Powered by Outside

4 Tech Takeaways From the Fort William DH World Cup

May 6, 2024 at 3:31
by Jessie-May Morgan  
5th for Gloria Scarsi who until recently has been more known as an enduro racer.

1. Aerodynamics are now a consideration

Skinsuits have made a return to downhill. Though no team or rider dare name their tight-fitting kit as such, given that the UCI still prohibits their use. Tahnee Seagrave and her fellow Canyon CLLCTV FMD teammates were toeing a fine line this weekend in body-hugging attire - importantly, it's not a one-piece affair, and the jersey does tuck into the pants as is stipulated by the UCI. Nevertheless, there was some discontentment around the pits, with another team reported to have made a complaint to the UCI regarding the (non)skinsuit. The UCI did investigate and subsequently approved the kit for use.

bigquotesJerseys designed for road cycling, skinsuits, or one piece suits comprising the jersey and the pants/shorts are not permitted for use in downhill events. The jersey must be either close fitting around the waist or must be tucked into the pants before the start to not cause interference UCI-4.3.011

Seasoned racer, Ben Cathro, says that 'back in the day', a skinsuit stood to save about 1 second per minute of track. Granted that was at a time when skinsuits were being raced alongside much baggier motocross-style kit.

After finals, Martin Maes made some remarks on the speeds that riders were hitting on the motorway section. He said that, once you've left the woods, there is absolutely no reason to brake until you cross the finish line. In previous years, we've seen the final sector look a little more rough, especially on the run-in to the steep fade-away section after the tables on the motorway. This year, the holes have clearly been filled in with new material, making for a smoother ride into the finish bowl. Many other riders have remarked on how fast the track is this year, with Reece Wilson commenting on how much straighter it is overall.

In the context of these changes, it's no real surprise to see aerodynamics being considered by the teams.

photo
photo

Then there's those disc brake rotor covers that made an appearance on Loic Bruni's prototype Demo. I'm no aerodynamics expert, but I'd say that a disc rotor full of holes likely causes enough airflow disturbance to have a measurable impact on drag. I mean, there's a reason why disc rotors for road bikes are flatter and more streamlined in their appearance than those used in mountain biking.

photo

The official word from a representative of the Specialized Factory Racing team is that the rotor covers are there to prevent the disc getting wet in intermediate conditions. - i.e. when the track is mostly dry but there are a few puddles dotted about. We were told that the rotor covers help to maintain a consistent braking feel for the rider in changeable conditions. That's reasonably plausible to my mind, and certainly makes sense for the front rotor which is covered 360° on the outboard side. As for the rear rotor cover, I'm less convinced. That one is only covered from the top, and is home to little holes on the backside that, arguably, behave as exhaust vents, with the front section of the cover over the caliper acting as the air inlet. All that said, Bruni's bike was equipped with the front rotor cover only for his race run.

Henry Quinney makes a good point that, whether the disc cover makes a difference or not could even be arbitrary. A lot of Loic's rivals will look to him for what the next thing will be, and may even feel like they are always one step behind. It could well be more of a battle of morale than a battle of outcomes.

Whatever, the reason, it certainly isn't holding the Frenchman back. He put his Fort William daemons to rest this weekend, taking the win by 1.84 seconds over Canyon CLLCTV Factory Team's Troy Brosnan. Chapeau.

Vali Holl showed everyone why she is the defending champ taking the win in a nail bighter of a final run

2. Electronic suspension has arrived for DH, and it is crushing

Four of the top five men had some sort of electronic control over their suspension. To name them: Loic Bruni, Troy Brosnan, Finn Iles and Luca Shaw. Like Troy, the winner of the women's field, Vali Holl, also had a Flight Attendant-equipped Rockshox Boxxer and Super Deluxe Ultimate coil setup. Also noteworthy here is that your Junior Men's winner, Asa Vermette, deployed what appears to be a prototype Live Valve shock from Fox on his Frameworks.

photo
photo

It's super cool. I don't want to take away from the hard work and dedication these athletes dedicate to being the best, but I think it's bloody cool that we've got to a point where the marginal gains that can be conferred by these technologies actually stand to make a tangible difference. If that wasn't the case, we wouldn't be seeing teams going to such great lengths to make it happen.

photo
photo

It's no secret that, for the last few seasons, Bruni has been using electronic remotes to alter suspension damping over the course of a race run. Specifics on that from Specialized or Ohlins are seemingly impossible to come by, but keen-eyed fans have observed from GoPro POV footage that Bruni reaches for these buttons on the left hand side of the bar at key points throughout a run - the suggestion being that he is switching between modes of damping that confer a specific advantage as the track changes in nature - i.e. exiting the choppy woods and entering the flat-out motorway section. Teammate Finn Iles has the same setup.

