Tech Randoms: Val di Sole World Cup DH 2019

Aug 1, 2019
by Ross Bell  
The rough steeps of Val di Sole demand a lot from racers and their bikes. Teams were busy in the pits today getting ready for what looks to be a changeable weekend coming up - thunderstorms have been rolling through with mixed conditions upon track meaning bike setup will potentially need to be altered throughout the weekend:

Neko Mulally is fresh off a Nationals win back home. He s got the momentum rolling into this round.
Neko Mulally is fresh off a Nationals win back home. He's got the momentum rolling into this round.

Titanium goodness from Pro-Bolts gracing the Commencal team s bikes.
Titanium goodness from Pro-Bolts gracing the Commencal team's bikes.


There are a good number of stack heights going up this weekend for the fastest riding down.
There are a good number of stack heights going up this weekend for the fastest riding down.

Greg Minnaar s made another adjustment to his custom dropouts on his V10. These seem to be shorter then the last pair we saw in Les Gets.
Greg Minnaar's made another adjustment to his custom dropouts on his V10. These seem to be shorter then the last pair we saw in Les Gets.

The inner workings of a Chris King hub all clean and ready for reassembly.
The inner workings of a Chris King hub all clean and ready for reassembly.

It s all in the details.
It's all in the details.

As always track walk day is also rebuild and refresh day for the suspension techs. These guys are flat out rebuilding dozens of forks and shocks ahead of what will be a brutal week of racing.
As always, track walk day is also rebuild and refresh day for the suspension techs. These guys are flat out rebuilding dozens of forks and shocks ahead of what will be a brutal week of racing.
Lot s of compression tuning going on to get ready for the roughest track of the season.
Lot's of compression tuning going on to get ready for the roughest track of the season.

High speed tracks need the most breaking power. Clean oil and pads are in store before practice tomorrow.
High-speed tracks need the most braking power. Clean oil and pads are in store before practice tomorrow.

Vali Holl s rig ready for go time.
Vali Holl's rig ready for go time.

Bike rebuilds and refreshes everywhere.
Bike rebuilds and refreshes everywhere.

CNC machined Hope derailleur pulleys are a thing of beauty.
CNC machined Hope derailleur pulleys are a thing of beauty.
Ohlins coils shock on Adam Brayton's Nukeproof Dissent.

Crazy stack height in the Devinci pits.
Crazy stack height in the Devinci pits.

Nobody is really sure what the weather will be like. Tire choice might make all the difference.
Nobody is really sure what the weather will be like. Tire choice might make all the difference.

Wheel building starts with good preparation.
Wheel building starts with good preparation.

The leading bike of Tracey Hannah.
Keeping the cables in check on Hannah's Polygon.

There seems to be more and more racers running Shimano's XTR brakes on the DH circuit.

Another new paint job for the Canyon boys.


Shimano XTR levers and Saint callipers in the Pivot pits.

Mondraker are ready with various tires to match the changing track conditions.

Michelin DH34 on the back of Brook Macdonald's bike.

Commencal busy preparing their Supremes for practice tomorrow.

Frame details on the Commencal Supreme.

Thibaut Daprela's HT pedals.

Danny Hart preparing for wet conditions.

Saracen's floating brake arm will come in handy this weekend.

Looks like a new Fizik saddle in the Santa Cruz pits.

Mick Hannah s tribute helmet to the late great Italian DH racer Corrado Herin
Mick Hannah s tribute helmet to the late great Italian DH racer Corrado Herin
Mick Hannah's tribute helmet to the late great Italian DH racer Corrado Herin.



98 Comments

  • + 88
 Does anyone else read these articles and feel bad about their maintenance practices?

Was feeling all proud of a wash and lube yesterday, not so today haha.
  • + 3
 You're bike was a bit dusty after Morzine Liam, it was long overdue a wash and lube!
  • + 38
 What about your bike tho man?
  • + 1
 Could be like by Instagram buddy @redrockmtb where you ride a high end bike for three weeks and on to the next. No need for maintenance at that point. Dentist bike life and permanent vacation. lol
  • + 17
 I brushed the dried mud off TWO of my bikes on Tuesday. Felt good.
  • + 19
 I am fantastic at cleaning the grit off my chain with a rag and dumping a ton of lube on it, then wiping it down a second time. One day, I'll remember to wash the rag.
  • + 1
 Lol, I was reading this thinking “I need more brake oil”
  • + 1
 @vjunior21: I follow him and Dawn. Looks like they are straight living the dream!
  • + 1
 @Davec85: your
  • + 5
 @vhdh666: Thanks for that. I was just thinking how illiterate I am, good to know you have my back.
  • + 2
 @NateMob:

Dentist life. Both ride like pros and have great insight on equipment.
  • + 1
 Don't feel bad, it would cost a fortune to have a pro style maintenance program.
  • + 1
 @Davec85: it makes me so happy to have your back :-)
  • + 56
 Shimano brakes? If they're not good enough for Mr. Levy they're definitely not good enough for any world cup racers.
  • + 19
 Yeah, but WC riders don't use their brakes so...
  • + 23
 They only have to last 5 minutes and you get a pay cheque
  • + 9
 @dazzhotchkin: the fact that at least two people didn’t get your joke.. *face palm.
  • + 8
 @CM999:
And they only trust their health and possible income when setting up high consequence lines with those darn variable bite point brakes, shhhh
  • - 1
 They use xtr race cause no servowave.
  • + 7
 @reverend27: those look like the Enduro model to me. Note the reach knob and freestroke adjustment screw. They use Servowave.
  • + 2
 @Bflutz625: I wonder what the advantage is when using the servo wave xtr lever vs the race xtr levers that we've seen before.
  • + 24
 I wonder when the high drop crown will be back?
Floating brake arms
Big rotors
High Front ends
Higher Rise bars
Mixing XC levers with Dh calipers

And that is just a list of what people did 10 to 15 years ago Smile
  • + 0
 Why are they mixing XC levers with DH calipers?
  • + 6
 Thing I don't understand is that you can put as many spacers as you want between the upper crown and headset...but you have to slide the fork up in the crowns so you're lowering the axle to crown if you've got a standard crown and not a drop crown.

It's like the pics are fake and trying to play head games with the other riders?
  • + 5
 @ridebikesyall: they're not. Those are the Enduro model levers not the Race. They share the same internals as a Saint lever but they use it most likely because of the two points of contact for a stiffer brake lever body.
  • + 1
 @bizutch: exactly. Spacers between the frame and top crown don’t raise the bar height one bit. Fork length determines bar height, I don’t know why they do it because it also steepens head angle. Spacers under the stem ala Minnaar do raise bar height.
  • + 1
 @bizutch: what you're not considering is if he has extra stanchion above his top crown before adding spacers underneath the top crown. Without loosening the lower crown and changing axle to crown, he'd be raising his bar height by putting spacers underneath at that point. This is what makes drop crowns attractive for taller rides.
  • + 1
 @p2rida: But those are NOT drop crowns is my point. Those are all flat crowns.
  • + 25
 All those mavic wheels hanging up remind me of cheeses hanging up in a fromagerie.
  • + 7
 Only YT, Canyon and Saracen racing on complete bike.
  • + 24
 So much radness there. Mick’s helmet! Much respect! R.I.P Corrado
  • + 7
 Yeah man that’s an awesome lid even in its own right..
  • + 15
 Where can I get those Hope jockey wheels? It’ll do nothing to my performance but they’ll be shiny.
  • + 4
 Just call Hope, or your local bikeshop. I had those on my bike since 3 years. They make a lot of noise though.
  • + 2
 @zonoskar: thank you good sir. I’ll look into that.
  • + 2
 @Stumpy2: Chainreachtion is always a good start for buying shiny upgrades Smile
I have them too, shifting improved a lot!
  • + 2
 @Stumpy2: www.chainreactioncycles.com/mobile/hope-jockey-wheels/rp-prod90475

