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The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 109 - Berm Peak's Seth Alvo on Making Videos 24/7, Soul Rides, and Building a Bike Park

Mar 15, 2022
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

These days, World Cup races can be watched live, bike reviews pop up the day after the First Look article, and there's a seemingly endless supply of "shredits" that offer varying amounts of inspiration. Mountain biking, like pretty much everything else, has changed a lot thanks to the internet. Another relatively new development: the rise of the (more) relatable everyman. While a lot of us will always look up to racers and freeriders, the last five years have seen the popularity of influencers, YouTubers, or whatever you want to call them, grow a massive amount.

Seth Alvo's YouTube channel, Berm Peak, previously known as Seth's Bike Hacks, is one of the most successful out there, and I sat down with him to chat about how he ended up on YouTube, what it’s like creating videos all the time, building his own bike park, traditional media versus YouTube, and all sorts of other things… Due to a mic failure, my audio is worse than usual. My bad!

March 15th, 2022

There's more to it than a GoPro and iMovie.

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 Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 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 Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction
Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer about Field Test Enduro Bikes
Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro
Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks
Episode 39 - Predicting the Future of Mountain Biking
Episode 40 - The Pinkbike Awards!
Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes
Episode 42 - Mountain Biking's Guilty Pleasures
Episode 43 - Dangerholm's Wildest Custom Mountain Bikes
Episode 44 - Mountain Bike Suspension Decoded
Episode 45 - What Makes a Good Riding Buddy
Episode 46 - The RockShox Zeb vs Fox 38 Deep Dive
Episode 47 - High Pivot Bikes: The Good, The Bad, and The Why?
Episode 48 - Rides That Went Horribly Wrong... & Why That Made Them So Good
Episode 49 - What's the Best DH Bike?
Episode 50 - Are Bikes Actually Getting Less Expensive? (Value Bike Field Test Preview)
Episode 51 - Should MTB Media Post Spy Shots?
Episode 52 - Our Most Embarrassing MTB Moments
Episode 53 - Should Climbers Still Have the Right of Way?
Episode 54 - Best and Worst MTB Product Marketing
Episode 55 - Big Dumb Rides & Staying Motivated
Episode 56 - What Were the Most Important Inventions in Mountain Biking?
Episode 57 - What Were the Best (and Worst) Trends in Mountain Biking?
Episode 58 - Debunking Mountain Biking's Biggest Myths
Episode 59 - Value Bike Field Trip Surprises & Spoilers
Episode 60 - What Kind of Mountain Biker Do You Want to Be?
Episode 61 - Athlete Pay, Lycra, Equality and More from the State of the Sport Survey
Episode 62 - Editor Preferences and Why They Matter
Episode 63 - Our Best (And Worst) Bike Buying Advice
Episode 64 - Who's On Your MTB Mount Rushmore?
Episode 65 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 66 - The Best and Worst of Repairing Bikes
Episode 67 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham
Episode 68 - Who Are Mountain Biking's Unsung Heroes?
Episode 69 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 1
Episode 70 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 2
Episode 71 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham - A Pinkbike Podcast Special, Part 2
Episode 72 - Hey Outers!
Episode 73 - The Details That Matter... and Some That Shouldn't
Episode 74 - The Best Trails We've Ridden and What Makes Them So Special
Episode 75 - Things MTB Brands Waste Money On
Episode 76 - MTB Originals and Copycats
Episode 77 - Interview with Outside CEO, Robin Thurston
Episode 78 - Modern Geometry Explained
Episode 79 - What's the Future of eMTBs?
Episode 80 - The Best Vehicles for Mountain Bikers
Episode 81 - You've Got Questions, We've (Maybe) Got Answers
Episode 82 - Behind the Scenes at Field Test
Episode 83 - Does Carbon Fiber Belong On Your Mountain Bike?
Episode 84 - Explaining RockShox's Computer Controlled Suspension
Episode 85 - Is the Red Bull Rampage Too Slopestyle?
Episode 86 - Greg Minnaar on the Honda DH Bike, World Cup Racing, and Staying Fast Forever
Episode 87 - How to Love Riding When it's Cold and Wet
Episode 88 - Mountain Biking on a Budget
Episode 89 - The Derailleur Pickle
Episode 90 - Is Supre the Future of Trouble-Free Drivetrains? (with Cedric Eveleigh of Lal Bikes)
Episode 91 - Riding Every Double Black in the Whistler Bike Park with Christina Chappetta
Episode 92 - Does Bike Weight Really Matter?
Episode 93 - Staying Motivated and Overcoming Burnout
Episode 94 - PBA Contestant Tori Wood on Her First Race and Finding the Right Mindset
Episode 95 - Field Test Down-Country Bike Debrief
Episode 96 - PBA Contestant Israel Carrillo on Riding in Mexico and Why It's Not Always About Speed
Episode 97 - Can We Predict the Future of Mountain Biking?
Episode 98 - Field Test Trail Bike Debrief
Episode 99 - New Year, New You?
Episode 100 - Q&A with the PB Editors
Episode 101 - MTB Tradeshows Explained
Episode 102 - Should MTB Media Be Going to Press Camps?
Episode 103 - Secrets from the World Cup Pits with Henry Quinney
Episode 104 - Lachlan Morton on How to be a Happy Bike Racer and the World's Longest Climb
Episode 105 - The 3 Bike Budget Challenge
Episode 106 - What's Your Ideal Ride Look Like?
Episode 107 - How (And Why) Did You Start Mountain Biking?
Episode 108 - Behind the Scenes at the Value Bike Field Test

