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Pro Bike Check: Superior XF 9.9 Team XC Marathon Race Bike of Jaroslav Kulhavý

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy
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With the XC World Cup returning to the ever-popular Nové Město na Moravě track this weekend, we caught up with Olympic champ & longtime Czech fav Jaroslav Kulhavý, and most importantly, the new Superior XF9.9 Team cross-country bike he will race in the XCM Marathon on Sunday. The 39-year-old Czech has racked up some impressive wins over his career, including the key win here at the first-ever XC World Cup in Nové Město back in 2019. We’ve also featured his bikes since 2014. So, it seemed like time to check in a decade later…

2024 Superior XF 9.9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavý

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy
(Photos by Josef Indra/Superior)

A true XC veteran, Jarda was the UCI Cross-Country World Champion in 2011. He won Olympic XC Gold the next year 2012 in London. Then, wrapped up the cross-country disciplines with a UCI XC Marathon World Championship win in 2014 and a Cape Epic win in 2018. He may have mellowed a little bit in recent years, but Kulhavý is still fighting with the fastest marathon racers again this season.

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy

His latest race weapon of choice is the 2024 Superior XF 9.9 Team, the recent XC race bike from the largest Czech bike manufacturer.

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy, up close

The new XF – which we covered last summer at Eurobike – is a lightweight, short travel carbon XC bike with 110mm of travel front and rear and modern long, slack & low geometry.

Setup & Tech details

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy, cockpit

Kulhavy’s setup hasn’t changed all that much over the years. Sure, his XF Team bike now features fully internal routing through the headset. And his drivetrain and dropper are wireless. But he hasn’t stopped running a top SRAM drivetrain, brakes, and dropper post. And he’s still on a Specialized stem, now with a low-rise PRO bar.

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy, SRAM XX SL

Classic XC pro. He might not be on a big Factory XC team anymore, but Kulhavy is still rocking a top-shelf SRAM XX SL T-type transmission thanks to the new UDH-com Superior XF frame. He puts the power down through Garmin powermeter pedals, too.

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy, photo by Cory Benson
(photo/Cory Benson)

No one does slammed stems quite like Kulhavy!

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy, slammed stem

Massively long, and extra steep thanks to Specialized’s CLP system that turns this regular -17° stem into a -21° to get his bar down where his flexible upper body needs it.

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy, slammed saddle

And that saddle lean, too.

When you go ultra-slammed, the Selle Italia Flite angles down to match. I’d guess most of us couldn’t manage this setup, but Kulhavy has his fit dialed, even a decade later.

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Czech veteran Jaroslav Kulhavy_Zleen tires

A new bit of tech are these Zleen tires on Thread carbon wheels. The tires were developed with history of Czech tire making, but have been further refined in recent years, now made in India. Word on the street is that after a slow start, Zleen has hit the mark with a fast-rolling but grippy Cheetah Pro tread and rubber compound. We’re curious to give them a closer look in the future.

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Czech veteran Jaroslav Kulhavy_headtube

As for the 1625g carbon frame itself – designed in Czechia, manufactured in Portugal – we dipped into it last summer. It’s a big update for the Czech manufacturer, as they rebranded with a more simplified look to let you focus on their bikes’ performance. Kulhavý says it’s “one of the best bikes I’ve ever ridden. It’s a big step forward for the Superior brand; this is them showing everyone that their bikes can compete with the best in the world.

Build Specs

2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Czech veteran Jaroslav Kulhavy, angled
  • Frame: Superior XF 9.9 Team
  • Fork: DT Swiss F232 One
  • Shock: DT Swiss R232 One
  • Drivetrain: SRAM XX SL Eagle AXS T-Type
  • Tires: Zleen Cheetah Pro 29″ x 2.25″
  • Saddle: Selle Italia Flight 
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb AXS
  • Stem: -17/21° Specialized
  • Headset: Acros integrated
  • Bar: PRO Koryak Low Rise
  • Top cap & bolts: Carbon-Ti
  • Wheels: Thread
  • Pedals: Garmin Rally powermeter
2024 Superior XF 9-9 Team XC bike of Jaroslav Kulhavy, photo by Cory Benson
(Photo/Cory Benson)

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Shredder
Shredder
26 days ago

Sure look like XTR brakes to me…

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