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





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.



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




-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:



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.

DO NOT KILL list: Brent Martin

The news story below is the most important thing to happen in mountain biking this month. I know what you’re thinking, and yes: this is even more important than the updated Spacecraft+ goggle from 100%, with all new injected polycarbonate lens to increase visual clarity and protect against the demands of today’s racing conditions, now with four layers of race foam for the ultimate in sweat absorption. Yeah, it’s more important than that.

Brent Martin, boring granola eating wilderness advocate and recent DO NOT KILL LIST addition, lost his job for collaborating with mountain bikers on a wilderness designation process in NC:


You should read the article linked above, but here’s the TLDR:

  • Guy worked as regional director for wilderness advocacy group, whose region included Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.
  • Guy worked for years on new management plan for two NC national forests, including Pisgah, balancing wilderness vs. recreational designations.
  • Guy brought many parties to table, worked toward amicable & mutually beneficial outcome.
  • Guy was promptly torpedoed by major organizational donor who went above his head to get him fired.

As with everything policy related, the real story is longer, more complicated, grayer, and a lot more boring. Your TEAM ROBOT investigatory journalism department is hard at work sorting out those finer details, and please chime in if you have any relevant details to share.

What’s clear is that Brent Martin tried to work across the table and got fired for it. For that, we owe him a debt of gratitude, and a spot on the DO NOT KILL LIST.

Proposed: a Lemon test

Here’s a quick test to determine whether anyone actually wants your big brand’s proprietary OE suspension product, like autosag, RE:aktiv with thru shaft, Twinlock, Lefty, Brain, DRCV, or countless others. For that matter, you can probably apply this same test to your house brand OE parts, like Bontrager carbon handlebars or Giant wheels with Dynamic Balanced Lacing.

Giant Dynamic Balanced Lacing. Like this guy at Giant HQ, you’ll get really good at replacing spokes.


The question: Do you see a demand for your product in the aftermarket?

If you answered yes, congratulations! You’ve used the resources available at your company to add value for your customers. An example: instead of building another 150mm dual crown trail fork no one wants, Specialized outsourced to the smarter, better suspension nerds at Ohlins and were able to build a product people actually want. The market has embraced the Ohlins shock, and now you see their shocks and forks on bikes outside of Specialized OEM.

If you answered no, then you’re only cluttering your customers’ lives with difficult to service or replace bullshit. No one wants the product you’re selling, and your misguided attempt to differentiate from the competition is only begrudgingly accepted by your core customers, not willfully embraced. There’s a good chance you’re actually hurting sales, because a chunk your potential customers would prefer to buy from one of the big brands with a lifetime warranty from their local bike shop, but won’t do it because they can’t get the shock they want in a 210×60, or a shock that fits in your weird yoke mount thing, or one that you can’t put volume reducers in like a normal person.

A quick scorecard:

And please don’t come back with, “It’s protected by patents, Charlie. How could an aftermarket company steal and resell a proprietary suspension idea?” I don’t know, go ask Raceface how they stole X-Sync and changed it just enough to skirt SRAM’s patent. Or ask Fox how they made a Double Barrel without infringing on Ohlins’ patents. Or ask Dave Weagle how easy it was to defend DW Link in court, or Split Pivot. When people thought platform damping was the shit, we had platforms from Fifth Element, Manitou, Fox, and Curnutt within two years, regardless of patents. The point is that eventually, somehow, the people always get what the people want.


Why does this matter?

Sticking sub-par house brand wheels on your bikes is bad, but at least wheels can be replaced. Proprietary suspension is like the little brother who always tags along. You put up with him because you have to, but no one’s ever sitting with friends thinking, “How much sicker would it be if my little brother Dylan was here?”

No one wants to hang out with Dylan. He’s the worst. You have to explain why he’s there to your friends, or even worse, to girls. And the only reason he’s even here is because Mom said he had to come. I hate Mom. She said she was gonna buy more Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but she never did.


“Hey Jarrett, I was reading ridemonkey and I think I could fit a Lefty on here.”

-no one ever