The morning that Martyn Ashton’s “Back on track” edit went live my phone went crazy with people sending me links and asking whether I’d seen it or not.
I remember sitting on the end of my bed watching it over and over and over again, my girlfriend crying all while i was thinking “where the hell do I get a sit ski seat from?!” - followed by “bollocks I've just sold the Santa Cruz!”
The buzz of just getting to look at potential new bikes again as I scoured eBay was amazing - we all know looking at shiny new bikes/bits is almost as much fun as riding them.
After spotting a potential Orange 324 DH bike and sourcing a sit ski seat, next came the fabrication of the seat bracket so I emailed Mojo’s and ended up speaking with the main man Chris Porter who was super helpful. He said they had both the ‘Back on Track’ and Martyn’s new bike down there so invited me down to have a look and a chat.
I called Gersh up and later that week we headed over to Mojo’s in Newport with the idea of asking a few questions and working out how to adapt the bike I’d spotted on eBay.
Oh how that changed!
When Chris showed us the ‘Back on Track' bike and explained how a lot of the modifications were done so the bike looked as ‘normal’ as possible for the film - such as removing the pawls from the free hub so they could roll the bike backwards and leave the chain/mech etc on (even though it wouldn’t do anything).
When I mentioned how excited I was at the idea of getting back out riding again with the guys, Chris said “maybe you might be interested in this..” - and showed us the new Nicolai they'd built for Martyn using an electric motor. After explaining how it worked and giving us a demo around the carpark, then that was it. SOLD.
I NEEDED THAT BIKE.
Next task was funding it! :-/
Step forward the Heroes: Ben Fieldsend and all the lovely people who were kind enough to sponsor his gruelling road ride (done in mtb attire obviously). Ian Collins at Renthal, Al, Simon, Sammy and the rest of the team at Stif Cycles and of course Chris Porter and the guys at Mojo Suspension.
Frame: Mojo Nicolai Geometron in Chemical Green. The frame uses Mojo’s geometry so its a lot longer lower and slacker than standard. Mine has had a few extra lugs welded in place to hold the motor and a little extra strengthening at the base of the down tube to deal with the weight of the motor but apart from that its just a normal bike frame.
Motor: EGO-Kit 2400 12.5Ah. With handle bar mounted throttle and motor temperature display. 2400W maximum power, 1200W nominal power. Engine weight 3.2 kg, weight on bike approx. 5.5 kg. Battery: LiMn 43V // 12.5Ah // 5.1 kg. 1000Hm. 70km/h (approx. 44 mph). 40-45km ( approx. 26 miles) covered in engine only mode.
Seat: Tessier Sitski seat modified to mount atop of a standard bike seatpost.
Fork: Fox 40
Shock: Fox Float X
Brakes: Shimano XT
Pedals: Wellgo B185 flat pedals with fixie straps to hold my feet in place rather than electrical tape.
Stem: Renthal apex
Handlebar: Renthal Fatbar lite
Seatpost: Shimano Atherton Pro
Grips: Renthal kevlar lock on and mx grip adapted to fit the throttle on the right.
Front Tire: Schwalbe Dirty Dan
Rear Tire: Schwalbe Hans Dampf
Wheels: Mavic XL limted
Rear Mech: Shimano XT
Shifter: Shimano XT
Cassette: Shimano XT 11-36
Misc: Schwalbe ProCore system to try help tyres keep shape during cornering and hard impacts.
To hold the cranks in place Mojo fabricated stainless bar that fits between the back of the pedals and attaches to the top of the down tube.
That first ride at Mojo’s… WOW. It was honestly one of the most exciting yet nerve racking things I've done in a long, looonnnnng time!.
I couldn't wait to try it out and be back on two wheels, but really REALLY didn't want to topple over and make an utter numpty out of myself! Thankfully Chris ran along side me to make sure I was alright. At one point I remember the feeling of starting to wobble as I slowed down to make a turn and my brain telling me - if you start to tip, you’re DOWN.
Slow speed manoeuvring is still Soooo nerve racking. Knowing you can’t put a foot down and stop if things go Pete Tong, BUT.. as soon as you get a bit of speed up everything gets stable, you completely forget about falling and you enjoy that feeling of riding a bike we all know and love - something I can’t even begin to put into words.
I’ve been a out on a couple of rides now and while we initially decided run the battery in a backpack, we’ve now decided to relocate it down under the seat. The weight of it up high and on my back made riding difficult with it bouncing up and down through fast bumps. That along with my weight landing a little too hard caused the seat to rotate fully backwards - which, erm, made for ‘interesting’ end to the run!
It also made for a really confined riding position and really hindered my movement so I’m looking forward to trying it without.
Out on the trails the bike is so much fun. When pointed downhill it’s just the same experience as riding before, you still feel that buzz of the compression when you hit a berm at speed and I’ve even started trying to shift my hips to ‘kick the backend out’ in the corners. The way the Nicolai Geometron geometry is designed you don’t need to move around so much on the bike or ‘hang off the back’ - which is obviously ideal for me! Its amazing how the bike allows me to ride down steep stuff seated without the “argghhhhh I'm about to go over the bars onto my face!” feeling.
The bike is amazing, and the feeling of riding again amazing, but even more so is what it lets me remain apart of and that means so much. The carpark chats as we get ready to ride, the banter at the top of the climbs, the buzz and laughs at the end of the descents… The whole social experience of riding bikes with your buddies is what I’d missed the most and to say I’m happy to get that back is an understatement.
And lets not also forget all the other bike related things that I'm now able to do again, like the scouring of eBay for ‘bargains’, checking out all the new ‘must have’ bits in the mags, getting pumped to ride by watching the world cups and awesome edits on the now many biking website, the endless biking conversations do i need to go on ;D
Oh biking world please please excuse my two year absence - I’ve been just a little ‘busy’ - but DAMMMNNN, ITS GOOD TO BE BACK ;D