18 DH Bikes from Loosefest XL

Jul 20, 2019
by Eric Palmer  
You know the jumps are big when the event gets to have 'XL' in its name despite already being part of the limit-pushing Fest Series. Nico Vink's Loosefest XL goes down this weekend in the rolling hills of Malmedy, Belgium, and the course has been completely redesigned for 2019 to include some of the largest jumps in the world. The bikes are pretty interesting, too, with plenty of small wheels, semi-slick tires, and single-speed setups to be seen.


Scott
Nico Vink with his Ohlins-equipped Scott.

Scott
Another Scott with Ohlins, this one being Kristof Lenssens' bike.

Scott
Damon Iwanaga's Scott skips the chain guide and gets a semi-slick rear tire.

Scott
You know what it is by now. Alex Volokhov is running suspension from SR Suntour and DVO.

Commencal
Luis Lacondeguy's single-speed Commencal.

Commencal
Theo Erlangsen's Commencal.

Nukeproof
Darth Vader's son, Phil Auckland, with the only Nukeproof at the event.

YT
Jordie Lunn with Vee Tire rubber, a Hawaiian lei jersey, his YT Tues, and all the red.

YT
Adolf Silva's single-speed YT is a bit less flashy than Lunn's. Unfortunetly, he suffered a badly broken leg during training.

YT
Another derailleur-less DH bike, this one being Andreu Lacondeguy's 26" wheeled YT.

Hyper
Hyper's DH bike under Bas van Steenbergen.

Polygon
Kurt Sorge with one of the most interesting rides at the event, a Polygon Xuareone DH.

Polygon
Sam Reynolds was riding Polygon's older DH bike.

Trek
From World Cups to some of the world's largest mountain bike jumps. Kade Edwards' bike looks like a Session, doesn't it?

Transition
Subdued bike, flashy gear. Kaos Seagrave with his Transition.

Santa Cruz
Fifteen year old Ike Klaassen's V10 is rocking a semi-slick rear tire for more speed.

Specialised
David MacMillan with his Demo.

Merida
Did you know Merida has a DH bike? Here's Clemens Kaudela with his.



