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ISSUE#32

2008 MTB Guide

Tory

Thomas Plus

Cape Epic, Polaris Ultimate Wish List : Cannondale, Jamis KHS, Iron Horse

R

ws evie

$ 8.95


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www.freewheel.com.au

—!&?PRXà R2hR[T8]R


GT Zaskar. Everything it touches turns to gold.

In 20 years on the NORBA circuit, only one hardtail has triumphed in all four of the sport’s major professional disciplines—the GT Zaskar. To celebrate this milestone, we created the 2008 carbon Zaskar Team. Its race-proven Triple Triangle monocoque frame features Force Optimized Construction™. This exclusive GT technology turns carbon into gold by exploiting the power-to-weight ratio of our proprietary TR30 and TR50 composite blend for impressive durability and unrivaled stiffness. The result is a GT hardtail that elevates performance to a new standard—the gold standard.

GTBICYCLES.COM

Zaskar™ Carbon Team

gtbicycles.com

PROVEN IN WORLD CUP COMPETITION BY GT PRO TODD WELLS / 9.4 KG

Monza Imports - 1800 730 337


Proudly supported by:


FW#32

Contents features

New Products 2008 Wish List Long Distance - Winny Long Distance - Norris Polaris MTB Challenge Anaconda Chase The Sun Photo Special - On Track Images Cape Epic

speak

Tory Thomas

08 14 22 24 28 32 45 57 38

product

2008 Bikes -Ellsworth -KHS -Diamondback -Haro -Santa Cruz -Jamis -Giant -Specialized -Mongoose -Trek / Fisher -GT -Iron Horse -Kona -Orbea -Scott -Felt -Cannondale Cannondale Taurine Jamis Dakar XAM 2 KHS Solo One SE Iron Horse Azure Expert Hutchinson Piranha 2.0” Selle Italia SLR Teknologika TWE Hand Built Wheels Mavic CrossMax SL Disc Tektro Auriga Brakes Michelin XCR Mud

62 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 76 77 78 79 80 82 84 86 90 90 91 93 94 95

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Rider on the cover: Proving beyond a doubt that he is the best downhill rider in the world, Sam Hill has landed a second, consecutive World Championship at Fort William, Scotland. In what could only be described as ‘poor’ conditions Sam still managed to beat Fabien Barel by nearly a whole second. Pictured on the cover is Sam at the Mt Sainte Anne round of the World Cup series in Canada. With one round left of the Series, Sam is comfortably leading Steve Peat and is set to take the World Cup and World Championship double. Pic :: Colin Meagher This Page: Team Felt Racing railing the Anaconda Chase The Sun course, Lysterfield. Pic by BikePix


Ed’s Note

Mountain biking is a roller coaster. One minute you’re up, the next you’re down. Unlike trailriding, in mountain biking in general, the ups (thankfully) far exceed the downs so even when you are having a having a particularly crap time, things are always about to pick up in a major way. I smashed my ankle up earlier this year (a seemingly innocuous fall off the bike) and had to have three months off knobby tyres. It was a low point that made me realise how great my love is for this sport. And just when I thought I was doing it tough, the Thomas interview got slapped down on my desk - talk about an up and down story. If Tory’s interview could speak to me in a few words it would have said ‘Toughen up princess’. So I threw off my tiara, buckled up, told my physio I was over the tarmac, dusted off the duallie and hit the dirt with the old-skool crew. It was the best ride I’ve had in years. Like Arnie said when he took California, ‘I’m back’ and if anything tries to take me off my bike again, man I’ll get angrier than Damir Dokic when told the booze has run out. Just when the inspiration had started to flow in, a young man called Lachlan Norris created some more of the same but in tsunami-like proportions. A win in one of the most prized MTB stage races in the world - L’Hexagonal - over Sydney MTB gold medallist Miguel Martinez. Possibly one of the greatest XC achievements by an Aussie in years...Could it get better? Just when I thought I was at bursting point, Sam Hill won the World Championships...again. Putting his impeccable performance down to the fact that he tries not to ride in the rain and consequently forgets that you have to ride slower might only make him a posterboy for fuzzy logic fans, but defending his rainbow stripes puts it beyond even drunken debate that he is the king of the DH. See, it’s not just the French who can win a few in a row, take that Nico, Fabien and Anne-Caro. So, as you swell with pride, and pull out the aussie flag that you stuffed in your bottom drawer after the Cronulla riots (and ensure is well-stuffed every time you hear a federal politician open their mouths), enjoy this Freewheel 32. We’ve stuffed it full with a range of tasty goodies to get you from dreaming about winning your own L’Hexagonal stage or World Championship to smashing your local trails or race-track. Get inspired by our rider features of Tory Thomas, Lachlan Norris and Chris Winn, be reminded of the beauty of our sport with a photo feature on Thredbo from www.ontrackimages.com.au, be taken away by the craziness of the Cape Epic and drool over our pimp product ‘08 wishlist and bike preview. Mikkeli Godfree 8

www.freewheel.com.au

PUBLISHER FreeWheel Media / Adam MacLeod Email : adam@freewheel.com.au EDITOR Mikkeli Godfree mikk@freewheel.com.au ART DIRECTOR / CREATIVE Andrew Threlfall andrew@freewheel.com.au THE WORDSMITHS Mikkeli Godfree, Andy Threlfall, James Williamson, Lachlan Norris, Chris Winn, Paul Bryant, Rob Crowe Shaun Lewis THE DASHING PIC HOUNDS BIKE PIX, Mikkeli Godfree, Andy Threlfall, Damian Breach, On Track Images, Dave Bateman, Gary Perkin, Sven Martin Karin Colsin, Ron Gaunt ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL Phone: (03) 9529 4885 Mobile : Adam 0438 292 006

Post Correspondence to: 29 Loch St, Kew, VIC 3101 AUSTRALIA Articles printed in this publication are the opinion of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editors or Publishers of FreeWheel.


make your mark in 26” or 29” LOOSE OVER HARD The CrossMark’s steady ridge of side knobs is slightly taller than the center ridge, helping them hook-up better in loose conditions.

HARD PACK The nearly continuous center ridge of knobs on the CrossMark provide super-fast rolling on hard pack, yet have enough spacing to grab wet roots and rocks.

MEDIUM Ramped knobs provide excellent directional traction while minimizing rolling resistance. Wide spacing helps the CrossMark grab medium-sized objects.

Maxxis worked with world champion racers as well as weekend warriors to design the CrossMark. We found that world-class racers value low rolling resistance, while weekend warriors favor great traction. To combine these traits in one tire soon became a worldwide quest, with a team of engineers and riders spanning four continents. With the CrossMark, we’ve hit our target dead center: Great Traction with Low Rolling Resistance. Make your mark with the CrossMark from Maxxis.

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TOUR DE FRANCE - It doesn’t matter if you are a complete Tour de France expert or relatively new to the whole affair, this is the perfect coffee table book all about Le Tour. Current to the point of discussing Floyd Landis’s positive test results in 2006 this book starts with the birth of Le Tour in 1902 and outlines the developments making it into the premier cycling tour. Included in the book is a large amount of paraphernalia from years gone by such as shopping lists for feeding the entrants, postcards, diary entries, rider contracts, rules, maps and many other interesting oddities

ABC Shops

1300 360 111

FUNN F1 CARB - We have all had fun riding our bikes however the Company Funn may not be entirely familiar to the average trail rider. Based in of the U.K. Funn MTB components have traditionally only been found in the more ‘extreme’ areas of the MTB family with sponsored riders such as World Champ Sam Hill, Greg Minnaar, Eric Carter and so on. Available soon will be the new Funn brakes with hydraulic and mechanical brakes in production. Pictured here is the range toppin F1 carbon, which is a full carbon lever and body hydraulic brake system. Did some say chic?

ECI Imports 10

SELLE ITALIA YUTAK - Selle Italia have jumped into the more ‘extreme’ end of the saddle market with the Yutak. Longer than your average XC saddle at 285mm long, the Yutak is for those who like to spend long days pointing the bike down hills. To help keep the weight down the seat features hollow titanium rails and a Rylsan copolymer and carbon composite, claimed to be 20% lighter than a traditional plastic shell. The cover is a hard wearing Kevlar/Cordura combination while padding is provided by Selle’s ‘Perfect Fit’ foam.

Cassons

www.freewheel.com.au

(02) 9684 1210 Dirt Works

FICTIVE - What do you get when three Australian mountain bikers get together to set up their own t-shirt label? Fictive T-Shirts, an innovative new brand that produces a range of limited run stylish designer t-shirts without using sweatshop labour. While we can’t guarantee that wearing a Fictive shirt will make you faster, or as actractive as our stunning model, at least you will stand out in a crowd of ‘Industrie’ wearing social victims. Wear something different, check it out www.fictive.com.au

(03) 9735 9911 fictive.com.au

Fox FORKS - Fox suspension forks (and rear shocks) have had a fairly serious overhaul for the 2008 product year. With further upgrades in the chassis from the revamped forks seen last year, the whole range loses grams with increased stiffness and strength. There are a few new things as well as the revamps, such as the 20mm QR axle system found on the 36 model forks, a 29” version of the 32 Float forks and a new dedicated 130mm travel trail fork, dubbed the F130. The ProPedal damping gets a wider range of adjustment in the rear shocks as well other changes to the adjustments.

(02) 9679 8400

24 solo dvd - From the producers of the MTB flick ‘Off Road to Athens’ Gripped Films have produced 24 Solo, a film focusing on 6 time world solo 24hr champ Chris Eatough. The film follows Eatough on his quest for a 7th World Title. The quality footage of the battle between Eatough and Australian Craig Gordon during the race gives an insight into just how hard this form of racing is. More info at www.24-solo.com

Everest Sports

(03) 9646 0332


TRP Brakes - “A carbon road caliper, how odd.” you may be saying right about now. Sure, this is a MTB magazine and pictured here is a carbon caliper that is probably more likely to be found on the kitchen scales of some gram counting roadie, but there is an increasing number of Cyclocross purchasers and roadie converts. So with that in mind, check out these full carbon road calipers from brake manufacturer TRP. When enough carbon is just not enough, you can add these to your custom skinny wheeled ride and be the envy of everyone at the cafe.

MAVIC CROSSMAX 29” - More 29er friendly products coming at you. One of the most popular wheelsets around, the Mavic Crossmax, are now being produced in a big wheel version. Proving that the 29” brethren are no longer dwelling on the fringe of our sport, more and more major manufactures are embracing it as a true MTB genre. With all the same features as the standard 26” CrossMax, the 29” version is still tubeless, features 6-bolt IS disc mounts and the same spokes, lacing and hubs as the rest of the CrossMax range.

Adventure Brands (03) 8787 3222 Groupe Sportif SIDI EAGLE 6 - New from Shoe maker Sidi is the Eagle 6. It features plenty of handy technology including the Sole Replacement System (SRS) and the Heel Security System for a secure heel fit. You know that these shoes are going to be designed for performance thanks to four time consecutive World Champion XC rider Julien Absalon using them to conquer the world. Available in sizes 39-48, more info at: www.sidi.com.au

Sidi Shoes

(03) 8878 1000 SCP

MAXXIS crossmark 29” - I promise this is the last thing you have to read about 29ers (on this page). With the growing range of products and bikes available, it is only a matter of time until everyone’s favorite tyres are released in 29” version. Hot off the start line is Maxxis with their hugely popular CrossMark tyre. Now available in a 29x2.1” tyre size the tyre is identical to it’s 26” cousin. Same tread pattern, same rubber compounds, just a wider diameter. Expect more tyres soon (from everyone...)

(07) 5573 2475 BikeCorp

MANITOU 29” MINUTE - Surprise, surprise. More 29” friendly stuff. With everyone else making 29” specific things, Manitou are making sure they wont miss the boat with the release of their popular Minute fork in a longer legged version. Having changed company structure in the last twelve months, Manitou are reducing their range and focusing on their core products. Included in this focus is the expanding 29” riders out there. Don’t be surprised to start seeing these forks popping up as original spec on quality 29” steeds.

(03) 9587 1466

PEARL IZUMI WARMERS - These winter offerings from Pearl Izumi range in price from $64-$105. They use a cycling specific outer fabric lined with a softer skin layer. This means they are soft and warm on your skin but also breathable for slogging it out up that rocky climb. On top of that, the stark white logo on black looks really cool! More info: www.pearlizumi.com.au

(03) 9558 5449 ZSports

(07) 3890 8111 www.freewheel.com.au

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SOMA MINI TOOL - Looking for that little bit of extra bling for your biking kit? The Woodie multitool from Soma features a genuine wood body with a burned in Soma logo. And you thought woodgrain on the dash was cool! The tool is available in four different configurations and features chrome vanadium steel for added bolt strengthening power! More info at www.scvimports.com.au

SCV Imports

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shimano XT GROUPSET - Deore XT is turning 25 in 2008 and to celebrate the groupset gets a complete overhaul. The shifters shown here get a a new look with the Rapid Fire Plus shifers shedding a lot of body mass while still retaining the new dual direction trigger shifting. The hydraulic brakes provide 20% more stopping power with a new mono block caliper and lever design. Stay tuned for more on the whole groupset.

(02) 4353 2633 Cycle Soloutions (02) 9838 8477 Shimano Aust

MAVERICK DURANCE - The new Durance’s cockpit is slightly stretched out for speed and balance in XC riding applications compared to the longer travel ML8. Maverick’s lightest bike so far, the Durance is especially agile, and its aggressive geometry and five-inches of rear suspension travel make this bike at home just about anywhere. Built from a custom-drawn 6069-alloy tubeset, and featuring a lowered top tube, the Durance is built to perfectly complement a six-inch-travel fork. Sizing ranges from XXS - XXL checkout www. maverickbike.com

Neezy

White bros forks - New from White Brothers are the ‘rock solid’ rigid carbon forks. They come in 3 lengths to suit 26-29” bikes. Weight varies from 720-760g, at least half the weight of your the average suspension fork. Specs aside they’re a really cool looking piece of gear!

Enduro Hoody - For all thoose endurance riders out there you can tell the world what you get up to on the weekends with the new FGP Enduro hoody. Available in a range of sizes the quality, non-sweatshop hoddies feature a stylish comic book inspired graphic, front pocket and of course there is a hood. Seen here is a model whose identity will remain a secret. Suffice it to say he is a race directing, vertical challenged dentist, demonstrating just how comfortable the hoodies are.

(0418) 771 583 FGP

www.freewheel.com.au

1300 731 077

SUGOI clothing - If you went to Canada then you would be aware how big a company Sugoi is. If you stay in Australia you will start to hear more and more about it as the word spreads. Recently acquired by Cannondale Int. it has been moving into the Australian market for a few years. The clothing includes cycling, running and triathlon specific gear with a strong focus on quality and performance. While there are cheaper products on the shelves, the quality of Sugoi is very high and coming from Canada, they know about cycling.

(0412) 339 379 Cannondale

(02) 9979 5851


Deuter DS BIKE 18 - The Deuter Dry Shield series features a robust, waterproof fabric. It includes waterproof seams which are ‘ultrasonically bonded’ rather than stitched, increasing strength and waterproofing. The DS Bike 18 offers 18 litres of storage, enough for those epic trail rides, features a streamlined shape and comes with the trademark Deuter helmet holder. More info at www. velovita.com.au

Velo Vita

FSA STEM OS-99 - Weighing in at 98 grams for the 100mm option the new OS-99 stem from FSA is a seriously nice bit of gear! It features 3-D forged construction and titanium hardware. The face plate uses a strong four bolt system and the stem is reversible according to how you like your bar height. More info at www.scvimports.com.au

(02) 9695 7744 SCV Imports

Time ATAC XS - The Atac XS features a steel axle with a composite body. The renowned Time self-cleaning, minimalist design makes them great for muddy conditions. Weighing in at 350g per pair, they make a tough, reliable enduro pedal. More info at www.velovita.com.au

(02) 4353 2633 Velo Vita

(02) 9695 7744

EJIHDB:69K:CIJG: >CIDNDJGA>;: COME EXPERIENCE THE MOST FUN YOU WILL HAVE OUTDOORS

ALONG WITH YOUR TEAM, YOU NAVIGATE AROUND A SECRET COURSE AND FIND YOUR WAY FROM CHECKPOINT TO CHECKPOINT ON FOOT, MOUNTAIN BIKE AND KAYAK. THE PADDY PALLIN ADVENTURE RACE SERIES IS PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS AND SEASONED RACERS ALIKE WITH A CHOICE OF:

Novice Course: with only half the distance to cover this is perfect to get your feet wet if you’ve never tried Adventure Racing before! Classic Course: the tried and true format AROC is renowned for! Advanced Course: featuring extra bonus legs for the fastest teams on the field!

So grab your bike, form a team of 3 with your mates and lock these dates in your calendar, you won’t want to miss out on this season’s fun! ENTRIES OPEN 15 September 2007 at

www.arocsport.com.au Friday 30 November 2007 in Canberra (Brindabella Challenge Night Race) Saturday 15 December 2007 in the Sydney area Saturday 23 February 2008 in Canberra Saturday 19 April 2008 in Lake Macquarie NSW

Kayaks, paddles, PFDs, maps and race instructions are provided.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

www.arocsport.com.au or call 0401 564 462


Concentrating on innovation, design and manufacturing processes ORBEA has developed three super products in MTB for 2008: OCCAM, ALMA and OIZ CARBON.

Suspension systems these days are becoming increasingly complicated. To get 115 mm travel in the rear for the OCCAM, Orbea has gone for the simplest of arrangements. An ambitious monopivot frame with a carefully placed pivot point and a cutting edge design. Carbon monocoque front triangle, made with the latest generation fibres (a masterful combination of high-modulus and high-strength fibres): monocoque alloy swingarm fixed to the front triangle by means of a cold forged “H” shaped piece: sealed bearings in the pivot point and shock-absorber attachment point: internal cabling on the suspension hanger: solid anodised 7075 aluminium hardware: ultra short chainstays.

2.5kg With its robust, excellent performance, the OCCAM proves that the simplest option is the best option.

OCCAM CARBON TEAM Fork FOX F120RL Rear Shock TR Fox RP23 FD/RD SRAM XO Shifters SRAM XO Brakes Avid Juicy 7 Wheels Mavic Crossmax SLR Crank Shimano

XTR Tires Python Tubeless � RRP $7,499.00*

OCCAM CARBON ELITE Fork FOX F120RL Rear Shock TR Fox RP23 FD/RD LX/ XT Shifters XT Brakes Avid Juicy 5 Wheels Mavic Crossride Crank V-Drive Tires for illustrative purposes only

Python Airlight � RRP $4,999.00*

* prices and specifications may vary without notice.


43°11’0”N 2°32’0”W From the Heart of the Pyrenees www.orbea.com.au

“All other things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one”. William of Occam, 14thC.

The Alma Carbon hardtail is one of the most advanced frames on the market. The four point rear triangle design means the chain stay can lengthen slightly allowing a small amount of vertical compliance. This affords the rider a more comfortable ride, greater climbing traction and superior handling on descents, while still maintaining a stiff frame that delivers all the power to the rear wheel.

All the cutting edge carbon technologies from our Alma, Oiz MTB and the Orca road frames combine to make this the most advanced full suspension, carbon mountain bike on the market. 80% high modulus carbon for strength and the remaining 20% of a more flexible fibre, for fatigue resistance. UFO flex stays for less weight, better lateral stiffness and a cleaner look.

