The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?

Sep 11, 2020
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich

Would you say that your style on the bike mirrors your lifestyle off of it?

In my experience, the answer to that question is often 'yes,' with those who take more than enough chances on the bike usually doing the same in their day-to-day life and vice versa. Back in October of last year, I wrote an op-ed on this very topic and used friends of mine as examples to illustrate my point, including the ever-responsible and in control @mikekazimer. ''If you did a few laps with Kazimer, you probably won't see any drama,'' I said. ''Instead, it's calm, cool, and collected riding that, as far as I can tell, matches his usual off-bike demeanor.''

On the other end of the sketchy spectrum, we've all got a buddy or two who seem to depend on nothing more than luck to hold it together, be it their life or most of their rides. They usually pull it off somehow, but 'disaster pending' is probably the best way to describe, well, most things about them.

So how about you: Does your riding style match your lifestyle, or do the two contrast each other?

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

Sept 10th, 2020

Sketchy on the bike, sketchy off the bike?

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
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 49 1
 Absolutely. Both on and off the bike, I can’t commit.
  • 27 1
 I think it more reflects my moods - feeling aggressive , mellow, out fooling around, exploring etc..
  • 11 1
 Biking is a bit of a stress reliever for me. I try to be pretty relaxed off the bike and take things as they come, practical spending and planning, work a boring office job, etc.

Get on the bike - friggin sender, bud. I put my plus tire hardtail through hell and back and let loose with jibbing, skidding, mach chicken smashing through rock gardens, and park laps. Thing looks clapped but it’s got excellent kit hanging off the frame so I feel confident doing objectively stupid things on it. I’m bringing it to Pisgah and Snowshoe later this month and am half expecting to come back with a cracked frame.
  • 2 1
 Not sure what frame you have, but if you gave your dealer this description of your riding style they sure must have been able to offer you something that's going to keep up just fine. Hardtail frames can be made strong quite easily. Everything else will break before a proper strong hardtail frame does.
  • 3 0
 @vinay: it’s a 2019 Fuse comp, works good so far. I haven’t felt held back by it yet. I’d like to try a Status if they ever do a full release on it, though.
  • 1 2
 @vinay: +1
The perfect 2 bike quiver for a ripper is a good modern hardtail with a 150 fork, and a DH rig for the big days.
I'm pretty mellow off the bike, definitely more of a Jekyll & Hyde personality.
  • 2 0
 @sjma: its slaaaaack! With the mullet setup feels slacker then it really is. Not a climber, but fun downhill, lots of fun downhill.
  • 1 0
 @Spiral23: I know, all the reviews I've seen make it seem like it'd be a park-only bike for me (New England) but I kinda like the idea of a cheap, bike shop bike that I can slap around like a rental without going full DH
  • 2 0
 @sjma: good news is, it fits 29” in rear with DHR 2,5” which make it way less of a DH only.

Just finished 36km all mountain adventure (over 2500 feet of up and about 5000 feet down) and it takes a bit to get use to the steep front, but so much fun down
  • 1 0
 @sjma: Is that a Specialized? Those Californian brands kind of mix their names up every now and then.

Fuse: was BMX, now MTB
Stumpjumper: was hardtail, later hardtail and fully, now fully only
Epic: was fully only, now hardtail and fully

Santa Cruz:
Heckler: Was single pivot unassisted, now VPP assisted (Santa Cruz used to have separate single and multi pivot models for different purposes)

