There are some exciting new teams in the mix
Januaries past have nearly always been good months for team announcements, but this year seems extra good.
We started the year with a bang when Neko Mulally announced he would race self-designed bikes. That announcement was shortly followed by the news of Forbidden’s new downhill team, the Syndicate’s new lineup, and many of the other heavy-hitters going to new team setups.
On top of the usual swapping around of well-known riders and a few surprise team moves (Cam Zink on Devinci?) but the real excitement has been in seeing the way some brands have decided to support the up-and-coming juniors and lesser-known riders who are putting in the work.
(No, this isn’t specifically a plug for Pinkbike Racing, though we’re big fans of supporting riders and we want to help push the whole industry in this direction. You’ll hear lots more about that. We promise.)
It’s exciting to see Specialized’s Gen-S program with Izabella Yankova and several other promising talents, the new Canyon Collective Pirelli team, the Commencal Les Orres team’s foray into downhill, Phil Atwill’s Propain Positive team, the new Beyond Racing with Abigail Hogie and Anna Newkirk, Kat Sweet’s NW Racing, and a handful of others. These young riders are the future.
Kitsbow becomes employee-owned and aims for B Corporation status
The Pinkbike Podcast
Our little podcast has hit 100 episodes
The Pinkbike Podcast has hit a new benchmark. What started as a Covid-era project in April 2020 has become a mainstay on Pinkbike, with talks on a wide range of topics: the state of the industry, advice, guest interviews, soooo many whacky stories, and much more.
We celebrated the 100th episode with a Q&A session featuring Sarah Moore, Henry Quinney, and both the Mikes. Hear their thoughts on carbon versus aluminum, electronic suspension being banned, the bikes they’d keep for the next four years, their opinions on e-bikes, why Kazimer doesn’t care about aliens, the work we’re most proud of, and more.
Congrats to Levy and the rest of the crew who made it happen.
Riders escaped winter and headed to Freeride Fiesta.
Winter events are nice. They break up the cold and dark season and get us hyped for the things to come once the sun returns. This month, freeriders from as close as Mexico and as far as Greece and Slovenia made the trip to La Soledad Bike Park, outside of Mexico City, where Johny Salido hosted the Freeride Fiesta. The event made it a good month not only for the riders who had the chance to ride the course and participate in the festivities, but for those of us who got to watch it go down.
All the riders threw down, and in the end, Bienvenido Aguado won Best Line, Antoine Bizet won Best Trick, William Robert won Best Style, Louis Reboul won Best Whip, and Chelsea Kimball won El Mexicano spirit award.
Tom Pidcock’s Triple Crown Ambitions
The Brit ticks off his first big goal of the year.
Tom Pidcock has some big ambitions in 2022. The reigning Olympic XC champion has announced he’s aiming to win three rainbow jerseys by the end of the year – cyclocross, cross country, and road. If he achieves the feat, he will be the first male rider to hold jerseys across all three disciplines at once (Pauline Ferrand Prevot accomplished this feat in 2015) and the first elite rider ever to win all three in a single year (as Pauline’s road win happened in 2014, though she did win all three in 2010 as a junior). He just might do it.
Phase one of the plan is already complete as Pidcock supermanned to victory at the Cyclocross Worlds in Fayetteville, Arkansas last week. The next step is the mountain bike World Championships that take place in Les Gets in August, where he’ll probably be one of the heavy favorites barring an injury or being overworked on the road. Finally, he’ll have to complete the feat down under at the road World Championships in Wollongong in September. How good are his chances? Cycling Tips wrote a great run down.
Mathieu van der Poel & Marine Cabirou both have some healing to do
Earlier this month, Marine Cabirou revealed on social media that she broke her back in a crash a few weeks earlier. This latest injury came right at the end of a tough year for Marine – her crash off the Les Gets road gap gave her a broken kneecap that went undiagnosed for three months of riding and racing. She’s clearly tough as nails, but we sincerely hope this back injury is the end of her bad luck.
It also came to light that Mathieu van der Poel’s back troubles have worsened and he’ll need complete rest to heal. After a stellar start to his 2022 season, Mathieu began to experience back pain at the Tour de Suisse, his team said, and it worsened dramatically when he crashed in the Tokyo Olympics.
He’s had to skip several races since then, including World Champs for both cross country and cyclocross. His condition, called retrolesthesis, requires complete rest to heal, with no other treatments available. The Alpecin-Fenix team expects him to be out for multiple months and he will likely miss his first spring races.
