Justin Leov's Remedy 29er Race Bike
Justin Leov's move from World Cup downhill racing to contesting the Enduro World Series has resulted in a steady rise up the finishing order, and he's clearly working hard towards consistently standing on the box at the end of each event in 2015. And, just as in 2014, he'll likely be one of the few top racers aboard a 29er for the majority of the season, choosing the 140mm Remedy big-wheeler as his main steed over the 27.5'' version of the bike with the same travel, or even the longer legged Slash. While much of his competition chooses to race aboard bikes with 20mm more travel than the Remedy, Leov seems to far prefer how the firmer feeling bike handles, which isn't hurt by the larger diameter wheels. But has he swore off 27.5''? Not so fast.
''I definitely haven't ruled out the 650B bikes. I mean, I just know the 29er works for me and I feel comfortable on it. At the end of the day, as long as I'm comfortable, I just choose whichever gives me that feeling,
'' he said when questioned on why he prefers the larger wheels. It's also not exactly a secret that a 29er just seems to feel more forgiving than a bike built around 26'' or 27.5'' wheels, and Leov says that this is a real plus: '' I think that one of the advantages of riding the 29er is that you have a little bit more of a traction patch, or at least that's what it feels like to me.
'' For the record, both versions of the Remedy share the same head angle (67.5 / 68.2 °) and have a bottom bracket height of within a few millimeters of each other, but the 29er sports a 10mm longer rear end and a longer overall wheelbase.
Shimano XTR Di2 Drivetrain
It always seems like so much suspension development dollars go towards long-travel bikes, but I've always said that the less travel a bike has, the better that travel must be. Companies putting their weight behind EWS teams is likely leading towards some pretty mind blowing mid-travel bikes that will answer my wishes, and it sounds like Leov thinks that his Remedy is already well on the way there, especially if you note what looks to be a production version of FOX's new air can on his bike's Float X CTD rather than the stock RE:aktiv shock: ''We had some runs on it back in Colorado [during the Winter Park EWS in 2014] but not for our current bikes, so it's obviously different when you try it on something else,'' explained Leov when questioned about how familiar he is with the shock. However, he does sound happy with its performance so far: ''The biggest thing for me now is that it's getting close to what downhill bikes feel like, especially over the rough and rooty sections where you get going quite fast. That's confidence, and it's pretty cool to have.''
I suspect that we'll be seeing a lot of Shimano's athletes on their Di2 drivetrain, and I'm not just talking about the lycra crowd. Leov's EWS race bike is set up with the electronic group, complete with the production 11 - 40 tooth cassette instead of the long rumored wider range spread that has yet to make appearance. He's decided not to use the front derailleur (which can be programmed to be shifted automatically and as needed without the need for a shifter), which isn't that big of a surprise, going instead with a 32 tooth narrow wide chain ring from Wolf Tooth rather than Shimano's own just released single 'ring. Justin has spent comparatively little time on Di2, but he doesn't seem phased by jumping right on it in a race setting: ''I've only just got on it in the week leading up to the EWS. So, for me it's pretty much brand new. I've had it before for over a year on my road bike, so I know the basics of how it feels on that, and I'd say that I've always been a fan. First impressions are that it's really good, and something that I'd definitely prefer to race on if I have the option.
'' A minimalist upper guide from MRP acts a near weightless piece of insurance, and there's a burly taco-style guard mounted underneath, which is something that can come in handy every now and then.