10 Things You Only See on Racers' Bikes

Feb 25, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Racing used to be a game of inches, nowadays it's a game of millimeters. World Cup mechanics are constantly looking for small advantages they can eke out of bikes to get them working that much better for their athletes. So, while pros bikes may look similar to the ones we ride, take a closer look at the set ups and you'll see a number of nifty hacks that are used to give them a competitive edge. Ten of our favorites are below.

Wheel weights

If you get a mountain bike wheel spinning fast enough, you'll sometimes start to see it wobble from slight deviations in the weight. For pro racers, this can be off-putting, especially when they're in the air. These deviations can come from manufacturing or, most likely, from the valve stem, so to keep their wheels running straight and true downhill racers use wheel weights to counterbalance any anomalies. For some, it's a case of simply glueing a bit of metal onto the wheel but others, such as Sam Blenkinsop, have had a full, custom set of weights built to fine-tune the weight distribution.

Custom links

A linkage that works for us mortals may not be quite up to the task for the world's fastest racers. The one pictured above was produced by Devinci for Dakotah Norton and provided a bit more progression for the bigger hits he can expect at World Cup level. We've also seen a lot of custom links these past few seasons as teams try to get their heads around changing wheel sizes, especially when the mullet phase came in last year. The good news is, if custom links are successful, we very often see them trickle down into production eventually.

Customized Cassettes
Faustin Figaret went for the less is more approach with hi cassette. He only needs these fours cogs for this track so why bother with the rest

Getting good gear spacing can be a case of personal preference for a lot of riders and so some of them will look outside the box for the perfect cassette. Road cassettes have much more tightly packed gears so can often provide better ratios for riders looking for downhill racers looking for slim advantages, on top of this, they can sometimes provide a straighter chainline that can improve reliability and suspension performance. This year we've seen everything from 4 to 8-speed cassettes cobbled together to get the chain line and ratios to match a rider's preference. The best bit of cassette tinkering still goes to the Athertons though and their neutral gear system designed to eliminate pedal feedback.

Mix & match pads
To achieve the best of both worlds on the brakes Greg Minnaar is running one metal pad and one resin pad together. The metal pad sits on the side that receives best airflow for improved cooling inside for front and outside for rear .

In an effort to get the best of both worlds, some racers run mix and match pads in their brakes. Greg Minnaar, for example, has previously used one metal pad and one resin pad together. The metal pad sits on the side that receives best airflow for improved cooling (inside for front and outside for rear).

Data acquisition
Stendec s all new data-acquisition system featuring action-cam pairing on Mike Jones Summum.

Yes, we may have Shockwiz and SussmyBike, but the kind of telemetry that World Cup racers are using is way out of reach of most mountain bikers. The Stendec kits that a lot of teams were running in 2019 uses an array of pressure, speed and acceleration sensors used to assess suspension action, braking, ride height, and weight distribution. It all adds up and Stendec claims the data, if interpreted correctly, can shave three to five seconds off a two minute track.

Custom noise dampening.
Fresh ravioli noise dampeners for the Norco team.

A quiet bike is a fast bike or, at least, a quiet bike lets a racer push harder. One of the biggest trends in mountain bike racing in the past few years has been towards silent bikes, and it works too. Standing trackside now you'll no longer hear creaks, cracks and slaps; instead there's just the whir of a freehub and the thwap-thwap-thwap of rubber on root. A lot of production bikes do have molded chainstay protectors now but World Cup mechanics still go a step further and use folded inner tubes, rubber pillows or velcro to keep the bikes quiet enough to ride through a library.

Some mechanics take this a step further and fill frames with expanding foam to keep internally routed cables quiet. Be careful if you're doing this yourself though, when we spoke to Brook MacDonald's mechanic he told us that he made a mess of his personal bike before he got the hang of the technique to try it on Brook's.

Cut spikes
Time for a trim. Tire knobs taken down considering the super wet conditions.

If a tire's tread isn't quite suited to a rider's liking, the tire cutters will come out and it will get trimmed down to match their preferences. Most commonly, center knobs will be shaved to reduce the rolling resistance. This means a rider can stay on a tread pattern they're familiar with while keeping a tough carcass and cornering performance but still not feel held back on flatter, hardpack sections.

If you want to try this yourself, practice on an old tire or just buy a tire that's designed to replicate a cut-down spike, such as a Maxxis Shorty.

Brake and shifter grip tape

There's nothing too technical behind this but a finger slipping off your brake lever or shifters could cost you the race. Most racers will put a thin strip of grip tape on the important controls to give a bit of extra purchase and ensure that no chances are taken.


246mm rotors

As the wheels get bigger, the riders get bulkier and the speeds get higher on World Cup tracks, more stopping power is needed to keep it all under control. Galfer have been pushing the boundaries of rotor size recently and introduced this mammoth 246mm rotor to the front of Baptiste Pierron's bike this year. This is probably another bit of tech you can expect to trickle down soon but it will probably come to e-MTBs first as they need the extra stopping power more than a regular bike due to their extra mass.

Grip protectors
Neko Mullaly s grips protected from greasy paws at IFR.

With mechanics spending most of their days working on pros bikes, the chances of their greasy paws contaminating a rider's grips are fairly high. To combat this, most bikes will sit in the pits with a piece of branded fabric over the grips, keeping them pristine for when a rider hops on.


248 Comments

  • 798 4
 A countless number of bikes from pinkbike readers will turn pro today.
  • 150 0
 I’m cutting my treads now and I run my race plate all year long.
  • 30 0
 I'm disappointed I only had 1.5/10 (grip covers + the number board all season, obviously - I count this as half a point). Going to work hard on improving for the upcoming season to ensure maximum wannabe-steeze during my Morzine park laps.
  • 35 1
 How many of these things do I need on my bike? Only a few or all?
  • 32 1
 Isn't everyone already running custom ribbed chainstay protector? Either you wrap your old worn tire or tube around the chainstay or you go all fancy with ESI tape. As long it is ribbed you'll be good.

