Location: Hafjell Bike Park, Norway
Objective: Take the first Frankenride frame and object of long travel lust ‘The Foia’ out for a damn good thrashing.
The Bike: The Foia was designed by Jim as a long travel hardtail capable of taking on the big stuff you’ll find in the mountains around Lagos, Portugal. The name Foia is actually taken from the mountain range around Lagos.
Here’s the story…..The plan was to take a small crew of ‘Kingdomites’ away for a weekend of riding and ragging.
After a fair bit of internet gazing and google mapping, we choose Hafjell Bike Park, about 3 hours North of Oslo as the venue. It’s right by the olympic town of Lillehammer and none of us had been there before so it was pure virgin territory. The bike park itself has a great selection of trails, lift accessed trails for the gravity slaves plus a great selection of cross country trails for the more lycra oriented fiend.
After a long drive through most of Scandinavia we arrived in Hafjell, we opted to test The Foia on the lift accessed trails the first day. The thought of some all mountain lung busting uphills was not on the menu and after all The Foia’s purpose to go down, right!
Lift pass purchased, brakes bled, we started on some well maintained v.fast and v.fun blue runs called Parkløypa and Buldreløypa, these runs did not fail to deliver some massive grins. Then we progressed onto some technical reds trails, finishing the day snaking down a few blacks into town. But what about the bike? Now this is going to sound like marketing BS, but trust me it isn’t…
All 3 of us rode The Foia that day and none of us wanted to swap back to a full susser. Not because The Foia was faster, more comfortable or a better ride than a full sus, but because there was something really fun about it. None of us could quite put our fingers on it, but it was just felt right.
It didn’t feel like a hardtail at all, but more like a short travel 4x bike, with the 140mm coil Pikes up front and the springiness of the titanium it just felt fun and right for these trails.
Burying itself deep into the never ending berms and tracking solidily through rockier sections, it had very little backend kick back that you expect from a hardtail on this type of terrain. Having said that I’m sure the ride was probably helped by our choice of burly rims and dual ply tyres.
Getting loose on the flowy blue…Parkløypa.
Danny tracks The Foia fast into the corners
of the technical red run…Gressløypa.
The Foia handles the big landings on the rollercoaster black run, funnily enough called The Roller Coaster
Day two. By now we had recovered our pedal lust, and set out early morning before the body armour had arrived and the lifts opened on a climb to the top. We rode a mixture of fire road and singletrack ascents which took us back to the top.
Our not so secret weapon The Pikes came into effect here. We dialed down the U-turn and dropped the forks to 115mm to help the climbing, especially as we were using a delightfully short 50mm Hope DH stem.
Now we don’t lie, we won’t lie. It was a bit of a slog with the flat pedals, short stem and 740mm bars but once we’d slipped into a rythmn and pushed through to the top it was OK. Now it’s worth noting here that we haven’t ridden this bike uphill yet with a more resonable climbing set up, longer stem, lighter wheels and tyres etc etc.
The Foia wasn’t designed to climb, but it will get you up to the top without killing you. Not like a lightweight XC bike would but easily as good as any other 27lb all mountain hardtail we’ve ridden.
Either way we’re more than happy to ride The Foia up and down all day, at least as long as the downs are as good as in Hafjell.
Forks set to stun. Danny slogs it out back up the red trail this time
Technical sections had to be given the appropriate attention that a hardtail deserve although The Foia’s slack head angles give you confidence to attack them harder. Normally, after 2 full day shifts of riding we’d now start to think about alternative leisure activites that can be found in say, a pint glass, but we’re in Norway and it’s still daylight!
So at 9pm on a beautifully warm and light July evening what else is there to do but go for another ride. This time to the local water feature for an improvised trial session on the rocks. We strongly recommend NOT riding in places that you shouldn’t nor try and do trials when you are as bad at it as we are.
After a brief go at a translation, this Norweigian sign means, ‘riding allowed’.
We do it so you don’t have to, trails leave it to the experts. On the way back to our ‘hytter’, we spotted some action in Hafjell, this time music and a few talented rippers getting on with it late into the evening on the dirt jumps. Scene.
Ok here’s the round up…
The Foia does exactly what it says on the tin, very well, The hard hitting hardtail, that also climbs pretty well.It could be just our excitment riding great trails or that Jim cracked the magic numbers and has built a great bike, either way it’s fun to ride The Foia in Hafjell.
We all liked Jim’s Foia, a lot. So much so you can buy one on this site……
I’ll leave you with the bike quote of the year so far, from young Danny Sørensen ‘I love this bike, it’s the kind of bike I want to have when I get old’, by old we think he means 24 or something.
We’ll send Frankenride number 1, on to Jim (it’s rightful owner and creator), he’ll be sending it on The Foia along with some trail reviews later in the year and anyone is welcome to test ride The Foia with Jim in Portugal, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and Jim’ll fix it for you.
Also not forgetting Hafjell. It’s without doubt a great place to ride, and if you pick the right time of year and get lucky with the weather you can ride 24 hours a day!….more about Hafjell here.