BIKE CHECK ~ FAIRCLOUGH AND VINK
races World Cups for Scott aboard a 210mm travel Gambler, but you might know him better from his appearances in a number of videos that usually see him getting more sideways than Ken Block could ever dream of doing. One of the most popular riders out there due to that wild style, Fairclough is always a fan favourite at Rampage, even if that hasn't translated to a top result: an eighth place at last year's event against the best freeriders in the world likely left him wanting more, despite him finally slaying his burly canyon gap. Having spent the 2014 World Cup season racing on a number of different prototypes with various paint jobs, his Rampage bike assembled around a production 2015 frame that anyone can purchase when it becomes available - minus the patriotic touch on the top tube, of course.
The build consists of his sponsor's kit, as you'd expect to see, but there hasn't been any major changes from what he'd usually run at a World Cup race. That means the same 27.5” DT Swiss wheels that are shod with Schwalbe's popular Magic Mary tires and their Procore system, and a Shimano Saint drivetrain combined with an LG1 chain guide from e*thirteen. Add in a set of DMR's Vault Brendog pedals (who would've though?!
) and, while very functional for what Fairclough needs to get done, you end up with a build kit that doesn't exactly get the comment section chattering away. The bike's suspension, on the other hand, is far from stock... Brendan's Rampage suspension
setup is not only much different than what you or I would run, which is pretty much a given, it's also different from his usual preferences for a World Cup track. And having actually spent time on a rig he raced at one point, I can attest to how stiff he likes to run the front and back of his bike - picture all 170lb of me sagging into his bike roughly the same amount as I would when sitting on a park bench. That sort of approach is what you need if you're going warp speed into a section that looks more like a dry riverbed than anywhere one should be riding a bike, but that's asking something very different of the fork and shock than what Rampage demands. Small bump sensitivity isn't as much of a concern in Utah because he's not searching for traction at race pace, says Marketing Coordinator and Product Manager for Progressive Bikes Ben Walker, so it let them dial-in the bike for the big impacts that are bound to happen. ''The idea is to avoid getting bucked over the bars for those incredibly heavy landings
,'' Walker explained to me, which was accomplished with not only a firmer spring rate all around, but also a custom compression tune to help take in the abuse and slower rebound speeds to keep Brendan from exiting over the front of the bike.
|Both Brendan and Nico running firmer springs, firmer compression and slower rebound than their typical setups. Nico spends a lot more time running this style of setup than Brendan due to the huge jumps he is hitting and sometimes overshooting. The idea is to avoid getting bucked over the bars on those incredibly heavy landings. - Ben Walker, Scott|
As we've seen the Scott team running during the race season, there's a set of custom made crowns clamping the stanchion tubes of his FOX 40. These aren't used to adjust the bike's head angle, though, but rather to increase the amount of offset over the stock crowns. ''As head angles get slacker and slacker these days, the bikes become more floppy and sluggish
,'' Walked said when questioned as to why the team is experimenting with different offsets. ''By decreasing the trail through increasing the offset we can create a light and lively steering feeling with a slack and stable head angle. It's basically more stable and more maneuverable at the same time
,'' which sounds like the best of both worlds. He wasn't quite ready to share any exact numbers with me yet, so we're left guessing as to how different the bike rides compared to when it's fitted with the standard crowns, especially when it's run at its slackest 61° head angle setting.
Gambler is a different animal than Brendan's, although he's running a similar suspension setup when it comes to spring rates and slightly slower rebound speeds. However, his bike is rocking a BOS fork and Cane Creek shock (with either a 400 or 450lb spring depending on what he needs
), along with a set of 26" wheels with and Magic Mary tires. You read that correctly, he's using 26'' wheels, with the 2015 Gambler frame offering enough geometry adjustment that Scott says it can accommodate either wheel size - the bike's adjustable BB height, head angle and chain stay length allow similar geometry to be achieved with both.Check out all of our images from the Red Bull Rampage 2014 here.