Fort William Downhill World Cup tech gallery

Tech galore from one of the most revered of DH races

The pit area of any world cup race is a great place to spy interesting new bits and pieces that might make their way to full-scale production, or have a little geek-out at how the pros set up their bikes.

We spent the weekend at Fort William in Scotland, watching one of the greatest shows on Earth (well, in DH racing at least), and took a bit of time out to nosey in and around the mechanics' area, where the bikes were being set up.

Loris Vergier's Santa Cruz V10 29er

The new 29er V10 is almost production ready — the linkages don't quite look finished — presumably riders are still fine-tuning their ride
The new 29er V10 is almost production ready — the linkages don't quite look finished — presumably riders are still fine-tuning their ride

One of the most anticipated bikes around has to be Santa Cruz's 29er V10. We've seen the bike now a number of times, but at Fort William the bike looked as close to production-ready as we've seen. 

Loris Vergier piloted his bike to the second step on the podium, behind Amaury Pierron, also on a 29er, cementing the bigger wheel's place on the DH circuit.

Miranda Miller's prototype 29in Specialized Demo

The bike everyone wanted to get a proper shot of, but nobody was allowed to — Miranda Miller's 29er Demo. It looks like quite the departure from the 27.5
The bike everyone wanted to get a proper shot of, but nobody was allowed to — Miranda Miller's 29er Demo. It looks like quite the departure from the 27.5

The other big bike news was that Miranda Miller's proto 29er Specialized made it out in to the open. Specialized's mechanics weren't keen on anyone getting too close, so you won't see many decent photos around. 

It's obviously a far more complex linkage than the current Demo, and on closer inspection it looks like the pivot locations will have flip-chips in, or they aren't set in stone yet. Watch this space...

Data acquisition on Danny Hart's Saracen Myst

With winning margins getting tighter with time, data acquisition is becoming increasingly important. Danny Hart's mechanic has worked with an engineer who used to work in F1 and Superbikes to develop a subtle system to gain ride info
With winning margins getting tighter with time, data acquisition is becoming increasingly important. Danny Hart's mechanic has worked with an engineer who used to work in F1 and Superbikes to develop a subtle system to gain ride info

With speeds getting faster and winning margins smaller, knowing exactly what's happening under the rider is increasingly important. 

While previous data logging tech has been pretty obvious with wires, control boards and suspension extension logging pistons clearly on show, the system developed for Danny Hart's Saracen Myst is far more subtle. 

His mechanic hinted that it might be commercially available next year, but that might be a step too far for most punters!

Gwin's mysterious rear mech

This definitely isn't Shimano or SRAM, and Box deny it's theirs too. Could Gwin's sponsor e*thirteen be working on mechs and shifters? It does pretty much everything else in a groupset
This definitely isn't Shimano or SRAM, and Box deny it's theirs too. Could Gwin's sponsor e*thirteen be working on mechs and shifters? It does pretty much everything else in a groupset

The YT Mob might run SRAM gears on most of its bikes, but the mech and shifter hanging off Aaron Gwin's Tues wasn't SRAM, nor was it Shimano. Even Box Components is on record saying it's not one of the company's.

YT has a strong partnership with e*thirteen though, and with cranks, cassettes, chainguides and wheels already in its product line up, perhaps we could see something coming from e*thirteen in the coming years?

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 four years. Tom also enjoys racing events like the Strathpuffer and the Trans Nepal.
  • 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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