Bike Check: Sam Reynolds' Single-Speed DH Bike - Nines 2019

Sep 12, 2019 at 15:01
by Samantha Saskia Dugon  



We're at Audi Nines in Birkenfeld, Germany, for the second year at this venue, and caught up with the course builder Sam Reynolds to get the low down on his freeride setup.

Reynolds is a fan of aluminum frames and components: "This is my Polygon DH9 frame with an alloy front because that gives me a bit more confidence than the carbon stuff breaking, and SR Suntour Rux suspension on the front pumped up probably quite hard for a normal person as there’s a lot of compression on the ramps here, so you need that.

I’ve got the Spank Vibrocore wheels which are great because they take a bit of the vibration out of the impact, along with the Spank Spike 800 Vibrocore bars, cut down to about 760mm wide. I know people like to know that."

He's also using high tire pressures for fast rolling and no burping: ''I’ve got 40psi in these Kenda tires with a big, fat knobbly Hellkat up the front, and then more of a fast-rolling enduro tire on the back to keep the back quite light to flick around here on the jumps. I’ve got the Trickstuff Direttissima brakes; they're quite seriously powerful brakes and really cool.''
Rider Name // Sam Reynolds
Age: 28
Hometown: Sussex
Instagram: @SamReynolds


Sam's Polygon DH9 sports a single-speed drivetrain that uses a spring-loaded tensioner where you'd usually see a derailleur.


More and more freeriders are ditching derailleurs, and Sam explains why: ''I also don’t have any gears. I run single-speed because it's just nicer up the front, much cleaner with only two cables and you don't really need to pedal anywhere except into the jumps, so it's just a nice heavy gear to crank in. It's also much quieter and a little bit lighter, and simpler as well; if you go to events and stuff breaks, it's easier just to have no gears, and then there's nothing to fix. You don't have to take spares.

Got my signature seat on there, too, which is cool. It's a bit fat which is good for grabs, and it's got that grip on the front and the sides for doing no handers and cool stuff like that.''

Sam's signature saddle and his ultra-powerful Trickstuff Direttissima brakes.


Reynolds' freeride rig is two years old: ''I've actually had it for two years now, but I love it, and it's my favourite bike. I've got a different bike; I've got the Square One set up for downhill, but then just this one which is a bit more playful, less monster truck for the big jumps like this! Oh yeah, I've also got DMR V12 pedals on there. They're orange and cool, which matches my helmet and kit and little bits on the bike. You've gotta look good, haven't you, when you're doing it right?''


Reynolds is running a Kenda Hellkat upfront and a faster rolling rear tire, along with a set of DMR's V12 pedals.



64 Comments

  • 58 1
 No close up of the juicy cassette spacers? No photo of the uber straight chain line? No rice for you.
  • 5 0
 Curious to know what gear ratio he's running. The speeds he's hitting must be insane into those jumps.
  • 4 1
 Love the little guy photo bombing in to the right of the caliper close up Beer
  • 2 0
 @landscapeben: he’ll be on celebrity love island next year lol
  • 29 0
 when you accidentally spaff you entire build budget on brakes
  • 9 0
 Kinda funny to be running carbon LG1r cranks if he's worried about carbon failures?
  • 8 3
 And kinda funny to worry about a carbon frame failing
  • 8 0
 @BryceBorlick: lets be real hes not actually worried about carbon failing its just his excuse so he dosnt have to ride those hideous new polygons square one dh bikes
  • 2 0
 @BryceBorlick: maybe he knows something you don’t know. It’s not like we know how many frames pros go through every season.
  • 10 0
 #SSDH is the future
  • 2 1
 My Demo has been SS from day one. If you're not a pro racer you don't need gears.
  • 1 0
 I still run gears on my DH bike solely and only because sometimes I have to pedal back up, otherwise singlespeed. Then again I do just leave it in the same gear anyway (36-15).
  • 2 0
 For me, it's about ride style. I was 3speed on my Bolt play bike because it had all the parts from my old 4Xer. The single speed changed me to finding speed from the terrain an also carrying speed an not wasting it, more flow an smoothness rather than mashing pedals at every opportunity. Wanted to try it on my DH rig. An yeah I'm no racer either!
  • 6 0
 First upgrade on my next dh bike will be a single speed setup for shure
  • 4 0
 I just made the switch. I should have done it years ago. The SB One G3 is a fine piece of craftsmanship.
  • 1 0
 I've never even considered it but realistically I'm in 1 gear 99% of the time anyway. Now I kind of want that setup.
  • 2 0
 If you ride only smooth stuff and jumps, it works very well. Not so much for tech or skinnies. Keep in mind this is a freeride bike, not a DH race bike.
  • 1 0
 @phops: If you ride anything it works very well. The SB One has an adjustable clutch. It's way stronger than a derailleur. I ditched my chainguide for an 11 speed chain and narrow wide ring and haven't dropped a chain yet. And we ride some steep rowdy shit.
  • 2 0
 @chriskneeland:

Strength is not the problem. The whole reason most DH bikes run gears is because sometimes you need to pedal out of stuff that slows you down, into a feature like a drop. And, if you ride in wet conditions, you will be doing more pedaling.

