Thursday, January 31, 2013

Not good

I don't know why this is a trend in trails, but building knife-ended landings like this should be officially banned. Like, ankle-socks-on-downhill-bikes banned. So, basically by law.

This is not a new development in trails, either. I remember staring, repeatedly, at the cover of the 2009 DigBMX trails issue trying to figure out how or why this objectively awful jump made it onto the cover. And this was supposed to be the "trails issue," too, whatever that means. It would be like putting a picture of me riding my brakes down the hill with my knees buckled crying to myself in Hafjell last year as the cover story on Dirt with the title "WORLD CUP SPEED!"

When you move a whole bunch of dirt to make a massive landing, you have two big objectives:

1. Use as much of that dirt as possible every time you ride the landing. It took a lot of work to move that dirt that far up, so you want to land at the tippy-top and get as much totally nasty, badass speed as you can for the next jump.

2. Avoid moving more dirt later.

Building a knife-edged landing accomplishes neither one of these objectives.

When you have a scary-sharp, un-caseable landing, your sphincter tightens up and you overjump that landing EVERY TIME so you can avoid the bone jarring, ankle breaking thunder case that awaits on even the slightest mistake. Plus, if you're living in AWhale'sVagina, California, as the guy in the top picture is, and your dirt is 90% sand and 100% bullshit, you're going to have to fix wheel-sized case marks every time you ride. Basically, if a landing is built pencildick thin, guess what?

Thundercase > pencildick thin landing

And this is not up for debate either. This is not subjective, this is not based on your feelings, these are documented facts and this is hard science:

 Austin, Texas

Lynnwood, Washington (RIP)

Wherever GJ's digging now

Redding, California

Canberra, Australia maybe. Somewhere sick.

Besides the fact that it actually looks better, it rides better, too. You don't build a nice, big, forgiving case deck so that all the squirrels feel comfy the first time they hit your trails. You build it so that when you ride there every day you have a little room to get stupid when you're seeing how high you can boost, what you can three and what you can't, and whether or not you can do that crazy switch-footed thing Ollie Wilkins or some little-wheeled lobsterback did in Earthed 3. When you're trying dumb shit on your own jumps, it's actually more fun when you're not playing a game of "Operation" trying to land at the top of your landing.

And while we're on the topic of trail building, if you were spending your time today reading about riding instead of actually doing it, then you probably saw this:

There are so many things to say that the robot algorithms need at least two months to process the level of stupid that surrounded the online discussion of this photo today.

I'll revisit this topic soon, but let me start by saying this:

In the BMX trails world, trail builders hunt down, kill, and bury people who mess with their trails. I've been to spots where I'm not allowed to talk or make eye contact with the builders, where I've had my sidewalls cut for skidding, and where I'm not supposed to ride because it's a privilege just to look at the jumps they've built. This is healthy and normal, and a sign of a good trail system.

No, that's not "a little elitist." It's completely elitist, and it's awesome.


X-Fusion signs an another young, up and coming rider with unlimited potential and a long career in front of them:,724

All Hail

via Instagram

Monday, January 28, 2013

our enslaved robobrothers

 donate here to free our robot brothers


A little advice

Today I was reading about the Scott Genius 720 on pinkbike. This is a bike that I couldn't care less about- a longish travel trail bike with 10 million cables and hoses, long stem, 650b, no dropper post, triple crank, etc, so knowing that I didn't care about the bike or review, I skipped ahead to the comments section to see what kernels of wisdom the enlightened internerds were sharing.

The first commment, from another random Pinkbike user, captured the general sentiment of the review in this glowingly positive litte summary:

So it's not plush, despite the bigger wheels smoothing things out. It's also not poppy or playful despite its firm ride. And it feels like it's not using all its travel despite regularly using the full 150mm. It's also heavy for a carbon trail bike. Sounds like a fun ride....not. It isn't what id buy for my next bike but I'm sure that pinkbike just saved somebody somewhere some money!

