Rob “the Pirate”

Due to my fashion of wearing Buff’s underneath my helmet I was nick named

Rob “The Pirate”

by the gents at the bike shop. I wear buffs for their many functional benefits and reasons and their uses can not be underestimated.

They when worn as a bandana they stop my sweaty head from ruining my helmet.

Double it over and it’s a warm hat!

Round the neck to keep you warm in winter or wet it and it’ll keep you cool in the summer!

I love my Buff’s as is evident from the many photo’s i’ve posted of me wearing them..

No. I’ve not got a job with Buff I was just asked why I wear them today and thought there’s a good HighwayMunky cycling tip waiting to happen!

So the tip really boils down to a question.

Are you Buff enough to wear a BUFF?

…. I can not believe I just wrote that….. sorry.
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Working for it: SS review a few days on

My thoughts on the bike at the moment break down into 2 parts.

  1. Positive + The single speed-ness, 

A couple of time on the commute this morning I made movements to change gear,

Strange that I was on a road bike reaching for non existent mountain biking shifters.

After chuckling to my self for a few minutes, I resumed the attack on the hills. Yes attack, I have found so far that unless I wish to crawl along at 0 mph uphills, up out of the saddle or sat down hammering away is the only way to do it. 

Maybe it the iPod but I’m finding it quite easy to just pootle along and need to kick myself to move faster, I am enjoying the smooth ride of being on a road bike again how the little flicks of the bars and graceful movements of the bike round corners are pleasing to the body, mind and soul.

I think above all I like the idea of the single speed, it is very cool and a bit different, i like the idea of me and the machine against the elements, i like the idea of if I want to go faster I have to work harder, I like that the bike looks so cool too!

     2. Negative – The Bars.

Now this is my only gripe / area of concern, I’m not too comfy with the bars and the way they bend out, i never seem to get a comfortable grip position for climbing / attacking. But I think I will give it a few weeks to try and get used to them.

 

    3. Over all + it is nice to be on a road bike again.

Think i’ll go for a long ride after work today to really try it out.

New Bike 1st ride review.

It’s very plush, I’ve put my mountain biking mud guards on to keep me dry and clean and i’ve added specialized red bar phat to stop my hands freezing to the gorgeous [now well protected] track drop bars.

The track bars will take some getting used to I think as they have a different shape to what I’m used to and not sure of the best position for climbing and having my hands yet.

The gearing is a 42/16t which I have found gives a comfortable pootling speed but when you put the power down there is plenty of range to accelerate before you spin out.

Going through traffic on a hill was interesting, the narrow bars encourage slipping through the vehicles but the desire to not stop is quite strong as it is a fair bit of effort to get going again.

The tyres grip well roll fast and are comfortable, 

Comfort is also increased through the carbon forks keeping the front end light even with bolted hubs and the the carbon wrapped seatpost saves some back pain.

I enjoyed the ride in and found not having to think about gears was not difficult infact it was kind of nice, i think i could get used to it….. 

I guess that is the thing about single speed bikes it’s just the opportunity to ride, uncompllicated riding.

[oh god i’m going off like a singlespeed preacher…. urgh! Sorry, just exceited.]

Look what I’ve got!!

Busted the wheels on my Kona and need some means of getting to and from work so off to the LBS I go, beg Andy for a test bike to use and voila!

Specialized Stumpjumper Elite 2009, Test Bike.

Love the black and green!

Riding it….

Well once I got the shock still enough for my taste and the right pressure it felt great, at first it felt heavy and slow, but I am used to a whippet like hard tail so I had to reassess how I was riding it.

It’s an all mountain singletrack machine so when I was hitting regular bumps and roots it came alive! It felt like a completely different beast to when I was plodding along the road, the forks flickered lightly over stone and root the taking the brunt but letting me know they are working,

The rear bubbles and bumps as it should over the larger rocks but then it hovers like a humming bird over pebbles and loose stone, I almost forget it is there, it works that well!

The brakes are confidence inspiring and comfortable on the hands,

The SLX shifters and XT cages are snappy and to the point not missed a trick yet, even when covered in mud!

Fox Triad shock is an improvement on the Specialized own brand I found to be a bit spongy.

Yup I like this bike, it’s definitely improved on last years, and last years was good

UPDATE:

The ride home from work was so much better than before, i’d cracked how I wanted the suspension to work so i didn’t have to fiddle for either the ups or the downs, just a flick of lock on or lock off and away we went, 

I took to the longer off road rough track home and managed to clean the hill that’s had me off and walking everytime until today, all due praises to the rear suspension being planted at all time! the Fox shock is really great once I’d worked out the compression adjust and rebound setting to my liking we were away and loving it!

Yes this is an expensive bike and yes there will probably be loads of guys out there with it, but that is because it is very good!

 

UPDATE:

This is an excellent bike and if you ever have the chance to ride one do!

Not so great gear review (partly due to big bottoms)

It may be me who picks the wrong things but my cycling stuff is always breaking! (i know the trail gods must have their attrition of parts and stuff but it’s not fair)

Particularly my clothing.

Being a commuting cyclist means i wear my gear every day, some things are comfy and last, some are not.

Endura over trousers

Excellent trousers, very waterproof, comfy. How ever a bit on the small side, i would consider myself a large person, but apparently the rakes over at Endura (Don’t get me wrong I love their stuff) obviously assume that I am a XL person and there fore whilst casually swining my leg over the Aluminium steed, the arse in my trousers gave out.

Embarrased – no (no one saw)

Annoyed – Yes (i really like these trouser.

Lesson learnt – Yes I am an XL (in endura)

Polaris Tunsten Jacket.

Excellent jacket, under arm zips, very waterproof, comfy, warm how ever it is a bit weak on the zip front. The grippy end of zip handle bits fell off making it damn near impossible to get the thing on and or off, then the main front zip decided for reasons best known to it’s self to commit hara-kiri. Yes it actually destroyed it’s self and it’s water proof sealing around the zip.

The zip went this morning at 6:30am as i was walking out of the door, but it had been going a bit funny for days (should have seen it coming really)

So these two items work great for a short period of time then they either self destruct as in the case of the jacket or get destroyed by my fat arse!

If anyone can recommend a really good winter riding jacket that meets the following i’d really love to hear from you.

It must be:

  • Tough (must be able to handle daily abuse)
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable (it get very hot & sweaty)
  • Not black or camo
  • Not cost a fortune (mainly due to the lovely present I got Amy – see below)

Cheers

P.S.

My lovely lady received these yesterday just to show her that I was listening every time she gushed over them and that I love her very much.. xx

Cool eh!!