Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mount Hood Skibowl

Where dreams go to be crushed and where men go to ride. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Your team


Still lazy and fat, but Robots are good with machines.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hey Jared

Your strap's on wrong. Just a heads up.

Positive Feedback

Everyone in the comments section on Pinkbike really liked Curtis Keene's new Red Bull video.

"Keene's a great rider and I think we'd all be stoked if this was five or ten minutes of him shredding various places. But this video series would be over the top melodrama even coming from Clementz or Graves. It's like that video of Gwin saying he was the best in the world, but worse because Gwin actually had the results up to that point. Guess this is what happens when Specialized and Red Bull get ahold of you..."

"This whole series of his is a big disaster. Too much talk, not enough action."

"The others were manageable but I couldn't watch the full 8 minutes. Some really good recaps but some utter bollocks in there too. Still have no idea who this series is aimed at!"

"I guess if you're ever having a hard time sleeping just play this video."

"Keene: Don't you know you never go full retard."

"What a load of verbal diarrhea. Such a shame since Red Bull have the funds to put together an informative recap video of the actual events themselves, instead we get a load of contradictory bullshit about the "nature of racing" and irrelevant training and filler footage."

"There's a good reason people tend to watch races rather than "behind the race" footage, and watch athletes rather than listen to them..."

"8 minutes of my life I won't get back."

"It's fun watching someone ride a 29r hard-tail up a hill 5 times. He truly embodies the spirit of enduro"

"Cut the crap and show some more riding please!"

For me days like this are what I call "high self-esteem days," where I have to cling to some positive memory or experience, or I would just kill myself.

Data dump

Here's a bunch of stuff that's been collecting dust in my tabs on Chrome. Yes, I'm finally using Chrome now. Take a step into robot world:

Saw that "Uncle Dick's Bead Slip" stuff on Pinkbike, turns out Uncle Dick wasn't the first person to think about this idea. Might have to try this stuff. Robots have trouble with rubber tires, because our hands are made of metal, and robots are strong.

My foray into car world continues. Rebuild or replace that oil pump, or just drive around with low-ish pressure until it blows up? And don't say "why don't you try running thicker oil," yes I'm already running 20w-50 and Lucas Oil stabilizer. It's a Chrysler product with 230,000 miles on it, and I've been informed repeatedly that it's a bonafide miracle it still rolls with that sort of mileage. The owner's manual doesn't even include regular maintenance suggestions after 120,000 miles, because I think at that point you're playing with house money.

The Golden Chariot. Truly, a glorious machine:

The girls are all up ons.

Here's a classic Pinkbike World Champs race report from 2004 at Les Gets, written by the old Canadian Mike Jones that rides for Norco, not the new Welsh Mike Jones that rides for Chain Reaction. This is so old that Pinkbike was still running portrait-oriented photos. It's important, so read it and educate yourself. Kyle Strait finished 3rd in Juniors at age 17. FACT.


You know it's legit when it's got the Pinkbike watermark.

"Ride to the Hills," in it's entirety. I met Andrew Shandro last weekend at the Port Angeles race, and he was blown away and borderline sad that I'd never seen it. Sorry, Andrew.

I've been trying to figure out a way to say this politely, but I can't, so here goes: Dissent Labs make socks. That's what they do. Dissent Labs will probably tell you that they make high-performance compression socks that enable today's athletes to push the boundaries and progress their sports, but at the end of the day they make socks. And apparently people get really excited about it, because it seems like every up and comer or down and goer on the Sea to Sky Corridor is sponsored by Dissent Labs. I'll say it again: they make socks.

Everytime I look at that shirt I laugh, which I think means it's a good idea. Also, see: "making one-off t-shirts is really expensive." I like that "$13.48 each" price, but something tells me we're going to have trouble moving 100 of them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Poll

Check out the right side of your screen for our new TEAM ROBOT poll.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Zero zero-length stems

Gee at the latest BDS at Fort Bill, with not a single zero-length stem to be found anywhere. Where did they all go? It's only two data points, but so far the record is:

BDS #1 w/ zero-length stem: crash.
BDS #2 with normal stem: win.

