What The Pros Are Riding - Fort William World Cup

Jun 8, 2013
by Mike Levy  
Patrik Thome on the Scott 27.5 DH prototype.
Patrik Thome's 650B Scott Gambler

What do we have here? Scott wasn't keeping any secrets last season when they openly talked about testing their Gambler with 650B wheels and it looks like that is now being put into action at the highest level. This Gambler 650B prototype is being ridden by team rider Patrik Thome, although it looks like the rest of the team are aboard 26'' wheels. Tire options were one of the limiting factors when it comes to the in-between wheels on a downhill bike, but it looks like Schwalbe is stepping up to produce some 'First Ride' tires for sponsored riders, a sign that bike and suspension companies might be more committed to 650B downhill bikes than many might have suspected. Patrik's FOX 40 RAD fork is also pretty special, with revised lowers that see the axle clamps moved further down the legs and slightly out in order to create enough tire clearance at the arch and attain the correct offset numbers.

Gee Atherton
Gee Atherton and his new GT Fury

GT's Gee Atherton and the bike that everyone is talking about right now, the 220mm travel Fury. The frame is claimed to be 300 grams lighter than the carbon fiber Fury from last year, as well as 26% more rigid at the head tube and almost 50% stiffer at the bottom bracket - those are big numbers that, if true, a good rider should be able to benefit from. The bike uses a new iteration of GT's 'Independent Drivetrain' that is far more compact than in the past, along with a revised suspension rate that is said to limit harsh bottom out. Although it may appear otherwise, the bike's FOX shock is driven directly off of the swingarm, with the small linkage at the rearward shock mount only serving to add rigidity to the back of the bike. Geometry-wise, the new Fury is drastically different from the machine that Gee, Rachel, and Marc campaigned on last year, with a much longer front end, a slacker 63 degree head angle, and a slightly lower bottom bracket height. All of those changes shouldn't come as a surprise, though, given that the team had made some fairly drastic modifications to last season's race bike in an effort to both lower it while also raking it out. It is also worth noting that there were no signs of a 650B-wheeled version, despite the fact that GT is pursuing the 'tweener wheel size for their new mid-travel bike.

Mick Hannah
Mick Hannah and his Polygon

Hutchinson UR Downhill Team rider and 2013 Australian National Champ Mick Hannah is looking fitter than ever, which is saying a lot given that Hannah always looks ready for battle. He is on a new Polygon downhill rig for the coming season that appears to be a trimmed down version of their Collosus DH bike, and we wouldn't be surprised to see Sick Mick pull out a good result on the Fort William track. The Polygon team bikes are built up with Mavic Deemax wheels, an e13 chain guide and crank combo, and Spank handlebars. Mick was also using Hutchinson's new Squale tire in what appears to be a 2.5'' width.

Brook Macdonald
Brook and his Trek Session 9.9

We talked to new Trek World Racing rider Brook Macdonald at Sea Otter and he was primed and ready to kick off the 2013 World Cup downhill season with a strong result on the beast that is the Fort William track. Brook's breakthrough win last year on the fast and open Val d'Isere course showed that he has the speed, and his recent National results on his Session 9.9 prove that he's comfortable on the new bike. Something tells us that Bulldog won't be happy with "only" pulling top tens.

Markus Pekoll
MS Mondraker's Markus Pekoll with his Marzocchi-sprung Summum

The entire MS Mondraker team is aboard Marzocchi's newest suspension, the 380 C2R2 Titanium fork and Moto C2R shock. Markus Pekoll, pictured here with his Mondraker Summum, and the rest of the squad recently spent time testing in in Val di Sole with Marzocchi to dial in their settings for the coming season. The fork uses Marzocchi's new Dynamic Bleed Cartridge the employs a "one-way seal" that allows oil to enter as required, with a clever spring-loaded piston that acts a compensator (very similar to how an internal floating piston functions in a shock's piggyback) that keeps the cartridge full of oil without it hydraulically locking: the piston moves up to make room as the damper cartridge fills with oil, and also down in its travel to take up the lost displacement as oil rushes out. While it both sounds and is more complicated than Marzocchi's older open bath damper, the DBC system borrows technology that the Italian company is familiar with from using it within their motocross forks. The 200mm travel fork is said to weigh 6.28lb and is compatible with 650B wheels, although Pekoll is using tried and true 26'' wheels at Fort William.

