MEET THE RIDERS AND THEIR RIDES
It was a major surprise to most people when Scotland’s Reece Wilson won the UCI World Championship title in Elite Men’s Downhill last year in Leogang, Austria.
An event of that magnitude is normally dominated by long-established World Cup stars, so the win by a relative newcomer to the most prestigious title in the sport was a shocker.
As it turned out, Reece was racing a custom, mixed-wheel “mullet” setup on his Trek Session, a version that Reece had first tried the previous winter after his American teammate Charlie Harrison introduced him to the idea. Read on to learn more about Reece and his bike.
Name: Reece Wilson
Birthdate: November 6, 1996
Birthplace: Melrose, Scotland
Height: 5 feet 10 inches
Weight: 74kg (163 pounds)
Shoe size: UK 8 left, UK 9 right
Helmet size: Large
Waist: 30 inches
Marital status: Single
Current home: Scottish borders
Current vehicle: VW transporter van
Started racing or competing: 2012
Turned pro: 2015
Racing/riding specialty: Downhill
Favorite course or riding area (North America): Mont-Sainte-Anne
Favorite course or riding area (Europe): Schladming
Favorite food: Roast dinner
Goals: World Cup overall and the perfect season
Heroes: My dad was always my first hero. He taught me how to ride motocross and wheelie, which are my two favorite things to do. Travis Pastrana was a huge influence on me also.
Favorite recording artist: I’ve never had a favorite. I like so many different songs.
Favorite movie: Forrest Gump
Favorite hobbies: Downhill riding, motocross, golf, driving, eating, questioning things
Jobs held (other than racer): I helped build a pump track once. My dad taking me to work (engineering) really has been the only work I’ve done. There’s not much he can’t do, though.
Most embarrassing moment: Seems like there are too many to choose from! In 2016, I was shooting a promo video for Hardline. I crashed on the very first drop-in of the day [laughs].
Always takes on a trip: Friends
What you would be if you were not a racer: Can’t find my crystal ball, so if I had to take a guess, I’d say an engineer. Didn’t really try out much else.
INSIDE THE PROS’ BIKES
Reece Wilson’s 29/27.5-inch Trek Session
Frame: Trek Session; 29-inch front, 27.5-inch rear (Mullet setup); travel 204.2mm (mino high); size R2; material, aluminum
“I love how well this bike performs at race speed. Coming from 196mm of travel to this 204.2 is a huge difference! Then put a high pivot on top of that. The bar has definitely been raised.”
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Coil; 475-pound spring. Rebound: 15 (from closed). Low-speed compression: 11 (from closed).
Fork: RockShox Boxxer, Ultimate 29-inch; 200mm travel. Rebound: 11 (from closed). Low-speed compression: 11 (from closed). High-speed compression: Four (from closed). Four volume spacers
Tires: Bontrager G5, 29-inch front and 27.5-inch rear, 2.5-inch width. Front pressure, 21-25-psi range; rear pressure, 24-28-psi range. Tubeless
Tire repair kit
“I don’t actually ride with anything when I’m out—bad habit that’s turned into a normality I guess. I do have some Bontrager stuff at home that will get fitted soon.”
Rims: Bontrager Line DH 30 32h, aluminum
“Great. Get asked a lot about these rims, and they’re genuinely great!”
Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray, steel
Front hub: Bontrager 20/110mm Boost 32h
Rear hub: Bontrager, 12/157mm, 32h. Rapid Drive, 108 points of engagement
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC, 220mm rotors front and rear, metal pads
“Extra big brakes for extra-hard stopping. Makes sense to me.”
Stem: Title DM1 35, 46mm length
Handlebars: Title AH1; aluminum; 35mm diameter; 25mm rise; 780mm width; 8-degree backsweep; 5-degree upsweep
“Solid bar, like the minimal logo, subtle details.”
Grips: ODI Longneck Slide-On
“High-maintenance setup, but it rewards you for not crashing [laughs]. You’ll be really annoyed if you do!”
Shifters: SRAM X01 DH 7-speed
“Been running a SRAM drivetrain for six years now. Always gets the job done!”
Rear derailleur: SRAM X01, DH 7-speed
Pedals: Crankbrothers Mallet DH, stock spindle
Cranks: SRAM X01 DH, 165mm
Chainring: SRAM X01 Eagle, 34t, 6mm offset
Chain: SRAM PC XX1
Rear cassette: SRAM X01 DH, XG-795
Saddle: Title MS1
Seatpost: Title AP1
Cables and housings: SRAM
Headset: Cane Creek 40, stainless
Bottom bracket: SRAM Dub BSA
Extras: MRP G4 chain device
Head angle: 63.5 degrees.
Bottom-bracket height: 353mm
Weight of complete bike: 39 pounds
Estimated value of bike: TBA
MBA: Where did you grow up?
Reece: I grew up in Scotland in a very small village in the Scottish borders. Not much close by, so you had to make of it what you could.
MBA: What kind of work do your father and mother do?
Reece: My dad’s an engineer—retirement to motorcycle restorer is coming close [laughs]. Mum is like Superwoman: lifeguard, scuba diver, childminder and a smart businesswoman!
MBA: When did you first start riding a bicycle?
Reece: When I was 3, I think. Dad duct-taped my welly boots to the pedals and welded the hub and made it a fixie. One hard push and I was off.
MBA: Did you do any bike racing before mountain bikes?
Reece: I had a long, 13-year motocross career. Can’t say I was anything special, considering what kids are doing at that age. Was me and my dad’s thing, though.
MBA: What were your best results?
Reece: I got to a national level in motocross. Maybe scraped a top-10 finish or two.
MBA: When did you first start competing on mountain bikes?
MBA: How did you do in your first mountain bike event?
Reece: I actually did really well. My competitive side got a taste of something that day.
MBA: What have been your best national and international results?
Reece: I’ve never really focused on nationals since I won the British series in the junior category in 2014. I have a Scottish champ’s title and a Scottish overall, which is cool.
MBA: Where did you go to school?
Reece: Earlston High
MBA: Did you attend college?
Reece: I attended a college course for two years. It’s actually a mountain biking course in the borders. Pretty cool! I’m pretty done with school. My life is full and I’m happy.
MBA: Do you have any other career training?
MBA: I’ve done some plumbing, roofing, mechanicing [sic], joinery. I feel I could turn my hand to most things thrown at me.
MBA: Did you earn any awards in sports or academics while in school?
Reece: Not many. I didn’t focus on school. I didn’t ever feel like I fit into a group. I just couldn’t wait to get home at night to do something I was passionate about at the time. Bang on the time when I discovered downhill racing.
MBA: Have you competed in any other sports?
Reece: Played football when I was young. Hated how other people’s mistakes ended up reflecting on my performance. Not a team sports guy. Still like to play football.
MBA: Can you tell us something interesting or unusual about yourself or your family?
Reece: Who even knows what’s unusual these days?