Ask Pinkbike: Fear of Exposure, Bike Buying Dilemmas, Chamois Protocol, & Flat Pedal Suggestions

Apr 26, 2022 at 16:49
by Mike Kazimer  

Here at Pinkbike, we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers?" to more in-depth, soul-searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand-picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech-oriented.





How Do I Stop Being Scared of Exposed Trails?

Question: @itay123 asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: Long story short, I consider myself a pretty advanced rider at this point. I have been riding consistently for 4-5 years and my "daily rides" tend to be between black and double black (Suicide and Rocky Peak in SoCal for reference) but for some reason when it comes to riding anything with any real exposure I suddenly find myself completely paralyzed by it. I don't mind short stretches or areas where some plant cover takes away the cliff from your sight, but a few weeks ago I went to ride Mount Wilson and found myself walking things that on any other trail I wouldn't even recall.

Anyone here run into this issue? If so, how did you get over it?



bigquotesGetting a little freaked out by exposure is totally understandable. After all, there's a big difference between the consequences of taking a tumble on a trail where there's level ground on each side of you versus one with a massive vertical drop off.

Patience is going to be the key here – that last thing you want to do is force yourself to ride something you're not comfortable with, since scared, stiff riding doesn't typically have a favorable outcome. I'd start by doing what you're already doing – walking. Getting off your bike and walking the sections that are making you uncomfortable will help give you a better perspective of how much room there is between the edge of the trail and a fall into the abyss. In some cases, you'll likely be surprised to find that there's more room than you expected, which will hopefully make it easier to stay on your bike the next time you're on that section of trail.

I'd also recommend trying some rides where the trail has exposure, but isn't overly difficult. A green or blue trail that's on the edge of big drop off will remove some of the worry about not getting through a section, and let you focus on keeping calm and composed.

You've probably heard it a thousand times, but if you do find yourself suddenly faced with a section of exposed trail don't forget to look ahead. Focusing on where you want to go will help you maintain forward momentum. Getting those 'What if?' thoughts out of your head is a tricky mental game, and it's not something that'll happen overnight. With time, though, I'm sure that you'll be able to feel more confident riding exposed terrain.


Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith
Riding in the desert oven involves dealing with trails situated on the edges of cliffs, and it can take time to get accustomed to the exposure.



Rocky Mountain Altitude vs Transition Sentinel

Question: @Chillout asks: Sorry to hit you up for a trivial question, but you have reviewed both bikes I’m deciding between: new Altitude and new Sentinel. I’m coming off a 2018 RM instinct c70. Love that bike but found its limits. Looking to get add a big bike for shuttle/park duty. I absolutely love the way my Instinct rides, just want it to be more stable /capable when pinning it- the front end gets twitchy. Would you say the Altitude rides like a more capable Instinct? Or should I go with Sentinel, which requires a more aggressive riding style?


bigquotesIf you're a fan of the Instinct, the Altitude is going to be right up your alley. It's not crazy long or ridiculously slack, which gives it a really fun all-round nature. It'll certainly feel like more bike than your Instinct, and is a much better option for bike park / shuttle laps, but it's also not cumbersome or unwieldy, even at slower speeds.

The Sentinel's 63.6-degree head angle is .8-degrees slacker than the Altitude's in the Low geometry setting. That does give it slightly slower handling, but not by much, in part due to the fact that the Sentinel has 150mm of rear travel vs. the Altitude's 160.

At the end of the day, both bikes fit nicely into the aggressive all-rounder category, and they can handle days in the bike park just as easily as they can handle long rides with plenty of pedaling. Since one isn't dramatically better than the other, availability and pricing will likely be what determines the bike you end up with.

2021 Rocky Mountain Altitude
Rocky Mountain Altitude
Transition Sentinel V2
Transition Sentinel



Deity T-Mac vs DMR Vault

Question: In a PM, Andy S. asks: I’ve been wavering between the Deity T-Macs and the DMR Vault pedals for a new bike build (after not getting along with the oneups and their outboard bearing), and I’m wondering, if price wasn't a factor, which ones would you pick? Thanks!


bigquotesTaking price out of the equation, I'd go with the Deity T-Mac. I'm a fan of both pedals, but I prefer the T-Mac's slightly wider platform and thinner pins that Deity uses. Those thinner pins dig provide more traction, and since there are 14 on each side there's plenty of configuration options to fine tune the grip. They can also be removed from either side of the pedal, which helps simplify replacement. 

Best flat pedals 2020
Deity T-Mac
Best flat pedals 2020
DMR Vault





Post-Ride Chamois Etiquette?

I'm probably not the only one that drives at least 30 min to the nearest trailheads. My question is...what do you guys do after riding? Do you drive back home with your liner on, or do you bring a towel or something else to cover up and take them off?


bigquotesI'm certain I've answered a similar question to this before, but it's so common that it's probably worth revisiting the topic. Plus, I think it's hilarious to answer questions about underwear on the internet. Especially since when I was little nobody told me that you weren't supposed to wear underwear and a chamois, something that I figured out the hard way after deciding that's what I'd wear during a solo 24-hour race. Let's just say that the results weren't pretty...

Anyways, these days I'm firmly in the no-chamois camp. Ditching the padded diaper requires two key ingredients: a good saddle, and good underwear, advice that applies to all riders, no matter your gender. Riding with a pair of saggy cotton boxers isn't a recipe for success. Saddles are obviously a matter of personal preference, so it may take some experimenting before figuring out which model, and which width works best for you. My two current favorites are Specialized's Power model, and Ergon's SM Enduro series.