Of course, we can't know the specifics of the Ohlins, Fox and RockShox systems, but it's clear that each of these major brands believe there is ground to be made. I reckon we'll be seeing more and more of this technology over the course of the season. I also wonder when we'll see something similar in DH from SR Suntour, given they already make use of electronics with the TACT system for XC.

3. Stiffness gives way to compliance

When I first became cognizant of DH technology, it felt as though there was huge emphasis placed on making frames and components stiffer. It still feels as though that's a top priority in XC, where pedaling efficiency is critical. However, on the gravity-based side of the sport, it seems like engineers, mechanics and riders are beginning to have a good appreciation of the performance benefits to be had from a more compliant setup.

photo
photo

Last season, we saw the first emergence of the Mondraker Summum prototype, a bike that Dakotah Norton (with his 75mm rise bar) took to the podium this weekend. Its swingarm can accommodate three bolt-on braces for the tuning of rear-end stiffness. Dakotah chose to run just one of a possible three braces.


bigquotesI want my bike to be as soft as it can be laterally and as stiff as it can be vertically.Dakotah Norton

photo

Elsewhere, at Commencal Muc-Off, Amaury Pierron's Supreme DH was home to chromoly chainstays, as compared to the chunkier aluminum stays present on the stock frame. Steel tubing can be far more flexible than an aluminum counterpart. In the knowledge of that, we speculate that Amaury is entertaining the possibility that a more compliant rear-end stands to improve traction, and thus confer a performance benefit. We look forward to seeing whether these thin chainstays will also be present on his bike at the next round in Poland.

photo

4. Aftermarket solutions for pedal kickback are becoming a DH World Cup standard

It feels like the OChain active spider device is being put to use by half the field. Earlier this year, the Italian company released an externally adjustable version of the device, allowing riders to choose between 4, 6, 9 or 12° dissociation between the crank and the chainring. While it reduces pedal kickback in the (realtistically) small number of scenarios during which it arises, it also isolates the forces associated with the chain flapping about from the pedals, making for a smoother ride.

photo
The E*Thirteen Sidekick hub on Dakotah Norton's Mondraker

Examples of bikes that were making use of the OChain this weekend include the Atherton AM.200, Trek Session and the Santa Cruz V10. Where it wasn't present was on the bikes that were home to a new hub from e*thirteen - the Sidekick. Rumor has it that the hub's internals contain a floating mechanism that dissociates chain forces from suspension movement - and the name Sidekick sort of backs that up. Somewhat mind-boggling is how such a mechanism would be able to discern between pedaling inputs and pedal kickback events without any kind of electronic actuation. However, the Sidekick hub was present on the bikes of many elite riders this weekend, including Dakotah Norton's and Heather Wilson's Mondraker.

photo

Elsewhere, Vali Holl's new YT Tues was home to an idler that isn't present on the stock bike. It mounts via the chain device, raising the chain higher relative to the main pivot, changing the bike's anti-squat behavior, and therefore how much pedal kickback the system can exhibit.

Greg Minnaar s Norco Idler and guide
There are six possible idler positions on the Norco prototype

What's interesting to note here is that, while devices such as the OChain work to reduce chain influence on suspension movement, other riders were looking to increase that influence. Greg Minnaar's Norco, rocking its six-link high-pivot suspension platform, offers up six different positions for the idler pulley. His mechanic, Tom, told us that Greg was running the idler in a position that allows for more interaction between chain forces and suspension movement, giving a platform that is more efficient for pumping and working the bike through smoother sections of track, and thus better at carrying speed.

photo
Amaury's Commencal has a secret device located behind the seat tube
photo
This bar-mounted remote may operate it, whatever it is (apologies for the atrocious quality of my photo)

A final piece of speculation here, also on the topic of anti-squat... Amaury's Commencal Supreme DH has a cover on the non-drive side with the letters, 'KODS' printed on it. That stands for 'Keep Our Device Secret'. The team mechanics were tight-lipped on this one. However, credit where credit is due - Cy from Cotic and Chris Hall from the Downtime Podcast have speculated that it could be hiding a mechanism for changing the idler position, allowing Amaury to change how much influence the chain has on suspension movement at critical points down the track. A remote on the left hand side of the bar adds weight to that suggestion.



In just two short weeks World Cup DH racing begins again in Poland - it'll be interesting to see how teams and riders modify their setups to suit the new track.

