June 9, 2010
A bargain jumpy bike perfect for pump track fun, getting sweet air or nipping around town on.
A bit like mushrooms in autumn or thorn punctures in early summer, pump tracks seem to be popping up everywhere lately. Singletrack’s “local” trail centre Lee Quarry has one, there’s another one over at Coed Llandegla in North Wales as well as a multitude of secret and not so secret tracks all over the country, with more being dug all the time.
The aim of the game is to ride the BMX style lumps and jumps without pedalling, “pumping” the bike to generate enough speed to loop the track and to clear the jumps if you’re so minded. It’s strangely addictive fun and the real-world payoff is the ability to eke out more speed for less effort on swoopy trail features, especially those of the man-made flavour. It might look easy, but we guarantee a few fast laps of a pump track will have you feeling the strain in arms and legs as well as getting a sweat on.
Any bike will do but while modern suspension and sticky tyres are great out on normal trail obstacles it sucks the energy from you on a pump track. Here’s where our little Impulse Buy test bike comes it – it’s the Saracen Amplitude CR1, a rigid forked, 24” wheeled steel jump bike with decent volume but almost-slick tyres.
The tidy graphics and colour scheme have had riders of all colours admiring it and to ride it picks up speed in a way that’s staggering when you’re used to draggy mountain bikes. It’s the base model in Saracen’s jumpy bike range but at £359.99 with a full cromo frame and decent specs including proper BMX-style three piece cranks on sealed bearings it still offers good value for money without the “budget” image that Saracens of old were sometimes tarnished with.
If you think this Impulse Buy bike is a bit too jumpy and extreme for you, consider this: if your yoof is getting into the jumpy side of mountain biking, this will be a tough, simple and reliable hacking-about-doing-jumps bike for them, plus you can borrow it when you fancy a thrash about on a pump track to “show them how it’s done*”. Perfect.
Saracen Amplitude CR1
* Singletrack accepts no responsibility for you hurting yourself or looking foolish.
Photos courtesy www.peterstevensphotography.com