Chris Porter
Obsessed With Mountain Biking

The NSMB Podcast: Chris Porter – Big Mouth Strikes Again

Words A.J. Barlas
Photos Alex Luise
Date Jul 9, 2021

Chris Porter is back for another episode of the NSMB Podcast and once again, it's a brain-tickler. Our first conversation shared stories of Chris's background, giving a better understanding of the man behind the ideas having a resounding impact on the sport. With Chris’s blessing, part two has been labelled Big Mouth Strikes Again. He sees things through a different coloured lens and isn’t afraid to share his opinions. Not everyone will agree with his thoughts, but his musings can spark ideas and leave you contemplating things not previously considered. I always come away from our conversations with an appreciation for new perspectives and I hope listeners can, too.

Topics Discussed:

  • eMTB’s. Personal opinion and things that could be improved to make them better.
  • Axle sizes for forks and rear wheels
  • Inverted forks, linkage forks and fork offset
    • Why single crown forks have a different offset to dual crowns
  • Tire Inserts and tire technology
  • High pivot bikes, idler pulleys and all of that chain
    • The Brooklyn Machine Works
  • The racing world, doping and the rules being upheld (or not)
  • Steering Dampers

Links mentioned in this episode:

The NSMB Podcast: Obsessed with Mountain Biking is available on all of your favourite podcast apps:

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Comments

olaa
0
olaa  - July 9, 2021, 3:01 a.m.

So, for the insert part of this: how about Procore together with a (slightly modified) Tannus Tubeless? That could give some pretty interesting rebound characteristics, as well as keeping the tyre on the rim.

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Mojo16rider
0
Jakub Gábriš  - July 9, 2021, 10:40 a.m.

it would be fooking heavy and tannus still wouldn´t be integral part of the tire (nor it´s thick enough in the middle part of it to create any kind of significant damping of the pro core spring)

Reply

xy9ine
+5 Pete Roggeman Dan Conant Beau Miller Zero-cool Martin
Perry Schebel  - July 9, 2021, 8:52 a.m.

oh hell yes! *settles down with big mug o coffee*

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+3 Dan Conant Beau Miller Martin
Pete Roggeman  - July 9, 2021, 9:51 a.m.

It does NOT disappoint, Perry.

Reply

xy9ine
+2 Pete Roggeman AJ Barlas
Perry Schebel  - July 9, 2021, 2:20 p.m.

cool to hear he also used to have a TMX - and similarly attempted (futilely) to weight weenie the thing (i was also running the titanium profile bolts & axle - in addition to ~40 other ti bolts).

Reply

Suns_PSD
+1 Pete Roggeman
Sun Hester  - July 9, 2021, 11:35 a.m.

Good stuff although I don't always agree.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - July 9, 2021, 3:33 p.m.

Agreed!

Reply

Stonant
+2 hotlapz JVP
Dan Conant  - July 9, 2021, 11:38 a.m.

I need him to name the inserts he thinks are trash.  I'm leaning towards tannus tubeless type inserts.

Reply

JVP
0
JVP  - July 11, 2021, 12:26 p.m.

He said hard to install, so probably not Tannus.

Reply

OLDF150
+6 Pete Roggeman Sun Hester WasatchEnduro JVP Zero-cool Martin
Kerry Williams  - July 9, 2021, 3:17 p.m.

I feel the same, I always enjoy an interview with Mr. Porter.  You don't have to agree with him, but he definitely gets you wondering if the things you take for truth about bikes, really are.

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pete@nsmb.com
+3 Dan Conant WasatchEnduro Martin
Pete Roggeman  - July 9, 2021, 3:34 p.m.

Yep. Whether it's bikes or barn doors, we need more people looking at things and challenging the status quo that aren't just contrarians, but rather thoughtful, intelligent, and curious.

Not sure why I chose 'barn doors' but someone decided about 10 years ago that they'd make for trendy interior doors, so I guess it just worked.

Reply

wasatchenduro
+1 AJ Barlas
WasatchEnduro  - July 10, 2021, 4:25 p.m.

As I scramble across the bikerwebs checking EX471 inventory…

Reply

trumpstinyhands
+9 hotlapz Sun Hester Andy Eunson Dan Conant Cr4w WasatchEnduro Beau Miller Martin TimBud
trumpstinyhands  - July 9, 2021, 6:53 p.m.

"E Bikes are shit motorbikes". I almost want that on a T-shirt. He has a point though. The power delivery is pretty terrible on any of the higher settings. I've seen people spin out and crash going uphill, and also fail to make tech climbs that I can get up on my hardtail with no issues. In 'Boost' type modes you are just hanging on and assisting the motor, rather than the other way around. I guess most people just want a self-uplift for MOAR LAPS so don't care about such things, but IMHO the technology needs a hell of a lot of refining. 

