How To Set Up Your Mountain Bike For Enduro Racing

How To Set Up Your Mountain Bike For Enduro Racing


– I recently raced the Enduro
World Series in Finale Ligure So, I’m going to talk you
through some bike setup tips, how my bike performs, if I would change anything in hindsight and the toll it’s taken on my bike. (crashing sounds) Firstly, I’ll talk you
through the changes I’ve done from the stock Scott Ransom,
so really not many of those. I changed the tires, while
our tire partner here at GMBN is Continental, my tire
choice is the Baron. It’s quite an aggressive tire, you see the knobs are really big. Quite a lot of space and I find that works really well
in loose conditions. So that was my choice for Finale Ligure, I’ve been there a few times
so I’m quite well aware of the type of trails I’m gonna ride. A lot of loose dust up there actually. I also put a CushCore
system into that rear tire so that is a tire insert. So really for me, it was all about trying to prevent punctures. I can be really heavy on
rear tires especially. When I’m riding flat pedals, I don’t really pick up
my back wheel too well. So I knew that I was more likely to get a rear tire puncture
than anything else. So you do compromise a
little bit on weight. And talking to some of the
pros there over the weekend, some of them just choose
to run downhill tires, so the dual ply, heavyweight tires. I am not running those, the
Barons are still single ply. They do have that Apex
sidewall and protection. So, they’re relatively tough, but they’re by no means a downhill tire. So nice and light still,
but I knew that I would need something in that rear
and that is a CushCore. So I was happy with my tire choice. These weigh in at about
1000 grams (mumbles), and a downhill tire is more like 1300, so not too bad weight-wise
and you add about 260 grams for that CushCore. I know riders that like Richie Rude runs, one on the rear most
times and front and rear if there’s really rough trails. Twenty-niner as well, this
bike I’ve chosen to run. And, I think for me, I’ve
talked about this in the video, I think it’s worked for it really well. I have done a check on Samuel’s pro bike and I was really surprised at
those Michelin tires he runs. Couldn’t believe how soft they were, the actual rubber compound. And how gnarly, they’re
like proper downhill tires. So, loads of grip yes, but
for me that would seem like quite hard work to pedal around. Lots of rolling resistance on those tires. So, to actually get around that big day, those transitions,
probably out of my league. So, I find that these Barons
actually do roll really well. So, this is more my sort of
tire for that type of riding. Yes, probably not quite as grippy, but for me probably my choice
of a better all around tire. Tire pressures again, I
went pretty hard here. I did that by checking on Sam’s bike. I couldn’t believe how hard his tires were just from that squeeze test. My hands, you know, really
didn’t squeeze in at all, so super hard. I decided I was gonna follow Samuel’s lead and go too hard basically. Just to make sure, or try and make sure, I didn’t get any punctures. So, both tubeless of course. Tubeless front, tubeless
and CushCore rear. And I took one spare tube
with me, used this really cool back country strap just to strap a tube. Put also one of those plug kits, so actually loaded up,
could be closer like that. Loaded up the tool with one
of the plugs in it ready, so if I got a puncture
or I ripped my tire, I can just jump off the
bike, wang it in there, pull the tool back out, and get away hopefully
not losing any time. It’s one of those things
you’d have to decide, is it worth doing on
the stage or do you try and ride out the bike, get
through the end of the stage, and then try and fix it. It was there just in case I need it. And again, only one tube,
so if I did get a puncture, it would then have been pretty risky for the rest of the race. I was impressed with the
CushCore on the rear. And it’s not all about
trying to prevent flats. Actually it does give
you some of that down pin because you’ve got quite a
big bit of foam in there. The one thing I was worried
about is if you puncture, they’re really hard to
get those tires off of. Couldn’t believe how
hard it was to get it on. So to get it off in a race, race scenario, I don’t think it’d happen. So you’re gonna rely on that plug and if that plug doesn’t work then your race is probably gonna be over. But, it worked well for me, and I didn’t get any punctures all week. I chose to run flat pedals. I don’t know if you saw that
in those build up videos where I was trying to decide
which was faster for me. And I was really happy
with that decision as well. Definitely have my foot off quite a lot for me on some of those
big loose switchbacks. On stages two and four,
I did a lot of that. So really happy with that. Running those Northwave shoes as well. Those new ones which were super grippy. I think getting on that
Sam Hill Pro Bike Check, I was impressed by how long his pins were. Which I think maybe I’ll
try that in the future. I didn’t wind these out at all, but really I didn’t
lose any grip anywhere. But, I definitely came
to try running those pins a bit further out. Suspension-wise, after