What I'm wondering though is, do the pros also run custom modded computer keyboards like us PB visitors? With macros for the TL;DW (too long, didn't write) comments like I am using?
  • 80 0
 ultimative pro tip: cut down knobs of your tyre to equalize the weight deviations of the wheel.
  • 91 22
 @rumblefish255: I am surprised no company made tire knob cutters called "Lorena Bobbit"
  • 49 0
 @WAKIdesigns: they'll never sell because the knob will just reattach and star in a movie.
  • 5 0
 custom cassettes since 4X got me back into MTB. Not racing now so single speed for gravity ZEN
  • 56 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Lorena Knobbit ??
  • 15 9
 @CaptainBugey: patent it!
  • 16 0
 time to introduce tyre warmer too.
  • 11 25
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 25, 2020 at 2:51) (Below Threshold)
 @chyu: let's call it PBA knob warmer - (Paralysis By Analysis). When you can't find anybody to offer you their pocket to warm you wee wee but you are kind of an engineer yourself
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: You are aging yourself. That said, if they have the same color blue as Park Tool uses...well, it would be approprate. It is almost exactly Viagra blue.....
  • 15 0
 @rumblefish255: I'm fast, I'm faster than you. My bike's clean, my kit is brand new
  • 17 16
 @RoadStain: Yes indeed. I went on instagram and saw a picture of a Ford hatchback in the river, with a caption: "The driver lost his Focus" and it resonated very well with me...
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: That would be a design registration or copy right, not a patent, but once in public domain can not do any of that!
  • 2 0
 @Paddeh8: Exactly what I was thinking
  • 2 1
 Very true, but there are a couple of these that i could see having some real practicality for us mere mortals. That 246mm rotor is enticing. I'll never say no to more braking power.
  • 2 3
 @dbarnes6891: I cant wrap my brain around that. For instance, some of my local (to me) guys told me I needed to upgrade my brakes,,,,so, I went from Tektro to XTR (Trail)....now the same guys are telling me I need - smaller - rotors.....(my Tektro levers were worn and rattly)
  • 3 1
 Man...I wanted to kno wtf the rhyno wrap on the crank was
  • 5 2
 Uh...neutral gear was created by Aaron Chase like 12 years ago. Athertons...second.

www.pinkbike.com/news/aaron-chase-softtail-cannondale-bike-check-2008.html
  • 2 0
 @Jacquers: grip tape the lever! Easiest hack if you know a sk8 shop.. Wears holes through your gloves tho.
  • 15 0
 @Chonky13: Nothing compared to spiked concave levers and FiveTen gloves. Still, I'd rather see that than people clipping in to their brake levers and claiming they can now go faster because they can also pull outwards for negative brake force.
  • 4 1
 @Chonky13: Don't wear gloves, problem solved.

Your welcome.
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: not an option for us sweaty hands people.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: was a joke re wearing holes in gloves.
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: I know, I wasn’t being to serious with my comment either.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: oops need more coffee.
  • 1 0
 @yannickbisson: First thing I thought of too!
  • 1 0
 @yannickbisson: for crazy whips and more traction between your ankles and the crank
  • 1 0
 @RoadStain: To each their own I guess. I'm running XT 8120s right now with 180s front and rear. I'm for sure considering going to a 200 up front. Last time I was at 160 I wasn't to keen on it. It was on the rear and I found it difficult to lock up sometimes.
  • 1 0
 @Jacquers: all. it makes you faster
  • 1 0
 @yannickbisson: Grip tape for your cranks, means you wear out your shoes rather than your cranks!
  • 2 0
 @aljoburr: wear no shoes or socks. Problem solved.

Your welcome.
  • 1 0
 @vjunior21: This neutral gear idea seems awesome. Better suspension feel for dh riding. Has anyone seen or ridden one of these?
  • 1 0
 @Billjohn6: it’s probably a custom machined part since would have to be a specific size and shape to keep the other gears spaced exactly right as well as sit at the exact height of the missing cog.
  • 2 0
 @Billjohn6: Neutral gear doesn't completely free the rear suspension on a typical FS bike. The clutch (and the spring tension of the cage) still affect the suspension movement somewhat unless you have a bb centered single pivot design like a DMR Bolt.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: Sounds like something that could easily be done on a simple lathe, unless if it spinning would wear the freehub body out. In that case you'll need one or more splines on the inside to keep it from spinning. In that case of course you could still start on a lathe and then later add or remove some material on/from the inner face.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Sure, it can obviously be done. The original comment I was responding to was someone asking if anyone had ridden one before. I was only saying that there likely aren't many people out there with one because its not just something you could rig up by throwing a spacer in there. It looks like it would have to be a precisely machined part to work correctly.
  • 2 0
 @Billjohn6:

I broke my freehub on a long ride and luckily I was almost at the top of. I just took my chain off as it was causing problems. It was downhill all the way and I would say my suspension never felt so good.

I think there is something to it.
  • 237 4
 "This is probably another bit of tech you can expect to trickle down soon but it will probably come to e-MTBs first as they need the extra stopping power more than a regular bike due to their extra mass."


Why does a ~23kg ebike (about 9kg heavier than a real mountain bike) need big brakes but an XL frame where the rider is likely 20+ kg heavier than a rider on a medium frame get the same sized brakes as a small frame?


Are ebike riders all huge fatties or is it just marketing bullshit?
  • 48 0
 Yes and yes.
But I'd say size-related brake systems, dropper posts and bar widths (together with adapted geometry, and leverage curves) would definitely be the way to go.
  • 55 1
 As an XL rider topping 14 stone, send this comment to the top.
  • 25 1
 It's just marketing bullshit
  • 20 2
 It's probably because designers and marketers (sensibly) look at averages rather than outliers. On average I'd imagine the weight of eMTB + rider is greater than MTB + rider. Therefore on average eMTBs would require greater stopping power.

Or maybe it's a conspiracy by Big Bike to er...dick over heavy people for some reason?
  • 7 3
 A lot of it is just about optics. Fat, burly E-bikes which look very moto-esque need big brake disks to keep with the moto look.
  • 45 2
 Would love to see a study of the average weight of an e-bike owner versus that of a manual bike owner.
  • 15 8
 Nah, it is about the fact that most people on an ebike have little experience with mountain biking and will be way worse to their brakes. Also, since they don't give a toss about conserving momentum, they'll slam on their brakes more often I'd guess.
  • 12 3
 @Imabigboy82: If you count the parkrats and shuttle-bros this comparison might not look too favorable for the acoustic bike crowd....
  • 10 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 25, 2020 at 2:04) (Below Threshold)
 @PhilipJ - considering how most people ride all sorts of bikes, 250 rotors, brake pads should be twice as thick and pad position adjust should be the norm, no matter if they weigh 60kg ride 9kg XC bike or weigh 120kg and ride the heaviest E-bike. Most people never pressed the front brake even at even 70% of what a pro DH racer does on a regular basis while their general use of brakes is “most of the time”. So Please...
  • 3 7
flag glasvagas (Feb 25, 2020 at 2:53) (Below Threshold)
 Bring back 6 pots. But not Hopes.
  • 11 6
 @Kainerm: can I blow your mind slightly?
I ride an ebike, I still have and use my regular bikes. One other thing is I've had an mtb since I was 13, I'm now 42.
So make of that as you will....
  • 5 0
 The bigger rotors run cooler, it's not always about power. An ebike with small wheels (20") can overheat a set of brakes if they just drag a bit as you ride along.
  • 13 0
 E-bikes generally use much heavier wheels and tires...12 or 13G spokes, 1.5kg tires and burlier rims add up to a lot more rotating weight
  • 2 0
 @mnorris122: ok now that actually makes sense.
  • 16 3
 This is basically a shitty BuzzFeed article about bikes
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: Fat bikes are the same way. I had to put Zee brakes on mine because the mechanical disc brakes were criminally weak.
  • 4 1
 @Imabigboy82: when I rode my manual bike I was 80kg now I ride an ebike , guess what I’m still 80kg !
  • 1 1
 Lazy product managers at bicycle companies that do their test riding on medium frames on buffed single track.
  • 4 2
 @Kainerm:
I guess it depends where you live. There are tons of people in my riding area that absolutely shred on e-bikes ( or any bike for that matter) on some pretty gnarly terrain.
Beginners would have a hard time comprehending that what they’re looking at is actually a ‘trail’ that can be ridden.
A few are Enduro pros. It just depends on what they feel like riding that day.
  • 2 0
 @Matt115lamb: Ah you'll be putting on the pounds in no time dude just watch haha Wink
  • 3 0
 @Imabigboy82: around here it’s usually the fittest 10% of riders. The ones that do 12-14 miles in the time I can do 8-10. They want to get it up to 20 miles in that timeframe.
  • 3 2
 Plenty 'o fatties on the mopeds.
  • 2 0
 Yes, there was a time that we could have a banshee scream with a super monster t, a couple of double wide rims and 3.0" tyres, with 200mm rotors only...
  • 3 3
 Ebike riders are typically a lot more skilled than plebs on pedal bikes. Looking at the marketing, it's fair to say that a typical ebike rider would be faster on average than say Greg Minaar down the Fort William DH course. At the sort of speeds ebike riders are reaching now, they require braking capacity similar to that of DH pros. Discuss.
  • 2 0
 @Imabigboy82: with this poxy weather atm you might be right Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @deli-hustler: no doubt about it. But there are huge amounts of completely inept people on Ebikes to counterbalance that. And it only takes a few idiots to spoil the whole genre - and in the light of the current safety-first culture, companies are getting more and more weary of taking risks with new product categories...
  • 1 0
 My guess would be market share is relatively evenly split between experienced riders and a mix of people who are new riders/older/out of shape.

The latter you won't see being ridden very often but probably a big part of overall sales.
  • 1 0
 Hey! I don't own an ebike yet but I resemble that comment! :-P
  • 2 0
 @Ttimer: acoustic bike... brilliant!!!
  • 1 0
 It's not the weight, it's the additional kinetic energy. With e-bikes riders are going (on average) faster, which means they're stopping/slowing from higher speeds and more frequently. That extra energy from the battery has to go somewhere... much of it gets dissipated through the brake rotors.
  • 89 0
 "Racing used to be a game of inches, nowadays it's a game of millimeters"...
The WC racing game evolved so much it changed from imperial system to metric system. Now that's big improvement Smile
  • 35 5
 Unless they hold races in Liberia, Myanmar and of course… the United States of America.
Rolleyes
  • 48 0
 I don't have an e-bike but I have the extra mass... When can I buy these rotors?
  • 7 1
 Look for Galfer or Magura.
  • 11 32
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 25, 2020 at 2:07) (Below Threshold)
 Why would you use stronger brake if you are highly probably not using full power of the brake due to dragging them too often? Check out some videos from @remymetallier, he is amazing and super ballsy with braking hard in ridiculous places.
  • 1 0
 Formula has or had a 220 rotor
  • 10 2
 @WAKIdesigns: some brakes are just weak. If someone is dissatisfied with their brake performance then a bigger rotor may be an option. I had a 220 rotor on the famously unreliable Formula Oro. The problem wasn't that I was not using full power due to dragging.

