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Home » Sports » Mountainbiking » 2019 SA Downhill MTB Champion – Interview and Bike Check

2019 SA Downhill MTB Champion – Interview and Bike Check

Theo Erlangsen is quickly becoming a legend in the South African Downhill MTB scene with multiple Freeride and Downhill accomplishments under his belt. To add to the list, he has successfully defended his South African title by taking the win at the recent SA Champs held at Afriski in Lesotho.
We caught up with the champ to get his thoughts on the race, his plans for 2019 and a bike check with the winning YT Industries Tues.

Interview with the 2019 South African Downhill MTB Champion, Theo Erlangsen

Congrats on successfully defending your SA Title. What does this accomplishment mean to you? 
It’s always good! I was stoked win SA’s the first time, but a while after that realised I’d now have to do it again, and by nature it’s always harder to do it a second time. This year, I had the target on my back, and all the pressure to prove to it wasn’t fluke the first time.

How would you best sum up the SA Champs held at Afriski in Lesotho?
Different but rad! It’s always good having everyone in the same place, much more of a vibe for the whole race. You don’t get that kind of vibe when everyone stays miles away from each other, do the race and go home!

Interview with the 2019 South African Downhill Mountain Bike Champion, Theo Erlangsen
Interview with the 2019 SA Downhill MTB Champion, Theo Erlangsen

What were your thoughts on the course and which features were your favourite? 
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the track. When I don’t know the person building the track or their history, I get nervous. I imagine being forced to do uphill pedal sections and nightmares like that. But, the track was actually pretty good. Bike park’ish corners and jumps at the top. A really rad mid section, was awkward and technical but pretty good to separate riders, enjoyed that. Bottom was bike park jumps. Favourite feature for me, was for sure the last jump [laughs] – (Theo came in hot and sent the last jump to flat in his race run).

Where do you feel you had the main advantage over your competitors?
No idea really. I had a good top and bottom section, but I’d say probably the middle was were I made the time.

Interview with the 2019 SA Downhill Mountain Bike Champion, Theo Erlangsen
Theo Erlangsen talks Downhill MTB and defending his South African title

What are you looking forward to most during the rest of the 2019 season? 
Ah way too many things to say, I’ve got a full season of rad events. Probably most looking forward to going to Whistler at the end of the season. Hopefully my collar bones are still good by then.

Heading overseas again, can we expect you to be racing in some World Cup events?
For sure. Always have to do a Euro tour. I’ll be doing tones of events this season, the calendar is lined up pretty well. World Cups, IXS Cups, etc. Should be a good one.

Theo Erlangsen talks Downhill Mountain Biking and defending his South African title
Bike Check with Theo Erlangsen's winning SA Downhill MTB championship bike

Take us through the setup of your YT Tues?
Setup is sick AF. I pretty much leave it the same for all races. Suspension was the same as World Champs in Lenzerheide last year, tire pressure always the same. I’ve started running a shorter 40mm Spank stem and bar combo that I’m really enjoying. Maxxis Assegai’s because they’re the new favourite.

Have you made any changes comparing to last year’s Bike? 
[Laughs] Yeah, it’s a completely different bike.

Bike check and interview with Theo Erlangsen and his championship winning YT Industries TUES Downhill MTB
 Bike check and interview with Theo Erlangsen and his championship winning YT Industries TUES Downhill Mountain bike

Did you change anything in the setup to accommodate the SA Champs course?
I realised I could slow the rebound down on my fork a little, because there weren’t any breaking bumps packing it up. But otherwise I just kept it simple, rather focused on getting the sections dialled.

Which features and components of the bike are your favourite? 
For starters the frame is super good, perfect kinematics and geo. I’ve started running Spank components – the cockpit feels really good, rims seem really strong, nice and stiff and I’ve hit them on rocks pretty hard with no issues. Saddle’s comfy on my phat ass. Fox suspension is the dream for DH bikes.

Interview with the 2019 South African Downhill MTB champion, Theo Erlangsen
Bike Check with Theo Erlangsen's winning SA Downhill Mountain Bike championship bike

How would you best explain the ride and feel of your YT Tues?
Simply lovely. YT Tues has won the last three SA champs titles, and it’s probably one of the best priced bikes on the market. Take a hint, it’s a good deal.

Any shout-outs? 
Everyone, always too many people to thank! Special shout-out could go to Clint Eliot for prepping my bike last minute – like after work, the night before I left, because I left it too late. He does all the work on my bike, which if you know me, is usually a fair bit. So yeah, he’s a legend!

Interview with the 2019 South African Downhill Mountain bike champion, Theo Erlangsen

Bike Specs

Frame: YT Tues
Fork: Fox 40
Shock: Fox X2
Handlebar: Spank Vibrocore
Stem: Spank 40mm
Wheels: Spank Vibrocore
Brakes: Shimano Saint
Cranks: SRAM Descendant – Aluminum. (F#ck carbon cranks).
Derailleur: SRAM GX I think 8 speed, not sure.
Cassette: SRAM 1. The normal one, not the crazy one piece expensive one.
Pedals: Nukeproof SPD clipless. Bent AF by the way.
Seat:  Spank Oozy 220

Photos by Dom Barnhardt Photography.

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