Greg Minnaar Joins Norco - Full Interview

Jan 8, 2024 at 17:17
by Sarah Moore  


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After 16 years together, Greg Minnaar's name was synonymous with that of the Santa Cruz Syndicate, but in a move that surprised everyone this off-season, even Minnaar himself, the Syndicate let go the 42-year-old South African. That left the four-time world champion scrambling to find a ride for 2024 mid-October in a year where budgets were tight.

While the past several months have been anything but restful, you don't win 23 World Cups without being a hard worker and Minnaar has signed a three-year contract with Norco Bicycles and has been able to pull together a team at the eleventh hour that sounds more than promising. Minnaar will be racing alongside Gracey Hemstreet and Lucas Cruz this season, but his main focus will be setting up the processes and people to turn Norco Factory Racing into a future-proofed, race-winning team and continue to direct the team beyond his eventual retirement. You can read the official Norco Bicycles press release here.

I sat down with Minnaar yesterday to talk about who will be supporting them at races, riding Norco's prototype bike, and what his goals are for the coming years. The podcast is above if you'd like to listen to our conversation. Alternatively, a transcript is below.





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Photos by David Nogales Tarrago


Sarah: Greg Minnaar, thank you so much for coming on to the Pinkbike Podcast and with some pretty exciting news to share this time around. But before we get into that, where in the world are you today and how's your day been so far?

Greg: Hey, Sarah, thanks a lot for having me. I'm in South Africa and there's a massive storm going on behind me. We get these tropical storms coming through and I think you might have just seen some flashes of lightning behind me, but yeah, it's been so weird. I haven't been able to ride. The forest is absolutely drenched. This forest that I grew up riding in, as soon as it's got any kind of moisture on it, it's absolutely treacherous to ride it. It's just clay. So you go nowhere and you just get clogged up and it's not ideal. So I'm waiting for, I believe in the next couple of weeks, it's going to dry out a bit. And so I'm excited to get riding again.

Sarah: Are you spending most of your winter in South Africa then?

Greg: I am. Right now it doesn't feel like the best choice because of the weather, but yeah, I always enjoy coming back home. You know, we've got the bike shop here and, and a few things going on so it's always good coming back.

Sarah: Are you spending your days strength training and indoor cycling then? What are you up to?

Greg: Well, you know, that's why I ride quite a bit on the road or on the gravel bike. If I can get out in the morning, the roads are wet, but it's not too bad. But in the afternoons when the storms come, there's no point in even going out. I actually snuck in a bit of a mountain bike ride on Saturday and that was the first ride in the last couple of weeks off road. We actually had one day of sun last week. So it's been an incredibly tough time of the year.

Sarah: Wow, so usually you've said that you don't spend that much time on the downhill bike in the off season, but I'm imagining this year is a little different with your big news that you're riding on a different bike after signing for Norco Bicycles. Let's get into that, when was that contract finalized and how impatient have you been to get the news out?

Greg: Yeah, I think this is probably the most exciting thing. I think people want to know more about this than the weather in South Africa, right? Well, January 1 is officially the start date. We've had to wait a little bit to release it. I mean, there's been a bit of teasing and a few things going out, but we're just really waiting to make sure that everything was ready to go.

Sarah: At what point during the season did you find out that you weren't going to have a ride with the Syndicate for 2024 and that you'd need to find a different team?

Greg: Yeah, so that all kind of happened, you know, a week after Mont-Sainte-Anne, which was already quite late in the season. I mean, I think that was the middle of October. That's when that all came about. I was a little stressed, you know, I didn't expect things to go that way. But yeah, I was super fortunate to end up where I am with the opportunities that I've got.

Sarah: What was that process like from the moment after Mont-Sainte-Anne? That was mid-October, Canadian Thanksgiving is typically around then. I watched you guys live so that was pretty cool. The colours were just incredible. I'm not sure you were focusing on that though.

Greg: Oh man, it was a beautiful time of the year. I think we got a little bit lucky with the weather, but it was great. I've got a friend of mine that actually ended up working with Norco. I worked with her at Oakley for quite some time. Now she's gone into the marketing team at Norco. I was just bouncing a few things after I had learned the news and she just said, well, why don't you come over here then?

I was like, really? You know, I was actually not too sure. I must be honest. I did have my reservations, but as soon as she told me about the engineering team - not just any engineering team... I haven't seen anything like it in the bike industry. That got me a little excited going like, wow, these guys actually have done some homework. They know what they're doing, this could be super interesting. That really got the ball rolling and that got me excited to see what opportunities I could have with Norco.

Sarah: Let's talk a little bit about that engineering team. What was it that appealed to you, how many people are there and how is it different from what you've experienced for the last several years?

Greg: I don't know how they've kept it a secret for so long. I mean, you've got David Cox, who leads the whole team and he comes from McLaren, That's quite impressive itself. The fact that the mountain bike industry has managed to lure in guys from the motor industry is quite impressive, because normally it's the other way. Normally it's the motor industry poaching all the top engineers from the mountain bike industry. To have that in reverse was pretty special.

Then to meet the rest of the guys, they've got Colin Ryan, who's an incredibly smart engineer. He's worked so hard on suspension, he's got dynos and all this suspension data that he plays with and just absolutely loves. And has just got tons and tons of data on suspension and all kinds of bikes. Having an in-house suspension guy, I've never heard of that. To me, that was really special - that you've got a guy who knows about all kinds of suspension, who's in-house working on the bikes.

Then there's Adrian Ward, who spent seven years in Formula One. I'm just going like, wow, you know, this is something that, that I can work with. I really like pushing the boundaries. I found in the last five years, there's been like a super hard push to get trackside assistance into downhill. So trying to take as much of the risk out of the racers hands as possible. Giving them the absolute best chance to perform. And like no better way to incorporate what these guys have from other industries and bringing that into and combining it with my knowledge and then giving this to the future of Norco Racing. I mean, it's brilliant.

We've got two really strong riders, Gracey [Hemstreet] and Lucas [Cruz], and I want to try and build this platform of real high performance from all levels, from team structure and management to trackside performance and to a technical base as well. I also want to test it out myself because I feel like if it can work for others, it could be something that can be really cool for me. I need all the help I can right now to have a good season. So I think I'm a good guinea pig for this.


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Sarah: Are some of those engineering staff going to come to each race round? Are you working with them in the off season? How are you going to get up to speed on the new bike and the new program?

Greg: I have tested the bike and the bike's incredible. It's something that you don't see often, and in fact, I'm not sure there is another bike that you can independently change features on like you can on this bike. From the position of the idler to how the kinematics work on the bike, to adjusting the shock rate, making the shock linear or more progressive, or adjusting the head angle. Every single movement of this bike is isolated. If I want a lower bottom bracket or I want a slacker head angle, nothing else on the bike will adjust.

Everything's independently adjustable, which, you know, for me, it's great. If someone says like, how are you going to get on with the bike? I'm not too bothered, you know, give me a few test sessions and I'll be able to adjust that bike to exactly what I want. I'm pretty confident it's going to work out very well.

Sarah: I guess you've been pretty lucky not to have to change too much in the off season in previous years. Some riders are changing every year or two, they've got new frames, new suspension, new tires, components to work with. You haven't had to do that in quite a while. So is this new process exciting? What's it been like to deal with like so many changes coming at you before the race season?

Greg: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of changes. When I first chatted to Sean, the CEO of Norco, he said to me, I want the best team in the world on the fastest bike. So we're not going to align ourselves with any other component brands. We want you to pick what the best components are and what's best for the bike to make the bike as fast as possible. I was like, well, that's quite a unique approach to racing, that sounds cool. I'm in.

