Photo by Hoshi Yoshida

Three weeks in and things are settling in nicely. Every ride I’ve been on I’ve enjoyed just as I have on any full suspension ride. The Big Wig continues to perform very well with the big wheels monstering anything in their path. And pretty comfortable too.

I have had a couple of ‘moments’ though. I got a little out of shape on Deliverance trying to ride the top sections as I usually do (point, close eyes, and shoot).

Smarter braking is always at the forefront of my mind when I’m riding. Laying off the picks while I’m cornering is always a biggie and it seems somewhat exaggerated back on the hardtail. With no rear suspension to work the trail, I feel that I’m losing traction more easily. Being smoother (with no braking) over the rough stuff will certainly help me maintain traction and I hope in time to become a better rider.

I’ve had a bit of feedback from my decision and generally it’s pretty positive. There are still plenty of hardtail enthusiasts out there which is great to see.

After a bit of google pokering I found this thread that demonstrates I’m not alone in my love of long travel hardtails. Be careful of this one though, it’s a bit of a time vampire.

Over three hundred pages of hardtail love

I did however get some relatively candid feedback from one friend.

I think it can be loosely surmised as ‘Harden up’.

It is funny though how everything is relative. Ignorance is bliss and choice breeds unhappiness. Would I be happier riding a city bike in the back blocks of Africa(with no internet)? Quite possibly.

15 Years ago, I would have abdicated from the throne for a Gary Fisher X-Cailber. Bright yellow. Hayes disc brakes. Manitou forks.  I saw one in the flesh in Cycle Services on Cuba Street but didn’t loiter after feeling slightly intimidated by the peroxide blonde, slightly imbalanced, coke snorting shop owner.

Picture borrowed from

Even when you look at it now, it was still pretty tight. Long front centre. Short chainstays. Disc brake mounted on the chainstay. Yellow wheels.

It must have left an impression. I can even remember the magazine ad. It was some tattooed and bearded rider who lived in his van and destroyed trails. He was awesome. By default, the bike was awesome. I wanted to be awesome.

15 years later, I’m still not awesome. I have the van (some call it a coach). I have kids, a mortgage and a bank job. But I can still have the bike (or a variant of it). There is hope for me yet.

And when I was worrying about not being very enduro, I discovered this dude. Frank Schneider. He won his category on the Megavalanche on a Nicolai Argon FR Hardtail – and singlespeed no less. He must be awesome.

You can see him in action here (but not on the Megavalanche):

Would a Nicolai make me awesome? Something for me to worry the internets about for the next few weeks anyway…

4 Responses

  1. Mark , i just want you (and everyone else) to know that my slight imbalance has never been diagnosed correctly until recently and is now regarded as a handicap and i will therefore be training for the next long-travel hardtail XC Paralympics with zeal.

    1. rod, i just spoke to zeal and he wants nothing to do with you…muttering something about you owing him ‘cash for snow’ whatever that means….

  2. Spot on with the interpretation of the texts Mark. And come to think of it what great alternative title for this series: ‘Hard-en the F**k up!’ Nice work though. Keep ’em coming.

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