There is a difference between downhill and freeride, even though both involve gravity as the propulsive force.
  • 1 0
 @phops: You can still pedal plenty with a single speed. The only problem you'll run into is not enough gear on high speed sprints. But unless you're racing, who needs to high speed sprint. A 36/15 or a 34/12 has plenty of gear in every situation.
  • 1 0
 @chriskneeland:

The gear you need to crank over slower tech is far lower than what you would need than to pedal for a sprint to add speed to clear a jump.

Again, big difference between freeride and DH riding.
  • 1 0
 @phops: No, the range on a DH cassette is minimal. A 15t cog is in the middle of the cassette. You're acting like you're stuck in a 10t. 95% of the time you're on either the 13, 15, and 17t cog. Any one of those gears will get you over any terrain on a DH bike.
  • 1 0
 @chriskneeland: I definitely used the 34-21 lowest gear on my Tues Al.

I think we see downhill differently. You seem to refer to only park riding, where you can definitely get away with single speed. I see it more as general downhill riding on trails that are mostly pointed down, but can feature short flat or uphill sections. A lot of these trails, especially in places like North Shore are DH bike worthy and worth a shuttle rather than a pedal up, and you do want some range on your cassette.
  • 4 0
 So what’s the rear tire? Twice they mention it but don’t call out a pattern. Prototypes?
  • 8 0
 Nevegal: The Tire That Shall Not Be Named
  • 2 0
 Not saying but I'm pretty sure it starts with a N , ends with a L and has the letters E V E G A in the middle.
  • 1 1
 Its the New Nevegal, dubbed Nevegal2. Updated pattern, compounds, and construction.
  • 1 0
 @ThexAveragexJoe: great, the old nevegal had waaay too many transition knobs
  • 4 0
 I wonder what polygon thinks of their rider using a bike they don't make anymore, it can't sell many frames for them
  • 1 0
 Rog Atkin too.
  • 12 0
 Too many companies are abandoning fun bikes for plow rigs. The industry sucks.
  • 1 0
 @chriskneeland: why would you ever want to have fun on a bike? Riding is all about going fast, beating the clock, and getting those medals Razz
  • 5 0
 @chriskneeland: True... cool to see Commencal still offers 3 DH bikes... the Furious for full on JumpJump good times and the Supreme 29 & 27.5

Seems like one of the few companies that know what's up.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: well intense still offers a 27.5 dh/freeride machine as well ad a 29er race sled santa cruz still offers both a lot still do its more in how you set up the suspension than what wheel size as well membe that YT markets there tues as a race machine yet most people ride it as a freeride huck machine
  • 1 0
 @chriskneeland: agree 100%. Companies used to make freeride bikes, slope bikes, race bikes, now they only have trail bikes “to go ultra fast”. If they do still make a dh bike, its set up for racing and staying low to the ground.
  • 3 0
 I used to ride dh single speed.. Because my rear mech cable snapped Can't say I minded
  • 4 0
 27.5 or 26?
  • 1 0
 27.5
  • 2 0
 Might as well get an SS hub and enjoy a stiffer/stronger wheel while you're at at.
  • 1 0
 Don't think anyone makes SS hubs in 150 width.
  • 1 0
 @phops: I think atomlab has one, and hope would do it if he was sponsored by tjem
  • 3 2
 I used to ride dh in single speed mode with a Fire Eye chain tensioner since 2009 and 'till the rise of enduro in 2014
  • 2 0
 Polygon DH 9, Rampage Winner Kurt Sorge. Damn, This Machine so Wild.
  • 2 4
 itu yg menang dh9 keluaran sebelum e, yg terbaru belum menang, tapi semoga tahun2 ini juara lagi
  • 2 0
 Who makes that chain tensioner?
  • 3 0
 @secondtimeuser:

wtf !!!!!260$ !!!! no thx i lll make a getho one !
  • 1 0
 Also consider the Rohloff DH tensioner . It doesn't have a clutch, which means less impact on your suspension. I actually had to up the compression on my rear shock - it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to the more active suspension. With the Rohloff, the chain is still held tight but there's lots of chain slap - you'd want to wrap your stays pretty well.
  • 1 0
 so much extra brake host just hanging out up front. that front brake hose looks atrocious.
  • 2 2
 Having the long cables does look like &%$#, but I bet it helps when you are packing your bike up every week in a bike bag to fly someplace cool to ride.
  • 2 3
 @Frozen52: i've never seen a bike bag that required you to remove your brake lines from the bike... brake lines are pretty much a set and forget item. hell my dakine bike bag only requires you to remove your wheels and bars.
  • 1 0
 @novajustin: You have to take your handlebar off, and usually it lies flush along your frame.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: i said that, did i not? lol
  • 2 0
 @novajustin: Yup, I was expanding that you normally have to pull your bars further back than where they normally are and align them with your frame, hence why having longer front brake line can be nice.
  • 1 0
 Good looking freeride bike. I like the SS kit tup
  • 2 0
 what chain is that ?
  • 1 0
 could be a KMC X11SL or similar
  • 2 4
 Shocked people are soo nooob they have never tried this or been forced to try it on a road trip. Yes try it, you like it, molto bene!
  • 1 0
 Galfer rotors?
  • 1 0
 Yes! Wink
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