Also if someone is riding on long trails that require lots of braking those rotors will also make sense. I remember one trip where my brakes overheated constantly just because the trails required a lot of brake use. So I get that you are the main apostle fighting against bike fashion but some new trends make sense if you know what you are doing.
  • 5 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Longer life, better heat dissipation
  • 3 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 25, 2020 at 5:40) (Below Threshold)
 @mnorris122: @spaced: makes perfect sense on long, steep descents like the latest video with Remy. But it does impair modulation on stronger brakes and some feeling in my gut tells me it's most often the case for people who drag brakes. But I am prejudiced. 2pot XT has always been enough for me but I do not live nor ride often in Champery kind of place
  • 25 9
 @WAKIdesigns: highly probably? All your bullshit seems to be based on the assumption that everyone else is a f*cking shit rider, and and idiot, which tells me that you're highly probably projecting and you're the one not pulling front brake very hard. And are an idiot.
  • 7 19
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 25, 2020 at 6:08) (Below Threshold)
 @just6979: that's your assumption, you even wrote the word "seems". Other than that I am indeed hard on myself. A quality of achievers. Please what do you assume based on that? Arrogance?
  • 5 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I’m pretty sure Remy Doesn’t use his brakes
  • 1 0
 the internet probably
  • 14 2
 My road bike has massive rotors... almost as big as the tires...
  • 1 0
 I worked for Galfer USA for a bit as a marketing assistant. I no longer work for them but I would highly suggest the rotors, theres so much more to them than just the size. They use virgin 420 stainless steel so there is even heat dissipation when cooling and no hot pockets, as well as all the rotors are laser cut so they don't warp as easily as stamped. I don't work for them anymore but I would highly suggest the rotors. If you want oversized, they currently sell a 223mm which is plenty for most people! I run them on my DH bike, and they honestly are a HUGE upgrade from any OEM rotor. Cheers guys!
  • 2 0
 @ryanmill: Galfer makes the best rotors in the biz. Thumbs up!
  • 3 0
 @ryanmill: stainless steel overall is not good for heat dissipation. Never heard about this 420 Stainless.
However I don't even know one brand who makes MTB rotors who are not stainless. I know 3 brake manufacturers because I used their systems and all of them had laser or water cutting for their rotors. Trickstuff even grind down the edge to get the wheel faster back on and ofc you can't cut your hands. The intend rotors are also freaking great but cost also 100$ each.
  • 2 0
 @Serpentras: Aluminum melts or cracks way too easy.

Back in the day I melted a front and cracked a rear Stans Aluminum disk during a big decent during a long distance XC race.
  • 49 5
 For the love of God how do people still say dampening instead of damping after all these years. You damp vibration, you dampen a sponge.
  • 19 0
 You’ve damped my spirit !
  • 3 1
 Se's damp after a few session of damping...did that make sense?
  • 7 5
 tomato...potato.....same thing.
  • 1 0
 One of my biggest pet peeves
  • 3 1
 Riding bikes gets me wet!
  • 5 6
 Don't be a lawyer: the meaning of a word is how people use it, and dampening is used to refer to the act of reducing oscillations all the time.

Also: Definition of dampen
transitive verb

1: to check or diminish the activity or vigor of : DEADEN
the heat dampened our spirits
2: to make damp
the shower barely dampened the ground
  • 4 1
 lol this is a bike forum gotta neg prop myself for that
  • 4 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: You probably would have avoided falling into this trap had you chosen a less pretentious username ;-)
  • 3 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: Well f*ck lawyers. They should just go ahead and use "to", "too", and "two" interchangeably. That'll make 'em look really smart.
  • 31 0
 11. Vibration damping stickers.
  • 8 1
 That was only one year. Now they're giggling because or all us punters using them for our group rides. That's the point of technology trickling down, isn't it? The giggles.
  • 26 0
 Regarding 246mm rotors “it will probably come to e-MTBs first as they need the extra stopping power more than a regular bike due to their extra mass.”

Bikes carry humans weighing 120 lbs to 250+lbs and while weight what 15-20 more lbs than a regular bike? Why do we keep hearing about specific components needed for ebikes but not for the absolutely MASSIVE range of rider weights?
  • 1 23
flag Boosting (Feb 25, 2020 at 9:37) (Below Threshold)
 Sprung vs unsprung weight you twitfucks
  • 4 0
 Perhaps ebikes don't need them but the performance/weight tradeoff ratio is different with an ebike. So the question is actually, why not add a few grams for better performance when you're riding a motor vehicle?
  • 4 1
 People who ride ebikes are fat to begin with...who else would ride an ebike?
  • 26 1
 Has anyone taken an interest in tyre temperatures? Would be a good bluff at least, some custom logo'd tyre warmers!
  • 3 0
 I’m sure I saw someone, maybe the Athertons, using them at some point.
  • 12 0
 I was chatting to a mate who's spannered for a couple of teams - he reckons that a tyre pumped up at the bottom of a track in the shade, then taken to the top and left in the sun for an hour during warm up etc can easily get an extra 5psi in it... compounds might not change massively, but pressures can!
  • 3 0
 Unless you're purging the tires with nitrogen, keeping an eye on tire temperature (or just pressure) makes a lot of sense as both are obviously related. It is actually quite silly to tune tire pressure to a twentieth of a bar in the pits based on what worked best in early morning practice to then use that for the race run in in the afternoon. At least it helps to get some data on how these vary depending on temperature. As both tire and tire insert deform with changing pressures, it may not be as simple as using a basic gas law.
  • 6 0
 I thought pro's ran helium in their tyres for ultimate rotational weight saving ;-)
  • 3 0
 Remember the trek hot box
  • 38 1
 @tremeer023: helium is oldschool, real pros run a top secret mix of oxygen, nitrogen and some few rare gases to provide an outstanding performance.
  • 5 1
 Doesn't make much sense for MTB i would think. MTB tyres don't heat up while riding. No point in heating them up to "operating temperature".
  • 5 0
 @mihauek: I only inflate the tires with fresh country air!
  • 2 2
 @Ttimer: Yeah, never looked into that but nowadays riders are quite picky about tire pressure so it small deviations in ambient pressure and temperature matter. Obviously when riding down something like the Megavalanche but maybe also for a typical WC DH race. I don't monitor my tire pressure that closely either. But back in the days I did a car race in Australia running tires that were supposed to be run at 5bar. The previous teams inflated them to about 4.5bar in order to be more or less at 5bar during the main part of the ride.Yet they still punctured several times as when the tires got to hard, the running profile got round and wore unevenly, accelerating the wear again. We purged ours with nitrogen and only wore the casting mark off the rear wheel running surface during the first day as we had to overtake some other teams in the hills near Katherine but after that the tires remained pretty much pristine. I replaced them for every new race day as a preventative measure but they remained as new during the race. So yeah, nitrogen helps to keep the pressure steady. How relevant that is for bicycles I don't know. Pressure change will be less but people are equally more picky so that kind of evens out. Then again I agree that nitrogen is only going to help against pressure changes due to changes in temperature. It won't help with changes in ambient pressure.
  • 1 0
 @tremeer023: Might sound funny, but back a couple of decades ago when I raced a trackbike, top (or well-funded, anyway) riders would inflate their track tubulars from a helium tank for regional or national champs.
Not sure whether this would translate well from a 20mm Vittoria Pista CS at 180PSI to a 2.5" DHF at 22PSI or not . . .
  • 8 1
 @vinay: There's nothing magic about pure nitrogen, it obeys Charles's Law like any other gas or gaseous mixture.
  • 2 0
 19 and 79% respectively Wink
  • 6 1
 @boozed: it's not the gases that make the difference, it's the moisture in the "air", or so the story goes. Nitrogen, or anything, from a tank is going to be dry, and nitrogen is nice and relatively safe.
  • 2 1
 @vinay: nice example, that's why they use nitrogen in shocks where air is more prone to temperature change, but I guess the volume of air in a bike tyre is so small that the change from a one DH run is really marginal.
  • 2 0
 @mihauek: tell me more!
  • 11 1
 @mihauek: Some racers are filling tires with a tank of their own farts.
  • 3 1
 @just6979: Yeah agreed it is actually about the moisture. I wonder if just pure CO2 would do the same thing as obviously it is safe too and some people use those tiny cartridges to inflate their tires. Of course just inflating it from those cartridges won't leave you with just dry air in the tire. The system I used back then inflated the tire with nitrogen, then deflated it, the inflated it again to a certain pressure to then drop it to the preset pressure. That would take most "normal" (wet) air out of the tire. You obviously can't pull a tubeless tire vacuum (as the tire-rim seal would break and a regular push-in car valve would pop into the chamber too). So they had to go through this cycle.