ALMA CUP Fork Recon SL AIR 100 FD/RD SRAM X.7/X.9

OIZ CARBON RACE Fork Recon SL AIR 100 Rear Shock

Shifters SRAM X.7 Brakes Avid Juicy 5 Wheels Mavic

TR Fox RP23 FD/RD LX/XT Shifters XT Brakes Avid Juicy 5

Crossride Crank FSA 2 piece Tires Python

Wheels Mavic Crossride Crank V-drive Tires Python Airlight

� RRP $3,899.00*

� RRP $4,999.00*


Wish List There are products and there are products. Some stuff you need (you break a chain, you need a new chain; blow a tube...etc) and some stuff you know you don’t need but when it’s on your bike (some sweet forks) or on your body (a sweet helmet - not the lovely doctor and part-time model in the Sombrio jacket) you just feel that little bit more special. We thought with ‘08 hurtling toward us faster than peak oil that we could do our own wishlist complete with pretty pictures - hey, you could even rip it out of the mag and send it to Saint Nick c/o the minister for war and finance. Drool over it, try to ignore it and tell yourself you don’t need any of it, send it far north, get angry at it, do whatever you need to do but make sure you enjoy...our ‘08 wishlist. [a] [c]

[b]

[d]

[a] - Mavic CrossMax SLR UST MTB wheels [b] - Easton Monkey Lite SL CNT carbon XC riser bars [c] - Fox Racing Shox F32RLC 80 - 130mm travel forks [d] - SRAM 20th Anniversary medium cage X.0 rear derailleur 16

www.freewheel.com.au


[e]

[g]

[f]

[e] - Troy Lee Designs custom Steve Peat replica carbon D2 helmet [f] - Giro Atmos XC helmet [g] - Shimano XTR Shadow long cage MTB derailleur www.freewheel.com.au

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Wish List [a]

[c]

[b]

[d]

[a] - Campagnolo Record Carbon 10sp rear derailleur [b] - Park Tools PRS-15 mobile work stand [c] - Little Creatures ‘Rogers’ dark ale [d] - Park Tools PNT-1 pint glass, best used for consuming LC Rogers 18

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[e]

[f]

[g]

[e] - Crank Brothers Egg Beater 4Ti pedals [f] - Magura Marta SL Carbon hydraulic disc brakes [g] - Santa Cruz Bicycles Stigmata cyclocross bike www.freewheel.com.au

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Wish List

[2007-08] 15 Month Calendar

2007-08 Calendar

rehgaeM niloC :: ciP

Pic :: Colin Meagher

[a]

Calendar 15 Month [2007-08]

[b]

[a] - Yeti Cycles 303 DH bike [b] - Colnago limited edition Ferrari model road bike [c] - Clict Magazine 2008 MTB Calendar 20

www.freewheel.com.au

[c]

Calendar 2007-08


Wish List

[a]

[b]

[c]

[a] - Supercharged 4.0L V6 TRD Hilux [b] - Manitou R7 Carbon forks [c] - Sombrio Artemide MTB jacket 22

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Pics :: The Brothers Winn & Australian Jnr XC Team

Hello, this is a collect call from the USA... Well after spending the last four years pretending to be a uni student this year was always going to be an exciting one, making those afternoons spent in lecture theatres dreaming about racing in the States a reality. School’s out for summer and bike racing is in. The concept of 6 weeks couped up in an RV with the dreadlocked brother living outta a suitcase definitely had some appeal to it, I mean we’re brothers, how much can we get on each others nerves if at all?! The schedule was simple, two NMBS (National Mountain Bike Series, formally called NORBA… why the name change beats the hell outta me) races in sunny California and then head to Colorado for the first two rounds of the popular and fast growing Mountain States Cup Series. Plus, secretly I was pretty motivated to see some real-life trash alley raccoons. After the standard mind numbing 16hr flight (no decent movies either…hmm probably coulda written my own blockbuster in that time) we were thrown straight into the deep end. Hello USA. LA oozed cool. Even our cab turned into a single speed when the transmission jammed in third gear for our hour-plus ride up to pick up our first RV. When I say ‘RV’ you need to imagine a kombi van that had been used in a ram raid into a Harvey Norman. We had it all packed into 19ft - including toilet, shower, two beds, and a kitchen. Add to this two bikes, two bike bags and two massive blokes…well, when packed this thing was tighter than a fish’s butt. The two front seats were our sanctuary, from driving to dining to relaxing, it all went on up front. Heading up the coast past Santa Barbara our first stop was NMBS#2, at a tiny little town called Santa Ynez. Driving towards the race site we had to double check with the locals we had actually arrived in the USA as we passed though the mock Danish town of Solvang - the area also home to some Team Lance training camps. Somehow I think the jacked-up Dodge Ram that burned passed set us straight. We were definitely in the US. Needing to fuel up it was time to step up to the plate and take on the American burrito experience. The local Rancho supermarket provided with two massive house-brick sized and weight, tortilla wrapped bundles of joy that left us rolling on the floor when we were done. Our food budget had just dropped to 6 bucks a day. Our first introduction to US racing came via a little painful race called short-track. 20mins plus three laps of cactus eating pain…especially with the field stacked to the rafters including Kabush, JHK and those lanky lads Trebon and Wicks. Let’s just say I was more than freaking out on the line after getting called up individually and then hearing a unaccompanied solo rendition of the national anthem before the gun. This was the 24

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big time. Nonetheless the suffering for 16th place was definitely worth the free wet Gatorade towel at the finish. The XC was a similar affair with two long 13mile (20km) laps to do and another day spent chewing the stem for 17th from 85 starters. The arrival in Fontana for the next NMBS was eagerly anticipated after hearing so many…err interesting comments about this event dubbed ‘mountain biking’s urban assault’. Not to mention the stories from Canberra gun Brent Miller about getting shot at with bb gun toting spectators whilst racing last year. With the race setup in the local park over the road from the shopping mall, it certainly was taking racing to the people, but once the course headed into the mountains it changed into a treeless urban wasteland, complete with burnt-out cars, graffiti and concrete aqueducts. When the racing got going I took some silly risks of the start line like trying to hold Adam Craig’s wheel and suffered the rest of the day coming home 26th. Cam managed to get on the box for 3rd place in Expert after a stellar ride. The STXC course was a hoot, riding up some of the 4X course before a steep rocky chute that bottlenecked so hard the first lap I had to run it. 26th place capped of the toughest weekend of racing I’ve ever had. And that was without any bb gun shots. Having loved and left Fontana it was time to say goodbye to California and head to the much anticipated state of Colorado, home of wonderful things like Yeti Cycles, the SRAM Fork and Brake Centre and best of all Chipolte burrito…damn I’ll miss those things. After hearing so much about this place and its trail riding, I’m pleased to report that it deserves the reputation it has. From Colorado Springs to Boulder the trails are just incredible. Not even the ‘beware of mountain lions and bears’ signs that grace most trail heads could put us off. With a week off racing to spend here we were able to loosen the tie a little and trade the cleats for the dancing shoes. Thanks to Trek/Volkswagen pro Nick Martin and his

wonderful fiancée Tracy (who just happens to fly the world over modelling) we felt like we were on Boulder’s A-list and the red carpets were rolled out wherever we went once the sun went down. After trading the dancing shoes back in for the cleated variety we were off to race at altitude. The best way to describe the first time racing at altitude: it is like being stuck in 2nd gear trying to breathe through a straw, and once you blow it’s damn hard to recover. However the first MSC event went pretty darn well, finishing on the box for fourth place and putting a nice fat US paycheck in the wallet, leaving Cam and I scratching our heads in how many burritos we could now buy. To top it off the Aussie’s took a clean sweep in the event raffles too, with the bro and myself each taking home some pretty sweet shwag. ...yep Colorado was treating us well. If we thought the trip couldn’t hit anymore high points the final race proved us wrong. The former World Cup host venue of AngelFire awaited, sitting at 8500ft, the brutal race track climbing up to 10500ft. This venue was by far the best of all with some incredible scenery and trails. So when I broke my chain off the start-line, giving everyone a head start, I was already behind that shiny black ball numbered eight. Clawing my way back to 10th in a sprint finish on a soft front tyre rounded out the day…and the trip. So there you have it, privateer racing in the US, home of the brave and land of the ‘bigger is better’ theory. If you can look past the Starbucks on every corner or the quality products on the supermarket shelves like vitamin infused Coke (can’t wait for that one) this place is a whole lotta fun. The racing, the trails and the people are a blast and we only managed a total of 6 ‘love tap’ bumps and scrapes in the RV in our time here. Who would have thought those things struggle in the inner city streets? However, unfortunately in all of 6weeks I saw not one damn raccoon… good excuse to go back next year I reckon….


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Words :: Lachie Norris

Lach-ing Europe in the cross hairs A few days ago I was standing in the rain. I was in my riding gear and I was with about two hundred other riders. We were all nervous, or I hoped ‘we’ were because I was. ‘The gun should of gone off by now’ I though, but it hadn’t. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the technically-demanding course but I should have expected it would give us all a lot of grief. Bang! And before I knew it I was battling it out on the water-logged start loop with the other 200 blokes as we all darted for the single-track. Welcome to the very wet Offenburg World Cup - our first wet race in our worldconquering quest for international glory…or something like that. For the moment though I’ll reminisce and start by covering the beginning of our journey which started a few months ago with a round of ‘Internazionali d’Italia’ in Brescia. Smack in the middle of northern Italy, the South Australia. com MTB team’s first battle against the euros took place inside the walls of the Castellia Brescia. They had us locked in and it was a very interesting way to kick off the season in the northern hemisphere. We were all very fortunate to have good rides on the stair-infested, twisting and generally strange fortified course, seemingly able to transfer our skills in urban bike warfare (think Nicole Kidman in BMX Bandits) into some good results. The short trip home to Varese went quickly as we debriefed about the bizarre experience. Varese, our temporary home was quite easy to get used to with its mouth-watering gelato and crusty ‘Italian style’ (surprise surprise) pizzas. Even our distinct lack of ability to communicate with the locals other than the general ‘smile and nod’ language (which we had quickly picked up pretty quickly) didn’t seem to worry us. With a couple of days to get unpacked and packed, we squeezed into the transit van and headed to Belgium. Here at Houffalize we would get some solid days on the twisting farm lanes in preparation for the first World Cup powered by a controversial new-found race-prep – Maple Syrup. Despite being our first World Cup for the season all did well, negotiating the dusty, fast course with its nasty climbs and crazy fans. As the sunny days rolled into Italy, the jersey sleeves were rolled up and we passed our days training away under the strict, demanding and watchful eye of coach ‘captain Canada’ aka Neil Ross - he’s Canadian. Rising with the sparrows for yoga or jogging sessions we began to sculpt our bodies for the next few weeks of racing. After backing up in Italy with a Gunn-Rita Marathon on the Sunday near Venice with an Internazioanli d’Italia on the Tuesday in Nalles 26

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(a small apple growing town snuggled in between Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia) the weekend would leave us pretty nailed.

form. When would the elusive form arrive?? Hopefully soon with another World Cup looming.

Though we didn’t have to compete against GunnRita herself, the marathon was pretty tough. I managed to find a good group near the end and as we closed in on the finish the attacks began just like in a road race. Rounding the final corner before the 50metre sprint, I dived to the outside of the corner, with the ambition of handing my last wheel status to someone else, unfortunately it didn’t work out too well. I finished 24th but was happy enough with another decent race under the belt.

With Dan ‘Mac Dad’ McConnell gaining a perch on the podium in the U23 category we celebrated in true German style with a half litre of ‘Heubacher’ before hitting the road back to Italia. You’re probably realising that our schedule is pretty unforgiving and our feet would hardly touch the ground in one place before we were whisked away by our beloved van to another. Back ‘home’ another week of training awaited us as the k’s began to rack up. Next we were back on the road to Hasliberg, just up the valley from Interlaken for a Swisspower Cup.

Not a few days later and we were in Nalles yet again with racing numbers on. Diving into the first particularly gnarly rock garden a little hot, I found myself flying through the air to the delight of the, slightly freaked out, crowd, landing superbly in a thick piece of foam, thoughtfully laid out by the race organisers. I chugged along at a pretty consistent speed all day until I faded pretty hard towards the end of the race, being lapped by race winner Roel Paulisson.

With the course clinging to the side of the breathtaking Swiss Alps we raced with mixed success. I started on the second row and felt quite privileged to be heading up the first straight with the likes of Absalon, Kessiakoff and Schurter to name a few. I settled down in the twenties and started to feel pretty strong on the second lap before getting stuck behind some slow descenders. I got frustrated and that’s when my day went downhill.

While it wasn’t a hugely successful weekend for the team on paper we did rack up some good racing experience. With some good knowledge in our legs and heads it was back to the early morning ‘sculpting sessions’ and reciting useless facts about Canada.

Backing myself on a tight left hand line down the greasy stairwell, close up against the rock cutting, I thought I would do the dog on the rider in front of me, a risky move at the best of times. With no real need to take the risk I was suitably angry with myself when my front wheel slipped away on a slimy angled rock and I careered into the rock wall before bouncing back across the stairs. The result: a tangled mess. I picked up my bike, body and other stray pieces of junk and took a few moments to bring myself back to the real world.

With another week of learning Italian to the extent that we could say “posso avere una grande gelato per favore” and teaching the Australian language to Canadians we found ourselves back in the comfort of the upright-seated, sweaty, smelly and at all times professional, tune-less love machine we call the transit van for the journey up to southern Germany for the Heubach ‘Bike the rock’ Bundesliga Cup/festival. The course was pretty straight forward: on-therivet steep climb followed by a flowing chopped-up fast decent (thankfully minus a death drop in we had ridden in practice) and back to the start finish. With each lap consisting of only 4km of single-track and fire-roads the 7 lap race was set to be short and fast. I got a decent start with the #10 plate strapped to my bike. I slipped to somewhere in the thirties which wasn’t such a bad place to be. I felt ok and the crowd was fantastic. Unfortunately though, the race was lengthened to 8 laps sometime between when the gun went off and the end of the 7th lap. Already hurting reasonably badly this wasn’t music to my ears when I thought I was coming in to finish. Coming home in 38th place and 8th in U23 I was a little disappointed, still not quite finding any awesome

Finding pain in my left thigh I found it hard to pedal, a pretty hard cork restricting my left leg. Hoping that it would work its way out I headed out for another lap. It didn’t ease up at all as I plodded around with 1.5 legs for another couple of slow laps. Julien Absalon finally passed me which signalled the end of my race. A frustrating day and a lesson learned. Another week passed at ‘home’, with us discovering the world-stopping ‘Friday Night Lights’ TV series and other very fascinating ways to pass the time, like weighing our heads. The results have just come in and Mac Dad weighed in at 4.2kgs, myself at 3.8 (but still brainy), Stylemaster at 3.7 and Real Lewis, a whopping 4.5kgs. With the important questions answered we went back on the road again (sensing a pattern??) for the final Membrane Respira Cup. But we were one-short though, as the Lewis-factor was up in the mountains at Livigno on a ‘training camp’ with


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his girlfriend and T-Mobile women’s road star Alexis Rhodes. Sure. With high expectations for the final round of this series, given that all of us were in good positions overall in the series, we were not disappointed to all ride into the top 20 on the dry, fast and open course. Mac Dad McConnell took out the U23 class in a sprint with Cannondale’s Jacob Fugslang. All managing to clamber onto the podium for the overall we basked in post-race gelati glory before returning home for a brilliant Italian cook up. Man we know how to celebrate! With a new leaner and meaner Lewis (maybe he did ride his bike in Livigno after all…) rejoining the already towering prowess of the SA.com MTB entourage we headed north for Germany for World Cup number two. Even though we had survived the first World Cup, we didn’t quite know what we were getting into with this one. We were greeted on race day with unusually sticky mud, rather horrifying rooty drop-ins and a strictly policed ‘80 percent rule’ which saw many riders pulled out, including all of your good SA.com team riders. I have to admit I was enjoying myself on course, there is something about an all-out race in the mud, it reminds me of a game of footy on a wet day, getting covered from head to toe with a mixture of mud, sweat, blood and the sweet satisfaction of a hard day’s work. Riding into the next couple of laps finding I had on a good pair of legs, I managed to stay mostly upright, negotiating the jaw-dropping greasy mud slicks (with roots) dropping away in front of me. Getting freaked out after a couple of laps I decided to be soft and run (slide) one particular drop. With my bike weighing in at about 243kgs with mud attached I heaved it over the roots of ‘the snake pit’ and really turned up the pace as the sound of the lead moto came into earshot. Overall a good day to chalk up to experience, having a pretty good day and feeling I was setting up well for the remainder of the race I was disappointed to be pulled 3 laps down in 117th. So with form and knowledge swelling by the week we press on and the ’07 story continues. With a weekend off racing this weekend we will have time to gather our thoughts and get back into the gym ‘Rocky style’ as we prepare for World Cup number three in Switzerland. With the midseason break looming closer, the excitement builds and we look forward to jetting off in separate directions for a week before we regather for the ‘Stelvio Altitude Camp’ in late June. Hopefully our heads won’t get any heavier, but with so much racing and training, there’s little chance of that. The only thing that might make my head heavier is a statistics exam for uni…ouch. 28

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For now it’s over and out from us boys doing it tough over here in the land of culinary delights, high fashion and, of course, high speeds. Ci vediamo la prossima volta!

Part II After the midseason break With all the pigeons returning back to the coop after a midseason weeks holiday, we were thrown straight in the deep end as we undertook ‘baseline testing’. Spending a few days getting poked and prodded at the Mapei lab we were all keen to get away and after loading the travelling circus that is the AIS cycling base in Castronno Italy we convoyed up to Stelvio for what was to be a very solid 3 weeks of altitude training with some Aussie pros thrown into the mix.

ready to go. I got a solid start and with a good training block behind me I felt strong but was having difficulty really getting my power out onto the muddy track, having been off the MTB for quite some time. Hitting the more hair raising technical sections in the forest on the second last lap I was dialling a line, missing the major slimy ribbons that speckled the thick black dirt, I all of a sudden came into fairly heavy contact with a dirt/moss covered rock. I was rather startled but luckily my mouth and face took up most of the impact, leaving me with an ugly fat lip and some blood. Losing some time as the stars cleared I prepared to head out for my last lap but was passed by race winner Manual Fumic somewhere in the last km.

Lulling us into a false sense of security, the fine weather turned sour after a few days, coinciding with plans for some big ks. Hunger flatting with 6km to go on our first big day, 140km with 3500m climbing, I battled up the hill to home with 600m vertical climbing to go. The snow was pounding in horizontally, just able to turn over my 39/27 gear. Shaun Lewis went passed and handed me a biscuit, which could have made the difference between a having a half-dead athlete at lunch and having a snowman sitting halfway up the Stelvio, defeated by the winding road.

It was a good solid race and the quality training was noticeable, with some fine tuning before the World Champs, things are looking good.

The hot weather arrived in week 3 but in the meantime we had devoted our time to a ‘beard off’ and I was enjoying some good form in this event. On the bike though, I was climbing with the better guys and by our last big day - 165km with 4000m climbing including the Mortorolo, Gavia and finally the Stelvio - I was able to average around 300 watts for pretty much the whole 4 or so hours of climbing.

I had brought some good climbing legs to this race and started to wind in the field. Despite a few hiccups I was able to pull in a few spots and finish 37th and 9th U23 for probably my strongest result all year.

Overall it was a great camp and with there being so little to do at Stelvio at 2700m all we could do was ride big hills, eat lots of food, sleep and make red blood cells. Pretty decent life really…except for the fact that my awesome Teschner mountain bike vanished into the high-altitude thin air. With a month distinctively lacking any form of knobby tyre or dirt I was ecstatic after our 6hr drive from verse lobbed us in the Black Forest in Germany. Jumping on my brand spanking new MTB, we opened up the lungs with some intense ‘six pack’ racing on Saturday evening. Consisting of a 3.5minute lap at full gas and a knockout format the six pack win carried with it 5 litres of beer in true German style. Only Dan Mac was able to make the semi final but bowed out with a respectable tenth but leaving us all with parched throats. As the dark ominous rain clouds hovered so did the race start and after some quick max efforts for testing purposes on the main climb we were

Wanting to make good all this form brewing in my legs we headed off to a Swisspower Cup where my international MTB career was born in 2004. I had good memories of the course and it was great to see a huge crowd turn up on race-day. No top names were missing in the 130 strong field and it was good to slip into the top 50 as we hit the singletrack.

It’s great timing too as the season is really hotting up with the Hexagonal VTT 8-day tour just around the corner and the World’s waiting patiently for us in Fort William. Bring it on!

Update - VTT Stage 5 was back into the dry conditions and a sweet 18kms of fast flowing trails and open sections. Using my new found punch to ensure I stayed with the lead group as we embarked on the early forest sections I sat comfortably in the group until early in lap two. Coming around for the 3rd and final lap I realised I was in a position to win the stage, a bit of adrenalin helped to take over my body and I kept the pressure on the pedals for the remainder of the lap, glancing around with a couple of k’s to go, still no one in sight. This could be it! Under an under pass, some stairs, through an abandoned school corridor, a couple of tight turns. Finish straight. Commentator going off his pickle. Zip up the Jersey. Win the stage. Yes! Finally my first big win in the senior ranks and what a great feeling it was. Finishing with over a minute up my sleeve it had certainly been a day to remember


Pics :: L’Hexagonal 2007 Loic Bardet www.freewheel.com.au 29


Polaris Mountain Bike Challenge Words :: Shaun Lewis Pics :: Dave Bateman

AS

we rolled into the small (very small) town of Blacksprings on Friday afternoon, it wasn’t all the familiar faces that Adrian Jackson and I normally see at mountain bike races. Sure, I recognised a few people from 12/24hr events but it definitely felt like a new scene. These events kind of start two weeks before the weekend, when a map of the area is sent to each team’s navigator. Some teams like to share this responsibility and receive a map each. Not me, I turn ‘short cuts’ into ‘overnight adventures’,

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so a map would just be wasted on me (I’m not even going to begin with my thoughts on map boards....) I’m not sure if you would call it good luck or good management, but my partner for the event, AJ happens to be a navigational weapon. The former world orienteering numero uno can read a large scale topo map clearer and faster than I can read the breakfast menu at my favourite café. So our ‘team’ decision was to let AJ call the shots, and I’d just pedal. Fine by me.

Friday night before the race, teams are given a handout with all the checkpoints that are going to be used over the weekend. Then on Saturday morning, with the 7 hours allowed for that day ticking down, teams are given another handout. This tells you which checkpoints are active and more importantly, how many points each are worth. The event organiser, Huw Kingston from Wild Horizons, has been now doing this for 11 years, and each year with a new theme. I reckon we lucked out this year for my first Polaris. “The


Rocky Horror Picture Show” theme had far too much cross-dressing, transvestites, fishnet stockings and blokes in stilettos for my innocent eyes. Then, every competitor had to carry a rock…. Mmmm, a bike race and you have to cart around a rock. Yep, it was now becoming clear that it wasn’t to be your ‘normal’ bike event.

I say) with cut up arms and legs, I’m not so sure we saved much time. From there we rode up hills in granny-granny (easiest gear that is), only to descend the other side to find yet another granny-granny climb. We picked up a few checkpoints, but not with the same ease with which we had started.

To the riding… Adrian and I had to rush to the start line on a cold Saturday having misjudged just how long it would take to pack our Camelbaks. We stood on the start line hoping we had included all the required items, including the rock! After a short event briefing, we got the points handout and were off and racing (well, sort of). For the first couple of hours, there were plenty of riders on the same tracks as us, everyone laughing at the dressed up riders while we all collected the ‘easier’ checkpoints. Then AJ took us bush. Thick bush, including a creek crossing, which AJ swore was going to save us “20 minutes, minimum”. Well, after climbing out the other side of the ten foot deep, blackberry infested creek, (it was mainly dry, luckily for AJ

It was tough going. We spent around 20 minutes looking for one check point to eventually find it 500 metres away. I quickly learnt that 500 metres on a big map isn’t very far! The tension between AJ and I was on the rise for the first time. But being in the middle of nowhere and remembering that he had the map, I went for the encouraging approach. “So, where to now captain?’

site with 3 minutes to spare. It’s important as the time penalties for late arrival are harsh, meaning you can easily lose the hard earned points you’ve just busted your legs for. With a few good hours and a few bad ones, we hoped to be near the leaders, but knew we hadn’t had a perfect day. I found the overnight camp pretty relaxing, just cyclists in a big paddock with the minimum of equipment. No showers, just a dirty dam, but everyone was smiling and sharing their different stories.

With around 2 hours to get to the overnight camp on Saturday, we had a really good run of checkpoints, picking up good value points without too much stress. The day was now pretty hot though and with 5 hours of riding in the legs, AJ was feeling a few cramps. We pushed hard (we had to) and got to the camp

Top Left :: A common scene every morning at the Polaris events. The sun rising, warming the tent and slowly defrosting the trustworthy steed left to fend outside all night. Far Left :: That is an attractive... man? Left :: Didn’t any one ever tell you not to take things from strangers, especially from men wearing fishnet stockings and sequin dresses Top :: In all seriousness, the racing got off as planned with clear blue skies. Right :: More than just concentrating on riding, with no formal track you had to keep one eye on the map and one eye on the trail.

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Polaris

When they announced the leaders board, we were pleasantly surprised to hear we were in a five way tie on points for the lead, being only a handful of minutes behind last years winners. This was really encouraging. Filled with enthusiasm, we planned a rough route for Sunday, a long way away from the thick bush and granny gear climbs. After a great night’s sleep, under a tent fly held up by our upside down bikes, (surprisingly comfortable accommodation) the five hours allowed for Sunday was underway. It was funny to watch people ease themselves onto their saddles for the second day. They obviously haven’t discovered chamois cream! The Sunday for me went really fast, we retraced some of Saturday afternoon’s good checkpoints

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and then headed north towards the finish. One surprise was a checkpoint in a dam, meaning a quick swim for me. I’m by no means tall and the water came up to my shoulders. After talking to a female competitor at presentation, it sounded like I was lucky to keep my head above the water. After some more hard riding, we headed for our last checkpoint, which sent us past a field of bee hives. This wasn’t much fun for me, being allergic to bees! “Just keep your month closed and sit behind me” AJ yelled. We finished the day with 15 minutes to spare, and almost as many points as Saturday’s seven hour epic. We were happy with the day’s efforts. Both of us were convinced we had done all we could and if someone else had beaten us, so be it. As it happened we got the win by 10 points from

John Hardwick and Dave Wood, the pairing that had won the event in 2000. Huw made the presentation one to remember for all the wrong reasons, losing his dress and doing the presentation in ladies lingerie, but with plenty of good humour. I must say the catering for Friday night and post race Sunday, provided by the local community was impressive. There was plenty of food for everyone at great prices and it made the weekend that much more social, being able to dine with all the fellow competitors. Thanks to Mongoose bikes, SRAM, Camelbak and Smith Optics for the equipment to make the weekend successful.


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Words :: Ash Thomas Pics :: Andrew Threlfall, BikePix, Mikkeli Godfree

ANACONDA C hase T he S un # 1, 2, 3, 4 34

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A fussy creature is the venerable mountain biker. A given part can’t weigh too much, nor be the wrong colour. It must have form over function for some, and function over form for others. Some people like certain bikes that bounce, others like them stiff and fast. With so many different people who ride mountain bikes, how could you ever provide a single event, or a series, to please a vast number of them? To answer that question, I guess you need to break down what is required to achieve that state of pleasure. A good start would be to bring the events to the people. A venue that is close to a major city centre would be a good start, and

for good measure perhaps getting it deemed a Mountain Bike Park would be a bonus. Lysterfield Lake Park conveniently fits the bill, and in the jackpot extravaganza that is MTB, we find that the government has already tipped a few million dollars in to make it a purpose-built venue. Right, so that’s the venue covered. Throw in a few different course variations to accommodate inclement weather and large rider numbers, a large flat pad for a trade village, plenty of room for teams to set up, and catering to spread their sprawl. Vistas that overlook the race would be pleasant for spectators to not have to wander far,


1, 2, 3,CTS 4

Far Left :: Damian Aughton from Cog representing the 29er crew. Left :: Duncan Rose carving an early corner, Rnd 4. Top :: Rachel Rademaker of Team Merida is part of the Dirt Roads to London program and one half of the mixed pairs winning team (Rnd 4). Above :: Murray Spink pinning off the start line with Ash Thomas taking a slightly more relaxed approach, Rnd 2. amenities on site are essential and with that you would have the basis for a successful race. Next, you need someone to orchestrate the show. Event promotion and management company ‘Full Gas Promotions’ are in the box seat for this event, with principal Kristjan Snorrason having managed a large part of the Commonwealth games at the same venue. Not a bad little test event, to iron out the bugs one might say. Sadly royalty such as Prince Edward haven’t attended any of the Chase the Sun races as they did for the Comm Games, but at the time of writing this, there is still an outside chance! Many successful races such as the Kona 24 hour,

the Werribee Subaru Interactive @ Docklands 12 hour and the Dirt Crits, have been bought to life by the experienced team at FGP, and this Chase the Sun series has proven to be another success story. With the first series completed, and a bevy of satisfied riders and sponsors alike, there is surely a push to continue this series into the future. The first event suffered a dubious scheduling experiment involving Easter and that meant that the numbers were down - something that surely caused a small amount of consternation in the FGP camp. But with the professionalism of FGP shining though, the event was bought to life in full

living colour, and around we went. The premise of the Chase the Sun series also revolved around the lengthening and shortening of the race distance with race 1 being an 8 hour, #2 was 6 hour, #3 was a 5 hour and the final being 7 hours long. By maximising the racing time, but keeping it within daylight hours meant that the races could take place all throughout the year ‘sans lights’, a definite boon for newer riders to the sport. Also, by scheduling shorter races in winter, and having the Comm Games course at their disposal, wet winter races would be far less of a concern for organisers and athletes. And in hindsight, it worked very well. I www.freewheel.com.au

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ANACONDA C hase T he S un # 1, 2, 3, 4 36

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ANACONDA C hase T he S un # 1, 2, 3, 4

Previous Page :: Ash Thomas proved that consistency is key to taking out a series (Rnd 4). Top Left :: Stewart Bruce taking time off the DH bike to get some extra training (Rnd 1). Top Right :: Jessica Douglas teamed up with her husband to take out mixed pairs category (Rnd1) Above :: Nick Edwards usually hangs out on a road bike but after getting a new Anthem, what better way to put it through its paces (Rnd 1). Right :: Surviving an endurance race involves lots of relaxation and staying warm. Nice blanket Ash!

think that race 3 was the wettest race, and also the shortest - how convenient. Interestingly, FGP have included a Pro Teams’ category, and ponied up some big money to foster interest. At $1000 for each win in the series, quite a few riders perked up after hearing that, and it provided some good incentive for winter training and racing. The Pro Teams’ class itself was where it got interesting. At the start of the series, each Pro Team had to specify a roster of 4 riders, and only 2 could race each event (unless you entered 2 teams like Felt Racing). Those 4 riders couldn’t be changed, but the listed riders could be used in any combination, making it a mad scramble at the start of the series to lock in rider’s services, and then frustration at the end when other riders realised that money could be made if they had entered the series…! That’s the charm of the concept, it can either make it harder or easier for you, depending on how you work it, and

its conceivable for any team to win it, by playing to their strengths and working the numbers for the series. With 16 points separating 1st to 3rd in the Pro Teams, with 2nd and 3rd just 3 points different, it came down to the wire, and proved that it is a great formula for racing. So with the series run and won, the barrow loads of cash, and trophies from Stonnington Rennovations handed out to the worthy winners in all classes of racing, the racing season rolls on in earnest. If you could change anything for the series, I wonder what it would be…? Has the FGP crew developed a successful series that will continue to flourish? On the criteria that I judged it again, it would appear so. For all the good news and results, surf your way over to www.fullgaspromotions.com.au

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Tory Thomas has been on ‘our’ scene for a little while now - but she’s been on many scenes for a long while. A lot of people will know of here as a two time Mont 24hr Solo winner, or as the woman who made an amazing recovery from a near-fatal accident when she was knocked off her bike by a car. Tory can now add the title of 2007 Australian XC Champion to her list of achievements after winning at Stromlo in January. But Tory isn’t about to rest on her laurels just yet and has just one or two things left to do before “settling down and having babies” as she likes to put it.

Tory Thomas

Interview :: Andrew Threlfall Pics :: Mikkeli Godfree, Andrew Threlfall

We caught up with Tory a few times in the last few months, including just after she decided to pull the pin on her assault at the World Championships this year - something she did so she could focus on things closer to home. You’ve been National 24hr champ, National Marathon champ and now you’re the current National XC champ. You came into that race as winner of the National Series but you didn’t have it all your own way during that series, did you attempt to control the Title race or did you just race to your own plan? I had a pivotal race at the National Series round in Thredbo when I was out in front and on the third lap and Kate Potter caught me and I just got slower and slower, and she just rode off. She ended up winning by a considerable margin. I did a lot of licking wounds after that race. It is very humbling to blow up and after that race I thought “I have a month, nearly two, until the National Championships, enough time to right the wrongs. I need a race strategy.” So I worked

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more on climbing to a tempo and on trying to pace myself. That allowed me to race at Stromlo more within myself and more to my own plan. Actually, it was almost scarily to plan. It was very calculated and thought-out which isn’t really my personality, so that was a little funny. Did that planning followed by perfect execution take the fun out of the race for you? It was almost more fun. I just raced methodically to achieve the result I wanted and did everything I had to, to win it. You know, I like to throw a bit on the line and have a go through a technical section but overall, it was a very, very conservative race because I didn’t really care about the winning margin, I just wanted that jersey. So it’s sort of boring, but more rewarding because it was like a little project, which made it fun. There was a bit of a common theme at the start of the season: you’d start out strongly

then fade to just get beaten for first. Do you think you could have had a better season overall even though you won the series? Well, I race for the National Champs really and don’t try to peak for the National Series rounds. It’s an unreasonable demand on the body otherwise. So early on in the Series when I wasn’t that fit, I don’t think I had much confidence so I would go out as fast as I could and then…I would get to the fourth lap and blow up. For Tassie, after being beaten in Yarramundi by Zoe King by a very small margin - that was absolutely soul destroying (even though it was my best result to date) - I knew things had to change. It was a long drive home from Sydney to Mt Beauty. I didn’t mind not winning, I just didn’t like being beaten… I’m kind of competitive… In Yarramundi I was out in front that race, for the first time in my life in an XC race and I had no idea what the new girls were like and I was in front of them. I was so self-conscious…


I didn’t mind not winning, I just didn’t like being beaten… I’m kind of competitive…

I felt like everyone was watching me and I rode into rocks… I fell off… I almost wanted to come second but it ended up not being a good feeling, crumbling under pressure. But I was really happy with Tassie. I was having all sorts of troubles out there. On the climbs, but I really wanted the win and that was a really good mental race which was a great confidence booster, but then I must have gotten a bit cocky at Thredbo - which was just an absolute disaster. After that I changed my strategy, going in a lot more calculated and being a lot more comfortable to lead with confidence. I think I learned psychologically how to deal with people chasing me and taking control of the race that’s sort of going on behind and can grab you at any second. So the flip side to learning how to win races is your recent trip to Europe where you were dished out some lovely tasting mud just in case you thought it was difficult trying to win the National Series and National Championships!

You’re not wrong, My perspective has completely changed since racing overseas. I can’t say it’s been a simple transformation, or an easy one, but somehow I’m back where I was a few years ago – racing and riding because it makes me happy, not because I want to get fit enough or get selected to go and race on the other side of the globe. What happened over there? What went right and wrong? I arrived in Europe in May after a long domestic season, battling illness and feeling exhausted. I think I invested a bit too much in the domestic season meaning my preparation for the international season was disastrous. My motivation had spiralled to an all-time low…and although I quietly hoped I wouldn’t be too bad at the World Cup thing, being the Australian XC Champion and all - deep down I was expecting catastrophe and gloom. It probably wasn’t the best way to kick off my international cycling career! It’s hard to explain racing the World Cups

- they are just so extreme, so tough and demanding and every mistake is punished by you losing seconds or minutes. At each venue, in each country, the World Cups dished me up an enormous serving of Humble Pie not very tasty and not what the coach had ordered. I made so many mistakes in each of the races, for me the racing was more about managing adversity rather than about riding fast. I suffered cuts and bruises, concussion and mechanicals, and for whatever reason the feeling at the end of the race was…one of frustration and failure. I found myself needing to warm down on my own so I could have a little cry under my sunglasses and “debrief” - miserable hey?! Was there any positives to be found in the experience? I am painting a pretty gloomy picture, the World Cups were as rewarding as they were punishing. Despite the dinosaur bumps, scratches and a few nasty scars! - and the massive financial investment or cost - the World Cups were worth it. The courses are

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technical, tough and fun and the atmosphere at the race venues (particularly at the start) is electric and simply like nothing else. And the girls are ferociously competitive - the experience of descending through slippery rock gardens alongside twenty or so fiercely competitive girls is pretty amazing! Also, it was refreshing to be surrounded by so many people who are excited about mountain biking. The level of support for the sport and for so many of the athletes - elite and amateur - is fantastic and I am grateful for the opportunity to see the sport in a way I always imagined it would be at the elite international level – tough, challenging, rewarding, and enriching…and at the same time sort of like a circus. But you’ve decided not to go back for ‘part II’ - the Fort William World Champs, why wouldn’t you want to cap off the season with the biggest XC race in the world? I’ve now been home for nearly six weeks, and even though I was selected to race the

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Worlds I decided it wasn’t the right way to do it. I decided to stay home and train and save money to better enable me to go overseas next year when I can do it properly. It was a difficult and VERY, VERY last minute decision [actually two days before Tory was about to fly out!], and although it’s the right thing to do, I feel extremely disappointed to miss another World Championship, particularly as I feel like I’ve worked so hard to gain selection. I really just want to stay at home and get back to racing the National Series rounds that I love, like Tasmania and start preparing properly for next year. Well, now that you’re back for a good chunk of time and with the National Series looming, tell us about that great Tasmanian round - what was different about it compared to rounds like Thredbo or Yarramundi? Well Tassie just had atmosphere at the race, they had music, they had 4X in between. They had downhill seeding runs going around

the cross country course. It was social and a little bit funky. They had a coffee stand there and it had everything you could sort of want. You go to somewhere like Stromlo, which was lacking the same amount of atmosphere. I suppose at Thredbo it rained, but even at Thredbo there is nowhere to just hang out and watch. Also, if you want racers to come back I think you need a decent amount of prize money too which would help and XC doesn’t have that. So you do ask yourself why you bother coming back. But in Tassie, I’d go back for heaps of other reasons. Despite not loving Mt Stromlo, it is the site of your National Championship win, and with your success still building are there any long term plans to go for the rainbow jersey in 2009 at Stromlo? Well obviously I have to win Olympic gold at Beijing first! I’m a shoe in…obviously! It should be kind of fun and it seems like I should stay in it, but I think a lot will change. We’ll see how next year goes I think. If I’m still into it I’ll think about the Stromlo


Tory Thomas

Worlds, otherwise I’ll back off a little bit and finish painting, we have a bit of painting to do at home. But it would be a really good opportunity to race at Stromlo against the best in the world. I’m not sure how realistic it is to think I could beat all of them … maybe I’ll just buy a rainbow jersey! I’ve already announced my retirement from mountain biking next year, or maybe the year after…no-one heard, but I announced it earlier this year on the Hume highway. I was a bit tired and Tim, my fiancee was like “I don’t think anyone cares”…so we’ll see, maybe if I change my mind no-one will notice the difference! Speaking more generally, did you always envisage reaching the top of female mountain biking in Australia or is it more something you just fell into? It has never been a real passion. I used to do multi-sports and I always loved the run and I loved the paddle but I just kind of did the ride. And more and more, for whatever

reason, I think mainly the social cycling scene in Melbourne, I started enjoying the riding more. It’s just a really good scene and I think that’s why I got into it. I certainly never though I would have a heart rate monitor and training zones and be seeing a dietician and all this stuff. I certainly never though I would win a National XC title! I used to love cross country running and athletics, then there was rock climbing, I was a mad keen rock climber, multisport and white water paddler. Then came riding, but I was run over so that stopped the cycle. It means I can’t really run any more, I can’t do a lot of stuff any more so I went back to riding. It’s funny because I think I’ve used up my two years and I’m starting to look for a new project. I wanted to start 4X but someone told me you break collarbones a bit so maybe I’ll try racing the road. The road scene could be fun just because I haven’t done it yet. As you say, in ‘05 you were hit by a car

and suffered some major injuries, underwent surgery and endured an extended period of rehab. After such a horrendous accident, what was it that helped you recover so quickly and strongly? What was your motivation to get out of bed? I think being run over pretty much takes everything away and takes you back to the basics and I think for me it gave me a focus on my cycling. I rode a lot but I also did a lot of other stuff. After that I got a coach, a cross country coach, and everyone was just helping me and I set a goal up and it all became a lot easier. It was something to just look forward to. It sounds bad, but I think it actually made the path to becoming a cross country rider easier, it gave me an opportunity to improve my core stability, my pedalling technique, the way I approach each day. I built myself into a cross country rider from the ground up. Instead of half arse training you are there for a specific purpose and quite enjoying it. It was like learning to ride a bike again. It

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Tory Thomas

was just rewarding because I was improving in such massive leaps and bounds…but it is getting hard now as the improvements are getting less and less. At the time it was definitely just a lot of positives. The accident took away my ability to ride a bike for long periods just because it was painful and it wasn’t realistic to think I could do 20 or 30 hour training weeks. I couldn’t expect that my body would stand up to even a six hour race and so it was a bit of a ‘Maybe I will be able to ride for two hours’ but even that was still hard and I would get cramps. So yeah, I was pretty much a born-again cyclist. In your recent phase as a mountain biker, you have still managed to win some long races, including the Australian Marathon title, how does the pain of winning an XC National Championship compare to winning a 24hr Solo or Marathon title? I think I’ve been at different stages of my cycling for each of those races. So I think it

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was relative to where I was. I think I wasn’t as fit for the marathon title but I certainly pushed really hard. The marathon win was hard, but I think I’m better at that kind of race… that’s my gut feeling. It comes more naturally to ride for five hours rather than two. Twenty-four hours… That’s just strange. That’s in my past life. I look at them now (24hr soloists) and think ‘Freaks!’ Yeah, I’m not really tempted to go back there. For me that was a more physical pain, but then I had done a lot less cycling so I was probably just flogging myself. But for me, I find it really difficult to be a good cross country rider maybe because there are more girls and it is more competitive. If you have a bad race you aren’t going to win. With the long races, you could almost fudge your way through for a good result even if you don’t have a great day. With cross country I don’t think much compares to that first fifteen minutes, it’s

just excruciating and that last lap when someone else is in front, or chasing, you just put everything into it. So with three major titles under your belt, a hint at retirement…what is the plan? I can’t pretend to be organised enough to have a “plan” that extends beyond the immediate future. However I’m loving biking again, I definitely have a handful of unfulfilled goals, and I would love the opportunity to race overseas next year to see if I can achieve some. Since racing overseas, my focus has definitely moved to World Cups and I am hoping that some better preparation during the domestic season might allow me to return to international racing a stronger and faster MTBer - So nup, you’re not getting rid of me just yet!


