The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 50 - Are Bikes Actually Getting Less Expensive? (Value Bike Field Test Preview)

Feb 24, 2021 at 18:36
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich.


There are many sports that don't require much in the way of expensive gear, but mountain biking ain't one of them. If you've spent more than a few minutes on the Pinkbike homepage, you might assume that we only review $7,000 bikes with all the carbon fiber and XTR. And to be fair, you wouldn't be too far off the mark. While those machines usually offer impressive performance, and they sure can be interesting to read about, it's not like they throw us many surprises. I mean, who knew that that dream machine would be amazing? We all did...

But it's a lot more interesting when the price is capped at $3,000 USD or less, which exactly what this year's trail bike Value Field Test is all about, as well as this episode of the Pinkbike podcast. Number 50(!) was recorded from the Sunshine Coast, BC, where we're testing ten price-conscious mountain bikes. Not only that, five of them are hardtails that all cost way under $2,000 USD, while the five full-suspension bikes start at $2,099 and top out at $2,999 USD. And while there's no carbon anything, you will find (mostly) decent geometry and some smart spec choices.

Full-Suspension Value Field Test Bikes
Devinci Marshall: 130mm / 140mm / $2,099
Polygon Siskiu T8: 135mm / 140mm / $2,369
Giant Trance X 29 3: 135mm / 150mm / $2,500
Marin Rift Zone 29 3: 125mm / 130mm / $2,679
Ibis Ripley AF: 120mm / 130mm / $2,999
Hardtail Value Field Test Bikes
Canyon Stoic 3: 140mm / $1,099
Norco Fluid HT 1: 120mm / $1,499
BMC TwoStroke AL 1: 100mm / $1,599
Rocky Mountain Growler 40: 140mm / $1,669
Vitus Sentier 29 VR: 130mm / $1,450




THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 50 - ARE BIKES ACTUALLY GETTING LESS EXPENSIVE? (VALUE BIKE FIELD TEST PREVIEW)
February 25th, 2021

What's the most amount of money you can justify spending on a mountain bike?


Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.




Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction
Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer about Field Test Enduro Bikes
Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro
Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks
Episode 39 - Predicting the Future of Mountain Biking
Episode 40 - The Pinkbike Awards!
Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes
Episode 42 - Mountain Biking's Guilty Pleasures
Episode 43 - Dangerholm's Wildest Custom Mountain Bikes
Episode 44 - Mountain Bike Suspension Decoded
Episode 45 - What Makes a Good Riding Buddy
Episode 46 - Episode 46 - The RockShox Zeb vs Fox 38 Deep Dive
Episode 47 - High Pivot Bikes: The Good, The Bad, and The Why?
Episode 48 - Rides That Went Horribly Wrong... & Why That Made Them So Good
Episode 49 - What's the Best DH Bike?


207 Comments

  • 94 0
 I belive less expensive bikes become more and more capable.. but, as a whole, in my opinion, bikes are becoming more expensive every year.
  • 25 1
 Absolutely. Look at any of the medium-sized manufacturers and compare 2018-9 prices to 2021 prices. It's crazy!
My bike: 2018 Rocky Altitude C50 (mid-range) = $5,370. 2021 version, same spec = $7,099. Whaaat.
  • 6 3
 But I think most bikes come with a spec that doesn't require upgrading so the consumer won't be any worse off overall. Wide bars, proper tyres, dropper posts, 1x drivetrain, 4 pot brakes etc are all becoming standard parts. It wasn't that long ago that my high end "enduro" bike came with Ardent tyres, 730mm bars and a 2x drivetrain. By the time I'd sorted those out I was another £300 or more worse off.
  • 14 0
 What I don't get is Recons and 35 and SX/NX showing up on almost all budget bikes, when they could get cheaper and lighter with an Suntour Aion RC and Microshift or Box drivetrains.
  • 7 4
 @MrCerulean: no brand is more overpriced than Rocky Mountain. They've really gone knutz in the last few years. Probably the reason I never see new ones on the trails around me.
  • 10 0
 @vapidoscar: The OEM pricing SRAM throws at the OEMs for complete packages of suspension/brakes/drivetrain, along with volume incentives, are apparently enough to make spec'ing their stuff on budget builds pretty much a no-brainer. The idea being apparently that they're buying market share, and it'll lead most people to just replace their old SRAM stuff with new (and perhaps higher-end) SRAM stuff when it dies. But frankly, SX/NX his hot flaming garbage - I went back to an old 11 speed SLX drivetrain, gladly foregoing a bit of range (46 vs 50 tooth) in exchange over the much better shifting and considerably lower hassle factor compared to the 12 sp SX/NX combo that came on my bike. First time buyers won't think that way - they don't know what a proper drivetrain feels like, and the first few rides on SX/NX are fine and the whole 12sp, larger range thing sounds great on paper.
  • 3 0
 @vapidoscar: Microshift can't even meet demand for their lines selling primarily to the aftermarket. Seems like they'd need a several fold increase in capacity to deal in the OEM space.
  • 3 1
 @MrCerulean: The exact same bike I ordered and is showing up next week. Altitude C50! I am still reeling from paying 7100 dollars plus tax for a bike!
  • 3 1
 @MrCerulean: nah same spec my ass. do you have a 51 tooth cassette? 2018 was the last model year before their major update in 2019. very different bikes. my 2019 Thunderbolt is completely different bike than the 2018 and the 2021 again blowes mine out of the water for the A50 model which increased 800 bones.
  • 3 1
 @jwdenver: all i see around here. probably your dealer sucks.
  • 4 1
 @vapidoscar: Lots of entry level riders only assess a bike’s quality bike by looking to see if Shimano is written on the derailleur and RockShox is written on the fork.
  • 3 3
 @MrCerulean: that's inflation, not bikes getting more expensive. lol Not to get into a much..MUCH bigger issue here, but a lot of products can mitigate inflation through a concept called shrinkflation. instead of raising the cost or diminishing the quality, they shrink the size. think, laundry soap and a bag of chips. same price, you just get 3/4oz less. this obviously only works for a little bit, but it's one way to hold off the apperance of inflation.

Bikes obviously can't do this. so for the same bike and same spec, the price just has to go up. You can thank this on all the debt borrowing of world governments(the US primarily, as their monetary policy drives the rest of the world). You cannot just print trillions and trillions of dollars, inject it into the market and expect nothing bad to happen. lmao

bad news? it's going to get so much worse in the coming 18-24 mo, you will wish for these holecene days of 8-10% inflation(yes, that's the true current number, no matter what the pretend governmnent CPI and inflation propoganda says).
  • 3 0
 @vapidoscar: pretty sure trek and some other brands are switching to microshift on their lower end entry level bikes
  • 3 0
 @jwdenver: very true. My 2019 Instinct BC A50 was a pretty decent value though, and mayve the only model not over priced. But, last summer, we all got free frames.
  • 37 3
 The podcasts are easily the best thing about Pinkbike these days. Bike check write-ups and PB pods make my days better.
  • 31 0
 The issue is not that prices have gone up due to inflation, it’s our average salaries that are falling behind.
  • 23 0
 Hey just a message for whoever does the sound for your podcast. Could you please dial the level down a bit for the intro and outro music? Or dial the content levels up? I listen primarily with headphones and the levels seem way out of whack to my ears. Anyone else notice this?
  • 3 0
 WHAT?
  • 3 0
 HUH?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: it is out of whack to me as well. Also, I don’t use clipless pedals so no issues there. And you should sponsor Loam Life MTB on YouTube
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: by the way, love the podcast!
  • 19 0
 We should give them (they being the editors) $3600 and let all of them out into the wild to pick a quiver killer bike. No used parts, and preferably has to be a full build. Then, they have to have a field test of those chosen bikes and see what they learn.
  • 7 0
 Like top gear/grand tour does! I like it!
Have to make the most of it and show and tell us why. Hahah would be interesting and rad for sure
  • 2 0
 I like this idea, that would be really interesting.
  • 4 1
 How about readers send in their wacky cobbled together bikes? I put mine together for $1,800 with NOS parts with patience and non stop shopping. I think it took a full 6 months to collect the parts. With the 160 to 180 PM adapter being the last part that I had to wait weeks for 2 months into the shutdown shortage. My wife wouldn't let me steal one from my son's bike and downgrade him to 160.
  • 3 0
 @vapidoscar: forget Photo of the Year... Let's play Budget Build of the Year. People could submit a pic with a short write up. Editors pick a bunch and users vote on them in the same style as PoY to determine who did the most with the least.

I did the same thing but over the course of two years. Had a rideable bike after one year and now it's pretty much dialed, all on a budget of $100 CAD per month. You've got me beat though, when I was around the $1800 USD mark I was still missing a dropper post.
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor: Just checked my spreadsheet. Total with shipping/tax was $1,767.71 but I also bought about $150 in tools to properly assemble.
  • 1 0
 A quiver killing bike is a unicorn. The only thing that will kill the quiver of bikes is ones mindset. One needs to change their frame of mind to accept one bike as being capable for most uses but will never excel in anyone application. If one can come around to this than the one bike quiver will be had.
  • 2 0
 @riklassen: More like if you could only afford one bike for the trails you ride, that's the bike you get. Would give us some insight into the reviewers local trails as well. But yeah, they'd have to be able to take it into the bikepark but also be comfortable riding it on an epic trail ride. That's what I was going for with "quiver killer"
  • 22 0
 I like bikes and podcasts
  • 20 0
 Same here.
  • 16 2
 If the reaction to the Nissan Stagea in the last WAO/Evil/Devinci spy shot article is any indication, we want more car stuff. Free idea: automotive/bike technology crossover episode. What have bike brands learned/borrowed from the automotive sector?
  • 9 0
 I was amazed by the number of people who got excited about what is an incredibly bland looking vehicle. What's its USP? 29er compatible luggage space? Quad central half-gallon cup holders?
  • 7 0
 NSMB's pistons and pivots articles are worth a look if you haven't seen them.

