Even if I get back to full fitness, my back is going to need TLC from now on, so my lovely new lightweight Maxlight Pro 3 hard tail will probably have to go before I’ve even ridden it, still its an opportunity to get excited about new toys (anyone want to make me an offer on the frame and headset?).
So full suspension bikes – uurrrgghhhhhkkkkkkk, heavy, bouncy, inefficient, lots of maintenance, lots to go wrong…..that’s the way I have seen them in the past – sofas on two wheels.
But now I have no choice, its switch to full sus or risk another back problem in the future.
I’ve ridden a full suspension bike in anger twice. Once in about 2005 when Gary from Mammoth loaned me a Giant NRS team which I hooned around the chase on for a couple of hours. It was awesome at the time, but also loads of money. I then rode a ‘Cult’ prototype mania 6 inch hired trailbike on an MTBO in Slovenia. I spent most of the time cursing the weight and pedal bob but was impressed by the way it climbed steep rocky terrain http://www.stodgell.co.uk/?p=684
So, where to start with choosing a full suspension bike. I spent most of the time between Christmas and New Year, whilst I had a serious dose of cabin fever, researching and getting properly confused with horst links, single pivots, monolinks, virtual pivots, switch links, 4 bar links….yawn!
I was also wincing at the price of getting a half-decent frame.
Then, mooching around on Singletrack’s for sale page I spotted a second hand Whyte E5 frame for sale. Two friends and former GB team riders, Jimmy Taylor and Steve Heading, both rode for Whyte and raced on E5s back in 2006/7, so after a couple of emails I did the deal and I now have a 2006 E5 frame to build into a bike so I can at least start to work out what I like and don’t like about full suspension design. It was a very good deal: frame, seatpost, saddle, front mech, front wheel and front shock for £350!
Seeing as I am still many weeks away from riding it, I have decided to give the frame bearings a proper service so am waiting for a few tubes and tubs of various types of exotic grease to arrive before I get started. Whyte’s service instructions are very specific, which is probably why the bearings have a lifetime warranty!