Sunday, January 31, 2016

Snow Vervoeren Part 2/3

Part 2:

On my way to drop off a german WW2 bunker. The dunes hide lots of these lost relics.
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Dropping in.
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Two gloves pose as markers as to where to hit this kicker. Too much to the right or to the left and you get killed (not really).
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For the snow sessions, I usually put on my FiveTen Diddie Schneider shoes. And I get reminded how poor they actually stick to my platform pedals, compared to other FiveTen shoes. The are warn tho, keep the snow out, and have an ok-grip onto the snow itself.
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Part 3 coming soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snow Vervoeren Part 1/3

Sometimes, just sometimes, the weather and temperatures open up for the opportunity to ride on the frozen dunes, that we have a small hours drive from where we live. 

5-10 days during an entire year is all we get, in this window of opportunity, for this kind of frozen dune riding. Anyway, we got 2 days of riding recently, with a dramatic end. Ill start from the beginning:

Just check out how massive these frozen dunes are. Jan is standing in the background to the far right. With a shovel and an axe, you can pretty much carve you own lines into the frozen sand, sculp kickers and whatnot, or just improvise and ride what mother nature sculptured.
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I'm on my Canfield Brothers One bike. The spike-tires I have are 26" inch, so that canalized me back to my old bike, instead of my YT. Good to be back on top of her... *wink*
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Speaking of Spike-tires. I'm on the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro tires. 2.35" in the front. 2.1" in the rear, sub 2 bar pressure. Great tires btw, check out the review HERE.
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Don't.Slip.Here.    ...a fall of 10 meters awaits you if you do. Sometimes it takes a little climbing to get to the right places.
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When bikes and wildlife cross.
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Jan starts of by using a frozen dune as a kicker. Sometimes another dune was the landing-transition.
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Btw we shot some footage from this place a few years back, be sure to check it out:
2:43min with sound.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Is big better? RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 VS Rockshox Vivid Air

I un-installed the RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 off my YT CF Capra, and installed the Rockshox Vivid Air. I am putting them against each other. Same drops, trails, and jumps, so the stress is pretty much the same. I want to see which one is better for this bike, the smaller Monarch, with its platform adjustments and "trail-tune", or the bigger all-in DH-tuned Vivid Air. Two different air shocks, which one is better? Lets take a look:

Both shocks where sagged at 30%. Both shocks where tested with different compression setting, the rebound was set at the same rate.

RockShox Monarch Plus RC3

  Rockshox Vivid Air

The Vivid Air is a HUGE shock, and a hair below 600 grams shows that's its on the heavy side, compared to other air shocks. The Vivid has the following adjustments:
-External beginning stroke rebound 
-Ending stroke rebound 
-Low speed compression
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The Monarch is smaller, a bit more simple and obviously lighter, and has the following adjustments:
-External rebound 
-3-position compression (Open, Pedal, Lock)
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The graph I'm showing below is not based on some empiric study, its based on head-to-head feel. So take it for what it is. So this is what I'm trying to show with this graf:

The Monarch has a good beginning support, the mid travel support is good as well, to a point, but the shocks begin to behave differently here. The Vivid goes of in a more linear direction, whereas the Monarch begins to eat up its travel. Bigger hits blast through the travel, and I've even seen medium stuff eat up all the end-travel. So the spectrum of the Monarch is a bit limited.

The Vivid Air tries to mimic the linear compression curve of a coil, and does that to some extend. Its sensitive in its beginning stroke, and provides great support in the midtravel, where in my opinion, it really shines. The end travel is not quite as good as a true coil shock, but it does provide a very nice damping when hitting the bigger stuff.

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Using the climb switch on the Monarch Plus RC3 is almost like cheating. The bike just propels up. But even in the "trail" setting the bike just climbs amazingly, just stomp the pedals and the bike takes you up.
The Vivid Air is more descend oriented, and has no "climb" switch, it does however feature 8 clicks of low-speed compression to help with that compression ratio. It helps on the climbs for sure, and even tho its not as good as the Monarch for climbing, its definitely competent. There is no hill I cant tackle with the Vivid Air, that I otherwise could with the Monarch.

