THE BLOODY PEARL...AND OTHER PIRATE STORIES

With Caleb sipping wine and eating olives in Italy to help digest the GT bikes launch, it was left to North America Spoke correspondent, Seb Kemp, to smash out some lairy wet laps in the Whistler Bike Park aboard the 2011 Specialized big bike range.

There are four sizes available now, including an XS. It was decided that the large was already plenty long enough for big fellas so why not address the miniature audience. The Sam Hill effect influences children and women.

They have shortened the headtube to lower the bar height for all the knuckle draggers. The Demo also includes the new BB30 Press Fit standard (?). Don't get me started on standards, however, the big S are big enough that they are making their excitement for this new standard felt throughout the industry. Expect a few BB30 DH cranks coming out soon to appease the Big Red God. The BB30 Press Fit is like the BB30 used on road bikes and some uber race XC bikes but the frame has plastic cups pressed into the BB shell that takes a big bloody bearing.

The whole bike is very long slung keeping the CG as low as possible and the weight centred, helping the bike turn fast and feel balanced in the wet rocky hell of three minutes of disappointment, which is what a lot of racing can become.

And what everyone wants to know is how much it will weigh, not what it will cost. The frame has shed 3/4 lb from the previous model and this model will be 37lb out of the box. There is a another model that has a paint job like a tiger bumblebee (pretty rad) which is a lot more affordable than the all-singing all-dancing Campino one pictured here. Available end of September or October, just in time for Christmas. Or the National series and the League of Gentlemen series.

Also note the pre- cut spike tyre in the above photo, the Hillbilly. These are not stock but Speccy decided to offer a pre-cut spike to racers seeing as they were seeing plenty of racers going mad with cutters on spike tyres when there is a dew in the air. This saves mechanics time, saves the environment from excess waste of rubber supplies, and saves tyre companies money. Boo yah!

There's a lot more from the launch but I'll save them for tomorrow. Oh, and I might go beyond the bleeding catalogue and tell you what I think about the crucial ride characteristic of the bike too. I can't do that right now, it's 6am and I can't grind any coffee beans without waking the whole house up. [Yawn]