Sam and Bam check out the new ride.
Add Sam Hill to the list of World Cup DH racers who are making the switch to 27.5” wheels. That list continues to grow, and we're already looking forward towards next year, when wheel size is no longer worth mentioning and frame designers can change their focus to more groundbreaking developments. But back to Sam Hill. Sam rode a customized Nukeproof Mega equipped with the mid-sized wheels at the first race of the season in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, but at this past weekend's BDS race in Fort William, Scotland, he rolled up to the starting line on a 27.5” version of the Pulse DH
bike. Although the bike had been hinted at a few months ago, this marks its race day debut. The overall layout of the frame remains the same, save for the geometry, which will have been altered to fit the slightly larger wheels. Sam finished in seventh place on the new ride, a result that he'll no doubt be itching to improve when the World Cup returns to Fort William in a few short weeks.
Wheel size has been the fuel for countless fiery internet debates over the last year or so, but racers seem to be accepting the change and moving on. Most of the larger teams have made the switch, with the Santa Cruz Syndicate being the most notable exception. Will a 27.5" V10 debut at Fort William? We'll just have to wait and see. It's also worth noting that the first two World Cup races of the season have been won by riders on 27.5" wheeled bikes, and at Cairns three out of the five podium positions were held by riders aboard non-26" bikes. Granted, Gee Atherton and Aaron Gwin could probably win on a Schwinn Stingray, banana seat and all if they really wanted to, but it is an indication of the changing times.