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The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?

Apr 8, 2020
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich

Hosted by Mike Levy and featuring a rotating cast of the Pinkbike editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

After our particularly cruel but also completely necessary April Fool's prank where I didn't post the second episode of the Grim Donut saga, we thought it was a good time to dig into the Donut's slow-moving story. The pace of the internet is such that it seems like the first episode came out a few years ago, I know, but I swear that we have some valid excuses. This Pinkbike podcast tackles that, and we also get into how the Grim Donut rides. For real this time.

Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever else you get your podcasts.

April 8th, 2020

Levy, Kaz, James & Brian figure out why the hell the Donut is taking so long, and Levy talks about how it rides.

Hit us in the comments with your suggestions: What do you want to hear us talk about? Would you be into watching a video version, or are our dulcet voices enough for you?

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 132 10
 Will not listen to it, because what you did on April 1st.
  • 63 4
 I'm over the donut.
  • 30 18
 Same here... that pissed me so f*** off...
  • 14 2
 Can you post a video of you jumping the shark with the Grim Donut?
In progress?.....oh, good. Happy Days.
  • 2 4
  • 31 3
 Every day I pray for grim donut. Then April first. Mike, if we ever meet, be prepared to get kicked in the grim donut with an spd cleat. Just sayin.
  • 14 1
 People are harsh as, it's just a video
  • 11 2
 Super done with the donut as well...
  • 6 0
 Next time we will bring torches and forks (very rigid and very sharp). Do not mess with us PB Wink
  • 6 3
  • 2 0
 agree - not falling for this.
  • 76 10
 Meh. It's been too long, I've lost all interest...I'm sure I'm not the only one.
  • 16 4
 About what?
  • 65 12
 Is it possible to get a written transcription? I have a strange attention span with audio.
  • 14 11
 This. More often its because I'm somewhere not suitable to listen to a podcast but reading can be done in segments.
  • 27 2
 Now you're at it, I have a strange attention span with video too. Still haven't got around watching the Grim Donut review they published a week ago. A transcription of that one would be lovely.
  • 10 2
 @inked-up-metalhead: you can listen in segments, as well. There is a pause button :-)
  • 15 11
 Oh, yeah, and in every language used in the northern hemisphere....as well as braile and Esparanto. Could you also print me a copy on recycled paper with a soy based ink?
  • 28 0
 Also, is there a way we can get the comments in an audio format?
  • 17 1

Basically what your saying is you’re looking at Pinkbike sat on the shitter at work?
  • 4 3
 @rudymedea: well if you put it like that, yeah haha
  • 6 0
 @TwoNGlenn: That would be beautiful. Especially when Waki starts swearing, it sounds much more friendly and entertaining if I can set that to sound like Abi.
  • 4 0
 is it possible to illustrate this podcast with a video, please? ahahaa
  • 1 1
 I'm better at reading than listening than writting than riding. Yes, poor riding.
  • 2 2
 ya not gonna listen. will read.
  • 2 6
flag RoadStain (Apr 8, 2020 at 9:06) (Below Threshold)
 @jlfskibikesail: l poke fun and all....never, not in my life has I ever listened to a pod case by choice, and never have I ever spent any time paying attention to one.
  • 24 1
 gotta admit, when scrolling down at first, i didn't think that was a microphone
  • 12 2
 Dicks aside, its a speaker judging by the way the sound waves are travelling, i expect better technical detail from PB illustrations.
  • 1 1
 I was hoping after my comment on the last podcast they might re-illustrate that thing. Nope, still a dick.
  • 3 1
 The slight concave curve of the top of the *tip* really seals the deal.
  • 1 0
 Dick Pound
  • 26 3
 bla bla bla -> Grim Donut starts at 13:00
  • 20 3
 Podcasts are so 10 years ago... We want text to read.
  • 14 0
 That cartoon Levy image haunts my dreams
  • 10 1
 He should get that tattooed on his other leg so they are both equally nightmare inducing
  • 1 10
flag TheBearDen FL (Apr 8, 2020 at 6:28) (Below Threshold)
 @Upduro: Tattoo Shaming? you must have some pretty nice tattoos then eh?
  • 3 1
 @TheBearDen: Its all a big inside joke.
  • 20 10
 I appreciate the podcast, thank you! I also appreciate the podcast being a podcast (and not a written transcript, as somebody oddly suggested). I listened to it on my way to the suspension-center.ch to pick up my freshly serviced Fox X2. Better than new, as always.
  • 13 1
 mountain bikers are such dorks
  • 9 2
 Go hang out wtih some Tri folks, they would want to know how many grams that Mic is, and what the impedance is at a given temperature and humidity.
  • 6 0
 You mean the small percentage of people who post on websites dedicated to their particular hobby tend to be Dorks, correct? Cause if thats what you were getting at. You are correct.
  • 9 0
 " mountain bikers are such dorks"
PINKBIKERS are such dorks
The majority of riders don't give a rats ass about most of the stuff that gets people worked up about around here- POE, suspension curves, 66.5 vs 66 HA........
  • 4 0
  • 3 1
 @aka-bigsteve: goddamn ebikes!
  • 11 0
 I know how the donut rides just by looking at it.
  • 3 0
 Rides like a donut and its grim?
  • 8 1
 PB staff if you're reading this I want to say nice work on the podcast, appreciate the editing that's been involved. Getting tired of podcasts where it's 2 hours of straight audio with every single mistake, burp and ummm/err left in.
  • 3 0
 We are just that articulate. Nothing whatsoever to do with @jasonlucas and his editing skills. Promise.
  • 8 1
 Love this, sick havin all you guys on at once too. Made for a good listen. Would be awesome to see if it was just our brains that didnt like the mondraker back then n if you would love it today
  • 10 0
 Enjoyed the podcasts keep it up
  • 1 0
 I'm also really enjoying the podcast, nice for them to have more time to discuss things
  • 8 2
 Am I the only one who doesn't get the comedy in the Grim Donut???? I may be one of those camelbak wearing, hardtail riding normies.
  • 18 1
 It was comedic, but now it just seems like they are trolling for clicks with it.
  • 5 1
 @man-wolf: Bring back Tippie and the dirt jumper lifestyle and I'll break my mouse clicking so hard.
  • 3 0
 @kymtb0420: Hell yes!
  • 3 0
 @kymtb0420: ha ha! Thx!
  • 2 0
 @bretttippie: No problem man.....we've just been missing your energy and content on this site lately.

