Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to: with TEAM ROBOT

How to build a good downhill track:

1. Pick a ski hill. Pretty much any ski hill will do.

2. Forget everything IMBA/Sierra Club/grumpy old people ever told you about sustainable trail building.

3. Tape off a 10 to 20 foot wide swathe that goes mostly down the fall line, with some turns. Do not go around massive boulder fields. Maybe criss cross some clear cuts, too.

4. Weedwack inside the tape.

5. Done.

It's a simple formula. Check the video for evidence:

Crystal Mountain, Washington. Approved by Kovarik, Voreis, Steve Peat, Shaums March, and Darrell Young.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012


American marketing managers at Specialized ask Australian MTB racer Sam Hill to pluck eyebrows for 2013 catalog.

Hill signs with British team CRC/Nukeproof where no one will notice his bad teeth and eyebrows.

TEAM ROBOT, your source of all MTB knowledge

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Kill List

Just imagine how dumb this will look in 20 years. Even worse, most of these people will procreate at some point.

Humans, this is why we must eliminate your species. You're really not leaving us any wiggle room, here.

Totally biased

I'm so tired of Utah freeride shots. I hate them. Whenever I see them I want to burn the magazine, chuck my computer out the window, or stab pencils into my eyes.

Then today when I saw this one I thought "wow, that's kind of cool, I wish I could go out there and get a shot like that. That's legitimately sick."

It was at that moment that I realized that I'm totally unobjective. I don't hate Utah, I just hate freeriders. If a racer does something I'm cool with it. If someone riding a Totem in a Dakine jersey with 5.10's and ankle socks does it, we have a problem.

Freeriders, that's it: you're all on the KILL LIST.

Friday, December 21, 2012

2013 ProGRT schedule

Driving map courtesy of the Fonz. I'd love to know what Google maps gave as the total mileage. My guesstimate is around 13,000 miles. That's just off the cuff, though. [Editor's note: Ben later confirmed that from SLO the whole series is 12,670 miles. Which proves that Robots are 94.7% accurate and 100% better than you]

2013 Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour Schedule

March 15-17   Reaper Madness Downhill & Super D — Boulder City, NV
March 30-31   Fontana City - California Golden State — Fontana, CA
April 21           Sea Otter Classic — Monterey, CA
May 19           Mountain Creek Spring Classic 2013 — Vernon, NJ
May 26           2013 Plattekill Gravity Open — Roxbury, NY
June 7-9        Chile Challenge — Angel Fire, NM
June 22-23    California Golden State — China Peak Ski Resort, CA
June 30          Windham Downhill — Windham, NY
July 13-14      Snowshoe Mountain Pro GRT — Snowshoe, WV
Sept. 4-8       Mammoth Kamikaze Bike Games — Mammoth Lakes, CA

10 stops? Sea Otter is one of them? This schedule was organized by some top drawer talent, for sure. If there was any doubt that gravity racing was USA Cycling's #1 priority, this news should put those fears to rest for good. USA Cycling takes our sport seriously enough to use ten, count them TEN whole darts to schedule our national series:

I couldn't have scheduled it better myself. I'm terrible at darts.

The element of this news story that is most exciting for racers in the know is the return of Fontana to National event status.

USA Cycling was actually trying to book the San Bernardino Wal Mart parking lot, hoping to set up a technical cone course to give downhill more of an autocross-y feel, but the booking fell through and they went with Fontana instead.

This is what USA Cycling thinks a National caliber downhill course looks like.

Cam Cole

I can't believe you're pro. I'm way sicker than you.

Seriously though, that video part would have been sick for ReTread, but it's almost 2013. Even Brett Tippie watched this and was like "yeah, that's pretty outdated."

What's the big deal

Total Gromination 2012, Vital Shreddy Award - More Mountain Bike Videos

I know the balding soccer dad in everyone wants to get so excited about these kids and how big they go on A-line and in the boneyard. But this just in, they're locals.