So we're going through the process. Nothing's really solidified just yet. We ran quite late and obviously running quite late. There is going to be a lot of change, but it's going to be a bike that I feel is going to be super competitive and without any limitations of brand alignment.


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Sarah: I was looking at the teaser video, trying to piece together was going on there. It looked like the bike had Fox suspension. Is that going to be the case? Have you determined that yet for sure?

Greg: Yeah, we went through a few different variants of suspension, we had to try it all, and I ended up on Fox. And it's not because Jordie works there. I mean, he's a great actor because, you know, he's super helpful. He just acts really grumpy on TV. But, you know, we had to try it all. That's kind of the first step. We had to figure out what suspension we're going to be on to then understand what drivetrain and brakes and everything else. I had to give everything a fair chance. I leaned to Fox since that was the fork that I felt the most comfortable on for various reasons. I was super, super impressed with everything else, but just the handing on the Fox fork I felt really separated it from the rest. So we're going to stick to Fox and then all the rest of the stuff we're still working through and figuring out our partners.

Sarah: Is it going to be kind of that previous Syndicate style where you have different sponsors for Gracey and for Lucas? Or are you all going to be on the same sponsors kind of across the board this year?

Greg: Definitely through the bike we are. Gear and everything else, that's also being worked out right now. Unfortunately everything just ran so late. I guess that's just a part of the season, the season ended up going into October and so everything else got pushed a bit further. Then we've got Thanksgiving in the US and there's the holidays and the rest of the world and everything kind of stalls out. So it's been a tough period, but really exciting at the same time.

Sarah: Do you think it was better those last races knowing that they weren't your last with the Syndicate or would you have preferred to know in August that you needed to start looking for a team? Do you think that kind of changed the dynamic at all within your race season?

Greg: It would have been nice to know a bit earlier. I mean, sooner the better, right? But, how it went out is how it happened and you just got to deal with it, right? Just got to keep moving forward.

Sarah: Did you always think that you were going to retire with the brand and kind of have a legacy with Santa Cruz Bicycles?

Greg: Yeah, I always thought I would continue with Santa Cruz and that would be my brand. That obviously was what I thought. It's obviously not the reality. So, anyway, it's just one of those things. An opportunity like this would have been missed if I had so on the flip, I'm really, really lucky and excited to be able to partner with Norco. I mean, I've always wanted to get my hands dirty in the team. I feel like I've got a lot to bring to the table to really push the performance on in racing.

I think combined with what Norco has as an engineering team and the team that they've got, I think we can come up with something that can really challenge the likes of the Specialized Gravity Group or the Commencal Muc-Off team. I see those two teams as really like leading the way in team structure and support to the riders. I think we can absolutely, not try and match what they do, because I don't believe you can see what someone does and try and copy them. It never works out. You don't know the objectives and what the goals are and why they're doing what they're doing. If you try and copy them, you're never going to get it as right. I think we'll come up with our own way on how we can support the rider, how riders can understand each segment a lot better and find out where they're losing time, where they're making time.

That's exciting to me. It's really a really cool opportunity.

Sarah: On the Syndicate, you were on a team where there were four riders every weekend who could be winning. Are you looking forward to being kind of more of a leader on the team where you have stuff that you can maybe bring to Gracey and Lucas? Or do you like having some of your main competitors on your team? How do you think that'll be different and what was that like last year?

Greg: I've never actually thought about or looked at it that way. I think it's more of the position that I've been asked to fill from the team's perspective. On the Syndicate, I was just a racer. There wasn't much more I was able to add or try to add, but I've really been brought in to kind of build this team and create a World Cup winning team and to give this platform to other riders to use to excel. This isn't really about me racing. This is about me setting up this team. I think it's more of a future project. It's more of the future of Norco. We've got young, talented riders coming in through the ranks. That's exciting.

I haven't, not that I've strayed away from it, but I haven't really been in the position or maybe put myself in the position of supporting riders and helping riders through World Cup racing to a certain degree. I put a lot of development into South Africa. For the last 15 years, we've been running gravity events here and that's been an area of focus that I've put into. But now this is kind of an area where I haven't really dabbled, where I haven't put all my experience into and that's cool. I mean, it would be a shame after 20 odd years of World Cup racing to not be able to put all that knowledge into action and here's a blank canvas to build his team, to pick staff and individuals that I think can really support the riders and help the riders excel.

I really have a good feeling about it. I really feel that Lucas and Gracey are really going to excel on this platform and then at the same time, this to me is, is a dream setup. To be able to experience that and make sure that it works a hundred percent, how I feel it should be working and implement it, I think that's going to be really good.

Sarah: Have you kind of got a team manager lined up, mechanic, physio, how are you piecing that together?

Greg: We're piecing it together. I'm bringing in Tom Duncan, who helped me out for the last half of 23. Tom's an incredibly experienced guy. He works well with the engineers. He speaks their language. That's super important. Tom's going to mechanic for me, but his main goal is more on a performance side for the team and will continue through that. I think they gave him a position of like Technical Trackside or something along those lines. Tom's going to lead the way, then Gracey and Lucas will have their mechanics.

We've got Alan Milway coming in as Team Manager. And Alan Milway I feel is a very positive and strong individual that's had a great track record. I think him being a team manager, he's going to make the right call for the riders. He's a great trainer, I've been training with him for the last three or four years. I really think he can pull things together and also support Gracey in a way that I don't think she's ever experienced. I mean, Alan's been right there through Rachel Atherton's career. And Rachel being super successful, I think Alan knows exactly how to help and give Gracey that platform she needs to perform. He's going to be super beneficial on the team.

We've also going to have one of the fastest engineers racing on our team. We've got one of the Norco engineers, Kirk [McDowall], joining the team. He's going to be at all the races, but actually racing as well. He's always wanted to have an opportunity to race. He raced in Mont-Sainte-Anne, and he's going to be with us. He does a lot of testing for the team, and so he's very knowledgeable on the bike.

That's as far as we've got. We're in the process of filling all the other gaps, but again, we ran a little bit late on that.

Oh yeah, and an important part of the puzzle was operation. So we brought Kathy Sessler back. I haven't met anyone who's so organized, you know, from booking accommodation, making sure cars are ready... That level of organization is super key when you bring in athletes from all over the world, as well as staff and making sure that runs smoothly. Because it's just a waste of time when you land at the airport, no one knows what we're doing and everyone's trying to dig through emails. It's stressful that. Everything just needs to be running smoothly.

So Kathy's going to be in the pit running the back end of operations and Alan's team manager. I think it's a solid structure as well with Tom Duncan. It's a real solid structure to racing.

Sarah: Wow, I mean that sounds like you've pulled together pretty important parts of the puzzle for such a short amount of time that you had. You've been pretty busy.

Greg: It has been, I mean, to be honest, I haven't had many days off. I mean, we had Christmas and Boxing Day and probably New Year's Eve and the first were probably the only days off. We've been pretty flat out. You know, if it wasn't for Gwen van Lingen really making things happen... She's got an incredible saying, I won't say it exactly how she says it, but she goes strategy is nothing without implementation. And it's so true. She's a super driving force behind Norco. I've worked with her for many years, but she just absolutely gets stuff done. And that's really key.

I mean, she's helped pull this team together and set up all the marketing strategies. There's a lot to it. I mean, when you think about a race team, it's not just racing, you know - we've got videographers, filmers, marketing strategies and everything else just going on around it and all packaged into one. It's been a great experience so far, but super busy. I'm a newlywed, well, relatively newly wed. I mean, my wife thinks we're crazy.

Sarah: You're not out on your honeymoon right now, you're working hard.

