I Need Your Help!

by DaSy   October 12, 2009  

Myself and 3 friends have decided to embark on a challenge that we have talked about for many years.

It came about when I bought a full suspension MTB for a good few grand, and had a discussion with a work colleague who had just bought an equivalent (in his eyes) bike for about £120- full suspension MTB, that's kind of where the similarity ended, but he was having none of it, and said how can my bike be worth best part of 30 times what his was.

This got me thinking, and hatched the plan. We each have to purchase a new, but very cheap, full suspension MTB from a legit source, and we are going to give it full throttle around Afan, doing Whites Level and the Wall initially. The desire is for the bike to break catastrophically before the end of the run.
We will be in full body armour and full face lids, due to the almost inevitable crashes due to component failure.

For me the best bit will be arriving in the Glyncorrwg carpark in my mates very cool sign written bike shop van, emerging in about a grands worth of clothing and lids each, then producing the Apollo, or Universals from the back and steaming off up the trail.

This is were I need the help, the cheapest adults dual suspension bike I can find is from Amazon at £89.99, is there anywhere else cheaper that isn't some dubious internet deal from a shill company set up to part me from less than a ton yet supplying no bike.

I've checked Argos, Tesco Direct (they had a deal for £79.99 but I was too slow), Halfords and Amazon. Where else should I look?

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The brakes are amazing. From the front they appear to be a fairly normal V-type brake arm, but when you look at the back of the arm you realise they are actually just made of pressed sheet steel. They flex inward so much that increasing the force on the lever doesn't increase the force of the pad on the rim. The pad is made of plastic rather than rubber too.

My chosen bike has much worse brake performance than the other tested so far, not sure why, just lucky I suppose!

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
19th November 2009 - 12:28

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ouch!

How can that be legal?

ctznsmith's picture

posted by ctznsmith [102 posts]
19th November 2009 - 12:33

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hey DaSy, if your really lucky it may rain all day sunday Big Grin them brakes will be even worse than no brakes...hmmm

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
19th November 2009 - 14:38

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I think it is forecast to rain in Afan area, I don't care about stopping at the moment though, I am focussed on overtaking someone on the way up.

The main problem is that the drive train really cannot cope with power through it. The square taper cranks will very easily convert to round taper, especially as the inside of them appears to have a plastic coating to interfere with the fit.
I also found that I was only getting meaningful drive from about 3/4 of the full pedal revolution, and it turned out I was screwing the freewheel on tighter - this went on for about 10 pedal revs!

I want to nurse it up the climb though just to get a chance to test this Troy Lee lid on the way down if nothing else.

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
19th November 2009 - 17:13

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low gear and high cadence then. if you get to choose a gear Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7405 posts]
19th November 2009 - 17:17

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I think we may need to No-More-Nails my Time Atacs on too, the pedal fit is vague to say the least.

High cadence, low power it is, but I'm sure to get carried away if I see a potential overtake on the cards!

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
19th November 2009 - 17:37

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"Virus" is too funny; it's not a bike - it's a disease!

I hope you take a photographer on a bike which is capable of following the BSOs around the route to record their failures!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1347 posts]
20th November 2009 - 18:14

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DaSy? Are you there? Did you survive? Do your limbs work?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7405 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 21:27

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Just back from Afan, and I'm still functioning.

Five riders made muster, one dropping out due to some lame excuse.

The weather was insane, with torrential rain and a freezing hail storm!

Two bikes died, but three made it round pretty well! All those three had total brake failure, and I mean total, mine also had to have the chain moved by hand to get different gears.

I overtook quite a few on the climb! We all overtook quite a few on the descent, which was mental when you consider the Whites descent is really best approached with brakes. I really can't stress quite how much our brakes didn't work, absolutely nothing at all...

One of our number is a national standard downhiller, and his run through the tabletops on the Energy section was truly amazing. He was getting ridiculous air, crossing up in the air than spotting the landing on every one. All this on a bike with no useable suspension and weighing 40lbs.

We only made The Whites Level due to the weather and bike breakages, one set of forks bending so far back the bike was rendered unrideable, and meant a 3km walk for one...of course we didn't wait for him.

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 21:47

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hey DaSy do you think Rapha might class this as an epic! Big Grin

cant wait to see a few pictures. brilliant stuff, well done that man.

