Opinion: The Courage to Create

Mar 24, 2016 at 6:35
by Richard Cunningham  

header

Rollo May in his book, “The Courage to Create,” speaks about the darker side of creativity - about the demons that people face who take it upon themselves to forge something tangible from an idea that was once beyond the scope of their peers.

May points out that in its conceptual form, an idea can be perfect, but with each step of the creative process, that brilliant, idealized vision is compromised as the inventor struggles to express it through his or her personal limitations and those of current technology. To be creative, one must be able to face continual disappointment, knowing from the beginning that the end product can never match its idealized form. Knowing that it could have been done better. All of us are creative by nature, but less than a handful in a hundred have the courage to create.

Our sport often mistakes cleverness for creativity. There is little risk to be clever. There is no downside to conjuring up ways to make an existing product lighter, stronger, faster or more attractive. When asked, almost every mountain bike rider would describe next year’s ultimate bicycle or product in reference to the ones they currently like, only much better, and perhaps in a different color. Most of us conceptualize the future by projecting a composite image of familiar things that we desire - which makes us easy prey to clever products masked as innovation.
Domahidy Designs Titanium All-Mountain Pinion Hardtail 2016
Domahidy Designs Titanium All-Mountain Pinion Hardtail

On the contrary, the risk of failure or rejection for a groundbreaking product is close to 100 percent. One must identify a potential problem, project a solution, and then develop that into a product at considerable expense for customers who, in most cases, have yet to identify any need for it.

How do you know if you need or want something if it does not yet exist in your imagination? Unless you are the rare visionary, you can’t - and it is human nature to reject those things we neither need nor understand.

Many of the mountain bike’s most profound innovations, like clipless pedals, the Gravity Dropper, tubeless tires, suspension and disc brakes faced pointed opposition from both experienced riders and opinion makers who espoused that because they didn’t perceive a need the new technology, that nobody else truly needed it. Of course, history and the iPhone bear witness that the moment an unrealized innovation is demonstrated to have benefit or appeal, most naysayers switch camps and typically, they become the sharpest critics of the old regime.
Gravity Dropper Turbo rebuild
Gravity Dropper Turbo

It is understandable that those who have reached the top of their mountain bike games would be the most inclined to reject the possibility that someone out there has developed a new riding style or a product that would (at least temporarily) lead to their obsolescence. Yet, there are hundreds of creative minds working out ways to do just that, and you can be sure that some will achieve success – but not without help.

As brave as one needs to be to accept the risks and overcome the sometimes daunting negativity that is part and parcel of the creative process, the effort would be stillborn unless its potential was recognized and supported. First Adopters may lack the creative impulse to invent, but they possess the intuition and understanding to recognize the value of innovation and most importantly, they have the courage to act upon it.

Someone figured out how Sam Hill was riding. Somebody bought the first Gravity Dropper seatpost. Some took a risk on the first dual-suspension trailbikes. Many riders fell over themselves figuring out Shimano SPD 737 pedals. Some will remember wrestling with tires, dripping with Stan’s sealant, or howling through the woods with their new disc brakes.
Scott LT 700 Plus Squamish 2016
Scott LT700 Plus
For the most part, those people knew they were investing their time and money on innovations that were not yet perfect, so they must have believed that they were participating in something greater. They were.

Once again, as the sport appears to be entering a period of intense innovation, we will have the opportunity to create, resist or invest. Two of those choices require courage.






170 Comments

  • + 250
 This article is clearly an attempt to soften reactions to a certain upcoming drivetrain announcement.
  • + 14
 #birdsofprey on PB's Instagram confirms this
  • + 18
 An electric Sram Hammerschmidt 2.0, maybe?
  • + 3
 Also, April 5 brings the Vyro AmEn, the shifting crankset.
  • + 9
 Anything with a chain and gears on it, will remain in the clever products category, with limited innovation. Im holding out for an EMF drive that, until then my XX1 is as much engineering as a chain and pulley will ever need in my mind, its still just a damn chain and pulleys.
  • + 3
 It has already been announced! Official Youtube Channel of Sram: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEjlJYblcao
  • + 22
 I want gearbox badly
  • + 6
 As soon as the gear box is main stream industry will bring out electric shifting box.
  • + 1
 What is that?
  • + 2
 A few years from now riders are going to be like you still ride with a derailleur and rubber tires? Where's your box and graphene bro.
  • + 26
 Adding one more gear to an already antiquated system is hardly courage to create. If anything it's milking the system's last few drops. The gearbox is truly the last bastion of innovation left, so who's got the courage to do it mainstream?
  • + 4
 sheperd the herd
  • + 11
 Doesn't resisting the masses require the most courage?
  • + 2
 Reads like a JFK speech. Well done RFK....I mean....RC.
  • + 0
 Softening the reactions didn't quite work: already 510 comments underneath the Sram Eagle article.
  • - 1
 An embedded tranny in your frame is a different case entirely; they're going to be expensive and proprietary. And a bitch to work on. No thanks.
  • + 2
 Wag the dog
  • + 6
 Do I smell another standard...................."The Courage to Create a New Standard"
  • + 1
 Shifter= Nerve center!
  • + 1
 If he is getting you all ready for a new product they are now testing, I doubt it is a drive train item since Spesh has its electric Stumpjumper Evo out there demoing. While e-bikes are nothing new, a major N. American release of one certainly is.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Mar 25, 2016 at 7:54) (Below Threshold)
 6-Fattie Turbo Levo has already been released for testing last year.

I think this conspiracy theory debunking is really getting out of hand. Deeply repressed Paranoia is coming out in people as the line between commercials, reviews and opinions is as blurred as ever. It may be hard to know when exactly is someone trying to sell something to us but it's never bad to be mindful and not jump into controversial conclusions too quickly. At least for me, it's been quite clear that RC wrote this article
against this silly trend of high cost, small resizing or increasing gear number, because as the article suggests it takes balls to create something different than remix a song that's been playing on the radio for 20 years.

