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Dialled Rides – tuning tips from the pro’s: Dudes of Hazzard

Welcome to Part 3 of our weekly feature, Dialled Rides, where we expose the mysteries of bike setup and reveal secrets from those at the pinnacle of the sport!!  Check out part 1 and 2 where we talked with the current Enduro World Series Champion, Jerome Clementz and Aussie powerhouse Jared Graves! 

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The Dudes of Hazzard, James Shirley, Liam Moynihan and Joe Barnes.

In celebration of the final round of the Enduro World Series, this week we are featuring not just one expert but three!  On the beach in Finale Ligure after the first day of EWS practice, we tracked down Scotland’s most popular exports and everyone’s favourite enduro rock stars, the Dudes of Hazzard! 

The podium dwelling, shenanigan seeking foursome were currently a three as Fergus Lamb was recovering from a sore back after a leap too far, but Joe Barnes, Liam Moynihan and James Shirley were representing, smashing out some fast runs in the dust!  Having watched these rapid dudes ride through the season, despite being collectively raised on Fort William rock, each has developed their own distinctive style!  Joe and Liam ride for Canyon, with Joe on a 650B aluminium prototype now named the Spectral, and Liam on a Strive AL, while James rides for Orange on a new 650B Five.   After some stunts on the beach front, we sat down to chat about bike setup.

You guys seem to have some odd brake lever setups, what’s that all about?

Joe: Everyone who rides my bike thinks they are set up wrong, I have my levers set up pretty unusually.   I have my front brake biting closer to the bars than the back, I have always set up like that.  Perhaps it helps keep that back wheel steering nice!

James:  I run my levers opposite to Joe, my back one pulls on a bit closer to the bars, it feels funny if they are not like that.  I think it was because when I was a wee baz I used to drag the back brake a lot, so I guess it helped with arm pump!  It’s what I am used to now and anything different just feels weird! If Joe and I do a bike swap, I can ride his bike absolutely no problem, the setup is just right, except for the brakes!

Liam: It’s exactly the same for me with both of you, you both have weird brakes! I run my brake levers the same distance from the bars as my fingers are the same length!

Joes Bike: Joe is currently running a 650B aluminium prototype now named the Spectral

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Looking purposeful, Joe Barnes 650B Canyon Spectralbike-checks-100

SRAM XX1 provides the drive, with Avid XX levers matched with trail calipers doing the decelerating.bike-checks-109

Joe has been testing the new bike over the season, which can now be ordered!

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Fox Float X has been tuned to Joe’s distinctive back wheel steering style!bike-checks-130

Fox 34 Forks and Mavic wheels and tyres!  Yellow is the new black in Enduro!

What pads are you running out here, the stages look steep and dry at the moment?

Liam:  I use the organic SRAM pads, the lightweight gold alloy ones, I use them all the time in all conditions and they seem to do the business, with 180mm discs front and back.

James: If it’s cold and wet I use Hope gold sintered pads, and if it is warm and dry I switch to Hope Black Organic ones, it seems to make a big difference too.  If you use the sintered ones when it’s too warm I find they can glaze, and if you use organic when it’s too wet they don’t have enough bite

Joe: I just use standard SRAM Organic brake pads all the time, I have not had a full Scottish winter on SRAM yet and if the bogs get too deep I may switch to sintered but at the moment they are sweet.

What about bedding pads in?

Joe: Just a bit of water and some sharp breaking seems to work well for me!

Liam: I normally just stick them in and go for it!

James:  Ha, just a few stoppies for me and try and stay off the wheelies until the back one is bedded in properly.

So two of you on 650B and one on 26, what’s your thinking on wheel size?

Joe: 650baeys feel prime for me. I have been on the bigger wheels a lot this summer and now feel really comfortable on them. It’s great when I am riding tired during stages, particularly after peddaly sections, having the larger wheels makes riding as close to my best easier. I find I can relax more and let the bike take in more of the trail. There seem to be no negatives, the 650baey is agile enough to really attack when needed and great for flat out speed!

Liam: I’m not too fussed on what wheel size to be honest, which ever size has good components available – tyres, forks etc will be what I like most. It does seem like it will all be 27.5″ for enduro racing which is good.  I think from a filming side of things 26″ looks better as 29” makes things look less wild!

James: 650B is going to be the future, in fact it is the future!  It does not feel weird when you are on it, but I swear that there are parts of today’s track that were easier!  You can get a good choice of tyres now which is important.  Back home there are trails that I know inside out, and when I was riding the new 650B it felt great!  29ers never felt as playful as 650B, and they look right too, not too big, and help offset the new fashion for huge cassettes!

Liams Bike: Liam is running a 26inch Canyon Strive AL

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Liams Canyon Strive AL, running Mavic Wheels and a Renthal cockpit.liams-bike-013

Fox 36 forks take the big hits up front, while SRAM’s XX1 keeps things rolling.liams-bike-015

Canyon geeks may notice something different here!

Do you like a poppy bike or a plush setup!

Joe: Probably poppy sounds good. I like my bike to be pretty stiff.!

Liam: I like my suspension set fairly stiff and the rear end reasonably slow, with the forks a little stiffer and a little faster.

James: Hop, skip, pop – a bike has to be fun to ride!

How do you setup your suspension on your race bike?

Joe: I am currently running a Fox 34 fork and Fox Float X Shock.  I would say I have got a very firm Fork. I run 80psi (I weigh 67kg) in the air spring with additional oil in the air chamber to make the fork more progressive.  I usually run it in the firm setting and in trail for most sections. I like it to sit at a good constant height and be able to take the big hits.  My rear shock settings are pretty similar to the fork with a firm compression tune and a medium volume spacer inside.  I do however run it with comparatively less air so that it sits further into the travel!

