November 2017 - Good Month or Bad Month?

Dec 6, 2017
by Richard Cunningham  
The good news is that the Southern Hemisphere is warming up, the bike parks are opening and days will soon be longer. The rest of us, not so much - unless you live in Phoenix, Arizona, which is really a Summer time-share resort built by Satan for his chosen minions. So, let's raise a glass to Winter lunch rides at Pivot Cycles and then get this show on the road.

November was a surprisingly good month for small, high-end bike makers. International racing got a boost from a German automotive giant, and we discovered a crop of kids who may be the next wave of Rampage competitors. There were some unhappy moments as well, but I'm getting ahead of the story. So, I offer you, the highs and lows of November, 2017.


Young Freeriders

"Grompage" kid's competition staged on old Rampage site.

The idea was to invite a bunch of pre-teen riders, who have skills to watch the Red Bull Rampage, and afterwards, attend an underground freeride gathering staged at the old Rampage site. Ranging from six to ten years old, Weston Lloyd, twins Luke and Alex Mallen, Finley Kirchenmann, Fred Lariviere and Boston Bryant competed in Mountain Ranks "Fanpage" and whip off competition. Mountain Ranks is an active lifestyle clothing company out of Park City, Utah that has staged the event there for a number of years. The young riders loved it. While they were showing off their skills, they got to hang with the likes of Aaron Chase, Andreu Lacondeguy, and Cody Kelley, who showed up to jump with the lads. Prizes were given out to any kid who sent it... large or small.
Alex Parish throws down during the whip-off competition. - Steve Lloyd photo

Small Bike Brands

Three fresh bike designs debut from boutique builders.

Three of November's most popular tech posts introduced fresh frame designs from Pole in Finland, Deviate from the UK and Eminent, a start-up brand from the USA. PB readers never tire of tech, and this trio definitely delivered the goods:

Pole's "Machine" is the promised savior of the rider-forward geometry pioneer that, after cancelling its first carbon project, published a treatise on the evils of carbon manufacturing and vowed to set things right with planet-friendly aluminum.

The "Machine" is a stunning looking frame that is CNC-machined in their home country from large plates of 7075 T6 aluminum. The frame is is then screwed and glued together in halves, like a plastic airplane model, to produce a strong, lightweight, hollow structure that will be sold unpainted.
Pole Machine rendering
Pole's "Machine" CNC-machined aluminum frame concept.

Luckily, aluminum is easily recycled because, after the machining process, I imagine that 99-percent of those aluminum plates ends up as scrap. Pole insisted it was possible to make an aluminum frame with the comparative weight and strength of carbon, so all eyes will be on this prize when it ships in March, 2018.

Deviate Cycles
Deviate's Guide has a 600% range Pinion gearbox, anti-chain-growth idlers, and looks that could kill. - Deviate photo
Nerd Worship peaked on PB when UK bike maker Deviate Cycles released the "Guide," a 160-millimeter-travel carbon AM/trail bike built around a 12-speed Pinion gearbox, but it doesn't stop there. The Guide's rear suspension has a triangulated swingarm with a high pivot, intended to maximize the suspension's action in rocky and rooted terrain. A double-idler system redirects the chain above and below the swingarm pivot location, which reportedly eliminates chain growth, while allowing for a rearward axle path. The low-mounted shock is actuated from a linkage below the swingarm, which should mask the mass of the bike, by keeping it low. Deviate's Guide will debut in April 2018.

Eminent Cycles threw its hat into the all-mountain/enduro ring in early November with the 160-millimeter-travel Haste. Eminent will sell and ship its bikes direct to its customers. The Haste strikes a modern profile. Based upon 27.5-inch wheels, Its carbon chassis showcases their AFS four-bar rear suspension, designed with full-length seat and chainstays that articulate on a short, vertical link at the rear axle.

A floating rear brake, combined with the suspension's relatively linear kinematics reportedly deliver ground-hugging traction without interfering with pedaling efficiency. Eminent's plan is to provide over-the-top customer service, combined with an MSRP that is measurably below the Haste's elite-level competitors.
Eminent Cycles Haste
Eminent Cycle's Haste was designed for the downs, but to pedal well enough to inspire a few more laps.

World Cup Series

Mercedes Benz signs three-year deal as title sponsor.

