The Escape – Trailer

Let’s get one thing straight, this film is not really about us or our journey. It’s about the people and places that your mountain bike can show you.

Mountain biking is brilliant in its scope and variety; there is no right or wrong way to enjoy it. However, mountain biking, to us, is about adventure and exploration, fun and games, and understanding a little bit more about the world, the people around us, and in the long run, about ourselves.

On February 6, 2013, the Union crew set out from snowy Whistler to seek out some of the rumored snow free trails around BC. Their route took them on a circular journey around the Georgia Strait (or Salish Sea) between Vancouver’s lower mainland and Vancouver Island – where they found clusters of communities that elude the snow line all winter, leaving the ribbons of crafted dirt free for all to ride.

They rode mountain bikes the whole way, towing their kit in trailers for the long road stretches and then dumping them when the riding turned to dirt. Thirteen days and over 800 km later they closed the loop on their ride. Perhaps you already caught some of the story online (the-escape.ca) but in March 2013 Union Production Co. will be releasing a video of the trip. Here is the teaser to the grand presentation.

This video is about bringing the pleasure of the road and the thrill of the trails. We want to reach out to the rider who is told they are getting old but still feels young and who still gets recharged with youthful thrills. We want to reach out to the person working in a cubicle and reunite them with that long lost wanderlust. We want to show everyone that, yes, nothing is easy, but the rewards of seeking soothes all hardship.

More so, although the video’s backdrop is the backroads of British Columbia, we want to remind the world that adventure can be found on your own doorstep, you just need to get off the couch to seek it. Mountain biking shows us all somewhere new and personal, whether that’s at the end of a long road, a piece of remote singletrack, or the woods at the bottom of your own backyard.

This video is about celebrating the world, that as mountain bikers, we ride within. It is also about the communities and individuals that dare imagine, build and provide nourishment so that mountain biking can flourish.

Introducing the Specialized Enduro 29

You may have seen some exciting things around the internet and heard whispers among riders that something big was happening with the Specialized Enduro. We are officially launching the all-new Enduro 29 today and we want to share the information with you.

There are two main reasons we created the Enduro 29.

1. The Enduro scene is growing with many riders wanting the best bike that gives them confidence in the challenging terrain of this All-Mountain experience. Whether this means racing on the emerging Enduro World Series or seeking adventure in the mountains, the Enduro 29 is up to the task.

2. The Specialized way of making a 29er is unrivaled. We make the best 29ers because of our attention to detail & we bring riders what they want. A 29er in the
All-Mountain category was thought to be impossible because of the challenges with fit, geometry, & weight. But we have figured it out and it further propels our 29er story.

Look closely at the Enduro 29. We’ve engineered a production 29er with 155mm of rear wheel travel (and 150mm up front); while also specifically tuning our AUTOSAG-equipped FSR suspension to soak up big hits at speed, yet provide trail bike-like pedaling performance. The “X-Wing” frame features dialed All-Mountain 29 Geometry, chainguide mounts, and internal Command Post cable routing.

Enduro-style racing has grown in popularity across North America and Europe, and for good reason—the events are awesome! To conquer these physically demanding courses a rider needs an agile, mid-travel full-suspension machine that pedals efficiently for out-of-the-saddle sprints and uphill sections of trail, but has spot-on geometry for aggressive descending. Our all-new Enduros are designed to give these riders the ideal machine for these events, while taking the bike-choice guessing game out of the equation. The choice is Enduro—with a wheel size for every riding style.

This is very exciting for all of us at Specialized. We are dedicated to making the best bikes and equipment for riders while continuing to innovate to make that happen. The Enduro 29 embodies these ideas. The notion of a 29er like this was thought impossible but we knew this would benefit the riders and worked to bring this bike to reality.

The all-new Enduro 29 “X-Wing”-frame with dialed All-Mountain Geo, dynamic in-line suspension, internal Command Post routing, tapered head tube, tight wheelbase (only 6mm longer than the 26-inch Enduro), carbon PF30 bottom bracket, and 142+ dropouts.
FSR is the most successful high-performance suspension system, continually refined since 1993. Now
with AUTOSAG, a revolutionary SBC technology that automatically sets the proper sag and air pressure in the shock.  155mm travel at the rear and 150mm on the front.
Remote-activated, three-position mechanical 100mm or 125mm-drop seatpost with new internal cable routing and external air pressure valve.
All-new, hand-crafted Traverse SL 29 carbon wheelset with Zero Bead Hook technology and 142+ compatible rear hub spacing.

Winning run of the Valparaíso Cerro Abajo Urban Downhill Race

Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Marcelo Gutierrez won the 11th running of the Valparaíso Cerro Abajo urban downhill race Sunday in Chile.

The Colombian put on a show for the fans that gathered to watch the world’s best gravity riders in one of the most exciting downhill events of the year.

The course, which travels from the top of Cerro Carcel to the center of Valparaíso, features steep roads, stairs, jumps and 15-foot drops—along with thousands of screaming fans.

Guttierez, a first-year member of the Factory Off-Road Team, took the win on his Giant Glory. He beat two-time Valparaíso champion Filip Polc of Slovakia, who finished second.

The win was the second of the year for Gutierrez, who won the Manizales Urban DH race in Colombia last month.

“I won, but not my much,” Gutierrez said afterward. “I am satisfied and happy. I am going back to Colombia triumphant.”

Giant 2W Gravity Enduro

What’s not to like?

The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro closed the recent Rotorua Bike Festival, and it was the standout event.

The formula for enduro racing is still loose, with organisers taking varied approaches, but the common factor is a race that is generally downhill, and the trail bike is best weapon. The best part of any trail ride, on the bikes most of us ride.

Rotorua’s enduro gave riders 5.5 hours to complete four race courses, and get back to the race HQ. An easy 20 minute spin to the forest, and another one to get back, left plenty of time. Optional shuttle buses were laid on for all the courses. The courses could be ridden in any order, which meant there was a degree of strategy involved.

The 2W showed us a few things that make enduros more fun than other mountain bike races. You can ride all day with your mates. Even on the longest course there’s only a few minutes between a fast rider and a more careful one, so regrouping happens while the fast ones get their heart rates under control. It is very social. With courses spread widely in the forest, there were people with blue numbers on their bars going in all directions. There is time to stop and compare notes. The race takes 5.5 hours, the atmosphere at the finish is great because everybody has arrived at more or less the same time.

The 2W courses were a selection from mountain biking heaven, but that doesn’t mean they were easy. A total of 18.4km against the clock gave a total drop of 1120m. The longest course took riders from the jungly rootfest of Tihi-O-Tawa through the screaming turns of Billy T and G Rock, on to the lung-burning traverse of Roller Coaster, then finished with the off camber gnarl of Moonshine and a final grovel along a trail that isn’t even on the map. 18 minutes of wide-eyed fun.

The winners on the day were top class XC racers, but the margins were tight and some downhill names were in the list. Sam Shaw took out the Mens race, narrowly beating enduro pinner Jamie Nicoll. Some downhill old boys were close behind, lead by Byron Scott in third place. In the womens event XC Olypian Rosara Joseph underlined her commitment to the new format by putting XC racer Sasha Smith and ex-DH World Cup campaigner Jenna Makgill into the minor placings.

The Giant 2W HQ was right in the middle of Rotorua’s Eat Streat: open air tables were quickly filled with riders eating great food, drinking cold brews and swapping stories of the best day out possible in Whakarewarewa Forest.

Rotorua’s popular Eat St became Pedal Plaza for the mass start of the inaugural Giant 2W Gravity Enduro on Feb 17, 2013 in Rotorua.
Old rivals and good mates Fred Star (right) and Gary Sullivan debate tactics at the start of the inaugural Giant 2W Gravity Enduro on Feb 17, 2013 in Rotorua.
American Derrick Bell (right) and Rotorua local Paul Lissette head around the lake track at the start of the race.
Wellington’s Ash Burgess charges over the drop on the Billy T section.
Clocking in at the start of the Hot Cross Buns section.
With barely even a grimace, Wanganui’s Geordie Steedman nurses a broken hand and a bit of facial claret after taking a spill down Hot Cross Buns.
Australian Matt Jurss heads down the Corridor trail overlooking Rotorua.
The uplift was one of the few chances to rest and relax.
Auckland’s Toby Mills (right) leads home James Ledingham and Steven Riddle at the end of the day. Tired but very happy.
Olympian Rosara Joseph (left) and Auckland’s Sasha Smith share their spoils.
Local ripper Sam Shaw gets a decent wad of pocket money to play with after finishing as the fastest male at the inaugural Giant 2W Gravity Enduro.

