Dirt Rag Magazine

First impression: Ghost AMR Riot 9

By Eric McKeegan, photos by Adam Newman

Let’s get the basic stuff out of the way about this company first. One: Ghost is a German brand, part of the Accell group (parent company of many brands, including Raleigh, Diamondback, Redline and others). Two: Starting soon, Ghost will be available, via a dealer network, across Canada. Three: No current plans for U.S. distribution.

OK, now let’s get on to the bike. This is the AMR Riot, a carbon fiber 130mm trail bike with 27.5 wheels. The rear suspension is a Horst Link design, with an extra link tucked into the bottom bracket area. It moves on Norglide bushings.

The first bit of the travel is on the regressive side of things, which helps keep suspension bob in check, getting more plush mid-stroke for more better bump absorption. That extra link changes the progression of the suspension over the last 20 percent of the travel as the progression ramps up aggressively, to the point where it’s nearly impossible to bottom out the shock.

The rest of the bike features all of the stuff we’ve come to expect on modern trail bikes, with nice little touches that show someone at Ghost is paying attention. The internal routing has multiple optional for entry plugs to get a custom set up depending out your cable routing needs, be it for 1x , 2x or 3x drivetrains, brake lever set-up (moto or standard) and dropper post choice.


The cables run inside the bottom bracket shell out through the chainstasy, eliminating the common ugly loop of cable under the BB. The BB92 press fit bottom bracket is standard enough, but a small plastic chain catcher keeps the chain from falling off the little ring. And finally the rear brake mount is a post style, but it is a separate aluminum piece that uses the rear axle as the rear mounting point.


The Riot will be available in five sizes. All sizes share a 68-degree head angle, 17.1 chainstays and 73.5-degree seat angle. The size large I rode has a 24 inch top tube, matched to a 60mm stem (which is stock for all sizes) was a fine fit for my 5 foot 11 self.


There will be three trim levels available, all with Shimano groups and Fox suspension. I headed out for a nice ride with Ghost’s Ruben Torenbeek. We spun down to the Lost Lake area in Whistler and got right to it on a technical climb. Right off the bat, I noticed the Riot is the the best pedaling FSR-style bike I’ve ever ridden. I never touched the CTD lever on the rear shock, and never felt the need to do so. Even with the dropper post slammed, out of the saddle the suspension behaved itself, resisting bob without feeling too harsh. It’s almost dw-link feeling, in a very good way.

Headed back down similar terrain, this was an easy bike to get used to, with very little time needed to adapt. I didn’t get info on the BB height, but it felt low enough to corner to corner aggressively, but not too low as to smash pedals and cranks while climbing.

Unfortunately, without U.S. distribution, this may be the only ride I’ll ever have on the Riot, which is a shame. From my short time on it, I came away impressed, and would love some more time on it. I’m a bit jealous of the people living within the global Ghost dealer zone.


  • 130mm front and rear
  • 27.5 wheels
  • Full carbon frame
  • Aluminum linkage parts
  • RIOTLink suspension system, patented pending by Ghost Bikes.
  • Disconnect Brake Mount, a new design brake mount where forces go directly into the X12 axle instead of the seat stays
  • Frame weight: 2.1kg
  • 3 models: AMR Riot 5/7/9
  • Fully internal cable routing
  • BB92 bottom bracket
  • Tapered Headtube
  • Reverb Stealth seatpost
  • 68 degree headangle
  • 73.5 degree seat tube angle
  • 435mm chainstays
  • Composite bushings

First look: 2014 Norco mountain bikes

By Adam Newman

Norco went big last fall with its 2013 line and the introduction of bigger, 27.5 wheels. Now for 2014, it’s expanding the new wheels to more models and refining the popular Range and Sight models.

The highlight is the carbon fiber version of the Sight, with its 140mm of travel and FSR-derived suspension. The frame retains the geometry of the alloy version, but beefs up the bottom bracket to the BB92 standard. In fact, there are actually two versions of the carbon frame—one with a front derailleur direct mount and one without.

The Sight LE model (pictured here) and the Sight 7.1 will come with SRAM XX1 and XO1, respectively, while the Sight 7 1.5 has a Shimano SLX build and the 7.2 uses an X7 2×10 setup. Both versions will be available as a frame-only. There are also two aluminum versions as well as an aluminum frame-only.



The Fluid and Faze models slot in under the Sight, both in terms of travel and price.


