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Dom Knight's Custom 161

Back in January 2019, our Graphic Designer Dom Knight raised the question to Sam (Brand Manager) “be pretty sick to jump the Whistler Train Gap on a Privateer no?"

We started to loosely mess around with the idea, could we build up a 161 to suit Dom’s upcoming summer season in Whistler Bike Park? However, for various reasons, the idea never really made it past those initial conversations and the thought laid buried for a year and a half…

However, like all good plans, its time would come. Thinking it’d be a great way to test the bike in a different way, newly joined Strategy Manager Mike Sanderson got the project back on track, highlighting a new perspective of how a 161 can be ridden.

For some background, Dom is part of the Rider Firm Family, so alongside design work for Privateer Bikes, he’s also behind our sister brands such as Hunt Bike Wheels, Dissent 133 and Cairn Cycles too. It's not just his style and abilities as a designer that brought us together, we’ve always been huge fans of his riding, which inevitably led us to a project such as this.

Aim of the project.

With the concept of this bike now at the forefront of our minds, we wanted to outline exactly what we wanted to learn from building this bike, other than giving Dom a Privateer to test and ride for his style of riding.

A key point was to showcase a new perception on how our bikes are ridden, Dom isn't necessarily a rider we market our 161 bikes too, however having seen what Evil and Yeti bikes had done with their 160 mm travel bikes, we were more than confident that the Privateer was up to the challenge. It was how we set the bike up correctly for Dom which we had to work on.

Testing this concept also stirred up the idea of a purpose-built Privateer DH bike, 201 anyone?

Photo by: Henry Page - First hits on the new bike up Dom’s local as seen in the Instagram video above.

The below photo is the initial build of the 161 in its rawest state and you can clearly see we combined two Privateers together. The team in the Privateer workshop, despite their busy schedules, were kind enough to find some time to build the bike up with a few spare parts lying around. Big shout out to Dave, Phil and Dan for organising and having the patience to not only build the bike but play around with the set-up whilst the bike was being tested on.ack in January 2019, our Graphic Designer Dom Knight raised the question to Sam (Brand Manager) “be pretty sick to jump the Whistler Train Gap on a Privateer no?"

First Ride

We had a couple of challenges from the get-go, initially, it was convincing Dom that he most likely would have to ride 29-inch wheels. Which to say he wasn’t keen on would be an understatement! As a man that had trouble moving on from 26-inch wheels to 27.5’s, we knew we had a lot of testing and experimenting to do to convince him.

"I had played around with the 161 before but not much, I’m not an Enduro rider by any means and I’ve never been fussed about going for a pedal so I hadn’t actually spent a lot of time on the 161.
I was a little nervous committing all this effort, time and support from the guys I work alongside in creating a bike that I may not even love the feel of. We played around with set-up, for this was the first time I had anyone behind me questioning me and working with me to set up a bike of mine, I’m pretty useless to be honest so it was mint having that support.”

The 29’s were for me the biggest issue, I was scared I just wasn’t going to be able to manoeuvre the bike with as much ease in the air, you hear all the pros and cons of their size, but none of the pros I had heard of actually seemed to connect with me. I can’t tell you how long I spent scanning Instagram and looking for riders that somewhat ride in a similar way that I do to see what wheel sizes they were running. I think for me what changed my whole perspective on my enthusiasm on 29’s is Commencal’s ‘Hurricane’ edit ft. Thomas Estaque and Hugo Frixtalon. Those boys shred!

I had opted for a P2 frame but there was talk of throwing on a P3 rear end to add a little more stability to the bike from where we had to adjust the front end a little to suit the fox 40’s. We had to bring the 200mm 40’s down to 190mm to bring everything level a bit, it actually rode alright with the 200mm’s but I wanted to be a little more over the front."

"I was so far out of my comfort zone with this, I had no idea what to expect riding this thing! I wanted to try out how I felt on it, both riding fast downhill and how it felt in the air before we changed anything else. So it was off to Surrey Hills!

I had spent a few weeks prior up on my old 27.5 downhill rig learning a specific track inside and out, that way I could tell just how different the new 29 Privateer was on performance in every section of the track I had dialled in for the past month.

