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The X-Bike!

As ‘David’ stumbled into my office, wild eyed and mumbling
about a beast on the moors, the hairs lifted on the back of my neck, I realised this
was the break I had been waiting for.

I had been chasing the elusive Exceeare (pronunc – Ex-Cee-Are) {Latin Intelligtenstust
Driveir} for a long time now. For months now no sight had been made of the animal,
there was talk about it being extinct but I knew it was still out there.

had recieved many false hopes from people who had believed they had spotted it. Even
a few photos had supposedly been taken. These were the best but were obviously fakes.

For a while the animal had been often sighted in various locations ranging from Yorkshire,
to the Lake district to the Snowdonia national park. But then rumours of illness
and injuries began to arise, the beast began to disappear to public view, soon it
was nothing more than a legend. It was hinted that the since the beast had evolved
in a completely different climate, it couldn’t cope with the harsh environment it
now found itself in, I didn’t give up hope, I knew it was out there.

And then in came David. He was obviously distraught and had suffered a terrible shock,
we sedated then interviewed him, his full story is too explosive to publish but some
excerpts are given below:-

Q. Where did you see the beast?

A. Out on the moors, it scared the death out of me. I was skinning it down this sweet
singletrack when it just leapt past me, left me like I was standing still. (David
went on to point out the location on a map……)

It was typical country for the beast, where it liked it best…… muddy, tight and
steep, it had to be true!

Q. What did the beast look like?

A. Oh! It was awful. Nothing like what I expected. (With the help of a skilled artist
{piss artist} we managed to get a likeness of the monster.

Upon completing advising the artist, David took one look at the picture and immediately
became overcome with hysterics, we left him for a while to regain his composure and
to allow us to discuss the likeness.

My assistant and I reviewed the picture. It became immediately obvious that some
strange change had occured, if this was the original monster. Some form of mutation
had transformed it into a strange creature, capable of even greater speed and agility
than we had experienced before. The creature had developed stronger, more powerful
arms, it’s legs had grown out of all proportion and it’s mid-drift looked surprisingly
stronger. In addition, it’s rear end had definately gained some extra stiffness and
it’s rear foot was obviously superior to it’s previous incarnation, dare I say man-made?
This was scary stuff and demanded further investigation.

We concluded the interview with the most frightening statement yet echoing in our

Q. David, what noise did the creature make? (For it is well known that the beast
has a distinct call)

A. It was silent…..Never made a sound…..I didn’t even hear it approaching!!!!!

He burst into tears and had to be led away. I almost doubted his story at this point,
everyone knew the beast made a distinctive noise and could not help it whilst in
full flight, it went something like this


Click! Creak…..Clatter

Click! Creak…..Clatter

Click! Creak…..Clatter

I had to investigate! After a quick preparation I set off immediately. I attended
the location indicated by David and it wasn’t long before I began to find clues.

The odd bone…..

A few footprints…..

The evidence was clear, the beast was roaming the moors. Where could it be? I examined
the surroundings, there were several spots that were preferred by the beast.

As can be seen, the beast was nowhere to be found and the weather didn’t look too
good. The cloud base was low and rain was moving in, I would have to call the search
off. I descended crestfallen, the signs had been so good too.

A glimmer in the bushes caught my eye, what was that? I moved closer for a better
look but my approach scared it off……whatever it was. I managed to get one shot
in before it fled, whatever it was, it looked big, mean and heavy. I decided to track
the thing to determine it’s nature.

I tracked the animal in question to a piece of overgrown singletrack.
I could sense it was in there. Could it be the beast I was seeking? I crept though
the undergrowth using all my hunting skills. There it was! It was the beast I was
after! It looked huge. David’s description was not far wrong. The beast had much
stronger legs than it’s ‘predecessor’, it’s arms were definately more powerful and
it’s rear foot had a strange ‘professional’ air about it. It looked beautiful, who
would have thought such a monster was capable of such agility and speed. I began
to doubt my ability to capture it by myself, it would tear me to pieces, I would
have to be very careful.

