Amateur mountain bike hour – GT Timberline 2 29er review

Before getting into the meat of the GT Timberline 2 29er review I think I should make it abundantly clear that I’m not a cycling pro – merely a keen amateur. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy it, on the contrary I love a good blast round on two wheels. And when the rare chance arises for a more challenging ride I’m stoked to get involved.

My history with bikes is chequered to say the least. Mechanical failures, unceremonious dismounts (after thinking I’m better than I actually am); there’s always been a slight hinge with my mountain biking life.

Tez PLavenieks' new ride GT Timberline 2 29er

I owned numerous steads when I were a nipper and mostly all fell by the wayside. My most recent trike was a cheap and cheerful affair that I’d purchased from UK retailer Halfords. This was almost six years ago and was simply a means of transporting my backside to the train station. A full suspension jobby, with in house brand name adorning the alloy tubing, it served its purpose – even though in hindsight a full suss bike wasn’t what I actually needed.

I must hold my hands up here: I’ve hardly done my best at looking after it. In fact, failing breaks, rusted chassis and punctured inner tube are quite embarrassing. And yet it’s still rolling, like the very hardiest of troopers, and will therefore serve as a backup until finally being laid to rest in mountain bike heaven – which at this rate may be never.

Becoming a parent actually prompted my latest parting of cash. Both my wife and I enjoy cycling through our ‘hood and one thing we plan on doing is getting the babba perched on the front – when warmer weather swings back in.

After researching a few models I plumped for GT’s Timberline 2 29er. To those hardy pedal power types this won’t be the highest spec of bike on the market. In fact many of my cycling friends advised as such prior to buying. Which is all well and good, but I’m not planning on burning up super technical switchback trails, smashing it round forested berms or dropping huge ledges. Nope, I save that type of adrenaline fuelled activity for my watery hobbies – brine hurts a lot less than terra firma when you inevitably stack it!

My gleaming new toy is actually the best bike I’ve ever owned and when it was delivered I was like a toddler at Christmas. Peeling away cardboard packaging the GT Timberline’s good looks (or so I think) were just begging me to jump on and go for a ride – after I had affixed handle bars and pedals that is.

The Timberline’s comfort levels are through the roof. What I hadn’t considered was the easy fit of wide handle bars and large oversize wheels. It feels, in many ways, akin to riding a chopper style motorbike – or at least it does me.

gt-timberline-2-2014 (1)

Living in a breezy part of the UK, a bug bear with my previous ride was its lack of momentum, due to energy being expending unnecessarily via rear suspension. The GT, in complete contrast, just goes – even with a blustery headwind. Obviously you have to put in effort to achieve desired results, but I’m not going to lie, the GT Timberline 2 29er does everything that little bit more efficiently. And I certainly don’t miss a full suss bike.

My new bum rest (saddle) is also worth a mention. Having previously experienced arse ache from dodgy seats I was slightly anxious about GT’s offering. But I shouldn’t have worried as I’m still walking upright.

The GT Timberline 2 29er is a fab piece of kit in my book and I’m stoked to own it. Cracking when burning along the flat and to cope with moderate off road terrain, I’d be more than happy razzing along forest trails (if I get the opportunity).

So while it isn’t GT’s top shelf mountain bike, it certainly does the job I require and I’m sure my daughter will love it as well.

I’d also like to say thanks to Wiggle who provided a faultless service, and of course the obligatory Haribo! Cracking…

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Whistle stop Grenada SUP spots – All At Sea Caribbean

Knowing Grenada’s stand up paddle boarding potential has seen me being called upon to pen a number of different articles surrounding the island and SUP. Grenada is still virgin stand up territory, and sourcing kit is still tricky – travelling with boards is even more complex (although there is now a small rental facility on the island. Give Derek a holla – http://www.supgnd.com).

If you’re looking for a new undiscovered place to paddle, however, Grenada is definitely worth checking out. Here’s my whistle stop guide to the Spice Isle’s stand up paddle boarding spots as published in December’s All At Sea Caribbean.

Grenada stand up paddle boarding spots

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Stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking kit reviews

Part of what I do involves testing gear, equipment and accessories within stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking. Over the last few years I’ve had the privilege of trying out a whole raft of different kit. Here are links to gear reviews I’ve had published to date – stay tuned for more…

Windsurfing

Tez Plavenieks gybing Starboard's Black Box 87Checking out Starboard’s Black Box 87L

Goya Eclipse 5.3m - AHD Summerboard - Patrik Trailer Wave 85 - K4 Fins Rockets 16.6cm fins – K4 Fins Stubby 14cm fins - K4 Fins Bubble 18cm fin - K4 Fins Bubble 20cm fin - Patrik Slalom 122 - Starboard Black Box 87 - Point 7 ACX 3G 7m  - Hot Sails Maui Superfreak 5.8m - AHD Sealion 8.3ft - Genie GT-31 GPS

