Jack Reading is finishing up the World Cup season on a new bike, a prototype Nicolai 29er with similar geometry to the 27.5" G19 that he was on previously. The aluminum-framed bike has 180mm of travel, 10mm less than the G19. That reduced travel, along with the position and angle of the seat tube, were necessary to make sure those big wheels didn't contact the frame during bottom out. The overall length is a little longer than what Jack is used to, but he said, "With how fast and straight most of the World Cup tracks are, you know, a big long bike is fast. It's going to be interesting to see. We may make a prototype that's slightly smaller, but until I've ridden it, we don't know."
When Pinkbike photographer Ross Bell caught up with Jack he didn't have many setting to disclose - he was planning on doing back-to-back runs on his 27.5" and 29" bikes, and then working on his setup after that. The La Bresse track is short, but with plenty of variety - it should serve as a good testing ground.
Blue and silver from front to back.