Alas, As I moved forward to capture the beast, I made a slight noise. The animal,
wild and alert as it was, leapt forward down a path so narrow I doubted it’s feet
would fit in it. I moved as fast as I could, with all my power I pursued the beast
but the terrain was singletrack, and no man can match an Exceeare over that sort
of ground. I followed it to a twisty switchback climb, very steep and surrounded….nay
covered…in nettles, maybe I would match the beast here but no…. It appeared to
fly up the hill and disappeared from my sight.

It was obvious the animal would not be caught by conventional means. It’s
speed and manouverability over tight ground was awesome, it’s speed over decents
was legendary, I knew I would not be able to catch it there. I would have to outsmart
it. I examined my map, the beasts path was leading us to ‘The secret place’, I knew
where the animal was heading, I could ambush it.

I headed to the place. It is a steep piece of very narrow singletrack, unbeknownst
to most and hence usually heavily forested but still, a piece of ground hallowed
by it’s technical difficulty. I would lie in wait for the beast and then flush it
to my capture point. I would have it!

I made my camp and settled in to wait with the patience of the hunter. I did not
have to wait long. With the grace and silence of a cat, it moved forward onto the
track out of the woods. I wanted to flush it downhill into a natural enclosure where
I would finally capture the beast.

The beast only had one natural enemy. I had to convince it that it’s habitat was
under threat to ensure it ran, and ran blind. I filled my lungs with air and succesfully
simulated the call of the enemy…

‘Fore!’, I shouted with all my might.

It worked, the animal darted forward and down so fast I was unsure it had ever actually
been there. I moved down to the enclosure to finalise my efforts.

The clearing was empty but the beast must be here somewhere. I guarded the only exit
(marked here) and waited. Where could the animal be?

This was most confusing, I had definately forced the beast in this direction, there
was no other way out….what could have happened to it?



All this time the beast had been hunting me!!!!! It attacked with such ferocity that
I was driven back. It’s huge distinctive ‘M’ shaped marking flashed before my eyes,
it darted and snapped! It reared and dropped! It wanted blood….Mine! It was sick
of the verbal abuse. It was tired of all the boat anchor remarks. It was fed up with
living in such a horrific climate! It wanted revenge and I was it’s target. If I
didn’t think fast and retaliate I would be dead meat, I had to stop it now! And in
all this time, it never made a sound!!

Luckily, my origami training came into play. I launched a vicious assalt on the beast
which appeared to subdue it.

The animal was still giving me lots of trouble so I took the
bit between my teeth, leapt onto the beast and it took off.

Left, right, left, down, up. Twisting and turning, carving
berms, ducking under branches, flying off dropoffs and screaming down near vertical
slopes. The beast was enraged but I hung on for dear life. If I was to control the
monster then I would have to show it I was not scared. We did not stop for some time.

I took the beast for some airtime but unfortunately, due to the lack of riding partners
and my inability to actually guage when the camera timer was about to expire I never
did actually get a good picture. In this one I’m just landing (my wheels are just
still off the ground).

We raced home, becoming happier with each other all the time.
This would be a long term partnership. The beast seemed happy enough to be taken
home. I fed it some Exceeare food when we arrived, I think it likes me.

I cleaned and put the animal away with the other bikes, it seemed quite keen to be
locked up with the other bikes. A racket in the middle of the night explained why…..

Oi! Stop that!

The end

To those not understanding the gist of the story……

I have had my XCR2000 for 18 months now. I haven’t ridden it for 4 months due to
problems with the rear shock, i-drive, back wheel, drivechain etc. etc. I have replaced,
upgraded and rebuilt various components…. i.e.

New crankset

Complete shock service

New Z1 dropoffs

New BB

New cassette

New chain

Rebuilt back wheel with new hub and spokes (My first solo wheel build – works perfect)

New i-drive shell and dogbone.

The pedals have died too but I can’t afford new ones at the moment so I’m swapping
a pair around bikes for awhile.

I think that’s it.

This was my first proper ride on the bike for 4 months having finally finished rebuilding

The reasons for the early demise of various components is probably due to the fact
that I live in Northern UK which has some pretty unpleasant conditions most of the
time, the bike has been given a real rogering mileage wise and it simply wasn’t designed
for muddy conditions. The bike worked perfectly throughout the ride and hopefully
will do for some time.


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