Red Kite Cottages-Rest Play and be
inspired in Wales-
Hen Ysgubor(The Old Barn) is a
beautifully renovated barn in the heart of Wales providing comfortable 4 star
(awarded by Visit Wales) self catering accommodation for a family or group of
friends. Located in Ffair Rhos, a small hamlet in the magnificent Cambrian
Mountains, it provides an ideal base for many outdoor activities including
cycling. Ideally positioned on a National Cycling Route;a short distance to the
spectacular Teifi Pools,being the the start of the River Teifi and only twenty
minutes drive from the coast.A large variety of wildlife are frequent
visitors found near or around the cottage. The local pub, the Teifi Inn is
just a short walk away and serves good food and real ales.
The cottage consists of two
bedrooms(sleeps four), lounge with a sofa bed, fully fitted and equipped
kitchen diner, two shower rooms with toilets and everything that is needed for
a comfortable and enjoyable stay. A private patio, provided with garden
furniture and barbecue are available to enjoy.
At 1000 ft above sea level, the
cottage provides a fantastic base for cycling. Nearest shops, banks and
facilities are Tregaron (6 miles), Aberystwyth (151/2 miles) and a village shop
in Pontrhydfendigaid (1mile). The area is steeped in culture and history.
Red Kite Cottages are accredited
"Cycling Friendly" by Visit Wales for providing special facilities
for cycling enthusiasts. Ceredigion offers an ever-expanding range of
opportunities and facilities for cycling.One of the world class Mountain Bike
centres located on the A44 east of Aberystwyth in the Cambrian Mountains is
located at Bwlch Nant Yr Arion Forest Centre. There are many other cycle trails
of differing lengths in Ceredigion.
Further information is on our
Riding through the Glen...
Sherwood Pines was better than I expected really. It wasn't amazing,
but given that my first off-road ride was in Gwydir it had a lot to
live up to! It's also pretty flat generally and any hint of a downhill
is over before you know it, but there are a couple of features that
endear you to it. Me and my mate set off along the marked out blue
trail, in search of the black trail which states "for experienced
cyclists only" and "helmets must be worn". A good sign, we thought. We
headed off down the first incline and skidded to a halt as soon as we'd
whizzed past the first trail marker - AFTER the turning!!! Anyway, it
was here we came across this old timer who'd just cycled 18 miles off
road to get to Sherwood Pines and have a play before heading back!
After we'd got over the guilt of having driven the 10 miles to the
woods he told us that the best trails were the singletracks we'd passed
going off into various parts of the forest. There are marked routes for
'experienced cyclists' but the better ones run parallel to these. We
took his advice and soon had broad grins across our faces as we hit
twisting singletrack with bumps, jumps, bomb-holes, roots and
overhanging branches. It's more of a make-it-up-as-you-go-along thing
which is good as you can just go exploring, but it would be good to
have more of an idea of the possible routes so that you don't have to
keep stopping and wondering where to go next. This also brought us to a
very decent trails/jumping area with bomb-holes, drop-offs, table-tops
and all manner of different size jumps. After deciding that we were
nowhere near hardcore enough to attempt any of those we set off down a
barely visible singletrack that disappeared into very thick pine-trees.
This was probably the best bit of the day; every corner is blind and
you're constantly dodging the fur branches that are whipping you in the
face; also because the trees are so thick you loose your orientation
and coming out of it you're not really sure where you are in the
forest! Because we didn't know where we were we set back off through
the trees, taking the wrong fork once and ending up in another unknown
part of the trail so went back again. Finally we got back to the jump
area and gingerly made our way over the smaller jumps to the side of
the big boys ones. We got back onto the singletrack and just played for
a bit. We'd decided that before we headed back to the drudgery of
tiling the bathroom (me) and plumbing in a shower (him) we had to try
out the 'Dual Descender' track that is advertised on the Sherwood Pines
website (click here to see
we found it (it's by marker 7 on the blue trail) but we're not even
half gnarly enough to take it at full pelt. Although the two tracks run
parallel(ish) to one another, there aren't two definite tracks marked
out and I'm certain they're not the same length! Nevertheless, it's
quite good fun but you could do with a few runs down all of the
possible routes to figure out where all the jumps and drop offs are,
plus even when there are no drops or jumps, the grounds really
undulating so it's rough the whole way! It was also here that my bike
had its maiden crash on its maiden ride! Hit a stump at not-very-fast
speed at the end of the dual descender and went straight over the bars
track at Avoriaz. All that thin air makes U wanna jump.....several
of an insane descent. Rideable
Hotline 0033 0834 87...!
shot is taken where track emerges from trees in top right picture.
right hand horizontal shots are taken looking down on track from on
high and looking up from below.
is before we came out
of trees you see in top right shot.
Congratulations on a fantastic website. There's loads of information and plenty of routes to suit everybody.
Just had to let you know that my brother and I rode the Nidderdale
route on Saturday. We set off at 9.20 am and didn't see a soul until we
reached Scar House Reservoir, pumped up with adrenaline after the first
(of many were were to find out!) excellent rocky descents.
The next climb up the fell was tough, but
the downhill reward into Coverdale was well worth the effort! The grins
induced only started to fade by Carlton, where another technical climb
was attacked, marred only by the deep scars in the peat caused by
motocrossers near the top. The drop down the other side was another
epic. Could it possibly get more rocky? Just point downhill and try to
avoid the biggest ones!!