The Fluid is an aluminum, 120mm frame in both 29er and 27.5 options with two build kit in each wheel size and prices ranging from $1,675 to $2,245.


The Faze is a 100mm 29er with three spec levels and prices from $1,315 to $2,330. Worth noting is the 140mm Shinobi 29er goes away for 2014, as most trail and all mountain riders were opting for the Sight and Range instead.


Then there’s the Bigfoot, Norco’s Canadian-bred fat bike. Acknowledging that it is likely a second or third (or eighth) bike for many riders, it’s built to hit a price point that won’t make you feel guilty about hanging it up all summer: $1,415. Its aluminum frame actually shares some tubing with the hardtail mountain bikes and fits a 170mm rear hub. The aluminum fork is 135mm. The tires spec’d are Vee Rubber’s 26×4.0 Mission tread and the 9-speed Shimano drivetrain is built with durability in mind.  


East Coast bike parks announce Triple Crown Enduro Series

Burke Mountain Bike Park, The Kingdom Trails, Mountain Creek Bike Park and Highland Mountain Bike Park are pleased to announce the launch of a new East Coast focused Enduro series. With the support of presenting and supporting sponsors Mavic and Shimano the new Eastern Enduro Triple Crown Series will link the three largest and most well-established existing northeast races into a three race series this fall.

The plan is for each resort to retain the identity and operations of their signature world-class events, but the three races will be linked by an overall points series and follow the same guidelines for formats, categories and timing systems. This will provide competitors with a consistent racing experience at each event. With over $20,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs at the three races there is plenty of incentive for racers to put the east coast on their travel calendar this fall.

The dates for the three races will be as follows:

  • September 7: The Kingdom Enduro – Burke, VT
  • October 6: King of the Mountain Enduro – Vernon, NJ
  • October 19: OverMountain Enduro – Series Finals – Tilton, NH



Help send US athletes to the World Championships

There is no lack of bad blood between Sho-Air owner and team founder Scott Tedro and USA Cycling. Earlier this year his US Cup series broke ties with USAC over its mandate that riders follow UCI rules banning them from participating in non-USAC races like the Leadville Trail 100 and the BC Bike Race.

But now, as final preparations are being made for the World Championships in South Africa later this month, Tedro has come to the support of American racers, despite his own team’s Jeremiah Bishop not earning an automatic berth or submitting a nomination for a discretionary pick.

Last week Sho-Air International, Tedros freight company, announced it was setting up a fund to assist all 35 representatives selected by USAC. It will provide a check for $100 to each rider. Due to budget constraints, USAC is able to provide travel assistance to Mountain Bike Program Director Marc Gullickson and little to none to the 35 athletes.

Sho-Air welcomes mountain bike fans and industry members to contribute to the fund with any dollar amount they can to help showcase American talent on the world stage.

Created on August 9, the fund has already raised $19,207 at the time of this post.  


QBP launches new brand aimed at sportsmen

QBP surprised us over the weekend without the announcement of a new brand aimed at sportsmen. Cogburn Outdoors is the latest brand from the parent company of Surly, Salsa, Foundry and more.

The first product, a fat bike known as the CB4, is an alloy model that shows its family heritage if you look closely, appearing very similar to previous Salsa Mukluk models but with a new top tube. We don’t have all the details of the parts spec yet, but it is shown built with Surly Nate tires, a SRAM 2x drivetrain and Surly’s non-drilled rims.

But what really sets it apart is the RealTree camouflage finish applied by Dynamic Finishes in Kansas City. The non-camo parts are all flat black to avoid glare.

Since it’s designed for hunters and fisherman, they’re going to need a way to haul their gear, and the Scabbard is an aluminum attachment that goes on a rear rack to safely carry a rifle, bow or rod.

No word on pricing or availability yet, but look for more in September.

Unlike ATVs or snow machines, fat bikes allow access to the backcountry without any impact on the habitat.

What do you think? Will sportsmen take to fat bikes?  

Introducing Cogburn Outdoors from Cogburn on Vimeo.


Norco previews 2014 lineup with carbon Sight 27.5 and Bigfoot fat bike

Looks like we’ll get our first glimpse of them at Crankworx next week, but today Norco sent out some details of its forthcoming lineup: 

Sight Killer B carbon

The hugely successful Norco Sight Killer B is going carbon for 2014. Featuring the same dialed geometry as its aluminum predecessor, but with the added strength, stiffness and weight savings of carbon. Internal cable routing, optional 1×11 gearing, and Reverb Stealth routing complete the cleanest, lightest, and fastest trail bike on the market.


