TransAlp: Hardtail 29ers Lead The Pack

The steeds and horses, bikes and hike-a-bikes of the 2012 TransAlp

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Considering a run at a 2013 TransAlp finisher’s jersey and want to know what bike to bring? Well, if the front of this 1,000-ride field is any indication, grab the ultra-light 29er hardtail and book your plane ticket to Germany.

Indeed, during an afternoon stroll through the race expo on Tuesday after the conclusion of stage 4 in Scuol, Switzerland, found that a large percentage of the top riders are foregoing rear suspension and embracing big wheeled bikes.

Check out stage 4 >>

That includes 2011 TransAlp winners and current 3rd place on GC occupants Karl Platt and Tim Bohme (Team Bulls), and stage 4 winner and second-place overall teammates Alban Lakata and Robert Brennen (Topeak-Ergon).

As for personal experience, your author can’t argue with those choices. The vast majority of this race is spent on non-singletrack terrain. In fact, according to the race bible the surface totals are as follows: gravel (45.5 percent), tarmac cyclepath (27.2 percent), tarmac road (11.3 percent), singletrack (9.5 percent), hiking trail (5.9 percent), and everybody’s favorite, push/carry (0.6 percent). Needless to say, leave the trail bike at home and do a ton of monstrous hill climb training for this adventure.

Here’s a look at some of the bikes from the front of the race, plus a few other interesting tech (and scenic) sights at the midway point of this 8-day stage race that traverses the main chain of the Alps from Germany to Italy, concluding July 21 in Riva del Garda.

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