The trek back over into Coverdale rewarded us with yet another
spectacular downhill into Braidley. It was here the stark realisation
hit us that we had to retrace our wheeltracks back over into
Nidderdale... But wasn't that downhill steep, rocky and very long?
Yes... Bugger!! A quick detour up the road for a drink at the pub in
Horsehouse, (it was that serious we didn't dare have any beer!) some
food to replenish our dwindling rations (a packet of Big D's did the
trick!) and the opportunity to refil the CamelBaks gave us the courage
needed to tackle the next climb.
The feeling at the top, looking back down to Scar House Reservoir was
amazing. It's not often you get to experience the climb and then the
downhill in the other direction on the same ride, but with this route
it happens twice.
Onto the Nidderdale Way we were wondering if we'd bitten off more than
we could chew. The onset of cramp seemed imminent, but we had no choice
but to press on. We got our fourth or fifth wind and attacked the last
8 miles as hard as we could (the pace really slow by now). To say we
were pleased we didn't decide to cut it short is an understatement. The
final drop down to the farm outside Lofthouse has got to be about the
best we've ridden. Hanging off the back and dragging the rear brake
seemed to be the best way to tackle it. What a buzz! Luckily my brake
fluid only decided to boil as we reached the gate near the bottom. Any
sooner and I'd have been in bother!
A few minutes later we were back at the lay-by, tired legs almost
forgotten as we recalled the highlights of the trip. A check of the
watch indicated 4.20 pm. 7 hours in total ! We were nearly in tears
when we realised that the pub in Lofthouse was closed... Didn't they
realise that we needed beer?! Tongues hanging out we drove over to
Fearby. The Black Swan answered our prayers... Nice barmaid too!
Any regrets? Yes... Should've had a camera! Maybe next time.
What a ride!... Try it for yourselves!!
Tony and Gary Cockerill.
glad you like the site, it takes an e-mail like this from tome to time to make it seem worth all the effort.
We haven't done this ride for a long while now, we did another route
instead starting further East at Kirkby Malzeard which is more
accessible from main routes.
http://www.mtbbritain.co.uk/nidderdale_take_two.html check out those
pictures some of which you missed, send us copies if you go again :-)
I don't think it's quite as good a ride as the original but obviously
it starts much closer to the A1. Which way do you go to get to
I must try and get around to including the route details as it includes the first and last descents from route 1, nice.
Don't neglect your front brake on steep descents or you could turn in to an errant plow...
Both routes hurt us a lot too so you're in good company there. Sounds like you spent most of your time in the pub!
We don't eschew routes with out and back sections. We would rather ride
back along the same trail than use more road to make up a loop. We hate
roads! Also an out and back can allow you to range a bit further from
your starting point, some descents would be inaccessible without doing
this. Sounds like you enjoyed it! Many riders won't choose a ride which
isn't a 'proper loop' It's the quality of the riding and the views that
make it for us.
You should come out on one of our rides one fine day (actually we ride in all weathers...).
What follows is the combined experiences of a small cycling group since
taking up off road riding in 1988 with muddy foxes and giant
You won't like this but here goes:
High end components are almost always a little lighter than their more modest relatives and and better
finished. The problem is that the light weight usually means poor longevity and sometimes less positive "action"
e.g. when gear changing.
Over the years I can think of loads of examples, Acera x hubs going on
forever when hope hubs need expensive bearings every season. My own XT
front mech wearing out in months and being replaced by an Alivio which
is going strong two years later.
really bore you with the chainset situation, soft alu cogs verses
steel? no contest, except for the weight obsessed - and that is the
problem. Cycle mags test bikes and convince people that, for example,
the reduced weight at the rim of some exotic wheel set will give them
really noticeable speed increases and they believe it. How many ounces
will they collect at the first muddy pond? Strange thing is that the
same bike mags now are saying that the extra weight of disk wheels will
have no discernable effect to those paranoid about ditching light
canti's. In fact in MBR a few months ago they featured a top wheel
builder who stated that if he wanted wheels himself he would mate
m221's with Deore hubs and consider that they would be as good as
anything in the real world - nuff said.
Trouble is that the real world follows fashion and not common sense,
otherwise why would people pay a fortune for bendy, fiddly and
unreliable Sids when the alternatives (MXC?) are half the price and
twice as good? The answer is about 10 ounces in weight. God help us!
Barrie (SBC Enduro.)
We've been cycling off road since the Raleigh Magnum back in 1986. They
were called ATB's back then :-)
Hope hub bearings are replaceable whereas Shimano hubs have to be
chucked once the cups rust (with most riders maintenance in this
climate this is annual). I agree that the sealed bearings can cost as
much as a cheap hub but don't like having to re-build the wheel. If you
love regularly servicing cup and cone hub bearings you need help
Steel chainrings are great especially with a wet climate, I wish
companies would sell us some nice quality ones, I loved the old Onza
Buzz rings. Titanium are even better if expensive, they are better
value than Alu at least.
Lighter rims have more of an effect on acceleration, as mass is removed
from the outer edge of the wheel which has to be moved further. Similar
mass moved to the centre of the wheel moves less far and therefore
needs less work e.g. disk hub and rotor. These aren't huge differences
but all these little things add up.
