Field Test: 9 XC Bikes & the Grim Donut VS the Huck to Flat

Aug 26, 2020
by Mike Levy  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Cross-Country & Down-Country Bikes VS The Huck to Flat

A Phantom camera, not enough suspension, and some sore ankles




Aside from having a couple wheels and a bit of suspension, the latest cross-country bikes don't have much in common with those twitchy, flexy dinosaurs from only a handful of years prior. Somewhere along the line brands realized that while races are usually won on the climbs, we were all getting tired of pinballing our way down the descents out of control while nearly naked. Thankfully, many of the latest offerings can handle some serious riding thanks to improved geometry and suspension, an evolution that's allowed cross-country bikes to become far more useful than what that phrase used to inspire. And given that fact, there's no way they were going to get a pass on the Huck to Flat video.

We don't aim to break bikes while testing them, even if it does happen every now and then, but we do want to show you what it looks like when a 21lb cross-country machine uses up what little travel if has and then a whole bunch more as the tires, wheels, and frame all react. That's a revealing scene at 1,000 frames-per-second and, depending on your armchair opinion, possibly a bit worrying. But all of the bikes survived this time, although it looks like the Grim Donut was close to giving up...

Hucks by Jason Lucas


The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with clothing, protection, and support from Giro. Control tires provided by Schwalbe, and power meters provided by SRM. Filming took place at The Backyard pub in Squamish.




Video: Jason Lucas, Cole Nelson, Max Barron


247 Comments

  • 240 2
 I mean, the grim donut is already doing better than the Pole...
  • 43 0
 I´m just here watching 3:06-3:14 on repeat
  • 76 5
 Yes, but with that HTA you can almost see the stiction in the fork. Such a slack HTA is where a linkage fork would make the most sense. It would look like crap, but ride much better.
  • 6 48
flag just6979 (Aug 26, 2020 at 8:17) (Below Threshold)
 @jfcarrier: The Donut has one of the smoothest fork actions of the test. It starts easily and goes like 75% of the way down before slowing as the rear end catches up. Very little stiction evident.
  • 12 3
 @just6979: You cannot really see stiction on a huck to flat video. Fork action is the compound of spring force, dampening (wanted controlled friction) and unwanted friction (stiction). My comment was "bro-science" humour.
  • 26 6
 @jfcarrier: DAMPING!!
  • 13 0
 @mammal: My bad, english is my second language. Thanks for the catch.
  • 21 0
 My life is complete. I no longer want anything. I have reached nirvana
  • 19 1
 @jfcarrier: No problem! "Dampening" a commonly misused word, by people who's first language is English... So now I feel like an A-hole.
  • 88 1
 @mammal: whose Wink
  • 21 14
 @mammal: actually, according to some linguists, dampening has become a valid replacement for damping. If something is used commonly enough, at some point it becomes correct, because language is defined by the speakers.
  • 10 0
 @DaFreerider44:

Congratulations!

For the PB readers who don't know what an incredible achievement this is: Once you get to Nirvana you are not born again into samsara (which is suffering).

Enjoy!
  • 9 3
 @just6979: Damping is the term used to describe a force acting to decrease oscillation in a system (suspension movement, for example). Dampening is never used when referring to oscillations, so why use it when talking about suspension? "Because if enough people don't know what they're talking about, it becomes right!".
  • 3 20
flag mammal (Aug 26, 2020 at 10:24) (Below Threshold)
 @Mngnt: You missed a period at the end of that sentence, Grammar Guy.
  • 5 0
 The fork flex and bushing stiction on the Donut's Lyric had me cringing...
  • 1 0
 @DaFreerider44: really, thats it? Don't you want a couple milly in the bank for retirement sake?
  • 6 1
 @just6979: what about the cunning ones?
  • 2 0
 @just6979: you must be blind!!
  • 6 1
 I don't know. This is a huck to flat where a steep HA is actually easy on the fork. Pinkbike currently doesn't perform square edge bump tests but I can image slacker head angles would actually be easier on the fork under such impacts than steep ones. Now it is up to the rider decide what kind of impact is more common for their riding. A square edge bump or a huck?
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Like describing something other than a tooth as being "impacted." And the list goes on, as do grumpy old men like me lamenting the bad English exhibited every day by people trying to pass themselves off as journalists.
  • 24 0
 I’m a Pole and I’m doing fine
  • 1 0
 @jfcarrier: yeah but who is riding a 0 deg slope?????
  • 1 0
 @pnwpedal: yet so much travel used on such a small hit for the amount of travel on the grim. I definitely enjoyed all of the content there but gotta take the donut part very lightly. We need more of this
  • 1 0
 @SPKeen: The test was done to show how the suspension moves through the travel, so maybe the rider was intentionally stomping down on the landing?
  • 2 0
 We need a PB-Taiwanese Grim Donnut Vs Finnish high end bicycle road gap challenge.
  • 3 0
 Of course we should be watching the Donut huck to flat off a ramp that's the appropriate size for that much travel, not the same as the weight weenie xc bikes. In other news, it sure looked like the Canyon aced this one too with by far the cleanest and most composed landing. Front and rear compressed smoothly all the way through their travel at the same rate without any crazy wobble.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: you are right. It’s just comical to see the donut compared to those XC bikes again, soft suspension and all.
  • 1 0
 @SPKeen: Maybe I'll circle back to exact measurements later just for fun, but the slacker head angle should require more mm of travel to achieve 100mm of purely vertical travel than the steeper xc head angles. A 90 degree HA would take 100mm of travel, but a 53.13 degree HA would take exactly 125mm to achieve this (using my favorite 3 4 5 triangle)
  • 4 0
 @mammal: dampening makes you wet, damping makes you go fast.
  • 1 0
 I prefer the 5, 12, 13, that kind of geo will be grim donut 2.0 if not 3.0
  • 2 0
 @mammal: if you wanna give, ya gotta be able to take, buddy.
  • 1 1
 @mammal: I didn't say I liked it or agreed with it (I don't and I don't), just stating the fact that although technically they are different, in vernacular they are becoming the same. This doesn't mean you would want to use them interchangeably in a technical document, but in casual conversation it is becoming acceptable, and correcting it is a bit excessively pedantic.
  • 1 0
 @pnwpedal: what stiction? it was one of the smoothest fork actions of the test. look at the tires, that's the real indication of any stiction: more force to move the fork is going to mean more force from the tires which means they'll be more squished.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: I definitely saw the fork flexing excessively forward due to the head angle, and every oscillation of flex caused the travel to slow or bind, and to me that looks a lot like bushing bind/stiction. The slacker that head angles get, the worse that a telescopic fork will work in that application.
  • 1 0
 @pnwpedal: Except when braking forces at play. When I brake on my 2014 XC bike (~70°), the fork has a lot more stiction/binding. A slacker HA will be beneficial in that regard.
  • 1 0
 @jfcarrier: yes, braking adds rearward forces and a steeper head angle exacerbates that effect. In the case of a flat landing with no braking the wheel is getting hit with a perfectly vertical force. When riding and hitting a rock or root, or under braking, the force will be angled back. There's definitely a balance to be struck between handling geometry and suspension movement geometry.
  • 95 1
 The lefty fork appeared to have less flex than the regular forks - impressive
  • 172 1
 Yeah, but you should see the video from the other side.
  • 14 2
 It's inverted, so the overlap point is closer to the axle and therefore deflects less. Forks like the Lefty (and RS-1 also) tend to be stiffer fore-aft. Torsional stiffness is a different issue though. RS-1 uses an oversized axle in the front hub to compensate. Obviously the Lefty has a custom hub as well with a massive axle. I've been using an RS-1 for the last 3 years and it rides really nicely. Needing a proprietary front hub sucks though. Next bike will have a traditional fork.
  • 13 0
 The Lefty also has a much smoother rolling surface - bearings. Way less stiction that traditional bushings.
  • 9 0
 I'd be very curious to see the lefty from head on.
  • 7 0
 @PHeller: Inversion means the seals are always lubricated, too.
  • 6 1
 @PHeller: Also, the profile of the internal tubes that slide against each other is square (or maybe triangular for the lefty ocho?) which prevents the fork from twisting.
  • 16 2
 @gibspaulding: HEAD ON, APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD
  • 3 0
 But the very limited space to package both spring and damper forces other compromises...
  • 15 0
 There was never anything wrong with lefty forks. They’re no doubt stiffer torsionally than traditional forks. By quite a bit. They’re also the only double crown fork that you could run on a trail bike. They ran on a square steel rod that made four bearing surfaces. That fitted into a socket lined with needle bearings. No way did it twist up going around a corner. Greased bearings have very little stiction. The only reason people didn’t like them is because they looked different. That’s it. I’m still running a 140mm Lefty on my old Cdale trail kicker. Can’t tell you how many times people asked me if I was afraid the wheel would fall off. Like how they do on cars right??
  • 3 2
 @fattyheadshok:
"There was never anything wrong with lefty forks"

