Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014


The Sun Ringle Doublewide gets a new lease on life, this time in carbon.

In a related story, Australian company Bouwmeester releases innovative new solid-profile carbon rim. When reached for comment, industry experts believed the rim's solid-profile "may allow the rim to buck the trend of expensive carbon rims cracking when they look at or are in the general proximity of rocks."

When pressed, industry experts also added the subsequent qualification, "but probably not."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

TEAM ROBOT shovel fund

IMBA was here.

In our latest IMBA rant in a long, colorful list of IMBA hate-filled rants, we proposed that the IMBA adopt a newer, more honest mission statement going forward.

IMBA: More access is probably better hopefully, but less would be okay too, as long as it isn't too much less, please.

Trivial posted this idea in our comments section, and it got us thinking:

"If that bumper sticker was made and sold by Team Robot, I would purchase several under the condition that profits generated by sticker sales would go to a shovel fund and that once sufficient, shovels would be purchased by Team Robot so that they may dig 400+ feet of single slalom trail into a hillside somewhere, with or without authorization, specifically for bicycle use. That would be bicycle advocacy in action that I would get behind. Results."

That sounded like such a good idea that we now have new stickers for sale on the web store. Check it out:

Every sticker sold goes towards the TEAM ROBOT shovel fund. Stickers are six bucks, and every $6 sticker purchased will go directly towards my preferred tool of choice, the $6 Eagle round tip wood handle shovel from Home Depot, which will promptly be used to turn soil and make cool stuff for bikes.

There's a long list of other tools we and the other dudes use to build trails, like handsaws, buckets, digging bars, rakes, and chainsaws, but I like shovels. Shovels move dirt. Dirt makes jumps. Jumps are cool. This is the TEAM ROBOT shovel fund.

We also like the shovel because it's the trail-building tool IMBA affiliates are least-likely to use.

This berm brought to you by the Eagle Round Tip 44" Wood Handle #2 shovel.

If we actually sell more than 10 of these stickers, 10 being the absolute upper limit on our personal need for #2 shovels and coincidentally our rosiest projection for sticker sales, the goal is to use these funds to support all the other awesome trail builders we know- Brad, Jim, Phil, Todd, Ryan, Kirt, Scott, Petr... all the guys. Each trail builder gets the shovel of his choosing, because we're realistic and we know the Eagle Round Tip doesn't always hold up in other, rockier climates. Most importantly, none of this money will ever go towards an IMBA-style machine built sidewalk trail.

If you believe the IMBA sucks- and it does- help us make mountain biking suck less. I'll keep you posted on all shovel acquisitions and transfers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Win or lose, hit the booze

The IMBA thinks this is a big win:

"Together, they negotiated a deal whereby a section of less than a mile of trail that travels through the nearby Wheeler Peak Wilderness, interrupting a popular high-alpine singletrack near the town of Red River, would be opened to mountain bikers if they backed the Act to fully protect the study area."

Even though it includes this little caveat:

"Taos-area mountain bikers for three decades had been riding the 75 miles of trails in the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area. According to Pickett, the rules in a study area are grayer than those dubbed ‘wilderness’ and the Forest Service historically didn’t manage that 45,000 acres in a way that prohibited mountain biking, so it was a common place to ride. With the new wilderness designation, riding there is strictly off-limits."

This is a win in the eyes of IMBA: giving up 75 miles of trail in Taos to gain access to less than a mile in Red River. Great. At that rate we should lose all mountain bike trails in the country, and then gain 100 miles of new trail, which would give us 2 whole miles of trail per state. Awesome!

I know, I know, it sounds bad, but listen, we're at the table now. That means something. They're listening to us:

“It puts us at the table with this wilderness alliance. Before they didn’t want anything to do with us… Now we’re a member, we’re considered a member of the alliance and anything they do down the road, we have a say.”

An actual picture of IMBA at the table.

So now, instead of just taking away trail like they did in the '84 Wilderness Act expansion, now land managers, bureaucrats, and Congress will invite IMBA "to the table," give IMBA a tiny insignificant carrot, and then take away all the same trails they planned on taking away anyway.

