I wanted a bike to use for my new video, The Chop, that would fit in with the style and feel of what I was trying to achieve. I needed something rusty that would look at home in a workshop with a vintage motorcycle, as well as hanging on a traditional barber’s shop wall. It also needed to be a good bike that I could enjoy riding confidently on Hebden Bridge trails! Having not ridden a hardtail since last winter I was a bit worried about using one for my new video. I mean who wants to ride a hardtail anymore, especially one with 26 inch wheels? When it came to it though I loved riding the 456. Great angles for confident descending and easy climbing combined with a top build kit of Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes, Reverb seat post, Lyrik 160mm fork and Mavic Crossmax SX wheels set up with tubeless tyres. Plus it slid around all the time, looked like something that I’d stolen, whizzed round corners and made me laugh.
To get the look I wanted, I first got hold of a brand new and lovely looking raw finished frame and stripped the clear coat off it. It felt like a ridiculous thing to be doing. I masked off just the down tube decals and used paint stripper to loosen up the coating and start the stripping. Then with a knife and wire wool I rubbed the surface to remove most of the clear coat. I wanted to leave some so that the surface would not look too uniform. Finally I washed the frame with strong bleach so that rust could quickly start its attack! I built the bike up straight way and started riding it. After riding and leaving it wet outside for a couple of payday loan debt days the bike had a nice patina of rust and was ready for filming.
Paint stripper on
To start with I felt like I was learning to ride again. I’ve been riding a Titus El Guapo and On One Codeine for the last year. Both are good full suspension bikes that can tackle anything and I’ve enjoyed riding them at home and abroad. Soon I adjusted, started using my legs and riding the fork. I enjoyed the hardtail in the same way that I enjoyed riding the On One Fatty last winter. It just has a different stance. It doesn’t have as much grip, isn’t as fast or as comfortable but it is a lot of fun. Riding bikes is not always about performance and efficiency. We ride for different reasons. Often I ride just to escape from the day to day, to feel alive and blast about in the woods. It matters little whether I am 2.3 seconds quicker than the last time I had fun. I am not anti new technology and I love bikes that make riding faster and give me more options. I just don’t want to ride the same thing all the time. It’s a bit like going for a ride without a pack and not telling anyone where you’re going. It doesn’t make the most sense, but at the same time it makes all the sense in the world.
I’m going to ride the bike some more actually and not because it makes a good winter bike with its lack of bearings etc. I’m going to ride it because it makes me chuckle and I like the way that it’s so anti-fashion. Obviously I still have the option to take my other bikes out when I want to live in reality. What do you think?