Kovarik and Buchar were recently in Newcastle for the National Downhill Round at Awaba, and they brought their trail bikes for a bit of friendly competition on the little bikes. Watching this has left us pondering if there’s anything better than watching a flat out Kovarik drift?
The duo were locked together heading into the last of the 5 laps around the 6 km course, before it came down to the final 50m.
“The outside line wasn’t ideal but I was able to carry that little bit of extra speed and thankfully it was a little quicker,” Henderson admitted.
“It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had a sprint finish.”
The Canberra rider got home by eight hundredths of a second with time of 1:37:08:24.
For Kwan, it was foreign territory out in front battling for the lead with the dual Olympian.
“I’ve never been in that position before, so this is a first for me and it’s given me a big confidence boost.”
“I thought I might try and get in front to try and control the pace, and I didn’t want her to get too far ahead so popping out into the open section I knew I might as well go,” said Kwan.
It was local favourite Holly Harris (NSW) who took up the challenge to Henderson early and tried to pull away on lap three before the reigning national series champion made her move.
“I just used that rock garden to get a little bit of a gap and got away again and then Eliza caught me through the pedally section.”
While in the elite men Jared Graves (QLD) was a late withdrawal from Round 4 through illness, which left it a battle between Dan McConnell (ACT), Cameron Ivory (NSW), and Brendan Johnston (ACT), and it was the Novocastrian Ivory who made it back to back victories in the New England.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull up after yesterday but I was happy to find the form and managed to pull Trekky back,” Ivory said.
Ivory finished in a time of 1:21:59:85, with Johnston in second and Ben Oliver (NZ) holding out for third.
Riders were faced with only five laps on a fast and flowy course with only a few technical rock features, the section where Ivory proved his legs were up to speed.
“Just in that punchy section he’s at another level than me and I tried to hang on through the rocky section and get away but he mowed me down and he was just too strong for me in that part of the race,” said Johnston, who notched up his second runner-up place of the weekend.
There was no change in the junior men and women’s results, with Cameron Wright (QLD) showing his turn of pace to wrap up another top of the podium finish, ahead of Matt Dinham (NSW) and Kian Lerch-Mackinnon (VIC).
In the junior women’s race, Jessica Manchester (NZ) had to fight off Armidale favourite Katherine Hosking (NSW) in a sprint to the line earlier in the day.
Despite having little time on the mountain bike heading into the season, the Newcastle rider showed a change of coach in the off-season has paid off, finishing in a time of 1:46:21, 33 seconds ahead of Brendan Johnston (ACT) and Jared Graves (QLD) after eight laps.
“Coming in here I didn’t know what to expect with all the quick guys and I knew Trekky (Brendan Johnston) would be hard to beat as always,” Ivory remarked.
“For me it’s the start of a new mountain bike racing year coming into the European season, and it should be a good year.”
It wasn’t the opening round reigning national series champion Daniel McConnell had hoped for, crashing in the rock garden before removing himself from the race with three laps to go.
That left Johnston and Graves to chase down Ivory who looked strong right to the finish on a course that physically punished the riders with tough climbs and tougher descents.
“Coming into the second lap thought I’d test the legs and see who could come with me,” said Ivory.
“I knew it was a good course for Gravesy with all the skills work out there so I just tried to get a little gap and hold it.”
Johnston, who has been racing on the road recently found the early going tough.
“It was hard first up and the track really made the day pretty solid with that punchy climb right in the middle every lap and with the obstacles you never got a rest and you had to work hard the whole time.”
In the elite women, Henderson was pushed all the way during her win in by Anna Beck (QLD) in second and Holly Harris (NSW) in third in her winning time of 1:36:16.
“That was seriously brutal all day and my heart-rate was always in the 180’s, which is very high for me,” Henderson commented.
The 18 women had 6 laps of the punishing course.
“I was seriously suffering on the last two laps,” said the national series reigning champion
“The middle bit suited me really well and I was able to get up the rock pinches and got a little bit of time there. I hated the climb though, you had to pedal and pedal and you wanted to rest but you couldn’t.”
Beck, who was looking for her second win of the series, faced a tough mental battle as Henderson kept pulling away in the rock garden section.
“I could feel myself catching her on the climbs and on the rest of the course there was a bit of cat and mouse, but she had one up on me today,” Beck said.
In the junior women New Zealand’s Jessica Manchester spoilt the possibility of a home town win for Katherine Hosking, who finished second, taking vital UCI points in a time of 1:09:37 seconds.
Cameron Wright (QLD), who averaged just over 13 minutes a lap in the junior men’s race, produced a dominant performance to take the top step of the podium ahead of Matt Dinham (NSW) and Kian Lerch-Mackinnon (VIC).
Finally! There’s been news on the grapevine for some time about Norco having some big release news early in 2017, and here it is!
The new Norco Sight follows in the footsteps of the Optic trail bike by offering both 27.5″ and 29″ wheelsizes, with an all new carbon frame. Norco’s engineering team have a pretty interesting take on giving consumers 27.5″ and 29″ wheel options for their models without compromising the overall ride qualities of the bike, which we discussed with Norco engineer Owen Pemberton last year. We’ve also reviewed how Norco’s approach to bike fit at length in our Norco Optic review.
We’ve reviewed many versions of the Norco Sight previously. Take a read to see how the bike has evolved.
Norco’s decision to offer riders two different wheel sizes in the new Sight is an interesting one, especially given the undeniable swing back towards popularity currently being enjoyed by longer travel 29ers (bikes such as the Yeti SB5.5 and YT Jeffsy that we’re reviewing at the moment). We’ll be interested to see which option proves most popular as the bikes arrive.
As with the Optic, the 29er version of the Sight has slightly less travel – 130mm rear, 140mm front – versus the 27.5″ version, which runs 140/150mm.
With the launch of the new Sight, Norco have also released a round table discussion between Senior Design Engineer Owen Pemberton, Norco Product Manager Jim Jamieson, and Engineering Manager P.J. Hunton outlining why they’ve made the changes that they have to the geometry and suspension, and also some interesting discussion around how the bikes are specced.
We think it’s worth a watch, as Owen Pemberton really simplifies Norco’s philosophy with regards to the Sight’s handling, suspension and fit, and Jim Jamieson does an excellent job explaining why certain components were decided upon with regards to spec.
We’re hoping to have a Sight C9.2 in our hands next week, when we’ll bring you more thoughts once we’ve had time to scratch and sniff it. Now let’s jump back into the official word from Norco.
Building on the best qualities of the previous generation Sight, our engineers applied their evolved geometry philosophy to redesign the frame from the ground up, and to introduce a 29er with the same fit and nearly identical handling characteristics as the Killer B. The result is a versatile trail killer with longer, lower, and slacker geometry to suit modern All-Mountain riding styles, and a new A.R.T. Suspension system for improved suspension performance.
To achieve the renowned fit and handling of the Killer B in a 29er platform, the 29er is designed around the same rear center lengths, with a longer front centre, steeper head tube angle, shorter stem, and 10mm less travel front and rear to offset the characteristics of the larger wheels. Although the stack and reach measurements of a Sight 650b and 29er will differ, when stem length is incorporated (a measurement Norco engineers call Reach Plus and Stack Plus), the fit between the two platforms is identical.
The Sight Carbon 29er is available in the widest possible size range without compromising the geometry, fit, and handling. Whether you prefer the quick acceleration and playfulness of 650b wheels or the improved rollover and momentum of a 29er – the Sight Carbon offers riders choice without compromise.
Balanced climbing and descending capability combined with grin-inducing playfulness and nimble handling make the Sight the ideal accomplice on any aggressive All-Mountain ride. The dialed spec includes metric rear shocks, 1x drivetrains, integrated frame protection, wide tubeless-ready rims, stealth dropper posts, and other thoughtful details that make the Sight Carbon feel like a custom build, straight out of the box.
We’re very excited to be taking delivery of a Sight C9.2 model in the very near future, as we think the new Sight suits the type of riding we do alot of here at Flow. Keep your eyes peeled for a First Bite soon!
