Some nice weather at last! Hope you've been able to talk advantage of it.
We have a couple of new frames we have coming next week. The new Escapade and Roadrat3. Escapade is a new drop bar frame to replace the X. It takes all of the great features of the Roadrat and the X, along with some improvements and combines them all into a tough, fun, fast road bike.
Escapade is longer top tubed and steeper angled than the X which makes it better on the road, whilst still retaining the massive tyre clearances and superb versatility our road frames are well known for. Frames size use traditional road 54cm, 56cm and 58cm top tube lengths for easy fitting on the majority of riders.
The Dogsbody dropout from the Roadrat is used to allow singlespeed, fixed or hub gear set ups, and the stout tubeset with 35mm down tube from the X is retained. This gives the frame better stiffness with less flex around the bottom bracket area when loaded up or running singlespeed.
Improvements for 2014 are a lovely clean disc only layout, and a new RB3 9mm bolt thru axle fork with matching wheelset. This gives great security and stiffness to the fork and allows us to move the disc mount back to the traditional rear fitment. A bit less 'weird' looking than our previous front left mounting position!!
We went disc only because the vast majority of the frames and bikes we've sold recently are specified that way, and disc brakes are coming to road bikes in a big way. The BRR517 brakes we spec work really nicely, and although we're not doing a bike with them on, if you've ever tried the Shimano hydraulics you'll have seen the future. The trickle down will happen soon, and disc really suit this type of bike. We put disc brakes on the original Roadrat because we said drivers are dopey and liked stopping in a hurry. It's nice to be able to roll out that proposition for you guys who prefer drops.
The RB3 fork is designed for use with our new wheelsets which feature a 9mm thru axle, but they can be used with your regular hubs. If you remove the skewer you can spring the forks apart to get the hub in, then you re-install your skewer. It's nearly as stiff and just as secure as our thru axle setup, but we wouldn't recommend it to people needing to get their front wheel out often or in a hurry. We still have some of the older style RB2 open dropout forks in v/disc option in duck egg or gritstone colour if you'd prefer these to use with your regular wheels.
All of these features - stouter tubeset with larger down tube, disc only, thru axle fork - have also been moved onto the Roadrat3.
A few years ago Kelvin coined the phrase Life Bike as a kind of shorthand tongue-in-cheek name for that workhorse that does a bit of everything. Your going to work bike, your going to the shops bike, your getting away from it all bike. It may sound a little cheesy, but that's exactly what the Escapade and the Roadrat represent for us, and hopefully for you too. Tyres big and floaty or small and fast. Derailleur gears, hub gears, single gear. Mudguards, panniers, bottle cages. Strip it all down and speed into the City. Load it all up and head off into the hills.
The Escapade available in Black Grape (as seen on the new BFe) and duck egg, with the Roadrat3 continuing in duck egg as well, but introducing dark olive as the alternative colour. We'll get some pics of the olive next week when they arrive, but it's a lovely understated colour. Unfortunately we got sent the duck egg Roadrat3 for photos so haven't got studio shots sorted just yet, but we've had it on a test mountain bike frame that we've been riding this winter and it's lovely.Framesets are available to order now for delivery next Friday if you just need frames and forks. They start at just £249 for the frame only, £329 with the RB3 bolt thru fork, or £299 with the RB2 open dropout v/disc fork. We also have Roadrat2 framesets in medium gritstone still in stock if you'd still prefer rim brakes.
Bikes and rolling chassis will follow in a couple of weeks once we've had the bolt thru wheelsets built to suit. The bolt thru wheelset will be £175.
They're a lot of fun these bikes; we hope you like them.
Cy (of this parish and co-founder of Bicycle Manufacturing) and Mike (Engineering Director and other co-founder) put together a video explaining why we've done it and why it's important to us.
One small, but great, piece of the puzzle also fell into place today as we've been informed that our application to use the Made In Sheffield official stamp has expedited and approved so our frames will proudly carry the Made In Sheffield mark right from the start. How good is that?!!
Our first batch of UK made Rocket frames are due in a few weeks. There's a few left from the initial batch of 50. You can pre-order yours now.
Another great opportunity for you tall riders! We still have a few XL Solaris in Gloss Bright Blue, and we're reducing them to £375 to clear as well.
