Enduro World Series – from Crested Butte to Whistler

It’s been a hell of a week not just for the EWS, but mountain biking as a whole. Our sport was rocked globally by the tragic death of Will Olson, a 40 year old privateer at the Crested Butte round of the Enduro World Series.

There’s been loads of coverage out there so I’ll not rehash all that – this post is all about the incredible, touching and very, very poignant video here. Chris Ball’s words are amazing and the footage is very fitting tribute to a guy who sounds like a hell of a rider and a real character from what I have read.

Enjoy the video and keep hitting the trails.

Click the picture to view the video.

Click the picture to view the incredible video #goosebumps

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2016 Bionicon Edison ‘rEVO’ revealed!

German innovators Bionicon have today released details of their brand new 2016 Bionicon Edison ‘rEVO’, a refinement on the awesome Edison Evo that won an Enduro Mag Design & Innovation Award.


The new bike has updated geometry, being some 15mm longer in the top tube, a lighter frame and some sneaky new suspension tech that makes more use of the slave chamber as well as improved kinematics, amended travel/geometry adjust and a new rear shock from X-Fusion.

They’ve decided to launch it with a special limited über-bling bike with a wish-list of sexy but understated parts – and it looks pretty damn amazing!

Here’s what they had to say:

BIONICON Edison “rEVO“ 2016 – Launch with Killer deal [Press release]


Just like last year Bionicon is offering pre-sale for the refined 2016 version of the Edison EVO.

Our aim was to create a bike which needs no more tuning – and offer it at a price which is almost unimaginable when considering the technology and components on offer. Many manufacturers will be increasing their prices for 2016 – Bionicon is planning, not to do so.

The new edison “rEVO“ will be available for pre-orders on our website for just 30 days from 06th July in an exclusive and very limited special edition with some of the best components currently available for an unbelievable price of Euro 4999

(or Euro 4200 for non-EU export customers).

The frame has been further re-fined for 2016. For example the head tube has been re-worked to save weight, reach will grow for all frame sizes whilst the seat tube is shortened. Many other details have been tweaked to save weight so that in-spite of the longer reach the 2016 version saves weight overall. We’re keeping the 180mm post mount brake fittings, ISCG05 chainguard mounts and service friendly BSA bottom bracket thank you very much.

The following pictures show Edison EVO series production frames in 2015 “blank” paintjob.

In addition the heart of the Bionicon system has been given a new feature: in order to generate even better suspension action and improve bump-sensitivity the system adapter, until now in principle a rigid pneumatic cylinder in the downhill (DH)-Position has been fitted with its own internal spring/damping element. The result is exceptionally plush rear suspension actuation and a soft top out during the extension stroke. The travel of the X-Fusion Vector HLR Air shock has been modified so that the entire available stroke remains 63mm just like with the NBS bikes.

The maximum adjustment range of the fork for the 2016 “rEVO“ has been reduced from 80 to 60mm to compensate for the longer reach whilst the extension of the rear suspension has been softened without a negative effect on climbing performance. Maximum adjustment of head and seat-tube angles becomes 4°, instead of the previous 5°.

The bikes will only be available in two colours: black anodized/grey decals or raw/ brushed aluminium with a matte clear coat and understated grey decals.

Three basic options are available:

  1. 180mm front/rear travel with Bionicon System
  2. 160mm front/rear travel with Bionicon System

Both versions come with our exclusive “blackline“ X-Fusion Metric HLR fork and the Vector Air HLR shock. These feature black anodized stanchions/piston and both are only available from Bionicon.

Need we say anything more about the patented Bionicon system?

It allows rapid and infinite on-the-fly geometry adjustment to tame the steepest climbs. The really clever bit: by manipulating the geometry of the rear suspension we eliminate pedalling Bob. Über-efficiency and active suspension – not an oxymoron for Bionicon riders!

Bottom bracket height remains constant as we rotate around the BB and thanks to the lower leverage ratio the rider sits higher in the suspension…perfect for climbing.

A picture speaks a thousand words…..

Bionicon System GIF

  1. 160mm v/h NBS (Non-Bionicon-System) without Bionicon System

This version is based around proven Rock Shox technology: the top line Pike RCT3 and Monarch Plus RC3.

