Last weekend the second ever Reef to Reef event took over Cairns in the heart of Tropical North Queensland for four days of brilliant mountain bike racing. As a sister event to the Cape to Cape and Port to Port, the Reef to Reef attracts a wide variety of riders and racers from all over the country, and beyond, who predominantly race in pairs. Starting at the classic Smithfield MTB Park just up the road from Cairns town centre, the Reef to Reef encompasses four separate stages that saw riders enjoy singletrack through Davies Creek and Mount Molloy, before riding down the historic Bump Track on the final day to finish on Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas. That fourth day also encompasses the iconic Triple R – the longest running point-to-point race in Australia. With hundreds of competitors signing up for the 2019 event, both in the pairs and solo categories, there was a huge variety in both riders and the bikes they were on. Here’s a look at some of the bikes and gear we spotted at this year’s Reef to Reef! Stage 1 began at the Smithfield MTB Park just outside of Cairns. Tasman Nankervis threading his way down Jacob’s Ladder as the leader in the Men’s Solo category. Tas only decided to race the 2019 Reef to Reef two days before the event, but it turned out to be a winning decision. Here’s Tas with his race bike – a Merida Ninety Six Team, which unsurprisingly features 96mm of rear wheel travel. Note the single-position dropper post – old school! Tas’ bike is rolling on a set of custom wheels with Acros Nineteen XC hubs, which have a claimed weight of 104g for the front and 209g for the rear – wowsers! Duke carbon rims aren’t exactly common Down Under, but you might have already seen them under several World Cup riders, including Julien Absalon. These ones are claimed to weigh just 360g per rim, making them an exceptionally light choice for Tas’ race bike. Speedy Michelin race tyres for Tas. How he rides the technical stuff so fast with such minimalist tyre treads we have no idea! The RockShox XLoc hydraulic lockout for the rear shock shares the same clamp as the Level Ultimate brake lever. Tidy. Each stage kicked off with a fast-paced sprint out of the start chute. Lockouts locked and top-gear engaged for the fast legs at the point end. Izzy Flint is a young gun on the rise, having already been crowned National Enduro Champion in 2018, as well as achieving notable success in XC, road and track. Izzy paired up with Jacob Langham for the Reef to Reef, and unlike most of her competitors, chose to race a hardtail – a Merida Big Nine. The hardtail didn’t seem to hold Izzy back – she was absolutely flying during the first two stages, but unfortunately had to pull out of the race having fallen ill before the start of Stage Three. While the singletrack wasn’t too brutal on bikes, there were a few flat tyres rolling around. This guy got a huge cheer as he crossed the finish line having spent a considerable amount of time running his bike through the jungles of Smithfield – what a legend! The Van der Ploeg team of Neil & Paul were looking strong during Stage One, but a rear punny on Neil’s bike caused some dramas down one of the rockier descents. Paul van der Ploeg was making his comeback at the 2019 Reef to Reef, having broken his leg earlier this year while in New Zealand. We’re stoked to see Big Paulie back with a race plate on and a massive grin on his dial! Most XC racers like to go as minimalist as possible. Paulie likes to run the I.C.E pump. Spare chain links on the handlebar. Some of the routes at the Reef to Reef take riders well out in the sticks, so being able to perform a repair is crucial to being able to finish each stage. Big legs call for a big(ish) 36t chainring on Paul’s Giant Anthem race bike. Paul’s running a custom wheelset using Giant TRX 0 carbon rims, blue anodised alloy nipples and Shimano XTR hubs. Just a single remote lockout for Paul’s race bike, which allows him to instantly firm up the Fox 32 Step-Cast fork at the flick of a lever. Emma Viotto of the Shimano Pushy’s Cannondale team was racing her Scalpel Si race bike. Along with the Specialized Epic and Canyon Lux, this is one of the few full sussers on the market that’ll take two water bottles inside the mainframe. The Lefty Ocho fork is new for 2019, and uses a single-piece carbon fibre structure for both the crown and outer tube. It still looks absolutely bonkers though! Em’s race bike is equipped with 12-speed Shimano XTR, and she’s elected to run the tighter 10-45t cassette instead of the bigger 10-51t option. We spotted a load of Pro’s snub-nosed Stealth saddle, which is proving equally popular with male and female riders. Being a SRAM-sponsored athlete, Holly Harris was one of the lucky few to receive some wireless AXS goodies, including this Reverb dropper post that had been put through a mud bath during Stage 3. No cables to worry about in the mud here with the SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle derailleur on Holly’s bike. Unlike a lot of XC racers, Holly prefers to leave her suspension unlocked for the entirety of the race. Jon Odams of the Giant Australia Off-Road Team, brought just a little pizazz to the Smithfield race course – how’s this booter! Odams was racing alongside Brendan Johnson, but had a very different setup on his Giant Anthem race bike. Fresh off the back of the BC Bike Race, Odams had a 120mm travel Fox 34 Step-Cast fork to lift up the front end of his Anthem. Shimano XTR 12-speed groupset along with that smaller 10-45t cassette. Note the lockout cable for the rear shock – Odams prefers to leave the fork unlocked, but still have the option to disengage the rear suspension. Odams has fitted a party post to his Anthem – not an easy feat given the 27.2mm seat tube diameter. He chose a carbon fibre KS LEV Ci post, which has a 65mm stroke and a sub-400g claimed weight. Odams has an unusual arrangement for his dropper and rear shock lockout levers, which is due to… OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? Most of the top-level racers seem to be on custom wheels – Odams has gone for DT Swiss 240 hubs with sub-400g Curve carbon rims. Another difference between Odams and Trekky’s bikes were the tyres – Odams has gone for higher volume 2.35in Maxxis Ikons front and rear. Heavier? Yes. More comfortable for a 4-day stage race? Absolutely. XC bikes lifted with slightly longer travel forks seemed to be a popular choice amongst Reefer to Reefers – like this dashing Norco Revolver. Plenty of Specialized Epics – both young and old – were spotted throughout the field. And Scott Sparks too. If you were wondering who’s still buying short travel XC duallies, go to a 4-day stage race – they’re everywhere! When the load is just a little more expensive than the vehicle. These fellas came all the way from Singapore to race the Reef to Reef, and may have brought all of the high-end mountain bikes with them! Santa Cruz’ latest Blur made numerous appearances at the Reef to Reef. Another Merida Ninety Six scooting down the very fast, and very dusty Bump Truck on the fourth and final day of the race. This guy was well prepared for the Four Mile Beach section. Turns out it wasn’t the only bike he’d brought along… The paint job instantly grabbed our attention – what kind of mountain biker wouldn’t recognise that colour combo? Look a little closer though, and all isn’t quite what it seems… Back to normal programming, and Briony Mattock’s gorgeous Specialized Epic race bike. And teammate Anna Beck’s stealthy Santa Cruz Blur. Schwing! Custom fork decals to match. Oil slick bottle cage? Yes please! ‘The Fox & Raccoon’ team had the best costumes of the whole field by a country mile. Though this chap does win an award for impeccable matching skills. The question we want to know though is; did the bike or the shoes come first? Steel singlespeeds weren’t exactly a common sight at the Reef to Reef. Our calves are quivering at the thought. This guy probably wished he’d brought a singlespeed. Game over on day two. #sadface ‘His & Hers’ Scott Genii getting ready for the Bump Track. Couples who race together stay together. Right? Jessica Simpson of the Giant Wollongong team raced to a top-5 finish in the Open Mixed category aboard a rather special race bike that features a paint job you probably haven’t seen before… That’s because she’s actually racing a Giant Anthem 29 that’s been custom painted in Liv colours. Why the custom paint job? Simpson is on the Anthem chassis purely because of frame and wheel sizing – the current Liv Pique is a 27.5in bike and she prefers to roll on 29in hoops. Simpson has also chosen to plug in a dropper post into her race bike, again choosing the skinny KS LEV 27.2 dropper. It’s linked up to this lovely Wolf Tooth ReMote that nestles in underneath the Shimano brake lever clamp for a very tidy setup. More custom details on Simpson’s race bike, with a standard eye-to-eye Fox iRD shock sitting in place of the Anthem’s usual trunnion-mount rear shock. The electronic lockout is used for the fork too. Custom hardware has been used to make the standard shock fit where a trunnion eyelet would go. The setup is mirrored on Simpson’s teammates bike. The iRD lockout controller is super low profile and requires very little effort to switch on and off. Ryan ‘Ryno’ Lennox has a few other neat details on his Anthem race bike, including these Extralite thru-axles. They’re super low profile and help to save a few grams. As the weight weenies always say ‘grams make kilograms’! Not everyone at the Reef to Reef was worried about grams though – especially the Cairns locals who turned up for the Triple-R race on the fourth and final day of the event. Can’t say we’ve seen many Pole Evolinks at Aussie races! This guy’s front wheel would have crossed the finish line minutes before his rear wheel did. Aaaand that’s a wrap from the 2019 Reef to Reef! A big thumb’s up to all the riders who completed the four days of racing, we had a blast! The post Bikes Of The 2019 Reef To Reef appeared first on Flow Mountain Bike.
WHISTLER, B.C. August 17, 2019 – In what might have been one of the most emotional moments in Slopestyle mountain bike history, Emil Johansson (SWE) stepped up to the top of the podium today at the biggest contest is the discipline, Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler. “Honestly, I can’t,” he said of trying to put his feelings to words, his voice shaking as he fought back tears. “It’s been rough. If you had told me two years ago, when stuff was really rough, that this day was going to happen, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.” Two years ago, the 20-year-old got his first taste of Red Bull Joyride success, finishing off his breakout season with a second place finish. But soon after, the unexpected struck. He was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, was unable to ride, and had no assurance he would be able to compete again. With some successful treatment and care, he was able to officially return to competition at Crankworx Innsbruck in June. He finished his day in second, proving to himself and the world he was back. If any doubt lingered, it was extinguished today. “It’s a dream come true,” said the Swede, “and it just shows that all the hard work I put in paid off.” Johansson’s winning run was his first of two for the day on a course that he described as “gnarly but fun.” Dropping in eighth amidst the pack of 14 riders, he was flawless, throwing down huge tricks like a three-whip tuck turn. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019 “Getting all the tricks together was really hard,” he said of his 95.75 scoring run. “I was standing on top before my second run and I was so nervous. If anyone would have beat my run I would have needed to improve my run I already did, and I don’t even know if I could get all these combos in a row again, since it was so hard to get them all together.” His score would remain unbeaten, and he was able to take his second run as a victory lap. After Johansson and his family, who tearfully greeted him before the podium, probably the next most excited person for him was the man who came in second. “To see Emil be up in first place – one of my biggest competitors, and my friend – to see him up at the top of the podium so early in his career, that’s so awesome for him,” said Brett Rheeder (CAN). “It’s good for the sport and it’s good for him and it’s good for our mutual sponsors. So I’m pretty happy.” On top of his happiness for his friend, the Canadian said he was happy with how his day rolled out. “I’m normally not stoked on coming in second but, man, I was going to do a run that was far less than what I did,” said Rheeder of his second run. He stumbled on his first and was sitting in 10th heading into the second runs. “It was five minutes before my run I changed my mind. At least 50% of the tricks I did on course I didn’t practice at all. So I was scared. I didn’t practice them and I didn’t know if they were going to work.” Wind had hampered practice, limiting the time riders had on the course before finals. “Five minutes before the run, I decided. Everyone was sending it and landing their runs and it stoked me. I was just like ‘I’m here, right now, and I’ve come all this way. The Triple Crown is there. It takes a year to get, and I’ve already been in this position. If there’s any time to just buck up and try to get a good run, it’s right now.’ And I just went for it.” Rheeder threw down a flawless second run, bringing in the loudest cheers of the day from the 30,000+ crowd that descended on Whistler to watch it all go down. He would score a 94.5, just shy of first. The Canadian, a 10-year veteran of the sport, came into the contest with the weight of the mountain bike world on his shoulders. The 26-year-old was undefeated coming in to Whistler, and was on track to take the Triple Crown of Slopestyle, a prize awarded to a rider who can win all three Slopestyle events at Crankworx in a season. And while the Triple Crown evaded him this year, Rheeder does walk away with the overall Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship title from the points he amassed over the course of the season. This is the fourth time he’s won the Crankworx overall. In third place, a rider who blasted onto the scene in Innsbruck. Dawid Godziek (POL) crossed over from the BMX worls to Slopestyle mountain biking without missing a beat. He came third at Crankworx’s Austrian stop, and pulled off the same today with a 91.75. “It feels incredible. I would never have thought I could come here and make it on the podium. It’s a crazy feeling.” FULL RESULTS: Red Bull Joyride
Specialized has completely redesigned the Enduro for 2020. We’ll give you no points for guessing what kind of riding the bike is aimed at, and none for working out that the World Cup-winning Demo inspired the design of this new 170mm carbon 29er. The Enduro first came on the scene in 1999 – 20 years ago now — and in many ways, it was a completely new approach to mountain bike design back then; designed to be capable on the descents, yet still happy getting you back up to the top. While that’s the goal of pretty much any mountain bike these days, back then bikes that were good at climbing weren’t great at descending, and bikes with the travel to get back down fast were pigs uphill. Enduro (and the Enduro) has evolved drastically over time though — race tracks are now touching downhill levels of gnarly-ness, often lasting longer too, but still with plenty of pedalling back to the top. As such, specialist bikes such as the Enduro have to keep pace. Reflecting this, Specialized’s goal was to make a bike that’s as fast as possible through rough technical terrain and when being pedalled uphill. I had the chance to ride the 2020 Specialized Enduro on the Northstar Resort trails in California – you can read my first ride review here, otherwise read on for the full tech briefing. Yeti’s new SB165 first ride review Orbea Rallon M10 review Momentum matters Specialized says that the new Enduro is a ‘momentum carrying’ bike that maintains speed at every opportunity. Massive cues have been taken from Specialized’s Demo DH bike, which is a clear departure from Enduros of old. As a result, the suspension design has been changed to deliver that momentum-carrying ability via a more rearward axle path. This means the rear wheel, when hitting a bump, spends more of its arc moving back and up and out of the way of the rock, rather than slamming up and into the impact, which steals momentum and creates a harsher, more tiring and ultimately slower bike, says Specialized. Very neat cable routing from Spesh. Harookz Rearward axle paths aren’t revolutionary, especially these days, with bikes from the likes of Commencal, Deviate and Forbidden already using this theory, but they usually rely on a high pivot placement and an idler pulley to mitigate the chain growth issues that occur from higher pivots. They are also prone to lengthening wheelbases along the suspension’s stroke, effectively altering the geometry as the bike cycles through its travel. Specialized, however, has moved the main pivot further forward into the down tube to get a similar effect without needing an idler, and, it claims, without the other downsides of the high pivot. Specialized says that it needed to find the right balance in the suspension’s design because there’s no point in chasing one attribute at the expense of others. There’s an in-built fender for the rear . Harookz All this means is that the rear wheel is less prone to hanging up on square-edged impacts, helping you maintain speed. To measure the forces through the pedal when hitting technical terrain, Specialized mounted sensors in a pedal and claims that these forces are reduced with this suspension design giving a comfier, less fatiguing ride. The new Specialized Enduro There’s a fairly stubby head tube and, of course, cable routing for a dropper, if you’re not using an AXS Reverb. Harookz The new Enduro is claimed to be a short travel downhill race bike that can be ridden all day. The bike is a 29er with 170mm travel front and rear. All the bikes in the four-bike range have a carbon frame – there will be no alloy option going forward. Ther top-level S-Works version is fitted with carbon linkages, saving 250g over the other models, but the main frame and rear triangle are the same throughout the whole lineup. As previously mentioned, axle path was a huge driver with the design of the bike, but, like many bikes, Specialized has also worked on its leverage curve and suspension kinematics. It wanted the Enduro to have improved sensitivity at the start of the stroke to give plenty of comfort and traction. However, it also wanted to increase progression – which, Specialized says, should deliver a bike that doesn’t feel super-long travel-wise, but has the travel when you really need it. It’s not a bike it expects you to be banging off the shock’s bumpstop on a regular basis. Keeping the shock low positions it well for weight distribution. Harookz While testing various prototypes it found that its anti-squat figures were pretty good, which was a happy coincidence of the other aspects that were being tested (anti-rise for better braking performance, and the axle path). Specialized was then able to work on this to get it even better, designing a bike that it claims you can hammer on the pedals without feeling like the suspension is sucking all your energy. In terms of frame stiffness, Specialized says that the movement of the shock’s top mount into the down tube delivers better stiffness figures where needed. It was aiming for a ride that’s got enough stiffness for a precise and stable ride, but without rattling your teeth out. This down tube entry position for the shock also allows for a lower standover height, lowers the centre of mass of the bike, and also means the SWAT in-frame storage system is easily accessible. Yep, you can fit a bottle in the bike. Harookz Specialized Enduro geometry As with the Stumpjumper, launched in 2018, the Enduro uses Specialized’s ‘S’ sizing, ranging from S2 to S5. It wanted as many riders as possible to be able to ride as many sizes as possible, and recognised that some people prefer a ‘long’ bike and some not so much. As such, seat tubes and head tubes have been kept relatively short, so someone at 5ft7in could, in theory, ride the longest S5 bike with a 511mm reach, apparently. The bikes are shipped with six headset spacers, to get the front end at the right height, and two headset top caps – one flush and one conical (mainly for aesthetic reasons). Despite looking complex, this is still basically a four-bar FSR linkage. Harookz