Story Time: Everything I Know About Bikes is Wrong

Nov 18, 2021
by Henry Quinney  
Recollection of some events in Pemberton is somewhat blurry.

Coming back from our recent field test in Pemberton, I had a fresh feeling of clarity. Not just because of a near-fatal dose of hypothermia as I literally woke up on the train tracks, and the concurrent heightened appreciation for one's own mortality that comes after you genuinely think you might die, but I’d also ridden bikes from the future, as well as bikes from the past.

The downcountry bikes were an interesting proposition. In fact, even the longer travel trail bikes were a very mixed bag. The latter category spanned to the space age from, if you were to cruelly go off aesthetics alone, one might say from the age of steam. There was something distinctly Brunellian about the steel-framed bike on that test and, I have to say, I really quite liked it. Slightly gangly, perhaps. It almost had a case of the Stephen Merchants. But alas, maybe it’s something in the Bristol water.

bigquotesI think, with bike design, a better bike doesn’t always make you go faster, but what it does is open up the window of executability.

What made the downcountry bikes so interesting was the ideological iron curtain that existed within the group. There were some bikes that were longerer and slackerer than one could ever dream of. There were also bikes with more conservative geometry.

Downcountry, baby.

There were some things that many of those bikes got wrong though. I suppose I would suggest that a bike's spec might only be as strong as its weakest link. It was odd to see some of these bikes, steeped with amazing suspension parts on frames that, if anything, could be defined as too radical, came with things such as organic pads or small rotors. The whole point of these bikes was that they opened up so much terrain - it seemed bizarre to try and peg that capability back at the first attempt.

It was like having a modern supercar with drum brakes. It all seemed a little strange. Then, of course, there was the element of short dropper seat posts.

bigquotesSo, with that in mind, let’s set some things straight and compensate for things I’ve said in the past - cable routing should be external, dual lockouts and steerer-limiters aren't a silly USP to hook in novices, flip chips aren’t crap, cranks should be long, seat tubes shouldn’t be shorter, nobody should think outside of the current crop of standards… e-bikes are the answer!

Want and need is a different thing. However, when you bolt trail or downcountry on a bike’s model name then concessions have to be made. It’s no longer an XC bike, it’s inherently, by its very definition, a compromised beast - which is good! Compromise makes bikes interesting. As horizons narrow, design is driven and innovations are more likely.

Now, ever the bearer of bad news, here’s something of a bitter pill to swallow: downcountry, which I know is a silly name, is a real thing. Yes, I know you’re probably thinking I’m a pillock, and quite frankly who can blame you, but I would say that there was a real difference in that test between 120mm trail bikes and the downcountry bikes. I’m sorry. I'm just so sorry. What have I become?

Small and subtle changes can make short-travel bikes a lot easier to live with.

I don’t know if I view it as a category though, but maybe a very adept description. Some 120mm bikes have a trail feel, some 120mm bikes feel more downcountry and some feel like long-legged XC bikes. The latter are as convincing, in terms of descending ability, as one child standing on another's shoulders beneath a trench coat. The chasm of difference is both obvious and immediately apparent.

I think, with bike design, a better bike doesn’t always make you go faster, but what it does is open up the window of executability. I’ve often thought that you can boil down descending to three main parts - roughness, steepness and speed. A good downhill bike can do all three with ease. A good enduro bike can do two with aplomb. A shorter travel bike can normally just do one at a time.

Of course, you can ride anything on anything, I don’t think the possibility is removed, but rather the likelihood of you not having a dirt nap diminishes.

Well, all of this was all very well and good until I realised last weekend that everything I know about bike design is wrong. Everything I waffle on about is redundant and, quite frankly, I’m embarrassed. Discount everything I’ve ever said. View these op-eds with even more justified skepticism than you perhaps already do. Bleep out any of my excerpts that may appear in the podcast. I’m absolutely and unequivocally wrong. About everything.

So, with that in mind, let’s set some things straight and compensate for things I’ve said in the past - cable routing should be external, dual lockouts and steerer-limiters aren't a silly USP to hook in novices, flip chips aren’t crap, cranks should be long, seat tubes shouldn’t be shorter, nobody should think outside of the current crop of standards… e-bikes are the answer!

Eebs 4 evs.

And what was the slip that started this avalanche of this new realisation? What light first broke through on the dawn of my epiphany? Well, I'll try and keep it relatively succinct.

In a bid to make friends in a new town, I’ve really been trying to branch out from just riding on my own. Recently, when asked what I’d been up to I responded “listening to grunge and riding cross-country”. Quite simply, something had to give. I remember also telling that person that I’m not the c-bomb I often come across as on the podcast. Note to self, this isn’t how you make friends. Nope, a new approach was needed.

I abandoned my Temple of the Dog Spotify radio station, put my flannel shirts into storage and tore my Eddie Vedder posters off the wall. It was time to get social.

And make friends I did. I even had a social soiree on Saturday and the only thing on the menu was BC-made humble pie. Needless to say, many slices were served.

I’m not somebody that likes to put fear into people. I always find it quite reductive when people say “oh f*ck, this is so gnarly - you don’t stand a chance!”. That said, I would never want anyone to get themselves into a pickle on account of finding themselves on a trail that isn’t quite suitable.

bigquotesA man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.

Our riding group arrived and to my surprise, downcountry bikes were out. I’d said I’d show the riders some of my favourite trails. Now, the riders in question are far better in every avenue of bike riding than myself. There isn’t one facet to their riding that I could hold a candle to. However, the sight of shallow XC tires on their bikes, and knowing what we had in store to ride, did leave me a little worried for them.

You can't ride gnarly trails on XC bikes, just like you absolutely can't do big pedals on enduro bikes.

I just mentioned, in what I hoped was a relaxed manner, that maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t have the best time on the trails we would be riding. I suppose I’ve been so wrapped up in distinguishing the difference between the good and the very good that I completely forgot that talent is the great leveler of all design foibles.

So, we rode a trail that I would describe as pretty-bloody-keen. I was amazed. I was so genuinely impressed. I remarked at one point that that should be the advert for Ikons. However, little did I know what was in store down the road.

There we were, enjoying a trail-side chat, when this squadron of lycra-clad riders came past, all with their seat posts seemingly bypassing their backsides entirely and going straight up to their eyeballs. They were absolutely shredding. Honestly, I thought it was the sickest thing I’d seen in a long time. There I was, on my big ol’ enduro bike. I felt somewhat embarrassed.

It’s not that the trail was easy to ride, but rather it was amazing to see how easy a large dollop of skill and talent can make things look. I looked back to that field test, and how to some it will look like I’m splitting hairs under a microscope with a Stanley blade. It’s not that those bikes weren’t different, or that they didn’t feel drastically different, in both good and bad aspects. It’s also not as if the other testers didn’t draw similar conclusions, but rather sometimes I do get wrapped up in my own world. Truth be told, and I can only speak for myself, but I believe a bike's shortcoming can become more apparent due to your own technical inadequacies, rather than your proficiency.

Erm, this is an enduro-trail... so maybe you should... not?

I think humble pie and imposter syndrome are useful things to be exposed to and hopefully stop you from becoming a complete arsehole. A thought I often come back to, both in my professional and personal life, is a Mark Twain quote. He once said "A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar" and I think it's a very useful thing to remind yourself of. The acknowledgment that we're all these walking contradictions who deposit both insight, as well as falsehoods and fallacy, be it about ourselves or other people, and in my case the particular intricacies of cable routing, knowingly or otherwise. The mistake is not in trying to resist it but rather in failing to acknowledge it.