121 Comments

  • + 87
 The last bike is a Commercial Furious
  • + 38
 That was quick Wink
  • + 61
 Commercial? Is that like a cheap knock-off Commencal?
  • + 14
 Well who is the far east manufacturer for Commencal? Would be funny if it actually was Merida, effectively making it the other way around, eh?
  • + 7
 Why aren't they called 18 FR bikes?
  • + 3
 @Ferisko: It's a hard pill to swallow.
  • + 6
 Manatou Dorado on that Commercial
  • + 1
 i hope @maxcommencal is happy to see this new Merida!
  • + 74
 You wonder why someone is riding an old Polygon until you see the new one.
  • + 40
 Sometimes the ugly ones ride the best if you know what I mean (wink, wink)!
  • + 31
 @warmuth51545: maybe, but don't be seen in public with it. if you know what i mean.
  • + 6
 is it just me or does that polygon look exactly like a marin wolf ridge
  • + 6
 @drpmstrdan: Marin and Polygon both use the NAILD R3ACT suspension platform. but saying it looks exactly alike is a little off since the travel and geo are way different.
  • + 0
 @drpmstrdan: they both use the same suspension design made by Naild
  • + 2
 @warmuth51545: they say beauty is but a light switch away
  • + 0
 @GingerNinja75: not much for reading previous comments are ya?
  • + 40
 G-Up Crew tires on Kaos' bike are amazing
  • + 17
 pretty trippy helmet and goggle set-up too...
  • + 5
 Beat me to it. I'd like a bit more detail on those.
  • - 26
flag pinnityafairy (Jul 20, 2019 at 14:46) (Below Threshold)
 @n1ck: you can buy iron on Tire stickers to say anything you want for you tires. Can't say that I'm impressed with the logo on the sidewall of a tire more so the quality of the ride that gets me excited. They're Swabbies a great Tire Choice if you like hiking a bike with blown out flat tires
  • + 1
 www.tirestickers.com/shop/?gclid=CjwKCAjw98rpBRAuEiwALmo-yuS77vYRumcTJEy83fXPs-N6wyd5TJSOJJhxHZoL2O-6oDyqp8rcKRoCL_IQAvD_BwE
For all of you Amazed by a tire label. You can get them customized to say pinkbike sucks right here
  • + 2
 @pinnityafairy: If you buy full blown XC tires for your Enduro bike, any company is gonna suck balls. Get the right tire for the right terrain and you won't have issues. I've got schwalbe on my enduro hardtail and I'm not soft on them and they've been holding up great to whistler double blacks.... Set up tubeless too. Never had an issue!
  • - 10
flag pinnityafairy (Jul 20, 2019 at 15:40) (Below Threshold)
 @rigodon777: blown sidewall once shame on me blown sidewall twice shame on them it won't be a third try. Bontrager team issue for a Quality Tire
  • + 1
 Anyone know if it was different tread design?
  • + 39
 Nice rides. 26" lives on.
  • + 31
 Is Scott sponsoring a disproportionate number of these guys, or is there something about the Gambler that makes it so popular for big-hit freeride?
  • + 12
 adjustable geometry+low maintenance are a couple possibilities
  • + 12
 They are convertible to 26”
  • + 13
 @justincs: low maintenance on that linkage?
  • + 6
 @Code98: wear and tear spreading better due to more linkage maybe
  • + 2
 @iscaryot98: i think the more link you add the more flex you get...
Also if you add bearings/bushings you have a higher probability that one among them will fail.
But the rear triangle is a one-piece, and in the photos i can see 4 link + 2 for the shock mount, wich is the same number as a lot of horst link bikes so yeah you could be right.
It just seems very complicated by looking at it so i assumed it would be a pain to work on
  • + 5
 @Code98: The bike is a link activated single pivot, only four of the eight bearings carry any real load. At least on my Gambler the upper did not need anything after 3 seasons and I weigh over 100kg also no noticeable rear flex!
  • + 1
 The old Gambler is just a nice and adjustable bike..
  • + 5
 Vink invites the riders he wants and he is sponsored by scott. That could help
  • + 30
 Respect to the 15 year old who can ride Fest XL! Eek Drool Salute
  • + 30
 I rode down a 3 inch curb when I was 15.
  • + 7
 @chyu: proper
  • + 24
 HYPER!!! Why make such beautiful bikes but share no info and make no sales?!?!?! Madder Dead Horse
  • + 1
 Information has quality as a sore dick. You just can't beat it!
  • + 6
 Ive never understood Hypers sponsorship choices. Like they dont even make a product downhill bike. They had Travis Pastrana riding their bikes for a while. Just does not make too much sense.
  • + 8
 @chillrider199: all about being able to market an “extreme” image to the kids buying their first bikes at Walmart. All marketing.
  • + 5
 @VwHarman: Well sure, but what Walmart bike kid is watching Fest/Pinkbike?
  • + 2
 @mtbikeaddict: No but they can use the clips for commercials and stuff.
  • + 1
 @mtbikeaddict: not that the kid is watching it, but Hyper can put up posters and ads with those riders.
  • + 1
 @chillrider199: They had Cam Zink and do nothing.. What is the point and what's happen to Corsair?
  • + 1
 I don't get it. You pay a rider to sell more bikes. But no bikes to sell. What exactly are they paying Bas to do?
  • + 1
 @chriskneeland: again, Walmart alone is a massive amount of potential sales. Cheap, shitty kids bikes are what Hyper makes. Bas is marketing for them. To sell to 7 year olds.
  • + 0
 @VwHarman: at the end of the day a cheap crappy bike is better than no bike at all for some people. I just hope a truly gifted kid doesn't end up on a subpar quality bicycle and getting hurt.
  • + 2
 @VwHarman: Maybe I'm missing something. Is Bas really tipping the scales in Hyper's favor when a parent walks into a walmart to buy a 7 year old a department store bike?
  • + 0
 @pinnityafairy: I am in no way ripping in a kid with their bike. My first bike was a huffy bmx with cartoons on the tube pads. My claim is that having a rider on a hyper, in a gnarly place sells an image to people coming in that differentiates that bike or brand from what the image of a supercycle is. The quantity of bikes sold by Walmart is North America is well worth the few custom frames, and a salary for whatever riders they employ. It’s a claim to scale. Their is a sports retailer in Canada called sport chek. They sell GT and Orbea bikes. They always have the lowest models on the floor, but the advertising is pics of Martin Maes on an EWS track. That kind of brand association is about selling an image and convincing potential customers that they are part of a group or community. Branding is entirely an image effort. Selling the bike he is actually riding isn’t the goal.
  • + 17
 Sorge turning up to a sausage party with a burger bun.
  • + 17
 smart man, you can fit like 3 sausages in 1 burger bun *
  • + 1
 @radrider: only tiny chorizos
  • + 12
 jumps so big they can only be ridden with a dh bike is my kind of lunacy..
  • + 8
 And all on flats!
  • - 2
 How I wish all jumps were
  • + 7
 follow up ... 18 DH Bike-CHECKS from Loosefest XL by pinkbike.... pleeeeeease!
  • + 6
 Kaos transition for the win!
  • + 4
 Def the best looking rig...
  • - 2
 #transitionownerforlife
  • + 1
 Super interesting to see all these absolutely massive bikes. A few random take away's: There sure seem to be a lot of Gamblers, could be Vink invites more riders sponsored by his sponsor Scott. Also seems to be a lot of Ohlins suspension, they must be nice for huge hucks.
  • + 1
 Curious what gear ratios these dudes are running and also where can I buy that SS unit? I've seen it for sale but only overseas. I sometimes run SS on my DH bike and found 36/14 a decent combo but occasionally was tough on starts and would spin out on higher speed sections. Lots of dope look Gamblers there!
  • + 2
 Hey PinkBike, thank you for doing this article! Always great to see some of the Top riders faces as well as their bikes.
I want me a 2020 Carbon Scott Gambler Tuned 29er/27.5/Mullet Bike!
  • - 5
flag Franzzz (Jul 20, 2019 at 14:07) (Below Threshold)
 What do you want a plastic bike for freeride and slopestyle?
  • + 1
 @Franzzz: , yes me likey the Plastic Bikes
  • + 7
 @Franzzz: Why not? 7 of the above are carbon. Many of the top Slope guys run carbon frames, etc. The fear of carbon (we all know most just don't want to pay for it) is hilarious
  • + 1
 @bman33: The question is: why do you absolutely want carbon, at any price? The fashion of carbon is hilarous, especially for non competitors.

