Bike Check: Loana Lecomte's Winning Massi Aire SL

Jun 16, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  


Loana Lecomte has been the most remarkable story of the 2021 cross-country race season so far. The 21-year-old breakout rider stormed onto the World Cup XC stage this season with three dominating performances right up front, putting such huge gaps into the rest of the field in every XCO race that we've been wondering if she gets lonely out there.

Last year's U23 World Champion is making history right now as the first woman since Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå in 2006 to win three World Cup races in a row and as the third woman ever to win both the XCC and XCO races in one weekend. With the incredible margins we've seen, she could very well beat Catherine Pendrel's four World Cup wins in one season.

Let's take a look at the bike that she's been pedaling as her victories pile up.

Loana Lecomte is dialed in for the task at hand here. This course favours sustained power and she showed us exactly that.
Loana Lecomte
Age: 21
Hometown: Annecy, France
Instagram: @loanalecomte

Aside from the drivetrain and suspension, almost the entire bike is Massi.

Massi parts make up a large portion of the build.
Massi Aire SL
Frame: Massi Aire SL
Shock: Fox Float DPS 100mm, 110-115psi
Fork: Fox 32 SC 100mm, 55-60psi
Wheels: Massi Replica Graphene 29"
Tires: Massi Rader Pro 29x2.20"
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR
Brakes: Shimano XTR w/ Massi 160mm discs
Cockpit: Massi
Pedals: Look
Size: S
Weight: 9.77 kg / 21.5 lb

A Shimano XTR drivetrain for Loana. While she usually runs a Massi 34t chainring, the bike parts shortage means that is currently running her backup Shimano one.

Both the bike itself and these Look titanium pedals celebrate Loana's U23 World Championship title.

Her spokes are reinforced at the crossings for added wheel stiffness.

These Massi tires have slightly thicker sidewalls than some XC tires, weighing in at 645g each, according to Loana's mechanic.

Massi hubs, Massi saddle.

While she's open to the possibility of using a dropper post, Loana has not run one yet this season because she says it's not worth the added weight to her, and she uses this aluminum one because it's lighter than her carbon option.

XTR stoppers get the job done with style.

Unlike many of her peers, there are no wireless electronic bike controls on Loana's cockpit.

Loana's suspension has special low-friction seals. Her mechanic says he likes to play around with different oil viscosities, too, to optimize the bike feel for each course.

The bike uses ceramic bearings wherever possible from French company Black Bearings. The frame bearings are specially made for frame linkages and don't rotate fully, so instead they only move in the range of motion required for each pivot point.


We are excited to watch this season play out and we expect to see more mindblowing performances from Loana. Her meteoric rise says great things about the future of this sport.


258 Comments

  • 163 6
 Am I the only person who had not heard of the Massi brand until this post?
  • 10 3
 They were always boutique city bikes to me. Look awesome too. Didn’t know they did Mtb’s
  • 78 1
 I have not heard about the brand until Loana started to ride away from the world's best mountainbikers looking like she was on a recovery ride.
  • 3 1
 know it for several years, have some accessories from them, like a pair of road and a pair of MTB shoes. Almost got a carbon frame to build up, but it was too much XCish to my taste.
  • 7 0
 Know It since years in XC. Marga Fullana won The Worldchampionshio in Val Di Sole in 2008 in a Massi 26er
  • 19 2
 ...but are you familiar with my favorite brand Trrek?
  • 3 0
 Nope
  • 8 0
 Masi yes, but Massi no In the movie Breaking Away, Masi is the bike Dave Stoller road
  • 2 0
 @OceanPhil: I see what you did there
  • 1 0
 @enduroNZ: that's Masi you're thinking of
  • 3 0
 @enduroNZ: there's masi, a subsidiary of haro, and massi
  • 5 0
 @yetiguy1: I've totally been thinking of Masi this whole time.
  • 7 0
 They are very known in Spain for is low cost chinese bikes.
  • 4 0
 I also thought it was a misspelling of Masi Bikes which are milquetoast commuter/hybrid/hipster Chinese crap. I remember driving through the Dolomites and seeing signs everywhere for "caduta massi" (falling rocks in Italian). I also believe some of the best marble in the world come from the town of Massi.
  • 10 0
 @suspended-flesh: I to think that back in the 1970s Masi had the panache of Colnago
  • 2 0
 @taprider: it's a damn shame
  • 2 0
 I had heard of the brand from seeing it. I had no idea they made so many other parts. I mean Massi tires?
  • 1 0
 Do they even have a website with some more information on their bikes? Couldn't find any.
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: 'milquetoast' LOL. Haven't come across that for years, but now is the time for its re-emergence.
  • 2 0
 www.casamasferrer.com'

It is a Catalan distributor of cycling products since many years. the got into desgning components and bicyclen in the 1990's. Used to be Shimano official service and distributor in Catalonia / spain until Shimano decided to centralize in Macario.
  • 1 1
 @FloImSchnee: Gee...I wonder what magical substance in perfectly cycled dosages might account for the disparity.
  • 1 0
 @sonuvagun: Yes, because everyone fast is doping. Of course.
  • 1 0
 @kilz: Well maybe you're right and her history of progression and improvement is in keeping with what she's now dishing out...it's just that there are a lot of retired competitors from practically every sport who have revealed how developed the pharmaceutical programs are.
  • 1 0
 @sonuvagun: Every now and then you come across a freak of nature. Someone can, for example, tolerate or process lactic at levels that mean a normal human hasn't got a chance against them, like Michael Phelps. I think a lot of the time when someone turns to drugs is when they find out they can't make it, or they can't cut it anymore. She's been racing since she was eight, been killing it the whole time, no jumps in progression. And she's tiny in a field of women where being small is an advantage. She's extremely lean (watch any post-race interview). She just doesn't tick the boxes of a cheater IMHO.

Biological samples taken at Olympics are kept for many years for retesting when new tests are available. Any sane athlete would find an excuse not to compete at the Olympics, or at least go off the gear and ride 'pan y agua'.

I'll be happy to watch her smash it. I do like close competition so I'll be barracking for anyone that can catch her, but I'll still be happy to see her wear Olympic gold. Preferably silver behind Bec though.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: You could be right. It's just as likely the entire field is using gear and she's just better.

