The Pros' coach - Olly Morris interview
21 April 2023
By Josh Lambert
We spoke with Olly Morris about racing, coaching the pros and the fastest Enduro bike he’s ever ridden.
For those who frequent the muddy shores of taped tracks, revelling in the technical and blistering speed of the modern downhill and enduro scene, Olly Morris needs no introduction. For those that don’t, Olly is not only a world class racer, who features in some of the world's biggest events, but also the coach and mentor to some of the UK’s biggest up and coming racing stars.
And what does this speed guru ride when he throws down on the global circuit? Well, when he stopped by the Saddleback HQ, Olly brought two of his podium winning bikes, including the ‘fastest enduro bike he’s ever ridden’, along for a deep dive into the intricacies of going fast, the mindset it demands and what the future holds.
The bike that carried Bernard Kerr to the top step at Hardline and Jenna Hastings into the rainbow stripes of a UCI World champion, the Phoenix 29 has proven itself on the steepest, most technical tracks on the world circuit.
Olly has taken his to the podium too, despite only recently swinging a leg over it. Planted, balanced and a purveyor of unadulterated speed, this big-hitting 29er changes direction as if it were reading the mind of its rider.
Notoriously fussy with his setup, Olly brought in suspension masters Sprung Suspension to tune the shock and add three volume tokens, bringing the total to five and topping up the can to a rounded 215psi – perfect for Olly’s riding weight in full kit.
The forks have had similar attention paid to them, and their pressure upped to 86-88psi, depending on track conditions, with three volume tokens, eschewing the World Cup riders' preferred four.
Be sure to watch the video to understand Olly’s reasonings behind the setup on both bikes.
"Just fast." This was the first thought Olly had when discussing this incredible enduro slaying machine. There may be bikes that are lighter, and maybe some that can handle big hits better, but the power of the Firebird is that, where those bikes compromise to be the best at one thing, the Firebird excels at all aspects of big travel riding.
It's impossibly fast through the corners, agile on the climbs and planted amidst chattering roots and off-camber slop. The proof is in the podium, however, and its value in this respect has once again been proven by Olly, something he achieved not two days after he collected the bike from Saddleback HQ.
It was picked up on a Thursday, taken for a quick spin on the Friday, between the tape on Saturday and on the top step by the Sunday. Not a bad start to the new relationship!
Mirroring the Phoenix with its setup, to keep the feeling of both bikes as similar as possible, the fork on this bike is almost identical to the triple clamps on the Phoenix, and where it differs is in its use of fast, two volume tokens in the shock.