Tech features Pro bike: Mathias Flückiger’s Thömus Lightrider WC
A close look at this lesser-known race bike, including a sneak peek at a prototype DT Swiss suspension with an unknown widget.
Current Swiss national cross-country champion Mathias Flückiger is rarely far from the podium. Winner of the overall World Cup in 2021, runner-up to Tom Pidcock at the Tokyo Olympics, and the winner of a couple World Cups since, the soon-to-be 35-year-old is currently sitting second in the battle for the 2023 World Cup overall.
Here we look at Flückiger’s Thömus Lightrider WC, the bike of Switzerland’s Thömus maxon team also raced by the likes of Alessandra Keller and Lars Forster.
Thömus is a brand from Bern, Switzerland, with surprisingly limited exposure beyond Swiss borders. However, there appears to be a concerted effort to change that with this professional race team and now distribution within the USA.
As a side note, Thömus may sell bikes like the Lightrider WC and Sliker Pro road bike, but like many European bike brands, it has found the most success in the e-bike market. And if there were any doubt over the marketing ambitions of its cross-country race team, it’s important to know that fellow team sponsor Maxon is a Swiss-based motor manufacturer and the supplier for some of the e-bike motors used by Thömus.
OK, onto the bike, as captured by photographer
Piper Albrecht. The Lightrider WC is Thömus’ answer to a modern cross-country race bike. According to team mechanic Gavin Black, the frame features 105 mm of rear travel that’s fitted with a remote lock-out. Like many modern XC bikes, the Lightrider WC’s offers a suspension layout with a weight-saving flex stay pivot. As reported by Brujula Bike, it shares a design also used by Spanish bicycle brand Berria (who recently announced a new frame with an integrated shock design similar to the Scott Spark). It’s a full Shimano affair for the Thömus maxon team. For Les Gets, Flückiger was running an XTR 10-51T cassette combined with a 34T chainring. Beefy chainstays on the Lightrider WC suggest plenty of rear end stiffness. This prototype rear tyre from Schwalbe has been spotted around the traps since the World Cup in Nové Město. However, unlike the 2.4″ version previously seen, this one is clearly marked as a 2.25″. We don’t have photos of the tread, but low-height block tread is likely to be a new version of the Thunder Burt. “Don’t even look at it!” Flückiger chooses a Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow saddle. Riding a medium-sized frame, Flückiger runs 170 mm cranks, with a Stages power meter on the left. Further rear-end stiffness is likely provided by this short carbon fibre rocker arm and oversized bolts. Thömus’s history as a bike company is a little vague, but its founder Thomas Binggeli has over 30 years of experience. Binggeli also founded e-bike company Stromer and previously held the CEO position at BMC. Flückiger started the season on Thömus’s Lightrider WC in a lush red paint. Since the World Championships, he’s been on this black version which features a lighter-weight paint. While DT Swiss’ D232 dropper post has been seen under Flückiger in the past, here he was using a KS Lev Ci with 125 mm of drop. This specific model features a carbon fibre mast in an effort to reduce weight. A more aggressively treaded Schwalbe Racing Ralph with the Addix Speed compound is used up front. Flückiger is running 29 x 2.25″ tyres front and rear mounted on 30 mm-width DT Swiss XTR 1200 Spline wheels. There are no tyre inserts hiding inside. See the sticker? It’s a vibration-damping technology that we’ve seen in use by a number of top cross-country and downhill athletes. For example, Nino Schurter has been known to run similar from Swiss brand Axxios, while the Thömus maxon team is sponsored by WizardStickers who seem to be making many of the same claims. I personally get real Power Balance band vibes from these things, but admittedly I haven’t used them. Not yours. A -20° FSA SL-K stem helps provide a low position on the bike. This stem is 70 mm in length and the flat bars are trimmed to a 695 mm width. Also note the computer mount that is purposefully placed well above the stem for improved screen visibility. This is something we’ve spotted on Flückiger’s bikes before. The Thömus Lightrider WC features headset-routed cables. Here, Flückiger’s bike employs a plastic zip-tie to keep the hoses from getting pinched beneath the steep-sloping stem. More fancy magic stickers are found on the XTR Race brake levers. Meanwhile ESI provides its silicone grips which have a huge following in the World Cup circuit. A Garmin provides Flückiger with lap times, power data, and more. Notice this little hodge-podge of cables? One of them remains somewhat of a mystery and connects to the base of the DT Swiss fork on the left-hand side. The team was tight lipped about this one. Duct tape hides what’s going on. My guess is that DT Swiss is testing some form of remote travel adjust feature that would allow the bike to climb with a more stiffly-sprung suspension and steeper head tube angle, and then descend with full travel. Such an idea has been done before, but a simpler two-stage cable-operated version could offer performance benefit at this top level of racing. Another angle. Any guesses? While many racers use tooled thru-axles, Flückiger instead runs DT Swiss RWS thru axles. Meanwhile those two-piston XTR brake calipers clamp onto 180 (front) and 160 mm (rear) rotors with metallic pads. Single-sided power measurement. A DT Swiss R535 One rear shock keeps control of the rear wheel. Shot before the XCO of Les Gets, Flückiger’s bike as photographed was thought to weigh approximately 10.3 kg (22.7 lbs). Flückiger went on to have a hard day in the heat and fought for a ninth-place finish. Still, the World Cup overall title remains within his grasp. What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent