It’s All About The Bike

Are you slow?  Do you keep crashing?  Can’t find those winning seconds?  For some reason you can’t just “whip it out” on the local hill?  Don’t worry!  It’s not you, it’s your bike!  Fear not, Lance Armstrong was totally wrong when he titled his book, “It’s not about the bike”; It’s ALL about the bike.  The geometry is totally wrong, the suspension curve looks like it has scoliosis, and the weight distribution is worse than a Weight Watchers class.  I just want to put your worry to rest, because you should know that the only inhibitor keeping you from being #1 out on the hill and earning a fat paycheck aboard your bike, is well, your bike.  

How can this possibly be fixed then?  No one takes your suggestions within the various RideMonkey forums seriously, and you constantly get told off on local rides about your theories regarding bike set-up…this is a dead-end road and you’re out of an audience – even your bike is starting to seem indignant and down-right spiteful (ANOTHER FLAT YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING).  What to do, what to do.  Solidworks is hard and expensive, and your napkin drawings end up with too many water rings on them, so those ideas are lost; won’t someone just take you seriously?!

No.  And I won’t either.  This excuse is irrelevant now.  2013 is the year that I am calling an end to this complaint about “[it] is the bike’s fault” and any other general blame on equipment – at this point in time, barring catastrophic failures, it IS your fault.  If Gee was able to nurse multiple (f)ailing designs through top-tier competition over the past couple of years, you certainly have no excuses, especially now that the new Fury is practically a cruise missile built to destroy the competition’s confidence (my hat off to GT and Gee and Rach this year).  
Sure, the World Cup crowd is special, and thus their rides are too…except that 90% of the riders on the circuit are on bikes you can buy (and do, and then complain).  I once went to school and learned a few things about the “Scientific Method”, and after looking at your plight, it is plain to see that you are the root of every one of your issues out on the hill.  Can’t corner, always slide out?  Lower that tire pressure and/or turn down your low-speed compression.  Keep going OTB while JRA?  Slow that rebound down and/or raise your bar height.  Bike falling apart?  Take better care of it.  Don’t know how?  Figure it out, bikes are pretty simple – or “Google”  Sheldon Brown (RIP).  
The bikes we are all on today are AMAZING.  Read Dirt’s interview with Missy “The Missile” Giove  – she jumped onto a Demo 8 and thrashed the hell out of it, first time out.  Sure she’s a legend, but the point remains, the steeds we ride are effectively designed to make riding as easy as possible, and provide the optimum “fun factor”.  Dave Weagle isn’t sitting around thinking about suspension designs that will challenge the rider and test how well they know a bike – no!  Don’t be obtuse, DW’s designs revolutionized the sport and gave the bikes with his mind behind them magical properties.  VPP and FSR are also fantastic, and are really the only other real designs that have winning clout, which are not single pivots.  But this isn’t an argument about “whose is better” – this is about the fact that bikes are bikes, and the way they ride really comes down to the tinkering you do in your driveway, running over curbs, bunny-hopping it twice, and calling it “race-ready”.  
If this is all news to you as a reader, that is unfortunate, and I’m sorry to say that your riding buddies were right:  your bike, that costs as much as a beater car, is in fact, not the problem.  This is a prime example of operator error and your local bike shop employees probably hate listening to your “war stories” from each weekend ride, where “something went wrong” and thus landed you back in the shop telling the bike tech how to fix your bassackward built of a bike.  The solution to your woes is this:  ask around among qualified people i.e. people who don’t “huck”, listen, take the advice, think.  You can fix yourself, and become a better rider, the first step is just admitting you’re the problem. 

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