On Course at CX Nationals with Mo Bruno Roy

We finally got the chance to catch up with Mo Bruno Roy after her National Championship winning ride in the single-speed race last week in Austin. She got to Austin via the Resolution Cross Cup in Dallas, where she got on the podium one of the two days in the Women’s Elite category, so she was feeling good coming into Nationals.

She says, “Early in the week (Ed: before the course turned to a muddy bog and the racing was postponed), it was dry and fast, which doesn’t really suit my strengths, but there was an off-camber, twisty section and there were three run-ups, where I thought I could make some time.”

With nearly 40 women in the field, the single-speed race more than doubled in size from 2014, and the talent reflected that growth. Zilker Park in Austin was packed with racers from all over the country, and while things went a little awry later in the week, the single-speed races went off without a hitch on Wednesday.

Mo says, “The hardest part of the race was actually a block headwind of 20-30mph you had to fight through at the beginning of every lap. For the first three laps I had 10 seconds, and at that point one mistake can kill you. I don’t normally think about that, but the announcers are saying it over and over again, which isn’t all the way helpful. I mean, you hear them. They give you the gap, which is good information, but they can also plant the seed of doubt if you let them. So at that point, I just tried to focus on what I was doing. The ground was loose and slippery, so I couldn’t go fast through the off-camber section. I had to make my time on the run ups.”

CM1_4591In the end, she had 40 seconds on the nearest competition and was able to celebrate alone-in-photo. This was her ‘A’ race for the year, the goal she wrote down on paper before a single race had gone off, so winning validated her plan to shift focus to races that are more fun. It was a big departure from her previous World Cup campaigns.

She says, “I seem to enjoy single-speed events throughout, not just afterwards. World Cup racing is really stressful, and single-speed isn’t like that, so that’s been working for me. As defending champ, I felt pressure. I was supposed to win, so after this one I felt a little relief, a little happiness. Mostly I was glad not to have to ride into that headwind anymore.”

If it is possible to say how proud we are to work with Mo too many times, we hope we never get there. It’s hard to describe how good it is to see good people do good things on your bikes.

See more of Mo’s bike here, here, here and here. Connect with MM Racing here. Or watch a post-race interview with Mo here.

Photos by the talented Chris McIntosh.

 

Mo Bruno Roy’s Mudhoney PRO

Mo Bruno Roy has won a lot of races on our bikes, including this year’s Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship. She makes us look good, and for this we are enormously grateful. This season, in addition to standing on podiums, she also got her Mudhoney PRO (affectionately known as Mo Pro II) all kinds of cool coverage, some of which we share with you here:

There was a cool write up and photo gallery in Cyclocross Magazine.

Another gallery in Velo News that documented the design, build and race process for the bike.

 

The Birth of Mo Pro 2.0

A few weeks ago, Mo Bruno Roy returned her original Mudhoney PRO prototype. Affectionately called the Mo Honey PRO, that bike was the test case for the bike that became the production Mudhoney PRO, the bike that customers all over the world have ridden over the last season. Mo’s original was put together with hand cut and filed lugs, and she raced it hard this season so we could know more about our basic design assumptions, and to gather experiential data for the second iteration, Mo Pro 2.0, of this race-specific machine.

During our debrief with her, and with her mechanic/husband Matt Roy, we noted a few big, necessary changes. First, Mo wanted to change her riding position. She wanted to come forward, and up a little. To do that, she needed to make some component changes, and to maintain the handling she prefers after those changes, we needed to adjust the geometry. Easy enough.

Next, she wanted more tire clearance at the chain and seat stays. The original prototype was built with tight tolerances for racing, but we learned that just a little more mud clearance would be better. That presented a unique challenge, because Mo’s frame is small. In order to get the clearance she wanted, we experimented with a single-bend, butted seat stay designed specifically for carbon bonding. That little bit of bend gave us just what we were looking for, and it represented a step forward for the super thin stays we’ve been working with for Mo’s race bikes. The complimentary chain stays required 20 separate operations in initial machining. This is serious stuff.

In the past, we’ve built bikes for Mo that could be adapted to multiple purposes. A little attention from her pro mechanic husband would convert one of her race rigs for road training. Not this bike. Mo runs a somewhat unique crank set with 34/44 chain rings, and her seat/chain stays are optimized to work only with those rings, coupled with a 32mm tire. This is as race specific as a bike gets. It’s a bike for now, for winning races.

We opted to build for cantilever brakes, too, but only because race ready, drop bar, hydraulic disc brakes aren’t quite ready yet. Again, we wanted to build her the optimal race bike for right now, not a bike with compromises for future adaptation.

The final design hurdle we chose to address was toe overlap. Conventionally, a frame this small would have some overlap, and through the years, this was always something Mo was comfortable with, even though we offered to do away with it for her. This time out, we made some adjustments to the geometry to eliminate it, and that gives her more confidence in the technical sections of the cyclocross courses this bike was meant to destroy.

A lot of work went into pre-build design on the Mo Pro 2.0, and that led to a marathon build session that lasted long into the Friday night before Mo’s first race on it, on the Saturday. Seven Production Manager Matt O’Keefe did the final machining on this one himself, before handing it off to Staci for the rock star decal treatment.

As ever, our sponsorships are aimed at exactly this sort of collaboration. We built the original bikes to prove a concept we wanted to bring into production. After building the first generation prototypes, we then designed all the fixturing we would need to do the same design for customer bikes. In turn, the fixturing informed the accuracy and evolution of the second generation bike, which taught us about new ways to manipulate thin stays for small builds. It’s this thread that connects all our design and build work and allows everything to move forward, and to be able to pursue that thread with the input and participation of pros like Mo and Matt makes bike building fun. It reminds us why we do this.

Another solid reminder came in a Christmas tin a few days later. Her feedback on the bike itself is exactly what we wanted to hear, that it combines the best of her first Seven race bike and the first generation Mo Honey PRO. That confirms that we’re listening, and without listening you can’t build great custom bikes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re building for a pro like Mo or someone who will never race a day in their lives. The process is the same. Listen to what the rider wants. Apply everything you learn to everything new you want to do. Keep building. Keep iterating. Occasionally, just occasionally, stop to eat the cookies.

Matt made a cool time lapse video of the build that you can see here. And we were also fortunate to catch the eye of the Velo News staff at our very first race. Emily Zinn did a photo gallery of the project for their site here.

 

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