The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories

Aug 28, 2020
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich


Sure, there could be an advanced, possibly shape-shifting reptile species who control the earth from within its hollow center. And yeah, they're probably also in charge of the chemtrails that alter our minds. But while that stuff is common knowledge, were you aware that Shimano and SRAM are keeping their inexpensive and utterly reliable gearboxes hidden behind lock and key so they can make billions selling SLX and GX replacement derailleurs? I mean, you'd be crazy to not believe in the derailleur cabal... Right?

Episode 20 is all about conspiracy theories, and while I would have loved to talk about Bob Lazar, tic-tac UAPs, and strange US military patents, @mikekazimer insisted that we keep it about bikes. So, is there really a derailleur cabal? And what about all those so-called "spy shots" that sure seem staged? Does Pinkbike really have a stake in Scribd? And are bike companies planning to screw you over with hub spacing?

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




THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 20 - MTB CONSPIRACY THEORIES
August 28th, 2020

"What was wrong with 135mm quick-release axles?!"

Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) 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 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


121 Comments

  • 27 0
 If you were part of the cabal as an industry shill, you would probably have a podcast where you shilled cabal disinformation while claiming not to be cabal, industry shills. Also, I would be happy to contribute my PED cycle as part of the enhanced athlete podcast.
  • 12 0
 It's entirely possible, look into it.
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: But limit research to watching YouTube videos by cabal disinformation shills.
  • 1 0
 This podcast attempts to distract from price increases immediately following the 14% corporate tax cut. Im on to you!
  • 3 1
 Your pizza is ready.
  • 5 0
 "bike companies aren't always that organized" dudes, have you ever ordered direct from a bike company? They're basically the same pothead you are, just with a job.
  • 2 0
 @groghunter: regardless of how much cannabis you consume, launching and maintaining a successful bike brand is not a burn out-smoker recreational activity. David in assembly and Kai in customer service may be high all the time, but that’s hardly representative of what is keeping those companies in business
  • 2 1
 @Chuckolicious: mmmmm pizzzza
  • 24 1
 Obviously the best conspiracy theory is the one that jar iar binks is secretly a sith lord.

www.reddit.com/r/StarWars/comments/3qvj6w/theory_jar_jar_binks_was_a_trained_force_user/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=&utm_content=post_body
  • 7 0
 Im a big fan of Beyonce wasn't pregnant but wore a prosthetic the entire time
  • 6 0
 Oh man, Kaz and Sarah you're missing out.
  • 23 1
 Idea for the next podcast episode: calling out the marketing BS. Show examples of complete marketing malarkey where they just use buzzwords that don't really mean anything, but definitely build hype.Empty claims, marketing hype, with no real info, inaccurate info, etc.
  • 14 0
 Yes! We have a giant list of our favourite dumb marketing terms.
  • 8 1
 @brianpark: when you say giant, do you mean Giant?
  • 18 0
 @brianpark: Where does downcountry come in that list? Top ten?
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: @hardtailparty Conversely, it'd be interesting to also identify some marketing jargon that really does represent a legit improvement that might get lost or glossed over. Like those super light weight hard tails - "unicorn hair" sounds like complete BS, but high/ultra-high modulus carbon fibers are a very real thing with potentially big impacts
  • 3 0
 I'll name you a few, bleeding edge (tf is that), military/aerospace/F1 grade blah blah blah.
  • 4 6
 Its all bullshit. Marketers are liars who grew up and found a way to make money off their ability to look you in the eye lie with a straight face. As for gear boxes no one says they will be cheap but had they developed them over the past 50 years with the derailleur the derailleurs would be dead by now.
  • 9 2
 @Rubber-Buccaneer: Downcountry may be the most useful term in mountain biking after downhill. And the term "All-mountain" should be purged from the English language.
  • 4 1
 @knightmarerider: "76° seat angle".