The Threshold series of cyclocross bikes was launched last year and for 2014 the lineup is going full disc. Integrating new SRAM hydraulic disc brake technology with a race-ready frameset makes for an out-of-the-box weapon eager to dominate the racecourse.


The 2014 Revolver is the stiffest, lightest XC race bike Norco has ever made. Featuring full carbon construction, Norco’s Gravity Tune geometry and available in both 27.5/650B and 29" wheels. Match the wheel size with your style and the Revolver is a recipe for the podium!

Fluid 7

The cycling community fell in love with 27.5/650B wheels but there remains a lack of choice at the lower price points that the majority of mountain bikers are looking for. The Fluid 7 series answers this need, taking what we love about the 29" Fluid 9 series and applying it to 650B. Suspension kinematics and geometry are specific to the wheel size, delivering the ultimate trail mountain biking experience in a very affordable package.


Norco is introducing a Fatbike for 2014. A versatile yet affordable option for snow, sand or wherever you plan to go, the Bigfoot brings the joy of fatbiking to the masses.


Mountain Bike Hall of Fame announces 2013 inductees, moves to Marin

The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame announced its 2013 inductees today, and said it is moving from its longtime home in Crested Butte, Colo., to Marin County, Calif., long-considered the "birthplace" of mountain biking. 

The 2013 inductees are: 


CORBA—The Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association was founded in 1987. This advocacy group was formed to represent the interests of mountain bikers in response to trail closures in the Santa Monica Mountains and Rim of the Valley Corridor near Los Angeles. CORBA formed and quickly became a prominent voice of reason in the chaos of newly emerging mountain biking advocacy. A year later, and with other like-minded advocates CORBA became one of the five founding clubs of IMBA.


David Epperson—Epperson has been on the Mountain Bike scene for nearly three and a half decades, and almost always with a camera in tow. Dave could have been placed in the MBHOF as easily for a Pioneer as he could for Journalism. One thing is clear: David’s photography and presence throughout the history of mountain biking is an on-going contribution that has profiled and promoted the sport of mountain biking.


Robin and Bill Groff—The year was 1983; the location Moab. The golden days of Moab’s mining boom had long since passed, and although Arches and Canyonlands National Parks existed, tourism was not a major factor in the local economy. Jobs were few and Robin and Bill Groff (along with their father John) had recently been laid off from their mining-based employment. It seemed to make no real sense at the time, but the brothers were avid cyclists and they decided to open a bike and outdoor gear shop. The rest is history.


Marla Streb—If Marla Streb had not been born, mountain biking would have had to invent her. Marla has done it all: Racer, Advocate, Teacher, Explorer, Businesswoman and kick-ass rider. The amazing thing is that she didn’t start riding seriously until she was 28. As a competitive athlete, she went on to win the X Games Championship, a UCI World Cup in downhill, three U.S. National Downhill championships and, perhaps gnarliest of all, she has twice been Single-speed World Champion.

Nicolas Vouilloz—Nico won the Downhill Mountain Bike World Championships 10 times, starting as a junior in 1992 and finishing his career with the his 10th victory in 2002, only placing lower in 2000 finishing 8th. He also won sixteen World cup Downhill races. Nico then went on to racing Cars. After several years’ absence from the mountain biking scene, Vouilloz returned to race professionally in 2007 at the fourth round of the World Cup in Champery, Switzerland. He is currently tearing it up in the Enduro World Series.

Elected by a vote of past Hall of Fame Inductees and current Hall of Fame members, the Class of 2013 will be welcomed into the Hall on Wednesday, September 18. The Induction Ceremony will take place at 6:00 p.m. during the Interbike Show in Las Vegas. The event is held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Convention Center, in the Islander F Hall, immediately following the first day of the indoor show. All Interbike attendees as well as the public are welcome. 

Also announced today was that after 26 years of being located in Crested Butte, the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame will be moving to Marin County this fall. The MBHOF will be transferred to a group of Marin County Inductees including Joe Breeze, Otis Guy and Marc Vendetti. More to come on this exciting change.

The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame & Museum was founded in 1988 in Crested Butte. Ten mountain biking pioneers were inducted that first year; between three to seven mountain bike legends have been selected annually since then. The 2013 selections bring the number of Hall of Fame inductees to 125 individuals plus nine groups.


