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Carbon Fibre DH Bikes

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 06/02/2012 08:00am

There’s a marked increase in World Cup carbon-ness. Ric thinks…

fury2 Back in issue 269, I wrote a piece in Out Front called ‘Pushing the boundaries’ which basically tried to highlight the increased use of carbon fibre when it comes to constructing the worlds fastest DH bikes.

The black shiny stuff is back on the agenda as far as DH frame builders are concerned. Better production methods (well, they do use the odd bit of it in something called ‘F1‘) and an industry push to produce more entry-level/price-tagged machinery has resulted in the top of the line kit becoming even faster and dare I say it, flashier.

If you take a look at the top twenty ranked men in the world according to the official UCI rankings,  as many as 11 of the top 20 riders will be on carbon fibre-framed machinery come the Pietermaritzburg start-gate in six weeks time.

Now, bear with me here, this is making a couple of assumptions… Firstly, that the rumours of Monster Energy Specialized (Troy Brosnan in this case) are testing a carbon fibre framed Demo. Secondly, that you count the extremely hard-worked backends of the Lapierre DH 920‘s of Cameron Cole and Sam Blenkinsop.

However, forgive me those assumptions and consider that Sam Hill isn’t within those rankings (currently 36th) but could be on the same machinery (IF it exists) as Troy and also that there are extensive rumours that ex-team-mate Brendan Fairclough will also soon be running a prototype black and shiny all-new Scott DH bike.

Look outside the top twenty teams and Intense (still a staunch privateers favourite) have long pondered a carbon fibre framed DH bike too but, as with everything else, are striving to produce it as in-house as possible. That said, the arrival of their Carbine SL could be the precursor to something along those very lines.

Also rumoured to be popping wonderment out of steaming hot moulds are Yeti Cycles with their team allegedly set to be lining up on full carbon fibre machinery at Pietermaritzberg. That would fit in well with the fact that the alloy version of their new 303 DH looks set to arrive in February, every Yeti of course gets two years of race R+D before launch.

With weight limits dropping all the time, will we one day see a road race style UCI weight limit that bikes can not dip under? The questions are (reasonably) endless.

But what does all this hypothesis and supposition mean in the more immediate future? A move away from the time-hounoured world of bits of metal welded together with glorified strings and glue leading the way? For the top-whack machines it would appear so but hopefully companies like GT can shine a bit more light on the future for the rest of us. They produce their Fury in a more wallet-friendly alloy version with the top-whack machine coming in full World Cup spec carbon fibre (they’ve yet to confirm that this one will be available in the UK though). Whatever the answer, the future looks fast!

 

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