Dirt Rag Magazine

Crankworx World Tour expands for 2016


PRESS RELEASE — Crankworx World Tour announced it’s adding Les Gets, France, to the family. Crankworx begins in Rotorua, New Zealand, March 9-13, 2016, and will hit Les Gets the following month for a June 15-19 run. The event returns to its Whistler home base in British Columbia, Canada, for a 10-day event staged August 12-21.

Nestled in the 12-resort Portes du Soleil circuit and straddling the French-Swiss border, Les Gets is a pioneer destination for both mountain bike tourists and racers.

“Back in the 80s, Les Gets was one of the first regions in the world to use its lifts to shuttle riders and its 2004 UCI World Championships is the stuff of legends,” said Darren Kinnaird, Crankworx World Tour general manager. “This is a location steeped in the culture and history of our sport and we are thrilled to be adding the region to the World Tour.”

Having hosted five World Cups and numerous French nationals, many mountain biking fans the world over are familiar with the area’s steep, verdant alpine terrain. Les Gets’ World Championship is remembered as the beginning of Frenchman Fabien Barel’s Downhill dominance and his storied rivalry with British rider Steve Peat (who announced he will retire following the 2016 racing season).

The 2016 season marks the sophomore year of the Crankworx World Tour and the return of its four-series format, the Triple Crown of Slopestyle and the race to crown the next King and Queen of the Crankworx World Tour.

There is now a whole slate of champions ready to defend their titles in the Crankworx DH Championships, the Pump Track Challenge Series, the Speed & Style World Championships and the Crankworx Slopestyle Championships. And its expected the Queen of the Crankworx World Tour, Anneke Beerten, and King of the Crankworx World Tour, Bernard Kerr, will be looking to up the ante once more to hang on to their new status as the top all-round mountain bike athletes in the world.

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Personality: Andreu Lacondeguy


Words and photos by Malcolm Mclaws
From Issue #187

Andreu Lacondeguy made his Crankworx debut in 2006. His arrival in Whistler, British Columbia, as a fresh-faced, clean-cut unknown was an introduction to someone who would become one of the most well-known and colorful riders ever. This is Little Andy.

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With a riding style that has always been more motocross- and freeride-influenced than classic slopestyle, it would only take two short years for him to step up to the top tier and claim the slopestyle title at Kokanee Crankworx in 2008. That same year he also became one of only three riders to land a double backflip on a mountain bike in competition at the Snowboard Big Air World Cup in Graz, Austria.

He has continued to push boundaries within the sport through contests and videos, always letting his riding do the talking. This year he won the Whistler Crankworx Whip-Off World Championship.

At just 26 years old with “Love Dirt” tattooed on his fingers, “Little Andy,” as his friends call him, has a distinct attitude about where freeriding should be headed. He has won a lot, from Crankworx to Rampage, but still remains unsettled and wants to change the course of mountain biking.

To accomplish this, he has teamed up with Kurt Sorge, Graham Agassiz, Nico Vink, Makken Haugen and Nick Pescetto to form the Fest series (see video below), an innovative new series of week-long, invitation-only freeride sessions around the world, where only the riders involved vote on the best line, trick and jump, yet there’s no official winner or series champ.

I GREW UP IN A LITTLE TOWN IN EL MONTSENY IN CATALUÑA [CATALONIA], SPAIN, ONE HOUR NORTH OF BARCELONA. It’s a small town at the bottom of the mountains, so when I was a kid a bike was how I got around. I started riding cross-country when I was 10 and was a regional champion. Then I moved to BMX racing at 11. From there it was on … I learned how to jump a bike, and that changed everything!

When I was 12 I started downhill racing—that’s when I first mixed in my BMX skills with mountain biking. Racing was sick, and it’s how I learned to ride a bike. I got a contract with Team Maxxis when I was only 15 and traveled with the national team to learn from the old guys. I was national champ and won a few European Maxxis Cups. I even have a few photos with Josh “Ratboy” Bryceland and me on the podium.

I did over 100 races, and going fast was the main goal. That’s how I still ride—I love to go fast. I think I’m still a racer, but I’m not racing the clock or others. I’m racing the hills.

