Good Month / Bad Month: Nerds, Single Crown Forks, Interbike, & More - December 2018

Jan 8, 2019
by Paul Aston  

Bike Nerds
A December to remember

December was a prize haul for true bike nerds. The Pinkbike Field Test gave you a look at a ton of new bikes, Santa Cruz finally launched their new V10 to the public, Pace Cycles announced their first carbon full suspension bike, we rode and rated 12 winter jackets and 8 pairs of downhill pants, Neko Mulally showed us his 27.5/29-wheeled Frankenbike, and Chainline Bikes produced this OTT Kona Process 'Pony Express'.

For us turbo-nerds there was plenty more to get stuck into: RC's piece on bar-width, advanced bike geometry banter from Vorsprung, BYB's telemetry system, the new Pole Stamina, and Nicolai's G1 do-it-all rig, with the latest shock from EXT. Oh, and so many racing rumours from the soap opera of World Cup racing.

Southern Hemisphere MTB
Cannonball Festival, Urban DH and Asian Enduro races

Summer in the southern hemisphere is well and truly underway while we Northern monkeys are freezing our butt's off and riding continuous slop (I'm not bragging, but Finale has been 17ºC, bone dry, and sunny throughout the Christmas holidays). Thredbo's Cannonball Fest saw Peaty, Minnaar, Shaw, Vergier, Brosnan, Barelli, Strait, and Carlson to name a few, as well as an Aussie Festival vibe and some pinned racing.

The DownTaxco street race also took part in Mexico and now they even have a Best Trick and Whip-Off event with a more chilled out vibe to absorb the long summer evenings.
Canyon teammates Troy Brosnan amp Kye A 39 Hern were punching out bulk laps together all day.

Kirill Benderoni
The Russian freerider is making some progress in his recovery

Pinkbike's favorite Russian Freerider, Kirill Benderoni, took a huge slam last year and is in a bad way. His progress is going in the right direction though. He has a long recovery ahead of him, but it's great to hear a positive update from Danila Kahutin and Andrey Kot, who went to shred Kirill's training zone on an icy December day.
Screen shot

bigquotesSeveral times we came to visit him, each time we were surprised at the speed of his recovery. Probably because Kiril is physically very strong. Most recently, after 2 months of rehabilitation in the center, he returned home. Now he continues to be treated, but closer to home. He has good progress now. Kirill walks well, as before falling, speaks well, and began to read little by little. Memories almost completely returned to him. Kirill does not stop and continues to do the exercises every day.Danila Kahutin

The trade show business model needs a rethink

What's happening with trade shows? Interbike is gone for 2019, after an attempt to relocate to Reno in 2018 wasn't the lifeline they needed. On top of that, Eurobike changed its dates back the usual late August time after trying July in 2018, and the Taipei show shifted dates so abruptly that they will have had two shows within a five-month period by the end of March 2019.

Read James Smurthwaite's industry insider article about what is coming next for the big shows.
Interbike 2018
I'll be sad not to see our four-legged friends roaming the halls.

Mark Weir's heart, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot's IAE and Colin Meagher's ALS

While we like to focus on the fun and games side of mountain biking, there is always the nasty side of life rearing its ugly head and trying to take people down. In December, there was a bunch of bad news, all-round badass Mark Weir was hospitalized with a heart condition, and XC athlete Pauline Ferrand-Prevot discovering she had iliac artery endofibrosis affecting her World Championship winning legs.

Luckily the pair above are looking to make a recovery, but unfortunate the same cannot be said for our photographer and friend Colin Meagher, who is battling ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's disease. Colin has been forced to put down his camera, and there is no cure for ALS. You can read his full story here and help support his family through these tough times.

Single Crown Forks
Slow motion video had us cringing

Our Field Test videos dropped in December, and thanks to The Privateer, Adam, every single bike on test was gloriously hucked to flat in slow motion. Lots of commenters noted that fork flex was really apparent, with the longer forks being the most noticeable.

So are we going to be running dual crown forks on our trail bikes? Does this call for the return of the SID XL? Well, our test was hardly scientific, with countless variables not accounted for, and there's no consensus about whether this kind of flex is a bug, a feature, or simply a neutral byproduct of forks getting lighter and longer every year. But with all that said, watching those poor forks get smashed had us feeling sorry for them!


  • 135 28
 Why is there an assumption that flex is such a bad thing in this case? Lyriks and Fox 36s feel pretty damn stiff to me - and they don't break really ever. You don't even see many broken Pikes or 34s.

Head angles are getting pretty damn slack out at 65 and less and they're literally being bucked to flat and bottomed out on purpose, in slow motion. Of course you will be able to see some flex.
  • 158 31
 "there's no consensus about whether this kind of flex is a bug, a feature, or simply a neutral byproduct of forks getting lighter and longer every year." - the article
  • 30 4
 I agree; if they didn't flex they would snap. Should watch some videos of ships flexing then come back and tell us its bad thing.
  • 38 2
 @brianpark: I read that. I mean why is there a perception from the Pinkbike community that it's a bad thing
  • 16 21
flag SleepingAwake (Jan 8, 2019 at 1:34) (Below Threshold)
 @tom666: with flex comes binding. That being said a dual crown doesn't make things better when the lowers and stanchions flex.

@LNWeth where did you get your engineering degree?
  • 25 3
 @tom666: Because baseless armchair engineering is way easier than doing any form of research.
  • 5 2
 They probably do their stress analysis with some silly head tube angle like 60 and then put a factor of safety on that. I wouldn't worry unless hucks to flat were all I did, but then I wouldn't own a bike like those anyway.
  • 51 1
 Wish I had flex , hit no mans land on the mrs the other night Frown
  • 7 2
 @Clarkeh: I still want Fox 38 whether the flex is good or bad!
  • 14 1
 @jaame: I see your Fox 38 and raise you a Totem.
  • 3 2
 @Boardlife69: I would have another totem too. Both would be welcome. And chuck a 66 in the mix too.
  • 10 1
 The only problem with flex is that the piston goes off axis inside the shaft and sticks to the sidewalls. If the piston was on a piece of sphere and was allowed to rotate this would alos be over I think Formula has it patented so other brands would need to pay to use. Otherwise, i see no reason for them not to use.
  • 8 0
 I'm fed up with my 36s flexing and binding - luckily Mojo Rising have a new dual crown conversion kit on the horizon, with adjustable offset to boot! That means i can replace my CSU with the dual crowns and stanchions, while keeping my damper/spring and 36 lowers... Triple clamp 36s anyone?
  • 3 0
 @MacRamsay: Sounds awesome until you see that at £600 it's more than the price of a one year old barely used 36
  • 4 0
 @SleepingAwake: Binding is mostly caused by different kind of flex, not fore and aft motion visible in the video, that flex is mostly caused by flex in Crown/stanchion interface, which obviously has no effect on bushings. Having fork supported by air/coil in only one side on the other hand...
  • 4 1
 @jaame: You don´t need larger stanchions to make fork stiffer, case in point, Marz 66. What you need is strong Crown/stanchion and Crown steerer interface, you know, the area both fox and RS are trying to make weaker for years lol.
  • 8 0
 @kutce: Man, I hate it when my shaft goes off axis, you never know where it'll end up sticking.
  • 34 2
 You've got to love this progressive mountainbike community for entertainment value. In recent suspension fork reviews, it typically went "suspension is pretty amazing these days" "the new larger negative air chamber makes it even more supple off the top" "yeah really nice supportive mid stroke and ramps up nicely towards the end of travel" "while thought the previous version was amazing already, they managed to make the latest version even better".

And then: the slo-mo huck test... People notice flex. "Argh, poor forks" "I can't stand the binding of my forks due to excessive stanchion deformation" "BAD MONTH, I REPEAT: BAD MONTH! BAAAAD MOOOONTH...!"

