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Racing and Testing 4 Downhill Bikes - Vital's 2022 DH Bike Test Sessions | Episode 1 32

We took four gravity-crushing downhill bikes and gave our testers two runs on each to decide which they would race at a US National.

Racing and Testing 4 Downhill Bikes - Vital's 2022 DH Bike Test Sessions | Episode 1

Welcome, to Vital’s 2022 Downhill Bike Test Sessions! We are back with another multi-bike test featuring four descent-hungry machines from Mondraker, Propain, Canfield, and Nukeproof. With gobs of travel, slack geometry, big rotors, and tiny gears, downhill bike performance has always been synonymous with race pedigree and success between the tape. Many brands invest endless resources into developing World Cup-winning bikes that can navigate the most demanding terrain and withstand the abuse of the world’s fastest racers. 

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With racing so intertwined into the DNA of downhill, we figured what better way to test this year’s bikes than in a race environment. To do so, we headed to Vernon, New Jersey, the home of Mountain Creek Bike Park and the site of round two of the 2022 US National Downhill Series. 

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Situated only an hour from New York City, Mountain Creek has hosted multiple world-class events over the years. They are well known for their impressive variety of trails, featuring a mix of rough, technical rock gardens, high-speed chunder, steep rock rolls, and flowy jump lines with ripping berms. With a short gondola ride that allows multiple runs to be knocked out per hour, and accommodations conveniently located at the base, Mountain Creek served as the perfect location to conduct our test. 

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Meet The Testers

In true Test Sessions fashion, we wrangled together four testers to gain a diverse impression of where each bike excelled, fell short, and what nuances set them apart. And ultimately, our goal was to see which bike would emerge victorious on race day. Well, at least that was the plan when we arrived at Mountain Creek. 

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Piloting our test bike was Vital’s own Jason Schroeder and first-time testers Dennis Yuroshek, Willem Cooper, and Alf Garcia. With a few years between them and differences in riding style, setup preference, and body dimensions, the one similarity they all share is that it has been years since they lined up at a US National. 

Jason Schroeder

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Alfonso Garcia

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  • 27 years old
  • 8 years racing downhill
  • 175-pounds (79.3kgs)
  • 6-foot (182cm)
  • Riding style: Relatively upright with weight more rearward than most. Enjoys a sneaking straight line or ripping jump trail.
  • Favorite downhill bike owned: 2013 Specialized Demo
  • Best or most memorable result: 30th place, Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup 2016
  • Favorite MTB movie: 3 Minute Gaps
  • @shredder_schroeder
  • 37 years old
  • 21 years racing downhill
  • 190-pounds (86.1kgs)
  • 6’ 2” (188cm)
  • Riding style: Upright yet aggressive, always linking natural trail features to generate flow and speed.
  • Favorite downhill bike owned: Turner DHR or Intense M1
  • Best or most memorable result: All the urban races in Taxco 
  • Favorite MTB movie: Clappin’ Yo Dome
  • @fonse03

Willem Cooper

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Dennis Yuroshek

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  • 34 years old
  • 11 years racing downhill
  • 180-pounds (81.6kgs)
  • 5’ 10” (177cm)
  • Riding style: Over the front of the bike with chin over handlebars. Loves looking for tech flow lines and pumping trails. Smooth is fast.
  • Favorite downhill bike owned: 2015 Giant Glory 27.5-inch 
  • Best or most memorable result: 2013 Cat 1 19-29 US National Champ, or any US Open race from Diablo Freeride Park (now known as Mountain Creek)
  • Favorite MTB movie: Earthed 5
  • @willemcooper
  • 35 years old
  • 15 years racing downhill
  • 195-pounds (88.4 kgs)
  • 5’ 10” (177cm)
  • Riding style: Aggressive style with the ability to muscle the bike around; I enjoy riding the sides of the trail, looking for different lines, and trying to be creative on the bike. 
  • Favorite downhill bike owned: 2010 Giant Glory. It was 37-pounds, which was freakin light back then!
  • Best or most memorable result: Qualifying 1st at the 2009 US Open of DH as an Amateur which placed me in top 20 pro times. 
  • Favorite MTB movie: All movies related to Clay Porter!
  • @yuroshek

Meet The Bikes

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Canfield Jedi 29

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Highlights

  • 7000 series aluminum with one-piece CNC upper and lower links
  • 203mm (7.9-inches) rear travel // 203mm (7.9-inches) fork travel
  • 29-inch wheels
  • Formula 1 high pivot, multi-link suspension design
  • 62.5-degree head tube angle
  • External cable routing
  • Sizes: medium, large (tested), X-large
  • MSRP: $6,699 USD (as tested)

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Nukeproof Dissent 290

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Highlights

  • Hydroformed 6061 T6 Triple-Butted frame
  • 190mm (7.4-inches) rear travel // 200mm (7.8-inches) fork travel
  • 29-inch wheels
  • Adjustable shock progression via main pivot flip chip
  • Adjustable chain stay length: 445/450/455mm
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Sizes: medium, large, X-large (tested)
  • MSRP: $6,499 USD (RS Build)

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Mondraker Summum Carbon MX

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Highlights

  • Stealth Carbon frame
  • 200mm (7.8-inches) rear travel // 203mm (7.9-inches) fork travel
  • Mixed wheel configuration (available with 29-inch wheels) 
  • ZERO suspension design
  • Forward geometry 
  • Optional headset cups adjust head angle +/- 1 degree 
  • Adjustable chain stay length: 450/455/460mm
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Sizes: medium, large (tested), X-large
  • MSRP: $7,999 USD (R Build)

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Propain Rage CF

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Highlights

  • Blended carbon frame
  • 215mm (8.4-inches) rear travel // 200mm (7.8-inches) fork travel
  • 29-inch wheels 
  • PRO10 suspension design
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Adjustable geometry via flip chip (allows for mixed wheel setup)
  • Adjustable chain stay length: 445/460mm
  • 63-degree head tube angle
  • Sizes: medium, large (tested), X-large
  • MSRP: $6,029 USD (Performance Build)

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The Pinnacle Moment of the Test: Race Bike Selection

The first order of business when we arrived at Mountain Creek was deciding who would race each bike. Testers were allowed to research bikes beforehand, but outside of comparing geometry charts and anti-rise graphs, day one was the first time anyone tossed a leg over the bikes. To keep things fair, testers were allotted two runs on each bike to decide which suited their riding style and would give them the best chance of success on race day. Two runs is not a lot of ride time to pick a bike you will attempt to go race-pace on, so nerves were running high heading into the weekend. 

 

Stay tuned for Episode 2 of Vital's DH Bike Test Sessions dropping Wednesday! After a heated race-bike selection at the end of day one, the first day of practice brings some unforeseen issues that are just the beginning of an interesting weekend of testing. 

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