Wideopen Magazine Issue 16
Wideopen Magazine issue 16 is ONLINE! Featuring the now downhill World Champion Danny Hart, Santa Cruz Syndicate rider Josh Bryceland and a mountain of other awesome content!
wideopen Issue 16 September 2011 wideopen 16 September 2011 available free online atuk bike magazine www.wideopenmag.co.uk 1 Intro 3. 4. 6. 9. 15. 24. 32. 36. 44. 55. 59. 65. 69. 70. 72. 77. 86. 92. 98. 112. 128. 132. 133. Issue 16 September 2011 Comment 2011 Chat Emulsion Regulars First Look Stanton Slackline and Orange Patriot Before he was famous... Freeze, Miami Bryce... Time to get NASSty Hitting the big time Scratch and win It's a bit smelly Team Issue The Danny Hart interview NASS 2011 The Josh Bryceland interview Alistair Keen on the road The Will Evans interview The Dan Wells interview Inside the new Hope factory Why take two bottles? Tea drinking specialist It's not the destination... Sunshine and smiles Serious affair Longtermers Gear Trailscene Changing of the guard BDS Round 3 - Glencoe National 4X Champs Euro 4X BDS Round 4 - Llangollen The Joe Bowman Interview Tavistock The Iain Macarthur Interview Why do I ride? Contributors The perfect gravity enduro bike? The Orange 332 Project Longtermer Potential Energy: Propain Rage 8.8 Fresh Produce Contributors Competition Time www.andymccandlish.com Andy McCandlish contents HERE MTBcut rider Joe Barnes hammering Ben Aan. COVER Stop the motha flippin press - Danny Hart is champion of the World! wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 2 Rewriting the rule book - Rule Britannia Im writing this the day after the 2011 downhill mountain bike world championships at Champery and in a new world to that of 24 hours ago. I make no apologies for the dramatization of this but the performance of two young British mountain bikers just changed the way the World Champs, the venue of Champery and the sport will be viewed from now on. Up to now the World Champs and perhaps even downhill was the realm of the old guard. They may not be old but all eyes were on Sam Hill, Aaron Gwin, Greg Minnaar, Steve Peat, Gee Atherton � riders with the wealth of experience and previous victories to make them contenders. We always dare to dream that a grass roots UK underdog might just get lucky ... but the betting man would always err on the side of experience and statistical advantage. Second to that. Champery. A track that has always been defined not by its victories but by its near victories. Sure, Matti Lehikoinen put on a good show at that World Cup... but that mountain is defined by Sam Hills phenomenal, field destroying, game changing near victory that re-wrote the rule book. He didnt win � but he rewrote how we believe a bike should be ridden. That was until yesterday when on an astonishingly wet track Danny Hart took the rules by which we define our sport, he took who we consider fast or skilled and he tore them to pieces. Danny didnt just win, he took the World Championships jersey by 11.699 seconds. People always say downhill is a sport of split-seconds where every gram, every breath and every half pedal stroke makes the difference � Danny and his 11.699 seconds just changed everything. No near victories, no what could have been just one game changing run and one fuck off big whip into the finish arena. Lets not forget Manon Carpenter � a young lass from the UK who has won everything this year. The overall World Cup title and now the World Champs. She didnt just take the Champs jersey she took it by an Anne Carro-esque 14 seconds. So this issue came out a little too late to include much content from the Champs � but lets hope our pre-race interview with Danny will make up for it. In its small way its our celebration of how awesome UK racing and UK racers truly are. Fuck yeah � Rule Britannia! Danny dropped this whip in sight of the finish line and the rainbow stripes. Brave or foolish? Probably both... but so, so good! wideopen 16 September 2011 Jamie 13 Ullswater Macclesfield Cheshire SK11 7YN www.wideopenmag.co.uk Wideopen Magazine This online magazine has been produced using a 2.4GHz MacBook Pro running OS X (10.6.7) and Adobe InDesign CS. Each issue there are a different list of contributors (check the contributors section for more info). Anyone can write or contribute, if you'd like to then email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This magazine is intended for free distribution and is only available through the Wideopen web portal. Check it out at www.wideopenmag.co.uk. Details comment uk bike magazine 3 2012 CHAT Danny Mac and Cut Media (MTBcut) took over Channel 4 this summer with their Industrial Revolutions edit � it looks like Five Ten have rewarded Megaskill for his megaskills with his own signature shoe. Skills not included. www.fiveten.com The Wideopenmag team has run the THE T2 helmet for the whole of the 2011 season and were stoked on the weight, fit and styling. The summer saw two more fresh designs go live with the all-black Knight and the Murray tribute Stay Strong. www.the-industries.com Saracens 2012 Ariel 160 went live in the run up to this issue and looks set to be a great follow up to their generation 1 bikes. Extra travel, slacker angles and much less agricultural graphics equal win. www.saracen.co.uk Outland pedals will be out in 3 new colours for 2012 and at a touch over fifty quid look like an awesome option for flat pedal thundering. www.raleigh.co.uk regulars How can you not look forward to seeing what Troy Lee Designs come up with each year? Heres just one of Troys latest, the Palmer D3... www.troyleedesigns.com/2012 wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 4 ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Hardtailsoftwear available now... wideopen 16 September 2011 www.dialledbikesclothing.bigcartel.com uk bike magazine 5 First Look Stanton Slackline Stanton are a brand spanking new UK company that have been getting a lot of attention on our website and FB page. The reason isnt just because Jon and Dan are jolly nice chaps or because they bought editor Jamie a few beers on their recent Bristol visit, its because their new Slackline hardtail is absolutely gorgeous. Ok well admit it � the beer helped too. The Slackline is a do it all style hardtail that leans towards hardcore trail riding, 4X or hardtail downhill. Its the sort of beast youll be able to thrash round a trail centre or on an all-day ride but still have a blast with on the downhills and then take down to the local dirt jumps. Just the sort of bike we like here at Wideopen... The Slacklines front end is Reynolds 853 whilst the seat and chain stays are 525. You get 125mm to 160mm forkfriendly geometry and according to Stanton youd be looking at about 28lbs for a typical all-mountain build. Our Slackline test bike landed a couple of weeks back and mag producer James is having a lot of fun giving it some abuse up in the Peaks. First reports are that its spot on and he reckons that the combo of a really decent spec and dialled angles make it just "feel right". Good stuff. Look out for a full test of the Slackline in our next issue. www.stantonbikes.co.uk longtermer wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 6 First Look 2012 Orange Patriot It goes without saying that the Orange Patriot is a bit of a legend � a few years ago you couldnt hit your local trails without crashing into a Patriot 66, Patriot 7+ or god knows what else. In terms of UK downhill or trail riding it was pretty much the privateers bike of the day. Sadly though, the Patriot eventually fell out of favour and the Orange Five became more popular for UK thrashing. Luckily for us though, the Patriot is back and has had a complete revamp for 2012. Its got 180mm of travel out back, aggressive angles, lively handling and enough beef to take on the gnarliest trails you can throw at it. The end result is a long travel all-rounder that will cope with downhill and super rough trails but will also spare you the weight and sluggishness of a full on downhill bike. Its also just about pedalable if youre so inclined. We were lucky enough to get the Patriot to ride for a couple of weeks and gave it a good thrashing all over the Portes du Soleil. After a full week of riding we were stoked at how easy to ride, fun and up for a scrap the Patriot was, with not much difference between it and a full-on downhill bike in terms of descending power. Sure, its not a 9" race bike, but its light enough to chuck about, wont kill you when youre zipping between trails and has plenty enough travel for the rough stuff. Were looking forward to getting stuck into a long-term test! www.orangebikes.co.uk longtermer BACKWITHA VENGEANCE wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 7 ADVERTISEMENT wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 8 emulsion Josh Bryceland www.jacobgibbins.co.uk wideopen 16 September 2011 Jacob Gibbins uk bike magazine 9 www.duncanphilpott.com Duncan Philpott emulsion Ruari Hallam explores off the beaten track somewhere in the Peak District. Twisting loam singletrack provided hours of fun! wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 10 James Hughes Matt Derry www.mattderryphotography.com emulsion wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 11 emulsion Curtis Sanders Tom Rickhuss wideopen 16 September 2011 www.flickr.com/photos/tomrickhuss uk bike magazine 12 emulsion www.andymccandlish.com wideopen 16 September 2011 Andy McCandlish Scottish snapper Andy McCandlish visited Ben Aan in the Highlands to capture MTBcut rider Joe Barnes in some un-seasonally good weather. uk bike magazine 13 ADVERTISEMENT wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 14 It's not all sunshine and rainbows... words by Claire Buchar REGULARS CLAIREBUCHAR The latest from Claire Buchar and Chris Kovarik as they take a year out from World Cup racing and explore what else the world has to offer. When all youve known for the past 10 years (even longer for Chris) is racing you end up being in a strange place when you are limited from actually doing it. Ive been in a weird headspace about it, Im still happy and grateful about everything Im doing instead but just confused and finding it hard to know what to do! Its harder to explain than I thought, actually! I guess Im just no good at being a spectator at the races? Im a doer! Haha! So theres not been much racing in our lives this season so far. With all of the Queensland State Rounds and the Queensland National Round cancelled due to wet weather, we didnt get the chance to get our racing fix in Australia. We managed to travel down to Adelaide for the Aussie National Championships but we also both managed to crash in our finals (both on ripper runs) in almost the same corner! I still managed a 2nd place but there was no chance for Chris in the stacked mens field and he ended up 10th. After not crashing in a race run for what seems like ages, I guess it was good for me to remember how shitty it feels and learn from it. You cant beat yourself up about it....for too long anyways haha! regulars wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 15 Claire Buchar With a very limited budget this year, Chris and I were ok with making it to some key races, getting involved with some coaching and working on some fun media projects. However, it is late June and because of reasons out of our control, weve not been able to complete building our 2011 bikes. So, consequently, weve had to postpone any media projects but thats not the biggest issue, well get those done....what we did have to do is cancel our trip to the North American World Cup Rounds and that was heartbreaking. We just wont be dialed and theres no half-assing with World Cups. Period. So a slow start to the season but we are now refocused on the following events: Whistler Series for fun, Crankworx, Canadian National Champs, Summer Gravity Camps, Zep Techniques Camps, See Jane Jump Fest, World Championships and an epic Chilcotins trip at end of September! And whatever races and events pop up in between! Being based out of Whistler has been amazing too and weve got family, friends and endless trails over there! The amount of bears you see in a day makes it feel like a zoo, oh and the cougars are on the prowl now....theres been a few sightings and also a few attacks. So, no riding by yourself no more! Actually, can you imagine what juicy meal Chris calves would make?! Anyways, for now, our mission is to get those bikes built asap and get shredding!!!!! Thanks to all of my amazing sponsors: Intense, Nukeproof, Marzocchi, Unit, Five Ten, Sram, Avid, Truvativ, Smith Optics, For the Riders, Nema, Braking, THE, LD Designs, NSDynamics, e13, High Five, Evolution, Strand Training, Maxxis. regulars wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 16 ADVERTISEMENT ADVERTISEMENT Holeshot riders have racked up of any other bike! podium finishes at UKowners 4X races over the last 4 seasons than more wideopen 16 September 2011 es Bik g... lledacin Diave r At lo we the ing k2 uc t M rod ho Int les Ho uk bike magazine 17 www.dialledbikes.com REGULARS RICHTHOMAS words by Rich Thomas photos by Jacob Gibbins Tits up, Plastic Penis out: Racing's a BITCH! Yo yo yo! Since I last wrote it's all been kicking off! Downhill is a funny old game, it is more up and down than a prossie's pants in `Butterflys' (a very tasty establishment in Weston-super-Mare)! Im going to try something different in this issue. Instead of chatting shit about shit, Ill give you guys a true insight into 3 weeks on the road, 3 huge venues, 3 huge races, the ups and downs and a few true thoughts and feelings. Racing is a bitch so here it is with no bullshit! So were off. In preparation for 3 weeks on the road at the Halo British Downhill Series and UCI World Cup our sponsors and good friends at ISO2 Sports Nutrition kindly provided transport for us by way of the awesome Plastic Penis..... a giant penis shaped Rapido Camper van! PPs first destination was Glencoe for the HaloBDS and on the drive up it soon became clear that this was going to be a wild weekend with monsoon rains and high winds that wanted to slap the Plastic Penis off the road! We arrived at Glencoe to even more wild weather and a proper violent track. Honestly, if I were a nipper and had to race there I would shit myself! Saturday practice bought heavy rain, winds and some nasty injuries allowing for only 2 practice runs to be had due to the re-occurring lack of back up of medical cover at the BDS. I mean, for fucks sake, I love what the BDS crew are doing and I respect that people getting hurt is part of the sport, but seriously, they should put safety, riding and racing first not pit space and videos. Anyway, thats another story. wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 18 regulars Rich Thomas Regardless of this the track was running well and I was keen to get involved and on Sunday I headed up early to get some practice in. All went well and I was pumped to race, the bike was cleaned and kit dried, I was ready. An hour later whilst sipping a cup of PG tips a marshall came around the pits to notify the racers that the race was cancelled due to epic weather conditions. Long drive, a lot of effort, no race. END OF. After Glencoe the team headed to Fort William for some testing and preparation for the World Cup. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent testing my Nukeproof Scalp and refining some of the componentry ready for the rest of the season. Over the days we made some great improvements and there was a real positive vibe going on. Before we knew it, Thursday had arrived, and it was time to gear up for the weekend. With a dialled in bike we set off to look at the track and prepare for Fridays practice, this time under some uncharacteristically nice Scottish weather. Friday morning came around and I couldnt wait to get on the bike, we were up to speed straight away and I was confident, at the end of the day the top 80 get a timed practice run and I put in a solid run to take 14th. Practice is never a real gauge of a result but a good basis to go into qualifying. Saturday morning went well and I sorted some final lines and then went up for my qualification run feeling great and ready to race! The quali run was going well until a rogue stick ended up in my back wheel causing me to shit myself thinking I had blown my wheel up, I pulled up, looked, realised I just stopped for no reason, shit myself again, pulled the sucker out and cracked on, by this time all sorts was going through my head so I put my head down and pedalled hard to the finish coming in 44th, a solid position given all the drama that had occurred. In a roundabout way this left me very confident for a top 30 finish Sunday. Then it all went tits up, the flavour of 2011, the team suffered a small mechanical issue which caused me to rush around for 3 hours before the final and race on a pre-production bike that was slightly different to the race bike. With all of 10 minutes of car park time on the bike I set of for a World Cup finals race run. In the grand scheme of things the run went ok but I was off the pace, never really feeling it and finishing in 60th place. Not what I was after but we still picked up some points.... but fuck points I want to win! wideopen 16 September 2011 After a disappointing finish we packed up the Plastic Penis, hit cruising altitude and crash landed in Leogang for the final stop on our road trip. Again we were met by some bad weather but with a quick clean of kit and a bike re-build we were again ready to race. Friday morning came all went well for the first day of practice, I felt good and was all ready to put in another solid timed practice run. I got stuck into it, was having a solid run but let my speed run away a little too much near the finish and took a wild face plant, timed run over and no real gauge of my speed. That aside I actually felt pretty good and (except for a few sore body parts) I woke up Saturday ready to qualify and ready to smash it. Right. IM SO OVER EXPLAINING THIS, but for the 50,000th time, I was having a good qualifying run but then fucked it, yeah I made a mistake in the top woods which saw me drop some time, dropping me back to 130th at the split, I charged hard at the bottom with a top 30 bottom split but it was only enough to bring me back up to 98th place. This meant missing out on a qualification spot by a few seconds second even with the mistake. Tough times and to miss out on a final for the first time in 2 seasons is tough but shit happens. It just goes to show that racing is a bitch and theres no room for mistakes. If you arent winning you really are losing!! Again folks, mind how you go! uk bike magazine 19 regulars ADVERTISEMENT wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 20 After months of training out of the spot light and working hard to get the riders I work with stronger, fitter and more explosive, the season is now in full swing and they are suddenly now very much in the gaze of the crowds and the cameras. There isnt really anywhere to hide for them now and as the season is full steam ahead it is very difficult to make huge changes at this stage. Things kicked off in South Africa, my first race with the Giant Factory Off Road Team. I flew down with the teams skills coach Oscar Saiz, an expro himself and a really top guy. We sat next to a South African sailor who had sailed up to France and was flying hone himself. After a long flight, we met the rest of the team in Jo Burg and they were awaiting their bags. How many are you missing? I asked the team manager 20 was his reply. These boys dont mess around when it comes to racing and I knew I was with a top team there and then! South Africa was an amazing experience and the track was a lot of fun to ride. However, it wasnt difficult and there was the well publicised flat section. After finals, the mechanics and coaches who were at the top decided to all ride down together in a train which was so much fun. Ricky Bobby, Dave Garland, Mark Maurissen, Oscar, me, and a load of others charged down on the trainer bikes, in trainers on the spd pedals. A great laugh, but should we be able to do that on a World Cup standard track? Maybe not. Racing wise, Danny found it hard to get into it, Andrew crashed whilst pushing really hard for the home crowd, but Duncan got a top 10 which was a great result. Paul Miles the mechanic got sun stroke and lost his backpack which was a nightmare as it had his keys and all sorts in it. We flew back on the Monday and Danny wanted to get his head down for Fort William. He had been on the road for something like 6 weeks prior to South Africa and it was good for him to get home again I think. I have started to work with Fox rider Scott Mears, and invited him and Danny down for some testing in Birmingham which helped me gauge where Scott was with his training, and monitor Dannys progress. Both of them excelled in the tests and gave it their all. Scott smoked one of the tests, but maybe a bit too much as he was promptly sick! wideopen 16 September 2011 regulars REGULARS ALANMILWAY Under the spot light... uk bike magazine 21 Alan Milway The following week Danny was back for some training, and although the weather was grim