But there is a plethora of former athletes who have told us how rampant peds are in all sport, so to discount their accounts is perhaps a bit arrogant of you. Substances are designed to evade detection, if you don't know what that means then I don't know what to tell you. If you want to believe Olympic athletes are clean and only exceptions take the pharmaceutical route then go ahead.
  • 1 0
 @sonuvagun: I didn't discount the athletes who say it is rampant - I mentioned them. I said that those that went the PED route were those who weren't going to be on top.

Once the Festina affair was over, there was a big move away from PEDs in French cycling that didn't occur, or not to the same extent in other countries.

I'm not oblivious to PEDs, but I don't see it. Note my comment about the Olympics. We've seen athletes disqualified years later. That's a big deterrent.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: I appreciate your use of spacing.

I think your statement: "I think a lot of the time when someone turns to drugs is when they find out they can't make it, or they can't cut it anymore," is, at best, a passing reference to what I wrote: "there are a lot of retired competitors from practically every sport who have revealed how developed the pharmaceutical programs are." So, to be blunt, I think that's a bit of a disingenuous approach.

Nonetheless, either of us could sit down and compile a decent list of Olympic winners, sports champions and stars who have gone on record admitting their use or revealing how rampant ped usage is in sports. It would be an exercise in negating exactly what you've claimed to be true.

Deterrent?
Carl Lewis never had his medals taken away, there were only administrative changes made to ensure he didn't test positive at the time.
How many have had to return the millions they made after the fact compared to how many have retained that money?

There is more to be gained than lost- THAT'S WHY THEY DO IT.

You can believe what you want but if we're going to use reasoned debate then I'm going to continue to present reasoning which, so far, is contrary to how you see things.
  • 89 0
 “Due to the bike parts shortage she is running her backup” chainring. Are you kidding me, the overall World Cup leader can’t get a new chainring!

I have a nice new OneUp one I can send you if needed Leona. Dm me for more info...
  • 24 2
 I'm 100% sure she would have dm'ed you right away, if only you got her name right Smile
  • 71 0
 Those holes have got a bit of rotor in them.
  • 10 0
 As big as you can get without the pads falling through.
  • 36 1
 When watching Loana race I’ve noticed how much more upright she is whilst climbing than the riders, which I attribute to not having such a slammed cockpit. This seems to help with breathing (compared to other riders that are slumped over), and would also help with the descents.
  • 21 1
 @DavySprocket that's a great topic and well observed. Those lowered cockpits seem to help keep an aerodynamic position and will for sure make sense on certain courses like Nové Město. But someone really needs to crunch the numbers when comparing aerodynamics vs constrained breathing. @SCOTT-Sports have you?
  • 17 1
 @ruedi: Slammed cockpits are not just for aero reasons. Another big reason is to put more weight on the front wheel to increase cornering grip.
  • 8 4
 @Racelight: xc race bikes are fairly short in front center, doesn't really need anything special to weight the front wheel, especially since they will be standing up when ripping nasty corners. Slammed cockpits are definitely for "aero" and comfort (either to be like their road bikes, or just head comfort of "slammed = fast" thoughts)
  • 28 0
 @ruedi: low stem is not for aero in xc. It is simply a good position to output watts efficiently while seated.
  • 31 0
 Her core strength is her core strength.
  • 30 0
 @radrider: I always thought the low bars and long stems were to force the rider into an uncomfortably hunched over position thereby motivating one want to pedal harder and go faster so as to be able to get off the uncomfortable bike sooner. Sorta worked for me on a bike I used to have.
  • 19 0
 A lot of theorizing here. The facts are it’s not for aero, breathing, comfort, or cornering. A lower front means you have better leverage moving your body out in front of the bike to push out watts during acceleration and gives a better angle of attack when climbing. It’s the same principle as a road track bike where your hands are practically at the front wheel. As is with everything geo related there are compromises and a slammed xc bike is going to want to kill you going downhill with the weight so far forward.
  • 4 0
 I was noticing a simillar difference between the chasing pack of Jolanda, Hailey and Pauline - all long & low - with Jenny Rissveds more upright with a seemingly shorter reach
  • 7 0
 A lot of bike position is probably rider “preference” which is to say what riders are used to. Especially for folks who spend a lot of time on road bikes, low cockpit maybe just feels familiar. Top riders are notoriously loathe to change these things, even if data implies a change might be advantageous.
  • 5 0
 @radrider:

This is the correct answer. Has nothing to do with aero or breathing on XC rides. It allows your hamstrings to engage better.
  • 2 0
 @radrider there's of course the locomotor aspect of having a lowered cockpit. Why shouldn't someone do the effort to compare the different position with pedalling efficiency vs. breathing capabilities. What if the numbers would tell something different? What if you wouldn't give a try?
  • 3 0
 @ruedi: I'm certain the road and track world has already done the research and since they are dropped further and riding farther I think they have figured it out already. Your not bending so much that your peddling your cranks with your hands actually compressing your chest and lungs.
  • 3 1
 @radrider: The road and track world pedals bikes at around 50mph, at which point they're losing over 1000 watts to aerodynamic drag. The riding position could be over 10% less efficient in terms of a rider's peak and sustained power output but nonetheless still faster because it reduces drag by a considerable margin (therefore a net-positive in terms of performance). In XC racing drag does matter, but if a rider is able to better manage muscle fatigue, lactic threshold, and V02 max in a more upright position then the resulting increased average-power output may negate the additional drag.
  • 4 0
 @radrider: I'm pretty sure world cup xc teams have done the research too Smile
  • 6 0
 @pancakeflatted: there's a lot of research on bike fit....pinkbikers just don't like it because it doesn't really support their long low slack bike preferences.
  • 5 0
 @Themissinglink83: you dont love hearing all the armchair bike fitment every time pinkbike shows an xc bike?
  • 2 0
 @RonSauce: lol the stems are upside down!
  • 1 1
 @Themissinglink83: the nose on the seat is pointing down, maybe they should size up
  • 2 2
 A lot of different theories here as to why XC stems are so low...
  • 2 0
 I always thought the low front end was to keep from wheeling on the steep climbs ?
  • 32 0
 This is a very unpopular fact, and I expect this to get downvoted but... genetics, and not the bike, is going to be the main factor for success, like in most sports.

