Alan Hatherly recently took out the second round of the 2017 SA National MTB Cup Series XCO at the Wolwespruit Bike Park in Tshwane in fine style.
On the eve of round three – which takes place in Bloemfontein on 6 May – we quizzed Alan and Team Spur’s technical manager, JP Jacobs, on the S-Works Epic 29 World Cup.
“Suspension would be the key factor for me with regards to bike setup,” explains Alan. “I run my fork harder than my rear shock with the rebounds being fast upfront and slow at the rear,” he says.
Alan runs the bike’s Brain platform in the fork and shock fully activated. According to Specialized the Brain suspension differentiates between rider input and trail bumps, ensuring that pedalling forces aren’t being wasted in compressing the suspension. “This combo gives me the ability as a complete package to smash everything full tilt both up and down without feeling like I’m going to go OTB (over the bars).”
“Next big factor for me would be tyres – I’m running the new Renegade Gripton series tyres which have a really soft compound meaning I can run slightly harder tyre pressures without loosing traction which equates to lower chances of punctures.”
Alan runs 12-speed SRAM Eagle with Rotor cranks. “I’m able to run a Rotor 36t front ring with this drivetrain, whichs allows for major top end speed without comprising the easier gears for steep climbs.”
JP Jacobs is the man who spins the wrenches to make sure Alan transfers every Watt of power into bike speed. For an XCO race he has a few tricks up his sleeve to get the bike running as light and smooth as possible.
“We start by removing all the moving components off the bike – I’m talking wheels, pulley wheels, anything that has a bearing in would get taken out,” JP explains. “These get cleaned out completely. We then might even remove one or two seals depending on the weather.”
JP also applies a special lube to the bearings that will either make them spin super fast or run at a lower resistance.
To shave weight, he removes, the second bottle cage, the multitool under the rear shock as well as the chain breaker gets taken out of the fork. “Fork service gets done to make them run as smooth and efficient as possible so every bit of energy is transferred to the pedals,” he says.
“We are running Rotor cranks this year, which gives us very nice feedback from the computer and we can see exactly where he peaks in his pedal strokes and we can fit the correct size chainring for the particular course and terrain.”I also add some jewelry in the form of Titanium bolts on the rotors, stem and calipers just for race days” JP Jacobs
After the third round of the National Cup Series in Bloemfontein, Alan and JP head off to the island of Mauritius for the African Continental Championships. Thereafter they will jet off to Europe for the UCI MTB World Cups in the Czech Republic and Germany.