It's the idiot test. If someone lowballs you in a negotiation, and you always take the lowball offer, then guess what? You failed the idiot test, and they're always going to lowball you. Why would someone give IMBA prime rib, or even a whole piece of bread, if IMBA is willing to eat whatever scraps are left under the table.

Look at how pitifully low IMBA's stated goals are for Wilderness expansion:
  • IMBA is not advocating the introduction of mountain bikes in existing designated Wilderness areas. 
  • IMBA values the role the 1964 Wilderness Act has had in protecting wild places. IMBA believes that additional Wilderness designations are warranted and will support these when appropriate.
  • Bicyclists must be at the table when Wilderness decisions are being made. 
  • IMBA is committed to protecting wildlands and open space while allowing for appropriate bicycle access.

GRRRRR!!!! Reading those talking points, you can almost hear IMBA getting their teeth out like a rabid tiger.


Will IMBA or any MTB advocacy group ever say no to any offer, no matter how insulting and low?


Will IMBA ever demand, ask for, or even define what most mountain bikers actually want?


My favorite thing is that in the original article [posted here, IMBA's glowing press release can be seen here], no one talks about whether or not mountain bikes belong on the 75 miles of trail in the study area. Sure, mountain bikes were allowed on those 75 miles of trails for years and years and apparently the forest didn't burn down and the bears and flowers didn't die off, but if the Sierra Club wants to close that 75 miles off to mountain bikers forever, that seems reasonable. No argument. No discussion of the existing trail network, traffic rates, or how different user groups have coexisted on the trails over the past decade or so. Nope, if Sierra Club thinks the trails need to be "protected" from mountain bikes, then they must be right.

Mountain bikers in general, but IMBA especially, don't view advocacy as negotiation, they view it as begging. Begging for whatever they can get, with no strong vision of success, only the vague notion that more access is probably better hopefully, but less would be okay too as long as it isn't too much less, please. That could be a bumper sticker or a poster:

IMBA: More access is probably better hopefully, but less would be okay too, as long as it isn't too much less, please.

Monday, December 22, 2014


Transition Bikes rider Lars Sternberg sidelined for 2015 season with third-degree groin injury sustained in company photo shoot.

TEAM ROBOT caught up with Lars over a bite to hear the latest on his injury:

"Yeah, it's brutal. This groin injury, it sucks. You know, you practice and practice to get ready for the shot, I knew that splitze was a big move, but one missed spot on the ice by the Zamboni driver and BAM! Game over, zero margin for error. Yeah, it's a huge blow to my enduro career. I've been talking a lot to friends and family about what direction to take after this injury, and my good friend Richie Schley had a lot of helpful words of wisdom. He's a guy who's been here. After talking with Richie, I think I should be able to schleyble top and skid my way into paychecks for another decade or so, racing or no."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Rise of Enduro

Please go to Pinkbike today and watch the Rise of Enduro. Watch the whole thing. Trust me. Watch the entire thing.

We did.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Proper Form

To carry maximum speed out of berms, you're going to want to take your inside foot off and turn your shoulders and head to the outside and behind you.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Kill list

It's amazing to me how many times I've seen this photo on Pinkbike, the "guy doing stoppie kissing girl" photo. This one's from the UK, but I've seen them from the US and Canada, from France, from Poland, a lot from Poland actually, from Russia, and even from the Phillipines and Indonesia. It's truly an international phenomenon, crossing all races, religions, and creeds.

I'll admit this one has a slight twist in that the guy and girl are both doing stoppies, but that does nothing to remove them from the kill list. If anything that only makes the case against her more damning, because it proves she knows anything about bike riding and was still complicit in this criminally, offensively stupid idea.


