SRAM Eagle Powertrain

Removing the front derailleur.

Removing the wires.

Removing the derailleur hanger.

Removing barriers.

Now, with Eagle Powertrain, we’ve removed the compromises.

Go for Eagle Powertrain.

The complete, seamless and holistic E-MTB system designed to turn on uninterrupted flow.

Go for the better ride.

Eagle Powertrain is inspired innovation, radical simplicity, unmatched integration with Eagle Transmission, clean and simple rider control, and AXS enabled personalization.

Go for unbelievable ease.

The Eagle Powertrain power tune applies natural feeling, traction generating, technical move completing, controllable power to the rear wheel. Developed and proven with BlackBox athletes and profiled to work in concert with how real riders, like you, actually pedal.

Only possible with Eagle.

With Eagle Transmission the harder you pedal, the better it shifts. Nowhere is this more apparent than when paired with Eagle Powertrain.

Total. Pod. Control.

The versatility of AXS pod controllers lets you assign all powertrain rider commands – without the need to compromise the bar with the clutter of additional remotes and bar mounted displays. What’s left? The ultra-clean and intelligent wireless cockpit, indicative of any Eagle AXS system.

Better Batteries. Better everything.

The unique Eagle Powertrain battery streamlines the interface between battery and drive unit. Delivering even more power in a smaller area and super elegant form factor for more pleasing frame silhouettes.

A fully integrated AXS ecosystem allows new levels of personalization for Eagle Powertrain.

Push your buttons.

Layout your cockpit exactly as you desire – AXS makes it possible to assign Pod buttons.

Spin to win or crank it out? Both.

Fine tune the feel of Eagle Powertrain Auto Shift features for terrain or how you’re feeling. Power, in the palm of your hand. The Eagle Powertrain AXS App makes the off-bike experience as rich as the on-bike experience.

Eagle Powertrain has already won the toughest race series out there: The UCI EWS-E.

Born from Blackbox.

Riding with Eagle Powertrain, Yannick Pontal (BlackBox Test Pilot Program) became the reigning champion in the 2022 EWS-E series. His feedback partnership with our engineers and development team allowed SRAM to build a race-winning system at home on the circuit and on your local trails.

“Our focus is always on the rider first. The goal of the system was to provide the rider with a complete, wireless, integrated E-MTB system tuned specifically for performance mountain biking. We simplified the ride allowing the rider to focus on the trail.”



The Eagle Powertrain AXS Bridge Display is the sophisticated nerve center of the entire system, giving you a control unit that greatly simplifies the experience.

Think of it as an onboard extension of the AXS App, providing everything in a brilliantly illuminated, full color, waterproof display, protected under Gorilla Glass.


Toggle between Range and Rally modes. Control your Rockshox Reverb AXS dropper post. Press and hold to multi shift Eagle Transmission. AXS control, encompasses everything.

“Our Auto Shift algorithm is like a bike’s sixth sense, deciding when to shift so riders can stay laser-focused on their ride. It’s not just smart tech, it’s the ultimate riding companion.”

Dominique Fuss and Victor Freyssinet Electrical and Software Engineers

What could feel more natural than not having to think about shifting while you ride? Eagle Powertrain Auto Shift is a feat that senses and translates rider input to deliver an incredibly intuitive experience. Planning an attack or simply want to override the system? Auto Shift seamlessly accepts rider commands, to be ready for your next move.

Eagle Powertrain Coast Shift allows the chainring to move freely from the cranks, letting you shift while coasting. Why? Opening the possibilities of shift anywhere performance (whether pedaling or not) puts you in total control, even when the terrain ahead isn’t.

Two ways to get the most.

Reducing complexity with two support modes that can be easily adjusted and customized for individual desire. Where others give you unnecessary power modes and confusing names, Eagle Powertrain uses just two.

Range Mode

With the touch of a Pod button, toggle to Range Mode for longer routes, easier terrain or when conserving power is a good move.

Rally Mode

Toggle to Rally Mode for shorter rides or whenever you want access to the capabilities of power. Keep it simple.

“It was an incredible opportunity to develop a fully holistic system. All components–from the display to the derailleur–forming one perfectly synced unit. Our wireless AXS technology enabled us to create features like Auto Shift, Coast Shift and the limitless options of Eagle Transmission provide shifting under full load.

Everything in control with the AXS App.

The Eagle Powertrain AXS App makes the off-bike experience as rich as the on bike experience. From customizing drive unit power output to simply checking battery life while off the bike, the AXS App lets you view and fine-tune a host of features, right from your phone.


Powering the Eagle Powertrain. Utilizing a unique C-shaped clip-in or optional slide-in interface, the Eagle Powertrain Battery helps to support partner OE manufacturers in their quest to keep the weight low and centered. It comes in at a 630Wh compact or 720Wh full size and is easily removable with a single allen key.


So much more than merely a motor, the Eagle Powertrain Drive Unit has been engineered with a reimagined power delivery tune that replicates a far more natural pedaling experience. It’s a feel only made possible by our holistic approach to the entire system, where we called upon proven motor hardware and paired it with Eagle Transmission. It’s an approach that took learnings from short-comings that plague other motors, such as common power losses from super-hard riding, and gave us the opportunity to go further by utilizing things such as heat-resistant materials that provide superior thermal performance and enable longer power delivery.

This article is taken from:NZ Mountain Biker, Issue #110

Considering SubscribingPurchase Issue #110

The Next Episode: SRAM Eagle Transmission

I have to admit - we have it pretty good with today's mountain bikes, and the products that hang from them. Everything is pretty damn dialed, and reliable too. Things have really come on in the last 10 years and I'd say one of the big driving factors behind that was the introduction of the 1by drivetrain.


Eleven years ago, SRAM shook up the mountain biking world when they released their new-to-the-world XX1 groupset; the first 1by dedicated groupset. It was gorgeous; the narrow wide chainring blew people's minds. I remember looking at the cassette and thinking, ‘holy shit, you could eat your dinner off that, it’s so big’. Mind you, that was a measly 42t compared to today's 52t cassette. That groupset really did change the game.


Now, 11 years later, SRAM is back at it. Disrupting the normal; rewriting the rule books - and changing the game for the future. Enter, the new XX1 SL, XX1 and X01.


