Cross-Country Tech - Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup 2018

Aug 11, 2018
by Mike Levy  
MSA World Cup tech

Despite the name, American Eagle is a Dutch brand that Olympic champ Bart Brentjens is a big part of. Brentjens took gold at the Atlanta games, which where the company's Atlanta hardtail takes its name from, but it looks like they're about to double the number of bikes in their catalog by adding a full-suspension rig. They haven't shared any details yet, but it looks like a fairly straightforward, single-pivot layout with a flex-pivot at the axle and DT Swiss suspension.

The new bike isn't anything too wild, but with American Eagle's Atlanta 2.0 hardtail frame said to weigh just 950-grams, you can bet this carbon full-suspension rig is going to be a featherweight. Can you name the full-suspension cross-country bike that it looks pretty similar to?

Shimano's new 12-speed XTR broke cover awhile back, and while the lion's share of the attention has rightfully gone to the new drivetrain bits, Shimano has also revamped their top-tier brakes to boot. There's a new two-piston XTR caliper for the gram counters and a four-piston stopper for those who want more power, but the fresh 'Ice Technologies Freeza' rotors haven't been seen much in the wild until now. Shimano is still using sandwiched stainless steel and aluminum construction, and there's a new shape to the Center Lock aluminum spider that's said to be stiffer, along with black inboard cooling fins that are designed to shed heat faster.

N1no s stead.

Nino's Scott running the #1 plate and a SRAM wireless drivetrain again, but he's gone with a normal seatpost instead of a dropper. That might change come race-day, though... Will we see that wireless, electronic Reverb on his bike to match his drivetrain?

Emily Batty s bike with some Canadian flair.
Goodies hiding away in the mobile office.

Are you even a World Cup racer if your bike doesn't have some custom touches? Emily Batty's Procaliber 9.9 SL is rocking a Canadian maple leaf cap on top of her negative rise stem, a fitting touch for her sort-of home race.

Gold chains tire pressure - it s all in the details.

Gold chains, carbon wheels, and tire pressure dialed to the tenth of a psi.

Anton Cooper s Trek Procaliber in its XCC setup. Note the custom 40T front chainring. SRAM Blackbox shifting and dropper post.

MRP chainguard. Better safe then sorry.

Trek's Anton Cooper has chosen to go the hardtail route on his Procaliber 9.9 SL instead of the Top Fuel, and it's been built up with a wireless drivetrain and custom 40-tooth chainring because watts. All the watts. A tiny MRP guide acts as insurance, and he's rolling on a set of prototype, fast-rolling Bontrager tires that probably don't weigh much at all. Check out the negative rise on his stem, too.

Playing with different ring options for this track. Most opted for something a little bit smaller considering the steepness of the course.

Cooper's monster-sized 'ring aside, word is that most racers are going to smaller than usual chainrings due to the steepness of the climbs on the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup cross-country track.

Bikes and bike bags ready to roll out.

You have to be ready for anything out on course. Mechanics need to have spare wheels and other parts ready to go at a moments notice.

DT Swiss XR25 wheels with Chaoyang tires. Chaoyang is in the process of developing its own lineup of rubber.
An ultralight Ceetec seatclamp. 7.3 grams on the scale.

Felt's Edict is a 100mm-travel full-suspension bike dedicated to cross-country racing, and Thomas Litscher's bike has a host of ultra lightweight Ceetec carbon parts originating from his native Switzerland. How's a 23-gram bottle cage and 7-gram seatpost clamp sound? He's also using their carbon seatpost that has a 110kg weight limit and built-in flex for a more forgiving ride. Chaoyang is in the middle of developing their own tire lineup, and that's what you'll find on Litscher's DT Swiss XR25 wheels.


  • + 52
 Pushing a 40T chainring on this course is beastly. Love the XC tech.
  • + 7
 Pray for his knees!
  • + 5
 At the cadence of 80 RPM he would be going 45km/h (28mph). I wonder if he can utilize it.
  • + 7
 I still have to see a top xc rider using the granny, he is probably running 40 to optimize the chainline for middle of cassette. Or more likey because in the short track i have seen most riders running out of gears, a couple of pedal stokes in the right descent and you pass people.
  • + 0
 @IluvRIDING: extra push on steep climbs! if you have the power!
  • + 1
 My huge nutt sack hurts just looking at this post.
  • + 1
 Maybe that is his short track setup?
  • - 2
 not on a bike that weighs 20 pounds or less. thats easy
  • + 25
 But... American Eagle's fully is just a Scott Spark...
  • + 6
 Maybe they should rename it "Dutch Spark" and it's name would be a little more accurate.
  • + 7
 I heard Jeff Kendal-weed saying in his podcast that a dropper post would allow him to jump the bike and smash it hard. This could result in some damaged wheels and tires so the taint hammer keeps him honest with the bikes capabilities.
  • + 1
 "taint hammer"nice,i laughed my ass off!!
  • + 8
 WC XC race bikes look trick...but those negative rise stems just freak me out.
  • + 6
 You need to look at the relation of the handlebar height to seat height. Anton is such a small dude that he needs that negative angle to get his bars close to level with his seat height on a 29er that has such a high front end. If he were racing a 26, I bet he'd for have a more level or even upright stem depending on the head tube length.
  • + 5
 Just mount the bars to the fork crown already.
  • + 3
 "... and tire pressure dialed to the tenth of a psi. "

