December: Good Month or Bad Month?

Dec 20, 2015 at 19:09
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike



15 Minutes MTB Movies

Adventure in Georgia


It's amazing to watch guys like Rémy Métailler send creative jumps that most mountain bikers wouldn't even spot, but an old-fashioned, gnarly adventure caught on film is just as awesome in a very different way. Joey Schusler and three comrades did exactly that when they took off on a self-supported adventure through the Caucasus Mountains in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, with the goal to reach Mount Kazbek. Adventure filmmaker Joey Schusler, his friend and riding buddy Sam Seward, photographer Ross Measures, and Bike Magazine editor, Brice Minnigh, found incredible singletrack in a region of the world that's seen more than its fair share of drama, but they also returned home with stories of unforgettable warmth from the locals.
Views: 16,915    Faves: 339    Comments: 29


Schusler's film, 'The Trail to Kazbegi' is a 15-minute reminder that we should do our best to get out there and see the world and that videos don't have to be filled with massive gaps to make them interesting.






Budget 1X Drivetrains

Spend Less, Get More


We know that SRAM's XX1 group works well, but we also know that it's pretty expensive. As in around $1,500 USD expensive. That's why the release of their $564 USD (including cranks!) GX single-ring drivetrain makes so much sense, and we finally had enough time on the budget-minded group to post up a long-term review. The verdict? It basically works the same as XX1, but it costs almost $1,000 less. Sure, you can always convert your current 10-speed drivetrain to a one-by setup, but it's not going to quite offer the same range of what GX has on tap. The surplus weight is really the only penalty when compared to XX1, but that's a gram VS dollar comparo that will mean different things to each of us. As the final line of our review said, "this is the trickle-down group that riders have been waiting for, and there's no doubt that we'll be seeing it spec'd on plenty of complete bikes in 2016."
SRAM GX Review





Graves and Specialized

Enduro Shake-Up


It's going to be weird seeing Graves not on a Yeti or wearing turquoise. Specialized's mid-December announcement that they've signed the Australian enduro wizard and all around beast (he has major wins in 4X, dual slalom, and downhill, and he was even chosen to represent Australia in BMX at the 2008 Olympics) is major move that's just as big as them not re-signing the reigning World Cup DH overall champion, and it also shows that enduro racing is quickly becoming more of a focus for many companies. ''The whole team is set up really well with the best support, the best mechanics, and the best teammates,'' Graves said of the change.

''Racing with my old buddy, Curtis Keene, is going to be unreal. We have been buds forever, and now to be teammates, I am confident we can help each other, and both become better riders through the process.'' The off-season has been full of big riders going to different teams, which is going to make the racing in 2016 very interesting.




Riding in the Winter

Put Away Your Skis?


While some locations in the northern hemisphere are getting their usual amounts of rain and snow, much of the east coast of North America and parts of Europe are going through the warmest, driest winter that many people can remember. At the time of typing this, a gondola in Les Gets, France, recently re-opened for bikes, while the Windham Mountain Bike Park in New York has both bikers and skiers on different parts of their slopes. Riders are also able to pedal high up into the alpine, into locations where there would usually be enough fresh snow to warrant concerns of avalanches.

Sure, there might be good reason to put this down in the 'Bad Month' section if this was a website that covered climate change, and this dry winter could very well have a negative impact when the spring and summer seasons return, but it sure is nice to be riding bikes in the mountains during the winter.
n a








Pinkbike


Gwin and Specialized

An Amicable Divorce


Despite Aaron Gwin winning four World Cups in 2015, one of them without a chain on his bike, and taking the World Cup overall title, the American racer and Specialized will not be continuing together in 2016 and beyond. That bit of news wasn't exactly a shock when it was announced - rumors of the split had been swirling around for awhile - but it's rare for a winning combination to part ways immediately after what was an extremely exciting and eventful season of racing. Both sides are saying the break-up is happening on good terms, and that it's a pure business decision of Specialized wanting to use that money (Gwin's price went up for 2016) in a different way. They've since signed Jared Graves, and the gossip is saying they're about to announce a new downhiller as well.
Aaron Gwin after crossing the line knowing that without a doubt the World Cup overall was his for the third time.

Gwin has since told us that another, yet to be named company has agreed to pay him what his former employer wouldn't, and for their part, Specialized seems stoked to have Graves on the roster. So why are both in the 'Bad Month' section? After a tough few years, Gwin and Specialized had obviously found a winning formula in 2015 and would have likely continued to be extremely successful had they not parted ways.




Wheelsize Haters

More Traction, More Speed, More Fun


I wanted to dislike 27.5+ so bad, but then I spent a ton of time on a plus bike and came to see how legitimate these funny looking bikes actually are. To be fair, 27.5+ was an already existing, although somewhat niche, tire size rather than a new wheel size altogether, but that's not how many riders seem to be viewing things. Anyways, 27.5+ bikes have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it's their strengths that make them much more of a genuine option compared to regular 27'' wheels that have taken over from the now old school 26" wheels. Plus bikes are obviously not going to be for everyone, but it is amazing how much they ride like a regular bike, only with a lot more traction and forgiveness on tap.
Specialized 6fattie review test






Yeti Cycles

Graves Not in Turquoise


From John Tomac, Missy Giove, Aaron Gwin and many others, Yeti has a long, rich heritage of sponsoring some ridiculously fast racers. Many of those began their career at the Colorado company, only to move on shortly after they've had some success - Yeti is a relatively small brand, after all. And then there's Jared Graves. He had been with Yeti for over a decade, winning championship titles in both enduro and 4X, competed in the Olympics in BMX, and has even won a bronze medal at the downhill World Championships aboard a 6" travel bike. Hell, the Aussie also won a national cross-country event in his home country. The modern day John Tomac, which is surely the best way to describe Graves, has moved on to Specialized, leaving current EWS champ Richie Rude to defend his title in turquoise.
Jared Graves - Over a Decade with Yeti Cycles PR images.





96 Comments

  • + 161
 I got to ride on the 24th and 25th with plus temps, no frozen ground and perfectly tacky trails with no mud. I was over an hour late for Christmas dinner because I didn't want to stop riding......good month.
  • + 25
 first things first
  • - 9
flag skiwenric (Jan 1, 2016 at 9:27) (Below Threshold)
 no such thing a s bad conditions, only bad equipment
  • + 3
 So you're saying riding in a flood would't be considered bad conditions?^
  • - 2
 Ummmm doesn't your bike float?
  • + 3
 google floating bicycle
  • + 105
 MTB'ers don't have bad months,some months are just better than others
  • + 17
 If you don't get access to your bike for 30 consecutive days, whether through injury or circumstance, then it was a bad month. Speaking of which, happy new year, I'm off for a ride, start as we mean to continue!
  • + 3
 Yeh bad month so far off the bike due to surgery, have 2 more weeks to go. Then back at it. Worst part is i only get to look at my bike with a new fork on it and can't ride it yet.
  • + 4
 Getting injured is a bad month. Wrecking my shoulder on the 29th made it a bitter sweet New years.
  • + 1
 I separated my AC joint on day one of xmas vacation. I was worried for a minute, but only had to stop riding for like 4 days. Lol. Thank you advil(tm).
  • + 1
 really hoping mine is something like that and not worse. :frown:
  • + 35
 26 aint dead ! Smile
  • + 7
 26wurx .com
  • + 15
 It's not, but it's in hospice.
  • + 3
 can i tale a 27.5 bike and run 26+ wheels on it?? clearance not being an issue
  • + 2
 @wassabiJim Sure! But I'm guessing you won't like the pedal strikes or the handling.
  • + 19
 Vacaciones at beach with wife and doughter, new bike and starting training for my first xc season, no health issues and alive, whar el se can I ask for???

