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The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 62 - Editor Preferences and Why They Matter

May 14, 2021
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

We all have our preferences, and no matter how objective and impartial we are, they can still color our reviews. That's why we try to be transparent about those preferences when writing a product review, be it a fondness for a certain suspension trait, an unexplainable love for headache-inducing internally routed cables, or maybe only liking blue bikes. Number 62 is all about editor preferences and why they matter.

May 6th, 2021

What kind of linkage fork do you prefer?

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.

Presented by Polygon:

This week's Pinkbike Podcast is presented by Polygon Bikes. Polygon is one of the few global bike brands with their own manufacturing facilities where they also produce bikes OEM for loads of other brands. In order to provide better value to riders, their bikes are available factory direct and through Bikes Online in the US and Australia. Polygon’s Siskiu T8 is proof that good geometry needn't cost the world, opening up way more trails to any rider. Learn more about the Siskiu T8 at polygonbikes.com.

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 40 - The Pinkbike Awards!
Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes
Episode 42 - Mountain Biking's Guilty Pleasures
Episode 43 - Dangerholm's Wildest Custom Mountain Bikes
Episode 44 - Mountain Bike Suspension Decoded
Episode 45 - What Makes a Good Riding Buddy
Episode 46 - The RockShox Zeb vs Fox 38 Deep Dive
Episode 47 - High Pivot Bikes: The Good, The Bad, and The Why?
Episode 48 - Rides That Went Horribly Wrong... & Why That Made Them So Good
Episode 49 - What's the Best DH Bike?
Episode 50 - Are Bikes Actually Getting Less Expensive? (Value Bike Field Test Preview)
Episode 51 - Should MTB Media Post Spy Shots?
Episode 52 - Our Most Embarrassing MTB Moments
Episode 53 - Should Climbers Still Have the Right of Way?
Episode 54 - Best and Worst MTB Product Marketing
Episode 55 - Big Dumb Rides & Staying Motivated
Episode 56 - What Were the Most Important Inventions in Mountain Biking?
Episode 57 - What Were the Best (and Worst) Trends in Mountain Biking?
Episode 58 - Debunking Mountain Biking's Biggest Myths
Episode 59 - Value Bike Field Trip Surprises & Spoilers
Episode 60 - What Kind of Mountain Biker Do You Want to Be?
Episode 61 - Athlete Pay, Lycra, Equality and More from the State of the Sport Survey

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
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  • 13 0
 I don't think the editors quite understand how slow and how mellow the trails are that genuine beginners spend the first year of riding on, and how awful the brakes are on most people's bikes before they get a new AND how little they noticed until they got a new bike.
  • 13 1
 My dental hygienist joke was lambasted and my reputation as an online commenter dragged through the mud!I swear I never heard that one before, but my compliments to the originator.
  • 12 1
 That article was a criminal offence. Nobody will ever forgive you, Quinney!
  • 28 2
 No retreat! No surrender!
  • 5 0
 I'm pretty sure it's also against Pinkbike Terms and Conditions
  • 24 0
 I encourage all team members to pick ridiculous hills to die on.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: someone please choose preferring weak brakes. my friend has weak brakes and he does not intend to fix them even though they make him crash a lot lol
  • 8 0
 Question: if you run metal pads on resin-only rotors, will the bike explode?
  • 8 0
 No, but the rotors might.
  • 2 0
 The resin-only rotors don't have the heat-treating of the more expensive rotors so they aren't as wear resistant and may take an interesting shape after a few heat-cycles on your favorite descent.
  • 3 0
 Following up on Brian's point about how the riders are happy with the lower end brakes. I think this is a very valid statement. I have a friend who's new to riding, not technically inclined, on a value hardtail with shimano brakes, multi finger levers and resin pads/resin only rotors. They're very happy with with performance and don't feel the wandering bite point or a lack of power, they're just out having fun and happy that the bike is meeting their needs.

While yes this is good for green/blue level riders. The point stands blue/black level riders should be able to spend $2-3k. And not be worried about the brakes.
  • 1 0
 I sometimes wonder if the much maligned multi-finger brake levers are meant to be more familiar to folks who are coming from older rim brake bikes. If that is indeed the reason, I would like to point out that it is now 2021 and that product managers should drop that consideration. Those levers promote far too many compromises on control ergonomics to potentially ease a very small amount of learning curve.