Once you find a comfortable perch, the next step is to invest in some decent underwear. You'll want something that's moisture wicking and form fitting for obvious reasons, and ideally with as few seams as possible to avoid chafing. I'm partial to Saxx's Kinetic HD model – they fit well, and they last a fairly long time, which is good because they're not exactly cheap. I'm also a fan of Knobby's Long Leg Pro – they're comfy, lightweight, quick drying, and they're available in all sorts of wild prints.

For those who aren't quite ready to ditch the chamois altogether, something like 7Mesh's Foundation Boxer Brief could be the ticket – they have just enough padding to provide extra comfort without making it feel like you've stuffed a huge sponge down the back of your shorts.

As for the original question, if you absolutely must wear a chamois, definitely change after you're done riding. Some people might tell you that 'chamois time is training time', but those people would be wrong. Bring a towel or a surf poncho and get out of those sweaty shorts as soon as you can – it'll make the drive much more comfortable. 

Transition Spur Kazimer
Specialized Power Saddle
Ergon SM Enduro
Ergon SM Enduro





185 Comments

  • 239 3
 You're afraid of exposure for a reason: because some of the falls in areas like that can permanently injure or kill you. It doesn't take much for something to go wrong and send you off the edge. So, there's nothing wrong with walking sections or just outright not ever riding them because you're scared.
Don't make yourself out to be weak or inferior because there are areas like that you're just not willing to ride.
  • 105 2
 I wouldn't even say its a matter of being scared, its simply not worth the risk if you have any doubt.
  • 43 1
 Sometimes it takes a bigger person to get off and walk a section you aren't comfortable with. Mountain biking is all about pushing your limits and progressing, BUT if you push yourself too far past your limit, you could end up falling off a cliff, so knowing your limit, and being honest with yourself and the riders around you is really important to riding safely.
  • 35 0
 This Check your ego. If it scares you, just walk it. Virtually everyone has their limits on what they are willing to ride. Live to ride another day.
  • 16 1
 Amazing advice! This could very well save lives.
  • 13 0
 Agree to this. I was riding behind a guy who fell 35'+ off a cliff in Sedona on the Highline trail climb after he clipped a pedal and it sent him over the edge. It wasn't a great rest of the day to say the least. Thankfully I heard he was stable and OK. www.redrocknews.com/sfd-uses-drone-to-rescue-injured-bicyclist
  • 13 87
flag Jakegk2006 (Apr 27, 2022 at 13:47) (Below Threshold)
 yall are all old men
  • 3 27
flag kobold (Apr 27, 2022 at 14:04) (Below Threshold)
 Just rode Portal in Moab the other day Smile
  • 33 87
flag Jakegk2006 (Apr 27, 2022 at 14:07) (Below Threshold)
 @kobold: I just rode ur mom without a condom last night
  • 42 2
 @Jakegk2006: With that attitude, good luck making it to the day someone calls you old.
  • 8 0
 Reminds me of one of the first MTB videos I saw: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmb6OvejAC0

"Look at the penalty for failure, dude!"
  • 6 44
flag Jakegk2006 (Apr 27, 2022 at 14:34) (Below Threshold)
 @judge-shredd: they were wearing road biking shorts so he coudnt let his balls dangle enough to gain full control of the bike what an amatuer
  • 20 0
 This past year we lost a rider on one of the same exposed trails Itay123 was talking about. And it was not a tech section, he clipped a pedal or handlebar and went off the side. RIP J.S. I didn't really know you, but I think about you and your family everytime I ride past that spot.
  • 2 6
flag fracasnoxteam (Apr 27, 2022 at 14:53) (Below Threshold)
 You can do this but you know it's only fear without serious reason? Do it! Deep breaths and go
  • 1 37
flag raisinbrandt (Apr 27, 2022 at 15:00) (Below Threshold)
 @Jakegk2006: THANK F*CK SOMEONE SAID IT
  • 6 6
 Do or do not, there is no try.
  • 21 2
 @Jakegk2006: There are old riders and there are bold riders but there are no old, bold, riders.
  • 5 1
 @SATN-XC: I mean there’s always doubt and risk in a sport like mountain biking - that’s what makes it so fun. Its very physical but once you get to a certain point, it’s quite mental as well.


In this case, it’s clearly all mental as the rider stated they normally wouldn’t think twice about riding trail features WITHOUT exposure.

Just gotta decide how much risk is acceptable for you…I’m also a climber and some people are comfortable jamming pieces of metal into cracks to protect their falls, while others I know refuse to even tie into a rope on a bolted route and will only boulder.

All that said, I often find we are MUCH more capable than we think but if we let fear control us, we’ll never really know. All comes down to how adverse one is to risk, or vice versa!
  • 6 0
 @gabriepa: fear is the mind killer
  • 3 1
 @gabriepa: speaking of climbing. I started climbing after I started riding and found that dealing with those heights in just gym climbing made me more confident w exposure. Maybe OP should take up climbing? Might have a similar experience.
  • 5 1
 @freestyIAM: or maybe he will fall from a great height while climbing
  • 35 0
 Quite a few years ago I was in Moab riding the Portal trail. I had come across the Gold Bar Rim and as I approached the Portal itself another rider who had come up Porcupine Mesa started down not too far ahead of me.

