Thursday, December 31, 2009

Give 'er.

Singlespeed worlds, rotorua, NZ.

Get some.

End of days.

Getting some riding in. Feel like a storm has been raging for a while. Maybe it will clear soon. Its heartening to spend some time communing with nature. Even if it leaves a tattoo on your shoulder to remind you of a bone shaking impact on a new trail...


Been talking to sean. Seems we have some numbers worked out...thanks to cy and dave for additional advice.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


If you are not already reading 104 Bronson, you probably shouldnt. But just in case....


Been tinkering. That there is a DT Swiss 440 freeride hub. But it is a little odd, not that many were made (apparently). For my uses it is damn near perfect. It usually comes with a 9 speed free hub body and needs some dish. This one has equal flange spacing (so no dished wheel). Hand serviceable and will take 6 speeds. It came as a 150mm wide 12mm axle. With a little tinkering, i now have it set up 10mm 150 RWS thru skewer.

Not bad eh?

Have i said before how ace DT stuff is? its all pretty much interchangeable in terms of end caps for 10mm or 9mm thru axle or RWS, quick release skewers or up to 20mm for the front, with adaptors for 15mm, and 142/12mm a la the Syntace system. All beautifully made with exact tolerances, durable bearings and quality finish.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Project Avalanche.

So i had a chance to have a chat with Sean Chaney at Vertigo Cycles. Looks like i have a project to work on. I have no expectation to see this within 6 months but its going to be a good one.

Concept: 29er am hardtail. Influences first and foremost my Jones. Basically i want the same ride characteristics with a 120mm fork. Use is going to be alpine and down grade looning.

83mm bb, with single ring to 6 speed rear on a 150mm bolted axle. I've picked up a hub that makes the whole thing click and allows a dishless rear wheel. (pic is curiaks, hub is the same)

There is a lot of details to sort out, but i'm aiming at a 20mm reba with 120mm travel at present.

For those about to rock....

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Roady: tales of misadventure.

So i bought a road bike. After much deliberation and some sideways looks at ebay, i decided it would be best to test ride and then make a decision. With the help of Dave-chops-optional at Alpine Bikes, i was fitted tirelessly on several bikes and given the opportunity to ride them to check for fit and comfort.

In the end i went for a cannondale caad 8 Tiagra, size 54, with triple chainring. Having not had a geared bike for 10 years, and never had a proper road bike, i was impressed that a low-of-the-mid end bike could be as light, function as well and have as many features as it did. I guess thats progress for you.

I then decided to get out for a ride to check this road riding thing out.

Glasgow on a frosty morn led to views as i climbed out to Mugdock and then onto Aberfoyle. First mistake: there is no road from here west...when i have done this previously i have gone off road albeit on flat dirt road. Oh well, over the Dukes Pass it is.

Good climbing. Getting used to the short wheelbase (relatively) and the stiff bb area. I cant see me ever going into the small chainring tho' not in the uk at least. We'll see. It can't weigh that much...

Then click up into top gears and tuck for the decent. Weight distribution good. As was noted when i was trying them out, the 54 cannondale seems to have plenty reach and excellent steering and weight distribution for my size, even though on paper it seemed small.

The road past Brig O'Turk is partially flooded and there is a new trail following the road into Glen Finglas...Hmmm.....

Thence to Calendar, a quick sausage roll and irn bru (its very cold now) and onwards. My plan was vague, i wanted to duck off south back to glasgow shortly, but had forgotten the road that does so led straight back to Aberfoyle. So, onwards to Doune and Stirling. Would i have enough light? was a clear day after all.

With a tail wind, the road passed easily as i sped to Stirling. I.m not sure normal reach bars are my thing. I like the length of the stem to the tops, but the hoods seem maybe a cm too far....and i'm not sure i want to move the saddle forward. We'll see.

