Category Archives: Bikes

Bike related posts

First Sportive

I’ve been riding a road bike for a few years now – I bought the Team Boardman on a works cycle to work scheme (when it was worth doing) and used it for sprint triathlons and quick evening rides in decent weather. I stopped the sprint Tri’s about 18 months ago when they became just too expensive to justify the cost – £50 is a lot for 1hr 20 of event time at most. Any longer events and I’d convince myself I need a TT bike so the Boardman has been used for training.

I’ve been seduced by road riding these past few years – I love the speed, response and handling of the bike plus it’s been a useful change from hacking around the local trails. I went out with a local club on a few rides which were fun, but given that they ride on a Sunday morning which is my only guaranteed ride time at the moment, I’ve not been able to join them as often as I’d like but I do want to get out on the road more this year.

I addressed this ‘road ride when sunny’ approach I’ve had by signing up for the Lupus 50 sportive late last year. You can chose 50km or 50m and, given that one of my usual solo rides is 30 miles, I had in mind to do the 50 miler.

Last weekend I managed to persuade two mates to join me and we all headed over to Rugely after a night of rain and high winds. Pete had a large hangover on top of 4hrs sleep and Chris had never ridden more than 21 miles before. A chat about which distance to do resulted in the unanimous decision that anything less than the 50 miles was wimping out.

The course had been altered due to lots of floods and there were a fair few riders ready and waiting for the 10 am off. The forecast was for sun and a bit of wind, but no rain until we’d finished and the first 5 miles were done at an average of 25mph or so. It hadn’t gone unnoticed that the wind was at our back and we’d pay for it later, The ‘halfway’ feeding stop seemed to be reached very quickly and we all felt rather good – which to be fair we should do as it’s well within what we are all capable off given that our usual rides are 20 miles off road.

The next 30 odd miles (as it turned out) were a lot harder. more standing water meant wet feet, cross headwinds meant little shelter and we all felt it in our legs. At 49 miles I decided not to wait for the other at the top of a rather long hill as I was feeling the cold and we only had a short way to go, so I set off on my own. As it turned out the course was around 55 miles so I had a longer than expected run to the finish. I tried to chase down riders I could see and only passed 2 – the other 3 I saw stayed around the same speed as my legs didn’t have the power.

Pete and Chris made it back shortly after I did, coffee and cake were had, the last few miles were discussed and we were all agreed that we need to do more longer rides like this. We averaged bang on 15mph and climbed 2500ft in 3hrs 37min. Not too shabby for our first 50 mile ride.

It’s 3 days since the ride and I have been surprised at how little my legs have been sore  – I’ll be looking for more local-ish events like this and planning a 50 mile route and maybe more from home.


Upgrading – Nightmare Hell or Pleasure and Joy?

There comes a time in every bikes life where bits need replacing.

Chains are the most common and if you leave it too long you quickly find out the cost of cassettes and chainrings.  When you need to replace an item due to wear you may ponder the upgrade question. Should I replace like for like or get the next group up?
Finances often dictate the final decision and while I have on occasion bought the cheapest replacement, these days I tend to replace with the same level of equipment. I’d class this as upgrade hell, you don’t want to replace anything, you were happy with how the bike was and this is just a big hassle. Like for like gets you back riding with the minimum of decisions to be made – after all it’s ll about the riding isn’t it ?

Bigger upgrades or replacements come often as a result of a breakage, with I suspect rear mechs high  on the list. Another upgrade hell, it didn’t need replacing and it’s a cost you could have avoided.

A recent tax rebate, had just landed me in the third category of upgrade. Upgrade Joy ! or is it?

When I bought my Yeti ASR, finances dictated that I couldn’t justfiy specifying anything other than the basic Yeti Enduro build pack. It was decent value and most of the components were quality light items. The cost savings came in the specification of an SLX groupset with XT rear mech upgrade. Which was fine. SLX back in ’09 was a decent groupset (I think it’s got better since) and it looked and performed well.
The medium term plan was always to upgrade the components when they were worn or broken with upgraded parts and 5 years later I’ve replaced the cassette and rings a couple of times but the rest just keeps on working.

However, the Mavic Crossride wheels apparently I’m riding have a limited life, and a recent bike shop service highlighed that I might need to think about replacements at some point. The SLX brakes seem to need bleeding every few weeks and the shfters are stiff. I decided to


Having done a custom build of a Ti hardtail I have already spent ages researching, thinking, deciding and talking about options for wheels. Why, having done all this research then, would i choose anything other than what I did for the van Nic. Hope pro2 Evo hubs and Stans Crest rims it is then. I’de decided on going tubeless with Nobby Nic tyres as I have Ralphs on the hardtail.


