CX Pro Bike Check: Bombtrack Tension C carbon cross bike of Gosse van der Meer
We caught up with Dutch cyclocrosser Gosse van der Meer a couple weeks back at the first round of the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup in Tábor, and got a close look at his new Bombtrack Tension C race bikes. While Gossinki isn’t quite as big of a name as some other pro, it’s interesting to see the much more attainable race bike setup of a rider ranked 50th by the UCI…
Gosse van der Meer’s 2021 Bombtrack Tension C carbon cyclocross bike
Gosse van der Meer doesn’t have quite the international name recognition of the other top-tier Vans that were on the start line in Tábor – like Vanthourenhout, Van Aert, Van der Haar & fellow Dutchman Van Kessel who rounded out 4 of the top 6 finishers. But it’s pretty likely that you know the names of his two biggest sponsors – Bombtrack bikes & Hunt wheels, both known for more affordable gear that what we might be used to seeing on a World Cup start line.
Self-managed and riding on his own (while a full-time university student, too) Gosse still managed a personal World Cup best finish in Tábor, pushing himself up the pro rankings – riding a new Tension C…
2021 Bombtrack Tension C – Tech details
Last year Bombtrack updated the carbon version of their race-dedicated Tension cross bike with a reshaped bike that ditched the old wishbone rear end, dropping the seatstays down the seattube for extra tire clearance & comfort, also making the switch to a T47 bottom bracket. For 2021 the Tension C is mostly unchanged, besides the fancy new turquoise blue & gold paint scheme and minor spec updates.
The hi-mod T700/800 full carbon frame & fork are built around World Cup race proven cyclocross geometry (see racing photos, herein), and features core modern standards like 12mm thru-axles, flat mount disc brakes, modular internal cable routing, a tapered steerer with integrated headset, 27.2mm seatpost, and 1x & 2x drivetrain compatibility. And of course that nice, new T47 BB.
Bombtrack’s 2021 Tension C carbon cyclocross bike is available now in 5 sizes, in just one stock build for 3800€.
Gosse’s pro race setup is actually affordable!
Gosse’s professional race bike build is pretty close to what comes stock on the Bombtrack, making for a more affordable setup that most pro bikes. Even though it has been around for quite a while now, the SRAM Force 1×11 group is perfectly capable of running with the big dogs at the top of CX racing… no need to upgrade.
Running an almost completely stock drivetrain & cockpit, including the standard Force 1 carbon crank with 40T direct mount chainring & 11-36 cassette, Gosse’s setup is mostly just a testament to Bombtrack’s race-ready spec of this bike. The Tension C isn’t cheap really, but it also doesn’t seem to cut corners either.
Other than rolling stock & where he plants hit butt, Gosse pretty much only upgrades the stock anti-rust KMC X11 chain to this ever so slightly lighter X11SL ti nitride gold chain.
Yes, he runs carbon tubulars rather than the stock alloy Hunt 4 Season Disc wheels that come on the stock bike. But those 420€ alloy wheels with their tubeless Grifo tires will make a solid set of training wheels. And these lightweight 30mm deep x 25mm wide Hunt 30 Carbon CX Disc Tubular wheels aren’t really that expensive at 869€ for the set.
Curiously, one place where Gosse deviates from the stock SRAM setup is in his mullet brake rotor arrangement. He sticks with regular 160mm rotors, and swaps them around a bit to get the feel he prefers. His number 1 race bike picked a Shimano IceTech front rotor for its better bite & heat management, then swaps in lighter low-cost rotors out back.
Living the privateer professional race life, Gosse’s stock of many tubular wheels is already a mix of different generations, so sometimes it comes down to which hubset will fit a centerlock rotor, and which is 6-bolt.
One unique constant is Gosse’s shapely worn-in Selle SMP Blaster saddles, with tubular stainless steel rails. He has raced for years on the drop-nosed ergonomic mountain bike saddle with its full-length cut out, and swears by it for comfort & durability in the on-again, off-again cyclocross life.
Bombtrack lists official tire clearance at 37mm for the Tension C which offers plenty of room for UCI-approved 33mm race tires. Gosse’s all-rounder tire of choice is Challenge’s Grifo TE 33 tubulars, mounted on a set of lightweight 30mm deep x 25mm wide Hunt 30 Carbon CX Disc Tubular wheels.
He most often races on the new extra supple 350tpi, Pro-only Team Edition Red coated cotton tubulars that we featured last week – which are (were) available for consumers to buy for an ultra limited time. TODAY is the last day to get your hands on these exclusive race-proven tubulars! Full details here!
Gosse van der Meer, aka Gossinki, is a 25-year-old Frisian-Dutch rider who raced for years as an un and coming rider on bigger trade teams in the heart of the Dutch & Belgian cross scene. But wanting more flexibility to pursue his studies and race when & where he wanted, he set out to create his own one-an team a few years ago. Dedicated & focused, he managed to complete a Bachelor’s degree program in geography while racing, and has already started to work on his Masters studies this fall in between races & training.
Gosse’s racing is supported by Bombtrack & Hunt who keep him outfitted with a small fleet of carbon Tensions and plenty of tubular wheels. And there is of course Challenge with those shiny red tires.
No huge race budget here, Gosse drives his own old Hymer motorhome around Europe to race. And you’ll find a mix of 2020 & 2021 bikes in the pit being managed by his small mechanic/supporter team.
And with so many different tire tread patterns to be ready for any given racing conditions, it’s not uncommon to mix up the Team Edition tires on his pit bikes.
But all of that said, without the budget to fly a private jet from Belgium to the Czech Republic (yes, that’s how Wout van Aert & several other big names made it to the race on Sunday morning!)…
Gosse still managed to turned in a World Cup personal best of 29th place in the Elite men’s race on his affordable Bombtrack Tension, nothing to scoff about…
So every one of our cyclocross Pro Bike Checks doesn’t need to be complete Dura-Ace Di2 and some giant bike brand. If you put in the hard work you can race a bike designed by passionate cyclist from small companies too.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out @Gossinki on Instagram if you want the full behind-the-scenes pro race experience. Or to see if you can understand the ‘Spatial Engineering’ he’s studying now. It’s over my head.