Wednesday, April 30, 2014

More from Smith

They've followed up the "Chillin' in Chillan" video with an aggressive print advertising campaign:

Still one of the worst looking products ever

I know we argue about a lot of stuff on TEAM ROBOT, but I think this is something we can all come together and agree on: that new Smith helmet is just awful looking.

And if we can come together and agree on this helmet, the future is looking bright.

Also, nice blue handlebars, Darren:

See all that and clips of actual bike riding on the new Smith video:

New Poll

You must choose:


Or the young padawon, Eddy:

You must choose.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


When you make a comment, use a name. Your name, someone else's name, a pseudonym, anything. Just don't be a puss and leave a comment as "anonymous." Especially if we're going to play internet war in the comments section.

If you want to see a good engineer dork-out fight, check out the comments section for "Those poor M6 bolts," the Minnaar stem height post. Classic.

Friday, April 25, 2014


Finals starts in 40 minutes. If you're not watching you suck.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Those poor M6 bolts

But seriously, at a certain point this gets ridiculous, right? Is this even safe? Last weekend I was running those black 2.5mm ISCG spacers under my stem, with extra long M6 bolts from a bunch of old star nuts I had sitting around. I think that means I'm as fast as Greg Minnaar.

Can you think of a clearer way to communicate to the boys at Enve that "hey, no seriously, Greg really doesn't want a -5 degree stem. Oh and a riser bar would be cool, too."

When you're running your fork legs slammed all the way down in the crowns to max out head angle and wheelbase, a custom offset headset to increase the reach on your bike, and four count 'em FOUR stem spacers, *maybe* it's time to redesign some equipment. Do we predict a new V10 anytime soon? Maybe? What about a real riser bar from the carbon boys in Ogden.

This is just episode 237.1b of the new hit show "The disparity between what consumers want and what World Cup guys need."

It was wet in Cairns

Even real photographers like Nathan, Duncan, and Sven got their gear wet.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy April 23rd

This is still funny:

Still faster than me

I'm 90% sure that Claudio's blind run-through was faster than my hypothetical qualifying run if I was there. That is to say my hypothetical qualifying run if I didn't crash 1-3 times.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Exciting Opportunity!!

If you want a chance to win the worst tires in the world, head over to Vital and vote for this week's photo of the week:,701

Yes, you too can ride a scaled up version of the same tires HB rode back in his course cuttin' days:

And by scaled up, I'm referring to the 29" and 650b tires. If you get the 26" version, they're literally exactly the same tire HB rode in 1990.

All of the 26" Panaracer Fire tires in existence were made in 1991 after HB won World Champs, and this contest on Vital is just another attempt for Panaracer to get rid of them. When people buy Fire tires they ride them twice and then throw them away, and the Panaracer people go to the dumpster, clean the tires up, repackage and resell them. And the cycle continues.

If we're going to split the hair, I think HB was on a Smoke and Dart combo at Worlds in 1990, but that's neither here nor there.


"Anka Martin was on the recently announced Juliana Roubion, a 150mm carbon framed ride that shares the Santa Cruz Bronson's geometry."

So it shares the same travel, geometry, dropouts, pivots, tube shapes and diameters, greaseports, headtube, and seatpost routing as the Bronson. What a coincidence.

In other Enduro-related news, this also sucked:

Nice try Canyon, but I can still see you.

"We're back bitches" -Eddy Merkin

I would classify Verg and Kyle from Eddy Merkin in the "life coach" category, right up there with Patrick, Todd, and Jim Karn. Read up kiddies, and get yourself learned.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


A few observations:

1. If Lawlor doesn't change the formula for the next videos, we're going to be listening to a lot of Eric Carter this season. Eric had a lot of insights and inspiration to share with us, with Aaron, with Troy, there was even a part in the video where some guy at the gas station was filling up the rental team van, and EC just kept telling the random South African guy to believe in his dreams and keep working, that he deserved to live up to his potential and to never give up. Inspiring stuff.