SRAM has gone back to the drawing board and reimagined the way the derailleur mounts to the frame. Gone is the hanger. In its place, a clevis mount derailleur. The new system is designed to work on bikes that use a SRAM UDH hanger interface.


A couple of years ago, SRAM brought out the UDH (universe derailleur hanger). The purpose of it was to create a better derailleur hanger, that other bike brands could adopt. It was a standard that made sense and, slowly, more and more bike brands have been getting on board with the standard. It was a really good move forward for the bike industry. This new AXS system builds on top of that. The hanger is replaced by a direct mount clevis on the frame. By making this change, you massively increase the stiffness and strength of the derailleur. It's not just held by a single bolt to the hanger; instead, it mounts both sides of the frame. When you induce the hub, frame and axle it creates an interface that is incredibly stiff and really strong, so much so that you can put your bike on the ground, stand on the derailleur on one foot then get back on your bike, ride away and the shifting will still be perfect. That's not possible on a normal hanger set-up - something will bend. I had my doubts about it until Chris showed us - it was super impressive.


The derailleur keeps the override clutch system that lets the mech move out of the way. It’s fantastic, and something that seems to get used regularly on my current GX AXS. It's saved my hanger from getting bent so many times and I’ve never needed to straighten it like I would have with a normal cable set-up. The clevis mount, combined with the override clutch, gives you a system that should (in theory) be very hard to put out of tune. Overall, it’s a much more reliable system with more pierce gear shifting offering a better experience on the trail.


SRAM has also introduced other technology to these groupsets: flat-top chains that come from their road bike groupsets. These increase efficiency and durability whilst looking flipping awesome. X Sync can now be seen on the cassette, improving the shifting and chain reaction. It really lets you shift under load without the worry of skipping gears. I’d imagine it also helps with the durability of the cassette. The recent SRAM x Dome cassettes have incredible wear life if you replace the chain regularly. I think these new ones will blow them out of the water, as long as you keep up-to-date on replacing the chain when it's worn.


The smart engineers at SRAM Germany really went to town on this, and have gone over everything with a fine-toothed comb. Chris Mandell (SRAM PR) told us that they looked at all the warranty data they had collected over the last 10 years and tried to eliminate as many of the issues as they could. The way to do this was to redesign the whole system and imagine a new way of doing things. The clevis mount gave the ability to produce a far superior product and gave the engineers more ability to optimise every last bit. There are so many little things they have done that all add up and just make it a joy to use - such as the slight bend in the derailleur cage. It looked like it had been bent on the trail but in actual fact, it was supposed to be like that. It helps keep the pulley chain interface better aligned when at the extreme ends of the cassette. There are two different modes to set the cage to, depending on the chainstay length, along with many other little things which have been optimised to create an overall better product.


Set up has become easier than ever before. I won’t go into exactly how you go about it - the SRAM technical manuals have that all dialed and are a great source of information.


“We gave this product out to some of our racers this year, on the EWS, and the mechanics keep overthinking the setting up of the system,” explained Chris. “They keep telling us: ‘it can't be this easy!’”. Easier setup leads to fewer problems and fewer tuning errors from the get-go.


Now, I imagine you're thinking; ‘that's all well and good, but what happens if I crash and absolutely smash it into a rock and manage to bend it?’. Well, yes. Shit does happen, obviously. In that case, on a normal hanger mech situation, both of them would probably be a full write-off and due for the bin. In the case of this new system, well, I'd be very surprised if you were able to bend the clevis. It is truly that strong and stiff. The good news is that the rest of the derailleurs are rebuildable. If you do damage a part, it will most probably be replaceable. You can remove the cage without using any tool. A simple little ‘tap’ while unscrewing the cage will loosen it up. The tension spring and clutch are now built into the cage, so servicing and cleaning these parts has become super easy and something that can be done in no time. The face plates of the parallelogram are replaceable as well. Is your mech looking a bit scratched up and tired after a year of use and abuse? Simply slap some new ones on, and it will look brand new. I’m really behind this - I love when brands make their products rebuildable and serviceable; products that they want to see being used for years and years; products that you can fix rather than just replace. It is the way our industry should be heading, rather than adding to a ‘throwaway society’ just because one tiny part breaks or wears out.


The derailleur looks slick – it’s futuristic looking, almost taking some of that cyberpunk aesthetic and feel that Hyundai is using in their cars. There are sharp lines throughout, highlighted by the brushed alloy metal on the black derailleur. It’s a solid unit of a mech and it looks like you could take this thing through the gates of hell and come out unscathed. The new cassette is a work of art as well. As you looked closer, you realise SRAM have added X Sync to the cassette as well. Mind-blowing stuff. The new shifter - or pods as SRAM refer to them as – have a more traditional, ergonomic design compared to the previous generation. It uses a two-button system, one placed above the other. The rubber paddles require a push, making them feel like a shift versus a tap. The return spring built into the paddle gives you that positive, almost mechanical, feel. Personally, though, the pièce de résistance was the new XO cranks. They are gorgeous. A change from carbon to alloy, they are unlike anything else on the market (well, minus 5DEV). They're minimalist, cyberpunky and abstract. You can tell they used what they learned from their AI crank program and applied it to this. There’s a hole near the crank bolt, highlighted by the brushed metal accent that gives the look of a drawing compass. The bushed metal has been placed in the part of the crank where you’re most likely to get foot rub, thus keeping the crank looking brand new for years, for us chronic shoe crank pedal rubbers. The final piece that set these off, is the return of the bash guard. Why these ever feel out of fashion I do not know, but I’m so glad to see them back. They mount on the chainring and can be removed if you see fit. I’m such a fan of these.


From the first shift, you realise this is something special - it’s not just another groupset, another new drive chain. It’s more than that. It's the crispest shifting I've ever experienced. It has such a positive feel to it. There is that reassuring ‘clunk’ as it moves into gear - almost mechanical, but with the precision of electronics. It’s lightning fast; instant, and precise. Even under load, in the worst possible moment to shift, it was still absolutely light years ahead of everything else. Everything you have learned about not shifting under load, you can now throw out the window; this new system does it with ease. I think a big factor of this is due to the added stiffness of the direct mount and the X Sync teeth on the cassette, but SRAM has also made a lot of tiny tweaks that have really optimised the system.






