Choice of champions
By Mikkeli Godfree
They have long been the First Couple of world downhill racing and this
past weekend Australian Sam Hill and Frenchwoman Sabrina Jonnier carved
a rare feat out of a New Zealand hillside, to take the men's and women's
elite world championships.
When they're not landing gold medals for their countries, Jonnier and
Hill ride for the Iron Horse/Mad Catz team, which puts them both aboard
this bike: Iron Horse's Sunday Factory DH. This particular one is Jonnier's.
It's a hot ride, as Hill and Jonnier have proved over and over again
this season. Jonnier's tally for 2006 includes world cup wins at Mont
St Anne and several world cup podium spots, while Hill has also been
a frequent visitor to the podium this season. But at the world's they
both put it all together to take the top step, and had special edition
bikes to get them there.
Someone at Iron Horse either had a crystal ball or a heck of a lot
of confidence, because the duo's world championship bikes were specially
decked out in gold - a tiny hint of what Iron Horse was expecting from
The special edition rigs arrived the week before world's but Jonnier
has been on the Sunday model since joining the team in January of this
year. Previously Jonnier was on an Intense M-3 but says she prefers
her current Iron Horse Sunday because it is lighter and as a result
"turns really well and jumps better."
Her favourite component is the Rockshox Boxxers forks. "They are my
favourite because I've wanted to be on them for so long. Now I've got
them and I love them!"
As you might expect much of the rest of Jonnier's running gear comes
from the SRAM empire of which RockShox is a core component. The shifter
and rear derailleur are SRAM's top flight XO parts, which might seem
a little odd on a downhill bike (weight's not usually a priority) will
you remember that Jonnier likes her bikes light and chuck-aboutable.
An e.thirteen chain retainer keeps the chain on FSA Afterburner cranks.
Braking is as vital to downhillers as pedaling and Avid - another SRAM
brand - provides the stopping poser as well as more bling in the form
of Ultimate Black Box levers and Code calipers.
Jonnier's Sunday rolls on DT Swiss wheels: Freeride 440 hubs with ET
5.10 rims, shod with Maxxis Super Tacky Wet Scream tyres for grip in
the damp New Zealand conditions.
Up front we find Funn Full On bars and stem and Jonnier perches on
a Selle Italia Flight SLR atop an FSA K force seat post.
Among the remaining components are Crank Bros Mallet pedals (a
Cyclingnews favourite) and some very pretty valve caps.
Jonnier told us, "My friend got them for me on Ebay. He stayed with
us in Perth and he got them for me as a thank you. It was so nice because
I was looking for some for so long."
But valve caps don't win world championships. "What makes this bike
go is J-C, my mechanic," said Jonnier. "He is the best mechanic in the
world. He is awesome. He should get the gold medals!"
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Frame: Iron Horse Sunday
Fork: RockShox Boxxer World Cup
Rear shock Fox DHX 5.0 w pink valve cap and titanium spring
Size: Med - 17
Rider's height: 170 cm
Rider's Weight: 72kg
Cranks: FSA Afterburner
Chain: SRAM PC991 Hollowpin
Front derailleur: E13 Chain device
Rear derailleur: SRAM XO
Rear sprockets: SRAM 990 11-21
Pedals: Crank Brothers Mallet
Brakes: Avid Ultimate Levers, Code Calipers - Black Box
Levers: SRAM XO
Hubs: DT Swiss Freeride 440
Rims: DT Swiss ET 5.10
Spokes: DT Swiss
Tyres: Maxxis Super Tacky Wet Scream
Bar: Funn Full On
Stem: Funn Full On
Headset: FSA (Internal)
Seat post: FSA K force
Saddle: Selle Italia Flight SLR