The Marin Museum of Bicycling has a stunning collection of mountain bikes, all with a serious history behind the grips.
EROSION of HUMAN MOTION
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) has stated that “riding e-bikes on natural-surface trails is not mountain biking. Further, we state that e-bike regulation for off-road travel should fall under motorized land management policies and rules.” I agree with that position. Problem is, this quote was lifted from a 2011 statement and since that time, IMBA has strayed from their position.
The first warning signal appeared in 2014. IMBA published a preposterous position by Chris Bernhardt that, as best as I could decipher, theorized electric motorized mountain bikes could be a good thing on trails because they might help reduce the popularity of Strava (an App that tracks a rider’s speed and compares it to others among other features). Like Cliff said in the movie Lone Star, “It's always heartwarming to see a prejudice defeated by a deeper prejudice.” Weird.
Next was in the summer of 2015 when IMBA announced they were conducting a study in partnership with two powerhouse bicycle trade organizations (who sell electric-powered mountain bikes). My heart sank. Even if IMBA’s study was funded by the trade organizations (not my dues as they were quick to point out), they were using existing personnel and they were aligning themselves with motorized mountain bikes. It was around this time that I noticed IMBA using the sanitized “eMTB” abbreviation for electric motorized mountain bikes.
September 2015 IMBA releases “early data on impacts of eMTB use on trails.” The “sneak peek” was just months after the study was announced. That is not enough time to obtain legitimate data, but it was just in time to put a favorable spin
There are two yurts on the Goose that can be rented by clicking here. If you are not into camping and don't want to drive back to Hurricane every night, this is a sweet option. The view of the Red Bull Rampage mountain is from the yurts' front yard. The Windmill Trail is just outside the yurt's door.
Back in my good old Mountain Bike Action days, three riders (and sometimes only two) tested over 50 bikes a year. As soon as I’d cozy up to a bike, it was time to send it back. So leaving the magazine gave me the first opportunity in 20 years to perform an honest-to-God, long-term bike review. I have logged more miles and hours on this Pivot Mach 429 Carbon than any bike since my 1993 GT Xizang.
If the glove fits
I picked up this slightly used Pivot Mach 429 Carbon because I’ve always loved the 429's versatility. It climbs great, is sure-footed through techie stuff and instills confidence on descents. My body type fits Pivot bikes as if they were custom made for me. I like the way Pivot has interpreted the dw-Link suspension patent design so you get small-bump compliance without noticeable movement while pedaling. A year in, all the attributes that drew me to this bike in the first place have only strengthened. Here are some notes on the last 12 months.
I rode one of these on Gridley Trail in Ojai when they were first released. Didn’t set any record going up the trail, but I hit a new level of control and flow coming back down.
August 22, 2016 - At the risk of being labeled a troll (having an opposing viewpoint these days is to be chastised into the dreaded “troll” category), I still have to pass this along. After posting the reasoning for not renewing my IMBA membership (below), a friend, who is still a member, sent me this link to a new IMBA graphic. See anything weird? The bike is clearly based on a battery-in-the-downtube, electric-motorized mountain bike. This is either IMBA’s attempt to subliminally get its members to see motorized mountain bikes as no different from human-powered mountain bikes or it was an IMBA staffer signing off on a super-sloppy graphics job. Either way, the result is sad.
If you are not crazy about heights, you will look this uncomfortable posing for a photo on the Point (where the North and South Rim Trails converge). You need to get over your fear because no trip to the Goose is complete without looking over the edge at the Point.
July 20, 2016 -It is with heavy heart that I say farewell to a friend who was an integral part of preserving mountain biking history. Jeff Archer was struck and killed while crossing a street this evening. The Charlotte Observer published details of the tragic and senseless event (and some excellent background on Jeff) that you can read by clicking here.
The fork became harsh, losing small-bump compliance over the year. A spray-on treatment brought it all back. The Pivot's pivots, without any maintenance, operated smoothly and showed no signs of play. The suspension designs allows a set-it-and-forget-it shock setting.
August 3, 2016 - I feel the International Mountain Bicycling Association has recognized motorized mountain bikes as a category of mountain biking and I don’t want to fund that direction. Instead, I donated directly to a local trail organization (and continue to donate to regional trail organizations when on road trips). My reasoning to leave an organization that has done so much good for mountain bikers? Read on.
My trusty Pivot Mach 429 Carbon handled the Goose perfectly. A long-travel trail bike is probably overkill and a hardtail cross-country racer is too minimal, but I've seen both being ridden on the Goose with successful results. I want to try plus-sized tires on the Goose.