They do cost 33 pounds a pair, but are rather shiny!
  • + 8
 I always wonder whether the marginal benefit of changing your bike setup outweighs the marginal cost of constantly changing your bike setup. (re: Greg’s dropouts)
  • + 5
 The placebo effect of change must surely outweigh that marginal cost - if your not winning (even though its about the rider) then its hard to stick with what works because it isn't working. It is broken, fix it.
  • + 6
 At the speed these guys are going i'm pretty sure it does. Imagine a super tech slow course and then highspeed with huge g-outs the next day. They don't wanna be dealing with vottom outs all the time on track 2 because they didn't set up suspension correctly. Same goes for geo. If Hreg feels this lets him push harder, well it most likely does.
Also, these guys kinda have superhuman abilities, so i'm not sure we can even grasp how easy adapting to a new bike is for them (or not,in some cases). Surely depends on the rider a good bit too.
  • + 6
 He's always tweaked and changed his setup over the years though, different sizes, reach adjust headsets, all sorts. Hard to say it hasn't worked for him.
  • + 2
 @honourablegeorge: a valid point. It makes me wonder with riders like Greg.. who are fastidious about set up, is it really the winning edge, or does it make little difference except in their head? (Obviously a very important place for ‘the edge’)
  • + 4
 @tobiusmaximum: Another thing to consider is the fact that Greg is on a different spectrum than most riders because of his size.
I can absolutely see him still not being 100% where he´d need his bike to be for optimal performance as he simply doesn´t fit the standard mold of most riders.
As an anecdote, for me 1 degree in headangle and a bit longer reach made the difference between riding in massive pain due to finger joint pain and riding perfectly comfortable without any pain or discomfort (kept suspension etc the same). Turns out my theory was correct and i was hanging too far off the back due to reach being too short while simultanously compensating for the slack HA by heavily weighing the front in corners. which resulted in way too much movement of my upper body which in result put too much stress on my fingers. The first bike however was not the wrong size or anything, it just really didn´t mesh with me and my body. So i can absolutely see that for some riders even small changes can make a huge difference, especially at those insane speeds.
  • + 1
 For you and I, no. There are levels to this.
  • + 1
 Greg appears to be hyper sensitive to set up. Other riders appear to be more adaptable. I always find myself super aware of even minor changes in my bike and when I get on a friend's bike where the bars are a hair off or something its super noticeable. Probably it doesn't make that much of a difference in performance, but comfort massive effects how well you ride and it clearly works for him to be particular.
  • + 1
 plus, greg is involved in the v10 evolution process so the drop outs could be a part of that...
  • + 1
 @tobiusmaximum: I'm sure there's a little boost mentally in that he's thinking "right, I've got the bike PERFECT now", on top of any actual gain he gets from his changes.
  • + 8
 Ti-bolts on those heavy Commencal frames won’t really help. But sure does look nice.
  • + 9
 Yea Mr porter will be along and swap them for lead ;-)
  • + 31
 The heavy commencal hasn’t really slowed Amaury down.. or the Junior champ who is destroying everyone.
  • + 5
 Mismatched reds make my eyes twitch though
  • + 2
 @tobiusmaximum: thtas the point- weight savings isn't critical to success on these courses, so why Ti bolts?
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: they look nice? The use of the word ‘help’ hinted (to me anyway) that the ‘heavy’ frame was lacking in some respect. So, being a fanboy, I jumped in to defend the French brand. Smile
  • + 4
 So you can run the new XTR levers with saints calipers? What's the point as you still have servo wave?
  • + 13
 Maybe it's because of new mounting system on XTR levers, Shimano claims that it's much stiffer
  • + 6
 There is a version of the XTR levers without servo wave.
  • + 2
 @SintraFreeride: I thought there was only 1 new m9100 model?
  • + 4
 @ImAManCheetah88: They have a trail brake and an xc brake. The xc one doesn't have servo wave for better modulation.
  • + 5
 @Pavel-Repak: The oil flow is the same for XT, XTR and SAINT levers, my saint front lever blow up (complete failure of the pump) and since then im running a xt lever and saint caliper (it was like 30€). Maybe the sevowave is different I can't tell the brake feels pretty much the same to my rear brake with saint lever and calipers, maybe it has a more immediate engage but I like it anyways. Still haven't tried on long descents though.