Stand up paddle boarding

Paddling in paradise - Fi Plavenieks stand up paddle boarding in GrenadaFi testing Red Paddle Co’s 9.6ft AllWater in Grenada

Fanatic Air 2013 12f- Fanatic Fly 10.6ft and Fanatic AllWave 9.2ft 2013 comparison - Red Paddle Co AllWater 9.6ft - SickStick SUP paddles - Jimmy Lewis Stun Gun 8.7ft - K4 Fins Trailer Wave (Shark) thruster fins - Loco 12.6ft comparison - Loco 7.10ft surf SUP (first generation) - K3 Designs paddles – Nah Skwell Nahskool 10.5ft - BIC Wing 12.6ft Ace-Tec - Exocet Marlin 12.6ft - Fanatic Falcon 14ft HRS 2015 - Fatstick 12ft Bamboo Tourer - Fatstick Red Rocket 12.6ft – Fatstick Red Ripper 10.6ft - Loco 7.4ft surf SUP - Loco 12.6ft tourer - Nah Skwell Fit 11ft - Nah Skwell Maxi G 7.3ft and 10ft Longboard comparison - Nah Skwell Surf Series 9.2ft - RRD iWave 8ft - RRD 12ft tourer and Vario paddle - SickStick 9.6ft - Starboard Waterman Package - BIC 10ft Air - Corran Thunder 12.6ft - Exocet 9.8ft Discovery - O’Shea 10.2ft - Red Paddle Co Explorer 12.6ft - Ainsworth carbon/glass paddle - Ainsworth carbon paddle - Kialoa Pupu adjustable paddle - SickStick Joystick paddle

Kayaking

Tez Plavenieks testing FatYak's Kaafu sit on top kayakTez putting FatYak’s Kaafu through its paces

Ainsworth SEA paddle - Perception Scooter Gemini tandem kayak - Perception Scooter - Perception Five-0 surf ski - GoSea Extreme KTB-80 cradle trolley - FatYak Kaafu sit on top kayak –

Accessories

Tez Plavenieks Mourne Rouge, Grenada, stand up paddle boardingHow well do these sunnies work? Thumbs up Tez says!

SJ4000 action cam – Butta eco surf wax – Hey Dude Shoes Farty – Hey Dude Shoes Vigo Easy Life rigger boots – Neff Swayze beanie – O’Shea Stealth 5/4/3 winter suit – Mormaii Flexxxa 2.2mm summer suit – Mormaii 5/4/3 winter suit – Submariner iPhone waterproof case – Dang sunnies – Dirty Dog Eyewear – Flymount GoPro mount – Leashlok Hawaii coiled leash – Leashlok waist leash – Nectar sunnies – Palm Equipment Kaituna rash vest – Palm Equipment Vantage jacket – Passenger Clothing – Planet Ocean accessories – Procella Clothing – RailSaver Pro tape – Restube flotation device – VestPac hydration pack – Palm Equipment Cascade and Spark drysuit comparison – Ianovated winter wetsuit – Oxygen Drop Clothing – Sunwise sunnies – GoPro HERO 3

Fifi carving in MauiFi investigating Hot Sails Maui torque

If anyone has any related products they would like me to try out then please get in contact. They will then be published in one of the many publications I either write for edit.

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Neptune SUP 10ft Allrounder and CONTOUR ROAM 3 test vid

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SJ4000 action camera windsurf test

Got the chance to test the SJ4000 budget action cam this morning in some full power windsurfing conditions. Combined with the K4 Fins harness mount it proved to be a sweet combo for capturing unique angle windsurfing shots.

Full review coming in SUP Mag UK. Thanks to Fatsick SUP for the demo SJ4000 action camera and K4 Fins for the mounting system.

Tez Plavenieks windsurf testing teh SJ400 action cam 1

Tez PLavenieks windsurfing testing teh SJ400 action cam 2

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Paddle to Protect

Here’s my article featuring the guys from Conservation Kayak and their efforts to raise environmental awareness in the Caribbean by paddling the circumference of Grenada. Check it out in the latest issue of The Paddler – out now.

Paddle to Protect Tez Plavenieks

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Crantock Bay SUP mini guide

Crantock Bay nestles in the shadow of it’s bigger Newquay brother, located just across the River Gannel. And yet you couldn’t find a more contrasting spot. For all the perceived raucous goings on in Surf City UK, Crantock is a much mellower affair and far more welcoming of SUP.

Check out my Crantock mini guide published in issue two of SUP Mag UK.

Low tide Crantock SUP Tez PlavenieksTez off the top at Crantock Bay, Cornwall

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