Either way, I understand the Fuse is a MTB now (just looked it up). Have no experience with it but their P-series bikes were plenty strong so I suppose that Fuse may be too. Especially as it bears the name of their former BMX series. There is more than enough competition making strong versatile hardtails so Specialized can't afford making something that doesn't deliver. Who's going to invest in a fancy Stumpjumper if you just wrecked your do it all Fuse?
  • 1 0
 @Chonky13: yeah I have the custom hardtail part but not the dh bike I would probably have a big enduro bike instead
  • 9 0
 Here's a question to talk about. Levy always gets razzed for his shitty car but what is the ideal vehicle for the mtb lifestyle anyway? Lots to cover here...keep the bike on a rack? Or inside? What's best for long trips? Van? Sprinter? Truck? For solo missions? For two? For the whole family? Let's hear it!
  • 26 0
 I mean the rules say you have to get a rusty Tacoma.
  • 1 0
 Good idea! See also: Reader Rides on Smile
  • 1 1
 @brianpark: Negative...dentists don't drive anything older than a 2019.
  • 2 1
 i dont know what problem everyone has with his mini Big Grin its absolutelly cool. i too like my cars old (and fun) and my bikes new. (now e30 with roof rack)
  • 1 0
 @mironfs: The mini is really pimped up with wider tires etc. I actually haven't seen any negative comments about it. It is a cool car. Anything bigger and more bikes (and ankles) would fail on the huck to flat test.
  • 1 0
 Screw biking, that mini is one of the best handling cars of all time, I would love to take that thing out on a track.
  • 1 0
 @Bomadics: im taking it back, i would never drive something somebody other build, more so levi Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @mironfs: so you built your own car and bike, dude!
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: brian is right these are the rules
  • 1 0
 Subaru, and miniVan for long trips, of course with all terrain tires.
  • 1 0
 Gotta be Tacoma Lots of options with the taco. Camper shell with modified bed and storage. Tepui tent. Bikes in, out, or on top. Denist camper pulled behind for that luxury lifestyle. Bonus points for the original 4 banger and 5 spd combo
  • 1 0
 @schlockinz: did you ever shop for Taco? They are nuts expensive. Plus gas plus repair cost,... not cheap
  • 2 0
 @Spiral23: I own one. Drive only about 5K miles a year or less. It's cost far less to maintain than my 98 ram 2500 did. Never met a truck whose gas mileage I liked, but I am always surprised at how poor the smaller trucks do compared to a full size.
  • 2 0
 I think the best vehicle is one that you can rack 1+ bikes on whichever way you want, but can store one inside for safety or work stealth...
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: False. It has to be a Tacoma TRD Pro with a OneUp bike rack and at least one Yeti SB165 on it. Otherwise you can't go fullenduro.
  • 9 1
 Mike Levy you re the best and PB editors should know it ! Im so glad that the podcast is

Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests

you re doing such a damn good job ! your own way to be set off free off the bike
  • 10 0
 @mikelevy ‘s mom’s out here runnin the comments section!!!
  • 5 0
 Riding bikes properly can be a good pressure relief. I might be much more aggressive and sketchy if I wouldn't be able to ride (or do something similar). As it is, it allows me to focus all that on my riding. My driving style (in cars) is boring (but safe and fuel efficient) as hell. When I see others drive their car aggressive and reckless, I realize the rest of their lives must be boring (though maybe still efficient) as hell.
  • 8 0
 Next week on the Pinkbike Podcast: Does your dog approve of your tire choice?
  • 5 0
 I’m sitting in a combine in southern Manitoba ripping through these podcasts. They’re so good. Also deciding what bike to buy because I destroyed my 08 Jamis Parker. Thanks for the podcasts guys
  • 2 0
 Glad you like 'em Smile
  • 6 0
 You guys need to get @jasonlucas in one of these podcasts
  • 5 0
 Yes we do.
  • 5 0
 Yea, I’m just holding on and hoping for the best
  • 1 0
 Question for future episode...

Having got into mountain biking late (Snowboarder/ski bum looking for summer mountain fun), I recently moved to the PNW and got a Pole Evolink, the modern geo (compared to my older Spesh Enduro) I've found to be a game changer (which was my intention), so much more confidence in pretty much every riding situation. Now i'm in a similar position for my wife, she's a snowboarder, not a beginner rider (rides certain blacks around Seattle) but I think she'd be helped massively by a longer, steeper bike. This is never mentioned in reviews, it's always about going faster, or based towards more experienced riders. I get this, but when I ride trails most people aren't really at that ability level. Can we get more comments in the reviews for riders that are looking for a bike to help them improve? And also, do you think this is because people want to think of themselves as better riders than they really are?
For example, i'm looking at the privateer 141 as a new frameset for her, but i'm a bit put off by it being talked about purely as a "gnarly, trail bike for going fast".
  • 2 0
 I think I have a similar question. I am in my first season on a slack bike and I am struggling to get used to it on my local trails, which are super tight. Basically everything on my bike is a huge improvement over the entry level hardtail that I moved up from. The biggest geometry change is head tube from 71 to 65.

