First new bike in twenty years – a Zerode Taniwha Trail

Since 1999, I’ve been riding a GT STS. It was second-hand when I got it and definitely the best bike of 1996 – carbon thermoplastic frame, four whole inches of travel, and a weird shock placement that didn’t catch on. Plus Pace triple clamps, for UK cred.

So thrashed this all over the place – UK, Japan, NZ. Three Karapotis and the Bridge to Nowhere, amongst pretty continuous riding. Admittedly, with eleven pivots it required increasing amounts of attention and the rebound was too slow but it had serious retro cool. Like, people would double-take and say “wow, haven’t seen one of those in years, I thought they’d all snapped by now”.

The thermoplastic carbon tube had a habit of cracking. To be different, I managed to crack the aluminium.

Four cracks, in fact, in the bottom bracket shell. Any excuse for a dye penetration test – I did used to be a metallurgist.

One reason I’d put off upgrading for so long is that, as an engineer, derailleur gears offend me. They’re a fundamentally terrible idea, of benefit only to racers and bike component companies. So I’d been following bike gearbox developments closely and Zerode in particular. Their Taniwha Trail is pretty much the idea bike for me – carbon, gearbox, and made in NZ. I demoed one in Rotorua in January and couldn’t stop smiling.

So, here it is:

Should be good for another twenty years.

And the GT is off to a good home – to hang on the retro wall of a bike shop in Rotorua.


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