Sorry, as much as SRAM Eagle further pushes the possibilities of the brilliant XX1, that gaves N/W chainrings and wide range casettes, it is nothing more but a remake of some old sci-fi movie with new 3D effects. They can still makeit electronic to push it further and that's where classic drivetrain development (aka polishing a turd) ends. Give us gearbox SRAM.
  • + 1
 Not sure I agree Waki. 12 speed is just the further refinement on the revolutionary introduction of the 1x drivetrain and I'm pretty sure RC realizes this.
  • + 2
 reads like waffle
  • + 1
 reads like waffle
  • + 74
 Back in your Mantis days then sport was still new and therefore new ideas were useful. It seems like these days new ideas are just a way to keep a business going vs making the sport better. Sram releases, 11 speed, shimano follows, then more teeth, now more gears. It's like watching Apple and Samsung release phones every year and it's getting tiring. I'm all for innovation but I feel like I'm being taken for a ride (no pun intended) most times and I'm exhausted. How come Santa Cruz can release a carbon dh bike years ago at a certain price and years later it's more expensive to produce carbon? It's a race to the top in the bike industry as far as how much companies can demand for their products and yet in other industries competition and new manufacturing methods can drive prices down? Imo specialized is responsible for breaking the 10k bike barrier with the Demo a few years back and the industry hadn't looked back. Once that seal was broken the flood gates of overpriced bikes flooded in.

Want some innovation and new ideas? Want to dare to be different? Drop your prices. Make products that don't break after 4 rides and if they do, warranty my part quickly vs the usual 4 months.
  • + 4
 Maybe at the top end of things you're right, but with the influx of direct ship value bikes, companies making components which are easier / cheaper / less often serviced and loads of trickle down kit out there, I firmly disagree for the industry whole.
  • + 5
 You are absolutely right, I see this article as merely a rationalization of pricing...

"As brave as one needs to be to accept the risks and overcome the sometimes daunting negativity that is part and parcel of the creative process"

Yeah, like having the balls to charge $10k for a mountain bike. Trust me, I fully understand the "creativity" it takes to justify an unjustifiable value
  • + 12
 the same with riding gear... try to find a jersey that's unter 50€... and it's not like it isn't made in china out of recycled plastic bottles. absolutely no value in return. if it would be made in europe with short supply chains it would be worth a little more...
  • + 5
 @Tmack -> I'm with you but we both know prices won't change until they have to. And that day is coming soon as more d2c brands break into the NA market. The next few years are going to be very interesting. Do you know who else hates Jeffsy? The Big S, Trek, Giant, etc.
  • + 28
 Don't want to pay 10k for a bike? Tired of paying 50€ for a jersey?
Then don't.

Vote with your money, you have choice, there are cheaper options which are good enough.
Prices are what they are because of supply and demand.
  • + 8
 @Tmackstab, your point is only valid for the latest and greatest. And even then how much greater are carbon wheels and 12 speed drive trains.

I will argue bikes have never been more affordable for what you get.

I was sitting at a buddy's the other day enjoying a beer after a ride and his ancient Rocky Mountain Oxygen Race was laying against the wall. It was in well used stock form. He said he paid $1500 for it. That would have been about 15 years ago. what a heap of shit: hardtail made of beer cans; Marz air shock of some sort; rim brakes.

I believe $1500 15 years ago was more impact to the wallet than $3000 today and what one can get for $3k is nothing short of amazing: a totally thrashable, light(ish), dependable dual suspension bike,

And for $1500 today, one can get a pretty nice hardtail without too much drama.

No, I think bikes are more affordable now unless you want the latest thing to come out which, of course, is not worth the price of admission. Look at any high end mountain bike for sale from years gone by: the return on investment is brutal compared to any low end or middle of the road bike and that will always be the case.
  • + 1
 ^^ I actually get what your saying, thing was back then there were only certain (few) flag ship models for certain bike companies. Now it seems like that every company can churn more than one out so the population increases and they seem more common / saturating the market.
  • + 69
 Seems like this vague article is missing something. Like what you are actually talking about. "A period of intense innovation"??? I don't think enlarging tires by .5" and adding one more cog on a cassette qualify as innovations. Incremental changes at best.
The industry has matured to the point where this is all we are going to see. Market segmentation is ongoing and continuing to make smaller and smaller categories. We now have bikes made at every amount of rear travel: 80,100,111,115,120,125,130,134,135,140,150,153,155,160 etc. The majority of manufacturers have reached parity in performance at any given category. It literally doesn't matter which bike you buy because they all work very well. Now it's anything to differentiate the product and be able to write good ad copy. Refer to SWAT door in new Spec frames....so ridiculous. But every review of those bikes has inches of copy devoted to this feature that has nothing to do with how it works as a bicycle! This is where we are now. Bells and whistles.
"First Adopters may lack the creative impulse to invent, but they possess the intuition and understanding to recognize the value of innovation and most importantly, they have the courage to act upon it." Wow. Good to know you equate buying things with courage. What about the courage to deny what the industry is trying to force upon us? What about the courage to question and resist systems that work less well but cost more money? The courage to question carbon which is far less durable and much more expensive than metal? The courage to talk about rising prices, warrantee claim rates, service intervals, useful life, resale value, all of which have been trending the wrong way for us consumers?
  • + 6
 Nailed it.
  • + 1
 I'd just like to see a perfect bike! I have yet to see one that has every single quirk worked out. They're just too busy trying to come up with something new to perfect what we already have. It's infuriating. I honestly feel like my bike is close to perfect and I could ride it forever, if not for a few certain details that a lot of bikes seem to share. And they're obvious imperfections, like squeaky bottom brackets that can only be replaced twice, or parts that don't quite align perfectly!
  • + 1
 I agree, a good test would be to do a back to back test on the same model from 2014 to see if we really are poles apart now
  • + 7
 I agree. I spent some time away from my bikes, from roughly 2004-2009. I was burnt out after 20 years of tricks and racing. Anyway, I bought a new frame and fork and some fresh 9 speed parts, literally 10 speed comes out days later. I tell my wife, she asks,"Is it better?" Honestly, not really, same tooth counts for the cassette, etc etc. I built up a frame early last year, 10 speed, Shimano XT 11spd comes out. Tell my wife, she asks,"Is that much better?" There are actually some advantages. Tell her yesterday, "Someone just came out with 12spd as a standard". She says, "Sounds like it's just a way for companies to make money". She doesn't ride. Here was my first thought... I STILL use the same free hub for 9 speed (actually the same for 8spd too if anyone remembers the spacers that you needed to add to the 8spd cassettes) 10 speed and now 11 spd. Is that innovation? I remember the old 5 and 6 speed road cassettes that used 36 teeth, that was from the early 80's. Took the mtb industry 20 years to offer a 36 cassette. So much has changed in the last 6 years, but it's still the same. Just a tweak here and there. But they don't play well with each other!! So had I bought a nice, $4500 26 inch 160mm complete bike just 3 years ago, it would have been obsolete within months. I get the bigger wheel thing.. If I'd bought a new 27.5 15mm/142mm when they came out, less than 2 years, that would have been obsolete by boost (it's turning up on regular non-midfat bikes now). 3 drastic changes in 4 model years, At some point, "just to make money" has to be brought up. And as far as boost goes, does anyone use e*thirteen rims? Even in 29er form, I think they are every bit as stiff as the $2000 carbons I tried out. Sram wheels for me were noodles. "Let's introduce a new wheel standard because we want to use 24 and 28 hole rims and they aren't that good or light, so if we..." That's my thought at least...
  • + 65
 Courage = The ability to write non-biased articles despite what the industry and your advertising sponsors will think.
  • + 10
 Buuuuuurn
  • + 17
 Spot on.