Cropped a bunch of catalogue pictures along the BB axis recently to check saddle setback. Marketing may be writing these numbers independently of engineering lol. Try cropping a picture of a "slack SA" Trance with a "steep SA" Revel, among many others.
  • 4 2
 @skeeple: high/ultra-high modulus carbon fibers and potentially big impacts are not good, for big impacts you want lower mod carbon fibre!
  • 2 0
 Anything involving percentages.
  • 2 1
 @chriskneeland: Funny, I kind of feel the exact opposite. But whatever. They all mountain bikes to everyone else.
  • 10 0
 With lightweight bikes coming out with more and more capable geometry (like the Spur at around 25 lbs) at what point does the geometry start writing checks the frame and components can't cash?
  • 7 0
 Questions:
What are your favourite trails, home and away?
Levy and Sarah, what’s the gnarliest you could get w those cross/down country bikes? Would they fall apart on Treasure Trail or something similar?
Do tattoos change the type of person you attract?
Why aren’t there more videos of Levy’s Mini driving around. Is it because it is always broken?
  • 11 0
 - Comfortably Numb, Dark Crystal,
- They’d be fine on Treasure Trail if you’re good
- Probably
- It’s already on PB too much. And I break it too much lol
  • 3 0
 Do tigers sleep in lily patches?
Do rhinos run from thunder?
  • 4 0
 - Somewhere Over There or Boney Elbows at home / Alpine Revy rides for away
- I'm sure someone could ride Treasure Trail on them but it's not me!
- My mum would say yes
- As far as I can tell yes, also it doesn't like rain
  • 7 0
 Haven't had a chance to listen to this week's episode yet, but you were asking for listener question last week so here's a question/suggestion to take into the next:

Why the terrible information surrounding the move to paid/free services in Trailforks? Apart from the fact that tf was launched with the specific claim that it would always be free (a claim since removed from the 'About' page), the terms have already changed in such drastic ways (the free area going from a 30km radius to 30km²) and it's barely even started yet. It gives the impression that no one has a clue what they're doing behind the scenes.
  • 5 3
 That was a typo in trying to make it more clear.
The unlocked local riding area is "The free area is 30 km (19 miles) radius which equals 3600 square kilometers (1400 square miles)." To be more precise the area is a square of 60km sides.
Also based on feedback we are looking at perhaps making this bigger if selected in sparse trail areas. But not smaller.

I updated the FAQ to be more precise.

" The app will choose your free area automatically but you can adjust this area once to your choice. The free area is a square of 60km (38 mile) sides, which equals to 3600 square kilometers (1400 square miles). This area can be positioned anywhere you like and does NOT have to be centered where you live. It's intended to encompass your most used riding area even if that area is far away from where you live.
."
  • 3 0
 @radek: that's cool, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it's all appeared without much announcement and frankly feels like you're making it up as you go along.

I'd probably happily pay even full price (which also seems to be wrong in the app as Google only wanted to charge me the equivalent of about $12/year, not $144 as advertised), but not until it's entirely clear what's being paid for.
  • 4 2
 @warpcow: It's not $144. It's $1.50/month. We are about to put out the announcement. We wanted a couple of days of feedback from admins and to push an update with some corrected messaging and bugs.
The $144 is a display bug in certain currencies that it shows the number in local currency but the $ sign should not be there. ( it's just a display issue and about to be fixed )
  • 2 0
 That's the thing, the admins might have received all the info but it's also right there in the app for all users to see, with all the bugs and mistakes. I've gone from using tf as normal a few days ago to it saying my account is now in a "7 usage day trial period" today (wtf is a "usage day", a week or 7 consecutive or nonconsecutive days of using the account?).

Like I said, I'm likely more than happy to pay as it's been a useful tool for our trail association and others, but not gonna be an early adopter based on this rollout.
  • 2 0
 @radek: way to only answer the easy part of the question.
  • 2 0
 Must have hired the same consulting firm as Strava.
  • 5 0
 I don’t need TF in the free ‘home’ zone. I need it when I’m far from home.

