WINNING BIKES - Poland World Cup Downhill 2024 5

Electronic suspension takes a backseat to the winners in Poland...75% of the time.

A brand-new track, a hyped up crowd, rain, sun, dust and mud...the 2024 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill near Bielsko-Biala, Poland, was nothing short of spectacular. Leading up to the race, track photos and course previews had the internet (which we are a part of), thinking that maybe a trail or enduro bike might be the way to go with many a berm and groomed jump and an estimated abysmally short 2-minute race time. But once the elite riders arrived, walked the track and shared their appreciation for the Eastern Bloc build, digital attitudes flip-flopped faster than a Congressman with a big fat check from an Ozempic lobbyist. In the matter of a few short days, grumbling turned to celebration drowned out by the noises of weedwackers from rabid, Polish trackside fans.

When the mud (for Juniors) and planter-box-ready roost (for Elites) settled, we had two back-to-back winners, a veteran, and a first-time frother standing at the top of the podium. Oh, and only one of them had electronic suspension this week. Let's dig into the bikes of Ronan Dunne, Marine Cabirou, Asa Vermette and Heather Wilson.

photos by Jack Rice

Ronan Dunne's Prototype Mondraker Summum


We're not gonna lie. It's refreshing to us that all of the bikes on the podium this week were "simple." We put that in quotes because Ronan is on a prototype Mondraker Summum that has a not-so-simple adjustable bottom bracket area and headset cups that fine-tune this rig beyond pure stock configurations. But, it's alloy, there aren't any electronic squish-sucking gizmos on it and his FOX spring on the DHX2 isn't even factory orange. If you watch Ronan's bike check from a couple months ago above, you'll see that the lad is down to run what he brung. Different to that bike check, among other things on his Poland racer, is a not-for-public front tire pattern that's been making the rounds (changed from the DHR II in the practice photos), and we confirmed with Ronan that he's running that nifty e.thirteen rear hub that works like an OChain. A single STFU device graces the driveside chainstay, too.

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Ronan beat Fort William winner, Loic Bruni, by just .064 seconds. According to Googlepedia, that's faster than the literal blink of an eye. If they were going 25mph at the finish line, Ronan won by about 28 inches, or about four paultry Guiness cans taped up into a wizard staff.  Mondraker is definitely stomping some track this year, and Ireland's finest, who shaped up just enough to not get shipped off to the military by his parents, has made it the fastest DH bike of the weekend.

Marine Cabirou's Scott Gambler

Flying French female phenom, Marine Cabirou, is no stranger to the top of the podium at a World Cup DH, and she found her way back to it in Poland this week after a disappointing 6th in Fort William. We'll continue to celebrate simple as successful while we drool over her Scott Gambler. The four-bar linkage of the Gambler is tried-and-true, as is the Shimano Saint drivetrain. It appears she's running XTR brakes (which she probably seldom used in her pinned race run). Her Race Face Atlas wheels hold on the Maxxis meats that flung roost and rocks with a Shorty up front in the practice photo. Everything we can deduce from her race run on the webcast shows it stayed on for finals, too. Geometry adjustments are the same on this frame that any of us mortals could buy, and she's rollng the long chainstay setting. Two STFU guides help keep the chain quiet and composed. Maybe it's a FOX thing with the gold forks rolling out, but Marine has a black spring on her DHX2 as well.

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Like a broken record, we'll repeat how rad it is to see solid, mechanical builds go up against our future electronic overlords and propel their pilots to victory.

Asa Vermette's Frameworks

Where's that left-handed control?
Where's that left-handed control?


Win Fort William by 6 seconds, get your bike stolen a day later, shrug it off and win Poland by almost 4 seconds on a newly-built-up spare. Welcome to Asa Vermette's life. The Frameworks team fell victim to the thuggery of bike thieves in the UK after Fort William, but managed to saddle up and grind it out in true #USDH style. A few spare frames were, uh, spared, by the thieves, Neko flew home to wrangle up the rest of the necessary parts and pieces and the bike community rallied to get the team racing in Poland. Grit prevailed over grime and Asa, in slick conditions nonetheless, made all the other groms wonder if they'd made the right decision to tackle a World Cup DH career in 2024 by going 3.8 seconds faster than second-best.

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His Frameworks looks fairly similar to Fort William's build with the subtraction of a left-handed controller (that we suspected was for lockout) and a golden FOX 40 up front. He still has a RAD shock with electrified gadgetry mounted up, see-through 5Dev cranks, ENVE wheels, Hayes stoppers and Continental tires. The benefit of frothing youth is that a situation which may have given Frameworks' management ulcers was merely an afterthought for a kid who just wants to ride his bike as fast as possible. Two for two in '24.

Heather Wilson's Mondraker Summum

Two World Cup Downhill wins back-to-back, isn't a fluke, it's a statement. Heather Wilson made sure there wasn't a question mark next to her Fort William result by taking down the Junior Women's field in Poland, too. This week, however, that victory was by the slimmest of margins, just .069 seconds over current World Champ, Erice Van Leuven. .069 seconds! Just like in Elite Men's racing, Junior Women's times are alarmingly close.

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The Muc-Off Young Guns rider out of the UK sealed the deal on her Mondraker Summum that looks relatively unchanged from the first race. She's running the same Schwalbe Magic Mary, Tacky Chan tire combo, FOX suspension, fiery orange e13 chainring, e13 wheels, blinging purple ano Hayes brakes and that chainguide idler which impacts kinematics. This week, however, there are some red paint pen marks on it to see if the bolts have rotated. Even with the extra weight of that paint pen, Heather put down a run to the top! Onward to Leogang!

Do you see anything we missed about these bikes? Did we screw something up? Long live bike nerdery, so let us know in the comments.


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