• For the nay-sayers

    Did the Leisure Lakes XC race yesterday, even though i really didn’t think i should – after the strathpuffer i imagined my legs would just give up the ghost and leave me like a lame duck – on the scandal. It seemed the right thing to do, what with Brant letting me keep hold of it for a bit.

    I stood on the start line, shivering, after a horrible ride there into a headwind and nasty hail and wondered how much difference running a 29er on a course made up almost entirely of tight singletrack with several hairpin bends round trees (tight enough for me to almost clash bars with someone as i went round the bend in front of them and headed back in their direction!) would make.
    From the go and for the first 3 laps i was in a whole world of trouble, culminating in being undertaken twice going round said hairpin bends. It wasn’t until the 4th lap, after i’d retaken the lost places in a sprint down the only straight section of the course, that i remembered how several people had described a different technique for hurtling round corners on a 29er. I gave it a go round the first hairpin and amazed myself by not ending up in the bramble bushes on the outside of the corner. To convince myself it wasn’t a fluke i tried it again on the next hairpin, this one having a nice slimy puddle on the exit. It wasn’t a fluke.

    A bit of readjusting of riding style round the rest of the course and i was able to keep enough speed up to ride away from everone and win, hurrah!

    So there you go, on this occasion at least, provided you’ve got decent tyres you can fling a 29er round silly tight singletrack and overly sharp corners faster on a 29er than on a 26″ wheeled mtb (if i’d tried the same technique on my old bike i can pretty much guarantee i’d be embedded in a thorny bush somewhere on the course!)


    1:25 pm on January 22, 2007 | 6 Comments | # |


  • Guy 2:53 pm on January 22, 2007 | #

    Tease! So what was the secret cornering technique? (well done on the win)

  • Richard 4:06 pm on January 22, 2007 | #

    Well done. Did you go through any more brake pads? The Open 5 event was pretty tough yesterday, with cold northerly winds, hail and snow although still enjoyable. Found some more decent trails, some will be better in the summner when they are no longer waterfalls! The run section was really muddy, I it was over my knees on several occasions. Steve just beat me by 5 points.

  • matt 7:22 pm on January 22, 2007 | #

    aren’t the rigid forks also shorter than sus forks, so you can turn sharper and get the power down?

  • dgpowell 10:09 am on January 23, 2007 | #

    No, the frame is suspension corrected so the fork has to be about the same length as uncompressed suss forks to keep the angles sweet

    the lack of fork dive when you throw your weight over the front end is really rather nice

    Did i go through more brake pads? Yes, the front ones are about halfway through (they were just bedded in when i set off in the morning) and one side of the rear pads is halfway through the backing plate (there’s still a little bit of pad left on the other side, grrr). Am now trying Aztec sintered ones as shimano, koolstop and goodridge sintered ones all died v quickly

    It’s probably better if you just google for the technique, the way i’d describe it would probably need some sort of health warning…

  • matt 11:02 am on January 23, 2007 | #

    Does it involve getting off the bike before the corner, running around the corner and remounting?

  • dgpowell 11:18 am on January 23, 2007 | #

    sarky get! 😛

    It’s to do with braking and getting the most out of the larger tyre patch in contact with the ground (ie more grip and more stability)…you tend to carry more speed into corners with the larger wheels so you have to brake at a different time to not overshoot…but at the same time you can carry more speed round the apex of the bend ‘cos you can push the tyres harder and ‘cos the bike doesn’t want to “fold under” itself as much

    if you see what i mean (probably not)