More Downhill Bikes & Bits From Val di Sole World Championships 2021

Aug 26, 2021
by Matt Beer  
All of the teams have now unveiled their riders' specially painted World Champs bikes and kits. It seemed like this year, more than ever, there was a competition within a competition for the most elaborate themes and paint finishes. Some bikes were decorated with a national pride treatment, full of the rider's country colors, while others have been given a more personal touch or even a nostalgic race car replica build.



Emilie Siegenthaler's Pivot Phoenix 29
Emilie Siegenthaler

Emilie Siegenthaler
A burning hot candy red finish with orange accents.

Emilie Siegenthaler
Emilie Siegenthaler
Val di Sole is just a few mountain passes away from her home country.

Emilie Siegenthaler


Greg Minnaar's Santa Cruz V10 29
Greg Minnaar

Greg Minnaar
That carbon weave up close.

Greg Minnaar
Greg Minnaar
There's almost a stem spacer for every medal performance.

Greg Minnaar


Angel Suarez's Commencal Supreme Prototype
Angel Suarez
Insert fire emoji here

Angel Suarez
From front to back, a lot of time went into this paint work - pin striping over a fade.

Angel Suarez
Angel Suarez


Thibault Daprela's Commencal Supreme Prototype
Commencal brake arm
Pulling out all the stops with the addition of a floating brake arm - Commencal isn't afraid to toy with experimentation, even at World Champs.

Commencal brake arm
Commencal brake arm
The commenters will say it's impossible to ride a bike with that many bolts, but I bet Thibault's first split is green come race day.


Finn Illes' Specialized Demo Race

I'm getting some frozen ice, pond hockey Canadiana vibes with this paint scheme.

Friends to remember and rules to live by - "Don't be an idiot and just ride your bike."

Bernard Kerr's Pivot Phoenix 29
Bernard Kerr s Ferrari F40 race car inspired Pivot Phoenix.
Bernard Kerr's Ferrari F40 race car inspired Pivot Phoenix.

Full gas for World Champs

Loic Bruni's Specialized Demo Race
Loic Bruni

Bruni moves up to a big 220 mm floating front rotor this weekend.

Loic Bruni
Shiny paint and a custom linkage.

Loic Bruni
Loic Bruni
"The Black Snake" symbolizes the track here in Val Di Sole, known for its huge roots that lurk beneath the duff.

Loic Bruni


Charlie Hatton's Atherton DH bike
Charlie Hatton

The O-Chain system should dissipate some pedal kickback down this brutal course.

David Trummer's YT Tues 29
David Trummer

David Trummer
Matte, earth tone paint, oil slick bolts, and a splash of orange.

David Trummer
There are lots of bikes with extra chainslap protection this weekend for this pinball style track.



96 Comments

  • 92 0
 Geeezzzz, If that doesn't make you want to buy a DH bike, then I don't know what will!
  • 35 0
 Emilie Siegenthaler's Pivot Phoenix 29 is siiiiiiiiiick! I'd buy that one.
  • 74 0
 I hope one day, there will be a WRC or F1 car with a paintjob inspired by one of Minnaar's World's bikes......
  • 6 0
 Would love to see a Tommi Makkinen or McRae inspired jobbie some time. BK's F40 is sick.
  • 4 0
 @jamesdunford: Hee hee... 'jobbie'.
  • 3 0
 @jamesdunford: unsure if you are a Scot who has a French flag by your name, or a French person with a knowledge of the Scottish accent so good that they know to use the slang word jobbie
  • 2 0
 @feazel: How about English who lives in France - you were close Wink
  • 5 0
 1999 Lister Storm GTM had a similar ish livery to minnaars paintjob. We love niche GT1 references here on pinkbike
  • 18 1
 Is it just me, or this is the first year when most bike paints are actually not obvious reflections of a national flag's colors? That seems to unleash a lot of cool creativity to express a rider's personality. But again, maybe this is the one race when you're representing your country more than your trade team or even yourself.

Whadayathink?
  • 16 0
 WOW, Floating rear brake mount! that's some old school Schwinn/Yeti DH legacy there
  • 1 0
 Yeah, and that's a hefty looking torque brace. I understand the purpose of a floating caliper, just curious about how different aspects of the design of the toque brace affect its performance and correspondingly the rear suspension?

Anyone able to summarise?
  • 13 0
 @notsofastoverfifty: Summary: Magic.
  • 1 0
 @notsofastoverfifty:

Well, in reference to the size of the Torque Arm itself, it's under compression, so it needs to be substantial.