Front mechs are usually killed by a stick getting dragged through them,
often without you noticing. If you ride on the road all the time they
last almost forever because of this. This has tempted Shimano and
others to skin them down too far and I agree they are not strong
enough. Luck of the draw on longevity but I'm prepared to look at any
models if you think they are much stronger.
We've never recommended Sids, they are race only. Love the MXC's and recommend them regularly.
We're not obsessed with weight but it is an issue, the issue is that if
you don't care about it at all the cumulative effect is a pig heavy
bike. When I specced my San A. it was a money is no object
dream exercise. I could have used some cheaper parts and with less
money I would have. When you love bikes you end up loving quality and
quality costs money.
I've enjoyed riding many cheap bikes over the years but my San A. is
way better than any of them. You don't need an expensive bike, you just
want one, but then you don't need a bike at all, do you?
Some good points in your letter and thought provoking. Don't expect me
to start down speccing my bike any time soon though.
Would you be kind enough to advertise a charity 25 mile mountain bike
challenge that will be taking place on June 1st 2003? Taking place in
the Llanwynno foresty, Cwm Cynon, (Nr Pontypridd) S Wales this annual
race is suitable for all abilities, the current course record is 2hs
5ins. Entry fee £6.00 adults £3.00 under 18s. Book in from 9.00am,
start at 10.00am, finish if you can! Contact Wynford on 01443 790768 or
Alan on 01443 492276.
The site is great, good to see so much Welsh detail , here's hoping your readers can add our track to their experiences.
Sam Parsons - Membership Secretary Cwm Clydach Outdoor Activity Group
We don't usually race,
challenge or Enduro, but this is for charity!
Cool site man!
Been checking out your wicked site after looking at the Singletrack
site and discovering the planned developments in Coed y Brenin.
Me and my mates have had some of the wickedest days riding ever in this
mecca of mountain biking and it really wouldn't have been the same had
it not been for the cool vibe there is in the cafe. We all look forward
to the end of the ride for a nice cuppa and one of Sian's cakes and
some repair assistance from Dafydd :) Where else in Britain do you get
treated so well? Who else in the scene has devoted so much effort to
developing mountain biking in Britain?
I really think its time all of us show our gratitude and support to
these two for all they have done, we've all benefited from their
efforts, even if you haven't been to cyb! Things in Britain wouldn't
have taken off without them! I hope you post this letter and feature
the story from Singletrack.
I believe this development may be symptomatic of what may happen to other mountain bike centres if
it's allowed to continue, bureaucrats taking over what was meant to be for fun and making it something about money!
What do you think Gareth?
Will you protest in the Fat Tyre Festival?
Santa and Stiffy Stolen
Could I ask a favour?
Me and a mate have just had our bikes nicked out of our cars at
Rivvingtoin Pike this afternoon, could you pass the word if you don't
mind on the below bike spec's.
2000 Santa Cruz SL/Medium/Blue/2KZBH03837
XC4 170/150 rotors (Plus 20 kit)
2001 Gold Psylo Race forks
XT Group set
Hope Hubs/317 Black rims
WTB Velociraptor tyres (Front has a cream band)
Xlite PSS2 saddle black/red corners (chunk missing out of the nose)
Easton Stem/Monkey light carbon bars
2002 Cove Stiffy SL/17.5 "/Red/DC7694
Raceface Group set
Hope Sport Hubs
Specialized Enduro Hubs
They also took two Polaris kit bags stuffed full of kit, well put it this way it'll
take me years to replace it all. In total around £6000 went to some kids drug
habit, which he'll get rid of for around £200. (Expletive Deleted!)
Need your help Please.
Time for some more singletrack Vids, top site by the way, keep it up.
We'd be gutted if this
happened to us. If you see either of these bikes tell the police.
a pair of used egg beaters, and the cleats are worn. Have you noticed a
problem with that? They seem to clip in and out ok.
Also, they seem
asymmetrical. Maybe because they're worn. You mention swapping them
right and left gives different degrees...15 and 20...how do I know
which is which? The cleats aren't labeled.
Thanks for any help.
the information on swapping the cleats is as follows:
"compatibility and cleats.
the brass cleat fits any spd' compatible shoe. however, only an egg
beater cleat works with egg beater pedals. our cleat is unlike any
other because the front of the cleat is the same as the back (you can
clip in forwards or backwards). when you clip out, the front and back
simultaneously releases you. the rear of the cleat moves as much out as
the front moves in. the spring pressure ramps up from zero (through the
6 degrees of float) up until release. the two cleats are different such
that if you put the one that has two little dots on it on your right
shoe, then both feet release outwards at about 15 degrees and if you
put the one with the two little dots on your left shoe, then both feet
release outwards at about 20 degrees. the earlier release has slightly
lower spring tension. You will stay centered on the pedal. no lateral
On our review the cleat with the two dots is shown in the picture. If
the dots have been obliterated by walking on rocky ground it may be
wise to get new ones. Else just swap them over and see which you like.
The cleats are brass and being softer than steel they do wear faster
than Shimano SPD cleats. They also rust less and cause less damage to
the pedal. Shimano pedals have replaceable steel top plates (if you can
get parts) which wear out due to contact with the steel cleats. As Egg
Beaters wear the effect is a slowly worsening loose (wobbly) feel which
is cured with new cleats.
