After a premature frame failure last Easter I was forced to decide on how I was going to fund and build my next race bike. Being a XCO MTB racer, I decided weight was a priority so I chose the 2016 Focus Raven Max 29. It was difficult for me to go all out and buy a brand new fully built bike so I decided to build up a bike of a top level spec with new and existing parts.
The Focus Raven Max Frame is one of the lightest in the class weighing a smidgen under 900g. I matched this up with the brand new Fox Step Cast SC32 fork with remote. From here I added new and not so new parts such as a full XTR 9000 spec one by 11 driveline and XTR 9000 brakes with 160mm Discs. I also went with an Oval 32 tooth Narrow Wide chain ring. One of my favourite new additions was Easton’s EC90SL handle bar. This is ridiculously light at 124g although has a little bit of Flex. The stem was a 100mm EA90 and the seat post was Focus Concept CPX plus with a Fizik Tundra seat. In regards to the wheels I have stuck with my Roval Control SL carbon with Maxxis Tyres. These are really bullet proof wheels thus why I like them.
The build went well with only a few unexpected short comings. I had not allowed for the 46mm Bottom Bracket which caused me to purchase one which was over my budgeted weight limit and the Roval Control Wheels don’t really match the new Fox SC32 fork with the front wheel hub rubbing on the Fork leg. I managed a work around with this little issue. My planned build weight was hoping for 8.2kg but I managed just under 8.5kg with Pedals.
The ride is sweet. I have not been able to venture out to any races yet but with a couple of social runs the bike appears to handle absolutely awesome. It climbs super quick and hooks up well in loose corners. I am really looking forward to the new race season to put this beast to the test.
A big question I ask now though is would I do this again. It was a fun project but any new build requires patients and a sharp eye on costs. This means waiting for parts as well as it may not be as cheap as it seems. I did get a one off custom super light race bike though so for me I think I would. A huge thankyou goes to Nelson and Pushys for their help in getting this bike together.
– Mark Brockwell – Masters MTBer