Neko Mullaly – Making the Positive Steps

Neko Mulally has been racing professionally for 4 years and is about to enter his 4th season with Trek World Racing, yet at only 20 years of age he speaks with a wisdom and focus rarely found in champions 10 years older. In this behind the scenes video we learn more about what makes the tall Pennsylvanian tick, and more about the support network he has at home.

World Trail – Atherton Project, QLD

Late last year World Trail completed track 6, Ridgy Didge, at Atherton Forest MTB Park. It’s a 6.7km loop of snaking single track, rolling climbs & fast flowing descents.

It’s quite probably the most fun I’ve had on a trail in Australia. The boys from World Trail give us a little insight into how much fun they had building, shaping & shredding this iconic trail in Atherton, QLD.

Shaun Palmer "The Miserable Champion" Full Mountain Bike Segment

Shaun Palmer “The Miserable Champion” Full Mountain Bike Segment from the award winning movie.

***Warning – Swear Words Inside***

Chainsaw Productions releases the greatest action sports documentary on DVD. The Miserable Champion is the real story of one of the most notorious athletes of all-time, action sports’ hero Shaun Palmer. 7 Sports, 7 Times World Champion, 6 X-Games Gold, 38 Elite Victories, 117 Tour Podiums and ESPY 2006 “Action Sports Athlete of the Year”. USA Today asks the question “Is This The World’s Greatest Athlete?”

Featuring: Shaun Palmer, Steve Caballero, Bob Klein, Terry Kidwell, Sam Hill, Jake Burton, Tom Sims, Rob Roskopp, Danny Kass, Steve Peat and many more.

Winner of X-Dance 2012 Action Sports Film Festal ‘Best Biography’

Shaun Palmer “The Miserable Champion” Full Mountain Bike Segment

Shaun Palmer “The Miserable Champion” Full Mountain Bike Segment from the award winning movie.

***Warning – Swear Words Inside***

Chainsaw Productions releases the greatest action sports documentary on DVD. The Miserable Champion is the real story of one of the most notorious athletes of all-time, action sports’ hero Shaun Palmer. 7 Sports, 7 Times World Champion, 6 X-Games Gold, 38 Elite Victories, 117 Tour Podiums and ESPY 2006 “Action Sports Athlete of the Year”. USA Today asks the question “Is This The World’s Greatest Athlete?”

Featuring: Shaun Palmer, Steve Caballero, Bob Klein, Terry Kidwell, Sam Hill, Jake Burton, Tom Sims, Rob Roskopp, Danny Kass, Steve Peat and many more.

Winner of X-Dance 2012 Action Sports Film Festal ‘Best Biography’

Hutchinson UR Team Partners Up With Polygon

After a great 2012 year during which the team made it on to more than 34 podiums throughout the season, Hutchinson UR has some important goals for 2013. The team has chosen Polygon as frames sponsor and welcomes the recently crowned female junior world champion, Holly Feniak.

Team Hutchison UR on Polygon on 2013.

Sometimes decisions regarding bike partners are difficult to take. But signing with Polygon was an easy choice for the team. Yannick Granieri and Sam Reynolds, friends of the team and slopestylers already riding for Polygon told the team that the brand was very professional and passionate about racing. After some testing with different bikes in Whistler last Autumn, Fabien and Mick realized that the Polygon DHX was the fastest bike that they had been riding. The team went to Indonesia in October to visit the factory and it became clear that Polygon and Hutchinson UR share the same goals and values. On top of that, Polygon is giving the riders a lot of liberty to develop the gravity range and to make all the bikes even faster.

The new team bike – the Polygon DHX.

To officially launch this partnership, Mick Hannah, his sister Tracey, Fabien Cousinié, Guillaume Cauvin and Holly Feniak all met up in Surabaya in Indonesia to launch the 2013 season at Polygon HQ accompanied by their title sponsor Hutchinson Tires.

Mick and Tracey riding Indonesian rocks.

Yustian Nimara from Polygon says : “We are very excited with the signing of the team to represent Polygon in the World Cup circuit for the first time and it’s a dream come true to work together with outstanding athletes like Mick & Tracey Hannah and the junior world champion Holly Feniak. This will be an exciting time for both the team and Polygon to step up to the next level and to follow our strategic plan of working with young and outstanding athletes.”

Jérome Dumartin from Hutchinson says : “After the good season in 2012, we are proud to support our team again and we expect lots of great results especially since the arrival of Holly Feniak. Our presence on the mountain bike downhill scene is an essential strategic choice for Hutchinson ; our DH range is more and more complete every year in order to respond to the teams and customers needs.”

 

Guillaume Cauvin: ‘This year will be my first in the Elite category. I want to do my best at all the races and see where that gets me. Mick and Fabien always help me a lot in training, scoping the right lines, checking the braking areas and setting up my bike. I know I have all the right ingredients to go fast. After being 2nd in Elite at the French Cup race last year, I would like to go one better this season.’
Mick Hannah: ‘This trip to indonesia is a perfect way to start the 2013 riding season. I’m happy to be riding a Polygon bike this year, as I’m confident that their downhill bike is easily capable of winning. In addition to that, Hutchinson is working very hard on providing us with the best possible tire choices. I’m working hard to be in top form for the World Championships in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa.’
Fabien Cousinié, the team owner and also rider for Hutchinson UR says: ‘I’m very excited to have all the riders here together for the first time. It’s essential for us to be able to meet here in Indonesia to set up the Polygon bikes and have a look at the new Hutchinson tires we will be riding this season. I’m eager to get the racing started, from now my goal it’s to be more a rider than a manager, i’m so happy to have found a good staff to help all the riders and myself focus on racing.’
Holly Feniak: ‘This is the first time I’ve travelled to Asia and also my first trip so far on my own. The whole team really are amazing riders and a great laugh. I’m getting on with them so well. This year I will be doing the full world cup season along with other important international races that I have never competed in. It’s going to be a great challenge to discover and race all these new tracks. I can’t wait to get started!’
Tracey Hannah: ‘I’ve just started riding my new downhill bike a few days ago. The recovery from my broken femur is going well and I’ve already got some great confidence on the bike. My first race will be at the Australian National Championships in Canberra this weekend. I’m eager to start racing again to see how strong I am.’

The Hutchinson and Polygon partnership is very helpful for the team’s improvement in racing and product development. Hutchinson will be providing tires for all of Polygon’s downhill and enduro range.

The team would like to thank the following sponsors to keep being part of the adventure for 2013 :

Hutchinson for tires, AllTricks.com as official bikeshop, Fox for suspensions , Formula for braking, Spank for cockpit, Bluegrass helmets and protections, Crank Brothers for pedals and seat posts, Zodiac Watches, 100% for goggles and sunglasses, Mavic for wheels, E13 for cranks, chain guides and chain rings, Zéfal pumps and chain lubs, Blackmountain snowscoot, ODI grips, FiveTen for shoes and Kronos titanium springs.

The team is also proud to welcome as partners :

Polygon as Bikes sponsors
Alpinestars for racing and casual clothes
Fizik for saddles
Sony for helmet cam
VP Components, for headsets
JetBlack Products for trainers
Clear Protect for frames protections

 

 

Flow's First Bite: Specialized Roval Control Trail 29 Carbon Wheels

The Specialized Roval Control Trail 29er wheelset is a stunning pair of hoops with serious potential to give the after-market 29er wheel world a shake up. We’re very, very impressed – even more so when you consider the $1400 ticket, which is well below the asking price for most carbon wheels.

We’re going to be putting these wheels onto our Trek Superfly and razzing the pants off them over the coming months (along with some other high end 29er wheels). Our first impressions are overwhelmingly positive. Here’s what we like about them.

23mm internal width and tubeless ready. Good news for riders of big-bagged tubeless rubber.

Excellent internal width: Hooray! With a massive 23mm internal rim width, the Control Trails should give great support to larger tyres, meaning less tyre roll with 2.25″+ treads. This is a problem found on many 29er wheels, especially when running lower pressures.

No bead hook: A quick look at the rim wall reveals something is missing; the Roval Control Trail wheels do not have a traditional bead hook! It looks odd, but Specialized say the tyre holds on just as well as hooked rim, and the simpler construction allows for stronger, lighter rims with reduced manufacturing costs.

Look, Ma! No hook! Removing the bead hook allows for a stronger rim wall without needing to add more weight, and also reduces construction complexity.