I just can't make most of the slow speed turns, switch backs and awkward turns around trees. I feel like if I turn too much the front end flops over. Any advice?
  • 2 0
 I can offer some comment on that. Last fall my wife upgraded from a small 2015 Trek Fuel to a medium 2018 Remedy, so a huge step forward up in geometry between upsizing, updating, and going to a more aggressive platform. She's totally "overbiked". Even without any volume spacers, she isn't getting anywhere near full travel, but her riding changed dramatically for the better going to the new bike and she's been very happy with it. And it isn't just that the bike can help make up for mistakes and bad line choices, but it seems like more modern geo encourages a more centered position and better cornering technique than her old bike did without anyone actually telling her to do anything differently.
  • 1 0
 @vapidoscar: When I first got my bike, it felt huge. It does take a little while and tight, steep switchbacks are still what I find hardest, however I'm getting better every time. I think pole put up some videos on technique for long bikes and tight turns if that helps. Tbh, I haven't watched them though! I think I just need to go quicker!
  • 1 0
 @gibspaulding: That tallies with my experience, I feel I've got more time and can see more lines because I'm more relaxed and in control.
  • 1 0
 I wouldn’t go for the privateer for your wife. That thing is going to be a bit heavy. I’d look into something more neutral and approachable, that will let her riding progress, but not be too difficult to come to terms with. Cannondale habit, transition scout, Kona process 134 all tick those boxes
  • 2 0
 @vapidoscar: I’d try adjusting your riding position first and foremost, it sounds to me like you may be too far in the backseat, or your bars might be too high. Try lowering your bars by a cm and/or shifting your saddle forward on the rails by a cm, that will bring your mass slightly more forward. Bringing your chest closer to the stem will help load the suspension and give you greater control through the right stuff, and resist the flop.
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: this sounds good for up hill. What about when I am out of the saddle going down switch backs?
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: Geo not progressive enough on the habit imo. She rides a 29er and wants to keep the wheel size. Looked at a transition sentinel, and would definitely demo one if we could (we ride in Bellingham, but the factory demos aren't running atm), the privateer is heavy, but carbon is probably a bit pricey and the extra 1kg in frame can be saved on other bits of the build if needed. Would any of the other alu alternatives be that much lighter?
  • 1 0
 @vapidoscar: You might be surprised, but the same repositioning is what allows you to corner quickly on a downhill as well. I'm assuming you have a dropper post, so "out of the saddle" should actually mean you're dropping your body mass lower between your wheels, again, bringing your chest to the stem is going to put you in a more aggressive position, allowing you to drive the bike through the the turns. Look at vids of WC racers, and check their body positions in the tights stuff (downhill or XC, you'll see the same basic positions). If the switchbacks on your local trails are too steep and tight to ride through smoothly, I guess work on your euro waggle?
  • 2 0
 @adamszymkowicz: My biggest issue was watching the front wheel instead of looking through the turns to where I want to go. I got the down hills still need to work on the up hills.
  • 1 0
 @rob-chambo: If you're doing more "pedal-access downhill" than trail riding, then yeah, the sentinel makes more sense. If you're looking for a bike that your wife can ride anywhere on all trails, up and down, and have fun, I'd still consider the Habit or Process, or Pivot Switchblade. As far as the weight penalty of carbon vs. Aluminum, it's going to be really hard to make up a kg in a build without getting something carbon (Wheels would be the easiest, but also the most expensive, and that would sort of negate the idea of trying to min/max). And yes, the Privateer is heavy by aluminum standards, over 8lbs for the frame and shock alone, which translates to probably 35ish for a full build. I used to live in Bellingham (12 years ago now) and the biggest change for me swapping back to the East Coast was that the bike that worked great for long cruises up the fireroads to SST and Evo was absolute garbage for the twisty, techy trails of New England. I'm always going to recommend a more neutral bike though, because I think it's just less trail-dependent, and they're still amazingly capable.
  • 1 0
 Just started listening to the PB podcasts and wanted to say you guys are doing a great job!! The dynamic and conversation, especially between Mike K and Mike L, is great. So nice to listen to when I need something fun and chill.
  • 1 0
 Thanks, glad you're enjoying it! We're having a good time producing them.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark Question for the guys (and the audience) next week. Having seen the follow drone footage from the Audi Nines, would people tolerate WC downhill not being live if the static cameras were interspersed with drone footage?
  • 1 0
 @brianpark @mikelevy Would love to listen to an episode on bike fit... with geo changing so much over the past couple of years it's difficult to understand what are the key elements to focus on when determining if the numbers on paper would be a suitable bike to test ride. I'm a taller rider (6'7") and I've found there to be slim pickings when it comes to finding a bike with a high stack, long reach, and longer chain stays to keep the riding position feeling centered & stable at speed. It would be interesting to explore other topics like why some EWS riders size down frames to achieve certain ride dynamics.

