Following on from its phenomenal Forward Geometry range of aluminium bikes, Mondraker has just released one of the most exciting trail bikes we’ve ever seen – the Foxy Carbon.
The Spanish bike manufacturer’s radical Forward Geometry concept extends the top tube of the bike by up to 60mm and uses either a 10mm or 30mm stem. This keeps the cockpit the same as equivalent-sized bikes, but puts the front wheel further out in front by lengthening the top tube.
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Video: Mondraker CEO Miguel Pina on the new Foxy Carbon
The effect of this is increased grip and stability in almost all situations; the wheel doesn’t lift on steep climbs, the direct steering response keeps things accurate through tight switchbacks and you’ll never be pitched over the bars on descents. It also distributes the rider’s weight evenly between the front and rear wheels, offering the optimum riding stance.
2015 Mondraker Foxy RR Carbon
Mondraker released this technology on select models in 2013, but committed to it across their range in 2014. To do this when the rest of the industry had been taking things 10mm at a time takes balls, but it’s paid off for Mondraker and now other brands are starting to realise the potential.
2015 Mondraker Foxy Carbon XR
The geometry of the new Foxy Carbon is based around that of the 2014 Foxy frame. Its shape follows the same lines as the alloy version, but is more refined and classier looking. The domed area of the top tube – where it meets the head tube – is more streamlined, accentuating the length of the front triangle.
But looks aren’t the only things the carbon Foxy has going for it. By using a careful layup procedure and the highest grade of carbon available, Mondraker has produced an incredibly stiff front end. This is key to the Forward Geometry concept; unwanted flex in such a long front triangle would give terrible handling. Three years of development work have paid off though, and the frame is precise and reliable, yet comfortable and resilient.
2015 Mondraker Foxy R Carbon
High-end carbon fibre production is dealt with best in the Far East, and the Foxy Carbon emerges from the same factory as other well known high-end frames, though is the most advanced and intricately produced frame to date. The bottom bracket boom shows this off perfectly. It protrudes unsupported from the curved join of the down tube and seat tube. But you’d never know – it’s rock solid under power and suffers no apparent torsional flex.
The Foxy Carbon is also based around Mondraker’s proven Zero suspension platform, which uses a floating shock design to offer 140mm of travel, and is totally isolated to braking and pedaling forces. Where some other designs rely on pedaling forces to offer a compression-resistant platform, the Zero system works so well you simply don’t notice.
It’s very progressive too, so when you’re riding hard there are no nasty surprises or strange characteristics. It’s certainly one of the best platforms available, and offers no-nonsense performance.
Keeping the Foxy Carbon looking clean is an internal cable route, using the large down tube to hold the cables. The Foxy is compatible with Stealth type seatposts, and has cable entry points on top and underneath the down tube for optimal routing.
Internal cable routing
This impressive looking bottom bracket area of the frame is key in making the frame perform well. Mondraker spent a long time, and developed many prototype frames to perfect this – it’s certainly one of the most visually pleasing parts of the frame.
The Foxy Carbon’s bottom bracket area
While the aluminium Foxy looked robust and stocky up front, the head tube area of the Foxy Carbon looks sleek and almost organic. It’s not just about aesthetics though; the long and stiff front triangle is key to the arrow-straight steering precision.
Smooth head tube
Though optimised around a single-ring setup, the Foxy accepts a bolt-on machined aluminium front mech mount, using the same mounting bolts as the neat shock mudguard.
Removable front mech mount
Despite the security of modern single-ring chain retention, you don’t want to foul your carbon frame if the chain jumps off. Mondraker specs a guard that mounts on to the ISCG mounts, specifically to catch the chain if this happens.
ISCG mounted protector plate
The FG30 stem comes as stock on the 140mm travel Foxy Carbon, although the extreme racing model – the Foxy XR – also comes with the aggressive FG10 stem for direct control, as well as a 160mm travel fork.
The shock is actuated from both ends, floating between the lower linkage and the upper rocker. It gives no pedal feedback, no brake jack and has a naturally rising rate which, combined with the damping on the rear shock, offers a very progressive feel with a supple beginning stroke.
Mondraker’s Zero suspension platform
We recently test-rode the Foxy Carbon RR in Alicante, Spain. Anyone familiar with Forward Geometry will feel at home the Foxy Carbon RR – it offers the same confidence for a noticeably lower weight (some 2kg lighter than the aluminium model).
