Saturday, February 28, 2009


Hey guys just wanted to pop in here and let you know that Keith had to go into the hospital for a little bit. He's doing well and will be back online soon.
In the meantime if you have sent him an email and haven't heard a response back that is why.
I am being forwarded all his emails but not sure if some could possibly be dropped or fall through the cracks, also some are not being forwarded with the original senders email so if you have asked him a question and need an immediate response please resend it to {} and i'll be able to get back to you right away.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Riding with the Fakawi Tribe

Wow is all I can say.
What an amazing trip...
I'll be flying back to Taiwan tomorrow but I am so glad I came here - Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
First let me start with saying Kuala Lumpur is probably one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been to. Its clean, very modern, people speak English well and if I didn't live in another beautiful city which is Vancouver Canada I could easily live here. Its very multicutural just like Vancouver but with a different ethnic mix but still diverse nonetheless. That being said it means you can get just about anything to eat and if you like Malay, Indian or Chinese food then you're in for a real treat.
The other really cool thing is its just so green and lush... there are trees and stuff just all over the place and its because of that it feels less clutered with the dull harshness of nothing but concrete you find in most city's... its like it was built in a park.

First day of riding we went to this super flowy area that the name evades me at the moment. It felt like a mini Aline and really reminded me of Cypress when Digger was doing the trail work before they shut it down for the Olympics. Burms were big and flowed back 180 on each other in sections, there were nice tables and a decent gap, with hips and basically anything you'd expect from a groomed trail.
Check out Aaron manning the helmet Cam following me and Rizal through a couple runs

I have to admit I did suck on day one. I've been off the bike way to long and was 50/50 the gap but by day 2 I felt a little better. Its kinda reminds me of Whistler where your first runs down Aline you're not landing deep into the transitions as you try to get your flow back until you get a few under your belt and your hitting them with all your speed again. I'm also still getting used to the Legend coming from riding mostly a hardtail which just naturally has a ton of pop of jumps.
Still I had a great time -except for the pushing up parts. Temperature was around 30C so it kicks the energy right out of you. Your completely soaking wet in your own sweat by the time you get to the top, but thankfully there is a cool breeze always that helps a little.
We spent all day there and had a blast.
Riders were Rizal, Nick, Aaron, and Allan... a great bunch of guys to ride with who also all have skills so it was great.
To be perfectly honest I was not expecting a couple things. One was that the riders were as good as they were and second i didn't expect the amount of trail work that is being done over here and that the level of trails were requiring a good amount of skill to negotiate properly.
After we left the one side of the mountain with the flowy trails we checked out the other side just as the rain started to fall. Whoa was I blown away... the city is working on a mountain bike park and they pulled out all the stops on this one.
The park had 2 sets of 8 jumps in a row - 16 total- that had a big set and a small set. The big set were tables about 20 feet across at the tops... comparable to say some of the jumps on dirt merchant.
Down the hill were 4 graduated drops... exactly like you see at whistler where there is woodwork out to a point and then it falls away down the hill. After that you can hit the small box or big box which consists of a step up gap to the top of the box -much like the boneyard boxes at whistler and then after you have this huge wall that you can roll or even fofanu with the speed you've built up.
Around this whole area is a big recreation area that when open will have resturants and i'm sure a bike and skate shop in it. Its seriously a really big building. The skate shop is because they also have a killer skate park just below the slopestyle area and it looks like a serious skate park with deep bowls and lots of different areas to ride in - its big.

I have more from the trip but I still need to get some pics from Nick and then I can tell you about day 2 and the rest of the trip.

Let me just say if you're a mountian biker and want to go on a wicked vacation then this is a pretty nice place to go.

