Adrian Jackson has many accolades, including being a multiple mountain bike orienteering world champion. He’s been racing MTB’s, fast, for over a decade. He’s raced in more countries than many riders have visited, and notched up great results while there. We have profiled his bike previously, in 2012, while he was still on a Merida. But for 2014, Jackson has made the move to Lapierre. With an XR929 dual suspension bike, a cyclocross bike on the way, and this lovely ProRace 729, he’s got a great quiver of bikes. Jackson has already ridden the XR929 to victory at the first round of the Real Insurance XCM Series in Bright, and 3rd place at the Australian National XCM Championships. We caught up with AJ after the 3rd round of the series back in March, after a very wet and muddy Wombat 100, at Woodend, Victoria, to take a look at his hardtail.
Like many XCO and XCM oriented racers, Jackson loves a single chainring setup. The XX1/X01 setup on his ProRace 729 is pretty much ‘out of the box’, with few changes to make it a race weapon.
Jackson runs XX brakes to compliment the drivetrain – an upgrade from the Elixir 5 that come stock on this model.
The XX calipers attach post mount style, but the threads are replacable in the frame. Although an experienced rider and engineer like Jackson would be unlikely to strip a thread, this does add life to a frame, saving it from a potential headache.
The ProRace frame has but one bidon mount. But that’s not something a few zipties can’t solve. Bear in mind, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this done. Plenty of riders make modifications, or repairs, just like this!
A detachable fender would have helped keep AJ clean while he was racing in the front group.
Clearly Jackson doesn’t like mud, as he also ran a cut up piece of inner tube between the crown of his SID fork and the arch. This is a very popular setup on all sorts of mounain bikes. It will catch quite a lot, no matter which way the wheel is pointing.
On a 29er, it’s all about wheels (ok, and the other bits too). Something light and strong isn’t actually the norm. After replacing his alloy rear rim three times last year, Jackson is now running carbon rimmed wheels. These ones are built by Curve Cycling, using their own carbon rim and DT 240 hubs. AJ was running a Schwalbe Rocket Ron front and Racing Ralph rear at the time.
With frame clearance like this, and no front derailleur to catch mud, the Lapierre should shed mud pretty well in conditions like were found in Woodend.
Riders under 6 foot can struggle to get the handlebars where they want them on a 29er. AJ runs a slammed Ritchey WCS -17 stem, with his Lezyne multitool taped on, and his GPS mounted above the stem cap. The faceplate design of the Ritchey stem allows this mounting, placing the unit in a better position and angle for viewing than if it were on the stem.
“I’ve got a nicer saddle than that” Jackson was quick to point out. But when you have 100km of mud on the agenda, there is no problem in putting on something that is already a little bit worn out. His Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio is super light, and seen some action already. The Ritchey Carbon Superlogic post is also superlight, with more setback than the stock post has.
Jackson ended up 2nd overall for the Real Insurance XCM Series – and although he apparently took the week off, he finished 2nd at the very muddy Dirty Gran Fondo on 10th May. Keep an eye out on podiums around the country this year, and you are sure to catch AJ on one of his Lapierre bikes.