Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ross gets Rad in SSWC

Scared Shiftless's old mate Rad Ross Schnell has taken the win and the ink at the SSWC in Durango.

Ross could be heading down here for a road trip next year for SPOKE mag, and now he may have to make a second journey to RotoVegas to defend his title.

That's right, the 2010 SSWC will be held right here, well there, in Rotorua.

Nice work Ross, nice work NZ!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Big Si's big wheel bling

Simon from On Yer Bike's Kapiti store has been stomping it up on his Stumpjumper 29er, which he ripped the gears off and added a dash of pain to his repertoire. It's a sweet looking bike, which should be even sweeter if he takes my advice and runs his XTR cranks on it too. Do it Simon, DO IT! Oh, and dude, shorten those cables!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mid-Winter Ride Report: To Makara and back

Nevermind how I came to be in possession of the singlespeed I'm riding at the moment. Let's just say that it's the inevitable outcome of both my mountain bikes lying dormant and unused in our workshop for too long while I've been pretending to be a road cyclist, combined with my well-documented predisposition to endlessly swap parts on, modify, and excessively faff around with my bikes (which happens a great deal less when they're actually being used). Anyway, just before selling out and spending a solid month road riding I got in a few rides on a rigid steel singlespeed that the magazine was reviewing and had a really great time on it; I guess that got the ball rolling. And now that it's complete and has seen some use (it being my Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon hardtail with a Reba fork) I'm remembering all of the things that I loved about the ride of my old (2006/7) Stumpjumper singlespeed (alloy frame, set up with a Reba as well).

Today was its second outing. The first took place last Sunday, when I found myself mixed up in a Bushlove group ride. That ride was great - apart from finishing it without being violated by Ricky Pincott, the weather was awesome and the bike handled great. I attribute a lot of that to the fact that Stumpjumper frames generally ride well anyway, but the 710mm wide Salsa ProMoto bar that I fitted is one of the best things I've come across lately, and now believe you'd have to be mental to want to use a singlespeed with anything narrower than that. The only thing that got changed for today was lowering the gear slightly from 32x16 to 32x17; the trails were steep and greasy in places, and staying on top of the 2:1 gear was pretty tough at times.

Karl Ratahi met me at my place just after 8 for an early start. I almost pulled the pin after having an exceptionally shit night that was almost devoid of sleep, but figured a spin with Ratas while the weather was still good would beat the hell out of moping around at home trying to encourage some extra sleep that more than likely wouldn't come anyway. Karl turned up on his Avanti KISS 29er, a fully rigid steel beast that he picked up a few weeks ago. I figured that since this is maybe the first ever ride report on this blog where everyone involved was singlespeeding (Brett will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong), I should embellish it with photos. Unfortunately my photograpy skills are mediocre and aren't assisted at all by the fact that the camera used was the fail low-res one that is in my cellphone, so don't go expecting wonders.

First up was a ride up the goldmine s-bends, which is normally a pretty tricky exercise in steep switchback technique, and pretty much a nightmare on a singlespeed. Here's Karl finishing off the incomplete assembly job on his bike at the fenceline section, proving that Brett is possibly the last person on earth that you should ask to build your bike:

Here's mine, propped up nearby on the fence:

And here's where we were about to head:

Although fortunately we would be riding up a second set of switchbacks rather than straight up the monstrous fenceline climb. These were much more manageable than the goldmine ones, and though steep and awkward in parts I cleaned most of it - the lowered gearing definitely helped. This is the view from the top:

From here we rode across the top of Wright's Hill and on to Deliverance. This was in surprisingly good shape, and we both cleaned it top to bottom with the exception of the awkward, rooty step-up partway down. Here's an awful photo of Ratas entering the chute on his big wheeled bike:

Me refilling my drink bottle at the Makara car park:

And looking on while Karl rides round and round in circles, no doubt still coming to terms with the unnatural handling of 29ers:

From here it was decided that we should slog up to the summit and take a look at Ridgeline. Here's a pointless shot of the entrance to missing link:

It's impossible to tell from the low-quality photo, but a lot of the trails were in pretty dry condition given how wet everything was on the weekend. Sections of upper Ridgeline were a bit marginal, but were nothing compared to the filthy mudpit that Salvation has become. Having enjoyed an awesome descent back to the carpark, Salvation took us back up to the Wright's Hill carpark, and although in better shape than it was on Sunday, it still left our bikes covered in this by the time we reached the top:

We figured that a ride over Hawkins Hill would be a good way finish our legs off, since Karl had a midday deadline to meet. We rode past the parade ground and along the fenceline, then jumped the fence at the clearing to come out on the Long Gully access road. Here's Ratas smashing it up to the road...

