Good Month / Bad Month: American Racing, Aaron Gwin, Sick Cycles, and Controversial XC Courses - May 2019

May 31, 2019 at 12:25
by Daniel Sapp  

Kate Courtney and US Women's Cycling

Kate Courtney Wins First Two World Cups

For Kate Courtney, winning World Champs last year was just the start. Taking the top step for XC in the first two World Cups this year, Courtney has proven that she has what it takes to win the hardest races in the world. Following Courtney in the Elites, Lea Davidson and Chloe Woodruff are also showing top form, with Woodruff winning the short track race at the Nove Mesto World Cup. American Haley Batten is also at the top of her game, taking the win in Nove Mesto in the U23 division.

With all of this talent and momentum coming from within the US, American XC racing is possibly the strongest it's ever been.
Kate Courtney brings home win number one for the season.


Trailforks Aids Rescue of Injured Mountain Biker

Pinkbike's sister company, Trailforks, recently assisted in the rescue of an injured mountain biker on the Three Blind Mice trail network in Penticton, BC. Search and Rescue manager Kelvin Hall used Trailforks to aid in the rescue and recommends all backcountry users download Trailforks.

The app can allow users to more accurately report their position to search and rescue personnel and for search and rescue to more easily find a victim.
Success Story Trailforks Search and Rescue

New Bike Tech

New Bikes from Trek and Pivot along with Plenty of World Cup Tech

With the World Cup season getting into full swing, there has been quite a lot of new bike tech coming in from all over the last month. Trek and Pivot both released new XC bikes this past week and various prototype parts have been spotted in and around the pits at the races. Intend's Hover Shock is quite a departure from the norm, and TRP apparently have some new brakes in the works.

Safe to say that the coming couple World Cups are likely to show quite a bit more new tech in the pits as everyone settles into their teams for the season.

Customers of Sick Cycles

Smoke, Mirrors, and the Runaround

Sick Cycles seem to have gone and provided a textbook example of how to be good at the internet and bad at a job. With a lot of hype around their new frames, many customers prepaid money only to be met with excuses for why their frames never showed up. Pinkbike, along with other media sites gave the owners a chance to explain what was happening after threads in forums discussing the issue turned angry, but the interview seems to have merely been filled with sob stories, excuses, and empty promises after their manufacturer of the frames stated a couple of weeks later they still had not been paid for the frames by Sick and would be selling them off.

Maybe it's not these guys' full-time job to make bikes and they haven't been able to dedicate the appropriate time to it, maybe they messed up and really do want to fix things, or maybe they're just full of it... One way or another, the damage is done, and Sick Cycles have a long hard road ahead of them if they ever hope to restore their tarnished reputation.

Aaron Gwin

Aaron Gwin Injures his Ankle and Has His Race Bike Stolen

Aaron Gwin snapped a crankarm, one that supposedly wasn't supposed to be on his bike in the first place, during a practice run at Mountain Creek, New Jersey. The impact injured his ankle, hindering his preparations for the Fort William World Cup.

To make matters worse, Gwin's team rig was broken into while en route to the World Cup and his race bike was stolen. Fortunately, the team had another bike that was built up for the race, but there's no doubt that puts a great deal of extra strain on the team in preparation for the weekend. We'll see if he can break this streak of bad luck and turn things around before the big day in Fort William.
Aaron Gwin looked comfortable on track and as always played practice pretty cool not wanting to draw too much attention.

Albstadt's Course Changes

Albstadt Creates Wooden Walkways over Technical Sections of Track

The Albstadt XC track is known for being treacherous in the wet, and after last year's dangerous conditions caused by the heavy rainfall race organizers decided to weatherproof the course in case of further bad weather. Their answer was covering some of the more technical sections of track in wood and chicken wire, a tactic that didn't work out as intended, with numerous riders sliding out on the slippery wood.

Although making a track rideable in all weather conditions is important for rider safety, smooth gravel paths and wood walkways are not the answer. With World Champs being held in Albstadt next year, there need to be some serious changes made to the track in order to make it appropriate. No one wants to see races lost on chicken wire, and if there needs to be a new track cut altogether, so be it, there are plenty of professional trail builders that can make that happen. It is World Champs, after all.
No longer will we see riders have to use skill to get around the Devil s Corner.


  • 143 2
 Thank you for roasting shit bike co again
  • 18 2
 I wonder if their bikes are even that great. I mean, they were only into mountain biking for like what 3 years?
  • 25 0
 @Koin: No one will ever know.
  • 31 0
 @Koin: lol yeah. they decided to start a bike company because they enjoyed trail running. you can't make this stuff up.
  • 13 0
 @gally-nh: I thought that was a joke when I read their interview. But sadly it wasnt.
  • 5 0
 I got a shirt!... Collectors item now.
  • 4 0
 @dfbland: Ha! Now I kinda want one. Afraid the order wouldn’t get filled though.
  • 18 0
 The bike industry’s version of the Fyre Festival.
  • 7 0
 Think it’s been more than just 1 bad month for the sick bike “customers”
  • 83 3
 Also good month: Shimano 12-speed XT/SLX
  • 4 0
 Too good!
  • 26 7
 *drivetrain may contain new freehub standard
  • 16 3
 @Chickenwithshovel: the one that’s a year old?
  • 3 3

I think I read somewhere that it uses a new freehub body? Need to check again.
  • 2 2
 @Chickenwithshovel: Ok, so yea, must've read that somewhere too.

But I mean, sram came out with the xD driver, so it's not too big of a deal breaker if the Shimano one has a new freehub body too. Not like I can afford it now anyway, haha. I actually JUST got XT 11 not long ago (second hand at that).
  • 2 3
 @davechopoptions: People are still having a hard time with XD even though it's been out for quite a while AND it's available from damn near everyone. Also: being offered only at the XTR level which isn't even readily available doesn't count as "out."
  • 34 0
 @Chickenwithshovel: I'll give Shimano a pass since the last time they changed the freehub design a 486DX2 running Windows 3.1 was cutting edge. If they say they needed to change the freehub to make it work they probably meant it.
  • 1 0
 @fullfacemike: I bought mine last November. Agree that top tier only limits uptake.
  • 1 0
 That and a lack of open licensing @davechopoptions:
  • 1 1
 @fullfacemike: fake news
  • 1 0
 @bubbrubb: Bulletproof rebuttal.
  • 5 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: agreed about the need issue, but just let everyone make it.
  • 5 0
 That is definitely a good month for Shimano
  • 1 0
 @whambat: Yup, fully in agreement with you there. Maybe they'll see sense in the next coupleof months.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: That should be Shimano's advertising banner, forever.
  • 44 9
 That was an excellent commentary to the Albstadt course. Best I read so far. Classical incompetence, where the biggest mistake is to not seek competence. Especially when these days it is available. Such decision taking can take what is an issue into a disaster.
  • 19 1
 Yeah I am pleased PB drew attention to the Albstadt course again here. I have a suggestion (but prefer the idea of bringing in professional trail builders to get it right).

Leave the old course alone and change tires to something that works in the wet, duh.
  • 7 0
 @mountaincross: I agree. This is mountainbiking and there are more than enough options available for these skilled riders to ride the course even when it is slippery. It may not be that quick rolling but this trade off goes for any mountainbiking discipline. Take chances with the fast rolling tires or choose the grippier heavier option and be rolling where everyone else is crashing.
  • 4 9
flag JohanG (Jun 1, 2019 at 21:37) (Below Threshold)
 Alteration to the natural surface was prohibited by government regulations. If you want to complain, go talk to your big hero, big daddy government about it.
  • 2 0
 @JohanG: Who are you even replying to, and who said anything about the government?
  • 23 0
 Mmm, it looks like Daniel Sapp may not be quite as much of a fan of Sick as James Smurthwaite.
  • 17 0
 Yes PB desperately needed to ‘balance’ out the previous fluff piece. Well played DS!
  • 12 0
 Absolutely, PB were the only recent purveyors of the smoke and mirrors. Hopefully JS had his wrist slapped by HQ for weak journalism.
  • 21 0
 “Be a d1ckhead on the internet and we will fight you”...maybe they should get this tattooed on their arm...or forehead!
  • 8 0
 Should say be a dickhead and not deliverer frames, internet will fight you.
  • 17 0
 Sick Cycles should be toast but judging by their Instagram followers I’m not so sure.

Long live every other bike brand!
  • 15 2
 Welp, you can't fix stupid. If Sick makes an earth is flat t-shirt, I'm sure they will be sold out too.
  • 9 0
 their designer / engineer has quit , which is also a bad month thing if you have a company that makes stuff.
  • 11 0
 @Compositepro: they had a designer/engineer?!?
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: Brian at Downland, Marino or someone else?
  • 1 0
 @mr-ed: someone else.
  • 1 0
 @mr-ed: iirc it’s one of the 4 directors
  • 3 0
 @davechopoptions: designer?! What design was there other than ‘long is good, so more long must be better’. ‘Slack is good so more slack must be better’... etc etc
  • 2 1
 @mr-ed: the blokes name is Lee decent enough that has been sold a pup by the sounds ....
  • 4 6
 @Compositepro: I didn't know picking something from a catalogue and adding paint makes one a designer/engineer.....
  • 6 11
flag Compositepro (Jun 1, 2019 at 8:07) (Below Threshold)
 @onemind123: that's because you should maybe have a clue what else he was doing for them you smug c*nt
  • 8 2
 @onemind123: which catalogue are the Sleipnir and Gnarpoon from? Got a link?
  • 4 1
 @tomhoward379: and that was why their engineer leaving was relevant...tells me he wasn't paid for a years work
  • 6 1
 @Compositepro: As far as can bee seen not a single one of his designs actually made it to even a rideable prototype.

