Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas. Etc.

Words Cam McRae
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Dec 24, 2021
Reading time

Having grown up in a culture that has shifted from a mostly Christian population in my childhood, to one where the majority of people identify as either non-Christian or having no religious affiliation, I sympathize with what it must feel like to be inundated by a religious holiday you don't understand or celebrate. I've ridden a similar cultural wave. I was raised in a household that identified as protestant but my children have no religious affiliation. Christmas however, has stuck around in our lives as a time to gather(!) with family and friends, reflect upon our lives, and to celebrate the people who are important to us. It may sound trite in the face of the commercialism we see all around us, but COVID has intensified these feelings for me.

Do you ever get Christmas update letters from friends or relatives? The ones that tell you about new pet hamsters, children's soccer trophies, broken wrists, and the occasional passing of a loved one? I don't have any rodents to declare, and the only passing I can think of is the final death rattle of 27+ wheels and tires (gone so soon!). I do however have a couple of things to say.

For my Christmas letter I'd like to express some gratitude. Christian or not, this is a fitting time of year to take stock of the good stuff, and I feel like there's been a lot of it in the past twelve months. There was a time, not too long ago, when it seemed like the end was near for NSMB.com. Fortunately, for the last few trips around he sun, beginning before COVID, things have been trending for the better, and this year was, by my estimation, the best yet.


All of the credit for this goes to people of course. Excellent folk in fact. Our contributors are the clearest example, and our crew has never been stronger, but those of you who come and visit us get a lot of the credit as well, because we'd be nowhere without you. The comments below our articles are an excellent indicator of how rare and splendid you are as a group. The rampant sarcasm and snark that is the hallmark of so many electronic conversations, is virtually absent from the dialogue beneath our articles. To have it be well-informed, entertaining, and intelligent dialogue is a spectacular bonus. There aren't many places I learn more about mountain biking in fact. So thanks to all of you who have contributed to the conversation and particularly to our hardworking and talented team of testers, writers, photographers, videographers and everyone who helps keep NSMB.com pointed downhill.

I'd also like thank all the companies who continue to believe in what we are doing, and who have supported us even after we have expressed something negative about one (or more) of their products.* We have lost advertisers because of this in the past, during times when any small downturn was cause for alarm and it's great to have weeded out those fickle supporters.

*and the ones who can take a joke!

The best news of all is that it feels like we're just hitting our stride.

Starting on Monday, and for the rest of 2021, we'll be sharing our 'Best of 2021' lists. Each writer has a unique take on this and was free to interpret the year through any lens that felt right to them. This will be the first year we get one of these from Mike Ferrentino as well, which is indeed cause for celebration.

It's a tricky time to be an optimist, but I have a good feeling about 2022, COVID bedamned! Here's to lots of great rides, fewer punctures, and more airtime in the next 12 months!

Cheers, and again, in true Canadian fashion, thanks very much!*

*and, sorry from Uncle Dave

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+15 Andrew Major Sandy James Oates Cr4w Todd Hellinga Pete Roggeman LWK DancingWithMyself Ben Shaw Tremeer023 william bailey Devin Zoller 4Runner1 Velocipedestrian Cam McRae kcy4130
fartymarty  - Dec. 24, 2021, 1:03 a.m.

Thanks for another great year.  Keep on doing what you're doing - critical, informed, intelligent, entertaining writing (and comments).

Best wishes to all, m


+11 Sandy James Oates Andrew Major Pete Roggeman fartymarty Mammal DancingWithMyself Tremeer023 4Runner1 Velocipedestrian Cam McRae kcy4130
derek.richards  - Dec. 24, 2021, 5:43 a.m.

I had no idea NSMB was in rough waters over the last few years. I rarely comment here but this is my go to for (mostly) more mature mountain biking content… I mean this in a good way! I especially love Andrew’s technical and kid related articles! 