Greg: That's probably one thing I missed out on. We had planned to go on honeymoon just after the season, but when the news broke to me, it was pretty stressful when things went down. So that's one thing we had to kind of cancel. I don't think she's fully forgiven me yet, but I think it's better to get team sorted and everything else. Trying to go on honeymoon when you're not quite sure whether you're going to be racing or who you're representing won't be much of honeymoon.

Sarah: Is it a multi-year deal that you've signed with Norco?

Greg: Yeah. We kicked it off with three and I think that's cool. I don't have any pressure of when to stop because I actually, you know, as much as I feel like I'm kind of nearing my retirement of racing, last year just didn't really go to plan. I had some issues along the way which were unexpected and we were trying to work through them, but there was so much pressure. I'd love to have had a decent race at world champs. Like at Fort William going to world championships, what a race. I mean, I love racing there. It's been good to me over the years. I was ready for it. And I stood in that start gate with a minute to go and I didn't have my bike and I was looking down that start chute, waiting for my bike to be ready.

It was probably about 30 seconds to go when my bike got passed to me and I was like, you know, let's just try and make the most of it. But you know, your head's not in the game. You're trying to focus. But when you're trying to focus, you should be focusing. I just ended up, unfortunately, blowing a tire off the rim further down. You know, it would have been a lovely way for me to finish my career.

But there were bigger things going on. You know, we had a change in the whole, you know, Discovery taking over, the whole schedule changing. We had a new bike launch. So there was a lot going on and the pressure going there was immense and it just didn't work out. I just felt like I didn't have a lot of fun in the season. It was tense, it was stressful. I wasn't getting the testing in that I needed.

It wasn't where I wanted to finish racing. I'm enjoying racing. I love racing. I felt, I knew I had the pace. Things just didn't really go to plan. It's not that I was set to retire once I would have won have a race or, that's probably not going to happen. Well, who knows if it does happen. I feel like it could happen, but that's not when I want to retire.

I want to retire after a great season. When I say a great season, I just want to have fun. And, I can tell you last year wasn't a lot of fun. There was just a ton of stress. So there's no pressure for me to retire. But I'm definitely going to race this year and I'm not quite sure how many more I'll go after that.

But this is kind of a multi-led partnership. The focus is more on the future and it's more for building this team for the future and me just being the crash test dummy, making sure that this team is run and works like a racer needs it to work.

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Sarah: What are some of the things that you're hoping to bring over, either that the Syndicate did well or you mentioned like Commencal Muc-Off and Specialized Gravity, what are the kind of things you're hoping to kick off the season with as support for Norco Factory Racing Team?

Greg: I think we're going to start off with the level of support from engineering and from Norco itself. Adrian Ward brings a load of experience from high level motorsport. That's going to filter through. How we prepare as a team, how the mechanics prepare the bikes. One thing that we came up with is we shouldn't be setting up, if something happens to a brake line or one of the brakes, there's no real time to re-cable a brake through. We're going to have everything dialled so that we're shipped out multiple brakes so the team can just put the brakes back on the bike.

This whole bike is also built for racing. I know a lot of people like internal cable routing, but it doesn't work for racing. When we need to change a brake, we should have another brake line already set up so the brake line just gets put onto the bike, not threaded through and re-bled, it just creates a lot of stress on the mechanic and right now in World Cup racing, there's no time for that. That's one of the things we're going to eliminate the process of how we get stuff set up and filter through into the race support - making sure little things like brakes are all set up and just being really organized and really prepared for racing. That's one of the first things we're looking at.

We're also looking at video overlay and how we can use video overlay. I've worked a lot with using GoPros actually. I think we've come up with a way where we can use that in GPS tracking to have a more accurate insight on where riders are, what they're doing through each section. You know, we get a timed section to say we're two seconds slower than a rider or quicker, but there are 20 corners in that sector, so which one of those 20 were we slower on? Was it the first one or was it the last one? When you see a video overlay, you can see exactly where you lose the time and exactly where you make the time.

That's really important for a rider. If you know you're slow in a sector, you need to know where in that sector you're slow, because that sector is big - you need to be able to break that down. It's really hard for us to have track side overlay throughout the whole section. For sure, we can see which section is quicker and you'll see a lot of teams have guys filming on the side of the track, showing that there's a new line or there's another line, but it's not really accurate data. It's not saying that line is faster for you. It's just going, well, we think it might work. Try it.

To me, that's not good enough. I want accurate information from the side of the track to tell me whether I'm in the right line or whether I'm in the wrong line. That's going to make it simpler for the riders to just focus on racing. That to me is important. We're going to try and eliminate as much as we can off the racer so that they can focus on the line that they know they need to be on.

Sarah: It seems like the French team at world championships always does a really good job of that.

Greg: Exactly. I mean, the French have been leading in it. I think that's why you see Specialized Gravity, they've got a great setup. Loic and Finn and Jordan, they know exactly where they need to be. It makes such a big difference in racing. I mean, you look at the results and it's clear. The Commencal Muc-Off team were pushing pretty hard on that too. I don't know exactly how their operation runs. I mean, I've seen a ton of guys on the side of the track, but I feel like we can come up with a solution and I feel we can come up with something that if not levels it, maybe is a little better. That's the aim. I mean, that's where we're pushing for this team. Everything's pushed and driven, the whole culture of it is racing and performance and that's important. If you've got that culture of performance, it will ooze out into the race.

Sarah: Just going back, you said you got your bike 30 seconds before the start at world championships. What happened there that it was so late?

Greg: So you know, Fort William rains, funny enough, and I was warming up and we normally run like an extended visor, clear visor just to stop the rain coming into the goggles to help with visuals. I decided, once the rain had come, that it was best for me to go to that visor, which we didn't have at the top of the hill.

Then I use an extended mudguard to also stop all the rain splash up. Fort William's not super muddy and so the track's actually pretty good in the wet. But it's all the rain and the droplets going onto the goggles that's going to slow you down. Because as soon as you've got to pull a tear off off, you're going to lose like half a second to a second. If you can eliminate that down to like one tear off or one roll off, you're doing good, you know? So we do everything to try and do that.

We had a mechanic come up from the bottom of the hill with the mudguard and Peaty came up with a visor, but then there was no mudguard. Then the mudguard came up and then we had moved to the start hut, but we had no tools. So they were trying to find tools and borrow tools from other mechanics. And so I just put my goggles on and try to just look down the track and focus on the track. But not exactly my ideal way to start a world championship.

Sarah: This year the race season is going to kick off in Fort William. What are you hoping for? What are your kind of goals going into that? It's going to be the first one, but it's one of your favourite courses? So I imagine you have high hopes, right?

Greg: I feel like if I'm going to race world cups, I need to be competitive and I need to feel competitive and I feel like I will be competitive.

Testing on the bike, I felt great. I felt really good on the Norco bike. It's completely different to what I'm used to. I actually stand quite tall on the bike. One of the problems I have is I've got really lanky long legs, so when I stand on a bike, I'm really leaned over like. I pivot from my hips and really face down. So when the track's going down, it's really steep because I'm really leaning forward. But on this bike, I'm actually standing quite tall. I'm able to look ahead and I'm able to relax and attack. That's something I'd been trying to, no matter how high I tried and run my bars, I just couldn't get that sensation. And now with a standard handlebar height, I'm suddenly feeling like I can actually lower the bars because it feels real high.

I'm feeling really good on the bike. I feel like it fits well. And so going into Fort William, I now fit on a bike. I feel like I've got this incredible team behind me trying to build the fastest bike and support it. I want to win it again. I mean how cool would that be to win Fort William, win the opener, and then really set the tone for the rest of the season.

Sarah: Sounds like a good goal. You do kind of have to believe you can win.

