Video: Farewell Justin Leov

Justin is one of the good blokes. Always approachable with his inviting goofy smile. We’ve really enjoyed watching our brother from across the ditch racing the World Cup DH circuit and then transitioning to the top level of the Enduro World Series. We captured him ripping through the trails of Blue Derby ahead of the 2017 EWS season; watch, enjoy, crack a smile and perhaps a tear as Justin shares his personal farewell. 

Coming to Whistler this year I knew it would be the last roll out here for me. It’s been one hell of a ride but the time is now right for me to hang up my boots. Finale Ligure in October will be my last official race and then I plan to be at home a lot more next year to get into a few projects and more time spent with my family and kids.

My wife and I have just purchased a block of land which used to hold National Downhill and Cross Country races when I was in my DH career. It’s been many years since the tracks were used and with the trees cut from the land two years ago, a lot of work needs to be done to get them reinstated. We have just replanted 28 hectares in trees so now it’s time to get the tracks back in. We plan to have accommodation on the property so anyone wanting to come visit NZ and do some trail building get in contact!

I’ll also be coaching next year so I won’t be completely removed from the industry; two wheels once in the blood stays for life I believe!

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the people who have influenced my racing career. My manager Martin Whiteley, the guidance, professionalism and friendship, thank you.

Jason Marsh for the first years of help while in Europe. Teaching me to sneak into hotels in Switzerland to get free showers haha!

Gery Peyer for the two seasons on the Suspension Center team when I got my first World Cup podium, and for putting me up in Bern, Switzerland, for the summer.

Chris Conroy, Hoog and the Yeti Cycles crew for signing me up. Damion Smith for coming and getting me when I broke my collarbone at a race while he was on vacation. The Trek crew, Ray Waxham and the awesome engineers especially Dylan Howes . Mark Fitzsimmons from Fox, many years and some really good times. The Go-Karting and Fitzy’s block moves on the Frenchies will always be burned into my mind! Justin Frey for the tuning, awesome years.

My mechanics over the years especially the late Chris “Monk Dawg” Vazquez, thanks for keeping the bikes running sweet. Ben Arnott for being rad, and soigneur Paul Schlitz you are awesome! Never knew anyone who brought a keyboard to a race and played in the pits while we were practising.

The Canyon crew, Flo ( RIP), Larry for being an incredible mechanic and then stepping up to being Team Manager. Fabien Barel for advice and belief.

To all my team mates over the years, these are the people who really make the races good times. Sharing lines and setups and good mates! Thank you. My coach Steve, cheers for keeping me fit and on track.

Adidas Sport eyewear, David and Reini thank you for the support with this diary and everything else you do for our sport.

Théâtre des Opérations, Jean-Pierre Coupé for advice help and getting these Diaries translated into five languages.

Lastly my awesome wife Victoria and all the #teamleov family. You can’t do this game without a strong support network at home!

To all the fans. Thank you very much. One last outing, see you all in Finale Ligure!


Local Video: Humble & Hidden Episode 1 – Sascha Kim

Sascha doesn’t have the luxury of close access to mountain bike trails like many of us do; this hasn’t appeared to have held him back from pursuing his passion.

His thirst for dirt has led him to design and create a diverse mini trail network surrounding his home from scratch

Over the past 3 years, Sascha has spent every spare moment he has teaching himself to ride bikes, developing his skills and knowledge on the bike from watching numerous videos online, learning from riders all over the globe. His thirst for dirt has led him to design and create a diverse mini trail network surrounding his home from scratch, loaded with loamy berms, rollers, jumps and drops that many of us could only dream of having in our backyard.

Did I mention he still manages to go to school and also happens to be very handy on the guitar and drums?

Sascha’s committed approach to his chosen sport of mountain biking and the attitude he brings with it is what we need more of, he is one driven young man with the most level head and positive outlook I have had the pleasure of meeting and shooting. A young role model amongst his peers and riders alike, he continues to push himself further in the sport at any opportunity.

Under that berm destroying exterior is a dedicated, hard working quiet and humble kid we could all learn a thing or two from.

Humble and Hidden, this is Sascha Kim.

See more from Jasper da Seymour on Instagram @jdaseymourphotography.

2018 National XC Marathon Series

This year five rounds will make up the event that starts in the Northern Territory and ends in Western Australia and will include the 2018 Marathon National Championships.

MTBA CEO Shane Coppin said the change in format would hopefully encourage many more riders to participate across all five races.

“We hope this condensed series and in particular these races attract not just our elite level riders but, also those who may be competing in this format for the first time.”

“Next year’s series there will be more categories offering increased opportunities for riders of all levels to participate,” Coppin remarked.

The series begins with the “Easter In The Alice” on the 31st March, which has become a must do for many riders.

“With over 200km of tracks around Alice Springs, you’re never more than a few minutes from the best tracks in the country,” CARR-Alice Springs Mountain Bike Club president Paul Darvodelsky said.

Riders will then head to Bendigo, Victoria for the “Golden Triangle Epic” on the 22nd of April. Another well-supported event on the MTB calendar.

“The new condensed series is shaping up to be a ripper with all events providing very different riding conditions and gruelling in their own way whilst providing iconic racing experiences. We’re glad to be part of the Marathon Series for 2018,” said Bendigo MTB president Rimmon Martin.

The Marathon Championships will be held a week later in Townsville with all points accumulated going towards riders overall rankings.

Marathon racing will stay in Queensland with Round 4, “Bayview Blast” to be held on the 10th of June at Mt Cotton in Brisbane.

“After a few successful years running a four lap event the Blast will be reduced to two laps but will still cover over 90kms with the addition of 20km of trails not used for previous races.”

“Timing of the 2018 round was planned to coincide with NSW/VIC long weekend to help ease the race/work balance for our southern competitors,” said race director Lonnie Toia.

Rounding out the series will be the iconic Dwellingup 100 two months later.

“For 2018 the southern loop won’t be quite the same as the original but will take in classic trails like “Big Bertha” and “Kenny’s Killer”. There will be more elevation, more spectator interaction, more fun, more view and maybe even a few more kilometres,” commented course director Tony Tucknott.

Marathon Series Dates:

Round 1

Easter In the Alice

Alice Springs, NT

Saturday 31st March 2018

Round 2

Golden Triangle Epic

Bendigo, VIC

Sunday 22nd April 2018

Round 3

Marathon Championships

Townsville, QLD

Sunday 29th April 2018

Round 4

Bayview Blast

Mt Cotton, Brisbane QLD

Sunday 10th June 2018

Round 5

Dwellingup 100

Dwellingup, WA

Saturday 18th August 2018


Cannondale: 2018 Range Highlights

We strolled through the 2018 range showing, here are our highlights.

What bikes would you like to see us review? Leave a comment in the Facebook comments below, and we’ll do our best.

Scalpel SE 2, lightweight takes a chill pill.

There are a few more ‘SE’ models in the 2018 Cannondale lineup, SE just means that they’ve taken a regular model and added some extra grunt in the way of spec and suspension travel.

The Scalpel SE shares the same frame as the ultra high-end cross-country race machine, but with a longer travel 120mm fork, an extra 15mm of travel out the back, a dropper post, wider rims, bigger tyres and a wide bar/short stem combo rounds it out.

This Scalpel SE 2 will set you back $5999.

A Scalpel with no Lefty? The 120mm FOX 34 looks way less intimidating and is a great performer on rougher trails.
The Scalpel’s frame is a real masterpiece; its offset tubes look like crazy when you cast an eye over its shape.

So, a more relaxed and trail friendly version of one of the lightest frames around? Sounds pretty sweet, we’re gunning to review this one, for sure.