In wet weather we recommend re-greasing your egg beaters from time to
time. This is very easy to do compared to the tiny loose balls of
Shimano. It is only necessary to pop out the runner end plug and use a
2.5mill Allen key to release the pedal body (some models may have a nut
instead). Fill the body with grease and replace, a five minute job.
Getting a brain full
found your site while looking for information on front shocks from a
Google search and ended up spending a good few hours reading. Excellent
site and obviously written by real enthusiasts. I always get the
impression that guys and gals who get to ride for a living are way
above my league and make me feel like I'm just poncing about even when
I'm getting a massive rush from the stuff I do. The specs of the bikes
featured and the way you describe some of the routes reinforces that so
it was a great relief to find from one of the techniques articles that
you're not all experts at all the hard stuff. I'm referring in
particular to the one on Technical Downhilling where the author (is
that you?) says that he's basically crap at tricks but practices one or
two of the useful ones anyway. And I thought I was the only one being a
sad lonely nerd for trying to balance on the driveway and flick the
back end round to turn within the length of the bike! I've been riding
bikes since I can remember but I don't consider myself an expert by any
means so I always feel a bit daunted reading articles on techniques
written by people who I presume to be way better than me. However, I
usually find that when I sit and think about it long enough that I
already do what's being described and know the reasons for it. When you
learn something for yourself, usually the hard way, and you do it by
instinct, it can be hard to relate that to a studied version of the
same knowledge. I guess what I'm trying to say to people who feel like
me is: "Don't be daunted by the big boys and if the articles make you
think you're not up to it, don't take it to heart - skill and
experience will grow without you realising so just get out there. "I've
been reading the articles for ages now and my eyes are starting to hurt
and my brain is getting full. I'll have to come back some other time to
read the rest. Keep 'em coming. One last thing. One of the earlier
published letters mentioned that there are some good singletracks near
the centre of Bristol. I've just moved to the area and would love to
hear about good places to ride.
Ah yes, but then we're
not pro's you know... It's true I only have two tricks, going fast
downhill and riding steep stuff. Still, that's what it's all about where
I come from. 'MTB Britain brain ache' is well recorded. Take it in
smaller Bytes and you'll be fine :-) I've sent your address to Steve to
see if he can help you out with some Bristol trails.
We went to Innerleithen and got the lift up, was in a minibus with a
trailer - seemed like nice enuff guys. Started riding and crashed 10
seconds later!!!!!!! I sh*t you not! Managed to knock myself out cold
for 5 mins (good job I had my mates old polycarb lid on!!) - and
cracked a few ribs! ha ha ha! oops.......... Got an ambulance ride 'n'
everything! BLOODY HURTS TOO! See why me Pixie Vacant? Anyway, a sad
end to what could have been a great day. Homing Pixie (Rob) managed to
get 2 runs in while I sat n chilled n decided whether or not I needed
an ambulance and the rest of the day was spent sampling the delights of
Scottish hospitals. DOH! - H.P reckons the trail rules tho!
Here is a piccy of my brand new, only used 2.1 times Mountain Cycle San
Andreas. Do you want to see a list of the spec? Here it is if u
Frame - Mountain Cycle San Andreas DHS- 6" travel
Shock - Fox Vanilla R
Hubs - Hope Biguns
Rims - D521's
Forks - Marzocchi Junior T's
Brakes - Hope C2's
Crankset - F.S.A. V drive Extreme
Xt Rear Lx Front (REALLY hard to get a Front mech to fit the san an - believe it or not)
Take care - keep doing the MTB world a favour and keep the site goin, its cool!
Gray (AKA - Pixie vacant)
Projectile Pixie 2
Hi Gareth, it's Rob (AKA. Homing pixie) here, just thought I'd fill you in about the Innerleithen trip....
Well, we were really fired up for some of the UK's to DH action, made
the 5 hour drive Saturday night, pitched the tent at 1:30 am, and got
some brief ZZZ's in. We even managed to get up at 8'O'clock, have
breakfast and make it to the track for the first lift. We gets armoured
up, puts our bikes on the trailer, and off we go up to the top of the
national points track, where we grab our bikes and look with silly
grins at the the first stupidly steep chute ending in a large jump over
the fire road, dropping into the trees....
And we're off ! Great, fantastic burst of speed, big floaty air, more
speed, jumps, twists, berms... and hang on, where's Gray? stop to take
check, no sign, start pushing up the track, hmm, still no sign, running
up the track now... and, there he is! Only Knocked himself OUT COLD on
the first jump !!! Nice ambulance ride to hospital and an afternoon
striplight watching in A&E!
Luckily no serious damage done mild concussion and some cartilage
damage to the ribcage.... (though the full face lid scored a broken
Ah well, be sure we'll be making another trip as son as Gray is healed,
Innerleithen is MENTAL! and I'd recommend it to anyone after a wild
ride (who doesn't mind a few broken bones now and then!).
Keep up the good work on the site, Rob.
Hello Gareth, the sites looking as coooooooooooool as ever!
We (the pixie posse) are going to Innerleithen on sat night after Rob
(A.K.A. Homing pixie - cos of his inexplicable ability to get lost at
any given moment on any given trail) finishes work at Birkenhead Cycles
(he's actually on one of your steep shots, but that's beside the point)
to camp out.