Greg: Well, if you're going to be in a World Cup, you've got to want to go to the W. You've got to have the tactics. Yeah, we're going to go for the W there. But whatever race you enter, whoever's entered the race, you've got to go for the win, right?

Sarah: You said earlier, if you do have that incredible season this year, you might think about retiring, but you've signed a three-year contract. What would your role be in the next two years if you do feel like this is an incredible year, you're happy, you have the results you want, and you feel like it's a good time to retire on top? What would you do next year?

Greg: What next? Well, I think continuing to direct this team. It's been a lot of work. I must say, dealing with so many different aspects of the team, it's been a new experience. But I want to continue to push the boundaries here. You know, support the athletes as much as we can, bring up the new generation of racers, and then have a World Cup winning team. That to me is the next phase. I think we're going to be looking hard for riders to join Norco and I think that's going to be really cool. I think this year is gonna be really, really cool to showcase what we have and to show the level of commitment from this incredible team to push into racing. I mean, it's gonna be a full on race environment.

That's the reason we've got guys like Alan Milway leading the way with team management because, I would say, you know, deep down I love racing, I'm very competitive, but also I have possibly a little bit too much fun sometimes. So I think it's important this culture of racing, because if you're really prepared to race and then you're trying to have the best performance possible, you can have a fun in and around, but everything's still peaking towards racing and I think that's super important for a team. It's going to be fun, you know, setting it up, but then leading the way and trying to also continue developing. I'll continue helping to make this bike as fast as possible. And like I said, just to support these riders and also looking for new talent and bringing new talent in.

Sarah: It sounds like it's almost like a blessing in disguise. I mean, there probably couldn't be both you and Steve Peat retiring as Santa Cruz Syndicate leaders or team managers. So you've kind of created this space for yourself. It sounds like that you have now a retirement plan that you can continue going to all the World Cup races if you want to.

Greg: Yeah, I mean, I don't think it's similar to Steve in a way. Steve was running more the performance side. I think this is more directing the team and helping direct the direction of how we go and bringing that culture of into the team, which, you know, it's quite a bit different. But I think what would be similar is, Steve and I are great friends and to keep seeing him at World Cup racing, I think that would be a great, a lot of fun.

Sarah: Well, I said I wouldn't go over 30 minutes, so we're already over time, so I'm sorry about that, but it's been so great talking to you. I've got a couple little rapid fire questions just to finish it off. Strength training or indoor cycling?

Greg: Strength training.

Sarah: Winning World Cup overall or winning the world championships?

Greg: World Cup.

Sarah: Your favourite race course?

Greg: There's a couple. It's so hard because there's Fort William, not necessarily because of the track, but more the atmosphere in the crowd. Then there's like Mont-Sainte-Anne where the track is really good. Then you've got Andorra. That's a hard one. I would say Pietermaritzburg. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. There we go.

Sarah: There you go. That'll come back if you ask for it enough. Your best year with the Syndicate?

Greg: 2008.

Sarah: The best teammate you've ever had.

Greg: How can I just put one teammate down? I've had great teammates. I mean, Peaty's been my longest teammate. I would say I'd have to go alongside Peaty, but man, I've had some great teammates. If you go back to Global racing, there was Matti Lehikoinen and Naoki Idegawa and Missy Giove and Mick Hannah and Brendan Fairclough on Honda. Cyrille Kurtz and Ratboy, Jackson, Laurie, Nina, Loris, Luca. I mean, I've had great teammates. I've been super fortunate.

Sarah: The who's who of World Cup racing is pretty much all been your teammates at one point or another. And then finally, beer or wine.

Greg: Both.

Sarah: I thought you might say champagne and just throw in the third one there. Thank you so much for your time today. It's been great chatting with you. Good luck with your training. Hope the storms pass through and you can get some more time on that downhill bike and get to that extra puzzling this off season. Can't wait to watch you come May.

Greg: Thank you. There's no more puzzling now. It's all straight shooting. Thanks a lot, Sarah. It's been great chatting, I really appreciate it.


photo


Author Info:
sarahmoore avatar

Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,289 articles

222 Comments
  • 495 2
 @sarahmoore On behalf of everyone reading Pinkbike in their open plan office (not me - I ride bikes for a living!), and those of us who prefer to read rather than listen to a podcast or watch a video, thank you for taking the time to write a transcript!
  • 422 0
 Glad someone appreciates it, it is a lot of work! The transcription is automatically generated but I knew I'd have my work cut out for me when it said "Welcome to the Pinkbike Podcast Greg Menard"!
  • 52 0
 @sarahmoore: Mernard Kerr!
  • 143 0
 @sarahmoore: thank you so much for the transcript. Very useful for me. I'm a deaf rider in need for written support to understand. So I read it all top to bottom. Great job in the interview.

Keep on going that way for the accessibility (PB originals videos have great CC !).
  • 69 0
 @Rideuse67: So glad it was useful for you. We'll make the effort to do this whenever we can!
  • 17 0
 @sarahmoore: as a partial hearing loss individual, I also rarely listen to interviews and prefer written form, so another thank you!
  • 11 0
 @sarahmoore: if you haven't already, take a look at otter.ai for transcription. It's what academics use to transcribing thousands of hours of interviews etc. It's highly accurate, and affordable.
  • 5 0
 @ratedgg13: I work in the media industry and we use Otter aswell. Very very good program.
  • 6 0
 @sarahmoore: save big money at Minnaar's!
  • 3 0
 @ratedgg13: another recommendation for Otter!
  • 1 3
 Im more interested with what suspension Minnaar as from that video its all up in the air still!
  • 4 1
 Just wanted to say I was enjoying reading Sarah's questions as much as Greg's answers - just a great all-around interview!!
  • 3 0
 @heavyp: VitalMTB also did a lengthy podcast with Greg today. In it he detailed how he was given his option of parts and suspension for the team. After testing Rockshox and FOX, he's decided to stick with FOX suspension which he's been riding for the past 12 years.
  • 2 1
 @SeaHag: ah thanks thats annoying thou haha
  • 5 0
 Agreed. I can't stand podcasts, articles are always much better. Cheers PB.
  • 1 0
 @heavyp: He says in this interview that they were given a blank slate to align with whichever brands he thought were fastest and, while he tried them all (hence the Rock Shox in some images), he settled on Fox.
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: Interesting, I'll look into it - thanks!
  • 229 5
 "This whole bike is also built for racing. I know a lot of people like internal cable routing, but it doesn't work for racing. When we need to change a brake, we should have another brake line already set up so the brake line just gets put onto the bike, not threaded through and re-bled, it just creates a lot of stress on the mechanic and right now in World Cup racing, there's no time for that."

Not that I'm racing World Cups, but I also don't have time for that bullshit. Bring back external routing!

Also interesting that it looks like he's on a mullet after being diehard dual 29 for so long. Wonder if there's some correlation between that and his comment about finally being able to stand up straight vs. being pushed forward on previous bikes...
  • 13 1
 came here to say this on the mullet... and also it looks like L size V10.. haha.. he will rip the hell of that bike, #newbikemotivation
  • 31 82
flag jeremy3220 (Jan 9, 2024 at 7:43) (Below Threshold)
 Unless you have an extra rear brake ready to go with the hose cut to length and pre-bled I'm not sure how having external routing is saving time. I mean if I buy a new rear brake or even swap from another bike I'm probably going to be trimming hoses and bleeding the brake anyway. I bought a used set of Codes last year and had to buy a new rear hose because the original was too short. I'm not saying it doesn't happen I'm just confused how you guys are swapping rear brakes so often where the only reason you'd have to bleed the brake is because of internal cable routing??
  • 5 28
flag criscoe (Jan 9, 2024 at 7:46) (Below Threshold)
 HI Norco is using Mullet now because it help advancing Ride aligned, Could they have done it earlier perhaps. Norco is not following trends, They develops concept and market them only when their 100% ready
  • 8 2
 The vital interview covers every he is on a mullet a d the stood up position and what is happening in the short term with regard to a bike that may fit Greg better.
  • 71 3
 @jeremy3220: I'm a chronic tinkerer...constantly swapping parts around and trying new frames. The frames are usually a similar length and existing brake lines would be close enough without trimming.

