Tag Archives: FTD

Van Nicholas Tuareg 2010 Custom Build Review – Part 3

About time I posted this – given that I wrote most of it a year ago and, ahem, kindof forgot to post it.


So I’ve bought a frame, specified all the components, and had built, my first bike. How did I do?

The first ride was up the Long Mynd around 20 mins after the build was completed by Al at Plush Hill Cycles. The bike had weighed in at 23lbs including XTR SPD pedals so I was looking forward to a quick spin up to the top and down again.

All went well until about 15 mins into the ride when the, tubeless tyre burped out a lot of air. Could have been low pressure, the tyre not seated, I’m not sure but 10 mins of inspection and pumping got me riding again, although I was rather nervous.

Having ridden a full-suss bike for the best part of 2 years it was a great feeling to be climbing on a hardtail, push the pedals and you leap forward. The XC setup meant the bike was very responsive and the low weight meant it was a dream to climb the single track trail up to the top of the Mynd. It helped that the sun was shining.

I was expecting the descent to be more difficult than on my Yeti but suprisingly I found myslef having to reign myself back in as I flew down some sections of Minton Batch. I wasn’t bounced around in the way I’ve experienced on my (retro) Team Marin and I just felt in control and very confident.

A few days later I was heading home, left slightly earlier than I needed to and took a sneaky detour from the M6 to do a quick lap of Follow The Dog at Cannock. Helped by riding on my own so no stopping I recoreded the fastest lap I’ve done and was laughing and smiling all the way round.

A few weeks later I took the Tuareg to ride the Wiggle Enduro 6 at Catton Park and, yet again, it felt like the perfect bike for the shortish lap and the singletrack through the woods.

I’ve thought a lot about the ride and it feels like the perfect setup for the endurance races and 95% effort training rides I tend to do. You get the immediate acceleration from the low weight and lack of rear suspension, it urges you to ride faster, particularly over rougher ground where the faster you push it the better it feels. It’s hard to work out whether the lack of vibration, rear skitishness is down to the Ti frame, with its inherent flex, or the larger volume, lower pressured tubeless tyres. To be honest I don’t really care and have stopped thinking about it as it just seems to work.

So in conclusion this is one seriously quick bike. I’ve often thought the bike made little difference and it was mostly the rider, but having swapped bikes with a riding friend we  both agree that this bike is faster. It makes you ride it hard, makes you push things and is faster than my Yeti ASR. When the trails are dry and the sun is out this is the bike I tend to choose when I open the garage. Bike choice has been very difficult in the past but now that the Yeti has been upgraded and is also tubeless I now choose the bike based on the tyres I think will ride the best (Ralphs on the Tuareg, Nics on the Yeti). Both are quick, different and so much fun to ride but the Tuareg is the fastest so don’t listen to the magazines that will try and say a full suss bike is always faster – it’s a load of rubbish.

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.