2015 partners

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Great Rock is supported by some fantastic brands for 2015 and it’s something worth shouting about. I’m more than happy to recommend the kit that I use because it’s tried and tested by me and if it didn’t work without lots of faff and fixing then I wouldn’t want it. It also helps if the kit looks good and can put on a pretty face for the relentless Instagram photos!

Kit has to work well in the tough and rocky conditions of Hebden Bridge, as pictured above, as well as at Gisburn Forest, Lake District, Basque Country, Pyrenees and all the other places that it gets dragged, ridden, thrown in vans, carried up mountains, crashed, rained on, sun bleached, sweated on and cleaned over and over again. It’s making me all excited just thinking about all the adventures to come this year!

Frames are Santa Cruz

Clothing, helmets and pads are Sweet Protection

Drivetrains, brakes, pedals and shoes are Shimano

Forks are X-Fusion

Wheels are Mavic

Bars, stems, saddles and grips are Chromag

Tyres are WTB

Dropper posts are KS

Frame protection is Invisiframe

Chain lube and bike cleaner is Squirt

Waterproof socks and gloves are Sealskinz

Trail tools are Lezyne

Bike travel bag is Evoc

Haircuts and beard trims are North West Barber Co.

Mavic Notch Helmet

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This has become my favourite helmet. It’s well vented and I’ve ridden loads this summer, both in the UK and Spain so I know it works. The padding is light but not flimsy and has been through the wash a few times without falling apart. Billed as ‘All Mountain’, I’d say it fits the ‘Mountain Biking’ that I do which includes riding around up hills, around them and down. The fit is just right for my head and it stays in place without being too tight or loose. Perhaps most Semenax important is that it looks good. Styling is up to date with clean and simple graphics, quality of finish is good and the paint is a matt colour. Also available in ‘I’m not shy yellow’ and also dark grey. At a RRP of £80 I think it’s decent value as well.

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I received the helmet along with a bunch of other Mavic clothing earlier in the summer. The jerseys in particular are really good and hard wearing. My favourites are the simple, one colour designs. More details from Mavic UK.

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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.

Summer Forecast

Here’s the latest video cast with thoughts on 29ers, the great British weather, some Hebden Bridge mountain biking and some fine riding clothes form Mavic and Royal Racing.

Summer Forecast from Ed Oxley on Vimeo.