except the limited space for spring and damper.
  • 2 0
 @PhillipJ: I'm no expert on fork design, but does having the spring and damper on separate sides of a normal fork have any negative impact on handling? I've always wondered. I've never felt a fork as smooth as a Lefty, and I agree that there is limited space, which is partly the reason that the travel is limited on the Lefty. They seemed to handle great for using that limited space(it didn't seem to be an issue on the forks I've ridden)
  • 5 0
 @fattyheadshok: Yep, a well-serviced Lefty is extremely confidence inspiring. I have always been a big fan of the monstrous stems as welll. The hope stem I have on my 2002 Jekyll dwarfs any modern stem.
  • 1 0
 @rickybobby18: priceless.
  • 2 0
 @fattyheadshok: Good comparison with the cars, although I passed a car a while back with the drivers front wheel wobbling, I thought maybe it was just a loose hubcap but on closer inspection it was clearly the whole wheel coming off while he was doing 50mph down a dual carriageway. I hung back until we got to the lights then pulled up beside him, wound down my window and pointed it out. He indignantly told me that he knew and that's why he was on his way to the garage... I think someone else was using the family brain cell that day.
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: That's a misconception. Motocross have been using spring and damper on both sides for some time, and reviewers swear about the benefits.
  • 78 0
 Why lay only one bike on it’s derailleur, when you can lay them all.
  • 6 0
 Cheap side up!
  • 2 10
flag goldencycle (Aug 26, 2020 at 9:48) (Below Threshold)
 I guess is a double edged sword.. brake rotors or derailleur?
  • 6 0
 @goldencycle: No, it's not. Brake rotors are fine unless you are laying it down in a boulder field. Bend a rotor and the rotor rubs the pads. Bend a hanger and it can quickly end your ride when you shift into your easiest gear.
  • 6 2
 Hangers are WAYYYY cheaper than rotors and way easier to replace.
  • 12 2
 @thustlewhumber: also: lying your bike on its side isn't going to break it. How fragile do people think mechs are?
  • 3 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: not to mention that rotors can get very hot during use. Less accidental touching if the bikes is laid with the rotor side down.
  • 47 1
 The Grim Donut continues to be the most interesting bike tested.

“I’m glad you’re alive.”
  • 21 0
 Interesting indeed. Look at the rear shock compress before the rear wheel touches the ground... Front triangle flex?? Scary.
  • 5 0
 @igottaride: Or coils are that sensitive to the frame's inertia, coupled with too low of a spring rate.
  • 8 0
 @igottaride: naw, it's likely inertia doing it's thing. once the front wheel hits the ground everything starts slowing down, but the rear wheel keeps going forward and compresses the shock just a bit. probably only possible with a coil, due to how little stiction they have.
  • 5 0
 @igottaride: The marketing department calls this "Vertical Compliance"
  • 16 0
 @eplanajr: "We've developed a suspension tune so light, it compresses against the micro-waves of carbon dioxide in mid air"