we saddled up the road bikes and hit the hills around me for a session. Half way through the ride I heard a huge CRACK and turned to see Danny skidding along the road under his bike! He was cruising along behind me and the wind just threw him off. He was sore, but ok fortunately. Fort William came around and Paul Miles, the teams mechanic swung by in the new wagon to pick me up to drive up to Fort William. He had been flat out sorting it out and getting all the gear ready. He works some long hours and is just a robot powered on packs of biscuits and bottled water! series and had a camera crew there. We were followed down the track walk with the camera crew and me, Danny and Ben Reid (another rider I train) all tried to keep it professional and not get caught talking about girls or bitching about anyone! Andrew Neethling has had a tough World Cup series and Leogang was no different alas � he qualified well in 5th, but got very nervous at the top for the race run and ended up crashing out. He will get it together I have no doubt, but I feel bad when a racer has a blip like this. Duncan struggled in the mud and couldnt string a good run together either, but Danny stormed to a 6th place to back up his 2nd place in Fort William. After I returned back from Leogang I was straight to a stag do � which was actually pretty fun! We arent drinkers or a dress wearing stag party, but an expensive night in a lap dancing bar in Bristol, some Go Karting, Kayaking and VIP passes to Gatecrasher made for a good weekend for Luke I hope! After that I had to pick up some Fox luggage and kit that had been lost by UPS who were useless. They dont use Sat Nav in the vans and because my house doesnt have a street name they were stumped. After some arguments I went to Tamworth myself to pick up what I thought was 1 box. It turned out to be 3 huge boxes of kit and I struggled to get it all in the car. Fox really go above and beyond and I am forever saying Thank You! to them. They really are top drawer guys. I now have 4 days at home before France, then Italy then back to UK get a flight to USA for that leg of the World Cups... The racing at Fort William will go down as a great day at the office and maybe a turning point for Dannys career? He was on fire all weekend and had some custom Fox race gear that was made for their Supercross pro riders for the Las Vegas round. He had to get special permission to use it, but it was worth the effort as he looked the business and there are some great photos of him in that gear. After he qualified 3rd the media went crazy for it, and there was crowds of journalists in the pits and asking him questions. I was even thrust into it and had Clay Porter after interviews and snippets which was odd to say the least. During one of Dannys interviews I was spotted in the back ground taking a blood test. This got tongues wagging in the pits and it was interesting to see who was asking what I was up to and showing interest. Some riders who I thought had things dialled were suddenly asking questions, which I am planning to expand the services I offer at was very interesting... MX Fitness so if you want fitness assessment, On the Sunday Danny was itching to get on lifting technique analysed or training plans with racing but and I had to hold him back all devised do get in touch. day to get the warm up timings right, but it Cheers, Alan paid off and 2nd place was amazing and pretty emotional for all involved. www.mxfitness.co.uk From Fort William it was 24hrs at home before heading to Leogang. If you have a long weekend free in the season I would definitely check that place out; amazing scenery, a decent bike park and loads of trails. The weather was off and on, but the track looked fun. Redbull are filming a regulars wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 22 ADVERTISEMENT WATCH VIDEOS WIN PRIZES Every round of the British Downhill Series win awesome prizes with Wideopen, Electric, JuiceLubes, O'Neal and Riders Retreat. www.wideopenmag.co.uk wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 23 BEFOREHEWASFAMOUS The Danny Hart interview... www.jacobgibbins.co.uk feature Jacob Gibbins interview by Jamie Edwards photos as credited uk bike magazine 24 wideopen 16 September 2011 Danny Hart Interview www.flickr.com/photos/droppinin Paul Cram 2011 has been a pretty mega year for Danny Hart, joining Giant and some great podium results. Now a World Champion, Wideopen caught up with Danny before his most recent result... Welcome to Wideopenmag Danny. Hows 2011 treating you so far? Yeah, 2011 has been a great year for me so far. It didnt start too great in South Africa; I was feeling strong going into it after a strong pre-season training with my coach Alan. We had done V02 max testing, XC skiing and lots of different types of training. So coming into SA I was feeling strong and ready but I had a bit of bad luck and ended up just throwing mad points away. I was angry after that, and I went home and trained hard for a few weeks. Coming into Fort William I was ready - I was in Glencoe for the BDS the previous week but unfortunately it got cancelled due to bad weather. Anyway, I was riding well so it was a good confidence booster for me. I hung out with Scott Mears for the full week of Fort William, as well as staying with my parents in the camper which was great because I dont get to be at many huge big races with them now. And pulling a 2nd place was the best feeling ever! It was just another world from coming top 20 and seeing my whole family crying tears of joy was just phenomenal! I went to Leogang on a natural high and was fastest in timed practice which was good, but it was only practice. Qualifying went well but I ended up in 9th place I think, which after Fort William wasnt too great. I knew I needed to make some moves and go faster in finals and I did just that. I finished 6th, just 0.03secs off the podium, which was a bit of a stinger but still a great result! "Not to say that I'm bad in mud, it's just often a ball ache" Mont-Saint-Anne came next - I really enjoy going there, its a big, gnarly mans track! I had an awesome time sliding around in the mud for a week which I dont usually enjoy. Not to say that Im bad in it, its just often a ball ache. I came away with another podium, which was great, 2 from 4 podiums. Windham was a good week, though I qualified 6th and ended up 9th which I was quite disappointed with. And that brings me to now, sitting on the sofa after a good day riding in Whistler! Epic! feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 25 Danny Hart Interview feature www.jacobgibbins.co.uk Jacob Gibbins uk bike magazine 26 wideopen 16 September 2011 "It's a big knarly man's track" Danny Hart Interview Things seem to have really come together for you since youve moved to Giant. How does your riding career feel these days compared to previous years? Do you feel like everything is going your way? Yeah since I moved to the Giant Factory Off-Road team it has been much easier for me. Just in general, communication is much better. I have a really good, passionate team behind me with no pressure or anything, apart from what I put on myself. What have your favourite memories of the year been so far? My favorite memory this season has to have been Fort William. Just having everyone there, all my friends and my parents supporting me was great. Everything just went really well! Ran like clockwork all weekend. How about least favourite? South Africa. I was just not a big fan of the track. I had a mechanical problem qualifying which was bad because I went into finals with no judgment of how I was going. If it had happened somewhere like Fort William it would have been different, because I know Im right up there on a course like that. SA is a whole different story though because it is so unique. But I soon forgot about that and got to Fort William with lots of motivation. Fort William was obviously a hell of a result for you with a second place. How do you feel getting a result like that in the bag? Wheres your head at now? Yeah it is weird because at the start of the year I just wanted to make top 10, but after Fort William I know I can do better than that. So now Im aiming for podium finishes. I think if you are consistently in the top 10, sooner or later you are going to be on the podium regularly. "I have a really good passionate team behind me" Paul Cram feature www.flickr.com/photos/droppinin wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 27 feature Danny Hart Interview www.flickr.com/photos/droppinin Paul Cram wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 28 Danny Hart Interview Did you do anything particularly different at Fort William than usual that led to your good result? No not at all. I think that the week leading up to it was just great, travelling with my parents and Scott Mears - we just had a mellow week fishing! It always seems like youre having a lot of fun on track and enjoying your riding rather than just getting on with it and getting across the line. Wheres your head during a race run? Are you super serious and focused or are you always having fun on track? Do you think having fun on track affects your results?! I think when it comes to practice I have a lot of fun, but at the same with I get the job done. I do a lot of filming with my Contour+, but I have heaps of fun as well. At the end of the day, if youre not having fun, youre not riding your best. Race run I am focused - in the zone and ready to race! Looking at your results � youve made top ten in every race except for South Africa at the start of the season where you landed a 22nd. What was the deal there? Did that result focus you to do better for the rest of the season? Yeah as I said earlier, I felt that race just went totally wrong, How have you found the rest of the tracks this season? Whats been your favourite track and why? Like I always say, Fort William and MSA are my favourite tracks, just because of the sheer brutality of them both. They are big, fast with some nice jumps - more suited to me than the tight little tracks. I know you do a lot of training with Alan Milway in the off-season � what training did you do to build up to SA and get ready for racing this year? That would be giving our secrets away! Wouldnt want that! Youre obviously a young guy � do you ever get sick of Milway nagging at you to train and work and just want to tell him to bugger off and go have fun?! I do think that sometimes when Im only home for short amounts of time, but at the end of the day he knows what he is talking about and I see the results. But come off-season I know the drill - me and Scotty just get on with it! Looking forward to Word Champs at Champery � you obviously want to do well but do you have a specific plan of how youre going to head into the race? Any tactics or are you just going flat out?! Through the whole season this year Ive just been taking each world cup at a time, and apart from the first one its gone well. So I think Im just going to spend as much time at home as possible and head out to worlds with an open mind. Ill be ready for a wet race, because the possibilities of that are high, and just give it my best shot! Youve done really well for a relatively young guy � what do you think it takes for riders to come up through the ranks and ride fast for a top world class team like youve done? Is it enough just to be fast or do you need a bit more than that? I think you need to have a good training programme behind you. You need to be strong to be up there at the top, both mentally and physically and you need to be determined too. You can come from winning nationals at home then go to a world cup and get beat, so you need to grit your teeth and take it, and work on it! www.flickr.com/photos/droppinin Paul Cram feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 29 Danny Hart Interview www.flickr.com/photos/droppinin Paul Cram Whilst were on the subject of support � your dad seems to be a mega big factor in your riding career. What support do you get from the family in your riding? What do they bring to your riding that you might not otherwise get? Nowadays my family doesnt play as big a part as they have done in the past. Its been amazing what they have done for me and I really appreciate what they have done - I would not be here now if it wasnt for them! Now my mam washes my kit every week and dad preps my MX bike every time I ride that :) Dad also plays a big role in my plans; hes effectively my manager! Ok � last but not least. What does the rest of the season hold for you? What are your plans? Do my best to keep my top 5 position in the world cup overall and get a top 5 at worlds! Thanks for talking with us Danny. You can check out Dannys website at: www.dannyhart.co.uk feature wideopen 16 September 2011 "You need to grit your teeth, take it and work on it" uk bike magazine 30 FREEZETHISISMIAMIBRYCE The Josh Bryceland interview... interview by Jamie Edwards photos as credited feature www.jacobgibbins.co.uk Jacob Gibbins uk bike magazine 31 wideopen 16 September 2011 Josh Bryceland Interview Josh Bryceland needs no introduction, the 21 year old rider for SantaCruz has been coached and mentored by the UK's finest and most well known downhill rider, Mr Peat. We spoke to Josh way back in Issue 3 (page 118) so after a BDS win and podium at the Mont St Anne World Cup we catch up with the Ratboy... Josh - welcome to Wideopen mate. First question. How would you describe yourself to the world? Now then! Id say Im just a fun loving kid who is fortunately good on a bike cos hes useless at everything else!!! Ha-ha just kidding, but yeah I try to keep smiling and Im very grateful for the opportunity I have to race bikes for a living. Thanks Rob! (Roskopp) With the BDS win and your recent second place result at Mont St Anne World Cup you seem to be having the season of your life. Do you think thats fair to say? Best season ever? Well yeah for sure, those two results are deffo up there in my career highlights, so to say the least Im pretty happy right now - enjoying it all!! www.duncanphilpott.com Duncan Philpott feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 32 Josh Bryceland Interview It seems like youve not had the best of luck in the last couple of seasons - was there anything youve tried differently this year? Yeah I took a well different approach this year and it seems to have paid off but let me tell you there were a few races at the start of the year where I was wondering if I had fooked up!! Mostly just by training more and being more prepared mentally than physically I think for me thats being way less serious than most people, yet still having a plan and sticking to it. And just being light-hearted as I go! If that makes any sense! Not really, ok, never mind. What was last winter like for you? What training did you do? What was your attitude like coming into the season? I didnt go in the gym once, I rode lots of bikes of all shapes and sizes and I did sprints 3 times. My cardio fitness is good and my strength I will work on, but for now Im all about just getting my head straight and being comfortable on my bike. Which to be fair I couldnt have done much better really - this year has been as big a learning curve as ever but Im learning things I wasnt aware that I was in control of before. Seeing Dr Rob Copeland from Podium Performance at Sheffield Hallam Uni just opened my eyes to how good having a sports psychologist on your side is! Did you expect to do so well at MSA? Was there any particular thing you did on track or before the race that you think helped drop such a great result? I rode a lot with just me and Steve which was so much fun! Whoever was leading would just go all out and I think it dragged us both right up to speed. If he had a clean run theres no doubt he would have been on that box with me but no, I didnt expect it at all and let me tell you it was a pleasant surprise!! It seems like there must be a lot of pressure to get top results being on such a big-name team alongside Peaty and Minnaar. Is that fair? Do you feel the pressure when you arent getting results? Theres no pressure from the team to get results. Its well laid back because pressure helps no one but at the same time we are employed for a purpose and we all know this - I think thats enough!! www.duncanphilpott.com Duncan Philpott feature "Last winter I didn't go to the gym once, I rode lots of bikes..." wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 33 Josh Bryceland Interview Youve got a reputation for being a bit of a joker and as a kid who has fun on track. Wheres your head at on race weekends? Is it all fun and games all weekend or do you have a serious side? As I mentioned before I try to keep it as light-hearted as possible but you cant joke your way through a world cup! The hard work is done on the track - you gotta know this and work hard on lines and having a good pace but at the end of the day thats what we do best! www.flickr.com/thomasgaffney Tom Gaffney Do you have a particular approach to managing your head, your nerves, race stress etc these days? Once again, Dr Rob Copeland has been a huge help for me with that side of racing and it is a huge part! Do you see racing downhill as a life-long career for you in the same way it has been for Peaty? What are your hopes for the future? I would love to make it last as long as Steve has, hes an absolute legend! Although if Im not pulling the results he does at his age you wont find me clinging on trying to milk it thats for sure!! Ill be living out of a shack somewhere eating road kill and trashing around on anything with wheels I can get my hands on!! Having Peaty as a mentor has obviously been a huge influence on your career. How does it feel to have the Steve Peat Syndicate along at the races and looking up to you? How does it feel to be acting as the role model for them and other riders?! Mental! I still look up to all the riders I race against which is pretty trippy but Im stoked that people enjoy and can learn from my riding, so yeah its all good!! Thanks for talking with us Josh - you can check out Joshs website at www.joshbryceland.co.uk And what are your thoughts on the rest of the World Cups for this season? Will you be approaching them in a particular way? Are there any you think will suit you better than others? Not at all, I will approach them the same as I have all year. Change nothing and hope the good times will keep a rollin!!! feature "The hard work is done on the track" wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 34 ADVERTISEMENT wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 35 TIMETOGETNASSTY The National Adventure Sports Show 2011 words by and photos Jacob Gibbins (www.jacobgibbins.co.uk) feature Getting sideways in the sea of mud mounds... wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 36 NASS 2011 NASS (for those that don't know) is Europe's biggest action sports music festival. Held at the Bath and West showground in the South West its full of world class BMX, dirt jumping, skating, moto and everything else (even scooters). When you put all that together in a few fields and sheds, with more booze, drugs, girls and super loud drum and bass for 3 days solid you have a pretty wild time. I have been for the last 3 years and will be going for as many years as it doesnt clash with a race. Good times are guaranteed. Not clean, calm or relaxing times. Just good times. Ladies and gents I give you NASS 2011 in a few photos... A huge 360 turn down over one of the jump boxes, not the easiest place to shoot being so big and busy, but when people are busting this kind of stuff out its hard not to take some snaps... Bit of an overview of the indoor pro park which played host to the BMX finals in which shit went down... people brushing the roof with their tyres... feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 37 NASS 2011 The dirt course was proving tricky for some with a lot of people struggling to get the speed over the first jump, but for others it seemed as easy as breathing, here a rider busts out a mega clicked turn down on the second hip... feature A view of the first jump from the roll in, stormy skies were over head most of the weekend with it forecasting rain. Thankfully it never came and everyone got sun burn instead... wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 38 NASS 2011 Sun setting over the campsite on Saturday evening, this was in the middle of prime pre drinking time but ever the pro I got the camera out and went for a wander around to get some nice shots of the sunset. Cant beat a good sunset! I saw these two guys down at the main stage living it up. There were some pretty out-there costumes about from drag, to animals, to mummys, to morph suits, to crocodiles and more. It made for some weird sights at 3am feeling a bit wobbly seeing a group of tigers running about... Just too much for some people, this was at about 2pm on Sunday outside the dirt finals, he wobbled up, stumbled about for a few mins then just face planted and stayed down...seemed pretty content... wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 39 feature NASS 2011 Big tuck no hander over the first