Spotted: Brendan Fairclough's Scott Gambler 29er - Leogang DH World Cup

Jun 9, 2017 at 10:55
by Mike Kazimer  
Brendan Fairclough Scott Gambler 29

Add Brendan Fairclough to the fast-growing list of DH racers who are giving 29” wheels a try this season. Fairclough's Scott Gambler has been altered since we last saw it at Fort William, and it's now sporting big wheels and a Fox 49 up front. More than likely, this is the same frame he used last weekend – the Gambler's BB height and wheelbase are easily adjustable, and running a slightly shorter shock would prevent the rear wheel from hitting the frame during full compression. We saw former teammate Neko Mullaly experimenting with a similar setup last fall, although at that time the 29" Fox 49 wasn't available, and he had to do some custom fork arch milling to make it work.


Brendan Fairclough Scott Gambler 29
Schwalbe's Magic Mary tires with the new Addix Ultrasoft compound are a popular choice this weekend, at least up front. This set has a custom cut pattern - note the missing center knobs. And yes, the rims may have stickers that say 27.5 on them, but rest assured, those are big wheels on this beast.

Brendan Fairclough Scott Gambler 29
Fox is still remaining silent about the specifics of the RAD damper that their top DH and enduro athletes are running, but my guess is that it's a modified version of their FIT GRIP damper, which uses a spring-backed internal floating piston, as opposed to the expanding bladder found in the FIT 4 damper.


Brendan Fairclough Scott Gambler 29
Fairclough may not be completely enamored by the swap from 27.5 to 29, but he also likes to go fast - expect to see this bike airborne and sideways very soon.



137 Comments

  • + 387
 That belt looks like a hairy ass.
  • + 9
 but really...
  • + 45
 i couldnt see anything other than a hairy butt for the first 2 minutes of looking at it. finally realized it was a belt. haha
  • + 39
 @LaceT: I think you meant: "butt, really"
  • + 17
 Wait, thats a belt?
  • + 56
 Foot out - Ass out
  • + 4
 No shit!
  • + 9
 yeah that bummed me out.
  • + 16
 I didn't notice before reading the comments but now it cannot be unseen Frown
  • + 11
 @uuuu: *butt, now it cannot be unseen*
  • + 8
 @rclark: oh man, that cracked me up. so cheeky
  • + 7
 That's so symbolic, this is a metaphor of bike industry's ass you will all kiss when buying a new 29er DH bike Wink
  • + 1
 that was my first reaction; wtf??!!
  • + 3
 @lkubica: Naa! But I will stick with my 29 trail bike!
  • + 2
 Haha!... no, he's on a 29er now... it's tyre rub, not hair ;-p
  • + 1
 @sooner518: dude how long r u lookin at his ass??
  • + 2
 These puns are poothetic
  • + 1
 @lkubica: statement of the day!
  • + 1
 Leave it to the PB comments... I always look forward to seeing stuff like this. @dirtworks911 well played and quite true
  • + 1
 @LaceT: butt really...
  • - 4
flag Maverickdh00 (Jun 9, 2017 at 20:53) (Below Threshold)
 What are you guys doing looking at a guys region anyways, you shou,d have seen a bike first! Omg Explains allot about PBers!!
  • + 0
 @Maverickdh00: Ever heard of a joke?
Lighten up bra.
  • + 1
 exactly.
  • + 43
 Oh no, a 'flat pedal/stylish' rider is going 29". Pinkbike viewers and the interwebs will lose their shit in 3...2...1..
  • + 12
 He rode clips last race, according to Claudio during the broadcast.
  • + 0
 @matadorCE: Rare for him. Majority of the time his is on platforms.
  • - 2
 @bman33: Same guy that loved 27.5+. I'm glad to see the field get evened out a bit... I predict Brandon will get a podium on Sunday.
  • + 37
 god i hope a 27.5 wins this race just for laughs
  • + 21
 Even if it does... Who gives a shit!
  • + 9
 27.5 was the ultimate industry marketing BS that should have never existed and yet people now fanboy about it.
  • - 1
 A funny scenario would be the Top 10...with a 27.5 in 1st and 29's in 2nd thru 10th.....lol.
  • + 1
 ...but for that^ to play out, The GOAT would have to swap back to 27five.... heehee ; )
  • + 1
 ..
  • + 3
 650B won the race.
  • + 30
 Ironic how the RAD stuff the pros use might actually be the low level fox stuff...
  • + 2
 I'm not following. Why would it be the low level stuff?

