Fat, Fashion and F*cking Wheel Size

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Nov 24, 2015

So I’ve just stepped off a red eye and my internal guilt isn’t allowing me to shirk this sucker off this week. It was close…and we’d probably all be better off if I had…but if I’m going to suffer, I guess you have to as well.

Dear Uncle Dave:

I just read your article and while you made a good point about race teams using 650B because they’re faster, that doesn’t explain why tire companies are not making new tires for 26″ wheels, which most people are still riding. I get not making new frames or even rims. However tires are disposable items and you’d think that tire companies would want to make new tires for their largest market, unless they’re trying to kill the 26″ wheel.


No, really. Is it a conspiracy?

Dear Noritch:

So…the bike industry is making millions by forcing us to change to 650b…but they’re also passing up on untold riches by not producing the new tread patterns in 26″ that everybody is screaming for?

Just give in to the dark side already.

Uncle Dave

Dear Uncle Dave,

Since the autumn has dropped over here in Poland I’ve decided to run my second-half-of-the-year-bike and sadly noticed that my front fork has dropped on its sag…no, no, air chamber is ok, it’s me and my belly getting bigger. So I guess my healthy diet is a scheme and eating tons of beef as a breakfast just doesn’t work.

In a couple of edits by Vanderham, Hopkins and some other pros, I’ve noticed that most of them stick to routine: wake up – drink coffee – maybe one more coffee – call on a friend – go shred some trails… and they shred it good.

So, do they ever eat their breakfast or is coffee just fine?

Getting some quality coffee is much cheaper than buying a new spring for my fork so I need a hint.


Getting Fat

Dear Fattie:

You’re from Poland? I know about you. You’re like us Hungarians. Coffee probably won’t help. Look more closely at all the cured meats, sausages, dumplings, pierogies, stews, soups, fat roasted potatoes, fermented vegetables, pastries, donuts and sweets.

Oh man. That makes me so hungry. Honestly, who cares if you’re a bit fat. The above sounds awesome. Don’t give it up. Drink some coffee if you think it helps.

Uncle Dave

Uncle Dave, 

I’ve been riding mountain bikes for nearly two decades now, and overall am pretty stoked on the level of progression I’ve enjoyed over the years. I’d say I’m on the lower end of the “advanced” spectrum, in that I can generally handle anything the trail throws at me, but steep dirt jump lips, and high speed hucking make my sweaty palms reach for the brake levers.

What I notice, both in videos, and the guys I ride with who are better than me, a taste in heavy metal (which sounds like greasy-haired junior high kids who haven’t discovered acne medication) is essential for high speed hucking, and skinny pants that would have been considered cross dressing a short while back are the leotards of dirt jumping

I’m not comfortable with either of these choices. Does this mean I will be limited to honing my trail riding skills?


Dear Hank:

For some reason, the other day, I was thinking about the early 90’s and mountain biking. I was thinking about the first days of SPD’s, when everybody was still trying to figure the shoes out. I remember Airwalk came out with a shoe. Vans. Probably a few others.

This was a really wonderful time for mountain biking. It felt like we were important enough to be noticed, and those whose attention we attracted wanted to be influenced by what we were doing, not just sell us slightly different products that they developed for some other sport. That shit was ugly, but at least it was ours.

I don’t know what happened after that. Now, it all just feels so derivative and common. With a shoe swap, a DH racer could line up for an MX national. Pop the visor off an XC racer and you could slide them in to the Tour. And the dirt jumpers are little fashion pawns of the “action sports” entertainment mafia. Little cardboard cut-outs, just swap in the correct sports apparatus and energy drink logo. Skateboards, BMX, mountain bikes, whatever, as long as we’re selling enough Extreme Ranch Doritos.

Holy shit I’m tired.

So. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here, actually. The point is, we’ve always looked pretty stupid riding our bikes. So what the hell. Pretend it’s Hallowe’en. Dress up like your favourite dirt jumping grom and maybe some of whatever-the-hell-that-takes will rub off on you.

Uncle Dave

Congratulations HanktheSpaceCowboy, you’re this week’s winner. You have won a pair of Race Face’s brand new Chester Pedals. With a nylon composite body, fully serviceable sealed bearing and bushing system and cromo axles, they look like a great place to put your feet. While riding. As long as you’re wearing shoes.


If you have a question for Uncle Dave, send it to askuncledave@nsmb.com. If he answers your question, you may also get a prize. Or not. But let’s face it, the real prize is having Dave drop a pearl or two of wisdom in your general direction.


Trending on NSMB


ZigaK  - Nov. 25, 2015, 9:49 p.m.

But seriously, why aren't they producing the new tread patterns in 26″?


Merwinn  - Nov. 25, 2015, 10:57 a.m.

How does Noritch know "most" people are still riding 26″?

Step 24: Pick a wheel size and…


Luix  - Nov. 25, 2015, 4:13 a.m.

Holy chit, for a minute I thought I would be missing my weekly fix of Uncle Dave's wisdom! I thought you got sick, or worse, were out on vacation!

Seriously, we need a fill-in for you dude. Just in case.

Regarding this week's themes, I can say I look pretty stupid trying to fit my UNIX admin-amassed fat ass in some skinny jeans to run my enduro 650b bike on some shitty dirt jumps. But then again, nobody will ever bare to take a photo of me, since i'm a big Joey, so who cares… I enjoy it.


qduffy  - Nov. 24, 2015, 5:32 p.m.

Can we all stipulate that the 650b/26 thing is over and can we all agree not talk about it any more? Maybe save our vitriolic energy for fatbikes and other weird industry stuff that doesn't make any sense?


Luix  - Nov. 25, 2015, 4:16 a.m.

This. I truly believe we can engage Uncle Dave in some good ol' battle over the plus bikes thing. He rode them in Scott's presentation a few months ago, and got turned into a true believer.


qduffy  - Nov. 25, 2015, 11:04 a.m.

Oh yeah. I remember that.

I'd be up for some eloquent +bike proselytizing.


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