nsmb.com/category/pistons-pivots
  • 15 2
 We’re filming a new video series that will bring you alllllll the interesting car content ☺️
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: YES! When i heard you talking about the Mini on one of the podcasts i really wanted to hear more about it.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Levy, you need to check your insta messages. I sent you just about the raddest Austin mini ever made!! It’ll blow your mind
  • 6 0
 @stormracing: Sorry, I’m terrible with social. I’ll check it one day soon tho Smile
  • 7 0
 @BenPea: we are starved for wagons in North America.
  • 2 0
 @Adamrideshisbike: then Levy's next troll should be a 1960s Mini Traveller.
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: well, there goes my afternoon
  • 3 1
 @BenPea: The weird accounting system for US emissions standards killed the station wagon in North America. Many people want a good wagon here, but they are very few options sold here - hence the interest in that Stagea.
  • 1 0
 @skylerd: ok, so an SUV and emissions regs. pincer movement.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I hope so
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: They're getting on a bit now but you could have one with the Skyline GT-R's powertrain.
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: Bland??? Take another look
  • 1 0
 PinkCar!
  • 1 0
 @BenTheSwabian: Levy Penelope ?
  • 14 1
 The top end is getting higher (cost and performance) whereas the bottom end is getting better performance for the same cost. I cannot complain, my sub 4k bike rides better than my last bike that would be equivalent spec to a 8k bike now (full kashima, full saint). You used to have to run the better stuff (especially brakes, gears and wheels) to get good performance, now deore 12 speed is the product of the year.
  • 4 0
 same... just went from v1 Hightower carbon cc to Ripley AF. Half the price and it's better in almost all ways.
  • 3 0
 @deez-nucks: I'm always a bit skeptical when I hear this, no offence. I've had similar experiences. But in my case it's always been because I'd been using the high end bike for years and the suspension was clapped out, drive train was on it's last legs, etc. So of course a new bike, even with "lower quality" parts rode and felt lots better. Not saying that's your situation, just saying it's hard for anyone to compare a new bike to how their old bike felt a few years ago when it was new.
  • 3 0
 @kcy4130: not my situation, nothing was clapped out in my bike, it had had new wheels, newer suspension (36 float rc2 kashima, ccdba xv xa) and let's face it, saint lasts forever. Literally had had zero mechanical issues for the 5 years I had it.
  • 9 1
 I wish budget builds came with more progressive geometry (though that's been getting better over time). I'd rather have a newbie on a 63/64* HA bike with a 77* SA than a 69* HA and 73* SA. In experience, putting a beginner on a super stable enduro sled with great brakes and grippy tires is a great way to make them feel safe and comfortable getting into the sport for both climbing and descending. I hope the strong correlation between outdated geo and budget bikes continues to disappear, because beginners DONT NEED steep short bikes to learn on!
  • 2 0
 That was/is Calibre’s theory with the Bossnut/Triple B, Line 29 and the Sentry. Mike Sanderson’s theory was ‘good geometry doesn’t cost more to make’. All 3 are great bikes for beginners and you can upgrade the components as you progress past them or they wear out.
  • 11 0
 100% agreed. Geometry is free, and beginners need the good stuff even more than pros.
  • 4 1
 I agree with your assessment on 69/73 bikes, however, I don't think I could have done well on a super slack bike either. My 65.5HA bike felt kind of clumsy even though I had ridden old school bikes for a couple years. I'd probably steer a new rider towards a Devinci Marshall, Rift Zone, or Trance X instead. Slack enough to feel safer on the downhill sections but still agile enough on slow speed sections.
  • 5 13
flag ridingofthebikes (Feb 25, 2021 at 13:45) (Below Threshold)
 who the fuck can climb with a 63 head angle LOL!!!
  • 11 2
 @ridingofthebikes, I can. There’s more to making a bike climb well than a steep head angle.
  • 2 0
 I've been looking at $2k full-sus trail bikes, and from a shortlist of five bikes I'm seeing 65-66* HA and 76-77* SA, which seems pretty good geo to me (Polygon, Vitus, Marin, YT, Devinci)
  • 4 0
 @MuddyBrit: Early days but that Polygon is impressing us.
  • 1 0
 @ridingofthebikes: I can...if I carry it.
  • 2 1
 @birddog69: Hahaha, @mikekazimer Is that why @mikelevy is faster than you?
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: You guys keep saying geometry is free, but R&D isn’t free. Even if a bike company (or Kmart) wants to buy a bike or frame from a manufacturer, they’re going to pay more for something that’s had some R&D done to give it modern geo, unless of course it’s just a stolen design...
  • 5 0
 No they are not. For 1999 USD I purchased a 2016 Commencal AM (base model). This bike had a very well thought out component list including a Yari, and commencal house brand wheels (that actually held up to a fair bit of abuse) a jerry-rigged wide range 10 spd. They spent the money where it mattered and saved where it didn't. The new base models cost more and come with a 35 silver fork. I.e. a nicer looking Suntour XCT. So really the comparable model is significantly more expensive than the one I purchased just a few years ago.
  • 2 0
 My mistake - the TR comes with the 35 silver. The AM still gets the yari on base spec but costs 500 more.
  • 6 0
 I have shimano pedals that are over 10 year old for sure, there are regular XT or PD540 with the adjustable bearing and the definitely hit the ground in Sedona! i only bent XTR axle, and went back to lower end since
  • 3 0
 Yeah, I’m not sure what Mike is talking about. I have a pair of 19 year old Shimano pedals that came on on my 2002 Stumpjumper. Still going strong — never once rebuilt them or had to do anything with them.
  • 1 0
 I have the clipless Saint pedals and I bash them on rocks pretty regularly and they're still working flawlessly. I've got most of my riding buddies switched to the Saint as well, still a couple holdouts because they think it's too heavy.
  • 1 0
 I have had better luck with the Shimano XT's outlasting XTR's. I have a few pairs of XT's that have 10,000 miles on them and have never been serviced. At best they get an occasional hose down.
  • 1 0
 Both my trail bikes run the PD-530, which are the cheapest semi-platform clip pedals made by shimano (I paid around $30 CAD). They are RIDICULOUSLY durable, both pairs I currently have being over 5 years old. Buying the plastic assembly tool allows you to take them apart, clean and refresh the grease, and adjust the cup/cone bearings. They only need service about once per year, and I've never bent an axle in over a decade of using that type of pedal.

