Following our recent review on the Kona Cadabra, we got the chance to talk with Karim Amour and exchange some ideas, especially concerning the MTB sport evolution and the current Enduro / All Mountain scene. Karim is one of the most experienced riders in the race circuit, he has been competing DH and Enduro almost for 20 years! Have a look below.
Starting with a brief introduction… Age, town?
Hi, I have 37 years old, live in Vence. It’s a little town close to Nice on french riviera, I started to ride in MTB in 1993, almost 20 years
Tell us about your average day, full time dedicated to bike racing or do you have other “main” occupations?
No. My main occupation it’s riding or training but sometimes I test some products from Kona and other brands and provide my feedback about their products. Every Saturday I give some mtb lessons for the child’s on my club.
What about your history in MTB racing?…
I like racing and started in 1993.
We know that you are around from the early stages of the MTB in europe…
I’m very lucky because I was in the beginning of mtb racing and it was easier to do a good result.
Which was your best race ever? Not talking about results, but the one you remember as if it was yesterday, simply “the race”
My best race ever it’s not only one I won but is Roc D’Azur 2010. That year I was very closed to die (lost my spleen on 24 April 2010) and were very happy to come back on a first place. It’s a special taste just a good personal satisfaction.
Concerning the MTB sport evolution, we think it’s fair to say that a 2012 decent 160mm chassis bike is on the same level (or better than) a DH bike from the beginning of the 2000’s, do you agree?
Not a beginning of the 2000’s because at that time I had a V-Process bike, a proto from the team of Nico Vouilloz. Dude this bike it’s like a flight carpet! But right now if you ride a enduro bike in 1998 I’m sure you can do good result.
What’s your opinion on current Enduro / All Mountain bikes descent capabilities? It’s common sense that there is always space for improvement, taking that into account, tell us what you would like to see improved on the 160mm bikes and why (ex. geometry, suspensions, weight, etc?)
It’s incredible right now the weight of bike not only in enduro. But it’s good to ride with a bike you can do everything with it: Climbing ,downhill,curve. Enduro bikes are like a Swiss knife !!!
The suspensions work very well especially with a magic-link and you have variable geometry.
With so many Enduro / All Mountain racing series popping around everywhere in Europe, do you think it’s finally the time for MTB Enduro? What needs to be changed (if anything) to allow a greater participation from teams and involvement from sponsors?
If there is an official UCI circuit every team want to participate and want to be in front of this new era. It’s most popular and you can training and racing with only one bike. It’s a cheaper bike too!!
What about your decision to focus on Enduro only, was it a hard decision or seemed like a natural choice in your career as a MTB pro?
No, I wanted a big sport challenge. Normally in downhill you need to be explosive with a good resistance. In enduro you need a real endurance, lost some weight for weight/power like a cross country rider. But at the same time I don’t want to feel the same pressure as in a WC DH.
Which events are you planning for 2012?
Superenduro, Maxi-avalanche, Natural games. Megavalanche it’s my main goal for this years with a Crankworx
Race results don’t come for free. Tell us about training: How, where and how much of it?
It’s my secret. lol But it’s only when you take a pleasure to ride on a bike , and always push your limits . You need to be a challenger rider.
Any hints you could share with newcomers to Enduro racing?
Yes a lot a young guns come . I hope this year my teammate Alex Stock do a real good results
What about your enduro bike for 2012, as far as we know you are running a Kona Cadabra, any specific changes to the frame? Head angle/BB/wheelbase? Bike weight?
We are a good partnership the big difference it’s only the setup for the specs. This year we are some specials parts but it’s only for test. only in a goal customers
Ideal suspension travel (front / rear) for Enduro racing, 160mm? And what about the shock set-up, you use a hard or soft set-up?
150 on front for the flat race. Always 160 mm rear but my shock setup is soft with a hard fork. I like when you have not a big mass transfer between the rear and the front.
Handlebar and stem length? drivetrain? brakes?
Easton Havoc carbon 750MM , 55mm stem lenght Easton Heaven.
160mm front and rear disc rotor. Yes i used a drive train E-13
Any special changes on the bike setup for different events (geometry, suspensions, controls, drivetrain)?
Tires. Tube or tubeless? Sticky or hard compound? Same tire pressure on front / rear? How much of it (psi)?
Tube type but I ride in tubeless (weight). Super tacky on front or 3C. Hard compound rear 60A.
Front is 1.6 bar (24psi) and 2.2 bar (32psi) for the rear.
Any prototype equipment you are using on your Kona?
Some setup for the auxiliary shock.
What would you change in your bike? (if anything)
Internal routing cable.
What do you love the most in your bike?
The handling, every time I seat on my bike I fell like my home.
Did you get a chance to visit our country (Portugal) already?
When you want! Tell me what’s your biggest enduro race you have and I will come!!!
A big thanks to Karim for the interview!