Opinion: An Oldie but a Goodie

Words & Image Lester Perry

We’ve all got our favourites; there are some items of kit that just keep on working and seem to never die. They become a staple in ‘ride life’. They may not be the fanciest, most stunning-looking, have a ‘name’ brand, or even cost much money, but they just do what they are designed to do to a decent level.

Inanimate objects strangely become a vital piece of our experience. For some, it’s a bike, a favourite kit, or even the music listened to while riding. In my case it’s a pump. Yes, a pump.

I don’t even remember when I got this little beauty, but it must have been early 2013 or before, as it came with me on the 2013 Trans Provence (multi-day enduro, now called the Stone King Rally). I know I won this pump as a spot prize at an event at some point; it’s so long ago I don’t even remember what sort of race it was, what bike I was riding, or even where it was. Strangely though, I do remember feeling disappointed when I won the pump. I can only assume it was a bit of a booby-prize amongst a sea of higher-value, more sought-after items.

It’s a reasonably unassuming piece of kit, but I’ve mounted tubeless tyres with it, and it does double duty to pump up my ride-on lawnmower’s slow leaking tyre. If there’s air to pump it’s up to the task and it’s always there when I need it, no issues or niggly problems. From time to time it seems to disappear and hide out of sight causing me some stress thinking I may have left it behind in a trail head carpark somewhere.

I’ve had scathing comments from friends who were underwhelmed when I presented them with it after being asked, “Bro, you got a track pump?”.

Little did they know how solid this little pump is, and oftentimes jeers turned to positive comments.

The pressure gauge gave out at some stage and I’m sure it wasn’t even remotely accurate before it finally conked out but, thankfully, the pump didn’t skip a beat, and I still check my tyre pressure with a gauge, so no real loss there.

Although the logo has been rubbed off, I remember it being some brand that didn’t hold any weight, just a generic pump with a logo screen-printed on the side of it. I can’t imagine its retail value was much north of $50 so, even if I had paid for it, I’d be super pumped with the value I’ve had from it; it’s cost per use would be totally laughable!

I’ve had scathing comments from friends who were underwhelmed when I presented them with it after being asked, “Bro, you got a track pump?”. Little did they know how solid this little pump is, and oftentimes jeers turned to positive comments.

Recently, the pump got really hot when used for more than 30 seconds or so, and the action became quite sticky. So much so that I figured it was heading for the big yellow plastic bag, never to be seen again after our next ‘Rubbish Day Wednesday’. It was at this point that regret set in. This pump has been with me on this journey of life for so long, to just scrap it without a second thought seemed wrong, almost immoral – why couldn’t I give it another shot? I dug out some suitable grease and a screw driver and, for the first time ever, disassembled the pump, carefully cleaning and lubing all the seals and moving parts. So dirty were the internals, I’m surprised it worked at all!

I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to service the pump. Post-service, it still works but it’s not quite as smooth as it was before its hiccup.

Once the damage is done, there’s no coming back from it – niggles of the damage will remain.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in all of this, maybe it’s a case of not upgrading or trading up just for the sake of it, or perhaps it’s to stay on top of servicing rather than waiting for an issue to finally service something. Chances are once the damage is done, it’s done. Lucky for me, my favourite pump keeps on working, and if I keep up to speed with a more regular clean and lube routine, who knows how long this thing could go for!

This article is taken from:NZ Mountain Biker, Issue #114

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Mammoth of a Time with Winni Goldsbury

Words by Lester Perry
Images by Henry Jaine

On 23rd and 24th March 2024, Nelson Mtb Club knocked out the tenth edition of what is arguably NZ’s toughest gravity race; the Mammoth Enduro. Riders were presented with six epic descents linked by equally epic liaison climbs. The course designers aren’t total masochists, and eased the pressure on competitors by throwing in a couple of (no doubt banter-filled) shuttle uplifts to keep spirits high.

