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Nove Mesto World Cup XC, Pro Bike Check: Kulhavý Wins on S-Works Epic

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We featured previous World Champion and Olympic Gold medalist Jaroslav Kulhavý S-Works Epic last year at the Méribel World Cup, but several things have changed since last season, plus this weekend he rode his new bike for the win at the first cross country round of the UCI World Cup at his home country race in Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic. His mechanics walked us through what they were calling a mostly stock bike build, with pretty much everything on the bike available to consumers. They also noted right off the bat that the crazy looking saddle angle was not a mistake, as Kulhavý favors this for better positioning while climbing. Kulhavý also has had a few injuries over the last year and seems to have tilted his Phenom saddle even more to this -14° angle that ends up pointing down directly towards his stem. The mechanics shrugged their shoulders a bit, saying who are they to question him when he’s winning.

Read on after the break for some more unique details and the bike’s actual race weight at the start of the season…

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_racing

Riding in a Czech National Champion kit with rainbow stripes from his previous world championship, so far this year Kulhavý is sticking with a completely stock S-Works Epic 29 World Cup frameset and the Specialized-only RockShox RS-1 with Brain internals, without any custom paint job as in years past. The RS-1 fork does get its travel reduced down to 90mm to give a lower front-end and slightly quicker handling to match the 95mm of travel of the WC frame.

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_S-Works-Phenom-saddle-rubber-bumper-negative15degrees

The newly updated S-Works Phenom saddle is held in place with a 25mm offset Truvativ Noir T40 seatpost with an aluminum head, which was necessary to get that steep, roughly -14° saddle angle. The two bolt layout of the head lets the Specialized mechanics flip the lower cradle around to get the angle needed and conveniently lines up the clamp markings, back into normal territory (which can’t be accommodated by any of the Specialized post configurations.

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_seat-cluster-name-label

Also because of a combination of the extended position of the front bolt, the flexibility of the saddle, and Kulhavý’s forward climbing position, he has mechanics fix a piece of hard foam under the saddle as a bumper to keep from bottoming out. Kulhavý doesn’t get custom paint for now, but at least gets a small name decal, as if the saddle position wasn’t enough to denote his bikes.

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_slam-that-S-Works-CLP-Multi-Stem

His aggressive positioning puts him in the slam-your-stem club, with the top bearing cover of the headset removed to get down every last millimeter. While it looks like there is a spacer under the stem, it is actually an integral part of the adjustable 17° S-Works CLP Multi Stem that lets mechanics set the angle down even more to -21°.

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_SRAM-Guide-RSC-brakes_ESI-grips

Braking is handled by SRAM Guide RSC brakes for now, but will likely be swapped out for the Ultimate version once they are available to the team. The excellent ESI Chunky grips carry over, as we found on a number of other pro bikes we saw. Tires for the damp course conditions were the same S-Works Fast Traks that were on his bike last year, but without custom labels. The team races on a special pro-only sticky rubber compound, making them one of the only things on the bike not available to the public.

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_carbon-ti-RS1-axle

SRAM Guide brakes and Roval Control SL 29 wheels are standard, but the pro team mechanics had swapped out the Maxle QR for the lighter 7075 X-Lock bolt-on option from Carbon-Ti.

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_rear-Guide-brake-routing

Out back to keep hose routing a bit more tidy and secure, mechanics have zip-tied the brake line to the Brain to keep it close to the stays when the suspension compresses.

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_slam-that-S-Works-Mountain-crankset_36T-ring_custom-chain-guide

With an XX1 drivetrain, Kulhavý used a 36T X1 X-Sync chainring to mate to the standard 104BCD of the newer S-Works Carbon Mountain cranks with an integrated spider. Team mechanics fitted a custom made chainguide that mounts to the main suspension pivot to prevent chain drops on the root-covered Nové Město course, the morning before the race began (earlier shots and weight from the day before don’t include it yet.)

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_XTR-M980-pedals

Since Specialized in not sponsored by Shimano, even with the new groupset readily available Kulhavý sticks with tried and trusted M980 XTR pedals.

XC_mountain-bike_World-Cup_Nove-Mesto_Jaroslav-Kulovy_Specialized_S-Works_Epic_complete-actual-weight_10-39kg

Total bike weight as it was ready to race was 10.39kg (22.91lbs) putting it mid-pack of the full-suspension race bikes we weighed over the weekend. While it can’t be seen, the mechanics are moving the team completely over to all Ceramic Speed bearings wherever they can. This bike had only gotten the new bottom bracket in time for the first World Cup, but will have new derailleur pulleys and wheel bearings in time for Albstadt.