I wish you had a podcast/video series with MTB and non-mtb people to talk about life... I'd love to listen to you and a famous comedian/musician/actor, or someone non-industry, have a conversation. Share experiences and break past their facades. Maybe extended interviews with the people you feel are awesome/impactful. I've listened to some of your interviews and I'm not saying you could be what Joe Rogan used to be...but you could be Wink I think it would end up being a mix between Jocko Willink and Danzig with a touch of Monty Python. You'd have an impact on a lot of listeners out there with no one else in their personal lives to relate to. (Guilt trip you a little) I mean--not all of us can help their Dad build the cabin they were born in.

I try to be an ambassador to this sport....for joeys and groms...that brings your stoke level and love/passion for this thing we call life. I also feel like I just went full on fan boy...but how often does one get a reply from the Tip. Thanks
  • 6 0
 I think the grim donut is the ultimate reverse troll by the pinkbike staff. Well played.
  • 6 0
 Keep it as a podcast. Loving being able to listen to this.
  • 1 0
 So, for the grim donut, the pedal strike problem sounds bad. That would really throw you off your game at speed. What was wrong with the design for that problem to appear? Other than the whole design being kinda wacky I mean...

You should get pinkbike to pony up some more cash and manufacture a grim donut 2 to remove the safety issues. change the head angle to 60 degrees instead of 57. I like the chopper feel myself but 57 degrees for a head tube angle is just asking for it...
  • 1 0
 Useless things to know: How much time you spend in a specific gear

Is that really an argument to buy an electric drivetrain? I'll go with the reliability of a cable all day long.

There are real arguments for an electric drivetrain, but not for me. I just love the feeling of autonomy when riding bikes.
  • 2 1
 Well, I liked the podcast, it was cute and kinda fun, waay better than those crap video interviews which always seem so akward.

What I would suggest is to have the audio accompanied by a "photorama", pics and links to all the things that are discussed.