Racing down Peaking Ridge for Stage 4 was a highlight for Winni, the difference in speed from just riding it at her normal pace to a full-attack race pack, transformed the trail from a janky rhythmless physical challenge to a grin-inducing run where the root-balls and jank became flowy jumps and compressions.

A few out-of-towners joined the local heavy hitters, but as with any enduro race, the locals certainly have the upper hand when it comes to knowing the trail nuances and how to race them well. This is definitely the case on Nelson’s technical steeps, where local knowledge pays dividends in the form of seconds on the clock.

Hailing from Christchurch, seventeen-year-old Winni Goldsbury turned up to Mammoth having ridden some, but not all, of the race stages. Practice was to be her first look at some of the trails. Not exactly confidence-inspiring when you’re about to go head to head with not only Nelson’s finest, but the women who are some of the nation’s fastest enduro racers.

The ace in Winni’s hand was that she’d proven herself just three weeks earlier at the NZ Enduro National Championship at Cable Bay Adventure Park, just outside of Nelson. Winni not only won the U21 championship but bested all other women in attendance, including the Elites.

Winni battled on foreign soil against local fast woman, Rae Morrison, duking it out over the Mammoth’s stages, trading stage wins and the race lead multiple times throughout the two competition days. Winni narrowly cinched the win over the seasoned Morrison by a sniff under a second! This was tight racing at its finest, and not only a huge surprise but another boost in confidence for the ever-improving Winni, with yet another podium in her break-out 2024 season.

She’s been at this bike game a while now, most of her life to be precise. At just six months old, she and her twin brother were presented with a pair of bikes by their grandfather. Handcrafted from old Kauri weatherboards from his house, these first bikes mean the pair can claim they were literally riding bikes before they could walk. From then on, mountain biking has been a key part of life for Winni, from doing skids at the local park, to cutting laps at the Christchurch Adventure Park once that was built. Since her first races at age 11, it’s been all go – and her passion for riding and racing continues to grow.

The ace in Winni’s hand was that she’d proven herself just three weeks earlier at the NZ Enduro National Championship at Cable Bay Adventure Park, just outside of Nelson. Winni not only won the U21 championship but bested all other women in attendance, including the Elites.

We caught up with Winni after Mammoth to get her thoughts on the event, dig a little deeper into her past, and get a glimpse into her hopes for the future.

“Becoming the NZ Women’s Enduro National Champion for 2024 is definitely a pretty great start to the year; hopefully, I can keep the momentum going for the rest of the year! Racing the Mammoth for the first time was awesome because the race had lovely people both participating and running it, as well as being run on an amazing bunch of trails. Honestly, it feels kind of like a dream to be up there with these ladies. I get to race with women as amazing and kind as Lou Kelly, Rae Morrison, George Swift and Xanthe Robb; it’s absolutely astounding. To be able to keep up with them makes the whole experience even more surreal,” explains Winni.

Winni had a couple of solid, and ultimately successful, days at the Mammoth, but the race wasn’t without adversity. On the first day, her chain came off during the first timed stage. Returning to the timing tent, the person who was doing the timing said that Rae’s time for stage one was 30 seconds faster than her time, which meant Rae would’ve been 4th in the pro-elite men category. Winni thought Rae must have had an amazing run. As luck should have it, though, the intel she received was incorrect, and Rae had finished only one second ahead of her in that opening stage. Seeing Rae’s time was still within reach added some pressure and ultimately fired Winni up to push harder heading into day two.

“The second day was also sweet. I was just so happy to be there racing with all those awesome people. Overall it was an amazing weekend,” she confirms.

“Honestly, it feels kind of like a dream to be up there with these ladies. I get to race with women as amazing and kind as Lou Kelly, Rae Morrison, George Swift and Xanthe Robb, it’s absolutely astounding. To be able to keep up with them makes the whole experience even more surreal.”

Day two kicked off with Stage 2, ‘Te Ara Koa’ into ‘Fringe DH’ and finishing down ‘Butters’; three trails combined to make one epic 3.3km trail, and the longest of the race. Aside from a lap in practice, Winni hadn’t ridden Fringe DH or Butters, and the stoke was real to get to race them for the first time. Unfortunately, Lady Luck wasn’t on her side, and she took a crash on this stage. All was not lost, however, she took the race lead from Rae, finishing the stage to take a sub-1-second buffer going into stage 3.

