Crankworx Back Stories - Bikes, Parts and People

Aug 20, 2012
by Richard Cunningham  
Whistler's Crankworx is a two-week gravity reunion and when a family get-together numbers over a hundred thousand riders, there are bound to be a multitude of storylines. Pinkbike steps away from the main events for a few moments to bring you come of the back-stories of Crankworx that should, but rarely make the news. Here is a compilation of short stories we accumulated while testing bikes and hanging out around the mountain.

Athertons on Holiday

So, I was photographing bikes at Lost Lake and came across a pile of clothes and a couple of GTs. One had the tell-tale signature of the Athertons: the restroom-family water bottle. So, where were they?

Aha! Dan and Rachael Atherton, stripped down to who knows what, taking a swim to escape Whistler's uncharacteristic 36-degree heat wave. The Athertons weren't the only pros at the lake - the two-mile trip-and-dip to the lake was a pilgrimage for the entire Crankworx cast at one time or another during the events.

Scott Sharples Goes to the Dark Side

Scotty Sharples is the point man at Intense Cycles. His new ride? The Tracer 275 is the bike he swears by. The DH champ says that the mid-sized 650b wheels have turned him to the dark side, and that he isn't going back to 26 - not for is every-day ride at least. The aluminum-framed Tracer is designed specifically for 650b, with different geometry and a dedicated frame and fork.

The Tracer 275 sports the new 650b Fox 34 Float fork with dedicated offset to adjust for proper trail - Kashima coated, of course. The Tracer 275's replaceable dropouts are set for a 142/12mm through-axle. Scott showed us the internals of the 275's adjustable pivot bearings - which seemed quite easy to tune. The Fox Float CTD shock is also endowed with Kashima.

Artists Are Small, But the Gallery is Huge

I was between test bikes, riding with Aurelien Colin from Commencal, when a chance meeting at an Irish pub in Whistler Village led to a guided DH session from the top of Whistler mountain, all the way to the GLC. Our guides knew more about Whistler's trails than anyone, which made the trip one of my most memorable runs down the mountain.

Gravity Logic employee and Scott DH Racer

Do you Know this woman? Almost everyone who rides Whistler has sampled her work. Jenny Liljegren works for Gravity Logic - the powerhouse team that is busy building the Top of the World trail. Presently, the Swedish DH racer is clearing trees and brush to make way for the motorized trailblazing equipment up there, but rock-work is her favorite part of the job.

Lift your glass for this man. Tom Pro Prochazka takes a break with trail-builder Jesse Sanders. Tom Pro first managed the Whistler bike park and was instrumental in developing the trail system. Tom now heads Gravity Logic - the most respected trail design firm in the world.

Lift your glass for this man. Tom 'Pro' Prochazka takes a break with trail-builder Jesse Sanders. Tom Pro first managed the Whistler bike park and was instrumental in laying out the initial trail system. Tom now heads Gravity Logic - the most respected trail design firm in the world. His son Alex runs Gravity Logic's trail building operation at Whistler.

Left to right Trail-builder Jesse Sanders Commencal Marketing Director Aurelian Colin Gravity Logic Owner Founder Tom Pro and Trail-builder Jenny Liljegren - kitted up at the Top of the World for a top-to-bottom DH run on Whistler Mountain.

(Left to right), Trail-builder Jesse Sanders, Commencal Marketing Director Aurelien Colin, Gravity Logic Owner/Founder Tom Pro, and Trail-builder Jenny Liljegren - kitted up at the Top of the World for a top-to-bottom DH run on Whistler Mountain. Commencal sponsors Gravity Logic with bikes. Jenny races for Scott.

Gregg Winter at the controls. Winter traded his city construction job for a seat in the clouds.

Gregg Winter at the controls. Winter, an accomplished excavation equipment operator, traded his city construction job for a seat in the clouds building trails for Gravity Logic. A look at his handiwork (right) and our first-tracks on the newest 100 meters of Top of the World.

How Names are Chosen in Sweden

As the story goes: the founding members of POC (say: 'Pock' ) were having trouble choosing a name for their new protective gear enterprise, so the president gathered them all together at a restaurant for a dinner time brainstorming session. The guests brought lists of possible names for the new corporation and expectedly, most were macho or overly clever monikers that did nothing but create dissent among the members. The evening progressed and more alcohol was consumed, but no viable prospect rose to the top of the list. What was for certain, though, was that the company logo was to be the circular cross-mark that is used to index various places on crash-test dummies. As dessert was served, the president looked at the sliced pie and announced, "Piece Of Cake! That is our name - everything we do or make should be easy, like a piece of cake." POC stands for 'Piece Of Cake.'

