"Never go full enduro!" is oft-cried in the comments and trail center parking lots, but I would love to see somebody walk up to 'seven second Sam'
and tell him that.
Spotted on his Instagram feed, Sam's World Champs bike appears to be a very similar setup to the bike that currently leads the EWS series. The prototype Mega 275C has a carbon front triangle and still uses an aluminum rear, custom painted in glittered green and gold.
His RockShox Lyrik/Super Deluxe suspension, Mavic DeeMax wheels, and SRAM Guide brakes with 200mm rotors are the same he runs during the EWS, even a Reverb dropper is installed. In fact, the only difference I can see is a larger chainring and a switch to SRAM X01 DH 7-speed drivetrain – but it wouldn't surprise me if he uses this at EWS races and just stands up and flat-pedal smashes his way to the top of the stages. Talking of flats, Sam uses his signature Nukeproof pedals and which don't seem to give a disadvantage on pedally EWS stages, customized with green pins for this weekend.
With many riders testing lockout systems during the downhill season, interestingly Sam doesn't have one installed on the Super Deluxe air shock, even though they are readily available production parts.
Sam Hill was selected almost by surprise to race the World Champs in his home country, after racing only one World Cup DH this year in Fort William, the 18th place finish was good enough to meet the selection criteria. After entering a couple of EWS races last year, he found a new gear and decided to make the EWS his focus in 2017. His reasoning is that he was bored of the same old venues every year on the World Cup circuit and just likes riding his bike as much as possible. Focusing on the EWS series may have been the perfect preparation for the race in Cairns, learning to take a shorter travel, more efficient bike to its limit might just be what is needed for the notoriously flat and simple Cairn's course.
We have seen Hill do extraordinary things in the past, and to dismiss the 32-year-old completely would be foolish.Photo credit: