March 2018 - Good Month or Bad Month?

Apr 2, 2018
by Paul Aston  
Pinkbike


Concussion Awareness

Tracey Hannah out of Crankworx


Now, this might appear to be bad news: crashing, getting concussed, and failing the Standardized Concussion Medical exam at Crankworx Rotorua was definitely bad news for Tracey Hannah. She would sit out the competition at Rotorua.

But, the good news you are waiting for me to get to is that positive steps are being taken towards riders' health. Gone are the days of "shake it off and get back on your bike." Head injuries are a serious issue and missing out on a ride or a race or two is much better than causing further damage. It's great to see the Crankworx organization stepping up and putting the necessary testing structure in place.


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Fans

Offseason = over.


Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Giant Toad Enduro

For racing fans, the long winter wait is over. Up ahead there are months of tech geekery from the pits, live streams to watch and results to analyze. World Cup XC kicked off in the Southern Hemisphere at Stellenbosch, South Africa, and Crankworx went wild in Rotorua, New Zealand, keeping the gravity and freestyle crowd happy.

There was more action from below the equator, with the premier EWS in Lo Barnechea, Chile. Add that to the enduro in Manizales, Columbia, and EWS racers got two new venues and one new country to add to their palmarés.



Fresh Goods

New products incoming at full speed.


Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt

A new race season also means fresh products and prototypes, along with Eurobike being moved forwards in the calendar to early July, means a rush to launch MY19 [Model Year] products before everybody else. In March, we saw Rocky Mountain's new Thunderbolt, Ibis' new Ripmo, Santa Cruz's new Blur, Intense's Sniper, and RockShox's 2019 Lyrik.

It is also a good bet that any prototypes spotted at the races at this time of the year will be launched within the following months or at Eurobike: Scott's possible new Gambler, Pivot's 29" DH bike, Gwin's under-wraps DH bike, GT's all-new platform,
Canyon's full suspension XC racer, two new 29ers from Devinci, SRAM's wireless Eagle and RockShox's grip-shift style shock actuator are all likely to be official before we know it. The list goes on in what could be a record-breaking month for new stuff.


Pinkbike

Nino

Schurter's winning streak comes to an end

The gold medal wearing Olympian had a perfect World Cup season in 2017. He was unstoppable and any real attempt to try and take him to the line was refused point blank. The closest of the have-a-go-heroes was Jaroslav Kulhavy, who managed to get within three seconds of Nino at Lenzerheide. The second step below Schurter was filled by a different rider at nearly every other race.

In Stellenbosch, Sam Gaze moved up to Elite from the U23 class. He didn't just chase the Swiss rider around the course like a mouse after some tasty Gruyére, he well and truly challenged him for the duration. Nino slipped a pedal on the finish sprint, but with a bike length in hand, I think the powerful Kiwi would have taken it to the line anyway. Round two will show if Nino was well and truly beaten, or if he is just having a slow start to the season.
Pipped at the line.



Punctures

Mr. Wolf release '100% puncture proof system

I've had a bee in my bonnet about punctures for a while now, mainly because I'm not intelligent enough to solve the problem and selfishly wish that somebody else would, for my own trailside sanity. I have been playing with the Mr. Wolf Banger system for nearly a year now with varying degrees of success – improving tire damping is definite benefit of the system, but I have still had punctures, followed by burped tires, followed by trying to ride home without repairing the tire to be greeted by a destroyed and flaccid foam lump that also consumed all the tubeless fluid.

But, Mr. Wolf are back with the SmartMousse, a system that claims to be 100% puncture proof, a claim which I will instantly refute as there is still air
Smartmousse
inside a tube beneath the foam insert and, although it's unlikely, you could pop the tube. Weighing in at 500-640 grams each, they are not light, but I can see this system working with a very lightweight tire. For example, swap out a 1200g DH casing Maxxis High Roller for a 600g version with no tubeless fluid and (hopefully) no mess or messing around. This could leave you with no punctures, no weight penalty, great damping from the foam insert, and tire support from the foam pressing against tire casing. The downside would be rolling resistance, but it would likely be better than a DH casing tire anyway (and less money in your bank account) but, the Italian's are offering 12-months insurance against punctures. I can't wait to get my hands on one.