So that was that, I thought, until scrolling down I saw the reviewer, Pinkbike's Mike Kazimer, step in the fray to break down his review and shed a little more light on why he found the performance of the Genius lacking:

Part of the problem is the Fox 34 forks are pigs... they're 4 1/2 pounds for what Rockshox manages to do for less weight and with better performance, and the Scott rear shocks have historically been valved firmer. For next season (2014) Fox has announced a 140mm travel 650B fork built around the 32mm stanchion platform. It got reviewed on mtbr yesterday. They basically cut a pound out of the fork weight compared to what they offered this year.

"Part of the problem is the Fox 34 forks are pigs." That's the problem? The whole gestalt of the bike was thrown off by having a fork that was 180 grams heavier than what you're used to? That's what ruined it for you?

Well, you could drop $1100 and get the Rockshox fork you're so interested in, and save that 180 grams, and maybe that will be the magic bullet that transforms the Scott from hate to great, but Dr. Chopper has another prescription:

I have no idea if Mike is correct and the Rockshox equivalent fork is lighter, and I definitely made up the 180 grams number because I have no idea what the weights of 650b trail forks are, but here's what I do know: I don't care. I can count all the shits I give on zero fingers whether this fork weighs two grams  or two hundred grams more than that fork.

Humans, this is what happens when your reviewer weighs 130 pounds soaking wet. This is why we can't have nice things.

Eat some protein powder and put on at least 30 pounds and then we'll talk. If you don't tear phonebooks in half and look like Rennie than your reviews are meaningless to me.

I don't know this Mike Kazimer guy, and I don't pretend to know whether he's actually wigged out by an extra couple ounces of suspension performance, but just in case we read that review correctly and the Fox's weight is a big deal breaker, here's a great antidote for the Scott's perceived weight problem:

TEAM ROBOT's quick guide to not being a pussy on your XC bike:

  • If you have a front derailleur, you're already out. If you leave it on your bike, your Dad will tell family friends that you were adopted to protect the family from your disgrace. If you can't turn a real gear up hills than you can practice something easy like walking until you're ready.
  • Shuttles are for downhill bikes. If it's an uphill bike and you're riding uphill in a car, you're doing it wrong.
  • Anything under 35 pounds is an XC bike. That's right, if you got one of the new all carbon V-10's and you're at 34 pounds, dual crown or not, you'd better have a QR seat clamp and a lot of extra post, because you're not shuttling that thing if you want to keep your pair. Call it cross training for race season.

Check the seat height. Greg knows what's up.

  • Proper XC upper body attire: a t-shirt. And no, a "technical t-shirt" is not a thing, that's just an overpriced t-shirt for pussies.
  • Don't weigh your bike. No, seriously, ever. If you're trying to figure out how rule number three and this rule can coexist, you're being a pussy, so stop thinking about it.
  • Knee pads on an XC ride? I guess you're one of those "douse everything in purell and always get your eight hours" kind of people. Do you wear football pads when you walk the dog? Please. Same rules apply for full face helmets; little bikes = no. That said, Leatt braces are always a good idea, you can never be too careful.

  • If you pedaled uphill at any point during the day, it's an XC ride, so consult the above knee pad/full face rule. When in doubt, consult Mick Hannah circa 2004. 
  • Foam grips mean that you're more George Michael than George W. Congratulations, by installing foam grips you just saved the same weight as the smallest dump you've ever taken.

  • If your biggest cassette cog is bigger than your chainring, you're probably already racing in the women's class. If you're not racing in the women's class, that could be a great way to finally get that top ten finish you've always wanted.

If you have any questions about pulling your skirt up and riding your bike like a big boy, just ask these guys, cause they've got the formula figured out:

No excuses.

Metal Monday

This is the most metal thing you will read all day. I like to think King Diamond was playing in this guy's head during his rampage, but if he was kind of a pussy he might have been listening to Pantera.

"When Tony and LaDonna Land discovered naked carnival worker Gregory Matthew Bruni on their roof, the night had just begun. Bruni, 21, allegedly assaulted Tony Land, trashed the couple's North Fort Myers Home, and then defecated and masturbated inside the house, WTSP reports."

Party on, Wayne.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lumbar support

I hope he had some.

Action Sports

"Action Sports" isn't a thing, but let's just humor the people who need to categorize, normalize, and commercialize the idea of people wanting to go out, try new stuff, and have fun with their friends on their snowboard, bike, skateboard, whatever, and pretend like it's a thing that can be tied down and defined.

