The Kross Racing Team is debatably one of the most successful mountain bike racing teams of the decade. They’ve conquered many UCI XC world cup courses, and between Maja Wloszczowska and former team member Jolande Neff, have a few world titles added to their team name. For the 2019 season, the team now consists of 4 very competitive riders. Namely, Sergio Mantecon, Ondrej Cink, Maja Wloszczowska and another with which we are all too familiar; Ariane Luthi.

Kross Racing Team’s focus has been set on the 2019 cross-country race season, Tokyo Olympics, and the 2019 Absa Cape Epic. We were fortunate enough to catch up a bit with the team at the 2019 Cape Epic. Having chatted to Jacques, the team’s assistant mechanic, we managed to pull some insight out from the full-on race bikes that the team is piloting. Jacques clearly remarked, that the team mechanic’s goal is to get these Kross racing machines, as light as possible, and as fast as possible. So, without any further delay lets take a closer.

The Bikes:

The riders are all riding Kross Earth Team Editions – a completely carbon fibre, full-suspension, XC race bike with 100mm of rear suspension travel. On the rear-wheel of the bike, Kross have used Boost axles and hubs, and upfront DT Swiss has made the same provision for the fork’s axle to be wider. This pretty much ensures that the riders always get the require amount of stiffness from the wheels.

Since one of the team’s main sponsors are DT Swiss, the bikes are currently all kitted out with DT Swiss shocks and wheel-sets. Upfront they have DT Swiss OPM O.D.L 100 Race fork with 100mm of travel, and on the rear shock, a DT Swiss R535 ONE.

Another main sponsor the Kross Racing Team, is Shimano. So, the team’s bikes are all kitted out with Shimano’s XTR drivetrain. In terms of gear range, the riders are using the 1×12 setup, however each rider’s chainring size upfront differs. Maja is using a 32t chainring while Ariane is smashing it out on a 34t. For the men, the chainrings can range anywhere between 34t and 38t.

Riding the Absa Cape Epic is certainly not for the faint of heart, and therefore, not for the faint of bikes either. That’s why when taking on this 8 day stage race, the Kross Team mechanics made some well needed modifications to the Earth Team Edition. The area with which they looked to improve (and I think any Cape Epic rider can agree with this) is the tyres. To minimize punctures, they ran tyre inserts, with up 120ml of sealant, as opposed to the normal 60-80ml. This has reportedly saved the day for both the guys and the girls, as with the inserts the riders were able to push to get to a repair zone for a much longer distance.

Is the Kross Earth TE capable of handling the harsh Cape Epic conditions?

Team assistant mechanic – Jacques – laid it out short and sweat for us:

“Yes! The guys in Europe love this bike for cross country marathons, and for the Cape Epic, this bike was ideal!”

Verdict:

The feedback we’ve got from Ariane, Maja, and Sergio; was that that their Kross Earth TE mountain bikes are known to be no-hasslers! They can ride and race them with no worries about its capability. They’re confident in the bikes, and from their experience at the 2019 Absa Cape Epic, they’re even more convinced!

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