"We've called it; Co2mpression"
  • 40 0
 Love how Jason's eyes are closed every time. #huckandpray
  • 4 0
 Huck til you fck up !
  • 37 1
 That moment the Donut came out of the clouds and started towards the tarmac... did anyone else's heart flutter (beside Jason's!) Definitely worthy of the Hans Zimmer-like score!!
  • 7 0
 A beautiful piece of film
  • 35 0
 Wait a second - I just realized he did all the XC bikes with the non-dropper seatposts lowered in the frame. Surely for the sake of scientific integrity, we need to see this done again with all posts at proper XC race height. And you thought the tire folding sounds were awful!
  • 2 0
 You didn't have to point out jason We all know his heart exploded...
  • 32 0
 The suspenseful music and the cut to silence before the first huck is cinematic genius. Subtle, yet hilarious. Pinkbike has been crushing it with production quality lately. Kudos guys and gals!
  • 9 0
 Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying the content!
  • 7 0
 Hahahahah.
  • 22 0
 Historians will remember:

1.Global Pandemic

2.Pinkbike went Lycra

Please - let's work together to stop the spread of both.
  • 22 0
 Who else just came here for the Grim Donut landing?
  • 10 0
 i was convinced it would snap at the head tube
  • 2 0
 @madmon: the fatigue could be brutal
  • 17 0
 All Pine Bike test from now on will include the Grim Donut, but the full grim episode will never be released. Frown
  • 18 0
 MTB game Half Life 3
  • 18 0
 That Grim Donut looked like it could use a chain guide
  • 15 0
 Is the “quarantine fifteen” kilos or pounds?
  • 12 0
 Donuts (a day)
  • 5 1
 15 stone more like it amiright?
  • 6 0
 @bigtim: Rookie numbers.
  • 25 0
 I call it the Covid-19
  • 3 0
 I thought he was referring to Letterkenny gains ?
  • 1 0
 This is where metric/imperial inverts! It'll be the larger 15 kg in USA because we do everything to excess, even being excessive. But most everywhere else it'll be only the smaller 15 pounds, because moderation and shit.
  • 13 0
 that poor lyrik! also interesting to see how many of the bikes have a final push through the rear travel that seems to come much later than the initial squish
  • 15 0
 That's just an oscillation as the fork and shock ramp differently. Jason did a great job getting towards nice two-point landings, but one end, usually the back, always hits slightly earlier. So as the rear spring ramps up, the force is redirected to the fork, which then ramps up and the force is shifted back to the shock, and then usually one more time to the fork.

This is why sometimes if your shock doesn't feel right, it might actually be your fork that needs adjusting. Example: got a new fork, it's slightly longer (10mm more travel, 7mm more axle to crown), and the recommended starting pressure had it riding even higher. This made if feel like my shock was low on air. But once the fork was dialed with a bit more sag, less ramp, and less LSC (since HSC is now adjustable and able to add big hit stability) and dynamic ride height got close to "normal/previous", the shock felt fine again, without any tweaks to the shock itself.

Hell, even the bar heights, cockpit lengths, and front & rear centers could contribute: Those aren't Jason's usual bikes, and just jumping on an hucking means he's getting used to the front/rear balance on the fly, so would be moving around a bit more than usual to try and keep it balanced, thus there is likely a bit more fore-aft wight shift contributing to the "final push".

It would actually be quite interesting to see (in slo-mo) all those bikes rebound back to normal dynamic ride height. See which ones come back nice and balanced (Canyon, red Epic, I bet), and which ones get even more out of sorts (Donut for sure).
  • 2 0
 @just6979: I actually find the inverse also to be true, that when I overshoot the sag on my shock, it makes my fork ride like shit. I wonder if this explanation and video is capturing that, where the shock with an insufficient spring rate hits the wall of progression at the end of the stroke and sends the forces to the fork. These forces in turn is drives the fork into the harsher part of travel.
  • 7 0
 @just6979: The oscillation is also in part caused by the undamped tire rebounding. You can see the tire squish first and go against the springs; their resonant frequencies/static deflections are slightly different, which seems to cause the resonance between the two spring systems (tire vs shock). The tire is undamped and pushing against the spring systems, which are damped. Very interesting!
  • 1 0
 @skills25: That's an interesting point I hadn't considered
  • 1 0
 @half-man-half-scab: definitely possible that an undersprung air shock could cause exactly what you said for the reasons you said, especially if the shock is full of volume reducers or just has a smaller spring volume in general.
  • 12 0
 Imagine living in a country where going to an orthopedic surgeon didn't carry a real risk of medical bankruptcy. Must suck to miss out on the privilege of paying exorbitant rates for basic medical care.
  • 1 0
 My in law paid around 700USD to get his broken collar bone operated.

How much does it cost for a closed single clavicle fracture to be fixed in USA now?
  • 1 0
 @rifu: Anywhere from nothing to "All your money".

One of the big problems is that while there are many ways to access affordable care in this country (either through insurance, or more reasonable direct-payment models), there are also plenty of ways to get hosed. Especially when you need emergency treatment and you don't have time to research providers and shop around.

NPR does a really good "medical bill of the month" series, with examples here: www.npr.org/series/651784144/bill-of-the-month

For example, a woman who paid $48,512 for treatment after being bitten by a cat. $4,692 for going to the ER with the flu. $540,842 for 14-weeks of dialysis.

These of course are extreme examples, and many people have insurance that will cover them. But we're really the only wealthy, developed nation where "medical bankruptcy" is a real worry that middle-class people face.
  • 1 0
 @rifu:
Cost of healthcare varies a bit based on where you live. If you want to go to a better doctor it can be significantly higher. It is also difficult in many cases to determine the cost of a procedure (esp one that you desperately need) before you go through with it. Based on my experience, I'd imagine the cost of that surgery is at least $3,000 if you paid out of pocket. If you aren't careful, you can easily end up at a place where the cost of the x-ray to diagnose that broken bone could cost you a significant fraction of that $700.

To give a real-world example: I had a health plan through my employer. My cost per month for my family was around $1300. This got me a health plan with a $4000 deductible (you must pay this much out of pocket before insurance will pay a dime). My employer was a small business and that is the best plan they could afford to get for us. It is not unusual for people in the US to pay this much or more for health plans of similar coverage levels.

