DH Bike Fans
DH Bike Week was awesome
New Zealand Racers
The NZ brigade is racing a full domestic season while the rest of the world is locked down
New Zealand held its National Championships this past weekend, with Sam Blenkinsop and Jessica Blewitt taking the wins in DH and Anton Cooper and Sammie Maxwell leading in XC. New Zealand has been lucky in its ability to hold national races while many other countries are still being hit hard by Covid and lockdowns. (The exception to the Good Month designation here is Ed Masters, who unfortunately broke his pelvis
in his National Champs run. We hate to see The Eagle injured, and hope hope he heals up soon.)
Before that, this month brought the 3rd and 4th rounds of the New Zealand National DH Series took place in Nelson and Coronet Peak, along with the NZ Open DH.
The freeriders and hooligans in New Zealand also look to be having a great time right now too, if the Vanzacs' new video
is any indication.
Versatile High Pivot Bikes
Dreadnought, Highlander, mystery prototype
Forbidden made waves this month with the Dreadnought
, the Druid's longer-legged big brother. The Dreadnought feels like a big bike but defies strict categorization, making it a versatile option for riders who want to hit the bike parks on their trail bikes.
Before any of us had the chance to forget about the Dreadnought, another brand came out with a bulked-up version of their high pivot trail bike: Deviate's Highlander 150
, which uses a new rocker link to change the geometry and travel on the already-existent Highlander 140
Which brings us to...
Sneak peak at the future as well as a look at the past
We got a look at a new prototype that might be a Devinci
, thanks to the sharp-eyed Pinkbike user Tonkatruck. The Split Pivot suspension design looks like recent iterations of the Troy and Marshall. Devinci first made a high pivot bike in the early 2000s, so it wouldn't be remotely shocking to see Devinci come out with this bike.
Going in the other direction, where the dust has settled and there's no more speculation, we also looked back this month at downhill prototypes that never made it to production
. Those prototypes actually include Devinci's high pivot Wilson (another clue in the above prototype mystery) along with two Yeti prototypes, Cannondale's two-shock downhill bike, and the legendary Honda G-Cross RN-01. Those are bikes I wish I'd seen in person.
SRAM's Patent Lawyers
Fox has won a critical round in a series of patent battles
The U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board recently sided with Fox in a legal fight that has been ongoing since 2015, Bicycle Retailer reported
. It started when SRAM sued RaceFace (owned by Fox) for two patent infringements related to SRAM's X-Sync technology. (Then, in 2016, Fox sued SRAM for several suspension-related patent infringements, though that suit is more or less on hold right now due to Covid and is only tangentially related to the chainring story.)
The technology in question pairs narrow-wide alternating teeth with teeth that are offset for better chain retention. While neither idea is new, SRAM claims that the combination brings a unique solution to a problem that needed solving. RaceFace disagrees and makes similar chainrings without licensing the technology from SRAM.
The debate moved slowly as SRAM's two patents were reviewed, then the discourse among Fox, SRAM, the patent board, and an appeals court continued. The patent board upheld both of SRAM's patents in 2018, then an appeals court sided with Fox on one of the patents, determining that the board hadn't properly examined SRAM's claims around factors like whether there was a long-felt need for the invention and whether the patented technology is "obvious." This time, in light of the appeals court decision, the board sided with Fox, finding SRAM's patent claim invalid.
Based on the back-and-forth and the amount of money both sides have spent on the issue, we think it's safe to say the war is far from over.
EWS racer Martha Gill had two bikes stolen in a van break-in
Martha Gill had two Marin bikes stolen
by people who broke into her van while it was parked outside a store, took her bikes, and sped away on their mopeds with the bikes on their backs. The bikes are a Marin Alcatraz and a Marin Alpine Trail Carbon, and anyone in the Sheffield, UK, area is encouraged to share her post on social media
to help bring the bikes home.
Unfortunately, Martha is not alone in having her bikes stolen, and there's sad data to show that bike theft has risen throughout the pandemic
, likely due to a number of factors: First, there are more bikes available to steal. Second, there are more new riders in the sport than there were two years ago, and those riders may not know yet how to keep bikes safe. Additionally, the scarcity of bikes has driven up prices in the secondhand market, making it appealing for thieves to acquire bikes to sell.
Remember to always note your bike's serial number, register your bike online if that's an option, and keep your bike in the most indoors/locked/supervised/painful-to-break-into place you possibly can.
Cyclists Falling Through Ice
Why do people keep doing this?
Just don't do it.
Just because you can doesn't mean you should. I have access to a bicycle and also to some ice, but I'm planning to keep my tires on more solid ground. I recommend you do, too. The first incident was in January when two U21 EWS racers and a friend fell through, but this month a vlogger named Lucas Brunelle followed suit
"I ride my bike the same way I trade stocks. It’s my nature to take high risks and high return," Lucas said of the risk.