Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Aristotle must of been riding a Tallboy LT when he came up with his quote, the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. Honestly, this bike feels really together....or if I go all spiritual...at one.
Yes, I know, I've been drinking from the 26inch wheel kool-aid fountain quite some time now and why shouldn't I. I've spent enough of my life as an early adopter of all sorts of things, you never know what will be the next Beta recorder. But I am sure some of you will be sniggering at the fact I have a big wheeled bike.
Anyway, enough ranting you guys want to know what I think (well you don't really, you just want to read more about the Tallboy LT).
First things first, I need bigger tyres and I need to get stronger.....2.25 Ardent on the front is a little minimal for my liking. 1 x 10 (32T with 11T-36T) is harder to ride up a hill than a 26inch wheeled bike.
Also, I may need wider bars, not sure why I feel I need wider bars on the TB LT, maybe it's all part of having bigger wheels.
I have actually only had three rides on my Tallboy LT, a couple of rides on the Codgers Trail and a ride up Fringed Hill, Black Diamond, Sunrise Ridge to Peaking Ridge (of course).
As mentioned above, the bike is a hell of a lot better than the sum of it's parts. There was a some small amount of adaption time, still getting the hang of where the front wheel is. My usual rides (Blur TRc, Nomad Carbons, HD's) are relatively slack bikes, so you lean them more than you turn them. The TB LT is slack for a 29er, but not really slack, so you get a nice precise feel when turning. The big wheels means you get the roll over things very easily, but with nice steering feel...... noticeably different to 26 inched wheeled bikes.
You do seem to have a lot more traction when you point the bike uphill, the long-ish wheelbase means you can be the messiest of peddlers and you'll still get up the the steepest, slickest and rockiest climbs....so that ol' thing about a bigger contact area on 29er must be true.
This bike is a lot of fun to ride, has the nimble feel of the Blur TRc when pedaling, railing through corners and getting back on the power fast. It does feel like it's has the perfect amount of travel and VPP suspension just works so bloody well. Eat's small, medium and big bumps without a breaking a sweet.
It made easy work of the Codgers trail network and felt more at home on some tracks than you wouldn't initially think. Felt great on the Turners trail, which is a tricky track to get right......Nationals Super-D result will show big time difference between all sorts of riders (don't bother checking my result).
It also likes it rough, Black Diamond/Sunrise Ridge were just so much fun to ride......you really just wanted to attack everything and stay on the power......just pedal through as much as possible.......which may of also been my downfall for my first 'big' ride on the bike. I was also trying to keep up with Andy Reid and Jamie Nicoll on their Nomad Carbons.....who are overall better riders than me and probably a whole heap fitter.
Heading down Peaking Ridge a little smashed, not the best plan....ever. Add in a completely new bike and makes things a little trickier. Peaking Ridge was a blast, but I was little tired and didn't feel like I was riding my best....but I look forward to giving it another go....and maybe not racing up the hill next time around....and maybe with a 2.4 Ardent on the front too.....I am a bit of a point and shoot sort of guy....anywho, I got to the bottom smiling, which is the most important thing.
So, the Tallboy LT is a very capable bike, very confidence inspiring to ride and may convert even the staunch's 29er critic. You might be surprised who you will see riding one.
If you're already sold on the whole 29er thing, well this is everything you would expect a Santa Cruz to be, fun to ride, nimble, laterally stiff, light (play with the bike builder, it's pretty light...especially compared to some other 29er's out there) and of course looks fantastic.
I can see the why it's already got so many rave reviews.
This is the Seb Kemp of bikes....I get the feeling Santa Cruz had him in mind when they were designing it.
OK, I will rave about some more another time, but I need to catch a plane to the North Island.....you might see me up there....my TB LT is pretty bright, vest of authority orange.
Of course, I need to set aside some time to ride Supple Jack too, can't ride this during daylight hours on week days.....and I am a fair weather rider, as I keep telling everyone, I didn't move to Nelson to ride in the rain.