Mercedes Benz doesn't need to buy visibility at mountain bike World Cups - the pits and surrounding camps are littered with Sprinter vans. In a press reease towards the end of the month, the UCI made the announcement that the German auto maker would be the title sponsor, and also will outfit officials with a fleet of their new X-Class pickup trucks and V-class "multi-purpose vehicles" (Sprinters). Welcome aboard.
Hey Let s go freeriding We can shuttle in my X-Class truck.


Niner Bikes

Soft market forces Niner to seek Chapter 11 protection.

Anyone who has founded a bicycle business can tell you a story of a near miss with disaster, a bad year, or a decision that came back to haunt them. Niner's President and co-founder Chris Sugai realized over a year ago that they were running too lean to properly market their brand, and more critically, to bring their new designs to market fast enough to react to rapidly changing trends. Long-travel 29ers, for example, hit hard in 2017. I'm sure Niner wanted to jump on that one.

Sugai found an investor consortium next door in Colorado that agreed to purchase the brand, but to facilitate the sale, Niner had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize its debt. Reportedly, the transition will be seamless. Sugai will remain at Niner, as will its employees - and the brand will be recapitalized and back in full swing by January, 2018. That's good news, but it's still gotta sting.
Niner image
Niner's call to action.

Ray's Indoor MTB Park Fans

Founder Ray Petro sustains spinal injury

Probably the worst news ever for mountain bikers is to have one in our midst sustain a life-changing injury. Famous indoor bike park founder Ray Petro suffered a spinal injury while trail riding and fortunately, was found unconscious by a hiker who sought help.

Ray brought mountain biking to the middle of an urban wasteland and in doing so, his wild scheme to build a wooden trail network inside an abandoned warehouse welded a community of riders together from all walks of life. Check out the story and learn how you might be able to give him a boost on the road to recovery.
Ray Petro

Posted In:
Industry News


  • 188 0
 Get well Ray.
  • 19 0
 I am with you!! Heel up quick Ray!!
  • 9 0
 If the world were full of Ray's it would be a never-ending bike path. Wishing you the best.
  • 3 56
flag ridintrials (Dec 7, 2017 at 3:08) (Below Threshold)
 @properp: if the world were full of Ray's it would be a never-ending handicapped ramp....

too soon?

Seriously though, Ray and Martin Ashton should get together and open a park for special needs folks who still wanna shred.
  • 14 0
 @ridintrials: karma! Tread lightly.
  • 40 7
 So niner didnt change thier recipe for 29" bikes and they were caught off guard by everyone coming out with fun 29" bikes? The writing has been on the wall with them for a while, by 2019 they will go the way of intense with a warehouse full of bikes and no customers
  • 32 20
 Change their recipe? What does that even mean? 2014-2015 WFO and in 2016 the whole line-up moving more all mountain with RIP9 and JET9 getting more travel and longer lower slacker (too low in my opinion). Niner was already there with fun 29ers for years. The more recent problem is that 29ers finally became acceptable to a broader audience and then Niner was under much more intense competition from so many brands. Niner was right all along, it just took everyone else to finally catch up
  • 12 4
 @0gravity: the pinkbike review of niners rip9 rdo was pretty bad considering that no one knew exactly what the bike was designed for with its early 2010s inspired geo with odd selection of parts. Niner tried to push (pun intended) their bikes with cool parts rather than sit down and wonder why they werent selling, they have the potential and think tank but they dont want to step out of their comfort zone and put together something new age like the pole evo 140 or transition sentinel
  • 13 0
 Sponsoring Kirt Voreis has been the most exciting thing from Niner as of late.
  • 6 1
 Maybe I'm missing something, but for 2017 the Niners went a lot more aggro with their bikes. I'm not sure what's "2010" about their geo, but their geo seems comparable to a lot of popular bikes.
  • 8 1
 @browntown40: too little too late
  • 3 0
 @0gravity: damn right dude.
  • 5 0
 Specialized came out with the 29" Enduro back in 2013, and Niner released the WFO not long after.
I'm not getting the 'they were caught off guard by long-travel 29s in 2017' crap PB keeps spinning.
Maybe Niner's version of a long-travel 29 didn't sell well, but they had a heckuva long time to re-design it.
  • 3 1
 I don't know about the rip9, but my wfo is a great bike. some enduro stages aren't just straight dh runs, some you have to pedal, that's where the niner excels in both aspects. Ive never wished for a slacker headangle and the wheelbase and reach are perfect for tighter stuff and pedaling sections.
  • 4 6
 @ibishreddin: Im not calling the bikes bad they come across as dated, niner tried appealing to people with bling builds and bright paint jobs
  • 2 0
 Can't say RIP to the RIP9 yet. Those things rip for sure. As for not being on it with geometry, take a look at the older models. I'd say they were a bit ahead of the trend.
  • 2 0
 @rbarbier12: Indeed. The thing is 29er geometry has progressed a lot over the past couple of years, I mean take the RIP9 RDO for example, the XL version has a 533mm seat tube for crying out loud, which is stupidly long and gate like these days, and it also has a reasonably conservative 473mm reach. I can think of half a dozen alternatives that I would pick ahead of Niner with similar or greater reach numbers, but with much much shorter seat tubes which would allow me to run my long dropper post. I couldn't do with the Niner. Also, the 125mm head tube is a bit old school these days.