All other sizes in stock in current colours (Duckegg or Green), and available for £499.
Okay, our last few XL Simple frames have been reduced to £375 to clear. An absolute bargain for you tall singlespeeders out there. Colour options are Gloss Bright Green or Matte Laurel Green.
Well, we were hoping to show you all the new shiny this weekend in London, but things simply aren't ready in time, sorry. So, we'll be launching products as and when they're ready, and not before, here in Yorkshire. We know this will be a big disappointment to those of you who wanted to see our bikes "in the metal", but we feel that turning up with just the current range would be just as disappointing
So, look out for new things by us, but being launched up here, not down there. And, if you want to get hands on time with our bikes, please come to a demo day, where you can hit the trails on the bikes, not just stare at them under artificial lights.
Okay, our £375 offer on Gloss Bright Orange Souls is nearly over... simply because there's only a few left.
Of course, we also have lots of new stock in of Matte Duckegg and Gritstone frames at the usual price of £499, in all sizes, but if you want the ace Orange, or simply want a bargain... go grab your frame now before it's too late... only medium and large left:
We're at London Bike Show next week. It's at ExCeL in Docklands, and it's open from lunchtime Thursday 13th to 5pm Sunday 16th. Paul and Cy will be there with some new things to look at. Why not come and see?
Cy forgot to update the stock when we got some more Solaris frames are a couple of weeks ago. All updated now, so we do have the previously out of stock small and large Solaris in the lovely green colour available to order. Duck egg in all sizes too.
We've had over 300,000 hits on our notorious 26 ain't dead video, but there's a lot that goes into shooting such a slick outcome. Like a lot of cracking up at the ridiculous funeral scene, and a massive crash that we thought had put a stop to the whole shoot! Ladies and Gentlemen, the 26 ain't dead out takes...
The time has come! We can finally reveal why we had to go all quiet on the Rocket for these last few months: Today we are announcing the from now on all Cotic full suspension frame production is happening in the UK, built at a new production facility Cy co-founded. This factory is Bicycle Manufacturing Limited, or BML for short. Does what it says on the tin!
About 2 years ago Cy met Mike McDermid, who is the other partner in Bicycle Manufacturing Limited and the manufacturing brains of the operation. We began working on this project after it became clear to Mike that using the latest automated techniques and equipment combined with high skilled hand made production, it would be possible to be competitive on price with Far Eastern supply on high end products with a flexible, high quality UK operation. Mike's experience with all areas of manufacturing are extensive, right up to designing carbon composites for F1 and Le Mans cars, (Williams F1, Wirth Research, Red Bull Racing) as well as some of the top names in the Aerospace and bike industry.
As you know, Cotic - like just about every bike brand in the world - sources frames and parts from the Far East. Some of the reason for this is price, but in most cases it's also to do with expertise. The Taiwanese and Chinese have factories and companies that just build bikes. Not aircraft, or car parts, or motorcycle frames as well, just bikes. They have expertise and make it very easy to source parts. They're very good at what they do. When we figured out that, if done carefully and correctly, we could be competitive on price for mid-to-high end products using the processes Mike had in mind, we were suddenly in a situation where the price was good and cutting edge manufacturing and material expertise was in the UK. So, all things being equal, we decided we would prefer to make some models in the UK. The pricing is similar, but the flexibility of production and the speed of development for new product tips the balance in BML's favour.
We realise that quite a few of you have been waiting a long time for Rockets, and we have been fairly evasive on the subject up to now. We can only apologise for that. Our hope is that you understand that whilst we were completely committed to success with Bicycle Manufacturing Limimted all last year, until we got to this point - having pre-production frames in build - we couldn't be sure when we would be ready. We didn't want to put more pressure on the build up of the factory by putting some arbitrary production date on it. For those of you who have been patient with us; thank you so much. For those that decided to buy something else; we totally understand and would probably have done the same in your shoes!
We're very close to completing the first pre-production UK made Rocket frames, so look out for more on this in a couple of weeks. And before you ask, they are 26" wheel!! Once they've been finished there will be a brief lab testing and sign off period to dot i's and cross t's on the UK construction methods and we're aiming to be in build in early March.