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 86 10
 Seth has probably done more for the mountain bike world than any sick gnar gnar shredder brah berm slapper pro. Getting folks into the sport is good for everyone and his reach is insane.

If you think about all the racers and pro's they're likely all followed by the same core group of people whereas Seth (and other youtubers) probably have completely distinct fanbases that reach far beyond the core mountain bike base.
  • 18 34
flag Moonie2123 (Mar 15, 2022 at 11:13) (Below Threshold)
 Agree and agree, except the part about more folks into the sport. Really a whole different topic, but I'm not sure growing the sport improves the sport, or is generally a good thing. Sometimes less is more. And "Growing the sport" is a big E-bike sales pitch, and there is nothing I dislike more than motorcycles with pedals. Nothing. But I digress...
  • 18 0
 @Moonie2123: You walked back that agree and agree part quicker than Lieutenant Dangle on Reno 911 when buying ostrich cowboy boots from Zapateria La Bailerina.
  • 6 0
 @Moonie2123: I just want more trails built all over. The bigger the economic force MTB tourism is I think we have a good shot. E-bikes stand to make or break this movement. They could set us back 10's of years or push things forward. We'll just have to wait and see.
  • 3 12
flag waldo-jpg FL (Mar 15, 2022 at 14:17) (Below Threshold)
 thats exactly why he should stop putting knockoff alibaba forks on his flipbikes and start being a good advocate for the sport rather than just an advocate
  • 3 0
 @lepigpen: LOL, fair enough. Ok, I hereby walk back, my walk back. Except that last part...
  • 2 1
 @Moonie2123: (e-biker zooming past you on the fire road) "New bike goofin!!"
  • 67 0
 I had always assumed he legally changed his last name to “bike hacks”
  • 6 0
 The Berm Peak Wordwide fan page on Facebook has started referring to his first name as "Berm" ever since the channel changed names.
  • 11 2
 He did commit a marketing 101 error by changing his channel name to Berm Peak. I literally just found out that it's the same guy.
  • 15 0
 @gravitybass: I don't know if it's really a marketing error. "Seth's Bike Hacks" didn't really describe what his channel actually was by the time he changed it, whereas "Berm Peak" is much more flexible so he can fit in content like the RC car stuff (not my thing personally, but people are watching those videos). The "error" was probably picking a name as specific as "Seth's Bike Hacks" in the first place – but I doubt he was envisioning that the channel was going to get so big or become what it has become when he was starting it.

