VelociRAX Bike Rack Review

Velocirax Bike Rack Review

Vertical bike racks are becoming more popular and the latest brand to hit the mountain bike market is VelociRAX. What makes offerings from VelociRAX stand out is each unit’s damper assisted hinge. The dampers allow the rack, without bikes or fully loaded, to gently descend to a level where the bikes can be removed or set into the rack. As of this writing, models vary in price from $699.00 [3 bikes] – $895.00 [7 bikes] USD. Models that transport four, five, and six bikes are also available.

Velocirax Bike Rack Review

We tested a 4x model and from the get-go it stood out as a sturdy, durable rack. Like all vertical bike racks, there is a mast that extends from the center of the vehicle hitch at a 90º angle and there are 2 crossbars parallel to the ground. The higher bar has baskets where the front wheels of each bike are secured. A bike’s rear wheel is fastened to the lower bar. Strong but pliable rubber straps are used to affix a bike’s wheels to the rack with studs attached to each bar.

The rack’s c-hoops or baskets are designed very well and only the front tires were making contact with the baskets – not the wheels’ rims. As opposed to hitch tray racks, we did not have to arrange our bikes in a certain order to prevent the brake levers from contacting another bike’s saddle, frame or rear wheel. This is one of the most appealing features of owning a vertically oriented bike rack. The bikes will not touch each other and therefore, bike’s can’t strike each other while being transported and cause damage.

C-loop for front wheel - Velocirax

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Velocirax - Lever for releasing the bike rack mast

To lower and raise the rack, you have to press a lever on the mast. An empty rack requires a bit of effort to get it it lowered because it is not weighted with bikes. Bikes are intended to be loaded when the rack is in its lowered position because you won’t have to lift them and this will help you access and affix the straps to the c-hoops for the front wheels, and crossbar for the rear wheels. Note that you have to load bikes from left-to-right so the wheels and bars “stack” at the proper slanted angle.

Top half of a loaded Velocirax bike rack
Anti-rattle adjustment bolt / Velocirax bike rack
Anti-rattle system for the Velocirax mountain bike rack

Another great feature we like with the VelociRAX is the anti-rattle bolt. This prevents the rack from clunking around in the hitch. Simply use a 17mm socket to tighten the bolt at the bottom of the hitch assembly and the rack will not bounce around. We’ve done a little traveling on dirt roads and everything remained tight and in-place. An additional benefit of the anti-rattle bolt is that a pin [with a lock] is used to attach the main assembly to your vehicle’s 2-inch hitch. The rack also features a loop on the mast so you can thread a cable lock or chain lock for protection against theft.

Loading a mountain bike into the Velocirax 4x vertical bike rack

When it comes to loading and unloading bikes, the VelociRAX outshines all the other brands on the market. You really can just wheel the bikes in and out of the rack. Once the bikes are secured to the crossbars, you simply push the rack into its upright position by applying pressure to where the top tube of a bike meets the stem and walk forward. Just think about it – your gangly kids can finally assist with loading and unloading bikes, And, they’ll probably like it.

A front wheel cradled in the Velocirax bike rack
Fastened front wheel in a Velocirax 4x bike rack
Loop for a bike lock on the Velocirax bike rack

Originally we thought that the rack was on the heavy side, but when we spoke with one of the VelociRAX owners, he told us that the racks are rated to carry up to 55 lbs. of bike per slot. Although VelociRAX recommends removing each bike’s battery during transportation, this means your e-Bikes can be easily and safely transported via a beautifully designed rack. Below, you can see the additional safety bolt that should be used when driving. It will ensure the mast stays in place during highway and off-road travel.

Assembly safety pin - open
Bike rack assembly safety pin - closed
Bike rack assembly safety pin - installed

All of the bikes in our family range from 27.5 inch to 29 inch wheel sizes, but VelociRAX boasts that their racks will accommodate wheel sizes as small as 20 inch. There’s a great FAQ/Info page that we strongly suggest you read on the VelociRAX website. It should answer all of your questions.

The rack even pivots so the mast will lower all the way to the ground and be completely out of the way. This was especially useful during our test period because we went camping and wanted to access the entire rear cargo area of our van. The baskets will make contact with the ground when the rack is in this position, so if you don’t want to scratch them, throw down a blanket or jackets to protect them.

Velocirax review - loaded 4x rack

We’re very impressed with the VelociRAX vertical bike rack. In our opinion, the company did their research and came up with a unique solution for making the chore of loading and unloading bikes easier. The dampers allow the rack to smoothly lower and raise, eliminating the need for one to lift a bike to a height so it’s crown can be set in a mount or its front wheel placed in a basket. It’s priced right, too. Compare it against other vertical racks – and you’ll see that a durable, easy-to-use rack that can carry up to 7 bikes costs a lot less than what you may expect.

The Best Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids

The Best MTB Helmets for kids

Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids – Helmets are obviously useful to keep your young mountain biker safe on the trails. If you want your little rider to consistently wear their helmet, you’ll want to be sure it fits well and feels comfortable.

The Best MTB Helmets for kids

If your kiddo likes how the helmet looks, that will help, too. A few notes to keep in mind:

  • Size: To ensure the best fit, it’s recommended to measure your child’s head circumference with a tape measure just above the ears. You can then check this measurement against the listed size.
  • Adjustability: As you can generally expect your kiddo to have a growth spurt just following an expensive clothing/gear purchase, it may be a good idea to get a helmet that can be adjusted using a dial. This will keep your kid comfortable in his helmet for a bit and save you some cash for a while.
  • Ventilation: Having enough ventilation is important if you want your child to enjoy riding in the heat.

Here is an overview of our top 8 helmets for mountain biking kids. Check out the comparison table at the end of the article to see all the size, cost and other data in one place.

If your little ripper enjoys multiple mountain biking disciplines, you might want to check out Best Helmets for NICA Riders, Best Helmets for Enduro Kids, and Best Full Face Helmets for Kids.

Specialized Shuffle MIPS mountain bike helmet for kids

Specialized Shuffle LED Standard Buckle MIPS Helmet – Kids’

Hit the trails or ride around the neighborhood with your young ones, while keeping them safe with the Shuffle LED Standard Buckle MIPS Helmet. A hybrid shell construction offers increased protection, and the added MIPS system helps protect against certain impacts and rotational forces. The Headset SX system keeps the helmet snug and is easy for kids to use to get a perfect fit. You’ll also love the LED light on the back of the helmet that keeps your kiddo visible on their way back home.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

POC ito Omne Spin Kid's Mountain Bike Helmet

POCito Omne Spin Helmet – Kids’

Your little shredder inherited your love of two wheels, and with the POCito Omne Spin, they can sport matching protection while sharing your passion. Informed by the adult version, the Omne Air Spin, the youth version features a 360-degree size adjustment system that makes it easy to find the perfect fit even as they grow. EPS foam provides all-around protection, while vents draw air through the helmet for efficient cooling on warm days.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

