Everyone knows racers get custom kit to make their bike special but we’re looking at some non-racer custom builds in Industry Whips.
One of the best things about working in the cycle industry is adding those extra special touches to your pride and joy, or even a full custom build that’s got some one-off bits that makes it stand out.
We’re also diving into the geeky setups that make the bike ride just the way their owners want them to.
This week in Industry Whips is the face of Crankbrothers, Hannah Wilson.
Photos by Hannah Wilson.
Medium Ghost ship green YT Decoy. I was always an ebike sceptic but last year on some industry rides I noticed increasingly other brand people were coming along with ebikes. I was getting pretty fed up of being at the back and finding these group rides really tough, so when I had the opportunity I got one (biggest thank you to YT Industries and Crankbrothers for helping make that happen).
It arrived during lockdown and when the trails opened up again I got to get out and ride it. No exaggeration, it’s reinvigorated my love for MTB. Feels like a DH bike on the descents and I as I have never really enjoyed climbs it helps take some of the pain out of these too. We now do 40km rides rather than 25km and I can do back to back ride days, I’ve been riding so much more since getting it.
And for the sceptics that think they make people lazy, since getting the Decoy I’ve ridden so much more than I would normally have done, I have lost 9kg and feel stronger and fitter than I have done in years.
Geometry wise I’m not someone who studies angles and tube lengths, but I know what I like. I like to feel like I’m sat inside the bike, not balanced on top it and with a confidence-inspiring high front end, for me the Decoy has that perfect fit. I’m an old school DHer and this bike brings back that feeling of wanting to attack the descents again.
This September we got a trip up to Scotland and I rode Golfie for the first time, I was riding stuff that even a few months ago I would have not even considered and I did it with a smile on my face (mostly).
I still find suspension a bit of a dark art. I used to always prefer coil, I love the ride feel of it, but currently both my mountain bikes have air suspension. I’ve set the sag, but haven’t really adjusted any of the dampers as it feels great, but I am also totally not bike sensitive at all.
Clips all the way, even on the ebike. I’ve started riding flats but now I just feel so much better clipping in and it’s been over 10 years since I rode flats. I use the longer spindle Mallet E (57mm axle rather than 52mm on the standard Mallet E). Although we have something coming up that means I a probably going to give flats another go even just for a little while (watch this space).
My drivetrain is just as spec because I’m accident prone and crash a lot I’m sure there’ll be changes soon. No power meters or anything fancy, when I’m riding my ebike I just want to focus on the smile factor rather than anything else.
Currently both bikes have SRAM on them, I’ve always been more of a Shimano fan and perhaps I’ll make a change when things are a bit quieter and I have some more time (got some big launches coming up so any bike time I have needs to be out riding right now). I do have a really bad habit of dragging my brakes that I’m trying to educate myself away from.
When we went to Whistler 3 years ago I had 3 days of coaching and one day we spent on flow and braking, it finally got me to shift away from my weird swear finger breaking (middle finger on left hand and 1st and 2nd on right hand) to just single fingers.
On the analogue bike I have Crankbrothers Synthesis carbon wheels and on the ebike I opted for the new alloy Synthesis wheels. They take out the harshness from the front end of the bike and feel really controlled but super snappy in the back end. Berms are my thing and the wheels help me feel like I’m able to take them faster than ever.
I’m using tubeless with Orange Seal tyre sealant, I don’t run any inserts as not had any issues so far but a lot of our riding currently has been away from rocks and more technical and in the local woods.
I have to admit I also pay very little attention to tyre choice. I think for my first 20 years of riding I just rode Maxxis High Rollers and now I mostly ride Minions. Decent casing as I hate punctures but I also hate changing tyres, so I don’t. It would probably improve my riding if I did but I’d much rather use that precious time out on the bike.
I run 770mm wide bars with 30mm rise. I like the front end to be pretty high. I’m running Renthal carbon fatbars on both bikes as I like the cockpit area to feel the same on both. I like a slim grip and I am super fussy about grips.
I used to run the Ergon GD1 grips but I’ve just switched to the new GFR1 FMD Racing grips, they’ve been developed with Tahnee Seagrave and the FMD team and I feel like I saw a bit of their development in the pits at world cups and I really respect Tahnee and her eye for detail.
If it’s a really big rocky day I do still sometimes switch out onto the GA2 grips if I want a little extra dampening and less trail feel through the bars.
Obviously I run the Crankbrothers Highline dropper. I have the 150mm, level 7 post.
Saddles are another product I am really fussy about (probably as a result of working with fizik for 6 ½ years). In fact the three contact points on my bike all have to be just right for me. I’m using the new Aidon saddle which launched in October this year. I’ve had a prototype one on the bike since July and I love it, great width, just the right amount of padding, pressure relief and the shape suits me perfectly.
Cool custom sh*t
The little details I have on the bike to make it mine anyone can have access to. For instance, my coloured gripper sticker on my dropper post lever and custom decals on the RRP mudguard (which one of the guys at Extra UK designed for me to match my Crankbrothers 100% riding kit) makes me feel a bit ‘factory.’
I’m a big fan of putting together my bikes to suit me. My trail bike has a mullet set up and I thought I’d need to do the same with the Decoy but actually this bike just feels like the perfect match so I haven’t had to switch many things out. I guess that means I need another bike project to work on.
Do you work in the cycle industry and have a sweet machine, or know someone who does? Then let us know on our Facebook page.
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