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Video: Robbie Kane Rips Ethereal Forests in 'The Hardtail Holdout'

Jan 26, 2023 at 15:08
by Chromag Bikes  

Locals in Bellingham, WA know him as "the guy on the Chromag hardtail," and as the humble hardtail holdout, Robbie Kane is one of those few who have not only embraced a minimalist mountain bike mindset but have made a soulful connection with, pun intended, the roots of mountain biking. Despite riding for 20 years, Robbie has never owned a full suspension bike, opting to be content with one basic bike to rule them all.

Robbie Kane is one of those rare people who wastes nothing. Time, supplies, bike components, everything is an investment. Uncluttered by luxuries, he is able to focus on his craft, whether churning dirt for the next great trail, plucking the strings of an acoustic guitar, or riding with his furry friend Ochi. Robbie isn't resistant to change, he's just content further honing his skills, a reminder that life doesn't have to be so complicated.

Words, photography & video by Brad Walton

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Chromag bikes, parts, apparel and accessories are available online and at quality bike shops.



Author Info:
Chromagbikes avatar

Member since Nov 21, 2011
97 articles

112 Comments
  • 46 2
 I'm horny for hardtails
  • 21 0
 I get rigid everyday
  • 3 0
 @chamoisbutt: Now that’s hardcore
  • 3 0
 I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs
  • 2 0
 (tongue in cheek)
  • 3 0
 Only Fronts uspension
  • 33 3
 Super rad. That’s a super rad trail. It’s called “bobs” for people out there who want to find it.
  • 3 1
 What area is that? The trail looks awesome and I'd love to ride it.
  • 10 1
 @NWBasser: check out Galbraith trail maps
  • 3 10
flag NWBasser (Jan 27, 2023 at 10:43) (Below Threshold)
 @zmums: That's not Galbraith. The rocks are completely wrong for Galbraith which consists of sandstone. He's riding on some sort of igneous rocks. Looks more like BC geology.
  • 16 1
 @NWBasser: nah dude this id for sure bobs
  • 2 6
flag NWBasser (Jan 27, 2023 at 11:58) (Below Threshold)
 @zmums: I've ridden Bobs and that isn't it.
  • 3 6
 @zmums: Also, Bob's is a smooth flow trail. The video is extremely different from Bob's.
  • 17 1
 @NWBasser: have you gone left at the fork?
  • 3 7
flag NWBasser (Jan 27, 2023 at 13:00) (Below Threshold)
 @zmums: Yes, I have. There is no way in hell that the trail on the video is Bob's. The trail in that video is extremely different from anything at Galbraith. Also, how would you explain the completely different geology?
  • 20 1
 @NWBasser: just gonna have to look a little harder I guess
  • 14 1
 @NWBasser: Have you ridden Bob's since the reroute? This is definitely Bob's. Left at the fork next time!
  • 12 1
 @zmums: yeah this is definitely bobs
  • 12 1
 @zmums: the second fork not the first one - hard left at the man-made cairn
  • 15 0
 Never even been to Galbraith - that is Bob's
  • 5 0
 @NWBasser: this is bobs. 100%
  • 19 0
 @NWBasser: definitely bob's. you can tell its bob's by the way it is. trust me. i'm a real dog.
  • 7 0
 @zmums:Can confirm, it's 100% Bobs.
  • 18 1
 I'm from Poland and even from here can see clearly it's famous "bobs" trail, second turn left from the big tree in the middle (:
  • 8 0
 @matheas: exactly - those who say it is not the trail known as "bobs" are not riding it correctly and are confused enough to believe it is not the above-described "bobs" trail.
  • 14 0
 I spoke to Bob himself who confirmed it's bobs
  • 6 0
 @NWBasser: Bro take the L, it's Bob's
  • 2 8
flag NWBasser (Jan 30, 2023 at 17:04) (Below Threshold)
 @fmogan77: Okay guys, I know that isn't Bob's trail. But then that begs the question, what trail is it? I had to find out, so I started an epic exploration of the PNW. I toasted my legs riding every trail that I could across the region. I bought copious amounts of beer for every trailbuilder I know, and some that I didn't know. Finally, an old man smoking a chewed-up cigar and hanging out behind the Horseshoe Tavern let me in on the secret. It's Larry's Trail, located up on Butler Butte outside of Darrington. Built by the legendary Larry Duckworth himself. I hauled my weary self up there and climbed about 4,500 feet to the trailhead hidden behind a giant cedar tree (third one on the right). I flew down the trail on my 1992 Rockhopper, completely enjoying the rocky steepness. And the wetness. Lots of wetness. I finally found the real Larry's Trail and it's magnificent. And wet.
  • 6 0
 @NWBasser: I can attest that it is in fact Bob's, but also there was some Family Fun Center clips peppered in there to throw us off
  • 2 1
 @NWBasser: I think it might be the new build over in your local trail network of Duthie.
  • 5 0
 @oceanforsurf: Close but this was definitely filmed on Bob's trail at Galbraith. I literally just got home from riding Bob's and saw these guys filming.
  • 2 0
 @NWBasser: Sounds just like Bob's, great time every time!
  • 15 0
 I think the music is perfect for the video. Often riding alone in similar terrain, I used to listen to tons of spooky off beat downtempo and gloomy beats Hardtails and ferns are a great combo
  • 2 0
 Ha! "Hardtails and ferns are a great combo" - I'd never thought of it like that but you're exactly right. The loamy dirty rooty trails that I love on my BFe are always in fern country.
  • 1 0
 @maximumradness drop some recco's in a reply with some of your faves
  • 1 0
 @therealmancub: im a big fan of rob the viking beats ( from swollen members) and dj Krush entire catalog. also don't be afraid of some Amon Tobin's earlier stuff. I found that the Nicola Cruz and Beatkiller gets pretty housey but its nice when im alone with my ferns and hardtail and I need to keep moving in the dark. sometimes for fun I mix it up with early quantic as well, like that song form the wade Simmons section in the collective.
  • 17 0
 As a lifelong hardtail'r.... I approve of this content.
  • 1 0
 That’s the stuff- the good stuff.
  • 14 0
 That trail looks like heaven to me.
  • 10 0
 How refreshing. No skidding and blowing up every single corner. Awesome technical riding in a beautiful place. Can’t wait to build up my new Rootdown frame.
  • 11 0
 Hard tail on proper trails = more rush
  • 11 0
 There's something special about the simplicity of a hardtail.
  • 9 1
 Says something about a guy who only rides hardtails, builds the dopest trail around, and doesn't complain when it gets skull fucked by the local e bike hordes. Big ups, you two
  • 1 0
 this
  • 9 0
 I commend Chromag Bikes for the total absence of
the word “Loam” in the headline or copy of this article.
  • 4 1
 "Shred" is the single most overused term on this website. Change my mind.
  • 3 0
 @TheR: dentist. I win.
  • 2 0
 @BermJunky: In comments, maybe. I’m talking about headlines and articles.
  • 1 0
 Yes barely any duff, mostly rock; a detritus trail though? No one ever says that cause it's lame, what do you want from us?
  • 2 0
 @loam33: I don’t know what words people might settle on instead of loam but, off the top of my head, here are a few ideas: fresh, untouched, loose, duffy, virgin, tilled, organic, unsustainable.
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: very good list!
  • 1 0
 @loam33: You could change your username to virgin33
  • 1 0
 @loam33: But maybe that doesn't have the same ring to it
  • 8 0
 Always sweet to see Robbie out hooning on his hardtail! Respect!
  • 5 1
 It seems like most North American modern hardtails like Chromag's still have short chainstays, while English hardtails like Cotic's have longer chainstays. I recently slid my dropouts from 425 to 437mm and I think I'd prefer even longer.
  • 5 0
 I’ve noticed that too. Having owned a Nukeproof Scout with 435mm stays and a Chromag Stylus with 419mm, I prefer them super short on a hardtail. Not as fast or as comfy but it makes the whole bike feel much more direct and responsive, definitely more of what I’m looking for in a hardtail. Luckily there are still lots of options for both, whereas dual suspension it seems like almost every company is going the longer/stable route.
  • 1 0
 Having the adjustable ones helped me dial it in, maxed them out on my Surly and the weight distro was much better on climbing.
  • 2 0
 I bought a Pipedream Moxie last Year, CS are adjustable somewhere between 429 to 441... Started with the longest setting and it felt like my rear wheel was constantly getting stuck on obstacles n´ stuff. I´ve landed right in the middle now, feels best for me.
  • 5 0
 I feel like it all depends on the type of trails you ride. If you’re riding flowy or steep trails then longer stays are going to feel great. If you’re riding technical trails, especially ones with tight or gnarly features, then shorter stays are more ideal IMO.
  • 3 0
 That’s a Doctahawk so it’s got a little bit longer stays. Having owned a Doctahawk before and now a Stylus, I greatly prefer the shorter stays with the 27.5 wheels.
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else:

Depends on which size frame you’re running…

The M/L has 420mm stays which are short
  • 1 0
 @robbiekane: could be. I’m a solid XL so I don’t look at the small person sizes.
  • 14 8
 Great riding in some lush terrain. Would have liked it better with no music though.
  • 31 2
 Click the mute button
  • 7 0
 Hardtail all day everyday..
  • 4 0
 Best edit I've seen in a LONG time. A hardtail on some handbuilt techy goodness in a dank ass setting. That's some real goddamn riding.
  • 6 0
 Hardtail love
  • 5 0
 awesome work brad & robbie! such a gorgeous trail!
  • 4 0
 Thank you!
  • 4 0
 Cant even imagine the skill and effort it took to put this in. Thank you both so much, Robbie and Brad!
  • 3 0
 It was alot but enjoyed every second, thank you!
  • 1 0
 Question for the old duffers: Imagine where we'd today be skill-wise, if we started MTBing with modern geo, instead of on a Raleigh Technium or a C-dale Headshox bike? Related question: could the components of 20+ years ago work with modern hardtail geometry, if some builder had envisioned it?
  • 2 0
 We would still suck, it’s not the bike you know…
  • 4 1
 Great video. That made me want to ride but unfortunately not a hardtail, I love 'em but my ankles don't.
  • 4 0
 Simple is better a lot of time.
  • 3 0
 Wow this really brought to life exactly what I imagine when I see an aggro hardtail in a shop or on paper.
  • 5 0
 Great video Brad
  • 3 0
 Thanks Joel!
  • 1 0
 Love this! Brad and Robbie, we should hang out sometime.....
iframe title="vimeo-player" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/519319267?h=60df8ae9f1" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>/iframe>
  • 1 0
 Oops, try this link. Hardtail, chunky rock, ferns, Madrona and not metric....
vimeo.com/519319267
  • 3 0
 Well done Robbie and Brad!! Fantastic.
  • 3 0
 Hell yeah Brad and Robbie! This movie makes me want to go ride.
  • 2 0
 Nice edit and riding. I think the music fits the vibe of the video. Chromag videos are always great!
  • 4 0
 Nice work Brad, Robbie!
  • 1 0
 Thanks Dan!
  • 1 0
 @bradwalton: yeah agreed! I miss the BW vids and great music pairing. As a hardtail enthusiast, I appreciated the feel of this one.
  • 1 0
 @conv3rt: thanks! I definitely miss making these type of videos!
  • 1 0
 @bradwalton: it shows. my fave of yours was with a dog and some slo mo in super-saturated conditions in a dark wood complete with sketchy roots. Does that description mean anything to you? lol
  • 1 0
 @bradwalton: very nice. I had to rewatch the Cove STD one again too. Music, shooting, riding, still good to this day!
  • 2 0
 Hell yeah ,mtbing for 20ish years too, never owned a squish probably never will. Keep it up bru
  • 2 3
 Read the comments first, then watched video with the sound off!

Nice video though (I watched it again with the sound on - the music really is rubbish), that trail does look good fun on a hardtail.
  • 3 1
 Having sold my full suspension bike last April, I can't say I miss it....
  • 2 0
 Sweet riding Robbie! Keeping it pure
  • 2 0
 Sick Shredit!! Chromag's HT's Rock
  • 1 1
 I just watched this during a 3 hour phone call with health insurance after a layoff. Even the hold music couldn't make this less epic, Hardtails rule.
  • 1 0
 Just try a little bit of that full sus koolaid, come on in the water is nice
  • 1 0
 I remember when I was angry at my joints as well...........we agreed to ride longer in life with a FS.
  • 1 0
 As the local steel hardtail guy in my neck of the woods, I approve this message.
  • 1 0
 Yea Robbie! Impressive riding, gorgeous trail
  • 1 0
 Nice one Robbie trail is a beauty
  • 1 0
 Frickin Rad. I hope to ride somewhere in the PNW someday
  • 1 0
 More content like this, please!
  • 1 0
 such a cool vid. That scenery is incredible...!
  • 1 0
 Great video guys , Making the PNW look great !
Robbie+Brad=Rad
  • 1 0
 ah yes "CHIIAG"
  • 15 16
 God the music is awful
  • 11 3
 Username checkout
  • 2 5
 Hardtails make no sense but I really regret selling mine. On the right trail on the right day they're an absolute hoot.
  • 7 0
 Sounds like they do make sense
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