The more I rode the product, the more I liked using it - it's an absolute joy to use. You just know that when you push the button to shift, it will do it – there’s no worrying about a little under-power half pedal to help it shift. Just pedal as you would, and the chain will shift on the cog. It really does improve the enjoyment of climbing. The slightly altered rations in the cassette were also a welcomed improvement. No more big jumps between the 42t to 52t. Instead, you 44 - 52 jump and it feels a lot nicer. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it makes a difference, with less of a sudden change in ratio. It's hard to put into words the feeling of the drive chain over the previous stuff; overall you’ll just have a much nicer time while shifting. A good analogy would be comparing driving a car from ten years ago to driving a brand new, modern car with all the bells and whistles. Both do the same thing, but the newer car is going to be easier and arguably more enjoyable to drive; more relaxing, quieter, with more features to assist you.


SRAM has really knocked it out of the park with this. It’s hard to think about how you can improve on what they have delivered here. It’s truly fantastic. It’s robust, designed from the ground up for mountain biking, and is finally moving on from the hanger system that came from road bikes so many years ago. I’m a massive fan of the ability to be able to rebuild and replace the parts on the derailleur.



















































The shifting is light years ahead of the others. Will this groupset make you ride faster? You could argue that it will, but I don’t think that’s the right question to ask. Will this groupset enhance the experience of your ride? 100% it will. It’s an absolute joy to use, and makes you want to shift more – plus, it’s easy to set up. It’s built to last, is robust, and strong, so you don’t really have to worry about it. Going off the reliability of the previous AXS stuff, which was - in my opinion - the best out there, this should be able to survive an apocalypse. I’m not normally the sort of person to fork out for an expensive drive chain. Instead, I normally run the cheapest I can get away with. Gen 1 of AXS started to change my mind about that but this new stuff has 100% flipped my view on it. It's something that's worth saving up for and putting on your next bike. It's something worth investing in. You won’t regret it.


Hat’s off to you, SRAM. Well done.


Words & Photography: Jake Hood

Video: A new view of the Old Ghost Road

Old Ghost Road, Lyell, Mokihinui River, Westport 85km one way | Advanced Tramping, Grade 4 Mountain Biking


One of the esteemed Great Rides of New Zealand, the 85km-long Old Ghost Road is Aotearoa’s longest single-track backcountry trail, and one of the most incredible multi-day backcountry experiences in the country. The adventure takes riders and trampers back in time along a shared-use and long-forgotten goldminers’ road.


The new ride-through safety video, launched today, was produced by the NZ Mountain Safety Council (MSC) in collaboration with the trail’s creator and operator, the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust. The video guides visitors through the amazing trail and is packed with advice on how to get the best experience out of the trail.


This impressive trail weaves through ancient forests and diverse rugged alpine environments. Combined with the infamous West Coast weather; frequent heavy rain, strong winds, snow, and freezing temperatures, even in the height of summer, means the Old Ghost Road is a true adventure.


The new video highlights the varied conditions mountain bikers can expect, covering important tips including how to pack a balanced bike, a suggested packing list, the common risks and hazards, and key decision-making points and pit stops.


Plan My Walk by MSC can help those planning to tackle the Old Ghost Road as it includes the new video any relevant weather alerts, a weather forecast, and bikers can use the gear list and then create a trip plan to share with a trusted contact.


MSC would like to acknowledge and thank Ngati Waewae for filming in their Takiwa.


Watch the video here:

Release: The New Fast – Bosch Presents Drive unit for eMTB Racing

In eMTB races, fractions of a second decide whether you win or lose, and you need the best equipment. Bosch have answered the call with their new drive unit, the Bosch Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition.


Developed with professional athletes, Bosch's years of experience from numerous eMTB races have gone into this drive unit. The specially developed Race mode, uncompromising support and low weight are the ideal features for new record times. The Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition unleashes its full potential on tough routes with difficult technical sections, almost unrideable uphill sections and challenging descents.


"As a passionate eMTB rider myself, I know exactly the pain, effort and excitement on the trail," explains Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems. "This is why I am particularly proud that our technology enables athletes to compete even more successfully. The eMTB sector is becoming more and more professional worldwide, and we actively support this development."

Mountain biking is deeply rooted in the DNA of Bosch eBike Systems, one of the first eMTBs was equipped with a Bosch drive system back in 2010. Since then, the company has consistently developed more products for eMTB riders. The Performance Line CX was the first eBike drive specifically for eMTB in 2014, and the 2018 eMTB mode continues to set the standard today. Just recently, the new Extended Boost and Hill Hold features have been added, making the eMTB experience even better.


In recent years, Bosch eBike Systems has played a decisive role in eMTB racing, as evidenced by more than 60 podium finishes in eMTB races around the world this season alone. But the commitment goes beyond product development. The company has played an active role in shaping the emergence and professionalisation of the sport and has been instrumental in creating the right framework for professional races such as the Enduro World Series (EWS-E).


Kiwi rider Joe Nation had his first season on the EWS-E this year riding a Pole Voima equipped with the Bosch Performance Line CX motor.


“The new CX Race motor is really fast! It has the same Bosch power but the extended boost on the race mode really helps to climb over features where I am unable to pedal. Plus, it’s lighter which is always better when it comes to eBike racing!” says Joe.


The Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition is an exclusive evolution of the Performance Line CX. The new Race mode offers energetic, direct support – with up to 400 percent of your own pedal power. Riders reach maximum support faster and can use it to the cut-off at 32 km/h.


The familiar Extended Boost of the eMTB mode has also received an upgrade. The extra thrust is further extended in Race mode, so that large boulders, roots or steps are easier to manage. Strength of support, dynamics, maximum speed and maximum torque can also be adjusted in the eBike Flow app.


At 2.75 kg, the new drive unit is the lightest drive in the entire Bosch portfolio. This reduces the weight of the bikes equipped with it and optimises the handling of the eMTB on demanding trails, but with 85 Newton meters of torque, it still offers maximum power for acceleration out of tight corners which can be a decisive competitive advantage. Even at cadences over 120 rpm, the powerful motor provides explosive support so aggressive riding over long stages and fast sprints are possible.