Bikes at this level they are all really good and don't offer huge advantages over the other competitors.

Loana is just the outlier of the outliers.

I'm sure she works hard, just like all the other elites that have optimized nutrition, training and recovery; but the facts are she has simpler equipment, way less experience and training age and is still comfortably beating the very top riders of the XC world. She's about to beat the record for World Cup wins in a year despite all this.

I hope she inspires more women to take up the sport, get out there and ride more; that way we'll have the next Loana in the WC soon to give her a closer competition.
  • 4 0
 Might be sooner than you think. Her name is Mona
  • 3 2
 Her diet and training are key to the game. She is so ripped, she put to shame a lot of body builders on show day.
  • 6 1
 I would suggest that isn't completely wrong, especially in her apparent dimensions. Its tough to tell if this is an optical illusion or real, but she seems to be slightly shorter than other races and with a longer leg-to-torso ratio. If she is slightly shorter, that means lighter weight and if more of her weight percentage is legs, it might change (ever so slightly) her power-to-weight ratio.

But also forgets what is going on with her most likely competitors. Kate Courtney - had concussion issues last year, injury this year. Jolanda Neff - Bad crash last year and now (after looking great again), injury. Pauline Ferrand Prévot - was holding own this year, but had a bad crash at R2 and consistently has vascular issues. Jenny Rissveds - when she is good, she is good, but she isn't consistent.
  • 7 1
 Are you saying that if I buy a bike just like this I will not be as fast as her? Has the bike industry been lying to me all along??
  • 2 1
 I've been saying it for years... Genetic testing will eventually be the biggest predictor of capability, because genetics are the single biggest difference between the regular podium finishers and those in the middle-bottom of results. Many coaches are using similar methodology, and many racers are in fact using a lot of the same coaches. The big difference at this level is purely genetics and science...bodies adapt different, people have naturally different thresholds, composition, chemistry, etc. Cycling will inevitably come down to a sport of eugenics, with junior dev teams, national teams and Olympic centers, all selecting the cream of the crop from simple DNA testing. Everyone will be one blood draw away from knowing if they ever stand the ability to be a world champion. It's actually a depressing future when we realize bike racing comes down to the birth lottery.
  • 5 0
 @Jamminator: That or better, undetectable performance enhancing drugs.
  • 2 0
 @MustRideAllTheTrails: I know, I know, but have any company said it? You'll be as fast as Gwin without a chain? As fast as Yoan with three balls? As fast as Hill on flats?
I've seen it in coments, but never on ads.
  • 2 1
 @Jamminator: The difference from one elite athlete to another elite athlete is mostly mental. They all have the genetic gifts, or else they wouldn't even be there...
  • 2 1
 She’s just lighter than everyone else, which is a huge advantage. She’s at an unhealthy weight, her competitors are not. She’s going to crush it now, but probably burn out very quickly. ‍♂️
  • 3 0
 @smgishot13: granted, being light is an advantage in all endurance sports. But neither you or anyone else here know what is a "healthy" weight for her.

And saying she's gonna burn out quick is just being cynical.
  • 1 1
 @krka73:

She doesn’t have any subcutaneous fat on her face. There’s nothing subjective about that. Any doctor would tell you that’s not a sustainable state to be in. There’s a reason no one else at the top looks like that.
  • 2 1
 @smgishot13: Look at other Eilte World Class endurance athletes, men & women when they're competition fit. There's nothing atypical about how she looks.

4X Tour de France champion Chris Froome is 6'-1" (186 cm), he's on the record saying his racing weight was 142 lbs. (64.4 kg) when he won.

You can't compare these people to your average Joe/Jane that ride weekends. And if the rest of the women's field doesn't want to get dropped by 2 minutes by someone who looks like they're in cruise control, they're going to have to respond in one form or another, more power or less weight, or a combination of both.

That you think she's not "healthy" or doesn't look normal is an irrelevant opinion based on solely on appearance. Her listed height & weight of 5'-4.75"(162 cm) & 114.5 lbs (52 kg), there's nothing crazy about those numbers.
  • 1 2
 @krka73: as a health care provider (RN) I can tell you from looking at her that her body weight is unhealthy, and she's going to suffer long term health issues from being that thin. The number of female athletes with eating disorders is incredibly high.
  • 3 1
 @Themissinglink83: she might develop an anxiety disorder from people who don't know a thing about her personally, declaring she's too this or that that she's endangering her long term health, just by "looking at her."

A man could come out looking like Skeletor and if he started walloping an elite field, no one would be talking about his look, subcutaneous fat or the possibility of an eating disorder.

I think these assertions are out of line at this point. Leave the woman alone and let her race in peace. I'll say no more...
  • 1 2
 @krka73: I'm literally a professional, and this is my career field. The female althele triad or REDDS is well known. And yes, men can have eating disorders too, but that's 100% not the issue here. Men can tolerate body fat percentages than 15% without risking long term health issues, but women can't. But hey, what do I know?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_energy_deficiency_in_sport
  • 1 1
 @krka73: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8499936
Or the fact that the prevalence of eating disorders is 3x higher in elite athletes than in the general population....
  • 3 0
 @Themissinglink83:

Here's a partial list of what you don't know:
1. Her health history.
2. Her exact height.
3. Her exact weight.
4. Her exact body fat.
5. Her vo2 max.
6. Her metabolic rate.
7. Her diet / nutrition.
8. Her training regimen.

I don't doubt your credentials, but without a physical examination and actual data, you're basing your opinion on photos and video of the woman. That is patently ridiculous.

I'm not saying it's out of the realm of possibility either. I'm just saying cut the woman some slack until you actually KNOW something. Time will tell...
  • 1 1
 @krka73: dude you can look at her pictures and tell she's underweight....you don't need to do a caliper test to tell that's she is underweight.

www.redbull.com/us-en/evie-richards-interview-training-well-being
Nope, not a problem at all in the elite field
  • 4 0
 @Themissinglink83:

I don't deny I the problem exists dude.

I simply don't accept as FACT a diagnosis from video / photos by people who have never met / examined this particular person.

