Martyn Ashton Talks Us Through His Custom Bike From 'Back on Track'
The paraplegic trials legend reveals the details of his custom Nicolai Geometron...
Martyn Ashton is a legend in the world of the mountain bike. He’s a pivotal figure in the rise of the trials scene, he’s created some of the most viral cycling videos of all time, and possibly most impressive of all, he’s renowned just for being a really, really nice guy too.
Of course, in 2013 he had an accident during one of his touring trial shows that left him paraplegic. The story is well known at this point, because two years later, in July 2015, he dropped the stunning ‘Back on Track’ – a video which shows him getting back on the bike and hitting the trails despite his disability.
If you’ve not seen it, and over a million have watched it on YouTube at this point, then feast your eyes on the beauty below. Even if you have watched it before, it’s always nice to refresh your memory...
So, after that epic, probably the greatest mountain bike video to come out of 2015 and one of the most inspirational of all time, we were lucky enough to catch up with Martyn Ashton for a 'Back on Track' interview and ask him all about it.
It was great to chat to Martyn. He’s a hilarious guy, and nearly every sentence that comes out of his mouth is either incredibly interesting or well worth a laugh. As such, we didn’t have quite enough room in the previous article to chalk down everything of note – including the bike check he gave us on the custom Nicolai Geometron that let him get back on track.
So, without further ado, here’s Martyn to tell you everything you need to know about his now-famous custom two-wheeler.
Speaking back in September, the riding legend told us: “It’s a custom Nicolai Geometron build, the frame. It was put together mostly by the guys at Mojo suspension in South Wales, headed up by Chris Porter. There was some mounts that they asked Nicolai for on the frame that were going to be used just to support the super large seat, but we actually didn’t use those in the end.
“The seat is literally just off a sit-ski, which is just as it sounds. That’s a disability sport that has been around for a long time, so that seat is just an off the shelf thing which has obviously been developed over years of the development of that sport. I just put that on a seat tube and bolted it on top. It works really well!
“It’s a D.O.S.S seatpost, and it’s got so much support built into it for me, so I’m strapped into that seat really heavily, and it holds me on line and as soon as I’ve got my hands on the bars I’m really well supported.
“For my feet, we’ve got the pedals both facing forward, so my feet are on a platform almost rather than on pedals, and then they’re in a fixed position and we just tape my feet on.
“The thing is, everyone thinks I’m just taped on but I’m in that seated position anyway, so my feet are kind of like floating there and are just on the pedals. It’s more that the tape is holding my feet still in terms of sideways movement rather than me actually being taped on.
“You could not tape my feet on and I wouldn’t fall off. The tape is not really doing much, but we liked the humour of taping me on with electrical tape. We talked about clipped pedals and all sorts but we just thought nah, let’s just tape me on – it’ll be funny!
“That’s pretty much it! The front end, I’ve got Fox 40s [forks] on it, so it’s a pretty heavy duty front end. Obviously I can’t lift the front up, so I’m kind of smacking the front wheel into things! I’ve got a big fork for my type of riding to be honest, but on the bottom it offloads.
“When you’ve got that seated weight on the bike, you’re just putting it through so much force all the time. It takes a bit of a pounding!"
The bike features a Fox DHX2 shock, 2.8" WTB tyres, Renthal Fatbar Carbon bars at 780mm width and the aforementioned Fox 40 twin crown forks offering 8"/203mm of plush travel.
You would think they would have tried the bike out a few times before getting going on the final video, but actually the trail ride featured in 'Back on Track' was the first time the bike had been properly tested.
Martyn continued: “We had tested it out in Mojo’s car park. Kind of like making sure I fitted on the bike fine and rolled around a little bit, but it’s really hard to tell until you get onto a trail that moves you around, what’s going to happen.
"We were really confident with it. The video for me wasn’t so much about doing a one-time only stunt, it was about starting the process of getting back on the bike and starting to improve.
“We’re already trying new things with the bike now to see if I can get better. I want to be able to do more on the bike than just roll down the hill, as good fun as that is - because it is really great.
“I think there’s more I can do and that’s just how my mind is. I just want things to be progressing, so I’m just thinking about what I can do next. That’s the mentality you’ve got to have when you’re doing professional riding."
If that's not enough detail for you, check out this awesome video of Martyn talking through the bike for the Global Mountain Bike Network below. It's got every detail you could possibly ask for!