Friday, July 30, 2010

July Jump Session

We packed up our gear and went south. Word was that a small mtb club had made a small Whistler in their local woods. Well it wasnt quite Whistler, but it was pretty damn fun.
Turned out these guys had made jumps, drops, log-rides and shitloads of berms in a small section of the woods. The place had like 4-5 lines, most of them interleaving into each other, and while I didnt quite understand the idea behind every line, some of the other lines just had a really fun flow to them - it was hard to resist riding it over and over again. I did miss a proper drop tho', a big one *hint hint* What a fun day.

Kim on one of the bigger jumps, notice the line that runs below him:


..and alot of jumps:

Kim does a log-ride and drops into a berm, he actually pulled it of nicely:

Lars tried doing the same, and slammed his nuts into the frame, ouch:

Looking forward to next time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Preview: Point One Racing - Podium Pedal 2010

Got my hands on the much hyped Podium pedal from Point One Racing. First thing that came to mind when I got hold of these pedals is that they are big! Its 100mm x 100mm but thats the platform itself, actual size is bigger. Second thing that struck me was that these pedals are VERY thin, comming in at 11mm, these pedals are litterly thinner than your little-finger. The quality seems to be very high also - with beautiful CNC cutting at angles and places I didnt even know was possible, it just oozes quality.
I do have my concerns tho'. The steel pins are short, and are drilled from the back in - so I wonder how the hell im supposed to get them out if I bend them. Point One Racing has annonced that longer pins are in production, so are alu pins. But I have to be fair, and mention that the "short" pins are actually doing their job very well - as well as my former, longer, pins.
Other than that I can only say that im looking forward to bash these beauties up, giving them a rough time, and finally review them here on All Mountain Next. Lets hope they last longer than those from Superstar Components..

Quality is evident:
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And I thought my Superstar Components Pedals where thin:
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With the steel-pins:
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: Superstar Components Mag Lite CNC - Magnesium body + Titanium axle

Superstar Components launched these pedals in mid 2009, using the same design as Nuke Proof. When I first got them I was amazed by its low weight, sub 300 gram platform pedals are something else. I ended up using these pedals for everything, and I wasn't gentle - why should I be? 6 months of beating turned out to have a price tho'.
So before going into much more details on the failure itself, let me quickly take you through the good stuff:
Besides being very thin, these pedals have pins that are very easy to replace and the platform itself is satisfying big (105x100x17mm LxWxD) But the color coating was wearing off fast, so dont expect that fine look to last long.
Everything was going the way I wanted, the pedal was holding up, but then one day it snapped during a climb! I send in the broken pedal to Superstar Components, and they told me that this was the first time they saw a failure like this. After a little month I got my replacement pedals on warranty. Never installed them again tho' and in the end, I just cannot recommend a product that ultimately failed.

The good:
-Body can take the hits
-Pins are easy to replace
-Very lighweight
-No bullshit warranty

The Bad:
-Axle had a catastrophic failure

Score: 0/6

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Look forward to the preview of the Point One Racing - Podium pedals..

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July AM riding

We took our bikes to the trails and had a blast. Drops, jumps, and a bit technical riding was the name of the game for the 5 hours we where out riding. Kim and Morten are not scared of a little bit of air, so that was our main game this day.

Morten shot this amazing pic:

Speaking of Morten, he really has an unique style, and we saw him doing things we definitely wasn't used to see:

Kim taking care of the El-Grande Drop. He ended up being the fastest guy on it, leaving him with the biggest vertical drop, we estimate it was around 2.2 m. And that drop isn't even broken in yet..:

Kim on the new Speed-Drop. Ride it too slow and you will fail to hit the transition:

Morten and me:

Ready for more.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: Schwalbe Fat Albert Rear 2.25 Evo 2010

Schwalbe has made this light weight AM rear-specific tire to compete with whats on the market. With its big size, and snakewall sidewalls, it has the potential when looked at quickly. Schwalbe has made it very lightweight as well, so its definately of interrest for those who want to shed some unwanted grams of their AM bikes.
If you are riding loose over hardpack, plain hardpack, or on soft soil, then this is a pretty good performing tire, for everything else, the tire underperforms. This tire will dissapoint when things get tough and demanding, climbing on rocks, stones, roots is handled very poorly by the Fat Albert, and if conditions are wet, well prepare for a very frustrating ride - its that bad.
For starters the lugs are not direction-optimized very well, and are pretty small, and that has proven to be a weakness when things get tough. The side lugs are just not aggressive enough to get you round corners with such speeds as certain Maxxis tires. This tire got cut up all over when beating it on the rocks, on the technical trips. Now I know that any tire could suffer this, but I didnt have this problem with any other tire - in such extend. Fat Albert is also very prone to snakebites.
The braking and drifting is unpredictable, and I never really understood how the tire would behave when braking hard, sometimes it gave a nice drift, other times it just washed away, putting me in an unwanted game of guessing. Schwalbe promises long living lugs, but it wears down at the same rate as any other good tire out there, so dont expect it to last longer than what you are used to.The rolling ressistance is there, but its not that big, so I rate it medium, its not a highroller, but it wont drag you either.
I see this tire as a summer-tire, for easy and dry conditions, for the trail rider, and the AM biker, that doesnt get himself into too difficult rocky trails and stays at home when things get wet. Unless you are absolutely obsessed with weight savings, or dont ride demanding climbs, or rainy trails, stay away from this tire, there are other better alternatives that will get you there faster, and more secure.

