Throwback Thursday: 10 of Sam Hill's Most Iconic Bikes as Chosen by His Mechanic

Feb 25, 2021
by Henry Quinney  



I can't think of many, if any, more successful and long-lasting rider-mechanic partnerships than Sam Hill and Jacy Shumilak. They've been working together for nearly twenty years and, as the records will show, have won most things they've turned their hands to. Of course, everyone knows of Sam's exploits - in terms of the sheer quantity of his successes, his cult-like fan following and that idiosyncratic, paradoxically calm yet flat-out way of riding a bike. A good mechanic, as many a racer will tell you, is worth their weight in gold. In fact, Hill pretty much said as much in the classic film Clay Porter film, F1rst.

bigquotesJacy would have a few rainbow jerseys if they gave them out to mechanics. That's for sure. He pretty much gets up at six or seven in the morning, and he'll go and... I don't even know what he does to my bikes but they're just immaculate. Riders appreciate their mechanics and I appreciate mine a lot. A lot of people don't know how much time and effort they put in doing stuff and I think it's like a package. You need a good team, and a good rider and a good mechanic for things to click and it all to work.Sam Hill

High praise indeed. I got in touch with Jacy to see what, of all the dozens of bikes Hill has ridden over the years, would be his personal favourites. Maybe for the bike itself, maybe for reasons a shade more sentimental and indeed perhaps a combination of both. Here, in chronological order are 10 of Jacy Shumilak's favorite Sam Hill builds.

2003 Iron Horse SGS World Cup Race Bike
LUGANO SWITZERLAND - September 6 2003 - Sam Hill during finals at the UCI World Championships DH in Lugano Switzerland. Photo by Gary Perkin
Hill on his way to winning his second Junior World title in 2003. Credit to Gary Perkin for the photos.
LUGANO SWITZERLAND - September 5 2003 - Sam Hill during practice at the UCI World Championships DH in Lugano Switzerland. Photo by Gary Perkin
In 2003 there was no Junior Category in World Cup racing like there is today, only at the World Championships.

bigquotesThis was the first year of travel with a great race program for me. These bikes were stock from the factory and then modified by Team owner Sean Heimdal and the riders to be lower and slacker. The guys did amazing things on these bicycles during this year and travelling with the likes of Sam, Bryn, Jared and Nathan left me with some memories that I won’t soon forget!Jacy Shumilak



2005 Ironhorse Sunday World Cup Race Bike
Father time hasn't been kind to all bikes from this era but I think the Iron Horse still looks great.

bigquotesSams first win was on this first year production Sunday. We were waiting for his start time at the top of Schladming when the rain rolled in. We tossed on the spikes and off that fella went to win his first World Cup.Jacy Shumilak


2008 Ironhorse Sunday - Val Di Sole World Championship Edition
One of the most iconic downhill bikes of all time.

I imagine they'll be a flurry of 'Val di Sole Sam Hill' searches after reading this article.

bigquotesWhat almost was on this polished and custom AP Designs painted bike. Watching Sam ride at World Champs in Val do Sole that year was something that most people won’t see. Nobody went faster on that track when it was at its toughest and rawest form.Jacy Shumilak


2009 Specialized SX Slalom Edition
I've always loved the often creative solutions racers end up using in dual slalom.
It would be a while before we'd get used to seeing Hill push single crown bikes to their limit.

bigquotesSea Otter was the first event, and Slalom the first race, on the S brand. Sam killed it on the hill that afternoon. That’s a frame that I still have.Jacy Shumilak


2009 Specialized Demo 8 World Cup Race Bike
Photo by Sven Martin. You have to be pretty bloody fast to get away with that level of downhill-pajama-action. Down the local woods perhaps not so much, but combined with the neon green Demo it is a classic.
Sam Hill and Thomas Vanderham ride the north shore for the movie Follow Me
Sam Hill and Thomas Vanderham ride the north shore for the movie Follow Me
How many of you lusted after one of these?
Sam Hill and Thomas Vanderham ride the north shore for the movie Follow Me
Sam Hill and Thomas Vanderham ride the north shore for the movie Follow Me 2009
Hill in Follow Me. Photo Credit to Sterling Lorence.

