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Pro Bike Check: Matt Stuttard’s Privateer 161 EWS Race Bike, plus E-161 updates!

matt stuttard pro bike check privateer 161 ews enduro race bike
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A few weeks back at Ard Rock, Matt Stuttard’s Privateer 161 EWS race bike caught our attention, hanging out at the HUNT wheels stand. Matt wasn’t racing of course. After having posted an impressive 16th place at La Thuile EWS, Matt’s luck went south when a crash left him with his collarbone in two pieces. He was, however, on hand to give us a run down on his race day setup.

Update: We’re pleased to share that Matt is well on his way to recovery after successful surgery on his collarbone this week.

Matt Stuttard’s Privateer 161 Enduro Race Bike

matt stuttard pro bike check privateer 161 ews enduro race bike

The Privateer 161 is a 29″ enduro bike featuring, you guessed it, 161mm of rear wheel travel, paired with a 170mm fork. The 161 runs a Horst-Link suspension layout and, like a growing number of bikes, gets a size-specific rear end thanks to Privateer’s proportional approach to frame design. EWS racer Matt Stuttard rides the P3 frame (the size range runs from P1-P4). That pairs a 490mm reach with 446mm stays.

The custom bits on Matt Stuttard’s Privateer 161 EWS race bike… AVS Hand Guards, a bolt-on Mudhugger EVO, and his very own RaceLabs number board fresh from Vittoria La Thuile EWS

About Matt Stuttard

  • Age: 28
  • Discipline: Enduro
  • Height: 188 cm
  • Weight: 85 kg
  • Career Best Result: 8th EWS Zermatt 2020

matt stuttard privateer 161 pro bike check ohlins ttx coil shock 480 lbs spring

In addition to Privateer, Matt is supported by Ohlins and has been racing with the Ohlins TTX Coil shock. His 85kg riding weight puts him on a 480 lbs spring, and Matt chooses to run the low speed compression damping fully open (18 clicks from +), with the high speed compression almost entirely open, at 5 clicks from +.

matt stuttard privateer 161 pro bike check ohlins rxf38 m.2 air spring fork 170mm
Matt’s bike currently has a prototype of the original m.1 RXF38 fork, but he tells us he will switch to the recently released Ohlins RXF38 m.2 for the upcoming EWS races in France

Up front, Matt runs an air sprung 170mm travel fork (44mm offset), the original Ohlins RXF38 m.1. Ohlins have since released the m.2 which Matt runs on his E-161. The spring side of this fork is a little more nuanced than most. Two positive air chambers can be independently pressurized; the primary positive chamber influences the early to mid-stroke support while the secondary chamber (pressurized from the bottom of the fork) deals with end-stroke ramp. Matt chooses to run 123 PSI in the main, primary chamber, and 250 PSI in the secondary, for good end-stroke ramp. The fork offers low speed compression and rebound adjustment, both of which he runs at 14 clicks from +, almost fully open.

matt stuttard privateer 161 pro bike check hunt all-mountain carbon h_impact wheels

Matt is of course supported by HUNT Wheels, them being the parent company of Privateer Bikes. His 161 rolls on their All-Mountain Carbon H_Impact rims with a specific front and rear wheel tune for traction out front and high impact strength in the rear. Those are laced to the HUNT RapidEngage hubset offering 5 degree engagement.

matt stuttard privateer 161 pro bike check ochain 6 degree float
Matt has been running the OChain since EWS Finale Ligure 2020 and it has stayed there ever since. He runs the 6 degree setup but would go for the 9 degree setup for racing downhill. “It gives you a chainless feel to your bike but obviously with the chain on, stops pedal kickback & smooths out the bumps especially under braking”.