I would much prefer a brake swap to be $1 / 5 minutes / 3 zip ties instead of $75 / 1 hour / new hose + olive & barb + bleed. $75 sounds insane, but that is the price of a 2000mm Saint brake hose these days: www.dunbarcycles.com/shimano-sm-bh90-sbls-2000mm-hydraulic-hose.html

I don't really care if cables are internal, but keep hydraulic lines out of the frame FFS.
  • 32 3
 internal routing for anything but the dropper (and only at the seat tube for that) is a deal breaker for me.
  • 15 1
 @jeremy3220: I think a world cup team of this caliber would probably keep a pre bled spare, of the right length ready to roll, even if not you'd probably save 5 mins routing the thing etc

For your average person not a huge difference, but on race day 5 mins could be the difference between a second run and not. I know the new session has both external and internal options, I assume other brands give you the choice too. So Norco aren't unique here.
  • 19 2
 @jeremy3220: He's literally talking about having a direct fit replacement for racing. If they break a lever or line all they have to do is cut some ties and loosen a handful of bolts. They can have a cut to fit, pre bleed setup swapped out in under 5 min. With the current format that could be crucial between semi's and finals.
  • 6 6
 @MikeGruhler: Right, I was responding to scotteh saying "Not that I'm racing World Cups, but I also don't have time for that bullshit. Bring back external routing!".
  • 4 3
 @jeremy3220: come on Jez. Of course they have a like for like replacement sitting there ready for exactly that occurrence.
  • 2 4
 @jaame: Right, I was responding to scotteh saying "Not that I'm racing World Cups, but I also don't have time for that bullshit. Bring back external routing!".
  • 2 2
 "I love high pivot bikes"
  • 8 4
 I generally agree with internal routing being sh*t, but I completely do not get what mullet has to do with his position. All bikes have similar geo, being mullet or not, he just needed higher stack. Mullet is only about butt clearance, bit less gyro effect and better axle path.
  • 4 2
 @jeremy3220: time better spent riding the bike
  • 9 0
 Greg was the one pushing for 29er, hence why his size (XL) is the one V10 that is 29er. He's also the one pushing for no high pivot if you rewatch the V10 development series. Pinkbike and Greg really glanced over this seeming discrepancy.
  • 6 0
 @jeremy3220: you don't get cable rattle with external routing. All the people who own a Norco Range 2021 and newer know what I'm talking about. Not having internal sleeves, and no way to internally secure the cable is a pain. People have to use that foam tubing, and even then it still slaps around so you're pushing foam into the frame, and trying to secure the external grommets with tape and other stuff. Nothing more annoying than a bike that rattles.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: Valid point - I was just thinking that perhaps the increased butt clearance from the smaller rear wheel would allow him to stand up straighter / keep his weight further back in the steeps, lessening the sensation of being over the front of the bike.
  • 8 4
 @swenzowski: Specialized and Santa Cruz use tube in tube that doesn’t rattle in my experience. It’s the lesser brands that still use foam pipes and let the cables and hoses rattle around inside.
  • 6 6
 @jaame: lesser brands? You mean bikes which are not carbon and cost less than $4k for a frame. Aka bikes for the poor. So in other words, internal routing is not the problem, poor f**kers moaning on forums are...
  • 6 2
 @lkubica: That's exactly right. Tube in tube frames don't have issues with cable rattle. Cheaper frames do. The issue is cheap internal routing.
  • 8 14
flag fullsend604 (Jan 9, 2024 at 13:51) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: Norco is a lesser brand. 3 year frame warranty on a DH/Enduro frame is laughable. Shows they’re not confident in their products lasting. Santa Cruz lifetime frame/bearing warranty puts the consumer in a more confident position. I just came from a bike that had 20 bearings and swapping that out every season especially if you ride all winter is not a great time and also very costly if you’re not doing it yourself at home with a sliding hammer to extract and press to push them back in. With SC I only had to fill out a form on their website and my bearings came in the mail. I think Greg belongs back at SC but unfortunately his performance last season didn’t allow him to stay. Best wishes for him at Norco.
  • 9 0
 @fullsend604: I would be really surprised if it was performance-based. Rumor mill around town is that he had planned to retire and changed his mind after a poor showing (didn't want to go out like that). By the time he backtracked his plans, there was no room in the budget to pay him what he wanted to race another season (or more).

But, that's all rumor. And no one seems interested in clearing the air beyond veiled insinuations so...who knows.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Still rattle in the rear triangles. Have to be diligent with the foam wrap in that area.
  • 4 0
 @rockandride6: it's not a rumour. Greg speaks about it clearly in the vital interview!
  • 1 3
 @swenzowski: earbuds are the best solution to any noise, including bro-bra jaw-jacking
  • 4 2
 @lkubica: I have owned a lot of bike brands and Specialized and Santa Cruz stand out above the rest for build and finish quality. The ones I’ve owned have almost all been second hand because I too won’t spend £3500 on a frame. Cost aside, they are the best frames. That fact doesn’t change based on perceived cost or affordability. Besides, you can’t really call any decent full suspension bike a bike for the poor. A bike for the poor is a £50 special off Facebook Marketplace. Mountain biking is not a sport for the poor. Football is because all you need is a ball. Maradona didn’t even have that until he was six. He just had whatever garbage he could kick. Now way he could afford a “bike for the poor”.
  • 4 0
 @rockandride6: People sometimes change their opinions.
It’s just that the internet has a hard time dealing with humans being humans.
  • 1 0
 Norco doesn't have a full 29 race bike built yet, so he started on the MX.
  • 3 3
 @rockandride6: it’s because Santa Cruz doesn’t really know what they are doing in comparison to this engineering team at Norco. In his interview over at Vitalmtb Greg said he was up to speed in 5 laps on the Norco and that he’s not puzzling with it because there’s no need.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: in no way a competitive mtb’er in any way… but I almost always have a spare everything somehwere. It’s a sickness… also, almost always the problem for me is that hoses are too long, which isn’t a real problem if you need a swap out to save your day of riding.
  • 2 1
 @somebody-else: haha. Have you actually every watched/read anything about the engineering team at Santa Cruz? Their suspension guy Kiran was called a "human dyno" by the Rock Shox product team and my buddy at Fox has told me they've tried to poach him multiple times.
  • 2 1
 @rockandride6: that's confirming damper tunes. That has nothing to do with designing a race bike for the WC circuit.
  • 4 1
 @rockandride6: he designs some great bikes, then someone redesigns the lower link to make the bike what is should have been, he then copies the kinematics of the cascade link and brings out a new bike which is so much better than the one he designed.
Then cascade make the new bike better and the cycle repeats.
  • 3 1
 @betsie: Having ridden a Hightower back to back with and without a cascade link, I gotta say that is just plain false.
  • 1 0
 @rockandride6: plain true!
  • 2 0
 @rockandride6: having a Nomad with and without a cascade link... It's plain fact. The next nomad nearly copied the leverage curve of the cascade link.
With the cascade link, climbs worse, descends better.
We all like different things.
I had a push link in my MK2 nomad, SC then copied that to make the MK3 nomad.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: being able to bleed the rear brake off the bike is a luxury only a few can experience.
  • 6 0
 @betsie: Cascade simply has higher leverage in it's links. This works better for lighter riders and bikes with sh*t suspension tune. But will not work for all. Santa needs to create a bike which is a compromise, Cascade can push this compromise to whichever direction it wishes. This does not mean that people from Cascade are better engineers than people from SC. And honestly the level of BS marketing on Cascade site is next level.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: the cascade link also makes the rear end slightly longer. I have both the normal link and the cascade link for my nomad, and have tested them back to back. The cascade link is more progressive so is softer off the top and ramps up more, which is what the latest Nomad does also.
If you want a trail bike nomad, leave the standard link in, if you want it more DH orientated switch to the cascade link. What the cascade link does show is how versatile a frame could be with multiple link options available to suit different riding styles, locations etc.