We are gonna
be getting this lift to the top of the hill on Sunday morning - a truck
I think and it looks amazing. I shall be taking my Brand new, only used
twice Mountain Cycle San Andreas DHS with junior Ts, can't wait.
Anyway, call us lazy pixies, but we went to Morzine twice this summer
and have been
spoiled! heh! and anyway, when you like the downhill, the more rides u
get in one day the better u get! so........ I was wondering if u
of any other place in the UK that offers a lift service - obviously
there's Fort William, but I've searched the web and hit a wall,
Can u help?????
(P.S. I'm Pixie Vacant, because...... er sh*t, I've forgotten why..... anyway, our site is
www.bram.co.uk and you have to go to the main page and look for
the MTB Pixies link, go check, u can see some of the pixie exploits there)
Ah yes, I remember Rob, he with the Ballon's of Steel right? Shame they filled in those holes on the Hermon though...
Had a good look at your site, mad as Taz, the lot of you. Keep up the good work.
Sorry, I don't know of any other locations with a regular lift to the
top of the hill. This is a major oversight and should be sorted
immediately. Actually it's our fault for being born in the Gulf Stream
(not enough snow = no ski resorts = no lifts) If you do find any let us
know and we'll help spread the world. San Andreas with Junior T's?
Riding just get's better and better.
I am coming back to biking after many years off (age 32) and was looking for some advice on the Internet. I found
MTBBritain and found it very refreshing and unbiased, well done.
I was hoping if you could help me out with choosing a new bike. I have
read some of your tips for beginners but can't quite get my head around
the frame material section. My requirements are as follows:
1) Max spend £400
2) Riding will consist of off road footpaths and bridleways mainly locally (Box hill, Surrey) and is quite hilly.
3) intend to train for London to Brighton and an off road event of approx 60-100km next summer.
4) I am 5 foot 10 inches tall with short(ish) legs, inside leg 30inches
(trouser) and taller body.
I have researched the £400 market and fancied a Kona bike because of
its reputation and the fact that the longer and slanting top tube may
suit my legs and longer upper body. I currently have an old mtb with a
top tube of 21 inches and it is far too small.
Coming back to my earlier comment about materials if I buy a Fire Mountain
(£399) which is aluminium based it may not be suitable for longer rides but competition at this level such as a
Specialized Hard Rock FS is also aluminium. Is it really that bad to have aluminium for a 60-100km ride?
The other option could be a Kona Hahana which has a steel frame,
possibly more comfy but a lot heavier, does this matter considering the
Alternatively I could go the all suspension route e.g. Dawes Edge FS
Comp (£450). This is a bit over my limit and again is relatively short
from seat to handlebar, it is also quite heavy, approx 32 lbs and has a
lower component spec than the Kona or Specialized.
I would appreciate any advice you could provide.
Thanking you in anticipation
Glad to hear you're coming back to mountain biking.
£400 is the absolute bare minimum for a bike that will cope with long
distance off road riding. With low-end MTB frames the material issue is
not so important. The reason is because only Aluminium is inherently
light, cheap and stiff enough (with a minimum of expensive fabrication)
to do the job. Steel needs to be thick at the ends, as it's weakened by
the heat of welding (done at the ends, DUH!). The solution to this is
to vary the thickness of the tubes so they are thicker at the ends in a
process called 'butting'. You end up with a strong frame which has some
natural 'give' or 'spring' in the tubes. Unbutted (straight gauge)
tubes used in cheap steel frames are pretty heavy and little (or none!)
of the metals natural spring is apparent, unless you weigh 25 stones...
In summary, spring comes from the thin sections of the tubes, which
cheap frames don't have, therefore: all good, cheap frames are stiff.
So Aluminium it is then. If you find the frame punishing over long
distances consider a suspension seatpost. These aren't a joke and
actually work very well, it's only because racers shun them (they're a
tight arsed lot!) and full sussers don't need them that they have
attracted so little interest from the buying public. The best ones are
made by USE and RockShox, the linkage ones wear out real fast in UK wet
Weight isn't that important, but what's the point of a rock hard, heavy
(non-butted) steel frame? You may as well bag the weight saving offered
Go for a frame that offers a good fit if you have longer arms. Fitting
a longer stem is a poor option that would seriously compromise
Hmmm, what about the Gary Fisher Tassajara Disc at
http://www.bonthronebikes.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi stretching your budget
just a little at £449.95? Sorry, couldn't help it... Disk brakes are a
very useful addition in the UK. Wet weather on V brakes wrecks your
rims and compromises braking performance (we used to go through 2-3
sets of wheels a year, EEEK!). If the whole world had UK weather no rim
brakes at all would be sold. Seriously!
Or upgrade your Kona later, but buying a late end of year or last years model is highly recommended below £500.
Not sure about the Dawes FS. You're better off with a hardtail at this
price point, it would be a fun bike to ride but heavy and in need of a
lot of first year upgrading.
Let us know how you get on.
Bikers Don't bounce...
Congratz on an excellent site.
Unfortunately only found your site after I got back from Coed y Brenin
- it would have been nice to look at before I went. I especially like
the picture of the bloke building the bottom of the Redbull trail.
