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Marco’s debut off the Black Snake, the trail traced by Pippo for PRO riders, using the e-bike designed and create by Stefano.

15 August, 2020

Val di Sole is known throughout the world as the land of mountain biking. Downhill, crosscountry, 4cross, World Championship, World Cup…

Everything that has to do with the world of high-level fat wheels has passed through these paths, has crossed these woods.
It is the ideal place for bicycle enthusiasts to spend a hot day in mid-August.

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Marco MelandriPippo Marani and Stefano Migliorini, an explosive trio. They have been knowing each other for almost thirty years now, ever since they raced together in BMX.

Marco was the youngest, no one imagined the incredible career he would soon undertake in the world of motorcycles. He followed with admiration Stefano, older than him, who became World Champion at the age of 17, a champion of that discipline at that time.

Pippo, the eldest, was already a point of reference in the bicycle environment, paternal, big heart and great passion for cycling.


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A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.

Marco has become the great motorcycle rider everyone knows, World Champion of the 250 class, Italian record holder of victories in the Superbike World Championship.

Stefano, after having been an Italian DH pro for years, has worked a lot in the bicycle industry and today he is the CEO and father of THOK E-Bikes.

Pippo, guardian of the history of MTB in our country, is the most famous Italian trail builder, known worldwide for his DH tracks, first of all the dreaded “Black Snake”, a World Cup course in which technique and physicality have put in line all the most famous bikers.


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They all followed different roads in life, but the common passion for cycling has made them meet again here in Commezzadura, now that Marco, having abandoned motorbike races, has decided to return to cycling. E-biking actually, and not on a random ebike. A THOK bike from Miglio, who used to carry him around on his shoulders years ago.

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The reason for this gathering is Marco’s debut off the Black Snake. His first time along the path, traced by Pippo for professionals riders, with the bike designed and created by Stefano, who grew and was formed in that type of track.

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At the start of the Black Snake the three are riding a THOK.

Marco is on his MIG, the one he uses to train and compete in ebike competitions, his new passion. Geometries and equipment mostly standard, Marco has customized the MIG with SUNTOUR suspension with 30% SAG (very soft given its lightness), SRAM X01 12-speed -11/50 rear gearbox, SRAM Code brakes, tires Schwalbe “Magic Mary”, characterized by soft compound, DH carcass, with Tecnomousse inside and pressure 1.2 bar at the front and 1.5 at the rear. The engine is the SHIMANO E8000, with setting: LOW on ECO assistance so as not to consume too much battery; MEDIUM on TRAIL to support pedaling without affecting too much the athletic gesture; HIGH on the BOOST, to overrun the steepest and most technical points without wasting precious physical energy.

Pippo, on the other hand, does not use his MIG today, but tries the new MIG 2.0, presented by THOK in June. The size M that Miglio brought him is great for him, but being the leader of the “strays” (the glories of DH of the 90s), used to “ride on sight” and adapting to all conditions, he lets himself go well also the SAG a little too soft for its weight.

Finally, Stefano is on his TK01 Ltd, he takes the opportunity to try out new components to be used in the production TK01, first of all the new SHIMANO EP8 engine just delivered to him by the Japanese company.

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At the starting gate which, a symbol of the Val di Sole bike world, reproduces a small chalet typical of those areas, there is a bit of tension, but the head is still that of the kids of thirty years ago.

Then, with euphoria, one after the other they throw themselves out of the starter. Marco and Stefano overcome the first road gap and enter the woods, followed by Pippo who enjoys the route more calmly.

This first section is characterized by natural obstacles: jumps, stones, holes and steep bends often in counter-slope put all three to the test.

Stefano and Marco struggle but bring home the result: they have well customized the setting of their bicycles.

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Marco has been using the MIG for a year now and knows he can tackle the descent safely thanks to the low center of gravity and the short wagon that helps him to get out of the tightest and steepest corners with agility.

Stefano finally has the chance to test the TK01 on a really challenging course. It makes the enduro suspensions work thoroughly, which turn out to be a godsend especially in the “badly battered”.

The new TCG Plus elongated geometry with lowered standover makes the bike stable and manageable, and the steering area characterized by the new head tube tapered 1.8 ensures driving precision and therefore safety and fun.

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Pippo follows them, satisfied and satisfied, enjoying observing how the two pupils interpret his creation.

Arriving at the mythical stretch of the “Teo Dog Stone”, the most technical, steep and physical, famous for its high natural stairways, disconnected and crossed by intertwining roots and rocks, they are forced to stop to evaluate clearly where to pass.

The head will also be that of 30 years ago, but the body follows another path and knows that recovering from disastrous falls today is not as immediate as it was then.

After having reasoned well, they get back on the saddle to face the stretch of the rock garden in focus (heroic choice but certainly not very prudent) and “Prà dei Moser” which leads to the jump “dell’ecatombe”, so called because it lands on a compression that fires above, famous for knocking out many athletes during Cup races.

Marco has recently started riding his bike again but you can see that he “has hair” and is accustomed to speed: he faces all obstacles in the saddle and jumps without fear, sometimes led by Stefano who, also thanks to the 170 mm excursion than TK01, it is easier to tackle this type of decidedly extreme path.

The Black Snake gives no respite: short flat stretch and then off, inside “the Hell” (“hell” – the name says it all) and, later, the “Pippo Jump”, which leads to the final curves before the arrival. The first to face is the “corner Hill”, which owes its name to having made Sam Hill lose the world championship in 2008 when he was World Champion in office. The compression shot him off the track.

Final straight and jump to the finish line.

The arrival finally!

The adrenaline is at its peak, Stefano, Marco and Pippo laugh and make fun of each otherthey are very excited and satisfied for having completed one of the hardest Downhill courses in the world.

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The THOKs performed well, Stefano made some fundamental decisions for setting up the production TK01 and is also satisfied with the new EP8 engine.
Passion for two wheels, dust, dirt, sweat, bloody cuts… THOK are born from all this.

A beer rinsing the bikes, while they continue to laugh and joke about the feat of the day and looking back on past years.

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