Alexis Chenevier might just be the most impressive all-round mountain biker you have never heard of. A former XC racer turned technical endurance specialist, he is dominant on the niche French scene made up of a string of particularly tough races like the Trans Vesubienne and the Epic Enduro that push both your fitness and your bike handling to the limits - he won the Trans Vesubienne six consecutive times, only to be dethroned by Emeric Turcat in 2019 and 2020, having to settle for second both years.
In a recent interview, he admitted that he would love to try the BC Bike Race, but doesn't have the support to race internationally. That's the other thing that makes him so impressive - there is no money chasing these races, no media coverage, no parade down the Champs Elysee. He does it simply because he loves it. Over the last few years, he has smashed more than a few full-time athletes, all the while holding down a job as a wheel engineer at Mavic, or at least he was until recently as he has fallen casualty to the turbulent times at the legendary French brand
a month ago and is currently looking for a new job. We caught up with him just before he took on the Trans Vesubienne to see how he sets up his race bike for this kind of challenge as it certainly isn't your standard XC race bike.
Height 5'8" / 173cm
Weight 143 lb / 65kg
Hometown Annecy, France
Model Yeti SB100
Frame Size Medium
Wheel Size 29
Suspension Fox 34 Stepcast and Float DPS
Drivetrain & Brakes SRAM XX1 & Shimano XT
Tyre pressures 1.6 + 1.8bar / 23 + 26psi
Tokens 2 tokens
Mavic were not just his employer, but also his sponsor - he is running a pre-production set of carbon Crossmax SLR wheels with a 25mm internal width rim.
With no sponsor for his drivetrain and brakes he runs workhorse Shimano XTs, but with Brake Authority pads and discs (180mm front, 160mm rear).
The one part of his drivetrain he is supported for is the crank - a Raceface Next SL to keep the weight down. For this race, he ran a 30t chainring paired to a standard 10-50t Eagle XX1 cassette at the back. The non-driveside of the crank and both bar ends are stuffed with tyre plugs as lightweight tyres on these trails have a nasty habit of picking up punctures, which have decided the race on more than one occasion.
He runs a Raceface cockpit, with a low-rise Next SL bar, trimmed down to 750mm and a 60mm stem - not your standard XC racing setup, even if the stem is flipped to keep the stack height down. While he doesn't measure each element of the cockpit he is very particular about their position and it usually takes him a few rides with a new bike to get them in just the right position. The saddle is a minimal Selle Italia X-LR, perched atop a 150mm drop Fox Transfer post. In a somewhat unusual move, he runs the shock remote on the right-hand side of his bars.