10 Things I loved in 2022: Mike Levy

Dec 12, 2022 at 14:06
by Mike Levy  
Mike Levy

If I'm honest about it, I'd rather finally do that Nebraskan fat bike Winter Field Test than another Pinkbike Awards article. They're a great way to highlight some standout products, people, and events of the year, sure, but they're also a group decision because it's impossible for all of us to have ridden everything. They do make sense and I'd stand by all (most?) of the picks, but it's much more fun trying to back up my own misguided opinions about what I liked over the last twelve months.



Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk
5,000-foot climbs? No problem. Two weeks of goonery in Whistler? Sounds like fun. Modern trail bikes can do everything to a very high level.

High-End Trail Bikes Are Crazy Good

There have been some really pricey bikes around these parts lately, as well as more dentist jokes under a single review than any of us need to see over an entire year. One could easily be insulted by some of these price tags, not to mention *insert generic joke about a used dirt bike here. That was the gist of the comment section under our review of Santa Cruz's new Hightower, a $9,799 USD trail bike whose spec sheet and price tag seem out of alignment. That's a metric shit ton of money, I agree, but the Hightower, as well as the Fuel EX, Genius ST, Yeti SB140, and many others, offer otherworldly performance across a wide variation of trails and terrain. For many riders out there, some of these things might as well be both a downhill and cross-country bike in one slightly overweight and very expensive package.

As someone who's ridden and reviewed countless bikes over the last fifteen years and has nearly double that of mountain biking behind him, I can hardly believe how good they are. Let's forget about which tier bottom bracket the Yeti or Santa Cruz come with and zoom out a bit to look at why these modern trail bikes are so capable and well-rounded.

First, there's a handmade carbon fiber frame with a good warranty and guaranteed backup parts support for many years to come. And since geometry probably isn't going to change drastically again anytime soon, there's a good chance that this very expensive frame will be relevant for much longer than previous Hightowers. And the next version will probably have headset cable routing, so you won't want it anyway... Geometry is the number-one factor here, and these days there are many different versions of good to choose from.

The Hightower comes with sturdy carbon fiber wheels that also have a good warranty, and you'll probably never even have to true them. Its tires are filled with goop that *might* self-seal your slow leak before you even know about it. And while the suspension doesn't have as many dials for you to put in the wrong setting, it'll likely be everything you need and more as long as you get the spring rate right-ish. And how about the wide-range, single-ring drivetrain that uses telepathy rather than cables? Okay, that had some issues but most of them don't, and all of the bikes were near-trouble-free over two weeks of us riding in the Whistler Bike Park. Not even a flat tire. And that's when we weren't pedaling up some of the steepest, trickiest climbs in the world on the very same bikes.


Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk
Not only do they make you look far more skilled than you actually are, but they'll also carry your jacket without complaining about it.
Trek Fuel EX photo by Satchel Cronk
Some trail bikes are adjustable enough to be good nearly anywhere in the world.


I'm obviously pretty smitten with the Fuel EX that we had in Whistler, but the others were equally impressive in similar or different ways. Going back a bit further, Allied's 120mm-travel BC40, one of the downco... er, short-travel bikes we had at the Quebec Field Test is a category-bending bike. Allied went pretty hard on how race-focused this thing is in their press materials, and it is most certainly that kind of bike. Thing is, I haven't ridden many so-called race bikes that were this fun.

To be fair, a lot of the rolling terrain around Mount Sainte Anne where I tested it is perfectly suited to the BC40; you'll get as much out of those trails as you put into them, and the Allied carries speed well and loves to be pushed hard through corners. This is a bike for someone who wants to put in that kind of work and is happy to pedal hard if that's what's on the menu, but who also gets just as much out of a proper descent.


Allied's 120mm BC40 is too much fun to be used for just racing.


Again, I'm not defending the prices, just pointing out the wild range of capabilities; these bikes were a lot of fun in Whistler's rough Garbanzo Zone and they'd also be fun in middle America, which is really something. There's also carbon everything everywhere, wireless drivetrains, and reliability that would have been impossible not too long ago. These hyper-bikes are not perfect, but c'mon, what a time to be a mountain biker... With ten grand to spend.

Would I drop that much on a bicycle? Probably not, but I'm super lucky to be able to ride and appreciate how far they've come, including much less expensive bikes. And I most certainly don't believe the whole 'pricing people out of the sport' argument as absolutely no one needs any of these toys to have fun. I'd agree that prices as a whole have gone up, but it all comes down to priorities and perspectives - there are many capable bikes that will provide you all the smiles at one-eighth of the cost. If that's too much, it's a seller's market but the PB BuySell is still good a good place to find used bikes.

Regardless, I hope we review more bikes in the $3,000 to $6,000 USD range next year while still bringing in a whole bunch of others that I'd never ever dream of buying but definitely want to read about regardless.



2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Another bike from another test. I heard they liked it.


Value Bikes Are So Good

I know that everyone is all hot and bothered by a certain green bike right now, but there are many other examples where three or four grand, which is still a lot of money, gets you an incredible amount of performance and fun. We had RSD's sturdy Wildcat V3 at the Quebec Field Test and I'd be happy to ride that chunky monkey pretty much anywhere that isn't a race, and I'd be happy with it for many seasons so long as the $3,999 USD bike proved to be reliable.

Norco's Fluid FS 1 also costs $3,999 USD and I probably don't need to remind you how much we liked it while at our most recent Field Test. That's where Kazimer and I rode the shit out of those five bikes, and I put a ton more miles on the green Norco before that. It's simple; the geometry does geometry things well, the suspension does suspension things well, and it feels like it'll go just about anywhere. There's also no integrated-this or proprietary-that, it doesn't look like it could shatter if and when I drop it on a pointy rock, and it has a smart build kit that works for how Kazimer and I do bikes regardless of how much travel they have.


Kaz having zero fun on the YT Izzo.
Kaz having even less fun on the Marin.


My point is that I'm not convinced our sport is too expensive, even if you can spend more than ever on a super fancy bike. On the other hand, our sport costs less than ever to enjoy to your full potential thanks to bikes like the $3,399 USD YT Izzo, the $1,598 USD Marin Team Marin 1, or the $1,500 USD Commencal Meta HT AM Origin. We rode all of those in 2022 and they were awesome, plain and simple. Is a 1,400-gram carbon wheelset nicer than a 2,200-gram wheelset and does it matter? Yes and no, but who cares if you're too busy laughing or trying to hold on to think about that stuff?

But if these things are so good, why should you spend more? Because you've earned your fun tokens and can do whatever you want with them, be that buying an expensive coffee machine, an expensive education, or raising expensive kids. Just know that this ROI is on a sliding scale that ain't in your favor, even if two or three times as much money does get you more refinement, hopefully more reliability, and definitely less weight. Funny thing, though, none of that was on my mind while I was riding these value bikes...


The 89lb Contra isn't a bike I'd buy, but that doesn't mean I can't stare at it for a few hours while we hang out at the lake together and talk to dogs.