Author Info:
jessiemaymorgan avatar

Member since Oct 26, 2023
74 articles
Must Read This Week
Sign Up for the Pinkbike Newsletter - All the Biggest, Most Interesting Stories in your Inbox
PB Newsletter Signup

167 Comments
  • 216 9
 6. The UCI should contract with companies with the technology to screen the events easily to the mass audience. Never been so cut out of the start of a DH season.
  • 26 101
flag Henryd555 FL (May 6, 2024 at 11:32) (Below Threshold)
 With all of the youtube content, instagram posts, pinkbike and vital articles how were you "cut out" of the start of the season?
  • 56 4
 @Henryd555: yes. Because it was impossibly expensive to legally watch it in my country.
  • 11 29
flag Henryd555 FL (May 6, 2024 at 11:51) (Below Threshold)
 @drakefan705: How much? I think US it was 9.99/month bc the sports package is free right now on Max
  • 26 2
 @Henryd555: $30 per month or $150 for the year.
  • 8 3
 Will we ever see four-time world champion Greg M. on screen again?
  • 34 1
 @drakefan705:
That´s why i chose the pirate life. Harrrr!
  • 2 0
 @Loki87: Attendance to the Pirate Convention is confirmed.

youtu.be/K7aM_HWMdj0?si=mY4hXgc7mtavC_xs
  • 5 2
 @Henryd555: because it sis a HUGE pain in the ASS and expensive. I also have ZERO faith that my hard earned $$$$ will end up like last season in the dumpster with a refund from GC effete N.
  • 1 1
 @Loki87: can you give some hint as to where the harrrr can go to get such treasure because my searching on this matter has been unsuccessful, hell id even just watch replays but now its impossible it seems.
  • 10 12
 All the e-bikers home brew 3D printers are humming extruding fresh new aero dynamic pieces for their 50lb sleds. Going to be so f@!$k sick!
  • 17 2
 Access and availability aside, I felt the broadcast was pretty good.
  • 11 0
 @hardyk: tiz-cycling.io
  • 6 26
flag mmarkey21 FL (May 6, 2024 at 17:12) (Below Threshold)
 @drakefan705: How much do you spend on mtb gear, trips, and other expenses? Just because something was once free, doesn’t mean that $30/mo is impossibly expensive.
  • 9 1
 Me too! Had a nightmare trying to find it on Eurosport. Had to contact Eurosport and asked where to find the event. The Spanish Eurosport didn’t even have it on the main page , I had to type fort William into the search bar. Happened to all my friends too, couldn’t even watch it live. Terrible for the sport, was so much easier just clicking onto the redbull app.
  • 3 2
 I have made my choice, I pay €10 a month so that I can watch all bike races. That's 2 beers less per month.
  • 2 0
 eurosport 24h later and with spoiler crazy care I've seen it. Nevertheless they cut out the Minnar crash with advertising...
  • 8 0
 @mcharza: Discovery+ is 4€ (with ads) or 6€ (less ads) a month here. Fair enough.
  • 1 0
 @descendbymtb: I get eurosport through sky subscription it also includes discovery plus which I have to watch with the discovery plus app on my phone, so have live covergae
  • 1 0
 @yoobee: Yesh, your VAT is smaller and we cannot see mtb race without Discovery+ Sport add-on
  • 1 0
 @drakefan705: There are people who watch racing??? Who'da thunk it?
  • 1 0
 @Loki87: you the real MVP
  • 137 8
 "Electronic suspension has arrived for DH, and it is crushing"
OR

"Riders who were already going to crush it are paid by sponsors to add more batteries"
  • 37 4
 you mean the same riders that rather sand off the yellow Maxxis logo instead of riding sponsor's crappy Bontrager/Specialized tires?
  • 10 23
flag cassiusclaim FL (May 6, 2024 at 12:56) (Below Threshold)
 Exactly my thoughts. Pinkbike maybe on the same payroll...
  • 55 7
 @cassiusclaim: There are definitely things that DH racers will compromise on to make sponsors happy. Suspension is VERY low on that list.

They may be drinking the Kool-aid, I have no idea, but at that level they wouldn't be entertaining the idea unless they thought it was helping them win.

As for being on some payroll, no. I haven't been in love with any of the electronic suspension stuff I've used. Some of it has been quite good, but none of it has been worth the squeeze or cost for me (or most riders).
  • 23 1
 If it‘s just about marketing why bother with the remotes? RockShox could just say that their thingies are automatically adapting to the trail, which would be even better marketing.