Until the drive unit can intelligently assist pedaling forces rather than pedaling forces assisting the unrefined drive unit, they'll just be trendy off-road mopeds. There, I said it ;)

Reply

kavurider
0 WasatchEnduro Beau Miller
KavuRider  - July 10, 2021, 9:36 a.m.

I find it funny that some people think ebike riders secretly want a dirt bike.  

I can't speak for anyone else...but I have zero interest in having a dirt bike.  Not a fan of motorcycles in general.  

eBikes are just different.  Definitely a different skill in learning how to do technical climbs on one. I don't have any problem once I learned how to adapt to the power output.

Reply

craw
+6 WasatchEnduro Dan Conant Zero-cool Martin Andy Eunson AJ Barlas
Cr4w  - July 10, 2021, 10:30 a.m.

His points about tire construction are totally on point. Mountain bike tubeless is ridiculous and the continued use of presta valves with latex sealant doesn't make any sense. And our tires keep getting heavier and heavier to survive extreme use and they're still not factory sealed - we still have to soak them in sealant - then we add inserts! 

If we made the tires correctly could abandon both inserts and sealant. We've been kluging tires for decades. It's really time for someone to rethink how we do this.

Reply

Hbar
+1 WasatchEnduro
Hbar  - July 10, 2021, 11:16 a.m.

Did you agree with his opinions about narrow rims? As I understood him, he preferred tire performance on narrow rims vs >29 mm rims, both in rolling and cornering. That hasn't been my experience, but perhaps I misunderstood him (I was listening at 1.5x :) )

Reply

craw
0
Cr4w  - July 11, 2021, 1:13 p.m.

I definitely do not share his opinion about inserts or narrow rims. My experience has been the exact opposite. Maybe that's because as a heavier rider I always had to pick between tire support and grip performance. With inserts I can have both at once. I much prefer wider rims to narrower.

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Pete Roggeman
fartymarty  - July 11, 2021, 11:24 p.m.

I've been running schradder valves since switching to tubeless 10 years ago. I was running schradder valves before that as well. They're just better than presta when you're a bit hamfisted like me. The only downside is having to drill out your rims. I'm currently using valves cut from Conti tubes which have a full length thread but have ordered some motorbike valves which should be a bit more robust.

I changed some tyres over the weekend and have aired up some Minions (2.3R2 and 2.3SS) yesterday and they're still up this morning without any sealant (one tyre is new and the other well used). IMO the only thing sealant is good for is thorns - forget about side wall cuts as you run out of sealant before they seal and you have to stop and get the sealant over the cut.

I would rather run a heavier tyre (currently on Tough 2.3 Vigis on 511s) than the faff of an insert.  I'm 95kg in the buff so definitely on the heavier side and they seem to work.

Maybe slightly tighter tyres would solve the problem.   Then they could be aired up without sealant making trail side repairs less messy - you could pop the tyre off, put a boot / patch on and re-inflate.

Edit - More info on my tape setup on https://nsmb.com/forum/forum/gear-4/topic/tubeless-tape-131636/

Reply

RAHrider
0
Reed Holden  - July 11, 2021, 10:31 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

RAHrider
+2 Cr4w JVP
Reed Holden  - July 11, 2021, 10:31 a.m.

The rolling resistance of a tire with a heavy casing really sucks though. I'm not defending the current situation as being any sort of ideal but at the same time, something heavier than a downhill casing would suck to pedal.

Reply

craw
+2 Zero-cool Andy Eunson
Cr4w  - July 11, 2021, 1:14 p.m.

That's what I'm saying. There has to be a better way than to have a 1200g tire then stick another 200g insert inside to make it ride right. If these two products were integrated we could probably shed a bunch of the weight.

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RAHrider
0
Reed Holden  - July 11, 2021, 9:56 p.m.

But I'd hate to pay $250 for a tire with an integrated insert just to throw away the whole enchilada when the knobs wear off. I feel like the answer is in a smarter rim design. What year is the hook/bead system from, like 1950 or something?

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - July 12, 2021, 12:42 a.m.

edited above.

Reply

Zero-cool
+4 Martin AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman Sun Hester
Zero-cool  - July 11, 2021, 4:17 p.m.

I’ve always found his articles and interviews really thought provoking. And unlike a lot of people in the bike industry he suggests what he thinks would be the solution to problems without pushing his own products down your throat. Obviously he talks about Geometron, etc, but he’s happy to admit when someone else’s product is good, or when he was wrong. I guess it’s because he’s not really in direct competition with most other bike companies.  

I’m enjoying the NSMB podcast so far.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - July 12, 2021, 9:53 a.m.

Agreed. It's refreshing and unfortunately rare to see business owners that would rather be forthright and turn off the sales first mentality. 

