Pistons & Pivots

Pistons & Pivots - Hailey Elise's '96 Tacoma & 2022 Juliana Rubion CC MX

Photos Deniz Merdano
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Pistons and Pivots features cool vehicles with character, and a little about their owners and the bikes they ride.

If you've got a vehicle and bike that fit the series, we'd love to help you share them with a wider audience, and you can take a crack at winning some prizing from Maxxis (tires are hard to come by in the days of Covid, so Maxxis has kindly offered to pay for two trail association memberships - one for you and a friend or two for you!).

You can enter in one of two ways:

  1. Send photos and articles to [email protected]. Make sure to include 'Pistons and Pivots' in the subject line.
  2. Or simply post a few vehicle and bike photos and details to Instagram and use the hashtags #pistonsandpivots and #nsmb.

We'll pick a few winning submission and feature them on the site, and the person that submitted it will earn a membership to their local trail association as well as one other (for another trail association or to share with a friend) courtesy of Maxxis.


Staple vehicle of West Coast mountain biking


Hailey Elise - Creative Powerhouse

Tell me a little bit about yourself Hailey. Where are you from and what got you into mountain biking?

Hailey Elise - I grew up in Port Coquitlam, at the base of Burke Mountain. My brother started mountain biking and naturally, I took over his hand-me-down bike, a Stinky Kona Deluxe. My dad would drive me to the top of Burke and before it was developed, I could ride Triple Crown and Fly Wheel basically back to my house. It was always recreational, even when I moved to Whistler. A year into living in Whistler, I decided that I wanted to see what I was capable of and started to try to pursue it professionally as both a rider and a photographer. 


Most vehicles of this vintage can benefit from a headlight upgrade. LED light bar helps a ton!

What is your involvement in the MTB industry?

It's a mixed bag. I ride, take photos, and develop content for sponsors and companies in the industry alongside my partner Ollie Jones. 

Was it easy to get a foot in the door?

No. It really wasn't and it still isn't. The road has been faced with a lot of barriers. For a very long time, I have been 'Ollie's girlfriend'. This is becoming less and less though. I even got asked if Ollie sets the photos up for me and then I click the camera. WHAT THE FUCK EH? It's okay though, I don't mind having to prove myself. 


A small trailside incident required a little snip on the winch cable. New one is on the way


Driven and Enjoyed

Tell me about your previous pistons a little bit. Have you always been a truck girl?

I grew up around trucks, wheeling in highschool, wrenching and drinking beers in a buddy's dad's garage. I didn't think I would end up with an Englishman that loves trucks more than baked beans and tea, but he would eat, sleep, and breathe oil and engines if he could. And so, trucks come part and parcel with Ollie Jones. Driving FSR's is also really fun. That being said, with bikes, it's a no-brainer to have a capable vehicle. And let me tell you, Ollie and I had our fair share. You ready for this, over the years we have had:

93 Toyota Pick-up

98 Toyota Tacoma

89 Toyota Hilux

98 Toyota 4-Runner

89 4-Runner (This truck had my heart but it also had rust!)

2010 Toyota Tacoma (Big Grey, Ollie's current truck)

96 Toyota Tacoma  (Little Green, my current truck)


Fresh 33" Mud-Terrains stick out far past the flares


The reason Taco gets low milage to the gallon but high milage to the fun-gauge


Tell me a it about your Taco. What year, gen., mods and funny quirks it has?

It's a 96 Toyota Tacoma. Ollie is incredible when it comes to fixing trucks so we bought it with a hot start issue thinking it would be an easy problem to solve. It was a run-around but ended up being a fuel pump sensor. In terms of mods, we are still in the process of upgrading. It's got a 12K winch, 33's, Bilstein 5100's, and a steel front bumper. We want to put sliders and a rear bumper on it. As for quirks. Ha. There's currently a battery/alternator issue that causes it to die when idling on occasion. There was a week where I had to get it jumped 3 times in two days. I tried to roll start it in reverse one of the times and ended up in the middle of the parking lot, stuck. Windshield wipers go on the fritz on occasion which has been brilliant in these snowy/sub-zero conditions. But she drives like a hog, is an absolute boss in the snow and I love her. Old tacos come with these kind of moments and while frustrating, it's also worth a good laugh.... generally after the fact. 


The wind deflector on the hood helps with vehicles of box shape


Calling out those km markers on the FSRs is a good skill in BC


Hailey was happy with the dumping of snow adding traction to the rear of the Taco

Did you wish it had a double cab or more passenger space?