The light feel doesn’t just come from the low weight though. The frame feel is incredibly lively. It’s responsive, light and skippy, which made us wonder how it would feel when thrown in at the deep end.
Luckily Mondraker is a company made of riders, and those riders had one hell of a test ride planned for us, led by the company’s bike-shredding CEO, Miguel Pina. Following a clutch-melting uplift we arrived high in the mountains at a notorious trail – apparently the last big ride here resulted in a broken ankle, a broken arm and several pinch punctures!
Andrew Dodd test-riding the Mondraker Foxy RR Carbon in Alicante
We flew straight in to a gully filled with babyhead-sized rocks that would normally have alarm bells ringing, but the Foxy felt planted and dampened, never out of shape or out of its depth. The carbon construction is to thank for this, as well as the oddly silent ride – at times we wondered if we’d dropped the chain or even had one at all! The Foxy Carbon is a seriously quiet bike.
It’s also very agile – changing direction, even at speed, was a relaxed affair and we never worried about approaching rocks or turns. The front-end stiffness really does offer incredible precision – we were able to point the front wheel into minute gaps with confidence, even when running scared from Mondraker’s test riders, who were always hot on our heels!
The Foxy’s climbing prowess is impressive too. Even in loose, dry Spanish conditions we easily ascended steep and technical climbs.
Where the previous aluminium Foxy frame was stiff and offered a great ride, the Foxy Carbon offers a new, updated feel. It has all the ride attributes of a lightweight all-mountain bike and the downhill ferocity of a long-travel, slack-angled bike. Which is exactly what it aims for.
The Foxy RR Carbon was light, lively and agile
Having spent a lot of time on the aluminium models, we can certainly see where Mondraker are headed with the Foxy Carbon. And it’s going to upset a lot of major bike manufacturers that have committed to (shorter) expensive carbon fibre mouldings.
That alone makes us smile – Mondraker made the decision to produce this beast of a bike when many manufacturers were still scratching their heads over 27.5in wheels, let alone long wheelbase geometry.
As far as we’re concerned, the future for trail bikes is definitely longer, slacker and lower, and right now, Mondraker are the forefront of this movement. Unless you plan on buying a Foxy Carbon, we wouldn’t advise test riding one – it’s so good, a purchase would be inevitable!
UK pricing for the 2015 Mondraker Foxy Carbon range is as follows:
FLETCHER, N.C. (BRAIN) – Cane Creek Cycling Components announced two new hires on Monday: senior design engineer Jim Rathbun and marketing coordinator Joel Burgess
The Genesis Equilibrium Disc offers a good ride quality and great looks. Reynolds 631 steel tubing is a lighter, stronger evolution of the classic 531 tubeset, which air hardens after welding, and is also used for the curved, lugged fork whose slim disc-specific blades not only complement the frame’s design better than any carbon offering could, but further enhance the lively ride quality.
The frame is beautifully constructed, immaculately finished and arrived very well set up. The handlebar height on our 56cm model is determined by the reasonable 150mm head tube height plus extra 27mm of external headset. It was perfect for this bike, low enough for tucking down out of the wind, but ideal for a relaxing cruise along the top.
The tall head tube and headset create a relaxed riding position
Termed ‘Sportive Disc’, the Equilibrium is intended for day-long comfort, and although it gave the impression of a sedate ride, we were hardly any slower than usual around our test circuit.
Shimano’s high quality XT mountain bike hubs are laced three-cross to 32-hole 23mm wide H Plus Son Archetype rims, creating very smooth-rolling, tough and forgiving wheels. The increased width adds stability and the extra air volume in the 25mm tyres results in a more cushioned, grippier ride.
The cable-operated Hayes CX Expert brakes took a little time to bed in, but were consistent in the wet, and have ample power to haul bike and a big rider to a controlled halt.
Despite its extra weight, the Equilibrium willingly springs into action when hustled, accelerating with enthusiasm and maintaining flatland speed with ease. In the hills, gravity determines that the Genesis isn’t a naturally rapid climber, but the sensible 34×28 bottom gear will get you up almost anything. Coming down, the bike’s mass and stability combine with those wider rims and tyres to keep it absolutely planted, and the power of the disc brakes maximises the frame’s deft handling, making descents fast, fun and safe.
