porsche-911-gts-specialized-enduro-dream-rides-200520--42.jpg
RANT

The Sad State Of The 'Because I Can' Mountain Bike

Words Andrew Major
Photos As Noted
Date Jul 11, 2022
Reading time

Sleeper vs. Snoozer

Sitting on my little stoop, cocktail in hand, I'd believe it if you told me that the North Shore is the per capita Tesla capital of the world. And I'm not just talking about those lame-sauce Model 3 sedans that the slightly-less-poors drive around. Heck, I'm not even talking about the folks dropping another +25K for a Model Y. The number of Model X Tesla SUVs, base price 158K CAD, that go by would make you think that North Vancouverites were getting fleet pricing. And as with all things, far be it for me to tell you how to spend your money but I can't help but draw some parallels to the world of boutique super bikes all the same.

You see I think the luxury electric car market and the current state of pro model production bikes, motor-assisted or meat-powered, have a lot in common. Moving beyond the obvious low hanging fruit of the green washing that goes on about either product, there's also the inability of both government and users to distinguish between toys and transportation. GST exemptions to get people out of cars and commuting by bicycle - heck yes. But please don't straw man me about the one rider you know occasionally commuting on their DoubleDown MaxxGrip Assegai-equipped Enduro rig. Likewise, providing subsidies to swap one piece of traffic for an equally sized piece of traffic - and the oil sands for DOC minerals mining - seems a bit, I don't know.

Alas, tax policy, the battery powered economy, and the people moving preeminence of public transit are outside my expertise but luckily for deadlines, those Tesla cars and whichever boutique, carbon full susser you picture when I say "high-end mountain bike" have something else in common: they're straight-up boring. Sorry.

You had over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars to spend on a car and you're currently surrounded by three more of the exact same bougie-boxes, in exactly the same colour to boot. Incredible.

You had over fifteen thousand dollars to spend on a 6" travel suspension bike and you bought an out-of-the-box rig? Incredible.

*Cover Photo: AJ Barlas

So help me, if anyone is thinking "yeah, but it's a 'sleeper' bike." I mean sure, "ZZzzzzzzzzzz" but that's probably not what you meant. For something to be a 'sleeper' anything, it has be interesting to begin with. For your sleeper rig, try dropping an Avalanche open bath damper and PUSH ACS3 spring system into a RockShox Yari chassis. Then lacing up some black Hydra* hubs to de-badged We Are One rims with Sapim CX-Sprint spokes. Pull all the decals, replace all the hardware with raw titanium bolts, and Sharpie the tire sidewalls. The bike will hold its own in any conversation with folks that speak the same language. What are the performance advantages of bladed spokes on a mountain bike wheel? This is a 'because I can' mountain bike build, don't ask "why?" ask "WHY NOT?"

*Industry Nine needs to do a sotto voce version of their black hubs

And yeah, this comes with a back-in-my-day warning, but hear me out for a just another minute. I had a memorable conversation with some folks from Kona in around 2008 about their philosophy on bike spec, and I think the world of mountain bicycles would be a lot more interesting if brands, followed their philosophy. Would it be more work for less margin? No, but it would mean the local bike shop and distribution network would be getting a larger share of the pie.

The concept was simple: Kona was heavy on SLX-level builds and a few XT-level models, where they could bring together good OE suspension, okay machine-built wheels, and generic finishing kit to create high value for their customer who wasn't looking for something specific. But as soon as they moved outside of that type of package it made much more sense to sell a frame-only option and let their customer choose a full à la carte build. Get the suspension you want, the brakes you prefer, the bar you like, your preference of hubs and rims, throw on some titanium eeWings cranks with a chainring to match whatever drivetrain you're going to run and so on.

And actually, if I can de-rant for a moment, to their credit, although Kona does have higher end builds available, they still are one of the most prolific brands in terms of selling frame-only options for most of their performance mountain bikes and I feel they don't hit you with the same frame-only tax that a lot of brands do. A Honzo ESD frame is 700 CAD with sliding dropouts. A Process 153 aluminum frame is 2800 CAD including a RockShox SDSP shock.

hope tech4 e4 brakes lever

All the anodized everything. Hope brakes available in black or silver, with six standard accent options. Photo: Cam McRae

installing a brake line in a frame without internal guides10

Hope does 2.3mm think rotors in 180mm, 200mm, and 220mm, in six colours, if you're thinking of trying some. Photo: Cam McRae

Recent supply issues aside, if you look at the prices of top builds from most brands it's hard not to think that a local shop could take a frame from any of them and build something a lot more interesting for a similar price and margin. And much lower waste in terms of the customer getting exactly what they want without them or their shop getting stuck with a box full of take-off parts.

Yes, I know, big OE isn't going to like it. There is no world where frame-up builds don't reflect increased market share for suspension brands like Öhlins, Formula, EXT, and Manitou or brake companies like Hopes, Hayes, Formula, and Magura. I imagine that sales of the non-AXS Reverb would be zero and Sacki at BikeYoke would just change his website to a big counter for when the next batch of Revive posts would be available. With all the 10K+ CAD bikes no longer sporting house-branded carbon wheels and bars, one can only assume that sales for the likes of OneUp, Renthal, Deity, and Chromag would shoot up overnight.

The aforementioned 'sleeper' builds aside, it's inevitable that these custom assembled rigs would end up significantly more colourful than the average five-figure build today. Hubs matching spoke nipples, matching pedals, matching frame hardware. When you're going premium, why order a black headset when there are eight other colours available? Will some of those look gaudy with six different shades of anodized gold or so much ano-red that your eyes bleed when you look at it? Yes. But they won't be boring.

Of course, keep making production bikes up to the XT or GX level where a bike company should be able to deliver a much better value package than a local shop can assemble piecemeal. Riders can still personalize a bike with their preferred contact points, a colourful handlebar, and some stickers. There's no reason that your Prius can't be sweet. And one of the best things about mountain bikes is that even with the performance difference between a mid-level rig and the most bike money can buy, those folks really can still ride together without issue.

But when we're talking about super-bike level funds how cool would it be if the bikes were generally more interesting? Pull your custom painted Bromad behind a Shelby Cobra kit car or an '85 VW Doka with an EV conversion. If you're spending 'Because I Can' money then how about a PUSH shock and some Agave Finishworks touches? Spend a few hundred bucks at Racebolt or the like, and yes, getting your fork lowers and stem painted to match your frame looks boss. Get an inspirational message laser etched onto your chainring and then call Deniz up for some glamour shots because your unique bikes deserves to be pampered a bit.

At the end of the day is custom metal (or carbon) any better riding than a stock bike? I mean, if you go all out on the suspension products then maybe. But does it really matter how fast you go from 0-60 in bumper to bumper traffic? Whether it's 5K or 15K+, a belly button bike is a belly button bike, we don't need to see yours. Okay, you dropped a mountain of cash on a recent rig but you really don't care what other people think of it. I respect that, but you're in the minority.

And yeah, it's your money. But when you are looking to flit to a fresh machine, and if you are going to spend big, and if you want it to register as interesting with the bike nerds amongst us, please consider the place to start is with a frameset. Just add a bit of imagination and some 'because I can' to all the component choices from there.

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Comments

AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+23 Heinous Deniz Merdano Andrew Major Velocipedestrian ElBrendo @canopyclosure Lynx . cheapondirt Jerry Willows Matt L. Niels van Kampenhout DadStillRides hardtailhersh Pete Roggeman tmb1956 Angu58 Lu Kz Dogl0rd trumpstinyhands hotlapz Chad K Cam McRae hairymountainbeast

So the pictures spurred me on, can we have a "because I can't" pistons and pivots? Some of the most mind blowing builds I've ever come across were from young techs driving clapped out cars from the last century. 

I want to see the 15k bike on the roof of a clapped out volvo that's held together by back of shop "engineering". 

No detail too small on the bike, wrong struts in the car. Tailored ridewrap, straight up hole in a quarter panel. Flush cut zip ties, exhaust held on with a toe strap. Brand new maxima plush, 32k oil changes.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman AverageAdventurer slimchances57 RideEverything

I'm always on the lookout for beaters with superbikes on top...

Reply

mrkdwrds
mrkdwrds
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+10 Andrew Major Andeh Cr4w Andy Eunson taprider Pete Roggeman Lu Kz Velocipedestrian Doug M. Tremeer023

My Geometron G1 / 2002 Subaru Forester combo is pretty close to a 2:1 ratio in terms of bike:car value; I love seeing this ratio get pushed even higher.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Cr4w taprider Suns_PSD

Pictures needed! 

Sounds perfect.

Reply

taprider
taprider
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andy Eunson

an old friend of mine had a roof rack that alone was more expensive than the car it was bolted to

Thule on a Pinto

Reply

AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

So long as you're okay with cell phone photos.. I can't afford to call up Deniz, I have to buy lift tickets and gas!

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 AverageAdventurer Suns_PSD

Im in Europe for another 18.hours... where are you?? :)

mrkdwrds
mrkdwrds
1 month, 3 weeks ago
0

Better late than never ;) 

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

Oooo sweet, go back to 2019 used car prices and you can probably pull pretty hard on the 2:1 ratio, haha!

My 2003 Nissan Pathfinder hits at least 2:1 with at least 3 of the bikes I own right now. I think that's good, right? At least in these circles.

Reply

MTB_THETOWN
MTB_THETOWN
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Lu Kz

I've got an alloy Spire on a factory 38 and home built wheels and custom orange matching decals and a nice 2000 echo I got of my friend for $1500, so I'm around a 3:1 ratio haha

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

That’s rad. Does the Echo have a roof rack?! 

Crazy to think that’s a 22 year old economy car. Have you had to replace much stuff?

Reply

taprider
taprider
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Timer tashi

SOLD but it could have beat 4:1 easily

https://nsmb.com/forum/forum/nbr-not-biking-related-9/topic/rusty-bimmer-16678/?page=75

AUTHENTIC RUSTY BIMMER FOR SALE CHEAPER THAN YOUR BIKE
based on cost of your average EnduroTM bike
I'’m asking $2000
1999 BMW 318Ti hatchback, manual transmission and rear wheel drive (If you are a HOON you know this means fun, and for normal drivers it still means fun)

Rather than being an early adopter, BE LAST. The manufacture date on the door indicates the car was made Oct/Nov 1998, so this is the last (or within a few weeks) BMW hatchback to be imported to North America.
Accident free (suppose that means my Hoon badge has been revoked)
Comes with 4 winter tires on steelies.
Comes with 1000+ page service manual in like new condition. The car has been well maintained, and with wear and tear items generally replaced (by a professional mechanic) prior to on road troubles occurring, but with 305K km, you may be happy to have this extra heavy reading material (or use it to chock a wheel).
The only mod has been to add Euro projector ellipsoid headlights (originals have been kept as spares).
But you are free to stance, slam, stretch or otherwise destroy the wonderful handling performance however you choose.
Comes with extra oil filter elements (I have been changing oil with fully synthetic every 7K km on average)
Comes with sunroof
Comes with stereo radio, 6 disc CD changer and CASSETTE player (you know you want one, I can even throw in appropriate period cassettes such as AC/DC and Presidents of the USA)

All serious offers were considered (it was easy to sell)

Reply

tashi
tashi
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 mrkdwrds

Not surprised that sold easily - that sweet spot of well made, not crazy expensive, not too complicated and fun to drive seems to be missing from the newer car market.  Aside form the stereos, I love almost everything about a late 90's/early 00's vehicle with a stick.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 @canopyclosure Cr4w IslandLife Lu Kz

Maybe this is just talking back-in-the-day sh*t, but I do feel like this used to be a lot more common in the Shore-to-Sky mountain bike scene. Folks assembling top-end long travel rigs out of the trunks of rusto-wagons. You know, holding up the hatch because the gas-struts are blown and they don't want to get klonked in the head but they're putting the wheels on a loaded Demo 7.

