Big tyres and big gears for the big outdoors

For our latest blog, we turned to Clitheroe Assistant Store Manager Jack whose preferred mode of cycling is a hardtail MTB.  The reason why he prefers an MTB to any other bike is a gleefully simple one; it’s because it’s great fun. Jack tells us why every ride should involve big tyres and big gears.

If you head over to our Clitheroe store, amongst the 41 bikes on display you will find our latest lineup of mountain bikes. Ribble’s Hardtail MTB range is a welcome return to the heyday of the late ’90s when big tyres and big gears ruled the roost. Standing side by side with the road bikes of the era was the ubiquitous R4 Aluminium hardtail MTB. With today’s MTB sector showing continued growth, we’ve responded to market trends by launching a fantastic selection of Hardtail MTBs. They are also available in three different frame materials; Aluminium, Reynolds 725 Steel, and Titanium.

Jack from our Clitheroe store tells us why the big tyres and big gears side of cycling get him in the right gear.

The HT Ti certainly comes equipped with the big tyres and big gears that you need for hours of trail-shredding fun.

“They say that bike riding will give you ‘smiles for miles’ and I can come away from a 10-mile ride and have the biggest grin across my face.  For me, on the road, it’s a fear of not being able to keep up with the guys on their road bikes in our after-work ride outs.”

HT Ti

For this test ride, we popped Jack on our HT Ti. One of the top frames in our MTB lineup, it features a progressive long and low geometry and a slack 64° head angle. Upfront there’s 150mm of travel and huge tyre clearance. We also offer the hardcore hardtails in Reynolds 725 steel and aluminium but it’s the titanium frame that sits at the very top of the tree.

The HT Ti is a bike that’s designed to be put through all its technical paces. With all the agility and responsiveness that you’d expect from a bike made with this highly stunning material. In a medium frame, you’re looking at a weight of 13.5kg. With a complete finishing kit that includes RockShox Revelation RC forks and an anodised LEVEL 44 headset. 

Although we put him on the best Hardtail in the showroom, Jack remains pretty open-minded about his material of choice.  “I don’t have much of a preference, but I know the Titanium model remains the dream machine for many customers. For me, it’s all about the geometry and the components – and making sure you get a bike that fits both you and your budget.”

Home is where the bike is

Jack describes himself as a social rider rather than a competitive one. The main reason he jumps on his bike is to be outside and riding with his mates.  “It’s the company that takes the ride to the next level for me. Although some fast singletrack or a steep techy descent gives the ride another dimension too.”

Jack describes himself as a social rider rather than a competitive one. The main reason he jumps on his bike is to be outside and riding with his mates.  “It’s the company that takes the ride to the next level for me. Although some fast singletrack or a steep techy descent gives the ride another dimension too.”

Jack lives north of Clitheroe on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border. This means he has a cracking selection of nearby trails in either the Gisburn or Stainburn forests.  From his front door, he can make a quick getaway up Boulsworth Hill or Weets Hill, both of which can be linked via the Pennine Bridleway.  The latter is on his ‘must do’ list – the full entirety. Recently, he took himself off for a day ride around Pen y Ghent. One of Yorkshire’s most famous hills, and its many local reservoirs. “It was an amazing day, not too warm, clear skies and great views across the Yorkshire dales.  The riding was really good, with some great natural descents along the bridleways and single track sections.”

Eyes on the prize

Outside of his home territory, Jack’s got Morzine and Les Gets in his sights. Ski lift-accessible mountain ranges with tons of trails, regarded as the Mecca of MTB riding in Europe.  A return to Bike Park Wales is also on the cards – a long-overdue reunion following a bad crash a few years back when his front wheel washed out on a berm, on the second run.  So he feels like he needs to redeem himself and last the entire day.

Jack’s Top tips

So, given his experience, what are his safety tips for mountain biking? Go slow, with your heels down and sit as far back as possible. The rest comes with time and practice. Including good bike control, brake modulation and movement of your body on the bike. Then just put in the practice and aim to nail each section.

Jack admits that, for first-timers, the MTB world can be a bit daunting. Especially when you see what other people are doing and how difficult some of the tracks are. The best advice is to earn your stripes on the green runs and work your way up to the pro-lines over time.  The MTB scene is very encouraging and supportive. Just don’t over-cook yourself by tackling runs that are outside your technical experience. Just get out there and do it!


Clitheroe Store Manager and endurance cyclist, Oli, tells us what it is about steel that makes it his favourite choice for putting in the big miles. Read about it here.


Ribble Live In-Store Expert Susie tells us why she converted to cycling after a running injury and has never looked back. Read her story here.

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