Steve Smith
Devinci's Steve Smith and his Wilson Carbon with BlackBox components

Steve Smith might take the imaginary award for the best looking bike and kit of the weekend, although we're betting that he is aiming for a far different kind of trophy. There were whisperings of a Wilson Carbon with 650B wheels, but the Devinci Global Racing team doesn't look like they will be using them this early in the season. Maybe later? Who knows, but it is a given that most of the top teams are testing with them. Smith is on SRAM's BlackBox program, meaning that he has access to some pretty nifty stuff that us peons can only drool over, including the prototype XX1-style derailleur bolted to the back of his bike that may be either a DH specific item or part of the highly anticipated X01 group. He is also using a BlackBox BoXXer fork fitted with RockShox's new Charger cartridge. As usual, Smith has been training like a mad man this past offseason, and many of those who are in the loop think that he could kick off 2013 the same way the he closed out 2012, with a win.

Brendan Fairclough
A clipped-in Fairclough

Clipless pedals on Brendan Fairclough's Scott Gambler? Did he grab the wrong bike on his way out of the Gstaad-Scott pits? Brendan is indeed clipped-in at the Fort William World Cup, which could work to his advantage given how much the course has fallen apart over the last few seasons - it is rough up there! Anyone who has seen Fairclough ride knows that he has the talent to take a World Cup win, and he has come close a few times, but he has never quite been able to translate that talent to a victory. Will the clips make the difference? Will he use them on race day?

Cedric Gracia
Cedric's DVO equipped V10

There isn't a rider out there that we're pulling for as much as CG. His devastating crash at Val di Sole, reportedly caused by a rear brake failure, not only almost ended his career, but nearly cost the Frenchman his leg. Gracia is a fighter, though, and he is back up to speed and riding like only he can ride. His carbon fiber V10 is likely one of the most lusted after bikes in this spread, thanks in no small part to the DVO Emerald inverted fork. We've seen Cedric testing the new DVO fork and shock at some National-level events, but this will be the first outing on the green suspension in a World Cup setting, and we assume that DVO are gathering all sorts of valuable test data from the absurdly rough Fort William track. It is interesting to see Cedric's bike fitted with what looks to be a FOX shock, though, a spec choice that could simply be down to the team wanting to perform some back to back testing for comparisons sake. It will be interesting to see if Gracia's V10 will be using DVO's Jade shock come race day.


Danny Hart
Danny Hart and his Giant Glory

How loud would the cheering be if Danny Hart won on Sunday? With a second place at last year's Fort William World Cup (less than a second off of Gwin's winning time), and a win at the recent British Downhill Series event that used the same track (in which he beat Minnaar, Gee Atherton, and other top riders), he must surely be a favorite on race day. His aluminum Giant Glory looks to use the same design as last year, but we bet that it is only a matter of time until we see a carbon fiber version. Note the four piston Code brake calipers combined with the lighter weight Trail levers, and that his bike has been fitted with MRP's dual-roller S4 chain guide rather than the more common G3, likely due to the S4's added protection provided by the full coverage bash guard.