Good job guys and long live the Grim Donut!
  • 1 0
 The thing about these tire companies making Minion copies is that they need to undercut the price in order to gain traction. I got started riding Onza tires because I can buy two tires for less than the price of one Minion. Now I have a set of wheels with Ibex and a set with Canis tires and could not be happier with performance. The fact that all four tires cost less than two Minions is icing on the cake.
  • 1 0
 Where are they $30?
  • 1 0
 @maule-man: Got them on sale. Want to say it was Worldwide Cyclery.
  • 1 0
 @maule-man: At the time the skinwall Canis were 22.50 each
  • 2 0
 HAHAHA that's funny. When levy was talking about the satan photoshop of him that was my mate! He did mess up the message slightly wrong though. It was "you are a terrible person" and levy said "agreed" cool I guess.
  • 3 0
 "...and we also get into how the Grim Donut Rides." Pictures/video or it didn't happen.
  • 10 10
 @mikekazimer: "I think if you're in a comfortable, upright position... then it doesn't climb any worse than a shorter, steeper bike... pretty much." Paraphrased, but the idea is there. This is disturbing. These slacker bikes turn and climb so much more poorly. If you're going to compare DH performance and comfort to XC and other short travel models, you have to compare climbing performance as well. OF COURSE there's the caveat that some people don't care as much about climbing. Leave that out of the review! If we're getting comparisons it shouldn't be "This bike climbs comfortably for an enduro bike." It should be "This bike, when compared to some other bikes climbs better than those, but can't come anywhere near a bike that's also built for climbing." AND "This bike ISN'T a good all-rounder, because you have to compare the steering and climbing performance to some of the best bikes for those attributes out there." Please stop saying that slack headtubes and heavy bikes that are super hard to get around uphill corners climb okay. They don't. They flop when you turn and they're hard to make go fast uphill.
  • 7 3
 >These slacker bikes turn and climb so much more poorly

Except they don't. Even in the PB reviews of Stamina bikes, the most surprising thing was how well it climbs. The philosophy of putting the weight more centered to avoid wheelies under power and having a long wheelbase that does not result in as large of pitch changes in response to bumps compared to a short wheelbase is all physics, not opinion.

The weight is there for sure, but the problem with weight is that unless you are optimizing the bike for xc racing and are already at minimum weight and good fitness, how much weight matters is to an individual. Some people find a 32 lb bike heavy, others light.

As for turning or floppiness, simply not true. Just like every long term mountain biker adapted to riding modern trail bikes after starting out on old 26" wheel, ~1150 mm wheelbase, 68 degree HA trail bikes, turning these bikes is just a matter of getting used to them.
  • 3 1
 @phops: Pretty sure PB's review of the stamina, much like other outlets', states that it's surprising how well it climbs, but that it's still unwieldy and somewhat slower/harder to climb than bikes with a shorter rear end and steeper HA. Leaving the reviews and "obvious physics" out of it, go demo, borrow, or buy a pole, nicolai, etc. and do some steep, tight climbing. It isn't all positives.

It remains a niche product, and even with some influence on the marketplace, I doubt that there'll be a complete change in overall mtb geometry like there was in the road racing world with compact racing geometry. And, that change was probably aided by getting rid of half the sizes of the bikes produced, which helped out the company as much as the customer.

Just because you can eventually get used to the flop doesn't mean that it isn't there. And, I've never met a bike that's so short that it "wheelies under power" if I'm even remotely trying to keep a normal riding position. That sure isn't from a lack of old bikes to ride or power being put down, either.

Weight really isn't a huge deal - but there's no getting around the fact that a slack HA, long ass bike isn't going to be as sprightly a climber as a dedicated XC bike. It's a tradeoff, just like anything else, and the pole is designed to sit and spin on the way up, not be out of the saddle, and be capable for the way back down. It will take more effort to get around tight corners, it will take more body english to jump, manual, wheelie, etc.
  • 4 0
 @phops: Much like @parkourfan said, you can talk as much as you want about how the physics *should* influence the ride according to someone's particular theory, but at the end of it all you've just got to compare and contrast bikes while riding. I appreciate the logical approach to thinking this through, but if we're talking about physics the slacker HA really does make the bike flop when turning and it's not a desirable characteristic. It makes the bike more unpredictable and it needs more effort to turn back straight which comes across as shite handling. Whether you care or not as always is your opinion. It seems to me like a lot of folks don't ride as many different bikes as they should. Some trends I've noticed from going to demo days and riding different bikes like Scott Ransom vs. Spark vs. Trek Top Fuel vs. Slash vs. YT Capra vs. Specialized Stumpy is that the bigger bikes (surprise) climb way worse and descend with more stability. Words like nimble vs. planted really do come to mind when comparing bigger to smaller. Weight does matter. Not a ton, but it does. Steering feel REALLY matters on climbs as does how easily you can move your weight around in relation to the bike. On the slacker bikes with (therefore) longer wheelbases, it just is harder to keep your front wheel down on steep stuff. Sure, the big bikes climb okay, but the control on the uphills and making the darn thing track exactly where you want it to go is harder and most importantly takes more effort. Like a wise man once said: "You can tell by the way that it is."
  • 2 2

"The Machine is calm and composed when faced with technical climbs, and as long as I was able to keep putting the power down there wasn't much that could stop its progress. Not surprisingly, it was on slower speed, really tight sections of trail where the Machine felt out of its element. In those instances, it took more effort to muscle it around"

From the PB machine review.