I tore my triceps playing tennis and hockey and had surgery to repair it. It cost me ~3700. I never even hit my deductible so insurance paid nil. Insurance is nearly useless. About the only thing it protects you from is bankruptcy in case you are unfortunate enough to get cancer or have some other catastrophic incident.

Another example: My second child was born via c-section. The deductible is $4000 per family member. As soon as your new child is born, the deductible applies to them as well Smile . We paid $8000, insurance paid a couple thousand more (I don't remember the exact amounts). The ob we used makes you prepay, so throughout the pregnancy we were paying my wife's portion to the ob ~$400 for each monthly checkup. Then after your child is born you get a wonderful gift of another $4000 worth of bills. We seriously considered dropping insurance and paying out of pocket. Cost of childbirth via routine c-section was estimated at $16,000, without factoring the pediatrician's bills (around $3-5k), but that's a floor - if there are complications it easily can get into 6 figures as specialists are called in, so it wasn't worth the risk.

Now, if you work at a large employer, your insurance costs will be much lower as the company will contribute a significantly larger percentage to lower your monthly costs (although you could argue it is nearly equivalent to a tax).

It is amazing how many Americans feel this is an acceptable narrative. The system stifles innovation as many small business cannot afford to attract talent they need to compete in the market. Plus it is difficult to start a small business as when you are starting out you may not have the revenue to pay for insurance for yourself, so you take the risk that you and your family will be ok (or you rely on your spouse if they have better insurance).
  • 11 0
 Seriously thought the head tube was going to snap off the Grim Donut. @jasonlucas was channeling the test pilots of the 1950s who just strapped themselves to rockets for the hell of it.
  • 24 0
 If I go down it’ll be doing what I love. Hucking to flat.
  • 2 0
 @jasonlucas: Should you start a GoFundMe for your ankle replacement? Wrists may be next?
  • 6 0
 @jasonlucas: for those about to huck, we salute you.
  • 13 0
 The suspension was killing me waiti for the donut.
  • 12 3
 maybe my trails are weird, but I huck to flat like that multiple times per ride, on a hardtail. Just thought that was normal.
  • 12 0
 Yeah, but do you do it in slo-mo like the dude in the video? I don't know he can go so slow honestly.
  • 4 0
 @Rodeodave: he is quite talented.
  • 11 0
 None of us thinked we will see donut in a xc field test
  • 5 0
 maybe we'll get lucky and get it in every test
  • 18 11
 I stand by my statement that you guys use too little rear psi in every bike you test. All the bikes had a rim touch the pavement. AS a NORMAL broke ass rider I could not afford the low psi. Enjoy. now downcountry me
  • 3 9
flag just6979 (Aug 26, 2020 at 7:50) (Below Threshold)
 The rims touched the pavement? So every single bike came away with a nasty double rear pinch-flat? I must have missed the sealant spraying everywhere...
  • 20 4
 30psi in today's world is a really high tire pressure, especially in cross country, where you're seeing riders go below 20 frequently. This is meant to simulate a real world test to see how the bike handles it. If you went to 200psi in the fork, and 300 in the shock (or whatever max is) and 50 psi, hell yeah the bike would handle the jump better, but that's not what the test is aimed at....
  • 4 1
 160lb XC...22psi front, 25psi rear...2.2” Ikons. No rim blow-offs on 10k tubeless miles...even on surprise huck to “oh $&*!” 30 psi is high unless you’re 225+...then a 2.35 tire becomes better.
  • 2 6
flag madmon (Aug 26, 2020 at 10:21) (Below Threshold)
 @just6979: what a knobby answer .......you don't need to see sealant spray any where when you DESTROY a wheel set. Carbon rims hate that type of treatment and my aluminum hoops I can bang out but I hate sloshing all over the trail with low psi. For sponsored riders and Pinkbike can do what ever they want to their bikes they get new shit the next day.
  • 3 1
 @madmon: They're testing XC bikes with pressures/settings that are appropriate for use, in fact the tire pressure at 30 psi does seem quite high. So what are you upset about? That if you tried this at home you would run some nonzero risk of breaking something?

