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Why Does Loic Bruni's Suspension Work So Well? 13

Loic Bruni, your reigning downhill World Champion, has arguably the smoothest looking bike on the World Cup downhill circuit. There's something about the way his Specialized Demo tracks and sticks to the ground. So much so that even his competitors notice. Back in September, Vital's Johan Hjord asked him for some secrets into the ground-hugging setup. Loic and his mechanic Jack have been working with data acquistion for years and they have the high-tech systems nailed down for maximum efficiency. Ohlins is also a key component to the success of the bikes raced by Loic and Finn Iles. Listen to the World Champ discuss some of the details and watch him shred!

Credit: Interview by Johan Hjord
video footage by John Lawlor, Steel City Media, Creative Concept, Red Bull
photographs by Sven Martin, @maddogboris, Lee Trumpore, Dan Hearn

sspomer sspomer 2/28/2019 8:07 AM

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He runs his bike soft, but he’s strong and talented so he can nurse the soft bike through rough bits without getting owned. There. I figured out his secret.

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As noted, Loic is a wizard of smoothness. He rides like The Alien does- so smooth it doesn’t look like he’s going all that fast and he doesn’t seem to be near the edge of control even though he likely is.

Combine that with an obsession to have a perfect setup and you have something unique- a multi time world champ who’s bike appears to work better than others with him on it.

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I've commented for a while that his bike looks different to everyone else's but it was recently pointed out to me by a circuit regular that the guy flatters the bike with his perfect style/line choice. Bit of both going on no doubt.

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Brilliant stuff, so clear to see even with the same resources from ohlins how much more loics bike is working for him compared to Finns. Super smooth frenchy, still can’t believe he runs 2.3 butchers I hate those tyres!!

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It really struck me during his Ft Bill race run. In the upper rock sections, it looked as if he could stiffen up his arms and legs precisely when he wanted to, and the suspension would just work that much harder. No matter what shaft speeds it encountered it always had room to work a little faster. But somehow the bike would hold its speed well while doing that. Often times, the more compliant setup can rob forward momentum, but his has the perfect balance of absorbing the hits while storing enough energy to keep positive pressure on the wheels. Impressive stuff from everyone involved. But as others have stated, having dedicated staff that only focus on the Spec team is a huge advantage.

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It’s cool to see a rider really understand what’s going on with his bike. Seems like a real professional should in order to advance the bike as far as possible. There are too many dudes that have no idea (or at least say they don’t).

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Great interview and information. Truly impressive how much work goes into dialing his bike in. But I still wonder how much of having the "smoothest looking bike on the WCDH circuit" can be attributed to Loic's ability to ride and his level of control? Not at all trying to undermine the value of data acquisition, as I'm sure it helps tremendously. The guy would probably look smooth riding a rigid single speed!

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You have to be a great rider like Loic and have the team to setup the equipment. You can't have one or the other. The skill of both Loic and his team are what make this happen. I don't think this thinking undermines Loic's skill. He's an outstanding rider and it's that ability coupled with the rest of the team that gets this type of performance.

Best of luck next season Loic!

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It is as if you can take just about any suspension, modify pistons, modify the stack, balance your pressure and flow, and it can work amazing.

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