I only spent 2 hours on the bike, but it sparked a fire in me. Truthfully, it blew me away.

You hear ‘oh 29’s you have to muscle around a little more', I get it, but it was so minor, as much as swapping out milliseconds of my lines, getting higher that little bit earlier for a certain corner, other than that I didn't notice a thing. It was clear from the start how much faster the bike was on track and I had gone hell for leather on my 27.5. I was sold! But… to me, the most important aspect of its performance, was how it was airborne. This was make or break!"

"In the afternoon I took it over to the now quite famous Surrey Hills step up, as seen in many Brendan Fairclough videos etc. This jump is steep, not massively big, but it was enough airtime for me to grab few shapes and see how she felt.

Once again, I just couldn’t believe I had dissed 29s for so long, doubting I would ever ride one. I’m quite a tall guy sitting in at 6'1 and the best way I can describe the difference in performance in the air from my old 27.5 is stability. I don’t ride Moto, but I imagine having a bigger heavier bike allows you to lean off it more and rely somewhat more on the weight of the bike to be more stable and in control pulling tricks and shapes. This is exactly how I felt, whips seemed easier, I could hang off the bike a lot more relying on the stability to give me that extra bit of trust. I was straight on the phone to Mike, “Yo! Let's spec this bike up for a dream build, it's on!"

"I felt this was a good opportunity to experiment with a new look for the Privateer, the brand is so fresh and the graphics are still so raw I felt this would be a good time to really give it a new and exciting look, potentially to introduce in the future. There's definitely a few things I held back as I didn't want to unveil all just yet. I wanted to take all my inspiration from brands I love and funnel that into a bike I thought was dope, be stoked to ride and for people to see.

I took a wide variety of inspiration from cars I love, fashion and sports culture, even army tanks to skateboard decks in the hunt (pun intended?) to find a colour scheme that spoke to me. We came up with around 5 colours schemes, all unique and worked amazingly in their own way, but a lot we're lacking that pop of colour. As a team, we wanted to introduce a little colour into the brand, so it had to pop in some way, catch people's eye, but in a subtle way. I’m not a massive fan of loads of bright colours and by this I mean you won't ever catch me on a bike colour specced to replicate a 1996 Giant ATX, I like to keep minimal and sleek, there needs to be a balance"

Dom took this opportunity to really invest into the additional parts to build the bike the way he always had dreamt of. A huge fan of DMR components and luckily enough for us, their offices are situated across the road from our own.

“It was such a pleasure to work with my Privateer colleagues both inputting some amazing parts from their end and mine to bring together this bike that we all could be proud of and hopefully gets others stoked too.”


Forks: Fox 40’s 2021
Rear Shock: Rockshox Supreme Deluxe Ultimate RTC
Wheels: Hunt DH Privateer’s 29’ Front and Rear
Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary’s
Brakes: Magura MT5’s
Grips: DMR Deathgrips
Saddle: DMR OiOi Saddle (Black Camo)
Seat Clamp: DMR Seat Clamp (Black)
Pedals: DMR Vault Brendog Ice Flat Pedals
Cranks: DMR Axe Cranks
Chain Guide: Funn Zipper DH
Chain Stay Protection: STFU DH 7 Speed
Drivetrain: Dom usually runs the Six Pack Racing single speed conversion kit but has chosen to run gears whilst adapting to the bike.


Filmed By: Chris Thomson - KOTECH FILMS

Back in April, we set out to create a promo edit of the bike, introducing this build and film Dom riding it. Unfortunately, life made other plans and Dom's shoulder was injured in a small crash. We weren't sure whether to post the video now or finish it when he’s home, but we decided to show it anyway.

Photo by: Harry Roberts.


After the Injury, Dom took some time off the bike to get his physical health back up to scratch. He felt after 4 months out of the gym due to lockdown and with this new injury, he wasn’t where he wanted to be health-wise. After weeks off the bike replaced by the gym and lots of Physiotherapy on his shoulder, he’s told us he’s more than ready to get out on his new bike and pick up where he left off. Covid has unfortunately stopped the dream of even hitting the Whistler Train gap on the Privateer which is what fuelled this project in the first place, but hey, maybe next year... Dom however has recently decided to spend a few weeks out in Morzine this summer, so expect to see him out there on the new rig creating content, working hard and no doubt enjoying mountain life…

A massive thanks to Phil, Dave, Dan, Dickie, Mike and Sam for making the project possible. We here at Privateer Bikes are stoked to see our 161 in such a unique way and are looking forward to seeing how the public respond to the bike and watching Dom ride it!

