I recently had a trip to the Italian Alps at the end of the summer (September/October time), where I knew I would be inundated with punctures from big thorns in the country side, particularly when riding more cross country style rather than over the rocks.  I am used to dealing with thorns – after all we have enough brambles in England and riding cross country particularly down not well used paths often leads to the odd puncture here or there.  I find having the tyre pumped up hard (35-40 PSI) really helps and I generally use Schwalbe’s Nobby Nics in the winter and Kenda’s Small Block 8 tyres in the summer.  I have found that by running higher pressures allows me to use a lighter inner tube (Schwalbe, Geax, Vittoria, etc) and generally only get a puncture once or twice per hundred miles.  Read on for my review of the Michelin C4 Protek tube.. More »

The Finish LineThe Ride

Last week I took part in the London to Brighton Offroad Bike ride, organised by the British Heart Foundation (link).  I did the road version a few years ago which totalled 54 miles.  I tried to ride it ‘properly’ (yes on my full suspension mountain bike), but soon got very frustrated with the amount of forced stops due to bottlenecks, people crashing etc.  Instead I should have just enjoyed it for the day and stopped off at more of the village fetes and pubs – that’s the plan for next time I think.  I hoped the offroad version would be full of more serious riders, thinking that the distance of 75 miles alone would deter those who had not ridden or trained recently.  It mostly did, but there are always some people who should not have entered.  Now I will admit that I hadn’t done this kind of distance – a typical ‘long’ ride for me is 40 miles and taking 4-5 hours with 2000m of climbing, all offroad battling the natural single tracks around the Chilterns. More »

I am looking at buying an Evoc bike travel bag to transport my bike to Italy this year and Spain next year.  This year I want to take my 26″ full suspension mountain bike whilst next year I want to take my 29er hard tail.  Whilst researching I found that bags manufactured after around 2011 can take the 29″ wheel without deflating or removing the tyres.  Not the end of the world, but an extra step to do at each end.

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I attended the Woodcote Trailbreak.co.uk ride on Saturday 17th August, but unfortunately it did not go quite to plan.  I was planning to do the 60km route as I was under time pressures that day, but the following happened resulting on me ending up on the longer 100km route.  Below is a short recap of what happened on the day: More »

I recently bought a new bike – a 2013 Giant XTC Composite 29er 1 to complement my 26 full suspension Giant Trance X3 2009.  My riding style has started to change slightly over the last couple of years, with more emphasis on mile munching off road at a faster pace, rather than jumping around and getting air all over the place.  I will keep my 26er for trips to Wales and other trail centers, because it is still fun in its own right.  But the now toy is a 29er – I have joined the big wheel revolution or marketing hype – call it what you like, but one thing is for sure: the big wheels just keep on rolling over bumps with much less effort than 26″ wheels.

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Possibly the cheapest mountain bike tyre repair you will come across – wet suit repair glue, duct tape, dental floss 😀

I recently bought some Nobby Nics for my MTB – I have done about 5 or 6 rides on them and they really bedded in nicely.   I noticed when I was getting the bike off the car rack that the rear had picked up a gash just under 1inch long on the sidewall, inline with the spoke direction.  I was a bit miffed as these weren’t cheap tyres, so I decided to try and fix it before chucking it out. More »

Giant Trance hub bearing replacement.  The standard hub for the Giant X3 2009 is listed as:

Front:Giant FR 15mm Thru axle front

Rear:WTB Laser Trail Disc rear


The bearings required for replacement are:

Front: 6804RU x 2    (Also found as 6804 2RS, 61804 2RS.  2RS = 2 Rubber Seals.  RU = Single Rubber Seal.  RU bearings are hard to find – order the 2RS unit and if required remove the extra seal.)

ID:20, ID:32, W:7


Rear (Brake Disc Side): 6803 x 1


Rear (Gear Side): 6000LB x 1

ID:10, OD:26, W:8

(6000 is the most common types, LB are hard to find.  LB – The “LB” seal is a non-contact seal for reduced torque or higher speed requirements. From here)


I have bought many replacement bearings from this auction fom revolve_bearings_and_pt on ebay

In light of my recent post I decided against Schwalbe and stuck with Kenda – I now have a new Small Block 8 DTC (2.1) on the rear and a Kenda Nevegal Stick-E (2.1) on the front.  I’ve been out for a few blasts on it and now the ground has hardened up it rolls so much better than having even a worn Nevegal on the rear! Also the grip level seems pretty impressive, though I have only ridden in the dry with it.  So far so good…

I’m looking at a enw rear tyre for the bike to replace the originals (Kenda Nevagal Stick-E).  The Kenda’s are a pretty good all rounder tyre, very grippy in most conditions, but they do not roll well at all.  The rear is almost slick, so I thought I’d just replace the rear for now.  I quite fancy trying some of the Schwalbe range, but it is so confusing to work out what tyre is a suitable replacement.  Not anymore!

Schwalbe X Country Tyres:  Dirty Dan, Furious Fred, Racing Ralph, Rocket Ron (http://www.schwalbe.co.uk/c1-1208-x-country.html)

Schwalbe Mountain Tyres: Fat Albert, Nobby Nic (http://www.schwalbe.co.uk/c1-1207-all-mountain.html)


On-One are selling some Schwalbe stuff at good prices.  Quite tempted by the Rocket Ron @ £17.90!



I have just returned from a few days away riding in Afan Forest Park in South Wales. We all had an awesome time, it was the first time we had ridden anywhere like that and we think we did quite well considering.

On day 1 we did The Wall, then followed by an easy 10 mile loop around the valley mostly on an old railway line – very scenic. Total distance: 24 miles

On day 2 we rode Skyline. This is quite a long route with a 2km climb. The route is 29.5 miles and it started raining after 2 minutes. Visibility dropped to <100m and the rain continued for 90% of the day. But we rode on and didn't see any other cyclists or sign of human life for the whole time. 6.5 hours later we made it back to the car. 4h 11 minutes moving time. Day 3: day off to dry out and give the legs a chance. Day 4: we rode Whites Level. Fantastic. Awesome. It starts with the same climb for a couple of miles as Skyline, but we were much quicker this time partly thanks to the dry weather. Accomodation was a nice B&B called Mountain View Plus in Port Talbot. Owned by 2 friendly ladies who were very easy going with bike storage (garage) and a hose for cleaning down. This was ideally placed as only a 5 minute walk to the town centre, or 20 minute drive to Swansea. It took about 20 minutes to drive to Afan with the bikes on the roof. We will be going back we had such a great time!