Oddly, this unhinged, emergency edition rant has its genesis on a quiet and beautiful singletrack climb in Tasmania. When you’re dropped off at the top of the shuttle road in Derby, Tasmania, at the Black Stump, you have the option of either rolling down some fairly good trails to the mid-point, or, you can head up Snig Track for more DH radness.
It’s only about 3km’s long and averages 4%, but on big bikes and with many runs under the belt, it will likely take you around half an hour to spin up on DD tires.
However, it may feel significantly longer if you’re the hammered meat (slathered in man mayo) in a Rodfather and Creator double team sandwich as they lobby you endlessly about eBikes, and specifically “why don’t you have one cunt?” and why aren’t you joining them on their exclusively snobby eMTB only missions? Not only did I predict this in part 1 of this rant, but their E-Fever also seemed to outweigh their acoustic bike usage these days.
As they vigorously attacked me with their E-rections, I tried to explain that given some of my cycling background has a heavy dose of road, gravel and long range missions in it, the concept of a motor being involved was about as appetising as inviting a sex robot into the marital bed for a threesome. Trying to not sound like John Connor as I rebuffed their repeated advances, how could I make these moto-loving-muthafuckas realise that I didn’t want mechanical assistance fucking with my lifestyle?
In the end, I resorted to my main parenting skill to shut the kids up – Yelling out something flippant to buy me some silence and time. As the words left my lips, they did so with a dose of smugness about them:
“If Santa Cruz bring one out, then I’ll have to get one won’t I?!”
Smugness fuelled by blind confidence (AKA ignorance) that while Santa Cruz may eventually be forced under threat of a Dutch rudder to produce an eBike, it would hopefully be years away, ideally coinciding with my old age decline. FUCK:
Meet the Santa Cruz Heckler… Which, while I tip my hat at why the name was used, feels like the first cup of Elephant semen to swallow here. One of my last 26ers was the Heckler, and given I had two of them, this was a much loved machine. To see the name return, but in an alien form, gives me some empathy for Officer Murphy’s wife:
Aside from saying that this appears to be what happens when a Tesla fucks a Bronson, I’m not going to talk too much about the actual bike itself, mostly because I’m a Dirt Luddite and know fuck all about motors and batteries (Aside from the fact that the Rodfather regularly fucks both, with significant erectile damage as a result). Instead, I’m going to use the internet for what it was designed for: To talk about how this impacted ME.
Given my stance on the eIssue, virtual artillery shells started to land on my luddite foxhole faster than I could scream “Incoming eMTB fuckwittery!” The crescendo of commentary, abuse, opinion, backlash and criticism culminated in one quick witted DNGC member referring to me as ‘DirtEnomad’… Holy FUCK. The horror was both real and complete. As someone who has written an open love letter to Santa Cruz, whilst also doing the opposite for motorised bicycles, I suddenly found myself in a James Comey level predicament.
There was a smugness in the messaging coming my way too, which had the distinct scent of “Eat your hat cunt, then ask for my scrotum for dessert“, like I suddenly now had to surrender my cycling unabomber lifestyle, come down from the woods and drop $20k on an eBike.
To put this in perspective, if one of my good friends came out as gay, I wouldn’t start suddenly dishing out hand jobs to people other than the Rodfather (Yes, the price of admission into his white panel van is questionably high), but yet that was the rationale floating around.
Given this rant is clearly going off the rails, let’s catch our faux-outraged breaths with a quick cross to a classic eMTB owners scene, which I’m told happens every second Saturday:
I think one of the most surreal aspects of this whole cycling life-changing news was watching Rob Roskopp do his best impression of a Dutch Taliban hostage reading from cue-cards about how excited he was to be dropping some E in the office. I presume that helped him get through an interview that even made Siri cringe.
