Well it’s countdown time!!!Just a few days ahead of the Enduro World Series round at Tweedlove in Scotland and I thought it would be cool to do a really quick bike check.
Lots of change from my 2013 spec – but shock horror(!!) I have stuck with 26” for this season as I am really loving the Alva Air 180 and with the changes done over winter, it’s faster than ever.
So many changes and upgrades have been done – tons of weight off but performance increases and no compromise on strength, there simply was no way I would take risks.
Several key new parts that differentiate from the 2103 season – all helping make the bike more ready than ever for racing and shredding this year!
First up – the all new suspension system. At the end of last year, I was running a pre-production Bionicon G2S fork cartridge with the new compression damping cartridge and dual air chamber. I’m now on the full production version – it’s super-smooth, awesome small bump compliance but doesn’t blow travel at all. I run it pretty firm at around 18% sag so it sites high in the travel.
The rear shock has also been upgraded from the X-Fusion O2 RCX to the all new custom specced Magura TS215 – big thing I noticed is how much more compliant it is, how much slicker the initial stroke is and how it definitely seems less sensitive to getting hot over a long rough run. I’ve just about got the tuning bang on now – seriously impressed!
As you’ll see from the photos, I’m rocking some pretty pimp rims this year from new sponsor Carbonality – these are a 33mm wide, 30mm deep carbon rim, with a 27mm internal width and hookless bead. Weighing in at just 440g a piece (same as a Stans Flow), they are super stiff, really strong and have made a big difference to handling. The bike feels a lot more direct, and on tight switchbacks and rock gardens where wheel deflection/flex can cause wander, they really can be noticed!
As with last year, I’m running Onza tyres after being super-impressed with them last year, not only in terms of grip but also bulletproof construction – the lovely guys at Onza and UK distributor Silverfish UK sorted me out a massive box full at the start of the season, so I’ll be running a mix of Ibex 2.4, Ibex 2.25 and Canis 2.25 dependent on conditions.
Drivetrain is the ever lovely SRAM X01 with 10-42 cassette and 34t chainring. NarrowWide and clutch goodness means it just works perfectly and doesn’t drop the chain, ably supported by the new Bionicon C-Guide Eco for a little extra chain wrap. For particularly rocky courses I have the option to add a taco and/or top guide from Brightline Components.
Bars also come from Brightline Components – 780mm carbon badboys with a 32mm rise. I’m absolutely loving these so far!
Brakes are the trusty Shimano Zee with sintered pads – I may test out the new Magura MT7 later this season but right now, these 4 pot monsters (on 203mm rotors) deliver all the power and modulation you could possibly want – especially when tired and with arm pump setting in……
Watch out for lots more updates now the season gets started!
Big thanks in advance to all the brands supporting me and the Bionicon team this season – Bionicon, Onza, Silverfish UK, One Industries Europe, Vizion Goggles and Carbonality – hope to do you proud in 2014!