Lazer Gekko MIPS mtb helmet for kids

Lazer Gekko MIPS Helmet

When your young rider is ready to roll, it can be nearly impossible to get them to sit still long enough to tighten a helmet. Lazer’s Gekko MIPS Helmet provides a kid-friendly fit system to get your rider on the road quickly and safely. The AutoFit retention provides an even and secure fit without needing to fiddle with a dial, so they can get on their way with less hassle. Inside the helmet, the MIPS layer provides extra peace of mind as it helps dissipate forces of rotational impact. Finally, the pinch-free chin buckle helps avoid grumbles as your little shredder finally heads off on the trail.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

Bike helmets for kids - Giro Scamp with MIPS

Giro Scamp MIPS Helmet

Giro designed the Scamp MIPS Helmet to offer top notch protection to the smallest riders. They use the same In-Mold polycarbonate shell and EPS foam liner in the Scamp as in its adult helmets, and includes MIPS technology. MIPS refers to technology added to absorb the brain-damaging rotational energy created in certain crashes. Another key point is the Roc Loc fit adjustment system. Roc Loc makes fit adjustments quick and easy. Your kid will also like the bright colors and sporty look of this helmet.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

POC Pocito Crank - kids bike helmet

POC POCito Crane Helmet – Kids’

POC POCcito Crane Kids’ Helmet uses dual polystyrene and EPS foams provide a solid combination of low-speed and high-impact protection. Additionally, POCito includes moisture-wicking padding and passive ventilation to keeps your rider’s head from getting overly sweaty. Your kid will love the POCCito’s classic street style on the trail or at the skatepark.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

Giro Tremor MIPS bike helmet for kids

Giro Tremor MIPS Helmet – Kids’

The Giro Tremor MIPS Helmet offers Giro’s best technology, sized down for smaller riders. Firstly, the Temor MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) can redirect energy and provide more protection in certain styles of impacts. Secondly, the inside padding is easy to remove and wash after a hot day on the trail. Finally, the Tremor includes a RocLoc fit system for fast and secure fit adjustments.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

Bell Super 3R MIPS Helmet

Although the Bell Super 3r MIPS helmet is designed for adults, it will fit heads sized 20-24.4 inches. We love having one helmet that will work for cross country riding and provide some extra protection when trails gets sketchy. This helmet is well ventilated without compromising the helmet’s structural integrity.  Importantly the design includes a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). MIPS technology helps absorb and diffuse indirect or oblique forces. During certain crashes, this slim layer rotates slightly to absorb rotational forces. See our full Bell Super 3r MIPS helmet review for more details. Note: this helmet is sometimes listed as “men’s” or “women’s” but the only difference is color.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

HelmetShell Material / Impact FoamHead Circumference RangeCertificationsManufacturer Warranty
Lazer Gekko MIPS HelmetPolycarbonate20in-22 inchesCE, CPSC, AS1 year
Specialized Shuffle LED Standard Buckle MIPS Helmet - Kids’20.5in-22.5 inches1 year
POCito Omne Spin Helmet - Kids’Polycarbonate19.7-24 inchesCE EN 1078, CPSE 12 03, AZ/NZS 20631 year
Woom Kids’ HelmetPolycarbonate / EPS18.9-23.6 inches
Giro Tremor MIPSPolycarbonate / EPS19.75- 21.75 inches1 year
Giro Scamp MIPSPolycarbonate / EPS18.75-21.75 inches1 year
POC POCito CranePolycarbonate / Polystyrene and EPS impact foams20.1-21.3 inchesCPSC
Bell Super 3R MIPSPolycarbonate / EPS20-24.4 inchesCE EN 1078, CPSC1 year

The Best Mountain Biking Shorts And Pants For Kids

The best mountain biking shorts and pants for kids
The best mountain biking shorts and pants for kids

Our favorite mountain biking shorts and pants for kids: Before buying your child’s mountain bike gear, there are a few things to keep in mind. Determine the type of riding they do, and when. This could resolve whether they need more protection, or perhaps less. It may determine if they need mountain biking shorts or mountain biking pants that provide maximum flexibility when changing positions – standing on the pedals or sitting on the saddle. The weather could dictate what they’ll eventually prefer to use while out and about. Shorts may be perfect for the summer, but mountain biking pants might be a wiser choice during the colder months or when riding technical terrain. Finally, other features to consider are length, the number of pockets, how fit is adjusted, and the availability of padding or chamois.

Not all mountain biking shorts and pants for kids are created equal. Here are a few for your consideration.

Mountain Biking Shorts For Kids Comparison Chart

ProductMSRPBuy from
100% - R-Core MTB Shorts - Youth$79.00BTO Sports
Troy Lee Designs Skyline Youth MTB Shorts$65.00Competitive Cyclist
Kids Dakine Prodigy Bike Shorts$60.00EVO
Fox Youth Defend S MTB Shorts 2019$79.95Jenson USA
Zoic Boys Ether Jr Cycling Shorts$50.00Amazon
Troy Lee Designs Youth MTB Shorts$80.00Competitive Cyclist
Pearl Izumi Junior Canyon Shorts$60.00Pearl Izumi

Pearl Izumi mountain biking shorts for mtb kids

Pearl Izumi Junior Canyon Shorts

This mountain biking short has all the fit, style and function of mountain bike shorts from our adult range, not to mention being durable enough to handle additional off-the-bike adventures. They feature a sewn-in liner short with our Junior 1:1® Chamois, for enough breathability and support for long ride adventures.

Zoic youth Ether MTB shorts

Zoic Youth Ether MTB Shorts

Zoic’s Ether Jr Shorts are a good choice for the kids. Made of 96% polyester, 5% spandex (gusset: 87% nylon/ 13% spandex), the DuraFlex fabric stretches when they move and has integrated Air Flow mesh ventilation panels below the back waistband. It resists abrasion, too. The 6-pocket shorts include zippered pockets and a nifty headphone routing for media players. Elastic rear waistband and hook-and-loop side adjusters allow room for growth.

Available in colors: Digi Camo, Green Camo, and Grey Micro. Sizes S/M/L/XL. MSRP $50.00 USD.

TLD Skyline shorts for mountain biking kids

Troy Lee Designs Skyline Shorts

From bike parks to alpine trails, the Troy Lee Skyline Short does it all without breaking a sweat. It’s made of a lightweight, breathable, stretchy, and temp-regulating CoolMax fabric built to handle punishing days on the bike, and then boasts a spandex back panel for extra mobility where it’s needed most. Adjustable hook-and-loop waist tabs provide a comfortable fit and accommodate growing kids, while zippered hand pockets keep gear (i. e. snacks) safe for energy-fueled adventures.

Fox youth Defend mountain biking shorts for kids

Fox Youth Defend MTB Shorts

Combining durability and 4-way stretch, the Fox Youth Defend MTB shorts keeps your kids agile on tough climbs and covered on rapid descents with its TruMotion all-way stretch for increased mobility. Made of 94% polyester and 6% elastane, it features body-mapped laser perforated areas on the front and back to keep you cool. The durable water resistant finish keeps away water, dirt, and debris. Ratchet closure provide a secure fit and allows quick on-the-fly adjustments. Zippered pockets complete this classic.