Keep up your amazing work! This truly is a one of kind website! Cheers


+2 Andrew Major kcy4130
Cam McRae  - Dec. 24, 2021, 2:03 p.m.

More like five years ago Derek but it still feels pretty fresh to me. 

Thanks very much for the kind words and all the best over the holidays.


+11 Sandy James Oates OldManBike Andrew Major Pete Roggeman fartymarty LWK Briain Tremeer023 william bailey Cam McRae kcy4130
trumpstinyhands  - Dec. 24, 2021, 7:18 a.m.

I had a genuine LOL at the subject title..... Thanks for being one of the few biking media sources left that seems to have integrity at it's core, and for creating interesting content that people want to read, rather than a dirge of 'Must Watch!' crap. 

A work mate has just installed a 27+ rear wheel on his 29er, so you might have to re-write that bit though ;)


+2 fartymarty Peter Leeds
Andrew Major  - Dec. 24, 2021, 8:34 a.m.


(Is your mate’s tire a proper Plus - 2.8-3” - or a 2.6”, in which case that’s just a tire now).


+6 Sandy James Oates Andrew Major Pete Roggeman fartymarty Cam McRae Tremeer023
Vik Banerjee  - Dec. 24, 2021, 7:25 a.m.

Merry Christmas NSMB!


+6 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman fartymarty Cam McRae Velocipedestrian kcy4130
Todd Hellinga  - Dec. 24, 2021, 7:44 a.m.

Have really enjoyed the variety and uniqueness of the content this year! Thanks for not being cookie cutter in an otherwise generally bland mtb media landscape!


+6 Andrew Major fartymarty Pete Roggeman Cam McRae DancingWithMyself Velocipedestrian
LWK  - Dec. 24, 2021, 8:07 a.m.

what everyone above has said.  Thx for providing a unique, fun and intelligent place for us.  Merry Christmas!


+12 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman fartymarty Cam McRae Mammal DancingWithMyself Ben Shaw Metacomet Tremeer023 derek.richards 4Runner1 Velocipedestrian
william bailey  - Dec. 24, 2021, 8:10 a.m.

Honestly the best mtb content on the interweb imo.

Honest reviews by talented reviewers and well written interesting content.

Please don't get bought up by Outside.



+7 fartymarty Pete Roggeman Cam McRae Mammal Niels DancingWithMyself Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - Dec. 24, 2021, 8:37 a.m.

Awesome piece Cam! 

Looking forward to an annual tradition of a blend of secular Christmas greeting and NSMB state of the union for many years to come.


+3 Cam McRae 4Runner1 Pete Roggeman
Harris  - Dec. 24, 2021, 10:25 a.m.

We're glad to have you all still here, spinning out quality content for the huddled masses to read.


+4 Cam McRae william bailey Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
danimaniac  - Dec. 24, 2021, 10:51 a.m.

You folks are a true blessing! 

Häh, Andrew, that's for your secular Christmas greeting ;-)

Keep it coming! Your tech and teardown articles are the best. I still go back to the dominion pair of articles whenever I have any issues with mine because the comments are pure gold!


Andrew Major  - Dec. 25, 2021, 6:15 a.m.

Ha! Appreciated.

Thank you for the motivation. I’m working on doing some teardowns with Nice Guy G*off in the new year.


+1 Andrew Major
SteveR  - Dec. 27, 2021, 3:28 p.m.

Teardowns? Maybe on the latest generation Auron with the PCS damper and EQ air? Picked one up last winter as an xmas present to myself, based largely on your positive experiences, and rode the crap out of it over a 2200 km season. 100% satisfied with both performance and ease of routine maintenance, but now it's time to really open it up...


Andrew Major  - Dec. 27, 2021, 3:46 p.m.

Glad the fork is working great for you.

Here's a full look at the EQ Air Spring. I actually swapped mine to the shaft from an Axon to reduce the travel to 120mm. All the EQ forks share the same construction and some parts although the air piston sizes due change base on stanchion size of course. 