Yes there's more competition in the 29er market but that makes it even more important to ensure your numbers are contemporary, especially when your bikes are expensive, otherwise you're just going to be left behind.
  • 1 0
 @Tr011: that and 26aintded!
  • 3 0
 @lifted-d: 26 is for kids bikes
  • 2 0
 i am a kid!
  • 42 9
 It’s a good month for Trolling, C’m on.
  • 5 4
 always waki. #trollinszn
  • 4 1
  • 16 0
 sure is
  • 6 1
 I don't understand this concept of trolling but I can certainly say that it is a good month. I have found a new stick selection location and this is going well. Cottonwood is cheap wood, I'm living in cedar land now.
  • 17 8
 Not sure why Niner filing Chapter 11 is a bad thing. They were proactive about it before the lack of capital affected their ability to fullfill orders, develop good products, support customers, and keep employees. Good for them for seeking this as a viable solution so they could get an injection of capital
  • 14 4
 Well its not a good thing to have to file for Chapter 11 so.....
  • 6 11
flag Neechy (Dec 6, 2017 at 16:58) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: Not always true from a business perspective.
  • 9 1
 @Neechy: Yeahhhhhhh if its a successful business or a "good" month, they wouldn't need to consider that. Its a good option for a bad situation. That's not hard to understand.
  • 2 0
 Their financials are actually solvent, which makes the Chapter 11 weird. They claim that they no longer had the capital to pursue the proper amount of R&D to stay up with the game. It made the sale to the guys from Boulder easier i suppose, but that's it.
  • 1 1
 @nohit45: They are solvent, a good thing. But to stay competitive you have to have some manner of R&D budget. My guess is they have enough cash to keep doing business as usual, but in order to stay relevant, didn't have enough sales to justify big research dollars, engineering, testing, etc. So selling to a group with the money to do what they need to do to stay in business isn't that hard to grasp. IANAL, but I'm guessing chapter 11 was just for bookkeeping purposes.
  • 7 0
 Intense Rider Direct Program. Do we file that under good or bad?
  • 10 1
 depends. do you work at a bike shop that sells intense?
  • 5 0
 That happened in December, so it can't officially be addressed in this article!
  • 4 1
 When Intense started selling their bikes through MEC in Canada, the writing was on the wall as to their next step.
  • 2 1
 @BiNARYBiKE: get out of here with them facts gawl
  • 2 1
 @BiNARYBiKE: get out of here with them facts gawl
  • 13 0
 @Circe - given their ho-hum lineup, bad reputation on the QA front, horrible value retention/high depreciation, and still-high-for-what-they-deliver pricing under the new scheme, perhaps we file it under irrelevant?
  • 5 1
 @g-42: The slogan "Intense for Life" is cringe-worthy. Plus, does an "Intense-branded toolkit" really sell bikes with under-spec-ed Yari forks at $5600 CAN? Sorry, but it's intensely insane pricing.
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: seems like many of the shops selling Intense bikes were not actually selling many.
  • 1 1
 @PinkyScar: The intense trace is $4299usd/$5529cad, comes with a 160mm Rock Shox Lyrik RC($800) & Rock Shox Monarch+ RC3($275), Fox Transfer dropper($300), DT Swiss M1900 wheelset($475), SRAM Eagle complete($1400), Shimano M8000 brake set($180) = $3430. Leaving $890 to cover frame, other components not listed and assembly.

