Dan Tulett’s race MTB
18 July 2014
You might already know multi-champion Dan Tulett as a top youth cyclocross racer and road rider.
But his favourite discipline is cross-country MTB racing, and he’s just as successful on fat tyres as he is on skinny tyres – in fact he was was accepted onto the Olympic Development Programme earlier this year at just 14 years old.
We asked Dan to describe his Specialized race MTB’s specification and how he has set up the bike.
I race a size small (15.5″) Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er hardtail, with RockShox SID Brain forks. I have gone for the smallest size bike they make as in 29er sizes the next size up is usually a lot bigger, and a 17.5″ would be just too big. I made the jump from 26″ to 29″ wheels as a first year Under 16 rider (i.e. this year ) because the longer you can stay on a 26″, the more skill you will build up.
Equipped on my bike is a full Shimano XTR (10×1) groupset including brakes. This groupset is four years old now and it’s incredibly reliable, yet lightweight. I have not gone for the SRAM gearing as I don’t think it’s reliable enough – we’ve had countless problems with it on various other mountain bikes. I also run a single narrow-wide chain ring on the front which is a size 32 tooth for most courses (I also have 30t and 34t spare rings) and a standard cassette on the back. I wouldn’t recommend doing this single ring set up at a younger age though as you simply can’t get the required amount of gears needed for some parts of training and in races.
I use Shimano XTR pedals as I use these for cyclocross as well which means I know how they work and respond in different situations (i.e. in mud, etc.)
Now, onto saddles, stems, etc.. I run a long 450mm seat post from Truvativ which is aluminum. Because of the length I wouldn’t use carbon due to the increased risk of failure.
The post has no lay-back which enables me to get further over the back of the saddle when necessary and it means I can run a shorter, more responsive stem on the front.
On top of the seatpost I have a Specialized Romin saddle – this is what I feel most comfortable with as it is quite sleek and wide, so it means I won’t slide off of the back of it when seated, but my legs will rub past it with ease when out of the saddle. But with saddles it is again personal preference.
I have a -17 degree, 70mm 3T stem which allows me to get the required saddle-bars drop and improves responsiveness. Again, it’s made from aluminum not carbon.
I have 660mm Easton handlebars with a -12 degree back-sweep – I prefer the back-swept bars for no particular reason, just a personal feeling.
For grips I’m using thin foam grips as they’re comfortable when used in rough terrain and they don’t slip.
Wheels: I have two sets of Roval Control SL’s which are pretty light and very strong. On one pair I run a set of fast tyres (Specialized FastTrak) which are also a pretty decent mud tyre, and I run a slightly more grippy set of Continental X-Kings on the other pair. Both sets are 2.2″ width.