First Ride, First Impressions, First Race.

2015 marks my third year racing for Pedals Bike Care, after 2014 being somewhat marred by a serious head injury at the start of the year I only managed a few races throughout the year. However, after a solid winter of training and some savings in the bank I will be racing a lot more this year and hopefully making a bit more noise as I do it. I will be competing in most rounds of the Scottish Enduro Series and four rounds of the Enduro World Series along with a few other select events. On the weekend of the 28th/29th of March I took part in the Tweedlove Vallelujah event and this marked the first outing for me on my new bike, a ‘Safety Orange’ Transition Patrol. This was my second race of the season, having raced the SES Round 1 at Innerleithen on the shop’s Banshee Spitfire demo bike, a great bike but having owned a size large last year the medium proved a little cramped over the race weekend! Still better than not racing and I managed a 13th place in Elite in my first outing in that category.

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At the beginning of the week it was uncertain whether I would race, but the search for a late entry proved successful and after a bit of a last minute build from James after the bike arrived two days before the race all was sorted.  I went into the shop on the Friday around midday to collect it. Having selected the Transition Patrol Build 2, we agreed to upgrade the wheels to some Hope Pro 2 hubs on WTB KOM rims. A couple other changes to the stock bike included the addition of some ODI SDG grips – a personal favourite, and also changing out the Scwalbe Rock Razer rear tyre for something a little more Scottish Sludge friendly.We also fitted the MRP AMg Chain Guide for full chain security and for those chainring rock moments that tend to occur when you are hanging on a technical stage.

 

The build of the bike as stock is pretty dialled with the fantastic SLX brakes on stopping duties and a Sram X1 drivetrain meaning a nice easy bottom gear for the transitions and a decent top gear for sprinting down fireroad (stage three I’m talking about you). Rockshox Pike upfront and Monarch Debonair out back also a great choice. Only negative for me is the rather long 175mm cranks, perhaps it is my XC and Road background but 170mm cranks are more my cup of tea. I’ll probably change them out for something a little shorter in the not too distant future

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After getting the bars cut down from a monstrous 800mm width down to a manageable 760mm, the bike was ready to roll. After a couple skids, endos and wheelies round the block I immediately felt at home on the bike. A quick setup of suspension pressure, two magic tokens into the Rockshox Pikes and an extra spacer under the stem and I was ready for the weekend.

 

After arriving in Selkirk Saturday morning myself and two friends headed out for a lap of the circuit, as stage 1 was removed from the race due to the weather we headed up to stage two which started at the top of The Three Brethren. First impressions climbing the bike was that it put me in a very comfortable climbing position, the size large felt spot on in terms of reach and the seat angle being suitably steep put me in a great position for spinning the pedals. Standing just under 5 Foot 10 and being surprisingly lanky for my height the bike felt the perfect size, I know I tend to favour slightly larger bikes that allow me to run a nice short stem, having ridden and owned mediums in the past I know they don’t fit quite right, this size large Patrol felt ideal. A lot has been made about the Giddy Up platform being a big improvement over Transitions old platform. Having previously owned a Transition Bandit I can definitely vouch for this improved pedalling. I still felt the need to flip the lever to pedal mode for prolonged smooth climbs as I often move in and out the saddle while climbing but happily rode the suspension fully open for singletrack climbs and rolling terrain with no noticeable pedal bob.

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First time riding the bike in anger was my first practise run down stage 2 and hitting the early turns in the stage and letting the bike slide felt fantastic. The bike felt super stable at speed but I felt comfortable throwing it from one turn into the next. Transition definitely know how to make a fun bike. The bike felt super solid and predictable and I quickly forgot about it and could focus on the trail.

 

Practise of stage 3 and stage 4 passed without major incident, first crash on the bike came on stage 3, a wee crash in practise being a good indication that I need to reign it in a little. Stage 4 featured some extremely tough pedalling at the start, a few tricky flat bogs and off cambers before dropping into an extremely technical rutted mess. I was thankful for the 150mm drop Reverb seatpost that came with the bike which meant getting off the back of the bike was nice and easy.

 

All in a great first ride on the bike. I was delighted with the bikes on the ups and the downs and I felt ready and excited for race day.

 

A pasta dinner and an early night in the van ensured all was in place for Sunday.

 

After being set off at 8.55am the weather was a lot milder than predicted and it was nice to remove the jacket going up the first climb, it remained in the bag for the rest of the day. I managed a largely uneventful race and rode solid and consistently throughout the stages.

 

Stage 2 (9th Senior)

 

The sun was shining at the top of the Three Brethrens and I sprinted into the stage and nailed all the top turns and the narrow high speed pedal passed without issue. The bottom section was a bit loose with a few clipped out wild moments but a solid stage in testing conditions, the overnight rain definitely helped this stage as it thinned out the mud a little. Having dibbed at the end I almost flipped the bars trying to roll away again as the heavy braking to stop had caused both my wheels to fully succumb to the mud and both wheels were fully clogged.

