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April 2015

Drivetrains, and when to replace them

This setup was a functioning piece of rolling art we spotted at a race we sponsored in Sydney before the last Ice Age. It had two chainrings and two sprockets, all different sizes, but calculated to produce the same gear ratio, allowing both to run at once but still be a single speed. The floating chainring used a tensioner was a stroke of mechanical genius. This setup was a functioning piece of rolling art we spotted at a race we sponsored in Sydney before the last Ice Age. It had two chainrings and two sprockets, all different sizes, but calculated to produce the same gear ratio, allowing both to run at once but still be a single speed. The floating chainring used a tensioner was a stroke of mechanical genius.

In a lot of categories, people can be divided into two camps.

Gender for a start. Pepsi vs Coke. Red vs White. Red hot chillies or not.

Dealing with drivetrains is like that. By drivetrains I mean the greasy bits between your pedals and the back wheel. There are people who think that a chain should be replaced after 1000kms, even though it still measures up ok, because that way more life can possibly be extracted from the cogs.

Other people like to flog their entire drivetrain until something fails, then replace the lot. Having been witness to long arguments between adherents to both approaches, we are aware of the many pros and cons to be considered. We like the wear-it-completely-out method. Clean new lube before every second ride, every time if there is rain about, wipe chain clean after lubricating.

Ride until something breaks or ceases to function, then replace everything without further discussion.

Don’t know which camp one of our mates belongs to, but her drivetrain was either ready to die or had some sort of indignity performed on it that made the chain snap.

To her credit, she had a tool along for the ride, so she could set about a trail side fix.

As a sidenote, I always carry a chain tool. Walking 12 kilometres in bike shoes cured me of going far afield without one, ever again. And then there was that one time I found a young woman crouching beside her machine, touching the two ends of her separated chain together as if they might magically rejoin. I could have explained to her that the carpark was only about a three minute walk, but she was as lost as she was stalled, so I whipped out my trusty chain tool and fixed her bike. Knight on white horse moment, even if a sweaty and dirty knight, on a bicycle. But definitely worth having a chain tool for.

But I digress.

Our mate effected a repair. The ride could continue, and while further details are available it sounds like a good enough time was had.

The bike was not running sweetly, so she took it to the bike shop, where much hilarity and more repairs took place. Apparently there were quite a few missing links, the one she joined was frozen, and the chain was threaded around the derailleur incorrectly. That it ran at all is a testament to the resilience of modern equipment. The bike shop judged her repair to be a fail.

But on the day, our friend was able to ride an extra 25kms on the repair she performed with her own tools carted along for that purpose, and we reckon that is a win.


 

 

Pros, semi-pros, and not pros at all...

Kelli Emmett (USA), Sarah Leishman (USA) and Anka Martin (NZ) are the Juliana SRAM team. They wear Nzo Burners shorts! Kelli Emmett (USA), Sarah Leishman (USA) and Anka Martin (NZ) are the Juliana SRAM team. They wear Nzo Burners shorts!

Sorry for the lack of communication for the last couple of weeks! Things have been busy.

There was the Nzo MoonRide, and Crankworx Rotorua. That included the Rotorua Enduro World Series round. Then there was Easter, hordes of visitors, and the last frenzied days of daylight saving for this summer. All of those things complicated the smooth operation of the Nzo HQ.

The Nzo MoonRide was an opportunity to get amongst an event that is all about what makes mountain biking great, average riders like us fanging around on the same trails as squads made up of top-level racers.

That whole concept was taken to a new level the following week at Crankworx. It presented possibly the best field of athletes gathered together for any mountain bike event, ever. While the top riders make a living doing stuff that is almost beyond comprehension, others are weekend warriors fighting the good fight in an age-group competition that won’t make the live TV feeds or global webpages, but will not be forgotten by any of them any time soon.

The Enduro World Series event was a big deal for Nzo. A new team has been launched for the EWS, and other enduro events, and Nzo is supplying their shorts. The Rotorua event was the first outing for the Juliana SRAM team, in their Nzo Burners special team issue shorts. Some locals were also running the new shorts, which we only managed to get finished on the day before the race. We had developed the lightest, coolest, comfiest shorts we could for race days and super hot weather, and after testing several pairs for a year or so we felt they would be a good item for the race team. The Burners were about ready to add to our range, so everything came together at once.

Nzo’s deluxe tent was in a paddock below the main arena, our mission being to let people know about the Nzo shop in town (it worked). We couldn’t get out into the forest to watch with the thousands of people who did, but we made it to the finish of the Enduro at the Crankworx venue. Racing all day on seven tough stages, with no shuttles to soften the 1800m of climbing, was a big ask. But the happy looking punters standing or lying around the finish area showed that even though many of them might not get the chance to line up for a race at that level again, doing it this time had been well worthwhile.

We got good feedback on the Burners, and it was good to see how many Nzo shorts were being worn in an event on their local patch.

Crankworx will be back in Rotorua next year, and if there is another event like the EWS, locals and visitors alike will be scrambling to get into it.

In it or on the sidelines, we can’t wait.

Anka Martin owns a corner on Kataore, a very steep and rooty trail out the back of our local patch of NzoLand. Anka Martin owns a corner on Kataore, a very steep and rooty trail out the back of our local patch.

