Bike Check: Brendan Fairclough's Scott Gambler - Darkfest 2020

Feb 6, 2020
by Samantha Saskia Dugon  



We're back in Stellenbosch, South Africa, for Darkfest 2020, and the course is bigger and longer than ever before. We caught up with Fairclough to check out his new Gambler Tuned and find out how he sets up race bike for a week of, well, not racing.


2020 Scott Gambler Tuned.
Cockpit view of Fairclough's DH bike.

Bike Details
Frame: 2020 Scott Gambler Tuned, size large
Shock: Fox X2 with 525 in/lb spring
Fork: Fox 49 fork, 85 PSI
Wheels: ENVE M9 rims 29'' front, 27.5" rear, Chris King hubs
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHR, 25 PSI
Drivetrain: DMR Axe cranks, 165mm, DMR Blade 36T chainring, TRP G Spec DH7 der/shifter
Brakes: TRP G Spec DH
Cockpit: Deity Intake DM 50mm stem, Deity BF800, 30mm rise bars cut to 780mm, DMR Deathgrips
Pedals: DMR Vault

bigquotesI change my bike so minimally for Darkfest. All I do is wind the high and low-speed compression on the shock all the way in, and then one click out. I leave the fork the same as the World Cup, and 35 PSI back and front in my tyres. I’m running it in 29er front, 27.5 back. I’m actually running it in the 29er setting so its actually a pretty low bottom bracket. That's pretty easy to adjust then if you wanted it a bit higher it's super easy, but yeah, I like it low and long.Brendan Fairclough

DMR Axe Cranks with the DMR Blade 36T chainring.

2020 Scott Gambler Tuned.
Fine details on the Gambler Tuned.

Chris King hubs.

TRP G Spec DH brakes
Along with the TRP G Spec DH7 derailleur.
The full TRP Setup.

Full Deity Cockpit.


MENTIONS: @SCOTT-Sports



179 Comments

  • 311 1
 Don't say it
  • 54 5
 Reminds me more of the Atherton bikes than a Session.
  • 77 44
 LoOkS LiKe A sEsSiOn
  • 56 3
 Looks much better
  • 11 7
 Looks like a Huffy!
  • 101 0
 Looks like a school bus
  • 152 0
 Looks like I can't afford it
  • 46 2
 Luchs Leica Seschen
  • 6 0
 looks like a tangerine
  • 9 3
 Looks like yer mum.......
  • 16 4
 Looks like Chester Cheeto made love to Trump's hair.
  • 4 1
 looks like a bike
  • 2 1
 Looks like a Kona with the top of the rocker cut off.
  • 4 1
 Looks like Scott
  • 4 1
 i mean it's just so crazy how much it looks like an orange session
  • 1 0
 @Telemahn: Yeah, it's only lacking rivets.
  • 3 0
 looks like tony the tiger had a kid with a session
  • 3 0
 Looks like the new visual standard in horst link suspension design!
  • 1 0
 Looks like a German Pinscher.
  • 1 1
 In my solid opinion, this bike looks WAY better than a session in my solid opionion. Trek needs to update that old stanky lookin bike for something tats as fricken wicked epic as this rig, hell yeah bud, you already know!
  • 2 0
 Looks better than a session
  • 72 2
 That is one of the nicest bikes I have ever seen!
  • 3 1
 Second to it
  • 16 2
 These session's are getting better every year!
  • 42 1
 The seat is crooked...ocd twitch right now
  • 10 0
 that's from doing one handed landings and leg-gripping his seat for dear life
  • 4 0
 was gonna say. driving me nuts
  • 17 0
 If you’re riding darkest size jumps you need to leave room on one side for your giant balls
  • 1 0
 why man!!!! why point this out to me haha
  • 24 0
 This has got to be one of the best looking DH bikes out there. Beautiful colour, good decals. Nailed it Scott!
  • 22 0
 Loving the simple and symmetrical look of the DMR crank and ring. The whole bike has that vibe actually. Perfection.
  • 16 2
 Enve wheels for 90 foot gaps. It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if it pays off for him
  • 8 1
 Envés are not afraid of buffed take offs and landings at 60kph... It's the rocks man
  • 2 1
 They only have to last 1 day when your sponsored
  • 1 0
 And isn't it butted 1.5 spokes?
  • 3 1
 Wheels seem to hold up just fine...