On top of that the öhlins doesn‘t even sell any electronic suspension, and loic pressing a different button three times during a run just to roll the marketing drum seems like a bit of a stretch to me.
  • 6 9
 @gravity01: Öhlins already sells electronically controlled suspensions for motorcycles, so it's pretty obvious they are prototyping something similar for mountain bikes.
Just look at the bikes that Loic and Finn are riding - those are not your general off the shelf Specialized Demo frames, but custom made prototypes (which look kinda ghetto btw).
  • 5 1
 @brianpark: all these people suspecting e-suspension use is related to sponsor dollars may be on to something in a way you don't mention. The factory team they are on has to use a certain frame. A rider might very well want to counter a shortcoming they see with the frame and a suspension tech may be programming an e-sus rig to help with this. Let's say Loic loves the composure of the Demo through the chunk but feels it sags too much when he is hitting the gas.
  • 6 0
 For what it's worth, I have only ever ridden one bike with electronically-controlled suspension, and it appears to be the real deal. The bike was a shop demo that I borrowed for one day last year, so it was not set up exactly for me. I felt like the front end was pushing and my overall impression was mild trepidation in fast sections.

I rode that bike on two long segments that I use for benchmarking. One segment is a 10.5 km XC loop. The other segment is a fast, undulating descent (takes me just under three minutes). For the descending segment, there are no real steep sections; it is mostly wide open sections with some tricky corners and a few chundery spots with a couple of small jumps. I set my fastest time in in recent years for both of those tests. I only track time for my own benefit and amusement currently, but if I were racing against others, I would give electronically-controlled suspension a real look.
  • 1 0
 @Rubberelli: but in loics case they are on a prototype frame and run on previous frames have had custom links so slightly less likely
  • 1 0
 @gravity01: rockshox flight attendant does automatically adjust to the trail
  • 1 1
 @f00bar: In my opinion those Specialized Demo frames are 2nd most beautiful machines in DH (after Gamux Sego).
  • 1 3
 @f00bar: I would ban any rider who isn’t using sponsor correct kit. If you take the money then use it. Anything else is fraudulent advertising
  • 1 0
 @mjlee2003: A prototype frame may well be where it is most needed. Future prototypes can be engineered to need less of the e-suss's changes to anti-rise and the like.
  • 50 0
 If I was given the task to make an aerodynamic disk cover, it would have a smoother leading edge and a gentler transition to the fork. The whole design just doesn't scream "aero optimized" - maybe it doesn't hurt aerodynamics or even improves it a little bit, but it just does not look like a part with the primary purpose of improving aerodynamics.
I'm not sure if I believe the official "preventing the disk from getting wet" statement either, but managing disk temperature is something I could imagine Magura and Loic working on together.
  • 10 0
 Yeah I reckon the two cylindrical fork legs have a way larger impact than the brake disc. Aero boxxer when?
  • 4 0
 If I had to look for aero gains, I'd look at Rider and front triangle, maybe fork lowers. However, I don't want to imagine riders in aero helmets or calf air flow thingies. And a fully covered front triangle could be funny in cross winds.
  • 14 0
 @xice: Just wait until we see Giro step up their game in the DH scene... shoulder wide aero helmets that look like Darth Vader on 'shrooms coming in hot in the second half of the season... ^^
  • 4 0
 It seems like that would block airflow and hinder brake cooling
  • 1 0
 @brookscurran: I was thinking it would actually create a low pressure zone behind the cover where the rotor is. How that affects brake temperature may be part of the intent.
  • 1 0
 Totally agree - a disc isn't too bad - it's really thin, even with holes in it'll be far less of an issue than the chunky tyres, spokes, and 75kg of unaerodynamic flesh supposedly in control. I reckon it could work for mixed conditions and might keep some grime out of the brakes, making it quieter. Perhaps for a wet/muddy race we might see something the other side of the disc too, like those noob plastic plates that sit inside the cassette on budget bikes. I'd quite like one of those for winter time here!
  • 4 0
 Brake disc covers have nothing to do with improving aerodynamics (they often do quite the opposite). They’re more often used to maintain a more contestant brake temperature (so the brakes aren’t completely cooled off the end of long fast sections).
  • 1 0
 Any chance that they're there to prevent rock strike damage to rotors ??
  • 1 0
 @Garry17: I'm guessing not, as the rear one leaves the bottom open, which is more vulnerable?
  • 29 0
 When I first got really into mountain bike media, press releases were all about "lateral stiffness and vertical compliance", to the point it became a bit of a joke down here in the comments section. Now over a decade later, we've evolved to "vertical stiffness and lateral compliance". If that's not clear evidence of progress, I don't know what is!
  • 38 0
 Anyone want to wager on when they'll be talking about "vertical lateralness", and "stiff compliance"?
  • 2 1
 Not sure when you got into it, but even two decades ago more than a few bikes were marketed as laterally compliant for better performance in flat or off-camber corners. The popular Cannondale Prophet comes to mind but there sure must be others. Of during that same era, they also came with their Scalpel XC full suspension bike whose chainstays were designed to flex more vertically than horizontally but I don't recall any marketing for high lateral stiffness. Then again, of course marketing also goes through some filter so we all remember different snippets I suppose.
  • 4 0
 Redemption for the @TransitionBikeCompany Blindside's "Flex engineered-in" rear triangle, proving once again, Tr was ahead of it's time!
www.pinkbike.com/product/transition/Blindside
  • 1 0
 a lot of places still want the laterally stiff vertically compliant approach. wheels and bars for instance. the fame having a laterally compliant element improves some aspects of cornering.
  • 11 0
 I hope there is shift back to simplicity for the every day mountain biker. About a decade ago, it looked like we were heading in the right direction when we got rid of the front derailleur and suspension companies were simplifying the adjustments on their products.
  • 2 0
 Maybe in a couple of years. Right now they are happy adding incremental "improvements" every year t keep people wanting new bikes. Without a shiny new trinket less people are going to trade in their 10k bike for a new 11k bike.