But then it also used to be common to see folks rocking Dickies or thrice-patched Roach shorts while pedaling up full-XTR rigs. These days it seems to be that the transportation/toy/threads all generally match. 

Just the number of pairs of S-Works shoes I've noticed lately. Speaking of boring-looking stuff that costs a lot of money - $600 Specialized clip-in shoes.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+14 Andrew Major BadNudes Matt L. Cr4w kamloops_rider Mammal mrbrett gregster77 Dogl0rd Lu Kz Velocipedestrian Todd Hellinga Charlie P-t mrkdwrds

This is just what happens when a dirt bag sport goes mainstream.  It's sort of the evolution of accessible "extreme" sports.  If the sport is "cool" enough (has a cool grass roots sub-culture), has the opportunity to be bouje-ified, is easy enough for a newbie to classified as a "participant", and takes place somewhere not too scary... it's ripe for transformation by the masses. 

The same thing happened to Snowboarding as well.  It's too bad because so much of the sub-culture that drives the attraction of these sports simultaneously disappears as it's mainstream-ness grows.

Never happened with skateboarding because, well obviously, it's just too fucking hard to even start, but, it also takes place in dirty streets and skateparks... and even if you could come up with a $1000 skateboard... where would you show it off?  Can't really drive to work with it strapped to the top... you know, so you can tell all your colleagues about how you're leaving work early today to go thrash a ledge downtown.

Probably some other good examples out there... maybe climbing / bouldering?

Reply

mthomaslee
Matt L.
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 IslandLife HughJass

Climbing I feel falls more into the skateboarding side of things than the mass commercialization, at least in the outdoors realm (gym climbing is a whole other kettle of fish). 

Simply put, outdoor climbing is *hard*, and requires a lot of learning to do even the most basic of climbs. Plus, you have the added "if you mess it up, you end up horribly maimed or dead, even if you have loads of experience" factor that acts as a gatekeeper.

Reply

mrbrett
mrbrett
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 IslandLife Andy Eunson Cr4w finbarr Lynx . Kerry Williams

Wait until eClimbing takes over and eliminates these unfair gatekeepers!

just6979
Justin White
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

You also can't really see much of the fanciness of gear in climbing. A rope just looks like a rope, carabiners just look like carabiners.. Some gear nerd might notice I have a double-fine-braid sheath on my rope that costs 10% more but offers 20% more abrasion resistance, or that guy over there is wearing the lightest harness on the market that costs 2x the gym special, but for the most part that stuff is way less noticeable.

One place fashion, and the money associated with it, might show up is clothes and shoes. With the shoes, you can tell who wasted money on expensive shoes instead of appropriate shoes because they'll be in pain but not climbing hard enough to justify the pain.

And with clothes, it kind goes back to the dirt bag thing. Most people who climb really fucking hard might have clothes that were originally quite expensive because really great technical apparel tends be pricey, but it's also full of holes and/or patches because they're too busy climbing to worry about spending loot on fresh threads instead of fuel to get the rusty Subaru to the next crag.

mammal
Mammal
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 IslandLife Lynx .

I fully agree. NSMB released an article a number of years ago (2018??) "Mountain biking is the new golf".  I was completely unwilling to agree with that at the time, although there were good comparisons included in there. After a few years have passed, and with the Covid and e-bike retail booms, I am in full agreeance. The New Golf (cry emoji).

Reply

mammal
Mammal
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Pete Roggeman IslandLife

Pete, I had forgotten about your angle on it, but it introduced me to that particular comparison, which I hadn't heard at that point in time. I vehemently disagreed with the comparison then, but not so much now.

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

https://nsmb.com/articles/riding-is-not-the-new-golf/

You're right - it was 2018. But in that article I argued that MTB (or riding in general) is NOT the new golf. I was so tired of hearing that trope, and as a rider that golfs (golfer that rides?) I also hear the misconceptions held about both sports by people that don't really know better.

I still love and hate golf, but I love MTB unreservedly.

Skeen
Skeen
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

Another similar to skateboarding is whitewater kayaking, damn hard to learn to roll, read the river and it’s generally scary for many. Also maybe bike trials but that is a really small niche.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major IslandLife

Add BMX to the list (or at least street and park).

ham-bobet
hambobet
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah funny, I guess skateboarding brands end up as 'high fashion'. Supreme sold $150 house bricks for God's sake (now worth 2k a pop). Skateboarding 100% influences fashion and high-value shit in a similar way (just without the high-value participants).

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+8 Andrew Major Mammal mrbrett NealWood IslandLife Doug M. Derek Baker Kerry Williams

The Sea to Sky is a major MTB fashion bubble. Go to the interior, the island, the ss coast, etc. and you'll see a lot more people having a blast using older gear, whether it's bikes, cars, or clothing.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major IslandLife

I've certainly noticed that on the SSC. Still plenty of people all decked out, but also a higher percentage of folks who are making it work on older gear. No difference in the smiles between both groups.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 IslandLife

That hasn’t really been my experience (Vic, Cumberland etc, the Loops) but I wasn’t getting out of the GVRD often even before I was hurt so I’m open to the idea that we’re in a bit of a bubble and I just haven’t noticed.

Reply

Sethimus
Sethimus
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 tashi

dunno about you but specialized offers way more color options on their shoes than most other brands. and they just fit so so nice (on my feet). sworks recon win big times

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Mammal Timer dhr999

"offers way more color options on their shoes."

Yes... this is one of the best justifications for $600 shoes I seen, haha.  "But, but.. they have the pretty colour I like!!  And look at how they match my grips!"

Haha, no offense meant... I'm sure they are great shoes, with Specialized, you do typically get what you pay for.  But your comment just fits so damn perfectly under this article... haha!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Before I mention the price again, how many years are you amortizing them over? I know that shoes last a lot longer under regular usage some places than they do here.

———

And then look at some of the alternatives at that price. Lake MX 332 in four fits (regular, wide, extra wide, womens). Gaerne with all the small-batch Italian cobbler history.

I will say that the Ares road shoe looks legitimately different and high-end.

Reply

ohio
ohio
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major DMVancouver shenzhe Pete Roggeman dhr999 HughJass

I keep trying NOT to buy specialized gear, and I keep ending up with it. 

Ended up with an Enduro in 2020 bc at the time it was the only frame with the geometry I wanted and the suspension kinematics I wanted, and a few details that I prefered to the Geometron (SWAT box, water bottle fit, a touch of weight). 

After spending $1000+ cycling through saddles for my roadie (and recouping maybe a few $100 on ebay), I went to the fanciest shop in Seattle and spent two hours demoing saddles on the rollers. I tried every other saddle and couldn't help but walk out with a Sworks Power Mimic. First road saddle that has *ever* been comfy for me - but a price tag I literally lied to friends and fam about.

With (again roadie) shoes, I've tried Lakes and found the craftsmanship and materials kinda "garage-y" and the fit didn't work for me at the opening of the upper anyway. I am currently in Shimano wides, but have to say the latest Specialized Torch release sounds like a philosophy for fit that sound *perfect* for my foot.

I'm on board with the jist of the article - if you care that much about the hobby to spend that kind of money, make it special - but I also don't ding people for buying the expensive *mainstream* brand because in most cases that shit is expensive and prevalent for more reasons that just brand and availability.

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 dhr999 Kerry Williams

people spend $250 on Five Tens (flats) and they last maybe a year or two...   Specialized makes good stuff and not all of it is super $.

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 ohio

@ohio, I thoroughly enjoyed that, especially that you lied to your F&Fs about the cost of that saddle. Totally get that. But hey, it's your wiggly bits, you have to protect 'em! And there's nothing like finding a saddle that really works.

Also, it's fashionable in some circles to bash on the big brands like big-S, but they're so big for good reason - they make a lot of awesome shit. There are good and bad things to point to, but at the end of the day, they deserve their reputation for making awesome stuff, and they've always been a leader in ergonomics, body fit, design, etc.

Interesting about your Lake shoes. I've owned a few pairs, including a pair of incredible road shoes - this was back in the mid 2000s - with pretty Gucci specs like kangaroo leather and carbon soles (before that was so common) and BOA. I probably put 20,000 kms into them before they wore out and I got something else. That was 3 years' worth of 3-4 lunch rides per week, 40 weeks per year. Easily justified investment.

taprider
taprider
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

FlugvogFlugvog cycling shoes now on sale $149.

Could use some gold shoe polish if floral is not enough for you  ;-)

Sethimus
Sethimus
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

i bought mine in 2018 for 310 eur. so far that’s 77,50 per year. before that i had some giro republic knit r which i chewed up the sole in less than 3 months. i returned them and paid a lot more,  never looked back. as we say in germany, those who buy cheap buy 2x

tashi
tashi
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I'm with you man, I like stiff, tough shoes, Specialized fit me better than any other brand, and I like my racey bike shoes real flashy if possible.

I was pretty bummed that my last pair of fancy bike shoes only came in black now.  BITD getting the fancy stuff got you some nicely flamboyant colour options...

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Lynx . ohio jgoon T0m dhr999 tashi

*edit. This was a shitty comment as a few people have noted. I prefer to leave it up and note that I would write an addendum that I’d present my thoughts in a less shit way next time - rather than edit or delete - but the comments are floating so I’ve added this note. 

The following shit comment is complete and unedited. Apologies, will be better next time.

———

Wow, the Specialized love-fest is a bit much. No doubt they make some quality stuff - including an excellent saddle program - but they've hit Lululevels of charging bespoke prices in exchange for endless (and in the 'S' case, generally awful) marketing and easy accessibility thanks to mass production and a f*cked-over dealer network that's the cycling world's equivalent to Europe's reliance on Russian oil.

It's great if their stuff works for you but I'd suggest in any category there's a better, more interesting, product for the same investment. For super-premium road saddles, check out Reform - Made In Vancouver. For premium mountain/commuter saddles check out the SQLab 60X Infinergy Ergowave - Made In Germany (in four sizes).

tashi
tashi
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 ohio

I think you may be too close to this if you find the Specialized marketing annoying. Personally I’m blissfully unaware of their marketing efforts, but very aware of how well their shoes fit me, perform and last based on years of experience.  