So, in short, if you’re good enough, buy yourself a 2013 Giant Trance and just be done with it. Leave it to us mortals to sweat the small stuff.


302 Comments

  • 384 39
 This was the most confusing thing I’ve read in a long time. I read it twice and I still can’t understand what message you’re trying to get across. Pinkbike does have an editor right?
  • 137 3
 Editor is currently watching the trees sway on a still night.
  • 47 2
 I think the point was just an evolving story of beliefs, but it seems to rest on the assumption that people are familiar with previous points of view from the author which I don't think is the case. Certainly could have used a little more anchoring throughout the article.
  • 75 6
 Got to agree, it sounded like the rambling of someone coming out of anesthetic. Half the conversation is still in their head and you are left trying to understand what they are on about.
  • 104 0
 It makes a lot more sense if read with Henry's accent
  • 117 28
 Cognitive Dissonance might explain why many PBers are not understanding this article.

From Medical News Today "Cognitive dissonance causes feelings of unease and tension, and people attempt to relieve this discomfort in different ways. Examples include “explaining things away” or rejecting new information that conflicts with their existing beliefs."
As a result, they may:
- try to hide their actions or beliefs from others
- rationalize their actions or choices continuously
- shy away from conversations or debates about specific topics
- avoid learning new information that goes against their existing beliefs
- ignore research, newspaper articles, or doctor’s advice that causes dissonance
Avoiding factual information can allow people to continue maintaining behaviors with which they do not fully agree."

Likely caused by consuming years and years of mtn bike media and marketing telling us you can't ride gnarly trails without a gnarly bike, and that lycra-clad xc'ers are wankers that can't ride real trails.
  • 23 1
 Editor is on the Outside Wink
  • 83 10
 @taprider: I am a lycra-clad XC rider who rides gnarly trails, and also a kid (so I can't have that many "years and years of mtb media") I'm just saying this is a poorly written article that seems to be half chasing its own tail and half chasing the witty fever dream that is many New Yorker articles.
  • 97 0
 He’s saying ride what ya like because ultimately skill is what matters, not marginal differences or latest tech (I think)
  • 10 1
 @sewer-rat: I still think short cranksets are better for me Wink
  • 12 1
 Right! I went through the whole thing wondering what the hell was his point?
  • 21 3
 @joeybwonderful:
Yes, he’s modest and witty. Two of the best human characteristics imo
  • 5 5
 Doesn't look like a session
  • 3 0
 This.@taprider:
  • 15 6
 @taprider: I think it's just poor reading comprehension.
  • 16 9
 Henry Quinney loves Henry Quinney.
  • 20 2
 Nino doing table tops off jumps. There, 5 words, done.

Conclusion: Skill, fitness & talent > geo, components & travel.
  • 5 1
 @taprider: people down voting you for reasons none other than what you have listed. Big Grin now that is comedy!
  • 1 0
 haha feeling the same way
  • 9 17
flag inonyme (Nov 18, 2021 at 14:50) (Below Threshold)
 Nice case or self masturbation by the author!
  • 10 0
 I think I get it, basically if your a good rider you won't rely on the latest gadgetry to go faster...they just...go faster?
  • 7 3
 Agree w @HGAB. The author first lost me with "the chasm of difference is both obvious and immediately apparent." Uh, isn't "immediately apparent" the definition of "obvious"?? Is this some sort of literary in-joke that I don't understand?
  • 30 1
 Sorry, still don’t get it. Henry, what am I supposed to buy?
  • 1 0
 @RBalicious: yes ROTFLMGO
  • 1 0
 @rich-2000: ….outside no doubt.
  • 8 0
 I think the writer is trying to say this: you can ride any bike on any trail. He's just using more words to get there.
  • 2 0
 @RBalicious: I (heart) irony
  • 15 0
 There is no way you read that twice
  • 4 1
 Im confused why youre confused
  • 4 0
 If I’m right, I believe Henry came to the conclusion that you can ride most any “trail” on a xc or down country bike.

Also a lot of this article is inside baseball from the podcast… so if you don’t listen to the podcast you probably won’t understand what he’s on about.
  • 4 0
 @taprider: I agree, article does have some inside baseball information from the podcast, but it’s pretty easy to tell he is saying xc or down country bikes can handle primarily any trail you send them down bar the most gnarly DH trails… even then they’ll make it but will end up with a broken spoke or something
  • 21 0
 @HGAB

- I thought I was going to show up riding partners on trails when they showed up on XC rigs

- turned out they are better riders than I am and my bike capability can’t trump their skil on a trail I perceived as hard

-The End
  • 4 0
 I write, erase, rewrite Erase again, and then A poppy blooms.
  • 1 0
 @taprider: Wait, that last part isn't true?
  • 1 0
 @HGAB: hey kid, how would you know about the New Yorker?
  • 8 0
 I guess PB needs a smooth brain filter to keep this kinda stuff off the feed for some of y'all.
  • 14 0
 @inonyme: all masturbation is self-masturbation. If someone else does it to you it ceases to be masturbation.
  • 3 0
 @HGAB: if you are really a kid but can write literary snark at this level, I say that you have a bright future in whatever career path you take!
  • 5 0
 Drugs are bad, M'kay.
  • 4 0
 I think what he was trying to say is "get out there and ride your damn bike", don't let the marketing and hype get in the way of what you think you can and can't do.
  • 4 0
 @sewer-rat: That's how I read it. Maybe over this side of the pond we're more used to separating the wheat from the chaff.
  • 5 0
 The meaning it's in the end, and can be checked above, decoded:
So, in short, if you know how to ride, buy yourself a bike and just be done with it.
Leave it to us, wannabes to sweat the small stuff.

What ever that means!

Since the end of wheel (27 5/29) debate, and geo (long slacker low) debate, mtb just seems to plateaux!
Jzzzzz, just check out that crankshit
  • 3 0
 The editor just went Outside.
  • 3 0
 @inonyme: now that right there, would be a pleonasm.
  • 2 0
 @CSharp: he doubled down the dose.. still has some reserves and his body is microdosing it.. #neverthesame
  • 4 1
 I lost interest as soon as down country was mentioned honestly
  • 4 0
 @Haydos85: i read jt as go out and ride your bike and stop reading shit on the internet
  • 2 1
 Are these guys really trying to get profound and philosophical about a f*cking mountain bike ride?? C’mon Outside
  • 8 0
 Those mushrooms are wearing off very slowly.
  • 2 0
 @vw4ever: I have never had any issue with my 120F/ 110R bike in what I do.
  • 2 0
 I think he's saying that he sucks at riding bikes as much as the rest of us.
  • 1 0
 @TheBrickOriginal: THIS IS ME IN GENERAL HAHA
  • 2 0
 My favorite line is "I suppose I would suggest that a bike's spec might only be as strong as its weakest link". That is not a matter of perspective, that is a fact. The weakest part of anything is the baseline for strength.

I once had a boss, when nearing the end of a large presentation and after losing his cool a few times during the meeting, stood up and in all seriousness said, "Words have meaning," and then walked out.

