The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 86 - Greg Minnaar on the Honda DH Bike, World Cup Racing, and Staying Fast Forever

Oct 28, 2021
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

Can you imagine having the skills, fitness, strength, and mental fortitude to win a single World Cup downhill race? That's essentially impossible for all but a few of us, regardless of how hard we train. But there are also those inimitable racers who not only win a World Cup or three, but also defy the passing of time to keep winning... Despite much younger competitors pushing the sport to new heights. Having won four World Championships, with his first and most recent coming eighteen years apart, Greg Minnaar is definitely on that list. Minnaar has seen the sport change drastically during that time, and this podcast interview sees us talk about everything from racing in South Africa to racing against Nicolas Vouilloz, competing at the Red Bull Rampage, being a factory Honda rider on the RN-01, to how he's managed to stay so fast for so long, and a whole bunch more.

Oh, and that time he was chased by an angry giraffe mom...

Oct 28th, 2021

If a giraffe is chasing you, should you run, play dead, or climb a tree?

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 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
Episode 62 - Editor Preferences and Why They Matter
Episode 63 - Our Best (And Worst) Bike Buying Advice
Episode 64 - Who's On Your MTB Mount Rushmore?
Episode 65 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 66 - The Best and Worst of Repairing Bikes
Episode 67 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham
Episode 68 - Who Are Mountain Biking's Unsung Heroes?
Episode 69 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 1
Episode 70 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 2
Episode 71 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham - A Pinkbike Podcast Special, Part 2
Episode 72 - Hey Outers!
Episode 73 - The Details That Matter... and Some That Shouldn't
Episode 74 - The Best Trails We've Ridden and What Makes Them So Special
Episode 75 - Things MTB Brands Waste Money On
Episode 76 - MTB Originals and Copycats
Episode 77 - Interview with Outside CEO, Robin Thurston
Episode 78 - Modern Geometry Explained
Episode 79 - What's the Future of eMTBs?
Episode 80 - The Best Vehicles for Mountain Bikers
Episode 81 - You've Got Questions, We've (Maybe) Got Answers
Episode 82 - Behind the Scenes at Field Test
Episode 83 - Does Carbon Fiber Belong On Your Mountain Bike?
Episode 84 - Explaining RockShox's Computer Controlled Suspension
Episode 85 - Is the Red Bull Rampage Too Slopestyle?

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 61 1
 Greg is always so modest and also thoughtful with his answers. He is - lets face it - a rare bit of class in the sport these days. No yeeeww, stoked , send it bollocks. Just a proper fast downhill racer.
  • 19 0
 Totally, classy AF.
  • 45 0
 I've always wondered if a GOAT was faster than a Giraffe. Thank you for the hard hitting journalism that finally answered this question.
  • 2 1
 Underrated comment ^^^
  • 5 0
 @Jdricks: I feel like @Tajlucas should be drawing this as a cartoon right now.
  • 7 0
 We dig deep to get to the bottom of important stories that matter most to Pinkers Wink
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: as someone who is closer to 40 than any other age(and prefers doing most things solo) I really do enjoy Mike and Mike’s take on things. The only way the partnership could be better is if one of you was named Ike.
  • 21 0
 A topic I think would be cool for the podcast, forgive me if this has been covered before:

how to go about building new trails in your vicinity (that may have none) and what kind of trails would you guys build if you had none around (not necessarily your favorite type of trails as there are considerations of effort, time, and money)? How to build trails on a budget (of time and money) and what are the obstacles/pitfalls of trail building that most people don’t consider. How to make it sustainable with the area around so it does no cause unnecessary damage and erosion.

Thanks a lot, love the podcast. Good job on it!
  • 14 0
 A trail-building podcast is a great idea. Added to the list! I haven't done much trail work over the last few years, so I may need to get an expert on...
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Cam Zink would be a rad person to hear talk about trail building.
  • 3 0
 @Trailfingers: then him and Levy can hash out their disagreements on Reno!
  • 1 0
 @InstantBreakfast: Levy has beef with Reno? Them's fightin' words! Reno is underrated!
  • 9 0
 I usually struggle to get into podcasts unless the content is super compelling... like this one.

