The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes

Jan 15, 2021
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich.

With many top-tier racers changing teams or finding themselves without a sponsor for the coming year, this might be the silliest of silly seasons. We’ve seen Loris Vergier move to Trek, cross-country powerhouse Pauline Ferrand Prevot go to Absolute Absalon, Emily Batty leave Trek after forever, Zink off YT, and many other moves.

Number 41 covers all the big team news, from racers to freeriders.

January 15th, 2021

Which racer do you want to see on the Grim Donut?

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
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 41 - The Pinkbike Awards!

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 17 6
 Great listen, once again very pleased with the appropriate use of 'assclown' to describe some of the utter belters that exist on this site.
  • 10 2
 He is definitely an assclown.
  • 3 5
 @mikelevy: Word. I assume he's also the same assclown that downvoted my comment. Keep up the good work Team PB, the podcasts are brilliant.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: No mikelevy is a Squamish dork you mixed that up with assclown... well maybe both haha! Oh wait your not talking about mikelevy?
  • 4 1

It's this the best venue to formally request to change my user name to "assclown"?
  • 8 1
 @skimtb1: We already use it internally for you, but I'll look into a more formal change haha
  • 2 2

Too bad for you that based on the upvotes, the assclowns appear to have one up on the dorks...

  • 1 4

The only problem for you would be that my ass would just continue to clown the PB editorial team both in the comments section, and on the trails...
  • 5 0
 @skimtb1: Ha, are we going to have to go for a mountain bike ride one day and find out? I ride mountain bikes, though, not just drive them up hills to coast back down... you might have a tough time keeping up Wink
  • 2 5

I only own a DH bike but have good extension on my seat post, so as long as you're willing to climb a DH rig with a low range cassette too? You're wading into shark infested waters.
  • 2 0
 @skimtb1: The precise reason I used to own a bunch of Orange downhill bikes over the years.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy @mikekazimer Is it fair to assume the "worst worst" comment (where you banned the user) was racist in nature? If so, I'm kind of disappointed that you tip-toed around that, just calling it "shitty". We know that the overwhelming whiteness of MTB creates some pretty ugly prejudice, and I think in order to make progress we're going to have to address that prejudice directly and call it what it is: racism. I'm another white guy so certainly there are other folks with more relevant perspectives out there, but this just bugged me too much not to say anything.

Tangentially related: It would be really great to bring Eliot on the pod for an episode sometime!
  • 1 0

We built a new DH track in Nelson called 'assclown'. You can the PB dork squad should come check it out!

But I'll believe it when I see it!
  • 13 0
 Loving the more frequent Podcasts!
  • 3 0
 Hell yes, love the overview and editors take on the recent articles and really helps me get some perspective on where everyone’s moving on the racing scene!
  • 10 0
 Im just waiting for another creepy woods stories podcast with RC. ill listen to this for now,
  • 12 0
 We sent RC a new mic and we'll have him back on soon!
  • 7 0
 I do have a question for the Pinkbike crew. How important is racing to mountain biking as a sport? I don't see much non-endemic appeal to racing as a whole. Do you think the "go fast" marketing is resonating with the average consumer, or is there a more measured approach you would like to see?
  • 5 0
 That's a good one. I'm a huge fan of racing, at both the grassroots and global level. Even non-competitive riders can appreciate watching the world's best rocketing down a gnarly DH track, or battling it out on an XC circuit.

In the US, I think NICA has been a great way to get more kids on bikes, and at that age (all ages, really) racing is a great outlet for healthy competition. The same goes for the growth of enduro racing - for riders of all abilities it's nice to be able to have a goal to work towards, whether that's the top step of the elite podium, or just making it to the finish line.

Sure, not everyone wants to race, and there's no problem at all with that, but I do think that racing is an important part of the sport.
  • 4 0
 @CMAT17 - I don't follow racing as closely as Kazimer and some of the other staff; there can only be so much bikes in my life, so I won't often sit down to watch racing unless it's something special. That said, I'm overly competitive with everything and there are a lot of other people like that out there, so I can see why that marketing makes so much sense.