Same kind of theme. I am sure it sounded cool to say (or type) but kind of a no-brainer when you think about it for just a split second.
  • 6 2
 What I am gathering from the comments section, more people need to turn off their screens, read more books and ride more.
If this article didn’t make sense to you…
  • 2 0
 @RBalicious: literally can’t do that, I’m warming up for the advent calendar
  • 1 0
 @sewer-rat: ahahahaha! Touché good sir Big Grin
  • 2 1
 @taprider: Yep just like anti-vaxers.
  • 2 0
 A cup of mushroom tea brings it all into focus
  • 2 0
 Psilocybin is a hell of a drug.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like the ramblings that accompany the comedown from your first trip...
  • 1 0
 @wheelsmith: @wheelsmith: It took every ounce of strength in my body.
  • 2 0
 @jamesbrant: I would know about it because my family has a subscription and read it constantly. Being a kid doesn’t mean I can’t be extremely well read. For example, I just finished To Be A Slave by Julius Lester.
  • 1 0
 @The-Foiling-Optimist: Thanks! I am quite proud of my knack for dry humor and sarcasm.
  • 3 2
 To be clear, I like the points @henryquinney made at the end, that people should focus on skill, not equipment; and that XC riders can shred (I like to think that I can, as an XC/road rider); but it felt more like reading a journal entry from someone who was, high, sleep-deprived and had just been smoked by a few guys on Epic HTs before writing this; rather than reading like an article for a website with several hundred thousand viewers that as such demands a small degree of revision and professionalism in its content. Or at least a consistent message. I also just enjoy writing (as @The-Foiling-Optimist called it) “literary snark”.
  • 1 0
 So I'm a bit confused - do I sell the XC bike and upspec the enduro bike, or do I sell the enduro bike and upspec the XC bike?
  • 2 0
 @peteswa: just buy a motorbike mate.....even if its electric
  • 4 5
 This is what happens when the author is considerably more intelligent than his readers. Poor Henry needs to dumb it down a bit. I am not suggesting I am in any way superior (I found it a hard read too) but I'm clever enough to know it's a technically well written article and the audience is his problem.
  • 2 1
 @barry9559: HAHAHAHAHA
That was funny.
  • 2 0
 @barry9559: surely he knows then ,that he is getting paid to write for us poor numpties
  • 1 0
 @Dem628: he was german?
  • 3 0
 It read like a French movie.
  • 1 0
 @shredchic: I guess it's like a Netfux movie these days where the movie starts off with English and then everyone starts speaking some foreign tongue and instead of watching the movie, you'd be watching the subtitles instead.
  • 3 2
 Beautifully written, crafted, and clear, with subtle wit and a sprinkling of irony - but (here's the rub and down votes coming!) the author's intellect and writting style does sub-consiously pressume readers have a minimum level of English comprehension and, crucially, cognitive ability. There, I said it...
Though I do caveat - I am familiar with his style and use of metaphors, similies, analogies and incredibly intelligent wit, and I for one hope that any editor doesn't force a dumbing down to a level of intellect and literary comprehension that might meet some stereo-typical prejudice about national characteristics (e.g. French are arrogant, Germans humourless, British Pompous, Americans Dumb).

For those that don't,understand the article: Henry is saying that despite years of accumulated 'wisdom' and perception on what might be summarised by the industry as 'the right bike/kit for the job' and how this industry view may have led to the emergence of ever more new sub-genre's like 'Down Country', actually his recent rides to make new contacts in a new town have turned everything he thought was true, upside down (though I don't believe him re e-bikes!) - so those he rode with that he thought were 'under biked' for the trails they were about to ride, actually were able to smash it due to their high level riding ability, and this experience has more clearly impressed on him that it is more rider ability, above bike type, that is a key, despite his years of bike testing and journalism and seeking out the small differences between bikes and bike catagories - e.g. it doesn't matter to much if your dropper has 125mm or 175mm drop, if you have the riding ability.

So, for example, Sam Hill could beat ALL of you down an EWS route on an XC or down country bike while you rode the very latest, 'best' full-on race enduro rig.
  • 3 2
 @rupedoggy: well look at the big brain on Brad!
  • 2 0
 @KK11: Or should that be 'Brett' - Perhaps depends whether your into Hollywood 'pulp', or Pasadena rock, culture?! :-D
  • 206 1
 In summary (I think? In no particular order)

1) your skill or lack thereof matters more than the “type” of bike you’re on
2) Locals on XC bikes in the PNW can ride really rowdy shit and can put an out of towner on a sled to shame
3) new bikes are super good on paper and feeling but don’t make up for point #1
  • 14 0
 that was my understanding of the article too
  • 33 5
 Yes, you got it. Unless we're wrong?

I thought that was one of the best pieces I've read on PB. I really dig the author's writing style.
  • 9 0
 Good thing I read this. It's a lot shorter and to the point Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @rexluthor: It reads like faux Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • 2 1
 Your range of speed only goes so far on the available bikes... There are plenty of people who bottom end range on a shit bike is beyond your top, and plenty of people on the perfect bike you could beat on a wal mart bike. There's always someone faster and there's always someone slower no matter what.
  • 2 0
 100% agree - especially point 2, visited a buddy in Bellingham who races XC and he freaking SHREDS on his Epic. Sent shit harder and cleaner than I can ever dream.
  • 6 0
 The real message is we should all have a short travel HT in our stable and ride it regularly and not get soft riding big bouncy bikes.
  • 1 0
 "long legged XC, Downcountry, short travel trail bike."
Enough! It's a short travel bike that's good for a bit of everything. Settle down you marketing flogs.
  • 3 0
 I think that I would expand a bit on your post a bit.

A talented rider has a good understanding of the limits of their bike as well as their talent.

A less talented rider does not. A less talented rider on a big travel gnarly bike will survive less than ideal riding choices due to the capabilities of the bike.

That being said, a very talented rider on the bike most suited to the terrain will always be king/queen.
  • 1 0
 TOTALLY
  • 2 0
 @rexluthor: Henry has a brilliant phraseology - and outstanding use of metaphors, similies, analogies and (sometimes ironic, sometimes dark) humour. His writing style is often almost poetic - and its also his conversation style as well. It's style and construct is very intelligent, which I can see would possibly lead to issues for some, but I find it very entertaining and humorous. He is a very funny guy - in a subtle, smart way.
  • 3 0
 @rupedoggy: Completely agree. It was a fun read.
  • 128 2
 Henry blink twice if everything is okay
  • 45 0
 he hasn't been the same since having to test out those $500 overalls
  • 9 0
 If he’s paid by the number of comments he generates he’s a f_cking genius.