Photo : BLG • 2006

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Oceania Championships as seen by: Richard Jupe and Donna Bergshoeff It’s easy to forget that Thredbo is a beautiful little village nestled in a valley high above the nation’s fairer cities which sits patiently beneath our prized peak Mount Kosciuszko. We race there year in year out and apart from dropping a few bucks on a parking permit, it’s easy to forget you’re in a national park. As opposed to the purpose-built and relatively sterile Mt Stromlo, Thredbo is epic in many ways. The drive in, for one, while arduous, gets you in the mood and as you punch over the gap and drop into Thredbo village proper you really do feel in some way sealed off from the world. Thredbo village has seen champions made and broken over the years and years of hosting mountain bike races. Having hosted national championships and countless national series rounds, a lot of blood, sweat and tears have been spilled on this hallowed turf. I know I’ve spilled my fair share of all three. If you take the time to get to know it, the mountain will open up to you and reminisce about seeing Paul Rowney race the DH on a sling-shot, Cadel Evans confirming his talent as a youngster, Michael Ronning in full lycra in the dual slalom… Because Thredbo has a special place in many people’s hearts, it was a fitting venue for the Oceania Championships, the only problem was the weather. Despite a sunny Friday, heavy falls turned the weekend into a frosty mudbath. This was a problem because it basically turned a lovely place into mush with what seemed to be New Zealand’s weather hovering for the duration of our funny-speaking friends’ stay. Because of the epic conditions, we thought we’d take a different look at this tough Oceania Championships through the eyes of a photographer who is new to mountain biking. Richard Jupe and Donna Bergshoeff are professional snappers but have turned their hand to mountain bikes because it challenges them and they love the way it looks. Their focus isn’t so much the pinners as the whole atmosphere that surrounds the race. Check out their stuff at www.ontrackimages.com.au

On Track Images thredbo.com.au www.freewheel.com.au

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On Track Images Kyle Ward 48

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On Track Images Isaac Heppell

On Track Images Shaun Lewis

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On Track Images Down time

On Track Images Taking a moment

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On Track Images Caroline Buchanan 52

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On Track Images Dylan Cooper

On Track Images Tom Patton

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On Track Images Tracey Hannah

On Track Images Kiwi MTB Coach

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One Day Says It All Words :: Rob Crowe

Sven Martin // cape-epic.com

Ride 888km from Knysna to Laurensford in a week - from the depths of desert cobra dramas to breathtaking descents down forest ravines, the South African Cape Epic has something for everyone who ever had some MTB enthusiasm... The experience is on one hand unexplainably diverse, and on the other, very simple. You ride your MTB all day, each day for 8 days straight, with no thought in the world except to get you and your team-mate to the line. However, there is enormous contrast in the experiences had; you charge from the gun with the masses like cattle, fight for position into the dust sections, cane the bike over rugged terrain for hours at a time, cut and wear, push and tear both skin and tyres across rocks, deserts and mountainous courses, break down and restart, race and chase all day long, only to arrive depleted, ruined and filthy to enormous crowds of event fans in tiny villages and mini cities alike, dirty beyond recognition (of your self!?) for scores of school kids offering to help your weary body and bike to a designated clean-up area. It is tragic and tremendous all at once, to suffer like a crippled dog but then irresistibly front up again in the morning for another go at it all! Riders that attempt the Cape Epic are as magically diverse as the experience itself. One minute you’re getting dropped by some gumby old-school rider (hairy legs, no shockers, 1980’s Stump Jumper with gigantic Tomac bar-ends), and next you’re riding past broken down Ralph Naf (World MTB Marathon Champion of 2006) surrounded by his Multi-van Merida teammates in a 5 on 1 puncture rescue. Do not misunderstand the definition of gumby either – there are all-sorts that try this adventure, including Tom Ritchey (mountain biking legend and founder of Ritchey Logic) who rode an old steel Ritchey hard-tail frame with the top 50 riders of the field for most of the week!

Sven Martin // cape-epic.com

Mechanical troubles also will leave you aghast, getting off the bike dozens of times during the 8 days for loosened chain-ring bolts, loosened seat, loosened www.freewheel.com.au

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Gary Perkin // cape-epic.com

cleats, broken bar-ends, handlebars and rear axle, 2 broken spokes, stiff and dusty chains, crashes and not forgetting an average 16 flat tires. The level of management is astonishing, both of the event and the individual. Every 30km there’s a carnival of equipment brand tents and Powerade stands lining the wilderness track, with supplies for bike and body - oil, air, tools and Coca Cola if you need it. Together with the sponsors of the main riding teams, it would have to be the largest assembly of ‘anyone who is anyone’ in the bike-parts industry that I’ve ever seen – and in the middle of nowhere! Despite the support available, smarter riders will pack pockets for the day in order to deal, on the spot, with 4 levels of mechanical attention to flat tyres before needing road-side assistance. How’s this for an hourly possibility of puncture scenarios: (1) thorn puncture – special goo in the tyre automatically rectifies within seconds, just keep riding, (2) multiple thorn punctures over the day – accumulative loss of air, stop and add CO2 cartridge gas, 30secs off, (3) stone slit – too much air is coming out so you pull over and jump off to spin the wheel, slit-side down, swill and massage the goo out into the slit hoping to seal the flat, 45secs off, (4) rock gash blow-out – stop, remove the wheel, replace goo with a conventional inner-tube and re-pump, 2mins off at best. In all cases, up to 10 times a day, it’s a decent chase to re-group with the nearest clump of go-getters. 60

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Everyone is just racing for time and start-grid positions for the next morning’s line-up. Of note would be the down-side to attempting front-of-field positions, with shoulder to helmet proximities and crushing skills of the pros making pace – chasing the lead will leave you lost in a spin amidst the dust-storm created each day on the run out of town. Kel Boers (Victorian Search & Rescue Police) was my partner for the week and was unlucky enough to break a handlebar and ride the remaining 100km - right side of body only – good balance, Kel.

For those expecting a safari, it certainly isn’t postcard Africa. Elephants, giraffes and buffalo are long gone with the morning helicopters as the field leaves at first light. Then it’s an odd interlude with a baboon watching from a rock-face, a startling hello with fully-flared cobra around a bend (I had called from the front position to team-mate Kel behind, ‘cobra!’ almost in disbelief); maybe a Zebra behind a fence and some furry little friends hurrying across your track. It’s probably more accurate to say that this trek is ‘up-close with land’ rather than a zoo-tour of South Africa – feel and touch the giraffe thorns (ouch), camel dung (damn it), desert weed (what was that??) and even Aussie gum-trees!?! You’ll be amazed by the terrain, and loving the differences to Australia’s flat outback. You’ll be riding crosscountry for an hour looking up at this mammoth pyramid-shaped mountain that’s just sitting there on the horizon. The choppers are buzzing around at the summit where the pros go over 10km ahead (their serious training regimes evidently are paying off at this point). When you finally reach the foot, its front wheels ‘up’ and, not down again for over an hour. Truly epic only just defines it; maybe it’s more a joining of the soul to the earth as the views continue to astound. Hardly able to sustain a race-focus, you turn into a constant observer of mesmerizing scenery. From arduous desert blasts at 40kph, to treacherous creek crossings at 20kph, down to


Gary Perkin // cape-epic.com

Gary Perkin // cape-epic.com

Karin Colsin // cape-epic.com

Gary Perkin // cape-epic.com


Australia’s toughest 100km mountain bike marathon

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Starting on the Great Ocean Road in the picturesque town of Apollo Bay, S The Low Lowan Otway Odyssey takes riders on an epic 100km mountain bike journey along so some truly awesome trails, finishing in the middle of a massive food, music and bike festival in the township of Forrest. Limited to 1,250 riders.

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Gary Perkin // cape-epic.com

Sven Martin // cape-epic.com

Ron Gaunt // cape-epic.com

Sven Martin // cape-epic.com

12kph on the big passes for the day. If you’re not fascinated by the panoramic views, you’re probably in awe of the very big hill you just found yourself scaling - what with names like the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ (hors category over 12km) or the ‘Calitzdorp Crusher’ which had loose rocks all the way up!

Sven Martin // cape-epic.com

With all of the adventure and drama, its easy to forget the stuff that really matters and what everyone invariably agrees to in the final hour – keeping watch over your team-mate. While it might seem impossible to some, and inevitable to others, losing your partner in the mix of 1000 MTB dashers is unpleasant and difficult to sort out. After just 45mins into Day 1 and on the first major climb, Kel and I lost 20mins to back-tracking and standing still at road-side, questioning the field as it passed in thicker and slower masses - both unaware that the other was 300m down the track. It wasn’t until an Englishspeaking German translated for me what he heard of another in his group who laughed at me, ‘look at this poor guy, his jersey-buddy is back there descending this bloody hill!’ So leave it to the desperados for GC to settle in and find your endurance form, enjoy it for all it has to offer, and if things look good with 10km to go, then step on it for a home-straight spree! ‘Biggest fun wins’ we vowed on every start, based mostly on the fact that there actually IS something for everyone in this great ride. There’s so much going on, you can’t remember what the town name was from two nights before (alcohol not included or recommended!). In closing, and without over-looking Kel for his amazing tenacity and patience, I will be always remember that I would not have visited the Cape Epic but for Audrey and Marius Gerber - an Australian-based couple of South Africans who regularly tackle the jaunt each year. Their generous invitation made it possible for Kel and me to travel and ride the Cape Epic in 2007. Lastly, final thanks goes to another pair of thrill-seeking Australians, ‘Grim’ Tim and his emergency services colleague and wife, Bec Caskey, who made some of these unique and time-costly photos possible! Rob Crowe – future XC rider!

Ron Gaunt // cape-epic.com


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I love this time of year!! Winter is over and the weather is improving. The days are getting longer and that means more time on the bike. It is far easier to get motivated about going for a ride after work when the sun is still shining and the temperature isn’t hovering around the zero mark. You can happily take off from work, crack out two hours on your favourite trail, or down at the local jumps, BMX track, skate park or even the downhill track, all this and still make it home with time to cook a BBQ and chill in backyard.

As well as the better weather and longer days, I love this time of year because all the new bikes are blossoming like the new flowers along the trail edges. Seeing as we are going too fast along the trail to take particular notice of the new flowers (unless your into that kind of thing), we thought we would make it easier for you to check out the new bikes blossoming on shop floors everywhere.

for the 2008 season. We have selected the cream of the crop in most categories, such as dirt jump and 4X bikes, through to the rising occurrence of 29” wheeled sleds and long travel DH race bikes. If these kind of bikes are not your thing, then there is a massive range of trail and all mountain bikes. We have included bikes for the more attractive side of our species (that would be the females) where they were available, but while we have a few in there, don’t be frustrated if you don’t see that many. Most of the manufactures have realised the different requirements of female riders and you will find nearly ever manufacture now has female specific versions of particular models or even full female lines. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the bikes pictured here are the only bikes available. Go to the manufactures’ web pages (listed at the top of each page) for a full run down on what to expect, from entry level through to World Cup ready race bikes.

While this is not a definitive guide to the latest and greatest of each brand, it is a quick look at a few of their models showing the range and diversity on offer

ELLSWORTH EPIPHANY > The Epiphany’s light weight and over 5 inches of rear wheel travel blur the line between XC and All Mountain. The Epiphany is at home on rolling terrain littered with trail obstacles, technical challenges, and lung busting climbs. The Epiphany has won numerous accolades such as Outside Magazine’s prestigious ‘Gear of the Year’ award, and ‘Bike of the Year’ from What Mountain Bike Magazine.

< ELLSWORTH MOMENT The recent introduction of the Epiphany to Ellsworth’s line up has allowed the Moment to be fully redesigned as a big hitting All Mountain machine. Heavier gauge and larger diameter tubes keep the Moment super stiff, yet light. The ICT suspension provides an endless travel feel, but also enables the Moment to pedal more efficiently than its competitors. The Moment will ride stunts, shuttle all day, and give you the confidence to hit every A line on your local trail ride.

ELLSWORTH TRUTH > The Truth is Ellsworth’s lightest, shortest travel suspension bike, but this is no short track racer. The 100mm of ICT rear suspension has made the Truth the privateer’s bike of choice for Marathon and 24 hour racing. Always efficient, yet equally forgiving, this is the bike for eating up those endless miles and epic days in the saddle.

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Ellsworth :: KHS ::

www.ellsworthbikes.com www.khsbicycles.com

KHS XC 604 > The XC 604 represents dual suspension, trail riding comfort at a modest price tag. Thanks to the Horst link suspension design the AL6061 frame delivers a tried, tested and proven suspension system with 4.2” of travel thanks to the new Rock Shox rear shock. Balancing this out is a set of Marzocchi forks, SRAM X.9 driveline, Truvativ FireX cranks, WTB Laserdisc wheels wrapped in Kenda Nevegal tyresand Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.

< KHS DJ 200 For under $1000 the DJ 200 is KHS’s best value Dirt Jump bike. Marzocchi DJ3 forks are amazing at the price, as are the Shimano hydraulic brakes and Deore rear derailleur. Functional and tough parts round out the spec and are bolted to AL7005 aluminium frame to create a tough, high value DJ bike. Specifically designed to take the abuses of street riding and dirt jump action, this is the basis of Caroline Buchanan’s custom KHS 4X frame.

KHS TUCSON > Surprisingly (not really) is a 29” mountain bike from KHS. Once the domain of kooks and fringe dwellers, the 29 has enjoyed a massive explosion on the MTB scene after years floating in the background. KHS have several in their range, all sporting the True Temper Versus steel frame. The Tuscon gets Shimano Deore gears and Rock Shox suspension to help smooth out the trail, but if you like the simplier things in life, you can get the same frame as a rigid single speed, dubbed the Solo-One SE.

< KHS TEAM XC Finding a faster bike for the dollar than the KHS XC Team will be hard in 2008. With a complete XTR drivetrain and brakes, and high quality Rock Shox suspension, this bike eats up the race track. Light, fast, and highly adjustable, all for under $4,300! But the quality spec isn’t restricted to the brakes and gears. Matching the high level driveline and suspension units are some very nice FSA bars, stem and seatpost, Sun DS1-XC rims, Kenda Nevegal tyres and WTB saddle. With such a light trail bike you better start thinking of new excuses as to why your mates beat you up the last climb.

KHS XCT 555 > KHS steps up to the long travel XC plate for 2008 with their entirely new ‘XCT’ platform. These bikes use the patented Horst Link suspension system for efficient pedaling and great traction. KHS have kept both the centre of gravity and stand over as low as possible on these frames to make shredding technical terrain a breeze. Seen on this bike (along with the Team XC above) is the new Rock Shox Monarch air shock, helping to deliver some sweet, supple trail riding bliss for anyone that throws a leg over the 555. A solid and reliable spec list include SRAM X.9 driveline, Truvativ cranks, Hayes brakes, WTB wheels and Kenda tyres.

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< DIORA MARQUE III Designed and manufactured by Diamondback, Diora is a new company to the Aussie cycling scene with a focus on women’s specific fit and geometry. The bikes feature shorter top tubes, narrower handlebars, more comfortable saddles, narrower grips, shorter cranks and lighter gearing as well as a sharp, clean styling. Aimed more at the recreational market than the hard core racer the Diora line includes both road and mountain bikes. Available in Ice Blue the Diora Marque III is the flagship off-road model for the brand. It features Deore running gear, a Rock Shox Tora air fork and Avid Juicy 3 Hydraulic brakes.

DB Morning Glory FS > The Morning Glory will be ready to go anywhere, anytime, not just first thing in the morning. The FS (which stands for Full Strength) is ready to tackle everything from late night urban missions, to all day sessions at the trails. Built from bomb proof, double butted, heat treated cromo the frame is decked out with Rock Shox Argyle 302 forks, Avid Juicy Three hydro brakes, 48 spline 3-piece cromo cranks, Sun MTX rims and Truvativ bars and stem. This bike is a very solid package.

< DB Compression 3 The Compression 3 is the bike for those who want to race 4X and bomb DH tracks as much as they want to hit the trails. With a custom formed, box section 6061 alloy frame, the bike is strong and light. To round out the package you get a set of Marzocchi 55 ETA R forks, adjust able from 110-150mm of travel, FSA Gravity bars, Truvativ cranks, SRAM X5 driveline, Truvativ Ruktion 2.0 cranks, Avid Juicy Three brakes with 7” rotors and Sun MTX rims (not pictured).

DB ZETEC 3 > If hitting the jumps and skate parks isn’t quite your thing, then you can check out the Zetec 3. Representing a great all round package the Zetec has everything you need to enjoy a day on the trails without being burdened with excessive weight or an excessive price tag. The hydro-formed, double butted 6061 frame gets a set of Rock Shox Tora 318 forks to take care of the bumps while the driveline is made up of Shimano Deore and LX components. The brakes are the ever reliable Shimano M535 hydraulic disc brakes running on 6” rotors. Alex Ace17 rims laced to Shimano Centrelock hubs and wrapped in Maxxis Crossmark tyres keep you rolling down the trail all day long.

< DB Mission 3 If you are thinking of more aggressive trail riding than a gentle saunter through the trees, then perhaps you should consider the Mission 3. The guys at Diamondback have tweaked the traditional 4-bar suspension design to get the KnuckleBox system. The purpose is to get the weight low and centred to produce the best possible handling bike. Delivering 6” of travel courtesy of a high volume Fox Float RP23, the rest of the bike is made up from a set of Rock Shox Pike 454 forks, SRAM X9 driveline, Hayes HFX-9 Carbon brakes, Easton Monkeylite XC Carbon riser bars and Sun SOS rims.

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Diamondback :: www.diamondback.com.au Haro :: www.haro.com.au

HAro Thread 1 > Thanks to input from Cameron Zink and Eric Porter, Haro have developed the Thread range. The Thread 1 (so named for its single gear) is a perfect bike for anyone who wants to ride street and dirt jumps all day without the hassle of derailleurs, shifters and cables getting in the way. The frame is constructed from alloy with Marzocchi Dirt Jumper 3 80mm travel forks, Truvativ Ruktion 1.0 cranks and Hayes MX4 disc brakes. This bike is simple and fun - a BMX bike for big kids.

< haro escape comp The escape is for those out there who may want to ride more aggressive trails, and yet don’t want the added complexity of a dual suspension. Designed to run 120mm travel Marzocchi MZ race forks and with a reinforced aluminium frame, the Haro Escape Comp gets a selection of robust, but not over priced, parts such as SRAM X7 driveline, Shimano M485 hydraulic brakes (7” rotor up front, 6” at the back) and Truvativ cranks. Perfect for using to beat all your mates to the pub for a post ride beer.

Haro MARY xc > I know most people here would love to say they take Mary for a ride every day, and with big 29” wheels, full range of SRAM X9 gears, Rock Shox Reba SL forks and a sweet cromo chassis you will be looking for any excuse to do just that. But there are still a few other surprises in store from Mary, such as the WTB 29” LaserDisc wheelset, Avid BB5 cable disc brakes, Truvativ cranks and Ritchey bar, stem and seat post. If all that is more than you can handle there is also a single speed version with On-One Mary bars and rigid cromo forks bolted to the same old school cromo frame.