Available in Red or Black in even sizes 22-28. $79.95 USD MSRP.

100% R-Core mountain biking shorts for kids

100% R-Core Mountain Biking Shorts For Kids

Perfect for a downhill run when paired with knee pads, this durable yet lightweight selection is made of durable water repellent (DWR) 600D fabric and its 4-way stretch woven paneling increases maneuverability and comfort. These mtb shorts come in black only with stretch-mesh venting to increase airflow and mobility. Adjustable closures and a zippered pocket are included, too. Other features include a silicone print on the inner waistband to minimize slippage, an internal mesh lining to minimize chafing and add comfort, and fade resistant sublimated graphics.

The R-Core shorts come in even sizes from 22 to 28. MSRP of $79.00 USD.

Troy Lee Designs Sprint Shorts - mountain biking shorts for kids

Troy Lee Designs Sprint Mountain Biking Shorts For Kids

You may be hesitant to drop him off at the local trailhead or bike park, but the Boys’ Sprint Short by Troy Lee Designs affords you peace of mind in the face of inevitable spills and nasty falls. That’s because Troy Lee Designs reinforced them around the backside to handle abrasion, should he slide out on the trail or overshoot a jump in the park. The rest of the short is constructed from a burly polyester fabric with added stretch that conforms to his every move, whether he’s pumping around the park or dropping into technical trail sections.

Dakine MTB Shorts for Kids

Dakine Prodigy Youth MTB Shorts

Coming in light at 7 ounces, but strong and durable, the Dakine Prodigy bike shorts for kids is great for trail riding. The 4-stretch woven fabric offers unrestricted movement while the double-stitched construction adds durability. This pair is made of 92% polyester, 8% spandex and meets the Bluesign® criteria for sustainability. It’s quick drying, moisture-wicking, and comes with interior single-snap waist adjusters for a perfect fit. Front hand pockets complete the loose-fit style.

Available in a single color of Star Gazer, with sizing in Small (waist sizes 20-22), Medium (size 25-26) and Large (size 26-28). MSRP of $60.00 USD.

Mountain Biking Pants For Kids Comparison Chart

ProductMSRPBuy from
Fly Racing Kinetic Youth Pants$99.95Jenson USA
Fasthouse Fastline 2.0 Youth MTB Pants$99.00Jenson USA
Fly Racing - 2019 F-16 Pants (Youth)$59.96BTO Sports
Fox Youth Defend MTB Pants$99.95Competitive Cyclist
DHaRCO Gravity Pants - Kids’$95.00EVO
Dharco MTB Pants for Kids

DHaRCO Gravity Pants – Kids’

For the gravitationally-inclined youngster, it can be hard to find a pair of pants that fits right and is comfortable to wear on long trail rides and while using padding. The DHaRCO Gravity Pants are here to fix that. They’re stretchy, durable, resistant to mud and water, and tailored to perfectly accommodate the needs of a seriously trail-thrashing kiddo.

Fox Racing Defend Youth Mountain Biking Pants

Fox Youth Defend Mountain Biking Pants

Ride with confidence whether you go all-mountain, enduro, or downhill riding with Fox Youth Defend MTB Pants. This pair is perfect for aggressive riding with a 4-way stretch construction, targeted ventilation, and durable water-resistant coating. TruMotion all-way stretch fabric gives increased mobility, and the ratchet closure provides a secure fit and easy on-the-fly adjustment, while zippered hand pockets keeps your items secure. At 65% polyester, 27% polyamide nylon, 8% elastane, the durable water resistant finish sheds moisture, dirt, and debris.

Fasthouse mountain biking pants for kids

Fasthouse Fastline 2.0 Youth Pants

FastHouse Youth Fastline 2 MTB PantsLive life in the FastlineYour new favorite riding pants are here. Introducing the FastHouse Youth Fastline 2 MTB Pants, a durable, stretchy and great-looking pant that you’ll feel right at home in when you shred the bike park. Constructed of 400D polyester on the body and 600D polyester on the seat area, these pants were built to be durable. The Youth Fastline 2 Pants have four-way stretch panels for improved movement and also have a short-length inner liner for comfort.

Fly Racing Kinetic mountain biking pants for kids

Fly Racing Kinetic Mountain Biking Pants For Kids

Respected for its track cred and its maker’s solid reputation, and developed using stylish materials and innovations, the Fly Racing Kinetic Youth Pants 20’ could be a must-have. Updated for 2020 with various features including new, tapered lower and longer inseams on select sizes – this better fitting option still has all the features the Kinetic is known for such as its ultra-durable and breathable multi-panel 600D construction upper pants, and lightweight P200 4-way stretch material. It also retains the essentials such as the exclusive zipper lock system and ergonomically pre-shaped knee designed to accommodate most types of knee pads.

Available in Black in even sizes from 18 to 24. Priced at $99.95 MSRP USD.

Fly Racing F-16 MTB pants for kids

Fly Racing F-16 Mountain Biking Pants For Kids

Fly Racing’s F-16 line gets you ready for the ride. The material they use is 600D polyester for strength and outstanding durability. The look is clean, sleek, and relaxed. Multi-directional stretch ribbing gives the needed flexibility, and the mesh comfort liner keeps your mtb kid cool. Other features include ergonomically pre-shaped knees that accommodates most knee protection. Other features included soft-flex protective knee badges, and adjustable waist belt for a custom fit. An infamous YKK® branded main zipper guarantees maximum durability.

This item is available in a variety of color combinations to suit every taste in even sizes from 18-26. MSRP of $79.95 USD.

Tim McChesney Interview

Tim McChesney Interview - professional freeskier and avid mountain biker
Tim McChesney Interview - professional freeskier and avid mountain biker

Tim McChesney knows gravity is season agnostic. If you feel the same, chances are good that you look forward to seeing Tim and his co-workers on screen every year as autumn yields to winter and the ski industry releases their annual bounty of inspirational flicks. Of course Tim’s profession mandates chasing snow, but the last time we crossed paths with him, it was at the old Rampage site in Virgin, Utah on mountain bikes.

We owe a big thanks to Tim for taking the time to talk to us and kinda-sorta going beyond the skis and snow.