1. Use long words so people complain
2. Be controversial to incite debate
3. Be vague to solicit clarifying questions

Pick two and you’re guaranteed to generate enough to confusion, polemic and queries to count as “amazing community engagement”!
  • 3 5
 @Altron5000: It's just a useless word salad to me. If it was in print I'd use it for TP. Utter trash.
  • 68 0
 TLDR: If you're good at riding bikes, you'll be good at riding bikes no matter what bike you choose to ride. If you're bad at riding bikes, buy the bike that's best suited to make you ride better.
  • 13 2
 My favorite part of the article is a healthy glossing over of the fact that often the best riders I know are on great equipment. And it's pretty rare to see an extreme talent on a questionable bike. Def happens, but rare. It's almost like people invest in things that make it safer/more efficient to progress on and it creates a feedback loop between talent and equipment... Go figure!
  • 3 0
 @lepigpen: You're not wrong--good riders like good bikes because they empower them to ride even better--but also I think back on Sam Pilgrim riding Goat's Gully on a department store bike. I believe he does such stunts to let people know they can still have a fun day on a bike even if they can't afford Ka$hima coated parts or whatever.
  • 56 7
 I read the article and I still have no idea what its about
  • 92 18
 Haha! Story Time's message is as elusive as it is vague, but it is there. Tune in next time as I discuss the correct pronunciation of Cholmondley and how green tea stock is the next bitcoin.
  • 8 1
 Quoted from @sjma
"In summary (I think? In no particular order)

1) your skill or lack thereof matters more than the “type” of bike you’re on
2) Locals on XC bikes in the PNW can ride really rowdy shit and can put an out of towner on a sled to shame
3) new bikes are super good on paper and feeling but don’t make up for point #1"

Way better read in way fewer words!
  • 10 1
 @henryquinney: I enjoyed the creativity of your article, I feel like you are touching on how a "newest geo" or "highest end" bike will no doubt make riding enjoyable as well as make you feel good about yourself and stoked to ride.... but don't get that confused with it meaning you are now a super shredder. Love of the sport and time in the saddle is what it takes. And as far as I can tell (after more than 25 yrs of mtb) no brand has the patent on that. So don't let not having the latest and greatest lessen your self belief in riding well. The ride is the thing.. not what bike you have.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney: keep up the good work I look forward to you’re articles. Engaging and entertaining. Maybe the misunderstanding is comparable to cyclists over the pond not being able to understand Rat boys accent?
  • 1 0
 A cup of mushroom tea brings it all into focus
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: your mushroom correspondent did you wrong by not inquiring on your alcohol consumption, then re-dosing before at least an hour had passed. Typically there's little desire for booze once the mushrooms have taken effect, and if one is already drunk it's dangerous, as you learned. Weed to unwind at end and to aid sleep though the sun's already up. Try again
  • 46 2
 I've never cared for the argument that you don't need lots of travel because someone better can do more with less bike. I'll always happily take a big enduro bike for anything that's at the edge of my skill level and a short travel trail bike with lighter weight components for an all day pedal. I mean Gretzky probably could have lead the league in scoring with a branch he broke off a tree, but that's still not a good argument for not using a hockey stick.
  • 11 1
 100%. For me I'll ride the longest-travel bike I can pedal uphill and still keep up with the pack. Overbiked is my preference, at the expense of missing out on some "pop", some of which you can get back by firming up suspension as desired.
  • 12 1
 I swing the other way. I would rather be "underbiked" and use/build skills to get down something that I could probably use more bike for. I want the ride up to not be greatly hindered by too much weight or suspension movement. For the ride down I'll make what I have work for me.
  • 8 0
 @Marquis: and here I am right in the middle. Does that mean I swing both ways? Awkward.

I see pedaling only as a means to an end, but I also didn't want to get something that was a total pig. Ended up getting a V3 Bronson last year not only because 150/160 travel seemed reasonable for a bike I would pedal at least half of the time, but I also wanted something that wasn't SO long and slack that it would actually force me to learn how to ride properly if I wanted to ride more difficult terrain. As someone who was looking to move from an intermediate to advanced level of riding this ended up being a fantastic decision and I think also forced me to improve my body positioning.
  • 11 1
 In surfing it's generally accepted that beginners should use longer, heavier, less maneuverable but more forgiving boards, while experts ride boards that are shorter, thinner, and narrower - much more maneuverable but much less forgiving (in terms of how hard it is to catch a wave).

To me it seems like longer, less maneuverable surfboards are analogous to heaver, longer travel bikes, and short boards are analogous to bikes with less travel and more "nimbility".

As a result, I'm always confused when I see people recommending shorter travel bikes to beginners. I think beginners are more likely to come up against a short travel bike's limitations, and less likely to take advantage of a bike that is "poppy" and "playful".

If I had a friend who was getting into mountain biking, I wouldn't say, "you can ride any bike down any trail, so get yourself a downcountry bike, let's hit some black diamond tech and practice our manuals".

The advice that I would give is that it's gonna take a while to get into shape no matter what, so don't worry about weight. Get a "low end" bike with plenty of travel and good brakes, start with green and blue trails and work your way up to the heaver stuff. Once you're comfortable enough to ride a variety of trails and start to understand what you like, then you can decide what you want to prioritize with your next bike. Whether that's light weight and "nimbility", or a bike that can plow through the rough stuff.
  • 5 0
 @sasquatchclyde: I like the reference but I'm not sure those two examples are entirely analogous. A small surfboard would be hard to ride for a beginner while I wouldn't say that's the case with modern short travel bicycles. There's a reason you regularly see people who have a BMX background riding expert trails on their "first day on a mountain bike". Smaller bikes will make you find your personal limitations quicker, forcing you to learn proper technique. If your goal is to ride double black trails as a beginner rider, then yeah get the longest slackest thing you can find lol.
  • 2 0
 @sasquatchclyde: I agree and just went through an analagous experience. I'm 5-10 so I'm usually able to choose between a medium and large on bikes. I've been riding my whole life but really only started getting good when I bougght a Patrol in 2019. I went with a large for the extra stability and it was perfect to get learn to ride fast on.

After a few years though it started feeling really slow and hard to manuever, especially trying to get around corners. Now I wanted a new 29er race bike and sized down to a medium Spire and again it's the perfect bike!
  • 1 0
 @sasquatchclyde: I think if you have the strength and skill to ride a longer slack bike then you're going even faster than you ever could on a short bike.
  • 3 0
 Living not near the most super exciting/gnar/supertech/wild stuff, I just prefer to ride something that leaves some challenges for me. If I can nail something first try, what's left to challenge me? What is important though is that you have a bike that gives you enough room to get in the proper position to ride the way you can. So I do prefer to have my saddle way down and have a low top tube so that I can shift my body low, to the back and to the sides. And I like enough reach so that for climbing I still have enough room to play with front-rear balance when searching for traction. So basically, I'd say I need gear that doesn't get in the way and solves just enough of the small challenges (smaller irregularities etc) that it leaves just enough for me to be challenged and still maintain some speed and flow to keep it fun. The balance will be different for everyone and everywhere.

As for the surfboard analogy, not sure how well it translates to bikes. See, what you want as a rider is find that buzz and still have a way make it right when things go wrong. A less stable/forgiving bike will get you that buzz at lower speeds and less challenging terrain but it will also be easier to correct if you're slightly off. So you're getting the fun you're looking for and also get a chance to make it when things go wrong. If you're getting a more forgiving you need a higher speed at rougher terrain to catch that same buzz you're looking for. But by the time you realize things go wrong, you've had little prior experience to stand a chance of correcting the bike.
  • 2 0
 @sasquatchclyde: This is a dual sided blade. While I agree with you, I can see where the idea of less travel suits better novices: You can get away with so much more just because of suspension, that you don't hone your skills to be a better and smoother rider. It's the same general idea of flats and clip in pedals.
  • 33 0
 In not so many words, the author is trying to convey that improving your skills will yield more results than tweaking your equipment in every case

"Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades" - Abraham Einstein, 1769
  • 5 0
 I thought Albert Lincoln said that?
  • 1 0
 @twainstein they said all the things.
  • 30 4
 People who can't understand what was written need to read a book now and then, seriously.