2022 Standouts

The Contra MC, Digit Datum, Ministry Cycles Psalm 150, and the Pole Vikkelä

Am I allowed to have bikes on this list that I've only ridden for a couple of hours? I was at the Enduro Bike Field Test to host some videos rather than do any testing, but I did get out for a few laps on the wild-looking Contra MC while I was there. This monster comes from the mind of Evan Turpen, a former pro downhill racer and mechanic, and the steel frame uses a dual-link suspension system with an idler pulley to deliver 164mm of travel that's teamed with a 170mm fork. It also uses a rootbeer paint job to make my heart flutter.

On paper, this is not the bike for me; it's heavy, it weighs a lot, and it's pretty chunky. It also has that idler pulley and idler pulleys sit somewhere between puppy mills and radar guns on the list of things I'm pretty meh about. Then I pedaled it up a steep ass climb and not only did it move along pretty well, but its second chainring was essentially invisible to me. Better yet and not at all surprising, it's an absolute monster on the descents, especially anything steep and rough. I love interesting bikes, but it's even better when they work well.

On my 'I like it but haven't ridden it' list is the Ministry Cycles Psalm 150 Prototype from Chris Currie. It's not the first frame machined out of a block of aluminum and glued together, but it might be the best looking. The dual-link 29er is still early in the development phase and we've yet to pedal one, but you can learn more about it by listening to this podcast that I did with Currie earlier in the year.


It's still early days for Ministry, but this thing looks amazing.
For when you want to look like you're riding an e-bike but don't want any of the benefits, there's the new Pole Vikkelä.


You can count on Pole to cause a stir, which is exactly what happened when the Finnish company released the 190mm-travel Vikkelä enduro bike. It follows the same principles and design as the Voima e-bike, but ditches the motor and keeps all the suspension. Specialized, Giant, Trek, and many others are building very good and very reasonable bikes, so there's plenty of room for a smaller brand to come along and do something dissimilar. Does it ride well? Seb had mixed feelings in his recent review of the Voima, but I'd still like to live with a Vikkelä for a few months as it's so different from what I'd usually ride. I also had a great chat with Leo about his bikes and why they look the way they do.


Clean lines, two bottles, and strange suspension... What else do you need?


Another bike that I haven't ridden but am excited about is Digit's 140mm-travel Datum. Putting a shock inside the top tube isn't a new idea, but the Datum uses its 12" strut as an upper link that you'd usually see on a four-bar layout and a 2:1 ratio. I lifted this from Alicia's review of the Datum in September: "Essentially, the idea behind the design is that compared to a more conventional dual-link, four-bar design, the upper link assembly is replaced by a strut that's housed in the top tube, and the lower link is placed right behind the bottom bracket. The rear triangle is a single piece, and unlike in many traditional designs that see the upper shock link moving in an arc, the strut is designed so that the rear triangle moves in a straight line relative to the front triangle - a slider, rather than a pivot."

That sounds complicated but the result is a clean-looking, relatively light trail bike that can fit two bottles and uses a weirdo, proprietary shock... In other words, exactly what I'm looking for. That shock is user serviceable at home, custom-tuned for you, and covered by a warranty and service plan, but I do understand why many riders would be wary. The Datum is also a mullet-wheeled bike and I'd prefer a 29er, so it was good to see Digit working on exactly that with the 125mm-travel Ring.


You might be surprised by how much fun boring-looking singletrack is when you're tall-posting and have no traction. Doing it mostly naked adds to the excitement.

Gravel Suspension

I had to sneak in a gravel suspension fork on the list where Kazimer wouldn't see it, but even I'm a little mad at myself for liking RockShox's tiny-travel Rudy as much as I have. My original plan was to put it on, use it for long enough to say that I didn't like it, then re-install my carbon fork that weighs about a third as much.

Gravel riding has nothing to do with being comfortable and everything to do with rattling myself apart on an absolutely shitty gravel road descent, probably in the cold and pouring rain, and probably after completely imploding near the top of an hour-long climb with an average cadence of about seven. Have I sold you on it? I'll always love sliding around a corner on my mountain bike, but I'm looking for a very different thing when I'm holding onto a curly handlebar, and more comfort has nothing to do with it.

While I expected to keep the Rudy locked out everywhere other than the roughest downhills, it took about a week of riding until I left it open anywhere and everywhere. Not only am I descending drastically quicker, but I can also stay seated and work harder on rolling and flat sections with less worry about a bottomless pothole or rock ending my day. I'm even having more success on technical and rough climbs because I can often carry more momentum into them and maybe smash straight up the middle. Suspension can make your bike better, who knew? The caveat here is that I'm riding a gravel bike in Squamish, BC, where a lot of the terrain is either straight up and down or straight through all the rocks and roots, which is precisely where a bit of front-suspension is a very obvious advantage. It'll also raise your handlebar by a noticeable amount, a pain in the ass with a bike like my BMC that uses silly proprietary headset spacers, and it also makes it look like it should have a set of panniers and a kickstand.




Whistler Crankworx 2022

While Crankworx is a bike festival-slash-party for most people who attend, it's mostly a lot of work for anyone doing media things during the event. Photo and video teams have to shoot 37 hours straight while editing for the other 11 hours of the day, race coverage needs to go live now or get posted an hour ago, and brands are busy debuting products and holding press rides every day of the event. Two weeks of riding in Whistler outweighs all that, of course, and this year's festival was one of the best in memory for me. It was a crowded place, especially during Joyride, but I managed to avoid both by doing all the rides I wanted to do and almost none of the work I was supposed to do. I also came home mostly scabless and wanting to ride more than ever, two things that almost never happen after a few weeks in Whistler.




My SIM rig and iRacing

I wanted a SIM rig for years but, as an "adult" who's at his best after spending as much time outside as possible, I couldn't convince myself to pull the trigger. Video games? No thank you. I'm pretty sure I'll get addicted, get fat, catch diabetes, and forget to come outside for three months. The idea of a piss bucket beside a SIM rig just wasn't very appealing, and then last winter dumped three or four feet of snow on us, which is three or feet more than I want anything to do with. Being allergic to frozen water, I realized that I needed to do something other than watching Letterkenny on repeat endlessly while Zwifting, so why not pretend to drive race cars?

Racing against fifty other poorly piloted Mazda Miatas is probably the most fun, but trying to consistently lap a GT3 car at even seven-tenths of your own skill level will give you a new appreciation for the people who do it for real. Speaking of real, I use iRacing and have read that the physics and data that go into making the tracks and cars are quite realistic. The surfaces of real tracks are laser scanned, the tire and fuel models mimic real-world performance, and the cars even use engine sounds recorded from the actual things. I can race on classic US tracks Lime Rock or Road Atlanta, then jet over to Spa or Suzuka by pushing a few buttons. It's a video game, I know, but it sure doesn't feel like it when I'm spinning backward out of the Nurburgring Carousel thanks to too much throttle, or when I drop it the braking zone after that giant bump at the end of the Watkins Glen straight. And you know I've gone overboard with the gear, including an amazing Gomez Sim Industries GXL wheel, too many screens, and maybe a bit of motion.




