Thursday, April 4, 2013

Enve Wheelset verse Custom Bontrager Wheelset

Lately I have been back to back testing wheelsets, one made up of Enve AM rims laced to Chris King hubs, the other Bontrager Rhythm Pro rims laced to Hadley hubs. This pair of wheels is my own, the Enve/King's are from the NZ distributor.
First up there is about 130 grams difference between the two wheelsets. This is mainly in the rims, the Enve's being lighter carbon rims than the Bonty's Scandium alloy. Enve rims are 30mm wide, Bonty's are 28mm.
 Chris King products have a great reputation for being well made and lasting a long time, so their hubs have been made in the same vain. Hadley hubs are little known, but come from a surgical tool maker in California that likes to make high end hubs in their spare time. The Hadley hubs sport a freehub body machined from solid Titanium, bearings are regular sized 61804's, (or 71804 angular contact) except for one in the freehub that Hadley make themselves. The hubs can be opened up and serviced very easily using two cone spanners. The King hubs are also easy to open up, but the bearings are their own sizing and made of stainless steel, which is a little soft for hub bearing use and will grind out pretty quick when they get water contamination.  King has their own take on a freehub clutch system preferring to use gears instead of the normal springs and pawls as do the Hadleys. The King freehub body is made from alloy and is showing wear after 6 months use. The Hadley Titanium freehub body shows no wear after 3.5 years of use.
So to the ride. The Enve's have had their fair share of hype since coming on the market and you would be lead to believe that carbon rims are the way to go for everything these days, well that ain't so. There is a point when a wheel can be to stiff and the Enve's are that. Too stiff for fast technical riding. I have a test track that's 4 k's long, has many tight switchbacks up and down, berms and some nasty rock gardens with soccer ball sized round and square edged river rocks. Try to skip across these rocks at speed on the Enve's and it's like being in a pinball machine. I let 10psi out of my forks and over a few laps had my tyre's down to 21psi up front and 25 in the rear. Only slightly better ride, still pretty bouncy. The lack of vertical compliance kills your speed, because the rims don't absorb any impact, you get bounced around and lose momentum. In really narrow single track, around 150mm wide, they are a handful too. They make your bike's steering quite a bit quicker, but this is not what you want in the super narrow. On wide open smooth berms, great, really sharp handling, you can get some extra speed on cranking through corners. Compared to the Bontrager rims, the Enve's are way stiffer, faster in smooth corners, slower everywhere else that's not smooth.
The hubs are quite different too. The Kings are high quality, but they are no match for the Hadleys in speed and acceleration. There is a noticeable amount of extra drag in the Kings, both front and rear and the Hadleys are much quieter too, better for sneaking around.
So, that's my take on these wheelsets. Yes I might be a bit bias toward the Bonty/Hadley wheelset as these are my own and have been riding this particular pair of wheels for 3 and a half years, but I did expect to be impressed by the Enve/King wheelset and really was only disappointed, especially when the cost is almost double. Spend your money wisely and test before if you can.

Friday, January 11, 2013

BMC SF02 29er

Now I don't normally get excited about 29er's, but I just built up this bike for a customer and it's pretty damn nice, probably the nicest stock spec I've seen for a while. The frame has this big fat carbon down tube connected with the bottom bracket shell, giving loads of stiffness for aggressive cornering and out of the saddle grunts. Full XT groupo, brakes, shifters, derailleurs, cranks, cassette and Fox suspension. Even ONZA Canis tyres!

The customer wanted it to be a bit more trail orientated, so I swapped out the stock 100mm fork for a 120mm Factory CTD Fit fork and also dropped in a Reverb Stealth seat post.
She's a real looker as you can see by the photo's. Very clean and well executed Euro design and engineering. Nice.

Sorry, this programme won't let me upload photo's directly from my photo libary anymore so you will have to go to my Face Book page to see them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Black Peak Cycles Pro Build

Here's a movie that Ross MacKay, from Stash Media Worx and I have been working on for a little while. It's all about my 'Pro Build' process. Building bikes up from parts and a frame to get a precision machine.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Renthal Fatbars

When it comes to handle bars, Renthal would be on the top of most peoples list if you are from the dirt moto world. Their reputation for producing super strong high quality bars is legendary. They have been producing bars for mountain bikes for about a year now, the DH worthy Fatbar being the one thats seen no shortage of action on the World Cup Downhill stage. The Renthal range is now being imported into NZ and I have been riding a pair of the Fatbars for a few weeks now.

About 4 years ago I was talked into ditching my high end trail/all mountain carbon bars in favor of similar alloy ones. I had no idea that a really good alloy bar could be so much stiffer and give so much more control than an equivalent carbon bar. The small increase in weight was not even worth considering for the performance gained.

The Renthal Fatbar steps it up another few notches being much stiffer again compared to what I was previously using. You can really feel the whole front of your bike is much more solid, particularly when landing jumps. The bar also gives you a greater sense of what is happening with your front wheel. More control to ride faster in gnarly terrain!

All the Renthal products are available through my shop


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Phoebes new ride

I just built this bike up yesterday for local girl Phoebe Coers. She's competing in the Southern DH series this season as well as a few other events during the summer.

We took a 2012 Atherton build kit and put it all on a 2013 V3 frame. The bike got the full monty 'Pro Build' starting from changing the suspension fluids for better damping control, to special Enduro lube in the hubs and BB, all the suspension pivots redone etc etc.

Ross MacKay filmed the whole build process, so hopefully I will be able to post that in the near future so you can see how much work goes into my 'Pro Build' service.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New roadies

I've just completed a 'Pro Build' on these two bikes. I take them completely apart and put them back together in a way as to gain the most performance from the standard parts on the bike. It's amazing how much better you can make a bike go with careful attention to detail and correct set up on all the moving components, hubs and bottom brackets especially. Making the bike the most efficient with the given parts is the object. It takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to complete a full rebuild on a road bike, up to 6 hours on a mountain bike when you have suspension to dial in too.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Last summer I spent a fair bit of time on ONZA's new tyres, the IBEX FR 2.4 and the CANIS 2.25.
I really didn't gel with the IBEX 2.4 in our dry lose conditions, but over the winter I've been riding the smaller version and have found it to be a damn good soft conditions tyre. It's knobs bite in the soft ground and hook up slip free forward momentum, drift very nicely in the corners and hold on well under brakes. I find the tyre to be slow rolling like it's big brother, but run 5 psi higher than normal pressure and the drag mostly disappears with little lost in traction.

It's got a good strong, large volume casing, so running it tubeless is the go and it can handle some bashing in the rocks. The knobs seem to clear quickly of excess mud and wear is pretty respectable too. Give them a try!