I think Levy is either doing it really wrong, or doesn't know what he's talking about here.
  • 6 0
 They should do a podcast after they actually phone all the local dealers around who sell these bike and actually try to buy one. Then that would be an interesting story
  • 5 1
 ha ha did this person even listen to the podcast ha ha ^^^ you even gave the reasons why if you compare an 2.5k mountain to a moto it would be to the one you buy on the shop floor which sure as heck not going to be 2.5k. If your comparing a 12k mountain bike to a moto then you guys are on point that you need to compare that to a 50k or more moto. So they are not apples to apples. i also believe that it is in part to do with market flood of so many brands of mountain bikes because we have soooo many options. with moto you have 5 big players and most of the other offshoot brands just take parts from the big 5 so there not comparable in that aspect either. just my 2 cents.

As far as pedals go, sorry @mikelevy I have to agree with Kaz and Brian. I have a set of spd's on a bike that has thousands of km's on them and are 15+ years old and the spring tension is only now needing to be tightened. I also have a set of XT clipless pedals that are 8+ years old and are awesome and now on their second bike. I also have a set of saints are 10+ years old on my DH bike that are still going strong. I am yet to need to replace much on any of them and they all still work well. maybe your just doing something wrong ha ha sounds like you might need that coaching ha ha.
  • 4 0
 Are you Freakin kidding me...... Brand New 2020 Nissan Micra complete with an engine, 6 speed transmission and 4 tires - $9,999. Carbon just can't cost that much. My salary goes up maybe 1-2% a year and i have a good job. Now we are being sold on 3000 dollar kids
bikes...... Hats off to companies like marin who make great, well specced aluminum bikes that regular folks can afford.
Press doesn't help suggesting we all need 160mm of dxh suspended hope hubbed, ultimate carbon wonder to roll down a gravel road. Bit tongue in cheek, but most folks of average ability will have as much fun on a 3000 rift zone as a 8000 yeti sb whatever, except they will have 5gs in the bank for bike holidays and beer with their mates.Oh and hats off to PB for budget tests!
  • 2 0
 Bang on. Your comment completely jives with my experience with bikes. Majority of riders would not realize appreciable performance gains going from a $3,000 bike to a $8,000 bike.

My experience tells me that appreciable performance gains would be had from investing in coaching, getting fitter, and riding more.

Get an entry to mid range bike, than spend your time riding. Invest in parts when they wear out.
  • 4 0
 Very excited to see the BMC test. It looked very promising on launch then kind of fell off the face of the earth (assuming b/c lol at availability) outside of the same few promo pictures.
  • 2 0
 It’s quite the looker.
  • 1 0
 BMC is such a non-entity in the US though...
  • 1 0
 Virtually impossible to buy in the UK. I can't even find the price let alone a shop selling one.
  • 4 0
 I think a better question for the hosts would be how much would you spend on upgrading that $5K bike (so that it becomes a $7k bike anyway) and then how long they would actually keep it before getting another one.
  • 18 0
 Quick math...$2k
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: Not really. Spend $2k more on a stock $5k bike and the spec still won't be as good as a stock $7k bike (assuming we are comparing different build options of the same bike). Quick math says you need to drop more than $2k to get the $5k bike to $7k level; slightly more detailed math will work out the specifics using the price of each component. As an example, consider the SC Hightower. Take the $5.2k S build, how are you going to get it to the same level of the $7.1k X01 build by spending only the difference in their prices? You aren't.
  • 4 0
 @crj5: "quick math" doesn't involve 9 lines of text. Your math slow.

