KS Bike Festival 2012 - Shenzhen, China

Nov 25, 2012
by Matt Wragg  
 
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Once a year KS Suspension throw their factory gates open to the world for a festival. They invite riders from Asia and Europe to come and join local people and simply enjoy bicycles. It's one of the biggest things you notice coming here - they don't just make bikes, they love them too and are working hard to grow the sport. That's reflected in this event, it covers nearly every type of riding (except for road) and is aimed at the whole family. Inside the compound they have built a 4X track and street section, one of the warehouses had a children's area and ten minutes drive away is the XC race course around a stable. All of this in the middle of a city with a population of 10 million. It feels like a throwback to the nineties in the very best possible way, there is a sense of people just enjoying it all, without the genres, subdivisions and terminology of modern mountain biking. The XC race reminded me of my failed attempts at XC racing back in 97 or so, when there would be a couple of fit guys with all the gear who smoked everyone and the rest of us on making it up as we went on whatever we had...

I do need to apologise. There was a results sheet for the race, and rider names and numbers, however it was all in Cantonese. To get this all up today, there just isn't time to pull people away from their jobs and ask them to translate it all for me.

Early morning Sunday commuters.
  This is the weather we woke up to this morning. I'm not sure how long it had been raining for, but it came on in waves every so often and hit hard.

Rain didn t keep the people away.
  But the show must go on, and a bit of rain didn't seem to dampen anyone's enthusiasm.

The festival.
  KS' factory really is in the heart of everything - apparently to get into the countryside you need to drive for at least an hour from here.

The 4X track on the factory grounds.
  How many factories can you think of that have a 4X track on their grounds? When we arrived on Friday production had stopped while everyone pitched in to get ready for the festival. It's amazing to come over here and see that kind of enthusiasm about bikes.

It was a day out for the whole family.
  It's always great to see bike events that encourage children to get involved.

Valentina posing for photos with fans.
  Fans over here are super-keen, back in Europe enduro riders like Valentina Macheda can walk around freely. Here people were so excited to see them that they were grabbing photos left, right and centre.

Pogo sticks
  I haven't seen pogo sticks in years. The world would definitely be a better place with more pogo sticks in it.

Momo is a natural performer.
  Dangerous Momo is a former freerider and now the KS' French importer. Before the rain cut the speeches short he got up on stage and used his flair for performing to get a audience who, for the most part, couldn't speak English clapping and making noise.

Prepping the bikes.
  Manuel Ducci putting the finishing touches to Valentina and his bikes before the XC race. They could only bring one bike each with them (no thanks to Cathay Pacific charging an eye-watering amount to get them here), so opted for their enduro race bikes to do everything on.

Everyone prepared for the race in different ways.
  Everyone prepared for the race in their own way.

Grace is the editor of China s biggest bike mag - when you re that big a deal you get someone to follow you around with an umbrella while you shoot. I m jealous.
  Grace is the editor of China's largest cycling magazine. When you make it to that kind of level over here you get someone to carry an umbrella for you while you shoot. I'm jealous.

It rained a bit...
  And when we arrived at the XC course it was really raining...

Sensible clothing for the weather.
  That didn't seem to put anyone off though and the hill was dotted with people watching the races.

He may look daft but he was a lot drier and happier than I was...
  This guy looked like the driest, happiest man in Shenzhen when the skies opened.

Got out to an early lead but was reeled in by Frederic.
  On the first lap, one of the local riders pulled away from the field to lead as they passed through the finish area for the first time, to huge cheers from the crowd.

Frederic on his was to the win.
  Freddy, one of the French riders, reeled him and proceeded to demolish everyone.

Manuel still pushing on his enduro bike.
  Manuel couldn't hang with the leaders - a 30lb enduro bike with dual ply tyres and 160mm of travel was the wrong weapon for the day. I know full-well just how fit Manuel is and how fit you have to be to race enduro at a high level, so it says a lot about the quality of the riders here that they could drop him like they did.