TF works because everyone has it. Take that away and I’m not sure anymore.
  • 2 1
 @warpcow: When the app installs every user gets full Pro features for 7 unique days. They can be consecutive or nonconsecutive. That is you can use it for a duration of 7 weeks if you only use say every sunday, or the duration could be a week if you use it every day for 7 consecutive days.
  • 4 1
 @radek: Oh man, first I'm hearing of this. I'm telling you right here, in writing, terrible move. Only reason Waze is what it is, is because it's free. Find a better way to monetize it, this will kill it. And I'm one who will actually pay for it, at least until it's on life support and something else inevitably fills the void.
  • 4 0
 I keep my 11 speed SRAM setup wrapped in aluminum foil the entire time I'm on the trail. That way the alien chipmunks with ray guns who work for SRAM can't tell what I'm riding and cause me to screw up my derailleur on the very long, very low, and very slack bikes they forced me to buy hoping I'd wreck a derailleur on every trip.
  • 5 0
 We need a competition format for technical climbing or overall technical riding. Like Red Bull Hardline, but it uses a whole loop with a lotta jank.
  • 1 0
 Preach. But I'll up the ante and say we need a video of Noah riding up it. GJ has some good jank, and Noah is the mayor of junctiontown.
  • 2 0
 @NoahColorado Doesn't Matt have plenty of jank components (dead shuttle vans, cable spools, RR crossties, etc. ) laying around the shop to add to GJ's jank loop? Big Grin
  • 4 0
 But no bashguards allowed to make it a real challenge... Up Moore Fun seems like it'd have some potential.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy it wasn't necessary you went so far with reptilians and hollow earth... Just ride around Georgia Stones and give a read... solid rock bulled proof eye opening... Sadly they didn't write Covid19 there even might be close... buy it isn't necessary.
  • 3 0
 Lee Harvey Oswald did shoot JFK, but the little known truth is that Shimano and Sram banded together to hire out the hit. Not only was JFK a Marilyn Monroe enthusiast, but he was also a gearbox enthusiast. The cabal couldn't handle the idea of having an opponent at such a high level of Government.



Also, is Brian a Last Podcast on the Left fan? Their hollow earth series was just wonderful.
  • 1 0
 I haven't listened to that, I'll put it on the list!
  • 3 0
 Hey guys, posted this yesterday in episode 19, thought I would repost...

A question for an upcoming podcast: a couple of episodes ago Levy and Kazimer (I think) we’re commenting on how important tire pressure is and how they check it with a digital meter before each ride. Assuming a tubeless setup, I am wondering if you can tell us what pressure you guys normally run, I am sure this varies depending on the person, bike, tires, terrain, weather, etc so more importantly, for what factors would you adjust your pressure, why and how much? Thanks guys, love the podcasts
  • 2 0
 Great question. I spent a long time with a digital gauge figuring out correct psi after switching from downhill casings to trail.
  • 3 0
 I bought an enduro 29er alum with 142+ rear end. Then boost 148 came out right away. Whatever, it’s still my only bike When I finally get a boost 148 bike, super boost+ will come out
  • 7 1
 I heard that the release date for superboost+ has been delayed until you buy a boost148 bike.

So you're kind of holding back technical progress..
And we all know it's you by the way, and we're getting more irritated by the day..while we watch you swan around on your stupid 142
  • 2 0
 Can we get a full run-through article of what it takes for a company to bring their frame with a selection of parts to the consumer? Product manager decisions, R&D considerations, the whole shebang. A comparison between direct models and traditional bike shop models would be great, and information about online dealers (Jenson, CRC, etc.) would be enriching.

Maybe add an opinion piece about the totally unnecessary baby-steps in the process that add additional cost?

I feel as though many people would get a lot out of that.
  • 2 0
 "So many things have happened between 2010 and 2020 that have made mountain bikes so much better." -Brian Park (ish)

What if it could've been a few things that happened to get to the same point? I feel like the real apology here is for the tiny adjustments. I here a lot of "They HAD to get there via tiny steps." or "How could there be the foresight?" That's really what R&D is for in the first place. Find what is the BEST, and do that. Yes, there will be some tradeoffs, but stop making minor adjustments and get to the end game. Of course there will be some changes and tradeoffs because that's how things work in the real world, but I don't think that's where we are.. and that's where the opinion comes in.
  • 2 0
 Grim Donut pt. 2 - Why the Delay?
A while back, PB editors had a great idea for a story. They'd make a ridiculous new frame with "future" geometry. Pt 1 was released to widespread acclaim, and readers eagerly awaited the sequel. Then @mikelevy started testing it and made an interesting discovery. He could hardly throw a leg over it without crushing KOMs, both uphill and down. They had stumbeled upon The Best Bike In The World. Pinkbike, industry shills that they are, knew this wouldn't fly with their corporate overlords. When Specialized and Co. found out, they demanded changes. Over the last several months, PB has been redesigning and producing a new frame that would ride like a pig uphill and be a terror on the downhills. The bike manufacturer cartel recently approved of the new design and pt 2 is on the way shortly.
  • 1 0
 the big conspiracy in biking is that the mid-range bike you want doesn't come with the best parts at that price for that bike because it's not what the masses would buy. It's why Rocky Mountain put pinner tires, long stems and narrow handlebars on their bikes back in the day so they could sell to Germans.
  • 1 0
 15x100 came to be because it allowed *most* existing forks to be updated without investing in new, wider, fork crown tooling, and for many QR100 hubs to be updated without new forgings. Fork makers explained that narrower crowns are stiffer than wider crowns, and that fork crown flex looks terrifying in huck to flat videos* (*I know, I know, there weren't any huck to flat videos at the time). The same fork crown tools and hub forgings could thus be retained for bikes at lower price points.

