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Wild Horses…

So nine days in and seven rides on the new YT Industries Jeffsy 29er.

Two over the bars bars and one over the side incident. The first two were a direct result of the speed that the Jeffsy carries, the last a direct result of five pints and showing off.

140mm of travel front and back coupled with the large wheels (2.4” tyres add even more) give the bike plenty of bounce for my riding style around Surrey but there seems to be a hidden turbo-charger in the back where once the bike hits a certain speed it just takes off.

There’s been a few hairy moments when I’ve over-cooked it going in to corners by going to fast, the big wheels give you a false sense of speed. This morning’s ride to Ceasars Camp to try out some familiar more technical descents resulted in one over the bars moment as the bike decided to throw a turn of speed at me that wasn’t expected off a drop in which rolls in to and out of a river bed. Jumping out of the other side at full tilt the bike was just going too fast and landed beyond the corner in to a trunk… a handful of brake didn’t help especially when I then realised that they’d been set up Continental style and I hadn’t noticed on the previous rides (but probably explains the first OTB)! That’s the next job on the list to change.

Speaking of which, from getting the bike out of the box there’s not been too much fettling needed; the seat position took some getting right due to the slack seat post angle and a bit of playing getting the suspension sag right and the obligatory rebound adjustments (ongoing) buts that’s about it so far.

Not only is the Jeffsy quick on the descents it’s fast uphill as well. Having looked carefully at the gearing ratios I was concerned as it was going to mean losing the bottom two rings in comparison to my Canyon 1×11. The last few weeks on the Canyon were spent desperately trying to avoid using the granny ring and no. 2 to acclimatise to the impending lack of gears.

The reviews I read before hand, and the test ride on a borrowed bike, all spoke of it climbing well but the proof is in the Strava. Of the seven rides I had in the last week or so there’s been a lot of PBs, many of them uphill so something’s certainly going right with the bike! I normally hate riding uphill but I have to say the Jeffsy has taken some of that pain away.

Now all I need to do is figure out how to tame the bloody thing on descents!

Leigh B

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G-13 prior to the Alps

Me and my Mojo G13 “gelled” last night (and just in time, with Les Arcs looming!) over the course of a cracking ride up and down the Temple of the Windz on a fantastic Summer Solstice evening.

It is expected (by Chris) to write about your new bike, you know, “how was your first ride”, “what are your first impressions” and such like…. but during the last 2 months I’ve felt like things weren’t right enough to talk about.

I mean I hadn’t “dialled-in” the set up to fully do the bike justice. Or indeed I thought, this could be bollocks!!  Perhaps more accurately, in my hurry to build up the G13, I’d buggered it up!

The small 10t Hope cassette needed a chain that could cope, so the first one went into the bin, my seat was too far back, I didn’t tighten the chainring properly, leading to a rebuild, the handle bars were too low and my Mallet pedals hit the dust, leading to SPD shuffling on shiny new HT pedals that entailed taking multiple “nettle baths from hell” for a couple of weeks.

The journey has been long… (and considered… [ed]) but with the last fettle on Thursday night of adding riser handle bars I’m now very, VERY at home on my new bike and oh my it’s a whole lotta fun!!

This is the bike I’ve always wanted, but prior to this I had accidentally bought a very nice bike (50% discount my excuse) and this is a good way of letting you know what I have now.

My old bike was an aggressive Specialized Enduro 29er. 155mmm at the rear and 160mm at the front.

In the first two weeks of owning it, I replaced the brakes, seat post, handle bar stem (much shorter),  bars (much wider) but more telling was it was still way “too upright”

I reduced shock pressure for more sag, put in an offset bearing and a 10mm spacer between the forks and the frame, but it still wasn’t slack enough!

The geometry was the same as any cross-country 29er in the 69 to 71 degree range and a year ago there were no “progressive” 29ers. I see them coming onto the market now, and this year 29ers are being used on the DH circuit but the daddy of them all, in my opinion, is my bike, the Mojo Nicolai G13.

It’s a glorious looking machine, an all “raw aluminium and Kashima’d monkey”! Oh yes, it’s a long, low and slack 29er to be sure.

Evolution of my Nicolais
The beast

 

I have mine set up in the low setting (slacker)  64.2 degree and you know, in the first few yards it feels normal, “a tad different” but also very normal. All that wheel in front brings bags of confidence.