www.instagram.com/p/B5Qa3CUj_e2
  • 14 0
 Just look at the dust on the bike...oh the days. Come on summer
  • 45 0
 Which day are you having for your summer this year?
  • 5 1
 @Dropthedebt: I’ve booked the last two weeks of May.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: either very optimistic or going abroad?
  • 15 2
 So I run more tyre pressure than one top freeride guy?
Feeling roudy right now
  • 37 0
 Funny, you should feel over pumped
  • 1 0
 You should ask yourself?
  • 8 0
 For these bike checks I wish they could demonstrate how stiff and slow their suspension is. Saying its stiff means nothing without some way for us to interpret that. Slam the bike down, seat bounce and push the forks down. Visually seeing how stiff their bikes are would be very satisfying. Thanks
  • 10 5
 Put your compression dial all the way in and try for yourself?
  • 12 0
 The demonstration of the suspension is called "Darkfest"
  • 4 0
 @Boosting: these pro guys have custom tuning in their suspension setup that let's them reach much more stiffer levels of damping that our OEM equipment would not even reach at full closure of compression dial (all in)
  • 1 0
 @downhiller900sl: have u ever put a bomber 58 all in... its almost a lockout lol
  • 4 0
 Can anyone with more knowledge of suspension explain what he's doing with his compression? Does that make the suspension firmer?
  • 4 0
 yes, lots.
  • 4 0
 Nearly turns it off
  • 7 1
 TRP wooo
  • 6 0
 So clean.
  • 6 1
 Why bother listing PSI numbers without listing rider weight?
  • 10 4
 Why bother with any of those specifics? The psi in his fork and tires has absolutely zero carry over for anyone, it's all just trivial information.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: as we won't ever jump like these guys so we dont need those settings!!!
  • 5 0
 These new Gamblers for 2020 look so sweet.
  • 1 0
 Smaller back wheel is a good idea, but a pain in the arse. Overall this bike is optimal. Cool to see he's running a DHR in the front, I was going to do that, but then I was like, "OMG follow the rules, they're there for a reason".
  • 1 0
 My Canyon Spectral come with a set of DHR II MaxxGrip front and rear and it works very well!
  • 7 4
 A 29 inch front wheel and a seat slightly turn to the left...... here in Merica, That’s grounds for war
  • 20 1
 We sure do love our wars!
  • 4 1
 @kittenjuice: makes the Defense stock go up...

P"
  • 3 0
 85PSI in the fork??? 525lbs coil? come on i'm sure this bike is stiffer than this!!!
  • 2 0
 I can’t believe his tires aren’t blowing off the rims in those turns. Sometimes I feel like Brendan and taking the piss with his set up claims
  • 3 8
flag Boosting (Feb 6, 2020 at 16:03) (Below Threshold)
 Keep in mind he might have a shit ton of spacers in his fork and he weights about 130 pounds. 25psi on modern tubeless tires is perfectly fine for his weight too. Kooks
  • 7 2
 @Boosting: 130 pounds? Thought he was adult sized
  • 1 0
 @Boosting: Hmmmm, I use 25psi at 240lbs, my kid at 140lbs uses 18psi, no problems so far Smile
  • 1 0
 @Boosting: we never talked about tire pressure... these guys are jumping doubles over 40ft
  • 1 0
 @audric: first comment chief
  • 1 1
 @audric: and they're not doubles btw
  • 1 0
 @SLBIKES: yes, we're on the same page
  • 2 0
 @Boosting: what are they if not doubles?
  • 1 4
 @audric: jumps. A double is when you jump in the landing of the next jump, effectively using two jumps. This is just big airs. Thanks for listening chap
  • 3 0
 @Boosting: that’s a quad. Using two doubles.
  • 2 0
 @Boosting: No it isnt.
  • 4 0
 Awesome bike right out of the box. You see a ton of them at Whistler.
  • 1 0
 Really?????
  • 1 0
 That bike looks fecking awesome. I had a specialized tarmac in those exact colours a few years back. O wait you all gonna hate me now.... But fuck yeah bloody awesome looking bike
  • 4 1
 I wonder how many wheels he needs to make it through the season.
  • 43 0
 at least 2
  • 2 0
 I liked it more with the Bos suspension, are Bos even still going? Their usd fork and syors shock looked amazing
  • 1 0
 they are junk and the company alsmost went under
  • 1 0
 Strange that he is running the same psi front and back specially with different sized wheels. I'd think his front tire feels too stiff or his back one too soft!
  • 1 0
 wheel size has nothing to do with psi, thats tire width you are thinking of
  • 1 0
 @Civicowner: Wheelsize does have to do with psi. Larger wheels have higher air volume if width stays the same. I run a 16psi tubeless on a 29x2.6 Maxxis Minion F. For 650b I'd have to run 18psi and 20psi for 26 to have the same feel.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: where are you pulling these "facts" from?

