The perfect XTERRA bike. Specialized Epic S-works.

Conrad Stoltz Specialized Epic S-works

Photo by RichCruse.com.

My Specialized Epic S-works worked like a dream, and this course on Maui is infamously tough on equipment. A lot of work has gone into the preparation of the bike for this race in particular.

Here are a few highlights:

 

1 Specialized tires

Specialized has been amazingly helpful in helping me find a tire that is truly Caveman proof. Over the past year we have had 2 extensive tire testing camps. We tried numerous prototypes and found a casing that works exceptionally well. It weighs roughly 630g, rolls well at low pressures, the casing is cleverly assembled to make it supple, but most importantly it is very, very strong. In 8 months of testing I have had 2 flats: One at XTERRA Idaho where a 5 inch nail went through both sides and once when I rode over a broken bottle bottom. The tire will be called the GRID and will come in Fast Track LK, The Captain and some of the free ride tire tread patterns. Importantly, the GRID will also be available in 29″…

Because these sidewalls are so strong, you have to run really low pressure to provide a good, comfey ride. I rolled 23.5psi in the front and 27.5psi in the rear. (on “normal” courses I would go 23 and 26.5psi)

 

2 Specialized Roval Controle wheels

The Specialized Roval Controle wheels are light and strong, I can mount my tubeless tires by floor pump (YAY!!) but the coolest feature is the crumple zone. (thats what I call it anyway) If you hit a rock at high speed and low pressure, the rim dents slightly, which saves the tire from a rim cut. I have a set of “tire testing wheels” that has a few dents, but the wheels stay true, strong, and best of all, the air stays in the tire…

 

3 Brain Shock suspension

2 weeks before Worlds I got the new Brain Shock made by Specialized and Fox. It works really well, and is very reliable. Instead of the usual 180 psi I put in the “old” 2007-2009 shock, I put 210 psi in the new Fox shock. (To achieve 1cm sag for my 180lbs. (80kg))

 

4 180mm cranks

My saddle height is 84cm or 33inches, (I’m 6ft3) and with legs as long as that, my new coach, Ian Rodger urged me to switch to 180mm cranks to make the most of the leverage benefit they provide. (We did some power testing at 175, 177.5 and 180mm) The conversion wasnt plain sailing though, and Garth from Specialized HQ had to do some serious squeezing to fit the Truvativ 180s into the Specialized BB.

 

5 Specialized Trivent shoes

They are triathlon shoes but have a custom MTB sole molded on. Check them out on target=”_blank”Specialized.com.

 

6 LOOK Quartz Ti Pedals

I’m a firm believer in bomb proof pedals, as I have lost a race here in 04 when I smashed one that looked like a kitchen utensil. Those 180 cranks and all the loose rocks on this course makes for a lot of pedal dragging and I drag my LOOK Quartz Ti happily through anything.

7 Squirt chain lube

I have been using Squirt chain lube for 5 years now. Its a wax and water emulsion, (no petroleum products) its a dry lube, its self cleaning and it will outlast any other product out there. Ned Overend, Travis Brown, Jay Henry and Mike Kloser cant ALL be wrong…

 

8 Titec Pluto components

Titec Pluto carbon bars, stem and bar ends.

 

9 Osymetric chainrings

Those are Osymetric chainrings are crazy I know, but they work well on the climbs.

 

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