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Cesar Rojo claims this is a 'not-so-fast Five' but it's full of great insight and some cool new concepts. Learn what this racer-turned designer is up to at Mondraker.

Do you wish Fabien Barel would keep racing World Cups?
Sure, I think everyone will like to see Fab keep on racing, but I can understand how hard it must have been those last years with injuries, having some major ones and I totally understand his decision. For Mondraker it's not easy as Fabien has been a great ambassador for the brand at the races and also has delivered some amazing results. I’m sure he will keep helping to grow the sport and some young French riders as well. Merci Fab!
PhotoDid you make Damien Spagnolo give you half of his World Champs silver medal since he ran your 10mm stem setup?
He didn’t race on the 10mm stem, only Fab tried but he made such a long bike to try it out that it didn’t work out. He has tried it since on his stock bike and he really loves it.
PhotoCan you tell us about some MTB design projects you're working on?
Now I’m working on an enduro bike with 10mm stem and it has to be the greatest bike I’ve ever ridden. It climbs even better due to a longer front-center (there is more weight on the front, so the bike doesn’t wheelie on steep climbs and you can have more weight on the back with your body position as you don’t need to lean forward). And going down it just opens another world, having the handlebar way more backwards from the front axle. This gives you 3-4 extra degrees, so the feeling when it gets steep is like having a 3-4-degrees slacker bike, but you really don’t have it. I’ve been trying it on the DH bike with a longer frame and there is no way I’m ever going to ride on a 50mm stem again. Same on the enduro, once you try it, you will never want to go back. The only problem is for tall people, it can work for S, M&even L size, but XL will make just a huge bike, but we’ll see. Now we are getting another prototype done, so we can get more people feeling this huge advantage.
     We are working on a new DH bike, but it won’t see light probably before 2013 as we really want to take a big step forward, but can’t tell you much about it. We'll have a new, never-seen feature that will help everyone with their setup.
Cesar in Maribor, 2009. photo by Sven MartinIf you had one do-over in life, what would it be?
Everything happens for a reason, so I definitely would not change anything as I’m really happy with what I have achieved. I always think about what would have happened if I never quit DH. My last year in World Cup I was 21 years old, and I think I finished 11th overall and 6th in the last race, just after the big names of the sport, Vouilloz, Barel, Gracia, Pascal and Peat. I’m sure that if I kept racing now, I wouldn’t be here doing what I love.

Between yourself, Fabien and Nico Vouilloz, who is the pickiest about their bike setup?
Definitely should be Fabien and Nico. I haven’t worked with Nico, so I'm not too sure, but Fab is way more than me. I’m fine as long as the bike can roll down the mountain.
     Seriously though, I have two faces. On long-term test bikes I just don’t care. I treat the bike really badly to see how riding with the bike full of mud will affect the wear of the parts and things like that. When it's time for shock testing and other things, I can be really peculiar. I have a really accurate sense on the bike and can notice really small changes. I’m quite a perfectionist so it’s never easy. In fact I had a third face when I was racing. As long as my geometry position and suspension setups are fine, I don’t even care if I can’t change gears. It’s all about geometry and suspension for me and those are the two things I work the most to improve.

Cesar follows Fabien...
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