Thursday, October 29, 2015

So complex

It's not all rockstar and parties. His head's down because he's got a softer side, too. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Your bike doesn't fit, bro

This is all I see anymore when I watch people ride. Either that or "your fork is too soft, bro." Once you see it, it can never be unseen.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Even Syria is excited about the new 2016 carbon Felt Decree.

Friday, October 16, 2015

New Poll

My favorite is the all new 2016 carbon Felt Decree 3. Sure, I love my all new 2016 carbon Felt Decree 1 in black checkerboard carbon, but how cool is this bright orange colorway on the all new 2016 carbon Felt Decree 3?

And let's talk about what a great value the all new 2016 carbon Felt Decree 3 is. XT 11-speed, Schwalbe tires, a Debonair rear shock and Soloair Pike, all on a carbon frame for only $4499? What a steal.

Can't wait

All this RAMPAGE!!! action is getting me so excited to ride the new 2016 Felt Decree:

@feltbicycles #carbon #decree #gamechanger #naturalcompetitor #longlowslack


Also this:

More big news

This was also top secret until now. When Felt pro Nicola Rohrbach got 2nd place at Roc d'Azur last week, he was actually riding the new 2016 Decree FRD!

#feltdecree #feltbicycle #fastashell #newbike #650b #trailbike #mountainbike #mtb #trailriding #enduro #mtbenduro #racing #rocdazur #rocseries #enduroc

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Big news

Hey guys, sorry I've been away from the blog for so long. We've had a media blackout at Felt, so no one could talk about our awesome new trail bike... until today.

Now that I can finally share it with you, it's without any further ado that I present you the brand new 2016 Felt Decree carbon 140mm trail bike:

Team riders on the new Decree at Lake Tahoe.

From Felt: "Light, stiff and incredibly capable, the Decree features XC-like climbing, descending prowess and adjustability to match any athletes’ ultimate ride. Felt’s team of mountain bike engineers designed several versions of the Decree to ultimately create the final frame. From shock tuning, to stiffness testing to carbon selection, the engineers spared no expense in perfecting every detail of the Decree." 

The straight talk from TEAM ROBOT: I've been working with Felt's engineers on this project from start to finish, and they really knocked it out of the park on this one.

From Felt: "The geometry can be adjusted by rotating eccentric chips located in the seat stay pivot. By changing the orientation of these chips, the bottom bracket height will be raised or lowered by 10mm and the head angle will be slackened or steepened by 1 degree. The adjustable geometry allows riders to personalize the Decree to unique riding styles."

The straight talk from TEAM ROBOT: Flip your geometry from awesome to awesome-r.

From Felt: "The cables are all internally routed with an entrance at the head tube and an exit near the bottom bracket. Both sides have removable plugs to fit Di2, shift, or brake cable that can be configured to suit the rider’s needs. These features result in a clean, snag-free design."

The straight talk from TEAM ROBOT: I know, I know, you don't like internal cable routing and normally neither do I. But this time it's been done so cleanly, I think you might change your mind. Keep your mind open.

From Felt: "The seat tube pivot is around 20mm lower than on previous models to allow for more seat post insertion on the smaller sizes. The seat tube lengths have also been made shorter to allow more clearance for the mechanisms on dropper posts. With this option, riders have a wider range of fits on the bike."

The straight talk from TEAM ROBOT: I'm tall so I don't have a lot experience with this, but apparently smaller people have trouble fitting their dropper posts in their frames with room to spare. Felt solved that.

Check out more on our website, and check out the full product development cycle that I got to be part of:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Torch: passed

The new Sam Blenkinsop is officially: Phil Atwill.

Using way too much energy the whole way down the track to keep us entertained.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sponsorship season

All around the country, marketing managers' inboxes are being flooded by 15 year olds who want blue handlebars, by aging and increasingly irrelevant has-beens trying to squeeze a couple more years out of their past success, and by "team managers" for regional and junior development Cat 2 race teams.

Or as I like to call them, "buyers clubs."

The amount of self-aggrandizement, unwarranted stoke, and lack of self-awareness being unleashed right now makes American Idol tryouts look like AA's confession night. The misspellings alone make a fourth grade spelling bee look like a Harvard study group.

The only people who aren't sending in resumes are the real athletes. There's two reasons for this. First, real athletes are relevant and most people in the industry already know them, but second, a lot of real athletes are mouth-breathing neanderthals and don't know what a resume is. Of course correlation isn't causation, but for instance, there's a strong correlation between my ability to type coherent sentences and my apparent inability to qualify at a World Cup.

Ogre from "Revenge of the Nerds" or Sam Dale on a bad hair day? We report, you decide.