Liam: I have my Fox CTD shock set up fairly slow and quite stiff. With 225 in the boost valve and Firm and Firm for compression and rebound settings and the second biggest air volume reducer! I run the Fox 34 CTD Forks a little firmer than the shock and a wee bit faster with the rebound!

James: I’ve been chopping and changing between different race bikes a bit too much this year. The last race I did was on my Orange Alpine (James is still tuning his 650b five). It currently has some X-Fusion Vengeance forks and an X-Fusion 02 RCX rear shock.  I like to run fast rebound on the front with enough high speed compression to take the hits and a bit of low speed to stop the forks from diving. I set slightly slower rebound on the back with a lot of sag (30%ish) but again, plenty of compression to stop it from blowing through the travel to avoid harsh bottom outs.

Do you tend to tweak your suspension to different events or run the same standard setting?

Joe: I keep it simple and run it standard. Unless there is something extraordinary that could make me firm it up more.  I don’t have a remote lock off for my shock so choose the best option at the top of the stage with my CTD platform. 90% of the time I run it in “trail” setting but for the steeper trails I sometimes select “descend”.

Liam: Riding fast bumpy trails in Europe I tend to have stiffer suspension – little bit higher air pressure.  At home in Fort William riding the mud and tight steep techy trails i soften things up a little. I just set it up then get riding. Change for different races or riding spots, but not between stages…

James: I tend do a bit of tweaking but I don’t like to deviate too much. I’d normally set the bike up for the weekend, not any particular stage.

James Bike: James rides a new 650B Orange Five, running Hope and Burgtec Components 

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The ever popular Five now comes in a 650B variety!bike-checks-008

X-Fusion shock and tidy cable routing!bike-checks-019

A bike that has evolved over the years, still fantastically popular in the UK!bike-checks-023

The future?bike-checks-026

Hope Bash and IBR fusion keep the chain in check! bike-checks-031

Magic Mary tyres seem to be all the rage in the EWS at the moment!

What about gearing, are you on 1×10 or 1×11, if you are 1×10 what size chain rings do you run normally?

Joe: I am on srams 1×11 so it covers pretty much all the options. 36t up front or 38t if things get keen.

Liam: Yes, same for me, I have always ridden a single ring up front, and it’s been a minor ball ache at times on 1×9 and then 1×10 and what-not. So to have SRAM’s XX1 1×11 with its full range of gears and just one chain ring is so good! I run a 36t chainring 95% of the time and in the depths of muddy winter a 34 for churning up the steep Fort William climbs and through the mud.

James: Just 1 x 10 with a 34 tooth chainring for me.  It works well for now!

What tyres do you run at the moment for racing?

Joe:  I have been experimenting a lot this year so haven’t settled on a “go-to” tyre. I use a lighter tyre at home, about 800g and spiky like a Continental Baron, front and rear!  In Europe the Schwalbes and Mavics have been great options at around 1000g with a faster rolling (compound/tread pattern)  tyre on the rear!

Liam: It has chopped and changed a wee bit through the year, but generally Maxxis minion 2.35 downhill casing set up tubeless on Mavic wheels, with a 60a on the rear and 42a front.  I’m looking forward to trying out some of Mavic’s new tyres as well; they seem to be doing the business real nice for everyone who is running them.  I use lighter tyres for riding in the woods at home, but I like having the sturdy tyres for racing so I don’t get a puncture when I’m completely knackered riding through a rock garden off line.

James: I am running the new Schwalbe Magic Mary on the front and a Hans Dampf on the back! The Magic Mary seems really good, and would be an excellent all condition mud tyre for the UK, but I think that I may pop another Hans Dampf on the front if conditions remain dry!

What pressures do you run front and back?

Joe: I am pretty accurate at 23psi front and 29psi rear. I find any lower on the rear and it burps air, 29 is the magic number.

Liam: I’m somewhere in-between on accuracy. Generally about 28psi in the front and 33psi in the rear! I’m a little heavier than the other boys at 81kg and don’t have the ‘dancing about like a smooth wee pixie‘ touch that Joe has so I need the higher pressures to keep it sweet.

James: Depends on the course. Normally 24PSI on the front and 28PSI on the back. Accurate to about 1PSI but the squidge test is a good one to check if the gauge is working properly ;)

Do you adjust your tyre pressures to suit stages or run a standard setup all the time?

Joe: Pretty standard again. If it’s really rocky I might add a couple more psi in the rear for security but otherwise stick to what I know.

Liam: If it is particularly high speed or rocky then I’ll go a bit higher, if its low speed and tight in the woods then a little lower – I have a bit of a tendency for rolling tyres of the rim, especially lighter tyres so I try to avoid that happening.

James: Aye, it’s always weekend dependent, sometimes you have to add a bit when things are going to be really rough!

Do you go in for angle sets and bushings to mod the geo?

Joe: Its a fully standard set up here. The Canyon spectral in Medium fits me perfectly at 173cm and so don’t need pimp it out with any mods.

Liam: Just 1 offset bushing in the rear shock, the bike I am currently riding is a bit of a prototype as I am testing the effectiveness of slightly different pivot placements.

James: Sometimes. I’m certainly a fan of the Burgtec offset shock hardwear. As long as your frame has enough clearance then it’s a great way to fine tune your geometry and lower the bb.

Nice one baeys, best of luck in the race at the weekend!

Follow the Dudes of Hazzard’s progress in the finale Enduro World Series Race here at www.enduro-mtb.com

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Article and photos: Trev Worsey

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