The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro

Dec 24, 2020
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich

Ben Cathro had been part of our downhill coverage for multiple seasons prior to him officially joining the Pinkbike team as presenter and race correspondent, and 2020 saw the return of the Privateer video series with Cathro as the focus. But with Corona throwing a wrench into basically everything world-wide, Ben's season of World Cup racing didn't exactly go as planned. Closed borders, serious injuries, suspension testing, and double-header events on borrowed bikes that lead to a first-time podium all made it an unforgettable year.

Episode 37 sees us sit down with Pinkbike video presenter Ben Cathro to talk all things Privateer.

December 24th, 2020

Chatting World Cup racing, training, suspension testing, and injuries with Cathro.

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
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

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 19 0
 I think the winner of the Mike vs Mike race should get a new official title added to their PB corporate nameplate. Like, “Mike Kaz, Senior Technical Editor and Ultimate Champion of the Entire World”
  • 5 0
 Looser should legally change their middle name to "Slow". Mike S. Kazimer/Levy...
  • 17 0
 All I want for Christmas... Is some info confirming Cathro is morphing Inside the Tape into a legit privateer race team that ensures some of the most promising privateers aren't held back by basic things like bike maintenance, food and shelter, and an extra track coach. PB tried to make a reality show that went okay, then ACCIDENTALLY made one of the best downhill series of videos ever.
  • 1 0
 Do you think it's just chance that his son's name is JC?
  • 11 0
 It would be interesting to see how much of the performance of these newer bikes are the frame and how much is the suspension/components? How about testing a newer modern geo bike with a ten year old shock and fork vs a ten year old frame with modern shock and fork?
  • 3 0
 Or even a bike that is a few years old (with reasonable geo) and very high end suspension vs a new high end off the shelf bike.
  • 1 0
 I have been saving up for fancy suspension on my bike for this very reason. I think if the geometry is even ok then the shocks can make up for the rest, new suspension technology is insane.
  • 4 0
 This would actually be pretty interesting and entertaining, given all the threads and posts in forums about buying a new bike or upgrading an oldish one. Test a 2012 bike with top spec components (the major stuff) against a new bike with middle ground componentry. Like test a 2012 GT fury with all the fancy new top of the line suspensions and compare it to a 2021 GT fury pro ( I hope the model name is right). Do it for DH, trail and enduro. Keep in mind sizing too maybe. This would be a cool project for the slower winter months.
  • 13 0
 Looking forward to Cathro's Pinkbike DH team next season!
  • 14 0
 The oligarchs have been blowing up my phone.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: just get Levy to go and rob a bank; tomorrow’s probably a good day for it. We need ‘PB Privateer; the team’!
  • 1 0

Great episode!

its cool that you guys have the funding & influence but please keep what made everything great in the 1st place.

I think the laid back mood comes in big part from Cathro’s experience, passion, ability to offer the appropriate insight and the crew helping him (props to the riders and Max). And that was certainly key for success! It’s crazy how many cool things are ruined when money plays a big role. I know that everybody would take more of it but the team should be more about natural growth & help. (Seems like that’s the goal, from what I hear) The entertainment for Pinkbike ppl will come by itself. Maybe some sort of fundraisingthat means less advertising and only the best, most dedicated mtb brands that actually care about the grassroots scene.

My two cents, there is enough marketing material in mtb. I found the PB academy idea cool but it was just painful to watch all the product placement; felt really yuppy to me. I personally wouldn’t show it to friends and family because they would just think racing is a bunch of privileged people that only tie their lifestyle to cheap thrills and shiny product. (those pb academy guys and most mtber’s are obv more than that) It’s cool that PB is here to create a community platform and simultaneously make money but you guys are selling a lot of us readers short if you think that this type of content represents our passion for mtb and propensity to share it with newcomers.

If I want to lust after shiny stuff I can read a review from the Mikes and enjoy some good writing while i’m at it. Or pretty much 90% of content on here.

