All About Our Bikes – Why They are Perfect for The Paparoa Track
To best enjoy the Paparoa Track, a well serviced bike is strongly recommended, and a full suspension bike will make the experience even better.
We provide a complete Paparoa Track bike hire service, with our Merida 120 600 Full-Suspension Trail bikes. These bikes are spec’d perfectly to “ride like a dream”. They handle really well downhill, but also pedal uphill really well. So here’s an overview of the different features these bikes have that make them ideal for the Paparoa Track.
Wheel & Tyre Size
The Paparoa Track is a grade 3-4 track, which requires wider tyres than grade 1-2 tracks. The Merida 120 600 has a 29” diameter wheel size with 2.35” width tyres. To put this into comparison, cross country bikes have 2.1” width tyres. Wider tyres with deeper tread provide more traction in rough conditions going over tree roots & rocks for example.
Bikes ridden on grade 5+ trails (which would be Enduro or Downhill bikes) have tyres that are 2.4” – 2.6” wide. The tyres on the Merida 120 600 are ideal for the Paparoa Track. This is especially important for the variable weather conditions in the Paparoa Ranges.
Our trail bikes have 120mm of travel on the rear & 130mm of travel on the front. This makes them perfect for grade 3-4 tracks where it will handle really well downhill and pedal really well uphill.
The firmness or softness of the suspension is adjustable by air pressure with a small high-pressure pump. When making a bike hire booking with us, we will ask for your height and weight. Our depot staff will then have the air pressure in the suspension pre-set for your particular weight and height.
Our bikes have a Sram NX Eagle 1×12 groupset – Eagle refers to a wide range gearing made by Sram. 1 x 12 means the bike has 1 front chainring and 12 rear sprockets, often referred to as “one by”. These sprockets are sized from a very small to very large which gives a wide gear range, very similar to a 27-speed bike.
“one by” gearing system has the main benefits of:
- Only one gear shifter to use (simpler & easier to operate)
- More reliable (there is no front derailleur & only one front chainring)
- Better ground clearance on rough terrain (the front chainring is smaller diameter than 2 or 3 chainrings)
Our bikes have dropper seatposts that can be lowered while riding to give you greater manoeuvrability and control on steep or rough terrain – controlled by a lever on the handle bars. The dropper post has 120mm of travel, which is perfect for a grade 3-4 track. A bike ridden on a grade 5+ track may have a 150-170mm dropper post. The more difficult & steeper the terrain the more dropper travel required (this fits in with more suspension and bigger tyres).
The higher the grade of track, the more breaking power needed for the steeper sections of track. Our bikes have Shimano disc brakes with 180mm rotors, which give excellent breaking power. Shimano brand brakes are considered by many to be the best brakes currently available – They are powerful and reliable.
Thule Tour Rear Rack
Our bikes have a Thule Tour Rear Rack fitted. This is a brilliant designed rear carrier that works on a full-suspension frame – It’s light, robust, and secure. We also provide a dry-bag for you to carry your overnight gear. In addition to this we recommended you also bring a backpack of approx. 20-25 litres capacity. This will provide a brilliant combination of load carrying capacity for overnighting in the huts along the way.
In the Mountain Bike world, there are 2 main types of pedals, and it comes down to personal preference as to what riders prefer. Therefore, we have 2 options available for pedals; Flats or SPD.
Flat Pedals – Shimano GR500
These pedals are slightly larger than regular pedals and are flat, so they provide a good grippy “platform”. They work best with large sole outdoor type shoes. There are also specific mountain bike shoes made to use with flats. These shoes have a flat outer sole to maximise shoe to pedal contact area, and with soft rubber that grips the pedal really well on rough terrain. Flats do not provide as much pedalling efficiency as SPD pedals do, but some riders like them as it’s easier to put a foot out on rough terrain or on slippery muddy tracks.
SPD Pedals – Shimano DX SPD
SPD is the term commonly used to refer to clip-in style mountain bike pedals. The correct name for clip-in style pedals is actually “Clipless” pedals, however many people incorrectly call them “clip-in” pedals because that’s how they work, a metal cleat fitted to the persons shoe clips-in to the pedal.
The Shimano DX SPD model differs from the other SPD pedals, as they are designed for more technical tracks so it has a “cage” that surrounds the pedal clip-in mechanism. This cage does two things: The main one is to provide a bigger pedal surface area if the rider has to clip-out then place their foot back on the pedal as quickly as possible. This can happen on rough terrain where it’s difficult to locate the foot exactly correctly back on the pedal. The cage also gives the pedal retention mechanism and some protection from rocks. Hitting the pedal on a large rock on the track while pedalling is called a “pedal strike”. This can damage the mechanism.
For interest, SPD is an acronym for the Shimano brand, and stands for Shimano Pedalling Dynamics.
Please note: To use SPD pedals, you must have your own mountain bike type shoes with a compatible cleat fitted.