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XC Tech Randoms: Val Di Sole World Cup 2024

Jun 13, 2024 at 12:59
by Nick Bentley  


We headed around the massive XC pits at Val Di Sole to see what tech we could find.

Every brand has their own theme on remote lockouts.
Every brand has their own theme on remote lockouts

Love the custom decals at Manitou
Love the custom decals at Manitou.

Looks like it s been a busy day at FOX
Looks like it's been a busy day at Fox.

Remote lock out is a must now in XC
Another remote lockout, this one for Fox's Grip SL damper.

3D printed tools making life a touch easier.
3D printed tools making life a touch easier.

Finishing touches to a lower service.
Finishing touches to a lower service.

Almost home time for the Fox team
Almost home time for the Fox team.

Ineos has brought a little bit of world tour road racing to the XC pits. This is their dedicated XC truck so it looks like they re here to stay too.
Ineos has brought a little bit of World Tour road racing to the XC pits. This is their dedicated XC truck, so it looks like they're here to stay too.

Lefty forks are the Mountain bike world s Marmite.
The new Cannondale Scalpel ready to rip.

Most of the bikes in the Specialized pit were running data loggers.
Most of the bikes in the Specialized pit were running data loggers.

Data acquisition is now being seen more in the XC field.
Data acquisition is now being seen more in the XC field.

Time for a Service
Time for a service.

Some close inspections going on at Specialized.
Some close inspections going on at Specialized.

This paint is just so good from Cube.
This paint job is just so good from Cube.

A cover over the rear shock on the Trek Factory Racing bikes looks to be hiding some kind of shock change or maybe linkage.
What's under the cover?

It looks like the Trek team is running Flight Attendant too.
It looks like the Trek team is running Flight Attendant too.

Fresh shocks straight out of the box.
Fresh shocks straight out of the box.

Even new shocks get a quick tune-up before they head out to teams.
Even new shocks get a quick tune-up before they head out to teams.

This one had an air can service.
This one had an air can service.

A tiny bit of nitrogen then ready for rebuild.
A tiny bit of nitrogen, then ready for rebuild.

DT Swiss have some interesting design features on their fork.
DT Swiss have some interesting design features on their fork.

Some final touches to some DT Swiss forks.
Some final touches to some DT Swiss forks.

The team at LIV have a set of crowns ready for when their forks are in service.
The team at LIV have a set of crowns ready for when the fork is removed for service.

Tyre choice could be interesting if we have any more rain at Val Di Sole.
Tire choice could be interesting if we have any more rain at Val Di Sole.

Spokes anyone
Spokes anyone?

Lots of work going on at Lapierre.
Lots of work going on at Lapierre.

The tools of the wheel building trade.
The tools of the wheel building trade.

Some fresh XC wheels are being built up.
Some fresh XC wheels are being built up.

I wonder how many nipples are in this tub. Does anyone want to guess
I wonder how many nipples are in this tub. Does anyone want to guess?

One of the tidiest toolboxes at the World Cup.
One of the tidiest toolboxes at the World Cup.

Flight Attendant is everywhere in XC.
Flight Attendant is everywhere in XC.

More Foam rings soaking.
More foam rings soaking.

There are some Funky shock covers for BH too.
There are some funky shock covers for BH, too.

Um yeah not many grown-ups work at the World Cup.
Not for your teeth.

The guys at Manitou have a new tool.
The guys at Manitou have a new tool.

An Andreani Fork Bushing sizing tool.
An Andreani Fork Bushing sizing tool.

It makes pretty short work of a job that used to be a bit of a pain and it s a really accurate way of sizing fork bushings.
It makes pretty short work of a job that used to be a bit of a pain, and it's a really accurate way of sizing fork bushings.

The Euro Champ A paint is pretty special.
The Euro Champ paint is pretty special.

But these SIDs do look pretty.
But these SIDs do look pretty.

Some latecomers to service today.
Some latecomers to service today.

It s an interesting choice.

It was a busy day in the Orbea pits with some rider issues.
It was a busy day in the Orbea pits.

The team in the SRAM pits is always there to help whenever they can.
The team in the SRAM pits is always there to help whenever they can.

The SID Flight Attendant assembly is pretty compact.
The SID Flight Attendant assembly is pretty compact.

Some SIDs in for a service.
Some SIDs in for a service.

a not very disguised prototype Pirelli
A not very disguised prototype Pirelli


More fork lockout.
A final fork lockout.


