Sam Blenkinsop needs no introduction. Having been on the World Cup DH rotation for well over a decade, the Kiwi is one of the more well known characters at the track. For 2018 he's aboard the new Norco Aurum HSP, running 29" wheels, and apparently has no plans of sizing back down.
Although we saw prototypes of the new Aurum well over a year ago, Sam first rode the finished 29" Aurum HSP a few weeks before Rotorua this past winter. Having favored riding his Range 29" trail bike over the 27.5" ever since getting on it, he's had similar feelings with the 29" Aurum. Initially, the set up was very similar to his 27.5" bike but since, there's been a more 29" specific tune developed which Sam is said to be loving. Set up of the bike is far different than what most people would run, as to be expected. Suspension is run fairly stiff. The rear shock has a 450 lb. coil along with a custom internal tune. The Boxxer WC's air pressure is at 137 lb. with two tokens. Sam runs the rebound fast on all of his bikes to keep things snappy and the higher pressures help keep rebound and compression settings open as possible.
Sam's 25mm rise bars measure 815mm wide with grips. The Aurum's front-center can be adjusted with the bike's offset headset cup. His is set 4mm forward from neutral.
Norco kept silent about the bike that we've seen for over a year but now the details are out in the open. Will the Aurum HSP's high single pivot design and 29" wheels paired with Sam Blenkinsop's abilities land a spot on the podium this weekend in Croatia?
Novatec's Demon XL wheelset sports 30mm wide rims. For tires, Sam is on Schwalbe's Magic Mary with their Procore set up. He's running 50psi in the Procore's and 26psi in the rear tire with 23psi up front. Although the track this weekend is very rocky, the team is quite happy with the performance they've had in testing and confident in their set up.
SRAM X01 DH drivetrain and HT pedals will handle putting down the power this weekend.