Uncle Dave – Commencal Frame Winner!

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Apr 4, 2016

As per Uncle Dave’s request the winner for the month of April was drawn at random. The selection process was highly scientific. I opened up three tabs each of this month’s Uncle Dave questions (12 tabs in all) and then opened a blank tab. Then I got my son to choose a tab at random with the mouse, without revealing what he was actually doing. This whole process was audited by Price Waterhouse and my daughter. And this letter was the lucky winner of the Commencal META HT AM 650B frame you see below! Thanks to Commencal and for all the great letter in April. Keep ’em coming to askuncledave@nsmb.com

Congrats Gimp! Email us to claim your frame! Check out the winning question and Dave’s response below.


I recall a joke I heard many, many years back. There may be other versions but this is mine.

A Ranger, a Marine, and a Green Beret were out on a training mission. Late at night on a beach and in the light of the hot coals of a once roaring fire, they start shooting the crap. 

“I can jump out of an airplane from 30,000ft without a parachute, hit the ground and run 20 miles in 2 hours with a 100lb pack of live scorpions, and kill a hundred enemy with a pointy stick”. says the Ranger.

The Marine speaks up.

“I can hold my breath underwater for four hours, chew a shark’s head off with my bare teeth, put a bullet through a gnat’s ass at two miles, and get kicked out of every bar in Bangkok in one night.”

The Green Beret says nothing. He just sits there stirring the fire with his dick. 

What personality, company, or local hero stands out as a no-nonsense, no-shit-talking bad-ass to you?

Who’s the Green Beret of the mountain biking world?

I like Enduro, I do. I like the bikes, I like the mix of attributes I think the athletes use. Stuff like lungs and proprioreceptors and normal looking shorts. I’d consider them among the toughest, well-rounded, aspirational (is that a real word?) riders in the world.

But I’d love to hear your opinion, otherwise I wouldn’t be asking I guess.

Green is My Favourite Colour

Dear Gimp:

After I answer this question I’m going to get a lot of hate mail from a bunch of Marines and Rangers, aren’t I?  What’s with you Americans and your military obsession?  I mean, I read Tom Clancy novels as a child and I greatly enjoyed them, but there is no need to use them as your life template. What is the actual difference between a Ranger, a Marine and a Green Beret anyhow?  What about the Navy SEALs?  Delta Force?  The SAS?  JTF2? (Please don’t use the comments to answer these questions)

Still, I like your question.

Choosing a Green Beret type rider is easy. It’s Matt Hunter. Now, I’ve never met Matt Hunter, but this is how I imagine him to be.

Matt lives in a small cabin beside a lake in the hills above Kamloops. Once a month, he percolates up a cup of coffee, drives into town and treats himself to a packet of sugar for that cup of coffee. He takes the packet of sugar from a McDonald’s and pays for it by leaving a healthy donation for Ronald McDonald House in that little box in front of the cash register. This is the full extent of his grocery purchases as he lives off a diet of moss, bark, wild mushrooms and fish that he catches with his bare hands. He sleeps on the floor because he lent his mattress to a deer that was recovering from a broken leg and he didn’t have the heart to ask for it back. He uses old hubcaps for dinner plates and cooks his food by rubbing it really fast against a rock in front of his cabin.

Matt spends his winters constructing jumps in the forest so that there’s no messing around with building once it’s time for riding. He uses a shovel to make this happen, only because it improves his productivity by 1000%, so it would be silly not to. It does cause him a small degree of shame, though.

When riding season finally rolls along a plane flies over the cabin and a couple of bike boxes with a Specialized logo are kicked out the back. Matt has no ‘sponsors’ and has signed no contracts. He’s never read a magazine or seen the Internet, he just relies on these magical bike gods to provide for him each year.

Once the boxes from Heaven are opened, he then spends the next hour or two cobbling these bikes together with a rock shaped like a screwdriver. He pumps the tires with his own breath. Sometimes he doesn’t bother installing the seat.

Once it is time to ride, he disappears into the forest for weeks at a time. He rides in a quilted flannel jacket and cut-off jean shorts. He wears no underwear.

To capture his photograph it requires months of tracking via satellite imagery and lots of camouflage and goat urine. Once found, you must make no sudden movements. If you spook him and he runs, your second attempt to find him may be your last. If you manage to engage him in conversation, it goes something like this:

“You want to take my picture?  Well. It’s a free country, I guess.”

He’ll then spit in the dirt, slowly walk back up the mountain and then, finally, hit the jump.

“You want me to hit that jump again?  Well. I was going to anyways.”

You had better nail your photograph. You only ever get two chances.