The organisers decided that Valentina Macheda was too fast for the women s race so put here in with the pro men. On her 30lb enduro bike. She more than held her own.
  After demolishing the field at another XC race yesterday, the organisers decided to put Valentina in the pro men's race. On her 30lb enduro bike she more than held her own, finishing on the same lap as most of the field.

The fitness of some of the local riders was impressive.
  That's pretty much pure determination.

There were a few sudden changes of light to dark made trickier by the slick surface.
  Such thick vegetation meant sudden changes from light to dark, which, combined with the slick surface, caught more than a few people out today.

Style.
  Thomas Moket, giving it some French style for the camera.

Going was tough with the thick sticky mud hanging off your bike.
The only way to describe much of the vegetation along the track was jungle.
  Much of the singletrack loop ran through what can only be described as jungle.

Through the dense foliage.
  The race was over six laps of the short course.

Suffering in the rain.
  About two thirds of the way in, another one of the waves of rain came in, leaving rivers running down the track.

Coming off the fireroad there was a short slippery slope up onto the singletrack.
  On the way into the singletrack was a short, steep climb that had turned into half-foot deep mud in the rain. Pushing was the only sensible option.

The last lap looked tough.
  Although six laps may not sound like much, with mud clinging to everything and a series of short, sharp climbs, the last lap looked tough for nearly everyone.

 I finished
  Fatigue mixed with the joy of finishing.

The 4X race.
  There was no rest for Valentina. Because of the rain the 4X was brought forwards by several hours, so one change of clothes later she was back on the same bike and in the start gate. Unfortunately wet asphalt and mud don't mix well and she took a big hit to her hip on the practice lap, but fought through the pain to compete in the race.

The street demo.
  People seemed to squeeze into every available space to watch the BMX riders take to the wet, metal ramps. You have to take you hat off to them for putting on a show for the crowd as those ramps were slippery as hell.

A fixed-wheel freestyle giving it some.
  In the alleys behind the main area the fixed-wheel freestyle kids gathered to show off their tricks for each other.

The fixie kids head for the stage.
  They then came and put on a show for the crowd in front of the stage.

The Author girls.
  The girls from the Author stand were clearly impressed by the freestylers.

Martin who owns KS.
  Smiling. Unassuming. Those would be the best two words to describe Martin, the owner of KS and the man who dreamt up this festival. His energy and enthusiasm are making a real, visible difference to the spread of mountain biking in China.

www.kssuspension.com

65 Comments

  • + 48
 Smoking before the race....that's one way to ge the lungs warmed up and raring to go
  • + 11
 some people prefer powerstick over powerbar
  • - 1
 no joke read an article the other day that was promoting smoking before sports. It was saying that taking a few drags off a joint or cig before doing physical activity helped increase lung capacity or some shit like that
  • + 9
 A-Smalls, in the words of Joe Biden, thats a load of malarky. A quick pinch of Copenhagen is the way to go.
  • + 10
 Weirdly enough, nicotine/tobacco effects can boost a persons short-term "capacity" in the form of "increased energy". Of course, smoking = less lung performance.

I am a moderate smoker unfortunately (need to stop), smoking before my local trail climb definitely has a negative impact (out of breath faster), but at the same time it gets me relaxed and focused...there's a weird thing going on.

During highschool when I didn't smoke or anything, it was reported over and over by my Lax/football teammates and such who would do a few pinches of chewing tobacco before a lifting session or something and always would say they feel so much more "stronger" in that sense. Nicotine = Stimulant = Increased sense of power.

Enough talking, smoking = bad.
  • + 0
 two of my mates smoke 2-3 fags each before they hit the climbs, not good at all!
  • + 2
 No different to what they breathe anyway. Toxic air.
  • + 6
 Hurr ^^ Pinkbike censored f*gs..! Smoking a f*g does not mean shooting a homosexual...!