Tim McChesney - mtb jump
Where did you grow up and how old were you when you started skiing? I was born in Minnesota. When I was five-and-a-half, we moved to Bozeman and that’s where I kind of figured out what skiing was. We used to ski at Bridger Bowl. I moved to Utah when I was 17 to try and pursue a professional career in skiing and just be located around the industry. I've been in Utah ever since. When did you start mountain biking? I started mountain biking around 4 summers ago. We have pretty sweet mountain biking up in Big Sky and I went five or six times but didn’t really get into it. Living in Park City, everyone is always mountain biking and I finally decided it’s time to invest in a bike. I think I rode it every single day for the rest of that summer. What are some of the mental parallels you have discovered in skiing and biking? I think mountain biking is the closest thing to skiing for me. A lot of it is because you are moving so fast and the decision making is very similar. Just like the slightest little movement can change your whole line. You’re constantly focused and it’s similar to skiing for me in that your decisions have to be super quick and precise or it could end pretty horribly. Do you like lift-served mountain biking or is it always pedaling for you? I like it all honestly. I try to do a good mix of resort, shuttle laps, bike parks and short pedals or even huge adventure rides. Getting far out there has been cool because I started exploring some of the zones that I spend a lot time skiing in. A lot of them have these old beat-up trails. The craziest one I did was last year. We started in American Fork Canyon and rode from American Fork all the way over to the Wasatch Crest Trail. Then we rode down Mill Creek back to my house. We saw the whole Wasatch Range where I ski. That was awesome. I think it was about 9 hours and it was around 60 miles. There was a lot of hiking mixed into it because a lot of the trails are not purpose-built for mountain biking.
Faction skis from EVO
Lange ski boots from REI
Oyuki gloves from EVO
Where are your favorite places to ride bikes now? I love the whole Park City area, just because you can go on a 20-mile ride and ride so many different trails. Gnarly trails, smooth stuff, good cross-country riding – it's all such a good mix. Do you run or hit the weight room to keep in shape? I don’t really do anything and as I’ve gotten older and I see the affects of that. I really feel that the more time I spend on my bike leading up to the winter – the stronger I am on my skis right after that. Usually the first couple of weeks of ski season I’m beat up and sore and tired every day, but if I just spend a ton of time on my bike leading in to the season, my legs feel great right after that. That’s been one of the positive effects of biking for me. For mountain biking – tubeless tires, 29-inch wheels, carbon frames, and other advances in tech have really changed the game. What are some of the innovations you’ve seen in the ski world over the last few years? Some of the bindings I’ve been using have some pretty crazy advancements because I do a lot of backcountry skiing. I like to have a touring binding that I can also ski pretty hard on and not worry about them. I use a binding called the CAST touring system which is a new technology that makes it so you can have a solid touring binding with pins, but then ski on a full downhill binding once you descend. That’s changed so much in my skiing and probably the best technical advancement I’ve noticed. Ski boots have definitely gotten so much better as far as having a touring ski boot that you can ski the resort every single day on and just have a warm ski boot for every day. What new developments do you see on the horizon for the ski market? People are trying to make skis lighter, stronger, and more durable. But overall, skis are skis and they honestly don't change a ton every year. Whereas the mountain bikes, someone comes out with a new bike with different geometry or lighter parts, stronger wheels and so on. Whereas if you ski, and you've skied five or ten years ago, you really wouldn't find huge differences in them.
Pro freeskier Tim McChesney mountain biking
Have you ever helped with product development or testing? I've done product development with Faction skis. I've been with them for almost 10 years now. They started as the new guys in town and now they've grown to be a huge ski brand. I think this is the ninth or tenth winter I have helped with developing some of their skis. I give feedback to whatever I'm spending most of the time on. Just like what I think about flex patterns for different models for varying conditions and durability. I spend a lot of time on these products compared to a regular consumer, so they like to know what's going on with the products and how the cores are holding up. Woodward Park City opened just over a year ago. Any thoughts on that venue? It’s awesome. I've been to a couple different locations and I was really looking forward to the Park City one opening for winter reasons and of course summer reasons. I think we lost a lot of local freestyle bike terrain and Woodward has built some awesome bike park trails. I really want to do a backflip on a bike at some point in my life. My goal is to go to Woodward and do it a couple of times into the foam pit. If that goes well, I'll eventually move to dirt, but we’ll see how it goes into the foam pit first. Have you ever used a foam pit for your skiing? I haven’t done any of that. It’s fun to go up and build your own jumps and features. A good powder landing is still as good as a foam pit. Have you ever coached or mentored young skiers? I coached in person for a program called Access Freeride. Me and a bunch of friends all worked for them for a couple seasons with some awesome kids who have done well at X Games and other competitions. It's pretty cool to see. We coached Colby Stevenson. He won two X Games medals last year.
Tim McChesney - pro freeskier on the mountain bike
What were your first big breaks that led to you getting attention from sponsors? I started out by doing a lot of slopestyle competitions and I ended up winning the Aspen Open. That was so long ago, but it was a big step for me. I did a lot of the film stuff early on, too. Successful action sport athletes can choose to compete, create content for social media/film, or a combination of both. Do you believe there are negative aspects to this model? I did a lot of competitions growing up and I wasn't really having a ton of success after a year or two. I just kind of got sick of traveling to events with horrible conditions and having to ski. I had some other film opportunities that I wanted to pursue and it's awesome to take that path because you're kind of just more enjoying it, doing your own program, and hanging out with some good friends. Like social media as well these days – it's pretty fun to go out and produce content and post it.
If there was a gnarly mountain bike invitational for skiers only, K.C. Deane would be invited; you'd be invited, but who else would there? Who else is a formidable mountain biker from your department? My good friend Lucas Wachs rips on a bike. Sage Cattabriga-Alosa is an awesome biker. All these freeskiers that don't have anything going on in the summers just spend all summer biking. You gave an interview about 6 years ago where you said you're getting old. Do you think you're a better skier now than you were 6 years ago? In different aspects – yes. I’ve focused pretty much all my energy on backcountry skiing. That's one of the things that really takes a lot of experience and time in order to be safe; knowing how to get around and where to go basically. In that aspect I would say I'm better than I was. There's also other aspects of the sport that I was better at back then. It’s a change basically – like an evolution of my skiing. But 6 years ago, I could go to a training park and do a lot more tricks than I could probably do right now. That’s just because I spend more time skiing in the backcountry than in the parks these days.
Tim McChesney trades in the skis for mountain biking during the summer in Park City, UT
What do you think about the Little Cottonwood Canyon Gondola project? I spend so much time up there, but haven't been following their plans closely. But I can definitely say whatever they can do to help with the traffic – I am all for it. Things are just getting crazy up there. Would you be for, or against an initiative where skiers have to pay to access Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon? That's a hard one. I'm not sure about that. If it would limit the numbers of cars going up there every day? Then yeah, I would be for it. I guess Solitude has been charging and I don’t know how effective that’s been. I mean this is such a pinch with Salt Lake City being so close and then only 2 skiers in each car up this tiny little canyon. There has to be something done with the amount of user groups going up there these days. What are your thoughts on IKON and EPIC passes? I don’t really get that argument. I don't think that EPIC and IKON pass are really changing it that much. I think people will ski no matter what. People who are going on ski vacations spend all this money to come ski and they're going to buy lift tickets regardless. I know it probably increases the numbers somewhat. What are your favorite resources for tracking storms? Ha! I spend far too much time looking at the weather during the winter. I'm on my computer looking at forecasts for Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, I use Open Snow the website and app a lot and then I'll see where the storms are heading then kind of dive deeper by looking at SNOTEL, NOAA and pretty much every resource you can think of. What's the right blend of work, fun, and meeting your obligations to your sponsors? With skiing, you want to make video projects from your season. You want to be proud of the work, obviously. But you’ve got to remember that you're going out there and skiing with your friends. It's always fun, but it does get stressful sometimes – trying to get certain shots or the weather is just not cooperating and you drive 13 hours to Canada and get rained on and pretty much drive straight back. When things don't go how you want, I try to just brush that off and move on to the next trip or next day of skiing.
Do you have any film projects in the works right now? We’re filming a team movie for Faction this winter. What happens behind the scenes when getting footage for a project like this? Does the production team do recon or do you guys just pretty much know where to go depending on the weather? Definitely tons of recon. That helps a lot with like the whole filming side of things. You can waste so much time looking around while you have a hired film crew ready to film. If you have some objectives and the logistics figured out – you go to the location and get the shots. That's the best way to do it. A lot of times it’s usually some of us getting out on snowmobiles, then ski touring to get to different locations. The Utah To BC film from the Faction Collective dropped a few weeks ago. Do you have memorable moments from getting the work done? I’ve been pitching Faction to spend some time in Utah and finally they said “We'll fly Etienne Mérel out there.” Everything we were getting in Utah was snowmobile based, pretty much. It was awesome and we were able to get out everywhere, no problem. As soon as travel restrictions are over, where's the first place you're going? Will it be a ski trip or a surf trip? I guess that depends on the timing of everything. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to Japan. We’re having a killer season right now and it's been a little hard watching everyone see some epic powder over there and being stuck over here. They've gotten more snow than they know what to do with. What do you have in the quiver this year for ski equipment? I spend most of my time on the Faction Prodigy 4.0. I ski that in a 185 length. I use Look Bindings and Lange Boots. I stay warm and dry with Saga Outerwear. Oyuki Japan is my glove sponsor. I’m also an EVO ambassador. Thanks a lot for your time, Tim. We can't wait to run into you again – wherever that may be. Yeah, definitely. Hopefully you guys have a good winter.