I was watching him thinking that I could see him do the crux section, but as I got onto the exposed part my full attention was focused on my front wheel. I got to the crux, looked at it, then at the 400 foot drop. I was pretty gung-ho to ride it, you know, for bragging rights but quickly came to my senses and walked it.

I got off the cliff edge part of the trail onto the giant ramp that drops down to the highway and could look around again but I didn't see any sign of the rider in front of me. I remember thinking "Wow, that dude must be flying!" I forgot about him and rode back to town.

A couple days later I found out that he had fallen off the crux of the Portal trail to his death. He couldn't have been 100 feet in front of me when he met his fate. I was in my 20s then, now I'm mid 60s, but I think about it every time I'm taking chances with my life.
  • 11 0
 @danger13: 20 years ago Portal Trail was my first encounter with exposure and my fear of it. I could barely even walk it and ended up getting my group to turn around and suffer the long slog through the sand on Poison Spider to get back to our car. Interesting connection to your story is that we saw search lights on the cliff that night and next day learned that someone had fallen to their death on Portal that day and the lights were a recovery team. All these years later I still walk the exposed stretch of Porcupine just before the trail turns toward the highway and I have yet to return to Portal. But none of this really takes away from my fun on a bike it’s just something I accept. Thanks PB for posting this question.
  • 7 0
 100% Trust your instincts. This is not your job and you don't need to prove anything.
Life is lousy enough without putting performance goals on a good ride and taking all the fun out of it.
  • 5 0
 @Kilaeua: I rode the trail with the knowledge that a number of riders had fallen to their death. I did not enjoy it as I was so focused on not dying. Would not do it again.
  • 14 0
 I remember one of Remy Metailler's videos where he showed how it's done and walked away from a feature and said "I never huck and pray" and realized that's why he's still making them...
  • 4 0
 @nickfranko
Im with you on this. Used to do loads of climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, etc.
This year I had to get the kids up the ladder to get the xmas lights down. I live in a single storey house. I went up and nearly passed out.
Life changes and we have to change with it. Its not about proving to yourself, its about adapting to the set of circs you have been provided. Some people have debilitating diseases. I just struggle with exposure these days.
  • 4 0
 My thing with exposure and risk is that I am doing this for fun... if I was making money off doing it, my risk calculation might differ slightly. But I want to ride trails and features that are enjoyable to me. Some people love the exposure and hate other types of features and that's cool too. But portal in moab will never be worth it for those features on the edge.
  • 2 0
 squatch cover

bikerumor.com/the-squatch-screen-provides-quick-cover-for-trail-side-changing

Or just use less populated trailheads

Or even better, ride to the trail. Then you are home when its time to change
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: Ladders are WAY more terrifying than being on lead
  • 2 0
 @Jakegk2006: the old men on Pinkbike rode your mother, one or more is your daddy
  • 1 0
 If You're scared of a trail or feature, just complain enough to local government and trail builders until it is nerfed.
  • 1 0
 @schlockinz: or just let people see your butt, it's not the end of the world.
  • 77 4
 Yes, I wear my chamois on the drive home, seeing as pinkbike didn’t even answer the question
  • 22 0
 lol, he did kind of address it in the very last paragraph after the free-balling explainer Smile
  • 8 0
 Me too, I’ll shower and change when I get home. The recommendation for those 7Mesh boxer briefs is sound though, love mine
  • 18 1
 you're animals!

well-padded animals, but animals nonetheless...

the Venn diagram of days that require chamois pads and days that require swift removal of said chamois pad are one and the same. A circle.

I'm still showering at home, too.

the hell is wrong with you people?
  • 16 2
 A sweat and ass-juice sponge warmed to body temperature and left pressed against skin for 30+ minutes, what could go wrong? I will change to dry tighty-whities after every ride.
  • 53 0
 The longer you leave them on the more rewarding it is to get them off.
  • 45 3
 @Aeyogi: You all are tripping. I used to train for Ironman Tris and we'd spend 6-7 hours on a bike then do a 2 hr run... all in the same chamois. If you don't use a chamois, it's the exact same thing in your underwear. How many peeps change their undies right after a ride? How many of you have been backpacking in the same clothes for 2-3 days? Never heard of anyone having a serious problem
  • 7 3
 @baxterbike: Not thinking of serious problems, but just bacteria and fungus growing on the warm soup. I don't need jock itch, or zits, boils etc. I also change out of my sweaty undies right after a ride when I don't use a chamois. I sweat a lot though, so your mileage may vary.
  • 16 5
 @baxterbike: sooooooooooooo...

yeah, bringing in TRIATHLON as some sort of supporting evidence?

SHUT IT THE EFF DOWN PINKBIKE I CANT TAKE IT
  • 2 0
 Surf trunks with a mesh liner, got to let 'em breath!
  • 7 0
 Buy a kilt. You can change anywhere and it's the best post ride wear on earth. It will literally change your life.
  • 9 1
 @baxterbike: I would say that actively working out (where sweat is flowing and evaporating constantly) is significantly different in a dermatological sense than sitting in a bucket seat on a saturated chamois for an hour.

