CRANKWORX: A HIGH-FLYING PARTY
MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
DO WE REALLY NEED
MASTER TIGHT, TRICKY
SWITCHBACKS LIKE THE PROS
NINER R.I.P. 9
Att’n Retailer: Please display
$4.99 until December 3
“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
Whistler throws a week-long party, and
you’re all invited to attend. Page 54.
Photo by John Ker
Photo by John Ker
BIKE TESTS FEATURE 108 Number Crunching Your
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
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.
A lot of trail-riding attitude. 54 Whistler’s weeklong
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.
76 Riders Who Inspire 10 Happy Trails
Why our world needs more The year in review.
12 Mac Attack
100 Young Rippers Computers don’t ride bikes.
Introducing Alex Prochazka.
14 Hard Tales
Dreamscapes, kids and Lance’s
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.
JIM McILVAIN • EDITOR
RICHARD CUNNINGHAM • EDITOR-AT-LARGE
JODY WEISEL • FEATURE EDITORS
SEAN McCOY • MANAGING EDITOR
JOHN KER • ASSISTANT EDITORS
JEFF SPENCER • TRAINING CONSULTANT
JOHN TOMAC • CONSULTANTS
BRAD ROE • ONLINE EDITORS
EDUARDO GUTIE´RREZ • DESIGNER
ALMA MARTíNEZ de DICSö • ASSISTANT DESIGNERS
CASSANDRA MITTELBERG • COPY EDITOR
PAT CARRIGAN • PHOTO ARTIST
WILLIAM C. HAWLEY IV • PRELIM COORDINATOR
ROBERT REX • NATIONAL
ROBB MESECHER • ADVERTISING MANAGER
DERRECK BERNARD • ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES
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
JEFF SHOOP • CIRCULATION DIRECTOR
TIM LaPAGLIA • PROMOTIONS
ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES
25233 Anza Dr.
Valencia, CA 91355
Fax (661) 295-1278
Any change of address or subscription
problems please contact us by e-mail:
email@example.com or call (800) 767-0345.
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
The HollowGram SI Crankset. The lightest, stiffest crankset on the planet.
Standard on the Cannondale Factory Racing Team Scalpel.
The good fight. cannondale.com
HAPPY TRAILS By Richard J. Cunningham
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. ❑
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-
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,”
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.
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.
loaded up and
gonna do what
they say can’t be
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
of the bike. Thank you, thank you, and thank
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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 ❑
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.
Grand Junction, Colorado
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
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).
New York City Mountain Bike Association
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.
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!
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
December 2009 / MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION 25
Me and my old JBC Pro Scandium on
the long, dense beach sands at Legian
Beach in Bali, Indonesia.
Rempoa, Banten, Indonesia
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.
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.
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
Trail Mix rider of the month: Pua Sawiki ❑
THRASH TESTS Thrash test rating:
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.
Niner S.I.R. 9 >> Single or Geared, Reynolds 853 tubeset.
Get the details: www.thebigrevolution.com
LUPINE TESLA 4
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
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.
DRED TREAD C2C
EXCAVATOR HAPPY MEDIUM
BLUE KING OF
GROOVE john TOMAC TRACTION EL MOCO brian LOPES BBG
GOPRO HELMET HERO WIDE hours with NiMH rechargeable
Recording your ride made simple The Hero Helmet Wide
kit includes a five
megapixel Hero Wide
camera with 170-
lens, a shock-
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
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
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. ❑
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.
A Capable Trailbike With An Old-
School Cross-Country Feel The Turner Flux
swingarm pivot yoke that sweeps around the front derailleur
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-
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.
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