Henry, great article! I have a similar story from several years ago about a guy from the local Tuesday/Thursday night ride group. On his trusty titanium Moots hardtail with a whopping 100mm fork, he could routinely smoke us both up the mountain AND down. And this is in an area where the topsoil is thin and rocks are abundant, to say the least. I've never once recommended someone to get a hardtail to "get started" riding here.

A few of us along with Mr. Moots headed up to Downieville one weekend for some shuttle runs, and I was flat out amazed and embarrassed during that ride. Here I was on a Santa Cruz Blur LT with a 150mm coil fork up front, on some seriously rowdy downhill trails, and still getting literally left in the dust by this dude on a hardtail. And it wasn't just me, but the whole group of experienced and fit riders. Sometimes the truth hurts, and truth is that fitness and skill on a bike combined with natural talent can trump all. Geometry and suspension be damned.
  • 10 4
 It's not so much the concept of what he wrote... It is more of the disjointed references to thoughts, ideas, and events of the writer's mind without any context. There are so many ideas he presents that (unless you are a mind reader or an insider to what goes on in the writer's day-to-day bike life) the reader has no chance of understanding.

....or maybe I just know the handshake to get me into the club.
  • 9 1
 I read many books- this was confusing as all hell. I had no idea what this piece was about until the final paragraph. From the unexplained train tracks segue at the beginning, to highlighted quotes inserted at seemingly random intervals irrelevant to the current talking point, using eloquent fluff instead of words of substance, and disjointed talk about the various random bikes he's tested, this piece could have used some major editing. None of this was tied together; instead the article rambled and only got around to the author's main argument at the terminus.

And all this to say talented XC riders can outride a novice on the best sled...yeah i think we all know that?
  • 3 1
 Easy tiger. I've read fiction, nonfiction and actual scientific literature. Multiple times no less! The laboured metaphors are still there, not to mention the broken sentences. Yeah, nah.
  • 33 3
 I really liked this
  • 2 0
 I did too, even though I didn't really understand it.
  • 23 0
 TLDR: Henry got humbled by some Lycra baddies and is now re-evaluating the meaning of life.
  • 6 0
 "Lycra baddies"
I like that
Makes me think of a Top Gear episode "baddies in a black corvette at the mall"
  • 28 11
 Love HQ's writing. Definitely keeps it interesting. Unfortunately he's publishing for a crowd that considers a tweet about Kim Kardashian, 'literature'. PS. I too have had my clock cleaned by riders on less capable machines given the conditions, but it doesn't diminish my need for the right bike for the application.
  • 20 2
 I read the words... I don't think I understood the words. Either I am high or Henry is. Last I checked, all I consumed today was coffee. So what are you trying to say? Smile
  • 22 1
 Caffeine is one hell of a drug.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Mah legz1111
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: F**k yo couch! Hahahahahahaha
  • 15 0
 Was looking at getting a new bike next year, but realized I still really enjoy my current bike and am confident a new bike will not make me a better rider or bring me more joy from my rides then I already get. So I will save myself a bunch of money, the headache of selling a used bike, and the frustrations with backorders, late delivery's, or the possible no delivery of a new bike in todays COVID world. This last few years has really opened my eyes to the ridiculous redundancies of consumerism and I am trying to minimize my part in it going forward in all aspects in my life. At the end of the day we are all jealous of the guy on a 2003 Norco Sasquatch in coveralls strait off the job site that is shredding harder then us "core" riders on our $6k+ bikes decked out in the latest riding "gear".

Have no idea if this is related to the article, but this is what I wrote after reading it.
  • 4 0
 Probably because of some frustration or insatisfaction of some sort, I was also chasing for a new bike. And realized it’s not what’s really gonna make me happy. Instead I will pay myself a sweet bike trip. I have goose bumps remembering some past ones. As for my previous bikes? Well not really.
  • 6 0
 @jibbandpedal plus 100 to you for "This last few years has really opened my eyes to the ridiculous redundancies of consumerism and I am trying to minimize my part in it going forward in all aspects in my life."
  • 3 0
 Well said. We have a buch of 40+ riders on single speeds owning all the KOM's up and down over here on the east.
  • 17 1
 I think this was the most engaging writing I've read on PinkBike in a while. I agree with other comments that it was a little disjointed, but my attention span was not challenged.
  • 15 1
 My take: Henry was just trying to openly acknowledge that he is part of the machine that drives us all to believe that technology trumps talent. Why? it's easier to buy technology than build talent. PB feeds that insecurity by telling us that longer, lighter, slacker, oil-slicki-er, wireless-er, will make you better. Its the product fallacy that we all know but ignore.
  • 5 1
 The same PB that's hosting a 10 part series on skill improvement by a professional MTB coach and top 50 world cup dh finisher?
  • 4 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: Yup. I'm not saying they don't do anything on skill development, training etc... just that the industry is geared that way and, in my mind, that's what Henry was trying to communicate. I'm not a hater, in fact I love PB. Just saying how I interpreted the article.
  • 12 1
 Well, Bravo.!

Obviously a fresh feeling of clarity. Such an intersting réflexion.! You are couragous to dive inside like this and to admitt to yourself and to others that what you previously think, was all wrong. You were able to try another perspective and see things from a different angle.! Good…

Thank you one of the best edit I read.
  • 13 0
 It's called Story Time - but everyone shouts that it wasn't succinct. Maybe I spent too long in the UK, but I enjoyed this one.
  • 7 0
 Don't feel bad about PB's "This bike is great because it's got half a degree more slack on the head angle and all others are dog shit."

The fact of the matter is that most people don't ride lots of bikes. To most people, a good bike is a significant investment that should last them a long time. Those people don't get the chance to compare bikes back-to-back as much and having someone else do that riding and try their hardest to explain the distinctions between the bikes is a very valuable thing, even if the differences come down to very small things.


Your job is to help us buy the bikes that will work(hopefully best) for us. Keep that in mind and do your best. You don't have to be the best rider, you have to be able to relate to us the differences.
  • 9 0
 Finally you realize what we've all been thinking!... Seriously: I appreciate your writing style and your humour. Great addition to PB
  • 7 0
 My brother does well in local XC races. This year he decided to give a go at enduro and signed up for a race. He put a Magic Mary on the front of his Scott Spark and turned up in his usual lycra kit. He placed second. That's when I realized I have too much bike and not enough skills.
  • 7 0
 It's all good!! The article is bad- obviously written in an amnesiac period after a long night out and published before the editor was awake. But reading all the comments was much more entertaining than watching another of those fast cut clips of someone jumping over big bumps to annoying music. If nothing else it gives PB some character.
  • 10 1
 Slam... poetry. YELLING! Angry??? WAVING. MY. HANDS. A. LOT. Specific point of view on things!
  • 5 0
 It seems to be an existential musing:

"The acknowledgment that we're all these walking contradictions who deposit both insight, as well as falsehoods and fallacy, be it about ourselves or other people, and in my case the particular intricacies of cable routing, knowingly or otherwise. The mistake is not in trying to resist it but rather in failing to acknowledge it.

So, in short, if you’re good enough, buy yourself a 2013 Giant Trance and just be done with it. Leave it to us mortals to sweat the small stuff."

This is easier to do when older too, especially when we spent many hours learning our MTB craft on solid frame bikes.
  • 5 0
 I’m fairly certain this is saying what I’ve been saying for a while.

