In this episode of our Rider Spotlight series, we are getting to know Unior Devinci Factory Racing's Dakotah Norton. Dakotah is one of the nicest guys out on the UCI World Cup circuit, and over the last few years he has proved he belongs in the conversation as one of the fastest downhill racers in the world. Everyone here at the shop is a big fan of Devinci bikes, especially watching Dakotah riding them, so be sure to check out Dakotah's Devinci Wilson 29 here!
Photo by Klemen Humar
My name is Dakotah Norton, I'm 26 years old from Flint, Michigan, and I ride for the Unior Devinci Factory Racing team.
I was racing bmx at Lindsey Wilson College and was introduced to mountain bikes when I first got a look at the dual slalom track they had on campus. I learned a lot out there and think those skills have stayed with me over the years. The mountain bike team at Lindsey Wilson was a good crew and I owe those guys a lot for where I’m at now.
Photo by Klemen Humar
Marc Milam was a big supporter of mine when I was in college and always gave me great advice when I was checking out my first downhill races. Marc got me introduced to a lot of riders and racers in the area.
James Mcallister was the one who really opened the door and allowed me to compete at the professional level. Before I made it on to the program with Morpheus bikes in 2016 and 2017, James had me connected with the people at Trek. We’ve been great friends every since and is someone that still plays a mentorship role in my life.
Once I decided to take racing more seriously, I knew I had to start riding and training all year round. Sean Leader at Windrock Bike Park took me in, gave me a place to stay and ride in the south.
Neko Mulally has given me some great guidance in my early years on the world cup circuit. Having someone there at the races with so much knowledge and experience to give you advice based on the conditions and race approach was really key. Not to mention having someone to train with back home.
I’m excited to be back on with the same program as last year. I think the first year on a factory team, it takes a little bit of time getting to know each other and learning how all of the team staff works. This year I’ve had a strong winter rehabbing my shoulder and have a great feeling riding the Wilson. With some more testing over the next couple month with the team, we are only going to be closer to the top step. The team has a better idea of how I operate as an athlete and what I need to compete at the highest level. I’m really excited to be back at the races.
I think my world cup race run at Windham in 2015 really opened my eyes to wanting to be competitive on the downhill circuit. Hitting the road gap in a USA jersey on a petition spot to race with everyone screaming USA when I went down was one thing I will always remember. Getting 3rd in pump track at Crankworx opened my eyes that I could be competitive at these big races and lead to the confidence in Dual slalom the next day. That year at Crankworx opened the doors to my world cup experience with Morpheus, and landed me on the podium in Croatia this year with Devinci.
Photo by Klemen Humar
I think there is nothing better than a good cup of a Kenyan varietal out of the V60 pour over brewing device paired with some maple bacon. That’s a good mix. I like my coffee at a 1-14 ratio of water to coffee so it’s really strong, almost like a concentrate. 50 grams gives you enough for 2 cups and is a great way to get your day started.
I had always rode at Windrock on the weekends before it grew in to the bike park it is today. I think the growth of my riding and the tracks was what really propelled me to where I’m competing now at the world cups. When we started, everything was pretty slow moving and technical, and as the tracks have evolved into the modern race courses they are now, my speed has grown along with them. Today we have the closest conditions to world cup race tracks in the area and a heavy hitter crew to ride and race with.
I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. Right now I just want to build consistent speed and be fighting for podium spots at the world cup. I would like to be in the single digits at the end of the year.
You can learn some of the most important skills from the simplest bike. The precision you can learn on a dirt jumper will translate to being precise on a downhill bike. If you want to be at the top of the sport you have to start from the ground up perfecting your skills. The harder you work the closer you will be to the top of the results sheet.
Dakotah's 2019 Devinci Wilson 29. Dak goes back and fourth between a size Large and Extra Large depending on the track | Photo by Klemen Humar
The new Rockshox Boxxer Ultimate fork is up front. Dakotah runs a stiff suspension setup that works well with his bmx style | Photo by Klemen Humar
A Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil shock for rear suspension. Dakotah is running a 450lb spring and a custom flip chip that puts the bottom bracket and head angle right in the middle of the stock high and low settings | Photo by Klemen Humar
Devinci's Split Pivot suspension design drives the shock by pivoting around the bottom bracket | Photo by Klemen Humar
The Unior Devinci team runs the RaceFace Vault hubs laced to RaceFace rims | Photo by Klemen Humar
Here is a breakdown of Dakotah's full bike build!
Devinci Wilson 29, Size Large frame with +7mm reach adjust headset
Rockshox Boxxer Ultimate fork
Rockshox Super Deluxe coil shock
Sram XO1 DH 7 speed drivetrain
Sram XO1 DH Carbon Crankset with 34T Sram Eagle chainring
Sram Code RSC brakes with 220mm Sram Centerline rotors
Maxxis DHR II 29" x 2.4" TR 3C MaxxGrip tires
Raceface SIXc carbon handlebars
Raceface Atlas Direct Mount stem
Lizard Skin Charger grips
Raceface Vault hubs laced to prototype Raceface rims
SDG i-Fly 2.0 i-beam saddle
SDG C/F Micro i-beam seatpost
HT X2 pedals
E*Thirteen LG1+ chainguide