Photographs by Sterling Lorence Watch it in 4K Earlier this spring, we set out on an epic mission across the rugged Scottish Highlands with Thomas Vanderham and Matt Hunter. Our aim was to complete the 10-day mission on a single XT Di2 battery charge, all while putting the gear through some serious conditions. Nothing could have prepared us for what the vast backcountry of Scotland would throw at us, but what’s an adventure without a few hurdles?
The established networks of historic trails that exist in Scotland is simply incredible. the highlands are full of epics, and the terrain was stunning. Being a fjordlike coastline, most of the ride days started and ended in quaint historic ocean-side villages where you easily see and understand how the culture of Scotch came to be and needed. But, yes, do remember your wool and gore-tex...that is the north atlantic sea...she has cold, damp, hard bite....that will make you believe in the Loch Ness Monster again. - Sterling Lorence, Photographer
We had heard that the weather in the Highlands could change on a dime. We stuffed our riding packs to the point of eruption - wind layers, warm layers, sun protection, and food. But nothing could have prepared us for the vastness and exposure of the Highlands. - Thomas Vanderham
Early on in the trip, we had certainly one of the hardest days of filming we had ever done. It had been 16 hours from start to finish; it was ambitious! Thinking about shot ideas, or even unzipping my camera bag was a lot, let alone chasing the crew of bikes with a heavy camera bag. It was one of those days out on a journey where your mind plays tricks on you. “Am I close to finished?” No, I was so far from being finished. Huge river crossings that soaked our gear, to hike-a-bikes that were endless. Looking back, it was such an amazing day that provided profound memories for all of us. We ended up getting the fewest shots that day, but they were the most spectacular ones. - Colin Jones, Cinematographer
Over the ten days of our trip it handled anything and everything. Airline shipping, being submerged in water at countless river crossings, hundreds of kilometres of rough rocky trails, peat bogs, and probably even a few salty tears spilled on it. XT Di2 durability was proven in the ultimate proving ground. - Matt Hunter
We had XT Di2 on our bikes. They were the very first gruppos off of the production line and unproven in the environment we were about to enter. There were questions about its durability, water resistance and battery life. But XT Di2 met every challenge on our journey on one charge, not backing down from river crossings, all day rides and the many jagged rocks that tried to grab at it along the way. - Thomas Vanderham
The northern highlands of Scotland have a heavy reputation. Beautiful, surely. But rugged, rocky, rainy, windy, muddy and midgey are the words most often chosen. - Matt Hunter
It was incredible to have two of the best riders in the world on our Highland trails; seeing them get their teeth into the rugged Scottish terrain, and enjoying a few 'wee drams' with them round the fire in the evening. It was a truly epic adventure. - Euan Wilson, H+I Adventures
Mass respect to our Scottish guide friends Euan Wilson and Mark Clark, when it comes to slogging out huge 10-13 hour epics, dragging us through the peat and rocks, and keeping it flowy the whole time, those guys are tough as nails with huge smiles and do Scotland proud. I have a new respect for what I always thought was an epic. -Sterling Lorence, Photographer
It says: "you only need to carry a day pack with you whilst riding. We have a support vehicle and driver who will transfer your luggage to your next B&B each day, and have it ready and waiting in your room when you arrive."
We have an amazing resource in the ordnance survey in the UK. With a bit of time looking at maps and some research online you can plan some amazing multi day rides in Scotland. Everything has been ridden before so you can find someone's trip report / GoPro footage online. Right to roam (responsibly) and the wild camping (responsibly) attached to it are a triumph of forward thinking access law.
With a conservative estimates on daily mileages you have time to play with if things go wrong and if you use bivvies / bothies (another amazing aspect of Scotland, Mountain Bothies Association is a charity that relies on donations) then you can change your plans to suit conditions.
Transport links are pretty damn good up there and bike friendly, sleeper trains / coaches mean if you live down South you can leave Friday night, be riding at 0600 in the hills, have your own mini epic and with a Sun night overnight train be back at work Mon morning (maybe a bit smelly). Oh and did I mention tickets for sleeper seats can be had for £35 each way. If you can borrow the kit you need an adventure can be had for less than £150 and that includes a dinner while you wait for your train home.