You've declared a disorder. I'll wait and see, and give the woman the benefit of the doubt.

I mean, some people are just jumping to the conclusion she's doping as well. I don't deny that problem exists either... but god damn people, let have some actual proof before that theory gets floated as fact.
  • 4 0
 @krka73: You're right. Whole lot of assuming going on. People are so dead set on being right they are willing to make a diagnosis based on a small portion of the facts.
  • 2 2
 @krka73:

I've you think she's 115lbs I got a bridge to sell you...
  • 1 2
 @krka73: dude you can look on her Instagram account and she has photos where you can see her bicep veins bulging out of her jersey....you're blind if you can't see that and recognize that it's not healthy.
  • 1 0
 @krka73: The mental aspect is not as 'magical' as it once was, as everyone is training and riding off numbers now. Showing up to the start line in a positive space won't magically change your FTP. Mental fortitude really is for perseverance overcoming setbacks like a crash or technical, and not giving up to commit. You'd be surprised how different baseline numbers are, even among top athletes. Years ago I was invited to an USAC dev camp and we all surprisingly different V02 and lactic levels, despite being pretty close competitively.
  • 2 0
 @smgishot13: You're right. She is definitely under 115. Most of the elite women are incredibly petit in stature and their online weight is way off. Usually the weight is a lie to decrease their watt/kilo figure.
  • 2 0
 @smgishot13: If she was at an unsustainable weight she wouldn't be able to perform the way she does, at least not naturally. The first major thing that happens at unhealthy nutritional levels is peak power drops off and endurance capacity is reduced. Neither of those appear to be happening. Power is key for a lightweight rider already on the bleeding threshold. If you look at Loana's mother, then look at photos of Loana as a junior racer, she was gifted from birth with a small figure and has always carried herself this way.
  • 1 0
 @krka73: Easy stats to look up. She's a lean mean racing machine, her stats put her BMI at a higher number than some of her competitors.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator:

Let’s she her long term performance. You can make it work for a short season maybe. Not multiple though.
  • 1 0
 @Themissinglink83: you are correct in that low body mass is unhealthy for females if it’s long term and not managed well. I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of the elite girls field is amenorrheic. Having worked in elite sport for many years and in a sport with weight classifications athletes will often ‘lean up’ for race season and move back up to a ‘healthier’ weight for the majority of the year in the off season.

Another thing to build into the picture is that ALL elite sport has taken exercise to the point where it’s not ‘good for you’. You are constantly pushing your body to extremes which are not normal or healthy. Constantly pushing the boundaries of illness and injury to get the best rate of improvement.

It’s a tough balance and at this level the athletes are all educated and understand the risks. Whether they can all cope with them and the stress is another issue entirely.
  • 29 1
 No dropper, no electric shit, just fast, reliable and light stuff. She understand how to be fast.
  • 4 3
 No electric shifting and power meter probably saves about 1-1.5 lbs. I'd still take the 200 gram hit for the dropper though because I think it is faster.
  • 4 1
 @tacklingdummy: Lecomte is already one of the fastest descenders in the women's field, even without a dropper. I'm sure the team have figured out the math that it probably doesn't make sense if minimal improvement comes at the cost of her biggest advantage (climbing).
  • 3 0
 If she can make more time on the uphills than she loses on the downhills, it's win win. Races aren't won on the downhills but they can be lost there.
  • 2 0
 @SonofBovril: Neff got some positions on the downhill. It's a pity she punched that stump, but her gains on the downhill section was there.
  • 2 0
 @Jamminator: Obviously her setup worked for the course that day. However, many pros that have won or won multiple times are using droppers for crash avoidance, to improve their speed on the downhills, and improve flow on the entire course. It is an individual choice based on the specific course weighing advantages and risks, but she might have been even faster with a dropper.
  • 1 0
 @Jamminator: Actually using the Fox Transfer post at 327 grams, the hit is only about 150 grams. Not a lot of extra weight.
  • 27 0
 Thanks for putting bike weight - it's been missing from a few bike inspections recently.
  • 24 0
 I know these athletes are super fit but Lecomte doesn't even look like she's panting after the race! Unreal.
  • 19 0
 When you're playing 2 min ahead of the rest of the field, you can slow down down a little bit in the last lap and take your breath before the line Wink
  • 3 0
 Plus the route to finish was a descent with plenty of time to lower the HR and recover. There was also no need to sprint and fight for a spot on the way down or to the finish line.
  • 7 0
 She is like Julian Absalon in his prime, except she's also putting time in on the descents. She could realistically clean-sweep this season, I'd like to go on the record as predicting that she will.
  • 3 0
 @nzandyb: It looks ike that at the moment, but then it often looks like that in womens racing for some reason. Jolanda Neff had multiple phases of looking unstoppable for parts of a season and then dropping in a couple of races where she was way off the pace. Langvad similar. Kate Courtney rode away from everyone in the first few events one year then just blew up mid season. For some reason (I have a suspicion it's to do with unhealthy target weights, as well as just being fundamentally really hard) the top riders in the womens field historically always struggle to maintain form for a season and have some real peaks and troughs.

So maybe she will buck that trend, but no matter how good she looks now there's a big chance she won't stay that good all year.
  • 14 0
 I do understand reinforced spoke crossings for some hulk's like MVDP, but i don't think there is any need for lightweight riders like Loana. But her mechanics will know better than me, or they have just too much time left per day...
  • 4 0
 Could also just be for quiet. There is a lot in this article that's hard to tell if it is just speculation or they talked to someone (Loans, mechanic, anyone on the team).

She runs heavier\stiffer tires than many, so maybe likes a very low psi backed up by a very stiff wheel to help counter potential squirmy feels.
  • 4 1
 I thought the same, the girl is a bag of bones. She probably has under-tensioned wheels to suit her mass and those keep them few making much noise as they cycle.
Either that or it’s an old-school meticulous mechanic fastidiously over-building her wheels.
  • 3 0
 Maybe she just likes a stiffer wheel? Probably she doesn't care either way, but her mechanic likes keeping some of the old wheel building arts alive and thinks it looks good.
  • 2 0
 Tied/soldered spokes have been around for a long time. Jobst Brandt argued against the usefulness of the practice.

