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Beyond the Trail Centre

OK, so I have to declare an interest here, before I even get started – I would much rather ride in open countryside than in a trail centre. There, I’ve said it, and I know that I’m not alone. Look, I know that in our modern world, with our busy lives, trail centres have their place and I’m not here to pour scorn on their manicured trails or to decry the whole notion that to carry out any activity, outdoor or otherwise, you have to go to a designated area created for that specific purpose.

OK, most of you can see straight through me, actually I am doing that very thing. A bit.

Back to the point, then.

Beyond the trail centre.

 

The right to roam by bicycle.

The simple pleasure of travelling the countryside, from point A to point B, by bike.

You can do that on foot so you must be able to do the same on your bike, right? Well, no, not exactly. And not everywhere.

For generations most of the land in this fair Isle had been in the possession of the few. Landowners and farmers were strongly averse to public access to their land.

The first right of access legislation in 1925, and the mass ‘trespass’ at Kinder Scout in 1932 changed our rights to access the countryside to what we assume today. As long as you are on foot. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act (often called the Right to Roam), brought into legislation in 2000, under which open countryside such as mountains, moors, heaths and downs are designated open access areas where you can roam free, whether there are footpaths or not. This legislation covers some 3 million acres of land, across the UK.

But that’s not the whole story. Most of this land is still not accessible by bicycle unless there is a byway, bridleway or historic precedent. There are still many thousands of miles of farm, forest and moorland vehicle tracks on Countryside and Rights of Way land where bikes remain prohibited. If it’s OK for a 4×4, then what harm can a few bikes do? Cycling UK is working with big property owners such as the Ministry of Defence and the Forestry Commission already to try to correct this inequality.

It’s not even the same across the whole of the UK. We are seeing changes to rights of access in Scotland, but Wales and England are still way behind.

In 2015 the government began a consultation on access to the countryside. The results of this showed that support for open access was easily as strong as that for preserving the status quo, as lobbied for by landowner groups such as the NFU.

Since then the pro-access support has gained some momentum with a campaign for a Scottish level of ‘presumed access’ started by British Cycling, Cycling UK, Welsh Cycling and OpenMTB.

We read in the press and hear anecdotally that there is an increase in interest in cycling generally but that many don’t feel safe on the roads. We also see that even within the road bike realm, gravel bikes are increasingly popular. It is clear that this access issue has wider implications than the mountain bike world alone. It’s been proven that roaming cyclists bring economic well-being to the parts other activities can’t reach too, with off-road and leisure cycling alone boosting the Scottish economy by an estimated £358m a year.

 

If you want to see fair and equal access, by bike, to land in the whole of the UK just as it is for those on foot, visit  CyclingUK.org and read their Beyond the Green Belt article or OpenMTB’s Facebook page.

If you have thoughts on any of the issues raised in this post, feel free to email info@kbcycles.com

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One Man’s Dream

Gerry’s dream of having his own track bike

When one of our life long customers, Gerry, approached us with a frameset in hand and the dream of building his own track bike, we we’re psyched to help in any which way we could.

Gerry had managed to bag himself a Giant Omnium frameset from a friend and had the idea of building a super sleek, classic looking track bike. We we’re more then happy to oblige.

Young Gerry has been a keen Track cyclist for around 18 months now. Following a big crash on his MTB. Gerry tried his hand at the discipline to keep fit and aid his recovery process with being able to cycle all year round no matter the weather. Most of his training days are spent at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome up in Glasgow.

Always the keen road cyclist and huge fan of Fixed gear from his early days, Gerry found the switch to Track as a natural progression.

Visiting the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome most weeks, sometimes multiple times a week doesn’t come cheap. Coaching costs plus the bike hire cost can weigh heavy on your wallet. Which is why Gerry tasked us with his build.

He couldn’t of possible come to a better shop to have his build done. John our Workshop Manager is possibly even more enthusiastic with about fixed gear bikes and track cycling. So one mans dream became another mans dream job.

No matter the job or build, John in the workshop is always enthusiastic. When it comes to building fixies, hes stoked! Both John and Gerry could be found discussing whats going to be best for the build and what will work best for rider. They both agreed that the classic, clean cut look was the way to go with the frameset. Gerry was fully aware he could go spend some hard earned cash on new, carbon completes. But his way of thinking was alloy can take a battering until he fully finds his feet on the wood. Plus buying complete is never as satisfying as building your own!

Once the build was completed, we got Gerry to pop down to the store to have a little fit session and get him comfortable with his new steed.

The most satisfying part for us is seeing a rider leave the shop with their new bike in hand and the biggest smile on their face. Gerry didn’t have to wait to long to test his bike. He was at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome the following weekend.

 

We would like to thank Gerry for the fun time spent building his bike and wish him all the luck on his adventures of track cycling!

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Thank you and Happy New Year!!

We would just like to say thank you all of our customers for making 2017 one of the best for us. We do what we do because we love it and we just want to get more people involved with and riding bikes. We are here to support you, as much as you support us.
 
We have got big plans for 2018 and its all for our customers. With all plans well under way, its looking to be our best year to date. So watch this space for what we have in store for you all.
 
We wish all of customers and all of you cyclists out there the very best for 2018 and please remember to enjoy your cycling and support your local bike shop because without you, we can’t be us.
 
Cheers!
 
KB Cycles Team
 

#WEKNOWBIKES

#WEKNOWELECTRICBIKES

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Review: Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6fattie 2018

Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie 2018

We managed to get hold of a Turbo Kenevo Expert from Specialized for a few days. It certainly didn’t disappoint.

After doing a little running around and trying to secure the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie 2018 from Head Office, (Seems everyone is wanting to test this bike) it finally arrived in a well packaged, HUGE bike box. Needless to say, I was psyched to get out on it.

After much deliberation, I decided Beamish Woods would be the venue of choice. Anyone who knows Beamish, would know it would be a proving ground for an eMTB. Short sharp runs, turn tail and head back up to the top track. The morning couldn’t have started better. I parked up in the little lay by up from the gate, stepped out of the van and slipped on sheet ice. This is going to be entertaining.

Out comes the Specialized Kenevo Expert 6Fattie 2018, and down the hill a roll to the gates. The track leading into the forest was a complete wash out. Straight away the Kenevo came into its own. Being a Plus Bike, it was digging in hard and making mince meat of the soaked track, not a bother. With assistance helping me plough into the wood, I was instantly grinning.

After a little reccy along the bottom track to the far end of the woods, I put the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert through its paces. A short steep climb turned into nothing but a mole hill. With the motor in the highest setting, the Kenevo just climbed and climbed. Popping out onto the top track I was amazed, it was a breeze.

27.5 Plus tyres, Specialized’s new 1.3 motor, I could tell I was going to enjoy this ride.

 

 

For all the eBike fans, lets have a little geek out. It may come as a surprise to some to find out that Specialized Turbo’s are powered by Brose. And to further that, the new Specialized Turbo 1.3 motor is simply the new Brose S motor. Specialized say they have tuned and optimized the BROSE motor to specifically suit their bikes, and what they expect from an eBike, calling it Rx Trail Tune.

Though it’s hard to find official figures, the previous Brose model T, is said to put out upto 90Nm of torque, putting it in the number one spot of the top three motor manufacturers. Again the official figure hasn’t been released on torque output for the Brose S, but they have kindly told us that it is 15% more powerful.

For those who havn’t used the Specialized Turbo System, their MTB range doesn’t use a display unit. Everything can be controlled from your smart phone via bluetooth using their own app called Mission Control. Meaning the cockpit of the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie is ultra neat. If your not a fan of carrying your smart phone around while out on the trail, not to worry, Specialized have fitted their in-tube battery with a LED display to tell you remaining battery life and what mode your riding in. A big part of the eBike revolution is making the bike as traditional looking and feeling as possible. The Kenevo Expert is definitely a front runner in this way.