Weight: We weighed them in at 1593g (which is bizarrely 200g less than the claimed weight listed on Specialized’s website) and puts them in the weight range of many race wheel sets, despite them not being billed as race-specific item.

Tubeless ready: With rim tapes already installed, the Control Trails wheels are ready for tubeless action, simply fit the supplied valves and add sealant.

Simply swap the axle end caps for a 15mm or quick release axle. Check the spoking pattern too; straight pull non-disc, three cross disc side. The rear is three cross all round.

Adaptability: Modular hubs allow you to fit them up to a 15mm or quick release fork, and 135mm or 142mm rear ends.

Quality hub internals: With DT’s star ratchet freehub system, you’re ensured reliability and exceptionally easy servicing should the need arise.

Tough: Specialized markets these as a trail riding wheelset, not a cross-country wheelset, and as such they’re designed to handle some pretty hard riding. There is no rider weight limit – great news for Clydesdales – and they come with a limited lifetime warranty.

A full review of these wheel, alongside the Bontrager Race X Lite wheels previewed recently, will be posted here on Flow soon.

Flow’s First Bite: Specialized Roval Control Trail 29 Carbon Wheels

The Specialized Roval Control Trail 29er wheelset is a stunning pair of hoops with serious potential to give the after-market 29er wheel world a shake up. We’re very, very impressed – even more so when you consider the $1400 ticket, which is well below the asking price for most carbon wheels.

We’re going to be putting these wheels onto our Trek Superfly and razzing the pants off them over the coming months (along with some other high end 29er wheels). Our first impressions are overwhelmingly positive. Here’s what we like about them.

23mm internal width and tubeless ready. Good news for riders of big-bagged tubeless rubber.

Excellent internal width: Hooray! With a massive 23mm internal rim width, the Control Trails should give great support to larger tyres, meaning less tyre roll with 2.25″+ treads. This is a problem found on many 29er wheels, especially when running lower pressures.

No bead hook: A quick look at the rim wall reveals something is missing; the Roval Control Trail wheels do not have a traditional bead hook! It looks odd, but Specialized say the tyre holds on just as well as hooked rim, and the simpler construction allows for stronger, lighter rims with reduced manufacturing costs.

Look, Ma! No hook! Removing the bead hook allows for a stronger rim wall without needing to add more weight, and also reduces construction complexity.

Weight: We weighed them in at 1593g (which is bizarrely 200g less than the claimed weight listed on Specialized’s website) and puts them in the weight range of many race wheel sets, despite them not being billed as race-specific item.

Tubeless ready: With rim tapes already installed, the Control Trails wheels are ready for tubeless action, simply fit the supplied valves and add sealant.

Simply swap the axle end caps for a 15mm or quick release axle. Check the spoking pattern too; straight pull non-disc, three cross disc side. The rear is three cross all round.

Adaptability: Modular hubs allow you to fit them up to a 15mm or quick release fork, and 135mm or 142mm rear ends.

Quality hub internals: With DT’s star ratchet freehub system, you’re ensured reliability and exceptionally easy servicing should the need arise.

Tough: Specialized markets these as a trail riding wheelset, not a cross-country wheelset, and as such they’re designed to handle some pretty hard riding. There is no rider weight limit – great news for Clydesdales – and they come with a limited lifetime warranty.

A full review of these wheel, alongside the Bontrager Race X Lite wheels previewed recently, will be posted here on Flow soon.

Deubel Announces New Members to the XC Racing Team

For 2013, we have hand selected 3 special men to compete for us in the Cross Country Rocky Trail Entertainment 7hr Grand Prix for the series.

We welcome Matthew Harrington, Richard Napper and Brent Dravitzki.

Matthew Harrington.

Matthew joins the Deubel Racing team to compete in Cross Country events such as the Rocky Trail 7hr Grand Prix for the 2013 series.  Matthew’s achievements started as a young boy in 1980 when he competed in the BMX Enduro & Cross Country event in Mid Wales, UK.  The 1990’s saw him competing in what was the beginning of full suspension downhill racing in the UK, achieving top 10 scores for Youth & Junior.  From 2005, Matthew took on Megavalanche finishing 48th, in 2008 he came 2nd in the Avalanche Enduro at Kielder Forest and for 3 years was #1 target man for UK North v South Mates DH series, which put him into the Dirt Magazine.  2009 to 2010 had him racing a 1 day 8,000m DH Enduro in France, an Alpine refuge DH Tour in Switzerland and a Fred Whitton Charity Sportive in the Lake District.  He then relocated to Australian in 2011 where he competed in All-Mountain races coming in at the Top 5 in both Masters & Elite categories.  We are proud to have Matthew on board and look forward to sharing his future achievements with the Deubel Racing team.

Richard Napper.

Also known as Richard “Danger” Napper, he joins the Deubel Racing team to compete in Cross Country events such as the Rocky Trail 7hr Grand Prix for the 2013 series.  Richard’s past has seen him dabbling into downhill, dirt jumping, cross country, road, BMX and all-mountain riding, basically a love of all things bike and dirt.  Growing up in Canberra, his riding hot sports were of course Mt Stromlo, Majura and Melba BMX track whilst working at the local bike shop to bankroll vital equipment for his bike. Richard’s major achievements include 1st Place in the 16kg bike category at the Turramurra Cycles Dirt Crit in 2005.  3rd Place in Sport Men category for the Downhill Australian Mountain bike championships in 2007.  2nd Place in Men’s single speed category for the Dirt works 100km Classic in 2007. 5th Place for the solo single speed at the Sydney Fat tire festival 8 hour in 2010, and 2nd Place in Expert category for the Rocky Trail Rollercoaster in 2012.  In Richard’s words “I’m stoked to be riding the 2UP for the Deubel Racing team. The bike suits an aggressive riding style and being Australian made, is a bonus”.  We too are stoked that Richard joins the team.

Brent Dravitzki.

Swaggering onto the Northern beaches scene with only 2 years of riding experience to back him up, Brent “BDog” Dravitzki is living proof that you can take up riding at any age. Don’t let his lack of experience fool you… a misspent youth ragging on motorbikes has left this native New Zealander with an eye for dirt, which when coupled with a stubborn dogged determination, makes him a force to be reckoned with on the trail.

Brent is thrilled to be representing the Deubel Racing team in the Rocky Trail 7hr Grand Prix. Battling a recent obsession to all things loam and strava related, he is looking forward to that next hit whilst charging on the 2UP and we are excited to have him on board. In his words “The quality Aussie engineering and brilliant adaptable design of the Deubel 2UP is pure stoke”.

They will compete in the 5 rounds of the series in the ‘Elite 2 Man Team’ category and we are very pleased to have them on board.  First race for the season is next Sat 23 February at Awaba.

For more information and details about the rest of team visit our Racing Team page on the website.

Merida Unveil New 27.5″ Bikes

José Hermida debuted a new 27.5-inch race rig in front of the world’s cycling media on the Spanish island of Mallorca this week.

The most consistent world cup rider of the last twelve years is one of five athletes on a decidedly svelte Multivan Merida Biking Team. The Queen of XC Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, Dutch mountain biker of the year Rudi van Houts, Under 23 World Champions Thomas Litscher (2011) and Ondrej Cink (2012) comprise the new-look squad.

Hermida said passion is the secret to a prolonged orbit of the world’s XC podiums and cited his chocolate medal at the London Olympics as a 2012 highlight. The 34-year-old who, like many of his generation, has been reluctant to completely abandon the classic wheel size described the shift toward courses that are not only faster but also more technical as a factor in re-evaluating equipment choices.

The team’s youngest members are from the active, dual-pivot generation. They trust the kinematics, sitting and spinning through the same technical sections where their mentor stands to finesse his hardtail; albeit with a firm hand. For the self-described “bullfighter” from Spain the 650B standard better suits an aggressive style. “For this style of riding the 27.5 is perfect,” said the 2010 world champion. “It has the benefit of small wheels and some of the benefits of the 29er: stability and less rolling resistance”.

At 172cm, he found his cockpit dimensions were not ideally suited to the Merida Big.Nine. Despite using it extensively (and successfully) throughout much of the 2012 season Hermida will set the 29er aside purely for marathon duties this year. In addition to an entirely new frame the team riders and mechanics are working with a new wheel sponsor in 2013: Fulcrum replaces DT Swiss hubs on Alex rims. The Italian marque will provide both tubular and tubeless wheelsets in aluminium and carbon for both 27.5 and 29-inch wheel sizes; complete with freehubs to suit the SRAM XX1 cassette. The SRAM family theme runs to Avid brakes and Rock-Shox SID XX forks and suspension. Prologo will take over seating duties from Italian rivals Selle Italia.

Big.Seven

The Big.Seven.

From a distance the distinction between 27.5- and 29-inch bikes can be hard to spot thanks to near-identical team livery. A closer look reveals two completely different design languages at work: the Big.Seven’s surfacing is hard-edged and aggressive; the Big.Nine more organic in its form and tube shapes.

At a claimed weight of 1,060g, the Big.Seven frame is closer in mass to the Big.Nine (1,090g) than the ethereal 26-inch 0.Nine (sub 900g). Merida’s engineers are satisfied with this figure – in absolute terms it’s an admirable acheivement – and the small weight penalty over the company’s lightest offering is an acceptable price to pay for such performance.

Merida are banking on the 650B and some say it could be the perfect sweet spot for all types of riding.

Merida has moved the rear calliper from seatstay to chainstay in the quest of greater compliance from a longer, uninterrupted span of carbon. A central ply of flax-fibre in the read end lay-up absorbs key frequencies and the in-house PRC seatpost helps to dampen impacts by a few percentage points. But this is still a race frame.

Stepping off a 29er, the Big.Seven feels more playful with a greater willingness to take orders from a 178cm rider: 29er skeptics, you owe it to yourself to try this format. Technical climbs are the best demonstration of the 650B’s appeal and lend credence to descriptions of this standard as the ‘goldilocks size’. It can make you a marginally better climber, a more capable descender and a more efficient racer but those gains need not be at the expense of the exploitable ‘chuckability’ that has seen so many riders clinging to their 26-inch rigs for dear life: Hermida included.

One-Forty B Prototype

Merida’s R&D department brought several prototype 650B dual-suspension platforms to Mallorca for evaluation and feedback from the MTB media. The One-Forty B as it is currently known (pictured here in the team’s service course) offers 140mm of Virtual Pivot Kinematic travel within a wheelbase and with a front end height that would be impossible on a 29er. Described as “the future” by Merida Product Manager Darryl Moliere, the bike was in high rotation on a rock strewn test course towards the north of the island.
Match nicely with XX1 this bike will be on hot demand.

It’s easy to appreciate the versatility of this configuration – particularly when equipped with SRAM XX1 – and thoughtful details abound. The 2014 production model will sport a revised cable routing and graphics package to what you see here but the prototype frame is already impressive. Tyre clearance to the swingarm X-brace is slight (a consequence of acheiving such a tight rear end) and the obvious upside is superb torsional rigidity. A comprehensive test by Flow is needed before a final judgement can passed but it’s an exciting time to be in the all-mounain market. Innovation in this area is to be applauded.

Although the two 27.5-inch models Merida launched in Mallorca were diametrically opposed in their intended purposes, the enthusiasm with which the manufacturer and the assembled press embraced the format suggest 650B’s comeback will be for good.

Merida Unveil New 27.5" Bikes

José Hermida debuted a new 27.5-inch race rig in front of the world’s cycling media on the Spanish island of Mallorca this week.

The most consistent world cup rider of the last twelve years is one of five athletes on a decidedly svelte Multivan Merida Biking Team. The Queen of XC Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, Dutch mountain biker of the year Rudi van Houts, Under 23 World Champions Thomas Litscher (2011) and Ondrej Cink (2012) comprise the new-look squad.

Hermida said passion is the secret to a prolonged orbit of the world’s XC podiums and cited his chocolate medal at the London Olympics as a 2012 highlight. The 34-year-old who, like many of his generation, has been reluctant to completely abandon the classic wheel size described the shift toward courses that are not only faster but also more technical as a factor in re-evaluating equipment choices.

The team’s youngest members are from the active, dual-pivot generation. They trust the kinematics, sitting and spinning through the same technical sections where their mentor stands to finesse his hardtail; albeit with a firm hand. For the self-described “bullfighter” from Spain the 650B standard better suits an aggressive style. “For this style of riding the 27.5 is perfect,” said the 2010 world champion. “It has the benefit of small wheels and some of the benefits of the 29er: stability and less rolling resistance”.

At 172cm, he found his cockpit dimensions were not ideally suited to the Merida Big.Nine. Despite using it extensively (and successfully) throughout much of the 2012 season Hermida will set the 29er aside purely for marathon duties this year. In addition to an entirely new frame the team riders and mechanics are working with a new wheel sponsor in 2013: Fulcrum replaces DT Swiss hubs on Alex rims. The Italian marque will provide both tubular and tubeless wheelsets in aluminium and carbon for both 27.5 and 29-inch wheel sizes; complete with freehubs to suit the SRAM XX1 cassette. The SRAM family theme runs to Avid brakes and Rock-Shox SID XX forks and suspension. Prologo will take over seating duties from Italian rivals Selle Italia.

Big.Seven

The Big.Seven.

From a distance the distinction between 27.5- and 29-inch bikes can be hard to spot thanks to near-identical team livery. A closer look reveals two completely different design languages at work: the Big.Seven’s surfacing is hard-edged and aggressive; the Big.Nine more organic in its form and tube shapes.

At a claimed weight of 1,060g, the Big.Seven frame is closer in mass to the Big.Nine (1,090g) than the ethereal 26-inch 0.Nine (sub 900g). Merida’s engineers are satisfied with this figure – in absolute terms it’s an admirable acheivement – and the small weight penalty over the company’s lightest offering is an acceptable price to pay for such performance.

Merida are banking on the 650B and some say it could be the perfect sweet spot for all types of riding.

Merida has moved the rear calliper from seatstay to chainstay in the quest of greater compliance from a longer, uninterrupted span of carbon. A central ply of flax-fibre in the read end lay-up absorbs key frequencies and the in-house PRC seatpost helps to dampen impacts by a few percentage points. But this is still a race frame.

Stepping off a 29er, the Big.Seven feels more playful with a greater willingness to take orders from a 178cm rider: 29er skeptics, you owe it to yourself to try this format. Technical climbs are the best demonstration of the 650B’s appeal and lend credence to descriptions of this standard as the ‘goldilocks size’. It can make you a marginally better climber, a more capable descender and a more efficient racer but those gains need not be at the expense of the exploitable ‘chuckability’ that has seen so many riders clinging to their 26-inch rigs for dear life: Hermida included.

One-Forty B Prototype

Merida’s R&D department brought several prototype 650B dual-suspension platforms to Mallorca for evaluation and feedback from the MTB media. The One-Forty B as it is currently known (pictured here in the team’s service course) offers 140mm of Virtual Pivot Kinematic travel within a wheelbase and with a front end height that would be impossible on a 29er. Described as “the future” by Merida Product Manager Darryl Moliere, the bike was in high rotation on a rock strewn test course towards the north of the island.
Match nicely with XX1 this bike will be on hot demand.

It’s easy to appreciate the versatility of this configuration – particularly when equipped with SRAM XX1 – and thoughtful details abound. The 2014 production model will sport a revised cable routing and graphics package to what you see here but the prototype frame is already impressive. Tyre clearance to the swingarm X-brace is slight (a consequence of acheiving such a tight rear end) and the obvious upside is superb torsional rigidity. A comprehensive test by Flow is needed before a final judgement can passed but it’s an exciting time to be in the all-mounain market. Innovation in this area is to be applauded.

Although the two 27.5-inch models Merida launched in Mallorca were diametrically opposed in their intended purposes, the enthusiasm with which the manufacturer and the assembled press embraced the format suggest 650B’s comeback will be for good.

Three-time World Champion Fabien Barel Signs with Canyon bikes

Since the beginning of the year there have been rumours, now it’s official: the French mountain bike hero and three-time downhill world champion Fabien Barel joins the Canyon Factory Enduro Team.

Fabien Barel’s commitment is not only from a sporting perspective an excellent decision for Canyon. The Frenchman’s long experience in racing and as an educated engineer will greatly contribute to Canyon’s bike development. The 32-year-old has great technical experience and will be able to give a lot of input to the development team.

This year, the Canyon Factory Enduro Team was founded and consists of five team riders. Fabien Barel is the figurehead of the team. That’s why Roman Arnold, CEO of Canyon Bicycles, has a high opinion of Fabien: “I am happy that Fabien is joining Canyon for the upcoming season. Together we will achieve great things. Fabien has proven in the past that his ideas are trend-setting. But also his character fits well with Canyon’s philosophy.”

