Adrian's Mountain Biking Blog
Are a decent pair of flat pedals good enough to convince me to switch from SPDs after 15 years?
As some of you may have guessed from the title of my blog, I’m not very tall – 5′ 4″ to be precise. The reason for this is I have short legs – 28″ or around 71cm. Now I have happily negotiated my way through life without this really being an issue, but I’ve been looking at new bikes recently and have run into a big issue – they’re too big!
This never used to be an issue, but standover heights on new bikes seem to be every increasing – especially on bikes with the new larger wheel sizes and full suspension bikes.
Ok, I know I’m short, but I can’t be an anomaly of nature. I can buy trousers easily enough – a “short” trouser fits me just fine and is catered to my inside leg, so why are cycle manufacturers now denying the existence of short men?
(to be fair, women seem much better catered for).
In my quest to find a new bike I have found it very hard to find a full suspension bike that I can actually stand astride, let alone have any clearance of the top tube. I have yet to find a 29″er that I can touch the floor from the top tube, which crazily rules out entire manufacturers – Specialized to name and shame an example – or entire product lines – Trek’s Fuel EX range as another example. How heightest is that?!
“Can I interest you in a bike sir? Oh no sorry, according to our design team, men of your height don’t exist, so you can’t have a mountain bike”.
Fortunately there are one or two manufacturers who appear to have not quite given up on the vertically challenged and in case anyone else is in the same predicament, I decided to compile a list of all these bikes that cater for us shorties.
It’s called The Shortlist and can be found here. Appropriately it’s not very long at the moment, but I’d love to hear from people if they have any suggestions – especially manufacturers. You can drop me your suggestions here.
Link – The Shortlist
Mudguards. They’re not very exciting, and some look plain hideous, but they can be pretty essential in the UK for stopping mud, pebbles and other debris hitting your face and body. So simple effective solutions that don’t deface or weigh down your bike are always welcome.
Ticking all of the above boxes, step forward the Bender Fender from MuckyNutz.
I have been a happy user of SPDs for years, but there are some times when I want to be unclipped – such as steep technical climbs at slow speeds. Conventional SPD pedals don’t allow for anything other than being clipped in, so step forward the Trail SPD pedal, which feature a cage around the normal SPD pedal.
Cycling helmets can be a divisive subject and even those that do think they have benefits, aren’t necessarily comfortable wearing them. This is particularly true for casual or “urban” cyclists and short distance commuters.
Two young designers in Sweden shared a dislike of cycle helmets, but still wanted head protection. This led them to invent something they think will revolutionise how we protect our heads on a bike.
I went hiking in Madeira a few years ago and fondly remember the strikingly beautiful island. Essentially a single volcano sticking out of the middle of the ocean, there is massive variety of terrain and climate in one small area. The main feature of the terrain of course is the hills, with some of the most terrifying roads I’ve ever been on! Although I went there hiking, I could instantly see it would be great for mountain biking and was very pleased to stumble across some excellent video and purpose built trails on Madeira from the Trippin guys.
It’s officially winter now, although the temperature is still pretty up and down, it’s definitely time for gloves not mitts. With that in mind, I’ve got a pair of Specialized Body Geometry Ridge Wiretap long finger gloves that I’ve been testing.