Last week's show looked at Trek's experiments with both 32" and 36" diameter hoops
, a topic that was always going to rustle people's knee pads but also one that, given they're one of the largest bike companies in the world, can't be ignored. That said, how about we don't talk about wheel sizes, and especially new, weird wheel sizes, for a little while? Something else that can't be ignored is the host of all-new cross-country and short-travel shredders debuting for 2020, many spurred on by this being an Olympic year.
Or, it was
an Olympic year, anyway. While Corona has postponed one of the sport's most prestigious events, British Columbia's restrictions have been relaxed enough for us to get a bunch of those new bikes sent to us for review. For the first two weeks in June, we'll be doing exactly that for our cross-country Field Test series. It includes eight of the latest and maybe-greatest full-suspension machines, four being race-focused and four being fun-focused but also race-able. All the bikes will see timed laps, (unlocked suspension) efficiency testing using power meters, and even some kind of torsional rigidity evaluation. We're still figuring that one out. You'll also get to see the Impossible Climb, of course, and don't think that cross-country bikes are going to get a free pass in the Huck to Flat video; I already feel bad for Jason Lucas' ankles.
While half of the bikes are still under pesky embargoes that keep us from talking about them, I can reveal that the Field Test fleet includes Cannondale's new Scalpel in both race and fun flavors, Trek's clever Supercaliber, and Canyon's ultra-successful Lux. You'll have to wait to see the other four. Plus, for additional perspective on the efficiency testing and round-table discussions we'll throw in a race-y hardtail and the 180mm-travel Specialized Enduro. Neither are official test bikes, but they'll let us answer a few questions. How much more efficient is a hardtail actually? Does that make it the faster machine over an entire lap? Modern long-travel bikes like the Enduro have become incredible climbers, but just how big is the difference between bikes with drastically different intentions?
Let's hear those predictions.
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THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 9 - CROSS-COUNTRY FIELD TEST!
May 27th, 2020
We'll have the race bikes, but we'll also have the race bikes that are fun.
Hosted by Mike Levy and featuring a rotating cast of the 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.Previous Pinkbike PodcastsEpisode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?Episode 3 - Pond Beaver TechEpisode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?Episode 7 - Wild Project BikesEpisode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
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?
Also know as the Ricky Federau Challenge
Such as use your daily ride between test bikes to give some idea of how much variability there is.
There is probably a huge +/- for all the times
Answer: Because some people don't live in BC or the PNW.
j/k Sorry for your loss.
We don't need no stinking shuttles, lifts of EEE-bikes. We can ride to the ride and avoid busy trail heads.
and if you want to include observed trials scoring, I didn't have many "fives" (including ups)
Enduro would clean nearly 100% of the down (some trail erosion is why I don't say all), but would clean less up and wouldn't get as much total vertical.
Plus an Enduro would be overbiked for 99%
A different route with more easier climbs to do some doubleblacks down rather than up would result in 100% riding and no pushing, but that would be 700 m more vertical.
I don’t really need a different bike, I just need more balls
Not long ago,you would get a XC race bike and the first thing you would do was swapping bar/stem/tires/fork and make it a trail (now downcountry) bike.
Thank you for testing the bikes stock,flimsy tires,long stem and all.
Sure, it climbs well for what it is... but it’s still a 32lb+ tank bike with tractor tires and a 50”+ wheelbase.
It's not much, but it's an extra 100 grams going up, and downhill speeds exceed 25 mph, and at that point aero actually matters.
Those two things combined aren't going to account for much more than 5 seconds in a 90 minute WC race, but races are won by less pretty often.
How proud are you?
Baggies are about style and vanity....but I still wear them when I'm hitting the brewery after the ride. Like I said. Vanity.
But seriously, what's with all the jerseys with no or unuseable pockets?
Whatever floats your boat man; I have castelli lycra everything..but, in the second I'm off my road bike or not racing a local amateur cross-country/marathon event, I don't wear them anymore. On my gravel, I use baggies and sometimes a lycra jersey..but on my mtbs, never(with the exception previosly mentioned..which does not really apply anymore as I have put the (amateur) xc races behind me and even sold my sub 10 kgs xc bike); it is a matter of respect and comfort not to ride like I'm ready to participate to a bdsm-latex-orgy. So, instead of my castellis, I use my trusted sombrio, endura, TLD and vaude. Any decent human should do the same.
I’ll take one for the team ;-)
I think they will wear lycra no matter what. My gf has baggies as well but she does not want to wear anything else. 99% of women are in lycra. I think they feel sexy wearing tight bycle clothing, especially since the models in the last years look really nice.
Levy/Kaz would need every bit of the ebike to keep up and still be in tatters after race distance of a modern WC course.
That being said, I'd love to see it!
You say 'even if it has more travel' like bikes with more travel don't already expend more energy
Most places have a limited budget and space for trail building and maintenance. If bikes keep becoming more and more capable, stuff that used to be pretty interesting is suddenly less so. How do we avoid "wasting" resources on something that might not be relevant in a few years?
E-bikes kinda killed STRAVA for me. But the companies recent move to put its "segments, leader board" behind a pay wall. Really is the last nail in the coffin, as casual users will be exiting big time.
