Thursday, July 30, 2015


Bummer time

I went to sleep for a second and when I woke up there were six different chainring standards.

All of this bullshit happened so people could run 28 tooth chainrings. If you can't turn a 30 tooth up a hill maybe you should take up jogging.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gotta hustle

Just when I thought I'd seen everything the internet has to offer, Ben Furbee went and found this gem:

I like to think the Red Bull prize money paid for a trip to race in Europe or America. Or just beer because they're Aussies.

Team Player

Everyone keeps emailing me the Couscous dustmageddon video to rant about on TEAM ROBOT, hoping that I say something about the slow mo or freeride flicks or whatever, but all I see when I watch the video is a team manager with loads of world-class talent on his team, with brand cachet and careers of their own just waiting to be promoted, and he took the juiciest web-friendly marketing premise and used it to promote himself.

On second thought, this might be a good backup plan for me. I've long said that my dream job is to be a cult leader, but being a mid-pack pro slash "team manager" might be even better. That way I can leverage someone else's talent and speed to get myself free stuff and money. That's almost better than the cult leader plan.

Don't know why this career path didn't occur to me sooner, as this is a story as old as racing: the older/slower/smarter racer-as-team-manager who uses team resources to promote himself. That's all fair and good, mind you, as long as the other better, faster, and more recognizable riders on the team are getting a bigger piece of the limelight, but when was the last time you saw a sick front page Polygon UR video starring Andrew or Mick? Even Tracy hasn't had a good feature role in a UR video since 2014, and this dust video is so girl friendly it's a joke. Forget girls, you could take the UPS driver or the teens behind the counter at your local froyo place out to that dust, give them a bike, and make an entertaining video at 1000 FPS. This is a non-personality based video, with such easy conditions to convey speed you could plug and play with any of your team riders. You could have made this video with the team mechanics and it would have been good.

Maybe they weren't around. Maybe they were busy. Maybe they didn't want to. All of these are possibilities, but those obstacles could be overcome by one iota of effort, a moment's thought, or one plane ticket.

And if any of you say "yeah, but Andrew gets tons of coverage in the UR World Cup vids," you're kidding yourself. No one watches those things. I watched the first fifteen seconds of the Queenstown one, and it felt like I was winning free time back, because I instantly knew I didn't need to bother watching the UR race recaps for the rest of the season.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TEAM ROBOT Freeride Flick Tutorial

Anything that happens in the red zone is not a freeride flick, it's cornering. It could be good cornering, it could be bad cornering, it could be horrific cornering, it could be a scandiflick or a Voreis or a dust-pile photoshoot apex blowout, but it all lives under the tent we call cornering.

A freeride flick is, by definition, cornering without changing direction. It's the bike equivalent of a Subway Veggie Delite. Or a V6 Mustang. Or soaking.

This is called cornering:

This is also cornering:


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I'm real happy for you, Neko, and imma let you finish

But DPA kind of sucks. Anyway see you at Snowshoe dude.

We're all pussies

More in the "mountain biking is easy" category.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Optical illusion

"It's a lamp."

"No way dude, it's two women."

"No, you're not seeing it, it's a lamp."

"Dude, it's a woman. I'm telling you, it's definitely not a lamp."

That's what it's like talking to Canadians and snowboarders about freeride flicks:

You either see it or you don't.

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's in the Geneva convention

If I see you at the races with ankle socks on, I'm going to make fun of you, preferably to your face. Don't take it personally, it's for your own good. There have been lots of theories posited, but in truth I don't really know why we all wear tall black socks. Maybe it's to keep duff out of your socks. Maybe it's to protect your lower legs from abrasion. Maybe it's doubling as SPF cotton. Whatever, you just do it.

Lucas Chalcraft: call out

Adam Ransavage: call out

Stevie Smith: call out

Steve Smith is the biggest offender. There's a "with great power... blah blah blah great responsibility" thing going on here, but more importantly, history has shown his ankles need all the protection they can get. 

Really, they don't even have to be black. You can be wearing the shittiest rasta colored pot leaf jah man socks and I'm not going to say anything. Yeah, they suck and you do too, but you expressed yourself within the confines of polite society, so we're cool. You think that your "beer" socks are both original and hilarious? Fine, as long as they're a 4-inch cut or greater. I don't need to punish you with my words anyway, I'm sure your personality is punishment enough. There are so many bad, horrible, not funny or cute socks out there, perhaps an infinite variety of unfunny socks that boring people wear as a substitute for humor or personality, and while a part of me dies every time I see someone wearing them, as long as they're not ankle socks, I can deal. It's sort of like the way your parents look at you: yeah, they don't agree with your lifestyle, choices, or girlfriends/wife, you're borderline embarrassing when the neighbors ask, and they can barely keep it civil when you come home for dinner, but hey! You've got a job and you don't ask for money very often, so that's a win, right? They couldn't have screwed up that bad.

And if you say something stupid about how you don't care about fashion or how I'm being superficial, but you're at a bike race and you still have a visor on your full face, you're an idiot and I hate you.

Now on the other hand if you're running full bullet head you can say whatever you want about stupid bike fashion- no argument here, you've earned that right.

Either way, you can wear ankle socks or you can wear a visor, but you can't do both. 

Friday, July 10, 2015


I just upgraded to an XXL, so I'm selling off my old bike. Whenever I list something I like to see who else is selling similar bikes, how much they're going for, etc. Turns out competition is stiff. Here's one of the other extra large V10's for sale on Pinkbike right now:

In terms of used downhill bikes go, this is as cherry as it gets. There's a rule that goes something like "never, ever buy a used bike, fork, anything from a pro downhiller." The inverse of that rule is "If you ever see a downhill bike with 8" rise ape hangers and a saddle bag, buy that thing immediately. If all the parts are ano-matched too, travel back in time to buy it."

How am I supposed to compete with this? Like, between my two month old 2015 bike and this two year old 2014, why would you ever buy my bike? Oh, because it costs less? In two years this bike has probably seen less abuse than Ratboy puts his bike through halfway down his warmup run.

New set of bars, cut steerer, and just bite back the pain inside as all your buddies call you out every ride on the Goldmember shit.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

In case you missed it

Wyn Masters bike check:

  • "BoXXer World Cup is set up to be very progressive through its stroke, with 115 PSI and six Bottomless Tokens installed." As far as what I've heard that sets the high score for Boxxer air spring pressure and # of tokens. 
  • 325 rear spring.
  • His mechanic on the topic of sag: "Depends on how much he has had for breakfast, but normally 15% in the rear and nearly 0% at the front."
  • 760mm bars (Gravity bars, which btw you should totally buy right now at
  • Zero stem spacers

Ride the front end much?

Best idea ever

One of my friends said we should fundraise to send every salaried freerider to the World Cups next year. Maybe not the full series, but at least half of it. That works out to be about $15,000 per rider, to do half the series, but I think that's money well spent to finally address this pervasive idea that pops up every time a freehucker posts a video of him displaying upper-level Cat 1 pace. Every time the internet chimes in with comments to the effect of "he should race the World Cup."

Never mind the fact your local hero super racer dude who eats, sleeps and breathes racing and destroys all comers by a minute at your regional or even National races still gets 157th with a good run when he goes and races the world's best. No,  "bike skills are bike skills" says the internet. If sick shredders like the BROastal crew can get so pitted up on their home trails then surely they can get so pitted anywhere.

Yes. Yes he should race the World Cup. Best idea ever. Let's make this happen. We only need to raise $105,000 to send the first class of seven out there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Alternative solutions

Increasing the size of the hub/fork contact surface via modified hub end caps and fork lowers is an intriguing idea. The ROBOTS agree that single crown fork stiffness for aggressive riders is an issue that needs delving into.

