Hailing from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - Greg Minnaar, now a veteran of the downhill mountain biking scene is always one of the favourites come race-day. In 2013, Minnaar won his third World Championship jersey, this time in front of his hometown crowd.
Having won BikeRadar’s Most Wanted award in 2013, the carbon Santa Cruz V10 continues to be the lust of many downhill fans, despite its debate-leading 26” wheel size. On top of this, at just over 15kg and with many trick modifications, Greg Minnaar’s bike is as good as they get.
While in Cairns, Australia for round two of the 2014 UCI World Cup, we caught up with Greg Minnaar’s mechanic - Jason Marsh - who talked us through the intricacies of Minnaar's bike and the modifications made to suit individual courses.
Minnaar usually runs a high handlebar setup, and has the reputation of experimenting with bar height depending on the steepness of the course. In order to reduce the amount of weight on the front wheel, Minnaar went with a huge 32mm stack of stem spacers and raised the crowns on the front fork. This wasn’t an easy process; with Marsh having to get some long bolts custom made for the adjustment.
A look at the custom Chris King 'Buzz Works' 8mm offset headset and 32mm additional stem spacer stack
All of the Santa Cruz Syndicate team, including Minnaar, Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland tower at around 6ft 3in, and even the production extra-large frame size isn’t quite enough for Minnaar or Peat. To help with this, Chris King’s ‘Buzz Works’ prototype shop made some custom offset headsets to give even greater reach, placing the 1 1/8in steerer tube 8mm forward of the stock position in the 1.5in headtube.
This Fox 'RAD' prototype is likely a sign of things to come...
Providing the 250mm of rear wheel travel is a Fox ‘RAD’ (Racing Applications Development) rear shock, a more refined version of what Minnaar used to win the 2013 world championships. This prototype rear shock is looking rather polished and could be a hint at a future production shock from Fox.
Greg was running a softer 400lb spring, seeking greater traction in the slick mud. With this spring change, he had to settle for a heavier steel spring, instead of the usual 450lb titanium spring he’d normally use.
At the front, a Fox 40 Float RC2 fork offers a huge 40mm stanchion tube diameter and air-spring preload adjustment. It features a few hidden ‘RAD’ modifications that Marsh couldn’t tell us much about, but did hint at the Kashima stanchions being even slicker and the inner bushings polished for next-level small-bump compliance.
Just seven gears at the back, no need for the additional weight of lower gears!
Further customizing is seen with Minnaar’s Shimano Saint drivetrain and brake setup. Normally 10-speed, Minnaar uses a parted Shimano Ultegra cassette to provide just 7 gears, in a 11-19T ratio. Sitting in place of the cassette’s lower gears is a custom, drilled ring to reduce weight.
A signature series Gamut chainguide
In addition to the clutch style rear derailleur, a special edition Gamut Greg Minnaar P30’s chainguide ensures the chain stays on the less-common 37t size chainring. This guide uses friction slides instead of pulley wheels to keep the chain secure and is sold in limited quantities with a piece of Minnaar’s clothing.
Minnaar unusually chooses resin brake pads over the more often common metallic’s. These softer, far less-durable pads provide greater initial braking bite and far less bed-in time. The mud in Cairns had Minnaar quickly burning through pads and Marsh had set aside his last pair of resin pads for race day.
The Santa Cruz Syndicate team don’t use Shimano’s latest R99 Ice-tech rotors as they aren’t offered in the six-bolt mount pattern that the Chris King hubs require. Instead, Minnaar uses XT/Saint RT86 203mm rotors.
Enve's new 90-Ten rims are laced to Chris King hubs
At just over US$2,700, Minnaar’s carbon wheelset continues the dream-bike trend, consisting of 487g (claimed) Enve 90-Ten carbon 26in rims, Chris King ISO hubs and DT Swiss double-butted spokes. These wheels were setup tubeless.
Maxxis DHR II is the normal tyre choice in the dry, but the slick mud in Cairns had Minnaar on Super Tacky Maxxis Wet Scream’s in 2.5in width. These were custom-trimmed for faster mud clearance and lower rolling resistance.
A signature series Enve carbon handlebar for Minnaar, at a huge 808mm width
The chainguide isn’t the only signature model product on Minnaar’s bike, with a Enve ‘Minnaarbar’ at the front. This bar has an enormous 808mm width, 8mm more than a stock Enve DH bar and features a few tribute logo’s to his back-to-back 2012/2013 World Championship wins.
Even the saddle is made specially for the World Champ
An Enve straight seatpost holds a WTB Silverado saddle with custom South African flag cover. Helping Minnaar grab the handlebar is a pair of Lizard Skin ‘Peaty’ Lock-On grips, a signature-edition product of his team mate Steve Peat.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Santa Cruz V10 – Size Extra-Large
- Fork: Fox 40 Float RC2 – RAD prototype
- Rear shock: FOX prototype RAD, 400lb steel spring (usually 450lb Ti spring)
- Headset: Chris King Buzz Works, 8mm forward offset
- Stem: Enve Direct Mount, 60mm length, 15mm rise
- Handlebar: Enve DH Minnaarbar, 808mm width
- Tape: Lizard Skins Lock-On Peaty
- Front brake: Shimano Saint, RT86 203mm rotor, resin pads
- Rear brake: Shimano Saint, RT86 203mm rotor, resin pads
- Brake levers: Shimano Saint
- Chain Guide: Gamut Greg Minnaar Signature P30’s
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Saint Shadow+
- Shift levers: Shimano Saint, 10-speed
- Cassette: Shimano Ultegra, custom 11-19t, 7-speed layout
- Chain: Shimano XTR
- Crankset: Shimano Saint, 165mm crank arms, 37T chainring
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Saint, threaded
- Pedals: Crank Brothers Mallet DH Race
- Wheelset: Enve M90-Ten, Chris King ISO hubs, DT Swiss competition spokes, 2X lacing
- Front tyre: Maxxis Wet Scream, Super Tacky, 2.5in, setup tubeless (Maxxis DHR II for dry)
- Rear tyre: Maxxis Wet Scream, Super Tacky, 2.5in, setup tubeless (Maxxis DHR II for dry)
- Saddle: WTB Silverado Team, custom cover
- Seatpost: Enve, zero setback
- Accessories: MarshGuard front fender
- Rider's height: 1.91m (6ft 3in)
- Rider's weight: 86kg (190lb)
- Saddle height from BB, c-t: 655mm
- Seat tube length (c-t): 470mm
- Tip of saddle to center of bar: 500mm
- Head tube length: 125mm
- Top tube length (effective): 640mm (648mm with custom headset)
- Total bicycle weight: 15.08kg (33.18lb)