So back to the riding. Once on the top path of Beamish Woods I started picking my way down some of the easier sections. One thing to get used to when riding any eMTB, not just the Kenevo is the weight of the bike. As you can imagine its a change from market leading carbon weapons. Gravity grabs you and you start rolling quick, fast. I took a couple runs to get used to throwing the Specialized Kenevo Expert 6Fattie around in berms and quick changes of direction, but soon it felt natural and super comfortable.

 

As soon as I was confident with the bike, it was time to really start pushing the boundaries. And in complete honesty, it wasn’t the bikes limits I was pushing, but my own. The Kenevo Expert took everything in it’s stride, with total ease. with the RockShox Lyric 180mm forks and the Ohlins TTX22M coil shock at the rear. Nothing at Beamish could truly test them. The Ohlins TTX22M coil shock was remarkable, 180mm travel was more than enough for the venue, but proved excellent. Absorbing every big hit I could give it. I will honestly say that faster, even more confident riders could really test this beast at Beamish with the HUGE road gap.

 

The RockShox Lyrik RCT3 180mm travel forks, as you can imagine handles brilliantly in the woods. Again more then enough travel for Beamish unless your hitting the BIG gaps at break neck speeds. Not necessarily the Lyrik’s issue, but I did notice a significant different in weight from front to rear on the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie. Though the BB is low, the Kenevo felt a little short in the reach, possibly just down to my ape arms, but thus forced me to sit back often and effected the centre of balance of the bike, causing the front end to lift slightly.

After a two hour ride in the woods, I had used minimal battery life. I lost only 1 single block of charge on the display. Rather impressive for the amount of climbing, given the challenging wet conditions, the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie worked hard and lost very little charge.

Overall i was extremely pleased with the bike. Its was a superb long travel eMTB, probably way more travel then required for most trail centres in the UK, but if its available, why wouldn’t you want more. The only down side of the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie was the reach. It felt short, sometimes causing the sensation of being a little twitchy, and like previously mentioned, front end lift caused by shifting my weight too far back. I suppose I could have done a little more research prior and opted for the XL over the Large.

I can 100% say that testing this eMTB has really opened up the possibilities of what long travel eMTB’s have to offer. The Kenevo Expert is brilliantly designed and engineered. Every material was of excellent quality. Two hours proved plenty of time to have a boat full of fun, and plenty of runs. For me the eMTB could prove to be the way to go when you have limited time.

These guys are hard to come by and Specialized don’t expect to see availability until February 2018.  I can 100% see why the first drop of the Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert 6Fattie’s sold out QUICK!

 

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Review: Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie

Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie

As you are no doubt aware, we have become the Specialized Independent Dealer in the region. From Darlington all the way up to Edinburgh.

There has been a lot of buzz around the Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie 2018, not just in the shop but online and in magazines. When Specialized offered the bike to us for a few days, we jumped at the chance.

So lets get to it.

Chopwell Woods was the venue, Icy were the conditions. After a quick pedal out of the car park and up into the forest to get the legs spinning. As locals will know the fire roads and paths of Chopwell can become like sheet ice, so off-piste was the way to go.

To get acquainted with the Specialized Enduro 29/6Fattie 2018, I thought it best to take the first section easy. So down goes the Command Post and I stamp on the pedals as hard as possible, leaving my buddy behind! Thanks to the FACT 9M Carbon front end, acceleration was awesome. Given how stiff the bike feels, not an ounce of power was lost, efficiency was unbelievable.

Every 29er fan will know, when the going gets rough, you hardly notice. The Roval/DT Swiss wheel set took every bump in their stride. As you may well know, when your local trails have been icy for weeks, the earth doesn’t give up much.  Every rut was solid and the Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie 2018 picked its way over everything I could throw at it. Roll rate was tremendous from the DT Swiss hubs, zero resistance, again ment efficiency was unrivaled.

