Elements of Victory
Of all the events we attend every year, nothing makes us quite as proud as BC Bike Race. A seven-day international stage race, it's amazing to see so many people from all over the world enjoying our backyard’s choicest trails. It’s a tour of British Columbia’s rugged coast, and some of the world’s most challenging cross country singletrack—all explored while camping between the Pacific Ocean and the coastal mountain ranges.
This year’s 10th annual BC Bike Race was the perfect occasion to give our updated Element platform some real-world marathon XC testing. Bikes and bodies were pushed to the absolute limit over seven days of racing. The weather was wild, the trails were aggressive, and conditions were perfect to put the Element through its paces.
22 year old Quinn Moberg is a young rider from Squamish, BC that’s been with us for several years. It’s been incredible to see him develop into a true force to be reckoned with on the XC circuit, and he had some lofty goals for this year’s BC Bike Race.
Bike Check — Quinn Moberg
“BCBR is probably the roughest cross-country race around. This year’s race was especially cold and wet for all seven days, and I went through the whole race without a mechanical. I think that really says something about the quality of the gear I was running.”
“The new frame was a very big deal for me. I was immediately more confident technically, but also felt more efficiency from the suspension. On this new frame I choose not to run a shock remote, simply because I don’t think it’s necessary. Along with the new bike I was using the new Shimano XT Di2 for the first time. I found the electric shifting to be intuitive and lightning-fast, which was especially helpful when riding unfamiliar trails.” — Quinn Moberg
- Frame: Element 999 RSL T.O. (size Large, Quinn is 5’11”)
- Setup: Neutral RIDE-9™ position
- Shock: Fox Float DPS Factory (100mm, no remote)
- Fork: Fox 34 Factory (120mm)
- Drivetrain: Shimano XT Di2
- Cranks: Shimano XTR
- Brakes: Shimano XTR Race
- Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes Valor
- Tires: Maxxis Ikon 2.2 EXO TR 3C (23 psi front, 24 psi rear)
- Bars: Race Face Next 35mm (10mm rise, cut to 740mm)
- Stem: Race Face Turbine 35mm (80mm)
- Grips: Race Face Half Nelson
- Saddle: WTB Silverado Carbon
- Seatpost: Race Face Turbine dropper post (100mm)
- Pedals: Shimano XTR Race
- Weight: 23lb
Stage 6: Squamish, Presented by Shimano
The Squamish stage is always a crowd favourite. From raw, steep, and technical singletrack, to smooth, flowy jump trails, there’s a reason that Squamish is on a lot of riders’ bucket lists. There’s something for everyone on this stage, but after five previous stages it’s got the potential to crush even the strongest riders.
- Distance: 53 km / 33 miles
- Climbing: 1,944 m / 6378 ft
- Average Time: 4 hours 57 minutes
- Winning Time: 2 hours 43 minutes
With one stage win under his belt already, Quinn had his eyes firmly on taking top-spot on his home terrain. But, with a strong field in play, and several competitors working together to protect the lead from the young local, a win in Squamish would be no easy task.
Quinn’s racecraft belies his years, and he came into the day committed to the strategy of winning on the descents he was all-too familiar with. He executed his plan by pushing hard to enter the opening section of singletrack three corners ahead of his nearest competitors, and then proceeded to nail all his lines while his opponents’ small mistakes began to stack up a time deficit.
From there, Moberg held onto his lead and put several minutes into the rest of the pack. Arms up across the line, he’d accomplished his goal. These 55 kilometers of racing have been the competitors’ favorite stage over the last few years, and to take the win here was a massive accomplishment.
As BC Bike Race celebrates its ten year anniversary, we’re reflecting on where we have come from. The event, our bikes, and the trails here have all evolved in parallel. The bikes we race today, with advanced suspension platforms, dropper posts, and properly aggressive geometry, are nothing like the past. Neither are the trails that are built by dedicated clubs and meticulous trailbuilders. As for the event, it’s evolved from riding a lot of gravel and piecing together little bits of flow, to riding a ton of handcrafted singletrack masterpieces.
“BC Bike Race is a rough, tough, seven day singletrack adventure. Throughout the week, bikes and bodies take some serious abuse. The best bikes for this event aren’t pure XCO whips or enduro sleds, but something else instead. This year I rode the new Element, and it excelled over multiple days of demanding terrain, and delivered a hell of an experience. I’ve ridden many different bikes over the years, and I can say without hesitation that this is the best bike I’ve ever ridden.” — Andreas Hestler, BC Bike Race
“Racing at home is a bit different than racing anywhere else for me. I feel a strong sense of community here and there are so many people that support me and allow me to do what I do. I put a lot of pressure on myself to win races at home because I treat it as my end of the deal. People in town support me, cheer for me, guide me, and motivate me. This is my way of giving back to all those people.” — Quinn Moberg
Thanks to the whole BCBR crew, the many volunteers, and all the trailbuilders for helping make this event possible! Thanks to Tristan Uhl's moustache for existing, Tippie for keeping the stoke high at all times, and Andreas Hestler for repping BC on a global stage. Thanks to Manuel Weissenbacher, Andreas Hartmann, Greg Day, Sammi Runnels, Udo Bolts, Carsten Bresser, and all the other racers who came to battle it out. And of course, a huge congrats to Quinn Moberg for taking two stage wins and claiming fourth in the GC!
