Aaron joined Specialized for the 2013 season, and although it was a rough year in terms of race results, in many ways it was still a near perfect match-up; Aaron, being multi-time USA DH National Champion and the fastest American downhill racer to come along in at least a decade, and Specialized, a US-based brand dedicated to the pursuit of creating the fastest race bikes and equipment.
After the first year, growing pains were overcome and things picked up dramatically. 2014 would see Gwin take two World Cup victories, one 2nd place result, and a total of five appearances on the podium. For 2015, the momentum continued to build with Aaron bringing home an astonishing five wins (one of which with a broken chain!) and the UCI World Cup Downhill series overall.
“Aaron is a rider unlike any other. His commitment to success is unrivaled, and I have never known another athlete who works as hard and is as focused as Aaron. This past season with him was unforgettable and one for the history books. He will be greatly missed.”—Benno Williet, Specialized Factory Racing MTB Team manager
Aaron himself had this to say, “It’s been a great three years for me at Specialized. I’m very thankful for their kindness, hard work, and continuous support in helping me further my racing career at the highest level. I leave the team satisfied with the results we achieved and will remember the great times we had for a very long time. It’s been an awesome ride and I wish them all the best in the future.”
Specialized would like to thank Aaron for a truly unforgettable ride that will be forever written into the history of our brand and not forgotten any time soon. We wish Aaron the absolute best in his next chapter and look forward to watching him continue to push the boundaries of speed on a downhill bike. Chapeau, Aaron!
Over his career, there isn’t much that Jared Graves has set his mind to that he hasn’t accomplished, whether it’s been competing at the highest levels of BMX, crit racing, 4X, downhill, or enduro.
Tenacious and determined, Jared embodies natural talent on the bike, and we couldn’t be more stoked to announce that he’s joined the Specialized family.
Look for him next year on the EWS circuit aboard an S-Works Enduro.
“I am pumped to join forces with Specialized, no other brand has the full compliment of top-shelf bikes and gear and the level of commitment to success. The whole team is setup really well with the best support, the best mechanics and the best teammates. Racing with my old buddy Curtis Keene is going to be unreal, we have been buds forever and now to be teammates, I am confident we can help each other and both become better riders through the process.” Said Graves.
Finally! Canyon Bikes are now available in Australia and New Zealand. But don’t rush down to your local bike store, Canyon are a 100% direct-to-consumer company. With a click of a mouse a Canyon will be sent from Germany to your door in a cardboard box, and as they are so very German this system has been meticulously tested and refined for the slickest online shopping experience.
“These last few months have been non-stop so now we’re really excited to finally get the show underway. All the feedback we’ve received since we announced Canyon is coming here has been hugely positive. People already know the products, they know how Canyon works and what we offer, and now they cannot wait to get their hands on the bikes. We’ve got a great team here ready to make sure everything runs smoothly for our new customers. It’s going to be a big moment seeing all the new Canyon bikes roll out on the roads and trails over here!” – Darryl Moliere.
For a quick look at our highlights from the 2016 Canyon range, click here.
Whilst Canyon is new Down Under their international presence is enormous, and their bikes are of absolute premium quality. Flow was just as curious as anyone would be with the arrival of a new online brand, especially one of such pedigree as Canyon, we dug a little deeper.
So, here is how it’s going to work.
Established in 1985 with their current headquarters in Koblenz, Germany, Canyon employ over 700 people and their direct distribution is worldwide through 15 distributors and subsidiaries. USA and Canada will surely be one of the larger markets with Canyon availability in the near future.
On a typical day Canyon will ship out 600 bikes and a staggering 2000 accessory orders from their new state-of-the-art intelligent factory. 60% of all sales are now outside of Germany, and their international presence is certainly growing fast.
Every single bike is test ridden by a mechanic on a special course inside the factory to test all the parts for perfect working order, before packing into a special cardboard box ‘Bike Guard’ for shipping to your door.