Posted In:
Industry News



64 Comments

  • + 110
 Nothing against Nino, love him to death; but isn't being beaten after a huge winning streak good? More competition, better battles, more fun to watch, no?
  • + 7
 I agree! More entertaining for the rest of us! Kind of like last years womens UCI downhill racing. Not that it isn't cool to see someone dominate the sport, but a little competition makes it so much more fun to watch.
  • + 7
 I agree, and the tire puncture thing is also not a bad thing. March had nothing bad!!
  • + 5
 good for us, bad for nino
  • + 5
 @Davidsym: March brought an arse load (then several more arse loads) of crappy grey snow that you can't ride on or board on either, then rain, then more rain, then as the month ended it brought more snow. With what the weather Gods brought the bike industry better damn well have brought only good things for April too.
  • + 3
 Obviously losing is never good for Nino....
  • + 6
 @theruns: Indeed. The women’s EWS podium seems to be getting quite predictable as well.
  • + 1
 True, another thing is it’ll push him harder to get back on top.
  • + 3
 @Fix-the-Spade: Can you remember when it was dry for more than 3 days in a row?
  • + 3
 @fatduke: Some time in September I think.
  • + 5
 I agree, the average age of the UCI XCO top 20 was 30 in 2017 with only 2 riders under 25. Having Sam Gaze as another young contender is only good for the sport.
  • + 2
 At least balance the - for Nino with a pretty enormous + for Sam.
  • + 3
 I will take the DH casing anytime instead of running a 600 gram tire. Which by the way you neglected to mention it will fold on turns at high speed. The insert can't fix or correct
  • + 1
 Maybe people will stop confusing Nino's handlebar turn with a whip now.
  • + 0
 Yeah I doubt there is any part of his mind that's thinking "well gee, I sure am winning a lot, maybe I should lose on so pinkbikers are more entertained"...
What an absurd thing to say.
  • + 1
 @fatduke: I can't.

It was starting to dry out after in the SE the mid-March snow but is a completely shitty slop fest at the moment.
  • + 1
 Totally agree
  • + 30
 Erm you could swap double casing if single wasn’t folding in corners making the bike feel like it’s 2001 on rims with 17mm inner width... DH casing + 100-150ml of fluid, reasonable pressure = 99% puncture proof, durability and good handling. Trying to polish a 1ply turd? For God only knows what you are hoping for? - good luck!
  • + 4
 The thinnest casing I go is specialized grid and since going tubeless have had zero issues. I've had a burp or two from cornering and got thorns and nails all without even stopping or ruining my ride.
  • + 15
 Also a good month for you @WAKIdesigns getting a shout out from Cam and Tyler during slope style coverage?
  • + 11
 100% agree Waki. I put my money on a DH tire being better in all respects VS a flimsy p.o.s. tire stuffed with a pound of shit.
  • + 3
 @makripper: Perhaps it’s the terrain I ride (Northern and Southern Utah) or maybe it’s the tires I run (Specialized with Grid casing) or maybe I just don’t ride enough... in any case I haven’t had any kind of puncture, pinch, or other flat in over 3 years.

Now that I’ve said it out loud, I’ll be rewarded with a big fat sidewall slice on my next ride.
  • + 2
 @dbendixen: man I ride the grid casing at Whistler with no insert crap and definitely bottomed my tires and dented rim with no issues haha. Very impressed with them in general. I ride the 2.6 slaughter and butcher on the dh and same setup but 2.3 on the all mountain.
  • + 5
 "Trying to polish a 1ply turd". We have a whole industry of turd polishers who are trying to find the best way to polish turds. But no matter what's inside that turd, it's still a turd. #2ply4life #wehaverocks #casingsupportbrah #smashintoshit
  • + 1
 Has anyone actually got some info regarding Cushcore with Exo Tyre vs Tubeless DH casing? Anyone tried both?

I perceive some benefits to a Cushcore/ Exo setup (rim protection etc..?) and even though I find it hard to believe it’s possible the setup has a nicer feel than a DH casing.

I seriously doubt that the former offers improved puncture protection and (more importantly to me) provides a better feel than the DH casing tyres but so far haven’t read a direct comparison of the two. People are still shy of the DH casings for trail use it seems and perhaps that’s why I haven’t seen the comparison I’m looking for; DH casings are still seen as DH only. I admit I only tried them by chance but once I did I haven’t looked back. I’d like to see dual ply tyres become the norm, to me the single ply and even DD tyres are inferior in every way besides the weight and even the weight aids stability...something people seem to want a lot of.
  • + 2
 @ThomDawson: When I finally got a trail bike(Trance)...I couldn't get the DH tires on there fast enough
  • + 4
 I am currently testing 1ply Schwalbe with procore just to see what happens. But I do it on local trails where speeds are low.