The other commenters seem to be experienced riders and also into specific specialized products for similar reasons - perhaps it’s not a “Love Fest” for a brand but just knowing what they like?

ohio
ohio
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

@andrew I heard of Reform about a week after buying that saddle. I probably would have tried them had I known sooner. However, I also reached a point where I wasn't willing to spend any more time or effort trying out mail-order experiments even though SQ Lab was high on my list of possibilities. This is the reason shops exist, and good ones have saddle demo programs. So I went to the best, most-focused shop I could find and I used two hours of their time, inventory, and expertise. If they had a saddle that worked for me, I was going to support them and walk out with it. 

Again, I'm not a big fan of the S company ever since their ruthless enforcement of the Horst link patent in the early 00s, but until about a month ago, Spec earned a spot in such dealers by being one of the few brands that supported dealers exclusively. That matters a lot for customers that aren't us ubergeeks on bike sites and forums - which include a lot of very dedicated cyclists. Lots of folks that put in 1000s of miles a year aren't particularly technical, don't want to waste ride days trying out experimental or quirky gear, and need a shop to support them. That means obscure brands with no retail presence aren't even in the running.

I think judging people that effectively subsidize industry R&D, keep shops alive, and generate a healthy used bike market just because they aren't spending enough time online to know about boutique options is well, kinda shitty. I think there are plenty of ways to encourage your audience to support boutique brands (which this site does a lot of) without putting down fellow cyclists.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 ohio

@Ohio, I agree. They’re jumbled out of order because of the ranking system but if you see my reply to @Tashi, who also rightly called me out, I certainly would have written that comment more thoughtfully a second time.

I prefer to leave up bad comments and own them rather than edit them or delete but I’ll add a note to that one so it’s obvious I’m acknowledging it was crap.

Apologies. Totally agree with you.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

@tashi, Yeah, I would have written that comment differently if I had a do-over.

Just to say, riders supported by Specialized aside, it’s great if you’ve found something that works for you but I don’t think there’s a category where you wouldn’t find a better choice if you were seeking one.

Onawalk
Onawalk
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 dhr999 ohio Lynx .

Here’s a different perspective 

What someone chooses to do with their money, is no ones business but their own.

It’s not the responsibility of others to provide anyone else with some form of entertainment to spice up their lives.

I say this, as a bike (all bikes really) enthusiast, and motorcycle/car builder.

Currently have several projects on the go, and their for me, and my enjoyment, not anyone else’s.

Big props to anyone who puts any sort of effort to build, ride, create anything. You get a slow hand clap from me, whether it’s a murdered out Enduro with WAO’s, some Catalog run of the mill bike with upgraded grips, or custom geo ti lugged carbon super bike. You do you!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Dogl0rd Konrad hambobet

We're always on the lookout for more Pistons n Pivots subjects, by the way.

Send us an email with photos and details to submissions at nsmb.com, or hit up our DMs on IG.

Reply

slyfink
slyfink
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+7 Andrew Major Paul Stuart Andy Eunson ZigaK Nologo tashi Charlie P-t Lynx . 4Runner1

hmmm, interesting thoughts. Setting aside the misguided "whataboutism" of EVs vs ICE, I have a somewhat divergent view of the issue...

1. People dropping 'because I can' money on an 'out of a box' bike, probably aren't die-hard enthusiasts like we are. Let them have their fancy bike on their manicured flow trails. I don't care. In fact, if it keeps them off the old-school, technical trails that don't do well with heavy traffic, all the better.

2. For those of us who don't have 'because I can' money to drop on a bike, along with competing priorities for our limited resources, I'm beginning to question the wisdom of customization and 'trying things out'. My recent experience with my trusty 2016 Transition Patrol got me thinking. Over the years, I've made lots of customizations and installed interesting things on it: King hubs, Luftkappe and tractive tunes for my suspension, Garbaruk derailleur cage and cassette mated to an 11-sp XTR shifter, lots of anodized colour matching. It rides like a dream, exactly how I want it to. And I like how it looks.

But when both my chainstays and seatstays snapped recently, I was faced with the possibility that none of those high-dollar interesting upgrades could be transferred to a new bike - hub width is now outdated, shock size is now outdated, and 11sp is no longer specced. These are things that make the bike unique to me, and I've really learned to adapt to how this bike rides (or is it vice-versa). Luckily, Transition being the awesome company they are, had replacement stays for my 6-year old bike, despite the old standards. They had me back up and running within a week. Hats off to them. 

But still, if and when this bike eventually gives up the ghost, I'm not sure I'm going to bother with personalization and  'interesting upgrades' anymore. First, I think bike geometry is starting to settle down at a very good place and even mid-level equipment is getting really quite good nowadays. Second, I think I'm a good enough rider that I can adapt to whatever bike (and equipment) I eventually settle on. Third, 'standards' change so much in this industry that they're barely worth calling them that anymore. And finally, prices are so ridiculous, even for mid-level stuff that I just don't want to give this industry any more of my money than I have to. I think the 'get a good bike, ride it for a couple of years, sell it while it's still relevant and has value, and get a new bike (or maybe a used one-year old bike) is the most sensible approach to take these days. Which still kinda makes me angry, because I'm still playing into the planned obsolescence of the industry.  But I'll still have something that rides great and won't be so attached to an object I can't keep running for years to come...

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

Yeah, I mean, I’m usually writing about min-maxing, amortizing your life, and readers well used, and maintained, rigs so clearly we’re on the same page mostly.

Although, I am totally into being attached to bicycles and keeping them running for years (and amortizing high-end stuff like King hubs over a long time). Standards, with the exception of 1-1/8” steerers for some travel windows, are a red herring. Lots of folks keeping out of date bikes running.  

If that 2016 dies there are options. Adapters to move things like wheels to new standards. Some high-end shocks are rebuildable to other lengths. Or, a custom steel frame that costs ~ the same as a new carbon frame that uses your current premium stuff.

———

This rant, and it’s just that, is about the folks that clearly don’t need to weigh purchases the way you’re doing above. It’s if you can afford a fresh 15k bike - buy something interesting. Especially if you’re not racing the clock or other people. 

Which “whataboutism” are we talking about? What about focusing on good, free, transit instead of subsidizing swapping one piece of traffic for another - ICE, EV, Hydrogen, whatever?

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4Runner1
4Runner1
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+7 Couch_Surfer cxfahrer kamloops_rider thaaad JVP ZigaK SomeBikeGuy dhr999 Nologo

Wow there sure is a lot of reverse snobbery going on here. I find it entertaining that we’re so quick to judge others based on their purchases. Who gives a shit what someone spends their $ on? 

Because a person spends $15G on a stock bike makes them less into the sport? Because one pieces together their ideal ride, makes them more hardcore? 

Sorry but the basic premise here is judgemental garbage.

Way too many generalizations and assumptions.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+8 BadNudes doodersonmcbroseph Deniz Merdano taprider Dogl0rd Velocipedestrian Konrad Nologo Timer Morgan Heater 4Runner1 thaaad

We ain't judging people, just their bikes.

I demand to be entertained by cool bikes at the trailhead!

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BadNudes
BadNudes
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Cam McRae 4Runner1

Yeah I hear you. I'm a little embarrassed because of my poorly phrased reply above. I'm in no way qualified to call someone hardcore or not, regardless of their bike of choice. But I think it's true that just because someone can spend $15k on a bike, does not necessarily mean they care about bikes and bike tech any more (or less) than someone on a much tighter budget.

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4Runner1
4Runner1
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Konrad

Agreed. But the inverse is also true. Someone being a bike nerd doesn’t necessarily mean they care more, or are more knowledgeable, about riding.

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Tadpoledancer
Tadpoledancer
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major Timer Zero-cool cxfahrer taprider Derek Baker

The real question is how filthy rich you would have to be to get Dangerholm to build your bike.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Timer Tadpoledancer

I enjoy Dangerholm builds for sure, but how cool would it be if they weren't brand-specific. Not that there's anything wrong with Scott but I always find myself imagining Unno or Antidote or something smaller batch in the same vein. Or even some variety.

Reply

delta5
delta5
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Dangerholm and Antidote are all I needed to hear. I'd even be willing to throw a few $$ at him just to see what he'd come up with.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Andy Eunson Andrew Major shenzhe Lu Kz Timer Lynx .

Back in the day the stock bikes were poorly equipped and everyone lusted after a boutique frame you'd appointed yourself. If you wanted a bike to work hell and survive you'd end up breaking stuff and customizing it to some degree. That curious assembly of customizations told you a lot about a person.

At some point in the last ten years or so production bikes started coming out of the box ready to roll and that's when it made sense for most people to ride a complete until it was time to swap for another complete. I will stop a guy with a unique bike to chat: "Whoa a Karpiel!" *spins on heels* but I will never do that for a Santa Cruz or a Specialized.

I've ridden in every price point of Tesla and I gotta say the interiors and quality finish leave a lot to be desired. For $150k CAD you would expect a BMW to be something special but for some reason Tesla get a pass. Why? It's all a bit soulless and mass-produced. But I guess that level of crisp homogeneity and disinterest was necessary to appeal to the status joiner who wouldn't have been attracted to the scene of guys in hockey gear riding bikes on cliffs and bridges.

Also there is something about a car operated entirely by touch screen that really sets is apart from everything we've previously loved about cars. Makes it less of a mechanical obsession and more of a toy, another disposable bit of e-waste we're just going to swap out every 3 years.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Cr4w Mammal letsgethurt Lynx .

It's all a bit soulless and mass-produced. But I guess that level of crisp homogeneity and disinterest was necessary to appeal to the status joiner who wouldn't have been attracted to the scene of guys in hockey gear riding bikes on cliffs and bridges.

Beautiful. This might be peak Alex?!

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craw
Cr4w
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 doodersonmcbroseph Andrew Major dhr999

Whatever it is that I love about bike stuff is nicely summed up by those ornate eewings. Swiss watch quality metalwork you go smash in the woods.

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mrbrett
mrbrett
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 dhr999 Niels van Kampenhout

I was thinking about this and the typical (majority of) “status joiners” in my experience have at least some interest in blending in with the herd. It’s how you get to that level of success often times. The truly creative ones are carving wood in a forest cabin for a living or something that doesn’t pay so well. 

Getting good at business takes some willingness to assimilate.

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 taprider shenzhe ZigaK Lynx .

"Also there is something about a car operated entirely by touch screen that"

...is simply idiotic.

I'm dreading the day when the car my wife wants only comes with a full touch screen system. I hate trying to tap virtual buttons that I can't feel and that have no feedback, while getting jostled along by our shitty roads, just to adjust the HVAC fan so my kids stop complaining that it's too cold, or turn on the wipers in a sudden squall. Give me knobs for the vehicle stuff all day. I'll take an Android Auto or Car Play for infotainment and navigation, but dammit I want physical controls for heating/cooling, lights, wipers, all that car shit.

Not that I could afford it, but I wouldn't want a Telsa as-is right now anyway: too many compromises on actual human usability made in the name of looking cool or saving cents on the BOM. They like to say that virtual buttons save money on parts, but the cost of the software development and the integrations into the car system is amortized in and the true cost savings for the consumer isn't nearly worth the terrible real-world usability. But people deal because it's "cool" or whatever. And then your door handles don't pop out all fancy-like because it's too cold and they iced up and you can't even use the car. No thank you.