I thought, after reading the Bontrager Spring Collection adpiece, how sorry i feel for the PC staff writers.

Apparently we were glad to welcome one Vernon Felton to PB.

Genuine question, not a dig Vernon, but how does it feel to have to put your name to that stuff?

At least at Dirt magazine when it used to be printed.... on paper...the content was the content andvthe ads were the ads; and yes, I used to read the ads and firgive them for bring ads; you knew what they were.

That is no longer true as the internet, snd thise who deliver its content, tread an increasingly thin line between enlightening us and pulling the wool over our collective eyes and wallets.

I feel sorry for my daughter's generation who may have to fight to get the net back; it has been highjacked by SNS lurking branded bullshit.

Give me back my printed copy of Dirt magazine, where ads were ads and content was genuinely journalistic content all the time, you, you, abomination... The bloody internet.
  • + 2
 I think dirt still has some great articles, and they are pretty direct unlike every other website. They have a lot of sanitized stuff as well though. Just have a look at their dh bike reviews - far better than anything else out there and the only ones I take seriously
  • + 1
 Yes please bring back Dirt. I really miss its tactility and honesty. The internet is a place full of shades of grey.
  • + 24
 I have no issue with creative thinking and innovation - I am quite thankful for it actually. Dropper post? No more resetting my QR at the top of a climb, cool! Disc Brakes? I can't believe we survived with rim brakes for that long! Integrated Stem/Bar combos? well, er.... not everything is a win....

But I have an issue with the current "innovation' cycle. It use to be that top riders would get some black box tech that gave them an edge in competition. That tech was super secret and eventually trickled down to us mere mortals. I remember drooling over spy photos of prototypes, itching for the day I could try it out. Now, it truly has started to feel like marketing/profit driven innovation.

Don't get me wrong - I am a self admitted capitalist. These companies need to make money to keep the high zoot carbon rigs rolling down the trail for all of us to enjoy - but it's different now. For example, I am reserving full judgement on 650B+ until I try it but something feels funny. This wasn't some tech that was developed in secret and gave Clementz an advantage over Graves and changed the landscape of racing. This wasn't developed in the pits of the WC race scene. This was kludged together by a marketing/engineering group to drive up profits.The innovation cycle has changed. They come up with a product, rush it to market and then hand it to a pro and tell them to go pump it on the InstaTwitBook (a la Matt Hunter on a Turbo Levo).

650b+, boost, Pick you axle size 'Standards', 1x12, 12x1, whateverwhatever..... all, or some, or none of these things may or may not be good for the consumer. It's the smoke and mirrors that bother me. Let's call 650B+ what it is: it is a higher traction, easier to ride/corner, additional 'new' standard that is being touted as the latest thing everyone needs. This will be absolutely great for getting new and intermediate riders more involved in the sport and help them progress. That is a good thing. But don't lie to me and tell me that this is the future we have all been waiting for and it took years of innovation and engineering to get here. I don't see Barel winning on Plus size, do you?