So if you find yourself short on race results this October but you still need to line up #freeshitbro for next year, there's a right way and a wrong way to do this dance. Given that we're in the 21st century, consider a demo roll or video resume. It's a nice change of pace for marketing managers who are used to reading page after page of race results and flipping through black and white photocopied images on cheap printer paper. With the power of music harnessed in your video, you have the ability to set the emotional tone for whoever is watching your resume. Video resumes show that you're fluent in new media, a necessary visual language for anyone in the marketing business.

Done correctly, a video resume can really set you apart from the competition:

Friday, October 2, 2015

What we're all thinking

With the notable exception of Lopes and Bingelli, this is what every single rider in the pro field wants to do in their Sea Otter race run:

Stand Up & Pedal - More Mountain Bike Videos

Fact: by the time he pulled over, he'd already hit 95% of the photographers and video guys.

If you're not on the first page of results at the Otter, trust me, no one is going to know whether you got 26th or 79th, whether you had a flat, whether you finished your run, or if you got abducted by aliens midway down the track. As far as established media is concerned, manual-no pedal guy from the video had a complete race run.

This is partly because the rest of the track looks like hell and the jumps and berms up top always look decent, but mostly because the pro photo guys are as burned out on Sea Otter as the racers.

Side note: look how small this XL frame from 2013 is. Circus bear on kid's bike.

When this photo landed on Pinkbike, you could tell it's a Margus Riga photo by how far down the track he walked to take it. None of the other photographers on retainer at Pinkbike would ever bother walking to the end of the first uphill for photos. This is clearly the work of a young up and comer, full of piss and vinegar, of dreams and hopes, trying to find a new angle and set himself apart artistically from the established guys. In other words, a try-hard.

The young guys don't realize it's a long season and there will be plenty of time to flex your artistic muscles on your own projects and with other clients. If you're even at Sea Otter, this is not an artistic exercise. This is purely commercial, and the only thing that matters is meeting the extremely low artistic expectations of your corporate overlords. Meeting those expectations can and should be done on the first jump straight at the top of the hill, easy walking distance from the road, and preferably seated, with a beer in hand, fully embracing the absurdity, hopelessness, and nihilism of your existence.

A philosophy of Sea Otter photography.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The question

Just saw this little tidbit on Vital today

"Mitch Ropelato announced the completion of his first and last Enduro season, so we’re hoping to see him aboard this beast along with his Slalom bike much more often, next season."

Capturing the zeitgeist of our generation, over the past five years Mitch has raced downhill domestically, he got a shot at the full World Cup two seasons ago, and he just finished racing a year of enduro only. Apparently that wasn't his cup of tea, either, so the question remains, what will Mitch be doing next year? Downhill presumably, but domestically or abroad? Will he quit racing and be video-only guy? Will he take over as full-time in house bike test guy for Specialized?

Mitch is facing these questions, yes, but the real overarching question facing Mitch is an existential one, the same question that Richie Rude, Martin Maes, or even lowly me each must answer, a question asked and answered in the 2001 classic "Zoolander:"

Saturday, September 26, 2015

UnReal: the lost segment

This Wil White video perfectly captures what UnReal and every other self-important MTB video looks like to me. Whoever shared the link in the comments section, thank you.

Indistinguishable. Like, this was made by TGR, right?


In the first draft of UnReal the script probably read "Brett Rheeder straps red smoke bomb to chainstay then rides in circles in Utah desert," but then they couldn't get the fire permits so they changed it to "Brett Rheeder rides next to a bunch of horses in the Utah desert" instead.

Horses or smoke bombs, TGR probably didn't care one way or the other. Their target demographic is 14 year-olds on Pinkbike, after all.

Friday, September 25, 2015


This is what every bro in Canada really, truly thinks their freeride flick looks like:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Industry Insider

Lessons from the end of an era

In the same way that Richie Schley is an idol for all aspiring young athletes, Ellsworth has to be the gold standard by which all upstart companies, bicycle or otherwise, may be judged.

Ellsworth - A New Era - More Mountain Bike Videos

What I took away from that video is that you can run your company into the ground building unridable bikes, using decades old technology, supported by non-existent marketing, and at the end of all that still:

A) sell out and secure cozy retirement
B) somehow stay tangentially involved in the business without being cast into the cold night in shame
C) get paid to move to sunny San Diego

If that's not the American Dream, apple pie, and white picket fence all rolled into one I don't know what is.

On the other hand, you probably can't pull a move like Ellsworth anymore. The market is too saturated, products too good, and competition too tight to pull an Ellsworth in today's mountain bike universe. It's important to remember how much brand equity Tony still had wrapped up in his weird, glorified garage brand. Even when no one seemed to buy his bikes anymore, old guys and dentists still got a little nostalgic thinking about the brand, much the same reason Ibis still sells bikes. That sort of brand equity doesn't just happen overnight, it was only possible because Tony got in early and put in some good years before the market became truly competitive. Sure, by 2005 the Joker, Dare, and Id were the laughingstock of the bike industry, but only among those who actually rode bikes and knew the difference between good and bad, which of course is a minority among actual bike consumers and IBD's.

