As pro riders, we put hours and hours into developing a set up, tweaking out in the garage. Minor changes keep things evolving, but a proper set up is a thing of beauty. With Two full years on the TR450, got it pretty figured out what works for me, and what doesn't through trial and error.
As the years go on, and my speed increases on the DH bike, I still discover ways to keep pushing the equipment to get the most out of it. Helps having a bike company where the owners ride themselves. But as racers Bryn and I work together to talk stuff over- he's pretty quick and been at it awhile:) Companies that seek rider feedback are great too, like Fox, cause it's give and take for both parties, with the same goals.
On tour, nobody really shares their secrets cause it's so competitive. I look to learn from other top pros as well, but it's fairly specific and under wraps. Better to focus on you sometimes.
When teaching clinics or helping other people, set up is the place to begin. Can look at someone and see what's going on- kind of a diagnostic thing. Front end diving: forks could bee too soft, or bars too low, weight too far over the front. Stem length, fork pressure, spacer stack height, bar rise, lever position. All these things go into it.
I get a lot of questions from locals, that in my world I don't think about out loud. But even in my racing tuning is an ongoing process. We test everything. Tires in different conditions, lever position, stem length, tire pressures, gearing, stack height, seat height, bar bends, etc.
FRAME: TR 450 size Small (I'm 5'6.5") - Middle chip suspension setting.
Suspension: Fox 40- Blue spring, Fox rc4 350lb spring . (this keeps evolving, started on purple, adjust height of stansions For steepness of trail)
Drivetrain: Shimano Saint- stock. Dialed.
Brakes: Saint. adjusted levers in.Takes awhile to get used to the power, but you will never go back. Lasted all year, good stuff, brakes are amazing, use saints for trailbike, slalom bike too) Shimano 203 Rotors- Icetech. They really do stop better and are quiet. lever position should keep you with a neutral wrist, not too far down so you can get behind the bike and keep your wrist strong.
Cables/Housing: Jagwire. Can never have enough of this stuff. Fresh cables mean snappy shifting.
Wheels: Crankbrothers- Opium DH wheels. Held up awesome!! Only small dings in rims from thrashing rocks. (Ran Tubeless most events where Marshy was) . New generation of wheels are even lighter and smoother hub body. Raced them at National Champs!! Iodine for xc , slalom, etc. Cobalt I have em on my hardtail and they have lasted well.
Tires/ Tubes: Maxxis. Best tires!! 2.5 Minions, Wetscreams, High Rollers, High roller 2. Minions are best for most courses. Only use High roller for a back tire because it brakes more aggressive and you can feel the edge, don't really like it for a front. Good on steep tracks for braking, muddy greasy tracks it clears good. UK racers use this tire for everything. High roller 2 is an amazing tire!! Has better rolling resistance, less of an edge, but corners and grips real well, good front tire and rear. Tubes- Freeride for rear, welterweight front, or Stans tubless if you have a new rim.
Pedals: Crankbrother Mallet. New version of their pedals have been awesome for me, bit smaller platform which is great for small feet. I found them easier to clip in and out than the old ones, especially in mud!. We have always taken the pins out of the pedals to make it smooth in and out, but a couple people told me to run pins. Dunno.
Bars/ Stem: Kore Torsion Bars- Red- 35mm rise, 29 1/4" width, Direct mount stem- 50 mm. Anything less than 35mm rise bars leads to a lot of spacers under the top crown. When going downhill, neutral is best, get the weight off the front end. Also we use quite a few spacers to get the bars high. I See a lot of bike park guys and Aussies with too low of a front end, but that works kinda for flat trails, I guess. Low bars and soft fork= goon position. Too high and your elbows will be down. That also has to do with lever position and where they are located from the grip. Mic Pascal is a prime example, he used to have awesome form, now runs 50mm bars and flat levers and his elbows are really far down. Think he did that because of his bike and the steep tracks he rides. Experimentation leads to insight sometimes.
Grips: Lock on ODI ruffians. Never any problems,awesome company.
Gears/ Guides: e.13 / Lg1 guides. 36T or 38T chainrings. 36T for clearance, only use a 38 when there is a big DH sprint. Don't want to run out of gear. Windham was also a case where a 36t wasn't enough for the last section of track. 38T is risky when there is a g out. This is why Specialized experimented with the smaller cogs, but in reality, there isn't enough chain wrapped around the cassette to lay down explosive power. Think only top guys should use that, if at all. They got mega clearance, and lighter set up, but probably didn't have enough spread in gears. 36t with an 11-21 cassette is average.
Seat/Seatpost: This has been a project for me. Getting the seat low enough that you can turn without the seat touching you, but still clearing the rear tire on g outs. Just a general thing with me being smaller. We ran a Kore T rail Torsion seat, with their post. Means no rails, just a beam, which is pretty good . I modified my saddle, adn they made a mini one part of their production, meant I could lower my seat about an inch. Fixed the problem. Like a little dirt jump saddle. Seems weird to have a long saddle for Dh that gets in the way.
Headsets: Cane creek. Quality gear. Their interlock spacers are pretty sweet. Tall top caps.
Shoes: 5.10 Minnaar. 2 spacers under the cleat, cut the overhanging plastic with a knife for clearance. These shoes got better with time. Pretty comfy.
Helmet: D3 is the only helmet:) Airtrix red bull paint job. Don't buy cheap helmets, it says all the wrong things.
Armor: Knee/Shin-Alpinestar Moab BMX, Mtb protector . These were the best looking pads that worked the best and stayed put. Comes with Knee covers. Great company makes modifications based on rider feedback. They have become lighter and more streamlined over the last two seasons. Elbow: TLD kiddy elbow guards, don't slip, fit my arms. XC: Use the lopes neoprene pads Full Body: Tld shock doctor stuff. Been the best I've found.
Clothing: Jett. based in Colorado, rider owned company. Their Lightning shorts and flight gloves fit great!! No complaints. For xc,ride short and raven short. Strike jersey with a base layer was the topI used.
Eyewear: Oakley Crowbar goggle. Clear lenses. used blue when it was really high contrast,but my optometrist just told me that you never want to wear blue, just clear, yellow, and rose colors. Fire iridium is my favorite, vr28, clear.
Tools: Park Tool- makes everything! Lezyne mini tool was in my pocket every day, crankbros tool in my pack. patch kit. Pressure gage. Trader Joes unsweetened Mango slices .
Insoles: Esoles- custom footbeds.
Red Bull: Last but certainly not least. Best company in the world to be sponsored by. Gives me wings.