XC race tires have minimal sidewall support and are not typically sent off a kicker to a flat landing. Hence, they fold. If that upsets you...... Run tires with more sidewall support? Put in a cushcore/similar in your own tires?
  • 3 7
flag madmon (Aug 26, 2020 at 12:56) (Below Threshold)
 @jaredmh: i have been tubeless since 2001 and will not add anything I do not need like a stupid insert or tube. Thanks for the advice I live in the real world where thorns ruin rides and more air means you are not pumping all day and/or walking.
  • 7 0
 I run low air pressure to save weight.
  • 2 1
 @madmon: more air also means that your ride will be more harsh and lose traction more easily.
  • 1 0
 @madmon: Carbon rims don't give a f*ck about that kind of treatment. That's why they're f*cking awesome. And you'd rather be skipping down the trail with high psi? Get tires with actual good sidewalls (Conti with Apex, new Schwable with Apex, DoubleDown, BlckDmnd, etc), or use a good insert, and experience the traction and control (and comfort) of the low pressure revolution!
  • 1 0
 @madmon: Thorns ruins rides with tubeless? Maybe you need a new sealant, or stop running only 15cc to save weight or something equally stupid. If you get enough thorns that you're losing enough pressure that you can't ride, then maybe you need to do some trail maintenance, or just stay on the trails...
  • 1 0
 @dwojo: Yo, get on the hydrogen train, dude! Lighter than air! If you run alloy rims, you get a built-in safety flare if you huck it hard enough to actually get the rim to touch a rock and make sparks! @madmon will love it!
  • 1 0
 @just6979: I use too much sealant n each tire at least 2 cups each every 6 weeks when I open up it's all over the tyre and dry that includes Bontrager, Stans and Orange my go to brands. in Jamaica you can pick up 6 thorns in a single ride. When I change tires each season its shocking at what I see so your comment is a joke to me I know the reality I face each tour I take out 5 months a year. Minions, Magic Mary are my go to's and they are the UST models or as close to they make. Tyres last a season and a half on my 6 bikes I use for tours. Freshly cut Jamaican grass can be like syringes sticking up waiting to slow you down. I know if we ride out with under 26lbs in my tires I will be having tech issues all day. There is no such thing as buffed trails there every day thorn bound dry debris falls from above so I do at least one day a week clearing and cleaning after 2 months digging each season. I could go on all day. In Jamaica trails do not exist there are paths to specific things like a farm or garbage dump or a field. No one wants connected trails for safety and personal reasons. I have to build my own.
  • 7 0
 Oh Grim Donut, you already had me with your marketing and its Georgia-O'Keeffe-like explicitly vaginal imagery (shrouded donut). But now that you've survived the huck to flat I love you that much more.
  • 10 1
 The SIDs looked pretty flexy compared to the foxes.
  • 2 0
 A lot depends on the quality of the landing. Several were landed front wheel first, so his weight was forward and the fork took the brunt of the impact.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: This is Bro Science not Science. Impossible to do outside of a lab. I think they did a great job, and likely they had to repeat many times to get it that good.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: True. Not knocking the test. I like the test and think a lot can be learned from it. However, I think it would be more accurate if they just made the landings cleaner with both wheels landing at the same time and body more neutral. It would just take a little more time.
  • 2 0
 Interesting... I thought the SB115's 130mm Fox fork had the most flex (Grim Donut excluded). The 32mm SID on the non-Evo Epic did flex a lot as well... but its 32mm. I thought the 120mm 34SC and the 35mm SIDs handled the hit well.
  • 12 3
 You just gotta love how Schwalbe refuses to make sidewalls AT ALL.
  • 8 0
 Isn't that the same kit Levy wore in the other videos? ARE THOSE THE SAME SHORTS?!?
  • 6 0
 The suspenseful build up at 1:20 was well edited, hysterical. It's a good trait to be able to laugh at yourself, well done guys.
  • 6 0
 Next stop,hardtail huck to flat. Bring it!
  • 5 0
 Jason Lucas is the right man for the job. NAY. He is the ONLY man for the job!
  • 5 1
 This is quite obviously the most important test of any bike. Impressed with the Lefty and SID, genuinely. Also impressed that none of these XC bikes seem to have broken.
  • 1 0
 makes sense...
  • 5 0
 The Grim Donut just screams "full face helmet or you're buying your dentist a Yeti."
  • 1 0
 I can't help but feel that the Grim Donut is the modern equivalent of Bike mags "sh!t bike". The yard stick for all that comes before and after must live up to.

Also, beware buying any 2nd hand red Lyriks off PB staff without making sure they were never on that bike!
  • 1 0
 I kind of think the cockpit setup had to be correct to judge the body position changes for this test. Any bike is going to look like crap if the rider feels like they’re riding a death trap. Also full face with the grim doughnut would have been a good idea.
  • 4 0
 Man that Lyrik bends at 3:43!
  • 2 2
 Looking at these vs a DH bottoming out (where the chainring is almost in the dirt) it seems like the bb height could be lowered quite a bit on these bikes. Serious question would lowering the bb on an xc bike have any advantages?
  • 2 0
 I'm not sure how much it would effect pedaling efficiency but I imagine it would feel more stable.
  • 1 0
 @nickgarrison: That was what I was thinking. I guess I should have said disadvantages as well. I could see potentially needing longer cranks to accommodate lower the bb being one of them.
  • 18 0
 Pedalling sooner out of hard corners is pretty substantial for xc speed. Pedaling though milder corners without fear of pedal strikes is also important.
  • 12 0
 Especially on XC bikes, BB height is not about bottom out height but about pedaling clearance over roots and obstacles. XC BB's are already quite low usually and as you want to pedal efficiently, shorten cranks is less an option than on a DH bike
  • 4 0
 Also, getting into a more aerodynamic/efficient position (akin to a road bike) is important for getting the power down. Lowering the BB will lower the effective seat high, and therefore the saddle to bar drop will be smaller, and the rider can't get into the same position.
  • 8 1
 @mariano69id: Crank length has very little to do with "efficiency". Yes the lever is longer, but the pedal also has to go around a shorter distance. So shorter cranks might have slightly less maximum torque, but the they also get to apply that torque slightly more often (for the same wheel speed and gearing). This has been studied, and the overall power output remains pretty much the same regardless of crank length (for normal-ish lengths, obvi things might change at the extremes). Shortening cranks is similar to shrinking a chainring just slightly. Max force goes down slightly, cadence goes up slightly, and overall power output remains stable.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: For the same gearing, the pedals would spin at exactly the same rate. The crank length has nothing to do with the speed that the cranks spin. Yes, they spin a smaller circle, but it is just as often as a long crank (with the same gearing and wheel speed). So you're not correct on that part.

But yes, there have been studies that shortening the crank length by 2.5 to 5mm doesn't negatively impact the total leverage put into the chain as much as a nonideal pedaling stroke, so it is better to shorten up the cranks to fit you if needed.
  • 2 0
 @goldencycle: Pretty sure getting into an aero position is only important for getting aero. The human body is not made to produce leg power when bent way over.

There is a always a compromise between max power and max aero, and finding the best combo for each rider requires some min/max-ing on both (calculus!).
  • 1 0
 @weezyb: longer cranks? Why?
  • 3 0
 @goldencycle: Same RPM, but not the same pedal speed. Shorter cranks mean the pedal has less distance to travel, so if the number of revolutions are the same, the pedal will be going slower at any given point. That's more time spent in the power zone, which is bigger than the null zone in the average pedal stroke (most people pull through the bottom a bit, and good pedalers pull through the bottom a lot and also push through the top a bit).

It's also less linear motion: top dead center to bottom dead center is shorter, so the big heavy leg experiences less acceleration to change direction. Acceleration requires force, so less force spend on just moving the legs means more force available to go into the pedals.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: I don't think that's necessarily true. Otherwise we'd see different positions being used in different disciplines to maximize power. And thinking practically, I think we all produce power a little more efficiently when getting lower over the bars, so same principle applies here. You don't sit upright to get the max to the pedals that you can.