I guess the good news is that with everyone binning their zero length stems, Cesar Rojo has all the stems he could ever want. Truly, a lifetime supply.

Brook MacDonald already contemplating the Trek switch in month one of the Mondraker deal.

Just for fun, I wanted to see what the actual geometry of the Mondraker was, and do you know what I found? Do you know what "Forward Geometry" actually is? It's a Demo 8. A size large Mondraker Summum has a 447 reach length, which is exactly the same as a size large Demo 8. It's a lot shorter than a large GT Fury, but it's exactly the same as an extra large V10, Trek Session, or Transition TR500. Check it out. Or don't.

To be fair, the size large Summum is slightly longer than a large Scott Gambler or Giant Glory. So in theory "Forward Geometry" is at play here. The "Forward Geometry" pitch goes something like this: run a longer top tube to compensate for a too-short wheelbase, and then run a shorter stem to compensate for the now-too-long top tube. The funny part is that the Summum is only 10mm longer than a Glory or Gambler, and yet the rider is asked to run a stem that's 40mm shorter. I'm not super good at math, but to me that sounds like it would still be 30mm shorter, which in American is what we call "more than an inch," or what I would translate to "a lot shorter."

So this whole argument breaks down into two facts:
  1. "Forward Geometry" is essentially the same geometry as a lot of bikes on the market, namely Giant, Scott, and Specialized. And I don't mean "after you add a longer top tube and a shorter stem," I mean the frame is almost exactly the same size as other non-"Forward Geometry" bikes, stem or no.
  2. "Forward Geometry" is exactly the same as a lot of bikes on the market when you order the next size up.

When you type "measuring top tube length" into google image search you get a bunch of pictures of cartoon guys getting hit in the balls with lasers and books and stuff:

So is there any innovation in "Forward Geometry?" Is there total product integration represented in this technology?" No. No there isn't. All they did was stick really short weird stems on bikes that are maybe semi-longish compared to other bikes on the market. If you typically buy a medium, and you want "forward" geometry, you could just buy a medium Scott, Giant, or Specialized, or buy a large V10, Transition, or Trek. Then you can decide later whether you want to add a stem that will make you crash all the time. That said, I haven't seen a lot of people beating down the doors at OnOff components to mount a 10mm stem to their Glory, Gambler, or Demo.

Brook MacDonald dialing in his front wheel/rear wheel weighting at Fort William.

You could go out and buy this thing and a new bike with a 10mm longer front center. 

Or you could just use a 5mm allen wrench.

Fun fact: you can change your wheelbase 10mm by changing your head angle about a half a degree. You don't even need an angleset to do that, you need a 5mm allen wrench. You can just raise your fork crowns on the stanchions and change your head angle and wheelbase plenty.

The only company that's actually pushing the envelope when it comes to downhill bike sizing is GT. They are waaaaaaaay out there. The large Fury has a 40mm longer reach than a large V10, and a 17mm longer reach than an extra large V10, making the GT the largest bike available on the market. For a small or medium GT compared with the same size or one size bigger V10 those numbers go to 51mm/11mm and 37mm/15mm, respectively. Is that a good idea? Is it going to sell? Is it a fad? I don't know, but at least it's actually different. That's something to write home about, but then they blew it and didn't even come up with a catchy buzz phrase like "Forward Geometry."

Mike Levy doing the short guy stretch on a Medium GT Fury. From tire to tire that medium is 75.5" long (191 cm for our friends North of freedom), which makes the bike longer than Mike is tall. 

But...  GT offers an extra small size. So you can always just bump down a size and then voila you have normal bikes. And the GT size gap also breaks down when you compare it to a bike one size up from Giant, Scott, or Specialized. An extra small GT is pretty much the same size as a small from Specialized, Giant, or Scott, ditto for a medium GT vs. a large from those other brands. So has anything actually changed?

We'll never know.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


All this talk about Rennie, hiking boots, and number one plates has me googling low-res photos of the glory days, and as always google never disappoints:

Did you know that when Kovarik beat everyone by 14 seconds at Fort William, Nathan Rennie and Cedric Gracia beat Nico and tied for second? Yes, before the internet they let people tie at World Cups:

Did you know Rennie wasn't in the yellow/black Intense shoes that would go on to become the Five Ten Low Impact? He was in the red hiking boot version that got thrown out like the horrific stillborn half-design that it was:

And he loved it.

