Good Month / Bad Month: 2020 Goes Down Swinging

Jan 8, 2021
by Mike Levy  

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.
Vergier is a danger man on any track. Today he went down hard and took himself and his peak out of the running.
Loris Vergier is leaving the Santa Cruz Syndicate for 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.
No derailleur but room for ALL the water bottles on Instinctiv's new M Series trail bike.

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

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.
You've only got one of these.

The UCI's new concussion guidelines are much more prescriptive, 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.
Matt MacDuff x Title Mtb Watch the video at Photo by Jordan Sullivan
Macduff's Title video earned a 'Must Watch.'

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.''
Live in the UK and want this bike? Too bad.

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.
Theives used a box van and a 4Runner to steal sixteen bikes from Specialized's headquarters.
Theives used a box van and a 4Runner to steal sixteen bikes from Specialized's headquarters.

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

Behind-the-scenes legends

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.''
Farmer Jac's land was home to countless races and film projects.

''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.


  • 109 4
 "Barelli won't be on the factory-level Grim Donut EWS team."
That's bad month for me.
  • 27 7
 Idk guerrilla gravity wins over that to me.
  • 9 2
 @dualcrownscottspark: Second best news of 2021 so far.
  • 82 2
 The UCI concussion protocols are a great start, kudos. Love to see this work its way into more free ride events
  • 64 0
 Especially after that off you had in Maribor practice.... No, wait...
  • 36 2
 @Gerlewis: how rude of you to not congratulate him on his Rainbow stripes
  • 8 0
 @Gerlewis: I laugh, but it's mostly out of insecurity in not being totally sure who is who. . .
  • 6 0
 @rrolly: Invoke the protocol! Confusion is a key symptom.
  • 10 0
 @Gerlewis: lol
  • 28 3
 send the grim donut over to Cathro
  • 3 1
 Can't up vote this enough !!!
  • 7 0
 Can you imagine how big a Cathro sized Grim Donut would be?
  • 2 0
 @loamfiend: It would need Maple Bar linkage
  • 21 7
 It is a good month because somebody very dangerous is finally leaving; it is a bad month because he is leaving both a growing seed & a beautiful country broken & deeply divided. Frown
  • 7 0
 I just hope there isn't an invasion of yet ANOTHER country that "needs" democracy forced on it. But I do here they have a lot of natural resources, so you never know...
  • 2 3
 Seems the divide will only continue to grow. There's now people calling for the expulsion of representatives they don't agree with. Trying to create a one party state seems like it may inflame tensions a bit.
  • 3 1
 @DylanH93: Sadly, I have to agree with you. Let's hope JB & KH healing plan works, but my gut guess is that healing in America is gonna take a long, long time. Frown
  • 9 0
 Really cool story about that Jac Jones fellow. You really have to take a step back and appreciate these people for what they do for our sport purely from the kindness of their hearts and with the desire to see kids at play (we're all kids playing in this sport regardless of our age). Its people w/ a mentality like Jac's that help the trend of humanity stay positive.
  • 13 3
 whoa whoa whoa, there's a factory-level Grim Donut EWS team? PB, do tell me more! ;-)
  • 7 2
 Barelli to Guerrilla Gravity, the Grim Donut dream is no more
  • 1 0
 For sure
  • 2 0
 They have the in house manufacturing to make The Carbon Donut.
  • 1 0
 @abueno: I guess so
  • 1 0
 @crashtor: it was a good guess
  • 2 0
 Is that Rose bikes thing legit? Are there not dozens of german bike brands that are continuing to ship to the UK every week (canyon, yt, cube). It would be a big market not to sell bikes to, seams odd.
  • 3 0
 Not sure Rose sold anywhere near as many bikes in the UK as YT and Canyon, so may not be worth the hassle for them. It seems that the much-vaunted free-trade deal has some challenging wrinkles in terms of VAT and proving country of origin (is a bike with frame and components made outside Germany actually made in Germany) that will take some time to iron out.
  • 1 0
 Canyon has also increased his UK prices. Don't know about YT though
  • 1 0
 I’ve never see a rose before but have seen several canyons and yts
  • 1 2
 There are lots of foreign companies who seems to be voting with their wallets and stopping UK orders, in the hopes of forcing a change in how the world deals with a post-Brexit Britain.,, and are just some of the big names.

Good on them, I hope they can bring about the change they want to see. In the meantime I'll have to shop elsewhere - I've used Rose multiple times in the past, they offered great prices on Monarch shocks when I needed one, provide really good service, and offer good discount codes regularly.
  • 1 0
 I think (and this will need to be checked and confirmed) that the Uk has said that an EU firm needs to collect UK taxes at the point of purchase so that it doesn't need sorting out at the point of import. However, to do that they have to be UK tax registered (and pay for the privilege), keep additional tax records, etc.
I think a lot of businesses are waiting to see how things work out and will hopefully start reselling later in the year?
Rose aren't the only brand - there's a few of them - and the issue isn't restricted to bikes. There's also issues taking goods out of the country - bbc is reporting that it's causing issues for Scottish fisherman trying to sell produce to the eu before it goes off...
  • 1 2
 @Ooofff: you need to get from your basement abit more ooofff lol
  • 1 0
 @slimboyjim: not those pesky fish again !
  • 1 0
 @gkeele: I would have assumed most people use wiggle or chain reaction (I know they are basically the same) in the UK?
  • 1 0
 @Matt115lamb: I live next to a bike park I used to see hundreds of bikes each day and have never seen a rose.
  • 2 0
 @eml924: Before Brexit at least, there were definitely better, cheaper options available. Since the merger both sites became overpriced IMO.
  • 2 0
 Nobody has heard of anything related to the missing bikes? Hasn't it been a week or two? Hopefully they get them back soon.
  • 5 4
 Barelli not being on a team doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a team...
  • 1 1
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: say it enough and...
  • 1 1
 Anthropomorphic dogs makes me think of furries. Furries makes me think of flamethrowers.
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