Opinions

You don't have to like them but everyone has them. These are ours... you may not like them but we have them!

Fancy Opinions

After years of writing stuff about cycling, it was time to try something new - longform.

cycling with diabetes

Cycling with diabetes – an exercise in calories

Turns out hopping on a bike and going for a blast is no longer as simple as it used to be – do it wrong and you can pass out mid pedal stroke!

Pivot Point

It was not until very recently that the importance if this bike dawned. It was more than just a bike racked, it was in fact a pivot point in mountain biking history.

SIT Sprint Interval Training

Can SIT or sprint interval training sessions be as effective, if not far more so, than sessions much longer in duration? I did a bit of a test to find out.

Regular Opinions

It started back in 2001 or so and just kept going. Here you'll find the (very) edited collection of posts we made, including great stuff from @gearingrich, who was on the ELEVEN vélo wagon for the last two years before we stopped in 2015.

Conflicted weight weenie?

Okay, so I’m mixed up (ask my GP who prescribes my medication) but right at the moment I find myself in a very odd place. Half way between “weight weenie” and “steel-framed, high-mass luddite”. You see… Waaaay back in the day I first began singlespeeding because I viewed it as a simple way to dump a kilo or so off my bike. Think about it for a second: No derailleur (200g at least), no heavy cassette (300g or so), no shifters (another 200), no front mech (another 150) no triple chainrings, no cables… Bingo, 1kg straight off the top! I…

Riding the Numbers

Mr Paul Smith’s  winter journey from Waimarama, Hawkes Bay to Karori, Wellington. 28/29 June 2010   30 hours door to door, 15 hours day one (13 hours riding), 290 km, 8 hours day two (7 hours riding), 130 km, 7 hours mid-ride rest and sleep, 1 hour fog, 7 hours sun, 3 hours overcast, 5 hours rain, 7 hours darkness, 40km state highway, 30km urban roads, 300km rural backroads, 40km off-road path, 10km singletrack, 0 freewheels, 1 gear (42:17), 1 toolkit, 1 sleeping bag, 1 set warm clothes, 1 toothbrush and toothpaste, 2 rear lights, 3 front lights, 5 muffins,…

Bend Over Please

Over the years I have written numerous bits about the (lack) of service from bike shops. It’s not a pet peeve but it does get my back up, after having spent the past 10 odd years selling to the ‘cycling community’ and now being on the front line, steering a mountain bike marquee. So that I am writing about it again, in a sad sort of way, tells me that for some of the ‘bike shops’ out there, how they view their customers could be similar to the way I view their so called customer service. It was time to…

Staus Quo

I was in the shower and the thought crashed out of the sky on me – “did we allow for sag in the head angle?” (we all have moments like these in the shower, don’t we?). Over to Skype to call up Mr. X and a conversation something like this ensued (rather abridged): Me: “Did we adjust for sag at the head angle?” X: “No, we don’t really allow for that.” Me: “Well, that means when we say 70 degrees, it’s not, it’s 70 less whatever it slackens by whatever when the shock allows for sag.” X: “It’s not a…

Never Again…

“Never again”. It was early May 2008, and I’d just completed the Moonride 24 race in Rotorua, solo. I should have been ecstatic. I finished second solo overall and first (probably only) singlespeed. The physical and mental fatigue had overwhelmed me though. It was a tough race. Torrential rain fell for 12 hour prior to the start and turned the Rotorua trails into a quagmire. Rain was still falling as the pedals turned at 10pm, and it continued for the next six hours. By dawn, the rain, mud and late autumn cold had got to me and my short planned…

I crashed today (and I have a huge grin about it)

Today I did something I haven’t done in years.  I took a totally inappropriate bike to ride a section of track and crashed. This morning I had an appointment to meet a rider to show them some plans for a dirt jump project.  Turns out that he was meeting a group of locals to do some runs prior to a downhill race tomorrow.  “Hey, come up to the track and check it out.”  “Sure…”  So, we all trudged up the hill, to one of the highest sections of the forest that I haven’t set foot in ever, and started climbing…

Relax…

I accept the fact that I’m not a “normal” mountain biker… Who knows, maybe I am? Let me explain… I’m involved with my local club, but only through advocacy. I don’t race at all (well, okay, I’ll turn up once a year in a team of 6 or so to do a 24 hour enduro race, but it’s far more a case of camping in the proximity of a bike event than what anyone would refer to as “racing”). I ride XC, on flat pedals. I have a singlespeed, but it’s not a 29er (and I don’t sport silly facial…

Quick wins in trails advocacy?

Having been in the advocacy game for more than 5 years now I was pondering the concept of the “quick win”. You know, where people ask for access from land managers, have them say “yes” and get in and build? I must admit, I’m beginning to wonder if such a beast exists at all… You see, in order to demonstrate to a land manager a long standing need for facilities, there needs to have been, umm, well, a long standing need. What this means is that although you might have only just asked for a particular set of facilities, bets…

Must be something in the age

To those who know me, you’ll know that for quite some time there was a definite lull in my getting on a bike. Almost like trying to get a clapped out Vespa going, over the past few years it was a bit cough, splutter, cough, wheeze… stall. For some reason though, while up in Queensland last Christmas, I decided out of the blue to get up early and go for a ride on Christmas morning; it probably had something to do with the impending Christmas onslaught and bizzare lack of daylight saving, meaning at 5am it was light and already…

Trend Whoring and Peer Pressure.

