Kenny ‘The Magician’ Belaey knows how to wow a crowd, as he proved when he put on some gravity-defying displays at the Absa Cape Epic in Cape Town, South Africa. Belaey is a nine-time world champion, and one of the very best mountain bike trials riders in the world.
Hopping from one raised box to another that's 3m away requires a huge amount of skill, power and, of course, special equipment. We spoke to Belaey about the unmarked aluminium 26in GT trials frame that he was riding at Cape Epic. We’re told it's a prototype that Belaey himself has been instrumental in designing.
Kenny Belaey and his GT trials prototype
“The idea is to have an all-round bicycle, because I’m an all-round rider. I prefer to have a 26in trials bike and make it actually look like street riding,” said Belaey to BikeRadar.
It didn't take long for Belaey to remove the seat, seatpost and quick-release from the frame
Perhaps the most unique aspect of this bike is the optional seatpost that is held in place with a special thru-axle type quick-release collar – a market first according to Belaey. Without the seatpost, the frame looks like a usual modified trials frame. With the seat in place, the bike becomes a little more comfortable to coast around town. The idea is that this should help make trials more accessible, Belaey told us.
The frame has a horizontal dropout, and is set up for a single gear only. Because of to the stop-start, explosive nature of trials, Belaey’s bike is set up with a miniscule 18t front cog and a 15t at rear.
A new crankset concept holds a 18Tt 'chainring'
What makes such a gear possible is a new 170mm crankset from French company CrewKerz, with a Shimano spline to use a standard rear cog as a chainring. This 30mm spindled crankset sits in a PF30 bottom bracket shell, a concept in the world of trials dubbed ‘AS30’. The crankset also features its own ring bashguard.
This bike differs from Belaey's regular competition bike in a number of ways.
The use of a disc brake on the front is one. Belaey says the reason for this is that there isn’t a disc brake rotor strong enough to handle the usual forces of competition trials. The other key difference is the positioning. This show bike has a far more upright position, thanks to the Monty trials stem and riser bars. Lastly, Belaey's competition bike is roughly 1kg lighter than this bike.
The rear brake is a Magura HS-33 hydraulic rim brake that clamps onto a wide trials rim with a ground surface.
These brakes are the go-to product in trials
Traditionally, these Magura rim brakes require a brake booster, a reinforcing bridge that stiffens the gap in the frame and prevents flex from the hugely powerful brakes. Belaey’s aluminium frame doesn’t have that, however – instead it has special brake mounts at the seatstays and reinforcing struts to handle the huge forces.
When not doing ridiculous moves on a bike, Belaey manages his online trials bike store, enter-bike.
- Frame: GT Trials 26in aluminium prototype
- Fork: TrialTech Sport Lite 26in Disc
- Cranks: CrewKerz AS30, 170mm, 18t fixed cog
- Rear cog: 15T
- Pedals: Hope F20 flat
- Hubs: Hope Pro Evo 2 Trials
- Rims: TrialTech Sport Lite
- Handlebar: TrialTech SL riser
- Stem: Monty Carbon Wrap
- Front brake: Hope Trial Zone, 180mm rotor
- Rear brake: Magura HS-33 hydraulic rim
- Front tyre: Continental Race King 2.2in
- Rear tyre: Continental Der Kaiser 2.5in
- Weight: Approximate 9kg (19.8lb)
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a closer look at this ride.