The old V10 link had a choice of 10 or 8.5 travel through the flip chip on the link, the 10 was a mushy mess so most riders chose 8.5". I raced mine for around 5 seasons, always on 8.5". Both 8.5 and 10 were terrible with the air shocks available at the time though.
  • 109 6
 Excited for the future of NORCO!!! Now they need Ben Cathro on the media team side!
  • 73 4
 No, we’d miss him too much at Pinkbike!!
  • 32 4
 @sarahmoore: As long he's back producing World Cup content this season!
  • 5 8
 @Tastle: sorry, I accidentaly downvoted your comment. Bloody phone!!
  • 2 0
 100% IMO this would put norco in such a cool spot
  • 2 1
 employee salaries in BC are too shit for that
  • 2 0
 @Mtb4lyf: If you watch the Vital interview... or read above, Norco may be actually be paying people their true worth. He talked a lot about how most great mtb engineers eventually leave for the motorsport world. But it seems Norco has been able to do the opposite, they've brought people over from the motorsport world including some guy with 7 (?) years of experience in F1 and another guy from McLaren. If you're pulling engineers from high end motorsport and F1, you need to be paying them well.

But maybe everyone else gets cut rate salaries?... who knows.
  • 79 0
 Kathy Sessler… wow! Nice score there too!
  • 2 0
 That was a surprise to me!
  • 62 0
 That's a brilliant interview... well done to the team on that... Cracking in-depth questions and great information given back from Greg... Awesome.
  • 42 0
 Thank you! Not every day you get to interview the GOAT!
  • 1 1
 It's stunning how many details and strategies were released
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore: Why didnt you ask him to expand when he said he was going to form Norco racing team using the best DH Teams, Commencal MucOff and Specialized Gravity as examples? I'm pretty sure I heard a long pause from you lol!
  • 5 0
 @Oxnard: I did get that to that a bit later! I asked him "What are some of the things that you're hoping to bring over, either that the Syndicate did well or you mentioned like Commencal Muc-Off and Specialized Gravity, what are the kind of things you're hoping to kick off the season with as support for Norco Factory Racing Team?"
  • 14 0
 @sarahmoore: I came here to say the same, but @weeksy59 beat me to it. What a Brilliant interview!

I'm really really happy for Greg. He can come across so cool and Pro, but in person he is just laidback and such a real guy. I saw him near Cape Town early December, and he was just being a tourist with his wife sitting at the table next to ours. I couldn't've let the moment go by without him signing my son's cap, although I really felt like I was intruding! Nevertheless, he jumped up shook my hand and just started a conversation...while the poor guy was trying to patch up honeymoon plans!
  • 8 0
 @bosdude: Thank you! Easy to interview a class act like Greg!
  • 51 1
 NorGoat Factory Racing.
  • 3 2
 With Greg, Danny and Aaron.
  • 1 0
 @Muddy-Runs: that would be the "Expendables" of MTB, terrible movie lol
  • 1 0
 @Muddy-Runs: then they go bankrupt Lol
  • 44 0
 When do you reach a level where you read interviews in the person's voice?
  • 3 0
 I thought that was just me!!!!!
  • 3 0
 thought is was just me.
  • 4 0
 is there a level where you don't?
  • 9 1
 Correct, I totally read that with @sarahmoore voice in my head.
  • 42 0
 "Hey Greg, it's Danny...just thought I hadn't called you in a while..."
  • 37 1
 As professional and focused as Gwin... parties like Atwill ... as personable as Wyn.... which is why he's the GOAT (that and all the stats or whatever)
  • 31 1
 With Minaar getting that level of support and Gwin apparently back to full physical strength, the silverbacks will be a force to reckon with. Then you've got the whole squad of young guys pushing. And in the middle, there's Bruni, Pierron, Iles, Daprela... This has the potential to be an amazing season - let's hope Discovery can pull their heads out of their rear ends enough not to screw it all up.
  • 4 1
 but now the monthly fee to watch the races is a huge hurdle for many of us. So annoying, but i'll have to bite the bullet because it could be an exciting year.
  • 1 0
 @Evo6: If they could figure out how to deliver great content reliably for that fee, that might not even be that much of a problem.
  • 8 4
 Jackson Goldstone gonna whoop all these guys as long as he's healthy / mechanical-free.
  • 2 1
 @ezryder613: Why you going to jinx it?!
  • 24 1
 best dude on the track by far, class act through and through. I went to my first world cup on a dream trip, with my wife and 10 motnh old son. I was joking "Oh i hope i get to meet greg minaar ill even ask for a photo" we went to ride the gondola up just to get better views and see the track and such, and he was in line, so my moment came, i stopped and got a photo and a fist bump. Then as we go to wait our turn the gondala operator person signals us to get on, and I get thrown in a tiny glass box with the GOAT sitting right next to me. We chatted about so much, he was so friendy, even at 34 years old i was in fan boy mode but also didnt want to talk his ear off, e was so damn kind and friendly asking about where we were from, how our trip was etc. Felt honored to meet him , have a chat about all things like surfing, never ever will forget the experience. I am stoked to watch him on his new rde this year!
  • 24 0
 Wait is this the announcement or did I miss something
  • 10 0
 PB posted their article before Norco posted their video
  • 27 0
 We rolled everything (podcast, press release, interview, video) into one post and scheduled for the embargo!
  • 22 0
 I see a Fox fork. That means we DON'T lose therapy sessions with Jordi. My soul is now content.
  • 5 2
 There's also a Boxxer in some of the shots, and a Vivid.
  • 3 1
 @lukeb: And the nightmares begin...
  • 9 0
 @lukeb: he says in the interview that they tried out different suspension brands but that he is going to stick with Fox
  • 1 0
 PUZZZZZZZZZLINNNNNNG!
  • 23 2
 Now do Dakotah Norton
  • 19 2
 Haha. This is the announcement? And what happens with Mark Wallace? Dude was under contract I believe after they cancelled and then rebuilt their race team last year.
  • 17 1
 We’ll have to follow up with Mark to see what his plans are, but the Norco Factory Racing press release says that the team will be Greg, Gracey and Lucas for 2024.
  • 2 0
 Intense?
  • 16 1
 We may never know the exact details of his departure from Santa Cruz, but I get the vibe that somehow this move to Norco is a welcome change. I am excited to see what this year brings. I don't care if Greg wins. I just want to see him at the start gate and have fun. It'll be cool to see how this team progresses. Though it's sad to see him off Santa Cruz, maybe a change of scenery is the silver lining of it all.
  • 10 2
 Didn’t think I’d ever say this, but his departure from the Syndicate sounds like utter tomfoolery. Greg clearly had the impression he was going to renew his contract, this decision had to have been made long in advance, and instead of letting him know mid season would be needing to look elsewhere they waited until it would be nearly impossible for any team to still have the budget required for him. After 15 years with a company, that’s pretty f*cked up.
  • 3 0
 @captaindingus: I don't think that's what he said, he was going to retire but couldn't go out with the way the season went.
He changed his mind about retiring late into the year, and assumed that he would have a contract. The team would have set the budget way before and didn't account for Greg wanting to continue.
Regardless, I'm glad we get to see him still at the races and in the mix.
  • 10 0
 External routing, riders pick parts based on testing-I'm looking forward to seeing what the Norco team finds works best!!!!! And Minaar said it-external routing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 9 0
 Thrilled to see the GOAT race for three more years! I hope Gwinner gets his groove back and they're both up there pinning it together.
  • 14 6
 Why didn't you ask Greg what happened to Mark Wallace?
As the new kid on the block, doesn't he want to get to know his neighbours? South Africa seems far away from the Backwoods of BC, but I guess there is no other way.
  • 12 2
 Poor Wallace. Pretty sure he was mid contract and just got moved on for the groat
  • 12 1
 Best news is Kathy returning to the WC scene.
  • 1 0
 Why is it the best news?
  • 11 1
 thought for sure it was gonna be haibike
  • 9 0
 In a time of "bad news" for DH racing leaving 2023 this worst kept secret is the best news of the 2024 season.
  • 2 0
 First time I am looking forward to see a fresh update of that most depressing PB article: m.pinkbike.com/news/racing-rumours-a-complete-timeline-of-2024-team-moves.html
  • 6 0
 Looks like norco is putting a lot of chips in one basket with this deal but I really hope it works out for them. Gracy is an imense talent and having a Veteran to guide her could be ideal for her next season.
  • 4 0
 looks like it is part of a much bigger plan that will grow the team. I don't think they are looking to greg to brinf podiums, i think they are looking at greg to help build a team that will brinf collective podiums
  • 5 0
 Greg's comment about having long legs, being leaned over, pivoting from the hips and facing down are something that I struggle with as well. People who have average or shorter legs can just stand up and ride tall, but I am bent over and so is he (as are others with the same body type).

