Hope - Kristof Gregoire: Almost a year with the HB.130

Almost one year as a HB.130 ambassador, and what a year it was!

It's needless to say that most of us will remember 2020 as the year of the Coronavirus. As much as that may be true, for me 2020 will remain the year that I became a proud HB.130 ambassador.

In April 2020, just a few days before almost every country went into lockdown, Hope managed to get the ambassador bikes delivered. You have no idea how relieved I was to see that box arrive on time...Because it was the bike I was counting on to guide my tours in Norway. I had sold my previous bike so if my HB.130 hadn’t arrived I would have been without a bike to start the season. For that I am absolutely grateful that they went the extra mile. You rock!

The discovery of my new machine could begin, I had been riding a full suspension XC bike for years and would now switch to what would hopefully be a perfect all-rounder. There was almost no time for me to adapt to the completely different geometry as I was starting my guiding season right away. But, my HB.130 made it super easy, it felt like I had been riding it for years from the first ride.

I guide MTB tours in Norway from the start of May until around mid October and then travel to Gran Canaria to guide tours from November till the end of April. Two different worlds…

The terrain in Norway is completely different to Gran Canaria, so much so that I have to prepare myself to make the switch. It’s kind of an attack on my body. The trails in Telemark are really rough granite rocks and wet most of the time. It’s constant interval training 100% focus is needed all the time. A ride of 14km takes a group between 2,5 to 3 hours and then you’re done. Physically, but for sure also mentally. It is technical all day long, doesn’t matter if it’s up or down. Your body adapts to that kind of riding for about 5 months.

Then the switch comes: In Gran Canaria there is a lot more elevation, you have longer climbs where you put it in a comfy gear and just pedal up and keep on going. The endurance kind of thing that your body needs to adapt to, again… Longer uphill means also enjoying much longer descents. While rocks in Norway are granite, they are loose and volcanic in Gran Canaria. The wet and muddy trails are swapped for dry and dusty…the hyper green trees and ferns from Norway turn into razor sharp cactus needles on the tropical island. And of course we move from almost 0 degrees in Norway mid October to around 26 degrees.

For the HB.130 it is very simple: It doesn’t need to adapt in any way. It just eats the trails, whatever type you feed it. True, the speed in a longer climb is not exactly as high as it would be with my previous XC bike, but it does feel as comfortable as before. What goes up must go down and that’s where the HB.130 wins its time back. I have never felt more confident and safe than descending with this amazing bike.

So all in all, 2020 rocked in all its glory, and for a large part I have to thank my HB.130 for it. Thanks for putting a smile on my face whilst I’m riding. Thanks for pushing my limits further, Thanks for being my solid partner in crime all year long.

Kristof Gregoire