Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Friends like these

I was pretty excited about this photo from the downhill race at Beacon Hill last weekend, taken by longtime DO NOT KILL LIST member Ben Tobin. This might be the best photo I've ever had, and after another disappointing race performance in a long and colorful disappointing race career it was a welcome pick me up.

Here's what Tim Zimmerman thought of my photo:

"Panning at 1/15th of a second can make an earthworm look fast."

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TEAM ROBOT interviews

When reached for comment, Andrew Neethling is "so excited" to be riding Box components and to be off full Blackbox support at all the races.

He added he was "over the moon" about the switch from Schwalbe to Kenda, as well as being "really proud" of Hutchison UR's totally not cheesy team launch video from New Zealand:

Killer hold music during this part of the video, too.

[Editor's note: my error, it's not the "Hutchison United Ride Team" anymore. Now they are the "Island of Misfit Toys United Ride Team"]

Monday, March 23, 2015


Wish I was in NZ with a downhill bike right now:

Looks so good. Off camber at 1:26 looks horrendous. Nine years since World Champs and still looking good.

Everything is horrible

In formal terms that Brannigan video was horrible. The composition of the shots was terrible, the film guy cuts the rider's head off or misses the rider completely in half the shots, the video was probably shot in the middle of the day and the light is terrible, going from blown out hot spots to big dark shadows, the rider's out of focus most of the time, the colors are flat and brown, and the clip sequence doesn't make any sense. Even the logo at the end looks like 240p as seen through a kaleidoscope.

Basically it's perfect. I'll take a painfully Kiwi mate holding an out of focus handicam shielding his hangover from the brackish noon-day light with dark sunglasses over an unironic self-serious "artistic" BC freeride bro any day.

Here's the formula:
  1. Give a video camera to someone. Anyone, really.
  2. Have them point that camera in the general direction of a racer as that dude goes completely apeshit with their riding.
  3. Motorhead.

Compare that two minutes of Brannigan to this two minutes of his Trek teammate Brook, also in NZ. Roughly the same length, same location (New Zealand is all one place in my brain), and basically the same rider:

Brook MacDonald Charging - #notbad from Anthill Films on Vimeo.

I've watched that Brannigan video five times already, but getting me to watch that Brook MacDonald video again would look like this:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Listen to Blopes say "dampener"

You don't have to wait long, it's pretty much the first thing he says in the video.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Good Tips with Team Robot. from Cory Tepper on Vimeo.

In hip new media speak, this is TEAM ROBOT X CORY TEPPER COLLABO.

The best part

You guys missed the best part of this week's axle-related press releases. It almost snuck under the radar:

"And Norco told us outright they’re “planning … a couple of new platforms to use this [148mm] standard.”


Meanwhile at Norco:

"Rather than going with the 150mm rear end spacing that often accompanies a BB107 or 83mm bottom bracket shell, Norco chose to go with a 12x142 rear end, citing the improved heel clearance, and the fact that the bike was designed to be run with a 7 speed drivetrain."


Yeah, because this guy isn't as picky about wheel stiffness as your average-dad 29er customer:

Unimaginable five years ago

In 2010 everyone I knew was on 9-speed Shimano 11-34 cassette's for normal mountain biking and Shimano 11-23's for downhill, and the only reason you'd ever buy a cassette from SRAM is if it was cheaper. I can't even name another company that was making MTB cassettes in 2010, and even if you can think of one, there's no way 2010 me or 2010 you would have run it.

Fast forward five years and the entire mountain bike industry is swarming to not buy a cassette from Shimano or SRAM.

Who the hell is Praxis?

11-40 10-speed cassette, aluminum 40 tooth cog. Gearing is 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-34-40. Seems reasonable and well thought out, and saves the bigger gear ratio jumps for your lower gears. You know, the ones that you shift into and out of with much, much lower frequency. $129.00 is about 12% more than XT. That, combined with nine of ten cogs made of steel, seems pretty reasonable.

And who the hell is Response? That's a made up company, right?

11-40 and 11-42 10-speed cassettes, and 11-42 11 speed cassettes. Largest three cogs are aluminum with a carbon carrier. This one seems a little more extreme and weight/gear dorky, but who knows? No price, no gearing details yet. Obviously the ROBOTS are patrolling the Taipei airwaves.

What's even crazier is that, barring some horrible reliability problem or anecdotal evidence of poor shifting, I would totally run those cassettes. Hey Praxis, I'll be the guy way off the back on all the steep ass fireroad to hell Whistler EWS transfer climbs, suffering on my 11-36 10-speed cassette. Open invitation to test your new cassette.

