Kath Bicknell

In a nutshell:

Curved edges, firm but not-too-firm padding and comfort for a range of riding postures makes Bontrager Ajna saddle one to try if you’re struggling with the narrow sweet spot on others.

The longer version:

I first reviewed the Ajna for Australian Mountain Bike magazine in 2017. I described the pros as the pressure mapping R & D process, the choice of three widths, and durability in mud. I described the misses as the carbon rails not being compatible with all seat posts (less of an issue these days) and the name being hard for people to pronounce without hearing it first (it’s ‘Arj-na,’ with a soft ‘j’). Having recently contacted Bontrager about a second Ajna, I wanted to offer some long term insights about what makes this design one to seek out for riders (and readers) who are on the hunt for a saddle that works for them. Read More

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Or perhaps the better question: what are the most important considerations when it comes to person-specific bike fit, regardless of gender?

And the question I wish more people were asking: what has an increased focus on fitting bikes for women taught us about bike set up for, well, everyone?

Having worked in cycling media for over ten years, and often tasked with reviewing bikes aimed at a female market, I’ve heard the ‘women’s-specific’ debate from many angles. Where it gets most confusing for consumers is that a large number of early designs for women were (in hindsight) a load of bollocks. More recently, most of the companies that invested heavily in well-researched designs for female riders such as Trek, Specialized and Scott, seem to have back-flipped and have returned to gender-neutral designs, particularly at the racier end of the spectrum. Reducing the marketing for these changes to single, snappy sentences seems to confuse consumers even further. Read More

The Specialized Epic is one of the world’s most lusted-over cross-country (XC) mountain bikes. It’s the main bike choice of current XC world champion, Kate Courtney, former world champion, Annika Langvad, and a whole stack of privateers – riders who usually pay for their bikes making their vote for the Epic perhaps the most discerning of all.

Specialized Womens S-Works Epic-1

The women’s build is designed to be fast and efficient, just like the women who seek this bike out.

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One of my favourite things about mountain biking is that no two trails are the same. Local environmental conditions dictate the design of quality trails, the experience of riding them, and the mountain biking culture that develops around them. In fact, this is the very reason mountain bikers love to travel so much. Read More

The Trek Remedy offers riders so many of the best things about mountain biking right now: an efficient suspension design that lets you ride just about anything, anywhere. A frame geometry that delivers super precise handling up front and, due longer than average chain stays, a very planted feeling at the rear. A wheel size (650b) that encourages playful riding and keeps you connected to feedback from the trail. And a parts list that feels like it’s been hand chosen for mountain bikers by mountain bikers.

Tim Bardsley-Smith_Trek Remedy 9.8_Australian Mountain Bike magazine-24

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