Racing down Peaking Ridge for Stage 4 was a highlight for Winni, the difference in speed from just riding it at her normal pace to a full- attack race pack, transformed the trail from a janky rhythmless physical challenge to a grin-inducing run where the root-balls and jank became flowy jumps and compressions.

Stage 5 was raced down the infamous 629 trail and its smorgasbord of steep dropping turns, slippery chutes, roots and rock; a jewel in Nelson’s MTB crown! Partway down the stage, Winni “had a random burst of energy which lasted until the end of the race; sprinted the entirety of the final horrible climb up Maitai Face”. It seems it may have been more than just a “random energy burst” though, having stopped at the food station on the climb to Maitai Face for a quick break to pat a puppy.

Maitai Face is a staple at most enduros in the area, dropping riders down through lofty pines, over roots, off-camber – and it has some of the steepest grades in the region; tough in the dry but nearly-unrideable in the wet. Fortunately, the weather gods played ball and delivered bone-dry conditions for the Mammoth riders. It was this 6th and final stage where Winni secured her win, pipping Rae by a narrow 3.5 seconds, putting her ahead once again and giving her the overall win by a scant half a second. A dominant performance battling not only Rae Morrison but Xanthe Rob, who raced consistently through the day to round out the top three over a minute and a half back.

Off the back of Mammoth, Winni picked up couple of injuries which slowed her down for a few weeks but, once recovered, she was all go - preparing to head over to Europe to race some Enduros. By the time this magazine breaks cover, she should be jetting her way to the other side of the globe to begin another chapter in her life.

Winni’s not one to get too bogged down in the details of bike setup; there are no special tweaks or specifics to her setup, it’s more of a “run what you brung” scenario. Her only comment about setup was the use of a pair of Reserve wheels fitted with Cushcore inserts and Maxxis Assegai tyres, pumped to 23 PSI front and rear, allowing her to attack Nelson’s gnarliest, remaining fully focussed on the task at hand rather than nursing her steed or riding light while concerned about flat tyres.

Breakout seasons often come after a period of hard work and focused training; for Winni though, her approach is more laid back than many at her level. “My training schedule is very, very serious, and intense,” she jokes. “No, no, my training is very relaxed and is limited to push- ups and intervals. I just ride every day and try to keep up with people who are faster than me.”

As simple as that.

Winni’s seemingly laissez-faire, relaxed attitude and absolute froth for mountain biking aren’t unique to her; it’s a full-family affair.

“My parents have both been extremely important in my MTB journey so far, as they are also obsessive mountain bikers. My mum, Melanie Blomfield, is a super competitive person all around and mountain biking is no different. She has dominated the 50+ category for the last five years and often beats most of the open women in local races. She has always been phenomenal and extremely supportive of my racing,” explains Winni. “My dad, Richard Goldsbury, was a cross country and downhill racer in the 90’s and 00’s. When enduro came into existence he definitely enjoyed that, and now he sometimes gives races the privilege of his participation, although mainly spends his time taking stunning photos of riding, and building the coolest tracks in Canterbury. He is very supportive. They’ve both influenced my riding so much because of their different riding styles, so I’ve learned to ride lots of different types of terrain. We travel across New Zealand a lot and get to ride all the different types of riding NZ has to offer.”

Off the back of Mammoth, Winni picked up couple of injuries which slowed her down for a few weeks but, once recovered, she was all go – preparing to head over to Europe to race some enduros. By the time this magazine breaks cover, she should be jetting her way to the other side of the globe to begin another chapter in her life.

Alongside Winni, Shannon Hewetson backed up his win at the NZ Enduro Championships at the Mammoth.

