Bike Check: Vlad Dascalu's Protek 29FS - Nove Mesto World Cup XC

May 25, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  


Don't worry if you're not familiar with Protek - the company's mountain bike lineup is almost entirely focused on cross-country racing. Vlad Dascalu will be aboard their 29FSTeam during this weekend's World Cup XC race in the Czech Republic, battling it out in the U23 category.

The 29FSTeam is a lightweight carbon fiber speed machine that's handmade in Italy, with 100mm of travel, 29" wheels, and sharp handling XC race geometry. Dascalu rides for the Brújula Bike Team, which helps explain a good portion of the bike's parts spec - Rotor, Doctor Wheels, and MSC Tires all have headquarters in Spain, where the team is based. And yes, you read that correctly - there's a carbon wheel company called Doctor Wheels.
Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Vlad Dascalu


Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
The 29FS team frame is said to weigh a scant 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg) without a shock, and the entire bike likely weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 pounds (10 kg). Protek use T800 carbon fiber with a 12k weave, which is what gives the frame such a distinctive look.


Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
There aren't any rear pivot points to be seen - the bike relies on the flex of the stays to provide the compliance necessary to allow it to go through all 100mm of travel.


Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Not all racers are locked into one suspension sponsor, and Vlad is running a RockShox SID up front and a Fox Float DPS in the rear, both attached to a remote on the handlebar that can be used to lock them out on the fly.


Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Those MSC Roller tires are aired up to 21 psi in the front and 23 psi in the rear.


Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Prologo takes care of the bike's saddle and grips.


Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Got teeth? When your bike only weighs 22 pounds, and you're one of the fastest U23 racers in the world, it's a little easier to get away with running a 36-tooth chainring.


Vlad Descalu Junior WC racer
Fatto a manno in Italia.



87 Comments

  • 34 1
 "And yes, you read that correctly - there's a carbon wheel company called Doctor Wheels." Thanks for the clarification, because I was headed straight to the comments section ....
  • 53 10
 Perfect for dentists.
  • 16 0
 The 29FSTeam is a lightweight carbon fiber speed machine that's handmade in Italy, with 100mm of travel, 29" wheels, ... sharp handling XC race geometry... And a second mortgage.
  • 7 1
 @sngltrkmnd: Speaking of dentists, I was going to say "a hit to your wallet more painful than a root canal." Then I realized that no one carries enough cash in their wallet for that bike. Edit: hit to your bank account.
  • 10 9
 @mtbikeaddict: the only issue with root canal is when it hits, A you are wlling to spend any money and B you will compliment the guy who frees up a spot for you in 2 week queue and tell him how the color of his gloves reminds you of a wonderful brand called Yeti. You will love him andd his bike and won’t let anyone talk sht about him
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
i dont get all these dentist comments a year ago or i had root canal and excluding anesthetic i paid around 50-60 euros at private office
  • 1 0
 Doctor Wheels www.drwl.es
  • 9 0
 @Asmodai: "euros" add two more zeros and that's what you'd pay in the US
  • 9 0
 When You're riding only with doctors Big Grin youtu.be/ZFtyh-5LPxw
  • 3 0
 @Asmodai: come to the US sometime, healthcare is about as painful as dropping a cinder-block on your foot
  • 3 0
 @nfontanella: for that kind of money... book a flight...bring your bike, shred the local trails and do what you need to do...

just saying!
  • 2 0
 @vtracer: Well, in eastern Europe we compensate for the "difference" with bribes and/or long waiting lists + high-potential physicians are leaving for the Western world. It's not unusual to be denied a treatment and ...
  • 1 0
 @sngltrkmnd: In other words, it's worth about 10 root canals Wink
  • 2 0
 @martin737: my cousin Martin lives in Bratislava and my family is Slovak....