Mudguard eyes give the Equilibrium year-round versatility, and its refined ride put a smile on our faces every time we ventured out, proving that quality can be as important as outright speed.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.
Easton has revamped its road wheel range from head to toe for 2014, with much more aerodynamic rim shapes, lots more tubeless compatibility on clincher models, and more value at the low/mid range than ever. Even better, all the hubs have been completely overhauled for what should be vastly improved durability.
Topping the new Easton range are the 1,330g EC90 Aero 55 carbon tubulars (US$2,400) and matching 1,580g EC90 Aero 55 full-carbon clinchers (US$2,800), which will go on sale towards the end of 2013.
Both feature a 55mm-deep section, called Fantom, that’s a whopping 28mm wide at the tire bed and nearly 30mm across about one-third down the cross-section. Naturally, Easton claims the Fantom rim makes for the “fastest 50-60mm wheel on the market” based on wind averaged drag (WAD) measurements.?
The company says WAD research provides a more realistic view of a wheel’s aerodynamic performance as it collectively considers a wide range of wind angles (0 to 20 degrees) in a single calculated figure rather than cherry picking a particular data point.
Based on those WAD conditions, Easton claims a 15sec time saving over 40km when traveling at 48kmh (30mph).
Easton EC90 Aero 55 tubulars on our Trek Madone 7-Series
Intricacies aside, the new Fantom rim shape also features a very blunt nose. This should make for good stability in blustery conditions compared to more traditionally shaped rims with more acutely angled spoke beds.
Full-carbon EC90 Aero 55 clinchers will be wholly Road Tubeless compatible, for easy setup with either tubeless or tube-type tires – an industry first if you ignore the notably rare Corima Aero+ (or its rebadged Hutchinson RT1 cousin).?
Easton has carried over the threaded rivnut concept from its Haven and Havoc mountain bike wheels, to anchor the dual-threaded spokes. This not only leaves a solid outer rim wall (requiring no tape to be airtight) but allows for a thinner and lighter spoke bed, as the rivnuts also provide localized reinforcement against pull-through.
Easton gives its new EC90 Aero 55 clincher a generous 19mm internal width
EC90 Aero 55 tubulars will instead use internal nipples that will require users to unglue tires if truing is required – a move Easton says was made in the interest of saving weight.
Interestingly, the company has abandoned the once-touted Thermotec brake track for the new EC90 Aero 55 rims, saying that recent advancements in fiber and resin technologies have since rendered the treatment unnecessary. According to Easton, the only comparable competitor wheelset to pass its in-house brake testing is the Zipp 404 Firecrest.
Easton will grace the EC90 Aero 55 wheels – and several other models – with a radically new Echo hubset, whose design looks to be a major step forward from the longstanding R4 and R4 SL currently used throughout the range. Easton says the new Echo hubs are actually about 5g heavier, but that the resultant boost in durability more than makes up for the weight gain.
Conventional cartridge-type hubs feature two bearings for the freehub body, which is then pressed up against the hub shell, which houses two more bearings that support the axle. The setup works but the bearing spacing is less than ideal in terms of axle support.
Echo, on the other hand, shuffles the order of the four bearings so that the ones supporting the axle are pushed nearly all the way out to the dropouts, moving one of the freehub bearings between them. Compared to R4/R4 SL, axle bearing spacing more than doubles from 44mm to 95mm (notably, Easton references the supremely durable Shimano Dura-Ace bearing spacing at 90mm, DT Swiss at 55mm, Mavic at 60mm, and Zipp’s 188 at 64.5mm).
Bearings are pushed very far apart on the new Easton Echo front hub
All of the bearings are made for Easton by Enduro, with the innermost ones using an angular contact design and the other two featuring a tight-tolerance C0 spec for what should be far-better off-axis load capacity and durability. To give a sense of scale, the enormous inboard freehub body bearing is actually a 1in headset bearing. Echo hub owners won’t have to worry about preload, either, as it will be factory set with no chance of loosening.
The Echo ratchet mechanism also bucks convention with an inverted layout that puts its spring-loaded steel pawls outside the driver ring instead of the other way round. According to Easton, this allows for a more efficient use of material in terms of distributing stress, while allowing for more room to push the driveside axle bearing further out.?