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I WAS FAST IN DOWNHILL AND SLALOM BUT NEVER FOCUSED ON ANYTHING. Downhill racing was huge for me; I grew up racing the Spanish nationals and some European races. I looked up to Steve Peat and Sam Hill, and I was trying to look and ride like them—I think I still do.

SOCAL IS MY FAVORITE BMX SPOT FOR SURE. I always rode dirt jumps and skate parks on my 20-inch bike. I still do. BMX is super fun and easy to ride. I had some dream seasons in Southern California with BMX dirt-jump legends T.J. Ellis and Cory Nastazio that I’ll never forget.

CAM ZINK IS ONE OF THE GUYS I RESPECT THE MOST. I think that he is by far the most confident rider to ever ride a mountain bike. He pushes the sport more than anyone I know, with the biggest 360 drops and flips over some crazy jumps. He’s pushing the sport in the right direction, just going huge.

MOTOCROSS IS MY FAVORITE THING TO DO. I just love riding a dirt bike—it’s the most badass machine ever made, and it’s just insane what you can do with it. I got into moto when I moved next door to Edgar Torronteras—he’s a freestyle motocross legend with more than five X Games medals, X-Fighter wins, European Supercross and motocross wins. So as soon as I met the dude there was no way back. I’ll be burning gas forever!

WHEN I FIRST SHOWED UP AT WHISTLER [FOR CRANKWORX], I JUST WANTED TO SEND IT AS HARD AS I COULD. I was 16 years old and I didn’t care much about anything. My hair was long and dirty. I was hung over and riding in a Misfits T-shirt. I won qualifiers and then overjumped the biggest step-down on the mountain when I tried to flip it and landed in the hospital. Those days were crazy, and we were all a little out of control.

I’VE NEVER SEEN MYSELF AS A CONTEST RIDER. I have managed to get a Crankworx gold, an X Games medal and a Rampage win. Contests are just too restrictive for me. I don’t think that they are what riding means to me, so I’m not into them anymore.

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X GAMES WAS CRAZY. I knew that the course wasn’t going to be fun and went there injured with a broken finger and two bruised knees. When I first showed up in Munich, Germany, and saw the course, I knew that it was probably going to be a one-time chance to get an X Games medal. The course was so horrible that no one was able to ride the whole thing on the first day.

Finals got out of control because of the wind and all of the [other] Europeans decided not to ride. When I dropped in, everyone was crashing super hard in front of me, and I just made it to the bottom. I got third with a shit run but got a medal. It was weird. I was stoked but embarrassed. That wasn’t freeride mountain biking at all.

love dirt tatI DON’T HATE SLOPESTYLE. I think it’s cool, but why use the word “freeride” for a slopestyle event? Freeride is something a little bigger than a few ramps in a parking lot. I got bored of slopestyle events: rankings, cities, rules—I just want to go huge on my bike, and there’s no way to do it on the FMB Tour. If you go big there, you land flat—I learned that the hard way, and I’m never going to go there again. Freeride Mountain Bike Tour? Call it Slopestyle Mountain Bike Tour, and freeriders will take care of freeriding.

I DON’T KNOW IF I’LL BECOME INVOLVED WITH ENDURO IN THE FUTURE. I just ride big jumps on my downhill bike. I don’t think I will race, not when I’m older. Enduro is the new name for mountain biking, but if it helps sell more bikes, perfect.

THE FEST SERIES CAME ABOUT BECAUSE ME AND OTHER BIG MOUNTAIN RIDERS WERE OVER THE WHOLE CONTEST SCENE. We just created our own thing. We build and ride the best jumps and trails on the planet and film it. The Fest series is the best thing that ever happened to my career. We are the riders, we build the courses and ride them. Fest series is going be the most insane freestyle events in the world. Just riding and exploring new locations while building and filming sick lines.

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THE FEST SERIES IS ALREADY GROWING REALLY FAST. We’re going to make sure that the only benefits are for the sport. We’re going with the flow, having fun and going nuts on our bikes. We’ll see how it goes. I had more fun last year with Fest than ever, so I’m pumped about it.

RAMPAGE LAST YEAR WAS A GOOD WIN FOR ME. I came from riding the Fest series the whole year, so I was ready for it. I felt like I rode harder in Fest than at Rampage. Rampage is TV format, so I was being careful not to get hurt. There’s huge media at Rampage and you want to be safe until the last run.