Naturally he wasn’t helped by an exhausted engineer who was clearly suffering from both sleepless nights and PTSD at the thought of how he was going to package the VPP lower link platform around a Shimano platform which is essentially now the Model T ford engine in terms of rate of development. Was I the only one who detected a nervous fart when the question of wheel size came up? The natural follow up question, which remained un-asked of course, was clearly “Well then, how the fuck will you get a 29er to market?”
Was this inevitable? Yes… Is it going to become rampant? Yes. When a major industry player like Specialized aim to have 70-80% of their revenue coming from eBikes, that’s going to change the market and force everyone else to jump in or get murdered. Given our capitalist scenario, you’re going to either have to produce motor-bikes, or likely go out of business.
Think I’m more full of shit than usual? Then you clearly haven’t talked to anyone in the industry about the data… Or what their current number 1 sellers are, but I will give you a clue: It ain’t acoustic bikes. Shocked?* Just wait until you see their forward projections…
*Electricity pun semi-intended
We’re going to need a power point Dorothy
“Why is this happening?!” you may be screaming, well, that’s easy. Firstly, much like slowly and lazily murdering your democracy, it’s unfolded in a crEEping dystopia fashion until a rush of events (I.e the new range of Specialized eBikes) make it both obvious and something that can no longer be unpicked. And of course the key ingredient that has fuelled it all: Money.
Secondly – And I say this without knowing which order it really goes in, but society and companies and fuelling the rise of not just the Age of the Dumb Cunt, but also the best time ever to be a lazy cunt as well. And it’s the laziness that’s the hook. Excuse me while I yawn as the eFiends start screaming “Its more of a work out than a normal bike!!!“, which based on the way I’ve seen people ride these things is a whopper right up there with Mexico funding a fence with their neighbours.
Yes, the laziness is the key here – perhaps not so much for the established and long-term mountain bikers, but then again this is why the industry loves this eCrack, because it’s hoovering in a whole lot of new cash from punters entering the market who are salivating at the idea of getting some mechanical assistance on the thing that terrifies amateur cyclists: Going up.
Anything hard, or increasingly basic it seems, needs to be eliminated or dumbed down to the point where we are just meat popsicles. I saw an ad the other day for ‘Grammerly’, an App that tells you how to write sentences. Yes, no shit.
The ad was novel in that it paraded a collection of dumb cunts through who expressed orgasmic levels of euphoria that Grammerly had helped them write a paragraph that my Alpaca could have written while getting fisted by the Vet. Whoever works in their marketing department needs an App that tells them how to do marketing:
For fucks sake, one of the examples was someone using it to write a Board paper – In which fucking company? Because those shares need to be sold fucking immediately.
The point being, the easing, dumbing down and general aroma of laziness is not only trending to continue, but it’s fertile ground for eBikes to continue their unstoppable march up eMTB specific climbing trails. Bear in mind, these are the early days too… The new Tech & Battery arms race is heating up and the flood gates are open.
What the fuck do you know?
Ah yes… An excellent question, as the first time I went on about this, I had no first hand knowledge of having a motor rammed up my BB.
And whilst I’m still exceedingly thin on the ground in the eXperience department, at least I’ve had an initial whiff of it thanks to the Sleeping Beauty of shuttling and one of the leading eLobbyists, The Creator. Last year he tricked me into a ride at one of my local hang outs, and ambushed me with a bike that had a motor in it. Here he is dressed like a soccer mom in winter trying to sell me on the concept:
Much like watching your flat mates having sex on the couch when you get back early with the take aways and come in unnoticed, morbid curiosity got the better of me and I finally agreed to ride this robot 750m so I could spit my disdain on it’s top tube.
My reaction was probably similar to the reaction many people will have sometime in the next decade when sex robots become hugely viable – Absolute horror to what this machinery was doing to something that I loved doing.
It was obscene. This wasn’t pedal assist, this was rocket ship BS. On the trail in question, if I ride full gas on the Blur 3, my heart rate is around 175 BPM, meaning I’m pretty much getting towards the end of the rev counter. Bear in mind this is close to full gas. On this giant Alu donkey with a battery shoved up it’s ass, I was doing around 120 BPM (chilling) and I was going twice as fast.
