The World Cup is home to the fastest, most skilled riders on the planet, but it's also where you'll find unreleased prototype bikes, a lot of broken components, and maybe even a little subterfuge. Episode 103 sees former World Cup mechanic and Pinkbike tech editor Henry Quinney sit down with me to chat about some of the wild shit he's seen during his time turning wrenches at the sport's highest level.
Henry explains why things aren't always as they seem, how he ran out of rims at one particularly rowdy race, the time he saw someone gluing fake fork dials on, and plenty of other behind-the-scenes stories.
THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 103 - SECRETS FROM THE WORLD CUP PITS Feb 4th, 2022
Blacked out tires, glued on fake fork dials, and the fastest racers in the world
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.
We enjoy working like dogs to make this stuff, none of which is behind a so-called paywall and none of it will be going behind a paywall; not the Field Tests (which are growing for next year), not the reviews, not the podcasts, not the Grim Donut. Everything you saw on the homepage before will still be free to look at, and not only that, we're making more content than ever before and have more staff to create it than ever before.
But here we are, in the comment section for a free podcast that comes after yesterday's free podcast and before tomorrow's free podcast, and you people are f*cking bitching and whining about NOTHING. If you're not into it, JUST DON'T CLICK ON THE BETA STORY. It's that easy. It's okay to be upset about change, BUT NOTHING HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM YOU. The reality is that we've added more content for you.
Nothing has been taken away from you, but your assumptions, accusations, and complaining takes something away from the people who listen, watch, and read what we create and enjoy the interaction that comes from it.
Aaaand… the rest is pretty much utter tasteless BS. Bikeradar reviews oh this bicycle has a handlebar and if you twist it turns. GCN… Jesus fricking Christ. You watch this and wonder if you still remember how it feels to please a woman. Dorky helmets and shoe covers.
So these people care, they are just… fkng snowflakes. Pathetic snowflakes… they will moan on free stuff. Keep doing what you are doing, even though you should push a harder gear on slippery climbs.
My whole point was 1) this is Henry's moment so 2) people please stop it with the 52 comments about BS paywall / ad comments and 3) wanna talk paywall - how about $5000 to $10000 bikes? Thats enough to make yr repro organs shrivel right back up the spine.
People - go the effing forum for all your Bigfoot / Ancient Alien / Bermuda Triangle paywall & Beta ad gripes instead of poo-flinging the comment section on every homepage article - especially one about Henry.
Anyway - THANK EFFIN GOD for Henry here - the man's brain didn't fry up w/ this fungal experience, he's sharp, obviously a better mechanic that 99% of us, and still has more sayings & phrases than anyone and while he's not the 2nd favorite Mike, he's our 1st favorite Henry.
Ignore the idiots, they must enjoy the content as they’re still here. I guess maybe they’re just afraid of something they value so much, maybe misguided passion?
This is probably the best MTB publication let’s be real
the same as last time, everyone whinging and moaning.
From myself,thank you I appreciate all the podcasts , some of the best MTB podcast out there, but that’s just my opinion.
I enjoy all of them and look forward to them each week.
The podcast is great! Has anyone ever tried listening to some of the climbing podcasts, sooo many ads for hilarious wellness guff.
Also it amuses me that people from FREEDOM land are bitching. Don't you guys have ads on TV every 60s or something? Aren't your sports designed around ads? I'm surprised the DH tracks in the US don't have a mandatory pitstop where the riders have to pull in and take a sip of their sponsored drink or whatever...
Like others have said, if you are morally opposed to paying people for their work, just ignore it and stop whining about the fact that now you are aware of other content that exists. It’s so f*king annoying.
Keep up the good work Levy.
Im not ever gonna subscribe to Outside or Beta unless I get tires, weekly massages, and a signed 1st Favorite Mike t-shirt and poster….but PB content is easily worth paying for as-is w/o Outside / Beta - but PB hasn't needed to do that bc of the ad revenue they get (I assume). The podcast alone is the best thing of my week, hands down (and there are f*cking 3 this week!)
Anyway - thanks to PB, The Mikes, Sarah, Henry & Brian for the awesome casts and everyone else for the radness that is PB - its the Lochness Monster / Bigfoot conspiracy nuts that are what sucks on PB… theyre like never being able to get rid of tapeworms
We should have far more empathy for people creating content than folks who come to the party for free. They got free snacks, free 3 meal dinner, as much beer and wine they want and boy, they loose their sht because someone asked them to pay if they want single malt. Actually we should show appreciation like many sensible people here do.
