Friday, June 24, 2011

Petrol Head Friday - Bragging Rights

For most of us mere mortals, when/if we manage to own a performance car, we would probably spend most of the time not even getting it to close to it's full potential.
That's why manufacturers go around looking for records to break, in (mostly) bog standard cars, so we can spend our time boring people at the pub that the car we just bought has broken some sort of record.
Which is better than boring them with facts on fuel economy, what colour grey you finally chose, how many cup holders it's got and that you can plug in one of those new USB thingy's and it plays music.

First up, A Subaru WRX STi set a new Isle of Man record, check out the bit where the car get a little sideways at 150mp/h.  Don't try this at home, kids....nice driving Mark Higgins (and he's not sponsored by an energy drink, crazy).



Did you know there was a Guinness World record for drifting?.....well there is and Mercedes-Benz just got the record.  Mauro Calo drifted for 2308 meters, non stop in a C63 AMG.  Another valid reason to really want a C63 AMG and you can get a station wagon version.



Fastest front wheel drive car around the Nurburgring?  Well that record was just set by Renault in the Megane 265 Trophy (8min 7.97 seconds).....just in case you were wondering who held the record before.....well it was Renault, in the previous Megane hot hatch, the Renaultsport R26.R.



Righto...that's it for now.....I need to go and work on my ultimate garage plans.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two For Tuesday - Man the Weather has been Pants in NZ.

Forgotten what riding your bike is like?  Here are a couple of video's to remind you...ok, so there are three video's, but two for Tuesday sounds a lot better.



Almost Spring 2011 from Andrew Whiteford on Vimeo.



Happy New Bike Day!!! from PlusSizeBMX on Vimeo.


And here is Santa Cruz Syndicate in Leogang.

Leogang 2011. Another great Santa Cruz SYNDICATE video from John Lawlor from santa cruz bikes on Vimeo.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A couple of InBLURtweeners show up

If you're not excited about Santa Cruz's new Blur TRc, then you're probably still living in the 90's and worried about the Y2K bug and 80mm suspension bikes are for down hill racing (which will never take off as a sport).

It's doesn't really matter, because I've got less than a hand full of these lovely frames and I'm keeping one.  So there aren't enough to go around at the mo'.
They feel bloody light and look better than my crappy photography will ever show.

 This one is mine, still waiting on a few parts to turn up and I might have to break my golden rule and run it with forks that are painted white.  We all have to make compromises, I suppose.
Really, I can't wait to get it up and running.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Butcher Boys

Two Butcher owners rave out their bike......but you guys knew the Butcher were good, didn't you?

Chris Mildon is the hardest working man in the NZ mountain, he's been part of MTBNZ for as long as I can remember, he's also the President of the Nelson MTB club and he's also one of the instructors for Mountain Bike Skills clinics.
Chris is also pretty good at riding a bike too, for example, he might of smoked the 40+ class of the last Nelson Super D by 30 seconds.  Man, the guy who came 2nd must of felt like the first loser.


