Video: A Rowdy Run Down the Fort William World Cup Course on a 120mm Hardtail

May 24, 2021
by Miles Mallinson Videos  

A steel hardtail with a 120mm fork seems like a strange choice to ride one of the roughest tracks around. It doesn't seem to phase Euan Thomson too much. Watch as he wrestles his new Swarf hardtail down the Fort William World Cup track. Euan has recently set up his coaching company Buzzing on Bikes. Give him a shout if you're looking to improve your riding skills!

Hardtail

Hardtail



127 Comments

  • 112 0
 What about a hardtail world cup?
  • 11 0
 Let’s have it!!
  • 23 1
 Yeh all these wc pro's complaining about 'bike park' tracks, it's not too late for some new rules for 2021 - rigids only... now lets see them complain!
  • 6 1
 @ctd07: only if they have to have minimum 3 water bottles
  • 2 0
 @ctd07: Sounds good!!
  • 5 0
 Hard tail category in the old PNW Cups was THE BEST!
  • 5 0
 Back in early 2000's in New England there was a cat who raced Pro DH on an Evil Imperial. Dude won some. Dude ovalized headtubes like mad.
  • 4 0
 Clearly, this is a job for Dick Pound.
  • 52 3
 And on flats by the look of it? Mad props!!!
  • 6 5
 lots of peeps dont believe in flats!
  • 15 1
 @Riyadh: I believe they exist I just don't get on with them Beer
  • 2 1
 He also seems to have a somewhat peculiar technique with the flats. Notice he doesn't drop the rear foot heel that much if anything. In those situations I'm generally deep into my heels, otherwise can't really hang on.
Could this be hardtail related?
  • 2 0
 @Arierep: Could be. I should take note of this when I take out my HT, not sure when though. Loving my dual sus too much. I tend to move my feet around alot, hence why flats for me
  • 9 0
 @Arierep: Yes, if you drop your heels too much it is hard to let the rear wheel float over the chunky bits.
  • 7 20
flag thustlewhumber (May 24, 2021 at 7:09) (Below Threshold)
 @Arierep: Should be front heel drop, rear toe drop to make a \ / stable riding position. Rear heel drop just un-neccessarily puts you in a rearward bias.
  • 1 1
 @Arierep: What @Joecx said. It also helps provide a larger surface area for the perpendicular force of the pedals when you go over chunky sections. When riding an HT through chunky stuff where the rear bounces up, dropped heels force the pins up the sole, rather than into it.
  • 9 3
 @thustlewhumber: have you ever ridden a bike before?
  • 5 1
 @thustlewhumber: Sorry, but I'm very very skeptical of that
  • 6 0
 @Arierep: if you wanna drop your heels and plow on a hardtail on a rocky track you're gonna be going through a lot of rims and tires. Speaking as someone who's tried, haha. Ya definitely gotta float more and let the fork do the heavy lifting.
  • 2 0
 @Riyadh: they don't believe in flats cause they ride lackadaisically
  • 3 0
 @Arierep: As a HT rider... Yeah... You ride the forks and just let the ass skip behind you... It really is a different way of riding...
  • 1 0
 @OlSkoolJake: different but beneficial...hardtail really helped me work my front wheel better on the FS
  • 39 3
 In the 90's this was what we all did. It was called mountain biking.
  • 10 1
 it still is m8
  • 33 0
 meanwhile in Germany : STFU I need 180/170 for that marble run
  • 20 0
 Forearms like Popeye...
  • 14 1
 My back was killing all the way through that:-) He went way faster than I was expecting, top effort. Just out of interest what time does he post on the boneshaker compared to the downhill bike he had there I wonder?
  • 16 1
 out of interest - why do hardtails make people's backs sore. I'm on one just now and it feels just like my full sus? is it when you are sitting down you get the shocks through the bum?
  • 16 0
 @browner: I ride a lot of hardtail. Ankles and knees do all the work for me and in turn take the most beating. I’ve never once had back issues from it, maybe because I’m standing up through anything remotely rough. Maybe bad posture is to blame for some people’s back issues? Idk.
  • 6 1
 I ride a HT a lot and I think the sore back comes from having to get up out of the saddle a lot more in "medium" sections you could otherwise stay seated. It adds up over an hour or 2.
  • 3 2
 @browner: saddle to tailbone shots are more likely even when unseated and harsh impacts travel right up the line from feet. It's worse with cleated shoes and their stiff attachment points, esp in rocky areas
  • 3 0
 @browner: Good question, I guess some people have bad backs. I think for most people, if you maintain proper form and have a strong core, they will get along with chunky on a HT. I usually get sore wrists and hands more than anything else on a HT.
  • 5 1
 Thank you! Time wise I do full runs of that track for fun on a downhill bike. On a hardtail though it gets way too sketchy before I even get to the deer gate!
  • 1 0
 @browner: probably a collection of injuries, and wear and tear plus age. Love the hardtail but my back doesn't hurt half as much on the full suss. Those big hits Euan was taking would have me in agony
  • 1 0
 @euan-thomson: so, no full hardtail run without a rear flat....