You can Follow these links to stay updated on all the action!

Back in January 2019, our Graphic Designer Dom Knight raised the question to Sam (Brand Manager) “be pretty sick to jump the Whistler Train Gap on a Privateer no?"

We started to loosely mess around with the idea, could we build up a 161 to suit Dom’s upcoming summer season in Whistler Bike Park? However, for various reasons, the idea never really made it past those initial conversations and the thought laid buried for a year and a half…

However, like all good plans, its time would come. Thinking it’d be a great way to test the bike in a different way, newly joined Strategy Manager Mike Sanderson got the project back on track, highlighting a new perspective of how a 161 can be ridden.

For some background, Dom is part of the Rider Firm Family, so alongside design work for Privateer Bikes, he’s also behind our sister brands such as Hunt Bike Wheels, Dissent 133 and Cairn Cycles too. It's not just his style and abilities as a designer that brought us together, we’ve always been huge fans of his riding, which inevitably led us to a project such as this.

Aim of the project.

With the concept of this bike now at the forefront of our minds, we wanted to outline exactly what we wanted to learn from building this bike, other than giving Dom a Privateer to test and ride for his style of riding.

A key point was to showcase a new perception on how our bikes are ridden, Dom isn't necessarily a rider we market our 161 bikes too, however having seen what Evil and Yeti bikes had done with their 160 mm travel bikes, we were more than confident that the Privateer was up to the challenge. It was how we set the bike up correctly for Dom which we had to work on.

Testing this concept also stirred up the idea of a purpose-built Privateer DH bike, 201 anyone?

Photo by: Henry Page - First hits on the new bike up Dom’s local as seen in the Instagram video above.

The below photo is the initial build of the 161 in its rawest state and you can clearly see we combined two Privateers together. The team in the Privateer workshop, despite their busy schedules, were kind enough to find some time to build the bike up with a few spare parts lying around. Big shout out to Dave, Phil and Dan for organising and having the patience to not only build the bike but play around with the set-up whilst the bike was being tested on.ack in January 2019, our Graphic Designer Dom Knight raised the question to Sam (Brand Manager) “be pretty sick to jump the Whistler Train Gap on a Privateer no?"

First Ride

We had a couple of challenges from the get-go, initially, it was convincing Dom that he most likely would have to ride 29-inch wheels. Which to say he wasn’t keen on would be an understatement! As a man that had trouble moving on from 26-inch wheels to 27.5’s, we knew we had a lot of testing and experimenting to do to convince him.

"I had played around with the 161 before but not much, I’m not an Enduro rider by any means and I’ve never been fussed about going for a pedal so I hadn’t actually spent a lot of time on the 161.
I was a little nervous committing all this effort, time and support from the guys I work alongside in creating a bike that I may not even love the feel of. We played around with set-up, for this was the first time I had anyone behind me questioning me and working with me to set up a bike of mine, I’m pretty useless to be honest so it was mint having that support.”

The 29’s were for me the biggest issue, I was scared I just wasn’t going to be able to manoeuvre the bike with as much ease in the air, you hear all the pros and cons of their size, but none of the pros I had heard of actually seemed to connect with me. I can’t tell you how long I spent scanning Instagram and looking for riders that somewhat ride in a similar way that I do to see what wheel sizes they were running. I think for me what changed my whole perspective on my enthusiasm on 29’s is Commencal’s ‘Hurricane’ edit ft. Thomas Estaque and Hugo Frixtalon. Those boys shred!

I had opted for a P2 frame but there was talk of throwing on a P3 rear end to add a little more stability to the bike from where we had to adjust the front end a little to suit the fox 40’s. We had to bring the 200mm 40’s down to 190mm to bring everything level a bit, it actually rode alright with the 200mm’s but I wanted to be a little more over the front."

