Cédric Gracia's Santa Cruz Hightower Bike Setup - Video

Jan 5, 2017 at 15:35
Jan 5, 2017
by Cedric Gracia  
 
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Get a good look at Cédric Gracia's bike with the man himself. He walks us through why he runs certain parts and settings, with his typical comedic outlook.


MENTIONS: @cedric-gracia
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110 Comments

  • + 54
 He's about 6'2, and chooses a 125mm dropper (when a 170 would probably fit in that frame). Yet Pink bike commenters all need 200mm for some reason
  • + 96
 CB dropper only comes in 125mm. of course he thinks its perfect Wink
  • + 15
 Plus hes CG. Most people are average riders and need help.
  • + 20
 All the pinkbike kids are 5'8' and need a 200mm dropper post
  • + 39
 Well pinkbike did a poll the results were: 6191 votes for 150mm, 2651 votes for 125mm, 2602 votes for 170mm,
and 1113 votes for 200mm.
I think the actual data is more interesting/useful vs. making essentially a false statement.
  • + 12
 Yawn, these pearls of wisdom again... He rides clipped in too, do we all have to do that now? I'll set my brake levers to the same angle, try and squeeze into the same size shorts he wears?
  • - 1
 Been wondering this here on PB for ages - Why is it people see the need to be able to drop their post 170mm+ - That is literally all of the way down to the top-tube, something only dirt jumpers or trials riders would feel the need to do.

I ask why DH racers dont have saddles all of the way down and get the response that frame design is different but that is complete BS - look at a DH riders saddle in relation to bar height, the saddle is not slammed against the frame.
  • + 0
 @Racer951: Let me answer your question with 4 questions:
How long is "ages"? What is the difference between "all the way down to the top-tube" and "LITERALLY all the way down to the top tube"? Do you understand that seat tubes have different lengths and riders have different leg lengths? Finally, do you see any abidigonals modeling?
  • - 2
 @sarahlh: Abidigonals? say what?

You do realise the dropper posts position is fixed by insertion depth of the non moving part of the post and not the amount it is possible to be adjusted by, dont you?
  • - 2
 @Racer951: Let's say you have a seat tube length of 430mm. Let's say you have a 170mm dropper. That means the saddle will be 600mm from the BB, correct? Let's say your leg length is such that you require the seat to be 630mm high from the BB for you to be in optimal climbing position. You would need to raise the seat post out of the seat tube 30mm to achieve that. Does that make sense?
  • + 3
 @sarahlh: seeing as you are asking so many questions, could you clear up what an Abidigonal is?

Secondly, a 150mm dropper is therefore raised 20mm further out of the seat-tube, and so on? Dropper capacity has nothing to do with saddle position unless you are short on a large frame and cant lower the post enough at full extension.

All of this has nothing to do with why some people feel the need to run the saddle as low as physically possible? No?
  • + 1
 @Racer951: I like a 150 as then you dont get that odd looking half and half seat post.
  • + 4
 @pbuser2299: no wonder I'm slow, I am wearing the wrong size shorts :-))))
  • + 2
 @Racer951: take a look at Yoann's seat. www.instagram.com/p/BOwPsk-gAj0/?taken-by=yoannbarelli
pretty much slammed. DH bikes and Enduro bikes are different. How low or high you have the seat doesn't make you faster or slower. It's all about comfort.
  • + 0
 @jaydawg69: bit of an extreme case you have found there, looks like yoann is running the largest frame possibe likely to gain reach / wheelbase with the trade off being a huge seat-tube. Most of us dont need to run the dropper slammed against the seatclamp.

