Tag Archives: Plush Hill Cycles

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.

Upgrade Update

The Yeti is back, serviced and rejuvenated.

Al at PHC did the work and the bike looks like new. It had the bearings replaced and a general strip down, clean and rebuild. A few minor upgrades were done and the weight is down a bit to 25llbs. Not very light but that’s never been the intention – quality, reliable bits without spending an absolute fortune was the plan and that’s what I have.

The bike was nearing 5 years old and ever since I bought the cheapest build kit I’ve had this re-fresh in mind. The chainset was upgraded to 3×10 XT, with XTR shifters. The SLX brakes were proving to be a pain requiring a lot of bleeding and squealing after a few rides so were udpated to Hope tech X2 and the Mavic wheels were replaced with Hope Pro2 Evo hubs on crest rims and shod with tubeless Nobby Nic tyres.

A quick spin up the Long Mynd was a real joy – shifting with the new XTR shifters is so light and precise, the

The Yeti on the Long Mynd

The Yeti on the Long Mynd

feel is a mile away from the old SLX but then it’ should be as it has far better internals compared to the work plastic ones in the old ones. The brakes have the race leves with less power than the trail ones but more than enough for me and the bike ran smoothly on the new wheels.

It was like riding a new bike that just felt so familiar, but then that’s what I was riding – a lot of the parts you interact with were new and more recent iterations – the shifters are top of the range Shimano  yet the frame and forks are the same I’ve been loving riding for the past 4 years.

This will be it on upgrades for the Yeti – it’s as good as I’ll ever want it and will be the choice for all day rides (and more of course)

… now what do I do with the old wheels…