So far procore is a bit of a pain in the bum. I failed to install it twice and after 3rd attempt I managed to get it quite right. Quite, because it's leaking air a bit so every two days I must reinflate it. Grip isn't spectacular while 1ply tyres are wobbly, even on my slow home trails. But no burping. I purposefully lowered the presure to 15 PSI and did pump flat ground drill that used to make my 1ply tyres burp even at 28psi. Again, for someone who can a thing or two about climbing techy stuff in slippery conditions, I don't see much win in lowering the pressure when using procore. I will run also procore with 1.5ply SG casing for the bike park to see what it's worth. Some say 1.5 ply rolls a bit better and is a bit softer on the body. I just have a hard time justifying messing with procore installation instead of going 2ply right away. Will be updating you guys on this Smile
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: It would be worth setting up a forum post on this. It would be an interesting one to follow.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I run schwalbe 1 ply + cushcore on my not so rocky hometrails. I get away with 1.5 bars without burping, although the sound of the tires is kind of gruesome when doing cutties on tarmac. I managed to puncture the fronttire once, in rocky terrain cushcore + SG should be good. 2ply rolls a lot worse than 1.5 or 1 ply. with cushcore there is less tirewobble than with 2 ply.
  • + 2
 @optimumnotmaximum: There are two things with DH tyres and rolling slow. First, most of them use softest compounds and they roll like crap on asphalt by default. Then I personally perceive them being not compliant enough ONLY when rolling on slower sections filled with chunky rocks and roots, especially when you see a guy on 1.5plies in front of you, rolling away effortlessly. But as soon as speed picks up, the field evens out. I did some good deal of climbing on 2plies and it's fine. You just have to forget about them, turn off c*nt mode and step on pedals. However when rolling through a rockgarden at speed, or doing high speed cornering, especially berms, they are just invaluable.

I punctured Spec Grid while having Huck Norris installed, but the hit was hard enough that it had full right to do so. I was surprised I didn't taco the rim.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: with bicycletires it is not like with mototires, you have a very small motor (especially me). so you have to choose your rubber wisely. my typical loop is about 35 km long with 800 m of climbing, half of the loop is tarmac transfer, each descent has about 100 m drop with little ups and downs, the terrain is not very rocky. In cirtumstances like that I can not justify dh tires -they will be a pain 75% of the time. Last year I tried an ikon reartire -which was great 75% of the time but sucked hard on the fun bits. As did the nobby nic. with the e 13 on the other hand my loop got 15 min longer miracously. (new) Schwalbe Magic Mary / Hans Dampf with cushcore rides great -still not fast on tarmac but ok. the hit that lead to the puncture was that hard that i thought i would go out the frontdoor. i might go to the SG reartire at some point though , the schwalbe 1ply carcasse looks a little stressed -but we will see
  • + 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: Magic Mary is a fantastic tyre to maximize the grip wet and mixed conditions but rolls like absolute crap on asphalt. Hans Dampf and Nobby nic... I don't know what these tyres are good at because I know XC tyres that have more grip, roll faster and last longer. Like Bonty XR2. Get a Rock Razor. Durability issues aside, if counting only grip and rolling, it is the best semi slick with side knobs in existence. Thing is, I used to run 1plies, but my riding improved a lot after I started using stiffer casings.
  • + 2
 @ThomDawson: tried both although my dh days are already gone. the feel with cushcore is nicer , in my opinion by quite a lot. puncture protection is better with dh casing -several german mtb mags did tests and the dh casings could take almost double the energy than a singleply with cushcore. a singleply with cushcore on the other hand was twice as good as without. ( they dropped a weigth an it struck the rim at 35, 70 and 115 cm heigth, nobby nic 1.7 bar, dh tire was also schwalbe). Magic Mary singleply with cushcore rolls with about 29 watts, dh version with about 45 watts... ( cant find the big test bike (ger) did but it is out there in pdf version)
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: in my opinion NN and HD are XC tires and they roll quite fast ( I killed the old ones fast too). I have not tried the RR, will do in the summer. The rollingfeel of the MM s is worse than the rollingresistance, I assume they roll as bad as the minion DHR II I rode for a long time.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: me too. It was like when I first got rear suspension. Unlocked a whole new realm. Obviously there’s a time and a place for thinner tyres but I just feel like if a rider is aboard a 160mm slacked out trail or enduro weapon and they’ve got single ply tyres on there then they’re kind of missing the point as well as missing out on a lot of their bikes potential. As always I’m not here to tell anyone they’re doing it wrong but as I’ve said in the past it just seems like everyone’s chasing confidence and stability on the downs and totally overlooking a major area where both can be improved and the bonus is you get a tougher tyre and fewer punctures.