bigquotesAwesome colours and Sam wore Palmer's gold jacket when he won the overall at the Schladming World Cup finals that year.Jacy Shumilak


2016 Nukeproof Mega 275 EWS Race Bike
The man Sam Hill with his new vessel and Jacy photo bomming in the background
Real friends photobomb.
Sam Hill may only be in 7th but with times extremely tight among the guys just in front of him it means he is still only 6 seconds off the podium right now.
A great photo of the bike being raced in Finale.
Surprise Nukeproof surprise Sam and Jacy with a new frame inspired by Sam s eldest son Bam Hill.
A man with an eye for even the smallest detail ensuring that his and Sam s bike is always perfect.
It's hard to say who seems more impressed.


bigquotesWhat an amazing paint job. We built it up in the warehouse of a motorsports dealer with some wood pallets as a worktop. Not every bike is built in a fancy shop and sometimes those are the most memorable. Sam also used this bike to get his first EWS win in Valberg France.Jacy Shumilak


2014 Nukeproof Pulse Hafjell World Championships Edition
Sam Hill definitely isn t being shy about medal he wants to leave Norway with on Sunday.
Few could argue that the Australian national colours don't lend themselves to custom bikes very well.
Sam Hill taking the outside line while most others went a bit more inside over the rocks.
Sam Hill was to come very close to another World Title in Norway.
The gold and green figure and bike of Sam Hill camouflaging itself perfectly into the gold and green of the Hafjell terrain on the last run of practice.
Should, would, could... every racer has their fair share of bad luck but it's quite astonishing to think that Hill could be a five-time world champion with performances in Italy and Norway that promised so much until the very last.

bigquotesHafjell World championships bike. We spent some extra time in Norway and also got to spend some time with Sam's dad Merv which always makes a trip special. That was a perfect week until a silly rock got in the way.Jacy Shumilak


2017 Nukeproof Mega 275C Prototype
A blacked out Mega that would eventually break cover as what would become the carbon production bike.
Some bikes take on special meaning, and this one certainly did for Jacy
The prototype at its namesake event.

bigquotesI don’t have much personal attachment to most of the bikes save for this one. Sam won the Aspen, CO EWS round on a Sunday, loaded the bike into my van and drove overnight to Southern California to arrive before my mom went in for 7+ hours of cancer removal surgery. I still have that frame and I’ll never get rid of it. Mom has been cancer free since 2018. F you cancer.Jacy Shumilak


2017 Nukeproof Mega 275C - Cairns World Championship Edition
Sam Hill Nukeproof World Champs 2017
Initially built up for Hill's home World Championships in Cairns, the bike was simply too spectacular for a sole outing. Note the downhill drivetrain.

Sam Hill Nukeproof World Champs 2017
Sam Hill Nukeproof World Champs 2017
If you look at the back of the seat tube you have all the proof you could ever want that one page is enough for your CV.

See them there pedals See those forks
Sam. F******. Hill. Hill eventually rode his Mega enduro bike to sixth at the Downhill Worlds

bigquotesThis was an amazing paint job. It looked like you could swim in the paint it had so much depth. It started out as the DH bike for World Championships in Cairns and then was used to put the cap on the 2017 EWS overall title.Jacy Shumilak



2018 Nukeproof Mega 275C - Day of the Dead Edition
Somewhat celestial light for the Day of the Dead bike.
Sam Hill kept it steady in the top 10 to take his second EWS title in two years.
I wonder if riding a bike put together with that much love and care would, if anything, slow you down at of sheer concern for the paintwork... apparently not.
Beats the 'happy stick family' bumper stickers any day of the week.

bigquotesThis bike was pretty special. The guys at Nukeproof really went all out to get this paint job done. It was hand delivered by Rob (Nukeproof marketing guru) and built in the kitchen of his rental apartment in Ainsa, Spain without Sam having any idea. Rob then lured Sam down to the basement parking garage for the big reveal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so surprised! He then used that bike to wrap up the 2018 EWS title.Jacy Shumilak


Same Hill Damien Oton and Florian Nicolai took the top three podium spots in the overall after 8 rounds.
A quick champagne pressure wash save's the mechanic's a job. Chapeau Jacy!



113 Comments

  • 135 0
 I’ll just leave this here to save you the time.
youtu.be/wVwvXKhQvkE
  • 34 1
 I still say he went down because of the spandex. Sliced through the wind so fast on race day that he didn't realize he was coming through 6 seconds faster aerodynamically.

(sarcasm for the horde)
  • 14 0
 Damn. That is some impressive racing.
  • 13 0
 Right after Warner keeps repeating "Look at how fast he's going!" and he charges into that last steep rooty rocky hellscape is just insane. The best quality footage I've ever seen of this race is in "Won't Back Down," and the way that film builds the progression of DH and Sam Hill explodes onto the scene and then just absolutely flies into that section took my breath away a bit the first time I saw it. That higher quality footage def helps bring out the chundery detail but isn't necessary to appreciate the raw speed and skill. Thanks for posting the link.
  • 4 0
 why do you like to hurt me... :-D
  • 8 0
 This is one of my go to vids on YouTube, just once in my life I’d love to see him make the corner and see the time he would have done. I’m a massive fan and always will be.
  • 1 0
 I was all set to comment on that bike and then you post this - Hill at his best and worst
  • 2 0
 @cuban-b-can-blow-me: was the fan in the back
  • 2 1
 @imnotdanny: todays guys are not faster
  • 3 0
 Still the best run ever
  • 2 0
 2008 spandex looking so 2021
  • 5 0
 Everyone talks about Sam and his inside lines but this...Sam is just an unreal bike handler. I didn't know I needed to watch this again but I did, thank you.
  • 1 0
 Nobody ever has or ever will ride a bike like he did for that 2:30. Looking back it’s almost like that crash was meant to further keep that run top of mind as the best of all time - though I can bet he doesn’t see it that way haha.

“LOOK AT HOW FAST HE’S GOING!!”
  • 58 0
 I don't know why all these other bikes are here, the Ironhorse Sunday is classic Sam Hill
  • 2 0
 Exactly
  • 12 0
 The 05 as pictured will forever be burned in my brain. 16 year old me wanted that thing so bad.
  • 3 0
 The 2003 was the very beginning though. It deserves to be there.
  • 7 0
 To me the 2008 Worlds is the best, it just looked so good at the time, still does to be honest
  • 2 0
 I think his Iron Horse SSO should have been in there.
  • 3 0
 @mammal: 2003 was when he competed in an aussie redbull rampage I think
  • 3 0
 @makripper: Won it too, think he was 17 at the time
  • 2 0
 It's amazing to me that pretty much had the suspension dialed back then, it was just the geo that wasn't too great.
  • 23 0
 It's mind bending to think that he almost won in VDS and he almost won at Hafjell. Gee got a little help twice off Sam. The history books could easily look a lot different. The man is an animal. I wonder if we will see him in action on the new Mega or even the Giga later this year.
  • 13 0
 That Hafjell crash didn't get out of my head for few weeks, I simply saw him winning after that time split before he trash the rocks ...
  • 19 0
 Well he got more of a help off Ratboy going HAM on the final jump
  • 5 0
 The scariest part of that crash is that he broke the Leatt brace he was wearing. Thank goodness for that piece of plastic and carbon fiber.
  • 9 0
 @toad321: I think Sams time was up at the splits.
  • 1 0
 @TobiasHandcock: looked it up, sam was 0.2 up at the second split on ratboy, so was between them for the win. But hey got to keep it upright and Gee did.
  • 1 0
 @Slickssasnail: I'm not sure if I remember reading he also fractured a vertebra in his neck in that crash, but didn't realise for a while.
  • 6 0
 @toad321: Yeah Gee is awesome for that, super consistent riders like him, greg and peaty are the reason guys like Sam and Ratboy push it to the edge to try and beat them.
  • 5 1
 To finish first, first you have to finish. Taking nothing away from Gee. Totally awesome dude.
  • 21 0
 The fastest bike on the Hill is always under Sam.
  • 18 0
 that green sunday is the coolest dh bike ever
  • 1 0
 I miss my old Sunday. It was the anodized 2007 or 2008 factory version. That bike was way ahead of it's time in both looks and performance.
  • 6 1
 My neighbor has one. I got to race it one time when my shock blew on my turd brown Sunday. I would have sworn I was at least 6 seconds faster on his Lime Green Sam Hill Replica Sunday with polished Boxxer.
  • 3 0
 I had a red one . Iron horse Sunday Elite, bought a brand new fox van RC shock for it. Tuned it and my god this was an insane bike. Loved it so much, too bad Iron horse didn't produce a newer version of the Sunday.
  • 6 0
 Imagine Iron Horse coming to life again and launching a 29" version of that bike.
Who could resist?
  • 1 1
 @nozes: Turner took over the mantle of the DW-Link race bike but their supplier screwed them from keeping it going.

I feel like Pivot has DW-Link locked in an ivory tower no privateer can climb. #dentistDH29
  • 10 0
 @mikelevy @mikekazimer @brianpark
You guys should do an article about particular legendary bikes like Sam Hills 2005 Ironhorse, Greg Minnar’s Honda, Steve Pete’s Orange, Aaron Guinn’s 303DH, etc. and ask these pros where some of these bikes ended up and are today!
  • 11 0
 DEAR JEEBUS, Y DID I SELL MY SX??? Frown Frown
  • 3 0
 I was thinking the same thing when I saw those pics. What was I thinking!
  • 4 0
 Chaps my ass and then @fullbug still has his and sends me pics and it makes me even more mad!!!
  • 2 0
 @madocreg2: 2008 or nothing.
  • 2 0
 '09 or nothing.
  • 1 0
 @whattheheel: I had a 2009 SX. It had a good length wheelbase, quite progressive for the time. One of the better bikes I've owned for sure.
  • 10 0
 Always wanted one of those SX trails. Always thought it was beatiful
  • 4 0
 I have that exact model. Not the lightest with 100mm of travel but it's a blast to ride around. I'd never seen any under racers though, so that made my day to see it.
  • 2 0
 @ChazzMichaelMichaels: if I remember correctly, it was originally designed to be almost a one-off slalom-travel version of the beefier freeride SX and was mostly available to Spesh racers and for special order from some shops. I envy you dude, it's in my top five dream bikes for sure.
  • 3 0
 @Chainrxn2: I still have a 2004 Enduro SX as well. Now that is a heavy bike!
  • 9 0
 I miss Ironhorse under Sam Hill. Back in the day he rode an Intense too!
  • 7 0
 Proud AF to say I owned the 2003 SGS Pro... it was a medium and I was 6'5...... but I made that fucker work.
  • 9 0
 Hope you kept that 165mm rear hub...that will be all the rage in 2 years time.
  • 1 0
 props
  • 7 0
 Such a rad read, thanks Jacy and Pinkbike
  • 6 0
 I got one of the green Sunday frames in the shed. 07 model. Keeper.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I had a black 7 point that I panted green to look like that bike lol.
  • 1 0
 @dglass: had the green 6.6. loved it. long gone now
  • 1 0
 @ringoBAlingo: Haha rad! Yeah mine is at my parent's house somewhere awaiting the time when I get my own garage and mount it in there.
  • 5 0
 That Day of the Dead Mega is amazing, but the VDS Sunday was always my favourite.
  • 4 0
 I would have included the black and green one from 2007, The one in Earthed 5. And earlier he had a bubble gum blue one on madcatz. It was awesome too.
  • 1 0
 Nevermind that was his kit...
  • 4 0
 Jeez that made me all nostalgious, always looked up to Sam and these were good times, watching Earthed on DvDs and stuff.
  • 5 0
 When he crashed at the 2014 Worlds I was so gutted for him.
  • 4 0
 2008 for me.
  • 4 0
 @iamamodel: I agree 08 was a tough one too. But 2014 had kind of a last hoorah feel for him in DH and so many wanted him to win.
  • 1 0
 @Karpiel073: Hmm... good points.
  • 2 0
 I'd love to see Clay Porter do a feature length on Sam Hill in the coming years, bassed on his entire career and following an EWS season in depth like how 'The Last Dance' was done.
  • 2 0
 look at his eyes in any shot. it's like he's looking 50 meters ahead. looking right through the mountain with a burning intensity. no one looks further ahead than Sam, the king of them all.
  • 2 0
 I remember back in '09 hearing about this Sam Hill guy for the first time, twelve years later he's still slaying it, Legendary career riding bikes!
  • 2 0
 Sam Hill rides Nukeproof for medals not money, if its good enough for Sam it's good enough for my desperate attempts down a hill Smile Smile Smile
  • 3 0
 Iisnt there only supposed to be one throwback thursday per thursday? Anyway, enjoyed the content and was a sick read.
  • 2 0
 lol i used to work with Jacy at the Performance Bikes in San Diego. Really interesting dude, and super happy to see his rise in MTB
  • 4 0
 Had three sundays. They made me feel like a good rider. Enough said
  • 5 5
 Sam on a Specialized was a sad sight in MTB history. He belonged on an IronHorse where he just oozed the style that highlighted a generation. Getting on that hideous bike full of chainstays was the end of that. Made a full recover in EWS tho! Thankfully.
  • 5 0
 Still won a World Cup title and World Championships with all those chainstays????
  • 3 0
 How about Jacy chooses Sam’s 10 worst riding outfits. There’s a couple of fashion statements in there
  • 2 0
 It's an utter cliche, but before you look at your bike look in the mirror. Sam Hill is the best on whatever he ride's. Legend.
  • 3 0
 Day of dead the dead? I wasn't aware of that holiday.
  • 5 0
 THEMOREYOUKNOW
  • 2 0
 It's got two dead for a double dose.
  • 2 0
 That checked pyjama/green demo combo... I'd like to see an iconic bike livery/ riding kit article
  • 3 0
 How photography has changed through time.
  • 3 0
 That old '08 Sunday still looks rad today
  • 3 0
 Worlds 2008 Iron Horse Sunday, best looking bike of all time
  • 2 0
 Iron Horse made a 6inch travel bike that looked like the Sunday. It was called the SSO, for Sam’s Sea Otter. Google it!
  • 2 0
 Still have a pair of those 08 Sam Hill 5.10s on the shelf in the garage. Good shoes.
  • 2 0
 All hail king Hill!!! Those Ironhorse's bring back a flood of nostalgia of that awesome time in downhill racing.
  • 2 0
 Missed out the pink demo from Fort William. Cancer charity bike or somthing that was my personal favourite
  • 2 1
 The paintjob on my 2014 Nukeproof Mega is completely hideous... looks like they used up all the good stuff on Sam Hill
  • 2 0
 I would still happily ride an iron horse Sunday now
  • 1 0
 I've seen a couple come & go on marketplace. So tempting.
  • 2 0
 All hail. A sick collection of bikes and a collection of sick bikes.
  • 1 0
 Many sicknesses be upon you
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: it's hard to know where to sick nowadays.
  • 1 0
 Ha SGS (shhh Super G Spot) DH! I had one in yellow as well....and gold, and black. Ah, the old Iron Horse Daze.
  • 2 0
 the sunday still looks great
  • 1 0
 Sam Hill oozes style, he could ride a huffy in a loin cloth and woolen cardigan and look good.
  • 1 0
 Id love to take some of these for a spinSmile
  • 1 1
 Some awesome classic rigs. Dam shame about the plastic ones. Basically the same as him going to clips!!
  • 1 0
 No Intense M1 from Sam Hill’s Vail Jr DH World Champs podium in 2002?!
  • 1 0
 Ah, miss my red Iron horse. High time for mtb then.
  • 1 1
 Until now I had no idea how rad those Ironhorse bikes were! But that 2016 Nukeproof Mega gets my vote!
  • 1 0
 Which pedals did he run before nukeproof came along?
  • 1 0
 Crank Bros
  • 1 0
 All these bad boys are scattered around sheds in wa
  • 1 0
 That 2018 Mega looks awsome.... For me one of the best lookig bike ever.
  • 1 1
 Am I the only one who doesn't like the way Henry writes?? Too much of an English teacher
  • 3 0
 I would imagine probably not - but hey, an English teacher? I'll take that. "A load of old waffle" is what I would probably have gone for.
  • 5 0
 I get that PB is about rarding barks, not perfect syntax, but it's nice to see someone successfully string a sentence together once in a while. And you're complaining? This is supposed to be journalism FFS. When grammar dies, civilisation dies.
  • 1 1
 Dang! Sick Bikes! I'll test em for you!
  • 1 0
 Good stuff. Legends!
  • 1 0
 I miss my Sunday

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