He may only have a 125 or 150mm post as that is the max he can run with this size of frame - kind of misses the point I was making as it is a fairly unique setup and still not really related to huge dropper posts.
  • + 5
 @Racer951: I don't think it's that unique at all to want the ability to slam your saddle and still have it at a pedallable height when extended - that's what most people want hence the pole results. Why would you restrict yourself by using a shorter dropper when longer ones are available? There are many situations where having your saddle slammed isn't ideal but there are loads more where it is exactly what is desired. Many people only have one bike and will take it on every thing from dh tracks to dirt jumps and street so the biggest range of drop you can get makes your bike more versatile. I don't get why people are against the option of slamming the saddle, please tell me why slamming my saddle when I decide to go dick about in the woods is such a bad thing? I'm 5'6", ride a 16.5" seat tube and I need 150mm drop to get the best of both worlds - it stands to reason in my mind that if I was a taller guy I'd want a longer dropper.
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: I'm 5'9" and use 170mm of post. My post isn't slammed but it is down low and that's what I prefer and many others I ride with. I've tried having the seat higher but it just gets in the way. Shaums March told me to have the seat at the same level as your knees.
Having people say that fast riders have higher seats is ridiculous and needs to stop.
  • + 4
 @Racer951: I think people find it easier to do steep descents (where you need to get as back and low as possible) and have more movement latitude on jumps the further the saddle is out of the way. Do you accept this answer? I don't believe these people are lying about their preference here.

Abidigonals is a reference to the 2001 film Zoolander.
  • + 1
 I find that the better rider I become, the less and less I drop my seatpost. Being able to grab seconds of seat time while still pedaling has proven vital for good race results. 200mm is useless.
  • + 1
 @Racer951: Have you ridden a DJ on regular trails? I ride mine everywhere and it's hands down the best cornering bike I have ever thrown a leg over. So naturally getting that seat out of the way helps me. Adding a 170mm dropper to my trail bike made a big difference in how fast I can go through a corner. Who are you to tell me what length post I use? I'll put whatever parts on my bike I want. That's what's great about bikes. Find out what works for you. Not Bikeshop Guy, not Internet guy, not your friends, you. Thankfully the industry isn't listening to short sighted people like you.
  • + 2
 @Wouldhaveletmego: you are aware that you can stop the saddle midway right? 200mm would be useless for me too but not if I were a taller guy. Why are people having such a hard time with other people's preference on this? If 125mm is fine for you then cool, you're covered so why get your knickers in a twist? For the mandem and galdem that feel they could benefit from a longer post there are fewer options currently, if anyone is justified in being grumpy it is them.
  • + 2
 anyway we all need DH bike with 200 mm travel for XC
  • + 2
 My 150mm travel dropper is still in my way when slammed all the way on steep descents in my size large Evil Insurgent. That's why people want to drop their seats all the way...
  • + 3
 @Bikethrasher: yup, I still can't figure how people think they are a better rider when their seat is higher. It's like a silly high school contest or something. Just look at Yoann's setup.
  • + 1
 I don't have a dropper post, but I only use less than 125mm of adjustment for FR/DH type riding (I'm 5' 10")

Also I find that if I adjust seat hight by maybe 100mm or more, the angle of the seat gets weird and ought to be changed also. am I alone in that?
  • + 2
 @HenryM: I have the angle of seat adjusted when in the high position. I don't sit and pedal much in the lower position.
  • + 4
 @Racer951: Frames are different, and some people have much longer legs. I'm 6'1 with a 34" inseam. My bike has a 150mm dropper and am still showing 4.5" of seat post above the collar. All the way down and my seat is still higher than my handle bars. I could easily get away with a 200mm dropper and still have 2.5" of adjustable seat post showing (that is before the bulge in the lower part of the post). My seat wouldn't look slammed at all. In reality, 200 is more than I need, but there are many taller people than I. 175mm would be nice in certain situations.

