We’re now into the initial swing of 2018 and its apparent that one of the trends that has been gaining momentum from last year, aside from ‘Faux outrage‘, is still continuing to snowball as the Intercunt continues to melt our brains. This ones initial appears benign, but is actually as insidious as they come – Just ask anyone who works in A) A bike shop or B) A bike company or C) Your doctor. It’s as simple as it is terrible:

We are all fucking experts now

And its not just that, its also got two additional offshoot sub-plots that feed this newfound societal disease:

  1. Actual real experts can get fucked
  2. If you say I’m not an expert, then I will refer you back to Faux outrage and spend 5 mins on Google to become an expert in the thing you said I’m not an expert in. And you can get fucked (Refer to #1).

Yes, we can now all take anything we’ve skim read about and regurgitate it with enough confidence to hopefully impress those around us that we are indeed the shit. You only need to overhear a suicidal investment story about Bitcoin being exchanged between strangers in a bar to get the vibe I’m referring to here. “Nah man, it can’t go down, it only goes up – For real

You may have heard the classic line of “Never have we had access to so much information“, which is right on, but that’s not the issue. While access to our volume of data points has increased exponentially, our ability to process it and make sense of this gushing pipe of shit has not kept pace unfortunately. The result, we are ending up resembling a giant cunt bonfire.

In this rush to self proclaimed expertise, I naturally don’t want to get left behind. So, in the lead up to Andes Pacifico I feel compelled to waste some of your life developing some solid scientific insights into some of cycling’s more pressing topics that are worrying an exceedingly small percentage of the population. The great thing about populism and self proclaimed expertise however is that we can make shit that doesn’t matter actually really matter! Yay for low self awareness!

To validate my newly established expertise, I checked in with the legit DN Global Collective Science Officer (who does what was previously known as ‘Actual Science’), Herr Doktor, to gauge his thoughts & feelings on my deep dive exposé into the world of Dirty science. His response was as direct as his line choices through gnar:

“No mountain biking eh you weak armed cockhead, I’m going to take you down the death drop then dead lift your corpse for an extra work out”

Actual Science Quote: “Like being a turd dipped in a batter of fuckwittery and deep fried in the oil of cuntery”

In my ENDURO echo chamber that sounds vaguely like an endorsement, so off we go into the Dirty lab to address some of the most burning cycling related issues (many of which have come up during Andes Pacifico prep) and questions you didn’t know you had, solved through indisputable Dirty Science.

#1 – Is the modern ENDURO bike fucking your back?

The Hypothesis – Given most of us are now riding around on bikes with angles previous reserved for DH bikes, its forcing us more and more into an upright and potentially unnatural riding position (Also see – ‘Congratulations on your first Cougar’). Long forks, high stacks, short stems and bars so wide your arms weep at the prospect all combining to form not only radness, but to also put the modern ENDURO rider into a slightly strange position for extended riding, especially for what initially appears to be your lower back.

Anyone else noticed of late their lower back in particular seems to be getting funky after slaying it hard on your contemporary carbon trail eviscerating machine? That twinge of WTF as you tried to get out of bed? That slightly hobbled walk? That deep desire to stretch out your lower back as you pretend to look at Yoga soft porn on the Gram? A slight reluctance to try out the next page in the kama sutra sex book you got for Christmas? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The Dirty Scientific evidence – At this point most websites would show diagrams and furnish your eyes with other irrefutable evidence to back up their claims, but fuck all that, I spoke to a few rad cunts who all furnished me with the best scientific evidence, anecdotal, that this really is a thing. Who needs large scale scientific research when a sample group of 5 GC’s will tell you all you need to know? Hail the power of “Yeah, me too” group think.

However, as we like to say in Corporate cuntyland: “team we need to focus on the fundamentals here and not the symptoms“, which is a wanky way of saying that perhaps its not your back getting Geo reamed here by your carbon sled of endurogasim goodness, but in fact it may be your IT Bands that are the culprit. I know this beyond debate because someone pointed it out to me at a BBQ, so I then regurgitated it with an extremely confident voice and people agreed with me, so it has to be true.

Yes, allegedly our IT bands are suffering and upon tightening, passing their nastiness on to your lower back. Also turns out that the ITB is a bit of a cunt in terms of being able to directly stretch it, not to mention horrendously painful to actually massage.

Once foam roller sessions and Yoga style stretching kicked in, back symptoms vaporised, which I shall bank as validation. My back returned to ‘normal’ and on bike mobility was restored to its former semi-glory. To be noted, my weak as piss core may also be a contributing factor here. From a bike perspective, are we going to end up in a place where we need adjustable stems?! We can’t live without dropper posts any more, but do we also need to be stretched out for extended ‘earn your turn’ climbs? Or will we all be eventually assimilated by eBikes? The potential future horror has no limits, much like the evil lurking in your ITB’s:

Hello darkness my old friend...

Hello darkness my old friend…

Undeniable conclusion – Aside from the fact that I’m getting older than I think & behave, the modern ENDURO bike appears to be doing strange things to our bodies. Unless your age starts with a 1 or a 2, then stretching, Yoga and a foam roller are going to need to start to feature in your life at some stage.

