I bought it (mostly), I built it, and finally I got to ride it!
Some background – When Supawal, my bro’ came to visit us he flew out with his Cove Hummer. Now it’s always a headache flying with bikes. Not only is there the struggle to get the damn thing to the check-in desk there’s also the risk that the nice ‘baggy jandlers’ will damage it. So, the idea was to build up a ‘guests bike’ with second hand bits sourced from our collective collection of bits, and bits from the classifieds on singletrackworld.
The build – we got a 2004 Cove Hanjob frame and a pair of Rockshok Coil U-Turn Revelations from STW as the base. LX shiters and mechs, XT wheels, DMR wingbars and Conrod stem, Spesh chainset, Hayes brakes. The whole thing took a couple of months to put together. Actually it came together in a different guise first with some bits stolen from Carla’s bike, which is why she was the first to ride it.
OK, I’m getting there – not! So, Carla takes a real shine to it. She just rides it. That never happened before. Normally we spend weeks tweaking things until it’s just so. But with the Cove, she just rides it. Eventually Supawal shows up for a flying visit with the Revelations, which are the final part of the jigsaw. So he rides it for the weekend, and loves it, while the stolen bits go back onto Carla’s Spesh, and she rides that. Supawal flies home, Carla goes back to riding the Cove. “But it’s got huge riser bars on, and a blokes saddle”, I say. “It’s fine as it is, I’ll just ride it”, says Carla. So what with events where we both ride, days that we both ride, and serious training days on my own, I never got the chance to try it. Then weeks later, we’re due to go for a ride, Carla decides she hasn’t got the legs, and it’s my chance at last. Change the saddle height, rock the brake levers forward a touch, and I’m set.
First impressions – Haven’t ridden a steel bike in years, first thing I notice is how much lateral flex there is from the relatively skinny tubes. How slow/stable the steering feels with it’s 68deg head angle. I can take my hand off the bars at virtual standstill. I stop and check the travel I have on the forks, 100mm, exactly what the frame was designed for.
Up through the woods, she climbs well, feels light, nimble. At the top of the forest now with a long descent in store. Firing down the first rocky section it feels as though I don’t have enough weight over the front of the bike, maybe it’s the huge high DMR bars. I stop and wind the forks down a little to 90mm. Now it feels just right, and I launch down the second half of the desent, fast. There’s a huge rock, I flick to the left, there’s a low branch that I didn’t see in the late afternoon sun that whips my face. I’m off line, all over the place, into all sorts of ruts rocks wood and mud. There’s a drop off that I didn’t really want to ride. With total lack of style I plop out onto the main trail. I made it, I’m thinkin’ maybe these Cove Handjobs have got something.
I’m musing over the Cove + Revelations combination, and at some point over the next hour and a half I forgot that I was riding the Cove, I was just out on my bike having a great time. So easy to ride, so comfortable, schweet handling, such fun……. maybe I should get one! 🙂