All this said, I'm not sure what tire sealant is made of but it probably contains water. Especially the ones with latex will release water as it solidifies. So that defies the point of going with dried air (or nitrogen). I'm actually using Oko sealant which supposedly doesn't contain latex but I don't know what it does contain.

@PinkyScar: That's clever. The can inflate it with low pressure farts and ignite it in order to get the pressure up. In the context of what @just6979 mentioned, the challenge will be to get the air sufficiently dry. Temperature measurements will be more exciting though so for the sake of science this is the way to go.
  • 1 3
 @vinay: Nitrogen can control a little bit of condensation but there is no real benefit. Partial pressures of the water vapour are very low.
  • 2 0
 You can always warm them up with a trailside "tire wiz".
  • 1 1
 @hungrymonkey: getting a flat near the bottom must be a racers nightmare...
  • 1 1
 @PinkyScar: 50:01 dudes tires burp bong smoke
  • 1 0
 @hungrymonkey: maybe not tread compounds but what about the flex of sidewalls? There are a number of occasions each season where a rider goes down in the first corner, maybe consistent starting temperatures for tyres would make part of the grip equation constant? Consistent, mistake free performance is about eliminating variables after all.
  • 2 0
 @tremeer023: no thats for extra air time.
  • 2 0
 @tremeer023: Hydrogen is way lighter and better for those explosive starts.
  • 1 0
 @bbpr: Explosive sharts?
  • 27 3
 10 Things You Only See on Racers' Bikes WITH SRAM BRAKES: 246mm rotors
  • 4 9
flag Pavel-Repak (Feb 25, 2020 at 3:14) (Below Threshold)
 Guessing you run 160´s on your bike
  • 4 0
 yeah that's why Minnaar has some pad mixmatch vodoo going on - because he can't have larger rotors from shimano
  • 7 1
 @SickEdit: Minnaar's pad mix-match results in reduced power, so not quite the same as modifications that result in increased power.
  • 23 2
 You forgot one PB, your favorite, 29 inch wheels...Ha
  • 1 0
 flats vs clips
  • 19 1
 11. Aluminium rims
  • 10 0
 Prototype and usually custom tuned suspension parts not yet commercially available.
  • 7 1
 I think custom sound deadening is a stretch. Riders have been doing their own iterations for years. Wrapping layers of tubes, foam, mastic tape and even full tire treads has always been the norm at the bike park.

Heck, I was even doing my own version of the specialized sine wave cushion pattern on my DH bike years ago using Suguru putty (boy do I wish I had an patent attorney buddy back then smh).

Grip tape and cut spikes are also stretches. Plenty of riders use grip tape and cut their own tires.

I think the big one you you missed were those bontrager resonance eliminates that the trek riders were using a few years back on their brake calipers. Also the quark wireless pressure monitors because those feel so far out of reach for the average rider. Even dentists.
  • 1 0
 I’ve thought about using sugru. Did it hold up or did the chain end up chewing it up?
  • 1 0
 @sino428: it actually works pretty well. It ends up a little too firm and you still have some chatter noise but what I found works really well is to create your shape that you're looking for with the suguru and then add mastic tape over the top of it. Boom that worked awesome.
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez: nice, I might give that a try.
  • 10 0
 I get triggered when people say dampening, especially journalists.
  • 2 0
 *TRIGGERED*
  • 2 0
 The rain was dampening the course, so I adjusted the rebound damping on my suspension.
  • 2 1
 it's way easier to just realize that you can use dampening in the same way as damping because it's part of its definition
  • 5 0
 What happened to removing wiper seals and seals from the hub bearings for better rolling?
Moto foam?
Custom handlebars that look like the punter ones but are custom?
Custom shock valving?
Custom fork valving?
Custom pedal axle lengths?