In a first for the cycling industry Canyon introduced CT scanning on all vital parts from 2012, each and every carbon fork and carbon handlebar is scanned before installation. Critical frame parts and even other brand components are all subject to the CT scanning process to ensure quality is under control. 45000 components each year are CT scanned.
How will it work Down Under?
Canyon Australia/NZ is all systems go.
As you read this Canyon has already set up an Australian headquarters and are fully operational, the team is headed up by Australian cycling industry stalwart Darryl Moliere. The Melbourne Canyon office will handle domestic support on all levels, and they made no secret that an Australian warehouse and distribution will be a reality in the near future.
We’re obviously a long way from Germany, and if all goes to their plans they will be able to benefit from a hub in the southern hemisphere to improve operation times and reduce cost.
For now bikes will be shipped from Germany with a targeted delivery time of seven days for an additional flat rate of $199 AUD and $249 NZD (for NZ).
Canyon have a very impressive 6 year warranty and a 30-day return policy which could possibly make up for the some of the typical shortfalls of the direct-to-consumer model versus local retail. No questions asked, if it’s not right, back it goes.
The Australian Canyon website is worth a look, it’s very polished and very user-friendly. All local pricing is there, and also availability on all models.
A sizing chart will help you with choosing size determined by your height, weight, inseam length, torso length, shoulder width and arm length.
Though you certainly wouldn’t be wrong or alone in feeling apprehensive towards this particular sales model, you’re dealing with a computer, someone at the other end of a phone or an email.
There will be a lack of face-to-face contact that you get when walking into a bike store, this needs to be made up in other areas to justify it all. Low prices aren’t always the biggest motivation for a purchase.
We can vouch for the staff at Canyon Australia in terms of credibility, everyone in the team rides bikes, and has experience in the Australian cycling industry, that’s a very valuable asset to Canyon.
There are future plans for domestic demo days, and presence at local mountain bike events starting at The Tour Down Under road race in Adelaide. Australian mountain bike racers will find support in an upcoming sponsorship arrangement, with sponsored cross country racer Jenni King already winning races on her new Canyon.
What’s in the box?
We had the the opportunity to build a Canyon Strive CF 8.0 Race that had been re-packed as close as possible for the sake of this article, we wanted to see how easy it would be to assemble using their step-by-step manual and provided tools.
The Strive CF is their enduro race bike, with Fabien Barel helping a huge design team bring their ultimate race bike to fruition. The 160mm travel Strive uses a unique remote adjuster called the Shapeshifter, letting you toggle between XC and DH mode via a remote lever on the bars. We have a full review of this exact Strive CF 8.0 Race coming very soon, stay tuned.
Included with the bike was a shock pump and adaptor for the Shapeshifter, a quick setup guide for the Shapeshifter, a torque wrench, bike assembly guide and complete bike manual.
The bike was packed tight and very secure, with a serious lack of cardboard that we’d usually expect. The front wheel was off, handlebars tied to the frame and the seatpost was also out and tied securely to the side.
Keeping everything together was a series of clever foam pads and velcro, re-useable and effective in keeping the fragile shiny bits from touching anything you don’t want it to.
Following the manual was as simple as ABC, there’d be very little chance of doing any wrong with such a clear and well written manual. It reads well and comes in many different languages.
From start to finish we found the process to be 100% dialled and so very simple. All our scepticism was soon put at ease, Canyon have done well.
The handlebars went on using the supplied torque wrench, the seatpost in and the RockShox Reverb post hose pulled through to the right length, our pedals fitted, the front wheel in and that was it. Next was setting it all up.
Setting up the suspension was a snack, the RockShox Monarch Plus rear shock is a 100% standard part in a common size, and the Shapeshifter is a set-and-forget item with the pressure guide zip tied to the bars (pic above) to make things even easier.
The two images above show the Strive in DH mode on the left, and XC mode on the right.