In choosing a wheelset we took absolutely no prisoners: 35mm Syntace rims roll on Syntace Hi-Torque hubs (traditionally laced). They deliver outstanding tyre support during hard cornering, stress free performance and reliability in the hardest of conditions: all at a weight of under 1850g. The Edison rEVO is only available with 27.5″ wheels. No Boost and no Plus! Magic Mary and Rock Razor provide front and rear grip.

Our crank choice doesn’t require much explanation: high end carbon crankarms fixed to a 30mm aluminium axle make this the most exclusive and lightest choice available for enduro riders. They spin on BSA bearings – in our opinion much easier (and quieter) to live with than Pressfit. The icing on the crank cake? Choose our B-Labs OVAL RaceFace Cinch chainring in the size of your choice: 28, 30, 32 or 34 teeth?

Will there be any more sirs?

The drivetrain: SRAM XX1 rear mech and shifter (both in the black version) don’t need any further introduction – there’s nothing better available if you want the maximum gear range with 1×11. We chose the XG-1195 cassette rather than the more expensive XG-1199 based on the colour, functionality and weight are pretty much identical. The cheaper riveted 11 speed cassettes were never an option for this bike. A c.guide eco chainguide is of course pre-fitted.

Brakes: Magura’s MT7 is the undisputed current leader of the braking pack. Whilst in recent years we were never 100% bowled over with Magura brakes the MT7 really does leave everything else in its shadow. So there was never any doubt which brake we’d choose. 200/180mm Storm SL rotors ensure there’s plenty of power. The energy and concentration you save using these brakes can be put to good use elsewhere.

Cockpit: the steering controls are based around the 785mm RaceFace SIXC Carbon bars combined with a Turbine stem. Together they weigh in under 350g with full tough-ass-terrain dependability. Customers can choose how many spacers they wish above or below the stem. We spec a high-end made in Germany Acros BlockLock headset to keep pointing exactly where you want to go.

The Kindshock Southpaw remote sits where the front shifter would normally be. Bikes with the Bionicon system have the B-Switch remote neatly tucked in between the bars and the Southpaw lever. Both remotes are easy to reach with your thumb.

For grips we’ve taken a non-unconventional route: Ergon GE1 for both grip and damping. Pure ergonomics in the cockpit!

Dropper: Kindshock and Rock Shox are the most popular and the best available options today. Together with the Southpaw remote we think KS wins out in use-ability so that’s what you’ll find. Choose between 150mm or 125mm adjustment range.



Seating: saddles are of course a critical part, which need to fit your behind; otherwise the fanciest model achieves nothing. We had to choose something so we went for the Selle Italia SLR with titanium rails. It has a traditional shape and the quality/durability are undisputed. It also weighs next to nothing and if it still doesn’t fit you can at least get a decent price for it and can find something that fits you better.

Here are the specs for each individual bike:


Here’s the geometry:

Folie2 Folie3

Some of you might ask why we bother we pre-sales stuff.

Last year we tried it out for the first time to find out how many of each bike version the market needed which enabled very exact planning. We rewarded the customers by giving them a € 3500 bike for € 2500.

Our team exists to get as many people on good bikes – ideally ones from us.

We are a small company; we assemble every bike, fork and suspension part together in Tegernsee. In spite of our time consuming production and small team we can still offer customers prices better than our competitors if we are able to plan precisely.

That’s what it’s about: the best possible bikes at a sensational price.

This offer is strictly limited to 30 days and we want to be honest upfront: no other special deals or requests can be taken into account.

It only works if we (manufacturer) and you (consumer) all work together to keep complexity low.

We’ve chosen these specs because we believe they fit together perfectly. The customer gets an unbeatable bike – in quality, functionality and price.

Like the last pre-sale delivery will be at the end of the year/start of next year. First come, first served! This time we’ve done the planning earlier and already have a year’s frame production under our belts so things should be quicker.

The deal looks like this:

Bikes prices:

160 Bionicon System

180 Bionicon System

160 NBS

€ 4999

Pre-payment of 50% within 7 days of ordering. The rest is due upon bike delivery/collection.

