Good Month / Bad Month: Racing, Affordable Carbon, XTR, Illness & Injuries - January 2019

Feb 1, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  

Affordable Carbon

Guerrilla Gravity's Less Expensive, US-Made Carbon Frame

While it seems that the sky is the limit and most carbon frames are $3,000 or more, Guerrilla Gravity have taken a new approach to the carbon game and are making their own frames, in house, for less money. Those words together have historically been the opposite of "affordable" but with some new methods of construction, the Colorado brand is working to break the mold. Guerrilla Gravity's Revved Carbon Technology uses a carbon that's new to the bike industry but has been used in aerospace for a few years now.

With this new carbon and their process, they claim that their frames are a whopping 300% stronger than a traditional carbon bike. This translates to a frame and shock for $2,440 USD.
Guerrilla Gravity Photo by Justin vanAlstyne

Intense and Racing

Intense Restructures with Investors from Motocross

While Aaron Gwin and Neko Mulally going to Intense wasn't all that much of a surprise for us, some of the other factors were. Intense restructured their brand with a full on commitment to racing and brought on several investors. Jon Erik “Jeb” Burleson and Christy LaCurelle, along with four-time Supercross champion Ryan Dungey and Team Geico Honda Co-owner Jeff Majkrzak bring their expertise from motocross over to the Intense brand. With their experience and track record of success, it's unlikely they would be investing in the brand if they didn't have an air-tight plan for success.

Will Gwin and the rest of the Intense team be able to deliver the wins that translate to sales? They have as good of a chance as any and with their dream team assembled, they're in a better position than ever.
L to R Jon-Erik Burleson Jeb Christy La Curelle Jeff Majkrzak Jennifer Gabrielli Jeff Steber Chad Peterson Ryan Dungey

The Athertons

Athertons Launch Their Own Bike Company

The Athertons have been on the forefront of World Cup downhill and other top level gravity events for years. All through that time they have been taking what they learned and waiting for the right time for the next big step, which was starting their own bike brand.

The siblings have partnered with renowned suspension designer Dave Weagle and are using ground-breaking additive manufacturing technologies combined with carbon fiber tubing to create their ultimate bikes. It won't take long to see how well the bikes perform at the top level but with the experience the family has in racing, I would wager they'll find their spot on a podium or ten.

Shimano's New XTR

What's Going On With Shimano's New XTR Group?

Announced last year, Shimano's latest iteration of their top tier mountain group, XTR has been plagued with issues that have delayed it from getting to consumers. From a fire at one of Shimano's plants to the cancellation of the Scylence rear hub, things haven't been going according to plan.

Bikes from OEM customers have been delayed in getting to consumers and dealers and even some team camps have been put on hold until enough product to outfit the bikes is available, causing frustration across the board. The silver lining? At least Shimano is ensuring that their product is dialed before it hits the trails.
XTR M9100

Sam Reynolds

Sam Reynolds Out of DarkFEST After Breaking Wrist on New Trick Jump

While guinea pigging a massive jump, Sam Reynolds came up a bit short and had to bail. Hitting the back of the landing he fractured and dislocated some of his carpals and shattered the end of his ulna, which needed surgery to mend. Unfortunately, this keeps him out of being able to ride at DarkFEST while he recovers.

We're wishing Sam a speedy recovery and looking forward to seeing him back on the bike!
Moments before impact

Anne-Caroline Chausson

Anne-Caroline Chausson Battles Cancer for the Second Time

Anne-Caroline Chausson is the most decorated mountain bike racer in history. She has 16 World Championship gold medals and an Olympic BMX gold medal to her name and is now recovering after a second surgery for cancer. In 2015, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and it seemed as if she had made a full recovery and was back to racing.

In late 2018, she announced that she had to have another surgery a tumor was found in her thorax. She is currently undergoing chemo and radiation thearpy. All of us at Pinkbike along with the entire mountain bike community wish her our our best for healing and a good recovery!
Anne-Caroline Chausson was more than a bit under the weather and had to retire with health issues after stage one and looks set to miss the next the couple of rounds.


  • 241 1
 Healing vibes and speedy recovery to our national 2wheeled hero. We love you Anne Caro!
  • 40 2
 FUCKYEAH! the world is cheering you on ACC!
  • 51 0
 Fuck Cancer and fuck-yeah Guerilla Gravity!
  • 50 17
 I'll wait on Shimano for sold reliable shifting. Sram Eagle has been far too delicate needing constant attention and never holding a tune. Shimano systems for me, have been very consistent and take much more abuse. Viva La Shimano!
  • 10 3
 Ive had no problems with my eagle setups. Havent touched my limits or b tension in 2 years
  • 5 0
 I like my eagle setups. But they are highly sensitive to flexible and/or fragile derailleur hangers.
  • 13 3
 Blows my mind that any time the shimano fiasco comes up, people somehow talk shit on Sram. The misplaced ire is absolutely hilarious.

