Field Test: Behind the Scenes - Not Enough Travel and Too Much Lycra

Aug 26, 2020 at 13:29
by Mike Levy  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Behind the Scenes




A behind-the-scenes video usually means one thing: We've finally reached the end of the Field Test series. And while cross-country riding might not always look fun (for some admittedly obvious reasons), we certainly had fun making the last sixteen videos. Yes, even while climbing. But no, definitely not during the Efficiency Test. Our crew behind the cameras - Max, Cole, Jason, Margus, and even my unpaid intern, Mike Kazimer - all hustled harder than ever to make it happen, and don't forget they had to do it while watching me wear Lycra every day, all day. Don't worry, Pinkbike is looking after their counseling. If you're itching for more behind-the-scenes details, episode 9 of the Pinkbike podcast sees us chat about why we wanted to focus on cross-country bikes, while episode 17 gets into all the gritty details.

It was also great to see the community embrace so much cross-country content, especially considering that hasn't been our focus in the past. Don't worry, there won't be any less trail, enduro, or downhill coverage, but you can count on seeing a much more bike-diverse homepage in the near future.

And if you've been patiently waiting for something a bit squishier, we're already deep into planning our next Field Test series that will pit the latest trail and enduro bikes against each other. Keep an eye open for that this fall.

Alright, who wants to go ride some cross-country?




The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with clothing, protection, and support from Giro. Control tires provided by Schwalbe, and power meters provided by SRM. Filming took place at The Backyard pub in Squamish.




Video: Jason Lucas, Cole Nelson, Max Barron


94 Comments

  • 236 3
 To the PB staff, Levy and Sarah, and Jason's lycra jersey, a sincere thank you for all the work put in for these. They truly are awesome.

(Also, as one of those lycra clad dumbasses, I extra appreciate it)
  • 35 1
 Agreed, Levy and Sarah killed it. The production level was a step above the rest on these, tons of work behind the scenes! Thanks!
  • 5 0
 This! Except I'm not owning up to lycra.
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike made such a high quality production it is truly exceptional. I wear lycra on XC rides and baggies over it if I am hitting any bigger features.
  • 13 0
 I wear baggies on xc rides and lycra everywhere else to show off my bigger features.
  • 6 0
 i wonder if this is the IFHT influence?
  • 68 0
 anybody: how much content do you need for a field test?
levy: yes
  • 143 0
 yes
  • 48 0
 I think that the efficiency test would be rad for trail and/or enduro categories as well, especially considering that some (a lot?) of folks with enduro bikes end up doing winch and plummet style rides anyways. I bet we see more variability In the results. Perhaps a “top gear” style leaderboard with the control being the track and category appropriate tires?
  • 62 0
 Yup, we'll likely be including an improved version of the Efficiency Test in future Field Test series Smile
  • 29 1
 Top Gear (BBC) style leader board would be cool.
  • 24 0
 @mikelevy: One thing I'm always missing in these is the "control bike"...like last years winner or top bike. It's always an ambiguous gap between the new stuff and the old stuff. It's cool to see more of that at PB these days, but I also we could have a bit more of it in these field tests. Btw you guys are great for a laugh on camera, not to be overlooked. More of that for sure. That Lucas guy is pretty funny too. Cheers!
  • 3 0
 @Svinyard: this is a good point, though I thought it was a great idea during the efficiency test to throw in a hardtail as a bit of a control. All of the FS bikes are ran wide open, so comparing a hardtail to non locked out fs bike seems like a good control option. Though getting in a few bikes from previous years to get an idea of what the updated geometry numbers amount to in the real world is a good idea!
  • 2 0
 @Nwsurfkid: All they'd need is a tame enduro bike racer to do the laps.
  • 10 0
 @Svinyard: that's why we had the Canyon Lux in there!
  • 6 0
 @bikeybikeybikebike: Grim'nuts = The Stig's Canadian Cousin
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: If only we could get this much content on the Grim Donut. Surely we must be close to a first ride article at least?
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like the efficiency test is more driven by bike weight rather than suspension efficiency. If you're pedaling uphill, it seems the biggest loss of power is going to be influenced by adding 5 lbs. rather than some suspension bob. I'd be interested to hear your impression of that "hot-take" as you were riding the bikes. If suspension efficiency is truly the goal of the test and bike weight is to be removed, it seems a flatter route would be a better testing ground as the weight difference will have less effects, the steeper the incline the greater the weight difference will impact the result.
  • 2 0
 @EricLanglais: OR just add weights so all weigh same as heaviest on test
  • 6 0
 @arclarke: this is what we’re doing next time yep.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: hmmm. Weight is a factor in pedaling a bike uphill, but it definitely would be cool to somewhat isolate the suspension in the test.

At the risk of asking Mike or Sarah to sustain yet another 3 min of 300 W, “why not both? ¯\_(ツ)_/ ¯”
  • 2 1
 @brianpark: Maybe you gals/guys do one "control" test bike. Add weight, modify suspension, tires, wheels, etc to the extremes to see to what effect those changes make to efficiency. Based on that, you could extrapolate to other bikes vs. having to add weight to every bike.