Got to love this. Keep it up Smile !
  • 3 0
 @kutce: x fusion uses it
  • 3 2
 I think it just shows why USD forks might be the future of mtb suspension
  • 6 1
 @tom666 I highly recommend you throw a dual crown fork on your trail bike and truly see how much better it is
  • 1 0
 @vinay: its not just the mtb community Smile
  • 1 0
 @tom666: because the article specifically said it was a bad month for single crown forks because they flex.
  • 6 0
 @mrgonzo: No worries, there was only flex in December. Come January all is good again and we'll go back to our usual ways of raving about how great mountainbike suspension has become.

@laxguy: You mean, even the bots got upset? Now that's what I call artificial intelligence. Or well, artificial sheep behavior at least.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: all those bots tweeting up a storm..
  • 2 0
 @Matt115lamb: Maybe you just need a little more travel...
  • 21 1
 @brianpark: Weird flex, but ok
  • 4 1
 I was stunned when I saw those videos, but then it made sense when thinking about how the upper fork crown stiffness is used to control front end stiffness and feedback on motorcycle forks. Too much stiffness and the bike feels "chattery" and hard to ride. Too little and it feels vague. Taken to the extreme this can cause dangerous front end oscillations that can result in a loss of control.

On a mountain bike we are rarely going fast enough, nor do our tires generate enough grip for these oscillations to occur as they do in motorcycles. However, we may notice the lack of stiffness on a single crown fork as a lack of front end feel. In downhill, where speeds are high, I can see how this would matter. I wonder if enduro will transition to a very lightweight DC fork solution. Lighter than a DH fork, but stiffer than a SC trail fork.
  • 3 0
 @Vinay: no worries, with the next version of these forks the marketing will say: “25% stiffer than the previous model”.
  • 3 2
 @YoungPineapple: underrated comment.
  • 4 0
 not that it is completely analogous but when the big earthquake hits the buildings that fall over are the ones that don't flex.
  • 4 0
 I got an MRP Bartlett 180mm 29er fork for my Foes, it is far more rigid than the Lyric 180mm it is replacing. I am really happy I switched to this fork with only a 0.71 lb increase in weight.
  • 1 0
 undocumented feature
  • 4 0
 The fork flex yes. but i was suprise how much the the front part of the frame was flexing on some bike
  • 4 0
 Re do the video with DC forks please
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Exciting. Now that some people are getting concerned about frame flex we need mount DC forks. Not sure which of these frames are actually certified to run DC forks but for that subset, let's mount a Fox 40 with reduced travel and see how much it helps. I wouldn't risk Adam's health and safety running DC forks on frames not certified as such.
  • 2 0
 @kleinblake: Imagine being at the trailhead with a lowered Boxxer on my YT Jeffsy "yeah bro I watched this video on Pinkbike that showed how much single crown forks flex"
  • 1 0
 @jaybobo: sincerely doubt it.
  • 1 0
 @tom666: genuinely a dual crown fork rides so much better, it’s crazy. I’m pretty tempted to get a stiffmaster headset for that reason
  • 5 0
 Let's eliminate dreaded flex and start enjoying cracked and snapped head tubes.
  • 48 0
 There better be a Huck to flat video of the Trust linkage fork when that review is done.
  • 25 0
 @mikelevy hear the people cry out.
  • 5 0
 That I want to see
  • 8 0
 And some dual crowns
  • 5 0
 As mentioned below somewhere.. add a Lefty To that list!
  • 1 0
 @tkrug: Add the USE fork to that list. Lefty, linkage and DC all in one Smile .

