Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  


Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Nicolas Vouilloz's V-Process NV02

A downhill winner
Photo ©: Tim Maloney

A perfect bounce

By Paul Mirtschin and Tim Maloney

Says it all really
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Nicolas Vouilloz's V-Process company is both a baby and an old hand when it comes to downhill racing. Born from the remains of the Sunn Racing Team, V-Process has taken the knowledge collected during Sunn's race-winning career and taken it to almost dizzying heights. Mere minutes after Nico had completed his World's run, we managed to sneak off some shots, and talk to some of the people responsible for this bike.

The first thing we wondered was, did Nicolas Vouilloz know something we didn't when he had his NV02 bike painted gold? Or was it just a coincidence that the newly-crowned 2002 Downhill World Champion would cross the line in first place, on a bike designed just for the World's course at Kaprun?

7.5 inches of bounce
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Although stickered as NV02, the bike shares most of its design and components with the NV01 bike that Nico has raced for the last two seasons. The major difference between the two bikes is that the wheelbase has grown 15mm in length; a change that Nico felt was needed for the fast sections of the 2002 World's course. And it looks like he was right.

As with its predecessor, the NV02 is welded in Spain from specially selected Easton aluminium tubing, to a design that Nico and French company BOS Engineering have spent many long nights perfecting. The rear suspension is a single pivot design, something that Nico thought was essential in his quest to produce a bike that was simple, reliable, light, and above all, a World Cup winner. The downside to this design is that the rear shock now links directly to the swingarm, something that required a reworking of the rear shock's internals.

Both the rear shock and the forks are designed and manufactured specifically for Vouilloz by BOS Engineering. The rear shock has seperate compression damping circuits for fast and slow hits, allowing the bike to soak up the big stuff while still allowing the bike to be pedaled a bit with as little bobbing as possible, something that is hard to achieve with 190mm of travel at both ends. The forks share the rear shock's fast/slow compression valving, in a rather nice upside down design. And unlike most forks on the circuit, the fork runs the oil and valving in the right leg and the left leg houses the spring.

Number one all right
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Down in the drivetrain, the NV02 runs a mix of Shimano's road and MTB components, with the shifters and cranks bearing the XTR moniker, and the rear derailleur having Dura-Ace stamped on it. With the reduced gearing on a downhill bike, most riders prefer to run a road derailleur as they have shorter cages than their MTB counterparts, and with the rock attracting properties of derailleurs, anything to reduce the chance of a smashed mech can only be good. Shimano also supplied the brakes, XT four pot units at both wheels.

Tioga's Shawn Marui let it slip that Nico's bike was running a Tioga White Tiger 26X2.5 up front and a prototype Terrafirma 26X2.3 semi-slick on the rear, and as expected, Tioga were very happy with the tyres' performance under Nico. Tioga also supplied the seat, perching it atop an Easton CT2 Carbon Tech seat post, a component more often seen on road bikes. Easton also supplied the EA70 MonkeyBar risers.

As with most bikes on the Pro circuit, a lot of components are prototypes or specially manufactured one-offs, and with the limited drool time we managed with the bike, we didn't get much time to identify the rest of the components. We suspect Nico's mechanics would have had a heart attack if we had started dismantling the bike to get at the parts.

MTB Worlds Downhill report
MTB Worlds photos

Full specification

Frame: V-Process full suspension, Easton aluminium tubing, 190mm travel with BOS Engineering rear shock
Fork: BOS Engineering, 190mm travel
Colour: Gold

Cranks: Shimano XTR DH
Front derailleur: None
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace
Brakes: Shimano XT Disc
Shimano XT Disc

Rims: Mavic
Skewers: Bolt through
Tires: Tioga - White Tiger 26X2.5 front, Terrafirma 26X2.3 rear

Stem: None, bars attach directly to fork
Bar: Easton EA70 MonkeyBar

Pedals: Shimano PD-M646
Seat post: Easton CT2 Carbon Tech
Saddle: Tioga