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british bears- single track biking, shot in the dark?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
i know there are some british bears in here and was just wondering if anyone knows some singletrack trails, etc in the london area? is there anything easily train accessible just outside london? new to the area and want to get out in the countryside sometimes.

post #2 of 21
I was going to PM you, but you have it disabled. What part of London?
There's some good stuff to be had heading out north west around the Chilterns. Nothing particularly challenging, but enough to keep fit!
post #3 of 21
post #4 of 21
It's very pleasant to cycle along the Thames path between Hampton Court & Richmond, but you sound a bit too serious to me for that.
post #5 of 21

DB, you forgot one very good site for UK mtb information -- Singletrack World UK
post #6 of 21

It was second to last link. [img]tongue.gif[/img]


PS What do you think about the Specialized Stumpjumper?
post #7 of 21
Originally posted by DangerousBrian:
What do you think about the Specialized Stumpjumper?

Have you seen the mt. bikes that Gonzo and his posse ride? They aren't the kind that you buy in a normal big-city bike store.

I was just paging through the latest issue of Mountain Bike magazine, and you wouldn't believe how jargon-heavy its bike reviews are. Even though I'm completely happy with my 1998 Specialized Ground Control with full suspension, I'm sure that he (and most of the readers of that mag) would be laughing derisively at my "old school" ride.
post #8 of 21
Originally posted by jamesdeluxe:
Have you seen the mt. bikes that Gonzo and his posse ride? They aren't the kind that you buy in a normal big-city bike store.
That Specialized frame is widely praised across the world at the moment, getting rave reviews in Germany, England and America. Just wanted to see if Gonz had an opinion on it.



post #9 of 21
awwww... unfair, james!

I am in the middle of converting my freeride bike (Ells Isis 4" travel F/R) to my XC bike, selling my Airborne Ti hardtail XC frame, and building a Santa Cruz Bullit (7" F/R) as my freeride bike.

I do not judge people based on what they ride, but rather, how much they enjoy riding and whether they talk louder than their skills can support.

I own a road bike, a BMX bike, a singlespeed hardtail, a hardtail gearie XC, and a FS freeride bike. I have no room to judge anyone based on the type of bike they ride, because I own one of each type of bike available (except "townie cruisers" and "comfort bikes," two types that don't interest me).



ummm... all I can say is... DOH! :

Which Stumpy are you talking about, DB? The FSR or the hardtail? Both are good values in all their incarnations/models, but the hardtail is a bit rough on the body if you are over 30 yrs old. It's a stiff frame designed for XC racing speed & efficiency, and doesn't have any interest in making its rider comfortable. For that matter, most XC race frames don't nod toward comfort.

If you lke XC race handling but don't want to get beat up, I suggest a good steel or Ti hardtail.
post #10 of 21

In Europe XC riders have moved on from raving about the Santa Cruz Superlight, Ellsworth Truth etc and started raving about the Spec FSR (full sus) frame (Enduro/Stumpjumper/X-works etc). Confused the hell out of me but just wanted to know how well it was respected that side of the pond.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
thanks for the info.

hey gonzo, what's your "quiver" of bikes?
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
also, can someone give me a REAL london bike shop and not all of these chincy ass london shops which don't know crap and just try to rip you off?

post #13 of 21
post #14 of 21
quiver info:

'99 Airborne Lucky Strike -- XT/SRAM drivetrain, Time ATAC pedals, Avid brakes/levers, CK headset, Titec Knucklehead DH stem, RaceFace low rise bar, Marzocchi Z3 BAM 80, XT/DB 14-15/Mavic 217 wheelset, Panaracer Fire XC Pro 2.1 tires, Icon seatpost, Bontrager FS+10 Ti RaceLite saddle.

'00 Ellsworth Isis -- Fox Vanilla R rear shock, XT/SRAM/Truvativ drivetrain, Kooka bash guard, Sun/Ringle ZuZu pedals, Hope Mini brakes (185/165), Azonic ORC stem and Double Wall riser bar, Marzocchi Z3 QR20 (100mm), Rhyno Lite/14/XT disc wheels, WTB 2.5 Weirwolf front and 2.4 Mutanoraptor rear tires, RaceFace XY seatpost, SDG Grand Prix saddle.