There are countless tracks and cars to choose from, most of which cost money to access, but the "game" is so difficult that a few should keep you busy for a long time. I just picked up the new BMW M Hybrid V8, which also just debuted IRL to compete in the GTP class of the IMSA series and eventually the FIA World Endurance Championship. Unfortunately, I don't think my brain will ever work quickly enough to process its cornering speed or take advantage of the energy deployment and endless setup options. I might not be able to get around a lap cleanly, but the fact that I can "experience" the M Hybrid V8's driving dynamics and downforce from my home is mind-blowing. And just like bikes, there's so much hardware to learn about and get the most from.

As for worrying if I'd forget about the real world and turn into a fat slob, not so much; when everything is turned on and the volume is at full teenage angst levels, I've got about twenty minutes of driving in me before the noise, shaking, and violence of it all has me feeling like I'm in the bike park but forgot to unlock my suspension. Which is fun, I swear, and I've only had to pee in the bucket a couple of times so far.


Podcasts

Another best-of list at the end of the year, another list of my favorite podcasts. Aside from bikes, my life mostly revolves around cars, UFOs or the unexplained, cars, and dogs, so it's not a surprise to see my listening reflect those interests. There are the usual F1 podcasts that get devoured the second they're released, but here are some other good ones worth mentioning.

Sam Moore's Car Chat Podcast is a UK-themed show that sees him talking to designers, drivers, and other media folk, including a recent show with Top Gear's Head of Testing, Ollie Marriage, that was especially relevant and interesting. Dinner with Racers is a long-form chat hosted by Ryan Eversley and Sean Heckman, with guests like Townsend Bell, Felipe Nasr, Oliver Jarvis, and they've recently had on legends Rene Rast and Andy Priaulx. I also really like The Intercooler show which sees Dan Prosser and Andrew Frankel having a bit more of a formal one-on-one chat about different topics each week. I find the car stuff interesting on its own, but there are also many things in the automobile world that parallel cycling.




From the ground to the air and water, That UFO Podcast has been a great show to listen to on dog walks. They have many interesting guests on for long-form chats, but they also do update shows with timely news and information. Black Vault Radio is where to go for everything FOIA-related, with John Greenewald Jr doing a good job of explaining a complicated subject. For videos, retired F16 pilot Chris Lehto's YouTube channel has all sorts of great breakdowns and discussions, while Eyes On Cinema has mind-blowing historical interviews with countless people about things they've seen, from pilots and astronauts to priests, children, and everyday people.




I think that my list of 10 favorites of 2022 may have grown to well over 20 by the time I wrapped things up, but maybe that means there's been a lot to like over the last twelve months. What about you? Thinking back about all things bike-related during the year, what have been some of your standouts and favorites?


209 Comments

  • 177 2
 BOTH KAZ AND LEVY HAVE REFERENCED RIDING IN THE NUDE ON THEIR YEAR END POSTS. Guys, do you wanna tell us something? Is the colony coming along really well? When will it be open to application? Say less, my dude.
  • 20 0
 Back in the 90's this happened at the end of one or two major race events into the wee hours. Various adult recreational products consumed alongside bikes and a lake jump, made for some memorable times. Sponsors not invited.
  • 7 0
 @noplacelikeloam: N.U.M.B.A. ?
  • 21 0
 Kaz and Levy just testing to see who's reading the whole article....
  • 6 0
 @chrod: or getting comfortable with their sexuality, it's all good .. or not.
  • 10 10
 OMGOSH!!!! I've been talking about this! But no one has been listening! Finally, us nudist riders are getting the representation we not only crave, but DESERVE!!!!!!!!!!! THIS is what we NEED! @100percent has supported me and my family since day one, and I can not wait to see this thing get BIGGER and BIGGER! Things are growing, if you know what I mean, and this is merely the wind in the sail. Join me! Let's all go 45 in our natural state and enjoy one another's company. Down the accessories! Down the "layers"! Let's be our true and natural selves in our riding endeavors! #staywokepal #staynudepb
  • 4 0
 @carlwheezer69: Are saddles without a cut-out recommended?
  • 5 5
 @aquanut: what's a saddle? I only use seat posts to add more weight reduction
  • 5 0
 @noplacelikeloam: You'd enjoy this: www.florideahswampfest.com Look up past years on youtube. Total mayhem. With sponsors. I'd love them to approach the UCI...
  • 4 0
 @noplacelikeloam: Ageing myself, but the naked crit and the NORBA Vermont races!! Classic!! hahah
  • 2 0
 @DarrellW: Swampfest is unlike ANYTHING else in the bike world Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @carlwheezer69: i expected to see you here
  • 2 0
 @carlwheezer69: I love adding weight reduction and also reducing additional weight.
  • 4 0
 I used to be more involved in the vintage motor scooter scene. I still have an old Vespa, but I don’t really rally anymore.
Naked rides were always part of the camping rallies. They always happen when you’ve over imbibed, so your skills are a bit dampened. I recall one rally when I was running 1am hot laps on my Vespa, naked(wearing a helmet only) and started to low side the bike. In a panic, envisioning my naked self, tangled up with my Sprint as we tumbled across a field. I pushed myself off the back of the bike, the bike righted and kept going without me, about 50m until it slowed and fell over. Me on the other hand landed hard on my ass and nearly shit myself. I had some interesting rash from that.
  • 2 0
 Y’all is being nasty today on pinkbike!! I think all the COVID riding caused too much stimulation to your prostate and your wives have cut you off from buying all these expensive bikes. Everyone here needs a good alien probing.
  • 5 0
 There's dozens of us! Dozens!
  • 2 0
 @captainshapely: YES! YES! YES! Tobias is certainly an inspiration, though his "never nude" mantra required some tweaking. We're more of an "always nude" band of individuals. @100percent has been with me through thick and thin (cold days), and I am so excited to watch this thing grow! #staynudepb
  • 1 0
 @carlwheezer69: "Add more weight reduction"
  • 100 0
 Cheap bikes and expensive bikes are good. Bikes are good.
  • 77 0
 It must be those damn mid range bikes that suck!
  • 40 1
 So good.
  • 4 0
 bikes are good
  • 12 0
 Old-ish bikes are good as well
  • 12 0
 Trikes are no good
  • 8 47
flag CSharp (Dec 14, 2022 at 12:46) (Below Threshold)
 So, even e-Bikes are good!
  • 2 4
 @DizzyNinja: That's no a bi-cycle!
  • 24 3
 @CSharp: no one said anything about motorcycles
  • 8 0
 my V1 alloy sentinel with its modern geo, 11sp XO drivetrain, TRP stoppers and DTSwiss alloy wheels is so good I don't really ever see my self upgrading. Yeah I could go spend a bunch of coin on something newer but the only measurable thing I'd be gaining is frame storage which I can live without.
  • 7 1
 Totally agree here. Bikes are a sum of their parts. Geometry has certainly landed somewhere that allows trails bikes to ride virtually anything, but those tweaks to geometry don’t double the cost of production for frame manufacturers, so the argument that bikes are so good these days to justify massive price increases just doesn’t hold water. Dropper posts have improved and gotten cheaper. Carbon wheels have probably halved in price in the last five years. Electronic drivetrains have made their way into mid-tier groupsets. Suspension is frankly superlative compared to what we used to have and doesn’t cost much more adjusted for inflation. I don’t care how good bikes have gotten, it doesn’t justify the end price tag consumers pay anymore.
  • 9 2
 Independent reviews are good #astonmtb
  • 12 5
 @mikelevy: In your article, you say: "Regardless, I hope we review more bikes in the $3,000 to $6,000 USD range next year[...]"

