Interview: Connor Fearon - "I Can Honestly Say That Clips Are Better"

Dec 12, 2018
by James Smurthwaite  
Connor Fearon using every inch of track to smooth out the big rocks and roots.


Connor Fearon may be one of the quietest men in the World Cup pits but his name is never far from everyone else's lips. When it clicks for Fearon he's magical to watch, there's simply nobody else in the world who can corner a DH bike like the quiet Aussie, and he has established himself as one of the fastest riders on the planet with strings of podiums.

After a stumbling, injury-hit season in 2017, he returned to his usual, consistent self in 2018 and ended up taking the number 10 plate into next year. We caught up with him for an in-depth look at the past season and to get his thoughts on the biggest talking points of 2018.



Connor Fearon rides the all-new carbon Process 29





2017 was going great for you with three top tens and then you got a hand injury, seemed to struggle at Lenzerheide and pulled out for pretty much the rest of the season. What happened there? Were you riding with a broken hand in Gamble?


I actually crashed in Andorra, that's when I broke my hand and still finished that race. I didn't know I'd broken it so I tried to race Lenzerheide and I could hardly ride it.

I rested it for a week after Lenzerheide and it felt alright for the first bit of filming. I remember getting real sketchy like in one turn, I squeezed the bar really tight, just like a reaction and I felt it crack. I just batted on for another day of filming but I knew something was real bad after that so I got it checked out straight after Gamble filming.


This section becomes even wilder when you realise Connor was riding with a broken hand


Coming into 2018, you had the new 29-inch Operator. Did you have much time testing it before the season started?


Erm not really. Where I live there's not heaps of downhill, so during my offseason I mainly just ride on my trail bike and my hardtail. I raced national champs on the new 29er and then we went to Tennessee for RockShox testing as well, but I didn't have heaps of time on it.

I usually wait until the season and when I'm overseas, I'll ride my downhill bike heaps, but I guess the first couple of races I was still learning about it and making a few changes, which probably isn't the ideal situation.


Were you one of the guys that wanted the 29-inch wheels?


Yeah, I was really keen to try it out. You just hear different stories, some people hate it, some people love it. Obviously, the Syndicate guys were going really good, but I heard some other guys had tested it and they went back to 27. I was keen to try it out and make up my own mind.

I swapped back and forth a bit. I never timed the different wheel sizes, but the 29er just feels easier to ride. It doesn't feel like you're out of control. With the flat pedals as well, it just keeps everything a bit more under control. I think I can tell when I watch replays of me riding the 29er, it just looks a bit more tamed down than the 650b bike.

Connor Fearon tearing the track apart and leaving only loam in his wake.


The first race of the year was Losinj. What did you think of it?


It was a weird race. It’s not often we race a World Cup on a track that nobody knows anything about. I saw a couple of helmet cams and it looked just pretty rocky. The town was really cool, but I just didn't like the track. You can't really say that because people are pretty quick to shut you down when you're being honest. I just found it had no flow and it wasn't really much of a mountain biking track. I hated the track so much and it was hard to go fast when I wasn't having fun riding it. It's not something I can change, it's our job to race that, so if it's on the calendar again then I'll just have to suck it up and make the best of it.

I got a pretty bad result there that I was pretty disappointed about so I went home pretty motivated after that race, actually.


When you came back it was for Fort William, that's taken a bit of stick recently. Do you like Fort William?


I really do. We do race there every year, but it's really fast and it's got a lot of turns. It just kind of snakes the whole way down. This year I got 13th, but the times were so close, if I was one second quicker I would have been eighth and my time was the closest to first place it had ever been, so that was a positive to take out of there. It was weird how close the times were at Fort William this year. For a track that's that long and gnarly, it's crazy to see that everyone's pretty much going the same speed down it.


Connor Fearon rode strongly into 13th less than 1.5 seconds off the podium.


You were hit by the start order changes there, qualifying seventh but starting about 20 places back. Does that affect you as a racer?


Yeah, I'll just get on with it. I just think it's weird. Ever since I started racing, the order is what you qualified in. I'm not really fussed where I go unless it rains, you don't want to be stitched up in the race. I think it's just weird how they can just change the order, I don't think it's true to how it should be, but whatever, that's nothing we can change, so just got to deal with it.


bigquotesKids who want to race World Cup downhill should definitely ride clips but I just can't bring myself to do it.


Is it safe to say Leogang's your favourite track?


Yeah, it's definitely one of my favourites. I remember the first couple of years when I started racing. There were a couple of woods and there was a big long motorway and that was about it. But now, pretty much from the start until you get to the woods at the bottom, it's pretty much just like a gravel, blue jump trail.

I really have fun riding it but I would like if there was a bit more woods. You can go there outside of the race and ride all the cool tracks out there, it would be cool if they could make it a bit more through the forest and a bit more technical stuff.