A third solution to add stiffness would be be to create an oversized axle. I know new standards are almost universally hated, but hear me out: a 33% increase in diameter over the existing 15mm standard would create an axle with a diameter of roughly 19.9mm, and would yield huge dividends in stiffness. And once you were creating a new axle standard, you could add even greater stiffness by removing the admittedly handy quick release lever and instead secure the axle against rotation in the lowers with bolts that cinch the axle tight. Some might gripe, but the ROBOTS believe most humans using a 180mm fork are not in time sensitive flat change situations. In most gravity events a flat tire means the end of your run anyway.

This is a early stage rendering of what such an axle standard could look like:

In a related story

Greg Minnaar used to be the Ryan Dungey of downhill. Predictable, boring, but consistently good haircuts. To the outside observer, soulless.

But then Gwin happened, and when Gwin started beating all the guys by 3-7 seconds every weekend Greg started to look and sound a lot more human. Watching Greg try to make sense of a 7-second massacre after what I'm sure was a fantastic run on Greg's part was a lot more interesting than listening to his breakdown of winning the World Cup overall for the umpteenth time. That and winning World Champs in his home country was pretty inspirational and tear jerking and all that pussy BS too, I guess. 

Then another thing happened. A few years back I realized I was tall and I couldn't ride like Sam Hill. Going inside on every corner with flat pedals and foot out looks super cool and is also really really slow for me. Suddenly Dr. Boring was the new model for success. Smooth. Big, wide arcs. Early braking. Carrying momentum. Boring it is, but damn if it doesn't work. So I started paying attention to what Greg did instead of just praying for his defeat as a human manifestation of everything boring and uncool about cycling. 

Im glad I started paying attention, because something happened last weekend that no ones talking about: long chainstays happened, and they happened in a big way.

The XXL V10 has 10mm longer chainstays than the stock XL, via a repositioned lower shock link forward pivot on the front triangle. Then Greg had an even longer rear chainstay via the custom "GM link," and that's all on top of an already long stock 442mm chainstay. That means he was rolling around on a roughly 462mm chainstay, aka 18". 

TLDR: that's really, really long. That's as long as Mick's chainstays on the unridable Cannondale Judge back in the day.

And it worked. He asked for it and then won a race on the bike. All the rules go out the window now.

Sorry for no pictures, I'm in line at the DMV right now. 

Monday, July 6, 2015


It's a good thing it got dry and dusty at Lenzerheide, because for a minute there it looked like people were going to start complaining about the track. Normally that would be okay, expected even, but this case was special because the track had Steve Peat's name all over it. In the MTB world Steve Peat is like the Pope was back in the good old days: he's old, he's infallible, and if you question him you get burned at the stake by an angry mob.

Oddly enough, for all the grumblings we heard coming from Greg Minnaar about the track, and all the clips we saw of Steve Peat talking about, extolling the virtues of, and(or) defending the track, we still haven't seen any clips or heard any blurbs of Greg talking about it with Steve.

And those conversations happened. Those guys share the same pit, same hotel room, dinner table, etc. The topic came up.

I'm pretty sure if video surfaced online of Greg Minnaar complaining about Steve Peat's course, a black hole would form and the horsemen of the apocalypse would descend and Roskopp would assume his true form and destroy the world.

Questioning Steve Peat is like, well, it's like questioning Steve Peat. You just don't do it. And yes Steve, those shoes look great.

Apples and Oranges

One of my least favorite things people say is, "You can't really compare those two things. That's like comparing apples to oranges."

In fact, you can compare apples to oranges. It's one of the great insights of the rational, scientific mindset that we can compare dissimilar things. It's a sign of intelligence. For instance, apples and oranges have a lot more in common than, say, apples and Norm Chomsky [editor's note: Noam Chomsky. In my defense the "A" and "R" keys are right next to each other].

