Desert demos (part 1)

Guy Kesteven reports from Nevada’s dusty trails

Circling the desert trails of a small rocky area of Nevada he knows only too well, the Kesteven circles, waiting for prey.

As a highly evolved predator, he can smell a newborn bike from miles away. Watching the uncertain first steps of radical new geometry, evolved suspension or just the season’s new colour, he decides exactly where and when to swoop.

It’s all over in a flurry as he strikes. A blur of pressure checks, pedal swap, brake reversal and then away, carrying his prey onto the pointiest and most inhospitable parts of the trail.

His bald head enables him to tear right into the heart of the carcass without spoiling his plumage. Talons sharpened by years of testing cut through alloy, carbon or titanium to lay bare the still beating heart of the latest technology.

Then it’s back to the nest to regurgitate the choice cuts to the waiting chicks as they squawk impatiently in their glossy-paged nest.

Quite plainly the sun has done terrible things to fry the brains of our test team out in the desert, but we’ve been hitting the BootlegCanyon trails on some thoroughly impressive new machinery.

Specialized have noticeably tightened up their alloy Stumpjumper. The new Gary Fisher Roscoe rolls on super fat rubber and an outstandingly controlled inline twin chamber Fox rear shock. Kona have added more travel and whole lot more detail bling to the Dawg, and Rocky Mountain’s new geometry is so radical we’re going to have to ride that tomorrow as well.

Speaking of which, tomorrow starts in less than six hours if we’re going to catch the dawn light for cover shots, so that’s all for now folks. More from the dust bowls and show halls later.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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