LONG-TERM RIDES

The lat­est on our team bikes – where we’ve rid­den, what we’ve changed on them and what we’ve bro­ken this month!

Mountain Biking UK - - CONTENTS - www.kon­a­world.com

I feel like the Op­er­a­tor has spent more time in a bike bag than on two wheels this sum­mer, but that can only means one thing – lots of trav­el­ling! In my long-term re­port on my Spe­cial­ized En­duro last month, I talked about Nor­way. Well, hav­ing heard just how high the qual­ity of big bike rid­ing was out there, I couldn’t re­sist tak­ing the Kona along too.

I’m glad I did, be­cause let me tell you now, the Haf­jell World Cup track is one gnarly beast! The rock gardens look steep and rough on TV, but when you’re be­hind the bars, they’re on an­other level. While I did my best to avoid the baby-head rocks and wheel-sized holes lit­ter­ing the track, my back wheel did take the brunt of bad line choices on a few oc­ca­sions. More than one evening was spent spoke key in hand, tru­ing out the re­sults of my er­rors! I have to say though, the Hope Tech DH wheels have re­ally proved their worth when it comes to strength and re­li­a­bil­ity. They’re still run­ning true, even if they do look a bit bashed about.

Af­ter Haf­jell I trav­elled east, to the Nor­we­gian round of the FEST Se­ries, and with big jumps on the agenda, that meant a few set-up changes. I pumped the tyres up to 35psi, added more com­pres­sion damp­ing to both the fork and shock, and slowed the re­bound down by a cou­ple of clicks so I didn’t get bucked off by the big G-outs. Thank­fully th­ese tweaks kept me on the horse and I’m here to tell the tale! (You’ll be able to read more about the Hill­billy Huck­fest in an up­com­ing is­sue.)

Back from my trav­els, I fi­nally had time to dust off the Kona and give it some much-needed TLC. A grind­ing head­set ac­com­pa­nied by a drib­ble of orange rust was the first sign of two weeks of bike park bash­ing, and sure enough, I found the lower race had dis­in­te­grated. It’s noth­ing that a new set of bear­ings and some grease can’t solve though. Adding to the rear wheel abuse I’ve been dish­ing out, my Maxxis Min­ion DHF tyres have seen bet­ter days, so it’s time to sling them in the bin in favour of some new rub­ber. A pair of Onza’s Aaron Gwin sig­na­ture tyres turned up in the of­fice re­cently, so I’ve snagged them. I can only as­sume they’re go­ing to give me god­like cor­ner­ing abil­i­ties.

SPEC CHECK

Hope Tech DH-Pro 4 wheels £390 www.hopetech.com De­ity Black­la­bel han­dle­bar $84.99 www.de­ity­compo­nents.com Onza Aquila DHC RC245 27.5x2.4in tyre £64.95 www.sil­ver­fish-uk.com

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