Women’s enduro racing is tighter than ever. At the EWS season finale in the Tweed Valley. Scotland, just 00.32 seconds separated Trek Factory Racing’s Hattie Harnden and Ibis Factory Racing’s Bex Baraona, who clinched the win. Further back, 50 seconds separated the top 10 women over this 30 minute race, making the women’s racing just as tight, if not tighter than the men’s field. This raises some serious questions around athlete pay checks, as it is still the case that the top men are often paid twice as much as the top women, for doing the same job (as highlighted by a recent Gowaan Girls video that i’ll post at the bottom of this article for those interested).

I’m super stoked on the topic, hence that minor digression. The point I’m trying to make is, watching the racing is more exciting than ever, thanks to up and coming racers, like Estelle Charles and Ella Conolly. These women, along with so many others, are a driving force behind the growth in women’s mountain biking, giving the field incredible depth in talent, skill and determination. And, their bikes are SICK! Here’s more on Estelle’s as-of-yet unreleased Rossignol Heretic and Ella’s gravity-cavity rocking Cannondale Jekyll.

Pro Bike Check: Estelle Charles’ Rossignol Heretic

rossignol heretic xs mullet enduro race bike estelle charles ews tweed valley 2021

For race day, Estelle swapped the Michelin DH Mud for a Michelin Wild Enduro Front Racing Line setup, front and rear, with 14.5 PSI in the front and 16 PSI in the rear; she also chose to use a Tannus Armour tubeless tire insert in the rear, running the DUKE Carbon Fury Jack wheelset.

  • Rider: Estelle Charles
  • Nationality: French
  • 2021 Season Best Result: 5th at Crans Montana
  • Bike Model: Rossignol Heretic Prototype
  • Height: 154cm
  • Weight: 52kg

You’ll be far more familiar with Rossignol from the world of Skiing, of course. The brand is now diversifying into mountain biking with the all-new 160mm travel Heretic enduro bike, with prototypes raced by Estelle Charles and her brother Clement at the 2021 EWS. The Heretic runs an alloy frame with a Horst-Link suspension platform.

Though she runs her small frame setup in the mullet configuration with a 29″ fork, Estelle tells us the Rossignol Heretic will be a fixed geometry 29er in frame sizes medium and large, dropping to a complete 27.5″ for the S and XS frames. Expect the bike to make it to production in 2022.

estelle charles fox 36 fast suspension damper upgrade rossignol heredit ews tweed valley 2021

Fast Suspension currently offers damper upgrades for FOX 36 (shown here), RockShox Yari, Revelation and Boxxer forks.

Fast suspension delivers 160mm of front and rear travel, with the SC4 damper cartridge for the former slid into a FOX 36 chassis. Here, it offers external adjustment of low- and mid-speed compression damping, the former for comfort and grip, the latter for managing braking dive and mid-stroke support. The fork runs an air spring, with 58 PSI and 2 tokens.

estelle

Estelle stows a lightweight Tubolito innertube underneath the lower shock mount, with two CO2 canisters stored on a mount underneath the bottle cage; she also uses an MRP Chain Guide and Bash Guard for chain retention and to protect the chain ring from rock strikes.

Estelle rides their Fenix Evo coil shock on the rear with a 450 lbs/in steel spring, featuring a climb switch and external adjustment for low-, mid- and high-speed compression damping, as well as rebound.

estelle charles pro bike check ews tweed valley

Estelle relies on Magura MT7 Raceline brakes with the HC3 lever, opting for a 200mm rotor front and rear; her alloy bar is cut to 740mm for the tight trails.

Pro Bike Check: Ella Conolly’s Cannondale Jekyll

ella connolly pro bike check ews tweed valley 2021 cannondale jekyll

Ella chose to ride 2.35″ Schwalbe Magic Mary tires, front and rear, both with the Super Gravity casing and Addix Ultra Soft Rubber; 17 PSI front, 21 PSI rear with no tire inserts – these are seated to Stan’s Flow MK4 rims.

  • Rider: Ella Conolly
  • Nationality: British
  • 2021 Season Best Result: 5th at Val di Fassa
  • Bike Model: 2021 Cannondale Jekyll
  • Height: 165cm
  • Weight: 65kg

Ella Conolly rides a small 29″ Cannondale Jekyll enduro bike, updated this year with an all-new high-pivot suspension platform complete with rearward axle path and chain idler. Upfront she opts for a 170mm travel RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork, in place of the 38mm stanchion ZEB the stock bike comes with.

ella connolly pro bike check ews tweed valley 2021 cannondale jekyll

Ella runs 70 PSI with 2 Tokens in the Lyrik Ultimate fork, with the Rebound set to 9 from fastest and no clicks of low or high speed compression damping

That’s paired with a Super Deluxe Ultimate rear shock, housed within the gravity-cavity created by the downtube’s unique twin spar design. That delivers 165mm of rear wheel travel; Ella’s shock is custom-tuned to the Light Linear Tune. That tune allows her to run 140 PSI, setting the rebound at 4 clicks from fastest and the low speed compression at 3 clicks from open.

ella connolly pro bike check ews tweed valley 2021 cannondale jekyll

Ella’s bike gets an almost complete suite of SRAM AXS Componentry including XO1 AXS shifting and AXS Reverb dropper post (170mm); no sign of Flight Attendant here. Ella upsizes brake rotors to 200mm front and rear, paired with SRAM Code RSC brakes and sintered pads.

ella connolly pro bike check ews tweed valley 2021 cannondale jekyll

Carbon headset spacers stack up the e*Thirteen 40mm stem

Ella Conolly runs a 20mm rise, 760mm carbon handlebar from e*Thirteen, paired with a 40mm stem. Fabric Funguy grips, Fabric S-Line saddle, and Crankbrothers Mallet-E (long spindle) pedals complete the contact points.

ella connolly every day carry 2021 cannondale jekyll race bike

Ella stores a spare tube along with a Dynaplug tubeless repair kit on her frame, secured by the Occam Designs Apex frame strap she keeps a spare quick link taped to the underside of her Fabric S-Line saddle; a Crankbrothers F15 multitool with integrated chaintool is kept in the pocket of her riding shorts.

Gowaan Gals: The Rise of the Women of Enduro

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