This month's 3-bike garage
Three bike garage. This is where our favourite people pick their ultimate bike stable. This month’s are chosen by Chris Ball, EWS founder.
Best known as an mbr pundit, Chris has a few other modest accomplishments to his name… like devising and running the Enduro World Series, racing downhill World Cups, representing mountain biking to the UCI, and running the best respected skills academy in the UK, Dirt School.
The modern: Santa Cruz Hightower LT
I’m a serious advocate of 29in wheels ever since I bought an ex-mbr longterm test bike in the shape of the first generation Tallboy from 2009. I still have it as a reminder of my big wheel beginnings. But the new Hightower LT is the best one I’ve ridden yet. So stable, fun, poppy, efficient, monster truck when you need but will climb 2,000m no bother. Ride it anywhere in the world and never feel undergunned or overgunned. Mine comes with SRAM Eagle spec and Santa Cruz carbon rims (they are actually the best wheels I’ve ridden, not just a sponsor plug and on a 29 you need a good set of wheels to make it come to life). The one-bike quiver killer.
The classic: Yeti A.R.C. LT
When I started riding and consuming every mtb magazine there was, the turquoise and yellow of this beauty, the Yeti ARC with the deep rims burned into my eyeballs. Judy fork (also my first suspension fork), anodised Ringle, oh man, this thing is peachy.
“With the punishing course of downhill racing the need for a longer travel bike emerged… the ARC LT was born, doubling the rear wheel travel from 1.5in to just over 3in,” Yeti boasted in 1994.
The one that got away: Orange T7
Third bike is tough. Would it be another retro bike? Something to ride now? I narrowed it down to a classic hardtail as you just can’t beat one. Modern hardtails are slack and ugly to look at in general, the ones that would be good to ride are just not the classic or clean looking hardtails of the earlier years. I always wanted a Ti bike too but could never afford it… then when eventually I could carbon and full suspension was here and carbon and full suspension it was.
So… Orange did one recently, a remake of another classic from when I started riding, in the P7. And I have great memories of Orange from my World Cup years on the 222, 223 and 224. My last true World Cup season was on an Orange and have some of my best riding memories on an Orange from dirtbag years riding every spare hour of the day, working in bike shops and stretching the student loan as a wannabe racer/student in Edinburgh. I ended up on the cover of Earthed 4 on an Orange, shot by Alex Rankin the filmmaker who heavily influenced my riding with his Sprung videos and Earthed 1-3 DVDs.