Rider Rumors and Team Changes
Let the musical chairs begin
Is this the silliest of silly seasons? After a year of uncertainty and an upcoming race calendar that no one has much faith in, we're seeing more riders than ever looking for new homes. The list is long and includes Emily Batty who had been racing on a Trek for over twelve years
, as well as Bernardo Cruz who had been on GT for the last ten years
. YT said goodbye to Vali Holl, Adolf Silva, and Cam Zink
, while the YT Mob parts ways with long-time mob member Angel Suarez
. Arguably the biggest team news was Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Canyon splitting up
, but Jordan Sarrou leaving Absolute Absalon is up there, too. Master of the scariest lines, Remy Metailler, will no longer be doing them on a Cube
, while Remi Thirion won't be racing on a Commencal in 2021
Other news sees Phil Atwill, Gaetan Vige, Veronique Sandler, Katy Winton, Jose Borges, Loris Vergier, and Yoann Barelli parting ways with their respective teams. And no, Barelli won't be on the factory-level Grim Donut EWS team.
Interesting Bikes and Gear
A new downhill bike, gearbox bike, and wacky fork
Our photographers often spot new and interesting gear at World Cup and Enduro World Series events, but with a drastically shortened calendar (and start list) that happened far less in 2020 than we're used to seeing. Thankfully, people like Intend's Cornelius Kapfinger, the brains behind this one-man German suspension outfit, are still out there thinking about the things and then making the things. Kapfinger's strange looking Bandit fork uses one and a half crowns
to facilitate a massive negative air spring inside the longer leg. He says this makes the 1,999 € fork impossibly smooth and active, while I say that it makes it looks really weird. I like it.
If the pivot is high already, why not make it even higher? Devinci has been tinkering with their Wilson downhill bike in 2020, coming up with a prototype for Dakotah Norton and Jure Žabjek to race aboard
with an even higher pivot and idler pulley. Cleverly, it's called the Wilson HP. The official word from Devinci is that it's "not the next Wilson.
" Uh-huh. There's no gearbox on the Wilson HP, but you'll find one on Instinctiv's new M Series trail bike
. There's also a new Evil Offering with big wheels and 140mm of travel
, as well as a wild new Specialized made from carbon fiber that weighs only 5lb
UCI Concussion Protocols
Protect ya head
The UCI's new concussion guidelines are much more prescriptive
While it's not like we haven't known that concussions can be ultra-serious, many of us have spent the previous decades acting like everything is fine as long as there are no gaping wounds or broken bones.
This had been the norm despite many reports of life-altering consequences, including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease caused by repeated brain trauma that can lead to memory loss, speech issues, depression, and mood swings... Or worse; CTE has been linked to the suicides of many retired NFL players, as well as BMX legend Dave Mirra
, but the issue is that it can only be diagnosed post-mortem.
, advocating that athletes suffering a head injury should have a period of complete rest of between 24 and 48 hours and not return to competition for at least a week after their symptoms have cleared up. In the case of junior riders, that break will double. You've got a single brain so be cautious when it comes to head injuries. Replace your helmet as needed, take more time away from the bike than you think you need, and talk to your doctor.
Matt Macduff's Title Video
Backwards, upsidedown, and spinning
Hey, Matt, never stop being gnarly AF. If you haven't seen Macduff's latest video
, get outta the Zoom meeting you're currently wasting your time with and press play on this - it's a wild one. Matt is riding his chrome Norco hardtail and making it do all the things, some of which don't seem to make sense if you're even a little familiar with gravity. By the way, Macduff knows all about gravity from his Loop of Doom attempt
but hasn't let that stop him. Wild.
Filmed by Brody Jones and Kadison Pelletier, with the course built by Rheeder, Macduff, Pelletier, Dane Scott, and Corbin Selfe, Matt MacDuff's Title Edit is easily one of the best video highlights of 2020.
Rose Bikes Cancels All UK Orders
Brexit puts an end to UK orders
Citing Brexit as the cause, Rose Bikes canceled all UK orders, and not just for complete bikes. In September, they announced they would cease selling bikes in the UK market due to laws dictating which side brake levers had to be installed on complete bikes, but now the UK Rose Bikes website has a pop-up window that says the following:
''Dear Customer, Due to the Brexit and the withdrawal from the EU domestic market without a Free Trade Agreement from then 01.01.2021, we can no longer fulfill any orders from the UK. Already ordered goods, that can be shipped until 20.12.2020 will be sent out. Orders that can not be shipped until this date will be canceled. If your goods cannot be shipped, our customer support will contact you via E-Mail. Unfortunately, we feel compelled to not fulfill UK orders currently, we hope to be able to ship to our UK customers soon again. Thank you very much for understanding and for your loyalty and support.''
Historic Bikes Stolen from Specialized
Hey, where'd you get that old Stumpy from?
This is why we can't have nice things. If you were to walk into Specialized's headquarters in Morgan Hill, California, you'd see a treasure trove of historical bikes to your right that ranges from the original to the outrageous. Rather, that's what you would have seen prior to a mid-December break-in that saw thieves make off with $160,000 USD of historic and employee-owned bikes
. Among the sixteen stolen were the S-Works Epic ridden by Jaroslav Kulhavy to Olympic gold in London, Peter Sagan’s Paris-Roubaix winning S-Works Roubaix, and Ned Overend’s national championship-winning S-Works Fatboy. Company founder Mike Sinyard had two personal bikes stolen, as well as a full-suspension road prototype, dubbed the ‘Scrambled Egger' that probably doesn't stand out at all. Nope.
Actually, most, if not all, of the stolen bikes are unique machines that will surely be difficult to fence for anywhere near their true value. On the other hand, it sure looks like the thieves knew exactly what they wanted. Is there an evil bike collector out there? Have you already typed 'Ned Overend' and 'Peter Sagan' into the Craigslist?
Dave Garland, Farmer Jac Jones Pass Away
Jac Jones was a farmer and landowner in the village of Moelfre
who first gave the Atherton's permission to build a World Cup training course on his property, a decision that would lead to the British 4X, cross-country, and downhill championships taking place at his farm. ''We can not underestimate the significance and gratitude we must hold for Framer Jac and the use of his land, and that of fellow landowners,'' race organizer Si Paton said. ''Firstly, trusting race organizers and local riders to go and carve up their hillside and woodland, swinging axes, chainsaws, mattocks, and perhaps the final straw, plant machinery. Now add in 300+ unruly mountain bike racers and who knows how many spectators, the destruction of the camping field on a wet weekend, and I certainly do not want to mention the litter that is discarded.''
''For Jac, nothing was ever a problem. He would drive over during race set up in one of his old Landys that was held together by orange bailing twine and his trusty old pipe hanging from the corner of his mouth. Anything that you ever asked of him, the answer was always a big fat 'yes!'''Long-time World Cup mechanic and all-around bike lover Dave Garland
passed away from a suspected heart attack during a ride before the end of the year. Garland had more than twenty years' worth of experience on the World Cup circuit with brands including Giant, Canyon, and Saracen. He's probably best known for working with Danny Hart from the age of eleven and continued to assist him throughout his career, including during his wild 2011 win in Champery. Garland also created Stendec suspension, a telemetry system designed to perfect suspension set up, and helped countless racers and riders dial-in their bikes over the years.