Longterm testkit...

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Sometimes testing kit can get in the way of riding for the sheer hell of it, but other times it's the cream on the cake- especially when the weather's fine, the trails are sweet and the bike you're riding happens to be fanbloodytastic.
Check it out- barely a cloud in sight, the Iridium lenses are go, and even the lycra's out. You can take the piss if you can catch me...!


I've been on this Enduro for an age now, and it's the ultimate test bench for all-mountain kit, which suits me as I'm not quick enough to be an XC whippet anymore! Now that it's got all warm out, I've changed a few things on the bike to suit...


I've been riding Crank Brothers pedals since they first came out- I'm a massive fan, but have seemingly forgotten the first MTB clipless pedals... Shimano Pedaling Dynamics (or SPDs).
On lighter bikes I would normally always run a minimal pedal with no support cage etc, but the Enduro- and other similar bikes- tends to encourage riding like a man possessed. The extra support that caged pedals give really does make a massive difference. And compared to the slightly vague clip in of the Crank Brother units, the Shimano pedals have a defined 'click' on entry...

Nick Larsen of Charge bikes gave me a prototype of this saddle to run way back in November, which I just couldn't get on with. It turns out that the rail were tooo short on that particular saddle, making a slight bulge towards to front of the saddle that did nothing but hurt after a while- if I'm being dead honest. Nick was gutted to hear this- saying that he'd ridden hundreds of miles on his own seat and loved it, so he got a couple of production saddles over to me- one in Black with Titanium rails which is on my new longterm test bike, and this sweet looking brown leather version on cromo rails. I've only had about 80miles on this saddle so far, but it is 100% an entirely different saddle- it is extremely comfortable- looks like Charge are on to a winner here. Look out for a reveiw in the magazine soon when I've knackered it out, or alternatively go to Charge Bikes to check out the full spec...

And what can I say about this beautiful lump of bling?
Hope make some of the nicest bits of kit around. This 70mm stem weighs bugger all, and looks sleek- aswell as being super strong. Hope make these in several sizes and colours- to suit all. They don't make a 1.5 compatible unit, but I'm working on that...
Sadly though, I need to get a neater aheadcap to complete the smooth look!



Without a doubt, SRAM are one of the most on it companies at the moment- SRAM gearing is fantastic which pleases those building anti-Shimano bikes, the Avid brakes have been proven to World Champ level by Sam Hill, and the Truvativ componentry has proven itself to be lightweight and solid. With Rennie, Peat and several other big boys running the stuff, you know it's got to be good.
Rockshox though have been the real stars recently. With the excellent Argyle forks shocking all in the Dirtjumping world, and the formidable Totem forks clearing up the Single crown big-travel market, Rockshox have had to work really hard to take the All mountain market aswell- especially when they already make the Pike, my favourite ever all-round fork.
The Lyrik is undoubtedly a fantastic fork, but my first pre-production sample had issues with the two-step system and had to be returned for a production sample. All has been great so far, touch wood... The fork is stiff, light and has enough travel to get you out of anything. If anything, it can be a little much- we've seen people putting these on hardcore thrash bikes and freeride rigs, while I've been out on XC missions on this fork.. Overkill?
Yes, in a big way, but you don't have to slow down for anything. Infact downhills on the Enduro now flow so fast I'd be in real trouble if things go out of shape!




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