I'm wondering what the changes are from his previous bike to the new bike, besides the smaller rear wheel if that's the thing.

Drastically higher stack? Shorter reach? What's the secret?
  • 1 0
 his bike has a burgtech direct mount stem spacer
  • 3 0
 I'm the same, 90 cm inseam at 1,81 m. I found that not sizing down and a short back end (sacrilege!) help me massively keeping my tyres evenly weighted. What Greg always tries to achieve based on older Syndicate videos is balanced weight distribution on both wheels through stem lengths etc. If you think about it, having long legs shifts your bodies center of gravity forward more when you stand up in a riding position. Might explain why some people have difficulty weighting the front wheel with newer long bikes and long torsos. I've never had that problem with my SB150. With my previous old bike I always had understeer because I was lying on the front wheel basically.
  • 8 0
 Balls to the wall Norco people!! Well done.
  • 4 0
 Did I miss something, I kind of feel the departure from Santa Cruz wasn’t expected and that there are mix feelings about what happened there and that he is/there are avoiding that subject. It would be a shame after 20 years of partnership between them. But maybe it’s just me misreading ?
  • 7 2
 Saw Ronan Dunne on a bike at DYFI at the weekend, it was covered up but looked suspiciously like the prototype in these pictures.
  • 8 0
 Ronan was riding a Mondraker, you could tell from the super thin top tube.
  • 27 1
 @pisgahgnar: Saw him there too but only at the back of the queue when he went to inflate his tyre, couldn't see his bike.
It was a cross between a World Cup and a Junior/Youth National DH there on Sat... it was comical.

There's me, fat and 52 on the bus with Pros on DH bike and i'm on a Trek fuel.

I did say to Rachel at one stage "make sure you don't hold me up".... Her reply. "hey the way i'm feeling today i might do"

"Trust me, you REALLY REALLY won't be "
  • 4 0
 Yeah Ronan is on factory Mondraker team and David Trummer was also there on an Intense M1, as he’ll be on MS Intense
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: you mean the knee destroyer 4000
  • 1 0
 @weeksy59: that sounds like a pretty rad scene!
  • 2 0
 @nateb: It was Nate yes... although a little daunting, but that's Dyfi for you. The other part is that everyone is just there talking crap about bikes, riding, everyone is approachable. People like Rachel Atherton just walking over to ask how you're getting on, ask about your bike and then jumps on her bike and off she goes to hit a line.. Or Kerr sitting chatting and playing with his dog.. It's a somewhat bizarre place.
Sadly for me, the lines/trails are just too damn tricky for me to really enjoy, so i end up putting the fear of god into myself mostly... This weekend i just stuck with the easy ones as i was the only adult there and flying solo all day, which really isn't my preference. My lad and his mates had an absolute blast.
  • 1 0
 @weeksy59: Dyfi sounds super rad, it's high on my bucket list for sure! Do you think you would be more comfortable there with a bigger, more aggressive bike?
  • 2 0
 @SimbaandHiggins: Last time there i rode a Slayer. I think the thing that would make me more comfortable is a bit more time with like minded mates. Riding with my lad who races National DH it's just too insane and he and his mates hit lines and tracks i can't consider, so i end up not riding tracks i MIGHT be able to get down due to being on my own. Not many/any of the parents ride Dyfi. So i'm trying to drag some other 'oldies' who will ride stuff next time. Dyfi is an incredible place and a vibe that's different to anything else in the UK
  • 6 1
 I look forward to season of him chasing the ideal setup at every race. Remember the syndicate days when Ratboy just set his bike up at the first race and left it...
  • 1 0
 As much Ratboy was (and possibly still is my favourite DH rider), I always wondered just how much more he could've achieved if he could link his natural talents with Greg's racing perfection ethos/motivation. Equally, the wild ways of Ratboy are what made him a racer loved by many.
  • 3 0
 Feels so refreshing to hear of someone at the start of their new chapter/journey and wanting to strive for more not just news on people losing their spots on teams and having no future plans. Look forwards to seeing how his season unfolds and good on Norco.
  • 6 1
 Will be interesting to see if he has just as many tire blowouts next season.
  • 3 0
 rearward travel for the boyzzzzz
  • 5 0
 Yes, yes old man new bike. Now where’s more footage of Gracey hitting huge jumps
  • 3 1
 hrm... imagine if Honda built him a bike again??

do you guys think Ohlins puts as much R&D into suspension as they do into FIA Rally?

Nobody knows the courses like this guy, even if maybe there maybe are more technically proficient riders... long live the king
  • 1 0
 I dunno but if its the same adrian ward he already did stuff for ohlins for world superbike I heard along the drone grapevine he was doing drones or something
  • 3 1
 I think this is great.

Greg needed a situation where there was somewhere to transition. With Syndicate Peaty is what Greg needs to transition in to. So this gives Greg the chance to build a team of talented young riders. Teach them how to find lines and prepare for races, etc. Develop a bike. And then as time goes on transition into coach/dad/leader. I think Norco makes better bikes than a lot of people give him credit for and there's a couple young north american's coming that would be worth trying to snag.
  • 7 2
 Finally off that restrictor plate vpp suspension design!
  • 6 2
 norco marketing department killing it this winter... this and the criptic high-pivot redesign teasers coming out.
  • 2 0
 Norco going all-in on high-pivot?
  • 5 0
 There's also a review of lightweight elbow pads...
  • 5 4
 I will be surprised if the bike makes any difference for Greg. I appreciate what Greg has done but age just can't be ignored. With the crop of young riders moving into elites and threating for wins and winning it is only going to get harder for Greg and other senior riders to be a top rider. The dilemma for when a rider retires. They say they would like to before falling but why do it if you are still a top rider?
  • 2 0
 Big win for Norco, assuming they have the funds to backup what he can build for them and the Norco excecs have the nerve to spend a lot of money for a couple seasons before they see the uptick in revenue.
  • 2 1
 I'm impressed that Greg rides "quite a bit" on the road & gravel bike.
Once I started riding gravel, it completely changed how I used my brakes on all my bikes. Started cleaning sections on my Enduro I had really struggled with. Curious if Greg found mixing disciplines improved his DH riding or if he just gets in good exercise bc his skillset is already rock solid.
  • 5 0
 Care to expand on the "changed how I used my brakes"? Genuinely curious
  • 1 0
 I thought the rumor was Greg could be a less than encouraging teammate/mentor. I'm sure that was motivated by competitiveness and not everyone gets along with everyone. Also maybe not true.

