I was in my late teens the last time a rode my mountain bike, I'm now in my early thirties ... that's a few years too many not doing something which I had forgotten how much I enjoyed! To begin with I wasn't sure what made me reach for my old GT Tempest, the one which I hadn't ridden for 15 or 16 years, and a can of WD40 one last summers day. Slowly it dawned on me ... it was camping in Wales that re-lit the fire, not the camping itself but being way out in the beautiful country side, watching those crazy roadies riding seated from Beddgelert up to Pen Y Pass at a pace nothing short of inspiring! Seeing signs for bike trails here and there brought back fond memories of hacking around the Cornish countryside and riding things I don't think I'd have the balls to now ... well not yet again anyway! Once back from camping I was like a cat shut in a house, just wanted to get out ... but I wasn't sure why ... I went for loads of walks exploring which was nice and stuff but didn't satisfy that feeling. Then I happened to dust off the old GT, applied lashings of WD40 and went for a wobbly ride round the local bridal ways ... and that was that! The feeling of the cool breeze through my lightly thinning and slightly receding hair made me feel like a great big kid again, it felt so amazing just to be out dicking around on my bike, why did I ever stop? I hadn't planned on spending so much on a bike, I was trying to find a 29er hardtail, that's all, not too difficult really in 2013, right? Then the geek inside me took over, checking specs, reviews, comparisons... hours, and hours, and hours spent looking, searching, reading, doubting, believing, questioning, snow blind looking at bikes. I started off wanting a VooDoo, but there was no 29er stock in the UK at the time. So I got to looking on Tredz, CRC, Wiggle and over & over I found 29er = really crap spec compared to similar priced 26er's. Pants. A chap on an American forum said to look at Canyon bikes and soon after I was all set on a Yellowstone AL ... which went out of stock by the time I stopped pondering and went to place the order; also they were at the end of their production run for the 2013 model. So ordered a Grand Canyon AL ... waited for weeks, and weeks, and weeks and as delivery date came (and I was about to jizz in my pants with excitement) it got moved back another 4-5 weeks, fuuuuuuuuuuuuu...... Coincidentally (I think not, you clever Canyon marketing people) the AL SLX 29er's showed as in stock ... so order upgraded and a few days later UPS shipping confirmed! Sa-Weeeet! Delivery and assembly were quick & easy. Only thing was the transit wedges for the brakes had fallen out the calipers, despite the handle bar being wrapped very well with bubble wrap the brakes levers hadn't been pulled so all good and no popped out pistons. First impressions were, WOW and holy crap this bike is HUGE! Compared to my old GT its massive, looks more so because of the wider handle bar, raised front end on the front shocks and 29er wheels. And by comparison its also a flying machine, so fast. Its rides really nicely too. Feels great on hard pack and dry stuff however its really twitchy feeling on slippery wet clay and mud... I'd say because of a couple of things being wrong tyres, steep head angle, and fighting the bike rather than going with the flow. Anyway, its great fun to ride. I look forward to the weekends purely to be out on my bike now, a few hours of being out and getting away from all the bullsh!t is so nice. Not to mention teararsing around ... after catching my breath from climbs! I cant wait to see what adventures my rediscovered love of mountain biking brings, its gonna be great!