So it’s the end of the season, I’ve ridden harder, faster and further than ever before, taking in 6 big races in 5 months and seeing action in the French and Swiss Alps, Austrian Tyrol, Italy’s Ligurean region and of course all of the UK’s riding hotspots. Over that time I have made quite a few tweaks to the setup of my bike to get it absolutely perfect for the enduro racing that forms the majority of my competitive action.
With any enduro bike, the aim of the game is to build a machine that can not only descend like a DH rig, but also climb well so that you conserve energy and hit cutoff times on transitions. Finding the balance between low weight, big travel and reliability is tough – to give you an idea, in 5 short months I have got through several chains, a cassette, a full set of pivot bearings, front and rear hub bearings, 5 shock bushes, a bottom bracket, a set of grips and 3 rear tyres. Enduro is hard on bikes and bodies!
Loads of people have asked about my setup, what I prefer and why – so here’s a rundown:
FRAME, FORKS & COCKPIT
Bionicon Edison frame & fork set (140mm rear travel, 80-160mm variable front travel, adjustable geometry)
Superstar Flatland 780 low rise bars cut to 710mm to suit my short arms
Bionicon adjustable stem, set to effective 55mm length
Superstar “supagripa” white grips, green endcaps & lockrings
Superstar custom wheelset – Switch Evo hubs (green) on Alex Supra 30 rims, Sapim race spokes
WTB Moto (F) and Weirwolf (R) 2.3 AM TCS tubeless tyres run with Stans fluid
Shimano Zee 4 pot brakes, Superstar white hoses, Superstar sintered pads
Superstar 203mm floating rotors (green)
SADDLE & POST
KS i7 remote dropper post
Superstar “signature” saddle
Truvativ Descendant 165mm cranks, 36t chainring
Shimano Zee wide ratio rear mech, XT iSpec 10 speed shifter
Shimano XT 10 speed cassette, 11-36
Superstar Plasma chain device
So what have I changed this season as far as setup goes?
The Bionicon Edison has proved to be a faultless performer all season – short of the usual consumables of shock bushes and pivot bearings, it’s needed nothing doing to it. The adjustable stem (integrated into the fork) has seen the effective length reduced and reduced again, down to 55mm effective length. Thanks to the Gravilube system on the forks, maintenance schedules have been long and the fork is as supple and smooth as when it was new too!
My wheel and tyre combo has been fantastic – I’ve had to replace one broken spoke, but other than that, they are still perfect, running tight and true. Superstar clearly put some serious effort into my custom build as they have been hammered hard. All I’ve had to do is replace bearing cartridges, which is standard and cheap to do. The WTB tyres have been awesome all season, run tubeless, no burping or other problems except for one stupidly bad landing in Austria which burped the rear. But it went back up fine, so all good. The Weirwolf/Moto combination seems to suit me perfectly with tons of grip but really fast rolling.
I started the season running Magura Louise Carbon BAT brakes, but upgraded to the Zee 4 pots after the Mondraker Enduro where I ran out of power thanks to the insane speeds involved – best brakes I have ever used and fully recommended. They say the best way to get quicker is to improve your brakes – I can testify to that. Plus of course, the dreaded arm pump reduces! With the dinner plate sized Superstar 203mm floating rotors, the bike stops really fast, but has loads of control too. A few people have commented I have a lot of brake power for a 70kg rider – the way I view it, there’s no such thing as too much brake power if it modulates well.
And finally – I never thought I’d make the change from SRAM gearing to Shimano, but I’ve done it. My X9 short cage rear mech was wearing out, so I needed to replace it, and the new Zee looked good and coincided with my SRAM shifter getting a bit baggy feeling, so I upgraded that to an XT iSpec version to keep my bars tidy. Shifting is amazing and the clutch mechanism really does add to the security of my chain device and so keep things nice & secure.
To find out more about all the brands I’m running, here’s some links:
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