Thanks to all the riders I rode with. Nick, Rizal, Allan and Arron on day 1... day 2 was Nick, Rizal, Andy, Josh, and Arron. Biggest thanks goes out to Nick Ong who really made this trip awesome. He rode, took pictures and was just a great guy to hang out with. I'm so stoked that i'll see them again in a few weeks in the Philipinnes for the Terry Lazarbal festival and races.
I will miss Malaysia when i leave but I will be back for sure... and we're going back to that place where you eat indian food with your hands off a banana leaf... I still can't get over how awesome that was.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mythic Rune on is Future Publishing's internet site for all their magazine titles including Mountain Biking UK and What Mountain Bike...and their road titles too whatever those are called

The Mythic Rune that Freeborn custom built, recently got reviewed in the MBUK print magazine coming second in their all-mountain grouptest beating some tough competition from the "big boys" (cannondale and commencal)

as usual, its now on bikeradar in their gear reviews, check it out!


Rob C

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pandora's Banshee RUNE Review

First off, let me tell you where I come from in terms of riding bikes. I’ve been riding mountain bikes since 1994 and have always been a keen XC only rider. That all changed when I decided that racing is not what pushed my buttons anymore and all I wanted out of my rides were weekend casual trail rides. As I stepped into the world of casual trail riding I found myself pushing more toward aggressive trail riding....drops, jumps, and basically just going faster where ever you can.

Well, aggressive is all relative; my aggressive mode could be somebody else’s peanut easy ride . I also do enjoy climbing which makes the downhill all so more rewarding. And so the search for a rig that could do it all within my riding capacity, that is. What do we call that....All Mountain?

Let me confess, when I first laid my eyes on a Rune, I found the frame design aesthetically not ‘Hot’ and never in my wildest dream considered that I would even think of buying one at that time. I better cover my ass here and say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. After much time spent on researching my needs on a frame that would suit me best and also putting looks aside , I decided to pull the trigger on a Rune. My purchase was based on good value for money, suspension design – Virtual Floating 4 Bar (VF4B) and finally a very intangible aspect of bike purchases; the Banshee guys seem like an easy going bunch of mountain bikers.

I will try to be as neutral as possible with my review of the Rune. I understand that it’s only human nature to be positively biased toward the bike you own as saying anything negative about your own purchase makes you look and feel bad and probably stabs at one’s own ego. By the way, this review is my own opinion and may not be agreeable by all.

My new frame:

I saw a Rune about several months back and the weld beads were not as consistent and smooth as the current Rune frame that I own now. Mind you, it’s not as good as a Yeti that I had but it was still way better than some bigger brands that are sold here. It is a black anodized medium sized frame. The slightly matt anodized finishing was spot on with its contrasting white logos. I was thinking of going with a DHX coil shock but after coming upon an article that stated the frame designer (Keith Scott) developed the Rune to work better with high volume air shocks, I decided to go with the DHX air.

I was quite astonished at the stiffness of the rear triangle. When I tried to flex the rear triangle laterally with the shock (DHX5 Air) off the frame I could not feel any flex in it. It felt like it was one tough dog of a frame. I was feeling good about that as I wanted a sturdy frame. With the shock off, the rear triangle took some muscle to move. I guess it was because of the use of Igus Bushing instead of ball bearings in the pivots.

The finishing of the rear bottom suspension link (gold anodized) was slightly scratched up at the edges. I would assume that it was probably a handling or storage issue at the factory. Yeah! Yeah! It’s a mountain bike and it will eventually get scratched up but we all like it new when you pull it out of a box, don’t we?

The weight of the frame I thought was 7.4lbs for the medium (I may be wrong) but when I weighed it on a scale at the shop it showed at 7.7lbs. This didn’t bother me as weight was not really an issue for me. But let’s just put the blame on the scale for the inaccuracy.