You (collectively, as Pinkbike - not singling you out here) have a fair amount of market power. I have a hard time believing that it would be impossible for you to actually get the brands to send spec levels somewhere from the middle of their range for tests, especially if you promise them that they'll be tested against comparably spec'd and priced competitors rather than getting fed to the wolves against wonderbikes costing three times as much. And if all else fails, bikes are actually back in stock in most stores - so you could always go to two or three bike stores in, say, Bellingham, buy five test bikes from the middle of the range, test them, then sell them and overall spend less than it costs you to produce the flashy intros to those reality TV series that seem to be the new Pinkbike direction. If, that is, bike testing is something you (again, collectively, as Pinkbike) think is important for you.

You also mention a bunch of highly desirable cool things about these bikes and make a connection to those things being why they're so damn awesome. But in your test videos and write ups, you and Mike K. eloquently made the point that the difference between the Norco (at sub 4k) and the wonder bikes (at around 10k) was not qualitative, but one of degree. As in, they weren't altogether different animals, the Norco could very much hang with the uber bikes, it just was a little heavier, a little less refined. A bike with well sorted geometry and suspension like the Hightower would still very much rock in a well executed aluminum build (Santa Cruz used to do those - it's not like they don't know how); it just would rock a small bit less.

I agree with you that these are great days for mountain biking - awesome, well sorted bikes for every style of riding are all over the place; the supply chain crisis is coming to an end; reasonably priced well spec'd bikes are a thing. I'm a one bike quiver kind of rider, with this sort of capable trail bike being exactly in my wheelhouse. I'm not looking for cheap (because cheap means you don't get what you pay for, you pay for what you get), and price point specs with crappy brakes and hubs that blow up when you put any sort of power into them annoy the hell out of me. But if you all (again, as Pinkbike collectively) want to be relevant, then hiding behind the occasional "value bike test" is probably not going to be a winning long-term strategy.
  • 22 3
 @g-42:

No, they won't just send us any bike we want, unfortunately. And while there are more bikes now than a year ago, many that we wanted to include weren't available. Believe it or not, brands don't have any model we want sitting there waiting for us. PBA graphics have nothing to do with editorial, sorry Wink

Yup, I said those things... $10,000 bikes are still sick AF and nicer, no matter how good the Norco might be. They did the last Hightower in aluminum so they'll probably do this as well - it just got released! There are many other good choices out there.

All these companies sell every expensive bike they make - I understand lower prices being more relevant to more people, but TONS of people want to read about (and even buy) $10,000+ bikes. I can see value vs fancy Field Test numbers, people like to read about expensive stuff and we ain't hiding Wink Regardless, I do agree that we need to get in way more normal bikes, as I stressed above in the article.
  • 7 1
 "our sport costs less than ever to enjoy to your full potential thanks to bikes like the $3,399 USD YT Izzo, the $1,598 USD Marin Team Marin 1, or the $1,500 USD Commencal Meta HT AM Origin. "

2 of these are hardtail, and 1 of these is usually unobtainable ;-)

Honestly theres good cheaper bikes but i wouldnt call it cheap by any means unless you're ok with a hard tail. Any trail FS bike will set you back at least 4000USD to be good enough (even the Izzo is still 3400USD), and about 6000USD to be really decent (and 10,000USD for something really good).

The used market is getting better fortunately.
  • 3 0
 @p1nkbike: having recently bought a new bike, I’d say you’re pretty much on the money.
  • 4 2
 @g-42: I don't get all the hate against all the fancy bikes reviews. To me there even more thrilling than budget ones because i like to drool over exclusive nice stuff. It's like a Ferrari review being far more exciting than a Toyota.
  • 1 0
 @CantQuitCartel: Does he do any now though, or just raffles?
  • 5 0
 4000 bucks is a cheap bike? Am I missing something?
  • 3 0
 @BenPea: @BenPea: LOL, I know - crazy times!
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: on his insta he’s just taken delivery of a new YT…… I don’t see it ending well.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: exactly
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Oui, tu as manque quelques chose. You are missing something! it is the days we are living in.
  • 72 5
 Neither Mike has liked PB Academy...
  • 31 0
 100% onboard with that.

But Frown neither mentioned Pinkbike Racing which was next level compared to most of the regular shows I watch, nailed on for my top 10 of 2022.
  • 13 0
 I couldn't finish watching this season. I like cheesy stuff on occasion but this season I just couldn't get into it after a couple episodes. If they do it again hopefully the format will be much different and be focused on riding instead of social media. Also knowing the amount of talent out there I get annoyed by some of the selections made for contestants.
  • 7 3
 Well PBA is rubbish. The first season was good enough to say "ok, it kinda worked but kinda didnt, lets leave it a year and see what everyone thinks"

but instead they just said Fk it and now have done 3 seasons while getting worse.
  • 7 0
 @PawnSacrifice: Right? It was wild seeing the difference in quality of those 2 series. PBR will go down as one of the best things Pinkbike have ever produced.
  • 1 0
 @drbino: I think that raised my expectations a little too much for PBA. I hope Pinkbike Racing just sticks with what works next year. I'm sure they will.
  • 39 2
 Why do I only count 7 " things" in this top 10 list? Is the list in USD?

My List USD top 10:

1. PB announces the end of Autoplay ( ok a wish but still 2 weeks left)
2. I got a new bike in 2022 so wont need to suffer headset cable routing for a few years
3. Shimano didn't release a wireless groupset
4. PB did not implode due to Outside taking over
5. PBA 3 was so bad we wont be subjected to PBA 4
6. End of year clearances on bikes and gear are back after 2 years of "full retail IF you can even find it".
7. Climate change is bad, but it gave me my longest season ever ( march to dec) and it was a beauty!
  • 3 1
 Conflicted. I want to give you a thumbs up and a thumbs down. Lists of one next time please.
  • 50 12
 Nothing about e-bikes, god bless you, Mike Levy!
  • 7 13
flag HeatedRotor (Dec 14, 2022 at 19:58) (Below Threshold)
 They probably knew it would trigger the PB Karens so have left them out on purpose.
  • 2 1
 @HeatedRotor: I wish I could comment, but unfortunately I've being to the bowels of the (Below Threshold) and it's very scary down there !
  • 1 0
 I have an e-bike commuter. It is freaking awesome ( and pretty cheap one). But yeah this website if more about MTB
  • 32 2
 Birds aren't real.
  • 8 1
 Some might not be...?
  • 39 0
 If it flies, it spies.
  • 21 0
 Bird watching goes both ways
  • 6 0
 Pigeons are liars
  • 2 0
 For 14 years, Big Bird insisted that Snuffy was real. Nobody believed him, but who's laughing now?
  • 8 0
 Every "bird" is a government surveillance drone.

