Brian Lopes - The Kokanee Crankworx Dominator

Aug 11, 2011
by Matthew Mallory  
The dog may be getting a little shaggy and long in tooth but watch out his bite is still vicious. At 39 years and change Brian Lopes still finds time in his riding schedule to go out and school the pups at a game that is designed for the young, strong and limber. In 2008 he was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and for good reason, four time World Champ, six time Overall World Cup Champion, and with nine National Championship titles to his credit along with numerous World Cup wins he is the winningest dude in the history of the sport.

Brian on his way to a gold in the Fat Tire Crit.

This incredible record has followed the fierce competitor to Kokanee Crankworx where he has won more titles over the years than any other competitor and there is no one that comes close to the width and breadth of his wins. With Crankworx titles in the Dual Giant Slalom, Garbanzo Enduro Downhill and six wins in the Air DH, five of which in an unheard of performance were consecutive. If Brian's name appears on a start list in Whistler everyone needs to be worried.

In 2011 few of the World Cup boys put in a great effort at the events, Mick Hannah, Neethling and Hart were there to race but many seemed to get caught up in the great riding at hand and blew off the races (can't blame 'em). Brian was also one of the guys who entered several of the events, Fat Tire Crit, Dual Slalom, Air DH, Giant Slalom and Canadian Open Enduro. All this in ten days and with just one week of rest after completing the 7 day stage race that is the BC Bike Race.

After the Fat Tire Crit it was on to the Dual Slalom for Lopes.

Kokanee Crankworx started a day early with a new event. The Fat Tire Crit and Lopes came out with a hunger to be on the podium. In a new event for the festival Brian put the hammer down for the win. Then again on the last day of Crankworx it was time for Brian to shine again. He finished the festival the same way that it had started for him with a win in the Canadian Open Enduro.

The Canadian Open Enduro has come and gone several times to Kokanee Crankworx and this year they patterned it after Richie Schley's Rally from last year. A stage race where the downhills are timed and the climbs or transitions between stages are just allotted a time limit that you must make it in. As long as you are under the limit it has no bearing on your results.

Friday was the Giant Slalom and of course Lopes showed up.

This style of racing has become very popular across the pond in Europe and for good reason, it has a closer reflection to how the general mountain biking population rides than any other format. Now the downhill sections are not all downhill, there is lots of pedaling involved as there are flats and small climbs throughout all five stages. Richie even set a course that saw the riders pedaling in Stage 5, the Whistler Bike Park section.

Racing against a field of riders, some of whom were half his age, Lopes crushed all taking three of five stage wins. Not just impressive because he beat out many of the local hotshots who take pride in their big lungs and technical DH abilities on mid-travel bikes, but also because he beat out the Euro specialists Remy Absalon and Nico Vouilloz (former untouchable downhiller, now all mountain hell-man).

Lopes ends the week the way he started it with a win in the Canadian Open Enduro.

Sure in the Dual Slalom, Giant Slalom and the Air DH, events that Lopes specialized in he didn't get 'er done like he has in the past, but try and find any other racer who stuffed as much competition in during the ten days of Crankworx and still had the energy to pull out with two big checks in the Lopes 55 Sprinter van. Really the young pups should be ashamed, here, a guy who is almost 40 came out, raced more and won more than any of them while still chalking up top ten finishes in the other events that he entered. Maybe, just maybe he is like an ornery old hound who just becomes more grumpy and vicious with time. Watch out, next year Lopes will be forty and surely he will be back to crush more of the pups at Kokanee Crankworx 2012. Hmm, the only thing left for him to win now is the slopestyle.