Force = area*pressure

29x2.6 has the same cross sectional area as 26x2.6

Force -> how firm the tire is
  • 1 0
 @Civicowner: A larger wheel of the same width requires more air. Have you tried running the same tire pressure on a bmx tire as you do on your mountainbike? If I were to run the same psi on different sized wheels I would either get less grip on the bigger wheel or more tire squirm on the smaller one.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: Actually yes i have now that you think about it. 30psi in a 2.5 feels the same. Have you tried is the question?

If you think the front and rear tire have to be the same pressure as you stated in your original comment, you may now leave the chat
  • 1 0
 @Civicowner: Of course, I have tried. It is through trial and error that I get to the ideal pressure I need for riding. I also don't think you need the same tire pressure front and back even if wheelsize and width are the same. I tend to run 3psi higher in the back. And from experience 25psi in a bmx tire does not feel the same as 25psi in mtb wheel. If you can't feel that difference I must say I'm rather surprised!
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: i cant becasue i run 80psi in my bmx tires
  • 4 0
 she´s got the look!!!
  • 2 0
 Only guy running less than 40psi ????????
  • 3 0
 Hot shit wow
  • 2 1
 ENVE wheels? Those'll never last!

(/s, because it's apparently required these days)
  • 3 0
 Orange enough for you?
  • 3 0
 Donald Trump say "no".
  • 1 0
 @bigtim: I and a centrist and despise both our major political parties ...but dammit that's funny. Big Grin
  • 1 0
 usually bikes end up this color when teying really hard to blend the fugly fox orange fork....needs more black
  • 1 0
 Glad to see it is a used bike and not a beauty queen that you can’t find a spec of dirt on...
  • 2 0
 Nice color, hello McLaren
  • 2 0
 Looks like a life vest, but Its missing 3M reflective tape.
  • 2 1
 Corrected to 35PSI..... makes a lot more sense. I wish they sold this in a mullet setup!
  • 2 1
 That is a nice looking bike, imagine it with some Boxxers on.. mmmmm yummy.
  • 2 0
 If I ever buy a DH bike, this is a strong contender. So clean.
  • 2 0
 Love that colour! The entire bike is gorgeous Drool
  • 1 0
 Take a bike and get it covered in dust and it will always look better than when clean.
  • 8 7
 where the ''looks like a session'' comments at?
  • 5 0
 Up top...
  • 2 0
 Everywhere always
  • 1 0
 LLAS but with way stronger chain stays
  • 1 0
 how many bottom out tokens
  • 1 0
 Brendan told me 7 (if I remember correctly) at whistler last year while riding a chair lift, and the article indicates he hasn’t changed the forks much.
  • 1 0
 @Bhaack: what a monster
  • 1 0
 Seems like there’s always a chip in the paint.
  • 1 0
 What chain guide is that? Looks like a SXG but I don’t think it is.
  • 3 0
 Scott designed it for the bike. Only works on the gambler, as they were built together. Urethane bushings at the frame mount for the bash.
  • 6 0
 @mountainyj:
Bushings made from Uretha’s..........that’s piss funny
  • 1 0
 anybody knows why he favors the DHR II in front, intead of lets say a DHF?
  • 1 0
 Would you ask for more grip or less rolling resistance on that spot?
  • 4 0
 Seems to be more common than I thought. Danny Hart runs DHR front and rear as well.
  • 4 4
 After looking at several of PB's world cup DH photo epics last year, I counted only 3 riders out of 30+ running DHF's consistently. It's not a very popular tire on on the WC DH circuit. Makes me wonder why so many bros feel like they have to run DHF's or nothing. It's an average tire at best for aggressive riding in my (and obviously many WC racers') opinion. Lots of better options out there.
  • 3 1
 It´s got much better breaking performance. I guess worldcup guys do not struggle with cornering grip as much as us mortals (and the DHR2 is not a bad cornering tire).
  • 3 0
 @Loki87: what he said, and World Cups normally don't happen on hardpack, which is probably more common with us mortal non-racers, on which the DHF with it's bigger center knobs works quite well.
  • 5 0
 @grizzlyatom: it is not an average tyre at best. You’re being silly. They’re the best on fast hard / rocky ground. They’re absolutely ridiculous in maxx grip. They’re the best in the conditions they were designed for. Nothing rails like a minion. They run dhr2 because they brake better on steep ground, though I don’t know why anyone would pick the Dhr2 over a high roller.
  • 2 0
 @grizzlyatom:
For the longest time it was one of few tires with actual cornering capabilities, although quite obviously lacking in breaking. The cornering grip of the DHF is still outstanding, especially on dry and dusty/hardpack, which seems to be what a lot of people tend to (exclusively) ride. This just has carried over, even though we now have more well rounded options people tend to stick to what they know, especially when the new options may sacrifice 5% cornering for 80% more breaking power, humans will still focus on the lost aspect rather than accept that it´s a huge net gain with the new tire and overall a more well rounded product.

