Kyle Jameson's 26" Wheeled Scott Gambler - Crankworx Whistler 2015

Aug 10, 2015
by Mike Levy  
Kyle Jameson s Scott Gambler Photo by Toby Cowley

FEST Series Flyer

To say that Kyle Jameson has some unique demands when it comes to his downhill bike might be a bit of an understatement, with his riding at the FEST series actually requiring a completely different suspension setup compared to what his Scott Gambler would normally employ on an average day. Eighty foot jumps will do that, though, won't they? His bike, which is rolling on 26" wheels, is built up around a large-sized frame that suits Kyle's 6'2 height, and it's done up in custom FEST motif that includes a hand painted graphic on the top tube.

He's also not a rider who's really concerned about how much his bike weighs, which makes sense when you consider what he might be getting up to aboard his Gambler on a Saturday afternoon, and he wasn't sure how much it actually weighs. He did say that he feels safer on a heavier machine that's more stable in the air, though.

Kyle Jameson s Scott Gambler Photo by Toby Cowley
  Kyle runs a stiffer and slower rebounding suspension setup when riding at the FEST series, but chooses more forgiving suspension settings for day to day use.

Two Different Suspension Setups

While most of us can ride our downhill bikes in the park and then go session our local set of jumps without issue, Kyle lives in a different world where many of the jumps that he's sending are nearly as long as a basketball court. Those eighty foot jumps necessitate two different suspension setups: a stiffer, slower rebounding configuration that makes for a calmer, more stable ride when he's at somewhere like FEST event; and a more active, quicker rebounding setup that's more forgiving when he's in the bike park or shuttling on trails that don't have motocross-sized gaps.

FEST Setup: Big jumps require stiffer suspension, and Kyle says that he runs 130 PSI in his is World Cup BoXXer when he's going to be in the air over a single jump for longer than most of us will be during an entire day of riding. He also runs quite a bit of low-speed compression damping to create a more stable platform that stays high in its travel, and that can also help a lot when he needs some 'pop' off of a massive lip. There's even four volume-reducing Bottomless Tokens screwed into the underside of the fork's top cap to make for a more progressive stroke.

The Vivid R2C shock has been fitted with a 550 in/lb spring that's fairly stiff for Kyle's 185lb weight, but he's also running a lot of compression damping and seventeen clicks of rebound that makes for a relatively slow and stiff setup that won't do anything unexpected off the face of a fifteen foot tall lip.
Kyle Jameson s Scott Gambler Photo by Toby Cowley
A lot of air pressure and four Bottomless Tokens makes for a stiff front end, but the custom air cap is what catches the eye.

Park Setup: Kyle's stiff and slow suspension makes sense for sending it, but it's also an unforgiving ride that isn't ideal for everyday use when he's in the park or shuttling with friends. For these days, he goes with 20 PSI less in his fork, with 110 PSI and much less compression damping for a more active ride that also provides more traction. He does leave the four Bottomless Tokens in there, though, so it's still a relatively progressive setup. The same 550in/lb spring stays on the Vivid R2C shock, but he backs out the rebound knob by three clicks for slightly faster and more playful suspension action.

Kyle Jameson s Scott Gambler Photo by Toby Cowley
A tall handlebar and some spacers under his BoXXer's upper crown mean that Kyle's 'bar height is probably taller than what most riders use.
Kyle Jameson s Scott Gambler Photo by Toby Cowley
Kyle doesn't fit a chain guide to his Gambler, which is somewhat of a surprise.

Bike Setup

Kyle's bike isn't home to any wild parts that are still in the prototype stage of their life, with the emphasis being more on reliability than anything else. A Chromag Director stem with 47mm reach clamps onto a FU40 aluminum handlebar that's been left at its full 780mm width, and the spacers under the BoXXer's top crown and 1.6" of rise in the 'bar make for a relatively high setup. The bike's drivetrain is an X0DH setup, with a compact seven-speed cassette and 165mm long carbon cranks - the only carbon you'll find on the entire bike. There's no chain guide, surprisingly - I'd run one if I was pedalling into eighty foot gaps, but that's just me - and he uses a 36 tooth direct-mount chain ring.

The tires are a mix and match affair, with his 26" Hope Tech Enduro rims fitted with a Bontrager G5 2.35" tire up front and a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.35" out back that are hand-me-downs from R-Dogg and Brandon Semenuk, two other riders who prefer 26" wheels for how they ride. Much like Kyle's suspension setup, he resorts to two extremely different amounts of tire pressure depending on what the day's riding has in store: 40 PSI front and back while at the FEST series to keep the tires from folding over on take-off or landing, as well as for rolling speed; and just under 30 PSI for day to day use. He also uses tubes rather than a tubeless setup.

Kyle Jameson s Scott Gambler Photo by Toby Cowley
More Chromag, with a BMX-esque Overture being Kyle's go-to seat.
Kyle Jameson s Scott Gambler Photo by Toby Cowley
The hand painted logo on the top tube is a nice touch.

Photos by Toby Cowley

MENTIONS: @SCOTT-Sports / @TheFEST / @Chromagbikes / @SramMedia / @troyleedesigns / @FiveTen / @tobycowley


  • 182 9
 anyone that's questioning his setup is an idiot, look at what the man does, you really think you know better? LOL
  • 53 6
 Its obvious that Kyle has his bike set up the way he likes it regardless of "industry standards". I am sure he figured out what he likes through trial and error by actually riding. All you heroes on Pinkbike criticizing his set up need to just get out and ride your bike instead of paying attention to fads that bike companies are always changing.
  • 19 3
 I think there's some logic to it. 26 is more versatile for tricks in air. Just is...I think 27.5 is a step forward for rolling over technical sections and what not. But not for tricks...

And I would appreciate a heavier bike in the air during windier conditions. I definitely notice on windy days how much sketchier it is in the air. I'm easily tipped over if the wind is coming at me sideways. Heavier bikes are much less vulnerable to that, but the obvious trade off is that it's less maneuverable/agile.

Can't agree more with the whole "ride your bike" mentality. It's easy to get caught up in making your bike better when you could be making yourself a better rider.
  • 29 2
 Nice to see the freeriders getting bike checks. I'm more interested in seeing how the rest of the Fest riders set up their bikes as I am in the slope and DH. These dudes are pushing the freeride limits.
  • 5 15
flag Silliker269 (Aug 10, 2015 at 18:45) (Below Threshold)
 No ti spring , what up ?
  • 31 0
 Hey this is Kyle J, this is my ride, and I love this shit.
  • 13 6
 I question the lack if chaindevice. When your life it literally on the line, why not just put one on for good measure....surely the weight difference means nothing
  • 11 30
flag gabriel-mission9 (Aug 11, 2015 at 2:19) (Below Threshold)
 Anyone who falls for this "you can't question his setup cos he's really good at riding" rubbish, needs to think a little clearer.

Does Lewis Hamilton know how to set up the suspension on his F1 car? f*ck no!
Does Tiger Woods make the best golf clubs? Un-bloody-likely
Perhaps you think Gwin builds the best DH wheels? I doubt it.
  • 19 1
 Lewis Hamilton will be sure to tell you if that suspension is setup wrong though.
  • 18 1
 "Does Lewis Hamilton know how to set up the suspension on his F1 car? f*ck no!"

What? Of course he does! Obviously he's not the ones actually changing it, but he's 100% giving the engineers feedback on what's good or bad. That exact skill is what is often given the most credit for all Schumachers chamionships... he was a wizard at testing and car set-up and knew exactly what feedback to give.
  • 6 16
flag gabriel-mission9 (Aug 11, 2015 at 5:38) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah, feedback like "I'm getting understeer on corner entry" or "I'm spinning the inside rear accelerating out of corners"

Then the engineers will decide how to solve that with tyre pressures, steering geo, damper settings or any number of other variables.
  • 9 2
  • 7 1
 yes gabriel so he gives his feedback and they set it up till he likes it so in a way this is his setup
  • 95 5
 I like that people are still running 26. I think it keeps the industry more versatile.
  • 25 0
 I just built a 26" freeride bike. Bought a new 26" wheelset and everything. 27.5" never scared meeeeee
  • 4 0
 @anchoricex The Commencal in profile? That thing is super nice!
  • 2 0
 @wisey yup! thanks man!
  • 80 3
 You had me at 26"
  • 30 4
 26 are super cool. Accurate
  • 31 0
 my upvote took you from +26 to +27....sorry
  • 68 8
 26" what is this? Some kind of new fad?

