Mike ‘the Mechanic’ Jenner, the super-energetic bloke behind the Moda-Bikemagic mountain bike racing team, has just landed himself a gig wrenching at the Olympic cross-country mountain bike racing next weekend. He tells us just what he’ll be doing and shares some inside scoop on the future of cross-country bike gear.
“I only got the call from Magura yesterday," says Mike on the line from Moda-Bikemagic team HQ in Derbyshire. “They had realised that SRAM, Specialized and Shimano were coming to support their riders so they asked me if I’d look after the Magura-sponsored riders too."
That means Mike will be responsible for the forks and brakes of two of the biggest names in mountain biking, defending Olympic champion Sabine Spitz and top French woman Julie Bresset plus her countryman Stephane Tempier.
Is he excited? “Just a little!" he says, laughing. “It’s also good recognition. Magura has seen what a good job we do at the races and it helps that I already know the riders."
It’s a very specific role. Mike will be looking after the Magura gear on the trio’s bikes up until the race starts. Then he gets to relax, albeit with a bit of nervousness that everything he’s fettled lasts the distance.
"Those three are getting some new trick bits from Magura," Mike says, “like a prototype 650B fork for Spitz and an enhanced version of the MT8 brake.
“Magura wants me to make sure it’s all working before the race then their usual mechanics will take over.
“I’ll do everything I can before the race and then I get to watch it!"
Speaking of that proto Magura 650B fork, Mike says that 650B wheels, roughly in between 26-inch and 29-inch in size, really look like the coming thing in cross-country racing.
“Look at the rock garden at Val d’Isere last weekend. 29ers cruised it, 26ers bogged down but Nino Schurter on 650B also flew through it. That made people take notice."
For a team of four women like Moda-Bikemagic, the intermediate size also makes sense.
Mike says: “People are finding that 29 is just too big. You end up with inverted stems on small bikes and the handling can get twitchy. 650B fills the gap and works really well for World Cup courses."
The Olympic cross-country mountain bike races take place at 12:30 Saturday August 11 for the women's race and 13:00 Sunday August 12 for the men's. The venue for both is Hadleigh Country Park, Essex.