I thought Keirin riders are the only ones that still did it.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: Ding, ding, ding... I think you have the right theory on her setup. Her setup is working great and other XCers should take notice.
  • 1 1
 @yonderboy: I understand that Brandt literally wrote a book about wheelbuilding that's often quoted as the truth, but how many world cups had he won?
  • 6 0
 @will-burr: Or, she's just such an insanely gifted athlete that she is winning despite her setup. I'm not arguing one way or another, just pointing out that all we have is anecdotal evidence from a handful of races.. Eddy Mercx was a lot heavier than many of his competitors but he still destroyed most of them on climbs; one could conclude from that anecdote that heavier riders are faster at climbing.... But we know better, Eddy Mercx crushed on climbs because he was a generational talent gifted beyond words.
  • 6 0
 Its not to make the wheel stiffer, its to let you keep going if you break a spoke. It stays contained within the wheel. Not sure where the author got the idea it made the wheel stiffer, you need an old guy like me to know these things.
  • 11 0
 @alicialeggett full complement bearings (the frame bearings you talk about in this article) are full of ball bearings to have more support and be tighter that conventional bearings, not to have less friction. Indeed they have more friction because they have more balls and less tolerance than normal ones
  • 9 20
flag parkisatool (Jun 16, 2021 at 7:41) (Below Threshold)
 yeah pretty whack statement as usual by leggett
  • 14 6
 @parkisatool: wow, that's completely inappropriate.
The article includes statements from Loana's mechanic. If you have an issue, stop being an armchair engineer and go take it up with the mechanic, the bearing company or Massi.
  • 8 15
flag parkisatool (Jun 16, 2021 at 8:33) (Below Threshold)
 @ratedgg13: No, mate. Them captions are written by Leggett. It's not the first time that some misinformation is spread with her bike checks either. Sorry, not sorry.
  • 14 7
 @parkisatool: two things, first it's fine to disagree, but be respectful about it. Don't be a dick.
Second, you're claiming that Alicia just decided to come up with a whole bunch of random claims about bearings out of nowhere for no reason? In an article with several references to having consulted the mechanic? Seems to me like the mechanic probably gave her info, which she included in the captions.
  • 6 22
flag parkisatool (Jun 16, 2021 at 8:53) (Below Threshold)
 @ratedgg13: Let's face it, you're the one being a dick. Chill the f*ck out
  • 6 11
flag sonuvagun (Jun 16, 2021 at 12:49) (Below Threshold)
 @parkisatool: it's weird that you're getting downvotes for being right. And he was (in typical Canadian fashion) totally trying to dictate how you express what you want to say.
  • 15 2
 How to rebrand everything
  • 9 1
 how can that relatively small brand develop so many parts? that must be re-branded stuff right?
  • 3 1
 It sounds Italian, but it's Spanish, but it's Chinese, like so many
  • 1 0
 @SickEdit: Might be. I'm positive that lockout lever is a made by scott. I've got the same on on my spark and it says scott right across the top of it, identical design to the one in the picture.
  • 9 0
 It's amazing watch her ride. Her fitness is on another level. While all the other riders are slumped over, struggling to generate power from every inch of their bodies, she is sitting upright just pedaling away. It seriously seems like she's in a completely different category of athlete.
  • 3 4
 Or on drugs
  • 1 0
 @Themissinglink83: you must be fun at parties
  • 1 0
 @goldfly: because I'm on drugs
  • 10 0
 We Massi what she's riding. Seriously though, it's been entertaining to see how she puts down a pace that just boils the rest of her field.
  • 10 0
 I'm not trying to be a dick but aren't those lightbicycle rims? LB makes really good rims but I'm not so sure about the "graphene" branding on Massi's side
  • 3 0
 LB produces rims for many other brands, including some custom work. Massi may have a special resin formulation or something which LB does for their rims.
  • 9 1
 Compared to Shurter's Scott, this bike looks very simple and straightforward. Could her phenomenal performances be down to talent?
  • 17 11
 I pleasure to see a far more rounded XC bike ridden by a top racer. Just goes to show you don't need a stem and bar combo as low as the fork crowns to compete at the highest level
  • 17 19
 So basically, you're unhappy about some top XC bikes and happy about some others. What matters more probably isn't quite the bike, but the way riders are positioned over the bike. Loana has a pretty stable position with a fairly straight core so the bar height like this works for her. With all respect for Mathieu van der Poel, but every picture I see of him racing he seems kinda hunched. So for that position, the lower bars work. The question of course is, is that really the best/fastest posture to ride a bike or (aside from longevity as an athlete) would he be better off with a higher cockpit (faster, more control etc.)? Maybe it just doesn't work for him and as they say, good health stops where good sports start. I'm no racer and I ride mostly standing on the pedals. My previous frame was a DMR Switchback. I once took a static picture of me on the bike and it struck me how hunched I was. When I bought the frame, the low top tube was the main thing so I thought I could cope with the short frame (about 375mm reach for my 6ft tall me). Until then I thought I could cope with it but then I decided I really needed to get a proper sized frame. I now have a BTR Ranger which has a lower top tube, but a higher stack and longer reach (460mm now). It works so much better for both control as well as posture. So yeah indeed a good geometry can definitely help your posture on the bike but I'm careful saying that low bars (because of negative rise and downsweep bars) necessarily cause bad posture. It also depends on dimensions like how long the arms are and hip flexibility (if you flex deeper there you won't hunch down as much to reach the bars).

