Gruss von Krampus

Dear Santa: Cooper's List

Words Cooper Quinn
Date Dec 14, 2018

I’m not really one for sentimentality. Holidays? Eh, they’re a nice way to eat too much food, and have a bit-more-than-normal to drink in a socially acceptable format. That said, I still don’t really want a visit from Krampus so I try to ensure I’m on St Nikolaus’ Nice List. If I’ve been good enough in his eyes this year, I’ve got three requests:

Saintly Guidance

Bikes are good right now. Really, really good. You’d be hard pressed to make a lot of valid arguments that they aren’t better than they’ve ever been. Which has led me to my current position of paralysis by analysis. After a solid 18 months on my Pivot Switchblade, it seems like time to move on, and I’ve convinced myself I want something with a bit more travel. Maybe. Probably. I’m waffling, even here. I definitely want big wheels, but beyond that is where things get tricky. The “140-165mm aggressive 29er” category is stacked full of great options right now, and I’m completely bogged down in geometry charts, pro and amatuer “reviews”, and debating minor differences in spec when in reality I’d probably be happy on any of them. And really, do I need an upgrade? My current 150mm/135mm really hasn’t ever stopped me from hitting a line or feature, I’m plenty constrained by courage and skill.


Tim quite enjoyed his time on the smaller-wheeled Foxy. And my word its a looker - I’d love to find the 29er variant stuffed in my stocking this year. If you’re taking notes, Nik… I’ll take an XR. (Dave Smith photo).

So hit me with your ideas and experiences down in the dooblidoo, readers. The new Pivot Firebird looks like a Weapon of Smashing Enjoyment. The Rocky Mountain Instinct BC is…. well I mean it says “BC” right on it, doesn’t it? The new Kona Process 153 is getting good reviews, and I’m partial to the color. Everyone I know on a Transition Sentinel seems to quite enjoy it. The Mondraker Foxy 29er is gorgeous, and reviews sound awesome, but its also somewhat unattainable here. This is about as First World as problems get, but perhaps your Saintly guidance can help me weed through the suggestions, Niklaus. 

Caribou Cockpit

What’s on the other side of the bars is constantly changing, but this has been the view from my cockpit for a while now. Is it time for a change? Photo: Cooper Quinn

Heavier Bikes

Yep, you read that right. With all due respect to the German market - can you please let engineers make bikes just a BIT heavier? I’m thinking CSU’s that don’t creak. Bikes spec’d with real tires. And while I realize BC and the PNW are just one tiny piece of your global puzzle, it seems like I can name a friend who’s cracked or bent a frame from just about every single major and minor manufacturer out there in the past couple years. Speaking with a mountain bike enginerd friend at a major brand, with a couple hundred grams, we could fix a huge amount of this.

Dave Tolnai on Specialized e-bike in Croatia

I’m not the first to propose this, but e-bikes might actually be the answer here? Dave took us on an all expenses paid trip to Croatia to talk about the new Specialized, but failed to tell us if that fork is going to cure us of creaky CSUs. For shame. (Photo: Harookz)

A pound or two is significant, for sure. But keep some perspective - I’m a pretty light person, and probably weigh 210lbs including my bike, riding gear, a Tram Bar or two. That’s a way more relevant metric than just bike weight. Adding 2 pounds would equate to a <1% difference, and one I could make up for by drinking less beer (which I’m not gonna do, either). If that weight gets thrown into forks and frames it’ll be primarily unsprung, and definitely non-rotating, weight.

So what say you, marketers? Can you let the engineers do it? 

Your Time, Skills, or Money

To the confusion of many NSMB and the NSMBA are not interchangeable. This nameology juxtaposition has been around for decades, and is unlikely to ever change. To really help, I’m an occasional contributor here and current President of the NSMBA. And NSMB supports the NSMBA (thanks!). I’d ask Niklaus to have IFHT to clear this up once and for all in video form, but I think that’s just a pipe dream - we’ll ride flying unicorns down Ladies Only before people can keep the two straight. This last wish is with my NSMBA hat on (nsmbA, to use the parlance of NSMB), but also applies to your local scene. 

Niklaus, buddy. Can we get all trail users to help their local trail association? Always remember trail access is a privilege, not a right. There’s a few easy ways to do it. 