To current listeners, does PB release video of their podcasts? I know it that's not the heart of podcasts, but I find them more interesting when being able to see the person as they speak, expression, gestures, etc.
  • 3 0
 We won't be doing many (or any) live but they'll eventually be on Youtube Smile
  • 1 0
 When hasn't the content been super compelling? It may just depend on how ya take in info. I'm usually very visually oriented & have to see things, but w/ this cast - and it takes me 3-4 listens per cast to really soak it all up - it's pretty visual for me. Guess that's just me making the pictures in my head...
  • 1 1
 @Mtn-Goat-13: I can dodge in and out of PB during the day but to consumer an hour long discussion it has to be once all the other humans in my house are asleep... and audio puts me to sleep, every time. Not just PB podcasts, any podcast... so when I say super compelling, I mean like on the edge of my seat, hanging on every word content.
  • 1 1
 @pourquois-pas: Heard: time constraints & format. Ya know, different stroke (lengths)! I dunno of any podcast (or even audiobook) that's edge-of-the-seat / hanging-on-every-word. Just thinking out loud but it comes down to how people conceived of words as they are heard and I guess I actively turn that into imagery so - kinda is 'edge of seat' in the sense of active cognition. Anyway, all the best & maybe PB will do some vid podcast type stuff here & there.
  • 7 0
 Jesus H, if yr gonna skip a week of podcast and break our hearts, coming back w/ a Minaar interview is a baller return. How about a 2-podcast week soon (even low-hanging fruit Q&A extra episode maybe?) - to make up for it? Seems like those would just be easy.

Petty gripe: don't like the new talking-intro. Totally in love w/ that music intro but sadly - who is that? Can't seem to find it. That's a killer burn-it-into-yr-brain way to start the cast: the slow-mo PB crew wrecking it as they walk in, smashing old bikes with sledgehammers, blowing up wheels, and hitting all the drops. Starting the cast w/ chatter, vs. music, is milk-toast
  • 9 0
 Yup, we'll catch up on the podcasts and there will be two a week at some point soon. We're all at Field Test right now so a little pinned. Probably a Q&A one haha
  • 3 0
 Yum. Milk toast: the meal for the milquetoast
  • 2 1
 @sspiff: I knew the sp. was wrong, but it just looks so fancy with all those q's & u's & e's. I even hear it pronounced 'mil-ka-toast', but the image of dipping toast in milk, all Mitt Romney style, makes the enunciated spelling all the better. What could be whiter than that
  • 9 1
 I find so much joy in the idea of Greg Minnaar sitting back with a fine glass of Merlot chucking to himself over Pinker's savage comments.
  • 3 1
 *chuckling. I can't type or read.
  • 8 1
 Love his take on the comments as usual...but is it just me or does the site seem a bit dead lately in terms of engagement in the comment section?
  • 3 0
 No racing. For me that's a big draw cause I have no where else to argue!
  • 3 7
flag kookseverywhere FL (Oct 28, 2021 at 11:29) (Below Threshold)
 Well I just got off ban (that I had to appeal) for downvoting a brian park comment. So maybe its because they are banning active users for open discussion?
  • 2 0
 The racing articles garner a ton of comments, so that might be part of what you're seeing. The numbers are the same as ever, though Smile

I'll eventually start writing more for these podcast articles, so these discussions might grow a bit as well.
  • 3 0
 @kookseverywhere: Oh man, I just saw your email - sorry about that! I think sometimes we're so busy that we do drop the ball with that kinda stuff, but we're trying to get better. Definitely not trying to stifle any open discussion - that's what I'm here to get going Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Thanks for replying. Yea the season is over for most of us I suppose.
  • 6 1
 I wouldn't mind a discussion on winter riding shoes or winter riding clothing in general. What are people using, what climate, temperature and if this is differing between fall wet rain riding or fat biking in the snow?

Perhaps you use the same summer shoe with a different merino sock and embrace suffering. And if you use any interesting layering combos? Goretex shells, jackets and pants with merino layers. Do these make you run to hot?
  • 2 0
 Good suggestion - it's currently pouring rain and not very warm out, so the timing seems right. I'll add it to the list.
  • 1 0
 This is a wonderful idea.
My votes go to

Shoes - Japanthers - Great for home chilling cold all the way to bb deep pow. ((Duct tape toe caps are always a winner too, just like on a pair of old AT boots... i used to encase my sidis in duct tape part way up my calf then cut it open on the back to get my foot out, then just tape them shut for a ride. They’d last anywhere from 5-10 rides before having to make a new set.))

