Understanding what bike to take to an important race isn’t a science – but it’s very important. And as the saying goes – you don’t take a knife to a gun fight. While some readers expressed their surprise that Fanny Bourdon would race the Cape Epic on a hardtail, it’s also what she is used to riding and racing.
To that end, the Bulls teams ride Bulls Wild Edge Team models – and we have heard that despite the new zebra paint job – the bikes are the same frames that the Bulls rode last year. This bike was pretty much designed for the team to race the Cape Epic on, and in 2016 it’s doing a great job for the riders!
The frame’s are fairly standard lengths, and not slack with 71 degree head angles. Seat angles are 74 degrees, keeping the Bulls right over the bottom bracket on climbs, and ready to explode out of the seat for power climbs. The frame has 100mm of travel, sprung by a RockShox Monarch shock.
You can see that Boehme’s bike foregoes the stock hydraulic lock out for a manual switch. Hardware looks to be titanium and alloy, and there’s a King cage on the down tube for bidon security. The CO2 cartridge and head is matched with a small pump, as you can’t be left trail side in a stage race.
Team Bulls use Shimano for their drivetrain, brakes and shoes. And it’s XTR M9000 Di2 2×11 for the Bulls. Well, sort of. This bike is actually a mix – with a Di2 rear derailleur, and a mechanical front. This might be due to parts supply, but it could be rider preference.
The cable outer has been sealed, and the Bulls’ mechanic has even ground off the top cable guide from the derailleur.
With a clear view of the wheels, we can see bladed spokes and alloy nipples lace what should be M9000 142×12 hubs to destickered Stan’s rims. Whether they are Crests or Race Golds – we can’t be certain. We can be certain this one has a ding in it though.
These wheels are likely about 1450 grams or lighter if built with Crests, and probably closer to 1300g if build with Race Golds. They are not a heavy option. But given the extra stiffness that a carbon rim can give, this must be a decision on ride quality and in the field serviceability. At Transalp 2010, Team Bulls were on EDGE (pre-ENVE) rims, and one of the first major teams on 29ers too. So this will be an informed decision.
Boehme has a Schwalbe Rocket Ron on the rear, although this is his team mate Stiebjahn’s bike. The Ron is a very open tread pattern. While some would opt for a Racing Ralph for faster rolling, the Ron is exceptionally light for the grip it offers. This shot also shows a protection plate on the swing arm – keeping the frame in one piece from aggressive chain suck. We can’t quite make out the chainring sizes but presume a 28/38 preference. You can also see that Stiebjahn has taped his Co2 to the seat tube.
Bulls are sponsored by RockShox and use the RS-1 forks. Rotors are 160mm, XT IceTech more than likely, unless that hub has centrelock.
The command centre has a mount for a Sigma computer, plus you can see the mount for a GoPro Session out front. There’s also the Shimano Di2 computer head for the shift indicator and battery indicator. If you see where the lockout enters the fork you can see a quick link taped onto the hose. Bars and stem are carbon from FSA.
Fizik Antares carbon braided seats have Schwalbe saddle bags beneath, and side entry cages are mounted to the FSA seat posts. These will likely just fit 500-600mL bottles.
Bulls riders put their best foot forward with Shimano XTR pedals, in this case the blue ones from 2015, which was the 25 years SPD anniversary. These probably look far better than most riders pedals – and were probably new for the race.