25-02-2015, CANYON Talking to the Top Chief

The Joe Barnes Interview

We caught up with Canyon Factory Enduro Team and Dudes of Hazzard star before the 2015 Enduro World Series (EWS) kicks off to talk bikes, setup and goals for the season. Here’s what the modern-day Braveheart of Scottish mountain biking had to say along with some fine footage of how he takes care of business back home on the Spectral CF

Can't get the video? Watch it here

You’re over in New Zealand getting some riding in before the first round of the 2015 EWS, what’s the riding like over there? Similar to back home or not at all?

JB: The riding here varies all over the islands but in general it’s a lot drier and faster than back home. The trails can feel "easier" but if you want to get them fast then for me it’s actually harder to find a good pace. Travelling over here there are loads of places to explore and loads of new trails to ride so it’s brilliant to escape my winter and ride new exciting places. 

Last year was a bit of breakthrough for you with two EWS podiums and a few stage wins along the way, what goals have you got in mind for this year?

JB: I really wasn't sure how last year was going to go but after finding some form in Scotland at Round 2I got on a role and felt strong in places I didn't expect to. Rounds like Americaand Italywere big surprises for me. I don't expect to dominate this year but if I can take some Scottish cornering charm and some keen fitness to the races that I hope I can get up there again. On my day it might even be the year of The Win.

Tell us about your Spectral CF, you’ve been riding that bike longer than anyone and were involved in whole testing process, what is it about the Spectral that suits how you ride?

JB: The Spectral is a very agile bike that you can put where you want on a trail and turn on the spot. My hand built trails at home are very tight and technical so a smaller bike like this is so fun. My first choice race bike is still the Strive for its all-out speed but for some fun in the woods the Spectral skids and turns like a champ.

How do you decide between riding the Strive or the Spectral before a race?

JB: I generally plan to use the Strive for all EWS races and Spectral for some Scottish enduros and the less physical EWS races. We just had our team winter training camp out in Finale Ligure and I got my Strive set up really nice with the Pike and Monarch Plusso I’m excited to get this setup tried in some fast rough long days in the EWS.

Do you change your setup much between races to suit different terrain or are you a “set and forget” kinda guy? What components do you tinker with?

JB: I don’t change my setup much. At the French races where your body is knackered from the long rough trails having less compression on the suspension worked for me to stay fresher. I also have got a few mods for the wet races with different brake pads, mud guards and Muc-Off sprays but in general I keep the setup I know and love. 

Finally, if you could only ride one race for the rest of your life, which would it be and why (Dudes of Hazzard Enduro not included)?

JB: Although I can't do it this year with my schedule I think the Megavalanche in France can be one of the scariest and most rewarding races out there. A brilliant fun week’s riding with your mates and a crazy race to finish on. Its high danger so could ruin a race season but if you could only race one big event then it would be a fun one. 

Round 1 of the EWS takes place in Rotunda, New Zealand on the 28th of March. Follow CFET on Facebookto get all the latest updates!