The GMBN Podcast Ep.14 | The Future Of Mountain Bikes With Chris Porter

The GMBN Podcast Ep.14 | The Future Of Mountain Bikes With Chris Porter

– Welcome to the GMBN podcast. Now, this episode we have a
mental exercise on the cards. The year is 2030, Kanye West is living in the west wing of the White House. Boris Johnson’s hair is still in power after a grommet-esque
wrong trousers upriding and Mel Giedroyc has taken her spot as monarch of the Commonwealth after The Great British
Bake Off Rebellion of 2021. We thought we were a divided country now, wait until you see
fistfights in the streets over who’s meringue rose better. Now, mountain biking still exists, Steve Jones spends his retirement gleefully tending to a wood
fire in the Welsh valleys, bathing in the gentle flames
and the warmth of vindication as E-bikes are now bloody everywhere. In the next valley over there
is this man, Chris Porter, mountain biking’s very
own Ian Hislop habitual speaker of truth to power. Now, he is still making weird
and wonderful creations. He gets up early, having
the rule book on toast for breakfast before
embarking on his daily duties. Things have changed, he’s
even managed to shape bottles to bikes now
as opposed to doing it the other way ’round. But what will our bikes look
like in this far flung future? A future that would be
funny to think about if only it wasn’t so
bloody heart-jarringly close to potential reality. Chris, welcome! How are you doing? – Pretty good actually, pretty good. Thinking about into the 2030’s that reminds me that
I’m actually getting old and when I look at my picture license, it’s going to need renewing. Not just the picture, but
the whole bloody license but anyway, so yeah, I am getting old. – Are you somebody that, do you think that in 11 years time, will you still be out on bikes? Are you… – Yeah, hopefully, yeah I think you know, we you had a mental
exercise a few years ago where we’re thinking
motorbikes or bicycles, if you could only ride
one, what would it be? And I love them both, so it’s… It was hard question, but
in the end it’s the bicycle because they bicycle brings
you that sort of feeling of useful joy. That freewheeling. You know, the idea of the
first ride down the street, freewheel, it comes back every time when you freewheel a bicycle. A motorbike is something
else, it’s like, you know, it’s like your bicycle was
the gateway drug, if you like. – Yes, I know what you mean, yeah. – And the motorbikes are the class A but in the end– – I know what you mean,
there are friends of mine who have now gone onto
harder stuff I.e. moto and I’m still quite having
recreational Saturday afternoon, weekends and able to
get some sense out of me afterwards, I guess. – Yeah, no I think that, love ’em both but I think, you know, come 2030 will it be… Socially acceptable to be burning petrol for fun? – Yes, that’s true. – Is it socially acceptable to be burning petrol for fun now? – Well yeah, I think– – Is it? – Well, I think the Formula
1 circus is going through a similar sort of… Why the question, you know, you
see Formula E and stuff now. I mean, in terms of E-bikes, E-bikes are obviously great, I think the less cars
on the road the better but they do raise
questions about, you know, batteries and disposable batteries. When, you’ve obviously,
you’ve kind of worked going from somebody that’s tinkering on probably sort of a more, sort of, on a smaller level in
terms of forks and stuff which probably… Although perhaps some people are cracking CSU’s every other ride, it is something, they are
consuming a lot of parts. Going from that to be a frame, sort of, you know, being inside of that thing, is that a concern, the
consumable nature of our sport? – Oh, it’s a massive concern. I mean, I… When we started Mojo all those years ago it was as a service
center, it was first of all to fix shocks that no-one else was fixing because when the shock is broken it renders the full
suspension bike useless. Essentially broken. You can’t use it or you can only use it, you
know, in a very narrow range so that’s how we started to try and actually keep stuff going and, you know, we always
prided ourselves on being able to hold all of the stock, all of the little parts,
hundred machine parts and every shock and fork and we’d hold them all, and they’d change them every bloody year. But, you know, a quarter of
a micron smaller ball bearing but yeah, we kept all the
parts so we could just fix stuff rather than
replacing assemblies. The idea of replacing an assembly that someone has put together in the other part of the world where it’s cheaper to
assemble, that’s not, you know, that’s not, to
me that’s not sustainable. I’m an absolute anti-capitalist, I’m stuck in a capitalist
country on a capitalist circus but I don’t have to, – I don’t have to do–
– Yeah totally. You don’t have to dance. – No, so we always try to make things last and that’s what we’re doing now, we are using up the planet’s resources to make bicycles, but we should make ’em good enough to last. – Yeah, because in some ways
I think the bicycle industry, you know, road bikes and mountain bikes. There’s this term, I’ve been– it seems to be popping up
a lot in my conversations, so it probably says more
about me than it does about it but it’s kind of like “auto-carnivorous”. So for instance, X-factor
is auto-carnivorous because every time
somebody wins a new one, they take the exact same place in the lexicon of celebrity
as the previous winner and it immediately erases it and there’s also an element of that with bikes I think, perhaps. People… The model year, I think, is
almost kind of a plague on bikes because people feel they
need the new paint job because they’re worried about