Customers can also choose:

B-Ring OVAL chainring gear ratio: 28T, 30T, 32T, 34T

Number of spacer under stem

Seat post adjustment: 125 or 150mm stroke

All further info now already at: http://www.revo.bionicon.com . Start of the presale will be 6th of July 2015.

Your Bionicon-Team!

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Martyn Ashton – Back on Track – INCREDIBLE!!

Wow! Very, very few words can describe seeing this. And I imagine there’ll be even less dry eyes in the global MTB world than there are words here. Enjoy. Truly, truly inspirational stuff.

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Aaron Gwin – THAT chainless Leogang run – inside view!

Aaron Gwin’s run has gone down in history as one of the most incredible “against all odds” sporting performances of all time, not just in the MTB world. Gwin’s determination and never say die approach to his racing absolutely paid off in a stunning and completely unexpected victory.

Check the video out for some more inside info as to what happened and the madness behind the scenes!


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Gearbest’s snappily titled Amkov AMK5000 camera is the latest in the new wave of action cameras coming out of the Far East and despite its low price tag, is pitching itself very much at the performance end of the market. With full 1080P/30FPS and 720P/60FPS recording, GoPro accessory compatibility and control via smartphone app, it’s certainly feature packed.


Very familiar form format and operation – if you know how to operate a GoPro, the AMK5000 will be second nature.

In use, the app is great for ensuring that the camera is positioned well to get the very best footage – but the fact that you can’t control all features directly from the camera can be a pain at times, especially if your phone is already in use for Strava or similar, adding to battery demand.

Both images and video are sharp and crisp – colour isn’t quite as well defined as GoPro’s latest offerings, but given most riders will be using it in muddy UK woodland, that’s not as much of an issue as you might think. A 16Gb SD card will give you approximately 3 hours’ recording time at 720P/30FPS.

Full set of accessories in the box! Can't say fairer than that!

Full set of accessories in the box! Can’t say fairer than that!

Being compatible with GoPro accessories means that as well as the full set of mounts and attachments in the box, you have plenty of options for alternative mounting either on the bike or yourself.

Easy control, edit and upload via the app for Android & iPhone.

Easy control, edit and upload via the app for Android & iPhone.

While the AMK5000 isn’t going to have GoPro quaking in their boots about losing top end enthusiasts to the competition, it’s a great little camera with some really solid features, and definitely worth a look if you don’t want to commit to more expensive options.

Check it out here:



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Dolcenduro – kicking off 2015!

“There’s a cool local race in Dolce Acqua you should do while you’re out here” said the email. All sounds good right? The email had come from good friend and Life Cycle/Ibis team rider Manuel Ducci, a couple of weeks ahead of me heading out to see him and his better half & teammate, Valentina Macheda for some riding, checking their progress on the new Sanremo Trail Center and a nice pre-season hangout. Within minutes of me giving my agreement to entering this “local race”, a second email appeared, containing links to video recces of one of the stages – brutal didn’t do it justice! 8 minutes of utter carnage – a mix of super-fast pedally sections along an exposed ridge, into fierce, steep rock gardens. And this was just stage 1 – what had I let myself in for?!?

The views above Dolce Acqua - incredible!

The views above Dolce Acqua – incredible!

At this point, it’s worth adding some important background information – Dolce Acqua is right in the hot spot where the Italian region of Ligurea (home to Sanremo, Molini, San Romolo and of course the infamous Finale Ligure of EWS and SuperEnduro fame) meets the Maritime Alps, which host the fearsome Trans Provence. There’s elevation and then some, and the trail network is incredible with massive features, seriously long tracks, and crazy features like WW2 military bunkers cut into the hillside, that some tracks actually cross! A ridiculous number of top flight riders live in and around the region – which brings me onto the start list. How does a start list including 10 times DH world champ Nico Vouilloz, European Enduro champion Karim Amour, 2013 & 2014 SuperEnduro series winners Manuel Ducci & Marco Milivinti, 3 times SuperEnduro Masters winner Francesco Fregona, Rocky Mountain rider Florian Nicolai, 2014 Italian national champion Alex Lupato and many, many more sound? All of a sudden this “local race” took on a very different slant – yes it was a local race for prizes of bottles of wine and bragging rights, but this was very much a first chance for all the riders to see what everyone had been up to over the winter and check out new bikes ahead of the first EWS round in a few short weeks’ time. I was in for something pretty major but at the same time very unique, as I’ve never seen this strong a field outside of an EWS round.

