List of things to buy for a week riding in the alps?

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  • List of things to buy for a week riding in the alps?
  • mikewsmith – Member

    Agentdagnamit great sentiments and ideas but in the course of 2 weeks with lifts you can end up riding the equivalent of months of descents in the UK.

    Yup. Every day we were doing more vertical than I’d do in 3 or 4 normal rides in the UK, not to mention that the trails themselves were often harder than a typical UK trail I reckon a week of alps riding did about 3 months wear and tear on my Hemlock, and at least thta on me too!

    This is hillarious, sounds like it is sensible to take 2 bikes.

    Mike – by your calculations, I have ridden the equivalent of nearly 2 years UK riding in 7 weeks on holiday this year! I’ll ignore the assumption about riding trail centres…

    7 weeks riding in the Pyrenees and Alps this year, 2 bikes, broken bits restricted to:

    3 or 4 punctures – running single ply and normal tubes
    2 changes of Avid Elixir pads on Ms AD’s bike, one change of M4s on mine
    Joplin 4 post gave it up after 6 weeks
    2 broken spokes and a rim that needed an hour or so to true
    Scratches to riders and bikes, no A&E visits.

    Similar story during a 4 week trip last year. Admittedly, I took a whole load of spares, because we drove down in a campervan.

    I’m with Nick, I reckon trips to the Alps and Spain show up badly maintained bikes, poor braking technique and Hero/Drift camera inspired fits of skills overestimation.

    ianv
    Member

    juan – Member

    Plus as I said, it’s france, mech hanger aside you will find a replacement part in a LBS.

    Well my experience:
    Bike shop in Barcelonette, 90 euro for a new head set and 3 massive dents on the top tube where they must have dropped it onto a set of stairs. Unfortunately picked it up in the dark and was miles away when I noticed them.
    Big bike shop in Perpignan, no pads for avid brakes even though all their bikes were fitted with them. Would have been 20 euro a pop if they had stock. Same shop 19 euro for a downhill innertube.
    Shop in St Lary 40euro for a 24″ tyre that costs £18 on CRC
    Shops in 2 alpes asking 75 euro for an xt rear derailleur
    Shops around 2 alpes/Grenoble asking 500 euro for a set of hope brakes (passed on this one)

    Its no wonder people take stuff with them.

    juan
    Member

    I wouldn’t expect to just walk into any LBS, France or not, and pick up pads for a particular brake, or spokes for a particular wacky wheel

    Well you have some very old brakes or some very bad LBS me think. But I suppose that is the conundrum to buy everything online.
    I still don’t get why you need so many spares. Don’t you ever ride stuf you don’t know? Most if not all of my riding is done on stuff I don’t know. Trails are ridden every year or every two years so I hardly “know” them. I still don’t brake bikes on a regular basis. It is just riding. Last time I spent a week in molini riding on upflits on complete unknow terrain I only wrap a disk due to pilot error. Nothing broke out “like that”…

    juan
    Member

    Well my experience:
    Bike shop in Barcelonette, 90 euro for a new head set and 3 massive dents on the top tube where they must have dropped it onto a set of stairs. Unfortunately picked it up in the dark and was miles away when I noticed them.

    What headset?

    Big bike shop in Perpignan, no pads for avid brakes even though all their bikes were fitted with them. Would have been 20 euro a pop if they had stock. Same shop 19 euro for a downhill innertube.

    That is not unreasonnable for DH tubes, my LBS stock them at 15€ a pop and that is below RPP.

    Shop in St Lary 40euro for a 24″ tyre that costs £18 on CRC

    Again what tyre? A maxxis ST, that is the price.

    Shops in 2 alpes asking 75 euro for an xt rear derailleur

    This is the price I assume my LBS stock them at around 69€ depending on the useless importers.

    Shops around 2 alpes/Grenoble asking 500 euro for a set of hope brakes (passed on this one)

    Again what set of hope brakes?

    ianv
    Member

    What headset?

    a crap one and they didnt even fit it properly

    That is not unreasonnable for DH tubes, my LBS stock them at 15€ a pop and that is below RPP

    10 euro at Decathlon

    gain what tyre? A maxxis ST, that is the price.

    Halo choirboy £18 CRC

    This is the price I assume my LBS stock them at around 69€ depending on the useless importers

    Exactly the point, £45 CRC

    Hope M4 £305 @ CRC

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    juan – Member

    Well you have some very old brakes or some very bad LBS me thin

    Wrong on both counts.