POC Cortex Full face and half shell assortment

POC helmets are quickly gaining popularity both in Europe and in North American mountain bike markets. The Cortex Flow full-face lid is an affordable DH helmet with a fiberglass shell. A carbon fiber version is also available. POC is better known for its Skate and Ski-style helmets and wild color options. All POC lids are tested and certified to Euro safety standards.

POC VPD 20 protective armor top

Body armor has fallen out of popularity, but POC offers new technology that should rekindle interest in technical protective gear. The Spine VPD 2.0 Jacket is costructed from a stretchy woven mesh and fitted with double wicking layers between the body and its visco-elastic-polymer pads. The VPD material is secured by pockets in the garment and remains extremely pliable and form fitting until it receives an impact - which causes the material to become tough and hard. VPD layers provide a high degree of comfort and impact protection without restricting movement. The chest pads are reported to conform well to the female anatomy.

POC VPD knees and elbows

The progression of POC knee and arm pads from the hard-plastic outer and padded inner strategy used in 2011, to the first two iterations of soft-cup VPD arm and leg protectors, are shown from left to right in this photograph. The new-for-2013 VPD 2.0 knees, on the far right, are fitted with plastic cups to assist DH pros safely slide to a stop when they choose to eject. Motorcycle road racers have been using slide pads for many years.



  • 54 1
 Piece of cake? I knew it as Piles of Cash! Some of there stuff is so expensive!
  • 48 2
 "The Cortex Flow full-face lid is an affordable DH helmet"

Is there anything affordable made by POC?
  • 12 2
 hahaha what a joke. Nice products but you get similar quality/features mostly for half the prize they ask. I mean their stuff comes out of the same factories in china too.
  • 10 8
 Dude, tell me a knee pad like the 2012 VPD 2.0 that is half the price and similar quality? Oh and as comfortable?
  • 7 3
 O'Neal Sinner. It even has a Sas Tec pad innit and costs almost exacly half the price. Won various tests too, super comfy. At least as good as the poc guard if not better with the sas technology.
  • 4 5
 tabletop that's bs. It's the product that matters, not the country of production. Poc hard knee and elbows are the most comfortable stuff I've ever tried and belive me I've went through many different setups. They also protect well which usually means overheting.

Also their FF lid the lower model isn't really expensive. 150-200 euro depending on where you buy it. How is that expensive for a quality FF helmet? Other helmets are priced similarly.
  • 5 0
 Most poc products are way more expensive that other offerings. Like I said the sinner pad is at least on par. It got better rated as the poc pad in a review of a german bike mag. Plus Sas Tec is known as the best biofoam pad which the poc doesn't even feature if I'm not mistaken. So you get more for less cash which just shows that poc is overpriced.
  • 2 1
 Not so sure about the longevity of the POC stuff vs. the cost. I have already had to get some VPD bone legs warantied. And while I got new pads sent out to me, with a MSRP of $160 the seam should have never let go in the first place.

Gone are the days of the ROACH factory under the bridge off of 4th ave.... Frown now is all done in overseas sweat shops.
  • 5 2
 Just because something is made in China doesn't mean it's made in a sweatshop, so few people seem to get this. Most companies move their factories to China because other countries charge unreasonable taxes and other fees associated with operating business, so China is the only logical move. Good companies go to China and set up their own state of the art facilities, often with lots of proprietary machines and technology, to produce great quality stuff.

If you're opposed to outsourcing to China for political reasons I can't and wont argue with you there. If you are opposed to it for quality reasons, however, then you probably haven't done any research on the subject for about 10 years.

And seeing a buddies made-in-china item break and scoffing "bahh, that crap made in China these days" is not research, stuff made everywhere breaks you just don't complain about it as much. Rant over.
  • 3 0
 The point is that almost all companies produce in china to reduce costs yet some have insane pricing compared to others and I doubt that they pay their chinese workers any better.
  • 4 1
 I'm a TLD guy all the way, but those POC helmets are so nice!
  • 2 0
 Just did a currency conversion for those helmets, ya screw that.
  • 2 0
 At ironxcross

If by unreasonable taxes and fees you mean a living wage for their employees then I agree with you! Wink