one on the set with the troublesome roller just before that was catching some people out... wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 40 feature NASS 2011 The crowds here at NASS where pretty heavy, with some pretty hectic riots on Saturday night things got a little heated... feature This is what its all about, double Decker beer bongs with midgets. This was on the Friday morning about an hour after getting there and a good few hours before any music was starting. After a few of these everything just stepped up a gear! wideopen 16 September 2011 The music was very bass heavy at NASS as it is every year, its all about bikes, boards and bass. With a top notch line up of some of the best in drum and bass it was a 3 day nonstop rave... uk bike magazine 41 NASS 2011 When the festival is an extreme sports festival its no surprise that the wealth of good looking girls went down well with most of the people there... wideopen 16 September 2011 feature uk bike magazine 42 NASS 2011 The amazing evening light was just to perfect for shooting in, with riders sessioning the dirt course till dark each evening sunset was a pretty amazing time to be down there, here Ray Samson busts out a sweet 1 foot flatty on the hip... feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 43 HITTINGTHEBIGTIME 3 slackers and a camera man try to race a World Cup! words by Wideopen World Cup super elite Alastair Keen photos by Chris Ratford wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 44 feature Hitting the big time Last month a whole host of riders ventured to the middle of nowhere in Scotland to go head to head for world cup glory, or in our case try not to look like total amateurs while riding with the best in the world! So the week began for our group 5pm previous Sunday before the world cup at a VERY wet 4X race at Afan south Wales where wed been since Friday and it most definetly showed, cars full of already wet and muddy kit, bikes in need of love and riders in need of hot showers and comfy beds. Being 600miles from the Fort and not needing to be there until Wednesday a mini road trip was in order and first leg was back to the Keen house, with of course my obligatory post race KFC stop on the way! At this point I should probably introduce our motley crew of slackers, first we have the infamous Mop Head whos well known for being a pirate, a co-commentator at the British 4X and of course 44 Racing talent team rider, joining him for the ride in the mop mobile was Chris Ratford our very talented trip photo man and occasional rider. Along with me I had Jess Greaves of FiveTwo racing, Junior ladies 4X leading rider and bringer of some pretty mint drum and bass that kept us entertained for the week and finally Alastair Keeny Keen Wideopen 4X team rider (thats me!) feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 45 Hitting the big time So back to the trip and after an overnight stop in our only bit of civilization for the week we were dried out and ready to hit the road with 500miles to Fort bill. A lot of motorway and a Burger King later we turned off the M6 onto the A701 to Glentress which was our next stop on the magical mystery tour for an overnight rest and some XC training and jump practice. Anyone whos been to Glentress will have probably have driven down the A701 and know its a bit twisty and quite open giving us the first taste of Scottish scenery and from behind the wheel its a lot of fun to drive! I must stress on this trip no motoring laws were broken but I did manage to empty my fuel tank at this point after getting a bit carried away on the awesome road. Anyway we stop off for some supplies in nearby Peebles and at this point we encountered the problem with bringing along a midget from Bristol, Chris decided to stock up on his native cider but due to Jess looking far younger than she is we all get IDd and her being a junior that meant DENIED for the west countries finest. wideopen 16 September 2011 Up to the forest we go and at the top of a Scottish hill in the freeride area car park we meet up with none other than Cotic rider Robbie Rickman and Gareth Parr who had the same idea of a mid trip play. This is where the fun begins; the freeride area at Glentress is littered with tables, hips, wall rides and various other features that to 6 fun loving riders was an afternoon of playing, one-upping and messing around after 5 hours stuck in cars. With all the others on their trusty 4x steeds I broke out my weapon of mass distraction a shiny new Orange 5 for its first taste of airtime and on the mix of jumps and berms this turned out to be a good choice! A bit of riding later and Chris turned his attention to his camera and we started getting some sweet pics, everyone trying to do bigger whips than the last and with Gareth and Robbie learning 1 handers and 1 footers just to get a good shot. feature uk bike magazine 46 Hitting the big time This is where we started getting creative with Robbie and Gareth flailing limbs over the same jump at the same time and me trying to sneak into the back ground eventually managing to get shots of all 5 of us in the air over 2 just simultaneously which was pretty sick to do as a rider trying to time it so we all take off about the same time. As it was getting on we gave up the jumps and moved over to a new trail section called Berm baby berm that was literally a perfectly groomed sweeping line of berms and undulations carving down the hill to the car park like spaghetti. As 4X racers that love a bit of pumping and flowing ride we were all loving this going faster and faster swooping through the trees like those Ewoks in Star Wars on the stolen storm trooper bikes. Eventually we sectioned our way to the bottom and as the light was dropping had to set up camp, and get some food on the go. Mop chops turned into Nigella Lawson at this point whipping everyone up some sort of fancy pasta dish to replenish the spent energy, me however being a stupidly fussy eater got some beans on toast on the go! With Gareth and Robbie off in their tent the 4 of us squeezed into Mops 4 man tent which obviously didnt take airbeds into account when they named it! wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 47 feature Hitting the big time Dawn broke and it was a bit chilly, 3 degrees to be precise! Not one to miss out on riding time I climbed over everyone to get out and kitted up for a morning XC ride before noticing it was only 6am, oh well and off I set. Blue run was the warm up for the day (literally) unfortunately my sense of direction sent me the wrong way and I started with the loop down to the visitors centre and back giving me a silly long slog back up to the top way too early. 1 blue lap later I arrived back at the car park to find the Robbie and Gareth show emerging from the woods like a pair of cavemen in search of food, with the rest of our party snoozing away lap 2 commenced on the red run and this is where I was really happy Id brought the Five with me, rough climbs and tech descents put a massive smile on my face since this was my first trail centre bash in a long time. The well known spooky woods did seem a bit over hyped but being out in the Scottish air I didnt care and was just loving the ride pushing myself round the loop as fast as I could while half asleep and arrived back at the car just as everyone was waking up. A bit of breakfast and some bike tweaking later we set out for another lap of the red as a group which was much different, 4 4X bikes and 1 DH bike all with small ratio cassettes didnt make the best ever climbing bikes but everyone gave it some stick with Robbie and myself leading up the hills and all of us taking a breather at the tops! The descents were real fun chasing the tyre in front of you round the twisting trails often getting too close and getting the splash back from the many puddles. The final bit of riding of the stop was the LOOONG fire road slog back up to the car park and to everyones surprise the only person to keep up with my XC gearing was the smallest member of the group Jess putting the guys to shame hauling her DMR up the hill without stopping. Very knackered we crammed everything into the cars and headed off down the hill with Gareth getting the 4X practice in early and passing me with an inside line move on one of the forest road corner, a quick petrol stop in town and it was off on the final 4 hour leg all the way up to the highlands. After getting away from Edinburgh and escaping the stupidly long queues round Glasgow we left the multi-lane roads behind and entered some epic scenery, cruising up along the shores of Loch Lomond to the sounds of Sub Focus in the Ford Focus. A few caravan and truck passing moves later we passed through the epic landscape of Rannoch-moor where the roads go on for miles across the vast empty landscape with permanent road closure barriers and marking poles along the edge of the road remind you how isolated and cut off this part of the world can get over winter. After a 2 day break from the rain as we pulled over on top of a view point looking over the landscape the water started falling again for the first time since leaving Afan confirming we were in Scotland. Tuesday ended with an evening meal in a random pub with Mop man regaling us with tales of his past, well leave those in the pub! feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 48 Hitting the big time Wednesday dawned and it was raining, plastic bowl breakfast and campsite showers were the choice of the budget world cup racers overlooked by some plush wood cabins occupied by the Lapierre WC team. The rain continued and we arrived at the Nevis range to find many familiar faces with not a lot to do. After losing Chris and Mop in the pits Jess and I headed back into town to see if there was anything to do, it was raining and Fort Bill as it turns out isnt the most interesting place to be when the world cup circus is still being erected and you cant ride yet! We found a warm and dry tourist information office with web access so a bit of social networking with the outside world killed time before we caught up with the other lady of FiveTwo racing Miss Suzanne Lacy and her other half Jamie. wideopen 16 September 2011 feature There were rumours of BB gun shootouts from a un Identitified team and a possible game of strip monopoly going on at this point but we went for the healthy and last resort of going for a walk in the Scottish scenery! A short and very fun drive down a road that resembled Berm baby berm we came across a small car park and donned the traditional Scottish dress of full waterproofs with the sounds of drum and bass echoing around the quiet nature. This turned out to be a pretty cool little non-bike trail scrambling round a rocky path into what can only be described as Jurassic park, a lush Grassy valley with steep rocky mountains around it and a MASSIVE waterfall at one end and a river running through it. Evening over and back to the tent for a bite to eat and sleep before our first day of world cup riding! uk bike magazine 49 Hitting the big time Thursday dawned and this was it our world cup debut and even more amazing the sun was out!! Practice and sign on werent until mid afternoon so we arrived at 10 with 4 hours to kill and went to check out the track! Now Ive always watched world cups on Freecaster, thought how big and gnarly the tracks looked and infact the last time I saw the Fort bill 4X in the flesh was 6am the day after the Worlds in 2007 when I snuck onto the track with my team mate Tom Knight to try and ride it and I failed epically not jumping anything. 4 years later Im back looking at lines and the changes theyve made and with my race head aside from the rock garden it doesnt really look any more challenging than anything that youd find on a British 4X track especially after the previous week at Afan which is a real achievement for the UK tracks! Ok the scale was a bit bigger, the turns were looser and as we stood on the gate Roger Rinderknecht wandered over but other than that it was so far feeling like a national with all the brit racers around. On the way down we took a better look at the rock garden which this year has had a 90o corner built coming into it with a berm round the outside or a flat tight right into the original rock huck onto the landing a way below. Now Afan may have the longest 4X rock garden in the world but theres 1 definite line through and its not actually that rough, this on the other hand had many lines from the big ballsy huck to the outside berm-outside edge line that was a lot smother but a lot longer. We left before psyching ourselves out and went to sign on to race, this is where it changed from a national race, normally we join a short queue of people you recognize, sign your name and go ride but this queue was backed up and full of foreign racers we didnt recognize interspersed with almost as many British riders and at the end a row of tables to work through. First up license check by the commissaries, followed by payment which has nearly doubled to �43 over last year, then collection of various wrist bands parking permits and a very special number board! Practice came around after another long wait and we all stood at the top awaiting the officials to open the track, 1st run nerves kicked in but were smoothed by heading into the gate with Tom Energizer Bunny Knight, seeing him roll off and cruise the first straight gave me some confidence and I kicked the pedals and began my world cup debut! The track was harder than it looked with a roller at the bottom of the start hill straight into a sharp double and then a strange triple step up meant not a lot of pedalling and this took a couple runs to get through clean, the next section was a sudden burst of pedalling followed by 2 large flat doubles that were a challenge to clear properly and led straight into a Wideopen LOOSE right hander. Now came another strange but, a large roller you could easily squish, a good sized double that just took some balls and then a massive pump bump that had a kick especially at the speed youre going here and first run it sent me nose diving to flat! Then the left � right entry to the rocks and first few runs I stopped here and pushed back up until I found fellow ONeal rider Alex Metcalf who happened to be the youngest rider there! He led I followed and we rolled through the rocks cleanly and then into the old track and down to the finish, a few more runs following Alex and building speed rounded up the practice session. Now I know Im no Jared Graves so I was mega happy Id got through the session without making a complete fool of myself and even more surprised I was feeling pretty damn happy on the track probably more so than any other race this year! wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 50 feature Hitting the big time feature After a quick roast chicken baguette that evening saw the Premiere of Clay Porters new film 3 Minute gaps and the crowed was literally a whos who of the mountain bike world with everyone from Jake the former Dirt mag tea boy to the Athertons and a host of pro riders all wanting to see some riding gold! We got a short intro from Clay and John Lawler who made the film and then a few words from one of the stars, Dan Atherton whose awesome recovery from a broken neck was a big part of the film and a big inspiration! My DVD shelves contain all of Clays previous films and Ive watched them all more than a few times so this was pretty special and it didnt disappoint, every rider section has had soo much effort put into it by Clay and the individual riders and its clear to see they all wanted to make it something worth watching which it most certainly is I cant recommend seeing this enough! The evening rounded off in the Ben Nevis Inn where a spare Tech support wrist band and parking permit got me and Jess a couple free drinks from a friendly tea boy! wideopen 16 September 2011 Friday morning and we rolled up to the Nevis range about 10ish which was more than enough time considering practice didnt start until nearly 5 but to our shock we were told the car parks were full and needed to park a mile away and get the bus back! Some arguing proved fruitless so we parked up at the side of the road just outside with some others and I had a wander into the overflow car park that we should have been in to find plenty space. Back to the marshals at the entrance and another argument ensued, now Ive marshalled at events before and I know it can be a pain when people wont listen but there was no way I was parking a mile away when I had a permit, a rider wrist band and qualifying that afternoon so pushed and eventually got past. After that excitement it was a day of killing time and wandering round, riding the gondola and talking to random people. With our rider wrist bands came certain perks like easy access to the gondola without queuing and or tickets for the turnstiles which meant more than the 1 trip I got when I was here spectating! With downhill practice in progress the gondola was a nice relaxing way to check out the action and a loop to the top and back down gives a good view of the track without having to walk it which I didnt fancy before qualifying. After that was a lot of wandering round the pit areas, I took the opportunity to find out a few people that have helped us here at Wideopen, the guys at Continental were friendly as ever and gave me a new 2.4 Mountain King MkII for the front to help keep my wheel planted on the loose stuff and accompany the fast X-King on the back. Then over to introduce myself to the guys at Orange bikes whove given us the awesome MIIIs to ride this year and they had a treat to see on the stand, the brand new Patriot in the flesh which looked awesome! uk bike magazine 51 Hitting the big time Eventually practice came around and we only had 1:30 to get everything sorted and get the gate dialled before our one and only qualifying run! This session was all about getting the whole run linked together top to bottom to get the fasted time when the time came so I just set off doing full runs trying to get my 1 line down the track the quickest I could possibly ride it. In what seemed no time at all it was over and time for the big one! Sitting at the top with all the other riders, free water and shortbread provided, even a lot of the seasoned pros looked nervous. In 9 years racing 4X Ive had nerves hit me before every single race no matter the level but sitting at the top I was nowhere near as anxious as before a National race which I can only put down to knowing my chances were slim and I just wanted to enjoy my 40 odd seconds as the only rider on track at a world cup. It was a long wait with the ladies going first, Jess unfortunately made a couple of mistakes on the technical first straight she couldnt recover from and didnt make it through. She wasnt the only one though, as Jared Graves set off he hit the step down off the triple right in front of all of us and nosedived so much there was an audible ohhhh from all the waiting riders as we thought he was going down but somehow saved it and kept going to take top spot. Around came my turn, number 143 and who was 142 in front of me? none other than Robbie Rickman! He set off and I stepped up onto the gate as the ram hissed and pulled it back up into starting position, I prepared myself as Robbie made his way down and after what seemed an eternity sitting there looking down the first straight the starter said something and the sequence started with the 4 words every 4X race lives for, OK RIDERS, RANDOM START! The beeps went and off I shot. The next 30seconds were a blur up to the big old table where I took off, dropped the back wheel over it and then hit the next berm and everything went wrong, the back wheel suddenly slipped out and my foot unclipped sending me way off line and going around the next quad and over the double next to it loosing soo much speed, I got back clipped and sprinted to the line confused and annoyed at myself. I looked down and the back tyre was flat as a pancake, I still dont know where it happened but all that mattered was it had. Right then the announcer said I was 64th, the very last qualifying spot but that didnt last as the next rider down was Mop Head and he was quicker knocking me out the race. The rest of the riders came down and the more I watched and heard people talking I realized I was far from the only one and not just punctures, a surprising number of Brits had been DQd for flag violations sadly. The last man came down, my good buddy Alex Metcalf in his first world cup and on the big screen he looked to be having a storming run until in the vicious rocks his back tyre succumbed to the roughness and he too flatted. Sitting there gutted and really annoyed for myself missing out by 1second and so many of my mates not going through but still hanging in there in 64th was Mr. Mop Head, both him and Robbie had made it through and I couldnt have been more stoked for them! feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 52 Hitting the big time After a day like that it was time to unwind and Mop had a tip there was a pub quiz going on so went to check it out but after a lot of driving about it turned out to be a load of local Scots and a bit of a letdown. We made a swift exit and joined Suzanne and Jamie at there lodgings for an evening in the bar with a pool table! We learnt a few things that night, Suzanne really cant play pool, Im even worse and she obliterated me, Mop Head confirmed his bad taste in music and found Jess despite looking 12 is actually about 80 wanting Pimms and GnTs haha! Saturday morning and we were all being a bit lazy and got to the track a bit later as Jess and myself were already out, again we got stung by the parking marshals but not in a mood to argue I just plonked the car on the road outside with some others and took the short walk in. Until now there hadnt really been any ticket barriers up as spectators were only really there over the weekend but now there were long queues to get in to the venue which did make the large entry fee worthwhile as we walked straight in through the riders entrance. This was another day killing time wondering round and riding the Gondola, downhill qualifying was at 2 so I got to the top and walked down as the women were coming down to cheer on fellow Wideopener Ellie Maxfield, I found a good spot in the muddy technical woods section with a familiar marshal from many races. It was a tough section and a lot of the girls were struggling but Ellie came through making it look pretty smooth, sadly she had dirty kit so shed crashed higher up and then after I walked down further I got told shed had a big over the bars just below me, so that was both of us out for this year. That evening was the 4X Finals and oh my god what a final! Hanging out with former Yeti team mate Jet we started at the top watching and worked our way down as the evening went on standing right on the side of the big table for the final races. 