Tech Photos from the Pits at the Windrock Pro GRT

Mar 9, 2018
by Richard Cunningham  
Debonair making it s way from the rear suspension and into the front on the new Rochshox forks
Is Debonair making it's way from the rear suspension and into the front on the new RockShox forks?

Dave Trumpore takes his camera to the pits for a glimpse behind the scenes as everyone gears up for what looks to be an action-packed season of DH racing at all levels. Interesting to see the likes of Santa Cruz sweating the details at a national-level venue - and they weren't the only World Cup team in attendance.

Lots of talk about the new RockShox Boxxer, but so far it's been exclusive to 29ers, as the massively offset dropouts attest. SRAM and RockShox officials insist that these are prototypes, but really? If one considers that 27.5-inch-wheel downhill bikes are pretty dialed in, then what is the motivation for anyone who has one to buy a new bike? If 29-inch wheels prevail this season, and there is a good chance they will, the first high-end fork maker with a proven 29er fork will rule the world. Team Red needs this one. Production or prototype? Your call.

Close up of the new Boxxer lowers.
Close up of the new Boxxer arch. Curious to why the stanchion tubes have not been enlarged significantly?

The Boxxers are prototype still but the laser etching on the crowns hints that things are just about ready for production.
The Boxxers are prototype, we are told, but the laser etching on the crowns hints that production can't be far off.

Definitely a new boxxer in the works and likely designed with 29 wheels in mind from the ground up.
Exaggerated offset: the tip-off that 29" wheels are involved.

Dakotah Norton s 29 Devinci Wilson.
Dakotah Norton's 29" Devinci Wilson.

Dakotah Norton getting a little extra reach on his 29 Devinci prototype.
Norton adds a little extra reach on his 29" Devinci prototype.

Alex Marin s Saracen with the 27.5 setup.
Alex Marin's Saracen - with the 27.5 wheels.

Matching Industry Nine wheels add a little eye candy to an Intense M16.
Matching Industry Nine wheels add a little eye candy to an Intense M16.

Privateer van life takes commitment. At the grassroots level these are the folks that make or break the continued growth of the sport week in and week out
Privateer van life takes commitment. At the grassroots level, these are the folks who fuel the continued growth of the sport.

It s not all glam when you are living the van life of a privateer. Bedroom kitchen and pits all rolled into one.
It's not all glam living the van life of a privateer. Bedroom, kitchen, and pits, all rolled into one.

Lots and lots of big wheels and big tires here this weekend.
Lots of big wheels and big tires here this weekend. Teams are using the National races to sort out their 29ers before the World Cup hits.

New Maxxis rubber on the back of Minnaar s bike
New Maxxis rubber on the back of Minnaar's bike.

Santa Cruz carbon DH wheels look just about ready for production.
Santa Cruz carbon DH wheels look ready for production.

Custom link for Luca Shaw s V10 29 er
Custom aluminum link for Luca Shaw's Santa Cruz V10 29'er?

Data acquisition on Minnaar s fork
Data acquisition on Minnaar's fork.

Data acquisition on Minnaar s shock
Data acquisition on Minnaar's shock. One has to wonder what the GOAT has planned for 2018.



142 Comments

  • + 166
 What is Minnaar’s plan? Win maybe?
  • + 274
 He's going to steal the declaration of in independence.
  • - 19
flag RedBurn (Mar 9, 2018 at 16:10) (Below Threshold)
 The goat is Benjamin Gates
  • + 159
 I hear Greg has some big things planned, a line of children's books, a signature salt and pepper set and a advisory role for the Kennel Club to name but a few.
  • + 62
 @jclnv: These are way too specific to be made up.
  • + 42
 @fullfacemike: Yeah I have industry connections. There was talk of him sponsoring a junior dog sled team but I think it fell through.
  • + 6
 '...these are the folks who fuel the continued growth of the sport.' Who will suffer the most when (insert diameter here) wheelsize is no longer relevant. I do hope that what comes from 29' dh bikes is a choice, with the option of both 27.5 and 29 depending on rider preference. We all know they straight up BS'd the reason for 27.5 but now that it's here let's make the most of it.
  • + 5
 go as fast as this place will allow?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAhZVajIhb0
  • + 1
 @fullfacemike: it's true, man

