How Much?!! Cane Creek EE Wings Review

By | Biking

Who the hell spends a grand on a set of cranks? Well, fortunately not me. But I have retrospectively pondered whether I’d have eventually succumbed even without getting preferential rates through the good people at Stanton Bikes? Certainly the Cane Creek EE Wings were a slow burner; initially introduced by my mate Tony, who sent a link in a (semi) tongue-in-cheek way, pointing out what a great match they’d make for my Switch9er Ti. The idea was discounted instantly, the in-situ XTR’s were doing a great job, I didn’t want to have to buy a new bottom-bracket and chainring, the…

Read More

What If Money Was No Object?

By | Biking

Apologies if it seems a little crass talking about unjustifiably expensive bike builds at a time when so many are discovering the horrors of Universal Credit, and many more are fretting over when they’ll ever be employed again. Rest assured I’ve been hit as hard as most, with all biking work disappearing, taking a huge chunk of my income with it. But maybe it’s the right moment for a bit of escapism. Dreamy School Days School days for me were long and often tedious, I’d usually have the compulsory work banged out in minutes, leaving much opportunity for the favourite…

Read More

The Hunger Games – A Solo, Unsupported, Non-Stop Tour of Mont Blanc

By | Uncategorized

Blacking Out A momentary loss of consciousness.  Like a micro-sleep but without possible resistance.  One minute hugging the right side of the twisting Alpine road and a split second later traversing the centre line; long-honed instincts righting the listing bike before smashing into the asphalt.  Pull to a stop, head sagging, vision desperately seeking focus.  Endgame.  Make or break time.  The devastating realisation that failure could be grabbed from a success so tangible at this final juncture. Caffeine.  The drug of choice; a substance so potent it’d certainly be banned if not so prevalent.  The only possible salvation, and yet…

Read More

The Longest Day

By | Uncategorized

Impending Gloom Thank Christ my legs felt good, spinning a steady tempo as the sweat wept from my brow, gradually forming blobs that dripped down the inside of sunglass lenses.  This climb over half an hour old by now, definitely getting older by the minute.  Redundant phone, no GPS signal and a trail ‘map’ that was an abstract masterpiece lacking essential detail.  This ascent should apparently top out at Champoussin at 1580m but the Garmin altimeter had clicked way beyond that, the relief of reaching the peak tempered by the uneasy impression that dropping down the far side would guarantee…

Read More

Pain in the Arse? Stanton Rigel Saddle Review

By | Uncategorized

Bunch of Arse Arses, everybody’s got one, fat, thin, wide, narrow, round, square, well… maybe not square, but we do all have one and they’re all different.  And because of that, talking about comfort in a saddle review is basically wasted wordage so I’ll barely bother, one person’s fluffy bunny is another person’s barbed wire coated lump of granite. So, quick answer to the title, it’s a no for me, the Stanton Rigel saddle is not a pain in the arse at all.  Even on saggy shorted epics, six hours of sitting on a sopping chamois chafing away at wrinkled…

Read More

Chasing Armadillos – The Conversion of a Bike Park Non-Believer

By | Uncategorized

Dropping In I waited patiently on the far side of the dusty track whilst the huddled armadillos shuffled to the edge of the wooden drop and peered into the abyss.  Adrenaline just bubbling under a solid ceiling of focus, full commitment guaranteed.  Machine-gun Spanish conversation incomprehensible, but the tone was clearly recognisable and matched the furrowed brows just visible below full-face lids.  They backed away sheepishly, awkwardly manoeuvreing DH superbikes, opening a gap just wide enough to squeeze through.  Half a pedal rev, small bunny hop to clear the gap and ‘whoosh, whump’ into the steep downhill landing fifteen feet…

Read More

Functional Art – Stanton Switch9er Ti Long Term Review

By | Uncategorized

But Why?…. Why the hell do I ride a hardtail? It’s not like it’s a puritantical stance against technological advance.  If that were the case then I’d also still be on a 150mm stem, 540mm bars, 26″ wheels and those god awful tan wall tyres.  Oh, wait, those have made a comeback?!  Maybe the Flexstem and that batshit Slingshot bike with the wire for a down tube will be next, after all, fashion is cyclical. But bikes aren’t fashion (not for most of us anyway), they’re engineering, and sometime in the last three decades full-suspension frames have honed to an…

Read More

Taking Back Control

By | Biking

Fear not, this isn’t a Brexit article! Although later on it will explore how the initial effects of Brexit Britain became the catalyst for a bold, and potentially very positive move for one UK frame manufacturer.  Keeping politics aside though, this is actually a piece about what it really means to take back control of a company, moving all aspects of production back to our shores based on a utopian vision of flexibility and employee well-being. Back To Slack Stanton Bikes have long been pioneers in the development of the modern ‘hardcore hardtail’, generating an enviable reputation for both design…

Read More

Return of the ‘Real Boys’

By | Biking, Uncategorized

Breaking the Law… The heavy metallic door clanged slowly open, in stark contrast to the frantic barking from within.  Tony froze, already committed to the far side of rusted razor wire that littered the floor, whilst the rest of us quickly weighed up options and decided to talk our way out of this trouble.  A tubby soldier in sweaty fatigues exited the building, already waving a single hand in the classic dismissive Italian gesture.  Playing dumb is an art and fortunately few play dumber than our crew; spluttered words of broken Italian, vacant expressions and a rapid exit past several…

Read More

The Theory of Evolution – Stanton Switch9er First Impressions

By | Biking

I love living in Northern Ireland, the people are friendly and the trails are superb, but it can be a melting pot for extreme viewpoints, from individuals who otherwise appear moderate.  A few years back I was surprised to discover how many here take a literal reading to religious doctrine, firmly believing that Earth is a mere handful of thousand years old, shunning accepted theories of Darwinism and genuinely contesting that one busy week for their deity was enough to create all we see.  These Creationists have infiltrated the upper-strata of society in worryingly prominent positions of influence, despite the…

Read More