Slack Randoms: The History of Honda's Bicycle Gearboxes, Sam Hill Back on a DH Bike & More

Feb 19, 2023 at 4:02
by Ed Spratt  
We use Slack as our workplace communication tool at Pinkbike and we have a #randoms channel that we use to share an assortment of videos and stories from all corners of the cycling world and beyond... We thought a couple of the moments from the past week were too good not to share with a wider audience, so here are some of the highlights.

The History of Honda's Bicycle Gearboxes

bigquotesLet's learn all about Honda's incredible bicycle gearbox drivetrains. CYCLINGABOUT

Sam Hill Back on a DH Bike

It's always fun to watch Sam Hill on a downhill bike and this week he treated us to some classic action as he got between the tape at the Thredbo Cannonball DH race. Let's hope we get to see more of this from Sam this year.

Top 3 Runs from Valparaiso Cerro Abajo 2023

bigquotesThe steep streets of Valparaíso in Chile once again played host to Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo this past weekend. @TomasSlavikDotCom took the win, his third, Valparaíso victory, from Colombian Juanfer Vélez. Slavik's winning time was 2m 16.815s, which was just under 1,5s faster than Vélez, who'd gone last down the course during finals as the fastest qualifier. Rounding off the podium was Brazilian national champion Lucas Borba. Red Bull Bike

Thredbo Chats With The Pros

bigquotesI made my way down to the cannonball pump track with a heap of FIST prizes and a couple microphones to chat with Australia's best riders and put a few smiles on some kid's faces, this is what we got. Dean Lucas

Thredbo Cannonball Qualifying Carnage

bigquotesThredbo cannonball qualifying! Some carnage out there, and good times watching so many big names rip Thredbo. Boys and Girls are flyin! Jacko Goldstone goes fastest in elite Mens, and Shout out Sian and Kael both fastest, and holding it down for the YT Mob! Jack Moir

Red bull Fox Hunt New Zealand

bigquotesIt's Redbull fox hunt sports fans coming to you from Cardrona Valley in New Zealand. I started dead last to try and see if I could catch the actually foxes of Brook Macdonald Jess blewit and Remy Morton.

There was madness going down everywhere with huge crashes, insane passes, course cutting and everything else you could imagine in a mass start race!
Bernard Kerr

bigquotesBrook MacDonald, Remy Morton and myself chased 100 people down the mountain at Cardrona Alpine Resort, New Zealand.

The race format is simple, mass start - first one to the bottom wins. We start at the back and have to battle our way to the front, encountering all sorts of carnage along the way.
Jess Blewitt

1995 Les Gets DH World Cup

Kings + Queens of Corbet's '23 Highlights

bigquotesEvery year, a rowdy crew of skiers + snowboarders gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for one of the sport's most entertaining competitions. The athletes huck themselves over a massive cornice + drop into the famous Corbet's Couloir. Strap in for the HyperSmooth highlights from the 2023 rendition, filled with massive crashes + even bigger backflips. GoPro

Hydraulic Press Axe Test

bigquotesWhich is the most durable axe? Cheap or expensive? We are going to but axes against each other in our 150 ton hydraulic press to find out! We have also 240 ton force sensor to show how much force can the axes take. Hydraulic Press Channel

Bouncing Bullets off Water


  • 86 2
 Who cares Hill only got 18th. That scrub was amazing.
  • 31 1
 Who's guessing that all 17 ahead of him are chuffed to bits with an anecdote they'll be telling their mates for years Big Grin
  • 6 35
flag scary1 (Feb 19, 2023 at 12:05) (Below Threshold)
 Where’s the Flat Pedals For Medals crew???
Nothing rhymes with “18th at a National”?
  • 21 0
At Thredbo Cannonball I saw Sam Hill's face
It was a bit fuller and he didn't win the race
He came in eighteen
As you will have seen
But for me he will always remain an ace
  • 11 35
flag kyleluvsdh (Feb 19, 2023 at 20:13) (Below Threshold)
 Ironic PB won't post this video of my good friend and semi-professional adaptive MTB rider William Bourassa on the front page.
He's Paralyzed from the chest down, and still rides a 2-wheel DH bike.
"It's not front page material" they said, but they'll post a video of axes in an hydraulic press. Lol