And I don't know about you but I sure as hell start getting weird itches when I've been sweating in the backcountry and haven't changed undies or jumped in a lake in a day or two.
  • 5 1
 @melanthius: Your reasoning is correct.
  • 2 0
 I hang all my sweaty clothes on my NSR rack to dry in the sun and breeze on the drive home.
  • 1 0
 @gotohe11carolina: i don't doubt your final sentence.
  • 6 0
 @baxterbike: Agreed. I've heard this argument for a long time but don't find getting to or from trails if driving is a big deal. I've also got extra padded chamois (hip / thigh / upper quads) and I never think twice about it. If its a 1.5-2 hr drive - maybe, but otherwise, I can't tell. Just wear that Man Diaper and make it yours
  • 2 1
 @gotohe11carolina: I’ve always secretly wanted cycling miniskirts but I know they’re not aero
  • 3 0
 @baxterbike: But in your example all of the urinating on yourself helps prevent saddle sores. Different for mountain bikers.
  • 6 0
 @baxterbike: If you're a remotely 'serious' triathlete you'll pi$$ (or worse) in your chamois because getting off would lose you too much time. I know a guy who says he sharted in his chamois half way through the bike leg, and finished the run with blood trickling down his legs from the chafing.

People always joke about second-hand tri bikes dropping in value because triathletes always need the latest model, but maybe it's because they know what the last guy did on the bike....
  • 4 0
 @baxterbike: It's not the same! Since ditching the chamois (3-4 years ago) I've never had a saddle sore. When I used a chamois I'd get a few per year. Regular synthetic boxer briefs dry out SO much faster than a chamois. Chamois stay damp foreeeeever which causes way more skin issues and bacteria growth.
  • 5 1
 @baxterbike: Sorry, but BMX background > TRI background.

And the BMX background knowledge base clearly goes with black skinny jeans, tighty whitey's and never changing out of them.
  • 1 0
 My rec is to buy a surfing towel/poncho and leave it in your car. This allows you to get changed without exposing anything. Had to get one as in Europe the car parks are often near graveyards or schools.
  • 2 0
 @Mugen: what? Here in Germany parking near a graveyard or school is usually restricted to 30min or so. And who cares about those 10sec when you change into undies. If there is a problem, change inside you car.
  • 1 0
 Why does this have to be a ritual? If they are uncomfortable because wet after the ride change them if not do whatever.
  • 1 0
 I don’t get the chamois or not advice- I am comfy with them, why should I try to adjust to something else and have to try several different non-chamois underwear?
  • 2 0
 @dsut4392: Why has my respect for triathletes just gone up rather than down?
  • 1 0
 And no mention of using chamois cream in the article or comments? Is it illegal over there or something?
  • 1 1
 @chakaping: I don’t think real chamois( animal skins) are used anymore and synthetic chamois wouldn’t benefit from chamois cream.
  • 4 0
 @kingbike2: I think @chakaping might be referring to anti-chafing/skin conditioning cream... which can be a life saver on longer rides (like bikepacking)...
  • 1 0
 @snl1200: Thank 6lb 8 oz baby Jesus for DZNutz. That stuff is a taint saver for longer rides.
  • 2 0
 @baxterbike: likewise here in NZ; I was laughing at that too!
  • 1 0
 @dsut4392: actually, you're only gonna do that on race day, and if you know what you're doing it runs down one leg and off a (bent) knee, and can avoid the chamois if you position things right. I think a 140.6 athlete meets most folks definition of "serious"...
  • 2 0
 @chakaping: +100! One you go chamois butter, you never go back. Stuff is antiseptic too
  • 1 0
 @melanthius: There can be only one!
  • 1 0
 @owl-X: errrr thought we were talking about wearing a chamois a long time, really that's the crowd to discuss that. For the record, I raced DH in semi-pro back in the day, didn't realize I now ain't cool if I also happened to do a 140.6...
  • 2 1
 @baxterbike: now you know!
  • 1 1
 @baxterbike:
Let me paraphrase what you you have said..."Yes, we triathletes do habitually pi$$ our pants, but only on race day. I'm a serious triathlete, who has put so much thought into pi$$ing my pants that I can do it without getting the chamois wet, and I consider this a badge of honour".

Sounds like you're agreeing with me that triathletes are disgusting and we should keep that in mind whenever they voice their opinions on hygiene related topics? Smile

[FWIW, I actually agree with your main point that changing out of a chamois for a half hour drive after a two-hour ride is not essential when many people ride for far longer than two and a half hours].
  • 23 1
 re: the Post-Ride Chamois Etiquette...just throw a towel on the car seat and drive home. I'd rather chill with a beer post ride and deal with changing when I'm home (though I will swap out the jersey). ...also, riding without padding is non-starter for me
  • 15 0
 I think by etiquette OP meant hygiene, especially with a longer drive it's important to change into dry trunks to help prevent fungal or bacterial growth on the under carriage.
  • 10 1
 @BigLips93: I have to assume its a non-issue if you are starting with a properly cleaned and dried liner. If you are doing a long ride in a dirty liner, the undercarriage damage is likely already done by the time the ride is over and another 30-60 in a car ride isn't going to make things worse nor would changing improve things without a shower.
Though I guess that all changes if you are carpooling....riding buddies may not want to live with the stink for 30-60 min and changing really does become an etiquette choice
  • 11 0
 how are post-ride beer and changing your clothes mutually exclusive?
  • 1 0
 @owl-X: they don't have to be but I would prefer to change only once and not dirty a clean set of clothes before I shower
  • 2 0
 @SATN-XC: thats my thought as well, if my ride is 3hours an extra half hour likely wont mean disaster. That being said traffic has definitely thrown a wrench in my plans and led to some uncomfortable situations
  • 3 0
 You just gotta manspread enough during the post ride chill to get enough airflow to dry things out and your good to go.
  • 1 0
 Just wear adult diapers under your chamois, works for astronauts on space walks.
  • 20 0
 You should be afraid of Mt. Wilson exposure, plenty of people have died there. I'd rather ride just about anywhere else.
  • 6 0
 Yup. I had a buddy, who is an advanced rider, go off the edge there. It's no joke.
  • 15 0
 Risk vs. reward. I'm at a point where I often back off trying certain things even though I'm 100% confident I have the skillset. Probably one of the few good things about being older is having that knowledge and security to say discretion is the better part of valor.
  • 1 0
 For a SoCal rider who hasn't ridden Mt. Wilson, how does it compare to the exposed sections of SART in the San Bernardino mountains.

