Hooked on Bikes – All The Gear, No Idea

Around this time last year I got back into Mountain bikes. I dusted off the Cube Acid I bought back in 2011 and started riding again. The problem with bikes in 2021 is you start looking on YouTube and feel you need to have “modern geometry” and 27.5″ or 29″ wheels.

To be fair it was not a bad bike but with 100mm travel and really geared up for cross country stuff, it was overly lively on the gnarlier trails, so I pretty quickly decided to buy a new bike.

Thanks to Covid, the bike industry was suffering major shortages on decent bikes, so I elected to build my first bike from a mix of second hand parts off ebay and drivetrain from my Cube.

This was the result, which is actually now converted to be Sarah’s bike – hence the girl seat and hot pink DMR grips & pedals.

(Brand-X HT-01 frame with Manitou Markor 130mm Forks):

The bike was awesome but I felt the skinny rim on the 135mm QR hub might start to buckle as I started pushing the envelope, was still keen on having a hardtail. So around december I built up an Octane One Prone and this was pretty hardcore for a hardtail but most of the better parts such as 160mm Rockshox Yari forks, chunky shimano brakes and dropper made it onto my next bike.

I’ve recently rebuilt this bike though with some budget MT200 brakes, spare drivetrain and some new DT Swiss wheels. I missed how quick the the black bike was cross country, with the rear XC tyre and lightweight-ness so decided to replicate that in the reincarnation of this blue Octane One.

Here is the latest iteration of the “Blue Bike”

(Octane One Prone – both versions):

First iteration, hardcore version.
Second iteration, spare bike

Finally, fast forward to around march time 2021, I started riding faster and harder, finding places I could allow gravity to assist and trying the odd tabletop or double. I did come unstuck a few times on rutty corners, and nearly crashed, so decided… rather than improve skill I’ll buy a full suspension trail bike.

Really wanted to buy a fully built one this time but the industry still hasn’t recovered from Covid and I was pretty sure if I put away the snobery and bought a frame that was a couple of years old, I could service the shock and fit all new parts elsewhere.

So that’s what I did. I ended up with a decent spec enduro bike, frame and shock cost me about the same as a monarch rc3 shock alone. The extra travel and slacker geometry has taken some getting used to.

At first it felt quite slow and made my local trails feel tame, less entertaining than the Octane One even. It took a few rides to realise that I could push it much harder and then get bigger grins.

With that I bought a full face helmet for confidence and decided to maintain two bikes for myself, dependant on where I want to ride,

There is a pretty intermediate, but fun downhill track at my local trail center. My previous best time thee on the Octane One with same forks, brakes and tyres was around 57s. My first proper run on this bike was 52s – that’s quite a saving on such a short run!

(Vitus Sommet with Rockshox Yari 160mm Forks & Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3 shock):