Anyone with a keen eye will notice that for many years I’ve used rigid or hardtail bikes for all my expeditions, guiding and coaching despite the fact that most of my clients (on skills courses / day rides) and fellow guides are riding full suspension bikes.
I’ve always ridden hardtails and love the raw power, the low maintenance and the reliability of a great hardtail frame, but some time last year I started to get a niggle and crave speed, then a Bird rolled by and caught my eye.
Now making the huge leap from using a hardtail fatbike as my main ‘work’ bike, to a full suspension rig was fairly daunting. You can spend an aweful lot of money on bikes these days and the one thing I’d learnt from so many years on hardtails was that geometry is key to finding the right bike, and I know what geometry I like when there’s no suspension involved, but where do you start when you’re looking for the ‘right’ geometry with some added bounce…?
Another great influence for me was wanting to buy the right brand, not the ‘cool’ brand, or the ‘niche’ brand, but finding a company I could believe in and invest in, after all I’m going to spend a lot of money and then be an advocate for that brand for a few years (at least) so I need to believe in them, what they stand for and what they produce. Trek are a very popular choice with MTB guides across the country, but it’s just not me to back one of the big guns in the bike industry, everyone knows who Trek are and they don’t need any more support from me. I wanted to find the right bike for my needs, from a small company, rather than follow the masses.
Fast forward a few (read many) months and after a huge amount of patience (thanks Dave) I have my new steed built up and thoroughly covered in mud. So what did I go for? A Bird Aeris of course. The geometry is absolutely on the money, the quality of the build and the price for the spec is second to none, and Bird are a great UK based company who are genuinely passionate about biking and making great bikes.
I still have my hardtail bikes, and when the weather gets horrible, or on a few big bikepacking expeditions they’ll come out to play, but for now I am bowled over by the speed, handling, comfort and fun of full sus.
Carbon-Monkey are a specialist MTB skills course provider who run mountainbike courses in North Wales,
the Lake District, Peak District, Scotland and on Cannock Chase. We grew up riding the trails of
Snowdonia and MTB all over North Wales. From Jumps and Drops courses to multi day MTB expeditions,
at Carbon-Monkey we are ready to welcome you on a MTB skills course that will provide real improvement
to your riding. MTB skills are our passion and Bikepacking adventure expeditions our escapism, when will you join us?