Sunday, October 28, 2007

First thoughts on the 29er phenomenom

Borrowed one of these off our South Island rep for a week:
So here's my take on it so far. Saturday morning towed Emily in the trailer around the lakefront - very capable in that line of work.

I had already geared it down to a 33 x 20 (John rides a 16), a shorter stem (inverted), narrower clapped out old ti rail saddle and wrapped the WTB grips in road handlebar tape for more comfort as well.

Saturday avo I took it out solo and as soon as I was offroad the chain fell off and continued to do around a very much shortened circuit. Yes, you can tension the chain if it becomes loose, no I did not have an 8mm spanner to assist. :-(

At home after much fettling in the garage and neglection of child minding duties.......I'd changed the rear sprocket about three times all to no avail. put a 1/8 track chain on but it rubbed the bash guard, changed the front chain ring - no good, so in the end put an old circa 1985 21 toother on the back, tensioned it up and went riding with the local mtb club on their first club day of the season.

The bike behaved and I even figured out the cheap front chainring was slightly oval, so took the chain off, rotated the cranks 180, remounted the chain and it all worked in a most harmonious fashion. The high spot in the chainring took up the slack in the chain at just the right time. Sweet.

My aversion to riding off road with rigid forks hasn't left me unable to lift a coffee cup, beer or cup of tea so far. Might be some truth to the 29er forum nerds who say you don't need suspension forks......

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

1st time Heli Biking

It all came together today. A couple of clients ponied up for the helicopter, Al is the guide and I was there on staff training

>>>>>>>>>Here's how we start off>>>>>>>>

Then a five minute buzz up the ridge with the bikes hanging underneath by a rope. First time in a chopper for me, not unlike sailing really - you have no control and no idea how it's all going. No stress, just plonked the bikes down in the snow, drop the rope, park the chopper and hop out, gather up the rope and that's it for the pilot: off to the next job. Sweet.

We headed off down the fenceline and promptly deposited the yanks over the bars - oops you boys have the brakes round the other way huh ? Lets just change that ! No worries mate. It was kinda steep though, so fair enough.

In no time at all we're down in the tussock - kind off windy still (turns out in Dannevirke trucks were getting blown over today) and following Al. down some imaginery track to some faraway gate. I have no idea where all the time went, but the trip took us about 3 hours loading the chopper to loading the ute....not all downhill, but maybe 95%

Oh did I mention how fresh my legs were at the top of the hill ?

I'm talking fresh.

Here's a pic of your erstwhile blogger enjoying the staff training:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Spring Riding in Wanaka

An early afternoon ride today with the usual suspects:Trish & Callum, Jess & Hugh and Steve from Wastebusters as well.
I was nearly running late for the 12.30 lift off so decided against grabbing the first (and some would say most sensible) bike inside the garage - our demo Commencal Meta 666 dual suspension..........Single Speed - nah..........// Cannondale cyclocross bike ? Now you're talking.
And it was great. Sketchy in places for sure but put the challenge back in riding.....
Into the Hikawai Reserve and along to the Sticky Forest. Up and down and all around for an hour or so and then back home for chow.
Nice to do the same trails, but on a completely inappropriate bike they seem brand new.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

1991 Merlin upgrades

Unsure if I've previously blathered on about the Merlin, here's a brief history. Geoff Knotman bought it brand new on the early '90s. It was by far the sexiest bike ever. He upgraded the Deore XT to 8 speed XTR when that first came out. It sat in his garage and was sold to Fred
Christensen 2 years back to finance Jeff's move to a Surly 1x1 singlespeed purchased from Jonty Ritchie. (Notice all the old has-beens popping up?) I got talking to Fred at the Oceania mtb champs....and the deal was done. It duly turned up and has been constantly fettled ever since. I can't disclose how much I paid for it - the Reserve Bank doesn't want me to be the cause of another OCR increase....Te Papa are pleased it is in safe hands of course.
It started off like this :

Then this: mmmm suspension.....Thanks Tom.
Try buying a one inch threaded suspension fork to fit a Chris King headset.........

And after moving to Wanaka and breaking a spoke on Keighleys Ringle wheels and riding Hugh's Orange with disc brakes, well that was that - the Merlin had already re-embraced the XTR drivetrain, - she was getting disc brakes.

And that was when the fun started. Welding disc tabs on? I don't think so Tim.

Going back to rigid forks with disc tabs ? Forget it.

I found a vee brake to disc convertor, swapped my forks legs with Keighley (don't tell) borrowed Callums wide open brakes and promptly replaced the calipers with Formula B4 's that I had liberated from the wheelie bin at Worralls one day ! Currently using the wheels off the Foes as they were close at hand and Al. has lent me some 6 inch rotors.

After all the faffing around I'm not surprised to announce that they stop worse than a badly tuned pair of old worn out cantilever brakes. I will try some new brake pads but am not holding my breath.