Or, he lives in a giant house, sleeps on a pile of money and makes negative comments online about Syrian refugees. I really have no idea.

Now, naming a Green Beret bike company becomes a bit more difficult. ‘Quiet seriousness’ is a phrase that you don’t come across all that often with respect to companies selling expensive recreational products to rich people. There are many “serious” bike companies, and there are a few “quiet” bike companies, but the combination of those two things is very rare.

The company that is the closest for me is Santa Cruz. They give off a bit of a ‘quiet seriousness’ vibe, but in more of a ‘stoned professional surfer’ than a ‘trained military tool’ sort of way. This is in no way meant as an insult.

What I like so much about Santa Cruz is their stoic sales technique. They advertise, sure, but it’s not super pushy. More of a here-are-our-bikes-and-it-is-great-if-you-want-to-buy-one-but-if you-don’t-it’s-no-biggie kind of thing. You’re seldom going to hear an over-the-top sales pitch and if they make a claim there is generally some supporting information that can be understood by people not holding Phd’s in Particle Physics. Their marketing speak is restrained and they just quietly and efficiently sell a lot of bicycles and win a lot of races and you’re welcome to participate if you feel like it.

If that’s not stirring a fire with your dick, what is?

Uncle Dave

You can almost judge the Uncle’s mood by his social media activity. A lot of Twitter activity (@ReallyUncleDave) generally indicates sadness and disgruntlement (he’s been pretty quiet this week). Photos of dogs on Instagram (@davetolnai) mean that he woke up that morning.(And don’t forget to check out the NSMB.com instagram at @nsmbteam)

Who are the biggest badasses in mountain biking?

Trending on NSMB


Poo Stance  - July 20, 2016, 11:44 a.m.

My vote is for either Shirk or Luke Strobel.


Wig  - April 9, 2016, 2:13 p.m.

Thought about this before; Richie Rudd looks like a Marine, and Danny Hart looks like a Navy Seal, Fabien Barel looks like a french sniper (talks like one too).


reformed roadie  - April 5, 2016, 12:37 p.m.

I'm sorry. If you're using your dick for stirring fire, you need to go back and read the instructions.


Pete Roggeman  - April 6, 2016, 6:41 a.m.

I think your humor detection device is in need of recalibration.


reformed roadie  - April 6, 2016, 8:12 a.m.

No, it's good. Set for Larry David humor, not Larry the Cable Guy. Thanks for your concern, though…


boomforeal  - April 5, 2016, 10:53 a.m.

i think of seb as the mtb version of the green berets (as the joke describes them) - seems to spend all of his time these days building trails and coaching kids, but his 4kings result suggests he could tear your legs off or drop your ass depending on which way the bikes were pointed


Carl Ward  - April 5, 2016, 8:06 a.m.

This is the single best thing i've read on the internet, ever.


whatyouthink  - April 5, 2016, 6:44 a.m.

I just hope Matt Hunter reads this.


Cam McRae  - April 5, 2016, 4:45 p.m.

He has. This is what he said.
"So funny, thanks for the laugh Cam McRae ,and please tell Dave that I now have some new life goals."


Morgan Taylor  - April 5, 2016, 6:41 a.m.

Matt Hunter truly is a great guy.


Raymond Epstein  - April 5, 2016, 5:51 a.m.

My MTB Green Beret vote goes to Banshee. Solid, tough as nails, no BS designs that work without any marketing fluff.


Luix  - April 5, 2016, 5:18 a.m.

So I take from your story Chuck Norris had a feisty night with Matt's mother something like 9 months before he was born…


Dirk  - April 5, 2016, 8:56 a.m.

Ya. It's hard to talk about bad-assery without getting a little bit Chuck Norris. What can you do?


Luix  - April 5, 2016, 9:03 a.m.

Praise the Ol' Chuck?


kain0m  - April 5, 2016, 11:04 a.m.

Him and Chuck like to sit in front of Matt's cabin.. you know… feeding off each other.


Luix  - April 5, 2016, 12:35 p.m.

Ha! I had good chuckle with that one. Bless Anthill!


ZigaK  - April 4, 2016, 11:20 p.m.

To continue with the self reliant type, he makes his own rubber out of special sap he mixes up with charcoal, frame, stem bar combo and seat post are off course made out of cedar. The chain is painstakingly ground from bear fangs, the holes for the pins are drilled with a bow drill with a quartz crystal tip. He doesn't need the brakes, but he makes them anyway. Cantilevers are made from moose's antlers, sinew for cable wire, brake pads from … he runs a front derailleur, 135mm rear hub and urt suspension.


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