< Haro Werx xeon Although some people out there might be surprised to hear this, Haro are pushing the envelope when it comes to suspension design. Trying to avoid the ever annoying chain growth that cripples so many dual suspension designs, the team at Haro created the Virtual Link system. By mounting the main pivot around the bottom bracket, they remove the possibility of the distance from the cranks to the rear dropout from changing, removing chain growth. This is the centre-piece of the 160mm travel Werx Xeon. Also helping the bike to get from top to bottom, and back again, is a set of Fox 32 Talas RLC forks, SRAM X0 driveline, Mavic Crossmax ST wheels and Avid Juicy Seven Carbon brakes.

haro extreme x7 > The Extreme X7 is purely a long travel bike, ready to sail off the biggest drops and fastest descents you can find. Helping you to achieve un-powered flight is the 7” travel, single pivot aluminium frame and Fox Van R rear shock matched nicely to a set of 180mm travel Rock Shox Domain 302 forks. The rest of the build kit represents reliability and performance in the form of SRAM X9 driveline, Truvativ cranks, Avid Juicy Five cranks (with 8” rotors) and if you don’t need to use the two chain rings to ride to the top of the run, the frame is ready for a chain guide thanks to the ISCG mounts.

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Santa Cruz :: Jamis ::

www.santacruzmtb.com www.jamisbikes.com

< SANTA CRUZ CHAMELEON For 2008 the Chameleon has undergone some nip and tuck work. The aluminum frame is still as workhorse solid as ever, with a heavily gusseted head tube region capable of handling the loads of 160mm forks, super-bomber tough seat and chain stays and a new hydroformed top tube. Added to the list is a stealthy new ultra-light eccentric BB and vertical dropouts for easy wheel removal and disc brake use with either gears or set up as a single speed. Set it up however you want – it’s a single speed! An XC hardtail! A jump bike!

SANTA CRUZ BLUR LT > Featuring longer legs and a little more meat where it counts, the Blur LT is the trail devouring bigger sibling to the Blur XC. Rear wheel travel is increased to 135mm, and the frame features beefier tubing reinforced with gussets around the head tube, providing enough reinforcement to run fork travel up to 160mm. The swingarm allows larger tyres than the Blur XC, and the chassis features a slacker head angle, taller bottom bracket and a longer wheelbase. The LT still climbs when it needs too, but it also descends with total confidence and has the chops to handle just about any epic backcountry terrain.

< SANTA CRUZ SUPERLIGHT 100mm of rear travel courtesy of a clean single pivot placed to deliver compliant and effective suspension with a minimum of fuss, crafted in an elegant aluminum frame that is light yet stiff, simple but efficient. The Superlight epitomizes high performance without all the bells and whistles. Who needs bells and whistles anyway? You never see ninjas asking for bells and whistles, do you?

SANTA CRUZ NOMAD > When the Nomad first hit the scene, the idea of 165mm travel trail bikes was considered a little over the top. The Nomad is lighter and more nimble than dedicated big-drop, big-hit park-duty bikes, but less nervy and a lot more plush than the fasttwitch behavior of XC oriented bikes. The 165mm of VPP rear suspension allows it to climb with more agility and snap than many less-plush bikes, and this trait combined with its renowned handling have made the Nomad one of Santa Cruz’s most popular bikes ever.

< SANTA CRUZ V10 For 2008, this no-compromise race machine has undergone a transformation. Thanks to some very careful redesign of the aluminum frame sections and a carbon fibre upper link, the new frame weighs in almost two pounds lighter than the 2007 and offers lower standover than the old one. The suspension has been revised to sit higher in its travel for a livelier ride, resulting in a lighter, tighter package with 254mm of rear wheel travel and razor sharp handling designed to do one thing: cut the fastest, most direct line to the bottom of the hill.

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The Dragon Pro still stands out from other hardtails thanks to the Reynolds 853 frame. While the traditional steel frame may be the heart and soul of this bike, it still has plenty of technology running through its veins. With the new Shimano XT Shadow derailleur, XT cranks, Fox Float forks and Avid Juicy Five brakes.

< JAMIS DRAGON 29 The Dragon 29 is a big wheeled version of the Dragon Pro. With a 29” specific Reynolds 853 frame, the Dragon 29 also gets the same Shimano XT Shadow rear derailleur, XT cranks and Avid Juicy Five brakes. Being a 29” wheeled bike the Dragon29 does get the Reba Race 29” forks and 29” WTB wheelset. The other components, such as stem bars, seat and post all come from Easton in the form of EA-50 parts.

JAMIS DAKAR XCR TEAM > 2008 is heralding a new era for Jamis, and that is the era of the carbon dual suspension XC bike. And as the frame is carbon, they haven’t really bothered with many other materials for the rest of the parts. The forks are Rock Shox Reba World Cups, with a carbon crown, while the seat post and handle bars are Easton EC-70 and Monkeylite carbon units. The rest of the driveline is made up of a full XTR groupset and Mavic SLR wheels.

< JAMIS PARKER 3 The world of carbon XC bikes is not the only new ground for Jamis in 2008. The Parker represents a new approach from Jamis to the all-mountain bikes. With a single ring on the FSA cranks, e.thirteen chainguide, Rock Shox Lyric forks and Syncros parts, you can be sure that this bike is not for going up, but more for going big. WTB Dual Duty wheels, Fox Float R rear shock WTB Prowler SS 2.3” tyres keep things moving nicely without adding massive weight penalties.

JAMIS DAKAR BAM 2 > Thanks to the Parker stepping into the Jamis range, the Dakar BAM 2 has been upgraded to a dedicated long travel, big hitting bike. To prove that this bike is up for everything from DH racing to Canadian North Shore, Jamis have equipped the BAM 2 with the cream of the crop. A Fox DHX5.0 coil shock sits up the back, while Rock Shox’s heralded Totem fork hangs off the front. Avid Juicy Seven brakes with 8” rotors slow everything down, while FSA Gravity cranks, SRAM X9 and e.thriteen keep everything moving forward. Because Jamis knows that not everyone lives under a chair lift, you still get two chain rings to help get you back to the top.

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< GIANT XTC 1 At less than $2400 this is a value packed race bike! The XTC 1 is the new flagship hardtail from Giant and features the ALUXX SL Fluidformed ™ alloy frameset offering minimal weight in a responsive package. The bike features Rock Shox Reba Race forks, Mavic/DT wheelset, an XT/XTR drivetrain with LX crankset and Avid Juicy 5 hydraulic brakes. All this is finished off with the Race Face Evolve bar/stem and seatpost, offering plenty of style without the price tag.

GIANT STP PRO > With a proven ALLUX alloy frame, treading the fine line between weight and strength, the STP Pro is the new top dog on the STP tree. The bike features a parts mix designed to bring you maximum strength without weighing you down. The dream list includes Rock Shox Pike 454 Air with U Turn Adjust, Shimano Saint Hollowtech II crankset and Avid Juicy brakes. There isn’t a whole lot of argument against this supreme package.

< GIANT ANTHEM 2 The Anthem made waves when it was introduced two years ago, providing an efficient pedal platform at no cost to plush downhill performance. The 2008 Anthem 2 brings this groundbreaking technology to the affordable end of the spectrum, giving you an efficient, well spec’ed duallie for less than $2000! The bike features a Deore/LX drivetrain, Rock Shox Recon Race solo air fork and Fox Float R rear shock. If you’ve always wanted to try a duallie but thought they were out of your price range look no further than the Anthem 2.

GIANT TRANCE 0 > The Trance line undergoes a major shake up for 2008 with a re-design shaving almost a pound off the frame, making for a lighter, faster and more responsive package. The new frames use hydroformed tubing to decrease weight, increase strength and still offer the same 4.2 inches of plush, useable travel. The re-design has also seen the introduction of a new Co-Pivot, which integrates the shock mounting hardware and lower pivot into one system, again allowing for decreased weight. The Trance O features Rock Shox Reba Race Fork, Shimano XT/XTR driveline, Fox RP23 rear shock and Mavic Crossmax SL Wheelset. This popular all mountain bike just got better!

< GIANT GLORY DH The Glory DH uses the Maestro suspension package to its full potential, pumping out 8.8” of progressive travel. Being the hero model of the DH line up no corners are cut with the DH’s spec list. Graced with a Fox 40 RC2 fork, DHX 5.0 rear shock, Shimano Saint Brakes and crankset and an XTR rear derailleur, this bike can step straight from the show room to World Cup podium.

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Giant :: Specialized ::

www.giantbikes.net www.specialized.com

SPECIALIZED STUMPJUMPER CARBON > If you want a scarily fast, responsive bike in a featherweight package look no further than the Stumpjumper Carbon. This super light hardtail features Specialized’s FACT M10 carbon frame and wraps it with Fox F90X suspension forks, Shimano driveline and brakes and the Mavic CrossMax SLR wheelset. Fast just got faster!

< SPECIALIZED FSRXC EXPERT The FSRxc is a legacy that Specialized will not let go of, and for good reason. Still one of the most efficient and active suspension designs around, the Expert gets everything that you need for a reliable all day, all active trail bike. From the 100mm RockShox Recon 335 SLite and Specialized tuned X Fusion 02RC rear shock to the Shimano Deore/XT driveline, the 4” travel FSRxc Expert is ready to roll.

SPECIALIZED EPIC EXPERT > Christoph Sauser has made plenty of headlines in the world scene (including snaring a World Marathon Title) riding the Specialized Epic and it’s not hard to see why. With some clever anti-bob technology in a super light package, the Epic is one of the more sought-after pure XC race packages available. The Epic Expert brings the technology to you with SRAM X9/X0 gearing, Shimano XT cranks and Avid Juicy 7 hydraulic brakes. If you want a super-responsive dual suspension rig, you won’t be disappointed with the Epic.

< SPECIALIZED ENDURO COMP The Enduro was created as a super-efficient, super fun trail bike that climbs like a mountain goat and descends like a devil. Despite being able to tackle the climbs, there is 6” of plush travel waiting to be un-leashed at even the sniff of a downhill. The Enduro features the Enduro M5 alloy frame garnished with the Specialised Future Shock E150 front forks and SRAM running gear. This is the bike for the fun of mountain biking!

SPECIALIZED SX Trail II > The SX is all about being a downhill-orientated trail/freeride bike that can handle a lot of conditions really well. It’s about going back to the days when you just had one bike that did everything. The bike features relaxed angles and a generous top tube to enhance balance and control and uses the time tested FSR suspension technology. The Trail II the Fox 36 Van RC2 fork, offering 170mm of travel and matches this Fox DHX 5.0 rear coil shock. SRAM takes care of the shifting with X.9 and X.O, giving a hardened trail bike ready for anything you care to throw at it.

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Mongoose :: Trek :: Gary Fisher ::

www.mongoosebikes.com.au www.trekbikes.com.au www.fisherbikes.com

< Mongoose METeore Team Aptly named after a fireball hurtling through space, ths is exactly how you will feel when onboard the Xtrolite G7 butted 7005 framed Meteore Team. There are no excuses with this bike as every part is selected for the ultimate in performance and weight savings. There is carbon as far as the eye can see in the form of Truvativ Noir cranks, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, SRAM X0 rear derailleur and triggers, Easton EC70 seat post and Monkeylite CNT bars. The suspension comes in the form of a set of Fox F100 RLC forkswhile the wheels are Stan’s own tubless ZTR Olympic rims.

Mongoose Canaan Elite W > Making sure that the fairer sex is not ignored Mongoose have plenty of female versions of their range available, such as this Canaan Elite. With an almost identical spec to the Canaan Elite, the women’s gets different geometry and a few other femine touches such as a women’s WTB Deva Comp saddle and baby blue graphics. Making up the actual bike is Mongoose’s Freedrive suspension system, regulated by a Fox RP2 rear shock, a Rock Shox Recon Race 100mm air sprung fork, Shimano XT driveline and XT hydraulic disc brakes.

< Mongoose Canaan team For the dedicated Enduro racers, there is the Canaan Team. Like the Meteore hardtail, the Canaan Team reads more like a christmas wish list with the 20th Anniversary SRAM X0 rear mech and X0 triggers, Truvativ Noir carbon cranks, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, Easton carbon EC70 post and Monkeylite CNT bars, Stan’s ZTR Olympic tubeless wheels. Suspension is sorted out by Fox F100RLC forks and the improved Fox RP23 ProPedal rear shock, strapped to the Freedrive suspension system.

Mongoose Khyber super > Recognising a growing area of the market, in the form of mid-travel, mid-weight do everything bikes, the boffins at Mongoose created the Khyber series of bikes. The bike comes with a 165mm version of the Freedrive suspension system using the new Rocco Air TST rear shock and Marzocchi 55 ATA forks. To deal with the rugged terrain the bike is intended for you also get Funn bar and stem combo, Formula K24 hydraulic brakes with 7” rotors, WTB LaserDisc Trail wheels and a SRAM x9 driveline utilising FSA Gravity Light cranks. Because getting up is as important as getting down, the Khyber gets two rings and a Mountain Speed LRP guide.

< mongoose EC-D With Eric Carter putting his influence into this bike you can be sure that the geometry and feel of the bike lends itself straight to the DH race track. Appropriately the spec does the same thing with a set of 8” travel Rock Shox Boxxer Team forks and the new Rock Shox Vivid 5.1ST coil shock, Avid Juicy Seven brakes with 8” rotors, Funn direct mount RSX stem, triple butted Full-On bars and Soljam Viper pedals. Also ready for the race track are the Sun MTX rims wrapped in Kenda Nevegal 2.5” tyres, Truvativ Holzfeller cranks and e.thirteen LG1 chain guide.

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This is something a little different to any other 29er out there. Not only is the Superfly a 29” wheeled bike, but it is also a no compromise XC race bike. Sporting the Fisher G2 carbon monocoque frame, the Superfly is the lightest frame from the house of Fisher. While most 29ers are aimed at the fun, trail riding side of things, the Superfly is one for the race track. Completing the race day package is a set of Fox F80RLC 29” forks, SRAM X.0 driveline, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, Bontrager Race X Lite carbon cranks and Bontrager X Lite 29” tubeless ready wheels.

< Gary Fisher hifi pro carb The HiFi Pro Carbon is the pinnacle of trail riding bliss thanks to the OCLV carbon main frame, carbon/aluminium rear swingarm delivering 5” of Fox Float RP23 ProPedal rear shock. Matching the rear suspension is a set of Fox F120RLC forks, featuring custom offset geometry especially for Fisher. The driveline is the same level of quality as the OCLV frame thanks to Shimano XTR cranks and front derailleur, SRAM X.0 rear derailleur and shifters, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, Bontrager Race X Lite tubeless ready wheels and Bontrager Race X Lite bar, stem, saddle and seat post.

Trek 69er > Trek Pro and development guru, Travis Brown helped Trek put this ‘odd’ package together. Trying to achieve the best of both worlds with a combination of wheels sizes the 69er runs a 29” front wheel and a 26” rear wheel. The theory is that you get the traction, cornering and rolling benefits of the 29” wheel while still retaining the shorter wheels base and acceleeration properties of the 26” wheel. Fitting the ‘odd’ make up of the bike is the Maverick DUC32 upside down dual crown 100mm forks, integrated stem, Bontrager Race Lite single speed cranks and Avid Juicy Seven brakes.

< trek EX 8 New from Trek is a completely new pivot location for dual suspension bikes. Dubbed the ABP, Active Brake Pivot, they have placed the rear suspension pivot concentric to the rear wheel axle, which in english means the rear wheel axle is the centre of the pivot, not below or above it. So with the suspension rotating around the rear axle Trek claims there is far more suspension action with brake influence on the suspension virtually eliminated. But there is so much more to a bike than just the suspension design. Fox F130RL forks and Float RP2 ProPedal rear shock take care of the up and down while Shimano XT and LX components make up the driveline. Avid Juicy Five disc brakes slow you down while Bontrager bars, stem, post and saddle keep you connected to the bike. The EX 8 is also available in a womens specific version.

trek EX 9.5 > If you liked the sound of the EX 8, but appreciate the best of the best, then say hello to the EX 9.5. Featuring all the same technology as the EX 8 with the ABP and R1i Trail Tuned suspension, the EX 9.5 gets the range topping OCLV main frame and magnesium EVO link, Fox RP23 rear shock, Fox TALAS RLC 90-130mm forks, Shimano XTR cranks and front derailleur, SRAM X.0 rear derailleur and shifters, Avid Juicy Ultimate disc brakes, Bontrager X Lite wheels, Race X Lite ACC carbon seat post, Race XXX Lite bars and stem and the very tidy Cane Creek S-8 headset. With 120mm of travel out the back and 130mm up front, carbon frame and light weight parts, this could be the bike to pilot to your next endurance win, or to beat your mates down the next section of trail. www.freewheel.com.au

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< GT ZASKAR TEAM You would be hard pressed to find a bike with a longer or more celebrated pedigree than the GT Zaskar. Reborn in a full carbon monocoque design, this pure race machine oozes class and speed thanks to the stealth black finish and full XTR compliment. Combine this with the proven Fox F100RL forks, Ritchey WCS carbon bar and stem and Thomson seat post and you know that there is no limit to the speed that this bike can be ridden to.

GT PEACE 29 > For those of us out there with a sense of humour, style and laid back attitude to riding, there is this beautifully coloured Peace 29. Like the name suggests, this bike embraces the Rasta ideals (and colours) of kicking back and loving everyone and everything. The simple chromo rigid frame with big wheels, cable disc brakes and Shimano Deore drivetrain promises and simple, uncomplicated ride, but is still ready to get up and ‘bug out’ when you want to step up the pace.

< GT MARATHON TEAM For those who want to ride all day and night, you need a bike that can go the distance. The Marathon is designed to be that bike. From the lightweight carbon monocoque frame, Independent Drivetrain (ID) suspension, internal cable routing and Shimano XTR components, the bike is ready to cut through the bush, day or night. Fox F120RL forks and RP23 rear shock keep the bumps at bay, while XTR tubeless wheels, Ritchey WCS carbon bar and stem, Thomson Elite seat post and Fizik Gobi saddle keep you on the bike, and the right way up.

GT SANCTION 1 > For 2008 we see a modification to the GT range with the introduction of the Sanction range. Gone are the ID7 and ID5 bikes and in steps the Sanction and Force, both with 6 inches of ID suspended travel. The Sanction 1 is the top of the gravity tree with RockShox Lyric 160-180mm 2Step forks, Fox DHX 4.0 rear shock, DT Swiss 430 rims, XT driveline, Saint cranks and XT hydraulic brakes. If you like to ride to the top, but only so you can go down again, then here is the package for you.

< GT DHI TEAM One of the most radical looking DH bikes around. Still employing the I-Drive (now called ID) suspension that has won fans the world over, the DHi Team is a World Cup ready racer. RockShox Boxxer World Cup Air, forks delivering 203mm of travel are matched to the 8.5” of Fox DHX5.0 Air travel at the back. Helping to keep the weight down are Juicy 7 Carbon brakes, SRAM X0 shifter and rear mech, Saint Cranks, custom e.thirteen chain guide, I-Beam and I-Fly post and saddle all bolted to the TIG welded monocoque frame.

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GT :: Iron Horse ::

www.gtbicycles.com www.ironhorsebikes.com

< Iron Horse Azure Expert The Azure Expert is designed for cross country rides or events that are often long distance, all day or multi day in duration. In this marathon style of riding or racing, lighter weight bikes with less suspension travel are definitely advantageous. Marathon bikes need to excel at climbing as well as carry speed on descents and flatter trail segments. With 90mm of travel at the rear thanks to Fox’s Float R shock and Rock Shox Reba SL 100mm forks up front the Azure provides just the right amount of suspension for a full day in the saddle. FSA, Easton and SRAM all help to make up the driveline and components while Avid takes care of the brakes.

Iron Horse MKIII elite > The MkIII Elite is oriented toward long distance cross country rides on trails that will require significant climbing but also feature some technical trail features and descents. The DW-Link provides supple and responsive suspension with minimal power loss to the air sprung 5” of travel provided by a Fox Float R shock. Rock Shox Revelation 426 forks provide 130mm of travel up front while DT Swiss wheels and a full Shimano Deore XT groupset looks after rolling, shifting and braking duties. Easton EA70 bar, stem and seat post keep you connected to the bike.

< Iron horse 6Point6 The 6Point6 is designed for situations where a typical trail or marathon bike is not enough but where a freeride bike is overkill. The 6POINT is aimed at the more aggressive side of the all mountain category, combining some features of heavier duty freeride bikes with a lighter weight frame and 6” of air sprung suspension in the form of a Fox DHX 5.0 rear shock and Rock Shox Lyrik Solo Air 160mm forks. SRAM X.9 rear derailleur and shifters look after the shifting while FSA Gravity cranks, Avid Juicy 7 brakes, Easton EA70 components and DT Swiss wheels look after the rest.