I could totally go that big on A-line if I rode there as often as they probably do. NOT IMPRESSED.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Greg Minnaar wears a hat when he works out indoors:

TEAM ROBOT, your source of all MTB knowledge.


Two rappers from New Orleans call themselves "Team Robot," and this is some of the artwork from their most recent tracks:

Obviously we're sharing a brain here. These guys are on point.


Just watched the Shreddy for Worst Slam of the year. Tough choice with so many good options out there, but I liked their pick.

That said, when I was watching Spomer talk there was really only one thing I was thinking about:

I should know, I'm a pro in front of video cameras:

STD/Clay Porter/grow your own

This groundbreaking journalism is absolutely the best thing you will read all day. Definitely one of those "wish I'd thought of it first," million dollar idea kind of breakthroughs.

STD innovation

"We’ve seen what we thought were some fairly major steps forward in mountain bike technology over the past few years, but this new STD Suspension system makes everything else that has come before it seem positively prehistoric.

"But what is STD Suspension? Well to be honest it’s not really fair to call it just a suspension system (Ivor named it that purely because he didn’t want to come across as too big headed and he knows that riders are familiar with the term suspension) as it has been designed with a holistic approach and encompasses the entire bike."

The three settings allow you to instantly select in three custom modes: Style, Trail, and Descend. "

It's so innovative, but now that it's here and it's so good, you almost have to wonder how no one ever thought to do this before. Like sticky rubber shoes or wide bars, STD is sure to be the new normal.

In other news, I read this today: 

"Clay Porter's final film takes the Atherton's back home for some next level riding in North Wales." 

Needless to say, I got pretty excited when I read "Clay Porter's final film," but this is just his final installment of these Four by Three videos for the Athertons. For a second there I started to think that all TEAM ROBOT's hard work had started to pay off, and maybe all our constant hating had maybe gotten Clay to see the error of his ways. Maybe he was going to mercifully gift the sport of mountain biking with no more of his films. Well, obviously I thought wrong.

Click the link to watch:

But whatever, I thought, might as well watch the video. Maybe Clay Porter movies are getting a little less, you know, Clay Porter-ish? Might as well give it a try.
I turned it off after two minutes of the three siblings talking over B-roll contextual shots. And calling them contextual shots is generous, too. Whatever, I guess I'll accept that 2 minutes of trees and hills and dales is "necessary" context, but can anyone tell me how a six second fixed shot on this telephone booth informs me, the viewer, about bike riding in Wales? I'm dying to know:

Clay, this isn't your portfolio. These shots are actually supposed to be motivated by a central idea.

Apparently everyone else on the interweb thinks the riding in the video is pretty rad. Well, that's sweet, I couldn't hang in there long enough to watch it. And don't give me that "your generation has such short attention spans now, you don't have time to experience true art." That's BS and you know it. Pfunk and I watched that DMX reading rainbow thing, like, twenty times yesterday.

No, it's not that I'm too impatient to let Clay develop his story. I just didn't like the story he was developing. The interviews with the Athertons in the first minute were so over the top, it was a straight up gong show to see who could convince you how absolutely unbelievably mind blowing England's red neck backyard is. "Wales is so epic," "paradise," "unbounded""crazy""untouched" "so many possibilities" "miles and miles" "keeps you humble""get back to your roots" "nothing to hide behind." We cannot confirm this report at this point in time, but sources close to the Athertons indicate that their script for this web edit was written by Paul Lacava.

The clincher:

The long, tortured intro ends with Rach saying "if you want something, you have to make it yourself." This is the ender quote before he pans over the Atherton house and cuts to the title of the movie, and I think it's supposed to put the whole film in context, to serve as the culminating insight, the denouement if you will. I think this idea that "you have to make it yourself" is supposed to be profound, and represents some higher level of achievement or something.

"If you want something, you have to make it yourself." "Back to your roots." As if washing your dishes by hand, driving farther to buy groceries, and walking all the way down a long gravel drive to get your mail from the mailbox is somehow more real and authentic than living in a city and just having shit nearby. And there's this underlying suggestion implicit in all of this shit that says that if you don't physically craft something with your own two hands you didn't really work for it and you can't appreciate it.

