TREK FUEL EX 8
Purchased in August 2008, this is the bike that really got me hooked into mountain biking. Prior to this, a hard tail whet my appetite, then the Trek came along to cement the bond. Pictured is my original Olive EX 8 at Lake Wakitipu in Queenstown, New Zealand. I took the bike on this family holiday to mountain biking nirvana, New Zealand in April 2009.
Sadly, this frame went to MTB heaven in 2010 when a crack developed in the shock pivot. Trek stepped up to the mark and replaced the frame with a 2010 EX 9. While not overly keen on the colour of the new rig, I love the up-specced shock. I added to this with Shimano XT tubeless wheels, a Fox RLC, 15mm through axle, tapered steerer fork and Avid Elixir brakes which take it to full EX 9 spec.
My Sweeeeet Earthy ride!
Giant XTC 29er
From riding with others on 29" wheels, I could see that they rolled much better along fire roads, climbed better and well, were just a bit different. It took a fair bit of research and quite frankly, I wasn't totally convinced about this 29er fad until Giant released the XTC 29er. While Giant is the Toyota of the bicycle world and hence a bit mundane, they really turned the 29er world on it's ear in 2010. With a big wheel bike that not only handled well in the single track (previously the 29er's Achilles heel), it smashed the opposition, was very well specced and about half the price of the competition! I quickly ditched the heavy wheels for something with less rotating mass and tubeless. Stan's Crest rims laced to Hope Pro II hubs fit the bill here. Some Avid Juicy 7 brakes round out the upgrades.
Makes a nice, old man's ride.....
Kona Unit 2-9
This bike seemed like a good idea at the time! The idea was for another 29" wheel bike as they roll well. This time it would be a single speed to round out my stable. The advantages of the single speed are lightness. They have no gears, cables or shifters to weigh them down. Because of this simplicity, they are great for riding in the mud as there are no gears to gum up and jam.
The slight downside is that they only have one gear. That is to say, when you hit a steep hill, going up you have to stomp the gear you have and going down, well you coast or pedal like a demented hamster!
Sounds pretty silly, right? Well, any normal person might think so, but single speeds are simply awesome for making you man (or woman) up and putting the hurt on you. This in turn makes you stronger, assuming it doesn't kill you and I am sure I have been near death riding this orange beast at times. Add to this it has a rigid carbon fork and the ride is to say the least, No Compromise Stiffness! I lightened the bike again with a Stan's Arch rim laced to a Surly single speed hub on the rear and a Stan's Crest laced to a Shimano XT hub at the front, all running tubeless of course. Tubes are for chumps!!
This bike scares the tar out of me, but excites at the same time. She is one bad biatch and a great idea.
Avanti Cadent 2
After being smoked on too many rides by guys and girls that ride on the road I figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The addition of a road bike to a Mountain Biker's stable was from a purely training standpoint. They offer constant, consistent training miles. No matter how boring, right? Well actually, it isn't that boring as the road bike opens up all manner of new rides because it rolls amazingly well on those skinny little 100psi tyres. The only downside is the vulnerability I feel on the road. Queensland drivers (and Aussie drivers in general) have no respect for other road users and this plays on my mind with route selection when I ride the "roady". Hence, most rides are at 5am in the summer, purely for training purposes and avoiding the peak of dickhead tradies in utes on their way to work.
2002 Yamaha YZF-R1
What can I say? Purely an indulgence that I hope to get to spend more time with. In fact, my plan is to keep this beauty forever! I want to be one of those old codgers that some young bloke stumbles across, one day, and says "holy smokes, you have got one of those! With this as one of my objectives, I want to keep it as standard as possible. Yes, it has a non-standard pipe, but I am onto that, with my little bro's old standard pipe set to fit the bill. It will get new stainless braided brake lines shortly to assist in the stopping department.
I can just sit and look at it. Hmmmmm....