By Fred Dreier
Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon of the Kona team came into the 2009 BC Bike Race with the recognition and confidence that follows all defending champions. In 2008 the duo proved to have had the strongest legs and best technical skills over the course of last-year’s seven-day race, which started in Victoria and finished in Whistler.
This year, Wicks and Sneddon have been forced to play catch up — the duo finished second in both the first and second stages of the BC Bike Race to motivated Canadian riders Seamus McGrath (Jamis) and Chris Sheppard (Santa Cruz).
Wicks spends the bulk of his season racing the World Cup and ProXCT cross-country races aboard Kona’s conventional top-end hardtail. But for the BC Bike Race, Wicks, who stands 6-foot-5, brought out the big bike — Kona’s new Hei Hei 2-9 Supreme full-suspension bike.
“It’s like a monster truck on the trail,” Wicks said. “The wheels are so big, it pretty much rolls over everything.”
The hydroformed scandium front triangle frame is linked to the rear section by a single-piece magnesium swingarm. The Rock Shox Reba Team black box edition fork offers 100mm of front travel, and Wicks runs the Rock Shox Monarch 4.2 in the rear. Wicks relies on Shimano XTR components, and 177.5 mm long crank arms.
Wicks completes the rig with Stan’s rims mated to Shimano hubs, and the tall Oregonian is running fat Kenda Karma 2.2 tires with Stan’s tire sealant.
Wicks said he didn’t know off hand the exact weight of the big bike, but it felt surprisingly light to the touch (for a bike that big).