Shimano and Customer Service

After using my XTR spds for quite some time the spindle sheared and there was no way to repair it. 

But it was a known issue and Shimano through the distributor and the LBS have replaced it free of charge with a new set. Now that is how companies should operate – I always get XTR as they are normally low maintenance …… and now I am a lifelong buyer …..

Genesis Caribou Review (BikeRadar)

I am not sure they really understood what Fat Bikes are good for – a lot of the review is done in comparison to more normal MTBs ….. It can’t really be compared.

In the wilds of North America, caribou have evolved with wide, concave toes to prevent sinking into the soggy ground and soft snow that dominate the landscape. It’s a fitting name then for Genesis’ fat bike, with the trend for big floaty tyres also originating in this often desolate land.

Ride and handling: rethinking your style

If you haven’t ridden a fat bike before you’ll quickly notice that the handling is far removed from what you’re used to. Heading to the trails along the road, you have to rethink how a bike handles, you become acutely aware of how much, on a ‘normal’ bike, you lean to corner.

With the Caribou’s 4in-wide Vee Mission tyres resisting directional change you have to turn the bars far more than usual, and with more force, as the bike resists leaning over. On hard-packed surfaces this isn’t a bike that wants to change direction on a dime – even the camber of the road had us quarrelling with the bars.

 Huge tyres and no bounce: a recipe for fun or disaster?

Hit the trails and the ungainly handling is muted somewhat. At trail centres where corners are banked and cambers generally levelled, the Caribou behaves better. The geometry is trail orientated, with 69.5-degree head and 73-degree seat angles – it’s not a nervous bike through the corners, but nor is it the most lively or agile. Let the tyres down to below 12psi and all of a sudden the low-treaded Mission tyres really do have acres of grip in normal trail conditions. It takes a bit of getting used to but soon you can pick the speed up and sling it towards corners.

On faster trails, through flat corners or bomb-holes the compromise of running low pressures is evident in tyre roll. While we stayed rubber-side down during testing, we knew when we’d pushed too hard and our planned arc round the corner very quickly became a lot wider. It’s the same when you hit an unexpected bit of off-camber trail – all of a sudden you’re battling with the bike to go where you want it to.

The bars have a huge amount of sweep, which compromises technical control

Heading to soft, wet, rooty woodland trails you start to see why those crazy Americans love fat bikes. Unlike a traditional mud spike the fat tyres don’t cut through the mud, they surf around on top of it. You don’t get pin sharp accuracy, and if you head through a rock garden that extra width and undamped suspension from the nigh-on 3in deep tyres bounce around from rock to rock. If you take your time, pick a line and let the bike monster-truck over it you’ll get to the other side with a grin on your face. Individual rocks and roots disappear under your footprint only to re-emerge the other side none the worse for wear.

Frame and equipment: specced for adventuring

Genesis has specced its Alt Riser bars with a massive 20-degree sweep. On long gentle rides the sweep puts your wrists at a relaxed angle, but in more technical terrain it conspires to keep your elbows in and puts extra pressure through the outside of your palm, compromising control and grip. When the trail gets steeper, especially where rocks and roots are prevalent, the lack of a shoulder on the tyres mean they step out too frequently for confident climbing or descending, with the bars adding to your nervousness.

With adventuring in mind, Genesis has made the bike as luggage friendly as possible. The fork alone would take a rack, mudguards and at least one bottle cage or carry cage per leg, while the front triangle has eight bolts bolted in. At the back there are yet more rack mounts. Essentially, if you’re going to disappear for a long time, this is the machine to get you there to begin with.

The wide rigid fork gets a full complement of mounts

The drivetrain is a basic 1×10 setup, with Shimano Deore gearing and Race Face Ride cranks. The ring is a 30-tooth version, which helps lower the gearing. This isn’t a bad thing when the trail climbs and you’ve packed the kitchen sink. For versatility we’d add a 40-tooth extender, or run a SRAM 11-speed setup.

While those big tyres add flotation, they lead to a number of compromises. What suspension they do provide is entirely un-dampened, making for a bouncy ride. They’re also heavy, meaning they resist getting up to speed or changing direction. Oh, and good luck if you puncture and only have a trail pump. At least if you’re stuck in the Arctic pumping tyres up will help you stay warm.

Super wide rims are drilled to drop weight

With a fat tyre behaving wildly different at different pressures on different terrain, unless you do want to spend 10 minutes pumping a tyre back up to pressure when you hit firmer ground, your ride is almost guaranteed to be compromised at some point, more so we feel than with a regular trail bike setup.

Summary: enjoyable, in its intended environment

With its massively wide tyres and rims, and rigid forks, the Caribou is never going to be the fastest uphill or down but that’s not really what it’s designed to do. If you just want to go flat out 100% of the time, you’ll already know the Caribou isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to get out to the wilds and explore, and aren’t too bothered about beating your mates up the hills, you might want to look a little closer. Despite our concerns over spec and the compromises inherent in the fat tyres, it has an infectious quality that does result in a post-ride grin.

Once you get used to it, the Caribou can be a grin-inducing ride

reblog* After a Bike Packing GPS the Garmin eTrex 30

I need a gps which has batteries so no need to try have charging ability but that also can take maps ….

this review from here .

After well known eTrex Vista HCx Garmin has produced the new generation of GPS units including eTrex 30. Most of them have used touch screen technology. New eTrex xx and 62 series are the exceptions. In muddy and dusty conditions a touch screen isn’t my choice. Below is the first look – review of eTrex 30.


The new eTrex 30 unit like Vista HCx is equipped with the key control buttons and thumb stick. On eTrex 30 the thumb stick is placed on the right side. The main advantages of eTrex 30 are included functions for basic fitness parameters and custom maps & BirdsEye images (kmz & jnx raster maps). eTrex 30 is GLONASS ready and can operate in GPS + GLONASS mode. The provided user manual doesn’t mention many important functions and details like handling of jnx&kmz maps, tracklog limitations, fitness parameters recording etc and in this review I would like to present most of them. The official Garmin data & specification are available here.


1. What is in the box?


eTrex 30 GPS unit, USB cable, Quick start manual.


2. eTrex 30 body is made by well and precise designed plastic material.


3 keys (zoom in/out & menu) are placed on the left side and 2 keys (back and power on/light) on the right side. Thumb stick is placed on the front. It is a miniature joystick helping us to navigate and select the menue items. Furthermore, thumb stick can select and mark any point on the map much more precisely than the finger on the units supplied with the touch screen. On the old Vista HCx the joystick is placed on the left side. I am right handed and I prefer to handle with GPS unit by my left hand. In this case my right hand is free for the moving and doing some other important tasks.

At the back side of eTrex 30 body there are battery and mini USB connector covers. The battery cover is fixed by locking ring and by plastic slot at the opposite side.


In comparison with the old eTrex, the additional plastic slot and the shape of the cover improve the rigidity of the cover during vibrations special in the case of MTB rides. The next good news is that Garmin no longer uses the laminated rubber on the sidewalls of the unit. The pulled back laminated rubber made a lot of troubles on old eTrex series.

New eTrex 30 uses the same bike holder as Oregon/Dakota series.


This holder is very simple and sturdy. Can be easy fixed on any position on the handlebar. This is the next improvement over old eTrex series.

Based on my experience with the old units I mounted the additional tubing to protect my eTrex 30. A piece of tubing preventsslipping on smooth surfaces and protects against impacts (see more details in comments section).


Mini USB port is covered by rubber keeping IPX7 waterproof standard of the complete housing.


It is important to know that eTrex 30 uses basic USB 1.1 standard only. High speed USB 2.0 is missing. It’s a pain to upload big files of the maps on the unit. USB 1.1 slows down the process when you experiment with some custom designed maps. For example to upload the map of 200MB it takes about 2-3 minutes. The option is to remove the micro SD card but in this case you have to remove the batteries too.

Micro SD card slot is placed below 2 standard  AA batteries.


NiMh, Alkaline or Lithium types batteries can be loaded. Each type should be confirmed in Setup – System menu.


3. As far as I know eTrex 30 is the first Garmin unit GLONASS ready.


eTrex 30 can work in 2 modes: GPS and GPS + GLONASS. However, GLONASS ready unit helps to Garmin to sell new eTrex 30 in Russia without additional taxes.


