Tuesday, 13 December 2016

2016 - my year in cycling

2016 has been a pretty good year for cycling, this year i have ridden in England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany and the USA. Here is a look back at some of the things I've been up too.

January 1st, Putting up with the winter grind as I just need to get out the house.

Jan 31st - Feb 3rd, Core bike show, indoors but surrounded by bikes

March 15th, Commuting to work can be very dull so I look for some more alternative routes, even taking in some single track.

April 7th, a trip to Bike Park Wales for business and fun with Freeride Legend Chris Smith and Tom.

April 18th-23rd, distributor trip to Bellingham, USA to visit Transition Bikes.

May 8th, track building with my kids in our local woods.

June 2nd - 5th, Pebbles and Fort William for the WC with Russ, James (from Pedals Edinburgh), Martin, Tom and Freeride Legend Chris Smith!

June 12th, we support the Transition Bike Southern Enduro, this round was at Tidworth.

July 15th, riding the Hayling Island Billy line with a stop off and the dirt jumps.

August 30th - 3rd Sept, Eurobike transport.

September 9th-11th, Suisse Normande with Chris, Greg and Simon.

September 26th, the Transition bikes booth at the Cycle Show with Tahnee Seagrave.

November 19th, Work trip to the Ghent 6 days with Rob, Luke and Russ.

November 25th, day off Fridays and one of my many visits to QECP

December 2nd, Winchester and back via the South Downs Way with Chris and Greg.

Winchester winter ride from DanJones34 on Vimeo.

December 7th, dealer visit to the Forest of Dean with Tom

Monday, 4 April 2016

My bikes: 1992 Klein Attitude backfire

My Klein story starts back in 1994 when I was looking for a replacement bike for a M600 Cannondale, the Attitude was on the radar as one of the local lads in our local riding scene had a beautiful backfire model.

A candy red Attitude was for sale in Leisure Lakes bikes and the deal was done. Spec wise it was built at a price, so had a Sugino crank, Specialized tyres and a LX level group. Slowly it evolved and gained Campag rims and Hope hubs, X-Lite levers with Xtr brakes and XTR mechs, all in it was a crazy sub 20lb bike. I used the Klein for everything, commuting, XC, jumping and just mucking about on but as our riding evolved suspension was the only way forward and the Attitude had to go.

My original 1993 Attitude in Candy Red
My Attitude with my friends Backfire Rascal

I've always converted the Klein brand, Gary Klein pioneered many things that we now take for granted such as cartridge b/b's and headsets, oversized tubing and internal cable routing. The quality of the bikes was and still is second to none, the welding and finishing are amazing with the paint quality more akin to a prestige car than a bicycle. In 1995 the Trek Bicycle Corporation bought Klein  and slowly dismantled the brand until finally shutting it down completely in 2009. Maybe this last point is why the pre-Trek Kleins are now so desirable and able to command such strong resale prices?

Fast forward to 2016 and I've always had an eye on the market for a Klein but I did have a wish list. First of it had to be a 92 or 93 model for the smooth crown on the oversized fork rather than the welded crown of the 91 model. It had to be the 18" size. It had to have the original fork and mission control bar/stem. Lastly I really wanted the Backfire paint job, there are lots of amazing Klein paint schemes, but for me the Backfire was the one. 

The bike I found was for sale in the USA, it ticked all the boxes wish list wise but had a mix and match group, the deal was done and the bike delivered. The biggest problem was that the crank blinded on the anti suck plate and would hit the chain stay, so I had to do a bit of spec juggling between bikes to get the Klein somewhere near how I wanted it. 

My long term plan for the Attitude is to evolve the spec until I am completely happy with it, but moreover is to actually use it, this isn't going to be a garage wall decoration!

My bike has also just been featured on the Singletrack World website in a feature called 15 bikes we wished we owned, read the feature here:

also check out:




Monday, 15 February 2016

bikes: The Kirk Revolution

Retro Bike: The Kirk Revolution

Kirk Revolution DX
There always seems to be a lot of negativity regarding the Kirk in retro circles, I often wonder if this bike snobbery is down to Kirk being marketed by Dawes and was it because it was sold in stores like Halfords? I guess the brand is just not as desirable as anything coming out of the USA of the same era, but whatever the reason I will champion the humble Kirk!