And for peace of mind, that bike with integrated front suspension featured a while ago (forgot the name). If there would be flex, no one would be able to notice. Which is the main deal, after all. It doesn't matter whether there is flex or not. It is just that people got to see it that got them upset.
  • 2 0
 Just did some slow motion hucks to flat yesterday on video Wink I gotchu
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Wicked! I can only huck in slow motion when I've had enough helium and it takes days for my voice to return back to normal. Would love to talk to you now, just to hear what you sound like Smile .
  • 31 3
 There's a fellow enthusiast suffering from Motor Neurone Disease and the biggest subject is forks flexing, I not criticizing anyone at all but please just take a minute a consider how lucky we are to still be able to do our hobby/profession. Sincere condolences to Colin and family.
  • 8 0
 Don't forget to give to his GoFundMe. It's turned into a huge industry-sponsored raffle event too. I'm with you though--we really are all fortunate, and it can all be gone in an instant.
  • 3 0
 @DrPete: Done already
  • 23 0
 mexico is in the northern fact, mexico city is the largest metropolis in N America. but, geography...whatever
  • 1 0
 "The DownTaxco street race also took part in Mexico and now they even have a Best Trick and Whip-Off event with a more chilled out vibe to absorb the long summer evenings. "

Came here to dunk on this as well, fair play
  • 1 0
 Then let's just say it's in the middle trisphere where the sunshine is always longer than one of the other two.
  • 16 2
 Single Crown Forks - from looking at those videos, it didn't seem like it was just the fault of the fork:

1) The test was far from consistent as some bike were landed both wheels together, and some landed back wheel first.
2) There were bikes with the same fork and some showed awful flex and others didn't - Surely frame stiffness has an impact to this. Some of the best performing were the stiffest frames...

That stumpjumer though - eugh...
  • 4 0
 "That stumpjumer though - eugh..."

Scared the s*it out of me too!
Actually the Bronson was super stiff in fork manners, and you're right there were a lot of bikes with that fork.
  • 47 11
 "our test was hardly scientific, with countless variables not accounted for" - the article
  • 25 1
 @brianpark: Don't go quoting the article on us and talking sense, that's just not PB. I mean next you'll just be saying something daft like asking if the SID XL will return.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: I get the test was totally unscientific and all that stuff, but i think it would be interesting to see if theres a perceptible difference in flex between a normal fox 34/36 and the ebike spec 34/36. after all the ebike 36 weighs 2.3kg and the normal one 2.1kg
  • 2 1
 Dang. Who knew the 36 was such a noodle. I am wondering how much flex is actually coming from the headset itself. A couple looked like the steerer tube was moving but not so much the rest of the fork. I wonder how a threaded headset system would fair compared to the threadless. If the cups were screwed down tight into threads that were tapped into the headtube, and then the normal star nut and stem clamp deal to hold everything else down.
  • 3 4
 @brianpark: "...but we decided to print it to fill out this Good/Bad listicle...PB's gotta make the money."
  • 1 0
 @bigtim: yeah, this is the comment section... it is all people that didn't read the article!
  • 3 0
 > "There were bikes with the same fork and some showed awful flex and others didn't - Surely frame stiffness has an impact to this."