First look: Felt’s new 2014 Virtue Nine 1

By Neil Browne,

In the heart of Orange County, California, tucked between the 405 freeway and the Santa Ana Mountains, Felt Bicycles has quietly been producing some amazing rigs.

Just a few miles away, Trabuco Canyon is Felt’s testing grounds, and with those trails in mind produced the Virtue Nine models—a 29er only trail bike designed for all conditions. The previous Virtue models were 26ers, but Felt went back to the drawing board to completely redesign the 2014 line.

Central to that re-do was improving ride quality in all types of conditions.

“We’ve been working on this for quite awhile,” explained Scott Sharples, Felt’s mountain bike product manager. In this thick Australian accent, Sharples stated the Virtue model descends well and can haul you back up the mountain without having to grab the ski lift.

The former pro mountain biker gives credit to the Virtues’ 69 degree head tube angle. “We didn’t want to go super slack. It still needed to be nimble enough for the climbs.”

Another design feature of the Virtue was to keep the chainstays and wheelbase tight with the result a snappy handling trail bike that could be pressed into cross-country racing.

In order to shorten the chainstay to 450mm the front derailleur needed to be repositioned. This also allowed Felt to stiffen the bottom bracket area. To reduce weight further than the previous Virtue versions, the seatstays are slimmed down. The pivot points are ball bearings with 15mm aluminum axles.

Felt’s Equilink suspension got an upgrade on the 2014 Virtue with a larger diameter 7075 aluminum lower link axles. To further beef up the strength quotient, the double row angular contact bearings are 10 percent lighter and 60 percent stronger. The Equilink suspension is tuned to give the feel of a bike with more than the advertised 130mm of travel.

The other change to the Virtue model is a thru-axle 142×12 rear dropout with a replaceable derailleur hanger.

With the exception of the Virtue Nine 60 (the gateway model into the Virtue group) the complete line features a dropper post with the Nine 1 sporting the RockShox Reverb Stealth with internal routing.

RockShox delivers Felt’s suspension needs throughout the Virtue line-up. The drivetrain for the flagship Virtue Nine 1 is SRAM’s XO 11-speed with a 30 tooth chainring. Post style disc brakes are a feature of the Virtue Nine model and eliminates an additional bracket or adapter for 160mm brake rotors.

The Nine 1 is Felt’s top of the line model in the Virtue line. Constructed from UHC Advanced carbon fiber, the Nine 1 tips the scales at five pounds, including the shock. In addition to the Nine 1, Felt also offers a carbon Nine 3. The Virtue Nine also has three aluminum offerings (Nine 20, Nine 50, Nine 60) available in the Fall and Felt anticipates the carbon Nine 1 hitting bike shops in late December or early next year.


  • Virtue Nine 1: $6,199
  • Virtue Nine 3: $4,149
  • Virtue Nine 20: $3,799
  • Virtue Nine 50: $2,799
  • Virtue Nine 60: $2,199
  • Frame Kit (carbon) $3,499

Sizes: small (16”), medium (18”), large (20”) and X-large (22”)



Mountain Bike Oregon – A 3-day dream vacation

By Stephen Haynes

Twice a year, in the tiny town of Oakridge, Oregon, Randy Dreiling and Oregon Adventures host Mountain Bike Oregon with the help of trail maintenance and advocacy groups the Disciples of Dirt and Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards, as well as many local businesses and volunteers.

Now in its ninth year, Mountain Bike Oregon is a well-oiled, all-inclusive festival that brings together hundreds of riders from nearly two dozen states (and beyond) to sample what many consider Oregon’s premiere mountain bike trails, with shuttle service and guides included in the price of admission.

For $430, you get a spot to pitch your tent, breakfast, pack-your-own style lunch, dinner (with vegetarian options), free beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards, nightly spectacles such as bike toss and mini bike races, an expo area with bike demos, yoga classes, ladies-only rides and clinics, and enough stunning scenery to keep your mouth agape when it’s not smiling from the onslaught of awesome singletrack.

I rolled into Greenwaters Park on the shores of the Willamette River just before noon on Friday, quickly established camp and headed straight for the guide tent to suss out something to ride on.