Edit: Nevermind. Read the caption.
  • - 2
 Pro riders 'low level fox stuff' is probably much better than what the public can buy anyway
  • + 0
 Funny thing is, having ridden various fit4 and grip damped forks back, I prefer the grip damper. Much better mid stroke support. (both still leaps and bounds ahead of a charger damper.)
  • - 1
 Step 1, buy Marzocchi Step 2, use their most basic DBC in your pros' one off forks It was a great damper... when it worked. Mine blew up twice in the first year.
  • + 14
 Didn't claudio say that his team wasn't about marginal gains, just to have fun?
  • - 4
flag RedBurn (Jun 9, 2017 at 11:02) (Below Threshold)
 Fairclough the king of freeride on 29": i'm lost
  • + 79
 Who said 29ers weren't fun?
  • + 5
 I believe brendog has show his dislike for them in a few interviews... also loic of course... and brook macdonald....should i continue ?
  • - 3
 @mikekazimer: I do... and on a flow track like this... omg!
Boringggggggg
  • - 12
flag spaceofades (Jun 9, 2017 at 11:16) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: every 29er I have ridden has been dull and uninspiring, but that may just be specialized.
  • + 39
 @mikekazimer: Exactly!

Anyone that questions 29er's ability to get loose should go watch some old Jeff Kendal Weed videos of him doing crazy shit on wagon wheels. Heck, check out some new Bryn Atkinson videos or just follow him on Instagram, dude rides 29er's all the time and absolutely shreds.

As always, the problem will never, ever, be the bike. But the rider.

Get gud and stop saying you can't "have fun" on a certain kind of bike. Maybe you just suck?
  • + 15
 @Trailstunter: whats boring about going faster?
  • - 16
flag pigman65 (Jun 9, 2017 at 11:30) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: since your 27.5 comment the other week , i no longer care for your opinion
  • + 54
 @pigman65, I think you have me confused with Mike Levy. But in any case, I'm not opposed to any wheel size - as long as there's air in the tires I'll figure out how to have a good time.
  • + 6
 I bet this bike will make Brendog feel like a spaghetti in 3...2...1....
  • + 9
 @mikekazimer: Oh my god, I'm just now realizing there are two Mikes! This explains so much. Like how you don't look like each other at all and have opinions and stuff.
  • + 6
 Orrrr maybe he just tried it and thought, 'Hey, this bike is actually wicked fun!'...? How would any of you really know otherwise? Have you tried it yet? Ever ridden a DH bike you didn't like, and ridden one that you did? It's kind of the same thing. Sometimes the things we like are not the things we thought we wanted after you have given it a proper shake. Nothing wrong with trying a bike and being open minded enough about it to not be swayed by a pre-conceived notion or mass popularity.
  • + 4
 @mikekazimer: Wade Simmons says they are fun!
  • + 1
 @RedBurn: umm, Wade Simmons is the king of free ride, Still!
  • + 3
 @Slowjams: Yes! Finally someone that gets it! Add to that list Kirt Voreis doing crazy shit on his niner via Instagram! Beasts all round.
  • + 7
 @Metacomet: Stop it with your logic and reason. You are scaring people. Haha
  • - 5
flag jozefk (Jun 9, 2017 at 13:22) (Below Threshold)
 @Shatner:

@Shatner: tell me... ever sat in a fast train like the Talys?

Now ride the same speed with a Toyota Starlet....

Tell me again where you had the biggest thrill ...
  • - 9
flag jozefk (Jun 9, 2017 at 13:23) (Below Threshold)
 @Slowjams: When you have skills like him, you probably will... but still... you and I and 99.9% of all readers here have it...