Actually, not for certain. Human-induced variability in the huck landings could easily account for the visible flex differences. Only purely mechanical testing could test your assertion.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: But it qualifies enough to make negative claims on a component that has been SCIENTIFICALLY tested 100,000's of thousands of times more than a single huck to flat? Regardless of your claim of being "hardly scientific" in the average Pinkbike user's mind, your words are religion, so you have a responsibility to be a bit more objective than thrillist.
  • 1 0
 @RideTahoe707: I rather like your word "thrillist", although I'd probably go with "titillitorial" myself.
  • 16 0
 Taxco isn't in the Southern hemisphere. Unless the Equator has more flex than that Stumpy.
  • 10 1
 Bad month = Too many manual machines.
  • 9 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 8, 2019 at 1:27) (Below Threshold)
 I cannot imagine anyone who can manual to recommend one to anybody... methodes are many, good principles are few, you can use any method that works according to a good principle, if you don't undertand the principle you are going to have a hard time. One who builds a manual machine does not understand the principle, missing the fact that rotation point of the bike in manual is around the BB, not around rear axle like with wheelie. If you put a treadmill under your manual machine, you'll get a good wheelie machine... Manual machine is a full send Jerry thing. Like calve raises or curls on the gym. You are making a fool out of yourself.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Calve raises? Only real effective way of stretching those.
  • 16 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you have transformed into a gym nerd, most of your comments these days end with a gym reference i do not understand.
  • 15 3
 Manuals and wheelies, your either born with the gene or not. I’m 48 and been trying sence about 5. My best friend, at age 5 could do them forever and I would try all the time every day and I still feel lucky pulling one for more than 20 feet. I watch “ Manual Monday “ and feel like killing everyone and kicking dogs. Pisses me off. Semi-rant over.
  • 4 3
 @RussellTinka: Did you work hard?
  • 1 0
 @RussellTinka: Haha, I don't know what to say. There's an endless mountain to be climbed of skills, and I'm about half way up, and it's pretty annoying. It's not really how hard you try in my opinion, or how bad you want it, like I remember this guy was doing turn downs, and I was like, "damn, that's just never going to happen".
  • 2 5
 @RussellTinka: sign up to RLC, we have a rather high success rate in teaching wheelies and manuals.
@optimumnotmaximum: calf raises and curls are, for the most part, an exercise in futility, unless you are a body builder, which is an exercise in futility on it's own. If your main sport, or/and conditioning for that sport does not train your bicep or calves well enough, it means that training them is unsustainable. You are only putting on more unnecessary muscle weight and waste gym time. Conversely using a manual machine to learn to manual, is a waste of practice time. It is a result of ignorance, no matter how good are your intentions. That is because manual is about lifting/pulling the front wheel and pushing the rear wheel under you. Manual machine cannot provide you with the second part.
  • 1 2
 @WAKIdesigns: what’s RLC?
  • 2 3
 @RussellTinka: Ryan Leech Connection. It's his online training platform. They actually do a great job with breaking things down to bite size daily lessons that add up to the full skill in the end.
  • 1 0
 @cofo11: thanks dude!!! Checking it now.
  • 2 0
 @RussellTinka: You're going to love it! Steps are logical, exercises are safe and doable, feedback is friendly and helpful. I don't think they're going to allow you to fail Smile .
  • 1 0
 I love how trolls down prop for not knowing what something is. God forgive me for not being idiot savant about everything bikes. Now go make some puns so I can laugh at something.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm sorry but the pivot point for a manual cannot physically be around the BB. In lifting the front wheel only it can only be the rear axle.

Unless you manual so hard you drive the rear wheel into the ground and bury it?
  • 1 0
 @MonkeyBadgerBoy: yes and no. In manual the rear wheel has to accelerate forward during the movement. Once you are up there your arms are straight and the only thing that happens is your legs control the rear wheel movement under you. So in a way the handlebar becomes your virtual pivot point. I know it is a bummer, someone devoted time to build the machine, it also has this string theoretically saving them from falling back and hurting themselves but... it just doesn’t work...
  • 9 0
 Dual crown leftys with USE sub anti-dive arm here we come!
  • 4 0
 Are people really freaking out about the fork flex thing? Smells like clickbait.

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY would want to ride with a fork that that has little to no "give"