We're so excited about this project; the possibilities, the potential for new and interesting products. So much to look forward to. Welcome to our latest adventure!
It's taken the printers a while, but after the avalanche of orders for our 26 ain't dead T shirts we are getting them into stock this week. If you have pre-ordered but haven't paid, lookout for payment request emails from us in the next couple of days. If you have paid, you don't need to do anything. If you're a small, medium or large size and still would like one, there are a few left in these sizes not yet spoken for. Head over to the clothing order page to get yours.
We will be at the London Bike Show on 13-16 February with lots to look at. Come down and have a chat.
You can get your tickets at the London Bike Show website.
See you there?
We have just had our first batch of X Fusion Slide forks which are now the stock option on the Solaris bike and rolling chassis. Paul and I have been using Velvets (the 26" version) for a few months and they're great forks, and I have some 150mm Slants on my Rocket. They're great value too, knocking £150 off the price of the bike and chassis options bringing them down to £2,100 and £1,300 respectively.
A great feature with these forks is that they are easily and simply internally adjustable for travel, so we can now offer 120mm or 100mm travel options and we can sort the forks exactly as you want them.
We started working with X-Fusion after a really productive meeting at the Eurobike show. We've been using the forks and O2 RCX shocks since then, and we have a great custom tune shock on the Rocket. The Cotic Steel City Media Racing team will be running the shocks on their race bikes too.
When we began development of the Rocket and the new droplink suspension platform one of the key objectives was to make sure it looked great and looked like a Cotic. It took a fair amount of thinking, arguing, scribbling and reviewing several options before we figured out what that is. It's clean, uncluttered lines, something with cohesion and grace, something that looks like you want to ride the wheels of it! It's all very well plying the old form-follows-function adage, but with care and thought it's possible to design a spectacularly functional product which looks great too. And let's face, given the choice between two great bikes, you're not going to pick the ugly one, are you?!! So thanks to Red Bull for recognising and appreciating our efforts.
Busy, busy! Orders are open, and we're here to help.
We're catching up with holiday orders and dispatching most of them today.
Need some distraction? DIRT 2013 RETROSPECTIVE: TOP 5 MTB VIDEOS
That's it, we're done! We're now closed until 2nd January. Once we're back on the 2nd we will sort out all the orders received over the break and get a dispatch done on Friday 3rd January for delivery to UK customers on Monday 6th January.
Get your orders in over the Christmas break and we'll get them out to you then. Luckily computers don't eat Turkey or Christmas cake and don't drink port (unlike us) so you'll still be able to place and pay for stuff whilst we're away. Get over to the order pages to get yourself something nice for 2014.
Thanks for being part of our adventure this year, and have fun over the next couple of weeks. See you in 2014.
HO HO HO ;-)
We were very lucky recently to be offered the chance of a month on some ENVE/Chris King wheels on loan from UK importers Saddleback (thanks lads!). They sent them over to see if we were interested in signing up to offer the wheels with our bikes next year so I (Cy) put some miles on the 26" and 29" AM rimmed options.
First thing everyone goes on about with ENVE wheels is stiffness. Well, they certainly are impressively stiff - especially in the 29" format - but it wasn't the massive step a lot of people say. However this should be put into context. I'm a bit of a princess when it comes to wheel stiffness and I hate wheels which aren't stiff enough. So, all my conventional wheels are built tight on 32 spokes and I don't use anything silly light like Crests for the sake of a few grams. I ended up with some posh Mavic Crossmax ST's on my 29er which are very stiff and very light. So, the ENVE's are stiff, and if you're coming off something like a Crest or Pacenti 29er wheel they'll feel incredible, but if you have something solid like Arch or Flow EX's or other posh wheels like Eastons it's not that noticeable.
Second thing you notice is HOLY COW THESE THINGS ROLL FAST!! I know Hope hubs are a little slow due to the sealing, but these Kings are a revelation in terms of how fast they roll. I had to adjust my riding style and braking points to accomodate them. Free speed!
They tubeless easily enough with the supplied tape and valves on Maxxis but needed a compressor for my Conti Barons.
