A trail ride on a classic mountain bike.

I walked the dog up Great Hill the day before yesterday and could certainly feel the effort of the climb in my legs afterwards. Yesterday I decided to climb the same hill again by mountain bike and thought it would be fun to use a classic bike from 2004. The Whtye PRST4 has a radical linkage front suspension rather than a conventional telescopic fork and a virtual pivot rear end, which was well ahead of its time. It has only 100mm of suspension travel at each end but is considerably lighter than a modern bike. I could easily pay £8,000 for a new bike which could be 4kg heavier. The justification is tha a modern bike has much longer suspension travel but can this compensate for the additional weight?

Despite my efforts walking the dog up the hill only a day earlier I found from the app. Strava that I was generally fast on the lightweight PRST4, especially where climbing was involved. The narrow tyres, which need to be inflated to higher pressures, also create less drag. The down side of the bike us that it feels the bumpy terrain far more, which is in itself fatiguing. In addition when you hit a rock or other obstacle under power, the front wheel is pushed back and often gives a feeling of jarring and restricting progress. A rocky climb can be difficult. On manicured bike park surfaces this would not present a problem but today it felt awkward at times.

I still managed some fast times later on downhill sections and fatigue only really set in on the final climb over Healey Nab. It’s a harder bike to ride than a modern option but over a whole ride it can still be quick. I may be better saving the PRSR4 for less severe terrain in future.

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