When some riders complain, or make fun of other riders for being “overbiked” for a trail, they are probably just a much more skilled rider, and they are viewing the world through their lens (the lens with skills).

For many riders the first stepping stone to shredding on a short and steep bike, is “managing” or “surviving things on a more capable bike.

And that’s ok.
  • 6 2
 Now, I sat there for a while, starring at the screen and trying to make sense of this and when I close my eyes and take a look into myself asking what is the essence of this article I see a big black empty space. So I do what has always worked so far. I stop thinking and go for a ride.
  • 10 6
 Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
  • 4 0
 I have no idea what the point of this article is. I don't know what the author used to think, what he thinks now, or what he thinks he was wrong about. I know it has something to do with dropper-less bikes and Lycra, but that's about it.
  • 5 1
 Why is everybody about with not understanding the article? I found it well written, yes Kind of rambling but exactly that style defines the inner monologue most people have, doesn't it? I really appreciated this. Henry please don't let all these downers get to you. It's good that we have pieces for different audiences, people are incredibly different. The standard pinkbike commenter is not the only kind which reads here.
  • 3 0
 so hard to read trail/enduro riders opinions on bikes. If all you do is ride trails , you have a very narrow view of what mountain bikes do. there is so much more to riding than just pedalling around on a trail, but bikes are getting longer, slacker, bigger wheels and only further limiting themselves to just riding f*cking trails.
  • 3 0
 I do agree that we are on far better bikes than we realize and the main thing holding us back is us. The article goes through Henry coming to grips with giving up the excuse that his limitations are because of the bike. Once we come to that realization, we can truly let loose, have fun and focus on becoming a better rider. This is the truth in many things in life, not just biking. Great article.
  • 4 1
 HQ just hit a new level of understanding, acknowledging that he needed to wipe the slate clean and check his assumptions at the door (maybe he wrote this with a little 'magic' still in his system). as 'pinkers' we presume that pinkbike is the source for the inside line as mtb evolves and is the arbiter of everything good in the mtb world. using our analytical knives to break down the latest tech evolution is helpful and gives context to those that are reembarking into mtb (such as myself). ultimately, though, the question is why do you ride and who do you ride for? we are all fallible so lets find ourselves in the moment and get out there and ride.
  • 4 1
 Well done Henry! Like an impressionist painting, if you stand back just a bit and look again it all becomes clear. Just the other day I was testing my trail bike on a very chunky local trail - basically a continuous rock garden when I heard "on your left" and was passed by a lycra clad XC rider on a hardtail floating like a butterfly across the topic of the rocks. While the sight of him fading into the distance stung like a bee, I comforted myself with mutterings about not being familiar with my new fork and having to take it easy due to a failing rear brake. Upon reading this article, I can now admit that I simply suck and it really had nothing to do with my bike. I feel that a load has been lifted!
  • 1 0
 ... and then he went and bought a gravel bike, which he nearly exclusively road on paved paths.
  • 7 0
 I love this Quinney. Keep doing what you are doing.
  • 3 0
 I've had the same experience... Obsess over minutiae and modern bike stuff, marginal gains and cutting edge concepts, then ride with some old school guys, or some xc shredders who clearly don't give a shit about all that and get schooled on what an average rider I am, and how arbitrary my "modern preferences" and geometry increments are
  • 3 0
 Still riding a 2014 trance actually. I have laughed at how much people spend to get speed or the next revolutionary 2 deg angle change. A few drivetrains, hubs, rims, 3 frame overhauls, and plenty of shock love later, it still rides just fine. Curiously the KOMs have held up too. I am finally 29er curious....but my wallet still isn't, and my bike ain't broke.
  • 1 0
 I think the author must have meant the 2014...

In 2013, the Trance was only available as a 26" or a 29" but the 27.5" bike that came out the next year was a solid step forward, and not far off the geometry of the 2021 Trance 27.5.
  • 5 1
 It's not the bike, its the rider. Every mountain bike I have ever owned, has had a higher capacity for riding than its pilot.
  • 2 0
 Classifying bikes has always been a sales driven thing. A way of pigeon holing consumers into whatever category they are. “I’m not an enduro rider or an XC rider, so I should get a trail bike.” But what if that person would be better off on an enduro bike? What if they would have more fun on an XC bike? I used to think I should be an enduro rider, but I recently switched to a 2021 Devinci Troy, a bike with way less travel than I’m used to. And you know what? It’s more fun and every bit as capable as I was on the enduro.
  • 1 0
 I think classification is just a way to generally divide bikes by their intended use. If someone feels pigeonholed by their bike choice, it’s not because bikes are categorized by intended use, it’s because they either aren’t fit enough to pedal a big bike or aren’t skilled enough to have fun on a smaller bike.
It’s beneficial for newbie riders to start with smaller travel because it makes a bike easier to control at slow speed, no wallowing around.
Depending on the terrain, starting on a downcountry bike or even 130ish makes the most sense to me. An xc bike will immediately hold back some people as they’re designed more for suffering than enjoyment.
  • 3 1
 Um, kinda?

I have an Olympian who rides in my area. Like, elite. He's fast everywhere, but on our super rocky trails, there's just a limit to speed on XC tires. You can't mach straight, chunky, steep trails made entirely of pointy rocks and not end up fixing a flat. And his speed on those trails reflects that. Slower than the regular locals running 160mm bikes and double down tires. By a lot.

On tamer trails, sure, a lot of us bring bazookas to knife fights. But there are also trails where things like burly tires truly matter.
  • 3 0
 I think tires by far have the biggest influence. You can hold on to something steeper and less travel by sheer determination, but grip is grip is grip, both for breaking and holding a line.
  • 6 0
 Tell me you have ADHD without telling me
  • 2 0
 Observation that's hard to shake:

1) PB's consistent message over the last 2 years until recently: "there's only one type of bike really worth talking about, and it has between 160-180mm of travel!"

2) PB's consistent message over last few weeks: "I like my enduro bike but downcountry is what is really fun."

I own an SJ Evo and a Fuse and I like both of them for different reasons, so I think I get it. But it's a little weird how all at once, the editors have been talking about how much they like their downcountry bikes all of a sudden.
  • 2 0
 I realize this article is about blurred lines and marketing. But one obvious thing to me is that most trail bikes today are spec'd with too much tire. Trail bikes do not need downhill tires. They're much more fun with XC tires.
  • 1 0
 "Trail bikes do not need downhill tires. They're much more fun with XC tires." That may be your opinion and it may be true in your circumstance, but it is not universally true. I'm a Clydesdale-sized guy and I ride a trail bike on rocky, rooty, rough, steep terrain on a short-travel trail bike. The tread/grip matters. The sidewall strength matters. Strong sidewalls allow for lower tire pressure; lower pressure increases compliance; more compliance increases grip. I determined this by wearing out a bunch of tires and experimenting with different tire characteristics/combinations. So your statement is false for me, my bike, and the terrain I ride. When I move away from here, to different type of terrain, I'll have to experiment again to find the right combination for me.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: good points you make there, though the style seems to be a bit too indirect for most of the audience. I used to say to people discussing which upgrades they needed: "Want to make your bike faster? Put Nino Schurter on the saddle". But in the end, quick fixes will always be more popular than fundamental solutions that require effort. That's not exclusive to bikes.
  • 2 0
 Stop spending hours splitting hairs and drooling over enduro bikes and just buy a short travel bike. Take it for a long ride and just ride your damn bike cuz it’s fun. The more you ride the more you’ll realize you didn’t need a long travel bike to have a good time.
  • 1 0
 To each their own. The crew I ride with break parts and frames on their heavy duty bikes on a regular basis, so an xc or DC bike would just not last long and the odds of catastrophic failure would go up significantly. To me, the 130 to 150 mm travel category is that sweet spot for a bike that pedals well but can still take some hits. Your results may vary.
  • 5 0
 I get it Henry. It’s nice to have a smack of these wilder think pieces. Keep up the good work.