Check out our review of the amazing Scalpel SI Hi-Mod Team, the 10.5kg, $12000 dream XC race bike here: Scalpel review.

Cannondale Trigger, the mini Jekyll, two travel modes.

In our review of the Jekyll we talked a lot about the Trigger being more suitable for a rider that’s not always hitting aggressive trails flat out, the 145mm travel Trigger uses 27.5″ wheels and is aimed at the trail rider.

The distinct shape of the new Cannondale Trigger.
The large composite linkage drives the FOX Gemini rear shock.
If the Trigger is anywhere as robust as the Jekyll we tested, it’s off to a good start.

The Trigger, like the Jekyll uses the FOX Gemini shock with two ‘Hustle and Flow’ travel modes, toggled with a remote lever on the bars between 145mm and 115mm of travel. A nifty feature for letting you choose how the bike feels depending on the terrain ahead.

Two versions of the Trigger will make it to our shores, the Trigger 2 pictured here for $7999, and the Trigger 3 with a lower spec and Shimano XT drivetrain for $5899.

For our recent video review of the Trigger’s bigger brother, the Jekyll 2, click through here: Cannondale Jekyll Review.

The Moterra, Cannondale’s first E-MTB.

No mixed messages are going on here; the Moterra screams E-BIKE with its bold appearance and wild frame structure. The $7999 Moterra 2 is the first pedal assist mountain bike from Cannondale to make to Australian bike shops, and we’re curious to throw a leg over it, also.

There’s 130mm of travel at both ends, the Monarch rear shock is driven by a nice composite linkage like the Scalpel, Trigger and Jekyll frames and there’s also plenty of space for a water bottle on the frame.

Raaargh! The Moterra is a monster.
130mm of travel front and rear, fairly short travel despite its size.
Bosch’s large display.

The Moterra is said to have a low centre of gravity compared to many other comparable e-bikes with batteries placed higher in the frame, the Moterra’s battery appears to be quite low and central.

Bosch handles the e-bits, and the 27.5″ wheels use wide 40mm rims for the 2.8″ Schwalbe tyres.

Cujo, a great new direction for entry level hardtails.

Plus bikes may have passed their peak, but in the entry level hardtail category they make sense to us. The new Cujo looks brilliant on paper; laid back geometry, plus tyres, dropper post, short stem/wide bars and a beaut frame with nice details throughout.

Cannondale’s new Cujo is a hardtail built for blasting trails, not the race track.
Big rubber for control, comfort and confidence. What most people seek in a Sub $2K hardtail, right?

The Cujo will come in three flavours, starting at $1399 and topping out at the one pictured above, for $1999.

Keep an eye out for a review soon!

Super X SE, gravel roads are the new tarmac.

Maybe we’re just too into mountain biking, but at Flow, we’ve never really been that great at being roadies, though the growing segment of gravel/adventure bikes has us keen to hit the lesser travelled roads for some long days exploring the countryside.

Cross country bike meets road bike on some back country road; the Super X SE is born.
Thru-axles, flat mount disc brakes, tall and laid back cockpit.
No bridge at the rear stays for compliance and tyre clearance.
Cannondale’s Si cranks with the Spidering X-Sync chainring is super hot.

The Super X SE is Cannondale’s cyclocross bike with bigger tyres and a wider gear range. The frame is super minimal, and its disc brakes and single-ring drivetrain makes it blend towards a mountain bike than a road bike in our books, and you can bet we’ve earmarked one for a review!

Habit, no change for 2018, but we still dig it.

In between the Scalpel and Trigger is the Habit, a bike we reviewed last year and loved its engaging and fast trail manners. 27.5″ wheels, 130/120mm travel and a no-fuss simple suspension design will appeal to the all-rounder.

Simplicity rules with the Habit.
Bold colours, cool shapes, the Habit is a rad machine.

Have a look at our review of the Habit from last year here: Tested, Cannondale Habit.

Video: EWS With Cannonball – Whistler to Finale

Did you miss any of Cannonball’s journey so far?

Read our interview with The Ball and watch Matt Staggs Visuals raw edit of him shredding his home trails here.

Then hang out on a chairlift ride to Whistler’s ‘Top Of The World’ as Matt Staggs once again captures his speed and mindset leading into race day, here.

So, how did Whistler play out, and will we see Cannonball in the series finale in Finale? Find out below.

Flow: Whistler was your second-best result of the series so far, just a few places behind your 32nd in Derby. Did you approach Whistler any differently to previous rounds?

James: Having a few more rounds with several more crashes under my belt, my mental game was to keep my cool and ride a little more consistently. Smoother, slower into corners and faster out. Knowing how rough the terrain in Whistler can be from having lived there 9 years earlier, I got the awesome guys and good friends at Dunbar Cycles Vancouver to bump up my fork to 160mm and give my fork and shock a pre-race service. What may have helped me most was my tyre choice for this round and how that boosted my confidence. Up until this round I had been playing off my strength in technical terrain by sacrificing a little less tyre width for a faster rolling tyre to help in the longer pedally sections. With a Maxxis 29er DHR2 2.3 3C up front and an Aggressor 2.3 3C rear this was ideal for me on the trails in Derby where the stages were short and rocky with a few pedally sections. Since Derby I noticed a few times when I lost confidence, and perhaps wider front tyre would have helped. In Madiera I recall sections where I rode stiff and scared on stages 1 and 3. For Ireland, in hindsight, packing a set of full mud tyres instead of just one Maxxis Shorty would have made a huge difference, but that’s part of building upon racing experience. Coming back to Whistler I was practicing on 2.3” tyres but I felt that I wanted more grip and after getting some time on the tracks and terrain it became apparent there wasn’t much pedalling in this round. So, I scrounged up what must have been the last Maxxis 29er DHF 2.5 3C in town from the helpful guys at Bike Co. Running this up front and moving the DHR2 to the rear made an immediate difference. I felt so much better in all the blown out corners and felt like I was spending more time in an aggressive flow state rather than holding back.

Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Flow: Privateering the EWS is hard work. You told us previously about how your mates helped you get to the European rounds, but it seemed like Whistler would be the last race of your 2017 series. Tell us how racing Finale became a reality?

James: Again, huge thanks to all those mates that chipped in, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them. Finale came about from light-heartedly joking, with some hope, with Trent from M2Oindustries/JetBlack. I had worked for Trent and JetBlack for 5 years and still do contract product development work for him, so I have a pretty good relationship there already. Trent had also seen the coverage of my season so far on Flow and social media, particularly the video edits and imagery from Matt Staggs Visuals. I guess these things made it a worthy and reasonable risk for him to invest a little more into the final EWS round. So, without hesitation, Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state.

Flow: Since confirming your entry for Finale, what’s your standard week involved? How many hours are you ‘training’?

James: I’ve been focusing on getting more time on trail. I’ve been getting out on the bike at least every second day and often riding three days in a row with every third or fourth day being a high intensity day depending on how my body is feeling. Averaging four to five days on the bike a week, anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours and a weekly average at only about 8 hours on the bike. Priority for me has been better focus on resting appropriately between high intensity days and getting on rough technical terrain. There are often sections in an enduro stage that are small pinches or traverses over technical terrain. I’ve been adding priority to my hill climbing on tech trails locally. We have a few technical climbing trails that are around 11~13 minutes in length here on Sydney’s northern beaches, which is about the length of some of the longer stages at a round. Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state. My times have been improving since before Derby so I’m feeling pretty good.

Flow: We checked out your Pivot Switchblade in Whistler and it was looking well ridden! What changes have you made to it before Finale?