Little Andy2IT WAS ALL ABOUT CONFIDENCE AT RAMPAGE. I was going to win and that was it, there was no way around it. I was going to build the craziest line and ride it as fast as I could. I didn’t need to step it up on my second run, and everything went smooth. I was happy that I proved myself and showed that if I really want something I can get it. That was kind of how Rampage felt for me.

CRASHES ARE ALWAYS THERE; IT’S WHAT MAKES IT FUN. The closer you get to going down the better it feels, but there’s a price. I’ve had a few bad crashes, earlier this year with a broken knee, and it sucked.

I MOVED TO THE PYRENEES A YEAR AGO. I wanted to ride my bike every day, and moving to the mountains was the way to do it. I’m going to be working on a big project with Red Bull and La Molina ski resort, so I just moved there. I have great trails right at my house, and we are going to build some big jumps this spring.

2014 WAS THE BEST YEAR ON MY BIKE FOR SURE. I’m happy about Rampage and the great result, but the main thing is that it was when the Fest series was born. This is what I’m going to remember when I can’t ride a bike anymore. I will always have 2014 in my head.

 

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First Look: New FiveTen Kestrel Lace


Say what you will about the enduro craze, but one thing we can’t deny is that many of the products being developed for racing have led to goods that are perfect for good ol’ fashioned mountain biking. One example is these new FiveTen Kestrel Lace shoes we found at Crankworx.

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The Kestrel model was first introduced as a performance shoe that is lighter and stiffer than FiveTen’s more gravity-oriented models. It is built with a carbon-infused shank and closes with a BOA system. The new lace-up version, however, uses a more traditional nylon shank and traditional laces. The uppers are synthetic and the outsole features FiveTen’s dot pattern with S1 rubber. Both the lace and the BOA versions will be available going forward.

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The Kestrel Lace will be available in both men’s and women’s versions and retail for $150 when they hit stores in February.

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The best slopestyle run ever?


Video by Mind Spark Cinema and SRAM

Trick list

  • Opposite Truck Driver
  • 360 Downside Tailwhip
  • Backflip Double Tailwhip
  • Barspin
  • Cork 720
  • Backflip Tailwhip to Can
  • Backflip Barspin
  • Double Tailwhip
  • Double Truck Driver
  • Flat Drop Backflip
  • Barspin
  • Opposite Barsin
  • Cork 720

Results

  1. Brandon Semenuk 93.8
  2. Nicholi Rogatkin 90.4
  3. Thomas Genon 88.0

Replay

Watch the full Red Bull Joyride replay at Redbull.tv

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Inside Line: New Leatt Helmet, Packs, Pads and Gloves for 2016


Last year Leatt announced new helmets that were slated to begin shipping in 2015. As is often the case, even the best-laid plans don’t always pan out as expected. A fire at Leatt’s foam supplier delayed production significantly. Fortunately, these new lids will begin shipping in January of 2016.

6.0 Carbon and 5.0 Composite – $499/$399

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Helmets are a logical step for the brand that arguably popularized the the neck brace. Given Leatt’s focus on medical research, it comes as no surprise to the company workign to minimize rotational trauma to the brain. The MIPS system brought the concept of rotational trauma and resulting conclusions to our consciousness, so it’s great to see additional offerings serving this market.

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Leatt developed what they’re calling “360º Turbine Technology” to reduce impacts and rotational forces. These little discs not only absorb impact, but they also allow the helmet’s shell to move independently of the head. Additionally, Leatt’s in-molded shell and dual-density foam facilitate a 10 percent smaller helmet, which reduces rotational energy transferred to the head and brain by 20 percent. Turbine technology is said to reduce impact at the concussive level up to 30 percent and reduce rotational acceleration of the head and brain by up to 40 percent. Six helmet sizes available from XS to XXL.

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3.0 Cargo Pack – $179

Leatt has offered packs for a couple of years now, but those packs were a partnership with another company. For 2016, Leatt brought pack design and production management in-house. Packs will begin shipping in November 2015.

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The 3.0 Cargo offers three liters of water capacity in Leatt’s CleanTech bladder and ten liters of storage. Leatt’s 3DF CE Level 2 back protector should provide quite a bit of protection while the company’s vest-like chest harness secures the pack.