Just kidding 26" for life.
  • 32 0
 what's next? putting tubes in the tires?
  • 36 2
 @BrianK24 - He also runs tubes Wink
  • 8 1
 Maybe he runs 29er tubes to help with rolling resistance but 26er wheels to help throw the bike around..... errrr.....
  • 3 0
 Thx for the LEVity Mike!
  • 65 20
 Screw them 27.5 bikes
  • 39 3
 26" wheels on a bike normal service resumed
  • 29 2
 Omg 26" ewww! It doesn't even like, roll over stuff easier!
  • 1 1
  • 29 9
 26 will be back wait, it never left. It's like surfboards. People go all over the place with wider, thicker "easier to ride" boards but at the end of the day the proficient rider on a conventional high performance shortboard is having the most fun and doing the coolest stuff. 26 for life! (And 6'0 high performance thruster surfboards too!)
  • 39 0
 You had me at "wider, thicker, easier to ride".
  • 15 8
 You had me at the american flag..
  • 6 2
 Just like anything else, your setup depends on what you're trying to ride. You need a groveler if you're trying to ride small, weak surf. I used to have a little quad fin 5'10" that was a blast to ride, but the surf had to be at least waist high with a nice pitching face. Even then I had to be so deep into the break that my timing had to be absolutely perfect if I didn't already have to yield to someone on a SUP or longboard that was able to catch the swell way before me. Those are the days when you take out your groveler or fish because riding a performance shortboard isn't that practical of an option.
  • 18 2
 Wider, thicker easier to ride surfboard? The hell you on about.

I ride fish, hybrids, funboards, longboards and shortboards. Sure some some are easier to ride than others BUT they all provide a different experience.

Same goes for thruster and quads which I ride both. On my fish I prefer the qaud setup compared to 3 fin. Board design serves function just as 29" wheels differ to 26".

Lately I've been having more fun on my CI High 5 board than any of my shortboards. Go to cloudbreak though, and I'll only ever ride a shortboard.

On my weekend trail ride, the 29er destroys 26 and 27.5. If I head to another technical track, 26" wins easy. No one wheel size or board style reigns supreme, they are made for differing conditions.
  • 7 0
 Salt Water Damage Alert ! ;-)
  • 3 2
 Please tell me why shortboarders are having more fun?..thousands of longboarders are ripping it in big waves and having more fun...
  • 22 1
 Could have sworn I was looking at PinkBIKE...
  • 21 0
 130 psi, 17 clicks, got it, got it. 26" wheels, got them too. I'm ready now. Got errything I need to head out and nail an 80'er.
  • 26 5
 26" for Life !!
  • 20 0
 Unique build, I like.
  • 15 0
 "Kyle runs a stiffer and slower rebounding suspension setup when riding at the FEST series, but chooses more forgiving suspension settings for day to day use."

No surprises there lol
  • 16 0
 Pliney the Elder.
  • 18 3
 I kinda get the feeling only us 26" riders are reading this article Smile
  • 10 0
 tubes aren't dead. But I'm just saying that because I don't have enough money to go tubeless
  • 12 2
 The fact that they have to point out that the wheels are 26", as if it's something unusual, makes me sad Frown
  • 13 2
  • 10 0
 Sweet whip KJ... 26 ain't dead! Nor will it ever be!

