Two British makes that I can vouch for are
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Two British makes that I can vouch for are
If you have read my previously article about Hope
| This weekend, I managed
to ride an Orange Mr XC back to back with the Marin FRS that I usually ride,
as I’m thinking of buying an Orange Sub 5.
Well a good start was that both bikes were running the same front forks
In spite of the frame sizes being 1.5″ different – Orange 18″, Marin 19.5″
Given a choice I’d have taken the Orange rather than my own Marin, – 2000
I wouldn’t want to go as far as to say the Orange was better than a new
Let’s be honest. The Scott Tigua isn’t the sort of bike
that you lie awake at night dreaming about. It isn’t expensive. It doesn’t have suspension.
While the paint job is tasteful, it doesn’t elicit admiring glances from passers
by. The tires are better suited to street use and the odd canal towpath than serious
off-road work. No, this is the sort of bike you buy because it’s reasonably priced
and you think it’ll do the job. The only question is, how well does it do its job?
BORDER="0">The Tigua is the entry point to Scott’s Solution|
series: a line of bikes designed for women. The fact that it’s a women’s bike seems
well known. A few times I’ve had people coming up to me to talk to me about it and
ask me how I get on with it.
The frame is straight-gauge 7005 aluminium in a standard diamond. There’s no fancy
bending of seatstay or exotic tube shapes, although there are some nice cutouts at
the rear dropouts. There’s a gusset on the underside of the down tube at the head
tube, but it’s welded at the end as well as along the edges, which concentrates stress
at the end weld. At least it looks the part. It has a plain curved steel fork which
is extra tall, so if you replace it with a suspension fork the geometry shouldn’t
get too messed up. The paintwork is neat, but not very durable: the cables of my
lights rubbed through it on one night ride. It has all the braze-ons for rack and
mudgaurds, although the tall fork would make attachment of a full front mudgaurd
The wheels are decent, although budget. The “Formula RBP” hubs are alloy,
and there are 32 14-gauge stainless spokes laced to Alex rims. The rims are a simple
U shape, without eyelets, and have an annoyingly narrow braking surfaces, making
precise alignment of brakes a necessity. The surprising thing about the wheels is
that despite the basic components, the quality of the wheelbuilding is excellent.
These are very well-tensioned wheels, and as long as the hubs don’t go belly-up I
expect them to give good service until the sidewalls wear thin. I don’t know if this
quality of wheelbuilding is standard for Scott, or if it was tweaked by the shop
I got the bike from, Bothy Bikes in Aviemore.
Since this is a woman’s bike, it’s worth examining what exactly this means. The distinguishing
characteristic of a woman’s bike is usually a short top tube, since women in general
have shorter torsos and longer legs than men of the same height. I have the 17.5″
model, the second smallest. Its top tube is, according to the geometry charts, 53.5cm
(about 21″) long. The charts for my old Trek 950 list its top tube as 56cm (22″)
long. However in reality, the head tube is the same distance from the seat tube on
both bikes. Trek gives the “effective top tube” measurement, which is how
long the top tube would be if it were horizontal, while Scott gives the actual length
of the tube which is shorter. If you measure the “effective top tube” length
of the Scott you find it’s also 56cm (22″).
So the Tigua isn’t a real winner here, but it is quite short for a Scott. The geometry
charts list the 17.5″ Sport models as having a 55.5cm top tube, and the Racing
versions a 56cm top tube. Assuming the same method of measuring, that would be a
heck of a stretch. In contrast, the 17″ versions of Trek’s women’s specific
6500 and 8000 have effective top tubes of 53.4cm (21″). So if you’re looking
for a really short reach, look to Trek.
Returning to my two bikes, despite being the same effective length, there is a significant
difference in the top tubes on the Trek 950 and Scott Tigua: the one on the Scott
slopes more. Although the seat tubes of both bikes are the same length, the top tube
on the Scott joins the seat tube well below the top. This gives you more crotch clearance
on the Scott, but prevents the use of a big waterbottle on the seat tube. Not a problem
if you’re a Camelbak fan.