Real math says the performance difference between 5&7k is minimal. If you aren't happy on you 5 grand bike, dropping 2,000 dollars isn't going to change anything other than spreading your lack of joy to your S.O. and fill your garage with parts.
  • 1 1
 @RonSauce: I'm not arguing that the $7k bike is worth getting over the $5k bike, just saying your quick math isn't accurate because OP's proposed case can't be solved by a simple subtraction. I'll take slightly slower correct math over incorrect quick math.
  • 2 0
 @crj5: its irrelevant math.
  • 1 0
 @crj5: you would be very surprised to see how much you can sell “new takeoff” mid range parts on the used marketplace these days. I bet someone could easily recoup the costs to upgrade. I thought I’d seen everything and then saw a list of people making 3 digit offers on a used SX drivetrain on Facebook. Crazy times.
  • 5 0
 When are we finally going to see Mike crushing Mike? This will be the video of the year! Stop this review bulls*t and get to work! We want circuses (you can keep the bread).
  • 1 0
 The land border is closed between USA (kazimer) and Canada (levy). Even if kaz flew up here, he has to self isolate for two weeks.
  • 3 0
 Holy crapballs Levy, you are completely out to lunch when it comes to pedals. Of course your dumb lightweight pedals bend and fall apart. I've ridden tons of miles and tried many pedals in the last 25 years and Shimano SPDs are THE MOST RELIABLE PEDALS compared to all others in my experience.
  • 1 0
 Hmmm, I used to have a box full of wrecked Shimano, Crankbrothers, and other random pedals that were all garbage. I'm not only speaking of my silly lightweight pedals, either.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: If you get a chance try the Saints out. Those are my favorite clipless now, matched with the Shimano ME7 shoes for trail riding and the Shimano GR9's for the bike park. I always have had feet issues from snowboarding and this has been a godsend for comfort and reliability.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Wait a minute! How dare you reply directly to my snarky comment saying that you're wrong and I'm right! Just because you have "experience" and it's your "job" or whatever...
But seriously, I drive around a lot for work and listen to a lot of podcasts and the Pinkbike podcast is by far the best mountain biking podcast out there. You guys do such a great job of highlighting the articles and talking about relevant stuff from the website. And I love the banter and personal stories and shit talking that occurs every episode. Keep up the good work! I'm seriously looking forward to this next field test because they are the bikes I can actually afford and will hopefully purchase next year. Tell the gang I said hi.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Shimano XTR pedal bearingss last 6 months on average, 12 months max. Luckily they have a 3 year warranty so buy once and get a lifetime supply of pedals. Downside is waiting on warranty process. I think those who don't have lots of pedal issues might be....not pedaling? coming from XCM/Gravel in flatlands this was pretty common. If you're endurobro shuttling in BC and turning your pedals 3 revolutions per ride they probably last longer because maths?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I still have in good working order those 20 year old red Shimano DX on my 10 year old Intense M9. I ride a 2014 kona process with 30$ Shimano M 530 since that time. They lost some screws, started to axle freeze, but with some bolts and service they are still very alive. But is not just good stories about pedals. I use to ride Crankbrothers for a while (with the mallet dh hype), and yes I got a box with a bent axles and lost parts of Mallets and Candys... great feet but not as strong.
  • 2 0
 @Beavman55: Stoked you're stoked on the pods - we have way too much fun making them Smile
  • 2 0
 @brajal: Those red DX pedals! I was in high school when they came out and I NEEDED them.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: We need to see this pile of pedals. Sorry, been riding shimano pedals since the beginning, I ride alot, and they need very little service. When I was training to race elite XC, at one point I had 4 sets of eggbeaters and usually 2 pairs in for warranty at any one time. When all 4 sets would inevitably be stuck in transit, warranty, (or the bottom of my shoe), I would put my 15 year old 747s's on and wonder why I didn't just run them all the time. Definitely heavy in comparison but worked great still after years of xc and the shore. I will give you this, xc XTR spindles will bend, or break at the lock nut. If you are riding way above pay grade of an xc pedal that is, and slamming them into stuff. Of all bike things, pedals are actually the one thing thats,.. like,... IDK just fine. sheesh. Make them fix their levers don't bother them with this ffs.
  • 5 0
 Is Wayne a real person, or is he just a made up person that Levy blames all his bad ideas on?
  • 9 0
 Definitely a real person. Definitely helps with bad ideas.
  • 15 0
 I'm pretty sure Wayne is like that girlfriend who went to a different highschool, you wouldn't know her.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: thats the vibe I always get
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: LOL I swear he's real!
  • 2 0
 I'm with @mikelevy on the pedals! I destroy Shimano pedal bearings in about 1,000 miles. And by the time you notice the wobble, it's too late. Because even if you replace the ball bearings, the integrated race on the spindle is toast, and adjusting the cup and cone bolt doesn't really cut it, you just accelerate the wear on the balls with worn races. And new spindles are priced such that you're better off just buying a whole new set of pedals.

To be fair, I feel like the 70 series and older pedals lasted much longer. Ever since PD-M980/780 and newer, they just haven't been the same. My friends argue it's because I weigh 200 lbs., but that didn't seem to matter with the older pedals, and Levy is 40 lbs. lighter and wrecking them.

I tried a set Xpedo CXR triple cartridge bearing pedals last year on one of my bikes. No regrets... and set of replacement bearings is $25. But after a few thousand miles, the original bearings are still butter smooth. One bike at a time I'm getting Shimano pedals out of my life!
  • 1 0
 yes, the xpedo CXR and other triple bearing pedal setups are the way to go. Ti spindle version is under 200g I believe, just replace bearings when you do suspension service at end of season and they last forever for $25.
  • 3 0
 Funny how that Polygon Siskiu came from the same factory that made the Bossnut for Calibre. It looks very familiar. Mike Sanderson must be happy he put in all that effort designing the bike for Calibre
  • 1 0
 Polygon even rebadged some Sentry as Vander N and Bossnut as Vander T.
  • 2 0
 If you look at a parallel 'extreme' outdoor sport, whitewater kayaking, the hot talk in the industry is that boats have not adjusted their prices in like 15 years. This means that the amount of money floating around the industry has dried up and there aren't as many supported events, competitions, athletes, expeditions. The margins are tight and manufacturers are going out of business, shops are going out of business. Could it be that by selling 20 bikes for 10k, the bike companies have enough money to support design and research to make their 2k bikes better?
  • 1 0
 I don't know about white water kayaking specifically, but I worked in an outdoor shop for years and they recently stopped selling kayaks. The margins are next to nothing on them and after the shipping costs to get them to the shop they were making less than $100 on a boat that represented a massive amount of overhead.
  • 2 0
 Ive not bent any pedal axles. But then again, I ride Time pedals...


And yes, cars. But not stuff like that Garbage Jeep pick up you all posted as the 'ultimate' bike base camp thing where you had to hoist your bikes onto the roof 8' off the ground. No glamping/ car camping (sorry, "overlanding") stuff.
  • 2 0
 Loving the podcast. Any chance we could stop glorifying speeding though? Hate to be the party pooper, but speeding does kill a lot of people...

And yeah, no new pedal standard! Mike, you may not like pedal durability, but it's got absolutely nothing to do with the pedal/crank threaded interface. Cranks generally bend before pedal axles. And axles almost always taper out after the threads to save weight. No reason you couldn't beef them right up if you were so inclined.
  • 3 0
 Got to love a good bargain! There's something massively satisfying about getting hold of a bike that outrides others that are far more expensive.
  • 1 0
 stuff generally works & lasts a lot longer. its not like the 80s & early 90s with snapped handlebars, cracked frames etc were common..., but you're certainly pay for it. in the UK cycling went from a working mens passtime to doctor/dentist set with disposable income & the brands saw the market & made the product with suitably high price tag
  • 1 0
 The main reason I'd want to move the bearings to the crank is so we'd (hopefully) stop seeing so many garbage pedals resulting from manufacturers trying to make them as thin as possible. It would drive the cost of pedals down as well (which would be great for those of us who buy a couple pairs a year). Replacing bearings in the crank could be easier than most pedals out there right now.
  • 3 0
 Things I’m waiting for:

Brian Parks ad read
The Brian Park Tool Company
The Giant Trance X 3 to win the value bike so I can feel even better about my purchase.
  • 1 0
 I've been working up a hit-list of potential $2k full-sus bikes for my shopping list, and I hadn't even heard of the Devinci Marshall!
- Siskiu T7
- Vitus Mythique VRS
- Marin Rift Zone
- YT Jeffsy Base
- Devinci Marshall
[what am I missing?]
Geometry looks pretty good on all those, and components look pretty good (though I haven't dug in too much on that side). Ignoring any supply issues, it does seem like a good selection of options at that price point
  • 2 0
 Based on looking at bikes for a riding buddy seems like the Polygon is most likely to be in stock.
  • 1 0
 That Vitus is a very goooood all-around trail bike.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: agreed! I have the Vitus sentier vrs 27.5 2020 version and its the best value bike I ever bought. It comes with a rockshox revelation fork. Slx shifters 12 speed xt rear derailer sram guide T 4 piston brakes with 180 rotors. It also has the same geometry as this years version. It was also priced at $1599. It would definitely be a top contender for best budget hardtail.
  • 1 0
 Interested to see pinkbikes reviews on the budget hardtails. I actually bought a Fluid HT1 2021. When I bought it in late 2020 , I could not find a single review anywhere on the internet of it, or indeed the HT 2020 model which has same frame. Now in 2021 there are maybe 1 or 2 amateur bike check vids on youtube Despite this relative anonymity, every one that has landed in Australia to date was apparently pre-sold. and the backlog is months.
  • 1 0
 Re: Levy's pedal rant: I had a pair of the recent Shimano m9120 pedals last me about 2500 miles before completely giving up the ghost, with maybe one rebuild in there to keep things smooth. Seemed quick to me, but they got pretty brutalized.
  • 3 0
 lol, "Anyone listening to this don't listen to Levy, everything's... almost ok"