Butchered
This is a completely unsolicited bike review - Stylie hasn't even prompted me, and while I don't normally gush about bike stuff,  I do think that  some of my thoughts need to be shared.
I'm a Santa Cruz bike rider from way back, my first real MTB bike was a Heckler, bought off the Pack n Pedal Newmarket shop floor in the mid 90's. That bike did everything for me - raced plenty of XC and spent a few Nationals seasons with home made Judy DH triple clamps and chain guide before you could really get that stuff in NZ. A do it all bike, its having another life with a new owner down south these days and still going strong.
Gentle persuasion over the years to get back on to an SC product has always been there, and with Mike following the southern drift to Nelson that pressure went up a few notches  (no pressure at all, I don't know what Mildy is talking about M.S). 
I weakened. First a Nomad, then a Blur LT and now a Butcher. In between the Heckler and the Nomad were a lot of MTB machines, all memorable in their own particular ways. Which leads me to this unsolicited review which Mike may or may not use! (I think I'll use it M.S.)
I'm not going to get all techy about this, but would rather concentrate on that special esoteric quality of riding a MTB - how it feels. The Butcher is very good. My lasting, initial impression of this bike after the first ride will be that it felt like every good DH bike I've ever ridden somehow blended together into a trail gobbling machine. And after some weeks thrashing it around on my favourite Nelson trails, racing some Super D and spending a couple of nights riding the Heaphy that first impression is only strengthening.
I know there's plenty of techy info everywhere these days about the benefits of VPP, DW, etc. links and the next new way to skin the cat etc etc, but the good, almost 'old fashioned' single pivot frame design of the Butcher is spot-on. The geometry of this bike for me has hit a sweet spot, and seems to match my own riding preferences closer than anything I've ridden before. It eats trails, it climbs well and it is so very cool to pilot when I chose to break free from those awful gravity forced ties with the ground to fly around a little. It also holds a line on our technical stuff here in Nelson's front country like its on a rails, which in turn delivers some fantastic fun. And the most techy comment I'm going to make on this bike is that the most flexy part of it are now the wheels - this frame does not give! I've turned into a grinning idiot on the trails again, and the Butchers got a lot to answer for with that. And its red, you know, like a fire engine.  (OK, the picture above is of Chris riding his LT)
Next rave is by Adrian Armstrong, Adrian's pretty handy on a bike and over the years have coached some very fast DHer's.
Recently I received my new trail bike, a medium Butcher sporting an rp23 rear shock and very fast looking, in red!!! In recent years I’ve had the pleasure of riding the majority of Santa Cruz’s offerings in the trail bike market. Some may say, I’m a fan boy, others know that I’ve been working hard behind the Dh scene helping develop some of NZ’s current fastest Dh racers.  Several years ago a few lucky riders and one coach were very generously offered support through Mike Stylianou from Nelson, the NZ Santa Cruz importer. 
Well the new beast arrived at Burke’s and while I was work I received a text message explaining it was bright green and perhaps not what I was expecting! Knowing the boys well, after a few expletives I knew they were winding me up. The rest of the day at work went like a Blur and I was at the shop tearing open the box like a kid at Christmas time. At my grand old age there is still nothing like opening up something that you aren’t quite sure what it will be inside. The contents did not disappoint.
The medium Butcher looked great from the outset and once it had been carefully built by Geoff the Canadian it was almost time to let it rip. I’ve been on a wind trainer for two and half months to try and stay sane, only getting to ride off road on my Vp-Free when the opportunity arose. While I was stoked I’m sure my wife and kids were even happier to see the huge smile on my face as I embarked on my first mission.
Selecting where to head with the maze of off road trails Wellington has to offer was a no brainer
On the road the Medium sized frame felt perfect. The head angle and geometry really seemed to suit what I like in bike; fast, agile and while good to climb ultimately the real fun would be going fast downhill. I hit the Miramar Mud Pit first and was pleasantly surprised at how well the bike climbed a fairly wet track with solid traction. It felt lighter and faster on the trail than all my previous bikes, while I am perhaps not! This was a great start!! Heading down a trail I have done multiple times is always the test for new steed. 
Turn, turn, pump; jump.... land turn pump, jump...  all I could do was laugh. This bike ruled on super fast single track and was easy to flick around in the air. Pulling out onto the road brought a 25min ride to my next destination, open rocky 4wd track climbing from behind Red Rocks to the highest point on Wellington’s South Coast above the Long Gully farm.
The suspension ate up the rocky 4wd road and made very quick work of what can be a tricky pinch climb over Devil’s Gate. A few more corners and I arrived at the start the long steep climb past Long Gully farm to the radar at the top of Hawkins Hill. Now this climb can hardly be called pleasant. It is all gravel and steep with only one plateau to slightly recover before continuing to grovel onwards and upwards. I was truly expecting this to seriously suck, but found myself making steady ground easily without throwing up. I’m not going to try and say that when I reached the top I was still exactly charging but the Butcher had tamed one of the longest hardest climbs I ride regularly with relative ease. Rather unexpectedly it was windy (haha) at the top of Hawkins so I headed off down through more of the awesome single track that typifies Wellington ending up in Aro Valley.
A quick charge through town, over Mt Vic, past the airport and that cold beer was calling my name. I arrived at home at roughly the same time as my wonderful wife and two daughters. The first thing they noticed and commented on was the huge grin on my face. The second thing they commented on was how filthy and dirty the bike and I had become. Beer in hand I happily cleaned the Butcher and  remembered reading somewhere that the Butcher was a poor man’s’ Nomad.
I’ve never been so glad I’m poor...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Petrol Head Friday - A couple of "Affordable" Performance Cars

Real Performance Cars cost real money and like a lot of things in life, less is more........so when you get a light weight, driver focused sports car, you need to pay a lot of money for them.  I think this is where the saying, if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it, came from.

Now I'm no Porsche Fanboi, but if I win Lotto on Saturday, I would be saying "screw paying the mortgage off, I really NEED a new 911 GT3 RS 4.0".  Not sure about the white wheels though.



Now of course, Porsche aren't silly (they wouldn't be one of the most profitable car companies in the world if they were silly).  They have an entry level, driver focused car, the Cayman R.....which is a Cayman, which weights less and has a little bit more power (with engine power, more is more).  They also revised suspension set up and tweaked it so YOU, the driver, can enjoy driving it, just that little bit more.
They might of taken out the cup holders too (but that's another story).



