Written by Paul Ransome

I had some work that required a drive up north and thought I’d tie it in with a visit to Planet X bikes ‘the makers of my trusty exocet 2’. I’d never visited before but after a 3 hour 37 minute drive and a few coffee stops I arrived at their main Sheffield store. I walked in and I was greeted by their friendly staff. As I walked through the store I didn’t realise that it opened out into a massive space behind the display room with hundreds of bikes and tonnes of clothing. I love these massive bike shops as you can spend hours just looking; then spending.

While I was there I was lucky enough to meet Dave Loughran, the CEO of Planet X bikes. As a seasoned triathlete he is always interested in what’s going on in the world of triathlon. Dave also introduced me to Spencer Smith. And yes that is THE Spencer Smith, 3 times World Champion and Great Britain’s highest placing male in Kona. I had a good chat with Spencer and Dave about Kona and what I wanted to achieve during 2017. They gave me some great advice and had inspiring stories and experiences. It’s not often you walk into a bike shop and get to meet a World Champion Triathlete and get some tips from him. ‘Gold Dust’.

image1Dave then arranged for me to try the latest Planet X Exocet  3 which is an absolutely  beautiful bike. For anybody who has seen the ‘Lego Movie’ I just wanted to scream ‘Spaceship!’ Sorry about my parent humour. It’s definitely a fast looking bike and on looks alone I’d be leaving people at the lights. It’s a slightly different fit than my exocet 2 but I think this will make it more adjustable to fit a wider range of riders. We managed to get me into a similar position to that of my long and low Exocet 2, Spencer Smith then made my position look amateur even in a coat. It was fitted with SRAM eTap wireless which was interesting. I’ve always been unsure of electronic shifting due to stories from other competitors who have lost the use of their gears in the middle of a bike leg and had to grind out the rest of the race. Funnily enough, one of the batteries did run flat whilst I was testing but apparently they charge in one hour for 1000km ride time so unless you’re doing RAAM you should be fine. I had great fun trying it and you might see me on one of these next year, as I’m seriously tempted.

I walked out of the fitting room and Dave introduces me to Harry Wiltshire, another champion Pro British Triathlete. Who else have they got hiding in the cupboards? Harry was sorting out a winter bike so I took the chance to bend his ear about his 2016 season. A nice long list of subjects were covered and ideas thrown around between Dave, Spencer, Harry and myself from drafting rules to next years races! Then it was time for me to move on…

What a great day out and no I wasn’t making this up.


Paul is based in Bath and is a personal trainer and triathlon coach. He is part of the team who run Urban Training Systems and you can find out more about them here: Website / Facebook / Twitter.

Paul is sharing his story with Tri Radar as he prepares for Kona 2017. You read his introductory blog here.