Author Info:
Mandownmedia avatar

Member since Nov 28, 2019
300 articles

71 Comments
  • 43 0
 I'm not sure how nipples many are in that box, but between me and the ol' lady, we've got 5
  • 11 0
 Oh! Who's the lucky one?
  • 3 0
 Is that you Scaramanga?
  • 2 3
 I know exactly how many there are: 666
  • 36 0
 Suspension companies need to get their shit together, the number of $1300 forks that come with not enough oil, missized bushings, and other unacceptable issues is ridiculous.
  • 42 0
 Could be worse, you could buy an $80,000 truck with metal filings in the block.
  • 1 0
 @kclw: Big Grin last I've heard they are not being accepted by dealers as tradeins anymore... that's really fed up!
  • 5 2
 Buy an Intend fork, all of those problems are solved.
  • 25 4
 Just a random thought...but is it really necessary to rebuild the forks (build new wheels, etc.) before each and every race or are they simply putting tons of miles on the bikes between races? The image of them rebuilding the brand new DT Swiss shock got me thinking. Would figure any unnecessary rebuild opens the door to mechanical errors that weren't there before.

...this coming from a guy who's 1 year over due on fork service...but hey, its working fine still.
  • 9 70
flag CaSentLeTabarnakMonHomme (Jun 14, 2024 at 10:51) (Below Threshold)
 You are a privateer I guess? How your world cup seasons went?
  • 31 11
 Its the mechanics making themselves useful. Want to keep the job where you travel around the world and work on bikes? Then look busy.

I worked in the motorcycle racing circuits in the early 2000s.....so speaking from experience.
  • 18 0
 I'm just speculating here.

but they are preforming at the highest level and marginal 1-2% things can make the difference between being on the podium or not. if you have the resources to run a freshly (and correctly) serviced shock and wheel, it makes sense to pick that one vs one with some miles on it.

while i agree every time a person touches something that introduces a potential error, I also assume they have some pretty decent checks that they are doing their work correctly.
  • 4 0
 @TimBikesAlot: It also gives you a chance to check every bolt before every race, if they didn't pull it apart there could be something loose or damaged inside that wouldn't have been caught otherwise.
  • 12 0
 The real question is why wouldn't they? For the amount of money the team is spending to get them to the race, a full rebuild of the whole bike is pennies, may as well if it only helps your time 0.1 seconds.
  • 9 1
 I think you will find/ feel how crap your fork is running as soon as it is back from a service. But maybe not......

There is also 6-18 months (probably not so for race stock) between production and use for some retail components so those components that are assembled with the bare minimums (oil quantity), stored vertically or horizontally so the seals don't see any oil for a long period, in addition to the difference between assembly line QC for Joe Public and OCT levels of attention from a pro mechanic and you have a very different performing product.

Having had two forks (in five years) that were faulty when brand new I don't run any suspension that hasn't been fully re-built/ inspected by a recognised service pro before I run it on my bikes.
  • 21 0
 @zepper: There's a little more at play here than simply looking busy. The riders are spending a lot of time on course in the days leading up to the WC, and especially in rainy conditions that can be extremely hard on the bikes. The washing, cleaning, lubricating, and tuning is constant and not optional. That does extend to the suspension too - it's not going to stop working, but any performance condition other than flawless is not acceptable at this level of racing. So although they likely aren't doing lowers after every ride, you can bet they're getting done between practice and the races.

There's also the rider confidence aspect - if the rider has full faith that their bike is flawless and everything has been gone through before the race, they're going to race better for it.

I worked on the XC and CX world cup circuits.... so speaking from experience.
  • 14 0
 My fox fork came from the factory with enough grease for 6 forks...
  • 1 0
 Marginal gains here. In my races I am usually minutes from the riser ahead or behind. Very rarely am I "racing" for a final position. But these people certainly are. And everything adds up. And also, preventative. Imagine losing a race from a DNF because something rattled loose and you thought "it can go one more round".

Reminder: I need to service my stuff!

@andrewbikeguide: I got my Ohlins back from a full, including new lowers and the shop (dedicated suspension shop) said "You're going to love how much better it feels!"

Felt exactly the same. Which is the opposite of a complaint.
  • 3 0
 Get your damn fork serviced already. Forget ride feel, you're closing in 'slight stanchion rub' territory.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: A few years ago they were coming in (nearly) dry, right?
  • 1 0
 I asked Riley Amos this exact question in person when I interviewed him at the Iceman Cometh race last November. It seems nuts to do that on the scene.
  • 3 0
 @zepper: If we wanted to put it into a better light, it's the mechanics using downtime for preventative maintenance/small gains. There are moments where the mechanics are necessary to make sure the athletes are free to just focus on their own performance, but those are only a few hours per weekend realistically.