Fearon is a consistent threat to the podium in Leogang he ended up 7th less than a second off.


What makes it your best track?


I don't know. I was top 10 for the last six years, but I think just going there knowing that you can do well, mentally. I think that's probably the biggest thing.


Everyone remembers Aaron Gwin's chainless run in 2015, but you were the guy in second place and he beat you by one of the tightest margins in World Cup history (0.045 seconds). It must have been a roller coaster of emotions.


I didn't actually know he broke his chain until he got pretty much at the bottom, I honestly didn't. I was going to be second at worst then, which was my first podium and I was l so happy I didn't even care if he won. I thought that was a pretty big achievement, so to me, it made no difference if I won or came second. Looking back on it now, it would have been nice to win, but at the time I was just so happy anyway, I didn't care.


If Leogang is your favourite track, which is your least favourite?


Val di Sole is probably the biggest track I struggle on, It's pretty hard to get down there in flat pedals and sometimes I wonder if I should just put on clips and deal with it.

Back home I'm riding tracks that aren't that steep and then in Val di Sole you're just on the brakes the whole way, charging through big gnarly rocks and holes. I don't ride a heap of that stuff and I wasn't super devastated with 20th there.


Connor Fearon takes the wide line through the rock garden.


Is there anything you do differently when you're struggling with flat pedals


It's pretty much just Val di Sole is the only track I wish I wasn't riding flat pedals on. I don't think I make any changes on the bike to help me stay on the pedals but you've got to ride a lot heavier on your feet. It's a lot more on the way you ride the bike more than anything else. I think at Val di Sole, where the hits are so big, you're just getting pushed around a bit more maybe than people that are riding clips. But that's my problem and I don't use it as an excuse.


Have you ever raced in clips?


Yeah, every so often I'm like, “oh, I should just ride clips and learn,” but I always end up just having flat pedals on my bikes at home and then the season rolls round and I'm stuck with it. I raced Leogang one year in clips and I got ninth and then I've ridden Fort William in clips in 2013/14. I can honestly say that clips are better, kids who want to race World Cup downhill should definitely ride clips but I just can't bring myself to do it, I just love riding flat pedals.


It's quite an Aussie thing isn't it?


Yeah, when I was growing up, loving downhill, it was just Chris Kovarik, Rennie and Sam Hill that were my three biggest idols, so when I was growing up it was the only way.


Is it the same in Vallnord?


Andorra is weird because it's a similar track to Val di Sole, but is a bit faster and has a bit more flow, and usually I do pretty good there. I think I got tenth this year. I was sitting down there watching Luca and I really wanted him to win, but then he went down and I think that got me into the top ten, so a little thing that got me there.


Connor Fearon is in a whole gaggle of riders separated by a handful of seconds just outside the top 10.


We ended the year in La Bresse and it was one of your best results of the year despite the rain, you mustn't get much of it at home...


I like riding in the rain and I never do it when I'm at home. It hardly ever rains anyway and when it does, I'm not going to go riding because it's going to be dry in two days. I always seem to do better in the wet, so I wish it would rain more for World Cups. Maybe it's just something with the flat pedals, just having a bit more confidence bombing through slippery bits than other people but I've noticed that I seem to do better when it's super wet.


8th on a very muddy and tough day for Connor Fearon.


You were especially fast at the bottom of the track.


There was so much pedaling in the top half and then after the middle split, it just snakes down the hill in a single track with all these ruts. That's pretty much what I love to do most, like hitting ruts and having not many straight lines in it, so you're just always leaning the bike over.

Everyone was just dead halfway down, they were so tired. I was really hoping for a podium but I just slipped out of my pedal right out the start gate and I smashed into the seat. I got it together for the bottom and got a top ten but I was really hoping for more.


Are you gutted you didn't get a podium this year?


I really thought La Bresse was going to be the one but it just didn't happen. I wasn't too worried about not having the podium, that wasn't a goal of mine, I just wanted to finish in the top ten after the slow start I had.

It's funny, they changed the points around and I was all angry about it at first but then but I only beat Aaron Gwin because they changed the rules. If they kept the old rules I would have got 11th and he would have got tenth overall. So after that I was like, “oh yeah, this is a sweet rule”.


bigquotesI've had a lot of really good offers over the years but I just love riding for Kona.


That tenth spot is so important now you're protected for every race next year...


Yeah, it's a massive pay off. Anything can happen and if you're ready to go you're going to be in every single final. I guess it's also good for team managers to tell sponsors we've got a spot on Red Bull TV every single race so yeah, the team was pretty stoked about that as well.


Do you feel like the standard lifted this year?


Yeah, it's like Loris, Luca, Laurie Greenland have lifted the bar again this year. At some of the races I was watching this year it was insane, they were going so fast. Andorra really stood out, Loris was riding so fast.

