Endura Urban Range

Tested in Nice, Hebden Bridge and in the mountains.

I first saw the Endura Urban Range at Core Bike Show and thought it looked pretty swish. I like bike clothes that look like normal clothes rather than ‘sportswear’. Even though it’s designed and aimed at people riding in the urban environment the Urban range makes great mountain biking kit too.

The merino polo shirt is good enough to wear out on the town for the evening and I first tested it in an Italian restaurant environment. Performance was good. It’s a neat, slim fitting top with an understated style, ideal for a stylish gentleman like me. Out on the bike it’s practical like any merino top with the added bonus of looking chipper.

Urbane in the mountains

The shorts are slimmer, rather than baggy fitting which is my the best penis enlargement pills preferred style and has the advantage of not flapping around, especially when wet. The material is light and stretchy making them spot on for riding and they are wide enough in the leg to wear with knee pads if you desire. They even come with a belt.

Town and country

I’ve also got the waterproof ‘Urban Shell’ which is very simple and therefore also very light and packable. It has a subtle dog tooth pattern to it as well as having reflective strips that are only hi viz when they need to be. There is a hood which is always a good thing to have if you venture into the proper mountains or when walking to the Coop for a pint of milk.

For more details and to check out the rest of the range look here.

Trans Provence…is waiting for you

Another year of the Trans Provence is done. I was working as part of the Mounatain Staff again, pre-riding the route and timing the special race stages. You can check out the excellent TP videos for a taste of what the event is like and to see the occasional cameo from me. Here’s one from Day 3.

MAVIC® TRANS-PROVENCE 2012 ::: DAY 3 from Trans-Provence on Vimeo.

Highlights for me this year were the mind blowing trails, feeling static from a close by lightning strike, duck in honey and peaches and the sight of sun rising in the mountains. I’m writing a longer blog on my experience, but for now here are a few photos.

Dates and prices are already up for the spring 2013 Trans Provence 3 day skills and riding breaks that I run with Ash the organiser of the TP. These are aimed at riders wanting to progress their all mountain riding skills for trips to the Alps, Pyrenees and other bike holiday locations. It’s also a great opportunity to escape the grim of northern European winter for an early taste of the south of France.

Many people choose to do the Trans Provence in a more relaxed and accessible way than the race. Those booking the TP guided trip might be interested in doing the Great Rock UK ‘Alpine Prep’ course which looks at and develops some essential skills for riding alpine style. Feedback has been good from the many individuals and groups who did this training and went on to enjoy the TP guided trip.

MRP Bling Ring & Micro Chain Guide

I’ve been sold on the 1×10 gearing set up for a couple of years now. The security of not having the chain fall off the chainring, combined with the protection of a bash plate is really important to me. On my 26er I was happy running a 32t chainring with a 10 speed 11-36 cassette most of the time in the UK. However when I started riding a 29er, the same 32 / 11-36 gearing with bigger wheels was giving me gear ache! It was just too hard to climb big hills especially when I was riding longer days, particularly on my trips over to the Basque country and the Alps.

I was due to go to the French Maritime Alps to work as part of the Mountain Staff for the Trans Provence race. This means riding for 7 days in the Alps with 10,000m of vertical ascent and 15,000m of descent on properly technical trails. I was therefore overjoyed to discover, thanks to a bit of tweeting (thanks @chainlinephil) that there is now a solution to the problem. The MRP Bling Ring is a very smart single ring specific chain ring that comes in 28 and 30 tooth sizes (as well as 32, 34 and 36). I chose to go for the 28t as this is the equivalent to a 30t chainring on a 26er.

The chainring fits directly onto the splines of the new SRAM X9, XO and Truvativ AKA cranks. This means you can do away with the spider altogether for a lighter and neater solution. For chain security I fitted the latest version of MRP’s Micro chain device which is adjustable to fit a range of 28-32 chainrings. The chain is fully enclosed by the upper guide and has a sturdy lower guide with pulley wheel and a strong bash plate. This device is available in ISCG 05 and ISCG standards.

Gearing with the 28t ring was spot on for the climbs and I was glad I’d gone for this over the 30t ring, even though it seems ridiculously small, especially when viewed next to the wagon wheels! I was worried that I might spin out in the higher gears, but when on singletrack trails there was no problem at all. Only when riding sections on the road or on boring tracks was I under geared, a compromise I’m happy to make.

Blinged & Microed

I never once lost the chain, didn’t feel any drag and was pleased that the device was quiet. Maximise your performance pleasure by also fitting a clutch type short cage rear mech. Downhill bike security with trail riding friendly gearing makes this set up a winner and gives a genuinely practical 1×10 option to the 29er rider.

More details including pricing on the MRP and Ison (UK distributor) sites.