Loic Bruni's Specialized Demo

Loic Bruni had a season of contrast in 2016, winning his first World Cup in Cairns but then getting sidelined by injury. He ultimately came back strong, only to then flat at World Champs. The #6 on his bike tells you everything you need to know though - when your so-so season lands you a single digit plate, you know you're doing something right. We caught up with "Super Bruni" just after track walk here in Lourdes, to chat about his offseason, his new bike, and his views on a certain new wheelsize. Turns out the softspoken Frenchy has quite a strong opinion on the topic, so hold onto your hats and dive into the audio goods below!

What's that you say? 29ers?

Taking a break from his normal routine, Loic spent much of his offseason in California, getting time off from studying to do a little interning and work on his race prep. Sounds like he's ready for a little redemption here in Lourdes!

Specialized have hooked their team riders up with rad new paintjobs, and the mechanics spare no effort to make sure they're dialed. It's all in the details...

The team has hooked up with a couple new partners for 2017, the most significant of which is of course Ohlins. Loic told us they worked hard to get it all sorted, relying on telemetry and lots of testing to work out tuning and settings. Switching to Formula brakes was also not a foregone conclusion, and was only possible after the brand stepped up with some pretty major revisions to their product. Loic elaborates in audio below:

The true meaning of "partnership" - we found this hiding in the back of the team truck.

The shock was pretty much good to go when the team got it...
...but the fork took a bit more work.

Specialized Gravity has always relied on telemetry, which they'll use both in testing and at the actual race venues to eek those last precious tenths out of the track. The dedicated telemetry bike is already standing by here in Lourdes:

So what about those wheels then? While some are playing down the arrival of the 29er in the World Cup, the issue is clearly polarizing - and there's little doubt which side of the fence Loic is on:

The team issue brake has seen heavy mods - which should trickle to production models going forward.
Formula reportedly has a 4-piston version of this brake on the way too.

It's not only the new bikes that need to look good, the riders dress to impress too. Bruni's 100% Aircraft is up to the task!

Bruni will be dead set on taking a few numbers off this plate now, and it could all start here in Lourdes, a track we know he likes and can do well on. Fingers crossed!

Photos and words by Johan Hjord

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