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MTB group skills courses

Group MTB skills course Sat 18th November

One-off foundation skills MTB course

You may have seen some info already saying that courses are now only available as exclusive days due to shifting demand.

This is true, but one person still has a gift voucher to use for a place on a group course. This means there’s a foundation/beginners course on Sun 23rd July which you can book onto for £55 per person.

Start time will be 9:30am, finishing at 3:30pm. Start point will be the car park at Dalby Forest opposite Dixons Hollow – the one at the far end of Adderstone Field.

The course will cover:

  • gears
  • effective braking
  • off road riding position
  • how to roll drop offs
  • getting the front wheel off the ground
  • cornering
  • …and generally how to crash less often!
  • more will be covered if there’s time

You can book a place here or phone to pay by card or bank transfer 
If you want to book more than one place you can change quantity on the PayPal page after clicking the button. It will only let you book places that are actually available!

Foundation MTB skills 18th Nov 2017 £55

Offer Code:  

Renthal Kevlar Lock-On Grips long, long, long term review

Renthal Kevlar Lock-On Grips Looooooong Term Review

So, as I said in the previous long term review of these, there’s always a chance that manufacturer’s hype doesn’t quite live up to reality…

Renthal Kevlar Lock On GripHowever… I’ve now been running these grips for 2 years! They’re looking used now, but they’re still going & I can’t tell any difference in feel from when they were new! The first picture is a new set – the second one is now.

I haven’t changed my mind re the level of grip they offer, they’re very grippy without the jelly/sticky like feeling you sometimes get, which I find a bit gross!. The diameter is good, narrow enough for good control but not too narrow.

Renthal Kevlar Lock On Grip, well used!The knurled pattern has worn off, but hasn’t lessened the feel, the lock-on system works – mine are still on the Easton Havoc carbon bars and they still haven’t ever moved or damaged the bars in the odd crash.

Long life is always high on my list, but obviously there’s more to it that that! These do everything else I want & at risk of using a cliché, they’re a no-brainer. When they do wear out another set will be going straight on. If I had to pick a negative, some people might not like the colour. I’m fine with it, there’s Kevlar in them & they look Kevlar colour

2016 Ard Rock Enduro

2016 Ard Rock Enduro photos

This is the first year I’ve been to ‘Ard Rock & I’ll definitely be going back! It’s a spectacular event – the trails, atmosphere & organisation were beyond expectations & despite 60-70mph winds on the Sunday, the riding was still awesome. It has a great festival feel to it & if you like the idea of racing but prefer the downhills, Enduro is for you! Keep a check on the Ard Rock Enduro site or subscribe to their mailing list for 2017 dates.

To give you a feel for the trails, I’ll shut up & post some photos taken by various professional picture takers that were around the route. The only thing I’d add is that the trails are steeper & more technical than they look! The quality of the photography is great & all they photographers were great to deal with!

All photos are used with the photographer’s permission

Photo of Steve Phipps at 2016 Ard Rock by Digital Swaledale2016 Ard Rock by EventPhotosArd Rock 2016 - photo by JWDT PhotographyArd Rock 2016 (3) - photo by JWDT PhotographyArd Rock 2016 (2) - photo by JWDT PhotographySteve form Chasing Trails at 2016 Ard Rock - photo by MJP2016 Ard Rock by MJP (2)2016 Ard Rock by MJP (3)2016 Ard Rock by MJP (4)2016 Ard Rock by RH Photography

some, er, interesting statistics on mtb skills courses

Why a MTB skills course?

Drop-off Dalby BlackI was looking through Singletrackworld’s archived polls, for some research into who it actually is that rides these mountain bikes…

I came across this one:

Have you taken any form of mountain bike skills instruction?

  • No, but I keep meaning to get some. (30%, 100 Votes)
  • Yes, I’ve been on a skills course. (26%, 87 Votes)
  • No. Don’t need any. I’m completely self-taught! (18%, 61 Votes)
  • Yes, I’ve been on several courses (7%, 25 Votes)
  • Yes, I’ve had some informal instruction from good riders (7%, 23 Votes)
  • Some other answer (6%, 21 Votes)
  • Yes, I’ve been on SMBLA/ML courses (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Yes, and now I’m an instructor (3%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 337
Start Date: April 29, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

So, a fair number from this group think a course would be a great idea but haven’t got round to it. A significant number are self taught and don’t feel the need. Some have been taught informally by other riders.

