Downhill comparison bike versus motorcycle

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Downhill comparison bike versus motorcycle

Downhill comparison bike versus motorcycle
Completely crazy

You plunge down the steepest slopes at breakneck speed on fragile companions. Are the downhill racing cars even faster than a 50 hp enduro??

Gert Thole


The sight is horrific: everywhere loose scree, sharp stones, deep furrows, now and then meter high, vertical edges. And it goes downhill, sometimes almost vertically, sometimes not that steep. Down there? Well, with an enduro, plenty of protective clothing, a lot of caution and maybe even more trust in God. But on a bike with narrow tires and delicate brakes? With thin shoes that are also clicked onto the pedals? Never ever, thinks the normal person. Downhill professionals like the French Nicolas Vouilloz are not normal people, but belong to a very special species of extreme athlete. The downhill flight over sharp stones is their everyday life. We are at Nicolas’ training track near Monaco.
The 30-year-old was world champion an unbelievable ten times, without a break except for the year 2000, he is already a legend. Monsieur Vouilloz is by no means a completely wacky speed freak, but rather the nice guy next door, calm, balanced and extremely friendly. So one day we started talking in the waiting hall of some European airport. As an off-road motorcyclist and hobby mountain biker, it has always been a mystery to me how the boys survive their kamikaze actions on their downhill machines without falling and injuring themselves. When Nico said that he often trains with the crosser, a question suddenly arose: Who is faster downhill, bike or motorcycle? A small competition was arranged quickly.
It’s logical that the answer depends crucially on the driver. So a world-class man had to be found for the motorcycle, someone like Christian Pfeiffer, a trial acrobat and stuntman, who defeated the best enduro cracks at the Erzberg race, for example. Someone who can balance the fine line between descent and take-off on such a dangerous runway. One phone call is enough and Christian accepts without thinking twice. Especially since he can meet the downhill champ again, against whom he had already competed years ago on a trip to the bicycle sector – and of course he was mercilessly canned. Now the cards are reshuffled, everyone competes in his or her favorite discipline. Round 50 hp in the Gas gas EC 450 against – short term – two HP.
The route: xx kilometers long, xx meters difference in altitude. And, as already mentioned, brutal. Immediately after the start, it goes a few hundred meters almost horizontally, so that the downhillers can kick their feet warm in front of the slope. And then comes the actual departure. Christian is surprised, that is not how he had imagined it. A real horror. When he watches Nicolas training, his confidence fades. His speed is unbelievable, but everything seems completely unspectacular. There are no stones splashing, no rear wheel flinging, no handlebars wobbling. Nico hovers over the obstacles. An elegant and fast-paced run. How this works remains a mystery. In contrast, the motorcycle is wild, aggressive, loud. The stones fly around, thick boulders roll down the slope. The rear wheel makes deep furrows in the ground, breaks away, the handlebars hit.
Then the clock starts. A hurricane rages on the flat top – unfortunately against the direction of travel. Nicolas starts a minute before his opponent, kicks off as much as he can, barely making any progress in the first few meters. Loses dozen of seconds on startup. Can he make it up to you? On the downhill section he quickly finds his rhythm and lets the bike run. The clock stops at 4.50 minutes. Not bad for his level of training – he ended his career at the World Cup – and for the brutal track conditions, but far from the record: 3.58 minutes, but with no headwind on a prepared track and optimal preparation.
Christian observed Nico’s problems at the start, drives a little too aggressively at the beginning, almost misses the curve a few times. Everything fits further down, although the 450 Gas Gas behaves a bit clumsy on this terrain. The clock stops at 4.48 minutes. Won, the bike was two seconds faster. But everyone knows that Nicolas is the moral winner. At least the defeat saves him the revenge: In the event of a bicycle victory, we threatened a second part: the uphill classification.

The driver

Nicolas Vouilloz: 30 years old, lives in La Grave de Peille / France, has been riding downhill since the age of 15, junior world champion 1992/93/94, world champion 1995 to 1999, 2001, 2002, five-time overall World Cup winner, many more national ones and international titles. Info Christian Pfeiffer: 32 years old, lives in Bernbeuren / Allgau, has been driving since the age of five, German Trial Youth Champion 1985, German Trial Cup winner 1988, Winner Erzberg-Harescramble 1996/97, 2000, more professional since 1995 Stunt and show driver. Info:

Gas Gas EC 450 FSE

Single-cylinder four-stroke engine, injection, electric and kick starter, 432 cm3, 47 hp at 9200 / min, six-speed gearbox, tubular steel frame with screwed aluminum rear, Marzocchi upside-down fork with adjustable rebound and compression damping, aluminum swing arm, Ohlins central spring strut hinged via lever With adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, spring travel f / h 295/320 mm, front tires 90 / 90-21, rear 140 / 80-18, steering head angle 62.5 degrees, wheelbase 1480 mm, weight 120 kilograms, price 7990 euros

V-Process NV01

Frame made of welded aluminum tubes with screwed-on seat post mount, Shimano XTR DH cranks, seven gears, Shimano Dura Ace rear derailleur, BOS upside-down fork, spring base and damping three-way adjustable, swing arm made of welded aluminum molded parts, BOS spring strut, directly hinged, spring base and damping four-way adjustable, spring travel 180/200 mm, Shimano four-piston brake calipers XT DH, brake discs Shimano DH, o 203/203 mm, pedals Shimano PD-M646, BOS hubs, tires Tioga Downhill 2.50 x 26, wheelbase ??? ? mm, steering head angle xx degrees (adjustable in four positions within two degrees), weight 18.5 kilograms, price: not specified (custom-made)

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