The 52-tooth driver ring offers a speedy 6.9-degree engagement speed, too. This would be handy on Easton’s off-road models, too, which we expect to get the Echo treatment for 2015.
The 52-tooth driver ring on the new Easton Echo hub
Other Echo features include large-diameter forged and machined bodies, factory-set bearing preload (so owners won’t have to worry about adjustments or loosening), additional seals behind the end caps to prevent water damage, and intricately machined flanges with stainless steel reinforcement rings that supposedly keep spoke tension from influencing bearing preload.
All hubs will come with Shimano/SRAM 9-, 10-, or 11-speed compatible freehub bodies as standard; Campagnolo ones will only be available separately.
The EC90 Aero 55s obviously cost a lot for a pair of wheels, so Easton has wisely revamped the rest of its range, too.
EA90 (SLX or SL)
The 1,400g EA90 SLX clinchers (US$1,200) get a wholesale redesign, with a certified Road Tubeless-compatible alloy rim and the same Echo hubs as the EC90 Aero 55s. As before, the rim uses a shallow profile to minimize weight, but the internal width has grown to a more generous 17.5mm for improved ride and handling characteristics. Spoke count is a spindly 16h front, 20h rear.
Easton EA90 SL clincher
Alternatively, the new 1,580g EA90 SL clinchers (US$900) use the same rim material as the SLXs but extruded in last year’s narrower (but still tubeless compatible) EA90 RT shape. Spoke count is also a more generous 20-/24-hole front/rear for extra stiffness.
“The alloy used in EA90 SL and EA90 SLX rims is the same but the profiles are different – same raw material, different processes,” said Easton product manager Scott Junker. “Additionally, we use some specialized tools to manipulate the EA90 SLX rim after extrusion.”
The 1,660g EC70 SL (US$1,400) will use the same 42mm-deep carbon-and-aluminum rim as last year – and, sadly, the same 15mm internal width – but gets a new V5 hubset. Based on the Echo, the V5 features a similar external design with its large-diameter body and stainless steel ring reinforced spoke flanges but a more conventional internal layout.
Easton EC70 SL
EA70 (SL or standard)
The 1,590g EA70 SL (US$700) wheels do get new 17.5mm wide (internal) non-tubeless aluminum clincher rims to go along with their new V5 hubs.?Finally, there’s the standard 1,650g EA70 (US$500) pair, which uses the same extrusion as the EA70 SL but with a pinned joint and straight spokes instead of butted ones.
The EA90 XD is the only Easton road wheel that will be wholly carried over from this year, and will remain the only disc-compatible option for 2014. We expect a much more comprehensive disc-compatible selection, however, for 2015.
All of the new alloy wheels will arrive in stores a little earlier than the all-carbon EC90 Aero 55s, with projected availability in July.
We were able to give both the EC90 Aero 55 tubulars and EA90 SLX tubeless clinchers a good workout in the mountains surrounding Bassano del Grappa, Italy. Initial impressions were very encouraging.
Stiffness on the EC90 Aero 55 tubulars was noticeably high and, not surprisingly, they hold speed very well. Unfortunately, relatively calm conditions didn’t allow us to test stability, but the plentiful climbs and descents gave us plenty of opportunity to try the braking. Dry braking performance was excellent, with alloy-like levels of initial grip and predictable progression. Braking was silent, too, until the rims got fairly hot, at which point there was some moderate squealing.
Testing in the Dolomites
With just an extra 70g on board, the EA90 SLX tubeless clinchers didn’t feel any heavier when we were accelerating or climbing, but their very good stiffness – not to mention the fantastic versatility and durability of tubeless tires – suggested they’ll be an excellent everyday wheel for both training and racing.
We’ll have long-term samples shortly, and are particularly looking forward to putting some miles in on the EC90 Aero 55 full-carbon clinchers, whose deep-section rims, wide profile, and tubeless compatibility should make them a worthy partner for fast, all-day rides.
Meanwhile, for more information on Easton products see www.eastoncycling.com.
One of the best parts of mountain biking is that it enables you to journey farther and faster into the woods than you could on foot. This also means that when something goes wrong, such as an injury or a mechanical, it will likely be up to you to address the problem.
