Steve Smith spent the winter getting used to his brand new Wilson from Devinci - changing bikes is never a small thing; it takes a bit of time to get dialed, typically. However, Steve felt at home on the Wilson right out of the box. But riding/training on your home trails is not the same as the week in, week out abuse a bike sees on the World Cup Circuit, so we caught up with Steve at Pietermaritzburg to get his take on the new ride and how it's handled the relatively straight forward DH track in South Africa: ''I'd say that the thing that most impressed me so far with the Wilson in South Africa was been how stable it was. it was very comfortable in those high speed rough sections. I didn't have to worry about a thing: just looking forward and keeping it pinned. I'm really stoked on it so far; the angles are great and the bike suites me well. I am REALLY looking forward to Fort William so I can give it a proper bashing, though.''
The bike is rocking Dave Weagle's split pivot design - it's a concentric pivot located on the rear axle that combines the best performance traits of single pivot and long arm linkage suspensions into a simple package that pedals efficiently and remains active under braking. Internal cable routing for the rear derailleur through the rear swing arm keeps a nice, clean look as well as protects the cable housing from debris.
Steve is now a SRAM Black Box athlete, and is running RockShox suspension with Black Box guts. Not sure really what that means, other than it's not available to anyone except fellow Black Box test pilots. But as to set-up... ''We didn't do anything in South Africa different than anywhere else I would race... I like my bike to feel similar race to race and I like it to feel like a DH bike. The pedally bits made me want to stiffen it up, but the track did have tricky bits where I wanted my bike to be normal; not all locked out ready for the smash only. So we ran it pretty 'stock'.''
With Evil, Steve was on Shimano; the shift to back to SRAM's Black Box program starts with this little logo that simply states that the user is on a different level...
...which means custom brake levers. Additionally, as a Black Box athlete, Steve's rounded the bike out with everything SRAM: Truvativ BooBars, Holzfeller direct mount stem, etc.
And of course, Steve is rocking SRAM's descendant crankset aboard his Wilson, too.
Steve is also part of the Easton Wheel program. For 2011 that means rolling on the sweet anodized Havoc DH hubs. The hubs run cartridge bearings with a 3 cross, straight pull, 24 spoke pattern and weigh in at 2295 grams for a complete set.
The Easton Havoc DH hoops come stock with a UST compatible rim profile allowing tubeless use if so desired. They also feature a 28mm inner width, so Steve can roll on some pretty meaty tires if conditions warrant it.
Steve is on the Schwalbe program with Devinci and was rocking some Schwalbe Muddy Mary 2.5 tires at Pietermaritzburg. The special tire modifications made by his mechanic, Nigel, for South Africa are likely to be the only place you will see this done on Steve's Wilson this season as he is a big fan of the all around characteristics of the Muddy Mary's. The Pietermaritzburg course saw many riders making modifications to their rubber to better suit the unique track.
The Wilson utilizes a flip-flop eccentric chip (hidden behind the split pivot bolt through axle) that enables riders to fine tune the bike's geometry a bit. Consequently, there are two different brake mounting options to allow riders the most efficient mount for the type of brake/rotor they are utilizing.
You can see Devinci's entire lineup on their website
.Steve is on track for a great 2011 with a strong 6th place at the first World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, followed by a scorcher of a run to come home in 2nd at the US Open. Roll on Fort William this weekend, where I think we'll see Steve pushing hard to get onto that top step.