29 is not more fun... it is more boring... and not even proven to be faster...
  • + 3
 @mikekazimer: If I remember from the broadcast correctly, Claudio said they were about having fun, not getting marginal gains, in the context of 29er vs 650b. So it was Claudio that said 29ers werent as fun.
  • + 5
 @Trailstunter: Physics proves it. Fun is subjective. A larger wheel will roll over objects faster/less deflection. Roll a 20" wheel , a 24", 26" 27.5" and 29" down a hill ALL other things (tires, pressure, etc.) being the same, 29" will win every time. Just say you don't like 29". That has more merit that 'not proven' or 'no fun'
  • + 1
 @bohns1: simmons is more like the God father of free ride.
  • + 4
 @Trailstunter: Da fuq u talkin bout Willis?
  • + 1
 @willstuart94: yes! Very true..
  • + 5
 Scott don't wanna miss that 29er hype. Scott sell bikes. It's a business. Brendog don't like 29ers, never ride 29ers as he said but Scott doesn't care. Right now, a 29er rolling around on WC circuit has more market impact than a WC win. Scott force the WC team to ride 29er. That's my theory. I'm not hating
  • + 5
 @rcksurfer: "Force"? It's called getting paid to endorse a product from your sponsor. Pretty sure they all voluntarily signed contracts.
  • + 1
 @bman33: of course Scott it's the main sponsor so things work as you said.

Maybe "suggest" it's the correct word. My native language isn't English, don't get me wrong.
  • - 4
flag jozefk (Jun 9, 2017 at 16:24) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: if the will have to go straight without any breaking and flat terrain and no wind, you can be right, depends on much more variables.
Going faster is not feeling faster... a bigger wheel will make it more boring at the same speed... it is not the wheelsize i dont like ... i dont like the less skill it needs to come down the hill in combination with more berms and less exciting and straighter tracks... shall we just take the lift down?
  • - 1
 @bohns1: start talking English and I will understand what you mean.
  • + 3
 @Trailstunter: 'Boring' is subjective, NOT fact. Boring to you may not be boring to another. Riding a 29" in NO way decreases the skill of the WC DH racers. 29" bikes now are NOT the 29" bikes from 8 years ago. By your logic, we should be riding bikes from 1990. Rim brakes, no suspension, very short frames, skinny tires. ALL those things make riders go faster, jump bigger, and in more control. Leogang might not be a Shladmig track. But that is the track, not the bike.
  • - 4
flag jozefk (Jun 9, 2017 at 16:37) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: no... just no... you dont understand physics...
I rode a lot 29ers... they are more boring and make it easier for less skilled riders... buttttt i think they are not faster... because it is not a straight line down... although tracks are made more and more to suit 29 with berms and straightening... removing the harder parts like rock gardens...
  • + 3
 @Trailstunter: so now you are explaining my education to me? That is a pretty arrogant statement. Because you don't like them, you think they can't go fast? I've ridden several 29" bikes. Old and new. I rode Whistler on a 29" with 5" of travel. All of A-line, Dirt Merchant and most of the tech trails (cleared everything). Your opinion is not scientific fact. You don't like 29" wheels? Fine. That said, a good rider can make any bike go fast by learning how to ride it. Same as all bikes, suspension styles, wheel sizes, etc. etc. over the years. I've been into MTB since the early 90's...I am old. I have seen lots of advances and flops.

Disclaimer: All my bikes are 27.5" (my DH bike and my trail bike). I probably won't buy a new DH bike. However, my next trail bike might be 29" My BMX is still 20" and my DJ is still 26" .
  • + 2
 @Trailstunter: So to be skilled, I guess we should all be riding 20" BMX bikes without suspension on Val di Sol right? If racers don't, they are not skilled right? Will 'not be boring' to see that.
  • - 1
 @mikekazimer: oh, probably more than half the dirt riders with more than 3 years riding experience!
  • + 2
 @Trailstunter: Good thing you are not racing then. Wouldn't want you to be bored.
  • + 1
 @Slowjams: with a last name like Weed how could you not get loose!
  • + 1
 @Rhymer: assumptionsssss.... are the mother of all f*ckups...
  • + 3
 @Trailstunter: We should expect to see you on the top of the podium come this Sunday then, right?
  • + 6
 Put some dropped bars on it and a skin suit on n he might win at leogang. Rumour has it DH world cup tracks are that easy now all the pro road riding teams are going to race them next season and all they need to do is put bigger wheels on their current bikes lol The DH World Cup is dead bring on the new improved DH World Cup it's called the Tour de France.......
  • + 6
 This is how it works: Industry "leaders" meet every year to discuss plans.
They decide to launch DH 29ers in 2017.
They pick the best/historical team to be the first to show the product. This is the same that happened with disk road bike and Colango on a slightly different market.
Syndacate riders would be top 5 anyhow so it boost the 29er are faster debate. (BTW Gwin would have won at Ft Bill if he did not crash).
Each course is removing the sections where 29er are slower (i.e. certain S turns, parts where you need quick change of speed etc.) to allow 29er to be on advantage.
Your DH 27.5 purchased 3 years ago, out of the sudden is not desirable anymore.
Need to buy a new bike.
Copy and repeat.
  • + 6
 Wow you have quite the imagination. You obviously have never been part of the bike industry--if you were you'd know they're no where near that organized.
  • + 3
 @btjenki: maybe at the low level does not seem that organized, but it is an industry like any other. The meeting are a fact. Otherwise believe every "innovation" is spontaneous and after SC all these companies came out w a dh 29er within two weeks. Some yes. The big ones no.
  • + 3
 @btjenki: course changes are a fact.
  • + 3
 Must be the Illuminatis. Or the Reptilians. Or somethong even worse, the MTB Industry!
  • + 6
 Ahh, kids these days- I'm a professional adult and can't even afford one of these $10K+ custom machines, while this punk is rubbing his naked ass crack all over it like he doesn't care. Hooligans!