And I learned EC really likes Specialized hats.

2. Aaron Gwin is still very much Aaron Gwin. And he's really fast. Troy is still an amazing rider, and the fact that 110 pound Troy got 5th on the flattest track of the year is nothing short of incredible. This is Mitch Ropelato's first full World Cup season, so that's pretty cool. We at Team Robot are expecting big things.

3. Aaron and Troy both got to the podium on a one-off 650b Specialized Enduro Evo, which is crazy. Smaller travel, custom modified to run bigger wheels, probably all sorts of cool tweaks to get the head angle and BB height the team guys wanted. This is the first time we've ever seen a 650b Enduro Evo, 650b wheels are starting to break into the Specialized lineup, and now this bike wins the first World Cup of the season. And Specialized didn't mention any of that in their 7 minute recap video. So far in this paragraph I've talked more about the bike than Specialized has.

They never mention the bike. They mention Gwin's good seasons, bad seasons, his first win ever on this very track, his training, his breakfast, but no mention of his bike.

See if you can identify the subject of this shot. Hint: it's not the bike.

What I find interesting is that Specialized doesn't sell race seasons, wins, tracks, training, or breakfast, they sell bikes, but bikes are the one thing they don't talk about in their own video. Clearly they think the bike isn't good news or good press, and they don't want to mention it. Somehow this amazing winning bike is an embarrassment for Specialized, because it's a little out of the ordinary or because it doesn't exactly fit in their own neat and tidy Morgan Hill-centric version of the world. In other words, this video is classic Specialized.

How is this bike not good news for Specialized? They should make that exact bike available and market the hell out of it. They should talk all about what they did to get Aaron the best bike possible, and then they should say it was the best bike possible; according to the results, it was. They should have all the industry guys test ride Gwin's exact race setup from Pietermaritzburg. They should talk and talk and talk about that bike, but instead of learning about their world cup winning bike I learned that Aaron Gwin really likes peanut butter and oatmeal for breakfast.

And raw walnuts. Mmmm... walnuts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I was posting a comment about legal and illegal trail building on a blog somewhere else, but before my comment could post I had to figure out how to deal with this:

But... I can't?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Random Earthed Segment sighting

While extremely migratory and elusive, Earthed segments can be found from time to time in an area where videos are known to often congregate, an area we know as "youtube." But as quickly as it can be found in "youtube," it will be gone, chased away by its natural predator, Warner Media Group. This one is perfect, a 2006 Pila World Cup sighting, with domination by a young Sam Hill and Brendan Fairclough. Experts could not identify who won the women's race, and unanimously no one cared who won 4x.

It's fascinating to watch the Earthed Segment in a brief moment on youtube, but it's important to remember that it's a fraction of the beauty and majesty of a wild Earthed segment in its native environment on DVD.

Set an Earthed segment free today. Buy Earthed on DVD.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Killing it

A big time life-winner. Team Robot approved.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Clay Porter eat your heart out

Vital RAW: World Cup Redux - More Mountain Bike Videos

Two random jamokes on the side of the track with camcorders and no music > your $150,000 budget two-year blowout epic storytelling bass drum pounding movie extravaganza

Saturday, April 5, 2014

68.5 degree head angle

I know, I had to double and then triple check that number. Unrideable.


I use way too much Spokeprep when I build wheels. Patrick hates it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Poll

New poll on the right side of the page.

Guido used to race. That counts, right?

SR Suntour just released their 2014 lineup of "Gravity ambassadors," which I think is a fancy way to say "athletes" or "team." I'm not sure, because these "ambassadors" come from many regions all over the globe and it's alternatively possible that in addition to racing these ambassadors will be engaged in direct diplomacy with other sovereign nations on behalf of SR Suntour.

Maybe the Gravity Ambassadors also get those little flags you put on the front of your car. Oooh, oooh, and diplomatic immunity, too, so you can kill people and get away with it. That would be awesome.

