8 World Cup DH Racers' Cockpit Setups - British National Series Round 2

May 20, 2019
by Ross Bell  

Armed with the most accurate tape measure in the Scottish Highlands we went and scoured the Fort William pits at last weekend's British National which often acts as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup at the beginning of June. This year was no different with plenty of World Cup racers taking advantage of some track time before the big show next month. In between practice runs we managed to check out 8 racers' cockpit setups to see how they compared to one another:


Matt Simmonds

• Bike: Cannondale Prototype
• Size: Not available
• Wheelsize: Looks to be 29"
• Height: 189cm
• Wingspan: 187cm


Matt Simmons is running the Pro Tharsis series. The aluminium bars are 800mm wide with the grips and have a rise of 20mm.


• Bar Height: 110cm
• Bar Width: 800mm
• Bar Diameter: 31.8mm
• Bar Rise: 20mm
• Bar Roll: 7 degrees back
• Bar Material: Alloy



• Stack: 20mm
• Stem Length: 50mm
• Reach Adjust / Angle Headset? : Not available
• Lever Angle: Fairly neutral.
• Lever Released / Bite Point: 61mm released / 39mm bite point
• Grips: DMR Deathgrips


The stem is 50mm in length and has 20mm of spacers below it. Matt and his mechanic Tom kept their cards pretty close to their chest when we asked about the possibility of there being a reach adjust or angle headset in the frame.

Shimano Saints take care of stopping duties, they're run pretty flush against the grip. The levers sit 61mm from the grip when released and the bite point is at 39mm from the grip.





Reece Wilson

• Bike: Trek Session
• Size: XL
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Height: 180cm
• Wingspan: 187cm


Reece is running the Truvativ Descendant bars at a width of 780mm with the soft and cushiony feeling of ODI Longneck grips.


• Bar Height: 109cm
• Bar Width: 780mm
• Bar Diameter: 35mm
• Bar Rise: 25mm
• Bar Roll: Neutral
• Bar Material: Alloy



• Stack: 21mm
• Stem Length: 50mm
• Reach Adjust / Angle Headset? : - 3mm 1 & degree steeper
• Lever Angle: Fairly flat
• Lever Released / Bite Point: 54mm released / 34mm bite point
• Grips: ODI Longneck Flangeless


The stem is 50mm in length and has a stack of 21mm below the stem, there's plenty of room for adjusting to track steepness too judging by the spacers above the stem.

The SRAM Code brake levers are sat fairly far inboard, it also looks like Reece runs one of the flatter lever angles we spotted.





Ben Cathro

• Bike: Santa Cruz V10
• Size: XL
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Height: 199cm
• Wingspan: 202cm


Cathro stands just shy of 2 metres meaning his bike setup follows suit. The bars have a width of 810mm and a lofty height of 130cm.


• Bar Height: 130cm
• Bar Width: 810mm with grips
• Bar Diameter: 31.8mm
• Bar Rise: 38mm
• Bar Roll: Slightly back from zero
• Bar Material: Carbon



• Stack: 25mm
• Stem Length: 40mm
• Reach Adjust / Angle Headset? : +7mm
• Lever Angle: Slightly above neutral
• Lever Released / Bite Point: 54mm released / 27mm bite point
• Grips: ODI Elite Pro


The stem is 40mm in length with Ben also running a +7mm reach adjust headset.

The Shimano Saint stoppers have a bite point of 27mm away from the grip.

Ben maximises his front end height by sliding the stanchions most of the way through the fork crowns.




Katy Curd

• Bike: Specialized Demo
• Size: L
• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Height: 162cm
• Wingspan: 164cm


Katy runs carbon Rental FatBars cut at 780mm with a 10mm rise.


• Bar Height: 106cm
• Bar Width: 780mm
• Bar Diameter: 31.8mm
• Bar Rise: 10mm
• Bar Roll: Quite far back
• Bar Material: Carbon



• Stack: 20mm
• Stem Length: 45mm
• Reach Adjust / Angle Headset? : - 5mm
• Lever Angle: Fairly neutral
• Lever Released / Bite Point: 52mm released / 27mm bite point
• Grips: Rental Traction Lock-On UltraTacky

The Integra stem is the shortest available at 45mm and has a - 5mm reach adjust headset below it.

The Hope Tech 3 V4 are paired with a set of Ultra-Tacky Rental lock-on grips.