Bottom kit - Bib knickers or bib thermals with dh pants,
Top kit - good base layer with whatever (thickness) loft you need to stay warm with a light hard shell for descents.

Tune socks and (second set of) gloves for wetness and speed respectively.

If your hands don’t sweat, get pogies.

Cycling cap under helmet if/when cold. No rain covers over tho - too sweaty
  • 1 0
 @recon311: yea I love this kind of stuff. I'm currently using a Icebreaker headband because I find toques too hot.

Cool-tech Icebreaker baselayer top with a Arc'teryx Norvan 3L goretex jacket.

200 merino weighted Icebreaker 3/4 leggings with Icebreaker light ski socks with a 3L N70d goretex pro most rugged Arc'teryx Alpine guide pant.

These pants aren't ideal for cycling but they are slim enough and work quite well. I like to get techy with clothing, I'm interested in fabrics and how or if they are moving moisture away from the body and through the layers as advertised.

After I wrote my prior comment to this I went for a ride in the rain. It rained the whole time, but I was dry before toping out at the snow level and descending. At the bottom everything was dry except for my feet and hands. Which leads to the next discussion.

What gloves and what shoes will I be getting next? I may try the POC thermal gloves with a MW7 Shimano shoe. The MW5 doesn't look like it's going to cut it.

The skiing isn't good yet and there's still some biking to be had. It just hurts to spend so much on this gear in order to extend the season only into Oct/Nov. The spring is generally warm enough or atleast has enough sun to not need that gear. Is it worth it? $350 CAD on shoes?

Ya it might be, but I know it is.
  • 6 0
 Great interview. Greg is such thoughtful and down to earth guy. The last two minutes were too funny ! "better than Netflix"!
  • 5 1
 I got a question for the podcast:
What`s up with the Fox 49 fork? I`ve seen a few pictures of this fork and does it really have 49mm stanchions? And if so, why? And if not, why is it called 49?
(btw please let Levy read the question so he can say stanchions)
  • 2 0
 It is a fox 40 made for 29" wheels (40+29=49)
  • 5 0
 The 49 was just a Fox 40 for 29er wheels. It had the same 40mm "stankchions" as a regular 40. They dropped the name and just made it the 40 for both wheel sizes to clean up their lineup since the 32-38 all had the same name across wheel sizes.
  • 5 1
 Question for the podcast-
The mountain bike community as a whole has done a very good job of perpetuating the importance of wearing a helmet, and I rarely if ever see anyone on the trails without one.
Contrast that with the BMX or skate community where helmet prevalence is far lower. How did it come to be that way and can we get a shout out to the community as a whole that wearing a helmet isn't even seen as a controversial idea whatsoever? Thanks.
  • 4 0
 @Cerrone because mountain biking came from dorks.
  • 1 0
 I wonder if age has anything to do with it? Mountain bikers, on average, being older and wiser?

