Q&A - Viagra for my Stiffee

I'm thinking of building up my Cove Stiffee hardtail to ride downhill


Q. I'm thinking of building up my Cove Stiffee hardtail to ride downhill, as I saw someone going down the DH course at Cwm Carn in South Wales at the weekend and they were flying - too fast for me to catch up and see what kit they had on their Stiffee. What big-ass forks, tyres, wheels, bars and brakes would you suggest?

Dave Lee Travis, Newport

A. There's a load of excellent tough but fast new kit out there at the moment, which will big up your Stiffee without slowing down your vinegar strokes. We'd go for a RockShox Pike Air U-Turn up front so you can run full 140mm for DH but shorter for XC. Fatten up your rim action with some DT 5.1s or Mavic XM321s, then rubber up with some French ticklers in the form of Michelin's new Dry 2 reinforced. To stop you leaning back and falling out at the crucial moment, fit some low riser bars too. We're loving the shape of the new Race Face Atlas or Evolve AM Low Riser bars right now.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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