Thanks to these photographers / videographers for allowing us to use their images… 

Vinny Mauro

Rocko Menzyk

Christopher Peters
Dirt Coast Website

Ten Great Mountain Bikes For NICA Kids

Mountain Bikes For NICA Kids

Mountain Bikes for NICA Racers – Your little mountain biker isn’t going to be so little much longer. If those years of waiting for her or him to keep up with you have not already gone by, don’t blink. It will happen fast.

As your kids get older they will continue to enjoy outdoor adventures and learning new skills on their mountain bikes with your family. However, since friends will become increasingly important in your pre-teen/teen’s life, you’ll want to be sure that your mountain biking activities include friends.

Hardtail Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders | Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders

You may have already heard about the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Founded in 2009, NICA develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. American kids in grades 7-12 may have the opportunity to join a NICA mountain biking team. Participating on a NICA team leads to making new mountain biking friends and having even more fun on bikes.

Since 2009, participation in NICA has grown 30 to 40 percent each year. There is an element of competition and racing. However, the purpose of NICA is to support student-athletes in the development of strong body, mind, and character through their efforts on the bike. NICA is a great experience for young riders. Here are 10 bikes that may work for your young rider as they become a NICA racer.

Hardtail/Front-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders

Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star Mountain Bike NICA

Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star Hardtail Mountain Bike

The Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star Bike is a lightweight and efficient hardtail mountain bike. Your NICA rider will enjoy cruising the trails and shredding the single-track on the Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star. and. The RDO carbon fiber frame has internal cable routing. The 2-Star Niner Air 9 RDO comes with a SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. This includes a cassette that has a hill-crushing 11-50T gear range that makes climbing and pedaling through rough terrain much easier. SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power so your NICA rider can descend with confidence. With the Niner Alloy wheels and Schwalbe tires, you’ll be able to set everything up tubeless for a smoother ride, better traction, and fewer flats. This hard-tail carbon mountain bike is fast and light and may get your motivated racer on the podium.

Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 Bike NICA

Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 Mountain Bike

REI’s Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 hard-tail mountain bike is an excellent trail machine for your NICA racer. Firstly, the 27.5+ tires provide great traction on the roughest of terrain. Secondly, a 1×12 SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain enables quick shifting and reduces weight. Thirdly, the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes deliver reliable control and stopping power. Finally, the X-Fusion Manic dropper seatpost and 120mm of travel delivers quick, smooth ups and downs so your NICA rider is ready to handle whatever the trail brings.

GT Zaskar LT AL Elite Hardtail Mountain Bike NICA

GT Zaskar LT AL Elite Mountain Bike

Your NICA rider will love this high-performing hardtail. The GT Zaskar LT AL Elite features GT’s iconic triple triangle frame construction. This trail bike is equipped with an SR Suntour Zeron 35 suspension fork which provides 130mm of travel. The SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 provides an excellent range of gears. The Shimano MT400 hydraulic disc brakes will control your racer’s momentum in the most demanding conditions. The WTB ST i30 rims are wrapped in Schwalbe Nobby Nic Tubeless Ready tires for outstanding grip and traction anywhere.

Diamondback Overdrive 29 1 Mountain Bike NICA

Diamondback Overdrive 29 1 Hardtail Mountain Bike

The Diamondback Overdrive 29 1 is a hardtail trail bike. The lightweight aluminum frame provides a smooth, efficient ride feel. The 29″ wheels will roll easily over obstacles. Tektro mechanical disc brakes will provide your NICA rider with plenty of stopping power.  The 2×8 Shimano drivetrain provides ample gearing.

Vitus Sentier 27 VRW Women’s Mountain Bike High School Racing

Vitus Sentier 27 VRW Hardtail Mountain Bike

This hardtail bike offers your NICA rider the feel of control and confidence on the toughest mountain bike trails. First, the Sentier 27 VRW features a light aluminum frame. Second, this heard-tail mountain bike is equipped with 140mm travel Marzocchi Bomber to eat up any rough terrain. Third, the Shimano MT410 brakes provide ample stopping power. Fourth, the reliable Shimano 1×11 drivetrain gives your NICA racer all the gear range they’ll need to enjoy racing and training.

Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Kids

Orbea Oiz H30 2021 Full Suspension Mountain Bike NICA

Orbea Oiz H30 2021 Full Suspension Mountain Bike

The Orbea OIZ H30 2021 is an ultra-light full suspension mountain bike that can handle the most technical trails with ease. Firstly, the Orbea Oiz H30 has a hydroformed aluminum frame that is designed for increased strength and stiffness. Secondly, the H30 Oiz comes with a Shimano Deore/XT 1×12-speed drivetrain. Thirdly, the hill-crushing 10-51T gear range facilitates climbing and riding in rough terrain. Fourthly, the Shimano M6100 hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power for confidence and control. Importantly, the Fox suspension on the front and rear creates a smooth and efficient ride.