Now BMW make really good driver's cars too and the M3 models are the cars everyone has an opinion on, all because BMW's first M3, the E30 model.....because no new M3 has been as good as the old E30 (a bit like, I like their old stuff, better than their new stuff).



Anyway, currently, top of the food chain in BMW M3 cars is the GTS version, which is only available in Europe.  It's so good, that Vicki from 5th Gear wants to marry it....so it's that good.


Now BMW are another company that are not silly, and they'v been hanging around the internet forums, where people with too much time on the hands have been whinging that the E30 M3 is still the best M3 you can get.....light, agile, driver focused, driver interaction......bla, bla, bla.
Anywho, to show that they care (and maybe give on their Joy marketing campaign).
So here is BMW's affordable real driver's cars, the 1M (there is already a M1) and it really does look like BMW have been listening.


Now, which one is better, the 1M or the Cayman R?
Monkey Harris for Evo magazine say, get the 1M. Click here to see the video, Evo mag have done something tricky and I can't embed their video.

Autocar say get the Cayman R



So in 10 years time, when these affordable drivers cars come into my price bracket, I might have a bit of a decision to make.....so if you get one of these new, don't thrash it too much, think about the guy 10 years down the line who wants to buy it.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

FT. BILL THRILLS, MINN WINS!! - Kathy Sessler reports in.



June 6, 2011
Fort William, Scotland

Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Greg Minnaar (SRAM/RockShox), moves into the leader’s jersey with his big win at the UCI Downhill World Cup in Fort William, Scotland.  This was his fourth win at Fort William at the 10th running of the downhill classic on in the Nevis Range, and it was his 50th career World Cup downhill podium appearance.  Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland both had good solid performances, which netted them 11th and 14th position respectively.

Hands down this race was one of the most exciting World Cups of recent memory the way the momentum built as the race progressed.  As the race unfolded, young New Zealander Brook MacDonald took the hotseat.  His fellow countrymen quickly joined him as Cameron Cole, Justin Leov and Sam Blenkinsop flew into the finish corral trying to unseat him.  On the leader board was New Zealand 1,2,3,4!  Josh and Steve came down with “mint” and “smashing” runs, and their times shuffled the hotseat around.  With four riders to go, Greg took his precision and that special magic he has on the last section of track and had a stellar run unseating Brook. 

Danny Hart, Gee Atherton and Aaron Gwin each came down giving Greg their best shot, but the mistakes they made keep them off the top block.  Making it dramatic for spectators, the timing showed erratic split margins which may have been incorrect, yet it drove the crowd into a frenzy when they saw the UK riders, then Gwin five seconds faster at the second split.   But at the finish any time advantage they had, either real or a mistake, they had thrown away and the best man won on the day.

Taking his SRAM equipped Santa Cruz Carbon V-10 with carbon Enve wheels to another win was just as thrilling to Greg as it was for the crowd.  He says, “I’m stoked.  I felt after qualifying 4th I didn’t have the pace or that I was missing something on the track, so in the final I wanted to really push hard in the top section where I was losing time to the others.  But when I was pushing hard I made two stupid mistakes and felt I lost some time.  When I got towards the bottom I knew I had to really push hard to regain some of the time I had lost, which I did.  I was really stoked for Danny and Brook who rode amazingly well and I was bummed for Gee and Gwin who had mechanicals and problems on track.   Winning the downhill four times in Fort William and 50 World Cup DH podiums, I am leaving Scotland a happy man.  Special thanks to all the mechanics and the entire Syndicate, we work really well together.”

With 15 Downhill World Cup wins (9 on Santa Cruz), and 50 World Cup podiums, Greg has his sights to surpass Steve’s career record of 17 wins and 51 podiums, but Steve will be charging hard to keep this from happening anytime soon.  World Cup #3 is this weekend in Leogang, Austria and Greg will take a shot at those records. http://dirt.mpora.com/news/minnaar-set-equal-peatys-world-cup-record.html


MEN’S TOP TEN:

1st:  GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE)  4:43.85
2nd:  Danny Hart 4:45.15
3rd:  Brook MacDonald 4:45.78
4th:  Gee Atherton 4:46.85
5th:  Aaron Gwin 4:47.04
6th:  Cameron Cole 4:47.60
7th:  Sam Blenkinsop 4:48.12
8th:  Justin Leov 4:48.18
9th:  Sam Hill 4:48.43
10th:  Steve Smith 4:49.67
11th:  STEVE PEAT (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE)  4:50.33
14TH:  JOSH BRYCELAND (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE)  4:51.46

MEN’S OVERALL STANDINGS:

1ST: GREG MINNAAR (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 425
2ND:  Aaron Gwin 378
3rd:  Gee Atherton 327
4th:  Danny Hart 249
5th:  Brook MacDonald 199
6th:  Steve Smith 197
7th:  Sam Hill 195
8th:  STEVE PEAT (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 190
9TH:  Sam Blenkinsop 172
10th:  Justin Leov 164
14th:  JOSH BRYCELAND (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 153

Thanks to the Syndicate sponsors:

SANTA CRUZ BICYCLES
SRAM, ROCKSHOX, AVID, TRUVATIV
ENVE COMPOSITES
MAXXIS
CLIF BAR
MUC-OFF
LIZARD SKINS
WTB
CHRIS KING
Gore® RideOn™ Cable Systems
FOXHEAD
BIRZMAN
FIVE TEN

Kathy Sessler
Santa Cruz Syndicate Manager
www.santacruzmtb.com

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Living the Highball Life


Right-t-o then, got a couple of these new Santa Cruz Highball frames landing in NZ very soon.

As Santa Cruz say, it was designed to do two things 1) Race, 2) Win.

So if you're just not winning those XC races like you used, probably means you need a really light, big wheeled race bike.....that's got to be the reason.

Important stuff you need to know;
1) It's made from carbon...nice
2) 29er
3) 2.4lbs frame weight
4) Tapered head tube
5) Standard b/b and IS rear brake mounts (so all your old parts still fit on this frame)
6) As per, if you NEED to be first, then you should either bug me or your local dealer.....you'll be back to winning those race's in no time.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Weather is still Pants, might as well spend some quality time reading stuff


First up, Greg Minnaar wins the Fort William World Cup, with 4 kiwi's in the top 10, you better watch this a few times.  Oh yeah, you click the little 'x' in the top RH corner and skip the ad....just saying.


More Mountain Biking Videos


Trying to keep up with Seb Kemp will pass the time away, his blog is very worthwhile and also his posts on NSMB.com, especially the World Affairs stuff.

Of course there is no forgetting 104bronson blog, always informative and entertaining.....really what more could you ask for?
Ibis's 30/30/30 series is great lesson in the 30 years of Ibis with bad haircuts and some great paint jobs.....so they didn't get around to updating it everyday for 30 days in a row......but then again, they've make GREAT bikes and a do a GOOD blog.  Which is the way it should be.

Greg at Straitline Components does an amazing job at keeping us informed, there is always something amazing to catch on the facebook page and the blog has so many great clips AND it contain robots and we all love robots.

Of course if you need to win an argument on facebook, MTBR.com or such like, it's always best to get your facts right.  Joe's Corner is a great place to start, you'll be up and trolling the forums and winning arguments in no time.  FTW!

If you've had enough of looking at your screen, I'm always keen flick through a few magazines or two, the current issue of Spoke still has plenty of stuff to keep you distracted.
Tim Wilding's piece on the Karapoti  (The Best of Times and the Worst of Times) is a good read and of course Anka Martin's piece on NZ makes us all remember why we love living here.  You can (try and) keep up with Anka and Sven on their blog too.
You can't miss this months issue of NZMTBer with Harriet Harper almost jumping out of the cover.  Makes the mag pretty easy to spot at the supermarket.  If you flick through to page 30, you can check out a good write up on the Santa Cruz Coppermine Epic.  The article is written by Ewen Robertson of Basic Bikes, it also contains a whole heap of pictures of the event (look out for James Hufflet and Al Crossling  in there).

And if you don't want to think about bikes and riding.....I recommend Evo magazine, personally, I think it's the best magazine on the planet......but I would, wouldn't I.
The reviews are well written and after every issue, I have pretty much decided what my next car will be....if I win Lotto.  Sure I may never get to power slide the new Mec C63 AMG coupe, but at least I know you can.

You'll also be able to pick up on the stuff I just make up in Petrol Head Friday.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Thursday, June 02, 2011

V- Day, First Small V10 Carbon goes to Vero

Vero Sandler is probably the most patient person I know......she's been waiting for the first small V10 Carbon to arrive in NZ for a while.......I won't say how long.  Anyway, we got it up and running for her last weekend and I haven't heard from her since.  No news is good news in my books, so I figure she's shredding up the trails as I type.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Tristan Rawlence and my Ibis Mojo HD appears in the latest Queenstown advert.


Just spotted the Queenstown riding advert in the latest NZMTBer (yeah, the one with Harriet on the cover).
Nice to see the my Vitamin P coloured HD in action.
The picture is from the Queenstown 6 hour Super-D, which Tristan and Anja (Tristan's better half) won the mixed class..... rumors are that we might be seeing Anja in some other marketing campaign...nice.