I haven't needed to open the damper and that's generally the point at which I'd be sending my fork to SuspensionWerx. I'll certainly think about doing a down-the-road look at the fork though and could include that. 



+4 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
eriksg  - Dec. 24, 2021, 11:06 a.m.

Thanks Cam and NSMB for a great year! I returned to MTB and by extension MTB media in 2019 after a long absence, and have gotten more focused on riding in the past two years as I've had fewer other outlets in Covid times. During that time I have been stoked to find this place:  incisive writing, wise perspectives, and I've even learned a lot from the comments which is not always the case. I keep coming back because it is one of the few places that seems to have unique and independent content, and warm and welcoming attitude. Keep it up, and enjoy your holidays!


+4 Cam McRae Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman
Karl Fitzpatrick  - Dec. 24, 2021, 11:23 a.m.

If Christmas now is for no other reason than to serve as a marker to either factory reset or to remind yourself that one is needed, that's good enough for me. 

Thanks for not only being the place I can quench my bike nerdery thirst but doing so without making me feel like I'm looking at what I can't afford (or do eg. 'shred, brap, rip, jib, boost etc). 

Merry Christmas to all you GCs. Keep it coming!


+6 Cam McRae Mammal DancingWithMyself Andrew Major derek.richards Pete Roggeman
papa44  - Dec. 24, 2021, 12:08 p.m.

Good work on the community you’ve built and the super useful site. I’m mainly here for Andrews tales of drive train shenanigans and adventures with kids but I love everything


+2 Cam McRae papa44
Andrew Major  - Dec. 25, 2021, 6:15 a.m.



+4 Andrew Major 4Runner1 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Crabbypants  - Dec. 24, 2021, 6:58 p.m.

While I do visit that other bike site, I maybe read 1 in 10 articles and frankly can’t be bothered with most of the videos. I’ve been frequenting NSMB since inception and miss the heyday of the forums. You might put out less content, but I give your honest (and sometimes weird, ya, I’m looking at you Andrew) reviews way more weight.


+8 william bailey Poz Andrew Major derek.richards 4Runner1 Velocipedestrian Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Metacomet  - Dec. 24, 2021, 9:21 p.m.

NSMB is such a fiercely honest, uniquely relatable, valuable, and I’ll even say Important resource for the MTB community.  You lend a perspective all your own on all manner of things, and it’s always the best, most original, insightful, well considered, well articulated, and most entertaining.  Quality over quantity.  So, Thank You to the NSMB team for sticking with your vision, and totally kicking ass.  What you do is appreciated!


+5 danimaniac Andrew Major 4Runner1 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Poz  - Dec. 24, 2021, 9:56 p.m.

Great piece Cam! And thanks for this awesome site and solid contributors. My forum membership says Ive been here steady for 18 years and it’s all been good.


+2 Cam McRae Poz
danimaniac  - Dec. 25, 2021, 2:23 a.m.



+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Mic  - Dec. 25, 2021, 1:10 p.m.

Happy Holidays, beloved folks and fellow far away riders on NSMB.


+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
4Runner1  - Dec. 25, 2021, 7:50 p.m.

Happy Holidays to all. nsmb continues to be the leader, IMHO. I’m most in awe of the technical knowledge of so many here. The articles and stories always entertain.

See you all in ‘22.


+3 eriksg Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
dsc  - Dec. 26, 2021, 6:22 a.m.

Long time reader, first time commenter. NSMB is the best mtb resource out there, bar none. Thank you, and please keep doing what you’re doing. Happy holidays!


+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Mike Bergen  - Dec. 26, 2021, 8 a.m.

This is one of the few websites I still visit daily (usually multiple times a day) because the content is just so good. The variety of writing styles, storytelling, personalities, different takes on gear, and even how the community engages in the comments - it all keeps me coming back. You folks do something special!

Thank you all and here's to a great ending for 2021 and 365 special days in 2022!