The only comfort I take away from the widespread proliferation of these horrific photos are these two thoughts that help me sleep at night:
  1. If this many people have tried the "stoppie-kiss" picture, somewhere someone has bashed his teeth or even better his girlfriend's teeth in or broken a nose doing it. Knowing that's happened and savoring the thought of the awkward silence and shock after the toof-bashing gives me some sense of justice in this cruel, cruel world.
  2. Even if the stoppie kiss photo worked out and no one got their teeth bashed in, my hope is that the shared experience and teamwork from the stoppie photo strengthens and enriches the relationship just long enough for the delusional misguided girl to discover that her boyfriend is an uncreative no-talent toolbag, but that this revelation of hers only comes after years of marriage, a whole litter of kids together, and maybe 20 years and 30 pounds later when her street value is down and she has to seriously consider the costs of going back on the market. So she finally realizes that the stoppie-kiss photo wasn't the kickstart to years of unbounded creativity and mutually shared aspirations leading to a lifetime of adventures and exciting new beginnings together, but instead it was a poor copy of someone else's idea, stolen in haste to prove to his girlfriend that he's totally into her and he wants to combine his love of riding with his love for her. Except he never really loved riding and he never really loved her, he was just using both as an external affirmation of his value to prove to himself why his parents should love him too instead of always showing their affection to his older brother Steve. They never gave him the attention he deserved. Steve was the team captain, 4.0 student, and on top of being a great boyfriend and later husband, proved in recent years to be a loving father and a great guy. Steve, Steve, Steve, that's all he ever heard about. But then he had mountain biking and he had photography, and that was cool, too, right? But he stopped riding in college, when he started the art classes to study photography formally, but with the art classes came the drinking. And the drug use. Up until all hours of the night with his art school friends, coming home too drunk to go ride the next day. And he was so angry after that. College changed him. He gave up riding a long time ago. And the photography is just work for him now, no love, no passion, just going through the motions so he can get to the end of the day and drink again. And it seems like that's all he does anymore, coming home drunk, even on weekdays, and when you bring up the bills or the broken refrigerator or the kids college fund he never wants to hear about it, he just goes into one of those rages, he's yelling and he's saying all those hurtful things. You know he can't mean it all, but it still stings when he says it. He knows where you hurt and he just keeps saying all those things. You tell him again and again that you didn't mean to go against him at the wedding last summer, that even his family was asking what was going on with the two of you and you felt like you had to come clean.  Maybe they could help. And that's all you want now is just help. He was able to hide it for awhile, but now the kids are older and they know their dad isn't just "in one of those moods again." Everyone can see it, it's so obvious. And you just wish you could go back to those days, when you were still doing stoppies on your BMX. Things were so much simpler then. Sure you probably weren't going to "do anything" with your riding,  you weren't trying to win races or "go pro," whatever that's supposed to mean. After all you were just a girl and it seemed like no one took girls who rode seriously back then. But the freedom. The freedom. And the simplicity. You could just go riding and forget about everything, it seemed like all the other worries slipped away. You wish you could go back there and tell that girl what you know now. You thought he shared that love of yours and you wanted to share that together, forever, but he wasn't in love at all. Would your younger self even listen to you? You were blinded by it, you would never have believed the truth. And now you're here, where you never thought you'd be. How did it come to this?

Anyway that's where my brain went when I saw the stoppie picture.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

IMBA and the art of the Bait and Switch

And neither does the IMBA.

The International Mountain Bike Association throws the term "singletrack" around in all of their marketing materials, the above photo being just another hilarious example. I'm on their email and direct-mail lists, so every week I get something from the IMBA that says "give us money so we can build singletrack. If you don't give us money, you hate new singletrack trails."

In the past five years I've seen:
  1. Very few new trails opened by the IMBA, none of them singletrack.
  2. Existing singletrack trails closed or access restricted thanks to bargains or promises with land managers made by the IMBA or it's affiliates.
  3. IMBA showing up and turning existing singletrack trails into "sustainable" sidewalks "for riders of all abilities."

Because "Likes don't help us make boring trails and tenuous and often-times unrewarding agreements with land managers" didn't have the same ring to it for IMBA's social media campaign.

I don't even care about singletrack that much. It's not my favorite-ist thing to ride, and it's certainly not my cause célèbre. If it were up to me all trails would be downhill trails, they'd be 20 feet wide, filled with death from start to finish, and you'd be happy to survive. Maybe the climbs would be singletrack, but that's sort of an afterthought. The climbs could all be gravel roads and that'd be cool too. I like riding singletrack trails I guess, but it's certainly not my calling in life and not what gets me up in the morning. If I had to choose between snapping my fingers and riding 20 miles of new singletrack or snapping my fingers and having a Taco Bell Beefy Crunch Burrito Box, I'd have to think about it for a while. I'd probably go with the new trail over the Taco Bell, but only because the Five Buck Boxes come with a 20 oz drink, and I need way more than 20 oz of Dew to wash down all that Taco Bell.