“You know, if you’d make La Ruta a little bit tougher, it would favor my chances of winning next year,” said Ned Overend to Roman Urbina.
October 4, 2016 - The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame yearly inductions have been held in conjunction with the Interbike bicycle trade show in Las Vegas in recent years. That changed in 2016. The ceremony moved to the Marin Museum of Bicycling (that also serves as home to the Mountain Bike Hall Of Fame) in Fairfax, California. And instead of a single event, this year’s inductions included a Friday taco night meet and greet, Saturday morning guided mountain bike rides and Saturday night’s sold-out $100-a-plate induction dinner.
While the cycling industry’s support is crucial to the Hall of Fame, separating the inductions from a trade event was a great move. While mountain biking is a business to some, it is a celebrated lifestyle to the majority of us. And to hold the events in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais was icing on the cake.
More information on joining the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame is available by clicking here and next time you are traveling to the Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to put the Hall on your things-to-do list.
In little more than a month's time, the emerald-green hills and pastures of Wildwood have already morphed into the burrito brown color we expect later in the summer.
Looks like we are in for a long, dry summer.
Most employees want to get away from work when they vacation. Not the Rim Tours crew. Rim Tours guides were treated to a weekend at Gooseberry Mesa (including catered gourmet meals) for a stellar year of guiding riders in Moab, Utah. Guess I picked a good weekend.
The drive into and out of Gooseberry sucks with deep ruts and vehicle-rocking holes. Having the dual-sport motorcycle or jeep is a big plus if you want to get off the Mesa during an extended stay.
January 14, 2017 - So stoked to be getting lots of rain so far this winter. The official On Two Wheel's rain gauge has gulped down two and a quarter inches in the last week alone. A pump track spouting grass is a small inconvenience (somebody's going to have to pluck it) when you think that all this rain might shock us out of a drought. But with the rain comes the responsibility not to graffiti up the trails.
Riding a muddy trail results in trail widening and erosion. There are vague guidelines for how long to wait to ride after a storm (one day for every hour of rain), but this guideline doesn't take many factors into consideration (like the downpour’s intensity or the type of terrain it dumped on). When it comes to your regular trails, just say no to mud riding.
That doesn’t mean you can’t ride in the rain. You simply have to use an alternative route. A graded dirt or gravel road constructed for logging and oil field workers (Goodenough Road in Fillmore is a perfect example) can be used in all weather conditions. These roads are engineered to withstand heavy-equipment use in adverse conditions.
The rule for dressing for rain is to admit defeat. It is impossible to keep your legs, feet and hands dry, so your goal is to keep warm. Starting from the top, wear a helmet with a visor and glasses with clear or yellow lenses. If it is cold, ear warmers or a beanie should be pressed into service under your helmet. Use layers everywhere else and a good rain jacket cut long in the back. You will probably
The Saturday night induction ceremony sold out! The Hall crew needs to figure out how to squeeze in more riders for next year.
The class of 2016: Matt Fritzinger, Roman Urbina, Missy Giove, Julie Archer (wife of the late Jeff Archer) and Hank Barlow. The Sunday event went too long (sometimes due to long-winded introductions and other times due to meandering inductees) except for Julie. She had the audience spellbound with her story of Jeff’s life. She could have gone on for hours as far as I am concerned. It was the highlight of the evening.
Don't expect too much of this on the Goose. The trails are tight, technical and challenging, guaranteed to hone your riding abilities.
I set the Fox Float shock sag to the blue line on Pivot’s sag-indicator tool and left the CTD lever to “T” (trail). Other than cleaning it, I have not touched the shock. I don’t use the shock’s “C” (climb) or “D” (descend) settings because on the Pivot’s rear suspension one is too stiff and the other is too soft.
I figured the Fox Fork with its sexy Kashima coating would loosen up over the year, but the opposite happened. Small bump compliance, never this fork’s strong suit, deteriorated severely. Messing with the Trail Adjust knob and air-spring pressure didn’t produce satisfactory results. I resorted to treating the stanchions with Finish Line Max Suspension Spray at least twice a week. This little trick unlocked small-bump compliance for me.
The Magura MT7 brakes worked great all year. I regularly cleaned the brake rotors with Maxima Suspension Clean because of our long, dry and dusty summer. Replaced the front brake pads due to normal wear, but since I got my bike used, I don’t know how many hours were already on the pads. I couldn’t find replacement pads in a local bike shop or on Amazon so I ordered them from Magura Direct ($33 plus freight). I see that TruckerCo and DiscoBrakes now offer replacement pads for $20 on Amazon so although I have never tried either, I’ll give them a shot next time because of the price.
