Mountain Bike Action december
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Mountain Bike Action december Mountain Bike Action december Document Transcript

  • CRANKWORX: A HIGH-FLYING PARTY MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 3 298 C0 CC www.mbaction.com DECEMBER 2009 DO WE REALLY NEED 30-SPEED MOUNTAIN BIKES? ARMSTRONG GETS HIS DIRTY REVENGE COOL STUFF FOR CHRISTMAS MASTER TIGHT, TRICKY SWITCHBACKS LIKE THE PROS NINER R.I.P. 9 Att’n Retailer: Please display $4.99 until December 3 TURNER FLUX
  • XC LEGS, DH “THERE WAS ONE TRAIL I RODE FOR THE FIRST TIME DURING THIS PHOTO SHOOT. IT’S GNARLY—ONE YOU WOULD USUALLY CHOOSE TO RIDE WITH A DH BIKE. I TOTALLY FORGOT I WAS ON A BIKE I HAD PEDALED TO THE TOP. I WAS AIRING A ROCK SECTION INTO A REALLY STEEP PITCH WHEN I REMEMBERED. I STARTED LAUGHING TO MYSELF. IT’S REALLY EASY TO SHRED ON THIS BIKE.” FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MATT HUNTER AND THE CLIMB-ABILITY/RIP-ABILITY OF THE ALL-NEW ENDURO AT I-AM-SPECIALIZED.COM GUTS.
  • THIS MONTH Whistler throws a week-long party, and you’re all invited to attend. Page 54. 50 72 Photo by John Ker Photo by John Ker BIKE TESTS FEATURE 108 Number Crunching Your Drivetrain 38 Turner Flux 80 Christmas On The How far do you go with one spin of Capable trailbike with an old Mountain the cranks? school cross-country feel. Ideas for the mountain biker on your list. 50 Niner R.I.P. 9 TRAINING & FITNESS Big wheels for the trail rider. CRANKWORX 42 Switchback Riding Secrets 72 Rocky Mountain Altitude FESTIVAL SPECIAL Master those tight, tricky turns. 90 RSL A lot of trail-riding attitude. 54 Whistler’s weeklong Celebration COMPETITION 86 Specialized P.2 World-class riders crash moun- tain biking’s biggest party. 114 2009 World Priced and designed to fly. Championships 66 Seen On The Street American women bring home the 104 Diamondback Scapegoat medals; men bring home a problem. One tough animal to tame. Plenty of action off the slopes. PEOPLE DEPARTMENTS 76 Riders Who Inspire 10 Happy Trails Why our world needs more The year in review. Carol Potters. 12 Mac Attack 100 Young Rippers Computers don’t ride bikes. Introducing Alex Prochazka. 14 Hard Tales Dreamscapes, kids and Lance’s TECHNICAL attack. 92 Inside The Pros’ Bikes 19 Trailgrams JHK’s Fisher Superfly 29er. Cures for the clipless. 94 The Garage Files 24 Trail Mix Gears galore: Ten, 20 or 30 speeds— take your pick. You have never had so Righting the Lefty. Riders enjoying riding. many gearing options. Page 108. 4 www.mbaction.com
  • contents 86 104 Photo by John Ker Photo by John Ker 28 Thrash Tests An amazing helmet and a camera to put on it. 35 Inside Line Building trails and hanging your VOLUME 24, NUMBER 12 bike. DECEMBER 2009 126 Quick Releases ON THE COVER MBA goes to the movies. Chris Kovarik, an Australian who summers in Whistler, British Columbia, launches his Intense 951 right there in his backyard, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Photo 130 Down The Trail by John “That guy is faster than my flash” Ker. The Niner R.I.P. 9 offers a unique The first step to stunt riding. trail riding experience. Photo by John “Big wheels look better in photos” Ker. The 2010 Turner Flux delivers the goods for cross-country racers and trail riders. Photo by John “I want a turn on that Turner” Ker. MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION Magazine (ISSN 0895-8467 Canada GST 12500#9266RT: CPC INT’L. PUB MAIL 40024492) DECEMBER 2009, Volume 24, Issue 12, is published monthly by Daisy/Hi-Torque Publishing Company, Inc., with editorial offices at 25233 Anza Dr., Valencia, CA 91355. Subscriptions $19.98 for 12 issues (one year). Canada add $12 additional postage for one year, $24 for two years. Foreign add $15 additional postage for one year, $30 for two years. Foreign subscriptions are shipped by surface mail and may take up to 15 weeks to receive. Copyright ©2009 by Daisy/Hi-Torque Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing in this magazine may be reprinted in whole or in part, by any means, without the express permission of the publisher. Contributors: Photographs should be submitted in digital form on CD or DVD. Images should be 4 megapixels or higher. High-qual- ity, low-compression JPEG images are preferred. Please limit submissions to no more than 20 photos at one time. Transparencies and prints will no longer be accepted for consideration; such images should be scanned and submit- ted as high-resolution digital files. Captions should accompany all submissions. Make sure the photographer’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address are clearly labeled on each CD or DVD. Submissions will not be returned. Written articles should be submitted on CD (unless other arrangements have been made with the editors), saved as “text” files, and accompanied by a printed version. Written submissions, both on paper and CD, will not be returned. The publisher does not assume responsibility for unsolicited material. PERIODICALS: Postage paid at Santa Clarita, CA 91383, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mountain Bike Action Magazine, P.O. Box 958, Valencia, CA 91380-9058. Printed in U.S.A. For Canadian returns mail to: Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542 London, ON N6C 6B2. WARNING: Much of the action depicted in this magazine is potentially danger- ous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced experts or pro- Re-ride your ride: This handy little video camera captures all the hills, spills and fessionals. Do not attempt to duplicate any stunts that are beyond your own thrills of your ride. Page 28. capabilities. Always use discretion and wear the appropriate safety gear. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 5
  • MBA STAFF www.mbaction.com EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT JIM McILVAIN • EDITOR RICHARD CUNNINGHAM • EDITOR-AT-LARGE JODY WEISEL • FEATURE EDITORS ZAPATA ESPINOZA SEAN McCOY • MANAGING EDITOR JOHN KER • ASSISTANT EDITORS RYAN CLEEK KATHARINE McCOY JEFF SPENCER • TRAINING CONSULTANT JOHN TOMAC • CONSULTANTS MIKE BELL JOHN PERRY BRAD ROE • ONLINE EDITORS BradR@hi-torque.com TOM HINZ TomH@hi-torque.com ART DEPARTMENT EDUARDO GUTIE´RREZ • DESIGNER ALMA MARTíNEZ de DICSö • ASSISTANT DESIGNERS JACKIE CLEVELAND CASSANDRA MITTELBERG • COPY EDITOR LINDSAY WORDEN PAT CARRIGAN • PHOTO ARTIST WILLIAM C. HAWLEY IV • PRELIM COORDINATOR ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT ROBERT REX • NATIONAL ADVERTISING DIRECTOR ROBB MESECHER • ADVERTISING MANAGER DERRECK BERNARD • ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES JEROME DZIECHIASZ ERIC HARTER • ADVERTISING PRODUCTION MANAGER JENNIFER EDMONSTON • ADVERTISING PRODUCTION COORDINATOR LISA BECKWITH • ACCOUNT ADMINISTRATOR ROLAND HINZ • PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER LILA HINZ • ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER CASSANDRA MITTELBERG • ASSISTANTS TO PRESIDENT KATHARINE McCOY TOM HINZ JEFF SHOOP • CIRCULATION DIRECTOR TIM LaPAGLIA • PROMOTIONS ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES 25233 Anza Dr. Valencia, CA 91355 (661) 295-1910 Fax (661) 295-1278 Any change of address or subscription problems please contact us by e-mail: wanda@hi-torque.com or call (800) 767-0345. www.hi-torque.com ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE IN TAIWAN WHEEL GIANT INCORPORATED P.O. Box 80, Changhua, Taiwan R.O.C. Tel (047) 352555, 350500 Telex: 58312 WGI Fax: 886-47-357860
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  • HAPPY TRAILS By Richard J. Cunningham D ecember already? I was talking about the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo today as if February were last month—which got me think- ing about the year’s highlights. It was great that Lance Armstrong returned to trounce Dave Wiens at the Leadville 100. Armstrong had noth- ing to gain from crushing a field of hopefuls and has-beens, but there was honor on the line, and the King-of-the-Tour demonstrated that he under- stands exactly what that word means. Lance showed up early and rode side-by-side with fellow racers, who were treated to the human side of the most venerated and feared athlete in cycling today. For a week in Colorado, Lance was a mountain biker: one man, self-supported, happy to be riding on fat tires, with nature as his greatest rival and 100 miles of open country ahead of him. His victory added some shine to the legacy of Leadville and left the vanquished with a story they will tell their grandchildren. Lance has an open invitation to any mountain bike race in this country. Speaking about racing, the Kenda 2009, the Fuel EX and Stumpjumper Cup series delivered as promised: a were tied at 4.7 inches. full schedule of cross-country racing, Gary Fisher Bicycles scored two with separate East and West venues huge victories for the 29er with two and thousands of competitors who wins in the U.S. National will happily return next year to race Championship Cross-Country series again. We can thank Scott Tedro, Ty (men’s and women’s)—a first for Kady, the folks at Sho-Air, Kenda and both classes (Katie Compton won the Specialized for manning up to the National Short Track on a 29er with task of rebuilding the national moun- 700C tubulars last year). tain bike series that its caretaker, Specialized’s Ned Overend has been USA Cycling, had left in shambles. riding a 29er, and one vote from Ned We can also thank the Kenda Cup for is worth more than five votes from supporting the US Pro series, which any major bike brand. was piggybacked upon key Kenda Almost every top cross-country pro Cup venues. If there can be a down- and two-thirds of the bike-park side to its success, the cross-country crowd have been riding dual-chain- Seattle’s success points urban park Kenda Cup left downhillers all ring cranksets—a trend largely planners towards an untapped padded up with no place to go, won- ignored by the bike industry at large resource: thousands of acres of ugly dering why USA Cycling hasn’t taken until SRAM launched XX. SRAM’s open space beneath freeway inter- them seriously. stunning and well-engineered 2x10 changes and between public works Racing devotees all preach that this drivetrain won’t begin to fill the vac- projects that could be reclaimed and country’s next star will arrive from a uum in the marketplace, even if it is beautified for recreational cycling. youth program, but during the week, readily accepted by major bike New York City successfully converted they can all be found sipping beer brands. Reportedly, Shimano is an abandoned park into a showcase with professionals. All except Matt readying its own version of 2x10— skills park for mountain bikes, and it Fritzinger, whose NorCal High which should be called XTR-Duh, now hosts regular races. If it can hap- School League was franchised in the because no parts maker is more close- pen in New York City, it can happen southern half of California. The ly attached to professional cross- anywhere. NorCal League is simply ripping it up country racing. Every year that passes carries a mes- at the races and, while SoCal has a While the majority shareholders of sage for its successor. While I cannot lot of catching up to do, they passed the sport sort out 2x10, what we real- foretell the future, it seems clear that muster in their first season, and their ly need is a wide-ratio, nine-speed this year tells us that there are good teams are rapidly gaining strength cassette so that the millions of us things ahead for our sport, but they and numbers. California didn’t who purchased bikes with triple- may not come from obvious sources. invent the concept; high school rac- chainring, nine-speed shifting sys- The next world champion may be a ing leagues have been flourishing in tems can enjoy two-chainring shift- freckle-faced high school kid who just British Columbia for a decade or ing bliss without spending thousands six weeks ago couldn’t tell a derailleur more. of dollars on an incompatible ten- from a DVD. The best shifting trans- Technology did not leap very far speed drivetrain or having to pony up mission you have ever ridden could be this year. Wheel travel for the basic for a new bike. the one you already own, minus nine trailbike settled in at five-inches-plus; Great news came from Seattle, gears—and your first wall-ride on that a big I-told-you-so for the Pivot Mach Washington, with the opening of the 2x9 bike may be 50 feet below your 5, Turner 5 Spot and Santa Cruz I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Park, a morning commute. If you own a Blur LT, which continue to lead the riding and skills park under an ele- Livestrong rubber band, be sure to trend while industry giants Trek and vated stretch of the Interstate 5 free- wear it when you show up for that 24- Specialized play travel tennis trying way. With so much pressure for hour solo race, because the man who to find a permanent place between mountain bike riding opportunities lines up next to you might be the the four- and six-inch marks. For near major population centers, chairman of the board. ❑ 10 www.mbaction.com
  • THE MAC ATTACK By Jim McIlvain Man Versus Machine The wrecking crew recently tested Gary said calmly as he walked away swayed. Once you feel it, no computer an expensive, lightweight, dual-sus- from the pit area and headed home. is going to change your mind. pension, cross-country race bike. To this day, the race tech probably This is not to say that data acquisi- While on the bike, two of our test thinks that Gary’s reaction was that tion and quantifiable research don’t riders noted a brief sensation of of an arrogant racer, but the techni- have their place. It would be hard to drivetrain resistance during the rear cian was absolutely wrong. Nothing trust a product that hadn’t been sub- suspension’s travel. It was only trumps an experienced rider’s in-the- jected to rigorous laboratory testing. detected at a particular part of the saddle evaluation of a motorcycle or Still, at the end of the day, it would be bike’s travel, and that was explained mountain bike. Nothing. harder to trust a product that hadn’t in the review. Our write-up never As another example, we received a seen a lot of real-world abuse. tried to explain the cause of this sen- question from a rider who com- Mountain Bike Action will continue sation, because, quite frankly, we plained of drivetrain resistance when to test bikes the way we have always didn’t know why the bike reacted reducing his fork’s travel. We threw tested them. We swap them between the way it did. But we felt (and still the problem at one of the brightest the crew, plant our butts in the saddle do) that our ride feedback was minds working with bicycle suspen- and ride the wheels off them. We don’t important to any rider considering sion, Dave Weagle, of the famed dw- hook them up to computers or study purchasing the bike. link. Dave tried but couldn’t come spreadsheets. What matters to you, The bike company was furious. up with a mathematical explanation and us, is what happens on the trail. ❑ They supplied computer-generated for what the rider was feeling (much charts and graphs to prove that we like scientists who could not, until could not have felt what we did. very recently, prove that a bee could Jimmy Mac does use a computer for They claimed our riders were wrong fly). More riders contacted us communication, so you can e-mail him and demanded a retraction. explaining that they, too, had felt the at Jamesmac@hi-torque.com. Forgive me if I’ve told you this same sensation. You could show each story before, but it applies to this sit- of these riders reams of charts to uation perfectly. Gary Nixon had an prove that what they felt couldn’t amazing career as a professional happen, but I’ll bet that down to the motorcycle racer, both on road race last rider, not one of them would be circuits and America’s dirt ovals. One time, Gary was at a road course test session with his then-sponsor, Kawasaki Motorcycles. His job was to flail the bike around the course for a few laps and then pit so that the technicians and engineers could download the data captured by on- the-bike sensors. During one of these pit stops, Gary explained what he was feeling at a certain part of the course and, to his amaze- ment, one of the techs told him he was wrong. The three-time AMA Grand National Champion couldn’t believe his ears. He again articulated exactly what he felt out there on the course, and the tech again told him he couldn’t have felt what he said he was feeling. Astounded, Gary tried one more Illustration by Eduardo Gutiérrez time to explain what the motorcycle was doing. The stubborn tech spun his computer around, showed Gary a screen with a bunch of wavy lines and explained that those lines proved Gary was wrong. Bet you can guess what happened next. “Well then, you need to let your computer race that motorcycle,” 12 www.mbaction.com
  • HARD TALES IMAGES Breaking Rule Number OneThere is an unwritten rule that mountain biking photos have to have a rider in the shot. Peruse the pages of any Mountain Bike Action and you’ll find we stick by that rule. Except for today. Today is break-the-rider-rule day, because while there are no riders in these photos, try to look at them without getting the uncontrollable urge to throw on your hydration pack and hit the trail. 14 www.mbaction.com
  • EVENTS Lance, One Year Later Photos by Rob O’Dea The out-of-retirement, back-with-a-vengeance Lance Armstrong had just finished some race in France when he followed up with a trip to Leadville, Colorado, to race the Leadville 100. Lance had raced the event last year after announcing he was bored with hang- ing out on the beach in Santa Barbara with his old friend Dave Lettieri. He finished second that year and promised to be back to improve on his time. Promise kept. Lance finished the 100-mile endurance event in six hours, 28 minutes and 50 seconds to beat six-time event win- ner Dave Wiens by 28 minutes and over 1400 other riders by a much wider margin. Eastbound and Down: He’s loaded up and truckin’, he’s gonna do what they say can’t be done. Mountain bike pros are pray- ing that Lance No reason for disappointment: It would be the highlight of stays busy with his most professional racers’ careers to finish in the top three at road racing career the Leadville 100. Dave Wiens probably felt he let down his and new Team fans with a second place. Not true. Dave’s ride was an amaz- RadioShack so he ing achievement and ranks right up there with all the times he leaves them alone. won the event. Early morning rain: The lead group early in the event included Dave Wiens (1), Lance (hidden behind Dave), Manny Prado (3) and Tinker Juarez (1510). That isn’t dew on the trees. Racers faced a cold rain to start off the suffer fest. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 15
  • HARD TALES WINNERS One Contest, Two Winners Remember the “Send Your Girlfriend to Camp” contest we told you about in our July 2009 issue? Well, we have a winner, and her name is Erica Tonner, but that’s not totally accurate. While Erica got to attend a Dirt Series by Rocky Mountain Bicycles Skills Camp and received a Erica Tonner: She gets the swag, but it was her boyfriend who won the contest. 2010 Fox Racing Shox 32 TALAS RLC 15QR fork and a two-year subscription to MBA, the true contest winner is Chris Burk. You see, Chris is Erica’s boyfriend, and to win all that great stuff for her, he had to write a short essay on why she deserved to win. The talented scribe waxed poetically to beat out hundreds of entries (you can see his winning essay at www.dirtseries.com). “What an awesome time I had while at the bike camp,” says Erica. “I am sure I have improved exponentially. Last weekend, Chris and I went riding and he said it was night and day. I feel like I’m in control while riding my line instead of just being jostled around by our lovely North Shore trails.” Congratulations to Erica and Chris. Nice work—and Chris, you are one lucky guy. New skills: Erica shows off her new- found skills after winning a Dirt Series by Rocky Mountain weekend camp. WEIRD Rat’s Nest In Your Tire Ever wonder what NoTubes tire sealant looks like after a hot summer of riding? Kind of like finding a rat’s nest inside your tire. 16 www.mbaction.com
  • HARD TALES BIKES Cannondale Shows More 2010 Models Don’t worry. We will organize all the 2010 bike offerings into an easy-to-follow, easier-to-compare buyer’s guide. But, when Cannondale RZ One Twenty: You’ll get four models (from breaking news on 2010 models becomes available, we just can’t $1919 to $3849) to choose from, and don’t think of this as an RZ wait for the buyer’s guide to show you. Here are a few more One Forty with an inch less travel. This 4.7-inch-travel trailbike 2010 models from Cannondale. has a different personality. It is for the rider who doesn’t want the punishment of a cross-country race bike, but doesn’t need the travel of a trailbike made for gnarly singletrack. Cannondale RZ One Forty: This 5.5-inch-travel trailbike will come in five models (one with a Truvativ HammerSchmidt crankset), two in Cannondale Moto Carbon 2, $5299: Cannondale is dropping carbon and the rest in aluminum. Prices will range from $1919 to their downhill bikes (the Judge and the Perp) for 2010, so the 6.3- $6199. This is Cannondale’s all-purpose platform designed to climb inch-travel Moto platform is their most gravity-oriented bike, but it with cross-country bikes while still bringing a smile to your face on the is still within the realm of trailbikes that can climb reasonably well. descents. They have worked to dial the shock and linkage to deliver There will be two carbon models and three aluminum-framed small-bump compliance, no-harsh mid-stroke and plenty of bottom- models, the least expensive coming in at an attractive $2649 out cushion. price point. There will also be a women’s version. KIDS Trail Blazers You’ve read it in the mainstream media. saddle. Meet a few of the deserving young Kids today are lethargic, Game Boy-addicted, racers who turned out at the National sedentary, overweight little dumplings. Well, Mountain Bike Championships at the SolVista some kids just won’t listen. Instead of sitting resort in Granby, Colorado. on the couch, these rascals choose to sit on a Mary Allen (901) and Courtney Comer— Under-10 Class. Katherine Roberson—Under-10 Class. Mitchell Dutczak—Under-14 Class. 18 www.mbaction.com
