Homeward Bound

gabby1

Photo Credit for top image and link to Neon Velo: Marshall Kappel

Gabby Durrin Press Release (as one door closes another opens)

A lot has been going on this year for me. I have been away from racing for a little while and I have made some big decisions over the past couple months.

I am RETIRING from professional cycling, and I am very happy to be moving on to the next chapter in my life. I have been racing professionally for the past 13 years, and they were the most amazing years of my life. The memories and friendships I’ve made along the way will stay with me forever.

I have written a blog about what I have been going through over the past couple years with depression and losing the spark for racing. I am very proud of what I have accomplished, and am excited to find that spark in the next adventure and chapter in my life.

http://www.team-awesome.cc/neon-velo/closing-a-chapter-and-starting-a-new/

Neon Velo Announcement

We’re pleased to announce that Gabby Durrin has accepted a full time position as brand Marketing Executive for Neon Velo starting 2016. The role comes with a move back to the UK where both Gabby and Jeremy will work closely with Neon Velo brand at their Hertfordshire based headquarters. Gabby will be using her years of experience in the cycling industry to help grow the Neon Velo Brand, it’s Race Team and Products. Jeremy will continue racing for the team on the road and CX primarily in the UK and Europe. Jeremy and the other team riders will also help to further develop the exciting Neon Velo product range through 2016.

-Neon Velo’s Emma Backhouse stated.
“Gabby has such a wealth of knowledge within the industry and the sponsors who have supported her throughout the years really show the level of professionalism she carries with her. She will be a valued asset to the program on multiple levels and we can’t wait to see what the next year brings!”

-Gabby Stated earlier today.
“We are extremely excited about this opportunity for our next step with Neon Velo. I am very happy to have been offered such a great position and it makes the transition from professional cycling seamless and allows me to maximize my 12+ years of industry experience to the full potential. Neon Velo is an exciting brand with big ambitions and we’re looking forward to 2016”

 

Gabby Posted the following statement on Facebook earlier today.

2016 has a whole new exciting opportunity for me.

 

Thank you all for all the great years, and this won’t be the last of me you will see around cycling.

I will update you all soon on what my next adventure is, but it’s definitely exciting!

I will be moving to the UK with Jeremy Durrin after accepting a full time position with Neon Velo as brand marketing executive. Jeremy and I will be based in Hertfordshire close to where the Neon Velo HQ is based.

gabby2

Photo Credit Brad Warren

I am very excited about this huge change in my life. Having over 12+ years experience in the cycling industry I am looking forward to working on the business side. This opportunity will be great in helping me to transition out of professional cycling and into the business world!

Jeremy will still be racing for Neon Velo on the road and in cyclocross primarily in the UK and Europe with an early season USA cyclocross campaign.

2016 is set to be a whole new change and array of opportunities for Jeremy and I. We are both looking forward to the future.

I am very fortunate to have this opportunity and it has come at the perfect time for me. Retiring from professional cycling was a tough thing to do and it is rather scary and unknown, but this move certainly allows me to focus on new challenges and experiences which is really what life is all about!

I now get to write a whole new chapter in my book of life! Follow along…

Happy New Year everyone. May your year be filled with happiness, health and adventure!

On behalf of Cyclingshorts I would like to wish Gabby and Jeremy all the best for the coming year. Remember you can keep up to date with all things cyclocross, sports nutrition, training and cycle holidays at www.cyclingshorts.cc

Sim Parrott


It’s Cyclocross Season – Are you ready to get down and dirty?

It's always good to get out on a bright Autumn day.

It’s always good to get out on a bright Autumn day.

I love this time of year as the Summer turns to Autumn, the leaves begin to turn some of the most amazing colours and winter gradually gets its claws into the land as the frosty mornings start cold and bright. However if I’m really honest I hate the cold dark dank days that also come in late autumn and winter. However on the bright side it is a great time to get out and play in the mud!

As many a great explorer has said “there is no such thing as bad weather just poor preparation” actually I’m not really sure who said that maybe not Scott! But seriously you can ride in any weather if you are wearing the correct clothing or have some of the top tips below to keep feet and hands warm.

So do not be afraid of the weather hug it tight and be a conquering hero of Autumn and Winter riding.

I noticed just this last week that the number of CX Sportives is on the increase and a quick trawl through the events list suggests that they are very popular in the South, come on you guys in the North make sure your events are publicised.

I rode my very first CX Sportive this year, the amazing Adventure X event based around Keswick. What an experience it was, don’t forget to read my review of the event elsewhere on this website.

So if you fancy trying a little bit of cyclocross but don’t have a CX bike, well don’t worry most events are open to wide range of bikes, pretty much anything will do, except perhaps your pride and joy the full carbon road bike!

From my experience riders will turn up on any bike from a full carbon CX bike, hardtail MTB, Full suspension MTB to a flat bar hybrid. The only thing I would recommend is that you check the ride profile and make sure you have a suitable range of gears for the event unless you are riding single speed! I got caught out on the Mini Monster Adventure X in Keswick.

CX Sportive (www.cxsportive.com) has several good rides available this season:

CX Sportives are the fantastic new mixed surface events that are combining the thrills of on  and off-road riding into one awesome experience!

•Sportive style events on fast, mixed surface courses

•Courses from 40-80km

•Full sportive support and infrastructure

•Great for all kinds of bikes: CX, MTB, Hybrid, 29er, Singlespeed & even Road!*

Riding a mix of road and off road is so exhilarating.

Riding a mix of road and off road is so exhilarating.

Big challenge rides tend to come in two flavours; massive road sportives and hardcore MTB enduros. But why not mix it up, take on the best of both and spice up your riding?

CX Sportive is an exciting new ride format. It’s ideal for your cross bike, but equally suitable for your XC MTB or even road winter training bike, tweaked for a little rough stuff!* The course mixes back roads, interwoven with byways and a few short tougher off road links that will certainly bring on the heat!

Your choice of steed will define your ride. Will the versatility of a MTB offer the best performance over mixed terrain? Will the pure speed of your road bike make up for time lost on the short, occasional off road dismounts? Or will the CX bike give you the best return where it counts?

To prove a point (or just let you fly the flag for your tribe), they even include your bike choice in your results listing; so if you insist on tackling the route on your mum’s folding shopper, they’ll credit your lunacy!**

You’ll have a range of time targets to aim for, with age and gender adjustments; including full route marking, RFID timing, top notch catering and first class, friendly organisation and support.

*Not recommended for your beloved, super-light carbon road thoroughbred!

**Disclaimer: Don’t tackle the route on your mum’s folding shopper!

Ride X the Evan CX rides

Ride X the Evan CX rides

The bike supermarket that is Evans have also added CX Sportives to their list of Ride It events this year. They might well be worth checking out if you live in the South (Evans Ride it CX Sportives).

For the Autumn/Winter season they’ve added 4 exciting mixed terrain routes to their existing Sportive offering. As with all of their road sportives, all routes will be fully way-marked with GPX files published pre-event. High5 sponsored feed stations will help you tackle a variety of riding surfaces (tarmac, mud, grass & more!) whilst clocking up some worthy mileage in this new format. The routes are best suited to cyclocross and adventure-road bikes that are up to some off-road exploring.

All rides include: Fully way-marked routes • Well stocked High5 feed stations • Mechanical support • GPS files published pre-event • Free High5 pack worth £10 when you sign up 8 weeks in advance • Free Garmin hire • Times published post-event

 

Cycling Weekly Adventure X Series

Cycling Weekly Adventure X Series

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for next years Adventure X series promoted and run by Cycling Weekly with the support of changing sponsors. The event I rode in October was amazing, one of the best challenges I have have ever taken part in (more details can be found in my report on Adventure X Lakeland Monster Miles)

With so much going on on the cyclocross sportive scene surely it must be time for you to ditch the winter rode bike and get yourself a CX bike and rise to the challenge. I did and I haven’t looked back :)

How to: Buy a Cyclo-Cross Bike with Deniz Erkan

Deniz_Erkan_cyclist_mag

Photo courtesy of ©DenizErkan

During the excitement of GB’s Helen Wyman taking Bronze at the CX World Championships this weekend, I caught up with Deniz Erkan of Hadron Cycles on his tips to buying a cyclo-cross bike. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, and get muddy!

First things first, set a budget, and stick to it.
You can buy a very good quality bike anywhere from £600 upwards. Between £800 and £1500 gets you a fantastic aluminum frame with high quality components, whilst upwards of £1500 can get a nice carbon frame and top end components. Decide how much you want to spend and get the best bike you can for the money.

Pick a frame material
Carbon is light, stiff and can be moulded into some very interesting shapes. However, it is more fragile, meaning an awkward crash into something hard can mean a new frame is required.

Aluminum technology has moved a long way since the earliest frames. These days you can get some really space age aluminum for very little money. It’s lighter than steel, and a lot stiffer too. It can also take a bit of punishment, so the odd crash is unlikely to destroy your pride and joy.

Steel frames are wonderfully resilient, forgiving to ride but a touch on the heavy side. There are some newer (more expensive) options like stainless steel which ride very well and are closing in on the weight of aluminum bikes, but generally good quality steel frames are heavier than other counterparts.

Titanium frames are expensive. It’s a difficult material to work with. However, they are wonderfully light, responsive and undeniably beautiful. They don’t need to be painted, and are very, very strong, meaning all but the worst of crashes are unlikely to even leave a scratch on your frame.

Component choice
Disc or cantilever? As a general rule, correctly set-up cantilever brakes are going to work just as well as poorly set up cable-actuated disc brakes. For modest budgets, don’t be afraid to go for cantilever brakes, as their stopping power is immense. If you are looking for disc brakes, then where possible, stretch to hydraulic models as these provide the full benefits of disc brake systems (minimal servicing, excellent modulation, unparalleled stopping power.) Cable driven disc systems still need cables replaced every now and then (more frequently on cross bikes) and carry the risk of cables snapping or snagging, rendering the brake useless. Some models are very good, such as the Avid BB7, however, given the choice I’d recommend an upgrade to hydraulics.

Tyres
Most new bikes sadly come with rubbish tyres. Factor in the intended use of your new cyclocross bike and set aside a budget for some good quality, puncture resistant and suitably constructed (size, tread depth, compound) tyres.

The Eastway CX2.0 in action. Photo courtesy of ©DenizErkan

The Eastway CX2.0 in action. Photo courtesy of ©DenizErkan

Groupset
A very personal thing, choose groupset based on ergonomics and usability. Shimano offers shims to adjust lever reach for small hands, whilst SRAMs levers are all independently reach adjustable, making exact, fine-tuned set up. Campagnolo offers something similar, but the ergonomics of having to use your thumb can be off putting for some people. Try each of them out and decide what you like using the most. It’s only really at the shifters where you’ll notice a discernible difference in each of the three brands. The rest is aesthetics and specification. SRAM is usually lighter for the money, whilst Campagnolo is almost always more expensive, and difficult to get hold of. Shimano is ubiquitous, priced in the middle and performs there too.

Pedals
Whilst its entirely possible to ride off road, on road pedals, if you want to get serious about the sport, you’ll need to invest in some MTB style pedals. The difference here is that the cleat (the part of the pedal system attached to your shoe) is a lot smaller than a typical road cleat, allowing it to fit in a recessed part of your shoe. This means the shoe can have plenty of tread and walking surface to get you through the mud safely, with the cleat free of the debris.

Shimano leads the way here with the best value for money in its SPD range of pedals. Alternatives include LOOK, TIME, Crankbrothers. Pick one based on price, weight and aesthetic. They all function in a very similar way.

Accesories
What else do you need to have fun on a cross bike?

Bright lights to light up the trail, spare tubes and a pump are a must, but CO2 inflators are a big bonus when you are cold, wet and just want to get home. Take a tyre boot too (piece of old tyre cut into 1-2 inch strip) for emergency tyre repairs, or buy a set of tyre boots like the Park TB-2. It’s always surprising how much an errant branch can damage even the finest rubber. Other than that, get out there and have fun!

 

Hadron CyclesHadron Cycles is a local bike shop based in Islington who aim to cater for all types of cyclists and run regular weekly rides. Contact them for help in buying you CX bike.

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

‘Starting Cyclo-cross’ with Helen Wyman

Photo Courtesy of ©cyclephotos.co.uk

Photo Courtesy of ©cyclephotos.co.uk

The Cyclo-cross (CX) season may be well and truly underway, but there’s still plenty of time to get kitted out and give it a go.

With my first off-road sportive coming up at the weekend, I caught up with European Champion and newly crowned 8 time National CX Champion Helen Wyman to get her top tips and advice on getting into cyclo-cross.

***

What makes CX different to any other cycling sport?
It’s short, fast, hard racing off road. So it’s like the combination of the accelerations of a criterium, the basic skills of MTB, the bike from road racing and the heart rate of a threshold effort.

What are the differences in the set up of a road bike to a CX bike? Are there any specific differences in the way they should be set up for use?
The bottom bracket on a cyclo-cross bike is slightly higher than a road bike and the clearance around the brakes is bigger to allow bigger tyres and the mud to not clump up.

In terms of set up you may want a shorter reach and maybe a slightly smaller frame for this. I use the same set up on all my bikes but I am a cross rider first.

What first attracted you to CX?
I was studying physiotherapy at university and had placements in the summer so couldn’t train enough for road racing. In the winter I could use my commute to work placements for training so took up cross. I was hooked instantly, so then it was too late to go back ha ha!

What are your top 5 (or more) tips for those transitioning to CX?
1) Take family and friends – it’s a great day out with races for everyone and a great environment to get you out of the house on a weekend.

2) Play on your bike beforehand, get to know how it feels to slip and slide and what your bike will do when you race.

3) Try to get a day at a cross clinic so you can get an idea of how to get the most out of your racing.

4) Tyre pressure is such an important thing and don’t be afraid to lower them so you get the most out of your tyre.

5) Smile! You will absolutely love getting wet, muddy and cold as it’s only 40 minutes to 1 hour long.

What about racing? How can someone get into this?
There are a lot of local league races so check them out on the British Cycling website. Just go along and have a go. You will find instantly you will be racing with someone of your own level having your own little personal battles.

The dismount and remount is fundamental to a CX race, what key steps can you take to perfect this?
I think in the beginning it’s probably not the most important thing but it is something you can easily learn at a clinic. It’s hard to describe but very easy to demonstrate in person. I would say the most important thing in cross is knowing your minimum speed and not be afraid to run if riding is slower than that speed.

How else do you train for CX?
Skills training is really important so that you learn the feel of your bike under different conditions. After that, lots of high heart rate intervals and short sprints with some threshold work is where most of the training comes from for cross. You can be a really good level local league racer with one days cross training a week and 4 days of 1 hour each day in my opinion. If you want to be a good national level rider it takes a lot more obviously.

CX is very much considered a winter sport – what about the summer months?
Criteriums are good for summer training and you can get a good endurance base from road racing too.

There’s always much discussion about tyre pressures at races, how do you determine what pressure to ride on?
The best way to determine tyre pressure is whatever makes you feel most comfortable on your bike. As you move up levels in your racing then seek advice from the people around you. If you don’t know where to start, take a pump to your local park and try doing laps on different pressures and surfaces and see what you feel gives you the best grip.

