In 2019 Jesse Melamed had a year of ups and downs. He had some of his best results at the EWS, with third-place finishes in Rotorua and Madeira, but during the Val Di Fassa round he crashed in practice
leading to a stable fracture of his left tib/fib, multiple fractures and dislocation of his left pinky and a fractured 5th metacarpal, which lead to some time away from racing. Later in the season at the Trophy of Nations in Finale Ligure alongside Remi Gauvin and Rhys Verner he would take 3rd position. For 2020 he is back looking for more top results, and before the season was put on hold he was planning on trying out a new race bike.
For the past few seasons, Jesse has been riding Rocky Mountain Instinct, but for at least the first few races of this season he was planning on trying out the new Slayer, which has 170mm of travel front and rear. With racing now set to begin at the end of August in Zermatt, we caught up with Jesse to hear about the setup on his new bike.
What will this bike be used for?
The usual, lots of smashing. I switched to this bike after the 2019 race season to see how I liked it. After a month of playing around with it, I had made the decision to bring it to the first rounds of the 2020 season but that didn’t happen.
How does the setup change from your race bike last year?
I think the spec is the exact same. I had to adjust the stack height a bit but that’s about it. It made switching over pretty easy as everything was the same and I just had to get used to the way the bike rode.
Can you run us through your suspension setup?
In the past, my friends have told me my setup was super stiff, but on this one they say it is a little more plush. That could be purely down to the increased travel and improved suspension. I try to set it up for stability and consistency. I want to be able to plow through lines, hop and skip through sections and correct mistakes. I like to know how it’s going to react before an impact happens and for it to hold me up through rough sections or missed lines.
Could you give us a few more specifics and numbers on clicks with pressures, rebound?
Fork stays around ~92psi with 1-2 volume spacers, still trying to dial it in.
HSR = LSR = 5
HSC = 6
LSC = 8
Shock is around ~165psi depending on my weight and whether I’m wearing a bag or not. 2 spacers in it right now.
HSR = 12
LSR = 16
HSC = 16
LSR = 12
For even more further analysis of Jesse's suspension setup, you can check out his recent video below where he explains his setup up choices.
What does your cockpit setup look like?
I guess the first thing people notice are my cut grips. I like to run my hands right at the edge of my bar and with normal-sized grips I can’t get my brakes far enough outboard. I run the bite point so that my levers are parallel to the bar when fully squeezed.
I like my stem straight and my bars are rolled back 16 notches on the RaceFace bar. My right brake is always angled up slightly more than my left, injuries eh.
What about tire setup?
This is been pretty consistent recently, I go more in-depth about tire choice and differences in the video but I love the Assegai up front and DHR2 out back. Assegai has incredible traction in all circumstances and the DHR2 has unmatched braking so I can be late on the brakes and still slow the big wheels down. Pressures are usually 19.9 psi with Cush Core and DD casing. I’ll go down a psi if running DH casing or if it’s wet and rooty. I usually only change if it’s really muddy and slick in which case I’ll go to the Shorty in the front pretty quick but it usually takes grim conditions to swap to a Shorty in the rear as well.
Jesse opts for a Maxxis Assegai at the front and a DHR2 for the rear, both sized at 2.5" and in DD casing. He also runs with Cush Core in both tyres.
Do you know the weight?
I’m guessing it’s 37lbs but I have never weighed it.
Is there anything custom on the bike?
I’d say all the cockpit setup stuff is unique to me but it isn’t necessarily a trick. I’ve always had unique on-bike storage solutions. For my last Instinct my dad made this tube wrap that bolted into my Live Valve mounts so I could carry a tube, co2 and levers. That was pretty slick. Otherwise nothing too tricky, just picky.
A custom graphic for Jesse's WTB Silverado Ti saddle.