Another place to not save weight: Pedals

Obviously this was a Cranksbrother pedal, so it wasn’t long for the world already, but it raises the question: How bad do you want to save 50 grams really?

Steel spindles, real bearings, and thick ass aluminum bodies are pretty damn cool, they cost less, and they could save your life. Or at least your ankle’s life.

Also where is this guy’s upper guide? Carbon cranks, cadence sensor, red chainring, and a gold chain, too. This guy is a rolling KILL LIST article.


Do petitions work?

TEAM ROBOT is still undecided on whether petitions do anything, heavily leaning towards “no,” but just in case they make any difference at all you should sign this petition to save the Winchester BMX trails in England. They’re at 10,000, hoping to get 15,000 petitions, so if all five TR readers follow the link, we could really make a big difference:

Winchester Trails BMX Petition

The trails at Winchester, like everywhere else, are important. Kids need dirt, and trees, and unsupervised spaces where they can make good and bad decisions, and eventually figure out the difference. Kids in 2017 are signed up for supervised programs, where coaches or mentors or teachers or parents or supervisors tell them what to do or where to go. Every second is scheduled, and what gets scheduled out is this thing called childhood.

I didn’t really fall in love with Stranger Things, because it was obviously pandering to nostalgia and because I never want to hear those fake ass synth tracks ever again, but I did love the image of the kids roaming around on bikes getting into trouble. Other than Girl Interrupted, Sam Gamgee, and the bitchy Sheriff, there are almost no parents to be found in the show. Good.

“So, we’ll like, get sucked into an inter dimensional wormhole and battle the forces of evil, but I gotta be back in time for Airwolf.”


As a kid, I remember watching Rankin footage from Winchester and the old Ride UK Bar End Jams with my jaw on the floor. Watching these gods among men blasting nine miles in the air on the big straight four pack, riding a paved highway into the sky at a million mph, I knew instantly that I wanted that feeling. The next week, after intense debate and deliberation, Aaron and I went out to the woods to stack all our lips and landings another foot or two higher. If you ever came out to our trails and felt like you were going into orbit, you can thank the guys at Winchester.

I know these videos are horrible quality. Use your imagination and pretend they’re in HD. Or better yet, don’t, and kill yourself.


The video above was mind-boggling to me as a teen. No one has a helmet on, the jumps are super fast, and everyone is a mile in the sky, but everyone is taking the piss, to use the regional parlance. Basket/streamer/ET guy doesn’t seem too stressed.


The Winchester trails are currently at risk of getting plowed to build 14 parking spots for the town. That’s dumb.



There’s a class of people who are allergic to doing things the simple, time-tested way. Some would call these people “tinkerers” or “inventors,” but I think that’s being too generous. I call them engineers.

“Hey, look, there’s something simple that works fine… Let’s go make it complicated!”


“We fixed everything that was wrong with the bicycle.”

The rules: high fives in videos

My friend JC has his own company making durable, handmade in America gear bags, backpacks, fanny packs, and stuff. I have one of his wallets. It’s pretty nifty.

Recently he launched a new product, a super-durable mesh gear bag so you can fit all your riding gear in a single smell-free platform, and he asked me to share it on TR. Normally I wouldn’t post this sort of thing, but the kickstarter video brought up an important subject that needs delving into.

A memorandum to the mountain bike filmmakers of the world: You’ve had your high five privileges revoked.

If you have a fixed camera position and two riders roll into frame, right in front of the lens, come to a stop, then initiate and complete the entire high five process before remounting bikes and rolling away, that sucks.

“How do we wrap up this sick trail ride edit? I want to send a signal to the audience that, like, we just had the sickest shred, and like, we’re totally stoked to be riding together, but at the same time, I want to give a sense of finality, that the shredding has drawn to a close, you know? How do we communicate these multiple diffuse themes with one simple action?”

“Let’s high five!”

Let’s not.

Normally I’d make an exception for actual high fives between friends in a candid moment, a la Wheel Love, where both parties aren’t visibly self-aware that they’re being filmed. But I think this is a drastic situation calling for drastic measures. High fives need a good, solid three year rest, across the board. No enduro high fives, obviously, but no 50:01 high fives either.

It’s not that I hate high fives; far from it. I continue to be a huge proponent of off-camera high, low, and Top Gun fiving. It’s that high fives in bike videos have crossed the point of diminishing returns. Like the three crop system [Ed note: three field system] revolutionized agriculture by rotating crops and leaving fields fallow to rest the soil and keep it healthy, I think we need to let the high five rest for a while.

No more high fives in videos until 2021 at the soonest.



All of these are terrible.

