The world's best cross-country racers aren't exactly slumming around on junk during the season, but it's at World Champs where things get taken to a whole other level. Want some crazy paint job that'd be considered gaudy at any other time of the year? Not a problem. Custom shoes to match? Duh. Italy's Gerhard Kerschbaumer and Poland's Maja Włoszczowska are both aboard one-off machines, with one going for the stealth look and the other looking to make a splash.
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. Gerhard Kerschbaumer's Torpado Matador
Former Olympian Gerhard Kerschbaumer is hoping his Torpado Matador takes him to a podium in Lenzerheide. Never heard of Torpado? Me neither, although the 100mm-travel 29er looks pretty damn similar to another sporty cross-country rocket, Scott's Spark. But while the Matador and Spark appear to be identical at first glance, there are many details that separate the Italian stallion and the Spark. The different tube shapes, especially up front, is the most obvious, but the rocker link and lower shock mount area are both different, too. Same goes for the geometry; it's close but not the same.
The wild looking Ursus Kodiak wheels are from Italy, just like Kerschbaumer, and he's also running the new XTR 9001 drivetrain that's slowly trickling out to racers. What you won't find, however, is a dropper, with Kerschbaumer choosing to tall-post it in Lenzerheide. Maja Włoszczowska's Kross Earth
Kross' new Earth race bike makes another appearance under Maja Włoszczowska who's looking to add to her eight previous World Championship medals. She has two Olympic silvers at home as well, so it's safe to say that the Polish racer knows how to put it all on the line when it counts. The 100mm-travel Earth gets a special paint job and a mostly XTR 9001 drivetrain for Worlds, with the exception of the DT Swiss hubs that are at the center of her special edition XRC 1200 Spline 25 wheels.
Maja took the very minimal weight penalty in exchange for some assurance come race-day in the form of Ceetec's barely-there chain guide. And speaking of rarely seen components, check out her Mitas Hyperion Top Design tires.