Rocky Mountain's Jesse Melamed and Remi Gauvin both had strong results at the Whistler EWS race, with Jesse taking home the win and Remi finishing the day in fifth place. Both riders were on Rocky's new Altitude, but Remi chose to ride a coil shock and Jesse went with an air shock. How do they chose what to run for each race? We caught up with both of them to find out more about the logic behind their decisions.Remi's Rocky Mountain Altitude
Weighing in at 180 pounds, Remi prefers to run an air shock for the more trail oriented races like Ireland, Rotorua, and Tasmania, and install the coil option for races with rougher stages, like Madeira and Whistler. The Fox DHX2 coil that Remi's been running is a longer length than than air option, which increases the bike's travel above its stock 150mm setup. By taking advantage of the Altitude's adjustable geometry, and by using offset eyelet bushings, Remi's able to preserve the bike's geometry no matter which length shock he chooses.
The coil shock is set up with a little less sag than the air-sprung Float X2, due to the more linear nature of a coil spring. Even though there's not as much sag, the initial suppleness helps provide enough grip and small bump compliance. Jesse's Rocky Mountain Altitude
Jesse's winning bike was equipped with an air sprung Fox Float X2, but it wasn't just any X2 - the shock was custom tuned specifically for Jesse based on his feedback. Now, not every rider is able to articulate exactly what they're looking for out of their suspension, but keep in mind that Jesse has an engineering degree – he's familiar with taking an analytic look at challenges and figuring out solutions, skills that can be applied to both racing and bike setup.
Like Remi's coil shock, Jesse's X2 is longer than the stock option, giving him a little more travel for plowing through the countless roots and rocks that racers encountered out on the course. He ran a little more sag than usual, knowing that his weight would often be over the front of the bike due to the steep nature of the terrain. That extra sag would also counteract the geometry chances that occur when running a longer shock.Why Not Just Use a Slayer?
A longer travel Altitude seems like it would begin to get close to the territory currently held by the Slayer
, Rocky's 165mm machine, but both riders say they chose the Altitude because it was the bike they're most comfortable with. Jessie already had a bunch of miles in on the Altitude by the time the Slayer was launched, so he decided to stick with what he knew. There's also the fact that the Slayer has significantly more anti-squat than the Altitude - it's possible that the riders prefer the feel of the Altitude's rear suspension over the Slayer, although that's purely speculation. It's obviously working for both riders, so it's likely we'll see them both on Altitudes as the last race of the season in Finale Ligure, Italy.