What pressure gauge will read to 0.1psi accurately I.e. +/-0.05psi? Something custom? I'm not sure that any of the commonly available digital gauges offer this and the ability to read an analogue gauge this well seems unlikely, as the needle thickness is surely prohibitive?
  • + 13
 When I was working as a full-time cyclocross mechanic I built my own pressure tester from a Dwyer DPGA digital gauge which read in 0.02 increments and 1% accuracy across the entire range of the gauge (mine reads 0-50psi). I've been using it here at MSA as well for the DH riders I'm working with this week.

There are gauges with even smaller resolutions and tighter accuracies all over the place in motorsports. Auto Meter's Pro-Comp digital gauge reads in 0.01psi increments with 0.25% full-scale accuracy.
  • + 7
 @unior-usa: Well I'm definitely not a World Cup mechanic, but isn't that a classic case of getting way too fancy with precision when factors outside your control will drive the accuracy? A couple degrees of temperature change over the duration of the race or between different parts of the course will render those tenths of a psi completely meaningless.
  • + 8
 @jmd07aa: there are a few ways to look at it. My approach was always to control what I could. Yeah, temperature swings and elevation changes will change tire pressure beyond those tenths of a psi, but if I could control the starting point then I was interested in doing that.

There are stories of road teams doing leak-down tests on their tires. Knowing that they'd get to a particular section of cobbles in Paris-Roubaix after X hours of racing and they desired Y pressure, they could over-inflate their tires for the start to ensure they arrived at that cobble sector with the desired pressure.
  • + 2
 @unior-usa: control what you can as much as you can. solid
  • + 4
 @loganskis: BTW, this is the story @unior-usa is talking about. Regardless of your feeling of road riding, it's a pretty fascinating read.
  • + 4
 Just looking at those low stems makes my back hurt.....
  • + 2
 It's more about the amount of drop between seat height and bar height. The American Eagles are pretty aggro and would kill me, while Anton's Trek is something I could take out for a Sunday cruise.
  • + 3
 XTR 9100 in the wild? Did the factory fire push back delivery dates?
  • + 2
 Does that RockShox Sid on Nino’s bike have 120mm of travel? Or are my eyes just messing with me...
  • + 1
 Sure looks like it
  • + 0
 Why don't XC racers use longer 150 or 175mm dropper posts? (See top American Eagle bike) It can't possibly be a weight thing... or is it?
  • + 16
 Probably a weight thing. Long dropper posts are pretty heavy.
  • + 9
 I guess it's a familiarity thing. They're used to going flat out with the saddle up at all times, so a drop of two inches must feel like miles to them. Also if the post goes pop it's still at a height they can pedal, getting the saddle stuck 150mm down would be race ending in XC, like trying to climb on a bmx.
  • + 12
 Droplets in XC have more to do with recovering on the downhill than with going crazy through tech sections. There isn't much use for a 150mm dropper if you're running lightweight race tires that will blow if you get too rowdy.
  • - 10
flag WhatAboutBob (Aug 11, 2018 at 16:49) (Below Threshold)
 Why would you possibly want a dropper that long? If you are that low on your bike then you are basically riding in a fully squatted position, not a good way to ride a bike.
  • + 2
 You can recover better your legs if you kind seat on dropper not to low. This was a technique used for top avalanche DH marathon riders long ago...
  • + 4
 @PauRexs: this is spot on. As advantageous during downhills as a 170 dropper is (for those of us with dancers legs), it’s pretty taxing on the legs to attack in that position.
  • + 2
 That is what it seems like. It is much easier to sneak in a few restful seated pedal strokes when the drop isn't as far from full pedaling height.
  • + 1
 Sometimes it is the issue of the seat tube too. Mist companies are 30.9 but some still ise 27.2. Personally i have to say its a weight thing.
  • + 1
 The American Eagle FS XC bike looks like a Kona Hei Hei but just with a bent top tube or a Scott Spark.
  • + 1
 when can I get an abercrombie 9er?
  • + 1
 So we're already done with the Rockshox inverted forks?
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