I'm guilty of it myself. Was looking for some tips online about adjusting my GX B Gap and came across people recommending the XO B-Bolt as a small upgrade. For a minute I was fervently googling, trying to find it in stock before I took a step back and fixed what I had in front of me.
  • 9 0
 Aftermarket idlers are interesting. There is a shop in Italy that has them posted for the Banshee Titan on their Instagram. It's an easy way to use the ISCG tabs to add some variance/fine tuning to your bike - it seems. Cool that it made its way to WC racing.
  • 4 0
 Sam Blinkinsop did it in 2016
  • 3 2
 @rulezman
Dave they stole your concept
  • 1 0
 @Dont-hit-trees: yep, the Aurum pseudo-HP.
  • 5 0
 @vhdh666: hard not too when hes charging 300 euro
  • 1 1
 @youann217o: How much do you think an ochain costs?
  • 1 0
 @winko: about $400CAD, the pop up on Buy/Sell occasionally for less, that's how I got mine.
  • 11 2
 If the primary purpose of bicycle racing is to develop, promote, and sell new technologies, then these "innovations" ought to be allowed without limit. If it is to determine the best athlete, then they (the gadgets) should be disqualifying in competition.

There is, of course, a middle ground: use races as proving grounds for new tech, but hiding it should be disallowed.

It's pretty clear that disc covers and farings over secret shocks provide an advantage, however small (we are talking seconds and .001 of seconds). Specialized has obviously done the homework to determine if heat dissipation (for rotors and for shocks alike) is negligible compared to the advantages for a short WC DH run.
  • 9 0
 I’ve been wondering for a while now whether a freecoaster DH hub would work well.

Imagine setting off, getting up to speed then a quick half pedal backwards and your hub is disengaged. It’s like that prototype E13 system a while back with the cable and shifter except less complicated. You’d then have no chain interference and no levers to forget to press when you need to pedal again.
  • 12 2
 Can we not use the term "marginal gains" in DH? It's predominately used in road cycling and we all know where the marginal gains actually come from.
  • 1 0
 I think that term came from the corporate/finance world which bothers me even more. I looked up synonyms and "Incremental advancements" or advantage seems better to me.
  • 1 0
 Or technological progressions?
  • 5 1
 Exactly, I don't want MTB to be run by Ineos/Sky cheating tactics
  • 5 0
 "Somewhat mind-boggling is how such a mechanism would be able to discern between pedaling inputs and pedal kickback events without any kind of electronic actuation."
It does the same job that an O-chain does, so I'd strongly suspect that it solves the problem in the same way - by just adding a certain amount of play between the cranks and the freewheeling mechanism with a light spring load. Realistically it matters very little whether you add that play at the cranks or the hub. With the mechanism between the cassette and the freewheel hub the effective amount of float at the crank will depend on the gear you are in, but so does pedal kickback.
  • 2 0
 True. Importantly, wheel speed also impacts whether impacts result in any pedal kickback as well. Trail POV on Youtube does an extremely deep dive on the physics/formulas for pedal kickback, and quantifies how fast a rider would need to be going under certain circumstances such that wheel rotation would offset pedal kickback. Pretty cool stuff!

Net-net - the smaller your cog and the faster you're going, the less chain growth will equate to meaningful pedal kickback. In this case: "Fast is smooth." Smile
  • 3 0
 Some say that pedal kickback is not actually a factor at any kind of trail speed and that what the o-chain is really doing is damping chain whip forces. If that's the case, then a floating hub seems like it wouldn't help as much as an o-chain. But then you probably wouldn't see pro DH racers using the hub approach.
  • 1 0
 Adding additional mechanisms to the hub increases unsprung weight. Ochain seems the better solution
  • 4 0
 I wonder if the disc covers are about holding the rotor at a consistent temperature to improve brake performance. There is probably a measurable temperature difference across 30 kph differences in speeds at different parts of the track
  • 6 0
 Fun to see that even Bruni himself is not using the " Bruni Levers"on his MT7
  • 4 1
 It’s weirdly common for pros not to use their own pro model things
  • 5 0
 This may be the first "5 things we learned..." that contains actual new things we learned, but it isn't titled accordingly
  • 4 0
 Bruni said the disc cover was tried in case of wet conditions, to try to give him the same brake feel as in dry conditions. It was dry anyway, just kept it for look!
  • 2 0
 Re: sidekick "Somewhat mind-boggling is how such a mechanism would be able to discern between pedaling inputs and pedal kickback events without any kind of electronic actuation."