I hate to think how many hours he lost to CAD only for them to put some render images online, half sell a crowd fund and then move into the next design, I feel sorry for him.

In reality, the best bits about Sick were him and the Zammit guy who designs the merchandise, Jordan is only experienced in using up others talent for his own gain - he even has a video on YouTube where he will tell you how you can do it yourself.
  • 3 3
 @onemind123: I think if you ask anyone I'm far from a fanboy of anything
  • 2 1
 @justanotherusername: it's not for me to say but there's plenty if stuff that I made before for one reason or another it was abandoned...there's lots of pictures of it
  • 4 0
 @Compositepro: what a waste of time for all involved, I imagine you were not paid for your time either.
  • 2 0
 I‘ld say: long live their manufacturer in Peru
  • 12 0
 There was obviously enough money and time to build a boardwalk (cause that's what that is) in the middle of the trail, but they didn't have the wherewithal to foresee that wet wood and wet metal are slippery. Why didn't they just take those resources to hire a proper trail builder to fix those sections, or create a new section altogether?
  • 9 0
 "there are plenty of professional trail builders that can make that happen"
Amen to that! Please all the people organizing event around the world: builders knows, you don't.
Look at dirt jump events, who's driving?
  • 10 7
 I agree. But there are a few bad sheep. There are a-holes who can’t build stuff and win biddings simply by offering the lowest price. I know a few examples of “companies” making shitty trails. One of them built a couple of major trails in Poland (including 3 bike parks) which are straight forward dangerous. It took them few years of misconduct to get enough sht from the community, to take this critique on board. Not everyone in Europe is Ben Walker from Chatel/ Morgins or Snore Pedersen from Hafjell
  • 6 0
 Totally agree. I smashed my hand to pieces slipping on wet wood in a race, over a section of track that was difficult without wood, made impossible with wood. Megavalanche a few years ago. I'm still living with bent fingers! Scores of riders did the same. It should never have been there and was clearly the idea of someone who has never ridden mtb.
  • 5 1
 @WAKIdesigns: makes me think of these low cost skate park with a quarter there, a box on the other way and a grind whatever in the exact perpendicular to the 2 other things
  • 1 0
 Given the choice I think I'd probably take my chances landing on rock, over being lacerated by chicken wire.
  • 3 1
 I think my main beef with wet wooded sections is that if I fall off on natural terrain, its my fault; if I ride wet wood it's just a lottery as to whether I fall off that might be completely not my fault. There's also always multiple ways through a natural section; if its covered in dog obedience trials, there usually aren't any optional lines
  • 5 0
 How about instead of chicken wire, use asphalt shingles. Much better grip in the wet but not as lasting though. That feature reminds me of splash mountain at Disney World when wet.
  • 14 1
 Nothing having to do with a World Cup should remind anyone of Splash Mountain at Disney...and yes, shingles are an an idea, and would be an upgrade but, personally, I vote to keep the mountain in mountain biking.
  • 2 0
 Good idea but I'm not sure you want to introduce tar into the wild I'd also vote for all natural if some people need to slow down for the difficult sections than people who can ride the mud have an advantage don't change the course change your training camp acquire those skills don't dumb down the course for people who can't ride in bad weather. That's part of mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 or grip tape!
  • 13 11
 Ibis is, almost, doing the same as SICK. They are selling frames/bikes that they dont have in stock. I waited 2.5 month. Then they shipped the wrong size frame. Had to wait 2 weeks more, two Days after that, they wrote that i had to wait an addicional two weeks more, or i could cancel the frame.
Along the way they did not care or tryed to help, even do i tryed to find alternative solutions, plus they where a little rude when talking directly to them.
When i complaint, they told me to cancel the order. So i did that. I dident wanna take the chance with that kind of costumer service.
So to all the companys out there, dont sell frames/bikes that is not in stock.
  • 6 1
 Isnt it normal for mountainbikes to be sold on the internet long before they are shipped from China or elsewhere?
YT, Canyon etc they all take your money first and then you wait months.
Same with cars BTW.
  • 3 5
 @cxfahrer: Nobody that i am aware of. YT and Canyon only sell when in stock.
  • 13 1
 I think you might be a little off... the biggest part of sick bike’s issues, is the lack of refund. You got your refund. Huge difference. Many companies have back orders... its part of the industry. I don’t own an Ibis bike right now, but I have, and their CS is above most brands. That wasn’t your experience, but that doesn’t put them in the same universe as sick.