Plenty of time to get things sorted before the last N-duro race in October though.

Oh, did I mention it is now also sporting a titanium stem? Woof woof.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A typical Sunday in Wanaka

Got up late - well if you got a nipper - 9 is late.

Keighley is entering the culinary phase of her pregnancy - so pancakes, bacon, pears and maple syrup for breakie.

Then up to to swap out their coffee machine. This is a great place for a group get together. We have the Blueshark dealers conference there to showcase all the new and exciting mtb bling every November.

Emily was tuckered out, so we took her for a drive - well she slept and we drove down to the Mt Burke station on the Northern edge of Lake Wanaka.

Mum thought she was so clever when we got home - as if Emily would just go back to sleep after waking up in the driveway.......

I got 1.5 hours break to go riding. So, a quick double espresso and a Mark Inglis energy bar and I was off. Like a robbers dog.

Down the street (2 mins) alongside the Clutha River to the Outlet campground and along "Western Heights" to the main meeting place on the western side of the Sticky Forest - "The Hub"

The forest is basically a bunch of up and down trails leading up to "Easy Street" running along the top which joins the east and west sides together and lets you catch your breath if you've just come up or take a deep one if you're heading down!

So up "Tunnel of Love", down "Koozer" which has ten double jumps in a row which get a little bigger towards the bottom. Thanks to Callum I can now ace the last the lot. Well except the monster in the middle.

Then back up to the top and down "Sick Boy" which has lots of blind uphill turns in the middle of some sweet swooping downhill.

Up "Scooby" to the top, down "Venus" which is a great downhill flowing track with berms to hold you up in the corners. Back up to the top via "Cranking Fine" takes about 7 minutes and has as many uphill switchbacks to keep you honest.

A quick check on the time saw me with about 50 mins left on the meter - so off to my new favourite downhill track - "Ballantis" the Foes just loves it down here. It's the business.

Back to the camp ground, along the sidle track and back along the river to home.

All that and only 3 km on the road.
I was on time ! I know, I surprised even myself.
Keighley had made pita breads from scratch for tea - our own little kebab house.
This does not mean there will be a third child.
May the great food long continue. :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Disc brakes on a 1990 mtb?

Thanks to Haircut at the local Shimano importer here in NZ, I am now the proud owner of a vee brake to disc adaptor arm thingy.

Funnily enough it won't be straight forward.

1) The threaded hole in the frame drop out is 4mm diameter.

2) The threaded hole in the arm is 5mm diameter.

3) The hole in the Vee brake stub is smaller than the corresponding bolt provided with the arm.

4) I'd misplaced my box of discarded Formula disc brakes-finally found it in the last box I looked in......

On the positive side, the rear wheel fits in the frame with clearance.......

So at least something is going right.
That leads me to the forks; as if no disc tabs would be a problem at this stage.....
Just swap the forks out I hear you say - 1 inch steerer tube hombray. No joy.
I think I'll have a look at Keighleys Klein Attitude with Rock Shox from the same era and maybe reallocate her lower legs. Sssssh, it's a secret.
Stay tuned for more stupidity from the garage in the near future.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

No more riding in Auckland for a while

This report coming to you from our new home in Wanaka.

Been here a month: in the first week I went night riding with some locals, then out with the family on Saturday morning, back out with Al. & Multi (my boss and his neighbour) in the Avo and then played mtb tour guide on Sunday; to our new friends Bernard and Fenella who moved to Queenstown the same time as we moved to Wanaka.

So as much riding in four days as I would normally do in a month in Auckland.

The following weekend I unpacked the Merlin (now with XTR 8 speed retro groupo) and rode along the Outlet track and carried on round the lake into Wanaka town. Very nice in the afternoon sun. Oh, a lot of the track was still covered in snow - kind of like riding in sand but with less control. Broke a spoke in the back wheel, so didn't venture into the forest. Haven't fixed it yet, so had to grab another bike:

Not my usual choice, but I can hardly tell the bikeshops how good they are without riding one can I?

Well I'm impressed. Handles great, pedals surprisingly well, looks cool - I call it Dukes of Hazzard orange. And it comes with built in confidence on strange trails too. Callum could only watch me go down "Ballantis" today in the sticky forest - normally I see him at the start and then the finish of a trail.

Rides are generally timed around the warmest part of the day-after lunch but before 3 when it starts to cool off even more.

I think it got up to 3 degrees today!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cannondale XS 800 good to go

Got a race, oops I mean event this weekend -

Time to break out another bike I haven't used in a while. For those interested in such trivia this bike used to belong to Clint Jackson-the X (note the X!) world singlespeed mtb champion 2003.

The left hand STI shifter wasn't working properly, so

I pulled it off, degreased it, prayed to the Shimano gods and somehow it now works. Sweet.