These days I usually walk the one climbing, exposed section after the stream crossing on the post-office loop, but ride all the exposed sections before the stream crossing. The section after the stream used to be rideable as well (and probably still is by more talented/less risk-averse riders than I.) but it has deteriorated quite a bit in recent years and I no longer ride that section.
  • 2 0
 Did Mt Wilson for the first time last summer (why did I wait so long) on an invite from a friend. I was on a far more capable bike so he walked a lot, and I 100% didn't blame him. Definitely a lot of high risk out there.

Made it even more fun when the spring on one of his pedals failed about 80% into the ride, so he had to finish it off without being able to clip one foot in (I was on flats).
  • 1 0
 @SoCalTrev: I can't remember Wilson nearly as well as SART since I have only ridden it once, but recall it having sections of exposure like what you are talking about on SART, but lots of them as opposed to just one. Most of the exposure on SART is just a steep hillside that you can tumble down (friend even did that during the Grizzly 100 race). Wilson had a lot more of them
  • 1 0
 @SoCalTrev: I recall SART trail being narrower, but with less distance to fall.
  • 4 0
 I don't mind Wilson too much, but I don't ride Strawberry; I am literally one wobble or crank strike away from death.
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: Yeah. There are just a couple spots on SART with legit cliff exposure.
  • 1 0
 I was having fun flowing on one of the upper most exposed trails at Mt. Wilson and in one moment of inattention I slide out and fell off the trail. I was hanging on to the edge and my leg had gone through the rear triangle. Three guys in my riding group had to hoist me up and the bike.
  • 5 0
 on Middle Meril there is that one rock that you make a right at, that sits like above 500ft of air, I always walk it.

photos.app.goo.gl/1xsB9vG8bUGVzu3R9
  • 5 0
 @mariomtblt: wow. Hard pass. I'm w you on walking.
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: thats a bad one I dont like them but I ride them. One of the scariest I have been on is 401 in crested butte you come out of the top meadow and its not a cliff but a hill thats to steep to even walk on and its 1200 feet to the bottom makes my but pucker every time
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: my friend warned me about that before the ride and then went OTB right there
  • 14 0
 For @itay123 regarding exposure.
Mt Milson is the deep end of the pool for this and someone literally died falling with a mtb there recently and there have been many incidents over the years. Those trails are really unfriendly, loose and there are numerous places where a fall can kill.

Don't beat yourself up for not feeling comfortable there. A few close friends own most of the KOM's up there and they are still scared / really respect those trails every time they ride them and anyone who rides them regularly has a story to tell...myself included.

Advice from me......Look ahead down the trail not off the cliff...where you look you go. Then ride with confidence but not wild abandon Smile
  • 15 3
 I don't understand the no chamois. That sounds brutal for any ride over 45 minutes.
  • 5 0
 I tried it for a short period of time. I had some comfortable boxers and was able to do several multi hour rides after work without a problem.

Until...I started having problems.

I might try the experiment again in the future in case it was something else causing the problems (I also road bike commute, could have been an old chamois there). But it might just not work for some people.
  • 8 0
 You have to ride a lot to get that tough taint.
  • 25 2
 Kazimer may have a hide like a rhino but I’ve heard Levy’s taint looks like an opened can of tuna
  • 9 0
 You definitely need a proper fitting seat. It's easier to get away with the wrong seat of you're in a chamois. Once you find the right seat it's more comfortable with no chamois IMO. The only time I use a chamois at this point is all day epics
  • 21 0
 Mostly because chamois indicates Lycra(R) might be near, and this is the ultimate fear of many a gravity-biased rider.
50m Road Gap? Sure. Ride at 40MPH+ among trees? Yup. Carry bike on your shoulders for an hour or two? Any day.
Admit to prefer lycra chamois bibs which don't bunch up or slip down under them baggies? OMG THE HORROR!

But srsly, like with any other sweaty garments post physical exertion: get them off and pull on something dry asap. Chamois or not, getting an infected saddle sore is the definition of a pain in the a**.
  • 7 0
 As a former XC guy, I used to be of the same opinion. These days though, I don't bother with the chamois unless I'm going to be riding more than 2 hours, and with a decent pair of synthetic boxer briefs under baggy shorts it's been just fine.