Pigeons charge on power lines.
  • 1 1
 @dreamlink87: Insects are the real spy's!
nanotech is real, we just cant see it, with our inferior eyes?
  • 23 0
 iRacing is the one thing I enjoy that never in a million years thought would overlap and be talked about in pinkbike, I've had such awesome races and times on it, hope I get to race Levy sometime in the future. The Game is super expensive but as mike says, you'll need only a few cars and tracks. If you have a wheel and pedals I definitely reccomend it, the online racing service is top notch
  • 6 0
 Assetto Corsa Competizione is worth a look too. Great game. Crazy hard but very rewarding...
  • 4 0
 I also recommend trying out a rally simulator like Dirt Rally 2.0 or, if you want a real challenge, Richard Burns Rally. Its kinda like biking but with double the wheels and 600 hp.
  • 2 0
 @jonp-23: RBR is the most realistic and difficult driving sim I’ve ever played. Hard to believe it’s pushing 20
  • 3 0
 @gotohe11carolina: I play them all, just got ACC as it was on discount in steam, RBR is a favourite and Dirt Rally 2.0 is got to be on demand every time you want some awesome rallys without setting up too much stuff.
Recently tried AMS2 and liked it aswell but need more time to get fast.
  • 3 0
 What makes iRacing so good and more realistic than other race sims is how you have to interact with the other cars/drivers. Up to about 30 real life people connected at the same time trying to race each other causes lots of real life emotion, such as; embarrassment, shame, anger, need for vengeance, exhilaration, addiction, fear (mistakes by you or others can result in a loss of your iRating and Safety Rating and thereby being demoted to a lower category).
Other sims might offer more cars and tracks and better track side graphics, but don't offer competition with real people all trying to drive realistically, and not like they are all in a video game.
There is also lots of real life awards, such as if you win some selected series you get sponsorship to race a real life car.
  • 1 0
 ACC (and LFM to give it some iRacing-style leagues, but I prefer my friendly private one) was my surprise-to-myself lockdown thing too. Maybe the terror of trying to hold onto a GT3 car at the limit of traction, in VR, is not a million miles from what I enjoy about MTB.
  • 2 0
 @gotohe11carolina: You'll want to try one of the overhaul mods like CZ RBR for much improved physics and tracks. There is also VR support.
  • 6 0
 Should we have a PB Miata series?
  • 1 0
 I think there must be some mental crossover between mountain biking and sim racing as you deal with things like line choice, carrying momentum, and focusing on corner exits in both to be fast. On the downside, I find that sim racing too much is pretty detrimental to my physical fitness. I go back and forth between ACC and AMS2 mostly, after playing primarily Raceroom for a few years. I don’t have the time or money for iRacing.
  • 1 0
 The problem with iRacing is when you get to higher classes that you have to spend a lot of time and effort to maintain your Rating. Kind of like trying to be a professional musician in that you have to spend a lot of time and effort practising, or else you will screw up in front of an audience and make the other band members angry at you and you will be quickly demoted and have a hard time getting back to your previous standing.
To get in the professional iRacing category (you can win $10,000 per season) you also have to work at it with professional effort and dedication (and have natural talent).
I took two years off of iRacing to dedicate myself to bikepack racing and now have a hard time putting in the practice before I dare do some real i-races (iRacing practice also eats into my time learning Spanish and tap dance, and reading PinkBike comments).
iRacing can quickly stop being a game and become either a profession or obsession (much like mountain biking)
  • 2 0
 @taprider: I was surprised by how not a game iRacing is... I feel like I have to take it serious-ish and be deliberate with my time on it. But I can only put in maybe three hours a week max, so it's hard to improve quickly. Crazy. how much time some people spend on it! Not exactly Mario Kart haha
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Mate, you should really think about hooking up the Pinkbike iRacing series and make some races happen, I would bet there are some pro riders that are on it too, you could ask here and there and make a league to have fun. It could be based on a discord server to keep everyone up to speed with the events.

Regarding the time you have to put in it to improve, is true, there's no way around it, but after a bit of regular racing your muscle memory starts developing for it and you can get quite fast in the car you choose in smaller ammounts of time and get on with the races.
  • 19 2
 That Digit Datum is awesome!
@mikelevy let me know if you're ever headed to California, or any events in the Southwest. I'd love to go for a ride and get your feedback. I'm honored to make your list, Thank Mike.
  • 18 2
 I noticed autoplay didn't make the list
  • 16 2
 Hope Alicia is getting better...not sure if it was intended, or coincidence mentioning her with that Digit review.
  • 11 9
 Based on her go fund me, sounds like she’s doing alright. Although “alright” is relative. I’m a little surprised PB hasn’t given her situation more coverage.
  • 9 0
 Check her ig account. She's getting better.
  • 28 5
 @bridgermurray: it's called privacy
  • 5 5
 @bridgermurray: kinda what I am getting at...nothing about her on the media platform she work(ed) at...seems slightly odd. If her crash wasn't mentioned by PB commenters, most would have assumed she was let go.
  • 8 7
 @bashhard: How is posting on IG more private than information on PB?
  • 7 1
 @lkubica: this single article has more comments than I have followers.
  • 16 3
 @lkubica: you seriously don't understand how posting about yourself is more private than someone else writing an article about your health details, or are you just being contrarian for shits and giggles?
  • 9 2
 @bashhard: I'm not suggesting they post day-by-day updates on her health. I'm saying she was an employee of PB, she was (ostensibly) severely injured while on the job. It would be courteous if Pinkbike at least announced she was injured and broadcasted her go-fund-me. If a reporter at a major news organization is injured in the line of duty, generally that organization reports it and gives reason for the reporter's absence.

And to be clear, not at all saying PB is in the wrong. It's just surprising.
  • 2 0
 @bashhard: I think more likely liability.
  • 4 0
 @bridgermurray: this is a website to drive engagement and clicks, and ultimately sell product. If I worked for pinkbike and got injured (on or off the job) I would not want them using my recovery to promote their marketing.

On top of that, what if a hypothetical employee gets hurt and is doing bad and getting worse? That's not exactly the news you want to be pushing, especially to sell bikes and gear. If a chainstay breaks during h2f pinkbike commentary never lets it go, should we discuss the brands of protective equipment she was wearing? Maybe a discourse on who is to blame for her crash?

This isn't really pinkbikes news to share.
  • 2 0
 @RonSauce: I do hope that when the aliens come and take Levy, that PB lets us know.

