Spring's just round the corner...

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16"?>

Had a decent ride today- most of the people that clog up the trails over the weekend were at Bath half-Marathon today, so I made the most of it and rode some corking singletrack with barely a soul around. Damn it's in good shape at the moment...
Seemingly every week I inflict someone with stories of how damn good Specialized bikes are- I've been running this Enduro for a couple of years now as my 'Test Bench' bike- it's perfect as I can ride XC, Freeride or even DH stuff on it with just a tweak on the set-up. The SX Trail is the new, slightly burlier version of this Enduro, whereas the newer Enduro has lost weight and looks to be a super trail bike. I'll get my hands on one at some point, but they really are as rare as rocking horse shit. In the meantime, check out my bad-boy...


I had a few new bits to try out this weekend- a Charge bikes ti-railed saddle; KMC gold chain; Bontrager Rhythm wheels and some cool looking Intense System 4 dual compound tyres.
Already a massive fan of the System 4 tyres, I was a bit baffled to see this number turn up at the office- given that it's a tightly packed tread designed to be fast rolling for firm conditions, seeing the soft rubber running down the middle of the tyre and harder for the shoulders just didn't figure. Surely it would turn this fast rolling ripper into a slug...



As expected, they do feel a bit slower on hard packed surfaces, and noticibly so on those horrible little tarmac sections we all have to use to join up trails, but the worries soon dissappeared once off-road. I use the regular System 4's in the summer because they roll so damn quick, and have fantastic grip- but ideally would like them to have a little more for the corners. Making the shoulders in a lower durometer rubber would do this, but that's a different niggle for another time- back to the dual compounds...
This is a new tyre on my favourites list. It's fast and the soft rubber hooks up really well on the slimy little lumps of rock and flint that Bath is inflicted with- and it's not too bad on roots either. It seems to be a perfect Spring tyre- it's faster, harder brother could pair well for a grip/speed set-up. I'll be running the regular tyres back to back with these in a variety of conditions to see how they compare- but I do really like the way they ride. More in the mag soon.
I'm already a fan of the Charge saddles- the look is great, and this production one is a lot comfier than the pre-production version that Nick Larsen hooked me up with an age ago. I look forward to it properly breaking in (you'll have to squint at it on the bike though, as I didn't take a shot of it...).
The other week I hammered my knee in to my stem when I snapped a chain, so treated myself to a spangly new one- a KMC Gold. It shifts as well as any thing else and is pimp as in chav Gold. It's also noticably quieter than my last chain.


Wheels are one of the single most important parts of a bike- they make up the rotating mass which is what you have to turn to move the bike. Lighter the wheel, the easier it is to spin it round.
Bontrager certainly seem to be hitting the nail on the head at the moment with their wheels- in the next issue of the mag you'll see my views on the King Earls I've been running on my Santa Cruz.



The wheels I'm running here are the Rhythms- all-mountain; 28 spoke; tubeless ready; swiss made hubs. So far they feel stiffer than the Crossmax XL's I normally use, and a bit lighter too- plus they have that lightweight look about them- the Crossmax XL's look burly, even though they are pretty light.
More info on how durable they are when I've finished battering the rims on square edged rocks- but they seem mighty impressive for a sub £300 wheelset...
Whilst out riding, I took a trip down to the dirt jumps to check out how they're bearing up since last week- they're getting dry fast, but are still a little tacky and need some loving. If I can drag a couple of people up there early in the mornings, I might start working on them this week- looks like Tom's made a start on sort a new take-off out for the quads...



Check this shot out- you could be fooled in to thinking they're super dry already...

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
  • Discipline: Road, Mountain, Urban, Womens
  • Location: UK, USA, Australia
Back to top