I first became aware of the Kirk Revolution in the early 90’s when the popularity of mountain biking really exploded in the UK. This era was defined by lots of innovation, granted not all of it was good, but there was a strong drive from bike manufacturers to explore bike design and move the market forward.

The Kirk is a good example of this 90’s drive, the e-stay design was very much of the time (Alpinestars, Rocky Mountain, Nishiki, Haro etc) but it’s USP was that the frame was made in the UK from cast magnesium. The literature at the time explained that only one and a half cubic metres of sea water is needed to provide enough magnesium for one Kirk frame and every frame was die-cast in just 40 milliseconds at 650°C under 650 tonnes of pressure, in the world's largest hot chamber facility. That's pretty ground breaking stuff, even by today’s standards.

So as a piece of MTB innovation and history the Kirk is pretty unique. The Kirk was the first magnesium mountain bike and it was designed and made in the UK. Now they are getting pretty rare, so I thought maybe one would be worth saving and including in my collection.

The first bike I got hold of was a cerise ‘200GS’ model that I slowly converted to the more desirable DX spec. In the mean time I got hold of a black bike (400LX) and my idea was to see which was the best one and sell the other, I ended up selling the black bike and keep prettier cerise frame and convert it to DX spec.

Kirk no1, 200GS bike standard and in need of TLC
in the workshop for a clean
converted to DX spec but note the cheaper, curved cro-mo fork
Kirk No2, with added 1993 LX chain set and rear mech
Kirk No2
Back on ebay I found another cerise bike, but this one was a genuine 1991 ‘DX’ bike complete with the Reynolds 531 fork, so for a bike to keep hold off this is definitely the right model. The bike is very close to factory spec with the original Regida Laser 400 rims, DT spokes with DX hubs. The spec differs from the catalogue with the Zoom stem (it came with a Dawes branded stem) and purple alloy bar (which I fitted), tyres (originals should be Conti Baja) and saddle (should be a Turbo), but those parts would have been changed anyway.

Kirk no3, genuine DX bike, note Reynolds fork

One thing I have noticed between the DX frame and the GS frame is that the DX frame has proper split cable guides and the rear brake cable outer also splits in to 2 pieces. The GS (and 400LX) bikes don’t have split cable guides and the rear brake takes a continuous outer. I’m not sure why, its just an observation.

For more information on the magnesium Kirk head on over to www.kirk-bicycles.co.uk

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

From the archive: 1998 Marzocchi Mr T

No, not that one!
The Mr T was Marzocchi's first full production dual crown fork for a mountain bike. The Mr T was in effect a stop gap model that basically used a Z1 fork with stanchion extensions on the top to create the dual crown look, while the works riders got the hand made Super T.

The Mr T also used a new forging for the lower leg that utilised a 20mm through axle design and an I.S. disc brake mount that were both excepted standards for years. The lower legs were also used in the Z1 Duel model.

The lower crown was the same as a Z2 with the lips machined of and was placed over the stanchion join, with the crown fitted with the join at the top. The upper crown was an all-new CNC design that lived on for years on both the Super T and Jnr T models. The upper extensions had cut marks on the outer stanchion and also the inner rods so that the fork could be trimmed down to suit frames with smaller head tubes.

To service the fork was easy, the upper stanchion piece would just unscrew leaving in effect a Z1, with the only difference being 8mm allen key foot nuts opposed to the 15mm foot nuts of the Z1.

Catalogue spec:
Travel: 105mm + 5mm negative travel design.
Spring Type: Cr-Si coil spring in each leg. 3 different rates available.
Damping: Dual hydraulic Bomber cartridges with adjustable rebound.
Crowns: Forged alloy lower, CNC alloy upper.
Adjustments: 15mm preload, infinite rebound.
Stanchions: 30mm Easton alloy with butter smooth finish. Two piece design.
Steerer tube: Easton alloy.
Sliders: Aluminium gravity die cast. Special drop outs for through axle.
Disc brake mount: New 98 standard mount.
Brake Arch: Alloy, forged, CNC machined with optional cable hanger

Mr T
Lower legs
pre-load and rebound adjuster
on the work bench, with a stanchion separated
On the cover of DIRT with Tim Ponting
Tim Ponting
exploded diagram MR T 1998
brochure page