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  1. #1
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    Trail info for NZ: best books and/or websites?

    What are the best guidebooks and/or websites for a non-local to get oriented, find the best riding areas, find trails, etc?

    I've poked around online and found the Kennett books and the Mitchell books. Are these decent references? Looks like the new Kennett 9th edition should be shipping in a couple weeks, so it would presumably have the advantage on up-to-date information.

    I've looked at nzbybike.com a few times. Its definitely useful, but their target demographic seems pretty broad, so I'm not sure how to judge their descriptions. Also looked through the 20-30 trails on the Trailforks portion of Pinkbike.

    Over here in the U.S. we have LOTS of mountain bike guidebooks, and some of them are garbage, some of them are superb. If you have some exposure to the authors, trail regions and/or time paging through the book in a store, its pretty easy to distinguish the good from the bad, but I have no context for judging the stuff in NZ/OZ before I mail order one.

    I'll be spending anywhere from 4 to 16 weeks in NZ. Time will be split between road touring (I'm pretty set for that info) and mountain biking. Relative proportions could swing from 25/75 to 75/25 depending on what I learn about MTB opportunities. I'll have a minimum of 2 weeks to MTB. Probably in a rented camper van when MTBing.

    My ideal MTB rides are long backcountry singletrack rides. I do enjoy smaller, purpose-built "ride centers" occasionally, but I prefer more wild, remote stuff. I'm skilled on technical terrain, but also love smooth ribbon trail. I'm fit, so happy to climb 2000-3000m on epic days.

  2. #2
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    The Kennett brothers book was great when I visited in 2006. Very detailed and lots of singletrack and out there tracks, plus bike park options.

  3. #3
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    Certainly the Kennett book looks to be the most exhaustive. Seems to have the goal of identifying every eff'ing trail on the islands.

    How is the Kennett book for ride descriptions? As in . . .
    - consistency (ie, your times aren't 2X the book estimates on some rides, and 0.5X the book on others)
    - directions (can you survive w/ the book alone? or are extra maps almost mandatory?)
    - skill "calibration" (ie, is there coherent and consistent generalizations about difficulty).

    The perfect guidebook author has the exact same skills, fitness and tastes as me, right? Seriously though, the best authors aren't always similar to me, but they are consistent enough that I can calibrate my skills/tastes to theirs, and it holds from ride to ride.

    Does the Kennett book denote weather/seasons for each trail? Or at least region?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Carbon & Ti rule
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    The Kennett book is awesome. I believe the new 1 will be a north island booķ and a south island book.

    They are right on the button imo.

    There is so much mtbing here you will be better off using more of your weeks for that

  5. #5
    It's carbon dontcha know.
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    Damn, I'm trying to finalize ride plans as we're heading there at the weekend, the new boxed set would be perfect to have with us...

    Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides boxed set | Kennett Brothers
    Rolling on 29", 650b, 8.3" and 23mm

  6. #6
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    Glad to hear people like the Kennett books. I hope they are more accurate with their ride descriptions than they are with the trail counts in the book summary online:

    For the 9th edition North, they say 144 rides with 155 rides added since the 8th edition.
    For the 9th edition South, they say 174 rides with 190 rides added since the 8th edition.
    The 8th edition says there are 138 rides on the North and 172 rides in the South.

    So it seems like there are really only 8 new rides in the new book(s), and the new ride numbers are obviously bogus/error??

    If so, it makes me wonder if the pair of 9th edition North/South books are worth the 50% higher price than the single book 8th edition.

    In terms of page count, the new books total 384 and the 8th edition was 332 pages. Presumably there are many pages (20? 30? 40?) of introduction/how-to-use, etc that are duplicitous in the pair of new books.

    So 6thElement, maybe the new books aren't adding that much info since the 8th edition? Perhaps just going with a new business model: if someone really only wants info for one island, they can now spend $30 instead of $40. But for those that want both islands, the price just went from $40 to $60.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement View Post
    Damn, I'm trying to finalize ride plans as we're heading there at the weekend, the new boxed set would be perfect to have with us...

    Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides boxed set | Kennett Brothers
    Let us help.

    What day do you fly in & to where ?

    How long for & where do you fly back out from ?

  8. #8
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    We were asked on there Facebook page what we thought they should do because there were so many new rides that it was going to make the new book huge.

