Saturday, February 28, 2015

As seen on the Internet

"Have you ever rode a fat bike? How about a fat trike? Take a peek below at the all-new 'Fat Tad' prototype that landed in our shop yesterday. We haven't been able to stop test riding it since it was assembled!"

-Sun Seeker

Modern Ellsworth spotting

And I use the term "modern" loosely. 

Spotted in the wild. At an XC race though, so makes more sense. I love the classic lines and low stand over height. The best design is that which becomes almost invisible, Ellsworth being a go-to example of this principle. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Poll

Hey people riding ain't free and even ROBOTS gotta hustle from time to time. With all the big time web traffic the page is getting, we're looking to cash in on our years of genius. That's right, we're moving on up, deluxe apartment in the sky.

TEAM ROBOT has been approached by a number of interested, qualified parties looking to advertise on our fine blog. Check the poll for options and let us know what you think. If you have any other bright ideas feel free to post in the comments.

Finally got a piece of the pie.

Monday, February 23, 2015

This sucks

Pavers. Here's my theory:

Most people don't actually like riding pavers. It's clearly worse, dirt is clearly better, and given a back to back comparison even the lowest members of the human species would conclude that pavers on trails are a torture device straight from the seventh circle of hell.

I think there are exactly three people on the entire planet who actually like pavers, but they are prodigious advocates of belief system, traveling far and wide to share pavers with land managers everywhere. In the absence of good trail builders doing likewise, these missionaries of misery have been able to fill this information vacuum, spreading pavers to the ends of the earth, from Sandy Ridge to Colonnade to Mammoth Mountain to the Azores Islands in the picture above.

I firmly believe there are only three agents of the paver movement, but in truth I don't pretend to know what motivates these three people. Perhaps it's a genuine love of paver berms, but alternatively it could be a one-dimensional power trip and pavers are merely the instrument to consolidate power. Traveling the world to exercise their will on unsuspecting trail users quells the urge they've always had but never satisfied.

Maybe it's a small masochistic group installing pavers for their own use, to self-punish as an act of contrition.

If pressed, I'd wager that the paver advocates are part of some fringe religious group seeking to punish the sins of mankind, and in their search for a widespread system of pain and suffering as reckoning for our sins they talked to the people who invented speed bumps and highway on-ramp signals. Those ideas were already taken, of course, so they settled on pavers as their modus operandi.

This desecration comes to us from Steamboat Springs, Colorado from people who should know better.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Going straight to the source.

Dave Trumpore was trying to defend his affinity for the Cane Creek Doubtable Barrel (I just came up with that... I know, it's hilarious, right?), and then we turned our gaze to the new Push Industries rear shock. I asked him what he thought about it, and he said "why don't you ask Peter Verdone what he thinks?"

So I did.

"The shock looks nice enough. I hope that Darren can move forward with something like this. Still, Avalanche has always remained on the side lines despite making incredible parts and most people are utterly confused by CCDB/TTX shocks that they run scared from them. The market is truly ignorant and they don’t seem to want to learn.

Here are a few of my thoughts.
  1. “Murphy discovered that a rounded, parabolic shaped needle would control rebound flow in more even increments than a tapered needle would. Who knew?”
    This is a joke right? Ohlins has been doing this for a few years from my understanding. It’s something that I was proposing about 10 years ago.
    It’s always amazing the marketing horseshit that the bicycle industry is able to stomach.
  2. Hyperco is a great company. I got a lot of motorcycle springs from them. They were always rated within 2% as they claim. Still, Ohlins consistently made lighter springs that had a longer linear range. Obviously, the linearity is always within the rated stroke but it’s saying something when you get more. It would be nice to compare the weights of the Hyperco bike springs with the Ohlins bike springs. The fine 25 lb increments is a great thing.
  3. I like that they are showing dyno charts but they look a bit idealized. I’d like to see some independent tests. Still, nobody else is talking about dynos in the bicycle business so we can enjoy that.
  4. The large shaft is going to displace a lot of fluid. That may be a function of the design or a by product of thinking ‘bigger is better’ that comes and goes in shock shafts. Typically, shafts are small in diameter.
  5. The dual compression circuit and the parabolic needles are really the value here. Long travel bikes really like climb circuits for climbing. But this is a large coil shock. I don’t see why this is something even needed as the only real market is gravity.
  6. The lack of a bladder is underwhelming. I would expect that on a such a high end shock. The IFP is certainly not a selling point here.
  7. The lack of a negative spring is lame. Ohlins uses a negative spring. I belive that RockShocks has followed. It’s really the proper way of doing things.
  8. I would like to see a spring perch bearing of some sort. Even the delrin washers I use on my shocks would be nice to see here but they are lacking.

-Peter Verdone, 2015

There you have it people. Discuss.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

NW Trail report, 2-17-2015

Everything's running.