Ditto the wheels – lots of research and a year of riding with Hope Tech X2 brakes but I’m trying the race levers an the limited edition all black stealth option. I just love these brakes on the hardtail, adjustable, powerful, plently of ‘feel’ and have been trouble free for all the time I’ve ridden them.


This has proved to be the biggest decision. I currently run 3×9 and chose 3×10 on the hardtail. Many people are running 2×10 these days losing a few ratios at either end. I could have gone 1×10 or 1×11.

What helped make the decision was thinking about the riding I currently do and what I plan to do the next few years. I mainly ride the flat trails of Warwickshire but love my trips to Wales and the Peak District for all day rides at trail centres or the hills. Locally I can and do take all my bikes at some point, but for the long all day rides I always take the Yeti and come 5 o’clock after 7 hrs riding and one last hill to climb, I just know I’ll appreciate a get me home gear. 3×10 it is then.

i still can’t bring myself to spend all that money on XTR but I decided to add a touch of bling by gettng XTR shifters. They should add to the shifting experience and from what i’ve read do make a noticable difference, where, for example, the cranks don’t.

I’m well capable of fitting all this kit, but have, like with the Tuareg build, decided to source all the bits via Kate and Allen at Plush Hill cycles. It’s a good excuse to head to Church Stretton and ride the Long Mynd and Al will do the upgrade build for free while I head out for a ride. Even better is that Al and Kate stopped by to pick up the Yeti so it’ll be ready when I head over Shropshire in a couple of weeks time.

Winter Riding Update

So we’re past the winter solstice, Christmas has been and gone and we’re into a New Year.

I managed a reasonable amount of miles over the festive period and I appear to have shaken off some sort of low level illness that seemed to sap my energy and power that was making rides much harder and less enjoyable.

I managed 6 rides over the break from work, with 3 in the new Year where I felt more like my old self.

The local 20 mile loop, which tends to  be the most ridable, is proving to be a real slog of a ride after all the rain we’ve had. Sodden ground has moved to thick sticky mud meaning drivechain issues and a lot of energy to get around. No such thing as free-wheeling downhill – it requires pushing as hard as you can while trying to stay upright.

I did try a spin out on the canal tow path a couple of times, one was wet and fun the other on Boxing Day provided every man and his Nan out walking and 3 punctures.

I took a day to head to Cannock on the 2nd where I did a lap of Follow the Dog followed by the Monkey Trail. I really enjoy riding them and it’s the first time in ages I’ve visited to ride them solo. Times were on the slow side given the slippy conditions but it was great to get out with hardly anyone else around.

Follow the Dog and Monkey Trail Strava records.

All rides have been on the Yeti as new upgrade parts have arrived and are waiting to be fitted. I’m going to trash the current SLX \ XT bits in the winter mud before I head to Plush Hill Cycles for Al to rebuild it for me. There’s a post in draft about the upgrade which I’ll finish this week.


Winter Riding

Winter is on its way, the nights are drawing in, there’s a bit of a chill some mornings and I’ve been contemplating riding in the wet and cold.

Some of my favourite rides have been in winter. A group weekend in Shropshire 2 years ago, riding the Long Mynd at -14°C, setting off on a ride in the pouring down rain and coming back covered in mud but having had an amazing time and heading to north Wales  to Ride Penmachno and the Marin trail a couple of time. All of these are group rides so there’s no bail out option. You make the commitment to ride so you do.

Riding on your own in winter is much harder so my midweek rides are mentally going to be tougher over the next few months. When the weather is nice it’s been easy to throw on some riding gear grab a bike and head out for an hour, knowing that I need very little while out and the bike needs nothing doing to it when I get home. In anticipation I’ve been thinking of options to keep riding so I thought I might as well write them down to see how I get on.

Option 1 – Arrange more rides

If I arrange to ride with other people I always turn up. Always. I’m never the one to bail out, no matter  what the weather, so, if I arrange to ride more then I should get out more. I’ve recently started riding with a local group who do a Thursday night MTB ride so I could go along to that, except that the one time I’ve been out with them was a minor disaster from my perspective. More riders mean more mechanicals, more punctures and more waiting around resulting in what should have been a 90 min ride and back home at a reasonable time took 3 hrs. I’d rushed home and gone out without eating properly so my dinner was cold and I was starving.
Riding with my regular riding mate is hard midweek due to work commitments, so I might have to see how this goes. I’ll give the group ride a couple more chances and report back.