#2 – Is riding packless fucking you up?

The Hypothesis – So, its the height of Southern hemisphere summer, a roasting one at that, and fashion and Millennial ENDURO racers are waging an unprecedented war against our 3 litre water carrying back packs. This isn’t anything new, its been happening now for a few years where wearing a pack means you must be either someone’s dad or carrying your lunch to a ride… Not rad at all brah.

In addition to this, there is also a side battle packs are having to fight against bum bags, who keep popping up in forests like insurgents, usually promoted by their over zealous users* who find comfort in a garment which last saw prominence in the mid 1990’s, and not in a good way…

Now in the height of summer, many of us have been shamed into a tiny water bottle jammed into our ENDURO frames as we attempt to drop big rides in 30 deg heated forests, resulting in a significantly sub optimal outcome for our chassis and our self critiqued riding performance. I’ve gone from “You can come and take my Evoc pack from my death gripping hairy paws” to frantically trying to make a tiny bottle last a ride 10 degs hotter than even a camel would want it to be.

The Dirty Scientific evidence – I went for 2 medium range rides and ran out of water, which had the distinct stench of cuntery, but that could have also been my riding after I shrivelled up like a raisin… A raisin found in a piece of dog shit. As an upside, I did look semi PRO without a pack on. Watch as I admit through clenched teeth that riding downhill packless is a superior experience… Fuck it.

So when Fraser suggested we hit one of the hottest (celsius wise) forests on the planet at 1pm, AKA – Peak heat of the day, not only did I know we were going to be legitimately ‘lit AF brah’, but it was also a good chance to strike back against the no pack tide and saddle up like a camel for the day. Pass me an Evoc pack large enough to climb Everest with.

A mere 2 hours of shredding in 32 deg heat and 3.5 litres of ice cold electrolyte drink later, the results were vaguely tabulated and Fraser confirmed that he felt like the Sahara desert had made sweet love to his face. I was fortunate enough to still have fuel on board and no longer felt like a raisin. Nerd practicality 1, Fashion 0.

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Never underestimate how much you’re going to crave that extra 2 litres

Dirty science undeniable conclusion – I’ve just wasted 5 minutes of your life paraphrasing why its important to drink water in hot conditions whilst conducting strenuous exercise, and I apologise for this cuntery. But this inane rant does serve its purpose to confirm that contemporary ENDURO fashion’s war on our spacious riding packs is making us get cramp. Long live Marco Osborne.

#3 – Do people like stationery bikes more than they like ridden ones?

The Hypothesis – Cunts love bikes standing still more than they like them being ridden. Yes, this is peak 2018 coming at you.

The Dirty Scientific evidence – My highly narcissistic Gram account, which fluctuates between pictures of bikes, videos of JC Superstar looking like a young antelope with ADHD, a monthly baby pic and a gushing/gushy torrent of Santa Cruz froth. Its important to remember that people liking pics now forms a cast iron bellwether for the quality of your life.

At first, I didn’t think this was a thing, but I noted that Ash from Trans Provence (To use the term ‘Legend’ would be more than appropriate) had stumbled across the fact that humans in their unique way appeared to have a preference for pictures of bikes lying around lounging on scenery as opposed to being smashed like an FSB hooker. Wait, what? Surely not! Is this a Russian bot thing? Is our shredding being hacked?

If your face looks like the horrified emoji right now, allow me to present some less than modest evidence here… To be noted, this may just be because the Nomad 4 is Hyper rad, so this may be part of the issue:

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Bike being ridden in DH race = 194 likes. Bike standing still against tree at same DH race = 288 likes

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Bike being ridden in rad ENDURO race, with an ENDURO beard visible = 228 likes. Bike standing still on a significantly less rad CLIMB, no beard visible = 318 likes

Dirty science undeniable conclusion – We have achieved one of the clear signs that the end of the world is nigh, society now appreciates motionless bikes more than than enjoy them being ridden. The Wall-E moment is upon us. #outsideisfucked

#4 – Is Road Riding good for your Mountain Biking?

The Hypothesis – Outside of base fitness and Marathon XC racing, FUCK NO its terrible for it. Its time to give the myth of cross training the death sentence it so richly deserves. Unless you have Mark Scott level skills on a mountain bike, then your road bike is doing you a disservice if you harbour ENDURO fantasies of standing around on a podium with your goggles on getting bathed in warm Faux champagne.

The Dirty Scientific evidence – Aside from sitting around talking about this on expensive artisanal bean bags, which are designed to instantly elevate the validity of whatever topic you’re discussing, there is one simple and elegant data point I can single out here to put my case to rest:

Most of the raddest shredding cunts I know don’t own a road bike

In an attempt to ensure this isn’t obvious to the point of stupid, I’ve finally discerned that this really comes down to body movement – Road riding rewards you for hours of keeping your torso still, solid and laying down the watts, whilst mountain biking lays in wait to punish you for any semblance of body rigidity. Keeping your body still on the Dirt side is like have speed diarrhoea, it will just vaporise away as rad ‘MTB only’ cunts disappear out of sight in front of you, their chassis’ wriggling and writhing like a Trump campaign intern under oath.

