How a team on budget bikes beat most of the field at this year’s Cape Epic
- You don’t need full-suspension to race in extreme marathon biking, in turns out.
- On metal bikes priced at a quarter of what their rivals were riding, a local duo finished ahead of nearly 90% of the field at this year's Cape Epic.
- The South African value mountain bike brand was launched in January and named after Signal Hill in Cape Town.
The Grand Tour of mountain biking, the 16th Cape Epic, once again tested riders over 650 kilometres worth of Western Cape mountains.
But no matter how diligently they train and prepare, most Cape Epic participants are reliant on the performance advantage their choice of bike gives them, for the eight days of extreme marathon mountain biking.
Riding a contemporary dual-suspension stage racing bike with all the latest components doesn’t come cheap, and most of the Cape Epic’s participating teams are self-funded amateurs.
It’s not unusual to see most of the 700 teams which start an Epic, arrive with bikes that are R100,000 in value.
But what if you attempted the Cape Epic on an affordable bike?
South African duo Oli Munnik and Jarrod van den Heever did just that – and managed to finish 38th overall at this year’s Cape Epic, riding affordable aluminium framed hardtail bikes.
Both gifted riders (this was Munnik’s tenth Epic), they proved that cost certainly does not equate a favourable finishing position in the overall general classification.
The Signal bikes team raced on the newly launched local brand’s Elite 29er hardtail, which retails for slightly less than R20,000. Although the wheels and forks were marginally upgraded for their arduous Cape Epic journey, Signal’s inexpensive aluminium hardtail was proven to be equal to finishing at the sharp end of the field, competing very favourably at South Africa’s most renowned mountain bike race.
What the Signal team’s very competitive finish at this year’s Cape Epic proves, is that you don’t need to pay premium money, to have a competitive mountain bike for racing in South African conditions.
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