That you bro?
  • 1 0
 @nvranka: Don't think so, mate. Used to live in Alexandria, VA and have some relatives in PA/IL, don't know about Long Beach though Wink
  • 1 0
 @martin737: would have been too weird haha

Cheers
  • 1 0
 @Asmodai: with all due respect to your physical and financial suffering, there is a reason why people from Sweden fly to Poland to get their teeth fixed, even on a week notice, and they still save money... Like I do... There's a whole world out there and some people don't have it cheap. A filling in Sweden costs 150€, root canal goes easily into 400€ area and up, and up... and up... I wouldn't expect US to be much cheaper.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: man do I feel uneducated. All these years I thought you were a US guy who set a WAKI flag. I didn’t realize you’re European.
Sweden isn’t even an unusual flag.
  • 1 0
 @Asmodai: you also don't get punctuation.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: With Insurance a Root Canal in the US is $1200-1500. Dental insurance is a bit of a joke here, you can get the same prices paying cash without insurance.
  • 1 0
 @OnTheRivet: $2500-3500 cash in MA (including crown, bit more for a bridge)
  • 18 1
 Ohhh man, finally a guy from Romania !!! Baga mare Vlade !!!
  • 4 0
 And guess who is the winner in the U23 category in Nove Mesto :-) congrats guys!!
  • 16 0
 Just what the doctor ordered.
  • 8 0
 But what about my prescription for more cowbell?
  • 3 0
 @macross87: Babies.. before we're done here.. y'all be wearing gold-plated chamois.
  • 12 0
 Pfft...the stem's aluminum. I demand MORE carbon fibre!
  • 11 0
 Is that bike made out of carbon fiber? Cant tell....
  • 7 0
 A note on the T800: 12k isn't a weave, it's the number of fibers in a tow (bundle of fibers). The checker pattern is from a plain weave.
  • 7 0
 I don't follow XC much since the early 90's That said, that is a DAMN sexy machine right there. Purpose built just a much as a WC DH bike.
  • 8 0
 that chainstay / seatstay connection is so thin, brahhhh.
  • 7 17
flag mtbikeaddict (May 25, 2018 at 12:04) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah... Relying on the flex of the stays for the travel? That sounds sketchy. Especially because I thought a big point about carbon was that it's stiff.
  • 11 2
 @mtbikeaddict: Quick! Someone tell Scott, Kona, Cannondale, Specialized, and Orbea, who all use chain stay flex as well.
  • 2 4
 @LeDuke: because Cannondale is a byword for frame strength and reliability.
  • 5 0
 @mtbikeaddict: Carbon fibre can be stiff or compliant where it's needed. Head tube, down tube, BB: stiff. Rear seat or aft chain stays: compliant.
  • 6 1
 @mtbikeaddict: Better not tell the people using composite hockey sticks, golf club shafts or tent poles!
  • 4 2
 Well, then I stand corrected. Just seemed slightly mutually exclusive when every review tends to be that carbon wheels, frame, etc are better because they're lighter and stiffer, and the comments diss carbon (esp handlebars and saddle rails) as too stiff; it doesn't flex, it shatters. And then I saw this, so... Anyway, I apologize, I now recall reading some other things about this... The Orbea Occam, iirc, uses the same principle.
  • 3 3
 @LeDuke: just look how many giant stances have snapped and you'll see that flex pivot is a bad idea
  • 2 0
 @mhoshal: The Giant Stance is made out of aluminum. Not carbon fiber, which can be, and IS, designed to flex in different ways, or not at all, based on the layup schedule.
  • 1 0
 The Stance is also an entry level bike.
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: so its ok for 1500 dallar bikes to snap because you say it's entry level lol stupidest thing I've heard in a while.
  • 1 0
 @mhoshal: A mass produced entry-level alloy FS bike and a one-off purpose built race machine are two vastly different objects.
  • 4 0
 Bafta Vlade!!! Suntem cu ochii pe tine că pe butelie. ????
  • 3 0
 Now that is a super bike. How they used to be! Wow!
  • 3 0
 I sure hope that bottle cage is carbon.
  • 2 0
 I've never wanted to go out and a buy a XC bike...... Until today, just pump them tyres up to 45psi for this big lad
  • 7 5
 This is not a mountain bike. Its a road bike for the dirt! Horrendous thing. And yes....i dont know what i am talking about!
  • 2 0
 Look at those Guide brakes!! i think Vlad has some background from the DH...
  • 23 0
 I guess he wanted something that wouldn't slow him down too much.
  • 5 2
 @cmcrawfo: Guides are always slowing you down because the master cylinders are defective and don't allow the pads to fully retract.
  • 2 0
 I like the acronym for the wheels DRwl (Drool). Maybe I am just being captain obvious and everyone else saw this too.
  • 3 1
 What kind of stat is " Likely 22 lbs"? that's like saying I would "likely" be able to afford this bike someday...
  • 1 1
 How about an all-mountain vs xc comparison article where you check out a trail on both types of bikes and report on which is better? I just can't imagine ever riding an xc bike and I'd love to see this topic explored.
  • 2 0
 Notice he avoided carbon saddle rails. After going through my third set, so do I!
  • 3 0
 Vlad the Impaler? Is that you?
  • 2 0
 Some of the most beautiful carbon I have ever seen.
  • 4 6
 "There aren't any rear pivot points to be seen - the bike relies on the flex of the stays to provide the compliance necessary to allow it to go through all 100mm of travel."

