Alpine Dreaming

Yesterday, I rode in the Lake District. It rained. It was windy. It was ace. Thanks to the inclement conditions, Andy, Sam and I chose Whinlatter Forest as our destination. A fun trail centre, with rocky trails that stand up to the rain better than most. It was an incredibly fun day, but we finished the ride soaked to the bone, with cold hands and feet. The pool of brown water on the kitchen floor where I left my shoes to dry out is a almost a permanent feature this winter.

Nick is getting married later in 2012. For his stag do, we are driving down to the Alps. Les Arcs. I’m day dreaming about dusty trails while I wait for yet another washing machine cycle to rinse the mud out of my clothes.

Thinking about bikes

I do quite a lot of that. Not just about riding bikes, but about the physical object. The bike.

Its form. Its function. Its intended purpose. Each individual component. The entire package. Aesthetic. Practical. Finding a balance.

So, there is a space in my collection. I need to fill it soon. It’s all very well entering all these endurance races, but I don’t have a bike that is particularly suitable for the chosen task. My current mountain bikes are focussed on fun, playful riding, rather than covering miles as quickly and as efficiently as I can. I’ve had big days out on both, but pop them in a race situation and they will always be compromised.

So. What to do? I’ve got a pretty limited budget. I simply don’t have £4000+ to throw at a top of the range bike. If I did, I’m not sure I could justify it at the moment. I have probably a quarter of that budget. Luckily there are a few great value options out there at the moment. But, first of all, what makes a perfect endurance race bike? Well, in my mind there are a few criteria that I’ve set:

  • relatively light weight
  • reliable
  • comfortable
In reality this means:
  • suspension. Probably just on the front though, given my budget
  • 29 inch wheels. Better rolling, marginally more comfortable?
The Options


  • I like On-Ones. My 456 has been superb, and my go-to bike for the last two years.
  • It is available now
  • I can even go and pick it up from the Rotherham store
  • I need to pay an extra £100 to get suspension forks
  • It is SRAM geared. I prefer Shimano.
  • Shimano gearing
  • Suspension fork included in the price
  • Formula brakes
  • Possibly better looking?
  • I need to wait until March before they are available

On balance, I think the Canyon will be worth waiting for. Either way…. thinking about bikes is always fun. Thinking about a new bike is exciting.