1St race of the evening was the big one, Graves, Mijer, Beaumont and Mop Head, the commentators were bigging up mop head but as soon as the gate dropped he was left behind by the former world champ and could do nothing but follow them down but still has the privilege of saying he raced a world cup! As heats went on the usual suspects came through with a few surprises, Identiti rider Scott Roberts was on a blinder of a night making passing moves all over the place but move of the night goes to the RSP rider who hucked from one side of the rock garden to the other bigger than anyone else cutting up the 3 others in the process to take the lead! The usually super quick Joost the Boost Wichman did seem to be having a run of bad luck getting taken out on the penultimate corner by Michel Prokop and then managing to crash in the final off the rocks taking his team mate Slavik out in the process leaving him 4th. In the Womens British favorite Katy Curd was out before the start after breaking her elbow in downhill practice and a puncture ended Fionn Griffiths night prematurely. The 2 big surprises were a young Brazilian racing on her full DH bike making moves on stuff none of the other girls were doing like jumping the rocks and the big table! Also Joey Goughs return to racing this year paid off with a lot of good riding all night and nearly taking the win she came an amazing 2nd after only just getting back on the bike! feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 53 Hitting the big time Saturday Night was the Dirt Mag party which was pretty damn cool but soo crowded and had the longest wait to get served ever! Sunday was Downhill day, the only event on and what the crowds come to see! To get a spot at the front of the arena you had to be there EARLY and by the time the top 10 came down there was no space anywhere in the area. Ive been racing dh for 11 years now and Ive never really been a fan of just watching it but this was different so many people going mental for every rider that came down and then twice as much for a brit the atmosphere was amazing to be amongst with the enormous house sized TV screen showing the live footage and then watching them come down the final section over the jumps to cross the line. Star of the evening was young Danny Hart taking his first world cup podium with an epic run nearly on a winner! So all done and dusted that was it for another year and then came the exit, the queues for the shuttle busses were nearly as long as the track, winding round the pits, I had to sneak out a side entrance just to get past since the car was just outside. A quick stop in town for fuel and chicken and we left the fort behind just as the rain started. The Mop mobile headed straight for the south but not wanting a 10hour drive we broke the journey up again at Glentress for a quick overnighter and brisk morning run round the red route in glorious sun shine and then that was it, the long slog down the M6 home! So that was it our marathon road trip and attempts to race the World Cup! Its things like this that are the reason I ride bikes, spending a week away with mates exploring the scenic areas you dont normally see and challenging yourself against the best in the world! Next year Ill be back to give it another go for sure and will be putting the effort in over the winter, now Ive done one its time for many more! Massive thanks to everyone whos helped me out this year, Wideopen, Continental, Orange, THE, SixPack, ONeal and the guys who made this trip what it was, Chris Ratford for the pics, Mop Head for getting us organized, Suzanne for the laughs and Jess for the hours of drum and bass and company on the 1500 mile round trip! feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 54 WHYTAKETWOBOTTLES The Will Evans interview interview by Wideopen Team Rider Dave Thomason photos by Rick Davey feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 55 The Will Evans interview Before this interview I spoke to my team-mate to see if he had any questions for world-class elite 4X racer Will Evans. All he could come up with was `how does he keep his hair so shiny?' So I guess that's why I'm doing the interview... Alone. Will may be renowned for the quality of his hair, and his skills on the 4X track, but hes also a hard working privateer on the world cup circuit, and we wanted to find out what makes him tick. Alright Will, hows it going? Yeah good thanks. Lets start at the beginning, who are you, where are youre from, and have you always ridden bikes? Im a 26yr old born and bred Cornish boy, and my life has always revolved around sport and competing; particularly adrenaline fuelled ones. Many of my hobbies are water based as I like to make the most of the Cornish coast. I couldnt ride a bike till I was about ten, but have been hooked ever since, pushing rugby and surfing out the way. Youre obviously most well known for your 4X racing, how long have you been racing, and how did you get into it? Do you ride/race any other disciplines? I used to build and ride a lot of trails but wanted to compete, so went to the classic Hayle dual back in 2002 and have been racing 4x ever since. It wasnt until I went to Uni at Swansea that allowed me to buy a DH bike and ride big hills. I raced nationals, Dragons etc in Expert and loved it. Although I often used to get over excited and crash my brains out, I miss it a lot (not tree smashing) but its a mission and expensive traveling from Cornwall. I also got pretty over the uplift queues. So in the past few years Ive focused on 4X. feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 56 The Will Evans interview Im a big fan of the South West Extreme national 4X track, a track that you had a lot of input into. Do you see that track as the direction that 4X should be taking � fast, rough, massive pro-line etc? I was chuffed how SWE raced last year, lots of challenges for all abilities and several overtaking opportunities from decent +90 degree corners and features that required brakes, which in my opinion is essential for good racing, rather than a track that is flowing and flat out. I also wanted to ensure that it was a MTB track, which I think I achieved despite the gradient and layout that I had to play with. Now, the main thing I want to focus on is what the privateer lifestyle is like for you, as this season youre racing a full national series and the majority of the world cup with very little support. What is it like to race off your own back, are there any additional difficulties/pressures to race without team support around you? A couple of weeks leading up the season my primary support fell through, which has increased the squeeze and was a bit of a wakeup call. It has limited the number of races that I have done this year which will obviously affect my ranks etc., but in a way its made me appreciate things that I had in the past. The main issue has been financial, its like catch 22; the need for money for races/ bike parts etc eats into my riding and training time and going away for more than a weekend such as a Euro 4x or World Cup also eats into work time, hence me not racing the Euro 4x series and only 3 World Cups this year. But you dont get any stronger without struggle!! feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 57 The Will Evans interview When youre racing, do you camp or book a hotel etc. We always see the top riders at the start staying warm on turbo trainers with support staff and mechanics ensuring theyre in perfect working order � do you have to sort your own bike etc? For me its all about a proper food, bed and shower. I have done my fair share of river washing when I raced a lot of downhill. These days its all about feeling and being at my best. I also like to get away from the track and bike talk. I often use a turbo but usually I am tucked away. Im not into waiting at the top of the hill for my run/heat. No I dont have a wrench which could explain things this year. Now Im writing this interview soon after your 8th place at the Leogang world cup, where you were the highest place British rider. How is it that other riders have more support then yourself, do you think this result will change anything? My result at the Leogang World Cup couldnt have happened at a better time, with the launch of my new website and the lack of support so far this year, fingers crossed this will influence things. Is this your best ever world cup result? What do you attribute it to � did the conditions play into your hands, or is this the start of some consistent top 10 results? It clearly wasnt the luck of the draw as you were up against some big names and you put in some big moves to get through to the finals. Yeah this is my best World Cup result to date, I have had several 10ths and 11ths but this was my first semi-final. I do tend to do better in the wet. I think the drifty conditions suit my style of riding and I feel confident riding in the wet, as long as my bike works and I can see, Im good to battle. I was also in a particularly chilled yet confident mood; my experience is probably catching up. What does the future hold for you � are you going to be racing world cups again next season; if so, what are your targets? Do you have any intention to build or modify any more 4X tracks? I am hoping to continue racing World Cups, how many depends on my support and other commitments, but its the World Cups that really excite me and inspire to train and ride. I am always open to developing new track designs and builds; my experience of racing and digger driving go hand in hand. The UK 4X scene is mega we just need more tracks and ones that are made for good racing not just big jumps and appearance. Finally, anyone youd like to give a shoutout to? Thanks to all my friends and family that have supported over the years me especially my girlfriend Sarah for putting up with me being away so much, Rick Davy for his imaging and web site design, and Maloja Clothing for keeping me on top of the fashion and race kit trends. Thanks to Will for talking with us. You can check out Wills website here www.willevansmtb.com feature wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 58 SCRATCHANDWIN Wideopen visit the new Hope factory... words by Alan Milway photos by Hope industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 59 Hope Technology Hope has built a reputation as an expanding and thoroughbred UK bike component company. However, the extent to which these adjectives proved to be true was astonishing, as revealed on a recent visit to the new factory. Set in rural Lancashire, this company was the brain child of two former Rolls Royce engineers, who set about developing cable-operated disc brakes for their push bikes. As the brakes sold more units, the company started to grow: leading to more employees and a gradual development of the product range. This story in itself is not unusual and documents the genesis of many a company. However, where Hope is different is in their approach; the growth of the company is seemingly never ending. The latest premises are still in Barnoldswick, and Hope still employs 90% of its workforce from the local town. The downfall of a scratch card manufacturer allowed the company to move into a newly renovated and impressive factory � with little modification required to give them their new home. It still has the large vault at the back of the building where the winning scratch cards were once kept (now filled with trials bikes and valuable commodities). industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 60 Hope Technology As I arrive, 3 flat-screen TVs are being fitted in the lobby area, completing the gallery/ museum of bike product history and photography. It houses pictures of riders who have used the products and a selection of bikes from years past, adorned with early versions of the now famous Hope brakes. As you walk up the wooden staircase, you pass the cyclocross bike of newly crowned national champion Paul Oldham (a Hope employee) and head in to the main reception, where receptionists sit surrounded by laser cut signage, a range of bikes and a cabinet full of industry awards. The two directors are both very much integral to the day to day running of the business � Simon Sharp is very much the active engineer - he is likely to be seen in the background with dirt under his nails; working on something, programming something, or trying to solve...something. He has the air of someone who enjoys quietly beavering away to solve a problem for his own sake rather than for any commercial gain. His only extravagance seems to be a ltd edition Repsol Montesa trials bike. Unused and now no longer available it is waiting to be hung from the wall in his office. Ian Weatherill, his partner, is also an engineer, and an engineering evangelist. He is passionate about making things and the machines that facilitate this. His enthusiasm for producing components and parts seems to outweigh the logical, methodical approach of whether it would be profitable. Bursting with ideas he is all for trying things and this approach lends itself well to the ideas springing up from all around the shop floor, with staff seemingly free to contribute and feedback. industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 61 Hope Technology The staff all seem bike mad themselves, but what was so surprising was just how well everyone knew their role and were quietly getting on with it. Who would have thought you would spot the national cyclocross champion quietly working away at a CNC station, or trials legend Woody Hole commanding operations in the assembly and packing area. Now employing 90 staff in a huge range of roles, Hope makes almost everything on site. Not only the machined parts of brakes and stems for example, but also fitments, washers and tiny turned pins. Sliding head machines produce components that many other companies would just buy in. When questioned about this Ian explains the reasoning, "this way we can control the manufacture and are not waiting on parts". Astonishingly machines run for 23 hours a day, and can only just keep up with demand. I could not believe that there was no stock room. Naively I had expected a huge room dedicated to green and black boxes, piled high with brakes, stems, lights, clamps, discs etc. But no, only a few rows of shelving house products at various stages of completion, and before you know it they have been picked, packed and are out of the door. Distribution from the factory is worldwide, with only a few dedicated distributors. The UK is still the biggest market for Hope, followed by Germany and France. Not a company to ignore facts like this, they have employed a linguist to answer calls and take orders � flitting seamlessly between German and French. Not surprisingly the orders from the German market have increased. industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 62 Hope Technology The ownership of the manufacturing process seems to be a key area where Hope differentiate themselves from the competition � where some companies have other factories making parts for them (often abroad) Hope do 99% in-house. An interesting example is anodising. To produce the bright, gleaming colours the parts are dipped in a succession of baths with various chemicals and electric charges, to bind the colour to the metal. Its a relatively complex process which does require a certain alchemy � too long or too short in a bath and the process will not be truly successful. However, as this varies for the size of the part, the operator must know when it is just right. Anodising was something they did not know about, so they just went and got a book out of the library, read up and built their own machine for doing it. Now they control this process and are not waiting on anybody else. Aluminium is not necessarily a difficult metal to work with, and relatively simple machines allow raw material to be turned into components. However, none of these simple machines will be found here. High tech CNC machines fill the factory � automating production of the vast array of component parts. The flag ship machines are huge, �450k beasts, with multiple heads working through many tasks at once at great speed. On installation, the company rep had only ever seen two of these machines at one company before � and this was at a Formula 1 team. Hope has installed five of them. industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 63 Hope Technology The tour was a fascinating insight into a constantly developing company. Seemingly unharmed by the market down turn (your hobby is often one of the last things you cut back on) the range is ever expanding, with cassettes, chain rings, chain guides, cranks and pedals all on the horizon. I think that before long Hope will be producing most component parts for your bike, and perhaps we will not need to look for parts from the two big S brands after all? As I leave the factory after a fascinating day, the attention for Woody, Ian and Simon has turned to their enduring passion for trials bikes. They are off for a mid week ride with a certain Dougie Lampkin and are finalising details. When things could all get too work focused and perspective lost - I think that they have got the balance just about right! industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 64 TEADRINKINGSPECIALIST interview by James Hilton photos by Dan Cube's UK Northern Account Manager Dan Wells industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 65 Tea drinking specialist: Cube's Dan Wells Working in the bike industry, a dream for many of us, but what does it actually involve? We talk to Dan Wells, one of Cube UK's team of Account Managers about working with all things two wheels day in, day out. First of all Dan, thanks for talking to us � can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Name, age, hometown, first bike, current bike...? Dan Wells, 31, Macclesfield � Cheshire, Tea addict, 16" wheel Raleigh Buster took the stabilisers of when I was 3 � and taught myself to ride in an afternoon, havent stopped since. Current bike(s) CUBE Stereo(140mm, 1x 10, fox 36s up front), CUBE AMS 110 XC bike (tubeless, 1x 10), CUBE Agree GTC road bike and a NS Traffic for pumptracks and dirt jumps. You work for Cube in the UK as an Account Manager � whats a typical week for you? I dont really have an average week but Mondays are usually spent at my home office. First thing, check in with Dan White + Chris Astle the other 2 UK guys, then give the HQ a call and get the low down from Bart Van Den Biggelaar my sales manager. Following that I set about planning the following weeks schedule, writing up visit reports and handling any issues that have arisen in the previous week. The rest of the week is spent on the road visiting dealers across my area - UK North, Scotland and Ireland. Having spent many hours behind the wheel have you considered a reviewers job at Van drivers monthly?! Ha Ha, yeah I think a few of the reps out there are more than qualified for this job! If they pay cash in hand Ill offer my services! Youve mentioned in the past a bit of competition between Account Managers with what van they drive, whos got the pimpest ride at the moment? Well thats a tough call mine is pretty cool, Black Renault Traffic Sport, chrome bars, Alloys and all the gadgets. Stu at Yeti/Evolution has a pretty pimping Transporter though! industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 