Happy new year everyone Smile
  • - 2
 What else could you ask for? A spell checker...
  • + 2
 hehehe, ok english is not my native language Razz ,now your time to write in spanish without google
  • + 1
 No hay problema vos!
  • + 12
 Seems like, and this is the beer talking, there was much unexplored territory between Gwin and Spec and that something could have been worked out. There is something to be said of loyalty. Ned Overend has been a spec ambassador for ever. There has to be some grand douchery going on from one of the sides.
  • + 45
 Gwin plays hardball when it comes to money, big companies don't like 'their' athletes to negotiate back. Frankly MTB racing needs more Aaron Gwins, it's perfectly normal in other sports for the top guys to constantly negotiate their situation, too many MTB racers are stoked just to get a bike and a dry place to sleep for the next twelve months.
  • + 14
 It's up to Gwin to Tues where he will go
  • + 3
 They show no loyalty to the claw.
  • + 4
 I agree with @Fix-the-Spade. I really wanted Gwin to stay with Spesh and win everything, but these top MTBers deserve better compensation. This sport is pretty dangerous - people get killed and permanently disabled with little to no support, except for publicly funded Go Fund Me pages. Ballsy moves Gwin, on and off the bike.
  • + 9
 @Fix-the-Spade Saying Gwin "plays hardball", then being down on Specialized for their negotiation makes no sense to me. They're a business, every decision they make is about spending money vs their estimate of benefit gained. If they can't see the benefit in paying Gwin what he wanted then the only decision is to part ways. It sounds like you're advocating for riders to be ruthless capitalists while companies should just pay more for the "good of the sport". Playing hardball is for both sides to make savvy business decisions.

The decision of Specialized to not re-sign Gwin at a high cost and go for Jared seems to me a logical step. Enduro bikes sold vs downhill bikes sold is probably weighted significantly towards enduro, so that's where the money is for a big company. While the sight of Gwin flying down a mountain at mach 10 on a Demo is ridiculously awesome, I don't think there's a massive cross section of the general public that can associate that as a sport they can access (at this stage...), and therefore gravitate towards a Specialized bike. To me, enduro seems different. They're riding bikes that don't look too far from a "normal" bike, they're not dressed in head-to-toe armour (or not obviously), and they do in a race what most (Joe and Joan Public type) people enjoy from a ride. Getting someone who can smash it out in enduro seems to be a good business decision (for Specialized).

None of which is to say Gwin isn't worth what he asked, clearly he is to someone! His name alone and the mtb press following he has will create an instant big splash for the company, let alone his straight up monster skills. Given his past actions, he doesn't seem like a long term commitment kinda guy (except to Jesus), so I doubt there was a driver to look at a partnership arrangement like @polarflux opined.

Personally, I can see benefit in riders looking long term, post-highest level competition, partnership arrangements - like Ned. Being a brand ambassador will likely pay off over the long term. But it takes a special rider with the right attitude, and a big company that can commit to ongoing sponsorship.
  • + 1
 You have to decide what you want. I hear whining about riders not being paid enough, then whining when riders leave one sponsor for another. If you want high-paid riders, get ready for the NFL-mindset. If you want loyalty, don't expect good money. You can't have both. The sport is headed upwards and this "business mindset" is part of the deal. Gwinn has set a new precedent that will be great for riders and the sport as a whole.

That said, i'm a Specialized fan and sad to see him go. I have no doubt that both Specialized and Aaron will do just fine in 2016 regardless.
  • + 1
 I'm not looking forward to the NFL-mindset among cycling athletes any time soon. Its an abhorrant situation mostly brought on by the insane advertising rights money being thrown around in football; I suppose some of this is happening in cycling, but not to the same scale. Anyhow, athletes still need to do whats best given the risk they're subjecting themselves to. Something I object to, and particularly with the top brands, are $10,000 plus bikes. High prices directly relate to how much overhead budget (advertising, sponsorship) costs a company has. At the same time, were talking about incredibly simple machines for the most part that are being mass produced. I know there are R&D costs, but $6000 seems to me the absolute ceiling anybody should have to spend at a full suspension bike of any kind and a hell of a lot less than that for a road bike.
  • + 8
 That's why the release of their $564 USD (including cranks!) make so much sense!

Uhh, yeah. I'll be over here with my 35 dollar shadow derailleurs and X5s that shift just fine.