Also, so many guys still think you can´t run the DHR2 in the front because...you know...it says DHR(EAR).
  • 3 2
 Dhr has wider center knobs, dhf has amazing grip but the dhr handles the g’s better
  • 3 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I would never say that the DHF is a bad tire, but I just think the offerings from other companies such as Schwalbe, Michelin, Conti, WTB, Specialized, and recently Kenda and even Vee are too good and too numerous to justify just sticking with the only tire that you know. I think that amongst the new tires on offer from Maxxis or anyone else, the DHF now falls in the "average" category, which is still very good. I just hope to encourage more riders to try something new. There are very good compounds, casings, and tread patterns that may surprise you and inspire more confidence in more conditions than the somewhat dated DHF. I've always felt that the DHF's high center tread-density makes it squirmy on the hardpack when handling real corner G's, even at very high pressures. The tight center tread spacing also gives braking less of a bite, as many others have noted. I have noticed that more and more riders seem to be going to tires with a rounder profile, more consistent tread spacing, and more of a transverse tread pattern vs the longitudinal one. The Dissector and the new Tioga Edge 22 seem like some real promising units too! It's a good time to be a mountain biker. I try to ride as many different tires as I can year to year and I think many riders could benefit from getting out of the same old groove! That's it, that's all.
  • 1 0
 I prefer the DHF on the back, it's not a great front tire for SA conditions, or at least where I live...
  • 1 0
 @grizzlyatom: I only use DHF’s when the conditions suit. All other Maxxis are designed for different purposes so you can’t really say it’s now average compared to other Maxxis which were also designed for different conditions. And let’s be honest Maxxis still make the best tyres. Nobody’s making a compound that matches maxx grip. On fast, firm trails the DHF is still the best.
  • 1 0
 @Loki87: Just out of curiosity, which tires would you say braked better than DHF Maxx Grip? Asking for a DHF bro...
  • 2 1
 @iduckett: Have to be an Assegai, no? That thing is like a tractor tyre.
  • 1 0
 @dubod22: Hear hear. I'd love to try a Wild Enduro too at some point.
  • 3 0
 @iduckett: there’s no better or worse. You pick tyres that are best for what you’re going to use them for. DHF brake well on hard surfaces.

Rule of thumb. If you can’t see your tyre print = minions. If the grounds soft enough to see your tyre mark = high roller / magic Mary / arseguy.
If your tyre leaves a rut = shorty / dirty dan.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: well said!!

