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Bike checks: Five fast race winners and prototypes from Canadian downhill national champs

Sneaky unreleased rigs and modern classics

Fernie hosted 2023 Canadian downhill national championships on Sunday and while the racing was amazing, with many Canadian pros returning from Europe, it was also a chance to see some of their new race bikes for this season. There were custom bikes, recently released models and a few yet-to-be-public prototypes out there. Here are a five of the fastest.

Bailey Goldstone’s winning Santa Cruz V10

The V10 is an iconic downhill bike at this point, running through various versions for years now. Goldstone, and much of her Dunbar/Corsa Cycles team, are on the race-proven Santa Cruz. This one is built out with Fox 40 Factory forks and a coil shock with Race Face parts from bars to cranks and wheels. Shimano handles the shifting and stopping, though Goldstone didn’t seem to slow down much on her way to winning a second-straight elite women’s national title on Sunday.

Brock Hawes: Forbidden DH

Forbidden Bike Co. is based on Vancouver Island and sponsors the Island-based Gravity MTB team. Forbidden doesn’t officially have a DH bike, yet, but the Gravity MTB team and Forbidden Synthesis are no longer racing on an adapted Dreadnought enduro bike. Brock Hawes showed the new Forbidden DH rig has serious speed by setting the fastest time of the day, even beating all the elite racers, to win the junior men’s national title.

Bodhi Kuhn: Trek Factory Racing issue Session

Trek also moved the Session to a high-pivot design recently. Bodhi Kuhn is also showing it goes fast. He’s piloted his team-issue custom smoke paint scheme Session to a junior World Cup win and holds the overall lead. He didn’t win in Fernie on Sunday, but he’ll be looking to be back up to speed when he returns to Europe for world champs in August.

Seth Sherlock: Intense M279 HP6

Intense is deep into the development of the new M279 HP6 and Sherlock, with his Intense Factory Racing teammates, has been along for the whole ride. The alloy frame uses mixed 27.5″/29″ wheels and an interesting suspension layout with the shock tunneling through the seat tube area. An idler pulley above the chainring suggests Intense mastermind Jeff Steber is trying to accommodate a rear-ward axle path on the M279.

Jake Jewett: Pivot prototype DW6 DH rig

There is so much going on with Jake Jewett’s Pivot Factory Racing team-issue prototype that it’s hard to know where to start. The frame uses aluminum lugs and carbon tubes, giving it a very distinctive look among modern DH bikes. The suspension layout is very new, a new DW6 layout from suspension guru, Dave Weagle. The new design not only has a six-bar linkage (vs. the four-bar standard DW link), it also uses a unique two-chain system. Beyond the frame, Jewett’s running the team’s roster of Fox parts, Reynolds wheels, Shimano Saint drivetrain and Continental’s Kryptotal (rear) and Argotal (front) tires, which are rapidly gaining popularity.