Agree that is is a bit questionable, and should be 100% approved by her and her family, but the upside could potentially be a boost to her go fund me. I believe they've posted about other riders/racers that were injured and it helped.
  • 1 1
 @ReformedRoadie: They took him twice alreadySmile
  • 15 5
 "If I'm honest about it, I'd rather finally do that Nebraskan fat bike Winter Field Test than another Pinkbike Awards article." Don't tease us - we want to see fat bike tests. Duluth Minnesota has a ton of snow (up to 20" fell this week alone!), great trails (IMBA Gold!) and would be primo fatbiking this year. C'mon, you know you want to.
  • 30 4
 Zero chance.
  • 18 0
 @mikelevy: as a fat biker, I'd love a fat field test. But don't go somewhere flat to do it, that's boring. DH fat biking is a blast. I guarantee you haven't had such a thrill on a bike going so slow as you will on a fat bike.
  • 31 0
 There are literally dozens of us!
  • 13 0
 @psyguy: send them to the Winter Woolly at Highland in February. Lift serviced fat biking!
  • 13 2
 Squamish gravel sucks, Don't go
  • 29 0
 Wasnt planning on it
  • 7 0
 I have a 2017 banshee spitfire. It's awesome. I might buy a new frame fork and front wheel and make a mullet. I want to just because it's fun. Used. Off buy/sell. Be 2k tops. But don't need to. Because bikes are so good. Even 5 year old aluminum ones. I'll never buy another bike but I'll buy pieces of them. Doesn't have to cost 10k. If you really want to have fun try mx bikes for racing motocross on PC. Or mx sim if you are a masochist.
  • 2 0
 I second MX Bikes fantastic game. Also Sim Racing is sick af just got into it my self this last year. Things with wheels are good.
  • 11 0
 Needs pictures + spec of sim rig!
  • 8 0
 No pics, but it's changed a lot despite me only having it for a year-ish. I use an NLR F-GT chassis, and Fanatec DD2 with a ClubSport BMW GT2 wheel for Miatas and normal cars. I also just splurged on a custom Gomez Sim Industries GXL for more serious stuff. Triple screens and a middle-of-the-road computer that I know nothing about but it seems to work. I really wanted some motion but can't justify how much most of the kits are, so I bought the NLR Motion Plus and love it. I'm glad I didn't spend way more to get only a bit more performance.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: I need to get triples, been using a 65" tv which is fine but doesn't have the peripheral. You have 27" monitors? Seems the sweet spot for footprint and cost.
I'll look into the NLR motion plus. Could be super cool.
  • 4 0
 @heatproofgenie: Yup, some relatively inexpensive 27s that seem ideal. I don't have much room - the sim is in my workshop which is pretty small - so I couldn't go any bigger. I should have just done a single given the space tbh, but the triple is really neat.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: DD2 and GSI wheel is pretty top notch stuff! I just finally made the switch to direct drive myself, albeit with just a CSL DD, but it's still a game changer. Using a direct drive wheel for the first time was akin to riding a bike with a dropper post for the first time, it just changes everything.
  • 2 0
 @BlackVR: The GSI wheel is waaaaay too nice for me, but it feels very real, immersion etc yada yada

I started with a direct drive so I'm spoiled, but I want to buy a used belt-driven wheel to see the difference.
  • 6 0
 "there's a handmade carbon fiber frame with a good warranty"

kinda bother me as the owner of a santacruz that santacruz refused to warranty, after their support said the frame should be warrantied. if you read their warranty they retain the right to refuse warranty for a million reasons, and instead they give you a "deal" on shock-less frames for previous model (a bit like a crash replacement, though technically its for anything - and no I didnt crash). you get free bearings for "life" and perhaps warranty. the bike's good, but i'm definitely weary of paying extra for a so-called lifetime warranty now. no point.
  • 2 3
 @PON: @santacruzbicyles: You're up.
  • 4 0
 @suspended-flesh: i talked to Santacruz directly quite a bit, they made it pretty clear - that's ok, but now I'll be more careful. You can find the warranty here: www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/warranty/claims (click "limitations" at the bottom).

Note that they change this even after sale so there's .. no warranty to have a warranty if that makes sense. There's quite a few posts about this on mtbr as well, I discovered that after my claim haha.
  • 2 1
 @p1nkbike: Well, what happened to the frame? What caused them to deny warranty? Just curious. I used to visit SC when they were on Bronson Street behind Day's Market and they always hooked me up even though I was a nobody. That was in the Aluminum Era, however.
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: I've visited SC and their factory in person as well a few times. they're super nice.

he frame has an issue in the shock tunnel where the shock sometimes hits - prolly due to flex (frames are hand made so theyre all a tad diff) - how they warranty or not is up to them, but their support said "yeh warranty it it happens" and warranty said "yeah we'll swap that for another type of frame, no shock and it'll be 1700usd, and send us a pic of your frame cut in half to be sure you dont use it if you take this offer".

if you check mtbr there's all sort of warranty issues depending on how you bought the bike or the exact type of problem. I'd understand the warranty as "free bearings" which isnt bad tbh, the rest is a bit more luck and who you talk to than id like, but it is what it is. I imagine the company that owns them has policies to make sure they keep revenue up but meh.

One of my friend broke his specialized frame in a crash at a local race, he asked if they could help him out with a crash replacement or something like that (which isnt part of the warranty at all), they gave him a brand new sworks frame for free instead. I was there. it was 5 years ago. I'm still jealous. lol.
  • 7 0
 @mikelevy
Just keep your head on a swivel. There was a guy who did one of these lists this year and then was immediately let go by Outside. Watch yer 6.
  • 2 0
 @PawnSacrifice: yo, who was that?
  • 1 0
 @Murphius: He wrote "2022's Coolest, Must-Have NFTs!!"
  • 5 0
 I wonder how many mountain bikers are also into sim racing? I've done iRacing also for the last two years and it really is so amazing to be able to lap whatever car you might choose on whatever track with what IMO is quite good physics. I too can't do that long of a stint. Really an hour is max for a session for me but it can be super intense to keep the optimal arousal going while racing, qualifying or just lapping. Inverted U for optimal arousal.

Definitely a very cool thing to have in ones house if you are at all or every have been into cars and performance driving.
  • 3 0
 Agreed, wish I bought one years ago.
  • 2 0
 I'm very interested in it but haven't pulled the trigger. I had the chance to do a few laps in a VR motion rig back in 2017 and it left a big impression. The realism was fantastic. Someday
  • 1 0
 @JLantz: You should really go budget at first, don't need to get all too fancy, get a logitech wheel and attach it to something sturdy in front of a big tv, if it really hooks you up... then build from that. Upgrade to a Rig, get a Direct drive wheel, Load cell pedals and triple tv's or VR. But at first you can start with the whell and it costs like 200 bucks tops, you don't even need a pc, just get a used ps4 and buy Assetto Corsa Competizione.
  • 1 0
 @Denyer: People on $300 setups absolutely destroy me, which is one of my favorite parts of SIM racing, love it. Trying to convince friends to get a PS4 and get into it.
  • 1 0
 I built and ran a Champcar.org (formerly Chumpcar) / Lucky Dog Racing League car in 2017. I can say that 2 hour stints in a budget car, with only 100hp, can definitely reach a 'normal' persons limits. 2 hours of driving concentration above 90%, will make you almost hallucinate. There is a reason pro drivers are bred from a young age to do what they do.
  • 2 0
 @AppleJack76: Not surprised, the level of concentration needed is crazy and I'm sure that's why I'm so tired after using the sim. Real-life endurance racing would be wild.

