Do you need the top of the range bike to become a fast rider?

Have i turned into one of those people?

Over the years i have always rated myself as an average rider. I love riding and racing mountain bikes, but my racing results more often than not reiterated that i am an average rider with mid-pack results.

It is often human nature to look up to those race winners and their high-end bikes and think that all the high-end parts are helping them achieve their results.

And yes over time i have found myself in that situation of if it works for them, it should work for me. And I have kitted my bikes up with the highest-end componentry that I could afford at the time!

Enter Chris from VMG bikes Typhon Enduro Electric Mountain Bike Australian designed, Chris has designed an electric enduro bike and offered me an opportunity the test ride his entry model VMG Typhon.

I rode the bike at my local trails, it was the standard entry-level bike fitted with Suntour 36mm forks and a 10-speed drive train at a price range of $7600.  The bike handled the trails extremely well, truth be told it was probably one of the most powerful e-bikes that I have ridden. During the ride the conversation turned to how the bike would handle at an enduro race, My thought process was the motor was more than powerful enough but would the suspension handle the trails in a race environment?

My mind quickly went to, well if i put my Fox Factory 38 forks on and changed this and that it would be more than capable! Although supportive of my ideas of changing the parts Chris, was also convinced that the standard bike would be able to handle everything we threw at it!

That evening i entered into the Australian Cycling NSW state GE event at Stromlo trail center in the ACT.

Chris mentioned that he would have another rider racing his bike, the other rider was Chris Tobin from Gravity Riders MTB Coaching, Chris has completed his Level 3 PMBIA and i knew he was a good rider, But my mindset again went straight to him overriding the standard spec bike.

The race weekend fast approached and before i knew it, we were up the hill and practicing the stages. Having the opportunity to follow Chris Tobin down the trails, i found him to be extremely smooth and not really putting effort into his riding. The bikes where handling extremely well, but at the same time we were only riding at 80% of race pace as we were familiarizing ourselves with the trails.

We had completed a lap of the race stages and stopped for a lunch break, after the break i was feeling confident on knowing the stages and decided to recover for the race the next day, however Chris headed back up the hill and rode and practice some of the features, ready to race the following day.

On the day of the race, i found that the bike was amazing and able to hit all of the features without any issues, however during my race runs, it found me missing most of the faster lines when available due to overshooting them, mostly due to me entering the sections just that little bit faster than in practice.

The day had come to a close we the bike handling all of the trails extremely well and i stayed on 2 wheels all day,

But i found myself again with a mid pack result, The theory of me being an average ride again became true. but would a bike with top of the range equipment have helped me have a better result?This theory was turned on its head, with Chris completing the event with finishing on the top step of his category and second overall in the E-bike field, finishing almost 2 minutes ahead of me!

What did i learn from the event?

  • the Standard VMG Typhon is an amazing bike in stock form,
  • Chris Tobin has proven that you don't need a top of the range bike, to stand on the top step of the podium.
  • I don't need to spend money of top of the range equipment and i may be better of spending this money on improving my riding skills and technique.

A big thanks goes out to Chris at for letting me ride one of his bikes,



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