...only to be faced with more climbing on the seal:

We decided on the Tip Track to get back down to Happy Valley road. Here's a shot of where we would be heading:

Karl preparing himself for the descent:

He claimed at some point around this time to be enjoying the ride a great deal, although that expression seems to tell another story.

The Tip Track descent was fast and sketchy at the top. I forgot how off-camber most of those top corners are, and narrowly missed some dodgy crashes. The bottom half is way better, with some huge berms on the corners that let you carry heaps of speed through them. At the bottom gate we parted company; Karl had to get going, and we were both feeling pretty rooted at this point anyway. We timed the ride well; at that point, the wind was rising but my ride back up Happy Valley rode wasn't the grovel into the northerly that I was expecting. As I type this the gusts are getting worse and are meant to hit gale force around this evening; fortunately for me, all riding for the day is done and dusted... and I'm too trashed to mess around with my bikes. A beer sounds like a much better idea.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Should I or shouldn't I??

Last week, for some unknown reason, I was reminded of an ad I saw many months ago in a reputable mtb magazine for Vicious Cycles. It was the leopard skin singlespeed photo that really took my fancy. I knew nothing about who these guys were (or guy as it turned out) or what they were about. Anyway, I googled it and came up with their web site and then I googled "vicious cycles buy" and came up with this.........
on ebay. Hmmmmm I thought to myself. How bad to you want a fairly light, hand made, steel singlespeed? From America? When the exchange rate is crap? And you don't really have any money? And you kind of promised your wife "no more bikes until we buy a house with a garage"? Hmmmmm?
Immediately I thought "quite badly". So I signed up to ebay and watched the auction. With only three days to go until the end date I found myself getting nervously excited and spending an absurd amount of time staring at the screen ogling the photos like it was REAL porn not just bike porn.
Then the day arrived. By my figuring, we were 16 hours ahead. I was wrong. I think? In fact, I still can't work it out, but then I now start work at 6:30am so I am usually to tired to sort this kind of shit out. But I still managed to get up at 2am for the final 20 minutes of the auction and place a bid.
According to the description of the bike, a frame alone can go for $1800 U.S. and he was asking about half that for a whole bike. So there I was, my bid of $870 was the highest and it still hadn't reached reserve. What do I do?
I wait.
The auction ends.
I go to bed.
What the f**k? Now What? I had no idea what had just gone on. I wound myself up into a frenzy and then bailed on it at the last minute (just like me attempting to ride something I should be able to clean). Which one of the four very sensible reasons for not buying the bike had won out?
No money? That's always a good one. But that's never stopped me before.
The exchange rate? Naaaa. Who cares.
Freight from America? No, Ashley said she would bring it back with her when she goes over in a few weeks.
I promised I wouldn't? Maybe. Although I did say I would sell my road bike to cover the cost of the ss.
God knows. But I checked ebay today and the bike has been re listed.
It's gonna be a long week.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Off Track

The Great Track Experiment (presented by Josh) went exactly as predicted back in... shit, when the hell did we last post here, the 20th Century? Almost feels like it. If anyone actually still visits this blog, and bothers to give a shit about what we get up to, then you may recall that my esteemed colleague garnered himself an Avanti Pista (no, not a Bianchi, but the NZ non-hipster version) and had planned to alleviate some of his built-up angst by riding in circles, only turning left. As there is a bottomless pit of said anger to quell, I was understandably sceptical that pushing a huge gear around a poorly sealed, cracked surface banked track would have a calming effect on one's psyche. It would drive me fucking insane. I can't even watch the pros do it without wanting to yell at them that it's ok to turn right, hoping at least some of them would try to break free and run themselves headlong into the fencing. Long story short, the Pista got to make a few left turns, albeit in one sitting, before being relegated to a commuter bike. A damn cool looking commuter bike, mind you. Yep, that's a brake up there on the bar, and what else do I see? Could it be, WHITE bar tape! I'm quite impressed by this little machine, with a swap to a carbon road fork, Josh has made it a rideable street machine, and with another one sitting in the shop in my size, could I have a companion, or indeed a replacement, for the poor Tricross which sits dormant in the back of the shop? Should I? Hmmmmm....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You fuckin what?

September eh? Wow, this blog seems to have stalled. That's what happens when no-one is riding singlesppeds. They are sitting there, the TriCross is just sitting there, the KHS/SSSS is sitting there (back in Aus mind you) and this blog is just... sitting here. Josh sold his CrossCheck, and sometimes cruises the streets on his Pista (which saw the grand total of ONE track session) and Mikey sometimes commutes on his Langster, and Owen is back from the UK and is probably on his old beaten beast. There are a few fixie douchebags around town, but who wants to talk about them? No Wellycats, no nothin... Will we come back?