The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 196 - The Industry Ideas That Just Keep Coming Back

Sep 22, 2023
by Henry Quinney  
Art by Taj Mihelich

In this week's podcast, Dario, Kaz and Matt join me to talk about what they wish would come back, and what they hope goes forever. There are lukewarm takes, some strange tangents and some ideas that are just flatly antiquated and wrong.

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.

Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, Megaphone, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.

Music Corner

Kazimer's picks:

Matt's picks:

Henry's picks:

Dario's picks:

Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
291 articles

  • 25 0
 I don't want to know where he is and I won't impose to bring him back - I just miss him
  • 4 0
 You should call him
  • 15 0
 PinkBike Podcast topics that keep coming back:

BMX background
Henry saying something philosophical
Kaz and skinnies
Henry's Spire
Cable tourism

I might start a PB Podcast drinking game or Bingo card.

Much love to the PB crew, keep up the good work!
  • 15 0
 Why don't people wear elbow pads? Because of the quote from the late McGazza when asked why he doesn't wear them: "There are two types of people who wear elbow pads: smart people and pussies, and I'm neither of those."
  • 4 2
 So true. Honestly I don't get it. Maybe it's just me, but I'm much more likely to land on my elbows than my knees. I wear elbow pads every time I'm doing something where I'm wearing knee pads
  • 6 1
 @justridingalong1: fuc*ING nerd
  • 7 0
 @skiboot1: how do you know I’m smart? I could just be a pussy
  • 9 0
 Dario is right regarding saddle tilt, and as other people mentioned I think Henry is missing some details.
A slightly downward tilted saddle is better for riding on flat surfaces, and way better for riding uphill due to the position on the bike and the hip position.

Let's unpack the hip position first.
a) If you ever did a squat, you would know that your legs are strongest when your legs are almost straight when getting up. That's also the reason why you have your saddle up.
b) If you raise your legs, your quads have to extend. One of the main muscles which extend your knee is the Rectus Femoris, a muscle which goes all the way up to the front of your hip. As we know from a) this muscle can't perform all too well in this position.
c) Now picture yourself in the saddle. In this hypothectical scenario, you have infinite saddle grip, however you sit. If your saddle would be tilted 80° to the ground, your quads are shortened and can perfrom at their best. If your saddle would be tilted 80° to the sky, you would sit in a very cramped position and couldn't perform well.

- Of course, in the real world there is grip, and you want to relax your legs a bit while sitting down, but it's just for explanation.

Now that we talked about hip position, let's look at climbing.
If you ride uphill, your bike tilts backwards with both wheels, as Henry stated. But let's put it in an extreme position, a 45° climb. If you sit in the normal position, your front wheel lifts off. To compensate for that, you lean forward, shifting the weight to the front. While doing so, your hip will be closed (less space between stomach, hip, and quads). If we talk about a 90° wall, you would basically fold in half. You also don't want to be in this position, as your core would have to fight gravity (like an L-sit just the other way around), so you would wish that your saddle would be flat to the earth's gravitational pull.

Now we just need the perfect balance, as all things should be balanced.
If we check our elevation map after our rides we have climbs and descents. Let's say, for agrument's sake, you ride in a standing position on all descends with a 5° angle or more. The climbs are not steeper than 15° (in this argument).
Henry said, he wants to have a flat saddle position, as this is his most comfortable position.
If we would look at the average gradient without descends more than 5° as we stand up to ride them down.
For argument's sake, the average gradient is 6° up. This would mean that the hip is on average, 6° closed due to the riding position. If we would tilt the saddle 6° down, the avarage hip angle would be 0, or neutral.

This position allows the hip flexors to be more open and streched (they are shortened due to sitting time in chairs, in the office, cars etc. anyway) as well as the Rectus Femoris to produce more power.
As Henry mentioned, the saddle tilt downwards leads to more weight on the front of the bike, therefore your wrists, which is the goal on climbs, another reason why the seat tube angle is rising. A downwards pointing saddle does that on flat bits as well, which might be sub-optimal.

- However, you could just tilt your saddle 3° down, which would make the climbs not as good as they could possibly be, but at the same time make the riding on the flat bits less stressful for your wrists.

Additionally, recent studies show that an downwards tilting saddle could increase the power output, even on flat surfaces, and we all know that a increase power output can lead to further, faster, or easier rides.