Friday, May 18, 2012
OK, so today was meant to be catch up on paper work day (not PHF), try (again) to tidy up my office, do a stock-take and all the other things I avoid/put off because of the madness of our summer season.
I even turned down a ride on the kill devil.....so you can see I was pretty serious about it.
The paper work pile now seems less life threatening.....it's now just good ol' scary, my office......well you can sort of get into it, but we won't go all out and say it's organised.
Stock take, well that still needs some fine tuning.....to make it a reality.
On the positive side, I did put up the Santa Cruz VW, Tallboy LT poster, which has made a big difference.
And if you're here and you wanted to see some real Petrol Head Stuff, check out on my facebook PHF post.
So I may have missed out on a ride today, but the 7 day forecast for Nelson is sunny and I will probably have my new ride up and running by then too.
OK and here's the weirdest tangent for the day.....it would seem that Disco is really dead now, RIP Donna Summer.....pretty sure she never rode a bicycle, but you never know.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
The first (and currently only) Santa Cruz Tallboy LT has landed, which of course my personal bike....I look forward to getting this bike up and running and thrashing it my favorite trails....although I don't look forward to the first scratch. It's just looks sooooooo good.
It's also one of the four CCCP bikes to hit our shores too. I went with the satin finish, which gives the frame a rough texture and almost makes it look like an anodised frame. As you probably know, I'm a bit of a fan of orange, so trans. orange with large black, block logo was the only way to go.
The above Blur LT is making it's way to Gore, satin trans blue with silver Santa Cruz logo is pretty cool......I do like the satin finish.
Highball Alloy frames that I have managed to extract from Santa Cruz, a great example of my crappy photography skills, but it still looks great in gloss metallic black, with large silver standard deals. The gloss finish really gives the colour depth. A very nice look indeedie.
Blur LT, gloss pearl white, with large silver decal.......this honestly looks amazing in the flesh.
It's good to see the first of these CCCP frames in the flesh, they do look amazing.....also, I dare you to try and decide what your favorite colour combo's are........I'm already thinking about my next CCCP frame.
I think it might be time for a trans brown bike.
Now if I could afford a GT3 RS 4.0, it would be sitting in my driveway right now.....Porsche may never make a car like this again. Now this little clip of Patrick Long's ,morning commute is going viral....because it shows the car has a cup holder.
I don't think that Clarkson can say that "ze germans don't have a sense of humor" anymore.
Talking about Top Gear, you going to have to wait until 2013 for the new series, Clarkson confirmed this via his twitter account.
Has to make room for reality TV.....it's a funny old world.
Monday, May 07, 2012
Adrian Armstrong's Butcher is coming up to it's first birthday and with Seb Kemp being on the cover of Bike magazine riding his Butcher, seemed timely to get an update from him.
June 2011 saw the arrival the new Santa Cruz Butcher into our household; peace and quiet reigned, well as much as it can in a house with two sub 5 year olds and a 40 something child in it...
I was very happy with the first few rides on the Butcher and felt it was timely to write an update on how the Butcher has “become accustomed” to my riding style!
The family headed towards Rotovegas for the long anticipated holiday of riding in the mighty Whakarewarewa forest and soaking in hot pools. The decision of how many bikes to take was (almost) never an issue for me; the Butcher would provide everything I needed except for those days when I wanted to take my brain out at the top of the National Dh course and get a bit silly. Here the Vp-free would be in its element, however for the sake of 6-10 runs on the shuttle bus the decision was made and the Butcher would be the sole provider of fun and excitement for the next ten days. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
Now Vegas is the land of well, interesting smells and sights that young and old can, er, enjoy! This trip was not all about smashing endless kms in the forest and drinking lots of post ride beer. It was rather a combination of family and “let’s see where that trail takes us” rides. I took the Butcher set up with the 10 speed Shimano XT drive train set up I roll with in Wellington .The only thing changed on the bike since new is putting on an inch and half riser bars ,which came off the Vp-free thanks to acquiring some new 780mm Renthal Fatbars. I had been advised by my good friend “Go Pro” Hamo to run a single ring up front with chain guide; this was also reinforced by the boss of NZ Santa Cruz, Mike “Stylie” Stylianou when I originally bought the bike- hindsight yet again proves to be a valuable thing...
