Czech company Superior showed up at the this weekend's Val di Sole World Cup with a fresh cross-country machine for their racers. The previous version of the all-carbon XF frame is to weigh just 1,900-grams, or just a touch over four pounds, and they're claiming this new version is a full 10-percent lighter.
The new XF's suspension layout is still a linkage-driven single-pivot system that uses flex at the axle to save grams while hopefully keeping the lightweight frame relatively stiff, but it looks far more refined for 2020. The front-end gets a sleeker design, too, and it makes that old bike look a bit awkward in comparison. It's not just the bike's appearance that has changed, however, as the main reason for the new bike was complete geometry overhaul.
Details are slim at this point, and while it likely has the same 100mm of travel that the previous XF sported, modern geometry is the real motivation. Depending on the size, the now-retired XF had a probably-going-to-scorpion-degree head angle (70.5 to 71.5-degrees) that seems steep nowadays, especially as cross-country bikes start to relax a bit.
The team's mechanic didn't give us the actual numbers, but he did say that they've taken a ''more new-school approach to a cross-country bike,'' and that it's slacker and longer. He also noted the bike's relatively low standover height and short seat tube, both of which appear to be much, much closer to the ground than the old XF.
World Cup cross-country racing in 2019 often mixes levers for lockouts and dropper posts. The team is using Crankbrothers' Highline dropper in Val di Sole.
FSA's K-Force Light cranks get a UD finish and weigh 535-grams.
When it comes to spec, the Superior bikes have an interesting mix of components that makes all those Shimano and SRAM-sponsored rigs look a bit repetitive. DT Swiss' carbon fiber is featured heavily, with the bike rolling on a set of 1,446-gram XMC 1200 wheels [You'd think they would have called them the XCM 1400 wheels, no?] and the Swiss company's suspension. The OPM O.D.L 100 Race fork gets a carbon crown and steerer tube, and it's matched with an R 535 One shock rather than the older X 313 Carbon unit. Both the fork and shock can be turned off via a handlebar-mounted remote because cross-country racing.
FSA takes care of the cockpit and cranks with their K-Force Light range, and slowing down is done with Trickstuff's exotic and very lightweight Piccola brakes. Those funky looking pedals are HT's latest version of their M1s that have a larger contact area for more support. There's a set of Tubolight's inserts hidden inside the Continental tires, too. They're said to weigh just 23 to 44-grams depending on the size, and Superior's racers have been running between 18 and 20psi all season long.
Components from FSA, Trickstuff, Crankbrothers, and DT Swiss make for one hell of an eclectic spec sheet.