4. In addition to vector maps eTrex 30 can display 2 types of raster maps: jnx maps and kmz custom maps. More details about these types of raster maps are available here


Depending of the map scale factor and active zoom each uploaded map can be displayed or not. The scrolling & zooming speed of vector maps on eTrex 30 and eTrex Vista HCx is almost the same. The scrolling & zooming speed of raster maps (jnx & kmz) on eTrex 30 is much slower than on Oregon 550. Despite low resolution of the screen the processing power of eTrex 30 is not enough for fast redraw. In this respect Oregon 550 is much faster and using the same vector map I didn’t see any improvement over Vista HCx.

5. eTrex 30 can display heart rate and cadence.


Like on Vista HCx on the map screen maximum 4 data fields can be set. During active tracklog both heart rate and cadence are recorded in gpx file. On 19-Apr-2012 I tested Garmin Connect and eTrex 30. Garmin Connect can detect eTrex 30. The data from the stored gpx track file can be exported to Garmin Connect via manual upload only. After that Garmin Connect can display the route on the map, speed, elevation, heart rate & cadence.



The optional cadence/speed sensor and heart rate belt are on the above image. The heart rate belt senzor is the old one, coming from my Oregon 550. I guess this type of heart rate senzor is not available any more. Both senzors are supplied with standard CR2032 battery. The battery can be easy replaced. My cadence/speed sensor setup uses cadence function only. Speed option is not supported by eTrex 30. On eTrex 30 speed value is recorded/calculated from GPS tracklog. I fixed the magnet & cadence sensor with tape too. This is the backup in the case when plastic strip brakes. The pairing of eTrex 30 and sensors is simple and fast. The cadence sensor can be easy mounted on different type of bikes. It’s very sensitive and minimum distance of magnet isn’t an issue.



eTrex 30 supports different profiles for different activities. In each profile you can define different screens with different type of fields. The setup items are stored in each profile too. Above are typical map and trip screen configured for MTB activity. The profile is stored under MTB name.


6. eTrex 30 is equipped with sun readable screen. Below are the images of Oregon 550 (new version with better readability of the screen), eTrex Vista HCx and eTrex 30 at 0% & 50% backlight during cloudy day. Compare the size of the housing, size & readability of the screen. The scale factor is 120m on all units.



The readability of the screen under the sun:

eTrex 30, Vista HCx & Oregon 550 readability under sun

Good to know that the readability of eTrex 30 under the sun is very good. Click on the image to get the high resolution image.


7. The roughly current consumption measured with ampermeter.


Roughly current consumption (mA) 0% backlight 50% backlight 100% backlight scrolling the map adds
eTrex 30 90 120 190 + 30 mA (raster map)
eTrex Vista HCx 90 135 190 + 10 mA (vector map)
Oregon 550 (new version) 130 165 230 + 110 mA (raster map)

eTrex 30 power consumption is almost the same like Vista HCx. Due to more processor power, scrolling the map adds more power consumption. Preliminary, Oregon 550 zooming & scrolling speed is almost x2 than eTrex 30.


8. eTrex 30 is equipped with 3 axis electronic compass like Oregon 550. The old eTrex Vista HCx has 2 axis compass. New 3 axis compass of eTrex 30 is slightly more responsive to direction changes than on eTrex Vista HCx.

After the calibration I compared 3 units with classic compass.


The approx error of the azimuth in degrees is:

eTrex 30: 0°

eTrex Vista HCx: 1°

Oregon 550: 1,5°

Probably this is related to the compass chip and the error could be different from unit to unit on the same model……


9. 2D precision test


Above is the image of the measuring place. The distance between Vista HCx & eTrex 30 and eTrex 30 & Oregon 550 is 4 meters under the opened sky. The direction of the placement is from south to north and the place is at UTM 33 (N) zone. I did 10 minutes GPS tracklog and 10 minutes waypoint averaging tests. Please note this is not the test of accuracy! The test were performed with firmware version 2.40. The data were imported into my GIS program and the results of precision are on below map:


Click on above image to get the high resolution image of the precision test. There is no benefit in precision from GPS+GLONASS and WAAS/EGNOS modes on eTrex30 in my zone. During the precision test Vista HCx outperformed eTrex 30 & Oregon 550. However, eTrex 30 GPS+GLONASS mode can help to speed up cold start and to increase the number of available satellites on the places with limited clear sky.