It's Mike & Mike, Henry, Sarah (and so on) house and a sensible host not only has right to express their opinion to moronic guest - he/she should express it for the wellbeing of those who behave. Don't like it? There's the door and don't come back, there's plenty of other parties they can ruin with their eminence
We have all been staring at ads for years. As I look now there is almost 20 ads on the homepage and an entire section dedicated to listing out the advertisers that Im guessing is 20% of the entire page width and a full page long. And now 1 web banner is causing people to have a seizure?
Just go to CNN, FOX, in fact any news site and tell me the ads bother you to the point you cannot read the news.
You say you love contributions from @mikelevy , @mikekazimer and the whole PB team, but how do think these people they get paid, where does it all come from? [Insert Santa Cruz and Specialized conspiracy theory here]. Without advertising they eventually dont get paid and without more advertising you are are unlikely to get more content.
So go get your bubba and settle down people, there is nothing to see here except your own anxiety and internal anger. Settle back in your chair, use that scroll button and be the happy.
If they follow what seems to be the plan, which is to make in depth and exclusive, enriched, paid content on Beta and free content here, it is only logical that to do so and make it work they'll have to reduce or adjust the level of content that is PB Original so it doesn't compete with Beta paid content (theoretically they could just smash Beta content out of the park to drive subscriptions, but imo it woul dbe hard to top some of the PB Original content). I can only hope that the awesome staff at PB would walk away if Outside begins to throttle their content... many of us would follow.
I'm interested how it is on the XC side. Do the teams do nerdy rolling resistance tests? How many wheels get toast during a season? Would also love some thoughts directly from the teams on the extreme positions and why / why not to run a dropper for certain courses.
It sounded like it abruptly ended though, is there a part two in the works?
You and your colleagues work hard and do a damn good job. I can't help but feel that a lot of people getting their knickers in a twist here just don't understand the pervasiveness of the modern corporate world. It's in every sector, it's everywhere and short of a Marxist uprising (workers unite!) it's not going anywhere. You're doing a great job of navigating the BS and working with the system just enough to adapt and keep PB going. Props to you all, haters gonna hate.
The main worry I have is that no-one seems to have noticed that a certain Mike Levy isn't in China curling for Canada, that is surely the greatest outrage of our time?!!
What a dishonor to Henry - "hey, lets dump all over the comments here because Beta wants us to subscribe...and I saw the world "Outside" on the banner....waaaaaaaah"! This is what matters in here? Henry already doesn't give 3 shits about you so flinging poo at Beta & Outside in the comments doesn't make him or Levy care any more. It only makes it stink more than the ads & paywalls you despise. I also give 3 shits about Outside or Beta: but have some respect - the podcast comment section here is not the place to whine like a mall teenager for 50 posts - ITS ABOUT HENRY.
Talk about complete and total disrespect for Henry and Mike - and total lack of perspective...ask them to listen to Henry rant for a hour and they'll write a f*cking dissertation on Why Pinkbike Has Sold Out to The Devil. Get a grip on reality - if you don't like the podcast then goto the Forum or just leave.
I hear you on the issues but it also seems pure silliness compared to 1) how much we pay for bikes & gear 2) made by companies owned by companies owned by other companies that 3) have ads everywhere on this (and every) bike wesite via direct ads & articles or riders using those products - its 1st World Problems.
Outside+ & Beta mean nothing to me - this is about perspective. If I could snap & send 'em packing I'd do it - otherwise I just ignore their content - will never subscribe and if it all gets paywalled then so be it, I leave. To say that PB makes crap however, is nonsense - they still produce easily the best podcasts of them all - which this is about (Henry) . More so - if you don't like Beta, why would you even want to read the Beta article? Just ignore it and move on. Easy.
I also wrote that mostly to educate people who don't know. I'm well award that a lot of commenters agree
But here's a paywall for ya: just the cost of buying a good bike, not even counting a good bike rack, tools, gear and doing all yr own work. By that I mean this is a 99.9% white privileged white-people sport & pastime that most people can't afford even at entry level prices. When I tell non-riders (and noobs) my bike cost $5000 they are stunned - when I say that's just a mid-level bike they look at me like I'm captain of the Doctor Ferrari Yacht Club at the Hamptons. My point is - our entire sport is a paywall, so I'm not surprised to see paywalls for ads about whiteys riding $100,000 worth of bikes in a single video or ads anywhere for anything at any time these days (uh, ever watch Youtube)? I've been the king of ignoring ads for decades and that's what I'll do here.
Anyway, I wanna talk about Henry...
for teenagers - cant believe it even exists on PB
We have a choice to consume the media we want, so I will change my opinions and assumptions about Pinkbike caring what the users think anymore, and I hope others do too. If I wanted to read Beta I'd go and read Beta. What the f*ck pinkbike.
Edit: It you're talking about the Beta articles, they're just embedded ads and a single point and click with ad block removes them forever.
