Enduro racing is drawing in athletes from both the cross-country and the downhill ends of the mountain bike spectrum. Adam Craig, a former World Cup cross-country racer, has made enduro racing the focus of his 2013 season. His weapon of choice is Giant’s new Trance Advanced 27.5 0 with a component package tailored to the rigors of enduro racing.
For most of the season Craig was riding an aluminum prototype version Trance 27.5. (We caught a glimpse of his prototype before the official 2014 models were unveiled earlier this year.) Now he’s racing a Trance Advanced 27.5 frame with a carbon front triangle and an aluminum rear end. The carbon front end shaves approximately 300g from his aluminum prototype. In addition to feeling more precise, Craig says the carbon front triangle damps impacts and provides a livelier ride.
In terms of component selection, Craig’s race bike is not so different from the 2014 Trance Advanced SX, which adds a 160mm fork, piggyback shock and stout components to a Trance Advanced 27.5 chassis.
Upfront, Craig is running a 160mm RockShox PIKE fork. The 170lb (77kg) racer runs 62-70psi in the PIKE, depending on the course. “I was running closer to 70psi [at the Canadian Open Enduro] because it’s so steep and I was trying to keep the front end up and out of holes,” he said.
Rear suspension travel is still 140mm, making the Trance Advanced one of the shorter-travel bikes on the enduro race circuit by 10-30mm. The Giant racer is able to get the most out of every millimeter of travel thanks to custom valving in his RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock. The special tuning makes the initial stroke more sensitive, which provides a bit more rear wheel traction. He runs between 155-165psi in the rear shock.
Craig humbly attributes much of his success this season to his ability to keep air in his tires while many of his competitors struggled with flats. “Schwalbe has been ahead of the curve when it comes to enduro racing,” said Craig of his tire sponsor. When we caught up with him following the Canadian Open Enduro at Crankworx, Craig was running a prototype of Schwalbe’s Magic Mary upfront with a Hans Dampf in the rear. Both tires have Schwalbe’s Super Gravity casing, which features reinforced sidewalls to decrease the likelihood of pinch flatting, even at low pressures. Craig generally runs 22psi upfront and 24psi in the rear tire.
Like the majority of SRAM-sponsored enduro racers, Craig is running an XX1 drivetrain. His years of cross-country racing fitness allow him to turn over a big ring; he’s been alternating between 36t and 38t chain rings this season. “I like to run the biggest ring I can because it keep me up higher in the block and gives me better chainwrap,” Craig said.
When it comes time to slow down, Craig uses SRAM’s XO Trail brakes. Though individual enduro stages might be relatively short, riders can be on their bikes all day. Running a 203mm front rotor and 180mm rear rotor allow him to brake with less effort. “It’s not really for power – it’s more a matter of managing fatigue throughout the day. If you can squeeze your brakes with five percent less effort over the course of a day of enduro racing you’ll be better off,” Craig said.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Giant Trance Advanced 0, size medium
- Fork: RockShox PIKE RCT3 Solo Air, 160mm
- Rear shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RC3, w/custom tuning
- Cranks: SRAM XX1, 36T chainring, 175mm crankarms
- Chainguide: MRP AMG Carbon
- Chain: SRAM PC-XX1
- Cassette: SRAM XX1
- Brakes: SRAM XO Trail, 203mm front rotor, 180mm rear rotor
- Shift lever: SRAM XX1
- Front derailleur: N/A
- Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1
- Wheelset: DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline 27.5
- Tires: Prototype Magic Mary 27×2.35in (front), Hans Dampf 27.5×2.35 (rear)
- Saddle: fi’zi:k Tundra 2, K:ium rails
- Seatpost: RockShox Stealth Reverb
- Stem: Truvativ Stylo T20, 60mm
- Handlebar: Truvativ Jerome Clementz BlackBox Bar, 750mm wide
- Grips: ODI Ruffian (wire-wrapped on)
- Pedals: crankbrothers Mallet 3
- Accessories: King Cage, Incredibell
- Rider’s height: 1.8m (5ft 11in)
- Rider’s weight: 77kg (170lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 77.5cm
- Top tube length: 600mm (23.6in)
- Head tube length: 100mm (3.9in)
- Total bike weight: 12.7kg (28lb)