Good review. I wish I could justify owning a downhill bike. By far my favorite kind of bike to ride. But given that my closest trails don’t really require one, and modern trail bikes are so capable, I don’t know if I’ll ever buy one again.
Good reply. I was mostly teasing about the love/hate part. I see your point about the bias, but I struggle to believe that’s a big factor. I’m fully with you on more practice time and a way to complete runs. Problem is, I assume all the infrastructure costs a ton they want to do it quickly and all at once. For sure it’s just a tough event. Maybe it’s time for the community to get over it and honor the judges choices. Or accept that what we really love about Rampage is debating who won!
I agree but I have to air a couple grievances: First, you never said why you love or hate Rampage. Unless I missed that part. Second, are you really worried about nationality bias or was that tongue-in-cheek? I'm all for a diverse group of judges, but I see little evidence of bias. Of all Rampage podiums, 11 have been from the USA. 28 from elsewhere. Winners? 3 from USA and 10 from elsewhere. If anything there's a Canada bias, with 62% or wins. Or, maybe winners tend to be riders who come from big mountains and have easier access to southern Utah and similar terrain?
I love a good conspiracy theory, but maybe the reality is, this is just a really hard event to judge. For a few reasons. You have a group of riders from multiple disciplines, who do not compete on the same course, and whose terrain is difficult for the judges (and even harder for the public) to comprehend. I can't think of another event that is this tricky.
Maybe the judges pretty much have it all right according to their criteria and the public just has different tastes, or even worse, we're just clueless about what's really going on out there?
Here's my two cents: after all the hype and all the hard work, it kills me to not see any one of those guys not complete their line. The fact that we didn't get to see everything Semenuk was planning ruined it for me. So I would propose more practice time or more runs in the final. Enough that everyone has a legit shot at cleaning their line.
Second, I'm sick of hearing everyone's opinion except the riders. Why not let the riders pick the winner? They could vote on best overall run, most technical line, best trick... how could we argue with their choice? Not a complete jam session like Fest, but maybe bring in some Fest-type elements? Would that ruin the bottom line for Redbull?
I think it's dangerous to artificially reduce the value of tricks. I think it's bad news any time you try to limit, via the judging, anything these guys can do. Think of it this way. Is there any doubt Brett Rheeder or Andreu could make a smooth run on Fairclough's line? But Fairclough can't do what Brett or Andreu did. Tricks are related to the degree of difficulty. Telling the riders that on any given feature, certain tricks won't score higher than others just kills progress. If they want to limit tricks, they could reduce the amount of time they have to work on the lines. Make it so they can't build features that easily tricked.
I was surprised by how manicured the mountain ended up, but I still don't think it's fair to compare it to Crankworks. Most strictly-slopestyle guys cannot come out and ride, let alone trick, these lines. They're all "death defying chutes, hucks and gaps - features on the hill that make impressive stunts." There's nothing basic on the hill.
I was on Enve for a few years and moved over to We Are One last year after learning about what Dustin and company were up to. They ride great and I have had zero issues so far, which I couldn’t say for Enve. (I loved how my Enves rode but I warrantied a couple rims and often had issues mounting tires and keeping them sealed up. None of that so far with WAO, not to mention the massive cost difference). Although I’ve heard the new Enve rim strip is a game changer.
These look reasonably legit. Schiers brings a lot of experience to the table (wonder why he left Enve). Like most engineering developments in MTB, I have to wonder how much of a real-world effect the two different wheels make, but the concept makes sense, except for one thing:
“CB tells us this is because front wheels often support wider tires and benefit from a rounder tire profile for cornering while a narrower rear rim "sharpens tire edge profile for grip," while reducing rolling resistance.”
I know wider front tires are typical, but isn’t this backwards? Doesn’t a wider rim square a tire more, and a narrower rim make it more round? What am I missing?
Cam, have you been on We Are One wheels? Curious how you’d compare.
Thanks for putting this together. I don't have my head fully wrapped around this specific issue, but as a citizen of the USA I'd like to apologize to my MTB brothers and sisters in other nations for whatever negative impact our politics has on your world. Hardly a day goes by that I don't read the news and marvel, how on earth did we put that man in the office of President? It's not a partisan thing for me, I'm actually quite conservative. It's more about just basic moral decency and competency. I've always been proud of my country, but that has become difficult in recent years. Luckily the President only has so much power and hopefully we'll see this nasty real-time experiment end soon. Sorry for getting NBR and political, but had to get that off my chest! We're not all crazy down here. Thanks for letting us come play on your trails, and you're all welcome in Phoenix when it gets too dark, damp, and cold. Hopefully that freedom never changes.
Nice article! I do a lot of night riding here in the Phoenix area, in the summer to escape the heat and in the winter to enjoy the cool temps after work. Usually solo. It is crazy how creepy it gets after dark, but I like how it can spice up a trail that might otherwise feel a little tame or mundane. I’ve had good luck with Fenix all-in-one lights.