At Denny it went dark like someone turned the lights out. Again, i had not looked in detail at a route, so even though i wanted to return directly to Glasgow, infact i had to go via Kilsyth. The roads i had been on for the last hpour and a half had been unpleasantly busy. I guess the M80 road works were responsible for the back-road traffic, but i wanted off. The road to kilsyth approaching rush hour, in the dark, with no pavement and lots of winding up and down was horrific. Yes drivers screamed at me with their windows down to get lights, get off the road etc, but what were my choices? i had made a mistake and just needed to bash on, pull off when it got too busy and just try and stay safe.

A puncture in Kirkintilloch as the temperature was plunging meant my plan to take the canal back to Glasgow, and thus be off the roads, was deemed insensible. "trina! help!" i tried to warm up in the Stables pub as trina rushed to my rescue, but i had to hide under the duvet to get my core temp up.

So: what did i learn. Road riding is more than just riding. Planning routes is going to be important.

75 miles took me way longer than anticipated. 5 hours in point of fact. Either my legs are slow, or the gears don't necessarily mean average speed is huge.

Heavy traffic and bad roads are not fun.

I think i want compact short reach bars.

There we go, it isn't straight from Roleur, but its the only tale i have - so far.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kiwi fruit.

Go register at sswc10nz for updates.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cold storage.

So last night we came home and the cat was chasing a wee wire coil around. It shot into the bike room and under a set of shelves. Attached to which there are one or 2 bikes i'm quite partial to. I noticed that the shelving was leaning over at a pretty messy angle. Ooops.

Seems as though my old ikea shelves are overloaded and it is time to research some better storage options. Fortunately, it seems to be a pretty good time to buy old warehouse stock...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sprinter cut.

For those of us with LEGS.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009


So, yes, them crooked vultures album is out. It is good, but its a grower...

Then there is radio moscow who have a new album out - brain cycles. All good. Will be in europe feb ish?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And more...

Things to ponder...

From our Albert "If something worth living for is worth dying for, what about something not worth dying for?"

And Jean Paul "How do you really act in private?"

Not forgetting Franz "Without love, without people, what is a person?"

Do not go gentle into that good night.

What Dylan said.

It is about that time to make some sort of plan. Drifting aimlessly is only good for the none-sentient.

I've already mentioned my thoughts of doing something different on bikes. Those idyll dreams are beginning to coalesce. Saab Salomon Avalanche.

I have also had some thoughts on a bike to use. I'm blaming 2004 ssec champ Dan Darwood squarely, if not fairly for that. More on this soon.

What else? Apart from drowning in H1N1, anyway?

Cross racing is always hard. Perhaps one of the joys of it in Scotland has been the variety of the courses. The last race in Inverkeithing was for me a watershed. I'm going to have a break.

The course was very euro. Essentially an 80% grass, waterlogged loop, with 3 staircases thrown in for good measure. All corners were off camber. The bikes packed up remarkably fast (apart from those that fit fatties fine). With so many derailleurs hanging off i wondered if there would be a rush on singlespeed cross bikes, but with the pain in my arms from dragging my bike around in foot deep mud i doubt that will be the case.

This is all well and good if there is the resource and desire for second bikes and pit crews but for me it forms an impasse. No more for the moment. I'll have a week or 2 off and then re-assess.

And so much for that. Maybe i am weak, but i will not choose to be weak *and* unhappy.

The world continues to steam-roll towards doom, with china trying all sorts to block free speech and the mess in the middle east . Pathetic, isn't it?

Maybe it is truly time to throw my arms up in the air and go hide in the highlands. Who knows?

Meanwhile, it's a case of continuing to claw and scrape my way through the day to day, all the while remembering that which the existentialists held so dear: the challenge is to choose to live.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kinda diggin' this now...

So: the new wheels dropped some weight. taking off one or 2 extraneous parts dropped a bit more. Then changing the Gore cables to nokon (due to the tight bends forced in the crook of the drops because they are both short reach and compact) improved the feel and dropped some more weight.

20.9 lb. But i guess the real story is that nothing is 'light' and it has bb7 discs. Rumours of bb9s abound, but whether there will be a road version or not is impossible to say. The cane creek short pull, scr 5(compact) levers are great - wide paddles, and the compact reach means a lot less bother in the drops. Better yet, the hoods are fatter and less drooped than the dia compe 987's so the comfort factor is better all around.

