Name: Ed Masters
Nickname: Tow Ball, Pitbull, Mr. Worldwide
Birthdate: August 18, 1989
Birthplace: New Plymouth, New Zealand
Height: 182cm (5 feet, 11 1/2 inches)
Weight: 77 kilograms (170 pounds)
Shoe size: 10 U.S.
Helmet size: 56cm (M/L)
Marital status: Single
Current home: New Plymouth, New Zealand
Car(s): 1996 Daihatsu Mira, 800cc
Started racing or competing: 2004
Turned pro: 2014
Riding specialty: Everything
Favorite course or riding area (North America): Mont-Sainte-Anne
Favorite course or riding area (Europe): Schladming, Austria
Favorite food: Sushi
Goals: To keep having fun for as long as possible
Heroes: David McMillan, Cole Lucas, Jake Newell
Favorite recording artist: Pitbull
Favorite movie: Superbad
Favorite hobbies: Surfing, sailing, skiing, golf
Jobs held (other than racer): Trail builder, landscaper, door-to-door sales
Always takes on a trip: Matches
What you would be if you were not a racer: A DJ in Ibiza
Inside Ed Masters’ Pivot Firebird 29
Weight of complete bike: 15 kilograms (33 pounds).
Estimated value of bike: $9000.
Head angle: 65 degrees.
Frames: “Pivot Firebird 29, 162mm rear-wheel travel, Carbon. This is my daily driver—the bike that can do it all. I ride it every day, and it’s my favorite bike I’ve ever owned. If I had to own one bike, this would be it.”
Shock and settings: “Fox X2, 180 psi. Off the top of my head, I don’t actually know, but I set all my bikes up off the Pivot setup guide, and believe it or not, it’s spot-on!”
Fork: “Fox 36, Grip2 Damper 170mm. I’m in love with my 36. I had Jordi at Fox help me set it up to feel similar to my downhill fork, and we really haven’t looked back since. A service every now and then keeps it running smoothly, but apart from that it’s stock, out of the box.”
Tires: “Maxxis DHF 2.5 inches, front and rear, always DH casing and Maxx Grip compound. I have used DHFs for as long as I can remember. I’ve messed around with other tires but always come back to the DHF as my staple.”
Tubeless tire system: “I run tubeless front and rear, using Peaty’s sealant. Depending on the course, I will use a CushCore in the rear and always have one in for everyday riding.”
Rims: “I run a full-carbon wheelset with the Reynolds Blacklabel DH rims laced to Industry 9 Hydra hubs. This wheelset is amazing. In the past two seasons I’ve not broken a wheel, and I’ve been blown away by the performance and durability.”
Brakes: “This season I’ve been using the new Shimano XTR four-post brakes, and they’ve been nothing short of awesome. The lever and everything about the brake feels great, and I’ve had zero problems when it comes to power and performance. And they look cool.”
Stem: Renthal Apex 35mm bar, 50mm length.
Handlebars: “Renthal fat bar, alloy, 30mm rise. Looks good, feels good. Ticks all the boxes in my book.”
Grips: Deity Knuckle Duster.
Shifters: Shimano XTR, 12-speed.
Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR 12-speed.
Pedals: Shimano DX, older style with the black plastic outer.
Cranks: Shimano XTR, 175mm.
Chainring: Shimano XTR, 32t.
Chain: Shimano XTR, 12-speed.
Rear cassette: Shimano XTR, 11-46t.
Saddle: WTB Silverado.
Seatpost: “Fox Transfer dropper post in Kashima, 175mm drop.”
Bottom bracket: Shimano XTR.
Extras: “Louri bike strap with Lezyne tool and pump/CO2 for any incidentals. MRP chain guide up top.”
MBA: Where did you grow up?
Ed: I grew up in New Plymouth, which is on the west coast of the North Island [in New Zealand]. It’s an area that is famous for its surf breaks and our local mountain, Mount Taranaki.
MBA: What kind of work do your father and mother do?
Ed: My mum is an art teacher and my dad runs our family business, wholesaling hardware and managing the retail store.
MBA: When did you first start riding a bicycle?
Ed: I’ve been riding bikes as long as I can remember. Growing up with an older brother who was bike mad, my earliest memories are on two wheels. I would say we first started riding at around 3.
MBA: Did you race other bikes before racing mountain bikes?
Ed: I started out racing BMX, which I did for a couple of years. My older brother, Wyn, started mountain biking from day one, and, as the younger brother, I was always drawn to follow him into whatever he was doing at the time. We are both still racing professionally today, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
MBA: What were your best competition results on BMX bikes?
Ed: I only really raced locally as a young fella.
MBA: How did you do in your first mountain bike event?
Ed: My first downhill race I raced on my BMX bike, and it didn’t go too well [laughs]. I crashed and remember balling my eyes out as I finished my run. Luckily, it didn’t put me off MTB’ing.
MBA: What have been your best national and international results?
Ed: I’ve been a National Downhill champion as a Junior and as an Elite. Internationally, I’m most proud of my recent win in the EWS [Enduro World Series] and also for cracking the top 10 in the Downhill World Cup with a ninth-place in Andorra.
MBA: Where did you go to school?
Ed: I went to boarding school at Wanganui Collegiate School for five years, graduating in 2007.
MBA: Did you go to college?
Ed: I went to Otago University for four years and studied marketing and international business. I never really planned to become a professional bike racer and figured getting a degree would be handy.
MBA: Do you have any other career training?
Ed: I’ve trained as a fuel-transfer technician, which means I can oversee the transfer of fuel from a gasoline distribution center into domestic automobiles.
MBA: Did you earn any awards in school?
Ed: I used to play the French horn and received an award as the most-improved brass player in 2005.
MBA: What other sports do you do besides mountain biking?
Ed: I love surfing and skiing, although living in New Zealand means I get summer all year round, so my snow days are a little limited. I’m no pro in either, but I really enjoy getting off the bike when I can and doing other sports. The Pivot boys and I have recently started hitting a few golf balls from time to time.
MBA: Can you tell us something interesting or unusual about yourself or your family that is not widely known?
Ed: We had a frozen penguin in our freezer for 20 years until my brother put it in one of his videos and the government came and confiscated it.
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