“Mammoth Enduro was a really rad event,” says Shannon. “They had everyone speculating on the tracks with the organisers staying tight lipped right up to the week of, meaning most were in the same boat practice-wise. We raced some of the best, most iconic trails – both skill and fitness-wise – for Nelson. Peaking Ridge and 629 were lots of fun, but all stages required a lot of focus with their duration, and all had high consequences if you misjudged things. The weekend went smoothly for me, didn’t really expect to do what I did; I thought I’d be feeling flat after Cable Bay (NZ Champs). Sometimes those days when you think things could have gone better, or you could have had better intensity, can really surprise you! Coming off the back of taking out Nationals Champs a few weeks prior, I felt a lot of pressure to back it up with a solid win, so was pretty stoked to take it out and to close out the summer season with another win.”

Thats a wrap for our Mammoth Enduro series. We’re looking forward to next year’s race and hope to see some of you there!

This article is taken from:NZ Mountain Biker, Issue #114

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No regrets

Words Liam Friary
Image Cameron Mackenzie

The past few weeks have been a really good reminder of how great bike riding is. There are two instances that really stand out. Firstly, I happened to be in Central Otago attending and talking at Trail Forum, which is something. I mean, rewind about a decade or more and you wouldn’t have this amount of people engaged in riding let alone having businesses that now rely solely on it, and not to mention the regional tourism organisations that clearly know the economic impact of cycling in their regions. It’s truly amazing and I hope we can continue to build trails, foster more riding communities, and create better cycling infrastructure across the motu. It was after this event that an unscheduled ride became an epic outing with four riders who didn’t know each other. I was like the conduit blending these individuals together, knowing that riding would bond them. And, it did. After an all-day ride, we were all mates sharing large amounts of conversation, ups, downs, and good times. Bikes were simply the portal that helped us take in the landscape and connect with us one another. You can’t have that quantity – or quality! – of time in a meeting room (in-person or online) or even sitting in a coffee shop with someone. The standout for me is undistracted time where the other person is engaged and listening without any device diverting their attention. This simplicity is what I crave; just riding and conversing is so refreshing in this fast-paced age.

The second reminder was a ride with a good friend. We don’t get to catch up that often as work and life schedules don’t always align, and we’re not the best at conversing over digital platforms. I mean, we used it to make a meet-up spot but that’s pretty much it. I find a ride meet-up will fill me in so much more about how my friend is doing, rather than a flurry of text exchanges. I got to the mountain bike park, unloaded my bike, clipped my helmet on, and checked my phone… only to read a message from my friend, telling me they couldn’t make it as they weren’t feeling well. I was committed and went riding anyway. The solo riding time helped me decompress from life’s never-ending to-do list and growing work commitments. I connected with nature, stretched myself on rowdy trails and just had some ‘me’ time. I drove back thinking about how that’s not just a ‘want’ but more of a ‘need’ now. I don’t often allow myself the time, but often putting aside part of the day for a solo ride lets me gain perspective on everything. I missed my mate that day, but thoroughly enjoyed shredding the trials alone. You never regret the ride you went on.

This article is taken from:NZ Mountain Biker, Issue #114

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Bosch SX: Is this the new natural?

Words Nathan Petrie
Images Cameron Mackenzie

Looks can be deceiving. Something may appear small or neat, but take a peak under the hood
and you’ll find something much greater

In the bike world, we lust after the lightest (and latest) technology but, at the same time, we never want to give up that purity of the ‘natural’ ride feel. At the forefront of our communal infatuation with ‘bike porn’ is the eBike. Is it possible to embrace the technology without giving up on the simple joy we get from pedalling a bike?

Since Covid, eBikes have become commonplace on our trails and the daily ride for many of us. The maturing market now provides a wide range of eBike products for every style of rider. From full-power to lightweight motor options, a variety of battery sizes, and matched with different bike brand geometry. Bosch has led this charge and the arrival of their Performance Line SX system in New Zealand is the next phase of this evolution.

