XC Test: 100mm Vs. 120mm Bike | Which Is Faster?

On typical South African XC and marathon terrain, like in Jonkershoek Stellenbosch where the Cape Epic and Origin of Trails events pass-through is a 100mm or a 120mm bike faster?

With various Strava segments setup around a 2.82km lap to time the climb, descent, traverse and full laps we set out to answer that question. Now, we never used a power meter for the comparison but went old school – heart rate zone 5 with ‘blood in the back of the throat’ and one rider going absolutely as fast as possible for two laps on each bike.

Yes there are many variables to these kinds of tests and we want to reiterate here that these are real world conditions and not a science lab. Although the section of singletrack on the test loop may look very technical, it is an actual piece that the Cape Epic uses and is as such a real race course.

The test track is 2.82km long and two flying laps were done on each bike. Per lap the climbing portion is 1.11km, the flat section is 750m and the descent is 900m of 100% singletrack. The total elevation gain per lap is 115m. The average heart rate on both bikes is within 2%. If any brands want to come forward and offer us a power meter for future testing please feel free to reach out to us. Enjoy!

| Thank you to MTO Trails and Titan Racing Bikes for assistance. |


6 Comments

  1. Great test Myles. Actually different outcome from what I expected. Thanks

    • Hey Phil, us too! There are many variables at play here and we tried to control as many of them as possible. But the results were real interesting. Cheers!

  2. Very cool comparison. Thanks Myles

    • Thank you Sean.

  3. What love to see this test with a power meter

    • Hey Robin, – Yes indeed. We went ‘real world’ scenario and a little old school for this test and are hoping to include power data in future tests. In a couple days we have some power data from a racer who did a similar test in marathon races. Stay tuned. Cheers


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