With my trusty secateurs at the ready I plunged into the overgrown bridleway trying to find the remnants of a trail. Unpassable at present by bike or horse a few evenings work will open it once more.
This seems to be my primary training program this year as everything seems to be growing at a huge rate. While being stung and scratched it gives you a little mind wandering time, a bit like ‘walking promoting thinking’ with more sharp interuptions.
Just like everyone else I would like to ride faster and easier without earning the benefit from serious training so I have been comparing other bikes to my 33lb Nomad. Obviously a Blur is lighter, but not that much, so the key area for me is the fork. A Fox Vanilla 36 is great, but weighs about 2.5kg, whereas a Pace Fighter is nearer 1.5kg. In between at 2kg seems to be the compromise level for many others.
Other bikes, other forks and other people’s opinions all help but there is no clear consensus as we all ride differently on different trails with different skills. So the best choice has to be ‘fit for purpose’ as although I might bounce off the odd lip or hang on down a washed out track I do not hurl myself off anything that would test a Nomad or a Vanilla 36.
Any big fork seems to be able to withstand large drops and heavy impacts and as a result tends to give a very soft ride on most trails with no handlebar buzz. A shorter travel fork tends to have a firmer edge but should stall less in a rooty hole or a ditch at low speed and be easier to manhandle due to its lower weight.
After a bit of changing of bikes and forks I find that the all mountain tag seems to combine lots of little details that suit a steeper fall line angle and a change of fork does not transform it into an xc whippet nor does a big fork change a singletrack designed hardtail into a hardcore trail dropper.
So the answer seems to be more than one bike or horses for courses.
And as I drop my secateurs into my backpack and turn to climb onto my saddle it seems I have been mistaken and at least one horse has passed through this particular bridleway and left some pungent proof on my front tyre.