When the opportunity came through to test ride the new Mondraker Dune R, equipped with Bosch’s Performance Line SX, my interest was well and truly piqued. My current bike is fitted with the Performance Line CX, and I knew the SX was a light-weight system, so was keen to see how it would compare. We headed for the rugged terrain of Matangi Station in Alexandra, to put it through its paces; the perfect proving ground for both the system and bike with steep climbs, tight pinches and rocky single track.

My most obvious question was how the SX motor would feel in terms of assistance compared to my experience on the Performance Line CX. Would it feel underpowered or too much of a jump down? How natural would it feel to ride? I was also interested to see how you use the modes. For the type of riding I do, I usually ride my CX bike in the two lowest modes, Eco and Tour, but I wondered if I’d need to use eMTB or Turbo? Or, if I stuck to my usual modes, how fast would I be able to climb up stuff? Would I feel like I was going a whole lot slower? Would the SX system experience be up to Bosch’s usual high standards?

I put the motor to the test straight out of the car park, climbing up a steep four-wheel drive track to access the trails. I didn’t expect the SX to be as strong as a full-power motor like the CX but it was easily powerful enough going up. I didn’t need to switch to eMTB or Turbo mode. Even on the loose gravel surface, where you can easily lose traction on the steep sections, the bike performed well and I could push through without having to get out of the saddle.

I think a lot of experienced riders still yearn for that analogue bike feel and the lower-powered modes deliver that nice balance of assistance.

On an eBike, you can sometimes feel like the front wheel is going to lift off on steep sections, especially in high power modes, but I didn’t experience any of that pull-up at the front. I felt like you could manage the torque and it was well delivered. It was smooth and consistent and didn’t come on in a big burst.

I had heard that the SX is more cadence- sensitive but even so I didn’t have to spin it up as quickly as I thought I might have to and was getting good assistance low down. It wasn’t hard to get used to it either. I just had to drop down one gear and I was set. I was still covering the ground fast and it felt really natural.

My personal preference when it comes to modes on my CX powered bike is to be in Tour mode 80% of the time, maybe eMTB mode if I’m going up a more sustained technical climb. I never really feel like I need Turbo and I hardly ever use it. I love to pedal but still want that assistance when I need it. I think a lot of experienced riders still yearn for that analogue bike feel and the lower-powered modes deliver that nice balance of assistance. Eco and Tour don’t feel super strong on a heavier bike so I thought I’d see how they felt on the SX. I switched to Tour on the steep sections and it was ideal, giving me the assistance I needed.

I had a try with eMTB and Turbo and found they were good for starting on a steep technical climb, getting you into it without feeling too strong. This is where these modes come into their own. In the spots where you’re at a low cadence and can run out of traction pretty easily, those high- power modes can help you get moving without having to worry about spinning the wheel and losing grip straight away. You get the torque that you need, where you need it. With eMTB mode you can get up and over most things and it’s the most intuitive mode for most types of riding.

The PowerMore 250 range extender is a good size, weighing in at just 1.5kg and sits on the bottle cage mount. Even though you’re carrying the minimal extra weight, you’re not going to be suffering anymore because you’ve still got the assistance from the motor and the bike is already lighter.

In the morning, we used about 40% of the battery, then rode three hours in the afternoon on some pretty steep, techy terrain, all on one battery charge and I never felt any range anxiety. We didn’t have the Bosch PowerMore range extender with us, but it would be ideal on big days like this. Having the option of an extra 250Wh on top of the 400Wh from the Bosch CompactTube 400 that comes on the Mondraker Dune R is a huge bonus.

The PowerMore 250 range extender is a good size, weighing in at just 1.5kg and sits on the bottle cage mount. Even though you’re carrying the minimal extra weight, you’re not going to be suffering anymore because you’ve still got the assistance from the motor and the bike is already lighter. It’s much easier to add 1.5kg to your backpack than a full-size second battery and it widens the scope for more ambitious backcountry missions.