Think about the accidental douple-tap or mis-tap that can happen with AXS (and that does have a tiny bit of feedback/movement) in janky stuff, except for every single damn button in your car... just stupid.

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jt
JT
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major BadNudes Dogl0rd Andy Eunson Nologo ShawMac

Conspicuous consumption tends to be devoid of taste. When I bartended, once a year there was always 'that' group of guys who'd come in celebrating some corporate 'victory'  and the 'winner' would, in order to show how much 'win' he 'won', would buy the group and often the staff a round of Johnny Walker Blue Label. You know, because at $50 a dram it meant he 'made it'. What these chuckleheads never realize is that blended swill tastes like hot garbage when compared to the lower cost single malts from the same distiller. Hi buck, low zoot OE builds are often the same way, a status symbol. IMO at least.

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axle
Alexander Filler
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 BadNudes Niels van Kampenhout Jerry Willows JVP GB

I never understood the whole shiny customized bike idea. My bikes look like shit because I ride the hell out of them and crash from time to time. I currently have a big ding in my fork stanchion, that tells a much better story than custom painted x y or z. If you want something pretty to look at go buy some art, bikes are made to be ridden.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+7 Lu Kz Velocipedestrian Timer Morgan Heater GB Lynx . Derek Baker

Ridden art. Why can’t bikes be both beautiful (or at least interesting) and practical objects we beat the shit out of?

My bikes are covered in scrapes and scratches (and I’m anti-frame wrap for that reason - love the truth).

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Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Velocipedestrian Andrew Major Lynx .

I custom paint my bikes and don't care too much about battle scars. Why can't I have both?

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axle
Alexander Filler
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Lu Kz

Can't argue that, have your cake and eat it too!

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Timer
Timer
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major dhr999

Thats fine. But if you are hard on gear and don't care what it looks like, its unlikely you are going to spend 15k+ on it, right?

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
2 months, 3 weeks ago
-2 Lu Kz dhr999

usually owned by someone who doesn't know how to ride but it in to be cool

Reply

Sebov
Sebov
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 ZigaK Paul Stuart Andy Eunson Pete Roggeman ohio

- Ordered a boring standard range plus Tesla Model 3. Because we have solar power on our roof and Diesel price doubled thx to Putin. Installed a special charging station for solar power only charging. 

- have a 2021 S Works Stumpy Evo. Frameset. With lots of loved older parts like my 2019 Revive and Newmen components: SL.A30 wheels, stem, bar. 2020 Code RSC with trickstuff rotors and pads. 2021 Fox 36 Factory. Cascade Link. 2021 Storia V3. 2019 GX Group - can‘t love it but it is shifting and that‘s what it is supposed to do.  

So I guess I‘m kind of a sad Mountain biker 😂 

but honestly: I don’t care. Love my bike. Looking forward to a more sustainable mobility with my own energy.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Solar power setup sounds awesome. Local power production is the future. I still think we need to get beyond replacing one piece of traffic with another equally sized piece but I drive too because transit just isn’t there yet. 

Your bike sounds pretty interesting to me. Clearly not off the rack. Cascade, EXT. Min-maxed suspension v. drivetrain. I don’t think it matches your taste in car at all. (Hahahahaha).

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

One thing to add about transit is that it varies wildly - as you note, it's not even up to snuff for everyone in North Van, and the lower mainland has one of the best transit systems in North America. A lot of people don't want to believe that, because it has its problems, but it's true.

There are lots of suburban or rural areas where you're just not going to be able to get people out of their cars anytime soon. There's no transit solution where I live now that would be viable for a lot of errands I need to run based on flexibility or scheduling. E-cargo bikes, though? Fantastic. I should probably get one. Until then, our EV (we're 5 years in to owning one) at least reduces the impact.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

For sure, the will isn’t there. We’re still spending money rearranging roads to store more cars - EV or otherwise - and we’ve been subsidizing personal EV instead of looking at collective transportation. We need more revenue (property taxes) and a common desire to get out of cars. 

My personal transit issue is I’m moving from a very good corridor to a bad one and back so the transfer/waiting takes almost as long as the trip itself and on average 4x longer than a car. Cut that in half and with my wife commuting by bicycle we’d have a strong economic argument not to own a car but rather to use car share.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

It's a fascinating, multi-faceted subject. You and your family are obviously way more willing than average to commute by bike or transit, which is awesome. Not everyone can or will make some of those decisions or sacrifices. It also gets more complicated if you add more kids. My wife and I easily got along with one vehicle when we lived in north van (transit, bikes to commute or for errands, easy to walk to do many things, car share) but many of those things are not options here in Sechelt. We still only use one car most of the time and the truck gets driven only 1-2 times per week, and if I had ready access to a car share system for a pickup, I'd try that for sure.

On the EV side, the incentives that are offered to new EV owners actually lead to a tax surplus based on new car sales, so it's not a simple formula. And early adopters are helping sort out the infrastructure that will be needed in future to support charging - it's not always been smooth sailing but we've enjoyed being part of that.

I think we can all agree that most Stratas are nightmares, though. I was really glad to leave that behind.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Yeah, a lot more people would have to get on board for us to get out of the cycle of replacing the warehousing of ICE traffic with EV traffic with whatever we use to power (mainly) single-occupant multi-passenger vehicles in the future. And all the money (and emissions) of building new warehousing.

Clearly, transit needs to be a lot better for it to be viable for more people. But the magic thing is that in most urban and suburban areas it, and bicycles, are really the only avenue to reducing traffic / improving flow of goods / etc.

One cool idea I've seen to pay for it is to reclaim land currently used for roads. Cities own billions of dollars in land in the form of under-utilized roads and alleys that could be repurposed for housing using a land-lease program.

---

I understand that the lower the density the harder cases are for the preeminence of transit solutions. But in our most populous areas, generally, with the most idling/traffic/pollution/roads - it's the easy and obvious answer.

Some 62% of our provincial population lives in large urban centres. 

---

I see the individual subsidies the same way I see the subsidy on high-end mountain bikes (PST exemption). There should be a cap, as there is in Ontario, that differentiates transportation needs from luxury purchases.

Then it could doubly incentivize companies to bring EV tech to the affordable compact car market. Toyota Echo EV @ 20K sort of machine.

---

And, subsidizing consumption you tax is still a lower net than just taxing said consumption, especially on vehicles that were going to sell anyway, especially when you're already subsidizing all those vehicles by using massive amounts of tax money to build the refueling network at every level of government. Not to mention that it's now left to the trades and the poors to pay gas taxes - will be interesting to see how we make up that revenue shortfall locally, Provincially, and Federally.

I have nothing against EV cars. Our next vehicle - hopefully in another decade if the zip-ties keep holding - will most likely be an EV or a hybrid and hopefully, hydrogen finally delivers its promise over the current battery tech. I mean, I'm under no illusions that transit will be much better a decade from now. But, the greenwashing and tax-payer funding of them are both cheeky at best.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Just choring around our place and this came to mind too… the wasted capital in cars, insurance, and space in my building alone day after day. I’d bet we could collectively own 1/2 the vehicles we do now and no one would ever be put out, even with folks taking one for a week or two for vacation. 

Plus we could then optimize vehicles. One big truck, one small truck, one mini-van, the rest little hybrid cars. 

With so many buildings going up without parking we could even use the rest of the space to generate rental income. 

Of course, as with everything else in a strata building, and volunteer run communal assets in general (see bike trails) only a small % of owners would actually invest any time in upkeep (even if it would be 1/2 the time they spend on upkeep currently). 

———

I’ll note here that there are no car enthusiasts in my building. I totally get owning your own car if that’s a passion, the same way I’m not interested in sharing bicycles (though arguably there’s a more exact fit component with pedal bikes).

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Lynx . Andrew Major Cr4w Morgan Heater

If I win the lottery, I won't tell anyone, but there will be signs... anodized titanium signs.

And if I wasn't a hands on guy, my favourite local shop currently has a 'because we can' Deviate Highlander. (https://www.instagram.com/p/CYE85vJvNN8/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=) Let me tell you, if I wanted to spend $9k on a bike today... forget a Rocky Mountain or Specialized. I'm going for the one with tires literally chosen for their tan hot patches that match the fork.

I'm sure any shop would be excited to curate a similarly unique build for someone willing to spend $$$ but lacking time or knowledge to choose parts.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

Most shops - or at least staff that work there - would absolutely be eager but I don’t see any of the localish mountain bike shops pushing it as a speciality / advertising it as a passion.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 BadNudes doodersonmcbroseph

Guess there probably isn't much demand, eh?

When you could pick up a stock superbike with equal functionality, that leaves custom stuff for the nerds. Who are likely to do their own wrenching.

Personally can't understand why anybody wouldn't get nerdy about their bike

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doodersonmcbroseph
doodersonmcbroseph
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 Velocipedestrian cheapondirt Cam McRae Spencer Nelson dhr999 Lynx .

For some of us the nerdy is part of the hobby or 'sport'

I can totally understand the people that are just in it for the riding itself and have 0 equipment focus, I admire those people for their blindness which I can't seem to achieve.

I think some people miss the fact that the nerdiness can be/or is focused on optimization or ingenuity versus just buying expensive stuff and slapping it on. To each their own though.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 doodersonmcbroseph

You and I know how much time can be spent dialing in a cockpit without even buying anything.

My riding friends don't - I think they might be the lucky ones.

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cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt Derek Baker AverageAdventurer
LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
2 months, 3 weeks ago
-1 Ryan Walters Lu Kz dhr999

that's not a proper bike....

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I’m with ya Jerry, I don’t get it either.

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tashi
tashi
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

? What's wrong with it?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

It’s a very good example of someone’s unique ‘Because I Can’ rig so I imagine the complaint is it’s not a 180mm rig with 38mm stanchions and the stickiest Assegais.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I haven’t done a good job of keeping up with it but I do have a hashtag that I think does a universal job of covering these situations:

#JerryWillowsHatesMyBike

Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

We used to do it a decent amount, at least we'd usually have a custom build going on and waiting for parts. One of the co-owners probably did somewhere in the realm of 6-12 gucci 100% frame up custom builds a year - most demand came through word of mouth, though, not advertised (out social media game was severely lacking when this was more commonplace).

COVID supply issues meant that we had to stop doing it. Managing customer expectations (and these were usually our best, most patient, friendliest customers doing these builds) and juggling part cancellations, push backs, etc, was too much. Maybe it'll come back. Maybe not.

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rolly
rolly
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman

I've tried finding custom colour/design wraps for my Marzocchi fork, but didn't have any luck. If people can get their vehicles wrapped, someone needs to do the same for bikes. It would be anything but boring.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 rolly Deniz Merdano Lynx . Pete Roggeman

Kaz did this rad wrap in 2017. Big time investment but pure awesome.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Lu Kz

A friend who ran a very successful car wrapping business on the shore was commissioned to wrap a couple of frames. 

He washed his hands clean off immediately after. 

