymore….

Muckynutz is a small outfit, mostly famous for the Bender fender which you may have seen on such pro’s bikes like Mark Weir. These turned out to be a bit of a global hit, coming in at 16g and retail for £7.98.

They also sent over this little life saver which allows you to be able to ride out of those ‘middle of nowhere, basted my mech hanger’s snapped’ situations.For £7.50 it could really help you out if you were miles from home, especially in the Alps on those summer breaks.

They have an ever expanding line, with rotors and ti bolts recently added, so keep an eye out on MuckyNutz, for more quality,Made in UK bike products.

Full review of the bender fender coming up soon…..

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