On Matt Stuttard’s bike, that 5 degree engagement at the rear hub is somewhat academic, given that he runs an Ochain in place of a traditional chainring. This component, designed specifically to reduce pedal kickback, allows the crank arms to move independently to the chainring, up to 6°, 9° or 12°. Matt chooses to run the OChain in the 6° setting.

matt stuttard privateer 161 pro bike check michelin wild enduro front tires 4-ply racing line casing

Back to the wheels… those 28mm internal width rims seat Michelin tires; a 2.4″ Wild Enduro Front Racing Line (4-ply) tire on the front and the back. This is not unusual for Michelin sponsored riders; a few big names on the Chain Reaction Cycles Team run the Wild Enduro Front on the rear, too, due to its more aggressive tread pattern. With 22 PSI in the front and 25 PSI in the rear, Matt also relies on the puncture protection and vibration damping offered by Rimpact Original and Rimpact Pro tire inserts, respectively.

Back to the drivetrain… Matt’s Privateer 161 sports SRAM components; 175mm GX crank arms do the work, with electronic shifting performed by the XO1 AXS rear mech, shifting the chain on a 10-52T GX Eagle cassette.

matt stuttard privateer 161 pro bike check renthal bar apex stem odi grips lock-on

In the cockpit, Matt Stuttard runs a 50mm reach Renthal Apex stem (31.8mm) clamping to a 800mm wide Renthal Fatbar with 40mm rise. Locking on to that are soft compound ODI Long Neck grips.

matt stuttard privateer 161 pro bike check 220mm magura mdr-p 2mm rotor

Matt relies on Magura’s top-end MT7 Pro 4-Piston brakes for stopping power, with a 220mm MDR-P rotor up front and a 200mm MDR-P in the rear. Both rotors 2mm thick; that’s thicker than your average rotor for improved heat resistance on longer descents. 

matt stuttard privateer 161 pro bike check sdg bel air saddle oneup v2 210mm drop dropper post

At 188 cm tall, Matt Stuttard is able to take full advantage of the Privateer 161’s short seat tube (450mm on P3), running a 210mm drop OneUp V2 dropper seat post. Atop that sits an SDG Bel-Air, now in its 3rd iteration, a saddle popular for the low-profile it offers.

Privateer E-161 Updates

matt stuttard privateer e-161 pro bike check

Still under development, the E-161 is simply meant to be an eMTB version of the 161 that Matt Stuttard and Chloe Taylor race at the EWS. Privateer teased us with this one back in August 2020, showing the proof of concept eMTB they’d made to help Matt out with his training.

“There really isn’t much difference between my 161 race bike and my prototype E-161. I try and keep all my components the same so it feels like the same bike when I swap and change between them. The only differences are: slightly different suspension setup, I currently have a TTX air shock on the Ebike as I can run the air shock with a little faster rebound so it gives the heavier Ebike a more playful feel. Other than that it is the exact same bike just with a motor” – Matt Stuttard.

matt stuttard privateer e-161 pro bike check ohlins air shock
While Matt runs the Ohlins TTX Coil shock on his EWS Race Bike, he opts for the air shock on the E-161 eMTB

After speaking with Privateer’s Brand Manager at Ard Rock, Sam Meegan, we learned that there are some pretty significant changes in the works for this one. Most notable? It’s going to be a mullet. The brand had originally set out to make this a 29er, just like the 161, but have opted to put a 27.5″ wheel in the rear.

Why? “We’ve been testing various configurations and will most likely move to mullet back end. We did this to keep chainstays & wheelbase in check, as due to the added stability of the battery/motor, this keeps the ride feel more consistent between the E-161 and 161” – Sam Meegan.

matt stuttard privateer e-161 pro bike check oversized head tube

The E-161 will also loose the oversized headtube that was originally designed in to accommodate 1.5″ tapered steerers; here, you see Matt’s E-161 running an adaptor to allow fitment of an Ohlins fork with the usual 1 1/8th steerer.

privateer e-161 prototype shimano ep8 motor

Cable routing has been improved since the initial prototype. The finished production bike will have a Shimano EP8 motor with 630Wh battery. The complete builds will feature FOX 38 fork and X2 shock with Shimano SLX/XT drivetrain bits and cockpit components from OneUp.


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