All the sweet bikes and parts. Mmm … parts.

Buying the wrong size bike sucks

Here’s a comment thread from the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School ( – membership required). This poor guy was advised to buy the wrong size bike. I see this happening a lot — and it’s not cool.

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Elbows in or out?

Hi Lee and thanks for all the great info online.

Last year I got some instruction at Whistler and my instructor kept on stressing elbows out – “chicken wings.”

Then I bought the book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 3rd Edition and learned that elbows out used to be taught but is actually wrong, hold elbows behind grips.

This week I’m riding sweep for my son’s DH camp and the instructors stress elbows out. I even spoke to one great, extremely experienced instructor after and he doubled down on elbows out.

Can you clarify the thinking behind in and out and why you changed? I haven’t been this confused since girls in high school.


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I am so stoked for the new Shimano XTR M9100 group

Not only will it have the XTR sweetness and Shimano bulletproofness, it’s also a very thorough approach to dialing in your bike for your riding style:

• Wide variety of 1x and 2x gearing options
• Refined shifters and derailleurs
• Dropper seatpost remote
• More powerful brakes in XC and enduro styles
• Pedals with greater shoe contact and support
• And more

In my opinion, the other drivetrain company is a marketing company. They innovate, and they reach the market early and, in my experience, quality isn’t on point. I’m talking about brakes that don’t work consistently, a dropper that never worked once, and top-level drivetrain parts that need immediate warranty. If you don’t know the difference, you can be happy. If you know the difference, and you pay serious money, this is not OK.

Shimano is an engineering company. They might not be first to market, but they take their work seriously, and when they launch a product it’s dialed. How many times have I warranted a Shimano part over the past 25+ years? Zero.

Whenever I get a bike with the other components, the first thing I change is the brakes (depending on my mood, I’ll run XT, XTR, Saint or Zee; those levers are like a pacifier — they make me feel safe). I ride the other drivetrain until it wears out or breaks or just plain annoys me, then I upgrade — generally to workhorse XT but occasionally and gloriously to XTR.

Once my bike is wearing Shimano, I stop worrying about braking and shifting, and I focus on riding. As someone who relies on his bikes to make a living, I can’t over stress how nice it is to KNOW my stuff is going to function. Oh yeah, and meanwhile the SPD pedals just plain work. And work and work. I’ve been riding the same pedals for more than a decade. Shoot, I have some 636s from when I was racing downhill. Scratched but functional. Just like me!

Shimano fishing reels are the same way. I still have the ultralight spinning reel I received for Christmas when I was 10 years old. That’s 38 years of abuse, including some crazy saltwater adventures. Tuna … dorado … yellowtail … that little reel kicks ass.

I have received generous support from Shimano. They believe in my mission to save the world through better shredding, and I appreciate their help. But most of the Shimano parts I use — ever since forever and even today — are purchased with my own money through a local bike shop. I recently bought XT brakes for my S-Works Fuse and Zee brakes and XT drivetrain for my Enduro. Again, I appreciate Shimano’s help, but I don’t wait for it. If I need parts that work for me, I buy them.

If all goes well (either with Shimano or my businesses), I’ll be rocking the XTR 1x drivetrain with Wide Range cassette, XTR chain guide, XTR 4-piston brakes, and XTR trail pedals. Hashtag ride with impunity.

Read more about the new Shimano XTR M9100 group here >>>


What size Ibis Ripmo should I ride?

Today a RideLogic bike setup client reached out wondering which size Ibis Ripmo to buy. I did a fit for his Mojo HD3 a while back — and he loves it — so I have good numbers for him. 

The results:

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DH tire recommendations for my son


I’m looking to replace my sons 26×2.3 tires. He rides mostly DH and at bootleg which is rocky. Looking for a tough tire. I see the minion dhf seems to only come in 2.5. Being fairly new to all this I was looking for some recommendations and information. How do I know if the 2.5 will fit the rim/bike ok?



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Lap timer for bike training?

Hello Lee i have checked out the DMC Moto Trainer lap timer on your site. Do you have it in stock and can send it to me in Sweden?

Kind regards  Emil

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A tire like a Maxxis Icon, but with more side knob?


I picked up MMBS 2nd edition from the library early this spring and loved it. I have been MTBing for 25 years and have had period of good downhill flow but they were not consistently repeatable. After reading your book I understood why…because I had no idea what I was doing. When I got into those flow states it was completely by accident and I was never able to reproduce them with intention. However, you lay out some key concepts that are great mental handles on what our bodies should be doing on the descents and I am in your debt for that. I bought the Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 3rd Edition and have influenced a few friends to do the same. Thank you for systematizing this!

Question, I am running Maxxis Icon 2.35s (EXO, TR, and all the fancy stuff) front and back on a 29er XC bike and they do a pretty good job all things considered. I do live in Jeffco and ride all the front range trails and Buff Creek and Breck a lot. Can you recommend the most comparable tire in durability, weight, XC rolling speed but with some big side knobs so I can really lay my machine over with confidence in every situation?

Thanks much, John

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Prescription riding glasses

Hi Lee,

Heard you wear prescription biking glassses. What brand and model do you wear and would you recommend them?  I need to get a pair for riding.

Chris D

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Last weekend I was in NorCal teaching and doing a RipRow™ demo at Trail Head Cyclery. Thursday Lars Thomsen and I talked business, assembled the machines then went for a ride. It was getting late.

We drove to Santa Teresa and parked at the “Lover’s Lane” lot near IBM. The sun was setting. I told Lars:

“I don’t want to be afraid.”

Over the past several years, as my shoulders have deteriorated, rocks have become painful, and I’ve become very afraid. But I’ve been doing the REVO physical therapy and RipRow work. My shoulders are stronger. My Specialized Enduro Öhlins Coil is the most capable trail bike in the world. I want to ride aggressively and not worry about the details.

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Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol vs. Specialized Stumpjumper 6Fattie?

Hi Lee,
I hope you are well and I am not pestering you with this question. Last year I crashed in Downieville on my SC Nomad 3 and broke myself and the frame. SC replaced the frame but with the new Nomad and although it is a great bike it is much more difficult to climb with it. I am considering replacing the bike with either the GG Trail Pistol (setup +) or Stumpjumper 6Fattie, bikes I know you are familiar with. My good friend just bought a Trail Pistol off one of your instructors and loves it.

What are your thoughts; any other bikes I should consider?

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First 2 rides: Specialized S-Works Fuse

Top of the line carbon plus hardtail. Roval carbon wheels. Öhlins 120mm air fork. 27.5×3″ GRID Purgatory in front, Ground Control in rear, both with Gripton rubber. 15psi front, 17psi rear.


I rode our gnarliest, rockiest local trail. Usually ridden on 160mm Enduro but shredded with impunity on this light saber.


Rode from home. Paved climbing and a few laps of a smooth, private singletrack at a neighbor’s house. Fast. Fun.

Reviews of Guerrilla Gravity bikes

Guerrilla Gravity bikes are made in Denver, CO and they’re all fun to ride.

Check out:


Shred Dogg

Trail Pistol


Smash – They didn’t have one in my size. Stay tuned.

GG/DH – That’ll be fun. Stay tuned.