I've always wondered what the top pro racers would run on their bikes if they had ultimate freedom from brand connections. The Superenduro is quite a competitive series which brings in a lot of fast riders who don't have any affiliations with brands. I sat down with Igor Palomba, who hails from Sardinia and is a mega fast mountain bike guide just down the road in Finale Ligure. Igor grew up racing downhill and is now giving an enduro race a try in Pietra Ligure. Unfortunately, he'll have to wait for another weekend to find out how he compares to the others in the field, due to the race being canceled.
We took a look through around Palomba's bike and found out why he chose the bike and components he did.
Palomba is riding a medium Nukeproof Mega 29. He likes that when he's attacking on the bike, he feels it wants to go faster, especially in cornering. He likes the way the linkage smooths out the trails and that the bike isn't too expensive.
For suspension, Palomba is riding the entry-level RockShoxYari Charger RC. He says that while it isn't top of the line, the fork performs well when it's kept up to service. He's also running the stock shock that came on his frame, a RockShox Super Deluxe Air.
Handling bar and stem duties are Renthall's 30mm rise Fatbar and a Duo stem at 40mm. Coming from his DH background, he likes having higher bars on his bike and that makes him more comfortable. They are cut to 760mm as that fits his height and his shoulders aren't too wide.
Stock grips on the bars. Palomba likes their soft compound and the smaller size fit his hands well. He also likes to ride with his hands right on the edge of the bars and these grips only have the inner clamp, making that more comfortable.
Palomba bought these wheels because he believes they hold up well under his use as a guide in Finale - the rims are strong and the bearings are good in his experience.
For tires, there's a DHR on the front because he thinks it rolls faster and the side knobs are the same as the DHF. There's an EXO casing to save some weight. On the back, he has the Aggressor. Palomba likes its grip in all conditions from dusty to wet. In Finale, there are a lot of rocks so he's using a Double Down casing on that tire. It gives a little more protection for the rear wheel and it holds its shape a little bit better than the EXO casing. There's also a Huck Norris tire insert in the back to help with holding the shape.
Shimano's XT M8020 four-piston brakes are taking care of stopping duties. Palomba has used the two-piston version before but didn't feel they had enough power, especially with 29" wheels.
Yes indeed, that's a homemade chainguide.
Most of the drivetrain is stock. There's a 30t ring on the front mated to an 11-46 cassette.
Pedals are Nukeproof Horizon, Palomba says "I ride in and I just clicked with these. I like the design and feel of them. They're also pretty cheap and I've not had any problems with them."