Tubes... haha.
  • 2 1
 Frames with extra quality control, so without the voids in the carbon layup and misalignment like the they sell to regular customers.
  • 1 0
 @Aptlynamed: frames with just extra carbon
  • 4 0
 does anyone remember the twin rotor front brake that used to be available around the time of the first marzocchi z1 bomber? i wonder if anything like that will happen again. seemed like overkill at the time but now (with the advent of 25cm front rotors) i'm not so sure.
  • 4 0
 It was the CHE (Cullimore Hydraulic Engineering) DH Beast. That's why the first Z1 in '97 had a caliper mount on both sides and why it was usually a Z1 in the pictures. Other forks needed big CNC adapters. It didn't take off and the Z1 Bam in '98 was down to the usual left legged IS mount.
  • 8 0
 The #1 thing is a pro sitting on the bike.
  • 4 0
 I usually put a clean rubber glove on and hold the grip, then pull it off from my wrist to make a grip condom when I work on the bike... but I suppose the velcro grip protector is cooler though and less wasteful...
  • 6 0
 What no weight optimized water bottles?
  • 2 0
 I wonder if it'still better a 246mm rotor, with its reduced ground clearance, more flex and asymmetric braking force, than two smaller (160mm?) and stiffer rotors, one on each side, moto-style. I can't think of any issue, other than the added weight of the second caliper and hose. Rotational inertia maybe?
  • 5 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 25, 2020 at 2:10) (Below Threshold)
 The bigger the rotor the more braking force you get and better heat dissipation but that comes at the cost of modulation. It always depends on a track racers are riding on but it is not uncommon for pros to run 180rotors in the rear. I remember Greg Minnaar used them for some time.
  • 1 1
 some dude near me uses 2 180mm ebike brakes like that
  • 3 0
 Intertia of the dual setup would still be lower because it grows with 2nd power of radius. But the overall system weight would probably be higher.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: larger rotors don't automatically mean less modulation. It's a product of the whole system: pad and rotor material, hoses, cylinders, lever pivot locations. Hell, with the less clamping force needed to get the se stopping force, it's easier for most people to modulate big brakes because they're not squeezing as hard as they can, rather they're hovering around the lock up point with way less muscle tension, making it easier to make fine adjustments (the more force a muscle it creating, the less control and accuracy it has, so less force needed = more control. It's why golf clubs and baseball bats have lower limits to weight, and why golf clubs got to that limit as fast as technically possible)
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: comes at the cost of modulation for maybe a ride or 2 until your finger relearns where the lockup point is.... at the end of the day, modulation is controlled by your finger. the brakes don't decide when to lock up on their own.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: the bigger the rotor the BETTER the modulation should be.
  • 4 9
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 25, 2020 at 6:34) (Below Threshold)
 @novajustin: in such case why aren't we all riding 300mm rotors... where do we set the limit? we do know that edge of har far we can go when it comes to cassette sizes hasn't yet been set, even though edge of sanity may have been crossed already afteer 46t. I run Codes, and I run as small rotors as I can depending on kind of terrain I ride, that is because I like control over my brakes. Because on hard brakes I experience too often how my wheels are locking up on bumps in slick wet. I owned Formula R1 in the past, the lack of modulation was detrimental to my riding, and these weren't even the worst brakes I have ever ridden. Should I look for article explaining it, why more power doesn't always mean better? I need to know where are we here, Waki vs the rest so in the end someone wlll use argument that weak Guides need huge rotors only to prove a point? It's great that we have a choice, but the discussion is reaching the territory of "everyone should be on 246 rotors". Yes some folks like on/off brakes. I know. I don't and please don't make me feel like I am the only one. I am not. You have to trustme on that. Some poeple may need or just feel good to have big rotors and super anchor power, but trust me they are not in majority, not even close, while I would like to believe I sit in the middle... in the majority. That does not make claim that nobody should use 246 rotors. I just said: bigger rotor - worse modulation. Which is physically provable... it does not mean "shitty modulation - unrideable".
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I agree with you here. The industry at large has come to the conclusion that more power = better brakes. You see the tests here on pinkbike: which brake is most powerful? Honestly who cares. If you are not inducing brake fade due to overheating and are not at the limit of your hand strength then you don't need more powerful brakes. Every disc brake that I have ridden in the last 20 years has had enough power to lock up the tire under any circumstance. Why is more power needed? I am running Magura MT7's right now which are one of the most powerful on the market and I don't like them because of the extreme light pressure required to lock them up. I personally find that it is easier to modulate with a little more pressure at the lever. There were brakes in the past that were just plain too powerful. The shimano dual rotor/triple pad/water cooled system comes to mind. I rode Shaums March's bike many moons ago with this system and it was stupid powerful. In talking to him about it he said that he soaked his pads in WD40 to give them less "bite".
  • 2 1
 You don’t want heat dissipation into the fork leg that contains the damper, or fork performance will drop off really fast.
  • 2 0
 @Saiyan66: a lot of this bigger brakes = more power = better also comes out of data acquisition that isn't just taking pure raw power into consideration. other factors also play a role in why brakes are becoming more powerful and why that is attracting a lot of attention from riders. the more powerful a brake is, the less you have to squeeze, the more energy you are saving in your hands causing less fatigue. i've had shimano XT brakes for the last 10 years and recently upgraded to hayes dominions. were the XTs powerful enough for me? yeah, i never had an issue with them being underpowered. they locked up when i wanted them to. but now that i have ridden a brake that requires less input from me to get the same or more power out of them: my hands feel better after a long decent, my knuckles don't cramp up, it's an overall better riding experience. and i think that's what a majority of riders are looking for, ways to improve their experience. it doesn't always mean MOAR POWER.
  • 3 3
 @novajustin: when it comes to pro racers, their arm pump i not coming from squeezing the brake. When it comes to poor riders it comes from squeezing the brake too much Fir too long. It’s a misconception. Indeed around 2008 most brakes were weak, but then everything changed and around 2012 it’s very hard to find a genuinely weak brake other than guide/level. People ride down the mountain and their arms get fatigued, they think it comes from fading brakes or too weak brakes but The reality often is: as you get fatigued the more you clench to the bars, the more you speed up the process of fatiguing, the more you want to grab the brakes as you feel like you can’t hold the bars anymore. It’s a self propelling downward spiral These days, with most brakes, Arm pump has almost everything to do with your arm strength, skill and how long you are descending on what sort of terrain. I had 2010 Saints and Codes and cannot imagine needing anything more powerful and fade resilient even for a world cup track. I would rather wish to have a body that can pump out 250lbs bench press, and clear 450 deadlift without straps.

As to skill, me and my buddy followed folks on rental bikes in Hafjell. Normally we stop and wait, so we did that but we kept on catching up to them so we followed them for a minute: We got battered. It is amazing what sort of physical demands near constant braking poses on human body.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: ah yeah, the 1%ers. because all the other riders in the world that aren't pro level and actually PAY for their products are DEFINITELY who Shimano, SRAM, Magura, Hayes, etc are targeting...

not all test beds are pro racers on the world cup circuit.
  • 1 2
 @novajustin: I can only tell you that I stick to better riders and Yet have met more People whining on their brake power who brake way too weakly way too often. Braking is an extremely difficult and important skill. Sometimes you realize that you have to let go... and then you learn. And then a year later you let go even more and dare to press the brake rarely but damn hard, year later even less braking but even harder. There is saying, that you know you become a good rider when you wear your front pads faster than rear ones...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: so your opinion and advice to everyone is that we should all be as fit and skilled as a World Cup rider. That’s practical...
  • 5 4
 @novajustin: no, I am saying that if you are not riding down VDS or Andorra or Champery, and get arm pump when using XT brakes with 200mm rotors, go to the gym mate... or at least hang on chin up bar a lot or carry kettlebells. Then practice braking. Actually gravel road and cones help a lot... By getting super powerful brakes you are not solving the cause of the issue.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: so i should be hulk in order to enjoy riding my bike. got it. sound logic.
  • 3 2
 @novajustin: Hulk? No... Hulk lifts 3-4 times of what I wrote to you. These are average numbers. You either want to get to ride well lr you don’t. Powerful brakes won’t solve it. Are you new to this sport or what?
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: no, i've been in the sport for over 20 years. i am just trying to emphasize that your opinion of the box that you think a rider should fit into doesn't match up with the real world number of riders out there that manufacturers bank their money on year in and year out. get off your soapbox.
  • 2 3
 @novajustin: so basically... tell people to fix their arm pump by buying more powerful brakes with even bigger rotors and perhaps carbon bars and magic grips? All that meanwhile the obvious limit for braking power is coming from laws of physics that is maximum grip of tire? Then from physiology that major contributor to arm pump is strength and skill? Which leads us to the inevitable that compensation with gear minimizes your arm pump by a few unspecified percent? Which finally leads us to psychology: you just want to feel better because you made X amount of purchases?

That’s basically fitness supplement and fat loss industry right there. I mean one telling you to purchase X amount of supplements instead of getting your shit together and educating yourself? Is that what you are postulating?
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: i never made the point that i get arm pump, i specifically mentioned my hands and my knuckles. i bet your hands and knuckles never hurt though with all the keyboard battling you do on the daily.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: maybe you can enlighten us on the "exercises" you practice to keep your hands from cramping up...
  • 5 0
 I have been using resin and metal pads forever and a day now. They work great that way.
  • 3 1
 I've always run a custom cassette on my dh bike. Even single speed to finish up last season with a broken shifter. It's the closest I can get to a dishless rear wheel on 135mm spacing.
  • 8 5
 In a way, the alternative suspension links are often a bad sign of a bike's design. Like trying to cure a known problem with a production bike
  • 12 1
 Not necessarily. Since hardly anyone makes dedicated park-bikes anymore, most production DH-bikes are not optimized for flat out racing. They are more of an allround setup. Which is what many customers actually want. Remember, pro-racers dont buy bikes, non-racers do.
  • 1 1
 @Ttimer: yeah I take your point there.
Shame that production DH bikes aren't optimised for racing though if that's true.
I guess the masses want a plush bike that makes things comfy, instead of progressive and un-bottom-out-able for going mach 10 through a boulder field
  • 2 0
 Often it's just rider preference. Someone might like a different setup. Or the company is testing changes or it's a track specific setup.
  • 3 0
 Not really. As the article points out, what works best for a pro racer is not always what works best for the amateur racers and regular people who are the true target users of the bikes. Most of us would not get along well with a bike set up for a pro racer. That’s why the bikes are designed for the masses, and the one off mods are given to the pros.
  • 3 1
 Another contender for #11 is that stanchionless fork steer tube and crown installed in the last photo, presumably to hold together the headtube stack and bar arrangement while the fork is under service. Cool idea.
  • 1 0
 They actually just loosen the stanchion clamps and service the fork without the crowns. If you watch DH racing service pit videos you will see dozens of forks sitting there without crowns, it makes it much faster to remove and replace the working suspension parts
  • 2 0
 I've done the foam in the downtube to stop the internal cable tubes from rattling on my process 134. I even email kona tech about it and they basically said should be fine but be careful not to use too much.
  • 3 0
 Tied/soldered spokes, wheel weights, and those stickers that somehow reduced vibration damping. Can I interest you in some lucrative real estate opportunities?
  • 2 0
 246mm rotor is insane Eek I use the grip tape method on all my bike shifters and brake levers. It helps in wet conditions and also stops your glove from slipping off in all conditions tup
  • 1 0
 yeah I thought grip tape on controls is pretty common. I've been taping my shifter for a while
  • 1 0
 I've recently looked into a larger rotor. My LBS said that Fox only permits a max of 203mm for their 36. They also mentioned some common issues with creaky CSUs which could be exacerbated by a larger rotor.

Anyone have more info on this?

Perhaps I should run a lowered Fox 49er....?
  • 2 1
 The caliper is riding pretty high on that 246mm rotor. Wrong adapter? And why THE f*ck ISN"T IT 240mm?

If they started from 203, they would need to add 43, which means they stopped at 220 or 223 in the middle? If started from 200 and added 23 twice, well that's stupid because 200 is already nice and even and part of the 140/160/180/200/220 line instead of 160/183/203 (which still has inconsistent gaps!)
  • 1 0
 Woah, do you even ride bikes?
  • 1 0
 Only if all the numbers are even. I only hate 29er wheels because it's an odd number! 27.5 is the damn worse, odd and fractional, FFS! When 30" wheels come around, I'm there!
  • 2 0
 The Wheel weight thing is only really relevant for carbon rims, as aluminium rims have a (heavier) welded join on the opposite side of the valve, which balances it pretty well.
  • 4 0
 Straighter chain line improves suspension performance? You what?
  • 6 2
 On linkages with chain growth, your feet on the pedals holding the chain tensioned will actually interfere with the suspension.

