HOPE 40T-REX expander ‘thingy majig’
The next generation of gearing is well and truly with us, one by ten and one by eleven is upon us. Buying a new trial bike at the swish end of your shop will no doubt have all the dangly bits associated with this new setup. That said, not everyone is about to buy a new bike. For those looking for an upgrade Hope Technology have developed the 40T Rex cog that expands your gear ratio to fit in with a single ring setup. We gave one to Steve ‘The Butcher’ Walker to see how he got on, here are the results told in the only way Butch can, yes it involves dinosaurs…
Words & Photos: Steve ‘Butcher’ Walker
Way back when dinosaurs ruled the world, T-Rex was the king of the castle. Apparently, and I had to look this up, Tyrannosaurus means tyrant lizard and rex is Latin for king. So even if you stop reading now, at least when you’re next at the pub quiz and a dinosaur question comes up, you may well have the answer. As opposed to just sitting there with, thinking ‘what the fuck am I actually doing here and no, I haven’t a clue what Neil Diamond’s first album was called.
Let’s rewind 12 months; I was a ‘non believer’ in the whole ten speed, single chain ring set up. I’d tried it and found that on certain climbs of my local loop I just didn’t have the spread of gears I needed to conquer such up hills with nicknames like ‘ya bastard’ and ‘fuck this shit’. I could climb them with a dual ring up front and a 11/34 out back so why would I ever need something else? It wasn’t until I found myself (fuck knows how) in an XC race situation, that I finally converted to the ever-popular ‘one by ten’ that most trail riders were using. The situation was this; flat out on lap one of the ‘Cannock Classic’ I clipped a tree stump, went straight out the front door and smashed my brains out. When I finally came round, I scooped my brains back up into my head and realised that I was only mildly smashed to shit. It was only at this point of ‘the situation’ that I found my front mech was completely and utterly wrecked and I wouldn’t be able to continue. It was a disaster (when you consider the training I’d put in) and so from that day on I’ve never ridden/raced with a front mech, in fact, I now hate the bastard things.
Is this the answer? It’s surely cheaper than a full new drivetrain.
However, I still had the problem of the climbs on my local loop and how I was going to get up them without my heart going into ‘moo la ram’ ‘shack a ram’ mode. (ed – Not even sure what Butch’s heart condition is but it sounds bad!)
The fact is that by forcing myself to ride a 32t up front and 36t out back, I’m fitter, slimmer and stronger over the last 12 months. Let’s face it though, there are always the days when you think to yourself ‘I really could do with another gear (or an electric bike).’
This is where the Hope 40T-REX/ ‘looks like a ninja throwing star’ comes in to the gear ratio equation. When I unwrapped the T-REX I honestly didn’t know what to do with it. I mean, how the hell was I supposed to fit another gear to an already ‘over crowded’ rear cassette? I had to ask Ed, the tech adviser at the magazine to enlighten me. Ed was obviously having a bad day, as he said something along the lines of “you shove it up your ass and the pain from sitting on it makes you pedal harder, or you could just remove one of the gears out of your existing cassette and fit it that way. I suggest number 17 you dufus”. So, that’s exactly what this dufus did, and what does the duffus really think?
At first I loved old ‘Rexy’ boy, bollocks to him being the king, I was the new king of the climbing castle and ‘Rexy’ had turned it around for me. I was completely sold on the product and so was my bank account (who I’d secretly talked to on many occasions about buying XX1). I no longer needed to take out a loan to get the spread of gears that I needed. Order had been restored and Mr T had stopped the ice age in its tracks.
Now hold your dinosaurs, there’s a catch. It isn’t perfect (as I initially thought it was).
We all love a Ratio Expander
Let’s have a re-cap. I’ve removed number 17 and replaced it with our saving grace for climbing in the form of a big mo fo number 40. I haven’t shoved it up my asshole (as suggested) and I’m conquering all the climbs I need to. However here’s the problem, old number 17 is the optimum cruising along to the pub gear. Now if you’re single you may meet the dinosaur of your dreams. Popping up a gear and you’re spinning along, looking like a circus monkey on a tri-cycle and dropping down a gear and you feel like you are turning the cranks in slow motion.
However I will say this, don’t bother with the cruising to the pub gear to try and meet the dinosaur of your dreams. What may have the appearance of a thing of beauty (when you have your beer goggles on) will often, usually after a few months, start roaring louder than any mother fuckin T-Rex on the planet, which will send you running to the hills. At this point you will have wished you’d gone for the big ‘T’ as opposed to the pub cruiser.
Have a long think about it. ROARRRRRRR……..