Like many lighter riders, current UCI U23 cross-country mountain bike world champion Burry Stander (Specialized Factory Team) places a high importance on equipment weight since it comprises a greater percentage of total mass than it does for bigger competitors. Little tweaks here and there may only shave a few grams but when you only weigh 65kg (143lb), it doesn't take much to feel a difference.
Regardless, even Stander understands that weight isn't everything as he added a 29er hardtail – with its heavier wheels and all – to his quiver of race machines just this season. This proved to be the perfect choice for last month's high-speed and non-technical Sea Otter Classic course, too, where he raced the new bike for the first time and won in a three-up sprint over Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain).
Old habits die hard, though, as Stander's Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon HT 29er is no boat anchor and displays a wealth of tweaks to bring it down to an impressive 9.23kg (20.35lb) fighting weight.
The foundation is Specialized's top-end S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon HT 29er carbon frame, claimed to weigh just 1,130g (2.49lb) with a tapered head tube, chunky down tube and chain stays, and integrated bottom bracket. Mounted up front is the Specialized/RockShox collaborative Reba S29 fork, which uses stock upper tubes and lower legs but a carbon fiber crown and steerer assembly and inertia valve damper internals for a racier feel, especially in combination with Stander's preferred high air pressure.
Componentry comes mostly from SRAM's ultralight XX 2x10 group but with a few substitutions in key areas. New XX-compatible Rotor Q-Rings are bolted to Specialized's own S-Works carbon fiber crankarms with Carbon-Ti bolts, and the rear XX brake caliper adapter is mounted with red-anodized alloy hardware.
The Specialized label is also applied to the Roval Control ES 29 wheelset with its tubeless-compatible rims, 2:1 lacing pattern and interchangeable front hub fitments; the still-prototype Renegade 29 low-knob tires set at 26psi and converted to tubeless; the carbon fiber S-Works crankset; the S-Works Pro-Set stem; a single carbon fiber bottle cage; and the new Romin SL saddle.