Helpfully assisted towards a departing shuttle, I found myself in a van, in a strange town, with nine people I’d never met before, driving to a trail I’d never heard of. I was becoming slightly nervous at the prospect of potentially being in over my head. It bears mentioning that this was the first time I’d ever been shuttled anywhere before. All of my experiences in the short time I’ve been mountain biking have included riding uphill before I get to ride down. In this case, my fears were unfounded as the smooth singletrack and stunning scenery were all that awaited me. My biggest problem was cramping up from having not warmed up at all…

The other component I wasn’t wholly prepared for was camaraderie. Turns out, sitting on a school bus for 45 minutes and then enjoying hours of amazing singletrack with 20 other folks is a great way to get to know people. Who’da guessed?

The guides do an amazing job as well, both as guides and ambassadors for the area. Their knowledge of the trails and friendly demeanor makes it feel less like being “guided” and more like a buddy showing you around. The guides’ system of client control allows faster riders to move ahead and lets slower riders not feel like they’re getting dropped.

Of the trails I rode, ATC (Alpine, Tire Mountain, Clover Patch) stands out as the highlight of the trip. The scenic terrain includes stunning vistas of the Cascades, open glens with fantastic wildflowers and stands of old growth forest that had me pretending I was on a speeder flying through Endor (one insanely fun section of Alpine Trail is even called “Jedi”). It’s not all downhill on this one though—you’ll have to work for some of the fun. With 2,300 feet of climbing, your legs will know you’ve been riding all day. The plus side to that number is that there is 5,500 feet of descending… Keep smiling.

In addition to the standard list of guided trails, there are several additional “add-on” rides and activities available. For $30 you can do the Moon Point ride, a 16-mile screamer with more than 4,000 feet of elevation loss, proceeds from which benefits Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards. For $50 you can do the Entire Middle Fork, a 32-mile technical challenge. Or for $25 you can do a rafting trip down the Willamette River. Sign up for these when you register to make sure you get a spot.

While the atmosphere is friendly, the beer pours freely and the trails are seemingly without limit, MBO is not for beginners. A certain level of skill and confidence is definitely required for the trails that the festival promotes. They do offer a lower rate for non-riders to come and enjoy the event as well as reduced rates for children. There is enough riverfront and hiking trails to keep most kids happy, should you be turning it over in your head.

For what was once a logging industry hub and now turned outdoor enthusiast Mecca, I’d say the town of Oakridge and the folks at Outdoor Adventures have the right ingredients to make Mountain Bike Oregon a long-lasting and unforgettable event. MBO is offered twice a year with sessions in July and August. They cap attendance and space fills quickly, so book early.


Dirt Rag Time Machine – Husker Du? Rag

By Karl Rosengarth

As I dove deep into the stack of archives from my most recent excursion in the Dirt Rag Time Machine, a thought occurred to me. Wouldn’t it be fun to play a little trivia quiz game?

Sure it would!

I even came up with a name for my game: Hüsker Dü? Rag. (I hope the makers of the original game have a sense of humor.)

Here’s how it goes… Below I’ve posted a series of pics from the Dirt Rag archives, along with clues, and a question about each item. Your challenge is to post your answer(s) in the comments below. You’re allowed one answer per question. I’ll let you know if you’ve answered correctly or not. Here we go!

Question #1

Back in the day, folks took bike limbo seriously. Perhaps a little too seriously, from the looks of that bloody shin. Can you name the “very popular in the ‘90s” mountain bike festival at which this action shot was taken?

Question #2

I pity the fool that doesn’t read Dirt Rag! Can you name the artist of this fine drawing? (hint: appeared as full-page art in 1996).


Question #3

The following illustration by John Hinderliter came from a column that appeared several times over the years. The column revealed the “true” meaning behind riders’ words. Can you name the title of the column?

Question #4

What the hell are these people doing, and where are they doing it?

Question #5

I love this action shot of Chris Cosby (Dirt Rag’s former Ad Guy) Johnny Surfing on Bradley Woehl’s Bicycle Trader cargo bike at the 1997 Anaheim Interbike show. Can you name the fine, upstanding motel where these shenanigans went down (hint: it’s shown in the background)?

Question #6

In the early ‘90s we had fun during deadlines, cutting and pasting tiny drawings in the “white space” that was left over at the end of articles and in the page margins. It’s interesting to note the all of the “margin art” came from the same art contributor. Can you name the artist?

That’s it for the first installment of Hüsker Dü? Rag. Is there a prize for answering correctly? Why yes—the glory of victory! Not to mention our eternal gratitude for being a Dirt Rag fanboy or fangirl.

Please forgive the condition of some of the above items. Time travel is rough on paper.

I’ve got more archival goodies up my sleeve future posts, so don’t be a stranger.

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