The race character of the Performance Line CX Race Limited Edition is also clear in the design. The drive unit can be perfectly integrated into a sporty, slim frame design and makes for particularly agile handling.

Beer Guide Issue 207

It’s a different gold rush in the south these days, as Queenstown and Wanaka together boast more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the country.

During the gold rush era, the Central Otago region boasted the highest number of breweries in the country. Beer was a natural companion to slogging it out under the baking sun, or in the freezing cold, as you tried to make your fortune.

But it’s a different gold rush in the south these days, as Queenstown and Wanaka together boast more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the country. Plus, there are plenty of great pubs to boot.

Alexandra itself is home to Ferris Road Brewery, located not on Ferris Road, but Ngapapa Street. Owner-brewer Sam Forsyth always has an array of guest taps, as well as his own beer, and the place is well regarded for its wood-fired pizza.

Ferris Road has the claim of being the first brewery in Alexandra since Theyers & Beck’s closed in 1880. It’s a block away from the Otago Rail Trail at one end, and the Matangi Station mountain bike track is at the end of the road, so it’s an ideal spot for cyclists to stop in. There are 14 taps, and Sam says his best-seller is his Trail Ale APA.

Up the road in Clyde, the famous Oliver’s restaurant has its own in-house brewery, the Victoria Store Brewery, and the beer of choice is the Black Smith Porter, which is smoothly chocolate but with a hint of smoked malt.

The brew scene in Queenstown is led by Altitude Brewing, located on the water at Frankton, not far from the airport.

It’s a gorgeous spot at any time of the year, and new outdoor heating makes the friendly taproom the perfect place to spend wintry nights. Altitude won the champion small brewery title at the 2021 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards, and they’ve got great local connections with the local ski fields.

They’ve also just done a collaboration with Royalburn Station owners, Nadia Lim and her husband Carlos Bagrie, to make a beer using barley grown on Lim and Bagrie’s Arrowtown station. With the addition of locally sourced hops and water it’s a totally Queenstown-brewed Italian pilsner.

Altitude’s flagship is the Mischievous Kea IPA, a malty, English style IPA that’s perfect for the cooler weather. But check out their Sled Dog hazy and whatever fruited sour is currently pouring in their Jam Sessions series.

At the time of writing, Searchlight brewery in Queenstown was in the process of getting new owners — it is being taken over the by the team that run The Beech Tree bar and restaurant in town. Searchlight are best known for their Ladies of Dogtown Hazy Pale Ale that won them an award for the label design in 2021. The label features local Queenstown female skaters and the beer has an attitude to match, with lots of sweet lime and grapefruit.

Perched above the Shotover River and right next to the famous Shotover Jet tourist attraction, the aptly named Canyon Brewing produce a great range of tasty beers, and there’s an excellent restaurant to boot. Their most interesting beer is the Zenkuro Dry Japanese-style lager that’s made with kasu (which is a byproduct of making sake), yuzu and the Sorachi Ace hop, which brings a dill-fennel flavour that helps create a lemon-savoury style beer that tastes amazing after a hard ride.

Cargo Brewing is located in Gibbston Valley wine country, with the brewery inside a vineyard. And they’ve recently opened a taproom at Arthurs Point, called Cargo at Gantley’s — Gantley’s being Queenstown’s oldest pub. For a perfect winter drop try the choco-coffee porter.

In Queenstown itself, the place to go for the best range of beer is Smith’s Craft Beer House. It’s a fantastic spot, with great food and from late June will have a line-up of the best New Zealandhopped beers as part of their annual NZ IPA Challenge.

Across the Crown Range, Wanaka is bustling with good beer from B Effect, Rhyme X Reason, Ground Up and Wanaka Beerworks.

Rhyme X Reason and Ground Up are both located on Gordon Rd.

Rhyme X Reason’s rustic taproom ticks all the boxes. Shared wooden tables are especially popular with locals after work and on weekends. There’s an impressive range of cool merchandise, and an ongoing schedule of food trucks partners the brewery’s core range and regular seasonals. There’s an array of interesting beer but the current cult favourite is Calm Down Karen, a hoppy IPA that delivers heaps of flavour with its political commentary.

Ground Up
are a real mountain culture brewery and make some of the most underrated beers in the country. ‘Punks in the Gym’ might create images of gym-rats lifting dumbbells but this IPA is named for a famously challenging sport climbing route in Australia. Famously, New Zealander Mayan Smith-Gobat was the first woman to conquer the grade 32 Punks In The Gym climb at Mt Arapiles in 2012. Crux Pilsner is named after one of the hardest climbing manoeuvres, and it’s a great beer to boot. The food comes courtesy of Wanaka ‘Wich Project, who serve up a menu of American sandwiches, bar snacks and desserts.

B Effect are deeply connected to the mountain biking scene in the area, through their relationship with Bike Glendhu. The beer of choice post ride is Hero Dirt APA and while Wanaka Beerworks might be one of the oldest craft breweries in the country, established in 1998, the foundation Brewski Bohemian Pilsner is tasting as good as ever — and for the health conscious, it’s also officially now a low carb beer.

There are other great beer pockets in the area including the Dark Horse Brew Werkz brewery located at Omakau’s Commercial Hotel, which dates back to the 1880s and is full of historic charm.

And Arrowtown Brewing, while they don’t have a taproom, is worth checking out as it’s a business started by an assortment of friends that include The Exponents bass player Dave Gent and Navman founder Sir Peter Maire. Their beer can be found at Arrowtown’s Fork & Tap and other establishments in the town. •


Words: Michael Donaldson
Photography: Henry Jaine,
Cameron Mackenzie and Callum Wood

Columns: Musings

“The posse of e-bikers... had their own culture, which they had created themselves.”

The other day we went for a ride that gave us plenty of time to yak about mountain biking. Usually, we get into a long and complicated discussion about trails. That subject provides plenty of material for hours of slow climbing, which is when most of the talking gets done.

This time though, we gave the trails a rest and got into a session about the culture of the sport, and what is happening to it.

First of all, what were we talking about? Is there a mountain biking culture?

There are possibly dozens. It certainly isn’t one thing. Under the general umbrella of ‘mountain biking’ there are trail riders, downhillers, cross country racers, and adventure-style expedition riders. We could tack on some types of bike packing. Dirt jumping. Single speeding. Klunking.

