At the beginning of the year, dreaming of warmer days, and with ambitions that only a long cold January can incite, I said yes to everything. In the space of a few days I agreed to join friends on a bikepacking weekend in the Lakes… and go to Scotland for a week long off road cycling and wild camping adventure. Oh! and ride an off road audax.
First came the plans, then came the bike.
Despite a trend away from 29 inch wheels, I knew I wanted a bike with big wheels for long distance efficiency and comfort. And while I didn’t plan to tackle any too technical terrain – I have been known to get myself around a red mountain bike route, this year has been about going new places in comfort rather than shredding the dog turd strewn trails of Clayton Vale – I wanted a bike with some suspension for when the landscapes needed some bounce. Enter the Pinnacle Ramin 2, kindly lent to me by Evans Cycles.
After several thousand miles in 2017 on a do-it-all touring and commuting bike with components that privileged hardwearing-ness over performance, the gear shifting and braking on the Pinnacle Ramin was delightfully responsive and precise. Initial dashes around the local parks and along bike trials suggested the long-reach and slack head angle geometry of the Ramin would be both comfortable for long stretches and inspired confidence when descending and bouncing across rough bits. And it did!
On an aesthetic front, the whole bike looked and felt really nicely thought out and put together. I really like that the Ramin isn’t styled like many mountain bikes. No flashy neon or tacky decals in the current Pinnacle lines. (Totally cool if that is your bag, that’s what stickers are for!) For my purposes, with wildcamping featuring highly in my plans, the discrete soft gray colour was perfect for blending into the countryside while finding somewhere to sleep… or, you know, having a nature wee.
While the out of the box setup was great – I’m particularly impressed with the stock saddle from WTB – I swapped out the saddle for my tried and tested Brooks and added Brooks Cambrian grips. Unfortunately, the cable length didn’t allow me to try out my Jones bars. The extra bottle cage mounts on the bottom of the down tube was just the ticket for carrying a bottle of whatever you need in an adjustable bottle cage – originally intended for Trangia stove fuel, this more often carried bottles of Sprite, milkshake or beer.
Of course, the plans made in hope and ambition at the beginning of the year didn’t quite resolve themselves, but I still enjoyed heading to some nice places on the Ramin. I’m processing the vague shame that I took a machine designed for serious lumps and bumps and just smashed around lanes and paths. It’s more my normal form to take a bike designed for gentler terrain and test it to destruction. It might not be particularly “rad”, but the upside of over speccing is comfort and confidence, which are never bad things.