66 Tea drinking specialist: Cube's Dan Wells How did you get into the bike industry? Was it something you always wanted to do? Er not really, after university and four months backpacking in Australia I was working in a hotel gym which was awful but also got me back into XC racing. I got offered a job at the local Bike shop and took it, partially to make racing cheaper. So I entered the trade at the age of 24. One year later and due to some unforeseen circumstances the shop went under and left me unemployed, however in the mean time I had made friends with a few of the reps and got offered an office based tele-sales role at MMA Sports (661,Maxxis) so I moved down to Wales and got stuck in. Two and a half years later my girlfriend was based in Manchester and so I was looking to move back North. I had a word with Dan White who at the time was the sole rep for CUBE, passed the interview and one month later I was back in Manchester with a set of car keys, laptop, a box of brochures and told to get on with it. Really a case of knowing the right people and working hard, its a great industry to be a part of and I have no plans on leaving. What is your background? I grew up on the Wirral on an old farm and rode bikes every day around the yard and the local woods. I got my Dad to take me to some XC races in my teens and got hooked on racing. Ive raced XC since 1995 and tried downhill but there was no tracks nearby and I couldnt afford the bikes. I still race XC in Masters but have started riding with downhill boys, getting into the gravity enduros and have qualified for the main event in the Mega for two years running. Im aiming for a top 80 place this year. Cube has a growing presence in the UK, what are they like to work for? How connected to the product are you? The Germans call it a Kumple (mate/buddy) Company, its honestly like working with a bunch of mates, so therefore really good. We all work hard and put the effort in, but then I have often called the office at about 5 on a Friday to find out they are 3 beers down! There is a designated area in the warehouse for crates of beer! Were totally connected to the product, all of us ride and along with me some of the others race on a regular basis. industry wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 67 Tea drinking specialist: Cube's Dan Wells What are the channels for product development? Are there any interesting things in the pipeline? We have a dedicated team of designers, some of which were employed from the automotive industry during the recession. All the design is done in house and prototypes are made using a 3D rapid print machine (think life size plastic models). These models are then tweaked and material shaved off where required before being sent to the factories in the far east along with the CAD models for prototyping. The preproduction frames are then sent back and the Test riders give them hell. All of our XC hardtails have been ridden to success at the Transalp before theyve gone in to production! Andre WagenKnecht, the German 2008 downhill champion is our test rider for all the suspension bikes, so everything is put through its paces. Weve got some interesting stuff coming including our first entry to the downhill market with the Two15 bike (featured as a UK exclusive on the Wideopen website a few months ago). The Stereo and Fritzz will get redesigned for 2013 and be more gravity biased, so perfect for UK Gravity Enduro and Mega style events. There are a new range of 29ers, plus all the other stuff (hybrids/road bikes) which all get tweaked most years with current improvements being things like integrated headsets, bottom brackets and internal cable routing. Is there anything that can get lost in translation with the UKs quite different sense of humour to a German brand? Yes definitely, us UK guys are just sarcastic whereas the Germans are a lot simpler with anything to do with Tits, Ass, Shit or Shagging being funny to them. All of our mud guards have "I like it dirty" printed on them! Says it all really. How often do you get to ride? Is it part of the day job? I ride pretty frequently but more to do with where I live, the quality of the riding and the standard of the guys I ride with - you have to ride a lot just to be able to keep up! (Wideopen - we can vouch for that!) The local boys have just won Mountain Mayhem 24hr (again) and there are 3 well known World Cups riders in the area. I am also fortunate that work takes me to some amazing riding locations, Scotland, North Wales, the Lakes, the Yorkshire dales. The bike is always in the back of the van! If someone wanted to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give them? Ive been lucky in having some good mentors in the trade but basically youve got to know your product, be polite, dont bullshit and be as professional as possible. Remember it is a commercial business at the end of the day. Generally though if you possess those qualities youll go far, drink a lot of tea and get paid to talk about and ride bikes most days. Oh and never put the milk in first! Thanks for talking with us Dan � if you want to know more about Cube then check out their website: www.cube.eu wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 68 industry ITISABITSMELLY The nurse took a slightly awkward though none the less very professional sniff and agreed "Yes, it is a bit smelly"... We both looked at the multi-coloured, gooey hole in my upper shin that had received so much attention over the last ten days and sighed. She apologised, poked it as gently as you ever can a wound that has five stitches and a worrying combination of leaky colours and sniffed it again. "hmm" she said "Yes, it is a bit smelly". The aforementioned odiferous area that was the cause of so much awkward probing was � of course- the result of an ill-timed and illexpected dismount on the local trails. As with all of my crashes it wasnt an attempt to take the tomb-stone hip jump of my day dreams or the vertical death-chute that haunts my nightmares. It was more a case of wrong place, wrong time, wrong tyres, wrong technique. I went one way, the root went the other, the bike went the other, a bit of my leg went the other. The rain was pissing down, we were nearing the end of our ride and I was leading the way down a particularly wet, slippy, rooty (though admittedly rather flat) section of South West single track. All I had to do was complete a few more soggy turns and I could enjoy a reward post-ride-pint. One minute I was doing my best to shake off the guy on my back wheel - the next I was in the all too familiar face down, bike up position. A tale of embarrassed probing and unwanted discharge from Wideopen's editor... The most annoying thing wasnt that I had apparently taken a chunk of skin out of my leg the size of a two pound coin, or that it was full of wet, mulchy pine needles, or that I had to wrap a pair of pants (that I happened to have in my bag) round my leg as a make shift bandage for the ride home or even that I then had to get my missus to accompany me to A&E on a Friday night. Nope, they were all relatively passable as part of the adventure and romance of a gnarly riding injury. Like the pros get, you know? The most annoying part of the whole debacle was without doubt the fact that the whole sorry business, including the fact that a nurse has now sniffed my leg in disapproval, could easily have been avoided had I been just a tiny bit less bloody lazy. Not life-changily so - just a little, tiny bit. The morning of the ride I hastily packed my bag for a day at work and a ride in the evening. Shorts, gloves, helmet, riding shoes were all shoved in a bag. I stared at my knee pads ... decided they were a bit much for an evenings singletrack bashing and rolled off to work with the excitement of a Labrador puppy chasing a loo roll. The aforementioned kneepads stayed firmly on the floor, in the house. So here I sit 10 days, 15 antibiotics, 1 tetanus jab, 1 trip to A&E, 4 trips to the drop-in centre, 4 missed rides and a very awkward leg-sniffing later. Im never particularly receptive to people preaching at me so excuse the hypocrisy when I offer up the following obvious, hind-site laden advice. Please, please, please just wrap up safe and wear a bit of protection when youre out bashing the trails. Knee pads, gloves, shinpads, whatever are actually a good thing. Of course they arent going to stop you breaking your neck, exploding into giblets on a landmine or whatever fiendish carnage your trails dishout ... but they will stop the ridiculous, comedic, farcical and utterly pointless incidents that might otherwise be avoided. Trust me, the nurse will thank you! uk bike magazine 69 feature wideopen 16 September 2011 8 questions with Wideopen team rider Ellie Maxfield... 1. Who is Ellie Maxfield? A Bristol based mountain biker, environmental consultant, skier/ snowboarder. Also a Southerner and proud. 2. What does racing bikes give you? A reason to always try and improve. Also more people to chat to and new places to ride. 3. Best thing about racing mountain bikes? Line choice, I love line choice. 4. Worst thing about racing mountain bikes? Crashing on a race run of course, and getting up far too early on the Sunday morning to be riding bikes down a hill. 5. What is your best riding memory of the year so far? Doing the ridiculously intimidating, but actually very easy, wooden drop on the Fort Bill World Cup track after looking at it for a fairly long time. 6. What would you be disappointed if you never achieved on your bike? Id be disappointed if I never managed to dirt jump with an element of style. I may be in for some disappointment! 7. What is the most scared youve been this year on your bike? Riding down the Elephants Tail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on a riding holiday with Ciclomontana � there was a couple of hundred feet of drop to the side and we were riding down rocky terrain with incredibly tight switchbacks. I had complete vertigo and was in total fear. I made it down but it would have been unwise to speak to me during that descent... 8. What is the most fun youve had on your bike this year? Tough one, theres a few to choose from. Ill go with the XC loop in Snowdonia from Capel Curig with my mate Katie Hallam in February. I say fun, but the day was actually made up of falling off my bike into the mother of all puddles, a horrendous road climb, getting utterly lost and allowing panic to ensue, being deserted in a village with only �2 and a serious struggle to find a friendly offer of tea, waiting for Katie to hitch around a mountain to locate the car while soaked to the bone. Good times riding bikes all the same. Ellie rides elite downhill for Wideopen. Shes focussing on the Pearce series and the Halo British Downhill Series and has just raced her first World Cup at Fort William. Shes scored 5 top 3 results so far in 2011. wideopen 16 September 2011 SUPEREIGHT team issue uk bike magazine 70 SUPEREIGHT 1. Who is Brandon Love? Brandon Love is a short, hairy child from the flat south east. 8 questions with Wideopen team rider Brandon Love... 2. What does racing bikes give you? Racing bikes is two most fun things Ive found and to do them together is the best feeling ever � especially if youre winning. 3. Whats the worst thing about racing mountain bikes? The worst thing about racing mountain bikes is also the best thing and thats not winning. Not winning is shit... but it motivates you to win the next time you race. 4. Whats the best thing about racing mountain bikes? As above. Winning is the best thing ... and not winning drives you to do better. That and being around a good bunch of fellas every weekend. 5. Whats your best riding memory of the year so far? Pass! Well... riding Glencoe and Llangollen was pretty good but thats it so far! 6. What would you be disappointed if you didnt achieve on a bike? Not achieving a goal is rubbish for sure. Id love to win a National race or even a World Cup. 7. What is the most scared youve been this year on your bike? I havent managed to scare myself this year yet, but Im sure the next few races where I feel a lot more committed I will! 8. Whats the most fun youve had on your bike so far? The most fun Ive had has got to be carving down the sandy turns in Malaga. Thats closely followed by riding my new local tracks that Ive built near my house. Brandon rides downhill in the junior cat for Wideopen focussing on the HaloBDS and South East regionals. Top results so far are a 5th at the Moelfre HaloBDS and a win at Mr Blings series. team issue wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 71 IT'SNOTTHEDESTINATIONIT'S THEJOURNEYTHATDEFINES YOU 2011 BDS Round 3, Glencoe words by Jamie hiding in the van Edwards photos by Jacob hypothermia Gibbins report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 72 BDS Round 3 - Glencoe Ill admit � Im writing this report quite some time indeed after we got blown off the side of Glencoe mountain and beat a hasty retreat south relieved that we hadnt all died of hypothermia. Id done my web-report and chalked it up as a massive waste of time, money and dry clothes. The more I think about it however � the more I realise that Glencoe was in fact the most fun Ive had on the road all season. I didnt touch a bike all weekend, I didnt leave the pits all weekend and I spent most of the time hiding in the van from the howling, force 10, blowing my easyup away, apocalyptic wind. What I did do however was get drunk, meet a heap of crazy people, stay in the most outrageous B&B Ive ever experienced and spent a lot of time crammed in a van with a group of absolute lunatics. I appreciate that isnt what people drive north and spend a small fortune to do on race weekends � but for me at least � it was epicly good fun. I may well be polishing turds here but in Team Wideopen it is most definitely the journey rather than the destination than makes up the story. report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 73 BDS Round 3 - Glencoe "Fucking shite. Its Death on a Stick" is how our good mate Bud described Glencoes track. I dont think he meant he didnt like it... I think he just meant that (in his own special deep North Wales way) it was the gnarliest, most technical, most ruthlessly unforgiving track on the National Circuit. If youre riding Glencoe you better bring your body armour � if youre racing it you better bring a massive set of balls! report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 74 BDS Round 3 - Glencoe Fair play. They dont have to race the National Series and theyve probably got sunnier, drier, warmer and considerably more glamorous hills to ride down ... but the Atherton clan were at Glencoe sliding down the hill like the rest of em. Dan is pictured here modelling Glencoes particularly terrifying chair lift. When these babies starting hitting the pylons the BDS crew decided it was about time to call "time out" and send us all home. A wise decision. report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 75 BDS Round 3 - Glencoe This story is probably best summed up through the medium of video. Hit up the link and check out MTBcut rider Joe Barnes braving the monsoon the bring us the action. report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 76 When has there ever been a bad race at Llangollen? Even when its crapping down with rain it still rocks. The track is gnarly, the town is great for a beer and pits are always buzzing. Rich Thomas knows a thing or two about Llangollen � not least how to smash the top corners. Round 4 of the HaloBDS ladies and gents! 2011 BDS Round 4, Llangollen words by Jamie Edwards photos by Jacob Gibbins (www.jacobgibbins.co.uk) report SUNSHINEANDSMILES wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 77 BDS Round 4 - Llangollen Unlike the old school Llan track which was tight, steep and tech new Llan is balls out, top speed, fast as hell across a wideopen, exposed hillside. Epic views, epic speeds and an epic shot of someones arse. wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 78 report report BDS Round 4 - Llangollen wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 79 BDS Round 4 - Llangollen report wideopen 16 September 2011 Uplifts are always a grumble at Llan sadly, especially at the HaloBDS where entries are top price and value for money is the priority for racers. Long uplift queues are sometimes a part of racing ... but this one seemed to attract more grumbles than the rest. An hour and a half round is a long old way for a run of a sub-2minute track. Come on guys � is there anything we can do to make a great venue perfect? uk bike magazine 80 BDS Round 4 - Llangollen A lot of peoples money was on the Brendog to "keep his shit in a pile" (his words) and take the win � especially after he stomped out a win at the2010 Welsh Champs and 2010 BDS here. Sadly, it never came together and at his own admission followed a "pretty shit year all round". 7th for the Big Dog. report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 81 BDS Round 4 - Llangollen report And Danny Hart... what can you say about his season? Hes been on fire all year and was riding the wave of his success at Fort William. Danny seeded fastest, was last man on track but landed in 3rd place. A killer ride nonetheless. wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 82 BDS Round 4 - Llangollen What did we say about Llangollen buzzing on race day? By Sunday afternoon the pits were stacked with racing fans, beautiful girls and kids on the prowl for Monster. This is how it should be at a UK National. Buzzing! wideopen 16 September 2011 report uk bike magazine 83 BDS Round 4 - Llangollen Josh Bryceland is (like Danny Hart) another kid that has suddenly stepped it up a gear this season. Who knows what the winning formula is but hes been riding a wave of new confidence and amazing results at almost every World Cup all year. After an 11th at Leogang before Llan everyone was keeping a close eye on JB... report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 84 BDS Round 4 - Llangollen Josh wasnt last man down... but he was the last man to climb on the podium. First place for Josh and proof that (if you watch our race video) a pre-race poo or two definitely helps come final runs. Nice work Josh � Fastest at the speed trap and fastest at the finish line. Stoked! report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 85 words by Wideopen Team Rider Dave Thomason photos by Tom Gaffney (www.flickr.com/thomasgaffney) report CHANGINGOFTHEGUARD wideopen 16 September 2011 2011 4X national champs, Harthill, Cheshire uk bike magazine 86 National 4X Championships The Harthill 4X track has changed slightly since the national and Euro round there last year. Unfortunately, the weather hadn't. Racing the track last year, there was no advantage to taking the pro-line, so over the winter the chicken line and pro-line had been switched around to give an advantage to those with the skills to hit the big jumps. However, it was still quicker to roll the pro-line than hit the chicken line, so work still needs to be done. This doesnt detract from the fact that the track threw up some really really good racing. Part of the reason for this was the weather. It rained on Saturday morning, and then hammered it down all day on Sunday; race day. By the end of practice, there was standing water down on the last few corners, but the top section was drier and akin to deep sand in a few places. This change in conditions as you went down the track threw up a few challenges. Senior/Elite male and female riders had a timed qualification followed by knock-out rounds, whereas all the other categories had 3 motos followed by knock-outs. Timed runs went first, with the Women kicking things off. It was a very predictable start to an unpredictable day, with Katy Curd once again owning the womens category. However, things started to change when the men hit the hill. Qualifying was in reverse number plate order, so Scott Beaumont on his favoured 96 plate was in the mid-field instead of the harp end of the competition hes used to. This meant that although he displaced Robbie Rickman for the hot seat, other riders knew the time they were aiming for, and by all accounts Scott didnt have the best run. The pressure was on! report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 87 National 4X Championships The riders were getting increasingly quick � and increasingly young as they came down the hill. With two men to go, Tom Dowie put in a stormer of a run to take over the top spot. Then Pat Campbell-Jenner went even quicker. And last man down Scott Roberts put more time into him to qualify first. Then it was time for the motos. There were no major surprises, all the top riders in each category made it through � though some with more ease than others. In Juvenile, Dylan Grell-Delsol has been absolutely owning the category all year, and it didnt stop today. Someone so young pinning it over the pro-line is an impressive sight, and he pinned it all the way to the finals and walked away with a fine win. Last years Juvenile national champion Bard Kerr has moved up to race Youth this year, but was