I'm not clued into the whole BMX/skateboard scene, but if they're not wearing helmets then I'd guess the reality is that they aren't so dangerous? I mean, if no helmet was the norm for mountain biking, there would be none of us left!
  • 1 0
 Year round, I cannot wear a helmet pedaling up - just get waaaaay to hot ,but always elsewhere (and/or if its really effin' cold). I have to clip to my pack or I made 20'' strap w/ buckles on the ends to connect to my helmet buckles and then throw over my back (like a 1/2 slung) pack - but either way- don't even see the need to wear one on the ups anyway. But flowing & downhill - always. But yeah - you've made a really good point and if ya see someone w/o a helmet on the ups - give 'em a break!
  • 7 0
 Raise your hand if you were confident Greg was talking about YOU when he said how much he enjoys the Pinkers' comments ....
  • 26 0
  ow yes I was!!!!
  • 3 0
 Listening now... Part 2 should include questions about whether GOAT had a more positive influence on the development of Josh & Loris vs. negative influence, does he wish SC had a large team like the French teams vs. being small and nimble, would a 'jacked up like Rude' Minnaar take more podiums than Dad-bod sauce-a-holic Minnaar, what's up with Marshy coming back to wrenching, if he retires would he come back on a super long Grim Donut for select races, & who are his favorite current rivals to race against.
  • 6 0
 Loved Greg’s reaction to downcountry!
  • 2 0
 I love how humble and classy he is. Well spoken and considerate. After all he is the world champion, he is considered to be one of the greatest athletes in mtb of all times, he would have all the reasons in the world to be cocky and he chooses not to. What a great guy.
  • 1 0
 Another question for the podcast:
Why bike chains don't use o-rings (or x-rings) like dirt bikes do? It would seal in lubrication and seal out dirt around the pin and in between the plates, right? I can think of potential weight or chain width limitations. Or is it something else?
  • 2 0
 Friction, I think.
  • 1 0
 A question for the podcast: As I have ridden bikes (and broken things) I have slowly built my home mechanic skills and can keep my bike running smoothly. One thing I haven't learned is how to service my own suspension. Should I learn to service my suspension myself or leave it to the experts?
  • 3 0
 Question for the podcast: ~1.5 years ago, covid shut down gyms etc and lots of new people got into mountain biking. How many of these people are still riding now?
  • 1 0
 Love the Podcast and listen to them all, damn the audio is so bad on this one. I shouldn’t have to crank the volume on the phone and barely hear it with headphones on. Same in the car. Biggest problem with quite a few Podcasts is poor audio. Definitely upgrade your gear thanks.
  • 1 0
 Question for the pod. @mikelevy and others what tires do you go for when you are trying to get rowdy on a smaller bike? Just got a shorter travel trail bike and I am looking for advice on what tires to run for the wet season and beyond. looking for a good balance between pedaling performance and grip.
  • 4 0
 I'll buy a pinker sticker for $5
  • 5 0
 Same here
  • 5 0
 @mikelevy: Also can we call the Cycling Tips userbase Stinkers? Pinkers and Stinkers has a good ring to it.
  • 3 0
 @lefthandohvhater: I'm not opposed to that.
  • 1 1
 I’ve got a random question I don’t really know where else to ask. Why do we see more people doing a shoey lately? I’m not one to shy away from eating something that has fallen on the floor but drinking out of my nasty ass shoe sounds disgusting. Hopefully they’re using new unworn shoes that isn’t full of lint and dog hair.
  • 4 0
 That was great to hear Greg’s insights, what a class act. Great podcast
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: now that Greg Minnar has dropped the ‘Pinkers’ phase approval- does this mean that someone within the bike industry, ACTUALLY LIKES something you’ve said?!……
  • 2 0
 why didn't I bring my headphones to work... going to have to wait to hear the GOAT
  • 2 1
 This is the first time I've ever heard Pinkbike Users called 'Pinkers'. I hope it's the last time too lol! Great podcast! Always good to hear from Greg!
  • 3 0
 Punch right in the pinker for anyone referring to PB members as pinkers.
  • 1 0
 Q: If a giraffe is chasing you, should you run, play dead, or climb a tree?

A: Hide in a hole. Go low. Giraffes can't comprehend low things.
  • 1 0
 Very interesting podcast. Greg's longevity and constant excellence is so impressive with so much change to bikes over 20 years. Loved the response to downcountry .
  • 2 0

What is your favorite bluetooth speaker to play while riding, and which AWOL Nation song is on repeat?
  • 2 1
 Not sure what was better... Greg's reaction to Pinkers or Brian's reaction to Greg's reaction...
  • 1 13
flag soldatperdu (Oct 29, 2021 at 12:13) (Below Threshold)
 Brian Park can fuck off.
  • 1 0
 Heated socks?!? I'd rather hear more about this and less about K's underwear.
  • 1 0
 listening now. So great to hear more from the GOAT!
  • 1 0
 the French won't look better after this
  • 1 1
 Great interview! His response to hearing the term "down country" was all of us lol! Pinkers for life
  • 1 0
 Some really great questions on racing, @mikelevy -- enjoyed it a lot!
  • 1 0
 Pinker's goin' down!
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