Apr 082014


   In this article we go into the world of frames. We all know there is a huge number of frames and complete bikes out there that cover every type of riding imaginable. I mean just try and think of all the companies alone that make frames. It’s  a hell of a lot. Even here in the uk we aren’t shy of making frames, whether there are mass produced in the far east or made in a garage. It would be impossible to get a insight from every frame builder and bike manufacturer so it seemed like a good idea to put some questions to a 3 people/ companies that have gone down the road of do it yourself frame building. We ask long standing and firmly established UK bike brand DMR’s Damian Mason,  the rising homegrown superstar BTR’s Tam Hamilton & Paul Burford and Grassroots super shredder Ste Tomlinson why and what it is that made them think about making their own frames. We went with 3 schools of thought and in a way it shows a progressive thought process. This isn’t an article to see if “Off the peg” is better than Custom made. We wanted to find out just what it is that drives folk to take a step in their particular direction. 

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Apr 072014






ttm a 001


Cyclo Chain wear indicator

£ 5.99

Any good bike shop.

The poor old chain does have a hard life on our bikes doesn’t it. The stresses and strains of being winched through Mud, sand, grit,Water and just about everything else we encounter. Not only that but it has to deal we us stomping on it, snatching it, iffy gear shifts and being belted by rocks and the like. We all have a good idea as to how we should look after it. Yes you know. Clean it with a Dirtwash chain cleaner every now and then and use a good lube ( although not too much. Think Season it as opposed to marinade). But how do you check it for wear? One trick is to use a ruler and measure over 12″. If you have 12 links in 12″ it’s all good. Or is it? How worn is ok and how much is too much.?

Well Cyclo have a brilliantly simple little gadget. The Chain wear Indicator (CWI). It’s pretty simple to use and is a MUST for any tool box. It’s double sided with a little  peg like slot to place on the roller of your chain and a curved spiked end with either 0.75 % or 1.00% markings. First off use the .75%  and see where the curved spike sits. If it falls all the way down then try the 1.00% and see where it sits then. If it falls all or almost all the way down it’s time to think about a new chain but you can check your chains recommended wear rate via the right website but to be honest if it’s 1.00% and almost flat get a new chain. The beauty of the curve is simply that the CWI isn’t just going to say yes or no ( or good or worn). It allows you to see how worn the chain is so you can gauge when you should replace the chain.

I must admit the  0.75 and 1.00% markings did baffle me at first as I haven’t used a CWI before. But after seeing a short film from one of the Weldtite test crew is became clear. I would however like to see additional markings like Good ( 0.75%) and replace (1.00%) for those that haven’t used one before. But once you get the idea it is a simple and pretty cheap gadget that could save you £££’s later on.

Don’t think about it. Buy one. I would recommend running a bit of wire wool or fine emery paper along the edges as they are a bit sharp though.

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ttm april 008

Luu Lighting

( from left to right)


LUU Turbo Pro 1500 Lumens 

SRP £269.99

  • Light Output / Burn Time:
    • High 1500 Lumens / 3hr
    • Medium 650 Lumens / 6hr
    • Low 330 Lumens / 11hr
    • Save 170 Lumens / 20hr
    • Flash >25 hrs
  • Charge Time (10400mA); 6hrs

LUU Ultra 2000 Lumens 

SRP £319.9

  • Light Output / Burn Time:
    • High 2000 Lumens / 2hr 10
    • Medium 1000 Lumens / 4hr
    • Low 500 Lumens / 8hr
    • Save 250 Lumens / 15hr
    • Flash >20 hrs
  • Charge Time (10400mA); 6hrs

LUU Ultra Pro 2400 Lumens 

SRP £379.99

  • Light Output / Burn Time:
    • High 2400 Lumens / 1hr 40
    • Medium 1200 Lumens / 3hr 20
    • Low 600 Lumens / 6hr 40
    • Save 300 Lumens / 12hr
    • Flash >15 hrs
  • Charge Time (10400mA); 6hrs

Head mounts and remote switches available too.