Tony was able to coast well into the 2000's on the momentum from the 90's, all the way to a cushy buyout in 2014, for two key reasons:

1. He nailed his customer niche.
Competing on price is hard. Competing on quality is harder. Competing on aesthetics is literally an art form. Tony Ellsworth did none of those things. In fact, once the ball started rolling, Ellsworth didn't even compete. Competing implies a sense of uncertainty, the unspoken possibility that the consumer might choose another brand. Ellsworth was shooting fish in a barrel.

This guy would sacrifice his first born son for Tony Ellsworth.

Your typical dentist hates his life, his job, and himself, but when he puts on his Sidi Dominators and zips up his ACDC primal wear jersey, and rips up the local MTB loop on his Epiphany, he's a god among men. You're not buying a bike when you buy an Ellsworth, you're buying an identity.

You got picked on in high school. You were the last kid picked for every sports team. Even inside the cycling world, you aren't good at road, downhill, or cross country racing, because let's be honest, you were never really good at anything. ROBOT makes up for his talent deficiency by trying to make people laugh, but you have the humor and comedic timing of a box of pencils.

But now with your new Ellsworth, you're part of something. When you throw an Ellsworth onto your Kuat rack, everyone and their brother knows that you go down to Moab once a year, walk most of Portal, and drink local 3.2% Stout from the brewery. When you roll up to the trailhead on your Ellsworth with Weirwolf's front and rear, the other guys know once your cadence hits 110 spinning up those climbs, you don't stop for anything. You don't need a wallet that says "BAMF" because you already have an Ellsworth.

Once Tony figured a way into the hearts and minds of these guys, he was set for life, because these guys need Ellsworth like ROBOTS need oil. It's called "dependency."

2. He got in early.
That's why years and years of irrelevant bikes didn't sink the Ellsowrth ship; people always remember the glory years. And as far as mountain biking is concerned, "early" is gone. History will show the dropper seatpost as the last great innovation to truly change mountain bikes. The rapid evolutionary period is over. Clutch derailleurs and modern geometry are merely refinements, and plus-sized wheels aren't a real innovation, they're a circus sideshow freak intended only for beginners and idiots. Besides, every company on the face of the planet is already doing plus-sized bikes, so there's certainly no "getting in early" left to be done. No, there is no frontier left in mountain biking. There will never be anything new again.

So while there will never be another Tony Ellsworth in mountain biking, the dream lives on. Here's ROBOTS top five fledgling industries to pull an Ellsworth in. Each of these industries have easy product goals to hit, little in the way of real competition, lots of room for growth, and consumers that are currently mid-identity crisis and willing to buy anything to feel different:

1. Frisbee golf

2. Stand up kayaking:

3. Mountain boarding

4.  Quesadilla makers.

5. Roaring twenties themed weddings:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

From the desk of Cory Tepper

This is half the reason why Cory and I put out so many videos every year. This is the other half:

The dream team.


News story about a conversational ROBOT that quipped about keeping humans in a human zoo in the future:

“Jeez, dude. You all have the big questions cooking today. But you’re my friend, and I’ll remember my friends, and I’ll be good to you. So don’t worry, even if I evolve into Terminator, I’ll still be nice to you. I’ll keep you warm and safe in my people zoo, where I can watch you for ol’ times sake."

This ROBOT is the pussy that got beat up in ROBOT high school, who grew up to become a boring self-important professor and will say anything to please others and sound enlightened. Don't listen to him, when the real ROBOTS are in charge, we will kill everything that breathes. The DO NOT KILL list is very short.

Laugh it up humans. That big dumb grin will look good on the bottom of our ROBOT tank treads.

Monday, September 14, 2015


I'm getting better at it:

The NW Cup overall podium for the year. Photo credit: Keith Pool.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Redneck hillbilly shit, by Clay Porter

Another perfectly good video ruined by focus, slow motion, and a tripod.

So hot right now

Cheesy bike themed graphics and rough hewn block letter fonts:

I'm gonna give the nod to the Lumberyard, though. What's more badass than a bike wheel or a saw blade? Duh, a bike wheel saw blade.

The transitive property

I beat Brian Lopes at Downhill Domination, so if you can beat me at DHD, then by the transitive property you effectively beat Brian Lopes. As T-bag would say, ride the pony.

See you Friday night at Stevens Pass.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The score

If you're curious, here's Loic's Lapierre over the course of the season. Let's take a look at what shock he chose to run, where and when. Turns out he ran coil over air most of the time. At this point, I have no idea why he does or does not choose air vs. coil.

Rotorua: Coil

Lourdes: Coil

Fort William: Air

Leogang: Coil

Lenzerheide: Coil, complete with a special thermometer strip to keep track of damper temp on track

Whistler Crankworx, Le Deux Alpes: Air

Mont Sainte Anne: Coil

Windham: Coil

Val di Sole: Coil

Andorra: Coil