Sea Otter: Bonkers Jump Bikes and Syndicate team machines.

Way back when, in the early-mid days of mountain biking, things weren’t as simple. Riders would hunt around to find the best combination of frame, fork, shifters, cranks and wheels to suit them, perhaps dipping into the exotic world of the small-batch CNC jewellery coming out of the States. Now it’s far simpler to get a bike off the shelf, or a frame and then a stock groupset and one of a couple of choices of forks.

This seems to apply to most people, but those riders at the edge of the sport are still looking for every advantage they can get – be it Peaty’s World Championship winning bike, or the bikes below from the likes of dirt jumpers Aaron Chase and Jamie Goldman… We love checking them out and seeing what bonkers thing they’ve come up with in the name of progress, or convenience.

First up is Aaron Chase’s Cannondale jump bike. Yes, that’s a Cannondale Lefty fork in place of the top tube… It keeps the back end tight and direct, but allows 3in of give on landings.

There's a whole lot of crazy here. Lefty top tube, singlespeed, single brake (with super steep lever angles) and a great lack of tyre tread. Definitely a specialist machine.

There's even a rebound dial on the top tube.

And now on to the Syndicate’s Jamie Goldman… He’s taken frame customisation to some fair limits…

Have goggles, will jump...

Some stiff rubber, jubilee-clipped to the BB shell means that Jamie's cranks won't rotate in mid air and will still be where he expects them to be when he comes in to land.

A drilled King headset cap allows the front brake cable through the steerer tube. Rockshox now makes a production kit for this application.

Yes, it's a Santa Cruz Blur LT front end with a carbon LTc back end. Jamie did want to use a full carbon bike (how's that for confidence in carbon?)...

...but couldn't get the saddle low enough. On this alloy frame, he cuts the seat tube down to the top tube weld so that he can get the seat clamp as low as possible.

If you're good, you get your name on your bike...

While we were at the Syndicate pits we checked out Mr Peat’s new ride…

Blackbox brake levers with Matchmaker bolt-on XO shifters.

Peaty forgoes his red and blue grip end caps for Syndicate black ones. Carbon Blackbox Elixirs.

If you're the World Champ, you might as well have the stripes. New Edge carbon rims for this year for the Syndicate too. Riders (and mechanics) were all very positive about them.

Love the 'World Champion' sticker.

Steve is running the new Rockshox Vivid air shock. Early reports are very good.

Steve's mechanic Ricky Bobby works to get the bike just-so

Is that skateboard legend Rob Roskopp in the background?

Also in the pit was Cedric Gracia's new team V10 (with sponsored riders-only green Hope brakes too)