When it comes to suspension and other important bits that make a bike go, the World Cup racing scene is essentially dominated by just a handful of brands that most of us are familiar with. And it's hard to argue that strategy; I mean, if you're running a top-tier race squad, you're probably going to want to build your bikes with proven stuff, right? Of course... that is, unless your name is Fabien Cousinié, ex-World Cup racer and the owner of the Polygon UR Team that's home to Mick and Tracey Hannah, Kenta Gallagher, Sam Reynolds, and 2017 Lourdes WC winner Alex Fayolle.
With a strong engineering background, Cousinié isn't your usual semi-retired racer turned team owner, and one look at the Polygon UR Team's list of sponsors and partners makes it obvious that it isn't your usual World Cup outfit.
Suspension on the front of the Polygon team bikes is taken care of by SR Suntour who, by the way, now have a Red Bull Rampage win and both men's and women's World Cup DH victories to their name. The back of the bike has seen everything from a prototype SR Suntour air shock
that's on the way, an Öhlins unit, and even a wild, custom-made Stemtee shock
that would cost around €4,000 if you wanted one for your own bike.
Then there are the Trickstuff Direttissima brakes that, after having used them for just two runs, I would describe as having the power of a brick wall. No joke, these German-made brakes are easily the most powerful stoppers that I've ever used, and I'll be needing to get myself a set, possibly for my car, in the near future.
But why be different? Why run SR Suntour suspension, Box's drivetrain, and Trickstuff brakes when you could bolt on a bunch of proven performers? Yes, there's something to be said for simply being different and standing out from the sea of SRAM, Shimano, RockShox, and Fox sponsored players, but it's Cousinié's engineering background and the opportunity to develop these still improving pieces of the puzzle that is largely why his team's sponsor list is unlike anything else out there.
Filmed and edited by Nick Van Berkel