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It’s for sure that the other team riders Ines Thoma, Marco Bühler and Eugen Maxi Dickerhoff will get the profit of the talented world champion. We can also expect to see Scotsman Joe Barnes build upon his very competitive Enduro skills. Together with Fabien, Joe will form an unbeatable duo that will lead the Canyon Factory Enduro Team. During the Bike Festival Garda Trentino in early May, the new and enthusiastic team will face their first Enduro race while the highlight of the season will be the new Enduro World Series.

For Fabien Barel, this season will be an exciting milestone in his career. He said: “Debuting in the Enduro World Series with Canyon is ideal for this new challenge. This season will be great for both of us – I can tour with the Canyon Factory Enduro Team and at the same time share my experience to help Canyon going forward in the development of the Gravity sector. I sincerely look forward to the synergy that our mutual passion will drive into MTB.”

Fabien on his new ride.

Fabien Barel will attend the Canyon Pure Cycling Festival in Koblenz on April 27th and 28th. As part of the Canyon season opener, the three-time world champion will hold an autograph session and meet his fans in person. In addition, there will be a guided Enduro tour with Fabien.

For further information, interviews and pictures of Fabien Barel and his teammates Ines, Marco, Maxi and Joe please go to http://blog.canyon.com, for details about Canyon visit http://www.canyon.com, follow Canyon on Facebook at www.facebook.com/canyon, on Twitter via https://twitter.com/pure_cycling or check out Canyon on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/purecycling.

Brook MacDonald Wins First Ever National DH Title

Trek World Racing’s new signing Brook MacDonald took his Trek Session 9.9 to a first ever Elite National Title on the Rotorua course earlier today.

Brook McDonald (r) with team mate Neko Mulally

The former Junior World Champion and World No.5 has had a busy couple of weeks both preparing for this event, racing in Hunua and filming in Queenstown for Anthill Production’s new project.

Brook qualified fastest after his main world class rival Sam Blenkinsop, who’s won the last 3 rounds of the NZ National Series, flatted in his seeding run. This meant Sam set an early time that was good enough to keep him in the hotseat until Brook hit the track. Sam’s time of 2m 49.90secs looked solid and placed him ahead of team mate and current Junior World Champion Loic Bruni (FRA), but Brook crossed the line more than 2.5secs quicker with a 2m 47.22secs and was understandably ecstatic.

“It’s my first ever National Champs title so I am pretty stoked. I made one pretty big mistake up the top and I was pretty sure I was going down. I dont know how I rode that out, so I was pretty lucky and I knew from there I had to make up time. For the amount of training I’ve been able to do with a back issue and a lot of travelling, I still have my fitness so it is super cool and great to be back on the top step. To be able to wear the national jersey for my new team Trek World Racing will be sick.”

The team’s other downhiller from New Zealand, George Brannigan, did not compete as he is still recovering from knee surgery.

Jongewaard and Bucher Pinch 100KM Kona Odyssey Crowns

Chris Jongewaard pinched his fourth win at the renowned 100km Kona Odyssey mountain bike marathon in Forrest Victoria today, with Swiss Xterra off-road triathlete, Renata Bucher, conquering the women’s race, amongst the throng of 1,800 riders.

The seventh edition of the Kona Odyssey confirmed its’ status again as the most challenging, brutal and rewarding mountain bike marathon in Australia, courtesy of the thirst-building terrain on singletrack, pinching climbs, smooth flowing and tight treed sections which engrossed riders for the entire duration.

Three distinct riding sectors made up the 100km course which scooted along the world renowned tracks, providing a heroic, tough mountain bike race through a range of wild landscapes in the Forrest and Otway ranges.

Jongewaard claimed his fourth win at the prestigious event in a time of 4 hours 19 minutes and 19 seconds, just ahead of 2010 winner Adrian Jackson in 4 hours 19 minutes and 40 seconds; with Paul van der Ploeg taking 3rd place in 4 hours 22 minutes and 14 seconds.

The mens top 3: Jackson, Jongewaard, van der Ploeg (l-r)

“I’m absolutely exhausted!” Jongewaard said.

“It was just a tough day out there; with the new course, it’s a bit different to previous years where there was a monster climb to begin with. But by the 2nd climb today, you already had 60-70km in the legs so it really tightens the screws.

“I might have gone a bit too early being 3 minutes ahead at the first checkpoint, but my race plan was to kept it consistent and I was keen to take a bit more risk on the downhills going hard.

“I saw AJ (Jackson) coming towards the end and he looked fresh; I thought I was in trouble, but I just kept it consistent and I managed to hold on. It’s a super sport! What more could you want!” Jongewaard said.

Jackson and van der Ploeg battled it out for second and third for most of the day, before Jackson gave it a crack to pull in Jongewaard.

“Paul and I spent the day together, and for most of it I was just sitting in his dust! I was feeling fresh on the hills, so I gave it to Paul at the end to try and bridge the gap up to Chris,” Jackson said.

“AJ (Jackson) was just drilling it! I was doing it tough up the hills and we were both cramping in the legs, but he just drilled it at the top (King of Mountain) and I had nothing left towards the end,” van der Ploeg said.

In the women’s elite field, Bucher came here to Australia looking for the perfect race, and finished in 5 hours 13 minutes and 35 seconds to take line honours just ahead of back to back 2011 and 2012 Kona Odyssey 100km winner, Peta Mullens who crossed in 5 hours 14 minutes and 34 seconds. A hard finishing Rebecca Locke claimed third in 5 hours 32 minutes and 57 seconds.

Renata Bucher crossing the line to take the win.

“Today was such a good day! My plan was not to come here and smash something. I was nervous because I didn’t know the course as well as some of the others; but I’m lucky Jess (Douglas) took me out here the other day to give me a little bit of an idea of the tracks.” Bucher said.

“Peta and I spent a lot of time together on the tracks until about the 80km mark. We worked so well together, swapping and changing the lead a number of times.

“I had to keep working hard and I felt good; everything was going well so I had to go!” continued Bucher.

Mullens was nothing but praise for the new course and winner Bucher.

“I’m just so happy. Even though I won the last two years, I’m happier with this performance today.” Mullens said.

“Renata was so strong out there; but I wouldn’t get off her wheel. It was only at the start of the 70km mark that I started to suffer, probably due to a lack of endurance, so had to ease back to make it to finish line.

“The new course is just great. That last loop is going to hurt people with all the little pinches that really grab the legs. But congratulations to everyone that finished today,” continued Mullens.

Starting and finishing at the Forrest Football Oval in Forrest Victoria, the monster mountain bike marathon passed through the oval four times including the finish line, creating an exciting event atmosphere for riders and spectators.

In amongst the dirt and grime of the 100km participants, was the 50km marathon race which burst along different sections within the mountain bike mecca of the Forrest and Otway ranges, with Chris Hamilton from Bendigo who finished 2 minutes ahead of any rival in a time of 2 hours 17 minutes and 24 seconds.

“I did it last year and I just love these tracks. My tactic was to go for it from the start. I felt pretty good towards the end so I just went for it again!” exclaimed Hamilton.

Katie Chancellor of Fairfield took the women’s 50km race in a time of 2 hours 51 minutes and 45 seconds.

Highlights of the courses included the King and Queen of the mountain climb at the top of popular Haydens Track at the intersection with Thompsons Track (elevation 558m above sea level); and the timed descent which was held on the renowned ‘Red Carpet Track’ where it crosses Lake Elizabeth Road opposite the Barwon River in Forrest, flowing over 4.5km of track and dropping 250m from top to bottom.

With a record field of 830 in the 100km Kona Odyssey, and a  further  850 mountain bike riders who took to the 50km Kona Shorty,  these eager, dirty and hurting mountain bike rides prove the events’ status continues to grow in popularity each year.

The day rounded out with 150 Kona Pioneers in the 15km race for beginners and youngsters.

With plenty of sweat, dust, tears and occasionally some blood, it’s fair to say most riders will be kicking back in the Forrest Festival atmosphere talking war stories after a cold shower and refreshing beverage.

RESULTS

100km Kona Odyssey 2013

Male

  1. Chris Jongewaard 4:19:19
  2. Adrian Jackson 4:19:40
  3. Paul van der Ploeg 4:22:14

Female

  1. Renata Bucher 5:13:35
  2. Peta Mullens 5:14:34
  3. Rebecca Locke 5:32:57

50km Kona Odyssey 2013

Male

  1. Chris Hamilton 2:17:24
  2. Joey Esterhuyzen 2:19:19
  3. Jack Lamshed 2:21:21

Female

  1. Katie Chancellor 2:51:45
  2. Philippa Birch 2:53:38
  3. Nicole Jeffries 2:54:18

FULL RESULTS: http://www.multisportaustralia.com.au/Home/QuickResults?clientId=1&raceId=811&raceName=Kona%20Odyssey

 

More Shuttles at Buller

Mt Buller will have a downhill mountain bike shuttle operating for the remainder of the summer season, commencing on 2 March.

Shannon from All Terrain Cycles has bitten the bullet and committed to running a shuttle right through until the end of May – so spread the word and help support our local operator!

http://www.mtbuller.com.au/Summer/Bike-Buller/Downhill-mountain-bike-shuttle

Mt Buller’s downhill trails have traditionally only been available when the Northside Express Chairlift has been in operation (Boxing Day until the end of January).

In summer 2013, All Terrain Cycles will operate a downhill shuttle service, which means you’ll be able to ride the downhill network right through until April.

DATES

The downhill shuttle will operator on the following weekends:

  • March 2-3
  • March 16-17
  • Easter long weekend: March 30, 31 and April 1
  • April 6-7
  • April 13-14

COST

Day pass: $45
Two Day pass: $85
3 day pass (Easter): $125

TIMES

Operation of shuttles is from 10am to 4pm (half hour driver lunch break 12.30pm – 1pm)

TICKETS

Shuttle passes can be purchased from the All Terrain Cycles Mt Buller store only (within Cow Camp Plaza in the Village Square); no one will get a shuttle without a pre-purchased pass. When purchasing a pass you will need to sign a waiver form and must be over 18 years of age.

ATC will be providing a qualified first aider during the shuttle operating times, if you or your friends need medical assistance contact the bus driver or ATC Mt Buller store on 03 5777 6082.

For every rider who purchases a shuttle pass $1 will go into a downhill trail maintenance fund, so your money will go back into the trails you love riding at Mt Buller.

ATC Mt Buller opening hours: Saturday and Sundays 9am – 5pm

For further information regarding the All Terrain Cycles downhill shuttle service please email [email protected] or call 03 5775 2724.

Introducing The Mallet DH/Race Pedal

The new Downhill race pedal from crankbrothers

The original crankbrothers mallet has long been the most raced pedal in the dh World Cup circuit. It has landed athletes on many World Cup podiums, not to mention a few World Championship titles along the way. When crankbrothers redesigned the mallet in 2011, it featured a slimmer body that became very popular among all-mountain riders. However, it left the dh racers missing the platform they had been racing on—and winning on—for years. With direct feedback from World Cup athletes, crankbrothers has added a new pedal to the mallet family. It’s a premium, downhill race pedal, designed specifically for World Cup racers. Introducing the mallet dh/race.

Over the last year, the engineers at crankbrothers have been working closely with many of the top dh athletes to develop a new pedal that had the same shape and feel of the original mallet, but with many improvements to functionality and durability. This collaboration resulted in a pedal that truly stands up to the abuse of World Cup racing. During a year of prototype testing by the most aggressive riders on the world’s toughest dh courses, not a single failure was reported, and some riders even raced the entire season on only a single pair of pedals.

Steve Smith

The mallet dh/race proved their strength and durability again and again during a year of testing. After a season of taking the pros to countless podiums—and even taking Greg Minnaar to a World Championship—the mallet dh/race pedals are now available to take you down your favorite dh courses as you chase some podiums of your own. As Steve Peat says, with the mallet dh/race, “you’ll have the right tool for the job.”

Race proven and tested.

mallet dh/race features:

  • new design, familiar shape / The mallet dh/race has the same profile as the original mallet, with many new design features and all of the improvements of the new pedal line.
  • improved mud clearance / The redesigned body is more open, reducing weight and improving mud shedding.
  • more traction pins / The mallet dh/race has eight adjustable traction pins, while the original mallet had only six.
  • lighter weight / Increased machining and a redesigned internal shape reduces weight.
  • wider q-factor / The q-factor is increased a total of 10mm (5mm per spindle) to allow for a wider stance and better crank clearance with flat riding shoes.
  • stronger spindle and spring / The redesigned spindle tests to be 50% stronger than the previous design, and the reverse-wound, over sized springs are virtually unbreakable.
  • better sealing / New construction eliminates leak paths and greatly improves sealing.

athlete feedback:

The mallet dh/race pedals are already being raced by some of the best dh racers in the world. Sponsored riders include Bryn Atkinson, Danny Hart, Tracey Hannah, Duncan Riffle, Emmeline Ragot, Fabien Cousinié, Greg Minnaar, Steve Peat, Andrew Neethling, Mick Hannah, Myriam Nicole, Steve Smith, Damien Spagnolo, Justin Leov, among many others. These athletes were closely involved in the mallet dh/race testing and development process, and after racing the pedals throughout the 2012 World Cup season, here’s what they have to say:

steve peat : santa cruz syndicate / It has been awesome working with crankbrothers on the new mallet dh/race. We feel we covered all the bases and got the perfect combo of function, feel, and performance. Whether you’re popping down the woods for a play or hearing the beeps in a World Cup start gate, you can be confident you have the right tool for the job.
mick hannah : hutchinson united ride / I love the new pedal! I really enjoyed being part of the development process. I believe we have a lot to offer the process as riders who really push our products to the limit. I love the comfort and control I feel with the new mallet dh/race. It has great mud and debris clearance, and a nice wide platform.steve smith : devinci global racing / Working with crankbrothers on the new mallet dh/race was pretty cool. I’ve ridden crankbrothers pedals since the beginning of my race days, and to be able to give a company that I used to buy pedals from and ride because I loved them input on making a better pedal was pretty awesome. Using the mallet dh/race pedals gave me the edge that I wouldn’t get on any given day. It is really cool to be riding what to me is the best pedal out there.

justin leov : trek world racing / It’s been great to work with crankbrothers on the new mallet dh/race. I would consider this to be the market leader in function for dh and trail riding, and being able to improve on the design was exceptional. Having feedback from the racers using the pedals is key, and we did our best to put it through its paces. At the World Cup level, a season of racing is extremely hard on gear, and to go a full season on one set of pedals in all conditions really speaks for itself as far as durability goes. Mud clearance is better, the design supports your feet well, and axle strength is just right.
andrew neethling : giant factory off-road team / I am very excited that the new mallet dh/race pedal will become production. Crankbrothers has put in the work and listened to the riders to make a great pedal. The wide platform provides added stability when riding. The new axel design makes it super durable as well, although it’s a super light dh pedal.

tracey hannah : hutchinson united ride / I found the mallet dh/race to be a great clip pedal, it was strong when hitting on rocks and roots. The spring rate is perfect, not too loose and not too strong, my foot was securely on the pedal and I could easily release for slippery turns. As all crankbrothers products the mallet dh/race is well made, durable, and looks good.

duncan riffle : sram, rock shox, avid, truvativ / The new mallet dh/race is really a true testament to the fact that crankbrothers is an ever-evolving company dedicated to improving their already outstanding products. With the help of their athletes, like myself and many others, they took a world championship winning pedal and improved it in every and any way possible. Wider, stronger, lighter, and even better looking. What’s not to like?

Bryn Atkinson.
Greg Minnaar

Sidle Up

The good and kind folks from Ground Effect love to spread trail cheer around the country, so it was only fitting they hosted a weekend of trail building, riding and good times over a November weekend. Spoke got to head down and join in the spadework and ride some sweet singletrack as well.

A good sized crew of around 35 assembled on Saturday morning and got down to work on the Sidle 73 track, a short connector between the bottom of the Broken River and the Craigieburn skifield roads, cutting out the need to pedal along Highway 73 when busting out an Edge/Luge loop. From a flagged outline to completely rideable, the trail appeared before our eyes and there was a steady stream of traffic on it by Sunday afternoon.

Of course we wouldn’t go all that way and not take our bikes, and we rode some new to us trails after we’d ditched the tools. The descent down Mt Cheeseman was a highlight; a great mix of rocks, tussocks and a steep root drop through the pine forest. Rad. I also got to ride the Hog’s Back for the first time, and it won’t be the last. There’s some epic stuff down there and there are new trails popping up and in the planning as we speak.

Look out for a feature and photos in Issue 50 of Spoke.

Giant 2W Gravity Enduro Rotorua

Weekend warriors and local thrashers will rub shoulders with world champions, Olympians and former international stars in this week’s inaugural Giant 2W Gravity Enduro mountain bike event in Rotorua.

With online entries closing on Thursday, organisers already have several hundred super-keen riders chasing $45,000 in cash and prizes, ready to tackle 18.4km of timed downhill trails as the curtain is pulled on the 10-day Rotorua Bike Festival.

The gravity enduro format is booming overseas and has piqued the interest of a number of world-class Kiwi riders, including Olympian Rosara Joseph, fellow cross-country champion Mike Northcott and former world cup downhiller Jenna Makgill.

Makgill is also a two-time winner of the Cycle Courier world championships and admits the endure enjoyment factor is providing huge motivation to get back on her bike again.

“I’m super-excited as Whakarewarewa is one of my favorite places to ride and has been since I was a grom in my cross-country days,” Makgill explained. “It is also the only place I have ridden in the last year since taking up mountain biking again – man it rocks! The concept is awesome as I like the idea of a few timed areas but how you go about getting there is completely up to you, plus you can go out with friends and do it. It’s a lot more attractive to the average Joe, who just loves to ride yet knows there will some boys and girls out there faster – I’m big on the idea of participation and getting people involved.”

Tokoroa’s Northcott has won seven national titles in cross-country and single-speed and has represented New Zealand 14 times, including at the 2006 Commonwealth games in Melbourne.  But the 31-year-old concedes his cross-country career is winding down and he was looking for something new to start racing without the same pressures of performance.

“I’ve always enjoyed the going-down part – and hitting the odd jump or two – of riding the most and with the fitness from all the years of cross-country racing, these new Gravity Enduro events look like way too much fun to pass up,” Northcott said.

Top local hopes include rising Rotorua cross-country rider Sam Shaw and Simone McGregor, another experienced Whakarewarewa campaigner.

The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro features four race stages which must be completed in a 5 and a half hour window.  Unlimited shuttle passes are included in the entry fee to get riders who do not wish to ride up the hills to the start of each stage.

All competitors will start and finish on Eat St in the heart of Rotorua’s restaurant district, with riders rolling out in groups of five every 15secs, heading along off-road trails into the forest to complete the race stages before returning via the same route.

And it’s not just New Zealanders eager to sample to incredible downhill trails of Rotorua.  American professional Brian Buell is just one of a number of overseas riders who have signed on to compete.

“Downhill has been my main focus until recently but this year I’ll be competing predominately in Enduro events throughout New Zealand and North America,” Buell said. “The endure discipline is really taking off and there is a lot of support behind it in the mountain biking industry, while the events also provide the most riding for your dollar and leave you extremely satisfied at the end of the weekend.  I’ve heard great things about riding in Rotoura and I’m really looking forward to being a part of it.”

A strong contingent from Australia will be riding, including four members of the Kempsey Macleay Off road Cyclists (KMORC) club in New South Wales, thanks to a reconnaissance trip two years ago by president Jayson Shelley.

“After enjoying the flows of Rotorua so much, I realised how dumbed down our tracks had been and how fitness was favoured over skill,” Shelley said. “While many of the New South Wales Gravity tracks are still cross-country orientated, the chance to race Gravity on the Rotorua tracks was right up my style and we’re  pumped to get back over.”

Event director Neil Gellatly will release the closely-guarded course details at the race pack pick-up and late registration, which is at the More FM Bike Expo in the Rotorua Convention Centre on Friday and Saturday, plus Brew Craft Beer Pub on Sunday.  Late entries will still be accepted up to 9am on the day.

Canberra Locals Taking On The World Champion At Rocky Trail 100

A high-profile field of racers is expected at this Sunday’s Rocky Trail 100 mountain bike endurance race at Stromlo Forest Park.

The race will run an almost 30km race circuit and challenges will be to race for 100 miles or 100 km, which has riders complete the challenging course five or three times, respectively.

Last year’s 100 mile winner Ed McDonald and his runner up Andrew Hall from Canberra will be challenged by no other than Jason English, the double 24H Solo World Champion from Port Macquarie.

The 100km field includes many national and internationally acclaimed Canberran mountain bikers including Shaun Lewis, Scott Chancellor, Jeremy Ross and Jason Chalker as well as interstate cross country aces like Crocodile Trophy finisher Mike Blewitt and U23 National team racer Kyle Ward.

Rocky Trail 100 miler Champion Ed McDonald to defend title at Stromlo Forest Park.

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Announces ‘Epic’ Mountain Bike Trail Project

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management has announced an exciting new project for the region, with the construction of a mountain bike trail that is set to become Australia’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) EPIC mountain bike trail. The project is a partnership between the Australian Alps National Landscape Committee Inc, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Australian Government through the T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program.

The Mt Buller Mt Stirling IMBA EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project involves the construction of a 40.39km trail that will offer visitors to the region a long distance, cross-country descending ride, providing stunning views across the Victorian High Country. The proposed trail crosses terrain within the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resorts (managed by Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management), Mansfield State Forest (managed by DSE) and the Mt Russell Education Area (managed by Parks Victoria).

The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project builds on the success of Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of mountain bike trails, which has steadily been developed over the past six years and has seen the Resort become a premier mountain biking destination. This commitment to developing quality mountain bike trails has led to Mt Buller recently being crowned Australia’s first IMBA Ride Center, meaning the Resort joins a select group of mountain biking destinations around the world that represent IMBA’s Model Trail recognition for large-scale mountain bike facilities that offer something for every rider. If EPIC status is attained for the Mt Buller Mt Stirling EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project, it will be one of the few trails outside of North America to receive this endorsement, meaning that it is recognised as a world-class trail that offers an iconic, diverse and high-quality backcountry ride experience.

T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants aim to benefit the tourism industry by providing targeted investment of up to $1 million (+ GST) for nationally significant, innovative projects.

The Australian Alps is one of 13 National Landscapes across Australia sharing in $1 million funding under the Australia’s National Landscapes Strategic Tourism Investment Grant. The Commonwealth’s funding contribution of $125,000 (+GST) for the EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project has been matched by $125,000 (+GST) from Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.

The Australia’s National Landscapes program is a partnership between Parks Australia and Tourism Australia that aims to achieve conservation, social and economic outcomes for Australia and its regions via the promotion of iconic nature based tourism experiences to the global Experience Seekertourism market. The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project was identified as a priority project in the 2010 Australian Alps National Landscapes Tourism Strategy.

Speaking at the launch of the EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project in Melbourne last night, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Chief Executive Officer, John Huber, said the construction of this new trail would benefit the region and provide a boost to tourism.

“The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project will present another quality cycle tourism drawcard for the Mansfield-Mt Buller region, and will complement the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail experience and the purpose-built singletrack mountain biking product currently offered at Mt Buller and Mt Stirling.

“This iconic trail will showcase the stunning landscape of the High Country, embrace the local environment and provide a world-class backcountry ride experience that will be unlike anything else in Australia. It is very exciting to be involved in such a project and we are grateful of the assistance provided by the Australian Government through T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants and the Australia’s National Landscapes program.”

IMBA Australia’s National Director, Nick Bowman, said Mt Buller is leading the way in mountain bike trail development. “The team at Mt Buller is showing great drive and determination to get this trail on the ground. It is fantastic that Resort Management is successfully pushing the boundaries of what can be provided for mountain bike riders in Australia. They are indeed setting a new standard in Australia trail network development.”

For further information on Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of trails, visit mtbuller.com.au.

For further information on Australia’s National Landscapes program visit:

Win a Bike Buller Package From Giant

To celebrate the 2013 Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Giant we are giving you the chance to win an awesome Bike Buller prize pack with everything you need for this year’s event!

To enter simply upload a cycling related photo to Twitter @giantbikesaus with the hashtag #giantbikebuller or alternatively on Instagram with #giantbikebuller with a few words on why you love riding!

Jason English Back From Injury With Rocky Trail 100

Australia’s double 24H Solo World Champion Jason English has confirmed that he will race at the Rocky Trail 100 endurance mountain biking event at Stromlo Forest Park this Sunday, 10 February. It will be the first appearance back on the competitive racing scene by English after a collar bone injury and he is expected to return with a vengeance.

Jason English at Rocky Trail’s JetBlack WSMTB 12 hour race in 2012 just before the injury.

Rumours in the mountain bike racing industry have been going around that over summer Jason English had picked up a more stringent and tough training regime that ever before after his collar bone fracture in October last year. English confirmed to race the 100 miler distance in a field of not more than a dozen competitors who are prepared to take on that challenge.

“The Rocky Trail crew will put together an awesome course at Stromlo and it will be brutal. But I’m ready to put my shoulder and my new bike to the test”, said Jason English. It will not be for the faint of heart – to race the 33 km circuit, which will feature mostly tight and gnarly singletrails, for a total of five times it will require not only outstanding stamina but also immense willpower of the riders.

One of his biggest contestants will be Andrew Hall from Canberra,  who came in second in the event last year, right behind fellow local rider Ed McDonald. The 100 miler champion from 2012 hasn’t confirmed his participation as yet.

The 100 miler racers will start at 5am, which will reward them with a scenic morning lap at Mount Stromlo on an expected hot race day. Further challenges will include the 100 and 66 km races, which will include three and 2 laps respectively of the 33 km monster circuit. An introductory one-lap challenge, including junior categories, will be offered also.

Devinci Global Racing – 2013

Devinci Global Racing enters the 2013 gravity arena with stacked lineup of podium threats primed to storm the UCI World Cup scene.

At the top of the heap, Canada’s Steve Smith signed a multi-year contract with DGR during the off-season and leads the team with a laundry list of bangers to cap last season. Smith, for instance, towered on the 2012 UCI podium, snatching gold in Norway and finishing the season fourth overall in World Cup standings. He also cleaned house at Crankworx—becoming the first rider in history to capture all three DH events and down the Triple Crown champagne.

Backing Smith is five-time Swiss National Champion Nick Beer, who finished fifth at Hafjell and is primed for top finishes this season. Junior rider Mark Wallace of Canada joins the mix as an elite up-and-comer, with two 2012 Cranworkx podiums already under the belt. Young gun Gianluca Vernassa rounds out the versatile DGR squad.

“The way we closed last season with wins at Crankworx, Podium at Worlds, and the destruction in Norway, I think the team is capable to go far,” says DGR team manager Gabe Fox. “It’s great to renew the partnership with Steve, as well as add a second Canadian to the roster in Wallace thanks to the new JR format.”

Amped to usher in a new season, the UCI World Cup 2013 circuit, World Championships, and Smith defending his crowning achievements at Crankworx 2013 in Whistler, marks this year’s full calendar of events.

“I couldn’t be more excited to re-sign with Devinci,” Smith says. “The last few years have been unreal. I have amazing teammates backed by a world-class program and great bikes. The goal is to pick up where I left off last year and continue the charge.”

The electric DGR squad will also continue its on- and off-track success, working alongside SRAM’s BlackBox program and closely with product-development. John Dawson, Global MTB Sports marketing Manager, adds: “We’re looking to DGR as a leader when it comes to the “young gun” uprising, that proved to us—and themselves—that they can win and stand on the box at the highest level.”

Devinci Global Racing is proudly supported by: Cycles Devinci, Sram, Rock Shox, Avid, Truvativ, Easton Wheels, Schwalbe, Fox Head Clothing, ODI, E-13, Five Ten, Cane Creek, SDG, MyPakage, Crankbrothers and Planet Foods.

Flow Rollercoaster Round 1

Brad Kelly from Watanobbi is the first winner of the FLOW Rollercoaster All-Mountain State Series, which premiered at Ourimbah MTB Park near Wyong on the weekend. More than 130 passionate mountain bikers had come to race the new series, which was hosted by local event organiser Rocky Trail Entertainment and the Central Coast Ourimbah MTB Club.

 

As one of the main track builders at Ourimbah, the 35-year old Brad Kelly was one of the main contestants on the technically challenging track. It took less than 8 minutes for the seasoned downhill mountain bike racer to claim the first win in the three-race series. And it was a high-profile field of racers that he was up against, including legendary Australian and internationally acclaimed downhill champion, Michael Ronning, who had flown in from Queensland as well as cross-country ace Jon Odams and his racing team from Sydney.

 

Odams took out the second placing with Ronning coming in third in the Elite Men’s field. Organiser Martin Wisata from Rocky trail said that the up and coming local talent Bradley Jolliffe from Erina would be the one to watch in the upcoming races – with an outstanding second run he came in fourth ahead of Luke Dale from the Southcoast.

 

“To attract such a high-profile field of racers to our first round is fantastic and I think now we have put the new all-mountain racing concept on the map for Australian mountain bikers”, added Wisata. With its combination of technical downhill and challenging cross-country trail sections all-mountain or enduro racing as it is called in Europe and Northern America will attract a wide range of mountain bikers. “We offered shuttling busses to the top of the Ourimbah track this weekend and there will also be neutral rides to starts at some venues as well as chair lift access at Thredbo”, explained Wisata the series concept, which was derived from the overseas types of all-mountain racing.

 

Further race locations will include Del Rio at Wisemans Ferry (17 March) and the new Thredbo all-mountain flow trails, where the State Championship event will take place on 6 April. For more information and to sign up, visit www.rockytrailentertainment.com

Specialized 2013 Enduro Racing Team

Specialized is proud to announce its new Enduro team for the 2013 season.

The Specialized Racing Enduro Team is comprised of the North American Enduro Tour Champion Curtis Keene, and current 4X World Champion and native of the Netherlands Anneke Beerten. The team will compete in the Enduro World Series, Big Mountain Enduro events (BME), as well as the North American Enduro Tour.

“I’m really excited to be part of the Specialized Global Enduro Program for 2013 and beyond,” Says Keene. “Specialized has put an amazing program together along with SRAM and Troy Lee Designs to give me the best equipment and support possible. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to racing. The season can’t get here fast enough – let’s do this!”

Curtis Keene dominating the Colorado Freeride Festival Enduro.

Defending 4X World Champion Anneke Beerten is also excited about the 2013 Enduro season stating “After a couple of successful seasons in 4-cross and winning the World Championships back-to-back I’m looking forward to defending my rainbow jersey and to change my focus to enduro racing. I am really excited to join the Specialized Racing Factory Enduro team, a team and brand that share the same passion as I do for racing and riding bikes. With Specialized on my side, and the best bikes to ride, I am convinced that it is going to be a great new season!”

Anneke Beerten going over the tire product line with Chris Wyatt and Kevin Drake.

For 2013, Curtis and Anneke will be racing on S-Works Enduro, and S-Works Stumpjumper FSR bicycles. Both riders will also be outfitted with the Specialized Command Post BlackLite, S-Works MTB  shoes, saddles and tires as well as Roval wheels,

For more information please visit www.iamspecialized.com

Specialized 2013 World Cup XC Team

After a highly successful 2012 season, Specialized Racing is well positioned to continue its successes on the Elite UCI World Cup Cross-Country race circuit.

Jaroslav Kulhavy (Olympic Champion) crosses the finish line at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The 2013 team roster includes current Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, Kohei Yamamoto (2008-2012 Japanese national champion), Todd Wells (2010–2012 U.S. National Champion), Lea Davison (5-time U.S. National Champion), and newcomer Tereza Hurikova.

Kohei Yamamoto descending on his Epic 29er at the Houffalize World Cup.

Defending Cape Epic champion, and 2011 Marathon World Champion Christoph Sauser is transitioning to a full Marathon World Cup schedule for 2013. When asked about the switch, Christoph stated “It was time for a change! Cross Country racing only got shorter, and I got older… it’s not a good combo! In the past I always enjoyed racing Marathons and now I am ready for the complete switch. Not having the winning results in Cross Country lately also helped me to change my goals. Waiting for days in hotel rooms just for a 1.5k circuit race started to pull on my nerves. Now I am so excited to go for the big laps where I will find more adventure and new places. My focus will be on the ABSA Cape-Epic and World Championships, but also Transalp, 4Peaks and the classics towards the end of the season.”

Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser win the Cape Epic overall.

New to the team is former Junior World Champion and Czech native Tereza Hurikova. “Entering into this great team is a dream come true,” says Hurikova. “I look forward to focusing on the races and am excited to know I’ll have the best bikes and support available on the circuit. This is a step in the right direction, and I believe I can achieve great results with Specialized.”

Tereza Hurikova smiling big after visiting the Specialized Czech office.

David Hyam, Sports Marketing Director for Specialized, had these words to say about the new team “After another highly successful 2012 race season capped off by winning the coveted title of ‘World Cup MTB Team of The Year’, expectations are high for another stellar season!

With the recent tragic loss of one of the sports true Icons as well as a rider who played such an integral part of our Specialized Racing Team, the determination and enthusiasm within our riders burns brighter and stronger than ever before. Emotions are high and I know that each and every team rider will have Burry’s memory foremost in their minds as the season begins in earnest.”

Lea Davison picking her line at the Pietermaritzburg World Cup.

For the 2013 season, the men will be racing aboard S-Works Epic 29ers, and the women aboard S-Works Fate 29ers. The team will also be supported with Specialized Prevail helmets, S-Works MTB shoes, saddles, gloves, and apparel as well as Roval wheels.

Todd Wells leading the pack at US Nationals.

For more information please visit www.iamspecialized.com