The following is what I built her up with:

Fork: Fox Van36 ‘09
Wheelset: DT5.1 rims laced to MacMahone hubs
Drivetrain: X9
Crank: XT
Brakes: XT
Profile low rise handlebar – 26”
Stem: GAP 60mm
Pedals: Z Time
Headset: CK Devo 1.5
Saddle: WTB
Seatpost: Banshee (provided with frame purchase)
Tyres: Nevegal 2.35(F) / Conti Vertical 2.3(R)
Total weight: 32lbs

My first ride on the dirt @ Bukit Kiara Trails:
I wasn’t planning on pushing hard on the first ride as I wanted to work on the shock and fork setup. Ended up adding 10psi on my DHX Air to a total of 150psi. Other than this, I did not do anything else to the setup for the day. In the first few minutes on the bike, everything felt right, not perfect but right. I had ridden bikes that just didn’t feel good and a lot of changes had to be made to fit me.
Climbing up the asphalt toward the crossroad, I felt that pedalling the bike was very efficient. I say efficient is because there was no need to use the propedal lever on the DHX 5 Air shock. What a revelation! The suspension design alone made all the difference in the climbing ability of the Rune. With every crank cycle made I did not feel the bike bouncing about. Please remember that this is a 6 inch frame and it didn’t feel like I was on one climbing the tarmac.

The previous 6 inch trail bike that I had, the propedal lever on the shock had to be used to stop the rear from moving with every pedal stroke on the asphalt climb. It made for a tiring hike up the asphalt hill if the propedal was not activated. Suspension bobbing does make you feel like there is a loss of energy going into the shock instead of going into the wheel and effective forward motion. As a result, I can conclude that certain suspension designs do make a difference in pedalling efficiency. And a suspension design that needs some sort of ‘on the fly’ shock management may not be the perfect solution for my ‘All Mountain’ rig.

One of the first things I realized was that the suspension felt rather harsh on small bumps. It wasn’t as plush as what one would believe a 6 inch travel bike would have you experience. My previous sub 6 inch bike (Yeti 575) was very compliant on small bumps and made for a very comfortable trail bike. It could also be that the bushings need some break in period. So if you were looking for a bike that feels plush/good on small bumps, this might not be the right bike. What I think I understand is this is also due to the Rune’s VF4B suspension design as it compromises on small bump compliance for an efficient ride. I can’t tell you how it feels on the big hits yet as I haven’t gone there....yet.

I felt that the frame’s stiffness did make me feel more confident on the technical downhill sections as I was pushing harder than I did on my previous bike and this is on my maiden ride. The rutted fire road at ‘Upper Shot’ and the DH trail from ‘Shriners’ connecting to ‘Bunion’ used to be quite sketchy if you pushed it a little too hard but I was feeling good on the Rune as I didn’t feel like I was pushing the limit of the bike yet. I’m sure the Fox Van36 contributed to the solidness of the ride. For your info, I was on a Rock Shox Pike on my previous bike.

Even with the penalty of a heavier bike, all the technical climbs on the Rune were amazing. The traction I got from the rear wheel biting into the ground was apparent as I found that I didn’t have to work as hard with body english to get the traction needed in the rear tyre. I had a smile ear to ear. Even when I stood up to power through some short steep climbs, it felt solid in the rear (Propedal off) without the feel of the rear bobbing. My experience with standing and the rear bobbing on my other bikes is that it can cause sudden loss in rear wheel traction as well as reduced efficiency to burst up to the top. The multiple switchbacks at “Wasteland” were cleaned without a hitch even though I had a Fox Van36 fork up front. I really don’t see a need for a travel adjust fork on this frame as it does well on most climbs with the 160mm fork.

I’m pretty happy with the bike at this point and it has done what I had expected of it. I can’t ask for more as it didn’t disappoint me in most of the bike handling elements on my first ride.

Psssst! Remember what I said about the Rune not being a pretty bike. Well, she’s growing on me! She really is

Have a great day...cheers!


- Andy "Pandora" Dass

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Black and White Amps limited run

Decided to try a batch of Amps in black and white.
Raw is pretty awesome but was curious to see what these looked like.

I'll try to get some better pics when they're dry. I didn't want to pic them up off the rack as they still need to go in for a clearcoat and didn't want to get my grubby fingerprints on them and then have them permanently imprinted under the clear.

Hopefully the pics give you some idea what they'll look like

Bootleg Canyon's Thomson Dies

LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)—Brent Thomson, mountain bike industry legend and trail master of Bootleg Canyon, has lost his battle with complications from the quadruple bypass surgery he underwent in January.
More on the Brain here
and here

I didn't know him but I was talking to Lance Canfield who knew him well along with Bender former Banshee rider. Anyone whose golden in their books is the same in mine. I have ridden the Canyon and appreciate all the work he put in.