As for the resin pads and rotors, I can kind of understand that. Resin pads have a more gentle bite and run quieter, so for some novice mountain bikers it makes them less "scary" and reduces their most common complaint. However, I wish they weren't paired with resin-only rotors. Resin pads work fine on proper rotors, and if someone wants the bite and wear characteristics of sintered it is a much cheaper upgrade if you don't need rotors too.
  • 3 0
 Just bought my wife her first bike, Norco fluid fs2. The fork is by far the biggest let down. Rockshox 35 silver r(130mm).
Its a coil fork and that is fine but rockshox does not offer any lighter springs to tune it. Talked to my lbs, even checked the 2021 rockshox part catlog and no parts on offer... the rest of the bike is great but this fork is a bad spec in my opinion.
  • 3 1
 I agree with Henry. I don't find them that hard to thread through. My issue with cable routing is when the brake or shifter cable go under the BB. Having had to replace my brake line multiple times due to rock strikes sucks. Also, no rear brake sucks.
  • 2 0
 There's a rear brake?

Hmm. No wonder i go through front pads so fast.
  • 2 0
 I was very fortunate to have a bunch of friends pitch in on a birthday for my full suspension bike a dozen years back. The brakes? Shimano M466. (Had to look them up)

A bit of a wooden “on-off” feel but no wandering bite point. Power was completely adequate and although they didn’t have the modulation of later Guides or all-out power of Codes, I don’t remember them ever being a problem with 4 years and never a bleed. They just worked and worked and worked with zero maintenance. Rode the f*** out of that bike.
  • 2 0
 I suspect that the more time you spend riding and testing high-end components, the more your tolerance for things that aren't as good goes down. Of course when you're familiar with the best the industry has to offer then the flaws of less expensive parts are going to be more obvious, and therefore maybe seem more serious than they are.
I've spent the last 5+ years riding a Haro bike with Hayes mechanical disc brakes which I'm sure are absolute garbage, but the bike was given to me and I was stoked just to have disc brakes at all. I have ridden bikes with better brakes and felt the difference, but mine work just fine and I couldn't always afford or justify the upgrade, so when Levy says 'these Tektro brakes don't work at all!' to me that means 'these Tektro brakes aren't as good as other, more-expensive brakes', and my response to that is, "So what?"
  • 1 0
 you can't miss what don't have
  • 2 0
 Question for the next podcast maybe for @dan-roberts or @RichardCunningham why are fork offset done at the crown and not the axle? Some gravel bikes have flip chip to adjust the offset and seems like a benefit for mountain bike riders too.
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike: by all means pleaes wow us w/ posting 2 podcasts a week. PB is easily the only cast where I listen to episodes 4-6 times when they release, and often again later once I've worn them out - always easy pick up a new comment or idea I missed on previous listen. Lets just go to 2 casts a week and leave it at that - thanks.

But, does this mean no cast next week actually? What's up the w/ the double drop in just a week?
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy You should write a "staff ride" article about your F-Podium, which you bless every other podcast. I usually agree 95% with your biases and like the Mondraker geometry a lot. However, I fully agree with field test review of Sarah and James that points to the really unconventional (to be diplomatic) shock tune.
  • 1 0
 More staff rides!
  • 2 1
 I've been riding a 5 year old entry-level Kona for the last 3 years. The 3x9 gearing is perfectly adequate. The fork and shock are likely crappy but I don't know any better so no complaints. But on every ride I wish I had better brakes!! I've been resistant to making investments to major components in a basically average bike, preferring to wait and just get a better bike, so bad brakes is something I just have to put up with for now.....
  • 5 0
 Question: Where are the “We are One composite” new bike spy shots?
  • 2 0
 Strange and weird products that Mike Levy likes: Salsa Bucksaw. www.pinkbike.com/news/salsa-bucksaw-review.html