Just wondering how that potential dynamic will translate to what sounds like a role specifically designed for him to be a mentor/leader/facilitator? Will probably be a big change for him regardless and I imagine most of the pressure will be in that department vs race results?
  • 1 0
 I love Greg, he is ace, but he seriously needs to click the Control Center icon on the menu bar or his Mac (top right, likely to the right of the magnifying glass icon), then click "Focus" and set "Do Not Disturb" for an hour whilst on a call.
  • 1 0
 @rodres - the biggest difference is how I use my front brake. Touching the front brake on loose gravel corners at speed is a sure way to wipe out, I have found that I am much more careful "grabbing" both brakes. It made the biggest difference on low-speed tech sections and fast loose cornering. I'm no pro, I race occasionally and I did find it improved my riding overall. It might sound very basic, but gravel made my front braking much more judicious across all disciplines
  • 7 3
 Greg Minnaar on norco???? Whaaaaaat? No way!
  • 12 0
 You mean.. No Other Way!
  • 3 11
flag Motdoc (Jan 9, 2024 at 7:45) (Below Threshold)
 I’m wondering if the lifetime warranty on my 23 Nomad just expired? Doesn’t seem like a good sign
  • 4 0
 Does that mean we will see Minnaar testing/training at Panorama Resort?
  • 2 0
 As the big question is, is he going to be happy on a high pivot rearward bike...wasn't completely sold on it when SC did it on the mule.
  • 6 1
 Perhaps SC test mule was not a refined as the Norco one...
  • 5 1
 Hopefully this doesn't bankrupt them
  • 4 0
 He will be 45 and racing World Cups................................
  • 2 0
 That was a great interview. A happy Greg is a fast Greg, can't wait for the season to kick off and hopefully good results coming Norco's way.
  • 3 0
 I feel like a content scheduling snafu has occurred.
  • 4 1
 Not on my end!
  • 2 0
 @sarahmoore: I saw the article before the video was embedded, so it may have been a minute delay. Crisis averted.
  • 3 0
 @pathopkins: Oh interesting, they likely had to move it manually from unlisted at 6am and that took a minute!
  • 3 0
 Finally confirmed. Greg Minnaar uses a Mac.
  • 3 0
 Nac'd pic would have been POD
  • 3 0
 So I guess after racing he will be the G.M.
  • 2 0
 That was exciting to read. Sounds like the makings of a really competitive team. Solid move for Norco.
  • 3 0
 But… how… Norco got that kind of money to spend on a rider?!
  • 1 0
 Norco fully committed to a canadian factory team........unless the new hire is the GOAT. I mean you cant blame em but what a backflip!
  • 1 0
 GOAT is still a GOAT. Real Gentleman, the way talks about the past, teammates.... Looking forward to see how it's going to be.
  • 2 0
 Is Colin Ryan that R-M-R fella that knows everything about every frames suspension? Lol
  • 2 0
 No, but I chatted with his boss about front linkages a few years ago.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: haha I know you're a vault of info but never really understood why that is/why you have so much suspension info..so read that about Colin and thought hmm Canadian brand Canadian guy., could be. Lol
  • 1 0
 stoked for the goat. Greg aughta be valuable for the Norco engineers interpreting all facets of their DH chassis. this is a smart move on the part of Norco.
  • 3 0
 I knew it!
  • 2 0
 Did someone post this a bit early?
  • 5 1
 Scheduled it for the 6am embargo!
  • 1 0
 Nope.
  • 2 0
 I hope they do a Youtube series. Minnaar seems like such a cool guy.
  • 2 0
 I wasn't sure what to make of the Norco rumors, but wow... its happening!
  • 2 0
 Looking forward to the custom painted frames!
  • 3 1
 This interview warmed the hearts of engineers, and F1 fans, worldwide.
  • 1 0
 great interview skills, going back into the finer details of a complex person.
  • 1 0
 What’s happening with his Kyle his mechanic, he staying at SC or going with him?
  • 1 0
 I'm glad Minnaar said his computer was pinging! I thought I was getting messages I couldn't find ;0
  • 1 0
 I have this feeling that MINNAAR will have some amazing results the next 2 Seasons , if not , a Win or 2 to his pocket
  • 2 0
 So Greg is going to be the Steve Peat of Norco long term I guess
  • 2 1
 is mark not on the team anymore?
  • 3 1
 No, that was the rumour but you’re right neither party either officially did a “parting ways” post. Norco Factory Racing is Greg, Gracey and Lucas at the races for 2024 though.
  • 5 5
 june 2024 , breaking news norco and greg minaar part ways. undisclosed reason…..
  • 1 0
 Top athlete, gentleman and a kind person.
  • 1 0
 Pinkers were right... Norco is riding ( a dreamteam) for Minaar!
  • 1 0
 Exciting times a head indeed. All the best to the Norco team!
  • 1 0
 When's the bike for sale? Wink
  • 1 2
 i always like the goat, but this seems strange to me. what does he have to proof. he won everything, can still win. so whats next
  • 3 0
 He just loves to race but clearly he is realistic and this move will allow him to gradually retire while still helping progress the sport.
  • 4 0
 The last season went badly for him, was very stressful, and he had no fun. He didn't want to leave with a sour taste in his mouth. He made it really clear that he's not expecting to win, he just wants to have a good season and enjoy the racing before leaving. In a larger context, it would have been difficult to find a role for him at Santacruz after racing, it's not like everyone would have been cool with it. They already have Peaty , who is competent and chill and never a princess. So for him to be ousted from Santacruz where there is no room for him medium term, only to land at Norco where he could have the second part of his career might be a blessing in disguise.
  • 1 0
 @uponcripplecreek: Spot on. Objectively, things seemed to work out relatively well for everyone involved but DH fans can't see past the GOAT legacy to objectively analyze the situation. Fascinating to see people just fill in the blanks with their skewed ignorance and assume they know how things went down. People also love to ignore the whole team of other people/racers at the Syndicate. It wasn't the Greg show last year, we all know that.
  • 2 2
 Thank you, Greg, for making the v10 sick af. Hopefully he can convince norco to get rid of the high pivot
  • 1 0
 Im still waiting on a contract.
  • 1 0
 f*ck it, here I go: Minaar World Champion in 2024.
  • 1 0
 Just reading, not listening, but Greg sounds STOKED.
  • 1 0
 Very cool.
  • 1 0
 knew it
  • 1 0
 Absolute Legend .
  • 2 3
 One of the few times I actually wanted a podcast instead of written words.
  • 10 0
 Glad Greg accommodated us doing both!
  • 2 3
 Sure hope the new optic is not high pivot.
  • 8 0
 sad news for you
  • 1 2
 Are @rcitycyling Sarah?
  • 4 7
 DID NOT SEE THIS COMING!!!
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