With longer days come longer rides. And if, like me, you enjoy spending all day on the trails, you should plan and pack accordingly.
In addition to nutrition, hydration and identification, here are 20 items to bring on your next backcountry mountain bike ride.
Like most tools, these items are only useful if you know how to use them. It’s always best to ride with a group. If venturing deep into the woods alone, be sure you have a basic understanding of first aid and also know how to:
1. Spare tubes (2)
Carrying two spare tubes is a must for long mountain bike rides. Double flats happen — usually a split second after you call out to your riding buddies “Hey! Watch this!” High-speed descents through rock gardens and jumps with flat run-outs are notorious for pinching tubes and tires.
When riding with a group, I carry one tube for my wheel size and, regardless of what bike I’m riding, also carry a 650b (27.5in) tube. Why? Because in a jam a ‘tweener’ tube works well enough for both 26in and 29er tires that I can help out a fellow mountain biker in need.
2. Patch kit
Patch kits take up very little room in your pack and are a necessity when you’ve used your last tube. Glueless patches (shown here) are much faster to apply but don’t have the longevity of patches that use a vulcanizing agent.
3. Tire pump
Never leave home without a good multi-tool. I always opt for a multi-tool with a built-in chain tool, a T25 torx, flathead and Philips screwdrivers, and at least 2.5 3,4,5,6 and 8mm Allen keys, and the most common spoke tool sizes. The crankbrothers multi-tool shown here is good; a multi-tool that also has a built in pair of pliers and wire cutters is even better.
5. Tire levers (2)
While many multi-tools have a tire lever built into them, they’re generally not as useful, nor as well constructed, as standalone levers.
6. Shock pump
Modern air shocks are quite reliable, but it’s still a good idea to pack a shock pump in case you develop a slow leak or (more likely) if you find you need to fine-tune your suspension during your ride.
7. Chain lube
If you’re likely to encounter multiple stream crossings, dusty trail conditions, or a chance of showers on your ride a small bottle of chain lube pack a small bottle of chain lube. Tip: use a rubber band to wrap a section of cloth from a rag or old shirt around the bottle – use it to clean grime off the chain before applying fresh chain lube, as well as to wipe off excess lube after application.
8. Lip balm
Keeping a stick of lip balm (preferably with an SPF rating) in your pack is a good idea when riding in dry environments.
9. Sun screen
The long days of summer mean long, rides but also mean more exposure. Pack a small bottle of sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) and reapply when needed.
Smart phones can do a number of helpful things, but the most important is to phone home in case an emergency. Be sure to have an “in case of emergency” contact listed in your phone’s address book.
11. Packable rain jacket
Weather can be unpredictable, particularly in the mountains. A lightweight, packable shell, such as this Endura Pakajak, will keep your core dry warm, should you encounter a sudden downpour.
12. First aid kit
A small first aid kit in a waterproof package is a must. Bandages, gauze, disinfecting wipes, and tweezers are all items to include in your kit. Like the tools in this list, a first aid kit is only useful if you know how to use it – a basic understanding of first and CPR may come in handy.
13. Derailleur hanger
A bent or broken derailleur hanger can mean the end of your ride (or an impromptu singlespeed conversion). Carry a spare hanger with mounting bolts just in case. Problem Solvers Universal Derailleur Hanger is a good backup option, if you’re packing for more than just yourself, though it won’t work with the increasingly common 142×12mm rear axle.
14. Extra links of chain with a master link
Keeping a few links of chain, along with a master link, in your pack will ensure you can replace bent or broken links and still have full use of your gears.
15. Chainring bolt
Chainring bolts occasionally shear off or rattle loose. Keeping a spare in your pack will allow your to continue on with all your rings intact.
16. Extra cleat with bolts and backplate
It rarely happens, but when it does it can turn a great ride into miserable, one-legged pedaling misadventures. Keep a cleat along with the bolts and backplate (the part that goes in your shoe) in your pack. This way you all three parts, should you need them. Tip: Keep the cleat bolted to the backplate so you don’t lose any of the pieces.
17. Zip ties
Zip ties come in handy in a number of ways. They can be used to wrangle errant cables, replace a broken or missing chainring bolt (just long enough to limp home), and keep your shoe tight if a buckle breaks.
18. Spare spoke with nipple
Keep a spare spoke and nipple on hand just in case. Like the spare cleat, keep the nipple threaded onto the spoke so you don’t lose it.
Money, that stuff that makes the world go ’round, can also make your bike go ’round. Carry the coin of your realm (in paper form) in your pack. In addition to being useful to procure a post-ride beer and/or burrito, it can also be used as a tire boot.
20. Small but bright headlight
If there’s a chance you won’t make it home before nightfall a small light, just bright enough the illuminate your path, will lead you safely home.
A small bag, like this Backcountry Research T?lbag, will keep your smaller essentials in one tidy package
In sum, the items shown here weigh 1,560g (3.4lb) and are worth every gram.
That’s my list. What do you carry with you on all-day mountain bike rides?
TEMPE, AZ (BRAIN) — Pivot Cycles has promoted Lisa Cramton to marketing manager. Cramton joined Pivot in July of 2011 as an executive assistant to president and CEO Chris Cocalis. While at Pivot she has also been involved with special projects, coordinating expos, demos and dealer events. The company said her experience in retail, marketing, producing high profile events and overall industry passion will bring momentum to Pivot Cycles and their continued growth
Our friends over at?ChopMTB.com?have picked three more must-watch mountain bike videos for us this week, including natural trails versus bike parks, Tracy Moseley’s?introduction to the enduro season and dusty desert drifts.
1 Natural trails or bike parks?
Spain’s?Bernat Guardia and Ivan Oulego represent the ‘natural’ corner as they speed through the mountains near Barcelona. While Emanuel Pombo hits Portugal’s Bikepark Ponte de Lima.
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This is part of the film ‘All or Nothing’ – watch it on ChopMTB?
2 Tracy Moseley at Afan Forest
The?UK Gravity Enduro series kicks off at Afan Forest?this weekend, and here’s?2010 world downhill champ?Tracy Moseley?showing you how it should be done.
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See more Tracy Moseley videos on ChopMTB
3 Dusty desert drifts
Nik Dommen headed out to Kirt Voreis’ house in Bend, Oregon, to shred some trails in the high desert. Get ready for some foot-out, flat-out riding, with big dusty drifts mixed in with slick tricks.
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See more mountain bike action from Oregon on ChopMTB
Editor’s note: Download BRAIN’s Taipei Cycle Show Day 3 newsletter: Day 3 | Day 2 | Day 1 . Guru makes first appearance in Taipei Robert Pinazza made his first-ever trip to Taiwan and to Taipei Cycle this year. The time seemed about right
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Sky’s Bradley Wiggins‘ stellar season has landed him the prestigious V?lo d’Or for 2012.
Wiggins won Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphin? and the Tour de France, finishing ahead of Omega Pharma – QuickStep’s Tom Boonen in the votes for the world’s best cyclist. Boonen was the rider of the classics in 2012, taking out Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.
Wiggins followed his Tour de France victory by winning the individual time trial at the London Olympic Games.
UCI WorldTour winner, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) finished third off the back of his victories at La Fl?che Wallonne and Il Lombardia, as well as podiums at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espa?a. 2011 V?lo d’Or winner Philippe Gilbert was fourth.
The Velo d’Or Fran?ais, the award for the best French rider, was taken out by Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) for the third successive season. The 33-year-old won two stages along with the mountains classification att the Tour de France. Voeckler finished ahead of mountain bike world champion and Olympic gold medallist Julie Bresset, with Arnaud D?mare and Thibaut Pinot tied for third place.
Thirteen journalists from around the world are polled annually with the prize being awarded by V?lo magazine since 1992. Wiggins is the first British rider to have won the award.
2012 V?lo d’Or:
1. Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
2. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
4. Philippe Gilbert (BMC)
5. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
Velo d’Or Fran?ais:
1. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)
2. Julie Bresset
3. Arnaud D?mare (FDJ-BigMat)
3. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat)
5. Gr?gory Baug?
Previous Velo d’Or winners –
1992: Miguel Indurain
1993: Miguel Indurain
1994: Tony Rominger
1995: Laurent Jalabert
1996: Johan Museeuw
1997: Jan Ullrich
1998: Marco Pantani
1999: Lance Armstrong
2000: Lance Armstrong
2001: Lance Armstrong
2002: Mario Cipollini
2003: Lance Armstrong
2004: Lance Armstrong
2005: Tom Boonen
2006: Paolo Bettini
2007: Alberto Contador
2008: Alberto Contador
2009: Alberto Contador
2010: Fabian Cancellara
2011: Philippe Gilbert
If Moab is so well known for mountain biking, then why do some riders come back talking about the great Mexican food?