And ride your damn bike
  • 2 0
 I downsized to a Santa Cruz 5010 because I felt my 160mm bike was over bike for almost every ride… we will see how it handles Whistler trails next year, but for the amount I ride actual DH trail I could just rent one and have a better bike for 99% of the trails out there
  • 2 0
 This is news? The most talented rider in my group is 9 years old and rides a clapped out hardtail with 24 inch wheels and no dropper. He shreds harder than most riders I know and he seems to get exponentially better with every ride. It's definitely not about the bike.
  • 4 2
 This is my favorite piece from PB in a while. Reminds me of the good stuff over at another four-letter mtb site that I adore. Write ups that leave you feeling good about whatever bike and gear you already have AND make you want to go ride are the ones that matter most.
  • 3 1
 Henry is my favorite MTB writer/experimenter/tinkerer/commentator. Not just his accent, but his wit and vocab. And his ability to piece together stories.

If you didn't get the article, you don't know Henry very well. (Not saying I do, but just that you have to kinda know him and his GMBN background etc to understand where he's coming from).

My takeaway: the best bike is the one you ride, because an ounce of skill and practice are worth a pound of "latest and greatest tech". (Or maybe a pound of weight savings from upgrading to the latest tech. Wink )
  • 5 1
 I think I need an XC bike? Maybe? Or an enduro bike with Ikons? Yes, that's probably what this article said.
  • 2 1
 no I think you need a downcountry bike, is what he was maybe saying? or maybe not?
  • 1 0
 Ikon doubledown could be fun
  • 1 0
 Ikon on the back is amusing
  • 6 1
 Why beat round the bush,who published this drivel?
  • 5 0
 That read like a fever dream. I got it, but damn.
  • 5 0
 I decided not to comment, but then I changed my mind.
  • 5 0
 Hey, Jack Kerouac. Why don't you slow down just a minute!
  • 4 0
 I get it. Totally110% get it. Best piece I’ve read in a LONG time. Kudos.
  • 6 1
 Probably the best article I've ever read on PB
  • 4 1
 This is an absolutely fabulous post shroom bit of written glory. Well well done. I am thoroughly entertained and connected with
  • 3 0
 ‘Everything I Know About Bikes is Wrong.’

Not really…..you still need to pedal them…..oh wait….Aaron Gwin…..*facepalm*
  • 5 1
 Hands down best article I’ve read on PB. So many articles lack any real voice and are boring. More please.
  • 4 0
 This is fantastic. I would happily read more of Henry's revelations and thoughts.
  • 1 0
 This story reminds me of a time when, coming back from a backcountry splitboard trip, we had a few km of piste to get to the uplift for home and we decided to practise carving. I was quite enjoying myself when the guide* passed me, also carving nicely.

One footing it.

Riding switch.

On a swallowtail.

(*ex of the FWT...)
  • 3 1
 WTF was the point of this incoherent diatribe? LoL A whole lot of nothing. A vain attempt to sound intelligent and appeal to the readers? HaHaHaHaHaHaHa

Some people just like the sound of their own voice I guess.
  • 1 0
 Henry talking about Down Country -

"I don’t know if I view it as a category though, but maybe a very adept description. Some 120mm bikes have a trail feel, some 120mm bikes feel more downcountry and some feel like long-legged XC bikes."

Henry - That night in the woods has really effected you! I'm now more confused by this, is downcountry a catagory? or can we just bin it off and continue with XC, Trail, Enduro...... or just ride our bikes and be happy? Please?
  • 1 0
 I know there are lots of different riders in lots of different types of riding conditions, but my friends and I are decidedly more "XC" b/c of our 20+ years of riding, but we constantly get disappointed by how little lots of riders can even pedal. I know I'd have my ass handed to me on BC trails as I don't know how to ride roots/wet/or super steep, but even though I'm no longer doing xc races, I'd guess I'd be waiting at the top or quite a ways down the trail already when the "enduro" crowd starts yelling "dropping in" from the top. (man, that drop in the pic in the article though looks intimidating!)
  • 1 0
 Yes stop listening to that stupid reviews ,when in the end it’s all small things that really don’t make you a better or faster rider ,some things are really stupid like ,very low seat tubes when the biggest droppers are only 200 mm long and that requires a longer insert on that same seat tube ,that might seams impossible,stay with your old one and you get the same height as with a longer seat tube ,so that is really weird to make a short seat tube a thing on reviews ,another is give the bb height without the sag point ,another is to make reach the most important measure for a rider ,when some riders like to ride in the front but some ride a little more far back ,other is ,I don’t know so many other stuff ,and that thing of wheel size,is another thing ,are bigger wheels safer ?yes they are ,are they all good ?no they are not ,they are fragile,less snappier,don’t follow the ground as well ,so just ride what you got until it becomes dead ,and yes enjoy ,that’s the first thing
  • 1 0
 somebody please give me the TLBig Grin R for this. I'm trying to make sense of what's going on but am struggling like others. Normally I like Henry but this is just a rambling confusing read.
  • 1 0
 Just go watch George Brannigan shred those Queenstown trails to the sounds of Motorhead. It'll be better for you and better for your riding.
  • 5 2
 The Outside influence is strong in this one.

When is the funeral for Pinkbike?
  • 3 0
 "So, we rode a trail that I would describe as pretty-bloody-keen." This sentence is meaningless to an American.
  • 1 0
 "So, we shredded the gnar on a sickass tech trail." --better now?
  • 2 0
 I'm thinking perhaps this is simply an elaborate ploy to sell a "lightly" ridden 2013 Giant Trance. I'll go check the buy and sell and get back to you.
  • 1 0
 Not so easy to follow for a non-native English speaker, but... Even with all the BC XC shredders, I still think that the latest bike geo and tech can save your ass more often than not.
  • 2 0
 "A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.". But if I'm a liar how do I know when I'm being truthful?
  • 2 0
 Have had all kinds of bikes. Hard tails, dh’rs , cross country, dj’s enduro,etc… But, dropping your Temple of the Dog channel? Not a chance!
  • 4 1
 Really enjoy listening to and reading your stuff Henry. Glad you've joined the Pinkbike stable!
  • 3 0
 I may have accidentally taken a triple helping of Acid this morning. This read like a melting wall.
  • 1 1
 Just because he’s on stage and has an audience doesn’t make him right, in fact he gets a few things wrong, but that’s really not a probably because he/we can choose to believe whatever we want.

Pretty funny that he advocates for longer cranks, Knock Block, and suspension lock outs.