Monarch Plus RC3 score: 6/6
Vivid Air score: 4/6

The Vivid Air has a very good mid-travel support and tops out nicely in the end stroke, its obvious that it tries to mimic some of the best features of a coil-spring. The Monarch isn't bad at all, but it stands in the shadows of the Vivid Air.

Monarch Plus RC3 score:4/6
Vivid Air score:6/6

Trail riding:
By "Trail riding" is mean a mix of all conditions, some climbing some descending and some flat riding as well. The two shocks each have their strengths and weaknesses. To be honest I would put the Monarch a hair over the Vivid, as its 3 platform-compression settings gives it an edge regarding versatility. I still score them equal because the Vivid outshines the Monarch in other areas when it comes to a mix of settings.

Monarch Plus RC3 score:5/6
Vivid Air score:5/6

Air and bigger hits
Its no secret that the Vivid Air is built for bigger hits, and stuff that would otherwise stress other shocks. And it handles that job very well. The landings and hits feel plush and controlled on the Vivid, the coil-mimicking damping curve takes care of that. The Monarch on the other hand, feels under damped and harsh in comparison. The rebound is too fast when all travel is used, and that gives a feeling of being kicked back into the midtravel. Not to my liking.

Monarch Plus RC3 score:2/6
Vivid Air score:5/6

Bigger hits are the strengh of the Vivid, but the weakness of the Monarch.
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Climbing is the force of the Monarch, allthough the Vivid does a fine job as well.
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Quick summary
Both shocks are good. They really are. But just as they pose two different personalities, they cater to different personalities as well.

The Monarch caters more to normal trail-riding and climbing efficiency, its 3-position compression (Open, Pedal, Lock) works outstandingly, its weakness is the end-travel, it rebounds too fast and the compression curve feels off.
The Vivid on the other hand has its strength in a very supportive and well tuned beginning-mid-end travel, no matter what you do, It will do it pretty good. Its not at supportive on the climbs as the Monarch is, so its definitely a trade-off in that regard.

I guess its up to you as a rider to figure out whats important to you, climbing, descending, bigger hits, or a mix of all. Personally I will keep my Vivid Air on my bike, it makes the bike even more versatile, and that actually makes the bike more fun to ride.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Slow motion, high speed Video

While im working on my RockShox Monarch RC3 VS Rockshox Vivid Air bit, I thought I would post my High-Speed 2015 compilation. sit back and enjoy.

2 min. 120-240fps. With sound. 

Be sure to check out the 2014, 2013 and perhaps my favorite; 2012 high-speed vids as well. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

The inevitable death of All Mountain Next.

I am going to kill the All Mountain Next blog in 2016.

I am however going to stay on it, hopefully, for the rest of this year. The main reason is that it no longer challenges me, and that I've done pretty much everything on this blog. There is little to add, without it going into circles. I don't want this blog to turn into a grind, I want it to be alive and well, fueled by passion and curiosity, and I can definitely do that for 2016 as well. But no more than that.

Then: With more than 520 posts, 40+ reviews and previews, hundreds of pics and vids, and trips to more than 6 different countries, this one-man amateur blog has a solid backbone of content in its catalog. With upwards of 42000 visitors a year the success of this blog has surpassed my every expectation.

Now: I want 2016 to be the last year, and I want it to be more experimental. I want to inject some creativity and I want it to reflect the soft underbelly of my brain. How and when that materializes, well, lets see.

Next: I will definitely still be writing, riding and philosophizing. Perhaps creating a different blog? Perhaps go more into photographing. I would love to go into moto at some point, or shake things up a bit and go back to the University and pick up sociology.  Would like to learn to Bow-Hunt at some point in my life. I'm polarised, but I'm also curious, and I'm holding my momentum, and that's important to me.

Enjoy this last year, its going to be fun : )

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christmas is over

Changes are coming. Stay tuned.