I set off on my first ride on the flat for starters and let me tell you this bike is responsive. Put in some effort and off you go, it just … keeps … accelerating… (yeah ha!!!), turning some dull flat trails, in to super-whizzy-turny trails. (note to self need to be fitter and maybe I do need a bigger chain ring).

Oh yes. the “turny” bits. So is a super long bike, poor in the turns?

Well my first proper corner was hammering into into Yoghurt Pots up at Peaslake, and wow, the G13 just absolutely railed it! The 2nd time down, I smashed my PB and had a total ball.

The G13 is surprisingly agile, popping around all over the place. I do feel I’m slightly getting pushed over the front at times, but raising the bars and a riser bars on Thursday has totally sorted that.

I have the suspension feeling fantastic, and the fiercest Surrey rocks and roots are a joy as you float over them. This bike does downhill with no sacrifice in the corners. Getting the whole bike in the air as a bunny hop is fine, but lifting the front wheel up is a bit tricky because it’s just so “planted” I’ve discovered getting the front wheel up needs a slighly different technique (which is probably the correct technique of pushing rather than pulling). On Thursday all this was coming together and it felt mighty fine.

There’s also a bizarre bit too. The G13 climbs like a goat strapped to a rocket, no seriously, I really mean it, it really, really does And it’s a bit weird!

I’ve claimed hills where I’ve normally pushed, which if I’m honest is quite enjoyable and slightly novel!

There some technical reasons why it does this including the seat post angle for one. As the testing fraternity have often mentioned it climbs and climbs, it really is that noticeable.

So There you have it. I summary the G13 is a beast. It climbs like a pro, oozes confidence, is very responsive, is totally huge bags of fun, and it is now very comfy. Sorted

Bring on Les Arcs is all I can say .

Mark T

Consider the G13

So Mark T is 50. Let’s get that out of the way first. To celebrate he bought himself a new bike – a Mojo/Nicolai Geometron Ion 13 (G13 from now on – not typing that again).

Mark is not only 50, he is also a number or other things.

A bit left field? Certainly. A demon suspension fettler? Unquestionably. Perilously fast? Beyond question. So busy at work he could’t write a blog? Definitely.

But is he highly considered in his kit choices? Yes, 100%, unequivocally without a shadow of a doubt.

This bike has been a long time coming (I’ll let Mark describe the saga of the carbon wheels at a later date) and watching Mark going through the process of choosing each bit of kit has been a pleasure (if a confusing one at times).

So Mark, Bob M and I headed out on Tuesday this week for a brief Punchbowl leg stretch and the silver demon that is the G13 was in attendance so I thought I’d take the opportunity to badger Mr T for the reasons for his kit choices. Again, I’ll let Mark report on his first riding impressions at a future time as my brief spin on the G13 could not do it justice.

I will say however that it’s a “slightly strange” looking thing. Not in a bad way mind you, just in a “you can tell it’s a bit different” kind of way.

Various bits of the bike are just “a bit longer” or “a bit shorter” or indeed “a bit slacker”. But the overall impression is that of a much smaller bike (for a 29er) than for example the Specialized Mr T used to ride. But OMG it’s long. Longer than a very long thing with an extra bit of long added on.

Well unfeasibly long or not, let me tell you that holy bananas Mother of God it’s fast. I mean jaw droppingly, leave you eating dust pedaling furiously to keep up fast. On Tuesday we ran down Flat out Fun and Mark just simply dissapeared….

Wow.

However, I digress. Onto the kit.

The frame is obviously a Nicolai Ion-G13. Mark’s wanted this since they were first announced, simply because 29er’s have not been this slack since, well, ever. So you think that’ll make it hard to climb? Guess again. Mojo and Nicolai have taken care of that issue by having such a steep seat angle.

Bounce is handled at the rear by a 2017 Fox Float-X 2017 (there are other acronyms associated with this –  namely F-S, K, 3pos-Adj Evol LV, but I’ve frankly no idea what they mean) and up front by a beast of a thing – a 2017 36 K FLOAT 29 F-S 160 RC2 BLK 15QRx110 1.5T R-51. Yes, I also played spot the acronym on that one. And lost. All I can say is that it appears rumours of the “death of the long travel 29er” do not appear to have reached Mojo HQ. Front and back are complimented by a Fox Factory series Kashima 150mm dropper. Mark however says it:

…(the shock) looks good, is tuned by Mojo and the piggy back air can reduces heating up in the Alps… (the fork) is super sturdy and offers lots of fine tuning and (the seat post) matches the others…

Stopper pots are Hope Tech 3 Evo 4s dual-pots which are very tidy indeed. Mark noted that they are also pretty light, usual super Hope hight quality and have let him use smaller rotors for the same stopping power.

