Anton Cooper's Trek Procaliber Hardtail at Stellenbosch World Cup XCO - Bike Check

Mar 9, 2018
by Richard Cunningham  

Trek Factory Racing's Anton Cooper hails from New Zealand. He's the 2015 Under 23 and 2012 Junior XC World Champion, and the 23-year-old may be the one who will shake up the pro ranks this year, as he already made the podium last year in his first partial season as an Elite.

Cooper's Procaliber hardtail, with its stem slammed as low as it could possibly be, is a testament to his skills, as most of the peloton here in South Africa have opted for dual-suspension models to answer the course designers' three-headed technical challenge: lots of rocks, lots of logs and a variety of jumps that range from sculpted doubles to awkward hucks to flat.
Trek Factory Racing's Anton Cooper.

"Aaaand, I'd like the lowest rise stem you have, please." Cooper is not a tall rider, so the negative-rise stem places him in a better position over the bike.

SRAM TwistLoc shifter to lock out the RockShox SID fork. Enduro racer Jerome Clementz is credited with this trick, used on the rear suspension of his Cannondales.

Bontrager carbon wheels and XR1 Team-issue tires. Brakes, moto style.

Lots of sipes make tiny tread blocks grippy, but they're not going to live long.
Looks way too comfortable for World Cup XC competition.

No eTap wireless electronics for Cooper. Mechanical Eagle drivetrain with a 34-tooth chainring.

Six-inch rotors and screw-on axles. Lots of fork offset has tamed the steering habits of 29-inch wheels.

Author Info:
RichardCunningham avatar

Member since Mar 23, 2011
974 articles

  • 138 8
  • 50 3
 I'll take XC over e, any day. . .
  • 10 96
flag BenPea (Mar 9, 2018 at 15:18) (Below Threshold)
 They're kind of the same thing no?
  • 14 11
 XC bikes are just as cool as dh bikes. We aren't riding them, we are looking at them to drool over tech bits. I don't mind ebikes for that reason; I'm not looking at these articles in place of riding, I'm looking at them just as if I was looking at snowmobiles or motorcycles or skis or any other drool-worthy gear. That being said, I want to read mostly about pedal mtb. Start an ebike site for ebikes. Show us as many ebikes as you show us road bikes or bmx bikes or motos. If it's a cool new ebike, show it. Don't start catering to the "Ebike rider", though. Just my .02
  • 13 1
 Shit, did I say that out loud?
  • 1 1
 @trialsracer: I suggest you go through a European IP and peruse the front page...
  • 5 7
 @trialsracer: also ebikes are helping to design suspension that can work with gearboxes. Hopefully one day we can have bikes where we swap a gearbox for an emotor and vice versa.
  • 2 1
 Between the OTB style stem and massive rear shock ,,, this rig ready for the Rampage. Go get it spandex clad warrior!
  • 2 1
 @trialsracer: Slow your roll......Some XC bikes, fine. But keep the DH/freeride/enduro/slope/dirt, coming PB.
  • 53 6
 What is a six inch rotor? A prize to anyone if they can find a 152.4mm rotor for sale anywhere.
  • 18 6
 It's a general term. Yes, we all know it's really a 160mm.
  • 3 8
flag AMGoran (Mar 9, 2018 at 14:24) (Below Threshold)
 "Brakes, moto style."

What this is not an mtbmoped
  • 2 0
 I am pretty sure I jacked up a rotor and wore it down from the top down, might have worn 7.6 mm off of it?
  • 3 1
 It is just like wheel size which so off!
"26in" measure 22in/559mm
"27.5in" measure 23in/584mm
and "29ers" which measure 24.5in/622mm
  • 2 2
 @AMGoran: do you know what moto means?
  • 1 3
 @owlie: Do you know what a joke is?
  • 1 2
 @AMGoran: usually, if theyre funny..
  • 1 1
 @owlie: Well you are a funny fart are you
  • 1 2
 @AMGoran: flagrant flatulence . har de har har
  • 1 0

OK... so it is for a Go Cart. you didn't specify.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: the concept behind wheel size is the approximate size of the wheel and tire... say your tire is 2 in higher on both sides of the wheel.... make more sense?
22+2+2=26 works huh...
thats also why we do road wheels in "c' not inches not that i know what ac is but....
  • 1 0
 @icarlson112: I am well aware of how you measure wheelsize. It makes no sense because although rim diameter is largely consistent tire size isn't! Run a 2.1 tire and you get one diameter run a 2.6 or 3.0 and it will be totally different. Heck same width tires from different brands can have different tire diameters due to sidewall height!
26x2.5 Muddy Mary = 27.4in diameter
26x3.0 Duro = 27.7in
27.5x2.35 Dirty Dan = 28.0 in
29x2.6 Nobby Nic = 29.5in

As for road wheels I suggest you get out a tape measure and see what the diameter of a 700cx23 wheel is...I bet it doesn't come anywhere near 700mm...

Mountainbiking should stick to reality even though apparently we now live in a world with "alternative" facts...
  • 28 5
 "SRAM twist-shifter employed to lock out the RockShox SID fork. Enduro racer Jerome Clementz is credited with this trick..."

Not a trick. That's a dedicated twisting remote, not a repurposed shifter.
  • 4 0
 Maybe someone had to invent that too, no? That you can use a Gripshift as a lockout remote and then just start calling it Twistloc or whatnot.
  • 22 0
 With that low stem setup you are able to stick energy bar pieces on the stem cap and easily eat them during the race for final lap boost.
  • 13 0
 I know it's just the perspective but the wheel size on this bike looks abnormally huge.
  • 3 0
 And that chainring looks bigger than a 34t, looks for like a 36 or 38t. Must be a tiny frame.
  • 8 1
 @bforwil: It is 36t just magnify Wink
  • 1 0
 @b-wicked: It looks like it's probably a 15" frame - maybe even smaller. So I think the little frame makes everything else look enormous.
  • 2 6
flag Someoldfart (Mar 9, 2018 at 15:34) (Below Threshold)
 @b-wicked: clean your screen brother. That’s a 34.
  • 5 0
 @Someoldfart: Zoom in and you'll see that it says 36T
  • 25 2
 @billreilly: actually its 35.99
  • 3 4
 @billreilly: I see a 34 when I zoom in. It’s not super clear but it’s a 4.
  • 1 0
 @Someoldfart: click on the image and go to one of the higher res images, you can clearly see that it is a 36
  • 2 1
 @owlie: you’re right. 36
  • 11 3
 That's not a grip shifter, it's something else. I run Grip Shift on all my bikes...

Trek does this thing where they don't put 29er wheels on small size frames. I bet he sized up frames to 17.5 so he could get the big wheels, then ran a 30 deg stem to get the bars where he needed the. What's he, 5'4"?

Could probably get it lower with a proper flat headset cap (or none at all). Can he even read the garmin at that angle?
  • 37 2
 Wow someone that admits to running grip shift on all their bikes. Bold move...
  • 5 1
 So what you are saying is that if he had a shorter headtube he wouldn't have to actually run such a stupid stem....... You bemoaned short headtubes in the previous bike check.
  • 21 0
 ''Hello my name is David and I run gripshifts'' ''Hello David''
  • 4 0
 @b-wicked: "The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one" . I'll let myself out. Big Grin
  • 7 1
 I ran gripshift for years, still have XX 10sp on my fat bike and X0 9sp on my commuter. Works great, lasts forever and dirt simple. Plus it's easy to operate with heavy winter gloves. Never understood the hate.
  • 2 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: I attempted it a few times in a 90's when it was coming out. Plus worked in a shop a mechanic back then. Horrible consistency, the slightest muck and it would be almost impossible to use, slipping grips (the little grip on the shifter itself) etc. I am sure the newer gen is much nicer plus most bikes have solid cable housing all the way back now which helps. That and strong derr springs
  • 1 0
 @bman33: My experience as well. Tired and wet/muddy hands or gloves and gripshift don’t mix well - often too slippery to twist effectively.
  • 5 0
 I also prefer the Grip Shift shifters. I have them on my fat bike (great for under mitts and inside pogies) and would happily put them on my regular mountain bike too. Just because they're not trendy with all the kids and their hashtags, doesn't mean that Grip Shifts aren't great. They are, try the new generation out.
  • 2 0
 Yeah never thought that "smart wheel size" thing made any sense. My mom rides a small 29er, and it seems perfectly reasonable. Unless this racer really likes his bike set up like that, this is a perfect example of why smart wheel size makes no sense.
  • 5 1
 @gdharries: #makegripshiftsgreatagain
  • 1 0
 @davidcoleman - he could just take a riser bar and mount it upside down. Or it is time for Rockshox to make a stem integrated with SIDs crown like TT bikes of the old. It actually looks neat
  • 2 1
 @mgolder: it's more a commentary on Trek's smart wheel size policy. He's having to run a bike that's too big, with a top tooth that's too long, so he has to run a very short stem that has a lot of drop. Having short head tubes has its own geometric and strength limitations.
  • 7 3
 @davidccoleman: I like how you are basically telling a pro rider that his bike is too big for him, his gearing is incorrect for him and his own stem choice is wrong as a result.