James: With big thanks to Shimano Australia, I’ve replaced my drivetrain with new XTR rear mech and XTR crankset. Along with this, they have also upsized my rotors from the not so suitable 160/180mm combo to some new Ice-Tech rotors at a much more respectable 180/203mm. JetBlack have helped with new RIP grips and freshly laced set of new NoTubes Arch hoops that will be wrapped with new tread from Maxxis/BikeCorp on race day. Finally a custom fork and shock tune from Simon & Lachlan at MTB-suspension-centre.

Flow: Sounds like you and your bike are prepped better than ever for Finale. We’ll be cheering on from behind our computers as we see your stage results roll in. One final question, do you prefer sunset walks on the beach or sunset shreds at the trails?

James: (laughs) I can offer dreamy and intimate romantic sunset walks on the beach Monday to Saturday, but sorry ladies, Sundays are reserved for sunset dirt jump sessions with the lads (dirt jumping ladies welcome too, of course).

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Finale’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

National XCM Series returns to Alice Springs

Lasseters Easter in the Alice will again host round 1 of the National XCM Series in 2018 as part of Australia’s most iconic annual 3-day Stage Race. Ride in the cool of the morning and spend the rest of the day relaxing around the pool or taking in the incredible sights of Central Australia.

“one of the best XCM courses I have done.” – Justin ‘Mad Dog’ Morris

With over 200 km of tracks around Alice Springs you’re never more than a few minutes from the best tracks in the country.

“…when you are putting together an XCM course you often have to bolt together ordinary bits to get to the good bits. This is where the Alice Springs XCM course differs. Every bit is there for a reason and they all come at exactly the right time during the race.” – James Downing

Details can be found at

South Australian Downhill State Championships

We knew that the excitement building in the lead up for last weekend’s racing on the historic, new track, Lone Gum was big but we had no idea just how big. Everyone who ever rode a downhill bike was there, it seemed, relishing the atmosphere of a great mountain biking community event.

2nd in the World Cup overall, but Troy stepped up to 1st at the SA State Champs
Just a couple of locals riding bikes down a hill. Troy Brosnan follows his Canyon Factory DH Team Mechanic, Aaron Pelttari, down Lone Gum in practice. See the video below for Troy’s GoPro POV.

Following @aaron_yo01 down the state world champs track and he is not scared to get wild! ?

A post shared by Troy Brosnan (@troybrosnan) on

The new Trailscapes track offers a bit of everything; off camber old school racing through the steep pines, rock chutes, crazy gaps, berm transfers and a massive set of jumps at the bottom making for a spectacular finish.

This track has been years in the making with much advocacy, planning and building going into it. Thanks to Forestry SA, Bicycle SA and Inside Line sponsor Trailscapes for every ounce of effort that has gone into bringing Lone Gum into fruition. The track can be found at Fox Creek Mountain Bike Park which offers a plethora of riding options for XC, GE and DHI on Forestry land in the beautiful Adelaide Hills.

U19 Canadian Anthony Poulson made the most of his World Champs trip down under, racing in the hometown of his Kona Factory Racing teammate, Connor Fearon (following). Poulson placed 5th in U19 Men.
Callum Dawes placed 3rd in Elite Men
Conor Clancy is recovering from an ACL injury, hence the knee brace. He’s back on form though, placing 2nd in Elite men, just 5 seconds behind Troy Brosnan

The official opening ceremony involved cutting of the bunting by next generation rider, Izack Fielder, along with our homegrown World Cup heroes, Troy Brosnan and Connor Fearon. After the race, both Troy and Connor stated that this was the most fun they had had all year on their downhill bikes and plan to return for more next year.

Another World Champs racer, Shelly Flood, dominated the Elite Women’s race.
Coming from an 11th place at the World Champs, Darcy Coutts was a hot favourite in the U19 race but ended up 7th after a scrub-a-dub-down on the final jumps.

A post shared by Darcy Coutts (@couttsssss) on

The U19 Men saw very close racing with the top five places separated by less than 2.5 seconds. Enduro racer Sam Walsh (pictured) took the win, just 0.79s ahead of fellow enduro pinner Bennett Wythe.

The weather was perfect and Zolle Borbasi and Jordan Roberts manned the mic while DJ Delta pumped out the tunes for an excellent atmosphere. A memorable day of racing was capped off by a whip-off contest featuring four World Cup riders that was simply nuts!

VANZAC Jackson Davis is known for taking his airtime a bit more seriously than his race times but still placed a respectable 6th in Elite Men. Though he wasn’t finished…

A post shared by Jackson Davis (@jacksonndavis) on

Anthony Poulson

Connor Fearon’s finals crash wasn’t serious enough to keep him from unleashing his wild whips and leg danglers to send out the epic day.

A post shared by Connor Fearon (@connorahoyhoy) on

Elite Men:

1. Troy Brosnan
2. Connor Clancy
3. Callum Dawes

Elite Women:

1. Shelly Flood
2. Rebecca Wilkinson
3. Moira Love

U19 Men:

1. Sam Walsh
2. Bennett Wythe
3. Joel Hakkinen

Full results can be found here.

The next Inside Line event will be the Gravity Enduro Nationals, once again in Fox Creek as part of the Adelaide Festival of Dirt from Oct 20-22.  The Adelaide Festival of Dirt is a celebration of mountain biking based at the Anderson Hill Winery with sideline events running concurrently with the GE Nats including a night ride in Fox Creek, dual slalom competition and some quality downhill coaching. More details can be found here

Maydena Bike Park – Uplift Bookings Open

Maydena Bike Park is a gravity-focused mountain bike park that will eventually offer over 120km of gravity trails, across 820m vertical elevation. The park is located a 1-hour drive from Hobart, in the stunning Tasmanian wilderness. The park is set to open to the public January 26th 2018.

With construction now well underway, bookings for uplift, bike school and bike hire are set to go live at 6pm September 20th. Bike park members have had one week of priority access to the booking system, and during this period have already started filling up key dates. Daily uplift spaces are strictly limited, with pre-booking the only way to guarantee access to the parks complete gravity trail network.

Bookings are available through the Park’s website

2017 Singlespeed World Champs – Rotorua

“Have some fun, maybe help a mate.” That’s the theme of the 2017 Singlespeed Mountain Bike World Championships on November 18 in Rotorua.

“Our events, including New Zealand, Anzac and the World Championships in 2010, are loud and colourful with extravagant costumes and this year will be no different,” says Gary Sullivan, president of the host club, the Rotorua Singlespeed Society, and the event’s main partner, “At the same time, we’ve always tried to use them to make a positive contribution.”

The Society has made significant donations to CanTeen, 88Bikes, Cancer Society, Kidney Health New Zealand, the Returned Servicemen’s Association Welfare Fund and the Rotorua Trail Trust. In 2017, the beneficiary will be suicide prevention awareness. “It’s a growing issue in New Zealand,” Sullivan continues. “We want to try and help.”

Entry for the event includes a one-off T-shirt (designed by Sullivan), the race, beverages and a party, breakfast and the Filmed by Bike Festival from Portland in Oregon all at the event HQ, the Pig and Whistle. “Filmed by Bike gave us the rights to screen the festival at a very low community rate because of our record with donations and promoting mountain biking in Rotorua and New Zealand,” Sullivan. “And there’s a reason it’s called ‘the world’s best bike movies’. It’s a brilliant, one-hour programme of bike film shorts.”