KS LEV Dropper post
I’m addicted to using this dropper seatpost. I wouldn’t want to ride without one. I didn’t notice any deterioration in performance or an increase in play before it stopped working about six months in (it would drop on its own). Sent it to KS (in Foothill Ranch, CA) and they repaired it at no charge. They turned it around in less than a week, no questions asked. When you work at a magazine, you get preferential treatment so I was stoked that KS treated this normal guy like a VIP.
New inductee Missy Giove with members Steve Blick and Hans Rey. Friday night was the best event of the weekend because there was time to trade stories, catch up with old friends and meet a few legends.
November 20, 2016 - Recently spent some time camping at one of my favorite mountain biking destinations, Gooseberry Mesa just outside of Hurricane, Utah. The early November trip surpassed expectations with clear skies and weirdly mild temperatures. The vest, tights and long-sleeve jerseys never came out of the gear bag. Even the nights around the campfire required no more than sweatpants and long-sleeve T-shirts.
Got to admit that jumping on the South Rim Trail is getting a bit too challenging for this old man. That one needs to be worked up to and the best way to do that is to start on the Windmill Trail (on the far northeast section of the mesa). Ride the Windmill Trail west to the Practice Loop (mix in some Bowl and Ledges if you feel confident) and you will start to become acclimated to the “torque trials” riding technique needed for the black-diamond segments of the Goose. I had much better luck tackling Hidden Canyon and the North and South Rim trails after warming up on the other trails.
If you have never ridden the Goose, start at the Practice Loop to get a feel for the place. And don’t let the name fool you, most riders will still find a few sections on the Practice Loop that will make you pucker.
on electric motorized mountain bikes for a major trade show.
Another questionable IMBA move was to publish trail etiquette for electric motorized mountain bikes. Funny, I don’t remember trail etiquette guides from IMBA for motorcyclists, hikers, ATV’ers or horse riders. So why for electric motorized mountain bikes? That seems at odds with their position that “riding e-bikes on natural-surface trails is not mountain biking.”
The final straw is when they used my dues to share a “Guest Blog” to their membership in December of 2015 from an electric bike trade organization. The information, pertaining to California’s Vehicle Code changes, was totally inaccurate. This was corrected by “pliebenberg” on May of 2016 in the comments section; six months after IMBA disseminated the inaccurate info. Can I add one more to pliebenberg’s corrections? The term eMTB doesn’t exist in the California Vehicle Code. That’s something the author and IMBA use.
IMBA or EMBA
Sorry, but you lost me IMBA. You may be on the right track for your organization by embracing motorized vehicle use on multi-user trails but I’m not going to be one to fund it for you. I don’t have a warehouse full of electric motorized mountain bikes to sell and I’m not trying to generate income from a new user group. I’m just a guy who loves riding his mountain bike. IMBA's decision will limit where I can ride in the future.
So what did I do with my IMBA membership fee? I took the money (plus a little more) and made a direct donation to my local advocacy organization, CORBA. The donation was not a membership to CORBA because then they’d have to pay an IMBA tax (or maybe I should say EMBA, the Electric Mountain Bike Association). Instead, all my donation goes to a group who is looking out for my best interest instead of an industry’s best interest.
Jeff was the owner of First Flight Bicycles in Statesville, North Carolina, where his hard work and enthusiasm transformed the two-story brick building into much more than a bicycle shop. He turned it into a mecca for every self-respecting mountain bike geek by curating the largest collection of vintage mountain bikes in North America and possibly the world. Jeff's historical documentation didn't stop at mountain bikes. He had an insatiable appetite for collecting mountain bike components, magazines, brochures and memorabilia.
Our face-to-face friendship started at the 2010 North American Handmade Bicycle Show when Jeff, who I had spoken to but never met, picked me out of the crowd and introduced himself. The photo above was shot seconds after shaking hands and it captures Jeff perfectly. He was a jovial, friendly and enthusiastic soul who you had to like immediately. Jeff's energy was infectious. Jeff quickly became my go-to guy for any mountain bike historical fact checking because he knew his stuff, always made time to take my calls and he was never a snob (like so many "experts" I've come in contact with over the years).
Jeff was so totally nuts about mountain bikes that he resurrected the much-loved but long-dormant brand, Mountain Goat (the logo on his T-shirt). Jeff told me how the big business deal was put in place. “I was stuck in a traffic jam, so I called Jeff Lindsay, the founder of Mountain Goat, and ran the idea by him. His first questions was, ‘Do I have to do anything?’ I told him no, and his next words were, ‘Well, have fun then!’”
And "fun" is exactly what Jeff had with his little project. He did not bring the brand back from dead just to run to China, pick a frame out of a catalog and plaster a Mountain Goat sticker on it. Hey, don't laugh. That has been done many times. Instead Jeff, who was always a fan of the early Klunkers, came up with the F-K-R (Fat-tired Klunker Replica). He worked with Curtis Inglis to design the frame that is unique to Mountain Goat. Special attention was paid to how the tubes flowed into one another. The head tube badge is cast out of the original mold, and the Goat Head coins were made by Jen Green. The classic "Goat's Horn" paint was applied by Russ Pickett (AirArt), who also painted earlier Mountain Goat bikes.
Jeff was nominated in 2016 for induction into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and while voting is closed for this year's inductions, I can only hope that enough members voted like I did for Jeff's inclusion. It is long overdue and would be a fitting tribute to this wonderful man. Godspeed, Jeff. You are already greatly missed.
Inductees Matt Hebberd, Susan DeMattei and Dave Wiens.
The Mesa offers great dispersed camping and there is a lot of it. A single toilet is the extent of the area's amenities. No showers or trash collection. You need to pack out what you bring in. That said, it is one of the cleanest campsites you'll visit.
Wall tiles can be purchased with the money going to help fund the museum. Need to give a shout out to Dirt Rag who always steps up to support our sport. Click here to buy a tile.
Long-time buddy, Steve Wood, accepted my invitation to sample the Goose. He drove from Colorado and was not disappointed.
Morning news of SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team's Nino Schurter winning the World Cup round 2 in Albstadt, Germany wasn't much of a surprise. The 30-year-old shows no sign of slowing down and beat tough rival Julien Absalon in a sprint to the finish line on a course that Nino admits is far from his favorite. What struck me about the event was the size of the crowd. You simply don't see a sea of humanity like that at America's cross-country events.
Photo by Gail Kearney
Being named to the Hall of Fame in 2014 is one of the proudest moments in my life.
The 2x10 SRAM X0 drivetrain worked well except for the Roller Bearing Clutch on the rear derailleur. Once dry, it creaks at the slightest rear suspension movement (many riders misdiagnose the sound as a seized rear suspension pivot). I used a ProGold Luber Pen to apply a few drops of oil and that shut it up for a time. Next up is replacing the cables and housings, but I’ll wait until the spring to do that.
Wheels and tires
It is amazing that after a year of abuse, the DT Swiss X1800 wheels don’t even need a truing. They are still as true as the day I got the bike. I run my tires tubeless with sealant and did not get a flat tire in 2015. I swapped out the Maxxis Ardent Race tires for an old set of Bontrager 29 Team Issue tires to shave some weight. The sidewalls are so thin that the Bontrager Sealant (that dries out way faster than Stan’s) sweats through the threads. These tires are wearing down quickly.
This and that
The Pivot saddle (a WTB Volt) remains my favorite and a year of use has improved its feel. The Pivot/ODI lock-on grips have another year left in them. The FSA Afterburner Stem and Pivot carbon fiber handlebar show no signs of increase flex. I stopped wearing a hydration pack on rides shorter than two hours because of its added weight and heat. Since I never had a flat tire or mechanical issue all year (except for the seatpost), why carry tools and spares if you are always pretty close to home? I use a Specialized Zee Cage so I can get a waterbottle in and out of the Pivot’s compact frame triangle.
Sometime during 2015 the Pivot Mach 429 Carbon stopped being the “new bike” and became “my bike.” When this phenomenon happens, you stop thinking about the bike and its components. It is no longer a machine. It becomes an extension of your arms and legs. Every ride (or “flight” might be a better description) is all about enjoying the experience instead of analyzing your equipment. It surprises me to say that 2015 was the most enjoyable year of mountain biking I’ve had in 20 years and the last 20 years have been very, very enjoyable.
Gooseberry Mesa is surrounded by interesting destinations (Zion National Park being the most famous). After riding all morning, I'd hop on the Honda and explore. The Grafton ghost town, just outside Rockville, Utah, is worth checking out. Don't attempt Smithsonian Butte Road (from Gooseberry) on anything less than a jeep, ATV or dual-sport motorcycle. The downhill is gnarly.
The Mach 429 allows the rider to stop thinking about the equipment and concentrate on the ride.
overheat (most rain jackets turn into saunas on a long climb) so open the jacket’s zipper on the climbs. Your feet will get wet no matter what type of booties you put over your shoes, so wear socks made from CoolMax or Merino Wool. Both of these materials dry quickly.
Rain and grit are rough on your bike’s drivetrain and cables. Expect to replace them more often if you spend a lot of hours in the rain.