Tag Archives: silverback bikes

Silverback Syncra 2

For my 2014/2015 racing season I rode a relatively new brand to the UK called silverback. The bike was the Syncra 2 which was carbon with 130mm travel. (I soon learnt this was far too much for an XC race bike)
I was really impressed with the Silverback design the frame looks sleek in matt black with green highlights and the spec of the bike was high compared to the reasonable price.

winter training
This was my first 650b bike, I had decided that his wheel size suited me because it was easier to handle, to be honest I never really gave 29ers a chance only briefly riding a friends and deciding it wasn’t for me.
The Silverback Syncra 2 came with Shimano XT group set (2×10) which was a good option cheaper than sram it meant replacing parts was cheaper on my wallet!

TORQ 12-12 2015
The bike weighed 11.2kg which was pretty light and performed brilliantly on trails both up and down hill.

Silverback Syncra 2 first race
The 130mm fork was far too much in hind sight for XC racing it made the front end of the bike heavy and I was never using the shock to its full extent because I didn’t really do that type of trail riding or racing. I did find it confidence boosting sometimes in technical situations because I felt like the bike could handle more rough stuff, whether this is true or not I’m not sure! The main gripe with this fork was the terrible pop lock which broke not once, but three times each time costing me around £50 for the small plastic trigger, personally this is a rip off especially when the damn thing would brake a month or so later!
The SLX brakes on this bike are great so responsive, you just need a tiny tap to feel them working.

Southern XC 2015 R3-120
My frame was a medium which is correct for my height but the set up of the bike was a bit too outstretched I turned the stem round so it was slammed and added a giant carbon bar which I had from when I was a real rider this helped my positioning.

Grip Grab Gloves
Overall his was a great bike to ride and race, I would have been interested to try the 100mm travel option and see how much lighter it was and who knows his could of helped my racing performance.

IMG_0807Star Rating:

Appearance: 5/5
Frame: 4/5
Forks: 3/5
Handling: 4/4
Fun factor: 4/5

I hope you enjoyed his review stay tuned for the next!

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A weekend of ‘first times’ at Battle On The Beach

I have been training for Battle on the Beach for a good couple of weeks and felt happy going into my first endurance based event.

It was my first race of the season and my first endurance race! I was really excited and a little nervous but new I had put in the work over the Winter to be ready for what was about to come!

Saturday morning we packed up and left for Wales Martyn came along in the hope of surfing.

We arrived in sunny Wales (another first, sun in Wales!) and pitched the tent I went off to ride the course which was part beach, part double track, part singletrack. The beach part was tough into a headwind and then pushing my bike back up the steep dunes entrance was lung busting. I had never raced on a beach before and the prospect of racing along it tomorrow was tiring!

The double track was great fast and flowing, the singletrack meandered through the tress with a few short sharp ups which had the surface been solid would have been easy, however the loose sand made it hard work, the key to keeping moving was a low sustained cadence you had to keep a good rhythm in your legs to keep the bike edging forward, also keeping your body weight central over the bike worked well for me, my tyres dug in and my bike creeped past those who had decided to walk.

There was one A/B line the A was a sandy shoot which I found quite fun! As long as you stayed central over your bike and kept away from your back brake just easing the front now and then the bike kept traction, most of the time! At the end of the shoot was two longs the first was roll-able the second, not so much, I went for the jumping off and over instead of jumping over as im still working on this on smaller obstacles and felt this was the quickest option!

The hardest part of the course was through the dunes the very soft sand made keeping up speed and traction tough but a fun challenge.

After practise Martyn and I decided to go for dinner at a pub instead of cook as it was getting quite cold. When we arrived back at our tent it seemed a lot colder the night sky was bright with stars and there wasn’t a cloud in sight, we were in for a chilly night! Just how chilly we hadn’t really realised. Waking up at 5am to find frost on the inside of the tent was another first!

The morning brought more blue skies and we were in for a great days racing and fantastic weather too!Battle on the Beach, Pembrey

After race briefing all the racers huddled on the beach ready for a mass start (another first) I found myself in the middle back of this group of 600 riders all with different shapes and sizes of bike, as the starting gun sounded we all edged forward through the soft sand onto the harder beach where we could finally get riding.

Battle on the Beach soft sand push

I paced myself on my heart rate trying to stay at my AT (anaerobic threshold) as I knew I could sustain this pace, the beach was longer on the first lap and seemed to go on forever as I worked my way forward from one bunch of cyclists to another, this was hard work especially when you found yourself out on your own, even though the breeze was light it seemed to make it so much harder! I got to a group moving as a good pace and stuck with them.

