The freedom that comes from riding two wheels is a like no other. From the first time you rolled past the end of the driveway, to the most recent ride on your favorite singletrack trail. The evolution and context of every ride will change but your love for the ride never should. Professional athletes like Wade Simmons and Jesse Melamed are generational masters of our sport, and are driven to push their own limits using new technologies to help ride trails in a new light. [All photos courtesy Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Robin O’Neill. Video by by Max Berkowitz.]
“My motivation in mountain biking has always been to find creative lines and link uber-tech sections with fluidity,” says longtime Rocky Mountain rider Simmons. “Having up to this point ridden 2.3-2.5 tires for 20+ years, I know the limitations. Now with the addition of the plus tire, I find my line choices evolving and that’s awesome to me.”
Creativity has always kept things fresh for Simmons. On the trail, he makes things happen that simply shouldn’t be possible, all while navigating extremely technical terrain with ease. He’s always been this way. Looking back at his segment in “Shift,” a breakout role for a much younger Godfather, it’s always been about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
“It’s become apparent to me that the big advantage of running plus tires is the ability to maintain momentum and speed over rough terrain,” he says. “The tires eat rough for breakfast. It can be a bit more finicky dialing in the tire pressure, but once you find the right balance, it’s game on.”
Melamed is laser focused, and his enduro race results against the world’s fastest are proof. He knows when to go for it, and anyone who’s ridden with him will attest that he’s all in once his tires hit the trail. Commitment is in his character, and being able to unlock and tap into unconventional lines has set him apart at the EWS and back home in Whistler.
Read Mtbr’s first impressions of the Rocky Mountain Pipeline and Instinct here.
“Running plus tires is great for reminding me there is more than one way to see a trail,” says Melamed. “It opens my mind to what’s possible and helps me visualize the different lines when practicing for an EWS race. Riding the new Pipeline is like riding any new bike, it’s fun and exciting. I like to jump around and play with the trail, and the Pipeline lets me get away with landing in even the roughest sections and calling it a “landing”. Every time I get away with riding a stupid line, it motivates me to find another one. It’s my favourite way to ride a bike, and a trail.”
The new Pipeline has 140mm of rear travel, 10mm more than the previous version. Being able to fine tune the geometry and rear suspension of the bike is made possible by the RIDE-9 Adjustment System embedded on the link. Melamed, who is known for charging hard and as fast as possible, has his Ride-9 set to Position 1, the slackest and most progressive setting. Simmons, who loves a supple top end and a bit more linear feeling suspension, prefers his Pipeline in Position 3.
“Jesse shreds, I love riding with that guy,” says Simmons. “He puts a smile on my face because he reminds me of myself when I was younger; just bouncing around on his bike trying stupid things. He’s who I would consider to be a “true” mountain biker, someone who enjoys all aspects of riding. When we ride together we constantly challenge each other, and session sketchy features and fool around… this is what mountain biking is all about.”