And yes, YT takes your money before they have bikes in stock, they just call it preorder on their website.
  • 4 1
 You could compare the two except for the fact that Ibis is actually delivering bikes. Sick is screwing people out of money, preventing refunds, and saying give us one more chance. I've read about numerous bike models where people have had to wait and most bike manufacturers are guilty of this at some point. I waited three months for my Ripmo and that was after changing colors and switching bike shops to find the one who'd get the frame the fastest. But I did get my frame, and knew that Ibis was a reputable company. Then after my purchase customer service has been top notch. It sucks waiting, and won't argue Ibis has supply issues, but the Ripmo has exceeded any expectations I've had and is worth the wait.
  • 3 2
 @digitalsoul: nice got your bike, it was the same bike i did order. I see your points about SICK.
But i did not experience that top notch service. Only rude mails and many delivery dates that thay could not meet. And when i pointed that out, they only reply was cancel the order then. No appoligy. Thats really bad service in my book. But glad that others are having better luck with them. Maybe its becourse i am from EU and the marked is'int big here for them.
  • 3 2
 @EMR52: Yes i see your point.
But i would say that in my experience, i did not get that CS you say. The only thing i got was cancel your order or wait. No appoligy or nothing.
In my opinion it is bad business to sell a bike thats not in stock. And especially when they are rude and not are open for solutions. They had frames in stock in US and others shops, but did not what to a to EU that way.
My experience was bad, and would not recommend them to anybody, but glad that others are having luck with them. But seems like its a problem when the costumers are not from US.
  • 6 6
 @Jskjerning: Sometimes for customers that are a pain to deal with it is easier for a company/rep to offer a refund (or make it clear for said customer that a return/refund is the easiest way forward) so they can spend time & energy on other ones that are worth dealing with.
  • 5 2
 @zyoungson: How is it a pain for them that a costumer write and ask for a status? I would bet thats normal?!
  • 3 1
 Sorry to hear. My experience with Ibis had been fantastic, especially when Alaska damaged my bike.
  • 5 7
 @Jskjerning: how is it a pain? Well for starters you’re in an unrelated (non-ibis) thread trashing Ibis. Sounds a bit like sour grapes, or even a lil crazy. I’d side with Ibis after reading your story
  • 4 3
 @bubbrubb: I am not trashing Ibis. I am saying that they are selling frames that are not in stock, thats a fact, not trashing.
SICK is selling frames that they don't have in stock. And as some other here point out, other companys(even car companys) are doing the same thing, that is to me, a bad business model. I wouldn't make a company based on that model, and hope that others would not do the same.
I am glad that others are having luck with them.
On another note, i like sour grapes and some would defently say i am crazy, i am, but its still my true story, i didn't get that famous costumer service, and that sucks.
I really wanted a Ripmo.
  • 4 0
 Bad month: almost everyone missing race for being injured, from enduro to xc to dh.
  • 1 0
 I feel bad for Gwin Frown hope he has luck on his side come later this season!!!

Albstadt's Course Changes are sh*t. Who in their right mind thought wooden bridges were a smart idea. This isn’t good for anyone lol
  • 2 0
 Aaron said he got a BBC interview out of his bike being stolen, didnt seem too worried about the whole thing.
  • 3 4
 It’s the local regional BBC news crew not primetime!! Eg a 23 year old intern writing a 300 word bit for the BBC Scotland website, MTB’ing ain’t that big over here...
  • 5 3
 It is also hilarious that anyone cares. It’s intense factory, they can surely get another bike together it doesn’t take days to build and prep a bike. But I suppose when your mechanic can’t keep his cranks straight it’s hard to know.

As if they don’t travel with a full set of spares.
  • 2 0
 Anyone else read 'Kate Courtney' in Bart's voice? From the first round of the year it's stuck. Love it.
  • 2 0
 Wait... Wet ... smooth wood, and … metal... is slippery?! Eek Facepalm
  • 3 0
 Sick bike's wishes it was just 1 bad month...
  • 2 0
 Sick has now promised refunds, yet no one has received one...
  • 2 0
 That walkway at Albstadt is the ultimate Mary line.
  • 3 0
 RIP dick bikes
  • 1 1
 "We'll see if he can break this streak of bad luck and turn things around before the big day in Fort William."
  • 1 0
 **Lea Davison** (not Davidson)
  • 1 1
 also a good month for VEE, new SS coming

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