You know when I complain about "Oh, my reach length on my $8000 2014 carbon wonderbike is 12mm too short I can't ride it" and you look at me with disappointment and confusion?

Rennie never had a bike that fit him until the late Santa Cruz years, he blew shock dampers every other run for years and was probably running 900 pound springs to compensate, that Iron Horse he rode during the glory days that I remember so fondly was the flexiest piece of garbage on the circuit, and he had to run Hayes Brakes. Hayes Brakes, people. And he beat everyone. Everyone's equipment sucked all the time back then, but men were men and they did their job.

If you see this guy at the races and you hear him complaining about his bike, punch him in the dick and do it for Rennie:

Did you know I was standing right next to the photographer when this photo was taken during practice at the 2008 Fontana race?

The image is burned into my memory. After Rennie came through I didn't understand what I just saw. That corner was a blown out slippery decreasing-radius quagmire of death with dust-covered off-camber rock faces coming into and out of the turn, and he rode it at 1000 mph like it was a berm on A-Line. That was when I knew 100% for sure that I was never going to amount to anything.

Did you know Rennie was the chosen one?

Did you know that you still ride like a pussy and, wherever Rennie is right now, he's disappointed?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The soul of moto

 It's so simple and elegant. This is what moto is all about.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Poll


What happens after you die? Some people say nothing happens. Some people say you go to heaven, some say you go to hell, others say you become a part of some bigger plan or energy.

I don't know the answer to these questions, but either way, thanks to this new video from Cane Creek I have a better sense of what eternity feels like:

Watching that video was like crossing the Oregon Trail. It took so long that before we finished it new children were born, Susie died of cholera, the wagon needed a new axle, and we're all different people now.

Always ford the river. Always.


I know lots of people who throw this term around.

In fact, all of the people I know who say #nodignoride have trails I've ridden at without digging. Maybe that makes me an asshole, but it also makes their words meaningless and silly. Especially if you ride at the Post Office, dropping tough talk like #nodignoride is transparent and meaningless.

It's a lifestyle, bro.

Also, can we just talk about what a dumb policy #nodignoride is? There are two fundamental problems with this buzz phrase:

1. Summer. It's this part of the year where the sun comes out and bakes everything rock hard. This is both the best time to ride trails, and the worst time to work on them. Yeah, you can clear new lines and make rough piles of dirt during the summer, but unless you have mega access to water you aren't shaping or building anything new during the summer. Digging during the summer requires either a pick axe or heavy equipment, and using a backhoe doesn't really count as "digging" anyway. Most real digging happens in the other three seasons.

Wild guess? This photo wasn't taken in July.

2. Friends. I don't have any, but here's a hypothetical: when you have a friend visit from out of town during, just for the sake of argument, summer, are you going to say "sorry, it's too dry to dig, so I guess you can't ride." Really? You're an idiot.

The guy in the green is actually chasing the other guy away because he didn't dig first.

#nodignoride could just be translated to #idigsometimesandiwanteveryonetoknowaboutitsoiinventedthishastagsopeopleknowhowcoreiam

Also, I chose photos of BMX trail spots because mountain bike trails suck. The only exception is the jungle maybe. Maybe.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Inline air shocks

There is a myth hovering around the bike industry that inline air shocks are somehow incapable of being ridden downhill. This is stupid.

This shock is amazing:

This shock is also amazing:

There are some applications where an inline air shock will overheat. There are some applications where the damping offered in an inline air shock is not sufficient. In reality though, you suck, and there's a 98% chance you do not have either one of those problems. Having spent a lot of time on inline and reservoir shocks, I have been completely blown away by the performance of both. After riding both, I couldn't care less which one is on my bike.

I know the reservoir shock looks bigger, cooler, and newer and I understand those three qualities could constitute a sales pitch in and of themselves for the lemmings who want to justify another expensive upgrade in the hopes their life will stop sucking. It won't.

Fun Fact. New tech doesn't change this.

