Mission impossible made possible
Max Stöckl on using a regular bike to go down world’s toughest ski slope.
Max Stöckl likes to give the impression that his mission impossibles are entirely possible.
The MTB rider, who hit a top speed of 167.6km/h in Chile in December 2016 to break the speed record for a standard mountain bike, returned to his daredevil ways to clock 106km/h on the notorious Hahnenkamm downhill course in his native Austria.
Once again, the 43-year-old stressed it was on a fairly standard bike, although his choice of courses are far from regular.
“My goal is to do everything with a regular bike that everybody can buy,” he explained after his latest stunt. “It is a pure way of riding. It is not especially purpose built so everybody could go to the bike shop and do it. Not too many people are doing it, though; you have to like it and go for it!
“But I don’t want to limit these attempts to huge budgets and lots of technical experience. The easier the better.”
For this latest effort, he was on board a Mondraker Carbon Pro Team frame with cross-country wheels with metal studs embedded in them to tackle the icy terrain.
“The Hahnenkamm is brutal on skis, even worse on a bike,” he added. “We did not know what to expect or how to prepare. We prepared for off camber, completely icy stuff, metal studs in the tyres and so on but we still underestimated it a bit.
“Wheels were a bit different because of the weight of the 15mm metal studs. I used really lightweight rims. We used cross-country XMC 1200 wheels because they were stiff enough and lightweight enough to compensate a little bit of the weight from the studs. The tyres were Maxxis Minion SS downhill version with 27.5inch rim size and 2.5inch width plus Shimano brakes. That was pretty much it.”
While in the video, he looked to breeze through the challenge from the start gate to whistling along the safety barriers, in truth there were some mishaps during his seven runs, including one hefty crash in deeper snow, which led to some soreness the next day.
He explained: “My back wheel wiped out, had a high sider and flipped to the other side. I had impact on my shoulders, but it wasn’t too bad. But we have some learnings for a future attempt. We know what we need to change and push the edge further.”