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Cape Epic: Mariske Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow
(Image credit: Max Sullivan )

Mariskae Strauss is a multiple South African XCO and stage race champion, with UCI World Cup and World Championship experience.

She is one of the locals that international pros encounter at the Cape Epic. And on those swelteringly hot days, the advantage of African heat tolerance becomes clear.

Mariske’s rig at this year’s Cape Epic is an American Eagle Flow. Although the name might indicate otherwise, this is a Dutch frame brand – with involvement from mountain biking’s original Olympic champion, Bart Brentjens.

The Flow is a lightweight 100m dual-suspension carbon frame featuring a vertical shock placement above the bottom bracket. 

What makes Mariske’s Flow such a weapon at the Cape Epic, is its dual-lock suspension platform. Running a DT Swiss fork and rear shock, Mariske can lock her suspension remotely, using a lefthand trigger on the handlebar.

At an event where steep climbs can often appear from nowhere when navigating isolated valleys or forests, the ability to instantly lock the front and rear suspension without taking a hand off the handlebar is valuable.

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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

American Eagle uses a rocker activated single pivot system (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Front and rear suspension lock-out is controlled from the handlebars (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Thumb lever controls front and rear simultaneously (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Gamin handles routing and ride recording but old fashioned notes are still useful for a quick glance on the trail (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

DT Swiss handles suspension (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Rear shock uses a trunnion mounted rear shock (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

The American Eagle has a kinked top-tube for better stand-over (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

With limited frame space, Marika mounts a second bottle on the seapost (Image credit: Max Sullivan )

Managing the water bottle issue 

Hydration capacity proves to be a challenging aspect of running the American Eagle Flow at a Cape Epic. Most of her rivals carry two water bottles in the front triangle, but Mariske’s Flow frame only has room for one.

She mounts the second water bottle on her seatpost, which increases the bike’s overall center of gravity.

Adding some bling and a lot of stopping power to Mariska’s Cape Epic racing bike, are Magura’s Raceline M8 brakes. These German two-piston caliper brakes have an electric yellow color theme and carbon-fiber lever, delivering a lot of power and control, at only 195g.

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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Mariska’s has chosen to run lesser known CST Jack Rabbit Pro tires (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

SRAM XX1 drivetrain with a few changes (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Upfront a Rotor crankset and chainring in specced (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Rotor's 2inpower measures watt output (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Time are Marika's choice of pedals (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

Magura's light yet powerful brake system are specced (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

The calipers are unmissable in bright yellow (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Mariska Strauss's American Eagle Flow

A small saddlebag stores mid stage essentials (Image credit: Max Sullivan )

The 'other' Maxxis

Rolling Marike along are CST Jack Rabbit Pro tires. Cheng Shin owns both Maxxis and CST, so these are tires with A-lister connections. Her rubber choice might not be mainstream, but as a local rider with extensive experience of Cape Epic trail conditions, Mariske’s would have done thorough tire testing before the event. 

The Jack Rabbits proved their worth on her local dry and dusty trails, validating them for Cape Epic use.

Marika is another rider choosing the best MTB groupset from SRAM, opting for an Eagle XX1 wireless setup. A deviation from the all SRAM drivetrain, Marike is running a Rotor chainring and crankset. She prefers Time as her clipless pedal brand.

Lance Branquinho
Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born media professional who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his fascination with trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. Rides: Morewood Kwela Cotic Simple 26 Pyga 160mm aluminium prototype