Christoph Sauser’s Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon 29er
A huge crowd of photographers, reporters and fans gathered around the Specialized team van at the Dalby World Cup before the start of the elite men’s race, as Burry Stander, Todd Wells and Christoph Sauser made final preparations and warmed up on rollers.
Specialized offered its athletes a choice of bikes, and so it was little surprise that there was a mix of hardtails and full suspension bikes in the pit area of the Specialized marquee, along with 26in and 29in wheel sizes. What would they each be riding? That’s the question we were asking, and it wouldn’t be too long before we got the answers, as Sauser and Stander both headed over to the start line to take up their position on the grid.
Sauser, a rider with a world champion medal, overall world cup honours and an Olympic medal to his name, rolled out on a 29er hardtail. Sauser would eventually finish eighth in a fascinating and exciting race that saw Jaroslav Kulhavy storm to a victory following a magnificent solo effort aboard a Specialized Epic 29er, a first World Cup win by a big wheeled bike.
The Swiss rider is no stranger to 29ers of course. For the Absa Cape Epic he rode to victory, with partner Burry Stander, aboard an Epic 29er. For the Dalby Forest course he settled on the hardtail version, Specialized’s Stumpjumper Carbon 29er. The bike is based around a FACT 10m carbon fibre frame featuring a tapered head tube, curved seat tube to get the rear wheel in as tight as possible and keep the chainstays, and therefore the wheelbase, as short as possible. It’s light, just 1,130g (2.49lb).
Geometry is all-important on 29ers, and the numbers on a medium Stumpjumper are 71.5 degree head and 72 seat angle, with 17.1in chainstays. RockShox supply Sauser with its new SID 29er fork but the internals accommodated Specialized’s BRAIN dampers in a collaboration between the two brands.
Wheels are Specialized’s own Roval branded hoops wrapped in S-Works Renegade 29er tyres, which wear a very low profile and fast looking tread pattern, ideal for the dry conditions over the Dalby weekend. SRAM XX supplies the front and rear derailleur and shifter and Blackbox Avid brakes.
Up front Sauser grips a Syntace Duraflite 31.8 Carbon flat handlebar held in place with a matchin Syntace stem and, though we’re not seeing them all that often, Sauser cleatly still likes his bar ends, here supplied by Extralite.
While most of it is fairly standard fare, and if not available yet will soon be in the shops, something that you might struggle to lay your hands on is the chain device. With the advent of 10-speed cassettes and wider ratios now available, we’ve seen a steady increase in 2×10 setups, but a few, as with Sauser, are running 1×10 drivetrains.
A Specialized S-Works carbon fibre crankset has been stripped of its standard chainrings and on is a 34t single ring supplied by Spanish firm Rotor (of non-circular ring fame). With just one chainring there’s no need for a front mech. However, you do need something to keep the chain in place and prevent it parting company with the chainring. So Specialized fitted a e13 XCX-ST single ring chainguide.
As Sauser rolled through the crowds at the finish of the elite men’s race, he didn’t look to happy. We overheard him saying to somebody from the Specialized team that the a rock had jammed between the frame and chain device and shifted it out of position.
Sauser comment on this incident: “Unfortunately a rock or what ever hit my front derailleur bended it to the outside, so also the chain came off. I had to stop for the fix and I restarted the race in 13th position again.”
Wondering what the weight of the bike is? We’ve heard rumours of low 20lb figures being discussed around the internet.