We are accustomed to hearing tall tales of riding exposed slivers of redrock-embedded singletrack, contouring along the upper rim of sheer cliffs. But what is all this talk about an enchilada?
The Whole Enchilada is a massive series of trails that starts at the 11,200ft Burro Pass in the La Sal mountain range, and drops some 7,000ft to the Colorado River below. In between, as its name suggests, there is a lot of tasty trail rolled up and baked together into one fantastic plate of mountain bike goodness. What starts in high alpine drops through fir and aspen trees, and takes you through rock gardens, root sections, around a lake and across technical climbs before connecting you to the famous Porcupine Rim and Lower Kokopelli Rim trails.
If you go, bring a big appetite —?and some fitness.
Fall is beautiful in the La Sal Mountains at the top of The Whole Enchilada
Like many rides, the Whole Enchilada suffers slightly from hype. Yes, you get 7,000 feet of descending. But short of being heli-dropped onto the very top of Burro Pass, and being sequentially plucked up and dropped off several more times along the 26.5-mile chain of trails, you will climb to earn more than a few of the Enchilada’s turns.
A typical option is for riders to shuttle up to the oxygen-stingy Geyser Pass at 10,200ft, where the unprepared are slapped across the face with both a steep 1,000-foot climb, and temperatures that generally average half of the temperatures they left down in Moab an hour before. Rain, sleet and snow are all possible up there.
Once at the top of Burro Pass, the trail sometimes referred to as Burro Down drops quickly down the backside and into high alpine forest, switchbacking multiple times through fir trees and crossing frigid creeks between little rock gardens and exposed root sections. Momentum slows as the fir trees yield to a huge grove of aspens, and eventually riders find themselves climbing up and around Warner Lake to a campground.
En route to Burro Pass, the steep sections — and thin air — may force some riders to walk
Between the campground and the top of a mesa that hosts phenomenal views and the Hazard County trailhead is a grunt of a slightly technical little climb. By typical mountain bike standards, the climb isn’t anything to write home about. But after a sustained climb to get to its base, and having heard from all your friends that “it’s 7,000 feet of descending!” for an entire year from the trip they took without you last year, it’s a grunt that will be remembered.
Even the locals stop to take in the views at the Hazard County trailhead at a treeless mesa; behind you sit the La Sal mountains that you started in only an hour or so before, and in front of you lies singletrack that fades seamlessly into the red, graduated lines of Utah canyon-laden desert.
Hazard County is one of the fastest, flowiest trail segments in the Whole Enchilada. It loses its speed towards the end with progressively tighter and twistier singletrack that suddenly throws in rock gardens just around the shrub-blinded bends. But as a word of experience, the faster Hazard is ridden, the easier it becomes.
Heading towards the drop into Hazard
Hazard essentially turns into the Kokopelli Trail at Sand Flats road (make note as this is a great bail-out spot for those bad days nobody likes to talk about), and gets fast and open for a couple of miles on jeep road. Sometimes this section is in great shape, but more often than not, there will be erosion-trenched trail waiting to grab an unsuspecting wheel on the blind backside of some of the many waterbars.
Kokopelli ends with another climb up to the top of UPS (Upper Porcupine Singletrack), which is a massive variation in trail conditions compared to everything that Whole Enchilada has been thus far. Consisting of more typical Moab riding, UPS is rock-laden, and flirts with a canyon rim edge that offers amazing views. Momentum is lost as the elevation flattens out, with exception of steep, technical little ups and downs. Included in UPS is the famous Notch, which the vast majority of riders either walk or take the slightly easier, alternate route around. Either direction will drop riders into a little valley that requires climbing out of for a few minutes, which is another spot you’ll hear your friends’ voice inside your head saying “it’s 7,000-feet of descending!!”
