Hardtail hero and occasional Dirt blogger Ace Woodley came out of hibernation to make the 350 mile round trip from his home in Grimsby (or is was it Somerset? I think he has two) to the Core Bike Show in Northamptonshire.
Words and Photos: Ace Woodley
The CORE show in the UK is the sign that winters ending and new stuff is filtering into the shops, and some hints of new things lurking in the shadows for 2014 and beyond. As usual the CORE is industry only and laid on in a posh golf club venue next door to Silver-stone GP race track, bike shop staffers and press only.
After looking at the weather i went on Sunday, later looked worse so 5am Sunday start it was, after making the car swim out to the motorway, things improved, no snow, and it stopped raining, and the car had dried out and stopped making funny noises, needed some new underwear after hitting a large volume of floodwater. While recounting the tale of swimming cars with the www.sueme.com staffers they decided i should test out there Eco friendly underwear, nice sense of humour there, nearly write off the car, get new skids (bad joke there) they even throw in a pack of Beech tree seeds, so when i go for a dump in the woods while out on the bike (come-on hands up, we all do it) i can plant a tree, trees are good, they hold up race tape, not so good when you wrap yourself round one, but i got a couple of trees to plant as well.
Don’t think Billy thought i was going to start with pants, best add some shiny stuff. It was busier than expected, i reckon most had checked the weather as well and as we came from all corners of the UK, today was best. As ever could do with more time, so much got missed, so much to see, but hard to see and talk to everyone. Got some chat time with the Banshee crew, good to see the name back here, it never really left but legal issues forced a rename to “Mythic” for several years. Dirt mag have had a Rune in for a while to test out, and the Legend DH frame with Ti pivot bolt and rear axle kinda caught my eye.
Can’t skip hard-tails, Banshee always had some heavy hitters, nice little dirt jumper from them as well.
What next, Thomson, David came over from the states again, due to things beyond his control the dropper seatpost wasn’t there on Sunday, they hoped it would be there later in the day, or first thing Monday, so i had to rob a file photo from LH Thomson’s website for you. Expected release date is April 1st (yes really) for the 30.9 and i think it was 31.6 sizes, a stealth routing cable version is to follow fairly soon for those with interrupted seat tube bikes, and in June a smaller 27.2 version should be ready. With 2 posts over here all-ready being winter tested and DIN testing complete and as many wacky variation’s of what they think punters might subject the post to, they are just sorting packaging and ready to go (didn’t find out how much mind). The handlebar range is doing well, carbon in photo, last year was all pre-production test samples, this year was finished gear, talk of another riser bar coming, sure David said Ti as well, i could be wrong, bit hectic in there, but some bars and seat-post changes to come, and a new post format for them as well coming. As always this is the neat part of getting to these trade shows, you get to meet the people that make the gear we ride.
Carbon is everywhere, Halo had a set of unmarked carbon rimmed wheels (semi hiding) they have been 4x race testing, super light super strong, my camera had issues with the surface finish and they wouldn’t let me walk off outside with it to get a better photo in daylight, so maybe another report on them later or in the mag. Another hardtail, the AKA with 650b shoehorned in, few 650b lurking about this year.
The Mogul has been refined from last years Halo BDS race season, angles slacked off, which we all expected anyway, so an even more privateer friendly race rig. New stem and Kamon pedal from Gusset as well, and new Vapour wheel-sets and hub updates too, the Vapour rims in black on the AKA but some brighter choices as well.
Found this on the Hope Team DH racer, neat little racing cassette, no price, no promises, but very likely very soon, or maybe not….. they did get asked about this lots, so if demand is there ?
Evil had the best display stand, loved it, needed some goth girls handing out stickers for a full 10 out of 10, even had a little dry icer puffing out mist for extra effect.
New forks from Formula, just arrived in time for the show, haven’t had a chance to read up on them yet.
And another new player in the fork world, and an absolute stunner to kick off with from DVO with the Emerald USD, still a prototype, so no price, expected target weight is 2900grams, air main spring with coil negative, and a quick flick through the catalogue…..”Twin tube open bath cartridge, hi-lo speed compression and hi-lo speed rebound adjusters” and the lower shields are carbon fibre, and the arch is designed to add torsional stiffness by 50% at the wheel. Expected late summer 2013. Doubt i will ever get a go on a set, but they do look good, like these a lot.
Bit more on the DVO, flicking through the stuff i picked up at the show, travel is 203mm with both 26″ and 27.5″ (650b) wheels, looks made to fit a Hope team bike that does.
Found a race face, Steve Larkin, ex student and Wide-open mags hard-tail animal and 4x racer, now working for Hot-lines and very keen to show me the new Ragley Blue Pig. OK we have history as we have raced together, and i fancied a go on a Ragley Bagger288, turns out the 288 is no more, so lost the chance there, and the Blue Pig has been tweaked angle wise for a more burly fork, the head tube gussets have been reworked and it’s taking the role of the 288. Loved the new jewel like head tube badges, some neat little trick finishing touches here and there. Picking the bike up was a pleasant surprise too, just the thing for doing the No-Fuss events Downhill enduro at Fort William. Yes i would race that, would batter it senseless but looks a lot of fun. Wonder if Hot-lines do loaners.
Must be running out of blog space, too much to cram in. Caught up with Damian from Upgrade bikes and DMR, again it’s whats on the bubble thats not on show, talk of another new DH fork in prototype stage (not at show) and i quizzed him about the DMR Omen project DH hardtail frame, again not on show, 2 where raced last season, and another 2 tweeked frames are ready for this season, longer and slacker and lower, no production plans…yet, but they will be cropping up at races this season, always my complaint, the bikes i race on could do with being a touch longer up front, so something else i would like to have a go on. (along with a BTR Belter)
Been out of the loop for a few months so not up to date with armour stuff, this caught my eye from Dainese, didn’t spot a price tag, only information i have to hand is it’s called a Hybrid neck brace, and it’s carbon fiber, and some google-fu tells me a RRP of £349
Going to sign off on weird stuff, granted i am Surly rider so like them, with all the crap weather and snow then maybe this will float your boat, or just float you over the snow, the Blue one is a Karate Monkey in 29″ (got one, normal rims) the yellow is the Pugsley running 3.8″x26 tyres 80mm rims, no moon-lander this year, that’s the real fat one, 100mm rims and 4.7″ tyres, OK Pugs and Lander are specialist bikes, but the new spangly green Krampus 29+ appeared, so that’s 29″ rims and 3″ tyres on 50mm rims, which might work if i rigid raid Glencoe mountain again this year as i am crap at riding in snow.
Ed is floating about on Monday and Tuesday so expect more, maybe to come.
Good day out, bit manic, but get to catch up with people from all over the country (and world) nice way to start the biking new year.