We wish him happy trails in the next life.

What i do want to do is bring attention to the huge medical bills that will dog his family and would encourage anyone who can, to give a little if they have the means.

You can click for the paypal link here, it just down in the middle of the text.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Back in Beitou

I've been back in Taiwan for about a month now and most of the time its just work work work but got out for a little day of digging and managed to get in 1 run before it got too dark.

It must be kinda strange for the Taiwanese people seeing 2 white dudes [me and lance canfield] heading up the mountain with shovels and other digging tools cause we sure get a lot of strange looks. One dude stopped us and asked me if we were looking for treasure. Of course they have no idea that anyone is digging mountain bike trails so I guess the imaginations run wild.

We did manage to build a little hip with a burm before it and then tore down a wall ride that was totally rotted and rediverted the trail back onto the new section of trail. Thankfully we had the help of some local guys who love to dig and love to ride.

There is quite alot to do over here if you know where to go for fun. Before I came over I always heard horror stories and how most people couldn't wait to get back home. Maybe it is a pain in the ass for some but so far I always have a blast and also get a bunch of stuff done.

Soon it'll be off to Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur to see the Fakawi Tribe. I'll be grabbing my Legend and hope to get to see their local trails and do some riding.

Should be lots of fun.
I'll only be gone a couple of days as I have a ton of work to get finished.
Currently working on a catalog which should be completed in a couple weeks. Ryan has been the guy whose been working on it and he's done a stellar job.
Also were working on the plans for Interbike. Yeah its in October... or is it september??!!! anyway if you don't start planning now you end up going crazy doing everything last minute and I hate working like that.
I also have a bunch of other stuff to do as well but thats boring stuff that I'm sure you have no interest in hearing about... like a S&OP for 2010.

So after I get back from KL we will have lots of people showing up for the TPE show, so its gonna start getting a little Zoo-ish around here.
Steve, John and Chris from Niner will be here soon. Peter - another Canadian who is working on a folding bike thingy. Chris Canfield might also show up unless he gets selected for the US national DH team... hopefully he doesn't show up cause that means he got on the team - good luck Chris!! and I think Todd and Gabe from Evil might show up. Gabe is a cool guy and would be fun to party and ride with so I'm hoping he comes along with Todd. Stijn will be back and then my good friend and Banshee distributor Gabriel from Brazil will also be here and we'll be hanging out with Ollie, Lynn and the rest of the Funn components gang.
Hopefully I can stay on top of all my emails during this crazy period and still get some riding in.

So I'll leave you with some other interesting sights and sounds from Taiwan.

From the Latern Festival, gokarting, to my crappy drum solo at a local spot called Jalepenos where you can actually get Mexican food and a tasty margurita, and lastly some pics I took of Stejn doing a little urban jibbing on the Paradox.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


MONSTER ENERGY drinks have confirmed their support as the main sponsor of the 2009 Esher Shore Freeride Bike Jam - to be known as the "Monster Showdown"

Its set to be the NUMBER ONE event of the year for the UK Freeride Scene, so make a date in your diary for Sunday 28th June 2009, the event will run from 11am-5pm at Esher Shore Bike Park, with registration open at 10am for all riders

Mythic will be one of the co-sponsors of the Monster Showdown, expect to see a big representation from Mythic Bikes at the Jam ;)

More info coming very

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mark Mathews is on Banshee

Mark is a ripper and a trickster from Vancouver Island and already rides for our buddies over at Straitline. And We are proud to say that he is now riding for Banshee.

Not only is he a great rider, but Mark is also one of the founders of Freeride BC Bike Park. See more on that here.

Check out Marks Amp on his blog.

Awesome photo skills by Alex Webb. check him out.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

DHU Brasil and 3 Podiums

Just woke up and saw Gabriel [Session Brazil] had skyped me with this Hi Jay
[8:08:05 AM] Gabriel Napole says: the DHU just finish
[8:08:16 AM] Gabriel Napole says: we have 3 riders at the podium
[8:08:52 AM] Gabriel Napole says: Markolf was 3th, Doon was 4th and Patricia won!
[8:09:06 AM] Gabriel Napole says: so all in opem tv channel for all Brazil
[8:09:16 AM] Gabriel Napole says: I think was a good job

Awesome and massive congrats go out to all Markolf, Doon and espececially Patricia.
Heres a vid of her winning run.

This video of Doon and Markolf is pretty sweet. I love how they just attack the course. My only complaint is with the guys who figured they could have a chase camera behind Markolf... cmon what were you think. Instead of seeing him ride we got a shot of him pulling away at the start and then a happy little vid of the camera dude riding the course alone hahaha. Next time chase him with a 250 all motard'd out...then maybe you might have a chance.

This race is broadcast live on TV and is major enough to make the news. Wish we could get this kind of coverage in the US and Canada for mtb'ing

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Australian MTB Championships.

Hi jay

Ryan here

Thought I would put together a little report for you from National champs.

Practice. Practice went pretty well all weekend, bike went well, no problems. The track at mt Stromlo is not the best track around, but it is still fun, it was getting so blown out during practice, it was not funny, just started getting real loose, and before you know it your sideways in a corner with 2 feet on trying to not eat it, but fun haha.

Saturday. 4x.
The day started off well, was riding the lines I wanted to and was doing them pretty fast to my liking, I had the gate dialled which is the main thing in 4x. It was all going good till I got halfway through practice. as I was going down the 2nd last straight there is this kind of rhythm section, there is all different ways to hit it, but the fastest is jumping this little canyon thing, I had it done a few times, but went from the inside on one of the times and came up way to short and basically 5050d it and yeh the tyre just exploded haha.
Once I got that fixed I went back up to the track just to do some full runs and see what lines I could linkup. There is this fairly big kicky double on the third straight, there was a mad cross wind, and everyone was only hitting it from the outside turn, and the outside was just way to slow for my liking, so I thought I’d give it a go from the inside turn, it was all going well, cleared it easy but when I landed, I landed a tiny bit awkwardly and my deraliure tip just snapped straight off my bike, thank god it didn’t land in the wheel. Oh and it gave me yet another flat tyre haha! Once that happened I thought I was going to be in for a hard day of racing (mechanically).

By the time I got that fixed, it was time to race. I won my first heat easily, which boosted my confidence, then one after another I just kept winning all my heats, by a fair amount, in one race it was nearly 2 straights I had won by. Got to the semi finals, just kept doing what I was doing all day, riding my own race and keeping my head together, I ended up winning all my heats and my semi-final.
Then it came to the final, as I said in the semi, I just said to myself, run my own race, who cares who’s next to you, so that’s what I did, I held my head together, an I ended up winning the final by yet another good amount. I was happy to take out the 2009 national champion title in u19 men, felt good, just to be up on the podium and to be called the national champion! Was a pretty cool feeling.
Presentation was fun they gave us all champaine to spray, and I think I copped the worse of it haha.

Monday. DownHill.
Downhill was a different story, I felt so good all day through practice, I felt good the hole weekend, was doing the lines I wanted to do and I was happy with them, but then when it came to the final run, I don’t know what it was, I just felt weird, I went into the first rockgaden with a bit too much pace, got a little squrly but held it. Then all of a sudden I was riding way too conservative and braking in spots that I hadn’t been all weekend, was really weird. Didn’t end up to good with my result, only getting 20th, after qualifying 12th on a pretty cruisy run. But you know I guess that’s racing, and it’s all the name of the game, there’s always another race.

In the end it was a good weekend, especially being able to come home with a good result.


Congrats man... I know I speak for the Banshee crew thats pretty freekin' killer. Enjoy and taste the glory. It'll drive you onto bigger things

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mythic Rune tested by MBUK

We just got the new issue (#235) of Mountain Biking UK magazine, and there is an "all mountain" grouptest of bikes around the GBP £2,500 pricepoint

The Mythic Rune scored very well against some much bigger brands, coming 2nd in the test with a healthy 8/10, beating the Commencal Meta 6.2 (7/10) and Cannondale Moto Carbon 3 (6/10) - only the Lapierre Spicy 516 scored higher than the Rune!

Each of these bikes were more expensive than the Rune, with the La Pierre at £2850 compared to the Rune at £2,500, and the La Pierre only 3/4 lb lighter - throwing another £350 at the Rune and with some component changes we could have made the lightest bike on the test, no problem!

It's great to see the Rune doing so well against some stiff competition, and as the review said, as its a custom built bike, you can choose whatever parts you like, and make your own decisions on things like stem length, seatclamp (Q/R or bolted), Derailleur, etc.

Regarding their comments on the shock tuning, we've noticed some of the mags seem to struggle with setting up the shocks on bikes....they did mention if you are proficient at shock tuning (which is not hard on something as simple as the DHX Air) you can get the Rune running sweet

all images and text copyright / courtesy of MBUK / Future Publishing

cheers! Rob C

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wildcard wine

Found this wine today, loving the name...reminds me of good times riding my Mythic Wildcard ;)


Rob C

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sicklines Legend Build.

Jason at Sicklines sure knows how to build up a bike.

Go here to see the build in detail

Banshee chat on

Yesterday I had an msn chat with Carl from Carl is a really nice guy who has started up the website mainly for xc / all mountain style riders, with the intention of giving his readers good insight into the industry and providing real world product reviews.

Anyway, Carl was asking me questions about a few things, but mainly wanted to understand why we use internally ribbed stays on all our bikes. So I was just chatting away with him only to find out today that it was a stealth interview, haha. see what he wrote up here.

mtobikes is a new website and Carl is still working on improving the layout and content. So please feel free to offer constructive ideas in the comments section below. I know Carl will appreciate the feedback.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stephen 'the Pirate" Hillendrand

Just a little vid of the Pirate.
Dude has got some serious talent and has put our boys on many a cover.
I see hes got a little vid of him in action so thought I'd share

Check out Stephens site for more awesome shots here

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Freeride BC bike park in the news!

On the weekend SHAW Cable news swung by the park for a long awaited 5 year update for the parks Public Launching.

None of us bothered to prepare to be the one to talk live on camera, we all hoped the other guy would do it but all of us had to do a interview one by one.

First The TV Crew started interviewing one of Freeride BC's original founders, and soon to be Banshee Bikes Athlete, Mark Mathews!

The "tonight at 6" money shot! The wholesome family dog was a last minute bonus.

Read the rest on the Straitline blog here

I've been to the park and its pretty kickass and it looks like its gonna be so awesome when the summer comes.

Mythic Rune comes 2nd in MBUK grouptest

I had a call late last night from my buddy Scott who is a keen Mythic rider

Scott finally stepped away from the dark side (Marin) and has now had a Chaparral, Morphine and currently a Rune which he totally loves, his bike is shown below

Scott told me he just got his subscription copy of the new MBUK magazine and was stoked that the Mythic Rune scored a 2nd place with 8/10 in the all-mountain grouptest in the new mag

1st place went to a La Pierre, the Rune was in 2nd, Commencal in 3rd and Cannondale in 4th

the mag hits the news stands on wednesday so I will grab a copy and scan it into my PC and put it up here on the blog


rob c

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The snow continues

London was still thick with snow this morning, so I headed up into the Heath to make the most of the conditions

The snow was definitely starting to melt as it was wet and slushy in places compared to yesterday which was crisp as more snow fell all day

I met some local dudes up in Spaniards Wood, and they showed me some of their hidden trails, and then we hit up the "Gay Trails" on the other side of the Heath which has a nice quick downhill run

Lots of people out snowboarding, on skis, sledges and the occasional bike rider, people in London make the most of the snow as it will soon be back to the grey gloom

cheers! Rob C