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