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Pistons & Pivots

Jack Moir's Turbo Diesel Nissan Navara & Intense M29

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Nov 4, 2019

Vehicles in Australia have for decades drawn many similarities to those in the U.K. and Europe. While that is changing, with more North American influence than ever before, the Nissan Navara doesn't follow this trend. Neither does World Cup downhiller, Jack Moir.

One trend that's slowly changing, depending on who you speak with down under, is the term used to refer to vehicles like the Nissan Navara. In North America, this would be referred to as a truck but in Australia, it's called a ute. Short for utility vehicle. Aussies don't call them trucks because that term is reserved for much larger… erm, trucks.

Jack's a no-fuss guy who strikes me as someone that enjoys life to the fullest and appreciates everything he has. He focuses on what's functional and useful rather than getting caught up in what's trendy. It's a trait that's quite clear with his bikes, which have for as long as I've known him featured a different stance to many other tall riders. It's what works for him so he runs it. His car is similar in a number of aspects.

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Jack's 2018 Nissan Navara ST-X Ute

Where many younger ute owners in Australia throw on a set of muds or large all-terrain tires, Jack opted to keep a regular, more road-friendly tire. There are also some added accessories typically not seen in North America; the pull-out Yakima awning in particular (though these are gaining momentum). His ute has a lot of add-ons, thanks in large part to his partnership with Nissan Australia. You read that right, Jack inked a deal and the Navara is part of the package – not bad at all. And while it's loaded, the ute is sensibly finished with each accessory either useful in day to day driving, or adding an element of safety.

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Jack's "Nav." is a 2.3L twin turbo diesel. Jack tells me the design works so that one of the turbos is low pressure and the other high pressure, set in a series, so they give you power all the time. (No turbo lag.)

The Navara ST-X is a 2.3L Twin Turbo Diesel. Turbo diesel utes are a dime a dozen Down Under, but that may change. The price of diesel fuel in Aus. can be more than regular petrol and the vehicles are more expensive as well.


I started working with Nissan last year, and am stoked on the Nav. – Jack Moir
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Aside from some dust – much of which could be from the drive to the shoot location – the engine is fresh looking.

Vehicles like Jack's Navara fit into a market segment that will continue seeing support from Asia. The popularity of light commercial diesels as fleet vehicles means turbo diesel utes won't disappear anytime soon. Jack went with a ute because of its practicality; it fits well with his lifestyle and the accessories he's added build on this. Easily tossing stuff in the back is a benefit he enjoys and with the Navara's coil-over suspension at all four corners, he finds it really comfortable on the rough shuttle roads he uses. He also makes use of the 4WD capabilities on his wave hunting missions, which often mean driving on the beaches to score a secret bank to himself.

Jack's 2019 Nissan Navara ST-X Specs

  • Dual Cab
  • Brand new off the lot thanks to a partnership with Nissan Australia
  • Upgraded 18-inch alloys from Nissan
  • Toyo Open Country A25 tires
  • Added factory accessories include; nudge bar, light bar, sports bar, weather protection, side steps, tub liner, sun-roof and Yakima racks and a retractable awning
  • ~19,000 km at the time of shoot (March 2019)
  • It's accompanied Jack down to Victoria to visit Dean Lucas, Thredbo to race and up to the mid-north coast of N.S.W. on surf trips.
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So clean. When I met with Jack in March to shoot his choice of vehicles, the Nav. had done about 19,000kms and he'd had it for close to 12 months.

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The ute has heaps of accessories that Jack opted for but each of them serves a purpose that meets his needs.

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A nudge-bar up front is a pretty common sight on utes in Australia. Jack's also added a light bar to brighten things up when driving on the beach at night.


I do a bit of beach driving at night in the summer so its good to be able to see a bit further ahead. I reckon if you rigged up a few light bars you could have a night time shorey sesh, haha." – Jack Moir
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A bonnet (or hood for the North Americans) protector keeps the rock chips to a minimum.

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The headlights and front end of the Navara are similar to the North American Nissan S.U.Vs but differ from the "trucks" in the northern hemisphere.

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18-inch alloy wheels are another accessory add-on from the stock ST-X. Jack opted to stick with regular tires because "they are better for what I do". He says he never goes extreme with the 4WD'ing and that the big mudders dig holes in the sand. He finds these sit better on top of the sand when driving on the beach. His Nav. is fitted with a set of the Toyo Open Country A25 tires.

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Jack's tall – over six feet – but side steps were added for shorter folks.

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Weather shields over each window are also something that's useful for many. It may not rain as often in Jack's area as in other parts (*cough* Vancouver *cough, cough*) but when it does, it pours. Add humidity that's higher again in the cab after a surf and being able to crack the window without letting in the weather is great.

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Fender flares. These had me thinking Jack planned on beefing up the wheels but he's happy with how it drives on the regular Toyo tires.

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I don't see too many of the hard, full fibreglass tonneau covers in Aus. as I do in Canada. Jack's Navara is fitted with a soft, vinyl cover from Nissan, specially built to perfectly integrate with the bed of his ute.