Upper Bowl at Ski Bowl, Feb 17 2015. Photo by THE Brad Delzer.


Push Industries just released their new rear damper today.

It's a bold move, and there are a lot of interesting aspects to their decision to release a high-end coil-sprung damper built to order, intended for use on a narrow list of only long-travel trail bikes. The new damper raises many interesting questions, and can be the catalyst for so many thought-provoking discussions. Discussions about this specific product, but also discussions we as an industry and as consumers need to have about suspension in general. Here's just a few:
  • The place for high-end coils in a world where air springs offer so much performance and tunability, not to mention weight savings.
  • Shock shaft diameter- oil flow vs. friction.
  • The importance of incremental home tuning versus baseline settings from the factory.
  • The drawbacks of existing suspension platforms.
  • The benefits of remote custom tuning vs. the drawbacks of highly specialized products.
  • Empowering the end user vs. expertise and "the guild"
  • The benefits of US manufacturing vs. sourcing materials based exclusively on quality or price.
  • Economies of scale in terms of manufacturing.
  • Economies of scale in terms of R&D.
  • Global trade policy.
  • Hostility toward the "out group" and the sociology of xenophobia.
  • What is the essence of cycling: performance or experience? Competition or adventure?
  • The cycle of avant garde to mainstream.
  • Art vs. commerce.
  • The disappearance of the artisan worker in the modern world.
  • Man's search for meaning.

As usual, none of those discussions happened on Pinkbike today. Instead everyone and their brother came out of the woodwork to say:

This is how I picture everyone who talks about Double Barrels online. Dave/Lee Trumpore this includes you.

I don't know Darren Murphy personally (founder of Push), but I've had a few interactions with him, all pleasant, and I think I can go out on a limb here and extrapolate some of his thinking behind the new rear damper and subsequent pricing structure. For the benefit of everyone and their brother on Pinkbike, I've carefully prepared the following two graphs to help you understand Darren's confidence in rolling out his new product.

People who Darren is trying to attract with his new rear damper:

People who Darren isn't trying to attract with his new rear damper:

Do you like the colored font? I read that on another how-to-blog article. So many useful tips.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Guilty as charged

One of our readers found my old Felt race bike for sale on Pinkbike:

Only three grand. Get it while it's hot:

This is a whip

According to


They are the reason we have Boost 148 and why we were briefly subjected to Overdrive 2.

Nice capris.

Oh they're knickers? Kill yourself.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

According to the UCI

These three jerseys achieve "identical major sponsor placement, layout and overall look:"

But these three jerseys don't:

People on the Vital board think the UCI is nothing but a money-grubbing megalodon, and the constant search for MOAR REVENUE is the reason behind the Syndicate decision.

But according to our advanced ROBOT algorithms, the UCI's punitive decisions have no pattern whatsoever. They exist only to inconvenience teams and riders in a random and arbitrary way.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wash the taste out

As bad as this was:

That's how good this was:

dan closser solstice 2014 from drc on Vimeo.

Another NW local set to crush mode, Dan is really good at bikes. If those trails in the video looked fast, it's because they are.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Riding like an idiot

On Sunday I was far away from home with only my one of my bikes, and I had an untimely mechanical that meant I would not be riding my own bike that day. It was an awesome group of riders at an amazing trail venue that I'd never ridden before, so I didn't want to throw the whole day away. I drove the first shuttle and then proceeded to borrow whatever bike people would loan me. As an aside, if you like your bike don't ever loan me your personal bike on a shuttle day.

I rode a bunch of different bikes, all fairly modern trail bikes at various points on the spectrum between dialed and clapped, but mostly grouped towards the dialed end of the spectrum.

And then I got to ride this little number:

And I say "little" because I'm 6'3" and it was a size medium Kona Operator. It was more than a little cramped, it was teeny. Actually, it was all wrong. The whole bike was all wrong. Yes, it was a modern downhill frame, but it was the wrong spring rate for me, the front end was super low with the bars rolled way back, the brake levers were in the wrong place for me, it had a rear Nevegal and a hard compound 2.5 front tire pumped up to about 35 psi, and to top it off the entry-level 888 was blown out. Apparently it had 400cc's of oil in each fork leg, and while I can't confirm the fork's oil level, I do know I was achieving hydraulic bottom-out around 180mm of travel.

Basically it was 46 pounds of perfection. I borrowed the bike from this stoked as hell 16-year-old named Andrew Wiley from Bellingham. A big thanks goes out to Andrew. He races XC and bought the bike for $800, and he raced his first season of downhill on the bike last year. He just rebuilt the rear wheel himself and he told me "it's basically indestructible," so I made sure to test that theory by following people blind into 30 foot doubles on the Kona. I can't say I damaged the wheel, but I did bottom the piss out of the 888 about 888 times. I Operated for half the day on a bunch of scary fast trails I'd never ridden before, and, apologies to all sponsors past and present, but it was the most fun I've had on a bike in a long, long time. Following locals on a beater bike = good times. The Operation was a success.