The event is well supported by a solid blend of local government, businesses and charitable trusts. “We have two beautiful bike frames to give away, steel by Jeffson Bikes and bamboo by Freddy Salgado at Bikeys,” adds Sullivan. “And Helibike Rotorua have 5 seats on a flight to the Moerangi Trail in the ancient Whirinaki Forest south of the city.” Rotorua Lakes Council, First Sovereign Trust, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and the New Zealand Community Trust are also backing the event.

The championships’ prize swag bag is literally that. “Dancing Moose are locals producing quality bike packing gear,” says Sullivan. “A full Rotorua Experience from Off-Road New Zealand, QE Health Wellness and Spa, Agroventures and Rotorua Canopy Tours will be in one of their bags and Holiday Inn are also in the mix.”

Enter at 

Motion Launch Inspire Kit to Support Bec and Dan

Dean Clark hands a bottle to Holly Harris in the feed zone of the Cairns World Champs.

But in recent months, Dean has taken up another cause, throwing his support behind two of Australia’s most successful mountain bikers, Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson. Motion have developed a brand new line of kit, the Inspire #becanddan range, with all profits from the sale of every item going directly towards supporting our two leading XCO races to keep at it on the World stage.

If we don’t have local heroes at the top of the game, XCO in Australia will suffer, which will harm the growth of the sport.

Dan McConnell at Cairns, where he finished ninth. It’s hard to believe this man is a privateer.

Unbelievable as it sounds, Bec and Dan, Olympians and World Cup stars, have been battling it out as privateers this year. “Bec and Dan are at the pinnacle of the sport,” says Dean Clark, “it’s a massive injustice to see them without the support they deserve.” As anyone who has been involved in pro racing will attest, having the support of a factory team versus going it alone is like night and day – it’s far from a level playing field, and the expense of racing as a privateer is huge.

The Motion Inspire kit actively supports our top racers to keep doing exactly that, inspiring.

The Motion #becanddan range is high quality kit, the very same stuff that Bec and Dan have been racing on the World Cup stage. It’s race-oriented gear, with a slim fit and compression panels on the side and sleeves, so it’ll be equally at home on the cross country race track as the roadie or cyclocross bike too. Complementing the knicks and jersey are a vest and long-sleeve windstopper  jersey too, all with the same eye catching theme that contrasts black and boldly coloured bands.

“If the support and money was there to keep these riders on the dirt, we’d be amongst the very lead nations for cross country, there’s no doubt.”

So why support Bec and Dan, and not put the profits elsewhere? For Dean Clark, the rationale is simple: we need heroes. If we don’t have local heroes at the top of the game, XCO in Australia will suffer, which will harm the growth of the sport. “Look at riders like new Junior World Champ Cameron Wright – would he be doing what he’s doing if he didn’t have some like Dan McConnell to inspire him, to challenge him?” asks Dean Clark.

Bec on the rivet at the World Champs.

The sport needs riders like Bec and Dan, battling at the pointy end of the World Cup, to motivate the next generation and to keep talented racers in the sport of mountain biking, rather than losing them to the road. “When you look at the talent we’ve had in the ranks of mountain biking in this country which we’ve lost to the road, it’s staggering,” says Clark, “if the support and money was there to keep these riders on the dirt, we’d be amongst the very lead nations for cross country, there’s no doubt.”

Coming off the back of a sensational World Champs, where the XCO was a huge highlight from our perspective, has led to some reflection on our part here at Flow too about the importance of this discipline. It’s bloody exciting to watch, it’s accessible, it’s relevant. As much as we talk about the decline of cross-country racing, it’s still the type of riding that actually gets the most people into the sport – it’s where we all began mountain biking, and so it’s vital that this discipline remains strong.

So if you’re passionate about the strength of Australian mountain biking, and you want to see XCO flourish, we’d definitely encourage you to take a look at Motion’s Inspire range. It’s great kit, and it’s a great cause. You can take look at the range right here.




Bosch’s New E-MTB Mode – Naturalising Pedal Assistance

If you’re riding in full-power mode, the surging feeling as the power kicks in or cuts out can make it hard to navigate tighter, technical climbs, something we’ve experienced many times with some pretty amazing uphill crashes! You’re left with the option of either toggling down to a reduced power mode (which is obviously not ideal, it’s another thing to worry about), or living with the on/off feeling of power delivery.

Our e-sled was from Haibike, one of Bosch’s biggest partners.

Bosch’s answer

Bosch, one of the world’s largest providers of e-bike battery/drive systems, have been working on a solution, which they’ve implemented with the latest update to the CX mountain bike specific motors.  It’s called, unimaginatively (they’re Germans) their E-MTB mode, and it replaces the Sport setting in their power mode options menu.

The whole idea of E-MTB mode is to naturalise the feeling of power delivery, so the response feels much more like a normal mountain bike under pedalling forces.

The whole idea of E-MTB mode is to naturalise the feeling of power delivery, so the response feels much more like a normal mountain bike under pedalling forces – it delivers a less aggressive power output if you’re pedalling slowly and gently, ramping up the juice when you’re hammering at the pedals.

It sounds simple in principle, but we’re sure it was hard to achieve. Normally with the e-bikes we’ve tested, the different modes deliver a set response when you pedal; for instance, your pedal input is 100Watts, it adds another 40Watts. Or in Turbo mode, your 100Watts input might be boosted up to 250Watts at the rear wheel.

Toggling between the Bosch Turbo and the E-MTB settings was revealing.

What the E-MTB mode achieves is decoupling this direct multiplication of power, so that the output generated by motor isn’t directly proportional to your pedalling force, but rather takes into account the speed of your pedal stroke and the speed of the bike too.

How does it ride? 

We had the opportunity to try out the system on some of our home trails. It was our first experience on a Bosch powered e-bike, and we were riding hardtails (sub-optimal), so it’s hard to compare the experience with our time on other e-bikes in a meaningful manner. But we did get a good feel for how the E-MTB mode works – toggling between the Bosch Turbo and the E-MTB settings was revealing.

Running E-MTB mode, rather than just full power, gives you a lot more control on technical climbs like this.

The next step for Bosch is to get rid of the massive and ugly display unit that clutters up the bars.

In the E-MTB mode we had gobs more control on the climbs, particularly on the ledgy, slow-speed, stepped sandstone ascents that are characteristic of Sydney mountain biking. With Turbo mode engaged, we found ourselves smashing up them, banging our rear wheel into the rocks. But when switched to E-MTB mode it was easy to lift the front wheel with a lot more grace and precision and then lift the rear wheel, just like we would on a conventional mountain bike. After toggling back and forward between the two modes for the first half of the ride, we just left the bike in the E-MTB setting and forgot about it.

Plus-sized tyres are a very common option on e-bikes, and the E-MTB mode makes it easier to make the most of all the grip.

To be honest, when we’re riding an e-bike, we don’t want to be reminded of that fact all the time, and so having a power mode that just lets you set and forget (as opposed to switching between modes all the time) is a blessing. The next step for Bosch is to get rid of the massive and ugly display unit that clutters up the bars – this would be another great step towards making their system even more mountain bike friendly.

We’re hoping to get a Bosch powered e-bike on test soon, so we can give the system a proper assessment and see how it stacks up against the competition.


Cairns World Champs: Women’s Downhill

The ten or so seconds between when Tracey Hannah went over the bars in her race run and when she finally got the wheels rolling again was the longest we can remember. She was on a blinder, and the collective feeling of shock which reverberated around the finish arena when she went flying into the vines was crushing. The amazingly dusty surface was so unpredictable, and Tracey has simply pushed too hard at the wrong time.