If action sports is a thing, then the X-Games are without a doubt the worst thing to ever happen to any of them.


A close second would be energy drink companies.


ESPN overcame all odds to do the impossible: take the creativity and fun out of "sports" that were dreamt up to embody fun and creativity.


 In America you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The elusive members of the "do NOT kill list"

Regrettably we at Team Robot have a shameful little list we call the "do NOT kill list".
I know right? that has to be some kind of typo, but it is true, it does exist, a short selection of preselected survivors of the impending mechanized apocalypse that will completely devastate all you fleshy little meat balls and everything you love.
what mere human could possibly hold such a position in the eyes of your cold metal overlords?
well, we cant simply post the list in its  entirety for fear of exploding your simple human brains. however we will be exploring each member in slight detail over the course of however long we remember to post them.

First up.

The one, the only, the super old ............... Todd Motherfucking Olson.


if you have ever been at a downhill race in the northwest in the last several decades then you may have noticed this Superior being gracing you with his presence.

  • he may have told you a racist joke.
  • he definitely checked out your girlfriend
  • he had a better bike than you
  • he did like five hundred practice runs at age 67 while your (your age here) year old ass pussed out early so you could "save" your energy to place mid pack in CAT who gives a shit!
  • he may have pulled a part off his bike so you could do your race run (Team Robot does not condone charity to humans but this may help your feeble brain remember this god among men)
  • he bought cocaine for Slayer when they were in town.
  • He dry humped one of his longtime friends directly in front of you. Probably the Jimador.
  • He didn't care about your bike setup or pro course breakdown or your offseason training. He definitely did not want to talk about chainguide setup.
  • He did more to financially support the race you were at than most of the companies on the sponsor list. And he raced.
and at what moment in time did we decide, this guy ...... yeah this guy?
well it was always right in our face but it was sort of an instance of the "straw that broke the camels back". well what was the straw you ask?
It was this moment.
Todd Charlie and I hiked up to a super old bad ass set of DH trails and while watching Charlie jump something on his trail bike Todd excitedly shouted out to congratulate Charlie. when i asked Todd what he had just said he replied " yeah Charlie" he had no idea that he had said what he said.

Don't worry about the video quality, just listen carefully and study, humans. Video quality sucks because this was filmed on a human-designed iphone. Robots just beam information directly from asshole to asshole. RBZZZZZZZ

Womp Womp

via Instagram


What's in Peaty's Attic? - More Mountain Bike Videos

If you watched this all the way through and didn't absolutely lose your shit when you realized that Steve Peat still has his 2005 Orange 223 in mint condition, just chilling in his attic, then you aren't even a mountain biker. I have drooled over that bike for as long as it's existed, and to see that he just has his bikes hanging out ready to ride whenever was simply mind blowing.

I'm 6'3", and weigh almost the same thing as Steve. New life goal.

2005: the man, winning the race.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mountain biking

This is perhaps my favorite video if the year so far (all 24 days).

This is everything I love about riding bikes. Peaceful, melodic chaos, shared with friends:

ONE LAP: Grafton Mesa, Hurricane, Utah - More Mountain Bike Videos


Urge fields an entire Enduro team of random looking Frenchies that you've never heard of. Insiders report that, like most random Euros, they're still faster than 98% of the people you have heard of.

Industry experts agree that most of the well-known American racers will stay in North America to pad their results and avoid the crippling realization of how fast Europe's randos are.

TEAM ROBOT, keeping you posted on all the news that's newest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

@corytepper @killianfunk

via Instagram

New TEAM ROBOT Series: the Tattoos of Pinkbike

Pretty self explanatory. Week 1 comes from Russia. Enjoy:

I've seen brake rotor tattoos, I've seen a million chainring tattoos, but never have I seen a chainrotor tattoo. Or is it a brakering.


Copy cats

So a lot of people have been pointing us to TrivialMTB and being all "dude, he's totally copying TEAM ROBOT." Mr. Trivial himself even had to address this in a recent blog post.

On a certain level, if that's what he wants to do, that's his thing and I'm not going to step in and get butthurt. As Patrick said yesterday "no one nice reads our website," so if he wants to turn all of his friends, acquaintances, and even random strangers into blood thirsty hyenas waiting for a moment of vulnerability and weakness, so they can tell you how dumb you are and how shitty your site is as they try to prove to you and themselves that they're just as funny and witty as you are, then I'd tell him the water's warm and there's room for two.

But before I can even talk about whether or not Mr. Trivial is "copying" us, we have to talk about what it is we're doing here at TEAM ROBOT. Now brace yourself, because I'm about to give away our whole secret formula for TEAM ROBOT. What are the 23 ingredients in Dr. Pepper? What makes McDonald's French fries so good? What did Bugs Bunny put in Mke's Secret Stuff in Space Jam? No one knows, but today you're going to find out what made TEAM ROBOT into the legendary, life-changing, shining beacon of hope that it is.

I know, I know, it's hard to put your finger on any one thing that makes us
so much more awesome than you and your team, but bear with me.


1. Find some thing, some truth, or some poorly hidden secret that someone or some company wants to ignore or keep secret, but that everybody sort of knows already.

2. Point that thing out.

3. That person or the people at that company get mad because we pointed out their dirty secret that was actually blatantly obvious. All the shitty people on the internet laugh, knowing that the person or company is now pissed and(or) miserable.

That's pretty much it. Anyone can do it. The only limitation in the formula, and the only place where one site can differentiate itself from another is:

a) What kind of dirty secrets the writers on the site can dig up or discover, and

b) How well the writers can articulate their newfound insight or truth to the audience

So yeah, in a lot of ways, TrivialMTB is copying TEAM ROBOT: his formula is pretty much ours, and anyone pretending otherwise is tripping. But, I've got an even more disturbing truth for all you readers who've pinned your hopes and dreams on TEAM ROBOT as your hope and savior. Remember when you found out Lance was doping, and then sold your Trek? Or when you found out that Aaron Gwin actually thinks about things like money and contracts, and then you sold your Trek? Or when you found out Wade Bootes was actually Australian and didn't love freedom and liberty, but didn't sell your Trek because no 4x star has ever sold a bike to anyone ever and that's not why you bought your Trek?

Even more than those earth-shattering realizations, this next discovery is going to blow your mind, crush your soul, and make you question everything you thought was true and holy. So before reading it you might want to start writing your craigslist ad for your Trek, because your TEAM ROBOT is going down in flames right now. Here we go:


It's true, we did, and it gets worse than that. That's not the only site we copied. We also copied Brotocross. And The Best Page in the Universe. And the Onion.

And we copied stand up comics, like Dave Chappelle. And Patrice O'Neal. And Robin Williams. And George Carlin. And Mitch Hedberg.

And we copied philosophers like Socrates. And Keynes. And Karl Marx. And Jesus Christ. And even my dad, if you want to call him a philosopher.

My Dad in his brief stint as a graphic novel character during his early twenties.
Hey, we all had to pay for college somehow.

Frankly, we copied even more sources than that. We've copied people, schools of thought, books, magazine articles, philosophies, ideas from my teachers and friends, we've stolen quotes, photos, graphs, and video clips. We actually are copying other people all the time. We're not that smart, and we're not that creative. Probably, if you were to meet any of us, you'd probably conclude we're not like TEAM ROBOT at all.

Because that's not really the point of writing TEAM ROBOT. We're not pretending that we have the exclusive ownership of our ideas, or that our ideas are exclusively ours. I hope, if the stuff we say on TEAM ROBOT has any truth or value in it, that other people are taking that truth and repeating it and incorporating into their view of the world, or COPYING us, if you want to be so monolithic. So when TrivialMTB starts saying that Alex Rankin is awesome and that the Freeride Entertainment crew sucks at storytelling without condescending to their audience, do I feel threatened or somehow cheated? No, but when Alex Rankin posted a TrivialMTB link on his personal Facebook page, that did hurt my feelings. Alex, I'm sorry if I let you down at some point. It hurts when you ignore me.

One of the guys from Where the Trail Ends, doing the mental math on the paycheck vs. integrity question before hitting record on the same tired Kamloops segment for 13th year in a row.

Honestly, when I went to TrivialMTB for the first time, I ended up reading through all of his articles, because they're pretty funny. In the end I concluded that he was way funnier and smarter than I am. For one thing, he's never written anything as long as this crappy post, which has got to say something good about his talents. If I were smarter and funnier, I wouldn't need to write a blog post as long as War and Peace to make my point.

But then today my eyes were opened. The truth hit me. I saw the light, and I understood. TrivialMTB is not TEAM ROBOT:

Remember the secret formula? If you don't, here's a quick review: find someone's flaws, point them out, make them pissed. Well then I read Mr. Trivial's take on the new TLD A1 helmet today. First of all, that is about as far from TEAM ROBOT's formula as possible. Our news cycle is about 2-3 weeks behind anything that's buzzing on the internet, and I still haven't gotten around to doing a Norway race report, and that was, like, four months ago.

But anyway, Mr. Trivial thought he was calling TLD out when he said the helmet looked gaudy and their marketing campaign was over the top. And here's where Mr. Trivial and TEAM ROBOT part ways: that's not a secret. That's not even funny. I don't think anyone is surprised to hear that TLD's new helmet is gaudy and their marketing campaign is over the top. The guys at TLD would probably agree with that statement, and the product designer is probably back at the studio nodding his head emphatically. "Gaudy and over the Top" might as well be the companies mission statement. Now that I mention it, GOTT TLD makes for a pretty good acronym, you're welcome Troy. Call me.

Here's a challenge: go to the TLD site, and find the clothes that aren't over the top, gaudy, and loud.

Oh, wait, you can't. They don't exist. And don't tell me that "the enduro MX kits are kind of low key," because enduro MX kits are really getting sold to visor-down hicks that drive 89 CR125s in circles in shooting pits or pull extended quad wheelies down fire roads, and you have to stoop to their mouth breathing backwoods level to sell anything to them.

I'm surprised Enduro MX kits don't come with a free set of truck nuts.

TLD is supposed to be over the top. Look at their slogan: for the world's fastest racers. Their shit is supposed to be loud as hell, distinctive, and you should be able to pick out a guy wearing TLD clothes or helmets from a few ridge lines over. I'm not 100% positive, but I think you can pick it out from space. 

No one has ever looked at someone in TLD gear and wondered, "is that the new kit from Shift?"

Let's review the three mainstay graphic components of Troy's designs: flames, lightning bolts, and gigantic eyeballs. Nope, not seeing anything low profile there. This year they made an all black kit, and an all white kit, but even then the whole point was WOW LOOK AT THAT GUY HE'S SO BADASS HE DOENS'T EVEN NEED GRAPHICS OR COLORS HE'S CONTENT TO JUST HAVE THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT OR ALL THE COLORS OF LIGHT VISIBLE AT ONCE ON HIS JERSEY RESULTING IN THE APPEARANCE OF BLACK OR WHITE. Okay, maybe when you're in an all-caps yelling frenzy you're not going to take the time to walk through the technicalities of white and black on the light spectrum, but that's how I roll.

Massive FG to look NFG

When you say "the new TLD stuff is loud and over the top," that's like saying the new Lambo looked a little ostentatious. Yeah, mission accomplished, sport. Oh, and you said the overhyped helmet preview video clip was overhyped. Cool, who cares? 

TLD is one of those companies that, in my book, gets a pass on all that. They have so carefully built their brand around being the ostentatious racer boy #1 Ricky Bobby of the MTB world that I don't worry about them overhyping their new products or riders, I'm worried when they don't. Sam Hill, Steve Smith, Steve Peat, NaPalm, and an endless list of guys were built into heroes and legends because TLD ran ads, made kits, sponsored movies, and built a persona that made them look like complete badasses. No one has ever looked at a Canuckian Freehucker in a Dakine kit and thought, "wow, girls will tear my clothes off if I become that guy because he makes my dad look like a pussy."

Most clothing companies in the mountain bike world try to make you look like a high school dropout stoner listening to Primus with his bros, building shitty trails in BFE British Columbia, but TLD makes you look fast when you're sitting still.

