Dirty Dozen: Joe Barnes

Mountain Biking Magazine



Dirty Dozen: Joe Barnes

Following on from the news that Joe Barnes has signed to Canyon for 2013 we bring you…

12 questions with Dudes of Enduro Joe Barnes.

Joe Barnes on a Canyon near a canyon.

Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand? Soz, Jimi Hendrix question. Do you like Jimi? Can you play the guitar? Are you musical?

Joe Barnes: Well… musical? Maybe not. I like to attempt to spice up some Dudes of Hazzard projects with song sometimes though. Like our Christmas no. 1 campaign or our Enduro release.

Here is a little song just for you Billy about my move to Canyon.

So about this move to Canyon then, you’ve been with Orange for what seems like an eternity, it must have been a difficult decision for you? Talk us through the process?

It was a difficult one actually. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would ride for anyone else but Orange, so when the opportunity came up last year to look at other options it kind of surprised me. My notebook was full of ideas for various options and when I finally told Michael and Lester from Orange in October that I was leaving, I was committed. I have been over to Germany and met the owner of Canyon, and really like the set up of the company. It was built up from one guy with a love for cycling, quality products and a great business mind. To get in with a company with as much potential as this is great for me and I hope to grow with them. I have ridden an Orange for 9 years now, so time for a change.

How does the Canyon Strive compare to the Orange 5?

Size-wise they are very similar for me. The Strive is slightly slacker and has more travel so inevitably feels more DH orientated. The weight is astounding and the extra guts are not paid for with weight. The linkage is predictable and with a good bit of compression damping, she back wheel steers no bother.

What events are on your calendar this year?

Full World Enduro Series, Bluegrass International Tour, Megavalanche, Mountain Of Hell and This is Enduro Now.

What are your thoughts on the future of enduro races?

It is all kicking off just now, that’s for sure. I had a good chat with Chris Ball the other day about the World Series, licenses and Enduro of Nations and I think the plan is in safe hands. A lack of mass starts maybe? And why none in the UK or northern Europe (yet)? With such a fast progression it feels really good though and as a souped up version of mates racing, enduro is a fail-safe format. I, along with fellow “Dudes”, held my own enduro race in November called “This is Enduro Now” and I think it symbolised what enduro is about. Overly competitive banter from a great bunch of people riding for fun, but when the dibber beeps everyone pedals for glory.

For those that don’t know, cave dwellers etc, tell us who and what are the Dudes Of Hazzard?

We are a group of friends who enjoy getting rowdy in the mountains (like many I think). We like to capture the fun and portray our stories via film, usually in a comical way. Based in Fort William we are surrounded by great terrain, but a lot of the videos come from the numerous trips to races and remote places with our bikes.

I heard talk of the Dudes buying new camera equipment, lots of people, me included, love the low-fi element of the Dudes edits, together with the epic riding, goofing around and comedy moments, please tell me you won’t all go arty-slow-mo-serious on us?!

I can guarantee minimum slo-mos Billy. Apart from the new “Dudes Project: 3 by 4”, coming out soon that is. The new Minolta AUTOCORD camera is actually really sweet, if you want slow-mo, just wind it a bit faster.

Did you use to fancy Daisy Duke?


Some riders don’t like the idea of riding tracks blind at high speed as is the case in some enduro events. Are you comfortable riding the unknown, do you prefer to practice the track to at least give you a hint at what’s going on?

I usually really like learning tracks before racing and memorising every tiny bit, but by doing the multi day stage races you learn to ride quickly on unknown ground. You’re definitely taking more risks riding blind. This summer is by far the most dangerous year of racing for me. In the Trans Provence I rode out of so many situations on the stem. Making buttons the whole way down. You have to just compose and press on. It doesn’t suit everyone, but I kind of like the danger.

Are you a risk taker or do you think things through? Things like jumping off a moving van as it’s crossing an 80ft bridge over a river sounds like risk taking to me?!

I definitely didn’t used to think things through but out of necessity I have to now. I was becoming a cripple from excessive use of the saying ” ah Feck it”. When I sent an 80ft jump into a river and tweaked my knee just before the season after breaking my ribs twice over the winter, things had to change. I am now banned from saying those words.

What are your top five riding locations?

Fort William. Sauze D’oulx. Rotorua. La Clussaz. Torridon.

Have you tried any other wheel sizes?

Not yet but I am really excited about 650b. 26″ for the time being until tyres sort themselves out though.

It’s supposed to be 12 questions but I want to end on something funny. You got any funny jokes or stories Joe?

I have got two jokes actually. How do you hide an elephant? Paint its balls red and put it in a cherry tree…

Next one. What’s the loudest sound in the jungle? A giraffe eating cherries…

(We’ve got a big super massive interview with Joe coming up in the next issue of Dirt, keep a look out for that, it’ll be a goody!)


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