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The tonneau locks in with this alloy system that includes weather seals to help keep the elements out when it's closed up.

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In the bed were a couple of Jack's boards and wetties. He was hoping to get a wave in after we shot but we ran out of time. (Sorry mate!). Under his surf gear is a tub liner to keep the bed shmick.

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The accessories move to the roof too. Another partner of Jack's is Yakima and they kitted him out with a set of roof racks and a retractable awning. He also has a rooftop tent for serious adventures.

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These awnings are common in Australia and have been for ages. This year I've started to see more of them around in North America as well. It packs away into this tidy unit and when he needs some shade, whether at an Aussie race or down at the beach, he's got one ready to go.

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There's also a sun-roof/moon-roof .

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Inside the cab is quite clean, though Jack feels he needs to take better care of it. I guess I'm not as clean as I thought…

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There aren't any customizations inside, mostly because the car is so new. But I noticed heaps of something else. Do you see it?

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A bunch of air fresheners pretty well outline Jack's laid back surfy personality and keep the cab smelling decent.

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The stereo is a nice looking number and Jack uses it well with a mix of his favourite beats. It works with Apple Carplay and Android Auto for seamless phone integration.

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Jack opted for the automatic but the default features a manual transmission – the automatic cost a few bones more.

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It's also available as a 2WD but Jack's is the 4WD. As with most part-time 4x4 vehicles today, it can be switched easily from within the cab via a dial and electronics.

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The ST-X model also has the option of locking the rear differential, for those tricky off-road situations.

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Jack doesn't always use the back seat and keeps them folded up to keep the upholstery clean. It gives him some extra space right behind the front seats too.

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Being supported by Yakima means Jack's got a fresh rack to hold his bikes too. He opted for the HoldUp EVO for shuttling duties.

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It's big enough to hold onto his XL Intense M29 DH bike's 1,307mm wheelbase.

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Jack helped develop the M29. You could say this is his bike.

Jack's 2019 Intense Factory Racing M29

When I met with Jack, he had a bunch of stuff on his bike that was, at the time, prototype. The 223mm TRP rotors and DH7 drivetrain have since been seen by the public after a season of racing on the World Cup circuit and by now there are likely new prototype bits on the bike.

Jack sustained a pretty solid concussion at team camp in California prior to our get together and was still suffering some minor effects of that incident. And although he was instrumental in the development of the M29, other than the frame Jack was on an entirely new bike. Different parts and a change this big can take some getting used to and with time limited by the injury, things took a bit longer.

Jack's IFR M29 Specs.

  • Size XL
  • Fox 49 fork and DHX2 Shock
  • Kenda Hellkat 2.6 front tire and 2.4 rear.
  • Renthal bar and stem. 40mm rise bar w/ 10mm ti-springs spacers under the stem
  • TRP G-Spec DHR Brakes w/ 223mm rotors front and rear
  • TRP DH7 Drivetrain
  • ODI Elite Pro Grips
  • e*thirteen LG1r carbon cranks and LG1 chainguide
  • e*thirteen LG1r DH Wheels
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Moving from RockShox/SRAM to Fox and TRP in 2019 saw Jack move to the new Fox 49 fork.

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The move also meant getting off Maxxis tires and onto Kenda. He was running the Hellkat in a 2.6 front and 2.4 rear combo when we met and was finding the extra width provided more traction at the front wheel.

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At the time, Jack preferred the feel of a coil shock on his M29. He prefers the traction it provides off the top but was open to trying the Float X2 after hearing good things about it. He also noted that he runs the coil shock stiffer to better support his off-the-back riding style.

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An ODI number board remains at the front of the bike even when he's not racing.

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The new team outfit saw Jack grabbing onto Renthal bars for 2019. He opted for the 40mm rise option and ran 10mm of spacers beneath the Integra II direct mount stem.

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Jack was running the new TRP DH7 drivetrain. It was the first time I had seen a pretty production ready version of the drivetrain and it was looking good.

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The DH7 shifter features an adjustable throw position on the shifter paddle. Jack was running his just shy of the 20-degree forward mark, providing less reach to get the thumb up onto the paddle surface.

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The DH7 rear derailleur is a compact looking unit too. It will be interesting to see how these fair in the real world.

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TRP's G-Spec DHR brake took care of Jack's braking duties earlier in the season.

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With the big wheels, it took a moment to notice the size of these rotors wasn't stock. Jack finds the oversize rotors to be almost a necessity with the 29-inch wheeled race sled.

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Although they look ready for consumers, these 223mm rotors were still in their prototype phase. They still aren't available on the TRP website either.


I run the oversize 223 rotors for a little extra bite on the brakes, I feel these are key when riding a 29-inch wheel. There's just a little bit more pull through with the bigger wheel, so using a bigger rotor gives the brakes more grab. – Jack Moir
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ODI Elite Pro grips provide more cushion from the impacts Jack's hands have to deal with.

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Apart from the frame and the e*thirteen chainguide, Jack's bike was completely different for 2019. The guide was joined by e*thirteen's LG1r cranks.


