I’m away ‘working’ in the alps for a week

I’m away working as part of the mountain team in the Trans Provence stage race. I’ll be back on the 3rd October and will be able to reply to booking enquiries etc. as soon after that as I’ve come down from the experience 🙂


Check out the free new issue of Wideopen

Open publicationFree publishingMore 4x

New Gisburn Forest ‘Hope Line’ video

I was really happy to take part in the making of this video made by Tim Royle from Whitenosugar Productions. The trails in the video are the ones that I use for lots of my courses. The Hope line, sponsored by Hope Technology, is used for ‘Jumps for Dads’ and the ‘Flow’. The tight woodland singletrack of ‘Homebaked’ is used on ‘Stop Crashing 2’, as well as ‘Flow’ and is a brilliant place for developing better cornering and pump technique.

The other riders in the video are Dan and Ben Hemmingway, riding (and building) the Hope Line. Tim Gridley, from Gisburn Bikes AKA The Dog & Partridge and Dart from Hope are the other two.

FSA Gravity Light Cranks

The Gravity Light cranks are designed for all mountain use, or as a light weight downhill crankset. At around 900g the weight is just fine for my purposes. The arms are hollow forged, which helps them to stay light and from my experience, I’ve no reason to doubt the claims of stiffness and strength.

I’ve used XC cranks before on my bikes, but with limited success. I’ve stripped the threads on 3 different Shimano XT crank arms. I think this might have something to do with running flat pedals. There’s more surface area to strike the ground with and more leverage exerted on the cranks. With XT cranks the pedal screws straight into the alloy of the arm. The Gravity Lights have a steel pedal thread insert, which has proved a match for my pedal striking abilities. This was a major reason for me to choose them in the first place.

The granny ring spider is detachable, which is great, if like me you are wanting to run a single ring up front. the Gravity Light set up comes as a double and bash. In fact I removed the bash ring as well as the chainrings, as I’m using the excellent e.thirteen LG1 chain device and 33t chainring for my 1×10 set up.

These are a classy looking set of cranks. The styling is understated and clean. I’ve been running them  for 3 months and the finish is still looking good and glossy, even though I’ve worn the paint through in one spot with my ‘duck feet’. The bottom bracket is turning as smooth as the day I fitted it as well.

RRP is £219.95, but as with anything, you can search around to find them cheaper.

Hope Hoops – Pro2 Evo hubs & Mavic EX721 rims

I chose the ‘downhill / heavy trail use’ Hoops because I wanted strong and reliable wheels that can take lots of miles and lots of abuse with little or no maintenance. I wanted ‘not too heavy’ as well and the Hoops fulfil all my requirements. Really lightweight wheels are not for me, I just don’t need the worry, and don’t want to be spending time with the truing stand when I need to be riding so much.

I’ve been using Hope hubs for years and am firmly convinced of their reliability. It’s easy to service them when need be and the spare parts are always easy to get hold of. It’s well worth watching the Hope maintenance videos, which clearly show you how to service pretty much anything Hope. The videos are usually a good laugh too, especially if you try to imagine how someone from America would go on, trying to understand the Lancashire accents of the Hope boys in the videos. “Just gi’ it a tap. Don’t bray it like. Just a tap”. Bang on! Not they they need much attention of course. The seals do a good job of keeping the water and grit out and the grease in.

The Pro2 Evo hubs that I have here, differ from the previous Pro2 in that they run on stainless steel bearings. Everything else stays the same, including the adaptability, which means you can change the hubs to take pretty much any type of axle you like. I’m running 20mm bolt through on the front and 135mm spaced, quick release on the back.

Hope hubs make a righteous northern racket and I love it. All other trail users are warned of your presence. This can come in really handy if you’re sessioning a bit of trail with other riders, all riding and pushing back up at different times. There’s little need to shout “rider” as long as you’re freewheeling.

The Mavic EX721 rim is a bomb proof classic. Tyres are easy to get on and off. The rim is nice and wide, allowing big volume tyres a good footprint. So far after a few months use, including a week on the rocky trails of the Basque country in north west Spain, the wheels are still perfectly straight and the spoke tension is still good. You get 2 spare spokes included with your Hope Hoops.

I’m just left wondering why anyone would pay big money for a pair of wheels when these are so good and only £330 RRP.

Ed Oxley

Feedback from the Basque skills & riding trip

Danny on ‘Cheeky Larun’

Great feedback from Danny, one of the guys who came along on this year’s Great Rock Basque skills and riding holiday.


Plans are already underway for the 2012 trip with Basque MTB. Keep ’em peeled for more details.