The Best Tech From French EWS Rounds

May 24, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
It ll be a busy night for the mechanics.

France has hosted more EWS rounds than any other country including three in the first year of the sport, it's no surprise either, it's where the sport was invented after all. It was supposed to host yet another round this weekend as riders were due to head back to the treacherous rocks of Olargues but they now have some respite until October thanks to the impacts of COVID-19.

With enduro bikes still in their infancy when we first visited the country, there are huge differences between the set ups of the pros in 2013 and today, let's take a look at some of the tech from the inception of the sport to the modern-day.

2013 - Val d'Allos, Les Deux Alpes, Val d'Isere

With his win today Jerome Clementz also took the series title with a race to spare. He is the first ever Enduro World Champion. It s good to see him take it s good for enduro that someone who has devoted themselves to the discipline for so long emerged victorious. This year Jerome rode hard had fun all the way and played fair. A proper champion. When I asked him what this meant for him he simply said It means I can have more fun in September now I can go surfing and have barbeques with my friends as I don t need to go all out training for the last round of the season in Finale.
Here's Jerome Celemntz's bike fresh from winning the first-ever EWS series in Val d'Isere. While 29ers and 27.5" bikes were definitely around in those days, Jerome was still taking scoring big results on his 26" Cannondale Jekyll.

An Evil tube set up..
Before fancy enduro-specific straps were brought to the market, riders relied on trusty electricians tape. Here are Filip Polc's tube and pump set up from the Crankworx Les Deux Alpes race.

Ever the considerate gentleman Adam Craig has this bell on his handlebars to remind you to get of his way please.
Adam Craig was clearly expecting to make some passes in Val d'Isere.

Here in France racing starts early. First runs were at 8.15 which meant getting on the lift for about 7.30. If like Greg Callaghan you wanted a quick tyre change or to tweak your bike slightly it was the crack of dawn for you.
With the sport still finding its feet, many top pros of today were still running minimal privateer set ups. Here's Greg Callaghan changing a tyre at the break of dawn to get on to the lifts by 7:30am.

Full Speed Ahead... Not sure if this is the best idea in the fastest section of stage 2 but party on... Callaghan
Greg Callaghan, he's 'armless really

 Flat Pedals man.. It s just very DH ish out there really loose. I feel a lot more confident on them. I like clips but I attack more on a track that I don t know as well with the flats on..
Curtis Keene made the switch back to flat pedals for the "DH-ish" Les Deux Alpes course.

2015 - Samoens

Randoms - EWS Samoens
Nico Lau was one of the last racers to give up his 2x set up and was racing with it until around 2018, preferring to spin out with an easier gear on the long draggy climbs of the EWS.

Randoms - EWS Samoens
Randoms - EWS Samoens
A couple of very jazzy bikes in the Hope pits. The HB.160 hadn't yet been released so the riders got free choice of frames.

Randoms - EWS Samoens
The Hope team green even extends to fire extinguishers.

Randoms - EWS Samoens
A Megavalanche victim.

Riche Rude has been testing the Maxxis Griffin and apparently it is his new favorite rear tire for dry conditions. Jared is still on a Minion DHF
The lesser-spotted Maxxis Griffin was Richie Rude's tyre of choice for dry conditions.

Curtis Keene s Specialized Enduro 29er
Curtis Keene's Specialized Enduro 29 was beefed up for the long, rocky Samoens tracks.

Josh Carlson Bike Check
Josh Carlson's Giant Reign, a full bike check can be found here.

2016 - Valberg

EWS amp 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Florian Nicolai's Rocky Mountain Slayer

EWS amp 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Flo likes to run a high front end as he stands at 185cm
EWS amp 2016. Valberg France. Photo by Matt Wragg.
He was running just 2 tokens in 2016 although we're used to riders just packing out their suspension now.

2017 - Millau

Shawn Huges goes over Richie Rude s bike one last time before stage nine.
The race in Millau was a mud fest and the gunk had to be shifted quickly between stages as riders didn't want to drag around all that extra weight. A scrape off had to do with no time for a proper wash.

If you think his jersey looks ruined you should see the condition of the tree Richie Rude smashed into.
You should see the other guy...

One stage to go on a wheel that s just hanging on.
A wheel just about hanging on with a stage to go.

A bad situation gets worse when air goes everywhere but in the tire.
A bad situation gets worse when air goes everywhere but in the tire.

Cure s BH Bikes back end. The only thing remotely clean looking is the rotors.
At least the rotors are clean.

2018 - Olargues

Mitch Ropelato s TLD Stage helmet gets the rainy weather treatment. Troy Lee has stated the helmet will be 300 grams and available in August.
While not as wet as Millau the year before, riders were still taking precautions against the passing showers. Here's Mitch Ropelato's TLD Stage getting some extra rain proofing.

