Unlike her long-time teammate Adam Craig, Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Kelli Emmett is racing on both a hardtail and full-suspension bike for the 2010 season. Emmett's Anthem X Advanced SL is similar to that of Craig's but her familiar XtC Advanced SL carbon is still even lighter and stiffer and more of a pure race machine.
"We have a few options: hardtail or full suspension. I can pick the bike to fit what I want for different conditions," said Emmett. "This year, Giant has come out with the Anthem X Advanced SL. I'm excited about riding that one, too. It's stiffer than the past Anthem bikes, and the difference is that the new bike is carbon fiber and is more of a race-oriented bike.
"I love riding full suspension and I'd rather ride it, but the lightweight of the hardtail had kept me on it for years," she continued. "The hardtail is superlight and when you're doing long sustained climbing a couple of extra pounds makes a difference. In the past I always rode the hardtail, but now I think I'll ride the full suspension more."
Emmett has primarily used the hardtail, though, and with great success, too. Emmett used it to win the cross country segment of the Triple Crown at Bonelli Park, California and also earned podium spots in that weekend's short track and super D (she used the Anthem for the latter).
Emmett's bike is equipped with a familiar build kit, too, which includes an Shimano XTR transmission, front and rear disc brakes and wheels set up tubeless with Michelin tires. Fox Racing Shox again handles the suspension duties though Emmett has upgraded this year to the 32 F-Series FIT RL Remote with 15mm thru-axle dropouts for improved steering precision.
"We're running 15mm thru-axles on the front," said Emmett. "It really helps with the handling [and] keeps the front wheel feeling more stable around corners. The front wheel goes where you set it."
Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) poses here with her 2010 Giant Anthem X Advanced SL.
Unlike her teammate Craig who runs a single chainring, Emmett has no plans to reduce her gearing options, sticking with the standard 22/32/44T chainrings up front and a wide-range 11-34T cassette in the rear.
"I think Adam got his bike down to 21 pounds last year with a single chainring, but I'll stick with three," she said.
Emmett has been working on her position on her bikes, making some changes for 2010. "I visited Todd Carver in Denver and he is part of Retül, which uses a standardized bike fit system. He fine-tuned some adjustments for me. He's worked with a lot of the pro road teams and mountain bike riders like Geoff Kabush.
"I'm now sitting a centimeter more forward, but still have my saddle height about the same. I should be able to apply more power on the pedals for better climbing. In the last couple of years, I've been slowly working my way forward."
"I'm more over the front of my bike," said Emmett of her revised riding style. "It helps my cornering a bit. I can keep the front wheel more stable. I feel like I don't have to slide as far forward to climb. I feel more powerful on the steeper climbing, too."