20 years/ 20 questions - Transition
When Transition pipe up, it's always worth a listen
TO CELEBRATE THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF DIRT WE’RE SPEAKING TO THE BRANDS AND RIDERS THAT HAVE SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. WE’LL BE ASKING 20 QUESTIONS ON THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN THE KNOW. CHECK OUT OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOOK THAT’S AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER HERE.
With hands down the best press releases in the game, Transition are a great company to work with. They've kept it real for more than 10 years and no matter how many accolades they win, you feel like you could take every single one of them down the Two Brewers and have a proper good belly up. Plus they make some mint bikes.
We pinned down Kevin Menard and Kyle Young to get some thoughts on the company and their place in mountain biking.
20 Questions - Transition
What achievement of the company are you most proud of?
Definitely most proud of the industry recognising all the hard and legit work we put into our products including all the Dirt 100’s and most recently the bike of the year on Pinkbike for our Carbon Patrol.
What has been you biggest product development?
The product that really put us on the map and on a massive growth curve was the Bottlerocket. We felt like we definitely created a new category in mountain biking that started a trend towards making bikes that were super playful, fun to jump and flow trails on. The merging of slopestyle and trail riding.
What was the brand working on 20 years ago?
Well we started in 2003 so technically at that point we were working on our ping pong skills in corporate America.
What is the direction of the company setting up for the next 20 years?
No matter how big we get we want to stay true to our rider owned philosophy and be an approachable company that genuinely loves to ride with our customers and make killer bikes and sometimes drink beer.
What influence has Dirt had on your company?
Dirt has always been the holy grail of mtb journalism. If you saw it in Dirt you knew it was legit so it was always something you could get a real pulse on the industry. We also share the same vibe as you guys about having fun and calling bs on the industry when you need to.
What do you dislike about working in the bike industry?
Companies that run themselves like law firms.
Give us a story from your wildest moment in mountain biking?
I think one of wildest was our first trip to Taiwan to figure out how to manufacture our first bike the DirtBag. We had no experience, had never been there and had no idea what we were doing.
It was a cluster F of learning the ropes. From getting a hotel room, buying train tickets (pre bullet train era) and navigating the transportation system. Plus we went in the summer and it was blistering hot. Definitely a slap in the face. Now traveling to Taiwan is an absolute joy.
What has been your favourite moment of Dirt's history?
Definitely the first time we got a bike into the magazine with the TR450 and then part of a sweet article about new up and coming small brands with a giant two page spread of Sam and I holding Kyle up in an awkward pose at Eurobike. Also the time we rode with Jonsey in his home village and we spent 8 hours at his local pub and finished the night with shots of gin.
Your favourite or most memorable Dirt Cover?
The world champ cover with Danny Hart because we were at that race and before the race we all stated on camera that Danny would win!
Dirt is well known to be controversial, what experience do you have of this?
This is why we love everyone at Dirt. Not afraid to call it like it is even at the expense of pissing someone off. Some people call it controversial others call it the truth. This is why we have always loved bike reviews from Dirt, you know it will be completely honest.
What would you like to see from Dirt over the next 20 years?
I know everyone wants to see the return of print but I don’t think that is necessary to still stay relevant and continue the legacy of Dirt. I do like the idea of an annual book about the highlights of what happened that year in our industry. You could call it a Year Book and then get other people to sign it and wish you happy summer vacation.
What would be the first question you would ask Dirt?
Have you found a time machine and traveled into the future and know something about e-bikes we don’t?
Press releases or journalism?
You mean propaganda or freedom of the press? We like press releases that feel like journalism.
Who have been your favourite riders of the past 20 years?
Bryll (Bryn Atkinson and Jill Kintner), Mike Metzger (not moto mike, please watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e19MsQvCywg), LarsN’Bars Lars Sternberg (Also an employee so we are a bit biased on that)
What Rider has most pushed the boundaries over the past 20years?
Eddie Masters and his work with Fat Bikes
What has been your favourite or most memorable race?
World Champs 2011 (Champery) Gnarly conditions, perfect for Danny.
What does the next 20 years bring for Mountain biking?
Microrefinement to product and ways to streamline production of carbon fiber to make it more affordable and easier to produce. Plus tons of e-bikes, right Steve?
What’s your opinion on E-Bikes?
In the US having an opinion on e-bikes is a touchy subject because of land use issues so it is usually best to give such a vague answer so the reader doesn’t really know what your stance is at all but somehow thinks we answered the question enough that they are satisfied and move onto to another subject. What we will say though, is that using e-bikes is an incredible way to terrorise the Strava community. ;)
What’s been the most questionable thing to come out of Mountain biking?
Most recently the term “plus size" We used to run wider tires back in the day and never gave them a fancy marketing term, we just called them Gazzaloddi 3.0’s.
Who doesn’t get the credit they deserve in the industry?
The people that maintain trails and never talk about it. The secret trail gnomes that cut down fallen trees, fix drainage issues and repack berms. Sure it is fun and exciting to build new trails but maintaining old trails is unsung work that takes true dedication.