That said, most of my 2-hour-or-less rides consist of a lot of up and down w/o a lot of sustained climbing. If I were doing a looooong climb followed by downhill I might opt for a chamois.
  • 3 0
 @JSTootell: truth....like the exposed riding in the first question...not worth the risk
  • 2 0
 @knutspeed: thank you.
  • 4 0
 @nfontanella: But I guess I just don't understand the downside of a chamois. Like why are you avoiding wearing them?
  • 2 0
 @nfontanella: exactly. Honestly most seats are crap, a good seat needs to flex sideways and needs to have proper width. Saddles that come in one width are most probably crap, it's just like a jersey would come in one size, it would be ridiculous. The best saddles for me are Sqlab saddles, and you do not need pricey "active" series if you weight around 80kg and below.
  • 6 0
 @knutspeed: bonus points: if I am wearing bibs I can be 100% sure that my riding buddy isnt forced to stare at my butt crack while we ride up the climb. Everyone goes home happier that way
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: haha, oh yeah, forgot that one!
  • 9 0
 My issue with exposure is everything near a cliff or even a very steep side-slope seems like too much risk. Over time I've been able tolerate it a little more but I'd still consider it a phobia that makes me unable to ride properly in some situations. It certainly makes me avoid some trails... I've done Portal but honestly walked a lot of the 1st part and the section of full exposure with the sign was very difficult to even walk past. It sucks for sure. I wish there was a solution but at this point I don't feel like I'll ever get over it to a point where I can asses risk with any degree of objectivity.
  • 5 0
 I certainly wouldn’t say that approach lacks objectivity. It’s all about your personal values and priorities not simply calculating the odds of a crash. I personally am pretty comfortable knowing that I will likely break an arm or need some sort of joint surgery because of mountain biking. I lost 4 teeth and required a hundred stitches from a crash and I’m still doing it.

But death? Well, that’s pretty f*cking objective. And yeah, it would be cool to be able to overcome that fear and stare death in the face. But it’s not required to be a great rider at all. It’s just a party trick cherry on top.

But
  • 8 0
 Excellent hack for easily changing after your ride, simply take any hoodie or flannel, zip or button it up around your waist, instant changing skirt. Used to not change after rides, will never go back to a long drive home in a clammy chamois.
  • 8 0
 Difference between riding for 3 hours with a chamois vs. riding for two hours and driving for one with a chamois? I'd argue they might be the same exact thing... Just wash yo nuts when you get home or at least get in the ocean
  • 5 1
 Yeah, 2 hour ride and 15 minute drive home...no need to hang dong at a public park.
  • 8 1
 Chamois comes off after riding. As my cycling coach used to tell me..."Get rid of the chamois asap so you don't start growing mushrooms"
I just keep a changing towel in my car so I can remain modest at trailheads.
  • 1 1
 I am the only one who has to change chamois/shorts In long ride days after each 2/3h?
  • 8 0
 Over here nobody cares if you strip down next to your car and put different clothes on. I definitely prefer it over driving home in sweaty or wet clothes.
  • 2 0
 over here too. I'm gonna make a good faith effort not to subject any bystanders to the sight of my shocking nude body, but yeah i just sweated for three hours in these goofy clothes and i'm changing into something dry and clean(er).

I struggle with putting the stuff on at home before the ride, which I do for time management sometimes, but yeah ain't nobody need to wear this stuff all sweaty. I'll be late if it's an after-ride costume change...

I'll bareball it on the seat for six seconds with the door closed too...

there's just no way what is happening here
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer Nice work on the anxiety response! Any thoughts of a later career in mental health? What you're describing is similar to something we'd call "successive approximations" within an "exposure therapy" protocol (not named related to the type of exposure described in the question but rather exposure to a feared stimulus as a mode of overcoming the avoidance of that feared thing). Essentially it is taking an unreachable goal and breaking it down into a series of reachable goals that move you closer to the big goal. Scared to hit big gap jumps? Cool- start working your way up on smaller gap jumps and allow yourself and nervous system time to build and adjust. Scared of exposure? Same principles! Though- as some commenters noted- we also have to ask where that fear response is coming from and if it is reasonable. I'm happy with the line I have drawn around some things in biking because the consequences my nervous system is trying to prevent from happening are legit and not worth it for me at my age. Alex Hannold comes to mind for this as it appears he used these principles to almost deprogram fear from exposed climbing over tens of thousands of documented repetitions that eventually has allowed him to climb things that are unbelievable...but also fatal with one small mistake... something most people's brains, and quite rightly IMO, say a firm "NOPE" to.
  • 3 0
 For non-chamois riding underwear: if you have a bunch of chamois liners sitting around from buying mtb shorts, you can remove the chamois with a seam ripper and have a nice pair of riding underwear with the rubber bands around the thighs so they don't ride up
  • 3 0
 Anyone found any actually seamless, snug fitting Mens boxer shorts? I've tried a few from 2Under, Amazon, and Ben3ath or whatever they're called now, and they all have a taint-destroying cross-seam below the ball pouch. Where's the seamless mens underwear? How come only women get actually seamless underwear?
  • 1 0
 Ethika is the best riding briefs I’ve found so far
Next level comfort
  • 1 0
 The Saxx Quest 2 have been my go to. They have been really durable, no problematic seams and last really long. Rode from my home in Rossland to Vancouver on dirt with no chamois in them last year... good to go. www.sportchek.ca/product/saxx-mens-quest-20-all-over-print-boxer-brief-with-fly-color-333498530_09-333498530.html?gclid=CjwKCAjw9qiTBhBbEiwAp-GE0S8Ue1RPR_R3RJvUoFZwBiSWVNWDIGWSMw7xdZPninvlTP5sA-zoNxoCOmQQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
  • 2 0
 @snl1200: I've checked out Saxx products in the store, they have a seam in the exact area I don't want one. Thanks for the suggestion though.

@stormracing: those look OK. Thanks for the suggestion, I might try some.
  • 2 0
 I wanted to spend on Deity T-Mac's but when Vaults were available to buy for $80USD I couldn't pass that up and overall I've been very pleased with Vaults. They are easy to work on, offer tons of grip and don't get too hung up on rocks for the grip they provide. Since pedals seem to be wear component going for the jewelry option didn't make as much sense for me.
  • 3 0
 Deity’s Deftrap is much like a cheaper plastic T-Mac if you are on a budget and a good pedal in it’s own right
  • 3 0
 I've tried both pedals (owned multiple sets of Vaults over the years), and found the Vaults to actually be noticeably grippier. The only Pro I see to Tmacs is the adjustable pin placement. I'm now on Dagga's, and never looking back.
  • 2 0
 I bought some Vaults to replace some pretty abused Chester's. I have been disappointed. Pins falling out and poor bearings in only a few months time. I might just pony up for something real nice like the Chilao's, or just go back to Chester's. Also, in SoCal with no moisture. No reason for the bearings to be an issue.
  • 1 0
 @Rubber-Buccaneer: I’m running Deftraps, which have a good amount of grip, but seem to break pins more than any other pedal I’ve ridden. I shouldn’t have left the Race Face atlas’ on the last bike when I sold it.
  • 1 0
 I bought some T-Mac's and found they were a little too wide for me and would catch on rocks. After the first hard OTB clipping a rock I took them off my bike. Grip isn't everything when selecting a flat pedal and the Vaults seem a little better for rock smashing.
  • 3 0
 Honestly both pedals are awesome. I've run them back to back on different bikes and they both provide ample grip.
  • 2 0
 I have been terribly disappointed with the Vaults. I haven't gone through bearings yet, but need to adjust/replace the inboard bushing about four times per summer. I have a set of the Deftraps on my beater bike (which sees more and harder use) that have been flawless for three seasons. On top of that, I much prefer the feel of the Deftraps. At the next bushing replacement for the Vaults I'm going big and swapping to a set of Deftraps...
  • 2 0
 @leon-forfar: Chromag Dagga's for the win, have set on order - cant wait for them to arrive
  • 1 0
 @threesixtykickflip: hopefully you keep a couple dozen butterfly bandages and other first aid supplies stashed on your bike for an inevitable pedal slip.
  • 1 0
 @threesixtykickflip: You won't be disappointed... Your shins might be one day, but you won't be...

@unrooted too true. You rarely slip, because they are so damn grippy, but when you do...
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: the best rider I know slipped a pedal and got sliced just above the Achilles, thankfully I had a first aid kit…he still probably should’ve gotten stitched up, but like most of the best riders he didn’t have insurance.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: Yikes. I always joke about possible amputations with the Daggas, but I don't even know if it's really a joke anymore
  • 4 0
 Chamois has gotta come off before driving home if its a long drive. Chamois butter, sweat and ass hair leads to all sorts of badness.
  • 1 0
 Furry
  • 3 1
 I wear compression shorts/briefs under my chamois, therefore can pull off the chamois in the parking lot without trying to find cover. I would understand cotton underwear being an issue under chamois, but polyester/stretchy compression shorts are no problem for me - been doing it this way for years
  • 3 0
 Thongs are even better
  • 1 0
 Tmacs are on my shortlist to replace my Vaults at some point because I find the Vault platform a bit small. I'm size 11, YMMV.

For really big feet: at a slightly lower price point there's the Giant Pinner Pro, which is very close in size to the cost-no-object Chromag Dagga.
  • 2 0
 I'm size 11 as well! I've had multiple sets of Vaults. I tried my buddies Tmacs, and honestly wasn't super impressed. I found the grip was less than the Vault. Now, I'm on Daggas, and I'm never going back!
  • 2 0
 Next pedal review pinkbike does must absolutely include the "shin grip" test. Any talk of special pin profiles — without addressing its effectiveness on shins — is just marketing mumbo-jumbo, imo.
  • 1 0
 ill buy deity pedals again when they offer a good warranty for them, 2 sets of t macs, 2 sets of bladerunners, and a set of skyscrapers have failed on me. they are the best feeling pedal but i have had terrible luck with build quality. i run hopes now on my race bike for training but ill admit that i switch to the deitys on race day.
  • 4 0
 the sentinel is a better looking bike IMHO. then again, i am a Transition patrol owner...
  • 3 1
 My post ride Chamois etiquette... make sure she has plenty of water, enough snacks to keep her satiated, and the occasional lick or two off the top of my IPA... #chamoisthetrailpup
  • 1 0
 1) Exposure. Some people enjoy it (I do). But the risk is real. If you aren’t stoke on it-that’s totally fine!!

2) Yeah, either bike

3) Deftraps!!! Living in a dry rocky region, rear entry pins are a must. It is possible to break a Deftrap, but that’s a hit that would also damage/deform the body of a TMac.

4) Chamois for drop bar bikes, no chamois on dirt. If you’re a diehard chamois wearer, remove ASAP after the ride and wipe your undercarriage down.
  • 1 0
 DMR Vaults are OK, I’m using a set Ive had for probably 6 years. The pins that came with mine back then aren’t the grippiest, maybe a change is in order. The shape itself is nice and a good size. They have definitely held up. I’m eager to try the NS Billet Daemon’s soon.