He couldn't charge enough money, and at the end of the day, it still looked, "wrapped"

With the likes of 

Fresh Paints of Whistler

Tec-gnar

Toxic 

Low life jordan

Fat creations, just get a sick paint job on that new bike and all the chainstays you'll need to warranty.

Seems like the custom bike scene is alot healthier in the States with worldwide cyclery and fanatik pumping out some wicked builds.

Here in the wet north, you'd get laughed out of " the dumpsters" for violating the dress code.

I am all for hidden gems on bikes though. 

Show me what's under the hood man!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Matt L.

Is it really a sceenster thing? 

I guess I do know a lot of riders who change rigs more often than they wash their riding pants. Flipping bicycles as disposable commodities.

I feel like the big difference is WWC and Fanatik push the fact they do custom builds. It's been a long time since I've seen a local mountain bike shop pushing the fact they do, never mind specialize in, custom metal. 

Cheers to hidden gems for sure!

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major Mammal 4Runner1

Sad part is, SOME people who can afford custom don't have the taste,and SOME people who have the taste, buy the cheapest entry level alloy build. That's living/surviving in the GVRD for you

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

A little bit of the Beverly Hillbillies factor going on with the nouveau-house-riche? 

There’s some level of instant-gratification factor I’m sure too. Custom anything is waiting on waiting.

Hahaha.

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Steed does quite a few custom builds.

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Larrabee
Larrabee
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Dogl0rd Cam McRae

Here’s part of the problem:

“Just add a bit of imagination…”

That just ain’t gonna happen. 

And: OMG!  There must be 10,000 words of comments already. 

You struck a nerve!  Thanks!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Cheers,

The goal is always to inspire, inform, and entertain.

I hit on various degrees of success (or lack there of) but you never really know what’s going to hit so I tend to swing at anything that comes to mind.

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

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JakeRedrum
JakeRedrum
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 cheapondirt cxfahrer Pete Roggeman

What? My new Specialized isn't special???!!!

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Niels van Kampenhout Perry Schebel Justin White

Then there are those of us who put our dollars into parts that will actually make a difference in the ride experience, and don't much care if the part comes in loud, custom colours, or bespoke graphics.

Mountain bikes (and bike parts) don't last forever, and while I try my best to equip with stuff that is reliable as possible, I have no illusions that any of my "precious parts" will be with me forever. Every part on my bike is a curated choice, balancing performance, reliability, safety and cost. Occasionally, weight is also considered. There are certainly demographics within mountain biking that can squeeze a lot more life out of any particular bike part than I can, but I'm not going to change the way I ride, or the terrain I ride just so my fluffy, purple anodized bike parts can live forever. I'm after the best performing parts possible. They're expensive. And usually black. Maybe grey. Who cares?

Yeah, my bike is cool and I love it, but I try to avoid falling in love with "stuff" - at the end of the day, it's still just stuff. The truly enjoyable part is the experiences you get to have while using that stuff.

And I do find most stock builds to be quite disappointing these days - notable exceptions being some of the builds from brands like Transition and Commencal. While not everyone's cup of tea, this "new" build from Spesh is absolutely my kind of "min-maxing":

Enduro LTD

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Ryan Walters

^all of this. i'm passionate about bikes, and do spend a good bit of time curating my builds, but they're purposeful (balancing value & performance), not precious.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Every part on my bike is a curated choice, balancing performance, reliability, safety and cost.

I need some clarification on your post @Ryan. I read the opening paragraph as if you’re writing a rebuttal to what I’m saying, but then it sounds like we’re making the same point.

If you had 15K to spend on a bike would you buy off the rack of would every part be curated?

If you’re buying a boutique hub - a choice many riders make precisely because of how long they last - and it comes in 8x anodized colours then buying it in black or silver is a choice but that’s my point - you’re spending enough on a rig it should uniquely suit your needs and tastes.

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rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I think we are making kinda the same point. But I don’t get the need to build these over-the-top “pretty” bikes, which are often done at the expense of performance. Case in point: those custom graphic EeWing cranks in the article - those just make me roll my eyes (and I understand those cranks have issues as well!) Now, I understand everyone’s idea of performance is different.

I also see a lot of comment’s eschewing the great benefits of custom frame sizing, but then also comments about whether the average rider can actually tell the difference between suspension designs. I believe the opposite is true, at least in the realm of NSMB.com readership. Unless your body shape or size lies WAY outside of the bell curve, I think you will be hard pressed to gain any quantitative benefits from truly custom sizing, whereas I think most riders will be able to tell the differences between suspension design. The amount of R+D spent by the big guys on frame sizing and suspension is staggering. To suggest that an “average” rider can do better at designing their frame fit is a bit silly.  

If I was presented with the choice of a custom fit frame, made in a garage with a questionable suspension design, or an off-the-shelf, carbon race weapon - I will always choose the race weapon, and it will be a far better ride for me. Not speaking for everyone, but there it is.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

Thanks Ryan, I was reading your comment correctly, just confused by the opening.

I addressed the crank graphic elsewhere but honestly it’s all gotten a bit unwieldy. I am curious what issue you’ve heard of with eeWings generally though. I’ve handled quite a few bikes with them installed and from an on-trail perspective they’ve been faultless. I have seen a couple installation f*** ups that were 100% user error. Just mentioning it in the spirit of good information.

They’re outside my budget anyway with there being such good aluminum options but they’d definitely feature on my 15k bike.

Also, just for the record, I didn’t say/mean riders can’t tell the difference between two or more suspension designs. Yes, different platforms behave differently. I said/meant it won’t make a difference for them on the trail (comfort, times, performance). I mean, assuming we’re talking about bikes with good geometry. I think it’s an important distinction. See Paul Austin for someone a lot faster/better than me whose written a fair bit on the subject. See the range of designs that win WC DH / EWS races, where seconds actually count, for proof of concept.

———

As to sizing. We used to size frames for aggressive riding with a range of stem lengths from ~30-70mm. 40mm of variation. Now we size frames using 35-50mm stem lengths. 15mm of variation. Most companies make the same number of sizes, or less. People are quite adaptable but I hear riders talk about being “between sizes” on bikes all the time. Some future standards like 56/56 head tubes allowing for more range of reach adjust help.

Also, the amount of reach adjust and angle adjust headsets on the trails speak for themselves.

Anyway, most folks I know with truly-custom frames have something that couldn’t have been replicated using and off the rack bike. Also, going back to my piece on crate suspension, I think if folks could combine whatever rear end they like with a custom front (semi-custom frame) we’d see a lot more of it. STA, Reach, HTA, BB height. Big companies are building global bikes and there’s plenty of local and personal nuance to be enjoyed.

Again, talking about basically limitless bike budgets.

Cheers,

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Cr4w BadNudes JVP

Of all the articles you've written Andrew, this has to be at the top or very nearly. I always look at those with too much disposable income who just buy expensive, cookie cutter stuff, just like every other too wealthy person and wonder, why.

BTW, loving those custom anodized eWing cranks, holy heck they're sweet.

Reply

BadNudes
BadNudes
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+8 Paul Stuart Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Mammal Niels van Kampenhout gregster77 Nologo Cr4w Cam McRae 4Runner1

It's because even though they're rich enough to budget $15k for a bicycle, they just don't care about the sport like you or I do. 20 years ago MTB was so niche that anyone doing it was a passionate kook. Now with MTB becoming more mainstream there are a ton of people from all tax brackets* who just want to ride, but aren't completely obsessed with the details, don't spend hours on insta ogling bikes and parts, aren't aware of the local builders with no marketing budgets who are making awesome stuff, etc. The sales associate showed them the 'nicest' bike on the floor and they bought it. Cool. I love that MTB is so popular now, but it can make finding like-minded people at the trailhead or shop, people who care about the finer points of custom suspension valving or very specific handlebar sweep preferences, a little more rare. At least there's the NSMB comments section for the hopelessly obsessed like us ;)

*okay, maybe mostly upper-middle to the ultra-ultra-rich.

**EDIT Because I'm worried I might've ruffled a few feathers: I only meant to say that one's budget does not actually tell us anything about how much one cares about the nerdy details of bikes and bike tech. If you like riding two wheels in the woods, we'll get along just fine and we don't ever have to talk about money.

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cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major 4Runner1 Pete Roggeman AlanB

"It's because even though they're rich enough to budget $15k for a bicycle, they just don't care about the sport like you or I do."

I'd say that's a pretty broad and often false generalization. I know plenty of very wealthy folks who are VERY passionate about riding, and ride very expensive bikes. 

Hell, many of them used to be the dirtbags discussed elsewhere with old Subaru Legacy wagons and Intense M1's on top.

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BadNudes
BadNudes
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yeah Fair enough Cooper, that brush was maybe a little too broad. I didn't mean to say that anyone who has that kind of budget is any less of a 'core' rider or whatever. Just that if they spend that kind of money on a boring bike they either aren't interested enough in the minutiae of the tech to build frame-up or custom, or they don't care if obsessed nerds like me think their bike is boring... which I admire! I could definitely use a step back from the tech overload instagram obsession for more focus on the actual experience of riding some times. And yes, my either/or is another generalization for sure, but just trying to answer the question of why expensive cookie-cutter stuff is so popular.

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Balrog
Balrog
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Some ppl are sponsored and have deals on bike too. Super easy before covid to get good price on bike. I paid my Scott Gambler 710 2000 euros and was just released.

I love my JDM Legacy a comfy sleeper, as fast as a WRX and you have twin turbo and 300 hp.

Back home in Europe i know tons of wealthy who have super cheap car but really nice bike.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Subaru Legacies are classic sleepers!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 bishopsmike BadNudes

On this note, what a time it would be to be a dirt bag mountain biker on the North Shore.

A little while back I was looking at a pair of Assegai tires in a shop’s recycling pile that were a couple of vulcanizing rubber patches away from being tubeless-able with ~70% tread left! I left those but scored a couple of mis-matched rotors with ~90% life left that just needed to be trued and cleaned/sanded. 

Not much take off drivetrain stuff but MicroShift is pretty killer on a budget.

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syncro
Mark
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 mnihiser Lynx .

I'd guess there's a lot of this due to the cost of labour being high enough that it's less expensive to replace an item than repair it. This is endemic to our consumer society in general and of course a resulting shit-show for the environment not only in usable goods sent to the dump but in the resources used up to make the new/replacement product. We live disposable lives all around and it also infects mtb'ing as there seems to be more emphasis on riding the new trail than finding new lines on an old trail or better yet getting involved with your local trail org to breathe new life into an aging trail.

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taprider
taprider
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 BadNudes

Back before the turn of the Century, you could dirt bag your way into World Cup and Canada Cup level races, win some swag to trade or sell, and pick up some $ at local level races as you traveled across the country in your 200K km+ wagon

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Lynx . BadNudes Velocipedestrian

It’s just a personal rant, but cheers. I edited out a paragraph about public good. You know like wealthy folks in renaissance Italy demonstrating their means by building huge public spaces, or in current day by buying the naming rights to hospital emergency rooms. 

If you’re going to spend that kind of money on a bike/car at least make it interesting for the rest of us to look at! Hahahaha.