15x110 was released about a year after Boost148. Many legacy RockShox forks were designed to share parts between 20x110 and QR100, presumably those could be affordably adapted to 15x110. The primary argument for 110 was clearance for tires bigger than 3.14" and the inferred promise of sharing parts between plus-bikes and non-plus-bikes. This seems like the opposite of a conspiracy.
  • 1 0
 I thought the Shimano/Fox 15x100 came about because SRAM had a patent associated with the QR Maxle that was specific to 20mm. 15mm avoided this with the claim of being better (instead of just different). Rockshox tried to resist but I gues 20x110 never caught on for non-DH so the switches too. Since, like stated in the podcast 15mm isn’t noticeably worse. I’m sure someone on the internet can fact check this.
  • 1 0
 I actually heard a different take - it wasn't about a SRAM patent, but Shimanos hub design. With cup and cone bearings they struggled to package a 20mm axle...
  • 1 0
 @mattwragg: makes sense too.
  • 1 0
 Hollow earth story. On taxi cab ride to a airport. Cabbie begins to tell me about the hollow earth. I sat and listen and enjoyed. Then I ask just two questions. What do they eat, I was told they grow food. To which I followed up, how does it grow without a sun- answer from the inner sun. Inner sun =head explodes.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark - one of my favorite conspiracy theories is that the cure for cancer/diabetes/heart disease is known, but big drug companies suppress that knowledge due to the massive profits from pharmaceuticals.

Question - At some point, we will all reach the age when we can no longer mountain bike. When do you know when you've reached that age? What activity would you do then?

Thanks again for the podcasts! I always look forward to the next!
  • 1 0
 Asking for a friend....
  • 1 0
 Question for the next podcast.

Do bike brands ever ask either of the Mikes to consult on upcoming frame design or early testing ? Being that they have ridden more different bikes than pretty much anyone, they'd be uniquely placed to offer a very informed opinion you'd think.
  • 1 0
 I don't think your point about how young French cyclists train and compete as kids is completely reflecting reality. Yes, some of them go to race "TRJV" and "TNJV" events (regional/national trophy for young mountain bikers) which mix all disciplines, but a lot of them just race XC or DH from an early age. Really depends where you grow up in France I suppose.
Great podcast though!
  • 1 0
 I think it would be really cool to hear about what the process is for planning for a weeks worth of content on the PinkBike Front Page.