So much gastric distress for only five bucks.

The point is that my preference for or against singletrack doesn't enter into it. And maybe the IMBA does lots of good things for trail advocacy. I don't really know if that's true, but lots of people who I trust and respect insist that IMBA's lobbying efforts in Congress, in state houses, and with local land managers across the nation have done immeasurable good in changing the climate for legitimate trail building in the U.S. And maybe that's all true, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about the IMBA and the very simple, very tangible idea of singletrack trails. What the IMBA is doing with their singletrack guilt trip campaign is the oldest trick in the book: the bait and switch.

Remember when Discovery Channel went on every talk show and radio show in America to make sure we tuned in to watch some guy get eaten alive by an Anaconda? And you were all, "yeah, I'll watch that. Homie could die, that would be awesome."

And he's going to be covered in pig's blood too? Put the TV on mute and turn up the Cannibal Corpse.

But then more and more information came out, and it turned out that instead of getting eaten alive and having to Steve Erwin his way out of there with nothing but pure grit and elbow grease, instead he was going to wear some massive zero-risk carbon fiber pressure suit with it's own oxygen supply, a complete diagnostic kit broadcasting his vital signs to nearby stunt handlers via bluetooth, and probably a shiatsu massage function and foot warmers.

And then you were all, "yeah, that's kind of weak, but I guess I'll still watch this spectacle because maybe the snake will die trying to swallow carbon fiber Darth Vader, and then it'll be great to watch these guys try to justify their excuse of 'raising awareness for anaconda conservation efforts' after they just killed one of these great majestic lumbering beasts with a 4th-grade circus act that could have been dreamed up on the back of a napkin while sitting around a table at the Denny's across the street from Motel 6, probably while eating pancakes at two in the morning after watching cable reruns of the original 'Anaconda' starring the great but Cajun-accent-challenged Jon Voight."

That's where my brain went, anyways.

Jon Voight had an airtight plan in "Anaconda" and he still died at the end of the movie, so there's still an outside chance that everything goes horribly wrong on this Discovery special and we have some quality television. I'll take that chance. So I'm in.

You bought the hype, you made a bowl of popcorn and tuned in to Discovery on December 7 to maybe watch someone die, but probably just to watch an anaconda gag for 45 minutes with commercials, and all you get is an anaconda-sized case of blue balls. The snake constricts Darth Vader for, like, an hour or something, in what uncomfortably reminds me of that one weird aunt of yours hugging you for a little too long as you're saying your final goodbyes and trying to get out the door on what must have been the longest Thansgiving day of all time. And then once the holiday hugfest is over, right as the snake starts to eat Darth Vader the whole thing gets called off because it's "endangering Paul's safety."

Let me break it down for you:
That's what we want. That's why we came here. I did not come to the Discovery channel to watch a guy be safe with a 27 foot 2000 pound killing machine for 45 minutes.

I came here to watch a guy potentially get destroyed, hoping that everything goes wrong and the handlers can't get to him in time and we have an up close and personal HD view of that regretful look on his face as he realizes "hey, this snake is really trying to kill me right now." AKA the reason people watched Steve Erwin. AKA the reason people watched Siegfried and Roy. AKA the only reason people have ever watched live acts involving big scary animals in small spaces with unprotected human beings. Because, just in case everything goes wrong, we'd like to have front row seats.

It would be fine if they tried all this snake-eating-a-person stuff in private, and then when it flopped because this Paul Rosolie Herpetologist guy got cold feet at any sign of danger, the head honchos at Discovery said, "damn, that didn't work, I guess we'll just throw all this footage out and chalk this one up as a big miss." But they didn't do that, did they?

"Paul, our latest numbers show that if we just lie a bunch we can still get people to tune in."