Diplomacy or not, there are still exactly zero racers or race teams on the list. Freeriders have two requirements for suspension: it goes up and down, and it doesn't kill them. While I grant you that real suspension performance is required to do the things James Doerfling does on a daily basis, I would also say that the binary feedback of "it killed me" or "it didn't kill me" isn't much to go off of in terms of product development.

"I think it needs a touch more low speed, it was wallowing a little through the medium bumps."

Eric Carter is still racing, but he ruled himself out years ago. Do you remember that Fontana bike check on Vital a couple years back when he was still on GT, and he said he always runs 45 psi front and rear?

45 psi front and rear indicates that you either:

A) Live in Socal

B) Live in another universe where 45 psi in a front tire would do anything other than rattle your fillings loose and knock you off any line you would ever want to hold

C) Weigh 450 pounds and 45 psi is equivalent to the 25-30psi most of us run.

A visual representation of a downhill run with 45psi in a dual-ply front tire.

If you are a racer and you can run 45 psi in the front tire of your downhill bike and can still win, more power to you. Give that guy an extra medal, heck just give him the medals you were going to give second and third place because they got smoked by some guy riding a steel drum for a front wheel. On the other hand, if you're a test rider and run 45 psi in the front tire of your downhill bike, I will be religiously avoiding the products you provide feedback for.

So that leaves you with Guido Schugg who doesn't race anymore, and this guy:

Things he's got going for him as a test rider:

  1. Actually wins races, and is competitive at the highest level.
  2. French.
  3. Doesn't ride for a bunch of joke companies.
  4. Has a name I can't remember how to spell. Remi? Remy? And is it Absalom or Absalon? Some of the best test pilots in the world have names I can't spell or pronounce: Volliouzz, Spangolo, Barrel. Correlation or causation? I don't know. Those guys are also all French.

But Remy Absalon only races Enduro, so downhillers are still in the dark. Suntour Rux? More like, ha, this is super funny, are you ready for it?

Suntour Sux*. Get it?

*These opinions included in this editorial are the personal opinions of the sole writer of this piece and do not represent the official opinions of TEAM ROBOT, LLC or the opinions of TEAM ROBOT's corporate partners.  Charlie Sponsel, the writer of this editorial, has never ridden, held, touched, pushed up and down on, talked at length about, or been in direct proximity with a Suntour Rux fork. Any similarities to an actual product test or product review are purely coincidental and do not result from an actual understanding of or experience with the product. All representatives from SR Suntour seeking to resolve a grievance against TEAM ROBOT, LLC or by members of TEAM ROBOT, LLC, specifically Charlie Sponsel, to ensure future positive public exposure** on TEAM ROBOT for SR Suntour and its products can mail SR Suntour product and sponsorship checks totaling no less than $5000 per year to:

Charlie's parents' house
13040 Grouse Terrace
Lake Oswego, OR 97045

**During his employment by SR Suntour*** Charlie Sponsel reserves the right to make fun of Canadians, freeriders, Euros, and(or) old washed up riders, including but not limited to Ryan Berrecloth, Garrett Buehler, James Doerfling, Mike Jones, Mark Matthews, Eric Carter, Mike Hopkins, Bobby McMullen, Garrett Robertson, Aurelie Tournier, Guido Schugg, Brett Tippie, Chris Van Dine, Tobias Woggen, and (or) Remy Absalon.

***During his employment by SR Suntour Charlie Sponsel also reserves the right to run the suspension units of his choice****

****Specifically Fox suspension units

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Care package


Great minds think alike. And when I say "think alike," I mean we agreed to mail each other stuff five weeks ago, but Chris at DC forgot to mail this stuff to me for three weeks, and I forgot to mail him a TEAM ROBOT t-shirt for five weeks, two weeks after I received his box of stuff.

The Bob Roll sticker is the clear front runner in my mind.

What free photos look like

A lot of riders, sponsors, and event promoters ask for free photos. After all, how hard is it to sit around and click a button, right? It's just a camera.

This is what free photos look like: