deniz merdano defender wolf pnp brian
Pistons & Pivots

Brian's Land Rover Defender Wolf Winter/Water FFR

Words Deniz Merdano
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Sep 13, 2022
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Pistons and Pivots features cool vehicles with character, and a little about their owners and the bikes they ride.


The Queen's Go-Cart

I'm not sure if this Pistons & Pivots is appropriate or macabre in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's passing, but I'd like to think it's a tribute; she could not have done accomplished all she did without the Land Rover by her side.

Born in 1948, after the British were taken by the dazzling simplicity of the American Willys Jeeps in the WWII, the steel shortage meant the Brits had to hammer and rivet each vehicle out of aluminium. The material's natural rust resistance was appreciated in the wet UK climate along with the relatively light curb weight. The capabable Land Rover and Defender series conquered more land and hearts than any other vehicle in the world. Some say a Land Rover is the first vehicle the majority of the 3rd world saw. I am not a supporter of invasions or the displacement of people but the Rovers were not build to kill. They were helpful for UK farmers working in their fields - and for evading taxes, since the Series 110 could seat 12 and be considered a city bus!

Having been through the Gulf war, the Invasions of Iraq and the Afghanistan War from the vantage point of Turkey, I spent a fair share of time around Land Rovers as a young boy. Turkey was not directly involved in war but has always been a passage to the old world. The Land Rovers of my childhood were not always military clad however; sometimes they wore the dazzling Camel Trophy livery that dilated my pupils.

As a 39 year old immigrant to Canada, I still get just as excited when I see a Defender 90-110 or 130 in the wild. Not the new bulbous, electronic ones but the pre 2000s Defenders and Series I, II and IIIs. They usually represent a different kind of indulgence these days as a display of prestige, never taken off road and rarely loaded with gear other than strollers and gluten free pastries. The modern Defender weeps in silence and bleeds oil quietly in the Whole Foods parking lot. There are exceptions of course and you know when you see a scratched and dented aluminium body work covered in mud. You wanna run up to it and immediately ask how many days since it was last in the shop. Days that can be counted with one hand's fingers probably.

When we walked up to the unique Defender at Crankworx Whistler, we knew that we wanted to do a closer look for a Pistons & Pivots article.

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Defender Posing in front of Cypress mountain.

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There could be a spare tire on the hood but that blocks your vision and ability to pop the hood with ease.

Brian's 1999 Defender is a rather unique one but not only because it's a military issue RHD from the UK. It's also 1 of 686 Land Rover Defender Wolf Winter/Water FFRs with the Remus upgrade; an adventure ready vehicle for the BC mountains.

Brian tells me the following

"The subject line is a mouthful. The military called it a “TUL HS FFR HT WINT” officially on the release form. Stands for Truck Utility Light High Specification Fitted For Radio Winter/Water. It landed in Canada in January 2021 with only 56,000k on the engine. So it was lightly used like most of this variant. They are mostly all still in service with the royal marines. My truck was part of a smaller number of the 686 they made that was FFR and thus hard top. They quickly found them too small with the large radio kit in the back compared to the 110” (dunsfoldcollection.co.uk)  and placed them in reserve. I believe that’s the group they auctioned off at the end of 2020 as I had about 10 – 15 to choose from and they were all the same as mine. Hard top 90” FFR winter/water. The truck is actually my daily driver so not just a weekend thing."

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The AC works as follows: you want air coming, you open the flapidy doos, you don't want air coming in, you close them.

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This is a 90, meaning 90 inches of wheelbase.

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This is a military vehicle, and you need map lights. This here is a maplight. It's awesome.

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Best 4x4xFar...

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As a military vehicle would, there are some amazing stickers inside to read and remind yourself of your responsibilities.

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Laws change... so they are hand written sometimes.

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Diving under the hood.

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Mystery tool attached inside the bonnet.

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The purpose of this tool is unclear but it is tethered to allow reach to the diesel heater.