Landing in Nice airport on the Thursday night, the enormity of the weekend ahead hit me – my new frameset had arrived with Manuel at Life Cycle HQ and I would have a frantic build session into the night as I hung my parts onto a new frame, fork and shock. By about midnight, the Edison Evo was looking ready for action – I wasn’t quite in the same state of readiness thanks to tiredness from a problematic house move in the 2 weeks up the the trip, a teething daughter, and nowhere near enough training over the winter! It was too late to back out now – I was fully committed, and so it was time to get some sleep ahead of a solid day of practice on the Friday.

Friday morning came about all too early – after loading up on coffee, pastries and Nutella, we headed up into the hills in the Life Cycle pickup – comedy moments and hilarious “lost in translation” phrases helped silence the nerves for me a little bit. After driving up insanely steep & rocky old tracks (many dating back hundreds of years and then repurposed in WW2), we were at the top, above the clouds and level with the snow across the valley. It was cold, windy, wild but stunning – and stages 1 & 2 would run us right back down to sea level!

Rolling into town with a truck full of pimp bikes!

Rolling into town with a truck full of pimp bikes!

Practicing all the stages through the day was an amazing experience – following Manuel through rock sections that I’d not normally even walk was confidence inspiring, but also a stark reminder of just how capable you have to be to be a national champion and top flight world series racer. Towards the end of the day, we bumped into Nico Vouilloz and I managed to have my first crash of the trip trying to follow a super tight line through a series of switchbacks that ran through a rock garden. Suffice to say, Nico’s skill level far outclassed mine and I had a neat little over the bars moment!

The weapon of choice - my new Bionicon Edison Evo!

The weapon of choice – my new Bionicon Edison Evo!

Saturday was spent resting, tweaking the bike and making full use of the incredible Italian hospitality – believe me, loading up on awesome pizza and pasta a couple of times a day is no chore! I switched tyres to a set of Super Gravity casing Schwalbes to give a bit more protection on the rocks and that was me all set.

Race day came round and we arrived in Dolce Acqua bright and early to a pretty amazing welcome – in true Italian style, the whole village was involved in the event, so a packed piazza was full of riders and their bikes, picking up last minute coffee fixes and preparing bikes ahead of registration. It’s worth talking about the incredible organisation of the event too – the guys at Supernatural really did pull out all the stops. Bikes (almost 200 of them!) were loaded into vans and trailers, riders got into coaches, and we were driven to the highest accessible point, leaving us a 30 minute ride up to the summit. Absolutely amazing organisation and something that would be amazing here in the UK!

The pro men start leaving PS1

The pro men start leaving PS1

I got to the top in time to see the first pros fly off at 1 minute intervals – these guys were on fire, and the lack of big prizes or series points clearly couldn’t dampen their fierce competitive instincts. By the time my start came round, I was pretty ramped up and feeling good. I got off to a strong start on the first third of the stage, maintaining a good rhythm and flowing the high speed sections nicely, especially the series of jumps and drops that were lined with spectators and photographers. Unfortunately, that good form didn’t stay with me as I binned it on the rock garden in exactly the same spot as in practice and lost 3 places – damn!

Onto stage 2 and I was recomposed – this was a fast, flat out stage, under 2 minutes long and was a real test of nerve and staying off the brakes. I had a great run on this, catching sight of the rider in front (from the Monaco national team no less!) and flying full gas into a packed finish arena, full of locals, riders and spectators all cheering us on as we hit the final few metres of the stage. A quick food stop and then it was time to deal with the 90 minute transfer stage – a hard 11km road climb back to the top of the mountain again. An hour and a half in your bottom few gears on a big bike, in a full face helmet is quite a lonely experience, despite bits of multilingual banter as the ebb & flow of riders shifts. It gave me good time to have a solid think about the new Evo and how pleased I was with it – the new X-Fusion Metric fork absolutely demolishes rocks and once I had taken the time to get damping, air pressure and spring curve sorted, gave tons of support mid-stroke, neutralised trail chatter & delivered awesome traction, and ate up bigger hits. The Magura rear shock’s tune was much better than the previous year’s version – nicely sensitive but not blowing it’s travel – in fact, so well damped that I could get away running the bike in “open” setting all the time rather than needing the platform at any stage. I was definitely falling in love with this seriously bright beast!