"Excuse me, sir- where can I find a belt that looks exactly like a man's naked hairy buttskin?"
"That will be over in Buffalo Bill's Boutique"
  • - 1
 @skidrumr you must have your priorities all wrong... That or your profession isn't professional enough...
  • + 6
 I think it isn't Brendogs Bike because he told in a few interviews that he dosen't like the 29ers. But who knows maybe he saw Greg Minaar at Fort Wiliam and change it Mind;-). We will see it at Leogang????????
  • + 4
 "Fairclough may not be completely enamoured by the swap from 27.5 to 29" speaks volumes...Scott jumping on the bandwagon before 29 is fully proven? From the muted responses of many riders, it seems it's the bike companies pushing for this...rushing out untested 29 rigs that appear to be quick cut and paste jobs...
  • + 5
 Interesting that he's on a 29er as when we were talking to him on the gondola at fort bill he was very vocal about his dislike of the wagon wheels and adamant that he would be sticking with 27.5
  • + 3
 this is so idiotic.. I'm sure bike companies could make frames that fit 26. 27.5 and 29" wheels by flipping some chip or something on the frame.. they should just make something like that and the customers choose whatever tire size they want.. just because 29" might be the fastest for UCI WC DH racing means that I should buy that, since I'm not gonna be racing anytime soon.. I just wanna go and ride my bike on a park, trail, parking lot.. whatever I feel like.. what's so wrong with having options.. I don't see the point of a company, like say trek, hypothetically making only 29" trek session but still making brandon semenuk a custo 26" session park.. PLEASE PLEASE PLASE give the customer the option to choose whatever tire size they want to ride!!!
  • + 0
 @VZLNMTB It's pretty simple... 26" is dead--except for dirt jump bikes. 27.5 will stay around for a while, less so on trail bikes but probably mostly as a platform for plus and bikes for smaller riders 5'2" (1.57m). 29er will become the dominate wheel size now that myths have been disproven. No, bike companies can't make [good] bikes that accept 26 & 29 wheels. And they already do make bikes that can take 27.5+ and 29" and most have compromises for each wheelsize as a result.
  • + 2
 @btjenki: they're only dead because the industry killed them, I'm sure if people had options they'd still be around and profitabe for companies..
  • + 1
 That's just not true. Kona released a Process 167 or something with 26" wheels well after they were "dead". So the consummer had that option, but they sold so poorly the bike was discontinued. Yes, bike companies try new things in order to make their bikes better/ more competitive in the marketplace. However, we the buyers are ultimately driving the market. If people still wanted/preferred 26" wheels in the numbers needed to make a profit, then bike companies would make those bikes. There's no conspiracy here, "the industry" is a business and it won't do what doesn't make it money. @VZLNMTB:
  • + 2
 @VZLNMTB: Plenty in the buy and sell. My buddy can't even give away his 26" semenuk edition session.

Vote with your wallets. No body is buying 26" the used market is flooded with them and no one is buying em up.

My 27.5 does everything my 26 did. It's just a bike. Ride on. I've got a 20" for jumping because that is the best jumping wheel size. 700c road bike two 27.5 mtb. Just ride bikes who cares so much about a damn wheel. Buy up all those 26" used bikes and shred it.
  • + 1
 @Brycelewis: People aren't buying 26 because the industry has decided it's dead. A single company like Kona can't reverse that by releasing a single 26 bike.
  • + 7
 pull yer pants up son, you're not on kiddie wheels anymore!
  • + 1
 That was funny!
  • + 6
 He needs more than a 29er...... just saying!!!!
  • + 1
 30 inch wheels!
  • + 5
 I bet Brendog himself is not too happy...but I'm sure we would all like to see him nearer the top! What a nice cool dude
  • + 4
 No care. Brendog didn't have a chance on 27.5. he still doesn't have a chance on 29
  • + 1
 Fine upstanding morals from the man who was slagging off 29ers like crazy at the first round to now be riding one. Surely your morals and opinion means you should just leave and move to a team who wouldn't force you onto such a terrible terrible thing as a 29er?!

Not that any team as large as Scott would likely be happy to sign someone who isn't troubling the podium anyway.
  • + 4
 The world has gone mad, tomorrow the sun rises in the east.
  • + 1
 no way, because Poutine.
  • + 3
 Who'da thought the gambler would take so well to 29in wheels? It practically looks normal.
  • + 2
 Post race when Bendog faces a hearing held by the 650B Council he will be sentenced to a walk of atonement. Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!
  • + 2
 Honestly that's the only 9er bike that looks cool. I'd be caught dead on that
  • + 2
 Claudio already leaked the info!
  • + 1
 winning world cups on a 29er will be nothing if Brendan shows up to rampage on this
  • + 2
 I like big belts and I can not lie
  • + 1
 Gambler owners will be happy to know they can play with their frame to put 29 wheels in. Bad news for Scott $?
  • + 2
 How is that if they aren't producing a 29" specific frame? If anything it's a selling point. One frame, two wheels sizes. Just need a different fork
  • + 8
 The 26" Gambler frame (2013-2014) could fit 27.5" wheels as well (same with all models of Fox 40 and 36 by the way, even the very first ones from 2005-2006) and I think it's actually an awesome feature. I owned the previous Gambler and then bought the new 650b one, it's great to know that with a new linkage / shorter shock it'll comfortably fit 29.

This kind of future proofing actually encourages me to buy these products (even if it wasn't 100% intentional), it's an awesome battle-axe against all these constantly changing standards. It means I can have the choice of trying the new stuff at very low cost and deciding for myself, instead of being forced by the industry to buy a super expensive bike each time. I tried 650b on my 2014 Gambler before liking it and buying the 2016 one when funds allowed.

Go Scott, and Go Fox!

For anyone wondering, the 27.5" Fox 40 lower also clears a 29" wheel (do check crown clearance at bottom out though), just not much mud clearance which is why the arch cutting was a thing before the RAD49 showed up.
  • + 2
 Remote lockout too? There's an extra cable on the left side of his bars
  • + 1
 haaha Brendog square peg round hole AMBANG
  • + 1
 Let me make myself clear the stanchions are not 49mm wide?
  • + 1
 color scheme with that gold fork looks sick
  • + 1
 Thats a bad ass rider. On a bad ass bike. Wearing a hairy ass belt.
  • + 1
 If you pan your eyes fast it looks like a road bike with those big wheels.
  • + 1
 Wish 24" wheels are back...so much fun.
  • + 1
 His front tyre is backwards ... That's the news ;-D
  • + 4
 Nope, that's how the Magic Mary side knobs are oriented.
  • + 1
 "This is the end....hold your breath and count to ten....
  • + 2
 Clean!
  • + 1
 What happened to the silver bike he had in Lourdes? That was stunning!!
  • - 1
 Pinkbike it's world cup weekend, Surely you can do better on the articles. Get it together gents and ladies.
  • + 0
 My bad if I missed it, why are the rims still sporting 27.5 stickers?
  • + 6
 dukesofhazzard: you can choice one of those theories

1.) they had not enough time to make new stickers
2.) they made it as a viral marketing for pushing online discussions
3.) the man on the sticker machine hates 29ers or is an transgender
4.) they had too much 27.5 stickers left and never need them anymore
5.) Brendon was ashamed and wanted to fake that
  • + 1
 @Goose76: ha ha, only Brendan knows what´s up
  • + 1
 @fossydh: Ha....well I thought perhaps I missed if Brendog stated it, but if these are my only options, pencil me in for #5 too.
  • + 0
 No comment. Bah-zing!
  • - 1
 29" frame, 650b wheels
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