Adriaan Louw needs little introduction. He is the front man of Team Contego SwiftCarbon who’s eyes are firmly set on victory. He more than anyone knows that to get to the podium takes hard work, finely honed skills, and exceptional equipment. For the 2016 Absa Cape Epic, he’ll be riding the SwiftCarbon Evil Twin, customised and tuned to perfectly deliver that delicate balance between the robustness needed for gruelling Cape Epic conditions and the finesse to go #fast! Oh, and it looks the business too (if you don’t mind us saying so)!
“SwiftCarbon and I decided to do a custom bike for our team at the Absa Cape Epic this year and generally I’d leave it to the professionals in this line of work. But as a designer I couldn’t help but get involved,” said Louw. It was refreshing to have them let me go wild with geometric designs on the frame that tie back to the team colours.
With the go-ahead, Adriaan got cracking with some ideas and settled on a final design pretty quickly. The end result creates a professional platform to work off when promoting both the brand and the team while creating a distinctive bike that stands out from the peloton.
Together with Marc Carr, SwiftCarbon’s lead mechanic in South Africa, the two tweaked the set up of Louw’s bike after rigorous testing and feedback. It doesn’t hurt that Adriaan has been racing on the Evil Twin for over a year now and was one of the test riders when it was in its prototype phase.
“The complete bike offers and incredibly stiff platform that is super light, floats over rough stuff, and looks damn fine if I may say so myself!”
Starting with the shock, Adriaan has a custom-tuned Fox Float in the rear for a more aggressive progression through the travel. He runs this shock at 90psi (as opposed to 140psi on the normal Float) but it has a far stiffer middle setting and a 100% lockout which essentially turns the SwiftCarbon Evil Twin into a hardtail climbing animal.
“The fork is a Rock Shock RS1 which handles incredibly well. The torsional stiffness is not really an issue at my weight but the gains in its sensitivity to small bumps is unparalleled. I run 80psi, which is quite a bit softer than the usual World Cup platform. I run my hydraulic lockout on the left under the handlebar to prevent it from breaking when crashing,” Louw continues.
The bike runs SRAM XX1 right through with Guide brakes for their reliability and ease of use.
“This groupset deserves a design medal! In 10 years from now when we look back, I think it will be dubbed the AK47 of the shifting world. I run 160mm rotors on my brakes.”
SRAM’s Quarq does the does the power metering that helps Adriaan train and race to Watts, without much added weight. A reliable platform that works well as a guide for racing marathon distances. 34T chainring.
Richey Carbon kit (for their reliability) and a Thomson zero-offset seatpost round off the cockpit.
“It’s probably one of the heavier seatposts out there but during the Epic you jump on and off a lot, and I’ve also opted for Titanium seat rails to minimize the chance of mechanicals when getting on and off my bike. I run a 90mm stem to have an aggressive position over the front end along with the zero offset seatpost and a 720mm flat bar.”
“The South Wheels are simply bad-ass!”
A South African company, South Wheels provided the hoops; they’re 32mm wide (28 internal) which means Adriaan can run tyre pressure to 18psi comfortably (0.6 bar lower than 24mm rims) and can ride a slow puncture for much longer. The greatest benefit is the stiffness that the carbon offers when matched with the Evil Twin, delivering incredible traction.
“You can push these wheels so hard and they won’t budge, especially necessary when going full tilt on a rocky downhill in the Epic. The carbon hoops are custom built to my weight and built onto Tune Hubs,” adds Louw.
They’re shod with Continental 2.2 Race King tyres and, with the wider SOUTH rims, they sit closer to 2.4 with almost no rolling effect on the rim. Louw runs them at 20psi rear and 18psi front.
“Sometimes I’ll start at 18/16psi respectively to compensate for the increase in pressure on a warmer day that starts out cool and crisp.”
Matching yellow and black silicone grips and new ISSI pedals (an SPD platform but quite a bit lighter than Shimano, reliable and with three internal bearings that run super smooth) make this one fast beast of a machine.
“I’m frothing to race it for the next 8 days!”