SANTA CRUZ BICYCLES

THE SYNDICATE | MIXED OPINIONS

Interview by Drew Rohde | Video by Steel City Media

The mixed wheel debate enters The Syndicate realm, with Luca Shaw and Loris Vergier embarking on a 27.5 wheel in the rear, whilst Greg Minnaar sticks with his trusted setup of 29 front and rear.

Does size matter? Does fun mean fast? Is Loris going to try a 26inch rear next? Find out more in this Mixed Wheel debate.


Once that’s all sorted, get a look at the fresh new paint jobs on all three V10s.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SYNDICATES V10s, CLICK HERE
The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Loris Vergier

WHAT WAS THE NUMBER 1 MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN YOUR SELECTION OF WHICH WHEEL SIZE TO RUN?
Loris Vergier: On average, I was able to avoid mistakes and do the moves I wanted to!

WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE WHEEL SIZE SELECTION YOU’VE MADE OR IN THE AMOUNT OF DIFFERENCE YOU FELT?
LV: We did some testing at Mt Saint Anne, and had some really good feedback on what was good and where, and a week after got surgery! Spent almost 3 month off the downhill rig and when I had the chance to jump on the bike, I wanted to feel as good as possible, as fast as possible so I jump straight away on the mullet ! Never really switched back since, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go back and forth, or anything. I was just clear for the moment and needed to find confidence in my skills so it was the right choice for now! 

The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Loris Vergier

IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO SIZES INSTANTLY NOTABLE TO YOU, OR DOES IT TAKE A COUPLE OF RUNS TO REALLY NOTICE WHERE THE DIFFERENCES ARE?
LV: It was pretty instant really, it’s just easier to point and shoot where you want to! I also have more leg room and can move around the bike more, and since I’m not that tall it’s a big deal for me 🙂 

DID YOU SET UP TIMING IN SMALLER SECTIONS OF TRAILS OR FOCUS MORE ON TOP TO BOTTOM RUNS TO SEE WHAT IS FASTER?
LV: Both! Full runs, with sections in it so you can tell where you lose time or gain time 

DO YOU BELIEVE MORE TIME CAN BE MADE UP ON STRAIGHTAWAYS WITH BIG WHEELS ROLLING, OR IN TIGHT CORNERS WHERE THE 27.5” WILL TAKE THE ADVANTAGE?
LV: Fast rolling sections are obviously faster with the Full 29 but you take those seconds back when it gets tighter, so it’s really close in overall time, you just need to pick which one you feel better on!

The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Loris Vergier

WOULD TRACK CONDITIONS OR TYPES OF TRAILS HAVE YOU RUN A FULL 29ER SET UP?
LV: In theory yes, it’s an easy switch, I raced for 3 years with it but in real life once you feel comfortable with something it’s tough to get you out of it haha, and in the end if you really wanna ride with something, you’ll make it go faster, full 29 or mullet ! Racing will tell us 🙂 

WHAT SIZE BRAKE ROTORS ARE YOU RUNNING?
LV: 200mm

WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL TIRE PRESSURE AND HOW MUCH DOES IT CHANGE TRACK TO TRACK?
LV: It goes around 1.6 bar on the front, less if you can’t feel the tire flex too much to get more grip, and 1.9 generally on the back, goes higher when it’s hot and it’s a world cup haha, I don’t like having a rolling feel on my back tire.

It doesn’t really go far off from that.

The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Greg Minnaar

DO YOU FEEL RIDING STYLE, HEIGHT, OR INTENT HAS MORE TO DO WITH WHEEL SIZE SELECTION?
Greg Minnaar: My feeling has more to do with intent, than height or style.

WHAT WAS THE NUMBER 1 MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN YOUR SELECTION OF WHICH WHEEL SIZE TO RUN?
GM: The ability to push the bike harder and faster 

IT SEEMS YOU WERE LESS INTERESTED THAN SOME OF THE OTHER TESTERS IN TRYING THE 27.5” WHEELS. WHY IS THAT?
GM: The way the Mullet came about wasn’t a natural push for the improvement of bike or performance, it was a cover up for a rider who ran his mouth in disappointment when SCB caught the rest of the world sleeping when launching the 29 V10. I’ve been watching Loris in testing and fully understand his progression to the mullet, as he has better clearance over the rear end. I’m a little luckier as my gangly legs give me enough clearance. So to me Loris’s reasons make a lot of sense.

