Welcome to my blog. A special welcome if you are not me. If you are a member of my family or one of my friends, judge me kindly. If you are none of that lot, then an even greater welcome, though you must be lost.

It’s a Mk1 frame from 2004, bought off Ebay. I built it up using parts from the Orange ST4, and this morning it went together perfectly nicely except for the internal routing for the back brake, which dunt work for fat Hope hoses. Cable ties instead. First impressions were that the suspension is really plush,the simple single-pivot design giving a very smooth ride. The forest was annoyingly muddy today, so the 5 with it’s knobbly tyres was a sensible choice, but it was unsuprisingly, very hard work compared to the Dos in the dry. The frame has some scrapes, but the bearings and the shock are in very good condition, which is a relief as the 5 is dependant on the ProPedal on the shock. The thing is wilfully unsophisticated, no Virtual Pivot Points or fancy linkages, it’s just wheel/swingarm/shock, and it will suck up the energy from your legs given the chance. I started off with the Propedal in the middle, ‘trail’ setting, but found that the ‘climb’ setting felt appreciably faster and less effort. But coming down hills is where this thing puts a grin on your face, in ‘descent’ setting it is hilarious fun, bouncing over stuff, launching off (relatively tiny, I’m a bit shit) jumps and stuff, I felt the bike urging me on, like it was saying ‘is that all you’ve got?’ This thing is a genuinely fun frame and with a single ride I can understand it’s popularity. It’s a bit of a tractor though, sturdily made and heavy at 15Kg all-in. It won’t ever become my summer XC bike, trying to go fast is a bit of a workout, but for technical and in the winter this looks like it’s gonna be my fave.