I see the rationale in choosing a wheel size relative to body size, but it seems to me body size is only part of the equation. The other factor is the trail. Particularly on trails with lots of jumps and berms, those features are built to specific "specs" and while wheel and bike size increase, the tightness or shortness of berms and lips decreases relative to the bike. An extreme example would be a large rider on a 26" DJ bike. A bigger bike would make sense relative to rider size, but not to the terrain. So they ride the 26". Seems like the nature of the trail and the way you want it to feel when you ride should be paramount, maybe even more important to choosing bike and wheels size than what's fastest or "fits" best. (If you argue that bike and wheel size increases are small enough that it's not a significant factor on most trails then the whole "bigger is better" sales pitch becomes a sham.) In my experience, bike and wheel size is best discussed in terms of characteristics and trade-offs, not in terms of better/worse or right/wrong. Lastly, are we seeing trail building evolve in the wake of bigger, longer bikes?
Disclaimer, this is not a veiled "26 for life" argument. I'm on an 2021 XL Sentinel and I love it. But dang it does feel really big and long sometimes.
One interesting example of wheel size differences is watching 26" vs 20" wheels on concrete pumptracks, a fairly apples-to-apples comparison. The bigger wheels seem to hold their speed a lot better in the corners, while the 20s allow riders to push harder on the straights. (*not scientific, just what I have observed and what pumptrack racers have told me)
20” has much better angle of attack, so you can get more out of backside.
Cant girl pump rhythm on a 26 like you can on a 20.
Same reason theres less pop on bigger wheels. They flatten the angle changes (the derivative of the curve??) have to ask an engineer. But in a nutshell.
Its ok if you ignore my questions for the next weeks, but one day I think it would be an interesting discussion whose bike-skills you would like to have, if you could choose? (Similar to the one-bike-for-the-rest-of-the-life question) I am thinking of Semunik, MacAskill, or Gwin? I hope I didn´t miss the discussion if you had it earlier.
In the podcast there was mention of 'Win on Sunday equals sales on Monday'. Unfortunately - supply chain for bikes never seems to work like that. New Scott gets announced in June, orders open up in late July/August, product arrives in January when I have 2 feet of snow.... Strange but true.
What should be looked are the models that are around 3-4 years old(like the ones from Scott and Spez) and race the XCO world cup; that means, Bianchi, Merida, BH, Focus, Ghost...BMC I think no because they changed the bike last year.., Bulls, Kross, maybe KTM..., who else?
Yeah..found it. Looks really nice in that candy red frame with matching red SID and with the new rovals released yesterday.
I live in flat XC country and have to drive to ride big descent.
Pinkbike comments crowd often whine at capable testers 'cause "It's more an opinion than journalism" or "you haven't stressed that poor thing to death, so how can you dare to call it a long term review?"
How can you expect them to react to something that may go like: "yeah midway up my legs refused to turn anymore so I had to walk the bike and BTW even before i was so cooked i don't remember exactly how the bike's feel on the ascents"?
Another idea is to mount a GoPro and have it face the shock, and place some kind of sticker on the shock body and one the stanchion and you should be able to see the distance between the two stickers change as the suspension moves. Besides these videos will make great antisquat videos to accompany huck to flat videos.
Test Procedures would be to find an asphalt road with a slight grade and make runs in the seated position and out of the saddle position. BONUS: after making a run up the slight grade, turn around and coast to a reasonable speed and try make a full stop, and voila now you have brake-dive / anti-rise data
Just my 2 cents to take rider performance variance out of the pedaling efficiency equation.
But we'll probably get into a DH Field Test at some point in the future
Why do gravel bikes suck? There is one bike (Otso) that I can put 29" MTB tires on without having to have a 2nd wheelset. Optimize the geometry for the big tires, and it will still handle well in less demanding applications on narrow tires...
The same wheels, tires, groupset, and brakes on both bikes.
2 test loops, one that resembles more on XC courses 6-7 years ago and one that resembles on Tokio XC course.
Different bike setups:
1. Old revolver with a dropper
2. New revolver (100 mm) with a dropper
3. Old revolver without a dropper (rigid seatpost)
4. New revolver (120 mm) with a dropper
5. Old revolver without a dropper weighted to match the weight of the new revolver (100 mm) with a dropper
6. Old revolver without a dropper weighted to match the weight of the new revolver (120 mm) with a dropper
7. New revolver (100 mm) without a dropper
Obviously, powermeter and heart rate monitor would be a mast in this kind of test.
An additional layer of complexity would be two test riders:
1. One with old school XC background
2. One more orientated towards DH disciplines (DH, Enduro, etc) but still fit enough so she/he can pedal.
I totally understand the challenges of this kind of test, but I think it would shed some much-needed light on old school vs new school XC bike debate.
As an added bonus I have tonnes of free time now in June and can be "the beginner/intermediate-ish rider perspective person" so other newbies can relate to the tests.
They only put out 250W. Even an average MTBer hits peaks at more than that. It’s the peaks you can’t keep up with. Above 250W e-bikes become a 20+kg unpowered bike.
I did a long demo ride on a Gen 1 Levo a couple years back. Mate and I trying to race each other. Avg 160 HR. When you really push them you hit the stops pretty quick.
As a side note a podcast on gearboxes would be good. Their development to date and where they could theoretically go and what suggestions you would make to companies looking to make a gearbox / how frame manufacturers deal with them. The alternative is something like nsmb.com/articles/dr-strange-hub-or-how-i-learned-love-gearbox
I typically lose focus and/or don't have time to listen to an hour long podcast...
So how about limiting length to thirty minutes and maybe break out the segments into narrower topics?