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 21:51

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hahahahahahahaha! sounds amazing. have you got video of X-ups on a BSO? i *must* see it Smile

interesting that three bikes made it round, more than i would expect if i'm honest...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7405 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 21:52

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So in a way then, your mate with the £120 bike had a point… Surprise Thinking Smile

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4144 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 21:56

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We have stills of the 6 pack run, the weather meant that the video equipment had to be left in the van.

It was an epic, we drove 300 miles to ride 11 miles, break 5 bikes and waste about £500! It's a proud moment.

I overtook my mate at one point, and as I went past he jumped off his bike and flung it after me, it wheeled past me and crashed in front of me, I managed to cycled straight over the top of it, in front of a group of very bemused riders, which we then overtook on the next descent.

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 21:58

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there's people driving back from Afan as we speak saying "did you see those idiots on cheap bikes, one of them was throwing his at the other who then rode over it" fantastic.

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:02

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Tony, my mate did point out that we have two total failures, the other three with no usable brakes or gears, and one with collapsed forks - which incidentally were marked Activ Suspention, not being able to spell on the stickers isn't a good sign.

All this happened in the bikes first 11 miles, so I'm not sure quite what we proved, but it did teach me to pick a good line that requires no brakes...

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:03

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i spose in some respect the bikes that you (ab)used were no better than the old 'klunkers' that Gary Fisher et all used back in the early 80's in california as the first mountain bikes

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:08

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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the guy riding the six pack also had purple and silver tinsel bar tassels,we lost one of those during one crash, but did add a little je ne sais quoi.

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:09

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I suppose what I meant was did you enjoy it as much as you would on your normal bike, different experience by the sounds of it… and if you were to repeat it regurlarly I suppose the cost of buying a bike a week would start to mount. Eventually.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4144 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:13

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DaSy wrote:
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the guy riding the six pack also had purple and silver tinsel bar tassels,we lost one of those during one crash, but did add a little je ne sais quoi.

its the little details that matter in any 'epic' ride Big Grin

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:13

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I've ridden all Afan trails on my Pace RC200 rigid singlespeed, but for some reason that was so much easier than these. It does weigh sub 20lbs and have great brakes I suppose.

I just wanted some brakes...

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:14

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To be honest Tony, we have never had so much anticipation, excitement and all out enjoyment on any ride, ever. We are even thinking of mending any we can, plus we have two spares, and embarking on another adventure.

Maybe Cwmcarn downhill run...

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:16

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DaSy wrote:
I've ridden all Afan trails on my Pace RC200 rigid singlespeed, but for some reason that was so much easier than these.

well you were basically riding a rigid singlespeed, weren't you? just a really heavy and crap one pretending to have gears and suspension.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7405 posts]
22nd November 2009 - 22:23

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Where are these photos you speak of! Smile

ctznsmith's picture

posted by ctznsmith [102 posts]
23rd November 2009 - 11:00

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It'll be a few days before I get my hands on them. I was too busy riding and screaming to take any myself.

We had a rider on a real bike following, and we saw them on the camera afterwards, but will have a wait before I get them, as they have to go via my mate then on to me.

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
23rd November 2009 - 11:35

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Yeah take them to Cwmcarn it would be worth it to see the looks on the guys faces as you load them onto the trailer for the uplift. Or you could ride them up the XC trail to play on the Freeride park at the top and ride the bus back down as that would kill them off.

demoff's picture

posted by demoff [344 posts]
23rd November 2009 - 15:57

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Photos? I keep coming back to this thread to check.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1347 posts]
30th November 2009 - 12:12

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Hahaha....

I'm hoping to pick them up this week, I only have a few before and after pics at the mo', nothing very exciting.

I am on the case though...honest.

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
30th November 2009 - 12:17

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I got rained on this morning, and it reminded me of the weather we had when I want to Afan, which reminded me of this thread, so I thought I'd check it to see if there were any pics...

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1347 posts]
14th January 2010 - 14:41

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Look out for a feature on road.cc this weekend!...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7405 posts]
14th January 2010 - 16:46

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could i change the subject a little by asking you all to visit www.parrabuddy.blogspot.com and follow www.twitter.com/skippydetour as i am "looking for help" to find "disabled riders and volunteers to join in riding routes of 2010 tour de france in july.

most of you will know the people who i should be asking to participate if you are unable to find the time yourself
feel free to offer assistance!

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [383 posts]
19th January 2010 - 20:11

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