Option 2 – Stay Indoors

Buy a turbo trainer/rollers. I’ve ridden a turbo many moons ago when I had a broken wrist and while it’s not the nicest way to train it means there’s no bike cleaning to be done. It involves more cost but there’s room in the garage and it means buying another bike-related gadget (which is a good thing). I’m liking the look of the Lemond Revolution as it means no tyre wear and it is very well made and gets cracking reviews. A decent trainer will mean I’ll be tempted to use it more often, stay/get fitter so everyone wins.

Option 3 – MTFU

MTFU. I should probably just do this, make the time, and just get out to ride. I need to make sure the Nomad washer is full and then clean the bike as soon as I get back. I’ve enough kit for several rides so I can get a full load for the machine and I enjoy riding on my own. Route-wise I’m lucky to have a canal on my doorstep so I have a puddle rather than mud option available. Our normal rides tend to get very muddy but it’s only 10 mins to clean it off.

I’m lucky enough to own a few bikes so I should always have a clean, working one and a family that think I’m mad to go out into the wet and cold to ride but are happy for me to do it.

I have a lot of essential winter riding kit – decent waterproof lights (a review to come), goretex jacket, leggings, waterproof boots, gloves etc so there really are no excuses.

Watch this space for ride reports…


Van Nicholas Tuareg 2010 Custom Build Review – Part 2

Having bought a Van Nicholas Tuareg frame, including Ti seatpost and collar, during winter 2010 I embarked on the specification of the rest of the build for my dream Ti hardtail.

Many years ago specify a bespoke build was a relatively simple(r) affair, sizes and components were standardised and the number of options were limited.

These days it’s a much more complex affair so after a weekends ride on the Long Mynd with friends I enlisted the help of Al at Plush Hill cycles to help suggest, guide, validate and ultimately do the build for me.


I didn’t set a budget for this build which might have been a bad thing. If I had I suspect it would have been too low and I’d have tried to justify breaking it anyway so I decided to just not go mad and spec top end gear. While a full XTR/SRAM XX

Decisions, decisions

There are many decisions when looking to do a custom build but many are reduced in scope as the frame will dicate the sort of bike and it’s ride. The Tuareg is an XC frame which lends itself to a racy build. The raw finish of the frame and black decals lends to an understated black/silver look.

Forks are a big purchase and as an owner of Fox RLC forks on another bike I was keen to stick with the brand. Al managed a discount on the new F100 RL forks with the kasmina coating and the reduced compression settings wasn’t a big issue as I never really used them on the other forks. To keep with the colour theme I decided on the white fork legs.

Headset was a no-brainer with a Black Chris King. Not the cheapest but regarded as the best.


Groupset is the next big item and Al came up with a deal on 2010 XT 3×10. All my other mountain bikes run Shimano and the step to XTR is a large one financially so a XT drivechain with a decent discount ended up being a sensible option. Weight -wise it’s similar to XTR and quality wise it’s a decent step up from SLX.

XT is it then

Brakes. After a lot of reading around I decide to break from Shimano as I have SLX on the Yeti and while they started out fien have started to require bleeding and a lot of looking after the past year or 2. They are a bit of a budget option and look like it so having looked at all the options, and I mean all, having read reviews on trade and consumer sites I decided to go with the new Hope Tech X2 with upgraded braided hoses and floating rotors. They look great, are British and price wise not stupidly expensive.

Wheels proved to be the hardest decision. There is so much choice and without a set budget for the build I felt lost in trying to work out what to buy. After many conversations I decide on Hope Pro 2 Evo hubs. They are the same as Pro 2 but with the better bearings as used in the Pro 3. Cost wise they are less than the 3 but weigh slightly more. I decided to go tubeless so Stans Crest rims seemed sensible.

The Pro2 Evo hubs were due for release in Jan 2011 but were delayed until March time with factory builds a while after so Al hand built a pair using black spokes and nipples. Tyres were Racing Ralphs, being great in the dry and just about Ok in the mud on the local trails.