Salsa Blackthorn Deore Mountain Bike Full Suspension

Salsa Blackthorn Deore Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Treat your NICA racer well with this cross-country machine. The Salsa Blackthorn Deore Mountain Bike features a lightweight aluminum frame with progressive geometry prepared for the techiest of trails. The Shimano Deore 1 x 12-speed drivetrain can handle the toughest of climbs. The 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes will keep your NICA rider in control when they ride downhill. The progressive suspension creates a smooth and safe ride. This mountain bike features some great additions for your high school racer. First, downtube mounts accommodate a large water bottle and a pump. Second, this bike comes with the Salsa EXP Series Tube Strap and an integrated frame mount for your tube and tools. Importantly, the TranzX YSI05 dropper post is height-adjustable by 30mm—total travel varies by frame size—and includes a Shimano remote lever

Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 Bike NICA

Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 FS MTB 

The Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 Bike is a long-reach trail bike with progressive geometry providing both descending control and climbing power. Notably, the BallisTec Carbon frame is strong and light. The Fox Float Performance 36 Fork and Float Performance DPX2 EVOL shock will smooth out the bumps. The SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain provides a huge gear range for continuous power. Your NICA rider will appreciate the stopping power and control provided by Guide RE hydro disc brakes. The Jekyll Carbon 29 3 rolls on Stan’s NoTubes Flow S1 rims with Maxxis Assegai tires. This capable trail bike Includes Cannondale DownLow dropper seat-post with a sweet cable remote.

Santa Cruz Tallboy NICA Mountain Bike

Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy C XT Complete Mountain Bike

The Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy C XT Complete Mountain Bike is fast and maneuverable. Santa Cruz’s super light carbon XC bike has lots of things to make your NICA rider happy. Firstly, The Fox 34 Float Performance Elite boasts 120mm travel. Secondly, the Tallboy C XT has a 1×12 Shimano XT drivetrain. Thirdly, plenty of stopping power is provided by a Shimano Deore XT Trail Brake set. This Tallboy will definitely pedal all day, but it’s down for some shenanigans too.

Norco Revolver FS 2 120 29” 2021 Mountain Bike FS

Norco Revolver FS 2 120 29″ Mountain Bike 

The Norco Revolver FS 2 120 29″ Bike is an endurance race machine. This cross-country mountain bike has a stiff carbon frame that boasts 120mm of travel on the front and rear. Your NICA ride will appreciate the frame’s bottle cage mount, internal cable routing, and integrated chain-stay protector.

The FS 2 version of the Norco Revolver comes with a SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. This includes a cassette that has a huge 11-50T gear range that makes climbing and pedaling through rough terrain a breeze. SRAM G2 R hydraulic disc brakes provide confidence-inspiring stopping power so you can descend under control. With the X-Fusion Manic dropper post, you’ll be able to quickly lift and lower your saddle with the press of a lever. Whether your high schooler is descending steep and technical terrain or climbing steep hills, they will love this bike.

For more lists of the best kids bikes, check out our Kids Mountain Bikes page

Meet Kat Sweet – Sweetlines Coaching And Junior Racing

Kat Sweet Interview - Sweetlines Mountain Bike Coaching and Mountain Bike Racing
Kat Sweet Interview - Sweetlines Mountain Bike Coaching and Mountain Bike Racing

Kat’s a true ambassador for mountain biking because her dedication to having young people experience the sport and progress their skills ranks her among the planet’s MTB Royalty. Over the years, her Sweetlines clinics and coaching have enabled girls, boys, women and men to build confidence, create community, and promote stewardship through the sport. Kat operates most of her offerings at the Duthie Hill Bike Park in Issaquah, Washington.

Kat’s 2021 clinic sign-ups start on February 1st. Visit the Sweetlines website for more information.

Sweetlines:  Instagram | YouTube | Facebook

Images from Kat Sweet's Sweetlines mountain biking programs

In the summer of 2018, our family was at the Duthie Bike Park for the first time and there were obviously kids’ mtb camps going on. I recognized the Sweetlines tent and jerseys from social media and hoped the Sweetlines Owner, CEO and head Coach Kat Sweet was on-site. With her trademark pink and blue dyed hair, she was easy to spot at the middle compound of the bike park. When I got the chance to interrupt her day and say hello, Kat had already noticed one of our kids around the park and she invited him to ride in her coaches’ jump jam at the end of the day.

Now, with the pandemic and racial tensions testing America’s culture and politics – Kat has faced both of these challenges head on. For her clinics to take place during the pandemic, several measures had to be taken to comply with local regulations for crowd sizes and social distancing. Kat has always been about equality, but following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others, Kat chose to ramp up her efforts to make the sport more inclusive and level the playing field for children who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color between the ages of 6-14 to join the mtb community.

Since she started Sweetlines and Sweetlines Junior Racing, Kat and her fellow coaches have been able to mature their teaching skills for riders of all ages and abilities. For instance, they have created a vocabulary of terms that eliminates the technical mumbo-jumbo, but is still geared towards riders executing proper body position, cornering, braking, and other techniques.

When we most recently caught up with Kat, she told us about how she wants to make sure her clinics allow all to participate, what lies on the horizon in order for her clinics to continue during the pandemic, how her teaching has evolved, and more.

Kat and her coaches and riders a mtb event for girls

Kat Sweet Interview

The world is a lot different than it was a year ago. The pandemic, race issues and inclusivity are dominating topics. Tell me how you're dealing with these issues based on your perspective, experiences and goals. I just talked to a friend who is a transgendered woman, just finding out people's stories in the bike worlds and trying to come up with ideas on how to be more inclusive and more diverse. We could definitely do better. That's the biggest thing. Are the people you're speaking with optimistic? I've been talking to a lot of optimistic people. I have a lot of friends in the bike world who are people of color and so I've been having conversations with them and hearing their stories and ideas. If I want people of color in my community, I should talk to people of color and find out how to make that happen. So, I’ve just been having a lot of really great conversations with a lot of different people. When can kids register for your summer camps? My summer camps go live February 1st. They usually sell out by February 15th. How do you make sure people sign up for the right clinic based on a rider's experience? I’m pretty good at sorting kids and we ask a lot of preliminary questions to find out who's in what group. Actually, that reminds me. I need to check in with all the parents for the next camp to see if anybody's leveled up since they registered.
Sweetlines Junior Camps
I watched your 2012 ‘If She Can Do It’ video. It looks like it could have been made yesterday or last week. Have you changed anything significant as to how you coach? Oh my gosh, yes. So, I honestly cringe a little when I see it. I think, “Oh, we don't use that terminology anymore.” It has some really good info. But we've definitely updated pretty much everything that we teach. That movie has a lot of our old terminology and old ways of teaching. We've updated a lot of things, especially when it comes to jumps, drops and cornering. For cornering, we've come up with the Five H's of cornering. So, you've got your Head, is always the first thing to look. For your Heart you’re almost like paddling a kayak and you want your shoulders looking where you're going and you're slightly leaning in the direction you're going as well or dipping down. Then your Hands are going to lean the bike. Then, if you move down the body, you've got your Hips and your Heels. So, for the hips, you want your belly button looking where you're going and you want to counterbalance with your hips. And then for the heels, you're going to add some pressure at the apex of the turn to help give you traction and to help you cut out of that turn quicker. When jumping, I always walk people through the pieces of the jump; explain the pieces of the jump, what to do where. And then I got away from the word preload because I found when people preload they use too much upper body and they try to bend at the waist and bend their elbows too much. If you watch really good jumpers or good jumpers, they're really using their whole body weight to press into their feet. So, I call it loading or stomping into the lip of a jump and really pressing your heels into the lip. You're using your whole bodyweight to really press into it. You can think of it like a diving board. if I just walk out to the edge of the diving board and I just step off of it, not much happens, but if I press down with my whole bodyweight, the board's going to push me up into the air. I learned the diving board analogy from Shaums March and the BICP. Same thing with my feet on my pedals, if I press down into the bike, the bike comes up with me, and then I'm guiding it with my arms.
Sweetlines coaching, mountain bike clinics, and junior racing team

Do you come up with these techniques on your own and model it over time and practice, or do your other coaches assist with developing? I love collaboration, I'm all about collaboration. So, the coaches that I work with, we all geek out over this stuff. We'll get together, “Okay, we like how we’re seeing this. What should we change? What can we make better?” It's always a work in progress. You coach youth and adult mountain bikers. Explain a bit about how you coach different age groups. There are a lot of similarities. We really “kiddi-fied” our language a lot to make it fun and sometimes silly. My coaches have come up with some really good analogies of what movement is. Instead of saying modulate your brakes, because that's boring, we use smores braking. You don't want to smash your smore. You want to modulate, you want to gradually bring the graham crackers together before you bite it. So, things like that. It sounds really silly, but I think it's really fun. And once you have a visual of, “Oh, we're smores breaking.” Or for little kids, we use things like for tall and low positions, we use Proud Puma and Pouncing Puma and it gives you that real, “Okay, I'm a proud Puma. I'm standing up tall. And now I'm a Pouncing Puma, I’m about to attack the trail.” So, it makes it fun and it gives them a good visual of what that means. For kids, you want to give them a couple of key words and then start practicing right away. With adults, I can give a little more detail. But I always try not to give too much at once and sometimes I’ll layer it like an onion. I'll give them the first piece of cornering. It will be just leaning the bike side-to-side. Then I'll add in head hands and start turning a little bit. Then we'll add in the hips, make sure they get the bike leaning in the correct direction and the hips looking the right direction before we add in the heels. So, I'll do like one piece at a time. Sometimes they won't even get to heels till their next lesson or two lessons later. With kids, you just have to keep things really short and quick and get them moving quickly.

MTB Helmets For Kids

Make sure your kids have proper, well-fitting head protection.

Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids

G-Form knee pads for kids

Knee Pads For Kids

Knee pads are another level of protection for young riders.

MTB Knee Pads for Kids

Camelbak LUXE hydration pack for kids

Hydration Packs For Kids

Is your kid big enough to carry their own water and supplies?

MTB Hydration Packs for Kids

When our kids were growing up, we had to keep things short and quick because of their physical limitations and attention span. Do you do the same thing? We do our summer camps there all day. From 10:00 am till 3:30 or 4:00 pm, depending what age group they are. Our format is to do a little bit of skills and drills, go ride a trail, do a little bit of skills and drills, ride a trail, eat lunch, play games, try the pump track, do some more skills drills, go for a ride. We give them a little bit of the skills and the drills and the foundation, then go. The first day of camp is always the most skills and drills because you want to make sure they can brake and they can stand up on their pedals and use all the positions they'll need before you hit the trail. Then you have to be really flexible. Every group is a little different. Some groups can handle more skills and drills. Some groups just really need to ride and burn some energy. So, my coaches are really good at reading their groups and figuring out the group dynamics and how things are working and what the group needs. And then two, we give them some ability to choose when they're ready to try a new trail or, “Oh, yeah, here's a good motivator to use unlocking as a key to unlocking the trail. We're going to do this skill drill and once everybody gets the skill, then we're going to unlock this feature on the trail.” They all have to work together to try to get everybody through the obstacle before you can progress. So, my coaches are super creative and fun and they come up with really great ideas like that. And then we do goal setting too. Such as, “Okay, we made it halfway up this hill, our first try. Look, there's a tree next to us. Our next time up this hill let's try to get past that tree by five feet. And then the next time we're going to try to get to that boulder up there.” So, looking for the places where you can get a little bit farther up the hill. And then we also do GnarStars. We use GnarStars to reward the kids if they do something good or if they're supportive of other riders. And then two, if they make it all the way down lower boot camp, standing up on their pedals the whole way, you can get a GnarStar. So, 10 GnarPoints is a GnarStar, earn 10 GnarStars and they get a Kat-i-corn sticker. So, the kids all week long are trying to get to the Kat-i-corn stickers. I've had so many great people that have worked with me over the years and come up with really fun ideas. I love bringing people together and collaborating and always making things fresh, and new, and exciting for the kids.
Sweetlines drills and stretching prior to practice laps at a youth mtb race
What are some of your favorite moments that you get to experience with students of any age? I feel like the confidence that kids gain from mountain biking really translates into life and so even just for every level of kid, there's something they want to conquer. Whether it's just a front wheel lift or maybe another kid's trying to get a back wheel lift and the next kid’s trying to do a bunny hop. Once they accomplish those goals, the smile on their face is just huge and they feel so proud that they did something that was really hard to accomplish. I love being a part of that and acknowledging them when they do try really hard. And it's not always easy. When they do accomplish something you can tell how stoked they are and I get really stoked for them. Are there any young mountain bikers you've been working with who have shown up as a novice bike rider and over the years moved on to your Sweet Lines Racing Program? Yes! So many. Oh my gosh. One of my great stories is L, coach L-O-L, Elena Runyan. She started with me when she was 12 years old. She showed up at camp, very new mountain biker and she had this fierceness in her and she just wanted to excel at mountain biking. So, she kept coming back for programs and asking lots of questions. She was just really driven and really proved herself over the years. Very quickly she became a mentor in my programs. Then she became an assistant coach. Then she became a coach. Now she's one of my lead coaches. She's also a professional downhill racer. She is a collegiate national champion. Elena is on my elite racing team now. Next, we have Sydney Haberman, Syd Vicious is what we call her. She has been with me since she was probably 10 and she's 17 now. She's a Junior Expert racer and she has dreams of World Cup. She definitely has the mental piece, physical piece, and skills. I'm really excited for her future. Julia Shred-ulia, she's been with me probably since she was eight. She's 14 now. She started doing tuck-no handers when she was 13. She's one of the best jumpers out there. There's a big difference between being a good bike rider and a good racer. What are the things that you concentrate on in order to improve race results? It's not just about riding a bike. There's a lot of ingredients involved in being a great rider and racer. So, taking lots of classes and building skill are super important. Of course, you want to have fitness. Fitness isn't just riding. It's not just having endurance or riding bikes, especially for downhill. It's also gym work. It's working on your fast twitch muscles. We've been doing workouts once a week through Zoom and then they work out on their own as well, especially my elite girls. So, we do fitness training. We’ve done some mental training too. And with my Sweetlines Junior Racing girls, we had a book club through the COVID times and we spent two months working on this book called The Confidence Code for Girls. It gave a lot of examples and science and tools on how to build your confidence. That was great and really helpful for racing and for life in general. So, there's a mental piece of downhill racing. And then eating well, of course. Nutrition is huge, too. Knowing how to fuel your body before a race weekend, during a race weekend, after a race weekend.
Sweetlines Junior Racing
Is there anything else that you want people to know about you or your programs? I have made a few “how-to videos” but they're similar to online curriculum. I have my sample stuff ready right now and I'm going to use it for coach training for my coaches. We'll create more and more videos that are for kids of all ages. They'll be very fun. Topics will include: gearing up, helmet fit – things like that. Then we're going to move into the basics of shred skills. You're going to have Tall And Low for one lesson, Bouncing, Stomping, Absorbing. I really want to try and make our teaching methods more available to a bigger audience.
Sweetlines riders ready to hit the trails

Transition Scout Review

Mountain biker Teagan Heap shows off her Transition Scout

Transition Bikes was born in 2001 and the company has grown to become one the industry’s favorite brands among mountain bikers because of its ability to cater to riders within its region of origin and beyond. That’s a beautiful thing when your testing grounds are one the world’s best places to mountain bike. If your family is ready for rocks, roots and ruckus, you’ll have to put the Transition Scout on the list for your kids’ next bike. Get the build options, live pricing, and availability from the Transition Bikes website.

