hat a year 2016 has been for everyone here at Saddleback! Despite a challenging market for many, the company has enjoyed continued double-digit growth over the last financial year. Moreover, we have certainly achieved our number one objective for the year of strengthening our brand portfolio to reflect the significant growth we see in the mountain bike market. Given our self-imposed company objective of representing only the world’s most desirable elite performance brands, we started the year with a list of just three iconic mountain bike brands that we would consider adding to our portfolio. To say we were delighted to add two of them inside six months – Intense and Chris King – would be an understatement, yet to add the third before the financial year was out – Troy Lee Designs – is truly humbling. When you consider the brand portfolio that Saddleback is immensely proud to represent, it is like no other found in the UK bicycle industry. It is therefore with great confidence and enthusiasm that we embark upon the third era of Saddleback’s business growth and development. We have just taken possession of our new combined 40,000 square-feet, purpose-built office and warehouse facility. This new custom-fitted home will enable us to not just grow our business but to continue to do justice to these industry leading brands and to our own high expectations. The building has been designed with dealer education and training in mind, as well as entertaining of course! For a number of years now we have had a hugely successful House Show each September, which many have kindly taken the time to join us at. Starting in 2017 we will increase this to two very specific and tailored seasonal events that will reflect what the industry is offering during the spring-summer period and that needed for the autumn-winter season. In between, we will have a number of brand-specific related training clinics that we will be running to give the technical support necessary to ensure that the high standards and expectations of these worldleading brands continue to be met. To help you, we continue to add the very best talent we can find and with a workforce soon to exceed 50 we are doing all that we can to keep pace with the increased expectations that you are rightly putting on us. As awestruck as we are with the growth this business has enjoyed since its humble origins some 12 years ago, we continue to work hard to have the genuine persona that truly reflects the people we individually are. Thank you for all your loyal support over the years, but be assured we are only just getting started…
ANDY WIGMORE FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
SADDLEBACK AT FORT WILLIAM 2016 LEFT TO RIGHT NICK COX, JESS GREAVES, ASH MATTHEWS, MARTIN ASTLEY, JASON KING SHAUN PALMER (MOUNTAIN BIKE LEGEND), MIKE DETTMERS (INTENSE GLOBAL SALES MANAGER) ROSS GRIMMETT ON THE CAMERA JENN GABRIELLI (INTENSE MARKETING MANAGER) AT THE FRONT DUNCAN FRASER THE PROUD WINNER OF THE M16 FRAME WITH HIS GOOD LADY
SADDLEBACK LIMITED UNIT 12, APOLLO PARK, ARMSTRONG WAY, YATE, BRISTOL BS37 5AH ONLINE saddlebackb2b.co.uk | facebook.com/saddleback | twitter/Saddleback_Ltd | instagram.com/Saddleback_Ltd
DESIGN / EDITOR NICK.COX@SADDLEBACK.CO.UK FEATURES EDITOR TOM BALLARD CONTRIBUTORS MARTIN ASTLEY, EMILY CARR, DAN DUGUID, JESS GREAVES, ROSS GRIMMETT, ASH MATTHEWS, WILL POOLE, JEFF STEBER, ANDY WIGMORE. PHOTOGRAPHERS TOM BALLARD, NICK COX, CARMEN HERRERO, SVEN MARTIN, JOBY SESSIONS, TIM DE WAELE. PRINTED BY APPLE COLOUR, BRISTOL
06 GALLERY 20 NEWS 26 FRED WHITTON 30 ENVE DEALER DEMO DAY 32 BESPOKED SHOW
34 FRESH PRODUCE 42 THE OFFICE 46 BESTSELLERS 48 TROY LEE DESIGNS 54 SADDLEBACK AT LE TOUR
60 JEFF STEBER 64 INTENSE PRIMER 66 INTENSE ACV 68 TDD ENPOWERED BY INPOWER 72 THE RISE OF ARUNDEL
74 FORT WILLIAM 80 MEDIA COVERAGE 82 ROTOR'S IRENE ALBACETE 84 INSTAGRAMS 85 STAFF RIDES
THEGALLERY INTENSE FACTORY RACING RIDER NIK NESTOROFF TOP SECTION AT FORT WILLIAM DH WORLD CUP PHOTOGRAPHER CARMEN HERRERO
THEGALLERY ENVE / TLD ATHLETE AND LEGEND STEVE PEAT WHIPPING THE MOTORWAY SECTION AT FORT WILLIAM DH WORLD CUP PHOTOGRAPHER SVEN MARTIN
THEGALLERY DIMENSION DATA TEAM MECHANIC GETTING ROTOR READY TO POWER THE TEAM RIDERS PHOTOGRAPHER ROTOR
THEGALLERY TEAM KATUSHA KATUSHA RIDERS SPORTING THEIR TEAM-COLOUR SIDI WIRE CARBON SHOES PHOTOGRAPHER TIM DE WAELE
THEGALLERY TOUR DE FRANCE GRAND DEPART PATROUILLE DE FRANCE FLIES OVER MONT SAINT-MICHEL PHOTOGRAPHER JERED GRUBER
THEGALLERY SIDI ATHLETE CHRIS FROOME TRYING OUT THE NEW SIDI SHOT SHOES ON THE FIRST TOUR REST DAY PHOTOGRAPHER SIDI
THEGALLERY ENVE ATHLETE STEVE CUMMINGS CLIMBING TO VICTORY ON STAGE 7 AT LE TOUR PHOTOGRAPHER JERED GRUBER
TROY LEE DESIGNS JOINS SADDLEBACK
TLDCHOOSESSADDLEBACK We are delighted to announce that Saddleback will be the exclusive UK distributor for Troy Lee Designs from the 2017 model year, with stock due to land in the UK next February. The addition of this most prestigious mountain biking brand reinforces both our commitment to the distribution of elite performance products and our dominance in the high-end MTB sector thanks to a portfolio that also includes Intense Cycles, ENVE and Chris King.
Designs to the Saddleback portfolio is huge for us. Company founder Andy Wigmore set a clear goal for the business to focus only on elite performance brands that are associated with the highest level of professional racing and it’s hard to imagine a brand that fits that criterion better than TLD. We have some clear links between the elite MTB brands in our portfolio now with Troy Lee Designs, Intense, ENVE and Chris King so look out for some exciting collaborative projects in the near future.”
From the 2017 range, Troy Lee Designs’ full clothing and protection lines will be available to UK dealers only through Saddleback. We will be using our brand marketing expertise to relaunch Troy Lee Designs to give this distinctive, authentic brand greater visibility in the UK market. The Saddleback team will begin presenting the range to dealers nationwide immediately to show the exciting new range ahead of its launch.
Saddleback founder, Andy Wigmore, said: “Troy Lee Designs was the brand we wanted in our portfolio for premium mountain bike apparel and protection – we were simply not interested in any other brand. TLD represents everything we value in a brand – a rich history of professional riding that resonates with the cycling community and a catalogue of undeniably high-performance products. TLD is a perfect fit for our mountain bike portfolio of the sport’s finest brands.”
Troy Lee Designs brand manager, Martin Astley, said: “Adding Troy Lee
Find out more about the origins of Troy Lee Designs on page 48.
“Saddleback’s commitment to IBDs, service, product availability, unreal store build outs and marketing is some of the best I’ve seen. What I was most excited about though is how they become an extension of your brand in the UK. They knew from day one what TLD is about.”TROY LEE
BIGGEST SHOW EVER FROM OUR NEW 40,000 SQ FOOT HQ
HOUSESHOW The 2016 Saddleback House Show will take place on 27, 28 and 29 September at our brand new offices in Apollo Park, Yate – and as we go to print in mid-July, we’re already getting excited about putting on a fun, exciting and memorable show. With our new, high-end, purpose-built premises completed just in time for this year’s event, it will truly be a house show once again! We’ll have the latest products, great food and plenty of activities to take part in. As well as a tour of our new offices, dealers can look forward to brand seminars with Saddleback and brand representatives to keep you up to date with the latest lines. We’ll also be running tech seminars in the new workshop to give you the best possible hands-on product training. Of course, there will also be the chance to see all the latest products from our brand family with our newest brand Troy Lee Designs (see more on page 48), joining Intense, ROTOR and Alchemy as a House Show first timer. The show will maintain its energy thanks to gourmet food, plenty of cake and a bevy of hot and cold drinks – including fresh barista-prepared coffee. Dealers will also leave with a packed Saddleback goody bag.
“We're thrilled to host our House Show from our new premises. It's going to be Saddleback's most impressive event yet and kick starts our new twice-yearly show programme.” ANDY WIGMORE FIVE STAGE WINS, THE BLUE JERSEY AND A SPELL IN PINK AT THE 2016 GIRO D’ITALIA
SIDI'SGIRO Sidi has been the footwear choice for countless champions over the last 40 years and the first Grand Tour of 2016 provided another catalogue of wins for the brand’s history books. Following the peloton’s ride-by Sidi’s headquarters in Maser during Stage 11, Team Sky’s Mikel Nieve opened Sidi’s Giro account as the race got into the real mountains on Stage 13. The Spaniard broke away to score a solo victory, his first in the Dolomites since 2011. On the very next day, another wearer of Sidi’s top-end Wire Carbon shoes was first over the line as young Colombian star Esteban Chaves (OricaGreenEdge) overcame the challenges of this year’s Tappa Regina to outsprint the competition on an uphill finish. On Stage 17, IAM Cycling’s Roger Kluge jumped out of the pack in a gutsy last-minute attack before the real sprint could wind up. The German track sprinter powered over the final 500m to take the win. Stage 18 was the longest in the 2016 Giro at 240km and Matteo Trentin of Etixx - Quick-Step timed his effort perfectly to edge across the line ahead of Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Moreno Moser, the duo providing Sidi with a onetwo finish on the day. While Stage 19 didn’t produce another victory, the outcome saw Chaves – and Sidi – take the Pink Jersey for the first time in the race. While it was Vincenzo Nibali who would ultimately take his fourth Grand Tour victory the following day, there was still plenty for Sidi to celebrate with Katusha’s Rein Taaramae taking the stage, Chaves securing his second-place spot on the podium and Mikel Nieve clinching the blue climber’s jersey. FOR MORE NEWS HEAD OVER TO WWW.SADDLEBACK.CO.UK
NEW TOP-END RACING SHOE REVEALED BEFORE TOUR DE FRANCE
SIDISHOT Always a favourite with cycling’s biggest stars, Sidi has innovated once again with the Shot a new range-topping shoe that builds on the ever-popular Wire Carbon. The design features a completely new aerodynamically inspired upper and central Tecno-3 dials that close the shoe symmetrically for an even more precise custom fit. The Shot’s Microfibre TechPro upper features all the stylish design you’d expect from Sidi’s more than 40 years at the top of the sport. Updates include striking new embossed graphics, more reflective details on the back of the heel retention device, glow in the dark technology and increased venting to keep feet cooler at the peak of summer racing. Previously spotted on the feet of Chris Froome at the Criterium du Dauphine, the defending Tour champion also chose to wear the new shoes at the biggest
event of the year. Froome's gutsy surprise attacks secured the Maillot Jaune by the end of the first week, prompting Sidi to provide a new pair of Shot shoes in brightest yellow to match the leader's jersey. These were proudly worn on the event's first rest day and throughout the rest of Froome's time in yellow. The shoes received yet more attention on Stage 12 when Froome, along with Richie Porte (BMC) was held up in a crash behind motorbikes on the spectator-packed slopes of Mont Ventoux. This bizarre situation necessitated a run up the mountain for Froome in his Sidi Shots. Not their intended use of course, but a unique showcase for the new shoes! In fact, the Shot could hardly have had a more testing environment than this year's Tour and Froome's love of the new design and third win in yellow will surely make this a must-have piece of kit when it's launched later this year.
“They’re lighter, more breathable and super comfortable. A special thanks to everyone at Sidi for making this possible. I’m going to do my best to make you proud.” CHRIS FROOME
HANDS-ON TRAINING AND SADDLEBACK RIDE-OUT WITH KING’S INTERNATIONAL SALES MANAGER
JEFFMENAND Following the news that Saddleback is now exclusive UK distributor of the full Chris King line, the brand’s international sales manager, Jeff Menand, visited us for some valuable product training in early July. Jeff took our sales and service teams through the product ranges we have now begun to distribute. His 12 years of experience at Chris King proved to be an invaluable source of information and a veritable mine of insider tips. We also had the opportunity to get some extra hands-on experience with King products, those who’ve not stripped a hub down before seeing just how surprisingly easy it is to get bearings back to their best. We also had the opportunity to discuss the finer points of Chris King’s philosophy in creating the
finest high-end bike components on the market; the balance of incredible performance, reliability and long-lasting value – in short, the Chris King difference. After his time at Saddleback HQ, Jeff took the opportunity to ride with real Chris King fans thanks a ride out organised by our own wrench wrangler, Ross. The ride left Bristol-based Saddleback and Chris King dealer, Mud Dock, to roll around the Mendip Hills. This included showing Jeff the delights of Cheddar Gorge, billed by Ross as ‘our Grand Canyon’, and its selection of charming cream tea stops. The ride was followed by plenty of coffee and cake and a feet-up viewing of the day’s Tour de France stage at the Mud Dock Café.