If it shifts, it ain't broke. I would never spend 500 dollars on drivetrain. But I'm not a XC wheen.
  • + 3
 Mixing Shimano shadow derailleurs with sram x5 shifters sounds like the worst functioning poorly conceived notion possible. They have radically different pull ratios and both of them have such poor tolerances.
  • + 5
 9 speed sram shifter, 10 speed shimano derailleur, 9 speed cassette. works
  • + 2
 Not arguing the fact that it works, nowadays shop groms can make just about anything work. I just think I would spend the 500 dollars to have it work well.
  • - 9
flag mango123d (Jan 2, 2016 at 1:19) (Below Threshold)
 rofl.

Did I say that they were on the same bike?
YOU ARE A DRIVETRAIN PRO!!! YOU GO DUDE!!!
  • + 8
 Wheelsize haters? Off course you needed more than half of an inch of wheel radius increase to make recalibration of half of the industry more meaningful. The only question is what if 26+?
  • + 4
 I'm not sure if I'm more mad at the industry for pulling the "lets make 5 new wheel standards because" or news sources like PB for eating it up without much questioning. They can welcome and enjoy the changes all they want but when they avoid being critical and blatantly shame and discredit those who dare question industry decisions that's where they lose credibility all across the board in my eyes.
  • + 2
 26+ like the Surly Instigator?
  • + 9
 A plus for me is I put the bike away to shred pow in the Sierras. Definitely would put the no snow as a negative for my east coast friends.
  • - 8
flag jrocksdh (Jan 1, 2016 at 15:21) (Below Threshold)
 *the Sierra, there's only one Sierra range lol
  • + 5
 Wow you must be so smart^
  • - 5
flag jrocksdh (Jan 1, 2016 at 20:37) (Below Threshold)
 Just a lil pet peeve of mine, can u tell? I enjoy being corrected when wrong, dah.
  • + 10
 Happy New Year to everyone on Pinkbike!!!
  • + 6
 Amazing month for me, riding and discovering Austrian goat tracks where I live. No hikers no angry people was a brilliant month of riding. Now it's time to strip and rebuild the bike with a beer in hand. Cheers and happy new year!
  • + 7
 Haters, very easy to put this sticker on anyone who got diferent opinion. PB is part of Bike industry You opinion is not independent.
  • + 8
 It's not winter everywhere...
  • + 27
 It is in the UK, you can tell as the rain is cooler
  • - 7
flag theminsta (Jan 1, 2016 at 21:41) (Below Threshold)
 We are coming out of an Ice Age period.. This "global warming" to "climate change" bullshit has got to stop. Climate change is basically anything and everything that happens in the news these days........

kaiserscience.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/ice-ages-during-past-2-4-billion-years.gif
  • + 9
 Good month, theminsta cacelled global warming for us.
  • - 6
flag theminsta (Jan 1, 2016 at 22:06) (Below Threshold)
 Hey, is this a bloody religion to you? Have you even looked at the link?

It's NOT science if you stop looking at data and believe what the TV tells you.
  • - 8
flag DreaddyBetty (Jan 2, 2016 at 10:03) (Below Threshold)
 @ theminsta- Well said my friend. It's so true. This Climate Change bullshit has to stop. Global "Leaders" flying around on big ass polluting planes telling all of us to stop driving and using AC's. It's complete BS!! It's a major scam. All the data has been rigged to make it look warmer. Come to CO where we're having the best snow in 10 years. In fact, I'm heading out to ride now.
#Climatechangeisamoneymakingscam
#CO2helpstrees
  • + 8
 Worst month, we lost Lemmy.
  • + 3
 The Ace of Spades. RIP
  • + 3
 we didn`t loose him - he just had no way to become more of a legend being alive - so he went.
  • + 8
 My son was born on the 10th, first baby, I would say good month!
  • + 2
 Every spin for me in December either broke something (gopro, garmin, reverb lever, maxle, disc) or started a new creak in some way or another so it wasn't a good one for me. My bike is put away now til I can afford to fix it back up and take it back out.
  • + 6
 Happy new year
  • + 1
 Rather a bad month for Specialized than for Gwin, this guy knows he can win on any bike. I'm not sure if it was wise to let him go to save money - but on the other hand, things will get really interesting next season now. By the way, a new worldcup team has been announced by an even bigger company than Specialized...
  • + 2
 I have no doubt Gwinn can win on another bike. I don't know about ANY bike, but certainly there are other bikes that can offer him everything the Demo did.

