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  1. Jérôme Clementz was recently on vacation in South Africa to unwind after a hectic season racing the Enduro World Series where he finished third overall. He brought along his Cannondale Habit for a safari ride in Botswana followed by a spot of trail riding with some locals in Cape Town. We interrupted Jérôme's holiday one afternoon for an interview and, of course, a quick peek at his bike. View full article
  2. For his trip to Southern Africa, Jérôme left behind his enduro racing Jekyll in favour of his Habit. The Habit Carbon SE is sold as a 120 mm 650b trail bike with 130 mm fork travel. Other than the gorgeous deep purple paint job and cranks, Jérôme's model is far from stock. The Habit Carbon SE features a carbon front triangle and suspension link with an aluminium rear end. Jérôme runs a Monarch Debonair shock and a RockShox Pike. He usually rides the Pike on this bike at 140mm. Jérôme has his own signature carbon Descendent handlebar with 750 mm width that is held in place by a compact Descendent stem. Shiny silver SRAM Guide RSC brakes are used to slow the bike with the Reverb dropper seat post lever mounted under the left brake. The Garmin 1000 is mounted neatly on the steerer cap. Jérôme rides for HT pedals and on the Habit SE he has fitted their enduro race T1 model. He sits on a WTB Volt saddle with oval carbon rails and a claimed weight of 148 grams. The drivetrain on the Habit SE is full SRAM XX1 with the exception of the Cannondale Si cranks which run an XX1 32T chainring. Jérôme rides SRAMs alloy Roam 50 wheelset wrapped in Michelin Wild Rock'R 2 2.35 tyres. Specification: FrameHabit Carbon SE ForkRockShox Pike ShockRockShox Monarch Debonair HeadsetTange Seiki CranksetCannondale Si ChainringSRAM XX1 30T Rear DerailleurSRAM XX1 ShiftersSRAM XX1 CassetteSRAM XX1 ChainSRAM XX1 BrakesSRAM Guide RSC with 180mm rotors SeatpostRockShox Reverb SaddleWTB Volt Carbon StemTruvativ Descendent GripsWTB Moto X clamp-on HandlebarTruvativ Descendant Jérôme Clementz CoLab Bar, 750mm wide, 20 mm rise WheelsetSRAM Roam 50 TyresMichelin Wild Rock'R 2 2.35 PedalsHT T1
  3. You have travelled extensively: Where is your favourite destination for riding? I think New Zealand. With the two islands you have a lot of variety. On the North Island you can ride in the forest, jungle, and technical slow trails. On the South Island there are good bike parks like Queenstown, and also a lot of natural trails, both open and Alpine stuff; a good mix. And you can go riding in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon, which you can do in South Africa too. This is your second time to South Africa. What trails have you ridden during your trip and have you enjoyed them? I liked Tokai, when I was here on my first trip. It was my backyard when I was staying here for three weeks, but this time it’s not open yet. It’s a good reason to come back.This trip I have ridden at Jonkershoek, Grabouw, Helderberg, and just below Table Mountain at Rhodes Memorial and the cable station. So is Tokai comparable with the world class trails you have been exposed to? Yes, I really liked the flow we had at Tokai, it has a good gradient, a nice climb, and I could do good training. The downhills are nice and technical but still with good flow. It’s not flat like some bike parks, the trails had rocks and roots, and baboons to avoid. Photo credit: Jeremie Reuiller. How did you get into enduro? I started riding bikes because I was doing cross country skiing and my trainer was doing mountain biking in the summer, so instead of running only he suggested a bit of mountain biking. I ended up doing a bit of everything. I liked both cross-country and downhill.When I turned 15, the only race that existed that combined the two was Megavalanche, and it became my main focus of the season. In 2006, we had the first Enduro National Series, and when that appeared I left downhill and cross-country and went to that full time. You have won Megavalanche three times- what is the secret to winning this event? Firstly, you have to be a little bit crazy at the start. I often say that you don’t win the race on the glacier, but for sure you lose it. The key point is to be in the top five at the end of the glacier. Then afterwards its forty minutes of downhill with some very physical sections so you have to minimise your mistakes and be able to ride fast for 40 minutes downhill. So it is important to be able to ride fast downhill when you are very tired. How much fitness and training goes into preparation for a race? Training is getting more and more important every year. I do gym, cross country skiing, dirt jumping, and I spend a lot of time on the road. This year I am also going to start with some motorbike- I haven’t done that before. Mentally, is there anything you do to focus before a big stage? How do you deal with the pressure? The hardest part for me is probably the practice. For two days of practice and one day of racing you have to be focussed all the time. I try to be really precise with what I do in practice ad to remember the key points. I then focus on what I learned in practice, so that when I start a stage there is only one thing in my mind, and that is what I should remember for that stage. When you start your race run you can’t think of anything else.Sometimes when something is really sketchy, instead of going full gas, I sit back a little bit. I might lose 1 or 2 seconds but at least I can ride confidently and I will not be focussed on this part of the trail the entire way down. Then I can ride fast and not be worried about a specific section. Everyday riders and privateers can come and ride an EWS event. Is that something you like? For me, that is the root of the sport and its success because when you go to an event any weekend warrior can race with the top guys. They spend the day outside together, the same rules apply, there is no advantage. That for me is a key point to keep.World Series races are getting harder and more people may need to do some races beforehand. Some people were racing their first race ever at the World Series and that may be too much. Some kind of selection may be necessary for safety and to ensure that the speed differences are not too big. EWS are working on a ranking system and qualification events. Photo credit: Jeremie Reuiller. Has enduro influenced the way bikes are designed? Maybe the other way round? I think both. When people start riding mountain bikes often what they want to do is climb up the hill - no matter how they climb - and then have fun on the downhill. That basically is enduro, you climb up, and find a fun way to go down. So the bikes were already designed. With technology progressing, we have more and more parts that are enduro specific, but you can also fit them on any kind of bike. For example: dropper posts were originally made for enduro, but I have one on my cross country bike, and Julian Absalon and some of the XCO guys, they use them for cross country now. Bikes are changing a lot, more and more things are getting lighter and stronger, with more travel to give riders a better experience. Photo credit: Jeremie Reuiller. You are riding a Cannondale Jekyll prototype. Is that something you work with Cannondale to develop or do they design it and give it to you to test? The riders have been involved in the development of the bike for almost two years.First we sit down with the product manager and talk about the good points of the bike, and what we would like to improve, what we have seen on other bikes and would like to try. It’s all about geometries and suspension design, so that’s all paper and numbers. Then the engineer works on our feedback and they come with a prototype that we can test and give them feedback to make some changes. So the company and the engineers have some ideas about where they want to go, what they want, and what the market wants, but they also listen to the rider, and our feedback. I think it is quite essential for them. Cannondale is a racing brand, and they use their racers in their programs to develop the bike and make a better bike, whether in cross country or enduro. So yes, we are very involved, and it is interesting to work with companies like that to try and develop a better bike every year.
  4. Jérôme Clementz is an enduro racer and all-around talented mountain biker riding for the Cannondale Pro team. A previous champion of the Enduro World Series (EWS), Jérôme placed third overall in 2016. We caught up with him in Cape Town during a recent holiday to South Africa. Click here to view the article
  5. With so much attention being paid to width, important aspects like sweep and compliance are sometimes ignored. As someone who regularly rides fairly rough sections of trail, I'm always looking for a slight comfort advantage. As a result, I've been experimenting with different bar sweep ratios and wall thicknesses. In recent times, I've run a 710mm Truvativ Noir T40 carbon, a 720mm Bontrager RXL carbon, a 740mm Spanzy Oozy LTD alloy, and a 750mm Specialized Mini-XC alloy. Spank's Oozy bars have 4deg upsweep and 6deg backsweep, which I found to be too "flat" in that it extends the outside of my palms too far out, resulting in pressure hotspots. Specialized's Mini-XC is a great shape at 5deg up / 8deg back, but I was curious to see if I could decrease fatigue even more by switching back to carbon. Enter Truvativ's Jerome Clementz BlackBox bar… The Clementz (named after racing legend Jerome Clementz who won the maiden Enduro World Series in 2013) checks in with the following statistics: Width: 750mm Rise: 20mm Upsweep: 5deg Backsweep: 7deg Weight: 240g Unwrapping it reveals an extremely well constructed piece of carbon, with a beautiful unidirectional finish. The BlackBox decals are sublimated into the clear coat and give the Clementz an extremely high-quality feel. From a shape perspective, both the up and back sweep figures are in the middle of the spectrum. From the front, the bar looks perfectly proportioned for some serious action. As has been mentioned, my opinion is that exaggerated width does not benefit most riders. What works for a World Cup downhiller won't necessarily work for us mere mortals. That being said, it's a little-known fact that Jared Graves rides with a 740mm bar, and of course this BlackBox model is the exact bar used by Jerome Clementz himself… Setting up For setup purposes, alignment markings are well positioned. Like most carbon bars, the Clementz has a knurled surface coating to help with stem grip. My ride is a Specialized Enduro 29er running a 65mm Spank Oozy Stem. I set it up with a single spacer underneath to get the front end at my preferred height, with the steerer on the RockShox Pike having recently been cut slightly longer than necessary. Nothing fiddly with sliding the Clementz through the stem clamp or fitting Guide clamps over it, it's gradually shaped and easy to work with. The finish in the lever clamp area is unfortunately very shiny, so it can be tricky to get some levers to sit solidly enough to prevent them from moving with hard riding. On a carbon bar, levers should be able to rotate in a crash anyway to prevent damage to the bar, so this an observation more than direct criticism. It does make careful setup very important, a factor to take note of. The finished product… Pretty cool how the carbon on the Guide RS Carbons coordinates perfectly with the finish on the Clementz. On the trail Because of the middle-of-the-road sweep characteristics of the Clementz, most riders will find it immediately comfortable once on the bike. I really liked the 8deg backsweep of the Mini-XC and was wondering whether I'd miss it, but 7deg still feels really good.From a compliance perspective, it's a well-known fact that there have been countless forum debates about whether carbon actually offers any vibration damping benefits, or whether it's all a placebo thing. It's a tricky debate, seeing as the vibrations typically transmitted from the trail are at such a low frequency that they're largely absorbed by tyres, then by fork fore/aft flex, then by suspension. In my experience, from a fatigue perspective you're likely to reap much larger benefits by optimising your setup of those components than by changing to a carbon bar. However… if you've already got the rest dialled, I do also believe that carbon will give you a slight bit of extra forgiveness which can be felt at the end of a long ride. Debates aside, in both initial riding dirt road riding and subsequent extreme hammering through rock gardens, the Clementz feels confidence inspiring. The shape and width is perfectly suited to throwing the bike around, and at no point has it felt like either a pool noodle or too harsh. The fact that it's so beautifully made and on the heavier end of the carbon bar scale at 240g creates a definite sense of trust which (whether one acknowledges it or not) encourages you to push as hard as possible without thinking about snapping anything. In summary The Truvativ Jerome Clementz BlackBox bar is a worthy addition to any cockpit. It's not cheap (retail is over R2000) but it's an exceptionally high quality piece of kit which inspires the kind of confidence needed to tackle gnarly terrain at full pace.
  6. Handlebars can be a touchy subject. These days, everyone's on the "wider is most definitely better" bandwagon, with even marathon riders being advised to ditch their long stems and narrow bars for setups which sit as close as possible to the steerer and create as much leverage as possible to (man)handle the front wheel. Click here to view the article
  7. Follow Jerome Clementz for the last 2 rounds of the EWS as he tries to conquer a spot on the podium of the overall ranking. Click here to view the article
  8. The season started in style as the riders rolled off the stage at Te Puia under the spray of the world-famous Pohutu geyser exploding 30m high in the air. But the drama didn’t end there with the race throwing up its fair share of surprises throughout the day - with no less than 14 world champions from across cycling taking part. Yoann Barelli on stage 4. // Photo by Matt Wragg. However, in the women’s race it was the same old story, with Anne Caroline Chausson and Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Enduro Race Team) reigniting the battle that has dominated the last two seasons. In the end it was Anne who led the stage wins with five of the seven and Tracy taking only two. Cecile Ravanel’s (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) consistency throughout the day paid off, earning her the third step on the podium. But whilst the old guard may have picked up the medals, some fresh faces made their way into the top ten too. Kiwi Meggie Bichard proved she was worthy of her wildcard entry taking an incredible 5th place - less than a minute back on Anneke Beerten (Specialized Racing Team) in fourth. Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team), Rosara Joseph, Lorraine Truong (BMC Factory Trailcrew) and local girl Sasha Smith rounded out the top ten. The Women’s podium. // Photo by Matt Wragg. Speaking about her win, Anne Caroline Chausson said: “I’m really really happy, it’s the first race of the season and it’s better to start with a win definitely so I’m stoked. “It was a long day and a hard race for everybody, the main thing was to stay on the bike as much as possible, I had some good runs, I had some not so good runs, I made some mistakes, but no big crashes.” Anne-Caroline Chausson on stage 6. // Photo by Matt Wragg. In the men’s competition the first big surprise actually came in practice, when reigning World Champion Jared Graves (Yeti/Fox Shox Racing Team) announced a shoulder injury picked up a couple of weeks earlier would prevent him from racing. Meanwhile Jerome Clementz and Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) marked their return from injuries by taking first and second place - capitalising on their strong results from Finale at the end of last year. Kiwi downhiller Wyn Masters (Team Bulls) stormed his first EWS to take third and delighting the home crowd in the process. Fellow downhiller Sam Hill (Chain Reaction/Nukeproof)) was also making his EWS debut - taking both a stage win and ninth overall - and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares at round two in Ireland in May. Home favourite Justin Leov (Trek Factory Racing Enduro Team) had to settle for fourth. The Men’s podium. // Photo by Matt Wragg. Special mention has to go to Florian Nicolai (Rocky Mountain URGE bp Rally Team) after an impressive first five stages he won stage six - only to get a rear flat on stage seven - although he kept pushing and it was enough to secure fifth overall. Jerome Clementz said: “I had a good day, I liked the course, it suited my kind of riding, I tried to ride smart, not pushing too hard and staying on my bike and I managed to carry speed on all the stages and finish with the win, so it was a good surprise. “It’s always good to start the series with a win, it’s good for the confidence and for the points, a little bit less pressure on me now, but I did what I wanted to do today and now for the next round I have this behind me and I can have a good season.” In the new Under 21 category Georgia Petrie of New Zealand won the women’s race, whilst in the men’s it was France’s Adrien Dailly. Enduro World Series Managing Director Chris Ball said: “What a way to start the season! From the beginning we’ve always wanted to take the EWS to New Zealand because of it’s amazing trails and passionate riding community. The crowds on course were amazing and it was absolutely the perfect place to kick off the new season.” Justin Leov sets off. // Photo by Matt Wragg. In the team competition Canyon Factory Enduro Race Team now start the year in pole position. Next up on the Enduro World Series calendar is County Wicklow in Ireland on May 24. http://www.pinkbike.com/video/402003
  9. It was an explosive start to the 2015 Enduro World Season as Jerome Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain) and Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis Cycles Enduro Team) were crowned the first winners of 2015 in the Giant Toa Enduro in New Zealand. Click here to view the article
  10. The overall Series winners, Jerome Clementz (Cannondale Overmountain), Tracy Moseley (TREK Factory Racing) and Junior Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing), already secure after Val d’Isere August 24-25, refused to cruise to the final podium of the year, instead engaging in dramatic stage-by-stage battles to each win the final race as well as their Overall titles. Said Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “The riders who could have taken it the easiest this weekend put on the best races ever. It turned out to be an amazing end to the season.” An historic field of 600 racers from 26 nations took part in the 45km 5 stage race that made the most of the Ligurian Coast’s incredible terrain, from fast flowing woodland trails to technical rocky coastal paths. The talent pool was deep with pro riders and world champions from all disciplines, ending their seasons on a celebratory note, with top downhillers like Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland electing to finish their competitive year racing their bikes to the beach, 2013 World XC Champion Nino Schurter sharing a starting gate with Red Bull Rampage rider Brendan Fairclough, and Olympic XC racer Marco Aurelio Fontana making his enduro debut. Former 4X World Champion Jared Graves (Yeti Fox) pushed Clementz to the last, and 2013 TransProvence winner Nicolas Lau showed himself a force to be reckoned with, posting times that would have clinched him the win were it not for a one minute time penalty. The racing culminated in the presentation to Clementz and Moseley of hand-crafted trophies, designed by enduro athlete Anka Martin and her photographer husband Sven, and brought to life by Scottish artisan Simon Muir. Designed from exotic hardwoods to represent the Enduro World Series logo, the trophies have eight tiny compartments each containing a relic from one of the race destinations: soil from Punta Ala, Italy, alpine rock from Val d’Allos, France, a bottle of Genepe from Les 2 Alpes, France, bark and aspen leaves from Winter Park, Colorado, old man’s beard moss from Whistler, BC, white organic linen from Val d’Isere, France to symbolize the white-out conditions, and fresh hazelnuts sand from the beach of Finale Ligure. A final compartment remains as an empty invitation for the two champions to add a personal memento from their year of racing. Said Ball of the first year for the Enduro World Series, “It has exceeded anything I could have dreamed off. It’s been a roller-coaster of a year, and we have a huge amount of input from the riders and teams as we move forward. We’ve learned a lot. But this final race and the amazing vibe here this weekend has absolutely motivated us to push on.” http://www.vitalmtb.com/v/23420 Take at a look at some 'Raw' footage thanks to VitalMTB of the Enduro World Series Finale Ligure. Image credit: Matteo Cappé
  11. Any concern that the seventh and final round of the Enduro World Series would be anti-climactic was put to rest this weekend with a save-the-best-to-last race hosted by Superenduro at Finale Ligure, Italy. Click here to view the article
  12. An historic field of 600 racers from 26 nations will take to the trails of the Ligurian Coast for two days of racing to crown the first Enduro World Series Champions. The talent pool is deep with pro riders and world champions from all disciplines, with a starting list boasting the likes of Jerome Clementz, Tracy Moseley, Jared Graves, Fabien Barel, Cedric Gracia, Anne Caroline Chausson, Martin Maes, Dan Atherton, Tanja Zakelj, Brendan Fairclough, Steve Peat, Josh Bryceland, and Justin Leov, in addition to top XC racers Marco Aurelio Fontana and Nino Schurter making their Enduro World Series debut. The winner of the 2013 Superenduro circuit, currently a battle between Manuel Ducci and Davide Sottocornola, will also be decided this weekend. The 6 stage course, which was announced Wednesday October 16, will feature 2300m in climbing and descending over approximately 60km, incorporating every type of terrain in the region, from fast flowing woodland trails to technical rocky coastal paths. The two day Superenduro powered by SRAM event caps off an epic season for global enduro mountain biking that began just 5 months ago in Punta Ala, Italy, and travelled to Val d’Allos and Crankworx Les 2 Alpes in France, Colorado’s Winter Park, Crankworx Whistler, and Val d’Isere. As Superenduro co-founder and host, Enrico Guala says, this final round takes place less than a year after the Enduro World Series was created, conceived to unite the world’s enduro mountain bike community. “360 days later, we are hosting the most incredible group of mountain bikers coming from all disciplines and backgrounds for the most exciting event the sport has witnessed,” says Guala. Practice commences Thursday and Friday with the first rider setting off at 8:30am on Saturday. Event highlights will be posted at on facebook https://www.facebook...duroWorldSeries, @World_Enduro on twitter and @World_Enduro on Instagram. Image credits: Matt Wragg
  13. For the world’s best and most passionate mountain bikers, all roads lead to Finale Ligure on the Italian Riviera this weekend, for the final round of the Enduro World Series. Click here to view the article
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