 

Stage 3 (6th Senior)

 

With the filming drone buzzing overhead I again sprinted into the stage and kept it smooth over the first turns, I felt quick on the traverse and remembered to slow down for a tricky multi line right hander. I maxed out the bikes top gear sprinting down the slightly longer than remembered fire road then dropped into the bottom section and kept it smooth to the line. Taking my best placing in the race in the process.

 

Stage 4 (7th Senior)

 

In practise I decided this stage was all about pacing, the top section was a technical pedal weaving through the trees with rock gardens, roots and  mud in plentiful supply. Easy to go to deep and end up burst and lacking focus further down. I kept it smooth and felt pretty fit up top, whilst the middle bogs were a bit of a slog but I managed to stay on the bike throughout and emptied myself on the last incline before dropping into the muddy ruts that awaited. Again a few wild feet unclipped moments but largely solid and I crossed the line happy to have no major incidents. Another good stage that had a bit of everything. Standing at the end watching other riders this stage thoroughly captured the spirit of enduro with some chaos, carnage and camaraderie unfolding as riders piled up on the last two turns.

 

At the end of the weekend I ended up 7th Senior and 10th Overall out of 383 finishers. Happy with that as I am getting closer to those top boys. It says a lot for the Transition Patrol that I happily jumped onto it and raced it consistently over 3 very testing stages. I felt strong and fresh on the last stage after two big days out on the bike and the bike handled everything the race threw at me. It is a ridiculously capable bike and I cannot wait to ride it at some other venues. Next event is the Student Downhill Championships at Innerleithen. Looking forward to tucking in the elbows and slapping some turns there.

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Scott

Sales Sales Sales!

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Time to clear out a bit of space in the workshop so it’s sale list-o-rama time again. Mostly ‘going off’ over on Pinkbike but we will get them added to the web shop ASAP. Head over to our Pinkbike page to see all the cheapness:

Pinkbike Offers Page 

 

 

Scout and Smuggler in stock Reverb Stealth offers!

Smuggler Side

Looking to buy one of the new Transition Giddy Up bikes like the Scout or Smuggler, but keep wondering why no one gives you a free Reverb Stealth? Well wonder no more!

Buy a Scout or Smuggler frame and take away (or get posted!) a fully boxed Reverb Stealth with bleed kit free of charge. And not just any too-short-wrong-side Reverb either, a full 150mm drop right hand lever. Tick, and indeed, boom. As ever on our web shop free shipping as well.

Don’t forget we have our Scout demo bike up and running, so if you are in Edinburgh or anywhere else in Scotland (or just fancy a road trip!) then get in touch to arrange a test ride.

Offer only applies to in stock frames, click through for full details.

Scout Reverb Offer

Smuggler Reverb Offer 

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The Scout Demo Has Landed!

Transition Scout Demo Bike

OK, so it isn’t the right build kit, but it’s close. This is our ‘stand in’ demo bike build while we wait for the full kit to arrive. Very close to the standard Transition build with XO1 etc but for now with 2015 Fox 34s. The ride height is bang on the same as 150mm Pikes, so the head angle will be a little slacker than quoted. But that’s no bad thing right? Well, find out for yourself.

We already have quite a few people booked on this so spaces over the next few weeks are a bit limited, but get in touch if you are interested and we will try to fit you in.

Total weight as seen including the DMR Vault pedals is 29.5lbs/13.3kg, not bad for something so enduro-capable. We will update over the next few days once we have this ridden and tested.

This makes our current demo bike list for Edinburgh:

  • Banshee Spitfire Medium
  • Banshee Phantom Medium
  • Transition Scout Medium
  • Yeti SB5c Medium

Scout Demo Bike X01 Transition Scout Demo Bike X01Scout Demo Bike Frame

zzzz….. website population…. zzzzz…

Adding products to the website is pretty dull work, but as if by magic it’s all finished! Well, the bike brands are anyway. With all of the 2015 Transition Bikes stuff now added you can browse all of next years products right here.

Giddy up!

Check out the full builds – http://pedalsbikecare.co.uk/product-category/transition/transition-full-builds/

Check our the frames – http://pedalsbikecare.co.uk/product-category/transition/transition-frames/

Off down to Glentress to try out the Smuggler 29er tomorrow, can’t wait. Looks like a really fun bike!

 

Yeti SB5c First Ride Review (‘Bikes look better dirty’)

The second best thing about selling really nice bikes is when the new seasons demo bikes start coming in, and you know, someone has to bed them in! We can’t be sending people out on new brakes can we? That would just be dangerous. Yeah. That’s it. Safety.

The BEST thing about selling really nice bikes is when people come in and tell us how much fun they’ve been having, how much they like the bike or even sharing ride pictures with us online, so get posting!