I don't want companies to stop coming up with these types of ideas - far from it. The products will live and die on their own merit. I just want them to be honest about why they are doing it.
  • + 2
 Nailed it. Stop showing me videos of people hitting jumps on fat bikes. Show me people riding through snow and sand with ease. Stop telling me 1x12 is better because I can run a bigger front ring and go faster. I don't even use the full range of an 11-speed cassette. Let's get real here.
  • + 1
 Well, for me, as a non-racer, the fact that manufacturers are looking to changes that DO NOT come about as a result of chasing split second advantages on the WC scene is a good thing. They are looking for things that will make my riding more enjoyable, not just help to make the fastest rider a touch faster. B+ is a good example of this... no way you can claim it's about making WC riders faster... it's all about the FUN of bigger tyres when pointed downhill without the weight penalty on the climbs.
  • + 3
 Correct me if I am wrong but Plus sized tyres were "invented" by Surly (Nokian did have the Gazzalodi which was a 3" wide beast of a tyre but you couldn't ride them XC). And to my knowledge Surly don't make race bikes. The Krampus was Surlys take on a fun trail bike and I can vouch for that. Plus sized tyres aren't going to win races but who cares if you don't race. I agree they have been over hyped as the next big thing. Time will tell if they are.
  • + 1
 We used to run the Gazzis on 24" and 26" Sun DoubleWide rims in the late 90's which were huge. Big footprint
  • + 2
 So did i but you couldn't ride them uphill
  • + 1
 @Spittingcat - I would argue that most of the tech we all currently enjoy (disc brake progression, suspension internals, drivetrain advancements, stronger/lighter carbon layups) were all tech that was develop for and tested by racers. Companies use their athletes and teams as proving grounds - like how DI2 was run in the Tour before it hit the LBS. Yes, all these things make your riding more enjoyable but in the past most of this was race proven tech. Actually, the development of 650B vs. 650B+ is a perfect example.

650B came about for 2 core reasons. 1) To give racers an edge on rolling speed while preserving nimbleness when compared to a 29er. 2) To sell more bikes. I am generally ok with this. I grumbled about the 26" bikes in my garage becoming out of date but at the end of the day 650B is working well and seems to have given the sport a fresh and new advantage. It came across as forced and not many were thrilled to see 26" get pummeled into the ground but there was no denying that there was certainly some mechanical advantage to it.

Now lets talk B+.As @fartymarty pointed out - Surly really was the first to come to market with this. It wasn't need driven, race inspired, or consumer driven. It was birthed from some people wanting to have fun on a bike. That is great. I support that. Here is where I put on my Conspiracy hat. Bike companies saw this coming and knew exactly what they were doing. You see, companies, for the most part, don't care so much about the "step change" in performance that innovation brings, they care about the step change in EARNINGS that innovation brings. Companies could have released a new range of tires that ranged from 2.5-3.0 that would fit existing 650B frames and provided the same super fun benefits that B+ bikes have. But that only brings a small incremental net sales gain. You know what brings in big gains? New Frames, new completes, new hub standards and new forks for those new frames. We are now in a world of planned obsolescence and the elimination of backwards compatibility because it doesn't suit company growth models to have you ride a bike for more than 5 years.

You'll notice that Anneke Beerten is running a prototype 2.5" Shwalbe in Chile right now - How is it that we have complete B+ bikes with 3" tires available to market almost overnight and we are now just seeing wide footprint tires just being tested by top tier riders now? This is important whether you race or not because these are the people that will find the limits and flaws of a technology fast than anyone else - and that equals a better product for you and I.

Surly was content to bring a new concept out and let it grow organically and that is the MTB world I came up in - a new product lived and died on its adopt-ability and adaptability. If riders wanted it they would support it. Maybe I will be proven wrong but I would not be surprised if we see some B+ bikes on the EWS later this season. Not because its the right bike but more because its in the sponsorship contract.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty...I rode Gazzi's also. Yeah they were heavy. But my light xc 29er tires, I buy the expensive ones, end up getting torn on rocks. I don't see how a plus tire will be light enough and not get destroyed.
If plus tires are for beginners then how are they going to pedal them uphill. Or do we promote beginner riders shuttling only?
  • + 1
 @RLEnglish the side walls on my 29x3" 120tpi Knards are pretty thin. There isn't much in the way of sharp rocks where I ride so they're fine. If I was riding sharp rocks plus tyres are less appealing as you need to go to a heavier wall (27tpi knards) as such pŕobably a no go. I think it depends a lot on where and what you ride.

@Duc1098 I completely get and agree with your conspiracy theory. The big companies are cashing in. The Krampus has a 135mm rear hub and can run 3" tyres. Admittedly the chain stays are not stupid short but this whole boost rear end thing just seems like a way to make the current obsolete. It can't go on for much longer as they will have exhausted all possibilities... although gearboxes will make everything obsolete but at least that's a step in the right direction.

As an aside did you see the Dirt write up on the Spec 29/650+. They had a good play with it in various guises.
  • + 21
 I would argue that resisting, at times, may require courage as well. In windsurfing (my main sport), I love walking through a swap meet and looking at the layers of horrendously stupid ideas that were a big thing at the time and resulted in lots of followers jumping on a bandwagon that soon after ran off the tracks. Looks to me like MTB had similar issues in its formative years.

Sure, being an early adopter (either as a producer, taking someone's 'out there' idea and refining it to make it workable, or as an early adopting consumer, buying something you see promise in and reaping benefits before everyone else despite the howls of laughter from your buddies) may take courage - but there's also the follower mentality of buying the next great thing because you get swept up in the fad, only to find much later that you fell for what turned out to be a blind alley.
  • + 15
 this.

the article form RC seems like the spewings of a marketing department. Sycophanticly Trying to pat themselves on the back for their 'innovation' and calling it cleverness / creativity or whatever the cool word is.
  • + 11
 G-42^^^ absolutely. Its the conscious decision that makes all three options part of the creative process.

I think we are due for some more dramaric changes than 12-speed. There are more pressing improvements that could be made that could prove unpopular at first, like a completely new take on the rim/tire interface - or some as simple and useful as a keyed steerer tube and stem that automatically aligns the handlebar.
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham - 1x12 is a nice refinement - and one that doesn't really create any sort of paradigm shift. It doesn't even obsolete current bikes, and won't make bikes harder to maintain/keep current (or even upgrade - if anything, available 1x12 makes very nice current 2x10 and 1x11 drivetrains cheaper). But it's refinement, so the innovation factor here is not anything dramatic.