-1 Brigham_Rupp Cam McRae Pete Roggeman 4Runner1 AverageAdventurer Velocipedestrian william bailey
JSW07  - Dec. 26, 2021, 8:32 a.m.

For the record...Christmas cannot be celebrated without Christ at the centre. It's in the name "Chirst-mas". 

IMHO, for those that don't celebrate Christmas for the Glory of God, need to call it something else...maybe "Self-mas" or "Money-mas" or "Consumer-mas" or "Family-mas" or "Thankfulness-mas" as to call it "Christ-mas" and to celebrate anything other than CHRIST is a complete contradiction to what Christmas IS.

FYI...We only have mountain bikes because of Christ.

Thank God, for sending His son to save us from our sins. Christmas is good news for those who believe...let me ask you...what is this "good news" to those who DON'T believe? 

All that being said...I am happy to hear that NSMB is looking to be in better shape as I enjoy this. 

Blessings to all of you! Merry Christmas!


+3 AverageAdventurer william bailey Cam McRae
4Runner1  - Dec. 26, 2021, 11:37 a.m.

Should I now provide my Atheist rant?  This isn’t the place for this. I’m happy for you that you believe in god, but maybe keep it to yourself?


+4 Carlos Matutes Pete Roggeman Poz Cam McRae
Brigham_Rupp  - Dec. 26, 2021, 5:17 p.m.

I think JSW07’s comment is a bit overbearing and I would generally agree, but Cam did start his article with an explanation of his disbelief. He obviously felt some dissonance with celebrating a holiday that is fundamentally about Christ and felt the need to share it on his MTB blog. I think it’s fair to question Western society’s strange devotion to celebrating Christmas while doing level best to distance their celebration from the fundamental tenets of Christianity. “Secular Christmas” is to me a pretty good oxymoron. 

But it’s also fair to note that the winter holiday was originally “pagan” and actually celebrating the solstice. It was co-opted by Christians, and fair enough if it’s co-opted back. 

As a Christian myself, I prefer to quietly observe that even as materialistic and secular as it is, the lights and trees, songs and gifts, all point me to Christ, whose loving example I hope to follow. 

All that said, NSMB is excellent and I don’t care about the religious beliefs or holiday observances of the editors. We come here to share in our passion for MTB, not to answer the great philosophical questions. Can I wish everyone a happy New Year without risk of offense? :)


+3 Carlos Matutes Pete Roggeman Poz
Cam McRae  - Dec. 26, 2021, 9:42 p.m.

A very balanced and sensible commentary BR. Thanks very much for your insight. And, if you prefer, happy holidays, Merry Christmas, or joyous pagan celebration. All the best!


+3 Mark william bailey Cam McRae
Poz  - Dec. 27, 2021, 12:37 p.m.

Don’t forget Festivus for the rest of us


+3 Carlos Matutes Pete Roggeman Niels william bailey 4Runner1
Cam McRae  - Dec. 26, 2021, 9:40 p.m.

While I don't share your commitment to the protestant angle on Christianity, or the Christian angle on religion JSW07, your opinion is welcome here and I'm glad you feel comfortable enough to share it.

Merry Christmas  (or whatever you prefer I call it!) and thanks for your comment!


+1 Cam McRae
Lacy Kemp  - Dec. 27, 2021, 10:45 a.m.


Miss seeing you guys in person.


Cam McRae  - Dec. 27, 2021, 10:20 p.m.

Aww shucks! Miss you to Lacy! Hopefully 2022 will allow for more cross-border antics!


Lacy Kemp  - Dec. 27, 2021, 10:45 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

Stevemtb  - Jan. 3, 2022, 12:34 p.m.

Respect! As a long time lurker till recently, gotta echo what everyone said. And what another reader said somewhere please don't sell to Outside.


+1 Stevemtb
Cam McRae  - Jan. 3, 2022, 3:33 p.m.

I'll take the blame for that one. We got our signals crossed. 



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