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Breck Epic Pro Bikes – Ross Schnell’s Trek Top Fuel

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Several pro mountain bikers showed up to contest the Breck Epic, so we shot some photos and talked to them about their rides. First up is Ross Schnell and his Trek Top Fuel.

With the bent seat tube design, he and Jordan Carr (who also rode a Top Fuel) both remarked that they wish they could have ran a dropper seat post, but that didn’t stop em from going really fast.

Schnell’s bike was a 2010 frame with a custom paint job that at first glance looked very similar to the new black and white scheme of the 2011 Top Fuel.

Check after the break to see how he had it spec’d out…


At the start of one of the stages, one of his triple ti Eggbeater pedasl seized up, so he swapped to a pair of Candy’s for the rest of the race.


Unlike his Fuel EX, the Top Fuel didn’t require any modifications to the rocker arm to swap from the stock Fox shock to his sponsor’s equipment, a Rockshox Monarch. The Fuel EX uses Trek’s custom DRCV Fox shock with the upper chamber that extends above the bolt in the front of the rocker. Schnell’s EX has some custom bolt workings to fit a Rockshox shock.


The only non SRAM XX drivetrain part is the rear shifter. Schnell says he likes the more positive feedback of the X0 shifter. We’re actually testing the new X0 side by side with the XX for this same reason, look for a full report separately.


He was rocking the new 120mm SID with 15mm thru axle up front. I had this on my Santa Cruz Blur XC, also, but set at 100mm and will say this. The bigger axle combined with 32mm stanchions makes for a very stiff fork despite the low weight. I’ve run mine at Downieville and for three of the six days at the Breck and it’s a very, very capable trail fork.


Schnell swapped out the Bontrager wheels for bits from another sponsor, Crank Brothers. Asked why he had a gold rear hub and silver front, he said he just didn’t feel like changing tires so he threw on the wheels that had the tires he wanted. He was also running a CB Cobalt handlebar. His tire choice was the Bontrager Race Lite RX, which were really low profile for the more technical sections, but perfect for the flowing singletrack and fire roads. Under the skilled navigation of Schnell, they made it through the week unscathed. There were plenty of other people along the trail with ripped sidewalls that suffered from their decision to run lightweight XC tires.


A Fizik saddle and Pearl Izumi saddle bag rounded out the spec.

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13 years ago

way to mention the wheels are carbon…

Matt Gehling
Matt Gehling
13 years ago

Ross was running Bontrager XR1 tires – http://bontrager.com/model/07797 Bontrager does not make a Race Lite RX tire.

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