  • TRAILGRAMS NO MORE ENDOS Your August “Garage Files” on Avid Elixir brakes helped me so much, and I don’t even have those brakes. I’m an extreme novice rider and have had problems locking my front brake and going over the bars. The article talked about adjusting the lever throw closer to the grip for better modulation. I did what the article said to do and had my best ride ever today. I had soooooo much better control MBA, of the bike. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Ray Frady Rittman, Ohio September, 2009 BETTER THAN FACEBOOK It was 1981. The mountain bike was in its infancy, and I was riding a Motobecane Super Mirage back and forth to high school. Punk rock was in its heyday, and I was at the Hollywood Palace to see The Professionals. As I looked around the crowd, one girl caught my eye. When I smiled at her, she smiled back. What a smile! We hung out at the show, and I managed to alienate her with my psychotic teenage antics. NOT AS IT APPEARS Fast-forward 28 years. I’m now a Educating the mountain biking community that skidding is not required successful bike bum in the summer for an enjoyable day on the trails is an uphill battle. I’ve been verbally abused and a ski instructor in the winter. As and threatened with physical violence for politely asking mountain bikers not part of being a bike bum, I volunteer at to skid on multi-user public trails. I began talking to riders after reading the Fire Cracker 50. This year, we all about the issue in your magazine. I was thus dismayed to see the picture of a got the June issue of Mountain Bike biker bombing down a multi-user trail and kicking up a big roost in your Action in the swag bag. There, on page September article about Flagstaff. Flagstaff is indeed a great place to ride. I’d 28, I saw that smile! A smile I hadn’t like to keep it that way and keep the trails open for us. Your picture contra- seen in almost 30 years. After I read dicts your previous position on this topic. I hope that position hasn’t changed. her comment, there it was, Cher Vella, Brad Andrews Long Beach, California! Seeing Cher Grand Canyon Village, Arizona on her bike, knowing that she’s part of That photo was shot on a designated downhill trail, not a multi-user trail, and the tribe, made me feel connected in the roost you see was not caused by braking, but due to Flagstaff’s dry and dusty some weird way after all these years. I conditions. Flagstaff deserves credit for making such a challenging downhill run guess that’s the power of two wheels. available to gravity riders while offering plenty of multi-user trails for everyone Jim “Jaime” Jimenez else. Of course, we are with you as far as skidding goes. Locking wheels equals los- Alma, Colorado (10,578 feet) ing control, and that is never fun. GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS I have a carbon dually that is very light and sports five inches of travel front and rear. This bike has frustrated me for the last year, as I have never Write us at mbaction@hi-torque.com or been comfortable with the handling. It either over- or understeered and, hard copy us at MBA Trailgrams, 25233 frankly, was a little like a high-maintenance girlfriend I used to date; what- Anza Drive, Valencia, Ca. 91355. ever I did just wasn’t quite right. Then, I dropped my upper body by about Trailgrams tip of the month: Have a three inches while riding. Now, the bike goes where I want it to go. This fender ready to go in case conditions get may be old news to y’all, but it was such a relief, as I so wanted to love this sloppy. Already have the star-fangled nut bike. Now I don’t just put it back in the shed when I get home; I adjust, lube pressed into the bottom of your steerer so and shine it up so it is ready for our next ride. you can bolt the fender on and go. Take it Edsel Falconer off when the conditions dry out. Fenders From waaaaay Down Under are silly in the dry. Check out more long-travel trailbike riding tips in our November 2009 issue. If you don’t have a copy, call (800) 767-0345 or visit www.mbaction.com. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 19
  • TRAILGRAMS A letter from Bill Marcy in our September issue explained that he fell over a lot due to his clipless pedals. We told him to switch to platform pedals and let the bruises heal. A lot of riders wrote in on the subject. DON’T GIVE UP parallel to the pedal. Rather, when faced or snow. Not figuring on doing any real Bill Marcy is most likely riding with with an emergency, I roll my ankle, riding, I only brought the old clunker single-release cleats. He needs Shimano’s which leaves me firmly clipped into the complete with child seat and no riding multi-release cleats. When I first started, bike with the 51s but allows me to get shorts, armor or shoes. The weather I kept falling with my feet still attached. right out with the 56s. turned out to be beautiful, so I managed Since switching to multi-release cleats, I As an experiment, I put one of each to sneak away for a 20-mile ride. I got a have never had a problem with the foot type on my shoes. The left was a 51 and lot of strange looks from people watch- pulling out accidentally or not being able the right was a 56. After adding two ing me ride down very difficult rocky to get it out when needed. I have been turns of tension to the 56 pedal, neces- trails wearing hiking boots with a child using them for almost ten years now sary to keep from inadvertently unclip- seat attached, but I didn’t care. I thought and have always ridden SPD pedals. I ping with that design of cleat, I went rid- I wouldn’t enjoy the ride without the cli- even got my wife using clipless with ing. It was a perfect demo. I had two pless pedals, and I was wrong. The them, and that was quite a feat. I would emergency stops that day, one to each assurance of no clips through the rocky also add that clipless pedals have a side. The stop to the 56 side went great. sections made me focus on the fun more marked advantage for control of the bike The stop to the 51 side ended up in a than the potential fall. It was like being when going downhill. It is actually the painful topple, with me still connected to on the trail 14 years ago—no high-tech most noticeable benefit for me. I love the the bike. gear and no worries, just riding to the feel of my feet being attached to the bike. Since then, I’ve done several rides edge of your abilities with your bike. It gives me more confidence. I hope that with 56 cleats on both shoes, and the I have since returned to the moun- this information will be helpful to Bill results are the best I’ve ever had with tains with my dual-suspension ride, and and maybe some other readers, and clipless. I would recommend that Mr. I swapped out for the platforms before everyone can enjoy their ride just a little Marcy try a set of the 56 cleats and see if leaving. Like I said, clipless pedals have more. they help him before he abandons them. their place. The trick is learning which Stephen Shelley Christopher Berchin places are better off ridden without San Antonio, Texas Dearborn, Michigan them. Steve Dika MULTI OPTIONS UNEXPECTED CONVERT Edmonton, Alberta, Canada I used toe-clip pedals for the same rea- Bill, I feel your pain. I am a dedicated son Bill Marcy outlined, much to the clipless pedalhead, and have been for the GO FOR THE FROGS amusement of my friends. I tried clipless past 15 years. Through my own stub- The answer to pedal clip-out problems pedals and had issues getting in and out bornness, I have valiantly refused to ride is Speedplay Frog pedals. There are no of them. Determined to get better without them, no matter what the ter- springs to fight against, and the cleat can results, I made an important discovery. rain or technical level. I usually came be rotated in the shoe to suit each rider. Shimano makes two kinds of cleats: the out unscathed. Usually, but not always. In 14 years, I’ve never had an unwanted SH-51, which is the “default” cleat So, it came with a dose of surprise to release, nor has my sub-conscious failed shipped with pedals, and the SH-56, find that I now am an advocate of plat- to release my feet on a tumble. I have my which is sold separately. The 51s are lat- forms, in the right conditions. right and left cleats adjusted differently eral release, while the 56s are multi- My revelation came while camping in because, well, who has both feet the angle release. I learned that my instincts Jasper, Alberta, Canada. The weather same anyway? are not to rotate my foot in the direction was supposed to be the usual May send Ron Woodward that the 51s need to disengage, which is up, some sun with a good chance of rain Toronto, Ontario ❑ 20 www.mbaction.com
  • B RAKES by AV I D ELIXIR CR MAG (NEW)
  • ELIXIR FOR ALL What started last year with two models has grown to four, and now all riders from first-timers to the most ELIXIR CR demanding pros have an Elixir that’s perfect for their ride. Fact is, everyone’s ride benefits from more control, more power and greater comfort – and that’s what Elixir’s TaperBore Technology is all about. Now, with the addition of the Elixir 5 and the CR Mag, you can choose from a wider range of tasty features to fit your needs. There’s a new sheriff in brake town, and its name is Elixir. avidbike.com ELIXIR 5 ELIXIR R (NEW) (updated) Clean Sweep Rotors 140 (rear only) /160/185/203 mm G3 Six Bolt NEW 160/185 mm Center Lock Rotors (LockRing not included) ©2009 SRAM LLC
  • TRAIL MIX QUALITY FAMILY TIME myself after finishing a four-day My daughter, Katie (age 15), and White Rim ride in Canyonlands National Park outside of Moab, er switchbacks (1200 vertical in Utah. We had just climbed the Shaf a couple of miles) and ran into several desert bighorn sheep. Steven Heil Grand Junction, Colorado RIDING F.A.T.S. We got a group of nine friends from four states to meet up at F.A.T.S. (Forks Area Trai l System) in South Carolina for three days of ridin g. I never laughed so much. What a great plac e this is. This is all of us before we hit the Brown Wave. This is a must-ride destination! Greg Neel Ashburn, Virginia CITY BIKING Photos by David Tufino/NYCMTB Former World Cup Downhill Champion Jurgen Beneke (1) defended his title as the all- mountain king of New York City with his repeat win at the second-annual NYCMTB Highbridge Park Hustle + Flow All-Mountain Race. The event is a unique all-mountain race made up of five distinct legs (cross-country, pump track, downhill, road climb and Super-D) with classes for solo racers and teams (one racer for each leg raced as a team relay). Jamie Bogner President/Co-Founder/Race Director New York City Mountain Bike Association 24 www.mbaction.com
  • OCEAN TO DESERT Some homies from Oceanside and Carlsbad, California, left their beach to come ride in Utah, including Thunder Mountain, Navajo Lake and Brian Head. Yes, they had a blast. Kevin Talbot Hurricane, Utah BAER IN THE WOODS The Rumblefest event in Port Alice, British Columbia, was my first race at 61 years old. The course went up from sea level to 1000 feet in about 2.5 miles. This is the end of the second lap, and I was glad to have perse- vered. There was one person still on the course when I came in, so I was not last! Richard Baer Victoria, British Columbia, Canada December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 25
  • TRAIL MIX SANDY TRAIL Me and my old JBC Pro Scandium on the long, dense beach sands at Legian Beach in Bali, Indonesia. Hendro Poernomo Rempoa, Banten, Indonesia REAL RECYCLING Flims, Switzerland, at 7000 feet, before starting a five-hour epic. The landscape looks like something from Lord of the Rings. Stunning. By the way, the bike is one of 15 other bikes made by myself from different broken frames. This one contains parts from four ex-bikes. Sergio Beresovsky Milan, Italy FUTURE CHAMPS My stepsons, Robbie and Ryan, and their buddies, Ryan and Dale, taking a well- deserved rest at the top of the saddle lead- ing into the Sycamore Canyon Valley. Todd Galarneau San Diego, California BECOME ALMOST FAMOUS LOG RIDE We want to make you a star. Here’s how: 1) Image file size needs to be 600 KB or My Trek and I on the larger. McKenzie River Trail in 2) Tell us what is going on in your photo Oregon, going to Blue Pool. (include names). Kelly Warne 3) Include your name and the city and Junction City, Oregon state where you live. 4) E-mail it to Trail Mix (mbaction@hi-torque.com). Trail Mix rider of the month: Pua Sawiki ❑ 26 www.mbaction.com
  • THRASH TESTS Thrash test rating: ★★★★★ Perfection RACE FACE CANUCK JERSEY ★★★★✩ Delivers above average value and performance ★★★★✩ ★★★✩✩ Recommended for intended application Style and function combined ★★✩✩✩ Shows potential but has drawbacks ★✩✩✩✩ Save your hard-earned bucks We try to focus our “Thrash Tests” on hard parts, but after we spent a few rides in the $65 Race Face long-sleeve Canuck Jersey, we knew we had to tell Tech features: Race Face is best are no rear pockets, we found a hidden you about it. known for their hardware, but their side pocket designed to stash an iPod. expanding apparel line is loaded with Finally, on top of feeling great, it looks unique products. The Canuck Jersey is great. We never took a ride without one of them. It is made from Quick someone complimenting the jersey’s Wick, a proprietary fabric that is 46 style or print design. This jersey turns percent Cool Dry yarn and 54 percent a lot of heads (in a good way) and polyester yarn without chemical treat- makes you look good. Add this to your ment. The sides and underarm panels Christmas gift list. You won’t be sorry. are poly-mesh. They use flat-lock stitching to hold it all together. The jersey is available in a long- or $60 short-sleeve version in three color com- bos and sizes from S-XXL. You can reach Race Face at (604) 527-9996. After the thrashing: We rode in the long-sleeve version and loved it from the first moment we slipped it on. The jersey offers a loose and comfort- able fit. The material feels thick and durable without ever feeling hot or heavy. It does a great job wicking mois- ture, and the poly-mesh sides breathe to keep you comfortable. While there SELLE AN-ATOMICA TITANICO LD SADDLE ★★★✩✩ Back to the future Saddles are the most personal choice saddle upper. Although this is a unique of any mountain bike component. The feature, the showstopper is a 7.5-inch $179.98 Selle An-Atomica LD Saddle channel cut into the center of the sad- appears to have DNA from England’s dle (with rounded ends to prevent rip- venerable Brooks Saddle, but the ride ping). Our saddle weighed one pound, proved something different. one ounce. You can reach Selle An- Tech features: The Titanico LD Atomica at (707) 372-6540. saddle uses a leather upper that is riv- After the thrashing: The Titanico eted to the steel seat rails and base. A LD saddle is delivered with the most small hole in the nose of the saddle complete mounting instructions of any allows for an Allen wrench to be saddle we have ever purchased. While inserted to adjust the firmness of the most of the instructions are targeted towards road riders, you will find them helpful (if not a little overwhelming) for fitting and adjusting the saddle to your mountain bike. The saddle looks so goofy that we were not ready for what we experienced. The Titanico LD saddle is a very comfortable and com- pliant saddle, especially when you are positioned in the center and spinning remove a star, though, because this away. The rear of the saddle offers a saddle could be just the thing for riders good platform to work from without who suffer from saddle discomfort or feeling too wide. The nose is too short numbness. It looks like a throwback to and lacks the width necessary for on- the past, but delivers modern-day the-nose uphill struggles. We didn’t results. 28 www.mbaction.com
  • Niner S.I.R. 9 >> Single or Geared, Reynolds 853 tubeset. Get the details: www.thebigrevolution.com
  • THRASH TESTS LUPINE TESLA 4 HEADLIGHT SYSTEM helmet without needing to follow com- ★★★✩✩ a CNC-machine that Lupine feels allows for greater precision of beam plicated step-by-step directions. If you Burning through the dark control. The light is housed in a CNC- do read the instructions, and you machined, shot-peened aluminum should, Lupine makes them easy to fol- The days are getting shorter, so if body. Our light weighed 3.5 ounces, low. All the wiring and connectors are you still want to get your rides in dur- and the battery weighed eight ounces. well-designed and insulated. ing the week, a lighting system like the The kit comes with handlebar and hel- Inadvertent disconnection of the $420 Tesla 4 is your best bet. met mounting options and a charger. wiring is unlikely. The mounting sys- Tech features: The Tesla 4 comes You can reach Lupine at (877) 285- tems worked great and held the light with a Tesla 700 headlight that pro- 4422. steady during rough times. The battery duces a claimed 700 lumens. The After the thrashing: We mounted charged quickly, and we experienced Lupine Hexagon Reflector is tooled on the light on the bike and later on the over two hours of burn time with the light on its full brightness. The light puts off a good amount of heat, which will shorten the bulb’s life if you stand around letting it burn. If you use it while in motion, the air-cooling should be adequate to prolong bulb life. Alpine sells all the parts separately, so we’d recommend getting the kit and then purchasing another light and battery so you can run lights on your helmet and bike at the same time. If you are new to night riding, this is a plug-and-play system that you’ll find easy to use and ready to go. CRUMPLER BUMPER ISSUE HYDRATION PACK ★★✩✩✩ Covering too many bases Crumpler describes their $95 Bumper Issue hydration pack as wonder- ful for “hiking, biking, boarding and festival going.” Trying to cover all those bases in an era of specialization is a tough goal. Tech features: The Bumper Issue makes a fun impression with its brightly colored, water-resistant 600D shell. Inside are a 150-denier ripstop lining and three main pockets. Side clips can be released to increase the capacity of the two largest pockets, offering enough space to stow everything you need for an overnight, short of a tent. The reservoir holds 70 ounces of fluid and has a wide slide opening and a detachable hose and bite valve (with a removable cover). You can reach Crumpler at (888) 384-3020. After the thrashing: The reservoir is easy to fill and easier to clean, thanks to the large opening. The bite valve didn’t leak and flowed water well. The “cow-dropping protector” was somewhat both- ersome to remove and replace. The pack itself is too thick. While it might work great for hiking, boarding and festivals, it is overkill for mountain biking, where less is more, especially if you are carrying it on your back. The pockets are not as intuitive to access as on some popular mountain-biking-specific packs, and there are not enough of them for organizing the small stuff. 30 www.mbaction.com
  • DRED TREAD C2C EXCAVATOR HAPPY MEDIUM HFACTOR TELONIX BLUE KING OF GROOVE john TOMAC TRACTION EL MOCO brian LOPES BBG signature series signature series
  • THRASH TESTS GOPRO HELMET HERO WIDE hours with NiMH rechargeable ★★★★★ batteries. Recording your ride made simple The Hero Helmet Wide kit includes a five megapixel Hero Wide camera with 170- degree wide-angle lens, a shock- proof/waterproof quick-release housing, one headlamp-style head strap, one vented helmet strap, two curved 3M adhesive mounts, two flat 3M adhesive mounts, one three-way pivoting side arm assem- bly, two quick-release buckles, one USB/RCA combo cable, and a one-year warranty. Additional expansion mounts are avail- able separately, including handlebar/seatpost, chest harness, roll bar, and surfboard mounts. The GoPro Helmet Hero Wide works with a 2GB SD card. GoPro claims the camera will be compatible with a 4GB SD card, allowing for one hour and 52 minutes of continuous video recording, once it releases a free software upgrade. The Helmet Hero from GoPro is the world’s smallest wire- GoPro, (415) 738-2480. less, helmet- and gear-mountable video camera for outdoor After the thrashing: We’ve experimented with a variety of sports. The Helmet Hero Wide kit sells for $189. on-board digital video cameras, and without fail, after one or Tech features: The GoPro attaches via a quick-release to two uses we were fed up with the hassle of external back- both vented and non-vented helmets, bikes, kayaks, skis and packs, tangled wires, and guesswork-filled mounting positions. snowboards. It even includes a head strap for wearing it like a The GoPro Helmet Hero is by far the easiest to use video headlamp. The Hero has a 170-degree-angle lens and a five- camera we’ve ever tested, and it shoots quality video footage. megapixel sensor for an immersive point of view. It is capable With the camera mounted, you can choose to record video, of shooting 56 minutes of high-resolution video and photos take a still photo every five seconds, or use it as a regular still every two seconds. The Hero is shockproof and waterproof to camera. Once done riding, you simply connect the Hero to 100 feet in depth. your computer or television via the included cable and watch This second-generation Hero Wide has improved, with an yourself shred the mountain. entirely new cir- Although the helmet mounts work very well, we became cuit design to fans of the chest-mount harness ($39, not included). The chest withstand ultra- mount takes practically all of the guesswork out of where to high-vibration aim the Hero, because once mounted, we aimed it up as far as environments. it could go, and that position was spot-on for a perfect, wide- The battery life is angle view of the handlebar and trail ahead. good for three The GoPro Helmet Hero Wide is not only a fun way to hours of video record and share your riding experiences, but competitive recording when types will appreciate the ability to record and analyze a full using lithium bat- day of practice and race runs. Visit www.mbaction.com to view teries and two some of the footage we’ve shot. CST CAMBER TIRE as tight as with, say, a $65 tire. You can every penny counts, this is the best $15 ★★★✩✩ reach CST at (678) 407-6770. After the thrashing: Each Camber you can spend on rubber. By the way, CST is part of Maxxis Tires, and Don’t break the bank tire is marked with a suggested mount- rumors abound that because of similari- ing direction, depending on which ties in tread pattern and sidewalls, they How good can a $15 mountain bike wheel it is used on. Follow CST’s are essentially the same tire. Not true. tire be? CST asks that you don’t judge recommendation. The Camber took to There is a big ride, and price difference their tires by the price. Judge them by our hardpack trail surfaces like a duck between the two. the ride. We did. to water. Everyone was impressed with Tech features: The CST Camber this fast-rolling tire that did an ade- tire comes in 26-by-2.1 or 26-by-2.25 quate job in the corners. We never suf- sizes in either a folding bead or wire fered a pinch flat or a puncture. The bead version. We went for the fatter of Camber can’t hang with expensive tires the two in the wire bead. One tire that use multiple durometer rubber weighed one pound, eight ounces. The (among other tricks), but come on second tire was an ounce more. At this already, you could buy four of these price, manufacturing tolerances are not tires for one of those expensive guys. If 32 www.mbaction.com