So at the racing end of the spectrum, I wouldn't necessarily argue against what these bikes look like. If it takes a negative stem and downsweep to get in the right position then so be it. But it would be an interesting one to have an article (with views from athletes as well as coaches/trainers) on whether these positions are indeed any good.
  • 19 14
 @vinay: You had time to write all that? Must be bored.
  • 28 3
 @MattP76: you had time to read it?
  • 2 18
flag GZMS (Jun 16, 2021 at 2:22) (Below Threshold)
 Ok boomer
  • 13 6
 @MattP76: and yet you have time to bitch on EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE involving either a) carbon fibre composite frames, and/or b) low stack height cockpits. Give it a rest and go do something useful like having a wank.
  • 4 8
flag MattP76 (Jun 16, 2021 at 8:55) (Below Threshold)
 @Lloydmeister: No lol
  • 2 11
flag MattP76 (Jun 16, 2021 at 8:56) (Below Threshold)
 @dirtyburger: No because it clearly winds people like you up!
  • 10 0
 @MattP76: @MattP76: Yes, before I even got to the comments I knew there would be a post from you about stem/bar combo. The only constants in life are death, taxes and MattP76 bitching about stem/handlebar combos on XC racers
  • 3 0
 @scissors888: @scissors888: you forgot about his love of carbon fibre and 29ers
  • 1 4
 @scissors888: Ah my good friend. You forgot about Carbon Fibre and Mullet Bikes. If you are going to shoot me down give me the full house please.
  • 1 3
 Do you know what you numpties have missed? It was the fact I actually praised this riders race rig and applauded it!
  • 2 4
 @T4THH: Mullets not 29ers. I have no issues with 29ers.
  • 1 0
 @MattP76: ah yes, funnily enough I agree with you on mostly everything. I just don't say it
  • 2 0
 @MattP76: You had time to write all that? Must be bored.
  • 1 1
 @T4THH: Indeed
  • 4 0
 This is the case of an outstanding rider on a simple bike destroying the rest of the field. She is a machine who is as lean as they come. I would hate to see what would break on her should she take a tumble. Two of the top women have broken hands from falls recently. If Loana was to fall, she has very little meat on her bones to cushion the blow.
  • 2 0
 I've always found heavier people break more bones than lighter people when they crash or fall. More mass behind them and all.
  • 3 0
 Are those frame linkeage specific bearings around for longer? Sounds like a good option to optimize bearings for the minimal rotation and uni-directional loads in some places.
Of course installation would need some special attention but in my limited unterstanding there's a place for stuff like that.
  • 5 0
 All frame bearings are full complement bearings, full of ball bearings inside one touching with the next beside it. Normal bearings have a cage that spread ball bearings apart. Having more balls means more points of support between the two bearing races
  • 1 0
 @downhiller900sl: but the article states that they can't even fully rotate, which is still possible with full complement?
  • 7 0
 @SickEdit: the Black Bearings site only mention MAX bearings for frame pivots, no mention of bearings that are able to only rotate partially.
So the author of the article got it wrong, or Black Bearings make some bearings that are not directly available fro the consumer, I'm inclined for the former.
  • 1 0
 @Mesmomesmo: you got a link for that Black Bearings site? I couldn't find anything on google.com, maybe I'll try google.fr...

But you're right something is weird about bearings that only partially rotate, makes no sense.
  • 16 0
 @justinfoil: In France the "Black Bearing Company" is known as "B.B.C." Search for that.
  • 7 0
 Blackbearings.com, what do you know... I see no indication that their full complement frame bearings are special in that they only rotate a certain amount. They do note that because they are full complement, they have higher friction and because of that are suited for low movement placements and not a full rotation placement like wheels or pedals. Maybe it was lost in translation, but I'm pretty sure the minimal rotation stuff is more about suitability than actually not being able to rotate fully.
  • 5 0
 @hellanorcal: hehe. I always giggle when muscle car guys abbreviate Big Block Chevys. Especially it if it has a super charger, making it a blown BBC.
  • 2 0
 @hellanorcal: And they're French so the site might have some some risqué marketing on it. Make sure to turn safe search OFF.
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: BBC--also a remedy for giggling
  • 4 0
 As with many companies, they may produce some custom stuff for racers that they don't advertise on their site. Especially if it's prototype etc. I'd be very surprised for such a claim to be made by the mechanic without truth to it so I suspect it being a racer only or prototype setup.
  • 4 0
 @ratedgg13: but ball bearings that only rotate a bit don't make sense anyway. Especially since they claimed to also be full complement. If there are balls all around, why\how would the movement be limited?
  • 6 2
 Obviously that setup works for her, but I'd be more comfortable descending the woods of Leogang on a hardtail with a dropper than on a 100mm bike without.
  • 2 0
 Perhaps her performance on descents without a dropper - not to mention those on her ascents - is a clear indicator she possesses some uncanny skills. At least, that's the conclusion I've reached after collating all the data.
  • 2 0
 @tigerfish50: No doubt. Ridiculous fitness aside, that girl can ride a bike.
  • 3 0
 Massi have been a thorn in the Side of Masi (The true original brand). Here's an article dating back to 2010. And Tim Jackson is a friend so I know this is accurate. www.bikebiz.com/masi-v-massi
  • 2 0
 Waaaay too much talent to be racing on a low budget team. It's hard to figure out why Massi even has a team. They don't sell real mountain bikes, their website is a joke (just the parent company with the Massi link going back to the front page? ) it just doesn't make sense. Seriously, like some kind of funky money laundering scheme.
  • 3 0
 It looks to be an online retailer of cycling accessories / kit. No stores = little overhead = lots of money. You can take off your tinfoil hat now.
  • 7 1
 looks like a massirati
  • 3 2
 First MVDP wheel's have spoke reinforcing, now Lecomte's, whilst a lot of people say it's bullshit and that it's only done by old school wheel builders, I reckon there must be something to it if elite racers use it (other than holding a broken spoke in place).
  • 1 0
 if it prevents rubbing and noise and forces crossing spokes to tension or flex as one unit (imagine Tioga disc drive -esque), then I'd say that's a good thing.
  • 3 0
 Dunno how big Massi bikes is but am 99% sure some big(ger) factory team (Specialized, Trek, Scott, etc.) will try to pick her up if she continues winning like that
  • 4 0
 It looks like she is running a Scott Twinlock lever for the suspension lockout as well.
  • 2 0
 Yes, that's what I was thinking. Looks exactly like the Twinlock. It's hard to beat for the functionality and the clean appearance.
  • 4 0
 Me thinks she would have won on any of the other bikes without too much trouble.
  • 3 0
 I considered these Look pedals but at 400g for the pair at $250, I would only be saving about 20 grams from M520 which are $25/pair.
  • 4 1
 Watching her go down those hairy descents on the weekend without a dropper was anxiety inducing.
  • 23 0
 You models are always on edge. Relax.
  • 1 0
 Every time I see your profile name, it always reminds me of Zoolander movie.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: It's actually a quote from Kelly Bundy. She goes to modelling school and all they taught her on the first day was how to say "I am a model."
  • 4 0
 Crazy that even the pros have to race on replica wheels
  • 1 0
 Hawk Eye! ^^
  • 2 0
 Love the well-balanced, simple, low-maintenance design. Her mechanic should have plenty of free time to go OCD on the spokes.
  • 2 0
 @alicialeggett Catherine Pendrel's four World Cup wins in one season isn't the record. Juli Furtado won nine World Cup XC races in 1993.
  • 3 1
 hub looks like ZTTO china hub
  • 4 0
 If so, hopefully they changed out the ZTTO ratchets Wink
  • 1 0
 ztto hub is center-lock
  • 1 0
 That is funny. Haha.
  • 1 0
 Spoke reinforcing? Is this an efficiency thing and why don't we see it in other areas of cycling? How is it done?
  • 1 0
 Can someone explain how wrapping the spokes together affect wheel stiffness?
  • 23 0
 I think that just reveals the age of her mechanic
  • 3 3
 when spokes are untethered to each other, there can be lateral play if your spokes are not stiff as possible, as most xc racers do, but then even still, the spokes can move up and down left and right by 2-4 millimeters, which makes power transfer less effeicent to the wheels. greg minnar does it too, but mostly because they want wheels to be absolutely precise but still bendable, like the xc people want precise and stiff. it all boils down to power transfer if that helps.
  • 11 0
 It's also a way to keep the spoke in place in case you break one.
  • 1 0
 If you look carefully at the photo of the rear wheel from the non-drive side, you will see that these are flangeless hubs and the bladed spokes that usually run free with no contact to other spokes are interlaced and wrapped. So what was once straight is now deflect by about 3mm at the cross (or maybe 2mm each). That bend in the spokes is adding suspension elasticity and reducing unsprung weight (at a different frequency than that absorbed by a low pressure tubeless tire). So by making the spokes a low sticktion vibration absorber between the heavy tire and the low frequency responsive shocks the bike will roll faster over rough terrain. A minute faster, depending on the engine.
  • 4 1
 Who/What is Massi?
  • 2 0
 It's part of a big European bicycle - bicycle part supplier, Casa Masferer
  • 2 0
 @smartfartbart: Thank you, I never founda website or catalog online about those Massi bikes.
  • 2 0
 @mtb-journal: Do you not have Google then?

