It started a long time ago perhaps when I was 11 I had my 5 speed 20″ mountain bike which I got for Christmas I think that was the defining moment and start of my riding obsession. Since then I dabbled in recreactional riding for a long time, I used to ride BMX at a local skate park before I had realised the potential of mountain biking. I have now fully embraced mountain biking as being my full time hobby, I want to progress further into the freedom that mountain biking has always given me. The highlight of my riding carrer has to be riding in New Zealand The scenery was immense, the lifestyle unbeatable, It was so amazing I’ve decided to go back next year!
I have always had a bike and always used it as a mode of transport from getting to school and later college, to meeting up with friends. I have always enjoyed riding my bike but never saw myself as “a mountain biker” until more recently. Here is a brief history of how i got into riding.
The story begins a few years ago… I was fit and athletic when I fell seriously ill, was put on medication and spent some time in hospital, my fitness level fell and I became overweight. this went on for about two years. When I eventually came off my medication I was overweight and feeling mentally, as well as physically, low. This is when I got the old bike out and started occasionally riding to work again. This is when I met Andy. Talking about riding got me into the saddle more and I decided to change the forks on my bike from a pair of rubbishy “zoom” forks to a pair of Manitou’s with a little control over rebound and preload which I picked up cheap off eBay. We decided to go out on a ride to Coldharbour and ended up sessioning summer lightning. This was my first experience of trail riding on my rickety old cheap bike with these second hand forks which I was grateful for. That was it for me I was hooked. Andy convinced me to change my bike after this after a thought and some saving I decided to go for it. I got myself a wonderful new Specialized Hardrock. I decided to go for the bog standard cheapest bike as I intended to change a few things. First to go were the forks straight on with a pair of Marzocchi 33’s and the brakes with a pair of Avid Elixir 5’s with 185mm rotors. The riding went on and Andy managed to convince me to do an Evans ride it. My longest ride so far. I completed this with difficulty but managed around 17 miles through some of the deepest, worst mud I have ever encountered. This is when I discovered the need for regular maintenance. The time out of the saddle maintaining the bike is as important as the riding itself, a little time to wind down after a long ride. The riding continues, the obsession begins….
I thought I give you an insight into what I have been riding on the trails over the years. From clunky gears, buckled wheels and bent frames to current love affair.
Above :My Specialized Hardrock pro 2008 Almost unmodded apart from upgraded brakes, forks and medium cage rear mech. I was more interested in jumping than XC riding Eventually this bike became a single speed jump bike. Below a year later I had grown up built a proper jump bike and spent some money making my hardrock into an XC bike again. SLX brakes, XT floating rotors, SLX shifters XT mechs cassette and Chain. Fox f32 Terralogic forks and of course the legendary red walled Fire xc tyres.
The Pinnacle Camino no.47 out of 100 hope pro2 gunsmoke wheelset Saint cranks Dj3 forks Pretty Sweet bike but a tad too long.
Below: by far the Worst bike I have ever owned Kona Cowan with 160mm Marzocchi 55 forks Hope wheel set Saint rear mech and the worst Chain device ever. Heavy slow crap link and useless at all types of riding.
The Demo a Savage of a machine but absolutely useless in the South East Junior T forks fox dhx 5.0 Hope tech v2 203 Hope tech x2 203 Hope wheel set saint cranks saint gears another crap chain device a beautiful Thompson stem.
Below: Much loved the trusty caldera indestructible and a pleasure to ride most importantly single speed. This bike did start life as a normal XC bike but unfortunately it has never been loved by my wallet. This bike has rarely seen any upgrade that hasn’t come out of a bin.
The most recent addition to my long history of bikes and the most expensive bike I have ever bought My brand spanking new Trek Remedy 7 2011 more to come on this bad boy Write up to come soon keep an eye out!
Hi I’m Robert,
I do a lot of rides with Andy and will also be reviewing the same rides, as more of a novice rider I should be able to give a slightly different angle on such events. Also I will be reviewing various kit I have used and tried and comments on how they perform. I will also be writing about my pride and joy; my fully customized Specialized Hardrock (photos to follow), What components i have changed and how they affect the ride.