@CarbonShmarbon - Where is the paywall? And what's behind it? Absolutely nothing that PB has made, that's for sure. The Beta stories? When I'm on the internet and see something I don't want to read, I usually just don't click on it. Crazy strategy but it works, I swear.
This site is one of the main reasons I love MTB as much as I do. For four years I was unable to do any real MTB due to my geographical location, and this site was my only connection to the community. I really love the community this site has, and I hope it stays that way. I won't take back my 1300 word comment, but I hope with all of my heart that it will be proven wrong.
My opinions and fears are just some of many, and I hope that in the future this site will remain, the free, goofy, and fun entity it is for years to come.
Also my apologies @sarahmoore for posting that comment on like 6 articles. That was stupid of me and honestly, if I were you I would have just banned me.
I recognize that I am very young (17) so all of y'all with more life experience feel free to correct me whenever. I welcome criticism.
I'm sorry if my words today made any of you want to quit, because Pinkbike truly brings some much needed joy to my life
It. It’s alreadly bad enough the ceo is a roadie @mikelevy:
Gnarly yet ruthless. Clever girl...
Shire still half concrete and carpet?
On the imaginary elephant in the room, I get why people are scared about their favorite website being turned into a money machine, and I get why they’re trying to call out the process as early as possible to keep from being the frog that got boiled. I share those fears.
But holy f*ck guys. It’s bad enough that every time we get the CT digest ignorant f*cktards bitch about outside “forcing” them to think about road biking. As if no mountain biker could possibly get some value out of seeing another side of the cycling community. Apparently the fact these were happening for months before outside took over is just an irrelevant detail that can be safely ignored. Don’t let facts interfere with the narrative right?
But now you’re flooding an incredibly insightful and original piece of content that’s given to you for free with freaking the f*ck out over a few f*cking adds embedded in the feed. Totally ignoring that the content itself is the opposite of what you would expect if a corporate monolith was steamrolling the site in their image. Go find a product release posting and blast your BS there. But if you actually care about keeping Pinkbike rad then recognize and encourage rad content.
Really enjoyed hearing about your take on suspension for racers. Thought you had some fascinating insight. Would love to hear more about world cup setups from your perspective.
It would be nice to have some more insight into product reliability and warranty stuff…
I bought a fox factory 36 and the CSU is creaking & cracking a couple months into my second season. This is a very common problem for fox & If you search the internet it is very apparent that they have an issue. Fox only offer a one year warranty on their forks. Is that one year warranty really fair for someone that lives & rides in a climate that only allows them to be on the bike 6-7 months a year?
Thanks for making the podcast & putting it out there for all of us
It's also the first time that I listened to this podcast.
I listened to it several times but cannot figure it out. Thanks in advance.
One rim per run?!?! WTF lol!
The Pinkbike as I first got to know it, was a goofy mountain bike news and review source with a mostly unmoderated comments section and an unhealthy addiction to “bro-science”. I loved it, and I have read articles nearly every day since I discovered the site. That all changed one fateful day in November 2021, when Radek Burkat announced that he had sold Pinkbike to Outside, after running the site mostly by himself for 23 years. Now, to most people that would be no big deal, but to us, the loyal readers and commenters of Pinkbike, this was the beginning of the end. The Pinkbike community immediately started to immigrate to other rival websites such as Vital MTB, and NSMB. I and other Pinkbike community members immediately realized this was not an isolated incident. In early 2021, Bike MAG went under, and the rights and former employees were bought out by Outside Inc. Again, in early 2021 Outside Inc. bought Backpacker magazine, also in early 2021, Outside Inc. acquired Gaia GPS, and Big Stone Publishing (Publisher of Rock and Ice, Trail Runner, Ascent, Gym Climber, and other popular publications) in late 2020. As many have pointed out, It feels less like Outside Inc. is trying to expand it’s audience, and more like it is trying to gain a monopoly over North American outdoor publications, especially since they are buying up not just one mountain bike-related website, but several.
This is a problem for several reasons. Most notably, they have put most of these publications behind some sort of paywall, contradicting their so-called “mission” to expand the outdoor community to those less privileged. They hold an overwhelming amount of sway within the outdoor media ranks, allowing them to push their agenda out to the multitudes with little to no competition; they hold the power of the majority, which is bad. Outdside Inc. is also known for drawing attention to little-known and local secret spots, increasing the amount of traffic these fragile ecosystems must endure. In many cases, the quality of the content put out by these websites and magazines owned by Outside Inc. drops dramatically and often skews more toward ads and consumerism, than the tips, tricks, stories, and reviews the publications were originally known for.