2.0 Enduro Lite WP – $139

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The Enduro Lite offers two liters of water capacity and five liters of storage inside its waterproof fabric and water resistant zippers. A CE Level 1 back protector provides confidence, and a weatherproof touch screen pocket protects your devices.

3DF Knee and Elbow Guards 5.0 – $75/$59

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Welcome to Leatt’s newest generation of 3DF viscoelastic knee and elbow pads. Not only is the new material 25% slimmer, it’s also considerably softer and more supple. However, under impact, it’s every bit as protective as the previous version. Pads will begin shipping in October.

3.0 X-Flow and 4.0 Lite – $50/$40

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Leatt’s gloves are totally new for 2016. The 3.0 X-Flow gloves (left in the above photo) offer Armourgel protection for the first knuckle, Clarino palm and mesh backing.

The 4.0 Lite glove (right in the above photo) includes Armourgel protection for the first knuckle and the second and third knuckle on the ring and index finger. A Nano grip palm offers palm protection and smart phone compatibility. Expect gloves to begin shipping in October.

 

 

 

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Inside Line: Morpheus Conspiracy Downhill Bike


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Morpheus is proudly displaying an all-new downhill bike here at Crankworx and we caught up with company founder Michael Schwartz to get the lowdown.

This full carbon fiber rig is the first project where Morpheus sought expertise from outside the company to assist in frame design and suspension kinematics, “to make [the Conspiracy] a bike that goes against the other bikes in the category right now, we really had to seek help,” said Schwartz. “We worked with a new FEA program that’s used in Forumla 1 to test parts pre-season and that was extremely useful because we never had such a well-sorted bike from a first prototype.” Here, Schwartz is hinting at Morpheus’ previous downhill prototype, which the company ended up scrapping entirely because they couldn’t achieve the results they were looking for. “We wanted to accelerate the project because people have been waiting for a downhill bike for a long time from us,” Schwartz continued.

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Well sorted, indeed. The Conspiracy’s fit and finish looks spectacular. It’s truly light-years ahead of the previous prototype and this sample was on-par with some of the best in the business.

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During initial prototyping, Morpheus entertained the idea of making a bike that offer 26- and 27.5-inch capability. Ultimately, they decided on 27.5 because they were able to hit their geometry targets while also taking advantage of the inherent traction advantage of 27.5. Choosing one wheel size also simplifies construction significantly.

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The Conspiracy’s geometry falls right in line with what’s developing as the “standard” range for bikes in this category; 17.1-inch chainstays, 13.6-inch bottom bracket height and a 63.5-degree head tube angle.

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Notice that chainstay pivot? Yep, it’s a Horst Link, which is now free to use after the patent recently expired. Morpheus calls its suspension design Optimized Performance Suspension (OPS), but didn’t offer any further specifics.

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Though it’s designed as a race bike, Morpheus sought to maintain a lively feeling suspension to maximize fun in the bike park too. Schwartz wanted a bike that’s at home smashing rock gardens and hitting the jump line.

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Another of Morpheus’ key targets for this bike was affordability. As a smaller, consumer direct company, Morpheus has less overhead than many of the large manufacturers, so they’re able to offer a competitive package to the end consumer. The Conspiracy frame will retail for $2,495 with a Fox X2 shock and the standard build with a Rock Shox Boxxer, Vivid rear shock and mid-level Race Face components. Even the premium build, which is said to weigh less than 35 lbs., will retail for $5395 with a Fox 40, Fox DHX2 rear shock, Race Face Carbon components and DT Swiss wheels for $5,395. Expect bikes to ship in February of 2016. If all goes well, you might even see a few of these in action at Red Bull Rampage this year.

 

 

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First Ride: Rocky Mountain Maiden World Cup


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A little over a week ago Rocky Mountain announced its new Maiden downhill bike, and we brought you up to speed on the details here. As we hoped, we were able to ride a few laps aboard an early-production Maiden World Cup at Whistler.

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After a period of downhill bikes trending steadily slacker, the market seems to have leveled out between 63 and 64 degrees, which is right where the Maiden plays. Even in the slackest 63-degree setting the Maiden struck a comfortable balance of maneuverability and stability, particularly combined with the very-short 16.7-inch chainstays.

