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Video: Nine days in the Rotorua Redwoods

By amarkie - Posted on 24 November 2015

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi Guys

Here's my edit of the Redwoods from my trip to Rotorua in late October this year.

This was my 3rd trip to the Redwoods and for the first time I managed to ride every day, even tho a couple were cut a bit short due to a shoulder injury from a day 1 OTB that kept getting aggravated on the XC climbs. The solution: Avoid the XC trails and pedally exits - just descend.

Also I ventured out the back to trails like Tuhoto Ariki, Kung Fu Walrus and No Brains for the first time. Just 2 days earlier the Whaka 100 had been through in the pouring rain so the trails were very slippery and rutted. I'd never ridden trails this intense before and by the time I got to the bottom of each one I found myself as mentally wrecked as I was physically wrecked. It certainly was an exercise in brake control and I'm proud to say I stayed on my bike through all of it - which if you've seen my Fail videos is a pretty big achievement Laughing out loud

I can't wait to get back there again!

over there next year with a few mates, looking forward to riding in this amazing mecca for Mountain Biking, It will be my first trip over there, but the guys I am going with have been there every year for the last 4 or 5, so plenty of experience from them, and certainly as said earlier looking forward to the trip.

How much travel would you need on a dually on most of the trails .

I got by with 4"(100mm) and did most of these trails, up to Blue difficulty level when we went last year. 5-6" will give you more flexibility, but will be harder work up the climbs. But given that they have a reasonably priced shuttle climbing may mot be a concern Smiling

Aaron, many you seriously gave me a case of regrets for not riding Eagle v Shark. That looks brilliant.

I concur with Hawkeye mainly because you will see the kiwis out on everything. In fact on Corners one day I saw a guy below me with a rack on the back of his bike and I didn't manage to catch him. 60 year olds riding faster with hard tails on trails that scared the bejesus out of me on my Reign 6" (Gunna Gotta).

It largely depends on what you want to get out of the experience.

Take your 6" if you want to go fast and hard and totally own those descents. AS the Fat Hippy said about climbing there is always one lower gear and that's to walk. I walk up the hills, who cares? For me the descent is why I pay thousands of dollars to go to Rotorua if I have to walk up a hill to get the amazing descent then so be it. That being said on my last trip I did 26 shuttles in 9 days .. I'm hoping to beat that record on the next trip Smiling

But thats me

I'm heading back over in Jan with a bunch of guys that will go from one end of the forest to the other climbing everything. One guy will be on an EPIC and do 6ft gap jumps (Billy T - to scary for me), 2 on Stumpys, 1 on an Enduro and the other guy has yet to decide which bike he will pull from the quiver but I suspect it will be his Norco Range.

If yr not a total gravity head and want to mix it up then a 5" would be my recommendation.

There are some super fun easy going cruisy descending trails (Split Enz, Pondy New, Tokorangi, Be Rude, Mad if you don't etc) and some really beautiful XC trails (Old Chevy, Yellow Brick Rd, Creek, Dipper - my picks). However many of the XC ones come with some pretty serious pinch climbs that require a whole lot of grunt. Way more short steep up and short steep down than Kowen. Checkout my video on Old Chevy .. XC people love it. It's a great ride on an XC bike.

Finally Hawkeye .. I love my Anthem, even on the descents on Manly Dam I get that thing within a metre of how fast I can go down them on the Reign but taking it on EVS is a WHOLE-NOTHER-STORY Smiling That trail is a BUTT-LOAD lot bigger than it looks! But yes you REALLY missed out, you better go back soon (hire a Reign from MTB Rotorua and swoon over those Pikes) Smiling

One other thing to add, there are other options than the Redwoods in Rotorua, but man that place is the business. I've not ridden anywhere else yet .. 18 days in the Forest.

Throwing in some other vids .. sorry for the spam but each adventure has had a different theme and showcases different trails. It will give you a better appreciation of the diversity.

Trip 1 - 1.5 days !!

Return to the Redwoods - 7 of 9 days

... or at least something lockable in the way of suspension if you want to grind out the fire road climbs. Shuttles never seem to be operating when I'm there....

Have had more trouble with the weather and a broken chain than I have with lack of suspension travel in recent trips. Tyres that grip pretty well on relatively hard pack surface (even when it's been a bit wet) are good too....

Lach they have really ramped up the frequency since winter. NZ Labour day weekend in Oct I started on the Saturday and rode them every day for 9 days straight and the strange thing is 12 months ago it was mostly downhillers midweek but this year even with the DH trail shut they were running multiple buses just to cater for the trail bikes.

Southstar have a shuttle calendar on their website that I found very helpful when planning my trips, of course always subject to weather but they update their FB page with the plan about 7am NZ time every day. They have really got their stuff sorted now.

Great Vid, makes me miss them. I've watched this a few times. I've been over twice this year and still haven't done all the trails shown in this vid. One gets hooked on a trail and rides it to death.

As far as bike I had my hard tail Kona Explosif with only 120mm forks that are pretty shitty. I was doing the Intermediate blue stuff easily and some of the advanced blue stuff with a little more difficulty depending on the type of trail. I'm not a great rider either.

One thing to remember with Rotorua is there is virtually no rock, its roots, drops, jumps, off cambers, brake ruts etc which make things technical, so even on the advanced stuff I feel its more the rider skills than the limits of the bike that are the issue.

More suspension saves on the rattling around, the thighs and is insurance for allowing to plow through stuff when one makes a mistake.

Also if the shuttles are running use them, they really open up the best riding up the top of the hill. I managed six runs in under 2 hours one evening... you go home with a big smile after that type of riding.

I heard from the locals it was mostly high speed flow trail... not so?

I agree Lach's comments about tyres. The soil is different over there.

Here, if you skid you rip up the trail. Sad Over there, you leave a black mark and rip up your tyre.

I have never ridden there but judging by Lach's profile pic he's a freak of nature that can have fun on a bike with a 70+deg HA.

I say if you have never ridden the trail you can never have too much travel, better to be having fun on the downs rather than winning on the ups, you can do that boring stuff back here.

With that being said I'd still be taking my hardtail if I went there.

Hawkeye .. EVS is exactly that, but it really loses altitude quickly. If you aren't soaking up the trail with your suspension then you are going to be working bloody hard on the brakes. Corners for me is 10 mins, EVS 8 mins but I'm guessing EVS drops 100m more than Corners, maybe more. It's FAST.

Lots of it is like Stromlo's Skyline but imagine losing altitude at 3 times the rate.

Man it's a roller coaster of a ride.

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