5 XC Race Weapons from the 2019 Nove Mesto World Cup

May 26, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  

Chloe Woodruff s new Pivot Mach 4 SL.
Chloe Woodruff's Pivot Mach 4 SL
Photos: Andy Vathis
Chloe's water bottle just fits in between the Fox Live valve module and shock - but it does fit.

Chloe Woodruff surprised and delighted her US fans with a runaway victory in the Short Track race at Nove Mesto. Her feat also marked the debut of Pivot's new dual-suspension race bike, the Mach 4 SL, and was the first-ever victory for the Fox Live Valve electronic suspension system. That's a lot to celebrate, especially considering that the Short Track podium has traditionally been the exclusive domain of hardtail riders - most of whom have their forks pressurized to the moon, or simply locked out.

Chloe is not very tall, so her negative-rise Tharsis stem and near-zero-ride bars put her stack height closer to that of a trailbike's.
Pivot has trimmed every possible millimeter from the small-sized Mach 4 SL frame's head tube area, including the use of internal headset cups, to keep the front of the 29er as low as it can get.

Five green lights: Chloe's Fox Live Valve battery/processor unit is set to firm up as quickly as possible after an impact.

Fork input cable.
Rear Fox Live Valve sensor.
Swingarm acceleration sensor.
Live Valve fork sensor.
Fork acceleration sensor.
Fox s Live Valve takes care of the bumps.
Shock Live Valve servo.

Analog Shimano XTR drivetrain...

This is the previious edition XTR crank. The reason being is that 165mm crank arms aren t available yet. Also Wolftooth 32T ring.
...With last year's XTR crankset, this year's chain guide, and a Wolf Tooth Dropstop chainring.

Fox Transfer seat post.
Fox Transfer dropper post - looks like 125mm...
Shimano lever for the Fox dropper.
...With a Shimano remote lever.

The new XTR brakes are beautiful to look at.

Mondraker s new full suspension XC rig the F-Podium RR
Team Primaflor Mondraker Rotor
F-Podium RR SL

Photos: Andy Vathis
Mondraker's recently released F-Podium RR dual-suspension XC bike in its Team livery.

PB photographer Andy Vathis detailed Team Primaflor Mondraker Rotor's dual-suspension race bike. It's the new F-Podium RR chassis, tricked out with a busload of gram-reducing components from the group's sponsors. Rebecca McConnell earned second place and Spaniard Pablo Rodriegues placed a respectable 14th in the XCO this weekend.

Fox Factory SC fork Progress Rims Progress Hubs.
Fox Factory Stem Cast fork, Progress Rims, Progress Hubs.
Remote lockout

Mondraker's standard stem is nearer to 50 millimeters to compensate for its massive reach. The addition of a 100mm stem should make it a record breaker.

Elaborate brake mount yet elegant.
Elaborate brake mount, yet elegant.
Tucked in rear brakes are an XC trend, probably influenced by the road disc standard.

Rotor crankset power meter in the BB.
Rotor's crankset has its power meter inside the bottom bracket axle.

Side view of the link.
The F-Podium is a dual-link type rear suspension. The lower link also forms the lower shock mount.
Carbon upper link and Fox remote-controlled shock.

KCNC Pulleys for added bling.
SRAM XX1 Eagle changer with a sweet looking KCNC pulleys and pulley cage upgrade.

Crankbrothers Egg Beaters.
Crankbrothers Egg Beater pedals have never been matched for simplicity vs function..
Maxxis Rekon Race 29x225
Maxxis Rekon Race tires - hard to believe racers can corner fast with so little tread.

Frenchman Jordan Sarrou captured tenth place at Nove Mesto riding for the Absolute Absalon team aboard a dual-suspension BMC Fourstroke. Sarrou is considered by many as one to watch this season, joining a cadre of French racers who are rising to prominence in enduro and downhill. The Fourstroke settles the decision whether or not to race with a dropper post, because its lightweight dropper mechanism is integrated into the frame.

Stealthy dropper post by BMC that was made for this frame. Everything is internal including the clamp.
BMC's stealthy-looking integrated dropper is actuated by a simple, spring-loaded pin that indexes into holes in the post.

Carbon crown on the SR fork.
Carbon crown on the SR Suntour fork.
Sprung with the help of SR Suntour front and back
The shock and fork are both controlled by a handlebar remote lever.

Integrated mud guard to keep the lower linkage nice and clean.
Integrated mud guard to keep the lower linkage nice and clean.
Carbon upper link. BMC was an early adopter of the short-link four-bar rear suspension.

SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain powered by a Rotor carbon Kapic crankset.

Sram Level Ultimate brakes.
Sram Level Ultimate brakes.
Absalon Time pedals ATAC XC.
Absalon-signature Time ATAC pedals.

FRM aluminum stem with titanium hardware, and carbon handlebar

BH revealed their latest hardtail under Carlos Coloma at Nove Mesto. The Spanish bike maker did not paint, nor clear coat the carbon, so it gives us some insight into the number of layers and the methods with which a high-strength, ultra lightweight frame is constructed.

Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
The unpainted carbon reveals many of the complicated layers required to join the seat stays to the main frame.

Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
Extra layers reinforce the highly stressed headset-cup areas.
Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
Minimal chain protection...

Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
Wireless remote SRAM AXS Eagle transmission.

Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
SRAM Level Ultimate brakes...
Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
...160mm rotors

Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
Prototype brand carbon wheels. Tires? Chaoyang Phantom Speed TLR semi-slicks weigh in at a claimed 540 grams.

Prologo saddle.
Prototype BH of Carlos Coloma
Rotor Kapic crankset sans chain guide.

Conway is a German brand and a new face on the World Cup cross country circuit. Their elite level race bike is the carbon RLC hardtail. This one belongs to Nina Benz, Team Conway X-Sight's U23 rider. Let's have a look.
Conway RLC

Conway RLC
Fulcrum Passion wheels. Schwalbe Racing Ralph in back, Racing Ray up front.
Conway RLC
SRAM XX1 Eagle sans Bluetooth.

Conway RLC
Negative rise, 70mm stem and 10mm negative rise handlebar.

Conway RLC
Left side for the SID's remote fork control, Right side for the dropper lever.
Conway RLC
CST dropper.


  • 42 0
 That BMC has the cleanest dropper.
  • 24 0
 I love low top tubes and these bikes just look like so much fun. Especially the bike Cloe is riding. The only thing I'd change for myself is to shift the front wheel forwards using whatever it takes (reach adjust headset, angleset, longer fork...). Not to downcountry the thing, just because my feet would hit the front wheel if my timings is off. Not to say there is anything wrong with that bike of course. It was built for her and she put on an amazing performance.

I tell you, park/enduro type riding may put people off because of the skill required and the related consequences to both body and equipment. But with XC looking so much fun I expect another resurgence of the sport and more and more people getting into it. Not necessarily at the top race level. But just because you can now get a cheap aluminium hardtail and still enjoy hydraulic damping, hydraulic disc brakes, excellent Deore level gearing and even set up your tires tubeless for cheap. And your stuff will actually hold up. Being from The Netherlands, I'm happy to see with the great performances of MvdP, Anne and Anne, XC racing is getting more mainstream attention. Maybe even at the level that Bart Brentjens was getting back when he was a top dog. Good stuff and hopefully something that will help the trail building lobby Smile . If only they'd quit featuring formula one car racing for starters and get the pretty dominant BMX racers some more well deserved attention too...
  • 2 0
 Your feet wouldn't hit the tires unless you tried to ride her bike
  • 19 0
 I wonder if the Conway is aTwitty handler?
  • 3 0
 only after the fire is gone
  • 13 0
 Heavily CNC'd jocket wheels save a tiny bit of weight until they pack with mud, and are responsible for so many blown derailleurs when they do pack with mud or grass I'd be surprised if they're left on for anything other than dry races.
  • 10 2
 Carbon Rotor Kapic cranks on the BMC? Not on Rotor's website, and a google search doesn't bring anything up. Must be very new. Interesting direction from a company that's know for its CNC'd aluminium.

Also, the Kapic cranks on the BH are most definitely not carbon
  • 2 0
 Ha ha, you're right! Those Carbon Kapic launch at Sea Otter Europe... athletes got first dibs! And also correct: alloy Kapic on Coloma's bike.
  • 12 1
 Loving the raw carbon frame and oil slick drivetrain.
  • 7 0
 Interesting to see oval chain rings. Switched both of my bikes to oval chain rings earlier this year and they made noticeable difference on climbs/technical climbing.
  • 7 0
 I notice the biggest difference on punchy, rocky, technical climbs. No dead spots.
  • 5 0
 I wish all brands had a raw carbon finish version of their models. It looks so much better and more interesting than a paint job.
  • 6 0
 Conway - as always with German brands - a very German name!
  • 19 0
 You`d prefer PanzerFahrrad?
  • 7 0
 "Conrad" would work too.
  • 3 0
 @Franzzz: I could get behind that name.
  • 3 0
 haha, yes this was pretty fashionable in germany 25 years ago: Cube, Ghost and more recent Liteville, Bionicon and so on.. But Conrad made my day though Big Grin
  • 5 0
 @headshot: probably should be called Konrad then!
  • 6 4
 I don't know how I feel about Live Valve in competition.

Obviously everyone is using technology to improve their performance, but Live Valve seems to start to edge into a place where electronics are actively adjusting things/making decisions in order to make riding easier/more efficient. I have no problem with it for regular riding (I'm not claiming that it's an e-bike or shouldn't be allowed anywhere other bikes are), but it takes things a step further than either clever mechanical damper circuits or electronic shifting.
  • 4 4
 I think it hurts the sport honestly. Its part of racing to have to feel how the suspension is working and to be able to communicate that to your mechanic to make the right changes. I also think its good that at the moment suspension adjustments you make may compromise some sections to help with other sections. That balancing act is a neat part of mountain bike racing. yes you can argue that lockouts and such do a similar job but you still have to know when to activate it, not just let some computer figure things out for you.
  • 7 2
 @nismo325: Where were you guys complaining about specialized Brain for the last decade or so?
  • 3 2
 @clink83: the Brain is just an inertia valve. It's potential is really different than electronically adaptive suspension.
  • 2 1
 @MarcusBrody: Live Valve is just a Brain that actually works. It can only give you open or closed. There's no in between. Maybe you might be on to something if Live Valve could infinitely adjust LSC every second to keep the ride height the same, but all it can do is open the suspension when it senses a big enough impact, then close it again after a user-definied amount of time.
  • 4 0
 @nismo325: It's thoughts like this that stifle improvements to what we have. Similar things were said when Shimano introduced Index shifting. People complained that it gave an unfair advantage, due to the precise shifting. The same thing happened when Shimano introduced integrated shifting into the brake levers, the riders no longer had to sit down, and reach to the down tube to shift. People complained it gave an unfair advantage as the rider could sprint and shift at the same time. The best thing about this LIVE Valve Technology, is you don't have to use it... FOX isn't forcing riders to use it, but once riders do use it, they understand it. Embrace the changes, so far, I've only seen changes like this lead to something better for everyone.
  • 1 0
 @PAmtbiker: I can see what you're saying and somewhat agree. It's why I said in my first post that Live Valve is starting to edge into the area where I'm uncomfortable with. I think within a couple of hardware generations, we're likely to have more advanced versions as you're suggesting.

That being said, I'm all for the development and use of the technology recreationally. I wouldn't spring for it given current prices, but if someone gave me a bike with Live Valve, I'd be excited to use it.
  • 5 1
 've tried my hardest to hate mondraker... but that rear brake mount just won my heart. I love you mondraker
  • 3 0
 Must be something in it for the way Becca McConnell beasted it around that course on it.
  • 2 0
 @l0key: She didn’t ride that bike. She ride the old model FS with the crazy head tube.
  • 6 1
 I love how to did not paint, nor clear coat the carbon. Looks rad.
  • 3 1
 These are starting to look more and more like trail bikes as the year goes on. Which is good to see they are opting for good all rounders and not just climbing!
  • 3 0
 That Mondraker looks so fit and sexy Smile
  • 2 0
 Chloe Woodruff's Pivot Mach 4, is that a small or an extra small? Seems like an extra small. No?
  • 2 0
 That is an XS Frame.
  • 3 0
 They’re not bikes... they’re weapons!
  • 2 0
 that mondraker looked wayyyyy too big for the senorita riding it.
  • 1 0
 I don't think that's McConnell's bike. I think hers had the stem set down into the headtube like it is on this one: www.mondraker.com/uploads/images/pages/5cd9bc03f4177_mondraker-f-podium-action-prototypes-2-5cd326c2aeba5-jpg.jpg
  • 1 0
 Chloe Woodruff is quite small.
  • 1 0
 Came for the new trek that I'll never buy nor ride
  • 1 0
 That Mondraker rider clearly downsized the forward long geo...
  • 2 1
 Pivot look made me want to ride 24-26" steel singlespeed hardtail
  • 1 0
 Chloe's chainring is small!
  • 1 0
 32t Chainrings are pretty standard among the women's category.
  • 1 0
 Chloe’s bike is an XS.
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