Swiss rider Lukas Flückiger finished outside the top elite men at the last XC World Cup, but the carbon bike he rode from Thömus was worth a closer look. From a company we hadn’t seen before is the Lightrider, an adjustable travel cross-country & marathon racing full-suspension mountain bike.
Plus, Flückiger was the last of three riders sporting the new XTR M9100 1×12 groupset (check out Neff’s & van der Poel’s prototype bikes), and he is fully indoctrinated in Axxios vibration damping stickers!
Thömus Lightrider carbon 100mm XC/120mm XCM bike
The older Flückiger has had a number of top five XC placings over the last decade of racing, plus 8th at Albstadt a couple weekends ago. He also crosses over to some top cyclocross finishes too in recent years. In Nové Město his 26th place finish wasn’t anything to write homeabout, but his bike is rather unique. (His younger brother Mathias who has had several recent XCO World Cup podiums got tied up in a massive startline crash, and eventually DNFed.)
More recently Flückiger has been racing on BMC’s team and bikes, but this season sees him on a new brand – riding the Swiss bikes on the Thömus RN Racing team. The Nové Město na Moravě World Cup also saw him preview the next generation XTR – M9100 in a lightweight 1×12 setup.
The new bike for the new season is from Thömus. The Swiss company has been in the bikes business for almost 30 years, starting as a bike shop it seems, and is said to have its own production in Switzerland, although it isn’t clear where this frame is manufactured. Founder Thomas Binggeli for a few years was CEO of BMC, before returning to Thomus in 2014.
The full-suspension bike the team is racing is the hi-mod carbon Lightrider race bike. The 29er claims a weight of 1780g (no word on what that entails) with a tapered headtube and Boost spacing.
A flip chip on the carbon rocker link lets riders swap between 100mm of travel for cross-country racing, or up it to 120mm of travel for XC marathons. Thomus offers the bike with 100/100mm XC build, 120/120mm marathon builds, and even 120mm shock setting paired to a 130mm fork in what they call an all-mountain bike build.
A Fox iCD electronic remote on the Factory Kashima-coated Float shock gives Fluckiger on-the-go remote lockout, which is paired to a similar actuator on the top right leg of the fork. Not quite Fox Live yet, as far as we can tell.
The team Thömus (Thoemus or even Thomus) Lightrider gets a red and raw carbon paint job that makes it a bit tricky to see what is goin on in the suspension design, but it is more simple than it looks. The bike has a typical one piece front triangle, and what is labeled as a VRT PIV, VPP & Virtual Pivot Point in various places on the frame is in fact a reference to the flexing ‘virtual’ pivot point on the seatstays at the kink just above the dropout (see the crosshairs in the rear end pics below).
Thomus says the bike relies on “four-bar kinematics” but it is essentially a single pivot ‘faux-bar’ design relying on flex in the seatstays just above the dropout, and an upside down linkage drive shock.
The single pivot suspension geometry gets the main pivot of the swingarm inside the front triangle. Most bikes bolt the swingarm onto the outside of the front end for drivetrain stiffness, but Thomus goes the other direction with the main triangle outside of the swingarm pivot.
New XTR M9100 1×12 mountain bike racing groupset
The Lightrider is a 2x friendly bike with a removable high direct mount for the front derailleur, and both Di2 & Sideswing routing. But of course Fluckiger is racing the new XTR, so he gets a single ring setup that allows him to pair a big 38T chainring to the wide 10-51, 12-speed cassette out back
Fluckiger is racing on the new M9100 pedals which for the most part look a lot like the current M9000. But they do get a noticeably wider machined platform, extending all the way inboard to the axle/body bolt to provide more width to interface with shoe tread, plus a couple of mm wider to the outside as well.
Out back we see the new mechanical 1x specific M9100 SGS long cage XTR rear derailleur, which drops the direct mount hanger tech and goes back to a conventional derailleur hanger bolt mounting.
Notably Fluckiger is racing on a new, non-series MT900 J-bend spoke rear hub with the Scylence tech to work with the new cassette (not the lighter XTR branded hub). Both cassette & hub also get laser etched with a ‘Prototype’ label which isn’t surprising given the scarcity of the groupset. (Remember we’ve now shown you ALL three complete race-able groupsets that exist.)
Also interesting is that not Neff, van der Poel, or Fluckiger have the new XTR MT900 disc brake rotors yet, with their new black IceTech cooling fins. Shimano claims them to have 20°C cooler surface temp than the current top-of-the-line RT99 rotors that you see here. That cooler running is one of the reasons the brake pads on new XTR dropped the cooling fins, but not even these pros could get the new rotors yet.
Oh yeah, and that’s a light weigh CarbonTi thru-axle to shed a couple of grams.
We were especially curious about the setup of the new brake lever clamps, with the secondary, outboard post that rests against the bar. While it first seemed that post would limit the ability to install other remotes & levers, in fact it is totally the opposite case.
The outboard post is actually where the old XTR’s clamp was.
And now since this post is only about 4mm wide, it means you can fit more remotes within the same area. Most Shimano riders set the 2-finger XTR levers around 1cm away from the grips (Fluckiger is running ESI Fit XC grips), so now you would measure to the post. That provides plenty of room for remotes like Fluckiger’s FOX iCD control. And it also leaves about 15mm in between the post & clamp for other things like a dropper remote (not counting the new iSpec possibilities).
Of course as Shimano explains it, the two contacts on the bar also mean the almost elimination of brake body flex at the bar for a more direct braking feel.
The Lightrider also has a unique internal cable routing setup, with everything passing through holes in the top cap of the headset.
See those little silver patches that look like duct tape all over the bike? They are in fact a bunch of Axxios vibration damping stickers. What do they do? Save you seconds. Make you faster!
We’re not so sure on the science (nor is anyone, it seems), but… the Axxios AXS Sensor System claims a “massive reduction of the negative impact of vibrations of the bike”. The idea seems to be that by reducing the amplitude of vibration at every little point on the bike these things make your suspension more active, your grip better, and less fatigue on the rider.
To quote Axxios, “To date, 100% of the pilots who have tested our product have felt the difference as soon as the wheels started to turn, whether pros or amateur. All the supporting statements are confirmed by telemetry.” Hard to argue with that, right?
Even the Fox 32 Step Cast fork and older generation XTR hub gets Axxios sticker tech.
Cockpit is all PRO, with a carbon Tharsis flat bar and seatpost…
…topped by a Griffon saddle with carbon rails.
Fluckiger’s wheels were sporting unbranded carbon rims. In fact the front wheel on the older XTR hub had a UD carbon rim, while the newer Micro Spline ready 12-speed rear wheel got a carbon weave finish. The unmatched pair a result of a quick swap to the new XTR M9100 in the few days before racing. When we photographed his bike, just before the shortrack, Fluckiger’s bike had Schwalbe Thunder Burt tires mounted tubeless. But by the time Sunday’s elite race came, he ended up on the tiny round knobs of a G-One tire for the loose dry course conditions.