The Budget Bike That Nearly Beat Pinarello | Rockrider’s 940S of Joshua Dubau

by | May 19, 2023 | Bike Check, Bike, Bike Racing News, Events, Sports, UCI MTB World Series 2023

Being the first XCO World Cup of the season, the racing at Nove Mesto was bound to cough up some surprises and wildcard performances. With so much talk around Tom Pidcock’s presence at the event and his record of wins there, one of the biggest stories from the weekend had to be that of Joshua Dubau, the french athlete for Rockrider Ford Racing Team, who nearly beat Tom Pidcock in the XCO finals.

We’re going to take a look at the Rockrider bike, team, and rider in a little more detail. You can refresh yourself on the weekend’s racing below!

Nove Mesto World Cup Highlights Men XCO
Nove Mesto World Cup Highlights Women XCO

A little bit about Rockrider

You may be familiar with Decathlon, the french sporting goods retailer. It is the largest sporting goods retailer in the world, in fact, with 2080 stores in 56 countries. Rockrider is their in-house bike brand that they manufacture and retail.

The brand is very much positioned at the mass market and budget minded buyer. For context, their most expensive bike in France is a Carbon 120mm XC bike with RockShox suspension, GX AXS drivetrain, and Reynold Carbon Wheels. It retails for 4000 Euros. For that spec, it is undoubtedly on the low end of the price curve. As a reference: a Cannondale Scalpel 4 without lefty, specced with NX Drivetrain and alloy wheels retails for over 4000 Euros.

Rockrider'S Prototype 940S Cross Country Mountain Bike
An all French affair. (c) Rockrider Ford Racing Team

Rockrider Ford Racing Team

The team, which was also present at the World Cup in 2022, has gained a sponsorship from Ford, the automotive industry giant, for 2023. This could be a sign of big companies from outside the bike industry returning to the sport of mountain biking as part of their marketing campaigns and could serve to bump things up a notch significantly if all goes well. Matt Wragg wrote an interesting little piece about the team’s sponsorship from Ford and what it might mean for the sport on As for the start of their 2023 season, they have hit it with a bang!

Joshua Dubau

The french team’s Joshua Dubau, who placed 2nd at the Nove Mesto World Cup XCO, was a 2 X World Cup champion in the u23 category back in 2018. He placed 10th at two World Cup XCO races in 2021 racing for Rockrider and seems to have unlocked another level of performance in 2023 aboard the prototype 940S bike! He was composed on track all weekend and handles the difficult conditions with clinical precision, avoiding crashes and slipping tires where the likes of Tom Pidcock and Nino Schurter weren’t.

Joshua Dubau Aboard The Rockrider 940S Prototype
Joshua Dubau charging hard at the UCI XCO World Cup in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic on May 14, 2023 (c) Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

The bike being raced by the team is a prototype model that is due to be available publicly before the end of the year (ahead of the Pinarello Dogma XC). And on that note, let’s take a look at the bike.

What we know about the Rockrider 940S

The pre-production bike being raced by the Rockrider Ford team is a carbon full suspension bike specced with Manitou suspension, SRAM AXS Transmission drivetrain, Mavic Crossmax wheels, and Hutchinson tires.

Rockrider'S Prototype 940S Cross Country Mountain Bike
The bike that nearly bested the Pinarello Dogma XC. (c) Rockrider Ford Racing Team

The flexible seatstays have a twist in them that is supposed to focus the flex to a particular point on the stay, refining the kinematics more than if that flex was more spread out. The bike appears to be designed around 120mm of travel front and rear just as the model the team raced last year was. This is a little more than Pidcock and PFP were sporting on the Pinarello at 100mm.

Rockrider'S Prototype 940S Cross Country Mountain Bike
Note the twist in the seat stays. (c) Rockrider

Aside from that, there is not a lot of info out on the bike’s geometry and other details. We are definitely stoked to see another suspension brand challenging for podium positions at the World Cup. Manitou, SR Suntour, Ohlins, and others are taking the fight to Fox and RockShox! Competition without a doubt breeds excellence and is good for us as consumers.

The fastest bikes at the XC World Cup

We ran through all there is to know about Pinarello’s Dogma XC that podiumed under Pidock and Ferrand-Prevot earlier this week. It is a full suspension XC race bike with flexible seatstays to generate 90 or 100mm of rear travel, the frame designed to be extremely stiff around the bottom bracket, and is being raced with prototype automated damping suspension from SR Suntour.

An interesting little trend that I spotted among the top performing bikes in both the men’s and women’s races is that they all had top tube mounted suspension that was driven by a single pivot system with flexible seatstays. The Canyon Lux (1st and 3rd women’s XCO), Pinarello Dogma XC and the Rockrider 940S all have very similar silhouettes and were just about inseparable on pace during the racing.

Puck Pieterse'S Canyon Lux Mountain Bike
Puck Pieterse and her Canyon Lux on the podium. (c) Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool

Now of course the legs driving the bike and the head managing those legs has a lot more say than the bike does on performance but it was interesting to note nonetheless. We’ll see how these designs perform throughout the season, maybe there’s a bigger trend to be spotted?

Some Rockrider hype!

What we have learned

In essence, what we learned from Josh Dubau’s performance aboard the Rockrider 940S is that it isn’t the fanciest of bikes that make us fast, the real difference lies in one’s skill and training. Spending money on a performance or skills coach will do much more for your riding experience than an oil slick chain or fancy lightweight cranks, as nice as those things are to have!

Apart from that, there are big things ahead for the sport of mountain biking as we see Ford step into the ring with hopefully more outside-the-industry companies to follow. We are in for a good season of mountain bike racing, that is for sure.

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