Wednesday night Riding

As I am working full time on this TV show it means daytime weekday rides aren’t happening so I have gotten into the habit of Wednesday Night Rides, Thursday and Friday a.m. swims and thursday pm 5-a-side footie. Then as much as i can cram into the other days of the weekend or nights.

So tonight out on the canal to Dumbarton and took a detour up the Kilpatrick hills

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there are some seriously steep hills – this one makes me use the bottom of my 1×11 SRAM gears – that 50chainring to 36tooth large cassette ….

i am not sure the mapping on Strava is accurate – it feels like a steady 18-20% hill – that false flat before the very steep isn’t there – it is just all steep.

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Went over the back to the reservoir – its over flint forestry road then suddenly the rear tyre felt softer. Sidewall had a slight tear and sealant was oozing out. Luckily with a shake it sealed again and I put some more air into the tyre.

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And then retraced my route. Pretty impressed with this bike and abilities so far. Sonder Camino ti gravel bike ….

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Running Dynamo hub driving USE Exposure Revo light – trying to link up battery recharge with the port out but not sure it works – more experimentation required.

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and the view looking down from the top of the wee hill is very pretty too

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Sonder Camino ti – first ride review

Sonder Camino titanium gravel bike

Now I grew up in South Africa and the word sonder is Afrikaans for ‘without’ but this bike is definitely ‘with’

I pedal home today with a new bike came into the flat changed and went out for a first shakedown ride on the bike – these on my quick impressions after just 30 km

Very quickly I came to think that this bike might be one of those fabled you can do it all bikes. I went down the canal which is gravely with occasional small potholes on to cobbles and then later on into singletrack path weaving through the forest – the bike seem to handle everything with aplomb 

My only niggle was perhaps that the seatpost or saddle was not as comfortable as it could be but still good for the price point. I will be changing out the seatpost for something made of titanium or perhaps something like the Ritchey flexlogic and the saddle well that’s always down to the user and I have a preference for Ritchey WCS or specialised ronin

The bike is quick very quick even on this first exploratory ride I seem to have come home and found out that on Strava I have a King of the Mountain on one section over cobbles – Paris Roubaix might be a walk in the park

The discs brakes mechanicals from avid – I’ve not used avid mechanicals before they seem to do very good job of slowing the bike with excellent modulation when braking, the tires are WTB nano 40 mm tires and the seem to be quite progressive in grip and feedback. This was in the dry and this review is just the 1st (one hour ride) review and shouldn’t really be taking for a long-term review but so far I am completely stoked by the ride of this bike. 

Brandt Richards who is also been behind some of on-one’s bikes in the past seems to have finally nailed it – this is everything I wanted it to be perhaps more than I hoped and definitely a lot lot better than I ever expected it would be

I came home and looked in my cupboard to see four other bikes standing there looking slightly forlorn.

Alpkit give the bike a 10 year guarantee which is amazing considering it’s the first bike that they are doing. this bike is built so beautifully the weld is excellent and everything seems to be is put together as well as any of my Lynskey bikes
Now if only work and kids didn’t get in the way of me doing another ride tomorrow but I will post further reviews once I have a few hundred miles in on this bike

Tyre story – Hans Dampf Evo MTB Tyre – SnakeSkin

The new tyre

It has been a while since I reviewed anything so thought I would share my thoughts on something that just seems to work. I am not very swap and try when it comes to equipment I just like good stuff that works well, it might not have the very best of the best quality but has to do what it does well. Take my brake spec on my mtb – I asked Carl at the shop what brakes to get – he was steering me towards hope when I mentioned these should be fit and forget type brakes. Hence the same XTR brakes on my bike for 6 years and apart from 1 bleed and 3 different sets of pads nothing has been fiddled with.

But tyres have had their issues. I was on the misconceived idea that I was sort of racer having tried 3 sets of racing Ralph’s over the years. But grip was pretty sketchy in scotland doing typical riding and sidewall was a painfully thin learning curve having ripped two sidewalls open riding flinty tracks a half hour for the house.

I moved onto maxxis ardent tyres and I liked them a lot more. It was only an issue with a bad thorn and dried up sealant after 2 years of no maintenance that made me think I should take more care. I refilled the sealant and pumped the tyre up hard (60psi) to seal the edges. Max recommendation is 45psi for the tyre width and rim but seriously – I had tea to make and drink when BANG the tyre had popped off the bead was stretched and sealant was on the wall.

