While their homeland is ravaged by war, two Ukrainian pro cross-country racers on the CST PostNL Bafang MTB Racing Team are staying strong and taking on the XC World Cup aboard #StandWithUkraine custom-painted American Eagle Flow mountain bikes. We take an up-close look at the race bike of U23 rider Sasha Hudyma, plus some sneaky peeks at Yana Belomoina’s bike outfitted with prototype wheels AND suspension?
American Eagle Flow Ukraine XC bikes
We followed the development of the American Eagle Flow full-suspension bike under the Bart Brentjens-managed CST racing team since the 2019 race season when the prototype finally got a name and full details by the middle of the summer. A couple of XC race seasons later and two of the CST PostNL Bafang MTB Racing Team’s top-ranked riders are from Ukraine, a country currently being ravaged by war since the Russian invasion three months ago.
So, as Sasha Hudyma and Yana Belomoina stay strong and put on a brave face, the team and sponsors have custom-painted bikes in the colors of the Ukrainian flag for the pair so they can represent Ukraine on the global mountain bike racing stage, and keep the plight of their homeland in the public’s mind.
Both riders are on the full carbon 100mm travel full-suspension American Eagle Flow cross-country bike with the same #StandWithUkraine yellow & blue paint job, and almost exactly the same team build spec.
XC Pro Bike: American Eagle Ukraine build details
Newly this year, the team is sponsored by SR Suntour for suspension, and Sasha Hudyma’s bike is set up with a Axon Werx 34 Boost EQ fork and Edge RL-R rear shock.
Interestingly, the team has opted to run SR Suntour’s slightly heavier and stiffer 34mm stanchion race fork with magnesium lowers & a carbon crown instead of the 100g lighter 32mm stanchion fork with carbon lowers. The reason is two-fold – the 34 fork is Boost-spaced while the 32 still has a 100mm thru-axle, plus the bigger fork offers longer travel. The team apparently has chosen the middle 110mm travel setting to slacked the geometry out a bit on the Flow and smooth out the ever-more-technical XC courses.
Without a direct drivetrain sponsor per se, the team put together the Rotor Kapic Carbon cranks, Rotor direct mount chainring & KMC chains of their sponsors with a SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle rear derailleur & cassette. Plus, Shimano XTR pedals, which are hard to argue with.
Prototype DT Swiss XRC 1200 wheels?
The bikes are finished off with a set of subtly-branded DT Swiss wheels wrapped in CST Jack Rabbit II Pro XC race tires.
The black-on-black label wheels appear to be marked as XRC 1200, but they do not share the smoother rounded rim profile of the current 25 or 30mm internal XRC 1200 Spline carbon wheels. We’ve seen these same wheels on several other pro bikes, too.
DT Swiss already gave their mid-premium spec 1501 Spline mountain bike wheels a big carbon overhaul two summers ago, so maybe lightweight top-tier 1200-seires wheels are set to get a refresh of new carbon rims soon, as well?
Differences between Sasha Hudyma & Yana Belomoina’s bikes
The CST team only gave us unfettered access to Men’s U23 racer Sasha Hudyma’s custom painted bike…
…but we also got plenty of sneak peeks at Yana Belomoina’s own similar setup out on the race track.
Prototype SR Suntour rear suspension?
Why was the team less free with Yana Belomoina’s bike? Maybe her mechanic working on installing or setting up her rear suspension could give us a clue?
Sasha Hudyma’s bike was fitted with an upside-down SR Suntour Edge RLR Trunnion rear shock, straight out of the current SR Suntour catalog and even tagged as 2022 #2 on his prepped race bike. But that #2 also offers some insight that the team may be doing some back-to-back suspension tuning testing?
On the other hand, we got a look at Yana Belomoina warming up on rollers before the short track race, with a completely unbranded shock.
Without any labels, at first glance, it looked to share a somewhat similar profile to a RockShox Deluxe Ultimate Remote shock, even down to the remote cable lockout control & rebound knob… but the overall shape isn’t quite the same.
The straight sides of the air can and stepped-down end at the main seal share a shape much closer to SR Suntour’s own Edge Plus & Raidon series of XC shocks. So, I’d go out on a limb and say Yana Belomoina is testing a lighter next-gen prototype SR Suntour Edge XC shock.
Potential prototype wheels and suspension aside, it’s nice to see the CST PostNL Bafang MTB Racing Team & bike sponsor proudly supporting these two Ukrainian racers with their American Eagle Ukraine edition rides – helping them spread the #StandWithUkraine message in their XC racing campaign.
Stay strong, and Slava Ukraini.