10. Elevation

The altimeter of eTrex 30 can work in automatic or manual mode. In automatic mode altimeter/barometer is calibrated with GPS elevation data. The details about automatic calibration are not available in the operating manual. After several runs and comparison of recorded elevation data  I can confirm that my eTrex 30 has less spikes than Oregon 550 and even less than Vista HCx. The main issue is that eTrex 30 calculates a fake total ascent value. I did the test with firmwares 2.40, 2.50 & 2.70. The total ascent value is 5-12% more than on Vista HCx. Hope Garmin will resolve the issue in the next firmware upgrade. The good point is that total ascent value can be displayed even on the trip screen. This option is not available on Vista HCx and Oregon 550. I tested total ascent value with firmware 2.80 and the issue of fake total ascent calculation is resolved. I removed the issue from (-) list.

12. My conclusion

Like some other Garmin models eTrex 30 includes some important characteristics for outdoor activities: standard AA batteries, IP protection, good outdoor readability of the screen, altimeter with barometer option etc. eTrex 30 offers many standard navigation functions. You can use them with vector routable and non routable vector & raster maps. Geocaches support is available too. Due to the size of the unit and available functions, eTrex 30 could be very popular for hiking and MTB.

During last few months I have compared Garmin eTrex 30 with Vista HCx & Oregon 550. Just few (+) and (-) are below:

(+) raster maps compatible (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) ready for heart rate & cadence option (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) 3 axis compass (2 axis only on Vista HCx),

(+) improved body materials and much better bike holder (better than on Vista HCx),

(+) fast cold start time (better than on Vista HCx),

(+) instead touch screen eTrex 30 is equipped with key command buttons and a thumb stick. In muddy & dusty conditions and with glows on my hands I prefer this setup. The same is on Vista HCx,

(+) total ascent field is available on trip & map screen (on Oregon 550 & Vista HCx total ascent is available on elevation profile screen only). Total ascent value is direct proportional to fatigue so this value is very important parameter for long rides or long hiking routes,

(+) different profiles can be set like on Oregon 550 (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) huge internal memory of 1.7GB can be extended with external micro SD card,

(-) very bad operating manual (nothing new from Garmin),

(-) slow redraws (zooming & scrolling) of the maps on the screen (Oregon 550 is much faster, no any improvement over Vista HCx, see above video at point 11),

(-) for precision no benefit from GPS+GLONASS mode (at least with firmware 2.40 and in my UTM 33N zone),

(-) slow USB 1.1,

What a great first (snow) ride

Saturday morning 7:30am alarm goes. Wolf down some muesli and get the bike out.

bike adventures-13

It says -3C on the thermometer and snow is forecast so today i have packed my snowboard goggles and mitts along with roadie neoprene overshoes into my handlebar roll – JUST IN CASE.

rolling to the meet up
rolling to the meet up

There is carnage on the 2 mile stretch of road leading up to Mugdock as idiots in cars forget they are 2WD (4WD wannabes) cars with low profile tyres – so they have slidden and created some entertainment for me (and probably higher insurance premiums)

kissing cousins
kissing cousins

Meetup with pal Stu then off to meet the rest of the guys. This was my first rolling on snow with the fat bike and it felt so smooth and tracked so easily once there was powder. The other boys were on a 29er normal a 26 full sus and then two 29+ bikes running 3″ tyres. First we went up to the boards and my pal said the 15psi I was riding was way too high so I dropped it to 8psi then immediately slammed it into a board and gave myself a puncture. I told them to head on but they waited the 5 min for me to change the tube. Then onwards we went. The route they went involved lots of single track sections through the woods so I felt i was not getting the terrain I wanted.

A lot of trees were down so handsaws came out sections were rerouted or trees dragged out of the way ….

tree blocking the way
tree blocking the way
fat tyre little snow
fat tyre little snow

2015-01-17 11.23.16So after 3 hours of lots of stops and starts i headed off by myself to enjoy the crunch. Went upwards towards the Campsies and the West Highland Way were there is a great descent but it was not snowy more sludge and mud so I headed straight across the heather up to a stone fence for a spot of cold leftover pasta. Then a few more loops before heading home ….