The rest of the time they could sit around and twiddle their thumbs, or they can make sure the suspension goes from being 98% fresh to 100% fresh.
  • 6 0
 Being an average Joe rider having crappy mechanics in my region and being a natural tinkerer I’ve bought all the tools (even the nitrogen kit) and acquired the knowledge needed to perform rebuilds in my own suspension. I can tell you that if I had the time I would do monthly rebuilds (I ride 2x/week). The difference is pretty noticeable. To avoid mistakes just have all the proprietary tools, torqmeters and such (yes, it comes at a cost , but it is cheaper than paying a mechanic when you think long term) and mainly take your time and do it calmly. It usually takes me about 3 to 4 hours for a complete rebuild. Again, taking my time and thinking about every single step. Even when it is as simple as unscrewing a bolt.
  • 12 0
 Can we get a closer look at the suction cup fork service mount in the DT Swiss pit please
  • 3 0
 THIS!
  • 10 0
 Suction cups assisting with DT Swiss fork maintenance are pretty cool.
  • 8 0
 I can't speak for everyone, but that Ineos bus looks nothing like the Ineos Grenadier.
  • 2 1
 You’re right. It’s nowhere near as ugly as the Grenadier.
  • 8 0
 Those Manitou forks look worth my savings.
  • 4 0
 Size of that Ineos truck, just for 1 rider - who won't be there next season. Will she be replaced? I'm not so sure......
  • 2 0
 Surely they have some U-23 riders that aren't well known....or they use that during the TDF with updated stickers.
  • 5 0
 That pink fork on that blue bike is HOT...80's HOT, but I dig it...
  • 5 0
 420.69 nipples
  • 3 0
 Cannondale with the 4 piston XTR Levers?
  • 2 0
 It's Charlie Aldridge's bike. They are visible in other images. I would guess either for some extra power (not sure if 4-pot calipers) or he likes the feel.
  • 2 0
 what is that 3d printed tool for? also, in that same pic, is that a Fox 40 crown?
  • 6 0
 The tool is for making life a touch easier.
  • 4 0
 Air cap and rebound adjusters cap
  • 1 0
 Hmm I need more coffee to wake up - I was looking at the graphics on the top leg on the picture of the Manitou fork wondering what C O -I - Z > 3 meant... Doh.
  • 2 0
 Yukon Cornelius approves of the Lapierre
  • 2 0
 What data are they collecting from those modules?
  • 7 1
 Farts
  • 2 2
 @warmerdamj: and the occasional shart
  • 1 0
 Anyone recognize that hand pump in the 4th photo on the Fox booth? Black with red logo and green/orange on top?
  • 1 0
 Now that PFP has announced she will sign with Visma for 3 years starting '25, I wonder if Ineos will sign new talent?
  • 1 0
 Anyone got info on the rear tire on the S-Works World Cup?
  • 3 0
 its previously been said as a 2.5 captain when Blevins won his WC in Brazil
  • 2 0
 Is this the new "Captain" model or do you think it's something else?
  • 1 1
 Fox and RS: We've got overpressure releases on our 38mm stanchioned fork lowers.
DT Swiss: Hold my vault.
  • 3 4
 "DT Swiss have some interesting design features on their fork."

That's interesting? It's the same as the Fox StepCast design, just with cutouts.
  • 3 0
 Extra loam shelving
  • 1 0
 Flat mount on the Orbea rear break?
  • 1 0
 Yeah, its been the standard on the OIZ "OMX" frame.
  • 1 0
 Mmmmm.....love pickled onions.
  • 1 0
 What pedals are they running on the Specialized bikes?
Anyone know?
  • 2 2
 I love these articles… because I happily ride full rigid, and don't have to bother with all this tedious stuff :-D
  • 9 10
 Servicing forks and shocks after each race?? Makes me question the reliability of the stuff we buy for over $1,000 each.
  • 8 0
 They want to make sure the suspension reacts as close to identical every race. In the last video they posted for DH, one mechanic mentioned they only do 4-5 laps on a set of tires. I'm sure us mere mortals are fine. I'd bet they are also fine, would be interesting to see if a racer can tell his fork or shock wasn't rebuilt, or if it's a placebo.
  • 2 5
 see my post above.
  • 6 2
 Racing is not about "good enough", it's all about the very highest level. Best way to ensure that, especially with suspension is to service. I feel like I can tell that my fork is not quite as good 3-5 rides after a lower leg service. Best when fresh.
  • 3 0
 Do you honestly think that acceptable condition is the goal while racing at an elite level? Imagine racing F1 and not working on the vehicle. It would be catastrophic for the next race results.
  • 3 1
 The budget for a professional XC team for just one week of World Cup racing is the the many tens of thousands of dollars. To give you an idea, one set of brand new tires for each practice session and race. Then the beads get cut or returned to the supplier. Comparing how these teams are run to weekend warriors is like comparing normal highway driving to Lewis Hamilton's racing.
  • 1 0
 It's not that the services are strictly necessary.. But you are not completely wrong, service intervals on bike parts are often very short, because few people use it as a buying criterium. Rubber fork bellows are very unsexy for example, but I'm sure if we really cared, they would help against dirt ingress and extend service life. Similar case with brake levers, a surprising amount of them don't have an external dust seal for the pistons. For something designed to be ridden on dirt, bikes are very unprotected against dirt...
  • 1 3
 I want to know who's running a downhill fork on their XC bike. I'm mean, XC has become more challenging as of late, but seriously. Wink
  • 1 0
 317 knipples.
  • 1 0
 My guess is closer to 500
  • 1 0
 New Procaliber?
  • 1 1
 Nipples.
  • 2 0
 Nips.
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