Now for the Ohlins RXF 36 Forks. Ohlins, perhaps better know for making advanced suspension technology within the Motor Sport world, have produced a variety of suspension for MTB. The RXF 36 is the ‘BIG BROTHER’  to the the successful RXF34. Specifically designed with all-mountain, enduro riding in mind.

 

With 160mm travel, The Ohlins RXF 36’s really pushes the boundaries of whats possible on the Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie 2018.

When powering through the woods, I didn’t even have to think about what the front end was doing. At no point did I have to push the front end in to find more traction, gain more grip through this corner, or worry about losing contact when pushing hard over this section. It was 100% a game of point and shoot, and the Enduro Elite always saw me through it. It wasn’t until I popped back out onto the fire road, that I realised how much I didn’t have to think about front end grip. Some may think that it is a bad thing, that I wasn’t immediately blown away by how well the Ohlins RXF36’s were working. I say that is the sign of an immense piece of engineering work. They completed their job perfectly and gave me all the confidence in the world that I was sticking every corner, always supplying grip and absorbing every bump, while always keeping contact.

At the rear, Specialized have fitted the Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie with the awesome RockShox Monarch Plus, with Specialized Auto-Sag Technology. For those who havn’t used Auto-Sag, its an awesome quick way of setting the correct sag rate for every rider. With 160mm travel, the RockShox Monarch was at home on the Enduro Elite, absorbing every hit.

As with all trails and trail centres, what goes down, you always have to climb back up. The Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie climbs well. Some folk will say 29er’s struggle, even more so when they have such a slack head angle. Not this bike. Specialized seem to have hit the nail on the head with the geometry and she can climb! Helped along by the SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain, supplying you with what feels like a ratio that could climb a wall.

 

With SRAM GX giving you the go, SRAM have kindly supplied the stopping power. The Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie 2018 comes with Code R 4-piston calipers, 200mm to the front and 180mm rotor at the rear. Braking was never an issue on the Enduro Elite. Even when under heavy braking the rear end never once decided to stiffen up and cause a problem.

 

It comes as no shock to Specialized fans that the Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie comes with plenty of SWAT Technology. With a handy little integrated storage system, that allows you to storage spare tubes, tool wrap and even your jacket. Neatly accessed under the bottle cage. Not only that but the bottle cage also holds your very own SWAT multi tool. Making sure you don’t get stranded trail side.

I can honestly say, I loved it. It performed excellently. It may seem like an understated review. But when a bike lets you jump on and go have fun in the wood, its doing an excellent job. I couldn’t find a fault with the Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie. Every ounce of technology that has been thrown at the bike, has done it’s job. Dialed doesn’t cut it. This was an awesome machine.

The Specialized Enduro Elite 29/6Fattie is now available in store!

 

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Free Health Checks

We’ve had a number of bikes come through our workshop that have required more work than the owner initially thought. So we thought we would help you out so you know exactly whats up with your bike.

We are offering FREE HEALTH CHECKS on your bikes.

Whether you are putting it away for winter, pulling the winter bike out of the shed or your trusted commuter has had a tough few months. We’ll let you know whats up and you can decide what you want to do.

Get in touch on 0191 2645215 or just drop by and we’ll slot you in.

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We Know Trek Electric Bikes

Trek Dual Sport+
Trek Dual Sport+ ebike

On or off the road, Dual Sport+ can conquer it all with confidence. Dual Sport+ is the ultimate electric hybrid, part city bike, part adventure trail ride. Fast 700c wheels, suspension and a light, strong frame make it the go-anywhere choice.
Modern refinements like disc brakes for all-weather confidence and puncture resistant-tyres keep you riding in any conditions. Dual Sport bikes handle city streets and off-road riding with equal ease.