It feels like every year people say that it's been stepped up but I think this year was a big step. I'm not sure why, it seems like every year gets more competitive. The top 30 seems to be as close in times as the top 10 was when I started in 2011. There's just young guys like Finn coming up every year that's fueling the fire for the older guys that want to beat them. Every year, more people are getting good, I guess!


Connor Fearon cuts to the inside off one of the big drops rather than taking the berm along the outside.


You've been with Kona since you started racing in 2010 and you're always one of the first guys to come out and says you're staying put. Have you ever been tempted to switch teams?


I guess we don't have the biggest team and my goal isn't to win. I'm just really happy being part of the whole show and riding my bike for a job is pretty sick. They're not pushing me to win the World Cups and we can go do video shoots on the trail bikes and in my contract I don't even have to race all the World Cups, I can go and race the EWS if I want to as well so. It's just kind of the perfect match.

I've had a lot of really good offers over the years but I just love riding for Kona. I feel like there's a certain freedom I have. On some of the other teams, your job is just to do well at the World Cups and at Kona I don't have that pressure. They're really happy with what I'm doing and I'm really happy riding their bikes so it's hard to want to leave for sure.


Do you think you'd do worse with that pressure on you?


I might not do worse but I'd definitely enjoy it less. I couldn't imagine signing for a new team and knowing that they've just got me on board to get results for them. I don't want to ride with that pressure and Kona have been really good to me. I like the bike and I just think it's a good match. I'm looking forward to one day when I retire still riding for Kona and doing some other stuff for them so. I'm just really happy so there's no need for me to want to leave.

Connor Fearon getting his shralp on during morning training ready to power into 10th place.



144 Comments

  • + 155
 When he's on it, he's my favorite rider to watch on the WC circuit!

Would love to see him up the front more, but as long as he's happy, I'm happy Smile
  • + 26
 It's amazing how underrated Connor is. I know results are the only thing most people care for at the end of the run, but boy Connor rips!
  • + 10
 He has some of the best short videos, and his riding is so fun to watch. I am glad to hear he is enjoying his time on the bike. Anytime I see one of his videos it makes me want to go ride my bike!
  • + 5
 Shit, even whens he's not on it its fun to watch!
  • + 13
 So much respect that he says he knows something is better but does differently cause its more fun, what the sport is all about, getting weird
  • + 82
 That’s so good to hear about the lack of pressure for results from Kona! Great company! Also good luck for the season Connor, and thanks for confirming that if you’re having fun on your bike you’re automatically faster!
  • + 53
 I like how he admits that he might get better results clipped in and how he also doesn’t really care about such things.
Riding flats these days certainly speaks to a lot of fans in the same way that Rennie, Kovarik and Hill affected Fearon. Well to me at least. Also, i do like Kona a little more after reading his thoughts, haha
  • - 2
 I find his statement a bit odd really, he wouldnt reccomend flats to young riders, thinks they contribute to him being less competitive at some tracks (maybe all?) but yet still doesnt want to give them a proper go.

Sounds like he could keep the flats for fun and move to clips for racing - didnt Ratboy race clips but still more likely to be on flats when not racing.

He mentions pedal choice throughout the entire interview - I would say it is obviously a choice he is battling with.

Love watching him ride, love flat pedals myself but I suppose results pay the bills when your a racer, he owes it to himself to give clips a good go in the off-season backed up with timed runs.
  • + 11
 @justanotherusername: um, he specifically said in the interview that all kids wanting to race World Cup should learn to ride cliplesss, " I can honestly say that clips are better, kids who want to race World Cup downhill should definitely ride clips but I just can't bring myself to do it, I just love riding flat pedals."
  • + 21
 By Pinkbike comment board standards that's worse than saying: "Kids you have to do drugs to win". Oh the depravation!
  • - 17
flag mkotowski1 (Dec 12, 2018 at 4:45) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: waki is butthurt
  • + 13
 @mkotowski1: not really, considering that I ride flats for most of the time on all of my bikes. No Big Grin I just enjoy fence sitting.
  • + 26
 @WAKIdesigns: to be fair, sitting on a fence probably does hurt your butt.
  • + 9
 @underhawk: after so many years on Pinkbike my sphincter is alrger than Brock Lesnars bicep.
  • + 7
 @justanotherusername: It doesn't make much sense to me either. If you're a racer, I presume you're playing to win. I just don't know of any elite-level athlete who's like, "Yeah, I'm cool with 2nd, 4th or 8th or whatever." Especially if they think there's a legit, legal piece of equipment that would give them an edge. If he thinks he's handicapped by flats, why stay with them? I can't speak to what he's thinking, but throughout the interview, it almost seems like he's trying to convince himself to go with clips.
  • - 6
flag justanotherusername (Dec 12, 2018 at 9:57) (Below Threshold)
 @lifeofloon: as I said, 'he wouldn't reccomed flats to young racers'

You not read so good?
  • + 8
 I think it's an admission that it's really hard to switch from what you've done for a decade or more whether it's from flats to clips or vice versa. To retrain yourself is not easy. Sam Hill has had a crack at it on at least one occasion.