So I started shopping for a new front tyre and I decided to go wider and bought a trail star hans dampf 29×2.35 

Fitted pretty easily on stans rim and sealed very easily. 

On the trail the HD is a step up from the ardent – incredible feedback from the front and stays planted on the trail. When railing through berms the slightly worn ardent on the back would start washing out before the front. As for trail speed I didn’t notice a huge drag factor and let’s face it the weakest link in a race setup would be still be me.

Was thinking about replacing the worn ardent on the rear in a while and whilst a HD is tempting I have read that it rips easier there and most people seem to suggest a nobby Nick is a good match. More on that later.

fitting tubeless (singletrack guide)

So to start with I thought I’d go through how to fit a tubeless system; I’ve not spent a lot of time setting these up so bear with me on this one.

A lovely set of Pacenti wheels and tyres caught Chipps’ eye for the Nukeproof Mega TR he’s currently testing . Challenge accepted, I have fitted tubeless systems before but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed doing them, however watching a tear drip from Chipps’ eye was not an option.

Tools for the job ahead

Things you will need to carry out the task in hand:

Electrical Tape
Tubeless Rim Tape
Tubeless Valve
Tyre Sealant
Sharp Pick

Step One

It's all in the thumbs

Use your electrical tape to make a layer of rim tape, making sure all the nipple holes are covered. After the whole rim is covered by one layer of tape, run your thumb along the rim applying a light amount of pressure to push the tape properly onto the rim. Find where the valve hole should be and using your sharp pick push a hole in the tape through the hole in the rim.

It's only a small prick

Step Two

It's tubeless tape Jim, but not as we know it

Now you can apply your tubeless rim tape, following the same process as the electrical tape, make one consistent layer all around the rim making sure it is central in the rim well and covering the electrical tape.

Whilst applying the tape you will need to do an inch of tape at a time and apply constant pressure when pushing the tape down. If you don’t do this the tape can get little air pockets underneath and not sit straight in the rim.

And another one

After applying a full layer of tape once again, using your sharp pick punch a hole through the tape and the valve hole. If the hole needs to be bigger you can get a larger pick and make the hole in the tape bigger or if you’re extra careful use a small file to take away any unneeded tape.

Step Three

Valve is go

Your taped up rim is now ready for the valve. Unscrew the cap and the compression ring, insert the valve into the rim through the tape ( if the valve can sit flush on the tape without any pressure the hole is too big), using the compression ring tighten the valve down into the rim until it is sat nicely on the tape.

Step Four

Tyre on

You can now fit your tyre. Place one side of the bead onto the rim, place the recommended amount of tyre sealant into the bottom of your tyre, then fit the other side of the tyre onto the rim.

Magic milk

You are now ready to pump up your tyre, this step requires either the use of an air compressor from your local garage or bike shop, or what I used which was a 18g CO2 canister. Place the canisters adapter onto the valve making sure it is secure. Now without holding onto the valve or the canister (the canister gets extremely cold) release a burst of gas into the tyre, which should inflate quick enough to form a seal.

Once the tyre is seated and up to your chosen pressure jiggle the wheel around in your hands whilst also rotating it, this will allow the sealant to cover the whole inside of the tyre.

Pump and go

You are now ready to go out and ride, its as simple as peas.

Thank you very much for tuning in to the first job of Dan’s Tech Centre. I hope this is useful and it helps you when fitting your tubeless system.

If there are any jobs you want help with or any suggestions for the next tech tutorial please comment below and I shall try help you out the best I can.

Lynskey Ridgeline SL

First ride today – just after this picture was taken more snow fell – but it feels fantastic. Back at shop now to slam down the stack height and to fit a tubeless rim strip to the rear. Then I will go for a mission on normal trails to compare with the older bike


Picture 1

Maxis Medusa – quick review

After last weekends antics I have a quick review on this tyre. I am running a 26 tubeless version on my rohloff titanium mtb. I can only compare it to racing Ralph’s, Larsen TT tyres and specialised the captain.
This tyre is fantastic – I had read it was good for shedding mud but it does more than that – I have not had a slip or twinge from it these past 100km. It held its line on off camber wet rock – gripped through goopy mud and doesn’t seem that slow rolling along fireroads.

Also it holds air well on a UST rim and a wee touch of pink writing is fine by me too. Hopefully get out again the next day or so.