I know, I’ve called all of you with 29ers trend whores. I also know I said your even more trendy if its rigid and SS. Throw in some facial hair and you have the ultimate get up for the trendy. Without seeking to offend anyone, particularly those hiding behind the trendy facial hair, those big wheeled bikes are nothing more than a trend, much like that snowboarding trend in the late 80’s, or full suspension bikes in the early 90’s. A blatant attempt to be cool and one of the crowd. Now, where did those trends go, where are you…

Time off the bike, a real pain in the…..

At some point in time all of us will be forced off the bike for some reason or other. For me, this time turned out to be 2010. A few beers and the second installment of Smokey and the Bandit left me incapacitated for almost the first half of the year. All I could to to console myself, was the knowledge that such an injury could only happen to an elite sportsman under these circumstances. During the downtime I was thinking being injured and away from my bicycles was a real pain in the behind, little did I know it…

Ashima PCB – in use

Following on from my initial post… It’s few and far between when one comes into contact with a product in the bike world that is 100% truly fresh. The PCB or ‘Pancake Brake’ by Ashima is one such product. Yes, it’s a disc brake but it’s unlike most others on the market not by what it does but in the way it does it. And now for a bit of drivel… Traditionally a disc brake applies force via a piston, housed within the body of the caliper. The piston is pushed out by the ‘brake fluid’ in the system, exerting…

The Solo Ride…

No secrets on this one – I hate riding solo. Simple as that. I reckon I can count the number of ‘proper’ solo rides (by which I mean rides bigger than evening jaunts to Richmond Park for a couple of laps) I’ve done in the last three years on one hand, and without using all fingers. They’re the spawn of the devil I tell you. I think I’d prefer to ride with my worst enemy than ride solo. I’ve never been good at it – back in my Mountain Biking days when I lived in Sussex it’d always take me…

Fizik Kurve Saddle – First Ride

So as luck would have it I seem to have blagged a ride on one of the latest Fizik ‘Kurve’ saddles – they’re of a curious form and design, the basis of which can be seen in the below video: https://vimeo.com/fizik/kurve There’s also a lot of detail about the construction of the saddles here on the Extra website. What is it like to actually use though? Testing the ‘Bull’ version – with the basis of its design coming from their Aliante – I was curious, and skeptical… except it was instantly one of the most comfortable saddles I’ve parked my…

Ashima PCB

This is what the spiel from Ashima says: “PCB: PanCake Brake Features: Pad movement controlled by Diaphragm Seal Seal design ensures unsurpassed pad retraction of 0.7mm! Ultra-thin caliper just 25mm! Advantages: Simplified manufacturing processes ensures cost advantage Seal design gives equivalent area to using 20mm piston Fluid feed directly to centre of Diaphragm seal for better response Ultra thin caliper section ensures min. weight” As I alluded to in my post on the Taiwan Cycle Show, Ashima have dropped a pretty remarkable brake onto the market. Based on a pistonless technology, it is supposed to be fade free, always in…

No T-shirt to prove it. Inside the ‘10 Taipei show.

If no one else out there does, I’ll come out and say it point blank – without Taiwan, there is no bike industry. Everyone who makes more than a few hundred bikes a year (ie. everyone but custom builders) sources though Taiwan, it’s that simple. There are exceptions but they are exactly that, exceptions. Hell, even DT Swiss is now making all but their most expensive products in Taiwan (or Poland!). To highlight this, one factory we are now working with makes bikes for Bianchi, Cervelo and Colnago to name a few, so you get the idea. Anyone out there…

Want vs. Need

Ever thought about the Want vs. Need ratio in your life? Beautiful day here. Sunny, warm and I was free to have a morning to myself. I sat, read and decided to head up the road to the shops to do a spot of banking and have a poke around. Banking done, now what? I walk around the shops, and walk around, and walk some more. Coffee time. Repeat previous process until I end up where I started; so at least I tried a place I have not before. Worth the effort. I grabbed a seat overlooking the city and…

Don’t deny your roots

For a long time now I have been denying my roots. Despite having ridden a bike since the age of 13 or so, I have been refusing to admit that is my heritage (as I like to call it). For several years now I have not really paid much attention to it, in a way I have been refusing it, denying that that is where so much of my background lies. The reasons for this are many – been doing it for too long, injury (bad), wanting a change, tied to good (and bad) memories, becoming jaded, bike got pinched,…

History time

I’m going to attempt to take you back in time so you can have a look at where this crazy sport came from and what is was like however many years ago. I think it’s important to know the heritage of your bike and your sport. So with this in mind, I’d first like to take you back to the very beginning…

Old dog, new tricks?

Back in 1989 or so, a chappy by the name of Robert Reisinger (now a Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee) designed a frame for his small newly formed company, Mountain Cycle. The frame was called the San Andreas and was the first true mountain bike full suspension frame. With a solid background in designing MX machines for the likes of Kawasaki, Reisinger applied a thinking to his design, that up until then (and even now to some extent), was foreign to the bike world. The basis for the design was simple enough, anyone who has had anything to do…