'02 Curtlo Solo Mountaineer -- custom geometry, True Temper OX Platinum tubing, FSA Afterburner cranks, QBP Engagement Ring 34t, Black Spire Ring God bash ring, Sun/Ringle ZuZu pedals, SRAM chain, ACS Claws freewheels 18t and 20t, XT front hub/Surly New rear hub/DT 14/Sun O Degree Lite wheelset, Titec Knucklehead DH stem & bar, Marzocchi MXC 100 fork, Schwalbe King Jim 2.25 tires, Titec seatpost, Bontrager FS Ti RaceLite saddle.

'02 Poverty Buck 99 BMX -- all stock components

'98 Cannondale CAAD3 Roadie -- built with CAAD3 frame and Colorado Cyclist Ultegra build kit, Look PP296 pedals, Conti Grand Prix 3000 tires, McMahon Ti seatpost, WTB SST-XR saddle.

on its way to me now...

'02 Santa Cruz Bullit -- 5th Element rear shock, '02 Marzocchi Super T Pro fork, FSA Pig headset, Hurricane seatpost, Titec Berserkr DH KTi saddle, and drivetrain/brakes/wheelset from Ells Isis.

Isis then will be converted to my only XC bike, with drivetrain/brakes/wheelset from Airborne. Then I will sell the Airborne frame + Manitou SX-R fork. Most likely will sell the BMX bike later this summer, too.

Obviously, I have an acquisitiveness issue, but it's limited to bicycles.
post #15 of 21

You are seeing something "trendy" happening. It might be related to the fact that finally, Specialized woke up and realized that their RockHopper and StumpJumper FSR frames were much too short in the cockpit... they lengthened the top tube on those frames, and now they can run stems of less than 15cm.

IMHO, the FSR bikes don't hold a candle to the Superlight or Truth, or for that matter, any Ventana, Turner or Titus design. If built with a good XC kit and air suspension parts, the Ells Isis SL can be quite a nice XC race bike. It lacks the extreme pedal feedback that plagues many monopivot designs. And, at the same level of excellence and price is the new Ventana Pantera, which essentially is an "updated Isis" according to Sherwood Gibson, proprietor of Ventana Cycles. Gibson designed the Isis back when they were called Aeon frames, because Aeon was originally a joint venture between Ellsworth and Ventana. Eventually, Tony Ellsworth bought out Sherwood Gibson's interest in Aeon (the story is that they had some type of falling out). That's why the Isis and Joker now are called Ellsworth bikes rather than "Aeon by Ellsworth."
post #16 of 21
hey james, you're leaping large to unwarranted conclusions.

previous bicycles I owned were "intermediate gaper" mtbs, AND I follow mtb equipment with a perversely detailed eye. So, I know about what's going on in the major mfrs' lines. As to why I own these "high level" bikes -- at some point, when your riding skills become refined and you have spent considerable time in the saddle, you want something that itself is more refined. Sure, I could ride a Giant Warp FS model, but it has too many weaknesses for my level of skill. I could ride a Specialized FSR model, but they don't fit me (I like long top tubes and short stems). If you think these conclusions are mere snobbery, you're sadly mistaken.

before the Airborne I owned a '94 Gary Fisher Paragon ($1000 bike) and before that, an '89 Trek 930 ($400 bike).

as to the "separate house," no -- just a separate bedroom turned gear closet.
post #17 of 21
Sorry Gonzo, just bustin' chops. (I nixed my last post because I was getting off-topic -- this was supposed to be about British off-road biking). I'm just so jealous of ANYONE right now who can go mountain biking.

That said, I am planning a low-impact re-introductory mtb ride over the July 4th weekend in Southern Quebec... hopefully, that will eliminate my growing resentment at the able-legged.
post #18 of 21

Giant, Trek and Specialized may sell bikes in big city stores but they are the ones winning world cup races at the moment. Mountain bikes are like skis, the Pro grapics might be the same as the skis in the shop but they are very different animals. The Spesh X-works are supposed to be the closest thing to the pro bike the public can buy.


