2018 Red Bull Rampage Champion
It was clear from the start that Brett Rheeder wasn't planning on holding back at this year's Red Bull Rampage. Even after a crash in practice, he still laid down a perfect run, one that included an opposite 360 to start, a huge flat drop backflip, and multiple large step downs into steep terrain.
Fast and fluid, with big moves and tricks added into the mix, it was a run that had all the ingredients required for a winning run. The judges agreed, awarding Brett 89.66 points, a score that remained unsurpassed for the rest of the day.
The yearly game of musical chairs has begun
The World Cup and EWS seasons have come to a close, which means its time for the rumors
to start flying about who's going where. Team announcements typically don't come until a little later in the year, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start speculating, especially when an athlete is spotted on a bike from a different brand, or stops tagging a sponsor in their Instagram posts.
So far we've seen Josh Bryceland depart from Santa Cruz, Jolanda Neff join Trek, and Martin Maes re-sign with GT, but plenty of unanswered questions remain. Will we see Aaron Gwin and Neko Mullaly on different frames next year? What about the Athertons? Will they stay with Trek, or move on? We'll find out eventually, but in the meantime there's plenty of time for all sorts of guesses, some wild, and some educated.
Wealthy Linkage Fork Fans
Trust Debuts 'The Message' Fork
A carbon fiber linkage fork
designed by Dave Weagle? I don't think many people saw that coming. There have been multiple attempts at bringing linkage forks to the mountain bike world, but Trust Performance are hoping that they've finally cracked the code and created something that sticks around for more than a season or two.
Of course, with a price tag of $2,700 the fork (it's called 'The Message') will be out of reach for many riders, but for those that can afford it, it's supposed to feel “like XC suspension when pedaling, and enduro suspension when descending.” Those are some pretty bold claims, which is why we have one in for extensive testing to see if The Message lives up to the hype.
The East Coast MTB Community and Beyond
R.I.P. Kyle Ebbett
made a name for himself in the mountain bike world during the early- to mid-2000s, traveling around the country with Aaron Chase, Eric Porter, Jeff Lenosky, and many others to film and race. He was also a skilled trail builder, and big (literally and figuratively) part of the East Coast mountain bike scene. In what was described as a “freak accident,” Ebbett drowned after his boat capsized while he was out fishing on a lake in Vermont. His presence will be missed.
Rocky Mountain Bicycles
160 new high-end bikes stolen
This brazen theft actually happened at the end of September, but I'm sure it still made October a not-so-good month for Rocky Mountain Bicycles. Semi-truck driving thieves stole an entire container
of high-end mountain bikes, with a total estimated value of between $600,000 - $800,000 CDN.
Several of the 160 stolen bikes have been located in Ontario, almost 3,000 miles away from where they were stolen, but the majority have yet to be recovered.
Anyone Hoping for a Controversy Free Rampage
Who got robbed this time?
Another Rampage, another round of “So-and-so got robbed.” There will always be disagreement at a judged competition, and this year it was Brendan Fairclough's creative run that caused a furor in the comments section. Fairclough was the second rider to drop in, and when he finished his line, which had a big drop off a boulder, not one but two canyon gaps, and a super steep, rubble filled chute, he was given a score of 67.66. That score was good enough for a 10th place finish, but many viewers though it should have been much higher. It wasn't a winning run – Rheeder had that position locked down – but it did seem like the raw, creative nature of the line should have been worth a few more points.
Is there a perfect solution? Probably not, but there were plenty of ideas tossed around here
. Personally, I'd like to see a little more transparency when it comes to the scoring – why not show how each judge rated the runs? It'd provide a little more context, and help make viewers understand why run X scored higher than run Y. We'll see what happens next October.