Also, I have tried it with an old m885 and it scared the shit out of me, the flow on the old ones is different and with the saint calipers I just lock the wheel
  • + 3
 @zhakarias: Servowave has a lower leverage at the lever in the first 20mm to bring the pads ti the rotor quickly and then it increases to give more power. If you set your bite point really close, the pads will bite during the lower leverage, meaning they move faster and modulation is reduced.
  • + 1
 @Pavel-Repak: This is true. The trail model (M9120) has the servo wave, has a tool-free reach adjust, uses alu levers and comes with a 4-pot caliper. The XC model (M9100) doesn't have servo wave, doesn't have tool-free reach adjust, and has a full carbon lever. The photos above show the 9120 levers, so the reason to use them must be the much stiffer connection to the bar (which is noticeable) and not the servo-wave action.
  • + 5
 Sleep, rave, repeat. Sound advice.
  • + 24
 sleep, eat well for 2 years, race, race, race, hit the gym, dislocate ankle, rest recover, race, race, race, get old, pop sprog, get slow, retire, rave, get thrown out of rave for being old, repeat, fail at repeating, die.
  • + 24
 @browner: you’re gonna need seriously wide bars for that
  • + 1
 @tobiusmaximum:
Ha. Well played.
  • + 5
 Cru Jones did not have a pit crew and he won Hell Track.
  • + 5
 Sender's best looking paintob to date
  • + 3
 Greg had custom dropouts for Vallnord, and just normal set up for Les Gets.
  • + 2
 The only good looking thing on that dreadfully disgusting Polygon is the cable management idea.
  • + 3
 Jesus, there some good looking stuff in those pics.
  • + 2
 Can someone explain the floating brake arm on the Saracen please.
  • + 15
 I’m sure a smarter person than me will do a better job but I think it’s to completely separate breaking forces from suspension action.
  • + 4
 its supposed to stop braking forces affecting rear suspension movement.
  • + 1
 With one, the brake is isolated from the rear end, which is beneficial when its active. Better suspension & braking performance.
  • + 2
 Thanks
  • + 2
 it helps the single pivot design to move thru its travel free while braking without kicking your feet out of the pedals
  • + 2
 when you hit the brakes on a single pivot, like the saracen in this case, the suspension has a tendency to compress. It has to do with weight shift from your body during braking and how the linkage reacts to all the forces involved. THis is called anti-rise. Essentially, it keeps the suspension from bogging down during heavy braking and preserves a neutral geometry.
  • + 2
 @housem8d: actually I think it's the torque from braking force that would compress the suspension in your example, weight shift due to braking would tend to unweight the back wheel causing the rear suspension to extend, not compress.
  • + 1
 looks like the mounting apparatus converts rotational forces into tension via the pivot point in the middle, like others have said, this frees the suspension to move independent of braking
  • + 1
 Why XTR brakes rather than Saints? It’s not like they need to save weight
  • + 11
 It’s a different servowave leverage curve. So it’s a softer bite compared to the Saint. Some would say, more “modulation.”

Still the same overall power output, just a slightly different feel.
  • + 4
 I believe some use the XC version of XTR levers that doesn't have the servo wave. Gives a more direct feel
  • + 2
 @Whipperman: The pics of the 2 bikes with xtr show the trail version with servo.
  • + 2
 I need a fresh set of underwear! OMG!
  • + 1
 I wouldn't be able to clean my bike like that even if I had an entire week to do it
  • + 1
 That is some serious bike porn!
  • + 2
 Chris King the OG Buzz
  • + 1
 Who makes the allen wrenches in the picture after Vali's bike?
  • + 1
 I believe those are PB Swiss sliding t-handle hex keys.

shop.pbtools.us/Sliding-T-handle-Screwdrivers_c445.htm
  • + 1
 I though we shouldn't use any threadlock on spokes ?
  • + 7
 A well built wheel doesn't need threadlock, but if you want to be able to dent/taco your wheel and keep it running then threadlock helps as the spokes won't loosen off further. Its an insurance policy rather than necessity.
  • + 13
 It’s unicorn tears. Makes the wheel 1.1268% more progressive.
  • + 1
 I think it depends on what your spokes and what your nipples are made of as to how the metals interact/react with each other.
Stainless Spoke + Stainless Nipple = Threadlock needed
Stainless Spoke + Alu/Brass Nipple = No Threadlock needed
Alu Spoke + Alu Nipple/Stainless Nipple = No Threadlock needed
(I think this is right... I've only built a couple of wheels)
  • + 2
 @haroman666: stainless nipples? where do you find those?
  • + 2
 @rideonjon: Do excuse me. One of the wheels I had built, I was sure the nipples were stainless (they were shiny and seemingly pretty hard). I guess they were Nickel plated brass. A swift google tells me you can buy stainless nipples but they're a chinese ebay/amazon job and not industry standard! My mistake.
  • + 1
 Adapter over adapter on that Commencal rear brake...
  • + 1
 The most pornographic thing i’ve seen on the net all year

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