@mariomtblt: this must be dude in video's first time too, since his feet are in the position @thustlewhumber describes for nearly entire run. 1:37 is as good a time as any
  • 1 0
 @browner: It depends on the terrain. On "mostly dirt" trails my hardtail doesn't beat me up. But take it down a 5 minute high speed fall line descent littered with rocks and not much dirt and it'll hurt anyone.
  • 1 0
 @gtill9000: THIS.

But riding a HT through pumpable terrain is the best feeling only topped by BMX on concrete
  • 9 0
 Now we've had amazing Fort Bill runs on a trail bike and a hardtail, presumably next will be BMX and then unicycle or skateboard?
  • 2 0
 i once watched jesse wigman race the 6hr no fuss enduro on a full rigid the man was smooth as silk

www.pinkbike.com/photo/8461849
  • 2 0
 And after the skateboard, roller skates
  • 8 0
 @boozed: I guess it's time for the comeback of them Heelys afterwards
  • 7 0
 It's not the bike, but it's a SWARF !!
  • 4 0
 Carried an amazing amount of speed through those rock gardens. Incredible bike handing skills. Really working the fork and his heels aren't dropped too much to let the rear flow reasonably smooth.
  • 6 1
 Not as clumsy or random as a full-sus. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.
  • 4 0
 It's not impossible. I used to hardtail rock drops on my T-16 back home, they're not much bigger than two meters.
  • 8 3
 Buggered Knees and ankles? Meh...that's future Euan's problem.
  • 4 1
 I thought it was bad enough riding it on a 150/140mm 29er full suss but a 120mm hardtail!! Respect. Looked pretty fast as well.
  • 3 0
 Been riding a hardtail for a few years now. Some of the chunky stuff you just gotta point it and hold on! But this is on another level!
  • 1 0
 funny thing is i used to do this way back when i started racing, bomber fork and V-brakes lol,now i wouldnt dream of doing it without 200mm, my guts would prob rattle out somewhere, just before my knees broke, but fair play, good run, sure did look a blast
  • 1 0
 You don't need a Dh bike... Enduro bikes can do everything..

You don't need an Enduro bike... Hard tails can do everything.

Gassing the stump gap to flat too. I feel ashamed now, gonna have to man up on my Dh bike, had the speed for years, just not the balls/talent.
  • 3 0
 The Unofficial Hardtail World Championships are going down in Albury (Australia) this weekend! Round 4 of the Victorian Enduro Tour #hardtailsrule
  • 1 0
 @euan-thomson (At 41") I have stood for years on that place, watching "the best" railling that corner, and being a hardtail fan, have always wondered what it would be like on a hardtail. WELL DONE SON!
Hoon the Verf Yukon!
  • 5 0
 This is bonkers !!!!!
  • 3 0
 you can do all the things on a hardtail but you just can't do them as nearly as fast.
  • 1 0
 I’m heading up to Fort Bill in a few weeks and haven’t decided whether I’m going to ride the World Cup track, yet.
One thing is for sure, even if I owned a HT, I wouldn’t be riding down there!!
  • 4 0
 Use the swarf Luke!
  • 1 0
 Good bottle cage by the looks of things! And yes - Jesse did the No Fuss Endurance DH events on a rigid forked hardtail. Nuts.
  • 1 0
 Rigid forked hardtail...aka a rigid Wink
  • 3 1
 Fair play to that man, my knees hurt just watching that, every time I ride a hardtail I can barely walk for a week
  • 3 0
 That‘s some amazing riding!
  • 2 0
 Brutal, i've got arm pump just watching that. Congrats on making it down in one piece.
  • 3 0
 That sigh when he got a flat was so relatable.
  • 2 0
 Certainly needs to be harder for wc downhillers thats for sure.but respect this dude is nails
  • 1 0
 oof that looks rough. Talented rider with great strength. I am not talented or strong though, so I will stick to the DH bike for that stuff.
  • 2 0
 bike setup? Inserts? pressures? tell us your secrets.
  • 13 1
 It's not the bike...
  • 5 0
 I reached out to him asking some questions and here's his response. He's a cool guy.

Thanks man!

I’m a bike geek too, don’t worry!

Wheelsize: mullet 29/27
Stem length: 50mm (on all my bikes)
Bike geo: 440 stays, 435 reach, 62.5 headangle, I’ve since gone to 63.5 and it’s far better on the more average trails

I’ll be doing a full bike check on a mates page soon. So follow @normalpersonbikecheck if you haven’t already!
  • 1 0
 @rayhowrad: Can you ask if that Pike is coil converted?
  • 2 0
 Props! But did he do one full run at any stage?!
  • 2 0
 He was there the week before doing only full runs. He literally does full runs every other run, obviously a different thing for filming duties.
  • 1 0
 @dhowie: and he got full runs without flat tires?! I feel like every minute of track would result in a flat!
  • 1 0
 mental, i remember riding cwm down on my dj bike.. i had to pry my fingers off the brakes by the end
  • 2 0
 the kid got skills
skills > any bikes.
  • 2 0
 Better coarse coverage than the Red Bull World Cup.
  • 1 0
 Was thinking the same. Actually got a new perspective especially for the upper sections and the rock gardens.
  • 2 0
 yeees! steel hard tails just fun machines
  • 1 0
 Hell yeah this is sick! Reminds me of the good ol days riding Goats Gully in Whistler on my P2!
  • 3 0
 R E S P E C T
  • 1 0
 "Hardtail on Hard Trails" eh? ;-)
  • 1 1
 That was so slow, could have used the loudest, hardest rocking music. On the flip side, today Pinkbike just called 141mm travel short today.
  • 1 0
 love this thanks! the music and the shots remind me of old school mtb vids, love it
  • 1 0
 And this is Why Kirt Voreis Said to save downhill we need a small bike class. Would be rowdy as and sell so many bikes
  • 2 0
 Faze
  • 3 1
 Holy arm pump.
  • 1 0
 Are those OG codes on his bike ?
  • 1 0
 That's what I thought too...
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure they are
  • 1 0
 *sneers* overgrown xc racer
  • 1 0
 DAMN, he's going fff......un!
  • 1 3
 Can you really say "It's not the bike" if you're on a fully custom swarf frame?
Say the same after riding a Walmart bike down the hill, or a '90s mountain bike.
It's not the suspension maybe.
  • 3 1
 I'd rather ride a 2004 Orange 222 down that track than any 'fully custom' hardtail.
  • 1 0
 YEAH its a mullet bike Smile Smile Smile
  • 1 0
 Proper belting... That was a top display of quality hard tail riding!
  • 1 0
 Actual mountain biking. How novel.
  • 1 0
 Jeeeesus that was wild. Sick vid lads!
  • 1 0
 This guy is the UKs @brianpark
  • 1 0
 My ankles swelled up watching this
  • 1 0
 I won't be impressed until he swaps the Pike with a Sid.
  • 1 0
 this video makes my wrists hurt
  • 1 0
 2:45 !!!! Greatg time. the pros running full sus should step it up
  • 1 0
 A steel hardtail....with a water bottle in the cage. Boss.
  • 1 0
 Nice! My kid is insisting I get him an enduro hard tail.
  • 1 0
 god bless that young mans knees!
  • 1 0
 Hardtail goes downhill magically
  • 5 5
 This video actually made fort william look tame
  • 1 0
 Your comment is right, it's down the the massive skills of the rider
  • 1 0
 Speaking of hardcore..
  • 1 0
 What was the time?
  • 8 0
 fun
  • 1 0
 @f00bar: definitely a fun time
  • 1 0
 The time was probably not that quick, as he stopped to fix the puncture Smile
  • 1 0
 "Racers have clocks,trail riders have the time"
  • 1 0
 King!
  • 7 8
 Proving my point that a hardtail with more than 120mm of front travel is completely and utterly pointless.
  • 7 0
 130 has entered the chat.
  • 4 1
 by that logic he's "proving" full sussers are utterly pointless.
  • 1 1
 @djjazzynick: I guess we would need a hardtail only DH series to see if there is actually logic in my statement, so in a sense your correct. I guess an analogy might be this statement, Amaury Pierron's Commencal Supreme DH proves that a full suspension bike with more than 215mm is pointless. I am all for the individuals freedom to choose things that do not make any sense, and I am all for the bike industries freedom to market things that don't make sense to those people. Still, I cannot think of, nor have I been witness to or a part of a situation where hardtail with more than 120mm makes things better.
  • 3 0
 @jfog52: my 140mm hardtail rides better than my 120mm hardtail when things get sketchy. Just sayin.
  • 2 0
 I approve this message for complete bad assness, but personally 150 because that extra 30mm is like carrying a roll of toilet paper. It does a lot of clean up.
  • 2 0
 *HT rider from Van Isle enters the chat*

Anything less then 140mm round these parts is plain stupid...
  • 1 0
 Right on!
  • 1 0
 My hands hurt
  • 1 0
 This pleased my eyeballz
  • 1 0
 Great riding!
  • 1 0
 Fantastic.
  • 1 0
 Bike check mana?
  • 1 0
 Hermoso~

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