The OChain should be similarly "mind-boggling" because it's doing the _exact same thing_. Why cast doubt on one but not the other?
  • 1 0
 Re. rear end flex the info on tuning with braces makes me very skeptical of “swingarm” type rears - either proper swingarm like Pole or just tightly bundled, near parallel seat/chainstay combos that offer little in the way of bracing. I guess if maximizing compliance is the goal this would do it, but as a bigger rider I’d want geometry on my side a bit more.
  • 12 11
 Miss the days of the Sam Hill era in the moto suits… seems like DH has changed a hell of a lot in the last 10 years. Call me ridiculous but I think those days of the moto suits were the peak of racing. Now it’s turning into F1
  • 15 7
 That’s progress of racing. The field now is tight. Racing back then wasn’t good racing as we saw blow out wins and huge variability in the field.

Now we have good tight racing with a tight field.
  • 5 1
 @bonfire: Bruni won by almost 2 seconds
  • 3 1
 @f00bar: didn't Kovarik win by around 14 seconds in the moto suit days?
  • 1 0
 Which moto suits are you talking about? Sam running shorts and short sleeves? Or long motocross style pants and jerseys? Or the moto GP style Dainese hardshell suits?
  • 2 1
 You have to wonder if/ when they will ad homologation rules like the AMA did to motocross in 1986. Given DH is 30-40 years behind MX it might be getting close. This rule killed the "works" bikes that dominated MX in the years prior. Not sure how I would feel about a rule like that? Also not sure about the whole dick pants thing. Be tough to sell kit that ain't nobody going to wear at the bike park. Seems like a bad move if your goal is to sell riding apparel to the masses. My wife commented that the pink panther canyon boys looked like a dance team. The white streak up the ass crack did look kind of odd. I really don't care what riders wear though. Those canyon boys were rolling!
  • 3 0
 I had some E13 hubs about 10 years ago. They were really good at dissociating from kickback even back then. In fact they were good at dissociating from any pedal input!
  • 5 1
 Those brake rotor covers absolutely have more aerodynamic drag than an uncovered rotor.
  • 1 0
 Absolutely!
  • 1 0
 "Greg was running the idler in a position that allows for more interaction between chain forces and suspension movement... and thus better at carrying speed."

So you're saying that reducing pedal kickback for smoother suspension movement, ala OChain and Sidekick and everything else, is NOT about carrying speed?
  • 1 0
 I thought that the assumption that chain forces alter the suspension in a way that allows one to pump the bike and carry speed better was a weird one too. Firmer suspension can help pumping, yes, but, we've seen from the analyses' of wheel speeds vs. impacts and the (relatively low) likelihood of the freewheel engaging and kickback occurring as long as the wheel is rotating at a decent speed.

In other words, the wheel needs to be rotating relatively slowly, and the chain needs to get tugged by suspension movement relatively quickly (for example a square edge impact) for the chain forces to influence the suspension. Pumping to maintain speed on the smooth sections of the course (as the Norco mechanic stated) implies that the wheel will be rotating quickly, and I don't think that the slow compression speeds of a rider pumping the bike would be able to engage the freewheel and therefore firm the suspension, so their explanation doesn't make sense.

Having said all of that, I remember many years ago Fabien Barel (who was always experimenting with funky stuff) running a high pivot bike (maybe a Kona?) that had no idler, partially with the goal of maximizing pedal kickback. If I recall correctly, his theory was that pedal kickback generates a driving torque to the rear wheel, particularly so if the rider resists the rotation of the cranks with their forefoot, so that one could be applying driving force to the rear wheel even while "coasting" with the cranks level, if one is hitting a sharp series of bumps. That isn't pumping, per se, but is a way that one could, theoretically, generate drive force by increasing chain interaction with the suspension. That is all distinct from the anti-squat and potential pedaling efficiency gains that chain growth can bring.
  • 1 0
 "A remote on the left hand side of the bar adds weight to that suggestion."

That adds zero weight to the suggestion of moving the idler. All these adjustments systems have a remote somewhere (except maybe Vali's), thus the presence of a remote on Amaury's bike adds nothing to the wild speculation of changing the idler position.

I'm betting that the KODS is a joke, poking fun at all the other covers, and there is nothing. The remote is probably not even hooked up!
  • 1 0
 It's great to see so much engineering effort put towards making bikes better and more efficient, even to the point of tweaking more than suspension settings for each track. It makes me wonder if we'll see something like the F1 at some point, where it allows a platform to try the highest-performance parts and technologies, but only a fraction of it actually gets applied to production cars after some years.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark - Any interest in printing out some rotor covers to have someone test? Share with the people what tech editors notice (if anything) after testing the covers? Heat retention in the rotors? Keep water off the rotors? Purely psychological games played by specialized?
  • 4 0
 Today’s article is brought you by the word: Confer
  • 4 1
 If that disc break cover is "aero", then Ben Cathro is actually a dwarf and only made appear tall in post...
  • 1 0
 I’m not so sure. The fact that the rotors spins adds to its overall drag (in open air) considerably.
  • 3 3
 When I show up in a skin suit, faring's on my brakes, electronic suspension and a cro-mo frame and dominate then we can say tech has done something. When formerly dominant riders win again, I think we can just point to them as the reason.
  • 1 0
 At the pointy end of racing....marginal gains do count (I am not arguing for/against skins suits, fairings, etc). The top 10 male DH racers are all super fast. Often times that extra .5%-1% matters. DH is obviously not a prone to aero beneifts as say TT or Road racing, but ....
  • 1 0
 I think Bruni stole the disc cover from ducati on his trip to MotoGP a few weeks back. I'm sure it has more to do with temp management. It was dry so why would they be worrying about wet discs?
  • 3 2
 mechanical Sidekick hub not so mind boggling when you consider that lowly bmx bikes have such high technology already. us.bsdforever.com/products/revolution-hub
  • 21 3
 I'm skeptical of any BMX product that claims to dissociate chain forces from suspension movement.
  • 1 0
 Freecoaster hubs are not the same.
  • 3 1
 Tairin Silent Shogun hubs have a 5.5deg float accomplished by pulling the pawls in via a spring.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: Pretty sure they'd happily claim it regardless. Whoever is unhappy about said performance is invited to their shop to file and defend their complaint in turn for a partial refund. I suppose they consider the entertainment to be worth it.
  • 2 0
 Shoutout to Freenight BMX who actually developed the planetary coaster. BSD uses the design by license.
  • 1 0
 @ckcost: you're right , this freecoaster in particular is far more complicated .
  • 1 2
 This will grind some folks' gears (pun intended): Put the anti-kickback into the cassette. Make the cassette body/spider(s) from composite and tune it to flex exactly as desired. Or, make a pneumatic system...which opens the door for electronic control... I'll just go kick myself in the bollocks for saying that.
  • 3 0
 Just lace the rear wheel radially. Should also grind some folks' gears.
  • 1 0
 The best anti kickback is achieved by offering a degree of virtually free play between the cranks and hub. Just shrink an O-chain and put it into the cassette body (or between the splines and freewheel mechanism in the hub, which e*thirteen probably did). A spline with some radial play and some relatively soft springs to preload it into the right direction, would be hard to achieve anything close to that characteristic by tuning flex in a composite.
  • 1 0
 @finnspin: I don't get how radial play in the cassette would be different from rotational backlash in the crank? Both get squashed under pedalling?
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: For the primary functionality, there is almost no difference. If it's in the cassette, the effective play at the crank depends on gear. I'm sure there are potential weight/packaging arguments to be made for either option, but I was mainly trying to explain why flex in the cassette is not a good anti kickback method.
  • 2 0
 Loic running a hanger banger too. Most likely to keep the mech as straight as possible in a knock event.
  • 2 0
 There should be a rule that mandates the use of sponsors equipment or it’s false advertising
  • 1 0
 It's a bit like gen x facebook in here with all this nostalgia for how things were 20 years ago. Surely DH racing has to be at the cutting edge?
  • 2 0
 and I just look at my old turd of a bike and say , you ma lil boo thang. We are both dated, faded and happy together.
  • 5 6
 those brake covers are going to do naff all. The rider is the biggest contributor to drag. The frames are not aero and the forks with the big round tubes are crap for aero as well.
  • 17 0
 shoe covers make (already fast) road riders go faster. don't discount marginal gains on that final motorway
  • 13 0
 As long as "naff all" is greater than zero, teams will do it when races are sometimes won/lost by hundreths.
  • 3 0
 The article says it’s to keep the rotors clean which I think is a great idea
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: Correct. Marginal gains anywhere can stack up to make a difference. With vehicles, it could be suggested that 95+% of the drag is created by the front profile of the vehicle/mirrors/tires. And yet, something as seemingly minor as wheel covers can noticeably alter fuel/energy economy. Adding up many small efficiencies can create significant outcomes - take them where you can get 'em!
  • 7 1
 Marginal gains really do work, that's why every road team worth its salt has been seriously exploring marginal gains since Ineos (then Team Sky) popularized the practice a decade ago.

