Joel Anderson is a proper, homegrown freeride superstar. He started out racing the British Downhill Series with his brother Isaac and the support of his parents. A few years later the spark for racing was suddenly, almost overnight, replaced by the fire to go BIG. Like, really big.
We’ve helped Joel out for the last couple of years – supporting his riding and helping him to push himself on towards his dream of being a freerider superstar.
Joel was supported in 2017 by Wideopenmag, Banshee Bikes, 661, Melon Optics, Stans No Tubes and Loose Riders.
Photos by Melon Optics and Tom Caldwell, with thanks.
Frame: Banshee Legend (207mm travel)
Fork: Fox 40
Wheels: Stans No Tubes Flow Mk3
Tyres: Conti Tyres Der Kaiser Projekt
Crankset: Shimano Zee
Brakes: Shimano Saint
Seat: Deity Sidetrack iBeam
Post: Deity Retina iBeam
Bars: Deity Black Label 800m wide 25mm rise 35mm
Stem: Deity Intake DM 35mm
Grips: Deity Knuckleduster
Brakes: Shimano Zee
Tell us a bit about your bike. When did you get it and how did you set about getting it set up and feeling good?
I basically just sat on it in the garage and fiddled until it felt right.
Do you have any little personal touches or unique set ups on the bike?
I’m pretty easy on my bikes I can ride pretty much anything within reason.
I always stand by the policy of if it ain’t broken don’t fix it!
Talk us through your setup – how do you have your suspension, tires, bar width etc set up?
Suspension is usually pretty hard for the big jumps and hard impacts with slow rebound so it won’t throw you over on the big cases!
Tyres are 40psi whatever the weather wherever the ride.
I like my bars pretty wide. I’m not an old school narrow bar rider like Earthed 1! I usually run 780-800mm.
Lastly I like to have my brake levers to have a good gap between the grip and the clamp. I don’t want to be catching my fingers on the lever when I’m panic braking!
How do you go about setting up your bikes? Do you agonise over it or just ride it as is?
Isaac my older brother is the man behind the scenes. He’s always fixing and changing after I tell him what’s broken or what’s not right. Usually he’ll help me sort out things like my forks diving in corners or something like that. Most the time I won’t notice small changes.
What are you most fussy about on your bike setup?
Tyre pressures! Anything less than 20-25psi and I start sliding off lips and getting sketchy!
What was the first thing you changed on the bike?
I was planning some big trips which required some muscle so I swapped out the Marzocchi forks for the classic Fox 40s. When you’re jumping 100ft you don’t want to be worried if your bike will take the hit!
What was the last thing you changed on it?
Last thing I changed was the tires. I’m on my forth pair of tyres this year but other than the forks that’s it.
Which bit of this bike are you most attached to?
The Banshee Legend frame is a beauty!
It’s taken everything I’ve thrown at it this year. I’ve been to Bali, three weeks in Canada, Loosefest and endless runs at home! And it’s slack as hell which looks mean and makes it such a controllable bike!
Where have you ridden this bike since you’ve had it?
I got the bike and immediately did a Pearce Cycles race and won. That gave me some confidence in it which grew when I went to Bali on the Melon Optics trip.
In Bali we bombed through the jungle, down the streets and of course down a volcano!
Later in the summer I took the Legend to Canada to have the time of my life. We shredded Whistler for two weeks before going on our road trip. In the two weeks we were in Whistler I descended the height of Everest twice!
Since Canada I’ve been to Loosefest and sent the 80-100ft jumps for a week straight and then I finished the season in Chatel riding in the rain. What a year!
Where are you hoping this bike will take you?
Anywhere I haven’t been before. I hope it’s somewhere I can go fast!
What’s the best thing about this bike?
The slack head angle creates such a controllable bike when landing, taking off or simply bombing through some rocks.
And the worst thing?
The slack head angle! Bit of a nightmare on the tight trails which England seems to have a lot of!
When was the last time this bike made you think “holy shit!”
Nose diving the first 80 footer at Loosefest. That was certainly a wake up call, the Fox 40s saved me!
Where are you hoping this bike won’t take you this year?
Anywhere near a damn hospital. I can’t be dealing with the 7 hour waits at A+E!
What’s the hardest part about riding this bike?
Holding the beast back! The Deity bars, Stans wheels and Banshee frame combined really does make it easy to lean back and power through even the roughest of downhill tracks.
Have you crashed it hard yet? When, where and why?
Fortunately this year hasn’t required a trip to A+E or even involved a bad crash that I can think of?
In one sentence – describe with this bike feels like to ride?
It’s an unassuming beast.
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