www.massi.bike/PDFVISUAL/MASSI_BIKES.pdf

A wide range of very xc oriented bikes - its almost bizarre how many versions of very similar bikes they have!
  • 1 0
 @paulskibum: No. Thank you.
  • 5 4
 Valves and tire logos are randomly placed. Come on, that seriously hurts my eyes!
  • 2 0
 is it just me or is that the cutest little rear shock of all time?
  • 4 0
 It’s not the size it’s how you use it
  • 2 0
 Flex stays...so hot right right.
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike left out a pretty important piece of info about this bike... 69 deg head tube angle. I don't need to upgrade!
  • 1 0
 SO she is winning WC and can't even get parts from her main sponsor? Sheś riding vapour!
  • 1 0
 What helped her win was she has no extra weight from electronic shifting and electronic power meter on her bike.
  • 2 0
 Lots of cool little details in this one, thanks!
  • 10 11
 "Her spokes are reinforced at the crossings for added wheel stiffness." It does'nt help stiffness, it's only in case of broken spoke in order to keep it in place.
  • 10 2
 I think it does add stiffness as it limits the movement between the spokes and thus help for the overall rigidity of the wheel. I am not 100% sure, but I remember that Asterion were doing this on their wheels also
  • 4 1
 This used to be popular in the early nineties. General consensus was it made wheels too stiff. But it seems to make a small comeback lately.
  • 1 0
 @IntoTheEverflow: I'd be happy to have it on my CX bike.
  • 1 3
 @Aksel31: Unfortunately measurable quantities are not about what you think or feel.
  • 3 1
 @dirtyburger Please direct us to these measurements you are talking about and show us how wrong he is.
  • 3 3
 A spoke only takes longitudinal loads, no bending and torsional loads. Tying them together in this way does not increase their stiffness, since a bit of wire is not going to transfer anything close to a significant share of the longitudinal load of one spoke into the other one. There are people who have soldered spokes together but thats so utterly stupid, I dont even want to talk about it. Please pick up a book about statics before typing some kind of angry comment.
  • 2 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: Agreed.
My only bet to how it constrains the spokes and thus makes the critical length for buckling lower. However, buckling is only relevant in compression, which isn't present in a normal tensioned wheel. So could she be running low spoke tension like Nico Vouilloz were known to do? (enduro-mtb.com/en/nicolas-vouilloz-the-relentless-pursuit-of-balance-sram-mtb-wheels)
Probably not, it's most likely placebo.
  • 2 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: and if those longitudinal loads are spread between two points at one end, does that not help increase max longitudinal loads?
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: As I said, winding a bit of wire around the spokes will not cause a significant load transfer from one spoke to the other. The friction between the two spokes is too small to to that. Even if you could wrap the wire around the spokes tight enough to transfer loads, one important questions still remains: Do you actually want to introduce any load in the middle of the spoke?
I would answer this questions with a simple no, because this would not only create a massive stress riser right in the middle of the spoke, where the spoke is weakest due to butting but also cause bending loads, since the force vector is not in line with the axis of the spoke. This causes additional bending loads.
What youre left with would be s spoke that gets bent and has a massive stress riser right at its thinnest point, even though it was never designed to handle such loads.
  • 1 1
 @IntoTheEverflow: read carefully. I never said they were wrong or that I knew otherwise, just that stiffness is a measurable quantity.
  • 2 6
flag radrider (Jun 16, 2021 at 6:29) (Below Threshold)
 @endoplasmicreticulum: Tying them together transfers their longitudinal strength to an opposing connected spoke. No different than a truss bridge. Please pick up some common sense before trying to pretend you know what you are talking about.I love these germans and swiss who come in here so high and mighty but really are clueless.
  • 2 0
 @Sylesej: You can lay a plane through the hub holes and nipples of the tied together spokes. Within this plane the buckling length is indeed reduced, but the buckling lenth perpendiciular to it will stay the same. When your spoke tension is so low that you have to worry about your spokes buckling, your nipples will just loose contact with the rim holes. Even if you were to fix all of this this, you would be left with a much lower fatigue limit, because the load in your spokes now not only changes its magnitude but also from tension to compression as the wheel revolves.
  • 1 0
 @radrider: I have a little experiment for you. Take 2 spokes, tie them together with wire and then on pull them, to see how much load is transfered. Just to give you a starting point: Spoke tension without a rider on the bike is about 1200N/122kg/270lb per spoke. Even if it manages to hold 50N without slipping, thats nothing and youre still left with a stress riser at the thinnest part of the spoke.
I mean, why shouldnt it work? My grandmas knitted socks have lasted a long time and they are a bunch of members that dont take side loads tied together. These two things are clearly the same...
  • 1 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: there already is a stress riser and bending since the the spokes cross. You're right that simple wrapping may not transfer significant force, but I think they are also soldered (see the gold color behind the wire?), and that will provide lots of "friction".

