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YT Industries

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

Les Arcs MTB 2017: So what MTB do you take to the Alps?

The Alps. They are beautiful, they are awesome, they are total-and-utter-shit-grin-inducing-fun.

They can also be bloody scary!

Particularly if like me (and I suspect most normal riders) you spend 99% of your time on local trails which, with the best will in the world, are mostly ‘hilly’ rather than ‘mountainous’.

I can still remember my first Alpine (Morzine) MTB adventure and the feeling of total joy when we all got to the end unscathed. Tim W and I exchanged a look at the bottom of the last run and exhaled in simultaneous relief. How in the name of holy bananas, we had thought, that had been managed was an utter mystery, because if I’m honest the kit we rode and the skills we had were frankly not up to the job!

I for example did Morzine 1 on my Giant XTC 26er – that would be Giant’s super light, short travel, narrow bar sporting XC bike with precious little suspension up front – dear God.

However to put that in perspective, Andy C did it (and another subsequent trip) on a RIGID On-One HARDTAIL! But he’s not human, so that’s to be expected.

Anyway, enough reminiscing – in 30 days (yep, that’s one calendar month chaps!) the TFITers are wheels down in Les Arcs for “The Foam Tour” 2017 and with this incontrovertible fact in mind I thought I’d take stock of the steeds we’ll be taking with us this year and also the kit they run. If you are Alps bound for the first time this year and are wondering what it is everyone else rides, hopefully this will help.

Bikes and Suspension

Our bikes, they are many and they are varied. We have MTBs from Transition, Specialized, Mojo/Nicolai, Whyte, BMC, YT Industries and Orange. They are all awesome in their own way and the kit they dangle does the deed week-in, week-out for our normal rides. But they are, in essence ‘trail’ or ‘Enduro’ focussed (whatever that actually means) bikes and not downhill monsters by any definition.

As per normal we are taking the usual “Cove” of Transitions. This year we have a 50/50 split of David D and Matt W on the Transition Smuggler with me and Bob M on the Transition Scout. The Smugglers have 140mm travel up front (up from the stock 130mm) via a Rockshox Lyric and a Rockshox Pike with 115mm at the back coming from Rockshox Monarchs. The Transition Scouts have 150mm Pikes at the pointy end and 125mm from a Monarchs at the back.

Mark T will be unleashing his Mojo/Nicolai Geometron on the mountains this year which is just a mostly terrifying concept. After having been “rudely unseated” from his Spesh Stumpy last year it should be an interesting ride for him. Mark’s Transformer Geometron (although this is subject to change – or rather it depends which button he presses or something) will be running 130mm at the back and 150mm at the front provided by Fox Float X Evolution and Fox Float 36.

Stephan F will be back on his Specialized Stumpy FSR with “enhanced tail end bounce” – after having riding a couple of donor 29ers during his ‘chainstay-gate’ episode, Steve has upgraded his rear to run a 130mm Rockshox Monarch RCS Plus in conjunction with his 140mm Rockshox Pike at the front.

James G will be back on his YT Capra with it’s “monster / more than capable” suspension, 170mm front and 165mm back provided by a Rockshox Lyric and a Rockshox Monarch plus. Arguably the most ‘Enduro’ of the bikes we ride, James’ steed is very much at home sprinting down the side of the most vertiginous Alpine mountain.

Malcolm W will be back for the second time on his Whyte T-129 with a crazy maniacal grin on his face no doubt. Malc rides the shortest travel of the TFIT 29ers with the Whyte equipped with 120mm from a Fox 34 Float at the front and Fox at the rear but that was no hindrance to his enjoyment in last year’s trip.

Andy T on the Carbon 27.5 Stumpjumper,  RockShox Pike 150mm, Fox CTD 140mm and complete with the SWAT opening to hold beer, pasties and painkillers (and some would say a small nuclear power plant to make him ride that fast…)

Both Tim, Tig and Craig will be on their trusted Orange 5 Pro 26ers. As Orange say, if aint broke, it don’t need fixing. Nimble and solid, trail absorption comes from 140mm Fox at the front and rear.