I don’t find them that much harder to spin when considering the huge performance increase I find when going downhill. You can do things like steepen the seat angle, even just use easier gears. It’s worth it for proper tyres.

For context my local is a series of segmented descents (5 in total). To the base of a 300m elev/ 2km climb back up (half off road footpath, half proper off road tech) and I’ll do that as many times as I can until I’m dead/ getting too tired for the descents/ need to get home for the kids. Usually I’ll do the full thing 2-3 times with a few sessioned segments. And I never want a single ply ever again.
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: basically no liason + relatively steep hill = dh tires
  • + 0
 @optimumnotmaximum: they are more of “aggressive XC”/ trail tyres, or intermediate tyres if you like. And for Intermediate tyres I strongly recommend trying Bontragers then Wink XR2 as a knobby XC racing tyre has more grip than HD and NNic. It’s more predictable and therefore delivers more loose fun. An adequate Bontrager (as to HD) would be SE4 and it’s much better. I had problems following a fast dude on these while I had G5.
  • + 1
 @optimumnotmaximum: thanks for the info. It’s something I need to try for sure. Though due to the simplicity, price and feel that I like of Maxxis DH casings the Cushcore setup is gonna have to be a marked improvement for me to make the switch. That’s where I’m struggling - I’m not yet willing to drop the time and money to try. I need some more good user opinions like yours. Cheers
  • + 1
 At $99usd a wheel, I'll try the single wheel cushcore at $77usd.
  • + 18
 Can you imagine being so dominant that your winning streak comes to end because... you came in 2nd by ONE second?!
  • + 14
 That's what she said. ....Boom, still got it - The Last Man on Earth
  • + 8
 "If you are not first, you are last" -Ricky Bobby
  • + 11
 I know it is the chamois pad, but Sam looks like he has a total victory rager going on. Fully torqued!
  • + 1
 nice bit of irreverence, better than most of the other tosh anyway. Good work!
  • + 4
 Those tyre inserts - its good that the journey to better puncture protection has FINALLY started, and properly now that there are a growing number of insert options. However, we're not there yet.... The Smart Mouse may well be among the more successful attempts, but 600g is frankly unacceptable and the above writer's suggestions to negate some of that weight miss some important details - for example you simply can't buy fly-weight tyres with super soft compounds and DH tread patterns, they don't exist. I'm keen to try CushCore when they finally become available in the UK, but until then I'm sticking with the 200g Procore which are pretty awesome
  • + 5
 "Mr. Wolf release '100% puncture proof system" What's the time Mr. Wolf? Not April 1st, so stop it.
  • + 2
 C'mon Pinkbike, you're better than this! If I was Tracey Hannah, I'd be hella pissed if my withdraw from a race due to injury was considered anywhere close to a positive on any list but my competitor's. Concussion protocol or no, that's some backwards logic. Also, Gaze was in the Elites for the entire WC season last year, and just flew under the radar due to health and back issues.
  • + 4
 I took delivery of my new We Are One insider 29’s on I9’s this March, so pretty well the best March ever...
  • + 2
 Good month for Specialized Racing in general. Won the Elite Women's and Men's UCI XCO as well as the Elite Women's and Men's fields at the Absa Cape Epic. Not too shabby.
  • + 3
 Except for Jared Graves and April didn't start well too. I wish him more luck for the rest of the season!
  • + 1
 @kazwei: Well, obviously April's a tire fire but we'll cross that really sad, sad bridge when we get to it.
  • + 1
 Spring is finally coming around and I'm riding outside a lot more. It's a dang good month!
  • + 1
 They also should have included bad month for Richie Rude, all the bad luck he has had.
  • + 1
 There is always something bad, but there is always something good. It is the way one looks at like.
  • + 1
 Was expecting to see good month for flat pedals since Hills doing pretty dang good in the EWS
  • + 2
 Bad month, it's still f*cking winter.
  • + 1
 Paul, It is Colombia, not Columbia.
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