Wellington, to me, is not single ring friendly for clocking up the mileage I like to ride from my door step. I’m no XC whippet and certainly not as youthful as I’d like to think I am, however when we return to Rotorua, hands down I will be running a single 32 or 34 tooth ring up front with a new Straitline silent guide. I love cranking out the miles on these trails, so much single track, ah, so little time. Even riding up the shuttle bus route to Billy T, Tiri O Tawa and out to Split Enz not once did I need the small ring and the large ring was only used riding from the campground to the forest along state highway 5- a waste of gears!!
The Fox rp23 and Rock Shox Lyric solo air (with motion control) set up ran faultlessly as I have come to expect. Even with all the gear I carry when venturing out to ride the Challenge trail or doing a shuttle run with Elinor and our smallest in the pack down the Jumps and Corners track I just added a little more air and the Butcher was good to go. With Mae on board, watching Kaia on her runner bike zoom off down the Challenge trail and into the Dipper yelling, ”Follow Me” ( I’m sure that movie will be with her forever) made me realise that this bike was the perfect choice for the trip.
As the last days approached and we headed out to Hot Cross Buns for our first ride together without children in quite some time. As climbs go, it isn’t too bad and while I might prefer a slightly longer top tube ( no I don’t want a long stem thanks!) for hill climbs, the benefits coming down the hill far outweigh my niggles about the medium size top tube length.
With the extra weight the Juicy Elixir r brakes sans 203mm front rotor allowed me to ride everywhere feeling safe and secure with the family. Heading down Unrideable and half the Nats Dh track before dropping my chain, well too many time for this chap, had me heading over to Huckleberry Hound- I could almost hear Stylie saying, “I’m not saying anything!” To my delight I re discovered Double Down, Pigeon Run and the Grinder when out riding one day with Elinor and Mae.
The turnaround from these trails is so quick that smashing out laps was quite simply fun. Super fast tracks into drops, berms and jumps followed by a quick climb to the top of trail was an excellent option that the Butcher ate up with glee as the holiday progressed and I’d been riding twice a day for six days. Swimming with the family daily in the naturally heated pool and soaking in the campground’s mineral hot pools every night helped with recovery!
The Butcher loved the single track and being able to stand up and hammer the climbs in most of the trails here was great. While getting ready for one of my solo rides, I chatted to Tu at the Mtb info centre by the Waipa entrance to the forest and heard myself saying, “This is easily one of the best trail bikes I’ve owned.” There are arguably “different” and more expensive rides out there but for me the simplicity of the Butcher rules.
Friday, May 04, 2012
For the most part, Petrol Head Friday is just commentary, video clips or links to news that we here at Hyperformance Hardware think is important. Sometimes, it can be tied into a story about bikes, which makes it nice and relevant......but we try not to restrict PHF to link into bikes.
Greg Murphy (honest, he reads my blog every Friday.....and his cousin has a Blur TRc too, so there's your link back to mountain biking).
Anywho.......whatdayaknow, Sandra and I were invited to Hampton Downs to do some hot laps with Greg Murphy. Yes, for real.
Hot Laps with Murph (yeah, we're on first name basis now too) consists of 3 laps around Hampton Downs.....which along the back straight I saw 214km/h.....which is the fastest I have been in a car......well of course it is, it's illegal to travel faster that 100km/h.
I'm not the sort of person to have many hero's, but Greg Murphy is on my very short list and why wouldn't he be? He's races V8 supercars for a living, spends time with his fans by driving them around a race track, rides a mountain bike when he can and in his 'spare' time, he's a real petrol head, he's got a '69 Dodge Charger project on the go.
Anyway.....a MASSIVE THANKS to Greg for inviting us along, best PHF story, ever.