See you all next year!
Video by Mindspark Cinema
Photography by Margus Riga & Norma Ibarra
Be in Your Element
Intended Use: XC
Front Travel: 120mm
Rear Travel: 100mm
Wheel Size: 29”
This is the result of over two decades at the front of the pack. The new Element features more efficient suspension performance, refined marathon geometry, Ride-9™ adjustability, and room for two bottles inside the front triangle. The smallest details were examined in search of point-n-shoot rigidity and unrivalled speed.
“This new Element is a full-on XC marathon weapon, but with the confidence of a trail bike” says product director Alex Cogger. “People used to show up to BC Bike Race expecting to grind fire roads all day, only to walk the descents and snap their made-for-the-scale bikes in half. XC racing has evolved, and bikes that can’t handle the real world have no business on the course.”
- Full Smoothwall™ carbon frame weighs 2250g (size Medium, including shock and hardware. Two-tone paint on T.O. frame adds 30g)
- Ride-9™ adjustability chip moved into the link, saving weight and bulk
- All sizes fit two water bottles inside the front triangle
- Future-proofed to run Di2, Fox Live, and a dropper post concurrently
- Frame available with special edition Team Only paint job
- Cartridge bearing pivots with simplified hardware
- Single-sided chainstay pivots for a narrower rear triangle—eliminates heel rub, even with Boost spacing
- Fits standard, widely available 6.5x1.5 shocks
- 2x compatible
- Clearance for 29x2.35 tires
- Full-length internal shift, dropper post, and lockout routing, plus internal brake routing in the front triangle
- Oversized headtube and downtube ports for ease of cable routing
- New derailleur hanger design reduces hardware complexity
- Lightweight bolt-on axle saves 35g compared to a traditional Boost axle
- PressFit BB92 bottom bracket, ZS44 | ZS56 headset
- Post-mount 160mm rear brake
- Max 1x chainring size is 38t with SRAM, 36t with Race Face
- Max 2x chainring size is a full size 28t/40t
- Sizing: S/M/L/XL/XXL
We tuned our four-bar Smoothlink™ suspension to increase the anti-squat values and maximize pedaling performance without sacrificing the traditional Rocky Mountain ride feel. It’s supple off the top and features good progression to avoid bottoming. We focused on mid-stroke support to keep more travel available, and lowered the shock leverage ratio for better suspension performance and adjustments.
Party up front, business in the back. The new Element was designed around a longer 120mm fork because it’s nice to have a bit more forgiveness four hours into a hammerfest. The result is a bike that pedals like a rocketship, but doesn’t get hung up or turn skittish when things get technical.
The new Element received a substantial geometry update, while retaining the confidence and handling that people loved about the previous generation. It’s slacker to keep things stable when you’re seeing stars four hours in, but uses a longer fork offset to keep steering dynamics precise.
We’ve shortened the rear centre, lengthened the reach slightly, and steepened the seat-tube angle—allowing for shorter stems and wider bars without sacrificing a powerful pedaling position. The bike hasn’t been stretched into downhill sled territory, but we’re offering an XXL size for those that need longer reach.
With the increased demands of modern XC courses and stage races, our Ride-9™ adjustment system allows riders to fine-tune the Element’s geometry and suspension. In adapting the system from our trail bikes, we moved it from the forward shock mount into the link—reducing weight and bulk. The headtube angle can be adjusted from 69° to 70° and the suspension rate can be tuned for an XC race feel or a more aggressive trail feel. For multi-day stage racing, marathon racing, and real world XC, this makes it easy to dial in the perfect balance of snappy, confident, and responsive.
- The Ride-9™ system allows riders to adjust geometry and suspension to specific riding styles and terrain. Nine configurations are possible thanks to two interlocking chip inserts.
- Smoothwall™ carbon uses one of the world’s most sophisticated carbon processes to build frames with industry leading stiffness-to-weight, ride quality, and durability. By using rigid internal molds, we are able to perfect the shape of the internal features and eliminate excess materials. We use different types of carbon in specific frame areas to maximize stiffness and impact resistance while minimizing overall weight.
- Smoothlink™ suspension stays supple yet supportive through a wider range of gears than conventional single pivot or other four-bar suspension configurations. This patented system reduces both pedal-bob and bottom-outs, while allowing us to fine tune variables like braking and climbing traction across a wide range of intended uses.
- Size Specific Tune™ ensures that riders of all sizes get the right balance of small-bump compliance, mid-stroke support, and end-stroke progressiveness. Our design team does custom shock tunes based on real world field testing, and adjusts each tune for every specific frame size, from S to XXL.
Element 999 RSL // Element T.O. Frame
Element 990 RSL BC Edition (Colour 1 & Colour 2)
Element 970 RSL (Colour 1 & Colour 2) **2x versions available in some markets**
Available late 2016. Pricing to be announced.