$5600cad - $5529cad = $71cad. Making it $971cad to cover frame, other components not listed and assembly. Seems very reasonable!
  • 1 1
 @XCMark: The "Expert" version of the Carbine, Recluse & Primer, at $5600 CAN, come with a RS Yari or Revelation fork. The value is in the garish paint?
  • 1 0
 @PinkyScar: The EXPERT carbine is $5200. Not $5600cad. Try not to embellish by $400 next time!
  • 1 0
 @PinkyScar: Well, sitting in the states and I switch it to cad monies on Intense's site it tells me $5200cad.
  • 6 0
 The V-Class and the Sprinter is not the same thing
  • 3 0
 Exactly what I was thinking. The V-class is considerably smaller than a Sprinter, I think it's called Metris is North America?
  • 2 0
 Phoenix is the winter home for frozen Canadian's. Gotta love the riding and the guys and gals at Pivot who share the best trails at South Mountain park. November has been hot in every way.
  • 1 0
 I am making plans to move to Phoenix! lived in california, utah and north carolina
  • 4 1
 @jarrod801: hey, we spell our names the same....
  • 1 0
 @JarrodB: interesting... do you have a scar on your hip and your parents say they use to know where your twin was but lost him at the mall?
  • 3 2
 Great that a big car company gets behind The World Cup. It would be cool to see some of the money from big business in the mtb world, go to trail buidling and acces advocacy locally. Afterall it's the grassroots organisations, the everyday rider and tons of foot soldiers, spade in hand, that are the foundation of the whole business. They are the ones that buy the bikes, cars, components etc.. WC and all the other comps exists so we can have fun when we are not riding, and drewl down into our laptops over skill levels that are beyond many of us. It's great and all, but why are so much cash pouring into such a small corner of everything that is our sport? I guess money go to the the "pro world" so that the rest of us buy the stuff the pros are on, but what if us normals find our trail acces limited... What if builders start building more secret trails and less public, because of bs from landowners and other users. Wouldn't that mean less sale for big business?
  • 3 0
 Good month for southern UK riding (don't know about the north), not a quagmire in sight! Famous last words...
  • 2 0
 you spoke too soon... its p!ssy wet today and I am supposed to be out for a ride tonight...
  • 1 0
 exluding the south west, cos it hasn't dried out here. But then it never really does...
  • 1 0
 Devon has been a bit moist this year! Even my road bike looks like it fell in a bog.
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: Super dry here in the PNW, but ass cold. And a bathroom remodel has kept me from the trails. So I'd say Nov was the suck.
  • 1 0
 I went outside yesterday to rain... I jinxed the weather folks I'm sorry Wink
  • 1 0
 That Deviate is lookin' pretty sweet. I do wonder how it pedals tho. Looks like a lot of drag on the chain and potentially a lot of bob when you get on the cranks. Awaiting review
  • 2 0
 its a good month for gwin!!! as he just bought a McLaren. check his Insta profile
  • 2 0
 Eminent cycles Haste: Looks like a Dune.
  • 1 0
 Still can't get over their name/logo rip from the speaker manufacturer, Eminence.
  • 5 3
 good or bad, blah blah blah....?!?
  • 1 0
 The Haste is a sweet bike but they need to figure out the internal routing issue. Its a rad looking bike otherwise!
  • 2 1
 Is December a good month or Bad month for the Elf on the Shelf?
  • 1 0
 Does the Mercedes X-type pickup truck come in carbon and electric?
  • 1 1
 Bitcoin jumped enough for me to buy a new bike! Up $7,300 this month! Smile
  • 1 1
 Just read this from investopedia ;
In 2011 $100 of bitcoins at 33 cents each . On November 28, it crossed the $10,000 mark and less than 24 hours later it was trading above $11,000. As of 14:18 UTC on November 29, bitcoin was trading at $11,321.39 valuing the investment at ..............( hold on to something )
...................$3,773,758.93 !
Bad month for me Frown
  • 2 0
 @Matt115lamb: Heard about this bitcoin inflation thing a couple of days ago. A couple of dudes have somehow thrown away hard disks with several mils' worth of bitcoin on them in the past. That should cheer you up. Or were you one of those guys?
  • 2 0
 @BenPea: I've heard that story too. My question is do you know anyone who has 'cashed out'? Even if they had to pay taxes, I want to hear the story of the lucky guy/gal who retired because they got into the bitcoin thing at the right time.
  • 2 0
 @yeti951SD: nope, I'm too old to know anyone with bitcoins. Then again I haven't asked.
  • 3 0
 @yeti951SD: That's the rub. Converting bitcoin into normal cash.
  • 1 0
 @Poulsbojohnny: there are bitcoin ATMs in places
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