The question is: Do you respond to a racer winning on X bike or someone having fun in a video on X bike?
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: I'm a newbie to the sport, so how I experience with mountain biking is roughly the same as my experience with skiing in that I think racing is cool, exciting, and vicariously stressful, but I don't see myself wanting a XC super light or the next enduro monster truck, much like how I don't see myself buying some skinny-stiff chopsticks from the other big S. I don't consider myself much of a free-rider either. Maybe the most ideal marketing campaign would be some 30 year old dude/person kinda just shrugging and saying, "Bike goes up and down."

I will concede that I succumbed to race marketing super hard when I bought my first road bike out of college. It's a good bike, and I love riding it, but I wouldn't say that something much cheaper wouldn't have done the exact same job either. Maybe that colors my thinking.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: personally there have been brands (cube for instance) that I kinda thought were a little lame or just did not excite me. But after seeing them on top of the podium I completely reevaluated my take on them. I think that showing the consumers that your bike can win races, especially for the smaller brands that need to prove theyre a viable option, is a great way to stir interest in your company
  • 1 0
 @bike-lair: Hell yeah, racing = marketing and it works.
  • 1 0
 I love watching racing. There's a "story" to it, we get some pre race bike checks, some course previews, the actual race, the team videos after... and the viewer can watch as much or as little as they want.
Hacking together a 10 minute video of some skids in the woods doesnt hold my interest; and even when something geniunely good comes out - like a Semenuk video - I'll find out about it on here or youtube, watch it, watch it again, and then thats it. Maybe YT will recomend it to me again in a few months, and I'll watch it again.
  • 8 0
 You guys are KILLING it! I love these podcasts so much
  • 2 0
 Stoked you're into them!
  • 2 0
 Idea for future podcast: Some brands have a common suspension design or layout across their entire bike range, santa cruz for example. Other brands have one layout for short travel xc rigs and a different one for trails bikes, and a different one for longer travel enduros and dh bikes, specialized for example. Which approach makes the most sense? Which approach makes the most sense form a marketing perspective? From an engineering perspective? Perhaps include Roberts and Seb.
  • 2 0
 What bike parts and accessories aren't wear items? Drivetrains wear out, brakes need bled too often, tires need replaced at least once a year, wheels break, grips and seats wear out, droppers need rebuilt, and suspensive needs serviced regularly.

Like at the end of a year or two all I'm left with is a bunch of worn out components I can't sell, a bunch of new components to wear out, and, thousands of dollars worth of debt.
  • 3 0
 Valve caps and stems, I hope.

But for real, I some things (frames, suspension, controls) to last 10+ years of hard riding with regular service, while other things I expect to replace regularly (tires, cleats, grips, brake pads) without being grumpy about it.
  • 4 0
 Ayup guys, didn't the ''BULLDOG'' go from Mondraker to GT then back to Mondraker? mint podcast BTW.
  • 1 0
 Good call, can't believe I missed that one.
  • 1 0
 Ahhh fack, that's one we should have gotten! Nice @DB76
  • 1 0
 Love the podcasts but really disappointed to hear you tear apart a listener on this one for having an opinion that didn't match that of the presenters. We're all individuals, pinkbike is a great forum for discussion and sharing those opinions - a bit of a concern that if any of us share an opinion that isn't popular we will be called an 'ass clown' and ridiculed on air. Having said that love everything else about the podcasts, please keep them coming!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Following up on the time I met you at the Santa Cruz HQ (I'm not going to harp on that much, you meet a ton of people I'm pretty sure but maybe you remember the convo), your shoes were pretty destroyed and you seemed disappointed. I showed you mine (they were from Bontrager and had ABSURDLY long shoe-laces) and had a quarter size cut in them after 3 months of ownership.

