Trans-Sylvania Epic bike checks – the top racers and their rides

By Molly Hurford

Justin Lindine, men’s overall winner

Where you’re from: New Salem, Mass.

Is there anything special or different about your bike? Well, we just got these sweet new Novatec Dragon 29 wheels, so those are the newest/most different thing right now. I got them just before TS Epic and they have been awesome!  Nice and light, but holding up well to the PA rough stuff.

When you built up this bike, what did you dream about doing with it? Winning races… I mean, look at it, it just looks like it wants to go fast. I can’t let it down

Anything you plan on changing? Not too much really. I’m slated to get a slightly smaller frame in the near future to try that out, and I have an FSA riser bar coming to try instead of the flat bar, but other than that the bike is pretty tricked out for me.

  • Frame: Redline D680
  • Fork: FOX 32 float 29 fit 100mm travel with CTD 15mm thru axle, tapered steerer
  • Stem: Ritchey WCS C260
  • Bars: Ritchey WCS 2 x 31.8mm x 720mm
  • Brakes: AVID Elixir 7 160mm rotor
  • Wheels: Novatec Dragon MTB 29” wheels
  • Tires: Michelin Wild Grip’r
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XO
  • Pedals: Shimano SPD
  • Saddle: Ritchey Steem V2 WCS


Mike Wissell 

Where you’re from: Boston, Mass.

Is there anything special or different about your bike? It doesn’t ride as much like a race bike as much as a trail bike, which I enjoy. The top tube is a bit longer, the stem is a bit shorter, so you really have a lot of control over the front end. I take it dirt jumping, I take it to pump track, I take it racing. If I have one bike, I want it to be a fun bike.

When you built up this bike, what did you dream about doing with it? Having fun! Everything! This is one of my favorite things to do, I enjoy just riding.

Anything you plan on changing? I swapped out the wheels, they’re nice. I put on a wider handlebars, I run stupid long handlebars.

  • Frame: BMC Fourstroke FS01 29
  • Fork: Fox Racing Shox Float 29
  • Stem: Easton EA 90
  • Bars: ENVE Sweep Bar
  • Brakes: Avid XX
  • Wheels: Specialized Roval Control Trail SL 29
  • Tires: Fast Trak 29 x 2.2 Control
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XO
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR
  • Saddle: Specialized Phenom


Brian Ferrari, singlespeed overall winner

Where you’re from: State College, Penn.

Is there anything special or different about your bike? It’s singlespeed, and John Upcraft is the builder. He built for Cannondale for a little while before starting to build under his own name, Hubcap, and he’s just getting into it. He’s always been big into pulling the rear wheel forward; he has a signature curved-in tube to pull it in and give you a nice, short chainstay. So together we built on that, taking two of my favorite bikes I’ve ridden in the past, taking the front end geometry off of my favorite long distance bike and the rear end geometry off the back off my favorite short distance bike and did some whacky stuff with it. It’s great. Then I was tired of changing my gear all the time so we set it up so it only accepts two gear ratios: a 34/20or 34/19.

When you built up this bike, what did you dream about doing with it? Everything!

Anything you plan on changing? This is the bike I dreamed about for years and working with a builder to make it was just a lot of fun. I’m super happy with the way it’s set up now.

  • Frame: Hubcap custom titanium with custom paint job, including the ponies for “Ferrari”
  • Fork: Rockshox SID (“I just got it a week ago. It’s a little new to me!”)
  • Stem: Thomson
  • Bars: Salso Pro Moto
  • Grips: Ergon, “old-school, two bikes old”
  • Brakes: Shimano XT, “not the brakes I started with, but the brakes I’ll finish with!”
  • Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Crest 29er rims with Chris King hubs built by Freezethaw
  • Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29”
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT cranks, Chris King bottom bracket, Red Salsa chainring
  • Pedals: Time
  • Saddle: Fizik (selected not for a specific saddle, but because it was red to match the frame!)


Amanda Carey, women’s overall winner

Where you’re from: Victor, Idaho

Is there anything special or different about your bike? I have two Cannondales this season, a hardtail F29 and the Scalpel. The Scalpel is one of the most stable 29ers I have ever ridden. It corners so easily, it literally knifes through corners. I came from bikes that had a twitchy front end, so I really appreciate how the Scalpel’s geometry feels really confident and precise. I get all my bikes fit by Tom Coleman at WobbleNaught in Boise so my fit is consistent across bikes and seasons.

When you built up this bike, what did you dream about doing with it?  I chose the Scalpel for TSE because it climbs like a hardtail and eats up the PA rocks without losing any pedaling momentum in trail and descend mode.

Anything you plan on changing? No!

  • Frame: Cannondale Scalpel
  • Fork: Lefty XLR 100 29
  • Stem: Cannondale OPI Adjustable -15 degree, 31.8
  • Bars: Tru Vativ Noir Flat , 700X10MM
  • Brakes: Avid Elixir 9 Carbon, 180/160MM
  • Wheels: I ran Stan’s NoTubes Race Golds, probably my favorite feature on the bike. 1,390 grams for a set sounds really light (and they are) but the are really trustworthy. They spin up really fast and can take some pretty heavy abuse – they can handle the TSE! Plus, the rim profile is wide enough (Internal width is 21.3, external is 24.2) that I can run low pressure without fear of burping or bottoming to the rim.)
  • Tires: Kenda Kozmik Lite II 29. I’m a huge fan of Kenda’s new line of sealant compatible tires (SCT). A little extra weight for a lot more confidence. I do run standard tube type tires in less rocky areas, but the SCT version of the Kosmik Lite IIs in the 2.0 is what I ran every day at TSE in all sorts of conditions and not a single flat! I did run 2.2 Honey Badgers in the SCT for the enduro day just for fun and safety (to protect my significant lead in the GC). Actually, the entire Stan’s Women’s Elite Team only had one slow leak (never a flat just a small burp) over the entire TSE. We were pretty stoked about that!
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX
  • Pedals: Crank Brothers Egg Beaters
  • Saddle: Fizik Tundra. I am addicted to the Fizik Tundra 2 saddle. I have it on all five of my bikes for three years in a row. No seams that cause friction, narrow so it allows you to get on the nose when you need to and narrow enough so that your sits bones can really contact the saddle properly while allowing you to get behind the saddle with ease.


Sonya Looney

Where you’re from: Boulder, Colo.

Is there anything special or different about your bike? I like that it’s full suspension. This is my first rear suspension bike! I’ve wanted one for a really long time. I said, please, I really need a full suspension for the East Coast, and they sent it so I got it a day before I left on this trip! I haven’t had it out, I didn’t have the suspension dialed, I just took it out of the box and said, yeah, this looks good. I’m really glad I had it! The major con is that it’s kind of heavy, it weighs almost 26 lbs but it’s worth it.  If I were to have one bike it would be a full suspension.
When you built up this bike, what did you dream about doing with it? Racing some of the rockier races on the East Coast!

Anything you plan on changing? I’m looking forward to a carbon full suspension that’ll be a bit lighter!

  • Frame: full-suspension Canyon Nerve AL
  • Fork: Magura TS8 R 120/100/80 29"
  • Stem: Ritchey WCS
  • Bars: Ritchey SuperLogic Carbon Rizer
  • Grips: Ergon
  • Brakes: Magura MT-8 Disc Brakes
  • Wheels: DT Swiss XR400 29”
  • Tires: Continental
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX
  • Pedals: Crank Brothers Candy 11
  • Saddle: Ergon


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