I will not be smiling, before or after reading this sign.

In 2010 gear ranges were fairly standardized. We were running essentially the same gear ratios for a decade, and as a result your choice of cassette was based almost entirely on shifting performance and reliability. Nod to Shimano on both counts. SRAM could only play by coming in under Shimano's price.

But now that I spend 90% of my time on one bike for all the riding I do, a slight decrease in shifting performance seems like a happy trade-off for the bigger gear range offered by an off-brand cassette or mega-sized add-on cog. I've never ridden one of the add-on cogs, and I've obviously never ridden one of these never-before-seen cassettes, but I'd put money down that they don't shift as well as Shimano cassettes. As the ultimate longtime Shimano fanboy, near as as I can tell there is no way these cassettes shift as well as Shimano. What's crazy is this: I don't care anymore.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Boost 148/15x110mm

What do you want me to say that you don't already know?

This sucks:

So does this:

Cool. Glad we talked.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Your MTB news for the week

Grant "Chopper" Fielder still riding bikes apparently:


Athertons and Red Bull team up to create another overproduced visual sleeping pill:

In a related story, Dan reveals devastating self-confidence issues in comparison to his two younger siblings in another brief but uncomfortable interview.

X-Fusion patiently waits five years to finally copy FIT damper:

When asked about similarities between the popular Fox FIT damper layout and X--Fusion's new "Roughcut Damper," insiders at X-Fusion stated "it's not exactly the same," citing different product name and different colored knobs.

When asked the follow-up question "really?" X-Fusion engineers conceded that yeah, it's pretty much the same thing.

We all have dreams

We had a great turn out yesterday at the River View Protest Ride, with 306 mountain bikers showing up and telling the city that it's not okay to abandon the public process when it doesn't give you the answers you were hoping for.

But the biggest win of the day for me was getting that much closer to my dream job. Life's too short not to do something you love, which is why I've been working tirelessly to parlay all this media attention into my true lifelong passion and dream, starting my own cult.

That's kind of what I was hoping to accomplish with TEAM ROBOT, and we have a pretty sizable readership now, but going negative all the time didn't encourage the sort of pro-cult environment I need. For one thing, TEAM ROBOT readers are "haters," or what I like to refer to as "critical thinkers." Everyone knows that critical thinking has no place in a good cult.

This MTB rally thing on the other hand is more fertile soil for me and my dream job. There's a feel good vibe at the event, a lot of positive energy going on, you're all believing in the same cause and moving in the same direction, I talk a lot and people generally do what I say, and then with a little more work boom didda boom, you're wearing a white linen jump suit, lighting incense sticks, and giving me all your money to ensure your own spiritual enlightenment.

I know it seems like a big jump, but those last two things I touched on are key: first, spiritual enlightenment, and then a close second, me. If there's one thing that protest ride had, it was a whole lot of me. Arguably waaaaaaay too much of me. At first I thought "hey self, for this movement to have lasting power we need to have a variety of strong, articulate voices step forward and take the reins. It can't be all me all the time, or else the momentum will fizzle, or I'll say something stupid and ruin the whole thing, or even worse, people will get to know me and realize that I'm a complete tool."

But then I realized, "wait dude, this is your chance to get that dream job. Go for it."

I also need to have a killer beard if I'm ever going to be a good cult leader. I'm working on it.

Here's the trick: even with all the new age spirituality in the world, if the path to enlightenment doesn't go exclusively through me, then it's just a boring religion that anyone can believe in anywhere, and without that sense of exclusivity based around me there's no way I get a fleet of 40 Rolls Royces or get to sleep with all of the wives of the other cult members.

And if there's no fleet of Rolls Royces, I don't even want to be a cult leader anymore.

So here's the plan. The next step after this protest ride is "riding lessons," but the riding part is sort of secondary. We'll ride for a bit, sure, and I'll coach or whatever, but the main focus will be on all the new-age vaguely eastern spiritualism that's taken Portland by storm. It'll be a spiritual/outdoor/recreational fusion of everything that is Portlandia, and I'll offer up me as the ultimate teacher of this "new path". People in Portland love to think they're the first ones to discover something new. Maybe combine some yoga, shiva, some chi and try to "center people's spirits" or some bullshit, and then when they feel like they're "being transformed" all I have to do is convince them I'm the only route to complete their enlightenment process, and then BOOM.