  • ©2009 FOX Factory Inc. All rights reserved In a perfect world. DHXair MTB AM/FR/DH 5.0 talas The DHX®Air 5.0 is the heavy-duty trail riding Th Th in ing ng n rc2 36 s sh shock in a lightweight package. The large rge ge volume air spring and position-sensitive, vo vo ive, ive, ve, .AS RC2, In a perfect world, you’d be instantly ready for any terrain. With the 36® TALAS® RC2, RC2, rC2 velocity sensitive Boost Valve® damping ve o of p ping r-bump -bump -b mp offer an amazing amount of stutter-bump p you are. The 3-position lever allows for on-the-fly travel adjustments with optimized ptimized t ized ti i e through big-hit performance in any type th h ny ype p pe spring curves, for repeatable and consistent performance. The tool-free thru e thru thru of of terrain. With adjustable ProPedal, edal, ed l ® axle system makes wheel changes fast and easy, and massive 36 mm stanchions nchions chi ns h s linear adjustable rebound and indepen- li i d indepen- nd pen d e deliver unparalleled stiffness and front-end confidence so you can keep pushing ushi ushing hi d dently adjustable bottom-out res stance, resistance, esista ce, esist nce s t e the limits. Purpose built. Race proven. FOX Racing Shox. We’re never done. ne. e. th th the DHX Air is ready to get you there... you there... o he e.. h w wherever your there might be. Visit our all-new website: foxracingshox.com
  • THRASH TESTS rain, we ran different combinations of FULCRUM RED FIRE WHEELS 2.5-inch Maxxis UST DH High Rollers ★★★✩✩ and 2.5-inch Maxxis UST DH Minion F High-tech wheels from a legendary Italian brand tires, front and rear. One of the “black eyes” of the tubeless world is how diffi- Fulcrum mountain bike wheels hit while asymmetrical drilling permits bet- cult tires can be to mount. By simply the ground rolling in 2004 and are an ter spoke balancing. The rear wheel has adding a touch of soapy water around offshoot of Italy’s Campagnolo brand. 150-millimeter hub spacing and is 12- the tire’s bead, we were able to mount World and Olympic champion Julien millimeter thru-axle specific. The front and properly seat both models of the Absalon put their cross-country wheels hub only accepts 20-millimeter thru- Maxxis tires with a floor pump. on the map, and we’ve been throwing axles. The Fulcrum Red Fire wheels are A huge concern when running tube- down laps on our Fulcrum Red Fire sold complete with wheel bags and tube- less tires is burping the tire off the rim. downhill wheelset at Whistler, less valve stems. Our Red Fire wheels In the past, we’ve had to run over 5 psi Northstar Bike Park, Mammoth weighed 4.9 pounds per set. Fulcrum, more air pressure on certain tubeless Mountain and SoCal downhill races. (619) 931-0106. wheels to keep the rubber from rolling The Red Fire wheelset sells for $960. After the thrashing: The wrecking off the rim and rapidly losing air pres- Tech features: The Red Fire’s crew raced and rode the Fulcrum Red sure. With the Maxxis UST DH tires anodized rim is made specifically for Fire wheels on some of the most dynam- (and one non-UST type), we never tubeless tires and utilizes Fulcrum’s ic terrain in the world, from the best burped a tire when pushing the Red Ultra-Fit tubeless mounting system. California has to offer to the world-class Fire wheels to the limit on black-dia- Milling inside the rim saves weight, riding of Whistler Mountain Bike Park. mond downhill terrain. On other down- The wheels have held up well, consider- hill designs, we had to shy away from ing the abuse they’ve seen. air pressures under 30 psi, but not on As fans of tubeless tires in general, we these Fulcrum wheels. A 170-pound are stoked when we see a performance rider confidently ran between 24 and 28 downhill wheelset that is tubeless specif- psi on every type of downhill terrain. ic. Fulcrum insists that only UST or So, why not a higher star rating? tubeless-specific tires be used on the Red Right out of the gate, we put some mas- Fire wheels, so, depending on the ter- sive dings in both the front and rear wheels, and they also came out of true quickly. To our surprise, the deep, gash- like dents in the rim didn’t hinder the wheel’s ability to be run tubeless or retain air when in use. The Fulcrum Red Fire wheels are a great tubeless design and lightweight for a downhill wheelset, but we would label The Fulcrum Red Fire a race-day-specific wheelset and not ideal for everyday downhill abuse. SPECIALIZED S-WORKS MT HELMET increased comfort and ★★★★★ sweat retention. Our size Light and stylish lid from the “Big S” medium helmet weighed 10 ounces. Specialized, Specialized claims the S- (877) 808-8154. Works MT is the lightest hel- After the thrashing: met in the world that com- The first thing you’ll notice plies with CPSC standards about the new S-Works MT and sells for $200. helmet is its stylish, perfor- Tech features: New for mance-oriented appearance, 2010, the S-Works MT helmet yet it doesn’t look as though now features a mountain it belongs in the pro road bike-specific visor, new peloton. Its mountain-spe- graphics, and maximum ven- cific visor now mounts to tilation for endurance racing. the side of the helmet Meeting safety standards for instead of the center like on bicycle helmets, the S-Works their Decibel helmet. The MT is made from dual-densi- praise doesn’t stop at the MT’s appearance, as it’s extremely ty EPS foam and has a lightweight and comfortable. The additional padding in the Kevlar-reinforced Inner front of the Pro Fit 360 retention system greatly increases Matrix design to save weight and achieve larger vent ports. comfort. Although designed for competitive endurance The Pro Fit 360 retention system is adjustable on the fly and racing, the S-Works MT’s stylish appearance, remarkable light has been slimmed down to drop some weight. The thin, soft weight and improved level of comfort will earn it high marks padding now reaches around to the front of the forehead for from those poised on the starting line and the trailhead. ❑ 34 www.mbaction.com
  • INSIDE LINE Photo courtesy of IMBA. NEW TRAILS loose-knit group of riders. They would rather form a partnership I have a number of riding buddies who are ready and will- with an organized club. IMBA can help a new club get started. ing to pitch in the labor to make new singletrack in our Or, you might be able to save time and energy by taking your local forest. Where do we start? How do you find out who plan to an existing club. controls and manages the land? How do you submit a pro- 2) Many of IMBA’s clubs have partnership agreements with posal? local land managers. These formal partnerships allow the clubs Gene Fine to propose new trails, gain approval and get them built on a rea- Los Alamos, New Mexico sonable timeline. Thanks go out to you from all mountain bikers for 3) Get in touch with every rider you know, form a working your offer to build us some new singletrack to ride. The group, and invite them to join your local organization. International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) According to Judd de Vall, a pro rider and IMBA trail builder deals with building, improving and maintaining single- who has built dozens of world-class trails and jump parks, track all over the world. We asked Mark Eller, IMBA’s “Involving a wide range of people gives everyone ownership and communications director, for the goods on how to get a ensures the project’s future. The best singletrack trails, stunt trail project underway. areas and jump parks tend to be the result of a blend of ideas.” First, it’s great to hear that Gene wants to get his trail 4) There is no such thing as being too organized when it built with the land manager’s blessing. Unauthorized trail comes to trail plans. Essential elements for presenting your building is a growing problem, and while it offers a short- ideas include a well-dialed presentation, a walk-through tour of term fix, the end result is usually a short-lived trail that gets the proposed corridor and a highly detailed map of where your closed within a season or two. Worse yet, the existence of these trail will be situated. trails can jeopardize future projects. Forming a strong part- 5) Work with the land manager to develop a comprehensive nership with the land manager will create a situation in signage system for your trails. Signs should be placed at the which everyone wins. entrance and other key locations. The main sign should describe The best way to get a new trail built is to take a well- the overall trail network, offer safety guidelines, provide risk planned, business-like approach. Detailed tips on how to write a warnings, and give helpful, site-specific tips. successful trail proposal can be found in IMBA’s books “Trail 6) Be prepared to make a commitment to inspecting and Solutions” and “Managing Mountain Biking.” We also offer maintaining the trail after it’s built. Even the best-designed lots of free resources on our website, www.imba.com. Here are a trails need continual upkeep, and land managers will be more few more tips to get your project started: enthusiastic about your proposal if your group is willing to stay 1) Land managers are generally unwilling to work with a involved in maintaining the trail in the years ahead. ❑ Got a question about mountain biking? Send it to “Inside Line” and let some of the most know- ledgeable folks who ride answer it for you. E-mail your question to Inside@hi-torque.com, and we’ll get it answered. 36 www.mbaction.com
  • MBA est A Capable Trailbike With An Old- School Cross-Country Feel The Turner Flux swingarm pivot yoke that sweeps around the front derailleur D avid Turner was one of the first believers in the now-proven theory that a short-travel, dual-suspen- to meet the suspension’s offset lower link. The bottom sion bike is more efficient and far more versatile bracket, lower-link pivot and shock mount are integrated than the traditional hardtail. He has been building some of into one masterfully carved piece of aluminum, and the sus- the world’s best dual-suspension bikes for two decades, and pension’s upper links arch inwards to meet the upper shock the 2010 Flux is the most recent Turner to carry on David’s eyelet with minimal use of materials. All moving parts pivot cross-country heritage. on composite bushings, and there are grease ports at each pivot location so anyone can maintain the Flux’s moving WHO IS IT MADE FOR? parts. There is a lot going on with the Flux frame, but the At 24 pounds, ready to go, and without any fluffy parts to elements blend well, which gives the Turner a simple, airy hinder its performance, Turner’s Flux is a lightweight cross- profile. country trailbike that could easily be outfitted as a racing machine with the addition of lighter wheels and tubeless WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? tires. The Flux is the go-to bike for competitors who want David Turner is a great technical bike handler, so we one bike to race and trail ride—or any cross-country enthu- expected each part chosen for the Flux Pro-Kit build to siast who loves the old school, snappy steering and quick- reflect a specific purpose. Industry Nine XC wheels are later- accelerating racer feel, yet still needs a bike that can descend ally stiff and light enough for all but weight weenie racers. a steep, rocky section without fear. Who can argue with Fox Suspension? The Flux gets a spe- cially valved Fox Float RP23 shock and the 2010 FIT-valve-equipped 32 Float F32RLC 100 fork. The surprise addition was Formula R1 brakes— arguably the lightest cross-country brakes avail- able. HOW DOES IT PERFORM? The dw-link suspension is hypersensitive to compression damping, so most dw-link subscribers use custom-valved shocks with more air-spring volume and the least amount of compression valving possible. We dis- covered that using 30- percent sag at the shock and running the fork’s spring pressure slightly stiffer (25-percent sag) gave the Turner the most balanced ride. Singletrack: Weaving through the woods and slashing up and down switchbacks is fun stuff aboard the Flux. Its steep-for-2009 head tube and seat tube angles, along with WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? the bike’s 16.7-inch chainstay length, are close to the geome- David Turner is the master of aluminum, and was once try of the golden years of cross-country racing, so it should the strongest supporter of the venerable Horst-Link suspen- come as no surprise that the Flux simply shreds in the mid- sion, but he abandoned that design and experimented with a dle chainring. Its 2.0-inch rear tire would give up traction single-pivot suspension before settling on the dw-link sys- when we pushed it hard around corners, but not in a scary tem. The key ingredient of dw-link (a dual-link version of manner. the classic four-bar design) is its anti-squat feature that can- Climbing: Where Turner’s version of dw-link suspension cels out most unwanted suspension bobbing associated with shines is climbing in big gears up moderate grades. The Flux pedaling. moves out with alacrity. Racers will appreciate this, because Beyond dw-link, however, is Turner’s mastery of compo- most hill work is done in the middle ring. Granny gear nent integration. David’s pioneering use of complex CNC- climbs feel firm at the pedals, and there’s little or no tenden- machined frame junctions is well represented on the Flux’s cy for the bike to loft its front tire when the grade is steep. 3.9-inch-travel aluminum frame. The asymmetrical The slightly forward position created by the steepish seat swingarm uses Turner’s trademark rectangular tubes (which angle requires some rearward pressure on the saddle to pre- terminate at stiff I-beam dropouts) and a sweet-looking vent wheel spin, but once noted, it makes for a much more 38 www.mbaction.com
  • Taking it to the edge: Few cross-country rac- ing machines are more adept in technical situ- ations than the Turner Flux. It tracks precisely and exudes confi- dence. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 39
  • Cross-Country Feel ergonomic climbing position on nasty grades. If you are of the opinion that no suspension is the best suspension for climbing, then engage the Fox ProPedal lever, and the Flux will oblige with a rather harsh ride and a near-hardtail feel at the pedals. We left the platform option off to let the sus- pension keep the rear tire hooked up. In fact, we only used the ProPedal to test its effects. Descending: Pointed back down the mountain, the Flux makes its pilot wish that he had an inch or more of wheel travel. The bike’s excellent handling and strong, easy-to- modulate brakes make it easy to ride up to the razor’s edge of its cross-country suspension and skinny, 2.0-inch Kenda Karma rear tire. The Flux is so enjoyable on the downhill sections that it leaves you wishing for more. On a side note, when coasting, the Industry Nine wheel’s freehub ratchet makes a hissing sound—something between a draggy disc brake with metallic pads and a stick rubbing on a cross- country tire tread. The sound is a bit unnerving initially. Braking: The Formula R1s are strong stoppers that deliv- er boosted control and less hand fatigue on long descents. Some of the crew marked these stoppers down as the most powerful brakes they have ever enjoyed. TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? If we used it for trail riding, then our first upgrade would be to switch out the rear tire to a matching Kenda Nevegal. What it’s made for: Climbing is particularly effective with the Another upgrade worth considering would be to order up a Flux’s suspension left on because the bike rolls so smoothly over the chatter without bleeding leg power. Purists may 15QR thru-axle fork. The reality is, however, that the Pro- choose the Fox ProPedal option, but it isn’t necessary. Kit is perfect for the bike’s intended application as a race- able cross-country machine with tons of trailbike perfor- mance in the bank. TURNER FLUX PRO-KIT BUYING ADVICE Price $6478 (frame/shock $2395) Heavy-handed, big-travel trail skidders should steer clear Country of origin USA of the Flux. This is a refined machine designed for better Weight 24.1 pounds men. Experienced trail riders who can ride a lightweight Hotline (951) 677-1711 cross-country bike at the speed of light will love the Turner Flux. It’s far more capable than most dedicated cross-coun- Frame tested 17" (medium) try racers, and it gets its edge from Dave Turner’s sensible Bottom bracket height 12.9" geometry choices and unparalleled experience with the Chainstay length 16.7" genre. If you want a lightweight, dual-suspension bike and Top tube length 23.3" have a need for speed, look no further. ❑ Head angle 70° Seat angle 73.5° Standover height 29" Wheelbase 43.5" Suspension travel (front) 3.9" Suspension travel (rear) 3.9" Frame material Aluminum Fork Fox F32 RLC 100 Shock Fox Float RP23 Rims Industry Nine XC Tires Kenda Nevegal (2.1"), Karma (2.0") Hub Industry Nine Brakes Formula R1 (6" rotors) Brake levers Formula R1 Crankset Shimano XTR Shifters Shimano XTR triggers Handlebar Easton Monkey Lite SL (25.5") Front derailleur Shimano XTR Sweet integration: (clockwise from top left) Turner’s CNC- Rear derailleur Shimano XTR (Shadow) machined bottom bracket catches the lower link pivot and Chainrings triples as the shock mount. Turner’s vertical shock place- Shimano XTR (44/32/22) ment and tucked-in dual-link suspension give the bike a Cassette Shimano XTR (11-34) clean and lightweight profile. Formula R1 disc brakes are Pedals None (weighed with Shimano XTR) beautiful, powerful and remarkably lightweight. 40 www.mbaction.com
  • BUIL TO WIN T RIDER: GEOFF KABUSH :: PHOTO: GIBSON M axxis is proud to introduce the new Aspen XC race tire. A tire made for speed and control, and a personal preference of XC Champion Geoff Kabush. The Aspen boasts a low profile center tread, extremely lightweight construction and cornering lugs that grip in the tightest corners. The perfect tire for cross- country racers seeking an edge. The Aspen – Built To Win. MAXXIS.COM
  • MBA TRAINING AND FITNESS How To Ride Switchback Turns Make your bike do the work R.Cunningham switchback to ride can be easily negotiated after dismount- L ike ’em or hate ’em, switchback turns are a fact of life in the mountains. If you are lucky, your ing bears witness to this. local singletracks were cut in relatively recently Being forced off the bike to round a corner is a conces- by bike-friendly folks who rounded the turns just right sion that many mountain bikers are reluctant to make, so for a mountain bike’s 43-inch-wheelbase. More likely, they view switchbacks with contempt. Seasoned trail rid- however, you’ll be facing much tighter bends, often ers take them as a challenge—and often backtrack to retry with steps, that many of us assume were intentionally the ones they fail to ride cleanly. Of course, there will constructed as barriers to cyclists—which is laughable always be switchbacks that prove too difficult or precari- considering that with rare exception, the world’s trails ous to master, but with the addition of a few skills and were made for foot travel, long before the mountain some practice, most can be ridden. The following tips will bike was conceived. The fact that the most difficult get you started. 42 www.mbaction.com
  • Go ahead, rip it up: Trails at pay-and- play parks like Whistler Mountain in British Columbia are reinforced to with- stand the most aggressive riding styles. When you ride on public lands, however, avoid skids and slides. Roll the corners. Action: Wade Simmons, Freight Train Trail, Whistler Mountain Bike Park. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 43
  • MBA TRAINING AND FITNESS Switchback Turns DOWNHILL SWITCHBACKS TAKE THE PATH OF LEAST DESTRUCTION There are three ways to negotiate a tight downhill switchback. The most destructive is also the most popular: A) Lock the rear wheel and turn in sharply. B) Skid the rear end around and release the rear brake when the bike is pointed down the next straightaway. If this is you and you are not riding at a bike park or on an official racecourse, you are a jerk. If you don’t agree with me, spend a couple of days with an IMBA trail crew fixing switchbacks that have been beaten into gravel and rutted by skidders, and you’ll emerge with a new perspective. The second method requires a skill set that eludes most enthusiasts (you’ll need perfect balance and ice cold nerves): A) Turn in slightly and stiffen your upper body and arms. B) One-third of the way Downhill switchback, step one: Start Turn in decisively, step two: around the corner, squeeze the front well to the outside of the turn, pedals Turning in early and with conviction brake hard enough to lift the rear wheel level, and use both the front and rear is the key to success for downhill and pivot at the waist to swing the rear brake with even pressure to control speed switchbacks. Aim for the inside of end of the bike around. C) When the bike and avoid skidding. Stay low and cen- the corner, even though it looks tered on the bike so you won’t be caught steeper there. This will provide more is pointing down the next straight, release too far behind upon exiting the turn. options as you exit the switchback. the brake and roll down the remainder of the switchback. With a little practice, a novice rider can pull off a nose-wheelie turn on relatively flat ground, but repeat- ing the same trick down a rocky switch- back on the edge of a cliff requires mas- tery of the move that I don’t possess. I won’t risk it. The third method is the least destruc- tive and most useful technique. Most switchbacks, even the tight ones with steps, can be ridden around without resorting to dramatic tricks or destructive skidding. The key is to use both front and rear brakes, but keep the wheels rolling: A) Start your turn wide and steer in with a decisive twist of the handlebar as close to the apex of the switchback as possible. B) As your front wheel passes the turn’s apex, ease off the brakes and let the bike bounce down the step. Forget about the rear wheel—it will find its way around. Keep your front wheel online, and all will end well. C) Force yourself to look around the bend and down the straightaway while you completely release the brakes The panic point, step three: With the Look down the trail, step four: To and resume pedaling. (I talk myself bike pointed down at such a steep angle, exit a switchback (or any turn) prop- through this last step to make sure I don’t and the edge of the trail looming closely erly, lift your head and look directly to the front wheel, the final third of a down the trail. It is common for a stare over the edge.) downhill switchback spooks most riders series of stairsteps to follow a steep Tip: A remote-adjustable seatpost like into abandoning ship when, in fact, they switchback, so stay ahead of the the Gravity Dropper will lower your fear have successfully turned the corner. bike and save the celebration for the factor and the bike’s center of gravity— Overcome the paralysis. Order your arms next rest stop. highly recommended for difficult switch- to steer into the corner a bit more, and backs. ease off the brakes. 44 www.mbaction.com
