Thursday, 17 September 2009


"See I reckon you're about an 8 or a 9,
Maybe even 9 and a half in four beers time."

I've delayed doing this blog for a few reasons . Partly I've been busy ,and a little tired . Mostly I wanted to kinda calm down before I did it . Collect my thoughts , and take stock . See , If I'd rushed into doing the write up of the Genius when I got home ,quicksnap , it might have stretched to a million words of gibberish . Foaming at the mouth type blahgadafnuhahmmm.

Suffice to say , I am calm . Ommmmmmmm

The bike is good .

The bike is very good .

Genius ? Probably . Did I say geeky ? OK , yes I did . I'm having a Jeremy Clarkson . The one where he tests an Alfa . Completely derides it from top to toe . Ridiculous depreciation ,dodgy lectrics , bits dropping off etc etc . Would he buy one over ,say , a 5 series B-emm. Definitely .

Unfortunately ,the Genius is the 5 series . It's the best bike I have ever ridden , I think . We didnt do a massive loop ,but we were on our local trails and included the best bits . Like the Scale and the Spark ,to find fault with the Genius is splitting the atom. The 3 position fork is a little fiddly to adjust with gloves on , but I soon got used to it ,and was perfect for getting the front end weighted nice. Combined with the clever gadget Tracloc lever thingy on the bars to lock the rear shock it climbs very well . Not as sprinty as the Scale ,or even the Spark , but sit in and it could wind up a pyramid.

Downhill with everything swinging free , it's , well , bonkers . I dont go in for the DH thing too much . I'm too old school , or maybe , just too old . I let the brakes go on a rutty run across the moors and it just flew . Up ahead a couple were walking up the trail . Not wishing to run them over I need to adjust my line to the other side of the trail . The trail is rutted along the direction of travel with 6" or so deep ruts . Normally this would require a certain amount of ' english ' ,and it's advisable to cross them a bit more square on . You know ? And then you still might lose your teeth.

It's all happening a bit quick , so I take what the kids would call a 'sick line ' . Right across the ruts at an acute angle . This is not allowed . It's Newton , or something . Probably . Dope .

Bike's ace . Very direct . Very fun . Very . "Handles like a fish " , someone once said .

Biggish drops appear . No sweat . Dude . Chill . Quicksnap.

OK ,get the picture ? The Genius is very very capable .
We head on . Heading back . Cake and coffee beckons . But before that , Ice Cream .

The Ice Cream Run . It's very mention can strike fear into the heart of many a mountainbiker . Grrr. I think it's my favourite hill . I've ridden up it once , or twice , but mostly it's for going down . Starting fairly innocuously , sweeping , it opens into a corner and then , Blammo ! Wheel sized gaps sit and wait for their prey . Ready to spit you over the top . It's all do-able , but it requires a certain attitude . Let's just say it commands a certain respect . I like nothing better than choosing a line ,weight off the back , and going with it , working the bike into the turns , onto the slab and then a hop off the front onto loose , fist sized ,cobbles , scattering them like marbles . Get it wrong and it bites . I've been bitten over the years . I'm not looking to get hurt these days , but when there's a variable present ,and you just cant be sure , it tends to sharpen the senses . Focuses the mind . You command the bike to do your bidding , you're the boss . Boss it .
Ah , but the Genius , see . It's just too good . Is that possible . Really too too good. Even though the brakes are set the wrong way , opposite handed , I'm pushing it . I hit the first turn just a little higher up the bank than I ought , through the moguls at the top and at speed , jump off the slab . It's all too easy . Going fast isnt meant to be this easy , not here . The 6" of the Genius gives it a capability far beyond what I personally am looking for . I'm going way too fast than I am happy with . The alarm bells are ringing in my head . Capable or not , a stack here at this speed would be very bad . Personally I prefer something with a bit more involvement . An Alfa ? I dunno . Do they make bikes ?
And then I've got a puncture . Hmm .Durex innertubes.
Walking the latter part of the hill you really get to see the rocks . They're not massive , but still it doesnt make sense that a simple device such as a pedal cycle should be able to negotiate it's way down with so little fuss.
So . Good thing ? Bad thing ?
Hmm . Very very very . Er....

On reflection , and this is opinion , I'd go for the Spark . The 4" of travel gives it the perfect balance . Just enough to take the sting out of a downhill like this , but also light , efficient , simple , er , elegant . Classic . You're riding the thing , not just tagging along for the ride.Perfect week to week , and perfect for a big day out , lakes / peaks thing.

The Scale ? Amazing . The fastest bike I've ever ridden . A level of speed that is unreal , matched with some comfort . Enough comfort for a 40yr old with a bad back . Occasionally . But to live with it week in week out would be hard . Too full on . Besides , I already have one . It's a pound or two heavier and says ' Diamond Back Axis ' on it .

The Genius . Just that . Genius . Too bloody clever . I said to Stu it was a 'biscuit jointer' . You may be forgiven for not knowing what a biscuit jointer is . It is a power tool that has taken all the fun , and skill , out of mortice and tenons. See ,if it was good downhill , but a bit lumpy and heavy uphill ,say , that'd be OK . Or the other way round even , but to do it all so well . That's inexcusable. Where do I fit in to the equation Einstein ? " I'm here . Hello ! "

Anything actually wrong with it ? Not really . I'm going to nitpick . It's 3 1/2 grand so it deserves it . Cable routing . Two things . Firstly aesthetic . The cables / hoses run along the top of the downtube and go on to perform their various functions very well . They just look a little untidy . I'm sure they'd look a lot nicer under the downtube .
If that was all it was , I wouldnt have mentioned it , but on our 12month old test bikes there was a worrying amount of cable rub exactly halfway up the headtube where the cables have to pass . Apart from it just looking a bit crap on your 3 1/2 grand bike , it being carbon and all that , it might over time ,weaken the headtube . Maybe , maybe not . But it doesnt inspire confidence .
Routing the cables under the downtube , coupled with a simple retainer would solve this . Oh , the front mech cable already is routed under , so why not the rest ? Anyway .

Componentry was generally excellent , but , the rear wheel on the Genius was very slack . It's probably had a hard life and needed a 'true and tension '.

Hardly the definitive nod then . It's just too bloody good . That's its flaw. It's fit , but my gosh , don't it just know it.

And next year it's even better ........ Get one . No . Really . You'll love it.

Coffee , cake etc etc as we discussed Carl Jung and the meaning of life.

OK , the 8 track's finished . I'm going to bed .


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