The cable routing worked out really tight. Smooth lines i can thank IF for. The steel conduit is carefully bent in 3 dimensions and all the joins are sealed with shrink wrap. Smooth.

It won't challenge for lightest cross bike, but i love it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not the way to go...

More on this shortly.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

750g from 900g.

So, after a flurry of wheel building, i now have dropped 150 g from the front wheel on the cross bike, and 135g from the rear. stan's 355 29 rims (thanks raoul), to dt revo with alloy nips stuck in place with loctite, and a dt 340 front hub (centrelock) and a 240 ss rear.

Sweet. Rimstrips are Ritchey.

They were hard to build so that the tension average wasn't exceeded (80kgf with less than 10% variation)...i always tend to build to a much higher tension than that....We'll see how they last.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Vicious doldrums.

Here we are adrift in the doldrums of november, december and january. The weather has closed in, just as the light has faded. People are snarling at each other: using cars, or body language to assert their importance just as surely as it demonstrates their inhumanity.

The mast has broken off the vessel, just as much as the community spirit is being worn away by hard effort in the absence of reward, satisfaction or happiness. $10 million may, in time, become cheap at the price.

So we hunker down - holding on to whatever rock exists in our lives - waiting for that precious moment when the wind rises, direction returns and life has, once again, both point and serenity.

A verse from the rime of the ancient mariner:

"All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion ;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean."

(image pinched from here: see all the illustrations by gustave dore for the rime.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If the shoe fits...

Make sure the cleat is in the right position.

(pic pinched from joe friel's blog - which you should read)

There is a growing body of bike-fit lore suggesting having the cleat further back than would be traditionally proposed is desirable.

Steve Hogg in cycling news makes a good point, and then there is the biomac mxc 2 shoe design. Joe Friel, who is arguably the most important cycling fitness guru on earth at present likes them.

Might be worth a try pushing the cleats a few mm back and seeing how things go...

Monday, October 26, 2009

700 posts, and still waffling.


Anyway. Gretna Bikes have a product called a Rothrocker. I'm guessing this is named for the forest near State College, PA, that is home to some awesome trails.
The bike is basically a steel front triangle, with a carbon fibre rear stay assembly bolted on.

The twist is that the stay behaves a little like a leaf spring. It should offer good lateral stiffness, with a fair amount of bump absorption and as a bonus be easy to travel with ... cool eh?


So after losing 3 pairs of Oakley's that i left on the roof of my car (well, 2 lost, 1 pair driven over) you would have thought i'd have learned some sort of lesson. Nope. Rode today, a short technical slide fest somewhere slightly cheeky (that indeed had signs warning me away). Got in my car to head home. About 3 miles of driving later i heard a tell tale rattle from the roof.

Seems that despite saying "Oakleys" out loud as I put them on my roof to pack the car, I had forgotten all about them.

I have no idea how I drove over such a lumpy road for 3 miles with them actually on the roof, nay, balanced on top of one of the cycle carriers. But this time, someone somewhere was smiling down on me and I only sustained a small scratch on one of the lenses, out of the line of sight.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wheel innovation.

Wheel and real, infact. This last 12 months has led to some real innovation with tubeless wheels, both on and off road. The crank bros wheels were interesting because they had an uninterrupted rim chamber that meant no need for odd rim strip rituals. However, they are in my opinion far from pretty with the alloy 'tab' sticking out and a pretty messy looking spoke arrangement.

I was pleased to see both Easton and Dt addressing the issues. Easton has double threaded inserts in the rim, attaching to straight pull spokes on several new models including the Haven wheelset.

DT Swiss has a keyed insert that fits into the rim and again straight pull spokes.

Both of these look clean and the weight drop the DT Tricon hubs have allowed with the separate flanges tightened onto the hub body is sweet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chris is back...

Chris Hoy is back...

And, a little reminder.