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The bunker.

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Brian wheels the Defender often. He has lots of tools with him to get in the bush and back home safely.

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The Yakima Camp kitchen setup is super slick and mounts on the modular rack on the back of the truck.

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Kill Switch.

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Snorkel with a dust extractor. Differential breathers also run up to here for full water submersion.

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A North American necessity by law.

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Bombproof wheels. Literally. This one weighs so much that it's a two person operation to lift it up.

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I once heard that in the Outback of Australia, they often used the Series I grills to bbq. The switch to plastic was not well received. This cover however is metal.

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Hinges open to change bulbs... or maybe to bbq.

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2021 Norco Revolver FS 2 w/ 120mm.

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RockShox is all smiles :)

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The previous gen Forekasters still on the Revolver.

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Brian and his Defender Wolf.

Thanks for the tour!

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Comments

Lynx
Lynx .
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+8 Pete Roggeman mtnfriend imnotdanny goose8 Cam McRae Geof Harries Brian Krueckl NealWood

Yup, those are some iconic vehicles, for sure, a lot of exploration the world over would not have happened if not for them and this is a sick one. One of, if not the best slow crawler vehicles, stock in the world - if you've got the right tyres, they crawl up anything in 1st and 4L, insane low end torque.

As to the bike, maybe instead of looking down your noses at someone because they have a sweet little 120mm travel, everything bike, ask yourself why you need all that 150mm++ of travel and angles akin to a DH bike on your trail bike ;-)

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+9 Deniz Merdano Lynx . Pete Roggeman gubbinalia mnihiser Andrew Major kcy4130 shapethings Zero-cool

A British steel hardtail would be perfect with that truck. :-)

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+5 Niels van Kampenhout mnihiser Andrew Major Mammal Zero-cool

Aluminum would be more appropriate, no? :)

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Why are the frame/axles/driveshafts aluminum on that Defender? If not a steel framed hardtail with aluminum parts seems pretty appropriate.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
3 weeks ago
+3 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae Bruce Mackay

A steel-framed full suspension bike with coil shocks would be an even better match ;-)

Reply

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
3 weeks ago
0

my guess is just the body is aluminum.  Frame rails and driveline is probably steel.

Reply

earleb
earle.b
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+4 Pete Roggeman mnihiser mtnfriend shapethings

A steel Starling or Cotic would set that rig off just right.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Dogl0rd

Not looking down at all! We all love short travel bikes here. But when you have a go anywhere truck, you kind of wish for a go anywhere bike.. at least I do.

Reply

Briank
Brian Krueckl
2 weeks, 6 days ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Lynx .

I'm 52. I have nothing to prove anymore! My bike suits me fine. And my truck will demolish anything you drive so...

Reply

bruce-mackay
Bruce Mackay
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Deniz Merdano

Sweet rides, both. Whats the gvwr on that that it needs 42 in theb rears!?! Oh and Best part.  NAT!

Reply

Briank
Brian Krueckl
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Deniz Merdano

It's 2 metric tonne. All the wait is chassis and drivetrain with the body being aluminum so it has a very low centre of gravity. The 42 was to support the radio kit and whatever it was supposed to tow. I've always thought the 42psi was high but who am i to know better?

Reply

mammal
Mammal
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Hardly thumbing his nose at the Revolver, but that one comment is indicative of our location. It's pretty rare that you see an experienced North Shore mountain biker  on a full suspension bike with less than 140mm of travel, and full XC whippets like that are hardly ever seen.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Wasn't specifically targeting anyone with my comment, just an in general observation of/to a wide section of the MTB community right now. Guess I would prefer to cut down my riding time by upwards of 30% if there's lots of climbing to get to the descents and do more descents, a bit slower vs have to slowly suffer those long climbs and hit much less downs if I  was riding one of those "go anywhere" bikes everyone seems to love these days.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 mtnfriend hairymountainbeast

It's unfair that climbing takes so much time...