Attached is a pic of me getting abused by it! ;-)
I didn't come off too bad - dislocated collar bone, and lots of cuts
and bruises. More importantly the bike was ok too - bent handlebar,
smashed computer. Crash helmet wasn't so lucky, but it could have been
my head! I think the CamelBak saved my back :-)
Awesome trails. Can't wait to go back in a month or two.
Keep up the good work with the site.
Yes, missing a big
double jump really hurts. So we're not the only ones who can't get
enough speed up on this section to make them...
Hi, thank you for replying to my question. Patriot LT frame weighs 3,8 kg (=8,38
pounds) with Fox Vanilla RC.
I have put the money where it's most useful and saved some money with a
few cheap parts. I've used the newest parts from my old bike too. I
have been riding with it only using Nokian Hakka WXC300 studded tyres
as yet. http://www.nokian.com/bike/images/wxc300.jpg I can't wait to
get those Continentals rolling under. Here we have about one third of
the trail length covered with ice now and the rest is wet mud or frozen
mud depending on night temperatures. Studded tyres are needed for safe
riding. They give very good traction on ice.
Here is complete list of all components on my bike. Some of the weights
are measured with my own scale and are +- 10g accurate.
Frame Orange Patriot 16" mod. 2002 3800 g
Rear shock Fox Vanilla RC
Suspension fork Marzocchi Z1 Drop Off 130 mm mod.2002 1950 g
Brake Hope M4 185 mm 550 g
Hope M4 165 mm 530 g
Headset FSA Orbit UF 112 g
Stem Thompson Elite 120mm 5deg #42,5mm 199 g
Handlebar Easton EA-70 5 deg. 145 g
Bar ends --
Grips Mounty 50 g
Seat post Thompson Elite 410 mm 230 g
Saddles Selle Italia Flite Ti 250 g
Quick releases Hope Ti 100 g
Front hub Hope Bulb 32 hole qr 215 g
Rear hub Hope Bulb 32 hole qr 380 g
Spokes DT Super Comp 2-1,7-1,8 mm 319 g
Rims Mavic X317 disc black 32 hole 2 piece 790 g
Tubes Michelin UL auto 2 piece 280 g
Front tyre Continental Vertical Pro 2.3 620 g
Rear tyre Continental Survival Pro 2.3 560 g
Crankset Deore LX 660 g from old bike
Bottom bracket Deore XT 238 g from old bike
Cassette Sram 5.0 11-32 8-speed 285 g
Chain Sachs M-90 300 g
Front gear mech Sram 5.0 131 g
Rear gear mech Deore XT 242 g from old bike
Gear sifters Deore XT 10 year old top mounts 200 g from old bike
Cables Steel regular 20 g
Pedals SPD M-747 415 g from old bike
total weight: 13571 grams
An eclectic mix of
parts which stretches the Freeride Lite concept to it's limit. I like
it! Check out the pictures below. Everyone reading this old enough to
have used thumb shifters? Thought not.
I found your excellent page about winter clothing on the MTB Britain
site. I noticed that you haven't written anything on the benefits of
breathing masks: By using a breathing mask you will preheat the air
going into your lungs. This will take away the worst bite when the
weather is really cold. They are especially useful if you have problems
with sore throats in cold weather. They are also practical to use
during heavy rain to keep water out of your mouth or when biking in a
polluted city. The drawback is that you get slightly less oxygen into
your lungs. This can however be compensated for by breathing deeper and
more slowly than normal. The prize is around 30 USD, and the filters
are normally replaceable. One filter lasts for several months if used
every day. If you bike in heavily polluted areas it is advisable to buy
a better (and thus more expensive mask) that can catch smaller
particles. Such masks normally costs around 50 USD.
Certainly worth a try
on the coldest days or if commuting.
Peak to Peak perfection...
Just a line to thank you for the excellent website. I don't often visit
but it's good value when I do. Last night I was searching for a ride in
the Peaks that I hadn't done and came upon the Peak to Peak route,
which I did today. Absolutely fantastic 5 star route! The Beast was
brilliant - I was doing great until I had to halt to let some Duke of
Edinburgh kids march up, then immediately dabbed. Also the Switchbacks
make a fantastic climb (in the dry) - good Alpine training!
Last time I visited it was to get the Minton Batch details, the time
before the Pink Heifer, before MBR route took it over (great descent to
the river!). Keep up the good work
The Peak to Peak, it
Wharncliffe Marker Posts Removed
Just thought I'd drop you a note on the current marker problems on the black circuit at Wharncliffe:
I emailed the Forestry Commission to see if there is a map having got
lost despite growing up 10 minutes from these woods. There is no guide
at present but he said there have been some problems with people
pulling out the posts - idiots! Basically if you follow the trail past
the tops of all the downhills you describe in your guide, do the little
signed downhill and contour back to the fire-road then it drops you
steep downhill on the wide fireroad. From there you go right and up the
gnarly climb - I lost the trail at the top of this as there are no
One other piece of advice - for camping at Coed Y Brenin there is an
excellent little site on the shore of Bala Lake about 20 mins drive
from CyB where you can barbie on the beach! Its along the minor road on
the east side of the lake - look out for a huge corrugated iron shed in
a field by the road and go down the track just by it.
