Both Lowery and Carey recommend full-suspension bikes for the Syllamo course. With countless rock gardens and few long climbs, the weight penalty of a full-suspension bike is far outweighed by the added comfort of suspension and the ability to pedal through technical sections of trail.
Lowery is quick to characterize the rocks as “sharp” and recommends a tire with a beefy sidewall. For her race-winning ride, she rode the Specialized Captain Control for the gripping knobs and a thicker sidewall.
While some of the course is smooth, much of it is rocky and Carey, who flatted in last year’s race, is quick to point out that fixing flats is slow and a rider is better off just running a heavier tire to cope with the rocky parts of the course. “Syllamos isn’t the place for a lightweight tire or a thin sidewall.” She plans on running on of Kenda’s Sealant Compatible Tires (SCT) for this year’s edition of the race.