Whereas, if it were in tension, a torque arm can be quite minimal. The Torque arm on my 'Viintage'' 1983 RM125D chassis , with a 4T engine in it, is so flimsy, that if you rolled backwards after stalling on an uphill (heck, even on a steep load ramp)with the brake on, it would bend / bow very readily.

As to it's effect on the suspension ? Well, that would be deduced by an analysis of the entire suspension design, and I've not got enough pictures to do that. Generally, floating rear brakes are used to remove braking forces from the suspension, but hey, (I think it was) Fabien Barell (sp?) years ago on one of his Kona's, had a crossed over torque arm that fed brake forces into the suspension. Different strokes, for different folks, as they say.

I've put torque arm mounts on my latest Pinioned DHer ( well, I put them on all of my DHers, after MBA had people parroting "Brake Jack" all the time, decades ago, but, nearly every rider, after trying it, jettisoned it) , but I suspect my riders will not find it necessary .
  • 1 0
 @Bearorso: Great point. I assume the caliper isn't placed at the 7/8 o'clock position due to some sort of clearance issue? I get that weight isn't as much of a priority but that arm is a lot of additional unsprung weight on the rear triangle.
  • 2 0
 Kona stab
  • 12 1
 Bruni's bike is honking.
Kerr's bike, I don't know. Why would you want a shell logo on your bike? Boak on many levels.
Commencal, all of their bikes look amazing.
  • 5 0
 Just like when BMX started, (unassisted) riders looked at motorsports as inspiration. And obviously oil companies are big sponsors of motorsports teams. So if riders want to copy the looks of that, they'd also get the oil company sponsors. It isn't just Shell. I've seen Gulf-themed BMXs, Castrol etc. I think Nigel Page also got a motorcycle-themed Nukeproof bike a few times, not sure what oil company was on it. As sponsored riders, to bring it into competition/racing it may be odd though. Unless Shell is actually supporting Kerr, it is getting more exposure on that bike than some of his actual sponsors (other than Pivot). And what if riders are inspired by other (unassisted) athletes so that for instance Kerr would slap a Santa Cruz logo on his bike because he's inspired by Peaty?

One thing I'm sure, the world will go mental when a rider rocks up at the worlds or olympics with a full Marlboro themed bike.
  • 1 0
 This is the most Spanish look flag I ve seen so far on s bike...
  • 2 0
 @brandaneisma: The paintjob on the bike looks a whole lot better than on that car. But if the F40 was the example, they could try to make the cable entry (for internal routing) resemble a NACA duct as that's such a typical item on that car.
  • 9 2
 Cool to see Suarez running Hayes brakes. I didn't realise he was. I stopped running Hayes around 2012 because of their shite performance. Jumped on the Code train. Be interested to see if Hayes can make more waves with OEM into the future.
  • 20 0
 The Hayes Dominion A4s blow away my old TRP Quadiems. I'm surprised more people don't run them.
  • 11 0
 @SnaggleNut: there's a few of us and we're more than willing to tell you about it. Just wait...
  • 11 0
 @SnaggleNut: +1 for Hayes. Best brake I've ever tried. Will definitely put them on my next bike.
  • 7 0
 @SnaggleNut: out of stock has something to do with it.
  • 5 0
 @stinkball: One thing to know if you are having a hard time finding them is that they are totally symmetrical. The only difference between a left and right is the length of hose they come with. So if you can only find 2 lefts or 2 rights you are in business.

Check ebay
  • 6 1
 @SnaggleNut: My Dominions have been far more reliable than my buddy's Saints. He's had to rebuild them multiple times one season while mine have been consistent for two so far.
  • 7 0
 @SnaggleNut: I second this. I work at a shop and have felt/ridden just about every brake out there and the Dominion A4s are just leaps and bounds better in terms of lever feel and modulation. Definitely an under-appreciated product.

Anyone reading this, if you're having trouble finding them Starbike has them in stock quite frequently. Took about 2 weeks to ship to the states from Deutschland.
  • 1 0
 And XT calipier on Drapela's floating piston??! Is it real this @mikekazimer??!...
  • 6 0
 Hayes Dominion A4s are the best brakes that aren't Trickstuff. Full stop. The end. I have them on my trail/enduro bike with 203 rotors and my downcountry bike(extra weight be damned) with 180s and they perform flawlessly and consistently. Bleed them once a year and you're golden.
  • 2 0
 @Almazing: +1, I've had a bunch of different brakes over the years and the Dominions are the best by a wide margin. Dominion A4s, thick 203mm rotors, couldn't be happier. Absolutely phenomenal!
  • 6 1
 www.williamsracingproducts.com/new-page

Someone please link Greg to here
  • 6 1
 This year’s crop of custom paint jobs haven’t been very inspiring until that red Pivot.
  • 6 3
 That red Phoenix is sick!!!!! Intense should pay attention. W the piss poor customer service canyon offers, they deserve the suckiest bike at worlds.
  • 24 0
 Pivot, Intense, Canyon, what?
  • 4 0
 What is in Angel Suarez' rear wheel?

