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Pro bikes, September 9, 2007

Sabrina Jonnier's Team Iron Horse/Monster Energy Iron Horse Sunday World Cup

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Photo ©: Wendy Booher/Cyclingnews.com

Under the influence

By Wendy Booher

Jonnier's Iron Horse Sunday World Cup
Photo ©: Wendy Booher
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Metal to the pedal
Photo ©: Wendy Booher
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WTB provides Jonnier
Photo ©: Wendy Booher
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There's no question
Photo ©: Wendy Booher
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Rock Shox's new Vivid 5.1 rear shock
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A small piece of foam
Photo ©: Wendy Booher
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Jonnier runs DT Swiss 440 FR hubs
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The Rock Shox Boxxer
Photo ©: Wendy Booher
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Starting Thursday, September 6, defending world downhill champion Sabrina Jonnier will need to figure out the fastest way from the top to the bottom of the championship course at Fort William, Scotland. Jonnier will need to outwit, outhandle, and outsprint the competition, which will Tracy Moseley and Rachel Atherton, both of whom will be racing in their home country on a course upon which Jonnier has never won.

To win the world title is one thing, but to defend is quite another - this is something Jonnier knows for a fact. Her training program has been crafted around the world championships and when the moment arrives for her to lower her helmet and take her position at the starting gate, she will throw her leg over her Iron Horse Sunday World Cup and take command of her hardest race of the season.

Straight from the (Iron) Horse's mouth

Jonnier's chief considerations for her bike are weight and the way it rides. For the 2007 season, her Sunday dropped nearly a full pound thanks to an all-new, triple-butted O.P.T. (Optimized Profile Tubing) 6069 tubeset and lighter forged uprights. Otherwise, Iron Horse has already made sure that the production Sunday is race-ready, so there's little for Jonnier to be picky about.

"So many factors were in play when developing the Sunday, mainly lots of little details based on pro rider feedback and personal experience," said Todd Seplavy, Iron Horse's marketing director. "The model was designed from the start to be a World Cup level race bike that consumers could also purchase."

Keeping the world in suspense

The Sunday's development was a close collaboration between the then-Mad Catz/Iron Horse team, suspension designer Dave Weagle, and Seplavy. Weagle's contribution was the now-legendary dw-link suspension system, which has seen global success and has since been patented and installed on bikes by several manufacturers like Ibis and Independent Fabrication (although IF's stunning Tungsten Electrode has yet to see production).

According to Weagle, the dw-link's anti-squat geometry is directly integrated into the biomechanically tuned linkage design. As such, the system doesn't require a stable platform shock (or other such lockout-type crutches) yet delivers a crisp and efficient ride under power with excellent bump compliance and negligible pedal feedback.

With such devotion specifically to downhill racing, Weagle and Seplavy constantly explore ways to improve their bikes' performance. What this means to Jonnier is that they have sweated all the details for her.

"There is not much difference from last year's bike, just a larger handlebar and a few other small things," she said. Based on this seemingly casual commentary, Jonnier is either very accepting of Iron Horse's technology or her Sunday has been designed specifically with her in mind. Considering the world title - not to mention the French national and European titles she picked up earlier this year - the latter is the likely choice.

Members only?

However, the Sunday serves dual purposes: it not only has to help both Jonnier and her teammate, Sam Hill, defend their world downhill titles, but also to suit the needs of discerning amateur downhill enthusiasts. As such, Team frames are usually plucked right out of the production runs.

Inline with the off-the-shelf readiness of the Sunday frame, Jonnier's components match most of what's featured on stock machines. For the French National Championships Jonnier opted for beefy DT Swiss 440 hubs and Maxxis High Roller rubber, which supposedly offered a sharper edge to hold corners on the slippery course at Montgenevre. Up front, Jonnier runs the venerable Rock Shox BoXXer World Cup fork - RockShox's only platform for downhill riding - which charts its genesis to SRAM's exclusive BlackBox development program.

Countdown to Worlds

With less than a week to go until the world title gets decided on Sunday, September 9, preparations are well underway for the showdown. Team manager Sean Heimdal and mechanic Jacy Shumilack have spent the last couple of weeks getting all of Jonnier's bike needs dialed in for the world championship as well as the World Cup finals, which take place just one week afterwards.

Fresh frames, dialed-in wheels, and perfect tire selection for the Fort William course will certainly boost Jonnier's pursuit of a consecutive world title. She's been doing her part, too, by training and working with the French Cycling Federation, which no doubt desires another victory from its star gravity racer. Naturally, team sponsor Iron Horse wants the victory as well, and so far at least, the Sunday World Cup has proven to be the horse to bet on.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Wendy Booher/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Iron Horse Sunday World Cup, size 17"
Rear shock: Rock Shox Vivid 5.1
Fork: RockShox Boxxer World Cup w/ flat crown, 203mm travel

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.72m (5'8"); Weight: 72kg (159lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 353mm (13.9")
Top tube length: 597 (23.5")

Bottom bracket: FSA Platinum DH
Cranks:
FSA Gravity Light, 38T
Chain: SRAM PC-991 w/ power link
Rear derailleur: SRAM X.0 short cage
Chain retention device: e.13 Light Guide 1
Shift levers: SRAM X.0 trigger
Front brake: Avid Code, 203mm CS2 rotor
Rear brake: Avid Code, 203mm CS2 rotor
Brake levers: Avid Code
Rear sprocket: SRAM PG-970, 9spd, 11-25T

 

Rims: DT Swiss EX 5.1D
Hubs: DT Swiss 440 Freeride
Spokes: DT Swiss
Tyres: Maxxis High Roller, 26x2.3", 3C compound

Bars: Funn Fatboy
Stem: Funn RSX
Headset: FSA Orbit IS w/ e.13 reducer cup
Tape/grip: Funn

Pedals: Crank Brothers Mallet M
Seat post: FSA Gravity
Saddle: WTB DEVO

Total bike weight: 18.4kg (40.6lb)