Generally speaking, inline air shocks have high speed shims stacks. They have low speed shim stacks. They have rebound shim stacks. They have needle adjusters for external rebound and low speed compression adjustment. They have positive air springs, and negative air springs. They generally have IFP's that provide displacement space for damping oil, and the IFP can be charged to provide position sensitive damping through the stroke. [Editor's note: some of what I just said is BS. See engineer/life coach Dave Camp's breakdown of the shortcomings in my technical know-how in the comments section below]

Generally speaking, reservoir air shocks have all that same stuff, but in a slightly different arrangement. [Editor's note: this part is still true]

Educate yourself:

If you are this guy and you plan on racing the Elite Men's Downhill World Champs on your trail bike, you should probably think about a reservoir shock:

If you bought a bike with more than 160mm of travel, you should probably consider a reservoir shock:

Other than those situations, you're probably going to discover that an inline air shock, when combined with a good suspension design, modern geometry, and a well-damped fork, can provide levels of performance that were literally unthinkable on anything less than a full-on downhill bike more than a couple of years ago.

There's also the issue that all real suspension tuning on air shocks happens in the shim stack and IFP, and all that tuning happens at the factory, reservoir or not. Turning knobs doesn't change the factory settings. Given that fact, an inline air shock that's properly tuned at the factory for your bike, weight, and riding style is probably going to ride worlds better than an expensive off the shelf reservoir shock with a general "all-applications" tune.

This is just the "evolution" level damper, but I think you get the point. This jive has more to do with shock performance than you know.

The modern 120-160mm trail bike is a marvel of evolution, and the geometry, brakes, suspension, tires, wheels, gearing, weights, handlebar widths, stem lengths, axle sizes, and seatposts available on them allow people to do *almost* everything that can be done on a mountain bike, all on the same bike. And if you're having problems getting rad on your trail bike, I'm almost positive it's not because the layout of your air shock is inline.

At this point, product managers are spec'ing these big boy shocks more to dress up their bikes in the current Enduro uniform de jour than to aid performance. I guaran-frickin-tee that in a blind test no customer would ever know the difference between this bike with a factory-tuned Float CTD and a factory-tuned Float X if they were both set to proper sag and rebound adjustments.

Putting a little extra oil in the rear shock and moving the IFP to a different location doesn't magically make the old design unrideable.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


The News for Thursday, May 15:

Point Break now available in its entirety on Youtube.

Tomas Slavik dies of asphyxiation while shooting mountain bike photos in Bali.

Witnesses on the scene report that Slavik, age 26 of the Czech Republic, was with a film crew trying to capture the ultimate "brown pow" Photo Of The Day on Pinkbike. Doctors at Bali's International Medical Center confirmed that the shitty pile of dust that Slavik ran into at full speed was the source of the particulate matter that Slavik asperated, coating the inside of Slavik's lungs and resulting in a fatal lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs.

Witnesses also reported that the berm slash resulting in Slavik's early death was "epic," "a total banger," and "so legit."

Enduro recap videos are still uncomfortably foreign and weird.

In a recent USA Today poll, most mountain bikers in America reported that while they were "really, totally trying to get into it, dude, seriously," American viewers found that Enduro recap videos from Europe "still weren't doing it" for them.

The respondents polled gave a number of reasons why recent recap videos fell short of expectations.

Your team vs. TEAM ROBOT, reality version

Mason Bond:


Monday, May 12, 2014

Sensus, the event

FEST series - Aggy's Reunion from fest series on Vimeo.

"Woah, that's far." -Kurt Sorge, with the obvious statement of the year

Case of the Mondays

In summary

How to ruin a budding World Cup downhill career:

Fill in the blanks with whatever disappointing up-and-coming rider de jour comes to mind.

Winning more bike races < girls and Lamborghini's.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ready for termination

From Luke:

From Bob:

The Rise of Enduro... THE MAKING OF

I'm supposed to make fun of this new Enduro video that's on Pinkbike now, and I probably will, right after I post my Sea Otter writeup and finish that novel I've been chewing on. In the meantime, I just wanted to address something else that stood out from that Pinkbike article:

Blue Steel:


Le Tigre:

And of course, Magnum:

I don't even have a look.