BTW: notice that half of these spotted bikes are aluminium made
  • + 0
 @Franzzz: , I don't think it's anyone's business but my own why I want a carbon bike. But thanks for worrying about me, Mom! You are a good mom worrying about me like that.
  • + 2
 @HendersonMike: Mom can always teach you the good manners, indeed Smile
  • + 1
 @Franzzz, no doubt about that, but the best thing is she gives me good advice, like to make sure I wear a sweater when it is 25 Degrees Celcius outside so I do not catch any sickness. ;-) Hugs to you!
  • + 0
 @Franzzz: forgot to add, best of all, Mommy will Protect me from those Meanie Carbon Bikes!
  • + 6
 GREAT SCOTT!
  • + 4
 is ike any relation to tyler?
  • + 1
 funny ohlins is more interested in sponsoring freeriders, i thought thier main market would be the dh crowd. Or do they even sponsor and expect people to buy the product because it is ‘sweedish gold’
  • + 3
 Andreu went back home, his dog passed away :-(
  • + 3
 Darth Vader's son is called Luke Skywalker. *SPOILER ALERT!*
  • + 1
 Love the older Gamblers. Scott FKD up with the new Gambler, should have evolved on the older Gambler and called their new DH bike something else. What a FK up.
  • + 2
 15 year old that rides wav better than me on a bike to that cost three times ss much. Will be cool to watch his progression
  • + 2
 Our of 18 of them, Sam Reynolds is the only one who truly knows how to pose for a photo. Nice job Sam!
  • + 2
 How many riders are running 26” wheels?
  • + 2
 I love Clemens Commencal!
  • + 3
 No Szymon Godziek?
  • + 1
 Under the impression he's injured.
  • + 4
 He got here after I shot the bikes & crashed before I could get one of him.
  • + 2
 26 Rules! Time to ride again my Foes DH Mono...
  • + 2
 Is it the same Hyper company that make the Wally world bikes?
  • + 1
 Man... ohlins sponsored rampage last year with no riders. This year they sponsor everyone. Hmm.
  • + 2
 Sees Polygon Xuareone.. -Excuse mean while I go wash my eyes
  • + 1
 If your bike is red and so is your fork make sure they are the same shade of red.
  • + 1
 Different linkages on the gamblers, a longer top link for the Ohlins shocks, which look massive esp on Vink's
  • + 3
 still, to this day, gotta be one of the craziest looking linkage arrangements..
  • + 1
 @tobiusmaximum: it'f from way back, actually. Check some old photos of an Astrix Havoc.
  • + 1
 @ORTOGONAL555: i just googled 'astrix havoc' and it looks like the old intense M1. i'm not sure what you're telling me? maybe i missed something
  • + 1
 @tobiusmaximum: sorry, it's a different model, I'll embed a link to a photo when I figure out how to.
  • + 2
 @ORTOGONAL555: i found it! now i see! yeah, that thing is gross lol..
  • + 2
 Why no Jaxon riddle??
  • + 1
 No picture of Jaxson Riddle and his bike?
  • + 1
 How come I havent heard of that Marz DC fork yet???
  • + 1
 That Polygon......well, it’s just hideous!
  • + 2
 Godziek's bike ?
  • + 1
 The session tho ????????????
  • + 1
 What stroke length is Vink and Kristof running? Custom linkage?
  • + 2
 old linkage, 267x89mm shock, they put the older linkage because they say is more progressive than the new one, that uses a 241x76 shock
  • + 1
 @TheCraziestGuy: ahhh. Thanks.
  • + 0
 Reynolds wasnt willing to ride the new polygon. Probably worried it would explode
  • + 10
 Kurt "3 times Rampage winner" Sorge is riding the new one so it must be better than it looks.
  • + 8
 @PhillipJ: No kidding. Trace Hannah seems to be doing alright on it too.
  • + 1
 I wouldn't ride that thing if you paid me. And clearly, neither would Sam.
  • + 1
 Cant wait for my SB One Boner to turn up!
  • - 1
 Merida is and keeps being the name of a very bad white beer sold by LIDL in Europe, nothing else.
  • + 9
 Actually they are the no# 2 producer of frames, after Giant. They own half of Specialized and make their frames.
  • + 2
 @Aptlynamed:

They don’t own that big of a share anymore if I am correct. But yes, (still) a major player in the market.
  • + 1
 Lot of coils
  • + 1
 *Out of
  • + 1
 Merida Demo
  • + 0
 Is that not supposed to be a session or something?
  • + 4
 Woosh
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: ya that was the whole point, I was admitting I am missing the joke. thanks lol
  • + 1
 26" AIN'T DEAD!!!!!!

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