  • 4 0
 @housem8d: A project as polished and big as the pinkbike academy needs serious funding, which comes from sponsors. The way that pinkbike provides value to those sponsors is by showing off their products to a highly relevant audience. I think they did a great job of making challenges that cleverly used sponsored products but weren’t dominated by them.
- go pro challenge could have been done on any action camera, and still required skill, but showcased go pro.
- suspension challenge was performed on fox forks, but it was still a test of participant’s ability to work on their bikes.
- they raced on orbea bikes with shimano parts, but it obviously takes rider skill to go fast (just like when racing WC on a sponsored bike)

While they did use all new fancy stuff, in the end the results of each challenge came down to something independent of that. A 60-second edit is still a 60-second edit, whether it was done with GoPro or not.
  • 9 1
 Look at this graph I made for building jumps!
  • 2 0
 Sweet. I forgot calculus and kinematics after the University.
  • 4 0
 I like that you can adjust gravity! How do I do this when I am on the trail?? It would definitely change how I ride!! Smile
  • 1 4
 Have you heard of air resistance?
  • 3 0
 How can one choose "meters" as the unit for the length of the jump, "m/s^2" as the unit for g and then use mph for speed?
You Americans crack me upSmile
  • 2 0
 @bashhard: haha, originally I had the unit of speed as m/s, but I assumed a bunch of people would be confused so I added a conversion. The equations only work in meters haha!
  • 4 0
 @Hambo24: No I haven't. What is it? On second thought yes I have heard of it. Do you know your cross sectional area and drag coefficient? Because if you do then I can account for air resistance in the equation for you
  • 2 0
 Great work dude. My guess is it probably works better the bigger the jump gets too, where the effects of rider energy input (pumping/popping) are lost in the scale of a 40ft table.

Did you think about ramp shape at all? Most have some kind of curved transition.
  • 1 0
 @Altron5000: Thank you, yeah I wasn't sure how to account for pumping. I didn't consider the shape of the ramp, the equation basically says if you instantly start going x speed at said angle "a", you will follow a certain path.
The equation does not account for any activity before the takeoff. E.g. if you start a takeoff at 15m/s but you reach the end of the takeoff at 10m/s, the equation will still accurately tell you how far you fly at 10m/s. If you hit a ramp going 10m/s and at the end of the takeoff you are still travelling 10m/s, the equation will give you the same result. Basically, the shape of the ramp doesn't matter, what matters is how fast you are going at the end of the ramp.
Curved transitions conserve the most energy and speed, and so these work best in real life because you lose less speed from going off them.
  • 5 0
 Would love to have Cathro on as a regular guest! Also this Privateer team is a brilliant idea!
  • 1 0
 I came to post the same, get Ben in more regularly please @brianpark - especially when there's racing to be discussed (so you've got a while to sort it out then).
  • 2 0
 Two random questions. 1. What time does James have to wake up at to record this show?
2. Instagram profile claims "world largest online cycling community and news source" bold claim. Can you back that up in numbers? mostly just curious how many active users are running around on here. Thanks cheers and have a Merry Christmas.
  • 2 0
 The lead mod reminds me at the swat box test with specialized. They added weight in the swat box of a stumpjumper, and did some time testing in downhill section. It worked best with 1kg in the swat box.
  • 4 0
 Reader question: which Mike would do better in the Whistler EWS...Kaz or Levy?
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Thats assuming that Kaz, won't be allowed to enter Canada at this time....sneaky
  • 3 0
 A Minion and a hans damf equivalent...... Someone needs to make him ride those back to back.
  • 2 0
 Levy - dhf. dhr's run too slow.
What? Isn't that the other way around??? @mikelevy please explain
  • 3 0
 @rrolly: I think it depends on conditions, but my experience has been that the DHF rolls faster. In straight up loam, DHR ii is better option.
  • 1 0
 I recall Ben with the Orange with the lead weight on the downtube, wet n wild race Innerleithen. We had finished our runs and went see him doing the last jump out the bomb hole, and we were wtf! Now I know why...
  • 3 0
 Might have to pop my PB podcast cherry on this one.
  • 4 2
 They may take our Trade Deal with Europe but they'll never take our Cathro!
  • 2 0
 "Why do complain every year, is it just like a reflex?"
Haha, that was gold!
  • 1 0
 Comment of the year from Levy on babies. “Isn’t it just like a bird and you just throw a blanket over them and they go to sleep”
  • 2 0
 I could listen to Mike trash talk Mike and vise versa all day
  • 1 0
 Love these podcasts. Keep up the good work.
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