Also, you're certainly right that they do care about aerodynamics. Not as much as a roadie, but at the speeds XC racers race at, aero certainly plays a role. Hence: Lycra, lower position, no peak on the helmet, shaved legs, etc.
  • 2 0
 @just6979: Again, you're confusing the RPM that the cranks are spinning, and the actual pedal movement. Yes, the pedal is moving slightly slower around the circle, but in terms of time in the power zone, at the same RPM, all crank lengths will spend an identical amount of time in the power zone, and dead zones. The speed difference is irrelevant for the time in a certain position, because the circumference is different.

Why would the circumference impact the leg's acceleration? You're spinning a circle, not doing high-knees. The momentum of the opposite leg in the power zone pulls you through the dead zone and into the power zone again. You use momentum, not short leg accelerations when pedaling (at least you should. I don't know your pedaling form)
  • 3 1
 @goldencycle: "Otherwise we'd see different positions being used in different disciplines to maximize power."

Umm, we do:

Tri and TT bikes are all about aero, for the bike _and_ the rider. Since they don't need to make sudden moves of acceleration or such, they can sacrifice some immediate power for aero, as long as the overall power is still adequate. Hence the super duper low and stretched positions on those bikes.

Sprinters usually aren't as stretched out, because it's more important for them to be able to drop the hammer at a moments notice. They also stand up for absolute max power, which is just about the biggest position change possible.

DH bikes aren't as tretched out as XC bikes, for bascially the same reason: DH has more frequent need for max power for an instant, where XC is more about maximizing average power. But you will also see DHers tucking for aero when they don't need to hammer down, and XC riders standing when they do need to dump max power...

So yeah, positions _do_ change between disciplines, and even inside disciplines, depending on needs.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Okay, yes at a basic level. But you're missing my point entirely. Sprinters still use an aero bike like the Madone or Venge to sprint. still in a tight, low, aero position, and get out 1500 watts at peak. track cyclists are still in an aero position, with a significant drop in seat to bar height and they put out 2000+ watts. you'd think especially for a track sprint event that is more tactical and max power than it is sustained high speed, they'd make a bike optimized for power if we "weren't meant to be bent over like that" but they don't. And when you need to put power into the pedals yourself (assuming you're seated, and not standing for the effort) Do you sit upright? Or do you lean forward naturally?
  • 1 0
 @just6979: I guess I assumed crank arm length worked kind of like lever. Longer arm = less force needed. Also if you were to lower the bb why would you not need a longer crank arm to be where you where prior to lowering the bb height?
  • 1 0
 @weezyb: where what was before prior to lowering the bb? the seat? that would go lower, too.
  • 3 0
 @goldencycle: Actually preferred cadence does change with crank length. The shorter the cranks, the higher cadence. What we tend to hold constant is the velocity our foot is moving at.
  • 1 0
 @kclw: Oh, definitely. I certainly agree with that! For the purposes of our discussion, we were assuming the same gearing between crank lengths. So if you preferred a higher cadence, you'd likely spin an easier gear faster, and the vice versa. But the crank length has no impact on the number of times you spin your legs in a minute, assuming common gearing.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: I wasn't making that assumption but clearly if you lower the seat height equal to the bb then there's no need to change crank arm length.
  • 1 0
 @weezyb: I think the confusion in your thought process is that if you lower a BB and keep the saddle the same height, the length to the bottom of the pedal stroke is longer. So you'd need to lower the saddle. Lengthening the crank arm in that position will only further lower the bottom of the pedal stroke. Whenever you lengthen your cranks, you need to lower your saddle the same amount as the crank arm length change (from 170 to 175, for example, would lower the bottom of the pedal stroke 5mm, and force you to lower your saddle 5mm to reach the bottom of the stroke in an ideal form)
  • 2 0
 @goldencycle: Sprinters use the aero bikes because they're now just as light as stiff as any other bike. But their riding position is not going to be the same as the leaders who don't usually have a need to go max effort as quickly as possible, but who do need a good consistent average power.

Track is a huge spectrum. Pursuits are for the most part similar to tri or TT: less need for quick moves, more need for maximizing both average power _and_ aero (aero is f*cking _huge_ for many track events, that's why the hour records are usually attempted well above sea level). Where-as in a keiran or a sprint event (where strategic track stands at zero speed are sometimes the most important bit), average speeds are slower, but when the hammer drops after the track stand fun, then they have to go to full power immediately, so they'll have a more upright position.

People lean forward to counter the weight shift of acceleration, not to increase power. Look at climbing on a road bike: hands go on the flats of the bars, putting them in the most upright position. Aero
means way less on a climb, so the upright position doesn't hurt and allows good power. Even on a flat bar bike, good riders will sit up straighter, maybe even shifting their hands backward or inward for even more upright position.

I sit as upright as possible when climbing seated.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Sprinters don't really have a different position on the bike. All the riders in the peloton slam their stems and size down a couple sizes to get the bars lower. (That's why Chris Froome, who is 6' 1", rides a 54cm or a 56cm depending on the race)

Looking at when the track sprinters put the power down, they are still on the drops, their chin is low, and back is arched. Not exactly "upright".

And yes, if you're spinning up a road, you might be on the flats, but as soon as you need to put some power into it (on a steep section lets say) you'll lean forward, bend your arms, and pull the bars towards you like a motorcycle throttle, I guarantee it. even if the speed doesn't change at all!

However, we have gotten very distracted. It is clear that XC racers prefer a higher seat, and lower bars, for a large variety of reasons. This explains another reason they aren't requesting lower BBs. Road bikes have been through the 'marginal gains' process for a decades to get the riders position to be the most efficient possible (in power delivery, weight, aero, and general efficiency of shifting, drivetrain, etc), and XC racers clearly want to mimic that as much as reasonably possible in race situations. After all, fractions of a percentage add up very quickly.
  • 1 1
 @goldencycle: "at the same RPM, all crank lengths will spend an identical amount of time in the power zone, and dead zones. The speed difference is irrelevant for the time in a certain position"

That might work if the zones were identical in size, but they are not. The power zone is a bit bigger, so there is more time spent in the power zone. So a slower pedal speed means even more time spent in the power zone compared to the extra time spent in the dead zone. The circumference _does_ matter. If it was exactly 50/50 power/dead, you'd be correct.

