Burning Question: How Much of Your Own Money Would You Spend to Guarantee You Wouldn't Flat on Race Day?

Jun 2, 2018 at 11:36
by Richard Cunningham  



It's free, and it's mountain bike racing's most precious substance. Air plays a critical role in every aspect of a mountain bike's performance. Traction, control, suspension action and comfort are completely dependent upon two gallons of atmosphere trapped inside the tires. There is an old adage: "You never realize the value of a gift until you lose it." Any professional racer who's flatted during a race can attest to that - especially downhill and enduro competitors. In an all-out race against the clock, a flat tire is almost always an insurmountable loss.

The air outside may be free, but once you use it to pressurize the tires on your race bike, it can become very precious. How precious? We asked a number of World Cup DH and EWS racers this question to find out:



How much of your own money would you spend to guarantee that you wouldn't flat on race day?



A bitter pill to swalllow Minnaar was riding with determination and passion all weekend.
Not the best day for the GOAT. Minnaar tripods his Santa Cruz V10 to the finish line at Val de Sole 2017 - the final race of the series that began in the green, in contention for the overall World Cup title.





Aaron Gwin: $0.00

bigquotesIt's not a realistic question to me. Flatting is part of our sport. It takes skill, good bike setup and parts to better your chances of not flatting. Even when those things are dialed in, flats are still always a possibility. It's just part of downhill racing. I wouldn't pay money to stop flats completely - keeps things interesting, even though I hate getting them. Haha!
Aaron Gwin
Aaron Gwin, YT Mob




Emilie Siegenthaler
Emilie Siegenthaler, Pivot Factory Racing
Emilie Siegenthaler: $0.00

bigquotesActually, I wouldn’t spend any money on that, because ever since I’ve been on Pivot Factory Racing, I haven’t flatted in a race run. I would just give my money to our trusty mechanic after the race.





Rupert Chapman: $0.00

bigquotesNothing. We're pretty much guaranteed not to with our setup. Maxxis tires, Reynolds wheels and CushCore is epic!
Pivot Factory Racing - Rupert Chapman
Rupert Chapman, Pivot Factory Racing





Lewis Buchanan, Ibis EWS Team
Lewis Buchanan: $0.00

bigquotesI wouldn’t spend any of my own money. I trust my tire and wheel combo and that my suspension set up is sweet enough to not get flats. I know that things can happen out of the blue but so far I’ve never flatted. I’d understand if you had quite a few flats and it affected your races a fair bit. Then, yeah, I maybe would put a bit of money towards making sure it didn’t happen.




Bex Baraona: Negotiable...

bigquotesIn 2017, a flat tire ended my EWS race in Ireland and that feeling was so so sh*t! Money isn't a big thing for me, so putting a price on something like this feels weird, but I'm sure if you asked me this question whilst I was at the bottom of stage two in Ireland last year....I'd have gotten my wallet out!
Bex Baraona, Ibis EWS Team





Dean Lucas had the run of his life to hit the podium here last time around. Still recovering from his severe heel fracture he will race albeit tentatively.
Dean Lucas, Team Intense
Dean Lucas: $13.68

bigquotesJust kidding. To be honest, I think we have great setup and I’m fully confident on the product we are running. The combo of Enve/Maxxis is working great for us.





Charlie Harrison: $72.25

bigquotesI’ll pay a bit more than Dean, Haha! Having a flat in a race run sucks big time, but you know, it’s part of the game. I feel like it’s part of the sport and you need to play smart sometimes.
Charlie Harrison, Team Intense





Julie Duvert, Ibis EWS Team
Julie Duvert: $150

bigquotesTo never flat again, I would easily pay a couple thousand bucks, in hopes of getting a return on my investment! For now, I’d spend about $150. That’s enough to order up a set of CushCore inserts. Once I put them in my wheels, I have yet to flat in the last two out of two rockiest races I have ever done.





Ed Masters: All or nothing

bigquotesI'd spend as much as I'd win in prize money.
Eddie Masters doesn t quite know what to do with all his free time this year after switching up his role as team owner and manager for the cushy job of factory rider.
Ed Masters, Pivot Factory Racing





Bernard Kerr, Pivot Factory Racing
Bernard Kerr: All my bikes

bigquotesI would spend all the money my bikes would sell for!





Robin Wallner: All my money

bigquotesWow, that’s easy to answer - I would probably pay all of my money right then and there. ...Everyone that’s raced a lot has probably had it happen to them at some point - mid run you hear that “psssshh” and you know that it’s game over. I have been there more than once and right then, I would sacrifice almost anything to have that precious air back in my goddamn tires! So please, fix us mountain bikers up.
EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Robin Wallner, Ibis EWS Team





Only missing the Leogang podium once in the race s history Minnaar still leads the series by a whisker.
Greg Minnaar, Santa Cruz Syndicate
Greg Minnaar: $100,000

bigquotesOh, I don't know...Hmm, I figure at least 100k, it's worth at least that.





134 Comments

  • + 232
 Everyone that said $0.00 guaranteed a flat this season. You messed with the biking gods, and the biking gods are vengeful. Congrats to Minnaar and no more flats for the 2018 season.
  • + 19
 Haha, my thought exactly! I was going "you're out of my team...and you're out of my team" Big Grin
  • + 76
 Dean Lucas: $13.68 . . . Just kidding (gets strapped to spine board). To be honest, I think we have great setup and I’m fully confident on the product we are running. (spits out 2 bloody teeth). The combo of Enve/Maxxis is working great for us. (helicopter lifts off to local emergency room).
  • + 6
 You mean the biking gods are business people? Makes sense to me!
  • + 2
 I'd pay however much ProCore is cause it's been working great.
  • + 2
 @employee7: yeah dean is definitely the real deal!
  • + 2
 @employee7: hahahahaahhaahahaahahhaah you made my day :'D
  • + 1
 Gwin with the boring answer as always. Minnaar the only one willing to pay, thus proving he's the only one making good coin, except Gwin who has spent all his money on that mansion!
  • - 4
flag P3N54 (Jun 8, 2018 at 7:24) (Below Threshold)
 @jaame: and the McLaren. So nouveau riche, it's disgusting.
  • + 7
 @P3N54: You find someone that busts his ass, maximizes his talent and earns a bunch of money disgusting?
Buy whatever you want Gwin you have earned it.
  • + 1
 @employee7: that obviously went over your head, and you got seven upvotes! Good result!
  • + 97
 About Tree Fiddy.
  • + 40
 Damn Loch Ness Monster!
  • + 1
 I gave him a dolla.
  • + 12
 Damn it woman! I tolddd ya not to give that lock ness Monsta no god damn tree fiddy
  • + 1
 @CanadaDiscGolf: he gonna be back for more
  • + 64
 Bernard Kerr logic: Can't flat if I don't have a bike!
  • + 91
 can’t pay? they’ll take it away!
  • + 9
 @holden-biking: up vote this all the way, I feel Kerr didn’t get his fair do’s of ribbing for his glorious blurry eyed channel five appearance. I think the rest of the world missed out on this.
  • + 6
 @holden-biking: this is the most under rated comment i've seen on the internet today
  • + 8
 @maximartix: You clearly didn't watch any of the WynTV episodes from last year then... Kerr looked like he was about to knock Wyn's head off if he brought it up one more time.
  • + 5
 @srjacobs: I think that was just the Wyn effect in action. He won’t be leaving his back door unsecured again.
  • + 4
 @BCpov: Man I have been looking for this for ages. Can't believe they just let themselves into someone's house like that. I thought it was funny hearing about it, but it's pretty shit how it panned out. Did he ever get the money back from the garage?
  • + 0
 @maximartix: I miss the days that Wynn would make fun of him in the Wynn TV interviews and Kerr would get visibly upset.
  • + 1
 @BCpov: That isn't a joke? I din't watch all of it.
  • + 3
 @holden-biking: f*cking yesss, i was sat watching that shit with my GF and they raided Kerr's house i lost my shit
  • + 31
 Julie was the only one who understood the question.
  • + 19
 They all answer with their sponsors in mind. We have a great combo that I trust and blablabla.
  • + 8
 Sponsor ass gobbling is extremely boring
  • + 15
 Pinkbait
  • + 12
 Eddie with the best answer!
  • + 13
 Lots of douchy answers.
  • + 8
 Garbage in garbage out
  • + 12
 How much weight would you add to ensure you won't flat during a race.
  • + 7
 This was a bit of a disappointment since they all just said that the chances of flatting with the brands they represent was slim enough not to put a monetary value on it. Definitely would have been better suited to ask some privateers the same question so we could have gotten real answers.
  • + 6
 Wonder how many tempted fate with their responses. I get you want to prop up your sponsors but man saying nothing because it won’t happen seems to be tempting fate big time.
  • + 8
 Now, how much would you pay to not snap a chain in a race run?
  • + 13
 How much is a Shimano XT chain?
  • + 2
 I say they should all do this next race chainless. Well, one person already has and had a pretty decent result.
  • + 4
 Well, I can actually answer this honestly. Last year I had 8 flats in a month on my trail bike, I was f*ing over it. I had Maxxis 3C tires on both F/R, wasn't up for the task. So I upgraded the rear with double down (rear) and added Huck Norris F/R. And I have had no flats since (damn I probably jinxed it). So for additional cost of previous setup, that is +$22 for double down rear, $69.99 for Huck Norris, and I also spent $30 on a digital gauge which helps but not critical, so thats a total of $122. Now I'm not Richie Rude, so he might need to up his $ spent.
  • + 5
 Assuming you mean you had EXO casing tyres? 3C is the rubber type (triple compound Maxx grip, maxx merra etc) not the casing thickness (EXO, DD, DH).
  • + 2
 @HommeDeBatte: You are correct. EXO.
  • + 3
 @jasbushey: Sweet. I run DH casing DHF front 24psi and Minion SS rear 26psi tubeless no inserts. No punctures in 1.5 years. Hope that setup works out for you
  • + 1
 @HommeDeBatte: Nice. I'm 155lbs, running 20-21F / 25-26R with 35mm rims, so far so good.
  • + 3
 What kind of question is this?! The rrp on bike tires is in a lot of cases higher than rrp on car tires (and I'm talking about performance tires here) how much more are we supposed to spend?! And what exactly is that cost covering?!
  • + 6
 Maxxis DH tires setup tubeless on the trail bike, haven't really had a flat since. Heavy but worth it
  • + 1
 Now you've done it!
  • + 6
 For all the guys saying $0.00, it might be better to ask what their sponsors pay. Their setups certainly aren't free.
  • + 3
 exactly. Someone seems willing to pay mechanics to lace rims, cut tire knobs, rebuild suspension, install fresh tires, strip and rebuild frames to reduce mechanicals.
  • + 4
 Right, or ask privateers who are trying to get more sponsors. I bet those folks would pay a decent amount to not have a flat ruin an already expensive weekend.
  • + 6
 I don't race, problem solved.couple bucks for a tube that s alli needWink
  • + 11
 "When you are #racing, it's life. Anything that happens before and after is just waiting."

-Steve McQueen, Le Mans , 1971
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Jun 7, 2018 at 14:35) (Below Threshold)
 @endlessblockades: that sounds like he wasn’t working hard enough to do good at the race, waiting for someone to do testing job for him, banging, boozing and doing blow. Lazy bastard
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: ....and doing all that while driving a Porsche 917 birdcage. A perfect life.
  • + 4
 @endlessblockades: he used a hashtag in 1971? the man really was ahead of his time
  • + 2
 @kbonesddeuce: yes but Senna beat ‘em all with #1
  • + 4
 Seems like some riders don't want to look like they are complaining or blaming anything on their equipment... diplomatic but not real answers.
  • + 6
 One hundred billion dollars. Mwwaahh hahaha mwwaahh hahaha.
  • + 5
 Sad thing is Minnaar probably lost about that much in prize money last year alone from flats
  • + 3
 Prize money for World Cups is surprisingly low, and the Syndicate to my knowledge does not to bonuses based on results like many other team would. They pay their man up front.
  • + 3
 Damn...didnt seem like Dean Lucas was quite that confident in his tires after his Ft. Bill incident. Wonder if that quote was taken before his front tire got a case of the Minnaars.
  • + 5
 Looks like everyone in the pivot team bar eddie masters has their nose firmly up some maxxis execs backside
  • + 22
 You mean they are assguys?
  • + 5
 It’s a shame that two of these guys have their own signature tire and they still know they’re going to get flats LOL.
  • + 1
 Cute answer, Gwinn, but we all know you'd be giving the same answer as Minnaaar if was you, not him, who flatted at Val di Sole 2017.

There have been many instances in which a flat tire robbed a contender of a possible World Cup overall or World Championship win. The difference in earnings over a career from such an event is easily in the six figures.

Love him or hate him, Lance Armstrong was a brilliant businessman. He spent his own money - rumored to be in the six figures - to develop a time trial helmet that would save a few seconds over his already super fast helmet. That's someone who knows what a result is worth. If he finished second in the Tour de France, he would've lost millions in the short term and his brand would've been devalued by millions more.

A light, fast-rolling, uncuttable tire could probably be developed for under $100,000 and would probably retail for more than $200; these numbers aren't insurmountable - a top rider could fund this and see it pay off within a season.
  • + 4
 Consider how much money is spent just getting a single racer to a WC DH race... all up in smoke if you flat in the race.
  • + 1
 I don't race because I'm not a douchy racer type, sorry if I get downed for this but really. If I get a puncture, I drag my ass off the trail, sit down, put some music on, light up a doob and repair it. Sometimes I don't have music with me so I listen to the sound of the forest or the birds. I don't get mad or in a rush, I'm here to enjoy myself get some excersize and a little bit of wilderness time. Once the repair is made , I'm off like shit off a shovel. You won't catch me bullshitting to keep my sponsor happy. I like to be able to chose my equipment, not be given it. I turn up at the trailhead carpark and there's no one there. You ask me a question I leave the bush alone and just give you a straight answer.

And do you know what? I'm f*cken happy. Noone I see racing enjoys it like I do.
  • + 1
 So many systems out there now, who knows anything about this one? Looks easy to install which I like cause my friend said it took some serious wrangling to get cush core set up
www.mrwolf.bike/discover-banger-by-mrwolf
  • + 1
 Doesnt matter what you do flats are a part of life. Run a good quality product, try not to be too much of a weight weenie, and do your best to pick a smart fast line. Even BFGoodrich Project tires( the ones used on trophy trucks ) will get punctures from rocks.
  • + 3
 PROCORE, PROCORE, PROCORE..........simples...... run properly..... no flats hard riding.... at least 2 years .... sweet and all that... expensive and worth every penny
  • + 3
 Everyone who said nothing has a sponsor paying for top notch equipment and a mechanic to set it up. No expenses spared.
  • + 4
 I'm scrolling down thinking "Minnar? Minnar? Minnar? “
Big Grin
  • + 84
 And then you find out his name is spelled "Minnaar"
  • + 4
 Hilarious @bashhard:
  • - 19
flag nojzilla (Jun 7, 2018 at 13:20) (Below Threshold)
 @bashhard: talk to Sony's auto spell software about it, nobody else gives a f*ck
  • + 7
 @nojzilla: "dik"
  • + 0
 I have Procore installed inside a single ply Snake Skin Rock Razor, haven’t flatted yet despite running lower pressures than normal. As far as I am concerned, considering my past with Schwalbe 1plies - that is a fkng achievement. Also no burps. Only Procore and Dean Easy have it covered at the weight of the cushcore. Also contrary to my predictions, the rim hasn’t exploded.
  • + 3
 Okay seriously someone come out with a completely foam-filled tire that doesn't need any air by itself. Screw cush core just eliminate the air part. Have a few different levels of stiffness for conditions and rider weight. If it doesn't stay on the rim well enough by itself, put a thin, light tube (road tube) on the inside just for pressure. Materials engineers figure something out. I'd do it but I don't have money. There's a market as long as people still don't want flat tires.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Jun 7, 2018 at 14:38) (Below Threshold)
 @NRogers27: rubber rim. I think we should have someone develop a rubber rim... it makes perfect sense... like rubber pedals and shoes with spikes.
  • + 4
 @NRogers27: You mean a lighter version of this: www.mrwolf.bike/smartmousse
  • + 2
 @NRogers27: been done for dirt bikes. Pita to install, expensive and it degrades over time so you do have to replace it.
  • + 2
 @dannyboybiker: I like it. Was definitely thinking of something similar although it seems that it would be easier to just have it part of the tire in the first place for weight etc. And to @mrgonzo I think tires have been known to degrade over time as well so that you need to replace them.
  • + 1
 @NRogers27: of course but if you are trying to find a better solution for keeping your tires inflated then it is less than perfect because you do have to replace it. This system I think would be good if it could be adapted to mtb www.tireballs.com
  • + 1
 Having run both CushCore and Procore, CushCore wins easily. With Procore the tire slides up the side of the insert and still pinches on the rim in fast rocky corners.
  • + 0
 @salespunk: how can cushcore not do the same? And actually be more likely to do allow puncture in duch situation? Then about going sideways, cushcore will allow the tyre to burp. Weights are comparable. The only thing Cushcore is better at is ease of installation
  • + 1
 It's cool that these discussions happen so rapidly. My thoughts would still go to a "tire" instead of an insert, one that is a whole piece with thinner sidewalls and casing since punctures would no longer matter. Very explicitly, the rigid foam inner would be fused (think with tubular glue) to the thinner casing and there would no longer be a need for air suspension. Closed-cell foam would probably be the ticket because it's like having lots of tiny little pockets of air in your tire, and wouldn't fill with water! Holy cow!
  • + 5
 No one asked Jared ?
  • + 3
 Chapman is a heavy nugget i'm surprised he doesn't flat. Has Eddy M ever even won any prize money??
  • + 2
 I spend a gross amount on tubes, hopefully after eating nothing but ramen I can afford cushcore for end of bike park season viva le chair lift
  • + 1
 Full on 500g+ motocross tubes and DH tires are virtually flat proof. Tube can be had for about $10 from your moto supplier of choice.
  • + 1
 500 gr for a MX tube seems very lightweight...back in the day Kenda had DH tubes heavier than that,or even Maxxis Welterweight are probably heavier.
  • + 1
 @nozes: DH tubes are usually about 300g+, maxxis DH are 450g. The normal MX tubes I have here are 476g, 1.4mm wall thickness and marked as 21x2.75-3.00, then they make ones that are thicker and far heavier.
  • + 3
 @nozes: STI Heavy duty tube in 21x3 is 2mm thick and should weigh about 700-800g. $10. It will fit a big 26" DH tire no problem. Impossible to pinch flat with a DH tire. They also make up to a 4mm thickness, if you can deal with having a tube that weighs as much as your tire.

stipowersports.com/product/inner-tubes
  • + 2
 I once broke a spoke during a stage, and then flatted on the liaison. Luckiest day of my life!
  • + 2
 How Much of Your Own Money Would You Spend to Guarantee OTHERS Would Flat on Race Day?
  • + 0
 So how much would you spend on Bernard bike? Lol, 0 because it's probably not for sale, but more so it's had hardcore race runs done on it....
  • + 1
 Nothing, because if I get a flat I have an excuse for an awful race and get a break while I fix it
  • + 2
 Still asking the tough questions...
  • + 1
 Last flat i got was my friend's golden retriever nipping my front tire before i dropped in. Little $h1t doesn't race fair...
  • + 3
 Greg is right
  • + 2
 Should have asked Jared Graves at the end of last season
  • + 0
 Rupert chapman for the lose. Stock lame answer. Grins was much better and he didn't even have to plug his sponsors.
  • + 2
 Greg is right.
  • + 1
 That answer from Emilie Siegenthaler. Wow.
  • + 1
 How much air would you run to not get a flat on race day
  • + 1
 I'm only here for the comments.
  • + 0
 what about a rim company integrating a bumper system into their rims? Guess that would sell them less rims though..
  • + 2
 ONLY $399!!
  • + 1
 HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!
  • + 1
 if i were racing i would spend as much to still make profit on wins
  • + 1
 I dunno, like 12 bucks or something
  • + 1
 $2.95 for my ghetto cushcore.
  • + 1
 A.G. is something else, What an incredible human being.
  • + 1
 Didnt Vital ask this question months ago?
  • - 2
 So, the Gwinn wouldn't pay any of his own money to prevent a flat, the flipside is that HE IS PAID to run some companies tyre insert, thus promoting useless shit to us, the gullable purchaser
  • + 5
 Or maybe he believes the tyre inserts do more or less what they're supposed to and therefore doesn't think he needs to spend money on guaranteeing no flats
  • + 1
 Except he still flatted in qualifying at Fort Bill...
  • + 1
 Everyone I know (small sample size honestly) is running either Cush Core or Pro Core. Mix of Maxxis and Schwalbe tires. His signature stuff doesn't seem to make a impact here.
  • + 1
 @SonofBovril: hence the'more or less' caveat.
  • + 1
 Just - boring
  • + 0
 Emilie and Rupert just jinxed the FARK out of themselves.
  • + 1
 60 pence
  • + 0
 I would only be willing to pay $28.99
  • + 21
 3 months ago called and wants it's joke back.
  • + 19
 @ianwish: nobody wants that joke back...
  • + 0
 Nothing....it is what it is, Thats racing!!!
  • - 3
 $28.99
  • - 2
 AND HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU EARN TO ASK SUCH A STUPID QUESTION????

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