And comment...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And another...


Tickets for Clutch are on sale for glasgow gig thursday 5th at 7pm. Rock and roll ain't noise pollution.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chris' stag ride

Pictures here.

7 peaks around edinburgh. 5 riders. 5 hours. 2 hip flasks and a damn good time.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

End of season: mind wandering.

Hokay: here we are at the end of the mtb season as it were. Yes, there will be lots of muddy wet slippery and nadgery riding. Yes there is 'cross. But looooong off-road rides are probably nearly done for the year.

On reflection, i cant seem to shake the notion i want to add a feather to my boa. Sort of try something new. I was talking to my friend Mr Vitch at the sswc in durango and he was telling me he'd been downhilling on a borrowed bike a couple of times. As in full on big stuff. That got some cogs rolling.

Then there is the influence of Dan's chats about mega avalanche style racing and lately the Trans Provence.


There is an increasing move towards endurance downhill racing. There is the fall tilt in telluride and, closer to home, the no fuss endurance downhill. Then there are super d's etc.

Even nico vouilloz has come out of semi-retirement to race these type of events.

Of course, i dont think a rigid singlespeed would cut it. Nah, im thinking 5 or 6...a la jeff/nico.

And maybe a dual suspension bike...there are a few with 29" wheels this year that are worth a second and third look...

Santa Cruz tallboy.

Intense Tracer 29.

Turner Sultan.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Does DZ have ovaries?

So, good enough for Cav, good enough for me?

We'll see. Cycling glasses are a funny one. For *actually riding* you need the right lens, with a frame that gives close coverage to stop crap getting in your eyes once thrown up by the front wheel, whilst not fogging up, and being secure enough to not slip down you're nose obscuring vision and pinching off the nasal passages. A tall order.

Racing jackets are my ultimate, they fulfil all the above criteria. BUT. They are hard to put away as they are hingeless, and they dont allow lens changes for differing conditions. (Ok, ok, so i have other glasses with different lenses....blah)

After searching around, and trying various glasses from the Giro and Oakley ranges (the only 2 i'd consider tbh) i settled on some jawbones. Hincapie is a hammer and he wears them. What could possibly go wrong?

For winter i'll be swapping in the vented yellow lenses (a scottish favourite) and ill report back. Meanwhile you can see P-bomb is totally stoked with them; she thinks i look grrreat.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Of the racing i did this year, my results follow:

Blairadam blast: 5th overall, 1st singlespeed
Bristol bike fest: 5th open male
singletrack classic weekender: 7th open male
10 at kirroughtree: 15th open male
Brighton big dog: 20th open male
Shenandoah 100: 205th overall (!) 36th singlespeed
sswc 09: 10,374th ish.

Mediocre, but enjoyable. Bring on cross.


After Shenandoah, we headed down the Blue Ridge Parkway into North Carolina. From there into the Smokey Mountains. Trina has more ace pics, beautiful place, though 3 days out from H'burg and no shower was...tough...but worth it.

We cut west to Little Rock, where we enjoyed a pub quiz at a local tap room - Flying Saucer (where i had my only sierra nevada pale ale of the trip) and also did a pub quiz. At which we sucked. 0 points, seriously. What is Indiana Jones' first name?

Then into Oklahoma...

Route 66, babe.

...and Texas. After an amusing camp in Palo Duro (folk driving 50 yards to the toilet, mosquitoes and stories of the white man's relentless clearing of indigenous peoples) we went north and up into New Mexico.

As firm aficionados of mexican and border style cooking, this part was good. Fiesta time in Santa Fe meant lots of revving in custom choppers...

...and excellent street food.

And maybe the odd margaritas.

Thence to D town. Oh yes.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Larry, Larry, Oh Larry.

Larry - new 3.8" tyre from surly....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hitting it one last time.

And then we will have to start sorting out next year...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Where in the world can i be?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recreational Equipment Inc.