Go gear is sorted by Shimano XTR shifters (the only ones that can handle frost and mud and still maintain a rapid change says Mark), Shimano XT rear derailleur, a Hope 28 tooth crank (yes – that’s not a typo – 28), a Hope BB, and XTR 11 speed chain and a VERY nice Hope 10/44 cassette which is specific to the Hope Boost Evo 4 148×12 hubs. Of the cassette Mr T says:

… a light 11 speed cassette , together with Hope drive saves a lot of weight – and cost! But I still get a big range

Other kit is handled by Hope for the headset, Renthal for the carbon bar, grips by Ergon, pedals by Crank Brothers, rims are Race Face Arc 30s, seatpost clamp by Hope and tyre duty is performed by Maxxis Forekasters (which is a new one on me).

So all round some amazing kit on this beast of a bike but perhaps the most unusual is the seat – and this is one you won’t be finding on Wiggle. The seat is a custom carbon creation by British Aerospace. Yep, you read that right… oh yeah, and it weighs 125g. Don’t be thinking it’s uncomfortable either – it’s flipping not – it’s amazing!

So all in all some amazing kit on a genuinely impressive steed. Let’s see which PRs Mark manages to destroy on this evening’s TFIT….

Ruthless German efficiency, I think not

The YT circus had rolled into Swinley for the next three days, obviously to let prospective punters the chance to swing a leg over the internet only brand Capra, Jeffsy and Tues models. I must admit that during a black period when I was waiting for replacement chainstays, I very nearly brought one in a moment of weakness. Nevertheless I was there and ready for the advertised start time of 9am, but Hans, Claus and Heidi were clearly not. Being on a tight deadline I cheekily asked if I could just sit on a couple of the Jeffsy 29ers to gauge the size. This was agreed, and a couple of prospective bounces on the large and extra large had me veering to the grander size.

Suddenly it was announced they would be commencing the sign in very soon so being about 6th in line I hung around. A mere 30 minutes laters I was astride the AL One Jeffsy in XL.

A quick tweaking of the shock and fork, and it was into the Blue run that elevates you up to the more interesting parts of the forest. The voluminous 2.5 in Onza Ibex tyres looked odd to my eyes, but they provided a massive level of grip on the man made trail surface and this proved to be the case on the later natural tracks too, so tyre choice seemed good. There was noticeable lack of pedal bob, even when out of the saddle, and spinnng the bike up the hill all seemed efficient and comfortable, so another tick there, and not once did I feel any kick back through the pedals under braking.

The first few mini-downhill sections came and went with no real drama, it does carry speed very well and with good grip can be quite forcibly corrected when necessary. As I started to get away from the start point and heading towards the more interesting sections on the red route I was looking forward to see how it coped. Short answer is extremely well, it does give you confidence to attack and know that, the brakes and suspension are all well up to the task if you overdo it.

At the top of (Labryinth) I was joined by a younger like minded soul who was on the 27.5 version, we were both grinning and exchanged positive vibes about the bikes before we ran down Babymaker where it was an opportunity to try some tight berms and get some air under the wheels. Another tick, exiting here we bumped into a couple more locals, also on demo Jeffsy’s, who invited us to join them on more off piste areas (some of which I hadn’t ridden in about 6 years) so riding kind of blind but following someone who knows the line and speed makes a massive difference and I had the confidence that it would only be my own shortcomings and not the Jeffsy’s when navigating drops and jumps.

Reluctantly it was time to head back to reality and a client meeting so dropped the bike off (passing the still sizeable queue) and retired home.

So, conclusions?

There are so many monetary reasons why this bike makes sense. You get a do anything bike, with all the ‘right’ bits, it pedals well, it descends well, it makes you smile, but… I still have misgivings with what happens when things go wrong.

I can barely stand not having my bike for a week when technical disasters strike, so when you consider you will have to ship it back to Germany and wait for it to come back I just don’t think I could handle it.

Sorry YT, but I think I’ll be looking elsewhere for my next ride.