Membership numbers really do matter when we advocate for you in boardrooms with land managers and politicians.  Those membership dollars also help do everything from organizing community trail days, to races and other events for your enjoyment, to the nitty gritty trail maintenance and capital projects.


December is a great time to think about your taxes. The NSMBA is a registered charity, so donations are tax deductible. Anything dropped in here that’s >$20 gets a receipt immediately. If you’ve got your card out, it’ll take less than a minute to complete. There’s also flexible company sponsorship opportunities, starting from a pretty palatable $500, and going up from there.

Carrying Buckets NSMBA Trail Day

Many hands make light work. Even if you don’t have time to sling buckets, or spare cash, there’s plenty of easy ways to help your local trail association out. (Photo: Tristan Deggan)

If you’re unsure of who your local association is, or how to donate, Trailforks and the Trail Karma feature are great tools. Stock up on bonus points for next Christmas by throwing a couple bucks at organizations if you’re travelling and riding.

Skills and Time

No money to contribute, because biking is really f-ing expensive? That’s totally fine, too. Your local trail org could use volunteer help with [insert your skill set here]. They want your ideas and they need your skills. They need people to get down and dirty digging trail, to write a 5 minute email to Council, or organize a fundraiser (read: party!). Keep in mind most of the organization is made mostly of humans, who are likely volunteers with full time jobs trying to do the best job they can for your community. Be friendly?

So that’s it. Three little things, Nik. And none of them even take up any room in your sleigh - Mondraker stocking stuffer aside. Unless of course Krampus is coming to visit me instead in which case, scrap the above, I’d just like to minimize the punishment.

Cooper Quinn cornering on Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights didn’t just build itself. It took dedicated advocates, devoted builders, lots of time, and real money. All those machine-sized berms were built by hand. (Photo: Dave Smith)

Tags: NSMBA, Dear Santa, Mondraker, Pivot
Posted in: Gear, Features

Trending on NSMB


+3 Cooper Quinn Vik Banerjee Todd Hellinga
pedalhound  - Dec. 13, 2018, 8:58 a.m.

Best list so far! I am a director for SIMBS and for a city the size of Victoria with the number of riders that ride the trails that we maintain our membership numbers are very low. We have a new very active board this year who are focused on getting those numbers up and offering more community events and involvement. All it takes is a few bucks for a membership to your local trail society and that will really help us all move the sport forward.


+2 Merwinn Todd Hellinga
Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 13, 2018, 9:17 a.m.

Don't expect it to explode, building membership numbers is like rolling a snowball around. Takes hard work and time, and then.... I dont know where this metaphor ends. 

I think most trail orgs in bigger towns capture a couple percent of riders, at best (on a precentage basis small communities can do better, but they have their own challenges due to this smaller pool).

That's changing, but it takes a cultural shift away from "well trails are just there and they're free" thats pretty common and easy, especially in areas where that seems true. Sometimes it takes a threat to coalesce the community, which js sub-ideal. 

Love SIMBS! Keep it up!


+1 Cooper Quinn
Cory Booker  - Dec. 14, 2018, 6:28 a.m.

Something that has worked well in Salmon Arm was for the (only) LBS to get on board. Last year, anyone who purchased a new bike got a single Shuswap Cycling Club membership. Adding family members was left up to the new member. I’m not sure how many will renew in January when their memberships expire, but the numbers look pretty impressive in the meantime. 

(Um, thinking about this now, I think it was actually 2017 and I may have accidentally let my membership lapse. Note to bike clubs: use a CRM and get those reminders out!)


Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 14, 2018, 9:16 a.m.

This certainly gets mentioned and an idea pretty regularly. The NSMBA has not gone this route for a few reasons, but every association and situation is different. And I'm not going to stop any LBS that wants to start doing this! 

Sales 101, once you've got a customer, they're easier to keep. So expect a lot of people to renew, but not all. 

The challenge is making renewal really easy, CRM is one aspect of this, and one we don't do a spectacular job of. This was a conscious choice - we angled to make getting a membership as dead-simple and quick as possible over options that might have given us more data and flexibility here. I'd love to have an auto-renew option, but in no way do I want to take on the headache and responsibility of storing CCN info.

(also, what is a US Senator doing working with a trail organization in Salmon Arm?!)


Bushpilot  - Dec. 13, 2018, 9:35 a.m.

Are these tram bars available somewhere in the lower mainland?  Would like to try.  Great list BTW.