Pondering things further, within ‘trail riding’ there are people who shuttle, people who don’t, people who stick to the beaten track, and people who like to roll their own lines.

Downhilling includes some of the shuttlers, and the full-on racers. Cross country has casual types, training for an event, and people aiming at the Olympics.

Single speeding can be a low-budget way of protecting the flash bike from the worst of winter wear, or a semi-religion.

And, a further complication is that many people will be in more than one camp. Most people I know are, and many of them do other bike stuff besides ‘mountain biking’: gravel; road; BMX; track; cross.

But, let’s say there is a mountain biking culture. Let’s, for argument’s sake, bung everybody we have listed above into a broad category and call them ‘mountain bikers’. Are they homogenous enough to call a culture?

What got us started on this topic, was turning up at an area where people sometimes congregate, to stop and fill up our water bottles. While we were there, a posse of e-bikers arrived. They were all on eMTBs, pretty slick ones at that. They had the basic gear required: fit-for-purpose shoes, shorts, backpacks, gloves, etc. So far, so good.

They also had hi-vis raincoats. All five of them. In the forest.... where they don’t need to be seen and it wasn’t raining. All their seats were too low, and all their gears were too high. Well, too low and too high for anybody who knows what they are doing. Saddle height and correct gear selection don’t matter much if you have an extra couple of hundred watts on tap, so they weren’t doing anything ‘wrong’.

It just didn’t look ‘right’.

The sight of this gang made both of us happy – they were out in the woods, on bikes, having fun.

It also made us raise our eyebrows and wonder what it meant for the ‘culture’.

The reality is, probably nothing.

In past years, people got into the sport as individuals, and identified with one or other of the subcultures. They learned the unwritten rules and adopted the appropriate gear. By the time they had developed enough to find their niche, they really fit their niche.

Over the past few years, people have been getting into it in droves – little gangs of people appear to have taken up bike riding en masse. The posse of e-bikers that sparked up our discussion were all on the same brand of bike, all on the same model year. They had their own culture, which they had created themselves. They didn’t pay any attention to us, or even say hello. They were doing their own thing, in their own funny-looking way.

A couple of days later, I was sitting in the doorway of my van and a woman nearby was racking her bike for her trip home. She had a big e-bike, and she was a tiny woman. I offered to help, but she reckoned she had racked her bike many times and proceeded to do it quickly and efficiently.

We got chatting. This woman was the leader of three bike groups from over at the coast. One of them comes ‘mountain biking’ on a weekly basis. There are enough in that group that they split into smaller pods for their lap of the woods. I got to see a few more members of her crew, the fast bunch who go further than the beginners – or what she called, ‘the pedal bike group’.

They were all very similar: late-model high-end e-bikes, all looking slightly odd to my eye. Even the ones that had the basic layout looking the business had been accessorised with things no ‘mountain biker’ would add to a trail bike, e or otherwise. Carriers. Phone holders. Odd mudguards. They wore odd riding outfits, too – but oddly consistent.

Much as downhillers look different to XC riders, this new mob look different again. But among their own, they fit.

They are yet another mountain biking faction. I’m just not sure what to call them yet. •


Words and illustration by Gaz Sullivan

Column: Beer Guide Issue 105

Mountain biking and beer seem to go together, so it’s no surprise to see an increasing number of breweries pedalling beers with an MTB connection.

The first brewery out of the gates with a strong bike theme, was Rotorua’s Croucher Brewing. The brewery was well-established when it did a brand audit five years ago and decided to move away from its old branding – a large C on a stylised shield. That logo shrunk on the label to make room for illustrated scenes from Rotorua’s many adventure sports, with mountain biking and cycling imagery a core part of the new brand.

In the core range, Croucher has the Enduro Pale Ale, Moonride Black IPA and Lowrider, a 2.5 per cent ‘small’ IPA. Seasonal releases include Hard Tail APA, Single Track IPA and Freewheeler West Coast Style IPA.

For founder Paul Croucher, it’s about connecting to the local community and identifying strongly with Rotorua.

“You know how craft beer evolved through hipsters down in Wellington? Well, in Rotorua, it evolved through the adventure sport guys – mountain bikers, white water rafters,” Croucher explains. Croucher goes a step further and is an active sponsor of mountain biking events in the area. And when he says sponsor, it’s more along the lines of supplying beer for competitors to refresh themselves with after they’ve crossed the line.

“We sponsor every event we can down here. We’re not exactly a cash-flush business but a lot of events just want a free beer at the finish line. It’s amazing how grateful people are. We just hope to send people away with a fond memory of our beer - and maybe they’ll buy it again.”

Local community plays a big part in many other brands’ MTB connection. In Wellington, Double Vision Brewing were partly drawn to their Miramar location by the mountain bike tracks in the area, says co-founder Warren Drahota.

“We’re all into mountain biking at Double Vision. When we were looking for different sites to set up we scouted a few, including Brewtown in Upper Hutt, but what we found in Miramar was an awesome community — and a whole lot of bike trails a couple of blocks away.”

The Miramar Track Project takes in the area around the old Mount Crawford prison on the end of the peninsula, with track names such as Repeat Offender, Jail Break and Solitary.

Before they’d even opened the brewery, Double Vision had a beer called Repeat Offender, which featured a rear view of a mountain biker jumping over a police car. But when Drahota did a bit more research he found Mount Crawford used to be mixed gender prison so they reworked their artwork to have a woman on the can.

Bringing a woman onto the beer was an important connection for American-born Drahota, who grew up idolising his cousin Karen Tremaine, who was one of the best riders in the US at the start of the century, contesting World Cup events.

There’s also a strong female presence on the Miramar tracks.

“We have heaps of riders in Miramar but the amount of phenomenal female riders is high compared to other places I’ve been mountain biking.”

There’s a similar story behind Eddyline’s Crank Yanker IPA, albeit with twisty history. It started life — as Eddyline did — in New Mexico, where Mic and Molley Heynekamp opened their first brewery. They had an IPA based on one of their home brews and named it Pick Axe IPA, as a tribute to the nearby New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. When they moved Eddyline to Colorado, they realised Pick Axe wasn’t going to work in the adventure state so had a competition to rename the beer.