So that’s how it’s going to work! The arrival of Canyon to Australian and New Zealand shores may make a lot of people nervous with their ultra competitive pricing, but it’s up to you to decide where the value lies. Would you put down a lot of cash for something that you haven’t touched or seen in the flesh? We’re sure a lot of people will.
Whether or not direct sales is your cup of tea, you can put trust in the thorough and meticulous German folk Canyon to have any bases covered and all ducks in a row.
Canyon is now available down under and their direct-to-consumer model is now selling to Australia and New Zealand. Their range of bikes is very complete, and remarkably sharp value, we took a look around at some of the new models now available.
For more on Canyon and how it all planning to work, visit our feature post here: Canyon Down Under.
The bike that three time World Downhill Champion and Enduro Champion Fabien Barel designed is a pretty special bike. The Strive features their proprietary Shapeshifter system which lets you toggle between two modes via a remote lever on the bar.
Selecting from DH to XC mode transforms the bike in many ways, notably shortening the travel from 163mm to 130mm, and changing the geometry for better climbing or descending.
The Strive is priced from $4999 for an aluminium version, up to the team replica Strive CF 9.0 Team for $7499.
With Shapeshifter the Strive aims to achieve the holy grail of ‘two bikes in one’. We’re keen on the concept, and while many bikes have come before and pulled off the task like the Cannondale Jekyll or Scott Genius the beauty of the Shapeshifter lies in its simplicity and use of a standard rear shock.
The darling of the 2016 Canyon range is mighty impressive, our early thoughts are overwhelmingly positive. Stay tuned for our review.
“My home has always been in Ontario. I wanted to tell the story of where I live and where I come from, my whole family lives within 50km of each other in southern Ontario.”
“My cousins let me use their farm land to build the course. We hoped the dirt was going to be good, but as soon as we dug into the ground we knew it was gold and the best part is it’s only 4kms from my house.
I know that Ontario is not ideal for mountain biking, but with a little work I feel it can be, and that’s what I wanted to show. For me, This is Home.” – Brett Rheeder
Our friends at Port to Port MTB are looking to make one mountain biker’s Christmas a bit more merry this year, with the Port to Port Experience prize pack.
If you’re thinking about racing Port to Port MTB in 2016, then get in quick and register before Christmas and you’ll go straight into the draw to win:
Two nights accommodation with free brekky and parking at the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley
Two nights accommodation with free brekky and parking at the Crowne Plaza in Newcastle
A Shimano Sports Camera to record your Port to Port experience!
This great package is worth over $1350 all up and will be drawn on Christmas eve, so get your entry in sharpish!
Port to Port MTB is a four-day stage race in NSW, from the coast at Port Stephens to Newcastle, via the Hunter Valley. As much a holiday as it is a mountain bike race, it’s open to all levels of riders, from punter to pro. We’ve loved covering this event for the past two years, and we’ll be rolling with the race once again in 2016, bringing you daily updates from this great event.
Take a look at Flow’s coverage from Port to Port MTB 2015:
In it’s third year, the Enduro World Series continues to progress rapidly. 2015 was a rollercoaster of a journey.
Looking back over the season, Richard Cunynghame guides you through the key moments. With injury and illness affecting potential champions and rising stars eager to jump into the limelight, it was clear from the start that drama was on the cards across the eight diverse venues.
2015 Race Dates
Round 1 – GIANT Toa Enduro, Crankworx Rotorua, New Zealand – March 28
Round 2 – Chain Reaction Cycles Emerald Enduro, County Wicklow, Ireland – May24
Round 3 – Cannondale Alpine Bikes World Enduro, Tweed Valley, Scotland – May 30/31
Round 4 – Samoens Enduro World Series driven by Urge Bike Products, France – July 18/19
Round 5 – Yeti Cycles Big Mountain Enduro presented by Shimano, Crested Butte, USA – July 31/ August 1/2
Round 6 – SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized, Crankworx Whistler, Canada – August 9
Round 7 – Specialized Opel Enduro Festival Zona Zero, Zona Zero Ainsa Sobrabe, Spain – September 25-27
Round 8 – Superenduro powered by SRAM, Finale Ligure, Italy – October 3/4
Dan McConnell had to push his bike over the line to win Round 2 of the 2015/16 National Mountain Bike Series after dropping his chain 400 metres out from the finish at Mt Stromlo, in the Elite Men’s XCO in Canberra Saturday.