It would be cool to see a stock bike with "enduro" control tires. Then run it with "XC tires". Then add 5 lbs. Then do a coil vs. air shock.. etc
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: why not test frames? Use control tires and control builds. Leave the weights alone as the only variable is now the frame weight. The only variable is the frame and then you give your impressions.

Next people are free to choose the S-Works build or the comp build knowing that the frame should feel a certain way compared to other frames and the parts are so variable that it isn’t worth talking about?

I personally am buying parts whenever I can get them on sale and then putting them on the frame I think I want. I know how my OneUp parts feel and when these bikes are tested where you get distracted with parts that I’m never going to ride it looses value for me.
  • 3 0
 @melonhead1145: Yup, really close-ish. There will definitely be a handful of videos/articles. Miiiiiiiilk it Smile
  • 1 0
 @Jcmonty: I’d be really interested to see the differences between these Xc bikes and say an efficient long travel/ enduro bike with the same control tires. Hopefully, they use at least one of the mid-pack Xc bikes as a control if they test longer bikes. Just be cool to see.
  • 2 0
 Did no one else notice this comment?
Grim content soon
  • 1 0
 @EricLanglais: Very good point. Or perhaps adding weight to all the lighter bikes until they weigh as much as the heavier bike.

It would actually be easy to normalize the results since the bike weights should be known.
  • 25 1
 Even though I don't much care for XC bikes, this field test was thoroughly enjoyable and I was looking forward to every video. Even made me consider a burly downcountry steed. Who's tried a 130 fork on that spur??
  • 5 1
 Transition says not to do it. Upforking the Ranger is probably a better plan.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: yeah and if that’s the intent should probably just get a Tallboy or Norco Optic
  • 14 0
 This was super enjoyable. Thanks for the field test format. Don't forget though- you still owe us the grim donut video.
  • 3 1
 Mounts tire, inflates tire, puts wheel on bike*, removes valve core, adds sealant and re-inflates tire. No reason to make a mess of it lol

* doesn’t matter if bike is in a stand or upside down on the ground
  • 1 0
 It was mesmerising watching the front wheel of the Grim Donut touch down a full two minutes after the rear wheel made contact in the Huck to flat footage. An amazing machine to be sure!
  • 14 0
 The save at 3:33 is just more reason to have a Saturday Saves to counter the Friday Fails.
  • 1 0
 Would love this, but you'd probably only have enough content for one video every six months. Just think of your own save to crash ratio.
  • 10 0
 An interesting follow up would be a comparison between the S-Works Epic and one of its more reasonably priced siblings. We all know that a 9kg $12k bike is going to be amazing, but how much do we lose if we buy the much cheaper, heavier model.
  • 11 0
 "Not Enough Travel" could be this year's slogan. But hey, on the other hand, you can wear as much spandex as you want - at home and with closed curtains.
  • 6 0
 Thats the way I'm dressing all days for my home office work this days....and a tie for the camera.
  • 6 0
 @OhrhO: I only wear spandex on the road bike anymore, but I do kinda miss it for long backcountry days. It stays out of the way of everything on your bike (maybe I just need a longer than 165mm dropper?), keeps you cooler, and has useful jersey pockets. It definitely doesn't survive a crash as well as baggies, but for the days when you're not going at full bore, I think I'd still like spandex.
  • 2 0
 @airdonut41: I have to admit I also like the lcool and light feeling of spandex, and especially nothing getting into the way of movements. I still wear them on long self-contained bike-tours on roads and gravel, and sometimes even on trails. But his year, exactly one of the two times I wore spandex my rather tame hometrail had me crashing Smile
  • 9 0
 So downcountry bike so I have an excuse not to hit things on the way down and single speed so I have an excuse not to pedal up. Pretty soon I can justify a trip to New Zealand to focus only on lift access luge.
  • 7 0
 who doesn't always get tubeless sealant in their mouth? i've usually bathed in it by the time I'm done mounting a tire with a floor pump
  • 2 0
 I just put the tire on, and add 2oz sealant poured straight in, finsh mount, pump up. If the floor pump cant do it, the compressor blows it on till pop pop pop. No fancy valve srynge rig. No mess. Done with 20 year old duct taped alloys, and non tubeless tires through carbon fancy pants brand new and spill nothing. The only time I eat sealant is when the tire fails dramatically on a ride (twice, in many years due to stupid voilent hits) what am I doing wrong? I do bath in brake fluid though every bleed. Maybe my karma...
  • 12 0
 Pro tip - mount the tire without sealant first.
  • 1 0
 @nematon785: my syringe gets clogged. Also my valve stem hole seems to be small where it enters the rim so I have to add sealant slowly or it goes on the floor instead of through the stem
  • 1 0
 Maybe my Stan's Flow rims and my Maxxis tires were made for each other, but I never get sealant anywhere. And I'm not the handiest guy working on my bike either. Why does this happen to so many? (I hope I didn't just jinx myself here. . . )
  • 8 0
 I have no intention of buying one of these bikes, but I very much enjoyed the series. I'm a bit sad it's come to an end.
  • 13 0
 Weird isn't it. I was even rooting for certain bikes - despite not wanting any of them!
  • 6 0
 I heard the EU is adopting the "BORAT SUIT" and compression sock standard for all Huck to Flat tests. Suggest buying some Manscaper 2's for the crew.
  • 5 0
 Great work everyone. I waited for a new video everyday like I did weekly for a new Magnum PI episode (Yeah, I'm old).
Thoroughly enjoyed all the content.
  • 1 0
 Just had the song run through my head. DUH DUH DUH, duh duduh, duh-duh-duh-duh, duh duh duduh, duh DUH DUH. . .
  • 5 0
 I'll never forget when @mikelevy rocked Lycra so snug, that his package needed to be blurred in a video. Bravo good sir. Bravo. Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Probably borrowed something from the Boogie Nights prop department?
  • 3 0
 Virtual ovation while thumbs up and yelling "kudos" to the entire crew for this series! Previously I've more or less come here for the Friday Fails and random browsing, but after this Field Test started I'm checking in several times daily, explored much more across the site, and will continue to do so.