  • Literally every other riding photo from this photoshoot is better, but of course this blatant example of Excessive Turning Technique was the one selected as POD on Pinkbike.
  • Luke qualified at Cairns, so he actually knows how to ride. I’m guessing both tires are on the ground in turns when he’s racing.
  • If we had video of this moment, I guarantee it looks stupid, awkward, and slow so he can slap the turn extra hard and pop out. If I’m wrong, and this is a candid snap of him actually going fast, this is definitely an “Oh shit” moment, and milliseconds after this photo he probably rode into the weeds and ate shit.
  • After this photo was posted, the whole province of BC went into the woods to dig a rut so they could practice power wheelies out of turns.
  • I always wear a full face and gogs when I’m riding my short travel trail bike.


  • This was also POD on Pinkbike. And it sucks.
  • You ride a Marin. If this was a cynical calculation and you’re riding Marin for the paycheck, you should have some shame and tone down the ETT. On the other hand, if you think Marin is a sick brand that’s super innovative because you met one of their sales reps once and believed everything he said because he was a solid bro and now you ride for them and try to share the stoke, then good luck to you and I hope you finally make manager at Wimpy this winter.
  • I’m divided on the pallets in the background. They do add gritty texture to the setting, but I’m going to go with my gut and say they look like garbage. 
  • Maybe he’s setting up to manual over a four-foot tall roller or a downed log or something. That would be cool.
  • But he’s not.



  • Even World Cup guys suffer from bouts of ETT. Thomas Estaque is top-twenty fast, and normally that would mean his shit doesn’t stink. Unfortunately, in this case his shit clearly stinks.
  • This is a super-exaggerated version of a condition known as “Graves Head.” Example two. Example three.
  • The longer I look at his left T Rex arm, the more I get this sick vomit-y feeling in my stomach. I’m worried he may have dislocated his shoulder in this photo.
  • Why is it so dark? Was this all done in post, or did they wait til that perfect moment near the end of the day when it was almost pitch black to shoot this turn a thousand times?
  • Again, looking through the album from this photoshoot, every other photo is better than this. Still POD on Vital.



For all three ETT photos, there were better riding photos from each photoshoot, but all three of these were chosen as Photo of the Day on Pinkbike or Vital. You might be wondering, how do awful ETT photos keep getting chosen?



But let’s explore this diagram a little more:

1. The Riders: These people know what good is. Being the subject of the photographer, they’re in a fantastic position avoid ETT, and to even control photoshoots. Unfortunately, riders don’t always care about telling the right story, because sometimes riders just want a paycheck. They should care, because learning to ride correctly was important enough to spend decades of their lives in pursuit of. You’d think they’d want to pass on that knowledge, but many riders will crank ETT all day if it brings in the cash, so we regress to the mean.

2. The Photographers: Tim Zimmerman always told me “Do what feels good on the bike, and it’ll probably look good on the camera.” That seems like good advice to me, but lots of photographers do the opposite, making riders exaggerate everything for the camera: go extra slow, stick your elbows out, square off turns, and SPRAY BROWN POW. Some photographers know how to ride, like Sven, or the Trumpores, but a lot of photogs are just kids with cameras. They don’t have the riding experience to know what good is or what it feels like, so exaggerated riding looks great to them. Most photographers want a dynamic looking riding photo, and ETT checks that box. Even better if there’s skid roost. So we regress to the mean.

3. The Websites & Magazines: These people have the power to filter and choose good media and to present a good story. They can educate and inform with the tolls they’re given. Ideally the people who run MTB magazines and sites would know enough about riding to choose worthwhile images, but the fact that they consistently choose brake-dragging roost shots, blatantly squared-off turns, and ETT leads me to believe these people mostly don’t know shit. Alternate explanation? They know exactly what they’re doing, and they cynically publish whatever they think the neanderthals will click on.

Media managers are the gatekeepers of information, and ideally they would have the knowledge and self-control to say “No! Stupid media consumers, you don’t know what’s good for you. Here’s a healthy dose of world-cuppers demonstrating proper riding form.” Instead, readers get photos from some new upstart from interior BC slashing bro-brah brown pow, and run with it. Everyone gets paid, and everyone climbs a few ranks on THE KILL LIST.

4. The Readers: A large chunk of this group knows nothing, and can be made to believe anything. Even worse, because they don’t know the difference between good and bad, they’ll settle for “new.” So instead of another “boring” picture of someone riding their bike correctly, they’ll be happier with a glossy picture of someone riding bikes incorrectly in a new and dramatic way. If you consume media and know what sucks, please continue flaming the comment section. Tell your friends. Write a book. We need you more than ever.