Cockpit was an easier decision and I went with all KCNC parts. The Scandium parts they make are super light in weight, strong and ooze quality. The build was meant to be ‘racy’ which meant I had to specify flat bars so an SC Bone flat bar was perfect. Stem was a SC Wing and after a lot of time with a tape measure on the Yeti and Team Marin I plumped foir the 80mm one. Bar ends and spacers were added and I bought their QR skewers which are super light and look fantastic.

Saddle I went for an SDG Ti Fly as I use one on the Yeti, grips the ODI Tomac and XTR SPD pedals

So one day in April 2011, I took a day off and drove to Shropshire with the bits I’d bought to add to the pile Al had supplied. I took some biscuits and buns and made the tea while Al did the build.

The result is below. It comes in at 23lbs with pedals and I took it for it’s first ride up the Mynd.


Build Specification

BarsKCNC Scandium SC Bone flat bars 31.8

Frame Tureg Ti
Seat collar Van Nicholas Ti
Seat Stem Van Nicholas Ti 15mm setback
Fork Fox F100 RL
Headset Chris King no threadset black
Grips ODI Tomac
Stem KCNC SC Wing Scandium Stem 31.8 80mm
Bars KCNC SC Bone Scandium Bar Flat
Bar Ends KCNC Scandium BE1 bar ends
Saddle SDG Ti Fly
Wheels & Tyres
F Hoop Pro 2 Evo Front Stans Crest
R Hoop Pro 2 Evo Rear Stans Crest
 Tyre X 2 Schwalbe Racing Ralph 26×2.25 Tubeless
Sealant Stans Sealant
Skewers KCNC Titanium Black
Shifters Shimano Deore XT 10 speed shifters
Chainset C/SET XT M770 10s 42/32/24 175
F mech FD-M770 XT 10-speed front derailleur, top swing, dual-pull
R mech RR MECH XT M773 shadowT/N SGS
cassette CS M771 XT 10speed cassette 11-36
Chain CHAIN HG94 10 speed 116L
Front & Rear Hope Tech X2
Floating Rotor upgrade
Braided Hose upgrade
Pedals Shimano SPD XTR

Van Nicholas Tuareg 2010 Custom Build Review – Part 1

The n+1 formula is well known by cyclists, and is often quoted and used when attempting to calculate the correct number of bikes to own.

Around 2 years ago I applied the formula myself when, after around a year of contemplating, on-one got a batch of Ti Frames from Van Nicholas. I’ve always fancied a Ti hardtail since the days when I bought my Team Marin (there was a Ti version of the frame which was out of my price bracket at the time and ever since I’ve been drawn to reviews and forum posts about them) but their cost has always made me think twice.

Two frames were on sale (46% off) the long travel Mamtor and the XC Tuareg. After a few days deliberating I decided on the Tuareg but it wasn’t an easy choice as the Yeti is a XC full sus bike. Adding in a seatpost and seat collar, the order was placed.

Delivery of the frame was faultless, emails, tracking numbers, date and time slot – the way it should be if you do business on the internet.

The frame was well wrapped and the post and collar had been attached to the frame so it all arrived in one piece.

A quick unpack, inspection and a few photos and it was re-packed and put into the roof of the garage.

Then followed a long process, over the next 5 months of researching and specifying the build…coming in part 2.

Yeti ASR-AL 09 Review – Part 3 The Verdict

My previous 2 review posts on the Yeti were written 3 or so years ago when I had an aborted attempt at blogging. Many miles have been ridden since and this post will try and sum up my experiences with it.

I’ve probably ridden around 3000miles on the Yeti now ( I should try and work it out I guess), I’ve done 3 Mountain Mayhems on it and a few trips to the Peak District and Cannock. I went on a training course to improve my descending and pushed it through the muddy Warwickshire fields and woods.

For most of this time I think it’s been a far better bike than I have been rider although I have had a couple of eureka moments that have seen us get faster.

The first has been sorting the suspension.

Well when I say sorting, I mean playing about with it as I’ve still not worked out the best settings for it. I think my history on very rigid bikes led me to run the suspension harder than I do now and I used to pick my way over the trail so it didn’t work as well as it could. These days I run it a lot softer and tend to ride over things more and the bike works a lot better. I often lock out the rear when the ground isn’t too rough as I get too much wallow but it works quite well as the shock kicks in on more rough stuff if I forget to turn off the pro-pedal. I’m still not 100% happy with it and I guess I need to spend an afternoon riding a piece of trail again to have a more informd


Mountain Mayhem 2012

Ah Mountain Mayhem, it’s the first event on the calendar and has come to dominate my riding the past few years. It’s become the motivation for riding on wet cold Sunday mornings as I try and get fitter so I can ride better at Mayhem. I found out about it via a call for volunteers at work 5.5 years ago, and having raced a bit when I was younger I jumped at the chance.