-the internet
  • + 6
 Maybe he'll comb his hair, maybe he won't...
  • + 1
 @RedBurn: benjamin button
  • - 1
 @scottay2hottay: i thought trump was going to do that
  • + 3
 @ColquhounerHooner: either way, he’ll look good...
I’m comfortable enough with my masculinity to acknowledge this.
  • + 3
 @yeti951SD: it’s not that hard for me to get myself whatever wheel size I feel would be most competitive on an amateur enduro race level and I’m a broke gardener. Quite sure the privateers at this level aren’t struggling that hard for parts that they can’t get themselves what they each feel they need to compete. Sure they don’t have huge factory deals but they’ll be hooked up some way or another. Just look at the bike in the back of the van...it’s hardly a beater.
Besides all that it’s quite clear by now that wheelsize is more a preference thing than a guaranteed speed increase.
  • - 4
flag robito (Mar 10, 2018 at 8:53) (Below Threshold)
 I thought he said he plans on losing about 3 or 4 races to Gwin as well as the lead for most WC cup wins.
  • + 2
 @yeti951SD: 27.5 wheeled bikes came 1st and second in the mens dh world cup. 1st in the world champs and first in the EWS. Did 29er bikes win anything but xc?
  • + 3
 @drjonnywonderboy: Junior DH World Champs not count?
  • + 56
 Is it just me or debonair would fit better as a name for a vacuum cleaner or a car freshener ?
  • + 5
 Dope debonaire. Great song . . . doesn't really relate though. Well now that I think of it it's definitely a DH song garbonzo DH maybe
  • + 2
 THATS MY BIKE PUNK!!! - Debo
  • + 1
 Was not a fan of my Debonair rear shock. Much happier with the Super Deluxe coil
  • + 32
 I mean laser etchings don’t necessarily mean that it’s close to production. I could laser etch that logo in my old high school.

Of course I want it to be close to production...

(:
  • + 8
 Typically cosmetics and branding would follow design for this kind of product.
  • + 10
 Yea I wish someone would tell SRAM that just because it's laser etched it isn't neccesarily close to production
  • + 11
 @WrenchRy87: pretty sure laser etching and bling come a close second behind unnecessary new standards with sram, I bet the billet had the laser etching done before they had even drawn the design on a computer.
After the aesthetics are sorted they worry about all the marketing bs and bling, then they worry about actually designing some assemblance of a product and begin the testing phase on their consumers with a full production run....
  • + 8
 It's almost if they want these prototypes to have lots of close-up shots and speculation. Paint them red add a blackbox decal and a few little etchings and you've gto photos all over the internet. Great marketing.
  • + 26
 'the first high-end fork maker with a proven 29er fork will rule the world'