Anyone can argue back and forth about what drivetrain they want, but for once can the fanboys just admit Shimano f*cked up and actually criticize them for it? Sram has nothing to do with what happened to Shimano, and we can all admit it's a shitfest.
  • 41 8
 Bad Month/Year: PB Comments

I used to enjoy PB articles and felt the comments were the voice of MTB. Now I have to stop at the end of each article. If I don't I deeply regret it. It's become a cesspool of spoiled negativity. It's like that riding buddy whose negative about everything and you just slowly stop riding with.
  • 63 5
 Ironically I sense negativity in your comment too Wink
  • 11 1
 @Mattin: I give you upvote to balance out my negativity
  • 6 2
 @generationfourth: Haha loving the positive vibes! Big Grin
  • 27 1
 hope sam heals up quick, the noise of hitting the landing was not very fun to listen to.
  • 2 0
 Glad I read this before I watched it now, don't wanna be hearing bones break * shudder *
  • 14 0
 Glad to see GG at the top of the + list, here.  However, I think simply labeling their new release as “affordable carbon” kind of misses the bigger picture.  Their new frames ARE more affordable than you might expect, but I think there’s way more to the new tech.  Those guys have taken inspiration from industries with much bigger R&D budgets, and successfully brought new manufacturing methods, and whole new material, to the MTB market.  It’s more than just finding a less expensive way to make the same thing, or accepting unsustainable margins.  From what I can tell, it means tougher material, more consistent product, made in the US, and yes, it’s affordable.  Give the crew at GG full credit.  ++ Revolutionized Carbon!!
  • 14 0
 Two words for January cycling; polar vortex.
  • 4 0
 Two words for january cycling: Mediterranean sunshine!
  • 2 1
 No way! We had an Amazing January in the Calgary area. Temps above freezing, all the snow disappeared, many rides on dry dirt. Today it's -30F, but it's February, so it's expected.
  • 2 0
 @pinkrobe: Oh, only -30F.
  • 14 1
 Anne-Caroline we hope you have a successful 2019. Positive vibes, prayer, etc.
  • 14 1
 Hopefully this XTR hiccup doesn't delay the release of 12 speed XT! Fuck cancer.
  • 3 0
 If anything they will be ironing out the bugs with xtr so probably no.
  • 9 3
 It’s a shame the new XTR has taken so long, we have a few bikes at the shop I work in with it. The feel is surprising, coming from someone who prefers the action of sram. We do have it in stock finally though, maybe I’ll try xt once it comes out!
  • 15 9
 2440 Affordable! Lol. That fact that you can get a really nicely specced whole bike for that made from aluminium makes this 'affordable tag laughable. Why people insist on buying over priced carbon is beyond me. Makes no sense at all.
  • 3 0
 Yeah I'm bummed they're leaving metal bikes behind. Cool they are growing though as I don't see the carbon bike market shrinking. Just wish they could have kept both in line.
  • 10 3
 Affordable is relative to income and expenses. It's silly to knock something because your finances can't handle it, especially when it is less expensive than every comparable option (which sell like crazy), all while being uniquely manufactured in a place that pays first-world wages.
  • 4 0
 @kmg0: I think if they had the capacity, they would. Being small is a blessing and a curse. They were certainly at capacity with their alu frames - 12 week wait at one point for the Smash in M and L - and I’m sure they’ll do really well with their new frames. You gotta think they could streamline their alloy front triangle manu process, especially given that the new bikes all share the same front...
  • 4 3
 @sspiff: You're missing the point. The point is you can buy a brilliant whole bike that would probably ride just as good as this for the same money. Carbon is a decades old materiel and is as common as metal and that fact that bike companies are charging ridiculous money for this stuff needs to stop. If the buying public saw sense and stopped buy this stuff do to price you watch the price on this black stuff plummet. So would all the wild claims about how much better it is than metal. Time to wake up and see sense.
  • 7 0
 @Matt76: I don't think I am missing the point. I just don't necessarily think it's correct.

There is barely a premium for GG's carbon frames relative to a north-American manufactured metal bike (Reeb Squeeb is $2.6k with shock, Devinci alu is about $2.2k). Hell an overseas-manufactured sentinel alloy is $2k for the frame. GG is $2200 without a shock.