Love the podcast series - keep the content flowing!
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy Linus Tech Tips is famous for dropping things that he is reviewing:
  • 2 1
 talk to any female mountain biker and more often than not, they are the ones who are forced to yield trail on flattish 2 way trails when "right of way" is ambiguous.
  • 6 0
 I pretty much always yield. It's not that big of a deal. If I am climbing, I get a break. If I am descending, I am following IMBAs rules. If the other person is a hiker, I am being considerate and not running them over and giving us a bad name.
  • 2 0
 It happens on steeper 2 way trails where right of way isn't ambiguous as well. I usually err on the side of waiting as we're all just there to enjoy being outside and I don't think much beyond that.
Unfortunately, I was recently informed that "7 more guys were coming down and I better get out of the way" while struggling up a 2 way trail alone. That little bit of "helpful advice" made me realize not one person had stopped for me that busy evening, up or down. I only saw one other woman that evening so it was just an odd night. Having testosterone breathing impatiently at me when I'm alone is pretty intimidating though. Younger guys seem to universally be a little more socially aware and fun. (i.e. its some 40-60 year old men that act entitled in my experience).
  • 2 0
 My riding style is very similar to my personality - past its prime and tinged with regret
  • 3 0
 Kazimer : Jerry
Levy : George
Sarah : Elaine
James : The Low Talker
  • 4 0
 Brian: Larry David
  • 1 0
 Levy is definitely way more Kramer than George
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: Levy does have an opinion column which is very much a George thing.
  • 1 0
 Riding with Levy is characterised by him yelling my name as loud as possible, for no real reason in particular, repeatedly. In case any one was wondering...
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike podcast duration to short (read: we like it we want more, get into the nitty gritty)
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore I'm so happy to hear I'm not the only one that giggles a lot whilst riding trails!
  • 1 0
 Question for next episode. Is it acceptable to put a new bike on a wedding gift registry. Asking for a friend...
  • 3 0
 I mean, it’s better than a blender, right?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I would absolutely say so, although I don’t own a blender right now and should probably put that on the list as well.
  • 1 0
 Have you considered/tried having guests from other publications on the podcast?
  • 1 0
 Sketchy is as sketchy does.
  • 2 0
 1:32 Kaz made my day.
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike podcast drinking game Every time James says eeermmm take a shot
  • 1 0
 My style matches my personality: careful, analytical and technical
  • 1 0
  • 1 2
 Am I the only one that cannot understand a word James says?
  • 1 0
 I can understand him perfectly, but it is odd that he sounds nothing like me, despite us living about 15 miles apart.
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