Trail Hazards, Mark’s G13 and a Jeffsy

Ah summer in Surrey. Dry trails. The marbles are in full blossom and the BOA (Bramble on Apex) have their thorny goodness available to snag the unwary rider on every corner. It is a thing of wonder and joy. Except of course for the little bitey bastard bugs or of course the ones with a death wish that seem to want to be eaten by you as you hurl yourself down your local trail.

However, mountain bikers of Surrey we should all rejoice – at least we have no bears! I refer you to the video James G sent me this morning posted by Dušan Vinžík on YouTube which shows what riders in Slovakia have to deal with. Kind of puts those “bitey bugs” in perspective doesn’t it – they may bite but they’re unlikely to eat you AND your bike…

I have to agree with panzerfaulst12345 though – just exactly why the fuck did they stop!?!

Anyway – for those that can there is a brief PB ridette this evening planned leaving mine at 7:30ish. After all we only have a rapidly reducing 58 days until wheels down in Les Arcs for “The Foam Tour 2017”.

And speaking of that, most have heard (and seen the results on Strava…) that Mark T has taken delivery of his Mojo/Nicolai G13. I think that’s what its called at any rate. I did catch Mr T taking delivery of it at Cycleworks and I’m looking forward to Mark leaving me in his dust on a TFIT in the near future. Hopefully now Mark has had chance to get a couple of rides in (and bagged some well respectable PRs and a 3rd on the TFIT roller) he’ll be commenting on his most considered of first impressions here soon.

And speaking of bike reviews – a certain Mr F spent last Friday at Swinley Forest at the YT Industries demo day trying out his current source of major temptation – the YT Jeffsy 29er – again, we hope for a post ride appraisal shortly

See you later or on Thursday

Transition Bikes: Throttle 27.5 and Vanquish 29er

Transition Bikes. I love em. I do. I’m biased, massively, I accept that, but when you love a thing that’s just the way it is and you have to embrace it.

So it is with no small amount of squeaky excitement I just read on PinkBike that the lovely people at Transition Bikes in Bellingham, WA have only gone and released two, yep read it TWO new bikes!

So I’ve beetled on over to the Transition site to check them out.

Both Carbon frames you say? Frame weight 3lbs you say. Super slack geometry you say. Very, very much gravity focused you say. Nom nom nommy nomster nom I say.

I think the Vanquish has it in the all-time-most-awesomely-named-bike department but I confess a bit of wee came out when I saw the Throttle.

WHAT A THING OF BEAUTY.

Smack me with a banana – I think I’ve finally found my mythical winter bike although there is no sign of them on the Windwave website yet.

 

 

Check out the Throttle and the Vanquish on Transition’s site. Now, how do I raise that n+1 conversation this evening…?

Mojo/Nicolai Geometron: MTB in disguise

Incoming new ride alert…! “Rumours abound” that a certain Mojo/Nicolai Geometron (frame at any rate) has been spotted on Surrey.

So Mark T, who has a “significant” birthday this year is rewarding himself with a totally “significant” and totally custom ride – a Mojo / Nicolai Geometron. I’m going to be fascinated to see this steed when it arrives in completed form, and I have made Mark promise to do a full build up, kit and ride review, but for the moment Mark has teased us with some “selective detail” shots


Even in it’s unfinished state – it’s looking rather lovely!!

Transition Scout? NomNomNom

So last night was an interesting TFIT in a number of ways, Steve F had his new RC3 Monarch Plus resplendent on his FSR and Bob M was demoing an Orange Four Pro from Cycleworks to see how it compared with his trusty Orange 5 26er.

Steve reported all was good and groovy with the shock but Bob was slightly less than convinced about the Orange. I think it was a good looking bike but without a doubt the frame was too small for Bob (a medium) and the headset was as tight as “Yorkshireman at the shops”.

It’s also (or at least the demo one was) twitchy as bananas on the trail. As with all modern bikes it’s “all out front” but the bike did not feel stable when the speed increased when compared to our other bikes, and in particular, in my opinion, Bob’s Scout.

Now speaking of the Transition Scout – last night’s TFIT was somewhat special for me as I managed to get to Cycleworks in Haslemere before closing and I picked up my new ride – and OMG she’s a beauty!

My new Scout frame has been augmented with a Rockshox Pike 150mm at the front (to marry with the Rockshock RT3 Monarch at the back) as well as a Rockshox Reverb Stealth B1 dropper.