It’s a heart-wrenching development for the 27-year-old who was at the top of the sport last season, but we hope he can make a full recovery and return to racing as soon as he’s ready.
Tristan Lemire’s Arm
I mean, what the hell?
Sticking with the injuries topic, Tristan Lemire’s arm had a bad month.
Those JRA incidents – just riding along – are never fun, especially when they result in real injuries. The up-and-coming Canadian junior was down training in Windrock, Tennesse, when something on his left side, probably his jersey sleeve, snagged on a tree without his knowing. He was yanked off his bike, and the twisting of his arm when he fell resulted in a spiral fracture to his humerus.
The injury happened on New Year’s Eve and, after 18 hours of driving, he underwent emergency surgery January 1.
He’s been on the mend all month, focusing on physical therapy, and aims to be back on the bike and in race shape before the race season begins in April at Lourdes.
Cane Creek’s Online Presence
Those too-good-to-be-true deals are a scam.
Cane Creek warned this month against a website that is fraudulently advertising heavily discounted Cane Creek products. The site, www.canecreekstore.com, has several of Cane Creek’s products listed for just fractions of their actual retail prices. No, you can’t order a Helm fork for $89. Now, it’s also advertising Wolf Tooth and Whisky products as well.
This scam is reminiscent of the fake Shimano clearance website that appeared last year. Luckily, now, the Shimano one appears to have been suspended.
We strongly recommend not ordering anything from canecreekstore.com. Cane Creek’s actual website is canecreek.com.
The supply chain chaos won’t resolve itself anytime soon.
SRAM CEO Ken Lousberg said in a CyclingTips podcast that SRAM has more stock than ever before, but can’t transport it out because the shipping capacity just isn’t there. SRAM has increased its manufacturing capacity by at least 50% across the entire company, but now that industries worldwide – not just within biking – are fighting to keep up with the supply chain chaos caused by the pandemic, it’s wildly competitive to access shipping containers.
Whether it’s to ship complete bikes with SRAM components out of factories in Asia or to ship components to bike factories elsewhere, there seems to be massive bottlenecking at every stage of the process with shipping containers, ship space, port entry, and transportation after that all hard to come by.
The cost of shipping, too, has increased quite a bit, and those costs will be passed on to SRAM’s customers, which will then pass on the costs to the end consumers.
It’s been an interesting month for…
I’m going rogue here with a new category for this month (probably a one-off, but we’ll see…) because this month has been, well, interesting.
Specialized has partially gone direct-to-consumer.
The news broke near the end of January that Specialized would be going partially direct-to-consumer, as the first primarily dealer-sold brand to do so. This move, of course, has profound implications for the dealers that depend on Specialized sales, but it’s not clear exactly how. The increased number of sales avenues means that perhaps more riders may choose Specialized bikes, and maybe (big maybe) Specialized can work to keep costs down, especially on its aluminum bikes.
But what of the local bike shops? Unfortunately, more direct-to-consumer sales, especially from as big a brand as Specialized, could be devastating for the shops that rely on Specialized sales.
It’s worth noting that Specialized does now have a few options that entail partnering with local shops, and customers can order bikes from Specialized and have them assembled and fitted by Specialized dealers. That option may benefit dealers in that they’ll profit from those bike sales without having to stock the bikes. Still, the convenience of ordering a bike pre-assembled from Specialized may win out, and the little guys might suffer. It would be incredibly sad to see local bike shops lose out to this new situation.
Some big names are changing hands and big people are moving around.
Some industry names also shifted around this month, with bike industry veteran Will King becoming Vice President of 5 Dev and former Nike executive Nicolas de Ros Wallace becoming the new CEO of Canyon. It’s too soon to say how these moves will play out. 5 Dev’s new VP brings immense bike industry experience to the company, so 5 Dev now seems slated to expand significantly. Canyon, too, will likely grow, but it’s a bit of a different situation. The new CEO’s background is in growing divisions of Nike and other giant corporations without necessarily having much or anything to do with the product. Is this a good thing? Bad thing? It’s hard to put it in a particular category, as more money to bike brands means more money in the bike industry and more money for things like racing… which Canyon has been doing a great job of supporting with its approximately 5000 teams. We’ll have to keep eyes on this one to see how things progress.
SRAM & Fox ended a 6-year patent battle