Tough Enough for the Attakwas

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Having become accustomed to racing aboard high-end dual suspension mountain bikes, Oli ‘Pinner’ Munnik accepted a challenge to ride this year’s Attakwas Extreme on a sub R20k alloy hardtail … would he survive?!

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If you’ve ever ridden the Attakwas Extreme, revered as the ‘Hell of the South’, you’ll know it is more of a survival game than an event where you ‘dance on the pedals’.

 

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Having been privileged to race the last few seasons with the sport’s best-of-the-best equipment (which in terms of bikes is a 10kg carbon dual sus) I accepted a challenge ... from one of my cheeky colleagues at Rush Sport to have a cup of cement for breakfast and ride the 112 km Attakwas on the new Signal Elite hardtail.

 

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Something we can all agree on, is that when the product manager at Signal Bikes designed and specced the Elite, he did not envision the bike lining up on the front row of A-Batch at South Africa’s toughest one-day event.

 

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So with a torrent of cement swirling in my stomach, the one and only Paul Valstar counted us down, the gun went off, and there was simply no turning back. Looking around at the bikes in the group, I wondered what on earth I had done. It was too late to chicken out now.

 

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From the outset, the Signal Elite performed like a street fighter with nothing to lose. Having brought a knife to a gunfight, the underdog was negotiating the torturous terrain like a boss.

 

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Adrenaline pumped through my veins like the Tugela in flood. Before I knew it, I was bleeding through my eyeballs in a tiny bunch, bobbing up and down, re-learning how to shift with a 2x11 Shimano SLX drive train!

 

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I somehow managed to engage the mongrel gene and stuck with the dudes up until the beginning of the Attakwas, 42 kms in. On the limit, I had to pull the pin and calm down. I simply could not hold that pace and, had I blown, the crater would have been visible from space.

 

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Having backed off, the lactic acid drained from my eyeballs and I was able to negotiate the Attakwas Kloof without any hassles … in fact, it was actually quite rad! The Elite and I were fast becoming friends.

 

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Of course, the ride-experience through the rocky, sandy jeep tracks was not as silky smooth as it would have been on a R100k chariot, but let me tell you, the Elite really did impress me. Despite taking a severe beating, the set of high volume 2.35” Maxxis Rekon Race tyres was faultless. Like most modern equipment these days, the tyres performed superbly and played a big role in ‘smoothing’ out the terrain.

 

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With the kloof behind us, a quick refuel at Bonniedale led riders onto the open roads that form the second half of the race. Incredibly, despite the technicality and brutality of the terrain up until this point, the Attakwas Extreme in fact only starts when you reach the district roads and the massive rollers that ‘tune you howzit’ on your way towards Pine Creek Resort in Groot Brak River.

 

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I can unashamedly admit that my small blade was literally a lifesaver on the steep inclines, while on the downhills, it was aero-tucks and drifts for days! Isn’t it so awesome that bike riding can be torturously tough one second and breathtakingly effortless the next?

 

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Thanks to a tailwind sent from heaven, one or two packets of salty peanuts and raisins and a few cups of coke, my chariot and I crested an incline to be greeted by the Indian Ocean and the Groot Brak River lagoon. What a sight that was!

 

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The joy. The relief. The satisfaction. It was a brilliant feeling and special moment knowing that the Signal Elite, a sub R20k alloy hardtail, had proved itself tough enough for the Attakwas. This is a finisher’s medal I’ll hang on to!

 

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Oli's Bike


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Specifications:

  • MODELSIGNAL ELITE
  • FRAMEX6 Hydro-formed Alloy / Internal Cable Routing
  • FORKRockShox 30 SILVER TK REMOTE 29" 9MM- QR
  • BRAKESShimano DEORE
  • CHAINWHEELShimano
  • FRONT DERAILLEURShimano SLX - 2x11spd
  • REAR DERAILLEURShimano SLX - 2 x 11spd
  • SHIFTERSShimano SLX - 2 x 11spd
  • RIMCustom Signal ALEX Rim - DP-21
  • HUBSShimano
  • TYREC1671 - CST CAMBER - 29''*2.25'' 60TPI / TR
  • FINISHING KITSignal Racing Tech
  • ATTAKWAS TYRESMaxxis Rekon Race 29x2.35" TR EXO

 

Find out more about the bike on the Signal Bicycles website.




13 Comments

MDK!, Jan 22 2019 07:57

The guys on the farms ride that route on a Bomber bicycles every Sunday, With church suits on....but I am glad you made it, well-done.

LeoKnight, Jan 22 2019 08:11

Flippen awesome, congrats.  

 

It keeps getting proven that it is not the bike but the person on top of it that is the key to finishing 

NickGM, Jan 22 2019 08:35

Ah, the old "80,085" calculator trick. Bet the author was made to sit at the front of the class. 

shaper, Jan 22 2019 08:36

Cool Challenge!

TheJ, Jan 22 2019 09:39

80085, hahahaha. Can't do that on a Garmin now can you?

Headshot, Jan 22 2019 11:04

Would he have won on a Blur? That is the question...

juan pelota, Jan 22 2019 01:15

no bikes on the webpage yet, but this blurb:

 

Signal Bikes is named after Cape Town’s iconic Signal Hill, drawing its inspiration from the Mother City’s unique energy and rugged outdoor lifestyle.

 

Fundamental to the essence and credibility of Signal Bikes is the partnership with Oli ‘Pinner’ Munnik, a born and bred Cape Townian, whose proven racing pedigree and one-of-a-kind vibe enables Signal Bikes to deliver its promise of speed you can afford.

 

so until we can pick apart the 26/27/29 selections, can we decide on if it's Capetonian or Cape Townian?

fusion01, Jan 22 2019 01:19

Looks good, however a 2x is just a no-go for me immediately. Why not run a FSA crank (with 30t) and a Sunrace 11-46 as the Cannondale Trail bike (also a hardtail) does - I bought one of those for R13k!

 

The RS Rekon silver TK is a cuck fork, mine blew seals in under 1k km's and I sold it ASAP, a Judy would be better or Signal Bikes should be clever and allow for a REBA or Fox 32 SC as options with an upgrade fee (as any budget fork actually sucks balls). I hope they do well with this bike however, for under R20k I really should shut the f**k up as it's all value for small bucks. Kiff ride, kiff pics!

The architect, Jan 22 2019 02:12

I'll challange him for a Sub 6 hours next year on the same bike... But all and all, well done to oli... The biggest challange here was for him to suck up his pride..

BaGearA, Jan 22 2019 04:32

Looks good, however a 2x is just a no-go for me immediately. Why not run a FSA crank (with 30t) and a Sunrace 11-46 as the Cannondale Trail bike (also a hardtail) does - I bought one of those for R13k!

 

The RS Rekon silver TK is a cuck fork, mine blew seals in under 1k km's and I sold it ASAP, a Judy would be better or Signal Bikes should be clever and allow for a REBA or Fox 32 SC as options with an upgrade fee (as any budget fork actually sucks balls). I hope they do well with this bike however, for under R20k I really should shut the f**k up as it's all value for small bucks. Kiff ride, kiff pics!

wat ?

Blokman, Jan 22 2019 04:56

Any mention for a 60 year old , four times on a 2010 Silverback Spectra 26" hardtail ? Takes me 10 hours though.

cbdcaffie, Jan 23 2019 09:42

No bikes were harmed in the making of this advertisement.

'Dale, Jan 24 2019 01:41

That's some cool marketing there from Rush Sports.

 

Cool moments captured there. Beautiful.