Bottom line is that you have to ride what you're comfortable on.

Other bottom line is that clips have an advantage. What's really the only remarkable thing about this interview is that an Aussie is admitting that to be true. I was one of the few Aussies to use clips for DH racing (punter class), and copped no end of shit for it from all the flat pedal riders for years. Didn't help that the fastest riders at the time were Hill, Rennie, Kovarik and Hannah. But it's pretty clear now that they were not faster because of their pedals, and may well have been very slightly faster if they grew up on clips, but the ship had sailed and they were ultimately fastest on the pedals they were comfortable with. Ride what you like the most and you'll be the fastest version of yourself. :
  • - 1
 @justanotherusername: Are you really this stupid or are you trolling?
  • + 2
 No love for Jared Rando?
  • + 1
 @deadmeat25: Seriously, what the hell are you on about?

All I stated was what he said - he wouldn't recommend flats to the kids racing but found it odd that if he admits they are faster he hasn't made a firm attempt to move over to them or at least get some timed runs on both.

How is what I have said 'trolling'?

Are people on here incapable of reading or something?
  • - 9
flag deadmeat25 (Dec 12, 2018 at 13:46) (Below Threshold)
 @justanotherusername: It would appear you do indeed belong in the "So stupid that they don't realize how stupid they are" category of moron.

The irony is that you have repeatedly accused others of not being able to read, whilst doing a very good impression of an illiterate f*ckwit yourself, but perhaps you can actually read but have a much more worrying comprehension problem... Let's see...

As has been cut and pasted for your sorry ass before, here it is again, see if you can bend your tiny mind around it this time:

"I can honestly say that clips are better, kids who want to race World Cup downhill should definitely ride clips but I just can't bring myself to do it, I just love riding flat pedals."

Cut and pasted straight from the above interview, again, now lets break it down into little chunks for your dumb f*ggot ass...

"I can honestly say that clips are better (He knows being clipped in has benefits over flats generally for DH)

"kids who want to race World Cup downhill SHOULD definitely ride clips" (He's saying that young racers should persevere with clips because using them will yield better results overall, as he already said, i highlighted the 'should' so your f*cked up eyes can see it better...

"but I just can't bring myself to do it, I just love riding flat pedals." (He's used to flats, probably racist against clips like i am, but admits, many times, that clips are better generally).

Now shut up and f*ck off...
  • + 2
 @Nostrangertodanger: I have love for Jared Rando.
  • + 2
 @deadmeat25: what are you arguing?!

That's the point I was making you hilarious pleb, read it.

I state that he wouldn't recommend flats to young racers - that's the same as saying he this kids should ride clips you know, is it getting a little late or have you been in the bong shed for too long?

Funny.
  • + 1
 @deadmeat25: you seem pleasant.
  • + 1
 @justanotherusername: bong shed? You have a bong shed? I’m coming over.
  • + 1
 @justanotherusername: haha, you so right. My bad first thing in the morning.
  • + 1
 @deadmeat25: "I find his statement a bit odd really, he wouldnt reccomend flats to young riders, thinks they contribute to him being less competitive at some tracks (maybe all?) but yet still doesnt want to give them a proper go."
Seems like you're the special kinda stupid that doesn't follow the entire thread just what they want. I misread the original statement and you went with it rather than following proper reading comprehension. So kindly shut the f*ck up.
  • + 1
 @ScandiumRider: Poor @deadmeat25 is one of those super angry, steel is real, brookly machine works worshipping, sick bikes bong smoking, carbon and clip pedal loathing meat-heads who deal with anything he doesnt understand or any criticisim in the only way he knows how, by being an unpleasent little turd.

