Australian Mountain Bike magazine - DEUBEL TROUBLE - Issue #140, March 2014
Story and Photography by Richie Tyler, AMB Magazine
Fast up the trail, fast down the trail, and generally a fast talker, Richi ‘Danger’ Napper has his Deubel set up as a true all-mountain ride.
If you grew up in Canberra, studied in Sydney and have spent any time in the greater Sydney region on a mountain bike or road bike, the chances are you have run into Richie Napper ‘Danger’ is just his middle name. Easily two meters tall and as boisterous as an oversize Jack Russell, Napper will stand out as the life of a party, or the guy doing a manual in jeans on his road bike. As part of the Deubel race team Richie uses his talented bike handling, fitness and infectious enthusiasm for riding to use the one bike for all his mountain biking needs.
1. FRAME The Deubel 2UP has been tailor-made for gravity endure and all-mountain riding. The 2UP is the brainchild of French ex-pat Sebastien Deubel. Drawing on his experience as a Megavalanche winner and mechanical engineer, Deubel has designed the bike to meet his own high expectations of what a gravity/all-mountain bike should be. The bike we worked with during our shoot was a prototype for 2014 and will be ridden by the Deubel Racing Team’s riders throughout the upcoming Australian racing sessions.
Handmade in Australia from Easton EA6X aluminium tubes, Deubel has employed a number of clever design features to make the 2UP’s frame the basis for a truly versatile, cross discipline machine. Most striking is the frame’s unique swingarm system that sandwiches the seat and chainstays together to resist lateral forces during pedalling and cornering, Deubel says the design provides up to 36 percent greater pedalling efficiency than other swingarm configurations.
The 2UP has also been cleverly designed to provide easy-to-tune geometry through an interchangeable shock mount and dropouts. The system allows for adjustments to head angle, bottom bracket height, chainstay length and rear hub positioning, giving the bike an incredible range of flexibility depending on the event.
2. BARS AND STEM This is left up to personal preference. Napper favours a short 50mm stem paired with wide 780mm ‘bars, which apart from suiting his riding style area, as he puts it, “badass”.
3. SUSPENSION The 2UP has 6” of rear travel, which when in use is absorbed by a Fox RP23 shock. The team’s shocks are tuned by Fox Racing engineers and Deubel says the RP23’s low suspension leverage make the damping and other adjustments made for each member of the team result in better grip. Up front, Fox’s Float 160mm has been chosen by the team due to its simple adjustment and excellent lateral stiffness. Its blue finish certainly matches up with the team’s livery, but for the riders it’s the buttery front suspension beneath the paint that keeps them really happy.
4. BRAKE The 2UP prototype we shot runs Shimano’s 6” Saint hydraulic brakes, however production models feature either SRAM Elixir CR X9s or Shimano XT M875. The frame’s interchangeable dropouts means riders can choose rotor diameters to suit their personal preferences. Ask Napper, however, and he’ll probably ask you what you need brakes for.
5. SHIFTER A solitary 38-tooth ring from Wolf Components was all we could see mounted up front on well-worn, but ever-reliable XTR cranks. The 2UP can run up to the full compliment of three front chainrings, but as with any serious racing bike, if it isn’t going to be used, you may as well not lug it through the course with you. In the absence of a front derailleur, the frame’s ISCG05 mounts mean a chainguide can be fitted for rougher courses. A Shimano XTR shadow rear derailleur guides a matching Shimano chain throughout the bike’s 10-speed drivetrain.
6. WHEELS 26” all the way. Dispensing with the debate that has raged over mountain bike wheel sizes in recent years, Deubel instead applied this expertise to analyse the best match for the 2UP. His conclusion was that 26” wheels are better for the gravity enduro and all-mountain style to which the 2UP has been designed. Quite literally continuing the French connection are Michelin tyres. The team’s tyre sponsor supplies a range of models, giving team members the opportunity to match treads and pressures to specific track conditions.
7. PEDALS Yet another point of personal preference. Given the team’s versatile race schedule – matched by the 2UP itself – team members will usually have a pedal wrench on hand to swap flat pedals out for clipless pedals on those Enduro days.