Mountain bikers, meet Tim Lucking (above) and the 2013 Team Gates Carbon Drive mountain bike squad: Jesse Swift, Mitch Westall, Taylor Nye, Derek Strong and Ryan McFarling. They have been riding and racing hard this season and have already accumulated six first-place finishes in three states. New this year, Team Gates is racing on the hottest SS belt drive mountain bike on the market, the Honey Badger from Spot Brand. It’s one honey of a podium bagger.
Now let’s introduce the squad. Lucking is the team captain, a Gates engineer and ace photographer. Fun fact: Tim is a skilled marksman who once landed on the podium of the firearms competition of the American Criminal Justice Association. Jesse Swift, below, is a bearded warrior, teacher, cross racer, former trials rider and human piston who can bunny hop logs and barriers that make lesser men quiver with fear.
Jesse is looking clean-cut and wholesome these days, but we’re hoping he brings back the big beard that gave him a pioneer-trapper-in-spandex vibe that was simply awesome.
Mitch Westall, below, is a longtime veteran of both the Gates mountain bike and cyclocross teams, and his race resume includes a podium at the Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships. Mitch keeps in shape on weekdays by hammering to work on his commuter bike. And he has a secret weapon. The night before races he chows a big steak. We think he should eat more veggies, but Mitch is like a carnivore predator on the singletrack so who are we to judge.
Derek Strong, below, is another veteran of the Gates cyclocross team and a devoted singlespeeder. Papa Derek disappeared for a while last season after having a baby (get your priorities straight dude!) but the Gates family is psyched to have him back rolling wheels. Big round of applause for the Strong man!
Ryan McFarling, pictured below racing last season for the Gates cross team, runs bike clinics for youths when not hammering singletrack. He likes to relax by listening to audio books while gardening. Keep on eatin’ your greens, Ryan, and maybe bring some to Mitch.
Taylor Nye, below, took first place at the 18 Hours of Fruita earlier this year on a two-man team with Tim Lucking. Despite all his race victories, Taylor is now famous for gracing the Gates Carbon Drive homepage in his white outfit. Sure he looks like the world’s fastest yoga instructor, but hey there’s no grease on Taylor’s pants.
TEAM BIKES and COMPONENTS
Spot Brand makes some of the best-engineered belt drive bikes on the market, and the Honey Badger features some notable design elements. Note the curved Animal Leg seat stays and the Time Trial Cutaway seat tube, both of which provide more vertical compliance over traditional straight-tube designs. That means more comfort and better traction. To further refine the geometry, Spot created a Crenelated Downtube Gusset, and a CNC machined tapered headtube, providing stiffness, stability and steering control. Lucking says the steel frame is “super lively and responsive on climbs yet insanely smooth on descents.”
Crank Brothers is the team sponsor for bars, stems, seat posts, pedals and saddles. All the components are bombproof and light.
“The saddle is super comfortable for those all day epics and has replaceable rails should you damage them,” says Lucking. “The pedals shed mud as well as a Gates belt.”
TRP is the official brake supplier of Team Gates Carbon Drive. Lucking says TRP’s Dash Carbon brakes will “stop you on a dime and give you nickel for change. The adjustable reach and power knobs are easy to turn on the fly so you dial in the feel to your liking.”
The team bikes are equipped with the Manitou Tower Pro fork. Lucking calls it “plush and laterally stiff thanks to the Hexlock thru-axle that is easy and fast to use. It’s the best-feeling XC fork I’ve ever ridden.” If dirt and rocks are on the menu, check out the Tower Pro. Remember to eat your greens.
Lazer makes the best-fitting helmets on the planet, and the small visor helps when the sun gets low. Thanks to Lazer for keeping the guys’ noggins safe and stylish.
Gee, you may be thinking, those Gates guys look pretty slick in their team kits. That’s because they were designed by Primal Wear, the go-to brand for high-performance, sweetly-styled custom cycling kits.
Gates Carbon Drive would like to thank all the team sponsors: Spot Brand, Crank Brothers, TRP, Manitou, Lazer and Primal. See you out on the trail.