Everyone is different - options are nice to have.
  • + 1
 @HenryM: no - this in my opinion is a major feature missing from dropper posts and if there were a dropper available that tilted the saddle as it drops I think many of us would actually be able to use less drop. I am dying for the day somebody brings this to market, now the manufacturers seem to have got to grips with reliability I'm hoping this is the next step.
  • + 2
 @Racer951: Also btw, check out this EWS bike check. Look how many droppers are really close to the top of the seat tube: www.pinkbike.com/news/ews-1-chile-race-bikes.html.
  • + 1
 So much yes!!!
  • + 1
 Its all about Top tube(ett) and leg length. Top tubes are longer on trail bikes, that makes it harder to get behind the seat. Top tube on dh bikes are shorter and easier to get behind the seat.
  • + 1
 @Dirk77: steep seat tubes and the necessity to run the saddle flat or even tipped forward (which all help us pedal the bike to the top) are yet more reasons to run a lower saddle on an Enduro bike. If you run the saddle at a similar height to a DH bike it's just in the way, the seat angle of a dh bike puts the saddle rearward and keeps it between your legs as well as making it easier to get behind. The saddle doesn't need to be at a 'compromised' height to pedal from during a stage because you can raise it to where ever you like if you need to pedal when ever you need it.
  • + 18
 "It's not because you are slow Cedric, you have to look ugly." No matter how slow he is, he's probably still faster than 99% of us...
  • + 18
 "When you brake you lose"
  • + 3
 BRB gotta go screw with my brake bike points
  • + 15
 Why has he got his ears tucked into his hat? less drag??
  • + 0
 Most likely due to head shape. Not everyones head is the same, therefore hats fit differently on people. It is possibly more comfortable for him than the hat forcing his ears outward and not sitting all the way down on his head.
  • + 1
 @WolfStoneD: Yeah you're right,that's exactly my case! Maybe that's his too...
  • + 12
 CG - Selling it up for the New Nomad 29'er
  • + 1
 its the end of the world then
  • + 1
 I'm holding off on buying a bike for '17 hoping you're correct.
  • + 10
 Side Knobs. Knobs. Side. Side. Knobs
  • + 5
 I agree on the point about tyres. On 29" massive DH tyres are extremely draggy. I find anything larger than Maxxis 2.3s (new ones) is overkill and just adds drag and not much else. 29er wheels already eat up so much stuff I don't think a larger tyre is of any benefit. Though I didn't much like huge tyres on the 27.5 either tbh.
  • + 1
 contact patch is larger on a 2.3" 29er than a 2.3" 27.5er anyway (other than you have to use a caliper to use the tire width as many brands, and in particular Maxxis are completely off with sizing)

I run between 2.3" and 2.25" (as in measured) on 29ers with all-around type threads its generally less draggy than the enduro/dh style tires of most 27.5ers like the minion DHF.

In fact like Cedric i like the 29ers to be pretty roll-y in the center with rather big side knobs on the side. Theres a bunch of new-ish 29er tires setup exactly like that from various brands.
  • + 8
 2017 is the year of the full court press pimping 29'ers. Sponsored riders are on them = automatically the best thing ever.
  • + 17
 29ers were press pimped five(?) years ago. I hated the idea of big wheels until I tried a 27.5. Then I was like Steve Martin in The Jerk when he heard white people music for the first time. "Well, if this is out there, think how much more is out there!" I've been 100% sold on a 160mm travel 29er for a couple years now.
  • + 5
 @nuttypoolog: I must be a dumbass or something, but to be honest I (for one) didn't notice that much of a difference between 26 and 27,5... I still have to try 29 though, maybe it will be the biggest enlightenment of my life. Wink
  • + 1
 @Aprilfisheye: When mine friend got Ibis mojo HDR we tested it with 26 and 27.5 wheels.It runned way smoother with 27.5 over rocks/roots.Other thing that i noticed is that with larger wheels bike was climbing way better.
  • + 5
 @Calek: I don't deny there's a difference, I'm just saying that right now I'm looking for a second hand trail to replace mine, and I don't really care about the 26/27,5 debate, I don't feel like one wheel size allows me to do things I could not on the other.

