Several weeks ago Sofiane Sehili, the newly-crowned champion of Tour Divide, posted detailed pictures of his race-winning set up on Instagram.
Carefully examining every detail we were surprised to discover that, amongst other meticulously thought out choices, his Vitus Rapide CRX mountain bike featured an after-market upgrade: the Columbus Futura Adventure fork! Intrigued and flattered we got in touch with Sofiane to learn more about this choice and the many others that render both his setup and approach so unique and interesting.
Columbus: Ciao Sofiane!
Sofiane: Ciao Lodovico!
Columbus: Thanks very much for taking the time to talk with us.
Sofiane: No problem…
Columbus: So as I already mentioned on whatsapp we were studying the images of your Tour Divide winning setup here in the office when all of a sudden we noticed you were using a Columbus fork!
Sofiane: yes (laughs)
Columbus: Actually there are so many interesting details on your setup… maybe the most interesting and unusual is your cockpit setup. Do you think you could talk us through it?
Sofiane: So basically as a rider I’m more comfortable with a flat bar when things get technical, so that’s why I have a flat bar. The triathlon bars I use for several interconnected reasons. The first one is obviously aerodynamics. Tour Divide has a lot of flat and windy sections where an aero position is advantageous. But the main reason is hand position. As everybody knows on the bike you have three pressure points: butt, feet, hands. I find that hands are the most fragile and prone to nerve damage. With the triathlon bar I relieve pressure from my hands for a period whilst my forearms take the load. Not only that but the different position on the bike provided by the triathlon extensions also puts your butt in a different position on the saddle. So the setup allows me to relieve two pressure points. Important on a very long race.
Columbus: We also noticed you used a Red Shift Shockstop Stem which has about 20mm of travel…
Sofiane: For sure a suspension stem is not as comfy as a suspension fork but it’s not much heavier than a traditional stem at it offers a bit of vibration dampening. Actually I use this stem on both my bikes (gravel and MTB – ED) and I have to admit it works better with the gravel bike as the drop bars offer more leverage and thus you maximize the benefit.
Columbus: And this brings us to your choice of fork! First of all, why no suspension fork?
Sofiane: The basic idea behind my build is: minimal risk of failure. I wanted to eliminate any possibility of something going wrong. Suspension forks have a very small chance of failure. But it will happen. It happened to a friend of mine at the Italy Divide and the winner of the Silk Road race in 2019. The Tour Divide is more than 4000km… suspension forks are made for mountain bike riding and require regular checks, bleeding and so on.
Columbus: So you wanted a rigid mountain bike fork. Why did you choose the Columbus Futura Adventure?
Sofiane: So like I said before I wanted security and everything to be top notch so I really had to go with a big name brand that gave me the guarantee of safety. For the requirements I had limited my choices to three brands and products that offered me confidence: Columbus, Niner and Enve. In the end I chose the Columbus Futura Adventure because I liked the design and the fact that you could switch out the dropouts for two different rakes (40-50mm – ED) and because I’ve always been a big fan of the brand, stemming probably from the six years I spent riding as a messenger in Paris where I rode mostly rode steel bike with Columbus tubing before eventually moving to Titanium then carbon for competition.
Columbus: Ok, thank you! Now for a classic question… how much did your whole setup weigh?
Sofiane: I don’t know actually know (laughs). I don’t know because my philosophy is not to weigh the bike because it’s been built so that there is nothing I can take off it!
Columbus: Good philosophy! Well, thank you so much Sofiane for taking the time to talk to us, congratulations on your recent and victory and good luck at the Silk Road Race and Rhino Run over the next few months!
FULL TECH SPEC:
Bike: @vitusbikes Rapide CRX with Columbus Futura adventure fork
Wheels: @hunt.beyond trail wide boost carbon dynamo wheels with SON hub
Tyres: @reneherse 29×2.25 Fleecer ridge
Groupset: @shimanomtb XT M8000 11sp groupset (34 front 11-42 back) with XT rotors (180/160) and XT pedals
Cockpit: @redshiftsports ShockStop pro stem, @ritcheylogic WCS carbon bars, @ergonbike g3s grips, @profile_design t3+ aerobars
Saddle:@pro_bikegear stealth off road saddle,
Seatpost: Niner RDO carbon
Lights: @supernova__design E3 triple 2 front light +E3 tail light
GPS: @hammerheadrides Karoo 2