unlucky not to make the finals. Last years Youth winner Isaac Mundy was one of only two riders to retain their title � this time in the Junior category, taking the win from last years winner Alex Metcalfe. In Masters, Dave Richardson took the opportunity available after Martin Ogden left to race elite again, and rode solidly for the win, and Darren Howarth turned up to waltz the veterans category. And so, it was back to the womens. Nichola Anderson was the only rider to really try and take the fight to Katy Curd, but it was to no avail. She may have been close in the semis, but Katy turned on the style in the final to win by the entire last straight. Nichola was second, Suzanne Lacey third. Katy was the second rider to retain their national championship stripes. report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 88 National 4X Championships report Senior/Elite men battled through the round of 64, round of 32 and quarter-finals without any major surprises. A couple of senior riders were left in the mix but it was, unsurprisingly, dominated by the elites. Scott Beaumont was using his superior gate to get ahead in the first corner and hold other riders off throughout his motos. Tom Dowie was unlucky to crash out after qualifying so well, in a very entertaining moto. Quarters went to semi-finals with the top two qualifiers plus Scott Beaumont, Will Evans, Billy Cheetham, Jake Ward, Nathan Parsons and sole remaining senior rider Luke Limbrick. wideopen 16 September 2011 Jake was the victim of a strong move in the semis which took him and Nathan Parsons out of contention. In the second semi, Billy Cheetham and Will Evans tussled with each other after Boom Boom was out front, to let Luke Limbrick through and into the Elite final, alongside Pat Campbell-Jenner and Scott Roberts. uk bike magazine 89 report National 4X Championships wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 90 National 4X Championships Come the finals, my money was on Scott Roberts � hes been so consistent this season, and with first place qualifier he had the track speed. However, no-one would bet against Boom-Boom in the big races. It was going to be close. Out the gate, both Scotts had the snap, and Pat was firmly on their tails. Limbo was a bit behind, not getting the best start. Both Scotts went inside, but Boom-Bom tried to hold an impossibly tight line and washed out, taking Roberts with him. Pat and Limbo had both gone wide on the first corner, possibly sensing that this might happen, and they just rode round. In the second corner, Pat went inside and Limbo went outside. Pat stalled in the deep sand on the inside, allowing Limbo to catch him up, carrying much more speed out of the corner. They were neck and neck coming out of the step-up/step-down, but Limbo had the inside line and he held it to nose in front. Pat fought the whole way down, trying to go inside on the slippery last corner, but Limbo held him off with a fantastic ride to become your new Elite national champion. Possibly the first ever time a senior rider has won this title � sandbagger! Scott Beaumont came home in third to take the final podium spot. Congratulations to all seven new national champions. Catch them in action next month at South-West Extreme! See you there. This report was written by Wideopen team rider Dave Thomason. The Wideopen 4X team are powered by: report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 91 report SERIOUSAFFAIR wideopen 16 September 2011 Euro 4X Series - Houffalize words and photos by Dave Thomason uk bike magazine 92 Euro 4X Series - Houffalize The European 4X series is going from strength to strength, and for 2011 it kicked off in May with a massive cycling festival held in Houffalize, Belgium. We made good time driving to the channel tunnel on the Friday morning, and managed to sneak onto an earlier train because almost everyone was hanging about in the terminal trying to get a look at Kate Middletons dress. Driving through France and then Belgium was fairly easy apart from one small incident driving on the wrong side of the road (standard tourist fare) and an impromptu trip into Brussels, but we finally made it to the hotel, signed in and then went to find the track. The Houffalize Bike Festival shows just how seriously the Belgians take their cycling. The entire town was entirely closed off to cars, and there were millions of lycra-clad XC jockeys either standing around or sprinting up hills, alongside a number of DHers and 4Xers. It was a packed weekend; during the festival there were eight or so cross country races, a DH race, the Belgian national 4X champs as well as the event we had travelled to see; Round 1 of the 2011 Schwalbe European 4X series. The track walk showed the track to be loose, open and with only very minor changes from the world cup held this time last year, including a technical drop/double combination straight out of the start gate. At the end of the first straight is a big right hand berm, tabletop, left hand berm, drop, double and step-up. It is here that the track really comes into its own: you either brake hard and cut inside over the step up, or go wide round the corner. Then its over the bridge and back under it in a 270 degree corkscrew, with a multitude of lines. After this is two doubles, left hander, triple, right hander and three drops down into the finish. What makes this track special is the fact that every corner has at least two viable line options. Past racing has showed that at Houffalize, for a change, the race isnt won in the first corner. report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 93 Euro 4X Series - Houffalize With only 1 hour of official practice on Saturday and another hour early on Sunday morning, there wasnt a lot of time to gauge who had the track speed for this race. The RSP 4X team were out in force, alongside the CRC/Nukeproof and Ghost teams, with further competition coming from British stalwart Scott Beaumont, and young guns Scott Roberts, Tom Dowie and Jake Ward. The Belgian 4X championships took place on the Saturday, but it was quickly apparent that there was a problem with the gate, as it wasnt strong enough to support four riders pushing against it. This meant that series organizer Chris Roberts had a late night getting his hands on � and setting up � a replacement gate. Once again he came up trumps and had it all sorted for Sunday. report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 94 Euro 4X Series - Houffalize Come race day and practice was 9.00-10.00am, with qualifying not starting until 3.00pm. The 5 hour wait didnt go down too well with a lot of the racers, and a lack of planning later in the day by the organizers on the Belgian side of things led to further frustration and slight delays. However, this didnt detract from the quality racing when everything finally got up and running. World champion Tomas Slavik took the top spot in qualification, with fellow RSP rider Joost Wichman second and Ghost Bikes Adam Stasek in third. In the womens category, an interesting story was unfolding. Two British riders had made the journey over, but that was it. No other women had turned up. Seeing that there was a 400 top prize for the women, they were anxious to race, but they needed a minimum of 6 riders � so 5 XC racers were commandeered, spare helmets scrounged and a full contingent of female racers was found. The XC girls had no idea what theyd let themselves in for, with some of them not even doing any practice runs before qualification. Britains Katy Curd turned up on the Friday before the race to get in some early practice, but managed to over jump the pro-line and bust up her shoulder. However, with the prize money a large temptation, she decided to roll down the track in some considerable pain for her qualifier. This is Katy Curd though and she doesnt really know how to hold back � she ended up winning qualification ahead of Nichola Anderson, and then went on to win the race itself. Thats commitment! "5 XC racers were commandeered, spare helmets scrounged and a full contingent of female racers were ready" report wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 95 report Euro 4X Series - Houffalize wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 96 Euro 4X Series - Houffalize Come the mens finals and the fastest racers, as expected, made it through the first rounds unscathed. The first major shock came in the quarter finals where world champion Tomas Slavik, despite having a healthy lead, appeared to take himself out. One of the Mechura brothers was taken out by a kamikaze inside line, and the top 16 were cut down to a top 8 with Scott Boom Boom Beaumont the sole remaining British hope. After winning every Moto thus far he had some bad luck; an uncharacteristically poor gate and a crash which left him 8th overall. He was clearly disappointed after promising so much more. The final consisted of two RSP riders (Joost Wichman and Jurg Meijer) and two Ghost bikes riders (Adam Stasek and Johannes Fischbach). Fischbach had the gate and the lead, hotly chased by Wichman. Johannes was holding on, flying through the top section and staying out front over the bridge, through the corkscrew and over the pro-line. Maybe he thought hed already won it, maybe he didnt think Wichman was so close, but Joost was not giving up. Coming out of the penultimate corner he set himself up for a fantastic overtaking move and just managed to slip past the confused Fischbach. Stasek claimed third with Meijer fourth, and Milan Mysik won the Bfinal to take 5th. wideopen 16 September 2011 All in all it was a cracking weekend of racing with fantastic weather and a truly incredible atmosphere. The Euro 4X series is gaining a reputation as a mini World Cup, and although there are still a couple of lessons to learn for organisers, as there always are for a young series such as this, its reputation was definitely strengthened by the success of the first round here in Houffalize. report uk bike magazine 97 DONOWRONG The Cotic BFe longtermer... review by James Hilton photos by Dunc Conway (www.duncanconway.net) wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 98 longtermer Cotic BFe In Issue 15 we introduced the Cotic BFe, our new hardtail longtermer. The bright shiny blue number from the boys near Sheffield has been tested hard all summer come rain or shine whilst leaving the big bike in the garage. The one thing youll notice in the BFe is the stand over height is excellent on every frame size. Despite being an XS frame our BFe still has a reasonable top tube length which makes it a perfect ragging all rounder bike for me (or a play bike for someone a touch taller). This combination of low stand over and reasonable top tube length is consistent through the sizing. The back end is a consistent 420mm on all sizes, which is pretty much the same as the trustee SantaCruz Chameleon, my do-it-all hardtail benchmark. The effect of that combination is that you have the length in the wheel base giving stability when its rough, yet when things tighten up you have the feeling you can pull up the front wheel and pivot about on the rear � something that is endless fun when the trails become smoother and twistier, typical woodland single-track. Here in the Peak District were lucky enough to have both ends of the spectrum available and in Macclesfield I can do both extremes in an hour long ride 10 minutes from my house. The BFe is a fun bike � and this combination of stability whilst maintaining an element of playful manoeuvrability is a delicate balancing act that Cy Turner (designer � interviewed in Issue 9) at Cotic has got absolutely spot on. longtermer wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 99 Cotic BFe "Stable and planted yet incredibly exciting" longtermer wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 100 Cotic BFe I quoted Gary Fisher back in Issue 15s first look of the BFe, "Strength, weight, cost � pick two". Yes the BFe is no feather weight, weighing a full pound more than my old Chameleon at 5.4lbs for the XS frame yet in riding, and Im serious here, you dont notice the extra weight. Its a stiff frame thanks in equal part to the careful selection of tube materials and profiles which equates to efficient power transfer. So, yes, it isnt the greatest of climbers with slack geometry, long forks and short rear end but every last bit of effort does translate to forward motion. The extra heft does come into its own though when the trails point downwards. The bike picks up speed addictively quickly and those whove not ridden a hardcore hardtail before could well find the bike helps them write cheques theyve not got the skills to cash. To the more experienced hardtail rider though, the BFe is stable and planted yet incredibly exciting. So here we have a good looking, beefy burly frame. Its designed in the UK by a UK company. Its geometry is well thought out. All this amounts to produce one fun bike, and one that at this price we cant praise more highly. At home at the heart of a budget build (as weve done here) or part of a much more extravagant specification (as tested early last year) this BFe proves to punch much higher than its weight (and price) would suggest. Get one. RRP �375 (including delivery) www.cotic.co.uk Tested by: James The word: A playful budget busting hardcore hardtail that maintains the fantastic balance and poise of the Cotic geometry. longtermer wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 101 Cane Creek Double Barrel The Cane Creek Double Barrel shock is something of a legend in the world of mountain biking. Reviewers rave about it and riders hear it mentioned in revered tones. The lucky few that have one take every opportunity to extol its virtues, and the rest - the people who have never experienced it - just listen intently, longing for a test ride, to see if it really is THAT good. There are few, if any, products that have a reputation as strong as this shock. So, is it really that good? Well, I had to find out. I mounted it on an Orange Alpine 160 for single pivot simplicity, and then took it up to the Lake District for two weeks of solid all-mountain smashing. With a piece of equipment as highly tuned as this shock, it is almost inevitable that its a bit highly strung. Hit the sweet spot with regards to setup and itll blow your mind, but if you take a half-assed approach then it wont reward you at all, and you wont understand what the fuss is about. So take your time getting the setup just right, its vital. Previous versions of the Double Barrel meant carrying a socket around to adjust things but Im pleased to say Cane Creek have thought long and hard about this and have tweaked things to a couple of different sized adjusters and included a small but perfectly formed tool to do the job for you. Definitely take your time with the adjustments; a small turn on the dials makes a big difference. The Alpine is not an XC bike, but put the saddle up and keep cranking and itll get you from A to B at an average pace. The Cane Creek had an impressive lack of pedal bob, even when straining uphill, as long as you keep your back end firmly planted. Out of the saddle, like any shock, its fairly inefficient. However, like the Alpine, the Cane Creek really excelled when pointed downhill. Descending off Helvellyn, Great Gable, Rosset Pike and other similarly rocky, rough, long natural tracks the whole setup was in its element. The rear wheel stayed firmly planted at all times. Big hits were no problem and I never felt like I had a limited amount of travel � the shock is brilliant at making you feel like you have more suspension than you actually do. longtermer wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 102 Cane Creek Double Barrel I also tested it out on man-made trails, such as the new downhill section of the Whinlatter forest trails (which are well worth a visit). Through the steep, rooty, muddy, switchback infested trails I just couldnt fault the performance. Its hard to describe just how smooth and effective this shock is! Many components around today promise performance increases that will make you faster/more skilled/the next Sam Hill, but in truth only the very best will actually notice a difference. However, the Cane Creek actually delivers on its promises. It will make you faster. Thats a promise. longtermer Where next for the Double Barrel? The kind folks at Cane Creek have let us keep it for a while longer and its now headed to the TF Tuned (www.tunedshox.com) for a chop job and a tune where afterwards itll find a home on editor Jamies Orange Five � can it transform a trail bike into a downhill demon? The chaps at TF Tuned will sell you a Double Barrel already tuned so you can get the most of the performance out of the box, free for you to make those subtle tweaks to suit your style, definitely recommended in our book. RRP �495 www.canecreek.com Tested by: Jim The word: Performance at a price that is worth every penny. wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 103 STOPPINGPOWER Avid have done a major re-design of their Elixir brakes with the new Elixir R's and Elixir 9's. We were given a set of the Elixir R's, the more affordable model, to test out on the track. These were placed straight on my downhill bike with 200mm rotors and tested over a couple of months of racing. The brakes have been re-designed with a new TaperBore TechnologyTM system in order to address inconsistent issues seen with the older models (which had a tendency to trap air during the bleeding process). The new internals have been re-worked to fix this issue. If there is any air in the system it will be trapped near the bleed port which still allows the brakes to function and makes it easier to remove air bubbles. The bleed port has also been moved to the lever therefore reducing drag of the main seal over the bleed port and increasing life expectancy. They have a good lever feel, and while there is nothing particularly different or special about the lever, overall they are a comfortable brake. The lever reach/brake point is also adjustable without a tool which is an upgrade on previous models. It works fairly well, although dirt and bike washing can mean it seizes after a bit but there is a grub screw to loosen it off again. longtermer Avid Elixir R Brakes wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 104 Avid Elixir 7 Pad life wasnt too bad but Ive seen better. They lasted about 5 weekends of riding, but it all depends on the conditions of the course. Looks wise, nothing to write home about; the lever is pretty similar to all Avids - slim line and inoffensive. The Elixir 9s come with a pad adjuster which is worth noting. If you want to fine tune how the brake feels then this upgrade should be on the cards but if finance is a more significant driver, youll find the Elixir Rs good enough. The question is, has the major brake re-vamp worked and are they a reliable brake? Straight out of the box the brakes bed in instantly, they were well bled and had no problems. In fact, they havent actually needed a bleed since using them. They have received two bleeds nonetheless, which was a fairly easy job and the braking power was consistent afterwards. A slightly different problem has developed though; the brakes started to pump up about 2 minutes into a Fort Bill race run and were biting out of reach causing a pretty awful level of arm pump. I was unsure why this was happening so I gave the brakes to SRAM. Problem fixed until a full run down the Llangollen race track when they did the same again. Essentially it is a problem with overheating and fluid expansion. SRAM gave the useful advice of changing to aluminium backed brake pads to improve heat transfer. They have only undergone one run since then but it seemed to work ok. This does infer that they dont come with the pads needed for the job however. In truth, the brakes are not downhill specific and therefore the heat transfer problem could be put down to pushing the brakes too hard, but I would hardly say a 2 min race track puts an enormous amount of strain on the brakes. A long alpine decent on the other hand might do. Even so, the large rotors should have played their part in cooling the brakes too. In conclusion these brakes are a mixed bag. They are very powerful and I havent experienced any brake fade at all. Looks arent right up there but youre not paying the higher premium for a snazzy looking bit of kit. However the unreliable nature of brake pump marks them down considerably for me, to 6 out of 10, but this really depends on whether they continue to suffer from the problem. If SRAM are right and the aluminium backed pads do their job then the issue is minor. RRP �129.99 www.sram.com/avid Tested by: Ellie The word: Keenly priced and powerful yet comprimised out of the box. Consider aluminium backed pads an essential upgrade for competition use. longtermer wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 105 Forcefield are market leaders in body armour, which they started designing initially for motocross and speedway. Since receiving this armour it's had a fair old thrashing from a couple of months of downhill racing so now it's time to give it a proper write up. Action