Stay tuned for more bikes and gear from Fort William



96 Comments

  • 130 7
 Cant wait to see what 2013 has in store for Mr. Hill Smile GO SAM !!!
  • 104 1
 Dear Brendawg, I don't mind you winning or not, Just nac and whip them kickers !
  • 4 0
 thats so right chyu
  • 9 8
 But he's clipped in Frown End of an era
  • 4 2
 Didn't Hill start off flat as well? Sure he's clipped now.
  • 37 0
 Though it is a bit awkward for DMR having just brought out the Brendog Signature vault pedal
  • 1 0
 fort will is so rough though, if your not clipped in your feet are every where
  • 5 1
 where's gwin?
  • 4 0
 Hill still rides flats with his signature series 5.10's.
  • 3 1
 wheres sam hill
  • 73 0
 Stevies bike....Dayum!
  • 35 3
 Gracia's is tooooooo legit...
  • 8 19
flag waxyfeet (Jun 7, 2013 at 22:54) (Below Threshold)
  • 3 0
 Why did that get voted down so much?
  • 1 0
 No idea? Frown
  • 29 1
 Hart just looks fast! Stay on yo bike Danny!
  • 2 0
 Exactly What I was thinking but I think allot of it is camera angle and the fact that the bike is down slope of them.
  • 7 0
 ...I think he looks kind of like a bobble-head doll
  • 3 0
 Yeah that helmet is massive
  • 2 0
 ^Exactlyi what i was thinking lol
  • 1 1
 He looks fast, but what's the deal with the G2 rotors? HS1 not good enough or what? Seen Hill on G2's as well. What's up with that?
  • 20 0
 Who cares what everyone is riding, the best thing is Cedric is riding and riding fast - won't back down! Such heart!
  • 16 1
 Stevies bike is the nicest!

GT putting a lot of money into development ans sponsoring the athertons, is anyone buying their bikes though? I cant think when I saw one on a trail


oh and blue sky on mars?(i mean scotland)
  • 2 0
 i think the new bike could sell doesnt look as packed and chunky as the old fury! and noooo scott gambler is the nicest!!!
  • 1 0
 The problem with fury is the price, for the same money you can get mid range carbon fury or top of the notch demo/giant/most dh bikes tbh that weight the same. Your call...
  • 16 2
 Are these guys all 7 foot tall? These bikes look SMALL. Go Brook. NZ Reeeeeeeeeepppppppaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnttttt!!
  • 2 0
 Exactly! Is everybody riding smalls now? It seems that the statement that it makes you more agile is becoming a fact? Its just danny with a large glory!
  • 1 1
 I read once in an article and he uses medium size
  • 2 0
 Hart honestly looks like a bobble head....or is that just me?
  • 10 0
 that isnt Sam Hill it is Joe Smith @mike levy it would explain the lack of blackbox components on his bike
  • 6 0
 and the presence of clips
  • 1 0
 although Hill was practicing with clips on his trail bike.
  • 11 0
 Go Cedric!
  • 6 0
 "The new GT Fury is 300 g lighter...." Beacause its not designed like a spaceship anymore!

I'd sell a kidney for a Mondraker with the new Zokes.
  • 8 0
 Sick Mick for the win
  • 5 0
 I really like that the Mondraker team is reppin' the new Marz stuff. I'd say that the 650b Gambler is one of my favorites just for the uniqueness.
  • 2 0
 I'm curious to see how Thome gets on. Maybe he will shed some light on the wheel size kerfuffle?
  • 5 0
 good morning from Fort Bill its awfae braw up here .
  • 2 0
 Stevies bike def sickest, Devinci just looks stunning, but that DVO is dead amazing on an awesome v10, Brook needs a bigger frame, dam that looks small, has he sprouted again and nothing to do with wheel size!
  • 1 0
 No Aurums??? Sad... Best looking and riding DH bike on the market. Brynn's a great rider, but Norco need to get one of the "big" names on that bike. It could easily take the right rider to the podium every weekend it's so perfect.
  • 4 0
 Where's Gwin??? TLD Demo 8 please...
  • 2 0
 its looking to be an interesting season, with all the changes like suspension, 650b, and the riders with their musical chairs of sponsors
  • 5 0
 STEVIE SMITH!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 sick bikes i love it when u see all the fancy bikes and than u see danny hart this guy looks so modest no BS just ridein hard, i wish him 2nd place after sam :-) and when we will see a carbon glory ?
  • 1 1
 Test the carbon glory quick because I really need to buy it Big Grin
  • 1 0
 You think Danny's bike isn't fancy as well? It's not carbon but his glory is as tricked out as they come.
  • 1 1
 I love it, its my favorite bike, Danny his my favorite rider ( www.pinkbike.com/photo/9361629 ), I rde a 2008 Glory DH and for me, I just trade it for a new Glory.
I have plans to buy the frame this year, but I if they make the carbon version, I think that will be f*cking amazing, because the glory is one of the lightest downhill bike on the market and if they make a carbon version... well it will be the ultimate downhill machine!
  • 1 0
 Scott needs to have Brendan Fairclough test out the 650b gambler prototype.

