15 minutes avec le Wingman Kenny Belaey !
15 minutos con Kenny "Wingman" Belaey!

15 minutes with the Wingman Kenny Belaey!

Friday 28 December 2012
by Jebegood
popularity : 13%

JPEG - 25.5 kb The quadruple World Champion Kenny Belaey joined this year the prestigious GT Team. This is a turn in the career of the most titled and most mediatic rider in trials mountain biking... "It’s a dream come true" he told us on the day after this big sign-up. With that move, Kenny is also joining another mythical world champion, Hans "no way" Rey and a family of famous mountain biking champions and pioneers. This new Wingman surely needed a bike and GT is presently working with him on a bike trials frame prototype, tailor made for its "Magician". He presented to us a few photos of this proto about ten days ago (see Le proto GT de Kenny Belaey).

We sent 15 questions to Kenny to know more about his bike, about the health of this great champion who just underwent wrist surgery, about his 2013 projects. He answered us in 15 minutes... Enjoy the reading …. and Kenny please come back to us quick !

Tribal Interview

PNG - 1.3 Mb Hi Kenny, first off, we wish you a prompt recovery after your wrist surgery, it’s always very tough for a champion to not be able to exercise your favorite activity, your passion, your job ! How do you feel?

Hi, I am doing great, thanks for asking. The first day when they told me I needed surgery again, I felt very bad about it, My world collapsed … My future plans and ambition for winter needed to adapt again for the sake of recovery. I was down for a bit but the next day I accepted it and adapted to the situation. I am going to gym every day, sometimes twice and even three times a day so I am staying fit, even fitter as other years. I am also working much more than before on my explosive moves on my legs. Something I never did before so this situation might be in my favor after all. I am making the best out of it… but I miss my bike.

When do you expect to be back on the bike? Most of us realize that the wrist is a delicate part and recovery takes time. In hindsight, don’t you think you began biking a little too early after your first surgery?

16/01 I have a first CT scan and I think I will have to immobilize for another month minimum after that. I don’t want to take any risk at all. And if I am not ready for 20/4 I will not ride, I don’t want to put my shows and projects in danger because of competition, that is the reality. JPEG - 107.7 kb

And yes I took my bike too early last time but the doctor decided that I could. He analyzed it wrong… Trials is not a normal job you know… That screw he put in just wasn’t strong enough to hold the pieces of bone together. I visited a second doctor in November, a very famous one amongst athletes and he said it was a classic mistake to judge a scaphoid on a normal scan but in needed a CT scan, where you can see much more…I was in pain for several months, even in Japan and so on when I was riding on the tower and later on in South Africa… I thought ’this isn’t normal’ so had surgery again...

A Scaphoid is a bone with only 1 vain that transports blood from one side to the other and that’s why it heals so bad. The second time they took bone from my hip, added a very expensive product that costs 5000euro (thank you insurance) and I wear 12h a day a device that produces a magnetic field so the chance that it heals goes from 75% to 90%…

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Cool. Good luck Kenny ! Well, the big news of the moment is your new GT; can you speak to us about your bike, starting with the choice of geometry?

I always liked 1085mm bikes but I had to adapt it to the high BB standard for more clearance so this is why. Not too long, not too short. I am an allround rider and need an allround bike.

What about the rear wheel tensioners?

The wheel tensioners come from the world of BMX but I will change it to the classic system and will drill holes in the frame to add little screws for the snailcams. It’s too fragile like this and not good for trials. It was a good try though...

Looks like your stem is a 175mm, with a raised Trialtech handlebar, well forward... You tried this configuration already ; it seems extreme, isn’t it?

This is still the same setup from the Ozonys…maybe it will be too long for this bike. I tried this stem after my injury in Aalter so I would be higher up, which was to reduce the weight on my wrist...

Ta priorité dans la conception de ce vélo, on voit clairement que c’est la rigidité du boitier, cela doit être clairement un bout de bois, qui n’a rien à envier à un Curve... avec ce triple tubage central ! I suppose your brother must test the bike a little, doesn’t he?

Yes, my brother says it’s really phenomenal the way it responds to pedalkicks, something I noticed in the Curve too with it’s 2 tubes going to the rear. That is why I asked GT to have the same

JPEG - 93.1 kb As we saw this design has been through some kind of debate on facebook... It clearly reminds us about the old Koxx Giaco... There was even a little disagreement between our quadruple World Champions …

It was only Gilles and his friends who started saying ’it’s an old Coust’. We never had the intention to copy any bike… Iast year I showed the engineer a picture of the Curve with the 2 tubes going to the rear and because we wanted triple triangle we decided to add one more tube to the front… Very simple and logic in fact. I totally forgot about the Coust bikes to be honest and when I looked up pictures of the Coust and Koxx Coust I had to admit there was some kind of similarities but if you imagine my bike painted for example with other stickers they would have never started this discussion I’m sure. They over reacted in public and everyone was laughing at it more or less, it wasn’t important neither. There was never really a fight between Gilles and me, we were just fooling around, not sure people got the humor side of it. I have no problems with Gilles. As a matter in fact: this frame was only made to check the Geometry, nothing more. The final model will possibly be totally different. I am looking forward to that and GT’s general manager said that they want to innovate, let’s see what and when they come up with.