Arguably, it's more important in DH racing where speeds are almost always in excess of 35kph, and a few kph here or there can add up to big percentages in a course that's max 4-minutes long. I know the "culture" doesn't support fairings or skin-tight clothing, but the results don't care. Leave the culture to freeride and park folks, ain't nobody winning on a Tuesday.
  • 8 1
 If a disc cover would provide even marginal gains, wo would have seen them in road biking first.
  • 2 0
 @SickEdit: Maybe not. In road bike, there is also a penalty for added mass. Perhaps in road cycling the extra energy required to carry the mass over race and multi-stage distances offsets the aero advantage.

By contrast, DH mountain biking is much more a sprint that is aided by gradient and gravity. Perhaps in this discipline a rotor cover is worthwhile.
  • 1 0
 @mrbrighteyes: Vali Holl literally just won on a Tues(day).


Pretty sure rotor covers would be counted as fairings and are as such banned from UCI road racing events. Specialized are just testing the waters here with this iteration.
  • 1 0
 The disc covers spell to me apprentice having fun with a 3D printer.
  • 1 0
 What happened to “DH racers cook their rotors on a regular basis and that’s why they need brake cooling that seems completely unnecessary for consumers”
  • 2 0
 @SickEdit: not neccsarrily true. UCI is much more stringent on road bikes/components than with DH. Not supporting the UCI here, let's be clear.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: Dak should have worn a carbon hair cover for those locks. Clearly the mens Euro haircuts are the way to go since they won with less under-helmet (and zero outer helmet) drag - like Dak. That under-helmet airflow went right by the skin-fades but it held Dak back a few seconds I'd wager. Its a real drag Wink
  • 3 0
 @mrbrighteyes: this guy hates the Toonie Tuesday race series
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: That's a very good point!
  • 1 0
 Notice a few ”chicken rivets” in the bonded joints of the Specialized bikes - obviously looking to avoid a BK-moment!
  • 1 0
 I assumed it was injection ports for adhesive. Need to have another look
  • 1 0
 Shhhhhh, it's a secret!!!!!
  • 1 0
 KODS: Kinetic Oscillation Damper System?
  • 1 0
 SCMODS: State county municipal offender data system
  • 7 0
 Kids on drugs, stupid
  • 1 0
 the rider wins the race the bike follows the rider
  • 1 0
 the top teams have the money for these Novelty,but the others...?
  • 1 0
 5. All dh bikes are now mixed size wheels
  • 1 2
 "Shimano has made a spider-less Saint crankset for 104 BCD"

That is nonsensical. If there is no spider, then there is no BCD.
  • 1 0
 Bruni’s covers hiding Maguras ABS brakes?
  • 2 3
 Doesn’t Dak mean the other way round ie stiff laterally and vertically compliant??
  • 5 0
 No, he wants lateral movement for grip in the corners when the bike is leant over, but vertical stiffness to limit undamped spring in the frame. (Leave it to the suspension and tyres).
  • 3 0
 @L0rdTom: He wants a Starling MegaMurmur.
  • 2 0
 @L0rdTom: gotcha cheers
  • 1 0
 I confer.....
  • 1 0
 "realtistically"
  • 1 1
 god I love this side of DH. feels like f1
  • 1 0
 #1 the frameworks van
  • 2 4
 Was there something previously about Vali's Kashima-looking boxxer? It even says debonair on the stankshun (miss you Levy).
  • 2 5
 Never thought I'd miss Levy saying stankshun but - I do. Lots. PB should have a 5 Minutes of Levy on the pod each week. I don't even care what it would be about. Just 5 minutes of Levy. PLEEEEEEESE @brianpark???
  • 2 3
 A sport that puts fashion above performance isn't a sport.
  • 2 2
 I don't think ya have to worry about that w/ DH. Its def'ly a factor but while this years level of tight does slightly resemble power rangers, its just barely tighter than previous years. The tiger striped tramp stamps & butts def'ly looks stupid (to me) but ultimately I'm not worried. It looks worlds better than the baggy Mad Max moto look (imo). Final score: performance 99, kit 1.
  • 1 1
 @Mtn-Goat-13: I think we're saying the same thing? I'm for the new kits if they offer a performance benefit (aero), against people who think looking cool is more important than going faster.
Below threshold threads are hidden







Copyright © 2000 - 2024. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.050529
Mobile Version of Website