After a weekend of skinny tires, Monday requires some great mountain biking action from Dalby Forest. One of the earlier races of the year, and one of the best courses, Dalby served as an opening platform for Specialized’s Jaroslav Kulhavy to make history. Almost unbelievably, his win at Dalby was the first ever World Cup win by a rider on a 29er. Jaro rode a 29er in every race in 2011, and even hopped on a full suspension version for a few World Cup stops. As a larger rider with a lot of power, the rolling benefits of the 29er outweigh any difficulties in restarting or getting momentum off sharp corners.
How it took until 2011 for a rider to win on a 29er is unthinkable, but the interviews in the video explain the thinking the pros take into considering when they’re choosing between big wheel and the traditional 26s. For these guys, with so much strength and power, it often comes down to the course. A 26 inch wheel is more nimble and more maneuverable in tight sections and accelerates slightly faster. For larger riders like Kulhavy and Todd Wells, it can simply come down to personal preference or familiarity.
The Specialized video features interviews with Christophe Sauser, Burry Stander, Lene Byberg and more. Byberg, pictured above, had a solid race and finished eighth, three spots back from teammate Ren Chenyaun.