A lot of people have asked about my Klein Mantra recently....

Actually Dear Reader the title is a lie; nobody has asked about it but I felt the need to introduce my full suspension bike. You see back in the day I was what you'd call an early adopter. No kids then. Suspension wasn't exactly in its' infancy, but suspension designs were a bit whacky and nobody had really settled on any particular configuration. My Mantra I bought new in 1997 for £1,500, and have been revising it ever since. Essentially the frame and rear shock are all that remain of the original bike. Currently running Hope hoops, a Magura Menja fork plus full Magura brakes; an HS33 rear rim, and a disc front.

I've perhaps covered 20,000 miles on this bike as for ten years it was my sole rig. And you may ask how many rear shock bushings have I got through in that time? None! They are the original items. Indeed the main fuselage bearing has only been changed the once. Beat that if you can.

Now I was happy riding this bike for years, even up against advice from C & N Cycles in Redhill that it is an ancient piece of crap. What do they know? I have since swopped it out for a few new bikes [a Tassajara and an RC303] but I still ride this thing now and then. But alone - I'm not sure it has the speed to keep up with my riding partners on newer bikes any more.

I'm no longer convinced that we need full suspension bikes to enjoy ourselves. OK they are a little more comfortable, but they need more maintenance than a hardtail and the thought of spending £100+ on bearings and bushings each year holds no interest for me. My Pace is quick enough for me; with the 140mm Pike up front I can hit most stuff pretty hard. Or as hard as anybody approaching 50 wants to.