"The speed difference is irrelevant for the time in a certain position,"

Hmm, speed _is_ change in position over time, so to say speed is irrelevant with respect to time and position...

"The momentum of the opposite leg in the power zone pulls you through the dead zone and into the power zone again. You use momentum, not short leg accelerations when pedaling"

In that case, we should all be on high-single-pivots, without idlers for anti-squat tweaking, because pedal bob should not be an issue at all.
  • 2 0
 @just6979: Let's simplify this to get the theory straight, because you continue to confuse the impact of the arm length on RPM (there is no impact). Let's say the power zone is from 10 o'clock to 7 o'clock on a pedal rotation. Two levers, at any independent length, that spin at EXACTLY the same rate (RPM) will take an IDENTICAL amount of time getting from 10 oclock to 7 oclock. Even if they are different lengths. that's what RPM determines. The size of the lever has no bearing whatsoever on RPM in this situation. Therefore, they will spend the same exact amount of time in the power zone.

Do you agree with that?
  • 2 0
 @weezyb: you mean shorter cranks?
  • 2 0
 @weezyb: lower BB + longer crank = pedal strikes
  • 1 2
 @pmhobson: thanks Einstein. I was saying if you lowered the bb and all else was the same.
  • 2 1
 @weezyb: right, which would increase pedal strikes
  • 1 0
 @just6979: That could create a hole new category of studies. I've changed recently from 170mm to 175mm and my general speed has gotten up. I do my squats and prefer doing strenght exercises, so not spining too much had a benefical side effect on my ride. I wouldn't go 180mm because it would be too long, weird to control the bike even.
  • 1 0
 @Notmeatall: Curious how tall you are. I'm 176.5 cm, with not crazy long, but longer than average legs and *greatly* prefer 170 mm cranks to 175 mm. So much so, I'd consider going to 165 mm cranks on my MTBs.
  • 4 0
 I want to see the Structure SCW-1 get the huck-to-flat treatment.
  • 3 0
 How did Jason Lucas come to be the official “Huck to Flat” guy? I feel there’s got to be a story there.
  • 2 0
 his chiropractor's paycheck definitely increased
  • 1 0
 It is a cool test, but a lot depends on the quality of the landing on how well the bike performed. They should make sure that all bikes land both wheels land at same time and body position is neutral.
  • 1 1
 Epic Evo is really moving up on my list of marathon XC/flatlands trail bikes for next year. It looked to handle that impact pretty dang well. Comp level is only 4100 all slx 12 speed build with 4 piston brakes. Spend another grand and build some light alloy wheels with good hubs and better cockpit. Or the new hei hei. I really want a huck to flat test comparision with the Kona for the inevitable accidental sendy when I forget Im not on the trail bike....
  • 2 0
 Coincidence that the grim donut got the mini huck to flat company of xc bikes? Scared?!?! And its so slack that nose bombing the landing might make the fork work better
  • 2 2
 I think the main takeaway the bike industry should take from the Grim Donut is that the real next move in bike geometry has to be towards dynamic changing head tube and seat tube angles. Obviously its totally primitive and ridiculous to have one fixed head tube angle for all terrain when you could have a frame with levers to adjust the angle from the cockpit. The frame will end up adding thousands to the cost of every bike but riding without cockpit adjustable head tube angles will be like like riding your bike from 2010 now - it will be impossible to have fun riding because you are so out-dated. I dont even know how i enjoyed riding at all in those days
  • 1 0
 This video dramatically shows how insufficient derailers are in terms of keeping the chain on the sprockets. Definitely the weak link in the system and the next oppurtunity for improvement.
  • 7 6
 Other than watching suspension compress, I don't understand the point of this; but I'll keep watching. Someone please explain.
  • 7 0
 Just curiosity. You can see cool shit like the seat stays on the Supercaliber flexing after the strut bottoms out (this is intentional, and looks cool!). You can see just how flexy some forks are (this is a bit intentional, and looks scary, but fore-aft flex probably won't negatively effect most riders in normal conditions for these bikes). You can see how limited travel can put even more load into featherweight tires and fold them down nice and flat (but not necessarily "flat" like punctured).
  • 2 3
 It’s pointless. Like if you took matchbox cars and smashed them together just because. Bicycles, the middle ground of toys to most, serious vehicles to few.
  • 6 0
 Its like any compilation of car crashes or other stupid human features - we can't help but watch it.