You would need to be an ambidextrous, arm-wrestling, pro rock climbing, blatantly single & horny teenaged male
to have the kind of hand toughness required for such a fork.
  • 2 0
 I had a Lefty Max in 2010-2011, and 2012 I switched to a BOS Deville. The Deville was substantially more flexible fore-aft. CRConception Fore or Intend Edge forks would be much stiffer, as the stiffer part of the fork is where it should be. Intend also has an aftermarket steerer which will help some of the issues of creaking, but it requires shipping the fork to Germany or Austria (as far as I can read).
  • 2 0
 I don’t know about intend, but CRConception has quite a nice solution for that flex: one of the bushing is fixed, and the other is moving with the stanchions, just like on motorcycles forks. So it means the distance between the bushings increase when you go through your travel, which means more stiffness and much much less frictions. Have a look at his webpage ! Smile
  • 2 0
 Intend is not that stiff, there is a german article with measurements of it. The article does also include forks from Fox, RS, etc..
  • 1 0
 @Happymtbfr: it is by far the stiffest in for/aft direction, but also the least stiff in torsion.
  • 1 0
 @Minikeum: We could have sliding bushes as well if we didn´t need light forks with magnesium lowers.
  • 3 0
 I bet that only 1% of overall mtbers feel flex in their fork and dont make it up.
Also why do so many people want extremely stiff bikes? Makes the ride hella harsh-> more fatigue.
  • 2 1
 Couldn't agree more man I'm over here on a 32mm rs rev and never thought, man I wish this fork was stiffer there is too much flex. Its actually buttery smooth and I've never noticed stiction or flex and I ride some pretty rooty trails. Now when I get on the gf's yukon fx with 28mm dart 2s on it I feel flex and a whole lot of stiction but I just put that down to it being one of RS's worst forks ever lol.
  • 1 0
 @mhoshal: Ive had a X Fusion Sweep in my Hardtail... Some say its flexy but this allows the soak up some vibrations... So why is flex such a big downside?
My Lapierre DH had a somewhat flexy carbon rear end- this just resulted in absurd amount of rear traction and suppleness.
  • 3 1
 Inverted forks were developed to prevent this amount of deflection. Basic science. Larger tubes are stiffer. Larger tubes at the crown are stiffer than smaller tubes, as that is where the majority of force is located. Some folks think the amount of traction a 2x3” strip of rubber on dirt can overload a fork’s rigidity, while thinking this deflection messing with your geometry isn’t a big deal. Strange.
  • 1 0
 i honestly think a bit of flex is needed, much like wheels you can build a brick shithouse super stiff fork and you might end up with a really harsh ride even with a super plush damper. itd be really neat to see if fox could engineer their 36 with dh level of non flex and compare ride quality.
  • 1 0
 I couldn’t find any book made by Colin, is it true that none exist? I believe his extensive work should be presented in a coffee-table book format and not only be available for sale but be made available in school libraries as inspiration for the lost youth who seem to live their lives all through their live feeds rather than going outdoors.
  • 1 0
 With slacker head angles, the forks are more at an angle in relation to the ground. This isn’t as much of a problem when riding downhill because the bike is pitched forward and the forks are more perpendicular when hitting features and therefore flex is reduced. Also stack height stays the same with longer forks and slack head tube angles.
  • 1 0
 Well In that specific video we saw hella flex from the Specialized, But the flex mostly occurs from the head tube, Right? So stronger head tubes? most are blaming the forks but it can be down to weak head tubes. From a manufacturing "Quote" its down to keep the weight and agility nice?
  • 1 0
 The forks will handle the flex, but the headtubes? With the slacker-is-better also comes a higher stress factor. Gussets and long welds of the top and down tubes will be needed.
  • 2 0
 Post slow motion videos of dual crown forks in same condition to see their flex characteristics.
  • 3 0
 Slacker head tube angles = more for flex.
  • 3 0
 I'd love to see a Mattoc hucked to flat...
  • 1 0
 What I put on my hardtail for a reason.
  • 1 0
 Length of travel and slackness are a one-two punch against stiffness. Of course it's gonna make for flex. The real question is, does the rider feel an adverse effect?
  • 2 0
 No mention of Jared Graves in the health section? Either way, I'm wishing JG the best.
  • 1 0
 Ask FOX/RS/whatever to make even LIGHTER long travel forks so they don't flex as much. No, wait...
  • 2 0
 This (Fox 36, Pike, Lyric, Stage, etc.) feels flexy" said no one, ever.
  • 1 0
 A lightweight dual crown Enduro fork is worth exploring, for the manufacturers and Pros.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Super cross bike fork will flex up to 12 inches in the whoops
  • 1 0
 Flexing was all below the crown anyway so double crown won't change that.
  • 1 1
 Bike nerd? That’s insulting, I’m a bike geek!
  • 1 0
 MRP Bartlett!
  • 1 0
 Bad month. dismal bikes.
  • 1 0
 Those poor forks lol
  • 2 4
 Really liked the drops to flat video but it was clearly missing an Evil Imperial. Show those other frames how it’s done!
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