SL1 Combo - Upper Body Suit longtermer STAYSAFE Forcefield Body Armour wideopen 16 September 2011 For upper body protection Forcefield supplied me with the Forcefield Action SL1 Combo, a combination of the Action Shirt and the Sport Lite 1 Back Protector (which can be used separately). This protection is, quite frankly, excellent. It uses soft armour technology which provides comfort and flexibility unlike traditional hard plastic armour. The exceptional levels of protection come from two design features. Firstly the triangular shape of the interconnecting rubber walls which are wider at the base than the top makes the protector structurally solid. Secondly almost every item of Forcefield body armour is made of Nitrex�, a shock absorbing material that compresses upon impact to absorb energy and spread it over the whole area rather than transmit it like hard plastic. uk bike magazine 106 Forcefield Armour Having tested it, I cant question their science. I took a pretty hard fall off a drop wearing this protector and it definitely seemed to soften the blow. I also like the fact the back protector is wider than my previous Dainese one. This should have been a full on winding/sore ribs affair, but even the minimal protection from the side of the protector worked a treat. Likewise, some rocky Fort Bill crashing didnt seem to phase the armour and a couple of tree checks into the shoulder only resulted in minor bruising. I was supplied with a brilliant womens specific back plate. Its the most comfortable I have used and I cant see why I would ever get a different one. Ive been told that the standard mens back plate is a little too long for women, so its good to see that they have rectified this with a womens specific model. The Action Shirt is very comfortable too. Surprisingly the shoulder and elbow pads stayed in place; being attached to just a lycra shirt I would have assumed theyd slide under impact but this didnt happen at all. I have previously avoided buying full arm upper body protection (especially mens armour) as the elbow pads never seem to sit where they should. Elbow protection that requires straps to stay in place always cause arm pump on a long track so it was a nice surprise to find that the elbow protectors in the Action Shirt stayed put. More bonus points. I took the chest protectors out as they were a little overkill for what I wanted. Its a nice feature of the shirt though that the pads sit in little pockets so are easily removable for mixing and matching the level of protection you want and washing the shirt. After all this praise, there was one major drawback in the comfort stakes. Despite being made from BeCoolTM material with humidity discharge function, you do get hot wearing this shirt. The material supposedly draws heat away from you encouraging a flow of cool air to the body, but I found that overheating was a problem. On a hot day this can only be worn with the absolute thinnest of race jerseys and I would probably opt instead to wear the back protector with different lightweight armour. Im used to wearing armour on hot days for extended periods but the lack of meshing does impede airflow. Perhaps where the material tension is not so important, Forcefield could make more of the shirt with a mesh construction; this would be a real improvement. In winter conditions though, its awesome. It keeps you warm without the cold sweat issue of poor quality materials and I was seriously grateful for it sitting on the Glencoe chairlift in fairly dire conditions. Action SL 1 Combo - �199.99 Action Shirt - �154.99 Sport Lite 1 Back Protector - �99.99 Sport Lite 1 XS Back Protector - �74.99 www.forcefieldbodyarmour.com Tested by: Ellie The word: Expensive yes, but well designed and thoroughly excellent protection and comfort. Worth every penny. wideopen 16 September 2011 longtermer uk bike magazine 107 SRAM drive train SRAM have come out with a new X7 10 speed groupset which is being widely tested right now and looks set to be a winner, bringing their top range XX technology down to an X7 price point. They still offer a 9 speed option for their X7 range though and have given us some bits of X7 9 speed kit for a thorough test. Rear Deraileur Its pretty difficult to see any difference between the current X7 and my old X9. I would have expected a poorer quality spring tension and therefore more issues with clean shifting, but as of yet it has worked as well as my older X9s. The shift action is fine, maybe not super sharp and seamless but it does work reliably. Of course this is also down to your shifter (mine is X0) and I havent tried the X7 shifters with the rear mech yet. SRAM rear mechs have rather a distinctive shape and nothing has changed there, it looks the same as usual. The colour is matt grey not fancy like the X9, but it will fit into the look of any bike. X7 is different from what it used to be. They used to have some plastic parts but are now made entirely of metal. It is pretty durable to be honest. I have bent two rear mech hangers in the time I have had this one and have not damaged the mech at all so thats a good advert if nothing else. As a mid range bit of componentry, X7 is comparable to Shimano SLX. Performance wise, I would traditionally expect a little higher performance from Shimano SLX at a slightly lower price tag than SRAM X7 but the new X7 gear could be trying to change this. I havent found a reason to dismiss it anyway based on my experience with this rear mech. I am a SRAM fan already in that I prefer the shifting action to Shimano, so they always score highly with me. However my first experience of SRAM was X0 and I have only ever used X0 or X9. X0 is undoubtedly amazing, but X9 is more affordable. I would never have downgraded to X7 by choice before but this mech has proven that it can do the job. If youre already a SRAM user and have bashed up too many X9 rear mechs and cant justify the replacement price tag, X7 is probably the option for you. If you want to be a SRAM user and cant justify X9 costs, X7 could be worth a try. longtermer wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 108 SRAM drive train Cassette and Chain We were given a SRAM 970 DH specific semi-spidered steel/alloy cassette and a SRAM 971 chain which supposedly work best together. SRAM use the PowerGlide IITM technology on this cassette which has ramped cogs and an optimal tooth profile for better shifting. I must admit theyve been working well for me. The cassette is a downhill specific design in which all the rings are separate with spacers in between that are precisely designed to avoid flex. The rings are heat treated to avoid bending a cog and stronger than your average xc/road cassette. In particular, the largest two cogs are solid steel. On discussion about the merits of this design, it was pointed out that single rings could dig into an aluminium free hub body a little easier than a cassette attached to a full spider. Ive yet to witness this during the test period, but a little more time would tell whether or not it was an issue. The cassette weight is acceptable at 325g. This is quite a weight penalty compared to a Shimano Ultegra cassette of the same ratio which weighs in at 180g and retails the same, �65. However the weight increase is a direct result of the stronger design and the cassette is intended for a different purpose. The ratio is 11-26 and exactly what I would have chosen. There has been no noticeable chain growth and the cassette has not caused any issues. No sign of wear yet either, so more time is required before I can give a good assessment on durability. From previous experience 971 chains have done me well both in terms of strength, stretch and wear, so I have high hopes for this one. RRP Cassette �64.99 Chain �29.99 Deraileur �62.99 www.sram.com Tested by: Ellie The word: Good performing drive train you can put your trust in without breaking the bank. wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 109 Gravity Light Mega EXO cranks To a certain extent cranks are cranks, it isnt really a question of which ones feel better on the bike. What youre looking for is: weight, durability and looks. The Evo Lights weigh in at 794g for the full single ring set up and the full dual ring and bash guard set-up is 1021g. Not too bad really. To give a comparison, Shimano Saint 815 crank arms and BB weigh in at 840g, the M970 XTR full crankset is 746g and the XT is 861g. So you can get your downhill crankset weighing in at the same as your cross country set-up. This is a major pull factor for me. The lightest set up I have seen so far is Middleburn cranks, however not only are these costly, they only do a 170mm crank arm rather than my option of 165mm. These cranks got a bit of publicity after being taken on by Sam Hill and Sabrina Jonnier in the year they both won the World Champs. They are designed as a racers crank, and are reputably stiff as well as light. The question is how strong are they? Lets put it this way, I would seriously struggle to bend these cranks and they are designed for someone like me; a weight conscious racer who doesnt weigh much and wont be testing them to the extreme. I would be happy to keep these on my bike, with no concerns about bending them. I have heard another good review from a heavier rider about the durability of these. It is generally true that lightweight means a sacrifice in terms of durability, but only if you are wanging them against rocks at high speed all day, hardly a British riding style at any rate. Id rather learn to be smoother than pay the weight penalty. There is something else slightly different about these cranks, they use the MegaExo bottom bracket design, which makes it a much lighter bottom bracket and looks like a pretty neat design. I cant really comment yet on the longevity of this bottom bracket since its had only about a month of riding but so far no problems. They also seem to be pretty easy to replace and retail at about �50. This crankset easily allows for either a single or a double ring set up. The granny ring spacer is removable so running a chain guide, or switching between a double/ single setup is no issue. This does lend itself to a more free-ride set up than simply downhill, on 6 inch bike terrain perhaps. Another nice feature is steel pedal inserts; it makes the threat of threading your cranks less of a worry. These cranks look pretty good � simple straight lines and a sleek look. Theyve got the yellow gravity model logos to add a touch of colour where its needed too. So if youre a weight concious racer, smooth and light on their components these are a sure bet. RRP �299.99 www.ridegravity.com Tested by: Ellie The word: Pricey? Yes - but lightweight and stiff, for the rider light on their components. wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 110 longtermer SixPack Millenium Bar Weve been thrashing SixPacks super-wide double butted downhill bar in various guises for 3 years now and we were stoked to be able to kit out the whole Wideopenmag race team with them for 2011. At 785mm wide with a comfy 18mm rise, 8degree back-sweep and 4degree up-sweep the Millenium 785 Low Riser bar just feels right. Combine that with a tough anodized coating, loads of colour options and sub-�50 price tag and youve got a spot on handlebar for hard-core riding. This year the team has raced the full 2011 British 4X series and Halo British Downhill Series, various regional events, a couple of World Cups, not to mention all of the riding, crashing and training in between. To date weve not had a single complaint from the team - no bends, breaks or failures anywhere. RRP 54EUR www.sixpack-racing.co.uk Tested by: The WIdeopen race team The word: A solid, stylish and well-priced bar for heavy duty riding. longtermer wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 111 gear The Saracen Ariel 2 test wideopen 16 September 2011 review by Taff Frewin photos by Jamie Edwards TINSOLDIER uk bike magazine 112 Saracen Ariel When I first picked the Saracen Ariel up, I didn't really know what to expect. I'd heard positive mutterings about the new Saracen range but hadn't seen one in the flesh. The other thing relatively new to me is the current trend in mid-travel go-anywhere bikes, again, something Id only recently experienced first-hand. With a hardtail all rounder and a DH bike in the stable, the Ariel seemed to fit neatly into the void between my two current bikes. The initial car park test looked promising. There really doesnt appear to be a bad component on the bike. Fox take care of the suspension with a Float 32 and RP23 BV on the front and rear respectively. SLX gearing and Deore brakes have been faultless in my experience and Id recommend these to anybody as the perfect balance of price and performance. The Formula sealed hubs (15mm/ 12mm) and Sun rims look good on paper and performed without fault, but the true test of a wheel is after a year, not a couple of weeks. The wheels were dressed in Maxxis rubber in the great combination of Larsen TT and High Roller. RaceFace provide the finishing kit from their Respond range, and the 50mm stem with 710mm bars seemed to be the perfect choice for what I had planned for this bike. Even before leaving the car park though, I was tempted to switch the triple chainset (RaceFace Evolve) for a 36/38t single ring and a chain guide. The triple just seemed at odds with the rest of the build. The only other criticism at this early stage was the aesthetic finish of the frame. I cant help feeling that Saracen could do with a bit of a freshen up in the branding department, to bring the finish of the frame up to standard. With other brands going to extreme lengths to put together great looking bikes, the Saracen branding hasnt improved at the same pace as the hardware it offers. gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 113 Saracen Ariel gear Out on the trail I decided to take on one of my local regular rides, which starts with a climb from the river up to the highest point in the surrounding trails. Although no mountain goat, the Saracen handled the climb easily and didnt require a huge amount more effort than my hardtail, not a bad start for a 31lb bike with 140mm travel! wideopen 16 September 2011 After the climb, I had the first chance to attack a descent that has recently been resurfaced and adorned with a healthy dose of rollers and berms. This is where the bike really started to shine. The combination of a soft tune, low bottom bracket, slack head angle and Maxxis rubber gave me a massive amount of grip. The grin on my face at the bottom of the descent was still present when, a few minutes later, Id pedalled back to the top of the descent to go again. I had a few runs on that trail, and even with a fair bit of moisture on the surface, I simply couldnt believe how much grip the bike had in the tight bermed corners. I was having so much fun on this descent that I could easily have ridden it ten times, but after three I had the Ariel moving at speeds that were starting to worry me, so I decided to move on. uk bike magazine 114 Saracen Ariel The linking trail to get me to the next descent was quite a lengthy singletrack assault and provided nearly as much fun. The moment the trail dips slightly downwards, the bike simply flies. The difference on this trail was that it has never been surfaced. In fact, it has seen about ten years of heavy traffic which have left it a messy mixture of roots, rocks and ruts. You know what? All that grip was still there and these sections of trail had a flow to them that Id rarely experienced before, especially in the wet. When the trail started to rise the bike was less fluent, but was certainly no dog. Im prepared to believe that the bike enticed me into giving it everything on the descents and it was therefore the engine struggling with the climbs rather than the chassis, but Id also believe that the rear shock could have been better tuned for this bike. Compared to another 140mm bike Ive ridden recently, the pro pedal switch barely seemed to have any effect. If the pro pedal changed the characteristics of this bike as much as I know its capable of, this could be a very, very fast bike indeed. Arriving at the next descent on my route, any thoughts of changing the shock setup quickly evaporated. This descent featured plenty of rocks and a chance to get the wheels off of the ground a few times. Again, the Ariel inspired confidence by levelling out the rough stuff and sticking to the flat corners like it was making its own secret berms. This was probably the fastest descent that I had taken the bike on and finally I found a problem; the low BB meant that I grounded the pedals more than I would have expected. Normally, Id take the low centre of gravity as a positive, but clipping a pedal on rocks at full tilt gave me a couple of moments where I thought that I was going down, draining some of the confidence that the bike had been filling me with the rest of the time. After a few more rides on this bike I started thinking about the sort of riding that it would best suit and I can think of two immediately. Firstly, its great fun as a trail bike. It will get you up the climbs easily enough and youll have a blast on the way back down. Following naturally from this, the second is the race format of the same kind of riding. In an enduro format, I dont foresee any problems meeting the checkpoints on the way up and it would gain you some valuable seconds on the way back down on the all important timed sections. Although Ive not done it personally (yet), several observers mentioned that this would be a great bike to tackle something like the Mega. wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 115 gear Saracen Ariel What about the price? At �2,200 you get a lot of bike but lets not pretend thats still not a big credit card bill. If Saracen can inject a bit more "wow" into their aesthetics, this would look like an even better purchase than it already is. Competition in this travel/ price bracket is fierce and some of the hottest contenders are the Orange 5 S and the Lapierre Zesty 314, but even though these are all 140mm bikes they are all a world apart. Ive never ridden a bike that climbs as well as the Zesty, but this counts against it on the descents so it depends where your priorities lie. Saracen have managed to supply a quality build, but so too have the alternatives in this highly competitive section of the market. Saracen have come a long way to be producing a bike that can happily sit amongst these peers, and depending on your specific needs, sit slightly above some of them in certain areas. If, with the 2012 model, Saracen can improve how it climbs, lose a pound or two and finish it to the high standards of its competitors, this bike could easily be right up there with the best. With the current model you might even be able to achieve most of this. A set of lighter tyres in a tubeless setup, a single ring up front and a custom tune on the shock and, who knows? RRP �2200 www.saracen.co.uk gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 116 Drift Innovations HD What youve got here is the brand spanking new smaller and lighter Drift wearable camera. Whilst the previous incarnation of the Drift was perfectly respectable - its size and shape wouldnt have put it out of place on the shelf of your local sex shop and the combo of being long, fat and a bit heavy made for slightly wobbly footage as well as dubious looks! Lucky for us, the new Drift maintains all the top quality features of its predecessor whilst being about 25% smaller and a bit lighter. New features now include: a microphone in port for running external mics, a replaceable lens to keep you running after crashes and an improved battery door to keep water and other crap out. Carrying over from the previous camera is top quality HD recording (1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps), a sharp LCD screen for footage playback on the trails, easy to use controls, a wearable remote control, a splashproof body and an adjustable lens to ensure your footage is always correctly orientated. Perhaps the biggest hop-up we noticed was with the stability of footage which is now much less wobbly thanks to the reduced weight and the improved goggle mount which works really well. It pains me to say it but it looks to be even more stable than our GoPros chest mount. It seems that when youre clattering through really rough tracks a head mounted cam suffers a lot less than a chest mount and results in much more pleasant footage. Good work Drift! There are still a couple of downsides to the Drift though. One, we dont think the footage quality is quite as good as the alternatives like the GoPro. If you compare them side by side at 1080p the GoPro still seems to take the edge by a small but noticeable margin. Second, the Drift is pretty slow to adjust its white balance when moving from dark to light and youre often forced to suffer several seconds of blown-out white footage as it fights to adjust. Light to dark however, is great and the Drift seems to work nicely in relatively low-light. We also picked up on a few software glitches where the camera would occasionally crash on us and the battery would need to