Also, holy crap what a calendar you have! That looks like a ton of fun.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: If you can ever hook up and purchase a seat from a team in the PNW, highly suggested. The Lucky Dog Racing League crew / family (Portland based) is a fun group to party with, after the racing. We raced with them on the streets of Ensenada, Mexico. Oh, the stories...
  • 6 2
 For anyone looking to get into the UFO topic, I highly recommend reading ‘In Plain Sight’ by Ross Coulthart, or visiting UAP.guide for a 15-min online introduction.

Also +1 to The Black Vault and John Greenewald for his dogged persistence in UAP/UFO-related FOIA claims and creating such a valuable resource of declassified Government documents
  • 2 0
 In Plain Sight is a great intro and there's an audiobook version to make it even easier. Ross has also done some really good interviews on the Theory of Everything podcast with Curt Jaimungal as well. Crazy more people aren't listening and watching what's happening!
  • 7 0
 that digit is cleaner and straighter than a mormon.
  • 3 0
 Stealing this one ^
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: my man
  • 5 1
 Neither mike mentioned one of the most emotional moments in DH history. Finn Iles taking his first win, and at MSA. that was the most important thing that happened in biking this year, and I even got a new bike!
  • 2 0
 That was such a good race. Goosebumps! I bet it's on Finn's top-ten list haha
  • 4 1
 I can't understand why anyone would ever like cars. $30k to get a project car running. Motor swap, turbo, paint, wheels etc. "I'm having fun" you constantly tell yourself. $25k for a (used) diesel truck to pull it, and $3k for a trailer.. then you stuff it into a wall on the 5th time you take it to the track. Yeah no, I'm good. (God gave me his toughest battles)
  • 2 0
 Because you can spend a lot less than that by autocrossing a sporty car. There are a million classes for everything from a basic Nissan Sentra up to a race-prepped Corvette. You're not racing head to head but you still get to compare times and watch yourself progress against the competition each week. Time attack events are fun, autocross and rallycross are fun, all are incredibly easy and cheap to get into.

But yes, racing head to head means that you need to be able to have $80-100K that you can just burn and be alright with that.
  • 3 0
 You could have stopped after "I can't understand why anyone would ever like cars". To those that understand, the money means nothing.
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: I like cars, but one misadventure with a dodgy BMW means I will go back to ogling them in the street and enjoying my thrill-free Toyota. I think you have to LOVE cars to get sucked in that badly.
  • 2 0
 No one ever claimed car racing was cheap. I think the famous quotes is, "Spend a million, make $100K." "Budget" racing is even expensive. I've built and raced in Champcar.org and Lucky Dog Racing League for one season. Even with 2-4 drivers, your deposal income should be deeper than you think. But the memories of racing on famous race tracks is unreplaceable.
  • 2 0
 @GTscoob: Disagree with your last statement. We got into Champcar.org / Lucky Dog Racing League for $20-30K for a season. Divided between 3-4 drivers, completely doable for us mortals.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy if you're ever out in Colorado let's shred some trails. Give me some heads up and I'll take you out for a few laps round the track to. Really cool to have an editor that is also a car guy.
  • 1 0
 I've been eyeing the Rudy for my Rocky Mountain Solo, and its good to get some perspective from a mountain biker on it. I enjoy riding my gravel bike in places it really doesn't belong, so it seems like this makes some sense. @mikelevy Are you running 15mm to 12mm adapter or a dedicated 12mm front wheel? If so, does it present any issues? Thanks!
  • 1 0
 Dedicated 12mm front wheel from e13, they've been amazing for multiple years now.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Good info! Thank you for the reply.
  • 1 0
 If that ministry is still early prototype I hope they aim to remove the chainstay bridge… if it’s all machined and hence pretty open potential with the links forward of the seat tube why not work the material hard and get rid of the loan shelf?
I get that the engineering challenge of this idea is pretty significant, but the loan shelf eats shit (literally sometimes)
  • 1 0
 "this very expensive frame will be relevant for much longer than previous Hightowers", nope Santa Cruz will release another version in 2 years with slightly updated geo and leverage curve. PB will call it the new best bike ever made and that the changes are small but really make the difference.
  • 2 0
 I mean, don't buy it?
  • 2 0
 Kaz had a list of 10 that was logical, practical and actually informative.
Yours starts weird, goes non-sequitur, and kinda leaves the solar system.. Literally.
Don’t ever change!
  • 5 0
 I like bikes
  • 4 0
 Mike like bike
  • 2 0
 @mkul7r4: I'm Bikecurious
  • 3 1
 @mikelevy
Have you ever head about the GEIPAN ? French scientists studiyng UFO, worth a look :
www.cnes-geipan.fr/en?id=181&type=100&tt_news%5Bcat%5D=10
  • 1 0
 That looks interesting, thanks for the link!
  • 2 0
 I'm surprised you don't want to head out for a big fat bike trip, given your love for gravel biking, skidding, and big long painful rides! #pleasecometothemidwest
  • 5 4
 Levy's video game comments are disappointing.

"No thank you. I'm pretty sure I'll get addicted, get fat, catch diabetes, and forget to come outside for three months."

Do you think they might cause you to be violent too?
  • 10 1
 Yes, they’ve caused me to throw my headset at the wall multiple times.
  • 1 3
 @mikelevy: Sounds like a you problem. Maybe you were only referring to yourself in that quote, but you were definitely tapping into the "video games bad" zeitgeist and that's rather pathetic.
  • 3 0
 @Lanebobane: The article is about me, so it’s VERY perceptive of you to read into it being a me problem Wink I don’t think it’s pathetic at all to voice that concern give how much I know myself and how little you know me.