value as much as anything and retaining value. – Yeah, massively and when we look with a cynical eye at not just the model year, you know this this yearly dash to create something new, we look at… You’ve got just full suspensions mountain bikes without talking about hard
tails or anything else you’ll have, in a decent size range
you’ll have 100mm travel bike That’ll be available 29/27.5, be available aluminum or carbon. Then you’ll have the 110mm travel bike, again with some, three
options that multiply to, sort of, six and then you get up to about 170mm travel and then it goes to the
downhill bike in 10mm steps. So we’re being told that we need literally 30 different bikes just to ride
in the woods with our mates. Did you not believe in the 160 one? Why did you think you
need a 110 and a 170? Was that not good enough? – Well, I can tell you why. I think it’s because, for good or for bad, well I think probably for bad, this sport is, basically
it’s dominated by men and there’s the fragile
male ego of needing a… I think that’s a big part of it, I think people are always scared, people coming from more of
a cross-country background. It’s probably not as black
and white as that but I think people that come from a more
cross-country background live in fear they’re going to
be under-gunned and dropped on the descents and
people are worrying about the climbs, the sometimes worry they’re going to be under-gunned
and dropped on the climbs. You know what I mean? And we’ve been sold this important when actually its not important. – Yeah I think, I mean,
there’s more to it than that because I think racing
is such a small part of the sport itself or the pastime, you
know, we call it a sport, then it becomes racing, doesn’t it? The sport element is so small compared to the pastime element. But yeah, it’s just attempting
top get us to buy more that’s essentially it, isn’t it? You know, which we don’t need and so what we try to do is to say, “Look, we’ve got one model,
that’s the one we ride. “That’s the one we believe in. “If you wanted something
slightly different “there are loads of people
making something like that”. – Yeah, yeah, you’re right. – Go on, go buy one of those. So, we had so much over
the past couple of years, “Yeah, that’s a really
nice bike but I need this”. Well, go buy someone else’s bike. They do that really well. Or, “Oh, it rides really well,
I wonder what it’d be like “with a slightly steeper head angle”. I don’t bloody know, go
and ride something else with a slightly steeper, this is the one we make. Come and ride this. But anyway we’ve gone off topic: 2030. – Yes, oh I was going to say. Now, if we envisage
instead or perhaps trying to put the bicycle
world’s wrongs to right, if we perhaps look at going forward, are there any bike companies this side of the pond or otherwise that you look at and you think, “Hoo, they’re doing stuff
really, really, really well”. – No, I think we’re all, there are a few people trying really hard, doing a really good job and everyone else has just got a marketing
department to tell the public that they’re doing a really good job. I… Yes, there are good people doing good work in the bicycle industry,
I just think we’re all, we’re all sort of victims of
the market that has developed. You know, as a for instance, the mountain bike has developed along the certain path, I was trying to think of trajectory. That’s it. I’m getting sort of senile now. So, it’s developed on the same trajectory and the development has not been… It’s not been about making
the bike better in any way, it’s been about making the bike
out of different materials, so most of the development
in mountain biking has been about trying to make things that work perfectly well in one material and weren’t the issue that stopped it going ’round the corner, that
stopped it going up the hill. But they got redesigned into
a slightly different material so we’ve ended up with
carbon fiber everything, materials technology
coming out of our ears but we’ve still got the derailleur hanging off the rear wheel. – Yeah. This is something I find very strange. I mean, I’m sure they can
build a far more robust derailleur and transmission,
it would be very heavy. I find it strange that I would, you know, I’m not a powerful, you know, gym, you know, obsessed person that’s churning out huge watts,
I just spin around and I find it quite
strange that I can wear out a drivetrain, you think
of cars or airplanes and I think that’s quite a peculiar sort of entrapment that
we find ourselves in. – Yeah it is, I mean we, you’re wearing it out
because you’re essentially putting a lot of side
load on it, you know? You’re only in line in one certain gear and, you know, there’s a
really nice little experiment that you should do one day. Sit down and stick it in first gear and ride up a really steep hill and then look on the block, get it in line and then stand up and ride up and you’ll find you use less energy and you get up there quicker, and the drivetrain will last longer. – And do you think, well, yeah I mean that’s
always an added bonus, hey? Do you think that belt
drives have their place is that the way you feel or do you– – No, no I mean Honda
did it perfectly well, they had a chain, they
had a drive that sort of shifted across the cassette that allowed, and you had other systems as well that, spinning eccentrics that drove basically a pulley with a
one way on a free wheel, one way drive so they had
all sorts of different ways of transferring rotational drive back to a rotational
drive for the rear wheel through a gear box, through a modifier. – It potentially sounds
like the bike of 2030 will have the drive train of a 2006 bike that’s since been melted down. – Well, exactly! You know– – Well, it’s in a
plastic bottle somewhere. – Yeah. The uh, I think having the, putting the
derailleur into the frame is not rocket science, but once you’ve done that it allows you or forces you to redesign
every other component on the bicycle because everything… Everything builds off this drive system… Outwards. So once you’ve done that, you’re hooked in to
redesigning the whole thing and so we come back to
this model year thing. That’s never going to happen, is it? We have time to design stickers this year and we can change the
geometry numbers enough so that it falls within
our margin of error. – Yes. Well, isn’t that what everyone got into mountain biking for anyway? Stickers? Just back to square one. – Yeah. – So with, you know, I think the mountain biking industry at least, a lot of… A lot of the way the mountain
bike industry is perceived is there’s one hot topic at any one time. So for years it was twenty niners are bad now its, you know, now it’s perhaps people have moved on past that head angle and people are talking about reach now and reach is the magic number and it seems that we’re
simply only discussing the thing most easily understood by the lowest common denominator, people aren’t arguing about things… They’re arguing about
things that are visual and they can just go, “Oh, that’s it”. Now, do you think that in
terms of geometry design, I mean, where do you
see the GeoMetron going in the next couple of years? Are you still thinking, are you happy with the numbers you’ve got? Are you limited by any factors? Would you like to experiment a bit? – So, we haven’t really changed the angles for about four years, seat angle, bottom bracket
height, wheel base, chainstay length, head
angle, all of those things have stayed almost static because they pretty much
work, there’s no point faffing around with that ’til you’ve made the other stuff work. There’s so much stuff on the
bicycle that doesn’t work. The geometry is now not the
things that’s holding it back. You know, you’ve now
got, people are actually producing forks with offsets in the low 40’s
for twenty niner wheels. Things have really moved on and… So it’s not the geometry
that’s holding it back. Now it needs to take
another step somewhere else. So we did, with the G1 this year, we changed the design to allow us to run the different wheel sizes and all the different wheel
options so you can run the hybrid and 29 or the 27.5 and you can just buy the same frame and we’ve got, what are called mutators to allow us to change the seatstay
length chainstay length so that we can change
everything as the bike grows from small to XL, XXL things can change so that everyone can get the same geometry and riding experience and seat angles get steeper,
chainstays get longer, there’s a lot of options but that’s all sorted. The big thing that we did this
year was not the geometry, it was the just literally
putting spherical bearings in the eyelets of the shock. So that you don’t get
stiction as the shock is being pushed into its travel and we go back to Honda. I rode that bike, we were in the frame to distribute it and we had a massive box
arrive from HRC to Mojo Towers literally full size bike, fully built up in this massive box with padlocks. And I’m like coming in, prying the corner to see if we could see it, but they literally let
us ride it for a few days and the suspension was absolutely sublime. It was a single pivot, it
should have been rubbish, but it had spherical bearings, and it had a decent amount
of shifters on the shock. All really simple stuff but you can’t patent it and that’s the bicycle thing isn’t it? If you can patent it then
there’s no point building it. If you can’t give it a stupid
name and patent it, so– – I suppose there’s the whole thing if you build it, they will come. If you patent it, people will buy it. People won’t be able to copy you. – That’s true but I think, my belief in patents is
that it freezes development. You never develop something in a vacuum, you’re part of society, you
were brought up by people, you were educated by other people, you worked with other people. Any novel thing you’ve come
up with is a result of that so, you know, even if
you were really clever and you worked out a very small part of it, then to freeze development
to that point means that someone else has
got to develop two steps to get past your patent. (object falls)
– Yeah. Just all the truth going on in this room, it’s like… – Yeah, so um– – Because it sounds
like then Honda really, their downhill program was fantastic, and some riders that are
still kicking about today, probably have a lot to thank them for. But why, for the people that perhaps aren’t so involved, myself included, why did Honda leave the mountain bike? Because they made such a splash, then their bikes never saw
production in the same way. – I don’t know, I got the same letter that was published at the time. And it just stated business
and technical reasons. So you’d have to point a
finger at the UCI and say, “That’s not very useful”. Having a rule that says
you can’t have prototypes. Yeah, I just think that, you know, it seems you can’t have a prototype but you can take drugs,
have a few months off and take a holiday, and
then turn up and race again. That’s fucking shit, isn’t it? Yeah, it does seem a bit– – Sorry about the f-word. – Oh, that’s alright. – But, you know, I think Now we’re really off topic. So we go to the Enduro thing. Enduro… Should be about endurance, toughness, racing your bicycle, mostly downhill with a few uphills and they had a little problem
with the guys taking drugs. We don’t know how well, ’cause we still haven’t
found out who the other guys with the analytical findings were but now this year, they’re
under the auspices of the UCI so what we do know is
that you’ll be able to get a therapeutic use exemption because that’s allowed
within the UCI rules. And what we do know is