The Mondraker Dune R has a system controller installed in the top tube, so you can do a quick glance down to check how much battery you’ve got left and what mode you’re in. I liked not having a display unit to clutter the cockpit. But if you prefer having a display unit you can have this added on. Having a minimalist eBike setup with only the system controller and mini remote, but the Flow App in your pocket, means you’re getting the best of both worlds: a pure riding experience with the reassurance of powerful data in your pocket so you can quickly crunch big numbers if you need to. The Mini Remote next to the grip is great. If you’re in a tough spot where you need to change the mode easily and quickly, it behaves responsively.

Going on a deep dive on the bike itself, The Dune R is a solid package. Mondraker has three tiers of the Dune R and this is the most affordable. Build-wise, this is in line with what you would expect at this price point. The headset was super clean with the internal cable routing; that was a nice touch and didn’t impact the steering range. Having the 180mm fork on the front means it’s quite a burly bike. I had thought it would be a bit of a handful but was pleasantly surprised on some of the tighter spots we rode; it still felt light and manoeuvrable and handling was really good. Mondraker uses their own patented dual link suspension design where the shock is compressed at both ends. This gives the bike amazing pedalling efficiency, a very progressive nature. It felt lively and responsive, firm but still plush. It was also very quiet and the build quality was immaculate. The geometry was that classic Mondraker style from their race pedigree – an aggressive approach for descents where you’re tucked in but, if you’re sitting down climbing, it puts you in a good spot. Mondraker also has a unique approach to its high-end carbon bikes. They use pure Toray Carbon with a unique layup to achieve low weight, high strength and stiffness. Most carbon frames are composites where carbon is mixed with fibreglass, so this is very solid. The bike itself really is an amazing first pairing with the Bosch SX system. I think the overall aggressive approach of the Dune makes this a compelling option.

After riding this bike, I asked myself who the bike and – specifically – the Bosch SX system could be suited to?

For advanced riders, the eBike choices are really interesting now, especially if you’re someone who’s come from an acoustic bike. This bike and system is not such a drastic jump as it would be to a full-powered eBike. It has a super-natural feel; you’re taking an analogue experience and you’re just giving it enough assistance but not in a heavy- handed way. Likewise for existing eBike riders, this presents a really different ride experience.

This system will suit someone who loves technical climbing and still wants the capability to manoeuvre, but understands that it is going to ride like a trail bike on the descents as well. It has got the right amount of torque, you can spend most of your time using the low assist modes but with the reassurance that you can bump up to eMTB when you need it and dial it back down when you don’t. Even if you’re riding with people on non-eBikes you can still chuck it in the lowest mode and ride quite naturally in a mixed group, which is sometimes difficult to do with a full-powered eBike.

This system will suit someone who loves technical climbing and still wants the capability to manoeuvre, but understands that it is going to ride like a trail bike on the descents as well.

I think this could be the ultimate system for backcountry and hike-a-bike missions. The SX has plenty of torque and power, so you can climb the more unusual trails you come across on backcountry outings – and having the option of the range extender gives you that certainty of range. An eBike assists you in exploring places you otherwise wouldn’t reach, but there are always sections where you’re going to have to carry your bike over deep river crossings, where trees are down or you’re navigating a washout. Hauling a bike over that unexpected stuff can be taxing and this is where the weight is really important. Walk mode with the lighter weight system is also a breeze.

To sum up, it was an amazingly fun experience to ride this eBike and I was well and truly surprised at its capability. I was already familiar with the Bosch system so the SX felt comfortable while also bringing in some new experiences. Everything was developed to the expected high standard, from the overall system to the Flow App. I think the SX system fills a really broad part of the market and it actually strengthens where its full-powered CX offering fits. Once people ride it, it will change a lot of mindsets. The system that bridges both the eBike and the analogue worlds – you can have your cake and eat it too. This is the new natural.

Special thanks to Outside Sports, Matangi Station and Mondraker NZ (Allsports Distribution).

The Mondraker Dune R is available for purchase at outsidesports.co.nz and nationwide. For a full list of Mondraker NZ retailers visit mondraker.co.nz

This article is taken from:NZ Mountain Biker, Issue #114

Considering SubscribingPurchase Issue #114