Trek Neko+

Neko+ is the perfect combination of refined women’s city bike and trail ride. Neko+ handles city streets and trail excursions with equal ease and confidence, with fast 700c wheels, suspension and a smart frame that’s DuoTrap S compatible for fitness tracking. Add racks and mudguards for extra utility and all-weather rideability.

Neko is ready to take you from week to weekend and back in comfortably in style.

Trek Super Commuter+


Super Commuter+ combines the refined aesthetics of a stylish city bike with the integrated power of a frame-mounted electric motor for a fast, futuristic, dependable daily ride. The base of any spectacular bike is a spectacular frame; the integrated frame-mounted battery optimises handling precision and balance for greater control and confidence.

Trek Conduit+


Conduit+ is a hard-working, lightweight, electric-assist commuter bike. Smart features like a smooth mid-drive motor and onboard lighting make quick, fun work of your commute. Equipped with Disc brakes for reliable all-weather stopping power, integrated lights and rack for night-time safety and hauling gear.

WE KNOW ELECTRIC BIKES

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We are Newcastle’s premier ebike store

With over 50 Electric Bikes in Stock

We are Newcastle’s Premier eBike Store

Here at KB Cycles Newcastle, we know electric bikes. We have over 50 eBikes in stock from a variety of manufacturers such as Haibike, Trek, SCOTT, Specialized and Raleigh.

We don’t just sell electric bikes, we fully believe in them. The eBike revolution is here, and we’re behind it. We have carefully selected our electric bike range to be able to offer you the perfect eBike.

Whether your new to the electric bike scene, or a season veteran, we’ve something to offer. Some folk are still skeptical about the eBike, those are the cyclist who haven’t tried one yet. Electric bikes are for everyone.

Not sure what style of electric bike to go for? Here’s a handy list of what might just work for you.

Hybrid

Hybrid is an excellent place to start your own eBike revolution. Arguably the style of bike 80% of cyclists should be riding.  If your looking for a bike to get you from A to B in comfort and relative ease, Hybrid is your category. Generally fitted with a mid range motor from all manufacturers, hybrid generally covers most peoples budget in the electric bike market.

Mostly 700c wheels, a variety of tyre tread pattern depending on your model and split through the range whether you have a short travel suspension fork for comfort or a full rigid for city slickers.

Hardtail eMTB

Hardtail electric bikes, or eMTB is our next step from hybrid. Designed for the eBike enthusiast who want to do that little bit more adventure and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

To the lower end of the eBike range of eMTB, bikes come with similar motors as the higher end hybrids. The idea is to give you enough assistance to climb those muddy tracks and weathered trails. Generally speaking, eMTB, comes with a sturdy amount of travel in the front fork to be able to take some hits and provide comfort for every rider. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that they are a bit tame for the seasoned mountain biker. This range will take you up to some big hitting rides with enough power output for any weekend warrior.

full suspension

 

Now your really starting to get into it. The getting to the thick end of electric bike wizardry. Starting from rider friendly, confidence boosting geometry to some super slack, long travel rigs. The full suspension electric bike range here and KB Cycles Newcastle, is something we have pour over for months. Carefully picking from each manufacturers offerings, we believe, we’ve got your next eBike.

Fitted with some of the most powerfully and reliable motors from the leading manufacturers, these guys are designed for one thing, and one thing only. To keep you smiling no matter what the terrain. Whether your powering up steep tracks or giving it your all in and out of every corner and berm. The full suspension electric bikes at KB Cycles will give 100% fun and confidence.

Doesn’t quite cover it?

Luckily for you there is cross overs between all these categories and even some very niche categories of their own, like the electric Fat Bike, the eGravel bike or even a folding electric bike from raleigh.

We honestly believe we have the biggest and best range of electric bikes in Newcastle. We pride ourselves on being the leaders of the eBike revolution in Newcastle.

Don’t believe us, just pop your head in store and see for yourself. We live, breathe and sleep electric bikes.

If your still not convinced an eBike is for you, why not take full advantage of our Demo Programme.