The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Greg Minnaar

DO YOU BELIEVE MORE TIME CAN BE MADE UP ON STRAIGHTAWAYS WITH BIG WHEELS ROLLING, OR IN TIGHT CORNERS WHERE THE 27.5” WILL TAKE THE ADVANTAGE?
GM: For me its about holding that intense pace from top to bottom, I want a bike thats easy to control, stable and good everywhere.

WOULD TRACK CONDITIONS OR TYPES OF TRAILS HAVE YOU CONSIDER RUNNING A 27.5 REAR?
GM: Whistler, when shredding the bike park

WHAT SIZE BRAKE ROTORS ARE YOU RUNNING?
GM: Shimano 203mm

The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Greg Minnaar

ON A SCALE OF 1 TO SHRED THE EARTH, WHERE WOULD YOU RATE THE MAXXIS ASSEGAIS?
GM: Whahaha SHRED bru!!!! This is a safe tire that will work well on 99% of terrains

WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL TIRE PRESSURE AND HOW MUCH DOES IT CHANGE TRACK TO TRACK?
GM: It really doesn’t vary that much. My go to is 26psi front and 28 psi rear.

The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Luca Shaw

IF YOU HAD TO PUT A PRIORITY ON FUN VERSUS FAST, WHAT WOULD YOU PICK?
Luca Shaw: I would put a priority on fast because going fast is always fun, so it’s a win win scenario! When we are setting up our race bikes we want them to be as fast as possible. I have found that having fun and enjoying riding your bike always helps me ride the fastest anyways. 

WHAT WAS THE NUMBER 1 MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN YOUR SELECTION OF WHICH WHEEL SIZE TO RUN?
LS: The most important factor that influenced my decision to go with the mullet set up is just the feeling it gives me when I ride. I feel like I am able to maneuver the bike around underneath me a lot better and that just gives me more confidence to ride fast and push the limits. I feel like it’s a little bit easier bike to ride and I can react quicker to obstacles and change directions quicker and all that together just gave me a better overall feeling.

The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Luca Shaw

WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE WHEEL SIZE SELECTION YOU’VE MADE OR IN THE AMOUNT OF DIFFERENCE YOU FELT?
LS: I am really surprised that I like the mullet as much as I do. To me I was very comfortable on the 29er and didn’t even want to try the mullet at first. The differences I feel between the two are pretty subtle, so I don’t feel like I am riding a completely different bike, it’s just minor differences that I prefer on the mullet.

WHERE DID YOU NOTICE THE DIFFERENCES IN PERFORMANCE MOST?
LS: I felt the biggest difference in corners and on steep sections where you need to get your weight low and back. I feel like a smaller rear wheel lets me put my weight in the exact right spot in corners and helps me get in the best position on the bike. On the 29er it’s a little bit harder for me to put the bike exactly where I want it, where the mullet lets me change directions quicker and get on the right line.

DID YOU SET UP TIMING IN SMALLER SECTIONS OF TRAILS OR FOCUS MORE ON TOP TO BOTTOM RUNS TO SEE WHAT IS FASTER?
LS: We did some timing on top to bottom runs as well as smaller sections. We found that the times were very similar on both bikes and there was very little difference. That is why in the end I just went with what I felt most comfortable on and the bike I was more excited to ride. Also I had been on the 29er for two years and was pretty dialed on that bike, but the mullet was already as fast after a couple weeks of riding so I feel like the potential is there to go faster on it.

The Syndicate | Mixed Opinions - Luca Shaw

WOULD TRACK CONDITIONS OR TYPES OF TRAILS HAVE YOU RUN A FULL 29ER SET UP?
LS: I think there are definitely tracks that will suit the 29er better on paper, and I have not fully decided whether we will flip back and forth between races or stick to one all season. I was going to start the season on the mullet for the first few races and go from there. I definitely have not ruled out going back to the 29er, and since the feeling of both bikes is very similar I am not too concerned about getting used to the 29er again.

WHAT SIZE BRAKE ROTORS ARE YOU RUNNING?
LS: I’m using 203 mm rotors front and rear on both bikes.

WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL TIRE PRESSURE AND HOW MUCH DOES IT CHANGE TRACK TO TRACK?
LS: Ideal tire pressure for me is 24 psi in the front and 27 psi in the back. I do change it slightly track to track, sometimes dropping it a little bit to get more grip.