    Once again- earlier in the thread a chap mentioned being unable to find Formula Oro pads around Bourg St Maurice. The real world strikes.

    Just looking at some common vendors and there’s about 30 different pads in circulation for reasonably modern and big-mountain-worthy brakes. Does your shop have them all?

    Oh, fwiw I pay £5 for my favourite DH tubes- though generally get them 3 for a tenner.

    chimpley
    Member

    There seems to be a lot of buying stuff for the sake of buying it in that list.
    I’ve been to the alps a lot and the main things are brake pads and obscure things like mech hangers prob useful. To be fair if you put new pads in before you go they’ll last a week or two out there.
    How often do gear cables snap? I’ve been riding mountain bikes for 15-ish years and never had one go on me.
    If you maintain your bike and you ride within your limits you’re forks aren’t going to suddenly explode or your brakes fall off.

    Why would you need to replace a headset?? most bike parts are so reliable these days that a week in the alps is no problem

    ianv
    Member

    Why would you need to replace a headset?? most bike parts are so reliable these days that a week in the alps is no problem

    2009 bike/headset that never had a proper service prior to going out (for 4 months). It died.

    On the gear cable thing, amazingly my son and I snapped about 6 or 7 between us. Not actually sure how or why, but there you go.

    juan
    Member

    Well ianv what are the price in a real LBS then? P.S. decathon won brand is crap.

    ianv
    Member

    They were maxxis

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Juan the chips must protect you. All the kit I suggest and others is what I would normally have in the garage anyway. When you go out for a ride you take what you need ride and go home. We go for 1 or 2 weeks with 10 to 12 days of riding. If I was going to do Dh and xc in a weekend I’d at least take some different tyres. If I was going uplifting for a weekend I’d take a couple of sets of tyres.

    Alpine bike shops are poor. They are converted ski shops with a bit of stuff. The worst selection of brake pads mechs etc I have seen. At prices that make rrp in the UK seem cheap. If you want choice you sometimes end up hqvi g to leave the area drive for miles to a bigger town. As said before that might be fine after a weekend but if you are losing a day of holiday you paid cor that’s not fun.

    Last couple of trips I had a good load of stuff and was happy other people were back and forward to multiple shops trying to sort stuff out. Losing ride time.

    As for time and descents on the bike if I did helvellyn for example twice on a sat and Sunday then another big mountain mid week that gets me about 5000m max of decent that’s doable in a day I the alps. In my younger days we could be out for the full lift day which is more decending than I could do at home by a long way.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Ride within your limits, remember you’re there to have fun. I’ve lost count of the number of testosterone fuelled crashes I have seen out there from ‘lads riding holiday’ mentality. Guys eying up and being egged on to try stuff way past their pay grade – normally one guy has made something by blind luck & the unfortunate one spending the rest of the week hobbling around off the bike.

    Very true.
    Guys go out there, get pissed on the first night cos it’s all the lads away, go out the next morning, jetlagged/hungover and end up riding like idiots and breaking themselves/the bike.

    Any normal spares you’d take while out MTBing anywhere plus stuff that’s expensive or difficult to get. Mech hangers are the classic. Spare brake pads, couple of cables, a few spare chain links. If you’ve got anything proprietary or specific to that bike then take it cos you can bet that no shop will have the widget for your obselete 2010 thingummybob. Most other breakages can be avoided by actually paying attention to the bike before you get 10 minutes into the first descent.

    Very good insurance that definitely covers you for MTBing coupled with an EHIC card.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    It goes without saying that there is a huge variety of riding in the Alps and no two holidays will be the same. We did Les Arcs for two weeks (including trips to Tignes, La Plagne and La Rosiere) and managed well over 30,000m of descending without really hammering it – some will do more, some less.

    In that time, in a group of 6 we had zero punctures, no tyre damage, some fork servicing, a few brake pad changes, no cable damage.

    It was very dusty so I got through a lot of lube.

    Out of 6 of us we only had one catastrophic brake failure, and that was the one guy who didn’t have shimano brakes.

    None of us had FF helmets but it depends on where you go, I guess.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    Another thing for your list – an IGN map of the area you are riding – we found them invaluable unguided. You can get them over here but you an also get them in all the French supermarkets.

