If there’s one name that’s dominated the last decade of racing, it’s Greg Minnaar, the South African rider who’s proving age is no barrier to World Cup success. And if there’s one brand that epitomizes all that’s great about DH racing, both in terms of tech and attitude, it’s the Syndicate. They’ve put together a stunning bike for Greg’s World Championship run this year.
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As a tall chap, Greg runs the XXL V10. While top tube lengths have grown with the sizing, the back-end didn’t so Greg’s running a custom rear end with new linkage (the silver bit in the middle) and triangle, which matches the 10mm growth up front, with an extra 10mm out back. The new linkage helps prevent the suspension ramping up too much.
In order to squeeze that little extra length out of the bike, Minnaar has a Buzz Works headset in there, which gives an extra 8mm on the front end.
Counteracting this extra length is an added 20mm on bar height for this track, which is consistently steep – it’s added through spacers under the stem. The bars themselves are super-wide 815mm Enve bars, which are Greg’s own signature model. The bars have 7.5 degrees sweep, 28mm rise and 4.5 degrees at the tips — this is against 9 degrees, 25mm and 5.5 degrees on the standard model.
Greg’s mechanic has a particular way of defining how wide your bars should be; with the top part of your arms out horizontal to your side and forearms pointing forward, the inner measurement from elbow to elbow should be the same as your bars. Greg’s measurements would give around a massive 900mm, but given that DH tracks have trees in them, he’s left them at 815mm.
While many racers use titanium bolts to hold their bike together, shifting a bit of weight, the Syndicate guys don’t bother, claiming that the risk of stretching is too great and that brake calipers in particular are prone to shifting when bolted down with Ti.
We don’t have too much info on how Greg sets up his suspension because his mechanic leaves it to the Fox guys to sort, however he’s running 88psi in his fork this weekend and will probably drop a few psi as temperatures rise.
They do have a unique way of measuring how the suspension is working though with their ‘drop test’ — the bike is dropped at an angle to see how the rebound reacts — they want it as fast as they can get without it being uncontrolled. They also reckon that having a shock with faster rebound reacts less to heat build up.
The Syndicate famously run Enve wheels with the M90 HV being run here. Usually they’d run a skinnier rim on the rear, but here the extra volume from a wider rim is preferred with better tyre stability and volume. They’re running what they call Enve ‘Rim Strippers’, which is a thick-ish plastic rim strip that follows the contours of the rim all the way to the rim’s wall. The tyres sit in this and they believe that the strip gives extra protection to the carbon rim walls, and should damage occur, the tyres are more likely to remain inflated with the strips.
A cut-down road cassette is used in the 7-speed drivetrain with spacers at the back of the cassette. They prefer to run the cassette as close to the inner of the dropout as possible, as it’s less likely to be dropped.
The 11 tooth sprocket gives a high enough gear when run with the 34t ring, which then helps with ground clearance. To help keep it all spinning nicely, a well-used BB is installed — with a bit of wear the mechanics reckon there’s less resistance. It’s the equivalent of running lighter grease or oil in there.
As with Tahnée’s bike, Greg mixes sintered and organic pads in his bike, blending the power and heat dissipation of each for the best overall performance.