Looks roughly like plastic cards á la bike messengers?
  • 2 0
 Maybe he does Alleycat crits on the bike too
  • 1 0
 Interesting to see all the 29ers and clip-in pedals in this bunch of world class race DH bikes. I know what works for the pros isn't always what's best for the average bro, but you can't deny the competitive advantage.
  • 4 1
 Someone should tell them that flats far superior
  • 2 0
 Flat what? Tyres?
  • 1 0
 First I've seen of this O-Chain. Is it like a REV Grip for your chainring? Does it have a huge amount of slack when engaging for pedalling?
  • 1 0
 Pretty much yes. Eliminates pedal kickback. Adjustable between 6/9/12 degrees of slack. Very expensive, 560 Australian Dollars (410 USD).
  • 9 0
 It's like a antidote for fast engaging hubs!
  • 1 0
 @EckNZ: Yes, you can now run an Onyx hub with no drawbacks whatsoever on a dual suspension. Even the weight isn't a problem with the new vesper hubs.
  • 1 0
 www.ochain.bike/ochain-products

Widely used in DH and EWS. Reece won Worlds last year with one on his bike.

It's not so much the high engagement hubs that it helps with, but it does take the sting out of high anti-squat suspension designs. There's a good Team Robot article on the other site that explains it much more eloquently.
  • 1 0
 Why a floating brake mount? What are the benefits? I can't imagine they would run that if there wasn't a pretty significant benefit, that arm probably adds a bit of weight.
  • 2 0
 they used to be quite popular in the late 00s, early 10s. They Isolate braking forces
  • 20 1
 Lock your front and rear brake. Try bounce up and down on your seat. Feels like crap. Feels even more crap on high pivot bikes with rearward axel path (ie: Commencal and a few others out there). With a floating rear brake, it doesn't feel as crap - in fact, feels almost like it does with no brakes on. The outcome is better traction under hard braking.
  • 7 1
 The floating brake arm is designed to help eliminate the braking forces to effect the suspetion forces. Essentially this keeps the rear from sagging into the travel under braking forces, leaving that travel to be used to maintain traction. The theory being as the bike goes deeper into the travel, the small bump compliance diminishes, (suspension packs out) and the bike will feel more harsh, as well as increases the vhance of breaking traction. On the flip side however, the counter effect is if the fork is too soft or too linier, the bike will pitch forward and this will effect the geometry.
There are arguments for both sides, and with the ability to adjust low and high speed compression these days, I would say the benefit of this for most riders is not significant enough to warrant the idea.
Back in the early 2000's when you had the choice of a Vanilla RC or a Vanilla R, the concept of isolating brake jack from the suspension was much more relevant.
That being said, I'm all for the resurgence of old ideas with new technology. You never can truly get the most of something until you try everything.
  • 1 0
 Oh ok, that makes sense. Thank you for explaining. I have a hardtail so I don't really have firsthand experience of how that feels, but I get it now.
  • 5 0
 I thought you can make it do whatever you want. You can basically tune how much the rear end dives (or rises) when you apply the rear brake.On many four bar linkage bikes the brake caliper is on the floating link (so the link not directly connected to the front triangle) and this way they already try to tune the brake-suspension interaction in the design. For instance Trek has their ABP system where the rear axle path is that of a single pivot bike, but the brake caliper is on the floating link. But you can't tune that behaviour (as a customer) if you want it slightly different. Brands like Santa Cruz and Kona had an optional floating link (150mm axle without the link and you'd run a 135mm axle hub and then this link in between) if you did want it. Depending on high on the seattube you'd clamp it, you could get the brake-suspension interaction you want. Maybe you could adjust the length of the link too. As seen on this bike, they you can also tune the length of the long link. If it were merely to "isolate" brake forces, they'd already know how long it should be. But clearly they want to have the option to play with it and tune the brake-suspension interaction depending on course and preferences/style.