As she got cranking again, and hit the next split, the arena went bananas. Somehow, god knows, she was only two seconds back! But there was no miracle finish, and Tracey’s World Champs dream would end with a bronze medal. Tahnee Seagrave, the other  favourite, also went down hard, and suddenly the race was there for the taking – Canadian Miranda Miller seized it.

Danni Beecroft absolutely killed it too, charging to fourth, with Sian A’hern also grabbing a top ten. You can get the full results here, and jump in below for our massive photo gallery.

Danni Beecroft absolutely killing it!
Sian A’hearn on her way to a top ten.

Kellie Weinert, 13th.
Sanders up on the hill!
Want onions?
Tracey Hannah, fast as hell up on the top of the track, before disaster struck.
Danni Beecroft with her Nan. “I’m very proud of her. She’s my favourite, but don’t tell the others that!”
Seagrave throws it away.
Pinned and tangled in her bike, there was no coming back from this crash.
Miranda Miller on the hot seat. She didn’t give up the top step and is the new 2017 Elite Women’s World Champ.
Tracey Hannah clawed back time after her crash, but just couldn’t do it.
Hannah sprints for the line.
Tracey with Charlie, a good friend after a tough day.
Dan and Bec were out to watch, looking a little shady after getting their off season started in fine form in downtown Cairns.
Miranda Miller, a surprise World Champ.

Hannah and Miller.
Sian A’hearn vs Matt Staggs.
Even though she must’ve been feeling pretty crushed, Tracey still signed autographs galore. Legend.
Sally Potter, 12th in Junior Women.
Ellie Smith, taking out fifth in Junior Women.

Cairns World Champs: Men’s Downhill

It was a truly amazing race. Sam Hill, the people’s champ, held the hot seat for over 50 riders before Mick Hannah strung together the perfect run and knocked him to the second step. It looked like an unbeatable ride, but Loic Bruni did it to us again here in Cairns, grabbing the rainbow stripes out from under Mick’s nose.  Jack Moir and Troy Brosnan, the last two Aussies down the hill couldn’t make it an Australian gold, and so we settle for silver.

All the results are available here and jump into the photo gallery below to feel all the drama.

Sam Hill was the first rider down the hill and he held the hot seat for over 50 riders before he was bumped off.
Hill lunges for the line.
Sam Hill settled in for a long stint in the sun.
And the winner for the loudest air horn of the day goes to… this bloke.
Gee Atherton has had a season to forget. 18th place.
Connor Fearon charges into the finish.
Josh Button had a tough run. Cooked.
The lunatics had really taken over the asylum up on the hill.
Dean Lucas, 12th.
Dean Lucas.
Don’t ask. This crew were going bananas.
9:30am, World Champs Downhill Finals Day. Tim and Danny from Thredbo.
Greg Minnaar was seen running some pretty light tyres in practice. Not sure if he kept them on for racing, but he was the victim of a flat and out of contention.
Mick Hannah was the man everyone was watching. The pressure must’ve been huge, but he still strung together a flawless run to take the lead by 5.5 seconds over then leader Sam Hill.
Hannah through the dusty first corner.

Would the dream of a World Champs win finally come true for Mick Hannah?

Aaron Gwin’s run was peppered with little mistakes that all added up, including forgetting to unlock his rear shock after the whoops.
Jack Moir was another top contender, tipped hotly for the win. He’d finish fourth in the end.
Jack Moir.

Bruni arrives and crushes the Hannah dream by 0.339 of a second.

America’s lone top ten appearance was Aaron Gwin.
Awaiting the arrival of Loic Bruni.
Troy Brosnan was the last rider down the hill, but he couldn’t knock off Bruni.

The junior men’s racing always has an element of crazy to it, but amongst the madness, there was one battle that everyone was focused on – the showdown between Matt Walker of Great Britain, and Canadian star Finn Illes.

Illes was the last rider down the hill, and he buckled under the pressure, making mistakes that were seriously out of character. Walker will wear the rainbow stripes, and we’re sure that Illes will learn a lot from the experience. Full results are up right here. 

There’s always something a little loose about the juniors…
Josh Clark was the top ranked Aussie, and the second last rider down the hill, but ended up in 14th.
Ben Zwar was the top placed Aussie junior man, in 6th.
Darcy Coutts, 11th.
Patty Butler.
Custom Aussie Junior helmets, made possible by Office Works.
Pointy, hard.
Fair dinkum!
This horrendous crash early in the day was a stark reminder just how rough downhill can be. We’re glad to report this rider is ok-ish, with a broken hip.
Finn Illes was the favourite, but he threw it away with silly mistakes, including blowing both feet out of the pedals after the rock garden.
A devastated Finn Illes.
Matt Walker of Great Britain takes the win by over three seconds.

Cairns World Champs: XCO Saturday – Elite Men’s Photo Gallery

The final race of Saturday’s XCO bonanza, the Elite Men’s, was truly epic. The battle between Jaroslav Khulhavy, Thomas Litscher and Nino Schurter was intense; Khulhavy’s brutal pace couldn’t unsettle Schurter, who waited until deep in the final lap to hit the afterburners, ripping himself a gap on the climb and then storming the descent to victory.

Aussie Dan McConnell showed incredible grit, clawing his way back into ninth place in exciting style, his best ever World Champs finish too. You can check out the full results here, right after you’ve soaked up our massive gallery below!

Gone in a flash.
Kyle Ward.

Nino Schurter lofts it in off Rodeo Drop. Style, all day long.
Cam past the mob.

Kyle Ward, pumping out of The Crusher.
Khulhavy had the lead for most of the race, with Schurter content to wait patiently till the last lap to make his move.
There was a great crowd round most of the track. The Crusher was a top viewpoint.
Cam Ivory grinds it out.
D-Mac C-Roc.
D-Mac, chasing wheels and clawing back places.
McConnell tames Jacob’s Ladder.
Khulhavy drops into The Crusher.

It’s dusty even when the dust clears..!?

UCI scanning machine missed this motor.
Nino, tidy.
After getting an early front flat, Mark Tupalski decided to spend every descent styling it for the crowds. Respect to this man for always having fun.
Sebastian Jayne and Kyle Ward hit a bottle neck.
Russ Nankervis, hooking in.
Plenty of viewers were tuning into the live feed on their phones course-side.
Lukas Flueckiger.
Yeah, Cairns!
Dark places.

D-Mac hunting back through the field.
Selfie with a legend.
Nino wraps up the perfect season. Unbelievable.

Cairns World Champs: XCO Saturday – Elite Women’s Photo Gallery

Australia’s squad of six elite women was headed up by Bec Henderson, along with Peta Mullens, Eliza Kwan, Kath Mcinerney, Anna Beck and Tori Thomas. Get into the dust below, with our huge photo gallery and grab the full results here.

The UCI has taken to scanning every bike with what looks like a Gameboy to check for hidden motors in the XCO. Peta Mullens snuck her’s through somehow.
Eliza Kwan limbers up.

All Aussie eyes were on Bec to see what she could pull out of the bag. 20th place was a great result.

The Swiss instantly took control of the race, with Jolanda Neff setting the pace the whole way.

Andy Blair, on the sidelines this time.
Kath Mcinerney and Anna Beck come out of the feed zone side by side.
Eliza Kwan tries to cool it down.
Pete Dowse had the important job of keeping Bec fed and hydrated.
Yana Belomoina pulled the pin early, retiring after just a lap or two.
Eliza Kwan hand plants her way through a tricky, tight switchback.
Bec Henderson.
Great Britain’s Annie Last rode amazingly well, fighting through the Swiss into second.
Anna Beck, using the dropper post to full effect to hammer down Crocslide.
Jolanda Neff just out climbed the entire field.
Third place for Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
Anna Beck.
Karla Stepanova.
This course is brutal. Bleeding noses, broken bikes. The Swiss support crew swing into action.
Peta Mullens through the feed zone.
Dean Clark hands a bottle to Kath Mcinerney.
Neff rolls into rainbow stripes.
The battle isn’t over till you’ve crossed that line. Henderson on the final straight.
Tah dah!
Plenty of emotion back in the team tent.