that there’s a huge amount of athletes with asthma, just all this exercise-induced asthma. – Yeah, I’ve heard of
in Norwegian ski schools them sending out children in the cold to prompt asthma-like symptoms, “Oh my God, little Timmy’s
coming down with asthma! “Get him to the doctor, quickly!” and you know what I mean? – And some clenbuterol. – Yeah, and I’ve also,
you know, I mean I’m sure I have heard, you know,
people obviously have quite strong opinions on the UCI. But, you know, I did hear rampant stories a couple of years ago that you
probably wouldn’t hear now. In regards to, you know, all sorts of off color things going on in the US scene. – Yes, absolutely and I think that the way of getting around that is to obviously… Police the drugs properly, that’s fine and if somebody’s caught taking them, that should be the end of it, you know? That is, you shouldn’t be allowed to race in that sport again, surely? – Yes, I would agree. – Surely. And then design the courses that minimize the effect of drugs taken. You know, if I was– So, for me, if I was
the promoter of the last EWS after the one where Martyn
got caught with accidentally, accidentally of course,
ingesting something. I’d have just made all
the stages chainless. I’d have just a had a commissar at the top taking the chains off. – Yeah, you’re right. Well, when you say it like that. So the bikes of 2030,
no chains, single pivot with spherical bearings. I mean, the next thing, the on-topic thing at the moment is people gleefully recanting in any online forum or comment section that have them about how, you know,
everything looks the same and then someone does something different, for instance the trust fork. And everybody says it’s horrifying. Similarly with bikes, “Everything
looks like a session”. Something doesn’t look like a session, “Oh my God, cover it away! “Lock it in an ivory tower,
it’s horrible, my eyes!” you know? Do you think there’s a place
for, you know, I’ve heard, before we’ve spoken about
possibly the limitations of telescopic forks. Especially in sort of an aggressive yet single crowned setup. Do you think there’s a place going forward for a highly tuned linkage fork? – Absolutely. I’m not sure whether it would look like the trust, or the motion, both of whom are doing a really good job. And my hat’s off to them for attempting, for attempting to build a linkage fork. I think something simpler would be a better job, really. You know, something– – The only thing that offends me about the message, sorry the trust fork, is it’s called The Message. That makes me just a bit, the fork actually is fine
but the name, I just– – It’s just marketing.
– It is marketing. – The whole thing is just marketing. – It’s a double-edged sword. – The whole thing is just
marketing, it’s not really… It’s not really a step
forwards I don’t think, it’s just, again, it’s just
another way of making something in carbon fiber, “Oh, we’ve got this!” Contact the carbon fiber factory, “What can we make with carbon fiber?” and, you know, it suits tennis rackets. – Now what would the
fork chassis look like? – In 2030? – In 2030, or at least going forward, what would you like to see, you’ve got– – Well I’d like to see something
like the Britten V Twin, did you ever see… The Britten V Cycle? – Like a manically… – Yeah, google it. A Britten V Twin, Britten racing, spelled B.R.I.T.T.E.N and it’s a beautiful,
hand-built motorcycle built by a guy called John
Britten in New Zealand. He literally made everything on his lathe, on his milling machine. – Oh, wow. – If you look, there’s a sort
of motorcycle on each one where you’ve got a strip
down, you can see the fork– It’s amazing, he just, he
was winning races with that when there were factory
teams racing against him. And it’s just beautiful. And he’s, he’s not done so… You know, take a few stops back and we look at the way
things have developed in the mountain biking world and to a certain extent
in a lot of engineering. You find a problem and with your yearly product development cycle
you find a few problems. – They come up. – But with that cycle,
you find your problem, you design and act next year. You don’t look at the customer and say, “Oh, he spent X amount of
thousand pounds on my product, “better get that sorted,
get the retro fit”. No, it’s fixed next year. Look, we fixed this problem. Instead of solving the issue. And by one step at a
time we’re moving away from the core of what we
were trying to achieve. Let’s say, you know, if we
think in abstract terms, we were trying to get ’round
the trees really quickly. You know, that’s what
we were trying to do. – Some of us are still trying actually. – But we got lost, and year on year we fixed all these problems, now we’ve ended up with
a bloody mess of a bike. Now, Britten looked at it and said, “Aerodynamics, drag,
that’s the biggest thing. “I won’t need to make as much
power, if I’m not as wide”. So he built a motorcycle
that, from the front, so if you have a look
at it from the front, it’s insanely narrow. And there you go. – So are you suggesting the
bike of 2030 will be what? Back to 650 handle bars? – No, I’m just pulling your leg. – No, I’m just saying that hopefully, somebody will step back and have a look from a distance and go, “Okay, well, I’m not using
someone else’s engine “Why have they configured
that engine as a four cylinder “in line with all the cylinders like this “and I’m going in that direction, “that’s quite a lot of air”. You know, almost you’d be better off with a four cylinder in line, but that’s a really
difficult packaging job so he went for the packaging
job with with the V Twin allowing him to package it correctly. Packaging is the big issue
with a bicycle design. – Well, I think in someways we don’t, maybe kind of mountain biking coming from, coming out of the shadow of road cycling. in one way or another. You know, we don’t have that time for the, or maybe we do, maybe I’m being unfair, but that kind of Graeme
