25 April 2008

Dear Transition...


I am considering custom building one of your fine BottleRockets as a treat for my impending 30th birthday. I currently live in the Netherlands but am considering the purchase during a vacation trip to Vancouver I have planned this summer to visit a friend in Whistler. Because of the limited knowledge of Transition bikes here in the Netherlands I would greatly appreciate some advice to help me build my perfect bike. Please excuse the long email!

About me, my riding style, current bike and reasons for choosing the Bottlerocket

I thought I'd give you a little of my background so you can tailor the advice for me. I have been riding all my life but for pure social adrenaline buzz rather than any competitive urges. My current bike is a 2004 Kona Coiler which I have beefed up to take more abuse that my riding style has evolved to. I'd prefer taking a charilift up and riding playful trails down enjoying trying new lines rather than getting to the bottom in the fastest possible time. I enjoy small jumps and medium drops but find it's my confidence rather than my skill that prevents me from progressing. My fear gets the better of me when I'm confronted with jumps that require high speed or gaps larger than 3m and the max drops I am attempting top out at 2m. I feel my current bike is a little heavy for the amount of travel it has plus I'd like to raise up the front end with some better quality 180mm forks but feel this may upset the rear of the bike. Therefore I'm in the market for a new frame and fork combo. I don't want an all out downhill monster as I'm often riding normal XC trails and want a dual ring up front. I'm attracted to the Bottlerocket for it's playful lightweight simple yet strong attitude to help me progress yet it has an all round appeal. Plus it includes my must haves of an uninterrupted seat tube for saddle height adjustment and double front ring capable.


I have been a fan of single crown Marzo forks and am considering the 66 ATA's but I'm wondering if I am going overkill and would I be happy with the 55's instead? My rational behind choosing the 66 ATA's over the 55's is that I am more likely to ride downhill tracks with rock gardens than session dirt jumps. However, I am attracted by the ATA version so I can reduce the travel for cruising around urban style or XC rides. Would you be able to confirm the 66 ATA's are available in 1.5" steerer tube? If the frame accepts 1.5" then I want to make sure I get a 1.5" fork to feel the benefits.

As I understand the market leader for rear shocks is the Fox DHX. I think I would prefer the reduced weight benefits of the DHX Air but what are the other benefits to having a coil shock in case I am making the wrong decision?

Ultimately, for my riding style will the 66 ETA's be a good match for the DHX Air or should I be considering a Talas/DHX Air or a 66/Roco combination to have better matched ride?


I had the pleasure of trying out a BottleRocket in the large size with some 160mm forks and the DHX coil at some local trails. At 5'10" I could immediately tell the reach was too long for me. However, from your size guide I am right in the middle of the small and medium recommended sizes. What would help me make the right decision? I very much doubt I'll ever performing flips or spins to need the benefit of a shorter wheelbase but I have the medium Kona Coiler and feel a shorter reach would be better. My 17" Coiler has the same effective top tube length as the medium Bottlerocket but an 80mm stem.

Paint Job

I recently read on your blog about DropN'Zone custom paint jobs and since I am going all out on this build I am also considering a custom paint job. How does a deep blood red sound?! I think it would go really well with a mix of white decals/forks/cables with a splash of gold parts. Is DropN'Zone the best quality place to arrange this or can you recommend anywhere else? Wherever I chose, are your coloured pivot caps readily available for order?

Other parts

My friend currently works in a Whistler Village Sports. Alebeit not a Transition dealer, but he can order from Norco distributed or Canada Outdoor Gear brands so I have quite the range of options to build my setup. I have a few questions about specific parts that I hope you can answer for me:

I will probably go for a set of Holzfeller OCT cranks or the 2009 Saints if I can get my hands on them before August. I understand the BB shell width should be 73mm but what length BB axle should I order to have room to fit an e13 DRS guide?

I presume the Chris King 1.5" fits but please confirm?

It looks like a top pull style front mech is required - please confirm?
Does the cable routing allow for cables to be attached by ties or do the brakes require disabling and threading?
What's the seat tube size? (for ordering the front mech)
When ordering just the frame will it come with a seat pin? QR is preffered

If I don't go with a DropN'Zone build can I order direct from you and have delivered to Whistler?

