The Rules: Keep filming

If you’re ever filming a friend hit a jump for the first time, and he overshoots the jump by 30 feet, mid-nosedive, headed for an immediate ambulance ride, TEAM ROBOT has a friendly reminder for you:

Hold that phone or camera steady and keep filming. Please. You might feel pangs of guilt and a sense of responsibility, but in this moment you have a higher calling than even your sacred bond of friendship: millions of people the world over want to see a complete clip of your friend eating shit, and you owe them that. I want to see your friend eating shit. Later you’ll want to see your friend eating shit. Provided he doesn’t die on impact*, your friend will definitely want to see an uninterrupted, unshaky video of him eating shit. Don’t blow it.

It’s tough, but you have a duty here. You need to put on your big boy pants, hold the camera steady, and stand firm like the stoic, emotionless documentarian we need you to be.

 

*or on the ambulance ride, or from complications in the hospital, or after a multiyear coma like Steven Seagal in Hard to Kill, or any other sort of crash-related death that would prevent him from watching a cell phone video of them eating shit before going up to the Jerry Hall of Fame in the sky.

 

Handlebars

Truvativ is now offering 35mm handlebars. What exciting times we live in.

 

I have limited experience on 35mm handlebars. I spent a season on Gravity’s 35mm Grid aluminum bar on my trail bike, and while the bar did feel a little like a broomstick compared to the normal (and more expensive) Gravity Light bar I’ve ridden for years, the Grid bar wasn’t unrideable. I didn’t love the straighter, flatter angles of the new bar, and it was a little rougher than the 31.8 bar, but the additional stiffness wasn’t a love it or hate it thing, it was just kinda there. Blind test, I’m not sure I would have noticed the additional stiffness. Maybe?

Apparently though, alloy bars aren’t really the point of the new interface, just a bonus option and a way to sell more NewCoolShit. TEAM ROBOT might be irrelevant and half-dead, but we’ve still got people, and our people indicated that the real reason 35mm exists is to create a safer BCD for plastic bars to save ham-fisted home mechanics. The previous pattern was apparently:

  1. Home mechanic over-tightens stem on new carbon bars.
  2. Breaks their face off when their new 800mm handlebar turns into two 400mm handlebars.
  3. Home mechanic then funnels cash to the dentists of the world to fix his shit.
  4. Dentists spend that cool facial reconstruction cash on carbon bars and other lightweight components for themselves in a nasty pattern known as ‘The Dentist Cycle,’ to be covered more extensively in a later post.

So plastic handlebar safety is the first argument, which is valid, and the second argument typically revolves around plastic handlebar stiffness. This also seems valid, because I’ve personally felt some ridiculously flexy 31.8 carbon bars. During a parking lot test on one of the first generation Enve DH Bars, I got the bars to make a frowny face. I did the same with a set of Crankbrothers 710mm plastic bars while standing over the bike with both feet on the ground. I don’t have stiffness test values for those bars, but I’d guess they’re somewhere in the zero to shitty range.

[Editor’s Note: Sure, I guess the third argument for carbon bars would be vibration damping, as noted by one of our commenters. But that idea is stupid on many levels, so I didn’t mention it. To be addressed in a future article)

But it’s worth asking: what would drive someone to run carbon handlebars in the first place? Why does this seem like the place to save weight? I can’t think of any component that’s worse to break, and I can’t think of a single 800mm bar that weighs more than 400g, meaning your max *potential* weight savings is less than half a pound. to review, the cost to save less than a half a pound with carbon handlebars is:

  • $130-225
  • Maybe your face

Sure, I can justify the $130. Even on the high side, you can still rationalize $225 to save half a pound, especially compared to a fancy set of wheels or Ti spring. But maybe your face seems like a pretty steep price for a marginally lighter cockpit. A friend of mine makes a practice of taking off his old bars every two years and sawing them in half so no one ever rides them again, and while that’s a little dramatic, it illustrates a point- handlebars will not be friendly if they break.

 

And you thought those bars were expensive.

 

Of course, from a materials standpoint, carbon can be stronger than aluminum. As long as you don’t over-tighten your clamps, score the interface with twisting brake levers or controls on the bar, allow your bike to bump into others during transport, take your bars off and on repeatedly, accidentally hit the surface with sharp tools or rocks, drop your bike, or crash. As long as you don’t do that, you’re fine.