Cairns World Champs: XCO Saturday – Under 23 Women’s Photo Gallery

Holly Harris in Hotel Australia.
The start line blur.
Megan Williams grits her teeth and holds on in the open lap.
Harris in the hunt.
Harris, wings out on the descent.

The dusty rocks continue to claim skin.

USA’s Kate Courtney’s race started out badly, but she fought back to second place.
Even the lead moto was getting loose on the rocks today.
Williams grabs a bottle.

Charlotte Culver.
Sina Frei grabs the gold.
The Swiss domination of XCO is phenomenal.

World Champs: Under 23 Men’s XCO – Blood and Dust Photo Epic

Sam Gaze, unbeatable form.

This course is really living up to its reputation as a breaker of bikes and bodies, but Sam Gaze had no troubles taming it. In fact the only thing that seemed to worry him today was the cork on his champagne bottle, blasting him in the face on the podium.

Reece Tucknott. Swapping his usual pain face for a bit of style down Caterpillars.

The Aussie contingent was led home by Reece Tucknott, who followed in his sister’s footsteps bringing home a 31st place, with the rest of the Aussie young guns all finishing on the lead lap. Check out our massive photo gallery below to get an idea of just how tough the fight is out there. Savage stuff!

Getting the heart going in the sweat box of the team tent.
Ben Bradley.
Ice vests all round. It’s all about getting the heart rate up, but keeping the body temp down.
Tas Nankervis.
Tas. Soon those teeth will have a layer of grit.
Luke Brame.
Michael Potter.
Stone cold XCO killer.
Oi oi oi.
On the gas. If you’ve never seen an XCO start at this level before, it’s pretty damn wild.
Cough, cough, pedal, pedal.
Start loop tangles.
Head to head through the start loop.
No (r) way!
Nankervis fighting to hold ground early.
The hurt is hard to hide.
Callum Carson.
Nankervis, wings out.
Luke Brame.
Nic Pedler.
Bombing through Jacob’s Ladder.
Nankervis drops into the tech.
Tucknott holding on tight.
Callum Carson.
Tipping it in, Tucknott style.
Tas Nankervis.
Ben Bradley going down at the bottom of Crocslide.
In trying to straighten his bars, Bradley burnt his leg on his rotor. Talk about getting kicked while you’re down!
The relentless climb to Crocslide.
Suffer, grovel, hurt.
Ben Bradley.
Michael Potter.
Alex Lack eyes up Crocslide.
Levitating down Caterpillars.
Caterpillars is a moment of flow and fun amongst a lot of hurt and white knuckled moments.
Job done, Sam Gaze.
Red goes faster.
31st for Tucknott.
High fives all round Tas, you’re a legend.
The Tucknott clan.
Glowing Nankervis.
You did bloody well mate.
Says it all.
Bet that tastes bloody good.
Brame, looking a little haunted.
Potter and Vandy – tune into Rainbow Warriors to hear what they’re saying.
Gratuitous good looking bird photo.
Gratuitous good looking tropical island photo

World Champs: DH Seeding Results & Photo Epic

There’s no chairlift, so it’s stinky bus rides and shuttling of very nice bikes, securely!

Elite Men (Timed Session) 

1. Mick Hannah – 3:30.620 – AUS
2. Loïc Bruni – 3:31.730
3. Jack Moir – 3:32.870 – AUS
4. Aaron Gwin – 3:33.120
5. Rudy Cabirou – 3:34.810

12. Sam Hill – AUS
21. Connor Fearon – AUS
24. Josh Button – AUS
30. Dean Lucas – AUS
37. Jake Newell – AUS
62. Troy Brosnan – AUS

Elite Women (Timed Session) 

1. Tahnée Seagrave – 4:03.420
2. Myriam Nicole – 4:06.160
3. Tracey Hannah – 4:10.090 – AUS
4. Emilie Siegenthaler – 4:14.550
5. Eleonora Farina – 4:18.620

9. Danielle Beecroft – AUS
11. Ronja Hill-Wright – AUS
13. Tegan Molloy – AUS
14. Sian A’Hern – AUS
15. Kellie Weinert – AUS
16. Shelly Flood – AUS
17. Kaitlin Lawlor – AUS

Junior Men (Seeding) 

1. Finn Iles – 3:38.000
2. Joshua Clark – 3:40.360 – AUS
3. Joe Breeden – 3:43.980
4. Harry Parsons – 3:45.170 – AUS
5. Matt Walker – 3:46.650
6. Ben Zwar – 3:48.360 – AUS
7. Pat Butler – 3:50.110 – AUS

12. Darcy Coutts – AUS
14. Matthew Carter – AUS
15. Baxter Maiwald – AUS
40. Bryce Heathcote – AUS

Junior Women (Seeding) 

1. Shania Rawson – 4:32.450
2. Paula Zibasa – 4:38.490
3. Flora Lesoin – 4:40.850
4. Ellie Smith – 4:42.700 – AUS
5. Melanie Chappaz – 4:44.340

12. Sally Potter – AUS

Full results can be found here.

Feast your eyes on our photo gallery from DH practice below.

Welcome to the jungle
Mick Hannah was the fastest in the Official Timed Session. The crowd will be behind him on Sunday!

France’s Loic Bruni was second fastest

Look closely at Bruni’s frame and fork. The data collection from practice seems to have paid off in the Official Timed Session!
France’s Loris Vergier ready to drop in

After a flat tyre in Val di Sole destroyed Greg Minnaar’s hopes of the World Cup title (and his rear wheel), he’ll be very keen to lay down a clean run on Sunday.

Five time World Champion Sam Hill is currently leading the Enduro World Series, with one round to go. Having only raced one World Cup DH this year, he was fortunate to make it on the Worlds team. Will his EWS dominating Nukeproof Mega carbon prototype help or hinder him in Cairns?

Josh Button (left) had the race of his life at last year’s Cairns World Cup. His teammate Connor Fearon has been off the bike while recovering from hand surgery, but they are both riders to watch out for!

Imagine what’s going through his head. He really wants this one.

Jack Moir had a sensational World Cup season and was 3rd fastest in the Official Timed Session. Watch this space.

The UK’s Gee Atherton
Arguably 2017’s most consistent downhiller, Troy Brosnan had six top 6 World Cup finishes, seeing him 2nd overall.

Jake Newell winding up his trademark whip

So much dust
NZ’s Sam Blenkinsop getting wild in practice
NZ’s Brook Macdonald

Jack Reading sending Mick’s Drop


Reigning World Champion running the #1 plate, the UK’s Danny Hart.


Cairns World Champs – Junior XCO Glory!

Cameron Wright, out in front on lap one. He’d own this position from go to whoa.

Cameron Wright stormed the field today in the Junior Men’s, leaving a dusty, shellshocked train in his wake, riding the kind of aggressive race that was only going to end one way: with a gold medal around his neck. This is the first XCO World Championship won by an Aussie for over a decade, and it was done in dominating style. Bloody ripper!

Give ’em the horns! Sam Fox on the rollers.

Today it was all about the XCO, and it was a bloody good outing for the Australian team overall – Matt Dinham took seventh in the Junior men’s, and our junior women were fearless, stomping the A-Lines all day in some pretty hairy conditions. The team spirit is high, let’s keep it rolling!

Yep, it was dusty. Very, very dusty. Very.

Did Nanna drop the talcum powder? Cairns continues its run of serving up weather extremes – this time it’s not mud riders are contending with, but blinding, choking dust, the ankle deep powder making it seriously treacherous on the rocks. Put your front wheel into a hidden rut or grab a little too much brake and it’s game over! We saw a tonne of riders flung down the cheese grater of Jacobs Ladder, or walloping themselves after coming in a little nose heavy on Rodeo Drop. With a few hundred more sets of wheels over the course during the next couple of days, it’s going to like the surface of the moon by the time we reach Saturday’s XCO main events.

What a day, what a place, it’s good to be back in Cairns, and it’s even better to see Australia on the top step! Make sure you watch our Rainbow Warriors edit now for all the behind the scenes action from the Aussie team too.

Sarah Huck-A-Lot Tucknott, launching into Rodeo Drop.
Sarah Tucknott saying cool, but about to drop pedal into dusty furnace.
Teagan Atherstone – we’ve never seen someone with such a permanent smile, even when suffering through a World Champs race!
Courtney Snowball in the z.o.n.e.
Courtney Snowball’s biggest fan.

Olivia Nendrick, after the storm.
Grovel, hurt, suffer – it’s World Champs after all, you don’t want to leave anything out there. 
“Give it your all, and if you die trying, die happy.” Bet those gels tasted pretty average covered in dust!
See what we mean about Teagan and smiling?
Tony Tucknott, proud as.
Teagan. Smiling. Standard.

Courtney Snowball, edging for the inside line.
Blood and dust.

Ah, the soothing sounds of knobby tyres on rollers.

Oh yeah!
Dinham launching into seventh.
Kian Lerch-Mackinnon barrels into Caterpillars.
Dusty Ben Metcalfe, looking calm through Jacob’s Ladder.
Jasper Albrecht.
Dust storm.
Powdery dust EVERYWHERE.
Hazy dayz.
Isaac Buckell.
The only non-dusty man in the race, Cameron Wright.
Buckell up.
Flying into stripes.

Cairns World Champs – Pit Walk Randoms

The downhill race track is also a little different to what riders were racing all season, with a steep and rocky start that flattens out toward the finish. That calls for some interesting tech to give the riders the best setup possible.

With one quick wander about the pits, we saw some seriously cool stuff, have a look here.

Jack Moir with the only carbon 29er from Intense. It’s a monster of a bike, he’s a lanky fellow, hence the tall front end.
The tight and compact JS Tuned linkage sits right down low in the bikes chassis.
Lukas Flukiger’s BMC really grabbed our attention with so many sweet little mods and details to point out.
A little weight taped to the rim opposite the valve, that’s a small little detail if there was one.
Carbon KS dropper post.
Connor Fearon’s top tube.
Danni Beecroft so stoked with the paint job from Pivot.

So prototypo. A typo, or a prototype?

Wyn Masters happily dialing in his GT with ACDC album covers stickered over his frame.
Someone help Patti Butler out, he’s in need of a bottle of shampoo.
The downhill bike everyone is talking about, well, it’s not even a downhill bike.
Sam Hill brought both his DH bike and enduro bike to Cairns but has decided on the latter, a small bike for this course for sure. His reasoning was simply that he’s not ridden his DH bike since the Fort William World Cup where he raced to qualify for the World Champs, and the EWS series has tracks far steeper and more technical than this DH track, though not quite as fast you’d have to think. The Nukeproof has a 180mm RockShox Lyrik up the front and the only change from his EWS setup is a DH 7-speed drivetrain.
Marcelo Gutierrez on the Giant Glory.
A FOX shock with remote lockout going onto Brook Macdonalds GT.
Iron Maiden album covers for the Kiwi.
Neko Mulally’s YT Tues is a real beauty, the finish is sublime.

Local Video: Sam Fox – Road to Worlds 2017

“After years of dedication, hard work, training and resilience, he has already achieved so much. Sam puts in 110% at work, school and his riding. He has an amazingly supportive family and friendship circle. It’s no wonder he is smashing goals and getting the results he is. He is an amazing young man and we enjoy having him in the shop, We are so proud he is on board with Sprung and representing both us, and Australia at the UCI Worlds in Cairns. Go team Fox!” – Troy Reilly / Owner operator SPRUNG

Will you be joining us to cheer Sam on in Cairns? Give Sam some encouragement in the comments below.

Follow Sam on Instagram @samfoxmtb

Follow Jasper da Seymour on Instagram @jdaseymourphotography

The Mother of All E-Bikes: Specialized’s Levo Kenevo is Here

OMG. What IS that?

A 180mm-travel, Ohlins equipped, 2.8″ tyred, descent crusher, that you can pedal up hill faster than Nino Schurter.

The story here is pretty simple. Take the proven Specialized Levo platform, add more travel, better dampers, and slacken it out. What you’re left with is a bike just a few steps shy of a full on downhill rig in terms of descending prowess, but that you can comfortably climb at up to 25km/h. If you want more background on the Levo, read our full review here, or some info about the 2018 Levo carbon here.

Oh yes.

Surely it weights a tonne? 

Of course, probably 23kg. But when you’re barrelling back down the DH run you’ve just pedalled to the top of, you won’t be too worried about the weight, we promise.

Is it alloy or carbon?

Alloy, and there’s only the one model of the Kenevo available at the moment, with the spec you see here (though Australia will be getting an all black version). It will retail for $9000 AUD, arriving in October 2017.

So how does it ride?

Well, if the regular Levo offers the e-experience equivalent to the Specialized Stumpjumper, the Kenevo is more like the Enduro, but with even more of a downhill flavour. Because of the bike’s weight and insane stability, it has a real downhill bike feel about it, it is incredibly calm, absolutely planted to the earth in the corners on its big rubber. It rumbles over the rocks, just like you’d expect of a bike with a 180mm Lyrik and a coil-spring Ohlins shock to do.

The Kenevo isn’t a gazelle, but it was a lot more willing to launch than you might assume.

Getting it off the ground was not nearly as hard as we’d feared, and on just our second run down the hill, we found ourselves cleanly hucking a pretty tricky step-down that we’d have assumed was too big a stretch on a heavy bike like this. It flies evenly too, with all the stability you’d expect.

There is a small price to pay in terms of manoeuvrability when compared to a regular Levo, but the difference isn’t as dramatic as you might assume.

Who is this bike for?

Frankly, we think a lot of former downhillers are going to fall in love with this bike, plus all those riders who generally just live to descend.

We’ve always thought this was a predictable path for the evolution of e-bikes, and we’re a bit surprised there aren’t more long-travel pedal assisted bikes already. You have a motor, it’s not like the extra travel is slowing you down.

We really want to get this bike into some properly challenging terrain to see what it can do.

The pure downhill market is tiny, and shrinking. And it’s riders like the staff here at Flow who have been part of that exodus.  We used to do a lot of downhilling. While getting older is part of it, to some degree we also stopped downhilling because it’s a bit of a hassle: you need a shuttle vehicle, someone is always having to sit out a run and drive, you only actually get to ride half the time and you’re stuffed into a smelly van the rest…. All of these obstacles are overcome with a pedal-assisted bike.

Our test ride on the Kenevo was the first time we’ve done a group ride on e-bikes, and it was a real revelation. We all rode the climb as a group, chatting the whole time, all arriving at the top of the hill together. No one was left out, no one felt bad for holding the group up, and no one had to drive the shuttle. And then we blasted the descent like normal.

Look, you’re either going to love this thing, or you’re going to view it as an aberration of the sport. We fall into the first camp. Why? Because downhilling is a lot of fun, and because shuttle vehicles aren’t.

Thank Flow It’s Friday

World Cup DH

Troy Brosnan has had an incredible season, so far. He finished top 6 in six of the seven World Cup rounds, with his only poor result being the opening round in Lourdes where an epic storm washed away any podium hopes for the top qualifiers. We are frothing to see him blast out a blinder in Cairns. Watch Troy’s POV GoPro from his race run in Val di Sole which saw him finish on the podium again, and wrap up the series in 2nd overall.

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You can see Troy’s full run on his Facebook page here.

Shark Attack Jack managed another top 10 in the World Cup final, seeing him finish in 7th overall. That’s an awesome result from the NSW Cennie Coast shredder. More GoPro race action here; make sure your sound is on to hear the crowd going nuts.

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Graeme Mudd had a rough run in Val di Sole; food poisoning didn’t help his qualifying run. He still managed to finish in 67th which saw him wrap up the series as the 6th fastest Aussie. Mudd’s currently a reserve for the World Champs team, along with Jackson Frew.

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This POV GoPro footage from Mudd shows how steep and hectic the Val di Sole course was.

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Check out the Val di Sole highlights video, winning runs and wrap up of Aussies’ results for the final and overall, here.

Junior DH World’s Team

Some of the Aussie Junior DH team had a training camp in Cairns earlier this month, building up their home-soil advantage. The track looks wild! Will we see another Aussie junior world champ?

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Australian Junior National DH Champ Baxter Maiwald missed the Cairns camp as he’s been chasing the World Cup through Europe. Nonetheless, he’s looking fast! Here’s some shredding from Verbier Bike Park.

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Baxter has done a lot of filming on his trip, and he’s about to drop a full edit. Here’s a teaser.

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Back home in Newcastle, Josh Clark has his wheelies dialled.

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We were just at the You Yangs checking out the new 2018 Specialized bikes. Bryce Heathcote’s arm looks to be healed up as he sails through some Youie flow trail. Keep an eye out for Bryce in the Junior team at Worlds too.

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These juniors can ride! A quick lesson in cornering from Victoria’s Darcy Coutts in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

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Darcy also made it to Canada for the Mont Sainte Anne World Cup where he placed 12th. Here’s some footage from Bromont, a few hours South West of MSA.

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Cross Country Worlds Team

Sebastian Jayne has left chilly Victoria and is soaking up the sunshine in Cairns. Look nice, see you soon!

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The Junior XC team is full of pinners. A few of them are also pretty savvy with the ol’ Instagram (kids these days). As with the downhillers, they had a training camp to familiarise themselves with the trails in Cairns earlier this month.

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Sydney’s Matt Dinham joined the Junior Worlds Team training camp in Cairns, too. He’s lightning fast on any bike from DH to road, so keep an eye on him in the U19 XCO.

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2017 Oceania Champion and U19 Australian team rider Sam Fox from Tassie is training hard for Worlds

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Kian Lerch-Mackinnon is another skilled U19 XCO racer headed to Cairns

More Whistler Action

Did you catch our TFIF Crankworx special? The fun continues…

Jake Newell has been shredding the Whistler gnar before coming home for Worlds. He has a fresh edit for DHaRCO on its way, filmed by Matt Staggs Visuals.

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Jake also teamed up with Canberra’s Timmy Eaton for a run down the Canadian Open DH course, captured for Flow by G imagery.

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Watch the full edit here.

Another Canberrian who’s tearing it up in Whistler is David McMillan. Stay tuned to Flow for an upcoming steeze edit from G Imagery, and in the meantime check out David smashing berms and hucking gaps down the road in Squamish.

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Yep, she’s so damn good she gets her own section. After her Whistler Crankworx domination that we featured last week, Caroline Buchanan just won another mountain bike World Championship at the 4X World Titles in Val di Sole! That takes her tally to five MTB World Championships, plus her three BMX World Championships – amazing! Watch her helmet cam from the final and short highlights video.

You can find the full 4X Worlds highlights video is here.

That’s it for this week. Remember to follow @flow_mtb on Instagram and check out our Instagram Stories for behind the scenes action every day during the Cairns World Champs.

Enjoy the weekend! TFIF!

The $350 Aldi MTB is Back – Here’s Our Take

$350. Sure, you need to assemble it yourself, but whichever way you cut it, that’s a bargain.

We know we invite plenty of controversy in putting a bike-in-a-box like this up here, but the only way mountain biking will grow is if we make it easier to get people into the sport, and we think this bike has a role helping to get more riders onto the trails.

Internal cabling. Necessary? No. Nice? Very!

Mountain biking is usually an expensive sport to get into. So unless you’ve got access to a loaner from a friend, or you’re happy to take the risk of buying second hand, getting started in mountain biking can be financially daunting (especially if you’re buying the bike for a youngster who might decide the sport’s not for them, or who’s likely to outgrow their bike in a year or two). Spending $350 on a bike to dip a toe in the water is not such a big investment.

While this $350 bike isn’t a going to be lining up on too many start lines, it genuinely is capable for giving a new rider their first taste of riding off road – exploring fireroads, cruising gentle trails. And of course, it’s our hope that the experience will be one new riders love, leading to a life on the trails and a deeper involvement in the sport.

The Performance 29er is actually built in the same factory as Polygon, so it’s a quality operation.

Ok, so what do I get for the cash? 

A lot really. The package Aldi have put together is certainly much better than the bikes we started out on, and which cost much more than $350 back in the day! On features and components alone, it’s seriously impressive for the cash.

Tektro cable discs are a damn sight better than the caliper brakes you’d expect on a bike at this price.

The smartly finished alloy frame has internal cable routing, you get a lockout-equipped Suntour fork, Tektro cable actuated disc brakes and even a decent Shimano 2×9 Acera level drivetrain. It’s all kit that wouldn’t be out of place on bike twice this price. The first iteration of this bike had 27.5″ wheels, but it now uses 29er hoops, which add a bit more confidence than smaller wheels. The tyres are 2.25″ wide as well, not skinny little things, so it’s ready for the dirt. You can tell that Aldi’s Australian bike buying director is a mountain biker! Fundamentals like a decently wide handlebar haven’t been missed either.

The geometry is very much in line with entry-level 29ers from other brands. The handling isn’t built for high speeds or air time, but rather wheels on the ground cruising and it’ll do a fine job of tackling fire roads or mellow singletrack.

The tyres are a decent width for off-road use, at 2.25″.

Who makes the bike? 

The Performance 29er is built by the same crew who make Polygon’s aluminium bikes, so it’s constructed and assembled in Indonesia, by a very reputable manufacturer. We actually visited their factory in 2016 too – it’s an impressive setup! Check out our editorial piece following the birth of a bike here. Locally, the bikes have warranty support from Bicycles Online, the Australian Polygon distributor.

A direct mount Acera rear derailleur is a surprising touch, topping off a 2×9 drivetrain.

Any hesitations?

Sure. For $350, you’ve got to accept some compromises. Service is the main one; it’s sold alongside pet food and dishwasher tablets, so do not expect any expert mountain biking advice from Aldi staff. It also only comes in two frame sizes, so there are likely to be some fit issues there.

The other concern is making sure it’s put together properly. Minimal assembly work is needed and most mountain bikers will have no issues, but if you’re not sure of what you’re doing, don’t muck around, take it to a decent bike shop.

On the balance though, it’s a really impressive bike for very little cash. If you’re looking for an affordable way to take a first step into the world of off-road riding, the Performance 29er is a great option.