Also; when the hell are you guys going to have show notes about the stuff you are talking about??
  • 1 0
 Looking for suggestions for examples of High Pivot Bikes?-in Austalia?! Check out Craftworks Cycles:https://www.craftworkscycles.com/products/the-craftworks-enr-v1-1>
You can check out how the suspension works here!: youtu.be/jXyZ-GpLvoo>;
  • 4 0
 SRAM would definitely arrive at the docks in an Audi.
  • 2 0
 Oooh yes, a blacked out A7 maybe?
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Çérvëlø drives a grey Q7
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I was thinking an A8L as the closest match to the power move of showing up in a Century.
  • 1 0
 @mrpfp: Yessss that does make sense.
  • 3 0
 Listen to them laugh, they wont be laughing when they're next riding and fall of the edge of the earth
  • 1 0
 I've mentioned tubesets in the podcast discussion before but the hydroformed aluminati is definitely responsible for the death of optimized aluminum frames except for CAAD and Smartweld.
  • 1 0
 Care to elaborate? Not meaning to argue, just genuinely curious what you mean by this
  • 4 0
 Flat Earthers really baffle me. I mean, Jeezuz.
  • 2 0
 Shimano can make a 1000% gear range Bait Caster fishing reel...but a MTB gear box or hub is in the "too hard basket". That and Jeffery Epstine didn't kill himself.
  • 2 0
 @AntN Everything This!! ^^^^^^^^ Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Question for the podcast crew. Now that we have a summer of riding in and and no one has had any catastrophic failures on the Slayer can Pinkbike review it again?
  • 1 0
 Here's my ghetto review as I've got one. Been riding it hard for a while in Squamton. It's great, bit heavy on the way up but acceptably efficient, very fun on the way down. Progressive spring in the rear helped liven it up. Main pivot bearings are too small. I've had to replace them twice. Mine is built heavy w both DH casing Assegais and Cushcore. It's a good bike for Squamish steep stuff, but it lacks the get up and go in lower angle stuff. It would be good for racing Enduro as long as the track stays steep.
  • 4 1
 Something about Specialized and pizza joints, yada yada.
  • 2 0
 I didn't even need to listen to the podcast to know the answers to all the question posted in the intro are 'yes'.
  • 2 0
 Podcast question: is the Specialized Status launch strategy a new trend or made up “conspiracy “ type marketing?
  • 4 0
 Hopefully not a new trend. Very odd.
  • 2 0
 Specialized just wanted to offload launch costs to you guys.
  • 2 0
 Honestly probably has more to do with their inability to fully launch it with the supply issues. Just a guess.
  • 1 0
 On Scribd - the UCI has a data service for results. You could consume the results as raw data json and display/format it however you want.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy Tim Horton's doesn't need to sponsor you. At three visits a day you've effectively sponsored them!
  • 1 0
 Question... How do pros go about using not sponsorship gear AND get away with it? Tires seem to a hot item to ignore your sponsors best interest.
  • 1 0
 Maybe an off topic podcast is required? Or maybe I'm on the wrong site- Pinkaliens.com
  • 2 0
 Is mayonnaise an instrument?
  • 3 2
 @mikelevy When will pinkbike address the trend of "upspeak" infiltrating the bike community?
  • 4 0
 I make sure to always talk in a monotone to counteract that unfortunate trend.
  • 3 0
 Be like Mike
  • 2 0
 'cmon they're Canadian. I defy you to end a sentence with 'eh?' without raising your tone.
  • 1 0
 I think that's my accent?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: You wrote that as a question, in Canadian. So I read it with your tone rising twice. Is that OK?
  • 1 0
 It's a part of big techs plan, turning bikers into unless jellyfish. Slacking out bikes, turning once divine individuals into enduro bros of endless shuttles down the trail of over hopped suds. This is the end of the tale of the two wheel freedom, lost to it's own sword. Bike is dead.
  • 1 0
 @DirtBagTim: Canadians were upspeaking way before upspeaking was cool
  • 2 0
 Levy asking how many travels does the bike have lol. I love this podcast
  • 1 0
 Can you make a podcast episode on your dream jobs in the bike industry and why? If you were not working for PB, obviously.
  • 2 0
 "Grim Donut pt. 2 soon" ... Yeah I'm not falling for that one again. :-P
  • 1 0
 "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice... you ain't gonna fool me twice" everyone's favourite chimp j.w.bush
  • 2 0
 Giant is the illuminati of the cycling industry.
  • 2 0
 "Carbon Reserve wheels are hard to break" is my favorite conspiracy.
  • 1 0
 Next Week:
"SPY SHOT: Is this the next Grim Donut video?"

Following Day:
"Video: Grim Donut Part 2 - We Ride it."
  • 1 0
 ``Brian - Sarah, in Canada so many riders are from Quebec, why is that?``
``Sarah - oui...``
  • 1 0
 So was this topic chosen to prime the pump for the backlash of the TF announcement? Lots of theories in there for sure!
  • 1 0
 Glad to had inspired this topic.
  • 1 1
 just found out Amaury Pierron broke his clavicle last weekend, why arent there any news about that?
  • 4 0
 It was in the news section at the beginning of the podcast. And their was a whole article on it. I guess CNN didn't address it but it seems out of their normal scope.
  • 4 0
 There is Wink
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: oh my bad, i guess i didnt see it on the feed, too focused on the field test and bulge censoring, cheers!!
  • 1 0
 I say save the grim donut for Christmas!
  • 1 2
 Specialized sent a L Spur to the Downcountry test to ensure an EVO victory. #notconspiracybutfact!!!
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