Sounds a bit rude, but it’s all part of the marketing myth put out there by the designers of my favourite MTB – Born on the North Shore and designed to cope with the toughest environments, the knarliest trails, the most aggressive riders. Then the hyperbole escalates further, with the brand associating you and shredding, roosting and railing.
It’s nonsense of course, and that’s a shame because beneath all that bollocks is hidden a fantastic hardtail that will has limits, to which I shall never get near. But that’s not a problem because, operating inside my own bravery envelope, this has been the best bike I have ridden by far*
I’ve owned this pre-loved example for over a year now. I branded it on the first ride, with the chain biting a deep gouge from the chainstay. Such damage make it’s essentially unsaleable, but again this would be missing the point. I don’t want to sell it, chop it in for something a bit shinier or clothe the new emperor for the hundredth time.
And while this may send shock waves through a cycle industry traditionally boosted by a sell-me-the-next-best-thing obsessed Al, it’s not quite the epiphany I’m painting here. Because, aside from the rear mech, seat post clamp and possibly one or two other forgotten components, there is nothing on this bike that hasn’t been upgraded or replaced in the last twelve months.
It’s on a third set of wheels, a second set of forks, brakes, bars, saddle and chainset, the headset has been swapped out as has the chain, cassette and all the cables. And the front mech is on about its’ third incarnation ,after an expensive incident involving some frustrated hammering. In my defence, some of this was crash damage, although the prosecution may argue that this pertains to one brake lever.
I’ve ridden it a lot and in a lot of places; from the sun baked Pyrenees to mud splattered forestry trails. I’ve pushed it up some big hills and ridden as fast as I dared going back the other way. I must even publically admit to giggling when engaging in Jedi Speeder tree dodging at silly speeds, so each time I ride it, it just offers up a fantastic platform for having a bloody good laugh.
Which is what Mountain Biking should be about really. The rest of it is just vanity, corporations wanting to make a fast buck, and testosterone scatter-shot pretending to be competitiveness. The more I ride, the better I seem to get, although I know much of this is fitness not any late blooming of skill or bravery. The less I read of magazines and internet forums, the happier I am with what I have.
It’s a slightly worrying mindset. At this rate, I’ll be slap bang in the marketing target zone for ownership of a beard and a Marin.
* And there have been a few