Then it's just me and my hundreds of willing minions.

So I buy a ranch in Eastern Oregon, construct a weird futuristic commune with way too much glass in the architecture, and everyone gives me all their earthly possessions and I kick it and retire before age 40 with a whole commune full of servants. Maybe a few years down the road when we've really got a head of steam going we go all "Moonraker" and plan a mass global killing scheme to "cleanse" the earth of all the other, unenlightened "dirty" people and then I repopulate the earth.

It's like riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels. If that's not a dream job I don't know what is, so now I'm just working the plan.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Social Media

The joys of social media. The most important thing I took away from this video is that French people love v-necks:

Friday, March 13, 2015

We're all pussies

These two table frames are sequential. In the first frame Sam Flanagan is following close behind. In the second frame Craig finished clicking that table, and it was so clicked that Sam exploded into a fine, invisible dust.

Kid drove over from a summer at Whistler, raced MSA in an eagle t-shirt, on flats, and finished 62nd. It's moments like this when I realize how superbly untalented I am. Please, pleas kill me now.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Putting on my big boys pants

If you haven't noticed yet, I talk nicer when I'm not on the ROBOT blog.


Here's what it sounds like when I try to act professional:

"The biggest game changer in our sport will be whether or not we can change the prevailing attitudes of trail advocacy and build legal trails that aren't boring and monotonous. If current trail building trends don't change, mountain biking will be horrible in ten years.

Apparently five years ago there was a meeting that I wasn't invited to where all the MTB advocacy groups on the planet agreed that every new trail that gets built from now until the end of time needs to be have a ten percent average grade or less, be built by machines, paved from one side to the other with crushed gravel, pavers, or embedded rock, bench cut into sidehills, and the only acceptable form of turn is a 180 degree switchback or a massive berm. It also must built to withstand one thousand years of bike tires, rain, snow, sleet, flooding, explosions, stray plane crashes, plagues, and the zombie apocalypse, all without needing any from of maintenance whatsoever.

There was also a second meeting where they decided that anyone who didn't agree with the trail concepts from the first meeting should be labeled as ''just a hater,'' ''anti-growth,'' or ''close-minded,'' and to be ostracized and kept a safe distance away from any legal trail building. Any trails that didn't fit the general precepts from the first meeting would be labeled as ''unsustainable'' or ''dangerous'' and must be closed down or rerouted. I've seen this pattern occur over and over again across the U.S., but also in Canada, the UK, and even in the Alps, and it's resulted in two separate worlds of mountain biking: the world of legal, boring, legitimate trail building, and the world of fun, steep, fast illegal trail building. Thanks to the seemingly irreconcilable differences between both groups, these two worlds grow farther and farther apart every year.

Of course there are examples of legal trails that don't suck. Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance in Seattle, Washington, is building a pretty incredible (and totally legal) downhill trail on their flagship riding area, Tiger Mountain, just fifteen minutes from downtown Seattle. The guys at Momentum Trail Concepts in Colorado are doing a great job. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is probably the most enlightened federal land management agency in the U.S., and they've done an increasingly good job of offering mountain bike opportunities that aren't horrible. It's possible to balance land managers concerns while building a challenging trail for someone with a skill level exceeding ''Fisher Price: My First Bike Ride.'' So why do these positive examples have to be the exception, not the rule?

The challenge facing mountain biking is twofold: will advanced riders speak up and define what we want our trails to look like, and will legitimate trail advocacy groups choose to listen? The answer to those two questions will do more to shape the mountain bike industry ten years from now than any product, rider, or event ever could."

First off it's galling to be asked about "game changers." What I should have said is "the biggest game-changer in the next  ten years will be when THE ROBOTS have killed off every human that uses terms like 'game changer' and made the world a better, less human, more robotic place." But I didn't say that.

Second, did you see how I tried to wrap it up with positive examples of model behavior? Pussy.

Between talking nice, being positive, and my switch to enduro racing, it's pretty clear whatever downhill racer was still in me is dead now. Seb Kemp asked me "If in ten years you find yourself on the board of IMBA, will you kill yourself?"

Seb, if in ten years you find me on the board of IMBA, I will already be dead.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Your daily dose of Verdone

PVD got a new trail bike:

Learn more about optimal stem length, Q-factor, and rotor size at http://www.peterverdone.com/?p=7176

Feel free to post any useful Trance setup tips for PVD in the comments section here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

ETT lives on

The Freeride Flick will never die. Antoine Bizet, shot by Lear "just here for the afterparty" Miller.

