Enduro has grown, finally reaching critical mass it has gained momentum and has evolved into more than a race format! Just like the birth of the twin-tip ski that made skiing cool again, Enduro is breathing new life into the mountain biking community. Promising not only incredible racing, mere mortals rubbing shoulders on the start lines with legends like Steve Peat, Cedric Gracia, Nico Vouilloz and Greg Minnaar, but it also promises a life style, an identity and a breath of fresh air to that undefined middle ground between DH and XC.
No matter what the level of your interest or participation in Enduro, we all share the same love for bikes and many a friendship has been forged over this common ground. In this 3 part series we will be looking at the bikes that unite 3 riders from very different areas of the Enduro world. We will be showcasing the bikes of an Enduro Guide, an Elite Women’s Racer and a Self Funded Pinner, and looking at both the unique setup’s and the similarities that unite these riders.
Part 1 – A Guides Perspective
To some a bike is a way of escape, a vehicle to fun times and adventure. For a lucky few a bike can also be a way of making a living! We all love the bikes that we ride, but is there a different relationship when your bike becomes your livelihood? We have a chat with Trev Worsey, contributor to Enduro Magazine and owner of enduro racing focused SummitDOWN mountain bike guiding to find out what changes you make when your bike is your living!
Is it different choosing a bike for work and not just for play?
I think so, if you are buying a bike for racing or fun then you can let your heart guide your decision, choosing the lightest and fastest! When we buy a bike we have to let our head rule, ensuring that the bike will be both adaptable, fun to ride and also cost effective for our business. Its really important for us that whatever bike we chose ticks the following boxes, it has to be reliable, tough and light enough to pedal all day without being fragile. It is also important that the bike is fun to ride and inspirational for our guides, and it also helps if the bike is aspirational, first impressions from our clients are formed as soon as the ‘what do you ride’ question gets asked in the minibus.
Tell us about your bike?
We need a bike that can handle racing, but also hold up to a full season of daily guiding on tough terrain. We had a lot of fun testing different bikes for 2013, looking for a bikes that are light, strong, fast, durable and can handle endless hours being thrown down rocky trails. There are now a host of really competent 160mm bikes that can handle the downs, but not break your body on the climbs. After extensive testing we decided on the IBIS Mojo HD’s, I have never ridden a bike with a DW link before and from the first pedal stroke I really liked it, out of the saddle it accelerates really well and there is minimal bob on the big climbs. When you put the power down on steep technical climbs, the suspension action seems to push the tyre into the ground and deliver loads of grip. The Mojo linkage is relativity simple, really stiff and strong with a well proven race pedigree and is still light and efficient enough to pedal all day. Its also a LOT of fun to ride with plenty of pop off jumps and feels really planted, responsive and stable on the rockiest of descents!
“We need versatile bikes that can be used day in day out for AM guiding, but also that can handle racing in the Megavalanche and the SuperEnduro and new EWS events!”
“We are currently testing a Renthal cockpit for Enduro Magazine, first impressions are really good, the stem is light and stiff, the FatBar Lite’s have a nice sweep and finish and the Kevlar grips are really tactile. We will see how they shape up over a season of hard knocks.”
“I have fitted a Rock Guardz down tube protector, anyone who has ridden the rocky Garda trails will know what a beating your frame gets from loose rock. Hopefully the Rock Guarz protector will fend off the worst of the damage!”
What makes your bike unique?
Even though we operate all over Europe, we are a UK based company and are proud to champion products that are designed a manufactured in the UK. We have kitted out the bikes with as many UK sourced products as possible, mainly from Hope and Renthal, and we also run works components angle sets, made in the UK. The componentry on our bikes need to be strong as they will see a lot of use during a season, and we have always been really impressed with Hope products. I have been running Hope Pro II hubs and Stans Flow wheels for a couple of seasons now as they are really easy to maintain and strong. They have always been a little less visually appealing than some of the factory wheel-sets, and Hope seem to have addressed this with the new Straight Pull Pro II EVO hubs which look simply amazing! We will be running these on our 2013 bikes so we will see how they perform on some of the rockiest AM trails in Europe. First impressions are really good. We also use F20 pedals from Hope as they give a great platform, and have really strong pins which seem to shrug of rock impacts really well, unlike other brands.
As we are predominantly a gravity assisted operation, we run our frames with a -1.5 degree angleset, giving the Mojo a 65.5 degree head angle, which I think really suits the Mojo HD on tougher trails, it still feels sharp and corners well but is super stable at high speed through the crud and loose rocks! Shimano Zee mechs do the shifting, they are nice and quiet with the clutch and are a low profile design to keep them out of trouble, and if the worst happens and you rip one off they are not too expensive to replace. Shimano Saints do the stopping, they are big brakes, but pretty bombproof and reliable over a season of hard use!
“Hope now make a Straight Pull version built onto the new Stans Flow EX rim which looks fantastic so we are keen to see how they handle trails like the 601 in Garda!”
What about suspension?
We spend a lot of time on really rocky trails so I still run Fox 36 Van coil suspension on the front, its perhaps a bit old school but I really like the predictable and consistent response from the coil forks. The Fox CTD on the back is good, certainly better than the RP23 that it replaced on the Mojo, good for AM and Enduro racing and very controlled and plush. If we are spending a lot of time in really rocky stuff or guiding freeride trails, we will switch in Rock Shox Vivid coils running titanium springs, making the Mojo HD feel like a DH bike!
Spec Weight 31.5 lbs
- IBIS MOJO HD, 160mm Travel with Fox CTD
- Fox 36 Van 160mm Fork
- Works Components Headset – 1.5 Degrees
- Renthal FatBar Lite (740mm) and Duo Stem
- 2013 Shimano Saint Brakes 180/203
- XT Chainset and Zee Shifter, with Hope Chainring and Stainless BB
- 26″ Hope Pro 2 SP wheelset on Stans Flow EX Rims
- KS LEv Seatpost
- Charge Spoon Seat
- Hope F20 Pedals
- Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.4 Tyres TS compound
It must be nice riding your bike all the time!
Actual bike time is a really small part of working in the guiding industry, with a lot of time involved in meticulous planning, preparations, emailing, risk assessments and hours of dull paperwork running the business side! However, as soon as you hit that first sweet turn and see all the enthusiastic smiles and excited banter from your group, there is nothing else like it! We are lucky to work in some of the most beautiful places in Europe and really love what we do!
Part 2 coming soon – An Elite Female Racer!