Great site - I'll send you reviews when I move to Vancouver later this year (gloat! ;-} )
'Lost' marker posts are
becoming an epedemic across the country and I suspect that even at the
best looked after venues e.g. CyB, riders will be better off if they
have a route map as well. We'd decided that it wasn't worth the effort
of mapping the black route at Wharncliffe as not many riders would use
it. Looks like we'll need to think again... We should be visiting
Wharncliffe in the next couple of months to get some video footage and
draw up a route guide then. We've only done the black route once and
might even get lost ourselves! So if you have it worked out and could
make a Sunday ride let me know...
Following your feature on the Peak to Peak,
we went up this weekend. We spent last night getting ratted and curried
up with my motorbike pals in Sheffield. The weather was completely
hideous, but we were very lucky to have a strong tailwind on most of
the outbound bit. The Beast was exceptionally beastly, I made a big
mistake by going on my new homemade Zaskar instead of the full sus, and
regretted it. By the time we four roaring poofs got down the screaming
mile my wrists were shot! The only thing it didn't do was rain, in fact
it brightened up so much later that we did a circuit of the Howden
reservoir in addition, adding on 17km.
Great trip though, we are planning to do the C2C next, in bad weather of course!
You guys need to hook up with the MTBB
crew more often. The Peak to Peak can be ridden rigid, but it hurts. A
lot. You added on 17Km to the Peak to Peak in a day? you're seriously
tough guys. C2C? count me out! I'm not that hard ;-)
did the Pink Heifer the other day (Saturday 15th Dec) morning. Clear
skies, sunshine and very cold. So cold, in fact, that the usual mud was
frozen solid, and an absolute joy to ride. The main news is that it
looks like the bridge over the plunge pool is about to be constructed.
Two huge hardwood beams are at the top of the hill, and there were
ongoing construction work. How they will get the timbers down the bank,
I do not know, but figure that it should be done early in the NY. Yee
It was a miracle we got to CYB in any event, two of
the lads, who shall remain nameless, went on the piss the night before
so we had a long wait whilst they got their acts together in the
morning. We also had about six puke stops on the way up! Take a bow
Matt and 'H' - you're famous now.
The new Pink
Heifer route makes the ride possible right now people you hear? The
bridge is now finished, so get out there.
To MTB Britain, hello/bonjour!
just wanted to let you know that I stumbled upon your site whilst
looking for information on Mtbing in general and Specialized's Enduro
line in particular. I must say that I am very impressed with your
website. It's just terrific. I especially enjoyed the pictures and
notes on the various trails in the U.K. I must confess that I had
always thought of Britain as this post-industrial Blade-Runner type
wasteland with virtually no open country riding to be had anywhere.
Really, the impression we have of Britain over here would shock you.
However, I stand corrected. Perhaps it is high time for me to go on an
MTB vacation to the U.K. and check out some of these awesome trails.
live in Eastern Ontario, in Cornwall which is right on the banks of the
St. Lawrence river. I'm lucky to be within driving distance of so many
kick-ass trails. In fact I live right next to about 20km of excellent
XC riding (thank you God!). Right now it's late November. The weather
so far this month has been fantastic for riding. The temperature has
been hovering around 5-10 degrees Celsius during the day. A little bit
of rain, but overall, excellent weather. I hope the snow holds off for
a little longer. I have ridden in winter, but you really have to wait
for the January winds to clear things out a bit, because it's no use
trying to ride in the white stuff when it's 3 feet deep. Also when the
temperature dips below -10 with wind it pretty much becomes a
nightmare. You guys should come over and try it! Oh I'm just
exaggerating! No one around here actually rides in January. Except for
the crazy ones of course. (see: my brother-in-law)
now I'm riding a tricked out 98 GT Backwoods aluminium hardtail with an
00 Judy XC fork. I've just bought an 01 Specialized Enduro (full sus)
on layaway. I should have it ready to ride by January. I've done quite
a bit of "test-riding" on it and I love the Marzocchi Bomber fork, and
the feel of full suspension overall. Why didn't I go full sus two years
ago? Dammit. This is my first dualie, so I was a little hesitant at
first (me being a 34 year old hardtail old-timer) but for the price
(apporox. £650) it was just too good to pass up. I'm looking forward to
spring when it will be nice and muddy. I think I'll take it up to Mont
Ste. Anne near Quebec City to give the bike a run for its money. We'll
see then, won't we? Well I'd just like to hand off a friendly hello to
all of my fellow MTB riders in Britain. Keep riding, and ride fast.
Also before I take off I would like to thank MTB Britain for such an
excellent web site. It's superlatively well laid out and put together.
The tips you've included are an eye-opener and I like a different
perspective on MTBing from an international point of view (no, the U.S.
From a friendly Canadian,
Glad you like the site,
this kind of mail keeps me going on the long writing / scanning /
programming / video-editing sessions! If you ever come over to the UK
drop us a note and come out on a ride with the MTBB crew. Not sure if
we'll be able to show you a route to blow away the best of Quebec
Something to do with inner tubes...
I dunno what they're called, but the little guards that stop your chain
rattling against the frame made by lizard skins and the like cost a
blinkin' fortune! A friend of mine suggested that (and this is an eco
friendly thang too ya know!) you can use your old inner tubes for this
job, just cut along the seam and add cable ties - hey presto - recycled
bike thingy! If you publish this, can I just say hi carumba to Dean,
Keith and Rob, our mbiking posse - HI GUYS! Great site by the way!
