As riders beat their bikes up on the rough, tough, and dusty course we thought there’d be no better time to see what some of the fastest were rolling on.
With the recent and somewhat controversial introduction of 29 inch wheels into the Downhill scene, we can see a mix of 29 inch wheels, 27.5 (650B) inch wheels, and a few 26ers still surviving the wheel-size debate.
But if you ask the riders, they say that 29 inch wheels on a big downhill bike work rather well, so maybe they are the way of the future, and not just a fad? After all, we thought 650B wheels on a downhill bike was a fad that would last a season, and that was some 4 years ago now.
So, without further ado, let’s delve into another wheel-size related debate:
BEN DENGATE: YT RACING AUSTRALIA
Ben Dengate of Elite men is rolling on a 2017 YT Tues, which has been repainted white for a very unique look, which has been nick-named ‘white stallion’ (because, well, it’s white).
Ben shifts his way down the track thanks to a 7spd Shimano groupset consisting of the crankset, derailleur, and shifter. An e-thirteen chainguide keeps his chain true, while the Shimano Saint brakes combined with ice-tech rotors keep his braking performance optimal.
Fox Suspension absorbs most of the nasty bumps, with a Factory 40 up front and a Float X2 on the rear.
Spank components take care of his wheels and cockpit, with Spank Spike handlebars and stem, and Spank Spike 33 rims, with a tubeless setup. Ben says this combination, with Onza Aquilla tyres, is “quite good”.
JACK MOIR: INTENSE FACTORY RACING
Jack Moir is winning national rounds in elite men’s and constant top-10’s in the world aboard his Intense M29.
Intense were one of the first to be seen testing 29 inch wheels, and it’s taken a few seasons but they’ve finally taken their Intense M29 Downhill bike to production.
Although there are only 15 worldwide, they will be sold as factory-specced bikes, with all the kicks that Jack and Dean are running on their personal bikes (with an exception of the prototype equipment, obviously)
With that, Jack’s bike is decked out with the best. SRAM components are found through the full 7spd drivetrain and brakeset, and RockShox suspension keeping his ride plush.
You can spot in the bike check photos the red fork lowers, with “BLACKBOX” written down them. That’s Rockshox’s prototype ‘codeword’, which Lucas, Fearon, and Brosnan were also running.
ENVE components supply the wheels and cockpit, with Chris King hubs keeping his wagon wheels rolling super quick. Maxxis tyres supply the quality grip, and HT components keep his feet clipped in.
DANNI BEECROFT: PIVOT CYCLES
Danni Beecroft is constantly fighting for the wins at national rounds and competes overseas aboard her Pivot Pheonix 650B.
Her custom-painted bike is decked out with plenty of goods, with Fox suspension front and rear absorbing all the horrible bumps on this weekend’s racetrack.
Shimano Saint brakes and 7spd drivetrain helps her maintain brake performance and smooth gear changes, with RaceFace components keeping her cranks spinning.
Danni clips in using Crankbrothers Mallets.
Spank Components keep her hands on the handlebars, with a Spank Spike handlebar. Stans NoTubes keep her wheels rolling true and fast.
KYE A'HERN: CANYON FACTORY RACING
Kye A’hern, brother to Sian A’hern, recently picked up a deal with Canyon Factory Racing.
The young gun in Junior mens is racing on a Canyon Sender 650B downhill bike, tricked out with all the goods from SRAM.
His carbon frame is pieced together with plenty of carbon components, such as his SRAM XO1 cranks and 7 spd rear derailleur. The horizontally angled shock keeps Kye’s bike’s wheel-base long, making it easy for Kye to seamlessly float over obstacles.
RockShox supply the plush front and rear suspension, and SRAM Code brakes help him control his braking.
His wheelset is pieced together using Mavic components, running tubeless with Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR tyres for ultimate grip and rolling performance.
SIAN A'HERN: NORCO BICYCLES GLOBAL
Sian A’hern of elite womens is rolling on a Norco Aurum 650B this weekend, thanks to Norco Bicycles in Canada.
With a growing partnership with Fox Suspension, she’s able to stay comfortable whilst maintaining suspension performance on her rapid descents.
Shimano components supply everything she needs to stay in control, with a 7spd Shimano Saint complete drivetrain and clip-in pedals, and Shimano Saint brakes with Ice-Tech rotors.
DEITY Components give her the best handlebar control on the market, with a DEITY Blacklabel handlebar, grips, stem, and saddle.
She’s then rolling down the hill on DT Swiss FR570 rims, laced to DT Swiss hubs. These give her proper tubeless abilities when paired with Maxxis Minion DHF tyres.
ETHAN CORNEY: TREK BIKES AU
Ethan Corney recently picked up a deal with Trek Bikes AU, now rolling on a Trek Session 29.
His stealth black carbon-fibre frame brought him down into 8th in the stacked field of Junior mens.
Ethan cranks up his speed thanks to a complete Shimano Saint 7spd groupset, including Shimano Saint brakes with ice-tech rotors. He then also clips in using the new Shimano Saint pedal.
Fox suspension keeps the ride plush, with a Fox Factory 49 fork and a rear Fox Float X2 air shock.
His wheels are build up using Industry9 hubs, spokes, and rims, which are bright orange and help make the bike pop against the crowd. Ethan uses a cushcore inside his rim, with a pair of tubeless Maxxis Minion DHF tyres. This combination would make having blowouts virtually impossible on his race runs.
Ethan then also runs a carbon handlebar from Renthal, paired with their stem and a chainring attached to the Shimano Saint cranks.