Took it for a spin down the Onehunga walkway on Saturday, then got down to some serious transplation on Sunday morning.

Took off the 105 Octalink cranks with the 24/39/48 chainrings. Tried to put on a set of LX mtb cranks, but the bottom bracket axle was too long.

Plan C ended up putting my 98 XT cranks (22/32/42) mated to a Dura Ace 103mm bottom bracket. works sweet.

New to the bike but old 8 speed cluster 12-28 teeth.

Mavis Cosmic Elite wheels - bugger all spokes but should be ok......famous last words.

New Thomson seatpost and Kevlar topped saddle replaced the plumbers pipe and Turbomatic 2 that was on there....much better.

New, well old second hand chain (couldn't find the one I took off) and a new to me set of SPD pedals which I swapped as part payment for a coffee machine...

There could well be a picture and report after the race....

*****Here is the update: I didn't do the race. I had to trim/hack/cut down the massive hedge running an easy 14 metres down the side of our section. After hanging on the end of a 3 metre extension petrol powered vibrating sword of death I was too shagged to get on my bike......making it down the three steps to the bathroom was bad enough.....................

And it rained too. Not that I'm made out of suger or anything, but it's normally bathed in sunshine. So no thanks.

Oh in more breaking news the family is moving to Wanaka.********************************

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Any advertising must be good they say

So with that in mind, I present the latest and greatest:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bike of the week: Klein Rascal circa 1992

The history of this bike goes way back.
When we would go away in the bikeshop van to races there would be at least 8 Kleins piled in. They were the thing to have.
I've owned it from new, the two previous frames developing a fault and consequently
replaced by the importer.
So a new frame every year for three years
-pretty happy about that.
Suntour XC Pro groupset (pre microdrive). When you unwrap this
groupo it includes the seatpost, pedals, headset and even the handlebar grips!
One piece aluminium bar and stem combo.
Customised 7 speed (all steel) cluster on the back 13-26 teeth.
Rear entry dropouts - I know not why. Tricky to get the wheel in and out I tell you.
This was my trials, cross country, downhill, uphill and dual slalom bike all in one. I might have slipped the seat down an inch if it was a big down hill, but that entailed carrying two 10mm spanners for the seatbolt. Best we just leave it up then.
23 pounds as you see it.
As much as I don't want to say it: I feel compelled to mention this bike (as shown) won the 1992 national dual slalom championship at Spa Park in Taupo. Oh, it would have had Ritchey megabite tires on it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New to me, but older road bike added to the stable today

An old mtb mate rang last weekend and asked if I wanted to give his old road bike a new home.

It used to be owned by Simon someone or other who was a bit of a gun in his day I'm told.

This Biddle frame is the second one I've seen in NZ - Wayne Morgan from Wellington used to have one (when I was a nipper just getting into road racing) I think he took his to Europe when he went over with Nathan Dalberg.

It used to have Dura ace down tube shifters and brake levers as well, but the bike shop "lost" them when they changed to the STI set up shown. Shame on you bike shop.
The frame at least will no doubt find it's way to DB's place - if it was 57cm square that would be a different story......
Cheers to Graham and Helen for not throwing it out in the trash !

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Old and new toys

Just quickly-the yellow one coming in at 25 pounds and 1998 vintage....

The Blue one, a svelt 30 pounds and 2006 vinatge.

Yellow was my choice for the 40km Colville Connection a couple of weekends back...15th out of 300 odd riders. Nice

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wellington mtb Riding March 2007

Tom & I left Auckland on Thursday avo 1st of March in the big blue fun bus, kindly provided by WH Worrall & co. Our calling to Wellington ws to provide technical support at the Karapoti Classic mtb race held in the Akatarawa Ranges north of the central city.
We stayed at Tom's folks in Taupo and then bailed out in the morning after Tom had presented his mum with a new bike for her birthday. What a nice son he is.
I had the 1st stint behind the wheel through the Desert Road, Tom the next to Bulls where we had to pull over after been stuck behind a bevy of Army Unimogs and no chance of passing due to the ever present road works. Amazing how a patch of recently laid road needs pulling up again.....
Coffee and Tom's mum's sammies in the sunshine were fantastic. Cheers Laura.
After I don't know how many hours of careful driving, we turned off to ascend the Paekakariki Hill. This used to be an awesomely hard ride on a road bike, but sensational on a motorbike in my yoof. The van was hardly a race car, but we smiled all the same.
Staying at my brothers converted warehouse in Petone was the business. Open the roller door and drive in.
Saturday - up early and I mean early, set up in the car park by 7. Bugger all to do really. A few mechanical bits and pieces before the 10am start-then some serious sifting before the guns turned up a mere 2 and a quarter hours later ! Holy hell they are fast.
Big brother did the business in the over 40 blokes and young Samara Shepard cleaned up the under 19 girls as well.
A couple of old sifters from "back in my day" dealt out a few handfuls of whoop ass as well. Jonty Ritchie came 8th overall (2.31.58)and Geoff Knotman knocked out a 3.06 on his Surly singlespeed coming home 145th overall. Hmmm that's a worry.
I own Geoff's old Merlin bike, but that's a whole 'nother story.
Oh, BTW Giant James punted the farm gate (Santa Cruz VP3 @ 36 pounds) round in 3.12. Legend. I personally think he was the winner of the unofficial Clydesdale class. he must weigh 100kg in his riding gear. Phew.
I could bore you to tears with the tales of our riding round the great tracks of Wellington.
Right, lets then.
Saturday avo James dropped us off up the top of Belmont. Tom and I took in the bridle path to Danzigs track (lots of switchbacks) and then over to the Korokoro Stream track. This is loaded with pea gravel and long steps at the top and then follows an old water pipeline out to the road. Narrow and tight; very exciting at speed. As a bonus I managed to clear the steps onto the wooden bridge at the end-only other person I've seen do this is Al Heine from Blueshark on his Foes Weasel. Hey I was on my Foes FXR-must be something in that.
It's bedtime - tune in for more later on.

Bike of the Week: Benotto Modolo 3000

Yes, it is hanging on our kitchen wall.
I got this online from a young kid in Hamilton about 4-5 years ago I guess. It had a real mish-mash of componentry on it-Campag, Suntour and Shimano. An old cycling buddy from Wellington used to have a mint Champagne coloured one with Campag Super Record on it. My god was that thing sexy. It's still around too.
Anyways when I saw this one, I knew it was worthy of restoring. One of my first forays into Trade Me saw the purchase of this Campag Nuovo Record groupset From Keith Mcleod in Christchurch. DB supplied the Italian (both in colour and brand) Benotto handlebar tape.
It's pretty cool, it's my size and it's Italian.
I have nothing but admiration for those cycling legends that used to punt these things along in the day. It's certainly not a get on and just turn the pedals kind of a bike.
How about those friction downtube shifters huh?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Road bikes get some sunshine

The fleet escaped the confines of the garage this morning and lined themselves up just nice.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Let the picture say all that has to be said

Just a couple of minutes on the upgraded polisher produced this gem - well most of it, thought I'd leave one end unfinished to remind myself what it did look like...........

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Scott Endorphion rides again

This picture was the last time it was going as a singlespeed, but I've been pondering it's potential as a suitable steed for the 44km course at the Coville Connection. With over 1000 metres of elevation to climb, the dual suspension just seems like 5-6 pounds too much bike to cart up the hills.
The latest incarnation shows it sporting 3 x 9 gearing borrowed from Keighley's Klein. My XTR wheelset, new cluster and chain-mismatched of course. Sram/Shimano. Titanium stem, Z2 bombers that are way past their best and the usual assortment of goodies that have appeared on other bikes over the years. Coming in at 26 pounds, which is only 1 pound heavier than the Merlin singlespeed-I'm happy. I may not be so complimentary after riding it this afternoon....
**Post ride update**
My god. it worked great. A little cable stretch to take up, but that was it. Surprisingly it jumps really well-nothing huge but I did get two metres of distance off what I call the launch ramp on Spaghetti stage 2.
Steve and Giant James were on their singles today-Woodhill really turned it on with a sweet ride due to the previous 3-4 days of rain. Man was it hot and humid.
The girls all went out in the morning and we did a baby swap at lunch time. Unfortunately for James he didn't bring the still warm scones out for Kimberly, who had been looking forward to them for oh, not long - around the length of the ride....Bugger.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Riverhead Strikes Back

Whilst the evil empire of Star Wars was getting a re-run on TV in the last few weeks, so to have our merry band of bikers been out fighting the evil gorse in the sometimes dry neighbourhood of Riverhead forest,West Auckland.
Twice now a small group has doubled in size quite by chance- I'm guessing no amount of organising could willingly bring 12-14 riders together for a 3-4 hour spin around the hills.
"10am at the picnic ground carpark" seems to work pretty well though.
Tom tried valiantly to assume the roll of group leader, but Skoda and his group of Mavericks sure do know how to loop some trails together.
I on the other hand bow to everyone's superior knowledge and it has been years ('98) since I put a few miles under the tires here.
New recruits Helen & Steve were still talking to us back at the carpark and we even got an invite round to their place for dinner afterwards. Can't have been all bad.
I will nominate myself for (so far) best after ride meal-steak that had been bbq'd the night before, marinated in olive oil, soy sauce and garlic. Then turned into sammies with mustard, mayo and garden fresh lettuce. Coffee was also layed on via a thermos, plunger and freshly ground coffee.
The challenge has been presented.................
Hopefully DB will front up with some pictures to enhance this blog experience for you all.