REI. Yup, you can get stuff at REI. Rather than bother about whether 29ers really, really are scientifically better than 26ers, im looking forward to SSWC in durango.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Full write up when i get decent access on VC Moulin. No legs. Dust. 10.46 and disappointed. Legs empty. Bike and wheels asking for a better pilot.

Compadres Buck, Mike Ramponi and Ferrari ROCKED IT.


Sunday, August 30, 2009


Work it.
Believe it.
Are you doing what you want to be doing?
Are you happy?
Are you sure that what you do is for the good?
Are you living what you believe?
Tell me - because i'm sure it's not true....sure.

Lighten up.

After all that, i decided to build a new wheel. I couldn't get the 800g of rotating mass out of my head. Here's the 'logic':
When i'm climbing, lighter wheels are better.
When i'm riding along rollers or flat or road, lighter wheels are better.
When i'm descending, the fat wheel would be better.
There is 14,500+ feet of climbing at shenandoah, and quite a lot of rollers.
The down stuff is super fun - rocky and rooty - but realistically, most of my time will be spent otherwise.

So: Whub to duster with dt comps and brass nipples. Saves me a cool 300g on the front wheel. I hope i don't regret it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All Hail the Black Market.

Stevil may have been away for a while, but he's back, baby, he's back...

All Hail the Black Market.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bear with me.

Maxxis 29" welter weight.

wtb DH 26" tube.

Maxxis free ride 26" tube.

So, been having a few punctures. Front wheel fro most part: odd pinches on the side of the tube. Low pressure, fat rim, tube stretched too far? perhaps. Options were to stop running the fat rim, go tubeless, or use a fatter tube. Or maybe a different tube?

Tubeless with a pinned and single wall rim strikes me as unlikely. Especially as the bead seat is best described as roomy. Not using the fat rim is an option. I have a spare whub, and a spare bonty duster rim. But i like the fat wheel. Hmm.

Different tubes seemed to be the thing. I was initially thinking of running the same freeride maxxis tube i have in the endomorph front wheel. Then i weighed it. 400g. A wtb 29er inner tube is shy of 200g, as is a maxxis 29er welter weight tube. Jeff uses light 26" tubes in his uma 29er wheels. I suspect i have a few kg on jeff, but i also reckon the tubes are stretched beyond what they can take and still be robust at low pressure. So, i put a 26" wtb 'downhill' tube in, inflated to 18psi and went for a ride today. Inverted commas are because i doubt a downhill run would be possible with such a light tube. Maybe the thicker tyres help, maybe...

It was when i was halfway to where i was going i realised that i didnt have a puncture repair kit, tool, or indeed a pump with me. Clever.

Oh well, if it was a long walk back, it was a long walk back. I needed to know how the tube would hold up to being slammed into pointy rocks.

All too soon, i found out. A short uphill on double track, with a sharp left hander over and up some sharrp rocks delivers you onto a nice wee trail. THUD! rim hits the rocks with total compression of the tyre. I wait, holding my breath.

No puncture.

This is good. The fat rim stays, and i gain only 20g on the front wheel. Acceptable.

Interestingly, when compared the wtb 29" tube and 26" tube are about 1 cm different in width, but obviously the 29" has a greater diameter. If you blow a 26" tube up to the stage it is round and won't fold if you lean it against the wall, it is very close to being 700c rim diameter. So i'm guessing the extra girth is all good.

Or maybe it was all the talc i used...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Engage me.

Back up from Brighton. More on that shortly.

Want to read some books. Under the Banner of Heaven is next, by Jon Krakauer. I feel i can do that now, sit and concentrate on one thing i mean.

Also trying some new inner tubes. Yeah, dull, but 3 punctures in 5 rides after a year or so with less than you can count on the fingers of one hand? Something is up, and i think it is using a wide tyre on a wide rim thinning the tube out. The first 2 were odd sidewall pinches. Yup, a pinch but both snake bites marks on one side. Odd. I raised the pressure from 15 to 28psi then got a wire puncture (or perhaps flint) through the tyre at this last weekends race. Hmm. Going to look at a wtb downhill tube (26" - stretched to fit) or a welter weight maxxis 29er tube. We'll see.