The rest of the kit is a direct swap over from my Transition Bandit, (Kore, XT 1×11 with Blackspire go and stop kit with Hope on Hope wheels) and although there are some definite cosmetic improvements to be made (purely for vanity reasons…) including new grips, custom headset cap, red seat clamp and stealth stickers for my Pike – but essentially she is good to go.

So I very rapidly and roughly pressured up the fork to recommend level and the shock to get roughly 30% sag (definitely need to work on this when time permits to get it right) and barreled out of the door for a pre-TFIT and then TFIT ride.

Initial impressions – well the Pike was a revelation – although 10mm more than the build kit forks you get with a Scout I think I have very much made the right decision. Comparing a 2017 Pike with my 2013 Fox Kashima 140mm is a bit like comparing Apples and Aardvarks (things have soooo moved on technology wise) I have to say that hands down the Pike wins the favourite bounce battle. It’s an awesome piece of kit and tamed Marbles with ease, particularly in conjunction with the Monarch at the back in “Giddy Up” mode.

The Reverb B1 is also a massive improvement on my old Reverb dropper. Apparently Rockshox have re-designed the internals and again, initial impressions are it’s just brilliant. Very smooth and very controllable when compared to my old Reverb and the internal routing (mandatory for a Scout frame) is superb.

I was slightly worried that putting on longer travel forks would stuff up climbing on the Scout but I have to say – not in the slightest. The Scout feels super planted heading upwards and is, as Transition say, very ready for riding up and down hills! However, it’s the down bit where all the fun begins – the Scout just simply rocks. It’s a nimble, enthusiastic, trail monster and OMG it made me feel (if not look!) good. I love it – there – I’ve said it.

So a massive thanks to Tom P@Cycleworks for all his help building up the Scout – let the pre-Les Arcs shenanigans begin!

The Benefits of having a broken bike

Now luckily with the sort of person you get riding with us in TFIT, they are normally very receptive to lending less fortunate accomplices various pieces of equipment, including their newest and dearest bikes. The only proviso it seems is that you have to give a write up afterwards (and the usual ‘you bend you mend’ policy) so here goes…

With the chainstay well and truly knackered on my Stumpy, Mark was quick to lend me his Specialized Enduro 29er. Notwithstanding the fact that it needed some tlc (fix the flat tyre, degunk drivetrain and get all 11 gears operational). With that done and with some extra pressure in the shocks and fork we headed off for our usual romp in the Surrey darkness. It was on my way to the meeting point I felt an urgent need to raise the saddle as even in the ‘up’ position my knees were far to close to my chin.

That quickly sorted we were off, I can only say that this bike was like wearing a comfy slipper, the handling felt almost exactly like my own wheels, but with the added bonus that the monarch plus rear shock was a revelation, ground hugging, plush without excessive bob and still plenty of deep down grunt when everything got a bit more vertical and quick. Some quick Strava times confirmed that this is a bike I could live with very happily. I would put some thicker sidewall tyres on to help with a couple of sideways moments, and tune the front brake to prevent it being so grabby, but otherwise a very stable machine.

A week later and it was a very kind Matt who offered his very new and incredibly shiny Transition Smuggler, again in the 29 flavour.

Now, there was a slight difference in the condition of this bike. I did find a speck of dust on the frame, but thought I’d leave it, just in case that was how Matt liked it. I also resisted the urge to change any of the shock/fork pressures or the positioning of handlebars or saddle as Matt has a micrometer and he’s not afraid to use it. To be honest though his size is fairly similar to myself so this wasn’t really much of an issue.

The ride I did on this was a little different to our usual Thursday outings as I was with my nearly teenage son, so just a 9 mile trip starting from Puttenham and heading over to the Crooksbury pumps and jumps. Again immediately I got jealous of the ability of the rear shock (another Rockshox offering) and has me wondering about upgrading my Fox CTD. This bike was another ground hugging trail smasher, for myself I would raise the stem and handlebar upsweep to get me into a more comfortable position when attacking a downhill section or getting airborne, but when on uphill, gentle or flat terrain this bike was effortless. But oh my god the SRAM XX1 drive train was like a dream, so light and precise. A mere four hours later of washing and cleaning and the bike was ready to give back to its owner.

So just another thank you to the boys in question, it’s a good eye opener to realise the pro’s or shortcomings of your own equipment.

And if any TFITers, needs to borrow my bike (and I’m not using it) then just ask. I might just need to injure my bike more often.

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