What about the Fox 49 on the commencal 29er? That is technically the first or am I missing something? I also don't get the hype. Sram is late to the punch as fox is rolling their eyes.
  • + 10
 I'm glad someone is paying attention
  • + 28
 @MmmBones: really? Manitou Dorado has been 29r compatible for ages
  • + 3
 @ctd07: I think the key word is "proven". Most USD forks can have a 29" wheel crammed in them. 29" specific forks (200mm+ travel) have only been around since last year.
  • + 8
 proven, meaning a world cup overall winning 29" fork.
  • + 2
 @ctd07: you made my day with that. Lol.
  • - 1
 @jaycubzz: I don’t think Gwin is running a 29er this year ????
  • + 6
 @jaycubzz: Gregg was leading the World Cup until the last race, until Gwin won on the last race. So I think the fox 40 is proven
  • + 0
 and on the Trek Session 29er. I just picked mine up last month
  • - 2
 @Whistlerbike: last time i checked, losing isnt provin anything
  • + 22
 Should have taken those Boxxer stanchions up to 40.
  • + 145
 No way man, Sram says 39.99 has a far superior weight to stiffness ratio, and makes for stanchions that are 13% slicker. They call it Better Stanchions, or BS for short.
  • + 11
 38.99
  • + 15
 New boxxer also has 199.99mm of travel - 203 just sounds too unmarketable.
  • + 12
 And of course a 19,99mm extra plus axle. Stiffness of a 20mm axle and weight of a 15mm axle.
  • + 14
 These jokes are 99.99% hackneyed.
  • + 7
 Sram's marketing department has done a brillant job on the latest product. All everyone talks about is this .99, kind of like that bad advertisement you think is shit on TV etc but it's the one you always remember.....
  • + 1
 @Demoguy: Their marketing dept needs to come up with a Shake Weight-esque way to air up their shocks
  • + 1
 You guys have a good eye. Actually they could make it into a thing. XX12 and sht gets old. What if they call their top grouppos point ninety nine? Or make a 19sp cassette 9-99t. I’m sure we’d find blokes who’d say the more range the better, the more customer choice the better, people said same thing about disc brakes and if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Nuff said!
  • + 5
 They tested 40mm Stanchions on Boxxers during one of the redevelopments years ago. They found they were too stiff. Slower times and beat the rider up. It was reported on PB.
  • - 1
 40mm is ugly and unnecessary
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: And also larger the diameter more stiction on seals, less responsive fork...
  • + 4
 The bigger the stanchion diameter the better stiffness to weight ratio you get. The stiffer the stanchions the less the bend (did I get that right? oh I think... yes, I think so Smile ) which means they create less resistance for lowers to slide onto them, which improves bump absorption of the fork. This is what killed 32 stanchions on Boxxer. Now, there is a price to pay, namely the fork can get too stiff laterally and it will compromise the handling. The Greater Industry used to feed us "the stiffer the better" to sell us carbon, then they realized everyone's on carbon and started fighting each other with compliant carbon, but the selling point mantra stayed. The stiffer the better - excuse me, what part of the bike are we talking about? - All of them! Hmm... why do we have suspension then? This bullcrap about carbon bars absorbing energy by bending in controlled manner? - I'm selling forks man, ours has best weight to stiffness ratio on the market, you buy, or fk off!!! - ok... now anyone who had a chance to ride a USD fork will realize that compared to a modern STD fork, they feel sketchy in berms. And that's where it ends, because they work better EVERYWHERE ELSE. Because they flex and allow the damper and front wheel do what they need to do. Just like 29ers suck in tight corners and when trying to style on jumps, but they rock everywhere else. And that everywhere else stands for 90-99% of trail surface, that's why some compromises are better than other. Meanwhile certain people choose to argue for that 10-1% being most important. They may pop in that playfulness is why they ride MTB... or something as relevant and measurable...

Athertons complained on stiffness of 40s. Many people do. But their damping is just better than RS and they last longer... aaand cost so much that I will never buy one unless it's 3 years old on classifieds. Compromises...
  • + 1
 @taldfind: Should have 0.01-upped Fox. Epic fail!
  • + 15
 New fancy red Boxxers arent just 29er only, Troy Brosnan is running them on his 27.5 Canyon Sender as well, with a much shorter offset at the axle.
  • + 1
 And DebonAir was already introduced on the production 35mm single crowns.
  • + 13
 THIS IS HAPPENING IN THE USA! THEY SAID IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN! ...cool.
  • - 6
flag RedBurn (Mar 9, 2018 at 16:10) (Below Threshold)
 MAGA !
  • + 4
 Just purchased some rain gear tonight. Can’t wait. As close to a World Cup as the US will see.
  • + 10
 Trump brought dh racing back to the u.s. what can't he do? He's beautiful and just marvellous. He has the highest iq out of anyone.
  • + 2
 @makripper: ....and no one knows more about downhill.
  • + 7
 @makripper: If he forced the uci to add 5 WC rounds, I would be close to becoming a fan. But first let him deal with the more straightforward stuff, like bitch-slapping lil Kim. If he liberates the NK population and saves humanity from immediate annihilation, some of us may be facing a dilemma. Or we could say Dennis Rodman did it.
  • + 4
 @makripper: covfefe, if you know, then you know!
  • + 1
 @makripper: hes also the least racist person you know
  • + 6
 People are saying Scott renamed its bike Very Stable Genius
  • + 9
 That Maxxis tire looks nice. Mix between a DHF and DHR. Sure hope it comes in a true 2.5" x 275 DH casing. I'm not into how they downsize the DHR2 to a 2.4 while the DHF comes in at a respectable 2.5. I like big butts and I can not lie...
  • + 4
 It looks like Schwalbe Wicked Will on steroids, that’s what keeps me sceptical...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: It looks like Maxxis is trying to remake the Minion but cant.
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: hahaha Big Grin the funny thing is, those square knobs and channels just work. I rode Bontragers with nearly identical pattern and they work too.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: so dont fix it?
  • + 5
 Maxxis 2.4 are wider than their 2.5...
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: all too ˢᵐᵒˡ
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Willing to be that it is Minnars signature tire, he's been working on it since last year
  • + 1
 @poozank: and so what? I won’t try his milk shake or favorite kamboocha either. I’m too old for reinventing the minion. DHF, DHR2 and the mock ups from other companies, the rest can go fk themselves to the hipster alley.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Go ride your wooden framed, solid rubber tire penny farthing then. I ride minions myself but I'm still curious to see what he comes up
  • + 1
 @poozank: sorry, I’ve had too many of different sorts of tyres to see whether something is a BS or not. I heard it too many times that I’m a prejudiced a*shole. Like with Hans Dampf. Or center knobs on minion SS. Too bad I was right. Because it’s no rocket science.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: The Hans Krampf really sucks but have you tried Magics? Especially in the SuperGravity version they're bomb on the endurobike. I actually prefer them over Minions. And don't compare them to Muddys if you rode those in the past. They didn't even come close.
  • + 1
 @colincolin: magic Marys are very good, at least as long as they hold and don’t loose teeth. I ride actually have it on the front ATM with Procored Rock Razor in the back. But they are a bit of muddy tyre, they squirm a bit on dry hard pack and I dare to say that I do feel them rolling slower than Minions Razz
  • + 1
 @colincolin: Hans dampf isnt bad in softer soil
  • + 1
 @poozank: Hans Dampf works maybe in super dry arse Gwinny home trails kind of environment. And I mean, if you want to find a place for this tyre to work, which doesn't mean it's a top performer whatever kind of riding, on whatever bike you would like to test it with. It sucks everywhere else because it simply cannot dig into anything because the knobs are spaced too densely and there is no channel for them to bite when leaning the bike. My XC tyre, Bontrager XR2 has more grip than Hans Dampf or at least it gives more predictably giving you room for adjustment (I can actually load a corner where I want to) And I have the wire bead version with crappy compound, and I compare it to HD in trail star! I rode these tyres back to back on same bike in same conditions. When XR2 Comp beats you in corners, you better go back to the drawing board. Having said that, the latest Nobby Nic is even worse! From mid sized knobs, faster rolling tyre, the Maxxis Agressor is pretty neat. Especially in softer compounds.