Who knows, maybe they didn't think they were lying. That possibility is somehow even worse. Maybe they thought this whole thing would be "educational" no matter what the outcome was. So even though we don't get to see anything that could even be construed as scary or dangerous, or as I like to call it "interesting," maybe the bigwigs at Discovery bought their own BS and thought the 4.1 million people who tuned in would learn a lot of useful stuff about snakes and nature and conservation. So Discovery didn't "lie" (which is such a dirty word anyway) so much as they fudged the truth a little. It may not have lived up to our expectations, but weren't our expectations a little unrealistic in the first place? I mean, who actually thought that this guy was going to get entirely eaten by a snake anyway? I mean, sure, Discovery's own marketing materials were constructed in such a way as to lead you directly to that conclusion, but that's a little naive on your part as the viewer, isn't it? And really, it was for our own benefit after all, wasn't it? We all learned something.

Pinocchio never mastered the art of rationalizing and self-deception.

Yes, it's more disturbing and much more dangerous to deal with people who believe their own BS than people who just lie to your face for their own benefit. If you're able to lie to yourself, even a little bit, you can justify doing insane things in the pursuit of your chosen cause. The ends justify the means, right? And anyone who takes issue with all those pesky little facts and half truths along the way, well, they're just standing in the way of progress.

Great examples of little lies and half truths that, unchecked, got way out of control:

The Spanish Inquisition.

The Salem Witch Trials.

The rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, and ultimately WW2 and the Holocaust.

Matthew McConnaughey winning an Oscar. Someone should have said something before it came to this. Someone has to tell him he's not a real actor, right? Really, nobody's going to do it?!?

Anyway, that's what it's like talking to the IMBA.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Industry Insider

Okay interwebs, figure this one out.

More ETT cornering form

Old news, but still funny.

In the Pinkbike comments everyone seems upset about the fact that Levi Leipheimer, a former roadie doper, was featured in the video as a representative of our industry.

Me personally, I'm more worried that everyone involved seems to think Levi's cornering form (as featured above) is acceptable for use in mass media. Riding as pictured above could set the entire industry back 10-20 years, back to the days of highposting with Johnny T in "ReTread."

I'll give it to Levi, though, his form is certainly "dynamic."

He's also a leading member of the Peter Verdone school of stem sizing:

My favorite thing about Peter Verdone articles is that he likes to juxtapose his lengthy expositions with one-word follow-up sentences for emphasis. Sweet.

Because that format will never get old. Period.

If you want to know why the look on his face screams "holding on for dear life" it's because he is, and on that bike you'd be holding on for dear life too. Crazy.

Mr. Personality

Dan Atherton just finished answering questions over on Pinkbike, and I think I'm supposed to rush over there, watch Red Bull's new FREAKING TWENTY MINUTE video about him making trails, and then ask him a bunch of questions about Rach and Gee and reveal the borderline creepy amount we all know about their family.

On Reddit "Ask me anything" actually means ask me anything, so I took that to heart and delved into the serious questions TEAM ROBOT readers have been pining to ask Dan, or "Affy" as his friends and lots of people on the internet who've never met him but feel a close bond with him after watching hours of him riding and talking about riding call him.