45 Comments

  • 8 1
 I have ridden with him several times at our old Marina dirt jumps...he is very outgoing and he even introduced himself to me eventhough I knew who he was. To me...that says a lot about the guy and he is definitely very approachable. He has always been very nice and chill to be around. P.S. That dude can wreck people at DJ riding, so I am sure freeriding and slopestyle events would not be an issue if he chose to compete in those style events.
  • 4 0
 Like you, I found him to be very approachable and enthusiastic. Bottom line: he's a legend and rides outstandingly in a range of disciplines. A truly outstanding athlete.
  • 2 0
 I've met him a few times, and he was totally cool and very funny. But this article is not about BL's personality. It's about the best overall mountain biker ever! Like him or not, he's a legend. The fact that he can still compete at such a high level at almost every discipline is amazing. Way to go, 55!!
  • 2 0
 i would love to meet that guy. he is just a BOSS
  • 3 0
 I think he's riding 3 different frames. The 1st pic looks like a Mojo SL with a Marz 44 fork. For dual slalom I'm guessing an Ibis Tranny, ad the last two are Mojo HD's. Both could be running the Marz 66 Evo Ti, maybe a 55 Ti for the GS. If you can ride as smooth as him, you don't need much travel. And as soon as Ibis makes a DH Mojo I'm betting you'll see Lopes racing more of those events too. He rocks, plain and simple.
  • 2 0
 From what I've read he has multiple frames of different sizes and setup for whatever event that may come.
  • 4 0
 Peaty is still the greatest in my books (even though not the best of all time as a racer)
  • 2 0
 haha possibly! but we are talking crankworx here Razz But Peaty is for sure one of the best guys ever! Not only a racer but a coach as well! Cheers!
  • 1 0
 defo.... peaty and nico... not just saying that cause I've got a lapierre haha
  • 1 0
 I've met Brian several times on my travels around the World for Pinkbike and the Halo BDS. Last time was when I was commentating at Bike Radar at Brands Hatch in 2010. He was super friendly to everyone and very professional. To be fair couldn't of met a nicer bloke.
  • 3 0
 Hes a pure racer. Racing against time and competition. Not doing childish tricks for bias judges. IMHO. Go Brian Lopes!
  • 1 0
 I had a chance to sit around with Brian one evening during the BC Bike Race. I found him to be easy going and laid back. Super humble nice guy who represents the sport very well.
  • 3 0
 The besst 4x n' dual slalom racer ever,
  • 16 15
 It's really to bad the guy is not nicer. so much talent, but yet such a wanker too
  • 8 0
 out of curiosity, what exactly does he do to be such a dick?
  • 35 2
 More than that, it's a huge shame that people can't look past that and acknowledge his greatness as a rider without commenting on his personality. It is not fair to attack a person personally who you (probably) don't personally know.
I don't know him personally and I don't believe we ever get a full picture of what a guy is like from the media, so i would rather just be amazed at his ability and hard work that gives old and young a benchmark for what is possible when you really commit to something.
  • 12 0
 I disagree with you Sexley as I have met him numerous times and always have had a good attitude from him. He is also super caring and goes out of his way for his friends - he's an amazing racer and pretty top notch too. We can't all be amazing all the time and in the public eye folks are too harshly judged based on "who" we think they should be.
  • 2 0
 he was pretty cool when he turned up to sheffield! got right behind the local race scene: vimeo.com/24000599 the beginning commentary is his and i've got commentary all the way down the track where he joins in.
  • 2 0
 He was invited a few times to an event here in the Philippines and left a lot of bad impressions. Other pro's came off as much "cooler". Don't get me wrong he's an amazing rider. Killed it on a trail bike. But didn't come off as likeable. Hans Rey was a great ambassador, but he has a lot of experience doing that.
  • 1 0
 I met the guy at crankworx in beaver creek. He was real nice. Everybody can't be nice all the time. He's not a wanker by any stretch.
  • 2 0
 "Much cooler" the guy is almost 40. He's not a little kid like 90% of the other "pros".

If people are worried about "cooler" they should learn to appreciate older guys that still ride just as hard as the young guys. An almost 40 uear old who puts 20 year old's in their place is as "cool" as it gets in my book.
  • 2 0
 The Mojo truly is a do-it-all bike
  • 1 0
 you would think; but why is he riding 4 different bikes over the week!

