It’s time for a World Cup Downhill bike check! This is Danny Hart’s prototype Two15 HP downhill bike snapped at the recent UCI Downhill World Cup which took place at the iconic Fort William venue in the highlands of Scotland; our regular freelance photographer James Vincent was there for the weekend and managed to capture the Two15 HP in the pits. This is the second year that Danny is onboard Cube and this season he’s moved over from the Two15 production downhill bike to a brand new Two15 HP prototype bike for 2022. Why HP? Well HP signals that this new bike features a high pivot suspension configuration.
Regarded as the Formula One of mountain biking, the Downhill World Cup circuit sees the most significant prototyping of bikes and equipment within any discipline of cycling, with technical trends sweeping the pits faster than the latest viral pandemic. Previously we’ve had everyone racing to develop 29” wheel-sized downhill bikes, then came the mullet (more on that later) and now the latest obsession in the race paddock is the high pivot.
Danny’s Two15 HP prototype sported a fresh paintjob for the Fort William Downhill World Cup.
So what is a high pivot and what are the performance benefits? Last year saw an explosion of high pivot downhill bikes from many of the leading brands; a high-pivot suspension configuration moves the bike’s main pivot high above the chainring and the rear wheel axle to encourage an enhanced rearward axle path through the travel off the rear suspension. In the past one of the potential drawbacks of this sort of setup is that chain growth and pedal kickback can be an issue – basically as the rear axle travels trough its suspension the chain tightens and pulls back on the cranks. To solve this we have seen brands fit an ‘idler’ which is basically an extra jockey wheel placed above the chainring, eliminating those issues. The benefits of a high pivot are a more plush feel as your wheel moves rearwards and upwards away from obstacles rather than just upwards.
Danny fine-tuning his ride before the final on Sunday (spot the suspension telemetry recording data on his Fox Fork).
It’s no surprise to see Cube joining the high-pivot party and we saw Danny testing the bike earlier in the year before the season had started; he then showed up at round 1 of the World Cup in Lourdes, France on a raw-alloy version with an air shock before rocking up at Fort William on this painted version featuring a coil shock so it’s looking like we’re getting closer to a production model. As I mentioned earlier, Danny’s Two15 HP is a ‘mullet’ bike (business up front, party at the back) consisting of a 27.5” diameter rear wheel and a 29” diameter front wheel which gives him all the advantages of a faster-rolling front wheel with a more agile rear wheel that he can throw around tight turns a little easier. Being fairly short in stature too, Danny likes the smaller rear wheel when he’s throwing his weight over the back of the bike on steep drops because there’s less risk of him getting buzzed by the rear tyre.
Cube has been prototyping a high pivot version of their Two15 downhill bike during the early race season.
Danny had raced his raw alloy version of the Cube Two15 HP at UK National Downhill Series at Fort William a couple of weeks before the World Cup where he took the win so hopes were high for him going into the weekend of top-flight international racing. He qualified for the final with no dramas and was able to put in a solid run in the final to take an excellent 8th place at his biggest home race of the year. It’ll be interesting to see if this particular prototype becomes the final production version or whether we’ll see further developments before the end of the season. Watch this space!
It’s still in prototype but this bike’s working title is Two15 HP (HP indicating a high pivot).
Danny’s race mechanic tunes the Fox 40 Factory fork following rider feedback and telemetry data.
Danny ran an air shock at round 1 of the World Cup but chose a coil shock for the demanding Fort William course.
Spot the difference? The 2022 Two15 HP prototype features a high-pivot and idler creating a more rearward axle path for super-plush suspension.
The Two15 Prototype’s idler helps reduce chain growth and pedal kickback as the bike moves through its suspension travel.
Tried and tested; Danny sticks with a 7-speed SRAM XO rear derailleur.
A simple, no-nonsense 7-speed SRAM XO trigger shifter helps Danny easily find the right gear in any racing scenario.
Magura Raceline MT7 brakes are powerful and ready to scrub off speed in an instant.
Four pot brake calipers are the norm within World Cup downhill racing; Danny has paired his with 203mm rotors.
The Magura’s iconic fluro yellow stands out, so there’s no mistaking what brand of brake Danny’s running.
Raceline MT7’s are recognised for their superior stopping power.
The Magura Raceline MT 7 calipers look great as well as preforming flawlessly.
Danny runs a durable pair of Newman wheels in ‘mullet’ configuration – 29″ wheel up front and 27.5″ on the rear.
Newman Fade hubs are smooth and fast-rolling.
A typical sight at the World Cup pits, ‘First Ride’ denotes Schwalbe’s prototype and development program.
Schwalbe Magic Mary Super DH tyres feature plenty of sidewall protection.
Tyre choice is tricky at Fort William, with the top of the course being open, fast & rocky and the lower course being wooded & muddy.
Danny runs Cushcore inserts and Schwalbe Doc Blue sealant in his tyres.
The Cube Two15 HP features a pair of 770mm wide Race Face Atlas handlebars.
Danny says his Crud XL Fender is so good he almost doesn’t need to wear goggles.
Danny airs into the Fort William finishing arena to take an excellent 8th place.
The Cube Two15 HP prototype is shaping up to be a rapid Downhill World Cup machine.
Cube Two15 HP Prototype
- Frame: Cube Two15 HP Mullet
- Shock: Fox DHX2 200mm travel
- Fork: Fox 40 Factory 200mm
- Cassette: SRAM XO 7 Speed
- Derailleur: SRAM XO 7 Speed
- Shifter: SRAM XO 7 Speed
- Cranks: Race Face Atlas Direct Mount 165mm
- Chainring Race Face Direct mount 34T
- Chain Device: MRP SXG
- Brakes: Magura Raceline MT 7
- Rotors: Magura 203mm front & rear
- Wheels: Newman 29″ front 27.5″ Rear
- Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary First Ride (Prototype) 27.5″ rear, 29″ front
- Inserts: Cushcore
- Tubeless Sealant: Schwalbe Doc Blue
- Stem: Race Face Atlas 50mm Long, 35mm Clamp
- Handlebar: Race Face Atlas, 20mm Rise, 770mm Wide, 8° Back Sweep, 5° Up Sweep, 35mm Clamp
- Grips: Burgtec Minnaar Super soft
- Saddle: SDG i-Beam
- Pedals: Crank Bros Mallet DH 11
- Fender: Crud XL Fender
Written by Johnny Dodgin
Photos by James Vincent
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