Lastly Andy C will be back on his now very familiar BMC Trailfox riding like a proper hooligan once again no doubt, enjoying the benefits of suspension like no other mortal man has deserved (having ridden the Alps three times on a rigid forked single speed On-One!). Bounce is provided from a Rockshox Pike RCT3 160mm up front and a 150mm Crane Creek DB Inline at the back.

Tyres

Best post-ride pub topic ever? Possibly true, but whereas Rockshox seem to be winning out in the suspension of choice at the moment for TFIT rides, tyres, well let’s just say the choices are many (and ever evolving – I suspect there may be edits here):

  • Specialized Butcher Grid front and back for both me and Bob M
  • Specialized Butcher Grid front and Slaughter back for Stephan F and Matt W
  • Maxxis High Roller front and Maxis Minion SS rear for James G
  • Maxxis Minion SS front and Forekaster rear for Mark T
  • Maxxis Ardent EXO up front and Ardent Race rear for David D
  • Malc, Bob, Tim, Tig, Craig, Andy T, Andy C I have no idea – but they will be tyres. Probably

Brakes

“There are many MTB brakes, but this one is mine…”

The variety in brake choice is less varied here but the requirement is the same – good stoppers with a reluctance to fade under descents of up to and indeed over an hour! It still amazes me how those pokey little brakes from Shimano, SRAM, et al actually manage it, but they do. That said I will never forget being behind David D in Morzine as the “stopper-pots” boiled on his Gary Fisher. Hysterical (with hindsight) and terrifying in equal measure!

The brake choices for the TFITers are pretty much uniformly Shimano XT, with one set of Zee’s, James G’s SRAM Guide RSC 4 pots, Matt W and Tim W running Hopes and rotor sizes ranging from 180 mm up to 200 mm.

Helmets

To full-face or not to full-face – that is indeed the question! Most of us (I suspect because we are all so devilishly handsome – *cough*) will be opting for full-face lids just because you’re in the Alps and it’s fundamentally a good idea. Bob has recently purchased the latest incarnation of the Bell’s Super helmet, the Bell Super 3R which looks cracking and feels lighter than the Super 2Rs.

Bell Super 3R/2R converts include David, me, Matt, Mark, Andy C, Steve F, Andy T, James, Bob and Malcolm with chinguards “very much” attached. Craig and Tig have their proper full-face lids and Tim is the last of us hard enough to brave the trails with his normal helmet. Cos he’s hard. And a bit mad…

 

So there you have it – a variety of kit on a variety of bikes with an extreme variety of riders. In summary it seems that Rockshox are the mostly favoured of forks and shocks, with 140mm or more travel the norm up front but a wider variety of shock travel to suit the individual bikes geometry.

It will be interesting, once again, to see how our very much “trail” focused bikes hold up in the Alps. We’ve come close but they’ve not yet been overfaced in Morzine/Les Gets/Chatel (yet) but what about on the back-country trails of Les Arcs? Only time will tell.

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

YeT another early present (do you see what I did there..)

Yes indeed, James G’s YT Capra has arrived and Oh My God he picked quite possibly the second most unpleasant evening of the winter to take it out on it’s maiden voyage.

But what a bike Mr G has acquired – so much travel and sooooo light. As with Mark T’s new toy, it’s still early days for an overall conclusion but James’ initial impressions are all good. Not that the three of us who rode gave it a proper thrashing but James indicated it climbs and rolls well. We will see what kind of a mahoosive grin he has the first time he spanks Marbles on it.

I have to admit the Capra looks a very, very tidy bike – the detailing is excellent as you would expect from our Teutonic cousins. As with Mark’s monster there could be a potential mud trap at the rear of the shock but I suspect the Germans have thought about this…

And to think, I was excited about my new Sealskinz socks!

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