Anyway, back to the new bikes. The Yeti SB5c is one of the most hotly anticipated bikes of 2015, following a huge launch back in July, with a raft of glowing reviews it was a little hard to take in. I mean, are they all just drinking Yetis new bike cool aide? Hush hush controlled conditions reviews in sunny Colorado drinking beer with the owners (OK so I have never been to a bike launch but I bet there IS beer), perfect for showing your bike off in the best way possible. So everyone loved it, we liked the look of it, and with more bikes about to be released (we now know them as the SB6c and ASR Carbon) we took a bit of a gamble and decided to bring Yeti into the shop for 2015.  This was the first time we have taken on a brand without riding one first (well, discounting SB66s etc) so was it worth it? Do they live up to our expectations? Hopefully I can tell you..

The Switch Infinity Link:

I just wanted to say a little about the new link before we get onto the bike riding. For anyone that doesn’t get it yet – it isn’t another shock. It is simply a couple of sliders, two bushings and some seals. How does it feel? Smooth. How will it last in UK conditions? No one knows yet. How do we think it will last? Very well. It is covered by a two year warranty, and the assembly is cheaper and easier to service than the previous Switch link, so longer term we don’t see any issues. It was one of the driving forces behind our interest in Yeti, we are mechanics, and to us it makes sense. We also know a lot of people are put off by it, so we are going out of our way to ride it through the worst of the Scottish winter, give it some good jet washing and see how it holds up. Watch this space…

The Ride:

Firstly, a bit of an admission. This isn’t really a secret to anyone I have chatted bikes with – I ride 29ers. I love 29ers. Simple as that. After a bit of a eureka moment with our 2012 Transition Bandit 29er demo bike where first ride out prepared to hate it, I instead fell in love and spent most of the year riding it instead of any bikes that actually belonged to me. Since then I have been on a Bandit 29, Kinesis FF29, Kinesis Sync Ti, and now a Banshee Phantom 29er.

Safe to say getting back on some ‘small wheels’ (27.5″) felt a little weird. Not weird bad, just… weird!

I am 5 foot 9ish, and for me our Medium felt right at home. The standard build comes with a 70mm stem which is a bit longer than I am used to, but it felt really nice all the same. I could easily size up to a large, put a 35 or 50mm stem on and still have room for a 125mm dropper post and possibly even a 150. Climbing the cockpit felt roomy enough to breathe without being so XC long it compromises handling through the techy stuff.

The bike pedals fantastically, putting the power down in a very direct manner every ounce of effort sending you forward with ease. I mean, it helps that it’s 27lbs as built! A lot of the reviewers have commented about leaving the shock fully open for climbing, and you could if you REALLY wanted. Perhaps coming off a lot of hardtails I like things taught, but I spent a lot of the day in the middle middle setting, tune two of trail mode, opening it up for some longer and rougher downhills. On rough climbs the rear end tracks the ground perfectly, maintaining grip where other bikes might skitter or squat.

For the locals the ride was at Glentress – mixed red climb with a bit of jumping and berms on the way, then the Ho Chi Min EWS route in full, a little more Janets Brae fun and Blue Velvet down to Falla Brae via the blues to finish. A good mix of everything, some loam, some mud, some jumps, some steeps and some sprints.

The jumps stood out for me, the bike felt really balanced in the air and I was getting higher/further than usual with less effort. Could this be the only place I prefer the smaller wheels? It could well be!

On the swoopy trail centre style downhills it felt great, very rewarding to throw around really testing the available grip. I missed a little of the ’29er contact patch’ confidence, but nowhere near as much as I feared I might. On the steeper more testing trails the suspension system was spot on. The new 2015 Fox 34’s are a vast improvement, very much like my Pikes in the support in cornering and heavy braking keeping the front end nice and high ready for the next hit. When the hits start coming they deal with them without missing a beat. They are a little louder on compression and rebound than my Pikes, but this seemed to reduce as they bedded in.

Within fifteen minutes I felt right at home and totally forgot I was on a demo bike even with the smaller wheels.

What’s it good for? 

Everything really! If you are looking for a one bike to do it all, a ‘quiver killer’ shall we say (oh god), this is it.  Light enough to ride all day, strong enough to take the hits, slack enough to deal with the tech, steep enough to make the mellow trails more fun.  The SB6 might be faster over all out enduro races, but for 90% of people this will get you to the top AND bottom of the hill quicker, and with a bigger grin on your face.

Did I like it? Oh yes. It is one of the best bikes I have ever ridden, without question. Even just a couple of years ago the thought of something being available that is this fast uphill, then so confident and composed on the way back down would have been unthinkable. The future is here, and I like it.

Is it enough to make me give up the wagon wheels? Na. I am just going to pester Yeti until they make a 120/130mm travel Switch Infinity 29er…

We have added the new bikes to our web shop – Check them out!

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Blog launch!

OK OK, not everyone uses facebook. In fact, we aren’t even great fans (shhh they are listening) BUT it is really useful for getting our message out there and letting everyone know about all the fun things we have been up to.

So for everyone that hates facebook, we now have a blog.

Bam!