———

I actually think it would be sweet if all the proper big-brand luxury stuff should operate on the buy-one-give-one program. Your $600 S-Works Recon shoes with aluminum BOA adjuster faces include a pair of ~$100 Recon 1.0 shoes that get donated to the local get-kids-on-bikes program (funded by $50 from every bike over 5K / $100 from every bike over 10K or whatever).

But then I’m also for taxing profits on real estate transactions to fund free public transit, and invest more in parks, schools, and hospitals, so I might be some kind of socialist.

———

And yeah, eeWings are a little dream luxury of mine I can’t begin to justify when Aeffect R cranks are so good for so long for so much less (and it’s all made overseas so no MNA justification bump). The Agave finish just adds some flare but even the stick Ti is timeless.

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LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major bishopsmike

there is the capital gains tax you have to pay if it's not your primary residence and a property transfer tax so there's enough tax on real estate.  How a luxury/trail tax on e-mtb ebikes over 10k?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 BadNudes bishopsmike Vik Banerjee Velocipedestrian

Sounds great JW, clearly a little more redistribution of wealth is in order, I can get behind most any progressive vehicle to do it. 

———

Why shouldn’t I be taxed something on the profits, adjusted for inflation, of selling my primary residence? Honest question, as someone who does own property. Just because we don’t like paying more taxes? If real estate is the number one economic driver in BC it should be funding better services.

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LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Kos Andy Eunson GB

lots of $ get redistributed when selling a property.... lawyer's, agents, notaries, stagers, reno companies, inspectors, etc

Avg selling house in North Vancouver is around 2mill....  property transfer tax is 38k.  

If you bought a secondary place for 500k and sold it for 200k, you paid 372k in capital gains tax.

That's enough taxes!  I don't want us to be a communist state.

If you want more affordable housing, make it so non residents can't own land.  Can't build your way into affordability.

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0 Andrew Major Lu Kz gregster77 Jerry Willows

Primary residences should definitely be taxed more upon sale. Set reasonable tax free threshold so folks who have lightly appreciated properties don't get hit hard/at all, but above that tax them at capital gains rates...which are not all that onerous.

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axle
Alexander Filler
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 BadNudes gregster77 Jerry Willows

Not that onerous if you are leaving the housing market, but if you are moving and buying another house all of a sudden you lose a big chunk of your buying power. Why should people be penalized and forced to downsize if they are moving just because the market increased since they bought?

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andy Eunson

Primary owners are taxed enough already....  you know you pay about 60k in R/E fees plus 38k in Transfer tax and lawyer fees, etc on a 2m place.  That's over 100k.  Tax the fuck out of people who buy real estate and don't live here for 6 months a year.

@alexander Filler gets it.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

@JerryW, I’m all over additional taxes on non-resident owners. I mean, first jack up the empty homes tax enough to actually encourage folks to rent empty homes and then earmark all revenues beyond administrative costs to paying for rental subsidies. 

But, I’m not done trying to get you onboard the sales tax. Just finished running a bunch of errands and there are land assembly and development signs everywhere. So, how about instead of a tax on appreciation less inflation we just tax profit over assessed value at the capital gains rate.

Then if I sell my apartment for 1.5x it’s value to a developer who’s going to tear the building down and make a mint, society benefits a tiny bit from my good fortune.

Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 cheapondirt Pete Roggeman shenzhe

>Of all the articles you've written Andrew, this has to be at the top or very nearly. I always look at those with too much disposable income who just buy expensive, cookie cutter stuff, just like every other too wealthy person and wonder, why.

In my sales days I sold a few ultra gucci bikes, and a ton of not ultra gucci but still somehow 12k+ eBikes. 

There's a lot of wealthy people out there who love riding and are very solid riders who spend a LOT of money on stock bikes. One of my all-time favourite customers bought a couple 14-18k bikes from the store over the years, rides all the time, but didn't customize a darn thing beyond touch points on any of them (for the record he's one of my all-time favourites because he's a kind, generous, down-to-earth person despite however much money he has).

He loves bikes, but he doesn't have the time to dedicate to the hobby to both ride as much as he likes AND get into the tech details and nerd out like we love to. He's also far from unique in that regard.

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craw
Cr4w
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Lu Kz

After all these years I'm really finely tuned in to what I like and don't like. A lot of people never dialled in that ability to make those distinctions and barring a major comfort/fit issue can happily ride what's put in front of them.

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Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I've had the same privilege as you where I'm now able to identify what I like and what I don't, and I think I'm reasonable at explaining why.

That said, I don't think I would have a whole lot to complain about if someone was like "Hey, go ride this [insert any $13,000 bike that fits me] for a few weeks". Everything's insanely good these days, and even if it's pretty far from what I'd personally pick, I'd still be spending my time on one hell of a performance machine.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Lu Kz

This is it. We just can't all put as much energy into all of our hobbies/interests/priorities as we'd like. Car people would look at a lot of bike people's cars and say the same thing - 'stock Tacoma? LAME'.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 ZigaK

The anodised eWings don't do it for me.  The beauty of the raw Ti eWings is they are raw and you can beat the shit out of them and they will still look good.  Just like silver (unanodised) pedals.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 ZigaK Andy Eunson

this. also why i'm a big fan of raw frames (inevitably, all my bikes end up paintless regardless of how they started). also hate stickers. especially custom matching bullshit. but i digress.

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syncro
Mark
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

It would be hilarious if for the next bike review you did Cam went out and colour matched ALL the stickers before he handed it over to you.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I’d go raw Ti on eeWings as well. Or well, actually I’d buy Affect R cranks. But the crank photos are really just a visual stand in for the concept. Think a little bolder if you’re investing that much in a bike.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Paul Stuart Cr4w

I always cringe a bit at the use of the term "custom" because it usually means a few parts were swapped for off the shelf parts. A custom suit means a tailor measure your body and sews something unique to you. Buying an Armani suit at Harry Rosen where they alter it is not custom. A custom bike in my mind has a geometry selected by the rider with input from the builder as well. Just putting on matching blue pedals and stem is hardly custom. 

Personally I was always a fan of the sleeper. When I was into hot rod type cars, I remember a black Nova with steel wheels and baby moon hubcaps with a large tires and probably 700hp rat motor. Hurst shifter, heavy duty rear end etc. The owner loved to pull up next to a Corvette at a light and blow the doors off it. That’s why I like my boring black bikes. They never look great nor do they look dated in five years when I might sell it. I look at some of those multi coloured stripey bikes that are only a few years old and they look older and dated because of the hideous colour patterns. 

My chameleon from 5 years ago in green with magenta decals was hideous from the get go but that’s all they had. The build kits offered were mostly low end crap that I would have changed pretty quick anyway so I went with my own selection of off the shelf parts. Expensive at the time but probably cheaper in the long run. One of these days I may strip the paint and go raw. 

The Tesla thing goes beyond my understanding. They are expensive to buy and not only boring looking but even ugly in my view. And how many of these virtue signallers lease and replace before the car is done? Not exactly environmentally kind is it. Calling electric cars zero emissions is also misleading as there are many places where the electricity is from burning fossil fuels and fossil fuels are burned making and transporting these cars and batteries aren’t exactly zero emissions or environmentally kind either. I do think EV’s are the future but you aren’t saving the planet when you buy one. A person does a lot more by walking or riding a bike to and from work. Or using public transit.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+5 BadNudes Velocipedestrian Timer Nologo Lynx .

Custom build vs. Custom paint vs. Custom frame. Certainly various levels. 

I don’t see any reason to go full custom unless you want something you can’t buy off the rack, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of cool small batch stuff that’s out there. 

———

I rode a lot of transit this year. It adds so much time to my regular commute (4x on average) but I’d do it all the time if it was just double. It’s such a superior way to move a bunch of folks distances that are too far or unsafe to pedal. 

I think real change will come when we stop swapping one single occupant box with wheels for another. Not just in major centres but between major centres. Grab a fast train to Kamloops. High speed transit (not luxury cruise) passenger ferries to Victoria and Nanaimo downtowns (not miles away - walkable for hotels etc) met with great transit on either side. We spend way too much money trying to make cars more convenient and keep it that way. 

And yeah, I own and regularly use a car.

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Timer
Timer
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Lynx .

A really powerful way of moving around is a combined pedal/transit system: Fast pedal trip to the station, hop on the train, get of and pedal to your destination.

Could either be done by bringing the (folding) bike onto the train, or by having extensive short-term bike rental fleets at each stop.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 shenzhe Lu Kz Velocipedestrian

Life’s too short to ride shitty bikes so I’m all about being able to bring mine along.

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Velocipedestrian bananowy

Those "multi coloured stripey bikes" only look older and dated to you because you know when they came out. If they never existed, and a new super-modern-geo bike came out with the same colors right now, it would not automatically seem older and dated, because it's not the colors, it's your head associating the colors with older bikes.

When I see all-black bikes (or black or white cars), to me they look like someone just wanted an appliance that they would more easily/quickly sell when they grow bored of it or decide they must have the next new thing, not a powerful tool for enjoyment that they will appreciate and take care of.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Yes and no. Colours and patterns, even type style for model name  decals get stale. When I worked in the athletic shoe industry in the mid 80s, Nike claimed shoes had a shelf life of two to three months before they needed a colour change. What’s a really cool colour today looks bad (or so we’re told) in a year or two. That sand colour for example became popular in vehicles and bikes recently. But it will look dated soon. A lot of Tacomas are coming in basic non metallic paints these days. A while back it seemed that cars were mostly grey. 

Personally I’ve always liked mat black bikes. I rarely like multi colour bikes. Splatter paint was the worst.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

"Splatter paint was the worst."

or the BEST

having lived through that era, i'm kinda fond of the splatters, multicolor fluorescent fades, etc. nostalgically, anyways. cool that one can easily identify the era from whence a specific paint scheme was birthed. perhaps one day we'll look back at matte / stealth & be like - man, classic aughts style?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Velocipedestrian Lynx .

Funny thing about that in my experience with my rigid bikes. Folks, even bike nerds, would always assume my V1 was an old bike (despite 29” wheels, disc brakes, dropper sized seat tube) where with V2 that’s not the case (although people still regularly tell me about how much better suspension is than riding rigid - based on their experience in the ‘80s/‘90s).

Totally down to paint with V1 having a dirty fade. I think it looks awesome, but I also love the splattered Joe Murray Konas and short pants so what do I know?

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BC_Nuggets
BC_Nuggets
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian

That ride makes me feel kind of funny on the inside.  Mmmm.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian

@BC_Nuggs it’s repurposed as my (over rubbered but very smooth) commuter/city rig now.

WZRD Em did a sweet job adding braze-ons and making a custom rack.

Loving the 6-Spd 32x11-26t XTR setup (old 9-speed XTR).

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I seem to recall you had a white Trimble with black splatter.

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BC_Nuggets
BC_Nuggets
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

This ride should be on radavist.  And I mean that as an extremely enthusiastic compliment.  I too have repurposed a hardtail for city/commuter use but it's not nearly that bonerworthy.