Nobody wants that ^ shite!
  • 1 0
 Interesting, provocative title. Pointless content. Extremely disappointing. This article was a total waste of my time. Only served to increase fear of the inevitable descent of pinkbike Frown .

all things come to an end.
  • 1 0
 And I quote " If you knew your country's history as well as you claim to know it Mr. Bailey, you'd know that the Mayo hurlers haven't been beaten west of the Shannon for the last twenty-two years" ~ just sayin' Big Grin
  • 3 1
 I think Henry’s synapses have been reconfigured somewhat!
(In a nice way)
  • 6 5
 This is definitely a 'drunk texting' type of article. No idea what info was trying to be conveyed. New title: "Everything I know about article writing is wrong."
  • 4 1
 Henry's words make him sound like a fun guy.
  • 2 0
 As a single speed mountain biker, I get you HQ! I have found the most important part of mountain biking is fun!
  • 3 0
 I see the van life trust funders are running out of article ideas...
  • 2 0
 He’s saying if you want to learn how to ride a mountain bike properly let a hardtail teach you.
  • 3 0
 Virginia Wolf + psilocybin = literary entropy
  • 3 1
 It’s nice for some reflective rambling rather than a executive summary.
Thanks Mr Quinney
  • 2 3
 I think Henry is the best writer at PB in part because he doesn't stick to a conventionally journalist style. Henry experiments boldly with a more literary and comedic style and sometime achieves greatness in the process, but (this being a case in point) not always.
  • 2 2
 This type of writing has actually become a sort of highly sought-after norm in modern nonfiction literature and journalism. Lots of introspection, existential musings, metaphors, and literary fluff and nonsense are all ways to give a deeper meaning to a message as mundane and somewhat obvious as focus on your skills, not your equipment, and shred the s**t out of whatever bike you can.
  • 1 0
 I love the colorful verbose writing style. However, perhaps a tad too much cannabis was consumed prior to writing? The point gets lost sometimes.
  • 4 2
 Sounds like you need a new pillow.
  • 1 0
 Best comment I have read today XD
  • 4 5
 This is like a Donald Trump speech....written by Albert Einstein. I get what point you're trying to make, but there is an awful lot of artsy fluff for something that can be explained in a headline.
  • 2 0
 I like the first picture.
  • 3 1
 dam and I thought Henry was a good rider, I guess not
  • 3 1
 Was this written on the fabled night mentioned in the podcast?
  • 3 1
 When the edibles kick in….
  • 2 1
 Skill matters most………duh! What an awkwardly phrased article getting there.
  • 1 0
 Is there anything important after “down country” whatever the hell that means?
  • 2 0
 Henry has taken up micro dosing?
  • 3 1
 What happens when you write while on mushrooms.
  • 1 0
 it's the only explanation..
  • 2 0
 Ok, but seat tubes should be SHORTER!!!! Way SHORTER
  • 1 0
 I just like getting new bikes. I don't care if my skills improve as long as I have fun and SOB. LOL
  • 2 0
 When you finally let go and do your own thing...
  • 4 1
 GREAT BLOG
  • 2 0
 Just a beautifully written essay.
  • 2 0
 Never give up on Temple of the Dog, or Eddie for that matter!
  • 1 0
 The headline was a test to see if the comment section mocked the author or the Outside editors…
  • 2 0
 It’s the Indian, not the arrow.
  • 1 0
 Absolutely F***ING NO to that little tidbit you just wrote
  • 1 0
 Come on people ! You have to be English to understand. And, I'm not English so ...
  • 2 3
 Henry trying to be the Jeremy clarkson of the bike world
‍♂️
Don’t bother Henry just write in plain English
Us mere mortals can then understand and enjoy your
Article instead of thinking wtf
  • 2 1
 Henry,,, dude,, put down the bong, you’re rambling on like an incoherent stoner.
  • 1 0
 name checks out
  • 2 0
 Buy a bike, just ride the fucking thing
  • 2 0
 Quinneys quirky cryptic corner.
  • 3 2
 Title says "Story time."
PB comments: "Hey! I don't get this!"
I swear to god, you people grow more stupid by the day.
  • 3 4
 It's not a story it's a brainfart.
  • 2 0
 So true!!
  • 1 0
 Henry, you really want the Dewalt carbide blades for hair splitting. SO much better than Stanley.
  • 2 0
 Thanks Henry. 'Twas a good read for me.
  • 2 0
 Great piece of writing! Thanks Smile
  • 2 1
 Nice to have a bit of esoteric musing in the mix along with all the tech. talk. Good on ya PB.
  • 2 0
 loosen up people. nothing means anything. shut up and ride your bike!
  • 2 0
 Loved this. It was a bit of a journey but so is any good ride.
  • 2 1
 I cant read. Can someone explain?
  • 4 0
 Henry thinks he’s good and guys on XC bikes out shred him so he feels bad now
  • 1 0
 Its the "down-country", it baffles the mind.
  • 3 2
 I'm not sure what I just read....
  • 10 2
 So many words to say so little…
  • 4 1
 Wow, you actually read it all!!!
  • 8 6
 Literary modern art....
  • 3 2
 Surely you jest? This is equivalent of preschool art. At best.
  • 2 2
 @m1dg3t: that's what the critics said about Picasso
  • 3 7
flag m1dg3t (Nov 19, 2021 at 8:01) (Below Threshold)
 @taprider: LoLoLoL NO. Your lame attempt to even remotely equate this literary diarrhea to the work of Picasso is telling enough.

If this article was in print form I'd use it to wipe my arse, or line my birdcage. Either way, you should get the point.
  • 2 0
 @m1dg3t: Have you ever seen a Jackson Pollock in real life?
It takes real genius and talent to throw paint around like that and come up with something surprisingly impressive
  • 4 3
 your epiphany didn't do you any good Henry
  • 1 0
 2016 trance sx for the win. Trail bike done right.
  • 1 0
 You all should really name Henry's column "The Limey Handshake"
  • 1 0
 what's the British version of "Stay off my Lawn"
  • 1 0
 @deez-nucks: I don't know, but I'm sure it's amazing
  • 1 0
 @deez-nucks: Get the f*ck out of my garden
  • 3 1
 Hell yeah Henry
  • 1 0
 I think the last line sums up the article. I get it. I think.
  • 2 1
 Was this written during the shrooms trip?
  • 1 0
 But what if you don’t have a dollop of skills and talent?????
  • 1 0
 Then you need a trip to the ice cream shop.
  • 1 0
 Quincey still coming down from his mushroom trip
  • 1 1
 @henryquinney , the William Burroughs of Pinkbike. I mean that in a good way.
  • 1 0
 Cool. Another model they can not warranty.
  • 1 0
 2.35 Ikons are the most underrated tire out there.
  • 1 0
 Just wait until we actually have to pay to read stuff like this!
  • 1 0
 Are you actually gonna pay?

Not me, it’s hardly worth reading now, add a Paywall and I’m outta here.
  • 1 0
 Say “downcountry” one more time
  • 1 0
 #underbike is the way to improve your skils. There is no place for errors.
  • 1 0
 Gonzo bike journalism? I'm here for it. Love ya, Henry.
  • 1 0
 What trail though?
  • 2 2
 "Well, I'll try and keep it relatively succinct." fail.
  • 1 0
 Lost me @Downc*ntry
  • 1 0
 Shrooms?
  • 1 1
 Welcome to the world of psychedelic's
  • 2 3
 I think I got brain cancer from reading that.
  • 1 1
 Stay off the mushrooms
  • 1 2
 This article is worse then dune
  • 1 1
 English please
  • 1 2
 I, I, I……..
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