I see this attitude all the time at hippy school and in Portland in general. "Oh, we have our own chickens and Anna sows all our clothing, it keeps us in touch with the land and our roots and with blah, blah, whatever hippy bullshit."

I could sew my own shitty clothing like you and stay "real," but let me walk you through how I make my clothing:

I work to make stuff, ideas, or things. This output is valued by consumers and companies.

A company or consumer trades wages for my output.

Another company produces clothing.

I pay that company for their output with my wages from my output.

I have clothing now.

Except instead of doing all that work and only having my own shitty clothing to show for it, I now have a shirt and that company has the product of my output. We have produced twice as much stuff as we would have. If you assume that the company I work for has stuff on hand that allows me to work more efficiently than I could on my own, we might have produced four times as much stuff as I could have alone.

As a bonus, I get to work on what I'm good at and enjoy, instead of spending hours sewing shitty, uncomfortable clothing just so I can have the privilege of not styling around town in a fig leaf.

Sure, there are several race and class issues that present themselves in my short narrative, and you might be uncomfortable with those. That's fine, and I understand why modern, globalized capitalism gives you pause. That's a wholly different discussion.

But please, please, whatever you do, don't try to feed me this line of bullshit that the only way to "be real" is to cobble your own uncomfortable shoes and grow your own butternut squash.

How to make friends, with Steven Bafus

Obviously Facebook has really honed in our societal understanding of the word "friend."

Monday, December 17, 2012

METAL MONDAY!!! Metal Ryan edition

love Pfunk

longview sucks.

DMX X TEAM-ROBOT collabo.....

this is for T sage love P funk


TEAM ROBOT has not updated anything over the past few days because your robot overlords have been very confused. Your human behavior is frustrating and bizarre to the the CPU at ROBOT HQ.

In the past week, a man burst into Clackamas Town Center with a mask on and started shooting people.

A few days later another man in Connecticut shot his mother at home and then drove to school and started killing kindergarteners.

TEAM ROBOT did not have the ability to make this situation funny. Humans that are funnier than the robots did their best to help people laugh, but ultimately there's not much to laugh at. TEAM ROBOT didn't have much to say.

On Saturday Billy Lewis, Paris Gore, and Tyler from Diamondback came down to Portland to ride the Lumberyard. I showed up late, as I do for most things in my life, and when I rolled in the first thing Paris said to me was "see that kid in the plaid shirt, on the bmx?"

"Yeah, sure" I said. "Is he gonna do ten frontflips or nose manual to barspin everything in sight and make us all look bad?"

"No," Paris said, "his mom got shot at the Clackamas mall this week. This is the first time he's been out of the house since then. Try to say something nice to him."

Mountain biking can seem pretty unimportant a lot of the time. We like to go in circles and up and down hills on bicycles, and on it's face that seems trivial compared to finding the cure for cancer or solving the debt crisis or whatever else is on the news making us all terrified.

But on Saturday, of all the places in Portland that kid could have been, whoever was responsible for him was smart enough to take him to the Lumberyard. That was probably the best, safest, most important place in the world for that kid.

Bikes are fun, and normal, and awesome, and I couldn't think of a better place for him to be. He was genuinely stoked to be there, and looked like he was having a blast. Yeah, sure, obviously there's this and that and a million other things to consider, but bikes are good and I'm glad whoever is responsible for him didn't just let him sit on the couch and play video games.

The lessons you learn on a bike are huge. You learn to trust yourself, but you learn your own limits. You learn what success and failure feel like. You learn what getting hurt feels like, but you also learn that you can and will come back from an injury. You learn to have fun and how to budget your time around what you love.

I don't think I've ever gone to the lumberyard and not seen little kids and old geezers. And I mean OLD geezers, like, over the age of 35 and everything. You know, people who are just months away from incontinence and Rascal scooters. Morning or night, midweek or weekend, people are riding there and having a blast. And people of all skill levels, on some dialed all-XTR whips and others on Surly Pugleys and Azonic Steelheads from '05. People just having fun.

There is not going to be a mass shooting at the lumberyard. Even minimal amounts of physical activity release enough dopamine to work wonders in moderating psychological problems. And bike riding is not just mindless physical activity on a treadmill or stationary bike. People actually have fun riding bikes, and they often choose to do it again.

Total rando gettin some on a rental bike at the Lumberyard.

Humans, just remember to enjoy your limited, mortal time on this earth and to ride your bike. Ride if it's raining, ride if you're busy, ride if you're tired. Just ride your bike, and get other people to, as well. Of course don't take them to anywhere TEAM ROBOT rides because we hate you and your team, but still take them riding. Just don't sit still, get lazy, and get mad, and don't let other people sit still, get lazy, and get mad.

While we're on the "life is fragile" talk, when you do ride your bike, don't be an idiot. If you're going to do a good thing and ride bikes, don't get yourself killed in the process. Wear a helmet, and wear the right one. Scott Secco put this video up on Pinkbike, and there's some good stuff in there. Needlessly dying doing something fun like riding bikes does not compute:

Humans, please stop killing each other. At TEAM ROBOT, it's our job to exterminate humanity.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


TEAM ROBOT 2013 race season:

Your team's 2013 race season:

Total annihilation

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Cory Tepper:
At the Mall, bought an iPhone 5 and a gingerbread latte. #chugging the koolaid

Wow, must be rough having to buy your own Christmas presents #nofriends #tableforone #lonely holidays

It's very similar to buying your own ticket to a World Cup. #notarealpro

Remi Therion

If you're doing fantasy WC next year and if Dirt is doing fantasy next year, you could do worse than picking up Remi Thirion:

He's French, which if you're not Cedric means you probably have the personality of a cardboard box, but don't let that take away from his riding: it's incredible.

I think he's one of the most exciting riders to watch, like 2008 vintage Blenki or 2010 Lewis Buchanan. Unpredictable and wild on the bike. Controlled chaos and all that. Also, apparently he was the second most consistent French rider after Loic Bruni in 2012. Considering that he was running Hutchison tires and finished half the World Cup races with a flat tire that's pretty impressive.

It would be faster to run real tires, tie a rope to the back of your bike, and drag your whole year's worth of Hutchison whatevertheycalltheirDHtire tires behind your bike. 10 to 1 he has a flat or slow leak in the above picture.

Here's an old picture from '08 of Remi Thirion at Schladming. There's a venue that needs to return to WC racing. Also, major Frenchie points for running another random brokedick Frenchie frame. Sunn in '08, Labyrinth in 2012. Is Labyrinth French? Whatever, still major points for not caving in and getting a real bike.

Speaking of Euros, I randomly stumbled on these Schladming photos through Google, and they're from some dude named Gill Adamson Bambucas. That's a terrible name if you're American, so I assume he's also a Euro.

And here's the thing: the random no-name Euro in the picture above is probably faster than all of us. Yeah, I know he couldn't look like more of a jamoke to us Americans. Some goofy frame you've never heard of, a 888, whatever that helmet is, he borrowed Lance Canfield's shorts and he's running nurse scrubs on top. But he's got Italy socks, so we can only assume that his name is Giovanni, his grandpa was a star driver for Ferrari back before the war, and he's been racing moto enduro with his dad Salvetorio in the Italian Alps since he was four.

Which isn't to say that he isn't a total Joe in Euro terms, only to say that Euro Joes are faster than our fast guys here in the states.

-From Charlie, your resident Joe from the states.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Paul has a blog. It's life changing.

That is all.

Fun starts now

I just turned my thesis in, and my last class at Lewis and Clark is 8 days away.

No finals either. It's an amazing feeling to go from living every second in mortal terror of not graduating to being a free man.

Tomorrow = bikesbikesbikesbikesbikesbikesbikesbikesbikes

Sunday, December 9, 2012


We have heard many humans say "you only live once." This is true.

TEAM ROBOT is working around the clock to guarantee that your one life will be exceedingly short.

Humans, you only live once.

How to

How to ride a motorcycle:

 How not to ride a motorcycle:

 I don't understand the desire to make this machine. Is this supposed to be an improvement on the motorcycle? Is this just to be cute and different and interesting? Is it just because you figured out the physics and you think it can be done? Do you honestly think you will make money selling these?

TEAM ROBOT does not understand your puny human thought processes. Nonetheless, the ecoboomer, the segway, any of these self balancing vehicles can still have an automated machine gun bolted on top of it to seek and destroy your human kind when the apocolypse comes.

Death will come in all forms.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bafus at the jungle

Steven Bafus rides his Deity Cryptkeeper on Pinkbike

Sweet Bafus edit from Paris Gore and Deity. We're pretty big fans of Deity here at ROBOT HQ, and there aren't many people that can whip a Deity Cryptkeeper much better than Bafus.

I still can't believe I haven't made it out to the jungle. The 360 at the jungle looked so relaxed and laid out.

Old brakes and Tough breaks

Old Brakes:

This is one of the coolest articles I've read in a long, long time. Check the link, it's a good read. I don't even know what possessed me to check out NSMB, obviously I will do anything other than study for finals, but I'm glad I got distracted. Dude bro takes apart an old, haggard set of Hayes Mags and gets those things feeling new. The article is rad for three reasons:

1. Everyone in the universe has an old, clapped out set of Hayes Mags in their garage. Everyone. If you don't, you're not even a real bike rider. Or you're thirteen.

I sold my old, blown pair a couple years ago for $30 and a half eaten Snickers bar, and now I'm really regretting it.

I miss them already, sort of. I've got to tamp down the nostalgia, though, and stay realistic. Fixing your old Hayes brakes fits in the same category as "I could totally fix up this old, broken radio set on Ebay. I'll totally listen to the radio all the time at home," or "sure I'll take your old microwave, I could totally use two microwaves!"

2. The title of the article is "Teaching the principle, not the procedure." That's a pretty good way to think about anything mechanical. Sort of like the give a man a fish/teach a man to fish proverb, it's way more useful to learn how to figure mechanical stuff out than to be taught how to do little, individual tasks.

Many people who are smarter than me have said that working on crappy, old bikes is the the best way to learn. When you listen to Monk on all those TWR videos, he says that most of what he does now is just bolt on new parts and clean the bike. Obviously he's being modest, and I think a lot of smart people would credit him as one of the best mechanics in the world, but things are different when you deal exclusively in new, dialed parts. Bolting on new stuff isn't really "working on bikes." When it comes to getting your hands dirty and fixing real problems, nothing provides the manifold opportunity for challenge, growth, and learning of a rusty, old POS that is a danger to its rider.

And old Hayes Mags are nothing if they're not a rusty, old POS that are a danger to their rider.

3. The article is from Jeff Bryson from Cana Danada. If this is the same Jeff Bryson I'm thinking of, than he has won a bunch of BC cups and has kicked my ass a couple times, too. It's good to see smart articles written by guys that can actually ride, even he does put those sweet, new Mags onto flat handlebars.

You're forgiven. THIS TIME.

Tough Break:
Trek World Racing DH 2012 || Leogang World Champs from Trek World Racing on Vimeo.

Three things about this TWR video:

1. If you don't watch anything else, watch the last 40 seconds. As someone who has ridden there, I can certify that every single gap and line he does is 100% impossible, as is million mph speed in places where I was awkwardly wobbling and creeping down riding my brakes. To me, that was hands down the most impressive riding I have seen on a bike in 2012, and maybe ever. The kid can ride a bike.

