I’ve just had to replace the suspension pivot bearings on my Giant Anthem frame and really had to have a good look around before I found any decent instructions. Thankfully LyNx on mtbr.com has put together a handy guide here
Danny MacAskill burst onto the mountain bike trials scene a few years ago with some homemade videos appearing on youtube and a wee stint on BBC Scotland’s Adventure Show. He was going places then and if he isn’t signed up by some mega sponsor after this latest video then he never will. This video is one of the most amazing bits of moving image I’ve ever seen.
He’s totally dedicated, committed and shows what can be achieved when you really set your mind to achieving your dreams. He’s also a pretty nice guy.
Although, we’re lucky enough as a team to have a sponsorship deal with Marin, we’ve had the bad news that the much anticipated Alchemist short travel full suss has been delayed until probably September 2009. In the meantime I’ve been busy on eBay and found a bargain Giant Anthem frame and here’s it’s first pic below.
It had its first decent ride last night and first impressions certainly match up with all the incredible reviews it’s received. The rear suspension wasn’t quite as plush as I expected, however, I think new bushings and spacers just need a little time to settle in and I’m sure it’ll be swinging free. I may have a little too much air pressure in the shock as Giant’s recommendation to put the same pressure as my weight in pounds, seems to stiffen it up a bit too much and with the efficient pedalling design of the Maestro links, then it should enable me to soften it a little and increase small bump sensitivity. It only has a Fox RP2 fitted which is probably in need of a service too, so not going to expect miracles in small bump sensitivity.
The Anthem is really designed for an 80mm travel fork so the 100mm Reba I have fitted has kicked the head angle back by half a degree, which is probably a good thing. The Anthem is known for its super sharp steering and that little bit of layback will help take the edge off a bit which is probably a good thing for epic racing and training rides.
I still have an Xlite carbon riser fitted to a Race Face Deus stem and I’m thinking seriously about altering this setup. I find the Deus to be a bit lacking in torsional stiffness when I really pump on the bars on a steep climb and I’m on the lookout for a suitable alternative. I would like to try an oversize bar and stem and see how that feels. On the bar front I’m thinking it might be a good idea to go back to a flat bar with bar ends, particularly with Explore Sweden on the horizon. The sweep angle on the Xlite bars isn’t quite to my liking and I think having the muliple hand positions offered by bar ends may be of benefit to my wrists on the long Swedish bike sections. I had a little lower back pain at the start of the ride and I need to figure out whether that’s to do with my position or just because it’s been so long since I’ve been on the bike. I think the latter and I just need to do some more hamstring stretching. Can’t wait to be able to start back at yoga now that my knee is getting stronger!
2009 looks like being a fantastic year for mountain bikes, with some very interesting designs or tweaks coming out from a whole load of the big names. These days it’s very hard to make a bad bike and even the most basic bikes are so much more advanced than those of a few years ago. Marin used to be seen in the UK as the Ford Mondeo of mountain bikes, with reliability and efficiency the name of the game rather than out and out performance or glamour. In the past couple of years though they’ve produced some really well received downhill and freeride rigs and the Mount Vision has been picking up awards left, right and centre for its stunning handling and suspension action.
Unfortunately for us as adventure racers, the MV was putting on the pounds with the increase in suspension travel and the tube angles were all getting a bit too relaxed for racing purposed. Thankfully though Marin have pulled a new design out of the bag and it fits our bill perfectly. The new Alchemist bike features 100mm of travel and a more race ready specification and geometry which looks ideal for adventure racing. There are no bikes in the UK yet so we have to wait and see how it performs.
Sneaking into their range with no press is this rather sexy looking carbon framed CXR Team, which takes obvious design and manufacturing cues from sister brand Whyte but at a much reduced price. This complete bike setup with SID forks and SLX groupset retails for £1850 which looks pretty tidy to me.
I’ve done a few 24 hour races in my time and had some interesting sleepmonsters moments but the poor lass who was attacked by a bear during a 24 hour race in Alaska must have been wondering what the hell was going on.