Over the last few months i have been putting a new(ish) kid on the blocks Luu Lighting lights through their paces. With a choice of 1500, 2000, and a whopping 2400 Lumens I think I had most of the night rides covered. The construction is nice and sturdy and the lights look pretty good too with Cooling fins to keep them cool. The Handle bar mount is pretty good too and only requires a 3mm allen key to fit. The bar mount sits forward of the stem and bars so there’s no problem with them clashing with a tall stem. The lights attach with a bayonet type system which is quick secure and easy to use. The battery sits on the frame with a nice big Velcro strap. They all have 5 settings which is a bit of a faff and the Flashing took awhile to workout. I would rather see 3 main setting and a flash option. But to be honest it wasn’t too hard to use but you did find you had to remember which setting you where on.

So how did they do?


The  ”Nipper” @ 1500 lumens of the 3 was pretty good and is ideal for tight single track and commuting home the long way but didn’t have quite the ompf for fast wide and technical trails, but as a whole it has done rather well and would make a great helmet light as it is rather er.. lightweight too. A good spread from the beam with no “spot” meant you had a constant light coverage across the ground. i think I could get use to the beam/spread if this was my only light but me being me I like LOTS of light. A good light if a little  on the steep side price wise but it worked well and had’nt put a foot wrong.

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  • US Cree XPG R5 x 4pc LED
  • 10400mA Samsung SDI Lithium-ion Battery
  • Electroplating Teflon Coated Aluminium 6061 Body
  • Anodized Aluminium Head
  • High-grade Finland Lens
  • Weight; 160g



Coming in the middle is my favorite one the 2000 lumens one. This was my main go to light out of the three. With 7 Cree leds as opposed to 4 of the Turbo this meant I got pretty much all the light coverage I needed. A good wide spread and plenty of depth too. I found that this one suited me just right and at a push I think it’ll work as a helmet light if i needed it too. It’s a little bigger but still pretty light weight. It worked well no matter what type of trail I was riding, be it tight twisty single track or full on bananas fast descents it coped with everything I did.  It’s the one I would recommend for all round and the battery life is pretty good too.  There’s not much else to say other than the price is a bit high but I think most good high end lights are going to be around this level although there are cheaper options.

ttm april 001



  • US Cree XPG R5 x 7pc LED
  • 10400mA Samsung SDI Lithium-ion Battery
  • Electroplating Teflon Coated Aluminium 6061 Body
  • Anodized Aluminium Head
  • High-grade Finland Lens
  • Weight; 200g




This is the Big daddy of the group coming at 2400 lumens. It’s bright I mean really bright. It’s also a bit on the big side but that is to be expected for something that kicks out a huge amount of power. but it wasn’t my favourite. To be honest it was better then the Ultra but not enough that I would spend the extra money to get it. It would be pretty good if you were doing DH runs all the time but it wasn’t quite right for me I’m sorry to say. the Beam wasn’t hugely better out on the trail and I suppose it would be like ( dare I say it) , comparing 26″ wheels against 650 ones. It’s a little bit better coverage and a little bit better range but not by much. It’s still a damned goo light though and if you want something with enough Power to keep that Mr clarkson fellow happy it may well be for you. But for me? well i would stick to the Ultera as it is just a bit more user friendly.

ttm april 003

  • US Cree XML T6 x 4pc LED
  • 10400mA Samsung SDI Lithium-ion Battery
  • Electroplating Teflon Coated Aluminium 6061 Body
  • Anodized Aluminium Head
  • High-grade Finland Lens
  • Weight; 210g

All of these lights are pretty good. Simple to use and none have faltered at all in the  4 months they have been tested. A bit on the steep side price wise but I think that is just the way of it. Well worth a look anyway. They do have one draw back though. They don’t like “Wireless” computers. They all ” Blocked ” the signal and as a result I had to shift my trusty VDO A8+ computer along my bars, which it then duly got knocked off and lost forever. I wasn’t happy about that so it may be worth trying before buying if you use a computer or other gadget on your bars