Red Bull corporate has the worst music

Red Bull corporate spent top dollar on their hold music, so they figured they might as well double dip and use it for a Soderstrom/Thelander Woodward edit too.

Here's to another season of awesome Parkin Brothers World Cup recaps that are rendered almost unwatchable by Red Bull's horrific music selection. If this is your idea of great music for bike riding, please kill yourself:


This is awesome

Unless you watched this other video first:

Vital RAW - Eddie Masters // Reece Potter // Skyline MTB Park Madness - More Mountain Bike Videos

Those two assholes pretty much shut down all filming at Skyline for the next three years, unless you're Bernard Kerr and you can land 60 foot jumps in a stoppie. So unless you're Bernard I'm going to watch your Skyline video and be all

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

So big time

In other news, look how big time I am now.

BOOM! Two website front pages, nbd:

Dolla dolla bills y'all. Making that big time industry money now.

Don't worry, I took those yellow grips off.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Call it like it is

New sticker available. 8.5" x 1.5", $1 per sticker, free shipping anywhere:

Here's the deal:

The city of Portland just announced plans to close Riverview Natural Area to mountain bike access, the last remaining set of trails for mountain biking in Portland. Forest Park trails are off limits, and Powell Butte is a series of crushed gravel sidewalks.

The official reason given for closing mountain bike access in Riverview was fish. The seven cold water streams in Riverview "support critical habitat for coastal steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon in the lower Willamette.” Mind you steely, Coho, and Chinook don't actually live in the streams in Riverview, so the argument is water temperature. Apparently my bike tires are warming those cold water streams so much that salmon in the Willamette River are jeopardized. Right.

Some more context:

I've been in contact with Portland Parks regarding Riverview since 2011, and I've participated in the public process to determine land use in Riverview for the past 18 months as part of the "Riverview Natural Area Political Advisory Committee." I served with about a dozen others, including neighbors and representatives of local interests. Brian Baumann of Northwest Trail Alliance was the official "mountain bike guy," and I was the designated unofficial citizen "mountain bike guy" on the committee. We were supplied lots of environmental studies and documents outlining the threats and impacts to the natural resources. We were constantly inundated with graphs and charts and bold statements reinforcing how "highly sensitive" the natural resources in Riverview are. And all of those graphs and charts and studies pointed to dogs and off-trail use as far and away the two greatest threats to natural resources in Riverview. We discussed mountain biking, trail planning, trail etiquette, best practices, and parking zones, but we also discussed dogs and cats and neighbors and trees and birds. We discussed a lot.

The committee meetings stopped about 12 months ago, and our June 2014 meeting was canceled. All communication from Portland Parks and Rec went dark after that. And then today I received word from Portland Parks that the area would be closed to mountain bikes.

This has nothing to do with natural resources, because the two biggest threats to Riverview as (rather extensively) outlined in our meetings and in public documents were not addressed in this recent decision. Dogs are still allowed in the park, and nothing has been done to limit off-trail use.

The real reason we've been kicked out of Riverview is that a small collection of powerful, monied interests hate mountain bikes. Our elected officials answer to these individuals, thus, by the transitive property, Portland hates mountain bikes. Don't believe me? Ask the Northwest Trail Alliance members who worked on the Forest Park proposal.

Show your disdain, show your displeasure, show your disgust. Don't let Portland hide behind fish or birds or trees anymore, this is basic NIMBYism at it's worst. Call it like it is. Portland hates mountain bikes.


Riverview Natural Area in Portland will be closed to bikes starting on Monday March 16th. The Park will be closed to bikes until the City can plan "a more holistic mountain bike recreation plan," which as usual could take somewhere between one and infinity years to complete. This is a big deal, as there's no other legal place to ride mountain bikes in Portland, and while Riverview isn't mind-blowing, numerous friends and guests to Portland have unanimously agreed it "doesn't suck."

Please contact Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Director of Parks and Rec Mike Abbate, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and tell them this decision sucks.




Here's some Cory Tepper clips of me riding the downhill trail at Riverview back in the Diamondback days. Reminisce to the soothing sounds of the old 40 spring knock:

Rapid Fire: Charlie Sponsel - More Mountain Bike Videos

And to anyone who says "But mountain bikers already have Forest Park and Powell Butte..."

For reference, Leif Erickson "trail" in Forest Park:

Meadowland trail at Powell Butte:

Yeah. Nah.