Dramatic changes - while the commentariat will be calling for gearboxes as the panacea to everything that ails modern MTBs (right, because we all break derailleurs all the time, and obviously nobody has figured out how to do decent suspension with chain/derailleur systems), and manufacturers will insist that 27+ is more than a (remarkably effective) nice product for very specific requirements, I'd think that truly functional variable geometry and intelligent suspension would be the next big thing in the effort to build truly quiver killing bikes. Can't wait to see what they do with that.
  • + 6
 I don't think you understand how hard "refinement" (like going to 12 speed) over 11 actually is. It takes tremendous time and resources and its about all that even extraordinary humans (even collectively) are capable of. Now, every so often, there are truly remarkable individuals who can make dramatic changes to an industry (Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc.), but even those guys best ideas have depended heavily on technological improvements that have only happened through years of refinement. Given how little money there actually is in the bike industry, I'm perfectly happy with all of the "refinements" we've gotten over the years even if there have been a few too many new hub standards.

But, I totally agree with your first point on resistance being equally important to innovation. You need all types of people to innovate an industry, from early adopters, to bandwagoners, to holdouts, to critics. What's lame is when people waste their time bashing others just because they are part of another group. For every dud (for example, first year Fox CTD), there's often a homerun (for example, Float X2). The guy who's not that great of a rider that shows up to the trailhead with the latest new part is a big reason for why the company was able to develop that part in the first place. But the guy that waits to buy is a big reason for how weak products get scrapped or redone.
  • + 1
 @katmai - oh, don't get me wrong. Refinement is huge. Ideas are great, but execution is king. There's a lot of great innovative thinking that goes into solving all the little problems standing in the way of a better implementation of an existing product. 1x12 represents that - and does so on a way that benefits the market as a whole.

What it is not, however, is innovation in the sense of solving an entirely new problem, or solving a problem with a completely new approach. That sort of innovation is rare, at least it is rarely successful. You mention Elon Musk - Tesla has been innovative on the refinement front. Lots of patents on how to improve known solutions to known problems. But they've not reinvented the electric car. Donate they refiners, or innovators? I'd argue they've pushed so hard on incremental improvements, they've created a qualitative difference.
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham ... "a keyed steerer tube and stem that automatically aligns the handlebar."

Seriously, why is this not standard on all steerers and stems!?!?!?!?!
  • + 1
 While a keyed steerer would make the alignment a breeze, it could become an issue when you need to turn the handlebar to make the bike fit in a box for shipping / transportation or to fit 3-4 bikes with large handlebars on the roof rack of your car.

Some small guidelines on the spacers, frame and stem could also help.
  • + 4
 Because you'd twist your forks or handlebars in a crash in stead of just having to straighten your stem.
  • + 14
 There's a lot of crap out in the MTB Industry and no one is taking responsibility. Everything new and unproven is being sugar coated and sprinkled with Magic dust to sell as soon as possible.
  • + 12
 "One must identify a potential problem, project a solution, and then develop that into a product at considerable expense for customers who, in most cases, have yet to identify any need for it."

This part of your article sums it up RC

PROBLEM - Shareholders demanding more profit.
SOLUTION - Create new standards, categories and wheel sizes.

90% of new products add no tangible benefit to the average rider.

There are 2 things I need as a rider that will really make a difference

1, An affordable, reliable and preferably light weight gearbox
2, Tires/Rims that reliably hold air in all situations

Thats it from me, I gotta go repair a flat and straighten out my hanger so that I can go for a ride!
  • + 1
 2 - yeah a few years ago we had UST rims/tires, now we have "tubeless ready" which require rim strips and sealant...? It should be possible nowadays to have a light-ish sealed tire.
  • + 3
 I have had 'inflation failures' on all manner of tires over the years. Tubed/tubeless all brands. The only semi-reliable setup I run is dual ply DH tires with tubes. The only problem with this set up is the 3kg of rubber that is added to my 150mm travel bike. It would be great to see some kind of kevlar armour for tires and a tire/rim interface that would tolerate a tubeless set up at lower pressures and be 'burp proof'. Can the tire designers spend some time on this instead of devoting their talents to plus and fat tires.
  • + 1
 For the most reliable tubeless setup, IMO, it's still Ghetto. Using sealant to "glue" the tire to the 20" tube strip eliminates the burp. Dual ply tires are still the way to go but plugs and sealant make even a single ply a reasonable option for a lot of people. Bootleg riders know whats up.
  • + 1
 Wait wait, "One must identify a potential problem... customers who have yet to identify any need for it." Ummmm, if the customers don't have a need for the solution, there is not a problem... Right?
  • + 1
 @flymybike i'm with you on ghetto. I've been on ghetto for 5 years and no real iasues. @jaredgraves was (and possibly still is???) using ghetto in certain situations. The only issue I have with ghetto is having to pump up your tyres before every ride although the plus side is you know your tyres are at the right pressure.
  • + 16
 No electrics on mountain bikes
  • + 6
 Simple is best
  • + 13
 I'm cool with everything BUT the motorized pedal power. I really don't want to be passed by a lazy ass going uphill. trails are meant for non-motorized vehicles only. go ride on the street and stay out of the woods.
  • + 0
 I think the e-mtb bikes hitting trails is going to be one of the biggest stories for the next few years. It could end up being a weird scene for a few years ie: like when skiers hated snowboarders, bans at some resorts, disagreements... I also have to admit that I would prefer someone riding an e-bike up a logging road for their DH runs to truck shuttling and dust....for those of us who prefer to get some cardio.
  • + 4
 E-Bikes are disgusting, it seems like you have already been taken by them Frown .
  • + 3
 No e-bike here and highly doubt I'd ever get one. Just saying I hate dust from shuttle trucks more.
  • + 4
 Really? Think about it, a fat lazy smoker will ride his e-bike up then not use the throttle for the single track. What will happen is he will ride the singletrack up and down using throttle both ways.
I am taking a stand against e-bikes on singletrack.
  • + 3
 I am against them on single track too
  • - 2
 ebikes rule.
  • + 2
 Your disgusting
  • + 11
 Boy , did anyone actually read the article? Did anyone notice the very first picture? I think it is pretty clear that he is saying that 12 speed is just refinement , what is needed is the courage to create some totally new, hint hint , perhaps something like a gearbox or something not yet thought of. Perhaps supporting the development of gearboxes would be a better way to spend your money now than spending it on the latest revision of a century old technology, just like supporting the Gravity Dropper seat post, the second picture in his perceptive article, was a better way to spend your money 10 years ago than buying the latest carbon or Ti seat post of the time. How many of us were guilty of that mistake at the time.
  • + 3
 Agreed... the photo of the pinion kinda confirm it. We need a drivetrain relolution not evolution... 12 speed must be the end of the derailler evolution (imagine a 60 or 70 tooth cog hanging off your back wheel)... unless someone is going to make a bike chain with shorter links (ie smaller cogs =less weight) I cant see there being a lot more they can do with it. Gearboxes on the other hand have a long way to go.... The pinion P1-18 has 636%. Throw some titanium and carbon at it im sure it would be weighing less than a 1x12 setup with 500%.
  • + 3
 This article started some creative juices going. I wondered if there was a product I could invent which would sell in the millions so I could retire and ride bikes all day long. No such luck. But then I started to think about people who ride bikes all day long for a living. People who review bike stuff who have to try out a product, even if it's horrendous, just to stay current. So if I invent something really unsafe, I could potentially sideline all the reviewers for a while and get my wish! All I need is to make sure I'm perfectly positioned to take over after the inevitable...
@Pinkbike, you looking for an intern?
  • + 3
 I truly doubt that we have more innovations than before. Mtb's have always been full of constant innovation and we were always thinking "right now we have the most innovation". But I think we don't. I think were just stepping forward with tiny baby steps every single day.