As a cycling enthusiast across more or less all disciplines, this is just thee stuff I needed.

You are definitely breathing down the neck of one major provider of sugar & taurin beverages when it comes to creating excellent MTB content. The mental void after all the races have been cancelled has been plugged firmly by PB.
  • 3 0
 Thoroughly entertaining series. The camera work and editing has really become top notch. Kudos for a job well done and I look forward to the next field test of bikes with a little more descending fun in mind!
  • 4 0
 Pileing on the praise for a great series guys!. Looking forward to the trail bikes and please give the "cheap" versions some testing love. #not.a.dentist
  • 3 0
 Thanks! Lots of value-minded content in the future Smile
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: For the bikes, not the clothing. Please don't go thinner on the clothing!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: vote for more bike reviews in the middle. I’ll catch crap for this, but I’d say $5k to $7k. I think that’s the sweat spot for an awful lot of avid riders. Not “budget” and not ridiculous top-of-the-line super bikes.
  • 4 0
 that honestly just looks fun as hell making content like that. I can't wait to ride my bike
  • 4 0
 Pinkbike seriously upped their game with this content. Thank you for showing us how to do it right.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for this series! I live just north of Atlanta and most of our trails are XC, with the occasional gnarly or steep spot. Bikes such as these are perfect for the riding here (and surrounding areas), so it was great to see them doing their thing in the real world! Cheers!
  • 4 0
 3:25 OMG pray for the Donut!!
  • 3 0
 Really really awesome content. Kept me going for a whole month! Thanks again folks.
  • 2 0
 Honestly this has been awesome, I loved having some XC/DC content comparing modern bikes. I'm all about my enduro bikes too, but damn modern XC bikes can be a good time.
  • 3 0
 Mike, I feel ya on the nipple problem.

Well, I don't "feel" ya, but you know what I mean.
  • 2 0
 Hats off! This was top notch content that was super exciting to watch/follow. Hope you guys are getting the views and support to keep it going!
  • 4 0
 Definitely too much lycra
  • 2 0
 Another great video series in the books and with the added bonus of the Grim Donut! Thanks Pinkbike
  • 3 1
 ok, the Zeb and 38 would be more appropriate than the Lyrik for the GD, I'll concede.
  • 2 0
 Sad this has come to an end! Great work PB. Levy has a future in natural history tv series I think.
  • 2 0
 Man, I hope yall make enough profit on this to keep making more content like this. It was a stellar watch!
  • 1 0
 Was there a little film noir colour grading to the videos? Or was it just really dark? As someone who has sat at Premiere staring at GBs of clips, I salute you.
  • 2 0
 Always fun to see some behind the scenes! Thanks for some good laughs.
  • 2 0
 Love this round of field tests. I look forward to seeing more. Thanks PB
  • 2 0
 This was great. Fantastic work on the series guys.
  • 2 0
 Great job, very entertaining, worthy of a mini series
  • 2 0
 Mike you should consider auctioning off that Lycra for charity.
  • 2 0
 I might have to pay someone to take it at this point.
  • 2 0
 I think the Grim Donut is going to develop some bushing play.
  • 2 0
 Possibly some headtube play as well
  • 1 0
 Not enough travel.

Didn’t your Hardtail podcast just say that everyone probably has too much travel???
  • 1 0
 i dont know if i would prefer to be a profesional mtb racer or have Mike's job....
  • 1 0
 That soundtrack brings some marginal gains to this awesome test session
  • 1 0
 Although there actually is less dh (bike) content than there used to be.
  • 1 0
 Awesome work. Thank you guys and gals!!!!
  • 1 0
 Please, please tell us there are XC/DC T-shirts in the works.
  • 1 0
 "They're always hard" +10
  • 1 0
 wayyy too much levy lately. hard to watch
  • 1 0
 Agreed @brianpark
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