PS. Sam Hill back on the DH, OH YES! Big Grin
  • 2 1
 @mi-bike: lol…touché !
  • 8 2
 @kyleluvsdh: to be fair the axes were one of the last links on a 'randoms' article. Hardly front page.
  • 30 2
 @kyleluvsdh: The mods have told you in other threads where you've been screaming like a Karen; write and submit an actual article with content and it'll be considered.
If it's been rejected, it's nothing against your buddy, but your ability to write. Shouting your mouth off on every other article comment section is not the way to win friends or influence people.
  • 61 3
 More French lines than a Paris nightclub toilet
  • 6 5
 This is the best comment I’ve seen for a while
  • 10 0
 Is that you Rob?
  • 28 1
 FINALLY some gearbox content on PB!
  • 6 0
 can only mean that there is a gearbox coming soon from someone...
  • 2 0
 @SonofBovril: can confirm. I am bent on it. I'm going to post the design for human knowledge because I do not think I can patent it. Patents predate my birth, I'm 40. Hope to have proto in a few months.
  • 15 0
 Sam Hill on a downhill bike always makes my day
  • 8 0
 I spent way more time watching bouncing bullets than I thought I would
  • 5 0
 Remember all the theories at the time about the RN01 special gearbox then when it was disclosed it turned out to be a whole lot simpler than everyone thought.
  • 4 0
 Except for the first two versions were?
  • 1 0
 The most shocking thing was that the frame was built in Taiwan on a regular bike factory, not by Honda. Some guy posted photos on FB this week of one of the frames still at the factory for display, kitted out with DNM suspension and cheap parts, none of the KYB/Showa/Akenono unobtanium parts they raced on.
  • 5 0
 This is an awesome and very informative video and article. Camshaft on a bike, what a rad idea
  • 1 5
flag vinay (Feb 19, 2023 at 10:49) (Below Threshold)
 Actually I thought of it once but didn't consider myself clever. I was just inspired by steam-powered trains, which aren't bleeding edge anymore. One other similar thing I was thinking of, was to do this with hydraulic actuation. But I never came with a solution that would give you a larger output stroke if you shifted to a heavier gear (so you could only make things lighter or heavier for yourself, but not shift heavy to go faster). This one was really clever. I just wonder how efficient it was though. The transmission to increase the RPM that much before they even got to the camshaft, sounds like it would cause quite some drag. But at least they can have the freewheel back at the rear hub and still shift without pedaling.

The potential spin-off is more exiting though. What if we stop making electromotors the way we do now and initiate the rotation like this by electromagnets pushing up and down? And us humans aren't made to spin circles either. Of course we already have these rowingbikes and all, but this may be a good alternative to the cable they use now.
  • 6 1
 this entire time i thought their gear box was the origin of VTEC. turns out it was just a D in a Box
  • 4 0
 Just like vintage moto cross, downhill vintage (pre99s for example) should be a sport in itself by now !
  • 2 0
 Omg this is the best idea ever, please can we have a full Pinkbike article on it?

Just like classic car racing- have a pre 95 class, pre 2005, etc!

*goes to look at period correct DH bikes on buy/sell...
  • 4 0
 Would have been great, having Warner comment a Hill run. Pagey as co.
  • 1 0
 Forget the year, but back in the Freecaster glory days they both commented on an epic SH run. It's on YouTube. If you're referencing that, then yes I agree. The stoke was/would be high!
  • 2 0
 What kind of tires are the urban dh guys running? Watching them slide on dry asphalt made my chest tighten up... They can't be doing that on minions and assegais...
  • 2 0
 I think Lewis Buchanan said he was running his tires at like 40 psi front and rear with cushcore...
  • 1 0
 Killian Bron posted a vid of his runs, pretty sure it was this race, and his tires looked like standard MTB DH/Enduro type tread.

I was similarly surprised. I’d think a slicker/file tread would have more grip on tarmac/concrete and probably roll faster.
  • 1 0
 I actually prefer a little softer steel for my axes, sure I have to sharpen it more often but I can easily sharpen it and it feels nicer to split with. I don't know why this matters but here we are.
  • 3 0
 Cool seeing that old Bomber working on Warner’s bike.
  • 2 0
 I felt like the commentators were not complementary at all to "big Rob" hurtling down the track using every millimetre of that bomber fork.
  • 1 0
 What bike is Sam Hill riding at Thredbo? I assumed it was the Dissent but thought it was aluminum only and the highlights look like the carbon Giga…??
  • 2 0
 nukeproof have a carbon dissent. dont know if its for sale yet
  • 1 0
 GOLDMEMBER for the axe test. Was expecting an Austin Powers cameo part way through ! Should have used frickin laser beams.
  • 1 0
 Sam on a DH bike and no UCI DH series…this 2023 seems to be amazing…
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