'dead meat' is what exists between his ears.
  • + 0
 He obviously doesn’t honestly think clips are better or he’d be using them.
  • + 2
 @thenotoriousmic: we have 2 riders. Against... you count them. What does it matter to anyone anyways? Ride whatever blows you. The souls that are in trouble are those who decide to switch to clips or to flats because they read one article on the internet... I am confident with my choices. So should anyone after spending long time riding bikes.
  • + 21
 Who's the better cornerer, Fearon or Hill?
That would make for a great GMBN video!
  • + 48
 If they ride a corner they both rode a few times, I vote for Fearon. If it's a corner they see for the first time while riding at it at pro speed, it may be Hill. It is a Waki fact nr #723 fully legit
  • + 9
 Or Pinkbike video.
  • + 24
 I may be wrong but I think Sam Hill said Fearon is the best cornerer of all time. Which is quite a statement coming from Sam Hill!
  • + 5
 ........and both on flats......
  • + 3
 @Rimrider26: yeah, I suggest flat4life folks to ride into a rock garden at full tilt on later stages of an EWS comp - good luck, send PMs from hospital, I'll reply. We can talk about supple feet, correct technique, crutches (for skill) we'll have plenty of time.
  • + 1
 @mat-massini-media: wheredid you read that?
  • + 4
 Kona aren't a GMBN sponsor, so they'll never get Connor on their channel!
  • - 8
flag mkotowski1 (Dec 12, 2018 at 4:42) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: I’d like to see you ride into a rock garden at full tilt on a later ews stage, o wait, full tilt for you is probs similar to climbing In a granny gear
  • + 2
 @mkotowski1: I like it when someone assumes I am slow because that leaves me with having nothing to live up to. No pressure on me, all pressure on you. Nobody likes to be beaten by a troll who doesn't ride. Are you even from US mate? Maybe Poland?
  • + 15
 Fear No Corner..as his full name says
  • + 4
 @mat-massini-media: Ratboy said this I believe.
  • + 4
 Great idea, I'd be keen to shoot it. Neil GMBN
  • - 4
flag Yody (Dec 12, 2018 at 8:34) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: this comment right here shows how little you know. While it may be hard on flats the fact that you think it is impossible goes to show your lack of talent. Everyone knows clips are faster for racing for most people. But whats not faster is riding on your toes incorrectly placing your weight balance forward. That will make your entire time slower and make you crash way more often, than slowing down thru one rock garden....
  • + 9
 @Yody: yes I know nothing... Can you do online coaching based on one line of text? Big Grin If you excuse me now, I like my front wheel grip because I don't know how to setup suspension.

BTW... impossible? Who said that? Me? I think you are painting a picture. Paint me a small willy and big man boobs.
  • - 7
flag Yody (Dec 12, 2018 at 9:02) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: Your statement is all I needed to hear, and dont think I haven't been on here seeing you post forever, I remember your wheelie video or what not. But don't worry 95 percent of MTBr's have no clue how to really ride a bicycle and wonder why they'll never learn coaster manauls, manual to bunny hop, jumps, high speed cornering...they all think they will learn it on an online video, they just need that one trick to learn to fix their issues! But what it realy is, is years of riding clipless putting weight on toes (I don't care how far back you slide your cleat) Unless you have had years of riding flats correctly (yes correctly, one can just ride flats neutrally and never learn how to own it) and then you convert to clips and still ride the same exact way.. Your statement was such a glaring beacon of ignorance that you think that its impossible to ride an extreme rockgarden that you will crash and go to the ER because of flat pedals. LMAO. I bet we put you on flat pedals you will be a sorry ass rider and feel neutered and even if shown the correct body position and muscle recruitment you will still struggle. Sorry if I come off aggro to you, nothin personal, I promise. It just so funny the MTB industry, the amount of ignorance and lack of real science and the ongoing Hype for new products and services, most of which don't do anything but make you go that much faster and be that much closer to a huge explosion.
  • - 4
flag mkotowski1 (Dec 12, 2018 at 9:42) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: lol does it matter where I’m from and isn’t anything you say about someone you’ve never met an assumption my not so clever friend
  • + 4
 @Yody: I didn’t write it is impossible. I meant that it is likely which you seem to have just confirmed with your rough assumption of 95% number. Save yourself assuming stuff based on one line of text, then out words into my mouth.. I am not playing identity politics of who is for and against flats, who can or cannot ride them properly. I am glad you are so good that you feel confident to b an expert. I have that diesease too as you can see. Also please don’t judge people based on whether they can wheelie, manual or not... ironically me being a part of RLC online coaching where we have 12-day flat pedal challenge, a course aimed at riding flats (people don’t seem to need to ride for years and years like yourself) and we encourage riding flats at all points and in all courses. You just came here to have beef with someone who clips in. Well, I will not prove you how good I am at riding flats, wince it is impossible to do.
  • - 6
flag Yody (Dec 12, 2018 at 10:07) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: lol when I wrote that number I knew you would have a rebuttal for that. Obviously just a random number made up in my head. 95 percent ride incorrectly. 5 percent ride right but can't tell you exactly what it is they do on the bike.. And I do judge people based on if they can ride a manual or not etc. That exact point you just made goes to show just how much you don't know. Everything on the bike is the same. It all starts with the same fundamental muscles and positioning. You probably believe in the push pull technique with your arms just like most of the mtb masses because they watch videos and think they can figure out what the pros are doing, but the problem is you cant see what muscles are engaged in a video, only can see whats moving. Arms do move, but the muscles aren't engaged, they are engaged in rear of body and core and legs.