    Here is a video of some man made bike park stuff which shows how rattly it can get – it’s only a small portion of the available trails though.

    http://www.pinkbike.com/video/154753/

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Here is a video of some man made bike park stuff which shows how rattly it can get – it’s only a small portion of the available trails though.

    http://www.pinkbike.com/video/154753/
    Nice skills in the air there. It would be a nice track of they sorted it out but as one of the few DH tracks in the tarentaise valley it seems to get a hammering and no work done 🙂

    Sounds like you had a good trip Wallop that repair bill sounds like a good one. My spares strategy is mostly based around what can fit in etc. If it’s a group of good mates willing to share it’s better and you can get a fair bit between you. Echoing what has been said above if your bikes not well set-up or looked after then you are asking for trouble. However the random blowup/rock strike/is that meant to happen moment does strike us all 🙂

    Also from the other/previous threads if you taking guiding make sure the company is in a position to offer it as certainly in France the guiding police seem to be warming up again. Loosing a day to mechanical is bad but loosing it due to the guide not being up to “Local” regs would be worse.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    I took 4 sets of pads for 10 days riding in alpe duez. They are still in the packets…. Nothing broke or wore out all holiday, though the tyres are now a bit tired. (2.5 ST minions). Prices in bike shops were the same as here.

    wolfenstein
    Member

    Nice video . What bike you got there @wallop

    By the way.. No one seems to be suggesting bike lock. Do they have facility for this?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I chucked one in but chalet had a lock up before that either van or lock up or inside chalet. One to check before you go

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    Oh god, that’s not me on the video – sorry!

    I’m a girl. I can’t ride quite like that, sadly….

    wolfenstein
    Member

    @mikewsmith … I assume its fort knox safe these chalet to keep bikes.

    @wallop LOL.. Too late now. After watching it countless times..my mind is set you are that video 😛

    wysiwyg
    Member

    Cba reading all this but personally my tyre choice would be 2.35 swamp things or similar as its bound to be wet at some point.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    😆

    We ended buying locks out there – we just locked our bikes to the tree next to our tent.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    In terms of bike-abuse, I reckon a day on the brake-bumped, blown-out horrors that are some of the PDS man-made runs are worth a week+ on the flowing, more natural trails to be found in the area. Mid-late season, some of the trails in Morzine / Les Gets / Lindarets feel like sitting on a bike attached to a fatigue-test jig. Perhaps that’s the main reason a lot of people are on 160mm+ bikes, yet going not-that-fast-really.
    (Ok I may exaggerate a bit on the bumps and it depends a lot on what you’re into, but the DH runs there can get a bit dull/tiresome to me as a ‘non-DHer’ with an average 140mm trail FS bke – brakakakining bumumpsss to berm – rollers – brakkinining bumummmps to berm etc. There’s loads of other trails that are steeper, techier and way more fun and in many ways a lot easier on the bike and body if you stay on)

    I’ve had wrecked fork dampers and ended up with a squelchy (newly tuned from mojo) shock within 3 days there. I’ve also ridden 12 days of 10-12hrs a day across the Alps away from most of the bike runs and not needed any spares at all, just replaced a tired BB toward the end when I had the chance for a fair 25 Euro inc ‘tool hire’.

    If you’re driving out, take the basic spares but don’t stress about it too much. As others have said, just don’t go mental on day 1 and save the big stuff for the latter part of the trip and you’ll be fine.

    wolfenstein
    Member

    Swamp things on the summer.. Seriously? 🙄 Was leaning towards minions dhf 2.5 ST front.. 2.35 60a rear. Or advantage 2.35 front/rear. … Mostly doing singletracks first few days and getting more technical .

    ..i knew i gonna bring locks 😉

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    Minion DHF ST front, Minion DHF 60a rear for me.

    We were lucky though – didn’t see a drop of rain for the whole two weeks, apart from one night. By the end of the holiday we were almost complaining it was too dusty 😆

    Premier Icon accu
    Subscriber

    for exploring trails in more remote areas,
    not for the uplift, more bikepark like stuff…

    this turned out to be my list..

    a well serviced bike and kit,done before leaving to the alps !
    generally 2ply tires

    in my bagpack,
    first aid kit
    pretzel head torch
    extra layer,beanie
    brakepads 2 sets..
    2 lightweight spare tubes
    necessary tools only
    duct tape, cable ties,pump,chain link (sram or connex)
    IGN map..of course

    in my car
    rear mech!,cables,new chain,more brake pads,spare tyre tools,grease,
    and a spare seatpost,
    strange i know, but a broken one spoiled once three days of riding, couldn`t get one with 30.0mm dia in the tarentaise valley..

    wolfenstein
    Member

    @wallop. My choice of tyres as well.. You running 2.35 both? The 2.35 advantage is a bit bigger thought just dont know how it is

    @accu. Exactly the kind of situation im trying to avoid, its not easy for myself to get a holiday break as everybody else.. every hour counts… only to be ruined by that kinda thing. reminds me bringing my spare seatpost.. Still i cant picture out how your seatpost broke unless its a really nasty crash.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    wolfenstein – Member

    Swamp things on the summer.. Seriously? Was leaning towards minions dhf 2.5 ST front.. 2.35 60a rear. Or advantage 2.35 front/rear. … Mostly doing singletracks first few days and getting more technical .