But I didn't want to enter this debate anyway, I just gave my opinion for no reason, I should have shut up ^^
  • + 1
 @Aprilfisheye: have a try and the speed will surprise you....
  • + 2
 @Travel66: A try at 29? Would really love so as I'm probably going to buy a stumpjumper and both options exist... Wink

But as far as 27,5, I'm sorry to say once more that I didn't notice a big difference (hope I'm not going to be killed by some kind of marketing ninjas for saying this publicly).
  • + 2
 @Aprilfisheye: The only differences I've noticed between 26 & 27.5 is on bmx-style jumps (26 does far better than 27.5) and on open, rolling trails (where the 27.5 shines a little brighter). I've only ridden an XC 29er, so I have no clue how 29ers fare in aggressive situations.
  • + 1
 @Pininator: I agree with you on the 26 being better on BMX style jumps, but really, I'd like to be able to try out the "same" bike in both 26 and 29. I guess the difference is much more important, so it might be intersting.
  • + 2
 @Pininator: on bmx style jumps I highly recommend running 20" wheels. Much better in the skatepark and on dirt jumps.
  • + 2
 Found it interesting he puts volume spacers in not only the positive chamber of the shock but also the negative. Could someone with more knowledge tell me how this would make the shock perform differently???
  • + 4
 A bigger negative chamber (like on the Lyrik compared to the Pike) gives a plusher initial stroke. So if he's reducing volume on it, I guess he wants it to ramp up quicker, but still retain plushness right off the top?
  • + 1
 less negative volume means you don't have to put as much pressure in also and then won't ramp up as much. if you are close to the max air pressure of the shock of say a monarch plus you can add a band or two to the negative spring and that means you can run less air pressure for a given sag,
  • + 1
 @poah: Less volume on any air chamber will always make it ramp up quicker...? But yes I think we are saying pretty much the same thing. I should have said '...if he's reducing volume INSTEAD OF ADDING PRESSURE on it'
  • + 1
 Can lower sag as well, 30% sag is a lot many pros run less as they need more useable travel
  • + 1
 @Franziskaner: less volume in the negative chamber makes it ramp up less because the overall air pressure is less in the positive chamber to keep the same sag
  • + 1
 In a simplified way
+ chamber volume effects mid-end stroke (less volume = more ramp)
- chamber volume effects mid-top stroke (more volume = more small bump compliance)

But they are not independent, alter one and you alter the other. It is literally a matter of balance.
And there is quite a bit more nuance to it but my point was to try and make it easier to get your head around and I don't proclaim to know all there is to know so I'll leave it there for now ;-)
  • + 1
 @poah: Again, I think we are effectively saying the same thing. But air volume and pressure are 2 different things, and neither pressure nor volume in the positive chamber (the main spring) is in question here. We are just talking about the negative spring.

Say you have 2 air chambers, one 30% bigger than the other in volume, but both starting with the same air pressure inside: as they begin to compress, although they will feel very similar right at the start, the smaller one will ramp up faster.
So I THINK what CG is getting is an extra bit of fine tuning on the beginning of his overall suspension stroke. Any suspension engineers / physicists please feel free to jump in...
  • + 1
 I tried this on the monarch plus Debonair and I couldn't get it to work.....I haven't tried with the HV sleeve and I'm pretty heavy which apparently doesn't suit the monarch. Saying that the DVO is supposed to need a ton of positive spacers for bigger and aggressive riders so maybe a negative spacer works well in the DVO, which seems to get good reviews...
  • + 4
 Guess he's riding that with stock shock size and not overshocking to 150 as so many do.
  • + 3
 You can overshock a frame? Didn't even know that lol
  • + 3
 is that a reference to a shock with a bigger stroke?
  • + 2
 longer stroke, I should say
  • + 3
 @RobbieMcn: yes the hightower clears a longer stroke shock. Reports are that sc will have revised linkage or maybe a wreckoning sized version on the table.
  • + 1
 @strikeeagle17: lots of people over-shock (and over-fork) the HT on mtbr.
200x57 shock and 160mm fork seem to be what a lot of people like (though I'm more of a 135 rear and 140/150 front myself, granted that its setup progressive and has good small bump sensitivity, ie fox evol or monarch plus - not the stock monarch)
  • + 4
 "Because when you brake, You lose" Awesome!
  • + 1
 "I like to tuck my ears in my hat to be like all the other douches who do this. And I stick a pipecleaner in my posterior. Because I like the sensation." Ride what you like. Not what you see.
  • + 2
 What brand are those movable crankboots? As someone who consistently rubs the paint off their cranks it would help a ton.
  • + 5
 I believe they are specific to Rotor, made by Rotor.
  • + 1
 Yeah you're right. Just looked them up. Bummer that is a great idea
  • + 2
 @sampolicky: Please note that you still need to put tape under crank boots - any fine dust or mud will get into the boot and it will scuff the crank - been there, learned that.
  • + 1
 I know slikgraphics do some clear protectors to protect from heel rub that might help you (as probably do any other frame protection companies I expect).
  • + 3
 So damn drool worthy, what a bitch ass build. Rock on Cedric!
  • + 3
 Cedric is so rad. Definitely one of my fav riders
  • + 2
 haha still with Panaracer... we all know that he never rides them in real life!
  • + 1
 ahahahahah Cedric you crazy legend made me day, now i have to go check my brakes and suspension settings lol
  • + 1
 The sticker frame says XL, 27.5" ....