You said I should get a new pair and complain. I never did and feel like I should have. After hearing this podcast I understand where your opinion is coming from better -- you like things to last a long time under tough conditions. What is your future proof brand of shoe?

Also, might be worth thinking about an article on a list of items where things last (maybe that is just value?).
  • 4 0
 I remember! I think I had grabbed the wrong shoes or was maybe wearing my dollar-store sandals? haha

My old Specialized's S-Works shoes have been going strong for years and years; love 'em. I've also had good luck with Bontrager's Rally shoe, although I'd like the sole to be a bit stiffer. That said, I wear race-y shoes way more often than the Rallys.

We've got a whole video series on where to save and where to spend coming out real soon Smile
  • 1 0
 5-10 freerider pro lasted me 3 months! Adidas terrex trailcross have lasted 2 years and still riding in them this winter and the sole is only just reaching the condition of the free riders! More than 10000 km in the terrex 2500 km in the 5-10’s. Same company similar price.
  • 2 0
 Three months ain't long enough - bummer.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: no it’s a bit of a piss take
  • 2 0
 Kazimers climbing shoe comparison is a relevant one: there are resoling shops Everywhere!
Why the ... aren't there flatpedalshoe-resoling-soles out there?
I know Adidas have discontinued selling 5.10 resoling soles for climbing shoes (and I hold that against them!) but there are good alternatives like Vibram still out there.
In this day of environment protection the industri should embrace longevity of their products.
  • 2 0
 In the podcast #41 you guys asked the question, who has changed teams to go back to a team that they had previously been on? Answer, Jered Graves, was on Yeti from 2004-2015, Specialized 2016-2019, and now back on Yeti.
  • 1 0
 Bulldog is another who has left a top team to sign with them again. MS Mondraker to GT and then back to MS Mondraker
  • 1 0
 Why was there no talk about EWS? Is Enduro inferior to DH or XC racing? You made a tiny mention on Katy Winton but that's it (who, by the way is an amazing female rider and when she came back from that concussion managed to podium in the last half of the season). Not sure what Trek was thinking, she is so consistent and has really upped the social media side of things. Oh and you also talked about Sam Hill, but only about the part that he was click baiting the world. That pretty much solidified a good years worth of attention to the brand in 2 posts....he's done now.
  • 1 0
 Speaking of universal health care, do you guys think riders in the U.S. would take more risk and push themselves to be better riders if they didn't have to worry about crazy health care cost?
  • 4 0
 Excellent question. I can see this being the case, and I might think this way if I lived in the US. One crash could be life-changing, and not because of injuries but costs. Insane.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I think this is a pretty common misconception of the US healthcare system. While there are no doubt countless examples of people who go broke paying medical bills, the ACA, passed over a decade ago, eliminated lifetime maximum coverage and insurance plans all have modest (relatively speaking) annual out-of-pocket maximums. Sure they can be pretty steep, but quite literally 100% of people who have insurance (which was basically required by law as you paid a tax penalty up until a few years ago if you didn't seek insurance) are not subject to the extreme costs that we so often hear about. We have nearly 9x as many people as Canada right, so for every sad Canadian story, there are roughly 9 equivalently terrible things in the States. I don't mean to come across as anti-universal healthcare as I'm anything but, and I certainly am not defending the price of healthcare in the US (though there are as many reasons to justify the cost as to vilify). I just get a little triggered by a universally held belief (by many Americans as well) that they will go into eternal poverty every time they see a doctor. In many ways, this general reluctance to seek medical attention has contributed to generally poor heath in the US despite having arguably many of the best doctors, hospitals, medicine, and medical equipment to have ever existed.
  • 5 6
 Glad I've ruffled some feathers over there. If you guys are thinking twice before uploading your usual trail clone marketing tripe, then I've done my job. I realize you guys are taking the piss, but only a true out-of-touch S2S dork could even conceive to rock a water bottle on a DH bike.
  • 7 1
 Definitely never thinking twice. I will only buy a DH bike if it fits two bottles inside the front triangle and the tire doesn't rub my extra-large seatbag haha Wink
  • 2 0
 Brook went back to mondraker Graves to yeti Not a bike brand but, Aaron Gwinn back to whitely
  • 1 0
 Graves went back to Yeti?
  • 1 0
 @vhdh666: He did and I can't believe we didn't remember ugh
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I guess we didn't remember because of the pandemic: we didn't see him racing in Yeti gear
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike merch should have comment gold t-shirts for the winners! I'll pay shipping! Also #someonesponsorclaw
  • 2 0
 Unparraleeled says that they can resole 510’s. I think resoling is the answer for us aassclownzzz for sure
  • 1 0
 Has kaz been using crocs as his shoes for flats, and is that why he’s alright with them only lasting a month?
  • 2 0
 I like your name too Levy Smile
  • 2 0
 Yep Brook returned to Mondraker after a stint on another team
  • 1 0
 I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but let’s just say Sam Hill back to racing DH!
  • 2 0
 I wish!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: great podcasts, btw on the social media topic I follow greg minaar on Instagram and he’s on it most days
  • 1 0
 Loving the podcast and 2 in 1 week is a nice bonus! Can't wait for the e-bike one, there will be some comment gold!
  • 1 0
 Question for ya'll

