Sometimes you instantly gel with people – you’re on the same wavelength or whatever…
A year ago I was on a new team and I asked my sponsor for a 29er. I got a 650b. All well and good, but I never really connected with either the bike or the team. A good bike and a good team but it just never felt right. The Velo House – Scott Cycling has given me the freedom to choose my own bike and equipment. My first ride on the new cross-country mountain bike I‘ve chosen felt like all the stars aligning. “Be water my friend”, and all that…
The biggest difference straight away was the tyre. The factory fitted Schwalbe Rocket Ron’s aren’t perfect in the current wet clay around us, but they did behave predictably. I had four tyres to choose from last year and never really managed to get any of them working – the Mountain King on the front was okay, but pretty heavy. Everything else was unpredictable, changing grip through the corner which meant I was wasting time and effort correcting what was going on. Having previously raced on Schwalbe I’m delighted to be back on their tyres – I guess everyone gets on with different kit, but for me Schwalbe are unmatched in the off-road market. I’ll be buying several sets to report back on!
The Fox CTD fork was an obvious upgrade over last years Reba, mainly in how light it feels. Lifting the front over small obstacles and ruts is easy and together with the low gearing and the 29” wheel you can confidently control the front with very little practice. A couple of rides in and I think I’ve found just about the right setting. It feels amazingly responsive compared to the old plastic RockShox.
Similarly the gearing needs a tweak, but I’m going to stick with the current set-up for a few rides. I think that having always ridden a triple on the mountain bike, it takes a bit of getting used to, but I’m also fairly sure I’ll be making it a little higher – I didn’t really use the lowest four or five gears. With the two small rings at the front and the big 29er tyre the bike has bags of torque which is perfect in our British climate.
I’ve got a couple more rides before my first race of the year when we’ll really see what the bike and my legs are like. This year I’m not racing any complete seasons, but simply cherry picking my favourite events so the first few races will give me an idea about what to expect now that I’ve changed categories on both the road bike and off-road. Bring on the mud!
Big thanks to Cazza at Scott for sorting my bike out and for helping me set up our team.
Glen races Mountain bikes in the UK National XC Points and Eastern XC Series, Road bikes in the Surrey, South-East and Eastern Leagues, TT in the South East Region and ‘Cross in the LCCA League. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen and support from The Velo House, Scott Bikes and THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY.
Glen runs The Velo House with Olly and Matt, a coffee shop, workshop and bike shop welcoming all cyclists and even well behaved non-cyclists. We’re based at 5 St.Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9GW – 01892 554 505 – firstname.lastname@example.org.