 

These articles were excellent

https://www.pinkbike.com/news/ridden-and-rated-5-four-piston-brakes.html

 

https://www.vitalmtb.com/features/Vital-MTB-Face-Off-The-Best-Dropper-Posts,1762

 

These articles showed a clear editorial stance, gave thoughtful opinions, and took maximum advantage of the product-testing powers available to each publication. They even highlighted downsides of certain products. I respectfully part ways with Levy on the topic of brake power vs. modulation, but that might have something to do with the extra 40 pounds I have on him and the fact that my home trails are better.

This is exactly the sort of tech writing we want in the MTB world. They might be shoot-outs, but they’re a long way from MBA.

 

Has anyone ridden these?

I’d put the odds at 50/50 that these berms are awkward, slow, or generally ride like shit. I’ve never ridden them so I don’t know if they suck, but there are some big red flags:

  • Not built by motos or as natural ruts
  • On the East Coast
  • Probably built by stoked mountain bikers
  • In bounds at an American chairlift-accessed resort
  • They seem to do everything other than go down the fall line
  • Super tall early on where you don’t need berm, less tall later on when you do
  • Looks like builder was focused on symmetry and aesthetics, aka not focused on ride quality

 

Nonetheless Dave, great picture. I like the fall colors.

Play this, not that

Fantastic riding from Max, but awful (presumably license-free?) music ruins the video:

 

So either play it on mute, or play something that doesn’t sound like the background music to a youtube knife informercial:

 

When I got rid of the slow-paced knife-infomercial music, his riding looked faster too. I can only guess, but I think I was so angry about the music that my brain assumed he was part-Joey and unconsciously slowed down his riding to match.

Honest question

Is there a reason I can’t run an old Fox DOSS lever with any of the other cable-operated seatposts on the market? People hated the DOSS lever, but if you run it under the left brake lever it doesn’t suck. I’ve got a small pile of the DOSS levers sitting around from when I used to be cool, and I’d rather use a five year old shifter-style lever than a brand new paddle style lever.

Garbage.

 

Thinly-Veiled Godless Socialism

We asked around to see people’s thoughts on Raceface’s new no-questions-asked warranty program for their carbon wheels. Questions included:

  • What price effect will this unlimited warranty have on MSRP?
  • Who stands to benefit most under this new warranty regime?
  • Who will ultimately shoulder the additional cost of free carbon wheel replacement?

 

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

-Karl Marx

 

“Henceforth mammon shall floweth, from ye slow riders who foster hopes to procureth speed, to ye apes who go fast and break shit, with our hands as mere conduits for this righteous transfer of wealth.”

-Rob at Raceface

 

 

“#FREEwheelz4lyfeBOIZ”

-Dirtbags everywhere

 

 

“Huh? Oh yeah, I forgot I bought those wheels! Need to try those out. I think if I move around happy hour on Friday and my Saturday yoga workshop I could maybe fit a ride in this weekend. Have to talk to Andrea about picking up the CSA for me. That would be sick, though, haven’t been to Duthie in forever… sorry, what was the question?”

-Actual carbon wheel customer

Our Guarantee

Lately there’s been concern in the mountain bike industry about carbon frames and their environmental impact. Critics claim that carbon frame construction is resource intensive, produces large amounts of waste that cannot be recycled, and the unsustainable nature of production makes it unethical. “Ocean Fill” became the buzzword for this viral movement, implying that leftover carbon waste may ultimately end up floating in the ocean.

 

Peter Sagan’s brother decided to abandon a carbon fiber product launch after seeing how carbon waste was handled in Taiwan and China.

 

 

For us at TEAM ROBOT, that’s not a chance we’re willing to take. We don’t want you to live in uncertainty and fear about where your carbon waste may or may not end up. If you mail your leftover carbon production waste, broken carbon components, or outdated frames to us at:

 

TEAM ROBOT

5764 Georgia Ave NW

Washington, DC 20011

 

We will work around the clock to make sure your carbon waste products are dumped directly into the Pacific Ocean. You can rest easy with our guarantee, knowing with certainty where your waste is headed.

We’re also looking to expand into batteries and outdated cell phones.