Size:2.3" (Snakeskin)
Tested on: Rear
Claimed weight: 650 gram
Actual weight: 654 gram
Score: 2/6
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I could document aleast 2 more holes, some of these has penetrated all the way through the carcass.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tatry Mountains 2010 part 3/3

All that rock riding. And I somehow got out  without a single scratch :)

So AM riding was plentifull here. But what about FR and DH?  - Sure, the Tatry Mountains got you covered. There is an official DH track here, called Harenda, it hosts the national DH. But I knew there was an unofficial FR/DH spot as well near the main town of the Tatry Mountains , Zakopane. Thing is I actually found it by accident last year. So I went back. When I got to the track, I stumbled upon two local guys, Zbyszek and Grzesiek and their trail dog. While Zbyszek took on the role of a photographer this day, Grzesiek was ripping it. Cool thing was that they showed me around, taught me a thing or two, and we talked about the Polish DH/FR scene:
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Grzesiek pinning it. Their track had multiple lines, and about 20 features of this sort. The lines where carefully crafted, and they obviously put alot of time into this. The difficulty was definitely not on the easy side:

Even tho I had alot of fun, my skillset this day was an absolute disaster, nothing turned out the way I wanted, and I generally sucked. But I rode most of it nonetheless - and had fun doing so:

The bike took a beating, or should I say, the wheelset took a beating. The rim got a few dents, but still holds true, and my Schwalbe tire got torn several places:
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And hows this for a tube. 8 holes, patched up by 7 pieces of repair-patches. I only had this problem with my rear tire. Somethings fishy in the Schwalbe camp.
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Otherwise the bike did great. The Fox 36 rc2 is just an amazing fork, it really shined here, it climbs and descends. I did miss some kind of platform damping on the ISX-6 rear shock, but I managed without. The Chunder SX front tire was amazing, weapon of choice for technical AM, FR and DH. 
So that was my pictorial for my trip. As I hinted before, there is a movie on its way, so look forward to that : )

In the mean time, check this out. This trail was about 30 cm wide, and to the left of me was a fall of 250 meters! 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tatry Mountains 2010 part 2/3

Getting to the top of these huge giants isnt easy, as I mentioned before, its not mtb trails, so accessibility is somewhat sparse in some places. If you manage it somehow anyway, the trails open up. Here is one of the most beautifull trails I saw, going along a mountian ridge, you can actualy see the trail on the left if you enlarge the pic. Now hows that for an epic trail? : )
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After the evil climbs, reset your sag, and your low speed compression, and rail this shit. 1 hour long descends are plausible here.

Im all in for root gardens, but some of it was just ridicules:
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The trail on your left is actually Slovakian soil. If you look very closely, you can actually see it zig-zag further down in the lower right of the pic.
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I recorded 4 gigs of video here, I would be surprised if that didnt materialize into a small vid at some point ; )

This is my second trip to the Tatry mountains. And I highly doubt that it will be my last. Its cheap and easy to get here, the trails speak for them self. Sure beats sitting at a pool. Its all about getting most out of your life, seeing things, exploring, and embracing as many opportunities as possible, and even tho' I dont want to get all philosophical on you, I stick to that.

Stay tuned for part 3.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tatry Mountains 2010 part 1/3

I went to the the Tatry Mountains that devide Slovakia and Poland. These mountain are something different than the ones I was riding in the Harz. This stuff is BIG!
So I went for 9 days, riding all I could, and exploring as much as possible, this place is littered with trails, and some of them are simply breath taking - both in regards to the scenery, but also the technical and physical challenges the rider is subjected to. And I just had a blast, the weather was great, nothing of importance got wrecked on the bike, and I somehow came out without a crash - this was without comparison my best MTB trip yet, one that will stick with me forever. So whats the big deal? Well sit back and let me take you on a little walkthrough:

Where should one start, with breath taking scenes and trails like this, ill simply only scratch the very surface of what ive seen and ridden:
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Trails are plentifull, and the variation is big, its on the higher difficulity scale tho'. Dont bring a singlespeed here, and have a good cardio, expect trial and error, get rewarded with the time of your life on a bike.
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Trails in the mountains are actually not permitted to be ridden on a bike here, they are all hiking trails, for hikers only. That was not going to stop me. This is a picture off a trailhead, wich is guarded (!) by an forest-employee, to stop bikers like me from entering the trails. Btw, note the "Warning - Bears!" sign on the right.
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Expect some very hard trails, these trails are not for bikes, and this shows in every way, root and rock gardens that just goes on for miles. And I just suck it all in with a big smile : ) This is what I came for.
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..hell, some sections where not even ridable.
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..But most of it was. The Tatry Mountains boast some of the best trails ive ever ridden. The trails have an un-touched feeling to them, one that spawns some amazing trails. A perfect place for true AM riding. AM? FR? DH? You got it all here - as I will show you later.

Stay tuned for part 2.