Here it is, my machine for the New Year.
Santacruz Blur XC Matte Black Carbon frame
2011 Shimano XTR
I have had the chance to put it through its paces in training and am very pleased with how it is going. In particular I have found the new XTR to be brilliant. It is a very classy group set. Light weight but you know you can rely on it to stand up to the abuse that comes with racing. Shifting is amazingly smooth, the triggers have a nice soft release and gear changes are very quiet. The brakes are also a highlight. The levers have a very nice feel to them and are good and powerful.
Another feature that I really like about the new bike is the remote control lockout on my Fox forks. Rather than stuffing around reaching down to manually turn a lever on the crown of the fork I now have a simple thumb button on the bars. Locking the suspension out is now much more accessible and can be activated to make anything from a long seated climb to a short burst out of the saddle more efficient. Because it is so easy to apply it becomes much like an extra gear change.
Weight wise the bike is about 1lb lighter than my previous one and it is noticeable the difference in climbing and also moving back up to speed out of corners etc. It definitely feels a lot zippier and more responsive to any acceleration.
I have been really enjoying riding the new bike. It is so nice to have new gear again it really helps freshen the mind and adds a bit more excitement back into the training. Thank you to Stylie at Santacruz New Zealand, As well as Sheppard Industries for helping me out with the Shimano components and Blue Shark Ltd for doing the same with the Fox fork. And to Rob and Mike at Bike Culture thanks again for your incredible support and the bike build.
My first race for 2011 is the 1st round of the Nduro Summer series on the 9th of January which will kick off a busy schedule where I will be racing most weekends building up to the National Championships in Dunedin on the 27 February and finishing at the Oceania Championships in Australia in mid March.