Pro Bike Check: Stephan Koch’s ROTWILD R.E1 FS 27.5
Pros aren’t the only riders to have fancy bikes, as anyone who works in the bike industry often owns a pretty special ride too. A while back we presented Specialized’s marketing manager Sebastian’s bike [read it here] and this time we’ve drafted in Stephan Koch, one of ROTWILD’s sales reps to take a closer look at his whip.
Servus Christoph! You could perhaps called me a proper mountain fanatic as I grew up in the Chiemgau Alps. Most of my childhood was spent focused on skiing, and working my way up through the various levels of the ski association. This sport and my job at Rotwild fit together brilliantly and so I’m able to make a living doing what matters most to me in life. There’s nothing more relaxing than standing on a mountain summit. Having an eight-year-old son is incredible for me as he shares my love of nature and the mountains.
As mountain biking became more and more of a passion for me, I got the job in the bike industry. I already had roots in the sport of skiing but because I preferred to work in a branch that didn’t recognize me as an athlete, the bike industry was the closest option. I started out in a local bike shop and then progressed via Formula Brakes to ROTWILD. No matter what company I work for I’m always emotionally attached to them and that’s really important to me. I have to be doing something that excites me.
The passion for skiing – what’s the score here?
Like I said, my sporting roots lie in skiing and I was most successful when I was part of the Fischer International Freeride Team. The Ski Cross World Cup events were my main focus. And my first races were actually the Eurosport YOZ Games – such a cool time! I’m actually still an ambassador for a large retail chain as well as Völkl. I think it’s super important to keep up with other branches and build bridges between various sports.
You’re quite a competitive guy so it doesn’t surprise us that we’ve seen you on the start line of several enduro races. Have you got any particular plans or goals for this season?
Yes, that’s certainly true. I don’t think I know of any athletes who could fully let go and hang up their start number. It’s an irreplaceable and inimitable feeling to stand on a start line, feeling your heart beat furiously in your chest. This year I’ve even sorted myself out with a BDR license for the German Cycling Federation, so I’ll definitely be taking part in the odd few enduro races. The season will probably kick off at the end of April in Punta Ala. I really rate the TrailTrophy races as I’m a big fan of races that can be done without training. Goals are naturally very personal things, but of course I’d like to be fast and get on the Masters podium once or twice. But I mainly see enduro as a truly exciting opportunity to ride in new places on amazing trails and get to know new people. I’m really excited to be riding in the AMG-Rotwild Team with Stefan Kudella (DH/Enduro), a new/old rider who’ll ride a couple of races with me. What’s more, our girls Sophia and Nadine are super keen on enduro, so we’ll see if they find space in their schedule to line up on any start lines. After all, riding as a team is much more fun.
You’ve been at Rotwild for a few years now. Tell us about this year’s bike and how it has evolved from the one you rode last year!
Our collections don’t change annually, and there are always small details or personal tastes that lead you to alter your bike. Since 2014, our E1 27.5 enduro bike is really sophisticated and even in the standard build it’s a great ride. I’ve chosen a bigger frame for this year – instead of size L, I’ll ride an XL with a shorter stem this season. I’ve swapped my flat handlebars to a model with 0.5″ rise. The brakes are definitely the most exciting feature on my bike. I’ve been riding with Formula for a long time and I’ve worked out exactly how to tune these to my tastes. I actually ride with the lightweight R1 Racing brakes. On the front I’ve mounted the more stable T1 disc brake caliper. This works brilliantly with the dual-piston 180mm disc brake and sintered pads. The feel and stability are perfect for me like this. Other than this I don’t compromise on anything. For starters, the bike has to be durable in order to avoid any mechanical issues – after all, I want to ride rather than work on it constantly.
Merci for the interview!
Stephan’s Rotwild R.E1 FS 27.5 in detail:
For more information on Rotwild’s bikes visit: rotwild.de
Words & Pictures: Christoph Bayer