South Africa hosts the world’s most
challenging mass participation mountain bike stage race, the Cape Epic.
Year after year the fearsome Cape Epic route tests some of the world best mountain bikers, and dedicated amateurs, in the Western Cape’s mountains.
Quality equipment is a crucial enabler for those who wish to finish and there is perhaps no better outdoor laboratory for what works, and what doesn’t, than the Cape Epic.
Bike and gear choices which are most
popular at this event are not decided upon by popularity, slick marketing or
When you are paying R80 000 for an
entry, you need to ride a bike that works and is going to survive eight days of
torturous mountain bike stage
At this year’s event there was an uncharacteristically high completion rate, with 92% of the 1380 riders who started finishing the race.
That is better than the historical finishing average, which is 86%, possibly alluding to superior training and better equipment choices amongst the teams racing.
To finish first, you must first finish
But what were they riding? The Cape Epic organisers have now released data harvested from their 2019 event and the bike rankings make for interesting reading.
More than half of the riders who suffered
through the Epic’s 624km were on brand new bikes, bought for the event.
The most popular bike brand at this year’s
Cape Epic, was Specialized. Nearly a third of the field were on bikes built by
the Californian brand, which ironically markets a dual-suspension mountain bike,
specifically designed for stage racing, called the ‘Epic’.
Swiss brand, Scott, was the second most
popular bike brand with America’s Cannondale third on the list.
In terms of mountain bike configuration,
96% of riders were on dual-suspension bikes, a choice which reflects the requirement
to mitigate trail fatigue over the eight days of racing.
At an event where the slightest mechanical
issue can cost you a finish on any of the eight days, the bike brands which
proved most popular amongst Cape Epic competitors truly earn their approval and