5 years on and I’ve had a year that was a disaster (toys out of pram, went home early), 2 years of improvement and a miserable year in 2011. This year we had 3 teams riding and mentally I felt that I was a lot stronger, both physically and mentally, and more than ready for whatever the event could throw at us.

Then we arrived to wet, sodden muddy fields. Wonderful.

I did the run last year and went out way too fast leaving me shattered by the time I got back to the arena and onto the bike. I decided that this year it woudl be someone else’s turn bit as no no-one else on the team wanted to take on the run, it was left to me again.

This year I took the, correct, view that the race isn’t won on the run so I just jogged around. I set off with the 2 other Cap runners (Kevin from Well Oiled and Morgan from Gently Greased) and while they sped off we all arrived back within a few seconds of each other. It was a good decision and I felt fine as as rode out into the unknown course conditions.

Lap 1 – 2hr 12 with a 10.15 run
I can never remember the exact flow of a lap, so all I can do is provide edited highlights.
The Kenda climb was  packed as I expected so ended up walking the top quarter. The single track sections after it were slippy and had a lot of queuing as many people couldn’t ride them. The long plasticine woods was pretty much unridable, the mud was so sticky the wheels clogged up so it was a long stretch of push, unclog, push, repeat.

At one point I was admiring the rider infront when I realised I’d not but my transponsder on so at the bottom of the grassy descent I left my bike with a young lad while I legged it up to the campsite. The look on the rest of the teams faces was interesting and much looking of watches was done.

The long grind up to the top was uneventful, ridable but hard. Some of the descents were great fun, steep, rocky and slippy but if you let the bike run, feathering the rear at times it was easy to pick of lots of inexperienced riders.

The final descent was similar and then the last slog around the field to make it to the handover point. This last bit ruins the course in my opinion, no matter how hard the lap is, if you finish with a downhill so you can sprint into the arena at speed you feel great.

Lap 2 – 1hr 59.
Second lap started at 8.15. I was waiting with Joe from Cognoscenti, who were were camping with and he set off around 15 mins before me. I thought I might have a chance of catching him before the end of the lap but decided to just ride my lap as I would normally. The Kenda climb was being timed and tempted as I was to sprint up, I just rode within myself. I ended up 108/239 with 1min 55.

Most of the first part was ridable and I came across Joe who’d snapped a chain and we ended up riding near each other for the rest of the lap. He would gain a bit on the climbs and I’d overtake him on the descents or technical sections. I really noticed how my technical riding has improved over the first year I rode MM. Conditions were worse than that first year but I was able to ride more and at speed with confidence than back then.

The rain started on the second part of the lap and it was properly chucking it down by the time I got back to handover to Pete. Over food and a coffee I saw I’d sneaked in under 2 hrs, which in worsening conditions seemed a good time.

Lap 3 – about 2hrs 20

At 3am I spoke to Jason who’d decided 2 laps was enough. Pete had struggled with cramp and Mark was due back in from his lap at 5. It looked like there might only be me who was up for more punishment so we waited for Mark back at camp to decide on how many more laps to do. No-one seemed keen (myself included) but at 9.45 I decided we needed a hero lap so off I set. The Yeti hadn’t been cleaned from lap 2 and the CamelBak hadn’t been filled so I was in danger of struggling.
However the sun came out and although parts of the course were worsening as the thin mud from the night was starting to thicken, I really enjoyed the lap. There was a lot of pushing but I wasn’t racing. I crossed the line at 10 past 12, shook Pats hand and got out medals.


It was without doubt the worse conditions I’ve ever ridden in, and pushed in. It was also, for me, the Mayhem I’ve enjoyed the most. A race like this isn’t just physical, it’s mental as well and I knew coming into the event that I was well prepared. I’d decided to do one more lap if no-one else wanted to and I did. Seeing others stop riding as it was no fun just made me feel stronger and better. I could have done another lap but to do much better we all need to be able to ride  a lot faster, something that’s not going to happen given the time we all have for training.

We ended up 56/180 in Sports Men and 44.123 in Vets, a result we are very pleased with and the best in the 5 years we’ve done Mayhem as a team. Bring on 2013.