Rachel Atherton

• Bike: Atherton Bikes P6
• Size: Custom
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Height: 177cm
• Wingspan: 178cm


Rachel Atherton stands at 177cm tall and runs her bars at 770mm on her Atherton Bikes P6.


• Bar Height: 111.5cm
• Bar Width: 770mm
• Bar Diameter: 35mm
• Bar Rise: 30mm
• Bar Roll: Quite far back
• Bar Material: Alloy



• Stack: 5mm
• Stem Length: 50mm
• Reach Adjust / Angle Headset? : + 5mm reach adjust, but the next frame will be made longer to negate the need for it.
• Lever Angle: Neutral
• Lever Released / Bite Point: 59mm released / 42mm bite point
• Grips: Rental Lock-On

The 50mm stem has a +5mm reach adjust headset fitted below it but Rachel says her next frame will stretch in length which will negate the need for the reach adjust.

The Atherton's moved to German brand Trickstuff this season, the lever when released sits 59mm from the grip and when pulled bites at 42mm from the grip.





Greg Williamson

• Bike: UNNO Ever
• Size: One size
• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Height: 182cm
• Wingspan: 183cm



Greg Williamson runs a set of 31.8 alloy Renthal Fatbars with a custom sweep. He finds 35mm bars a little too stiff for his liking and prefers the slightly flexier 31.8 as a result.


• Bar Height: 107cm
• Bar Width: 790mm
• Bar Diameter: 31.8mm
• Bar Rise: 20mm
• Bar Roll: Backwords including a custom sweep
• Bar Material: Alloy



• Stack: 20mm
• Stem Length: 50mm
• Reach Adjust / Angle Headset? : None
• Lever Angle: Fairly flat
• Lever Released / Bite Point: 60mm released / 42mm bite point
• Grips: Odi Elite Pro

To suit different track gradients Greg will play with stack height, he and also raises the front end by dropping the fork stanchions through the crowns slightly.

The Scotsman runs the 4 pot Formula Cura brakes and has the levers positioned on the flatter side of what we saw.




Laurie Greenland

• Bike: Mondraker Summum
• Size: Medium, possibly moving to large.
• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Height: 170cm
• Wingspan: 170cm


Laurie's height is 170cm, he runs his bars cut at 765mm and with a rise of 30mm.


• Bar Height: 106cm
• Bar Width: 765mm
• Bar Diameter: 31.8mm
• Bar Rise: 30mm
• Bar Roll: Slightly back
• Bar Material: Carbon



• Stack: 12mm
• Stem Length: 50mm
• Reach Adjust / Angle Headset? : + 8mm on medium frame or - 6mm on large frame
• Lever Angle: Fairly flat
• Lever Released / Bite Point: 48mm released / 26mm bite point
• Grips: Rental Push-On

He has a 50mm stem with a small 12mm stack below it.

Greenland has opted against lock-on grips and prefers the feel of the glued on Renthal Push-On grips.

Most interestingly, Laurie said he was in between sizes on the Mondraker Summum. On his medium frame he is running a +8mm headset cup but if he opts for a large he'll run it with a -6mm cup instead.





Sam Dale

• Bike: Santa Cruz V10
• Size: Large
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Height: 187cm
• Wingspan: 196cm


Whilst Sam Dale might have taken a step back from full-time WC downhill racing, he had a solid showing last year in Fort William and hopes for more of the same this year. Dale stans at 187cm and runs his carbon Burgtec bars at 810mm with the grips.


• Bar Height: 110.5cm
• Bar Width: 810mm with grips
• Bar Diameter: 35mm
• Bar Rise: 20mm
• Bar Roll: Slightly back
• Bar Material: Carbon



• Stack: 20mm
• Stem Length: 60mm
• Reach Adjust / Angle Headset? : None
• Lever Angle: Fairly flat
• Lever Released / Bite Point: 67mm released / 42mm bite point
• Grips: Fabric AM

He's running a lengthy 60mm stem with a stack height of 20mm below the crown.

The Code levers are run pretty flat are 67mm from the grip when released, the bite point is at 42mm from the grip.