Every move you do on a MTB starts with the same fundamental move. So if you can't do a front wheel pull without first loading the suspension or pulling with arms you pretty much don't know how to ride a bike properly. the crux of a bunny hop, a manual, a jump, pretty much anything you do is based first off a proper wheel lift. So if you pull with your arms, or use the suspension to get the front wheel up, you fall into the don't know how to ride a bicycle camp. IN MY OPINION.

The whole MTB industry is a spoof. Nothing is proven, nothing is science, its all marketing, gymicks, and trial and error. The latter being very important and is why we have such good equipment. However it would be even better if people got their head of of ass and realized whats really going on with the bike and body kinemetics.
  • - 4
flag Yody (Dec 12, 2018 at 10:09) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: This is all why riding flats is humbling and very important. Just because your ride flats doesn't mean you ride right, but its a big step in that direction. And just because you focus on dropping your heels while on your clips doesn't mean you have it figured out either....
  • + 7
 @Yody: you don’t come out too humble to me haha. A bit like James Wilson. I will do my best to ride flats correctly if you ever wish to write a book describing it. Cheers and peace pies
  • + 5
 @Yody: You come across as a total judgemental prick, riding bikes should be about having fun whatever your ability ! Get a life douche bag.
  • - 4
flag Yody (Dec 12, 2018 at 12:38) (Below Threshold)
 @konabigshed: lol sorry I make you feel inadequate. Put down your defenses and maybe learn something here.
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: That guy is all fluff too. I don't care. They see me trollin, they hatin....but the truth does hurt.
  • + 4
 @Yody: no it doesn’t actually... you sound like a slightly above average rider who made an oath to flat pedals and came up with conclusion that it makes you superior than 95% of population. The very idea of “correct way of riding flat pedals”, then you fill in quite a big dosage of blanks based on one single statement I didn’t even make. You end up with an old move of mine where you try to appear a bit mad, passive aggressive type, where you try to find a way out of situation by saying you weren’t serious... I’d say you are not that good troll. Comeback when you are higher level
  • + 1
 @Yody: the paragraph you wrote that end with "in my opinion' is my opinion too. And Lee McCormack's too, who said" If you don't know how to ride in flats then you don't know how to ride."
  • + 2
 @iamamodel: trouble is Lee clicks in, believed in pulling with hamstrings on upstroke for a long time, abd when he sets up his shoes, he moves the cleat quite far forward, which is a foot position impossible to achieve on flats. All to get high roadie cadences. Theeen he often preaches to absolute Joeys, hence you won’t see him or his other coaches advising lean back to lean in on jumps, prejumping drops, and other advanced skills. It is a rather naiveidea to think that riding flats “properly”, as if there was such thing (you fell ot you didn’t fell off the bike, it is that simple) is the only way to the top. It isn’t. In case of riding on the edge in difficult terrain flats are a handicap to a majority of people. You can or you cannot ride a bike.
  • + 2
 to me flats are better cause I can walk in a bar after riding without changing my shoes or looking like a Genie
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: both you and @Yody have waaaaaay too much time on your hands. Go ride your bike and stop squawking about random preferences just to squawk.
  • + 3
 Connor Fearon. Corner Fearon. Corners Fearhim...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you are a funny dude waki
  • + 1
 @scottyrides5: ha. I like it! Nice work!!
  • + 1
 This is the worst question. Flat corner, hill. All others fearon
  • + 1
 @mkotowski1: "looking like a Genie". I'm chuckling to myself at work. Great imagery!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I quoted Lee because I know you are a fan of his teachings. We aren't talking about cadence here, we are talking about skills. Ask Lee what he meant by it. And every exceptionally skilled rider can ride in clips. Half the Friday Fails victims couldn't bunnyhop in flats, which is why we see them endo off drops.
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: I may not be sure what he meant by that but I am pretty sure that I know what he DIDN'T mean by it, that is some elitist look down on all people who clip in, going like "only people who ride flats properly, can ride a mountain bike and shouldn't clip in before they learn THE RIGHT WAY". I know him enough through a few online conversations to know he wouldn't say such bollocks. Again, it is fascinating to me to say that I ride flats for most of the time and Yody will tell me I don't know how to ride them, saying all cliches about "bad habits coming from riding clipped in". As if riding flats wasn't promoting "bad" habits. He should read Ryan Leech's take on flats vs clipless, he would learn something.
  • + 1
 i honestly think sam hill takes this one for sure
  • + 16
 Why would any Joe Blow give a slightest damn about what pedals people should or should not use if he is uncapable of providing any proof whether one is better than another? Ride what you like, make love, shag like a rabbit, smoke weed, eat shrooms, enjoy life. Once the last black hole evaporates, vacuum decay shockwave sweepes across the dead cold universe, none of that will matter. Only how you liked it for yourself.
  • + 1
 you should teach philosophy at university haha
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns. In regards to Fearon saying he thinks kids 'should definitely ride clips of they want to race world cups', I think it's good for experienced professional racers to give their opinions and advice to the young kids who want to get fast. Sometimes expressing controversial opinions is just for the improvement of the sport, it's not always just for trolling. Not everybody is in it just to be a hippie on two wheels.
  • + 1
 @Flowcheckers: I had absolutely nothing against his statement. I am not for it either. I honestly could not give a slightest damn. It's a written interview and people lose their ape sht about it. If it was a podcast he would have much more time and words to describe what he means. I honestly think written interviews are slowly becoming useless. Imagine this last downtime podcast with Jason from Spec and Torkel from Öhlins as a written article on PB. It would be a mess.
  • + 13
 love your riding and your honesty, Connor. Best of luck in 2019. I always loved Kona and although I never rode one I bought 2 for my daughter because I know they are good tough bikes that last. she loves her 2017 process 134DL I slapped a sunrace 50t on there and bang she's good for another 8-10 years. Thanks guys!
  • + 13
 If he doesn't have to race all the WC rounds... MORE STEEZY CORNER RAILING VIDEOS PLEASE!
  • + 9
 Connor is one of the all round nicest guys you could ever meet in the WC pits. He’s been kind enough to take time to chat with me and my kids and even gave my kids his race gloves after the Lenzerheide races albeit a few years apart. Can’t underestimate just how stoked my kids are to tell their mates they’re riding with Connor’s gloves ???????? great attitude to the whole WC circus too! Rock on!
  • + 9
 Connors and Blenkis parts are the best of the whole Gamble movie!!! I can watch it over and over again. And now i know that his hand was broken while filming it makes it even more my favorite.
  • + 9
 kona fearon ... please kona rename the operator to that
  • + 5
 Awesome interview, love the honesty. It's always amazing to watch Connor pinned. By far my favorite section of the Gamble movie and that's hard to say as a kiwi!! Reading this makes me want to try a Kona for the next steed
  • + 7
 Super nice kid. Always a pleasure to talk to. And, he does a badass karaoke of 'Thunderstruck'!
  • + 6
 I have been lucky enough to watch Connor race since when he was a young fella and his pace and skill is unbelievable, a world cup win surely aint far away. Go Connor.
  • + 2
 I can never forget ,but I can’t recall where and when ,but it was on a small drop ,but a tricky one in the middle of the some trees,and when he fall that drop I was so mad cause I thought he could have won that race ,wish you the best for next year ,push your self for the wins cause you might never get the chance to
  • + 2
 Connor is one of the few racers that has a brand identity. When you think Kona you think Connor. When you think Connor you think Kona. That's pretty valuable when it comes to sponsorship. Probably more valuable for the brand than results.
  • + 2
 Also in regards to the Losinj comment: I just found it had no flow and it wasn't really much of a mountain biking track. Perfect, there needs to be more raw and awkward tracks, finding the flow should be challenge for the worlds best.
  • + 2
 Agreed
  • + 5
 This many comments and I’m the first.....

“Yeahhhhhh Connor”
  • + 1
 Being a professional MTBer is about more than results. Connor has a following because people like to watch him ride, and a lot of that has to do with him being on flats. Maybe clips would move him up a position or two, but they would also cut into his fan base. I think that sticking with flats is a smart career move. Just my two cents.
  • + 1
 Connor just in case you read this, you obviously love riding for Kona, but if another company offers you a similar deal and want to give you more money, TAKE IT. I'm sure Kona wants to support you as much and as far as they can but Kona is, after all, a business first and when times get tough, you'll probably be first to go. Always do you first.. just some friendly life advice, get what you can when you can, just make sure no one's hurt by your choices..

PS: not trying to diss Kona at all, I think they're great. Just something that you learn as time goes by: businesess will always do what's best for them, because, that's business nature.
  • + 2
 I agree with most of what you said. Too often people feel like they owe something to the company they work for, when the reality is as you said that as soon as things get tough they won't hesitate to cut you. That being said companys run by great leaders only cut employees and hours as a last resort. Employees and their loyalty have a lot of value even if it can be hard to quantify on paper.
  • + 1
 I would want to throw in the mix the GMBN "test" which showed that Neil was faster in flats than in clips… It's a matter of personal preference, but with flats you feel more what the bike is doing underneath (easier to judge the pressure on the pedals, and thus, the "behaviour" od the bike IMO)
  • + 1
 Top 10 in the world .obviously brilliant but can't help thinking he could be more attentive to detail , time the big and small wheels ,go with the faster , time the clips no clips to with the faster could be top 8 or better .
  • + 13
 So many people missing the point... he gets to ride bikes for a living and seems to generally be happy for it, including the lower pressure, more open contract. The amount of time, energy and focus required to achieve those few extra positions... would he still enjoy what he's doing? He clearly doesn't think so. That's what matters.

