Pro bike: Duncan Riffle's Giant Glory

World Cup downhill race rig that's gone on a diet for 2012

World Cup downhill racer Duncan Riffle will start his second season with the Giant Factory Off-Road Team on the same 2011 Glory chassis as last year. However, while the race-proven frame isn’t anything to dismiss, the American is more excited about what he’s not bringing to the start house this year – namely, lots of weight.

“We lost about 3.5lb over last year’s race bike, and that’s using all stock, real-world parts,” Riffle told BikeRadar. And his excitement is well justified, with his size large Glory tipping the scale at a surprisingly svelte 16.35kg (36.05lb) with pedals. Equally impressive is attaining this weight without any titanium bolt kits, drilled out parts or general shortcuts in the build, and the only shred of carbon fiber is in the rear derailleur's outer pulley cage plate.

As with the rest of the Factory Team bikes, Riffle's Glory is now outfitted with a complement of SRAM gear (including RockShox, Avid and Truvativ components) along with wheels and tires from DT Swiss and Schwalbe. Finishing bits are from ODI, Fi'zi:k, Chris King and CrankBrothers. “The only things that didn’t change from last season are my grips, saddle and headset,” he said.

But for Riffle, it’s not just about racing a lighter bike. “I couldn’t be more stoked to be working with the RockShox guys again," he said. "They were my first supporters in Europe for the World Cups in ’06, and without them, it simply wouldn’t have happened. A lot of the features on this year’s product are the result of BlackBox [development] work we did two years ago, before I was racing for Giant. So there’s a huge comfort factor for me, including knowing all the little setup tricks.”

After dropping almost a pound off the front end of his Glory by switching from a Fox 40 to a RockShox Boxxer World Cup fork, Riffle is excited about picking up where he left off with SRAM’s BlackBox race R&D program

Speaking of tricks, one thing we noticed on Riffle's Glory was an adjustable head tube angle insert. “It’s a totally stock Glory frame, right off the production line," he said. "But with a few setup secrets we’re not currently talking about, we’re able to get the headset angle down to a more World Cup-friendly 63 degrees.” Riffle's bottom bracket height is down to just 350mm (13.85in) – pretty low for a full-blown World Cup downhill racer with 203mm (8in) of travel.

The wheelbase is also about 25mm longer than stock on account of the raked-out front end. Other custom features include Newcastle Racing Service "Pull Tab" handlebar extensions on the already-wide 780mm Truvativ BooBar handlebars, bringing total width up to about 810mm (32in). “That’s what I’m running right now, but I’m thinking of trying the stock BooBar width for a bit,” he said.

With the use of Newcastle Racing Service bar extenders, Riffle is able to run 32in-wide handlebars

Custom rubber is another option for Riffle this season, though he hasn’t taken Schwalbe up on the offer yet. “The stock Schwalbe tires I’ve ridden so far have been amazing on their own," he said. "So there hasn’t been a reason to take them up on the offer of mixing compounds with tread patterns or different widths that aren’t available off the shelf. But having the option is fantastic.”

Riffle is also happy to be back on brakes that he's familiar with. “I worked with SRAM on the first sets of [Avid] Codes back in ’06. It’s impressive to see that this year’s production Code is essentially the same weight as the Juicy from a few years ago, but with twice the power and durability.”

Riffle is excited about running the latest version of the Code brakes he helped Avid develop back in 2006

As for gaining another cog in the cassette with the switch to SRAM’s 10-speed X0, Riffle says it's nice but not that big of a deal. “Gearing is gearing," he said. "Some guys out there are actually taking off cogs to save weight, but I could care less. Bone stock, our bikes are among the lightest on the circuit, and that’s more than I could ask for.”

While almost everything has changed on his race bike from last year, Riffle is satisfied with the end result: “There’s not a single switched part I’m not stoked on."

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: 2011 Giant Glory, size large           
  • Rear shock: RockShox Vivid RC2      
  • Fork: RockShox Boxxer World Cup with custom BlackBox tune
  • Headset: Custom prototype
  • Stem: Truvativ Holzfeller, 50mm
  • Handlebar: Truvativ BooBar
  • Grips: ODI Longneck Lock-On with trimmed flanges 
  • Front brake: Avid Code with 203mm rotor   
  • Rear brake: Avid Code with 185mm rotor   
  • Brake levers: Avid Code   
  • Chain guide: MRP G2 SL  
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM X0 10spd, short cage   
  • Shift lever: SRAM X0 10spd
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1070, 11-23T
  • Chain: SRAM PC-1091   
  • Crankset: Truvativ Descendant, 170mm w/ 38T ring   
  • Bottom bracket: Truvativ Descendant   
  • Pedals: CrankBrothers Mallet 2   
  • Rims: DT Swiss EX500, 32-hole   
  • Front hub: DT Swiss 240s   
  • Rear hub: DT Swiss 240s   
  • Spokes DT: Swiss Competition, 14/15g double-butted, 32h, 3X usually stamped into spoke head
  • Front tire: Schwalbe Muddy Mary, 26x2.35in
  • Rear tire: Schwalbe Muddy Mary, 26x2.35in
  • Saddle: Fi'zi:k Tundra K:ium   
  • Seatpost: Truvativ Holzfeller, 30.9mm 

Critical measurements

  • Rider's height: 1.87m (6ft 2in)
  • Rider's weight: 79.8kg (175lb)
  • Seat tube length, c-t: 445mm
  • Seat tube length, c-c: 394mm
  • Head tube length: 129mm
  • Top tube length: 645mm
  • Total bicycle weight: 16.35kg (36.05lb)

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