What exercises/activities do ya'll do to help stave off chronic injuries from mountain biking?
  • 4 0
 Does napping count?
  • 1 0
 I try to stretch for 30-60 mins each day and have some bodyweight circuit stuff I do for maybe 4-6 months of the year, depending on what's going on. I dog walk for hours every day, too, and when I'm riding a ton, I always make sure to sleep as much as I can. That's it.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Sorry, did you say you do that bodyweight circuit stuff once every 4-6 months over the year? I must have read that wrong!! ????
  • 1 0
 @cmolina: No, I do it for 4-6 months during the year. I don't do that stuff during summer or when I'm riding a bunch.
  • 1 0
 Guys his name pronounced "ush-sheen" not ocean. Sorry lads couldn't take it anymore
  • 1 0
 We might have the worst pronunciation on the internet, sorry.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: stankshun, commensell, and fabian bearel.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: we need a dictionary according to levy
  • 1 0
 How many pinkbike points does it take to redeem for a Grim Donut in the size and flavor of my choice?
  • 1 0
 Come on people. With regard to switch to a team and then back again... mr Jared graves Yeti-specialised-yeti
  • 1 0
 Doh... just noted someone else said the same. Sorry for the repeat... somewhat appropriate for the topic.
  • 1 0
 f*ck me 'Racer / influencer'..... awful awful awful
  • 1 0
 Jared Graves left Yeti to Specialized and back to Yeti
  • 1 0
 Good call!
  • 1 0
 Another one we missed @Nmullen55
  • 1 0
 Comment gold : black pink bike shirt with gold letters.
Wear with pride
  • 1 4
 I can honestly feel the disdain you guys have for your readers listeners. “So many people got angry”, “ass clown” “shit comment.” Unbelievable. It’s like you think we the masses are just idiots that you have to deal with as an annoying part of your job, when in reality we are the reason you have jobs. Also crazy that “below threshold comments are hidden “ So if someone has an unpopular opinion, you just censor it out? Come on, you can do better
  • 3 0
 Too much seriousness in your comment but there's not much in what we say. There are always a few ass clowns in every group and I wouldn't want it any other way. Just like there's always a Mr. Serious in the group.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: guess I was being a bit too serious. For the record, love the podcast and the site
  • 1 0
 Did Cody kelly do specialized to yeti to alchemy and back to specialized?
  • 1 0
 I think so!
  • 1 0
 Brook Mc - Mondraker, GT, Mondy IiRC. Philthy Phil - Propain
  • 1 0
 Love the podcast, but it is better when Sarah is on, in every way.
  • 1 0
 We'll try to mix things up a bit more Smile
  • 1 2
 Podcast, cool. Now where the F are the Friday Fails?

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