Photo credit: Zoon Cronje.

Tell us about the frames you’re riding:

WW: SwiftCarbon Evil Twin full suspension, both size Medium. It’s really great that frame holds two bottles – a must, as most of the Cape Epic stages are over 100km, sometimes in severe heat.

HB: I like a bike that is extremely stiff on the climbs and when you stand up, this bike goes forward. Climbing is great...

WW: Yes it’s very direct. It’s go more of a ‘hardtail’ geometry so it’s able to make direction changes quickly, but it’s also pretty composed on the descents. Once you have the suspension dialed to your style, it handles very well.

What set up do you have, with shock pressures and dampening?

WW: I run around 85-90psi in the fork and 120psi on the rear shock. I like to have a softer, plush suspension and harder tires for puncture safety. I run the rear open mostly – the climbs are often very rough and this gives extra traction.

HB: We had the old RockShox forks and tried them at the early season races, and we swapped them out for the new SID World Cups for Epic – they’re really nice.

Photo credit: Zoon Cronje.

What kind of cockpit setup do you like?

WW: I use nothing less than a 710mm bar. I prefer to have the wider bar for the control and comfort.

HB: We both have Ritchey WCS. I run a 100mm stem with 710mm bars, which fits my shoulder width – grips are ESI Extra Chunky.

WW: Brakes are super important with the speeds we ride at, close to the other riders in the bunch with all the dust, and rocks flying up… we’re really happy with the SRAM Guide Ultimates we picked. 160mm rotors front and back.

Any particular reason you went for a 1x12 setup on the drivetrain?

WW: When we had 1x11 we would swap between a 32T and 34T depending on the stage profile. 1x12 has changed the game though, and riders are using 36T and we don’t have to swap blades between stages because of the gear range.

HB: We run SRAM XO1 Eagle 1x12. I also will be riding 36T in front and the 10-50 combination at the back – perfect for the Cape Epic stages that require small gears up the steep climbs without spinning out on the flats and downhill sections.

WW: I like the Rotor Rex 1 cranks because they make 172.5mm length arms (HB has 175mm). I like it to be the same as on the road – personal preference. I also prefer standard round blades. I have tried oval before but went back. Maybe I’m just old school…

HB: We will have full shifter/cable/derailleur spare in our tech boxes, with gears already preset. If we break a derailleur we just replace the entire setup, quickly.

Photo credit: Zoon Cronje.

You are using ceramic bearings. Is there a noticeable advantage?

WW: I do feel they last a bit better than standard bearing and possibly do give a slight advantage. At a race like the Epic I’ll take any marginal gain I can so I’ll be sure to have them on my bike.

Any reason you picked Look MTB pedals?

HB: Look S-Track – very reliable pedals

WW: Agree!

Photo credit: Zoon Cronje.

No doubt you spent some time debating wheel choice, resulting in South African made South Industries rims specced on the bikes.

WW: South Industries built us some sets with Hope hubs. These carbon rims have an internal width of 28mm which is pretty wide for the average XCM/XCO wheel. The trend is wider on the rims these days. I enjoy the extra width as it gives the tyre that extra volume.

There’s a lot of talk about which rubber is best for the race. What’re your thoughts?

WW: Big debate here! I’ve started using the new Specialized Renegades and so far I’ve been impressed – a good balance of qualities, very low rolling resistance but enough grip. The grip is very predictable – on some tyres the grip holds, then suddenly gives way. It’s a decent weight and has good puncture resistance. I’m running 2.3” on the front for a little more volume and 2.1” on the rear. On the spare wheels we will have Maxxis Icons. Also, predictable tyres.

HB: Schwalbe Rocket Ron SnakeSkin 2.25” front and back. Easy. All converted to tubeless of course – the only way at Epic.

WW: Pressure on the front is 21psi, rear is 23psi.

HB: 18psi front, 20 rear.

What about seating?

HB: I like my Fizik Tundra M3! Ritchey WCS carbon seatpost.

WW: Specialized Power saddle. Also my own. No dropper posts for us, I don't feel it’s needed for our marathon and stage races.

HB: Save some weight…

Photo credit: Zoon Cronje.

What’s your hydration arrangement?

HB: 2x Lezyne bottle cages

WW: Evox Nutrition bottles. Conditions are usually always hot this time of year so I try carry as much on me as possible.

Any other additions and accessories? Where do you put spares?

WW: I prefer to have some of my spares in my pockets. I put different tools in different pockets for easier retrieval. I do however mount my plug and CO2 canister on my bike for the quickest reach. My CO2 canister is mounted behind my seat post and a plug underneath my top tube.

HB: I will be carrying a multitool with a chain breaker, some plugs and the Sahmurai sword tyre plug devices in my handlebar ends. I will also take a couple of chain links as spares, plus one tube between Waylon and I for emergencies.

Photo credit: Zoon Cronje.