Following last week’s pathetic confession that my uncomfortable hardtail grapple with the Stoodley park rock garden has convinced me to search out a full susser, I feel compelled to bore you with the details of my first ‘test’ ride.
Foregoing PRD’s offer of an Industrial marathon ride with No Pies and co I decided to ride an Enduro Expert I’d borrowed from NWMB on a shorter ride in the Peaks instead.
Naively, perhaps, we headed up a tricky climb to the base of Kinder Scout from Hayfield. I’m rode a large size version but struggled from the off and ended up pushing most of the way. At the time it felt like I’d have ascended better in a rowing boat. Bike shop mechanic and thinking man’s man John tried it out and proved that it could climb.
Red-faced I pushed on, and felt more relieved to find myself at the head of a rutted, rocky descent than ever before.
The next few minutes were some of the most exhilarating of my mountain biking life. Beginning gingerly I soon warmed to the bike’s astonishing abilities. Pining the trail , to my mind, I spied a loose rock and opted to just hit it full-on. It felt like I was crushing a huge rye bread by riding over it on a Harley Davidson.
Of course it was John who had really sliced it open on his Santa Cruz and we both grinned like demented fools when I finally reached the bottom.
Yet, for all its bulldozing strength on the downhill I wasn’t convinced the Enduro was the bike for me.
It was probably too much of a step-up for a rider with my modest abilities. The large seemed too big and the medium too small. Also perplexing was the machine’s reluctance to leave terra firma. When clipped into my hardtail it feels great to bunny hop obstacles and to crouch into the bike to launch it off terrain. But the Enduro just wants to crush everything in its path; it doesn’t need to ignore gravity.
It looked so good standing in the kitchen after I’d savoured a couple of Islay malts with Charlie George and offspring Calum ( he’s 10 and had Ribena by the way) on Friday night.
But for all its hydro-formed beauty and Fox Talas 36 R forks I have to admit I’d be foolish to take the beast into my home.
After storing the Enduro in the cellar alongside my Rockhopper I notcied that the huge brute had already taken to intimidating its younger cousin and worse, nicking his bird – Gina’s barely used women’s Hardrock Sport.
Although the Hardrock is the sort of lost kitten that lies in silk sheets eating chocolates in bed, I think she’d still prefer an honest ride with an XC bike than a roll with a surgically enhanced all-mountain beefcake.
So the other suitors still have a chance. The most likely candidate is an Intense Spider or 5.5 but IFB’s custom-build king PRD is offering several alternative prosposals. In the end the Hardrock has to decide who going to be snuggling up to its back shifter in the quiet of the basement.
Who it will be I don’t know. Any suggestions?