The Empire Strikes Back – Part 2

The Foxy Five

Every culture has their own social greeting and customs that are to be observed upon meeting. Britain has long embraced the mutual joys of bitching about the weather, it binds us. Sadly it’s just too nice out there! A spring filled sunset with a view of the Lambs making the most of what is left of the light and chasing each other all the way to bed time. So in a break from our cultural norm I’ll just say hi.

Now as we discussed in the last (gripping) episode, Brit bikes are back, big time! The brands are burgeoning and the reviews are telling. Where we may loose a few points in the culinary cook offs, beach holidays and white teeth competitions, we are all double deuce on fun in the mud and mayhem in the mountains. So I thought we’d do an MTV cribs style, bike shed tour. This would be typical of your average Brit riders bike shed. I say average because, we Brits are all extremely wealthy and are also lucky enough to have an entirely kind Queen who sends bikes to her subjects as often as the French go on strike.

The six that we will take a gander at are just to give you something to set the scene prior to getting to the industry interviews in the next installment and talking to those who shaped them. Some of the bikes that we are about to look at will also be getting a ride review further down the line and I can’t wait ! From big bounce to XC lite we have a bull dog bike just for you, don’t take my word for it….Look at em’!

All Mountain Mammoth

Sacacen Ariel 162 £3399.99

Subtle it ain’t, capable it is! Saracen’s commitment for having a bike for every single facet of the sport is ambitious. So far they are proving that it’s something that they are capable of taking in their stride. When the Ariel first came out, it was a 140mm travel bike and reviewed seriously well. It was deemed a little heavy, so it was tweaked and went on a diet and now is fit for the fight. They even offer this 160mm variation for gravity hero’s. Both travel options offer great riding characteristics and some neat linkage quality, a bike that should be a joy to own.


All day Awesome

Kinesis Maxlight FF29 £500 frame or from £1500 built

If you have never heard of Kinesis (shame on you) I will give you a three word, brand description ‘Racing and winning’. Simple eh ! Cut em’ and they bleed pure ‘fast’. Cyclo cross, road and XC privateers are all drawn to them like skinny moths to the flame. However this bike isn’t really about racing it’s about the ride that spans the entire day and makes for weary legs, great memories and a pint on the way home. It’s a hell of a lot of value and one of those bikes that makes you want another go.

The Daddy

Nukeproof Pulse £Depending on model

Here is a brand that has issues….aggression issues. Know that if you call your brand Nukeproof, people are going to expect a pretty high level of beef cake and they deliver 100%. Designed by some of Britain’s very best and renowned for being tested by mental cases. Seven very desirable frames are on offer (and build options) and some equally impressive components are too. Some of their kit is priced really keenly and should make some other manufactures blush. This brand may be a hooligan but it’s ruthless enough to have some ambition and if you don’t watch em’, they will have you!


Elegant Rocket

Charge Cooker Ti £1500 frame only. £3000 built

Charge offer 24 bikes in total, they also offer some sweet apparel and components.They have the ability to have a bit of a laugh at themselves and I like that. If you are really good at what you do and know it, you can do that. They have some obviously classic urban bikes that although beautifully detailed, have price tags that make you look twice and think ‘HOW much’ in a good way. The Cooker Ti is a well sorted ride and comes on the back of a great deal of past track record. It may well be a big chunk of pocket money, but it’s also a lot of value for money and a bike that you could enjoy, year after year.


Hardtail Havoc

Cotic BFE £329 frame only

That old saying about respect being earned, not given… Cotic have earned a great deal of loyalty from their customers and really are respected as a ‘riders’ brand. Their bikes often carry geometry that will look ‘out there’ upon first glance and they are not a brand that is afraid to push a change of direction. You will see a lot of sharp ideas come from their sketch pad. Distinct styling makes a Cotic easy to spot and the BFE is definitely hard to miss. Reynolds 853 tubing is a pretty perfect material choice for a bike that is made with the ability to be your 4X buddy or your alps amigo. Optimized with up to 160mm travel it’s gonna make for some scary moments. If it could speak, it would say something really rude.

Which would you want to see on Christmas morning ? hhhhhmmmm tricky.

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