HRII and Shorty for my soft terrain!!
  • 4 0
 @iduckett:
Pretty much what @thenotoriousmic said.
Pretty much all tires break better if conditions are stacked against the DHF. It works perfectly fine within its limits, but it shows its weaknesses pretty drastically once out of its depth.
And for the record, i´ve been a DHF bro for the longest time Wink
For me the Magic Mary is my tire of choice today though. It literally works everywhere, breaks way better than the DHF on loose/deep and (to me) never gets unpredictable. If i was still racing, i´d surely have a DHF to slap on for those super hardpack tracks, but as i´m now just goofing around the park the Marys really never let me down.
  • 4 0
 @panchocampbell: I rode a shorty maxx grip wt on the front with a super tacky dh high roller on the back all last year. Awesome through the winter and we had a freakishly hot summer here in the uk where everything turned to powder and marbles and they were even better in those conditions. It’s the stuff in between that they struggle with but that’s where you put a different tyre on.
  • 2 1
 @Loki87: currently running purple / orange Mary’s and I agree. Orange on the back has been amazing but I’m not sold on the purple Mary on the front. I doubt I’d run them again. I’ve just had way to many crashes and sketchy moments where the front just steps out when leant over. They’re a jack of all trades master of non. If your the sort of person who doesn’t change tyres and just wants something that works everywhere then the Mary’s are the one but I’d rather just buy a bunch of different tyres and switch according. It’s not like they’re getting warn out being hung up in the garage so it’s not like it’s costing anymore. Got DHR / Dhr2 on my other bike because even though it’s wet they still work well on rocky rooty trails that I ride quite often.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic:
I will add that i run Procore though, that may change the situation a lot as the lower pressure does change the tires behavior quite a bit. I can count the times the tire does something sketchy on one hand over the course of a season and even those situations are more due to impossible conditions and i´m sure no other tire would have done better. Even in deep slop i like that setup way better than mud tires as it keeps things more predictable.
After changing tires a lot during my racing days, i came to the conclusion that i ride better on gear i´m accustomed to rather than switching things up constantly and like i said, with my current setup i´ve yet to run into any situation where i thought i´d prefer anything else.
Tires are just such a subjective matter in general.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: @Loki87: @dubod22: @panchocampbell: Awesome guys. Goddamn I love bikes!! Currently running DHF F/R w/ Cushcore. Previously ran Ardent (S*** tire) and HRII (which I loved the behavior of).
  • 2 0
 @iduckett:
BTW, Bontrager have a carbon copy of the DHF, the G5. Awesome tire, just an all around improvement on the DHF in my opinion. I really liked their compound and the tread seems even more well rounded and a little more sturdy. So if you like the DHF, try the Bontrager. I think they might be even cheaper than Maxxis for you guys in the states. Very long lasting as well.
The wider G5 with Procore weighs a ton, but damn you can monstertruck through everything, it´s insanely supple.
  • 2 0
 @Loki87: think you mean G4, the G5 looks like a DHR
  • 1 0
 @Loki87: I think they’re a bit to skinny for my rims. I know they do a 2.6 but I couldn’t find the in purple super gravity. I’d definitely try one but I’m not running a 2.3 on the front again.
  • 1 0
 @Ryan2949:
Lol yeah, got a bit confused there. I do mean the G5 though. To me it felt just as good railing turns as the DHF but was overall more well rounded.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: ...simple and very impressive approach, sir! Smile
  • 2 0
 Great work Saskia
  • 2 0
 Utterly stunning.
  • 1 0
 Anybody ride TRP brakes? Do you like them? Just curious. Cheers.
  • 1 0
 Rode them for the last two seasons, rock solid, never needed a bleed, always just felt the same. Not too grabby, tons of modulation, but not the most poweful stoppers out there.
  • 1 0
 Looks like Unpregnant Bike bruh.
  • 2 0
 It looks so cool!
  • 1 0
 I would SS the shit outta that!!
  • 1 0
 Is Bren dog farting during his pose? He look uncomfortable...
  • 1 0
 Damn that's a beautiful bike.
  • 2 1
 So Brendan is riding a 29er, let that sink in...
  • 1 1
 No, he's definitely not. It clearly states he's riding a mullet, 29 front, 27.5 rear, with the geometry in the 29er setting. Read and comprehend before commenting. Let that sink in.
  • 2 1
 @kjc81: says the guy who wrote on his post "29 front" Let that sink in.
  • 1 1
 @ikaika: That's right, he's riding one 29 inch wheel bro, on the front, not 2. Running just one 29 inch wheel doesn't make it a 29er. If I put a damn 27.5 inch wheel on my old 26 inch bike, I definitely don't have a 27.5er. If I put a 29 on front of my 26 inch bike doesn't make it a 29er either. Dude's riding a customized mullet, not a 29er. If it worked that way, everyone would have just bought one single new wheel and slapped em on front of there old 26 inch bikes to upgrade to 27.5's or 29er's.
  • 1 0
 @kjc81: all good, I was just trying to make a point about how 29" wheels are becoming the norm on DH rigs (mullet or not).
  • 1 0
 Where are all of the remote lockout levers, cables and housing?
  • 1 0
 in the bin
  • 1 0
 MB Cyclery top cap. FTW
  • 1 1
 looks like $7500 bucks down the drain
  • 11 13
 Brendan runs shorter chainstay! He obviously doesn’t read Pinkbike comment section and Leo Kokkonens blog
  • 7 1
 Runs it in long setting for DH, it´s not like he needs tons of grip on manicured jump line and bit more flickable bike could help with flips.
  • 5 5
 ENVEs FTW!
  • 2 3
 uhh get me a box of kneelex! i gonna be spunking all over that bike!!!
  • 2 3
 PaulthePunter's bike*
  • 3 6
 Let's go Oilers
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