Basically, bike does absolutely fine on climbs, on super tight sections the wheelbase is an issue (obviously). Yes, it has some flop at low speed, but its still very easy to balance once you get used to it, you just have to find the balance lean angle. Personally I feel that its actually easier to turn at lower speed with a slack head angle, because the increased geometric trail keeps the front wheel from tucking. Again, people got used to flop of modern trail bikes with 66 degree head angles and 1200mm wheelbases, which is what enduro bikes used to be like.

And yes, shorter wheelbase bikes do wheelie on climbs - its physics. If you are climbing up something steep and rocky, and you pitch the bike up enough, you have to really lean forward on the bars to get the front wheel to stick, as your seat is pretty much right over the rear axle vertically. Add a low gear to that as well. Objectively, a longer wheelbase with a longer front center will take a steeper angle to get to this point. It doesn't mean that other bikes suck at climbing, but it does mean that all things being equal (i.e seated rider, e.t.c), bikes like Pole perform better on climbs. And yes, there are still steep rough climbs that are just as hard on the pole as any other bike.

I agree that it is a niche bike, but I tend to avoid those conversations because it all depends on what you want from the bike. I like discussing technical aspects. Overall if you look at a Pole Stamina, its an inch longer in the front and inch longer in the rear compared to "regular" enduro bikes. It feel different, but from a pure physics perspective, its not that much different.
  • 1 1

>but if we're talking about physics the slacker HA really does make the bike flop when turning and it's not a desirable characteristic.

If you want to get technical, flop isn't really a negative thing. Ability to control flop or its implications on front wheel traction is what matters.

Flop is a result of front drop in height as you turn the wheel from straight to 90 degrees. If you had a 90 degree head angle, you have no CG drop in height. If you have a 0 degree head angle, you have maximum drop in height. The flop manifests itself in the front wheel wanting to turn into the turn.

The thing that opposes the front wheel turning is the geometric trail (and your control of the bars). The larger the trail, the more the weathervane effect of the front wheel is pronounced. So if you have flop at low speeds due to a slack HA, as you increase speed, you get a more stable front wheel.

The second aspect to that is wheelbase. If you have a long wheelbase, you a) need more steering angle to make the same radius turn, and b) less lean angle since the bike is yawing more, so the centripetal balancing force is lower. So when the front wheel wants to flop and turn in the direction of the turn, you actually don't get an unstable platform.
  • 1 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: I have a Pole and it is by far the best climbing bike I have ever had. The long reach, 520mm, with 460mm chainstays and the steep seat angle allows me to climb super steep stuff without wheelying. It climbs so well that I have gone to a 2x setup with my lowest gear being 24/50. The long reach keeps my slack head angle, 63º, from wandering. Like @phops said you just have to get used to it.
  • 2 0
 @SintraFreeride: I think you said it all with 24/50. Much love.
  • 2 0
 @phops: I agree here: flop is of course not a negative thing inherently as all bikes will have flop to some degree (pun intended). Too much flop is bad though. I certainly get where you're coming from, and if I were an enduro rider primarily, I would probably consider more enduro-y bikes. As you mentioned, it comes down to rider preference as do most bike-related things. I appreciate you bringing the actual technical discussion to the table.

Generally though, climbing performance shouldn't be categorized by how little a bike wheelies in the seated position on smooth trail.
  • 1 2

>Generally though, climbing performance shouldn't be categorized by how little a bike wheelies in the seated position on smooth trail

I mean there is nothing really else. Modern suspension can be locked out for efficiency or kept open for traction and beyond that, its all about fitness.
  • 1 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: I have gone to a 24T granny ring to climb even steeper stuff, stuff only ebikes climb. I live in the Alps just how unfit do you think I am!
  • 2 0
 @phops: On most technical climbs (where climbing performance should be judged) you are standing over your bike. Longer wheelbase is bad for tighter corners, and flop is bad for stability and precision over rough sections. Climbing performance should be judged at slow speeds. It's not so much about suspension performance alone anymore. It used to be more that way since all bikes that went uphill had steep HTAs and the suspension and pedal bob were the hard things to combat while maintaining traction in full sus. Now, weight, wheelbase, and HTA are more so what define climbing performance. Plus that slackerdoodled front end actually puts you in a spot farther back on the bike and makes the front wheel that much harder to track. There's a reason XC bikes go uphill faster and can handle more uphill tech. Bombing into a short uphill rocky bit at mach dick doesn't count as uphill tech.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: You are crazy, my friend. You will now be known as wall-rider.
  • 2 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: The slackerdoodled (love it) front end is obviously why steep STA are needed to get your weight back on the front end. This is also due to the amount of sag you're going to get on the rear end when climbing something steep - and no, I don't want to lock out the rear for ever snappy climb to keep the front end down. If you spend the majority of your time climbing (as one does on any given loop) on real trails, not fireroads, there is a limit as to how long/low/slack you can actually compensate for and still have a bike you can manuever.

