Every rider has their setup quirks and when it comes to tricky weather conditions each has their own solution to the problem. We decided to look through the Pinkbike bike check archives for the more wet weather setups that we have spotted at World Cup and EWS races over the years.
Probably one of the most talked-about wet weather setups in recent years has been the use of tape on the downtube at the Olympics and some of the World Cup XC races. Jolanda Neff has her Olympic gold medal-winning bike fitted with some wavy tape, the idea for this is to make it harder for mud to stick to the frame. If mud does end up getting stuck then you can easily just pull the tape off for a mid-race bike clean.
The classic wet weather setup has to be a front fender. It does a great job of keeping some mud and debris away from the downtube and depending on the size it can help keep your vision clear. While most races tend to run the shorter fenders when conditions get really bad we see some riders opt for some sizeable setups.
While more rare some riders run a fender out the back, most likely this is fitted to the frame to keep mud away from the rear suspension.
A fender isn't always the best solution for riders though, we saw plenty of racers ditching the fender at the mud infested 2020 Leogang World Champs. At this race, the mud ended up being so sticky that it would block up fenders making them more of a hindrance than providing any advantage.
After the incredibly wet and wild 2020 EWS race in Zermatt, Joe Barnes shared some creative hacks to battle the conditions. Joe's crafty creations include modified handguards to remove windchill, heated grips for toasted hands and more.
While not always used for wet weather many racers do add a small bit of grip tape on their levers to add some extra control and grip. The last thing you want is to slip off your brake levers during a wet and muddy race.
Tire choice for muddy races isn't always about getting the most amount of grip. During the XC World Cup this year in Nove Mesto the BMC was trying to decide between running a faster rolling tire or one that could clear the mud faster. For the BMC team, they were weighing up the decision between a Vittoria Mezcal that would be faster rolling and could clear some mud on the tarmac sections or the Peyote that would clear the mud faster on most sections of the course for more grip when the racers needed it.