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J
J
8 years ago

The older stock sworks bike was lighter with a front derailleur. What happened?

Also, I think this bloke needs a bigger bike, shorter lower stem. But I’m sure he knows what he’s doing 😉

Jasen
Jasen
8 years ago

what’s his frame size?

Larasmile
Larasmile
8 years ago

Damn, that’s an ugly bike! Why is it so heavy? Scott, Cannondale etc are two pounds lighter.

Larasmile
Larasmile
8 years ago

I have a trial question about kulavy 🙂
Long time strava users may remember his photo used as screensaver while the app was loading.
He is pictured riding a specialzd road bike, but wearing shoes from the competition 🙂
Name the shoe brand to win 🙂

Larasmile
Larasmile
8 years ago

Btw kulavy, shurter and most of the top xco males, do have hidden chainguards since 2013. When things get muddy, 1X chain drops…

maz-o
maz-o
8 years ago

god those angles are insane….!!!

edge
edge
8 years ago

The 29er looks like a 26er under him.

Brandon
Brandon
8 years ago

@J, bigger bike = taller headtube = higher hands. The goal is to GET LOW!

Sardinien
Sardinien
8 years ago

wow…10.39kg is not light. God the RS 1 is just plain ugly…

Clifford Domingo
Clifford Domingo
8 years ago

How is he related to Jaroslav Kulhavy?

'Merika
'Merika
8 years ago

The chainguide is shown in one photo, not on the bike in another. WTF is going on, Bikerumor? (deleted)
Editor’s note: You are right; the chainguide was installed just prior to the race, while we shot the other pics the day before.

Hugh Jass
8 years ago

Cool bike, but there is something wrong with that fit.

Saddle angle is ridiculous.

Looks like a triathlete tried to fit himself.

Heffe
Heffe
8 years ago

I have to admit, that fork is so cool looking.

boosh
boosh
8 years ago

@J

the RS-1 happened… that thing isn’t light, especially with the torque tube hub. Nothing like a 1+lb weight hit for a worse steering, harsher, slower wheel change fork.

broseph
broseph
8 years ago

The bike is a Large first of all.

The RS 1 (deleted) shock is where some of the additional weight is coming from compared to last years. He has a chainguide, and those sram brakes. That’s your 22.9lbs.

seat angle is like that on a lot of the WC riders. Not quite so drastic but nino’s, Julians are way nose down also. It keeps them more level on the bike as they climb seated.

Ilikeicedtea
Ilikeicedtea
8 years ago

Anyone notice that the actual rider’s position on the bike is totally normal? Why get your panties in a bunch over how he gets there?

rob c
rob c
8 years ago

awesome bike with some ‘unique’ setup, great to see what the pro’s ride

I ride a Stumpjumper Marathon carbon (hard tail) with an “evo” setup for XC trails not as unique as this pro bike but a great ride

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
8 years ago

^kulhavy winner… us…not so much.

Holee
8 years ago

Nice to see a real weight for this bike. Too many mfg claim weights that consumers will never see. Without trick parts your WC Epic will likely be 23-24lbs in a large size. Ride it and have fun. Just don’t expect it to be 20lbs.

Roy
Roy
8 years ago

Satis and Holee right. Obviously pro’s aint’ sitting here yapping about bike pics and a pro don’t need the lightest of light to win a world freakin cup. I have ridden the RS1 compared to SID WC and Fox and it is WAY stiffer steering, but as everyone knows, it is way heavier and way more expensive, so RS got one thing. Maybe they can get back to work on refining design?

Noah
Noah
8 years ago

Bike rumor do you know what the stem length was?

flo33
flo33
8 years ago

@Noah 130 mm

Durianrider
Durianrider
8 years ago

Why bother with an RS1 when you can just ride a Giant with Overdrive 2. Ive ridden both, the RS is similar but doesnt have the advantages of a standard fork.

Giant were first to market with tapered forks. Overdrive 2 is the ravens beak.

Bob
Bob
8 years ago

I own one of these with a SID as opposed the RS-1. The bike is a mad man. Very quick. Very agile. I love mine.

marcello
marcello
8 years ago

What´s the seat post length? 600 mm?

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