OK, so this isn’t a test or anything, it is just a look at some of the bikes that were being ridden at the first round of the Fetish Gravity Enduro series in Innerleithen. Enduro is the buzz–word at the moment in the mountainbike world, but don’t worry too much about that. What we have here is everything that is good about the modern day mountainbike – between 4” to 6” of travel, light weight, adjustable seatpost and great components. Uphill, downhill, whatever…they are the ultimate do–it–all bikes, the mountainbike as it was intended to be.
From Dirt Issue 124 – June 2012
Words by Mike Rose. Photos by Grant Robinson.
And as these riders all race in the elite category there is a bit of ‘sponsor love’ going on here…but what do you expect!
ALASDAIR MCLENNAN KTM BARK 20
I’m Alasdair MacLennan, 26 years old and from Edinburgh. 2012 sees me racing both gravity enduro and downhill for KTM Bikes and what you see here, the KTM Bark 20, is their enduro bike. With 150mm at each end it’s ideal for the natural trails we regularly ride around Innerleithen and beyond; light enough to ride all day, tough and nimble enough to ride what in essence is technical downhill. The perfect Gravity Enduro bike then.
Having only picked the bike up from the couriers on the way to Innerleithen all I had time to do was to swap the bars over to my preferred Burgtec RW’R and screw some Crank Brothers Mallets on. I didn’t even cut the bars down from their full fat 780mm width, although since then I have managed to chop them to a more trail riding friendly 760mm. I’ve also now swapped the triple ring arrangement on the front for a 36T single Hope ring and a Superstar Plasma chain device which has been matched by a 11–36 cassette out back. It’s all solid and dependable kit which is exactly what you want when you’re racing. The gearing’s perhaps a bit higher than some guys will run but I know my legs can push a 1:1 ratio on even the steepest climbs so it’s the ideal match for me. The rest of the bike however is still as it came, but with the standard spec being so good there really is little reason to change it.
Since that first weekend I’ve spent some time tweaking things to get it comfortable and handling how I like, raising the bars a little and finding what pressures work best for the suspension. On the rear I like the rebound to be fairly sedate so I’ve slowed it to the point that it’s on the cusp of packing down on the fastest of repeated hits, and switched the Pro–Pedal to 1 which provides the best combination of traction and stability when off, as well as a meaningful platform when switched on. The front, in contrast, I prefer to run a little softer and faster to provide traction even when hanging off the back of the bike as my riding style usually dictates. Currently it’s perhaps a little more gravity oriented than some bikes but for our local trails it’s ideal. With a 142mm back end there is no shortage in stiffness and the floating shock is so far doing a great job of handling both small and large trail features. The head angle is slack enough for the UK too at 67.5º although for the Megavalanche I’ll fit a set of Marzocchi 44 RC3’s alongside a set of angle cups to up its descending credentials further. I love the internal cable routing and the hidden rear caliper which keeps both out of harms way as well as maintaining clean lines, although more importantly it also seems to reduce mud build up when things get filthy.
So far it’s a great bit of kit that I’ve really enjoyed every time it’s been taken out, so much so that the downhill bike has barely had a look in!SPEC
|Frame||KTM Bark 20 (Medium/17″)|
|Fork||Fox 32 Talas RL|
|Stem||Hope XC 50mm|
|Grips||ODI Lock–On (SDG)|
|Shifter||Shimano 10spd XT|
|Derailleur||Shimano XTR Shadow Plus|
|Brakes||Shimano XT 180mm|
|Saddle||Fizik Gobi XM|
|Crank||Shimano XT triple|
|Ring||Shimano XT 24/32/42 or Hope 36T|
|Chain Guide||Superstar Plasma|
|Cassette||Shimano XT 11–34 or Shimano XT 11–36|
|Pedals||Crank Brothers Mallet 3|
|Wheelset||DT Swiss E 2000|
|Tyres||Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.4 Evo SSK|
|Tubes||Stans No Tubes|
TRACY MOSELEY TREK SLASH 9
Having spent the last 15 years with downhill racing being my focus, 2012 sees a change and a new direction for my racing. Enduro is a fast growing discipline of mountain biking and one that really appeals to me. I am lucky enough that Trek my sponsor of the last four years have just developed a perfect machine for the job, the Slash. Up until now I have always felt that there has not really been a great ‘do–it–all bike’ as I always felt that any trail bike just felt heavy and hard work climbing and then sketchy on the downhills compared to a DH bike, so I always just had a DH bike for DH riding and then a proper XC bike for all my other riding. I always preferred having help up the hills with a lightweight XC bike and I didn’t mind the sketchy ride it gave me on the downhills, in actual fact I always thought it was great training for your skills! However as bike technology, geometry, frame design and I think ultimately suspension technology, has improved it has given us the opportunity to ride bikes that really are ‘do–it–all’ bikes.
The Slash is 160mm and the first thing that amazed me was just how well it climbs. With a quick switch of the Pro Pedal lever on the Fox rear shock it turns into a pretty efficient uphill machine. The improvements and adjustability of suspension over the last few years has just been amazing and now we really can change the feel of our bikes massively with a few quick dials and levers.
With the use of the Talas Fox fork up front I also have the ability to drop the front end of the bike reducing the travel to again aid the climbs. The 66º head angle gives the Slash a great geometry and a real downhill bike feel when you start pointing…well…down.
I have chosen to use Shimano XTR throughout the bike, giving me lightweight and durable braking and transmission. I love the feel of the new XTR brake levers and the power that the brakes deliver is amazing. I have chosen to stick with a 2×10 set–up as I like to be able to spin my legs between stages and have some options if it gets steep. In order to keep the chain on I am using an e.thirteen TRS Dual guide.
In 2012 I have teamed up with Deity components for my handlebars, stem and grips. I am using the Blacklabel bar at 710mm width with a Deity Phantom stem, 50mm length and zero degree rise, keeps the front end short and low for good control.
Bontrager are my choice for saddle, wheels and tyres. One of my roles this year is to help Bontrager develop their tyres and for me my interest was in making sure I had good Enduro tyres available. I have been working with Frank Stacy, Bontrager tyre developer, and I am using some prototype XR 3 and XR 4 tyres with some stiffer casings for Enduro racing. Tyres that will eventually be on sale later in the year. I am running tubeless to reduce the pinch punctures and increase rolling efficiency and they are light weight.
I quickly took to using an adjustable seatpost having always been someone who thought dropper seatposts were cheating! But once you have used one it’s really hard to go back to descending with your seat up your backside. I am using the post that comes with the bike right now, the RockShox Reverb, but I am looking forward to trying the new Fox post as soon as it’s available.
Innerleithen was the perfect place for this bikes maiden voyage and I really was impressed with how it felt. I really felt as though I was back DH racing but I could also climb back up to the top with minimal effort. I can’t wait to really get the most out of this machine later in the year when I race the Megavalanche and other European Enduro races.SPEC
|Frame||Trek Slash 9, 17.5”|
|Shock||Fox Float RP–3/DRCV Kashima coat tuned by Trek in California|
|Fork||Fox 36 FIT RLC Kashima coat tuned by Trek in California|
|Headset||Cane Creek XX|
|Derailleur||Shimano XTR Shadow Plus|
|Ring||Shimano XTR 26/38|
|Chain Guide||e.thirteen TRS Dual Guide|
|Cassette||Shimano XTR 11–36 10 spd|
|Chain||Shimano XTR 10 spd|
|Pedals||Shimano XTR trail|
|Wheelset||Bontrager Rhythm Pro Scandium|