Advance Traders will be bringing all three models in the Sight range into Australia in both 27.5″ and 29″ sizes, and prices range between $4999 and $8199.
Aussie rider Graeme Mudd bids farewell to life as a privateer and will base himself at Atherton HQ in North Wales for the 2017 season.
I know that with some more resources behind me I can be sitting at the pointy end of the results lists a lot more often.
Gee Atherton said “ We’re always alert to emerging potential and there were some flashes of brilliance in Muddy’s 2016 season, it was obvious that he is our kind of hard-wired racer. At Hardline we got chance to spend some time with him and the whole team became huge fans. We’re really looking forward to seeing how the increased support impacts on his 2017 results.”
Muddy said “2016 felt like a real turning point for me and I gained a lot of valuable experience but I know that with some more resources behind me I can be sitting at the pointy end of the results lists a lot more often. I am totally stoked to be riding with Trek Factory Racing DH, I’m beyond excited to join a team whose passion and desire for success is everything I’ve dreamed of. I’m about as good as a guy who has just landed his first gig in the World Cup team could be!”
Brand new specs, rich new graphics and new sizes are among the highlights.
For this year, the JEFFSY, CAPRA, and TUES will all be available in the very exclusive CF Pro Race version. Thanks to the new flagship “Liquid Metal” paintjob these high-end bikes will certainly turn some heads on the trail, while the killer builds and highly adjustable components will be high on every racer’s or pro-rider’s wish list.
Another highlight of the new range is the introduction of an XL size for both the CAPRA CF and the TUES CF – welcome news for any rider who enjoys a bike with longer reach.
In general, the new range offers everything that YT has built its name on: from entry-level race rigs for Young Talents to the most premium builds, there is something here for every budget and riding style.
Here at Flow we’re pretty impressed by the new range, particularly the value for money with upgraded components on many models, and also the increased size range. Read on for a run-through of the changes to each model.
When it was released in 2016, JEFFSY dropped like a bomb. 2017 promises more of the same: YT’s aggressive 29er trail bike will for this year also be available in a CF Pro Race version, sporting a rad new paint job and the very finest components.
Meanwhile, the JEFFSY CF Pro confidently holds its own line, with FOX suspension that casually smooths out the most uneven of trail surfaces.
For those looking for a wider selection of gears, the JEFFSY CF Two and AL Two with their SRAM 2x drivetrains have plenty in reserve.
We’re happy to see YT continuing to develop the Jeffsy line, as it’s a bike that’s so well suited to Australian conditions, and the wide range of models and price points means something in the range will fit into most consumers budgets.
We’re currently testing the Jeffsy CF Comp 2, which utilises the same frame as the 2017 models, and you can find our first thoughts here.
The carbon version of this enduro legend is available with three different builds for 2017: CF Pro Race, CF Pro, and CF.
The CF Pro Race is the flagship offering of the enduro range, once again ready to go into battle sporting Kashima coated FOX Factory suspension components.
All new for 2017 are the e*thirteen carbon wheels on the CF Pro Race, as well as the Race Face and e*thirteen dropper posts that appear for the first time on the CF Pro and CF models.
Those who prefer aluminum will find what they seek with the AL Comp or the AL. Both aluminum models come equipped with RockShox suspension components: the highly acclaimed Lyrik fork pairs up nicely with the Monarch+ RC3 and Monarch+ R, respectively.
We reviewed the Capra CF Comp 1 last year, and once again the models available offer exceptional value for money for YT’s Enduro focused machine.
Aaron Gwin successfully proved last year that the TUES is not only a World Cup worthy downhill bike, but that it has the pedigree to claim the top spot of the podium, which was reason enough for us to build a CF Pro Race version! FOX’s 40 Float Factory fork and Float X2 Factory shock deliver World Cup vibes in the suspension department.
Freshly introduced to the downhill game by Gwin himself, the TRP Quadiem G-Spec brakes are on stopper duty for the first time this year. Carbon wheels and cranks from e*thirteen and the carbon handlebar from Renthal help keep the weight down and the reliability high – just as you would expect on a purebred race machine.
At YT, it’s not only the flagship model that belongs on the racetrack. The TUES CF Pro and TUES CF were also born to compete: the CF Pro with its noble FOX suspension, or the CF with its easy-to-tune RockShox BoXXer Team and Vivid RC2 shock.
Finally, the TUES AL is a fun and affordable way to get into the sport of downhill – offering outstanding components for smaller budgets.
While the world number three was the main attraction on the final day in front a strong crowd of fans up and down the course, there were several other results that got spectators into a frenzy on a day perfectly suited for racing on what was described as a world class track.
Dannielle Beecroft (NSW) was one who didn’t hold back in her race run in the elite women.
Beecroft, who only one won round of the series in her come back year in 2016 after injury, was last down the course and dropped a winning time of 4:19:78, more than seven seconds ahead of Tegan Molloy (NSW) and local veteran Sarah Booth (NSW).
“Yesterday I was too cautious hanging on the breaks to much and thinking about crashing but today I let it go and it paid off,” Beecroft said.
“I certainly didn’t think I’d be getting that time for sure.”
While time certainly wasn’t on Brosnan’s mind, it became the talking point of the strong supporter base at the finishing bowl as the South Australian rider clocked a 3:30:19.
“I really didn’t think I could go faster but pretty stoked with that.”
Jake Newell (NSW), who had the local cheer squad, hardly had time to get into the hot-seat after his run of 3:36:00, before Brosnan crossed more than six seconds quicker to take the top of the podium ahead of Newell and Jackson Frew (ACT) who was competing in his first elite race.
“I was expecting the rocks to be a bit drier so was a little bit wild in there but was rolling down and having fun and there were a lot of people on the track and everyone cheering on,” Brosnan admitted.
It was a disappointing end for reigning national series holder Graeme Mudd (NSW) who was forced out through illness Sunday morning.
But the crowd still had plenty of locals to cheer for when Brunkerville local Patrick Butler (NSW) lit it up in the junior men, as he laid down the second fastest run overall with a 3:34:16 on the track which is 14 minutes from his home.
Butler took the lead in the series ahead of Joshua Clark (NSW) and Harry Parsons (NSW).
Ellie Smith (NSW) took out the junior women ahead of Sally Potter (NSW) while in the U17 Kye A’hern broke the 4 minute mark to win.
The goal of the CFDT is to equip the best riders in the world with the best setup, and provide them with a team and support system unlike any other on the scene. Leading up the project is multiple World Champion, Fabien Barel, who will, in his own words, be responsible for “putting the right people and the right structure together to bring our bike and our riders up on the podium.”
“Our bike” will be the Sender CF. Troy, Ruaridh and Mark will be the first riders to race Canyon’s flagship downhill bike at World Cup level. Canyon is eager to work with the team to receive in-depth feedback and further advance the company’s mountain bike and downhill technologies. Barel, who works closely with Canyon’s Development Department echoed the sentiment saying, “I believe that downhill is the Formula One of bike racing and that more generally racing is the best method for developing a bike. Being at the top of the World Cup circuit with our bike will definitely raise the bar for the performance and technology of the product and hopefully bring us to a new level!”
After a busy off-season including extensive testing and a visiting Koblenz to see the Canyon facilities and meet the engineers, the riders are just as excited about the new partnership. For Troy, “it has been amazing for me coming to Canyon. It’s really like a small family where you know all of the right people, in all of the right places, and if you want something done, it doesn’t have to go through too many people to actually get to the top.”
The team’s staff will be rounded out by Team Manager Mathieu Gallean, Head Mechanic Nigel Reeve, Troy’s Personal Mechanic Aaron Pelttari and Mechanic Yoann Jurgaud.
The CFDT will work with Mavic, SRAM, RockShox, Maxxis, Muc-Off, GoPro, Crankbrothers, RTI Sports, E.Thirteen, Ergon, Topeak, Mucky Nutz, Troy Lee Designs and Adidas Eyewear.
Öhlins is regarded as the premier name in motorsports racing and has been conducting extensive R&D with Specialized since 2012.
Torkel Sintorn of Öhlins had this to say, “We are super excited to work together with Specialized Gravity—one of the world’s best MTB racing teams. Öhlins has a long and successful background in motorsport but this is the first time we are going into mountain bike racing.
We believe that together with Specialized and their top athletes we can supply and develop next-generation, race-winning products.”
When asked about the newly deepened partnership, Brad Benedict from Specialized had this to say, “After years of developing suspension from the ground-up, this move will take our efforts to the next level.
Alignment between the athletes we support and the exact products we spec will only help further development of our bikes and suspension, as well. Öhlins has top-notch knowledge in the suspension business – I’m hopeful to see more podiums and wins this year.”
2015 World Champion, Loic Bruni is excited about the switch to Öhlins, “It’s great to see such a legendary brand enter into MTB, and being the chosen team to put the products on the top step is a big honor. They’ve been working hard and close with the guys at Specialized and we are all very confident about the products. I’m pumped about this relationship and I know we will be successful on it.”
Öhlins is not the only exciting change for the team, Bruni and Iles will also make the switch to Fox Head apparel.
”FOX is proud to equip the Specialized Gravity team as gear partner. Loic Bruni and Finn Iles represent the future of the sport – they’re both driven by passion and in constant search for perfection. This partnership is the association of two premier brands in the MTB industry, driven by a common appetite for innovation and a constant will to bring premium products to market. After almost 20 years, and the first association between Fox and Specialized around Shaun Palmer, we are lined up to write a new chapter of MTB History.” -Matthieu Bazil – Fox Head, Inc.
“People at Fox are very innovative, like at Specialized, and the products are next-level. The fabrics and custom fits are going to make us look rad. They listen to us and our expectations so we are very excited about starting a long relationship with this huge name of the off-road industry.” – Loic Bruni, 2015 UCI DH World Champion.
Top bearing maker, CeramicSpeed has also come onboard with the team, providing their best-in-class bearings, rounding out the total performance package and leaving not a single detail overlooked.
“We’re excited to bring our expertise in performance optimization to Specialized Gravity for 2017. Our work with such a cutting-edge program will further advance our development of high-quality mountain bike products.” – Martin S. Banke, CeramicSpeed
It is an exciting evolution for Specialized and Ohlins to partner on a DH World Cup program, the first for Ohlins. So too we are thrilled to welcome Miranda Miller to the second year of the Specialized Gravity Team.
We believe Laurent and his team are the best developers of talent in the sport, and believe Miranda will find her true potential with the team.
Miranda Miller will be racing the full World Cup with Team Specialized Gravity plus select Enduro World Series events. Miller had this to say about joining the team, “Thanks to the crew at Specialized and Pure Agency, I’m getting the opportunity to transition from a privateer to now racing a full season with the best support available.
This is a dream come true and I can’t wait to progress in a setting I’ve never experienced before, alongside a couple of World Champions and a killer staff.”
Riders faced hot, dry and dusty conditions at Kinross State Forest for the first two rounds of the season at the venue, which played host to a national series for the first time.
In the opening round of the elite women Rebecca Henderson (ACT) picked up where she left off last season, and clocked 1:35:45 over the five laps on what was a short, punchier 4.7km Saturday loop, ahead of Kathryn McInerney (NSW) and Eliza Kwan (ACT).
But the reigning national series holder struggled to back up on Sunday, on the steeper 6km loop, with a hard earned second.
“Today I was super flat and rusty and was suffering and couldn’t just find a good speed,” said Henderson.
“Finally on the fourth and final lap I had a little target and was feeling good and I could hear that Anna wasn’t that far ahead and sort of gave it what I had and almost got there,” Henderson remarked.
On Sunday Beck held a two minute lead heading into the final lap over McInerney and Henderson.
“I think I had more to prove today having a mechanical yesterday in second and everyone had sore legs so I tried to go out early and get a visual gap which worked.”
“It was super hard; the course got more blown out, the climbs just seemed to get steeper and that whole last lap I was thinking just ride consistent and safe and not crash,” Beck said.
The Brisbane based cross-country rider crossed the line in 1:40:02 with Henderson six seconds behind.
Despite the likes of Cam Ivory, Brendan Johnston and Kyle Ward missing, McConnell would still dominate the clock in the opening rounds of the series with an average 16minute lap time to finish 1:38:31 ahead of Russ Nankervis (VIC) and Ben Bradley (TAS) who rounded out the podium in round one, before holding off Bradley and Ethan Kelly (QLD) on day two.
“It’s always hard the first race of the season and you never really know where you are at, so to come away with two race wins I’m pretty happy and I can build that lead into a good season,” McConnell said.
“I think over the next few rounds you will see few more guys come back and the rest of the season will get more competitive.”
In a stacked Junior men’s field, Cameron Wright (QLD) would take top spot on the podium both days with some scorching lap times to ensure an early lead in the series over Matthew Dinham (NSW) and Kian Lerch-Mackinnon (VIC).
“Definitely having a shorter race you can push a lot harder a lot sooner.”
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the national series and felt great round one and two, so round three and four will be full on with the boys on my heels.”
Katherine Hosking (NSW) claimed wins on both days in the Junior female category. She beat second-placed Olivia Nendick by about 10 minutes on both loops.
Riley King (NSW) was superb in the Under 17s, winning comfortably by 16 seconds on both loops, with Charlie Todd (NSW) coming second in both races.
What we’re seeing in the announcement below is two seemingly opposing sectors of online sales and bricks and mortar stores combining to give the consumer the best of both worlds. If you’re a mechanically sound buyer, or you don’t live close to an Evil dealer, you can go down the direct sales route and have the bike delivered to your door.
If on the other hand, you would prefer the peace of mind of having your bike built up by a professional mechanic, and want to support local bike shops than you can purchase the bike from an Evil dealer or have it shipped there at your convenience.
There will be no difference in price between the two options, but considering Evil bikes are working with the renowned Dave Weagle on their suspension platforms and have received huge wraps overseas the prices are on par with other boutique brands on the market.
We like the look of the Wreckoning, a chunky 160mm 29″ machine- check out Luke Strobel using every millimetre of that travel in one of the better release videos we’ve seen.
The Calling is Evil’s 27.5″, 130mm machine that looks perfect for Australian conditions- we seriously can’t get enough of these videos either!
We’re hoping to get our hands on an Evil in the very near future, but in the meantime check out the official word from Defcon Cycles on where and how you can purchase Evil bikes.
Defcon Cycles based in Brisbane are being announced as EVIL Bikes partner for Australia and New Zealand, offering a click and mortar sales option for consumers and opening up the availability of Evil Bikes to Independent Bicycle Dealers.
Defcon has been working with Evil Bikes for the past 18 months to bring Evils two wheeled roost shredding machines to customers in Australia.
We are working in partnership with Evil bikes to launch the next phase as “Agents of EVIL” for both Australian and New Zealand markets. Defcon is stocking bikes both locally in Australia and in New Zealand, also with service teams on the ground in both countries.
Click and Mortar:
Where Online sales and Independent Bike Dealers (IBD’s) become one. As the bike industry evolves and online sales become more prevalent it is now, more than ever, important to support local retailers. Direct to consumer sales provides convenience, clear brand messaging, and access to a wider selection of products, but it doesn’t provide mechanical and technical support, local trail knowledge or support the local riding community. The IBD has always been the cornerstone of the bike industry, but as online sales evolve so will the retailers.
As an Agent of Evil, our goal is to balance both IBD and direct to consumer sales. Historically, the internet has been used to cut prices, provide convenience and greater access to goods. We are creating a platform to showcase the Evil brand and provide the best customer experience we can. We utilize the latest technology so customers everywhere can have access Evil bikes, apparel and products at competitive prices. Our goal is to have you, the consumer, spend more time on your bike and less time fiddling with it.
Our program is simple. Consumers can purchase our products directly through our website (www.defconcycles.com.au), emailing [email protected] or by calling us directly +61 7 31629005, or through a stocking Authorized Evil Dealer. Dealer enquiries are welcome.