My M29 build is completely different from the last few years. Literally every single component has changed on it, except for the e-13 chain guide. I’m running a coil shock, as I feel like they have a better feeling and more traction off the top, although I hear the fox air shock works pretty good in this bike, so keen to try that. – Jack Moir
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Jack slides about like he's on a set of flat pedals but uses a set of Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals to lock in. Even Down Under, the flat pedal influence among racers has dwindled from its glory days.

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Extra chainslap deadening. Jack's applied a good amount of tape to further quieten his bike on the trail.

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2019 wasn't Jack's first year on carbon wheels – he had spent the past season on Enve's wheels but for 2019 was on the e*thirteen LG1r wheels.

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Jack doesn't name his bikes but he does stick his on it.

When I first met Jack in 2017, he was driving an older Nissan Navara similarly built to his new one featured here. While the number of accessories may seem excessive to people outside Australia, they're useful for Jack's way of living. Hanging out day and night at the beach, checking the surf via a maze of dirt roads, shuttle laps for training and road trips up and down the east coast of Australia put each of the vehicle add-ons to good use. He's similarly pragmatic about his bike setup. More braking power with the bigger wheels – and for a big lad – makes heaps of sense. His tire choice, bar height, and rear shock settings all add up to a match for him. Whether they look good or not doesn't matter; if it works, he'll run it.

He's also got a Nissan Pulsar as a derby beater so he gets on well with Nissan vehicles. To have that turn into a partnership is something most of us can only dream of. A few more water bottles wouldn't go astray though… ;D

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Comments

Kelownakona
0
Kelownakona  - Nov. 4, 2019, 5:52 a.m.

Unfortunate timing for the post. Think he'll be pretty soon off the Intense boat!

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 4, 2019, 6:37 a.m.

Quite possibly. Where to though? #teamrumours

Reply

pdxkid
+1 James Vasilyev
pdxkid  - Nov. 4, 2019, 5:58 a.m.

I just heard that Nissan will finally be redesigning the Frontier for US and probably Canada too. I expect it'll look something like this and I highly doubt that they'll offer a diesel.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 4, 2019, 6:36 a.m.

I wonder if it will go with a more European styling? The new North American Ford Ranger is styled the same as Aus. and Asia now, so maybe we will start seeing a shift? 

Yup, I reckon you’re right and it’s highly unlikely we’ll see a turbo diesel offering of the new Frontier for US/Canada. Not sure why there’s never that option for smaller utility vehicles on these shores – there certainly seems to be plenty of interest.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 4, 2019, 6:36 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

ColdwaterCuda
0
ColdwaterCuda  - Nov. 7, 2019, 6:14 p.m.

I'm a Nissan dealer in Canada, and have been shown the new Frontier on two occasions now. Most recently at our bi-annual product reveal hosted in Chicago this year. I can tell you what ever you want to know about it. 
Coles notes, entirely new truck. Nothing like the European Navara. Picture current Tacoma proportions with a more square face and lights. 
The 4.0L V6 becomes a 3.8 and gets a new 9 speed Automatic transmission. 
Up here in our neck of the woods, we're keen mountain bikers and I do everything I can to support our MTB Community. This is the product we are most excited for this year. Plus also the new Pathfinder because those also fit our needs nicely. 
We have a blackout period when we can no longer order the current Frontier that runs from This February until April 0f 2020. This is usually a sign of re-tooling a plant to get a new model ready. An April start of production would have them on dealer lots for late May, early June.

Reply

mhaager2
0
Moritz Haager  - Nov. 4, 2019, 7:38 a.m.

I would buy this in a nanosecond if they offered this in a turbo diesel in Canada. I. Having had a bunch of diesels I absolutely love them and it's a frickin travesty that the only trucks you can get in Diesel in Canada are oversized American junk.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 4, 2019, 8:50 a.m.

It's for sure a shame that most diesel utes/trucks here are massive beasts.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Nov. 4, 2019, 10:55 a.m.

The Colorado isn't particularly "oversized".

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 4, 2019, 12:29 p.m.

That's really good to hear. But otherwise the options are limited. Even the new Ranger, which is the same frame etc. as the Aussie one, doesn't seem to come with a diesel engine option.

Reply

NickB
+1 AJ Barlas
nick bitar  - Nov. 4, 2019, 4:30 p.m.

Ha! I’m looking for a petrol after a lifetime of clattering diesels. No such thing as a smooth powerful V6 petrol around here! 

I was surprised by the number of people that would ask me about it on the climb up Fromme. “You’re from Australia? Man, I love your diesel trucks!”. To which I’d reply  “Naa they’re a Ute Mate!”

Reply

Timer
0
Timer  - Nov. 5, 2019, 2:06 a.m.

"Jack finds the oversize rotors to be almost a necessity with the 29-inch wheeled race sled." Given everything i have heard about TRP brakes this might very well mean: "oversize rotors are almost a necessity with the G-spec".

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Nov. 5, 2019, 7:21 a.m.

Maybe, but Jack was running the larger rotors on the Code RSC brakes he ran in 2018 too.

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