The Shimano PD-M515's that came with my 2001 Specialized Enduro are still in use to this day.
  • 1 0
 Bikes are getting more expensive for sure. I put a deposit on an Orbea two months ago. Orbea e-mailed me yesterday to see if I still want the bike because they are raising there prices. They are going to honor the original but obviously prices are going up.
  • 1 0
 Good line up on the value bikes.. Would love to see how the Giant Fathom would stack up..

As for pedals, could part of the durability issue be related to the fact that so many people are convinced that pedals have to be as thin as possible? Smaller bearings are not going to hold up to much...
  • 1 0
 Totally. Weird how those RC car bearings don't seem to last inside a pedal...
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: is the pedal bending related to the horse creatine consumption?
  • 1 0
 @subwaypanda: or maybe the spindle getting smaller to fit the RC car bearings?
  • 2 0
 @subwaypanda: I mean, that's not a terrible theory...
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: You should be riding the PD-530's. $30 shimano pedal that will last for a decade or more. You've made the wrong pedal choices if you're looking for durability, and should know by now to quickly run away from anything with teeny tiny cartridge bearings.
  • 1 0
 On the podcast you gave a few older examples for comparison, I'm riding a more recent case: 2016 Kona Precept. I bought it second-hand, but it was US$2k new. As my first MTB it's been fantastic, but there's no question that $2k gets a much better bike today. I don't know how it stacked up about the competition in 2016, but it has no dropper, 3x gearing, very average brakes & suspension, and tyres are so-so (especially for the front). I've pondered upgrades, but it makes way more sense to invest $2k in a new bike now to get more modern geometry and better components all round.

konaworld.com/archive/2016/precept_130.cfm
  • 1 0
 I had a thought the other day that maybe bike makers should sell their mid-high level bikes without saddles, bars, grips, and maybe stems. For me, those are usually the first things to be swapped out and usually given away or sold cheap. It might be cool to have an option to buy the whole bike OR the to buy the bike without those things for a +/-$200 deduction in cost. I would think that entry-level bikes should always just come with everything. What would people think if the industry went that way?
  • 1 0
 Check out Shimano AX (deore PD-DE10?). We've been here before bearing-outside-the-pedal category. So, I'm not sure evolution needs to double-select Wink , but I also don't remember what the actual 'problems' were. That said, I'm definitely a fan of shimano pedals (started on OnZa elastomers...oof, then Time, Ritchey (Basically shimano at the time), and settled in on Shimanos about 15 or so years ago). The only reason I need to replace them is out of vanity (bearings and axles last an eternity, and are rebuildable/replaceable). I've certainly bent axles regardless of type of riding (yah...weird bending bmx pedals on a road bike...), but shimano's haven't had an issue... #shimanospdfanboyz
  • 1 0
 Pedal bearings are trash, they never last longer than about 4 months in my experience but I definitely don’t want a new standard! If they were easier to service and/or came with the tools to do so that would be great. Shimano pedal bearings are the best I’ve used, wish I could get that tech but with a DMR platform or something
  • 1 0
 So, the consensus of the Podcast group was that lessons are the best money you can spend, but none of them have taken lessons?? The thing that really made me raise my eyebrows was that Kaz's partner is a MTB coach and he hasn't received any coaching. Must be some quiet rides when they get out together...
  • 2 0
 I was hoping that a Bird would be included in this test as their value for money seems insane. @mikelevy Any reviews of the Aether 9AL or 9C in the works?
  • 2 1
 Good job on the news @sarahmoore, but I think we need TMZ Smurthwaite back next week. There was no mention of Rachel Atherton's huge news and what it means for the upcoming racing season!!!
  • 1 1
 That's coming, super excited for her.
  • 3 0
 Can't wait to see if Atherton bikes can give Specialized a run for their money in the carbon balance bike market.
  • 2 0
 All I know is nothing beyond 3K will make my riding any better. Beyond that for me, it's a waste. And I do alright if I may say so, even at my salty age.
  • 2 0
 Considering inflation it's not more expensive, but us peasants don't have the magic ability to double the wealth in a pandemic like Musk and Bezos.
  • 1 0
 Huh. Always thought Levy was the skinny guy with tatt’s. Obviously I’m wrong- must be built like a linebacker taking out pedals like that?! Basic shimano SPD pedals are bombproof.
  • 1 0
 Ya I’ve been using the same shitty pair of Shimano clipless pedals that I think were 70 bucks brand new and there fine but I am looking for a higher end set to I can get the tension higher maybe those HTs are for me...
  • 1 0
 XTR pedals, took them apart to re-grease for the first time since 2008 and I didn't need to. They have been on three different bikes in all different conditions including salted winter roads.
  • 1 0
 How much engineering goes into frame design and the forces acting on the joints? can you truly make a carbon frame in any shape and will it withstand the forces that get applied to it?
  • 2 0
 why are none of the budget full suspension bikes over 150mm travel? what about enduro bikes?
  • 4 0
 The focus is on trail bikes this time around, so we kept the travel amounts in the 130mm range in order to have an even playing field.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: when can you do a budget enduro test? I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants that. like sub-3,500 maybe? sub 3,000?
  • 3 0
 To PB Podcast, thank you for helping my work day go faster.
  • 2 0
 How about a podcast about best cars for mtb riders... without mentioning a Toyota Tacoma!
  • 9 0
 We have a new video series coming up about vehicles for riders and there's only one rule: f*ck yo Taco and Sprinter.

I mean, I'd still love to have one, but there are so many more interesting options out there!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy:

Can I put forward a suggestion for the short list:

Golf R estate/wagon. Fast as f*ck, loads of room for kit, great handling and low enough that getting bikes on the roof is no issue even for a guy of average height (5'7.5'').
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: vw caddy.
  • 1 0
 Agree with @mikelevy on the pedals. Have bent two axles in last two years and bearings seems to feel meh right out of the box.
  • 2 0
 I can't find @mikekazimer 's piece on the accessories for threaded holes, any chance someone knows where it is?
  • 1 0
 Honestly if you are going to compare the $1099 stoic, you should have used the $750 vitus nucleus. That has similar components as the low end stoic at nearly half the price.
  • 1 0
 I personally love my diety pedals. Both the older decoys and the newer black kits. I have used several of each and they have lasted me years.
  • 3 1
 A car podcast is ok with me, I want to hear more about @mikelevy 's mini
  • 1 0
 I don't know what sort of riding you are doing that doesn't require cheese, but I want no part in it.
  • 4 2
 sarah. drink some water bro.
  • 2 0
 You know. Seats are great these days. My grundle has never felt better.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy are you saying derailleurs are the low hanging fruit of bike innovation world?
  • 2 0
 I use Shimano pedals and I'm pretty sure they're never going to die.
  • 1 0
 What is bearing tension? Been riding my Shimano pedals for 10+ year. Been diggin the podcasts by the way.
  • 1 0
 My first clipless pedal, Onza. An awful, awful pedal. I have many Onza scars from the low speed "lack-of-release" crashes
  • 2 0
 I remember those things. It turns out elastomers aren't the best way to provide tension in a clipless pedal... They did have a cool logo, though.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: totally, they pulled me in (with the logo) and never let me out (with the crazy elastomers). My 13 YO self is feeling much better about himself...as he just thought he was bad at pedals (led to me riding platforms for the next few years...which were beartraps or black widows at the time...eek)
  • 1 0
 I actually think DuraAce and several other levels (not sure) had the AX system...
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the hint with the inflation. Now I wonder why my income does just not get raised 5% or more every year...
  • 1 0
 i'll do the car podcast with you anytime!
  • 2 0
 Yes! We’ll loosely tie it to bikes somehow haha
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: The border needs to open so you can come at the track
  • 2 0
 @redmountaingoat: Dude, can't wait. It's been wet and cold up here and I'm dying to come spend a month down in Sedona again like we used to. As soon as I can, I'll holla at you.
  • 1 0
 Is it a problem I read all the titles in Levy's voice?
  • 5 0
 Only for anyone listening to you haha
  • 1 0
 Ohhh....pretty stoked for this! Great field, but no updated Stumpy?
  • 1 0
 That's because it's a value bike test
  • 2 0
 No Specialized Fuse?
  • 1 0
 Correct.
  • 1 0
 www.pinkbike.com/news/field-test-hardtails-marin-san-quentin-3-vs-specialized-fuse-comp-29.html

Probably because they have already done a review of one. I have a single speed fuse and it’s a lovely bike.
  • 2 0
 SRAM SX is shit
  • 1 0
 I had shimano saint pedals for 5 years! They were absolutely ok!????
  • 1 0
 The cheese rolling segment was on point!!
  • 1 1
 I can see a thicker pedal axle in the future, and I'm ok with it.
  • 1 0
 NO NEW PEDAL STANDARD
  • 7 8
 When I can buy a Moto for less than an MTB something's gone wrong.
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