I got my first Hei Hei in 2016, the green machine Hei Hei DL. It was so different than the traditional XC bikes I had ridden (100mm travel, focus on light weight and efficiency rather than rip ability). My first impressions of the Hei Hei highlighted how it is all slacked out, low to the ground, and extremely capable of handling what I threw at it. It pedaled like an XC bike but went downhill like a trail bike, i.e. it was fun!


Fast forward 2 years to 2019. Emily and I are in Bellingham, WA getting ready for BCBR and I happen to lay eyes on the prototype frame of the 2020 Hei Hei. Immediately my knees quake and my heart throbs.

The new top tube mounted suspension opened up the front triangle and allowed 2 bottles. This alone was enough to win me over, I didn’t even care if it rode exactly the same. I wanted to snatch it out from under “The Don” (Mark Allison) and take it with me to BC for the Bike Race. The possibilities of longer days and less stress for long races were churning through my head. However, unsurprisingly, he took off down Double Diamond (trail in Larabee State park) and the bike evaded my grasp.

I muddled through the rest of 2019 on my 2017 Hei Hei. But ever since that encounter with the 2020 Hei Hei I couldn’t take my mind off it. Whenever I threw a leg over the “Green Machine” it conjured up thoughts of what could be…

Then boom! It landed in my garage (build video below!) and I, well Spence “Spaceman” Johnston, slapped some parts from Shimano, Fox, Maxxis, and Astral Wheels. Gosh She is a looker!

The boys in blue delivered with a new 1x12S drivetrain, love that 51t on the steeps, and a set of XTR brakes, 180mm front/160 rear. Also, we have power metrics in the form of a right side XTR Stages arm (172.5)

I haven’t ridden a Fox fork in years but I am excited to get back on one. Especially this Kashima coated silky smooth bump reducer! (71psi front, rebound 6 clicks from fast. 156 PSI rear rebound 7 clicks from fast).

It seems like Fox and Shimano were in cahoots because the Fox Transfer Dropper lever looks almost identical to my XTR shifter lever. I love the audible smack I get when the post pops back to fully extended.

Lizard Skins custom “Machine” gum grips with Donut rings to keep you motivated for what you really pedal for.

Kedge stem mount for gps and metric analyzation.

Now I got to get out and push this thing. I can’t wait to get to know this bike and all it’s nuances. Regardless, I think we will get on pretty well!