If you had red GGs announcement you'd see that while carbon is a "decades old material," they are using binders and processes brand new to this industry. They say it's about 8 hours of labor now. Consider $100/hr for domestic skilled labor. Factor in another grand or so to keep lights on, grow the company, purchase raw materials and tooling, account for warranty, etc. It's not like they're rolling in profit, and if so, then good for GG!
  • 1 4
 @sspiff: If carbon costs so much to make then what's the point? Despite what the 'industry' has told everyone for decades the fact is carbon really no better than a metal bike. Its just an alternative. If metal costs a lot less to produce then stay away from the cloth and glue.
  • 5 0
 In what way is a stiffer, lighter, more durable frame "no better than" the alternative? Nobody is going to knock you for enjoying alloy bikes, but come on dude, carbon definitely builds a superior frame in so many ways. At least be real.
  • 1 8
flag Matt76 (Feb 3, 2019 at 14:03) (Below Threshold)
 @sherbet: Sorry but you're wrong. Another person brainwashed by the bike industry. Stronger, shifter, lighter, better, faster is a myth. Read link
  • 10 0
 @Matt76: Looking at this link in the bike frame context I don't understand how you come to the conclusions you do. Also, it doesn't take into account carbon with thermoplastic vs. resin binder which is critically important to GGs case.

Sherbet is right... You can love aluminum for other reasons, but the fact is that carbon is the better frame material from a performance perspective. I hate to do the internet engineer thing, but I am a PhD level materials scientist; you're not going to get anywhere here.
  • 2 0
 @scvkurt03: Yeah, you can't always do everything. I waited a good second for my MT. I wish them great success
  • 1 0
 @sspiff: Smack down!
  • 2 4
 I have to agree with @Matt76 on this. I have seen so many cracked carbon frames because yes they may be stiffer, stronger etc but they cant take an impact during a crash or from a rock flicking up, at least not the same way aluminium can. I have ridden alloy bikes for years bashed them off everything and always they came back for more, (I am not saying they are unbreakable because they are but they are definitely more resilient to objects hitting them) I bought a carbon frame, it fell against a rock and frame cracked within a few months of owning it. Needless to say I will be saving my money and buying alloy from now on! Plus the environmental effects of the manufacture of carbon fibre are questionable! To me it is not worth the extra money!
  • 1 0
 @Farry: Thank you. The thing that infuriates me about carbon is how it being sold as better in all ways than metal which it just isnt, it really isnt. Then charging a fortune for this stuff is beyond a joke. I never have done and never will trust a carbon frame or component....ever! Metal will always win for me and I will never ever change my mind on it or will I be convinced otherwise. In the process of that mindset I will save a fortune on future purchases. Happy days!
  • 1 3
 @sspiff: Couldn't give a sh*t that you are a PHD whatever, not a flying fook. Nore can anyone else on here! So don't big yourself up too much pal!
  • 2 0
 @Matt76: Your mentality actually speaks loads here. You don't care at all what people educated on the topic say, you're hoping for some circlejerk of like minded people to prop you up and give you an echo chamber. You're not going to get that. You are wrong. Learn from it.
  • 1 0
 @sherbet: Don't bother, dude. IT's like internet 2 stroke dorks who can completely ignore the fact 4 strokes win races every single day because they're too cheap to pay for the performance. As someone too cheap to pay for it, I understand, but dealing with reality isn't most people's strong suit.
  • 1 1
 @kmg0: The issues with Carbon fibre is that its strength is directional whereas aluminium and other metals have a unidirectional strength. This means that yes carbon fibre is exceptionally strong in one direction and in that direction much stronger than its alloy counterpart. However, it is not when the direction of force is outside of that direction. On top of this damage to carbon does not present itself well so internal damage to the frame tubes may not be evident when looking at it and requires specialist techniques mainly ultrasound and xray to determine if the frame is damaged or not. For this reason I personally would never buy a second hand carbon bike as you have no idea what internal damage it has. in addition to this you have to be more careful with torque settings as it can easily crack from overtightening. It cannot take impacts the same ways as metal can and there is potential the resin that holds the fibres together can degrade over time. yes there are advantages to it and if I was sponsored and getting a new bike every race/season then id probably ride it but I am not and as a consumer I want my kit to last and take a few knocks.
Also if carbon is so much faster, is the current world cup winning bike not alloy?
  • 2 1
 @Farry: I didn't read your post cause I could not care less what bike you own or ride
  • 1 0
 @sspiff: But it IS NOT less expensive than any comparable options. $2500 for a hybrid carbon/aluminum hybrid is about the same of the few hybrid offerings on the market. You can buy most full carbon frames for $3000.
  • 1 0
 @duzzi: What are some other options at that price?
  • 2 0
 @matt76 Whatever, man. Materials scientists/chemists have probably done more for your quality of life than just about any other working body of the population. Your access to metals, plastics, electronics, fuels, agriculture... Yeah, you've got us to thank. But stop listening when it doesn't suit you. It's cool.

@duzzi: This isn't really that relevant, since all of those previous comparisons were to domestically manufactured aluminum bikes. Can you name a domestically manufactured carbon (full or hybrid) bike within $1000 of GG? Unless you are saying that there's no value in domestic manufacturing, but that's not a carbon vs aluminum discussion.
  • 7 1
 I'm interested in that Shimano photo. Has a dropper post remot, finally the Shimano dropper could be here!
  • 3 0
 its just a remote that works with any cable operated dropper. they announced it the same time as everything else
  • 2 0
 the remote has a nice feel to it, though i still like my wolftooth remote more!
  • 3 1
 Yes Shimano already makes a dropper under their PRO cockpit and component brand.
  • 9 1
 fuck cancer
  • 4 0
 The new XTR is starting to seem like the Fyre Festival of drivetrains. Shiny pictures promising greatness but never really delivering.
  • 3 0
 And yet so many fanboys have a twinkle in their eye about it while shitting on the drivetrain systems that were actually able to make it to the market. Somehow, no matter what Shimano does wrong, fuck Sram.
  • 8 4
 Well if its a bad month for Shimano, it must be a good month for Sram #gearwars
  • 13 0
 How much do you know about the Gear Wars?
  • 7 0
 @slovenian6474: I hear it wasn't actually about the gears at all
  • 1 3
 You mean #gnarwars
  • 9 5
 Any month shimano has a 12 speed set is a bad one for sram, cant wait to get rid of these eagle plastic gears.
  • 1 0
 @slovenian6474: They started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
  • 6 1
 Bad week for the Intense Tazer's good name.
  • 4 0
 Motorcross investors equals good month for future ebike sales to cross trainers
  • 9 7
 Shimano xtr could be delayed 2 years amd come with a warning that it will set my house on fire and I would still wait the entire time, with out a deivetrain amd unable to ride before I buy a SRAM drivetrain.
  • 3 0
 Bad flu season around my area, I'm sick for two weeks. This season suck even weather is good in California
  • 6 2
 I’m just excited for E-Tap Eagle next week.
  • 8 1
 So $3000 USD for the kit yo suppose?
  • 1 0
 @bman33: told ya.
  • 1 0
 @mitcht: $2000...less than expected honestly
  • 6 5
 I must still be in the dark ages of cycling riding an aluminum Turner with Shimano 10 speed XTR. I hope Shimano gets pulls out of this XTR nosedive because SRAM has been eating there lunch for a long time.
  • 2 2
 PB. GG never stated there carbon is 300 percent stronger. I believe they said 300 percent stronger in regards to impact.
PB. Athertons did start a brand but how involved were they with the development of the bike? The Atherton's and there team are all about branding and marketing.
  • 1 1
 Impact resistant and stronger are the same thing?
  • 4 0
 @freeridejerk888: Not exactly. Impact resistence in engineering terms is toughness. You can have a strong material that isn't ductile, so it won't be very tough. This metric increases in the new frames due to the thermoplastic bonding media as opposed to conventional resin.
  • 1 0
 Maybe you mean resilience? But still, it's quite a bold statement...
  • 6 3
 Stop complaining about XTR... We are all too poor and waiting for XT anyway!
  • 1 0
 Exciting to watch Intense evolving. KTM went from strength to strength when Dungey was Champion. Hopefully the same success can be replicated with Gwin
  • 3 2
 the guy on the right front in the plaid shirt has a very INTENSE look on his face. i think hes trying to not fart in front of the hotty next to him...
  • 2 0
 Affordable to build up land filled with carbons now.
  • 3 5
 Other than sponsorship contracts, money and the OEMs getting screwed due to production capacity and lead times of other options why would anyone wait for XTR? Its a joke. 50 year old tech with yet another round of .02% "improvements no one asked for and surely would give up for on time delivery. Another example of how out of touch Shimano is with the market.
  • 2 1
 More ratings, more likes, more dislikes.....I can't get enough
  • 1 0
 fuck cancer.....get well soon ACC x
  • 1 1
 It's now a good month for XTR. Mine shipped from Shimano yesterday, It will be here Wednesday.
  • 2 1
 Bad month for ya homie Roger Stone ! He’s one strange mother fxxker lol
  • 1 0
 But he knows where all the bodies are buried from both sides of the House.
  • 10 10
 The affordable carbon that is half aluminum...
  • 8 0
 As a lot of other "carbon" bikes.
  • 3 4
 The Atherton licensing their name and calling it a bike company is a thumbs down. XTR returning to dominance is a thumbs up.
  • 1 2
 It’s a bad month for... Athertons Start own bike company
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