For you this frame does not find its origins in the models that were developed by the Coust but in GT’s triple-triangle concept which made GT famous? Can you explain to us so that we better understand the relationship between your frame and the GT Triple Triangle concept ?

The idea of triple triangle is to have…3 triangles :) and we have them. That’s it that’s all. OK, on a XC bike it’s possible to have the rear tube to go all the way to the seatpost but as there is no seatpost we decided to only have 3 triangles …. = Triple triangle.

A few words about the head tube without hole, it’s a little counter to the current trends?

Again, this is NOT a finished model. This is a prototype to test the geometry…It’s their first bike so they are not going to invest in complicated machinery just to test a geometry. We have to give them time and not expect a glassfiber trialsbike … We have to stay realistic and first of all be happy a brand like GT wants to make trial frames !

The rear tire: it looks like a new tire from Continental, the Rubber, with iron bead... few words on your tires?

This is the prototype of the Rammstein models. It’s a mix between the Rubber Queen and the Kaiser. I like it !

Naked frame is announced to weigh 1600 grs, quite light! How about the complete bike?

I haven’t weigh it yet but it must be similar to the Curve as it’s the same setup !

JPEG - 618.8 kb From a long term perspective, is this bike designed for the Wingman and noone else, or is there an objective to produce a series of GT trial frames, which would be huge for our discipline... At the same time, trials is a rather “small” market for a brand like GT, who’s one of the biggest names in MTB/BMX... Is there an intention for GT to go in that direction?

I will start to ride it and when the world of trialriders show their interest they will manufacture for sales but for now it’s only there for me but I hope the trialriders will show their interest... It would be cool to see it in their catalogue !

Now when I visited GT’s website, I found you in good place on the "riders" page, first of the "Wingmen", it’s amazing isn’t it? A dream come true! ( see Team GT Wingmen / Kenny Belaey)

I’m very honored to be amongst those big names of the bike industry and it opens many doors in the USA for me, A country I always liked, even from childhood, with many possibilities where they understand business like no where else in the world. I like that… So, yes it’s a dream come true !

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JPEG - 230.8 kb Next year will you continue to manage Jack Carthy ? Which bike will he ride on? Still a Koxx? Is German Champion Hannes Hermann also riding for you?

Yes, Jack will ride Koxx… Hannes decided to ride for another shop, we are still very good friends of course! We signed for 5 years and he knows we at Enter-bike.com can open many doors for him because of the hundreds of contacts I gathered throughout my career… I want to share this with talents like Jack in the future, especially when I will focus on my projects and shows only in a couple of years, it will be good to share my experience with passionate and motivated people like him. I feel that Jack respects and know what we can do for him and I’m also sure he will not turn his back on me once we launched him… That’s the only reason I want to work with him too but as long I ride against him in World cups, it will be the law of the strongest ;). It’s maybe a weird situation to manage a rider you are competing against in the same time, but tell me… ’what is normal about trials? We have to invest and think out of the box collectively ’ Like Richard Branson’s latest book says it ’SCREW BUSINESS AS USUAL’ ;)

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We will see what time brings us but I’m sure it will work out just fine... We have our first project together very soon. He will do shows on the Brussels car show in January with Wesley, so it’s already paying off for everybody… I like to create win win situations and it will make the sport only bigger and better in the future.

The day of today a competition trialsrider has to do everything himself if he wants to be respected by the media and his sponsors. I mean, like in my position: I have to train while managing myself whenever I got a couple of minutes free, organize a world cup with all the hassles of funding and when I want to have it on TV they expect you to make your own TV production and give it to them etc etc… My dream is to see professional teams, big events, to attract sponsors and give riders like Jack the opportunity to only ride his bike and focus on what is really important which is training.

JPEG - 81.9 kb Few words on the next episode of Kenny Belaey’s Bigtime Trial Adventure, which should air soon on Extreme TV: will your focus be on the 2012 World Cup, on the race side and behind the scenes? Any update on the broadcast dates?

There is no real date available, they are busy translating the whole thing which takes time. The idea to have this TV show is because The Extreme Sportschannel wasn’t interested in having the same footage as the webcast on Extreme.com so last minute I had to go and brainstorm about a way to make 2 world cups attractive for a documentary and find funding for it. The result is a look behind the scene and many interviews with some of my colleague competitors. The reaction at the avant premiere 22/12 was very positive. The whole world will see trials at it’s best and purest… I’m already planning for another episode but it won’t be about competitions this time… Stay tuned !

On that, we wish you a happy holiday season with Fien and your family, and all the best for 2013!

Same to you, thanks for giving people like myself the opportunity to share my stories to other trialriders. Happy holidays to Tribalzine and all my fans ! See you in the sections next year!

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Photos credit : Kenny Belaey, Cameron Baird, Mathias Lambrecht, Dimitrie Deman, Marco Patrizi.

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