We should be celebrating someone who seems to have found a wicked balance between career and self.

Whats the difference between being the 10th fastest in the world or 8th? diddly squat for returns, but a helluva lot to be invested.
  • + 1
 @robwhynot: risking as well as investing: chasing that final second could also leave him mentally burnt out like Manon Carpenter, or with a career ending crash - did Ratboy win again after his ankle?
  • + 1
 Coming from the “Inside line” Mtb club in Australia where both Troy Brosnan & Connor raced against each other in Juniors &Seniors I saw how Connor always rode for the fun and enjoyment, and if he won he was happy, but it wasn’t the most important thing. Riding his lines and putting in 100%was his goal. Troy always wanted to win, he smooth and clinical and very driven. I don’t know if he enjoyed every ride like Connor
  • + 2
 should I try to break a hand 2 ride like that Big Grin
Was my first thought after I read interview and watched segment. Video is insanely nice! Chapeau
  • + 0
 Holy shitballs batman. Flats or clipped in . Do what feels good. One isn't better than the other.
How well you ride is based on your experience not your equipment.
If I'm racing DH I can see the advantages of being clicked in. I used to run SPD s for years.
Flats are more convenient less stuff to go wrong.
Do trials riders click in? I don't think they do.
Yet trials riders are the epitome of maneuvering a bike.
  • + 4
 Flat pedals get the girls........flat pedals and Yoann Barelli
  • + 3
 Yoann can have me anytime!
  • + 3
 His mechanic once told me, "Connor is the only rider I have ever seen wear out front tires at the same rate as rears."
  • + 1
 I'd like to see a DH rider rock clips. I don't think a single one does.

Some ride flats, and some ride clipless, but I have yet to see any riding clips.

Oh, have we forgotten what clips are?
  • + 2
 Flat pedals with toe cages win medals Smile
  • + 3
 hey pinkbike, you dont have to put out clip vs flats as bait. Just put Fearon's name there and i will read it 10 times over
  • + 3
 Can honestly say clips are better? Wait until he gets a load of that spikey shoe article.
  • + 1
 Would be awesome to see Connor doing some EWS rounds, since he said it's allowed under his contract. Enduro racing needs more reps from the flat pedal fellowship!
  • + 1
 Seems odd that someone racing at that level states that it isn't his goal to win... But, as long as both him and Kona are happy, good for them...
  • + 1
 I think this is partly him just being incredibly humble, as I would guess the level of training that goes into him competing at that level is no joke. Or maybe he's just that good he can show up and make a living at it. The comment about not training in the wet and still being faster than basically everyone else is kind of crazy.
  • + 1
 you feel good, you ride good, cannot wait for next season to start. it was a bummer to hear he hurt his hand at thredbo's cannonball last week.
  • + 1
 can all you hardtail haters appreciate that this DOWNHILL rider says that he rides his hardtail more than his downhill bike in the offseason.
  • + 1
 This interview was great, but the title was almost as dumb as the article about rubber pedals and spikes.
  • + 2
 clips are better for racing but flats are better for fun
  • - 2
 For the sake of Lord.... another time flats vs. clips? WHAT's the best for each one? Just try it and stick with what you like/prefeer... in fact, unless your income depends on what the manufacturers bring you (and pay for using) the best is what you prefer.

P.S: I've used clips and flats (still have at home some road and mtb SPD's but my preferred on my Capra, Tues and gravel bike is... Flats.
  • + 3
 You only read the headline right?
  • + 0
 @emptybox: read it... and his struggle when the season starts with clipless and flats. Solution: use whatever it wants.
  • + 1
 I hope we'll see him in Bromont this year. It's really cool to see a top rider come out and see how fast they are. Go Connor
  • + 3
 Pinkbike clickbait
  • + 12
 clipbait
  • + 3
 I like Connor heaps
  • + 1
 Easily my favorite rider on the circuit.
  • + 1
 A great rider and a nice dude! All the best with 2019 season Connor!
  • + 1
 Man. Talk about a click-bait title if there ever was one.
  • + 1
 Well I just love him in general
  • + 1
 was he riding 27.5 in Gamble segment?
  • + 1
 Always one of my favorites.
  • + 1
 Great interview! But the click bait title is a bit much...
  • + 1
 Rad video and a cool Bloke. Enjoyed the interview.
  • + 1
 I enjoyed this article heaps.
  • + 1
 Such a bad ass rider! Love watching Connor Big Grin
  • + 1
 I love his wild style
  • + 1
 Connah is a bad mofo.
  • - 2
 Headline of this interview is total clickbait. His quote on clips/flats taken completely out of context. More noob journalism on Pinkbike...
  • + 0
 Your mom rides clips.
  • + 0
 @BIKE-TROLL: what's a mom?
  • - 3
 The comments on this one should be good
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