In use they felt great, and the rim width gave the tyres a great profile especially compared to the overly narrow CrossMax. As with a King hub I had a few years ago, I had to adjust the bearing preload a couple of times even within a month. That eventually drove me nuts on the hub I owned and I sold it, but you may feel differently, and obviously we can source other hubs if we go this route on upgrade option.
Weight is good, but not incredible. The 29" wheels weighed in 20grams heavier than my CrossMax at 1800grms on the button, and the 26" wheels weighed in about 100 grams lighter than my Hope/Arch EX wheels at 1680gms.
What they do have is a feeling of amazing solidity and a reputation for exceptional durability. This is the big thing they offer over the CrossMax which despite it's weight and stiffness have pretty much dropped to bits in about 18 months of riding and the rim on those really is too narrow. You'd need a Flow EX rim to give similar stiffness and strength on a conventional wheelset which would incur about a 250 gram weight penalty so comparing like with like they are pretty light for their strength.
If I seem to damning them with faint praise it's possibly because despite them being easily the nicest wheels I've ever used they're £2,300 retail, and would be a circa £2k upgrade on the bikes with the King hubs/Sapim X-ray build I had here. They're 6x the price of the Hope/Stans 26" wheels I have and for me they aren't 6x better. That said, they're circa 2.5x the price of the Crossmax ST's and are everything I would like the Crossmax's to be - they're as stiff if not stiffer, pretty much as light, but they have a lovely wide rims and a feeling of solidity and durability the somewhat brittle Mavic's simply can't match.
My conclusion as a stand alone product is that if you're in the market for something like Hope Hoops then I would find it hard to justify stretching to these wheels. However, if you're looking at posh wheels and are already in the £700+ region then melt the credit card and get these. As I said, they are the nicest wheels I've ever used.
For the moment we'll play a bit of wait-and-see on the upgrade program for the bikes, but we'd love to hear what you guys think. Drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know.
Well that was a fairly mad few days! We've now got 200 26 Ain't Dead T Shirts on order for delivery in Mid-January. There are still a handful left unallocated so order yours here if you haven't already.
You guys REALLY still love your 26" wheels don't you?
We've just got our first limited run of medium and large "26 ain't dead" t-shirts in stock. 20 Medium, 10 large. Order yours for dispatch next week and delivery before Christmas by heading over to our order page.
UPDATED - They sold out in 15 minutes! We've ordered 50 more with small and XL sizes included this time. They'll be here in January. You can still pre-order yours following the link above.
If you have no idea what we're talking about, it's from our latest video.
This year we're doing our final dispatch before Christmas next Thursday (19th Dec) as usual. We looked at squeezing another one in before the big day, but this way we can pretty much guarantee anything ordered this week will arrive before Christmas and not be hanging around in a depot for days over the festive period. So, if you want something from us before Christmas you need to get your order in by the end of the day on Wednesday 18th December.
We'll be open until 23rd December, then closed Christmas Eve until 2nd January. Once we're back on the 2nd we will sort out all the orders received over the break and get a dispatch done on Friday 3rd January for delivery to UK customers on Monday 6th January.
HO HO HO ;-)
Our offer on Bright Gloss Green and Bright Gloss Orange Soul frames, to make room for the new Duckegg and Gritstone frames, is still on, but we've run out of a few options now. Small and XS are now gone in both colours. Medium available in both Orange and Green. Large available in Orange and Green, but they're going fast, with only one Large Green left. Just £375 for these great frames.
Time to show you what our new Soul option looks like. Gritstone with orange decals. We had this bike ordered up with the Revelation upgrade and we had to take some pictures of it. It looked sooooooooooooo good with the all black forks.
Cy's got his hands on a Black Grape BFe Ö so can you Ö in stock now Ö
To celebrate the arrival of our new 2014 colour 26" hardtails, check out the latest Cotic video from Steel City Media showing why 26" wheels are ace.
The BFe is the first frame to get our new Black Grape colour, which is a fantastic deep purple gloss. It is now available alongside the Gloss Bright Green (as shown in the film) and Matte Gritstone.
Our legendary Soul frame is now also available in subtle Gritstone, as well as Duckegg.