When Outside Inc. forces a previously free website to put up a paywall under the guise of making more “quality content”, and promising that most content will remain free, but reduces the quality of that content to shameless ads, clickbait, and links to other websites that just happen to be behind paywalls, it at least makes everyone feel a little unwelcome, and at worst blocks people’s access to getting outside by withholding those unwilling or unable to pay’s access to the very thing that might inspire them to get outside. Getting outside is expensive enough with gear purchases and travel, so making paywalls on an online place has to be the worst type of gatekeeping in an otherwise open to beginners industry (one could even argue that the outdoor industry is driven by excited beginners). So, if the whole point of buying up outdoor publications is to get more people outside, then putting everything behind a paywall is definitely not the way to go about it. At this point, it appears that Outside Inc. is only in this to make money, not to inspire people, or even to provide quality content, and one might point out that Pinkbike thrived as an entirely free website for 20+ years, so no one can say that it can’t be done.
Monopolies on entire industries are banned throughout most of the world for many good reasons. But even owning a large number of publications or companies in a given industry should prompt further investigations into the buyer’s intentions. Especially in an industry as important to the future of our planet as the outdoor industry. The best way to get people to care about something is to show them it’s value, so getting people to experience nature outside of going for a walk in the park is integral to our future. I am not sure of Outside Inc.’s intentions but I do think that they have a dangerous ability to control the opinions of many consumers through the types of content the publications under them produce. If the free copy of Outside magazine (Outside Inc.’s flagship publication) I received with my latest Backpacker magazine is anything to go by, the content they produce leans heavily in favor of loosely concealed advertisements and not concealed at all advertisements for expensive trips. Worse yet, the new version of “tips and tricks”, at least as far as Outside Inc. is concerned is revealing local secret spots.
Take Hanging Lake, a beautiful, blue, and very fragile ecologically unique lake at the top of a short but steep one-mile hike just off of I-70 in Colorado. It was relatively unknown until the advent of geotagging on Instagram (a feature which allows users to add the location where a picture was taken to their post). Hanging Lake rapidly exploded, and visitation increased exponentially. People began to disobey the no swimming signs, and the fragile lake was put in peril. Officials were forced to implement a permit and shuttle system to protect the lake before it was ruined. That is one instance I know of, but there are others, and most of them aren’t being caused by Instagram. They are being caused mostly (but not exclusively) by publications owned by Outdside Inc., and most of these hidden gems do not have the same amount of protection available as Hanging Lake did. The added traffic at these previously rarely walked trails will eventually cause irreparable damage to the environment around them, especially if the infrastructure around them cannot be maintained enough to accommodate the increased traffic.
Perhaps the most trivial of these reasons is the quality of the content produced, but that does not make it irrelevant. The quality content I and many others are used to on Pinkbike, and other publications are quickly becoming a thing of the past. For instance, Pinkbike generally does a goofy year-in-review, in which they reveal the best comments, most read articles, best new products, and most interesting racing team moves. That did not happen this year, and was instead replaced with a couple of measly articles about 2021 as a whole. This is not an isolated incident, my Backpacker magazines are becoming ever shorter, yet are filled with more ads than ever (and I pay for that one). Instead the vast majority of the quality content we are used to has and likely will continue to dwindle in favor of shameless ads and vacation giveaways, and I just have to point out that Outside Inc. is listed as a retail company, not a media outlet, and is owned by a ghost (all you can find out about the dude is his name).
I will miss having goofy and weird outdoor publications to read, but most of all I will miss the small website feel of Pinkbike. It used to feel like a tight-knit community, I mean everyone knew who the wackjobs were in the comments, and they got tagged and downvoted all the time. Now, where will we go to get our fill of bad puns, and out-of-place comments? I for one am in favor of a new MTB website called Purplebike, but for now, I’ll eventually stop reading Pinkbike altogether, and spend ever more time on NSMB. I hope this has shed some light on Outside Inc. and the impact it has, and maybe it will even cause you to cancel your Outside+ subscription
Be safe be well,
The first half is about MSRP but if you skip to the second half it discuss about why detailled written reviews are not paying the bills anymore.
Be safe be well,
Check back in when you're 50 and have seen some actual bad life stuff and broadened your perspective. If you think PB changing (or changing in your made up world so far) is a big deal, you're in for a shit-ton of surprises.
PS. I know not of the scourge of the Beta articles...because I simply didn't open them.
Was totally supporting PB and Henry and calling out people on posting superfluous crap about PB advertising structure that has zero to do w/ the Henry podcast or this page: and that is now gone.
If its gonna be like that I def will be dumping all things PB. Its one thing to attack people here or dump on PB - another altogether to just remove comments. That's what China does & that's completely lame. You're losing me on that PB, not the stupid "paywall" and ad thing. If ya can't be flip and irreverent or explicate then this is Sunday school crap. Now I AM starting to think PB has gone Orwellian...wow.