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 hairymountainbeast

I guess that all depends on if it's just boring fireroad/road climbs or nice actual singletrack or at least not full double track through some beautiful scenery, then I don't mind because I make it as slow going as I want - I can choose to pussy out and spin a super small gear like a hamster (which suits most of the modern, steep ST bikes) or I can push a harder gear and go up the climb faster.

"It's unfair that climbing takes so much time..."

Reply

mammal
Mammal
3 weeks ago
0

Yep, it definitely depends. We've got a few decent climb trails where this beautiful Defender calls home, but not a tonne, and they're outweighed by difficult grunts at least 2:1.

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
3 weeks ago
+4 Lynx . Niels van Kampenhout Brian Krueckl Pete Roggeman

To riff off the themes of other comments...

I personally feel the A/T's on this truck have something in common with the 120mm bike: restraint. Isn't it kind of badass to choose exactly the tires and bike you need, rather than the overkill options?

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 mtnfriend Cam McRae Pete Roggeman

Such an awesome truck. Great series, thanks for the content!

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 mtnfriend

thank you!

Reply

mammal
Mammal
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Bruce Mackay

Awesome Defender! Such a beast. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

a.funks
a.funks
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 Deniz Merdano Lynx . Pete Roggeman

Very cool!

Regarding fuse boxes and symbols, on European cars it’s symbols for all switches, knobs, fuses and any other controls, never words. It could never be words when the same cars are sold in countries speaking different languages. And that includes the UK even though the UK cars are different - they’re right hand drive because we drive on the left.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 1 day ago
0

Makes a lot of sense!

Except the driving on the left thing ..

Reply

rollingthunder.jpeg
rollingthunder.jpeg
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Brian Krueckl

Another green machine! Love it!

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Brian Krueckl

We rang your ears during the shoot!

Reply

Sethsg
Sethsg
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman Cam McRae

My day is complete.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 Pete Roggeman mtnfriend

Needs new shoes. Just a little chunkier tires would make it looks SO much better. Work a lot better too (in mud anyhow). Such a unique vehicle, I love the piston/pivots series. 

In the link: "The vehicle was designed to fill with water to allow traction at all times. A raised air intake was fitted along with transmission breathers and preparation for full submersion would take about an hour." So would the driver just use a long snorkel out the top hatch? Wild.

Reply

earleb
earle.b
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+3 Pete Roggeman Niels van Kampenhout Bruce Mackay

I hope he doesn't put too big and aggressive mud tires on it. Kills the aesthetics. Leave the useless way oversized mall crawler tires to the Jeep bro crowd.

Reply

Briank
Brian Krueckl
2 weeks, 6 days ago
+4 Deniz Merdano kcy4130 Pete Roggeman Lynx .

Not planning on ruining the aesthetics. Going with ever so slightly wider 255/85R16. That is the max wolf rims will take. They are a 6.5" rim. And I've left many a jacked up jeeps with giant MT's in my wake with the ones I have on there currently.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
3 weeks ago
+1 Brian Krueckl

100% agree. big boggers would look dumb on this. The slightly chunkier tires on the Dunfold 110 that Deniz linked to was more what I was thinking. Those look just right.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 Pete Roggeman mtnfriend

Brian did tell me he is getting new shoes but limitation was the narrow rims. You can't put anything but pizza cutters on those original rims.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 mtnfriend Brian Krueckl

There's a reason you don't run super wide tyres, having a narrower tyre to cut down through soft mud to hardpack to gain grip, works a lot better, IMHO than a fat tyre trying to find traction ontop of sloppy mud.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
3 weeks, 1 day ago
0

Agreed. Also they look way better! I think he is going slightly wider with his next set of tires but not huge.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
3 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

@Kcy4130 - it's his daily driver, i.e. having more burly, truly full off road tyres would significantly decrease fuel mileage, create road noise (which can be annoying), take it from someone who's done the experiment, huge difference.

Reply

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