Battery replacement

IMG_3677This has been raised as a question a couple of times during our darkness ventures with some of us advocating selling lights after a year or two before the battery duration begins to reduce and others keeping a light until it dies and then buying a replacement. Continue reading


First group ride…

First group ride ever so wasn’t sure what to expect. Met at sussex uni sports centre car pack, i was early but before i knew it there was 16+ riders all padding up and looking eager to ride.

After a few quick hellos, we’re off!! Great

Nice gentle climb up onto the downs with all manner of lights beaming around like something out of close encounters 😉

Can’t remember if the sky was clear but air was really nice and fresh, bit of wind to cool us down as we went.

First mini loop to get a quick hit of action. A short section of twisty single track before we carry on up.

Right out in the middle of nowhere now, the guys know all routes. Some bigger loops with longer runs. Man this place is rooty! Sus is doing overtime as we bomb along with some more technical woodpiles to navigate and drops to make.

Somewhere up high we all stop and Ronnie breaks out the sweets, nice! and we get a little rest before hitting a fast decent taking us round to some seriously off camber tracks with, yep, lots of roots. Bike was struggling to find the grip and after a number of near fun misses we’re through.

Quick climb up and we’re on the home leg, few sections of trail yet to hit. One quite quick one with a wall on one side and some nice challenging drops. Groups spread out a bit now and everyone hass found their space, big smiles when everyone re groups

Before i know it, we’re back having riden 10 miles and ascended some 1700ft acording to googles mytracks. A good Thursday night!

Southdowns has loads to offer and a really friendly riding group. I’ll be back whenever i can 🙂


First impressions on Brighton MTB from a newbie!

Recently I moved from London to Brighton, to among other things rejuvenate my mountain biking enthusiasm/skills – I then did what we all do these days…..and Googled mountain bike clubs in the area.

I quickly found out that Brighton MTB ( seemed a friendly bunch, and after exchanging a few emails had arranged to meet at Sussex University on a Thursday evening for a spot of night-riding.
Lacking suitable lights I was also offered the chance to borrow some impressive Exposure lights (courtesy of Freedom Bikes), and so on that Thursday evening I set off into Stanmer Park woods with 10-15 other bike nuts!

The biking itself was superb – a combination of challenging singletracks, obstacles to jump/ride over/avoid, and even some Northshore thrown in for good measure.
The group seems to be led by different people each week, with someone also at the back to ensure that no-one gets left behind, and the guys have excellent knowledge of the local routes available!

Based on my experience with Brighton MTB, the warm welcome I received & the quality of biking I’ve done so far, I would highly recommend this club to anyone who wants to get off-road again!



Another new rider

The latest addition to the Brightonmtb fold is already trying out new wheels. The helmet is definitely not correctly fitted.

Congratulations to John F who does not really deserve them but his wife does.

Mother and baby, Florence Beatrice, are doing fine.


Read all about it

It was a Mixed Bunch of Riders that gathered for a Muddy Bike Ride. Choosing what mountain bike was ideal for this sort of ride is difficult as it would include a little singletrack. The South Downs National Park has as good a range of trails that you can find for mountain biking in the UK however the chalk can be slippery so I was hopeful the weak sun would dry out the dirt

After quick introductions some typical mountain bike action saw us avoiding the trails and riding the black stuff up hill with cold legs for some, especially me. On the flat the lack of a big ring showed up really quickly and reaching the high point was more effort than I had hoped. Continue reading

On One 456 carbon

First impression after getting the frame out of the box was how light it was; compared with the steel 456 it replaced it’s incredible. Lacquer finish etc was ‘ok’ but for the price you can’t complain. I bought 2 sets of bolt on dropouts – one for gears and one for singlespeed – I’ve used some thread lock on the bolts attaching these and had no problems. The various inserts seem to be aligned well – I quite like the idea of the BB being inside a threaded aluminium sleeve – any water that does find it’s way into the frame isn’t able to get to the BB bearings.

