Martin Maes' GT Force: EWS Whistler - Crankworx Whistler 2018

Aug 13, 2018
by Mike Levy  

As far as bike debuts go, it doesn't get any better than a win at the premier Enduro World Series event of the year. Maes took the overall victory here in Whistler, netting three second-places and two wins, including a 20-second winning margin over Eddie Masters on the final big stage from the top. He's clearly getting along with his new GT Force, a 27.5'' wheeled carbon bike (with an alloy rear end) that's a drastic departure - but much more conventional - from the brand's previous design.

Maes was rightfully occupied with celebrating his win when PB photographer Cameron Mackenzie shot his bike, but let's take a look at what we can spot.

Martin Maes Winning Bike
Martin Maes Winning Bike

Martin Maes Winning Bike
Martin Maes Winning Bike

The Force has 150mm of rear wheel travel, and Maes is using a Fox Float X2 to control it. Geometry is adjusted by a flip-chip at the lower shock mount that lets him choose between a 65 and 65.5-degree head angle - he went with the former during yesterday's race.

There's a Magic Mary up front that Maes often chooses, but he went for the Schwalbe's true spike tire, the Dirty Dan, out back. Both ends get the CushCore treatment, too. Maes' main competition for the overall turned out to be Richie Rude, but the Yeti rider was taken out by a puncture on the final stage of the day, underlining how an entire weekend can go down the tubes because of a simple but devastating mechanical.

The Belgian's Force is sporting a relatively conventional setup overall, with Shimano's previous XTR drivetrain rather than the new XTR 9100 group, and a set of aluminum Stan's Flow rims.


  • 112 2
 You will find that this Dutchman is Belgian. Belgium is a country wedged between the Netherlands, France, Germany and Luxembourg. There are three official languages, Dutch, French and German. The Dutch spoken is mainly referred to as Flemish, due to the differences in pronunciations. The country has a rich cycling culture and is about to build some MTB heritage as well!!!
  • 16 37
flag Jeeef (Aug 13, 2018 at 9:29) (Below Threshold)
  • 11 2
  • 3 12
flag jozefk (Aug 13, 2018 at 10:07) (Below Threshold)
 Who cares, Maes is de Baas!
  • 11 0
 Thanks for correcting that. For info Martin comes from the french speaking part of Belgium.
  • 41 2
 "There are only two things I can't stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch" - Nigel Powers
  • 4 0
 Thanks mate for clearing this. One little error .... the Durch language in Belgium's called 'vlaams'. Dank u meneer
  • 3 0
 @vhdh666: and 'Flemish' is 'Vlaams' translated into English.
  • 3 2
 Do they use toilet paper out there?
  • 1 0
 @fecalmaster: What is that that thing you call a toilet? Paper we do have.
  • 1 0
 That's what I wasn't afraid of.
  • 1 0
 Also the land of Eddy Merckx, for the road inclined.
  • 1 1
 @srghyc: stick your finger up your bum!
  • 2 1
 @Trailstunter: just let him be, he can't stand himself according to his quote so he's already living a bad life
  • 39 1
 27.5 ain't dead! Razz
  • 5 1
 It is not indeed!
  • 14 1
 First, second and third place in both EWS Whistler and DH World Cup i MSA were 27.5.
  • 6 0
 Unless E. Masters was riding the 29” Pivot Firebird? Close enough though.
  • 7 0
 I-drive sure as F is though!
  • 2 0
 Also Bruni won the last WC on a 27.5"
  • 1 0
 Looks like some nice swamp sauce in his water bottle.
  • 15 0
 Pretty “conventional“, just like Hill's bike. Obviously, standards are high, these days.
  • 14 6
 Fork length? Frame size? Tire pressures? Rim width? All things I look for in a bike check while deciding how to go about my next build.
  • 9 26
flag zyoungson (Aug 13, 2018 at 9:48) (Below Threshold)
 You can find 100 other bike checks with all the wanky details, or do a 5 second google search to find your answers instead of moaning on here.
  • 9 2
 Pretty sure Martin rides a stock Large size of the new Force, 160-170mm travel fork and well, Stans no Tubes Flow MK3's are 30mm wide inner width. As for tire pressure, one would need the mechanic to share that closely held info
  • 7 1
 Yoann barelli rides a line on a cyclocross bike. Just get one of those for park laps.
  • 2 0
 180mm disc ftont and back 170mm fork
  • 4 2
 @FarmerJohn: should he be worrying about you mate?
  • 11 0
 Of course basing your build off pro bikes isn't the best idea anyway
  • 2 2
 @patrick-marsh: No, but I like to see the what the different set ups are capable of. If this is a true 160/150mm set up I'd consider sticking with similar set up I have now. But if the 180/165mm bikes are becoming the successful trend then I have some considering to do.
  • 6 0
 Oh god, all these guys are running damn near the same thing. It's not the bike, it's the rider.... Rim width made me .00000001s slower last year, damn.
  • 4 0
 @FarmerJohn: 29mm .. just sayin
  • 2 0
 You base your build on someone else's bike? I doubt I'd ever want my bike set up like a pro in at least some respects. I am not a pro and if you were you would know exactly how to set up your bike. What do you want in a bike? Set it up like that!
  • 2 0
 @cmkneeland: so you are a trend following poser then? I guess you should just go with whatever is easiest to dust off and pull out to brag to all your friends and then put it away again because thats what I got from your comment lol buy a f*cking bike and ride it enough with the trend following bullshit already.
  • 9 0
 Alloy rims and mud spike in the BACK? Still trying to make sense of all this.
  • 3 0
 Alloy rims I get that especially if the new Force is stiff. Now for the spike at the back that's a big big mistery to me. Cut spikes at the front for the 10cm of dust everywhere, why not, but at the back ?!?
  • 25 1
 Sometimes, it doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to be fast. And this past weekend, it was fast enough to get the win.
  • 10 0
 @Balgaroth: cur spikes I guess, probably for bettr braking down steep loose chutes
  • 1 0
 I bet he cut those outermost knobs ?! They say it brakes very good...
  • 8 2
 Just speculation, but I'd guess he might be running alloy rims to help avoid pinch flats. On some impacts, I'd imagine an alloy rim would just dent a bit whereas a carbon rim would result in a pinched tire.
  • 2 4
Maes is not about complex solutions.
He is not the cutting type...
  • 7 0
 @toast2266: Ya, during the live stream/broadcast they had the Specialized team manager on there talking about how many riders are choosing aluminum rims now exactly for this reason. Aluminum will dent and bend when taking an unplanned significant damaging impact, which allows you to throw in a tube and keep riding... vs carbon which might just break and then you're done.

