Sunday, 20 May 2012

Derek needs a new Bike

  So the Giant Anthem is getting a little long in the tooth and is starting to cost me more in repairs than it's worth. Also I'm finding that is ust not cut out to do what I want it to do. Don;t get me wrong it's still an AWESOME bike but I need to move on.

  So test bike time. This time around I have a little bit of an idea of what I'm doing so rather than walking into the bike shop and going yeah that will do I'm doing a lot of research on my options and doing a lot of test rides before handing over a big wad of cash ( which I don't have anyway).

  So this weeks weapon of choice was the YETI SB66. All the reviews on it rave about it. First impressions it's white and it's a bike. And that's about it. Runs a 2 X 10 setup with out a bash guard which I found strange considering it's meant to be an All Mountain bike. 6 inch travel with a FOx up front and an RP23 in the rear.

(Stupidly I took no photos of it DOH!)

  So first ride was a spin around Daisy to get it all setup and get a feel for it. Going up the first hill I wasn't impressed, It felt heavy and sluggish but at the same time very responsive when you mashed the pedals. Now a lot of this could be the fact that it was  a medium frame but that's what I had to ride so. After mucking around with the fork setting I started getting a bit more out of it and was desperately missing my dropper post. Hitting up the water bars adn a few drop offs this thing just floated it was so stable in the landings so inspired confidence but at the same time I had trouble getting used to lifting the front up due to the weight so any jumps which I was used to chucking the anthem thru was hard work on the YETI. So I left Daisy feeling uninspired by the whole affair but first ride on a 6 inch travel bike we'll hold final judgement on it for now.

  Saturday afternoon was test ride number 2. The location Cornubia forest. I had higher hopes for the Yeti in here and wasn't disappointed. Again climbing was hard work and I hate climbing at the best of times. But coming down Wallum Froglet was a HOOT the bike was so much more solid than the anthem so feeling good I went for the Jump and well lets just say I had an encounter with the rocky wall after the jump. Again the weight and travel of the bike got me and I ended up whacking my leg and arm into the wall. So after laughing thru the pain I dusted myself and went onward thru the tricky tight and fast section that is the bottom fo Wallum. The bike just felt good thru here and I was starting to warm to beast. After a run down ressurection and Stupidly The Yeti was starting to look better but still something wasn't quite right about it. I'm not overly impressed with the brakes. 180 F & R with Deore XT calipers. Don't have the grip of the Elixirs on the anthem withe 200 front rotor. But I was loving the rear deraillieur and the 2 X 10 setup although a Bash guard is a must for me these days.

  By the end of Ressurrection  decided to start smashing into the logs rather than jump over them and the forks just glidewd over them with ease which is quite impressive. I like 6 inch travel!

  Next stop the mighty YARRABILBA. Now this is where I really need the six inches and was time to really test the YETI out. We did our usual fast warm up track and it was feeling good. So off to the rough stuff we headed. I think I finally had the settings right for me , Nice and soft. I started pushing it a bit to see how it handled. And it stepped up nicely after smashing down the "Quarter Mile" which is a fun rough, if you choose the right lines, bit of fireroad down from the top of the hill. The Yeti was starting to do what it was supposed to do. But again as we climbed up to the next track I was feeling it lacked something for me. After a few more big rocky decents which the Yeti just swallowed up we got to "Super Sketchys". Now this is an awesome bit of track, MENTAL but awesome.

  Sketchys is a 600m or so track with about 90m of decent fireroad. Now when I first rode it it was a groomed but very rocky track but was very uniform in its rockiness so you just pointed and shot down it just hanging on and letting the bike do the work. But now it's a nightmare inducing jumble of rocks of varying sizes, drop offs, logs and 4 x 4 wheel ruts. Making it an amazing adrenaline filled 6 minutes of terror as you hold on for dear life trying to avoid the larger rocks and ditches while attempting to steer whike your wheels are bouncing a foot each adn every way without notice. BUT oh my god what a hoot it is. It has to be one of the most technical trails around and it's a fireroad. And every time we go back out it gets worse. The Yeti soaked it up as best it could using every inch of travel available but even an 8 inch Downhill monster would have trouble tracking down there.

  SO in conclusion what do I think of the Yeti? Well it's a great bike and it absolutely loved being abused on the rocks but is it for me. No it just didn't yell at me "I'm the one" Maybe a lot of this was because it's the first 6 inch travel bike I've ridden and that it was a medium frame. Oh well the search will continue.

Forgot to say a shout out and huge thanks to Tim and the FTR shop for letting em ride the Yeti and to everyone who joined me for the weekends riding.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Mount Joyce NOT so choice

  A few weeks ago we headed out to MT joyce at Wyaralong dam for mountain biking hijinks. For those who have had their heads buried for the last 12 months or don't ride a montain bike (why are you reading this then :P). Mount Joyce is a Government built recreational facility with Mountain bikes track, horse riding, motorbike facility and camping etc....

First up was a ride along the Shoreline trail thru to Hidden valley. Sadly along the way we rode past the once great fun 4X track which is now a washed aaway mess with ences all around it. Was this a sign of things to come? The Shoreline trail is a nice little warm up track along the Shoreline ( Funnily enough) which has now overgrown quite a bit. Which is a shame because it used to be quite fun riding side by side and jumping all the hidden little jumps on the side of the track.

  From the Valley we head up the GRUELING fireroad and headed towards the bottom of Big Bertha for the final climb to the top. A climb which I have become all too familiar with. FINALLY we got to the TOP. So now the fun begins!

  Now I'd been warned that Bovine Groove was a little overgrown. BUT what I didn't expect was the TOTAL NEGLECTED TRAIL that used to be world class. The top half of Bovine is now a mess with the corners barely visible making it a dangerous adventure. I ended up leading the group down the hill which was worse because I couldn't see SHIT!

  Now don't get me wrong it is still an AWESOME track but compared to what it used to be it is rubbish. All the little offline rocks, drop offs, jumps etc are now invisible. Which means they are now hazards for those straying off the line. Now I know the XC guys and gals probably enjoy the new track as there is now a "LINE" to ride down. But me I hate it compared it's former self because there is only the "Line" which takes out the fun of downhill. Which for me is all about finding your own line and challenging yourself to hit new technical features each time down.

  Next up was Seargents (DROOOOOOLLLL). Seargents is a Black diamond Downhill track. ( Which means it's pretty technical). I'd been hanging out to hit this track again for months and finally I got the chance. The track has changed quite a bit since we first rode it with some sections getting a lot more tricky and other sections becoming a LOT easier. but what a HOOT.

I went out to Seargents a few months ago with some mates to take pics of the proper Downhill boys riding it properly.

These boys were amazing to watch up close. Big shout out to the boys of DRCC and DFH bike clubs.

 So next up was Black Rock, probably my favourite track in MT Joyce, as it combines a long track with a lot of technical features. Now soem fool ( may or may not ave been me) Suggested going up the back road to Black rock. Got to be easier then the full climb to the top right??? NO!!!!! It's a big push up a steeper hill. BUT it was shorter.

  Now I'm so glad to say that Black Rock is Superb still, Only a few sections where the bush is taking over the track and none of the features have been dumbed down at all.

Video I took a while ago of Black Rock.

  After Black rock we were stuffed so off for home we went after the 5km ride out and a feed at the obligitory hamburger joint.

So Why is Mt Joyce not so choice?

I was away from home a total of 8 Hours.
I rode a total of less than 30minutes of fun single track riding.
I rode a total of 22kms with less than 5 kms of that actual "Fun" riding.

So 8 hours for 30 minutes of riding on overgrown neglected tracks. No thanks. I'll stick to hitting up the local tracks. Wallum Froglet- 30 min drive, 12 minute up hill 6 minutes Down. And the track is as good if not better than those at Mt Joyce.

Bottom Line Mount Joyce it's been fun but we are thru. Unless of course they bring back the gravity enduro. :)

Pump track News:  The track got a real work out last weekend with 12 screaming 8 year olds running and riding all over it. End result Jacob's Dad is the Coolest! (Little do they know).

Bike News:  I'm almost over the Giant, it's not built for what I want to do with it. SO I'm on the look out for a new bike and have my first test bike this weekend. Which is probably why I'm up at 5 am writing this wasting time before a ride in Daisy on the Test bike. More on that to come.

Quote of the week: There are 2 types of Mountain bikers- Those that like riding up hills also known as Closet Roadies and those that ONLY ride up so they can go down!