Originally I had planned to be running it with gears but, following a frame failure and a complex parts swap across three bikes it turned out to be a singlespeed in the end. I built it with some 130mm Pace RC41’s but have subsequently fitted some 140mm Marzocchi 44 Micro Ti forks with a QR15 axle. Other parts are Easton low rise carbon bars, 90mm stem and carbon seatpost, Magura Louise brakes, XTR cranks, Salsa cog/ring and Hope Pro2/DtSwiss wheelset. Complete with the 44’s it weighs about 22lbs.I rode it for about 3 months with the Pace forks and was never entirely happy with it – the front end just didn’t seem to allow me to ride the woods at Stanmer the way that the back end seem to be indicating it could. After the fork change the whole bike seemed to come together – the solid front end now tracks really well, deals with roots and obstacles cleanly and the back end (helped no doubt by weighing next to nothing) obediently follows wherever it’s led. I do sometimes miss the ability to lock down (rather than out) the forks but even with a 140mm forks I don’t seem to suffer from wandering climbs – probably as much a result of the bikes geometry as the fact I’ll be stood up pulling faces on anything with a significant gradient due to the lack of gear choices. I know this is a frame review but these Marzocchi forks are great – I’m so impressed I’ve got a set at 120mm on my steel Kinesis Decade Versa.

As well as pinging off and over logs and roots around Stanmer I’ve taken the bike out on a 31 mile Wiggle organised ride on the North Downs (route here – and whilst this was by no means a technical ride it did show me that the bike is far more comfortable over a reasonable distance at good pace than the steel bike it replaced. It’s a solid feeling bike (more so than the steel in some respects) but it has an ability to not transmit ‘chatter’ off the trail that leads to a much more relaxed ride feel.

So, is it worth a couple of hundred quid more than the steel 456? At the moment I’d say yes – it seems to flatter my somewhat mincing approach to obstacles more but at the same time not leave my lower back asking for a rest after 15 miles. This is my first carbon frame and whilst I’ve no reason to doubt its’ longevity there is always a slight worry about crash damage and overall lifespan. I’ve heli-taped the whole down tube and various other places where cables may rub. A good chain stay protector is a must – the stays are so deep I get chain slap occasionally, even running singlespeed with a well tensioned chain.

Things that bother me about this frame – mainly transmitted noise – the slightest squeak from a component (and I’ve not got that many running it SS) seems to be amplified through the frame to the point that you think it’s about to fail – a ‘failing BB’ turned out to be a chain that needed a bit of lube after one very wet ride. It can sound like a Tupperware box full of marbles being shaken on fast descents with loose stones on them as various bits of high speed geology hit the frame. I had some problems getting a disk calliper to fit – they run inside the rear triangle and with the slidey dropouts there was no room for a Magura Marta calliper. On-one do a different non-drive side dropout for geared use that runs the calliper above the seat stay but this won’t work with a SS setup. The only other issue I’ve had is with the On-One headset I use to run a 1 & 1/8th steerer in a tapered frame – it’s been difficult to get it to run consistently tight enough without being ‘too tight’ – the bottom bearing also needs cleaning out and re-greasing far more frequently than I’d expect on a £40 headset.

So, overall as an upgrade from a steel 456 what have I gained? Well, I’ve not lost the geometry and dimensions that made the steel frame into such a nice ride, which was critical for me. I’ve now got a lighter frame that seems to do everything the steel bike did but it does it all with just a bit more panache.

Oh, and it’s not pink.


Thursday thoughts

“I bought a bike last week and rode straight out the shop to here for my first ride here and my first night ride”

” I have been persuaded to lead tonight, glad it is only twenty seven”

” I am new tonight so that is why I am hiding”

“Don’t look, he has no head”

“Does my bum look big in this?”

” whistle – check, wristguards – check!”

“now you see me, now you see me”

” Are you ready Mike?”

” I hope this headset is back the right way round”

” How hard can it be?”

” I don’t want to turn around, what is he doing?”

“I can’t see from here”

“I can”

“I feel like a doppleganger”

“why is everyone else’s bike the wrong way up?”

“do you like that lycra feel?”

“not the feel, just the look”