Is it Thursday already?? Time for another edition of Race Bike Focus then!

This week we're pleased to bring you something a little special. A brand you may not have yet had the pleasure to investigate, but one that is sure to be tantalising the credit card very soon. So without further ado, Race Bike Focus is excited to bring you the Edge Design (27.5) Piccolo of new Nutcracker MTB Race Team recruit, Kim Baptista.

[caption id="attachment_12169" align="aligncenter" width="450"]11160346_684336481712858_2053825750_n The mean green Edge Design Piccolo of Kim Baptista[/caption]

Now, I say you may not have seen it before, but if you've been knocking around the XC race scene over the last couple of years you will have noticed Edge Piccolo mounted riders gracing a fair few podiums - Nutcracker MTB Race team is home to current National Junior champ, Frazer Clacherty - so they certainly aren't 'just another bit of carbon'.

The Edge Design 27.5 Piccolo - distributed in the UK by Edge Sports UK - with its High Modulus Carbon Fibre construction (1300 grams), has all the right digits in all the right places where frame geometry is concerned. The 71° head angle and 73° seat tube angle are well within the XC race spectrum, and with the nimble 650b (27.5) wheels allowing for nice and short 430mm chainstays you have a frame that should whip you up, over and along at a fair old pace.

[caption id="attachment_12165" align="aligncenter" width="338"]11186263_684336421712864_130296710_n More Edge Design lovely-ness graces the front of Kim's race rig.[/caption]

Lets stick with the Edge Design stuff, as up front Kim uses the lightweight Edge Design carbon flat bars (200g) and Alu Edge Design SL stem (100g). We also catch a first glimpse of the Hope Tech X3 brake and Shimano XT setup can be seen adorning the Edge Design cockpit of Kim's machine (more on them later...)

[caption id="attachment_12167" align="aligncenter" width="338"]11120064_684336325046207_1604607428_n Always good to look down and see Hope are in charge of the anchors![/caption]

Hope Technology support Nutcracker MTB Race team this year and Kim's rig is dripping in Hope goodness. The Hope Lock-on grips (in team colours, obviously) have a top-notch soft and tacky grip without sacrificing any durability, and at 94 grams for the pair they won't add to much heft to the front end.

Hope Technology are also in charge of stopping! The Hope Tech 3 X2 may not be light as the Race Evo X2 (only around 50 grams in it though) but they share the amazing reliability when it comes to predictable modulation and power. Teaming the Hope X2 Calipers up with RWD brake pads means Kim is always in control no matter what the race throws her way!

[caption id="attachment_12162" align="aligncenter" width="338"]11160481_684336435046196_305846356_n Hope Tech XC wheelset... XC by name XC by nature.[/caption]

Moving down to the wheels on Kim's Nutcracker MTB race team rig, we see a set of X-fusion velvet RL2, that Kim has adjusted to 100mm. The air sprung fork with its 32mm alu stanchion and 15mm thru-axle lives up to its name, giving smooth and responsive feedback throughout its travel, allowing Kim the chance to hit the A lines with unflinching confidence.

Lets also look at the wheelset. Hope Tech is here again, this time with the Hope Tech XC Rims on Hope pro2 Evo hubs, laced with Black Sapim Race stainless steel double butted spokes. Coming in at 788 g front and 911 g rear, this Hope wheelset is tough, light and race proven; a dream combination for any XC racer! You can also see here the Maxxis Beaver, mounted tubeless to the Hope Tech XC rims, which Kim uses when conditions are less than dusty. For drier conditions Kim swaps to a Panaracer fast and light XC tread, the Driver Pro (580 g).

[caption id="attachment_12163" align="aligncenter" width="338"]11178606_684336458379527_1957296859_n Shimano XT... reliable and dependable.[/caption]

Kim uses a 2x10 setup and has elected to keep it simple with Shimano XT. We've mentioned in previous Race Bike Focus' about the sheer dependability of Shimano XT and it's evident here again as yet another racer puts her trust (and power) through the Shimano XT cranks. It may not be as fly weight as some of the big cash carbon group sets found in the XC paddocks, but it is by no means a billy bloater. The XT front mech shifts flawlessly and the Shimano XT cranks are a breeze to both maintain and modify.

[caption id="attachment_12168" align="aligncenter" width="338"]11160430_684336385046201_1859721152_n 36 - 11 with a double up front carries the potential to deal with any XC course.[/caption]

The Shimano XT shadow plus rear mech shifts the chain effortlessly around the XT 36 - 11 cassette, whilst the mech clutch helps to keep chain noise and bounce down to a minimum.

[caption id="attachment_12164" align="aligncenter" width="338"]11185856_684336355046204_2079827166_n Light and comfy... better than any thing in DFS![/caption]

The 212g Edge Design saddle with Ti/Alloy rails is an anatomically designed bit of kit with a pressure relief cut out and full leather upper. It sits gracefully on the 185g Edge Design CSL full carbon seat post and completes Kim's Nutcracker MTB race team's elegant looking XC rocket!


Overall, a splendid mixture of go-faster carbon, workhorse componentry and race tested technology are all found on Kim Baptista's Nutcracker MTB Team rig; from the responsive Hope XC 27.5 wheelset, to the light and nimble Edge Design frame this thing looks ready to fly.

So lets talk overall weight... Yep, as you'd expect it's sub 10kg! Kim's Edge Design Piccolo 27.5 tips the scales at a very pleasing 9.8 kgs, which is bang on target for a super quick, race winning XC machine.

With two 2nd place (Youth) finishes at the Nutcracker XC Series and fine 5th (Youth) at the last round of the Nationals in Plymouth, Kim has got off to a flyer this season, definitely one to watch as she continues her XC adventure. Be sure to follow Kim's progress this season via facebook and twitter. And while you're at it, why not also keep track of the Nutcracker MTB Race team - Facebook / Twitter

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