Over the last month I’ve had around half a dozen bike rides with friends and we’ve learnt a ton about the sort of riding I can do and the sort of bikes which work best.
This post a summary of what we’ve learnt and some ideas for where to go next.
I wrote a long post about pain and types of riding. Then i noticed a pattern forming.
Essential.. there are two approaches which work and they require completely different bikes
For the least pain I can go ride a bike park with some sort of uplift. Riding downhill stood up is the best balance of pain versus enjoyment. The pain in my sides is high but it doesn’t last long. I have recovered from the pain by the time we leave the carpark.
A bike for stood up riding has to be short and ‘tall’ as possible to reduce the pain. With lots of travel to soften the impact. Sizing down to a small and fitting a really tall handlebar should do the trick.
My adapted Bronson is great but limiting. I can’t access most trails due to small uphill sections. A long travel, lightweight mid boost ebike would be ideal.
For the most fun, spend a day riding a big powerful ebike around a wide range of trails. Up, down, over and around everything.
This riding is mostly done sat down… so the pain is higher in every way. My sides hurt more and for longer and it triggers a tailbone pain flare.
It’s fun, but the recovery period is 2-3 days of laying flat as much as possible and waiting for the pain to pass.
This requires a longer bike optimised for sitting down. The length is needed so less weight goes through the seat. With some careful setup choices I can tune out some of the pain and maybe reduce the recovery time. I’ll need to experiment and see.
In an ideal world, I’d go buy myself two ebikes today.
For stood up riding at bike parks, I’d buy a specialised Kenevo SL frameset and build it up with Lyrik forks, Hope Fortus wheels and Hope e4 brakes. This would get me down pretty much any uplift accessible red or blue bike park trail in the UK and would be the least painful thing to ride.
For sat down trial riding (everything else) I’d buy a specialised turbo levo. Even the base model is plenty. It comes with everything I need and I’d ride the wheels off it replacing parts as they wear out.
That’s an expensive shopping list! Total cost of around £13,000 - £15,000. However it would cover both the options and give me the adventure I crave. I could go ride anything with anyone at any time.
It’s not a good use of money. My Bronson and uplift riding is more than I ever could have reasonably hoped for…. but it’s also frustratingly limited.
I can only ride trails which are downhill all the way and only if there’s road access top and bottom. From a bike park with 55 named trails I can ride 2.
It’s also hella intense for whoever is riding with me who does all the loading / unloading / driving etc.
If it’s the best I can do I’ll take it. But it leaves me craving so much more.
I’m really excited for the future. I feel like I understand what’s going on now.
The understanding that I need a completely different style and size of bike depending on if I am sat down or stood up is the key thing.
The downside is it might be tricky to achieve. I’ll have to see what I can do. I’ve got some test rides arranged, so I should be able to gather more data.
I am excited to keep experimenting. We’ve already achieved so much. Knowing there is a path to being able to ride almost anything is deeply exciting. I’ll keep working on it and see where I end up.