Welcome to Part 1 of our exciting new weekly feature, Dialled Rides, where we expose the mysteries of bike setup and reveal secrets from those at the pinnacle of the sport!!
The latest generation of enduro bikes allow us to ride further and faster, taking our riding into the big mountain arena! Never before have we had so much control, with the turn of a dial or a squirt of air we can transform how our bikes feel and react to the trail! We can choose tyres not only to suit our riding style but also the expected terrain, whether it will be mud, rock, dry or wet there is a tread pattern specifically designed for the job! However power comes with great responsibility, and a bike can only be as good as its setup, it’s time to release your bikes potential!
There is certainly an adventure and satisfaction in finding the perfect setup to match our personal riding styles, but sometimes it pays to listen to experience! Each week we will be chatting to a different enduro star about their setup, the choices they make and what makes a race winning bike!
We wanted to launch this new series with a bang, so who better to choose than the fastest enduro rider in the world, winner of the 2013 Enduro World Series and all around good guy, Jerome Clementz. Anyone who has seen Jerome ride will have been amazed by his rapid, smooth and seemingly effortless progress, hopping and flowing down the trail. We caught up with Jerome to find out how he sets up his Cannondale Jekyll for maximum performance!
Hey Jerome, first off can you describe your riding style in 3 words
JC: Smooth, dynamic, aerial
So let’s get the big one out of the way first, what’s your thinking on wheel size?
JC: I think for 2013, 26” was the best choice as it gives you the choice to ride what you want and always have good components for any conditions regarding performance and reliability. For the future I think 650B will be the standard for enduro, giving an advantage to carry more speed and go over things, without too much disadvantage in bike reactivity. Brands are developing products that we need for enduro and for our specific use. But my point of view is who cares what wheel size you ride as long as you feel good and have fun with your choice.
Do you like a poppy bike or a plush setup!
JC: I’m full on Poppy. I like to jump on everything I can, bouncing from one rock to another, from one root to another. It’s just the way I enjoy my ride and I feel fast. It also allows me to hit fewer obstacles and make the ride feel smoother.
What shock and fork are you running at the moment on your race bike?
JC: I run a Fox Dyad shox, specific for the Jekyll with an attitude adjust option where I can switch the travel from 150 to 90mm. A real advantage in the performance and versatility of the bike. For the fork I run the magic ROCK SHOX pike in 160mm tapered with 1 air volume spacer, in order to improve the ramp. This fork is a great improvement from the past, really smooth, sensitive and you can really feel that you have control of your bike.
How do you dial your suspension set up (rebound, firm, plush, balanced front and back etc)
JC: I ride with the air springs pretty stiff, with fast rebound to make my bike fly all the time. I try to dial front and rear so the bike reacts evenly and the same way.
Do you tend to tweak your suspension to different events or run the same standard setting?
JC: I work on the setting early in the season, then I just change the pressure a little bit to suit the course, but not too much other details. I may remove or add an air spacer depending of the steepness of the course, but I mainly like the way my bike is set from the beginning of the year.
Do you go in for changing High and Low speed compression to suit stages, or just set initially then ride?
JC: Just set it during training for the whole day, and don’t touch it afterward.
What about gearing, 1x? of course, but what size chain rings do you run normally?
JC: I’m a 1*11 addict. SRAM XX1 is a game changer. I was involved in the project really early and I was always telling SRAM, that I want to ride 1 by something at all times. I never really liked the front derailleur. I use a 34 for training at home and switch from 36 to 38 for racing, depending on if we have steep climbs, pedalling transfers or lifts. With 38-10, if you spin, that means you’re too fast and it has become dangerous…
What tyres do you like to race on?
JC: Once again I’m lucky to work closely with my partners so I can help develop products that I love. Since June I have been running the Mavic Crossmax Tyre. I run a Crossmax Charge on the front: 2’4 soft compound (40a), with aggressive design. I like edged tyres on the front (not round design) so you have the full grip on the rail. I feel better having that defined edge rather than something looser. On the Rear, I use the Mavic Crossmax Roam, with a dual compound, softer on the side (50a) and harder (60) in the middle. It’s a fast rolling tire but with nobs on the side so it gives you good braking and control when you go sideways.
What tyre pressures do you run front and back?
JC: I run 1.5 (22psi)) front and 1.7 (25psi) back, all checked with my personal tyre gauges that I carry everywhere when I’m racing. In the past I was not that kind of guy but then I noticed that I was always riding different pressures. I like to know that I have what I need in the tyre.
Do you adjust your tyre pressures to suit stages or run a standard setup all the time?
JC: I go to 1.6 and 1.8 if it’s rocky, really fast or if I’m scared but not more. Usually I do this when I’m leading and I don’t want to flat. If I’m chasing I’ll keep it low.
Do you go in for angle sets to mod the geo?
JC: No angle set, they don’t exist yet for the Cannondale headtube.
Nice one Jey, best of luck for the Finale Ligure EWS
Next week: the powerhouse Jared Graves!
Words and photos: Trev Worsey