    It does rain in France ya know. I remember seeing pics a couple of years back of one poor sod’s alpine holiday, it had rained for weeks before and the trails were a sea of mud. I’d have been glad for hillbillies never mind swampdonkeys.

    But you can judge that closer to the time. I had trouble with dust, no problems at all with wet.

    Oh aye, which brings me to another thing to take- extra sunglasses. Because if you’re a knobber like me, you’ll break a pair at lunchtime on day one and then lose a pair on day 3, and spend most of your holiday either wearing clear glasses and squinting, or wearing no glasses at all and trying to make pearls with your eyes.

    wysiwyg
    Member

    @wolfenstein

    “end of springtime or early summer” “swampthings – seriously”

    ok dont listen to the fella who lives there for 2 months every summer. summer doesnt arrive til the end of july.

    if youre taking two sets of tyres the spares should be a mud tyre, but you buy some minions if thats what you want.

    Premier Icon accu
    Subscriber

    no crash…the upper plate which helds the saddle rails down broke..and the bending screws damaged the threads on the post…complete fail..
    never thought that this could happen

    Premier Icon johnny
    Subscriber

    One post earlier was about obscure parts? It’s not just ones we might think are obscure!

    On of the most random issues i’ve known was a friend whose 20mm adaptor popped off his Hope hub when in transit. As he was transporting his bike in a carboard box, and it was thrown around in true Ryanair fashion, the adaptor dropped out….somewhere…

    He rode for two days with an adaptor fashioned from a bit of plastic pipe. Only found a replacement from a UK guide with a set of hope wheels he wasn’t using. Them Italians don’t buy/sell/use Hope, it seems!

    juan
    Member

    Swamp things on the summer.. Seriously?

    Yes seriously, it’s called summer rain, heavy thunderstorm for a few days. If you get cuaght in it you’ll be happy to have mud tyres.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    @wallop. My choice of tyres as well.. You running 2.35 both? The 2.35 advantage is a bit bigger thought just dont know how it is

    2.5 on the front, 2.35 rear. Worked a treat apart from on the uber-dusty steep bits!

    wolfenstein
    Member

    Cheers for that” swamp thing tyre recommendation” is this applicable as well during middle of summer? Or does anyone know whats the weather over there after the megavalanche?

    Premier Icon coolhandluke
    Subscriber

    SRAM power links
    2.5″dual ply tyres
    200mm rotor up front 185 at back
    Spare brake pads ( -although I have never gone through a set yet out here)
    Mech hanger
    Rear mech
    Bleed kit

    Fresh arms for when you are half way down te run.

    A buff so your head doesn’t get sun burned through your lid or when on the lift

    Bigger balls
    More skills
    Medical insurance ( usually not necessary unless you take your “big balls” but leave your “more skills” at home.)

    Enjoy it but don’t let bravado fool you into thinking you can do something you can’t. It usually ends up looking bad.

    wysiwyg
    Member

    You could run Muddy Marys, fit them and forget them. 90% of the time unless its raining that hard and that gloopy theyll be awesome.

    From July mid to Sept last year I would run swampies for 1/4 of the time. Plus the DH stuff off piste is very loamy and they grip like hell.

    wolfenstein
    Member

    If this is so.. I think i will lean on continental baron (black chili) on this fit and forget. But most likely will be there around june

    wysiwyg
    Member

    June last year was rain, mate went in early july rained daily for 10 days

    wolfenstein
    Member

    So when is best time you reckon.. I dont mind rain really.. Just not everyday 🙄

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    Also what lottery numbers and next years national winner.

    It’s a mountain region with weird climate. Anything that close to mt blanc can be unsettled. I’ve seen dry and torrential conditions in June July august and September. That’s how I came to own a fox race/boil in a bag top.

    Must dig out the videos from many years ago of sliding down les gets in deep mud.

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