Matt Page has made a plan to tackle the hardest races in the world. Although it is often argued what they are, having raced the Crocodile Trophy, Iron Bike, Grand Raid, Andalucia Bike Race, and now the Mongolia Bike Challenge (amongst a host of others) he’s on his way to ticking them all off.
Having recently finished the Iron Bike in 5th, Page had a few modifications he wanted to make to his Pivot LES 29er that he used there. Ditching the dropper post for a Syntace Hi Flex was an obvious choice, but Page also swapped from an XX1 setup back to a Shimano XTR 2 x 10 drivetrain. The reasoning was not only for gearing, but for spares availability. There are more people here running 10 speed than 11 speed. Trading parts is not uncommon to keep bikes running.
Although Page has a Pivot 429, he has chosen the LES for the Mongolia Bike Challenge, “The Pivot LES has proved to be a superb and very versatile frame. I used it during Iron Bike with a 120mm fork (which it can officially accept) and now for MBC it is back to 100mm. I love the stiffness, but it is still comfortable with bolt through rear. It’s also possible to swap the dropouts to singlespeed, but I’ve not used this feature yet.”
Wheels and Fork
Matt Page has decided to run the Reynolds Carbon 29er rims, with Schwalbe Snake Skin 2.25″ tyres (running tubeless). Although they are heavier than the Race Golds he used at Iron Bike, he didn’t need to focus around low weight for climbing for the MBC. “I actually oversteered when I first started riding carbon wheels” stated Page, due to the increased rigidity in the wheels making the bikes handling far more direct.
A Fox Float 32 with CTD damping and a QR15 attachment holds the front wheel in place. Run at 100mm, as described above.
Gearing and Pedals
11 speed or 20 speed? A choice many are making – but for Page it was clear that he would want the broader range for the long stages and higher speeds at MBC – and the parts availability of 10 speed amongst the field of 108 racers. Page is using Look S-Track Carbon-Ti pedals. “I’ve used several brands in the past, I found that they were either durable but horrible in/out or not durable. The LOOK S-track and the Quartz before it change that, the bearings last well and they have a smooth and positive entry/exit.”
A Shimano XTR TRail rear mech keeps the chain quiet, and an 11-36 SRAM XX Cassette is one of the lightest options out there. The Pivot LES frame runs internal cables, which helps keep maintenance down in a long race.
You have to be comfortable, and Page runs Ergon GS1 grips on Kinesis Strutt 700mm Carbon bars, with the sweep and flared shape of the grip being settled on after trying many options. The XTR shifters and Trail levers use the i-Spec clamp for easy packing and re-building. The Trail brakes offer greater braking under more conditions. The small weight penalty over the Race model is an easy trade off. Do note that the stem is slammed, but the Pivot does have a large bearing cover, negating the effectiveness of slamming his stem.
A trusty Fizik tundra is the seat of choice, with carbon braided rails. Fitted to a Syntace Hi Flex post, it makes for a relatively comfortable and light combination.
A spare link makes it into the inside of the right hand brake lever for Matt Page. That’s a new one!
A RRP Neoguard runs on Page’s bikes all year. They are light, and help keep mud off the face and bike. There was a deluge on Wednesday in Mongolia, and the longer stages are through marshlands. This could prove to be a wise choice.
Two water bottle cages just makes sense, as does frame mounting for a pump. Page chooses a side pull cage for the seat tube carrier, as it facilitates using a larger bottle more easily.
Crashes do happen, and these carbon protectors will help save the frame from impact by the shifters in a crash
The full parts list is below, but right after these photos the Pivot LES 29er was packed onto a truck with 107 other racers bikes ready to be trucked out to the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, for the start of the 7 day Mongolia Bike Challenge. Racing starts on Saturday 1st September.
Frame: Pivot LES 29er
Fork: Fox 32 CTD Trail Adjust – 100mm
Brakeset: Shimano XTR trail – 160mm
Shift Levers: Shimano XTR
Front Derailleur: Shimano XTR
Rear Derailleur: Shimano XTR Trail
Crankset: Shimano XTR 985, 38/26t
Rear cassette: SRAM XX 11-36
Hubs: Industry 9 Torch classic
Rims: Reynolds Carbon 29er
Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray
Tyres: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25” snakeskin
Grips: Ergon GS1
Bars: Kinesis Strut 700mm
Stem: Ritchey WSC C260
Pedals: LOOK S-Track Carbon-Ti
Seatpost: Syntace Hi-Flex
Saddle: Fizik Tundra braided
Bottle cages: Lezyne Carbon and Side entry carbon
Mudguard: RRP Neoguard