Fed up with the Jones’

Ric finally ‘loses the bap’ with his tyres…

Ever feel like a bike part is mocking you? Like some higher force is punishing you for a crime in a previous life through the medium of a few hundred grams worth of rubber?

I rock off my Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Deluxe, mainly because it’s so different from any other bike I’ve ever owned. It’s light, it’s nimble and it’s stealthy. It can go uphill, it can go downhill and it doesn’t mind you giving it the billy every now and again.

Whether it’s the ride into work, trail building after work or a demo day weekend, The Fisher just gets on with it. Head down, no fuss. I’ve even dropped the seat, tightened the shocks up and done a couple of laps of the BMX track on it.

It’s not all sunshine and flowers in ‘Ric and Gray-land’ though…

When you get a new bike you inevitably get a load of new parts that are alien to you. Some things go in the bin straight away because they just don’t fit you or don’t feel ‘right’ (say goodbye Bontrager bars, stem and grips, say hello Monkeylites,ControlTech stem and Spank grips. Ohers you bear with for a while, see if they work.

After four months the votes are in and the evidence for the prosecution is ready; I don’t get on with Bontrager’s JonesXR.

After a week that saw four (count them) punctures, three under-steer related offs (my wrist is still strapped up from the last) and me covering the office in sealant foam I’ve had enough, I’m getting rid.

The 2.25 width isn’t ridiculously narrow on paper but on the bike they seem piddly, almost like commuting tyres. There’s too much tread too, loads of shallow knobs packed in tightly means that there is no mud-clearance whatsoever. Given Bath’s clay gloop this doesn’t make for quick riding.

On the way into corners the front end just under-steers and pushes out wide. Get it right and you feel like a touring car driver, get it wrong and you end up face first in God’s green. Either way, it’s not pretty looking.

It’s time to experiment so ‘The Fish’ is going to get a new set of trail-specific wheels (see an upcoming MBUK for more) and some serious tyre experimentation!

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