And with that, please enjoy comparing and contrasting this apple riding fast down a loose, steep track:

To this orange, also riding fast down a loose, steep track:

What did you see that was similar?
What did you see that was dissimilar?
What other comparisons do these videos bring to mind?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The future is here

Get some

Blowing wide and late, then panic steering to make the next corner is the whole point of downhill racing. Our greatest moments are often immediately preceded by our dumbest. Just ask Bob Stenson.

Photo stolen from Geebeegeebeebeegee


As seen on the Blenkinsop bike check on Pinkbike this morning:

"There are many FOX-supported athletes using the new X2 shock for racing on serious mountainsides, not just for the odd practice run or on shorter, flatter tracks. Is the end nigh for coil springs?"

Subtle, Pinkbike. Subtle.

When you're so nakedly and shamelessly baiting a comment-section conversation like that, internet law requires you to follow up your question with "talk amongst yourselves."

Maybe with staccato breaths and tissue eye-dabbing as well.

Allowing the mechanized overlords to be baited for a moment, the ROBOTS happily await the impending death of coil springs. 90% of amateur riders and 50% of advanced riders the world over are rolling around on coils shocks with the wrong spring rate, either because it was too expensive or too much of a PITA to buy the right spring, or they bought the bike complete and didn't know they needed to replace the stock springs.

Nothing in the entire world makes a bike ride worse than the wrong spring rate. 99% of all head angle, geometry, body position, and tire design conversations going on right now could be resolved by changing the rider's spring rates.

This is also the root cause of 100% of all internet-dispersed Avalanche or Cane Creek Double Bummer suspension wisdom. "Yeah, I set up my fork with 35% sag like you're supposed to and it feels great on the small bumps, but I still can't shake the feeling that it's diving and a little unstable at high speed..."

The ROBOT apocalypse will be air-powered.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


The riding is perfect, but everything that's wrong with Australia is neatly encapsulated in the music. Normally I would do a "watch this on mute, then play this song instead" post when a video has music this bad, but in this case, play anything. I love your riding Dave, but literally anything would be better than the music you chose. Yoko Ono would be better.

Island of criminals.


This is just a reminder to all humans on mountain bikes that what we do is, in the cosmic sense, really really easy. Mountain bikes have big travel, big tires, big wheels, big brakes, big top tubes, slack head angles, and good suspension. In other words, they are perfectly designed for what we're asking them to do. Blitzing down rock gardens and ripping berms is mostly as simple as just relaxing and letting the bike do the work, and this is evidenced by the fact that after a decade of hard work and tireless training I routinely get smoked by juniors and senior citizens, and when I go to World Cups 45 guys from Eastern Europe who no ones ever heard of put 7 seconds into me. These are people from countries that don't even know the earth is round. You can get down all the alternate steep lines on Goat's Gully? Cool, so can anyone with a pulse and an open mind.

Contrast this with skateboarding or bmx where the platform is inherently  unstable and constantly trying to kill you, and you quickly realize why your freeride flicks and "scrubs" do not impress the ROBOTS.

Double peg down a steep 15 stair to hardway 180 out > anything Matt Miles will do in his life.

Skateboarding, and to a lesser extent bmx, are like the soccer of the action sports world. Anyone with a patch of dirt and a ball can play soccer, so the talent pool is extremely large and the level of competition is extremely high. Like, the highest in the world. Similarly, everyone in the developed world under the age of 30 has tried skateboarding at one point or another, and 99.9% of them quickly discovered they suck at life and basketball is easier.

By contrast, the qualifications for being an interior BC freeride style god are:
  • Do you live in interior BC?
  • Do you possess rudimentary bike and or ski/snowboard skills?
  • Can you wiggle your bike around in the air and on the ground?
  • Most importantly, do you have a friend with a 6D and a tripod who sees himself as an artistic visionary and plans to attend film school at UBC in the fall?

Cool high tops.