What a cracking Thursday ride, it was really firming up on the ground, evident by the clutch of PR’s and top tens from Strava across the board. We hit Andy’s leap, down the bomb-holes, and dragged back up to Fatboy4 – what a great run down the left hand side of the PB, and down to the Three Horseshoes for a debrief. Mark kindly offered up his Nicolai for me to ride, and after a quick pedal swap, and a bit of tweaking, I had – what I now realise, my very first Thursday night ride on a bike I didn’t own.

I didn’t touch the pressure, and had a sag of around 25%. It did dive a bit in the travel up front on the Bomb-holes, but this was probably down to a lack of pressure, and the only time I noticed a difference of a ‘smaller’ wheel, but as we climbed back out on the run back up to the top of the PB, the suspension was outstanding. I had to stop and check if I was running low on tire pressure at one point, that’s how plush it felt. The Fatboy run was cracking, and really working the bike through the corners was tremendously rewarding.  This bike outshone my sadly departed Bandit in two respects, the plush rear suspension and the stability at high speed. These two things probably go hand in hand, but if I still had my Bandit, I’d be seriously tweaking with my suspension to try and replicate the feeling I got from the Nicolai. A further credit to Marks bike, by the time we were half way round the ride, I felt really comfortable pushing the bike a little harder on the downs. Thanks for the ride Mark!

As a collective, I really think we should do more bike swapping, and not just for a few pedal strokes, but actually get out there and do some miles on a different bike. At best, you find some details to improve your own ride, at worst, you can realise how much more awesome your bike is in comparison!

Finally – Dirtbike just released their take on the hottest products of 2016. You can read up on the magnificently named Geometron (above) and of course, the Smuggler is in that list too! Have a good one..