Welcome to how the other end of racing operate. No licence, No points (cant get them in HT anyway) No Budget and No sponsers, Welcome to the world of the parts bin special.
I have been racing 3 years now, this is the start of my 4th season and the bike has evolved, i even have things to test, i guess you could call it sponsership, but then again it’s not as if i have been given a years supply of tyres, i have 2 pairs to last the season, my spikes are 3 years old (intense fro 2.25) and the Gamut Chain Device is a result of meeting the man behind the design, guess what they want my input on the device, little me casting my thoughts to the engineers who designed it, never thought i would be doing that. But have some photos and i will explain some stuff.
The Superfly Styler Deluxe in Reynolds 853 steel, aint it a beauty, it was the demo bike from Chris at www.ridinghighuk.co.uk which is why i ended up with a stack of Element parts as well, so a second hand frame/Element Mercury headset, new Spank Bitch stick bars and Element lock on grips and a Freedum-f Element post from Chris, the deal was done over afternoon Tea and cake, we hardtail racers may look rough but we are civilised, and taking cake to negotiations is always a good plan. Last year i bought a stack of Dmr gear, a Long Haul saddle, V12 Mags ( fancy the Ti option there but didnt have the cash), a Headstock stem at 50mm, and a pair of fat 35mm wide Backline rims laced up with DT triple butted spokes ( by Don at Kustombikes.co.uk) to a 6 pawl Revolver rear and a Supergun 20mm front hub, these where bedded in with 16 runs down Fort Williams DH track and they seem to still be fine.
The brakes are 04 Front, 05 Rear Hope Mono M4, never been serviced just keep working, had to get some new rotors last year as the steel one where getting thin and have been cooked a few times, as the price of floating rotors had come down i went for them, i got round to shimming the levers to cut down down on the rattle as well. The shifter is again from 04 and is a SRAM Attack, got it because Shimano shifters back then had horrible indicator windows that got in the way, but shimano rear mechs have always been cheaper than SRAM so a match made in heaven and cheap as well.
The cassette is a different story, its a 6 speed with XT/LX/105 in there, most of it came out of the local bike shops bin. Now why 6 speed when 10 speed is cropping up ( campagolo have 11 speed) well if you run one of the Chris King/Hope/DT single speed rear hubs, they have a mini freehub, they also have wider spoke flange spacing so less dish which = a stronger wheel. Do you use 9/10/11 gears i dont !, so i cut down the XT body lost a stack of weight, shorter chain, and improved chainline. If you think i am mad then so is Stan Koziatek (stans no tubes ! yes him) as he is also testing 6 speed cassettes (check May issue of mountainbike action) so there you go, it was free, bit of DIY, i have the gears i use and dumped the ones i dont, and this is attracting interest from other riders, i think i am ahead of my time on this one. Working the chain over the gears is a Shimano 04 XTR 105 shortcage mech, this came from someones spares box (owed me a favour)and didnt have any jockey wheels, i once had a bike with an XTR mech on it, i broke it, part of the mech now lives on my jacket the jockey wheels went in the spares box, where after 4 years they have come in handy.
Bit of sticky velcro on the chainstay ( Ta Jacy for the tip, Hills mechanic) front drive is delt with by a 07 Hone crank, which has been faultless, why replace if it works, bolted to that is a Saint 36t chainring which is a “test part” as the Gamut Race rings arent over here yet, and that nice blue Gamut P30 “test part” really so simple in design, easy to fit, somehow i have to think of how i would improve it ( and i know what they are working on anyway) super light (217 grams with all fitting bolts) and taking the hits !
That just leaves the fork and tyres. Well it’s a 2005 Z1 FR2 that i bought new on sale early 07, it’s done 2 seasons welshside with a handfull of oil changes, i was going to get some Pikes this year (new not s/h) but after the price hikes over here in the UK i couldnt do it. So i got thinking how about a rebuild ? how much ? WHO ? stickers on the fork are a clue. I got lucky, being admin from www.hardtailnation.co.uk i got in touch with www.tftuned.com and blagged a workshop vist ( had to take cake) this was not a freebie i paid for the work but i got to watch Tim Flooks rip my fork apart and rebuild it better than new, its now a Marzocchi/Manitou fork, and now it’s bedded in, well best £80 i spent that was. As for tyres, well if things get nasty the 3 year old intense spikes are coming out, but while i was doing the trade shows this year i met Katrina from WTB and Jorg from Continental who both very kindly gave me some “test “samples, so WTB Prowlers for dry tracks and Conti Rain Kings for the wet.
There you go my third DH HT race bike, still on a budget but slowly getting there, should be seen flying around the south west tracks, and of course that world cup track in Fort William for that enduro race, see you dont need to drop 7k on a race bike !