looking at some of the videos, actually someone commented on it. You can see my fork, even now, on that rubber ring, hasn’t
pushed all the way up. So I could definitely have
maybe gone a touch softer on the fork, although at the time, I didn’t notice it to be honest. I had that shock up on this new TI. You’ve got that switch so you can run it from either linear or progressive. I left that on progressive the whole time. And the bike did feel really balanced. Like I say, I can maybe run
those fours a little bit softer. So one of the features on Scott bikes is that Twinloc lever system. So it’s up on the bar and that adjusts the fork and the shock at the same time so it reduces travel. But also adjusts the down pin on that shock at the same time. And I definitely use
that on the transitions. There are some big ones, you
know airing off the peddling, where I stick it in full
lockout on those fire roads. Or in the middle, in
that traction control, for peddling on maybe single track climbs. But I was surprised how much I actually used that in the stages. So my left arm was doing
the drop post an awful lot. But there was quite a few times actually where I went into that middle setting. There was some pretty hard work climbs where it was really slow,
you were really trying to fight up these single track climbs. And I was going into that middle system, just to really keep the BB up, and make that bike peddle
a little bit better and then flick it back
into that fully open when it started tipping back down again. Couple more changes, just
for personal preference. I’ve got those Ergon GD1 Grips. The downhill grip, I like it. We’ve got that flange on the inside. I think it does help just
in case you do slide, but I think they look cool as well. Also that Crankbrothers
Highline drop seat post on the Ergon saddle. I run the big water bottle, so
the Camelbak GNM water bottle is the 710, you can see
it’s slightly longer. Just because it was a super hot day. And, there were sometimes
quite big transitions, so timing between being
able to fill it up. I used my POC Bib Shorts
with the stash bits in them. So in there I carried two bars, two gels, but also some of those ice tonic tabs, so when I filled that up with
water I could drop one in. That worked really well. Only thing with that is it fizzes up, so you find that eventually
you have to let it off. Let a bit of steam off
and it squirted out, so I’ve got a few sticky bits
of fluid left on my bike, and I’m sure that will clean off. You can see the bike is
still dusty from the weekend. And you can see some of the toll that racing takes on your bike. I fell off, only once
actually in practice. And the bike just gets thrashed. Definitely more through
racing than any other riding. So you see a little
scratch on the fork there. It doesn’t affect it, it’s really just not deep enough to really notice. But definitely a few
scratches on my paintwork. My rear wheels got a flat spot and it’s definitely got a
bit of side-side motion. So it’s definitely durable,
it’s just not looking quite as new as the bike
was before that race. Other than those bits, I’ve
got my tools under there. I’ve also got a Powerlink. I’ve just gaffer taped that
up to my front brake hose. So, if my chain does snap quickly, I can get my chain tool out, get two clean ends, and stick that on. Hopefully it shouldn’t take me too long. Cosmetically, the bike has taken a little bit of a knock then, but mechanically it’s all pretty good. All I really need to do
now is give that bike a really good clean down,
give it a full check over. And it’s true that rear wheel, but I’m sure I’ll get that straight again. That dent I’m not worried about, it’s pulled out, it’s nice and straight. The rear tire has taken
quite a bit of wear. It was super dry, super hard work on that. For riding that’s absolutely fine, but if I was getting the
bike ready to race again, I think what I’d do is to stick
that front tire on the back, stick a new one on the
front and really that’s it. So, what are my top tips for getting your bike ready for Enduro racing? Personally, I say always
go a little bit harder with your tires than you do normally. Just try to take away some
of that risk of puncturing because you’re gonna
be riding tired as well which can make you heavier on the bike. Learn to look after your bike
if you don’t know already how to fix things like
punctures with a tubeless plug. You know, any of those common
issues you’re gonna find out on the trail like bolts coming loose. So really try and learn
to work on your bike. And then finally I would say,
try and spend as much time on that bike before the race as you can. ‘Cause I definitely could have tweaked my suspension a little bit better. I just felt like I was a
tiny bit under prepared. Those pros, you know, in the off-season, before the start of the season, really spend a lot of
time riding that bike and getting that bike
completely nailed down with the finer details for those races. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button to GMBN if you haven’t done already. And if you wanna see a couple
more videos from the EWS, click over there for the Pro
Bike Check of Sam Hill’s bike. Very cool custom bike. And up there for the diary of
me actually doing the race. Give a thumbs-up if you like my bike.