RCUK Bikes Graham Charlton's Planet X track bike - Road Cycling UK

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RCUK Bikes Graham Charlton's Planet X track bike

Sometimes you just have to have a new bike. You don’t need it, you just want it. I’m a trackie so I’m a show off. Track racing is the X-factor side of cycling, with the prettiest kit, a great deal of strutting, the best crashes (you usually get up again) and the biggest show-offs in cycling. So you have to have a bike that says ‘look at me everyone’.

I looked hard at the Corima Cougar – carbon loveliness, then later, the BT turned my head – a beautifully smooth finish but perhaps a bit chunky for me (I’m only a little chap) and quite heavy too. The Pinarello – oh so pretty but at a price. Decisions, decisions. Then we see Janet Birkmyre on her new Planet-X and we get chatting to David, her loyal other half and he tells me all about how good these frames are and how reasonably priced they are too. Later we met Rachel Ball from Wales who had just obtained one and I was amazed at the price – £399 for frame, headset, carbon forks and carbon seat-pin. I filled in the order form on the Planet-X website and as if by magic, my new frame appeared next day.

The frame is super stiff and the geometry is superb. I can hug the black line at Calshot and in the bump and grind of a tight bunch I can ride with complete confidence The finish is a silky powder coating which is extremely durable and after a year I have only one or two tiny marks on it.

So we build it up with a nice yellow saddle and yellow tires and yellow handlebar tape and we go racing and people say ‘nice bike’. And I think ‘wouldn’t it look really nice with yellow and black wheels – like Corima four-spokes.

Now it so happens that I was going to France to do some ice climbing (brilliant for upper body strength) and would be quite close to the Corima Factory and I could go and get some and show off even more at the Calshot track league this winter. So I duly made contact and arranged to visit Corima and they are charming and make some wheels up for me (they have to be assembled by putting the hubs into the carbon part and have all the stickers put on) and they asked if I was taking them on my flight home as they were concerned about them getting damaged. I told them that a friend was taking them home for me in his car. So for the rest of my stay in France I kept getting them out of their bags and stroking them.

When I got home I contacted my friend and he said that he thought my wheels had survived the crash but he wouldn’t be back home just yet as the car (a Land Rover Discovery) was a write-off when it finished up on its roof after hitting two inches of hail stones that fell in less than a minute!

Sadly, the wheels didn’t survive unscathed and I sent them back to Corima who have repaired them and I have to say that they have been fantastic – you couldn’t wish for better service.

So now I have my lovely wheels and my lovely Planet-X and am itching to go racing. Now, what colour kit to wear? Should I buy a yellow helmet and black skinsuit? More decisions…..

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