ttm april 010


Continental Rubber queen ( Now called-trail king ) 2.4

£50 Ish


I have been running these tyres for a while now, and i have to say the are brilliant. Not matter what i have ridden through they have come out pretty much okay unless it’s really muddy in which case nowt is going to work. They are the Black Chilli protection version which means they are tougher and as a side effect a bit heavier. But that is a small price to pay for a reliables and tough tyre. i have had only one puncture and that was from a poster pin which i picked up in the middle of nowhere. No Snakebites or thorns have thwarted these tyres as yet. as for grip? well that’s spot on. Loads on pretty much all surfaces and even in the mud thy clear well. I have been running them a bit on the high side but due to the magic stuff that is Black chilli they have taken the “edge” off of bumps and roots. but what gets me is the wear. Or rather lack of.they just won’t wear out, i ride a good number of miles on tarmac and that is normally a nail in the coffin for most tyres. But not these. Yes they are wearing a bit, but it is only a bit. The rounded profile allows you to still have loads of grip even when you got the bike leaned right over. I have lost a bit of grip from time to time but not for long and it’s almost predictable if you catch my meaning. It doesn’t scare you. if anything you go out trying to make them let go..

Simply put these are a must for all you trail/enduro/ Mini Dh shredders. they are tough, roll well, grip well and wear well and don’t batter you about either. well worth the price.  And yes I did pay for these. Are they the best tyre around at the moment? well they are right up there in the top 3 for now. they are available in 2.2 and other options too but I should just go for these.

Go get some.

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Mar 302014


If you cast your mind back to early this year, you’ll remember we invaded the Core show and also the Bike Place too. Now at the Bike place show there was legendary bike company Stanton Bikes. Whilst I was chatting to the bearded Guru that is  Dan I noticed a rather quiet young fellow minding his own business. I asked Dan about him and it turns out he’s a rather clever and talented man when it comes to filming. You may if you have been paying attention seen some of his work involving a certain car company, a former Top Gear member and a bloke who defies gravity and I seem to remember eggs and paint were involved. He showed me his “Showreel”. Damned impressive it is too. Not only that but by Jingo he likes to bomb about on a Hardtail too. Not just any either a Stanton bikes one at that. So After a while I asked dan if he would mind if I interviewed this fellow and Dan asked him. Guess what? We got to ask

Who are you?

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Mar 282014

marchttm jl 026


These rather slim and very clever grips from Hope landed and are already being thrashed. As you would expect from Hope they are neat, tidy and practical. The loc-on system is sensible and no nasty metal collars exposed and neat little bar end caps too. Almost impossible to fit wrong.

Thanks to Rachael@ Hope Technology for sorting these.

marchttm jl 028


CNP energy goodies and Bottle should give me a boost next time I’m out on a long one. I’ve not heard much about CNP so it should be interesting to see how I go with the Gel, Bar, Powder combo. Water bottle is neat too and always handy.

CNP is from Paligap.

Mar 242014

fox rampage cornish fasty sticker!

  Cornwall. Not the first place you think of when it comes to Racers and Shredders. Although if you think about it the South West does have a habit of throwing a spanner in the works when it comes to preconceived ideas. Now one young chap hails from the depths of Cornwall and can be considered to be somewhat rapid when it comes to putting the Hammer down. I have only meet Jay a few times and he’s always cheerful. The last time I saw him it was at the Race Face Circus of Dirt Rd1 at Newnham. The weather was damp to say the least. The trails were super muddy and getting blown out quotes quickly. Not that seemed to bother Jay as he wheel spun away on one stage. He was flying and it may as well of been dry. 2013 was a hard year for Jay but with a new season of racing looming ever closer we catch up with Wideopenmags Cornish Fasty and ask.

 Who are you?




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Feb 272014



It’s all go here at HTN and so to keep you crazy kids happy we have another Who are you? interview. Once again we get to pose questions to a member of the cycle industry. If you have kept up with what we get up to here at the HTN top secret test area, you’ll be aware we have been fans of Schwalbe tyres. I got to meet Dave back in 2012 for a brief moment whilst he juggled questions from the public and dealt with sponsored riders at BDS rd down here in Somerset at Combe Sydenham. He managed the task with the air of a master Poker player or a Ninja deflecting and dealing with everyone in turn, ( Don’t panic no one got hurt). We discussed tyres (dur) and generally nattered but work beckoned.  So for all the “Boots” Dave has sorted for us it was time to ask him about Life, The Universe and Tyres. One of the nicest fellows around and yes he does Bomb about on a Hardtail too. so we ask.

” Who are you?”