As conclusion, a downward tilting saddle can be beneficial for your riding and your body, due to the more open hip position, especially on climbs.

I do agree with @henryquinney on the rise, rise means up, I'll defend the hill with you.
  • 1 0
 I forgot to mention, your glutes, which straighten your hip, opening it up, are stretched when hunched over, so they produce less power as well.
  • 6 0
 What I think Henry is missing from the seat angle discussion is rider posture during steep climb requiring a lot of effort. Henry is correct the whole bike tips upward and everything is relatively in the same place. But in order to keep weight on the front and put down enough power, riders will tend to pivot their upper bodies forward. Unless you have perfect posture and pelvis rotation, you will, so to speak, smush your gouch into the seat more.
  • 3 3
 Does following the logic of nose down saddles lead to wearing high heeled shoes to hike up hills?
  • 10 0
 @DirtBagTim: Ha. More seriously, I believe non-polar North American bears have shorter front limbs than one would otherwise expect from their body plan and that helps them run uphill.

Also modern ski touring setups do let you reduce how close your heels get to skis during uphill travel (so basically high heels)
  • 2 1
 @pmhobson: well, I was joking, but honestly crampons with adjustable heels sound kinda neat.

Ok, now I'm thinking about stiff boots (which is how the crampons actually work). This leads me to wonder if perhaps soft soled shoes begat mid sole cleat placement begat steep seat angles begat short cranks…
  • 1 1
 @DirtBagTim: take a look at wildland firefighter boots.
  • 2 1
 @Flc3344: no, no! I meant Jimmy Choo or Elton John high heels.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: How does that work out for them going downhill then? Are they just super awkward on the downhills?
  • 1 0
 @Jonnysnow: you can adjust how much “rise” there is to the heel. Default position is no rise, so pretty standard for DH skiing.
  • 6 0
 Nice Kids reference. Never saw the movie but great soundtrack. Excellent podcast. You guys forgot to rant on oval chainrings.
  • 3 0
 Some ideas are good, they just require refinement. If you look at the history of the bicycle, it started as a 2 wheeled balance bike. After it's failure, years were spent trying to make 3 and 4 wheeled machines work, before finally coming back to 2 wheels.
  • 4 4
 I wish the four-wheeled machines would have continued to fail...
  • 1 1
 @eight-n-burly: do you mean adaptive bikes from Bowhead? Or motor quads from Honda?
  • 3 0
 As much as I hate to agree with @henryquinney he’s right about bar rise. Bar roll should at the angle you like it relative to where your shoulders are. So neutral can’t be lined up with the head angle because then you’d be saying ideal position changes with different head angles. Which is just crazy talk.

I’m probably not being clear but I’m going for a ride now
  • 2 0
 I suspect that high pivot bikes are going to stick around this time. Frankly, in terms of tuning the major facets of suspension kinematics (leverage, anti-rise, anti-squat) and chain growth, high pivots are a terrific solution. They introduce significant degrees of engineering freedom to somewhat more> independently tune these aspects, and with current manufacturing/materials techniques introduce minimal additional complexity or downside.

I think we'll begin to see more bikes employing high pivot/idler designs married to prior linkage types. One notable problem with single/high pivot designs is the relatively high antirise and impact of braking forces on the suspension dynamics. These are less of an issue (an maybe even preferrable) for true racers - but for the mountain bike enthusiast who still does a fair bit of brake dragging to control speed, it presents a bit of an issue. This is why Forbidden is in the process of converting their fleet to high pivot "horst" link (one of their engineers said this directly when interviewed about the new Druid).

Similarly, the benchmark Specialized Enduro is an amazing bike, aside from the fact that it has amongst the worst chaingrowth/pedal kickback of any current enduro rig. Imagine the exact suspension kinematics/leverage of the Enduro platform in a high pivot version to deliver an even more rearward axle path, and with 1.3% vs. 6.8% chain growth. That thing would be a MONSTER.
  • 1 1
 Maybe. Or maybe not. You're right - opening up degrees of freedom by removing some constraints often leads to increased performance. But for consumer bikes, the added complexity and maintenance onus of high pivot idler setups is a pretty undesirable outcome. So we may see some compromises, where linkages get moved around and leverage curves tweaked to get some but not all of the benefits the high pivot bikes bring to the table, in exchange for not making those bikes harder to live with for consumers without access to world cup mechanics pits.
  • 1 0
 Lots of options for HP bikes that aren’t single pivot. I can think of more models that aren’t single pivot than ones that are.
  • 1 0
 @g-42: Sure - but few people would be considered "consumers" (in the sense we are talking about it here) that are buying $2500-3500 full suspension mountain bike frames with 140-170mm of rear travel.