Theo Galy is an Olargues local so knows a burly set up was needed on its treacherous rocks.

A Fast Holy Grail is a rear damper you don't see very often.
While some racers bumped their fork travel up to 170mm for rocky tracks, he kept his Formula Selva at 160mm to match the rear of the bike.

With all the rocks on track lots of riders are going for some proper super body protection.
Extra armour was a popular choice on some of the most brutal trails the EWS has ever seen.

Lockout on Cecile Ravanel s rear shock. Even though the stages here are long and rough there are a few with punchy clips and flat sprints were this will come in quite handy.
Cecile's Ravanel's coil shock had a grip shift handlebar lockout.

2019 - Les Orres

Thomas Lapeyrie is racing is hoping that one of these days he can race an EWS injury free
Remi Gauvin striped up and trying to deal with the pain of a sprained thumb suffered earlier in the week
Sometimes riders need as much fixing as the bikes

Keegan Wright s Devinci Spartan - Eyes up
Who doesn't need this on their bars from time to time?

Isabeau Courdurier s Intense Carbine - 29 wheels and in the red and blue colors of France.
Florian Nicolai s Canyon Strive -
Tricolore bikes for French riders Courdurier and Nicolai

Iago Garay s Santa Cruz Megatower - Occam tube tool strap with Boa closure
Enduro straps are now not just velcro fitted, this prototype Occam designs model uses a Boa tightening system.

Iago Garay s Santa Cruz Megatower - All kinds of DYEDBro stickers and frame protectors throughout.
Mr DYED Bro himself Iago Garay gets the pick of personalised frame protection.


  • 123 0
 The EWS is the best thing that’s ever happened to mountain bike R&D.
  • 17 2
 Straps for Enduro instead of electrical tape? Wtf Velcro straps have been around forever for multiple different purposes from ski straps to cable straps for electrical test equipment to network cable management. Damn bike industry assuming they invented everything.
  • 8 0
 An old road racer trick was to use a strap from a toe clip. Those are getting harder to find, these days.
  • 7 1
 @yonderboy: Exactly! Did that thru the 80s. Wow, totally forgot about some of that ghetto working stuff we did before proper gear existed! Kids these days are spoiled with all this neat mtb sh-t!
  • 5 0
 @liv2mountainbike2: yeah, like suspension! Gotta be honest, I am spoiled, too.
  • 5 0
 All us mechanics are stealing them for brake bleeds! @yonderboy:
  • 1 0
 @dodgerpuppy: yeah those are sweeet for so many bike maintenance things. An extra hand to hold together frames while removing shocks for bearing replacements and rebuilds for example
  • 1 0
 hockey sock velcro straps are great frame straps. Way cheaper and better then "enduro straps"
  • 1 0
 @slabhardcheese: reusable zip ties work a treat.
  • 1 0
 @yonderboy: Exactly. Have a few still lying around/in use.
  • 1 0
 @yonderboy: They come with the $5 stock pedals on a lot of cheap road bikes lol, but aren't any sort of quality. I always use two of them to hold the crankarm when removing a super stuck pedal, just don't trust one not to fail under that torque.
  • 14 1
 Drivetrains peaked at 11 gears
  • 5 1
 Really though. On mountain bikes I can like 12spd but exclusively for the extra range. That's not inherent to 12spd though, and the 11spd groups always worked more nicely for me. On road... good god 12spd is unnecessary.
  • 6 0
 @slimjimihendrix: I'd rather spend extra on 11spd, than get a cheaper 12spd.
  • 11 1
 In my opinion, the 2014-2015 specialized enduro S works model (29 and 26er) is still one of the best looking bike ever made.
  • 1 0
 That's why I got my 19 and might keep it forever. They are so sick and just nice to look at
  • 8 0
 loved reading that. Absolutely gagging on fresh EWS tech, bike checks galore, and race photos, if we even get 1 race, i hope the photographers just go mental for that stuff!!
  • 8 0
 Remember that time? That was awesome!
  • 9 1
 Hi yes I'd like a boa frame strap plz.
  • 6 2
 That Hope "fire extinguisher" looks a whole lot like my ghetto fire extinguisher tyre inflator....
  • 4 0
 That definitely looks like a SKS presta chuck on the end of that hose.
  • 4 1
 You mean it’s weird to ride around in fishnets??
  • 1 0
 Interesting how the French always get different locations for their rounds. Why not the same in other countries?
  • 1 0
 Because trails are like cheese.
  • 2 0
 @BenPea: they get chewed up
  • 1 0
 Back then, people saying Jerome is riding bike too big.
  • 2 0

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