Saturday, 11 September 2010


Quite obviously there is a youthful euphoria attached to getting a new bike. Really this should be dampened as one gets older, but come delivery day I was feeling more excitable than I had done over any other two wheeled product I'd ever received. After a quick removal from the box it was clear that the red paint job that would have sent a ten year old's pulse racing, which I was most sceptical of before ordering, was executed in a far classier fashion than I had expected. Trust the French on matters of taste and aesthetics and you'll have bikes like this. Trust anyone British and you'll end up with the ghastly Orange Five.

Within a few minutes my plans to swap rear wheels with my current bike were underway, the slightly sketchy looking Race King tyre will have to wait until next summer for a go. The front Mountain King has lasted one ride, it's very big and wide and really doesn't grip well enough to justify it's use. On went a Minion in 2.35 size.

My SLX cranks from my hardtail were next on, the difficulty in removing the fitted cranks was frankly incredible, hammering, kicking and swearing won the day eventually. Six inches of travel, check. Bashring, check. Next was a chance to make use of the ISCG mount on the bottom bracket, throwing on a Stinger chain device. I have no idea how well this thing will work but it looks the part and seems to take up a little bit of slack in the chain. Next stop is likely to be a medium cage mech and possibly a look at the ten speed equipment available.

Initial skidding and crashing suggests that this bike is fun. It feels like a bit of a freight on the road and up some hills but carrying around six inches of travel probably should feel a little like this. Everything with a downward gradient feel faster, gone is the clanging and banging over roots and corners are much smoother sailing than ever before. Of course it's cheating, but cheating is so far proving the best fun.

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