  • 6 0
 There is room for the three wheels sizes. I prefer 26". But bike companies need to offer this. Good to see Scott and Rocky M are doing this with frames that can run both. the Big S and Santa Cruse YT and so forth should have offered this. its More frames more wheels more choice and cash for the greedy bastards.
  • 7 3
 Thick wide boards are crutches. Just like 29 and 27.5 bikes. Glide at the sacrifice of flick ability and performance. You can go straight and up hill easier but u end up drawing long arcs at the sacrifice of fun in the corners and in the air.
  • 6 3
 Your talking absolute nonsense.
  • 7 0
 26-droolers census post Big Grin
  • 7 0
 Two sixy all the waytup
  • 7 6
 Nothing like getting stuck on a downhill behind a rider that climbs fast on a 29r but has no skills to flow downhill because he's s used to rolling over stuff and can't zip through the corners. That 29 in bike allowed him to enter the sport but kept him complacent in the skills dept. Sure he's fast uphill but can't even hop a little log clogging the singletrack where it really matters - the downhill. Not unlike the long boarder that learns fast and stalls his skills because he's feeling the glide. He snakes u and then perches on the nose while u can't complete a turn since he messed up the wave. He fails to progress due to confort and complacency and clogs the lineup with his lack of ability getting in the way of everyone. Does not apply to all riders and surfers but to many
  • 5 1
 It's great to finally see Pinkbike post an article with a real mountain bike in it.
  • 2 1
 I can't remember when was the last time i saw a bike on news and was so delighted by its look. The time is now! (well, actually I think X0 cranks aren't best deal, but let's make up with it)
  • 1 0
 whats wrong with the X0 cranks? they look pretty nice to me...
  • 1 0
 Because despite its high-endity, these cranks aren't any stronger than cheaper, aluminium-forged ones. Of course they are lighter, but I think light parts are good in XC, not in DH/FR Smile
  • 1 2
 clearly an expert then.... X0 are comparable to shimano Saint cranks in strength, i own saint myself but only because i can't afford X0 because if they are just as strong but lighter then i don't see where the disadvantage is..., and kyle having them on his bike should testify to their strength as i doubt you or most riders will be hitting anything close to 80ft jumps and if they haven't broken doing that then i would say you'll have a very hard time breaking them yourself.
  • 2 1
 @JMBMTB .....I don't see Saint cranks snapping like that. X0's are light and kinda strong but definitely not one of the strongest. A lot of Riders like Kyle, Semenuk etc. Run XO's cause they are Sram Sponsored riders and they are paid to ride them, If their cranks snap they usually get a replacement instantly from their mechanics.
  • 1 1
 @carfreak2000 i haven't personally ever seen someone who has snapped an X0 crank and i know a fair few people who use use them, them snapping like in that picture is fairly rare
  • 3 0
 @JMBMTB But the point still remains, There are more snapped X0's than snapped Saints.
  • 4 0
 26" God Damn right bitches. Those who shred hard know!
  • 2 0
 I feel like I shouldn't, but... I really like the boxxer graphics on those stanchions. I know, I know..
  • 4 3
 This is possibly the coolest bike ive ever seen. Zinks 'merica bike is a close second
  • 2 2
 I know there's probably a million Russian Rivers in the world but that would be sick if that was an AK cap!
  • 3 0
 That's Russian River Brewing, Row 2 Hill 56, Pliny, Sanctification, Beautification, Supplication... One of the better breweries in the states, and the forefather of Sour beers in America.
  • 1 0
 The best beer I have ever tasted, and my liver will attest to a lot of different competition. Great rider great beer.
  • 2 0
 just get my money
  • 2 0
 Kyle knows his shit
  • 1 3
 Explain why he's riding 26' and surely there's hardly any difference once you have thick tyres on and stuff ike it's wierd how 27.5 tubes fit so well into 26 it's like there's something there not telling us
  • 1 0
 Kyle your bike lookin tastier than good ol Pliny himself! Keep Shreddin!
  • 1 0
 how well you ride is 70% you 30% your gear and bike
  • 1 0
 it's pretty close to my bike
  • 8 8
 26 for life... that gives you max 5 years, so use them well, YOLO!
  • 1 0
 As its quite clear you can use 26" in any frame, i don't intend to argue just fact Big Grin Even if you wish to keep original geometry just slap an angle set and an offset shock bushing (if not available with it allready like the gambler) and keep on riding Smile
  • 5 3
 It's quite clear that your bike is useless without quality tyres, and I assume they will stop making them in 26" in max 5 years. Stock your Minions now.
  • 1 0
 I am pretty sure i can get 24" tyres nowadays even tho they went out of style almost 10 years ago really... and they were never a big hit either meaning not many were produced, compared to 26" atleast, im not affraid of running out of stuff to choose from but fair point, there must be a time when the industry will try to kill off 26", the main word in that sentence is "try" Smile
  • 3 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 11, 2015 at 4:52) (Below Threshold)
 I am tired of Schwalbe. I loved the Rock Razor, but you cannot get either Spec Slaughter nor latest Maxxis in 26". I'd go 275 for the sole purpose of having latest tyres.
  • 3 0
 I'm 6.5 so 27.5 would be rather suitable for me, but i would stick with 26 for the sole purpose of 26" stuff getting so much cheaper, like wheels-rims-tyres, i think 27.5 is more than a hype like 29" dh bikes, but as some poles state most of the people choose the 26 for its versitale nature like the owner of this superb bike above Smile My bike takes 27.5 now but i would not go with that even if i get a free pair of wheels, been perfectly happy with 26" in the last 20 years and will be.. i just hope they won't kill it off by stopping the production eventually.
  • 4 0
 if we keep buying 26 they will have a reason to continue.
  • 1 0
 Nice bike
  • 2 1
 Sexy Motherfucker !!!
  • 1 0
 26 ain't dead !
  • 1 1
 26 inch stronger and stiffer = last longer !
  • 1 0
 26" for days!!!!!!!!
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