Utterly ridiculous. You do not know better than him or the team.
  • 2 0
 @mgolder: it's just what Trek had available in their catalogue. No 16.5 procaliber, and the 15.5 has 27.5 wheels which isn't getting anybody but Nino on the podium. I've watched shorter cat1 racers go from podium on 29 to back of the pack on 27.5 procal, then back on the podium when switching team to a brand that sells small framed 29ers.

Cooper and Trek know his best chance is on a 29 wheel bike, so that puts him on a bike that ends up on the very edge of adjustment for him. 17.5" is what my 5'8" wife rides and she's got 300mm+ seatpost showing.

Trek XC bikes are really oddly sized compared to the competition. I went through a few iterations but I'm happy on my 21.5" Top Fuel even though I'm barely 6'1" after a hot shower and a good stretch. Right in the middle of adjustment. You'll notice many Trek factory riders running with saddles slammed forward versus Specialized riders with setback posts.

Treks XC bikes are just a bit odd. Have you ridden the current Top Fuel and procal? I've got about 1000 miles on a procal and 5000 on a Top Fuel in the last 2 seasons so I'm becoming familiar.
  • 1 0
 @davidccoleman: Actually gripshifts are good for few things, I don't hate them. I have two friends that had an injury on their thumb and now they cannot operate a normal shifter so gripshift give them ability to ride.
  • 10 3
 Thank goodness they didn't mention the weight of the bike. Who'd want to know anyway.
  • 6 0
 Are those wheels Bontrager's ...I'm not sure
  • 9 7
 I get it, this bike is basically a dirt road bike. But man that stem below the top tube.....must be super squirrelly stearing. I race XC a little back in the 90's so no, I'm not a 'DH Bro' only.
  • 12 0
 His grips are about level with his saddle, maybe even a bit higher. That doesn't sound bad to me. The big wheels push the head tube too high for such a short rider
  • 2 3
 @showmethemountains: I understand the actual positioning. It's just the turning leverage point is so far above the grips. Ergonomically for XC pedaling, I'm sure its spot on.
  • 6 0
 @bman33: Ah, I see. I doesn't have any effect like that. Steering feel is the same as if he had a short head tube and a straight stem. Or a high rise stem attached to the fork crown for that matter! The only thing that matters is where the grips are relative to the steering axis
  • 2 1
 Yeah that saddle looks lower than the bars. I set up my Bronson bars a touch higher than the saddle so this bike only looks extreme. Short rider on a 29 er means this sort of set up. That’s a lot more stack than an equivalent 27.5.
  • 4 0
 Next step is to put the handlebar directly through the front wheel axle
  • 2 0
 No choice with wheels that big.
  • 2 0
 @bman33: So it seems you are the perfect target group for the Z Torque cranks with that kind of logic. Look it up if you don't know what i'm talking about. Smile
  • 1 2
 His headtube is too high because his headangle is too steep. Slacken that bike up a few degrees and he won't need to run a negative stem. The bike will handle better too.
  • 6 0
 That stem...
  • 2 0
 Can't make my mind up whether this bike looks a bit weird or awesome. Maybe a bit of both but still couldn't ever run that inverted stem.
  • 2 1
 Manly Men used to run negative rise long stems and even reverse swept bars for true All-Mountain as it was back in late 80's/early 90's...same bike for up down all around. Johnny-T...Overend...all those guys...and locally around here aswell, myself included.....Downhill was hard on the neck...uphill was Anyways...looks great, very aggro XC Smile
  • 5 5
 IsoSpeed decoupler at the seat/top tube junction is cool. So is the "not actually a GripShift shifter" twisty grip RockShox fork remote.

