Updated: Dec 11, 2019
Whilst I travelled with both hardtail and full suspension bikes to Andalucia Bike Race it was the Simplon Cirex full suss which I raced. The rocky terrain of the 3 locations, Jaen, Andujar and Cordoba, would test fitness abilities, technical skills, and mental stiffness. A full suspension bike was the obvious choice for this demanding race.
The Cirex I will race this year is equipped with a 100mm Magura TS8 fork which has the eLect remote lockout lever, a neat bit of wireless electronic technology we’ll possible be using on other components soon. The bike is designed around a 120mm fork but I prefer a more agile geometry. The shock I use has a lockout switch also on the handlebar so I can lock the whole bike out when climbing or on the road, you can choose this shock option on the Simplon bike customizer. The shock is tuned with high compression which makes it a stiffer ride and has slow rebound to suit the suspension linkage design. With this setup the bike feels very stable on the descents and on the climbs in trail mode the shock remains active but doesn't move under pedalling forces which would waste rider energy.
The Magura MT8 brakes and TS8 eLect fork
The Magura MT8 Carbon brakes and eLect remote
All my bikes run Absolute Black oval chainrings and on this bike I use the direct mount version for Sram chainsets. I run oval because it helps reduce muscle fatigue and allows me to produce more power. Here in Spain and most of the time I run a 34t chainring but occasionally swap to a 32t or 36t, at World’s last year I ran a 38t! The chainset spins on C-Bear Ceramic GXP bottom bracket for supreme smooth and reliable running. The rest of the gears are Sram Eagle including a grip shift lever. I chose to run Eagle, whilst di2 XTR is an attractive alternative it doesn’t offer the wide range cassette which is particularly important when racing in the mountains of Europe. This is the only one of my bikes which doesn’t run a power meter. I run the super lightweight Magura MT8 brakes, I new bit of kit to me for this race but been very impressed with the power and control especially on the long descents.
Absolute Black Oval chainring
Should you forget your name
Finishing kit comes from the USE Ultimate range including their Carbon RIP bars which can be run upside down for a lower handlebar height. I cut my bars down to the minimum 680mm. On the end of the bars are the super comfy Bike Ribbon silicon grips. Some trick bits from MT Zoom reduce the bikes weight and add some more bling. It's taken me a long time to find a saddle i'm comfortable with for these long marathons or multi day stage races, its taken me even longer to afford to buy that saddle for all the bikes! The Fizik Tundra 00 is my saddle of choice. The wingflex technology and carbon rails and base make for a lightweight comfortable product.
The wheels are built by Mountain Trax using their own carbon 27mm cross country rims, DT Swiss Revolution spokes. Hubs are an American Classic front hub for its light weight and DT Swiss 240 rear hub for reliability with the uprated 64 point ratchet. Whilst the build isn’t super light weighing in at 1400 grams it is reliable which is important for marathon long distance events. Mountain Trax do offer a lighter weight rim, 280 grams instead of 350 grams, using DT 180 hubs a wheel build of 1200 grams could be possible but at a price.
Rolling on Schwalbe Addix
I have a selection of Schwalbe tyres but this week I ran the Racing Ralphs in 29 x 2.25 Snake Skin. I also had a Rocket Ron with me to swap to on the front if the weather got bad. I run Snake Skin tyres at the majority of events, only swapping them out for Liteskin tyres when racing an event with a large amount of gravel road or big mountain climbs where weight is paramount importance such as Grand Raid or Singen Marathon. I find the sidewalls on the Snake Skin tyres offer more support and don’t roll as much as the Liteskin so you can run a lower pressure, normally 22 psi front, 23 psi rear but here in Spain on the rocky trails I ran 23 psi front, 25 psi rear to protect the wheels.
I opted not to use my Magura eLect dropper as I haven’t had time yet to train with a dropper post but will be testing it once I’m home. Another reason for not using a dropper post here was because I needed to carry a second bottle on the seatpost, in the end that plan failed because the bottle rubbed on the tyre when the shock compressed.
A little bling from MT Zoom
Neat tool storage from Lezyne
I run Time XC8 pedals, I’ve never been sponsored by the brand but rate them for their reliability, mud clearance, and weight. They also match the colour scheme of the bike! A Lezyne Micro Caddy holds my tools and a Mt Zoom Handy Strap holds a spare tube onto the frame.
The Simplon Cirex weighs in at 23.0lbs / 10.4kgs with pedals. A reliable weight for a marathon bike which will head to many European UCI Marathon and UCI Stage races this year.