Glad you're liking the pod. Happy to hear suggestions for interviews you'd like to hear or other feedback. And please do leave us a review if you can on whatever platform you use to listen - it is much appreciated.

Reply

Morox
+1 AJ Barlas
Brian Moreaux  - July 19, 2021, 9:01 a.m.

I’d like to hear from Keith at Banshee bikes. Seems like he would have some interesting opinions given his long career.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - July 21, 2021, 12:44 p.m.

Good call. I haven't chatted with him in years but will add him to my list. Thanks Brian.

Reply

Suns_PSD
0
Sun Hester  - July 12, 2021, 10:39 a.m.

My opinion in really heavily built extremely capable bikes are that, outside of a few extreme cases, slower overall. There is no doubt that double crown forks, DD tires, coil shocks and so on feel great and improve how a bike feels. 

Problem is this crappy 1/4 hp meat motor I'm working with. It feels every scrap of weight and rolling resistance, to the point that too much of that stuff prevents me from maintaining my inertia and flow state at ideal levels. I've tried both ways for certain and find a lose very little on the downs being very cautious regarding weights and rolling resistance, but gain a whole bunch every where else, particularly with the burly tires.

Reply

Glass
0
Glass  - July 14, 2021, 3:35 a.m.

So if tyre manufacturers made rounder tyres you could run wider rims and still have less rolling resistance.

Reply

Larrabee
0
Larrabee  - July 16, 2021, 5:23 p.m.

This 2-part interview was like manna from heaven for me. I’m rockin’ an XL Starling Murmur and come from a long history of motocross (ridden slowly), being a motorcycle mechanic, Ducati 1978 900SS owner, and general nerd about physics and gadgets.  Thanks a million to NSMB and to THE MAN himself (on an equal footing with Roger DeCoster). Good luck to all.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - July 19, 2021, 11:40 a.m.

Thanks Larrabee, psyched to hear you enjoyed the episodes.

Reply

Andy1972
0
Andy1972  - July 19, 2021, 10:47 a.m.

I've enjoyed listening/reading to Chris's thoughts on bikes since his editor days at Mountainbike International. But I thought his comments on Martin Maes' test results were way off the mark. To some extent this come down to differences in opinions, but some of what he said was factually incorrect. Martin was given antibiotics by the race doctor at the NZ Enduro for the infected cut, but the infection was not improving. So the Dr gave him something that reduces how quickly the body expels the antibiotics in the urine, so that they continue to act on the infection for longer. This is also classified as a masking agent by the UCI, as it can stop performance enhancing drugs being expelled in the urine. As I mentioned above, and as was well publicised at the time, it was race appointed Dr that prescribed this, not Martin or his team. The Dr was doing what he though was necessary to treat the injury in a multi-day race in a remote location. There is no performance gain for the substance taken to the best of my knowledge. The injury he sustained, although it "looked like a scratch" to Chris, was described as serious by those there at the race in subsequent interviews, e.g. Gehrig twins, Sven etc.  Martin himself was very upfront acknowledging that ignorance is no excuse, including in the EWS highlights show of one of the races later in the season. And he paid a very heavy price for that mistake after such an incredible start to that season. While Chris is entitled to have his personal take on whether failed tests should result in long-term ban, or the publication of identify of those that fail tests (I agree with this). I feel like Chris's comments on Martin's specific case, where he clearly did not have all the facts, were something that should have been pushed back in the interests of balance by AJ.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - July 19, 2021, 11:51 a.m.

Hey Andy, thanks for the comment. I did counter what Chris was saying and mentioned why he was given the treatment he was. I couldn't remember the exact details during the conversation but did write articles about it at the time, the initial report, and a deeper dive with a doctor. Maybe I didn't provide enough of a counter for you but the podcast was about Chris's thoughts, not mine, and I'm not looking to get into arguments with guests – that's a different sort podcast. 

Yes, Martin admitted his mistake and it's a legitimate reason in my opinion, but that's not how everyone sees it, and they're entitled to their own view. Thanks for listening and the feedback. I'll keep it in mind when recording future podcasts.

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Andy1972
0
Andy1972  - July 19, 2021, 12:48 p.m.

Thanks AJ. I appreciate the response. I enjoyed the rest of the podcast and Chris's other musings.

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tdmsurfguy
0
tdmsurfguy  - July 22, 2021, 6:36 a.m.

AJ, great podcast. I’m enjoying them and really enjoyed Chris. It was interesting listening to him chat about the issues with modern forks. Especially with the lack of oil in them. Just curious as what he/you thinks is a good one out there that has started to remedy these issues besides the big two. Chris never called any fork manufacturer out but I’d love to know who he thinks is doing a good job on making a decent thought out fork? Thanks and keep the podcast coming!

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