Pro bike: Aaron Chase's Cannondale Claymore

A big, burly do everything bike

Take one look at Aaron Chase's Cannondale Claymore and it's clearly a bike that is both well loved and well used.  Chase has been on his Claymore since last summer, and since he received it, it has become his go-to everyday bike.

Given that the Claymore has 180mm of travel this says something about Chase's riding style, but also something about the the bike. Like Cannondale's Jekyll trail bike Claymore sports a Fox Dyad RT2 shock that allows Chase to toggle between the full 180mm of travel and a more efficient 110mm travel mode. "That bike has been a little bit of everything for me," Chase told BikeRadar. "I don't have a downhill bike any more. It's my park bike, my over mountain bike. It's also my cross country bike. I ride it back home through all the rocks.  Back home in northern New Jersey, it's bumpy and rocky.  That's the bike I grab every time."

Chase uses his Claymore for all kinds of racing and free riding, not to mention to teach from at the Air Academy at Highland Park in New Hampshire each summer. "It's more fun than all my other bikes before. I've even flipped it (back flips).  You can get rad on that bike."

BikeRadar caught up with Chase and his rig at the Cannondale's 2012 Team Camp in Finale Ligure, Italy.

One of the things Chase says he likes best about the Claymore is the ability to change the rear suspension to suit his purposes.  "The versatility of it comes in.  You can chop your travel down and move it back and forth," he said.  The Fox Dyad RT2 rear shock adjusts to provide either a more modest 110mm or a whopping 180mm of travel.

The Fox Dyad RT2 shock adjusts travel from 180mm to 110mm; Claymore also sports dual shock mounts for geometry adjustment

"The rear end of the Claymore is cool with how that shock works.  The way the charts say to say to inflate it is balanced, but you can unbalance it which influences sag and then you an tweak your geometry a little bit.  I sag mine down a bit to get a little lower in the turns."

The Rockshox Totem RC2DH shock does the suspension job up front. "The Totem up front has been great," said Chase. "I was a little nervous that a single crown fork could keep up with what I wanted to put down, but I've been blown away."

Chase runs a SRAM drivetrain with an X0 rear derailleur and 11-36 cassette.  He does not use a front derailleur, instead running a 39-tooth chainring and an e.thirteen LG1+ chainguide to keep his SRAM PC1091 chain on track.

Chase pushes a big gear with just a 39-tooth single ring up front

He's got Avid X0 brakes on, front and rear, with 200mm and 180mm rotors respectively. Maxxis Minion DH 2.5 tires hook him up on both wheels, which are stock DT Swiss EX1750 wheelsets. Chase was running Answer flat pedals, but says he sometimes switches to clipless pedals, such as when he is teaching others.

To make his bike suit his purposes, Chase is regularly switching out his seat and seatpost. When we saw the bike, he had on an SDG seat post and saddle, which he prefers for dirt jumping. "I go between the RockShox hydralic dropper post and an SDG seat and seatpost, which is very light," said Chase.  "I have their new Apollo dirt jump seat with a short post."

The seat as set up looked pretty low for over mountain riding, so Chase explained.  "As high as it is right now is as high as it goes.  I made the wrong move by grabbing that for this trip," he said. "I didn't think about it.  I would have grabbed a more comfortable saddle with a taller post, especially for the 10-mile road climb I took the bike on the other day here.  If I go on a cross country ride, I use a regular post, but if I go on a ride like we did yesterday, I use a dropper post because it makes it more fun."  The previous day, Chase had lead journalists on an over mountain-style ride, wowing them with his riding skills en route.

The SDG Apollo dirt jump saddle is better suited for dirt jumps the bike park, versus 10-mile climbs

Sometimes it's the little details that count, and Chase was proud to show off his custom signature Lizard Skins grips. "Lizard Skins came to me two years ago with a proposal to make any grip I want, and it'll be a signature grip.  I had to pick my favorite grip for the next few years," he said. "I picked a thin, smaller flanged grip with an intricate checkered pattern, but I still wanted it to be basic.  We picked a few colors.  It was really fun to design my own signature piece. Who wouldn't want to do that?"

As a Cannondale Over Mountain team rider, Chase has access to two bikes to use: the Claymore and the Jekyll.  He explained that since he got the Claymore, he's used it almost exclusively.

"I chose the Claymore when we're going to shoot and take photos because people want me to jump.  I suffer more on the climbs with downhill tires, a low seat and flat pedals," he said. "I took the Jekyll with me to Peru last spring because I knew I'd be putting down the miles."

Since Chase left behind his downhill bike, he hasn't looked back. "I've always had a downhill bike.  Last year was my first year without one and I thought I'd miss it, but I don't.  It's a playful bike and the suspension keeps up.  Claymore was new last year."

Complete bike specifications:

  • Frame              Cannondale Claymore (2012)       
  • Size                  Large       
  • Rear shock       Fox Dyad RT2 (180mm/110mm)       
  • Fork                  Rockshox Totem RC2DH       
  • Headset            Tange Seiki with custom integrated 1.5" headset       
  • Stem                 Race Face Respond, 60mm       
  • Handlebars       Answer Pro Taper       
  • Tape/grips         Lizard Skins - Aaron Chase signature grips       
  • Front brake       Avid X0 with 200mm rotor       
  • Rear brake       Avid X0 with 180mm rotor       
  • Brake levers     Avid X0       
  • Front derailleur e.thirteen LG1+ chainguide       
  • Rear derailleur  SRAM X0 short cage      
  • Shift levers       SRAM X0 trigger (rear only)       
  • Cassette           SRAM 11-36       
  • Chain                SRAM PC-1091       
  • Crankset           Cannondale Hollogram, 39-tooth       
  • BB                    Cannondale BB30       
  • Pedals              Answer flat pedals       
  • Wheelset          DT Swiss EX1750           
  • Front tire          Maxxis Minion DH 2.5       
  • Rear tire           Maxxis Minion DH 2.5       
  • Saddle              SDG Apollo
  • Seat post          SDG 31.6mm       

Critical measurements:           

  • Rider's height                                      6ft1in (1.85m)   
  • Rider's weight                                     170lb  (77.11kg)
  • Seat tube length                                  430mm   
  • Seat tube length                                  470mm   
  • Saddle height                                      660mm   
  • Tip of saddle nose to center of bars    505mm   
  • C of front wheel to top of bars             765mm   
  • Top tube length                                    560mm   
  • Total bicycle weight                              35.91lb (16.27kg)

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