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This was my first ride aboard BOS suspension and I’m thoroughly impressed with the Idylle Air model spec’d on the World Cup. This air-sprung fork is very supple, and soaked up Whistler’s extensive braking bumps and bomb holes incredibly well. It also provided a well-controlled and comfortable ramp up to end of stroke.

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Out back, the BOS Stoy RaRe was very well matched to the fork, soaking up small chatter and big hits without breaking a sweat.

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In designing the Maiden, Rocky Mountain invested a lot of time and energy in minimizing the impact of braking force on the rear suspension. The company’s patented Autonomous Braking design “[balances] anit-rise, caliper rotation, and instantaneous inertial brake transfer values” to keep the rear suspension active when braking. That’s a bunch of tech-speak, but in a nutshell, most all of today’s downhill bikes squat under braking, which firms up the suspension a bit due to being deeper in the travel. Combine that squat with caliper rotation and you can end up with grip-slip under braking. On the Maiden, I couldn’t believe how composed and neutral the bike felt under braking. It was astonishingly smooth under even the worst braking bumps.

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Although all of the complete bikes are spec’d with 27.5-inch wheels, the Maiden offers some interesting options to make it 26-inch compatible. By installing a headset spacer and utilizing the lower rear axle position, the geometry is optimized for 26-inch wheels. With 26-inch wheels and fork, the trail number is nearly identical to that of the 27.5-inch setup.

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The Maiden’s Ride-4 chip is similar in concepts to Rocky’s Ride-9 chip, but simplified substantially. The chip’s four positions subtly adjust geometry, but are said to have a negligible impact on suspension performance. We didn’t have time to play with the settings, but look forward to doing so in a future long-term review.

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Photo by Adam Newman

In all, I’m very impressed with the Maiden. It was easy to ride and very intuitive from the moment we rolled in the park. The suspension’s performance on small bumps and braking bumps was nothing short of astounding, while the big-hit performance far more capable and I am able to push it. The Maiden seems like an incredibly well-designed and executed bike. I’m sure looking forward to getting my hands on a long-term test sled. Look for production bikes to begin shipping in October.

Photos

 

 

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Photo Gallery: Crankworx Dual Slalom racing


Photos by Justin Steiner and Adam Newman

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The racing here at Crankworx took center stage Friday night as the threatening rain clouds hovered overhead but never dampened the action.

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The dry and dusty course was running fast as rookie Dakotah Norton, left, came out of nowhere to take the win as challenger Martin Maes took a spill on the first heat of the finals and couldn’t finish.

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On the women’s side Jill Kintner held off all the competition to take her third straight victory. Even with fresh stitches in her arm runner up Anneke Beerten collected enough points to lock in her title as the 2015 Queen of Crankworx.

Photo gallery

Click on the magnifying glass to see photos full size.

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Inside Line: First ride with the new Giro Montaro helmet


Photos by Justin Steiner

Giro has had a huge hit on its hands with the Feature, a great all-purpose trail helmet that doesn’t break the bank. The new Montaro builds on that success with several new technologies that make it more of a premium product.

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The first key design priority on the Montaro was making it more easily compatible with goggles. Giro says it is one of the few half-shell helmets on the market that can perch a pair of goggles on your forehead below the visor. To make it work the visor tilts really far up with several detents along the way, making it unnecessary to lock it in place with screw tension at the pivots. The vents along the rear of the helmet are also lined with a rubbery plastic that helps hold the goggle strap, a nice touch.

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Ventilation was another key aspect of the design, and the Montaro has Giro’s Roc Loc Air retention system that keeps the body of the helmet suspended slightly above your head, allowing air to move in and through more easily. If you do end up warming up and sweating, you should notice a lot less of it ending up in your eyes thanks to the super-absorbent brow pad that uses the kind of material you’d find in a ShamWow. If you pull it out and squeeze it in your hand a rather disturbing amount of sweat comes out.

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Other features include a clip-in GoPro mount, easy to adjust straps and a MIPS liner on all models. There are eight colors and three sizes for the standard Montaro and three colors and two sizes in the women’s Montara version, which is otherwise identical. It will go on sale for $150 this October.