Because our new colours are coming in this week, we've got Gloss Bright Orange and Gloss Bright Green Soul frames on sale for just £375 whilst stocks last. Catch 'em while you can. Deals also available on complete bikes, forks and rolling chassis.
Our limited edition run of 10 blue and 10 black 10th Anniversary down tube decals has just arrived. Available to spruce up your existing frame, or as a £15 option on your new frame, help us celebrate 10 years of Cotic. We couldn't have done it without you.
These are proper aftermarket spec forks - boxed, spares, shock pump, the lot. Grab a bargain today!
Cy got out with Richard (our new guy) this morning in the Peak above Hope to give these ENVE wheels a spin. They're on loan from Saddlebacks (thanks to Ross for the lend!) with a view to offering them as an option on the complete bikes. They're lovely things on their Chris King hubs and a stiff and light as you'd expect. Noticeably stiffer than a Hope/Arch or Flow combo, and nice tyre profile. They'd be a £2k upgrade on the bikes. What do you think? Drop us an email or get involved on Facebook.
Bit different to the usual here, but we're a bit overstocked on the forks and groupsets for the complete bikes so we thought we'd do some special prices for you good people.
We have Rock Shox forks in the form of Pike 150mm travel 26" wheel RCT3, and due to a logistical error we also have a couple of Pike 140mm 29" RCT3 too. We also have 2014 Revelation RCT3 as well. All are the new all black finished (crowns, stanchions and sliders) and all are taper steerer and 15mm Maxle. Prices are as follows:
As always prices include UK shipping via TNT.
With the Deore XT, it's the same 780 series 3x10 groupsets we spec on our complete bikes. It's full XT including the cassette, and it has a clutched Shadow Plus rear mech. Prices are:
Orders yours now at https://www.cotic.co.uk/order/framebuilder/components/
Remember, we aren't CRC so it's not like we have a warehouse full of this stuff so when they're gone they're gone. We'll dispatch all orders received this week on Thursday for delivery Friday.
What a year it's been for our intrepid little team of Sheffield pinners?! We've had a lot of fun and ridden those Rockets pretty damn fast. Here, in their own words, is what Loosedog and Chaymoose thought of their seasons....."
Josh "Loosedog" Lewis - Elite
So coming into Afan round 1, i had no idea what to expect: Cross Country? Downhill? i had watched videos of enduro's before the season but no one had documented the sport very well prior to this so i was excited to see how the race format panned out. i remember that friday before i left Afan at work i lifted this big stupid piece of metal because i was all giddy which surprisingly threw my back out. so saturday practice was such a struggle, i couldn't even hold a manual which sucked. Race day came and i dropped some of these pain killers Chay had smuggled from somewhere, they were legal though so don't chase me for doping, so they helped alot. The trails were so deep in mud and a massive effort, but i remember riding really well and loving my rocket although i had a small technical issue which meant i kept dropping my chain and having to jump off to throw it back on. This meant my contention for a good position was over but i learnt a lot from that race.
Innerleithen was another grim muddy weekend, we did (or tried) to do a full lap on the friday but we unfortunatley ended up getting caught in the apocolypse which left us frozen, burnt and in a bad way huddled behind trees with sam flanagan trying to invade all our personal space, the rascal. There was so much potential for some amazing stages there but i felt they just didn't utilise the full range of amazing tracks which make their way down that scottish hill.
Nontheless we had fun riding round in the LAD train, that's the fun thing about enduro. Your just cruising round with your good pals, stage by stage riding bikes and having a good laugh about completely irrelevant shit, then you get a result at the end of it. Of which mine wasn't so good at Innerleithen (this is one of my most funny stories about the few enduros i have embarked on)
So i remember riding well down stage 2, really starting to feel my flow. the track was just one deep rut the whole way and i love railing ruts its my favourite thing, so as i cross the line and i bounce my bike to drop the extra 100kg of mud it had gained from riding that stage to which revealed the issue of my derailleur falling off...wank. I spent as much time as i dared trying to fix it by all sorts of methods : zip ties, tape, cable, wood, spit, you name it. it was apparent there was only one path to take.... the single speed super tight chain path. we've all done it.
