Keegen Swenson at the 2019 Epic Rides Whiskey 50, dropping into one of the technical features while building his gap to 2nd. Photo: Les Stukenberg
Keegen positioning for a win in the Wiskey 50 Fat Tire Crit- L. Stukenberg
Marathon and XC racing in the USA is getting “fully involved”. As full suspensions become lighter, stiffer, and more adaptable to terrain types more and more riders are excluding the hard tail from their stables. Increasingly technical world-cup courses and a pattern of longer distance races growing in popularity have the full suspension sending it past hardtails and off bike store racks in greater numbers than ever. This trend makes the Pivot LES a standout at races the world over and in particular in the 2018 Epic Rides series of races.
The unique format of the Epic Rides series dictates that riders must use the same machine for both the Friday evening fat tire criterium and Sunday’s “Epic” back country marathon. While riders may change their tires for the criterium the rest of their gear choices must remain unchanged between events; putting each rider in an even higher stakes toss-up between the two mountain bike platforms.
Swenson’s Pivot LES immediately post Whiskey 50
With four back country wins and four crit wins the Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team has dominated the Epic Rides series in 2018. The cadre of Chloe Woodruff, Keegen Swenson, Rose Grant, and Sofia Gomez-Villafane have regularly chosen the hardtail LES (get it? PivotLES) almost exclusively for Epic Rides events in 2018 and have begun their 2019 season aboard the same platform. I spoke to Chloe Woodruff shortly after the Carson City Offroad about the bike choice:
Chloe collecting hi-fives on her way to the podium- L. Stukenberg
You could say the LES does some winning. -K. Wehn
Gomez-Villafane cruising the LES in the Soldier’s Hollow Stage Race- K. Wehn
In this editor’s experience the Pivot LES is an absolute ace option for whenever efficiency is a major consideration. The LES was my bike of choice for the 2017 Pioneer mixed race (2nd place) and the 2017 Brasil Ride UCI stage race (1st Mixed). 7 of my 8 singlespeed national titles were also aboard the LES. Ive added a Fox 34 120mm fork and brought the LES to Enduro events as well as pushed its light weight limits with a rigid fork and fixed post for climbing intensive races like LaRuta de Los Conquistadores. One unique characteristic of the LES is its ability to run either standard rear dropouts or Pivot’s proprietary “Swinger” sliding dropout. The indexed forward backward slider with disc caliper mounted to swing in tandem is without a question the most effective and reliable adjustable dropout system I have ridden.
Editor and author Gordon Wadsworth Ripping the LES as an SS to a US Marathon National Championship title. Photo: Weldon Weaver
Rear Der: XTR M9000 Di2
Brakes: XTR M9000 “race” brakes, 160 rotors f/r
Crankset: XTR M9000 w/ Stages Powermeter, 170MM. 32-36t rings
Cassette: XTR 11-40
Handlebar: PRO Tharsis XC 720mm
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