Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Team FakawiBanshee Rider Rizal wins in KDD5
Kiara Downhill Domination Race #5 (KDD5).. It should have been called the Monsoon Cup!!!
The race started early for me.
At about 2am, I realised it was raining, I immediately woke up to change my rubber from the usual Minnions and into WetScreams... hahaha... boy... was that a smart move! Actually, I had already planned with Ian to go full on spiked rubber for the race. Conversation with a few guys confirmed our earlier discussion that majority of the boys will be runnning "normal" DH rubbers...
0830. CarPark/FinishLine. Ian and I went up till the halfway point to check out the trail after the downpour the previous night (Middlestone section) and to see if we made the right decision to go full spiked! Conclusion... damn right!!! We were both quietly pleased with the grip from the Maxxis WetScreams under the very difficult conditions. I knew the trail will get worse as the day went on.... and I was right.
Seeding run. 4'30". 1st position Master Category
Most of the guys are running "normal" DH rubber. It was just Ian and I. While pushing up towards start line, I decided to check out the new trail behind "Tokong" just to check out the conditions. Its a rough and fast section with a sudden left turn which by that time, was muddy! The Banshee Legend performed flawlessly in the rough stuff but my surprise came when I drifted into the corner (turning in early) and just when I thought I was going to lose it, the rubber gripped and I was able to exit with speed. Nice! I noticed that the bike just wanted to lean into corners and cornering even in these crazy conditions seems to be effortless (the S corner after Shaolin gap was eas!). It really does "rail" the corners and gives me confidence despite the terrible situation.
I was happy with the way the bike's setup and now for seeding!!! The race up till the new section at the end of Shaolin went as planned... No Issues. But entering the new race trail... Oh my god! It was a mud fest. All I could think about was trying to get as much speed out of corners as possible and to be as smooth as possible to save time. I was particularly worried about the "Parra Jump" where the run in as expected was super muddy. My plan, try to straight line the corners as much as possible and avoid the super muddy areas... Well, worked a charm... managed to "tame" all the obstacles and conditions and did not get stuck at all. SWEET! I realised I was on a sweet run. passed Udang at the end of Angel (Udang checking out how the other riders were going to take this bit not realising he had stopped where i wanted to go and was in a way blocking me). At this point I was thinking of MiddleStone...
After leaving Udang and going into Buniens, its was all "as planned" and the big test was coming up... Middlestone. I dropped in to Midlestone at a decent speed but as soon as I aligned myself to attack, I spotted Yamm on the ground about half way down. I could not stop and just hope he could get out of the way in time... he did! barely tho... had to brake and slow down quite significantly but because it's just seeding, I did not mind really.
The Legend handled the truly rough, roots and rutted middlestone very well in those conditions.. very stable. The slack HA made going over the roots easy while still staying planted to the ground! I thought to myself.... there goes 1st for seeding... Crossed the line in 1st position with a time of 4'30".
Final Run. 4'50". 1st position Master Category
Conditions did not get any better. In fact, it rained further. Questions going around was... how much has the course deteriorated after seeding (with 77 riders going down) and rain? Answer? it was BAD!!! Mud bath!!! hahaahha
I remember telling myself that the new section is going to be a pedal fest in the mud. I did not push too hard earlier on and mainly focused on not braking too much right up till after shaolin... just keep the speed up and don't muck up or worst... crash. Basically stay up and stay smooth.
Arriving into the new section before parra jump, my worst fears came true... it was crazy! you can pedal but because of the nil grip, you don't really move much... your energy used to pedal out of this section was crazy... by the end of this section and into the early part of Shriners, all I was thinking about was that we have passed the worst!!! Now it's all about pinning it to the end...
I had a pretty clean run all the way except at the end of Buniens... where usually its a no-brainer. However, this time silly old me decided to take it hot and slipped on a root and had to stop the bike from crashing into the tree next to the wooden jump! I was thinking and kicking my self for it!!! "There goes any chance of a win!" I thought.
Got through middlestone nice and quick (not as quick as I would have liked but quick enough!). Garden gap... cleared! and finally the DirtDrop...
I have been only been riding the Legend for a couple of days now... and so far the bike has performed well. did all the thing I wanted it to do and more. The 1st thing I noticed was the pedaling and the cornering ability. Pedaling... hardly any pedal bob... that is the 1st thing you realise... and in cornering, it seems that the bike just wants to lean... even in "parking lot" tests, this is quite noticeable. This has translated into confidence in taking corners faster and with more exit speed! I need a few more weeks to really get a good feel of the bike. In short. to date, the bike feels good out of the box.
-Rizal "RedRide" Hon
watch HD quality here:
Banshee Legend Mk1 Report Card
So far the hype around the design and suspension has been spot on. Well, as spot on as a pre-production bike can get I guess. Initial impression suggests the following:
1) good cornering ability;
2) solid pedaling platform; and
3) geometry (with the revised measurements and angles) is spot on for a full on DH racer.
In the initial parking lot test, you just feel that the bike is always ready to lean.. and when I say lean, I mean LEAN. It just drops low so easily and i don't mean it in a bad way. Far from it. I guess due to its low centre of gravity and suspension and geo, the bike just wants to rail corners. Something more interesting is how fast it goes back up as soon as you want to pedal out of a corner: it kinda sort of "pops" up right for the best pedaling platform/position and powers out. It's amazing!!! I have been taking the berms and corners in Kiara under different conditions and so far... when it comes to cornering... no complaints. I will have to ride more but this is my initial impression.
WOW. So far all the banshees I have had the opportunity to ride have impressed me with their pedaling efficiency. The Legend even managed to surpass my expectations. I can see that pedaling will not be a problem for the Legend. It will be limited by the rider's input! hahaha... A few people have tried the bike and the 1st impression is... "Wow... no bobbing!"I kid you not.
BB height is pretty low and coupled with my 165 mm crankset... I have not had any clearance problems (wrt hitting the ground when pedaling).
The move to a 64 degree head angle to the original design of 66 degrees was exactly what I had hoped for. At high speed, you can truly feel the difference in how the bike reacts after hitting big square bumps. its so stable and planted!!! Low BB and centre of gravity and couple with a very generous stand-over height have all contributed to making the bike feel good from the get go. I felt good almost immediately... Started riding on tuesday (9 Dec) raced on 14 Dec. Got 1st place in the worst track condition u can imagine... that says it all i guess!
The boys at Banshee HQ have out done themselves and the production bikes will be much more refined (cant think of how at the moment!). So far, everywhere we go, eyes are on the bike. Well I guess it has to be partly to the "promotion" it has been getting from me and Fakawi for the last few months but the looks IS deserved!!! Well done Banshee!