That's it! No more new bikes in the pipeline, and I've just finished building the last of the three new ones I've acquired this year (!). There's the green Santa Cruz Nickel MTB that I have as a long term trail bike, there's the aforementioned Kinesis 'Green Pee' disc 'cross bike and now this, the Seven Sola SL Monster Cross/Adventure Bike...
So what am I going to do with them? Well, the Nickel is a great all-round 120mm trail bike, which is ideal for the riding I do in the Valley, night rides and Saturday morning socials (when I'm actually home that is...) The Kinesis will be my on/off road training bike and used for super tech 'cross races like the Three Peaks Cyclocross and those horrible mud slogs in the winter. I still have my Ibis Hakkalügi which'll get pulled out for nicer conditions and summer racing.
Finally, we come to the Seven. It's been built up for a 'dream bikes' article in the next issue and it's pretty much a Ti version of my venerable Salsa Fargo - the bike which faithfully got me the length of the Pyrenees a couple of times. This is set up with 2x10 gearing and a rigid fork, but with room for proper 2in knobblies. I want to use it for those three day 'let's ride to the pub - in a different county' rides, for those longer, exploratory 'what's down that trail?' rides and perhaps I need to plan a proper big trip to make the most of it. I'm not sure if I can actually afford it yet. I've already had to pay £473 in customs charges and that's without knowing how much Seven will charge me for it. If I send it back in the next three months, then I can get a refund from the taxman for the import duties, so I'd better get on with it.
Along the way, I'll also be testing a few bits and pieces on all the bikes and I'll blog the results here:
- Shimano Ultegra Di2 - I have this setup on the Kinesis and want to see how this group works for proper 'cross racing. And, if Shimano decide to go all electric with mountain bike groups in the future (something I honestly don't know at the moment) then it'll be good to have put some off road time on to an electric gruppo.
- Drop bar disc converters - I have a TRP Parabox on the Kinesis and a Hope Technology V-Twin on the Seven. I reckon few people will have had the chance to try both back to back, so stay tuned. They're both pretty interesting takes. And obviously if I can get a SRAM Red hydro setup too...
- Niner 15mm fork. It's a bolt-thru, 29er rigid fork. Should be great to see how it works off road.