The Questions:
  • Do you think Clay Porter's films are a little boring? Just a little? Maybe?
  • Why do Germans love Richie Schley so much?
  • What's your favorite Earthed movie?
  • What tire pressure do you run?
  • Would you consider going out with Madonna? She's really old, but she was married to Guy Ritchie once, and he's British. You're British. You two have a lot in common.
  • Your old Commencal team kits from animal had those concentric circles around the shoulders, and it kind of looked like you had body armor on even though you didn't. How do you feel about that?
  • What's your favorite Van Halen album?
  • You were sponsored by Nissan for a while. Do you have a bunch of sweet Nissans now? I really like the Maxima, it seems like a good blend of drivable power and good fuel efficiency.
  • Do you remember the Queen's diamond jubilee two years ago? That was great. Paul McCartney's still got it.
  • Do you run your suspension soft or do you like big front tires?
  • When you built hardline did you think Danny was going to win? He's short.
  • Do you prefer Chinese food or Mexican when you're in the states?
  • I'm guessing you're at Red Bull HQ right now in Santa Monica. Have you ridden the Ferris Wheel on the boardwalk yet? It's great, you can see so far from the top.
  • You guys were sponsored by Contour but they went out of business and then they got bought by Sony. Do you ever think about that before a race run?
  • A lot of companies have been going with much longer front centers, slacker head angles, and shorter stems lately. Being British, does it bother you that I said "centers" instead of "centres?"
  • How do you say Innerleithen?
  • How do you say Ruaridh?
  • Why does Richard Cunynghame spell his name so weird? Is that so people don't think he's Richard Cunningham? Did you ever confuse Richard Cunynghame with Richard Cunningham? Richie Cunningham was Ron Howard's character on "Happy Days."
  • Do you run wide handlebars compared to Greg Minnaar? I heard he runs 808's, which is also a great bass effect for hip hop.
  • Why do you use such a short shovel? My shovel has a way longer handle.
  • Do you drink beers ever, or are you always training? I train a lot, too, so we have that in common.
  • Do you like football at all? Or futbol? I don't speak spanish.
  • If you came to a fork in the road and one way said "Red Bull Hardline" and the other way said "Red Bull Crashed Ice" how much low speed compression would you run on your new 2015 Fox 36?

We didn't get a full list of answers to our most pressing questions, but Dan did take time to answer a few:

On his Hardline predictions (no mention of Danny Hart's height):

No - I thought Brendan was going to win but he f**ked up.

On Richard Cunynghame's name:

cos his mum and dad are posh

On Clay Porter's movies and whether they're boring:

only the ones about me

Thanks for your time, Dan. We're here if you ever want the exclusive TEAM ROBOT interview.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Coast Bike Park, brah

Am I the only one that think this berm looks horrible? Not sure if it's the distortion from the lens or if the berm is actually that wonky but, yeah... that kind of looks like it sucks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Still good

Hypnosis: the last Clay Porter movie.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Late to the Party

"Hi, my name is Europe. What were mountain bikers doing ten years ago in North America? Cool, I'll do that."

Sorry, I realize generalizations like that can be offensive. Mike Kinrade was doing the handful-of-dust-slow-mo-toss like 15 years ago.

One of our TEAM ROBOT readers summed it up perfectly:

"Meanwhile, the 34th place rider in the last WC DH race you watched on Redbull-- the one you skipped past to get to the "fast" guys-- rides 7,346,981 times faster than you when he's hungover and/or not trying.

But speed = dirt bombs exploding in berms, so you'd never know."

I did a little research to see who got 34th at Meribel, and it was some French guy you've never heard of named Faustin Figaret. I'm not saying these are the best videos in the world (they're not), but the riding is easily 1000 times better than anything in the POS Europe Kamloops lovechild featured above:

[EDITOR'S NOTE: I have no idea what results I was looking at yesterday, but in fact Faustin Figaret finished 26th at Meribel. Wyn Masters finished 34th. Mistake corrected, but either way I'd rather have Wyn or Faustin featured in "web edits" instead of the same no-talent chads who always show up]

Great use of "Sirius" by TAPP by the way. Take literally any shitty brown pow web edit from the last 18 months, and instead of running another interior BC bro who put on his best set of Stroker Mags and cut the sleeves off his freshest Dakine flannel, replace snowboard bro with Faustin Figaret. I would rather watch 1000 web edits of Faustin Figaret riding in BC than watch another brown pow bro brah sesh edit. His turns look better, his jumps look better, his whips look better, it looks like he's going faster.

In fact, the real question is how anyone who doesn't race even makes it into film parts. Racers are the best bike riders. Period. They turn better. They go faster. They jump farther. They pump better. And any of the freeride guys who can ride? They all raced.

Jordie Lunn and Kyle Strait raced.

 Cam Zink raced.

Thomas Vanderham raced.

Martin Soderstrom raced.

Tyler McCaul raced.

Nico Vink raced, for what seems like forever.

And Andreu Lacondeguy. Berrecloth showed up to a NW Cup and smoked a bunch of the locals, including me- I crashed, so I almost have an excuse, but not really. Wade Simmons and Richie Schley raced. And, and, and... they all raced.

If you haven't raced yet, you're blowing it, and I never want to watch a video of you riding because I already know you suck.