If we ever need inspiration to get out riding, whatever the weather, Joe Barnes and The Dudes of Hazzard’s videos are just the pill.
Having emerged from the Highlands of Scotland, Joe is now one of Canyon’s top sponsored riders, and so at the launch of the Spectral trail bike, back in December, I spent ten minutes getting nosey with his bike and getting the low down on how he has his new race bike set up.
Joe was involved in the development of the Spectral from early on, but got his hands on the production frame the day after the final EWS race of 2017 in Finale Ligure. Read our First Ride review of the Spectral, to see what we thought of the bike.
The Spectral is a 140mm trail bike, but built to be able to withstand the rigours of racing. While Joe will race the longer travel Torque from time to time, it’s on the Spectral that he'll spend most of 2018.
The 140mm travel frame has boost spacing, a neat cable run under the down tube, with the full-length of the down tube and cables protected neatly by a plastic sheath.
Integrated storage is designed to sit seamlessly in the triangle, and the dual bottle system will also be used by Joe so that he doesn’t have to ride with a pack. A quick-link for the chain is taped to his brake hose.
Joe’s sponsor RockShox provides a Super Deluxe RC3 shock and a 150mm Pike RCT3 fork.
Given the frame is brand new, Joe has been playing with the shock’s damping tune, and has landed, at the moment, on both a light compression and rebound tune, thanks to the frame’s relatively progressive kinematic.
With that light rebound tune Joe is running three clicks of rebound damping. On the compression side of things, he leaves it as is, without running a lockout — this makes things as simple as possible, and he’s yet to need a lockout on the shock.
The fork is the latest Boost width model. Joe likes the extra stiffness, but mostly appreciates the extra mud clearance, allowing him to run chunky-width mud spikes with no issues.
At 69kg he runs 74psi with two volume spacers adding a touch, but not masses, of progressivity into the air spring. On the compression side of things he adds four clicks of low-speed damping.
Longtime sponsor Mucky Nutz provides a fender.
No surprises here, Joe runs SRAM’s X01 Eagle groupset. Usually a 34t ring is used for riding at home — the 36t that sometimes finds its way on for races would just contribute to getting knackered for everyday riding! Joe says that “for the size of the cassette, the mech is really well tucked away — no issues when in the ruts.”
Joe has been running single ring drivetrains for years, even when cassettes maxed out at 11-32t, appreciating the simplicity they offer.
For security he runs a chainguide, a common sight in the EWS — “weight is negligible, safety key” says Joe.
Crankbrothers’ Mallet E pedals are the ‘enduro specific’ version of the Mallet that’s seen all over the DH scene. With Mavic’s Deemax shoes having a relatively deep tread, and Joe liking the feel of the Crankbrothers mechanism’s float, he runs the pins pretty slammed to interfere less with the feel.
The standard 15-degree cleats are fine for Joe. He likes the feel of the pedals, because when he gets all out of shape on the bike he doesn’t find himself accidentally unclipping form the pedal.
The wheels and tyres
Mavic’s Deemax wheels find their way on to Joe’s bike. While carbon options are available, Joe prefers alloy wheels as they’re a bit softer, more forgiving.
As a lighter rider, he wasn’t regularly damaging carbon wheels, but with the priority being to finish a race, Joe finds that the alloy rims are less likely to get damaged catastrophically, and can still hold air when damaged. To further exacerbate the feel of the alloy wheel, he runs the rear wheel’s spokes a touch looser to give a bit more flex.
Joe usually rides 2.4in Mavic Charge tyres front and rear. He runs them usually with 24psi in the rear and 20psi up front. He's also been testing some prototype tyres, hand-made by Mavic, which have a stiffer sidewall and softer carcass under the tread. This is to give a stable tyre that has improved damping through it — it’s something we may see come to production in the future.
Where Mavic don’t have an appropriate tyre, Joe is free to use other rubber, as in these pictures. For example, Mavic, as yet, doesn’t have a dedicated mud spike.
Joe uses SRAM Guide Ultimate brakes, with 180mm rotors front and back, and sintered pads.
His set up is all about getting the feel right. The 180mm rotors mean the brakes aren’t too grabby — ideal in the muddy conditions Joe loves riding. This is aided by running the bite point really close to the bar, and having them set up so that he can use the middle of his finger, as opposed to the end, boosting control.
Having the levers relatively flat also aids control of the brakes, and goes some way to reducing arm pump.
In really wet conditions Joe will use the gold-backed pads because they heat up quicker, but Joe’s not a fan of their feel.
The cockpit and finishing kit
Renthal’s FatBar Lite is cut down to 750mm. Currently it’s the 20mm rise version, but Joe runs his 35mm long stem upside down to give a 7mm drop. The top cap of the headset is milled down too — this means Joe has more room for adjustment in cockpit height, while he’s still getting used to the bike.
Joe rarely changes the cockpit setup for different races, but will occasionally raise it by 5mm for gnarlier events such as EWS Whistler.
A 150mm RockShox Reverb offers enough drop, and is pretty small in his size Large frame. Atop this is an Ergon SMD2 saddle, which is the DH model, but Joe likes the narrow width which doesn’t get in the way and the textured top.
Tell us what you think about his bike in the comments section below.