Saturday, 12 June 2010


I have been riding the new BFe for a few weeks now, the concept of the frame is exactly that of the old model only Cy has managed to sneak in a few tweaks and refinements in order to bring it in touch with the new regs whilst still keeping the weight impressively low. From my understanding this means this should be even stronger than the last. My original BFe has been abused solidly for 3 years, the paintwork is heavily scarred but the frame itself has never shown any signs of weakness in this time. The original BeeFe is only out of action now because her prettier little sister has shown up!

The most striking new feature other than the lush new paint job is the ovalised top tube. I remember Marin did something like this years back to increase stiffness however their oval was rotated by 90 degrees. The advantage of this is the BFe is more compliant vertically helping to reduce harshness whilst beeing super stiff laterally where it counts, sounds a far better application of the concept. There is also an extra sticker on the frame indicating that reynolds 853 and 631 tubing have joined the party. This really shows Cy's obsessive nature when it comes to specking the optimum materials for the job according to their required loads and purpose.

I have also switched to the Magura Thor forks for the time being which run at up to 140mm of travel and also lighten up the front end when compared to the Wotans. Fork action is very similar, I am really enjoying the sharp twitchy nature and low front end that comes from running the shorter travel forks.

The overall feel of the bike is ace. The geometry of the BFe is now proven, the new frame fine tunes that original design. The bike is all about stability and speed. It loves being absolutely hammered on the pedals and positions your body in a strong balanced attack position that really lets you charge, keep the bike on target and maintain control when things get a little hairy.

More importantly here are some pics, plenty more to follow!

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Kali Protection

The guys at Bullet Distribution sent me some more of the Kali protective gear to test, so far no serious head to the ground testing has happened so will have to comment on the secondary features of the helmets such as comfort and style. The two helmets I have been trying are the Avita Carbon a more XC orientated lid shown above and the Raja 'piss pot.'

Not so much to say about the raja really as with all lids of this type it has a thick layer of foam encased in a hard outer shell with minimal venting to achieve maximum head protection. The fit is good, I like the graphics and the subtle styling features with the 'rail' over the top make it stand out from other equivalent helmets. It comes with a range of padding sizes as to be expected to fine tune the fit.

The Avita is something a bit more special. I guess it is targeted more at the trail rider who wants an all day lid with plenty of venting but also with a good level of protection. It mixes up carbon to keep the weight low, has lots of vents but still seems to be chunky enough to be of use in a decent crash. The helmet has a decent adjustable headband that is easy to use and feels secure and a visor to keep the sun out of the eyes. I think the styling is good with minimal graphics and a not too extreme shape.

i have also been testing some Kali Aazis soft knee pads. These have actually had some proper testing following a fair few crashes up at Harthill. They are similar in concept to the Troy Lee T-Bones which really are the classic when it comes to pads. The Kali pads are really comfortable as the bits in contact with your leg are nice and soft and stretchy and dont seem to get too hot or sweaty. I happily spent a weekend in them and forgot they were there really. Protection is good. The knee has both front and side protection and I can say it definitely works. The only downside to them is the fabric encasing the front of the knee pad isnt as hard wearing as other pads such as the T-Bones. After a weekend there were some noticable scuffs and snags in this outer fabric, they are still perfectly usable but they may be best suited under jeans to get the most life out of them.

More details on all these products can be found here.

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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Harthill NPS 4X RD2 and Euro

Photo by Dave Thomason

Ace weekend of racing at the new 4X track up near Chester. The track itself was a mix of tight and awkward features that were a little rough and ready compared to the usual track standards. This however made for some really interesting racing and tonnes of overtaking due to the awkward flow. The terrain was loose sand on top of a hard packed under layer making grip a struggle to find and there was the odd random sandpit ready to catch people off guard. The weather played its own part in livening up the racing, we had it all. Rain to further lubricate the track and when that started making sense the sun was out to dry out patches allowing a formula one style dry racing line to form. The wind built throughout the weekend and by sunday it was seriously hauling literally blowing off the competition at the gate.

Saturday was an epically fun day of racing. Every moto turned into a real battle with moves being made left right and centre. I managed one win and 3 seconds, unfortunately this run of luck was lost in quarters leaving me out of the competition. With the Euro the following day and the imminent Fort Bill World Cup there were some big names entered and a full Elite class which was great to watch. There is a definite step up in intensity in the Elite class and the speed that the top riders were taking on the track and each other made for some top notch spectating. Check out this great video coverage by Corine Walders to really see what was going down.

British 4X National Rnd 2. Harthill May 2010 from Corinne Walder on Vimeo.

The big day was the Euro round on the sunday. We were all in one class mixing it up with the Elites. A timed qualifying run set the order for the motos which were a straight knockout. Qualifying went ok, a few mistakes up top left me in 40th place and put me on a gate alongside Will Evans, a large gust of wind right before the gate dropped put the other 3 off their balance and leaving me with a brief foray out front but the deep sand on the inside line on the second corner got me and from there it was chase to the finish and giving a final ranking of 43rd. The atmosphere trackside was really good and everyone was getting right behind the racing. The finals were hottly contested and the places the top guys were able to pedal and get those few extra cranks in is really impressive. Prokop ended up taking the win but I think Dan Atherton was my favourite to watch making a number of seriously impressive passes at the bottom of the track.

All in all a great weekend, the UK 4X scene feels really strong at the moment with great turn out and a number of fresh tracks popping up, bring on the next round!!

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