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MTB News & Racing Round-up, January 15, 2010

Date published:
January 15, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Ibis Cycles adds longer-travel Mojo HD to lineup

    Ibis debuted its new Mojo HD long-travel rig this week with initial deliveries slated for March.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 1:08 GMT
    James Huang

    Heavier-duty carbon fiber chassis unveiled

    Ibis Cycles finally took the wraps off of its production Mojo HD this week, thus adding a long-awaited longer-travel and heavier-duty carbon fiber chassis to its popular Mojo and Mojo SL models. Rear wheel travel extends a modest 20mm – from 140mm to 160mm – but Ibis says a flatter spring rate will make the HD feel longer-legged than the numbers would suggest on paper while concurrent changes in geometry as well as frame and link stiffness and strength will make the bike more capable overall in demanding situations.

    In keeping with the HD's more abusive target use, tubing profiles and carbon fiber lay-ups in both the front triangle and swingarm have been modified to lend the frame more stiffness and strength than the standard Mojo. Frame designers have also added a newly tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube to the front end for extra steering precision and braking solidity while also allowing for a bigger and stouter down tube. Out back, a 12x135mm Maxle thru-axle setup will reduce twist in the rear triangle under load.

    Both the upper and lower links will continue to be made of forged and machined aluminum but the lower link beefs up with a combination of dual-row angular contact and large-diameter radial cartridge bearings to prevent movement between the two subassemblies.

    Handling has been revised to better suit the anticipated higher speeds, too. In particular, the head tube angle has slackened from 69 degrees on the standard Mojo to 67 degrees for the HD as per the requests of sponsored rider Brian Lopes, who raced a prototype frame at the UCI downhill world championships in Canberra, Australia last September.

    Unsagged bottom bracket is raised a bit relative to the standard Mojo to accommodate the HD's additional travel but sagged height is actually 10mm lower when fitted with the recommended 160-180mm fork – meaning you might hit your pedals and cranks on obstacles from time to time but cornering...

  • Fry aims to defend Australian national cross country title

    Rowena Fry from Tasmania powers her way towards a gold medal in the women's elite cross country event in Glenorchy.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 12:58 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Tasmanian wants to keep the green and gold jersey

    As the only Olympic mountain bike event the cross country race at the SRAM Australian MTB Championships, at Eagle MTB Park in Adelaide this Saturday, is sure to be a hotly contested affair.

    Tasmania's Rowena Fry has her sights set on defending her cross country national title at the Australian Mountain Bike Championships at Eagle Mountain Bike Park in Adelaide this Saturday.

    As defending champion, Fry will be the woman to beat. Her main challengers are expected to come from last year's silver medallist Jo Wall and Katherine O'Shea, who won last season's national series overall. Others to watch include local favourite Therese Rhodes and newcomer Heather Logie, who finished an impressive second behind Fry in round one of the national series in December.

    Well aware of the old cliché that it's harder to stay on top than it is to get to the top Fry said, "I'm excited going into the race, but if I can win, there'll also be a feeling of relief."

    "There's nothing that can make you more proud than representing you country overseas and wearing the green and gold jersey of Australian champion," said Fry.

    Leaving no stone unturned in her title defense, the 27-year-old has been training on the course to ensure there are no surprises on Saturday. "It's a very fast course, with a lot of singletrack," she said. "The way the course is laid out, it will be hard to gain time but easy to lose time.

    "And although there's not a lot of climbing, the climbs are short and sharp, so you'll need to be pretty punchy in those sections.

    "But the biggest factor is that it's a hard course to pass on, which will make the start and the whole first lap really important."

  • Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup team signs two more

    Carolin Schiff and Vladi Riha
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 15:23 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Schiff and Riha join 2010 squad

    The Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup team added two more riders: Carolin Schiff and Vladi Riha. Unlike their cross country teammates, Schiff and Riha prefer to race marathons.

    The two live together in Bremen, where each trains about 20,000km per year. The 36-year-old Riha grew up in the Czech city Chomotov, but has lived in Germany since he was eight years old. His partner Schiff was born in Hannover 24 years ago.

    Schiff, a qualified nurse, focuses on her studies when not riding while Riha, who started cycling in 2002, makes his living as a pro cyclist. Both came from road cycling, and Schiff has previously competed in swimming, running and triathlons.

    Riha is looking forward to the new challenge. "I hope I can integrate with the team as quickly as possible and have an even better season than last year. My ultimate goal is the European Marathon Championship, and I also hope to win one or two marathons in 2010."

    Schiff is also aiming high for 2010. "On the new team, I hope to progress fast, especially concerning my mountain bike skills."

    The Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup team now humbers eight athletes: Simon Scheiber, Karl Markt, Manne Reis, Vladi Riha, Sabrina Enaux, Adelheid Morath, Blaza Klemencic and Carolin Schiff.

  • Lucky reader wins Cyclingnews calendar contest

    Cyclingnews Tom Platt is also a mountain biker.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 18:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Washington man to enjoy Cyclepassion calendar

    Reader Tom Platt of Kirkland, Washington in the USA is the lucky winner of the 2010 Cyclingnews Cyclepassion calendar contest. The fifth edition of the calendar features photos of cyclists Sabine Spitz, Lene Byberg, Julie Krasniak, Nikki Harris, Monia Baccaille, Anna Sanchis, Steffi Marth and Solveig Lindgren.

    "That's great! I've entered contests for years, and this is the first one I've won!" said Platt, who has been a cyclist, both road and mountain, for 25 years.

    "I have been a frequent visitor to Cyclingnews for close to 10 years," said Platt, who credited a co-worker for showing him the site long ago.

    "I check the website four or five times a day, searching for breaking news and tech articles. I'm currently racing for the Cucina Fresca Cycling Team in the Seattle area as a Cat. 4."

  • Stander heads to Attakwas Extreme

    The favorites race each other at the MTN Blockhouse.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 19:27 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Under 23 World Champion gets in some early season marathoning

    Burry Stander (Specialized/Mr Price) is headlining a top-notch field at the MTN Attakwas Extreme Mountain Bike Challenge on Saturday, January 16. Ranked as the third best cross country rider in the world, Stander is set to participate in the opening round of the 2010 MTN South African marathon national series.

    Kevin Evans (MTN/Energade), who finished in the top ten in last year's World Marathon Championship, has also confirmed his participation in the event. When both Stander and Evans taking part, the racing is bound to be hard from the gun.

    What may count in Evans' favour is that he has won the Attakwas Extreme Challenge once before. Last year he finished second to Francois Theron from Garmin adidas. He is familiar with the route and will know exactly what to expect. In contrast, it will be the first time Stander competes in this race.

    "The only thing that I know about the race is that it will be long and hard," said Stander, who is the current Under 23 cross country World Champion. "But I am not concerned. It will be everybody’s first race of the season and from that point of view, the playing field will be level." Stander is expected to make the racing very hard at the first serious climb in an effort to split the field.

    Evans described the route, "Racing in the Karoo is always tough because the terrain is so rough. One has to be wide awake all the time, because one little mistake, like riding over the wrong rock, could cost you the race. Ask me, I know." He was the victim of an untimely puncture in last year's race.

    According to Evans, the most serious mistake a rider can make is to try to outpace his rivals from the beginning. "The race is just too long and hard to worry about what the other riders are doing or not doing. The serious racing will start during the last few kilometers when there will be only a select few of the riders left."

    Brandon Stewart and Max Knox (both DCM), Philip Buys and...

  • Australian Norris aims to prove a point

    Lachlan Norris (TIS)
    Article published:
    January 15, 2010, 2:29 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Former Under 23 cross country champ aims high in elite championships

    Under 23 Australian cross country champion Lachlan Norris is stepping up to the elite ranks this year, and he's making no secret of his ambitions for this coming Saturday, when he and others will contest the Australian national cross country championships at Eagle Mountain Bike Park in Adelaide.

    "Winning the elite national title is something I've always wanted to do, and I think this year, compared to the last few, I'm in a much better position to do so," the 22-year-old Lachlan said.

    "In other years, there's always been a standout favourite, but that's not the case this time around. I think I'm a lot stronger but others have improved as well, so the overall level is higher and it's a really tight field."

    "Sid Taberlay is always dangerous and has had some good results recently. But I think the one to beat will be Daniel McConnell, and you can never underestimate Adrian Jackson who is really strong."

    After finishing 11th at the World Championships last year in Canberra in the Under 23 category, he is hoping to make the Australian team for the elite race in 2010 and says the Australian championships will play an important role in achieving that objective.

    However, like many mountain bikers, particularly after the recent funding cuts to the high performance program, Norris is juggling his mountain bike ambitions with a heavy program of road racing.

    "My road program will match in pretty well with my mountain bike commitments, and the two complement each other," he said after finishing a solid seventh in the criterium at Australian Road Championships last week.

    "But my heart is on the dirt. And like plenty of other mountain bikers, I'm motivated by the funding cuts as we all think we're as good as the athletes on any cycling program and we're out to prove a point this year."