In any design process you have to go through a phase of testing and evaluation. Getting the feedback from the rider and accessing the bikes performance to identify areas that need further development. We were well aware that the Hook would be used for a lot more than just a leisurely weekend ride through the woods, so we looked for an event that would push the bike to the limit.
The Transalp is a test of man and machine, spread over 7 days, with 600km and 19,000 vertical meters and 1,200 mountain bike riders it was the perfect proving ground. We had the bike but we needed a rider. Stefan ‘Fish’ Vis, had been giving input to Olaf and us in the development of the Hook, and as a rider always hungry for a new adventure and never one to shy away from challenging the conventions he was ‘the’ man for this challenge.
A study of the entry requirements revealed there was nothing preventing us from entering a CX bike into the race, and although breaths were held through registration, the organizers were in complete support of this unconventional entry.
It was soon very obvious; on asphalt sections and due to Fish’s fitness he was able to overtake a huge bunch of riders. Fish explains:
"On every up hill I would pass 80-100 riders, but then on the downhill sections around half of them would then pass me back...it became a running gag between us"
The weather conditions in the mountains are always unpredictable and with two solid days of rain it made the challenge almost impossible as Fish explains…
“The downhill sections were quiet horrible, and sometimes I really suffered. Imagine the combination of my seat super high like a road racer with the brake levers on the drop of the bar, as I had no additional levers on top. My nose almost felt like it was touching the ground… Downhill trails took more than an hour to finish. My first set of brake pads were already gone by the beginning of the second day!”
Fish and the Hook finished in 147th in the overall team rankings, an incredible achievement. The battle damage was only a pair of tires, some tubes and a set of break pads. Fish had confirmed beyond doubt that the Hook has capabilities beyond that a mortal man could reach.
If you want to find out more about the race check out bike-transalp.de