Chain-stay protectors, you
can make one out of all sorts, but a thick inner tube sounds like a good
idea. Thanks for the praise, my fragile ego needs regular support :o)
We did Coed y Brenin this weekend (and it was exceedingly wet too!) I
had just put some of that Stan's tubeless goo in my front tyre and it
was brilliant. No punctures, hardly any air loss at all and very
satisfied with the result.
Well done for recommending them, BTW the sealant is latex carpet
adhesive, a bit like Copydex. If we could replicate the valves we could
steal the idea! I couldn't get my rear rim to seal, it's a Rolf Urraco,
and has all the spoke drillings on one side, so its nearly impossible
Anyway, we stayed at the log cabin village and were very impressed with
that too. The food was great at Rhiw Goch and I don't think I heard a
single complaint all weekend. We didn't see anyone at all apart from a
young lad and his dad on the first bit of Red Bull/Karrimor and it
would appear that many people just park their bikes up and sit in the
cafe all day apart from the ones who ride up to the top of the last bit
with all the berms and jumps and roll down a few times with their pals
Good to hear you had
success with Stan's. The system doesn't work with all rims and tyres,
especially loose tyres and odd rim drillings. We found it difficult to
set up Mavic 221 rims which have a very narrow inner rim well. Also
tyres with pronounced moulding ribs across the bead cause failures.
Loose tyres need the addition of a Michelin plastic rim strip on top of
the tapes. Stan's Tubeless Review
We probably could
replicate the idea, but Stan's put a lot in to it and deserves the
relatively small price we pay IMHO. His valve stems are made in small
numbers so they're the expensive part at $9 each.
Spot on with the
comment about the cafe crowd. Some are there for the duration when it
Well I got the bullit so here is my review as promised. Not had the
bike long yet but have given it some abuse (already got a chip on the
nice red paintwork).
Got a small bullit, set up with psylo SL`s because I got them cheap,
blarrr blarr. Anyway first impressions before even riding up a kerb
were, wow, this really does feel like the nicest bike I have ever
ridden. Take it downhilling and it eats everything in its path, I rode
down a hill as fast as I could pedal, hit a small take off at the
bottom, and still had confidence it its ability. The bike is definitley
faster than I am! For the first time I started to get worried about the
speeds as I was getting. It tracks up hill well also, little bob
considering the amount of travel, in sandy conditions it tracks better
than my old hardtail ! I was worried about moving from a hardtail to a
full sus, thinking the change might be too radical, but it ain't a
The bike jumps like a dream too, better than my old hardtail, even the
local BMX`rs who had a ride on it say its the best feeling mountain
bike they have jumped. Once they rode it they wanted to go again and
again, wow BMX`rs wanting to ride a mountain bike! Just turn up the
compression a bit on the twin clicker and hit those jumps, mind you
though you do have to hit jumps twice as fast and pull the front up
more than normal, but hey I can live with that. Anyway what can I say,
couldnt have bought a nicer bike in my view for what I wanted. A nice
Downhiller, Jumper, Street and occasional XC (Yes you can ride back to
the car park).
We can't say we're
surprised. What is surprising is how many people buy XC Race-worthy hard
tails/full sussers then never race. If you're riding to have fun this is
the sort of bike to splash out on.
Counseling is available through our professional service to those with
slightly chipped paint work on their brand new super bikes. No
sniggering at the back, this can be very distressing for some people...
Coed y Brenin News
Gareth, two weeks ago a cloudburst over CYB caused a thirty foot wave
to crash down the valley opposite to the centre. This is the first
substantial bridge on the old MBR route. Some swine had taken the
signpost at the first turn right off the A470 and I followed the old
signs at the second turn which finished at the awesome sight of a
completely demolished bridge-apparently a tractor was swept along with
boulders and trees and now there is a yawning gap, across the rocky
chasm with no way over to the other side. The bridge lower down was
also swept away which takes out the Pink Heifer route as well.
retraced my steps and went down the last section of the Karrimor. Back
at the centre I discovered an enjoyable addition to the Red Bull. Start
by the Red Bull gate go across the minor road and past the big clearing
on the left. Continue for 200m and a slender wooden pole with MBR
pointing left is a really sweet flowing bit of singletrack to forest
road. Here do not go left with MBR sign, but turn right and follow
forest road uphill. You can either take the second track on the right
which joins up with the Red Bull at the corner and you can do all of it
or just continue up the forest road until you get to the top of Pop.
Recommended AUTAN stick which contains only 20% DEET but is formulated
to be as effective but much gentler than more concentrated insect
repellents. It is sticky and stays on much better than sprays and
creams even when you sweat. It smells nice as well! I It did keep the
bluebottle flies away but I did not get a single bite from the
ferocious midges and mossies of CyB.
Have you come across Finesse products, a British firm that makes superb oily, cleany sprays and lubes?
I've posted Dafydd Davies
reply on the state of the bridges at CyB :-( The Autan Stick is well
recommended in the summer. Finesse products rock!
We've seen the bridges,
pictures in the news section. We were able to cross the
river at both bridges, but this is serious adventure stuff, not for
those who mind wet feet. On a wetter day or following rains it would be