“We had a ton of mountain biking that started right near the brewery,” Mic Heynekamp explains. “And someone came up with the name Crank Yanker, explaining that the beer was what you had after you ‘yank your cranks all afternoon’. It’s apt because the brewery is at the bottom of the valley and every climb starts with a brutal ride up.”

When they moved Eddyline to Nelson, Crank Yanker came too and Heynekamp said the name translated well.

“Most people that mountain bike get it. But the funny thing is that we did have some locals going ‘cranky Yankee’.”

The label comes from an oil painting done by then rising artist, Jesse Crock.

In something of a bonus for Eddyline, shortly after they opened in Richmond, the Silvan Forest Mountain Bike Park opened in the hills above the brewery.

“A lot of people park at our place, ride up and come back down and have some pints; beer and mountain biking goes together great.”

Nelson’s strong MTB culture is reflected in Sprig + Fern’s Local Pinner Pilsner.

Local Pinner is slang for a fast and experienced racer. The idea for Local Pinner came from Sprig + Fern designer, Hayley Ottman, who hails from the West Coast of America and loves to ride. She designed the label after a ride with friends, capturing the adrenaline of Nelson’s world class mountain biking culture and giving a nod to enduro and downhill racers.

“I’m into all outdoor sports, specifically growing up with surfing. Locally, my brother also used to race downhill mountain biking and is the one who brought the likes of Loose Riders to Nelson, so biking is in my blood,” Ottman explains. “Even if you don’t bike, it’s showcasing that this sport and its culture is bad ass and this is a bad ass beer.”

In the deep south, Wanaka’s b.effect has gone from supplying beer to Bike Glendhu, making a beer specifically for them, to now partnering in a tree-planting project. b.effect founder, James Hay, is a keen mountain biker and was working with Bike Glendhu, sponsoring events and giving them beer when they needed it. Eventually, the two businesses came up with the idea of brewing a beer specifically for Bike Glendhu.

The result is Hero Dirt, a sessionable 4.6 percent American Pale Ale, designed to be enjoyed after a ride.

“Bike Glendhu is about 15 minutes out of town, and the beer was originally made for their café; we wanted people to be able to have one or two and still get home OK,” explains b.effect marketing manager, Molly Hope.

The two businesses aligned further around carbon-offsetting.

“About six months ago, we started on a sustainability journey, doing a carbon footprint audit to work out where we were, and to make steps to reduce emissions.

We want to use our beers as a force for good and we want the consumer to understand where it’s going and have a relationship with the beer. Bike Glendhu had an initiative to plant 30,000 trees by 2025 and we already wanted to plant trees, so we decided on 3 percent of sales to go back to them.”

Hope said they were asking local stockists to match their donations; “to make it a community effort and tell the story that this beer you’re drinking helps plant trees”.


Words: Michael Donaldson

Photography: Caleb Smith and Callum Wood

Column: Beer Guide

The idea of seasonality in beer is historically driven by necessity. In many European countries, the refreshing, cleansing beer styles were brewed and stored during the colder months, and ready for drinking as the weather warmed up and workers started earning a thirst under the sun. Styles such as Saison and Lambic in Belgium, wheat and lager in Germany, and pilsner in the Czech Republic, all benefited from a long, cool conditioning period over winter. Perhaps the most famous seasonal beer experience, is the annual Oktoberfest in Munich. Curiously, this event started as a celebration of the marriage of the future King Ludwig to Princess  Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, in 1810. As part of the celebration, a large horse racing carnival was held on October 18 and, for reasons that remain unclear, it was decided to repeat the event the following year which in turn started the Oktoberfest tradition. The horse racing stayed until 1960. Americans have really made a thing about the seasonality of beer, with their pumpkin beers in autumn – related to Halloween – as well as a tradition of strong, sweet and spiced beers at Christmas. In New Zealand, the concept of seasonality didn’t really exist in the era of big brewery dominance, when we got served the same beer all year round.


There were small dents in that monoculture; Emerson’s created a Winter Warmer more than 25 years ago - a beer that got reinvented as Taieri George - a spiced ale that’s released annually on March 6, the birthday of the late George Emerson, father of Emerson’s founder Richard. Around 20 years ago, Monteith’s created their ginger-spiced varieties, such Summer Ale, and made a Doppelbock for winter. In recent years, the autumn fresh hop season is fast becoming an integral part of New Zealand’s beer drinking culture, while we’re also seeing more speciality winter ales, such as imperial stouts, Baltic porters and doppelbocks released in winter. The cooler months also see breweries bring out more niche variations of IPA, such as Red IPA and Black IPA. These days, the idea of seasonality has been turbo-charged to the point where breweries make monthly, even weekly, short-term releases. There’s a flip-side to that as well, with many breweries creating annual releases of seasonal-driven beers – usually barrel-aged – with 8 Wired’s cult Feijoa Wild Ale a classic example every winter. In all this, there remains an idea that certain beers are best suited for certain times and climates and dispositions. Most people do not want a 10% imperial stout on a hot summer’s day – that kind of slow sipper does not deliver the level of refreshment required after mowing the lawns in the sun. So, now that spring is with us, there are certain styles of beer that are better suited to days that are drawing out but that are not yet searing hot, when that ice cold lager becomes the first thing you reach for in the fridge. Here’s a mixed six of great spring-time beers:


Epic Pilsner

Epic are known for their super-hop forward beers, and when they bring that mentality to a classic pilsner you get some real flavour ‘oomph’. This New Zealand-style pilsner sits somewhere between the traditional Czech pilsner and modern American Pale Ale. It’s lean, crisp and refreshing but with a nice hoppy hit of passionfruit and citrus from the New Zealand grown Riwaka and Pacific Jade hops. Epic don’t brew this beer all year round – and it’s just been released for the daylight saving months.


North End Bines That Bind Us

Saison is the classic seasonal beer – it’s there in the name, after all. Saison is a catch-all descriptor for traditional Belgian farmhouse-brewed ales that were made over winter and ready for the seasonal workers (saisonnieres) when they returned in the warmer months. The beers were partly for refreshment and partly for payment. They are dry, effervescent, spicy and with a perfumed yeast character that delivers an X Factor aroma. North End are one of the best producers of this style and this is a lovely hopped version with a real earthy character.


Sunshine Stockies Session Hazy IPA

Every season is hazy season these days, but when it’s warmer you want something lighter, drier and more refreshing than some of the heavier juice bombs out there. Sunshine, based in Gisborne have absolutely nailed the brief with this 4.2% ABV quaffer that’s jam-packed with guava, mango and white grape flavours. The palate is crisp, extremely fresh and compact.


McLeod’s Great Wave Japanese Dark Lager

A classic Japanese lager is the ideal summer slugger – they are brewed lightweight for easy-drinking. Adding a touch of darker malt, as McLeod’s have done here, doesn’t detract from the easy drinkability but adds a layer of intricate complexity with the subtle hint of cocoa. It’s the perfect season straddler and ideal when you never know what New Zealand’s temperamental spring climate might throw at you.


Sprig + Fern Creme of the Hop Nectaron Pale Ale

Nelson’s Sprig + Fern brewery has gone through a recent rebrand to create a more modern and direct look. And the beer that best encapsulates this new look is their Nectaron-hopped hazy pale ale. This relatively new hop – released last year – is proving a real hit with its pineapple and peach flavours, and this pale ale is a prime example of how to use it in juicy-fruity pale ale.


Altitude Brewing Jam Sessions Vol 3

Altitude Brewing, out of Queenstown, make some of the more interesting beers in New Zealand - but for a long time they were available only locally. Like many breweries hit by Covid-19 lockdowns, they’ve had to step up their online business, which means you can now get their beers delivered to your door. Jam Sessions Vol 3 is their third in a series of fruited sours, and was a huge hit at the recent Beervana festival. Boysenberries, blackberries and raspberries on a soft creamy base creates a fruit smoothie effect. Tart and refreshing – a beersie packed with berries.


Words: Michael Donaldson

Images: Henry Jaine


Release: The all-new Santa Cruz Chameleon

The Chameleon is a blank canvas, ready to go in whatever direction your imagination takes it. Creativity in wheel size, gearing and component choice make it the perfect muse for freethinkers and freedom seekers alike.

We made the Chameleon for riders who like to sculpt their ideal bike, and aren’t afraid to experiment. Whether 29er or mixed, geared or fixed, multiple major configuration transformations are made easy via the interchangeable dropouts. The low slung top tube and progressive geometry means this bike blends into whatever surroundings you place it. From raucous short-cuts across town to skipping the city altogether. It turns itself to trail exploration with the flip of an Allen key, thanks to the triple-bolt cargo cage mount under the downtube and standard bottle mount within the frame. Whatever the weather, however long the ride, wherever you're going, the Chameleon is so endlessly customizable and adjustable that the only constraint is really your own mind and motivation.



  • MX and 29" wheels

  • 130mm fork travel

  • Aluminum Frame

  • Additional 3-bolt bottle / cargo mount under downtube

  • Sizes S-XL

  • Lifetime Warranty


  • Max tire width: 29 x 2.6-in or 27.5 x 2.8-in

  • Boost 148mm spacing

  • Post mount brakes w/ 180mm rotors

  • ISCG05 chain guide mounts

  • Threaded BB


  • IS headset


  • Swap dropouts to change between MX and 29" wheels

  • 425-437 mm chainstay length adjustment

  • Singlespeed compatible

  • Direct Post Mount Brake

  • UDH dropout compatible

We made the Chameleon for riders like these five who like to sculpt their ideal bike, and aren’t afraid to experiment. Read about the story of their unique Chameleon builds and their approach to riding. We encourage you to share their words and the photo galleries of their bikes.


Swanee Ravonison’s Patinated Aluminum Pariah


I make steel bicycles under the moniker Pariah and I convert old bicycles (from the 80s, 90s mainly) made up of new and used parts, to create mainly fixed or single speed gear machines. I do this in my bicycle shop slash grocery store, Fée du Vélo.


Looks wise I stripped ‘him’ of his flashy dress to make him more discreet, more subtle, more raw, sober, more radical like the Pariah bikes I build. The raw side is my hallmark. It means a bike ages and skates naturally. The traces of time which give any object a certain aesthetic and reinforce their sentimental value. But the more I work and think about natural patinas, the more the result reminds me of my brown body and my scarred skin. Imperfections, natural tattoos, indelible marks, memories of all my falls.


Using Hematite to age the frame is for me the opposite of a lacquer and varnish paint finish. The diluted stone is applied with a brush and the effect is not immediate. It can be stopped by water, and suddenly the result is revealed after drying. The warmer finish brings the frame to life and the tubes disappear. I like to linger to grasp the subtleties, to guess the hand of the craftsman. It’s impossible to get the same result twice. Sobriety never goes out of fashion and the details of the treatment are so subtle that it cannot be covered at a glance.


I kept big-volume tires for a cushioned feeling and installed a rigid carbon fork with mounting points to save some weight and carry bags for long bikepacking adventures. A lower bar helps for pedaling while keeping comfortable. I opted for cable disc brakes so that I could put the suspension fork and a wider cockpit back on without having to bleed. This is a solid enduro hardtail ready for rough and technical terrain.


As soon as the bike was ready I climbed a steep hill, jumped off the sidewalks and did a long sprint as a dancer.


Soon I'll go further afield on it. The Morvan region is my favorite playground because it is accessible to me. First day out would be more cross-country, a loop around Saint Brisson. It would pass through the lakes of Saint Agnan and Settons, around a hundred kilometres. The second day, pure enduro, with technical climbs and descents, barely over 50km and still in Saint Brisson in the Breuil forest.


The destination matters of course, but what I always remember is the quality of the paths, especially if these are small technical and fun trails that require a little commitment. The difficulty of a climb and the adrenaline of a descent makes an outing unforgettable!


Sven Busse's Barmeleon


People call me Sven, or sometimes Steven. Maybe they just call me a little crazy.


For nine years I have had a bar called The GegenÜber in the middle of Bielefeld, right next to a large skatepark. My bar is a melting pot for a wide variety of characters, music, skateboarding, art, all that kind of thing. A look at the facade explains more than a thousand words and the interior of the shop is also characterized by DIY style and a certain punk rock attitude. I wanted to transfer the heart and soul of the GGÜ to the Chameleon from which it became the Barmeleon. The paint was done by the graffiti artist who designed the bar [@ProPhret]


When I started thinking about this bike the first thing in my mind was the song by Orange Goblin – Monkey Panic

“Now it's time for you to run,

Got the fear, so get your gun,

Drink your whiskey, drink your wine,

Take your pills and come inside,

Chaos falling all around,

Monkey tearing up the town,

People running for their lives,

Armageddon's here tonight.”


Basically my biography has been completely interwoven with cycling since I saw the Hoffman Bikes video "Until monkeys fly" on VHS tape at a friend's house in 1998, and especially the street part of Mike Escamilla. I would describe myself as highly addicted to biking. I associate so many great people, friends, trips, spots, injuries and constant progression with cycling. Then, at some point, actually inspired by my younger brother, who is a huge inspiration to me, I got into mountain biking and discovered my love for it. It’s a substitute for BMX riding.


Since I saw the video with Craig Evans (The Steel City’s chameleon), I've been a fan of his shredding style, but also of the bike. I actually dreamed of basically flowing all of my trails with this kind of bike and sure in myself that it must feel damn good. Both to flow my home trails, manual through the city and to send jumps.


Myia Antone’s Medicine Finder


My bike has taken me to places that previously I’d only visited in dreams. Places where our stories come from and where medicine was harvested by my ancestors. My mountain biking journey started during the peak of the COVID19 pandemic, which meant I was riding alone – a lot. However, I knew I was never really alone. I was constantly surrounded by the trees and plants that sustained my community for thousands of years. In many ways, my bike allows me to time travel to quiet moments where I can be with my ancestors.


It’s hard for me to separate mountain biking from plant harvesting, I find so many similarities between the two. Biking teaches me how far my legs really can take me, how to get back up after a fall, and that everyone looks better with a little bit of dirt on them. Plants teach me that we can all grow and thrive in different environments, you can’t judge someone or something based off of one season and you grow stronger the deeper your roots. If anything, the two seem pretty interchangeable.


My understanding of our relationship to land is that it is an extension of ourselves. We love and respect the land as our kin, and understand that the world will teach you everything if you look long enough. I was taught the forest was our pharmacy - when we were sick, that is where we would go for our medicine. Today, I think of mountain biking as medicine in the forest too. The ups and downs bring healing to every inch of my body, and I always come home with a smile as big as can be.


Today, I am finding new ways to do old things. My ancestors have been harvesting from these lands and waters since time out of mind. I follow in their footsteps, but sometimes my feet just happen to be on pedals. My bike brings me to hidden patches of wild strawberries and devil’s club galore. I bring my backpack for snacks, bike tools and space to fill with plants to take home. How did I get so lucky to have a beautiful territory that is also world famous for its bike trails? I am rich in love and beauty from my time spent on the land. However, wealth also means having enough to give away. How do I embody the teaching of reciprocity within mountain biking? How do we give back to a sport that gives us so much?


Today, Indigenous Women Outdoors is how I give back to my communities. We offer programming for Indigenous women and non-binary folks to come out together on the land, partake in mentorships and try new outdoor activities. We have so much to share with the outdoor community, and it is finally time to listen.


Eric Ackermann’s Pink Space Goblin loc


My friends call me Baby Legs Eric.


I work in the warranty department of the SCB Factory and have been with the company for over 11 years. If you’ve ever requested something from our factory it was probably me that fulfilled it. You’re welcome.


The only thing that interests me is the absurd and keeping life as simple as possible.


I have two important tenets that I base my life around: 1. Don’t be a picky eater and 2. Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.


I wanted to get down to basics and turn it into a single speed bike to bomb around town. I was really into the color of the frame and thought pink would be the loudest contrast. It makes the bike look like it just came out of a comic book. I spend a lot of my free time illustrating and have gotten really into digital art so I knew I had to create some custom decals to slap all over it. Being able to cover one of my favorite bikes in artwork I drew was definitely my favorite thing.


I ride this bike all over Salinas, crushing burritos and Jarrito soda waters. I plan on building one just like it for my wife so we can take our dogs on adventures.


Paint: I kept the original yellow since I love it so much.

Frame size: Medium

Frame mods: Left as is since I didn’t want to mess up the natural build of the bike.

Fork: Yup, it’s got one.

Amount of airs in the bouncy bit at the front? A whole bunch

Number of gears: NONE

Which side do you have the rear brake on? Right side.

Wheel size(s): 29 in front 27.5 in rear

Tire pressure: A whole bunch

Tire type: Somewhere between hella chunky and smooth as smooth peanut butter


Mike Hill’s Tool Carrying Tool


My friends call me Mike. I build BMX frames for my company called Deathpack BMX.


I owe my passion for bikes to my dad. He had me surrounded by bikes for as long as I can remember and riding as soon as possible. I can't imagine life without bikes, be it pedal powered or motorised, there's nothing like it.


This is an off-road workhorse to carry tools to the trails through the winter from my van down a two mile single track to the bottom of a wood where the jumps are. It's like a swamper truck or winter hack. This bike is a tool. I go knock about on it, push iron, move dirt.


Paint: none

Frame size: medium

Frame mods: brackets and racks to carry panniers luggage and tools, etched frame logos and patina raw finish

Amount of airs in the bouncy bit at the front? Maximum

Number of gears: All of them.

Brakes, yes or no? Yes but maybe just back

Which side do you have the rear brake on? Right

Wheel size(s): 29 front, 27.5 rear. It’s a skullet

Tire pressure: 50psi

Tire type: Fat as possible and somewhere in between knobby and dirt tiller

Video: Brandon Semenuk's 2021 Rampage Bike Build

Brandon Semenuk's 2021 Red Bull Rampage build is the bike you'd expect a five-time Joyride and three-time Rampage champion to ride. With big travel, and big trick potential, his custom 27.5 / 26 mulleted Trek Session is set up with a one-of-a-kind BlackBox AXS drivetrain, and a 190mm single crown RockShox Zeb Ultimate. Master mechanic, Sean Murphy, of Fluid Function in Squamish, B.C. assembled one of his two builds that he'll be travelling to Red Bull Rampage with, as he seeks an unprecedented fourth title.