Conversely, the Demo is among the absolute greatest DH bikes of all time, and there are plenty of other fantastic riders out there (like the ones that beat Gwinn on multiple occasions in 2015), so I have absolutely no doubt that Specialized will continue winning also.
  • + 2
 Riding wise it was a terrible month for the southern US, as we had record flooding and one of my favorite local trail systems literally got destroyed by the river flooding.
  • + 2
 December bad for me. Crushed disks at L4-5 and L5-S1. Debris pressing on the sciatic nerve. Never felt pain like this. See surgeon on the 5th.
  • + 1
 I'm in a similar situation, it sucks big time. The surgery route is a mental game as much as a physical one.
  • + 2
 Went epidural route two days ago. Some relief but still can't stand right or bend properly.
  • + 1
 It's a BAD month. Exploded my foot overshooting a jump. Surgery and 2 months in the penalty box. Sometimes it takes some BS like this to appreciate the little things in life- like walking. Happy new year y'all!!
  • + 2
 December in the East coast mountains= so much rain the trails are slop, and too warm for snow so no skiing yet... December was not so friendly this year.
  • + 3
 This year ill be riding 27.5 wheels for the first time, só im really excited to see how they perform Smile
  • + 1
 When I was on 26", one day I tested a 29" and don't liked it a bit. After that I don't wanted even to try 27'5" until one day I did and I falled in love with it... for me, the perfect size for all-mountain
  • + 2
 Since the last mass produced 26" bike was made we got: improved geometries (regardless of wheelsize - slacker, longer, lower), better forks, better shocks, better rims, better tyres, better drivetrains - I could not give a tiniest damn about half of an inch wheel radius increase... I take it since I am not trying to stop the rain from falling but nobody will tell me it changes something
  • + 1
 Bad month for mountain bike. The heat is unbearable in Rio de Janeiro. Also too much rain and moist. Miss winter´s dry cool days.
  • + 2
 Socal offered up great surf, along with white and brown pow. Surf, snow, mtb all in same day here!
  • + 2
 Today first ride of 2016 for me !!! exams on monday.. chill #toocoolforschool
  • + 1
 Nobody is too cool for school. In Japan they make you 6" shorter than anyone in North America for saying that.
  • + 1
 it was a good month I did my first no hander. The only bad thing this month was when I missed the bar when i was doing a suicide no hander and i crashed really bad
  • - 1
 There likely more to the Qwin/Specialized departure than we are hearing. His demands for pay may have just been above and beyond his worth. We all know how he can ride but this isn't a name your price kind of world anymore. As far as plus sizing tires, yes I love them and embrace the change. Spend some time on them before being a hater. Also I think we all knew cheaper 1X would find its way into the mainstream.
  • + 4
 herpy derp yer
  • + 35
 Don't pinkbike while drunk
  • + 1
 Not sure i know the opposite of drunk.
  • + 2
 It's called absolutely blootered. (yes I like a drink)
  • + 1
 To me 650b feels like it is a short term standard that will fade into obscurity in a couple of years and we will all be riding 29ers or plus somethings
  • - 1
 no one is doubting plus bikes having less traction, but quite honestly, if you really need that extra help with that little extra bit of traction... you just suck at riding bikes lol
  • + 0
 @andnyleswillriot When "fat-tire mountain bikes" were first introduced, most had skimpy 1.95-2.0" tires. We've become accustomed to seeing 2.3-2.5" tires so anything skinnier now looks ridiculous. Is it conceivable that we will be saying the same about our 2.3s in a year or two?

BTW, the same was said about front suspension, then about rear suspension, then about disc brakes.
  • + 2
 deffinitly a good one. no snow!!!! no cold!!
  • + 2
 Days finally started getting longer here! Good month!
  • + 1
 is summer in the southern half, so its a good month !!!
  • + 0
 That's alright, Id ride for yeti any day! lol
  • - 3
 It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times. I failed three of my 4 classes in college, but started a great bike build, and set some great plans for 2016.
  • + 7
 That will work on the old resume...
  • + 1
 OMG don't fail school!
  • - 1
 It's a bad month for... Indox(0)
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