  • Switchback MBA TRAINING AND FITNESS Turns UPHILL SWITCHBACKS TAKE YOUR TIME AND GET IT RIGHT Uphill switchbacks require patience, power and proper weight transfer. Trials riders like Ryan Leech teach us that we can hop our bikes up almost anything, but Ryan’s mastery is beyond the reach of aver- age enthusiasts. What we can all learn from Ryan, however, is to size up the turn ahead of time, enter the corner with a plan, and stay cool as we execute the sequence of moves we need to get up and around the turn. Here are the steps: A) Begin by getting into position early with your weight near the nose of the saddle and your upper body Uphill switchback, step one: Start well to the outside of the turn, and be settled lowered over the handlebar. B) Choose a into a climbing position, crouched low over the bike and ready to weight the rear tire for traction. gear that is low enough to get up and over the turn, but not so low that you will risk spinning the rear tire. Second gear is usual- ly better than the granny. C) Steer your bike like it is an old school bus. Start the turn as far to the outside as practical and steer into the corner with a decisive twist of the handlebar—you won’t need to lean the bike much. D) Take your time. Think only about turning the handlebar into the corner and keeping sufficient weight on the rear tire for traction. Slow down and reposition yourself if necessary. Rushing an uphill switchback invariably ends in disaster. E) Saw away on the handlebar to maintain your balance. Let the front tire wander all over the trail, because only climbing traction and the position of the rear tire matters on an uphill corner. Tip: Most riders lose traction or simply fall over in the final third of an uphill Turn in decisively, step two: Angle the bike into the turn (you don’t need to lean switchback because they fail to turn the much) and give the handlebars a big twist to initiate the turn so that you round the handlebar enough to make a significant switchback close to the apex. Don’t attack; pedal smoothly to stay balanced. correction. The crux move, Exit, step four: step three: Two- By the final three thirds of the way pedals of the around is where switchback, most most riders fail and riders will be star- set a foot down. ing at the trail Forget about where directly in front of the front wheel is their wheel, going, keep pedal- which causes the ing and concen- rider to drift wide, trate on maintain- and the bike to ing rear wheel trac- fall towards the tion. At this point, inside of the cor- you should feel like ner. Flick the han- you are seated dlebar about 30 upright in a chair, degrees into the steering the bike turn to catch your like a school bus— balance as you it’s not an intuitive accelerate out of process. the switchback. 46 www.mbaction.com
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  • Switchback MBA TRAINING AND FITNESS Turns AVOID DAMAGING SWITCHBACKS THANK YOU FOR CARING Trail designers avoid switchback turns because they are extremely time consuming to construct and are subject to vandalism by ignorant members of every backcountry user group. Maintaining switchbacks is a grueling task. Because they are usually built where the terrain is excessively steep or rugged, soil and reinforcing material often have to be imported from elsewhere on the mountain. So, if you and your skidding buddies gouge out a rut around a switchback, a volunteer—probably another mountain biker who doesn’t skid up the trail—has to walk a few miles up to the site, dig, and then carry filler rocks and reinforcing materials to fill the rut (simply filling it with dirt won’t work because boneheads will dig that out in one run). Then, the trail worker must redesign the entrance to the turn with features like stone steps so that it will resist rutting in the future. Multiply that effort by every switchback on your local mountain, and you will begin to understand how much wasted time and effort could be avoided if we learned to control our speed and corner without locking up our rear wheels. ❑ 48 www.mbaction.com
  • Up and over: The R.I.P. 9 will have you rolling over obstacles that you didn’t think were possible to clear. The combi- nation of superior traction, quality travel and spot-on geometry make this bike a miracle worker. 50 www.mbaction.com
  • MBA est Big Wheels For The Trail Rider The Niner R.I.P. 9 WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? T he Niner R.I.P. 9 is not just another four-inch-travel trailbike. While the majority of trailbikes utilize 26- Our R.I.P. 9 was built like it was intended as a trail rider’s inch-diameter wheels, Niner only builds their bikes last bike. Starting at the front with a 2010 Fox 32 F-Series fork with 29-inch wheels. Add the big hoops to Niner’s CVA sus- with Fox Isolation Technology (FIT) and a 15QR front axle pension technology and you have a unique, fresh trailbike that and ending at the Shimano XTR rear derailleur, there wasn’t handles singletrack like no other bike. one corner cut or compromise made. As it rolls, this R.I.P. 9 would set you back something in the neighborhood of $6000. WHO IS IT MADE FOR? Our Niner used a bolt-on rear wheel skewer. Niner employs Since Niner offers the dual-suspended Jet 9 (tested MBA, this setup on their single-speeds and feels it adds rigidity to the February 2009) for cross-country racing and the W.F.O. 9 for bike’s rear end. more technical trails, they could concentrate on the needs of a trail rider when designing and building the R.I.P. 9. That HOW DOES IT PERFORM? means you get 4.5 inches of rear-wheel travel and a frame Ergonomics: There is no mistaking that you are aboard a designed with an emphasis on longevity and reliability. 29-inch-wheeled bike when you take your place at the controls on the R.I.P. 9. It is not the standover height, which at 30 WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? inches is reasonable for any trailbike with this much travel, or The R.I.P. 9 is an aluminum-framed trailbike. It boasts a the big wheels that tip you off. It is the feeling of sitting inside tapered head tube that accepts a conventional 1-1/8-inch the cockpit rather than on top of it that clues you in to the steerer tube or tapered steerer tube (RockShox, Fox and unique ride experience that lies ahead. Moving out: The 29-inch wheels (and the taller gear- ing they bring to the party) require a little extra effort to get rolling from a dead stop, but once up to a com- fortable spin, the large wheels float over trail chatter, maintaining momentum that no 26-inch-wheeled trailbike could match. For singletrack, we set the CVA suspension with a full 20-percent sag and never felt the need to employ the shock’s ProPedal lever. Cornering: Niner has dialed the R.I.P. 9’s geometry so the bike snakes along a twisty singletrack with the agility of a 26-inch-wheeled bike. The bike offers the cornering traction of tires one size larger than what they are rated. This allows the rider to hold a higher speed on the intended line without taking a skills clinic. If you do need to scrub speed, the added traction allows you to go deeper into the cor- Manitou offer 29er forks with the tapered steerer tube). The ner and use less brake. The only time you top tube and downtube are hydroformed. Forged or extruded sense the larger wheels is when the corners include parts are used to increase strength without a weight penalty. elevation gain. The non-drive-side dropout is replaceable, as is the drive Climbing: The key to successful ascension is to find a side. Why? This allows you to adapt a Maxle rear axle, a gear you can spin and work it. Dropping below a comfort- Rohloff internal speed hub, or, like on our test bike, a tradi- able cadence will take more effort to overcome because of tional nine-millimeter axle. your taller gearing and the bike’s close-to-30-pound Niner’s dual-link suspension is called CVA, short for weight. Still, if you do find yourself dropping rpm, out-of- Constantly Varying Arc. The forged lower link swings below the-saddle efforts are rewarded with great traction and no the bottom bracket, and the triangulated swingarm sits low in noticeable suspension bobbing. relation to the plane of the axles to obtain clearance for 2.35- In the rough: This may be the most unique characteris- inch tires and a short-for-29er chainstay length. The seat tube tic of the bike and one of the hardest to explain. We can’t is angled to make room for the tire during full suspension say, like Niner claims, that the larger wheels feel the same compression. The linkage configuration was chosen to keep as adding travel, but they definitely help in rough terrain. the suspension moving under braking and acceleration. The wheels and the suspension constantly divvy up the The frame even includes integrated cable guides if the rider hit-absorption duties, and it is hard to tell when one wants to use an adjustable-height seatpost. Niner really does hands off to the other. The R.I.P. 9 bites the trail, absorbs sweat the small stuff. or rolls the hits (big and small) and allows you to hold December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 51
  • R.I.P. 9 intended lines with seamless and progressive performance. Only bottoming the suspension clues you in to the end of the travel, and even then the chassis is solid and predictable. TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? Niner says the R.I.P. 9 can be built for park riding. We feel the bike’s true potential is for serious trail riding and recom- mend going with the company’s W.F.O. 9 if you are a season pass holder. We’d ditch the bolt-on rear-wheel skewer in favor of a quick-release skewer. The big wheels put you at a gearing disadvantage over con- ventional wheels. The lowest gear on the R.I.P. 9 is compara- ble to a 42 chainring (the granny gear) matched to a 30-tooth cog on a 26-inch bike. If you’ve been eating a lot of pizza lately, that will be a tall gear on the last few climbs of a long day. BUYING ADVICE This is a no-brainer for any rider considering moving from a 29er hardtail trailbike to dual-suspension. The trail riding experience is seriously enhanced with the addition of this bike’s quality travel. It is not as simple for the trail rider currently using a 26-inch-wheeled bike; it all comes down to riding style and terrain. Riders who frequent tight trails with lots of ups, downs and speed change-ups will be hard pressed Finding the good line: The R.I.P. 9 gives you more line options because of its tractability. Don’t give up. Put the power to the to give up their 26ers. Riders who battle loose surfaces, lots of pedals and this bike will pull you around and through situations trail chatter and love to flow will find themselves ripping on you weren’t expecting to clear. the R.I.P. 9. ❑ NINER R.I.P. 9 Price $1799 (frame, headset and shock) Country of origin Taiwan Weight 29.6 pounds Hotline (877) 646-3792 Size tested 18" (medium) Bottom bracket height 13.75" Chainstay length 18" Top tube length 24" Head tube angle 71.5° Seat tube angle 74° Standover height 30" Wheelbase 43.5" Suspension travel (front) 4.7" Suspension travel (rear) 4.5" Frame material Aluminum Fork Fox 32F 29 RLC Shock Fox Float RP23 Rims NoTubes ZTR Flow 29’er Tires Panaracer Rampage 29 (2.35") Hubs Chris King ISO Brakes Shimano XTR Brake levers Shimano XTR Crankset Shimano XTR Shifters Shimano XTR Rapidfire Handlebar Syntace Vector (27") Front derailleur Shimano XTR Rear derailleur Shimano XTR Beauty to behold: (Clockwise from top left) The head tube will Chainrings Shimano (44/32/22) accept tapered steerer tube forks, the hardware covering the sus- Cassette XTR (11-34) pension’s sealed bearings looks like it was borrowed from NASA Pedals Shimano XTR and the forged lower link swings below the bottom bracket. 52 www.mbaction.com
  • The New Titus El Guapo. Specifically engineered for irresponsible people. Enjoy a flex-free, Advanced Thermal Formed 6000 series aluminum frame, exclusive forged and machined aluminum rocker and a bunch of the World’s best parts. Six inches of legendary Titus suspension, and the ability to ride where you probably shouldn’t. To find out more about the Titus El Guapo visit titusti.com
  • MBA 2009 SEASON WRAP-UP Whistler’s C ran kw or x Festival World-class riders crash mountain biking’s biggest party I n the six years since its inception, the Kokanee Crankworx Festival has become Whistler’s biggest mountain bike event and rivals any mountain bike festival in the world. The weeklong festival consists of both amateur and professional riders competing in gravity-fed racing and a slopestyle contest. Each year, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park and its surrounding trails grow more impressive, and the Crankworx Festival follows suit. We picked the brains of a handful of the event’s major players and asked them to elaborate on their 2009 Crankworx experience. Brian Lopes brought home a healthy paycheck for a few days of work by winning three events. Greg Watts captured slopestyle gold, Tyler Morland saw his vision of the Canadian Open Downhill race- course come to life, and Jill Kintner won both slalom races and scored a second place in the Air Downhill. 54 www.mbaction.com
  • December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 55
  • MBA 2009 SEASON WRAP-UP C ra n k w o r x Talent pool: The skill of the slopestyle riders competing at Crankworx is off the charts. Cove Bikes’ Eric Lawrenuk spun above the crowd in the qualifiers, but missed out on a spot in the finals. 56 www.mbaction.com
  • B r i an L op e s At 37 years old, World Champion Brian Lopes isn’t slowing down. Although he retired from World Cup downhill racing years ago, he won his fourth consecutive A-Line Air Downhill race, besting several current top World Cup downhillers. Lopes also won the Giant Slalom event and the Canadian Enduro Open Downhill race. How does he still do it? “I have the track wired, plus my years of jumping experience are a big advantage on this course,” explains Lopes. “The fact that I’ve always rid- den a smaller bike in this event helps me stay a bit lower. I probably lose some time in the chattery turns, but downhill bikes feel too big for me on this course.” The famous A-Line Downhill isn’t a technically demanding event, like the Garbanzo Downhill or Canadian Open Downhill course, but it’s no less physical. “I’ve won the 14-minute-long Garbanzo Downhill and actually thought it was physically easier than winning the A-Line event,” Lopes says. “Garbanzo is so gnarly. You have to pace yourself, because there will be places to make up time in the long event. A-Line’s race may be easier Big winner: Brian Lopes dominated (almost) every technically, but there’s no place to make up any time. Every jump is way event he entered. He leads the field through the too short for the speed we’re hitting, but you have to pedal any chance Enduro Open course. For the Enduro Downhill, Lopes raced his 6.3-inch-travel Ibis Mojo HD with a you can. You have to race A-Line perfectly, every jump and turn, and Marzocchi 66 fork. For rubber, he used his signature sprint the entire time. Out of the four years I’ve won that race, this year prototype 2.35-inch Kenda El Moco front tire and a was the least physically demanding of all my wins. I wasn’t huffing like in 2.2-inch Kenda Karma rear tire mounted to Easton the past.” Havoc wheels and ran tubeless with Stan’s sealant. Wall of refreshment: The top slopestyle riders can navigate a variety of terrain features. Geoff Gulevich sends his Rocky Mountain off a wall ride. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 57
  • MBA 2009 SEASON WRAP-UP C ra n k w o r x 58 www.mbaction.com
  • Crowd favorite: Whistler’s own Brandon Semenuk is at the top of the slopestyle game. He won this year’s Crankworx Colorado event and nar- rowly finished second in Whistler. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 59
  • MBA 2009 SEASON WRAP-UP C r an kw or x The champ: High-flying Greg Watts soared to victory in front of thousands of fans aboard his custom five-inch-travel Gary Fisher Roscoe. It has tweaked geometry for slopestyle riding and is equipped with an air-sprung RockShox Lyrik fork and Bontrager components. GARBANZO DOWNHILL RESULTS MEN’S 1. Justin Leov, Trek Racing, 13:44.55 2. Chris Kovarik, Chain Reaction, +2.06 3. Sam Hill, Monster/Specialized, +3.76 4. Marc Beaumont, GT Bikes, +14.00 5. Curtis Keene, Specialized, +18.00 6. Andrew Neethling, Trek Racing, +26.77 7. Steve Smith, MS Evil, +32.41 8. Bryn Atkinson, Crankbro/Intense, +33.14 9. Jack Reading, Ellsworth/Oneal, +35.90 10. Bernat Guardia, Massi, +37.08 WOMEN’S 1. Miranda Miller, Santa Cruz, 16:32.32 2. Emmeline Ragot, Suspension Ctr, +3.69 3. Kathy Pruitt, Jamis, +20.32 4. Fionn Griffiths, Norco, +25.24 5. Danice Uyesugi, Trek/SRAM, +40.38 Payday: By our calculations (meaning adding up his over- sized podium checks) Brian Lopes (4) brought home $9000 in prize money from his four days of racing. Three first places and a second—not too shabby. 60 www.mbaction.com
  • G r e g W a tt s Over the past five years, Northern California’s Greg Watts has been at the forefront of the slopestyle scene. However, Watts’ biggest contest victory came when he beat the world’s best tricksters at their own game. Although he won the Volkswagen Best Trick contest at last year’s Crankworx, his previous best result in the slopestyle con- test was seventh place. What was going through Greg’s head during his final, contest-winning run? “Basically, the whole day all I could think about was that final run,” Watts said. “I had so much going through my head that I don’t think I really decided on the tricks of my final run until I dropped in! It’s definitely a nerve-racking event, but not because of the huge crowd or because it’s the biggest contest of the year. It is the chance of getting really hurt that causes the tension. Once I got to the bot- tom of my clean run, it was the best feeling in the world.” Top seed: Giant-sponsored Jared Rando Pinner: You may recognize (right) did his Steve Smith from our team proud as September issue “Young the top qualifier Rippers” feature. Stevie in the Giant rode fast all week, scoring a Slalom. After seventh in the Garbanzo eliminating Mike Downhill, sixth in the Air Haderer here, he Downhill, and third place in cruised to the the Canadian Open finals, where Downhill event. Brian Lopes got the best of him. GIANT SLALOM RESULTS MEN’S 1. Brian Lopes, Ibis/Oakley/Marzocchi 2. Jared Rando, Giant Bicycles 3. Johannes Fischbach, Ghost 4. Michal Marosi, Self WOMEN’S 1. Jill Kintner, Intense/Red Bull 2. Emmeline Ragot, Suspension Ctr 3. Leigh Donovan, Self 4. Manon Carpenter, Royal/661 Strait ahead: SoCal’s Kyle Strait kept the backflips and tailwhips at home, and brought his race face to Crankworx. Kyle won the tra- ditional Dual Slalom by beating Brian Lopes in the finals earlier in the week, but only last- ed a few rounds of the Giant Slalom. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 61
  • C r a nk wo r x MBA 2009 SEASON WRAP-UP Crack the whip: Brendan Fairclough finished second place to his teammate Sam Hill in the Canadian Open Downhill. It’s no surprise two of the top World Cup racers finished first and second on such a physically demanding course. Attention-getter: Turner rider Kelly McGarry floats off one of the many Slopestyle course fea- tures. All eyes are on each slopestyle rider during every run. Spin to win: Last year’s Crankworx Slopestyle champ, Andreu Lacondeguy, won the VW Trick Showdown with a 360 flatspin Superman and brought home $6000 for his effort. 62 www.mbaction.com
  • AIR DOWNHILL RESULTS MEN’S 1. Brian Lopes, Ibis/Oakley/Marzocchi, 4:20.45 2. Chris Kovarik, Chain Reaction, +3.03 3. Andrew Neethling, Trek Racing, +3.97 4. Jared Rando, Giant Bicycles, +4.56 5. Marc Beaumont, GT Bikes, +6.83 6. Steve Smith, MS Evil, +7.48 7. Fabien Cousinie, Kenda/Morewood, +7.70 8. Justin Leov, Trek Racing, +8.12 9. Brendan Fairclough, Monster/Specialized, +9.05 10. Kirt Voreis, Santa Cruz Syndicate, +9.46 WOMEN’S 1. Fionn Griffiths, Norco, 4:50.71 2. Jill Kintner, Intense/Red Bull, +1.00 3. Emmeline Ragot, Suspension Ctr, +1.33 4. Micayla Gatto, Commencal, +1.82 5. Melissa Buhl, KHS, +2.78 DUAL SLALOM RESULTS MEN’S 1. Kyle Strait, Specialized/Team America 2. Brian Lopes, Ibis/Oakley 3. Johannes Fischbach, Ghost 4. Neko Mulally, Specialized/Team America WOMEN’S Hands on: The mastermind 1. Jill Kintner, Intense/Red Bull/Oakley behind the Canadian Open 2. Fionn Griffiths, Norco Downhill course was 3. Micayla Gatto, Commencal Downhill Champion and 4. Melissa Buhl, KHS RockShox/Avid marketing fellow Tyler Morland. He broke a pedal at the top of the course, but managed to salvage a 12th place. Tyler Morland Over the past couple of years, the Canadian Open Downhill has evolved into one of the most demanding racecourses in the world. Whistler local, Canadian Downhill champion and SRAM “Special Agent” Tyler Morland explains how the Canadian Open Downhill course was the culmination of a three-year vision. “In the past, Crankworx has hosted the Canadian National Championships or a Canada Cup,” explains Morland. “About four years ago, when the CCA (Canadian Cycling Association) held the National Champs here, it really left a nasty taste in the racers’ mouths. Six dudes in matching CCA polo shirts who had never ridden a mountain bike barked orders to change the course. Reaping rewards: From that point on, we decided to host our own legit downhill Whistler local Kenny race and make the Canadian Open Downhill course the best Smith was instrumen- ‘true’ downhill racecourse in the world. Crankworx draws the top tal in the development athletes; therefore, Whistler Mountain was fully supportive of a of the extremely tech- downhill course that was ‘man-sized.’ nical Canadian Open “We pushed a good portion of the course under the chairlift so Downhill course. Kenny blazed the it wasn’t hidden in the trees and made sure we had several tech- course on his way to nical elements to ensure that the best all-around rider would sixth place in a field win,” Morland says. stacked with World “The Canadian Open course was three years in the making, Cup regulars. and to accomplish it took a lot of work and discussion. The key was to stick to our original vision and not get sidetracked. It could not have been pulled off without the help of Kenny Smith, lead hand Andrew Gunn and machine operator extraordinaire Marty Gautry.” December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 63
  • MBA 2009 SEASON WRAP-UP C ra n k wo rx Jill Kintner On the women’s side of Crankworx, Jill Kintner brought home the most hardware with wins in Slalom and Giant Slalom, and a second place in the Air DH A-Line Downhill race. However, despite the intense racing, Jill feels that Crankworx is actually a refreshing event away from the World Cup circuit. “Crankworx is a great break in our season and also serves as perfect train- ing before the World Championships,” Kintner explains. “Events like the Giant Slalom have the same intense racing action as 4-Cross, but without all of the pressure of having someone crash into you. Giant Slalom has a lot of potential, because it’s fun for the riders and incorporates an event from ski racing into mountain bikes. “Crankworx is so fun and the trails are so good that I decided to try the A- Line Downhill, too,” Jill said. “The fact that it’s a five-minute event makes Breaking away: Jill Kintner smoked the competition as she won both the Giant it far outside of my trained endurance. and Dual slalom, and finished second in the A-Line Downhill. “My hands were I like the fact that you don’t have a hurting so bad,” said Jill. “I’m not used to racing downhill, and at the end of the person in front of you like 4-Cross, race I had to sit down just to be able to hold on to the handlebar. That’s when and the conditions are changing all of Fionn got a little time on me.” the time.” Lying around: Despite coming off a freshly broken collarbone, Cam McCaul threw down some impressive runs. Washing out on a front flip ended his quest for the finals. SLOPESTYLE RESULTS Rider, Points 1. Greg Watts, 96 2. Brandon Semenuk, 95.25 3. Martin Soederstrom, 90.75 4. Paul Basagoitia, 90 5. Cameron McCaul, 89.25 6. Mitch Chubey, 87.75 7. Darren Berrecloth, 87.50 8. Andreu Lacondeguy, 83 64 www.mbaction.com
  • Downtime: Brad Oien of Huntington Beach, California, cruises a steep drop on the “man-sized” Canadian Open Downhill course running under the chairlift. Sent into orbit: Former Crankworx slopestyle rider Paul Basagoitia throws a 360 tailwhip off the first drop-in on the Slopestyle course. The skill level of the riders at Crankworx is mind-blowing. CANADIAN OPEN DOWNHILL RESULTS MEN’S 1. Sam Hill, Monster/Specialized, 3:02.56 2. Brendan Fairclough, Monster/Specialized, +8.17 3. Steve Smith, MS Evil Racing/Red Bull, +9.21 4. Joshua Button, Mongoose Gravity Team, +9.44 5. Neko Mulally, Specialized, +12.03 WOMEN’S 1. Emmeline Ragot, Suspension Center, 3:45.05 2. Micayla Gatto, Commencal, +2.01 3. Claire Buchar, Team ChainReactionCycles.com, +7.94 4. Danice Uyesugi, Trek, +21.43 5. Dawn Cashen, Cycle Path Kelowna, +48.29 Don’t feed the Berrecloth: Darren Berrecloth is already a legend in the young sport of mountain bike slopestyle. It’s been tough sledding for him at recent Crankworx events, as crashes have prevent- ed him from advancing to the finals. ❑ December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 65
  • MBA 2009 SEASON WRAP-UP Seen In Whistler Village Spy shots, new gear and famous faces A long with Whistler’s incredible terrain and riding action during Crankworx, the Village has a unique life of its own. At any given moment you’ll see a world-class rider cruise by you on a bike full of prototype components, spot a streaker or a guy in a bunny suit, catch one of the live bands on stage, or strike up a conversation with a famous face in the crowd. Crankworx is many things, but most of it’s unpredictable. The next couple of pages capture some highlights from within the Whistler Village. Customize: Slopestyle star Cam McCaul runs his Saint shift lever mounted on the downtube to keep it from cluttering up his handlebar, and he has one less cable to get in the way for barspins. Desert: Shimano held the Saint Deep Summer Photo Challenge during Crankworx. The cupcake eat- ing challenge killed time while the judges scored the photo entries. Racers Steve Smith (right) and Brian Lopes (next to Smith) can eat about as fast as they ride. 66 www.mbaction.com
  • What is it?: Cruising the pits of Crankworx always reveals some prototype bikes and components. We spotted this new brake from Avid, and it appears to be a bit of a hybrid between their Elixir and Code brakes, and geared toward long-travel bikes. Sideshow: Ryan Leech is one of the world’s best trials riders, and his exhibitions in Whistler Village have become a staple during Crankworx. Winning style: Sure, Sam Hill (right) won the Canadian Open Downhill, but his best showing of the weekend was at the Troy Lee D3 party. Sam and his mechanic, Jacy Shumilak, show off some sport jacket style. Showstopper: The Troy Lee Designs D3 helmet was the guest of honor. Going up: The beauty of Crankworx is that while all of the action is going, on riders can hit the mountain for a day full of downhill runs. You never know who will end up sitting next to you on the chairlift. (Left to right: Richey Schley, Wade Simmons and Bryson Martin Jr.) Around the clock: Whistler has the world’s best mountain bike park, but when the sun goes down, the fun doesn’t end in the Village. Check out Troy Lee Design’s D3 helmet introduction party at the Savage Beagle Lounge. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 67
  • Whistler Village MBA 2009 SEASON WRAP-UP World Cup ready: You may have spotted Rocky Mountain’s 2010 Flatline World Cup race bike under Team Maxxis racers Luke Strobel and Sabrina Jonnier. Built to pin it: The We had the chance to ride the bike on the trails of Flatline World Cup is Pemberton, about 30 minutes outside of Whistler. The equipped with a Fox World Cup model shown here will sell for $5999. Shox RC4 shock and a Shimano Saint dri- vetrain. The Flatline WC is race-ready off the showroom floor. Nice touch: Rocky’s Flatline is loaded with unique com- ponents, like this exclusive direct-mount stem from Race Face. Prototype: D’Arcy O’Connor is the Rocky Mountain engineer behind the new race-oriented Flatline. His personal rig features a trick prototype floating rear brake Rocky is experimenting with. 68 www.mbaction.com
  • Two versions: The Rocky Flatline Pro is a more wallet- friendly downhill rig. With A RockShox Boxxer Team fork and Vivid shock, the $3999 Flatline Pro is the best deal going in downhill racing. Custom tuning: SRAM’s Greg Herbold throws the horns at Brandon Semenuk’s Trek slopestyle bike. Brandon runs a time-trial-style friction shifter on the downtube. M.C. Tippie: North Shore legend Brett Tippie was on the scene throughout Crankworx. His hyper-energetic personality was entertaining for sure. Big mountain style: Over the years, these guys’ talents have graced the pages of MBA on many occasions. From left: legendary rider and Rocky Mountain employee Wade Simmons, iconic photographer Sterling Lorence, and big mountain rider Thomas Vanderham. ❏ December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 69
  • IRC Mythos XC II Racing Tire msrp $130 Giro msrp $50 Truvativ msrp $190 $8998 Athlon Helmet $1498 Sette msrp $30 WTB msrp $40 Stylo 3.3 Team $ 11498 ‘09 Type-S Speed V $ Crankset ‘09 Lock-On Grips $798 Comp Saddle 2698 Hutchinson Python New Generation Air Light Tire msrp $50 $ 9821 Panaracer Alligator Fire XC Avid BB7 Disc Shimano XT M765 I-Wave Rotor Pro Tire Brake ‘09 Pre-Bled Brake Kit msrp $50 msrp $40 msrp $110 w/o Rotors $ 98 $ 98 12 $ 98 21 Mavic Crossmax ST Mavic Crosstrail Hayes HFX 9 XC 39 Avid Juicy 7 msrp $460 Wheelset ‘09 Wheelset ‘09 Disc Brake $ 169 98 WTB Hayes Stroker Disc Brake 160mm ‘09 Prowler msrp $700 msrp $425 Carbon V6 msrp $150 msrp $250 XT Tire $ 34998 $ 26998 Disc Brake $ 49 98 $ 98 msrp $60 msrp $210 Crank 114 Avid FR5 Brake $ 98 98 Brothers 26 $ 139 Egg Beater Levers ‘09 msrp $14 Sette Air 2 Mini SL Pedals Alligator Avid $ 98 Pump with Auto msrp $140 Semi Metallic 11 Wellgo Time ATAC $ 98 Disc Brake Pads Head msrp $20 Sun Ringle Sun Ringle W-71 Alium msrp $80 89 w/ Springs $ 598 ZuZu Pedals Pedals $ Wellgo WAM-M3 Pedals Octane Mag Pedal msrp $50 Time ATAC XS Mtn 5998 Pedals msrp $80 msrp $15 msrp $57 $ 98 7 Sram PG $ 3498 msrp $103 $ 2498 Clipless Pedals $ 2698 990 Cass. $ 44 98 msrp $235 Sette Air 2 9-Spd ‘09 $ 98 WTB Speed V ST-069 Floor 149 Pro Gel Saddle msrp $99 Pump Truvativ Hussefelt msrp $50 Avid Single $ 98 msrp $35 64 Stem ‘09 msrp $25 $34 98 Digit 7 Brake $ 98 $ 1798 Selle Italia Alligator PTFE ‘09 msrp $40 12 Sram X.7 Shiver Gel Galvanized $ 1998 Sram X.9 Flow Saddle Cable Trigger Trigger Shifters ‘09 msrp $85 msrp $7 Race Face Sram X.9 Rear Sram X.7 Rear Shifters ‘09 $ 98 Evolve Derailleur ‘09 Derailleur ‘09 msrp $67 msrp $105 Sette Amp Saddle 44 $ 98 3 msrp $85 msrp $60 $ 4698 Titec El Norte Gold msrp $70 Single Speed $ 79 98 Stem msrp $50 $ 98 98 $ 98 Crankset 64 $ 44 $ 1498 19 msrp $200 $ 12498 Sette XLR Low msrp $40 Truvativ Riser Handlebar $ 98 Race Face Stylo 1.1 17 Sette Price Point Sette Evolve XC X Crankset Venn Alloy Bell Venture Axo Chute Bang Specialized Glyde Crankset ‘09 Sette Blade Grips Seatpost Helmet ‘08 Tango Full Face Water Bottle Trainer msrp $230 msrp $200 msrp $15 Easton EA30 msrp $30 msrp $35 msrp $40 Helmet msrp $300 msrp $7 msrp $150 $ 12998 $ 10998 $ 98 4 Handlebar ‘08 $ 98 $ 5998 98 14 $ 98 9 $31 98 $ 49 2 $ 64
  • Sram msrp $32 Cane Creek msrp $50 PC 971 Chain $1798 Sram msrp $190 S3 Headset $ w/ Power Link x.9 Trigger Shifters w/ X.9 Rear Der. $14498 2998 ‘09 COMBO ‘09 Rockshox Fox Forx Reba 29er 32 F-Series Race ‘08 RLC ‘09 Sette Reken msrp $613 msrp $700 Alloy Frame $ 38998 $ 57998 msrp $250 Marzocchi $ 98 22 R ‘09 79 msrp $179 $ 98 119 Sette ST-7 Sette Torx DLX Foldable ST-791 Chain Workstand Scrubber msrp $180 $ 98 msrp $20 89 Sette $ 98 9 Sette Slik Pak Eyewear Sette Outlaw Shoe Sette Element MTB msrp $20 Sette Torx ST-21 Vexx Fuse msrp $80 Shoes msrp $100 $ 98 Tool Kit - 21 Tools msrp $45 $ 3998 $ 4698 7 msrp $100 $ 98 17 $ 98 44 Sette Torx 21 Function Sette Sette Max Flopak Multi Tool Axo Ride msrp $30 Full Finger Signature Glove Hydration System AXO Torque Camelbak $ 98 Sette Glove Gloves msrp $30 Scorpion 100oz msrp $70 9 Stellar msrp $30 msrp $20 $ 98 12 msrp $60 $ 2498 F28 HRM $ 98 $ 98 Sette Torx 14 12 $34 98 St-27 Hol- msrp $150 $ 98 lowtech II 29 BB Tool msrp $18 $ 98 12 Sette ST- New World 307F Glo Sette Fox Fox Disorder Box Light Quantum-X Adidas Trail CP Oakley Division Ranger Sergeant Set - 1-3 (front or Sette Bike v.2.0 Cyclo- Storm Jacket 75 Jersey Short ‘09 Short ‘09 w/bonus DVD rear) Hitch-It Computer msrp $130 msrp $110 msrp $70 msrp $100 msrp $45 msrp $12 msrp $18 msrp $35 $ 98 44 $ 49 98 $ 3998 $ 54 98 $ 987 $ 98 4 $ 98 7 $ 98 9
  • Old tricks: The swim-ride-run gang has used the steeper seat tube geometry trick for years. Does it translate as well to the dirt? 72 www.mbaction.com
  • MBA est A Lot Of Trail Riding Attitude The Rocky Mountain Altitude 90 RSL WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? C anada’s Rocky Mountain Bicycles doesn’t leave many stones unturned when it comes to cross-country You are paying a big admission price for the Altitude 90 bikes. They have defined four cross-country cate- RSL, so Rocky Mountain didn’t cheap out on the compo- gories: cross-country race, cross-country performance, cross- nents. From the fork with the 15QR axle to the Mavic country marathon and super cross-country. Bikes range in wheelset, there isn’t a component that needs to be upgraded. travel from 3.9 inches to 5.9 inches. Our Altitude 90 RSL The Formula R1 brakes are hard not to linger over. There is falls into the marathon slot with 5.5 inches of travel. no wasted material in the tiny reservoir/lever assembly, and the braided steel hoses and banjo attachments to the calipers WHO IS IT MADE FOR? look like team-issue items. The frame is made in Taiwan, The Altitude 90 RSL is designed for riders who need a but the bike is assembled in Canada. good amount of travel to navigate tough trails covered in rocks, roots, dips and steps. This high-priced trailbike is HOW DOES IT PERFORM? light enough and plenty quick enough to be considered for Ergonomics: Don’t expect to be hitting your knees on the racing endurance events. handlebar due to Rocky Mountain’s Straight-Up Geometry. It is nowhere near that exaggerated. You’ll find yourself in an upright riding position without feeling cramped. The front end sits high enough that some riders may want to invert the stem to lower the bar. The standover clearance is excellent for a bike with this much travel, and our test bike was size large to boot. Moving out: The Altitude 90 RSL feels like a race bike getting up to speed. The rear suspension pivots on oversized bearings, and the two-piece rocker seems to rival the rigidity of one-piece units. There is nothing lost in the translation. You put in the wattage and the bike responds with forward momentum. Triathletes have used the steep- er seat tube geometry trick for years, and in terms of putting the power down, the Altitude 90 RSL gets it done. Cornering: Racing DNA is still evident when you hit the twisties. The bike is light on its feet and allows the rider to make quick line choices without paying the price in stability. The bike loves to be powered out of the corners, and the brakes’ performance makes WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? riding deep into corners just as much fun. The Altitude 90 RSL’s frame and seat stays are crafted Climbing: This thing climbs like a billy goat. We found from carbon fiber, while the more ding-susceptible chain- ourselves staying in the saddle longer and pushing gears that stays are tubes made from aluminum. The frame has a would make Geoff Kabush proud. The shock is valved exclu- steep, 76-degree seat tube angle that Rocky Mountain has sively for Rocky Mountain, and it is fitted with an extra- dubbed their Straight-Up Geometry. They feel that moving volume air canister. The result is a rear suspension that can the rider slightly forward results in better power delivery be ridden most of the time without the ProPedal feature (due to the rider’s position over the cranks) and more com- engaged. We only flipped the blue lever on smooth, long fort. climbs or on pavement. The Altitude 70 RSL has the same carbon frame as the In the rough: There are no communication issues Altitude 90 RSL (with a split downtube to cradle the shock between Rocky Mountain and Fox Racing Shox. They did a and internal rear-derailleur routing), but dropping to the great job of dialing the suspension components to the bike’s Altitude 70 gets you an aluminum frame with similar suspension design and frame construction. The bike soaks geometry and a slightly different rear-suspension design. In up the rough and allows the rider to concentrate on riding. other words, our ride observations will apply to the Descending: The Straight-Up Geometry does not equal Altitude 90 RSL and the Altitude 70 RSL, but the models straight-over-the-bars. Rider weight is positioned slightly for- below this point may deliver different ride characteristics. ward, so sliding back on the slim Fizik Gobi XM saddle is a December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 73
  • Riding Attitude simple and necessary maneuver. The brakes back up the rest of the bike’s performance and never faded or made weird noises. TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? Our bike suffered from chain suck issues while dropping from the middle to the granny gear. However, it never jammed the chain into the frame or chainstay, because the sound of the miss-directed chain alerted the rider to back off and get it back on track. In fairness, our test bike was used when delivered, so this problem may have been caused by something that happened before we got it. We have to mention this, too, although it may be coinci- dence. One of the wrecking crew strained his back while seated during a hard effort on a steep climb. The Straight-Up Geometry? Maybe. The new position may require some adjustments for riders used to more relaxed geometry. BUYING ADVICE If you need more travel for the trails you ride, but don’t want to give up the performance of a shorter travel trailbike, the Altitude 90 RSL fits the bill. It gives you lots of travel while remaining a quick and fun bike to ride. And while $5000 isn’t small change, it is a grand less than many high- performance carbon fiber trailbikes. The Altitude 90 RSL may be the biggest sleeper of 2009. ❑ Move to the rear: The Altitude’s forward rider position didn’t cause much trepidation when dropping off or into something. Move back and let the suspension do its job. ROCKY MOUNTAIN ALTITUDE 90 RSL Price $5000 Country of origin Canada Weight 27.1 pounds Hotline (800) 663-2512 Size tested 19" (large) Bottom bracket height 13.5" Chainstay length 16.9" Top tube length 23.25" Head tube angle 69° Seat tube angle 76° Standover height 29.5" Wheelbase 45" Suspension travel (front) 5.5" Suspension travel (rear) 5.5" Frame material Carbon fiber Fork Fox 32 Float RLC Shock Fox Float RP23 XV Rims Mavic CrossMax SLR Tires Hutchinson Python (2.3") Hubs Mavic CrossMax SLR Brakes Formula R1 Brake levers Formula R1 Crankset Race Face Next Shifters Shimano XTR Rapidfire Handlebar Race Face Next XC (26") Front derailleur Shimano XT Rear derailleur Shimano XTR Chainrings Race Face (44/32/22) Altitude attitude: (clockwise from top) Pivot bearings are well- sealed from the elements, the Formula brakes continue to Cassette Shimano XT (11-34) impress, Race Face cranks keep the weight off, and there’s a Pedals None (weighed with Shimano XTR) very unique seatpost clamp. 74 www.mbaction.com
  • MBA Inspire RIDERS WHO Taking Nothing For Granted Why the world needs more Carol Potters T his is the first time we’ve featured someone who is not a rider in our “Riders Who Inspire” series. But once you get to know Carol Potter, you’ll understand why she is as deserving as any rider we have featured to date. As the executive director of Park City, Utah’s, Mountain Trail Foundation, Carol Potter has her work cut out for her. The Mountain Trails Foundation was established to educate people on land use planning and con- servation practices, particularly with respect to multi-use trails and trail sys- tems. The foundation is responsible for improvements to Park City’s trail sys- tem through signage, trail construction and maintenance. If that isn’t enough, she helps with acquisition and admi- nistration of trail easements by public agencies, an essential service in an area where the majority of the surrounding mountains are privately owned. Carol has worked for the Mountain Trail Foundation for six years and served ten years before that with a similar foundation in Michigan. “I can remember when seven people would attend a trail-planning conference,” laughs Carol. “Today, 700 people show up.” Her expertise is writing proposals for grants that will secure the budget to build and maintain her beloved Park City trail network. Carol is an equal opportunity grant writer. She doesn’t care if the grants come from the federal government, state government or pri- vate organizations like IMBA or the American Hiking Alliance. Every penny helps to maintain the existing trail network and to add miles of new trails every year. explains Carol about a community time for trails.” Carol is the first to admit that a lot that always put a high priority on What does Carol say to others look- of hard work was done before she their trail network. ing to experience the trail success that joined the Mountain Trail “This is a very social community, Park City has enjoyed? “I have so Foundation. “Park City passed an and that spirit extends to the trails,” much fun connecting with other trail ordinance over 17 years ago that says Carol. “Park City has always groups,” explains Carol. “Drop me an required new developments to put in been trail friendly, and we continue e-mail at carol@mountaintrails.org, and trails and link existing trails,” to grow our trail network. It is a great we’ll compare notes.” ❑ 76 www.mbaction.com
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  • Christmas On MBA FEATURE The Mountain Ideas for the mountain biker on your list I t is not too early to start thinking about all the mountain bikers on your Christmas gift list, and we can help you get started right now. The MBA wrecking crew put their helmets together and came up with a list of gift ideas that we know any mountain biker would love to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Some ideas will set you back a pretty penny, while other ideas won’t ding your wallet at all, and these inexpensive gifts might be the most appreciated of the season. So forget about giving a gaudy tie or a Denny’s gift certificate. Give a gift that shows the mountain bikers on your list that you really care. Here are a few ideas to get you in the spirit. Personalized grips: This is the coolest yule- tide gift idea of the year. You already know that Lizard Skins offers their Lock-On grips ($27.50) in a bunch of styles and colors. A set of grips would be a great gift, but you can do better. Sweeten the deal by having your friend’s name laser etched on the Lock- On ring. Lizard Skins only charges $2.99 for this customization, and they turn around custom orders fast. Just make sure you spell your friend’s name correctly. Lizard Skins at (801) 785-7546. Feet covers: There is no such thing as too many riding socks, and it is almost as much fun to give socks as it is to receive them. We like to give a color or print that we would never buy for ourselves. It always makes for a great ride when your buddy shows up with the pink flying pig socks on. Of course, you can play it safe and buy earth tones. Boring. Don’t buy white socks. Those are for roadies. SockGuy, (760) 804-1344, makes hundreds of fun designs. Miles of sweet singletrack: Park City, Utah, offers miles of amazing single- track riding. The $17.99 Park City’s Prime Cuts trail guide book by Charlie Stay inflated: What self-respecting mountain Sturgis and Mark Fischer is the best biker doesn’t need a stash of tubes? Okay, way to get the most out of your next smart guy, one who rides tubeless tires. Either visit to the area. The book is sized to fit way, you can make both types of riders’ eyes into a hydration pack and printed on light up on Christmas. Give the tube guy a few thick, water-resistant paper. Give this tubes and the tubeless guy a bottle of NoTubes book to a riding buddy with a not-so- tire sealant. Both products are readily available subtle suggestion that a road trip needs at your local bike shop. to be planned. Get Prime Cuts from White Pine Touring at (888) 649-8710. 80 www.mbaction.com
  • For bad times: The $25 Lifesaver: They are Adventure Medical Kits’ S.O.L. actually called shells, (Survive Outdoors Longer) but we call these thin Survival Pak takes critical survival jackets lifesavers. items and packages them in an They weigh next to ultralight, waterproof drybag. The nothing and can be S.O.L. Survival Kit includes a stuffed into a sun- compass, mini rescue flash signal glass pouch (we’ve mirror, slim rescue howler whistle, seen Johnny Tomac waterproof and windproof match- do it). Where they es, waterproof Tinder Quik, turn into lifesavers is Heatsheets blanket, fishing kit on the ride where and duct tape. Whoever gets this you bonk, get caught present will remember you fondly in a storm or have if they ever have to use it. the temps drop faster than expected. These shells offer great protection for their size and hold in just enough body warmth to get you home. Doc in a bag: The $11 Adventure Medical Kits’ Ultralight .3 first aid kit settles the national healthcare debate with a mix of ten bandages, dressing gauze, safety pins, After Bite wipes, antihistamine, ibuprofen, antiseptic wipes, tape and antibiotic ointment. The kits are available in bike shops or by calling (510) 261-7414. Perfect for the rider on your list who is a little wild.