What the fuck? I was having to brake uphill into corners… I didn’t have to ride for very long to realise that the bike industry has been trying to down play how easy these fuckers make things. This wasn’t just some pedal assistance, this was like getting the full Lance Armstrong medical package and then going riding with little kids, who are blind, and attacking them in the big chainring. It was gratuitous. As I turned the pedals in confused bewilderment I felt more horrified than elated.
While most people are reading that climbing description and thinking ‘Fucking awesome’, I was busy having the opposite reaction. Clearly this wasn’t for me. I assume the people telling me I have to get one are also still convinced that Fuckbook makes them more connected to people.
“But you can get double the DH runs!” they cry. Really? Will that make you twice as happy? Will you actually be able to ride decently on the last run as the first? Will you turn up to do twice as much trail maintenance as a result of your increased diet of runs? Or is this just a general surrender to the culture of ‘more must be better’? Yes… Yes… Surrender to your inner consumer, go on, upgrade to that next tier of motor power while you’re horn-e and ready.
But back to my Heckling
Have I woken up screaming in the night about Santa Cruz launching an eMTB? No, mostly because the scream wouldn’t come out. I seemingly don’t give as much of a fuck as I thought I might, but since you asked, some things did perplex me about the Heckler launch.
The first thing that annoyed me was naturally the faux stoke hitting the air waves. It’s not that I’m calling anyone bullshitters as such, but some of the sudden overnight e-converts had a distinct Lindsay Graham aroma about them from an authenticity perspective.
I’m fully versed that when you suck on the corporate teat, there are time when you hit a vein of sour milk that you have to swallow and proclaim is the best shit you’ve ever had make love to your tongue. But as I worked to put a MIPS lining into my tinfoil helmet, I couldn’t help but detect a general theme from the ambassador and influencer stoke that was leaking all over my eyes. If I had to sum it up, it would sound like this:
“Hey, eBikes are actually fucking cool. I’m so stoked that this has happened and I nervously hope no one ever digs up my previous comments on this topic. But hey, if you don’t like eMTB’s now, then actually it’s clearly YOU who is the cunt, so get with the program brah”
I’m usually happy to eat up what the fraternity is splattering on the social media biscuit, Mullet bikes aside perhaps, but this time I felt affronted by what was coming at me from every channel. Holy fuck, am I asking for a… Safe space? Sweet Hesus, am I a snow-e flake?
Next up was some of the online hating. This may be an odd thing for me of all people to object to, but I think it was both the sheer stupidity of some of it, coupled with a total lack of awareness about how any form of business actually works. I’m not sure if most of the people commenting on-line are unemployed, but it appears they should be.
I saw one dumb cunt who was so affronted by the new Santa Cruz eMTB that they claimed they were off to Yeti to support a company that “hadn’t betrayed Mountain Biking“… First of all, unless G.I Joe G himself has ridden on an eBike to your house and slept with your partner, I’m not sure betrayal is a valid emotion here.
Secondly, good luck with writing that Switch Infinity cheque, only to have the Tribe dunk on you when they also drop their first eBike, which is an imminent event BTW, and possibly a shrewd tactic to wait a little given all the haters will be exhausted by the time they get it to market.
Yes, they’re all going to drop – All your beloved boutique MTB brands will either force some E into your mouth, or slowly die as the OK boomer dollar is redirected to a million Levo’s while Millennials revive the fixie industry. I think this meme hits the point perfectly:
Think I’m full of shit, part 2? Santa Cruz currently has 13 bikes in their line up and 1 eMTB. Now consider this answer from Lord Roskopp when Pinkbike asked him about what percentage of the line up will be ebikes 5 years from now, and remember – This man sees ALL the PowerPoint slides about what’s coming and terrifies ALL the in-flight projects with his low tone feedback:
“I think a safe answer might be 50-percent. I don’t see pedal bikes going away. I mean, we’ve grown year over year considerably over the last four years, and I think that’s due to a really good product, customer service, warranty, and this will be another bump for us because the platform is really good.”
Holy FUCK. Does this mean that we will wake one day to the news of the MegaPower launching? Or the Lazyboy hitting the trails? Will the V10 become the 10-Volt? Will we have to choose between a Hightower and a Highpower? My mind is melting faster than a motor getting the Rodfather treatment in the Aka’s.
Am I about to run out to the shed and set fire to the armada of Santa Cruz bikes gleaming in there? Fuck NO! I adore those machines to a level that it likely unhealthy from a clinical psychologists perspective, an indeed my biggest problem is that I don’t have enough time to ride the 3 SC Mountain Bikes I have as it is. Not only is there no room in the Dirty Hanger, but there is no time for an eBike in my life.
But, if I was weak, wavering or close, then this video right here would have been all the ball tickling I would have needed to put a charging point into the shed:
Now THAT is how you sell eBikes. Not on the bike themselves, but on the back country insanity you may be able to access. Fuck, if DOC open up the Ruahine or Kaweka Ranges to bikes then I am totally getting a Heckler. And that yellow is fucking on point as well just quietly…
Fuck – As IF.
No, I won’t be surrendering anytime soon, and in part 3 of me being full of rancid rant shit, I have a theory that the greater the dose of drop handlebars in your cycling background, the less likely you are to be infected with the CoroneMTB virus. Mountain Bikers (I mean that in the ‘hardcore, I don’t know what a drop bar fucking is’ kind of way) love new tech, whereas on the road front, they’ve been fighting a rear guard action against… Disc brakes?
Don’t worry Roadies – You aren’t completely immune
Ignorance may be bliss right now for the Roadies reading this, but you’re currently in the lengthy incubation period for the eCoronavirus and the first time you’ll know the world has changed is when you start getting the “Oh oh” e-mails from Strava.
Or perhaps you’ll be grinding up your favourite climb and some fat cunt will come whirring past you and with their muffin top hanging out of their Team Ineos pro kit, they’ll wave and say something like “Great climb this eh?“, you want to scream back “Eat my ass cunt!“, but you’re too gassed to get the words out, but that’s irrelevant as you’re too perplexed at the speed of what appears to be a bicycle is going.
You’d heard the stories, seen the on-line chat groups, but this was your first experience of having an eSword rammed slowly into your ribcage while a Lexus SUV driving early adopter says “Shhhhhhhhhh” in your face. But those interactions aside, it’s probably going to be all the more alarming with what’s going to happen to the bikes you’re riding, or want to ride in the next decade.
The day is drawing nearer where the Road category manager (Todd) for your beloved bike brand is going to walk into the annual R&D budget allocation meeting asking for a slice of the cash pie for the new acoustic road bike they want to build for you.
In that meeting will be ‘Chad’, the slightly overweight, heavily over-cologned and slick-backed hair (Yes, a jock cunt) eBike category head. Armed with a sales graph prepared by a team member Chad has sexually harassed earlier in the day, he will proceed to wipe his balls all over Todd’s face (corporate metaphorically speaking) before leaving with all the FY23 budget allocation.
Todd will traipse back to his team, crying on the inside and with Tier 1 shrivel factor, working out how to explain to his team that their road bike line will have to make do with its 4th year in a row of just some colour changes and maybe tan wall tires. Todd will then ride home, narrowly avoiding being maimed by eBike commuters, to find previously mentioned sex robot taking care of business on the home front as well. How exciting is the future?!
Fuck, no wonder everyone calls me an optimist. Now that I have purged, I’m off to climb, unassisted, back to my cycling unabomber wooden cabin to strip naked and polish svelte down tubes and bottom bracket areas and prepare for the end of the acoustic world.