The compromise is rolling weight, but he said riders were making the decision to take on more weight vs the possibility of being taken out of the race completely.
  • 12 0
 @Balgaroth: you use it as a rudder to slow you down on steep stuff and you get the benefit of the braking traction of a spike but with something like a minion or magic Mary on the front means you won’t get that high speed front wheel wash out that you get running a cut spike on the front. I do it when it gets really dry and loose and it works a treat.
  • 1 2
 @Trailstunter: pay more attention next time bro ! Cheers
  • 4 0
 @toast2266: Ya, I've dented my aluminum rims soo many times without even losing air.
  • 2 0
 @toast2266: I can confirm that Flow rims absorb huge impacts without puncturing the tire. (WTB Tough and Maxxis DD casings) The whole rim deforms, not just the lip. This means it'll never run true again, but your tire still has air in it...
  • 2 0
 @toast2266: Back in the days many frenchies used to run Mavic ex721 over 823 because the 721 had really weak sides making them deform instead of pinch flat the tubes (to a point) whil the 823 was as rigid as it goes and you'd never see a ding on them but you'd pinch flat much more. You'd hardly do a full season with a 721 but it was cheap, light and was staying true despite dinging like mad. On the other hand you'd keep a 823 like brand new for 2/3 seasons.

@thenotoriousmic thans for your insight I expected something along these lines but considering the drag of these tires I would have never thought of actually doing it. Even on the big rig.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I was amazed when I read that Danny Hart ran something similar for that Champery run (yes, that one) - Dirty Dan rear and something ridiculous up front (Wicked Will?), because he was just riding the back wheel so much.

Can't find the article now, think it was in Dirt
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth: yeah the rim will fold instead of cutting the tyre.

If for when it gets steep and need a lot of braking but don’t want to lose that cornering speed you get with a minion or something. Basically in situations where rolling speed doesn’t matter.
  • 7 2
 27.5, al rims, boring four bar suspension. So much for all the fancy new tech!
  • 2 0
 Come on this boy was way ahead a few years when he started this enduro thing,running dh tires when everyone else where ridding the so call trail tires ,and still he was kicking on some pre establish things(he was young what did he know)yeah right ,congrats Martin.
  • 2 0
 Too bad the retail version doesn't come with an X2 rear shock. It's probably a cost concern but they still should make the factory version available for those who are willing to pay (i.e. privateers).
  • 1 0
 yeah Indeed! I've complained on GTs feed when they posted it, as it's such a miss on their end. The least they could do was on the frame version only, but no, it's the same DPX2. Blank Stare
  • 3 0
 down the tubes. i love it.
  • 3 0
 Great looking bike!
  • 2 1
 Most bike snobs where I ride wouldn't be caught dead on that bike.
  • 1 0
 Levers appear to be extremely angles down as opposed to flat.
  • 2 1
 bottleholder straight off of grampa's citybike! #rideinstyle
  • 1 0
 Hahah That's Epic.. Simple AF!!! Don't know why someone neg propped you... that was funny
  • 1 1
 Oh look: A solid, great looking downtube, almost straight, but still no knock block
  • 1 1
 Interesting mud tire in back but not the front....
  • 1 0
 cant find the idler
  • 1 0
 are those flat pedals?

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