Kokopelli trail: The views come standard
UPS melts into LPS (Lower Porcupine Singletrack) flawlessly, but is still a different segment of trail by name and location. Here, more rocky, technical trail flirts with the canyon’s rim.
LPS drops down to the rough jeep road that is Porcupine Rim, which is arguably the most popular ride in Moab, second to Slick Rock, of course. Porcupine Rim climbs, flattens out, climbs, descends, and climbs its way for miles. And when the trail does descend, speed is gauged more on how much abuse you and/or your bike can take over the relentless rock sections instead of skill level. This is where riders who got in over their head, but opted not to duck out on Sand Flats road, fall to pieces. But it’s also one of the more fun sections of the ride as it allows multiple line options for personal enjoyment, to cut in front of your friends, or to get around glazed over riders who are at this point yelling “I thought this was all downhill!!!” at the sky.
The last section of Porcupine Rim is entered via a little open gate, labeled “singletrack,” and starts the last few miles of trail before reaching highway 128. For good-to-great bike handlers, the sign may as well read “Your Happy Place,” as this section is riddled with ledge-exposed, technical rock sections that offer all kinds of gratification for making it through cleanly, or finding more impressive lines than your friends.
The lower section of Porcupine Rim comes a few hours into your ride
For riders who are already a bit shell-shocked from the high alpine switchbacks, the high speeds of Kokopelli, the abundance of steep climbs that weren’t expected, and the constant bombardment of technical rock features throughout UPS and LPS, the sign is the point in which it’s time to really put it in survival mode, instead of assuming it will be an easy cool-down cruise to the road. As a whole, there isn’t anything particularly harder about this section of trail when compared to the rest of the ride. It’s more that this section is somewhat relentless in its technical sections with consequences.
Lower Kokopelli Rim trail funnels into an underpass and ends in a campground. From that point, it’s about 4 miles of road and bike path along the Colorado River to town, or some shuttle services will pick riders up in a parking lot just outside the campground. For riders who are out of water, but still want to ride back to town, there is a natural spring that comes out of the rock canyon wall about 2 miles down the road on the left, before getting to highway 191. It’s not marked, but there’s almost always a few people filling up water containers.
The best time to ride the Whole Enchilada is in the fall. Otherwise, Burro Pass and possibly Hazard County will be snowed in during winter and spring, and the lower sections of trail will be miserably hot during the summer. In addition to the heat, the creek crossings may be more like river crossings in the summer, too, depending on snowpack.
It’s often cold up top, and sunlight and huddling together only do so much; pack well
Don’t use the Moab weather forecast to pack for the ride. Assume that it will literally be half of Moab’s temperature on top of Burro Pass. (90 degrees in town = 45 degrees up top.) And, while it can be sunny and clear in town, it can be white-out, blizzard conditions up in the La Sals, so pack accordingly.
The Whole Enchilada is the last ride to worry about saving weight, especially with tires. Go tubeless, run high-volume tires with reinforced sidewalls if not reinforced casings, and bring a few tubes just in case.
Ride within your skill level. It’s a long walk out
While everything from fully rigid to downhill rigs will be seen on the trail, the best recommendation is a 6in travel bike with a dropper post that’s set up to climb reasonably well.
Bring water. It’s amazing how many people we ran into were begging for it. Keep in mind that the shuttle is almost an hour to the top, and the ride itself can take 5+ hours with less-experienced riders, so plan for your water to last 6+ hours.
Moab is definitely more fun by day. There are enough places to grab decent food, random after-hour bike shop parties, and a couple of venues that host music on occasion. But you’re probably never going to hear anyone out on the trail say “Hey! It’s Friday night! Let’s save a little in the tank and take the easy way back.” The best bang for the Moab buck is to spend as much time away from the town itself, exploring the vast majority of trails, rock formations, and swimming holes.
Don’t come to Moab if you don’t like being outside
A note on alcoholic beverages and Utah state law; State-run liquor stores are closed on Sunday, and are the only place to get the hard stuff. Any beer that comes out of a bar’s tap, or stocked at the grocery store, is 3.2% alcohol. Moab Brewery does have beer with higher alcohol content, but it costs $1 more, and has to be brought out in a can. And while we’re no authority on the matter, it appears that it is technically illegal to bring your own alcohol into Utah.
While the trails hit 20%, the beer is only 3.2% in Utah