New bike for 2011 – Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon

My previous mountain bike (MTB) was a Stumpjumper Comp 2009 which was also the MTB I was riding when assaulted in Sarratt. I’ve now switched over to a custom build of a Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon. I pretty much went for the gloss-red frame and XTR M980 (10 speed), but there have been a few tweaks from the standard options that Santa Cruz offer.

Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon


You may have noticed a cable going up the seat-post…yup, that’s a droppable post, a RockShox Reverb. The full specs are listed below.

Note that the tyres shown are the Continental “Rubber Queen” 2.2 UST (with the useful Black Chili compound). I’ve ridden the non-UST folding version of this tyre but made tubeless using Stan’s Notubes conversion kit on my Stumpjumper’s DTSwiss X420SL rims. Great for winter riding and burly conditions these Rubber Queens, but with winter now receding I think I’ll be switching over to the Continental “X-King” 2.2 Race Sport (RS) tubeless-ready tyres (also with Black Chili). I’ve not ridden any X-Kings yet but these 2.2 RS models have a claimed weight of 460 g so I’m really looking forward to taking-off like a rocket when paired to the Blur XC Carbon. I hope my legs do them justice.

The bike, as spec’ed, weighs 25.3 pounds (11.48 kg); with the X-Kings the weight should drop to 23.8 pounds (10.8 kg). Don’t forget that the 1.5 pounds of reduction, although small, will be in the rotational areas so should make a huge difference to the responsiveness of the bike.

Frame: Blur XC Carbon (2011), medium size, gloss red
Shock: Fox Float RP23 Boost Valve:
Velocity Tune: L
Boost Valve Tune: 225
Rebound Tune: M
Fork: Fox 32 F120 FIT RLC 120mm Black (15mm Through Axle)
Shifters: Shimano M980 (XTR)
Front Derailleur: Shimano M981-D (XTR)
Rear Derailleur: Shimano M980 SGS (XTR)
Chainset: Shimano M980 24/32/42 (XTR) 10spd
Bottom Bracket: Included with crankset
Chain: HG-X(XTR M980)
Cassette: Shimano M980, 11-34 (XTR)
Brakes: Formula R1 with 160mm rotors
Bars: Syncros FL carbon 31.8mm
Stem: Easton EA 90 31.8mm
Grips: ODI Ruffian Lock-On (130mm)
Headsets: Chris King 1″ 1/8
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb 380mm (30.9mm dia)
Saddle: WTB Silverado SLT
Wheels: ZTR Crest rims laced to Hope Pro 2 hubs
Tyres: Rubber Queen 2.2 UST folding Black Chili [UPDATE see Note 1]
Tubes: tubeless; Stan’s Tire Sealant
Pedals: Point One Podium
Gear cables: Gore Ride-On sealed low friction
Scratch shield: SportsCover Bikeshield (fullpack)

UPDATE: Note 1 – I swapped-out the Rubber Queens to the X-King 2.2 Race Sport (RS) for summer riding and they’ve held up well.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

The end of gods

Why Evolution is True has an interesting article Eric MacDonald on natural selection, purpose, and the problem of evil. That article goes on to link to MacDonald’s article which describes how evolution, through natural selection, indicates that the concept of a god, or gods, is a human conceit, a folly.

Of particular interest to me are Coyne’s and MacDonald’s concerns over the direction that NCSE seems to be taking. NCSE’s goal are to promote evolution but they’re trying not to offend the religious in the process. I can see NCSE’s point of view as that may be the only way that they can get the message through. Conversely, such an “accommodationist” approach may give a mixed message and falsely colour the insights that evolution behooves us to face. I agree with Coyne and MacDonald and, although I recognise and sympathise with NCSE’s approach, I think that NCSE may cause more harm in the long run. But that’s just my view.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Respect for religion?

Found Greta Christina’s Blog article via Why Evolution is True and then via AlterNet. I’ve linked below to Christina’s blog  “The Armor of God, or, The Top One Reason Religion Is Harmful”.

Powerful stuff and is similar to what I intended to write here in a future blog but it would not have been as coherently or forcefully written as Christina’s article. I think I was going to concentrate on why the religious feel that they are “offended”.

The religious follow dogmatic attitudes and, with their closed minds, should feel secure in their cosy world of make-belief. But along come atheists making their voices heard and the religious are now shrill with rage. It’s almost as if the religious are scared that they’re about to be found out, that they were wrong. No one likes to admit that they’re wrong. And perhaps deep down the religious know that they’re wrong and get angry at someone who can demonstrate that. I posted something similar at  “Religion’s special privileges”.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Anti-science at the Science Museum

DC’s Improbable Science has an article about the strange decisions made by the Science Museum for an exhibit on medicine. Unfortunately it seems that the Science Museum has ended-up promoting anti-science. Coupled with their PR statements it seems that the Science Museum doesn’t actually know what Science is.

I hate to use a Carl Sagan quote against the Science Museum but I’m left with no choice:

Science has beauty, power, and majesty that can provide spiritual as well as practical fulfillment. But superstition and pseudoscience keep getting in the way providing easy answers, casually pressing our awe buttons, and cheapening the experience.

Carl Sagan, “Does Truth Matter? Science, Pseudoscience, and Civilization”
Skeptical Inquirer, Volume 20.2, March / April 1996

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Astrology is Science

According to the Times of India, the Bombay High Court has, in dismissing a case against astrology, been swayed by the arguments that astrology is science. At first I thought that this was a joke. But I suppose the joke is on the court and on India. This is what happens when people do not exercise critical thinking and fall into the trap of superstitions, pseudo science and other baloney.

I really do wonder if we give too much respect to “not offend”. If we were a bit more direct in calling bullshit “bullshit” then perhaps we wouldn’t have so much of it around.

Also see

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011

Ethics for homeopaths

Excellent Quackometer post about the new “media code for homeopaths”:

I think that there’s something immoral here, especially in the code’s advice to reference the Cuban Leptospirosis study despite the fact that the study has been shown to be worthless from a scientific perspective; I would call this fraud.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2011