Nah, just enough room for those that matter. 

What's the most bikes you have fit in the bed?

Not in this vehicle but in our other one, we had 4 in bed and then we strapped two to the sides (rack and ratchet straps) and two on top of our roof top tent for shuttles. So 8! 


Its a vibe


Just breaking in at 200K+


I prefer Auto for off-roading but nothing is more fun than manual


2022 Juliana Rubion CC MX

Tell us about your bike and setup.

This is the Juliana Roubion Mx. It's 160/150, Marzocchi Bomber Z1 fork, Bomber coil rear shock, Reserve wheels, Raceface components, TRP Quadiem Brakes, SRAM drivetrain (mixed models because why run an X01 derailleur when you're just going to smash it?), and Maxxis Assegai front and DHR rear tires. This is my first MX and it's been a challenge to get it set up to feel good but I'm really enjoying the process of trial and error to get it dialed in. I've really had to play with my suspension and cock-pit set up. My previous go-to bike was the Juliana Maverick, a 29er so I'm getting back into feeling more comfortable on a more playful bike. 


Marzocchi front and back on the bouncers


Not messing around with the tires. DD casing MaxGrip front and back


Grip factory


Loving the subtle Juliana Badge


TRP brakes are becoming more and more common on trail rigs here


Lever angles maybe different for left and right...


The multi-talented Hailey Elise!


One of the first members


Off into the sunset...

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+2 Pete Roggeman ElBrendo

Wow man, the photo game is on fire again. Also great to see Hailey featured. Just know her from Mahalo my Dude videos. Cool rig, both bike and truck!



Thank you. Hailey is a badass and she totally outshines this truck.


+1 Pete Roggeman

Heck yeah! Bring on the beat up tacos!



Patina on top of patina


+1 Pete Roggeman

I love old toyotas. Have a project 1980 pickup that's going nowhere. Had a 89 4runner w/ total chaos aftermarket IFS with high end shocks, 33"s, spooled rear diff. I got it for very cheap, as the efi had issues and it ran rich and fouled plugs. Still took it on every 4x4 trail in my area except one that was a very serious rock crawling trail (was featured on motor trend's ultimate adventure). I miss that truck, shouldn't have sold it when I moved. Anyways, I now love/hate old toyotas because most beaters are so overpriced.


+2 kcy4130 Natecher

Every time I see an article like this, it makes me so excited for my future project car! '94 Toyota Landcruiser that's been in the family since the day it was bought new. This is going to date me here, but it's the car that brought me home from the hospital as a baby and was my first car at age 16.


+1 Chad K

Sounds like an amazing project! 

I wish my dad had never sold the  1974 VW Beetle 1303 S Big he bought new...


+1 Chad K

Cruisers are cool machines!


+1 kcy4130

Nice! Great bike, better truck haha. I’ll never get Toyotas out of my blood. I’ve owned an

- 88 4Runner, v6. Drank gas like an 8 and had the power of a 4. But I loved that truck and it’s 33’s. 

- ‘01 4Runner, v6. Finally sold it at 315K and the only repair it ever needed was a 20 minute tear down of the drivers door to fix the power window. Two wires had come apart at the plug and play connector. Gotta love older Toyotas!

‘97 RAV4. 5 spd 4 cylinder buggy! That thing was such a bucket but took everything I could throw at it. It literally gasped it’s last breath when I drove it to the lot to trade it in on my wife’s current vehicle,

- ‘06 Rav4. Gutless 4 cyl that is awesome. The recent snow has no effect other than turning it into a go kart.



Sweet rigs! Would love to hear some more detail on the Bomber. Spring rate, damper settings, etc. Any special sauce in the valving? Seems like folks are loving the aftermarket tune options on those.



I don't believe there's any special valving sauce to be had from newer grip dampers. I've been told the dampers are ported, but without any shims involved to play with.



Do you not get vw transporters and the like in North America? I’m surprised I never see them mentioned outside europe yet they’re ubiquitous here



No VW vans for the most part except westies and those are now a million dollars - far worse than the toyota tax!



Yikes, I’m jealous of the big nuts 4x4s but also I couldn’t  live without my van.



Fraser Newton had a Eurovan at some point that started only whenever it wanted.. 

I love the vw vans but they really don't handle the north american abuse...


+1 Natecher

Dunno man mine is up and down the alps and Pyrenees all day long, modern vehicles are all pretty spectacular if you ask me


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