Helen Wyman’s Kona Super Jake CX with disc brakes. © Cyclocross Magazine

Helen Wyman’s Kona Super Jake CX with disc brakes. © Cyclocross Magazine

You recently started racing with disc brakes (since UCI regulation changes) how do these differ to cantilevers, what are the benefits and what are your recommendations?
Disc brakes operate by braking on a disc at the centre of the wheel.

Cantilevers operate by braking on the rim of the wheel.

I love disc brakes as they stop you better, however cantilever bikes at entry level naturally weigh less. At my level it’s about the same so I get all the advantages of braking while not loosing the ability to carry my bike. However, it depends on your budget and if you already have road wheels, cantilever bikes are better as you can use those wheels.

Keep up to date with Helen on Twitter and Facebook.

 

COMING UP:
Part 3 of my CX adventure – tips and recommendations on how to buy a CX bike, with help from Hadron Cycles

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

Ripping up the (January) Blues

January. Month of the blues. That typically means blue fingers and toes. The misery of missing out on our evening sunset rides, the (blue) icy weekend club rides and avoiding the usual club run route thanks to blue stuff (or brown!) running at pace down the street having spilled it’s banks.

But for me, this January has been 2 different kinds of blue. Cyan and the Blue Run.

Clean bike? Clearly not yet started!

Clean bike? Clearly not yet started!

This time last year I started my hunt for a CX bike. I didn’t want to spend a huge amount and would be more than happy with a 2nd hand bike. That’s fine for most, but do a search for new CX bikes at my height (that’s 158cm for those of you that haven’t met me) and it’s a struggle, let alone approaching the second hand market. 12 months on and with the help of a friend in Holland, I finally became owner to another Bianchi frame in some very traditional Bianchi colours.

The Bike Build
With the BB fitted by the local bike store, I was determined to build the rest of the bike myself. OK, I say myself, I had some help! But even then, it was easier said than done. Firstly, it’s the little things you don’t think about, resulting in a couple of trips to and forth from the bike shop to pick up ferrules and cable guides that I hadn’t considered when making my list of components (does such a list exist?).

Fitting the rear derailleur I realise I’m missing a bolt. Being Campag it’s not so easy to replace and so onto eBay to buy an old mech for parts. In the meantime, we fit the brakes, some snazzy Planet-X Frog Bolloxs which should be simple but, what I later learn is called the yoke, snaps as we tighten it. Bugger! Bike build on hold again until I can find a replacement.

Finally with the rear mech fixed and fitted, we attempt the gear routing. Campag specific wire goes through hole A and and comes out hole B….. at least, that’s what the instructions told us to do… did it work? NO! So, a couple of emails to a Campag mechanic friend and some handy tips and tricks shared, the gears are finally working. Rear mech fitted, bike is now working as a fixed gear at least. Just the front mech to complete…. and this is where we hit the wall. The wire is holding perfectly in the shifter, but can we get it to hold at the front mech? Can we heck. Getting a little impatient and really wanting to hit the trails, we give in and I drop the bike into the shop for them to complete the job and check over our work.

So finally, after 4 – 5 weeks of bike building (and a little over budget), I excitedly picked it up yesterday.  Bike number 6 took pride of place in the living room for the evening. But there was something significantly wrong – it was looking too new!

Hitting the Trails
Waking up to icy roads this morning, I jacked in the club ride, packed the car and headed over to Swinley Forrest in Bracknell.  My little brother spent much of his teens riding his fixed jump bike here, but this was the first time I’d ventured over there. I quickly realise what I’ve been missing out on.

The car park is packed with mtb-ers and walkers. I quickly ask a passer-by what state the trails are in – Good luck on a CX! They’re pretty unridable this morning’. Great. Well, I’m here now, so may as well give it a go. After all, my main intention is to get MUDDY!