Montaro

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Montara

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In action

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Photo Gallery: Crankworx Whip-Off World Championships


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As a first-timer at Crankworx, most everything about this event is eye-opening. From the overall turnout to the the diversity of the crowd, I’ve come away impressed. While there are plenty of incredible events, including Saturday’s legendary Red Bull Joy Ride, the Whip-Off World Championships was one of the events I was most excited to watch and shoot.

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First of all, these jumps are HUGE.

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Secondly, this world-class crew of riders makes it look so stylish and so easy.

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Beyond whips, there’s no shortage of attempts to stand out. This year we saw a cow suit, a dude wearing flip flops, another dude wearing nothing but a sock on his dangly bits and Lars Sternberg competing on his Transition Klunker.

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Repeat women’s winner Casey Brown has won this event so many times she’s lost count.

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Andreu Lacondeguy took home the men’s title. Watch for our exclusive interview with him in the next issue of Dirt Rag, #187.

When I first showed up at Whistler [for Crankworx], I just wanted to send it as hard as I could. I was 16 years old and I didn’t care much about anything. My hair was long and dirty. I was hung over and riding in a Misfits T-shirt. I won qualifiers and then overjumped the biggest step-down on the mountain when I tried to flip it and landed in the hospital. Those days were crazy, and we were all a little out of control.

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Whip-Off Worlds is definitely an event worth seeing in person someday.

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Inside Line: Easton and Race Face announce dropper posts


RaceFace-Easton Dropper

Two new players are set to enter the dropper seatpost market later this year. In a parallel move, Race Face and Easton announced the release of new dropper seatposts. Though the posts are mechanically identical, they will be branded independently as the Race Face Turbine and Easton Haven.

The infinitely adjustable post mechanism utilizes a licensed version of 9Point8’s hybrid hydraulic and mechanical system that’s operated by a standard shift cable. A spring-loaded mechanical brake locks the post in place. When the lever is actuated, brake tension is reduced to allow the post to move. In the event of a failure, the brake will remain locked in its current position.

Easton-RaceFace Dropper Lever

The internally routed cable offers a quick connector to ease shipping and potentially facilitate moving the post between bikes. The standard remote lever can be used on the left or right of the bars and an upgrade lever for use with single-ring drivetrains will be available separately for $60 in a variety of colors.

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Posts will be available in four lengths (350, 375, 415 and 440 mm) and three travel options (100, 125 and 150 mm). Expect the posts to be available in November for $470.

From an aftermarket standpoint, this announcement may seem a little strange due to the shared product platform. But, considering both Race Face and Easton are owned by parent company Fox Factory Holding Company, this seems like a wise move for the OE market. Now both companies can provide manufacturers complete cockpit spec within each brand.

 

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First Ride: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie


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Specialized went all-in on 27plus bikes for the 2016 model year with 6Fattie versions of the Stumpjumper and Rhyme, as well as dedicated 6Fattie hardtail models for men and women, called the Ruse and Fuse.

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Here at Crankworx Whistler we took our first ride aboard the top-of-the-line S-Works Stumpjumper FSR 6Fattie with 150 mm of travel up front and 135 mm out back. All this with 27.5 x 3.0-inch tires on 30 mm-wide rims. Another number to consider is the $8,600 price tag of this S-Works model. However, the aluminum Comp model rings in at $3,500.

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We’ve posted previously about the new 29er and 27.5 Stumpjumper tech details, so head on over here for the full scoop. For now, we’re going to focus on the 6Fattie.

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The 6Fattie shares its front triangle with the Stumpjumper 29, but the Boost 148 aluminum swingarm and plus-specific version of Fox’s 34 fork are unique to the 6Fattie model.

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Our thoughts

Both Adam and I rode the bike today and had pretty good conversation about so we thought we’d share:

Adam: So we got to ride the 6Fattie today on the Hey Bud trail, which was the first stage of the EWS race here in Whistler this week. Justin, you and I were a bit skeptical of this new tire size, but I think it’s safe to say we came away impressed. What was one factor that stood out to you?

Justin: Traction, without a doubt. I couldn’t believe how well this bike hooked up on loose terrain.There were times I’d have my ass on the back tire for fear of going over the bars, and you know what? I could have stop in the middle of that downhill to eat a sandwich. What jumped out at you?

