We'll be getting up close and personal with some of the fastest carbon rides out there; down and dirty with some slammed cockpits and ready to race with the smoothest rolling speedster equipment available. Every week (ish) we'll look to bring you a fresh bit of kit for you to drool over as we gather to stand, point and cast judgment on some fine looking (and performing) Cross-Country racing rigs.
First up is this rather special looking Cannondale F29 of Olympic Development Rider, and all round Welsh whippet, Simon Price.
[caption id="attachment_11707" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The Cannondale F29 (2) of Under 16 rider Simon Price[/caption]
Simon's 2013 Cannondale F29 series (provided by Alf Jones Cycles) with its 'BallisTec' Carbon construction and 'Speed Save' stays give the frame - according to Cannondale - a "Super stiff laterally and vertically compliant" ride.
The iconic Lefty XLR (90mm) fork handles the squish up front and definitely separates the Cannondale from the rest of the field in the looks department. A super stiff and light combination that has a world-class reputation for XC speed and gives Simon a fearsome base with which to build his race winning machine.
[caption id="attachment_11704" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Looking down on the Lefty can disorienting, but it's light a stiff performance soon quashes any fear.[/caption]
Speaking to Simons chief Mechanic (and dad), Mark Price, he mentioned how the first setup issue was over come with the acquisition of the Leonardi Racing -25 degree CNC machined stem (100 mm). At just 5'4, the -25 degree stem angle really helps Simon to get into a lower racing position and gives him much more control over those big 29'er hoops.
[caption id="attachment_11705" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The Leonardi Racing -25 degree CNC machined stem keeps those Enve Flat carbon 680mm wide bars slammed![/caption]
On the stopping front, Simon uses the Shimano XTR M985 levers and calipers for some supreme stopping power. KCNC 160mm Razor discs (73g each) help keep the weight down without compromising braking performance. Simon is lucky to have backing from the folk over at Fibrax Ltd, and their excellent Sintered pads ensure braking is smooth and predictable.
[caption id="attachment_11708" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Stopping courtesy of XTR power with KCNC savings and Fibrax reliability.[/caption]
A set of Shimano XTR pedals are connected to Sram Carbon Crankarms, a Raceface Direct mount Narrow wide chainring helps to transfer Simon's ever-growing power to the Sram 1070 11-36 cassette, via a Sram 1091 Chain. Shimano XTR shifters feed Simon's commands to the ever dependable Shimano XT Shadow + rear mech. Fibrax Ltd again keep things running smooth and effortlessly with their performance sealed cable kit.
[caption id="attachment_11706" align="aligncenter" width="450"] A mix of Sram, Shimano XTR, XT and raceface components linked in perfect harmony by Fibrax Performance cables[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_11703" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The 11-36 SRAM Cassette gives Simon a good range for the UK race scene.[/caption]
It falls to Schwalbe to provide the rubber for forward traction and cornering grip. Simon puts his trust in a Ralph, Ron and Burt combo depending on track and weather conditions. The light and reliable Stan's No Tubes ZTR Crest rims laced with DT Swiss Supercomp Spokes to a Lefty hub up front and an American Classic 225 out back keep the weight of these big 29' wheels down and the ride smooth.
[caption id="attachment_11711" align="aligncenter" width="450"] In all it's glory... A nice mix of speed and reliability.[/caption]
Finishing kit includes a Selle Italia SLR saddle sat neatly on a KCNC Ti Prolite inline seatpost. The ENVE Flat carbon 680mm bars are wrapped in a set KCNC Foam grips that, at just 12 grams a pair, keep the weight down and add a certain amount of comfort to this snarling bit of XC racing winning Cannondale F29 Carbon. No exact weight but we reckon it's no porker and definitely in the region of 9kg's.
[caption id="attachment_11710" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Simon Price putting his race rig through its paces.[/caption]
A massive thanks to Simon (and Mark) for letting us drool over his rig and we wish him the very best of luck for the long race season ahead... Keep an eye out for this young whippet!!
You'll be able to catch young Simon and his Cannondale rocket around the National and Welsh Circuit this year, and don't forget you can keep up-to-date on all his racing adventures via his blog - http://simonpricemtb.blogspot.
He's on Twitter too - @SimonRhys123
Simon is proud to be supported by Alf Jones Cycles and Fibrax Ltd
Frame: 2013 Cannondale F29 Carbon 2 (Medium) supplied By Alf Jones Cycles in Wrexham
Fork: Lefty XLR 90mm
Shimano XTR M985 Levers & Calipers,
KCNC 160mm Razor Discs,
Fibrax Ltd Sintered Pads
Sram Carbon Crankarms with Raceface Direct mount Narrow wide Chainring.
Sram 1070 11-36 cassette
Sram 1091 Chain
Shimano XTR Shifter
Shimano XT Shadow+ Medium Cage Rear Mech
Shimano XTR Race SPD Pedals
Fibrax Ltd Proformance Sealed Cable Kit
Bars: Enve Flat carbon 680mm wide
Stem: Leonardi Racing -25degrees X100mm
Grips: KCNC Foam
Seatpost: KCNC Ti Prolite
Skewer: KCNC Ti
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
Front: Stans Crest rim, Lefty Hub with DT Swiss supercomp Spokes
Rear: Stans Crest rim, American classic 225 Hub, DT Swiss Supercomp Spokes
Tyres: Schwalbe Rocket ron / Racing Ralph / Thunder Burt