David Ramsbottom 1 02:12:17
Pete Franklin 2 01:51:50
Jason Crellin 3 02:14:36
Mark Deighton 4 01:55:09
David Ramsbottom 5 01:59:40
Pete Franklin 6 02:21:29
Jason Crellin 7 02:29:20
Mark Deighton 8 02:05:12
David Ramsbottom 9 07:00:27

Yeti ASR-AL 09 Review – Part 2 The Ride

This post was written about 3 years ago when I’d owned the Yeti for a few months. I’ve left it as-is for now as I’ll write an update after a bit more riding on a lot more varied terrain…

I’ve been riding a hardtail (almost rigid) bike with rim canti brakes for as long as I can remember so moving to a “modern” bike was always going to be a revelation.
My expectations on riding a full sus bike after donkeys years on a Team Marin were that it would bob under pedalling and the flex wouldn’t allow it to climb as well, and this was re-enforced by a spin on a friends Marin Mount Vision. Then I test rode the Yeti and how wrong I was. The ASR uses a Fox RP32 rear shock with propedal which addresses the bobbing and over steep technical climbs, the suspension has allowed me to ride sections I was never able to clear on the Team Marin. (I’ve since cleaned those sections on a HT so it may have been a mental barrier)
My views on disc brakes were that they were overly complex, heavier and I didn’t need the additional stopping power as a decent set of rim brakes and years of experience meant I could go just as fast. Wrong again.

The Ride
Part of the reason that I haven’t upgraded my bike before was that the Team Marin felt like an extension of myself when riding. Getting this feel of doing rather than having to think, hasn’t been easy with the ASR and I’m still a fair way off the same feeling after 5 months of riding (I wrote this review a while ago and things have changed – future post material)

I’ve had to adjust my riding style in a number of areas. I used to have to be out of the saddle a lot, using my arms and legs to reduce the pain. Now though, unless the shocks are locked out you need to sit down, and keep sat down. Thankfully the position of the rear shock means it’s easy to drop my arm down to flick propedal on and off as it’s just below the top tube. Other full-sus designs have the shock in a vertical position nearer the BB so you have to lean down which makes you less stable, and subsequently less willing to use it.
It’s much harder to fly down decents on the Marin as there are times when the shaking means you just can’t see, so I’ve gradually got used to the fact that I can let the bike go. This is a mindset change as I don’t get as much practise on fast and rocky descents living in Warwick and I’ve become much more of a wimp as I’ve gotten older.
Having decent brakes mean I push things a lot more as I have the added confidence of knowing I can stop at the last moment if I need to.

The geometry is quite different to what I’ve been used to as the retro Marin has the old-school stretched out racing position but it hasn’t taken long to adjust to a more ‘modern’ riding position. I now have the dilemma of getting a shorter stem for the Marin to bring them to a similar position.

I notice the suspension on a number of places during a regular ride. One section goes across a field where the ripples are such that I can’t maintain a decent pace on the Marin, yet the Yeti lessens the serious nature of it so I can keep the speed up. As mentioned earlier technical climbs are easier with the rear wheel gripping rather than skipping. Other than that I think I feel less tired due to being able to sit for more of the ride but without a recent direct comparison it’s hard to say for sure.

So I’m now at the stage of having done around 400miles or so on it and here’s where my thoughts are :

General Plus points
I can ride stuff I couldn’t before – one steep section with a large root now causes no issues – same with some steps on a bridge.
I have much more confidence descending and know I can gain a lot more with practice.
I’ve got my biking mojo back big time. No matter what the weather I love riding and even the cleaning.
It’s not ruined climbing, indeed it’s enhanced it with no rear wheel skipping on rocks and roots.
Did I mention it was turquoise ?

General Negative points
I haven’t properly ridden the Team Marin since.
It’s going to need servicing that I can’t do myself – the shock and forks will need to go away every so often.

Ongoing things
I’ve still not really sorted out or played with the suspension. I’ve read how to do it but the only thing I’ve looked at is the propedal setting. It was all so new to me that no changes really made a noticable difference but after adding more air recently the ride felt bouncy so I’m probably at the stage where I need to sort it. I’d like to try running locked out all the time with a low threshold as this could be good for my ingrained way of riding.
The bars are really wide and on twisty singletrack I tend to run wide. I’m tempted to narrow them and add bar ends but I’ll give it the winter to try and see if I can adjust.

The biggest single positive thing about this bike is that I ride more and with a huge grin as well. Getting out and riding is what it’s all about no matter what the bike or how much/little travel it has.