After a summer of being subjected to such cross discipline assaults, I’m ready to scientifically declare Road riding as totally fucked for your rad MTB aspirations. Thanks Captain obvious:

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Providing some summit feedback to skinny people about the relevancy of road riding for your ENDURO diet

Dirty science undeniable conclusion – For the ENDUROphiles out there, the road bike has a time and place. The time is pre-season and the place is Italy/Spain/France/somewhere awesome in Japan.

#5 – Do we mainly buy coil shocks based on looks?

The Hypothesis – Air shocks are boring and plain, coil shocks are burly and bad ass. Or, in misogynistic terms, air shocks are ankle length dresses and coil shocks are horrifyingly short mini skirts (please register your faux outrage in the comments section – Disclaimer, 98% chance it will be screen shot and passed around multiple instant messaging forums as excellent fodder). Everyone knows this as a fact and whilst there is undoubtably an engineering argument for the resurgence of coil shocks, muthafucka we know this is all about fashion.

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The Zuck told me this photo got more likes because of the coil shock

The Dirty Scientific evidence – I’m pretty sure I’m running the wrong coil (length & weight) on my Nomad 4, but it just looks so fucking awesome and baller that I’m not prepared to change, even if it means my back wheels is now so glued to the ground its potentially a liability. Such irrationality forms a solid bedrock of evidence.

Exhibit B is the fact we can now rejoice in watching people put coil shocks on bikes not even designed for them, or where such a set up actually decreases the intended suspension performance of said mountain bicycle. What a time to be alive. Please get the fuck out of my way as I ruin my leverage ratio (getting coil terminology wrong is also a critical ingredient in this experiment) faster than you can say “Fuck that orange coil looks gooooood bro

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Going coil deep on the latest fad… Which is really just the late 1990’s making a cumback

Dirty science undeniable conclusion – Let’s face it, coil shocks are the penis enlargement/breast augmentation product of the Dirt world, but no one gives half a preload turns worth of fucks, so let the renaissance continue. Now, pass me 4 different spring weights while I try and work out WTF is going on.

#6 – Is SRAM Eagle secretly terrible?

The Hypothesis – Everything you read on-line indicates that Eagle is doing as eagles do and soaring high above a wasteland of group sets with less range, no gold and significantly less marketing muscle behind them. Given this information is on the Intercunt accompanied with colour photos, it must be true, right? Reading some articles you’d be forgiven for thinking MTB drivetrain has been achieved… Watch as all Zerode owners shake their heads in contempt.

But what if its not all so rosy… What if there are murmurings of cuntery and dissatisfaction in the real world that are starting to insidiously leak out like its Friday night drinks at the White House. Before you pass me another roll of tinfoil for my awesome new hat, open your mind and follow me down the most partisan of Mountain Biking Rabbit holes – Drive train component battle lines.

The Dirty Scientific evidence – Not to sound like a Nunes memo here, but I have a good does of anecdotal murmurings and hearsay here to back up my insinuation that Eagle may not be quite as shit hot in the real world as all the ad revenue motivated frothing its attracted. I have to admit I’ve never ridden it, but the noise level of grievances I hear appears to be growing disproportionately to what I read on-line.

Specifically the Rear D seems to be the main point of contention (Clutch and cage length, not to mention it likes to wander out of adjustment regularly), plus an eye wateringly expensive cassette that wears out faster than the chain, which is perversely inverse. These mutterings won’t be seen on the Intercunt, no, instead you hear them in the back of a shuttle wagon, deep in the forest… Or on a long road trip with 5 or 6 bikes on the back of the truck… Or as you share a beer with the mechanics in a shop after closing time as they lean on their Park tools stands and their eyebrows motion over towards the rubbish bin in the corner.

These are real world observations, by hard hitting muthafuckas – no one here has the time or inclination to waste on-line debating the marketing narrative, so that thin veneer of golden Eagle awesomeness will most likely remain intact.

In other news, YT have already jumped across to E13 for 2018, which I grant does have a frying pan to fire vibe about it… Perhaps as a result of an unspoken backlash? If you’re still not convinced, have a look at the back of Jared Graves bike for 2018 and compare to last year… Wait, WHAT?! Let me leave that piping hot scandal right there for everyone to inhale.

Dirty science undeniable conclusion – All that glitters may not be gold after all, and Shimano san is waiting in the wings with not only the dirt cheap and reliable XT M8o00 right now, but also rumours of something dropping this year that may mean some eagle humble pie is going to be on the menu. Will we see some Enve M7o style revisionist history by the middle of this year? Only time will tell… I’m sure someone will scream that this is Fake Dirt News.

 

*Dirty Disclaimer – No Rodfather’s were dissected or burned with a bunsen flame in the making of this scientific adventure. 

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