Hebden Half Days on the new blue trail

Hurstwood Mountain Bike Trail from Whitenosugar Productions on Vimeo.

Here’s the latest film from Whitenosugar featuring Rowan Sorrel the trail designer, Craig Robertson from Ride On bike shop and me. The trail we’re riding is a new blue grade run not far from Hebden Bridge. It is really fun to ride and makes a great place for running ‘Stop Crashing’ level courses. It’s a great place for learning or revising the basics of body position, cornering, braking and riding with control and flow. There are half day courses at Hurstwood this autumn and winter. Check the ‘Stop Crashing’ tab in the courses menu above.

Mavic Crossmax SX wheels

The Crossmax SX is Mavic’s 26 inch benchmark enduro wheelset. In plain English this means that they are designed to be mountain bike wheels. They are intended to be ridden hard over technical rocky ground, whilst still being strong enough to be reliable and stiff and not being too heavy to pedal around. Yes, they are downhill, uphill and along wheels, served up in a very stylish package and bristling with technological details.

Over the four months that I’ve had them on my Titus El Guapo, the wheels have been faultless. Spoke tension has remained as it was when I unpacked them from the box and they have not needed truing. There is one tiny ding in one of the rims that could be easily pulled straight with careful use of an adjustable spanner. However it’s so small I haven’t bothered and it hasn’t affected the fitting of tubeless tyres. I’m sure I’ll get round to it sometime. To put this in perspective, during much of this review period, the bike has been ridden by my son Nial who is really good at breaking my stuff. But even when he broke his downhill bike in Morzine, and I generously and with no thought for myself or my own riding holiday, lent him my bike to ride there for 4 days, he didn’t manage to screw my wheels. Pretty impressive.

I have run the wheels with regular tyres and tubes with no problem. I have also, really for the first time, also had success running a tubeless set up. The 2.2 Continental UST Rubber Queens went on easily and inflated with a track pump with zero stress. I was a tubeless sceptic having had bad experiences before, but now I am sold on the idea. The rims have an internal width of 21mm and are designed to be used with 2.0 to 2.5 tyres. Weight for the pair is 1755g.

A great feature is that the wheels come supplied with all manner of adaptors and stuff to ensure that they will fit with whatever build your bike is in or what it may change to in the future. This includes UST valves, front 15 mm and 20mm adapters, rear QR and bolt through adapters (including 12x142mm), rear wheel bearing adjustment tool and a spoke wrench.

Overall the wheels feel light and inspire confidence with their strength. Nice work Mavic.

More details on the Mavic site.

Alpkit Big Shakedown

After loving the event last year I’m pleased to be going back to guide a couple of mountain bike rides at this year’s festival. The rides are fairly mellow pedals out into the White Peak and include passing through the grounds of Chatsworth House. I’ll be checking out people’s riding along the way and throwing some bike skills tips into the mix.

The Big Shakedown has a great festival atmosphere with camping, music, films, fires, workshops, outdoor activities and more down jackets and approach shoes than you will have ever seen in one place. I thought it made a great ‘end of summer’ get together last year and am looking forward to being there with my family for the whole event.

The Big Shakeout is on 12-14 October and all details are here.

Setting up a CCDB Air shock

CCDB Air set up from Ed Oxley on Vimeo.

I’ve been getting loads of emails and tweets asking how to set up the Cane Creek Double Barrel Air shock from people who have just bought a Titus El Guapo. Well here’s how I do mine and I’m pretty simple, so it should help.

Teva flat pedal shoes

I’ve been wearing Teva’s shoes for the last year or so, the ‘Links’ to start with and now the ‘Links Mid’ as well. My shoes get a pretty hard life, several days a week all year round in all weathers. I’ve ridden 5.10 Impacts, Shimano AM 41 and 42s and  Vans Gravels and the Teva Links are my favourites so far.

I want a shoe that’s grippy, hard wearing, quick to dry, good looking and comfortable to do ‘hike a bike’ as well as pedal all day. The Tevas’s tick all those boxes for me. They’re not as grippy as 5.10s but the plus side is that it’s easier to reposition your foot on the pedal. You do need to make sure you have grippy pedals to make sure you get the best grip, especially in really rough terrain or wet conditions. I’ve been using the excellent DMR Vaults to achieve this. I’d like to see the Tevas come with a more grippy compound in the future so I could get away with using shitty pedals too!

The lower cut ‘Links’ are my favourite out of the two pairs reviewed here for all round riding and walking about in. The ‘Links Mid’ which I love the look, of are a bit more bulky and better suited to shorter rides, dicking about and colder days. They make a great night ride shoe or first choice for the clumsy and frequent crasher! Compared to Shimano’s shoes both Tevas offer a lot more protection from pedal strikes and rock slams as well as being a handy tool in a bar fight. The soles have a decent level of stiffness to them for pedaling, without sacrificing feel. I’m finding that a pair of ‘Links’ are lasting me around 6 months, which is reasonably good for the amount of hammer that my shoes get.

In case you hadn’t noticed it’s been a bit wet this year and the Tevas are the quickest mountain bike shoes to dry. Mine have spent this summer stuffed with newspaper in front of the fire between rides and usually take 1-2 days to dry out depending on the level of soaking. There is less ‘spongy bulk’ to the shoe and this combined with the magic ‘ion-mask’ water repellant coating they have helps the drying process. Having said that the ion-mask does seem to wear off after a few months riding.

Style is a personal thing, but I like the way these shoes look like shoes rather than golf wear. I particularly like the understated grey/purple and all black designs, but if you like a bit of dandy then you can always liven up your look with the spare coloured laces or go for the yellow/blue model. There are some other cool designs too, check the Teva site.