At Andalucia Bike Race a couple of weeks ago we had a chance to look at one of the most impressive looking bikes on the pro circuit, the Centurion Numinis Carbon XC Team of Markus Kaufmann and Team Centurion Vaude. Weighing in at a featherweight 9.3 kilograms this rocket ship will be ridden by the team at the Cape Epic next week. The bike sports 100mm of travel front and rear, with remote lockout.
Markus lives near the shores of Lake Constance on the border of Switzerland, Austria and Germany. He spent this winter at home unlike many top pros who were training in sunny climates. “My winter was more stressful than others because we built a house and moved into it in February. So I decided to stay at home without training camps. Luckily the winter in Germany was really mild. Now we are happy to have more space at home and I have my own training room.”
As you’d expect pro cyclists train hard but their timetable isn’t that unpredictable. “After races my rest day is Monday. I train Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is a short easy day. Saturday 2.5 hours race preparation and Sunday race. 3 to 4 times a week I add strength and core training. Most of my training workouts are intervals. If your shape is not ready yet, it hurts a lot. If you have shape, the intervals are more easy and good fun.” Markus focuses a lot on VO2 max intervals. “Training is nothing without fun and motivation.”
After Andalucia, Markus and Team Centurion Vaude travel to the Cape Epic.”Our team goal for this year’s Cape Epic is of course to win the overall. Daniel Geismayer and Nicola Rohrbach showed us last year that they are able to win. Jochen Käß and me want to do our best to support them as good as possible but don’t forget our own chances.”
Markus tells us, “To be successful at any stage race, I think you have to test your body and fitness first with a smaller stage race. With only 3-5 stages. If you have a good feeling with it, you can try a bigger race like Cape Epic or Bike Transalp Challenge.”
It’s easy to forget but there is a long season after the Cape Epic. “My first goal is the European Marathon Championship in Italy. Then the German Nationals in Kirchzarten. There I want to fight back for the white jersey. For sure one of the biggest goal is the marathon world championship also in Italy.”
A closer look at the Centurion
Looking at the bike one of the most striking features are the BikeAhead carbon wheels. “The wheels are really special. This is the 3rd season on BikeAhead rims. But the first with the Biturbo RS. The wheels are stiff, wide (27mm inner wide) and at under 1200 grams really light. In Spain, at Andalucia Bike Race, the people loved the wheels.”
With Markus’ bike weighing in at just 9.3kgs we ask whether he still see’s a reason to use a hardtail. “For the European marathons you don’t really need a full suspension bike. Especially for the marathons in the mountains like the Alps. Our new hardtail will be super light. I think one of the lightest sponsored team bikes.”
The Numinis XC has reasonably short 435mm chainstays, no rear pivot to keep weight down and efficiency up, relying on flex via the chainstays instead. This is something the Specialized Epic does, and this rear end looks very simlar to the prototype Canyon. The 70.5 degree head angle is moderate – not new-school slack or overly steep. We presume this is paired with a 51mm offset fork.
The frame has routing for a sideswing front derailleur, and we suspect it might have an S3 mount off the BB shell if one was run. Of course, 12-speed Eagle doesn’t need a front derailleur!
The frame has an external brake hose and internal gear outer – possibly to save on time for repairs to brake lines. The frame design of the Numinis XC also allows for the use of two bidons inside the mainframe – like the new Canyon, Specialized, PYGA, Momsen Vipa Race, KTM, Cannondale Scalpel Si and only a few others.
This winter the team swapped power meters from SRM to power2max. “Both power meters are reliable, have similar weight, perfect service and both are exact in measuring. The main difference is that the power2max can measure left/right balance and it is possible to recharge it with a mini usb cable.” Fitted on the power meter “most of the time I use the 34 chainring. For me it is the perfect ring. Steep races like the the Sella Ronda Hero or the Zillertal Bine Challenge I use the 32.”
With only a few days at home before flying to South Africa the team saw Andalucia Bike Race as a “test for the Epic. Here we check our material. If something doesn’t work we have time to improve that.”
Markus isnt yet sporting a dropper seatpost, we asked if he’s tried one.
“No not at the moment, for me the weight is important, a dropper seatpost means more weight”.
Suspension setup is critical. “Our mechanic ‘Roli’ gives always the best to prepare our forks and rear suspension. It took time to find the best setup. We always try different settings in training. But when you have found the best setup, you don’t change it.”
The team are running some interesting looking tyres from Schwalbe. “My favourite pressure is 1.7bar for dry races and a little bit less like 1.6 for rainy conditions.”
The bike sports some custom parts. “We work together with CeramicSpeed to develop different mountain bike bearings. Also we test some special carbon custom products of Hopp Carbon.” With tough team stage races like Andalucia and the Cape Epic reliability is key. “First you need a solid, reliable bike. Then you can try to lose weight. The important part of the bike to lose weight are the wheels and tyres.”
We wish Markus and Team Centurion Vaude the best of luck at the Cape Epic and the remainder of the season.