Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) is coming off of a second-place finish at the World Cup stop in Mont Sainte Anne and is aiming to move one step higher this weekend in Windham, New York.
The short course leaves no room for error, so his brand new 27.5in-wheeled Santa Cruz V10 is fully tweaked to squeeze out every last bit of speed – and look fast, it certainly does.
Josh Bryceland – aka 'Ratboy' – is on Santa Cruz's new 27.5in-wheeled V10 downhill machine
There's an extraordinary range of possible adjustments available on top-end downhill bikes to suit the diverse mixture of tracks and according to Santa Cruz Syndicate team mechanic Doug Hatfield. It's all-out, flat-out, and even the smallest gain (or mistake) can make the difference.
As a result, Bryceland's new 27.5in-wheeled V10 features a number of little tweaks to help him eke out a bit more speed. The side knobs on the front Maxxis DHR II tyre are slightly clipped for more cornering bite, there's a standard Chris King headset in place instead of the forward-offset 'BuzzWorks' version to suit Windham's tighter corners, and there's a smattering of titanium hardware to save weight wherever possible.
"We like things light, too!" Hatfield said.
Both brake callipers are held in place with titanium bolts
Hatfield is even meticulous about how the number plate is attached. Instead of securing the plate directly to the stanchions as is the norm, he first glues the plate to a wider base plate from UK company MarshGuard, and then attaches the whole thing. According to Hatfield, this leaves a little extra room at the top for the rear derailleur and rear brake lines to pass through for quieter running during the race.
MarshGuard also supplies the mini front fender – complete with a 'Stash' extension up front to help keep debris out of Bryceland's face.
The MarshGuard front fender keeps debris out of Bryceland's eyes while the Fox decal covers up the hollowed-out arch to prevent mud from packing
Granted, the fantastically high-end build kit doesn't leave much room for improvement, though. Adding to the outstanding Shimano Saint group is e*thirteen's extra-secure LG1+ Turbo chainguide; tough Shimano DX clipless pedals; handbuilt wheels assembled with Enve M90 Ten carbon rims, Chris King hubs, and DT Swiss Competition stainless steel spokes; an Enve carbon fibre DH handlebar, carbon fibre direct-mount stem, and carbon seatpost; and a titanium-railed WTB saddle.
Tyres are set up tubeless with about 29psi up front and 30 to 31psi out back.
The slightly clipped side knobs supposedly lend a little extra cornering traction
We weren’t permitted to pull out the tape measure or scales but according to Hatfield, the bike is "about 35lb" – roughly 15.9kg or so.
Suspension comes courtesy of Fox's fully supported, racer-only RAD program, and though we didn't actually ride Bryceland's bike, both ends were astonishingly supple for what we anticipate is a confidently glued-to-the-ground feel. The rear shock is especially notable for its fully independent damping adjustments for high- and low-speed rebound, and high- and low-speed compression.
The Fox RAD rear shock features an impressive amount of available adjustment
Hatfield says that Bryceland prefers a somewhat softer suspension tune, too, compared to many other top riders who run an unusually firm setup.
Santa Cruz still isn't saying much about its new V10 downhill chassis but the bigger wheels are clearly evident. According to team mechanic Doug Hatfield, the difference between those and the old 26in wheels is subtle but still evident to team riders, saying they roll better over obstacles and carry speed better.
Other details are lesser known but given common complaints on the currently V10, we're guessing the cockpit has been lengthened to give riders a little more breathing room.
We're eagerly awaiting further information but until then, Bryceland sure seems to be making the new bike work just fine for him.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Santa Cruz V10 27.5, size large
- Rear shock: Fox DHX RAD
- Fork: Fox 40 Float RAD
- Headset: Chris King InSet
- Stem: Enve direct mount
- Handlebar: Enve DH
- Grips: Lizard Skins Lock-On Charger
- Front brake: Shimano Saint BR-M820 w/ 203mm RT86 rotor
- Rear brake: Shimano Saint BR-M820 w/ 203mm RT86 rotor
- Brake levers: Shimano Saint BL-M820
- Chain guide: e*thirteen LG1+ Turbo
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Saint RD-M820
- Shift levers: Shimano Saint SL-M820
- Cassette: Shimano Ultegra CS-6700, 11-25T
- Chain: Shimano
- Crankset: Shimano Saint FD-M820, 165mm, 38T
- Bottom bracket: Shimano SM-BB80
- Pedals: Shimano DX PD-M647
- Rims: Enve M90 Ten, 32h
- Front tyre: Maxxis DHR II 3C, 27.5 x 2.4in, tubeless, clipped, 29psi
- Rear tyre: Maxxis DHR II 3C, 27.5 x 2.4in, tubeless, 30-31psi
- Saddle: WTB Vigo Titanium
- Seatpost: Enve, 5mm offset
- Other accessories: MarshGuard front fender and 'Stash', MarshGuard number plate, titanium hardware