Cold damp day today and I wanted to play on my BMX so I went to Newtown skate park to see if I could improve some of my ridding , I’ve only been to the skate park a few times and would like to get better at some of the obstacles, so I tried riding up some of the ramps and up around the love seat the concrete was supper slippy so wasn’t sure how well it would go, when I tried to ride up around the love seat for the first time I took it easy which was a mistake as the tyres just slipped and let go and down in a heap I went, second attempt and lets just go for it, people keep saying the faster you go the easier it is ( not 100% sure about that ) this time more speed and it seemed easy even if my legs were shaking a little and once you’ve done it you wonder what all the fuss was about.
Then I tried riding up some of the ramps and jumping off the top of them, had a look to see if anything was going to grind out and thinking speed is your friend and just hit it, easy no problem at all.
When I decided I wanted to have a go at mountain biking I needed something that could stand up to the abuse, I rode a Giant XTC 24″ wheel bike for around 6 months it was a good bike only heavy and not the best suspension in the world but it got me out and about at Nant Yr Arian and Coed Y Brenin, so I saved up and had a little help to get a Whyte 604 compact in XS the spec is a little basic but it’s not a very expensive bike and comes with 650B wheels and 3×9 gearing ( which we changed to 3×10 speed )
We bought the bike from Stans cycles in Shrewsbury and very friendly and helpful shop, as I wanted the bike for mountain biking and not riding in the park they swapped the tyres for Nobby Nicks to give me some grip and away we went to get it dirty, the bike was a good starting place as it was xs and a more compact build so everything worked better for the smaller rider.
After a very short time we came to realise that the Suntour forks were very poor, in the wet conditions they would fill with water and go solid, we contacted Stans and they said they would do us some Suntour Raidon for cost which should be a lot better fork as they are air sprung and a lot lighter than the std ones, so the bike was taken back had its first free service and the new forks fitted, they looked good and worked a lot better, I rode the wheels off the bike for around 12 months doing every thing on it xc, trail centres and quite a bit of racing, the only problem we had been the BB went ( re placed under warranty at Stans and they fitted a Shimano XT instead ) and the new Suntour forks the coating on the stations wore off and started to scratch the surface quite bad, we took them apart several times to service the lower legs but they still wore, don’t think I would have another Suntour fork on one of my bikes, but overall it was a great first bike.
Bike Radar Review
We bought this 2013 Nukeproof Mega AM Pro to race downhill in 2017 and practise all winter long, I was going to try and do my racing on my Stance but thought that the tracks would kill it very quickly, in its day it was a very expensive bike but we managed to get it at a good price secondhand and it had been quite well looked after,one problem we did have it would drop the chain every now and again the bike had a NW front ring and a clutch mech so we checked the chain length and it was to long, we put a new chain on of the right length and the problem has now gone.
Nukeproof Mega AM Pro Spec
The good thing of having the winter to practise hopefully the bike will be fully sorted ready for the races as we don’t want to find out we have problems in a race weekend ( fingers crossed )
The Mega is a bit heavier than my Stance but I’m getting used to it now or getting stronger ( I did get told that I should be wearing my helmet in the pic below )
Giant Stance STD Spec
For the price the std Giant stance is a good buy, we got this last Christmas from JE James they had xs bikes on special offer and xs full suspension bikes are few and far between and the perfect size for me, they had lowered the price from £999 to £699 which was a good deal but right after Christmas money is a little short, then they had another 10% of all bikes until New Years day so making it £630.00 and making it the sort of price we had been looking at secondhand bikes so the deal was done, in the New Year an email arrived from JE James saying there was a 2 mm scratch on the front rim and did we still want the bike if they did it for £600, when it arrived the scratch was that small it took a bit of finding, quick touch with a permanent marker and no one would ever know.
Over this year the bike has been ridden hard and had a few alterations to the front suspension and wheels, we swapped the Rockshox 120mm XC 30’s for a pair of Rockshox Revelation 140mm RCT3 forks what a difference in feel and also slackened the head angle a little, we managed to get a pair of Syncros wheels secondhand cheap this also made a huge difference in weight to the std Giant wheels and also as the Syncross wheels are cartridge bearing front and rear seem to roll a lot better they really transformed the bike They came set up on the rear 142mm x 12mm and thanks to the help of Madison UK we got some adaptors to convert the wheel to 135mm x 9mm QR, we also use the tyres tubeless so no punctures in around 12 months and the only other thing that was altered was the bars to Nukeproof Warhead which was more for looks but are a little lighter than std bars, just with these few mods which came in around £200 the bike is now easier to ride ( feels a lot lighter and when we weighed the bike the mods had saved 5lb ) and real flier.
As I’m really keen to race DH I have a lot to learn ( well dad does ) when I got my DH hill bike it came with Maxxis Magic Marys which in the dry conditions have been good but now that winter is here they tend to slide around a little, so we got some Conti Mud Kings to give a go, their advertising says ” feel the grip “you really can it makes you ride far more confidently the big lugs dig through the mud looking some surface to grip to, to early to say how they wear, I have done two up lifts on them swapping backwards and forwards from the Mud kings and the Mary’s to see the difference in grip and in the wet conditions the Mud Kings win hands down.
What Conti Say
I have used these tyre for a couple of years and really like them, very predictable grip and great rolling resistance, I prefer the 2.2 which also helps the bike roll a little quicker, the one thing that has been amazing is how well they last and even as they wear they don’t seem to loose grip, as I’m only 5 stone in weight there wasn’t any real need for the protection model, so I run the folding version and as yet running tubeless no problems at all.
What Continental have to say.
Continental Trail King
Dan had a morning with James Corbett up Henblas, James was helping him with drops, the first drop was a slight double step down with a lovely wet root right in the middle of it, James explained to Dan how taking the drop line was a lot quicker than the line to the side which was easier but longer, to start off Dan rolled it just to see what it was like, then back up for another go James explained just come to the top of the drop and just hop off the top just like jumping off a curb, so time for the second attempt as he came to the top of the drop a slight pump and Dan cleared the two drops and totally missed the root so making the run a lot safer as he couldn’t slip on the wet root an amazing difference.
James took Dan a little further down the track and had a play on some jumps which Dan didn’t have any problems with, even with a small gap jump so they went further down the track to another double drop this time spaced further apart and quite a bit bigger, this time Dan really didn’t like the look of this one mainly because there was a rut on the landing and then straight into the next drop, there was a lot of thinking going on in Dan’s head and he decided that today wasn’t going to be the day, the one strange thing he did the second drop no problem and it was twice the height of the one he didn’t want to do, mind at the end of the day there is always another day and a challenge to be taken up, next time Dan you will do it.