Bike Check: Tyler TMAC McCaul's GT Fury
Bike Check: Tyler TMAC McCaul's GT Fury
Rampage prep begins months ahead of the event. In addition to riding as much as possible and practicing tricks for various features on the course, a lot of the training and preparation is off the bike. Eight days of digging is a huge part of of building bench cuts and berms, take offs and landings, moving rocks 10lbs to 80lbs. Thus strength training is key for both prepping for digging and muscling out of big landings.
The GT Fury
McCauls medium sized GT Fury features his own custom paint job. The aluminum build is strong and durable for the heavy hits of the free ride world. As a smaller rider, the medium size allows him the most flexibility to get behind the seat for steep descents.
Marzocchi Bomber dual crown motocross style fork helps with stiffness, reducing flex so the bike acts more uniformly.
Absorbing the Hits
To complement the Bomber up front, a Fox Factory X2 rear shock handles the work in the back. He's running 8 inches of travel front and rear, but in recent years the suspension has become highly advanced, featuring soft cushioning at the beginning for the small bumps but progressively stiffer so it doesnt bottom out on big drops.
TMAC runs Maxxis Minion DHF 2.7 inch width tires with tubes at Rampage, whereas normally he runs 2.5 inch width the rest of the year. The larger tire is a little heavier to provide better rotational weight to keep the bike tracking properly, especially in windy conditions. All the riders run a medium to high tire pressure. Higher pressure helps with stiffness so tires don't roll on takeoffs and landings, but lower pressure provides more grip, so finding the happy medium is key. The 26-inch tires are mounted on DT Swiss EX471 rims laced with 32 spokes front and rear.
Lighting up the Brakes
Shimano Saint brakes are their most powerful downhill/freeride specific brakes, with 203 mm rotors, which help not only with braking power but heat dissipation. The brakes include ICE Technology for additional venting, keeping the brakes cool and therefore more powerful. With riders descending 1000 feet of vertical in less than 45 seconds, and needing to scrub speed after every jump to adjust for the next jump, brakes like these are key.
The Loam Wolf mini fender keeps mud and dust out of the riders face. Made by a personal friend, it's a small addition to the bike that TMAC loves not only for the function, but for the a little element of style and personality it adds.
Shimano Saint drivetrain. TMAC is running his normal gearing, 36 tooth single chain ring in the front with chain guide to keep things in order over all the big drops and heavy hits.
Shifting in to High Gear
An 11-23 tooth 10-speed cassette compliments the rear, which is a typical broad range for a downhill bike that works for everything. Gear ratio won't matter for TMac's particular line this year, as he likely won't pedal once after dropping in, while other riders may have lines that require small sprints between features.
TMAC runs his Deity seat as low as he possibly can, so it's out of the way and easier to get over the back of the bike, but it's a careful balance to stay just high enough to avoid contact with the rear tire as the rear suspension fully compresses. In preparation for the event, TMAC and the mechanics will bleed the air from the suspension, stroke the travel all the way down and find the minimum height necessary for the seat.
Deity TMAC signature pedals have a large platform to press your foot on and are concave to help suck your foot into the pedal, ensuring minimal float around the pedal. Deity bars and grips round out the package.
TMAC uses every pad possible, from the bottom up he wears ankle braces, shin and knee pads, padded underpants, kidney belt, chest protector, neck brace, elbow pads, helmet, goggles and a mouthguard. While some riders wear less for better freedom of movement, TMAC hedges on the side of safety for better protection and the best chance of bouncing back from crashes, be it training or competition.
As TMAC drops in for the Rampage finals. His natural and practiced abilities will leverage all the technology of his GT Fury to handle the gnarly lines and massive drops of Virgin, Utah.