In my experience, one thing that these 3 groups have in common after actually doing course is a sense of surprise as to what else was possible

Before doing a course, some people underestimate themselves, some people are relying on ‘bravery’, some people make it around their preferred grade of trail but just feel there’s a certain something missing.

A course or maybe 2 gives you a complete set of ‘tools’ which may otherwise take years to collect, or may never arrive at all. It also gives you confidence & consistency in the skills you already have, by letting you understand exactly how they work & how to refine them.

Some of the ‘self taught & fine with it’ group only arrive on a course because a concerned relative has made them do it or a mate is going & needs some moral support. In my experience these are the ones that are most taken aback by some decent instruction, maybe because they have a good foundation that’s ready for all the finishing touches to be put in place.

If you want to take the plunge, there are always 1:1 & 1:2 days available and in April 2015 there are 2 group courses, a foundation course &amp a next level course. They’re starting to book now, so don’t leave it too late! Take a look at the comments people have left, as there’ll likely be comments from someone who’s your type of rider somewhere in the list

MBUK 100 most amazing bits of bike bling EVER

20130607-015611.jpgI posted the below (italics) on the Facebook page. I’ll be doing some individual blogs over the next few weeks on some of the products I think are the best or most important. If you have any suggestions for what you want to see first, Let me know in the comments…

MBUK’s 25 year issue just arrived along with a “100 most amazing bits of bike bling EVER!” booklet. Out if the 100 my picks are, in no particular order:

  • Easton Havoc Carbon bars
  • Shimano STI triggers
  • Almost everything Hope have made
  • Maxxis Minions
  • Middleburn RS7 cranks
  • Orange Five & 222
  • Pace RC100
  • Dropper posts (not necessarily the one they featured..)
  • Fiveten Impacts
  • ODI Lock-on grips
  • Fox Float RP23
  • Camelback
  • Club Roost original riser bars

Not really ‘bling’ but all good stuff! 
Anything missing or any of that list you’d like a blog post on?

Five Ten Sam Hill Monster Lo MTB Shoes

Time for a review. I’ve been using these for a couple of months now so thought you might be interested to know how they’ve been holding up.
I’ve used Five Tens for the last 5 and a bit years, and believe it or not that’s been with the same 2 pairs from the start. When I got the first pair there still seemed some doubt in the air as to whether they’d keep making them. Intense had sold a limited run made by Five Ten beforehand & some downhillers liked them so much they’d bought a few pairs.

I got a pair of the original Impact Low’s then thought that if they decided not to carry on producing them it would be good to have a ‘spare’… So I ordered a second lot, in the high version. The only real problem I’ve had in the whole time is when I forgot to dry out a soaked pair & the midsole disintegrated a bit. Arghh! They’re still useable but a bit soft. The other pair have been sound until recently when the outer sole split, but five years constant use seemed pretty good. I’ve not used anything else the whole time.

Back to the new ones – although the standard Impacts seemed supportive enough, the Sam Hill version has a nylon midsole which is a bit stiffer again. This makes them a little better for pedalling efficiency, but lessens the feel a bit. The main reason I went for these was due to the  soaking of the older pair. I thought the nylon midsole would be more hardwearing.

I actually prefer the feel of the standard shoes, they seem slightly more ‘connected’ with the pedals than the Sam Hill version, but it’s not a big difference. Compared to any other shoes you might use with flats, any pair of tacky soled Five Tens will seem like a revelation.

The other difference to the standard Impacts is that instead of a wrap-around tongue that’s fully attached on one side these have a skate shoe style tongue that has an elastic strap on each side. Again, the standard shoes are maybe slightly more comfy, but this is an even smaller difference.

I have to say I’m happy with them, they’re a quality product, but if I’d known in advance I might have gone for another pair of Impacts, just because they’re cheaper & there was nothing wrong with them.

I’d say if you’ve tried the standard shoes & like them you’re probably best to stick with them, but if you want slightly more support & maybe straight line speed then give these a try.