After we left the beach and got to the singetrack there was a huge bottle neck which meant having to stop for a couple of minutes, this would be a consistent theme of the first lap at every point where there was a big up or a tight bit of singetrack the pace slowed. (I lost around 6 minutes here)

I enjoyed the first lap coming through the start I hopped off and grabbed a new bottle of drink.  On opening it had a slight surprise when the top came off this meant having to stop to fix it! (not helpful!)

After the first lap which was around double the distance of the second and third these short laps where rather ‘easy’ compared to the first one. I crossed the finish line in 2 hours 10 minutes feeling very happy with my performance. I had paced myself and felt like my laps had been consistent.

Battle on the Beach

Things to think about for next time:

  • Get further towards the start at the start to avoid so much bottle neck!
  • Carry two bottles of drink for the entire race and only stop if I have to…
  • Attach pump to bike, so annoying banging around on my back
  • Jelly babies as well as gels, cut down the gels and try to eat something else

I came 7th overall in the woman’s open category with a time of 2 hours 11 minutes.

Thanks to Silverback Bikes, Bike Fixers, Grip Grab and Dog Tag for your support.

To read about how the rest of Pedal 2 Pedal did go to my website.

Mud Sweat and Gears Round Three, Codham Park

On Sunday the alarm went off at 5.30 ready for the drive to Codham Park in Essex for round three of the MSG series.msg event village

It was my first MSG of the year on one of my favourite courses, Codham Park. I arrived at the Park in the bright morning sunshine, the car was already registering 16 degrees at 7.30!

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I have found racing in the heat challenging before so I took a bottle of electrolyte drink round on my practise lap and kept sipping to stay as well hydrated as possible. 

The thing I love about Codham is the variety of terrain, the course starts on open cart track which tracks through a farm over fields and into a woodland where the single track is tight and twisty, it doesn’t leave much room for overtaking so I made a mental note of where I would be able to over take if I needed to. The course pops out of the forest and continues up and then straight along a field into more forest which then brings you out into a ‘sand pit’ area with some great switch backs and drops. After the final switch back the course climbs steeply out of the pit and onto a BMX track which is often loose and sandy.

Silverback

I felt confident after the practise lap, there was one ‘A’ line which was an off camber shoot down a grass bank which I decide after much deliberation I was going to do, as I was worried about falling on my bad elbow, the price for not taking this was an extra 45 seconds each lap which was going to be hard to make up but I was determined to do my best! 

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It was soon time to grid and I waited eagerly on the starting line ready to race. The heat was already burning down and I wished my it wasn’t so black! The whistle went and I got a great start hanging onto another riders wheel the first corner I turned well and the terrain turned to grass I dropped down a gear, which was a mistake as I lost speed and a couple of riders past me. We came to a long grassy climb and this is where having a 29’er would of been ideal, they seemed to glide past me as I grunted up the hill my 130mm travel 650b not working to my advantage!

I had lost the front riders by the time we got into the wooded section as I got caught behind someone going slightly slower than I would have liked this cost me time and once I was out of the forest I worked hard to pull the gap back, unsuccessfully! 

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My ‘b’ line decision was costing me time and I felt frustrated so on my third lap I decided to bite the bullet and take the ‘a’ line sadly a rider had come off quite badly and it was closed so I couldn’t take it. 

Donna Dale a veteran rider and I spent the next two laps pushing against one another it was great to have someone to push against and it gave me a new lease of life!

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Entering the final lap I felt good and pushed on determined to make this my best lap I worked hard on the field to get in front of Donna before the wooded section and succeeded this was where my decision to have 650b wheels really paid off! My Silverback Syncra glided effortlessly through the tree and felt so comfortable to ride and turned carrying speed which was a real advantage. 

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I entered the technical section for the last time and pushed as hard as I could coming into the finish line I new I had given it my all.

My lap times were relatively consistent although dropped off slightly, this is something I need to work on. Compared to last season my lap times at this course have got quicker by 5/6 mins really showing that my training is working.

Lap times:

4 laps 1 hour 16 mins

Lap 1 18.23

Lap 2 19.26

Lap 3 19.11

Lap 4 19.05

From my lap times I think I have clearly got room for improvement I know I have to warm up well to enable my first and second lap times to be as good as my third and fourth.

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