BORDER="0">The Tigua comes with a fashionable (although heavy steel) riser bar. At
24″ it’s of moderate width, and it should help to bring the grips up and back
to the rider. However as soon as I sat on the bike I felt way too stretched. It’s
the stem at fault. It’s 115mm long with almost no rise. Since the headset is threadless
and there is only a slim spacer, there is no chance for height adjustment. What is
this doing on a small ladies bike? My old Trek, not specifically designed for women,
came with a stem of the same rise but a centimeter shorter. Since it didn’t have
a threadless headset, I could raise the stem by quite a bit. I wonder if Scott had
some leftover stems from their mens race bikes, and they stuck them on the Tigua
to get rid of them. Whatever, it certainly doesn’t belong. My local bike shop sorted
me out with a stem about 85mm long and with about a 20degree rise. Ah, much better.
A quick trip around the block told me that the Scott
Solution saddle didn’t suit me. Now, women usually have wider sit bones than men,
and I certainly don’t have a very slim backside. But this saddle was too wide for
me, getting in the way of my legs and preventing me from getting the weight properly
over the sit bones. So I ditched it. (This is a shame, because the saddle has neat
colour-coordinated stripes.) Instead I put on a plastic-covered Bontrager FS+10 which
I find works well for me: it’s not too wide or narrow, and it has a fair amount of
padding, but not so much that I sink in.
Something that ought to feature on women’s bike, but rarely does, is short cranks.
Some women are quite short, and yet most manufacturers expect them to use the same
crank lengths as tall guys, or at best they put 175mm cranks on big bikes and 170mm
cranks on small bikes. This is only a 3% difference, for an entire line of bikes
typically with sizes 16″ to 22″ (a 38% difference). In fact the big bikes
ought to have much longer cranks and the smaller ones shorter cranks. I find I get
on best with 165mm cranks, and I have put these on my Trek. I can tolerate the 170mm
cranks that come on all sizes of the Tigua, but anyone who’s small enough to ride
the 16″ bike would be much better off with shorter cranks.
After getting the bike sufficiently adjusted to suit me, I slapped on some clipless
pedals and took it for a ride. Quite a few rides in fact, over a couple of months.
At first it impressed me by being quite nimble in the singletrack. It’s not particularly
light (about 28 pounds according to my bathroom scale), but the riser bars really
help with control. My Trek has flat bars, just shy of 23″, with bar ends. I
found with the risers I got alot more leverage to both guide the front wheel and
to lean the bike into the curves. Before trying this bike I hadn’t been a fan of
riser bars, dismissing them as simply the current fashion. But hey, they work. At
least these ones do. I still don’t think I’d get along with the ultra-wide bars you
get on some bikes.
The bike is at its best in smooth, twisty tracks. Taken out on rough surfaces, you
either find a line between the bumps or you get jolted about and have to struggle
to keep the bike on course.
I was quite pleased with the shifting, provided by Gripshift ESP 5.0 shifters and
rear derailleur, with Shimano sneaking in with an Acera front mech. This was my first
experience with Gripshift, and I found I get along with it very well. I like the
fact the I don’t even have to move my hands to shift: just tighten a couple of fingers
and twist. Simple. Gear changes were usually reliable, but a couple of times it acted
up in the mud, refusing to shift. Similarly, the brakes work fine too, although they’re
currently in a squealing mood and I need to sort them out.
The tires weren’t quite up to off-road riding. Scott seemed to be assuming (not unreasonably)
that this bike would be used mostly on the road. So it came with tires that are almost
perfectly smooth in the middle, with a row of knobblies on the edges. The knobblies
do help provide grip in corners, but they don’t help much when you’re going straight
over soft ground: staying upright becomes more a matter of balance than traction.
For winter use I’ve swapped in some Continental Cross Country 1.5″ tires. They
give far superior grip, and at about 500 grams each, they reduce the weight of the
bike almost 1 pound per tire (the original tires were a porky 900 grams).
In summary, this is a great bike to get you out on the trails. With the exception
of a far too long and low stem, the geometry is good, and as long as you put some
knobbly tires on it it’ll attack the singletrack with enthusiasm. Simply put, it
is great fun. I didn’t expect to like it this much, so I’m surprised to find myself
ignoring my heavily upgraded Trek to take out the Scott when the tracks aren’t too
technical. Since the Tigua has a pretty good frame, you can upgrade at your leisure
to make the bike lighter and more suitable for difficult terrain (via things like
clipless pedals and a suspension fork).