Iron Horse 7point > The 7Point is designed for use on North Shore style trails, in bike parks, or in big mountain riding situations. If you are the kind of person that dreams of going to Canada or New Zealand just for a riding holiday, the 7Point is the bike designed for you. Stepping up to the Fox Van R Coil shock and 7” of travel, the 7Point also gets Marzocchi 66RCV forks, Funn bar, stem and seat post, FSA Gravity Moto X cranks, Sun MTX rims, SRAM X.7 rear derailleur and Avid Juicy 3 brakes with 203mm front and 185mm rear rotors.

< Iron horse sunday wc Quickly proving itself as one of the most successful bikes to be raced on the World Cup and World Championship platform, The Sunday has scored two successive World Championship crowns (Sam Hill and Sabrina Jonnier) as well as a bag full of World Cup wins. Featuring the pedalling efficiency of all DW-Link suspended bikes, the Sunday World Cup gets a spec list worthy of it’s World Champion status. Rock Shox Boxxer World Cup 203mm air sprung forks and Rock Shox Vivid 5.1 rear shock suspend the bike while DT Swiss EX5.1D wheels, Avid Juicy Carbon brakes, SRAM X.0 derailleur and shifter, Thomson seat post, Funn direct mount RSX stem and Fatboy bars, FSA Gravity Light MegaExo cranks and e.thirteen chain guide round out the impressive spec list. www.freewheel.com.au

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Kona ::

www.konaworld.com

KONA KULA LISA > Kona is another company recognising the specific needs for female mountain bikers. Releasing a variety of their bikes as female specific, the Kula Lisa the female version of the Kula. The frame, fork and components are the same, with Rock Shox Recon Race forks, Hayes Stroker brakes, Race Face Evolve cranks and a Shimano XT/LX driveline, however there are subtle differences to make the Kula a ladies bike. For starters, all the ‘Lisa’ models of bikes (Kula, Hei Hei, Four & RD) have tweaked geometry specific for women’s bodies as well as ladies specific seat, stem and grips.

< KONA HEI HEI 29 Jumping on the 29” bandwagon, the Kona Hei Hei 29 is just a big wheeled version of Kona’s dual suspension XC weapon, the Hei Hei. Like its smaller brother, the 29 gets a Scandium frame, Reba forks and XT driveline but the 29” version gets an upgrade in the travel department. With 3.5” travel in the back, 29” wheels and light weight build, this could be the ultimate ‘all-day’ trail bike.

KONA KULA DELUXE > For those out there still not letting go of the tried and tested hardtail there is the Kula Deluxe. Starting with the Scandium alloy frame, Reba SL forks, Hayes Stroker Carbon brakes, FSA XC-300 wheels and XT driveline the bike represents awesome performance without the excessive price tag.

< KONA Stinky If you go out back country, then there is a fair chance you will see a lot of these out there. The Stinky has long been a choice of the rider looking for some uncharted descents. Equipped with the impressive 180mm long, single crown Marzocchi 66RV forks up front and 7” of Marzocchi Rocco travel out the back there isn’t much that daunts the Stinky.

KONA STAB Supreme > It is hard to argue with a bike that has won two consecutive DH World Championship titles and more World Cup events than any other bike. While owning this bike will not guarantee that you will go as fast as Fabien Barel, the Marzocchi 888 RC3 World Cup forks, e.thirteen LG1 guide, Race Face Diablous cranks and Saint/XT driveline will certainly help you get there.

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GOBI XM NEW DESIGN, WRAP- AROUND MERYL TECHNO: POSSIBLY PERFECT GEOFF KABUSH 2007 National Mountain Bike Series XC Winner

WING FLEX For Free Thigh Movement TAIL FLEX For Easy On-Off Rear Transitions

GOBI XM Shell: Nylon Carbon Reinforced Rail: K:ium Cover: Microtex Thigh Glides: Meryl Thechno Weight: 229 g

ICS Integrated Clip System Distributed by Netti Atom Pty Ltd www.netti.com.au netti@netti.com.au Phone (02) 9550 1655


Orbea :: Scott ::

www.orbea.com www.scottusa.com

orbea Alma absalon > The Alma Carbon hardtail is one of the most advanced frames on the market. The four point rear stay design means the chain stay can lengthen slightly allowing a small amount of vertical compliance. This affords the rider a more comfortable ride, greater climbing traction and superior handling on descents, while still maintaining a stiff frame that delivers all the power to the rear wheel. Available as a replica frame, exactly the same as World Champion, Julien Absalon rides.

< orbea alma Cup If buying a frame and building it up sounds to hard and complicated for you, then you can get the complete version of the Alma, ready to race straight to the top of the podium. The spec includes Rock Shox Recon SL forks with 100mm of travel, SRAM X.9 and X.7 dirveline, Avid Juicy 5 brakes and Mavic Crossride wheels. All these parts are bolted to the Absalon Carbon Alma frame.

orbea oiz carbon > All the cutting edge carbon technologies from the Alma, Oiz MTB and the Orca road frames combine to make this the most advanced full suspension, carbon mountain bike you can get. 80% high modulus carbon for strength and the remaining 20% of a more flexible fibre, for fatigue resistance. UFO flex stays for less weight, better lateral stiffness and a cleaner look. Not to be mistaken for the pivotless Cannondale Scalpel, The Oiz is a very individual bike thanks to the complete carbon frame with integrated alluminium shock mounts, dropouts and and rocker.

< orbea oiz carbon Team Like the Alma, the Oiz is also available fully built in a range of spec levels. Seen here is the Carbon Team, and being a ‘team’ bike you can expect the best of the best. That is why you get a complete Shimano XTR build, from the chain to the hydraulic disc brakes, plus the range topping Mavic CrossMax SLR wheels Fox RP23 rear shock and Rock Shox SID TM forks and Zeus carbon bars, post and stem.

orbea occam team > Suspension systems these days are getting increasingly complicated. To get 115 mm travel in the rear for the OCCAM, Orbea has gone for the simplest of arrangements. An ambitious monopivot frame with a carefully placed pivot point and a cutting edge design. The mainframe is a carbon monocoque affair, made with the latest generation fibres combined with a monocoque alloy swingarm fixed to the front triangle by means of a cold forged “H” shaped piece. Sealed bearings in the pivot point and shock mount keep things rotating smoothly while internal cabling keeps things looking very slick. With the Full gamut of Shimano XTR, Mavic CrossMax SLRs and Fox F120RL forks, this is the ultimate marathon bike.

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This is the pinnacle of lightweight performance thanks to the impossibly light CR1 carbon frame (1250g). As ridden by Thomas Frischknecht, the CR1 frame builds up to an impressive 9.3kgs thanks to such extras as a full XTR groupset, including XTR disc brakes, Fox F100RLC forks, Ritchey WCS carbon everything (headset, post and bars) and WCS 4-Axis stem, DT Swiss 4.1 rims and 240 disc hubs, Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres and topping it off is the Selle Italia SLR XP Kevlar saddle with Vanox rails.

< scott spark 10 Coming from the same mould as the Scale 10 is the Spark 10. Featuring the same CR1 technology as the Scale the Spark also gets a rear shock offering three travel modes (Lockout, Traction Mode and All-Travel) delivering up to 110mm of travel thanks to the Scott Nude TC rear shock. What is really impressive is that the Spark 10 only gains one kilo of weight over it’s hardtail brethren weighing in at 10.3kg. Like the Scale 10, the Spark has a full swag of Shimano XTR components and brakes, Ritchey WCS carbon pieces, Fox F100RL forks, DT Swiss 4.2 rims and 240 hubs, Schwable Nobby Nic tyres and a Selle Italia SLR XP saddle.

scott voltage yz0 ltd > A few years ago, thanks to the input of long time dirt jumper and freerider, Timo Pritzel, Scott developed the YZ0 Limited and it is back for 2008. Working on the principle that “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” Scott haven’t made many changes to the YZ0 other than update the spec with a few new parts. The forks are from Marzocchi in the form of a set of Dirt Jumper 1’s while the brakes are the popular Avid Juicy Five. The driveline is a mixture of Truvativ Holzfeller cranks and chain guide matched to SRAM X.9 and X.7 derailleur and shifters.

< Scott Aspect FX 15 The Scot Aspect FX 15 represents a new form of dual suspesnion bike for Scott. Utilising the Genius suspension platform found on the MC range, the Aspect also gets the same frame layout as the Aspect hardtails, focusing on comfort and geometry while retaining a price point that is significantly easier on the wallet. The double butted hydroformed tubing of the frame is paired with a Scott LCR rear shock Rock Shox Tora 302 100mm forks, Shimano crankset, XT rear derailleur, LX front, Deore shifters and Alex TD-24 rims with Scott’s own stem, bars, seat, post and tyres.

Scott Ransom LTD > Not happy with just making the lightest hardtail and XC dual suspension bikes around, Scott have also tackled the All-Mountain category with the Ransom Limited. Using CR1 technology to create the Ransom frame, this bike delivers 90-160mm of travel thanks to the Scott Equalizer rear shock and it’s three travel settings (Lockout, TRaction and All-Travel). Keeping the weight down are such extras as the Truvativ Carbon Noir cranks and carbon bars, DT Swiss EX144 wheels, Fox 36 TALAS RC2 forks as well as SRAM X.0 rear derailleur and shifters. Making a rare OEM appearance is the Maverick Speedball seat that allows up to 3 inches of on-the-fly adjustment thanks to the hydraulic action. Think ‘office chair’ but more fun than rolling around a car park with a fire extinguisher. www.freewheel.com.au

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< Felt Nine Pro Another big wheeler to hit the market is the Felt Nine Pro. This is a race ready XC 29” hardtail as much as it is a all day trail bike. With the complete Shimano XT driveline, Rock Shox Reba Race forks, WTB wheels and double butted alloy 29” specific frame the Nine Pro will handle any trail task asked of it. Rounding out the package is a set of Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes and CrossMark 2.1” tyres.

Felt RXC Team > Matching the unsurpassed weight advantage of a butted aluminium frame with the vibration reducing benefit of carbon stays, the RXC is a wide-open XC race bike. To help keep this bike at the lowest point of the weight scale there is a SRAM X0 rear mech and matching shifters, XT crankset, Avid Juicy Seven disc brakes, Easton XCOne wheelset, Rock Shox Reba SL forks and Easton EA70 post and bars.

< Felt Virtue Team After being introduced last year, the Virtue has gained acclaim around the world as a bike that delivers 130mm of supple travel, yet still pedalling like a far shorter travel bike. This achievement stems from the Equilink technology used in all of Felt’s dual suspension designs. The Virtue Team gets Rock Shox Revelation 426 forks, Shimano XTR driveline, XTR wheelsset, XTR brakes, Selle Italia SLR Ti saddle, Easton Monkeylite carbon bars and an Easton EC-70 carbon post.

Felt Compulsion 1 > The Compulsion is a longer travel version of the Virtue, with 145mm of travel delivered by the Equilink suspension system. Matching the longer travel and harder riding that comes with it, the Compulsion gets a double butted 6061 aluminium frame with Rock Shox Pike forks, Shimano XT driveline and XT all-mountain wheel set. Easton EA-70 and EA-50 components make up the controls.

< Felt Redemption 2 For those out there that need yet more travel there is the Redemption. Still using the impressive Equilink technology, the Redemption delivers a full 165mm of travel thanks to a Fox DHX3.0 Air shock. To keep up with the back, the forks are the new Rock Shox Lyric forks that sport 35mm upper tubes and a range of travel from 115160mm and the new Mission Control damping. The rest of the Redemption matches the long travel requirements with SRAM X9 driveline, LX cranks, WTB wheels and Avid Juicy Five disc brakes running 8” rotors.

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Felt :: Cannondale ::

www.feltracing.com www.cannondale.com

Cannondale F1 > The F1 is Cannondale’s top alloy framed hardtail. Featuring the 110mm Lefty Speed Bonded DLR2 fork, the F1 a mix of affordable, yet trustworthy components. With SRAM X9 driveline, SRAM GXP cranks, Avid Juicy 7 brakes, FSA components and a Fizik saddle, the F1 is a no-fuss, no-frills XC workhorse. The F1 is also available as a women’s specific bike with tweaked geometry and women’s specific components.

< Cannondale Taurine Team If you fancy yourself as the next Kashi Leuchs, then this is the bike for you. A full carbon frame has a set of tubeless Crossmax SLR wheels, SRAM X0 triggers and rear mech, Shimano XTR front mech and rear cogs, FSA K-Force carbon bars, Thomson Elite seat post and Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes to keep this bike as light as possible. Of course the bike also gets the impressively light weight Lefty 110mm SL forks. All of this is wrapped up in the Cannondale Verdestein Team colours.

Cannondale Rush Team> If Tinker Juarez is more of an idol than Kashi Leuchs, then the Rush Team is definitely the bike for you. With the simplicity of a single pivot, yielding 110mm of travel, the Rush is super light with enough travel to keep you in the saddle all day long. Apart from the carbon frame, you also get CrossMax SLR wheels, SRAM X0 and Shimano XTR driveline, Avid Ultimate brakes and a 110mm travel Carbon Left SL.

< Cannondale Scalpel Team Getting a face lift from the previous year, the Scalpel has grown a few millimetres in travel, to 100mm. All this travel comes from the carbon flex stays rather than from any pivots, meaning you get enough suspension to take the edge off, while sacrificing the absolute bare minimum of power. Like all the Cannondale Team bikes, the Scalpel gets SRAM X0, Shimano XTR, Avid Ultimate brakes, CrossMax SLR wheels and FSA K-Force carbon bars.

Cannondale Judge DH > Piloted by Australia’s own Mick Hannah, the Judge scored its first World Cup podium at the first round of the series last year and hasn’t looked back. The Judge features three stages of suspension travel as it progresses through the 220mm of travel. The 1st stage is supple for small bump response before moving to a stable pedalling platform and finally ramping up for the big hits. All of this is delivered by a single pivot actuated Fox DHX5.0 coil shock.

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Cannondale Taurine MAG

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Lately I have been racing and riding a lot of cross country. I would have said that I’ve been racing and riding a lot of trails recently, but the XC riding I have been doing has been considerably harder than a trail ride traditionally would be with each ride being a few hours in the saddle at redline from the get go. It’s been fun actually. The racing has been made up of weekly dirt crits around a very fun track that combines tight single track with some open sprint sections where both the track and throttle are wide open. For the type of riding I’ve been doing there is still only one type of bike to look at, a super light hardtail that has been designed to be ridden at redline the whole time. I started my riding career on a hardtail many moons ago, and due to growing up in the world’s flattest town, the XC designed hardtail was soon converted to a dirt jump and dual slalom weapon. While these days I cringe at the thought of trying to dirt jump on an XC bike, I still love the feeling of smashing through the trees at full speed on a light and responsive bike. A perfect example of a bike that is designed for this purpose before any other is the Cannondale Taurine.

The Bike While I was riding the Vredestein Team Replica version of the carbon framed Taurine, it was not exactly what comes off the shelf. The bike I had to ride was one of the steeds used by the Australian Cannondale SRAM mountain bike team bikes - the bike was pimped out with all the best parts on offer by the team sponsors. Such parts included a full complement of SRAM X.0 components, Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes, Mavic Crossmax SLR tubeless wheels, Maxxis Cross Mark tyres, Scud carbon bars and bar ends, titanium railed Fizik Gobi saddle and Cannondale’s own SI cranks and Carbon Lefty fork (retro fitted with the ELO – Electric Lock Out). A close look at the spec shows that there is not much that could be done to shed any more weight off the 10kg bike (hey, they’ve already taken off a fork leg). A full carbon frame with carbon forks and cranks is the cornerstone of what is a super fast XC bike. Combine that with the Crossmax wheels and X.0 twist shifters (twisters are 30 grams lighter than the X.0 triggers), carbon bars and the amazing rolling properties of the Cross Mark tyres and you just know that the bike will be fast. Faster than me, that’s for sure. The frame is the heart of the bike and after success in the road world with the Six13 and SystemSix carbon frames, Cannondale have released the Taurine as the new top of the line hardtail in place of the Optimo Si aluminium framed F4000 SL. The angles on the large (18.7”) frame I tested are what you would expect of an XC race bike: 70 degree head angle, 73 degree seat tube angle, 24.3” long top tube and 16.7 chainstay length. All this combined to make a 43.5” wheelbase. The sizing did stretch you out across the top tube, but more on this later. While the fork on this particular bike used the ELO setup allowing the fork to be locked and unlocked 82

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via a push of a little button on the bars, these weren’t standard. The stock fork is the Carbon Speed Lefty SL 110 but as the travel length and design of the fork are the same, the only difference was the remote electric lockout mounted on the bars. Also of note were the integrated carbon cranks made by FSA. These are another personal upgrade with the stock version getting the Si Hollowgram aluminium cranks.

The Ride Surprisingly, the very first thing I noticed when I geared up and hit the track was that the bike felt dead. I would like to clarify that by ‘dead’, I don’t mean slow, I mean…dead -hope that cleared everything up. Seriously though, while the carbon provides a nice soft feel, there was very little feedback through the bike of what the tyres where doing on the ground. The speed, acceleration and control were there in bucket loads, but the feedback from the trail was muted. This is a side effect of the full carbon ‘everything’ on the bike. Frame, fork, cranks, bars and seat post were all carbon so by

the time any vibration or bump in the track gets from the wheel to your hands, feet or arse most of it has been dissipated through the carbon. Although at first this frustrated and puzzled me (coming off an aluminium dualie that felt more ‘alive’) it was a trait of the frame and bike that I soon accepted and by the end of the first half-hour dirt crit, I had completely gotten over it and moved on. As you can workout from the angles the bike is long, considerably longer than some other 19” sized XC hardtails out there. But in this length lies one of the bikes biggest advantages as once you have come to terms with having a long top tube there is much to be gained from being able to move your weight around as long as you have enough length in your torso and arms to reach the bars. With so much room in the cockpit it is easy to move your weight around on the bike to change between descending, climbing, cornering and sprinting. Even with the long 24.3” top tube and 110mm stem you can move your weight back and get the front wheel up off the ground with very little effort, or alternatively you


Taurine $9000 can shift the weight to the front wheel to keep it tracking when climbing steep winding tracks. The steering angle is a degree slacker than many other XC bikes, and while this may not count for much on paper, it translates to the trail significantly. To start with, the Cannondale didn’t corner as I expected. It always seemed to be understeering a fair amount in the corners. No matter how much weight I piled on the forks, the front wheel wouldn’t bite into the dirt and rail the corner. I soon discovered that unlike other XCO style hardtails, the trick to cornering this bike was not to weight the front wheel for traction, but to weight the back and keep the front as light as possible - a style more suited to a long travel dualie or even a DH bike. As soon as I came to terms with this revelation I was hooking through trees and switchbacks with ease and grace (well at least that’s how it felt). Having the weight back and off the front made it easy to change direction and flick the bike from side to side when the trail tightened up without having to drop the speed, something that is key when smashing those fast laps in a race. An odd little extra particular to this bike was a pair of the Scud carbon bar ends, which was nice. Having never really jumped on the ‘bar end bandwagon’ I was somewhat dubious of riding with these things hanging off the ends of the bars especially considering the week before I had clipped a tree at full tilt during a crit and still had a bruised knuckle and finger to remind me not to cut corners too tight. Apprehensions aside, the bar ends did help on long climbs. Especially because the Taurine does have a long top tube and the 110mm stem, you can use the bar ends to help keep the weight down and forward keeping the front wheel on the ground. With the 70 degree head angle and super light carbon Lefty, you need all the help you can get when it gets super steep. The bar ends also allow a wider grip on the bars for extra leverage when powering up climbs and you are really pulling on the bars with each pedal stroke.

Overall This bike does not lend itself to long lazy days in the saddle as the carbon frame and light weight will

force you to ride the bike fast, not relaxed. Even though you tend to steer with the weight back and have plenty of room to move around on the bike, it still doesn’t mean you can sit back and roll through corners. The Taurine is built to attack trails and that is how you have to ride it. Don’t expect any compensation for mistakes and sloppy steering from the bike or suspension as it is all geared towards a

fast ride and not a soft one. Because the bike is so light, if you get a little messy and hit a rock or tree root unexpectedly you will bounce off it rather than just ride over it. However, if this is what you are looking for in a bike, something to smash fast laps out with your mates at the next endurance race, or to race XC and short track races, you will be hard pressed to find a bike that is better for the job.

The Spec (standard) Frame:

Fork: Wheels: Brakes: Crankset: Drivetrain: Handlebars: Stem: Seat: Seatpost:

Cannondale ‘Obsessively Tested’ highmodulus, unidirectional carbon fiber frame w/System Integration headset cups & bearings Lefty Speed Carbon SL, 110 mm Mavic CrossMax SLR UST wheelset. Maxxis Larsen TT UST 2.0” tyres Avid Juicy Ultimate f: 160mm rotor, r: 140mm rotor Cannondale Si Hollowgram, 22/32/44 Sram X.0 rear mech. Shimano XTR front mech. X.0 Trigger shifters FSA K-Force flat, 31.8mm Cannondale XC3 Si, 31.8mm Fizik Gobi Team Replica Ti FSA K-Force Lite

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Jamis Dakar XAM 2.0 MAG

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Dual-suspension bikes just keep on evolving. Going by the word among MTB speculators, it would seem that if you are not a downhiller, cross-country racer, enduro racer or adventure racer then the bike of choice for your trailrider/back country bandit must have 5-6 inches of freakin’ sweet, pedallingplatform-supported travel. They are not the lightest/fastest/sleekest mountain bikes on the market, but contrary to what singlespeed suckers might try to believe, they are the most fun! Dubbed “all-mountain” bikes by American MTB marketing chumps, these bikes climb well, descend even better and if you come across nasty surprises on the trail, well just jump ‘em homeslice! Yeah, more fun than pedalling around with one gear, for sure!

The Bike The 2007 Jamis Dakar has had a re-structuring. This has come in the form of the rear suspension mount being shifted to the downtube, after its recent success hanging under the top tube. This ultimately aids in the bike’s lower centre of gravity and allows for the lowered “ball saver” top tube, as well as slightly improved cornering. The MP3 (multi-pivot third generation. No, it does not play music, though they may someday soon, the way things are going. It seems a more logical thing than the internet built into your fridge door!?!) suspension system packs its sealed-bearing-linkaged punch directly into a Fox DHX air, which is a fine piece of work and can be held accountable for the bike’s great handling. Up front in the ‘have suspension, will travel’ department, the Dakar sports a set of Fox 32F Talas forks with more than enough travel to take on anything short of a freeway embankment huck. Stroke length is adjustable via a lever on the lefthand air leg top-cap with 100, 120, and 140mm travel settings. The dampening system features a lockout and rebound adjustment, all accessible from the right hand top-cap. The drive system is a hit and, in my book, miss affair. It is almost impossible to fault the ever popular XT hollowtech II crankset, though the chainline on any off-the-rack bike running these cranks is always way-off, the result of which in this case is that the Dakar will not hold 1st and 2nd gears in the middle ring. This can, however be easily rectified by switching one of the spacers on the bottom bracket to the left hand side. This was my first opportunity to ride the new XTR derailleur, and I have to say it is an improvement over the previous model. Shimano have finally realised that spring tension is the key to good shifting, and that the butter-smooth feel at the shifter is only at home on the road. The new XT dual release triggers are neither cheap nor amazing. I don’t care for the new design, and find the triggers not that well shaped for my hands and my hands, at least, are pretty normal. These are, of course, personal opinions based on 84

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personal experience, and when it comes down to it, the XT does what it is supposed to do - shift gears - with no complaints. I did, however, experience skipping and ghostshifting numerous times, but, in all fairness to the components, this was largely caused by the cable

routing which follows the top tube only to take a sharp right-angle turn to meet the seat stays. I couldn’t understand why the rear cable and rear brake hose doesn’t follow the down tube and cut across the shock mount to the seat stay. The cable would follow a more fluid course and shifting would most likely be flawless.


XAM 2.0 $5000

Tested by: Paul Bryant The anchors are provided by Hayes with a set of ElCaminos, which are as attractive as the American car by the same name, only less popular. The pads took an extraordinarily long time to wear in, then were still not very effective by modern brake standards, especially for a top of the range brake (Avid really do seem to have the market by the balls in the braking department, full stop). The wheels are a mix of generic Shimano hubs, sealed thankfully, and Mavic X317 disc rims laced with WTB spokes, wrapped in Maxxis Highroller 2.35 tyres. This brings me to another question. The market is being flooded with ‘all-mountain’ bikes, but few tyre manufacturers are making tyres for them. A search through the catalogues shows the void in the market is yet to be filled. The Highroller is a downhill tyre suited to loose rocky terrain, and is thus of fairly limited utility unless you are going to be pushing the bike’s DH envelope, which in deed you may. The bar and stem combo is, not surprisingly, from Easton, with an EA 70 bar and a vice stem. Seatpost is an Easton Havoc holding a WTB pure V saddle. All good in those respective departments.

The Ride Well, though I was not overly impressed with some of the components, I was fairly impressed with the ride. I have always been a fan of Jamis duallies. They accelerate like a cruise missile and corner like the corkscrew at Seaworld. This one was no exception. Climbing hills while in the saddle, the bike offers little to no movement in the rear end and tracks beautifully over rough terrain. In tight singletrack it was ducking and weaving like a race hardtail, and outperformed most bikes I have ridden over the same trails. On fast transitions between descending and climbing you begin to experience the side effects of the cable routing with the shifting beginning to feel like someone is throwing the derailleur across the cassette - not what you need as you’re tackling a short, steep climb. Descending is what 5.25 inches of suspension is all about, and besides the braking power (or the lack thereof), the

Dakar railed every corner, launched every hump, and tracked every dip better than most bikes and at a fraction of the cost.

Overall I think the Jamis is a great bike for someone who is new to the sport, interested mostly in trailriding

with mates, and doesn’t want to spend big bucks on a new bike. It offers great handling at a reasonable price. The little glitches can either be ironed out or, if you are a fussy bastard, sorted out by an upgrade. Either way, you will be surprised by the new Jamis Dakar XAM.

The Spec (standard) Frame:

Fork: Wheels:

Brakes: Crankset: Drivetrain: Handlebars: Stem: Seat: Seatpost:

Kinesium alloy main triangle and 7005 rear stays, cartridge bearing pivots, fully-active XAM linkage design, 130mm travel Fox DHX Air 5.0 shock Fox Float 32 Talas 100-140mm adj Mavic XM317 Rims& Shimano Deore Disc hubs. Maxxis High Roller 2.35” folding tyres Hayes El Camino Hydraulic Disc f: 7” rotor, r: 6” rotor Shimano Deore XT w/ext BB, 22/32/44 Mech f: Shimano XTR r: Shimano XT Shifters XT Rapidfire Plus-SL shifters Easton EA70 MonkeyBar, 31.8mm Easton Vice All Mountain, 31.8mm WTB Pure V Race FR, Kevlar shoulders Easton Havoc micro-adjust www.freewheel.com.au

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KHS Solo-One SE MAG

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I would like to start out by making an observation about the KHS Solo-One SE: that this bike shares some characteristics with a Ford Mustang, but does that make it any less of a bike? Now that most people have scoffed at that claim and turned the page, here is the logic behind my wild claim: The KHS single speed 29’er represents a trend in cycling, a fashion trend. It is currently fashionable to ride a single speed (or even a fixie if you are a real hard man) and with the 29” wheels, full rigid frame and fork constructed from steel the KHS is the pinnacle of off the shelf packaged fashion. It could also be argued that it is the perfect first timers bike… but that isn’t the point I want to make yet.

The Bike The Ford Mustang rose to the dizzying heights of international stardom after Steve McQueen drove the wheels off one in the 1968 movie ‘Bullit’. At the time, the Mustang represented the peak of American muscle-car engineering. A big engine, was strapped to a small and light chassis with a two door coupe shell dropped over it. It was fast, simple and sold more than 1,000,000 cars in the first year and a half of production. Quite a feat in 1964. Yet in 2007 Ford is still offering the Mustang with all the latest and greatest technology… from the 1960’s. The new model has a supercharged 5.4 litre engine and live axle rear suspension that is as antiquated as a Collins class submarine. Basically it is a steel bar with a wheel at each end. Do you see where I’m heading with this… The KHS is a steel bar with a wheel at each end as well. And like the heavy steel donk in the front of the Mustang, the KHS utilises antiquated technology comparable to the bikes that the guys used in the first ever Tour De France. Moving away from the comparisons with a muscle car, there are many similarities between a Tour de France race bike, circa 1910 and the KHS. Similarities like the frame material (although the KHS does run much more refined tubing), the lack of gears, the lack of suspension and the tyre size. Another noteworthy item would be that they are designed to tackle similar terrain, if you don’t believe me have a look at turn-of-the-century European roads.

The Ride Without any gears and the combination of a measly 33-22t gear selection and 175mm cranks I thought that I would be timing my rides with a calendar rather than a watch. With a common rule of thumb for 29” bikes to run two teeth more at the rear than a 26” single speed I was afraid that the very lowgeared 33-22t was going to have a top speed of five kilometres a day. While 175mm cranks are the most common length on an MTB a 180mm crank adds that extra leverage for powering up climbs. Thanks to the low gearing, the bike didn’t require the extra leverage from a longer crank to get to the top of the climbs, but it didn’t exactly hum along at a high speed. The big wheels help the bike to 86

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move without spinning your arse off but the bike didn’t go that fast on the flat, and pedalling down a descent wasn’t an option. On one particular ride that included a long section of flat fire road, it was a struggle to keep pace with my geared colleague as he clicked in to 44-14 and pedalled along comfortably. But there was an advantage to the lowly gearing. I rode a lap of a local endurance event on the Solo-One and I found that the speed of the single

speed was quite even throughout the lap - the only way up the climb is to get on top of the gear and go fast; the only way down, to freewheel and try to stay off the brakes. Helping achieve the consistent speed are the 29” wheels, which carry momentum over obstacles with less resistance than their 26” brethren, and the fully ridged chassis helps by allowing all the power to get to the ground rather than being watered down by suspension. So while people go flying past on the descents, you get your own back the moment it goes back uphill as you


Solo-One SE $969 power past them leaving nothing in your wake but a sense of superior power and climbing prowess…well that’s the idea anyway.

Overall The overall package is subtle but very cool with all black wheels and a matte green finish, yet the big wheels make enough of a difference for the bike stand out from those under the rest of the lycra-clad warriors at your local trail, while also marking you as a connoisseur of the finer things in the MTB world. Not be mistaken as a cheap entry

into the dirty side of cycling (although its price and upgradability make it an excellent choice for a first timer) the fully rigid frame is an uncompromising reminder of how we (or rather, they) used to do it in the old days. Without suspension there is nothing to hide your mistakes and you may spear off into the trees if you aren’t smooth and quick at picking a line. However, for all the lack of technology, the minimalist nature of the bike and design harking back to the early days of cycling, the KHS is an

absolute blast to ride. While forty years on the Mustang is still a high powered, under-developed car that will never be comparable to a Formula One car, it posses the potential to put a smile on your face because it won’t fall apart the first time it hits a small bump in the road. The KHS has this same ability because of the lack of gimmicks, technological wizardry and superfluous add ons. If you are looking at re-energising your riding then this is the bike for you. It is cheap, sub-$1000 cheap, and it will do everything an XC bike will do while teaching you how to be a better, smoother rider.

The Spec Frame:

Fork: Wheels:

Brakes: Crankset: Drivetrain: Handlebars: Stem: Seat: Seatpost:

True Temper Verus Full CrMo, Double Butted top & down tubes. Verticle Dropouts with Sliding Adjustment and Disc Mount 29” CrMo 4130, Disc Mount Sun Rhynolite 29” rims, Alloy Disc QR (front) & Disc Single Speed Cassette QR (rear). Karma Kevlar Folding, 29 x 2.2” Tyres Tektro Linear Pull Brakes Truvativ Isoflow 33T w/Alloy Guard Steel 20t Truvativ XR XC Riser Truvativ XR WTB Weirwolf Dual Density Alloy micro-adjust

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This is a little different to the standard review of a bike. Unlike other bikes that turn up, get ridden a large amount in a short space of time, get evaluated and reviewed and then shipped back out, this bike has been with me for nigh on twelve months. It has been to countless races, epic long trail rides chasing the tails of Australian representatives, cycling clinics with aspiring trail riders and of course many trips of personal enlightenment on some of the most amazing trails in Australia. But while the Iron Horse Azure hasn’t remained entirely consistent in its spec, it has remained totally reliable in performance.

The Bike So to start with, the Azure is one of many of the Iron Horse range to feature the DW-Link found on the World Cup and World Championship-dominating Sunday DH bikes. This is a patented suspension design from the mind of Dave Weagle, someone who has come to the fore of bicycle design in the last five years. If you haven’t heard of Dave Weagle then, in short, he is a physics and kinetic energy whiz who happened to also be obsessed with bicycles. The Azure is a 3.5” (90mm) travel application of the same design featured in all “DW-Link” suspended Iron Horse bikes. The fundamental basis for the “DW-Link” design is that the suspension needs to counter Newton’s law: “everything has an equal and opposite reaction”. In a riding situation this occurs when the bike accelerates. As the bike moves forward the rider’s weight moves backwards, compressing the rear suspension. As the suspension compresses, the distance from the rear axle to bottom bracket changes and if this is a significant enough change you get pedal feedback, or suspension bob. The “DW-Link” is designed to have supple suspension over small bumps while still countering the rearward movement of the rider’s mass. But that is just the half of it. The opposite of accelerating is braking and the small bump response combined with the neutral impact the brakes have on the suspension travel allow the bike to remain fully active and balanced even under the hardest of braking forces. Now we’ve covered the design, to the parts. The Azure Expert turned up complete, as it would off the showroom floor and so it stayed for the first while. The spec was top shelf, even though there is actually another model higher in the range. Of note was: a complete Deore XT drivetrain, including the often neglected shifters, Race Face Evolve XC cranks featuring the new standard external bottom bracket, DT Swiss XM4.1 rims laced to DT Swiss 340 Disc hubs with black butted DT spokes, Thomson seatpost, Ritchey Pro lo-rise bars and stem topped off with a Selle Italia SLR XC Kevlar shouldered saddle. All this was brought to a grinding halt by a set of Avid Juicy 7 hydraulic discs, while a combination of Maxxis Ignitor and CrossMark tyres kept the wheels connected to the dirt. Complementing the comprehensive component list was the Fox F100R forks and Float R rear 88

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shock. It is worth noting that none of the DW-Link trail bikes use the ‘better’ Pro-Pedal equipped RP2 or RP23 Fox shocks as the DW design negates the need for a pedalling platform shock.

The Changes Many changes were made to the Iron Horse over the twelve months. The wheels have been swapped to a super light set of hand built TWE wheels. The brakes have been swapped over to a set of Tektro Auriga hydraulic discs. The tyres have alternated between sets of Maxxis and Hutchinson, while a multitude of lighting systems, computers and heart rate monitors have been strapped to the bars.

While the changes have never affected the behaviour of the bike as a whole package, they have caused slight changes that are worth noting just to demonstrate how a bike really can be more than the sum of its parts. The wheels, while originally spec’ed with a decent quality set, made the biggest individual difference, followed by the tyres. Both these items made a massive difference to the perception of speed that the Azure could produce. With lighter wheels and lower rotational weight, the bike positively leapt out of corners and up climbs. The tyres also changed the rolling resistance and the adhesion level offered on the trail and hence, the control and feedback offered to the rider. The


Azure $4999

lighting systems, heart rate monitors and computers all added extra weight to the bike, which started off at an impressive 12.4kgs, and consequently affected the effort involved in pushing the bike around the trail.

The Ride You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help but get excited just looking at the bike with its quality bronze and white finish. Aside from this though, the overall look of the frame tubing is somewhat traditional considering the progressive design of the suspension. With a standard shaped front triangle and rear triangle, the low top tube is the only thing slightly remarkable. Looks aside and moving on to the trail I was constantly reminded of how stiff a dual suspension bike can be. Thanks to the solid rear triangle with short linkages connecting the two halves of the bike there is minimal flex from the rear end. Tracking through uneven terrain littered with tree roots and ruts the bike steered really well with the rear wheel duly following the front. The 2007 Float forks, using an upgraded chassis, were stiffer than ever, making a perfect match for the rear end. As the forks are only the R model, and the only feature is rebound adjustment, you do need to be aware that you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tweak the compression rate of the fork more than altering the air pressure in the left leg. www.freewheel.com.au

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A RLC model would have been nice just to give the ability to adjust the compression rate, but having said that, the forks felt great from day one onwards and only the very particular riders out there would feel the need to mess with the factory-set compression rate. As the suspension remains fully active at the back, the bike feels and handles the best when the forks are left free to work with the rear of the bike. Thanks to the low top tube, 70.5 degree head angle and 73 degree seat tube, the bike has an aggressive stance that just wants to be pushed in to corners. If you keep the weight on the bars and hook into the trail you are rewarded with an exhilarating ride. The bike is very balanced. When it comes to jumps and rollers in the trail you can easily and confidently hit the jump and manual through rough terrain without feeling like you going to spear off into the trees. Even climbing isn’t too much of an ask on the Azure thanks to the great pedalling efficiency. The driveline runs seamlessly and the renewed focus from Shimano on their Rapidfire system has, in my humble opinion, been the biggest step forward since the introduction of the first generation nine speed XTR. With the flexibility to shift the ‘trigger’ in either direction using either the thumb or the index finger Shimano has come back from the wilderness of the dual control shifters. The new derailleur works as well as ever and performed completely fault free the entire time. If only they could do something about it smacking the frame…

The Longevity Unfortunately a procession of cycling and heart rate computers have been fitted to the bike in the twelve month period so a clear account of every kilometre travelled isn’t available, but as an indication the bike has raced at over twenty weekly Dirt Crits (some of which were unbelievably muddy), been on countless trail rides around Melbourne’s local hotspots as well as several ‘all-day’ epics. The bike got dragged around a few endurance races such as the Chase The Sun series and to top it all

off did three days of solid riding around some of Canberra’s top trails. So with somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000kms clocked up on the bike you might be wondering what state it is in now. Well understandably there has been some changes to the overall aesthetics of the bike. Namely, the gear cables rubbed on the top of the forks crown, causing the nice white finish to get rubbed away, leaving bare metal exposed. The rest of the bike has remained in excellent condition, showing that even the finish of the bike is important to Iron Horse. There is nothing worse than taking your new bike out for a spin only to have it looking like a two year old bike after the first muddy ride. The chain and cassette, which come from the SRAM camp, are still the original units and thanks to regular cleaning and lubrication and are still shifting smoothly without fault. The XT derailleurs and shifters have proven to be trustworthy units with no fuss from that department, and even though the bike has been ridden through some epic, muddy rides and races, the cables still feel light and free. Two things to be aware of with the spec. Firstly, the DT Swiss rims are notoriously soft and I dented the rear one fairly early in the piece while flying through some root-infested pine forest trails. Keeping an eye on the dent, it hasn’t affected the ride of the bike and hasn’t developed into a sidewall crack. While causing the rim to spin a little wobbly, this wasn’t anything that couldn’t be taken care of with a quick twist of the spoke key. The other issue arising from the DT spec was the habit the front quick release had of unwinding itself under braking force. If the quick release was orientated vertically it would slowly undo until all of a sudden (usually at the bottom of a long steep descent that required heavy braking) you would find the front wheel just wobbling around in the dropouts. The issue was easily fixed by doing the QR up so that it was directly under the fork leg, leaving it nowhere to go when the brakes were applied.

Cont. The Avid brakes proved to be on the money every ride and have worked faultlessly the whole time. Even though they had been dragged through some particularly bad conditions that normally chew out brake pads fairly quickly, the pads in the Juicy 7’s still have a reasonable amount of meat left on them. It remains to be seen how well the Tektros wear. The suspension still feels free and smooth with only regular checks and occasional top ups of the air pressure required. This stands as a testament to the quality of the Fox seals and internals. In twelve months of riding the suspension only requires a standard service, with no blown seals, leaking oil or gouged stanchions.

The End The Azure Expert is the complete package. It does everything well, doesn’t weigh a ton (for what it is), has an amazing spec level and doesn’t cost a year’s wage. The frame is the same that you get on the range-topping Azure World Cup or the entry level Azure Sport and the attention to detail is right up there with any handmade American or European brand. The only real disappointments with the whole bike was that the DT rims did dent easily and didn’t seem as strong or true as a set of Mavic rims, that and the cables rubbing on the top of the forks causing an ugly ‘scar’ on the otherwise beautiful finish (something that is easily fixed with a set of cable cutters or a frame-protecting sticker). Having the DT quick releases come undone several times was also a little unnerving. The grips did feel a bit thin to start with and I could get the Ignitor tyre on the rear to lose traction easily on climbs, however those issues are an easy fix and don’t impact on how the bike fundamentally works and rides. The engineering behind the bike is daunting but the result is a simple system that works. You can rest assured that as the rider, you will reap the benefits of Dave Weagle’s years of obsessing over suspension.

The Spec (original) Frame: Fork: Wheels: Brakes: Crankset: Drivetrain: Handlebars: Stem: Seat: Seatpost:

3.5” Travel dw-link 6069 aluminium frame, Zerostack headtube. Fox Float R rear shock Fox 32 F100r, 100mm travel, external rebound adjustment DT Swiss 340 Disc hubs, DT Swiss XM4.10 rims. Maxxis CrossMark 2.1 (f), Maxxis Ignitor 1.95 (r) Avid Juicy Seven Hydraulic, 160mm rotors Race Face Evolve XC w/ext X-Type BB Shimano Deore XT derailleur (f & r), Deore XT Rapidfire Triggers Ritchey Pro Rizer 31.8mm Ritchey Pro V2 31.8mm Selle Italia SLR XC, Vanox rails Thomson Elite 27.2mm post

Also Used: Hutchinson Pihrana 2.0” & Barracuda 2.1” tyres, Michelin XCR Mud tyres, SRAM 990 Cassestte, Tektro Auriga brakes, TWE wheels, KORE carbon I-Beam seat post & saddle, Sigma lights, Cygo Lights, Minewt lights, Sigma HR computer, Echowell HR computer, Suunto T6 HR monitor, Crank Bros Acid pedals,. 90

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WWW.SCOTT24HR.COM.AU


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Hutchinson Piranha 2.0” NE ZI

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When it comes to lightweight fast rolling XC tyres there has been one tyre that continually turns up on racers’ bikes - the Hutchinson Python. To move forward from the highly successful Python, the French boffins at Hutchinson stopped flirting with each other at a café on the Riviera and set aside their escargots and lattés to design the new Piranha tyre. The Piranha is similar to the Python in the sense they are both lightweight, fast rolling trail/race tyres, yet the Piranha is different enough in tread design and application to justify its existence. The centre line of the Piranha is made up of closely-spaced, shallow and angled knobs. The pattern is made up of both accelerating and braking knobs to make sure you get maximum traction on the front and rear regardless of whether you are powering up a hill or braking in to a corner. The shallow nature of the knobs reduces rolling resistance to a minimum and also helps to get you along the tarmac commutes that are inevitably going to occur getting to and from the trail head whether racing or riding recreationally. The biggest point of difference from the Python is that the side knobs are considerably more aggressive, with (relatively)large square knobs

sticking out on an angle ready to dig in when the bike is anything but 90 degrees to the trail. The knobs are by no means massive and are still somewhat shallow when compared to more aggressive trail tyres, but for an XC tyre they offer more cornering traction than most other tyres out there, especially at this low weight. These tyres really shine when you are on hard packed dirt, covered with just a thin layer of loose, fine dirt. Thanks to the shallow knobs they roll really well on the hard pack while they are still able to find traction in the loose dirt. The tyres transfer reasonably well to softer and looser ‘top soil’ where there is far more dirt for the tyres to really bite into, although because the knobs are so shallow they will not dig in like the more aggressive tyres out there. The angle and size of the side knobs really helps cornering confidence when leaning into a corner.

of the lack of it. Trying to corner in mud was like trying to ride on an ice rink, which was fun and challenging, but not overly fast. Thanks to the impressive 450g weight tag (Air Light, 595g for tubeless) the Piranha’s are the pick when it comes to super fast and super light tyres and with the aggressive side knobs and low rolling resistance don’t be surprised to see these tyres turning up at a lot of endurance events as well as all the XC races.

The downfall of a tyre like this is that it doesn’t perform well outside of the above circumstances. On really gravely surfaces the tyres are particularly sketchy as the knobs are not long enough to penetrate the gravel to gain traction. Not so surprisingly the tyres are like racing slicks in the wet. Racing in the pouring rain was a truly fun experience, not because of the traction, but because

Selle Italia SLR Teknologika No sooner had I contemplated putting this very expensive piece of jewellery on my bike that it had been given the name “the intruder”. I decided quickly that never had something which was supposed to be a saddle ever looked so unlike what it was supposed to be, well except for those prostate friendly seats which are just two little buttock cups. Yes, my bottie and I both agreed that the Selle Italia SLR Teknologika saddle was, and still is, a quite unique saddle. But would something so significantly different to all the things bottie and I were used to be up to the task? The Teknologika is a unique beast, a minimalist beauty - a sheet of carbon cut and bent at the edges, some rails bunged on and a squirt of gel for good measure. Like all bike jewellery you pay a hefty price for something that weighs very little but hopefully does the same job as an equivalent product which costs half, and weighs double, as much. This saddle is the lightest thing I have probably picked up, ever. At about 120gms, most dealers probably carry more on a Saturday

night. My only genuine concern was not the light construction, Selle Italia assure us that it is strong enough to handle any normal road or mtb loads, but it was the padding. Now while many will remind me that I’ve developed a bit of my own padding in the last year the thin smattering of gel which comes on the Teknologika made me think about wearing four pairs of knicks - thus defeating the purpose of the weight-loss exercise - just to make a leisurely jaunt bearable. However, my concerns were allayed as soon as I ‘swung a leg’ and mounted the beast. The carbon shell is hard, there’s no getting around that, but the small amount of padding seemed, well, adequate. The small gel pad which covers about 90% of the carbon shell looks kind of token, but it’s pretty much all you need. That’s not to say that riding the Teknologika was just like riding on any other ‘normal’ saddle, you were pretty much constantly aware that you were riding on 120g of saddle. Also, by very virtue of its rigidity and lack of padding you really did notice every bump on the road. But, importantly even on rides over 3hrs where the old ‘numb bum’ can creep up you, the Teknologika seemed only

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slightly more prone to bringing on the numbness than normal saddles. When sliding forward on back for technical manoeuvres the saddle did what it was supposed to - even on long-ish steep climbs when it was necessary to creep forward onto the tip of the saddle, the carbon tip didn’t seem to be any different to any other saddle. My only reservation with this saddle, apart from how it would cope with being crashed on, was that the nose was a little wide and I just felt a tiny bit of chafe on the inner thighs. But I’m sure not everyone will find this a problem. Apart from that, the Teknologika really surprised me. I never thought that a saddle that looked so hard and minimalist could do such a bloody good job at such a little weight cost. It wouldn’t be a great saddle for just chewing the miles, or if all you rode on was rough tracks/roads. But as a race saddle or for shorter rides on your pimp machine, this is your saddle. This is a serious piece of bike jewellery, make no mistake about it. You will shell out serious coin but unlike many areas on a bike where you can pay a lot for little gain, this saddle could save you some serious grammage. A great race saddle and a trick bit of fully pretty functional bling. C’mon, what are college funds for anyway…?


TWE Handbuilt Wheels Having a pair of hand built wheels for your bike is more than getting some fancy polished rims for your car. Where a set of 22” chrome wheels on your slammed two-tone Ford Explorer may look ‘fully sick’ while cruising down the local drag, on car, new wheels doesn’t exactly help performance. However getting a set of 26” lightweight hand built TWE wheels for my Iron Horse Azure. You may think that there isn’t much to be said for a set of wheels. They are round even after several hard rides, the spin freely and don’t weigh much. But there is more to a set of hand built wheels than just looking at the final weight and thinking, “hey these are really light.” Hand built wheels have a life of their own and will last far longer than any factory-constructed or machine-built wheels, as long as the parts used are of good quality. The man behind TWE, Greg Ryan, hand builds all the wheels that come out of the TWE office and with years of experience you know that they are built to last. Before he even sets spoke to nipple, Greg queries the prospective rider about every

aspect of possible use for the wheels. Starting with your physical dimensions (height, weight and so on) Greg will also want to know your experience level as a rider, how many kilometres a week you will average on the wheels, whether they are going to be race, training or just get about wheels and, of course, the all important colour preferences. For a little extra you can get a crash replacement policy that can last from one year to lifetime depending on what you organise with Greg when ordering the wheels. So the pair of TWE wheels I dropped into my Azure were exactly the performance upgrade I needed. With light weight rims and hubs hand built using DT Swiss 2.0/1.8 butted spokes and alloy nipples (anodised red of course, it spins faster…) I was guaranteed a significant weight saving over my existing wheels and that saving meant I would go faster with less energy. TWE, which stands for Two Wheel Enterprises, source their own rims and hubs from Taiwan upon which they get the TWE graphics applied to the

rim and laser etched onto the hub. The rims have a slight ‘V’ profile and are disc only. Interestingly these particular rims are not eyeleted, but rest assured Greg will recommend eyeleted rims if you need them. The join in the rim is so well aligned that it is completely indistinguishable from the rest of the hoop. The hubs are machined to within an inch of their life with six very minimal tabs to mount the rotor to. The disc side of the front hub runs a slightly larger diameter flange that is machined out to save weight while the flanges on the rear hub are equally sized with only the disc side machined out. The hubs use quality Japanese sealed bearings to provide an excellent balance of longevity, strength and weight. The freehub has twenty-four engagement points meaning that there is 15 degrees of rotation between engagements. For reference the standard Shimano hub has about 16 engagement points with 22.5 degrees between pick up points. When riding the wheels it is instantly evident how lively they feel. The impressive weight and taught butted spokes make for a snappy response from the bike when the power is put down. There just seems to be no restriction in the speed that you can roll at (except your own ability of course). Part of this feeling is the use of the light and strong DT Swiss spokes. Where some wheelsets use bladed alloy spokes, or other different spoke systems the standard 3-cross steel spoked TWE wheels seem to transfer more power [I don’t think you can claim that they transfer more power etc…hence insertion of ‘seem’] to the ground and they also seem to relate far more trail information back through the wheels to the rider. Some complete wheelsets feel ‘dead’ as the large alloy spokes absorb all the little vibrations that the rider can use for feedback about the trail. Because of the significant level of tension on the spokes they are unbelievably responsive in the corners. At several races that these wheels participated carried me through, there were some very fast, rutted and rough corners and it was amazing how well the wheels tracked straight and true regardless of how many sharp corners and edges grabbed at the wheel. Especially evident was the power transfer when trying to power up a climb towards the end of the race when the legs and heart feel decidedly empty. With such a low rotating weight and the tight spokes, the smallest effort still makes it back to the wheel helping to roll it over even when grinding up a hill. These wheels are definitely aimed for those who want to go very fast and are smooth on the trail. The alloy nipples and lack of eyeleting could cause some grief for heavy riders that tend to bounce through sections rather than flow along the trail. Combining the wheels with a fast and light tyre will make for an almost unbeatable set of race wheels. Hell Perren is still riding the same pair he used at the Worlds last year in NZ. “So what?” you ask, well he did a whole lap minus his front tyre, cobbles, jumps and all.

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Mavic Crossmax wheels are becoming the industry standard race-wheel. Man/woman walks into shop, wants race wheel, walks out with Crossmax = happy. No joke. Despite other players stepping up to the plate in the Race Wheel World Series from the big (Shimano) to the small (TWE), people are seemingly bloody happy to hand over the cold-hard for Mavics in the majority of cases. It probably has something to do with the excellent reputation that Mavic has built up as a brand that specialises in doing wheels very well. It also probably has a lot to do with these wheels being some of the quickest money can buy at that pricepoint. Wheels are probably the biggest upgrade you can make on a bike worth over $3k unless it already comes with these puppies as standard. Wheels can transform a bike from a heavy-footed stayer to a greyhound with four quick release flicks and about a grand of folding. Seriously though, if someone said, here is a Kmart mountain bike in your size, you have to race it in 30mins and you can make one upgrade…I know I’d be going for some of Crossmax SLs. Hell, even if you’ve already got some Crossmax SLs - the new model brings in lighter and stiffer wheels with less inertia. The disc version weighs in at 685 and 835 grams for front and rear respectively, shedding 150g with narrower rims, more titanium

and some design improvements which include wider dish and bearing spacings and more milling. But it’s not all take take take as Mavic have tweaked a few things here and there to increase the longevity of this fat-free version of the Crossmax SLs. The only one of these changes even possibly noticeable under foot is the weight, and maybe the stiffness. The SLs are absolute rockets in this department and it is this way that they have the ability to change a nice bike into a racing weapon with the aforementioned flicks of the quick releases. One minute my bike was a decent rig that could take a bit of a beating and go fast for short bursts, next it was a racing machine which wanted to be hurled into every corner, climb and straight as if we were chasing Julien Absalon.

into far greater conversion from power output to trail-speed. The whole package really transformed my bike. And as if I didn’t notice the difference enough when I fitted the Mavic Crossmax SLs, when I had to go back to the old faithfuls…oh what a sad day. Experiencing the reverse of the above was not an enjoyable experience. All in all these wheels were a perfect upgrade for my already pretty nice rig. With all the increases in stiffness and durability, you could almost convince yourself to ride on them year-round. Wheels are the perfect area to upgrade and with the technology that Mavic deliver in these SLs, you get some pretty serious bang for your buck.

As soon as I had fitted the wheels, the first noticeable thing was the ‘kurbside’ weight of the bike - significantly lighter. Next and very importantly, the two-tone grey/black hubs and generally silver appearance make the bike look super-stealth. On the fly, the decreased inertia (from my OEM wheels at least) was immediately noticeable as significantly less energy was required to kick the bike to life - it was like I had fitted an electric start to a previously kick-started moto. On the trail the decreased weight was noticeable in negotiating tricky sections of trail as the bike was just easier to pick up and put down where required. The drive out of corners was amazing with the decreased weight and increased stiffness converting

2008

WILDSIDEMTB MTB

JANUAR MOUNTAIN TO BEACH

JANUARY 19-22

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Whilst not viewed as a high end product, Tektro are possibly one of the biggest brake companies in the world thanks to the massive quantities of product they supply OEM to bicycle manufacturers. Even though they haven’t really been a provider of quality aftermarket brakes, there is no denying that they produce a very good linear pull calliper and dual pivot road calliper. Yes they do create some cheap entry level products and the OEM market demands these products, but they also manufacture full carbon road callipers, cyclocross brakes and more recently they have entered the world of hydraulic disc brakes. The purpose of this review is not to extol the virtues of buying a new set of hydraulic brakes as an upgrade, but to have a look at what more and more bikes are being provided with off the shop floor. What level of performance can you expect from a bike equipped with these brakes? What level of maintenance is required and how hard is it to get replacement parts and service is available. So first up, I would like to start with fitting them up. While this is not really a concern for new bike owners, the ease of set up and adjustment will come into play further down the line of a bike’s riding career. The lever has a split clamp design so it is easy to pull the lever off, move it in or out and swap sides if you run the front brake on the left. The split clamp allows changes without the hassle of pulling grips and shifters off first. The calliper uses a ‘Hayes’ style adapter to bolt to IS mounts on the forks and rear of the bike, or will bolt directly to any Manitou fork. It is worth noting here that for 2008 there are a lot more direct mount forks becoming available with both Fox and RockShox using the direct mount configuration for their forks. The system is a full open hydraulic arrangement with dual pistons. This means that both pistons retract away from the rotor. By squeezing the brake with the calliper bolts loose, the calliper aligns itself over the rotor, tighten the mounting bolts and there you have it, drag-free running. So setup is as easy as pie. How well do they perform? The very first thing I noticed is the (long) time it took for the brakes to come to full power. Every disc brake requires a burn-in period where the pads and rotor need to reach a high temperature and to remove the factory ‘sheen’ caused by manufacturing to start to work at their optimal level. Initially expecting the brakes to be working at their utmost by the end of a very wet and muddy criterium race, as the mud always help to bed the brakes in quickly, I was disappointed at what appeared to be a lack of power from the brakes. After a few more rides the brakes did become more powerful and I am now reasonably happy with the power provided by the brakes. There are definitely more powerful brakes around that weigh less, but they are also far more expensive and are not likely to be found on the average $1000 - $2000 bike. Even still, two fingers were required for quick, hard, stops and this is with a 180mm rotor up front, 20mm bigger and allegedly more powerful than a standard 160mm rotor. 96

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The fact that the lever is designed for two fingers is also a point of contention for me. I am a firm believer that with the power provided by disc brakes (and even quality linear brakes) only one finger should be required to come to a grinding halt. Looking at the lever you could be mistaken for thinking that they had just borrowed a clutch lever from a 1980’s dirt bike, rather than something fitting with the style and minimal designs being produced by other brake manufacturers. The lever blade is grossly long and the oil reservoir looks to be modelled on the Avid Juicy design, but bigger and bulkier. Apart from the lack of aesthetics, and the apparent disregard for ergonomics in relation to the shape of the lever, the whole unit is so long that it needs to be mounted a long way in from the grip, which can impact on the placement of the shifter. With oversize and riser bars, you may find that you can’t slide the lever far enough in to get it in a comfortable position. One of the deciding issues with any part you buy for your bike, or that comes complete with a new bike, is the aftermarket serviceability. As Tektro

isn’t a big standalone provider of aftermarket parts, you can’t just walk into any bike shop and expect them to have spares on hand. Luckily Tektro are aware of this and have set up an Australian service centre in the form of Adventure Brands (the Jamis distributors - among other things). With Adventure Brands holding everything you could need for a repair it is no longer a battle to get brake pads, replacement hoses or different adapters should the need arise. When it comes to more simple work, the brakes use mineral oil, the same as many other brake system on the market, and this allows for easy home maintenance if it just a simple bleed required, without the corrosive fear caused by DOT fluid. While I wouldn’t recommend anyone to rush out and strip their old brakes off their bike in favour for a set of Auriga brakes, I wouldn’t consider it to be a deciding factor when buying a new bike equipped with them. In the level of bike that they are spec’ed on you could do a lot worse than the Auriga brake. They beat all cable disc brakes I have played with, apart from the range topping BB7 from Avid, and perform better than some reputable hydraulic brand names.


Michelin XCR Mud We have had a pair of Michelin XCR Mud tyres sitting in the cupboard for a long time. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve just been waiting for an opportune moment to get onto a bike and see some action. As rain in Australia has gone down the same road as the Tasmanian Tiger (officially extinct with occasional rumours of it running through the trees - the rain not the tiger) it looked like the tyres would be sitting there for a long time still, or possibly shipped elsewhere in search for sufficiently muddy terrain so as to make use of their potential. However we have thankfully seen a return of inclement weather (at least in Melbourne) and once again the trails are mucky and slippery ready for some good olâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fashioned dirty fun.

from sharp hidden obstacles, the knobs are taller and far more aggressive than any dry weather tyre. At 2.0â&#x20AC;? wide the tyres are narrow enough to cut through any slop and mud on the trail, enabling the knobs to get into the firmer dirt underneath for traction.

Because these are a mud specific tyre they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get used much in Australia, even if we werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t gripped by a drought. There are still times and places where you would do nearly anything for a set of light and fast mud tyres and if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe me, talk to anyone that raced at Mt Beauty in February or the Oceaniaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in March. But anyway, moving on.

The knobs themselves are directional, providing the highest level of traction when accelerating or braking. With wide spaces between each knob, the tyres clear mud easily although when moving quickly a lot of it will end up in your face and up your back - still two better places than on your wheels as rotating weight. The patterns of the knobs allow a comparison with the paddles on a paddle steamer, as they are wide and deep. Across the centre of the tyre the wide knobs are curved slightly to act like a scoop on the rear, while the tyre is run the opposite direction on the front so the same scoops dig in under braking forces on the front. Along the side, the knobs are still widely spaced but are so aggressive that they will hold on at even the most ridiculous angles.

The XCR Mudâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s are a little on the heavy side with the tubed version we tested weighing in at 570 grams a tyre, minus the mud. For the record the tubeless tyre tips the scales at 775 grams. However there is a purpose to the weight. Apart from a stronger than usual tyre casing to protect the tube

When riding these tyres it is an unavoidable issue that they feel heavy and slow on the trail. Any tyre with knobs this big would, but the moment the trail turns from hardpack to mud you will be revelling in the traction provided. Where other tyres slide and squirm around under power or braking, the tall,

aggressive knobs of the XCR Mud stick in and keep everything upright and moving forward. Even if it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t super mud but just really soft loamy dirt, the traction provided is amazing. Of course there is a downside to mud tyres. As I stated earlier, they are heavier and when not on super soft or muddy terrain the tall knobs really slow you down. If you are heading out for a ride and know that the majority of the trail will be dry, or a least mud free, then leave the muds at home. The traction provided where it is wet is great, but overall they are so slow everywhere else and are prone to wearing out quickly. Having said that, when the conditions call for it, these tyres can transform a dry-weather racing machine into a mudbath weapon. These tyres may only be useful in a small minority of conditions but when the time comes they can save the day.

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Sam Hill, Stromlo Nationals, 2009 Photo BikePix



FreeWheel Magazine Issue #32