be popped out to get it working again and also the remote seemed to only occasionally work fully which was a pain. Were hoping that these are both simply software glitches that will get fixed in future firmware updates. Last but not least, the Drift no longer includes the standard bar mount which is a shame and now uses MicroSD cards instead of standard SD which you may want to bear in mind if youve already amassed a collection of cards. So all in all, the new Drift packs impressive performance but still has room for improvement � mainly with software issues that will almost certainly be fixed with future updates. Given the reduced size, better footage stability and rider influenced new features, overall were super impressed with the new Drift. uk bike magazine 117 RRP �329 www.actioncameras.co.uk Tested by: Jamie, Wayne and Riders Retreat The word: Theres room for improvement with the software but the Drift is a massive step up on previous models and is definitely now a solid competitor to the very popular GoPro. Wed definitely recommend it if you like head-mounted cameras. Very impressed. wideopen 16 September 2011 gear Dare2B Struckout Jacket Dare2b have seemingly come from nowhere, quietly plugging away under the wing of Regatta theyve started pumping out some real quality kit. The Struckout Jacket is a super lightweight waterproof ideal for most situations � it doesnt have a cycling specific cut but is ideal for harsh downpours and light enough to stuff in your bag without noticing it. The colours are obviously down to taste but we love them, what do you think? Retailing for �50 I reckon this is a pretty good place to place your cash. RRP �50 www.dare2b.com Tested by: Jim The word: Lightweight waterproof ideal for quick showers or to get the wind off. gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 118 Dare2B Buckshot Softshell Hoody Not a riding product this but still pretty cool � a nice looking hoody with the benefit of softshell fabric; if youre caught in a quick downpour this will keep you nice and dry while still looking rad. RRP is �50 but as usual you can find it cheaper if you look around. RRP �50 www.dare2b.com Tested by: Jim The word: Probably our favourite Dare2B product and very versatile, worth a look! gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 119 Dare2B Nimble Jacket Unlike the Struckout this jacket is a bit more rugged and better suited to heavier sustained rain. The jacket itself is constructed of heavier material and wont pack down as well but it will repel the water much better. Retailing for �70 this is perhaps even more of a bargain than the Struckout but again is not a cycling specific cut so on longer days you will get a soggy backside. For the price though, its pretty much ideal! RRP �70 www.dare2b.com Tested by: Jim The word: Bargain storm jacket for the worst conditions, mesh lined to make it a bit more comfortable. wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 120 gear SKS MSP suspension pump You wouldnt think theres much room to get excited about a shock pump - but German brand SKS are doing just that and trying to pump a bit of style, design and class into what could otherwise be a pretty un-jazzy product. The MSP is a very neat, light and compact suspension pump that will fit comfortably into your hydropack and do a great job of keeping forks and shocks running. The braided hose unscrews for compact storage and the neat little 2-stage valve lets you attach/detach the pump without losing any gas. Best of all - the RRP is only �39.99. RRP �39.99 www.sks-germany.com Tested by: Jamie The word: Neat, stylish and well priced pump for your suspension. Perfect for popping in your trail pack. gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 121 Avid Elixir CR LT Talk to a few riders and its easy to very quickly lose the enthusiasm for reviewing a set of brakes. We toss around words like modulation, feel and bite with little regard to how they actually relate to the brake. Sooner or later youll find someone whos had a "Friday brake" from any manufacturer out there � thats the joy of hydraulic systems though; sometimes you get no luck with them. So if you try and explain to someone why the brakes youre running are good, the stock response is often "No, mine are better." Which makes reviewing them a minefield; you always have a sneaking suspicion that most people will read the review and declare the author a clueless dingbat with zero mechanical sympathy. But here goes anyway. The Avid Elixir CRs are very good. And we say this after weve been running them for six months, putting them through their paces on big mountains and a mixture of downhill and freeride tracks across Europe. Lets break this down into a few areas to try and make some sense of this simple verdict. uk bike magazine 122 gear wideopen 16 September 2011 Avid Exilir Firstly well look at power - these have plenty. For a rider around the 70kg mark, your braking is limited more by the tyres and ground conditions than the brake. Occasionally with their predecessor, the Juicy, you got the feeling youd like a bit more bang, but these are just enough of a step up to cover that. We found ourselves asking whether we would really ever need to use their bigger brother, the Code. Now we get onto how they deliver that power and where they really shine. The best test for this is trying to control the bike while you pivot on the front wheel, grabbing a handful of brake and lifting the back to get through a tight switchback (this is especially important when theres a huge drop on one side of the corner). More than any other brake weve used recently, these let you feel what the brake is doing throughout the lever stroke. You can feel the power being applied in proportion to how hard you pull and youre confident that when you need it, there is a big dollop of power at the end of it. On the trail this means you can place the back wheel precisely every time in those ultra-tight corners. The big carbon levers have a lovely feel too, chunky and reassuring, which makes this even better. When you get the Elixirs hot they keep their power impressively well, even with the 185mm rotors we were running. Sure, after about fifteen minutes descending they lost a little bit of performance, but we can forgive them for that. They never lost enough to not do everything we asked them to do, when we asked them to do it. If youre cooking these on a five minute run, its not your brake you should be looking at... Finally theres living with them. Theres no denying that Avids bleeding system is a fiddle, but if you follow the instructions its fairly foolproof. Yes, you actually have to follow the instructions, which was a shock for us too, but once you get over that, they bleed well. In the six months weve only had to do it once too, so its not too much of a hardship. They arent too hard on pads either; if you run the metal sintered pads they have a respectable lifespan. So there we go � our verdict on the Avid Elixir CR. And if you think this is all nonsense and your set of whatever the hell they are are better, head out to the trails with them and use them until you stop feeling so angry about the world. Were properly impressed by these brakes and theres nothing you can do to change that. RRP �174.99 www.sram.com/avid Tested by: Matt The word: Properly sorted brakes. Fully recommended. gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 123 Muc-Off Wet & Dry Lube Muc-Off lube has been a favourite of mine for a while; good performance at a reasonable price is a winner in my book and they have just improved that formula with a new bottle. Just the simple tweak of a longer application stem saves covering everything in lube and keeps your hands nice and clean. Both wet and dry lubes work nicely, as you can imagine the wet has had the majority of the testing but with the limited use weve seen the dry performs equally well. RRP �6.99 each www.muc-off.com Tested by: Jim The word: Simple everyday product with the distinguishing feature of a long nozzle. gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 124 TLD Skyline Shorts While Troy Lees Moto shorts have been some of the best heavy duty shorts out there for a while now, their lighter options have never quite cut it. For one reason or another they werent quite right. So for this year they went back to the drawing board and started the whole range from scratch � this included ditching the very pimp, but overly impractical Ace shorts (the ones Hill and Fairclough wore for the World Champs in Canberra). These Skyline shorts are a far more low-key affair all round, even if you buy them in bright green. In fact, except for the black stretch panel just below the waist at the back, theyd do a pretty good job of passing for a casual short. Detailing on them is much better than their previous attempts too, with a solid double popper to keep them up, chunky plastic adjusters at the side and double stitched seams. Length is spot on, coming comfortably down below your knee. Although they ride up slightly with knee pads, you dont notice it. On the bike theyre nice and light, with a relaxed, comfortable fit. We were worried how theyd stand up to a decent crash, but theyve been through a couple now and are no worse the wear for it. In fact, were surprised at how tough theyve been � these have been with us for about three months now and they still look as fresh as the day we got them. It looks like Troy Lees re-design of their trail shorts was a good call. Theyve finally given us a trail short that is as good as we knew they could make. Top marks. RRP �61.99 www.troyleedesigns.com Tested by: Italian big mountain guide Matt Wragg The word: Light, relaxed fit AND tough with it. gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 125 The North Face Levada Shorts Sometimes its good to take things easy and look a bit low key and thats exactly what these shorts deliver. No flashy colours and made of tough, light materials - theyre ideal for cross country days. The �75 RRP is perhaps a little too much for a pair of shorts that dont offer anything particularly special but if you look around you can find them cheaper. wideopen 16 September 2011 RRP �75 www.thenorthface.com The cut of these shorts is a bit in the middle � not baggy like Royal Racing or Troy Lee but not too tight either. Theyre constructed of ripstop polyester with harder wearing material in all the right places so these should last for a long time. Tested by: Jim The word: Nice, simple, well constructed and comfy shorts but the price is perhaps a bit too high. uk bike magazine 126 gear The North Face Muddy Tracks Jacket Luckily this jacket turned up just in time for the best of our British summer and I was pretty glad for it � The North Face have come up with a great cut for this jacket combining a longer back with plenty of room to move your shoulders around. Its got two pockets, one at the front and one at the back like a traditional road jersey and retails for around �110. Built with HyVent material the jacket keeps you dry in the worst weather, however this isnt the kind of jacket you could wear on inclement days � without any under arm vents it gets sweaty very quickly so best to keep it in the bag when its not raining. However you would struggle to get a better wet weather jacket � definitely one to check out! RRP �110 www.thenorthface.com Tested by: Jim The word: Great jacket for wet weather days but remember to take it off when it dries up! gear wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 127 WIDEOPEN WEEKENDER regulars Tavistock and Gawton wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 128 Wideopen Weekender: Tavistock and Gawton Tavistock is a bustling little town in the cider drinking, pasty eating South West of the UK. It sits snugly on the edge of Dartmoor and half an hour or so from the big lights of Plymouth. Its famous for its ancient buildings, its links with Sir Francis Drake, its history of heavy mining and � of course � for producing the smoking hot chick on the new Transformers movie (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). Rampaging its way through Tavis quiet, picturesque streets is a booming mountain bike and BMX scene with an active club, loads of lightning-quick riders, dirt jumps in the town centre, a host of top quality shops and two absolutely brilliant downhill venues just up the road. Thats not to even mention the miles and miles of XC and singletrack that you can hit up straight from the towncentre. The result is an absolutely bloody fantastic base for a weekend of mountain bike riding and boozing. Weve been running photos and videos from the Tavi scene for years so figured it was about time we checked it out first hand. Downhill: Gawton Home of the Dirt 1:04 and another venue thats run and maintained by the super inspiring Woodland Riders club. Theres 3 tracks that range in difficulty from nice and easy to down right difficult, particularly in the wet. Everyone will love the fast, flowing, pumpy HSD trail and the tech-freaks out there will get a kick out of Super Tavi (1:04 track) or Egypt. If youve got a Freelap watch you can time your runs and record em on the Dirt website. Theres no uplift at the moment but the club are working hard to get it set up and theres also a trail centre caf� due to be built towards the end of the year so expect big things from Gawton. Wed recommend the full on DH bikes for Gawton but anyone with 140mm+ will have a good day out. The push is fairly hard work but its worth it for the quality of the trails. Again, its �5 a day to ride and passes can be bought online or on the day from a club member. regulars wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 129 Wideopen Weekender: Tavistock and Gawton regulars Downhill: Tavi Woodlands Tavi Woodlands featured in the old Sprung2 video is a brilliant example of what a few kids can do with some funding, some encouragement and some land. Built in an old quarry theres tonnes of legal downhill trails that are good for all levels of skill and bottle. There are no uplifts but its an easy push back up and theres more than enough riding to keep you occupied for a day. We took a mix of downhill and short travel bikes and all had a blast. Tavi is managed by the Woodland Riders club and costs �5 a day to ride. Passes can be bought online or on the day from a club member. www.woodlandriders.com wideopen 16 September 2011 The trails: What better a way to round of the day than an evening trails session? Even better, these are right uk bike magazine 130 in the town centre Wideopen Weekender: Tavistock and Gawton Where to stay: Theres heaps of B&Bs and campsites in the area but we opted for the bike friendly Tavi Bunkhouse. Theres 6 bed shared dorms, free showers, a drying room, showers for muddy folk, bike wash and secure bike storage. Even better, its bang in the middle of town and is attached to a pub. At �25 a night including a monster fry up its the perfect place to base a night out on the piss and a day out on the trails. Be sure not to miss the owner who is an absolute nutter and will make you feel properly at home. www.tavistockbunkhouse.co.uk Where to eat and get drunk: For mid-ride snacks we opted for the Original Pastie Shop (Bedford Square) which offered pasties and staff that broke our hearts (but not our wallets). Evening food went down at The Ganges Tandoori (West Street) which was decent enough and started at about �8 for main dishes and didnt charge a fortune for beers. Our night out on the piss was slightly dominated by drunk underage girls but was great fun nonetheless (keep your wits about you chaps or end up making a hasty exit like our mate Richie!). The Union is attached to the bunkhouse and is friendly enough if a bit local and the Cornish (West Street) is a bit livelier with friendly staff and plenty of drunk locals. For late night fun head over to the Ordolph (pool table and free entry) or Jack Chams (dance floor but an entry fee) which are both open till 1am and the nearest youre going to get to a club! Just ask the locals and theyll point you in the right direction! Bikeshops: Thanks to the top quality scene in Tavi theres a handful of great bike shops to choose from. We dropped in to Dartmoor Cycles (West Devon Business Park, near Morrisons) which was absolutely stacked with top-end downhill gear and run by the current president of the Woodland Riders club. If you need emergency mid-ride bike parts or fancy an upgrade theyll sort you out. www.dartmoorcycles.co.uk Useful stuff: www.woodlandriders.com � Buy your day passes for Gawton and Tavi here http://tinyurl.com/3mhoj7t - Google maps to Tavistock www.tavistockbunkhouse.co.uk � Bike friendly bunkhouse in the town centre Thanks to: Tavi Bunkhouse for putting up with us, Dartmoor Cycles for keeping us rolling with fresh kit, Chaz Curry for getting us excited about the scene, The Woodland Riders for the amazing trails and warm (patient!) welcome and of course to Jacob Gibbins for the guided tour. Richie would also like to thank the girls of the Ordolph for their hospitality. Cheers ladies! regulars wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 131 Two wheels, your favourite trail and some good company. Three things that come together, week after week, to weave their intoxicating thread through our lives. You just know when you meet someone as crazy about bikes as you are. Its the way you both talk, the excitement and edge in your voices as the pace increases and you share something that non-riders � or even just casual riders � can never understand. In my relatively short time on this planet, I seem to have had my fair share of life, with some pretty low moments. Id go as far as to suggest that Ive teetered on the edge of depression, with a feeling of deep sadness and a mindset Ive struggled to shake off or move on from. It feels dark and foggy and you find it hard to do anything, even simple everyday jobs. Youre on a rollercoaster of emotion but even the highs arent high enough to sustain you for long before you sink to what feels like an even deeper low. Anyone familiar with this will recognise the advice I received at the time � get out and do some physical exercise. It is incredible the difference that exercise can make to your state of mind. Physiologically, getting the brain to release certain chemicals can help redress the balance. Even going for a stroll in the fresh air and appreciating the beauty of life can make you feel a whole world better in that moment. However, on its own, that physical fix is not enough. You need to make sense of the situation, to talk it through with friends, colleagues, partners or doctors � something that can be hard in the home, office or surgery. I found my therapy. Riding every week with my friends on my local trails. Starting things off with a slow long climb, with plenty of time for talking, making sense of things, getting it all off my chest. Follow this up with a large dose of adrenaline as I pin your bike down the descents and the twisting singletrack trails. Talking (or even ranting) my problems through feels like a real weight off my shoulders, as if the load has been lightened. As the clouds begin to part in your mind and things brighten up, I reach the top of the climb. A quick adjustment of the bike, a drop of the seat post � that moment of anticipation and the inevitable after you roulette � before slinging a leg over my steed, kicking the pedal round for the perfect start and then: silence. I push off and the speed quickly gathers, the tyres making that gentle vibrating hum that is dampened by my poise, transmitted through my legs and forearms. Pumping the gentle undulations, popping off rocks and roots and losing myself in the moment. What started as a clearing of the clouds leads to a beautiful sunrise in my head. Its just me, the bike and the trail. I feel physically better and find myself pedalling harder, taking things faster and with the changing seasons I never tire of riding the same trails week in, week out as theyre more than just stones and dirt � they recharge me. You know what, when things brighten up for me there is always someone else who could do with the talking time. Feel good, ride hard, have fun. regulars Producer James gets deep... WHYDOIRIDE? wideopen 16 September 2011 uk bike magazine 132 staff Fiona Davidson PROOF READER Jamie Edwards EDITOR email@example.com Jacob Gibbins STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER firstname.lastname@example.org James Hilton PRODUCER email@example.com Paul Roberts VIDEO EDITOR Jim Smith WEB EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org contributors Clare Buchar Andy McCandlish www.andymccandlish.com Dunc Conway www.duncanconway.net Paul Cram www.flickr.com/droppinin Rick Davey www.rickdavy.co.uk Matt Derry www.mattderryphotography.com Taff Frewin Tom Gaffney www.flickr.com/thomasgaffney Alistair Keen Ellie Maxfield Alan Milway www.mxfitness.co.uk Duncan Philpott www.duncanphilpott.com Chris Ratford Tom Rickhuss www.flickr.com/tomrickhuss Rich Thomas Dave Thomason Matt Wragg www.accidentalracing.co.uk wideopen 16 September 2011 contributors NOW GO OUT AND RIDE. Thanks for reading. uk bike magazine 133