Snow wasn’t too deep but still that lovely crunch.

bike adventures-21

My thoughts on the Genesis Caribou so far: (2 rides in)

  • Gearing seems about right, struggled slightly on some hills but i think I just need to man up.
  • Tyres although wide have little grip so wet roots will still slide. Think it was specced more for weight
  • Bottom bracket quite low so a few pedal strikes – but this may be a contrast to the 29er
  • Despite strikes actually pretty flickable on technical sections – I thought steering would be slower but has a good feel.
  • Tubes … uuugh … how last century – will need to convert to tubeless sometime in the future but this might also mean changing the tyres
  • Slow …. the sections to trailhead even on tar are painful (man up once again and get over it)

Overall – a keeper ….. more once tested for more than 80km.

Strava slowness
Strava slowness

Continental and the LBS to the rescue

I am a lucky man – wrote to continental UK with pictures of the tyre and they suggested taking it back to the shop I bought them from and getting them replaced.

Well I got in touch with my LBS – dales in glasgow and they told me to pop in. After a brief chat I walked out with a new replacement tyre – although they no longer do the gp4000s it is now a GP4000s II – so no label on the tyre and a reflective strip around the tyre …. Still nice though.


And a very good service – just another reason to go LBS whenever you can.


the day the Contis let me down

I am a huge fan of the Continental GP4000s tyres on my road bike and earlier this year I went onto my third set-  this time in 25mm width. I love the tyres they are fast – quick rolling and pretty tough.

Yesterday I was reconsidering after a ride out involved a moment with a loud BANG. I stopped and was amused – this was the first puncture i have had on the road bike in 3000+miles (I am not counting the two punctures on the turbo when the inner overheated)

I changed tube and pumped when I saw the inner tube starting to bulge out of the seam on the tyre – I managed to deflate just in time – inspected and realised the seam had given way.

2014-11-05 11.40.53-2

I reinflated the tyre but this time to only around 30psi (as above – the seam bulged and stayed put) and then limped home at 20kmh.

Have emailed Conti UK to see what they have to say – it must have been a bad batch – the previous 4 have all been good.

seam parting
seam parting
nearly no wear on the tyre - wear indicators still perfect
nearly no wear on the tyre – wear indicators still perfect

2014-11-05 11.51.40

New Backpack – Granite Gear

I have been looking for a small light back pack for weekend trips on the trail and by plane to city break / backpacking short trips.

Have an old berghaus which is too heavy and big and a Lowe Alpine TT Amazon Carryon (which although perfect for travel and getting away with stash away straps and different handles can be tiring on the back for long carries over 10 miles.

So just found this (and bought it)


The Granite Gear Aji 50 is ideal for lightweight backpacking, day hiking or travel. A unique multi-zipper design allows you to quickly put hands on anything you need and an innovative suspension system comfortably carries up to 35 pounds.The panel loading compartment provides ample storage and delivers versatile access to the packbag from almost any direction. A full wrap-around zipper allows the pack to be opened almost entirely for ease of packing and unpacking. Multiple zipper pulls let you decide on whether you want to get into the pack from the top, the bottom or either side. Internal compression straps ensure that contents remain securely in place. External compression straps further cinch down the load and double as gear attachment points. A large zippered pocket located near the top of the pack houses internal storage pockets for ease of organization and a front stuff-it pocket serves as an additional storage space. Twin side mesh pockets are perfect for water bottles or other gear.

This pack is the perfect fusion for someone who is looking for logical, easy access to their gear yet doesn’t like or use pockets. Full round zipper allows complete access to gear while not compromising weight. Also for a frame free pack it is suprisingly comfortable and load bearing when loaded to the max recommended 35 lbs.


  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Great Features
  • Lightweight
  • Roomy




  • Backpacking
  • Day hiking
  • Travel

Looks good doesn’t it? In the UK we get hit with prices as always …. £199

here is guy with a beard designed to carry food explaining it all …..