As you’d expect, the head angle is pretty slack at 63.9 degrees, while there’s a geometry adjust chip, which makes it 0.4 degrees steeper, and the bottom bracket is 7mm higher. I’m 182cm tall and rode an S4 sized Enduro. The key geometry figures for an S4 in its Low setting are below, but it is worth bearing in mind that I would have also fitted on an S3 and S5 if I’d wanted longer or shorter geometry. Specialized Enduro S4 geometry Reach: 487mm Head angle: 63.9 degrees Seat angle: 76 degrees Head tube length: 110mm Stack: 629mm Bottom bracket height: 347mm Bottom bracket drop: 21mm Chainstay length: 442mm Wheelbase: 1,274mm Seat tube length: 440mm Little touches The frame comes built for a long 205mm shock with 60mm stroke. There’s plenty of room around the shock, and it is also compatible with a coil shock. The Float X2 shock sits deep in the FSR linkage. Harookz The weight of the bike has remained consistent with the previous version, despite its longer travel and longer geometry. While the S-Works is the only frame to get the carbon linkages, they are in fact a ‘service part’, so your local shop should be able to get them in as spares if you want to drop 250g from the bike. Roval, Specialized’s component brand has provided a new 35mm carbon bar, but this is the first set of models that won’t be using Specialized droppers. In fact, Specialized told us that it was going to be phasing out its own dropper posts and won’t be developing new models in the future. Specialized Enduro 2020 models We don’t have full details of the model specifications at this time but will update them when we have more information. Specialized S-Works Enduro: £8,999 / $9,750 / €10,999 Specialized Enduro Expert: £6,250 / $6,550 / €6,999 Specialized Enduro Elite: £5,499 / $5,310 / €5,999 Specialized Enduro Comp: £4,499 / $4,510 / €4,999 Specialized S-Works frame only: £3,299 / $3,310 / €3,999
The sixth round of the 2019 Enduro World Series, the CamelBak Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized, reached as dramatic a conclusion as you’d expect from the largest race in the history of the series. Complete rankings Nearly 700 riders took to the start line high above Whistler on the iconic Top of the World trail, before descending more than 1500 feet and 11km of singletrack into the famous Crankworx finish corral. Saturday’s single race stage marked the first time the Whistler round had embraced a two day format – and stage one brought with it added pressure as it served as the Queen Stage with extra series points on offer. Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Cycling) stated her intentions straight out of the start gate – winning her sixth Queen Stage of the season. The French rider didn’t have the easiest of races, with crashes and an injured leg seeing her win just two of the six stages – but it was enough to clinch the overall and her unbeaten record this season remains intact. Noga Korem (GT Factory Racing) put down an amazingly consistent performance, winning one stage and finishing within the top three on the other five to earn the second spot on the podium. Andreane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team) delivered a strong performance in front of her home crowd to take third. In the men’s race Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Race Team) also took the Queen Stage and the win – putting the hammer down on his rivals from the get go and leading the race throughout. Reining Champion Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) clawed back time on Sunday to finish up in second place, whilst Eddie Masters (Pivot Factory Racing) won stage two and finished the race in third. “I think it was my hardest day of the season so far,” said the 25-year-old who currently leads the overall series. “I really struggled since the first stage this morning. I went off track, had to get back up, get back on the bike. Then on the very last one I really crashed super hard and lost a lot of time, so I really thought, ‘Ok, it’s done. You’re not going to win this one. But you have to make it down anyway so just keep pushing,’ and I was really surprised to win this one. I’m really, really happy.” In the U21 category it was the local talent that shone, with Canadians Lucy Shick and Jack Menzies taking the win in their respective categories. John Richardson and Evan Wall rounded out the men’s podium, whilst Isabella Naughton and Julia Long did the same in the women’s category. In the Master Category Louise Paulin once again took the win, with Alba Wunderlin in second and Kirsty Stormer in third. In the men’s race Cedric Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Racing Team) held off series leader and reigning Champion Karim Amour (Miranda Racing Team) to take the top step of the podium, Amour had to settle for second place, with Spain’s Cesar Garain in third. A strong performance from Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro saw them named Team of the Day. The series now moves its attention to round seven and a brand new venue in the USA, for the Northstar California EWS.
Marine Cabirou and Amaury Pierron won the Lenzerheide World Cup race in their respective categories (results here). Check out their runs courtesy of Red Bull Bike.
Amaury Pierron's and Marine Cabirou's winning runs from Lenzerheide.