Obree figure of absolutely, oh my God, because now I think it would be quite an intimidating
prospect and hard to get into to do something. I mean, there are people
doing some cool stuff. – Yeah, I mean, that
Graeme Obree reference is really, really interesting because, you know, I noticed a
time trial bike downstairs with a stupid saddle on it. And that’s so that it
fits inside the UCI rules. So the front of the nose of the saddle is not allowed past the bottom bracket. I’m pretty sure, I don’t know ’cause I’m not a study, I’m not a student of road
cycling or track or time trial but that came around after
the Graeme Obree thing. – It did. It’s also to stop you
going recumbent basically. – Yeah, so, but why would you want
to stop development? And that is because at
our heart, in our history, there was an attempt to make
cycling an athletic pursuit rather than a technological pursuit. So… We still have that throwback
with the mountain biking, hence the stupid prototype rule and you know, the idea that
it has to be driven by human power, through a
chain and a series of sprockets and yet somebody can win a
world cup with the chain gone. Has that broken the rules? Should the guy that
came second have been– Saying, “Well, actually that’s
outside of the UCI rules”. – Well, isn’t it maybe then perhaps, sort of indicative of the
problem that you were saying in that, you know, if
you look, if you take perhaps a good distillation
of sport, in Formula 1 again, they look at the driver as a component and they’re trying to
make the complete package but also they get renewed and
sort of every now and then they revisit the rules packages. So people exploit things with new ideas. If the UCI shook up their
rules, then maybe people would. – So, the thing with Formula 1 that don’t really want to
see happening in bicycling is that that’s won by the lawyers. So that the reading of the rules and, it’s almost like the
rich people paying tax, you read the rules really carefully and you work just within the rules. That there’s enough
loopholes and enough words that allow you to work within the outside of the rules. So that you’re actually law-abiding but you’ve managed to
avoid paying all your tax. And it’s the same with Formula 1, the careful reading of the
rules that allows you to exploit an idea that the rule
maker hadn’t thought about. And we started to see it in
Moto GP to a certain extent but you still see, you know, the rider has a much greater influence in Moto GP than in car racing. – It kind of turns the whole thing into basically a very expensive
game of Simon Says. Now does that, “Oh, I
didn’t say Simon Says! “Oh, double diffuser!” (laughing) But I think coming from Formula 1 and using that as an example, wouldn’t it in some ways, but I’m sure you’d be able
to easily pick holes in it. It’d be cool if it said, you know, say in a couple years down the line, say in 2022, this is the
formula for that year, we’ve got perhaps maybe
the total number of riders would come down, which I’m not sure I’m for or against really, but we’re going to have say, a tire sponsor for the whole series which is going to distribute
money between the teams, cause something like that
some people have just got bad tires for instance, and
they just covered it up. But you know what I mean,
and then be like, whose team can actually develop the
best bike as opposed to, you know, ’cause you see people, you know, privateers rather buying bikes and sometimes, you know, having new freedom after
leaving a factory team just because– – Well I mean there’s
two really good examples of that this year with the Italian guy, who’s had a couple of top tens– – The denim destroyer, yeah. – Yeah, so the both of them,
I mean the Italian guys literally going to World
Cup races in his van, and it does make you wonder actually how many there’s not that many
people thinking that hard about how to make a mountain bike faster in mountain biking. There are a few people thinking outside the box for sure, but you know, when you get
to a situation where the highest paid guy last year is getting paid over a million, let’s just pick a million
because it’s a round number, you know he’s getting paid a million, he’s got eight races to do,
that’s 125 grand per race, and you can still have a puncture. We’re 30 years into mountain
biking, we’re paying guys a million quid to do eight races, and for that 125 grand, we
couldn’t have invested enough to not have a puncture? – What’s the motorbike
response to punctures? – Well if you’re riding in that kind of environment, so for instance,
you’re doing a long race where you’re going to
be hitting stuff blind, you’re talking about a
long distance enduro, like a desert race, or a
rally motorcycle desert race, they just use moosers, so
it’s a full moose, so that– – So is the meat tenderized,
or is it just put straight in? (laughing) Sorry, I’m being an idiot. – There’s no inner tube at
all, there’s no air at all, you’ve literally got a
closed cell nitro cellular elasti-wrap inner tube
that gives you a certain amount of pressure when
you actually put it on. You can still have a wheel failure, you can hit something so hard
that you can ding a wheel. You can still have
failures of other types, but if a puncture is going
to mean you lose the race, then in most other sports, it’s solved. And it still hasn’t been
solved in mountain biking. And it’s not beyond the
wit of man to do so. – No, it’s I think that
sometimes, you know, I think tire companies are
a good example of this, so busy fighting each other,
they forget they’re actually– You know what I mean? – They’re not actually interested
in making a step forward as the troops. – They’re interested