I'd point to how XC racers certainly have the option to "size up" to get reach on their bikes, but quite often used layback posts to keep grip over the rear wheel, as they don't have to worry about the front wheel flopping/wandering/picking it's own line up a climb. Also, to the general body positioning on a road bike in terms of STA, which is static (obviously), or an XC bike, which changes very little from the low travel.

I'd also point out, you're arguing with an idiot who states that "how a bike wheelies" is the be all, end all of how to categorize climbing performance and implying that fitness+a locked out bike with DH angles is going to win in climbing performance. I'm fairly certain the only true generalization he's made is that a slacker bike is going to be more stable at speed. For someone who "likes to discuss technical aspects", refusing to admit that there's *some* kind of tradeoff for any geometry change is straight up wild.

I'd also state that if you're "steering" a long wheelbase bike with the handlebars and representing your argument with "centripetal force" you've also already lost. Flop is also manifested in the front wheel wanting to fold under, not track the turn. Additionally, if you've ever ridden a long, slack, bike at speed, I'd hope you're not trying to steer with the bars and rely on "less lean angle". And finally, I'll reiterate - buy, rent, or demo something akin to a pole, nicolai, etc. to try out the drawbacks for yourself, and stop armchair engineering garbage.

And a 24t ring says just about how unfit anyone is, regardless of how steep the terrain is. Give me VAM/power&grade, or that 24t speaks for itself. Thinking you're a hardcore climber for nannying a 24t freeride bike up a fireroad is...self-evident.
  • 1 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: I fully accept that name and shall use it with pride!
  • 2 1
 @parkourfan: I will happily measure the gradient or video the terrain where a 24T granny ring is necessary as soon as this Covid-19 passes. Or if you are ever over here on holiday I will happily guide you and include those crazy climbs.
  • 2 0
 @parkourfan: I'm pretty happy with the back-and-forth that's been had in this comment stream honestly. People bringing ideas to the table with a bit of pizzazz. I like the point you've brought to the table with tradeoffs. That's what it's all about after all. Good, clear points and well organized too. Thanks, and great to see people are still appreciating parkour!
  • 3 1
 Angleset + longer fork to bring the BB up, while keeping the head angle from getting even more ridiculous?
  • 1 1
 Kazimer said he would bet a lot of people couldn't tell what offset their fork is. I disagree, because you can tell you have a short offset fork when the steering feels like absolute shit.
  • 4 2
 That illustration...DICK POUND is EVERYWHERE.
  • 3 1
 Oh, at first I thought it was a microphone. Others fell for that trap too (other than Mike)?
  • 2 1
 Don't blame it on Corona, you had plenty of time to film before this came to town...
  • 1 2
 I cant take this seriously with a name like the grim donut. Make another bike, dont name it something that 14 year old laugh over for a year and really make something out of it.
  • 1 0
 Please show mw the Donut. Movement better than just voices.
  • 1 0
 “Maybe we can get a trust for cheap now”.......too soon, hahaha
  • 1 0
 Haha, that’s what I was thinking -37mm offset.
  • 3 2
 Pound donuts,Dick
  • 2 1
 Video for me .
  • 1 0
 What donut?
  • 1 0
 The bear suit!
  • 6 9
 I guess we can expect to see alot of pointless mountain bike articles this year with no races going on and barely any new product coming out this year.
  • 6 1
 Barely any new products? did you miss the laundry list of shit that PB just talked about getting rolled out over the next little bit with their Pond Beaver stuff?
  • 4 0
 Well... It's their way of passing time and getting paid... So yeah.
  • 3 0
 Well, I guess we can come out with something community based. something like, whats the best trail in your area, where to stay, what to eat. That would keep people hyped and will travel around once this covid thingy is over. Or, some weird bike builds, give a theme, like: the most 'pink' bike. Most blings bike. the most amount of carbon used in a bike and blah blah blah.. I guess that will keep the views coming in.
  • 1 1
 @TheBearDen: Yeah, what? There has been quite a few in the last 2 days even.
  • 4 0
 I for one appreciate that PB is putting out new content. After looking at insert new site of preference here> something non-COVID-19 related is much appreciated. Seems to me that they are doing the best they can under the current circumstances.
  • 1 2
  • 1 1
 Vid or it didn't happen.
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