And pinkbikes advertisers pay by clicks. This train wreck gets us a clicking. Hell 95% of pb will click on a grim donut w midget donkeys link.
  • 5 0
 @onemind123: where is the link?!! I must see
  • 4 3
 Cant believe I got down voted for asking an honest question. I guess there's no vetting for intelligence with PB login.
  • 2 0
 @nematon785: Gotta head for Tijuana to see those shows.
  • 3 2
 @enduroelite: I can't believe someone actually gives a shit if they are voted up or down. Unless you are 13 of course.
  • 2 0
 Is Pinkbike waiting for next month before they have more money for blurring videos?
  • 2 0
 Jason Lucas is the man! Mahalo my dude! I'll watch any video he makes cause you know it's going to be fun.
  • 2 0
 I thought the rule was they kept hucking bigger until one of the bikes broke
  • 2 0
 Jesus, look at that poor Lyrik. Props by the way for an incredibly consistent Huck to flat body position.
  • 1 0
 Super slow mo is impressive!
Can someone explain why the yeti shock rotates at the end of the travel and how this affects the bikes performance?
  • 1 0
 Right around 2 minutes - the lever on the Trek rear axle looks like it.... waggles? Maybe they all do, but this one is visible because of the handle?
  • 2 0
 Looks like the SIDs are not fairing well. They all have so much fore/aft flex.
  • 2 0
 It seems to me that the flex stays on most of these bikes aren't flexing much.
  • 2 0
 Bout damn time!!! I've been waiting for this moment for too long....
  • 3 0
 The Huck to Slack
  • 1 0
 soon to be huck to snap
  • 1 0
 Huck to Flat is the ultimate performance test for this ultra-slack bikes(Grim Donut).
It doesn't work out(for the fork)...
  • 6 8
 That SID wouldn't make it on any of my bikes I don't think. At 200lbs the flex would be a little too much and bushing wear would be quite accelerated I believe. I love the idea of the Spur, Ranger, or Epic Evo but I'd have to go with a 34 or Pike.
  • 23 1
 You know the new SID ultimate is a 35mm stanchion fork right?
  • 5 1
 @davidccoleman: There's much more to making a fork stiff than stanchion diameter.
  • 1 0
 @davidccoleman: He said his bike not your bike, not a big deal dude...
  • 2 0
 I hope you wore a gum guard when doing the Huck to flat on the grim donut
  • 2 1
 Funny that chain touches the ground!
If there was only a solution for that?
  • 1 0
 Watching the huck to flat videos makes me wonder how I haven't taken my derailleur clean off like 100x. Man they get low lol
  • 2 0
 yeah but they're largely protected by the wheel which... hopefully... is going over the obstacles you could be ripping your derailleur off with. Whacking the cage on something during a hard bottom out is unlikely to rip the whole thing off too, it would more than likely just get kicked back into neutral position.
  • 1 0
 How did they get a sender ramp?

I asked them if could sell to Canadian and they said NO.
  • 8 0
 its like PB has connections that you don't...
  • 7 0
 Hi there!

We are now available in the USA and Canada! We have ramps, manual machines (15% off right now), and all other "coaching" and training devices that are bicycle specific. We are a small family owned company from Seattle Washington. Everything is built to last by real Mountain bikers and imported from Scotland to North America. We can work with coaches and riders to develop confidence to push your limits and ultimately have more fun on your bike! Due to high demand some of our kickers are sold out but we will be back up to stock in mid September!
  • 3 0
 www.sender-rampsusa.com
  • 1 0
 @SenderRampsUSA: Ask and you shall receive. Thanks for the heads up. I will have to check you out now and see what i need as since Originally turned down by sender I have been busy building ramps, kickers and bridges. Unfortunately mine are no where near portable(the bridge weighs almost 200 pounds-in hind site 2 x 12s were overkill).
  • 1 0
 @SenderRampsUSA: Your site does not have combination sets, will they be coming in the future?
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: actually we have a discount when you put 3 or more ramps in your cart that builds the sets. We found it was tough to manage all the inventory with sets so for now we just give you discount when you order 3. Cool part about Sender Ramps is everything works together so no matter what you buy it can all be modular.
  • 1 0
 One thing that stood out was the amount of flex the Canyon's handlebar/stem had. I thought it was gonna snap.
  • 1 0
 Th subtle teasing of the Grim Donut in the last few videos is pure content marketing genius.
  • 2 0
 Where's the hardtail huck-to-flat comparison we're all waiting for?
  • 1 0
 He needs to put a zeb on that grim donut, the fork is bending all over the place!
  • 2 0
 Is spandex a requirement to ride a XC bike?
  • 1 0
 Shouldnt the Grim Donut be subjected to the same Hucks as the Enduro bikes? Would it survive the huck over the mini?
  • 2 0
 probably not...
  • 1 0
 Was anyone watching the chains!!! They slap way more than I thought they would on a small jump!
  • 1 0
 That was glorious! from the music to how every bike was mixed in. The donut looked like it was snapping in half :/
  • 1 0
 when coming proper test with modern bikes like monraker, pole, nicolai gemoroiddonut
  • 1 0
 wow that new sid looks flexy...sure its not gonna break but i expected it to flex less than a 34.
  • 1 0
 I love the cant clip in on the first shots lol
  • 1 0
 Sometimes, if I'm feeling ornery, I'll count extra tappy-taps from clipped in riders in the group. It's actually pretty hilarious. These are great riders, and _no one_ gets hooked in with one shot every time, not even a majority of the times. The best is when it happens at the top of a roll-in. Does really promote good track stand skills though!
  • 2 0
 #DonutLife
  • 1 0
 Dang!! Who makes that sweet ramp you're lauching off of????
  • 3 0
 Cheers! www.sender-rampsusa.com - ramps, manual machines, balance boards, and tabletops. We make bicycle specific coaching and training equipment!
  • 2 5
 What surprised me the most in this video is seeing Pinkbike editors using an analog shock pump for the bike testing. Crazy considering the effort and time put into these reviews. Those things are terribly inaccurate due to gauge style it's easy to be off by a couple PSI even if the same exact pump is used for every bike throughout the test.
  • 1 0
 The flex on those rock shox on the grim makes me cringe.
  • 1 0
 probably more flex in the headtube then the lyric, if they put a dual crown fork the headtube would have snapped on the 3rd ride
  • 1 0
 I'll fix that, it's a good thing the lyric has lots of flex, if it didn't it would probably have broken the frame I couldn't think of the words earlier and i kind of wrote it wrong lol
  • 1 0
 Well nothing got blurred out this time
  • 1 0
 Great job pinkbike! I love all of this!
  • 1 0
 What is with all the spandex lately???
  • 1 0
 What are the models of bikes used in this video?
  • 1 0
 Just guessing the DONUT needs a full on Chain Guide......
  • 1 0
 dat chain slap do
  • 2 5
 I'm ready to see that Pole's HT completely snap off. What the F*&$ were they thinking?!
  • 3 1
 do you, and this is a serious question, do you live under a f*cking rock? Or a mountain? I don't even know what to say, please just delete pinkbike and leave.
Pole? Really? No, how could you? Half of pinkbike worship that thing and you waddle in here and call it a POLE?!! Ok i'm done now
  • 1 0
 @Bikerdude137: I hope that Yourworstnightmare was just kidding and forgot the happy face emoji at the end.
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: so do i, but reality is often disappointing
  • 3 6
 19 seconds in, and way too much spandex. What has mountain biking become?

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