The rider is obviously the dominant factor by far. Hill is going to smash most of us even if he's on a hardtail with a 100mm fork, but do you think he'd be winning WC DH races or EWS races on that? I think we'd all agree that that seems unlikely, so then the question becomes "how much of a bike handicap would he need to have before he's unable to win"? IE at the top level, between say Hill/Maes/Rude/Bailly etc, is it plausible that a better/worse bike could be the difference between winning and 2nd or 3rd place when the gap is 3 seconds after an hour of racing?
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