  • Gift Guide MBA FEATURE Shop rags: Every rider needs a shop rag with- in reach of his bike stand, so how come there is never one around? Your friends will think of you every time they get grease on their fingers if you wrap up a bunch of shop rags and put them under the tree. You can find rag bun- dles at any auto supply store. Mom, this gift will also stop the mys- terious disappearance of bathroom towels and washcloths from the linen cabinet. Donate labor: If money is tight this Christmas, offer something more personal. Why not pre- sent a gift certificate to a riding friend stating that you will change and pump up X number of flat tires for the recipient. Your gift certificate can be used at home or on the trail. The certifi- cate only covers the labor. Your buddy has to supply the tube. Toe straps: Even if the lucky recipient of your generosity doesn’t use toe straps on his pedals because he uses clipless pedals, that doesn’t mean the straps won’t be accepted with enthu- siasm. Toe straps are used for a number of tasks, including securing wheels to bike racks, holding the rear suspension when you remove the shock or adding strength to a seat pack or headlight battery. In a pinch, you can always use them for handcuffing the guy you catch trying to break into cars at the trailhead. Fast inflate: Pumping up flat tires on the trail is a real buzz kill. The fastest way to get going again is a CO2 blast, but most riders only carry a pump because it costs about $3.70 to shoot off a CO2. Well, it doesn’t cost a dime for the rider who gets a Genuine Innovation’s $19.99 Air Chuck SL for Christmas. Even if you still carry a pump, the Air Chuck is there to get you going fast. You can find the Air Chuck SL and extra CO2 cartridges at just about any bike shop. MBA subscription: This issue offers our lowest subscription price of the year. You can’t go wrong. You can buy a year’s worth of Mountain Bike Action (that’s 12 issues) for about the same price you pay for nine days of home Internet service. Operators are standing by at (800) 767-0345, or order at www.mbaction.com. If your buddy already has a subscription, we’ll just add your gift and extend it. 82 www.mbaction.com
  • Chain lube: There is not a mountain bike on the trail that doesn’t need its chain lubed occasionally. A bottle will last all season. Be safe and stick with a lube that has been formulated for mountain bikers (it will say so on the bottle). The key is not putting on too much of the stuff. Bike detailing: Nobody likes to do it, but everybody likes the result—a bike that looks clean and race-ready before an important ride. Your gift will be a gift certificate promising to clean and polish a friend’s bike. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 83
  • Gift Guide MBA FEATURE Join the ranks: If there is one organization that does the most good for mountain bikers (other than Pizza Hut), it is the International Mountain Bicycling Association, or IMBA. They are the collective strength of all mountain bikers and represent us from the halls of Congress to the conference rooms of city hall. They teach riders to build and care for trails and give us all a good reputation to live up to. Memberships start at $20 (youth and student) and go up to $1000 (the Singletrack Society). Membership is a really thoughtful gift to bestow on any mountain biker. Call them toll free at (888) 442-4622. Smooth gift: Give the gift of smooth shifting. A couple of derailleur cables to replace the dirty and frayed cables that have lost their crispness are a great present/upgrade. Throw in cable nipples and donuts. Cable nipples slide on the end of freshly cut cables, get crimped and eliminate the possibility of cables fraying. They’re cheap, small and super- essential. Cable donuts are tiny rubber O-rings that slide onto cables to keep them from hitting the bike’s frame tubes. Skinny gift: Do you know that Mountain Bike Action has a brother? Just about every mountain biker we know has a road bike and would enjoy the latest news on new bikes, trick carbon fiber wheels and what Lance Armstrong has for breakfast. A subscription to Road Bike Action is a gift that keeps on giving all year- long. Call (800) 767-0345 or visit www.mbaction.com to order. 84 www.mbaction.com
  • Deck the halls: Earth Studio in Moab, Utah, offers a wide selection of moun- tain bike Christmas tree decorations. Prices range from $16.95 to $22. Call them at (800) 463-4064 or visit their website. ❏ December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 85
  • MBA est Priced To Fly Specialized’s P.2 jump bike tomized Alex rims. The three-piece chromoly cranks work I n developing their Progressive (P. bikes) bike line, Specialized’s mission was to design a bike that was at in cooperation with a polycarbonate bash guard and ISCG- home dirt jumping or street riding. Although the bike mounted chain guide. looks simple when compared to a full-suspension rig, it requires specific engineering to develop a bike that’s versa- HOW DOES IT PERFORM? tile, lightweight and can handle the rigors of daily abuse. Ergonomics: The P.2’s steep, sloping top tube is no acci- Specialized has four P. bikes in their line, priced from $940 dent. The frame is designed so riders can throw down tricks to $1650. and easily flick the bike around. The short, 40-millimeter Specialized Aggro stem and two-inch-rise handlebar speak to WHO IS IT MADE FOR? the P.2’s stunt riding build. A dirt-jump-specific bike is designed for riders who Pedaling: On a jump bike, you need enough gearing to get require geometry and components specifically intended for yourself rolling before a rhythm section or to accelerate launching dirt jumps, riding urban terrain and sessioning quickly before a stair gap or wall ride when street riding. The P.2’s chromoly Fuse cranks are stiff and built to take a beating. The eight-speed drivetrain is a good choice for a jump-specific bike, as climbing ability isn’t a concern. When dirt jumping or riding in a skatepark, you want minimal rolling resistance, because the terrain is often groomed dirt or concrete. The Specialized Rhythm Lite Control tires have just enough traction for riding off-road and are perfect for this application. Jumping: Mountain bikes built for dirt jumping differ from BMX bikes designed for the same duty in that mountain bikes have bigger wheels and gears, allowing them to ride rougher trails and get to locations BMX bikes can- not. Hence, the reason for the suspension fork. On average, suspension perfor- mance isn’t as sophisticated in dirt jumping as it is in trail riding or downhill, and forks like the 3.1-inch travel Marzocchi DJ2 are perfect for the job. The coil-sprung DJ2 has minimal adjustments and felt pretty good out of the box. skateparks. These frames share geometry traits racers look Riders looking for an even stiffer feel can utilize the air for in a dual-slalom or 4-Cross bike, such as short chainstays assist valve atop the right fork leg. The DJ2 doesn’t use a 20- and low bottom brackets and standover heights, so it is not a millimeter thru-axle like many of the top jump-specific slid- stretch to see the P. bikes used in this type of competition. ers, however Specialized does use a 3/8-inch BMX-style axle for increased robustness over a standard quick-release. The WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? rear end of the bike employs that same axle. Specialized no longer sells the P. bikes in two sizes (short Manualing: Getting the front wheel off the ground, or and long); the only size available now is the previous “long” manualing, is not only a maneuver in its own right, but the frame. The aluminum P.2 features a double-butted down- catalyst for several tricks. The short, 15.5-inch chainstays tube, forged head tube, and horizontal dropouts with hard- make shifting your weight rearward virtually effortless. Like ware for a single-speed or cassette setup. the bunny hop, learning to manual will open up an entirely new world for a rider and improve his overall bike handling WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? ability. The purpose-built P.2 features a coil-sprung, 3.1-inch-trav- Cornering: With steep angles intended for quick maneu- el Marzocchi DJ2 fork, Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic disc brakes verability, the P.2 handles like a dual-slalom racer when rid- with a six-inch front rotor and a five-inch rear rotor. den on a hardpacked pumptrack. The Rhythm tires have SRAM’s X.5 short cage rear derailleur and SRAM X.4 eight- minimal tread, so you can’t push too hard in the corners, speed trigger handle shifting duties. The Specialized Rhythm but they are still capable of carving turns. The short chain- Lite Control tires are designed specifically for dirt jumping stays, 3.1-inch-travel fork and 69-degree head angle keep the and street riding and are mounted to Specialized’s cus- rider’s weight centered. And, when riding aggressively, 86 www.mbaction.com
  • Perfect form: The Specialized P.2 is built to fly. The dialed geometry and comfortable frame design gives pilots confidence to have fun while sending it. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 87
  • Fly simply shifting weight forward gives the Marzocchi-sprung front end enough traction to hook up when you’re lapping your friends on the pumptrack. Everything else: Climbing, descending and singletrack riding are not in the P.2’s vocabulary. If you need your mountain bike to do more than jump or handle an occasional 4-Cross, Specialized makes the P.All Mountain for you. TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? We tweaked the Alex wheels quickly, which can be expected with a bike that sees as much abuse as the P. bike. One of the only upgrades we’d recommend would be a tougher set of wheels—once the Alex hoops give up. Riders looking to run the P.2 in the single-speed configura- tion would likely be able to use the built-in chain tensioner on the rear dropouts and ditch the bulky bashguard. BUYING ADVICE Whether it’s the flagship model in the line or a more afford- able offering, Specialized pays attention to detail. Although the P.2 isn’t the premier jumper in the line, it’s a more than capa- ble ride that’s built to rip up local trails, neighborhood streets and skateparks. The dialed geometry and a proven component spec make the $1350 Specialized P.2 a steal. ❑ Corner pocket: With tight-steering geometry and short chain- stays, the P.2 whips through jump trails. The fast-rolling Specialized Rhythm Lite tires are ideal for hardpacked terrain. SPECIALIZED P.2 Price $1350 Country of origin Taiwan Weight 32.5 pounds Hotline (877) 808-8154 Frame tested One size only Bottom bracket height 11.8" Chainstay length 15.5" Top tube length 22.5" Head tube angle 69° Seat tube angle 71° Standover height 26.5" Wheelbase 41.7" Suspension travel (front) 3.1" Suspension travel (rear) None Frame material Aluminum Fork Marzocchi DJ2 Shock None Rims Specialized/Alex P.Disc AM Tires Specialized Rhythm Lite Hubs Specialized forged, HiLo Brakes Avid Juicy 3 SL Brakes Levers Avid Juicy 3 SL Crankset Fuse tubular chromoly Shifters SRAM X.4 Handlebar Specialized alloy riser (27") Front derailleur Poly bashguard Rear derailleur SRAM X.5 Chainrings Fuse 34-T Built to bash: Designed for dirt jumping, the Specialized P.2 Cassette SRAM PG-830 (11-28) is equipped with burly chromoly cranks, a stout 40-millimeter Pedals Alloy platform stem and gold Specialized HiLo Hubs. 88 www.mbaction.com
  • We Offer a 30-Day Price Protection Policy, Plus NO- 1.909.947.2100 local or international HASSLE RETURNS with NO Restocking or toll free 1.888.880.3403 FEES! or www.JensonUSA.com V Vredestein Black Panther F Folding Tire 2 26x2.0 or 2.35 Folding T TI283A09 M MSRP $55.95 Vredestein Bull Lock Folding Tire 26x2.0 or 2.35 Folding TI283A10 MSRP $55.95 V Vredestein Tiger Claw F Folding Tire 2 26x2.0 or 2.35 Folding Shimano LX M581 Rear T TI283A11 Derailleur M MSRP $55.95 s traditionally-sprung ( a ly p g This is a traditionally-sprung (i.e. not Shimano LX FC-M582 Crankset pid p railleur Rapid Rise) rear derailleur designed to with Bottom Bracket Intense Edge Exdc Lite Tire mplement m g complement Trigger shifters. Amazing upgrade for just about any bike! 170 or 175mm, 26x2.35, Dual Compound D3309A01 RD309A01 MSRP $80 44-32-22 TI287A10 CR303A00 MSRP $44.99 MSRP $189.99 Shimano LX M580 9SP Trigger Shifters These LX RapidFire levers are ideal for almost every rider. SL302A00 Easton EC70 MSRP $79.99 Carbon Seatpost ‘08 A proven design, year after year. Space age carbon fiber EASTON Monkey Lite XC construction! 27.2, Riser Bar 08 30.9, 31.6 Featuring CNT (carbon nano tube) SE402A01 KHS DJ200 Frame 2005 technology, making this bar light and MSRP $130 Grey strong. 25.4 or 31.8, Low or High-Rise. FR284A00 HB402A00 MSRP $299 MSRP $120 RaceFace Evolve XC DH Crankset R kG d W bi d RockGardn Warbird ‘08 Helmet Silver, Two Rings with bashgaurd. 170 or 175mm S-XXL CR302A06 HE283G03 MSRP $195 MSRP $79.99 Marzocchi 44 RockShox Reba Team ‘09 Fork Marzocchi 66 RC3 TST2 ‘09 Fork Black, 120mm, TST2 White 100mm, Disc Only, Fork ‘09 FK291A04 26”, w/Pushloc Metalic Grey, 180mm, RC3 FK293A07 FK291A16 MSRP $369 MSRP MSRP $999 $724 Azonic O’Neal Fury Full SixSixOne Evolution Face ‘08 Helmet Helmet (S, M, L) (M or L) HE302G04 HE302G07 MSRP $89.99 MSRP $149.95 Jamis Parker 1.0 ‘08 Bike Sludge Color, S, M, L BI290B01 MSRP $1350 Shimano, RockShox, WTB and More! Marzocchi 55 ATA Fork ‘09 Black, 120-160mm, ATA FK291A09 MSRP $599 Nema Revolver Nema Revolver Nema Grasp Jersey Short Glove ‘09 Carbon/ Red S-XXL Carbon/ Red S-XXL Red, S-XXL Disclaimer* Quantities on some items may be limited - shop early for best selection. Pricing may vary between our magazine ads, catalogs, showroom, JE281B00 SP281B00 GL281A00 retail stores, and website. Currency fluctuations, manufacturer price increases, model year changes, and other factors may cause our costs to change. JensonUSA reserves the right to modify our prices at any time without notice. Prices listed do not include shipping. Errors in product descriptions, weights, MSRP MSRP MSRP prices, or photography are unintentional and subject to correction. Customer bears the cost of return shipping for exchanges/returns unless Jenson USA has $64.99 $104.99 $35 made a shipping error. Please call for a return authorization number. Jenson USA strives to offer the best prices on every item we sell. We will price match any nationally advertised price - just give us the details at the time of your order. The identical item (size, color, model year) must be in stock at the time your order is placed. This does not include items which are on sale/clearance/blowout. Price match may not be combined with any other offers. * All Shimano logos and brands are the exclusive property of Shimano American Corporation.
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  • Inside The 5 Pros’ Bikes JHK’s new Fisher Superfly 100 29er R ight after Jeremy Horgan- Kobelski won the 2009 Cross- Country National Championship, we asked him if we could shoot him for “Inside.” To our surprise, he offered a counterproposal. He wanted us to show off his new bike instead. We weren’t so sure this was a good deal, until we saw the bike he was talk- ing about. It was a 2010, full-suspension, carbon fiber Superfly 100 29er. Jeremy told us that he liked this bike more than the hardtail 29er with which he had just won his latest National Championship. He would have raced this bike, instead of his hardtail 29er, but he hadn’t put in enough saddle time to work out the per- fect setup. He assured us, however, that this was the bike he would be racing from this point on. Here it is: 1. 2010 Gary Fisher Superfly 100, full-OCLV carbon fiber frame, XL size, 4.3 inches of rear-wheel travel. 17 “This is definitely the best full-sus- 20 pension bike I’ve ever ridden. It is an incredible bike for everything from all- up tubeless with Stan’s Racing 7. RockShox Monarch three-posi- day riding to World Cup-level racing. Sealant. tion, custom-platform shock, I’m amazed at its versatility. In many “The new Bontrager tires have made currently tuned for 4.3 inches of situations, it climbs better than my a big difference in switching over com- travel, set to the “B” tune option. hardtail, and on descents it is simply pletely to the 29-inch platform. They’re “I run the shock at 160 psi and usu- incredible. The ABP rear pivot is almost as light as 26-inch tires, and the ally leave it in the mid-gate position for traction is so much better. The XR1 both racing and training.” absolutely amazing at isolating pedal- and 29-0 are incredible in loose and ing input and keeping the rear wheel dry conditions. For muddy races, I’ll 8. Cane Creek Frustum ZS thread- glued to the ground in cornering and step up to the more aggressive 29-3’s.” less headset, 1-1/8-inch top bear- under braking. A big shout-out to Brad ing, 1.5-inch bottom. P. and Big Ned at Fisher for a sweet 4. Bontrager RXL stem, 90mm bike.” reach, 17-degree rise. Stem is run 9. Avid XX disc brakes. inverted to lower the bars. “The new Avid brakes are so power- 2. 2009 RockShox Reba 29er fork, ful that I can always use a 140-millime- with 3.9 inches of travel, hydraulic 5. Fizik Tundra seat, custom color ter rotor, even on the big-wheeled XX lockout, and tapered steer tube. scheme. bike.” “I run my fork with lower negative pressure and faster rebound than many 6. Bontrager XXX Lite Carbon 29- 10. Bontrager XXX Lite Carbon people, as I like the stiffer initial stroke inch wheels, with Bontrager cen- Riser handlebar, seven-degree and positive feel of faster rebound.” terlock hubs and DT Swiss center- sweep. lock adapters. Wheels were rebuilt “I like riser bars, not so much for 3. Bontrager XR1 Team Edition with DT Swiss Revolution spokes, the additional height (I use a negative (front) and Bontrager 29-0 (rear) saving 4.23 ounces compared to the stem), but because the additional tires. Both are tube-type tires set stock wheelset. sweep is so comfortable.” 92 www.mbaction.com
  • 12 Weight: 22 pounds 4 Estimated price: $9000 11 1 8 10 19 2 22 7 18 9 21 15 6 13 14 16 3 11. Bontrager RXL ACC ring options are perfect for cross- 20. SRAM XX ten-speed (Aluminum Core Construction) country racing.” cassette, 11-36T. Carbon seatpost, 13-inch length, “The new XX rear cassette has with .8-inch setback. 15. Crankbrothers 4Ti been a real game changer. Having Eggbeater pedals. the range of an 11-36 makes it 12. ESI Racer’s Edge grips. “The Eggbeaters are the best ped- possible to both run a smaller big “The ESI grips are amazingly light als I’ve ever used. I never have to ring (with the 11) and climb steep and feel great, even on four- to five- worry about clipping in, no matter hills in the big ring (in the 36). In hour rides.” how muddy or nasty the conditions fact, there have been a few times are. Getting into the pedals at the that I’ve switched to a single ring 13. Truvativ XX 175-millimeter start is a snap.” in the front (a 36 on the 29er) cranks. 16. SRAM XX chain, 113 links. because of the range on this 14. Truvativ chainrings, 39/26T. cassette.” “Most people think you need a 17. SRAM XX ten-speed rear large big ring for mountain biking. derailleur, with ceramic bear- 21. Truvativ BB90 ceramic The reality is that a 39-tooth or even ings in the pulleys. bottom bracket bearings, as on a 38-tooth big ring is enough for the Trek Madone. every situation in cross-country 18. SRAM Red road-bike front racing. The smaller big ring shifts derailleur. The derailleur is 22. Genuine Innovations BigAir better in a 2x10 setup, and you’ll end mounted to a custom adaptor, CO2 tire inflator. up with a better chainline most of the made by Jeremy’s mechanic. time, since you don’t need to cross-chain as much. The new XX 19. SRAM XX shifters. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 93
  • MBA TECH Tools you’ll need • Allen wrench bracket tool • Shimano bottom illimeters • Tape m easure in m r biplate (or simila • Cannondale Lu quality grease) l nd is very helpfu • A bike worksta nal) (optio Righting the Lefty • Air filter spray • Zip-ties (maybe) • Shock pump M ost Cannondale Lefty (and Headshok Fatty) fork owners are terrified to service the thing, and we can’t blame them. After all, the Lefty’s amazing performance and rigidity is due partly to the 88 needle bearings (sets of 22 sandwiched between four races) that assure the internals slide stiction-free inside the stanchion tube. Can you imagine opening your Lefty and having 88 needle bearings fall onto the garage floor? Well, it can’t happen. The truth is, the Lefty fork is ultra- easy to service. Headshok Product Manager Drew Hanna dropped by the garage to take us through servicing and checking the stack height on any Lefty fork. 1 3 Put the bike in a workstand with the front wheel off the ground. Release the air pressure via the Schrader valve at the bottom of the leg. Remove the fork’s lockout lever by loosening the two- Slide the fork’s damper out of the fork tube by lifting on the front millimeter Allen pinch bolt. Slide the lockout lever straight up wheel. You can use a toe strap to hold the wheel up or simply use and off the fork. your foot or leg to hold it up. 2 Loosen the outer collar using your Shimano bottom bracket tool. Thanks to Cannondale’s engineers for not designing hardware that would require special Cannondale tools to service. Slide the collar off. 94 www.mbaction.com
  • 4 6 7 Remove the half-moon split rings that are Loosen the clamp at the top of the fork under the upper cap. No tools necessary. boot (the rubber accordion thing). Just You can pull them apart with your fingers. above the fork boot is an air filter that we’ll get to later. Your fork may have a zip-tie instead of a clamp. If so, you need to cut it off. 5 8 Let go of the wheel so the damper slides back into the fork tube. Now, If your measurement comes up short, you measure from the top of the threads (at need to reset the fork’s bearing stack the top of the fork) to the bottom of the height. It is easy. Lift the front wheel and fork leg. The 110-millimeter travel Lefty tap it down a few times. Measure again, (4.3 inches) should measure 700-mil- and repeat this set until you get the full limeters, and the 140-millimeter travel 700 or 730 measurement. The fork will Lefty (5.5 inches) should measure 730- make a solid sound when the bearings Slide the fork boot down to reveal the millimeters. are at their proper height. ultra-cool square fork leg. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 95
  • MBA TECH 9 11 Slide the boot back up. Be sure to overlap with the air filter boot. Tighten the band clamp or replace the zip tie. 12 The leg shouldn’t be very dirty if your fork boot is in good shape. If it is dirty, wipe it clean. Lift the wheel up and down a few Above the fork boot is a rubber sleeve with a foam filter inside. A bonus tip is to times and wipe it again. pull the clamp off the top of the sleeve to access the filter. 10 13 Now the fun part. Wipe grease on the four Pull the sleeve away and spray a small amount of air filter oil (available from any flat surfaces of the fork leg. motorcycle store). 96 www.mbaction.com
  • 14 17 Lift the front wheel up with your foot and replace the two split rings into the upper cap of the damper. These rings are marked so you can tell the top from the bottom. 15 Replace the lockout lever to a position of your preference and tighten the pinch bolt. Lower the wheel so the damper slides into the fork leg, and thread on the outer collar. 16 Cannondale’s Drew Hanna made it look simple because it is. Hand-tighten the outer collar, and use the Shimano bottom This Lefty service shouldn’t take you more than a half hour to bracket tool to snug it one-quarter turn. complete. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 97
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  • MBA YOUNG RIPPER Introducing Alex Prochazka racing,” says Alex. “I buckled Aside from being a talented mountain down a few weeks before the biker, Alex has several other interests. Colorado Crankworx to focus on “In the winter I ski tons, and my dad my tricks, and I felt really good. and I are super into modifying diesel It’s a shame to get injured in the trucks,” says Alex. “In my downtime first slopestyle of the year. from riding and racing, I’m taking class- “I overshot a jump that I was es in Vancouver teaching me how to planning on flipping out of,” Alex work on diesel engines.” describes. “I had done it about a Although Alex is gaining recognition thousand times before, but this as a remarkable mountain biker, his time I was in trouble and had to father was a major player in developing ditch my bike. I landed on my the Whistler Mountain Bike Park into knee, and that snapped my femur what it is today. “My dad, Tom ‘Pro’ in half. I needed surgery to repair Prochazka, managed the Whistler my leg, and had a rod and some Mountain Bike Park from 2001 to 2007,” screws put into it. Alex explains. “He focused on develop- “I was told it would be 12 ing trail features that are both progres- weeks from when I broke it sive and safe. My dad has become inter- before I could even do anything. nationally known for his trail develop- But, I’m already walking after ment and works for Gravity Logic as a just a month. I hope to be active design manager. He travels the world again by December.” offering advice to resorts looking to Despite Alex’s serious injury, develop their own summertime moun- he has a positive outlook on his tain bike parks.” recovery and can’t wait to get A member of Commencal’s Young A lthough only 18 years old, Alex Prochazka (Alex Pro to back out and do what he loves. Guns mountain bike team, Alex is a tal- his friends) is no rookie to Most mountain bikers, no matter ented rider with remarkable versatility. elite-level mountain biking. We first how old, can’t even comprehend how Along with throwing backflips, he fin- saw Alex at the age of 15 when he amazing it would be to live in ished 19th at the 2008 Junior Downhill qualified for the famous Whistler Whistler. Alex has lived there his World Championships and is a past Crankworx Slopestyle. Ever since, the entire life, and is well aware of his Canadian Junior Downhill National Whistler native has not only pro- incredible situation. Champion. Growing up with the sport of gressed as a slopestyle rider, but has “My friends and I were just talking mountain biking virtually blowing up racked up an impressive résumé com- about this the other day,” laughs Alex. around him, he credits several mountain peting against that clock as a racer. “We were saying how we know how biking legends with helping him get Ironically, just a week before we good we have it, because of the awe- where he is today. caught up with Alex at this year’s some riding. Almost every day we’ll “When I was a kid, it was guys like Crankworx Festival in Whistler, he ride the mountain, then later in the Wade Simmons, Richie Schley and suffered a serious injury in the day hit up the Air Dome to work on Darren Berrecloth that I really looked up Crankworx Colorado Slopestyle event. tricks, followed by cooling off at the to,” explains Alex. “I feel fortunate to “I had spent most of my summer lake in the Village.” have been given the opportunity to ride with guys like that as I was growing up.” Alex understands how serious his bro- ken leg is, but he’s focused and deter- mined to get back on the bike. “I’m not leery about jumping on the bike; I’m hungry!” boasts Alex. “In the past, I was never really hurt. I broke collarbones and wrists, but nothing that ever required surgery. That changed when I had this rod put in my leg, as it stays in for life!” At 18 years old, Alex has a mature outlook on his career in mountain bik- ing. “Riding is something I would like to turn into a longtime career, but I’m also just having a lot of fun on my bike and am doing good at it,” Alex explains. “This sport, meaning slopestyle, is so new, I’ll have to just play it by ear. I don’t really even know what’s going to happen to the sport in the future. It’s blown up so much in just the past five years, the future seems pretty exciting.” ❑ 100 www.mbaction.com
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  • MBA est All-Mountain Animal Diamondback’s Scapegoat the two-speed Truvativ HammerSchmidt FR transmission I n 2007, Diamondback experimented with a prototype all-mountain bike built to test the limits of their exist- that’s bolted to ISCG mounts. The HammerSchmidt gear- ing six-inch-travel Mission trailbike (tested in our July box simulates the shift between a 22-and 36-tooth 2009 issue), and the Scapegoat was born. The original chairing. Scapegoat debuted at the Interbike tradeshow that year, and after an onslaught of inquiries about the prototype, HOW DOES IT PERFORM? Diamondback decided to produce the bike for a limited We’ve thrown a leg over all of Diamondback’s full-suspen- run in 2009. sion bikes with their Knuckle Box four-bar suspension: the five-inch-travel, cross-country-oriented Sortie; six-inch-travel WHO IS IT MADE FOR? Mission trailbike; and now the six-inch-travel, burlier spec’d The Scapegoat is an aggressive, black-diamond/park Scapegoat. bike designed for riders who attack technical descents but Ergonomics: Any bike with the HammerSchmidt trans- have the fitness to pedal their six-inch-travel machines mission has such a unique profile that it tells you it’s built uphill. for some seriously aggressive riding. In the saddle, the Scapegoat has a mysteriously cramped cockpit, despite a 23- WHAT IS IT MADE FROM? inch-long top tube. The 25-inch-wide handlebar is narrow The six-inch-travel Scapegoat shares the same for today’s cross-country bikes, let alone a six-inch-travel aluminum frame as the aforementioned park bike, and is partly to blame for the awkward in-the- saddle feel. The bulky Diamondback Brics grips had to go— we opted for a thinner lock-on pair. Pedaling: Despite the black-diamond-trail component spec, the Scapegoat is an impressive pedaling machine. We felt almost no unwanted suspension movement while mash- ing in the saddle with the Fox’s ProPedal lever engaged on the DHX 5.0 air shock. The two-way ProPedal lever is easy to reach, as the top of the shock is near the downward- sloping top tube. The HammerSchmidt transmission will take some getting used to (as does any two-ring setup), but once you’ve re-wired the shifting mechanism of your brain, you’ll be using the transmission to your advantage. The HammerSchmidt’s gearing setup will do you the most good when the chain is towards the middle of your cassette, otherwise the drastic drop or rise of the front chainring will send you into a furi- ous rear-derailleur-shifting frenzy to find the appropriate ratio for the terrain. Climbing: Going uphill is when you really Diamondback Mission, except for a more robust, straight- take advantage of the HammerSchmidt, as it takes you and gauge downtube for added strength. the Scapegoat to the top of steep climbs that other six-inch- Diamondback’s four-bar Knuckle Box suspension is travel bikes would have no hope of cresting. When you’ve designed so the wheel rate starts off linear and finishes reached the limit of what your legs can dish out, use the slightly progressive. This results in improved small-bump left-side thumb shifter to drop into HammerSchmidt’s low compliance, more perceived travel and bottom-out protec- gear and find a ratio that will get you to the top. tion. Diamondback says their Knuckle Box pivot locations The 6.3-inch-travel fork requires you to exaggerate result in minimal chain growth and that pedal feedback is bending at the elbows to get your chest over the front of the non-existent. bike to keep the front wheel from wandering. HammerSchmidt’s planetary gear design has a lot of WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT? moving parts working together to deliver its unique gear On the front-end of the bike stands a 6.3-inch-travel Fox ratios. The result of the internal mechanism’s workings is a 36 Float RC2 fork mounted inside the 1.5-inch head tube. small but noticeable amount of drag on the drivetrain when Instead of the Fox RP23 shock used on the Mission, the pedaling in the 36-tooth gear, especially uphill. The drive- Scapegoat features a Fox DHX 5.0 air shock with a piggy- train drag is the trade-off for getting a 36.5-pound, long- back reservoir. travel rig up steep ascents. The most noticeable difference between the two bikes is Descending: As impressed as we were with the 104 www.mbaction.com
  • Tough going: Although a good pedaling bike, the Scapegoat’s flexy rear end made navigating rough descents a chore. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 105
  • Animal Scapegoat’s pedaling efficiency, we were equally disappoint- ed with the bike’s ability to handle the landscape it was designed to tame. The fly in the ointment? Rear-end flex. On some high-speed rocky terrain, the sensation was so distracting that we dismounted to make sure all of the pivot bolts were tight and the rear wheel wasn’t out of true. After several sec- tions of tough terrain worthy of the 6.3-inch-travel, 20-mil- limeter thru-axle Fox fork and Avid Code downhill brakes, we concluded that the rear end of the bike felt as though it was twisting, winding up and countering the steering input from the rider at the handlebar. Cornering: At low speeds, or on uphills, the Scapegoat is a decent navigator of tight turns. However, once the trail opens up, changing direction at speed or braking hard to make a downhill switchback means that the flexy rear end once again Spin and grin: Hauling the 32-pound, six-inch-travel Scapegoat greatly impacts the bike’s handling. up steep climbs isn’t the easiest feat. However, the Braking: The Scapegoat’s Avid Code brakes were developed HammerSchmidt transmission makes getting a burly bike to the top of climbs possible. on the World Cup circuit and have maximum-strength stop- ping power. The eight-inch front brake rotor and seven-inch rear rotor wouldn’t be overkill for a bike that can rip through BUYING ADVICE expert-level downhill terrain; however, on the Scapegoat We’ve been fans of Diamondback’s Knuckle Box Sortie and they’re out of place. The Code’s resin brake pads are quiet and Mission (where we noticed frame flex and felt it was accept- aren’t ultra-grabby, but they lack sufficient friction on the rotor able, and even welcome, for trail riding), but we can’t recom- for keeping speed in check when you need it most. We recom- mend the $5200 Scapegoat as a serious black-diamond bike mend running at least one metallic brake pad up front. when companies like Specialized, Scott and Trek (to name just a few) offer proven designs that can truly “do it all” by cruis- TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS? ing uphill and crushing descents. News is that the 2010 You won’t find a more versatile wheelset than the Scapegoat is getting a complete redesign, so a bargain on the Scapegoat’s Mavic CrossMax SX hoops. The SX hoops are 2009 model may not be a bargain after all. ❑ tubeless ready, and we highly recommend converting. Swapping the 25-inch-wide handlebar for a 27- or 28-incher DIAMONDBACK SCAPEGOAT would reduce front-end twitchiness and give the Scapegoat a bit more stability when pointed downhill. Price $5200 Country of origin Taiwan Weight 36.5 pounds Hotline (253) 395-1100 Frame tested Medium Bottom bracket height 13.75" Chainstay length 17.35" Top tube length 23" Head tube angle 67° Seat tube angle 72° Standover height 29.5" Wheelbase 43.7" Suspension travel (front) 6.3" Suspension travel (rear) 6" Frame material Aluminum Fork Fox Shox 36 Float RC2 Shock Fox Shox DHX 5.0 Air Rims Mavic CrossMax SX Tires WTB Prowler, WTB Stout Hubs Mavic CrossMax SX Brakes Avid Code Brake Levers Avid Code Crankset Truvativ HammerSchmidt FR Shifters SRAM X.9 Handlebar Answer Pro Taper OS (25") Front derailleur N/A Rear derailleur SRAM X.0 Got your Goat: The Truvativ HammerSchmidt transmission is standard equipment. The Knuckle Box four-bar suspen- Chainrings HammerSchmidt (36/22) sion is designed to have a wheel rate that results in Cassette SRAM PG990 (11-34) improved small-bump compliance. You won’t find a tougher, Pedals DB Sound Alloy or more reliable, all-mountain wheelset. 106 www.mbaction.com
  • MBA TECH N u m be r Cru n c h in g Wheels And Drivetrains What every pedal rotation gets you or costs you THREE-BY-NINE S RAM’s recent announcement of their XX Group (MBA, September 2009) and rumors of a similar ten-speed cassette being readied by 26-INCH WHEELS Shimano have generated a lot of excitement from everyone but single-speed riders. The SRAM XX We have calculated the distance advanced with a com- Group’s heart is a ten-cog cassette matched with a mon trailbike using an 11-34 cassette and standard two-ring crankset. 44/32/22 chainrings on the crank. This combination gives The ten-cog cassette turns the tables on conven- you 27 gear choices and moves you from as little as 4.4 feet tional wisdom and opens a new world of gearing per crank revolution to a giant 27.23 feet. possibilities for everyone from cross-country racers to 29er riders. Specialized has already paired the SRAM ten-cog cassette with a three-ring crankset on their 2010 S-Works Stumpjumper, and cross- country racers are ditching a chainring to return to true “ten-speed” bikes. The question riders are asking is, “What am I gaining and what am I giving up by stepping up to a ten-cog cassette?” CRUNCHING NUMBERS The wrecking crew fired up the spreadsheet program to find out (on paper) what those ten cogs bring to the moun- tain biking table. Now don’t call this a gear-inch compari- son, because it is not. What our calculations show is how far your bike will move forward each time you complete a crank rotation based on the gear you have selected and the size of the wheels on your bike. THREE-BY-NINE We figure this forward movement by taking the wheel size and multiplying it by the chainring. We then divide 29-INCH WHEELS this number by the rear cog. Next, we multiply this result by pi (3.14159). Finally, we divide this last result by 12 Same as above, but this time with 29-inch wheels. (because there are 12 inches in a foot) to get the distance traveled after one crank rotation. Example: Step one: 26 (wheel size) x 32 (chainring) = 832 Step two: 832 / 34 (cog) = 24.47 Step three: 24.47 x 3.14159 (pi) = 76.87 Step four: 76.87 / 12 (inches in a foot) = 6.4 feet TWO-BY-TEN 26-INCH WHEELS Welcome to the world of 2x10 drivetrains. While numbers cannot tell the whole story, they do reveal what you lose and what you gain. We start with SRAM’s 11-36 cassette mated to Game changer: The SRAM XX cassette starts with an aluminum the Truvativ 42/28 and 39/26 cranksets. 36- or 34-tooth cog. The next eight cogs are machined in one piece, The numbers show that the lowest gear possible (26 chain- and an 11-tooth cog slides on to function as a retaining washer. ring with a 36 rear, or 26:36) moves you forward 4.92 feet, 108 www.mbaction.com
  • which is half a foot more than a conventional 22-tooth granny the tall top end (42:11), you pay the price on the low end gear mated to a 34-tooth cog. It is almost identical to a 3x9- (28:36) of almost a foot—even taller than a 29er’s lowest equipped 29er’s lowest gear, shown above. For a rider with a gear. If you go for the lowest geared XX crankset (26:36), you good power-to-weight ratio, riding a cross-country race bike or lose almost a foot on the top end. The 3x9 may be at a disad- expensive sub-26-pound trailbike, this will work. However, it vantage when it comes to chainline and shifting performance, may cause problems for heavier riders on heavier bikes, espe- but it still offers a wider spread of gearing choices on both cially later in a ride when every hill feels a little steeper and ends of the spectrum. longer than it actually is. On the other end of the spectrum, the 2x10 offers less gear on the top end if you are spinning the 42:11 combo. On a TWO-BY-TEN smooth, long downhill, tuck in and pedal away with a gear that moves you about a foot less every pedal rotation than your 29-INCH WHEELS buddy mashing a 44:11 on his 3x9. What does the 2x10 movement mean to 29er riders? You Note that you can’t have both with the 2x10. If you go for better be fit. We teamed a Truvativ 39/26 crankset with SRAM’s 36-11 cassette for this big-wheel roll out. The low- est gear, 26:36, is about half a foot taller than a 22:34 combo and equivalent to a 22:26 on a 26er. That would be a tall gear for anyone except a racer on a lightweight 29er race bike. Now, if an enterprising rider matched the 11-36 ten-cog cassette with a 44/32/22 crankset on a 29er, he’d have a low gear that mirrors a conventional 26er’s low gear. Now, that’s an interesting idea. On the other end, the tallest gear you’d have, 39:11, is over a foot off the top end of a nine-cog, 44:11 gear combo. That is not as much of an issue as the low gear, because how often do you find yourself spun out on a downhill? We are going to run the drill again, same as above, except this time, we mounted the SRAM 11-32 cassette. Following tradition: A nine-cog cassette and three-ring crank is still the most accepted drivetrain combination in mountain biking for trail riding and cross-country racing. Change is on the horizon. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 109
  • MBA TECH Nu mber C runc hi ng THIRTY SPEEDS THIS IS GETTING CRAZY SRAM never intended their XX cassette to find its way onto a drivetrain with a triple-ring crank up front. They feel some of the XX magic is its smooth chainring shifting, because each chainring only has to be designed to move the chain in one direction (you can only upshift from the smaller ring and downshift from the big one). Still, some- body has done it, and that somebody is Specialized. The 2010 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper Carbon is fitted with a SRAM XX 11-36 cassette and 44/32/22 chain- rings. The combo gives you a tractor-pulling low gear and a Bonneville-Salt-Flats top end. The lowest gear moves you forward 4.16 feet each revolution, so you better be great at spinning the cranks or balancing (or both). The top end of 27.23 feet for each crank revolution is the same as a con- ventional 3x9 and way more top gear than a World Cup pro would push. Ten-speed: Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski used ten speeds, a chainguide and 29-inch wheels to win the 2009 Cross- Country National Championship. He gave up gearing on both ends and worked the center. It was all he needed. TEN SPEED NOT LIKE YOUR DAD’S Another application that SRAM didn’t intend their XX group to be used for was converting a 2x10 cross-country race bike into a 1x10 bike. But it has already happened, and the combo won a cross-country national championship. The rider, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, and his Fisher 29er, used a SRAM XX 11-36 cassette, a Truvativ Noir crank (not the XX crank), a 36-tooth chainring, no front derailleur and a chainguide. This setup is course spe- cific, because the lowest gear rolls out at seven and a half feet. There are only so many times the legs can push that gear up a steep climb. Top end doesn’t suf- fer because this is a 29er. JHK got almost 25 feet every time he turned the crank in the 36:11 combina- tion. Before you write off the ten-speed as something only a World Cup racer could love, think about all the Breaking the rules: Leave it to Specialized to push the boundaries. The 2010 S-Works Stumpjumper offers its riders 30 gear choices. single-speed riders who do just fine with nine fewer gears. Although four of the gear combinations overlap (on paper), they When used by a fit rider on a light bike, the ten-speed drive- don’t overlap on the trail. train has already proven to be a winner. 110 www.mbaction.com
  • GEAR INCHES NOT OF THIS WORLD Old-school riders use a system to calculate their forward movement based on equivalent wheel size. The concept, called the gear-inch system, dates back to a time before bicy- cles had chains. The concept was dreamed up when safety bikes, which used a crank-and-chain drivetrain system, began to replace the big-wheeled bikes of the 1800s, whose cranks mounted directly to an oversized front wheel. Taking the rear wheel’s diameter, multiplying it by the front chainring and then dividing that number by the rear cog calculates gear inches. You come up with a two or three digit number that works for the sake of comparison and little else. Take, for example, a mountain bike with 26-inch wheels in the middle ring (32 teeth) and the top cog (in this case, a 34-tooth cog). So (26x32)/34=24.470588 gear inches, or a little over two feet. This gear-inch calculation is suitable for comparison with your other gear selection options, but it doesn’t translate to the real world. That’s because one revolution of a 32/34-gear combination on a 26-inch-wheeled bike is going to move you six feet, five inches down the trail—not two feet. ❑ Two-by-ten: Big wheels, light carbon fiber frames and two- Take your pick: It is not uncommon for a rider with a single- by-ten transmissions have found favor in cross-country racing speed drivetrain to put the hurt on riders with far more gearing (usually the last places to adopt new technology). Are you choices. A study of our two-by-ten and one-by-ten charts may willing to give up seven gears? prove to be all the gearing you need. Long days: A cross-country race is a few hours of intense suffering. Trail rides can be three times that long and will wear you down in a different way. At the end of an epic, it is a blessing to have plenty of gears to choose from. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 111
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  • MBA Competition 2OR09 W 0 LD C HA MP I ON SH I PS Ba t t l e O f Th e S e x e s American women bring home the medals; men bring home a problem N ature dictates that males and females of the same species diverge in appearance and behavior—and nowhere was that more evident than at the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia. The sexes couldn’t be more different than those on the American mountain bike team. Our women racers are on top of their game, while our men have some soul searching to do. America needs to rethink its entire program if it ever hopes to become competi- tive on the world stage again. The disparity is so great between the sexes that it is hard to believe both the men and the women have germinated from the same racing development programs. American women finished in the top three of the cross-country, downhill and 4-Cross (where we took two out of the top three spots). And, all those top slots were backed by other American top-ten finishers in each racing discipline. As for the American men, our high point was an eighth place in the Cross-Country event and an eighth in the 4-Cross, which, in a field of 32 riders, is hardly worth licking a stamp to write home about, especially with the Eric Carter and Brian Lopes years still fresh in American-racing memory. The closest we came to a Downhill podium position (even when it is expanded to include the top five positions) was a 13th place with a time gap wider than first and second place in the men’s Cross-Country event (and that was a two-hour race versus the Downhill’s two-minutes and 30 seconds). 114 www.mbaction.com
  • Photo by Victor Lucas British royalty: The perennial “Mr. Second Place” at the World Championships, Steve Peat, didn’t come up short this year. His downhill win was the most popular of the weekend, even among his rivals and the partisan Australian fans. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 115
  • MBA Competition WORLD C H A M P I O N S H IP S PACK YOUR BAGS Nine of the top 20 downhillers at the Worlds cut their real world education. It must have worked, because today, teeth racing in Australia and New Zealand. Before you claim American road racers are the toast of the Continental towns. home-court advantage, these are the same riders who consis- They have been winning the pro tours. tently school us on our own shores. If Americans are serious Not so with the American mountain bike racer. The times about running with the big dogs, they need to bid farewell to have changed, and the current crop of racers is not inclined America’s disjointed downhill race series, mediocre sponsor- to give up the familiarity and comfort of America to head ships and tasty McDonalds. We aren’t tough enough, our into the unknown. courses aren’t challenging enough and our fast food is too No sweat. If the American men won’t go to the mountain, plentiful. they shouldn’t expect the Mountain Bike World In cross-country, Swiss and French riders have claimed Championship title to come to them. Those rainbow-striped six of the top ten positions. Switzerland cut their teeth bat- jerseys aren’t handed down to the coolest guys on the cir- tling against 2008 World Champion Christoph Sauser for the cuit—just the fastest women. ❑ last decade and, to give them more oomph, the Scott Swisspower team has had Thomas Frischknecht tutoring them (and he is working miracles). Hill biking: The Canberra, Australia, downhill course was more of There was a time, long ago in a far off galaxy, where a hill than a mountain. This presented the racers with hard deci- young American bicycle road racers packed their bags and sions about what equipment was best suited for the course. eked out a living racing in Europe just for a chance to get a Photo by Victor Lucas 116 www.mbaction.com
  • D o w n hi ll Photo by Victor Lucas Commander Cody: Former American Downhill National Champion Cody Warren was the top American finisher in the Men’s Downhill event, putting in a Herculean effort to make up for an early split time that had him outside of the top 20. Photo by Robert Jones Versatility: Melissa Buhl was the only gravity rider to place in the top ten of two disci- plines, the Downhill and 4-Cross. In this day and age of specialization, Melissa is still a rider who would rather race both than sit one out. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 117
  • MBA Competition 118 www.mbaction.com
  • Equipment dilemma: The Downhill course was not as technical as many World Cup courses, and some riders, like Fabien Barel, elected to run single-crown forks. His first split was second only to Steve Peat, but his top speed ranked 21st. DOWNHILL RESULTS MEN’S 1. Steve Peat, Great Britain, 2:30.33 2. Greg Minnaar, South Africa, 2:30.38 3. Mick Hannah, Australia, 2:31.02 4. Fabien Barel, France, 2:31.17 5. Sam Hill, Australia, 2:33.04 6. Gee Atherton, Great Britian, 2:334.31 7. Nathan Rennie, Australia, 2:34.31 8. Justin Leov, New Zealand, 2:34.32 9. Chris Kovarik, Australia, 2:34.35 10. Steve Smith, Canada, 2:34.50 Others: 13. Cody Warren, United States, 2:35.95 15. Kyle Strait, United States, 2:36.31 18. Brian Lopes, United States, 2:37.58 21. Aaron Gwin, United States, 2:38.12 22. Duncan Riffle, United States, 2:38.46 WOMEN’S 1. Emmeline Ragot, France, 2:50.05 2. Tracy Moseley, Great Britian, 2:52.54 3. Kathy Pruitt, United States, 2:54.89 4. Fionn Griffiths, Great Britain, 2:56.79 5. Floriane Pugin, France, 2:57.31 6. Claire Buchar, Canada,, 2:59.42 7. Micayla Gatto, Canada, 2:59.44 8. Mio Suemasa, Japan, 2:59.56 9. Melissa Buhl, United States, 3:01.69 10. Joanna Petterson, South Africa, 3:03.30 Photo by Victor Lucas December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 119
  • MBA Competition Photo by Victor Lucas Photo by Robert Jones Come from behind: Mick Hannah was as far back as fifth Miss Dependability: Kathy Pruitt has proven she knows how to place over the beginning of the course and used the second- get the job done. When the pressure is on, Kathy is a rider you fastest top speed of the day to claw his way to third before want in your corner. crossing the finish.
  • 4 - C ro s s American sandwich: Australia’s Caroline Buchanan finds out what an American cheese- burger must feel like. Sandwiched between Jill Kintner (left) and Melissa Buhl, the 4-Cross podium was a pure celebration. 4-CROSS Eye of the tigress: Jill Kintner ran her own RESULTS racing program this year that took her all the Photos by Victor Lucas way to the 4-Cross World Championships’ MEN’S podium. Missing the rainbow jersey is only 1. Jared Graves, Australia going to make this lady more determined. 2. Romain Saladini, France 3. Jakub Ruha, Czech Republic 4. Rafael Alvarez De Lara Lucas, Spain WOMEN’S 1. Caroline Buchanan, Australia 2. Jill Kintner, United States 3. Melissa Buhl, United States 4. Anita Molcik, Austria December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 121
  • MBA Competition C r o s s- C ou n tr y CROSS-COUNTRY RESULTS MEN’S 1. Nino Schurter, Switzerland, 2:04.39 2. Julien Absalon, France, +00:03 3. Florian Vogel, Switzerland, +00:58 4. Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos, Spain, +00:58 5. Geoff Kabush, Canada, +02:04 6. Cedric Ravanel, France, +02:35 7. Jean-Christophe Peraud, France, +02:59 8. Todd Wells, United States, +03:06 9. Jaroslav Kulhavy, Czech Republic, +03:22 10. Christoph Sauser, Switzerland, +03:45 Others: 18. Adam Craig, United States, +05:03 29. Sam Schultz, United States, +07:31 34. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, United States, +09:01 WOMEN’S 1. Irina Kalentieva, Russian Federation, 1:43.20 2. Lene Byberg, Norway, +00:13 3. Willow Koerber, United States, +00:52 4. Sabine Spitz, Germany, +01:30 5. Anna Szaframiec, Poland, +01:37 Photo by Robert Jones 6. Catharine Pendrel, Canada, +02:36 7. Cecile Rode Ravanel, France, +03:07 8. Esther Suss, Switzerland, +03:40 9. Eva Lechner, Italy, +03:58 10. Heather Irmiger, United States, +04:12 Others: 14. Katherine Compton, United States, +06:32 15. Georgia Gould, United States, +07:01 21. Mary McConneloug, United States, +08:31 Weeping willow: There were tears of happiness after Willow Koerber (11) spun out the ride of her life to best rivals like Sabine Spitz, Catherine Pendrel and fellow American Heather Irmiger. Willow’s ride was inspirational. 122 www.mbaction.com
  • Photo by Robert Jones In the family: It is the second year in a row that Switzerland lays claims to the men’s cross-country rainbow jersey. Nino Schurter defended Switzerland’s honor by besting last year’s runner up, Julien Absalon. Photo by Robert Jones Big Wheel: Chalk one more achievement up for Todd Wells and 29-inch wheels. Todd broke into the top ten of the cross- country, and the larger hoops helped get him there. December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 123
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  • A s winter moves in upon us, the days get shorter, nights get colder and conditions become less than 1 ideal for mountain biking. To help keep your riding spirits high (and entertained), we’ve compiled a list of mountain bike DVDs for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully, the flicks below will inspire you to dig up those insulated gloves, waterproof shoes and snow tires, and get back out on the trail before spring rolls in. 1 high-definition film about the progression aof Live free and ride: Freedom Riders is trail building in the United States over the last ten years. The movie highlights a small group of riders who evolved from covertly building rough and unsustainable trails to developing a precedent-setting relationship with the Forest Service and creating some of the best freeride 3 trails in the country. “Freedom Riders” is a look at the evolution of the sport, from an 2 activity reserved for the few who rebelled against the spandex-clad status quo to the mainstream sport it is today. $19.99, (307) 690-7411 2 dugParty into their archives, sifted through deep crashers: The DH Productions crew decades worth of footage, and pulled out the sickest crash clips they could find for OTB, otherwise known as Over The Bars. You will watch the athletes involved take you through the details and explain why they push their limits for the sake of progression. Featured ath- letes include Aaron Chase, Cam McCaul, Jeff Lenosky, Josh Bender, Randy Spangler, Wayne Goss, Kyle Ebbett, Andrew Neethling, Cam Zink, Mike Kinrade, Steve Romaniuk, Jim DeChamp and more. $19.99, (814) 422-7878 3 production the leader: Anthill Films isof new Follow a company started by several the Photo by Sterling Lorence people responsible for successful movies like Seasons and Roam. Anthill’s debut project is called Follow Me and is slated for release in spring 2010. In every experience, from sending giant step-downs to high-speed trails, it’s always better to share the ride. Follow Me has a star-filled cast of riders, including Gee Atherton, Ben Boyko, Geoff Gulevich, Sam Hill, Matt Hunter, Cam McCaul, Brandon Semenuk, Stevie Smith, Kurt Sorge and Thomas Vanderham. (604) 567-1011 4 4 instructional video developed by Pro is an Pro style: Fluidride’s Like A riders for riders. The video delves into proper body movement, and each technique is explained in a way that will be helpful to everyone from beginners to pros. The techniques discussed cross over to most forms of cycling, from cross-country to downhill to dirt jumping. $24.95, (206) 547-0712 126 www.mbaction.com
  • 5 5 andTip top: comes the creator ofPoint, a new movie F1RST From The Tipping Between The Tape from filmmaker Clay Porter. The Tipping Point highlights every round of the 2008 UCI World Cup series, as well as the World Championships. Shot in the United States, Australia, Finland and Canada, The Tipping Point documents the sport of World Cup downhill mountain bike racing. $19.99, (800) 727-6689 6 Allout Productions, Days offeature release from Riding dirty: The fifth Dirt, offers up a blend of downhill and freestyle action. From the hills of Oakland to Crankworx, Days of Dirt showcases America’s finest riders getting down and dirty, doing what they do best. Featuring rippers like Cole Bangert, Brad Benedict, Ryan Condrashoff, 6 Brian Miller, Alex Reveles, Duncan Riffle, Luke Strobel, J.D. Swanguen, Greg Watts and more, Days of Dirt will get you stoked to get dirty. $21.95, (800) 962-7497 7 7 Radicalabout the high-definition8tribute tofrom All Films is a ride: Kranked Revolve the ride and the rider. Revolve is shot from the French Alps to the lush coast of British Columbia and incorporates dirt jump, trail riding, slopestyle and downhill. Featured riders include Jamie Goldman, Sam Pilgrim, Lance McDermott, Steve Romaniuk, Sam Hill, Brendan Fairclough, Bobby McMullen, James Doerfling, Rene Wildhaber, Mike Kinrade, Garett Buehler and more. $27.95, (604) 886-5950 8 innovative mountain bike ridersisin theof the most Greatest hits: Jeff Lenosky one world, and his career has spanned more than a decade. Jeff Lenosky’s Greatest Hits includes some of the most jaw-dropping video segments from the last ten years. This DVD documents Jeff’s progression all the way from the original classic Keepin’ it Real to his award-winning section from Chain Reaction 5 and everything in between. $19.99, 8 (814) 422-7878 9 Rub some dirt on it: Freeride Entertainment’s last edition of the New World Disorder series, NWD 10: Dust and Bones, is shot in high definition with Red cameras and brings you the ultimate throw-down segment by Darren Berrecloth, unbe- lievable backflip combinations from Greg Watts and the new-school styles of Graham Agassiz. Watch Paul B slay his personal slope-style course in Nevada, Gee Atherton shred through the forests of Italy, and Aaron Chase session Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire. Throw in the rest of the top dirt jumpers and slopestylers, 9 and this world-class mix will have you reeling. NWD 10 is the culmination of a decade’s worth of blood, sweat and tears. (250) 352-3377 ❑ 128 www.mbaction.com
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  • DOWN THE TRAIL W ay back in 1999, North-Shore-style stunts were relatively new to riders outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, but they were catching on fast. We grabbed some lumber, nails, a hammer and saw and put together an entry-level skills course of our own to join the fun. The trail: Find some used (or new) 2x10 boards. Use a ten-foot board to con- nect the two Burros. It’s best to use 3/8-inch lag bolts to snug the board to the Burros. Horse play: Save yourself a lot of time and sweat by picking up two 24-inch Classic Burro sawhorses. Ramp it up: Make sure the ramps on each side of the bridge are longer than your bike’s wheelbase. Cutting them too short will cause your chainring to dig into your Tighten it up: Attach the two ramps to the Burros with 3/8-inch stunt and make riding up or down way harder. lag bolts and tighten all your hardware. Walk the plank: Your stunt is ready to master. After not more than an hour of use, check the hardware to make sure it is tight, and inspect your wood for cracks that could lead to sudden failure. ❏ 130 www.mbaction.com