Richie Rude's Stable
As anyone who has a few different bikes of their own in the garage knows, it's always nice to be able to choose the best machine for the conditions. The relatively tight-ish nature of the different tracks that make up the EWS event in County Wicklow, Ireland, has Richie Rude choosing his shorter travel and quicker handling SB5C over the burlier SB6C. Both bikes are running FOX's latest 36 forks, Shimano XTR drivetrains with single chain rings, and Minion DHF tires front and back. Take note of those unlabelled rims that could be something new from DT Swiss.Iago Garay's Tartan Bronson
Fan favourite Iago Garay is aboard a Bronson that's sporting some sweet looking tartan graphics that were made especially for the Irish EWS stop. Zooming in also reveals that he's using e*thirteen's new TRSr carbon cranks
that we showed you from Sea Otter, as well as the company's wheels. No sign of that trick, two-piece EXP cassette, though. ANVL's stem and new carbon fiber handlebar do cockpit duties.Sam Flannigan has Hope
There's not much on Sam's SB6C that hasn't been manufactured in Hope's Barnoldswick factory, with everything from his rims and hubs, cranks, chain guide and bottom bracket, brakes and even his cockpit. Hell, there's even a stack of Hope headset spacers under his stem and a Hope seatpost clamp holding up his Reverb. He's also running an older SRAM 10-speed rear derailleur combined with a wide-range cassette conversion, and what looks to be a fairly large chain ring. That green DVO Diamond sure looks snazzy on the front of the green Yeti, doesn't it? Adam Craig's Giant Reign
You'd think a racer with a long history of kicking ass in cross-country events would have a tendency to still prefer the lightest setup that is still functional, but Giant's Adam Craig isn't your average Lycra bandit. His Reign has been fitted with a RockShox Vivid shock rather than the Monarch Plus that you might expect to see on it, although the trick titanium spring does help to bridge the weight difference between the two. A smart racer will often look at his strengths and weaknesses before choosing a setup that addresses the latter, and while Craig is a demon of a descender, it'd be a stretch to say that he's as fast through a gnarly section of trail as the top EWS men. Given that he knows his fitness will easily overcome the small weight disadvantage and lack of a pedal-assist lever on the Vivid (he might also just dial up the compression during transfer stages), it could be that sort of thinking that has him taking a different approach to his suspension. Nico Lau Loses Travel
Like many racers who are discovering how tight a lot of this weekend's course is, Lau has decided to drop down in travel from his usual 160mm steed. He'll be aboard an 140mm travel Cube Stereo this weekend, but it looks as though he still prefers to 'over-fork' his bike with what appears to be a 160mm travel FOX 36 up front. That is, however, down in stroke from the 180mm fork that he often prefers. He's also a rider that has long employed handlebar mounted controls for his rear shock, and his mechanic looks to be in the process of converting the back of the bike to be controlled with the CTD remote that's already on the handlebar - the plastic bag zip-tied to the housing holds the CTD bits. Lau is still running Shimano's XTR Di2 drivetrain with two chain rings, and he told us that he's extremely happy with how the system has performed in muddy conditions.