I have never ridden one of these, but I'm quite sure I'd love it too.
  • 1 0
 I've still got my Trust Message fork. It's going to be part of a future project, maybe some sort of weird cruiser or overbuilt gravel bike. The fork actually works really well on most of my local trails which are flat, smooth and flowy.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Discussion for the next podcast. Your trail building article/ video kicked the hornets nest that has always been there: The consistent showing of mountain bikers in media posts actively showing exactly what you all have highlighted as things that are bad for trails. What is PB's take on this? Do you think you might play a role in this behaviour? Mountain biking has been rooted in an anti biking niche culture kind of riding. There is now a drastic shift in access and demographics and as more and more riders take up the sport. Thoughts?
  • 1 0
 You can find a trail like Iowa in Squamish, but can you find one like Florida?

I recently did a 15 mile ride and only climbed 500 feet, and that was on the "hilly" trails we have locally:

  • 1 0
 my first real mountain bike had 160mm rotors and resin pads. It took me 3 rides to realize I needed more stoping power. 203mm rotors helped but I still had zero faith in the braking abilities of the bike.
  • 1 0
 From the AI on twitter: My wife and I have been going through this same thing. We had a crash in the garage. No one was injured.

Laughing my a** of at work...
  • 1 0
 One question I'd love to hear everyone answer: if you were forced to buy one bike and that's the only bike you could ride for the rest of your life what would it be?
  • 1 0
 Where I live the average salary for a hygienist is $53/hr. Pinkerverse needs a better comparison.
  • 1 0
 So reviewers have biases..... fine, take the most notice of the reviewer whise preferences align with yours!
  • 1 0
 Sounds like evil holds the issue w PB. Owned and liked em in the past but not loaning test bikes is really low Evil -1
  • 2 0
 Great story about the pinkbike tattoos!! Thanks
  • 17 20
 You guys need to realize that REGULAR mountain bikers don't have to futz with cables all the damned time. As product testers, you guys have to do so. If you work in a shop, you have to do so.

The vast majority of mountain bikers don't have to screw around with cables that much, so internal is good.

Products are rarely designed for 5% of the user base. If they were, all vehicles would still come with manual transmissions.
  • 11 7
 What? Are you saying that because one performs a task infrequently the task should be more complicated that it needs to be? How is that logical?
  • 6 0
 I strongly disagree. I have a special "tool" made from an old cable housing and a line forming a loop, because it is not possible to push the dropper cable on my Meta, i can only pull it up through the seat post! I still remember trying to route them first time using a vacuum cleaner, some thread and lot's of tape to air seal the frame Wink And you should replace god damn derailleur cable every year or so, the same with dropper. I cannot remember last time I spit out so many offensive words towards a guy I will never meet Wink
  • 10 0
 @Explodo - Hmm, not sure that I agree with that thought. It's not okay that routing is trash just because someone might not tinker with it that often. I understand that manual transmission suggestion, but I don't think the two things are parallel. I own three different grabber tools and hate that I need to use them a handful of times every year.
  • 8 0
 And another thing: I usually prefer manual transmissions, it angers me that they are nearly extinct for new vehicles (in the usa anyhow). Since when is not having the option to have a manual or external routing a good thing?
  • 3 0
 @kcy4130: same is happening in europe too.Frown
  • 5 1
 Upvoted on accident! Fuck internal routing!
  • 1 2
 I suppose I've been lucky with my bikes that the internal routing isn't difficult to deal with, even on the non-tube-in-tube types.
  • 5 0
 @Explodo: But i bet it wasn't easier than working on external cables
  • 8 0
 @lkubica: I routed a few internal brake hoses through the front traingle, and thought "huh, what's all the fuss?"
Then I did a rear shifter housing replacement which threaded thorough the @$&"* %×¢# chain stay...solid hour of cuss words till it finally poked through Really Mad
  • 7 2
 My bias is in favour of internal cable routing at this time. Reasons include:

1. I’ve never had to deal with routing them.

My bias might change with time.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Does the price of a bike/frame increase with the ease of cable routing? Are the value bikes the worst and the dentist bikes the easiest?
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: It's just brand and frame dependent. Not very cost related.
  • 1 0
 dat bite point doe
  • 1 0
Fair Enough
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