For further details visit Myra’s bike page at target="_blank">http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mvi20/bike/index.html
SIZE="2" FACE="Arial">Have you noticed recently a distinct lack of saddle choice
for bikes? [not really, but carry on - Ed] Everything seems to be either super-heavy
impotence-friendly cutaway monsters, or super skinny flites. Something in-between
would be nice, so about 8 months ago I decided to replace my trusted and battered
old rolls with a new aluminium railed Rolls 2. Then I did something inexplicable;
I decided not to fit it to my road bike, but my mountain bike! This is an out-and-out
roadie saddle, and aluminium saddle rails should last two minutes on an MTB. Anyway,
I decided to give it a go, half expecting to hear a sickening crunch on the first
outing. Well, bearing in mind that I weigh 16 stone (100kg) (YES!) and ride hard,
the saddle is still there after 8 months – the saddle rails are completed unharmed,
and it has proved extremely comfortable!
I can heartily recommend the Rolls 2 as an off road saddle, as it has a drooped nose
similar to the WTB, a tension adjuster screw, a nice tough leather outer which is
riveted on (not glued), and it weighs only 230g. The only problem is that it looks
far too nice to get muddy! It weighs only a smidgen more than a Flite but is substantially
wider and has far thicker padding. It also comes in titanium (for more flex), hollow
cro-mo, and boring steel rail flavours, all slightly heavier and cheaper. This alloy
railed one is approx £32-£35 (a lot less than a WTB) but you’ll probably
have to visit you’re roadie shop to find one. I’ll just have to buy another one
for my road bike now!!
SIZE="2" FACE="Arial">I bought my Patriot as the shorter travel frame only option
(5" instead of 6") just over three months ago.I’d been thinking about a
more downhill orientated bike for a long time, and seeing Steve Wade (Orange Boss)
ride a Mr XC down the Megavalance course in the Alps made me think that at last there
was a make that was properly tested before being off-loaded onto the bike buying
I already had a Pace RC37 twin crown fork and I had some good strong wheels, so what
was missing I made up from Shimano’s new Deore Groupset and away I went. The two
week wait for delivery was a nightmare! I’d not had the chance to test ride one
before (apart from 30 seconds on Bex’s at the Megavalanche) so I was scared to death
that after spending sooo much money I wouldn’t like it. Thankfully, I did; and every
time I take it out I like it more!
It could be called a heavyish free-ride play bike, or a lightweight downhill bike…it
sort of sits inbetween the two and in the end it just depends on your point of view.
I’ve had it for three months now and it’s gone everywhere with me. WIDTH="180" HEIGHT="34" ALIGN="RIGHT" BORDER="0">
Patriots climbing abilities are mixed. Short sharp ramps (eg. a ten foot flight
of steps), are dispensed of with a huge grin, and even long 20Km forest track climbs
to the top of the world are comfy if taken at a relaxed pace, (a seatpost that can
be raised or lowered makes a huge diference to the versatility of a bike), however
those tricky steep ones have you off and pushing long before your mates on their
XC bikes. On the downward bits it rules, (No, really)!
travel FSR’s with Boxxers and Sintesi Bazookas etc. haven’t outclassed the Orange
on even the most vicious of rain sodden rocky sections, despite their far longer
travel, and it is the bike, not me. It seems to be a lateral rigidity thing, or just
spot on geometry, but ‘unflustered’ is the word that comes to mind, or perhaps ‘forgiving’.
It definately eggs you on, but not in a pushy way. It’s more like a good mate who’s
always going to back you up. You go faster and faster until you do something wrong,
but it doesn’t have you off. Instead you get ’round the corner or make it through
the minefield and the bike sort of tells you, all matter of fact, "You didn’t
do that very well, now did you?" And you think, "No, I didn’t, but cheers
for helping us out."
I took my XC bike out yesterday, a rigid with short travel forks, and realised that
I’m noticably faster overall than I was three months ago. It’s like a friend said
last weekend, "You’re really enjoying your riding again, aren’t you!"