I know free-riding (not XC) is more your thing but thanks for your responses. I hear great things about Santa Cruz, Ellsworth etc but there are no local dealers here. Now that I'm getting used to the real hills over here in Austria I'm thinking about entering some MTB Marathons (just for fun). Really trying to decide if I should go for something more race worthy or stick with my Marin Mount Vision ('98, Manitou SX-R front, new Cane Creek Cloud 9 rear, mostly XT) which doesn't beat me up, climbs well, has never let me down and is paid for.

How do your newer forks compare with the Manitou SX-R's?


PS "r" sorry for hijacking your thread but ask here http://www.bikemagic.com/Forum/forum.asp?SP=&V= about London bikeshops
post #19 of 21

The SX-R is the only non-Marzocchi XC fork I would consider using, because I prefer coil/oil since I do not race XC. For heavier people, it might be a bit flexy, but nothing at all like the horrific RockShox SID. I like the feel of the SX-R and it is VERY adjustable, without having to use some silly air pump every time conditions change.

I would stick with your Marin, especially since you just installed the Cloud 9. A good air shock can reduce many of the unfavorable single pivot suspension traits, especially a super-adjustable one like the Cloud 9. For the front, I would suggest a RockShox Duke. Unlike the noodly SID, the Duke has fat stanchions that won't flex and leave you scattering about the trail while trying to hold your line.

How come you didn't mention the Orange bikes? Orange make very impressive frames and their lightest FS bike would be a very good choice.

Personally, I prefer monopivot bikes because they tend to be less flexy in the rear, and require less maintenance. Also, when well-designed, they come close to 4-bar designs in trail feel and plushness while braking. If I were building a new FS XC bike right now, I would probably look at the Turner XCE, the Ells Isis SL, the Ventana Pantera, the Titus Racer-X, the Hammerhead 100-X (a Titus Racer-X modified to fit 100mm travel forks, sold by Charles Coker of Hammerhead Bikes), the Ventana El Saltamontes. I would run air/oil suspension up front, and air suspension in the rear. Keep wheels sturdy first, then light. I would run Hutchinson Pythons if dry, Hutchinson Scorpions if wet. I would avoid UST tubeless because it needs another 2 or 3 years of refinement. :

[ May 31, 2002, 03:12 PM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #20 of 21
Originally posted by gonzostrike:

For the front, I would suggest a RockShox Duke. Unlike the noodly SID, the Duke has fat stanchions that won't flex and leave you scattering about the trail while trying to hold your line.

How come you didn't mention the Orange bikes? Orange make very impressive frames and their lightest FS bike would be a very good choice.

I'm not that impressed with Rockshox's reliability. A lot of my riding is done alone and in the forest so I don't want to risk reliability for just a small performance or weight advantage otherwise it could be a long walk out of the woods. What improvements do you see in your 3 sets of Marzocchi forks against the SX-R? (e.g. stiffer, lighter, plusher, better steering etc) I'm thinking of going for an MXR Coil.

How come I didn't mention Orange? - yes the Sub 5 would probably be right up my street but again there's no local distributor. On top of that Orange delivery times are extremely long and delivery is usually delayed. If there's a fault with the frame I want to go back to the shop here in Austria and not have to ship it back to Germany, England or America.

I think one day I will just have to bite the bullet and buy one of those Superlights, keeping the Marin as a backup.


PS The cloud 9 really has transformed the Marin. There's a short circuit (around 40km with a few grueling hills) that I do fairly often. The fastest time I managed last year was 2 hr 15 min. First run last Thursday with the Cloud 9 fitted and I did it in 2 hr. :

[ June 01, 2002, 09:02 AM: Message edited by: DangerousBrian ]
post #21 of 21
Well, Marzocchis have a number of improvements over all RockShox (except the Boxxer, which is pretty nice) -- primarily, stiffness to resist flex while riding rough terrain, plushness that is still unmatched by ANY fork, dependability, adjustability, great customer service, and top feel & quality even at their lowest models.

Compared to the Manitou SX-R, I would say that a bargain Marzocchi (i.e. MXC 100) has a better feel, better tracking, and slightly better durability. But it's heavier and not as fully adjustable externally as the SX-R.

If you're going to wait on the Superlight, you should also take a look at the new Heckler and Blur that Santa Cruz will introduce in late Summer or Fall of this year.
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