I actually think that the current Enduro I referenced does exactly what you've suggested in terms of how it is more or less tuned to deliver many of the benefits of a high pivot, without being a high pivot (rearward axle path, good anti-squat, etc.). That said, the pedal kickback on it is severe (I own one), and that is a major drawback.

That's why I long for that exact bike (from a kinematics perspective) tuned into a high pivot design with no chain growth.
  • 2 0
 I never really understood the value proposition of enduro beyond "we need to be there, it's the hot new thing." Viewership seems to be super low. How is there any ROI? Sponsor any average youtuber and you get the same number of views for a tiny fraction of the price. Remy Metallier gets more views on his youtube videos on his own than the EWS does.
  • 4 1
 I really enjoyed this general chat/banter about setup/gear preferences. Glaring omission is Set Stott. You need more of him in these discussions as the most scientific journo.
  • 2 0
 Love the bike-nerd debates in these pods :-) I'm with Dario on the seat thing. Nose down on steep climbs feels distinctly easier to me to stay centered, put power down and keep weight on the bars. I'll flatten my saddle if I go somewhere away from home that is flatter, as this position otherwise puts too much weight on my hands.

(Part of my job involves assessing biomechanics - I'd suggest all the glute/hip/quads stuff is a minimal factor, I'd say it's more about not having the reaction forces from a relatively upward seat angle trying to slide your centre of mass rearwards as the bike points up).
  • 2 0
 I enjoyed the bar/rise/stack/angle/spacers discussion.

As a human that is 6’ 1 1/2” tall, with a 30.5” inseam, bike fit is pretty hard. So, I’m running 10mm of spacers, a 50mm Thomson bmx stem, and some 3.5” chromoly riser bars from Defiance frameworks, on an xL Bird Aether 9 with 529mm reach, and a 210mm dropper (I could go 240), and 155mm cranks.

Best fitting bike I’ve ever had. I’d like to hear more conversation not just about height, but maybe inseam to torso ratio, ape index (which I’ve heard mentioned recently), and other factors in how a bike needs to fit.

I’d be down to discuss my reasoning on any of these parts!
  • 1 0
 My dimensions are almost the same... building up a XXL Norco fluid (540mm reach) that I got at a decent price to test this theory. Although I'm not that tall, I've never ridden a bike and thought it was too big - so want to try! I also like bars with more sweep that normal which means even more reach/stem length.

I think the conversation on overall mountain bike fit is only beginning, will be another decade or so until it's commonly practiced. I think we have to give kudos to brands that make 'bigger' bikes without necessarily increasing seat tube length proportionally - makes bike fit a lot more customizable.
  • 1 0
 @DaveRobinson81: that all makes sense!

My bars have a decent amount of sweep too. I think they match up pretty close to a cr high pro taper dirt bike bar, so it makes sense that I like them.

The way I see it, I have a torso pretty comparable to an human that’s 6’4” or so. With low standover and long droppers, along with the short cranks, my reach needs to match my torso most importantly.