As we were pedalling back to the car after another run, one of my friends mentioned something like "the hip with the soft duff on the outside." I nodded and acted like I knew what he was talking about, but I couldn't remember a single thing that happened in the five minutes prior. I just remember being terrified and going really fast the whole time.

I've spent a lot of time dorking out about bikes, dorking out about trails, and generally dorking out. I definitely overthink things sometimes, and it's gotten in the way of my racing, my riding, and my happiness level many times.

Riding someone's clapped out downhill bike was the perfect reset to all of that. Knowing your bike is important, and making sure your bike is prepped and race ready is important too, but the most important thing is just riding the damn bike.

And I rode the hell out of Andrew's Kona. It was awesome.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Race Entries

A preview of the Crested Butte EWS.

A whole bunch of people just registered for the Crested Butte and Whistler EWS races. I was one of them. Together my two race entries totaled $415. $110 for the Whistler race, and $305 for the Colorado race.

And then everyone on the internet started complaining about the price. Yes, $305 is expensive for a race. $105 is expensive for a race. But let's review for a second:

Whistler and Colorado sold out in under 4 minutes this morning.

This situation is akin to the common Pinkbike "why do new bikes cost $8,000, I could buy a new moto for $8,000."

Please, please buy a moto instead. And if $305 seems too steep for a race entry, don't register. Please. The ROBOTS would prefer you just kill yourself but, in lieu of that, you quitting mountain bikes to ride dirt bikes poorly or having you skip the race so I don't have to see you or talk to you there would be acceptable solutions as well.

Guess what Pinkbike guy: you don't have $8000, and if you did you wouldn't buy a moto with it. You wouldn't buy a moto because you and I both know you already suck at mountain bikes, so picking up an even more competitive and difficult sport will not help you justify or make peace with your short existence on this earth. Better to be a medium to smallish fish in a really small pond, right?

Me Enduro-ing at Whistler last year. I read on a list of blogging tips that photos help to break up long prose into more palatable sections.

As for complains-about-the price-race-entry guy, the fact that we're even having this discussion means that you already bought your race entry. So kill yourself. Either that, or you never planned on racing but you just wanted to complain about the price of the race entry as a guise for why you skip the part of bike riding where we measure you and see how you stack up against your friends- you know, the part where you don't have excuses anymore and you have to account for how much you suck at mountain biking.

This is similar to "why would I pay $150 to race on trails I can ride for free" guy. Kill yourself.

If you chose not to race, the price of the race entry had nothing to do with your decision.

If you chose to race, the price of the race 
entry had nothing to do with your decision.

You know what addicts do when the price of meth goes up? They hustle. They makes moves. And they keep buying meth. No one wants to know how or where they got that money, but they found it somewhere. I would probably pay $1000 for a race entry if I had to. Every year for the last four years I've paid somewhere between $2500 and $3000 to travel to one World Cup round and be embarrassed on an international stage. That seems pretty stupid when you put it in perspective.

If you want to race, you just find the money somehow. Maybe you sell a kidney or kill someone for money or work on "Deadliest Catch" or whatever. Maybe you ask the meth people where they get their money. Maybe you start stealing outdoor AC units or start a chop shop in the garage. Maybe you start a "massage" booth in your van at the next race. You hustle.

And one more thing: the Crested Butte and Whistler races are going to suck again this year and I'm going to hate it.

I'll obviously be there.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Bender's Ellsworth for sale

No commentary required, this ad speaks for itself:

"Here is your chance to own yet another vintage mountain bike, well abused by Bender. This bike is super versatile and is the first (maybe only) 29er I ever enjoyed riding. These bikes are built tough with a great ano job that is incredibly hard to scratch.

Bender has used this bike for everything from 70mile xc races to giant road gaps. The evolution is super efficient climbing and very stable at high speeds, over rocks, and in the air. Not something you would expect from a 29er right?

Why is Bender selling this bike? No room for it anymore! I am on the road listing this as a favor and need to get Bendy to send me a list of the components. He is also planning to send close ups of the components. I've done my best here... But really you don't care whats on this bike, you just want it because it is Benders!

Ellsworth 29er Wheelset
Loaded AMX Bars, Stem, Grips & Headset
Magura brakeset
A huge seat
Marzocchi Bomber Fork & ??? Rear"

More about the Method:

And speaking of Wil White. And Euros.


They continue to be so Euro.

Random Euro Hannes Klausner doing what, in his mind, is surely the coolest pose imaginable.

The Award

For dumbest mountain bike expression of all time:

goes to "earn your turns."

Instant KILL LIST status.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Wil White

Still holding it down for 2003:

Everything about Wil White is just too perfect for words. So glad he's out there: