Christopher Grice is only 15 years old but his list of top race results already spans a decade. Getting his start in BMX, Grice now is racing in the Juniors in downhill and is already racking up wins and National Championship titles. Chris resides in Pisgah Forest, NC alongside one of the strongest pools of US talent including Luca Shaw, Neko Mulally, Max Morgan, and others.
This weekend Chris won the Junior Expert 15-16 category at Windrock by nearly 20 seconds in the DH race with absolutely treacherous conditions. He went on to take third in the EWS caliber enduro the following day, climbing over 5,000 feet and descending 7,000 to end up on the podium. Grice's consistent riding, hard work, and commitment to training are sure to land him on top of podiums for some time to come. Not to mention, he's one of the nicest 15-year-olds out there. This year he is receiving support from a few brands including Specialized.
When he's not racing, Chris is keeping up with his schoolwork or digging on the trails near his house. He likes to spend most of his time outdoors and has never really been a fan of video games or that kind of stuff.
Celebrating a 20-second win at Windrock.
Chris is a bit of anomaly when it comes to bike set-up. He's riding at the level of some of the best guys in the world yet he weighs significantly less. Chris' mechanic Brad Blackwell who has been working with him ever since he switched from BMX to mountain bikes says that there are a number of things that he considers when getting the bike set up.
One of the biggest is trying to reduce friction in every place possible. Since Chris is lightweight, he needs the maximum amount of rolling efficiency. From suspension to wheels and pivots, Brad tightens and greases everything accordingly and even has some secret methods for suspension pivot bearings that he won't say much about other than "it involves soaking the bearings in different solutions." Freehubs and bearings are serviced frequently. The suspension is set up very soft off the top for traction and small bump compliance then there's a lot of support in the middle and through the bottom of the travel, so it ramps up quickly.
Chris' hands are small and he likes to run his brakes very close to the bar, to the point where the lever will touch his middle finger upon full braking. Every run, Brad checks for piston creep on the brakes to ensure that the pull is consistent and nothing is dragging since there is next to no margin of error as Chris is really sensitive with the deadband in his brakes.
SRAM's X01 DH drivetrain and an MRP chain guide keep everything running and in place.
With drive and stoke for riding bikes coupled with a calm, cool, and collected attitude, it's no doubt that we're going to see Chris on the podium for years to come.
Source: he's wearing crocs
Cro magnon man: Did you now that by switching to Geico you can save 15%? As for the Enduro race, hell, even a caveman can do that...
Source checks out.
Well played @yourwelcome.
Although I have to admit that I doubt that such a level of support is what a 15 years old need. I have seen many talents been wasted due to structural training and almost professional support at a young age, causing them to lose the fun and feel pressure (from there parents). Wish him the best though, for some it works and hope that he is still shredding when he is 25.
Parents, but also the whole racing environment, can push you in many great ways, but also in the worst one.
I just hope that he keeps the motivation that he has now! His level of riding has great potential, but so much can happen that they lose their fun and thus motivation. Keep up the good work and hopefully we hear more from Christopher!
Now i'm 45 and stay in the first 1/3 of the local event ranking without training
He is super fast, dedicated, really nice, and seems to appreciate all the support he receives because he just loves to ride.
It´s definitely interesting too see the tweaks which has to be done for such a light rider
The same question about shock rebound, usually I found the rebound settings too slow when inflated to low pressure for a light rider. Do you deal this somehow?
-Burp your lowers! Chris runs a Fox 40 so he has the luxury of built in bleed ports integrated into the lowers. I trim the foam rings to enable plenty of space for air to exchange and to ensure there is no vacuum in the lowers relative to the atmosphere. On his trail, enduro, and slalom bike I use a zip tie to gently break the seal between the oil seal and stanchion. Not only does this prevent a vacuum in the lowers, but it also ensures the maximum amount of small bump sensitivity. Just make sure the fork is at full travel when you equalize the pressure in the lowers and atmosphere.
-Service your fork and air spring frequently! Any friction will be exaggerated for a light weight rider.
-You mentioned the negative spring chamber. Make sure to service your air spring frequently to reduce friction, and also to reduce buildup of grease in the negative chamber. Every time your air spring cycles, small amounts of grease infiltrate and ingest from the positive to negative chamber. Grease takes up space thus reducing your negative spring volume. Reduced negative spring volume will reduce small bump sensitivity and ultimately traction.
-Specific damper tune: I will use myself as an example because I can't tell you Fox's tune that Chris is running- I am relatively light weight myself at 140lbs. I too have found that stock tunes are way too stiff for me. Here are some things I have done to tune my suspension to my weight:
-Lighter weight oil in my damper, especially during the winter. I run 2.5 wt year round
-Softer compression tune, faster rebound tune. This kind of depends what suspension you are running but the concept is the same. A Grip damper for example has a spring backed IFP rather than a bladder to account for hydraulic displacement. This IFP spring can be swapped to a lighter spring or trimmed to reduce compression forces. In other words oil flows more freely through the compression circuit, more oil flow equals less damping and a reduction in hysteresis. For a faster rebound- lighter oil helps as well as a different shim arrangement on the rebound piston. In my Cane Creek Helm for example, I run one less shim than stock and my rebound piston is flipped over to allow more oil flow. Again, more oil flow equals less damping. Less damping equals faster rebound.
-Hope you find that useful and thanks for the question!
I also use the Whistler Performace Lubricants ForkBoost Lube on race days - wplbike.com/products/forkboost-4oz
Some frame manufacturers will stack two non angular bearings on top of each other to reduce axial forces and essentially give the opposite bearing "help" rather than a single or double row angular bearing. Why? I have some educated guesses but I'm not an engineer. Most likely it's because angulars are designed for higher rpm rotational applications and OD and ID limit what bearing can actually fit in the frame. Again, I'm not an engineer and only have a pretty basic understanding of why engineers use specific types of bearings in frames.
Hope that answered your question
Will try the lighter weight oil next time if I face that issue again. Yeah it's very useful, thank you Brad!
Im dealing with this problem too, I’m looking for the best setup in a fox 36 weighting 60 kg (130lb). I’m running my fork at 45 psi to get correct sag, making very difficult to get a fast rebound, I must ride with it fully open in winter.
Its surprising you are using 3 tokens in his fork, I ended using none...you would recommend the same amounts tokens with the stock oil weight in the damper??
Thanks, good work!!
To answer your question-The 36 and 40 have completely different compression ratios so the setups will be completely different regarding spring curve. Running a lighter oil will certainly speed up your rebound damping. However, it will also change your compression damping so if rebound is your chief complaint and you are happy with your compression damping you might want to consider a different rebound tune. You can request that straight from Fox actually. Some other things to consider are tight bushings, has your fork exceeded it's service interval (if your damper is the older bladder style have your mechanic at your LBS check for bladder ingestion), and is the pressure in your lowers equalized.
Hope that helps!
The size L new demo has a reach of 440mm XL new demo has a reach of 460mm. Compare that to:
Canyon Sender L= 460 XL= 480
Commencal Supreme L=455 XL=480
YT Tues L=452 XL=474
Pivot Phoenix L=454 XL=482
Giant Glory L=461
The Santa Cruz v10 is also small with L=424! XL=451 and XXL=470
Point is, the Demo is small. Doesn't mean it isn't cool. I dig the looks of it but have never ridden one.
20sec with essentially factory level program against punters who have maybe a shop hook up?
Rad that he is doing well, obviously working hard, has some good results. Not trying to take that away. But front page of PB?
None knows what the new day shall bring him -working on my semipro Warcraft 3 career myself.
Just about every time there is an article on a high end or custom bike there are a LOT of PB readers who ask that they "also" do coverage of average bikes, etc. So although I thought this was a cool article. I would also like to see this kind of coverage for someone who's struggling to get 3rd place in a race weekend...
Keep up the good work Chris. 20 seconds is no joke !!
Yeah... i dunno about that man. Maybe rethink that statement once more.