Stopping to catch my breath at top of the sngle track on Blue Run

Stopping to catch my breath at top of the sngle track on Blue Run

I set off following the signs for ‘Mountain Bike Trails’ and soon come across a comprehensive hub detailing the different routes by distance and technical ability. Not much different to ski runs, the trails are set up from Green Run – 1.2km long with gentle dips on a wide track suitable for complete beginners and families, through to Red Run – 13km of extremely technical terrain of single twisty tracks with boardwalk climbs and lumpy descents, all of which are clearly marked in sections throughout.

New to the trails, CX and my bike, I start off on the Green Run and do a couple of warm up laps. It was great to see a 5 year old girl testing out her new bike skills with some expert advice from her MTB Dad, Helen Wyman’s going to have some competition!

Satisfied with the response of my brakes and gears, and slowly getting used to a different kind of cleats, I move onto the Blue Run.

Moderately graded, the complete route is 10.1km long and designed for novice to intermediate Mountain Bikers. It starts out on a pretty wide (although muddy) path, quickly descending into a single track through the pine forest. With some sections of the trail called “Full Nine Yards“, “Devils Highway” and “Stickler“, it’s not hard to imagine why this isn’t suited to the beginner. I also can’t imagine too many new to CX would be so comfortable either, but sticking to my rule of ‘always commit’ and wearing my ‘Fearless’ nick-name on my sleeve, I managed to weave, descend, jump and climb my way down the run.

I very quickly felt comfortable on my bike – trying to keep my pedal stroke smooth, I powered through thick mud; surprisingly managed to climb up over some steep sections stepped with tree roots, put my BMX lessons to use in the pump sections and only once came off track, luckily getting on the brakes to come to a clean stop before heading awol into some trees.

Other riders were extremely friendly, stopping for a quick chat and happy to sit behind until safe to pass or pull up to let you through. I managed 3/4 of the route before I started to get numb hands, even though I was wearing MTB gloves. Each section intersected by the fire-roads, it’s easy to drop off once you’ve had enough (although funnily enough, I found these harder to ride than the trails as they were so deep in mud!).

It may have been 2 degrees when I set out, but I was anything but cold. The blue run was a success and as I came to the end, part of me wanted to go at it all day. But car parking ticket due to expire, I followed the signs back to The Look Out.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did and at least expected a fall here or there (who knows what the MTBer was on about when he said it was un-ridable!). With a CX sportive coming up in 2 weeks time, I can’t wait to get back on the bike.

Bianchi & Giro

What I rode:
Bianchi D2 Cross with Campag Veloce 10sp
FSA Omega Compact Road Bar with Deda Elementi Zero1 Stem
Ambrosio WS 23 Wheels with Schwalbe CX Comp Cyclocross Tyres and Planet X Frogs Bollox Cantilever Brakeset
Shimano Deore XT M780 SPD XC Race Pedals

What I wore:
Not much different to my every day cycling kit – bibs, leg warmers, Helly Hanson long sleeve base layer, Bianchi Winter Jersey, Skoda wind & rain proof jacket and a neck buff.

Giro Reva Womens MTB Shoe – these were surprisingly comfy for a first ride!
Specialized BG Gel WireTap Glove (A little big for me, these started to rub where padding meets handlebar)

 

 

 

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

Hardtail MTB or CX?

Hardtail MTB or CX?Can you ever have too many bikes?

Well I suppose it depends who you ask the question of! In our household I would naturally answer No of course you can never have too many, however my wife might just answer rather differently posing a question of her own. How many bikes can you ride at any one time!

Seriously though you do need a bike for each discipline you ride, don’t you. Who in their right mind would use a track bike to ride a BMX course and like wise who would ride downhill on a CX (cyclocross) bike! OK so I have chosen some extremes but I still recon that you need more then one bike.

Unlike some I am not totally mad with the number bikes I have and I have a sensible mix, a road bike (actually two if I am honest), an full suspension XC MTB, a track bike and a BMX.