Also, sensational photos and very interesting article, thanks...
  • + 1
 f*gs haha Scottish banter = American insults
  • + 3
 do you guys not remember the famous picture of the French cyclists lining up at the Tour de France with cigarettes in their mouths? They truly believed that smoking would be beneficial for lung capacity:

stopfrackingaround.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/img_2370.jpg
[Reply]
  • + 11
 A few things- 10 million ppl in one city! And China alone has like15 cities that have millions and millions of people. Valentina is hot Some of the Chiese girls ar hot I only saw 1 29er all the rest were little wheels. China is a smoking friendly country.
  • + 9
 I think I read in national geographic that 46% of Chinese smoke.
  • + 1
 ^ Yeah. Overall it is more taboo to smoke in America and with many laws/regulations against Tobacco companies it may not be the most profitable in America, but these companies DO NOT need USA customers, literally places in Asia/India, etc are filleeeedddd with smokers. I've traveled there, and damn everyone smokes. Little kids to super old grandmas. Everywhere.
  • + 5
 A few more things - The middle Chinese girl in the penultimate picture is Fantasy hot. The flooded XC course looks like England 350 days of the year . The guy in the plastic hood mack needed an orthodontist.
[Reply]
  • + 12
 Finally can see Chinese in pb
  • + 20
 You can see china on pB always when you look on bikes, parts or gear photos.
  • + 1
 I think he means in a cultural zeitgeist sort of way. Mt bike community organization and embracing sporting culture are two things that aren't really represented when it comes specifically to 'Pinkbike writing a piece/story on China'. Sure, parts manufacturing and trade conventions are covered quite regularly, but I honestly was a bit surprised to see the level of attention to detail in the courses and participation from the Chinese mt bike community in this article. This is a first for me, and I'm Chinese-American (despite my username of course). I feel like I should know about these things first hand. I also like that the author, Matt Wragg, also says that "there is a sense of people just enjoying it all, without the genres, subdivisions and terminology of modern mountain biking." I sometimes feel we as cyclist (and not DHers, roadies, hipsters, XCers, etc) get bogged down by the elitism of classifications and definitions when in fact most mt bikers perform other disciplines of cycling as well. I, like the author, also grew up racing XC (when a dude named Ned Overend was the hero of our sport) in the late nineties as my formidable years of cycling, but I also embrace and am highly passionate about Enduro racing and "all mtn/trail" riding, and my favorite bike in my stable is the Giant Glory DH with 8.8 inches of travel. Go figure. So I think the author did two things very well with this article: 1. The increased growth of mt biking we are seeing in the last few years, and 2. China is stepping up its cycling culture in a big way in terms of recreation, sport, and competition.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 I am a smoker too, and yes I understand it is bad for me. You literally have to have been born in a box and have lived in said box your entire life to not know that smoking is bad. Quitting isn't as easy as easy as popping a piece of gum and doing your own version of the happy dance as all around you applaud and cheer as you bask in the glory of your personal accomplishment. With that said, I am SO tired of hearing snippy comments from self-righteous non smokers both in and out of the biking community, and seeing them scoff as i respectively light up in a designated smoking area in order to not taint the god given lungs of those who live a "healthy" lifestyle. You are no better than me as a person, so please get over yourself. If you don't have anything nice to say or are unable to "so painfully" force a smile in our direction, then just leave us the hell alone.
  • + 0
 I quit smoking 3 years ago after 19 years. you're full of crap get over yourself. non smokers are better than you
  • + 1
 I don't smoke and I completely agree with you. Its not like people are forced to smoke and the media in the US doesn't portray it as 'cool' anymore either. People are free to do whatever the hell they want to their bodies as long as it doesn't harm anyone else. Second-hand smoking is practically non-existent in a well ventilated or outdoor place and therefore someone taking a smoke in a designated place is perfectly fine if you ask me. Some people enjoy smoking and are willing to do so regardless of adverse health affects, so why make them feel like crap for it? People are equal no matter if they smoke or not. And the tobacco companies aren't 'evil', they're just apart of an industry that seeks to make a profit just like any other.
  • + 2
 Winners never quit, and quiters never win.
  • + 4
 @ChampionP- You are such a hypocrite. You said you smoked for 19 years. That didn't make you a piece of shit. And on the flip side, the fact that you successfully quit doesn't make you a f*cking saint that all should bow in front of and kiss your sacred feet. My point was exactly what dooms101 said, "People are equal no matter if they smoke or not." And thats coming from a NON SMOKER!! Jesus f*cking save me, America could use more people like that guy. Unfortunately we get stuck with douche bags like ChampionP who think that they should receive a Nobel Peace Prize for making others feel like crap just so they can turn around afterwards and look at society and say, "do you except me yet?!"
  • + 1
 I'm with you Igo. and i'm not a smoker. douchebags will be douchebags and i'm unsure what is enabling them. did their mothers not like them?
  • + 2
 For some reason it has become socially acceptable to publicly ridicule complete strangers for smoking without knowing anything about their personal circumstances. Are they currently trying to quit? Do they have a shitty job where the next smoke break is all they look forward to? Do/did they have parents who smoke?

Something to note here is that you are all American, and therefore don't really bear the burden of smokers' healthcare like we do in Canada.

Having said all this, I am an ex-smoker and don't hold a grudge against those that choose to smoke. I bought an e-cig a year ago and am essentially smoke-free now. I recommend anyone who smokes gives a legitimate (not one you buy @ the corner store that looks like a cigarette) e-cig a try. In Canada, the tobacco lobby is so strong that sale of nicotine e-juice is banned for sale in retail stores. Health Canada's claim is that the ingredients have not been studied well enough yet to be deemed safe, however the main ingredient (propylene glycol) is also used in asthma inhalers...

I'm not trying to be all preachy here 'cause I've been on the receiving end of that enough times to know what it is like, but IF you want to quit and are having a hard time, just look into it. The ECF forums are a great place to learn.
  • + 0
 you can quit smoking for dipping
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  • + 8
 I always smoke something before I ride Wink
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  • + 3
 This is great to see! The riding scene in China is growing super fast. How do articles get published like this? We have some events out in Chengdu 成都 where I and it would be cool to get some articles up about them.
  • + 1
 Hey my dad is from Chengdu. We are coming out there this summer. Can we rent decent mt bikes anywhere? If not, let me know - I can hook you up Wink
[Reply]
  • + 2
 No wonder he's pushing up that hill he's on maxis crossmarks! Those things are like handling a hovercraft the moment it gets wet. And Valentina is smoking too. Oh, and trust the fixie boys to be in an alley out back! Looks like a whole bag of fun.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 People in China,U know,they always ride XC bike on the road and if U ask them what mountain biking it is,they will say U mean that 越野(XC).Only a few guys ride DH bike down the mountains.U can not see the real mountain biking in China.All the guys like living in the city,they don't want to go to the open air to ride the bike on the big mountain.There is no freerider in China as I know.All the guys ride a DH bike in AM way.U cannot imagine there is no official DH race in China.
  • + 2
 慢慢来吧,你看老外,很多人从小就开始接触山地了,而国内的呢?对不对?越来越多的人开始上山,我觉得是个很好的苗头,国内现在也有一些am fr玩得不错的了啊,这个在前些年是没有的吧,而且这部分人群正在不断地扩大。
ps:英文水平低,不足以清楚表达以上意见,所以打中文,抱歉。
  • + 0
 I agree SniperWZ - China has a lot of catching up to do in terms of cycling culture on the sporting level. It's happening right now though. And this is the same type of growth that happened with mt biking in the states also. It all started with XC because that was the easiest discipline to perform: put some knobby tires on your commuter cruiser and hit the trails ala Gary Fisher = XC. So then the real question becomes, how do we make it well known that DH and freeriding is cool?