the shock stay in 27.5 position = 150mm rear wheel??
  • + 2
 Anyone catch if he was on a L or XL frame?
  • + 2
 Cedric. Sharing his knowledge and with a big smile.. love ya bro
  • - 1
 Great guy, but he has struggled recently. I can't help but suspect 29er wheels, heavy cranks, panaracer tires and dvo suspension may be holding him back.
  • + 1
 When are mavic releasing the Crossmax XL's in boost?
  • + 1
 such a legend, kids of interview is one of the best article
  • + 2
 27.5 for life!
  • + 4
 lol i expect more comments like this all over pinkbike soon.
  • + 1
 I`m not sure I would put that stuff on my tires....
  • + 1
 CG is funny! I want that Hightower to replace my Tallboy LTC.
  • + 1
 Im still not sure what my opinion on Magura brakes is
  • + 1
 I'm seriously impressed with a set that came on my trail bike.. 180mm rotors on the entry level brake (composite lever) lots of power, decent heat dissipation and long pad life. Similar feel to shimano brakes which at the end of the day is why I prefer my guides on my other rigs. Still good brakes!
  • + 1
 essentially, they work well, until something goes wrong, and then you should just replace them. The carbon oil reservoir and lever are not very strong. Also, if you clamp them "too hard" the the reservoir crack and they leak. The are insanely powerful, but they lack the fine modulation of shimanos.
  • + 1
 it's an 'on or off' sensation on maguras
  • + 1
 They are pretty good, reliable and very powerful but the lever is a bit flexy so that give them a weird touché
  • + 1
 @RobbieMcn: on/off is not a good quality in brakes. Guides for power and modulation. Hopes for quality!
  • + 1
 @RobbieMcn: It seems to me that unless you're sponsored or have the capital to do the maintenance + buy them in the first place that they're just not worth it
  • + 1
 @snowboarderboy: they're insanely expensive
  • + 1
 Pieds des Canards! Moi aussi Mon Ami! Moi aussi...
  • + 1
 My dropper is bigger than your dropper. Nobody cares.
  • + 1
 Sorry Cedric but your rear shock DOES heat up...Its simple physique
  • + 1
 I ride 29 because...
  • + 1
 Because I don't give a shit what else other people ride...
  • + 0
 CG is great but this bike check is BS to please his sponsors.
  • + 3
 Yap, he looks a kind of forced to do it...it wasn't cheerful 26 o 27.5 inch CG we know Frown
  • + 3
 BS? The man gets paid to ride a bike!!! Most of us only dream of such a life. So yes, he has to plug a few things
  • + 0
 cedric likes a little ring eh
  • + 1
 And doesn't like a big gash.....
  • - 3
 great ad. i though i would get some useful clues how to set my bike...instead it was more some product advertising...
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