When trail traps hurt more than their intended victims

At first glance, it might seem that the recent (or should that be latest?) scandal involving disgraced ex-Minister Ron Davies has a narrow scope of victims, but a broader view demonstrates far reaching potential impact for the Caerphilly economy.


It’s safe to say that nobody expected to see the former MP at the centre of the Clapham Common and Tog Hill “badgergate” scandals back in the news for video seeming to show more woodlands based misdemeanors. It’s even safer to say that we didn’t expect the wildlife charity he is trustee of to firstly attack members of the public asking them for a response to the news, then to condemn the actions in a press statement, then retract the statement, go back to a highly defensive (and some would say secretive) position and delete further queries from their social media page, before finally giving a very reluctant comment but refusing to comment on the trap situation. In fact, the mystery spokesperson wouldn’t even give us a name to attribute the quotes below to:



We tried to give Caerphilly Woodlands Trust fair right to reply, but received a less than helpful response from their secretive social media spokesperson


Casting aside the potentially horrific consequences of the traps laid, and the impression that the Caerphilly Woodlands Trust would rather close ranks than address the issue of their rogue trustee, there’s another angle to this sorry story – the value of mountain biking in economic terms to a local area, and the risk to those revenues if participants in this high value, growing sport are forced out.



Just one of the lethal booby traps discovered when the Caerphilly MTB group held a recent trail clearance day



At the very same time as traps were being laid in the woods, the Scottish Government’s Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS) team was hosting an arena at the world famous Eurobike trade show in Germany, having just had verification from the Office of National Statistics that mountain biking as a sport, an industry and a tourism/visitor driver was worth a staggering £363 million to the Scottish economy* (*source: “Scotland’s Pedal Power”, September 2016).



Strength in numbers!


Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy, even comments “Scottish Government is focused on increasing Scotland’s international impact and it is fantastic to see a niche industry with growing importance like mountain biking excel in Scotland. We have the perfect terrain and conditions for the activity. It is great that entrepreneurs are inspired by the world class mountain biking in Scotland and are going on to utilise the support available to them to develop new products and export them across the world. With global cycle sales topping £31 billion per annum, Scotland can be well prepared to develop its offering in this sector. The support offered to these companies is first class and is undoubtedly helping to expand their business and grow the Scottish economy as a result.”


These figures might on the surface seem huge and distant at national level, but even on a city or town microeconomic level, there’s a staggering set of revenue figures from the sport and participants.


Contrary to the false impression given by Mr Davies in his statement to the BBC, mountain biking is far from a sport mainly practiced by spotty teens – by virtue of being an expensive hobby, it attracts a high value participant group that any region would be keen to host. A national mountain bike participant survey carried out in late 2015 found some truly staggering demographic information for active participants of the sport – a few highlights below:


  • Average age of 37 years old
  • 51% married
  • 46% have children under 16
  • £52,470 combined household income (vs a national average of £30,630)
  • 79% ride at least once a week
  • 2 years 9 months between bike purchases with an average spend of £1816 on a bike
  • 47% buy their bikes and accessories in their local bike shop
  • Average annual spend of £452 on spares, clothing and accessories


What does this mean on a local level? The local Caerphilly MTB group on Facebook, founded to give a voice to riders in the light of the latest scandal, has 372 members. Working with the above figures, the value of just 372 riders (who we know are only a tiny proportion of riders in the area gives some staggering results:


  • Combined household income “pot” of £19.51 Million – what region wouldn’t want a group of people with that spending power?!?
  • £79,027 spend on just spares, clothing & accessories in their local Caerphilly bike shop (£452 average spend, multiplied by 47% of 372)
  • Working on an established industry average “spend per head” of £5.45 in local cafes like the Caerphilly Snack Bar, and assuming just 30% of the 372 visit after a ride, that’s £31,627 annual food spend!
  • Assuming 30% of the 372 go for one pint and one pack of crisps in “popular with MTBers” pub The Black Cock after a ride each week, at a combined £3.90 spend, that’s £22,632 as a conservative estimate
  • 47% of bike purchases are in the local shop, at an average of £1816, every 2 years 9 months, giving a spend of £115,457 on bikes each year in the local shop
  • The additional health benefits are likely to see one less doctor’s appointment per year per person, at an NHS internal cost of £45 per appointment – that’s a saving of £16,740 to the local NHS trust!

A quick tot up of these very conservative figures above, shows that just on topline spend around their riding hobby, the 372 riders in the Caerphilly MTB group are worth £186,456 to the Caerphilly economy – never mind the fact they have almost £20M combined spending power by income, and the fact that there are estimated 5 times as many riders come to the area, bringing additional incremental spend around things like accommodation, parking and more.



Supporting the local economy – hungry riders pack out the Snack Bar


Clearly, this is a demographic that any region would love to have visiting and spending with them – the direct spend and economic trickledown effect benefit the whole area, not just the riders, which is why the Scottish Government have driven the DMBinS project – it secures the continued participation and economic benefits of the bikers, for the good of all the community.


It would be a crying shame for the dangerous actions of a few, and the mixed code of silence and outward aggressive stance from a charity connected to the culprits to put off either new entrants to the sport, high spending visitors, or long term riders concerned about danger from traps.



Skilful, committed, healthy, wealthy and young at heart – any region would welcome these sportspeople and their spending power!


Given the fact that so much is at stake both in terms of safety and boosts to the local economy, plus the fact the Caerphilly region has developed so many riders who are now competing on the global circuit – including Wales’ very own World Champion, Manon Carpenter, who rides some of the tracks that have been boobytrapped – isn’t it now high time that a local politician or councillor takes this on as a project, helps resolve conflicts and helps Caerphilly as a town enjoy the benefits of attracting a healthy, wealthy and young at heart sport?


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Mountain Biking Banned At BDS For 2016

Strictly in jest but funny as hell!!!!!

Head Jar

Mountain Biking Will be banned at next years British Downhill Series, it has been announced. Event organizer Si Putin released the following statement.

‘Having banned chainsaws, tear offs, Gopro’s, fun and any real incentive to pay a huge amount of money to attend our races we have decided to ban mountain biking for the 2016 season. You may think this it now renders the whole event pointless, but you’d be wrong. I’m still going to make some sweet dosh, and its going to give me the company I so desperately crave at the weekends.’

We caught up with customers at the Glentress Peel center to see what they made of the decision. ‘I think it’s a great idea!’ Said Tarquin, 43 from Edinburgh ‘I mean Downhill isn’t really mountain biking anyway because you don’t even ride to the top. I mean how are you suppose to discuss the fine details of…

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New Lapierre Spicy Team unveiled!

The day after this year’s Enduro World Series concluded, Lapierre unveiled their awesome new Spicy Team, now dragged kicking and screaming to the forefront of race winning weapons, with huge input from none other than 10 time world champion Nico Vouilloz!

Good friend of MTBTrailTales.com, Seb Stott, was lucky enough to get in a first ride on it, going for a spin with Nico himself – click the photo below to see what he made of it!


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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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