My Retired Bikes:
The 2016 Trail bike (retired in March 2018): A Santacruz Bicycles Nomad CC 27.5″. I was an early adopter of this bike, I knew it was being released and I ordered one before they were even available, I had not seen one and I certainly had not been able to ride one. However the advance reviews from testers and riders that I trust, who had also long term tested my previous trail bike (SCB Blur TRc), led me to believe that it was just the bike I was looking for riding the crazy trails we have in our valley and local region.
It was excellent and has, in many way, transformed the way I ride certain trails. It wasn’t perfect but with a custom cartridge in the fork and the Elevensix rear shock is became a bike that is capable of more than I am willing to risk.
It has been developed as my personal ride with the addition of many amazing components such as; Shimano XTR Di2 with a Stages Cycling Power meter, a custom tuned PUSH Elevensix rear shock, FAST Suspension Charger Cartridge, OneUp oval chain ring, 9point8 Fall Line dropper post and NOBL TR38 race wheel set. This bike helped me through the 2016 Trans-Provence Adventure Stage Race in France and allowed me to ride with confidence everyday.
The 2011 Trail bike (retired in August 2016): A Santacruz Bicycles Blur Trail Carbon. I had test ridden this bike in Wales (UK) and been impressed at its handling and pop. I believed that it was just the bike I was looking for riding the crazy trails we have in our valley and local region. It was an awesome bike and allowed me to progress beyond what I could handle on my venerable Bullit. It was balanced, snappy, light and poised. The low bottom bracket and the VPP introduced me to the pedal strike factor that is life with a Santacruz Bicycle and I quickly moved to 170 mm crank arms (something I have stuck with ever since). I was my first carbon bike and once it had been given the XTR treatment it served me well for five seasons of Whistler riding but at the end of the day 26″ wheels and 130 mm of suspension travel was stopping me riding things I was otherwise ready to try.
The 2012 Downhill bike (retired in August 2013): I really looked forward to getting this bike! Having VPP and 10″ of travel was going to be the best. Like most riders I quickly worked out that the bike rode better in the 8.5″ setting and that more is not always better. It was fun and poppy when required but could also just motor over an obstacle if you ran out of energy, finesse or were just being lazy later in a long long day of bike park laps. This is the last bike that I ran a SRAM drivetrain on. This was the year that the XO derailleur ate gear cables like a metal recycling plant! It is also interesting to look back and see the brake lever angle compared to where I run it today! It was so capable that it encouraged “I wonder if I can get away with this line” kind of riding. I hope that the chap who bought it from me had as many great days in the bike park on this bike as I did.
The 2010 Downhill bike (retired in August 2012):
This was my first proper downhill bike! I had previously only had a modified 2002 Bullit as a “short travel” DH bike. I bought this for the season in Whistler when I wasn’t allowed to work due to visa regulations so I had all day everyday to ride laps. I remember it coming with Maxxis Ardent tyres which were terrifyingly fast rolling and had lots of slide before the side knobs gripped. They did not stay on the bike very long!!! This bike looks so old school compared to more modern bikes but it was built like a tank, loved to pop off every little bump in the trail and helped me learn to ride in the bike park and become a better rider and instructor.