Cornelius Kapfinger and Gustav Gullholm have names that wouldn't be out of place in a James Bond film, but they're not villians or spies, at least as far as I can tell. Instead, they're both bike nerds to the nth degree, riders and tinkerers who like nothing better than taking an ordinary mountain bike and elevating it to something very, very special. Gustav "Dangerholm" is obsessed with weight and aesthetics, while Cornelius takes a more engineering oriented approach, searching for performance-enhancing solutions wherever possible.
Earlier this year, with a little extra time on his hands due to the coronavirus lockdown in Germany, Cornelius issued a challenge to Dangerholm - create the world's finest downhill bike. Dangerholm accepted, as he was already deep into the paint-stripping portion of his quest to create the world's lightest DH bike, and the creations that emerged are below.
What does the winner get? Well, once the poll results are in the victor will be receiving a one-of-kind rarity - a part of the Grim Donut, after it's pulled apart during the destructive testing that it's scheduled to undergo (in a lab, not out on the trails).
Browse through the details and don't forget to cast your votes in this battle of the super bikes. It should also be mentioned that the "World's Finest" title is partly tongue-in-cheek - there are undoubtedly other wild builds out there that could vie for the title. This was simply an informal internet battle that was worthy of being viewed by a wider audience. After all, when's the last time you saw a downhill bike that could be shifted without pedaling?Cornelius Kapfinger's Pivot Phoenix 29
In the beginning of the corona lockdown here in Germany, I got a pair of DLC coated lowers from Fraunhofer Institute of Freiburg. A bike enthusiast who works there offered me to make some prototypes. As all events were cancelled, more eyes than ever were fixed on social media and the internet, so I thought, "What could I do with this nice fork with DLC lowers ?
Ah… I could challenge Gustav to see who could created the better downhill bike, because he has no chance only with pulling off the paint from his frame, while I can engineer my personal dream bike, one that will for sure beat his bike. So sitting at home in corona lockdown, I opened the challenge with this video:
The color scheme of my bike was clear, with my Corona seatpost clamp which I had in stock as a single piece.
The fork was going to be a red grey black fork. To be honest, this color scheme was in my mind a long time ago, because once I was in the lift of a bike park and thought “How would RockShox make the colors of an upside down fork?” That leads to these awesome colors with full DLC – black coating
My didn't need to be the absolute lightest - I wanted the lowest friction and best functioning suspension, large, 223mm rotors, a heavy 20mm fork axle with 2.5mm wall thickness out of pure steel. There's no friction from the rear derailleur clutch thanks to the use of a used 9-speed Blackbox SRAM X.0 derailleur.
I’ve chosen Pivot Phoenix 29 frame, which is in my eyes the most beautiful downhill frame on the market. The lines are great, the shock sits nicely, geometry is long and modern. JUST awesome… But of course, that is not enough to win a challenge with custom-mastermind Dangerholm.
So there had to follow some hard nerdy engineering stuff. Brake adapter, rotors, chainguide, cranks. Oh, yeah, the cranks. Maybe the engineering-heart of this bike. I call them Intend Rocksteady Magic. There is a ratchet system inside(with some help of Michi Grätz from Newmen), which allows the chainring to spin freely clockwise.
The idea is not new and was originally developed by Shimano in the late 70’s. So that was not my idea, but it is meant to be able to shift without pedaling. It does not sound spectacular, but once you get used to it you will not go back to a normal system. So the rear cassette got locked (with a clutch, so in case of damage is will move freely) and now the chain is always spinning with the help of the front freewheel, and as you can imagine you can shift without pedaling.
The system gets a little help from the new chainguide, which was the first ever product of “Intend”. Way before Intend was born when I started to make and sell chainguides in my garage when I was 18. The new chainguide was made specifically for this project.
For the big prototype 223mm rotors with around 1000 holes I needed some adapters as well, nice and smart in PMPM+20 and PMPM+43mm, which already found their way in Intend's portfolio.
Gustav Gullholm's Scott Gambler
When Cornelius challenged me on building the "World's Finest DH Bike" I was already long underway trying to build the World's Lightest DH Bike
. But to me form and function always have to go hand in hand, and I tend to obsess over every detail aesthetically as well. So without hesitation I accepted. He may be a genius engineer, but can he engineer great taste?
The main goal was always to build a lightweight and truly fast bike, all while making it visually striking. With the raw carbon frame at the heart of the bike, I went for a raw minimalist beauty to match. While the carbon components blend in with the frame, the raw and gold suspension is what makes the bike pop. And while it would've been easy to go crazy with a lot more gold, to me it was a perfect example of less is more. To top it off and give it a little extra racing spirit, I went for simple contrasting white stripes and decals.
Because that racing spirit is what I wanted to bring out. Finest can mean a great many things, and it doesn't have to be the most luxurious or perfectly crafted. You can have a truly beautiful sports car, but it may still fade compared to the raw powerful looks of its race version with naked carbon panels and every detail optimized for speed.
- The raw carbon frame, saving weight while giving the bike an unique look.
- The matching finish of the components, down to the carbon/raw aluminum derailleur
- Custom made suspension, with the CNC machined Trickstuff brakes to go with the crowns and dropouts
- No detail too small, such as the carbon air cap and adjusters on the fork
- The white seat, stripes and decals add contrast without clashing