Cam Wright, our own XCO World Champion, is gearing up for a huge 2018 - so we took a look at the bike he will be piloting in his 2nd year in Juniors.
If you followed the 2017 National XCO Series, you would have seen one young rider who was getting noticed not just for winning, but also having his lap times so close to the elite racers. With success in the Junior Series, Brisbane's Cam Wright lined up on the front row at the 2017 World Championships in Cairns.
Leading from the start loop, Cam Wright went on to win with a huge gap on the rest of the field. The cross-country racing was dominated by the Swiss, but Australia had won the Junior Men's XCO World Championship.
Fast forward a few months, and Wright is now two rounds into the MTBA National XCO Series, taking the first two wins earlier in December at Orange.
Since the racing in Orange, Cam Wright has signed with Shimano Australia for support with his running gear, and he has rebuilt his Specialized Epic up with Shimano's XTR M9000 mechanical group set.
Cam has opted for the mechanical group set for simplicity, and so far really likes the feel, and the close shifts of the 11-40 cassette, which is the smallest range in Shimano's cassettes, but often favoured for XCO racing thanks to the close ratios.
“The 11-40 cassette and 34 tooth chain ring is a good start for general use, and I haven't even used the lowest two gears around here at Gap Creek. I've got a 32 tooth and maybe I'll get a 36 tooth if I need it. But I think a 34 tooth will be pretty good."
Getting a bike dialled for a certain race is a key part of XCO racing, and Cam is thinking ahead through the rest of the National Series.
“I am thinking about Canberra and Cardiac Arrest, and I might put a 32 tooth on. Having said that I'll try it in the 34 and see how it goes. The 32 tooth might be better on the legs in the final lap though."
In the cockpit, Cam is using the iSpec Shimano XTR shifter with the Shimano XTR Race Brakes, running his levers slightly inboard.
The bars are stock 710mm, 9 degree sweep Specialized S-Works carbon bars, and the grips recognise Cam's Australian U19 National Title. These aren't just some yellow and green grips cut up in the Planet Cycles workshop, either.
“They come from ESI like that," confirms Cam. "I've just asked to see if they can do a set in rainbow.”
Cam is running a Specialized S-Works Power saddle, but that might be changing.
“I might change the saddle to the S-Works Power Arc. It's a slightly different design, the saddle just rolls off a little bit better on your thighs, which is better for mountain biking as you use the saddle to handle the bike.”
Cam is running a super-slammed position, with an FSA SLK stem up front.
“I haven't measured my seat to bar drop, but I've just moved to this stem. At Worlds I had a 100mm -17 stem. Now I'm on a 90mm, -20 stem. It's just a little more drop. I'm really enjoying it, it makes the bike feel a little bit better.”