If im lucky ill have the edge wheels prior to shenandoah that will change things again.

Meantime i shall be getting some massage on the guns and focusing.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I now feel qualified to write a little about the Jones.

What & why: Jones frame, ti compact, diamond frame with fat truss fork.

The Jones geometry is something i have been moving towards for some years. When i discovered 29" wheels, with the kelly roshambo, i was a little upset in some ways. I used to have a beautiful Seven verve singlespeed which - at the time - i thought could not be improved upon for the riding i do. It was made after having a couple of Curtlo frames that were adapted from wtb phoenix geometry. Unbelievably, it was more reasonable financially to get a custom brazed frame from doug, than to buy a second hand phoenix. I have always liked compact frames. It allows a lot of leeway when riding technical stuff - try stepping off when the trail side is a foot lower than the trail and you discover that level top tubes dont cut it. I also like the way a long seat post can flex and take a lot of sting out of the ride. So the Curtlo's taught me that i liked a slacker seat angle, and a relatively short stretch to the bars given my height. I like a stiff rear triangle for power transfer with a lot of flex from a quality seatpost. The Curtlo's had 12" bb heights, which lowered with the Seven, to 11.7" but the bar height remained similar, a more 'in' the bike design.

Then came the roshambo - a size small frame - so i could keep similar stretch but compare the wheels. It turned my riding around. Sitting so deep inside the frame, with a bb drop of 70mm rather than 25mm at most on a 26" wheel bike led to incredible security in balls-out technical riding. It also allowed me to rail corners like never before, along with the extended tyre contact patch a 29" wheel provides. Despite fairly knob-light tyres, i could pin it with no worries in the twisty, rooty, rocky trails i prefer. Damn. The Seven sat around while i rode the roshambo.

Unfortunately, the roshambo had a steeper head angle to pull the trail back as it kept the same offset as popular forks at the time. This has all changed with the advent of 29"ers, jeff jones, and gary fishers conversations with jeff at the singlespeed worlds and hence G2 geometry. Perhaps the burgeoning 'all mountain' market with slacker angles helped as well. A bad trait of the rohambos ride was the front wheel tucking under in fast steep corners. So when a new home was found for the Seven, i had an IF made with slacker angles front and rear, and used a longer offset fork to bring the trail back. Damn near perfect.

By then, i had ridden jeff's personal 29"er with super low spaceframe design, and a 26" wheel model as well, and was impressed by the overall geometry but wasn't convinced of the short front centre. When i had a frame made by IF to use racks for some bike packing, i did however relax the geometry of the new IF more, actually to the same angles as jeff uses, but with 5mm less fork offset, and longer chainstays. The idea was that once loaded it would remain stable but lively enough to ride fun trails. It worked. I needed to use a longer head tube as i 'rotated' around the bb, but the weight distribution took some shock off the arms and made for very comfortable long days in the saddle. Hmmmm!

At this point i wanted to have a bike that was basically a cross frame with my IF/relaxed geometry so that i was biomechanically in the same position as the others, but i could ride from home to trails with less skwootching around on low pressure fat tyres. Thus was born the Iron Maiden.

This bike is pretty curious in some ways. Short cross specific fork, Road transmission clearance at the bb but 135mm spaced at the rear with 425mm stays. 71/72 angles and a 50mm offset fork. If you look at this closely, the trail, low bb, front centre and wheel base end up *very* close to Jones geometry. I *really* enjoy riding this bike. Short, quick, but it can be carved into corners and flicked around tight stuff until the tyres explode.

It was then i realised that slowly and surely i was moving towards getting a Jones frame. Particularly as i had been using a fat fork and front wheel on the roshambo for awhile. I really think the 135mm front end needs to replace a 100mm front wheel for general use.

So, a long chat by email and phone and my frame arrived. Standard Jones geometry but with an uber compact frame.

Initial rides: Disclaimer - I dont make snap decisions on bikes, and i dont gush unless i like something after using it in many situations and for enough time to come to a conclusion born of experience.

