Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ventana's juicy new treats from Sea Otter

Sherwood and the crew from Ventana are regular attendees at the season opening Sea Otter Clasic in Monterey, California.

It is a great chance for customers to meet the crew behind the brand, and sometimes they even tempt the crowds with developments to be rolled out in the next year's range.

The 2010 offerings have left this Ventana aficionado amped for the official release!

First-up, the El Chivo. Ventana's 69er offering that mirrors the party-up front, business in the back stance of the full suspension El Chucho (available now).

El Chivo 69er hardtail - New for 2010

The combination of wheel sizes should offer a truly unique mix of roll ability and acceleration.

Even more exciting are the single speed developments. Pioneered by Spot brand several years ago, the Carbon Drive Belt system is among the most exciting development in bicycle transmission since the advent of the chain (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth!)

Carbon drive belt equiped El Commandante for 2010

Hopping aboard the revolution, Ventana has developed a fantastically functional sliding dropout system that allows this technology to be partnered with the stiffness and superior handling of the El Toro and El Commandante for a amazing single speed package!

Close-up of the drive cog

Mountain Pedaler NZ hopes to secure an early sample of the belt equiped Toro for the test fleet, allowing the system to be put through its paces. Touted benefits include no required lubing and a belt life of over 10000km!

Singlespeeding will never be the same again!

El Toros and El Commandantes will still be available with the dependable Bushnell EBB, but the new sliders will also be offered as well as an optional belt kit to take full advantage of the exciting innovation.

Mountain Pedaler out...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bluey takes a Naseby holiday

Bluey in trail mode as Craig contemplates a backflip

This from Ventana test rider Craig Tregurtha who has been riding the pants of an El Saltmontes test bike dubbed Bluey. He hit the North Otago riding mecca of Naseby for their infamous 12 hour race, with some great results!

Actually, it wasn’t much of a holiday as poor Bluey got pushed pretty hard. There were 156 teams and the magnificent Bluey helped us to get 2nd overall, just 4 minutes from Ryan Cull’s Cycle Surgery Team. A brilliant all day battle where 1st place was swapped backwards and forwards on several occasions till their team did a couple of flying laps at the end to secure their gold medal position. This race was the test for me for the Salty. She was heaps of fun on the Port Hills and the West Coast but I wanted to push it hard in a race, and the result? Big thumbs up from me, that’s what. I was really impressed and felt like I stayed in touch with the track at all times and never felt loose or on edge despite pushing it harder than I have ever pushed my hardtail. And it still climbed well too. We then went out yesterday for a 2 hr blat around the more technical trails and I fell in love with mountainbiking all over again. The fun trails helped a lot, but the way I feel on that bike in that sort of terrain is better than eating boysenberry ice-cream on a hot summer’s day.

Craig Catches makes some G's on the Naseby's famous dipper

Look for Craig aboard Bluey at this Sunday's Yahoo Challenge, the final of the Canterbury XC Series. Oliver will also be dusting off his El Fuego for a final late-season fling.

Mountain Pedaler out...

NZSSC 2009: Andrew T survives the madness

Andrew was shell-shocked post race

The New Zealand Single Speed Chamionships are one of the Mountain Pedaler's all time favourite events, and while Oliver was gutted to miss this year's festivities, the Ventana crew were well represented by Andrew Torrens; Kawarau local and El Chiquillo riding pinner. This from the man himself...

I thought I would let you know that the single speeds was super fun. I had a blast at the race, using the beer shortcut a couple of times to finish 84th out of 117 in the open mens. I had a crap start though, they reshuffled all our bikes while we were out of sight for the le mans start and I could’t find mine for some time, then got caught in the ensuring bottle neck to get into the single track. Never mind. I think I had too much fun though, cause I’d quite like a cosmic orange toro with a chris king SS hub now...haha!

Sounds like Andrew had some good times making it through the race with all limbs intact. NZSSC clearly lived up to the hype, and is without a doubt the single best mix of bike bling, beer and excercised induced exhaustion ever.

Mountain Pedaler out...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Backyard Events ride Ventana

Craig ready to ride

Half of Christchurch's Backyard Events is Craig Tregurtha, a trackbuilding legend and all round nice-guy.

I have personally witnessed the man take a boulder to the chest (with resulting rib injury) in the name of crafting the perfect singletrack corner, so there is no questioning his comittment to the cause of improving mountianbike riding in Christchurch.

