Ariane Lüthi might be Swiss, but her mountain biking education was thoroughly African. One of the Cape Epic’s most successful riders, with five overall wins, Ariane has spent most of her professional mountain biking career training and racing in South Africa.
Few riders know more about what works – and what fails – at the world’s toughest mountain bike stage race, than Ariane. For this year’s Cape Epic, Ariane was on an Orbea Oiz, complete with a carbon-fiber frame and coupled with RockShox’s premium SID fork and matching SID Luxe shock.
Like most of the pro field, Ariane uses SRAM’s AXS Eagle XX1 wireless drivetrain, with a Quarq power meter embedded in the crankset’s spider. A minimalist chain guide ensures chain security when Ariane is descending technical terrain. SRAM also handles the braking with a set of Level ULT brakes.
Boutique carbon bits
Brakes are also from SRAM, with Guide Ultimates helping Ariane retain control on those fast, rocky, descents.
Taped to the Oiz’s top tube is a puncture repair plunger, with a large-size sealing worm already threaded into place and ready to be used.
The most interesting part of Ariane’s Cape Epic build is her cockpit. She uses a 730mm wide composite handlebar from Gelu Carbon Creation. It weighs only 124.2g and Ariane believes this handlebar has the best blend of stiffness and compliance for a Cape Epic.
Mounted on the handlebar, inboard of the shifter and brake controls, are two ergonomic armrests.
Ariane uses these armrests to brace herself when moving into an aero position, with her forearms resting on the handlebars. Think of them as a mountain biker’s interpretation of triathlon aero bars.
There’s a Gelu 27.2mm fixed carbon seatpost too, at 112.3g, with Ariane opting not to run an AXS dropper, like many other pro riders at this year’s Cape Epic.
Rolling Ariane along are Schwalbe’s latest Racing Ralph tires which are fitted to a set of Scope MTB wheels. In contrast to the SRAM drivetrain, she clips into the proven XTR SPD pedal system from Shimano.