The act of descending rough, gnarly downhill and enduro tracks can often feel like doing a series of rapid push-ups. Who hasn’t experienced death grip-induced arm pump in a race run? Ewan Clark has designed Descent Master, a training tool designed to train riders in these areas specifically. Using the rider’s body weight only, the Descent Master is designed to strengthen and condition your core abdominal muscles, rotator cuff and general upper body muscles – aimed at all mountain bikers but realistically we see this tool would be particularly useful for enduro and downhill riders looking to build upper body strength and endurance.
How does Descent Master work?
We got an, albeit very short, shot on this at the Scottish Mountain Bike Conference, Aviemore, where the product was launched last week. First of all, you’re going to need to be able to execute a solid ‘plank’ position to use this contraption. Thankfully, I’ve just about enough core strength to avoid face planting the bars in front of the delegates.
Immediately you feel it replicates the feel of descending on the bike. With so much weight over the bars it kind of feels like you’re in a big compression after landing a drop really hard.
It is effectively up to you how you use this tool. With a multi-axis pivot beneath the handlebar clamp, it achieves a frictionless rotation about the would-be stem allowing the user to replicate simple turning of the handlebars, angulating as you might do to carry speed through a flat corner, or deep banked turns through berms, and anything in between! The training tool can be adjusted to increase or decrease the resistance applied about the axes of rotation – increased resistance make it easier, providing more support to make you feel less shaky and wobbly. It is most difficult in the free rotation setting – for this setting you’ll need a lot more core strength.
Designer and builder Ewan Clark came up with the concept for the Descent Master after a career in XC mountain bike racing. After a severe injury robbed him of arm strength, Ewan was struggling to get to the bottom of downhill tracks in one clean run. He felt he needed a training tool to build up his arm and upper body strength again that would replicate bike riding in a safe, controlled, risk free environment. Thus, Descent Master was born out of a need for injury rehab.
Developed and tested at the Sports Science labs of Edinburgh Napier University, using both lab and trail techniques, Enduro World Series rider Lewis Buchanan has also been heavily involved in testing prototypes of Descent Master. He has tested various iterations over the last 10 months throughout his 2018 race season. Here’s what he has to say about it, “Since I started using the Descent Master it’s really helped stabilize my shoulders and allowed me to gain more control when holding onto my handlebars. It’s also really helped me build good stability in my core which has been the biggest thing for me.”
Descent Master pricing & availability
Pre-orders for the first batch of Descent Master are being taken now, numbers are limited to a strictly first-come first-served basis so don’t hang about! Early birds can enjoy the pre-order price of £299, ~$380, that’s £50 off the RRP. Descent Master comes supplied with handlebars and lock-on grips, as shown. Descent Master is manufactured in the UK by Superstar Manufacturing CNC-machine the higher precision components.
Ewan’s only just getting started with Descent Master. Stay tuned to hear about exciting innovations in the pipeline.