So i had a single speed full suspension bike, and we all know when suspension compresses, a chain grows, but because you could play a tune on my chain it was that tight, my suspension obviously wouldn't work. So i now had a hardtail which was stuck in 8th gear... ideal for the long stages of climbing which was coming up. Needless to say I didn't get the result I was hoping for at Innerleithen, but I really enjoyed the bike time and almost catching pneumonia.
Hamsterley: Now we're talking!!! This was like the first signs of summer so everyone was grinning. the trails were amazing fun. Honestly, if you get the chance for a day out on the bike head up there. The stages were definitely not as lengthy as Innerleithen, but still pretty physical. I had great fun practicing with all the lads and we were hurting dirt left right and centre.
Race was going really well, "at last!" i thought, "a clean race!!!" I was riding clean and well within myself until last stage... when i rode the wrong track due to someone before going through the tape leaving a fork in the track, i took the wrong route. So again that was my chances over for a result I felt I deserved and needed at the enduros, I had some promising stage times though, top 5 most of the day.
Dyfi was missed by me due to downhill commitments at Mont Saint Anne World Cup in Canada, which was amazing. However, genuinely I really didn't want to miss a round as I felt a good result was coming. Learning more and more the way of the enduro each round I was hungry for a result.
So I'm writing this now on a train in Norway heading to Hafjell round 5 of the World Cup, with a HUGE grin on my face from having amazing fun at the final round at Eastridge last weekend. Sometimes we ask ourselves why we bother, when a race weekend doesn't go our way or whatever. But its races like last weekend that keep the passion alive for me, and I can't ever see me wanting something different, sort of like how i imagine wifing penelope cruz to feel.
So yeah, anyway... Eastridge was unreal, the woods are pretty similar to the beautiful Wharncliffe woods in Sheffield and the trails follow suite. Tight and nibbly in places with narrow single track traverses across the span of the hill. I seeded 6th there with an average run and I was feeling super fit after training and detoxing for a couple of weeks following whistler (well needed believe me). So that night after seeding all the lads headed to the pub and we had such a laugh, i skulled a few guiness' and forgot about all my worries and we had a great time causing mischief in some local pub for local people. Joe Flanagan was presented with his newly found polish alter ego "djebrovnik" so he had us in tears rolling with that one, if you haven't watched the Wideopen Mag coverage yet, do it RIGHT NOW.
My race went well, I was riding stages and impressing myself. I guess I had no worries about an overall position like the rest of the guys so i was just out riding my bike for the day. All was going swimmingly until stage 5 where i hit a knuckle on a rock pretty hard and got a flat, so i rode for 2 minutes with a flat tire which wasn't ideal. But to be honest the puncture didn't slow me down to much on the downhills, it was sort of cool getting wicked round all the corners. It was on the 20 second climb where I was punished, losing heaps of valuable time. Sam Shucksmith the guy who seeded in 5th and was chasing me, just caught me up on the finish line so i had lost roughly the 20seconds gap that we set off at due to that puncture. Another pretty funny thing about that day was, i had well overloaded my saddle bag, resulting in it bursting mid stage 4 which caused me to lose all my tools and spares. So i was stranded after stage 5 with a puncture, Luckily the Shucksmith bro's hooked me up so thanks for that boys, I wont forget it.
I ended up 7th at Eastridge with not much time separating me from 5th, so that puncture caused me a couple of places but honestly i could'nt be happier with the weekend and am already looking forward to next year so big yourself up Steve Parr you put on a great show!!
Finally i just want to say thanks to everyone that's followed me this year and helped me out its been so appreciated and i cant wait to give this thing another crack next year.
All the best people take care!!!
Chay "Moose" Granby - Masters
What a Year!!
I would start the season review with the very cold weekend at Afan back in March but for me it started so much earlier; approximately 12 months earlier when starting the 2012 series. The infamous face plant crash that everyone knows about, closely followed 4 weeks later by a dislocated femur and bust hip!! They made me one determined pig headed bloke that was sick of comments about crashing a lot, what about your health, what about work, and as for all those comments on the face plant vid criticising my ability? Well balls to ya! One way or another was going to prove some folk wrong!!