There is also just the idea of minimizing movement. Maybe the ties are less to make it stiff and more to help very loose spoke survive longer since if they're looser they're going rub against each other more, right on that thin spot as you mentioned.
  • 1 1
 @justinfoil: Yes, there is a stress riser, but not an unexpected one like in the midle of the spoke. The manufacturers expected it and designed the spoke to be able to take it. On the soldering part: Spokes get their strength through work hardening. The metal will loose its internal stresses and therefore hardness if you heat it up significantly, like when you solder it. Same as when making a knife. The glowing knife gets quenched and the rapid cooling causes internal stresses in the metal grid. The knife is now super hard but brittle. Then you warm it up SLIGHTLY to relieve some of these stresses but still keep it somewhet hard. Soldering is so hot, it will remove all of the stresses and the metal goes soft as butter.
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: only the thin wire is soldered (tin: low temperature), not the spokes!
  • 1 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: Please pick up a book about statics before typing some kind of angry comment.
  • 1 1
 @hellanorcal: Do you feel like disproving any of my points or nah? I really am actually curious where I went wrong.
  • 3 0
 @Sylesej: The buckling load of a long thin wire spoke is already laughably insignificant. If you are relying on the the spoke in compression the wheel will collapse,

I think Berds rope spokes have proven that spokes do not act in compression
endo's Point about the spoke nipple just pushing through is also very on point.
  • 3 1
 @Mikevdv: I guess that is as close as we will get to seeing some measurements. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: unexpected stress riser? The tie is at the cross, where you claim they expect it to be and make it stronger (false. Butting\thinning starts much closer to the hub end), and where I said there is already a riser from the crossing of spokes.
  • 2 0
 @endoplasmicreticulum: also soldering does not need to be hot, just enough to get the solder flowing and it will work in way in via cappilary action. Would probably not be enough to ruin whatever temper or hardening (spokes probably aren't hardened though) they have.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: Spokes arent hardened by heating and quenching, but by work hardening when they are drawn out.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_hardening
For structural applications, you would typically hard solder and that needs more than the 180-200°C for soft soldering. Stress risers appear at every change of diameter, so increasing the diameter of the spoke at one point doesnt make it stronger, but weaker, since the smallest diameter of the spoke stays constant. I dont really want to draw this discussion out much more, since I think we have come to the conclusion, that you shouldnt tie your spokes since it does nothing.
  • 2 0
 @Mikevdv: To be clear, I don't really see the point in tying the spokes together for normal use. I was trying to imagine how it could be relevant and remembered that Nico Vouilloz were known to run very low spoke tension in order to gain traction.
One of the issues with running such a setup for "daily" use were in fact durability, most likely fatigue induced such as @endoplasmicreticulum also reasons.
  • 3 2
 this woman is giving off some serious ricardo ricco vibes.
  • 1 0
 oil viscosity only affects LSR
  • 1 0
 Just a simple classic acoustic XC MTB
  • 1 0
 Who put those tyres on? They're totally out of alignment with the valve!
  • 1 1
 C'mon kids ....MASSI..legendary builder of exquisite bikes... been around a loooong timeSmile
  • 2 0
 Nope, that'd be MASI.
  • 1 0
 @krka73: Nope... spanish company MASSI been around longer than Italian US based MASI Smile
  • 1 0
 a whole pound lighter than Emily Batty's bike
  • 1 0
 The Massi website is this: www.massi.bike
  • 1 1
 Looks like a Santa Cruz Blur
  • 1 1
 Droppers make you faster. period.
  • 3 0
 @RonSauce: She won by almost 2 minutes.
Better choose another example.
  • 1 0
 @nozes: she would have won by two and a half with a dropper. See how.that works?
  • 1 0
 Meteors do not rise
  • 3 5
 I've seen the videos of these racers trying to descend in this last race. They really should get dropper posts. All of them.
  • 9 1
 Most of them have them now - the winner did not. What does that tell you?
  • 6 0
 @paulskibum: That the Leogang course is all about climbing …
  • 3 0
 @paulskibum:
That she won on the climbs.
But that is telling too.
  • 2 0
 All XC races are about climbing, but the dropper helps avoid crashes and may save a little time on the downhills.
  • 3 0
 @tacklingdummy: she doesn't need it because she has skills.
  • 2 0
 @PapaStone: All the pros have the best skills on the planet, but droppers can still help with crash avoidance, improve their speed on the downhills, and improve flow on the entire course. Obviously her setup worked for the course that day, but still many pros that have won using droppers for the reasons I mentioned. It is an individual choice on the specific course.
  • 2 0
 @paulskibum: "what does that tell you?"
she would have won by more with a dropper.
  • 1 4
 Funny the rider who shouldn't be worried about some extra grams cause her outstanding dominance is telling to not use dropper post because of the wheigh.
  • 1 1
 Shimano all the way.
  • 3 6
 Anyone check for that hidden motor LOL
  • 2 0
 You'll find it just left of center in Mademoiselle's chest
  • 1 0
 @tigerfish50: Can't discount that.
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