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

back in prehistoric times! i had a couple frames, with a variety of paint schemes; a couple spotted / measled iterations in there. this was the last one: 

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

@BC_Nuggets, thanks. Morgan Taylor has threatened to take pictures of it and/or V2 before. I think my bikes are usually too dirty for the Radavist but for him I’d give either of them a nice polish so never say never.

craw
Cr4w
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Andy Eunson

Custom means CUSTOM - tubing, geo, everything. Customized means swapping some parts on your mass produced carbon frame.

Edit: it makes sense for there to be a semantic distinction between custom geometry and curating your own parts. Let's pick two words and be dicks about it.

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0 shenzhe Cr4w

Then there is no custom. No one is drawing and butting and forming their own tubing, they're buying "off the shelf" tubing sets and using them to make frames. Headtubes, BBs, dropouts, and more: all usually ordered in quantity for many builds, from someplace like Paragon Machine Works. If you want to get pedantic about someone using the term "custom" for a stock frame built up with curated components, sure, whatever. But can't go so far to say "custom" only applies when every single bit is a one off, because that just doesn't happen.

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martn
Martn
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major ZigaK

Nice article. I stopped caring about people buying super expensive and capable mountain bikes to mostly ride them around town a long time ago. And yeah, the stock bikes are boring anyway. It gets obvious at trade shows. I can walk the halls of Eurobike (not this year due to injury) and pass all sorts of 10-K-wonderbikes without much or any excitement. The small independent and custom stuff is what piques my interest.

As for the posed question of the advantages of bladed spokes: I see two. 1) They more durable. CX Ray are forged from Sapim Laser and the additional forging makes them stronger and more fatigue-resistant (CX Ray is rated for twice or even thrice as much load cycles as Laser if I recall that correctly). 2) They are easier to work with as you can prevent them from twisting with a simple tool.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Cam McRae Andrew Major shenzhe

this is how nerdy i can be - i built this wheel with bladed ti-dye anodized titanium spokes. unlike the sapims, the blade width was wider than the hub hole drilling, so had to slot the hub (with a small hand file), which was ridiculously tedious. do not recommend. but it looked cool?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

That’s wicked Perry. Does it ride like a noodle though? Can’t say anything for my Ti spoke experiences.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

can't say i can discern a ride quality difference over a butted steel spoke. i've had a couple sets of ti spoked wheels over the years; on an rm-7 (the front wheel still lives on a kid's bike - 20 years later), as well as the lahar (years of whistler laps on one set of wheels). while they are quite light, i'll admit aesthetics were a significant factor in using...

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Interesting. Could be that rims are a lot stiffer now too... it's been half a life since I've ridden Ti spokes and that was on light-light-light XC wheels.

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martn
Martn
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

That begs the question of where one draws the line between function following form and form following function. :D

Those spokes sure look great!

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Picture not showing for me?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Martn

Hahaha. I was being cheeky with the bladed spoke comment and also appreciate this response so much. Totally made my morning.

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martn
Martn
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Well cheers!

I just had to think back to SSWC2019. There were tons of expensive bikes around and almost all of them were custom builds (kind of to be expected with singlespeeders). And they all had a certain punk rock appeal. Not just because of the lack of gears and because they were there and being used, but because they all had 'soul'. You know the difference between a custom build where there's thought and consideration behind every single component and a custom build that's just money thrown at the people in the workshop? What also struck me at the time was that nobody made a big deal about it. There were Ti hardtails with Chris King and Paul Comp parts lying in the parking lot next to cheap 90s bike conversions and they were all fine. There seemed to be no ego or showing off involved. At least not with the bikes. Aaah, good times … this picture kind of sums it up nicely: https://www.flickr.com/photos/martn_rtr/50590358948/

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Yeah, absolute agree on the build thing, but the stacking of bikes, no, not even for a "cheap" bike would I let that happen, not a chance in hell. Don't get me wrong, I ride steel because of it's qualities and better reaction when it meets rocks, but just because I ride my bike hard and it maybe gets scratched from time to time, there's no way I'd ever abuse my bike like that, that's when you're trying to be "too cool/blasé" about it to me, you know, "too school for cool".

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taprider
taprider
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

that bike dog pile looks like how Montreal bike couriers used to theft proof/resist their bikes, while they went into the bar at night, with the most expensive bike in the middle of the pile

but the purposeful attempts at destruction, such as the old Marin/Jungle Jon crew riding over each others bikes, is just conspicuous consumption

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bushtrucker
bushtrucker
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Couldn’t agree more. Hell I’d even take boring parts and a GX/XT level build if it meant being able to afford a custom built frame or some really nice wheels.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

Looking at the frames Neko Mulally is racing this year and just thinking that anyone who can afford a premium production carbon frame could be pedaling a custom FTW rig. Not claiming the custom FTW rides better, and it probably weighs more, but just the mountain bike history in every frame... wow. 

There's so much neat custom and small-batch stuff coming out it's hard to keep track of it all. A couple of my favourite Canadian-content entries this year are the Kruch "Shrimpalicious" and Daambuilt put together this sweet flex-stay beast that caught my eye as well. So much interesting limited batch stuff going on. 

And I know there's a lot more suspension engineering being done by the big brands (at least in theory) but for most riders, the difference between a faux-bar and a 6-Bar system on the trail probably doesn't matter - especially after a few months of riding sans service. 

But all that said, even off-the-shelf frames with custom builds, maxed suspension, unique colour combinations, and a personal parts selection are interesting compared to the boring generic builds on a lot of boutique bikes. 

Photos of those rigs I mentioned...

Kruch:

Daambuilt:

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DogVet
Hugo Williamson
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Most definitely re the 6 bar, faux bar post 3 months, I left a dissembled Niner frame for a month in the shed, it might as well have been a hard tail!!

When I read comments like “ bearings not been changed for 2 years. “ Does the suspension function at all irrespective of its design or funky shock?!,

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blangshaw
Burgess Langshaw Power
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

As someone who is friends/riding buddies with Corey @Kruch and Kurtis @LoneTree (guy doing the yokes and some other parts for the frames) for the Shrimpalicious, I can honestly say the best is yet to come. They're doing some mind blowing work, and are testing out some really cool prototypes.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Don’t doubt it for a second.

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craw
Cr4w
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Jerry Willows

This comment has been removed.

just6979
Justin White
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

And your point? The cost of the carbon mould is amortized over the many thousands of frames it will make. Neko doesn't want/need thousands of frames. He only wanted three. He also wanted them all slightly different. There isn't enough money or time to allow Frank alone to make many thousands of those frames over just a couple years, let alone if they were all slightly different. It's a different ballgame, really no point in comparing.

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Paul Stuart

"but for most riders, the difference between a faux-bar and a 6-Bar system on the trail probably doesn't matter"

I think you're grossly underestimating people. Maybe most couldn't tell you the theoretical differences to be expected, and many might not be able to precisely articulate the differences even after riding them, but I know a lot of people who go hard enough that they can feel (like this one, dislike that one) the differences even if they can't present the stats like a seasoned suspension tester. And some people just plain go faster and/or smoother (less breaking shit), without even trying, on a system that better matches their style.

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Let's get some of the 90's anodised magic back!

S-Works Stumpjumper frame tricked out with Pauls Components brakes and dropper lever, Shimano XTR shifter and derailleur, Garbaruk cranks, chainring, pulley and cassette.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Cr4w

How about a custom Ventana or FTW that looks like a 1992 Adroit in gator fade but has modern geometry and won’t crack if you ride it?

More fun + more function + heavier but not so, so stiff.

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

No you're talking!

PS. I edited my comment above and removed the bit about wanting a Klein Adroit and changed it to a Stumpjumper carbon frame with cool stuff hanging off it.

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

So now my reply to you makes absolutely no sense :LOL:

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

But if you want to talk about custom frame makers then money no object, I'd stay local and get a bike made by Baum here in Australia. They have a secret menu including MTBs (not their bread and butter but stunning all the same!)

https://baumcycles.com/extended-family/

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

No, if we're talking custom, I'm going for a Moots YBB designed around running 29x2.6-3.0" tyres with good mud clearance, maybe with those eWing cranks, White Industry hubs laced to some i35 asym rims(prob carbon, but maybe alu), with a nice Shimano min/maxed 12spd drivetrain (XTR shifter, XT RD and cassette), not sure if Ti post or a 9point8 FallLine dropper, probably both since it's so easy to swap out the 9point8 posts and use which post best suits the coming ride.

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0 Andrew Major mnihiser

Those things were the most beautiful looking frames, but they rode as smooth as a concrete block, they were so damn harsh it wasn't funny, at least with the 1.8-2" tyres of the day. Can't recall the last time I bought clothes, have enough, don't need to look "pretty" most of the time, so whatever, spend $$ on good quality bike parts.

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Ripbro
Ripbro
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Great article. I am currently out on Vancouver Island to do some riding in Cumberland with a few days in Ucluelet. Having not spent time in Vancouver for over 7, my wife and I were blown away by the number of Teslas. It eventually became a game of seeing if we couldn’t spot a Tesla at an intersection. It’s crazy. Some people in this town have a lot of disposable  income, or a lot of debt. Likely both.

If I had enough money for a 15k bike, I would definitely be building something custom…

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alexdi
Alex D
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 ZigaK Cam McRae 4Runner1

Overt bike bling repels me. It's like wearing a clown suit. I'm a lot more interested in the engineering and manufacturing quality of a part than the color. If I have to be two feet away to know why it's special, so be it; my bike is for me, not for anyone else.

That said: matte black is a hugely boring frame color. It's not so much a choice as a lack of one. I think if you're going to pay well into the four figures for something, it shouldn't look unfinished.

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mnihiser
mnihiser
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

When I see a press release for a new "latest and greatest" in dull black or grey I don't even give a second look. The whole blacked out thing is lost on me, even Camrys are doing it now. I like my wheels shiny and silver, be it cars or bikes. Worst offenders are very well built vintage MXers with black rims. Awful!!                                                                             I think the latest Chameleon in yellow is one of the better looking bikes on the market. Could be because I owned a string of Suzuki RMs in the 70s and color is very similar.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

A proper ‘sleeper’ bike. Totally into it. But most folks clearly don’t get the distinction.

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cxfahrer
cxfahrer
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 BadNudes

This comment has been removed.

GB
GB
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

Andrew how's your ankle ? 

People are shallow Consumerism is now a form of culture .  Haha. 

North America has no culture . The only cultural statement I can observe is the original North Shore trail building , attitude. Challenge is good. Was the motto. No monetary gain.  

Feeling sad , lack of meaning in life ? Buy something you will feel better. 

Never seen a custom painted Tesla . That requires one to act individually . Now your different.  Who wants that. ? 