"In the afternoon I took it over to the now quite famous Surrey Hills step up, as seen in many Brendan Fairclough videos etc. This jump is steep, not massively big, but it was enough airtime for me to grab few shapes and see how she felt.

Once again, I just couldn’t believe I had dissed 29s for so long, doubting I would ever ride one. I’m quite a tall guy sitting in at 6'1 and the best way I can describe the difference in performance in the air from my old 27.5 is stability. I don’t ride Moto, but I imagine having a bigger heavier bike allows you to lean off it more and rely somewhat more on the weight of the bike to be more stable and in control pulling tricks and shapes. This is exactly how I felt, whips seemed easier, I could hang off the bike a lot more relying on the stability to give me that extra bit of trust. I was straight on the phone to Mike, “Yo! Let's spec this bike up for a dream build, it's on!"

"I felt this was a good opportunity to experiment with a new look for the Privateer, the brand is so fresh and the graphics are still so raw I felt this would be a good time to really give it a new and exciting look, potentially to introduce in the future. There's definitely a few things I held back as I didn't want to unveil all just yet. I wanted to take all my inspiration from brands I love and funnel that into a bike I thought was dope, be stoked to ride and for people to see.

I took a wide variety of inspiration from cars I love, fashion and sports culture, even army tanks to skateboard decks in the hunt (pun intended?) to find a colour scheme that spoke to me. We came up with around 5 colours schemes, all unique and worked amazingly in their own way, but a lot we're lacking that pop of colour. As a team, we wanted to introduce a little colour into the brand, so it had to pop in some way, catch people's eye, but in a subtle way. I’m not a massive fan of loads of bright colours and by this I mean you won't ever catch me on a bike colour specced to replicate a 1996 Giant ATX, I like to keep minimal and sleek, there needs to be a balance"

Dom took this opportunity to really invest into the additional parts to build the bike the way he always had dreamt of. A huge fan of DMR components and luckily enough for us, their offices are situated across the road from our own.

“It was such a pleasure to work with my Privateer colleagues both inputting some amazing parts from their end and mine to bring together this bike that we all could be proud of and hopefully gets others stoked too.”

Forks: Fox 40’s 2021
Rear Shock: Rockshox Supreme Deluxe Ultimate RTC
Wheels: Hunt DH Privateer’s 29’ Front and Rear
Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary’s
Brakes: Magura MT5’s
Grips: DMR Deathgrips
Saddle: DMR OiOi Saddle (Black Camo)
Seat Clamp: DMR Seat Clamp (Black)
Pedals: DMR Vault Brendog Ice Flat Pedals
Cranks: DMR Axe Cranks
Chain Guide:Funn Zipper DH
Chain Stay Protection: STFU DH 7 Speed
Drivetrain: Dom usually runs the Six Pack Racing single speed conversion kit but has chosen to run gears whilst adapting to the bike.

Back in April, we set out to create a promo edit of the bike, introducing this build and film Dom riding it. Unfortunately, life made other plans and Dom's shoulder was injured in a small crash. We weren't sure whether to post the video now or finish it when he’s home, but we decided to show it anyway.

Filmed By: Chris Thomson - KOTECH FILMS

Photo by: Harry Roberts.


After the Injury, Dom took some time off the bike to get his physical health back up to scratch. He felt after 4 months out of the gym due to lockdown and with this new injury, he wasn’t where he wanted to be health-wise. After weeks off the bike replaced by the gym and lots of Physiotherapy on his shoulder, he’s told us he’s more than ready to get out on his new bike and pick up where he left off. Covid has unfortunately stopped the dream of even hitting the Whistler Train gap on the Privateer which is what fuelled this project in the first place, but hey, maybe next year... Dom however has recently decided to spend a few weeks out in Morzine this summer, so expect to see him out there on the new rig creating content, working hard and no doubt enjoying mountain life…

A massive thanks to Phil, Dave, Dan, Dickie, Mike and Sam for making the project possible. We here at Privateer Bikes are stoked to see our 161 in such a unique way and are looking forward to seeing how the public respond to the bike and watching Dom ride it!

You can Follow these links to stay updated on all the action!

Privateer Bikes

Dom Knight

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