“For someone who's not the most confident in the workshop, I was astounded how easy it is to service hub bearings. There's definitely a glow of satisfaction in doing it yourself.” TOM BALLARD
ROTOR ATHLETE POSTS FASTEST-EVER IRON-DISTANCE TIME IN ROTH
SKIPPER SETSRECORD Long-course triathlon star Joe Skipper has set a new British record for iron-distance racing at Challenge Roth in Germany. The 28-year old completed the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run in 7:56:23. The stellar performance also netted Skipper second place in Roth, one of the sport's most prestigious events, with only reigning Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno of Germany beating the Brit to the finish line. Skipper's new time is some five minutes faster than the previous British record of 08:01:29 set by Paul Amey at Ironman Arizona in 2011 and makes the talented racer the only Brit ever to crack eight hours. Skipper is now also in the rarefied company of only 35 athletes ever to post a sub-eight time in the sport's history. Skipper, who is sponsored by Rotor Bike Components, is known as one of the sport's most powerful cyclists. His INpower data showed an impressive average of 308w for the 4:21:12 bike split while the efficiency savings of his 56T Q-Ring undoubtedly contributed the incredible 2:38:52 marathon time – the fastest of the day by any pro including the fleet-footed Frodeno.
BLAZING BIKES’ WILL CHAMBERS CREATES HIS DREAM BUILD
BLAZINGBANGER After nearly 17 years of riding bikes it's nice to have the pick of the bunch. New trends seem to lean towards uber-slack head angles, long top tubes and bags of travel. I, on the other hand, wanted a playful, stiff, relatively short travel, trail weapon. After weighing up the options and speaking to the lads at Saddleback the new Intense Spider 275c ticked all the boxes: 115 / 130mm travel, boost back end and a nice length top tube – a bike I could attack both climbs and downhills. It was refreshing to work with Saddleback to produce the weapon you see before you. Big thanks to all the guys who pulled it together.
Skipper will be flying the flag for Britain and Rotor at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii this October. His second time at the notoriously tough and hot event, Skipper will be looking to race to his potential and score a top finish in Kona. Meanwhile, in Roth's women's race, fellow Rotor athlete Carrie Lester of Australia also took silver behind current Ironman World Champion, Daniela Ryf of Switzerland.
“With me saying for so long that I wanted to go under eight hours and break the British record I knew failing was not an option.” JOE SKIPPER FOR MORE NEWS HEAD OVER TO WWW.SADDLEBACK.CO.UK
THE LIGHTEST, MOST COMPACT GORE-TEX JACKET EVER MADE
CASTELLIIDRO Castelli has teamed with Gore to create the Idro, a new ultra-light, fully waterproof cycling jacket. The Idro utilises new Gore-Tex Active fabric technology – laminate construction that creates a ‘permanent beading surface’. This means water just rolls off, even in the most torrential conditions, with no need for a fabric treatment that diminishes over time. The Gore-Tex Active material also does without the usual face fabric employed by other waterproof jackets, so no water soaks in at all. This, in turn, avoids the cold feeling often associated with wetted-out waterproofs and keeps weight down to just 123g for a size large. In fact, the material is so light that the Idro can be easily folded down to take up only half a jersey pocket. Gore’s new tech – which is exclusive to Castelli and Gore itself – means that as well as being completely waterproof with fully taped seams, the Idro is also totally windproof. That’s often a red flag for cycling jackets, which can quickly
turn into a sweaty mess when the heart rate rises, but the Idro is Castelli’s most breathable jacket to date. “We’ve designed this jacket with an emphasis on light weight and minimum bulk, so it has a minimalist construction as well,” said Castelli Brand Manager Steve Smith. “The Idro Jacket is aimed at professional athletes, the Gran Fondo rider or the big mountain rider who will encounter the sudden storm in the mountains and demands maximum protection.” To that end, Castelli has elected for a close-cut aero fit with elastic bindings on the hem and cuffs to keep the jacket comfortably in place. The easy sliding YKK Vision zipper is waterproof while there are also zipped sections on the lower back to allow easy access to jersey pockets and give a little extra ventilation. The addition of reflective stripes on the rear of the jacket will also aid visibility when inclement weather darkens the skies.
“I’ve been using the Idro a lot over the past couple of months as we move into summer and it's amazing! No water in at all and it doesn’t deteriorate like DWR membranes. All that along with the best breathability I’ve ever had on a waterproof jacket!” RICHARD MARDLE
NEW SPONSOR, NEW CASTELLI GEAR
NEWKIT Castelli-sponsored WorldTour team Cannondale Pro Cycling is now Cannondale Drapac following the team gaining Drapac as a partner. The move means a boost in funds for the squad while Castelli was called upon to redesign the team’s striking bright green argyle design to incorporate the new sponsor’s red branding.
SWISS SUPERSTAR WEARS NEW SIDI TIGER SHOES TO VICTORY IN CZECH REPUBLIC
NINOWORLDCHAMP Defending his rainbow jersey in Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic, Nino Schurter showed fine form to take his fifth XC World Championships world title at the beginning of July. The 30-year-old Swiss champion dominated the race to put 17-seconds into Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) and 30 into big rival Julien Absalon (France). The win means Schurter draws even with Absalon, both riders tying for the record number of XC worlds victories.
Schurter was wearing the new Sidi Tiger – the MTB equivalent to the road-going Shot worn by Chris Froome. Like that shoe, the Tiger features centrally-aligned Tecno-3 dials and a redesigned upper while maintaining the robust replaceabletread design of the Drako Carbon SRS. Another Sidi rider, Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) just missed out on the podium, coming home best of the rest in fourth. Look out for the Tiger in some gorgeous colourways later this year.
“I'm super happy about this race, it was a nice win. It was a nearly perfect race for me. There's a really great atmosphere here. It is always nice to battle with Absalon.” NINO SCHURTER
NEWOFFICE As you read this, the new Saddleback headquarters will be finished, furnished and ready for our big move. The project, which has been 18 months in the making, will give Saddleback room to grow, giving us 40,000 square feet of warehousing (compared to our current 12,000), a larger, highend office suite and our own photo studio. MBE FOR FRED WHITTON FOUNDER
PAULLOFTUS Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge founder Paul Loftus has been awarded an MBE as part of the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list. Paul was accorded the honour for his services to cycling and charity. Under his guidance, Paul grew the Fred Whitton Challenge from a low-key memorial event to an entry-by-ballot sell-out, raising over £1m for charity in the process.
FOR MORE NEWS HEAD OVER TO WWW.SADDLEBACK.CO.UK
FREDWHITTON Saddleback returns to help riders conquer the leg-draining hills of the 17th Fred Whitton Challenge – here's the view from neutral service... Known for the knee-grinding gradients of its savage climbs, the 2016 Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge marked a break in the notoriously wet and cold weather to offer 2,500 riders a tour of the Lake District in glorious sunshine. As ever, Saddleback was title sponsor, supporting the event with our roving neutral service vehicles to offer salvation to mechanical-stricken cyclists as they toughed-out the 112-mile course, with its devilish 3,900m of climbing. The Fred Whitton event village was buzzing with nervous excitement the day before the ride as athletes of all shapes and sizes signed in to collect their race packs. Our wrenchmeisters had plenty of gears to tune, saddles to straighten and spokes to tighten, even helping a few less technically savvy riders to avoid an event day catastrophe by giving out some tough love and replacing unsafe equipment. To all future Fred riders: servicing is best booked before the event, rather than after it! On the morning of the ride, we leave the event HQ in the bright sunlight already burning away the dewy daybreak. The last time the sun shone on this crowd of two-wheel misfits was 2008 and as we get underway, we share the same atmosphere of optimism as the riders themselves: content in the stunning scenery from the off and confident that the dry roads would mean fewer mechanicals than in the rain-soaked events of previous years. Our teams quickly got set up at the Buttermere and Calder Bridge aid stations, giving a respite to riders with food, drink and mechanical support after 50 and 84 miles respectively. That left two vans to follow the route signage and help out where we could along the way. Kirkstone Pass was the first real test of riders’ legs, early-morning enthusiasm seeing some ferocious our-the-saddle efforts from some athletes who would go on to set incredible times and others who
would later wish they’d not got caught up in racing their clubmates. The descent off Kirkstone requires a safety conscious approach as the road whips back and forth following an initial straight section. Here we saw some spectacular bike handling from a rider who came to a leisurely stop in a perfectly placed layby after his inner tube’s life ended with a bang at 40 miles per hour. As the day continued to warm up, so the number of punctures began to rise. We combatted this with a huge box of spare tubes and kept tyre levers close at hand for the remainder of the route. After whipping along the A66 in the shadow of a snow-dappled Blencathra – the mountain after which Saddleback is named – we hit the climb up Honister Pass, a stunning landscape of broken slate with its deep, plunging descent down to the edge of Buttermere. The shore of this most beautiful of lakes was the site of the ride’s first aid station, coming after 50 miles of gruelling effort, but with the knowledge that the day’s biggest tests lay ahead. The tasks to come were made tougher for some as a surprising number of carbon wheels had melted under hard breaking in the heat of the day – naturally, there wasn’t an Enve among them. Newlands, Whinlatter and Cold Fell were the next challenges: more tough climbing and a brisk headwind for riders – and a fair few tyre and broken-spoke wheel changes for our neutral service team. Despite the temperatures soaring into the mid-20s and the fatigue evident on every face, it was also great to see a huge amount of smiles from the cyclists as they battled up the road overlooking Sellafield. Chatting with riders we were helping out, the enthusiasm for the course was yet to diminish in spite of the miles that had already taken their toll on the legs. It was also gratifying to have so many riders promise contributions to local air ambulance units in relieved return for a fixed bike.
Arriving at Calder Bridge meant the day’s second (official) break for riders. Arriving an hour or so before the cut-off time, the place was packed. Bikes littered the ground while a troop of volunteers were quickly restocking decimated food supplies including bananas, malt loaf, millionaire’s shortbread, Jaffa Cakes and Jammie Dodgers – everything the energy depleted cyclist (and mechanic) needs! It was also here that Ross and Jason managed to breathe life into a bent and broken rear derailleur, from which the cage was stripped then hammered and bent back into shape, giving another rider the chance to finish his ride. And make us feel warm and fuzzy for that fact. With nearly 30 miles still to ride and no more feed stations until returning to Grasmere for the finish, plenty of riders seemed to have switched over to self preservation mode; doggedly spinning the granny gear regardless of the terrain, faces gaunt and pale despite the continued sunshine. It’s in this state that so many riders arrive at the foot of Hardknott Pass, an inordinately steep climb with the narrowest of roads. The signs at the bottom indicate that only idiots should proceed. There’s a large exclamation mark; a 30 per cent gradient; a warning of “narrow route severe bends” and the declaration that the road is suitable for cars and light vehicles only. Breaking out of the tree line, it’s immediately clear why all those signs are there. More riders are pushing up, Sidi shoes in hand, than dancing – or even slogging – on the pedals. Corner to corner, gaunt, pasty, defeated-looking cyclists stare at us in the van with pleading expressions to make it all stop. Even with an engine, Hardknott went on and on and on. The real kicker is that even once the climbing is over, the narrow, dangerous descent is followed by a view of what’s still to come; the similarly nasty, sharp hair-pinned ribbon of rough tarmac up Wrynose Pass. Like Hardknott, by the time we arrive a line of cycling pilgrims is weaving up the
hill, pushing lightweight bikes laboriously ahead of themselves while a few champions worked out of the saddle against the impossibly steep road. Such is the twistiness of the following descent that a fair few cyclists were walking down the other side too! Hair-raising even in the neutral service van, the zigzag way down Wrynose requires considered and considerable use of the brakes. But, once hands have been pried off the levers, there’s an almost tangible wave of relief emanating from the worn-out riders: there might be 10 miles left, but the worst, finally, is over. That’s not to say there aren’t any taxing little climbs yet to tame: not long after the five miles to go point, there’s a nasty 25-percenter to test what’s left of your morale. Then it’s on to the closing miles, safe in the knowledge that every pedal stroke is bringing you closer to food and beer. In fact, while the magnificent fell-filled vistas seen from the top of the climbs never fail to inspire a sense of awe, the final section of lush green countryside skirting the edge of the River Rothay has its own idyllic beauty that can be enjoyed in context of both its proximity to the finish line and in its glorious flatness. While some riders do the Fred looking for a specific time, the vast majority just want to get round. The fact they’ve completed it is so much more important than the numbers on their certificate. This was a point underlined when we passed by a rider we’d helped earlier in the day. He might have been less than a mile from the finish, but was apparently unable to pass up the chance to buy an ice-cream from a handily parked van playing its tinkling music by the side of the road. Such is the power of the Fred Whitton Challenge, the sheer arduousness of the course, that whether fist-pumping in euphoria or cursing ‘this stupid sport’ upon crossing the finish line, as pies are eaten and bone-deep fatigue diminishes, its only a matter of time before every rider’s thoughts reflect on their personal victory – and the promise to sign up again next year.
“Breaking out of the tree line, it’s immediately clear why all those signs are there. More riders are pushing up, Sidi shoes in hand, than dancing – or even slogging – on the pedals.”
ENVEDEMODAY Saddleback hosts the first Enve Dealer Demo Day at BikePark Wales, home of the UK’s finest trails and the European Enve demo centre. In April, Saddleback hosted its first Enve Dealer Demo Day at BikePark Wales, giving dealers the chance to experience’s the park’s Enve demo programme and find out more about how our new demo rebate programme can help bring customers to local bike shops.
Once wheels from the extensive demo fleet had been fitted to dealers’ bikes, the uplift passes were issued, commencing a day of no-sweat, up-themountain luxury followed by blisteringly fast, grininducing two-wheeled trips back down the park’s perfectly pitched trails.
As usual, it took little cajoling for Saddleback staff to spend a day on the trails, with Enve brand manager Ash Matthews joined by workshop and events supremo Ross Grimmett, south-west area manager Oli Hunter, Intense brand manager Martin Astley and head of creative Nick Cox in full-on paparazzi mode.
The dealers split up to take on a combination of the smooth and speedy blue runs, challenging reds and technical blacks – the ideal environment for Enve wheel testing.
This first demo day was attended by six Enve stockists who had travelled from around the UK to attend. The venue gave us the opportunity to take the dealers through the same demoing experience as customers, as well as outline the benefits of the Enve demo rebate programme. This new initiative means that everyone who demos a pair of Enve wheels at BikePark Wales is furnished with a voucher for the cost of the demo. This voucher can, in turn, be redeemed against a set of new Enve wheels at their local dealer. The day began with Martin – who’s also a founder of BikePark Wales – taking dealers through how the demo programme works from a customer standpoint, starting with booking the wheels online at the BPW website and going on to the process of the park’s mechanics setting up the wheels on each customer’s bike.
Then it was back to BPW HQ for a hearty sausage casserole lunch, some feedback on the wheels and the chance to swap to a different model before the afternoon’s riding, which meant a continuation of dealers trying to find the limits of the ultra-tough handmade carbon wheels. “It was good to see the dealers riding the wheels in their own bikes and see what works for them,” says Ash. “It was great for them to gain a better understanding of the demo programme and see the value in directing customers to the park. The idea that demoing is the best way to sell really seemed to capture dealers’ imaginations. “We’ll look to run a few more dealer demo days in the future and possibly involve some shops’ key customers to really drive the programme forward and show the Enve difference first hand.” To book Enve wheels for your next day at BPW, visit the BikePark Wales website.
BESPOKESHOW Custom frame builders go head-to-head for public votes and the chance to be crowned Enve Build-off Champions at Bespoked 2016. Taking place at Brunel’s Old Station in the heart of Bristol, Bespoked is the UK’s biggest handmade bike show. The 2016 edition saw custom builders seeking to sway the public in favour of their creations and take the coveted Enve Build-off title. This year’s event saw dozens of exhibitors showing off everything from the rough and ready to the sleek and stylish. Enve’s long-established handmade credentials meant there were hundreds of the US brand’s components on show including wheels, forks, bars, stems and seatposts. Some were left in their naked carbon guise while others had been painted to match frame colour schemes. The Enve Build-off was organised by our events guru Ross Grimmett, who worked directly with builders keen to take up the challenge and supply the Enve gear they would need to finish their frames to the highest standard. The competition also provided additional fun for the legions of bespoke bike fans attending the three-day show, who could vote for their favourite bike using the slip on the back of their tickets. The build-off saw 16 bikes from a dozen builders going head to head, each receiving an ‘approved entrant’ board letting showgoers know the bikes were eligible for votes. The competition ran over all three days of the show, with Enve’s Colby Weber flying in from the US to see how the show’s builders – predominantly from the UK – were utilising the Utah brand’s wares for some stunning bikes. Colby was also on hand to join Ross in presenting the weighty awards we created to the worthy podium of prize winners.
When the ballot tallying was completed on Sunday afternoon, the public’s voice was heard in an awards ceremony within the bike-crammed hall. It was the Cloud 9 Cycles Street Fix build that captured showgoers’ imaginations with its tigwelded Columbus Spirit steel frame and plenty of Enve kit. The unusual combination of disc fork, 800mm downhill bars, 50mm stem, seatpost and M50 Fifty rims laced to Phil Wood Track hubs was clearly appreciated by bike-loving crowds. Second place went to Talbot Frameworks, whose stunningly pretty road frame was painted in a gorgeous grey and green design, accented with orange on the inside of the fork, the stem’s Enve logo and the Chris King headset. The contrast with the dark Enve 3.4 wheels really made the bike stand out. Rusby Cycles took home the final award for its striking sunset-orange road disc bike, the shouty paint job tempered by bare seat and chainstays, the black carbon Enve wheels and bars and the creamdipped forks. Following the awards announcements, the builders and their bikes were whisked away for a professional photoshoot with Ben Broomfield, immortalising their successes in megapixels and bringing the show to a close on a high. From planning to prize giving, the whole Enve Build-off proved a huge success and we’ll be looking to step things up even more for 2017’s Bespoked show.
ARUNDEL SYNTH GECKO Arundel’s latest bar tape design, Synth Gecko is made from 100 per cent silicone foam for luxuriously thick comfort, excellent grip and unbeatable durability. The silicone foam sticks to itself while wrapping, so there’s no need for extra adhesive on the back – always an annoyance when changing tape. This also means it’s easier to re-wrap and reuse. The silicone is also easy to clean; wiping with soap and warm water will get the tape back to its former glory after road-grime-sprayed ride outs.
ENVE SES 5.6 DISC Combining Enve’s legendary aerodynamics with disc-brake stopping power, the SES 5.6 Disc sits alongside the 7.8 Disc as part of the brand’s new cutting-edge range of high-performance disc-compatible wheelsets. Completely re-engineered, Enve has eliminated the braking surface seen on the rim-brake version, doing away with the material needed to dissipate heat and in doing so, reducing the rim’s weight. The removal of this constraint has also allowed Enve’s engineers to hone the aerodynamic profile and improve tubeless performance.
ROTOR 2INPOWER The most sophisticated power meter yet produced by Rotor, 2INpower is the last word in accuracy, consistency and reliability. True left-right leg reading, torque effectiveness and pedalling efficiency work with Rotorâ€™s INpower User Software to give a complete data set for in-depth performance analysis. Add in no-fuss temperature compensation, ultra-fast refresh for perfect Q-Ring compatibility and a waterproof USB-chargeable battery and 2INpower has all bases covered for the needs of the most advanced power meter users.
CASTELLI MONDIALE Designed to be the most comfortable cycling shorts ever produced, the Mondiale Bibshort pairs Castelli’s wonderfully plush Progetto X2 Air seat pad with the brand’s utterly smooth new Cinquanta fabric. The material’s 50-per cent Lycra content gives a reassuring, muscle-hugging fit while minimal seams – all bonded – and wide, ultra-stretchy shoulder straps add to the second-skin comfort. With understated looks and subtle graphics, you’ll look as good as you feel too.
STAGES CARBON GXP With Stages having transferred its power meter mastery to carbon fibre crankarms late last year, the Tour-winning tech is now rolling out to more carbon models. This is the brand new Stages Carbon GXP, which is available now for riders using SRAM GXP bottom brackets and cranksets. The road version is designed for compatibility with SRAM Red, Force and Rival setups while the MTB-specific option will complement SRAM XX1, XX and X01 cranksets with a 168mm q-factor. All the Stages hallmarks are here: rich, accurate data; slim, lightweight design; and user-friendly operation.
SILCA SUPERPISTA A reimagining of the iconic floor pump originally launched during the 1989 Giro dâ€™Italia, Silca has transferred the renowned quality, performance, reliability and re-buildability of the SuperPista Ultimate into this more understated, yet utterly gorgeous matt black design. Hand assembled from over 40 high-precision components, the SuperPista features a CNC-machined kiln-dried beech handle, Ballistic Nylon Overbraid hose, high-contrast 75mm gauge and a push-on Presta chuck with a new metal bleed button to easily hone your perfect pressure.
JACK’SBIKE Intense Factory Racing rider Jack Moir hails from the dusty and rocky trails of Australia and enjoys life on the edge, he’s survived two – yes, two – shark attacks and has the scars to prove it! As a fairly rangy lad, Jack opts to run an XL Intense M16C frame that's completely stock with no alterations to geometry, linkage or carbon lay-up. Jack also likes a high front end on his bike so he runs a drop crown on his Boxxer fork and a healthy number of spacers under his high rise bar, this aids body positioning on steeper tracks. Like his Intense Factory Racing team mates, Jack runs Crank Brothers pedals and seatpost, DT Wheels, Maxxis tyres and SRAM drivetrain and brakes. The result is one of the best-performing DH bikes on the planet at a weight of just 32lbs.
OUR FAVOURITE PRO QUOTE
“ The TDF tends to be a vortex and rarely any outside news gets to us riders but somehow all I hear about is Pokemon. Seriously? Pokemon. Still.” PETER STEINA CANNONDALE-DRAPAC
MEET THE TEAM THIS ISSUE WE MEET SADDLEBACK’S NEW WARRANTY AND SERVICE TECHNICIAN, WILL POOLE. WHO IS WILL? A triathlete in his thirties trying to get back to his mountain biking roots. Saddleback’s newest member of staff as it stands, but I’ve known Charles and David from racing cyclocross as well as various other staff members from dealings with the company in past roles. WHERE DO YOU LIVE? Brislington, Bristol WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE? Warranty and Service Technician WORST JOB YOU EVER HAD? I’ve always worked in the bike industry so I’d probably better not say… I’ve done other jobs part time, having a flat packed wardrobe dropped on my head wasn’t great, and neither was opening a pallet of dog food for repacking only to find most of the packets had exploded in the heat on the way. I’ll leave that to your imagination… FAVOURITE PLACE TO RIDE? The Quantock Hills. So much variety in such a small space! FAVOURITE BIKE INVENTION? Probably dropper posts. WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY? Intolerance. And, quite irrationally, umbrellas.
LETTING LOOSE IN BONNIE SCOTLAND Ash makes the most of his annual trip to bonnie Scotland and the DH World Cup. We headed up to Fort William again this year sporting the new Enve and Intense tents to show off the full Enve MTB range, Intense bikes and also products from the recently acquired Chris King line up. We offered the crowds a chance to win some highend kit all for the cost of a free raffle ticket, which again proved a massive draw and success. As well as exhibiting we also had the chance to catch up with some of our Saddleback sponsored Enve ambassadors, Scotty Mears (pictured) and Jess Greaves, and watch them styling it up as they flew down the hill. Race day – as the expo area cleared out for the finals, we hit the hill to see the world cup action unfold. Another successful year flying the flag for our brands at such an awesome event. ASH MATTHEWS
MAGICMAGNETO ROSS GRIMMETT SENIOR MECHANIC WORKSHOPS BEST FRIEND TIME N/A
YOU WILL NEED A magnet. Magnets are magical and intriguing things that will help locate that dropped washer or fired off spring! I always have a telescopic magnetic pick up tool to hand, for retrieving those critical components that make a break for freedom under the the work bench. (Only works for ferrous lost parts!)
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? Good days on the bike. Working in a positive environment. Seeing people do well when they’ve worked hard for something. Live music. Dogs. Skiing. All sorts of stuff! WHAT’S THE #1 MOST PLAYED SONG ON YOUR IPOD? At the moment, probably something by Katatonia. WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTES? Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If’ is one of them, if that counts. WHAT CHORE DO YOU ABSOLUTELY HATE DOING? Ironing. I like being relatively smart, but I don’t see why three dimensional bodies require two dimensional clothes. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TIME OF THE YEAR? Spring, and the promise of longer daylight hours. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION? Cycling. Transport is all it is for some people, but the fact we can do what we love to get to where we need to be is fantastic! WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION? Taxis. Oooh, the rant I’m suppressing… IF YOU COULD CHOOSE TO STAY A CERTAIN AGE FOREVER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I’m in a pretty good place right now, but 19 was a pretty good time. Old enough to drive, buy a house, get married, drink, whatever. Still young enough to have very little responsibility! IF YOU COULD LEARN TO DO ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Fly. I’d love to have that as a superpower, but I’d settle for a helicopter licence. IF YOU HAD TO CHANGE YOUR FIRST NAME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE IT TO? I’ve never thought about it! Trying to pick something else would be a minefield. I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got. IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE, LIVING OR DEAD, WHO WOULD YOU MEET? Marco Pantani. He’d have a few stories to tell… WHICH CELEBRITY DO YOU GET MISTAKEN FOR? I generally don’t, but I once uploaded a picture of myself to a facial recognition app and got an odd result, so I kept doing it and kept getting one consistent result. Scarlett Johansson… THE BEST/WORST GIFT YOU’VE EVER GIVEN/RECEIVED? I once gave the young lady I was with at the time a bike saddle and the Park Tool Big Blue Book on Valentine’s day. She loved it! WHAT’S THE BEST BIT OF ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE? Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED? As someone who gave his best in every situation, but didn’t take life too seriously.
STA F F P I C KS
PUMPUPTHEJAM DAN DUGUID BRAND MANAGER SILCA SUPERPISTA TRACK PUMP RRP £195
JOSH POERTNER HAS ALWAYS BEEN A STICKLER for tyre pressure accuracy and the performance gains from his time testing with pro teams in his Zipp days. His quest for precision continues in the new SuperPista (see page 39). As with the Ultimate floor pump, the SuperPista surpasses all others with an accuracy of two per cent that is repeatable within one per cent making it 2.5-times more accurate than traditional floor pumps. This quality and precision is also enhanced with a kiln dried Beech Wood handle that's CNC machined in five axes for unparalleled ergonomics. A new 7075-T6 aluminium chuck uses the classic Silca push-on design with a full metal pressure bleed button that will help increase gasket life. The smooth action associated with Silca continues with the 7075-T6 piston head and IGUS split bushing. A full-grain 3.5mm thick Italian leather plunger adding durability over a rubber seal. It would also be rude to not mention that the SuperPista’s a real head turner!
DIGITALINCYCLE Here at Saddleback we care about the environment, let’s face it if we ruin it where will we ride? So you can read and download the latest issue of incycle from the link below. Missed an issue? Head to the same link and download the back catalogue of any incycle since its birth. WWW.ISSUU.COM/SADDLEBACK
JESS'S FORT WILLIAM Jess gets a little over-enthusiastic with her new Intense M16C.
GENTLE SPINS AND GENTLE SWIMS Injury isn't going to stop Emily from riding her bike or planning future Ironman conquests. As with all best laid plans, sometimes they don’t always work out the way you foresee them in your incycle column! Spring sprung well at the start: completing the Bath Half Marathon, taking on the Herio – a small but fairly brutal 100 mile sportive taking in all of South Wales most delightful/brutal climbs – and suffering through a mechanical-dogged Dragon Ride all served to keep my confidence high. Mallorcan honeymoon/training camp went well, and with all these events in my legs, I was feeling good about the season ahead and my training for Ironman UK. Then came IM 70.3 Staffordshire, and a very old cricket injury that haunted every pedal stroke. Limping home in the run, I knew things were not good. In fact, they were worse. The physio says no running, and I don’t need any convincing. Ironman UK may have to wait for another year, but I am consoling myself that I can still ride my bike. Ironman will still be there next year, and I might pick a more exotic location than Bolton. For now, its gentle spins and gentle swims – and I’m kind of enjoying it… EMILY CARR
Three weeks after racing the BDS on my Santa Cruz, I made the journey up to Fort William again for the World Cup. I thought this would be a good way to test the V10 and my new Intense M16 back to back. The BDS track was almost identical to the World Cup track barring the new fresh-cut woods section. On the first practice run I started out chilled, but as I hit each turn the grip available was just too good to waste so I quickly got up to race speed! Hitting the top section flat out I braked a bit to enter the new woods section. As you enter the dark woods there is a small drop into a bed of roots and stumps. I came into that way too fast and as I landed, I slipped on a root, sending me straight into a stump and over the bars! Landing on my head with a mouth full of dirt I was left on my back, winded, with a headache and unable to breathe properly. I crawled to the side of the track where the medics came to see if I was OK. Other than now being bitten by midges, once I’d caught my breath I was alright to roll to the bottom. I gave the bike a check over, sorted the twisted forks and the broken helmet, and headed back up after small break. Feeling battered, I tried to get back into the swing of things. I felt that I got the top section sweet, but the woods section got the better of me – I crashed on almost every run! Seeing that a lot of other riders were having trouble comforted me a bit – I knew I had to just push through it. During my qualifying run, I wasn’t 100 per cent confident after so many crashes, but still gave it a good shot to finish 24th; my best World Cup result so far but still not that top 20 I was after. My World Cup results are slowly improving but I’m still learning a lot. I’m confident for next year at Fort William and I’m keen to get stronger over winter to handle the brutal crashes a bit better! JESS GREAVES
OUR FAVOURITE PRO QUOTE
“ I told myself, 'I don't have a bike and my car is five minutes behind with another bike - it's too far away, I'm going to run a bit'.” CHRIS FROOME TEAM SKY
BIGGER IS BETTER
OFFICE IN NUMBERS WITH THE SCOTTISH DUST NOW BRUSHED OFF ALL OUR KIT, HERE'S OUR FORT WILLIAM TRIP IN NUMBERS
It seems you don't have to be a giant to get the most out of a 29er, just open minded.
VANS TAKEN, ONE BECAME A TOILET ON THE JOURNEY UP
25000 PEOPLE ATTENDED
10 HANDMADE INTENSE DISPLAY PLINTHS
2000 INTENSE AND ENVE STICKERS GIVEN TO FANS
M16 FRAME GIVEN AWAY IN OUR RAFFLE
RAFFLE TICKETS HANDED OUT TO WIN THE M16 FRAME
TRULY GREAT RIDER AND PERSON REMEMBERED STEVIE SMITH
LIFE CAN BE A FAIRYTALE Crashes happen, bodies break but confidence is the worst casualty. Ah man what a nightmare it has been! I was fortunate enough to attend the Enve Demo Day at BikePark Wales (see report on page 30) to make sure everything looked slick and to get some photos of the day. All was going well, until that infamous 'one last run' was mentioned. So, followed by Ash, we proceeded to hoon it down the super dry BPW trails. With the trail centre in sight, I came out of a corner, got squirly and went down hard. The next thing I know, Ash is stood over me, my bike a million miles away. It got worse, as I peeled off my jersey which felt a bit wet on the arm there was a sizeable gash to my elbow. With the guys at BPW patching me up I was off to hospital (thanks Ross for driving) to get stitches and xrays. I'd cut down to the bone but thankfully not damaged the bone itself. Jump to about six weeks later and after having to wrestle my three kids with one arm (something which didn't amuse my wife) I'm at the top of the mountain at Fort William descending some secret, tech and fast local trails with my colleagues! Scotland saw not a cloud for about three days and this provided us with some awesome dry riding and super fun times hanging out with the guys from Intense, sharing stories, jokes and drinks. Also the chance to hang out with one of my all time mountain bike heroes – Shaun Palmer (who called me by name more than once!), I think it's safe to say Fort Bill this year was the best we've ever had. So this brings my fairytale to an end, there's always a silver lining even when you're sat in A&E for hours dripping blood on the floor and feeling pretty spaced out. Thank you Fort Bill for making it all better! NICK COX
I consider myself to be an open-minded sort but have always found that when it comes to mountain bikes, smaller wheels were my thing – originally 26” and more recently 27.5”. At just 5 ft 8” I’m not the tallest and in the past any bigger-wheeled bikes I have ridden have felt a little clumsy and not as manoeuvrable as their smaller-wheeled equivalents. The last few weeks have been a real eye opener though. With the media launch of the Intense ACV and Primer bikes I had the opportunity to try the latest and greatest in 29” and 27.5 plus technology. First up was the ACV, a 130mm rear travel, 150mm front travel 27.5 plus bike (see page 66), this was only my second foray on a fatter-tired plus bike and we had some exceptional secret trails in the Forest of Dean to enjoy the bike on. Immediate impressions were that the fatter tyres do not slow the bike anywhere near as much as you may expect, I’d go as far as to say that the bike felt sprightly on fire road climbs and traction on technical climbing sections was otherworldly. However it was when the gradient flipped downhill that the ACV really shone, what an eye-opening ride! The best way to describe this bike is that it allows you to get away with poor line choice, mistimed movements and mistakes in a way that I’ve not experienced on any other bike. Entering turns and realising I’d come in too hot or was slightly offline I’d just have to remind myself I was on the ACV and that there was a whole load of extra grip on tap I wasn’t used to, lean in, look up and it’ll pull you through. Next on the agenda was the Intense Primer Factory (see page 64), in its battleship grey and neon orange finish, it’s certainly a striking bike and one that immediately ticked boxes for me. My previous experiences with 29ers had me coming in to this ride tough to please but it took only a few minutes down the first trail for me to realise this was a very, very special bike. It’s difficult to determine if it's the short 438mm chainstay, the long reach, the low BB, the JS Tuned suspension or a combination of all the above and more, but the Primer creates a bike that feels light and nimble, yet incredibly composed on steeper rougher terrain that traditionally wouldn’t be a natural home for a 130mm trail bike. The magazine editors present at our launch event also sensed the magic in this bike and follow up conversations have even included the most elusive phrase in the world of bike journalism: 'this is possibly the best bike I have ever ridden'. I’ve been working with the mountain bike media for over ten years and that’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say that. There is definitely something magic in the Primer. So all of this has made me realise that we are in a lucky position here at Saddleback, we have the choice of a standard 27.5” trail bike (Spider 275C), a plus-sized 27.5 bike (ACV) and a trail 29er (Primer) each of which is excellent at what it does. It all boils down to personal preferences, intended use, local trail conditions and of course, which one comes in your favourite colour… MARTIN ASTLEY
THEALCHEMYHASLANDED DAN DUGUID BRAND MANAGER ALCHEMY HELIOS RRP £4200
BUILT IN-HOUSE IN DENVER, COLORADO, THE HELIOS is Alchemy’s top road frame taking in the comfort and performance of the company's lightweight performance Xanthus frame whilst taking aero tube design cues from the Arion. The bike utilises tube-to-tube construction and the exquisite details of the carbon wrapped tube junctions will not go amiss, the resulting layers evident through the lacquer in the frame. But the proof's always in the riding and the Helios does not disappoint, the combination of performance and comfort not compromised in any way. The dialled-in comfort of the frame makes for a smooth ride that glides over the road. In contrast, the performance elements that you need in a frame – a laterally stiff chassis – gives the frame a spritely ride when accelerating hard up steep ascents and feels sure footed when descending.
TOM’S TRUNKS Tom struggles to hold the pace at the Grafman Triathlon There’s something incredibly satisfying about the feeling of all your training coming together in that perfect union of fitness and freshness on the big day that counts. Unfortunately, that’s not something I felt during my last event, the Grafman Middle Distance at Rutland Water in Cambridgeshire in May. The day started ominously and with much nervous cursing as I realised the swap from training wheels to Enve 4.5s meant a nausea-inducing lack of QR skewers. Thankfully, I was around 400m from Rutland Cycling, who’d opened early for idiots like me and got me sorted in double-quick time. Then, after the most kicky-punchy 1.9km of swimming I’ve ever endured, it was onto the bike, my steed a new Enve’d up Cannondale Slice. The first few miles started off OK, but it wasn’t long until it became clear that my legs were completely hollow. My Rotor INpower showed me in agonising detail exactly how few watts I was putting out for the 90km, during which my tyre levers also jettisoned themselves from my spares box. It was one of those rides where you keep looking down to see if you have a flat – only to realise it’s just your legs that feel that way. That flatness continued on the run, the blessed relief of climbing off the bike very short lived as my feet plodded down in a weird, painful sort of slow motion. It’s the closest I’ve come to packing it in, but stuck with it and hopefully that’s my dodgy day behind me for 2016! TOM BALLARD
T EC H TIPS
HACKSAWJIMDUGGAN ROSS GRIMMETT SENIOR MECHANIC LUBRICATING YOUR HACKSAW BLADE TIME N/A
YOU WILL NEED Hacksaw and a candle. Hacksaws, where would the workshop be without one?! To aid smooth, chatter- and noisefree cutting of almost everything except carbon, lubricate the blade before and during the cut by rubbing candle wax on the blade. Obviously be aware that the wax may discolour or stain some materials being cut.
THIS ISSUE WE ASK ROSS GRIMMETT TO GIVE US HIS ALL-TIME TOP FIVE BIKE EVENTS.
1. MEGAVALANCHE A number board every mountain biker's shed should have on the wall. You need to do it at least twice; the first time leaves you a little shell shocked! 2. EWS SCOTLAND A privilege to race this global series in our own country. Amazing hand built trails that test the bike and rider to the edge of their abilities. 3. MALVERN CLASSICS I am old enough to have raced THE original bike festival weekend event. Back when summers were golden and endless, and your suspension forks barely moved. 4. 2012 OLYMPICS Another event of a lifetime to me, I marshalled the XC, road and TT events. Standing by the track with my flag and whistle was a very proud moment for me. 5. MOUNTAIN MAYHEM 24HR Another one of those events all mountain bikers should race at least once. I raced in a wonderful team of four, and was flukey enough to get both the sunset and sunrise laps!
SIDI KAOS RRP £175
CHRIS KING INSET 7 HEADSET RRP £170
ROTOR Q-RING 52T RRP £120
2 STAGES ULTEGRA 6800 RRP £599
1 ARUNDEL STAINLESS CAGE RRP £25
As the Tour de France captures the imagination of even the most fair-weather cyclist, it's been a roadie sort of sales period here at Saddleback. Stages' Shimano Ultegra power meter once again tops the list along with Arundel's Stainless cage, Chris King InSet 7 headset, Sidi Kaos shoe, 52T Rotor Q-Ring, Astute SkyLite Taca VT, Silca Hiro side-lever chuck, Enve 110mm stem and Castelli Evoluzione bibshort.
6 ASTUTE SKYLITE TACA RRP £190
CASTELLI EVOLUZIONE RRP £70
7 SILCA HIRO SIDE LEVER CHUCK RRP £95
8 ENVE 110MM STEM RRP £240
TROY LEE DESIGNS WORDS TOM BALLARD PICTURES TROY LEE DESIGNS
THE WORLD’S GREATEST MTB APPAREL AND PROTECTION BRAND JOINS SADDLEBACK. PLEASE EXCUSE OUR FISTPUMPS OF JOY. SADDLEBACK HAS BEEN BUZZING WITH THE NEWS THAT TROY LEE DESIGNS, ONE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING’S DEFINING BRANDS, HAS FOUND ITS NEW HOME HERE. TLD undoubtedly produces the best MTB apparel, helmets, protection and casual wear in the business, but what the company means to our staff riders runs so much deeper than that. It’s about growing up with a brand that’s defined the visuals of both MTB and BMX. It’s about the passion that TLD riders past and present like Steve Peat, Nico Vouilloz, Shaun Palmer and Brendan Fairclough have inspired in our own off-road adventures. For many of us, TLD is the beating heart of biking. So much of Troy Lee’s unquestionable allure comes from its rich history in the sport, that omnipresent pedigree, which permeates every facet of mountain biking. Put simply, without
Troy Lee’s inimitable art and design, the sport may never have found its identity and struck a chord with cyclists seeking a new challenge outside the narrow prescription of roads. Troy Lee’s history in mountain biking goes back to the late 1980s and was built on a career of helmet painting that began when the man himself was just a boy. An 11-year-old Troy learned the sign painting trade from his father, Larry, a speedway racer whose career was bolstered by helmet painting. Troy emulated this himself, painting helmets for his motocross riding friends to fund his own racing ambitions. Visor customisation followed, with Lee moving from his mother’s garage to an airport hangar to meet growing demand. His designs soon found their way to the Indianapolis motorsports scene: Troy Lee had made a name for himself, and that name also became his business. As mountain biking began to find a foothold
at the end of the ’80s, its motocross- and BMX-inspired identity, paired with the Intensedominated beginnings of downhill, meant Troy Lee was quickly involved in the fledgling sport. Initially painting helmets for the pioneers of the sport, Lee soon began working with Japanese motorsports helmet company Shoei, adding his own modified Aero 2 peak and inimitable graphics to transform the vacuum-of-cool RC-3 into an aggressive MX hybrid perfect for the extreme stylings of the sport. The zeitgeist-capturing design of the RC-3 TL Comp became the sport’s must-have helmet following Greg Herbold’s North American Downhill Championships win in 1991, while the same year saw the first Troy Lee Designs XC and Gravity kit graphic designs on Herbold, Team Yeti and others. Troy then brought helmet manufacture to the US, feeding the need for increased safety
as mountain biking’s aggressive nature grew by creating the sport’s first full-face design in 1993 thanks to the bolt-on chin bar for the renamed Edge TL Comp. The helmet was a huge hit with pros and ended up being used by nearly every top pro rider, often by athletes with conflicting sponsors – the branding hidden by awesome Troy Lee paintjobs, of course. From there, Troy Lee Designs has produced a quartet of truly iconic helmet designs beginning with the ultra-high-end Daytona, which launched in 1996. Constructed of carbon fibre and featuring its trademark to-the-sky duck-bill peak, legends such as Shaun Palmer adopted the carbon full-face lid, while Steve Peat picked one up in 1997, starting a relationship with Troy Lee Designs that has lasted right up to his final season in the world of downhill racing this year. The D2 was another landmark helmet, launching in 2000 to replace the Daytona as the
brand’s top-end model, and is still available – and relevant – today. Protection lines followed in the mid-2000s with the T-Bone knee guards providing another example of how TLD could completely re-write the rulebook and direct the landscape of mountain biking for years to come. Nearly a decade after its sibling set the standard for full-face style and protection, the D3 appeared in 2009, bringing in cutting edge impact management thanks to the brand’s evolving commitment to combine industry-leading safety with impeccable design. The D3 remains the benchmark for full face gravity / enduro and BMX protection with incredible comfort, ventilation and thicker EPS in key crash zones. Most significantly, the D3 now also features Mips rotational impact system technology for even greater safety while maintaining styling beyond any of the competition. Finally, the all-mountain A1 helmet was launched in 2013. Dropping the chin bar but keeping that unique Troy Lee look and style, its design harks right back to the original RC-3, albeit evolved to a new level of desirability and protection – exemplified by the addition of the
Mips system in 2016. Aside from producing the best-looking selection of helmets on the market – in a vast array of colourways fresh from Troy Lee’s artistic mind – development also continues behind closed doors in Corona, California, with rumours of a new addition to the helmet line in 2017. Troy Lee Designs has also been getting back to its racing roots in recent years, co-launching the SRAM | TLD Racing Team in 2014, which boasts top riders including Luca and Walker Shaw in gravity; and Todd Wells and Russell Finsterwald for XC and Endurance roles. The only MTB apparel brand to have its own team, SRAM | TLD provides a unique formula for racers, providing the best kit and components while allowing athletes to choose the frame they can race fastest on. From early, style-defining beginnings to technological advancements, the eye-popping brilliance of each season’s designs and the brand’s commitment to racing, Troy Lee Designs continues to innovate and reinvigorate mountain biking year after year – and at Saddleback, we’re incredibly proud to be a part of that. Roll on 2017.
WORDS TOM BALLARD PICTURES JERED GRUBER / GRAHAM WATSON
FOR T HRE E WE E KS IN J ULY, SADDLEBAC K BASKS IN T HE REFLECTE D GLORY OF T HE WORLD’S TOP CYC LISTS USIN G OU R BRANDS’ PR OD UC TS TO FIGHT FOR VICTORY IN T HE BIGGE ST CYCLING E V E N T ON T HE PLA N E T: LE TOUR D E FR A N C E .
USING SIDI SHOT SHOES AND STAGES, FROOME TOOK A HISTORIC THIRD TOUR WIN THIS YEAR
MARK CAVENDISH WAS BACK AT HIS BEST AND SCORED FOUR STAGE WINS FOR HIS TEAM
THE 2016 TOUR DE FRANCE PROVIDED PLENTY OF DRAMA AND THANKS TO OUR PORTFOLIO OF THE WORLD’S LEADING BRANDS, WE FELT VERY MUCH A PART OF THE ACTION. WITH SIDI, ENVE, ROTOR, STAGES AND CASTELLI ALL REPRESENTED IN THE PELOTON, WE CAN BE PROUD OF OUR PRODUCTS HELPING TO SECURE A HOST OF STAGE WINS, THE WHITE JERSEY AND CRUCIALLY, THE MAILLOT JAUNE. Following on from Sidi’s spectacular showing at the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France has been even more special for the Italian brand. Between Chris Froome’s domination of this year’s race, the White Jersey, five riders in the top seven and five stage victories, the sport’s most prestigious shoemaker proved its worth yet again. Froome’s third win and second consecutive conquest in Paris marks Sidi’s 13th overall title at the Tour de France – an impressive feat that speaks to the brand’s unparalleled racing heritage. From Stage 1, Froome was wearing Sidi’s newest flagship shoe, the Shot. Trialled by the Maillot Jaune at the Criterium du Dauphine just before the Tour, the new shoe was developed in partnership with Froome and proved a fine companion, whether sprinting over the mountaintop to surprise his rivals or running up it in one of the Tour’s most iconic images. Sidi produced the Shot in three colours for the defending champion: white; his customary Team Sky blue; and yellow, to match the leader’s jersey, which the Brit secured with a surprise attack on Stage 8’s final descent. Holding onto yellow from that point until crossing the Tour’s final finishing line on the Champs-Élysées, Froome also added another stage win along the way by smashing the Individual Time Trial on Stage 18. Froome’s victory might have been Sidi’s biggest triumph at the 2016 Tour, but it was Marcel Kittel who claimed the brand’s first scalp, his Wire Carbons crossing the line in pole position on Stage 4’s bunch sprint. Adding to Sidi’s tally was Katusha rider Ilnur Zakarin, whose triumphant ride on Stage 17’s summit finish at Finhaut-Emosson earned another win. Next up was Romain Bardet, Ag2r La Mondiale’s team leader and the next big French hope to win the Tour. Wearing Sidi Wire Carbon shoes, the Frenchman, who hung with the best in the mountains and attempted some gutsy attacks, finally managed to make one break from the leader’s group stick on Stage 19. During torrential rain, Bardet attacked on a treacherous, slick descent and stormed up the day’s last climb to solo to victory atop Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. France’s only stage win of the Tour made Bardet the runner-up in Paris, but also saw him supplant fellow Sidi rider Adam Yates of Orica-Bike Exchange. The young Brit dropped off the podium after Stage 19 but held onto fourth place and scored Britain’s first ever White Jersey in an incredible performance that surely foreshadows even greater Grand Tour success. BMC Racing’s Richie Porte – beset by bad mechanical luck on Stage 2 – took fifth overall in his Sidi Wire Carbons while a late attack from Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez on Stage 20 put the Sidi-wearing Spaniard in seventh place at the end of his final Tour, meaning Sidi-wearers occupied five of the top-seven spots in Paris. This incredible performance at the 2016 Tour will be hard to beat, but with the new Shot model due out later this year, Sidi’s future at the top of the sport looks as bright as that of the riders who choose to wear the brand’s shoes. As an official supplier to Team Sky, Stages’ Boulder, Colorado, HQ must have been buzzing throughout the 2016 Tour. Each of the squad’s nine riders put in dominating performances to control the outcome of the race day in, day out; simply an incredible
KRISTIJAN KOREN DECKED OUT IN THE PELOTONâ€™S FINEST CYCLEWEAR
show of strength. The team’s famous attention to detail, paired with the Stages’ reliable accuracy helped to help put Chris Froome in the iconic Yellow Jersey on Stage 8 and maintain it all the way to Paris. Every Team Sky rider was equipped with a stock Stages Dura-Ace 9000 power meter – exactly the same as those available in local bike shops. It’s hard to think of a better showcase for Stages’ power meter technology than seeing all Froome’s lieutenants ranged around him as they scaled mountain after mountain at an inexorable, attackcrushing pace, only succumbing after eking out every last watt possible. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was another team relying on Saddleback brands. Such has been the team’s success throughout this season that it’s almost absurd to consider that this is the squad’s first year in the WorldTour following a 2015 wildcard entry to the Tour de France. In that edition of La Grande Boucle, Steve Cummings earned the team – then MTN Qhubeka – its first stage win on Mandela Day; a coup for the African team. Once again sponsored by Enve and Rotor in 2016, both brands upped their support for TDD this season. Enve stepped up to provide cockpits, meaning the team’s riders could rely on some of the world’s stiffest, most beautifully made bars and stems as well as the best lightweight, aerodynamic wheels on the market. Enve’s SES 7.8 wheelset – launched after last year’s race, was also available to the team on stages where aerodynamics took precedence. Meanwhile, with the launch of Rotor’s 2INpower meter and TDD’s integral role in the product’s testing and feedback process, the team was armed with richer data collection than ever before. This included true left and right leg balance – a real rarity in the peloton. Whether round or Q-Rings, Rotor also provided beautifully CNC machined chainrings to the team’s riders offering smooth pedalling and shifting crucial to top performance. With last year’s win to live up to, the pressure was on team riders to earn another stage victory, but to take five was something truly special. With all of Team Dimension Data powering him to the line, sprinter spectaculaire, Mark Cavendish, secured an astounding four stage wins at this year’s race, taking his all-time total to 30. Between the anx Missile striking his targets was another supreme performance from Steve Cummings. The Brit ushered in his fourth WorldTour success of the season on Stage 7 with his typically wily escape from the front of the race, followed by an impressive time-trial effort to the finish line on the Col d’Aspin. It was a classy ride that’s become something of a trademark move for Cummings and one that both Enve and Rotor can be proud to be a part of. Finally, and always visible, were the luminous green jerseys of the CannondaleDrapac team, clad in Castelli finery. The distinctive green argyle army, now tinged with Drapac’s red, seemed struck by bad luck throughout the race, but was omnipresent and almost impossibly visible against the remainder of the peloton. While team riders could rely on Aero Race and Climber’s Jerseys for the majority of the race, the inclement weather certainly had an effect on this year’s race with riders seeking protection from driving rain and hail in the mountains. Other teams had to make do with whatever their sponsors could muster, knowing that CannondaleDrapac riders alone had the very best with Perfetto Light and Gabba jerseys at their disposal when the heavens opened. All in all, this year’s edition of the world’s greatest bike race proved hugely successful for our brands with the Yellow Jersey, White Jersey and 10 stage wins secured using Saddleback products – a ringing endorsement of the breadth and quality of our portfolio.
PASSION PERFECTION WORDS TOM BALLARD PICTURES INTENSE CYCLES
Godfather of the downhill mountain bike, Intense founder Jeff Steber takes us through the companyâ€™s recent evolution and the future of the brand.
AN OBSESSION WITH THE MINUTIAE OF BIKE DESIGN, A QUARTER-CENTURY INFATUATION WITH RACING AND THE UNQUENCHABLE ENTHUSIASM OF FOUNDER JEFF STEBER MAKE INTENSE A UNIQUE COMPANY THAT’S GROWN IN STATURE FROM GRASSROOTS BEGINNINGS WITHOUT LOSING ITS HEART. Once focused firmly on aluminium, Intense has moved almost exclusively to carbon while a revision of the company’s structure has allowed Steber to fuel his hardwired desire to make each bike better than the last. The result is that Intense is undergoing something of a renaissance, its wave of recent bike launches the most successful and critically acclaimed in the brand’s history. With such a bright outlook, we talk to Steber about how the company has evolved, how the JS-Tuned concept is refining bike design and what the future holds for the Temecula, Southern California brand. “Going back about three years, I felt Intense was perfectly poised to be the next breakout core mountain bike company,” says Jeff, speaking from Intense HQ. “It’s one of those personal things about being a founder and owner of a company and holding a key position – in certain areas I’m a ninja, but in others, I’m probably the world’s most reluctant businessman! I just wanted to make cool bikes and ride them and have people experience that. “We had the brand, but we were probably underachieving business wise. So you have to acknowledge at some point that you, as an owner and founder, could be holding your company back.” Jeff took inspiration from the success of fellow SoCal brand DC Shoes, whose founder Ken Block used to ride Intense bikes back in the days when both brands sponsored the pro motocross scene.
“They were very creative guys, kind of a garage operation, and they were on a trend. When they got the right team together to run the business and marketing and all of it, then things exploded. “Once you flip that switch, it frees up a lot of forward momentum. Once I acknowledged and did that soul searching, it was just finding those key players. It happened very organically. As I started travelling to Asia more to develop the carbon bikes, I started running into people who were the businesspeople behind mountain biking and I’d say in my mind, ‘I need that guy on my team.’ I set my goals and then eventually that person was part of my team. “So now from me feeling like the jack of all trades and master of none, to going to a position where I’m able to focus on my strengths and I have other key guys in positions that are top in their field, it’s raised our business threshold and our possibilities, exponentially. “We started to see this transition. Not only in the company growing and maturing, but operations, distribution – everything – improving. I have one of the best product managers in the industry with Chad Peterson. He’s an integral part of enabling this product transition to happen. All aspects, from managing the projects to the spec to working with the factories, timelines, forecasting. He’s a special blend and we’re so lucky to have him. “Chad is an incredible rider and one of the most driven people – the guy rides every day and he never rides easy. So he knows good product and how to make something better. That relationship and my good working relationship with him have really helped a lot too. “At the same time, our engineering and product development staff have grown and we’ve got a really good team of people here behind these products. Each one I feel is getting better and better and that’s a big part of it. That filters all the way back to our ambassadors and our pro riders, who give us feedback. They can ride this product to its fullest potential and we listen to them. The product, in the end, is
the sum of the parts of that collective effort. “I call our management team the A-team. We’ve got a pretty good group of people and a good balance of personalities. A lot of this, the new product and new level comes from putting that A-team together. We’re kind of like the starship Enterprise a little bit. Andrew Herrick out front is Captain Kirk and he shoots from the hip a little bit, has a tonne of real-world experience and is a little eccentric in ways. And then Elco the CFO is Spock, very analytical and focused, and Chad is Scotty out back keeping the engines running no matter what it takes! I think that makes me Bones…” With the new set-up allowing Jeff more time to focus on design, that’s exactly what he’s done – continuing to build and ride his own prototypes with all the passion he showed 25 years earlier. “I’ll fab up all the prototypes – I have my own system of doing that, which I think is very different from anyone else. Going back many years, I’ve always seen myself, probably from when I was in high school, to be a designer / artist / craftsman kind of person, but very hands-on. So when I got into anything I always had to try and improve it, put my own spin on it, make it better. Whether it was windsurfing, hang gliding, guitars, you name it! Mountain biking was a good one for me because there’s not only the riding part of it and the fitness part of it, but also the behind-the-scenes of designing and building something that I could actually go ride. That’s a big part of what drives me. “We basically have a full R&D shop that’s a full CNC shop. That is a big part of the DNA of our bikes. We can do this extensive vetting-out process through making these prototypes. It’s a very key thing – a big part of the joy I get out of mountain biking is actually building the bikes. “The thing that drives me forward is when I can make a little
change or figure something out that makes the product work better. It makes me more excited to go riding and these days, that’s my addiction to mountain biking. I’m probably so prolific with making prototypes because that’s my fix. I guess it’s a good addiction if you’re gonna have any because it does propel our product forward and we have the facility and the resources here for that, so I’m pretty happy. “The other thing is that when those bikes launch, that’s where I get my validation. When I read the forums or the test results and people are stoked on the product, then that’s my personal reward. I think that translates through our whole team too. It’s an emotional thing, it’s a passion and hopefully that translates really well into our product and then to our customers. “With our new configuration with the management team in place, I’m freed up to do a lot more prototyping, so that goes back into the new products coming out; how a lot more attention and passion is translated into that product. And hopefully I stay on the right track but that’s why we have this team that checks and balances. It’s not a one-man show in that respect.” Indeed, while the JS-Tuned concept bears Jeff ’s initials, it’s a more holistic, team effort; one that means all aspects of the bike – from suspension to spec – are all considered with the use of the bike, and its intended rider, in mind. “We’re in the business now of selling complete bikes that are basically designed for specific segments from XC to light trail to enduro, free ride, all mountain and downhill. So I’ve kind of broken that down into three different travel segments. The suspension kinematics part of the formula is really important, but at the same time, a lot of, or most, suspension designs out there limit themselves a little bit. They may be really well suited for bikes in a certain travel range and then when you push that, you’re compromising a little by
trying to stay with the same platform. “So when I analysed that, I was able to break it down into the different travel segments so you have your XC and light trail bikes that go up to 145mm of travel and then you have from 150 to 170mm and then you get into the 170 to 200-plus millimetre travel. “You’re trying to achieve different suspension requirements for each of those particular types of riding, so as we evolved this JS-tuned concept, hitting the segments squarely where each bike designed within those three categories is performing to its optimum. “As we release some bikes later in the year, you’ll start seeing that middle segment, where the suspension architecture has evolved even more. Basically, it’s still our same floating pivot counter rotating dual-link design, but we’re tweaking it a little more so that we can achieve a suspension curve that we feel is optimum for that category. “JS-Tuned is that whole package. The spirit of it is that it’s the balance between the kinematics, the geometry, the form and function. Also, we want the bikes to be easy to maintain and reliable – that’s a big, big important area when you’re talking full suspension. And then, of course, the spec and the ergonomics of the spec, how well it works with the bike that’s designed for one of those three categories. “It’s a lot to digest and I think it’s a matter of putting it in a little more elegant form, but in the end we want the rider to have the best ride experience and emotional response to riding their bike. Once everything is really thought out, they don’t have to think about it when they buy the bike, they have trust in Intense that we’ve done our homework and put together the best-balanced package. That translates into this exceptional ride experience so they can’t wait to get out on it again.” With this refinement of riding styles and the JS-Tuned concept
meaning the industry’s most thoughtful spec choices, the incredible critical response to recent launches such as the Spider 275C and now the ACV and Primer has proven the status quo is working for Intense. But what does the future hold? The key is actually looking back and embracing those racing beginnings, says Jeff. “Intense was born around 1990 and established itself through that era as one of the top race brands. That rich racing heritage is what defined our brand. We had this global brand that casts a big shadow, but we weren’t living up to the brand’s potential. So we’re working on that right now – we’re poised and ready and that transition is happening. “Looking at the past, the best thing we did is that we didn’t spoil or ruin that brand along the way. Now we’re looking at the future. It’s time for Intense to grow up, but what’s the defining thing behind our brand that we never want to lose? It’s that we’re a racing brand that’s evolved from racing. “We’re starting to create the next generation of Intense riders and product that’s going to take us into the next era of Intense Cycles. We’re going to be putting a lot more effort into racing again. We’re reevaluating our marketing because in the past – and even currently – Intense Factory Racing has worked really well for us. It’s the one sole thing that defines our brand and using that to generate product that performs at the highest level and a trickle-down effect not only for product but for branding. “I think that’s a lot of the future: we’re looking to evolve that Intense Factory Racing image so that we’re on the podium. Back in the day when we were the underdogs, the little guys, who were beating the big guys – that’s where we operate best. That’s what people grasp onto with Intense.”
PRIMERFACTORY THIS 130MM TRAVEL 29ER TRAIL BIKE HAS PROVEN ITSELF FAR MORE THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS.
The aggressive mid-travel 29er phenomenon is alive and kicking in the Intense Primer. At just 130mm travel front and rear you may be forgiven for thinking this bike's limits would soon be reached when the going gets tough, but the combination of inspired geometry, one of the best suspension tunes we have ever experienced, fantastic frame compliance and the larger 29 inch wheels makes a bike that is capable of devouring trail in a manner that, on paper, simply doesnâ€™t add up. The Primer is such an unprecedented hit in the Saddleback office that it has completely transformed the views of many of our more hardcore riders, who were once 29er haters.
SRAM EAGLE 1 X 12
RIDER DEFINED COCKPIT
JS TUNED SUSPENSION
Primer Factory and Pro models will be amongst the first complete bikes to hit the market specced with SRAMâ€™s brand new Eagle groupset.
The Primer is designed to be ridden in anger, so to take advantage of the chassis' potential, all Primer models come equipped with a 50mm stem and 760mm bar.
A custom shock tune with firm compression damping gives a platform with impressive support and control, inspiring confidence to attack the trail.
“As a rider who tends to like squaring off turns, jumping and riding generally more aggressive trails, on paper the Primer wasn’t the bike for me. My eyes have well and truly been opened though: the Primer is the bike I have reached for more than any other in my arsenal since I received my sample. I am completely and utterly sold on this bike.” MARTIN ASTLEY INTENSE BRAND MANAGER
Intense has chosen Boost front and rear hub spacing for stiff, strong wheels that complement the Primer's aggressive nature and future-proof the frame for upgrades.
A 438mm chainstay makes a 29er that boasts the nimble ride of a smaller-wheeled bike. The I box suspension link allows both the short chainstay and mud clearance.
The Factory and Pro builds offer a highmodulus SL frameset for even lighter performance while all models feature category-leading specs.
IT’S EASY TO DISMISS PLUS SIZED BIKES AS A FAD BUT A RIDE ABOARD THE ACV WILL QUICKLY QUIET ANY CRITICS. The 130mm-travel ACV combines a 150mm travel fork, contemporary geometry and the incredible grip of plus sized tyres to create a bike that defies the limits of traditional trail bikes. The ACV allows you to ride in a manner that wouldn’t be possible on a standard 27.5 bike or even a 29er, the extra cushioning and increased contact patch of the tyre allows for reckless line choice and a flattering ability to get away with mistakes.
115-130MM REAR TRAVEL
VARYING TYRE PRESSURE
Designed specifically as a plus bike, Boost front and rear hub spacing gives the ACV improved clearance and a stronger wheel. The ACV will also take 29-inch wheels.
Mismatched travel with adjustable 115130mm at the rear and a 150mm fork, plus the extra undamped travel in the plus tyres make the ACV a confidence inspiring ride.
Tyre pressure has a major impact on ride characteristics. Around 16psi will offer sublime traction and a more damped ride while 20psi gives a more sprightly feel.
“The ACV was born from curiosity, we wanted to explore the plus tyre phenomenon and our first test mules gave surprising results. We broadened our pool of test riders and included riders from Intense Factory Racing as well as Chris Kovarik, riders who you wouldn’t automatically think to put on this bike. Feedback was unanimously positive as we tweaked prototypes to create our final production bike. The ACV really is a bike that needs to be ridden to be believed, open your mind and give it a try.” JEFF STEBER INTENSE CYCLES FOUNDER
ROCK SHOX REVERB
The ACV has no front mech mount giving a clean look and ensuring fantastic tyre clearance. This makes the bike ideal for muddy UK conditions.
125mm Reverb dropper posts on both Foundation and Pro model gives the flexibilty for hassle-free riding regardless of what terrain you decide to tackle.
Available in Pro and Foundation builds, RockShox Pike forks and Monarch shocks are paired with SRAM drivetrains for smooth suspension and crisp shifting.
WORDS TOM BALLARD PICTURES ROTOR BIKE COMPONENTS
Rotor’s 2INpower gives Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka all the information riders need to succeed. Here’s how this state-of-the-art power meter makes all the difference. Rotor's close relationship with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka means that the team's coaching staff and riders have had the chance to thoroughly field test and validate 2INpower, the Spanish brand's latest and most technically advanced power meter. Team coach Dr Jonathan Baker talks us through the benefits of the new system and how power analysis leads to race victories. Having spent 10 years as a lab-coat-wearing sports scientist analysing athletes' differences, the move to a WorldTour cycling team has been a natural fit for Baker, with the job of understanding and analysing performance physiology made easier thanks to the 2INpower’s rich data collection. “As a professional scientist working with professional riders, there are three things that are really important in a power meter: accuracy, consistency and reliability of these units and their data,” says Baker. “With the 2INpower meter, all these things are evident. “Accuracy really means – is it calculating power correctly? Is the 300w that the rider’s actually producing what is being shown by the power meter on the handlebar display? That’s really important. Obviously, if it’s not reading correctly or accurately, we can’t really infer much from it. “For this season, riders have had three or four 2INpower meters on a range of bikes: their race bikes, training bikes, and time trial bikes. Is the accuracy of 300w on their training bike the
same as the racing bike? If it’s not, again we have problems. So we’re looking for the highest level of accuracy possible with our power meters. With Rotor’s dual-sided 2INpower meter, you’re looking at 98.5 to 99 per cent accuracy, which is right at the top end of the market. The numbers we get from the power meters are just what we’re looking for. “The consistency is a little bit simpler. Essentially is that 300w the same every day? This week, this month, this year? Again if there’s any kind of drift from the data, we might think riders are training too much, too little, not performing correctly, or aren’t performing intervals right, so the consistency is key as well; reading the same as time goes on. “The final element is reliability. We have riders all over the world. They live right across Europe, some in Australia, some in the States and they race all around the globe; in the snow of northern Norway to the deserts of Dubai. So these units have to be very, very robust and able to deal with weather situations and crashes, and all sorts of things that happen in professional cycling. “To give you an idea, in the first four months of 2016, our guys did about 250,000km on 2INpower meters. That’s an awful lot of use with these units right across the team and they’ve coped really well with no problems at all.” With the team’s coaching staff and its riders convinced of 2INpower’s efficacy, Baker offers an insight into how the team benefits from all the data gathered: “Benchmarking is a key thing for us, essentially our testing
protocols. Regularly throughout the season – at the start of the year, after lots of training and before key races – we perform tests with the riders looking at what their sprint power’s like, how their endurance has developed and how their fitness is changing and tracking during the year. “The power meter data is essentially a feedback loop between what we see in races and what the riders do in training. So we analyse race data and assess the demands of pro racing. Is it the first couple of kilometres that matter? Is it the final few? Is it things during the stage? We’re looking at the racing data to give insights into what’s really critical. “We then take that data back to training, which helps us to prepare our riders in the best way we can to deal with those demands. Also, sometimes in unique ways, maybe we can leverage an advantage by doing things differently as well – again the power meter is central to that. “We can also use the information to help select riders for races, to employ tactics during races and even simply when looking at which new young riders we choose from the African continent or through Europe to join our WorldTour team. Without this kind of really accurate, reliable data, we can’t do that, so power meters are essential to a lot of what we do behind the scenes.” One of the behind-the-scenes applications for 2INpower is in the world of aerodynamics, which has become ever more crucial for professional cyclists trying to eke out a free-speed advantage. “Aerodynamics is getting more and more important. The team are running aerodynamic frames for the vast majority of stages these days – all but for the very lightest of our riders, where something lighter is sometimes better. So we spend a lot of time in velodromes, validating lots of aerodynamic factors. “The process is really complex, but essentially we’re looking to accurately measure the power and then change one thing at a time, be it wheels or rider position or whatever, and then measure the difference in the speed. The differences are absolutely tiny, so we need to assess very small differences in the power meter readings as well. If the power meter wasn’t doing its job, we wouldn’t be getting that insight, so it’s central to finding that position.” More performance insight comes from 2INpower’s accurate dual-leg power measurement, the device offering the team more data than the majority of the competition. “It’s something very new to the team. Most power meters
give you the power numbers and it is generally assuming a 5050 balance. People don’t ride 50-50 all the time. Or if they are unbalanced, it’s not always 48-52, it’s constantly changing during a race. As a team, we’ve not had the chance to look at it before and we think there are some interesting insights we can learn from this data and thanks to the 2INpower meter, we now have it and other teams don’t. I think during this year we’ll be analysing the data, trying to learn more about how we can use these balance numbers to improve performance as well.” While the analysis of racing power balance data continues, there’s one application it’s already being used for within the team – dealing with efficient, safe recuperation for riders following crashes. “I think probably the major thing we use it for is looking at riders coming back from injuries and crashes, so we’re sure they are actually back to what’s their normal riding style after these kinds of incidents. If a rider is riding crooked after a crash, generally you find that more problems come with that as well. Their body could be twisted or maybe their knee and then they develop a problem with their hip for example. The data informs time off the bike or what training is needed to get them back to their usual point. So we use it as almost like a benchmark point, it’s really useful for those types of things.” Ultimately, the 2INpower meters give the riders and coaching staff the feedback needed to get each selected Team Dimension Data squad to their races in peak physical condition, but the data is also crucial to tactics and ensuring the best possible performance on each day. “Normally there are 180 to 200-odd riders in a peloton; we’ve got seven or eight guys in there. We’re basically looking at how we can maximise this, so we use power for pacing on climbs and particularly with time trials, we use it for riders’ positions in team time trials. Right across the board, it’s really central. We’re just taking the data and making our informed decisions from that. There’s very little guesswork these days, you just need lots of hard facts. 2INpower gives us that.”
RACE WINNING POWER
USING 2INPOWER, DR. BAKER ANALYSED STEVE CUMMINGS' STAGE 4 TIRRENO ADRIATICO WIN. HERE ARE SOME KEY FINDINGS FROM THE 220KM STAGE. • COVERING BREAKS IN THE FIRST 20KM, CUMMINGS’ POWER WAS 400-500W • DESPITE THIS, HE AVERAGED ABOUT 200W FOR THE FIRST AND SECOND THIRDS OF THE STAGE • 100-110RPM IS CUMMINGS’ MOST EFFICIENT CADENCE • CUMMINGS SPENT 1:15 FREEWHEELING • THE FINAL THIRD SAW THE AVERAGE GO UP TO 290W • ON THE FINAL THREE CLIMBS, POWER INCREASED TO 400-450W, HEART RATE WENT UP BY 30% • THREE 500-600W ACCELERATIONS SAW HIM DISTANCE THE OTHER LEADERS • IN THE FINALE, CUMMINGS HELD 450W FOR FOUR MINUTES OF TIME-TRIALLING TO CROSS THE LINE AND TAKE THE WIN
FROM THE GARAGE FLOOR H OW ARUN DEL BI CYC L E COM PA N Y FOUN DE R S C HRIS WATSON A N D DAV E BR A D F I EL D R E-W ROTE HIG H-EN D BOT T L E C AG E D ESIG N W ITH A LITTLE HEL P F R OM BEER A N D R AC E – THEN MADE MOR E COOL ST U F F TO T EM P T DISCERN ING CYC L I STS A R OU N D T HE WORL D. Arundel Bicycle Company is a gem of the cycling products scene. A small US company based in Fort Worth, Texas, Arundel keeps things simple while producing the finest, lightest and best looking carbon bottle cages you could wish for. Founders Chris Watson and Dave Bradfield are passionate cyclists who love what they do, something that shows in the attention to detail and practicality of the products they produce. Now in their 17th year in the trade, we look back on Arundel’s humble beginnings. “Chris and I had both always been into bikes, even as little kids,” says Dave. “Chris’ racing aspirations were actually in a kayak rather than on a bike, though he eventually made the switch to cycling! “I had done a few races as a teenager but took a break for college and whatnot. Chris is a generation older than me but we both started riding and racing together around 1998 to 1999. Chris had been a sales rep in the bike industry since forever and was ready to make the step to founding a company. I did not have any plans so this sounded like a great idea; much better than working at my brother’s restaurant.” The pair travelled to the 2000 Milan Bike Show to gain inspiration and maybe pick up a brand or two. In fact, the show turned out the be the catalyst for Chris and Dave’s decision to design and make their own products, rather than buying in from another company. The flight back to Texas proved pivotal in Arundel’s development with the pair sketching bottle cage designs – one of which was the sublime Dave-O. This first cage was christened after Bradfield’s own nickname, which evolved from his bleached-hair, Billy Idol style look back in the day and the moniker of punk rocking Plasmatics singer, Wendy O. “We had several designs that we liked so we made around six or seven design models and had all of our buddies rate them. Some of our models were ‘love or hate’ designs and those scored either at the top or the bottom of the
individual rankings. The Dave-O model was consistently in the top three so we knew that it would appeal to a wide range without alienating others. “We knew it had to perform better than anything else so that was what was driving the design. The ‘top tab’ was an essential part of the design and has since been copied quite a bit. We also knew it had to be light so we pushed the envelope in that area. We found that at 30g, our design would hold a bottle over the worst terrain we could find. Anything less with the Dave-O design and bottles would start to pop out over some of the more gnarly bits of road. Bottle security trumped absolute light weight for us.” While Arundel remains small, the company was positively compact back then. “Chris had a home office for his sales rep business and I was living in a very small apartment. Chris split his time between the home office and being on the road, calling on shops. I split my time between working at my brother’s restaurant, filling small Arundel orders from my ‘office’ at my apartment, and working at our buddy’s carbon fibre facility making the original Dave-O cages. I say ‘office’ because it was really just a hand-me-down desk and computer. Our buddy’s carbon fibre facility was where all the hard labour took place.” And it really was hard labour, with Dave making every single cage by hand; not a procedure he wished to repeat. “The first 500 Dave-Os were made here in Fort Worth and they were a pain in the ass to make. We did all the original design work and prototyping at Chris’s home garage and the CF facility. Once we had a design we moved our meagre production to the CF facility. “This was basically a one-man operation so everything took forever: cutting the forms from the carbon pre-preg sheets, fitting to the moulds, curing, post cure trimming, and even mould maintenance. It was certainly a labour intensive task. We were making them for sale to local shops at the same time that we were trying to get the process streamlined and perfected. “Quality control was pretty good as far as performance went. Those early cages all did the job and we sold every one we made. We still see some of the ones that were sold in use on bikes locally. QC regarding the appearance was another matter; these were all handmade and some of the trimming was done freehand. That made for some being drastically different depending on what day of the week they were made.”
TO THE WORLD TOUR The time-consuming and costly nature of this process – each of those 500 cages were sold at a loss – meant that towards the end of 2001, Dave and Chris began looking into Asian expertise to perfect the process. “We really wanted to make these cages in the USA. That’s why we struggled so hard early on. The CF facility that these originals were produced in was really good at making very few, very expensive things. We needed to achieve the opposite. Maybe if we had a larger initial investment we could have brought in more machinery and made it happen, but we were a really small company with almost no money to work with. “Working in that facility did allow for quite a bit of experimentation and we certainly learned the ins and outs of carbon fibre during that period, which certainly has helped us since.” Through an old industry friend, Chris and Dave were introduced to a Taiwanese carbon expert named Race and one of his engineers, Beer. The pair quickly commissioned the intriguingly named duo to make the cages in China, near Hong Kong, using a 250°C, 1,000 psi heat pressing process. “When Race came back with the first pre-production samples we were floored. They were exactly what we envisioned in our mind’s eye; and they were all exactly the same. They were way better than what we were making here as far as consistency from part to part and from how true to our design the cages could actually be manufactured. It was quite a relief to finally have an answer for the growing demand of Dave-O cages. “The first shipment of 1,000 pieces was daunting. At the time, the Dave-O cage was priced way above anything else available. I stored them in my tiny apartment. Luckily I didn’t have any real furniture so most of the living room could be devoted to bottle cage inventory. That apartment complex is right on the Trinity River Bike Trail, so we pass by almost every time I go for a ride.” Despite that initial trepidation, Chris and Dave’s faith in their product and their burgeoning brand won out. Despite out-pricing the rest of the market, the Dave-O proved extremely popular with word spreading across the cycling community that the cage’s value was in its feathery lightness and the incredible security of its two-armed design. The success of the Dave-O gave Chris and Dave the freedom to follow it up with more cool bike equipment that people wanted to buy including the now-
range-topping Mandible, which took Dave full circle to his experiences putting together those first 500 Dave-O cages. “From our experience designing the Dave-O we had a set of parameters for what made a good water bottle cage, weight versus strength, durability, and aesthetics. With the Mandible, we were able to make a cage that was not only lighter, by 2g, but held a bottle more securely and looks good doing it, too. This was a direct application of all the things we learned at the carbon fibre facility.” With the Mandible launching in 2008, word of Arundel’s superior products spread as far as Team Slipstream, who were soon using the cages in the world’s biggest races, their vice-like grip and easy bottle loading proven over the Spring Classics as well as three weeks’ hard use in the Grand Tours. This adoption at the top of the sport was all the more impressive considering the team came to them: “We’re quite proud of the fact that we have never solicited a bike team to use our cages,” says Dave. Nevertheless, the team, now Cannondale-Drapac, has been using Arundel cages ever since. Even with a top-flight pro team involved, the Arundel operation remained small, with Chris and Dave’s garages being used as warehouse spaces. But as word of mouth continued to spread, the company’s prestige and sales grew, leading Arundel to move into ever-bigger headquarters to cope with demand. The brand’s bottle cage range has blossomed while Arundel has also expanded into elegantly simple saddle packs and a selection of bar tape – including Synth Gecko and Rubber Gecko, two new lines for 2016. Today the company’s designs can be seen on over 10 international UCIregistered teams including Cannondale-Drapac in the WorldTour and NFTO in the UK while development of new products continues apace. “We know we need to develop more products and that is really what makes this fun. We like to think of products that we want ourselves or would make our own bike riding more enjoyable. We hope our thoughts on what is cool or what would improve our enjoyment of the sport would transfer to others as well.” It’s all a far cry from those doodled cage designs on a flight home. “It’s always fun to look back and see how far we’ve come, and just how hard it was to get here,” muses Dave. “Of course, if we knew then what we know now…” WORDS TOM BALLARD
FORTWILLIAM WORDS NICK COX PICTURES CARMEN HERROR / SVEN MARTIN
REASONS TO GO TO FORT WILLIAM 1. THE WEATHER (SOMETIMES) 2. THE RACING (ALWAYS) 3. THE CROWDS (MASSIVE) 4. THE RIDING (FUN) 5. THE EVENINGS (SILLYNESS) 6. THE JOURNEY (TEBAY)
Every year the biggest mountain bike show on earth turns up at the doorstep of a small, Scottish highland town. For this showcase of the fastest mountain bike racing on the planet, Fort William’s usual population of around 10,000 inflates to over 30,000 for just one weekend – and Saddleback was once again there at the heart of it all. 2016 was our third consecutive year attending the UCI DH World Cup and as in years past, we have continued to increase the size of our presence and pitch. The fact we had also just picked up Intense Cycles as a headline brand for our increasingly heavy-hitting mountain bike portfolio not only made this year super exciting, but was a great excuse to really go big. With two vans packed to within an inch of their lives and dreams of Tebay services looming large in our stomachs, we set off on the nine-hour, northwards journey. While Ross got to entertain Intense marketing manager Jenn Gabrielli and international sales manager Mike Dettmers, I was crammed in the other van with deputy warehouse manager Jason, Enve / Chris King brand manager Ash and Intense brand manager Martin. We quickly began to eat up the miles – almost as fast as our combined appetites demolished all food and drink we'd packed – until we hit roadworks and a standstill jam on the M6 – who would’ve guessed?! Things soon got worse as having sloshed down all the liquids in the van, the two-hour stagnant delay necessitated the fashioning of a urinal from a disregarded take-out coffee cup – which none of us have spoken of since. Things were looking pretty grim and with us failing to leave first gear for so long, my patience was growing thin at our snail’s pace progress towards Scotland. However, as soon as the traffic cleared and we began to enter the Borders and Scotland, the incredible views and memories of last year’s event seemed to work as an antidote for the earlier traffic. The drive through the Glencoe Valley never fails to inspire us and thoughts soon turned to our bikes, packed in the back of the van, and what riding we might stumble across in this off-road playground. We finally arrived in Fort William at obscene o'clock, swiftly dumped our belongings and hit the hay. The next day dawned with the crucial but always taxing, dusty-carpark
LEFT LUCA COMETTI TAKES ON THE ROUGH FORT BILL COURSE
“THE DRIVE THROUGH THE GLENCOE VALLEY NEVER FAILS TO INSPIRE US AND THOUGHTS SOON TURNED TO OUR BIKES, PACKED IN THE BACK OF THE VAN, AND WHAT RIDING WE MIGHT STUMBLE ACROSS IN THIS OFF-ROAD PLAYGROUND.” NICK COX
RIGHT THE SADDLEBACK TEAM WITH SHAUN PALMER AND THE GUYS FROM INTENSE CYCLES BELOW JACK MOIR, LUCA COMETTI AND MARIA BRYCELAND CHILLING ON THE SADDLEBECK SPRINTER FAR RIGHT HUGE CROWDS GATHER AT THE INTENSE / ENVE-CHRIS KING TENTS FOR THE M16 RAFFLE
“WE ARE REALLY EXCITED TO BE WORKING WITH SADDLEBACK. ALL THE GUYS ARE TALENTED RIDERS AND SUPER KNOWLEDGABLE ABOUT OUR PRODUCTS. WE HAD A GREAT TIME WITH THEM AT FORT BILL AND LOOK FORWARD TO A LONG, SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM.” JENN GABRIELLI
pitch set-up, which would have to be perfect to give our brands the attention they required. Our pitch this year had almost doubled in size and with the introduction of our new tents, it wasn’t long before the pitch was looking awesome. Intense was soon in full flight! We had the whole range for all to see including a never-before-seen full model line of the new Spider 275C. On top of that, our traditional free raffle was back: the chance for one lucky person to win a product from one of our brands and this year we raised the bar as Martin managed to squeeze in an Intense M16 frame to give away! Concerns grew as the stack of 2,000 raffle tickets quickly dwindled in the face of the hordes queuing to get their 'lucky' ticket. The interest was unprecedented and soon the event organisers began to worry about the volume of people that would show up for the draw! Our Enve / Chris King tent also drew plenty of attention, quickly getting the crowds drooling. Many a conversation could be heard between partners; one trying to convince the other that it would be money well spent and would improve their riding if they could but find the money to purchase a set of Enve's prized wheels. As Saturday wore on, a buzzing crowd of over 1,000 congregated around the Intense tent. With the man himself, Shaun Palmer, drawing out the winning ticket and event MC, Dan Jarvis, on announcing duties, the raffle was a spectacle to behold. The winner? Fraser Duncan, who was the perfect size for the frame and had the perfect attitude! He was so happy to have won it and to meet his hero Shaun Palmer that it was quite an emotional scene.
“THIS WAS WITHOUT DOUBT MY FAVOURITE TRIP TO FORT BILL EVER. THE RESPONSE TO INTENSE AND THE M16 RAFFLE WAS EPIC.” MARTIN ASTLEY
BELOW OUR ENVE AND INTENSE TENTS IN THE CALM BEFORE THE INEVITABLE STORM RIGHT STEVE PEAT ENJOYING HIS FINAL APPEARANCE RACING AT FORT WILLIAM
Saturday was certainly a crazy and busy day, however in true Saddleback fashion, we balanced work with fun and headed out in two groups to attack the local secret trails. Fort William didn't disappoint and we all felt like a bit like a 'Barnes' conquering the steep, tech and loamy trails, some of which had been untouched for many a moon. The riding was great fun and the heat and dryness of the trails just added to an awesome afternoon’s hooning about. The evenings were a mix of hunting for somewhere to eat and some of us making sure we had our fill of white wine. Hanging out with the Intense Factory and Palmer Project racers was amazing too. It was eye-opening to see what goes into a race weekend behind the scenes and the preparation, both physical and mental, for what is the roughest, toughest course on the World Cup circuit. The whole weekend was a mixture of amazing weather, good times and fast racing but I couldn't do our Fort William round-up justice without mentioning the truly sad news of Stevie Smith’s recent passing away – a tragic end for one of the fastest and nicest guys on the circuit. What seemed like the whole DH community made a heartfelt tribute to the Canadian – a memorial run of around 50 riders flowing down the course before a few moments of reflection at the finish line, applause and a trip to Peaty’s on-site bar! Plenty of the riders had also added Stevie details to their kit in memory of the moustachioed star, who will always be remembered. After Ross, Ash and myself were seen sprinting all over the mountain to catch all the racers on different points of the course, the weekend drew to a close. Jenn helped avoid the usual post-event, packing-up blues with the welcome distraction of chips and beer. With everything back in the vans, all that remained was to say goodbye to Fort Bill. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK. We masked our sorrow at leaving with talk about what brands we might have when the circus comes back to town in 2017 and wondering how much more space Saddleback would inevitably need!
MEDIACOVERAGE Here's a quick taste of some of the magazines our products have appeared in over the last few months. We pride ourselves on ensuring products from our brands receive the best coverage possible. Hereâ€™s the proof.
SUMMER 2016 1. CYCLING ACTIVE 2. MBUK 3. CYCLING WEEKLY 4. PRO CYCLING
5. MBUK 6. PRO CYCLING 7. MBUK 8. CYCLING WEEKLY
9. CYCLESPORT 10. BIKES ETC 11. CYCLING PLUS
IRENE ALBACETE ROTOR'S LEAD ENGINEER FOR POWER METERS TAKES OUR 10-QUESTION TEST
Who is Irene Albacete? I am 26 and hold a masters degree in industrial engineering. I'm a native of the Mediterranean coast of Spain but have lived in Colombia, northern Spain, Denmark (where I completed my degree) and now Madrid. As far as merging my personal and professional lives, I've always been a sports enthusiast in practice, just in football and tennis. I've been an armchair fan of cycling for most of my life and can pretty accurately 'read' a race from a technical perspective, which has come in useful in developing technologies used in cycling performance. Since arriving at Rotor, I've picked up cycling more as a recreational activity and ride on the double and singletrack trails north of Madrid.
How did you find your way into the bike industry? I was working in the oil and gas industry in Madrid, analysing pipeline stress and support structures for major petrochemical projects in Bolivia and Algeria. My department was responsible for making sure oil and gas pipelines wouldn't burst under stress. Rotor was searching for someone to manage product research, development and testing between the company and its sponsored pro teams. I was recommended for the job and Rotor invited me for an interview. With Rotor, there existed the opportunity not only to be part of ambitious projects, but to participate in the overall product development process, from concept to prototyping to testing and finally, entry into the marketplace.
Are you a roadie, MTB, triathlete, TT rider? I like to ride off-road for recreation, some singletrack but mostly double-track, which we have a lot of here in Spain.
How would you describe yourself as a rider? Compared to my Rotor co-workers, I´d probably say that I'm slightly above novice. However, as you know, the bar gets raised high inside the bike industry so I couldn't say for sure how my talents match up in general. I enjoy riding and, given the steep terrain around here, I prefer climbing as opposed to descending.
What’s your proudest cycling moment? I rode the three Pyrenean summits (Tourmalet, Plateau de Beille, Pierre Saint Martin) during last year´s Tour de France. Up until then the highest climb I'd ever done didn't even measure up to a third of any of those.
Where’s your favourite place in the world to ride? While my selection is limited to a few, the one place I keep going back to is the Sierra Madrid mountains just north of the city. But I´d really like to explore other places to ride in Spain because some of the best riding in Europe – both road and off-road – can be found all over the country.
Who’s your cycling hero / heroine? At present I work closely with the pro riders on Dimension Data for Qhubeka and what impresses me most are the riders who go from racing in small national races with no more than 30 pro/am riders to rolling to the start of the world´s most famous races, where 200 elite racers – who've been riding practically since birth – ride elbow-to-elbow on narrow cobbled roads. Those are the racers to watch out for because, while they have little experience in the pro peloton, they've nothing to lose by giving everything they've got.
What can you do better than anyone else you know? I couldn't name one thing concretely since there´s always someone else who can do it better than you. I will say that the work I do for Rotor is specific in that I have to draw upon all my skills – sometimes all at once – when developing new technologies, solving technical challenges, interpreting test feedback and translating it into product improvements…all in a second language. In my opinion, it´s more important to do the best you can and improve rather than being better than someone else.
What’s your ultimate post-ride meal? Like any other Spaniard, a good ride always ends with a fresh beer and tapas! But I often enjoy homemade Chinese food.
If you were a piece of Rotor gear, what would it be and why? I relate most to the crank axle of 2INpower, which receives pedalling force, measures it and calculates the data via a small motherboard inside the axle. I travel a lot to work with the pro teams, who are under enormous pressure to perform and they are looking to me for answers on how to get the best out of their equipment.
@ C A S T E L L I C YC L I N G
@ A LC H E M Y B I C YC L E S
@ A S T U T E I TA L I A
@ S TA G E S C YC L I N G
@ I N T E N S E C YC L E S
@ R OTO R B I K E
ELITE DOWNHILL RACER AND SADDLEBACK WEBSITE ADMINISTRATOR, JESS GREAVES, LOVES HER BRAND NEW INTENSE M16C – HERE'S WHY I’ve had the M16C for a month now and already feel at home on it like I’ve had it years! We built it up just before the last BDS round and it took me a few runs to try and set up the suspension. I took it to Mojo Suspension a few days later and spent a bit of time getting a good base setting with the boys there. So eager to ride at Fort William World Cup, I was straight up the hill for the first run of
practice, trying out the new settings and the grip was unreal! I rode the top section of track faster than I’ve ever hit it before first run which is unheard of for me as I normally start practice steady! I’m running the bike in the shorter travel setting – 8.5-inches – and with the Fox DHX2 coil rear shock at almost 30 per cent sag, the bike feels so well balanced and composed through rough stuff and easy to pop off the lip of a jump. Compared to
the V10 I had last year, the rear end of the bike has a slightly different setup and has noticeably less chain slap for a much quieter ride. I’m running the same set of wheels as last season but we freshened them up with red decals to match the bike. The Chris King ISO hubs are like fine wine, getting better with age! And the M90 rims have seen off more trouble than I would expect of any rim yet both wheels are running flawlessly.
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