Jon’s 29er at the Chris King Open House

bikes

This XC 29er was made for CX racer Jon Dennis, who does most of his training on a loaded cargo bike delivering goods around the city.

With a serious XC racing geometry, the bike is also proofed and routed for long remote bikepacking journeys. The frame is made with Columbus 29er and Zona, fillet brazed (left un-filed as with all Mercredi bikes) with TIG welded dropouts.

The build kit brings together the best of Enve, SRAM and RockShox and is sure to see Jon fly between the tape. Together with all this super-modern componentry, the finish is a Mercredi take on early 90s ATBs. The base colour is powder coated for durability with a hand-painted playful and irreverent finish applied by Colourburn Studio, all brought together by the new Polished Violet from Chris King components.

Here’s what Jon had to say about his bike:

“Prior to the Mercredi, I’d been riding a plus bike with tyres as thick as my thighs. This plowed through rocks and roots, albeit at a sedate pace (and an even more sedate pace uphill). I missed what brought me to mountain biking as well as what brought me back into riding off-road, after a brief sojourn on the road, in the form of cyclocross. I like agile, fast-feeling, maneuverable bikes that are as good uphill as they are down, and where you have to do a bit of thinking about line choice.

After an indepth fit with Matt Wilson at Engineering Athletic Performance, Matt found a position that would allow me to fly up and down the hills, whizz through trees and over rocks. First we started with finding the optimum pedalling position, then we moved onto the mountain bike specific handlebar positioning, this would allow me to move the front wheel over and around obstacles, whilst still balancing that efficiency, and given that I’m not the most flexible of bike racers, give me the ability to smoothly get out of the saddle, without the bars getting in the way.

Adeline took this data and designed and built me a bike! After staring at the bike for far too long, without being able to ride it, at the Chris King Open house, I was finally given an opportunity to spin around the Chris King factory, and then the following day, chasing some very quick American cross racers through the sand and technical descents at Cross Crusade, I knew the bike had fulfilled the brief perfectly. It just felt right (like a bike you’ve been riding for years, and your body has moulded and adapted to, only this time, the bike is moulded to me, which is a much better, faster, way around). It goes where you point it, and it encourages you to ride fast and for a long time. It brings back the feelings I had when I first discovered mountain biking.

The Sram AXS Eagle electronic, robot groupset shifts gears quickly and precisely, even under load in muddy conditions and makes setup and travelling really easy. The wireless reverb is so quick the first few uses you’re a bit scared to get it wrong, but rest assured, it’s more like a pat on the bum than the jackhammer the speed suggests.

The Rockshox SID fork has 120mm of travel, maybe a bit more than you might expect for a XC bike, but with the increasingly gnar of XC racing and living on the edge of some of the rockiest trails in the UK, and with barely any weight penalty over other short-travel forks it was an easy choice to make.

The ENVE rims are superlight, tough, and really easy to setup tubeless. They’re stiff, but not too stiff you’re feeling everything through them, and in combination with the steel frame, give that perfect balance of acceleration and magic carpet smoothness.

Chris King bearings are Chris King bearings. Supremely smooth and durable, and in the brand new violet colourway, they really stand out.

Not everyone notices the paint, it’s not loud and shouty. But the one’s who do get closer and closer, and the closer you come, the more fun it gets, and the more you notice.”

 

 
Tube set– Columbus Zona
Forks – RockShox Sid
Groupset – SRAM Eagle AXS
Bearings Chris King English threaded DUB BB and Inset 7 headset
Finishing Kit – Zipp

Wheels – Chris King Boost, XD driver, Enve M525

Open House Photographs: John Watson / The Radavist

‘Cross Crusade Photograph: Eric Thornburg

With infinite gratitude to The Bicycle Academy who lent me a workshop when I didn’t have one.