Back at the top, I had 15 minutes or so to compose myself ahead of stage 3 – which was seriously hard, a proper pedal fest that favoured riders with an XC background. Less technical but more physically demanding, it forced you to push hard all the way, with some nasty little inclines that emptied legs and lungs – and I managed to cramp badly here. Not enough training, a new baby, a house move and 37 advancing years all caught up with me out there and I had to really fight the pain all the way down – turning the pedals was agony and landing the big drop part way down the stage left my quads feeling like I’d been tasered!

Getting a drift on out on stage 2!

Getting a drift on out on stage 2!

A quick recovery ahead of stage 4 and I was off again – the stiffness from the cramp was making it increasingly hard to turn with my hips, so I was riding like an old man, frustrating to say the least! By this point, I was in survival mode and focused on getting down safe as there was nothing left at all. Somehow, I finished without crashing on any of the drops and jumps, and I was done!

Catching up with everyone at the end, it was apparent there were a huge amount of riders who’d crashed on stage 1, so I felt less bad, and everyone was looking pretty beaten up – even the top guys were talking about how hard it was, and how much stage 3 had taken out of them. Before long, timings started to come through – Nico had decimated the field, winning by over 30 seconds – a ridiculous margin, but I’d seen just how on form he was in practice.

...and after! What a shakedown for the bike - X-Fusion Metric fork absolutely monster trucked everything!

…and after! What a shakedown for the bike – X-Fusion Metric fork absolutely monster trucked everything!

Presentations came round – Nico took the overall ahead of Alex Lupato and Marco Milivinti – Manuel’s crash on stage 1 meant he finished 10th overall but won the Masters’ age category, but very sportingly declined the category win as a top pro, so that second placed Master, Hotlines’ Martin Astley could take the age category win. In the Women’s Laura Rossin took the overall ahead of Valentina Macheda in second and Chiara Pastore in third. Prizes were bottles of wine and local produce – but more importantly bragging rights and a sneaky preview of rivals’ readiness for the EWS.

IMG_20150222_162827726 IMG_20150222_162512669

What did I take away from the trip? Firstly, just how dedicated and hard working the top guys and girls are – we’re talking 5+ hours of training every single day; to compete at global level, you really do need to be super-dedicated. At 37 with a young family and an admittedly pretty awesome full time job, my best racing days are well over, but my hunger for competing is far from abating. And lastly, the new Edison Evo definitely suited me better than anything I’ve ridden and raced on before, and with a few setup tweaks, it feels faster and more stable than my capabilities will need!

Back in the UK, fully recovered, I’m feeling sharp and ready to kick off my season – and as usual, racing out in Europe has highlighted all my weak spots to work on, so it’s easy to train smart now.

This little monster decided she likes the Evoc bag as a very expensive playhouse!

This little monster decided she likes the Evoc bag as a very expensive playhouse!

Big thanks to everyone who made the amazing trip possible – Roger and the team at Bionicon for getting the bike ready in super-short timescales, Manuel & Valentina for great hosting, the crew at Supernatural for a mental event and of course everyone I met out there! Can’t wait to get back out to this crazy race again next year!

See you at Enduro 1 at the Forest of Dean this weekend!




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Kicking 2015 back off!!

Well it’s been a bit of a quiet time on the blog side of things – new baby girl took over life but I’m now back training for the Enduro 1 series, putting finishing touches to my new bike spec (so excited!!) and starting to find my race head again.

Just seen this amazing website, by none other than Charlie Kelly – one of the original Repack riders and pioneer of Mountain Biking.


It’s full of incredible stories, insights, pictures and anecdotes – but what really struck me was the crazy concept of things going full circle!


Back in 1977 (the year I was born!), they did their first “Enduro” event – riding a big loop, then being timed on descents. Sound familiar? How about when you look at the bikes they were building around and just after this time – slack geometry, finding the sweet spot between low weight an durability, single ring and single shifter, wide bars and droppable seatposts. Amazing.

Have a full read here: http://sonic.net/~ckelly/Seekay/mtbwelcome.htm




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