So I pedaled, a lot , from 6 weeks after the hip was bust (In April) most days all the way to 2013, including the rather cold winter where if I couldnít pedal I did bouldering. Mix in with that the This Is Sheffield mates races and I was all ready to enter 2013. It was at the TIS races that I met Cy and he came up with a enduro race team! Only issue being its a few weeks till round one and Iím gonna race a bike Iíve not been on yet! Iím totally blown away Iím on a team though. He must be mad letting me loose on HIS bike, but hey, surely he knows Iím an idiot that crashes, apparently? Now we arrive at Afan, albeit on a bike I only built 4 days earlier. Itís the weekend of the very heavy snow and I only just scratched out of Buxton before the roads are shut, thinking ďI must be madĒ. Iím there with all these feelings of excitement, a little overshadowed by the fact its -14 and my gears freeze up on the first climb! But you know what? The Rocket just felt ace, first lap of practice and it rides brilliant, canít feel my finger or toes and Iíve got a snot moustache but who cares about that?!!
Cracking weekend in the ice and mud and come away with 5th. Iíll take that for a starter and that was my target I wanted during the season. Reeeesult!
So then we're heading to Inners! A manís track and fitness is key. Yep they are right about that. I go Friday morning to races so I can do a full lap Friday as well as sat morn before quali, I bust out 16 runs of that hill in the 3 days Iím there! You need fitness, the stages are mint with a mix of lunatic DH and stage 3 which was a stupidly long peddle in hail and snow. My only mistake is a full on headbutt of a tree on stage 1. Iíll confess to being rather angry and thinking this had blown the results as it cost me about 15 seconds. That there was a stage win missed. So roll onto the result are posted on the board: Itís another 5th. Blimey, Mr consistent or what?
After Inners came the the biggest mates race of them all Ė Steel City Downhill. The weekend was mint, conditions amazing. Rode the Rocket to the win in Masters! Proppa chuffed. Top step of the podium, bubbly to spray and everything. Ace!
Hamsterley is next and Iíve got the bike little different, wider rims as I had lots of tyre roll on the Mavics. It pees it down Friday and the roots are like glass. However, Saturday morning the sun is out and Iím thinking this is a bit of me!! Qualified well, the tracks drying and I now love the bike! Race day went real good with only one little mistake. I thought it was a good 'un . Turns out 2nd on the day - BOOOOM! Iím chuffed.
Bit of a gap between Rounds 3 and 4 of the UK series, so I went off to the Dales to do the Ardrock Enduro. What an ace event! Got second in that bad boy as well. Won't bore you with the details, but that Rocket shifts on its home ground in Yorkshire.
Now enduro is a balance between fitness and bike skill we all know that, but when you go to Dyfi you also need a massive pair of balls!!! Oh sweet baby jesus it's fast. Yeah, thereís tech bits and yeah, thereís pedally bits, but there's also some stupidly good fun straight chutes that are proppa fast!! I loved them. So thatís Dyfi covered. Got 2nd and was only 1.2 seconds off fastest time of the day at quali. Drove home grinning.
So we enter the last round at Eastridge. I like that place and just need a top 6-ish finish to hold 2nd in the series. Bikes mint Iím fit (ish) what can go wrong?? Iíll tell you what, on the Wednesday beforehand some dick steals my van with the dog sat in it, my tools, wallet and phone. Oh brilliant. So I get the van and the dog later that day and the rest has vanished. Skip to Friday practice and after a full lap of the course my head is in the clouds and I donít remember anything. Time to slap myself and have a rethink. A quick cup o tea and a change into dry stuff and I go and blast another lap out!! Thatís where the fitness comes in handy!! Roll on Saturday and another practice lap - I will learn this place! Then quali is tight and my heads still fuzzy but 4th will do. Sunday, and I will get this bloody right!!! Not sure how but didnít put a pedal wrong all day. No crashes, no punctures nothing!! Unlike all the rest of the top 6 who all had trouble. So 2nd again and 2nd in the series.
Starting where we came in, What A Year!! The Cotic Rocket is BRILLIANT, a massive thank you to Cy at Cotic, Joe at Steel City Media, Lezyne tools , Torq energy, Royal Racing and 5Ten.
Roll on next year in the Elite class.
We're already looking forward to next year.
First Singletrack advert:
Second Singletrack advert (ten years of the Soul):