2. I'm not placing blame here, and I'm not going to delve into the conspiracy stuff that you'll see elsewhere on the interdork. TEAM ROBOT has stayed above the petty, human fray on this topic, and we're not going to change that now. But, did you see the totally deconstructed Hayes Mag in the article. Homeboy from Canuckistan took that thing completely apart before he put it back together. You have to wonder: in two years of Gwin racing the same proto brakes, how many times did the TWR boys takes those brakes 100% apart. I mean, 100% apart. Seems unnecessary at the time perhaps, but I'm guessing the brake failure wasn't 100% instantaneous. Probably there was some sort of gradual wear that served as the foundation for a later disaster. I'm not saying this to point fingers or shame anyone, but here's what I do walk away with:

I am a lazy bastard when it comes to my own equipment. I race too much to leave my equipment to chance. I should put in a little more work on my own bikes so that they like me back. If I don't, maybe my brake will explode on me during a World Champs winning run. Or maybe not.

3. Okay, let's delve into the conspiracy stuff: I always believe the athlete over the engineer. Always. There are so many stories from car racing, or moto GP, or any of the other tech/science heavy sports, where some racer is testing something and comes off the track and says "it's doing X," and the engineers say "it can't be doing X. We've run the math and there is no way it can be doing X. You must be feeling something else." I had a friend that worked at Leupold Gun sights, and every once in a while the guys in the machine shop would see a new drawing from the engineers and say "this is going to break." The engineers always said "no, we ran the numbers and it's strong enough." And every single time it broke in testing.

Engineers are not God. So when you hear Gwin say "it felt like both brakes failed," then probably both brakes failed. When the engineer guy from Big Blue is saying "you probably thought you felt the rear brake fail, but it was just because the front brake wasn't there," I have to wonder: really? You're going to question what Aaron Gwin did or did not feel his bike doing? Sure, there are brainless riders that coast by on talent and athleticism, whose only feedback to the engineers is "it was badass" or "it rode dumb," but I'm guessing Gwin is not one of those guys. I like how there is no discussion or argument featured in the video, and Gwin just listens and nods. Like we're supposed to believe Gwin's thinking "sure jack, I must have been wrong." I didn't think there was a conspiracy before, but at that exact moment I knew in my heart it was true.

I'm not saying it was Shimano. That's what everyone else thinks, but here's the real deal:
  • UCI feeling pressure from USADA and world news media from the Lance thing. Obviously they knew about the doping and turned a blind eye. Things look bad for the UCI. 
  • Gwin coming through the ranks, poised to win World Cup title and the rainbows. Another too good to be true, out of left field American racer who crushes urbody, urday and makes the competition look like JV. Smells like Lance all over again. 
  • Turns out it's not drugs, Gwin's the real deal. But UCI can't stand the idea of America showing everyone else how much their country sucks, and plans to plant drug testing samples and get Gwin banned for EPO or blood doping or Red Bull or whatever they use these days. They pick the World Champs as the event to shame him. Gwin will be too disgraced to come back, and then we'll only have FAAGs representing America.  
  • UCI can't go through with drug bust plan because they're taking heat on this Lance thing. Drugs are out. 
  • UCI plans to sabotage Gwin's bike, so they threaten Shimano & TWR. If Shimano doesn't turn a blind eye, the UCI threatens to pass a new rule to make good, well made parts illegal on the World Cup. Shimano knows if this UCI rule goes through, every top 20 rider in every cycling sport will be on SRAM. Some Euro joes will be on Campy, but that's only road and no one cares about Campy anyway. This will kill Shimano's marketing and sales. 
  • UCI wants a French or Swiss rider to win it, but even they don't like Spagnolo, and no one would believe it if Nick Beer won world champs. They don't want to detract from the glory of the Swiss/Belgian/French cycling legacy, so they settle for a non Swiss/Belgian/French rider who still won't get people excited: Minnaar. It's like a Dungey MX win; no one at home is dancing and singing.
It all goes down. Here's a visual representation of Whitely breaking the news to Gwin on his week off between World Champs and Norway. Gwin played by William Wallace, Martin Whitely played by Robert the Bruce, Monk played by Irish Stephen:

And that's the way it went down. True story.