IMG_4735 In this gaggle of riders is Wyn Masters, who finished an amazing 3rd in the Pro Mens field. He raced in his favourite Nzo Sifters, but had to slip his sponsor's DH shorts on for the podium shots.

IMG_4732 Rosara Joseph. Strictly speaking Rosara is no longer a pro, which might explain why she is wearing Nzo Sifters. She finished 7th in the Pro women's field, and looks like she has just been for a ride around the block.

IMG_4733 The ever-competitive Vanessa Quin. World DH champion in '04, inventor of the VOQ bagel, mother of two, artist, all around good guy. Oh, wears Nzo Sifters now she is a privateer.

10865919_1101429846549542_4652969896027291320_o Take a guess at what Anka is saying about the previous 7 hours.

10999667_1101429319882928_2482047280632418100_o Anja McDonald and Tristan Rawlence would have easily won the couples' category, if there had been one.

11083785_1101429033216290_8489745375857789263_o Our heroine, Aly Bennett. Mother of two, artist, businesswoman, bike rider. No fear. Well, maybe some. But you would never know it.

 

 

NOT ALL SPONSORSHIP PROPOSALS END IN TEARS

Not necessarily the helmet he will wear in the EWS, although it might have made him go faster. Not necessarily the helmet he will wear in the EWS, although it might have made him go faster.

The spots available to the working stiffs in the Enduro World Series round at Crankworx Rotorua were few and hard to get. They sold out in a couple of minutes. One man who was fast enough on the mouse button to ensure a place in that historic and epic event was local physiotherapist Alex Tague. Here is what he did next, transcribed from the original texts (which were accompanied by the photograph above):

I am now officially an EWS rider. Obviously, riding at this level requires sponsorship and I immediately thought of you Gaz (lucky man). Think of the benefits 1/ there is a real media backlash against skinny models and I represent the slightly tubbier athlete 2/ all photos of me will be easily captured in perfect focus due to my reduced velocity 3/ everyone is bored of watching good riders show off the same old boring skills... the kids wanna see crashes on YouTube... slow, awkward unplanned dismounts with lots of expletives! Unlike most of the sponsorship you will receive, this one is true and honest: no talk of 'top ten overall' or 'I will definitely be in magazines with my dashing good looks'. All three points above carry true weight - but I will probably finish first in the 26" category that (race organiser) Chris Ball is going to introduce just before the start (after his children go missing and he receives a blackmail note). I will leave it with you, but be quick before the Syndicate comes a-knockin'! PS keeping my entry on the downlow at the moment.

Dear Alex. Somebody has stolen your phone and making up unbelievable stories about you. Gaz. new text: OK. I think if you are serious this has a lot of potential. Sponsoring a muppet in a man's world is a master stroke. Especially a muppet who will go well on the day. We are keen.

Excellent (said with a slight hunch of the back in an evil genius whisper). Do you want me to start fattening up for the photos?

Not necessary. You are already spotting most of your opponents about 12kgs. And the camera adds an extra 10 or so.

All good. Not much outlay on your part as I already have a race face, a full face and some goggles... (see pic at top).. so Enduro.

Already announced via Instagram and Facebook.

What do you mean #nocashtochangehands? Think of my little children.

 
Alex Tague attempts to dull the pain of an all day effort with a plastic cup half full of beer.

 

NZO BURNERS EWS TESTED

James "Geezer" Alexander at the end of a very long, very tough day on a mountain bike. James "Geezer" Alexander at the end of a very long, very tough day on a mountain bike. Nzo Burner shorts and Nzo 245 trail top.

This is verbatim copied from an email we received shortly after the Enduro World Series Round at Crankworx Rotorua. It came from a mate of ours, James Alexander. 

Choosing an mtb short from your drawer shouldn't be a decision... It should be a reaction based in instinct.

Instinct was what led me to choose to wear Nzo Burners the day of the EWS Rotorua.

My instinct was fabricated (pun intended) by factors my past shorts fell short of (ok, so less of the puns).  Fundamentally when you’re about to ride 7 hours, comfort is pretty high on the priority list - you don't want comfort... you NEED it!

As soon as you slip the Burners over your body you know something is different. It's the cut! Dare I say it they feel almost tailor made... well they should right!  After all they are designed by the legendary Gaz Sullivan. A man that oozes passion for riding and has been around the traps long enough to know that above great style, comfort is the winning formula that rules the roost.  Mention the word "Dobie" to any seasoned mountain biker and they give the kiwi eye brow raise of recognition.

Enough about "Dobies" we know they are good. Burners; they are very good.

What immediately struck me was how light they feel to wear. Not so light you feel unprotected, light in the fact they are supple, the cut so good, there is no bunching of excess fabric in weird places. Compare riding with a camel-back to not riding with one. Same deal. You feel free-er - that simple!

Some clever thinking has been injected into these too. The stretchy mesh strip along the width of your rump, keeps things cool and hugs you nicely to prevent the short from twisting. The double popper is a valuable upgrade over other brands. You'll never feel guilty after a pre-ride cooked breakfast ever again. No surprise "pop" up the first climb here. In the bigger picture (that damn pun again) if your weight fluctuates from season to season, congratulations for being human you’re rewarded with quality made cinch tabs to adjust your waist band to the millimetre as and when required.  With all this profound function, are they stylish?  You bet!  It's Nzo's trademark. ....."Does my bum look good in these?"

The last time I saw "the look" from my wife, she agreed to marry me!