In April the mountain bike race season officially kicks off and Chris King was part of the action in high profile races in both the southern and northern hemispheres.
Two weeks ago in South Africa at the first stop of the UCI Downhill World Cup current world champion Greg Minnaar, former world champion Steve Peat, and future world champion Josh Bryceland of the Santa Cruz Syndicate stormed down the dusty forest covered mountainside of Pietermaritzburg aboard their Chris King equipped Santa Cruz V-10s.
For the 2014 season we worked with the Syndicate team to develop a new headset that allowed the riders to more precisely dial in the fit of their bikes without losing the legendary performance of our famous headsets. Our Buzzworks department manufactured a prototype design that we are calling the OffSet. This prototype headset allows the team to adjust the length of their cockpit 8mm fore and aft, giving the Syndicate riders the fine adjustment they need to feel completely comfortable on their bikes.
As they say, “the proof is in the pudding.” With only a month of time on his DH bike, having spent the offseason recovering from knee surgery, Greg proved he was more than ready to defend his rainbow stripes with a third place finish on his home course. Steve Peat, never one to disappoint used his textbook form and fathomless experience to show the young guns how to race with a top twenty finish. But it was Josh “Ratboy” Bryceland who seemed to be the Syndicate man to watch at this race, having qualified 2nd on this pedal heavy course, one that would normally ntot suite his highly technical riding style. During his race run Josh was up at the first split, obviously on flyer, but a heavy impact early on would disable his chainguide and force him to pump and coast down the rest of the track. Despite this setback Josh was able to glide into the top 50 aboard his fast rolling Chris King hubs, ahead of almost 30 other pedaling riders. This year the Syndicate team is looking fast, fit, and ready to win. Next stop this weekend in the venom field jungles of Cairns, Australia.
While the World Cup was raging just north of the Cape of Good Hope, riders from around the world descended upon the hills surrounding the famous Laguna Seca raceway just east of Monterey Bay for the annual Sea Otter classic. Widely regarded as the opening event of the North America cycling season, Sea Otter is one part bike race, one part trade show, and one part festival baked under the temperate central California sunshine. Chris King was on hand to launch our new SRAM one-by compatible XD Driveshell and help our friends at ENVE Composites with their wheel demo program. While we kept ourselves busy setting riders up on our hubs, Brian Lopes rode his Chris King equipped Intense to a 1st finish in the Sea Otter downhill and a 3rd place in the Sea Otter dual slalom.
While he didn’t find a place on the race podium Chris King rider Carson Storch put his slopestyle skills to work flipping the doubles in the downhill course during his race run. This show of bravado and skill put him squarely on the top step of the podium in our hearts.
Last weekend Jared Graves and Richie Rude of the Yeti Factory Team competed in the first stop of the Enduro World Series in Chillan, Chile. For 2014 the venerable team decided to fully focus on the fast growing discipline of Enduro. Jared Graves is a very strong contender for the overall in 2014 having placed 2nd overall in the inaugural 2013 season. Young gun Richie Rude will certainly be in the hunt as he is quickly developing the pedaling prowess to match his blistering downhill speed. When the moon dust of the Chillan high country Jared came away from the weekend with 2nd, having made a few costly miscalculations on the second day that bumped him from the top step of the podium.
With a successful start to 2014 race behind us we looking forward to an amazing year of racing and riding.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sven Martin. Be sure to follow Sven as he travels the globe capturing image after splendid image of mountain bikers going fast.