Jolanda Neff is just 21 years young and already has two U23 cross-country world championship titles to her name. She is certainly one of the most promising talents in the future of cross-country mountain biking.
Opening the 2014 UCI World Cup season with a strong win in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, this second-year pro is doing her Liv Pro XC Women’s team proud.
Jolanda Neff is still eligible to race U23s, but has elected to compete in elite for 2014
BikeRadar managed to take a close look at Neff’s Liv Obsess Advanced while in Cairns, at the second round of the UCI mountain bike World Cup. The Obsess is from Giant Bikes' offshoot women's brand, Liv, and provides all the performance features of Giant’s XTC Advanced hardtail in a female-specific design.
At the centre is the new Obsess Advanced frame, a composite carbon frame built around 27.5in wheels. Neff’s mechanic told us this frame is a 2015 prototype, but was unclear on the details. Other than the paint, to us, this frame looks exactly like the 2014 model release.
There’s a chance that Neff is riding a new lighter carbon layup. This would fit with Giant’s history of bringing out the standard Advanced carbon model, and then offering the pro Advanced SL model a year or two later. This is, of course, speculation, as the market for elite-level women’s hardtails is relatively small, but it would be a competitive step to go up against the likes of Specialized’s S-Works Fate carbon women’s bike.
A simple wedge system keeps the seatpost in place
Neff rides a tiny-looking small frame size with plenty of seatpost exposed. Other frame features include a stiff 142 x 12mm rear axle, press-fit bottom bracket, integrated seatpost clamp and internal cable routing.
As a Swiss national champion, Neff rides a suitably branded DT Swiss suspension fork. Just like fellow national rider Nino Shurter, Neff uses the XMM model which has a one-piece magnesium lower, 15mm thru-axle and a single-shot damper linked to a mechanical remote control at the handlebar. While the Obsess frame features Giant’s oversized OD2 compatible head tube, Neff’s fork has a standard tapered 1.125in to 1.5in steerer tube.
Carbon rims with concealed graphics at the hub
Keeping the bike rolling is a pair of 27.5in prototype Giant carbon wheels set up tubeless. They lack any clear branding, but look very similar to the current 1,400g XCR0 composite wheels from Giant, perhaps a little heavy for a 53kg world champion.
The rest of the bike is covered in 10-speed Shimano XTR and Shimano’s in-house componentry brand – PRO. No World Cup riders were on the recently announced 9000 series 11-speed XTR, but many, including Neff were using the new 9000 series brakeset. The matching Ice-Tech brake rotors were missing; Neff’s wheels feature an incompatible six-bolt mount.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Liv/giant Obsess Advanced 27.5, 2015 prototype -– small
- Fork: DT Swiss XMM, 27.5, Single-shot damper w/remote control, 15mm thru-axle
- Headset: Giant, tapered sealed
- Stem: PRO XCR, 90mm, -5 degrees
- Handlebar: PRO XCR Flat, 660mm width
- Tape: PRO foam
- Front brake: Shimano XTR 9000 Race, 160mm Hope rotor
- Rear brake: Shimano XTR 9000 Race, 160mm Hope rotor
- Brake levers: Shimano XTR 9000 Race
- Front derailleur: Shimano XTR
- Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR Shadow Plus
- Shift levers: Shimano XTR
- Cassette: Shimano XTR 11-36T
- Chain: Shimano XTR
- Crankset: Shimano XTR, 24/38T, 175mm
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Press-fit
- Pedals: Shimano M980 XTR
- Wheelset: Giant XCR0 Composite 27.5 - prototype
- Front tyre: Schwalbe Racing Ralph, Evo, 2.25in, set up tubeless, approx 23psi
- Rear tyre: Schwalbe Racing Ralph, Evo, 2.25in, set up tubeless, approx 23psi
- Saddle: Fizik Antares Carbon
- Seatpost: PRO Tharsis Carbon, 10mm
- Bottle cages: Tacx carbon
- Rider's height: 1.69m (5ft 6in)
- Rider's weight: 53kg (117lb)
- Saddle height from BB, c-t: 685mm
- Saddle setback: 45mm
- Seat tube length (c-t): 400mm
- Seat tube length (c-c): 345mm
- Tip of saddle to center of bar: 510mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop: 0mm
- Head tube length: 100mm
- Top tube length (effective): 560mm
- Total bicycle weight: 8.82kg (19.41lb)