Traharn spent the day at Bike Park Wales with Soho Bikes who were filming their latest video for Soho Bikes TV. The day was all about riding different wheel sizes to try and answer the impossible question ‘which is best?’. Traharn grabbed a few minutes with some of the riders to find out more about their answer to this question, and more.
Words – Traharn Chidley
Photos – Dan Wyre Photography
Name: Phil Shucksmith
Occupation: Investment Management
Background: 16 years in the sport racing Downhill, and now Enduro
Bikes ridden at SOHO bike test: Hightower 29er | Hightower 27+ | Bronson 27.5
Favourite?: Hightower 27+ (although only managed one run, and got a puncture)
Which felt most fun?: “The Hightower 27+ felt the most fun, sucking up everything, it wasn’t jarring and I could just point where I wanted to go and get there. Whereas when I switched back to normal tyres it felt rougher and shook me about more.”
Which felt fastest?: “It’s hard to say, because I rode one without a chain and punctured on another, the 29er felt fastest and if the run had gone well I’d imagine it would’ve shown that in the results.
[The Soho bike test, revealed that Phil had a time of 03.24.70 on his Hightower 27.5 trail bike, and was just under 5 seconds slower on the chainless 29er with a time of 03.29.18]
If you only had one bike what would it be?: “After todays bike test, it hasn’t really helped , it’s just opened up a bunch of questions and makes me want to try more bikes in the Santa Cruz range. I’d probably say the Bronson 27.5, that’s the bike I ride around Surrey Hills and it’s great fun. The plus size tyres look quite stupid and the durability of the tyres are not reliable so I wouldn’t consider them at the moment, but if the tyres held out they could be a serious contender. From a racers perspective I’d like to spend more time on the Hightower 29er.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen in Mountain Biking?: “Reliability of the core bikes, I’ve had crank arms fall off old bikes half way down a run, but now with improved quality and reliability you barely have to touch the bike.”
What will/should be the next step in Mountain Biking?: “The person to get rid of the derailleur and gears would be a hero, that’s probably now the weakest point on the bike.”
After a good day on the bike, what’s your go to meal?: “As soon as you’ve done well at a race you want to reward yourself with food, but it depends where you are and what’s available to you. If I could have my absolute favourite choice I’d be in Austria eating Schnitzels.”