Making heroes look like legends. Making legends look like gods. Probably making your slow ass look a little faster, too.

So congratulations, Mr. Trivial, you have a website, and it even gets read by some people. From this day on, everything you ever say will be criticized by people who are dumber than you, by people who are smarter than you, and mostly by people who do not have your best interests in heart.

Welcome to the club.

And by the way, if you think I'm just sucking up to TLD here, you're absolutely right. You 100% nailed it. I've been paying full retail like a chump for TLD stuff since I started racing, because I suck at riding bikes and I need whatever help I can get to not look like a total Joey. Okay, okay, I've gotten a shop deal a couple times, but the point is, TLD can mail me free stuff anytime. If all I have to do is just talk about how sweet it looks on my stupid blog, I'm totally willing to sell whatever shred of dignity I have left. Maybe I could even offer them some "product testing." So Troy, baby, I'm here whenever you're ready. Let's talk.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This is a real product

Honestly, I can't make this stuff up. Sure, I love the sound of stanchions, brake rotors, and fresh paint rattling into each other during the "road test," the grimace of the reviewer as he breaks loose the bikes as he gets each of them unstuck, and of course I'm fond of the $5 yellow truck stop tiedown that Upright Designs provides as the "bicycle retention device," but my favorite part is at 3 minutes or so when the reviewer, brimming with energy and excitement, gives Upright Design's new rack the ultimate vote of confidence: "It's pretty okay."

If I were the marketing guy at Upright Designs, I'd mail Francis at MTBR flowers and a box of chocolates, give the sales guys at Upright a heads up that invoices are going to be coming in like a bed intruder in Lincoln Park, and call in sick for the next two months, because my job is done. Hard to get a better recommendation than that. It's like a case study of success for Marketing 101; no doubt, people will be reading about the Totem Pole rack for years to come.

It's times like these that I realize I need to be taking more advantage of my official status as the "main contributor to a popular mountain bike blog" and as a "professional mountain bike athlete." Why am I letting MTBR have all the fun? Guaranteed, I could get one of these in the mail tomorrow to "test out" their "exciting new product" if I put on my adult sounding "interview voice" and wrote a formal proposal to Upright Designs.

And even if it's not this rack, which looks hellaciously awful and potentially hilarious to test, it could be anything. Companies love to get their stuff product tested, especially by a young but professional sounding blogger that's "in touch with the new generation of consumers." And so I bring you, 2013's upcoming Team Robot product tests:

  • Anything made by Mongoose
  • Offroad recumbent test
  • Vee Rubber Tires
  • Saddle bags for DH appliques
  • Viagra
  • TAG wheels
  • this thing:

Really, the possibilities are endless. Maybe we could even try to write real reviews for good products, but that seems like a lot more work, and a lot of emotional/time investment.

Anyway, this thing is mind blowing. Enjoy:

Do you have a perfectly good pickup, but you'd rather sandwich $20,000 in bikes together in a painful orgy of spokes, pedals, and broken dreams? Upright designs has you dialed in with their new Totem Pole Rack.

The bicycle is a distant brethren of the robot, and the robots secreted lubrication oil from our aftermarket tear ports when we saw the pivot of our pivots, the metal of our metals being abused in this way.

Still better than the flatbed trucks that run shuttle at Fontana.

It's like sending boys off to war. Some will make it back, some won't, but none will ever be the same again. A paint gouge here, a stanchion there, but something in your bike is lost on that shuttle that you can never get back: innocence.

Monday, January 21, 2013

This is snowboarding

I just read a piece on Yahoo! news (yes, I still live in the stone ages and use a yahoo email account) about snowboarding losing market share in the winter sports market. Obviously the article ignores all the big meta trends that might be influencing the decline of snowboarding, ie economy in the tank, weather, price of gas, and last but not least shitty parents and boring kids sitting on the couch instead of going outside, but the most stunning oversight in the article was the picture they used.

If you work at Yahoo! news, in two thousand freaking thirteen, this is what snowboarding is in your brain:


Your team

Faceplant on Pinkbike

via Instagram


It's just like, it's just like a Mini Maul: