Lower Priced Electronic Wireless Shifting
SRAM Launches GX AXS
SRAM's release of their new GX AXS wireless electronic drivetrain
brings the price of ditching cables and housing down to $600, which gets you a new derailleur, shifter, battery, and a charger. It still doesn't exactly fall into the 'affordable' category, but the price should make it more attainable
, and we'll undoubtedly see more complete bikes equipped with the new parts later this year.
Shimano appears to be working on a wireless group of their own
, at least based on patents that the Japanese company was recently granted that show a wireless derailleur, dropper post, and suspension. There's still no news as to when the products might show up in real life, though; at the moment SRAM is firmly in the lead when it comes to leaving those cables behind.
Wild Riding in British Columbia
Spring is for sending.
Yoann Barelli, Remy Metailler, and Steve Vanderhoek
seemed to be on the Pinkbike homepage every day in March, dissecting gnarly move after gnarly move in the Sea to Sky corridor. While there's plenty of cringe-worthy YouTube mountain biking content out there, this trio's level of talent makes it much more palatable, and the fact that they're able to ride some of the most ridiculous trails on the planet with ease, even in the pouring rain, makes for some highly entertaining, and sometimes inspiring, viewing.
Seb Stott Brings the Science
The addition of Seb Stott to Pinkbike's editorial team means that there is a whole bunch of extra-nerdy riding-related content on the way, the results of combining a degree in experimental physics with a passion for mountain biking.
In March, Seb kicked things off by trying to figure out if using a lockout
actually made a difference while climbing (in this case it did), and then followed that up with an excellent breakdown of the science behind pumping
. If reading the words “conservation of angular momentum” immediately makes you consider taking a nap, don't nod off just yet – Taj Mijelich added in some clever illustrations to make all that science a little more understandable.
Yes, really. There were a lot of them.
If you were in the market for new mountain bike shoes, March delivered a bumper crop of new options. There may not have been that many new bike launches, but for some reason there were more new shoe announcements than ever. Ride Concepts
released two flat pedals models, the Hellion Elite and the Vice Mid, Specialized
debuted their new 2F0 DH and Rime Shoes, and Fizik
joined in with their new Gravita models. Even Brandon Semenuk got into the mix with his new signature model from Etnies, the Semenuk Pro
"Never bring a bike to a knife fight."- @nychc00
One of the most read stories in March had to do with a strange incident on a trail
in Bellingham, Washington. There are conflicting reports as to exactly what happened, but the overall gist of it is that a 66-year-old mountain biker encountered a group of hikers while he was riding uphill, some sort of scuffle ensued, and one of the hikers, 69-year-old Dake Traphagen, allegedly stabbed the biker in the fray.
The story should serve as a reminder that being respectful and courteous to other users goes a long way, and no matter if you're hiking, biking, or off-road rollerblading there's no reason to stab anyone. Imagining two old guys battling it out in the woods over who has the right of way is a little funny, and a lot sad. It's not that hard to be nice.
Santa Cruz Syndicate
Minnaar recovering from COVID, Shaw suffers back injury.
It was a rough month for the Santa Cruz Syndicate. Greg Minnaar announced
that he had contracted a mild case of COVID-19 earlier in March following a trip to Europe, and the lingering effects of the virus were still affecting his pre-season training. He said, "I'm now two weeks post-COVID and I thought I'd be back training which isn't the case."
Minnaar's teammate, Luca Shaw, also had a rough month, after a huge crash left him with a fracture on a facet joint in his lower spine. Luckily it sounds like the injury is stable and won't require surgery – Luca was hoping to be back on the bike relatively quickly.
The Fort Wlliam World Cup round was recently cancelled
, which means that the first round of the World Cup won't be until June 12th. Hopefully that will give Greg and Luca time to heal up and start the season at 100%.
Don't Expect a Discount Any Time Soon
March brought multiple announcements about increasing bike prices. Rose Bikes
and Santa Cruz
both issued statements explaining that prices would be rising by around 10%. Earlier in the year Commencal, Propain, and Nukeproof announced price increases, and it's fair to say that most bike companies will be following suit.
If mountain biking is suddenly so popular, why are the prices going up? Shipping costs are one of the main reasons – freight prices are at an all time high, and events like the Ever Given ship getting stuck in the Suez canal aren't helping things. Component costs have also gone up, which raises the price of a complete bike, and the growing strength of the Taiwan dollars is yet another reason that companies have had to increase prices, even with the strong demand.