As you'd expect Craig is also a keen biker himself, and has been rolling on a well loved Kona hardtail for some years. With a test El Saltamontes becoming available, we jumped at the chance to have a local hero jump aboard for a long-term test.

Bluey enjoys the view

Having not ridden a full suspension frame the comparisons with his antiquated hardtail are pretty interesting. This from after his first ride...

I did a good solid 3 hr ride today up and down all the trails out the Eastern end of the Port Hills (Captain T, Greenwood, Godley, Anaconda etc) to test out this new puppy on some good rocky stuff. I was blown away with how at home I felt on it. It just felt so good! Was doing lots of testing with the 3 rear shock settings to see what is best for climbing different sorts of trails. Riding down trails like Greenwood the bike just soaked up the rocks and bumps like I have never experienced before. It was fantastic.

Check out the Backyard Events website for frequent updates as he explores the trails in around our fine country on perhaps the ultimate all-day trail machine!

Mountain Pedaler out...

Ventana Factory Price Drop!

As you are all aware, we are trapped in what the mass media refers to as a 'crisis of economic confidence', and this very reason is spouted as justification for all manner of price rises.

Despite the tough conditions, the team at Ventana are a shining light in the economic gloom, and Mountain Pedaler NZ are proud to announce they have recently dropped their 2009 prices to match those in 2008!
This represents a huge saving across all their frames, making the pinnacle in handmade mountain bikes significantly more affordable.

To sweeten the deal even further, these price drops also include frame upgrades that were made stock in 2009. So now customers c an pay the cheaper 2008 price, but also receive for example an upgrade to the Fox RP23 shock and Quad bearings on the El Saltamontes and El Ciclon. These upgrades are recommended by the Mountain Pedaler, and widely chosen by customers.

Coupled with the recent lifting in the New Zealand Dollar, which is now nudging the US $0.60 mark, the phenomenal ride and build quality of a Ventana is now much more affordable.

Cheers Ventana and thanks for giving us a reason to turn the economic frown upside down!

Feel free to get in touch for a quote and to get your build underway.

Mountain Pedaler out...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ventana riding Gorilla wreaks havoc!

The weekend of the 28th of March, Christchurch riders were blessed with fine weather, and some of the region's keenest racers swarmed to Living Springs for some XC racing action.

Another gem in Backyard Event's crown, the Living Springs course is the culmination of more than 1000 hours of volunteer labour producing a twisty and universally rated circuit.

The morning race was a mass start XC event, the third of the Canterbury XC series.
In a recurring theme, Oliver pounded out a lightening fast start, and took Auckland pinner B. Tilby's wheel into the first singletrack, just ahead of the young phenom Anton Cooper and the equally awesome B. Hudson.

Brad's unfamiliarity with the course produced some sketchy moments on the descent, but when it turned upwards he peeled off, letting Oliver and Anton shred the climb.
Power to weight triumphed on the day and it was the last Oliver saw of the young pinner who went on to post some scary fast laps including a 13:11 final lap!

A crash put paid to Oliver's plans of a good finish, but he rallied on the final lap to pull of third in the Open Men grade.

Less than an hour to recover and it was in to the afternoon's events; the South Island Single Speed Champs (SISSC for short).
After deciding to focus on the morning's events, Oliver opted for some fun antics in the afternoon, and chose to ride the ace in a fully fledged furry Gorilla suit.

Struggling with visibility through the tiny eye slits, Atilla the Gorilla (Oliver's afternoon persona) battled though the start loop to the amusment of the rowdy crowd.

After stripping off the asphyxiating rubber mask, gloves and gorilla toes Atilla proceeded to shred the course, stopping only to pick fleas from his fur or to chow on particularly enticing bananas, howling like a gorrila all the way.

3 laps and in and the extra 2 inches of fuzz was beginning to take its toll. Dehydration hit this gorilla like a punch to the face and it took an effort from some of the more altruistic crowd members to strip back the furry opressor.

In a cruel turn of fate, organisers forced Ollie to snack back on the worlds dryest snack; a Weet Bix. Safe to say that any moisture left in his body was used to devour this dubiously labelled breakfast 'treat'. Check the You tube footage for some ravenous munching.

The winner of the afternoon's antics was a scarily fast beer drinker/bike rider in the form of a PJ wearing B. Sharrat. He will represent the CHCH SS massiff with pride at the Rotorua nationals.

Oliver reports that completing the race in a gorilla suit satisfied one of his life long goals. The resulting levels of exhaustion will likely ensure he stops short of such nonsense in the future.

Mountain Pedaler out...