    That's when the vote went to having the North & south Islands having there own book to keep a smaller book to carry around.

    https://www.facebook.com/kennettbrothers?fref=ts

    Quote Originally Posted by InertiaMan View Post
    Glad to hear people like the Kennett books. I hope they are more accurate with their ride stats than they are with the trail counts in the book summary online:

    For the 9th edition North, they say 144 rides with 155 rides added since the 8th edition.
    For the 9th edition South, they say 174 rides with 190 rides added since the 8th edition.
    The 8th edition says there are 138 rides on the North and 172 rides in the South.

    So it seems like there are really only 8 new rides in the new book(s), and the new ride numbers are obviously bogus/error??

    If so, it makes me wonder if the pair of 9th edition North/South books are worth the 50% higher price than the single book 8th edition.

    In terms of page count, the new books total 384 and the 8th edition was 332 pages. Presumably there are many pages (20? 30? 40?) of introduction/how-to-use, etc that are duplicitous in the pair of new books.

    So 6thElement, maybe the new books aren't adding that much info since the 8th edition? Perhaps just going with a new business model: if someone really only wants info for one island, they can now spend $30 instead of $40. But for those that want both islands, the price just went from $40 to $60.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzzanic View Post
    We were asked on there Facebook page what we thought they should do because there were so many new rides that it was going to make the new book huge.

    That's when the vote went to having the North & south Islands having there own book to keep a smaller book to carry around.
    So in the 9th edition description, is it the ride totals that are in error, rather than the # of new rides?

    I hope the source of my confusion is clear, but to be more explicit: how can there be only 144 rides described in the new North book, if you've added 155 rides?

    And if so many new rides were added, why has the page count increased only modestly? Have you changed the format?

    Or is this an artifact of what constitutes a ride vs. a trail? (ie, a MTB trail centre might have 10-15 trails, but only 1 or 2 rides??).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by InertiaMan View Post
    So in the 9th edition description, is it the ride totals that are in error, rather than the # of new rides?

    I hope the source of my confusion is clear, but to be more explicit: how can there be only 144 rides described in the new North book, if you've added 155 rides?

    And if so many new rides were added, why has the page count increased only modestly? Have you changed the format?

    Or is this an artifact of what constitutes a ride vs. a trail? (ie, a MTB trail centre might have 10-15 trails, but only 1 or 2 rides??).
    8th edition was only 1 book.

    There FB page says 662 trails in North Island & 489 in the South Island.

    Might take a while to do them all.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzzanic View Post
    8th edition was only 1 book.
    I realize this ^^, but it doesn't really address my confusion.

    I'm just trying to make sense of numbers that seem contradictory.

    Their website says the 9th edition adds 345 trails vs. the 8th edition . . . but only 8 additional rides?

    Am I the only one that finds that proportion odd?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by InertiaMan View Post
    I realize this ^^, but it doesn't really address my confusion.

    I'm just trying to make sense of numbers that seem contradictory.

    Their website says the 9th edition adds 345 trails vs. the 8th edition . . . but only 8 additional rides?

    Am I the only one that finds that proportion odd?
    Just ask them on there Facebook page what they mean.

  13. #13
    Stephen
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    Agreed. They are nice guys and will get back to you if you drop them a line. There are a lot of new trails being built at the moment, a lot of them in areas already with trails. Expanding rather than strictly new ones. If you need a hand or advice yell out, any Kiwi will help out. We are up north which is average for trails but amazing for tourism. Google Bay of Islands.
    As to the boys being accurate about the level of difficulty , they are pretty accurate. The guys are quite skilled so may a tiny bit optimistic on difficulty but not enough to be a problem. Let me know also if I can help out. Cheers, Stephen.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzzanic View Post
    Let us help.

    What day do you fly in & to where ?

    How long for & where do you fly back out from ?
    Late in replying to your kind offer, we had a great time. I posted a quick recap in Passion.
    Riding upside down and back to front in New Zealand
    Rolling on 29", 650b, 8.3" and 23mm

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement View Post
    Late in replying to your kind offer, we had a great time. I posted a quick recap in Passion.
    Riding upside down and back to front in New Zealand
    Awesome, Good to see you got some good ridding in.

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