Over the years the type of riding I have been doing has changed a little and the Full Suspension XC seems a bit of an over kill for riding things like Preston’s Guild Wheel and some of the disused railway lines locally, however a full carbon road bike does not quite fit the bill either! Leaving me with a bit of a conundrum, what to get to fill the gap? A hard tail MTB to replace the Full Sus or a CX bike?

Hmm tricky coz I really do not want to get rid of the Full Sus because it is really useful for those days out in the hills and trail centres. I know I could do these on a hardtail but then just maybe this would be over kill for the local trails.

Yes you guessed it I plumped for a CX bike, as I said you can never have too many bikes!! But I set myself a challenge I had to do this on a budget no more then £300 could be spent. I had a donor bike for most of the drive train and bars etc, so all I needed would be a frame, brakes, wheels and tyres.

My natural port of call for these parts was going to be ebay or discount online stores. First things first find out what is needed for a CX bike and which parts are the most robust for a bit of a hack bike and how much parts typically are. This is key to avoid over spending on eBay. It always amazes me that many buyers on ebay get carried away. The worst I have seen is a set of wheels go for £30 more then the buy now option for the same set from the same seller who had one set on open bid and another set available as buy now!

The donor bike was a Specialized Allez Sport with Shimano Tiagra triple chainset. I pondered long and hard over the triple chainset as my gut instinct was to go for a double CX specific or a double compact until I read this article http://bikehugger.com/post/view/the-rise-of-the-compact-crank which clearly defined the pit falls of a compact and the benefits of the triple. The decision to stick with the triple also meant I had less to buy with my budget, meaning more to spend on the frame.

Kinesis Crosslight Evo4 Cyclocross Frame 2010

Kinesis Crosslight Evo4 Cyclocross Frame 2010spend on the frame.spend on the frame.

 

Step 1 Frameset.

 

Having trawled eBay and the internet it seemed that the choices boiled down to a selection from:

 

  1. Graham Weigh frame and forks £199.99
  2. Forme Hiver (Paul Milnes) £274.99
  3. Paul Mines CT Wing £295
  4. Dolan Multicross  £249.99

 

From these the best value for money seemed to be the Dolan as it included a seat post, headset and front cable hanger. However this did not leave me with much in the budget for wheels. So back to the drawing board and review the second hand options via eBay. Patience and timing had to be the watch word now. As I write there are very few frames on open bid. I missed out on a couple by a few pounds but I had set my target and was sticking to it.

Finally I hit the jackpot with a rather good Kenesis Crosslight EVO4 and BikeRadar’s review seemed to rate the frame

(http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/cyclo-cross/product/review-kinesis-crosslight-evo-4-11-45404)

Brakesso in for a penny in for a few quid!

 

Step 2 Brakes

 

The frameset was set up for cantilevers only but which set to get? Shimano CX50’s, Avid ShortyTektro V brakes, Empella Froglegs or Tektro CR 520?

Cash had to be king here and simplicity had to rule so a big thanks to Paul Milnes eBay store Tektro Colorado’s at £21.99 a full set it was

 

Step 3 Wheelset.

 

I struck gold here as a friend who had switched from a CX bike to a 29er still had a set of Shimano wheels that came off his Cannondale CX bike so £40 landed me 5 tyres and tubes and a set of Shimano WH-RS10’s. Not the most amazing Cablesetwheelset in the world but functional.

 

Step 4 cable set.

 

Having used a mix of manufacturers in the past decided to try a new manufacturer for me and bought a set of low friction PTFE-coated stainless steel Goodridge cables from Chainreaction (user reviews 4.1/5).

 

CX ForksThe Build.

 

The first thing to do was to strip down the donor bike a Specialized Allez Sport running a triple Shimano Tigra groupset. I would be using everything from this bike except the caliper brakes and saddle, or at least that was the plan.

As soon as the frame arrived from its original Coleford Gloucestershie home it was time for close inspection. The frame was pretty much as described on eBay except for a very small dent on the downtube and a small gouge hidden under a sticker on the headtube. If I am being really picky the packing of the frameset could have been better and I was rather disappointed that the seller had not used fork and rear end frame spacers to avoid crushing during shipping as I had requested. The good news was the frame was in full alignment and ready to build.