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Feb 242014


 Last year I was at the Core show and bumped into our good friend Jamie from wideopen magazine. He was talking to a delightful young lady whose name I didn’t catch. Fast forward to this year and I got to meet her in person. Well she was indeed charming and delightful. She talked me through the nice new things that Hope Technology are creating. But I had to ask as to whether she rode bikes. A bit of a silly question really as I think they all do. But She also races. Now being a bit dim at the time, when she said “That’s my bike over there” I thought she meant the Cyclocross bike. Er No. Try the rather splendid Hope team Tricked out Specialized demo. Ahh so you’re fast then? Well what can I say? I asked her politely if she’d be happy to do an interview. well she said yes and has some interesting thoughts. I wonder If i can get her to join the ranks of Hardtail.. Anyway we ask a lovely lass who gets to tear about like a  mad thing with the likes of Adam Brayton. Now if she can keep up with him she must be damned quick.

We ask the fast lass from Hope technology… Who are you? 


1, Who are you? 

Rachael Walker, Hope Technology Factory Team rider and manager

2, Where are you from?

Clitheroe, Lancashire

3, What do you do for a living?

 I work at Hope Technology as the marketing and team manager

4, What’s the best thing about your job?

 Getting to play with bikes everyday

5, Is there a downside to it?

 Everyone asking for sponsorship!

6, What bike/s do you ride?

I’m pretty lucky, I have a few….Specialized Demo 8 for DH, Yeti SB66c for trail riding, Giant TCR for getting some road miles

7, Where do you ride?

Everywhere and anywhere, but mostly DH and in the Lake District- secret tracks.


8, Who do you get to ride with?

 My team mates Adam Brayton and Sam Flanagan – fast fast boys!!

9, Where’s your favourite place to ride?

 In the UK Keswick, Lake District, further afield it would be Maribor, Slovenia- fantastic course and beautiful country.


10, Where would you like to go that you haven’t yet?

USA! Colorado looks like an amazing place to have some biking adventures!


11, Now I know you are quite found of DH racing. What is it that attracts you to it? 

The speed, the adrenaline rush, the focus that is required – and of course the bling bikes required.

12, You have a couple of handy lads to ride with too don’t you?

 My team mates Adam and Sam are pretty handy, they push me quite a lot so I cant complain.


13, What do you think need to improve for women’s racing?

What do you think need to improve for women’s racing? More girls riding together would be a great start. Riding with guys is great for learning skills and pushing your limits, however, sometimes getting left behind can harm your confidence. Riding with other girls can be fun and you can push each other just as much as the guys.

Strength in numbers – more girls need to get out together!!



14, Can we expect you to get into the new buzz “Enduro”?

 I raced a few “enduro’s” last year, including the World Enduro at Les Deux Alpes and some of the UK Gravity Enduro’s. I enjoyed them but my heart is really with downhill. Enduro to me is really just riding with your friends and having a bit of an adventure – nothing new to most people!


15, What makes you happy?

Finishing a race run without crashing or just generally riding all day and hitting everything perfectly.


16, What gets your goat?

 People who steal my chocolate


17, What tunes do you like?

 Oasis for chilling and something along the lines of Avicii for working out to


18, Describe your perfect day?

 Early morning XC country ride around Whinlatter, DH in the afternoon followed by a 10 mile road ride round one of the Keswick lakes!


19, Who do you admire?

Riders like Nico Vink who devote their life to riding bikes and sacrifice so much to get to where they are now


20, If you could meet anyone past or present, who would it be?

JFK just because he was a bit of a dude.


21, When did you last scare yourself? Last weekend flying down Adam Brayton’s secret tracks in the pouring rain and ending up 10m off the track…


22, When was the last time you saw something that made you go “WTF”?

Watching Dougie Lampkin practising trials on his local turf- that guy has some serious skills!!

23, What could you not do without?

Lindor chocolate and my Hope’d up Demo 8


24, What advice would you give to women who want to get into mountain biking and racing?

Don’t try and compete with the boys and just have fun. The more you worry the less you will enjoy it.


25. Okay it wouldn’t be cool unless we included a bit about Hope. What makes Hope the best stuff to run on your bike?

 Hope products are designed by riders for riders.


26, What does the future hold for you?

 Bikes, work, riding and more bikes!


27, Any thoughts on the wheel size debate?

Ride what feels the best for you – not what people say you should be riding.

28, Any last words or thanks?

 Have fun and ride lots! Oh and…buy Hope.