We find the weird and the fast at Bright National Championships.
Words and photos: Nick Waygood
Two enduro-frothers take off on MTBA’s first National-level XCO E-MTB event, both riding very different Giant E-Reign’s.
Let’s start with Carlson’s – running a Shimano XTR M9100 groupset, Fox Factory 34 fork and Factory Float X2 shock, and fast-rolling XC tyres with a Maxxis Ikon on the front and Maxxis Ardent on the rear in a mullet combo.
Following his win of the National Championship title, Carlson talks about setting his E-Reign up specifically for this event – with a tough XCO course he set the bike up with faster-rolling tyres to improve efficiency.
VDP’s E-Reign then runs with the same XTR M9100 groupset, but a Factory 36 fork with the Factory Float X2 shock, combined with Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres, making this eMTB a descending machine. VDP would end up placing third – making the podium an E-Reign sandwich.
From the MTB Bendigo XCO Relay team, Liam and Russell both ride very similar and equally fast Trek Supercalibers.
Both bikes are running a full Shimano XTR M9100 groupset, Fox FActory suspension, and Bontrager Kovee XXX wheels. Liam switches out for the Fox Transfer dropper post to help with the descents – but otherwise two super-lightweight XC machines.
Merida has been making fast cross-country bikes for as long as many can remember – and the Ninety-Six is just that. Tasman took his to fifth place in the big Elite Mens XCO event on Sunday, with the bike decked out with Fox Suspension, Shimano XTR M9100 groupset, and Duke Lucky Star HD 6TERS wheels from Handbuilt.cc.
We’ve seen these Banshee Legend 29s kicking around for a couple of years now, since the prototypes were released to a select few. Importers are now able to bring them in to the country for customers, with Clancy’s imported through the Missing Link Bikes team.
Decked out with the best bits from SRAM Australia, Clancy runs a 7-speed XO drivetrain, with Boxxer Ultimates and Vivid R2C coil shock, and of course 29-inch Spank wheels. With a tight field in Saturday racing, Clancy brings the race machine across the line into 15th in Elite Mens.
As far as race downhill bikes go, the V10 has been the pinnacle as the Santa Cruz Syndicate downhill team take the bike to the World Cup podium race and race.
Mitch Mckinlay’s is set up to go fast – With SRAM taking care of the suspension and drivetrain. Santa Cruz carbon wheels, laced to Chris King hubs provide the rolling speed, and DMR Components keep everything in control.
Following a big win in U17 Womens XCO, Hayley Oakes of the Trek Shimano Australia team shows us her Trek Top Fuel, running Fox Suspension front and rear, a Transfer dropper post, and Shimano XTR M9000 groupset. Vittoria tyres are creeping back into the game, with the Mezcal keeping her rolling fast on 4 laps of the XCO course.
This one is interesting – one that’s caught my eye before that reminded me of the Iron Horse Sunday from the mid 2000s. It’s a prototype bike, built by Phil Hoskins (pictured right) and ridden by Jack Apted (left), and word on the street is its fast. Running a mullet setup – that’s 29 inch front wheel and 27.5 on the rear, it’s a bike that’s custom-built to go fast.
Hoskins explains the linkage setup;
“A multi-link [in the lower linkage] that’s hidden by the idler on the drivetrain side, with virtually no pedal feedback which makes the bike feel chainless. Rearward axle path, and an aggressive-rate linkage, it’s a bike built to go fast.”
Bec McConnell takes her Mondraker F-Podium RR across the line, destroying the Elite Women's field in XCO on Sunday. A fast rider needs a fast bike, with McConnell’s Mondraker decked out by SRAM and RockShox componentry.
Let’s start with drivetrain – XX1 AXS Eagle for the tight pinch climbs, paired with the AXS dropper for the descents removes a lot of cable mess and weight. Rockshox Sid Ultimate fork, with the SidLuxe Ultimate shock are both remote-lockable, helping with pedal-bobbing on climbs. Polishing it off with Progress CB3 carbon wheels makes this a seriously fast XC race bike for a seriously fast competitor. Maxxis Aspens keep it fast rolling!