Farewell to Raphaël Gagné
Raphaël Gagné has been with Rocky Mountain Bicycles since 2006. Started as a young promising U-23 development racer, he has done just that—develop. He's had some amazing seasons, and finishes his tenure at Rocky Mountain with a banner year. Raphaël spent the early part of the 2015 season racing the US Cup series, where he faced tough competition from the likes of Manuel Fumic, Marco Fontana, Anton Cooper, Dan McConnell and Nino Schurter. Hard work and consistency paid off, seeing Raphel taking several wins and the overall US Cup title!
All of those hard efforts set a base for Raph to take his competition to the next level, the World Cup circuit. He had seen early results hovering around the mid 20's at Albstadt, and Nove Mesto. After taking the momentum from the US Cup series win, Raphaël took the gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto! The momentum kept rolling with the Canadian National champion title and a personal best 14th at the World Cup in Mont Saint Anne, Quebec. The next round, only a week later in Windham, NY, Raph placed an incredible 6th!
We saw Raphaël finish off the bulk of his racing season placing 18th at the World Championships in Andorra. This top placing for any rider in America caps off a banner year, and we'd like to congratulate Raphaël Gagné on a great 2015 season! With success like this, we will surely see Raphael sporting a team Canada jersey at next year's Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
"I would like to thank you for everything," said Raph, "from development to high international performance, its been awesome to race for Rocky Mountain."
We'd like to thank Raphaël Gagné for his many seasons of dedication to racing and to our brand. Wish wish you the best in 2016 and beyond!
Thank you to:
Shimano, Stan's No Tubes, Maxxis Tires, Fox Racing Shox, Race Face, Smith Optics, FTi Consulting, WTB, Honey Stinger, Kicking Horse Coffee, Biemme, FSA, and e.13.
Introducing the Maiden
After nearly four years of development, we’re proud to launch the Maiden. With the freedom to design on an extended schedule, it represents the cutting edge of our technology. Its all-carbon frame was designed from the ground up to perform at the highest levels of World Cup racing, bike park blasting, and big mountain freeriding.
- Travel: 200mm (F), 200mm (R)
- Full carbon frame, link, chainstay, and seatstay
- Optimized for 26” or 27.5” wheels with Equalized geometry
- Four bar Smoothlink suspension
- Pipelock collet axles lock into the frame for stiffness
- Oversized Enduro MAX type bearings for longer bearing life and higher load capacity
- Integrated frame protection: molded downtube guard, shock fender, chainstay protector, and bolt-in fork bumpers
- Di2 electronics compatible with internal stealth battery port
- Internal cable and brake routing
- PressFit BB107 bottom bracket, drop-in IS42|52 headset, 157mm axle spacing, ISCG-05 tabs
- Sizing: S/M/L/XL
We tested a wide range of suspension systems during the Maiden’s development. Many four-bar downhill bikes have very low rising rates (<20% slope). They have good support at sag, but require harsh-feeling higher spring rates or progressive air shocks to avoid bottoming under advanced riders. On the other end of the spectrum, some virtual pivot bikes have very high rising rates (>70% slope). They have great small-bump sensitivity and don’t bottom out easily, but they wallow and lack support at sag.
The Maiden’s rate curve sits between those two extremes with a 40% slope. It starts low enough for small-bump suppleness, ends high enough to avoid bottoming, has good rider support at sag, and allows the use of a lighter coil spring. We also tuned the progression to rise at a near-constant rate for more predictable response and more effective shock adjustments. The result is lively, supple suspension performance. It eats up chatter, pops off lips predictably, and reacts well when pushed aggressively.
Pedaling & Chainstay Growth
The Maiden puts power to the ground efficiently, thanks to a high level of anti-squat (75% with 27.5 wheels at sag) and well-supported suspension.
Chainstay growth is minimal (26mm with 27.5” wheels or 21mm with 26” wheels), and we pushed that growth deeper into the travel to further improve small bump performance while achieving the axle trajectory we were looking for.
Our engineering team spent a lot of time improving traction and control under braking, because more efficient braking makes you faster. Our patent- pending Autonomous braking resists both compression and extension under braking—remaining active through the majority of rear wheel travel and allowing the bike to react to ground forces rather than braking forces.
The Maiden achieves its braking characteristics by balancing anti-rise (35%), caliper counter-rotation, and instantaneous inertial brake transfer values. Our virtual swingarm begins far behind the bike, lengthens backwards through infinity as the bike compresses, and ends in front of the bike. This long virtual swingarm is the key to avoiding the “grip-slip” phenomenon displayed by other bikes, especially single pivot designs.
The effect is striking: there’s more travel available to soak up terrain under braking, there’s more traction, and there’s less hand-fatigue. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
We worked closely with our gravity athletes throughout the bike's design and testing phases, and drew on Thomas Vanderham's personal settings for the bike's low centre of gravity, balanced reach, and aggressive geometry.
Adjustability & Adaptability
There are advantages to both 26” and 27.5” wheels in DH applications. Rather than just putting larger wheels into an existing design and compromising steering dynamics, we created the Equalized Wheel Concept. By using a headtube spacer in conjunction with a second rear axle position, this system allows riders to choose their wheel size while maintaining optimal BB height and fork trail.
We tuned our new RIDE-4 system to adjust geometry while affecting the suspension curve as little as possible. This allows for subtle track-to-track geometry changes in 1/4° headtube angle increments with minimal effect on your shock tune.