Tahnée Seagrave's Transition TS500 World Championship bike

Plenty of pro kit on show at the Downhill World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy

Tahnée Seagrave has perhaps the flashiest bike here at Val di Sole, with a sparkly paint job apparently inspired by someone’s socks — who knew! Beneath the paint is a serious, well tuned machine that should be looking at a podium spot this weekend.

Tahnée runs Fox suspension front and back, with the DHX2 rear shock complementing the Fox 40 fork. Throughout the season the team has been swapping between the 325lb and 350lb spring, trying to get the right set up for each race.  While swapping springs they’ve also been trying out an off-set 6mm headset — the team ran a standard headset on arrival in Val di Sole, but as of Friday practice the spring is still being swapped between the two.

Tahnée likes a poppy front-end and is running the fork relatively hard for her weight (we were too polite to ask), at 55psi. Four volume spacers are in there to keep the front-end height consistent on the steep track here (and Vallnord last weekend). This is run with a slightly softer back end, again keeping a height bias towards the front. Complementing this is the position of the geometry chips, which are set with a low-slung bias.

Schwalbe First Ride prototype Magic Mary tyres, designed for ProCore
Schwalbe First Ride prototype Magic Mary tyres, designed for ProCore

Tahnée’s tyre sponsor is Schwalbe, so it’s little surprise to see ProCore stickers adorning her wheels. The practice set of wheels here look like standard tubeless in the front, but ProCore is definitely present at the back. The team has been playing with the pressure in the ProCore system in order to balance feel and performance. Too much pressure can feel a bit pingy, but too low and you lose the rim and tyre protection — it’s a balancing act all the ProCore teams will be playing.

Run alongside the ProCore is a First Ride Magic Mary tyre. This is Schwalbe’s prototype line, with this tyre designed specifically for the ProCore system. The sidewall is thinner, and hence lighter, with the ProCore offering the puncture protection lost by the thinner sidewall tyre. A standard Magic Mary is run up front.

The Magic Mary might seem an odd choice for such a dry race, but as we saw last week at Vallnord a mud tyre or at least a winter-orientated one is necessary in deep dust — many bikes here feature such tyres.

A full 10-speed cassette — not many of them on show here
A full 10-speed cassette — not many of them on show here

While the training wheels on this bike have a 10-speed cassette, Tahnée will race on a cut-down 8-speed road block.

Throughout the season, Tahnée has kept her bar height consistent and runs 760mm bars. Her brake levers are set at a couple of degrees steeper than 45 degrees and are set precisely with an angle meter for consistency. Her brakes are set up so they’re not too grabby, and lever reach is as close as it’ll go.

With plenty of heat to deal with, but also with the demands of DH racing, Tahnée, like a number of other racers here is running one sintered and one organic pad per brake. Sintered deals with the heat better, but organic offers more power, so mixing it up gives the best mix, so say the mechanics.

Tom Marvin

Technical Editor, Tech Hub, UK
Tom's been riding for 15 years, and has always chopped and changed bikes as soon as his budget allowed. He's most at home in the big mountains, having spent nigh on 30 weeks riding the Alps, as well as having lived a stone's throw from the Scottish Highlands for 4 years. From 24 hour races such as the infamous Strathpuffer to the Tran Nepal, Tom can occasionally be found racing whatever interesting races he can find.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep and super tech or fast and flowy
  • Current Bikes: Canyon Spectral, Pivot Mach 429SL, Mondraker Vantage R +
  • Dream Bike: Transition Scout
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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