Technical & Maintenance

Megavalanche: Bike Build

This year we thought we would give you the low down on a couple of the bikes that we will be taking to the Megavalanche. Words by M.Rose.

Shifter: Sram X.0

Normally I’d choose X-9 for general duties (although I must admit the new XT is also damn fine), but this is a special race that calls for a special components. We said that it’d be pimp.

Derailleur: Sram X.0 Short Cage

For the same reason we got the shifter

Brakes: Formula Bianco

Not the most common choice maybe, but they are incredible. They are almost identical to the limited edition Greg Minnaar ones that we showed you last year, one finger levers, polished, and super lightweight. Unfortunately they are also the only thing that hasn’t turned up as yetz.

Cranks: Middleburn RS7, 170 mm

As soon as I saw the frame, I knew it had to have Middleburns. They just look right on a steel frame of this nature, luckily they are also about as strong and light as you’ll get, and what’s more they’re made in good old Blighty. The ISIS axle format is plenty strong enough, especially with a thicker axle, and the bearing issues have largely been resolved by the item below.


Full stainless-steel construction, the best bearings and seals that man can make, it’s the saviour of ISIS.

Ring: Middleburn 36t

It just made sense, plus they’re bloody strong. Final ring size is still in question, but this will probably be the one.

Chain Guide:  Gamut P40

Simple, light, reliable, what more could we ask for? We nearly went for the new 36t Max version, but decided to go for this one just in case he ended up wanting a bigger ring.

Cassette:  Sram PG-980, 11-34t

We would have had the top of the range cassette had it been in stock, but to be fair this is the one that I’d normally run, it’s just much better value. You’ll note the widest gear range possible, Billy wants every bit of help he can get to tackle those climbs, without having to resort to a triple chainset, or a tiny front ring.

Chain Sram: PC-991 Hollowpin

If you’re running Sram X.0 it just seems sense to run this pimp chain of theirs. Powerlink connecters rule.

Pedals:  Sunline V–One

Gnarly flats for a gnarly race, hopefully Billy will soon have a nice pair of 5.10’s to go with them.

Wheels: Hope Pro II Complete Wheelset

You can go too far wrong with a pair of Hope hubs, these came built up (direct from Hope) with DT spokes and rims. The EX5.1D rims have proven in the past to be better in many ways than their bigger brother, but only time will tell if they’re going to up to this task. Billy’s going to be giving them plenty of grief beforehand, so we’ll know before race day comes. We’re also using the DT Tubeless Conversion Kit, tubeless is the future, especially for this sort of event.

Tyres: Hutchinson Bulldog 2.5” Tubeless

We knew that we wanted something big (to make up for the lack of any rear suspension), and when I saw these bad boys lying in the corner of the office I thought ‘why not?’ The final decision hasn’t really been made yet on tyre choice, but after some scary no–brakes testing it became clear that these have definitely got some grip going on, and the sidewalls are suitably thick.

Seatpost: SDG I–Beam

Billy decided that he wanted to keep it simple and so the idea of something telescopic was thrown out the window. The I–Beam set–up is the lightest and most reliable that we know, so that’s why we chose it.

Saddle: SDG Bell Air ST I-Beam

Great saddle, and it obviously fits the seatpost.

Seat QR:  Salsa

Even though Billy reckons that he never puts his seat up even the slightest, I just thought it would be safer to at least give him the option. I got him the best (and possibly the most beautiful) one I’ve ever used.


OK, so Billy is crazy and is going to ride a hardtail (good luck, he’ll need it), but most sensible people ride a 6” travel singlecrown ‘All–Mountain’ bike. With that in mind Dirt team rider Rob Breakwell was on the look out for a bike. He did race last year after a disastrous start to the week. He was riding around the car park, bunny hopped a rock a wrenched his back. This left him in agony and prostrate on the floor for three days. Anyway, lets hope he doesn’t try to be the ‘stunt bunny’ again this year.

Now the Dirt team is sponsored by Intense, so the choice of course was to be their 6.6. Component choice was sorted too because we have those all those covered by our sponsors. The slight problem was that the bike is actually mine, and had a load of ‘non team issue’ products on it. The bike needed a bit of a rebuild and of course a rethink.

Now you may think that we are just putting the team sponsor stuff on because we have to…well there is that, but to tell you the truth, the reason we chose all these companies to sponsor us in the first place is because all the products are brilliant. Simple as that.

There were of course a few things that we could have kept. The XTR crankset has shown that it can take the rigours of the Megavalanche, Steve Jones proved that two years ago, but we thought that this time around we would go for a single ring and chain device set up. So we chose the burlier Saints with a 36 tooth ring and an MRP guide. Simple…well you would think so, but the 6.6 does not come with an ISCG mount. Anyone who has ever tried to fit a chain device will know what comes next…spacers in, spacers out, mount on, mount off, bottom bracket in, bottom bracket out, scratch head, cup of tea etc, etc. Trying to get the right BB spindle length for everything to work was tricky, and to get everything bang on we may need a little creativity with a grinder later on!

Wheels were swapped for Mavic CrossMax SX with Intense tyres. There are some XC style tyres on it for now, but as soon as we get into the real mountains full DH tyres will be the order of the day. But having said that Rob is still trying to decide whether he should go for a semi slick DH tyre like the top boys run. Most of them run a semi slick on the back with something more aggro on the front. We have them in waiting, but we will just have to see on the day if they are appropriate.

It seemed a crime but we had to take off the new Hope V2’s and vented rotor and replace with Shimano Saints. The Saints rule but it was a bit sad to have to remove the Hopes. Bar and stem were replaced with Easton offerings.

Next up was suspension. The Manitou Nixons were swapped out for coil sprung Fox 36 Vanilla RC2’s. The whole debate of coil or air is still ongoing. We have both an air version of the 36 if we need it and a coil version of the Fox rear shock. Air is lighter, but the coil versions are more reliable. Again we are going to try out both forks and shocks to see which performs the best, you know the Megavalanche is a full–on, so we need to get it right.

The final component that we have to add is a telescopic post. Again this will add a bit more weight but will come into its own once out on the course.

So that is it. You’ll have to wait until Dirt 67 to see how they got on.


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