Too bad they ruined it all by putting an athlete on a bike that clearly doesn't fit, as evidenced by the idiotic cockpit set up. When asking your Trek teammates for set up advice you're best off ignoring Emily Batty and her batsh*t crazy advice on stems and bike fit.
  • 3 0
 Nino runs a -25 degree 90mm stem with down swept bars. Call it idiotic if you wish. Keeping the upper body less upright helps greatly when it comes to maximizing airflow into the lungs.
  • 8 0
 Maybe you can jump on your properly sized bike and show him how its done
  • 1 1
 The bike is badly designed to begin with that is why racers have to run negative stems to get the right bike fit.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: How do you suggest they change the design, so Anton can run a more typical stem?
  • 1 1
His headtube is too high because his headangle is too steep. Slacken that bike up a few degrees and you will be able to place the downtube lower without risk of the tire bottoming out on it. It will also allow the headtube to be shorter (all though slackening the headangle will already lower the height of the stem).
This would also make the bike handle better too. Steep headangles have no place on a mountainbike not even in XC. Long front ends enable you to run a slacker headangle without the front end wandering on the climbs.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: Interesting suggestions.

However I am going to assume that Trek actually put some thought into the geometry, and came up with a competitive world cup race bike worthy of the Trek name.

Full disclosure. is a sponsor of the Trek Factory Racing Team. I also ride a Trek Top Fuel and It's the best XC bike I have ever ridden, so my opinion may be a little biased
  • 1 0
Don't assume Trek knows what they are doing when it comes to geometry. This is the same company that continues to put out super bikes with stupid slack seat angles. And it like most companies keep going slacker and longer every I guess they haved figured out the best geometry AT ALL!
Steep head angles are for going slow because as soon as you have some speed you lean the bike over to turn. Steep headangles make no sense for mountainbiking period. Thankfully some companies are finally putting out XC bikes with slacker geometry.
XC shouldn't just be about low weight they should also handle well. Road bikes suffer from this same problem but at least XC bikes aren't limited in geometry by the UCI!!!
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: So I'm curious to know how you have so much knowledge about geometry and frame design?
  • 2 0
 @SintraFreeride: so how many bikes have you sent to world cup races and coming top ten?
  • 1 0
 @stemcaps-com: My knowledge from geometry comes from riding a whole bunch of different bikes and seeing what works and what doesn't. Of course at the end of the day skill can compensate for poor geometry but good geometry is a real boost.
  • 1 0
 @Tr011: I believe we can all agree that the rider makes the most difference on winning races side of things. However, if you true believe the latest bikes are the best they can be geometry wise then could you please tell me why every year bikes get slacker and longer and EVERY year the brands claim the new model is better than the previous year. You'd think brands would test the limits of geometry and then dial them back to what is the "best". Aside from Pole and Nicolai I really don't see anyone even close to doing that.
  • 2 1
 Bar ends enhance climbing , proven for years . Fashion eliminated them . Its funny watching enduro and cross country riders on long climbs now ingnoring this advantage giving option.
  • 2 0
 Fashion is strong, you could go as far as to say anything not cross country is fashionable. Anyone trying to get from point A to point B knows the uphills are what matter to make time. I would say most of the industry is fashion/fun derived.
  • 2 0
 They should just start mounting the bars to the CSU of the fork and get rid of the stem altogether....
  • 4 2
 Instead of a negative rise stem, why not use a frame with a geometry that fits??
  • 1 0
 The frame fits. Anton finished 6th. Congrats to him!
  • 3 0
 I must be the only one who wants a negative drop stem.
  • 1 0
 nope, i'm right there with you. -17deg on my Top Fuel, no spacers underneath, fits great.
  • 2 0
 maybe they can make a one piece fork crown mounted handlebar
  • 3 2
 RC trolling for reactions and clicks again... pathetic.

"Oh, those bars are so low, I'm outraged!"
  • 2 0
 My rectum is sore just looking at that thing.
  • 2 0
 Sexy Bitch!!! Too bad hardtails break my old ass...
  • 2 0
 36t, not 34. Clearly written on the ring.
  • 1 0
 Is it just me or is that an Angleset making the head angle even steeper?! Sure looks to be
  • 1 0
 Whats up with the linkage near the seat post?
  • 1 0
 @Altabird: Being that I'm a whore for a chairlift, and only half pay attention to new bikes I had no idea such a thing existed. Is it as good as Trek's marketing makes it appear?
  • 1 0
 @Session603: it is indeed. It creates more comfort while pedaling seated with out sacrificing efficiency. They’ve used it on their road bikes for years
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 I effing love where XC racing is right now.
  • 1 0
 M E A N ..
  • 1 2
 I love any bike that's made to go fast but that stem just makes me feel angry inside.
  • 2 0
 Feeling angry inside is very useful for XC racing Smile
  • 1 0
 Chain seems long.
  • 1 2
 That's the worst looking and therefore probably riding xc stem setup I've ever seen. Is Anton a gibbon?
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