In general the Bontrager tyres are freaking killing in this trail-leaning segment. Their whole range is awesome. Possibly the most underrated tyres out there considering the tyres being reviewed. SE3 and SE4 are great. My friend rode SE4 in front of me in our small bike park and I couldn't get the bugger despite being on G5s. He is a better ride for sure, but that says something, considering how much smaller are knobs on SE4s.
  • + 11
 Building bikes for giants, I am waaay under 6 feet, amost of the factory riders are running xl frames with 29” and stretched headsets as well.
What next 900mm bars?
  • + 28
 If you run anything less than 1 meter bars you are a scrub
  • + 5
 Too bad, manlet.
  • + 3
 There was a post earlier about Trek making bikes for smaller guys
  • + 6
 At 6’5” all I can say is finally something that fits. I am done with the itsy-bitsy clown bikes!
  • + 1
 I'm gonna use that line about equality feeling like oppression to the privileged. Horrible to watch guys like Minnaar and Peat in the early 2000s on bikes that weren't their size. Bet they wish they were born 20 years later.
  • + 9
 Is there gonna be any video coverage? Does this Mountainbike Mania thing still exist?
  • + 1
 There should be. I have seen youtube channels indicating they will be "live", we'll see I guess. Some looked kind of spammy and were using the UCI logo on their splash image.

Here is a track walk-through though until we get more footage: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzIkZauu354
  • + 1
 @ridesona: wow sicklines is still alive?
  • + 7
 As a former privateer and current vanlifer, I was excited to see some attention getting thrown towards those that do it for the love!
  • + 6
 I told you guys 9 years ago about this was going to happen 29ers
From this _____o^o____ to this ____O^O____
  • + 3
 Do an archive search, post it up and prove it !
  • + 14
 .^. is dead.
  • + 2
 I remember some bloke who made his own frame and trimmed the arch off some fork to run 29's about 8 years ago. It ended up in craziest bike or bike parts, and everyone thought he was loopy. I'd love to see pinkbike interview him about it.
  • + 1
 @freeriderayward: I remember that. Fox 40s. No later than 2009.
  • + 1
 @freeriderayward: Good work, man!
  • + 5
 Is that the Conte-mobile with the darn tough socks sticker on the toolbox in the backbox?

Home is where ya parker.
  • + 3
 What’s with the long offset? What benefits does the increased offset bring? I thought it increased trail and according to Transition that’s not something you want.
  • + 2
 Strange. I assume they want to keep the wheelbase short while having same trail. But. There is another downside to the way they did it here and it put more offset force on bushings. They could have done it with crowns not drop out. Although that possibly adds 10g more...
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: except you would have the whole weight of the forks one inch (sic) forward rather than just the wheel. Pretty sure that wouldn't be good for steering feel and nimbleness, even if the effect was marginal.
  • + 2
 Bigger offset reduces trail and so lightens the steering.
The bigger wheel radius increases trail if all else stays the same, so the different offsets on the 27.5 vs 29 castings are presumably to keep steering response similar between the two wheel size options.
Not sure that too much is being made of this though, as it looks like offset has been dramatically reduced on the crowns and increased at the dropouts. Net offset may be nothing wild?
  • + 3
 @BenPea: Increased offset in the crown increases turning radius because the stachions won't touch the headtube as easily. Personally I think it is better to have at least half the offset in the crowns. This would allow you to change offset by changing crowns (aftermarket possibilities).
  • + 1
 Rock shox increased offset seems like it would give you more straight line stability, especially at high speed. But Transition claims less offset is supposed to help make it more stable? Somebody's marketing is going to have to give, though perhaps Transition's geo works better at slower speeds?
  • + 0
 @BenPea, I didn’t mean to put it entirely over the axle like hanebrink, although it must be negligible effect on a dh bike since front wheel is heavy and has plenty of gyroscopic effect.

Anyhoo. Increasing Trail can be achieved by either slackening the head angle or increasing offset, these are exchangeable. However slackening increases wheelbase more than offsetting. More trail means more stability. More offset gives wider range of handling at low vs high speeds. With head angle you just get a stable bike that isn’t eager to turn. Both are a compromise, you have to ask yourself what you need.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: increasing offset reduces the trail. Decreasing the offset increases the trail - hence Transition decreasing the offset to increase trail and therefore stability.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: trail is measured as perpendicular distance from a line extending to the ground from the head angle to a vertical line extending down from the Axel. So If you move the axle forward (increased offset) the trail will be decreased
  • + 1
 @Whistlerbike: yoy are right...I have to quit...
  • + 3
 If windrock was a person he would be Drago from Rocky 3....
“I must break you...”
  • + 4
 Man how do privateers afford it? Nice work!!
  • + 4
 Top ramen, sleeping in their vehicle, a day job, and some sponsorship.
  • + 9
 They live at mom and dads house and borrow the family mini van to go to races.
  • - 3
 One word: Sacrifice.
  • + 2
 @Jamminator: What? You mean they throw virgins into volcanos?
  • + 0
 Data acquisition, Data acquisition, DATA ACQUISITION are they pushing the 29'er thing to destroy DH or something, i can't imagine using a 29 bike for DH, it just seems silly. Data acquisition!
  • + 1
 What do you mean 29 only for new boxxer, troy won nationals on the new boxxer with different offset lowers looked like a 27.5 version for sure
  • + 1
 Why aren't we still on 26" wheels again? Why do road bikes and DH bikes have the same wheel size? Are road bikes going to get bigger wheels soon? hmmm.
  • + 7
 Bigger wheels for road bikes is probably a good idea, but I think it will take a few wasted model years before the geometry gets up to speed with the wheel size change. They could introduce an intermediate size between the current and the new size so that consumers won't be so frightened by something different, this intermediate size will of course be dropped after a few years as the industry only pushed micro improvements with the biggest wheels.
  • + 1
 Best move ever by rockshox: angling the pinch bolts out. Always a pain in the ass when having to get at them...
  • + 2
 That fender looks clean in that first pic... Mudhugger???
  • + 1
 Meanwhile no one has said a damn thing about the new O’Neal helmet Greg Minnaar is wearing....
  • + 2
 What are those new Maxxis tires?
  • + 2
 remember when minnaar slid out at MSA last year. yea that's them.
  • + 5
 @literally: it wasnt because it was muddy or anything
  • + 1
 @makripper: all the other top guys did just fine on not that tire. i wonder what a former tire designer for maxxis thinks about it?

"On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is most likely to result in washing out over a berm in the rain, the Mingnaar is objectively a 10... It makes for a good placebo for a "fast rolling" rear tire for anyone who already doesn't know what the hell their rear wheel is doing anyway though."

"...it was a passable tire option considering the dry conditions at the beginning of that week. I would have never expected anyone to run that tire in the wet if they hoped to stay on track."
  • + 2
 @literally: " is objectively a 10"
There was some actual quantative testing done on this then...?
  • + 2
 @literally: every review I've ever read about and every tyre I've ever ridden without a clear cut side channel between the centre and side knobs tends to not dig in on corners and wash out/slide more easily than a tyre with a defined gap separating the side knobs and allowing them to properly perform their job.
So there may actually be something in the fact he slid out on those tyres and no one else did -
I'd rather ride a tyre designed by actual tyre engineers than a rider.
  • + 0
 @makripper: user @landcruiser on ridemonkey.
  • + 0
 @ctd07: exactly. but dudes on the internet know better than anyone what and why tires do or don't work.
  • + 1
 @ctd07: mind posting two links to show the difference in what you are talking about?
  • + 1
 Wish I was there! This will be on my calendar next year if all the big names show up again.
  • + 1
 Those cable ties on that mudguard will scratch the fork. Velcro is better imo.
  • + 1
 Pretty cool to see the telemetry in place/use! I wonder if that means Fox has something new in the works?
  • + 1
 Hmm new Saracen frame... Smells like 29 ready as well.
  • + 1
 Formula Nero 29 is already here. Same with 49 from FOX
  • + 1
 I really wish I would have gone to Windrock this weekend Frown
  • + 1
 More pit bling then at a supercross race.
  • + 3
 You need to check out Supercross in Daytona
  • + 2
 @properp: you don't get out much do you? (-;
  • + 1
 @Orangesicle: I'll be at Supercross tonight what about you? Daytona bro hope to see you there.
  • + 1
 Vermont T1N Love @Deeeznuts !!!!
  • + 1
 Is Gwin not racing this weekend?

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