Harry Heath is a young British rider whose results back in 2013 (which started with a 11th place qualifier at Fort William World Cup), raised a lot of interest in the then–privateer racer. For 2014 we are lucky enough to have him representing the Orange Dirt World Team and with team manager/owner Ben Reid’s expert guidance we expect to see his results rocket even further and his great style on a bike shine through.
DIRT ISSUE 148 – JUNE 2014
Words by James McKnight. Photos by Ben Winder
Devoted beyond belief, 22 year–old Harry Heath’s speed doesn’t only come from his plentiful natural talent, but also from a serious amount of hard graft and a professional approach to his sport that should serve as inspiration for any up–and–comers. We’re proud to have him flying the Dirt flag. Oh and one other thing: hailing from Cheshire in England, Harry Heath also shares a local riding scene with none other than Santa Cruz’s Josh Bryceland and Saracen’s Sam Dale – need we say any more?How would you describe your riding style?
Fast and fun.So this is your main DH bike for the season, tell us a bit about it?
This is my Orange 322, production large in stealth black. It’s a really stable and planted bike, which is ideal as a race bike so I can push it and find my own limits. I’m a big fan of Orange and the fact that they have stuck with the single pivot design and refined it over the years through the 222 and 224 ranges and just made adjustments instead of making drastic changes and redesigns every couple of seasons. It is already a World Cup winning design and they have continued to refine it every year. They’ve really nailed it with this bike especially the leverage ratio which keeps the benefits of a single pivot design but really giving it a supple leverage to the shock for the extra traction. Hand built in the UK from tried and trusted aluminium.Is it a ‘straight out of the box’ frame or are we talking a ‘custom build’ here?
It’s not custom but it’s certainly not ‘straight out of the box’ as all 322s are handbuilt in Halifax, more like ‘off the standard jig’. I run a Long frame which fits me well, however Works Components have made me an offset headset to increase the reach/length of the top tube which we put in for some of the faster tracks like Fort William. It sits around 63º on the headangle, good for steep stuff, but it still turns.Tell us about the special stuff you’ve got going on here? Any top–secret stuff or anything specific to you?
The biggest one is the Works Components headset I just mentioned. Fox do adjustments to the suspension to set it working perfectly with the bike design and it’s a great privilege being able to work with them. Renthal have given me a prototype 50mm Integra stem, which amazingly is even lighter than the current production one, it looks smart too. Schwalbe are always developing their tyres as well so more often than not we get to run something that is in the prototype stages and just when I think it can’t get any better it does! Were also testing some new prototype DT Swiss wheel sets, but unfortunately we can’t say much about them just yet.How would you describe this bike’s set–up?
Mine! I like my tyres and suspension a bit harder than most, apart from that it’s just personal things like bar width/roll, seat height, brake levers tilt. It’s my race bike so what I’ve learnt over the years about bike set–up I’ve put into it and if I learn something to make it faster then I’ll change it.>>
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