Red Bull Rampage is an event that stands alone in the mountain biking world. As the world’s premier big-mountain event, it attracts some of the burliest and most skilled riders around. Those riders typically have a number of bikes to choose from that are best suited to slopestyle or downhill events, but Red Bull Rampage requires a specific set-up to take the punishment of cliff-drops and sun-baked terrain. Find out from 16 of the competitors in 2012 what changes they’re making to their gear for this event.
Andreu Lacondeguy: I’m going to be on my big DH bike; Red Bull Rampage is the only event of the season that you fully have to ride on a DH bike, and that makes the event so special. My set-up is close to a downhill racing set-up but with harder suspension and a few more changes that make the bike better for tricks.
Brendan Fairclough: My bike will be much the same as it would be for a rough downhill track -- hard suspension and hardy bits on her to make sure nothing fails on landing from a big drop or jump.
Cam McCaul: I've actually been tinkering around with my bike for the last few weeks leading up to Red Bull Rampage. Trek dialed in some special frames for us that have shorter chainstays and a bit more progressive suspension. It makes the bike easier to throw around and strong on the landings, stuff that's always important at Rampage! I'm also planning to run the FOX 180 long travel single-crown fork. It’s the same length as the dual crown and it keeps barspins and tailwhips alive in the trick bag. As far as extra safety gear, I'll probably add a Leatt [neck] brace to my usual quiver of pads.
Curtis Robinson (pictured above): Utah definitely requires a slightly different set-up than most places I ride. Higher tire pressure and stiffer suspension really helps deal with the hard impacts and deep compressions on this kind of terrain. The only addition to my gear list will probably be a mouth guard and ankle brace; everything else is the usual.
Cam Zink: I usually run my DH bike a little stiff anyway, but with Rock Shox air suspension we can change spring rates on the fly depending on what line we use. They made me an amazing new custom tune that is super progressive, which makes life even easier.
Sam Pilgrim: The major change is that I'll be using triple crown DH forks; I've never ridden there and I'm assuming that’s what I'll need. As for gear, I'll be wearing a full-face helmet.
Mick Hannah: My race set-up is hard already, but I will be going quite a bit harder to keep me from blowing through the travel on those big hits. Obviously, speed isn't really the goal [at Red Bull Rampage] so that allows us to run bigger tires for a bit more cushion and hopefully to help stay on top of that soft Utah dirt. As far as safety gear goes, I already run a super safe helmet from Bell, which to me is the main thing. I'll also be in my usual race gear.
Greg Watts: This contest is so unique that you almost need a specific bike to be able to effectively ride everything. With big drops and gaps, the bigger the bike, the better, but since I’m more of a slopestyle rider, I’m choosing a bike that I can still do all my tricks on. I think every rider will have a bit different set-up based on their style of riding. I am riding a 7'' freeride bike with a 180 mm single crown fork.
Thomas Vanderham (pictured above): I might go one spring rate up on my suspension set-up for Red Bull Rampage; other than that, no changes to the bike. At some of the past Rampage events I’ve worn extra pads and at others I haven’t; to be honest, I haven’t made the decision yet about body armor.
Wil White: I change just about everything for Red Bull Rampage. I run stronger, more aggressive tires than normal to deal with the harsh terrain and to minimize the chances of ripping sidewalls. For the suspension I do a total overhaul, replacing the stock springs for a stiffer weight to keep the fork from bottoming out, and I’ll run a higher weight oil for more controlled dampening on bigger drops and rough terrain.
Martin Söderström: Red Bull Rampage is a "one-of-a-kind" on the [FMB] World Tour; there really isn’t any event throughout the year that you can compare it to. I’ll ride a downhill bike there, which I haven't done at a contest yet this year, but I will also make some changes on that bike to make it easier to do tricks.
Tyler McCaul (pictured below): I'm making quite a few changes to my bike this year. In 2010 I ran a coil-sprung shock but this year I'll be running the X Fusion Vector Air shock so I can dial it in just right for my line. Other than that I'll actually be trying to add a bit of weight to my bike -- it gets pretty windy out there in the desert and since I only weigh about 145 pounds I get blown around when the wind picks up. I'm hoping that if I add some weight to my bike I'll feel a little more stable in the air off of some of those big cliffs. I'm going to put 2.7" tires on front and rear and maybe throw some downhill tubes in there as well.
Ramon Hunziker: At most events in my season I ride my hardtail or my slopestyle bike, but for Red Bull Rampage I’m going to bring my Trek Session [downhill bike]. I made the suspension a bit stiffer than I ride it normally.
Garett Buehler: I like to keep my bikes running the same no matter what and where I’m riding. I ride my suspension quite stiff already, but that would be the only thing I might change for the big hits that Rampage has to offer. But generally it’s “set it and forget it.”
Geoff Gulevich: I will run the same set-up I normally do, both on the bike and gear-wise. I feel each rider was invited for how they are on a bike and should maintain that style. Changing your whole set-up for one event seems a little extreme to me.
Casey Groves: The bike I’m riding for Red Bull Rampage is a Morpheus Loki, a five-inch travel freeride bike. I’m setting it up the same as I would my slopestyle bike so that I’ll be able to do tricks like barspins and tailwhips. I’ll be running bigger, more suitable tires for the terrain in Utah and a FOX DHX 4.0 coil rear shock instead of an air shock like normal.
Check back tomorrow to find out what role music plays for these riders as they take their runs down the mountain.
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- Red Bull Rampage 2012 competitor info
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- Watch the full Red Bull Rampage 2010 DVD online now