I hope those clipless pedals work well for him! Here's to a great run this season~ can't wait to see this shit tomorrow!
  • 2 0
 So many new things are happening as far as bikes. can't wait until race day!
  • 3 0
 sam is the best!!! go for it sam !
  • 4 0
 Sick Mick yesss
  • 3 0
 Hey, where is that Demo? Smile
  • 3 0
 Go peaty! From sindikatong pinoy sheffield
  • 1 0
 So jelly for all those bikes... What's the difference between an old bike and a new dh bike? I don't have a dh bike in my garage...
  • 2 0
 Sam and Brendan both on clips.. What's happening?
  • 2 0
 It's actually Joe Smith not Sam Hill
  • 2 0
 Looks like a lot of racers are running the proto schwalbe tires.
  • 3 1
 Scott has the best looking bike by far
  • 1 0
 I'm trying to figure out what pedals Gee has on. Normally shimano dx..proto shimano clips??
  • 2 0
 look like mallets even though shimano sponsors him
  • 2 0
 That 650B Gambler looks so sick!!
  • 2 0
 Gee makes his bike look tiny!
  • 2 0
 It would be sick for fairclough to get a podium Smile
  • 1 0
 YES!!! I'm pulling for Brendog too.
  • 1 0
 The V10 was already ultra sexy. These lime stanchions just take it to next level. WANT! Not the best pic of it though.
  • 1 0
 love it so much! !! can wait to go for a ride later and session some trails! !!!
  • 2 0
 where┬┤s sam? gwin? steve peat?
  • 2 0
 Interesting not one Maxxis tire out of this bunch!
  • 1 0
 Yeah I noticed that too...
  • 2 1
 Session 9.9 is by far the "smartest"of all bikes shown here..let's see if the rider is the same! Go TREK!!!
  • 1 0
 Cedric is awesome just gota say that. he just seems like a laid back dude that wants to just have fun
  • 3 2
 What's Luke Strobel riding.
  • 2 0
 Evil
  • 2 0
 Rooting for Danny, comon the scots, but gotta admire CG being back on the bike, and what a gorgeous bike it is! Good luck to both of them!
  • 1 0
 Surprised nobody's running ENVEs... Maybe on race day?
  • 1 0
 maybe, don't want to take out a wheel mid race tho, the review of them wasn't exactly glowing
  • 1 0
 If you look at the other article with practice day photos, the Santa Cruz Syndicate are on Enves, as usual.
  • 1 0
 So... much... awesomeness!!!
  • 1 0
 Gee's GT fury looks tiny compared to him :')
  • 1 0
 Can't wait to see CG's style tomorrow. Since Redbull Rampage 2002
  • 1 0
 Mondraker riders are using the zero mm stemm and longer top tube?
  • 1 0
 what the pros are getting paid to ride*** should be the title
  • 1 0
 what model of schwalbe tire-s does it have them?
  • 1 0
 zocchi coming in hot this year
  • 1 0
 Gee's Fury looks like it is 24" wheel. I guess it is not?
  • 1 0
 Cedric on that V10... that's the shit! gunna be an awesome day!
  • 1 0
 Gracia's bike looks really short
  • 3 6
 Pics of the evil and the kona operator(c) please!..aka, 2 best lookers, followed by devinci.
Steves smiths kit, wowzas
Trek and giants look so out of date now..short top tubes and steepish ha
  • 1 2
 Lol did they Unpro Gwinn or what? Oh I forgot it makes sense he's riding for spesh now. Toodles!
  • 1 0
 DVO
  • 1 0
 fox float!
  • 1 0
 Where's Gwin and Hill?
  • 5 6
 The new boxxer(black stanchions) look like sh$%.
  • 2 0
 In this order Mick Hannah-Brook Macdonald-Sam Blekensop Women Jill kitner--Macayla Gatto-Tracy Hannah I want to see Brtish,france upset.
  • 1 1
 garcia's v10
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