When rebranding you're always going to lose something in terms of name recognition, but it's still often worth it in the long run if the new brand is better, which "Berm Peak" definitely is. (I have no insight into their revenues, but I would bet, for example, that they're selling way more merch with "Berm Peak" on it than they did with SBH).
  • 5 4
 @swansong: Funny to see it brought up, I moderate that page, and the official discord page.
  • 3 0
 Since when have berms had visors anyways?
  • 3 0
 @charliewentoutside: Agreed. Plus, I can't think of another 'Seth' in the bike industry.
  • 1 0
 Probably could have smoothed the transition with "Seth's Berm Peak" or something. But I don't have millions of viewers (not sure if I should be grateful or not for that) so I won't judge.
  • 1 0
 @gravitybass: in the podcast he said he changed it because people were buying Berm peak merchandise more than Seth's bike hacks merchandise.
  • 35 1
 Fan of both Seth and Levy. This should be an interesting combo for an interview podcast.
  • 3 0
 Same. Was surprised to read on Seth’s Patreon post that this is the second time he’s been interviewed. Here I thought this was the first time these two worlds were colliding ala the Bizzarro Jerry.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: thanks Levy!
  • 30 0
 I’m one of those guys that tends to respond to the negative on Pinkbike. I’m not doing it anymore. I’m posting if I have something constructive to say. That was a very good podcast.
  • 30 0
 After however many years I've been watching SBH (occasionally, not a religiious fan) and I only now find out his last name.
  • 30 0
 This podcast is a little bit different...but kinda the same.
  • 3 1
  • 24 0
 Seth is the scrappy, down-to-earth guy who does the work, takes risks, and also happens to be one of the biggest positive influences in mountain biking.
  • 24 0
 Not to mention that Seth has been able to get a free public bike park built. Not many people can say they’ve done that much for the sport!
  • 23 0
 At least Seth owns a decent microphone/can mix audio. Jesus Levy get it together...
  • 23 0
 I knowwww. The mic died, got a new one. Ugh
  • 22 1
 @mikelevy: Get some tips from ‘Seths mic hacks’ and maybe you’ll even make Henry audible next time he’s on the podcast
  • 24 0
 @Rubber-Buccaneer: Easy now, keep those expectations a bit lower, please.
  • 8 0
 @mikelevy: still waiting on the ASMR henry quinney PB podcast. maybe while slowly putting a bike together. accenting each turn of a hex key.
  • 5 0
 @lepigpen: they have Palmer now too to awkwardly stand there sipping an IPA
  • 2 0
 @mak1us: the hardtail hater who only lets mechanics fix his bike?
  • 23 2
 Is this where I put my gatekeeping comment about real mountain bikers?
  • 3 0
 First you gotta define "real mountain bikers" in a way that excludes Seth. Smile
  • 13 0
 Regardless of what people say about Seth, I think he’s awesome! He’s pretty weird in a fun kind of OCD way and there’s no denying that he is an incredible content creator. His videos are great at growing the sport and helping people understand our niche. His videos are very entertaining and well made. I’m a Berm Peak fan! Glad he could get on the podcast.
  • 4 0
 what are people saying about Seth though? I thought he was a universally liked figure in MTB, like a somewhat quirky uncle. Something like the Doug DeMuro of MTB
  • 2 0
 @hardtailpunter: I need to know the Doug Score
  • 1 0
 @hardtailpunter: I logged in just to upvote this comment Smile
  • 14 0
 Would love to see a collab video with Pinkbike and Seth riding Berm Park when it opens!
  • 7 0
 That would be great,and a big win/win for both channels. @mikelevy ?
  • 13 0
 I met someone that bought one of his flip bikes. Big day for me
  • 15 0
 I got insulted by Kevin (steady spin) once while on a trip to Asheville. That's my cool Seth story bro.
  • 4 0
 Seth is cool. I can put on one of his vids and leave the room, knowing he's not going break anything or light some shit on fire or punch a security guard or whatever. Thanks for that. Inoffensive, wholesome, fun.
Shout out my guy BW for understanding that and sending him those first bikes to Florida--I was fully of the mind that it'd be as effective as every other bike product placement maneuver in history (read: not effective). Dude got it.

  • 5 0
 I am halfway through the podcast and i am surprised Seth has shared so much info, especially since he's said a couple times he considers Pinkbike as his main competitor.
  • 4 1
 Is Mike Zuckerberg doing this podcast connecting to the real world from the metaverse? Will PB staff begin referring to each other as "Pinkermates?"

Really enjoyed this, it was a nice different perspective on things.
  • 2 0
 I'm intrigued with how much insight Seth has provided. He has done so much for the MTB community and his local NC community.
However, I will say that I have stayed at Mulberry Gap. It is an amazing place and does offer a lot of what Seth said they didn't, and much more. My only hope is that people don't discount Mulberry Gap and actually do some of their homework on the place. It is setup as a camping bed and breakfast, with some of the best food I have ever had! The people that run the place are amazing and the trails are perfect.
Thanks for the interview/podcast Pinkbike!
  • 3 0
 Normally I listen to these podcast as I fall asleep but this one was so interesting I didn't fall asleep until it was finished! Great episode Mr.Levy
  • 5 0
 Hope to see Seth as the next Batman.
  • 1 0
 Hearing him talk about helping to build a bike park is amazing. My home town has been doing the same, but with 1/100th the cost. Everything built so far has been via donation. Hundreds of hours from amazing people, and a City that is willing to just let us work. Many trails are far from great, but hopefully someday we can get it there.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy, another great episode, will add Seth to my watch list!