i could see his XC and DS biles being different but why is the ds and gs different?
  • 2 1
 he simply runs different setups for different events, its the same bike in all the pictures.
  • 5 0
 ? He repaints his frames, too?
  • 1 0
 and changes wheels every dual slalom lap...
  • 1 0
 He has 4 mojos.............
  • 2 0
 While I would like to see someone to win slope style on the mojo, theres no way lopes is the man who will do it.
  • 2 0
 he's probably the best all rounder atm
  • 2 9
flag nightfox (Aug 11, 2011 at 13:55) (Below Threshold)
 not sure you can say that...he isn't racing DH nor any of them Freeride/Slopestyle events. You need to participate in those to be an all arounder.
  • 2 1
 wake up nightfox ,before you talk,take a BL from BL,he is one of the bads bikers,,,,
  • 9 0
 I'd have to say Kyle Strait is #1 all-rounder right now
  • 3 1
 Is this place full of hypocrites? my comment is down to -4 props and then later someone said Kyle Strait is the #1 which is totally true and he gets +6. I don't get people on this website. I never said he isn't one of the greatest rider to have lived, he is, just not a 100% all arounder. Check the facts. You can be awesome in this and that but if you're not awesome in all of them, then, you're simply not an all arounder which is what you're trying to deem.
  • 1 0
 More likely because you're wrong. He raced Air DH. If his primary sponsor Ibis made an 8 inch travel frame I wouldn't doubt if he would race Garbo/Canadian open too. He's far more of an all rounder in that he's doing things like the Enduro and the Criterium, events the freeriders ignore entirely, and winning them.
  • 1 2
 Lopes used to race DH night fox and did excellent. So, put your shitty comments where your mouth is, and learn some history. Stupid new school riders thinking they know everything about the sport. Point is, lopes has probably raced more DH in his career, than you have done in both racing, and in your free time. I bet you have only been in the sport about 5 years, like most of the people in their mid 20's. Try following it for 15+ years and maybe you will have an idea.

Like said, stupid youngersters should be beaten with a rake like in the old days to teach them some respect.
  • 1 2
 That's a rude/arrogant/cocky comment right there and you didn't even get to the bottom of this, did you?

The talk was about the CURRENT all around rider. Not past, not future, but NOW. Lopes isn't racing DH in the WC for quite a long time so that dismisses him from being the CURRENT best all arounder, get it now??

Btw, I think that some "new school" riders can teach some "old school" riders, that's in case you didn't notice progression. Today you got kids like Anthony M. doing things at age no one ever did before and that's probably just the start.
  • 2 2
 Awl are your feelings hurt nightfox? I can send a wambulance for you if you need it.

Just the fact someone says something is "rude" on the internet is hilarious to start with. Go over to 4chan and you will quickly see "rude".

And since when is this about the CURRENT all around rider? "he's probably the best all rounder atm" is the original posters comment, not "he's probably the best current all rounder atm"

I was responding to the OP in terms of the all around rider ordeal, then, replying to the lamers with their crappy comments.

Sometimes I swear, people get way too sensitive online. It's the internet, get over it. I also chuckle at how people manipulate an OPs comment into something way off track. Like said... this is the quote... "he's probably the best all rounder atm"


btw, "new school" riders can't teach shit. They have learned from the old schoolers time and time again. Every generation learns from the previous one. And yes, people are doing stuff way beyond the old schoolers. That's called progression, and, for riders, it's called "aging". Lopes is 40ish, and hes still hanging with 20 year olds and slaughtering races. What does that say? You also forget that bike tech has greatly changed. Just like on BMX how people can do triple 360 tail whips now. But, give them a 55lb street bike from the late 90's and they would barely even be able to do a double tail whip. Give these new DHers a 55-65lb plow rig and see how much they "dish it". Probably a whole lot less than what the old schoolers were doing.

Problem is for you nightfox, is you just haven't seen enough of the DH and MTB racing scene over the years to understand how this works.
  • 1 0
 If both of you were at least semi-polite your points would be taken more seriously. Trash talking about "hurt feelings" certainly doesn't help. If you have something to say then say it respectfully and intelligently and people might actually take note. And atm is slang for at the moment which means right now, which is essentially the same thing as current. Lopes is still the best all rounder right now, because there's no one else competing in the range of events he's doing, and doing as well as he does.
  • 1 2
 Just because Lopes has a little sissy moan after every race he doesn't win does not make him an arsehole. Most A type personality racers are that way, always looking for something to blame for not winning.
  • 2 0
 Lopes is the man!!!!
  • 2 0
 Keep killing it, Brian.
  • 1 0
 Chris atkigg is one up there as one of the best all rounders.
  • 1 0
 Flyin Brian!
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.022338
Mobile Version of Website