It could’ve been a major upset for the defending series champion as second placed Kyle Ward tore home to be 14 seconds behind.
“That’s the closest that anyone’s been to me in last couple of years,” McConnell admitted.
On his home track and with an enviable record at the former world cup venue, the notoriously slow starter shot off the line and was never challenged over the 7 laps. It was nearly the perfect race plan, minus the mechanical issues with his chain.
“Dropped the first time with two to go and I didn’t sort of panic too much but when it came to the last time, it was mostly downhill so I had to just try and keep it low and speed up to the finish.”
In the Elite Women, even with Australia’s two top riders in the cross country field lining up, Jenni King would remain unbeaten with a dominant victory on Saturday.
After opening up her campaign with a flawless display in Mt Taylor a fortnight ago, King left the 2014 National Champion Peta Mullens and defending National Champ Bec Henderson in her wake – to finish the six lap event in 1hr 33minutes 32.66seconds, on what was a hot and dusty day of racing at the Canberra course.
“I always like coming back here because of the technical aspect and it’s a world cup course and I’m very pleased to have won,” King said.
Mullens along with Henderson were making their return to the Series in the UCI Category 1 race, after an extended layoff. Henderson took away some positives, as she continues to build up her race fitness. “Early in the race I didn’t feel too bad and normally when I want put a bit of pressure on the other girls and I wasn’t able to do that today,” Henderson said.
The series now heads to Pemberton, Western Australia for Round 3 and 4 on the 23-24th January 2016.
The Toyota Cannonball MTB Festival saw some of the world’s best mountain bikers hit the resort for a massive five event program.
The festival is Australia’s biggest gravity mountain biking event they had a roll call of the big name riders including Luca Shaw, Sam Hill, Andrew and Thomas Crimmins, Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon and Tegan Molloy; mixing it with everyday riders for their share in the massive prize pool worth over $45,000. This weekend had it all…..
GT Bicycles, a premium brand of Dorel Industries (TSX: DII.B, DII.A), today announces an all-new Factory Racing program for 2016. After an incredible four year partnership with Atherton Racing, GT has assembled a new global race team consisting of proven UCI Downhill and Enduro World Series riders.
“GT has a rich history of top-level racing successes and a line of World Championship-proven bikes,” said Tim Inall, Global General Manager for GT. “The brand is extremely proud to have been associated with Atherton racing program since 2012. Now, however, we’re ready for this next chapter in GT Factory Racing. We are excited to continue the momentum to form and manage a new team of accomplished riders from around the world.”
GT’s new roster of athletes are known for their successes both on and off the bike. The team will vie for both Downhill World Cup and Enduro World Series podiums riding the GT Fury and GT Sanction respectively.
About the Teams:
* Brook MacDonald (New Zealand) – During his young career, MacDonald has achieved 18 top 10 positions including a podium spot at Val di Sole in 2015.
* Sam Dale (United Kingdom) – A proven performer on the World Cup scene, Dale has had 19 top 25 positions and landed a podium spot at Lourdes in 2015.
* Wyn Masters (New Zealand) – Masters, a fan favorite, has achieved race success both in his homeland of New Zealand and on the World Cup circuit.
* Jackson Frew, Junior (Australia) – After wrapping up his Downhill season as the number one first year Junior, Frew enters his last year as a Junior with high expectations.
* Martin Maes (Belgium) – A young phenom, Maes has proven himself as one of the top riders to watch.
* Anneke Beerten (Netherlands) – The reigning Queen of Crankworx, Beerten has podiumed 16 times during her illustrious Enduro World Series career.
* Wyn Masters (New Zealand) – After placing third and showing his dual-threat strength at the Crankworx Enduro, Masters will also join the Enduro circuit.
* Rachel Throop (United States) – After successfully proving herself within the United States Enduro circuit, Throop is ready to step onto the global stage.
The GT Factory Racing teams will be managed by Mark Maurissen (Belgium), a long time industry professional whose ties to GT go back to the mid 1990’s. Most recently Mark was head mechanic for GT’s Enduro team.
GT is a premium brand of Cycling Sports Group, a division of Dorel Industries’ (TSX: DII.B, DII.A) Dorel Sports segment, encompassing several powerhouse cycling brands, including Cannondale, Schwinn, Charge, SUGOI and Fabric. Dorel Industries Inc. has annual sales of US$2.7 billion and employs approximately 10,800 people in facilities located in twenty-five countries worldwide. For more than 40 years, GT has provided riders of all abilities with a trustworthy, rock-solid bike they need to push their limits. GT’s legacy is instilled in every design, be it a BMX, mountain, road, or pavement bike.
The Toyota Cannonball MTB Festival returned to Thredbo this weekend, bringing with it some of the world’s best mountain bike riders for a non-stop spectacle of dirt, thrills and spills.
Over the weekend, 470 riders descended on Thredbo, making this the biggest gravity mountain biking event in Australia. The roll call of big name riders included Luca Shaw, Sam Hill, Andrew and Thomas Crimmins, Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon and Tegan Molloy; all battling it out for the massive prize pool worth over $45,000.
On the famous 3.5km Cannonball Downhill track, Troy Brosnan thrashed out the main event, Sunday’s Australian Open Downhill, in a scorching time of 5:04, edging out Connor Fearon and Sam Hill who took home 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The strongly contested event pushed riders to their physical and mental limits, all vying for the biggest prize purse on the Australian Downhill calendar.
The weekend opened with riders battling it out in the SRAM Dual Compressor, with Blake Neilsen expertly navigating the course’s jumps, berms and rhythm sections to come out on top of the competition’s elimination format. The ROCKSHOX Pump Challenge rounded out the first day of competition on Friday night; young gun Remy Morton didn’t miss a beat, tearing up the new look Pump Track to take home the coveted title.
The weather was just as spectacular as the riding, with blue sky and sunshine right across the weekend. The action was big in the ODI Whip Wars with over 100 riders lining up to impress the judges. The flips, old school manoeuvres and massive whips excited the massive hillside crowd. Connor Fearon was eventually crowned the King of Style.
Playing the long game, local riders Thomas Crimmins and Tegan Molloy used their home track advantage to take out the Maxxis Flow Motion Cup, where the 4.5km track was certainly a test of endurance and stamina.
With both sides of the resort enjoying tunes from DJs and live acts, and Thredbo’s stellar offering of bars and restaurants alive and pumping, Thredbo again proved why it’s the ultimate holiday destination for summer. The riding is not just for pros, with a range of new trails to suit all level of riders added to the resort’s already extensive network. Thredbo boasts 25 kilometres of epic riding in the region, including the latest and greatest Thredbo All-Mountain Trail.
To check out Thredbo accommodation packages, please visit Thredbo’s website, call the Thredbo Resort Centre on 1300 020 589, or visitFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Rainbow Mountain, meaning ‘mountain of coloured earth’ is the home of the Te Ranga Mountain Bike Track in Rotorua, New Zealand.
A volcanic past and 360 degree picturesque views, it’s also one of the many incredible trails that are managed by the Department of Conservation.
In this clip, Brook ‘The Bulldog’ MacDonald and fellow New Zealand downhill rider and friend, Sam ‘Blinky’ Blenkinsop, take us for a ride down the beautiful Te Ranga Mountain Bike track, where native vegetation is slowly regenerating and the views downhill, are just as amazing as at the peak.