The only thing is that improvements can have more effect, due to evolving something that has already been evolved.

I heard that it was proven that human beings didn't get smarter over time. The only reason we have modern stuff now such as electricity, clean water on the 18th floor, etc, is because we build our knowledge on stuff that others have already found out.
We do have more knowledge, but we're not smarter.

Same with inventions in our sport. It keeps on getting better, but it has always been evolving very fast. Its just that that revolutionary part from 10 years ago means nothing to us anymore now.


The only thing we seem to have become better in is inventing new useless "standard". F-off with that shit bike industry...
  • + 8
 gearbox please
  • + 2
 yes
  • + 2
 Serious question, what is stopping you from buying a bike with a gearbox?
  • + 1
 probably the cost and lack of dealer support for gearbox bikes in north america. the more companies get into the game, the more the price will be reduced.
  • + 2
 Fair enough. But the big boys won't jump on gearboxes until the likes of Pinion start biting up their heels. Otherwise they (the big S's) would just be shooting themselves in the foot in a way. And the best way to make gearbox makers real contenders/game changers is to whip out that hard earned coin and buy. As per RC's article, early-ish adopters (gearboxes have been around for a while) will have to validate the idea.
  • + 1
 good point, if nobody buys the early gearbox bikes it's hard to expect the builders to keep improving them. Unless someone with deep pockets decides to invest heavily.
  • + 1
 bananowy, save for one commuter KTM there are no gear box bikes available in the US. Google search brings up some links to North American distributorship for Nicolai and Cavelerie, all of which link to websites that no longer exist with the last activity some time in 2014.
  • + 3
 Our Pinion gearboxes are on the way. We will have 6" and an 8" versions testing here shortly. We are currently building our website. Follow us here on pinkbike for the latest news. We are also trying to keep the prices of the gearbox/frameset combo very reasonable. We truly hate what is happening in the industry with the $$$ facade in the name of innovation. Although you will add weight with a gearbox, it is potentially a bike that you can keep for a long time barring a gnarly crash that will still be relevant. C'mon, they are damn bicycles. The Pinion seems fairly reliable.
  • + 1
 @bananowy its having the coin to buy one. If I won lotto I would jump in my car and visit Mr Porter and order a GeoMetron with a pinion. Until then I will keep complaining and riding my Zee mech (which is quite good). I think the gearbox relolution will start with the little guys like Nicolai/Mojo, Zerode and filter up. Once the mid sized guys like Santa Cruz make one more will follow so as not to miss the boat. Then the biggies will be forced to follow along with Shimano / Sram. The main issue I see is gearbox mount standards.... this is a potential minefield.
  • + 2
 In this industry I would have to say "What standards?"
  • + 0
 Gearboxes are already an option. Unless people buy them though, then more manufacturers won't get on board… why would they?
  • + 1
 @Spittingcat I've never walked in one bike shop yet and seen a gear box bike. I've have not seen one at a demo yet either. So where are all these gearboxes you speak of?
  • + 1
 I have only seen one on the trails.
  • + 0
 Exactly, people don't buy them.
  • + 1
 @Spittingcat: Most people who ride don't know they exist. Its a bit like with disc brakes. Unless you had seen them you didn't know they existed. Also once you had ridden a pair you knew you wanted them and never wanted to ride rim brakes again. Gearbixes will be the same.
  • + 1
 That is when disc brakes came out.
  • + 2
 I think what RC is referring to is things no one has thought of yet, at least in the larger context of all the "refinements" and small leaps like dropping front derailleurs, electronic shifting, electronic suspension, electric pedal assist, etc.

I saw the article merely as the musings of someone who's wondering what the next true innovation will be, and how do we prepare ourselves as riders to receive it?
  • + 2
 real innovation only comes along in huge gaps. this isn't innovation.
the rep from Shmam said it himself: people at Shmam would only get used to
change if it was incremental. thats a bonus for any industry. any industry.
incremental innovation keeps people buying/trading up.
lots a riders feel like they gotta have the latest...
industry loves these people
  • + 2
 "Once again, as the sport appears to be entering a period of intense innovation, we will have the opportunity to create, resist or invest. Two of those choices require courage."

Please bike gods.....give me the courage to resist
  • + 2
 Good article. Just like every industry, innovation will always be there weather we like it, accept it or not. Its inevitable. I used to be pretty much sold on a DH 26" bike and now I'm looking into the enduro's 650b because the advancements in drive-train's, suspensions and materials would permit me to it for XC and riding the bike park instead of having a few bikes. As I get older, I have a tendency to reduce my footprint instead of expanding it. Its innovations in the bike industry that permit me to do this.
  • + 1
 Good article. I'm always reluctant to be an early adopter as I see it as a risk. I like how this article points out that they are taking an important place in the great cycle of innovation. I think its also interesting to point out that these early adopters are the ones voting on what the future of biking looks like. Its funny that there are complaints about where the bike industry is going: its going where buyers take it. I personally love seeing the useful, innovative improvements year-after-year and watching the bike industry try and figure out how to build a better, more in-demand bike. I eagerly wait for announcements and pour over reviews of the new equipment. I'll now think twice about how I can vote to influence what changes win out in the future.
  • + 1
 "Someone figured out how Sam Hill was riding"

Can that someone tell me how?

I see it, and it inspires me to ride better, but I will never do it. But, that inspiration engages me in a way that no bit of bike bling will ever do.

I say that because I believe that almost all of sport is about the riding and only a bit is about the bike. Taking it forward by showing others to ride better puts the gear tech in its rightful place, IMO.

Just sayin...
  • + 1
 I'm riding a Banshee Prime... bitchin geo, handles great, super fun. At one point, these bikes were thought to be ....WTF? I say innovate away! I'll wait a couple years till the industry sorts out the new ideas and reap the sweet sweet rewards!
  • + 1
 Part of me thinks that articles such as this are written in order to in courage coments........ part of me also wishes that the industry would take the time to read them... maby they are?
  • + 3
 Don't like it, don't buy it. Too expensive, don't buy it. Don't need it, don't buy it. Shut up and ride people.
  • + 0
 Is it me or is the industry, either purposely inadvertently, killing the fitness aspect of mountain biking? I mean, jesus - I just one upped my 1x10 in an effort to preserve my knees, because I live in the pnw, like to earn my descents and am going to be 40 in two months! Now we're looking at 50t cassettes, electric assists, dumbed down trails and an over saturation of 'skills classes' for the masses just getting involved in the sport. It's like giving a novice boxer a kevlar suit and a water break every two minutes. I'm all for new tech - love the idea of gear boxes, stoked on 650b, love the efficiency and feel of carbon... but come ON. The tech and the trails have the same problem - lowering the demands on the rider rather than forcing the rider to level up. It just doesn't seem right, and I'm saying this as a rider that isn't all that great.
  • + 0
 I don't like this all being so centered around equipment really. Willingness to try something new doesn't only have to do with being open minded and supporting innovation, it also has to do with ethics. Sometimes that isn't an issue, like trying a new training method. But with equipment, I think the element of ethics should be there. So you're attracted by the first cellphone that doesn't need a pen to operate the touchscreen which makes it incredibly innovative compared to what has been available before, right. You know that you're buying a product with a non user replaceable battery that will only last a few days at best, no expandable memory, only a single SIM slot produced with several rare earth metals and conflict minerals in a factory with poor working conditions. If you're willing to accept that, you can buy one. But it could also be that even though you appreciate the design and possible creativity behind the product, you may be put off by some of the aspects mentioned above. At least to the extend that you want to wait for next generations or competitors to compare what's available before you decide where exactly to place your ecological footprint. That you have bought something you know you like and that you want to stick with for a while. So that you won't be tempted to immediately ditch what you have once the next generation comes out with some interesting improvements. That would slog your ecological footprint into a gully. I'm not saying it is wrong, ethics are different for everyone. What I mean to say is that there are fair reasons to not jump at the first incarnation of something "innovative" even if you see some potential. Modern electronics like those cellphones are probably the more extreme example compared to mechanical stuff like drivetrain componentes, but the same logic applies. I'm probably one to happily hang at the tail end of technology for someone in a Western country and this is the very reason.

Obviously some new products allow you to ride in ways not possible before. Hydraulic brakes offered a level of power and control that allowed for new ways to ride trials, for instance. Hydraulic rim brakes were a true bicycle innovation as far as I know, hydraulic disc brakes were simply an evolution of what was already common in motorsports. I don't know who was first with bicycle disc brakes, but at least Magura and Grimeca made motorcycle and moped brakes as well (though I don't think Grimeca still makes bicycle brakes anymore). So yeah, if you were into trials back then and those hydraulic rim brakes came out, getting them would indeed revolutionize your ride as they say nowadays. But with those dropper posts really, what's the point? The argument I read in the media is that dropping your seat allows for more control. I get that. But what happend to just leaving the seat low for the entire ride and just raise it with a qr for your ride to and from the trails? Get fit and learn to stand up climbing, now that will revolutionize your ride! It won't require any new gear except for maybe a qr seat clamp if you don't have one already. It may not be an option for those competing in enduro racing. But for most of us (the ones who buy their components) there is nothing wrong with getting tired on a ride. If it really is what you want and think you need, then yes have one. But as with the first bicycle suspension, you know there are massive reliability issues and vulnerability in case of a crash so much so that you'd actually want the next more improved version, then just wait for the next more improved version. If you do that, you prove you have more of a vision for innovation than the one who just gets the current latest product.
  • + 4
 Brace yourselves, It's the SRAM Eagle 1x12 Drivetrain
  • + 1
 Can someone please give a comparison weight to performance between a conventional gear system and a gearbox?
Please, just once leave the Sram cookies and Shimano tea and write the truth! Smile
  • + 1
 P.12 gearbox ........... 2350g
Twist shifter ............95,0 g
Crank arms.............434,5 g
Chain tensioner.......122,0 g
Chain ring 30t...........51,0 g
Gearbox Spider.........40,0 g
Rear sprocket 26t.....37,5 g
---------------------------------------------- 3130g
cranks xt 36-26t .......718g
bb xt .........................82g
XT-11-42 cassette .... 447g
xt rear derailleur .......275g
xt front derailleur .......136g
xt front shifter ...........132g
------------------------------------------------ 1790
weight penalty ........... 1340g (3.95 pounds)