Secret behind Aaron Gwin's and Neko Mulallys succesful chainless runs in part revealed.. Wink
  • 4 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 25, 2020 at 2:14) (Below Threshold)
 @FredrikWestman: given they nailed every corner on a steep track... I am Pretty sure Neko didn’t appreciate lack of chain when heading out of the woods after Rabolstien where he easily lost a few seconds by not being able to pedal, not to mention that he would end up outside of top 30 if not further back if he made a tiny slip when getting into the flat bump bit. He’d need to run up to get to the grass. Same would happen to Gwinny if he wouldn’t nail the root section in the open before getting onto the motorway. The latest Commie Supreme DH makes a compromise towards pedalling.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: It's not a compromise. The older model had a negative 7 degree pedal-kickback so by lowering the pulley you get 0 degree. See the linkagedesign site.
  • 1 0
 @FredrikWestman: Thats an entirely different thing. The article states that short ratio cassettes allow for straighter chainlines, which improves suspension performance. This is wrong on a number of different levels...
  • 4 1
 Little disappointed there was no mention of zip ties or hockey tape. These pros are really missing out
  • 2 0
 Those are not pros. Those are privateers. If the pro needs a solution, the mechanic, engineer, and marketing team make one to potentially sell. Hence their reason for sponsoring said athlete, to make money selling bike stuff.
  • 1 0
 they totally missed dakota's zip tied b/b to brake line...
  • 2 2
 Can the pros really tell the difference between pad materials for 1 run? Same with tyre pressures that will change over the length of a run? Bigger rotors for a 4 minute run, do they really overheat in that time? I do sometimes think some of this is getting a bit excessive.
  • 4 0
 It's not just about heat. A 20mm increase in diameter can apparently give 10-15% more stopping power because the caliper is further away from the hub and can exert more leverage. Now that wheel sizes have shot up and your tyres are pushing in the opposite direction it's something that should be looked at. Also more braking power means less effort required at the levers for fresher arms and fingers.
  • 3 0
 I put grip tapes on all my pro customers!! From other cities are wondering what are and for what they works.
  • 3 0
 Rather than add weights to balance my wheels I drill holes in the heavy side.
  • 2 0
 Drillium! About time there was a come back.
  • 2 0
 2020 and even race teams are still having to DYI decent chainslap protection....???
  • 1 0
 Not for much longer go check out @vhs.mtb on Instagram new
  • 1 0
 Anyone see the Eddy Current tire in the photo and think that would be a section? Its Schwalbe's "E-Bike specific" tire but guessing it is just pretty good all around.
  • 3 0
 What about winning without a chain?
  • 1 0
 dakota's custom link is nothing...
what about the zip ties around the bottom bracket and to rear brake line with a frame tie 2 inches away?
  • 2 0
 Yeah I've never seen anyone make custom frame protection from innertubes that isn't a world cup racer before...
  • 2 0
 anyone know where you can find that chainstay protector or the materials to create it?
  • 2 0
 Hey mate go check out @vhs.mtb on Instagram.
They release a product pretty soon
  • 3 0
 246MM WTFFFFF
  • 3 0
 You wouldnt give a 70 kg rider with 200mm rotors on a 27,5 inch bike weird looks. To get the same stopping power on a 29er with a 100kg rider and 200mm rotors, the brakes need to apply 46% more pressure to the same pads.
Suddenly a 246mm rotor doesnt sound so crazy anymore, does it?
  • 1 0
 I've done many of these hacks to my own rig. Some were worth it, some were out of necessity.
  • 1 1
 Grip tape on brake levers is smart. For people that don't wear gloves as soon as your hands get wet your fingers start to slip. This is a good trend to follow.
  • 1 0
 I run that grip tape trick on my setups and man does it help on humid days- wears out the fingers of your gloves though.
  • 2 0
 Love that tool dip on Dak Nortons crank arm. #TugReady
  • 1 0
 Tbh I’ve always wanted to try out balancing my wheels, if cars do it why can’t we
  • 1 0
 Reaching on many of these lol....plenty of amateurs dampen chain noise, put grip tape on levers, etc
  • 1 0
 Where can I buy one of those spoke protector(?) for that 4-speed cassette? That is cool!
  • 1 0
 Pro rider's frames would be extensively scanned and checked more than customers bikes out of the factory
  • 1 0
 I’ll stick a few dimes on my wheels. It turns out, adding weight to my bike also costs money. TU-TUM TSST!
  • 1 0
 That should be "noise damping", unless you're making it wet, in which case dampening is correct.
  • 2 0
 Cool insight! Thanks
  • 2 0
 What about spray foam?
  • 1 0
 can someone explain the spokes wired together in the opening pic?
  • 7 7
 If you get a mountain bike wheel spinning fast enough, you'll sometimes start to see spokes exploding and shit. To prevent this you'll need to wire the spokes together as they have done in mentioned pic.
  • 4 3
 @Isey: nice try. Actually, it's done to quiet the wheel down.
  • 4 2
 @Kainerm: nice try. It used to be done a lot on time trial and track bikes as riders and mechanics thought that it made for a stiffer and hence more efficient wheel. The idea was that by wire tying and then soldering the spokes together you were effectively making a larger hub flange and shorter spoke. Track riders said they could feel a difference but it was never really adopted on MTBS as the surfaces were so variable that you would never be able to notice anything. And, an mtb wheel should have some compliance built in.
  • 9 1
 It mostly prevents a broken spoke from being jammed somewhere in the wheel.
  • 7 1
 Tying spokes! Trying to stiffen up some wagon wheels
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez: I've had one wheel guru build me a wheel like that but I was using super lightweight spokes so I guess there maybe are some rare cases where it works.
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez: I remember when guys would put a drop of solder on the wire to make it stiffer
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez: the impact on stiffness is nearly zero. Especially when they are only wrapped, they don't provide any stiffness benefit. Soldered... Maybe, but it would only increase the chance of breaking a spoke (it transfers a lot of extra load into a single spoke).
It does, however, make a difference with brake chatter.
  • 1 1
 I bought schwalbe tread cutters and cut rear tires., does that mean I have a race bike?
  • 1 0
 When are the New Greasy Paw' Grips being released??
  • 1 0
 I use 220 rotor on my normal trail bike and I love it.
  • 2 0
 Noise Damping
  • 1 1
 One thing I will try. Wheel weights.

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