I have no problem with you playing Call of Duty for 12 hours everyday, but I have too much pride to go down that road.
  • 1 1
 I have no problem with you not liking video games, but talking about them like that ("I'll get diabetes") is childish.
  • 3 1
 @Lanebobane: Hmm, I think video games are childish so it works haha
  • 1 2
 @mikelevy: Ok, but to be clear, I'm saying you shitting on video games (or anything other people like that you don't) is childish. You're calling something people like childish. Not the same thing so, no, it doesn't "work".
  • 3 0
 To be fair, I'd be interested in hearing more about that sim rig
  • 3 0
 It's an NLR F-GT chassis, DD2 with a GT2 BMW wheel and a GSI wheel that I just splurged on. Triple 27s and an NLR Motion Plus unit that has absolutely blown my mind. I nearly went with the Traction Plus instead but glad I didn't.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: wow, nice setup, that’s definitely doing it properly! That’s interesting re the motion, does it give you the physical sensation through the bum of the car starting to rotate/slip? That’s what I really mis vs driving IRL.
  • 1 0
 Seller market? Maybe during covid but the tides turned about a year a go now. Good luck getting asking price.
1-2 year old enduros with kashima and xx1 going for $4-5k.
  • 3 0
 Bout time the industry returned to earth
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: you have multi-screens or a VR headset on the sim? I thought headset would be the way to go, but the one I tried made me real sick.
  • 1 0
 Triple screens but no interest in VR yet.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Mr. Zuckerberg has invested the 10-year future GDP of 12 small nations in your interest.
  • 2 0
 Loan shelf, lol… thanks auto correct. If there is a negative top 10 I’d put auto correct in it.
  • 1 0
 ...so turn it off?
  • 3 0
 89lbs? Is that a typo? Solid steel tubing?
  • 1 0
 I rounded up a bit.
  • 3 1
 What is the advantage of a bike machined from a solid chunk of a aluminium ?
  • 10 2
 It looks amazing...? I'm not here to be rational haha
  • 3 1
 Levy must have got his Christmas bonus and felt obligated to write this smut.
  • 1 0
 I-Racing is Dope! I Started as a casual driver and ended up being sports director of an international team. it's so close to real life racing i could not be happier!
  • 1 0
 Crazy how it pulls you in. I thought it was a game but it is more than a game haha
  • 1 0
 So happy to see Letterkenny mentioned in this read. Even if it's not an actual Top 10 thing. Such a great show!

@mikelevy Have you watched Shoresy yet?
  • 2 0
 I haven't but I'll check it out. We drove across Saskatchewan this summer and all I could hear were Letterkenny quotes in my head. It's a documentary, not a comedy haha
  • 3 0
 Bikes are tight.
  • 2 0
 Oh boy!
  • 3 5
 I was going to throw my Hightower away today after being decimated by Pinkbikers this week and seek out a steel e-bike with a lefty fork and an adjustable integrated bar+stem+head tube with a 34 degree HTA so I could be unique.

Anywho, after reading this, I think I’ll keep it, wipe away those tears and go back to work.
  • 2 0
 89lbs! It's heavy and it weighs a lot
  • 1 0
 iRacing is awesome! It gets so competitive and stressful that I need to go for a MTB ride just to cool off. lol
  • 1 0
 Same, I often can't play for more than an hour without feeling overwhelmed and needing to get off of it.
  • 1 0
 My takeaway after reading Mike’s article is that he has a pretty cool job.
  • 1 0
 One of the best jobs, so lucky.
  • 1 0
 Nebraska would be a terrible place for a fatbike test, we barely and rarely get snow. I think you're thinking of Minnesota.
  • 3 1
 ML is the GOAT!!!
  • 2 0
 Contra MC :-)
  • 6 9
 >Gravel Suspension

If you need to put suspension on your gravel bike, just do yourself a favor and buy a carbon XC race bike. If you want drops, there is Surly Cornerbar or the Zniino carbon option from Aliexpress that allow you to run with mtb controls, or plenty of conversion options with pull ratio converters
  • 26 1
 Nah, you don't want something too competent.
  • 4 2
 @mikelevy: Then handicap yourself by riding it on the road to Whistler, riding A line, then riding back home. Title it "Afternoon ride" on Strava.
  • 1 1
 Yup. Just a mountain bike from the 90s. But cool or whatever. Some wonder why people get tired of the bike industry. Gravel bike suspension is why.
  • 3 0
 @ldhbaker: I'm gonna disagree with that one. There were gravel suspension forks a long time ago and they sucked balls, these new ones are better. I know suspension being good is an obvious thing to you and me, but many gravel riders are looking at it from a completely different point of view. Also, what they need in a fork is different from what a XC rider needs in a fork so no, you can't just put mountain bike suspension on a hardtail and call it a gravel bike.

This is PB so I don't expect you (or most others) to embrace lycra and curly handlebars and 42mm wide tires, but I grew up riding old hardtails and road bikes from the 90s and they are nothing like my BMC gravel bike.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy:

The issue is that once you start trying to make a gravel bike better offroad, you end up sacrificing weight. A top of the line spec carbon everything gravel bike with fatter tires and suspension is going to be ~20 lbs, same as a pretty well specced XC bike, except XC bike is going to have more travel, better geo for rough stuff, and better options for drivetrains due to rear hub spacing.

On the flip side, rigid carbon fork and skinnier tires on the gravel bike save on the average 3-4 lbs, which makes a difference when you point it at an extended uphill.
  • 1 0
 @8a71b4: Agreed, which is why I *wasn't* that into the suspension fork. I have a mountain bike for when I want to scare myself. But I'm not going any slower up the long, smooth gravel road climbs with the suspension fork on, and I am definitely going faster up the nasty stuff because of it. I do care about weight a lot on the gravel bike (I use 1,200 carbon wheels etc etc) and hate that it added 2lb or something but I can't take it off now haha
  • 1 0
 I also liked the podcasts from 2022
  • 1 1
 UFO's are cool. Aliens?... not so much..haha!
Hey Mike! Why does the Pope wear a funny hat?
  • 1 0
 UFOs, Aliens, and bigfoot chasing are so hot this year.
  • 1 0
 Safe to say fat bike field test wouldn’t happen in Nebraska
  • 1 0
 I loved that you sold me your vtec Mini - highlight of my year lol
  • 2 0
 I like that it's still close! I could probably hear you driving in Whistler from Squamish haha
  • 1 0
 How yall got a whole section on podcasts and not bring up Gnarcouch...
  • 1 0
 wait...the Contra is 89 lbs?! an absolute unit of a bike
  • 2 1
 I clearly can't count.
  • 14 0
 There's three kinds of people in the world, those who can count, and those who can't
  • 1 1
 Levy makes the list too! I agree with this list so far.
  • 8 8
 lol way to normalize 10k bikes guys
  • 1 10
flag warmerdamj (Dec 14, 2022 at 20:48) (Below Threshold)
 go be poor somewhere else.
  • 4 1
 @warmerdamj: if one is poor, aren’t they poor everywhere? All honesty bikes are crazy expensive. If you have $10k to spend on a bike you’re incredibly lucky. No two ways about it.
  • 1 0
 @ldhbaker: lots of people have way more than $10k worth of bikes in their garage, but most are not worth that anymore?
But bikes can no longer get drastically much better, just more expensive, for very little better?
  • 2 0
 I like the comment "10k is alot for a bike, would I buy it, PROBABLY not". Your lack of said $10k bike shows that you would DEFINITELY not.
  • 1 0
 Great Job ...LEVY Smile
  • 1 3
 The gravel suspension shout out. Ugh. Welcome to 1994, but like more expensive. The worst





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