Wednesday, February 20, 2008

650B? Blimey...

Ventana's prototype 650B FS rig; El Bastardo!

Some big wheel enthusiats out there may have spotted this article on which profiled the latest wheel size standard which was abound at America's festival of bicycle botique hotness; the North American Handbuilt Bicycle show.

The 27.5" diameter (or 650B) wheels came about after many smaller riders felt that 29" wheels were simply too big, and the standard creates a happy medium with many of the advantages such as rollability and a larger contact patch (abliet to a lesser degree).

It was especially exciting to see Ventana leading the charge with the standard, with Sherwood beavering away in his North Californian workshop to put together a FS frame making the most of the wheels. The fittingly named El Bastardo looks super sharp in full white finish and we'll keep you posted with progress as the frame makes it to production!

Mountain Pedaler out...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Fairlie good race...

The day of The Crater Rim; Christchurch's premier MTB race dawned wet and windy, and with the likely outcome of irrepairable damage to the sacred single track, race organisr Rod had no choice but to call the show off.
A truly dissappointing expereince for all involved (especially those who travelled from afar), but clearly the risk to both tracks and rider safety given 100km/h wind gusts, it was the best course of action.

As a result, the Mountain Pedaler's Saturday became somehwat empty. After a week of rest and numerous pre-rides of the course, his weapon of choice (a Ventana El Saltamontes) was primed and ready to shred the singletrack. Fully carbo loaded and ready to explode, he felt a bit dejected after being stranded indoors at the mercy of the weather gods.

With nothing to indulge his primal racing urges, Oliver sought a race further afield; the 57km Sherwood Enduro held near lake Ophua, Fairlie last Sunday. While this central South Island course had expereinced similar volumes of rain as Christchurch, the free draining gravel course was in top-notch condition, with just enough moistness to keep river crossings axle height and pinch climbs muddy. The day dawned crisp and clear, with not a hint of the cats & dogs that had plauged riders in the preceeding days.

Oliver chose a big wheeled grinch green El Padrino hardtail, and in its maiden race the fast rolling wheels and velcro-like traction proved well suited to the course.
The phenomenal steam roller effect through watermelon sized boulders at the numerous (and refereshing) river crossings are a good example. Also, the gigantic contact patch inherent with big wheels no doubt helped Oliver clean the grueling uphill; reeling in 3rd place on the final climb and cementing his position with a blistering run down the old-school tech downhill.

Despite the inital disappointment of the weekend, the Sherwood Enduro organisers delivered an awesome race made extra special by an amazing bike. Perhaps it is mere coincidence, but the genius behind Ventana (Sherwood Gibson) shares a first name with the event!
In the right conditions, big wheels clearly excel and Oliver plans to tear up other oldschool 4wd based races on his bright green machine.
To say it was a Fairlie good time would definitely be an understatement!

Mountain Pedaler out...