79 Comments

  • + 42
 • Bike: Cannondale Prototype
• Wheelsize: Looks to be 29"
So we can't be sure it's not 28.25, so not willing to commit to making a definitive call on wheel size. After all, it's a Cannondale.
  • + 6
 Still waiting on Cannondale DH Ai hubs... Radially offsets the hub from the center of the rim. Bike does all the pumping for you! I'm available for hire, Cannondale.
  • + 4
 It already has dual stanchion. What else you people want?
  • + 10
 "there's plenty of room for adjusting to track steepness too judging by the spacers above the stem."

FYI - Reece can't move the crown above the stanchions, so he has maybe 5mm left to go. That's not exactly plenty of room.
  • + 11
 I suck at bicycles too much to completely appreciate this.
  • + 4
 Love seeing this kind of content, screw the latest and greatest gizmo of the week or new bike, bike setup like this make the biggest difference with how a bike handles IMO. Flat(ish) levers, bars neutral or rolled back, no silly high rise bars and about 40mm of stack (bars + spacers), feels pretty lame on the sidewalk but works when the bikes pointed down and things fall back into “neutral”.
  • + 8
 Is bar roll zero at level or 90degrees to head angle?
  • + 4
 At level. This is the most interesting stat to me. Rolling it forward aligns the bars better with your shoulders from an ergonomic point of view, and makes an going over the bars less likely. But I've talked with riders who roll them back and they say it allows you to put pressure on the tires to maintain traction and improve cornering. Of all the things related to cockpit setup this seems like the biggest mystery.
ridemonkey.bikemag.com/threads/does-the-tilt-of-the-handlebar-has-any-effect.193942
  • + 1
 @Flowcheckers: Thanks, I was just having this debate with my crew. I've just recently started playing with this and find it has a pretty significant effect on handling. I used to be rolled back a few degrees, but just set it at zero to feel the difference. Honestly I feel more traction on the front end, but a bit more twitchy overall. Anyways, it's a baseline and I'll roll them back in a few weeks to analyze the change. Interesting info!
  • + 4
 Wingspan to bar width ratios are all over the place. Goes to show it either doesn't matter much or there's a lot more room for improvement. Kind of like leg length to crank length ratios.
  • + 6
 I need to get me some of those Rental Grips and Bars, did not know that was an option, lol. Renthal for the win.
  • + 2
 Bar height is rather useless on its own. Measuring bar height as stack would have been nice. Not that this couldn't be extrapolated but it would be a lot of work with all the different stems, forks, and frames here. Interesting info nevertheless.
  • + 2
 Why is absolute bar height not useful? BB height isn't wildly different on modern DH bikes. It's definitely an interesting stat, 130cm for Cathro! Wonder what Moir is at.
  • + 2
 @gramboh: They are different though. For instance the Supreme 29 and Tues 27.5 stack vary by more than 30mm and the same goes for the Summum and V10, which are in this article. From a fitters perspective, bar height doesn't mean anything unless you subtract bb height and still isn't a complete picture. I geek out about bike fit and just wish more useful information were in these articles sometimes for comparison (not that comparing to pros makes much sense ever)
  • + 4
 I like to have my brakes so my finger rear right on the top of the lever. Maybe I have long fingers because I always seem to run my brakes more inboard than most people
  • + 3
 I noticed the same thing! Some of these riders run their brakes so close to their grips, it surprises me
  • + 1
 @mountainface: Agreed. I'm not sure how it's even possible w/out interference the way Matt Simmons runs his levers unless he's 2-finger braking.
  • + 1
 Something seems off about the height and wingspan #s for the riders, with many of the wingspan #s seeming way short relative to the height, and really only Sam Dale and Reece Wilson in a relatively normal ratio. Like, look at Simmons and Cathro, I don’t know too many folks who are well over 6’ and limby like those guys who are rocking near equal ratios. Were the heights of the riders measured in shoes with helmets on or something? 6” heels maybe? Or are the just T-Rexian in proportion? Seems odd.
  • + 1
 I've also noticed this. Iam 183cm with 192cm wingspan
  • + 9
 The normal ratio is 1:1. Anyone with 10cm longer wingspan than their height should consider taking up swimming or rock climbing.
  • + 1
 @cstarcheski: but I hate heights
  • + 2
 @bok-CZ: guess you're a swimmer then.
  • + 1
 @Dethphist: nah, my shoulders pops out too easily for that hehe
  • + 4
 Sram Dale knows the score with the 60mm stem. F&@k fashion, get some weight over that front axle.
  • + 4
 Cathro has some girthy hoses in his cock pit.
  • + 3
 ben cathro 130 cms measure isnt wrong?

its imposible unlees he has a 20cms rise handlebar or so
  • + 2
 Bars height. Not rise but height.
  • + 1
 @tworldsmine:

I know, but compare 130cms with for example greenland 106cms who is running a fox 40 too, with similar stantion height. its a 24cms diference.

Even with a higher bar and stem spacers its too much.
  • + 1
 wtf, the girl that rides specialized demo is 162cm tall and rides a large?
isn't that a bit too large? i am 180cm and ride a large and its the perfect size for me
  • + 1
 I am annoyed that Ben Cathro is 199cm. If I were him I'd be stretching, or wearing fat shoes just so I could say I was two metres tall.
  • + 2
 Are most of the cockpits set up with the brakes Left for Rear and Right for Front ? If so why?
  • + 6
 British. They like to pretend they're riding motorbikes.
  • + 1
 @spaceofades: Or they want to ride both without a mental shift as to where the front brake is!
  • + 1
 Though I do have to admit to pretending to be on a motorbike at times...
  • + 1
 So many nice bikes Drool it’s a shame most of the pics are just of the bar, stem and headtube. It’d be nice to have full driveside pics
  • + 3
 Interesting to see almost all these riders run their brakes Moto style.
  • + 13
 all uk riders so just the norm
  • + 1
 The correct way I think you mean Smile
  • + 5
 @mcozzy: Wonder why there is a difference (meaning why they would be anything other than moto style). Also don't most part manufacturers sell their pre bled brakes as right-rear and left-front? So to run them the right way you still have to swap levers.
  • + 5
 It's for theft deterrence i'm pretty sure.
  • + 2
 Brakes come pre bled whichever way round you want them in UK and Australia. @coyotecycleworks:
  • + 4
 @coyotecycleworks: From history- we drive on the left hand side so when turning right (crossing the road of the oncoming traffic) we need to indicate with a right hand so to stay in control we would brake with left hand (thus it is left hand for the rear brake).

#ifeelclever
  • + 2
 @coyotecycleworks: Having ridden motorbikes for nearly as long as push bikes, the thought of the front brake being different between the 2 would fill me with utter terror.
  • + 0
 No love for Deity? Raceface? Enve? Anyone on Cromag or Easton?

Side note. I liked Minnaar's Burg set up. Was crazy to see all the rise in it.

Cool little story.
  • + 10
 love for enve? Do you know what website this is?
  • + 1
 Greg Williamson's bar rise looks to be more than 20mm, compared to the other rental setups
  • + 1
 Yep, definitely 30mm rise.
  • + 1
 Did Laurie run his push on’s glues onto a lock ring sleeve? Interesting ?
  • + 2
 From where was the bar height mesure ?
  • + 2
 Katy showing off how tiny the Demo really is
  • + 1
 +1 for this, 162cm tall and riding a large.
  • + 1
 Would like to see Bruni´s one... he rides pretty small size I guess compared to others...
  • + 1
 Whats the deal with Lauries lock rings on the outside of his push on grips?
  • + 1
 Would be great to get the 'why' behind these 'settings'. You look and its like...okay, and...?
  • + 1
 Sorry but the shots from the side to show the angle of the brake levers, have a completely wrong aperture for this purpose!
  • + 1
 rachel should take those reflectors off her levers....
  • + 1
 Do Ben's brake hoses look larger in diameter than normal?
  • + 1
 There was talk that he uses some kind of insulation on them to cut down on noise or something. Not 100% sure. If you zoom in there’s definitely something over them
  • + 1
 Does Ben have some tape wrapped around the bar at the stem clamp area?
  • + 1
 In one of his videos, he talks about adding the cable wrap to make his bike silent.
  • + 1
 Jagwire internal housing damper
  • + 1
 Surprised at how far out people run their bite point
  • + 1
 Rachel using some kind of ring guides on front of her stem ?
  • + 1
 Holy shit is the bite point on brakes apparently extreme at 50mm
  • + 1
 I thought they'd run shorter stems
  • + 8
 This isn't enduro.
  • + 2
 Slack head angle, stem too short you can't put weight on the front wheel properly....i guess.
  • + 1
 These bikes are looking dialed!
  • + 1
 Love getting off into the weeds like this!
  • + 1
 Wanna see Finn Iles
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