From Cameraman to Cover Boy.

From cameraman to Cover Boy; You might be familiar with a few of the faces of the team here at Ribble, but one you won’t have seen is Jackson Welsh. Typically because he spends most of his time behind the camera! Having built up his new Ribble CGR 725 recently, we thought we’d check in to see how he’s been finding it.

Having built up his new Ribble CGR 725 recently, we thought we’d check in to see how he’s been finding it;

So Jackson, what’s your role at Ribble?

I’m the Video Producer at Ribble Cycles. So I spend as much time as possible behind the camera usually on outdoor shoots or up in the studio aka The Editing Cave producing our Video Content.

Filming adrenalin-packed and stylish urban or road cycling videos is a dream job, its creatively rewarding and I find each project stimulates that creative drive even more so than the last, always looking to better the last video.

And when I’m not doing or thinking about this…you’ll typically find me binge-watching camera tech and biking videos!

And when the Out-of-Office is on…

You could ‘catch me’ down at the local river or fishing pond or hitting the trails on whichever hard-tail – the HT 725 or the HT Ti – that I’ve managed to borrow from the demo fleet!

The new CGR 725 however, has changed things I hear:

It’s already my new obsession. I literally had the build finished the day before the lockdown was announced so it’s been a godsend! I don’t think there’s been a day yet that I haven’t been out on it.

My creaky old mountain bike has been cast-off to Dad!

Here she is, the new CGR 725:

Why did you choose the CGR 725:

I’ve ridden the Ribble HT725, which is perfect for flowing trails and bike parks but recently, i bought a CGR 725 and built it up!

Its perfect for some mountain bike trails and my local trails (Ladybower,  Longdendale and Tissington; I haven’t ventured as far as Holmemoss, Sky Road, or Snake Pass yet but they’ll also be do-able… once I’ve got my legs a bit more used to the burn!

It’s definitely boosted my times on Strava too from the old rusty mtb!!

I was amazed after my first ride on it. When you look at your ride data after a typical 1hr+ ride, the bikes versatility makes total sense.

For starters, with 1500ft minimum climbing why drag yourself round on 2.6inch knobbly tyres for just 2 to 3 minutes of mountain bike worthy decent!

When I was to go mountain biking, I’d take a hardtail or full-sus, for all other rides it means I’m not overexerting myself on the weight of the bike and I can (almost) keep up with Dad, so he’s not waiting at the top of the hills.

I’ve got a way to go to keep up with Mum though – having just got her new Ribble Hybrid ALe – she’s flying on an ebike!!

What bikes were you used to riding?

When I was younger I pretty much stuck to BMX which gradually progressed into mountain biking with my brother. I still love MTB, especially in Llangdeglla or Whinlatter, but the CGR is broadening my horizons a little! And so far I’m loving it.

Which bikes did you find yourself choosing between?

There really wasn’t much of a choice for me; I already had a mountain bike and I didn’t want a road bike (I could never be persuaded to dress myself head to toe in Lycra)!

It was the frame material choice that I found most difficult: Titanium, Aluminium or Steel?

If I wasn’t saving up for my own house, then it might have been Titanium; but, for those like me on a more reasonable budget, and looking for versatility, it’s either the CGR AL or the CGR 725.

In the end for me, it was the CGR 725. It’s robust and I can use it like an old school mountain bike. It has the style and high quality of the Ti (with similar tubing profiles and ride qualities); but it also looks like many of the classic & vintage bikes which I’ve always been fond of since working with a Classic bike restorer.

This is a very custom spec – what did you go for?

I wanted to get the frame and work with my Dad on the spec for it, using spares where possible to keep the costs down.

Since working with the Ribble bikes day in day out, I knew I wanted 650b Mavic Allroad wheels as they’re renowned for their reliability and great for taking a bike off-road and down some fairly rough descents. Dressing them with some larger volume tyres: Panaracer Gravel Kings (1.9inch) for better grip and more comfort again when off-road.

A pair of 700c wheels will be my next purchase, once I’ve got to grips with using cleats and learned to avoid catching my feet!

Then the flared bars, firstly for better control when descending and secondly, they look sweeeeeet. I’d actually tried these out on a photoshoot previously (riding the CGR ALe ebike as I was carrying lots of heavy and expensive camera equipment), so I knew that these would give me that little boost of confidence and further improve the bike’s off-road / gravel performance.

I went for the 1×11 Sram group set, which personally I think looks much cleaner than 2×11 and it’s much easier to maintain. I like the confidence and reassurance it gives me knowing that there’s less chance of something breaking when out on rougher terrain.

So, how are you finding the CGR 725 so far?

So far, I love it.  It really is a go-anywhere bike.

I like that it is much more efficient climbing (and on the roads) compared to the mountain bike which in turn means I can ride further and for longer, and just generally find it much more enjoyable.

It’s perfect for those mind-clearing solo rides too – but at the same time pushes me a bit by making my local routes more challenging than would be the case on my mountain bike and it means I don’t need to be throwing myself down tricky, rocky descents which is particularly important during the present crisis.

So what’s next for you and the new ride?

My main short-term goal is to get fitter so that I can ride and try out more bikes and carry the heavy equipment around with a bit more ease. I’m sure the fitter I get, the more I’ll enjoy it and the more I’ll get out of it.

My Dad’s always been into cycling so it’s been nice to get back out with him again. I’ve had the bike a few weeks now but we’ve already been planning some bike rides around Scotland and possibly even a bike packing trip around Holland may be on the cards – watch this space!!

For now, I’m just falling back in love with cycling and keeping myself busy taking photos of the bike!! I just need to work on keeping it clean!

P.s Photo credit to Glen Bailey aka @woofdog for capturing shots of Jackson for once!



Looking for some adventure inspiration of your own? See how Ryan and Ben got on with their adventure of a lifetime in Nepal and India here

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