Adam: I think the biggest surprise was just how normal it felt. If I was riding blindfolded (which I only recommend at SSWC, by the way) it would have been hard to distinguish it from a 29er, except for the traction you mentioned (especially braking) and this sort of “safety net” feeling of stability. I’m not 100 percent sold that it’s “better,” but it is certainly confidence inspiring.

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Justin: You’re all about the safety net, Newman. I walked away convinced the 6Fattie will be “better” for a lot of riders simply as a result of the huge fun-factor. Sure, might feel a little slower while climbing, but if you can turn the pedals over you could climb a tree. In rough terrain, the 6Fattie will roll through terrain it simply shouldn’t. Descending, it’s a hoot due to all that traction. Who do you think would like this bike?

Adam: Haha, I need that safety net! I think the kind of folks who will enjoy these bikes are the kind of people like us who are not shredding in the 99th percentile, but are more interested in having fun than going fast. The tires were a bit of a question mark going in, but the Ground Controls 27.5×3.0 on our demo bikes performed better than expected despite the super round profile.

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Justin: Agreed. I was really eyeing up the Purgatory tire on the front of some of those other bikes. Wonder what other tires they have in the works? In general, I’d have to agree with you. There’s a stumpjumper for everyone; 6Fattie for fun-loving, optimistic types, 27.5 for shred-bros doing tricks, and 29 for speed-racers.

Adam: Aside from the bike, I also wanted to give a special shout-out to the new Command Post IRcc dropper. It has internal cable routing but uses a basic shift cable and the actuation lever is the best I’ve ever used. Plus instead of the classic Command Post’s three positions, it now has 10 so you can get it just right.

What do you think?

Is 27plus going to roll over the mountain bike scene? Or is it full of (hot) air? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Inside Line: Devinci’s Redesigned Troy


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Devinci launched a redesigned Troy here at Crankworx and we’ve just had our first look. The trail market has evolved quite a bit since 2013 when the Troy was originally launched. Over the years, Devinci has been seeing folks riding that bike harder and harder with wide bars and burly rolling stock. With this in mind, and taking cues from its big brother the Spartan, this version of the Troy is designed a little bit burlier than the previous version.

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In keeping with the times, the new Troy offers a 20 mm longer front center across the size run, four mm shorter chainstays and much steeper seat tube angles (74.5 degrees in the low setting and 74.9 degrees in the high setting). Head tube angles remain largely unchanged at 67 degrees in the low setting and 67.4 in the high setting.

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Suspension travel remains the same, offering 150 mm up front and 140 mm in the rear, though the Split-Pivot rear suspension kinematics have been modified to provide a more progressive ramp up at the end of stroke to better cope with larger hits.

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The new Troy will be available in both aluminum and carbon models. Aluminum frames, as well as the carbon model’s aluminum chainstay and rocker link, are produced in Devinci’s Canadian factory.

We weren’t able to ride the new Troy, but we’ll be getting our hands on one for long-term review.

 Video

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Crankworx Dirt Diaries returns for 2015


Six mountain bike athletes have been handed a camera and given free reign to share their storytelling skills with the mountain bike community. Together with a team of riders and videographers, they have from today until August 4 to craft a four to six-minute video to be screened at the Whistler Olympic Plaza during Crankworx on August 11. The short films will be judged by a panel of experts with cash prizes for first ($5,000), second ($3,000) and third place ($2,000)

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The six athletes are:

Kyle Norbraten: One of the three members of the Coastal Crew, a Red Bull Rampage contestant and all-round Mr. Nice Guy for Specialize Bikes, Kyle has teamed up with last year’s winning filmmaker, Matt Dennison.

Rémy Métailler: This fast Frenchman has more lines around the bike park than most people think possible. Expect the unexpected and be ready for machine gun speed and (trail) destruction.

Charlie Sponsel: Professional downhill racer, reluctant enduro racer, renowned blogger and enfant terrible. The question on many peoples’ lips will be: What will he say or do this time?

Jesse Melamed: A born-and-raised Whistler local who is inching up the ranks in the Enduro World Series as part of the Rocky Mountain-Urge enduro team, Jesse will bring a local’s appreciation and knowledge to the proceedings.

Yoann Barelli: A French transplant who now calls Whistler home, Barelli travels the world racing for the Giant Factory Racing team, and is always having fun, whether on or off his bike.