Have you tried short cranks yet?
  • 2 0
 Dario, there are definitely studies in uphill efficiency using a nose down saddle position that would give you a bit of ammunition for your argument.
  • 3 0
 Other things to add the the prodigal son/ returns every 10-20 years list:
-purple anodised parts,
-silver rims
-skinwall tires...
  • 13 0
 Ain't a damned thing wrong with anodized 3D violet (purple) this, or any other, generation of mountain bikes.
  • 2 0
 @handmedowncountry: never said it was a bad thing...
  • 2 0
 Silver parts need to make a comeback. They look better and show less wear.
  • 4 0
 Henry, keep up the amazing work! You are crushing it with the podcast. Thanks for all the hard work.
  • 1 0
 You guys talked about a lot of good shit today! This coming from a guy who has his seat all the way forward, the nose down as far as it can go and my handlebars upside down! I also prefer the nose down on my saddle for downhill which I never imagined, I tried it because my balls were going numb.
  • 3 0
 @dariodiguilio try some Ergotec 70mm rise x 12 degree back sweep bars if you like high rise bars. I'm running them on my Murmur with 20mm spacers.
  • 1 0
 I like the idea of weight weenies coming back. All my bike have gotten heavier through the years and while I like the burliness of my latest bike, I would really like it to be 5 lbs lighter. I just don't know if I can go back to spindly forks, skinny tires, and fixed seat post. Maybe I just need to lose 5 lbs.
  • 1 0
 To your point/question regarding protection wearing practices: I wear as little or as stealthy a knee pad and an open face helmet mostly to look less aggressive and moto-like as one of my favorite weekly rides runs across some mixed user (lots of old hikers and dog walkers at times) trail so I feel I get less shocked and annoyed anti-biker reactions. I am on an ebike though too...ha
  • 1 0
 Dario said that he runs larger rise bars and a slammed to maximize reach.

By that logic @henryquinney is right setting the bars so the rise is vertical.

If the bars are rolled back so the rise is parallel to the head angle the rise would shorten the reach just the same as headset spacers.
  • 14 9
 Bring back Levy
  • 7 0
 Cartoon Levy is still in the article preview photo! Maybe he's cursed to only exist in 2D now?
  • 1 0
 Tangents...ALMOST completely unrelated tangents keep returning to the Pinkbike podcast. It's like y'all hit the bong and keep forgetting what you're talking about sometimes. Love it though! Keep it up!
  • 2 1
 Prepare to hate. Levy invented down country so that we could have light bikes that descend decently. A 26lb 120-140 travel bike isn't crazy! A 36lb 160 ”trail bike” is crazy!
  • 4 0
 Love triple j thumbs up
  • 4 0
 Up until about 10 years ago I would agree with you. Showing my age, it's double J or BBC6 for me these days...
  • 2 0
 @DaveRobinson81: I am with you on DoubleJ
  • 3 0
 Folk Implosion...That is from the way back machine - Great songs!
  • 1 0
 I think I've mentioned it here before, but Lou being back with Dinosaur Jr. is great and they are currently killing it live.
  • 1 0
 If Dario is worried about weight weenies he just needs to go to Sweden and work as dangerholms PA and you will relish is the carbon fiber
  • 1 0
 After I had three coworkers break elbow pads in two weeks I always wear elbow pads in the bike park. I don’t like them, but I don’t like broken bones either
  • 1 0
 Enduro is the best investment for actual product development, it just sucks to watch. Dh is fun to watch but very few of us benefit from the bikes it develops.
  • 2 0
 Downhill hub width will make a comeback as super boost. just with wider flanges Once people get bored of 148mm boost
  • 1 0
 I also like the wider Q factor of 83mm BB shell width. 'Superboost' and 73mm BB shell width makes zero sense.
  • 1 0
 I suppose one could make the argument that tire inserts are out of vogue, at least with World Cup riders.
  • 1 0
 They get new wheels all the time, I destroy rear wheels without one, even with dh casing and 30+ psi. I also like running one so I can ride with a flat.
  • 1 0
 @bitterbiker: I’m running Cushcore on my DH bike and love them. Installed them when I got my DH bike on 2019, still running the original wheel set, no dents and pretty true.
  • 1 0
 Hardball are going to make a massive come back when people realise long travel endure sleds are boring.
  • 1 1
 as for high rise bars, Minaar said it right. its hard to set them up correctly.
  • 1 0
 I think that’s true to a point. Look at Dak’s setup. Crazzzyyy high. Or is it? I’d be curious to know his body proportions, bike measurements, and what he’s achieving/hoping to achieve.

My bar/spacer combo is damn high too but I have a super long torso.

I think someone of “average” proportions on a given size bike may struggle if they try to go super high, so like I said it’s probably sometimes true!
  • 1 0
 Fuck Spotify, parasites parasites.
  • 1 0
 Loved Henry’s music pick!
  • 1 0
Which hydro pack did you mention you were using these days?
  • 2 0
 @ehfour, I’ve been using the Evoc Hydro Pro 1.5.
  • 1 0
 Welcome to my Taint Talk

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