For her first time ever, this year 10x British Elite Women’s cyclocross champion Helen Wyman is finally racing bikes custom painted in national champ’s livery. A long time coming (also throwing in a pair of Elite European titles) and Helen certainly is deserving of her red, white & blue custom Kindhuman Küdü Disc cyclocross bikes. We caught up with her at the last round of the UCI CX World Cup to take a look at the pro race setup on her three bikes, now that she is racing on her own personal Xypex-Verge Sport team.
KindHuman Küdü Disc carbon cross bikes, British CX Champ editions
Wyman’s race machines are built up on the carbon KindHuman Küdü Disc cyclocross bike. We took a brief look at the Kudu Disc when it debuted back in 2016. The bike is a hi-mod UD carbon frameset with oversized tubing, a tapered headtube, PF30 bottom bracket, a 31.6mm seatpost, and is compatible with single or double ring setups – both mechanical or electronic.
Wyman’s Kudu Disc still features post mount disc brakes, but it does get 12mm thru-axles (even though the production Kudu fork still claims to use a 15mm front axle?)
One of the more interesting things about the claimed 1000g frame from Canadian bike maker KindHuman is that the bikes are produced to order, offering tons of buyer customization. The bike itself comes in a five size range (XS-XL.)
KindHuman lets buyers toy around with complete spec, gives broad flexibility in component sizing, and offers custom paint finishes too, all based out of their Toronto workshop. Just for reference, framesets start at $2200USD and complete bikes from $3000. A wide range of customized colors are included in those prices, then custom single color matching only adds another $250.
Wyman’s KindHuman Küdü Disc – Custom Finishing Details
This year Wyman won her 10th elite national cross championship in the UK. She didn’t get the European title again in 2018, but still had two past titles to justify KindHuman detailing her bikes with elements of the EU flag in addition to the Union Jack.
Helen’s bikes don’t get traditional cross pro number of 1, 2, 3… or A, B, C… Instead each of her bikes get a name decal with a flag, near and dear to her heart. Wyman’s primary race bike we caught up with her was the Flanders bike, in honor of her racing home where she spends much of the fall & winter living out of a base in Belgium. The ‘B’ bike gets the red Midi-Pyrénées flag of her actual home in the French Occitanie where the Wymans spend the off-season living and prepping for the next race season. A third bike sports a design mixing UK, USA & Scotland flags, again tying together places that have sentimental & career importance to Wyman.
Topping off her steerer tube is a unique headset cap with the number 38 of her sponsor and MotoGP champion, motorcycle racer Bradley Smith (his race number also shows up on Helen’s helmet). A bit odd to see a motorsports racer sponsor a crosser, but fellow Brit Smith is apparently a friend of Wyman (also seemingly with a tie to the Midi-Pyrénées) and got behind Helen to support her when she set out to establish her own team.
Wyman’s KindHuman Küdü Disc – CX compact Di2 double drivetrain
Not having a direct drivetrain sponsor gives Wyman a bit more freedom to pick and choose how she lays dow the power. Her drivetrain is a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 2x setup, but she slides in a few outside updates. Kogel ceramic bearings spin her Oversized narrow wide derailleur pulleys, keeping resistance levels low.
While the KindHuman bike frame gets Di2-ready internal wire routing, to handle the rough and tumble life of a pro cross race bike, Stef adds a healthy dose of zip ties to lock those Di2 wires into place.
Up front a carbon Easton EC90 SL crankset helps shed some weight, and a set of WickWerks compact cross double chainrings pair a 44/34 setup. Again a Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 band clamp front derailleur manages shifting, with tight gearing steps and automatic electronic trimming.
A pair of Crankbrothers Eggbeater 11 titanium pedals further the lightweight motif, while offering unparalleled mud clearing abilities for Wyman’s favorite, nasty wed & muddy cross conditions.
A Stages Power L carbon left crank arm delivers single-sided power data, and bolts up directly to the Easton crankset with the compatible spindle. Wyman also races with a Stages Dash cycling computer head unit, which she orients in landscape mode to have all her performance stats readily visible during the race.
Again, Kogel PF30 386 ceramic bearings in the bottom bracket drop a few grams, while offering improved & more reliable performance in the muddiest & wettest conditions. They also stand up better to the occasional pressure washing than steel bearings. Not that anyone would pressure wash a bottom bracket (except maybe a pro cross mechanic!)
Wyman sits atop a Specialized S-Works Romin Evo saddle, a perfect example of riding what feels good – sponsors be damned. Since she doesn’t have competing sponsorship, there’s no need to black out the S-Works logos. Just ride what works!
The saddle sit on top of a Easton EC90 zero offset carbon post with its massively oversized head. Easton also supplies the carbon EC90 SLX bar and the alloy EA90 stem.
Wyman’s KindHuman Küdü – Prototype Challenge Team tubulars
Helen and husband Stefan have played a big role, working with Challenge for many years helping refine the tire maker’s tread designs. Have look at our two-part study on how Wyman & Challenge have worked together to develop cross tires, and then how to figure out how much pressure to race!
Helen is still racing on a prototype tire much like we saw back as early as 2013 before the Chicane that Wyman pushed for became an official tread offering from Challenge. It remains an odd-looking tread, that is now loved by many riders – the cornering grip of an aggressive mud tire, with the fast rolling center of a dry conditions tread.
The differences to the production tire are small, but essentially Helen’s special tire has a few millimeters of extra Limus tread on either side, with a slightly narrower file center that her & mechanic Stefan insist works better for the low <20psi pressures she races.
Stefan Wyman glues those Team Edition S cotton tubulars (and the occasional SETA silk tubulars) up to FFWD (Fast Forward) F3D carbon tubular wheels.
A quick look at the non-driveside shows a few more tricks up the Wyman Kudu’s sleeves, beyond that Stages left crankarm. Since the bike uses post mount brake tabs, the latest R9100 series Dura-Ace brake calipers wouldn’t fit. But no worries, a set of XTR M9000 calipers do the trick, and work perfectly with the Dura-Ace levers. Interestingly this Occitanie ‘B’ bike gets MTB rotors without any Feeza cooling fins (and Grifo tires), but the Flanders ‘A’ bike that Helen raced sported Dura-Ace rotors with their closed-off fins.
Oh, and did you notice the subtle left-to-right color difference? The bikes get blue logos on the driveside, but red logos on the non-driveside.
Helen has only been racing on the KindHuman since the start of
2019 2018, but she seems to have settled in nicely on the new bike, plus her new independent race team setup that allowed her to focus on her personal race goals. Here’s hoping there will be plenty of muddy races remaining this season, as that is often where Helen shines.