+2 Cooper Quinn Bushpilot
IslandLife  - Dec. 13, 2018, 9:52 a.m.

They're great, but I got into Hornby Bars this year, check em out, available in many places around BC and the Lower Mainland -


Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 13, 2018, 11:02 a.m.

Not that I'm aware of - I get them from a special shipment service in the States named "Mom". 

But yes. They're amazing.


IslandLife  - Dec. 13, 2018, 9:47 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

+1 Cooper Quinn
IslandLife  - Dec. 13, 2018, 9:48 a.m.

Your thoughts about a new bike... I'd add to your list - try and keep it as local as you can - and with that in mind... what about the new Knolly Fugitive LT? 29r... If you don't mind just 135mm of travel out back, but it's one of those bikes that I swear feels like 150 (I'm actually contemplating letting the air out of my shock and measuring because it has to have more), put a 160mm fork on it... and it slays... Knolly is a great company with great people... being able to pick up a phone or drop by the HQ and chat or deal with questions is a very nice thing, plus keep the profits local. It has proper modern geometry, and is a bike built, designed and engineered to stand the test of time. This thing is a beast. A beautiful beast. A beautiful, fast, gnarly beast.

Also Tram Bars are great... but I discovered an even better bar this year which also keeps your shopping more local Hornby Organic Bars - - Sooo good.


+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Dec. 13, 2018, 10:17 a.m.


Why not go completely off piste (in the footsteps of Andrew Major) and get a steel rigid singlespeed maybe with a side of Plus?

I can vouch for their high grin to buck ratio.


+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - Dec. 13, 2018, 10:23 a.m.

I laughed - thanks!

I tried to convince el presidente Cooper that rigid forking his single speed and single speeding his full suspension bike counts as two steps on the path to enlightenment but as you can see he’s still whorshipping the old gods... #krampusrides


Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 13, 2018, 11:14 a.m.

Andrew's life mission is to ensure I live to regret these words, but if the question is "Why don't you ride a rigid single speed?", well..... I don't tele ski, either. Or wear kickerbockers.


+1 IslandLife
Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 13, 2018, 11:23 a.m.

I know there was talk at one point, in some conversation I was in, about how Knolly measures their travel differently and/or more "accurately", so there might be something to that? (how's that for reliable primary source info!?)

I get the basis and reasoning for bushings, but I'm just not a fan. I am, however, a huge fan of Gulf livery on basically anything.


IslandLife  - Dec. 13, 2018, 1:23 p.m.

Huh... that could help explain it... maybe I will measure it myself!

I was skeptical of the use of bushings... but looking deeper, there is still much more bearing vs bushing use throughout the linkages, so I trusted Noel... and then I rode... the rest is history.

And yes, I'd be lying if I didn't say that part of the reason I picked up "Speed Racer" was simply to be able to race a bike with a freaking Gulf livery... like c'mon, it's basically the same thing as racing in a GT40.


Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 13, 2018, 2:24 p.m.

For sure, there's a lot of sound engineering behind the use of bushings in bicycles. Low rotation high load applications are where bushings excel. 

And the lighter weight is nice, especially when you have as many pivot points as the Fourby4.


Shoreboy  - Dec. 13, 2018, 3:23 p.m.

I find that people who are skeptical of bushings in mtb suspension havent experienced it when it is done properly.  I rode bikes with full bushings at all pivots (up until my most recent one) and couldnt have been happier with them.  They are easy to maintain and last way beyond any bearing seems to.


Andrew Major  - Dec. 13, 2018, 10:34 a.m.

Thanks Cooper, great reminder to have a glance at the sponsorship list every once in a while and choose to support businesses that are on it. 

Imagine if every mountain biker on The Shore who listed or purchased a property in the last couple years had required their agent to be a sponsor of the NSMBA - for a paltry $500. Might as well get the lawyers and notaries on their too. That sponsorship list would be a couple pages deep.


Cooper Quinn  - Dec. 13, 2018, 11:15 a.m.

$500. Its not so much, even for a small business. 

I try and make a point of supporting our sponsors - and recognizing them for it. A quick IG story, or even writing "thanks for supporting the NSMBA" on your receipt. That stuff goes a long way.


Brigham_Rupp  - Dec. 14, 2018, midnight

Solid list. You want a little more travel and a little more heft? Sounds like the Sentinel. It’s a fun bike!


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