What? The main pivot is behind / above the bottom bracket.

www.cicliprotek.it/en/project/protek-29fsteam-frame
  • 5 1
 Rear pivot = the one normally located somewhere near the axle, towards the rear of the bike.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for posting that link! 100mm worth of flex in the stays really didn't seem right at all.
  • 4 0
 Correct. That's the 'main' pivot. There are no 'rear' pivots between the chainstay and seatstay.
  • 2 0
 @MTBrent, exactly. I was referring to the fact that there’s no pivot on the seat or chain stays near the rear axle. The frame doesn’t flex 100mm - it only moves the small amount that the rearmost pivot typically would.

It’s not an uncommon design - there are a number of shorter travel bikes that use a similar configuration.
  • 2 3
 @mikekazimer: As a technical writer I would recommend you say "rearmost" pivot then. Your writing implies that there are no "rear" pivots. Sorry to be pedantic but you did confuse some of your readers.
  • 1 0
 @Sycip69er: Likely confuses very few readers. When pivots do exist at or near the rear axle I have only ever seen this location referred to as rear pivot. Ever.
  • 1 0
 The rainbow straps come from XC marathon world champion Periklis Ilias though!
  • 4 6
 "There aren't any rear pivot points to be seen - the bike relies on the flex of the stays to provide the compliance necessary to allow it to go through all 100mm of travel." Umm sure looks like pivot bearings behind that rotor..... www.pinkbike.com/photo/15937926
  • 4 0
 On such a design the distance between the pivot at the swing link up top and the pivot behind the BB will change as the suspension goes through its travel, which means the chain stays and seats stays are trying to bend at the rear of the rear triangle. Normally, the bending is taken care of by a pivot above the rear axle (faux 4 bar), at the rear axle (split pivot), or below the rear axle (Horst link). Or, such as Scott, Cannondale, etc and the bike above, the stays are designed to flex. You might be confusing this with a virtual pivot (VPP, Maestro, DW-Link) where the entire rear triangle is rigid.
  • 2 0
 why isnt the f*cking seat carbon fiber?
  • 2 0
 The carbon weave is hypnotic... nnniiccceeeeee.
  • 2 0
 can someone please fix the sag ring.... its crooked.
  • 3 0
 He Protec, he attac
  • 1 0
 would it be possible to have a full spec list on future bike checks please?

protek seatpost & handlebar?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer There ARE rear pivots. You can see them in the 2nd last pic behind the chain ring
  • 4 0
 Oh. Never mind i see what you mean now.
  • 2 0
 So, they're using Scotts Twin-Loc Remote FYI.
  • 1 0
 Now we know who the Elite Fly water bottle was made for.
  • 1 0
 What kind of human beings are you.
  • 1 0
 Those seat stays are scary thin
  • 1 0
 Is it VPP? Looks a lot like my blur.
  • 1 0
 Fork looks like it has about 2" of travel available...
  • 1 0
 22lbs... I thought it would be lighter
  • 1 1
 anyone know which variant of the scott remote that is and where you can get them?
  • 1 0
 Vlad Dracula grrrr grrr.
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