A quick clean down and removal of old cable protectors and it was time to apply helicopter tape to areas which might suffer from scuffing, cable wear or chain slap.

This done it was in with the bottom bracket, crankset and front mech, quickly followed by rear mech, handlebar stem, seat post, handlebars and finally cantilever brakes and wheels. Time to check the fit. First hop on and it was immediately obvious that the handlebar stem was going to be a tad too short. So out with the tape measure and size up the fit vs my road bike. It was very obvious that the 100mm stem going to be too short. 110 mm might just work but even this might leave me a little hunched up, so it would need to be 115 or 120mm. I plumped for the longer of the two a quick trawl on the internet and a 120mm Deda Zero 1 was acquired and fitted. Perfect sizing and hey presto one bike ready for setting up with cables.

First Impressions CX

The Goodridge cables where new to me and I was itching to find out how good they really where. Unlike normal brake cables which have flat spiral wound metal the Goodridge set are the same set up as a gear cable outer, with steel strands in the sheath orientated in the same direction as the cable (along the length of the outer).  For gear cables this reduces compression of the outer and improves reliability of indexing.

Kinesis Pure CX Cyclocross Fork

Kinesis Pure CX Cyclocross Fork

I will be interested to see the effect on braking. I suspect that it will improve modulation and feel reducing any sponginess caused by the outer compressing during braking. The brake cables certainly proved to be very stiff and somewhat tricky to cut.

With careful measuring and cutting (measure twice cut once) all was well with both gear cables and brake cables. A really nice touch with the Goodridge set is the long leadin tails on the cable ferrules allowing for improved

water and grit protection. With careful fitting of the blue plastic outer it is possible to run the cables fully water and grit proof.

All finished time to ride.

 

First Impressions.
Bars CXWOW this is a quick bike. From the first turn of the pedals it is clear that this is a race bike with a real eagerness to move forwards quickly. To quote What Mountain Bike’s review

“The Kinesis Crosslight Evo is a highly evolved racer that proves even hardcore cyclo-crossers can be a fun and versatile trail/tarmac crossover option on non-race days.” 

Very true and great fun was had on the first few rides proving that it was a very good choice to go CX and not Hardtail. However as time went on a couple of limitations started to show through and once again these confirmed the finding of Guy Kesteven

‘A major – but surprisingly common – technical terrain limitation soon becomes clear though. While the Tektro cantilever brakes on the Kinesis are usefully powerful – at least in the dry – the brake judder caused by fork flex on rough terrain makes the front wheel skip alarmingly.’

fork crown cable stopfront wheel skip was the least of the problems the fact was that the amount of front brake judder, especially during descents, made the front brake totally redundant. Solution simples, fit a fork crown cable stop to replace the headset one. Cost £8.99 from Paul Milnes. Fitted cable recut and off we go again. Amazing the front brake is a different beast no judder at all even under the most powerful braking, bringing a high level of confidence to tackle technical descents with ease. Does make you think as to why Kenesis do not fit this simple device to the OEM bike in the first place. £8.99 is not a major cost to transform the ride.

 

Conclusion

 

MTB or CX well this being my first CX ride ever I am totally sold. This has to be the perfect tool for riding the local disused railway lines and simpler off road tracks, where to be honest even a hard tail MTB would be overkill.

What is even better is that I have managed to build a CX  worth over £1000 for £300, result! Will I get rid of my Full Sus MTB? No it is horses for courses and to attack trails like Gisburn, Winlatter, Grizedale etc this will still be the machine to use but for a qucik blast along many of the SUSTRANS off road routes the CX EVO 4 will be perfect.

If you have never tried a CX bike and want to venture offroad but do not want to wreck your best road bike then find a frame on eBay and switch all your winter hardware onto a CX frame.

 

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