Sorry this is a little late. Christmas celebrations took over, and we have been having fun out on the mountain bikes!
We are blessed with so much great riding locally. Obviously the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean have some of the best trails in the country, but within half an hour, we also have places like Cwmcarn and Pontypool, as well as the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains.
We did our Christmas Party with an uplift assisted ride around the South Wales Valleys…..We can’t tell you all the trails we rode, but let’s just say the boys in Risca have been busy, and it is a rad place to ride. South Wales is really where it’s at!!! : )
Sunset over South Wales
Anyway back to the kit we have been abusing! This is the kit we have been riding all year. They have clocked over 150 MTB rides and over 3320km so far!
Crankbrothers Synthesis Wheels
We are very lucky that Pedalabikeaway is the only UK demo centre for the Synthesis wheels, so we got to ride a set for the year!
Like a lot of people we might have been a little sceptical about ‘tuned’ wheels for the front and back of the bike, but boy do they work!
The idea is that the front wheel has more give (or compliance) to help filter out trail chatter and to better track the terrain. It also has a wider rim, so it gives a more rounded profile for that bigger front tyre, and less spokes (28) than the rear wheel. You can feel the difference through the handlebars, especially when ridden back to back with some standard Aluminium wheels.
The rear wheel is built narrower, stiffer and stronger, with more spokes and a different carbon lay up. This allows for a more responsive feel when putting down the power, and helps keep the rear wheel keep tracking the front.
We have been running the rear wheel with a Cush Core (more on that in another blog) and Maxxis DHR 2 2.3 DD and the front with the new Maxxis Assegai DD Maxigrip.
They have been out to the French Alps and ridden in Morzine, Let Gets and Chamonix, raced around the UK in gravity enduro, MIJ and Mini Downhills and obviously on our guided rides and coaching sessions.
They have been through countless rock gardens, jumps and drops, roots and loam, and we haven’t had to touch them. We have not had to change a bearing (yet) nor spend a second on a spoke key. Zero Faff Factor there.
Gareth racing at the Mini Downhill at the Forest of Dean (with the Crankbrother Synthesis Wheels)
As a comparison, Windy has been running the Stans Flow on Hope rims with the same tyres and the Cush Core and has gone through 2 rims and spent many an hour truing his wheels. Given he is also 15kg lighter, it would be fair to say his wheels have had a easier time of it!!!!
Yes, we know that you can buy an entire bike for the price of these wheels, but they do come with a lifetime warranty and handle some serious abuse. If you have broken every other set, they give these a go! You can demo them for a whole day for £40 at Pedalabikeaway by clicking this link.
Rapid Racer Product Mudguard
How can a bit of plastic make such a difference to your ride? We have been running the Max guard on all our bikes all year. Not only does it fit really well, give plenty of clearance on the tyres and protect the seals on your fork legs, but more importantly it keeps your vision completely mud free!
Windy and I both wear contact lenses, so there is nothing worse than getting mud or grit in your lenses. Personally I don’t like wearing glasses or goggles when riding – I find they fog up and are useless in the wet when you need them most. The RRP has no such problems. At under £25, it is one of the cheapest and best upgrades you can make to your machine!
Worx Portable Pressure Washer
Most of our guiding and leadership courses in South Wales take place away from the luxury of the trail centre, so being able to wash and prep the bike before the next day’s riding is a must! The beauty of this Worx portable pressure washer is that it is battery operated, and can run off any water source. We have used streams, buckets, water bottles and even a really deep puddle!
It packs down super small to store in the van, has an adjustable spray and power settings, and you can pick it up online for less than £100. It’s been a lifesaver for us this year!
There have been loads of other great products that just missed the cut this year, including the Woof Tool pliers, Camelbak Repack bum bag and the Garmin Fenix 5 watch…What will make our 2020 list of must-haves……?
See you out on the trails!