By return, if you enjoy YouTube car content, you may like some of these...
Bad Obsession Motorsport - Project Binky - Classic Mini with a Celica Turbo4 running gear / engine conversion, done right
The Skid Factory - couple guys in Australia that do quality conversions and explain everything along the way - good enough to get me trying an engine swap.
Mighty Car Mods - one of the big car build channels you;ve probably seen, I really enjoyed the Japan trips and Kei car content is worth looking up - surely Tom and Christina need to be sent to Japan.
The Car Trek series are a lot of fun, like old Top Gear challenges - sure this has been suggested, but would be awesome to see Pinkbike do a buy a bike from the BuySell and be sent off on a big trip with some challenges thrown in.
The Race - quality F1 content.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy that was such a good listen. I don't even mind that it sounds like you recorded it in the toliet Smile Super interesting to hear Seth's take on the public bike park. I have been a part of making one happen in my home town and it is a lot of work but the most rewarding thing ever. Seeing so many stoked riders makes it all worthwhile. Looking forward to seeing some content of the trails when they open in April. Great work on the podcast!
  • 1 0
 Always really liked Seth's videos, especially when just getting into the sport. Definitely feels like he caters to an entirely different group than the typical PB readers/commenters.
  • 4 0
 Going to go take selfies in front of Levy's house.
  • 6 0
 Me too tho
  • 1 1
 I found this quite inspiring - plus it answered a load of questions I've had whilst watching the channel.

As an average rider (although I think Seth is pretty decent) the thought of making a career out of mountain biking seems pretty far fetched so it's cool to hear how Seth did it
  • 1 0
 I definitely remember when one of my friends first got a mountain bike and then I went home and just looked up mountain bike videos and Seth Bike Hacks came up and then I was gone forever.
  • 2 0
 Love the podcast, never heard of Seth but I'll have to peak to the videos soon. BKXC on youtube got me inspired for biking. :-)
  • 1 0
 If that dude’s “ha haaaahh” about 5 seconds got you into biking you will love Seth’s work.
  • 1 0
 Is it me or can I hear Brian Park laughing in the background of every podcast that he isn't on? Also I haven't listened to this one yet so maybe he's on this one but the question is still relevant.
  • 1 0
 It's not just you. I sometimes think I hear him laughing also when he's not actually on the podcast.
  • 1 0
 We ran into Seth and Alex behind us in line at Whistler a few years ago. Gracious guys for chatting us up and getting a picture with my son.
  • 1 0
 I was disturbed with that intro, never heard the name or the channel?! I actually never seen any of his video.
  • 1 0
 I'm not the greatest fan of Berm Peak,but I love the bike flip videos,those are very well thought out and out together.
  • 2 0
 Nice. I may be biased because of his BMX background though.
  • 2 0
 Levi is a fan of Jason Camisa...what a surprise.
  • 2 0
 Love it! He has some good ideas about pursuing opportunity!
  • 4 4
 PB should do the same thing but with Matt Jones. I think that would be really interesting.
  • 6 0
 Not sure I could take as many Square Space plugs as he'd be able to fit into an hour.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy @brianpark any news on if the podcast is coming back to Acast?
  • 1 0
 Seth! I´ve been watching this guy for years!
  • 1 0
 I'm not big on his videos, but can't wait to shred berm park in Canton!
  • 2 5
 I watch his channel, like millions I have enjoyed it often times...but the disrespect of athletes, teams, racing was offensive. And referencing a negative tone about athletes that; "Not everyone has a neck tattoo" and youtubers are actually "genuinely nice people", implying that athletes are not nice people..."its our time now, the nerds have taken over" was all just offensive to the work pro athletes put in to showcase their talents on the track for us to watch, the incredible development many athletes offer for the best products.
I have no problem with the dude, or his channel, he offers some fantastic episodes that I enjoy, but that air of youtubers are better than athletes was not cool at all.
Also him sort of whining about 'fastfood' content of tiktok, insta, social media, etc, vs his higher end long form stuff was kind of ironic-how do you think Clay Porter, Westerlund, etc feel about pouring their heart and soul into a creative project only for a video on building ladder drop in your backyard to get more views.

At any rate, good for seth and all the youtubers, but, lets not shit on racing or performance athletes.
  • 1 0
 I am trying to put together a bike park in my local area, great stuff!
  • 1 1
 Am I the only one who can't stand Seth?
  • 1 1
 Seth's Bike Hacks is now an offensive channel it seems.
  • 1 2
 Anyone been to current Seth's Bike Hacks yt channel? Wtf is up with that creeper video on there?
  • 1 0
 Couldnt find it
  • 1 0
 I think it's someone trying to impersonate him.
  • 5 5
 Seths vids are gas
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