Finally, I though it would be cool to visit Transition whilst I was out on my trip this summer. See where my bike was conceived, buy the designers/staff a crate of beers, pickup a T'shirt, maybe even shred some local trails with you guys if at all possible? (but being an old man now I might slow you down!)

Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read this rather long email :-)

As you can probably tell I am rather passionate about my next bike being the best for me. It's a little concerning that I will have to trust the parts I am choosing work well together, the custom paint shop does a good job and my friend organises a quality build without actually being there to oversee. I certainly don't want my 3 week trip to Vancouver to be spent mostly in the bike shop and not out on the trails! That is why I really appreciate your opinion to minimise the risks as much as possible. Thank you


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16 April 2008

Dancing Silhouettes

Werck Silhouettes 012

I had my camera out late last weekend after taking some photos that will eventually make it onto this blog as part of another story. The Silhouettes that I took that night have come out great so I thought I'd put them up here first. The best way to view them is in slideshow format here

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15 April 2008

Are two planks better than one?

This winter was always going to be tough to repeat last years snowboarding efforts but I still managed a good couple of trips. 1st up was my yearly pilgrimage to catch up with Mr C and his entourage in Lech, Austria.

nice view

After a dry period we got lucky with some fresh snow during our stay. I'm sure it was only enough to prevent me from driving up the hill yet not substantial to host some epic deep turns. Never the less we had good fun and it was nice to also see Eva who I met in Whistler last year.

cut the corner

So with the lads warm up trip out the way it was time to get away with Emma and fellow Amsterdammers for a week on the edge of the Les Arcs resort in a place called Peisey Vallandry. We stayed in a very spacious chalet a little down the slopes and arrived to find no snow!

our chalet

One morning I was up early enough to catch the sun coming up over the mountains where I took the following photos.

Peisey panorama 1


branchy peaks

balcony love

In particular, the photo below is one of the best I think I have ever taken most of which is right time right place.

Beautiful Alpine Morning

But as the week progress we had 15cm one night that was enough to entertain me on the snowboard until the majority was tracked out. Can't complain at the rest of the weather though as it was glorious sunshine. Which leads me to the questions as the title of this post - are two planks better than one?

turning hard

Emma ski's, so I took it on myself to also give it a go. When the suns out and the pistes are fast hard packed, I'll have to say the ski's are much more fun. I've have no style or technique but it's not too difficult to get some serious speed whilst remaining on the edge of control.

keep those arms in

I was soon leading Emma on some off piste adventures and hitting some natural gullys and the odd jump here and there.

the run up


We made it to the top of the resort at over 3000m one day and the views were stunning.

last one down is a chicken


It wasn't till the end of the holiday that we went further afield and found the larger park. Shame really cos the red jumps looked perfect and really well maintained. Even the greens were sizable and I would've been comfortable trying rotations on them. I was on the ski's that day so thought I'd see how hard it could be? No daffys or helicopters from me but I nailed the green line of 4 kickers a total of 3 times with no stacks. We'll have to work on Emma's videography for future trips though ;-)

park chair

Now before my friends all rip me, I'll be the first to admit that I will never get the same feeling on ski's that I have experienced many a time on a snowboard. That freedom of expression through line choice would be I doubt I'll ever achieve on ski's. In the best snow conditions I am just not willing to put the time in on ski's - give me a board any day :-)


But it's just good fun to learn something new. Probably the same reasons why I bought that BMX a while ago that is still in someone's shed in Nottingham? So when I'm an old man and body parts don't work as well as they used to, I can see that I'll be skiing just like I can imagine I'll be golfing. Here's hoping I don't kill myself on a snowboard first!

All my photos can be viewed here or in slideshow format here

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06 April 2008

Visitors welcome

So we've finally moved into our new flat. After a lengthy few weeks living out of boxes in my friends room in my old flat, we now have a new place we can call our home. So that means the visitors can start rolling in. But the weekends are filling up fast so be quick!

Stu and Pamela popped over recently so you can see what to expect on a visit here by their photos below.

back a bit...

Good sights and good food.

fed and watered

Plus some biking adventures

catch me if you can

More photos from their trip can be seen here or in slideshow format here

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