In later years people started to think of it as an afterthought and it lost popularity. Similar to the Pinkbike article recently how the reporter claimed that flip chips and other geometry tuning options are an afterthought and not committing to a design. But just like that one, I think it is cool that riders get the option to tune their gear to their preferences than to just trust the designer/engineer and hope it works for them too. So yeah, cool to see these brake links back again.
  • 2 0
 @jomacba: It's not designed to eliminate or isolate anything. That's impossible. You can change the amount of anti rise by using a floating brake linkage. It's a way to tune the way a certain suspension design performs under braking.
  • 1 0
 @JamesR2026: sorry, eliminate is the wrong choice of word. Isolate and control.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: and @jomacba : thank you very much. Interesting stuff. Now let's see how Santa Cruz and specialized are going to cope with high pivot trend without looking old designs.
  • 3 0
 How about some close-ups of Minnaar's next-gen Saint bits?!
  • 3 0
 What is that rotor on Thibault's bike?
  • 1 0
 I need those!
  • 4 0
 It’s a Galfer 223 mm prototype, a production model will be without the sawtooth fins according to Galfer.
  • 2 0
 @matthellstream: Hot heckin' diggity I love those. I've got some Intend rotors and those seem like a similar vibe. I strongly prefer rotors with lots of small holes like these over the more common big-hole designs. I've found they have a more consistent feel due to no big holes to cause pulsing, more power due to increased braking surface, and better cooling due to increased surface area. Plus the Galfers look fricken sweet.
  • 2 0
 Shell paint scheme remainds me f1
  • 1 0
 Getting some real TT bike vibes from the shape of that Santa Cruz, and I like it, that frame looks like it’s on a mission
  • 1 0
 You know its a gnarly track when most are rocking short stems and riser bars.
  • 2 0
 Bruni's, Suarez and Iles bikes are stunning. winners here, imho
  • 1 0
 Suarez is my fave. He's possibly my wildcard for this weekend, looks to be shredding in the raw videos I've seen. Not sure I could count Daprella as my wildcard considering he is leading the WC overall.
  • 1 0
 More interested in Minnaar's gears.........
New Saint?
get a move on Shimano!
  • 2 0
 Is Greg minnaars' bike the only one that looks to scale with the wheels?
  • 1 1
 Magura's 220mm rotors aren't floating discs. It is a solid rivit. The gaps between the rotor annd aluminium spider compensates heat expansion of the rotor.
  • 1 0
 Has nobody said it yet? It's impossible to ride a bike with that many bolts.
  • 1 0
 The length of Minnaar's bike.... Man, on a bike rack that thing would stick out both sides of the vehicle.
  • 1 0
 nice rotors on that commencal, both cooling fins without sandwiching and no slots so no turkeygobble braking. 5*
  • 2 0
 Futuristic sleds! Smile
  • 1 0
 Bernard Kerr is on the injured list in fantasy league, is that not true?
  • 2 0
 He injured his hand, but is still riding
  • 6 8
 And here we, at the pinnacle of DH tech, not a sub-29" wheel in sight - except perhaps on the rear of the Specializeds - and it's not even worthy of mention. Things moved quickly indeed...
  • 5 0
 Pretty sure Angel Suarez and Thibault Daprelas bike are mullets, too...
  • 5 1
 You ride what they pay you to ride. I mean, look at all those Maxxis tires
  • 6 2
 I think you'll find it is about 90% mullets.
Minnaar and people who's sponsor don't make a mullet bike!
  • 4 0
 look at the other pit bits article. it was like 90% mullets
  • 4 0
 @lutetium: Bruni isn't payed to ride Maxxis Tyres. Him and Iles are always running Maxxis tyres, dual DHR2s for Bruni and DHR2/DHF for Iles. Vergier won in Maribor on dual DHR2s despite not being sponsored by Maxxis. There's a reason all the rides who have shit tyre sponsors choose to ride Maxxis out of all the others, they're simply the best tyre brand for tread patterns, casings and compounds.
  • 1 0
 @melonhead1145: Reece Wilson and Kade Edwards ride Schwalbe with no sponsorship too. It does seem like the majority of those who choose what tire to run prefer Maxxis though
  • 1 0
 @lutetium: This is an unusual point of view. There surely are good and great alternatives but that's the thing, they are all precisely that, alternatives to Maxxis. So what's your brand/tire of choice and what fault do you see with Maxxis' offers in comparison?
  • 2 0
 THAT PIVOT THO
  • 1 0
 That Atherton bike is insane. Looks so clean.
  • 1 0
 What floating rotor is that on Loic’s bike ?
  • 1 0
 It's a Magura MDR-P e-bike rotor. They look pretty sick, and I bet they feel great too.
  • 1 0
 He will soon be known as Ti-Bolt Daprela..
  • 2 0
 By the way, it's Thibaut, not Thibault.
  • 1 0
 Bernards bike reminds me of old school Intense M16 frames
  • 1 0
 Floating rear brake!!! Is this 2005?!?!
  • 1 0
 i love bernerds pivot.
  • 1 0
 v10s are fire bro
  • 1 1
 Bernard Kerr Pivot is king!!!
  • 4 7
 Not sure if canyon or yt have the lamest bikes for worlds this year

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