Photos: Michael Sawa
Whistler local Claire Buchar lives and breathes mountain biking. Ex-downhill racer – including a bronze medal at the World Champs in Champery in 2011, a fifth at the South African World Cup in 2009 and multiple Canadian National Champs titles – Claire is now a coach, brand ambassador, and a graphic designer at Chromag Bikes. And of course she is INTENSE to the core.
From overnighters into the back country, to laps, laps, laps in the bike park… Claire does it all. And as the last of this year’s winter snow finally melted, Claire took the opportunity to build up her new M29 downhill rig, ready for the season ahead. overnighters
How would you describe this bike?
My M29 is my number one for bike park party laps, any big features or freeride lines.
It’s a serious race machine, but is it just ‘party laps’ for you now, or will you be going against the clock?
I’ll be taking it with me to the National Champs and Canada Cups this summer, but I’ll be mostly using it as a tool to coach on course and maybe a few sneaky laps in the host resorts ;).
Where will you ride this bike?
Weekly in my hometown of Whistler Bike Park.
How would you describe your riding style on it?
I’ve always been pretty calculated and precise with my riding, whether it’s through rough technical sections, through corners or in the air. This bike is easy to finesse and feels super stable in all those scenarios. It makes it feel addictive to ride.
Do you ride the M29 with a different mentality compared to your other bikes?
I’m really able to let it go on this bike and ride bigger terrain faster. It’s definitely more about speed!
How do you run the suspension? Do you mix it up depending on where you are riding it, or keep it pretty set for the season?
I actually set it up on the stiffer side and based around settings I have recorded from the previous year and any Fox Factory recommendations for the current year suspension designs. Then I fine tune on the hill a bit. And then I leave it at that, only adjusting the height of my crown/stantions depending on how steep a course or trail is.
Do you have any stand-out favorite parts or features of the bike?
Everything has to work together and I am lucky to have established long time relationships with some key brands, so I’ve really gotten to know how all the parts feel and work. The performance of the frame and Fox suspension, the modulation and power of my Magura MT7’s, that familiar Chromag cockpit feel, the reliable and beautiful e13 cranks, guide and wheels and of course the grip and rip of my Maxxis tires! I also keep the bike silent with STFU Bike chain dampers so I can really hone into how the bike is reacting, gripping, breaking traction etc.
I’ve noted in the past that you LOVE your Maxxis Assegais!
I love an Assegai on the front of both my DH Bike and my Trail Bike. So much confidence with that aggressive tread and consistent traction across a wide range of terrain and weather conditions! On my M29 I run the DH Casing MaxxGrip version. I am going to try this same tire on the back but I will likely go to a Minion DHRII for better rolling resistance…DH Casing MaxxGripp, of course.
And always clipped-in on the DH bike?
I’ll run flats if I’m coaching a freeride camp and it’s based around jumping, style and tricks. But yes, I’m mainly clipped-in for that speed and precision.
Anything ‘weird’ that we need to know about this set-up?
Nothing weird with the set up… just me hooting and hollering in the woods!
Downhill bikes seem to be having a bit of a resurgence at the moment, there’s a newfound appreciation for them. What do you think?
Honestly, if you like to ride bike park or shuttle laps and you can have two bikes, get a DH bike because it doesn’t compare to even a long travel Enduro bike. There’s a reason the top World Cup DH riders run DH bikes.
|INTENSE M29, Size Large
|Fox Factory DHX 450lb spring
|Fox 40 Factory Grip2
|Chromag Cutlass 35mm ride, 760mm width
|Chromag Director 50mm length
|Chromag Basis lock-on
|Sram GX 7SP
|Sram GX DH 7SP
|Magura MT7’s, HC3 levers, 220mm MDR-P rotors
|e*thirteen Helix DH 165mm
|e*thirteen Helix DH
|Crankbrothers Mallet DH or Chromag Pressure
|e*thirteen LG1 DH
|Maxxis Assegai 2.5 3C DH MaxxGrip front/rear