You guys have to make it cool. get organized. Go on group rides. get on the internet and make videos of these rides and your friends doing cool isht and hucking off stuff like Bender did in the late 90s. introduce mt biking to the city folks as well as the country folks. organize tours for city folks to go trail riding in the country - rent a bus with a trailer and go to it.
  • + 2
 Also, hold a pro race -- xc and dh. nothing gets people into mt biking more than watching pro's tear it up.
  • + 2
 What tanglin said is great, help him out with my best translation: "Be patient, it is developing. Outside of China many people have had contact with the sport for a long time but it is not like that in China. But more and more people are going out to the mountains and this is a good sign. Also there are some people riding AM/FR bikes in China, and ride pretty good and a few years ago there were none."
I definitely agree. More and more people are riding trail. Just give it time and have fun riding your bike. China doesn't need big races and famous events (or the UCI), just more people having fun on their bikes at events like this one in ShenZhen.
  • + 1
 Fun,U mean that?It is fun,but when U spend hours maybe days to build some stuff on the trails,it's not fun at all.I really don't like the way the people ride in China,so I search for the big mountains such as Flaming Mountain(the mountain which Darren etc. rode in the film WTTE)to build and ride.Mountain biking is not mountain bike,U can not ride a mountain bike on the road and tell the other people U are mountain biking.The different people has the different understanding of mountain biking,if U think that is fun and do enjoy it.
  • + 1
 Hey SniperWZ I wasn't trying to disagree with you, riding mountain bikes on the road isn't something I find interesting either. I just wanted to help out tanglin as I thought what he said was good, positive, and thinking about the future. And I agreed with it. Keep looking for big mountains and riding big. I assume you are in Turpan or somewhere in XinJiang? If I get a chance to head out that way I'll contact you, hopefully you can show me some fun stuff.
  • + 1
 OK,I'm going to Turpan with my new scott fr20 in a few days.Try to find some new trails on the mountain.It will be amazing to try to build something and ride down.U know U have to do, to do something what U imagaine in your head.Welcome to Gobi Desert.See U,Sir!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Off-topic: Having gotten used to the j/k keyboard shortcuts in gmail and g+, it would be nice if pinkbike did something similar with articles that have lots of pictures in them, i.e. pressing j would jump to the top of the next picture.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Good to see the Chinese actually ride offroad. While I lived there those who rode mountain bikes rode them in the mountains, but on pavement. Looks like Shenzhen was worth more time than I gave it.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 let me know when you free Tibet. til then, suck a bag of wangs. oh, and stop making fake stuff, and infringing copyrights, and stealing IP, and conducting industrial espionage on a grand scale.
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  • + 4
 Great to see chinese events on PB
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  • + 2
 Wow, I would love to ride that trail in those conditions! The white people's way of "getting dirty". (no racism, just a joke)
[Reply]
  • + 2
 quitting smoking is easy. dont be a pussy. i've done it. twice actually, haha.
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  • + 2
 wow the french woman is total stunner.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Incredible photography and great article. I will be following the author from now on.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Anyone can provide the GPS map of the XC route? thanks

Tony
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Looks like a pretty typical Cyclocross race..
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Shenzhen? Where's our iPhones?!
  • + 1
 Poland? Where's our sausages?! Where's our ice cubes?! Oh wait, you lost the recipe...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Doing XC in those jungles looks so much fun.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 It looks like a tough game,isn't it?
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  • + 2
 Very good photo
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What time can see the DH game in the PB?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 what suspension products do ks make
  • + 2
 look up their website...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It seems that dental care is not a big concern in Shenzhen, China
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I love the mud x
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice angle on that gopro there....
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Instead of having bike festivals, get developing the LEV 27.2!!!
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