Andrew your different. Thank you for being you.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I see vinyl wrapped Tesla's. Often with a colour shift. But that is a (relatively) cheap way to stand out and not particularly reflective of "culture" either.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 cheapondirt

Ha. Last winter I was chatting with some neighbours on the street when a fancy Range Rover drove by. It had that iridescent purple peacock neck wrap. We all went silent for a second or two. I said, "I’ll bet he thought that colour looked cool. For about 20 minutes."  Then he probably wondered wtf he was thinking when he chose that hideous colour. Style is in the eye of the beholder though and if he liked it, he liked it.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

There's a metallic gold G-Wagon prowling around near mid-Lonsdale with someone's signature on the side. It's one of the worst eyesores I've ever seen with four wheels. But in that case, the driver probably still loves it.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

Cheers Greg,

Coming along. Hopefully back to normal in the Fall. For now it’s good enough to ride with my kid, as long as I ride the FS bike, and really that’s good enough! 

Thanks for asking.

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Prophet275
Prophet275
2 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 jgoon

I went a different way. I was too poor for a new modern bike so 6 years ago I bought an 05 Cannondale Prophet frame and built it up with more modern parts. It's got: a 27.5 conv, fox factory 150mm, custom tuned rs monarch, 1x11, magura mt5s with mt7 pads, maxxis rubber...etc. it took me 6 years to get here. It's not done of course. I haul it with a beat 07 subaru legacy.

05 prophet

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

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rolly
rolly
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andy Eunson

Only clear protection or custom decals. My red Marzocchi fork on my rootbeer Norco Sight may not be boring, but it ain't pretty.

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clubby
clubby
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Dye Bro might have something to spice up your frame.

https://www.dyedbro.com/collections/frame-protection

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Sethimus
Sethimus
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Konrad BadNudes doodersonmcbroseph Nologo thaaad

i‘m sorry, but all these brands just sport a huge ed hardy vibe…

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Really? To me, there doesn't seem to be anything in the Dyedbro collection that would really fit a $100 sweat-shop-made, distressed (aka pre-worn-out) t-shirt, with a "tattoo inspired" design, in 2 sizes too small, stretched over a creatine-and-water-inflated chest and shoulders.

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Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Oh man, I like creatine though :/ extra water in my shoulders prevents injury

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

"For something to be a 'sleeper' anything, it has be interesting to begin with."

Interesting internally, but boring AF externally. De-badging, or murdered-out colors, or blinged-out cranks, or bright anodized anything, those do not make a sleeper. Looking stock but packing a decidedly non-stock punch is what makes a sleeper. Everyone passes it by, they "sleep on it", when making assumptions about which is the best because it looks normal, but then it blows the doors off a bunch of obviously modified monsters.

The Avalanche cartridge and ACS3 in a Fox Performance fork would be on a sleeper. The inline or otherwise basic shock with custom valving and high-performance oil fits a sleeper. Painting the Maxxis logos OEM white, so people assume the tires are stock, that they were chosen for you by someone else, that's a sleeper. High-end ceramic bearings and a DT Swiss Ratchet upgrade in an OEM hub (quite a few use the same interface for the drive-ring): equals sleeper as least until you coast.

I can agree on most of the rest, as I've only ever owned a completely stock (boring!) bike for about 2 weeks, after my previous custom build was stolen, and the fastest and easiest way to recreate my kind of bike was to buy showroom stock and customize myself. Actually it might have been only days as stock... I think I rode the OEM brake pads, seat, bars, and grips only for one ride, the same day I got it. A bunch of stuff was already in the mail before the bike even got delivered to the shop.

It soon got: a whole new cockpit and touch-points, shorter cranks (also needed to gain a bash-guard), longer (aftermarket) dropper, new shock (now with custom valving, and color matched stickers), longer fork (with all the adjustments, and color matched stickers), custom-ish wheels (with very decent OEM plastic rims, butted spokes, and a high-engagement aftermarket hub), a ShRAMano SLX/GX drivetrain update (most of GX Eagle is just too soft and floppy, except for the cassette), and most recently upgraded brake levers.

At first glance it looks like a Stumpy anyone could buy, but almost every single piece has been specifically chosen by me. Maybe not a sleeper because it's got Kashima and a some oil-slick titanium and the hub buzzes medium-loud, but definitely interesting, IMO. Only thing is, I didn't really do any of it "just because I can", it's all for fit, comfort, durability, and performance. Ok, the oil slick Ti seat rails and various Ti bolts were kinda just 'cause I can, but they cost the same as the silver or black options, so still really for comfort and durability. And the color-matched stickers (same cost as stock colors) were to replace beat-up stickers before a protective wrap, so durability again?

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beerfriday
Mike Waldert
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I'm a massive fan of "a local shop could take a frame from any of them and build something a lot more interesting for a similar price and margin."  though I'll concede to pouncing on random carbon crank deals on the interweb or using a connection here or there for some other bits (paid, but maybe with a little reduction)    I have some lovely unique builds that wouldn't quite be min-max worthy (fail at the min probably) that are littered with the all time classic M785s still in the mix.   

NS Eccentric with a Z2?  Sure!  Mulleted TR500 with a Fox38 for park days?  Let's go..   then my overforked Tallboy trail bike (that looks an awful lot like a steel BC brand's new FSR bike)..   (Yes, I have a problem.)

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JVP
JVP
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0 ZigaK Lynx .

Ugh. Who gives a damn what other people are riding or driving. Just go ride.

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Jwff
Jwff
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Witnessed the Tesla thing … spent a recent long weekend in North Van and could not stop noticing all the Teslas. Just everywhere.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

People think I’m crazy, but it’s notable here v. anywhere else I’ve been in BC.

You’d think for the price of an X that someone (BMW? Mercedes?) could make a proper luxury EV that’s actually nice?! I mean, nice to sit in and drive. Who gives a hoot about 0-60 times when you’re coasting bumper to bumper.

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tashi
tashi
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman

The electric Mercedes IMO is beautiful, inside and out. I’d assume their upcoming SUV will be too.

Edit: Audi E-Tron and the Taycans are also waaaay more interesting than a Tesla (Taycan Wagon, drooooool).  I think it's going to get pretty hard for Tesla as the automakers start releasing electrics targeting their market. They are almost all better at building and selling cars than Tesla is.

Big agree on the Teslas - neat because they’re the first and all, but I go from my fathers S to my 20-year old C-class and feel like I’ve moved up in vehicle quality. That shouldn’t happen for six figure cars no matter what motor it has. Yuck.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Holllllly shite... I don't know shit-about-shit when it comes to cars but that Taycan wagon is exactly what I'm talking about. It's even significantly less money than a Model-X?!?! I guess it comes down to availability too. That thing would make me look twice if it drove by.

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major tashi taprider

the taycan wagon is hot. and cheaper (base) than the x? much nicer finish, interior, handling, pedigree, etc... hmmm, tough choice. 

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SomeBikeGuy
SomeBikeGuy
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Lu Kz

It's a Porsche. The base price is about as useful as the base pricing for a stock build mountain bike back in the late 90s, early 2000s when buying a stock bike meant you had to spend another couple of thousand $ (minimum) to make it ridable. You can count on your Taycan wagon costing you $150-180k after you option it out. And you'd still get more range out of a Tesla.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Timer

Isn't that true of every car? 

------

Can't be that far away from monthly subscription fees to have features that are built-in already turned on?

tashi
tashi
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Timer

I think you mostly don’t see em because they’re all quite new models (aside from the E-Tron, which isn’t very noticeable).

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tashi
tashi
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

They’re so damn sexy IRL too, including the interior, which to me would be pretty important when buying a rad expensive car. 

Haven’t driven one but I’ve driven Porsches and I’ve driven electrics so I can only assume that they’re fucking rad.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Exactly. If you're going to spend that much money it should be rad.

The Mercedes looks very nice inside too and starts under six figures for the SUV. Is it just a matter of supply that I don't see those everywhere? Certainly not a shortage of Porsches or Mercs on the Shore. 

I mean, they're all out of my price range, but really so is a one-shot 15K bike. It's just my opinion that if you're going to spend that much money the end result shouldn't be a snoozer.

BC_Nuggets
BC_Nuggets
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Some people just have ass-loads of money and don't know what to do with it.  They should just give it to me, man.

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BC_Nuggets
BC_Nuggets
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Still waiting.  PM me and we'll set up your e-transferring me 150K.  Thanks.

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syncro
Mark
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

All mtb's should come with a trail tax that is progressive. Around here that would probably pay for a couple of full time trail builders per year. In that situation I would be all for people buying expensive bikes.

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flattire2
Brian Tuulos
2 months, 3 weeks ago
-3 jgoon Andrew Major tashi Timer Lynx .

Myopic that a 20-something NSMB guy thinks it's 'unbelievable' that a doctor or CEO making huge bank buys a 15K off the shelf bike rather than geek out and piece it together part by part. People that successful in life don't have the disposable time.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+8 Perry Schebel shenzhe cheapondirt Lu Kz Velocipedestrian Timer Lynx . Niels van Kampenhout

I wrote the piece and have read every comment and I don't see anyone saying it's unbelievable. It's readily observable. So is the fact that there are significantly more high-end cars on the local roads and high-end bikes on the local trails than can be accounted for within your narrow profession-based metric of life success.

I'm not sure who the '20-something NSMB guy' comment is directed at but if it's me you can basically double it. Not that it matters I suppose. I know plenty of 20-somethings a lot wiser than I am. 

As to it being myopic. It's a free online article written with the stated goal to inspire, inform, and entertain. If you didn't get anything out of it you're welcome to a full refund.

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Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 taprider Timer shenzhe Niels van Kampenhout

Oh what some would give to be a myopic 20-something NSMB guy again...

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+6 taprider Lu Kz Velocipedestrian shenzhe Niels van Kampenhout Lynx .

I love my life right now, but I wouldn’t mind having a bit of my old healing factor back.

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syncro
Mark
2 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Trust me, it's over rated.

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flattire2
Brian Tuulos
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

"You had over fifteen thousand dollars to spend on a 6" travel suspension bike and you bought an out-of-the-box rig? Incredible.

Meant to write incredible.  It's not incredible, really.  Just different folks of different incomes living their best lives.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 3 weeks ago
+4 taprider Velocipedestrian Lynx . Prophet275

I've had the opportunity to run with a lot of different circles of people. From folks who managed to share a shitty 2000 sq/ft house between 8-10 mates to a (really nice) dude who has his own Sikorsky. I've also sold bikes at every price point.

I'd argue that regardless of their profession, free time, and the size of their piles of cash (or HELOC) the % of folks spending 10K+ on a bike just because they're rich is tiny. The dude with the $500 BAOs on his feet and the sweet AMG still thinks 2K is a lot for "just a push bike."

That is to say if you interviewed most riders dropping 15K on a mountain bike I believe they'd all say they love riding and they've made a decision based on the brand of bike they want or the shop they want to deal with (or some combination of the two).

At the end of the day, my basic point could be flipped on its head. If a person walks into your shop and wants to spend 15K on an Enduro, or a MegaTower, or an SB150, or whatever then build them a more interesting bike than the manufacturer is shipping OE. Or, I could phrase it as expect something unique for 15K.

I don't have an issue with the person who has 150K to spend on a car, all I'm saying is that if you're going to spend a down payment on an apartment for four wheels and an infotainment center then get something cool.

Or I guess don’t. As I pointed out right at the start of the article, it’s your money. Inspire, inform, entertain.

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