Me and dad, Sam and his dad went for a 20k ride tonight it hadn’t been a bad day, but when we left at 6.30pm it started to rain and rained the whole way round our loop, but it was great and dirty fun if a little hard on some of the bridleways, really make the legs scream at times.
Just as we got back to a tarmac road a car came screaming up to us with Mr Trow a local farmer in it, shouting at us “what are you doing here” to which dad replied “riding our bikes along the bridle way” which was rather obvious as four people were sitting on mountain bikes ! Once he realised he knew us he calmed down and said when he saw our lights he thought we were sheep rustlers good job were not in the USA he might of shot us.
As soon as we got back it was clothes in the washing machine, us in the shower, we don’t know what happened to Sam as his face and all of his gear was plastered in mud, not that the rest of us was spotless.
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
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.
We spent a couple of day over the summer up at Coed Y Brenin MTB Centre one of the oldest centres in the UK, the weather was very good, sunny and warm which was excellent as it was also our first time out in our new tent, we rode the Black MBR track several times, the red Cyflym Coch a couple of time and the Blue Minatour once, all very good trails with some excellent views if you had time to stop and look at them.
Coed Y Brenin MTB Centre if you click on the link it will give you a full list of tracks and the different grades so you can make your own mind up which trail is for you.
At Coed Y Brenin not only is there fantastic place to ride MTB tracks there are fantastic walking/running tracks a lovely visitors centre and Bike Shop where you can hire a bike to have a ride around and see if mountain biking is for you.
Dan Cartwright enjoyed his very first downhill race at “Conquer The Cliff” at Aberystwyth. He even managed 2nd in Rippers category which was great for his first race and he got a lovely trophy. He was the very first rider to start of the whole event and the first run was a dry run and he was just 5 seconds behind the first place rider but as there were thunderstorms rain and lightening just before his second run he didn’t manage to improve on his time. The first place rider in his category fell off hard on his second run so didn’t complete the lap. A lot of riders took part in the event and Caersws had a good representation on the day with 3 x 2nd place in categories and one 4th place, not bad for a small village in Wales (boys pictured above). Dan saw his hero Rachel Atherton who was also riding but was a bit quicker than him on the day ! An enjoyable event to start his downhill racing career off and a great first result.