in selling more tires. – Yeah, that’s their job, so
we shouldn’t criticize that, that’s their job. But in terms of in terms of the paddock,
you could do it yourself, I mean, jeez, 20 years
ago, I took a decent downhill tire, and I bought
a pot of rubber solution like this, a massive pot,
and I painted the whole of the inside of the
tire, painted the whole of the outside of the
half blown up inner tube, put the two things together,
quickly popped it onto a rim, and then blew the inner tube
up so that the inner tube is at the right size for the
tire cleared for the tube, and then I tried to put it on my wheel and tried to puncture it. Could not do it. I had, you know, 15 or 20
holes in the inner tube, but because the tire was tough enough– – I never thought of that. – No one else has either, but it’s not, I’m not a genius, but
that’s just a five quid pot. – I’ve always thought of
doing like the old trick of lots of talcum powder in
a tire to keep it sliding, which I thought was where
you were going, but. – No no, and that solved the inner
tube tear, and it gave you something you could use
as a cushion to stop the tire tearing. I destroyed the wheel in doing so, but there were a lot of
big dings in the rim, I was literally just
riding on breeze blocks and you know, wincing. Could not make it puncture. Now, for a privateer
racer that’s got a job, that painting inner tubes
is not really sustainable, but if that’s your job,
and it’s 125 grand, but that might not be the answer now, you know you could actually ask someone in another industry for an idea. – But going forward, it sounds like so we’ve got inner tube technology
from what, 15 years ago, you’ve got single pivots,
so you’ve got an old Honda, we’ve got, I mean, hopefully
less pretentiously named forks at the very least,
I’m really hoping. – And the Britten was from
the late 80’s early 90’s, but this is a reoccurring
theme all the time, and you know, when I look at technology, when you look at new ideas,
the Romans or the Victorians did them already, essentially. There’s nothing that we
can’t learn from those guys. We just need to sort of adapt it to our industry, you know, the basic principles of
engineering were all done. It’s the new suspension
bridge that’s falling down, not the suspension bridge that Isambard Kingdom Brunel built,
which he built with links so you could potentially
hold the links and replace a rusty one, you know, you
could potentially fix this. That bridge isn’t falling down. The new one is. You know, it’s not even my age, and I’d want warranty on that
if I’d built this bridge, and there are so many Roman bridges throughout Europe that are still– – All the Aqueducts in Nimes, yeah. – It’s still standing
and still doing the job. There’s not much we can’t
learn from those guys, and so yes, for looking at the gearbox, you go back, there’s probably
something in the Victorian Archives that’ll do it. – I think that the whole this
consumer culture we’ve got. It permeates everything and
it’s insidious, you know, it’s not just a case of
we have so many symptoms, but actually like you said, we’ve got bridges that are falling down, the throwaway culture is so prevalent, we’ve just had a talk before
we started filming about you know, I was watching something on listening to something
rather about the fashion, and the textiles industry. The throwaway fashion as they call it– – Fast fashion, yeah. – It’s so stagnant, and
the interesting thing is, they’ve got the same problems now, basically one other
person on this program is, without going into the
nuances or how much hype, but basically saying that we
have to keep this fashion going to support the people in the
sweatshops and give them jobs, which is obviously, I’m
not going to get into that. It’s the same conversation
we were having in those Victorian times about the workhouses. – Yeah, and you know that and the more you find out
about things that sort of bleaker, our sort of modern
version of capitalism looks… There’s just a lot of people
saying the future of cars and mountain biking is electric and battery power, and you don’t have to do very much investigation to find out how important those minerals,
rarer minerals now are, and how people are being exploited to extract those minerals, and almost everything we do
in the rich world has that repercussion back down, but
we should try to minimize it. Without turning into a
hippie, sort of hasher hippie, it’s something we should think about is an electric bicycle a good idea? Then it’s not a bicycle,
it’s a motorcycle, and it’s a real shit one. – I mean I can hear Steve
Jones staring in the distance. – Yeah, and he’s got a
perfectly good motorcycle in his garage and it
just stays there because it’s too noisy and it aint right. (laughing) I mean we’ve had some great
times riding mountain bikes, we’ve had some great
times riding motorbikes, but we won’t have any
great times riding e-bikes, because why am I riding this
half-developed piece of junk? The weak point of the bicycle
is the rear derailleur, and now you’ve put an
extra 400 watts into it. You were just talking
about how long a drivetrain doesn’t last. – I guess strap some I guess
PS Argon your down tube and hoping for the best. (laughing) But perhaps less complaining
from PS Argon himself, but you know. – Come on, mate, dig in! – I think as we get to that,
you know, conveniently prickly subject, it’s probably a good
enough time to call it there before we start really
going down the rabbit hole. You can say what you want
about capitalism here, but don’t you dare get started on e-bikes, because they’ll be at our gates. They won’t go away. (laughing) Thank you so much for the chat and the, well it’s been a real
eye-opener for me, so. – It was quite good fun, thanks. – Thank you very much. – No worries, dude. – Cheers.