Now for the Chamois discussion. I used to wear bib shorts with chamois and never thought I’d go back. I’ve also used some good liner shorts. I now ride chamois less almost always. I think proper saddle choice, and bike fit/set up makes it possible and it’s awesome to not have to change out of anything at the end of a ride. I’m also moving around a lot on the bike and spending a lot of time with the dropper down, so a 2 hour seated climb may be different, but I think a lot of saddle discomfort issues aren’t something a chamois magically fixes. I haven’t tried SAXX underwear yet, but Volcom and Hanes both make synthetic boxer briefs that don’t ride up and breath well with minimal seams, and can be found very cheap compared to SAXX.
  • 1 0
 I really like the feel of my Vaults, the problem is the bushings and bearings only last for a few months before they need replacing... I had one fall off the axle after less than year, luckily it happened after we'd done the techy downhill... I can't get my head around how parts developed in Britain can last such a short amount of time is wet and muddy conditions!
  • 1 1
 are riders who aren't in the bikedorkvortex of bellingham and northwards pushing for paddingless grundles?

there's a week in August where it hits 79 degrees a couple times...

this issue may be your most egregious example of bike bubbleosity, @pinkbike

coming to you live from two counties south...
  • 3 0
 If anything, I'm even less likely to feel like wearing a chamois when it's really hot out.
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: sure, but an ounce of prevention! My chafe strife was a "never again" moment, like sunburning the soles of my feet...there's just no way.

and do you dispute the temperature handicap you potatoburritistas enjoy?

and maybe a life without chamois pads is a goal, sure, but I do not think you guys should get to talk about chamois necessity. You're out of touch / rub / chafe with the general cycling public on this issue. I ride twice a week...there's maybe a bell curve of like a single ride commando is fine and then somewhere up around like newly funemployed hyped rider...but come ON THERE IS JUST NO WAY COME ON
  • 2 0
 East side, no chamois, no problems…middle of the bell curve too
  • 2 2
 re the Altitude vs sentinel, ive owned both as supplied frames(so had same parts on them) and 100% the altitude is a better riding bike, its more agile and can for sure smash better. i regretted getting the sentinel after riding it. the sentinel does have a better pedaling position but both with a 30T they climbed about the same.
Atitude is one of the best bikes ive ever ridden and currently have anther on order because i didnt realise how good it actually was.
  • 1 0
 Interesting to hear this! I love my sentinel, but I haven't ridden the new Altitude. Both look solid!
  • 2 0
 @bonkmasterflex: rented the altitude but went with the sentinel. I don't have lots of time on the altitude but from what I could tell the differences were marginal at best. Just me tho.
  • 1 0
 After hearing @mikekazimer was poetic about Saxx I bought a pair. I definitely am confident I’ll never sit on my junk and they are way comfy but may a$$ is was too tender to be on any kid of ride of length without padding.
  • 1 0
 "That does give it slightly slower handling, but not by much, in part due to the fact that the Sentinel has 150mm of rear travel vs. the Altitude's 160" What does this mean?? anyone?
  • 2 0
 most likely a nod to the difference between the geo numbers which are given for a bike without a rider and the experienced geometry when a human is riding the bike. 30% of 150 is less than 30% of 160 so the 160 rear travel is sitting 'lower' assuming an equivalent suspension progression. The real difference would be about 3mm. I think the whole discussion is based on the idea that 'feel' needs to be converted to 'facts' so the review is more 'objective.'

I personally find the argument that 3mm of extra suspension sag (assuming equivalent curves) translates into a change in head angle that alters the way the bike feel in a janky climb so that it feels 'good' like this other bike with different geometry silly.


Both bikes have a working set of geometry and kinematics that make smiles out of calories when pointed up hill.
  • 2 0
 Find a typo and be a duck about it. Did you mean”it will ride more like your Instinct”?
See the irony?
  • 2 1
 Whenever I need to change out of my diaper, oops, I mean chamois, and I don’t have a towel, or jacket I pretend I’m in France and change in public.
  • 22 0
 Ah, so that's why you're not allowed to go near elementary schools anymore.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: at least not in the Americas…
  • 3 0
 Pardon ?
  • 2 0
 Public nudity upsets the owners of houses we park in front of and then they complain and we can’t park there anymore.
  • 3 1
 Sounds like I chose wisely. Wifey just told me my new Altitude was just delivered by BikeFlights! HYPEDDD
  • 2 0
 They are awesome.
  • 2 0
 If you can't decide between two bikes, go for reputation and warranty, and especially which LBS you're going to buy it from.
  • 2 0
 This.. about the exposure of the white line.. some one going to die soon because of all the pros making light of that line
  • 2 0
 Best pedals by a long shot...chromag daggas
  • 2 0
 have heard great things about the chromags, would love to try a pair.
  • 1 0
 Ooh where'd you find the Power Mimic with Elaston saddle? I need that one in my life.
  • 1 0
 Ditch the chamy and any other wet clothes and drive home bareass with a cold beer between your legs,MTB cool
  • 1 0
 I can't imagine riding without a full bib chamois. I could never go back.
  • 1 0
 Mount Wilson is awesome. Look where you need to go and don't fall!
  • 1 0
 Based on his jorts clearly Levy isn’t afraid of exposure.
  • 1 0
 Just get the Rocky and slap in an angle-set like the EWS team does.
  • 1 0
 Callouses>Chamois, never had chamois growing up lol
  • 1 0
 Chamois time is clammy time.
  • 1 0
 Is that Specialized seat made out of clay?
  • 1 0
 I'm more afraid of someone's chamois exposure than I an o trail exposure.
  • 1 0
 Bibs > shorts
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