Pinion has 2 cables so I didn't count fr. derr cable. It could also be said that a simple ss rear hub would be lighter than a standard rear hub and a dishless wheel would be lighter at the same strength.
  • + 1
 I also checked the Pinion website out and I do think XT would be a good comparison to start with. I could live with the weight, but if the performance is stellar, gearbox it is, no question. I was thinking, for Freeride and DH, maybe a thoroughly thought out 8 speed gearbox would be lighter and as you said, a good SS rear hub and a Gates, could be about 2800+g.
  • + 1
 forgot the rear shifter, so that's 132g less 1208g weight difference
  • + 5
 Gravity Dropper FTW !
  • + 5
 How was Sam Hill riding?
  • + 3
 down the hill
  • + 3
 better than anyone who came before him.
  • + 4
 beyond the capability of bikes available at the time.
  • + 2
 Okay he was riding faster than everyone I get that but what was his 'secret' that someone figured out? (according to this article)
  • + 1
 His style of riding. It was different and highly effective and he had an ability to look at line choices that others were afraid of or didn't see (still to this day riders are emulating his style). Worth watching old footage of him to see how it compared to riders of his time.
  • + 2
 @atrokz why are you writimg past time, Sam is still alive and still faster than 99.99% of all bikers
  • + 2
 Agree. Its just that at that point he was in his own league.
  • + 1
 @atrokz ok that's true, a pity he wasn't superbe 2015. I hope 2016 will be "his year" again
  • + 2
 I just bought a used Gravity Dropper off Pinkbike - now that's real courage!
  • - 1
 That was a particularly poorly placed article. Pinkbike's been really squeezing dry all the opinions of people lately. I feel articles like this are designed to play on the psychology of the masses. To help us accept all this new rubbish. Adding another cog to a casette shouldn't be mentioned on the 'same website as the words 'innovation' and 'creativity'. These companies made me feel ashamed to be a MTB rider. They like to think of themselves as the face of MTBing. Same with the people on this website it seems. Come on pb, I've been here for quite a few years, you're letting me down.
  • + 0
 One more "vague" article from RC. I look forward to reading his columns as they inspire thought and I've been reading his contributions longer than most PBers have been alive. Open your minds people.
  • + 2
 everything is everything.
  • + 3
 Deep.
  • + 2
 yeahhhhhhhhhh

forrealthobro: bikes are tools for fun. they deliver. mountain biking is solved.

still fertile ground though: arguing semantics, the desire to be RIGHT, absolutism fueled by insecurity...these will always have dedicated people slugging it out.
  • + 3
 I just like to ride my bike

what about you guys?
  • + 1
 Riding bikes is the best!
  • + 2
 This guy must be a SRAM fan... 2x9 ain't dead!
  • + 1
 Courage? Ha! More like a committee decided in a board meeting to increase profits on some of these meh products.
  • + 1
 Remember being covered in Stan's sealant?
What, like last week.
  • + 1
 SO blatant with the timing RC..
  • + 10
 robaussie99
Do you really think an extra cassette cog and some pointy chainring teeth qualifies as creative innovation? For the record: I don't. You may have missed the third paragraph.
  • + 3
 Let me get this straight: Right here is the driver of your whole speech:
"For the most part, those people knew they were investing their time and money on innovations that were not yet perfect, so they must have believed that they were participating in something greater. They were."

You just wrote a long article to justify the Microsoft approach of making the end users be the beta tester being applied to the biking industry. Wonderful.
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham my reference was to the coincidence between the way this article comes across and the timing of the "Eagle" release. SRAM have to know that they can't bring out new tech too quickly for fear of scaring the user, they say it themselves, I would be the complete opposite of scared if they came out with 15 speed now, or a gearbox frame. I'd probably buy one, yet I won't buy this, because it's not good enough to warrant an upgrade. SRAM wants this release to go as smoothly as possible, and an article to soften the blow of something new. As always, the motivation behind some of the news posts on here makes me question the line between unbiased opinion and blatant marketing, this reads as somewhere between the two.


For the record "There is no downside to conjuring up ways to make an existing product lighter, stronger, faster or more attractive." - There is one major one, the inconvenience and requirement for the end user to pay top dollar for something that't not actually that great, purely to support the stepping stone to the next "new technology" that's already been created.
  • + 1
 @robaussie99: Yeah, unfortunate timing, but Op-Eds are scheduled for Thursdays. I am not concerned with 12 speed, That, in my mind, was a given. Now that we have worked out useful one-by gearing, we probably should figure out how to repackage it in a smaller space. Otherwise, we may have to jump up to 29ers simply to keep the derailleur from dragging on the rocks ; (
  • + 1
 Resistance is futile. Innovate, invest, or die you petty earthlings.
  • + 2
 The EAGLE has landed
  • + 1
 GOLD!!!!
  • + 1
 Gear box
  • + 1
 ! !
  • + 0
 No me gusta este articulo.
  • + 1
 Right from the heart!
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.086581
Mobile Version of Website