My first rides were great. The Jones is so quick in technical trail it almost second guesses your moves. I got myself in trouble by hitting stuff too fast and over-steering and tying myself in knots. Then as i became more used to the ride, i sat back, put the weight over the rear wheel and used the hips and arms more. You can lean steer the bike, but it doesn't *need* to be leaned like my IF 29"ers. It also responds much faster to steering input - i think due to the truss forks incredible front/rear stiffness and precision. As you weave between the trees, the more you ask or need of the bike, the more it delivers. There is always a little more on tap, i have so far never got to the stage that i have hit a tree or rock due to not being able to pull the bike out of a corner. The more rearward weight distribution and higher front end takes shock off your arms, and the flattened stays and long seat post mean sitting shock transmission is very low. On my usual trails, i am riding faster. Simple as that.

I have also re-discovered drops, jumps and generally being in the air. I'd forgotten how much a short back end helps the bike land from unexpected drops. In addition, the short rear end and wheelbase in general get up and over steps in the trail really quickly. Before you know it, that rise or fallen tree is behind you. All you have to do is unweight the bike, ease yourself and glide. Arms loose, you can take on prety much anything unexpected with no need to pucker and hope.

With slack angles, a 55mm offset fork and a high front end, you would be forgiven for thinking that the front end would lift on steep climbs. Nope. The relatively short front centre and the design of h bars mean you can easily keep weight over the front. Never any issues.

So what is not to like about the ride? errr....yes. Um. Well, nothing really. Is that just new bike-love speaking? No. I'm pretty objective and i have ridden a lot of nice bikes. No gushing, it is by far the best riding mtb i have ever swung a leg over. Incredibly engaging but forgiving.

Speccing a Jones is one of those 'do it justice' situations. Everything is the way it is for a reason, from the brass front nipples to the grip length.

The frame and fork you know. Jones loop bar, ESI chunky grips 6" in length and Paul components love levers, 2.5 fingers, to gore ride on cables and steel conduit where possible. Avid bb7's with shimano rt SM76 front rotor in 180mm and 160 slx rear rotor. Better braking than stock: better modulation and power. Smooth.

Stem was initially a 10 degree thomson in 110 length, to rotate me further back round the bb due to the slacker geometry. The 10 degree was too high, so i swapped out to a 0 degree. Perfect.

Seat post is a lay back thomson. Strong and long. Good adjustment. Selle san marco zoncolan. Personal choice for long term comfort. Jeff mod'ed sm 960 cranks, 175mm length, xtr pedals, king bb.

The wheels for this build were based on my experiences with the endomorph on an uma 50mm rim with the Jeff/Paul 135 mm front hub. Strong and massively shock absorbing with amazing traction through the rocks. As an experiment i had built a 29 uma 50mm rim onto a dt 240 hub, with comp spokes and alloy nipples. It worked, was stiff and seemed to take a beating. But for how long? I think if you are using a front single wall/wide rim, low tyre pressure and are hitting things, a wide front hub is a must.

In order to give me plenty of leeway i used the un-drilled rim and brass nips with comps for the front. The rear wheel is a dt singlespeed with the new 36 tooth star ratchets, a king 20 tooth steel sprocket and comps/alloy nips to a Bonty duster rim. Tubes are wtb, tyres maxxis ardent front/crossmark rear. Chain is a dura ace with sram link plate. Front cog is an old Boone ti with 34 teeth.

Anything i'm going to change? Yep. The front wheel can take more than the rear. But it is heavy - 800g rim, brass nips and i think i may have to use a downhill tube to eke out the full benefit of low pressure (i'm pinching the sides of tubes in rocks) So, for racing im going to be using an Edge composites AM rim to dt singlespeed rear/paul Whub front, with dt comps. I will then build a rear fat wheel with an Uma rim, or perhaps a kris holm 47mm rim. One for chunky conditions, one for speed.

I am also getting some carousel design bags for the truss fork, as it is a great bike packing bike - so stable loaded.

More in time :-)~