92 thoughts on “The GMBN Podcast Ep.14 | The Future Of Mountain Bikes With Chris Porter

  1. The interviewer has no clue vs Chris that burning fuel for fun is shit for the environment and completely unecessary when u look at alternatives in racing cars and bikes

  2. this was a great discussion, you are right this epoch will be known as the age of the disposable 🙁

  3. That was fascinating and so much truth spoken there. Thank you Henry and Chris for some real insight. Great show GMBN, more of this standard please?

  4. i have a question. i am 173cm tall and i am actually interested into hopping on a 29er hardtail. the problem i have is, whether i should stick with 27,5 inch bikes, because 1st does the cockpit come closer or higher is there a significant difference or does the height between the bottom bracket and the ground increase to balance that out. i like to have my cockpit below the height of my saddle, and it does work fine on my 275er but i wonder whether it will work well with the same size of 29ers.

  5. I'm working in a Bike Shop that does a lot of repairing and renewing old Bikes. I do found an old Bianchi Crank that had exactly the same Direct mount Chain ring adaptment that Sram uses today. This bike and this system we're once developed in the 1960s and in ?2016? The direct mount Chainring is suddenly a new invention. It's like they are literally picking up inventions from 60 years ago and say they are new. I just don't get it.

  6. Hopefully, I'll still be riding my 26" wheeled bikes that, to be honest, have always done their job, and always will, My riding has never been exceptional, and the bikes have always been more capable than me, "don't fix, what ain't broke"

  7. Good work. Need more conversation on the bigger environmental issues around biking's consumerist nature and the carbon-heavy travel that goes with it

  8. Lots of interesting topics until you started looking down at e-bikes (Don't we all ride bikes for fun and love of the great outdoors. For some people the ebike opens up the world of Mtbing). Yes I'm a EBBY unfortunately my daughter has genetic disorder and we use ebike and trike to get out. I'd tried for years with my old mtb but things had to change. I'm so lucky to have a ebike that it gives me more time with my girl doing the best things in life BEING OUTSIDE.

  9. This is probably the longest video I've watched on youtube and that says enough. Interesting from start to finish.

  10. Please stay out of politics and just post mtb videos. No one give a shit about what some dirt merchants think about running a country. You can barely run your life effectively

  11. #askgmbn My fork is a 150 mm suntour aion fork but when i measure the stanchions there is 135 mm of stanchion shown. I am quite a light rider so i run quite a low preasure. Would this be a problem? Thanks!

  12. Already out here riding bikes like it’s 2030 aboard my MOJO edition G16 29er! 🤗

    Thanks for having C. Porter in for a chat. Always enjoy hearing what his take is on the Mtn bike scene is.

  13. Brilliant podcast, so interesting and enjoyable. Chris is bang on with what he was saying about the industry and technology.
    More podcasts like this please. 👍

  14. Only the second time hearing Chris and I would listen to him for hours and love every minute of it. He is one cool dude in my book. 2030 got to be airless wheels .

  15. I am with Chris Porter here. I too believe that all of us are quickly using up the worlds resources way too fast, and there is no way this can continue much longer at this pace.

    We live in a World that is built by Consumerism and there is no escape. We are all part of this system. We all need to get the rest of world to buy more of the stuff we are selling, because that is the only way we each individually will survive. The only way out of this system really is to go be a hermit in the desolate forest, but I am not going to do that! Are you?

    Chris sounds like a guy who really cares about the environment, but he is only talk! At the end of the day he goes along with his Matrix programming just like the rest of us. Chris too is also in the selling business. I am not trying to criminalize any of us, I am just trying to present the reality of it all.

    I am certain that within the next 3-5 years there will be another great Mtn Bike gimmick, a gimmick much like 29" wheels and 1x drive drivetrains, to fool us Mtn Bikers into binning our current bike and getting the new. Chris Porter and GMBN will be at the forefront selling us these gimmicks.

    We all need to accept the fact that we are all whores trying to sell something to someone else, and most of the time we sell them things they do not need. However, that is OK to us because we just want to sell! Hahahah

    We all just talk, no action at all, just talk. The truth is none of us really care about the 3rd World or the Environment, especially if it affects our own bottom line. We all want the 3rd World to stay down so we can maintain our cushy life. We all need people to CONSUME because the more they consume, the easier it is for us to sell. Sales is what makes the world go round and it is what enables each of us to survive in this Consumerist World.

    There is no solution to the current Consumerist World we live in. We as a Species will eventually use up all of the worlds resources and wipe ourselves out of existence; it is inevitable. The Malthusian Theory will be proven true very soon.

    However, no need to think too much about all this. Just RIDE BIKES, DRINK BEER, AND BE HAPPY!

  16. Great episode! It's refreshing to hear from those within the industry concerned with producing objects built for longevity. Reminds me of some interviews I've seen with Tom Ritchey.

  17. Love both of these guys…But I tuned out on this one because of the “anti-capitalist” political BS.

  18. Great to see some thoughtful content on GMBN.

    Also great to see that they aren't so marketing driven that they will occasionally make some content which questions the industry.

  19. I have one bike, 160mm travel enduro bike, and I totally think I can and will ride everything on that one bike, from xc to bikepark. The only problem is when something breaks… those are the only times, when having another, maybe a hardtail, would be beneficial. Just not having to stop riding.

    Ride your bikes fellas, no matter if there's one or 13 of them!

  20. Chris spoke right out of my soul in the last two minutes of the podcast. Thanks for such a honest answer to e-bikes.

    One thing i think will be the future of mountainbiking, DH-racing especially, is 3D-Printed titanium frames. We know by now that suspension works better if the maon frame is heavier (sprung mass amd unsprung mass) and we will very quickly have to realise that the amount of carbon we use and only can burn after they are used for 2 races and need a new frame isn't sustainable in the long run. Titanium or whatever metal will be used for 3D-Printing can be molten or just be grinded or milled down to powder again without any problems so we get a closed cycle.

  21. excellent video, best mtb podcast ever, more like this, so many points that I agree with and even ones I hadn't thought of, we need to be critical because the times are critical #buildthemtolast

  22. That was truly a fascinating insight into the way sport and the rules hold back development, instead of driving it freely to the benefit of all. I sense that Chris thinks ebikes are a distraction from solving the core weaknesses of MTB's, almost an easier more lucrative path for the industry to go in, than solve issues like drive train.

  23. Return mountain biking to a working mans sport. The cycling industry should return making durable affordable bikes unlike the overpriced throw away carbon cookie cutter bikes of today.

  24. Top podcast. Proper honest chat about the industry and reminds me of a lot of my own post ride pint heated discussions!

  25. Chris is on-point as always.

    I think 3D printing/additive manufacture is one of the few areas that genuinely differentiates modern engineering from Victorian engineering. It has the potential to transform the MTB industry if it can be made cost effective and mechanically reliable. I know the Athertons are pursuing this for the frame, but it could potentially be extended to components too.

    And…3D printed airless tyres (car and bike) are already being developed. That’ll stop your puncture issues! Air in tyres is so last century!

  26. Please get rid of henry. I used to love every video. I cant watch or listen to any of ur vids with him involved. He is Like sniffing chloroform.

  27. Loved when Chris brought up John Britten and his work as an example. That’s exactly what the bicycle industry needs; a genius, unconventional thinker like Britten was. He was lightyears ahead of everyone else back in his time and made an enormous impact on the Powersport Industry.

  28. Ooh I love the Britten V1000 pure motorbike porn. Remember it first time round and still best looking bike ever.

  29. Chris Porter is brilliant! His point of view is fantastic and I could listen to him talk for hours! Great Podcast !!

  30. #ask gmbn why don't people just put road wheels and tires as a spare set on their MTB instead of getting a roadie

  31. Fantastic and brave podcast guys. I (and I'm sure a good number of your other subscribers) really appreciate your free and honest sharing of potentially controversial opinions about the state of the industry and sport we all love. Great work.

  32. I really enjoyed this podcast but feel like you ended it too soon. Gmbn should go for a full joe rogan esque 1-3 hours of talking and should of cut in the pictures of the britten motorcycle, honda mtb and the rest of the things you were talking about…

  33. So presumably you're still riding bicycles made in the 1970s. Still perfectly serviceable, if we're simply victims of a capitalist marketplace why would we ever need more. I agree probably too much fashion but this does drive innovation and (often if not always) improvement which does trickle down into affordability if it proves itself at the high end.

  34. What a thought-provoking Podcast this is! Stuff in here that really made me think – inspired me a lot now to look at my bike and work out how to make my bike more logical in what it does.
    Love the comment "we pay people £1m a year to ride a bike – and they still get punchers" brilliant comment.

  35. Excellent podcast. Henry is a great interviewer. Very interesting insight of the MTB world from Chris who has many valid points. Keep up the great work #GMBN

  36. Great poscast, I can't say anything that hasn't already been said below all there is is to give appreciation to such a truthful discussion. Well done guys. The industry has always been driven by fads not by what is really best.

  37. We've said for YEARS now that the rear derailleur system has GOT to go… It's down there always just begging every rock, stick, or sideways crash to screw it up. There has to be a better way!

  38. Riding an Ebike is the most fun i have had on bikes in 10 years bar the pumptrack bike , battery chemistry is also constantly evolving . My pump track bike is a 15 year old bike with new tyres, bar and stem and im hoping to keep my ebike just as long as it does the job better than i could have hoped. I waited for ten years since i saw my first ebike to get something that was developed to a fair standard, it was worth it and i'm already eyeing up the motors belt and bearing kit and others who are refurbishing older (5 to 8 year) battery packs with higher capacity cells to maintain so i can make it last. John Britten doco for those interested , he is a Legend down here

  39. Really interesting podcast and perhaps a little eye opener or snap out from "accepting the norm". Being critical myself (politely!) it would have been cool for Chris and Heners to offer some more ideas, fixes or remedies on some of the problems he sees as well as pointing them out…. even off the cuff crazy ones.

    I'll be going back and listening to this a few more times though – great guests and topics!

  40. lots of wider bottom brackets and rear axles about (e.g. fat bike frames, cranks etc). wonder how hard 5×5 speed would be to try. keep the chainline only +1/-1 chainring/sprocket out. 32-12 front, 10-18 rear, would be similar gearing to 1×12 speed with a 32t chainring. 2x electronic front derailleurs (one at the back) to manage shifting from 1 lever. something to tension the chain, 4 links difference in length between top and bottom gear. probably bonkers 🤷‍🤡

  41. Man I loved this deep talk. Heres my thoughts:

    1. I am absolutely certain they make parts wear and break on purpose so they have constant income. I mean it makes business sense. This applies to all products not just MTB. For example b screw on my sram mech. Constantly breaking and only way to fix is get a longer stronger screw or redesign the latch it sits in, it's bloody terrible! How else would they make so much money if everyone only had to buy the part once!?

    2. Regarding doping, Maes was caught with masking agent – so yes he might have been doing it all along and maybe other people. If u haven't done an enduro race ur self u probably don't know how physical it is.

    3. We by now should all have dream bikes but just like everything else the industry will milk every single idea before they move on to next incremental design – again just business. UCI not having prototype exaggerates this effect alot.

  42. Always a great pleasure to listen to Chris. Thank you guys for having him on the podcast, putting some light on some rather sensitive topics!

  43. MTB is always full of fads and fashions 15 years ago I started running 740 bars everyone thought I was mad now its standard. But then at the time everyone was going from 26 to 24 and now its 29 lol

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