I dont mind paying a premium price for premium product (that is preferably made in CANADA!). However in my experiance so far with the POC stuff |I am not sure this is what you are getting.
  • 2 0
 NTY to the poc FF lid, I got my Giro Remedy helmet for $70. Pretty sure it works just as well.
  • 2 0
 Compare msrp prices not "I've got a deal prices" because that is silly. I've got my higher model poc cortex helmet also waaay below the price as well as my lower model cortex flow but the comparison is invalid because it shows more how lucky or good you are with finding deals, not how cheap something really is. Using that almost every product costs 0$ because there is at least one person who got it for free.
  • 1 0
 @tabletop84 who cares what it got rated by a mag. I'm yet to read a good magazine review. I like their stuff. It fits me very well and looking at personl experience and one cracked helmet I can say it protects me better than competing offers. I was not so fond of paying so much for their stuff, got it cheaper thanks to some bro deals but given how happy I am with them I can understand the price
  • 1 0
 I just said that there are companies offering better value for money. I own a poc goggle and it's one of the only goggles with two lenses in it which is great anti-fog-wise but I would never paid the msrp.
  • 1 0
 It depends what you want and what poc product. I'm pretty sure if I wanted soft knee pads I would have went for something cheaper, same for googles but that's because there are already great products there. Hardshell body protection? Not so much. Most people complain about how uncomfortable and poc can chnage that. Helmets are also very good. I'd take poc over overpriced tld anyday. It's also the first helmet where after a major crash I wasn't even dizzy. I have to say Giro ff lids are nice but they don't fit me as well so it's hard to say, urge is too shallow for anyone with a jawbone but still the hard protectors are really worth the price. Nothing comes close to comfort.
  • 1 0
 @yellowdog, it's relative to the cost of living. Factory workers in China are paid enough to feed themselves, sure it's the bare minimum but that is exactly what minimum wage gets you here in the states. Cost of living here just costs so much more that when you see how much a Chinese factory workers makes an hour it seems extreme. Think about stories like 'Nickel and Dimed,' if your'e familiar, it's just as hard to support yourself in the states if you aren't fortunate enough to get a good education.

I still agree that politically and socially I'll take a US made item any day, but my post was about the quality of the items. If something is bad quality it has nothing to do with being made in China, it's because the company who had it made there didn't put enough time into designing it and overseeing its production.
  • 2 0
 karpiel if you can afford a D3 you can afford a POC... I'm sticking with my D3 tho
  • 1 0
 Ironcross: Spot on man... People would be REALLY suprised to find out that most of the steel (the new HSS stuff) used in the entire global auto industry as a whole is by and large sourced from China's MASSIVE metal market. Are there billions of tons of oory made products coming out of China daily??? Yes... Is there top end stuff made at smaller (by China's standards of industry) plants that peple in America assume are made somewhere else because thy're "top of the line" (Oakley Glasses come to mind)??? Most definately... It's a to way street in China. It's sheer size and population alone is a good indicator of the ammount of resources they have access to (regardless of how they're treating those resources and how ong thy'll last at this rate) and therefore what they're capable of producing. People assume "made in the USA" means the highest quaity as if somehow ONLY American workers are capable of having pride in their work. When you buy anythng made in the US you're payng for the vastly higher "living wage" expected by any average worker (not in all industrys but...). The bigger the GDP of a country the more opertounity there is for cheap crap to be made and spread into the global market. I'm not saying that we shoud be actively searching out Chinese made products, quite the oposite as I like to support TRULY local companies (like ones I can drive to the head offices of) first and foremost, then work down the chain, BUT, if all I can find is a Chinese made product and it's made well (you gott really look parts and castings over... I'm thinking tools/equiptment here) I'm certainly not scarred to use X product.
  • 17 0
 What about news of Filipe Perestrelo or The supermarket bike guy ?
That would be a nice backstory.
  • 9 0
 I was wondering if there would be a fallow up on him as well.
  • 2 0
 me too
  • 2 0
 They had a little interview with him at the bottom of the hill here in Whistler the other day. Would have been cool to see him ride his new bike though!
  • 13 0
 Gravity Logic has earned and deserves its reputation as among the best builders of trail in the world. One look at anything that Tom Pro, Rob or DK have routed will show you that.
  • 9 1
 Heads up.... Thats Dan Atherton not Gee! Liking this post!
  • 1 0
 It doesnt say anything about Gee though? It says Dan and Rachael.
  • 2 0
 Only because RC changed it since! And he or another MOD added "Liking this post!" to my post! Haha
  • 1 0
 Hahaha in the shadows.
  • 6 0
 I think I'm in love with that swedish piece of beauty, but who isn't right?
  • 1 1
 She´s swedish. Nuff said.
  • 3 0
 She brings pride to our flag
  • 3 0
 POC !!! Come on people, lets talk about Jenny Smile
  • 2 0
 Piece of Cake. Thats awesome.
  • 2 0
 Ewwwww skinny dipping with your sister.....
  • 1 0
 That intense tracer 275 is sic!
  • 1 0
 I agree with you … the 275 just "looks right"
  • 1 0
 Jenny Liljegren.................shes pretty damn hot!
  • 1 3
 "The Cortex Flow full-face lid is an affordable DH helmet with a fiberglass shell" ..maybe but its a hideous all the other POS helmets!! Smile
  • 1 0
 POC= Printing Own Cash!

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