Sarah Leishman: Social media maven by trade, but professional athlete by design, Sarah is a maker and shaker with a keen eye for quality.

2014 winner

See what the judges are looking for with the defending Dirt Diaries champ:

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Video: The SCOTT family at Crankworx


It’s hard to spend all that time at the biggest mountain bike event in the world with some of the best riders in the world and not coming away with an awesome video. The SCOTT Crew was in full force at this year’s Crankworx in Whistler. ShapeRideShoot was on hand to follow Brendog, Vinny T, Nico Vink, Louis Reboul and others during the festival.

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Gallery: Enduro World Series – Crankworx


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Photos by Adam Newman

The sixth round of the Enduro World Series rolled into Whistler just in time for a little thing called Crankworx to get under way. Several classic Whistler trails were groomed especially for the event with the deep, soft terrain of Crazy Train contrasting sharply with the rocky, exposed Top of the World.

By incorporating more trails outside of the bike park, the race increased in difficulty not just in descending, but by bumping the number of riding transition stages up to four. In all, riders would cover nearly nearly 40 miles over the course of the day.

Read the full story

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Crankworx announces lineup for GoPro Dirt Diaries and Deep Summer Challenge


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Summer is in full swing and that means it’s only a matter of time until we get to head north to the biggest of all mountain bike festivals in Whistler, B.C. Aside from the competitive riding there is some competitive creativity going on as well, with riders and photographers shooting to be the best in the GoPro Dirt Diaries and the Deep Summer Photo Challenge.

The participants have been announced for what will surely be another year of groundbreaking visual imagery.

Get the full story here.

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Fox MTB Presents: Follow the Leader on A-Line and Crabapple


Check out the Fox Mtb team having fun playing follow the leader on A-line / Crabapple at Crankworx featuring Fox team athletes in order: Josh Bryceland, Geatan Ruffin, Danny Hart, Stevie Smith, Mark Wallace, Andrew Neethling, Thibaut Ruffin, Marcelo Gutierrez, Tyler McCaul, Kirt Voreis, Nick Beer, Connor Fearon and Kyle Strait.

Cameras provided by GoPro/Kris Jamieson

Edited by Ryan Marcus

The Pink Frost, “She Is Riots”. Tour EP. pinkfrost.bandcamp.com

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Fist Impression: Scott Gambler


By Eric McKeegan

Two summers ago, I got to fondle and photograph a Gambler at a Scott press camp. I didn’t get to ride it as the press camp’s local terrain was much better suited to the Genius bikes released at the same time.

I finally got to throw a leg over this bike, and on world class trails at Whistler. The Gambler is a bit a surprise from Scott. Scott’s trail bikes lean towards steeper XC geometry, but the Gambler is among the slackest downhill bikes on the market. Stock numers are a 62 to 62.7 degree head tube angle, depending on setup, and the included angled headset cups can take off another full degree for a true plow bike experience.

I hopped on a large 2014 model, with a Shimano Saint drivetrain, Zee brakes, FOX 40 RC2 with airspring, and DHX rear shock. All top quality stuff, and the new Schwalbe Magic Mary tires were perfect for the rainy day at Whistler.

I love riding downhill, but I’m not super fast. At heart I’m a trail rider, and I have a tendency to ride downhill bikes like trail bikes, steering too much, not taking the big lines, etc. This usually means bikes like the Gambler overwhelm me at first, as the slack and low geometry usually feels slow and ponderous at first. But the Gambler didn’t feel that way at all.

Maybe it was the bike setup, with the stays in the shortest setting and the BB in the high setting, and a great suspension setup for my weight, but everything felt right at home. Even on tight singletrack, full of wet bridge work, with fogged goggles, I was ready to charge whatever was in front of me. And out of all the downhill bikes I’ve ridden the Gambler was easiest for me to feel confident launching jumps, which is probably my biggest weakness as a rider.

With downhill season winding down, and thoughts turn to 2014, the Gambler is now #1 on my list for a long-term gravity bike review. I was pretty bummed my schedule at Crankworx didn’t have time for an all day session on the Gambler.

Floriane Pugin rocketed her Gambler to a podium finish in both the Fox Air DH and the Canadian Open DH at Crankworx last week.

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