Sunday, 11 January 2009


"Looking back what I have done
There's lots more life to live.
At times I feel overwhelmed
I question what I can give.
But I don't let it get me down
Or cause me too much sorrow
There's no doubt about who I am
I always have tomorrow" *


We've been riding Cannondale's quite a bit lately. It has to be said theyre pretty good. Got a phone call off Alan on Saturday morning that the new 'keeper' Rize Carbon3 was in. Would I be OK to pick it up . I said I'd have to check my schedule .....

Pictures of these bikes dont really do them justice. They are so nicely put together.They always were. I wanted a Cannondale when I first started out MTBing. They were a funny quirky 'east coast ' thing back then. High bottom brackets and slacker head angles . Funny that . Kinda how modern bikes are now. Apart from the fact they basically didnt exist over here back then ,if you could find one , you couldnt afford it. I couldnt afford one then ,and I cant afford one now. This particular model featured here retails for over £3k.So it'd better be good.

It's probably fair to say 3 grand is just outside what most people can justify spending on a bike. ( A deposit secures and easy payment terms are available . Ahem ). Now , i've ridden some decent kit over the last 18 months or so . A wide selection of Demos. The Commencal meta ( just over £2k) was a blinder , I loved the Fisher HiFi ( under £2k),and the latest commencal super 4 is tight too, if 4" is your thing. Just recently we've had some demos off Cannondale. 3 to be precise. A big ol' Moto , a Rush carbon ,and a Rize ali. Straight out the van you can see/feel theyre something else . I realise i'm gushing praise on them ,but theyre that good . And it's one thing to finish a bike to the nth degree and bling it up ,polish the weld out ( as Cannondale do ) etc ,but these work dead good too. Hard to find fault,really.
I've not really had a proper ride on the big Moto ,so , no comment . Looks the biz . Last week I took out the carbon Rush and was amazed at how good it was . When you first see it it looks to be on the lighter end of things . Certainly it weighs nowt ,and romps up the hills . You'd think there'd be a compromise going downhill ,but razzing down the rocky middle of the Ice Cream Run it didnt feel like it only had 4" of bounce.Super plush . With that mad fork too.
I've had a few goes on the Rize Ali. Mostly local woods-y stuff. ( what Cannondale were famous for ). Again ,hard to fault. Similar in it's 'target demograph' to the Commencal meta ,but definitely a better finished thing. Surprisingly good up and down ,climbing a stupid steep slippery slope with aplomb.Whatever that means.
Andy rode it when we went to Landegla the other week and seemed to like it .Jeff took it up Rivi' and over to Darwen and thought it was great.

Right ,this weeks thing.
Same as the above ,but carbon ,and with better bits. No shrinking violet. Violet was so '90s anyway. Is that lime green? It's pretty close to a lime green Grifter my mate sprayed in the 80's . It was shocking then and it's shocking today . I like it though. Set off with the white bits dangling on it, it's definitely bling bling . Blat blat .
I'm off to Rivi to see what it can do. Maybe everyone's seen the weather report . It's not looking too good as I step out of the door at 0715 ,known in the trade as doing a 'Wyatt',(although technically a bit late to be the full 'Jay Dubya') and judging by the distinct lack of interest in last nights Email it looks like I'm the only mad bugger out . Jeff's away so he has an excuse . What's yours? See me after class .
Anyway , I'm out on a 3 grand lime green Cannondale . It'd be rude not to.
First impressions riding up the road with the shocks 'off' ,like the Rush of last week,it's a fairly good mile muncher. The schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres are making a racket as I blast down the first hill which bodes well for their off-road ability . We'll see . I'm fussy about tyres ,me.
I take the same route as last week. Out of Wigan on the long climb it doesnt feel as eager ,maybe , as the Rush but when I get up to Rivi barn I'm surprised to find I'm something like 10 mins earlier than last week . How did that happen then ?
As I'm early I do a few extra laps around the top end of the top barn ,looping back to where we usually park on the off chance someone shows . I make a few phone calls. Who am I kidding ? Everyone's in bed. It's a few degrees colder up here . Who can blame them? There are still a few pockets of melting dead slippy sheet ice about. Tasty . I was thinking of heading over to the TV mast and over the back but as I am now on my own ,and a sensible 40 yr old ,I decide against it.
Climbing up through the gardens the Rize feels good . Unlike the other Rize that has a simple lock-out fork ,this one is of the Rockshox 'U-turn' variety and is coming into it's own. These longer forked bikes are all very good, but even though they can be made very light in weight (and it feels light ) I reckon the biggest factor limiting ,or aiding climbing, is a bike's geometry .When the going gets overly steep the front end unweights and it's tricky to steer,sometimes even lifting. I have an ETA marzocchi on my Fisher hardtail that by rights is too long for the bike. I knock it down for the climbs and pop it back out for the downhills . It works well . Just remember to wind it back out when you need to ,eh ? The number of times I've forgot that one .
Still climbing ,up to the top of the Pike, still wound down ,it feels ace . Tricky corner ,etc etc.

It's quite cold on top .Bit of a stiff breeze too. I dont intend hanging around, but end up bumping into an old workmate,so you can guess the rest.
Dropping off the back is becoming a bit of a formality ,but it's a good benchmark descent.At least I remembered to turn out the fork. The top rocky bit is ticked off . Onto the rutted bottom bit . Muddy/slippy this week . A good test for the tyres. They feel OK . That's a first . Me getting on with some tyres on a demo bike.Still a tiny bit of ice near the bottom. Twitchy twitchy . Take it easy.
I turn left and head over to Wilders wood,ice sheets melting on the bridleway. Into the woods more muddy /slippy ,but with roots. Also slippy.
The bike feels tight dropping through the trees. It's a brand new bike ,so it should.
Wilderwood spits you out on a rocky doubletrack 'road'. A good fast downhill with some nice sweepers and one particularly tight right hander that I've overshot more than once.
As the track drops out of the trees I'm aware it's now raining,but I'm not bothered as I'm flying. The brakes ( Avid ) have bedded in and are working well. Just as I'm getting the flow I round the corner before that aforementioned righthander and am greeted,for the want of a better word, by a glacier. Time for some evasive action . I all but deck-it into the trees. This seemed like a good idea until I was tiptoeing across the ice in my ballet shoes. The most difficult part, I find , is maintaining ones dignity when presented with such a problem. I'm thinking "Any minute now , Wrightington Hospital , Hip".
Just dont drop the bike.
And that's basically it ,thank God. I dropped down into Horwich and cold rain, and hoofed it home into a headwind . So that's the ten minutes on the way up then . Hmm.
Bike filthy . Me ,moreso. It transpires that after all this cold weather gritting we've had, the subsequent rain has cuased the roads to have a nice strong coating of salty soup. Yummy. Dont get me going . Salt's vitally important .




I was home before 11 and truly filthy. On the long hoof home the Rize does it's thing as expected. As first rides go it's been good. Arguably I've not really opened it up ,but the conditions werent the best.We've a few good rides planned for the coming weeks . I'll keep you posted.This Cannondale is a 'keeper' so it's available throughout the year to try. Is it the perfect bike?
If you'd like to give it a whirl Email Mr Waverly in the shop .
For more info clickenzi here

MUDDYFOX COURIER. Broken collarbone by me.Photo by Amy . Nose by Dad.
* Greenday. 'I was there' . I really was .The bus driver's social club . They threw beans.
Signing off ,Napoleon Solo.

No comments:

Post a Comment