Scotland ... the best thing about living in the UK.
I really liked the British Mountain Map of Cairngorms as well.
Lovely video nonetheless. Definitely not going to buy the product (although I may now be more inclined to consider a new bike with Di2), but it might make me ride more.
But let's talk about something that is behind it.... Let's talk about XT DI2.
There are too much questions... First of all I tried to find XT's manual for DI2 version and I couldn't. So I easily found XTR's manual for DI2 version and here is what I found out....
1. Cables. Cables go from derailleurs to battery, from battery to junction box mounted on a stem and from that box to shifters. Aren't there too many cables, really? Besides they could have placed the junction box in the battery's enclosure and get rid of unnecessary junction box on stem. BUT. As I have heared there is an wireless version of XT (manual of which I haven't found). IMHO the idea is great but in the case of wireless system do we need to charge not only the main battery but the batteries on shifters too? Isn't there too much maintaining, really? In case of my cheap Shimano Alivio transmission I adjusted it only once at the beginnig of bicycle season (4 months ago), and it still works perfectly well without any maintain at all after riding at least 4 times every week and a lot of jumping with my chain and rear derailleur bounced with a huge aplitude. I even switched it while going up the hills under load which is not allowed on this low level of derailleurs... And the result is no maintain - it works perfectly well.
2. Battery. I'll consider it on the examle of XTR's version because as I mentioned I haven't found manual for XT DI2. So I suppose as far as Shimano's engineers haven't found out how to produce energy from air they still have batteries even in XT version . So according to manual there are three places where we can put a battery. The first- bottle mounting, the second- seat post, the third- fork's steerer. Not all the frames got a bottle mounting, Some people has got a dropposts and some lead their brake cables througth the fork's steerer. So in my case I don't have a bottle mount, the brake cable already in fork's steerer and soon I am planning to buy a drop post... I can't say that the first thing I wanted to do when I heard about XT DI2 was to buy it but still I feel a bit shared unfairly.
So just to have electrons running through cables on my bike I need to handle all this? Or maybe I missed something?
But that is not all...
Also you need to cut wire housings with a special tool or if you haven't got one (as I haven't) then you need to work up the ending in such a way that all the little wires inside the "corset" of wire housing will be the same length like this: www.pinkbike.com/photo/13948470
Sorry but that is not all again
The last but not the least is cup ending on the wire housings. They also should be the best : www.pinkbike.com/photo/13948468
There are some frames in which wire goes without wire housing placed on special mountings, I don't have a one. So all my wire housing is of one piece. Don't know if it is important...
And now a little bonus The wire housing showed previously is intended for transmission and brakes both. When I installed it on my AVIB BB7 they started to work so good like "they were electric". And the ending cup showed previously reduces the thickness of housing for brakes to transmission level... So the only thing you need to do is to buy housing and some amount of different cups and your alivio transmission will work perfect.
PS Sorry my English is not perfect hope you'll understand everything...
For scouting out trails .... Ordnance Survey maps are extremely detailed, there are programs you can buy online and search out areas on your laptop. But probably the most useful tool I've used is Google Earth. Zoom into the hills and you start to find loads of paths. It's brilliant. And free... (Although, don't rely on having signal out in the hills for your phone mapping, and if its an iPhone - it'll probably of run out of battery between the time of parking up and doing your first pedal stroke ... which isn't very desirable)
Hats off to the cinematographer for capturing the landscape!! It is harsh and weather beaten environment ... its reminded me that what i have on my doorstep is actually awesome.
(But I still don't want any electronics on my bike except for light, sorry.)
I used to work at a bar and they were almost always mispronounced.
Lagavulin was my favourite. 'Can I have a laglooovin please'
'Of course sir'
I bet it could be done for less weight than the battery and then you would never have to worry about recharging, EVER.