Mountain biker Teagan Heap shows off her Transition Scout

Transition:  Website | Instagram | Facebook

Who Is The Transition Scout For?

The bike is designed to get your family up, across, and down aggressive trails. Its 27.5inch wheels, low geometry and availability in a x-small frame size means the Scout will fit riders as short as 4ft 10in tall. Keep in mind that Transition is headquartered in Bellingham, Washington. The owners of the company live there and the Scout was created to thrive on the area’s terrain and trails. The full-suspension bike was built for steep, loamy descents, roots, tight turns, and jumps.

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Follow MTB With Kids on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

Transition Scout review - rear triangle
Linkage detail - Transition Scout Review
Transition Scout V3 - Geometry Illustration

Updated Geometry For The V3 Scout

Billed as longer, lower, slacker – the SBG (Speed Balanced Geometry) for the Scout is its foundation for fun. Not everyone can dash through the trees or send freeride lines like Hannah Bergermann. That’s why this generation of the Scout has angles and measurements suited for agility and stability at varying speeds.

A. REACH410435460485510
B. STACK577590604617631
C. EFFECTIVE TT LENGTH534564593623652
D. SEAT TUBE LENGTH350360390430460
E. EFFECTIVE ST ANGLE78.2°77.7°77.2°76.8°76.4°
ACTUAL ST ANGLE72°72°72°72°72°
F. HEAD TUBE LENGTH95110125140155
G. HEAD TUBE ANGLE64.0°64.0°64.0°64.0°64.0°
H. CHAINSTAY LENGTH430430430430430
I. WHEELBASE11531185121712481280
K. ESTIMATED BB HEIGHT337337337337337
L. STAND OVER HEIGHT665665673686698
M. FORK OFFSET3737373737
Side view - Transition Scout Review

As with other bikes in the current Transition line-up, the Scout features acute angles along the length of the frame’s tubes. This is achieved through the expanded polystyrene molds during the bike’s fabrication and carbon lay-up process. We can’t recall this design approach before. Aesthetics can be bound to one’s own preferences, but in our opinion, it’s kind of bold and different. And, it works.

Front triangle - Transition Scout
Transition Scout

Set up from the factory to run 140mm of travel in the back, the Scout is also compatible to run at 150mm. For most on a bike in this category, 150mm of travel in the front is plenty. On their website, Transition says you can swap out the fork for +/- 10mm but anything beyond that will affect the bike’s handling.

Riding The Transition Scout – By Teagan Heap

My Scout it custom built. I have some super rad sponsors who make the best gear out there, so I started with a small frame.

Transition Scout Review - three quarter view

DVO takes care of my suspension and they custom built the internals to my weight and riding style. It’s optimal to have suspension that works when you are a small human. A Deity stem with Speedway carbon bars, saddle, grips and pedals are on my Scout along with Maxxis tires. The TRP brakes provide a ton of control and power, which lets me run them really close to the bar. I also use their 12 speed drive train with a 32t Wolf Tooth sprocket.

Getting power from the pedals is done through 155mm Canfield cranks – pretty rad that they make such short cranks! I run Onyx hubs. They rooooollll for days. The engagement always being right there and not having any drag, especially when you barely weigh anything is something else. Headset and spacers are taken care of by Wolf Tooth, which is a super sick way to tie in all your colors. Plus, my dad likes the headset. Something about the dust seal keeping him from having to clean it all the time.

Air time on the Transition Scout

Even though the Scout hails from the PNW, it works all over the place. For this write-up, I put it though its paces in Sedona. We ended up picking some sweet exposed trails to ride with some slippy technical features. I’ve ridden there before on some of my old bikes, and the Scout was so much better. I’m beyond stoked on how sick it handles everything I throw at it.

Controlling the Transition Scout on a technical climb

When choosing my trail bike for this pedal season I had a couple of choices from Transition and decided the Scout was the best option. The reason I chose to go with the Scout was due to it being slightly shorter travel, making it super efficient on climbs, while it still keeps a super slack head angle. For me, the bike needs to feel pretty close to my downhill bike. You never know when you’re going to have to get sendy! A 29er is just too much wheel for my riding style and the longer travel trail bikes start to get too deep into the downhill bike category.

The Transition Scout is an excellent trail bike for kids 4'10" and taller
Getting the wheels of the ground aboard the Transition Scout

The Scout pedaled up very well making the techy climbs not as difficult and the steep bits easy – probably because of how slack the bike is! I have ridden this bike all over Bootleg as well. It’s super poppy when you have to bunnyhop and miss rocks, or just bump jump a trail section for fun.

My Scout has a 175mm dropper post. I could probably have a 200mm because the seat tube on the Scout is designed to be long. This is so you can actually get your pedal height AND get the seat out of your way completely on descents! The Transition Scout is definitely my all-time favorite pedal bike. It lets me keep that DH fun but in a way that lets me pedal it everywhere, too.

Sendy in Sedona - Transition Scout Review
Teagan Heap - Mountain Biker

We owe a big thanks to mountain biker Teagan Heap for helping us with this review. Follow Teagan on Instagram @teaganheap to keep up with her adventures throughout the season. Teagan would like to thank her sponsors: Transition Bikes, DVO Suspension, Maxxis Tires, Canfield Bikes, Onyx Racing Products, Deity Components, TRP Cycling Components, Wolf Tooth Components

Riding Bootleg Canyon with Kids

Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park - Boulder City, Nevada

Mountain biking Bootleg Canyon with kids: Just 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas lies Boulder City, Nevada. This small town sprouted from the desert as a result of needing to house contractors building the Hoover Dam. The construction of the dam was a WPA project from FDR’s New Deal agenda enacted to bring the county out of the Great Depression.

Fast forward to the late 1990s and a local by the name of Brent Thomson spearheaded the trail building in the western mountains bordering the city. Along with the help of many friends, this trail network would become the Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park. Unfortunately, Brent passed away in 2009 – but his love for mountain biking has evolved to become a unique destination for mountain bikers all over the world.

Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park - Boulder City, Nevada

Helpful Resources For Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park

Getting To Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

If you’re approaching from the north, you’ll have to go through Las Vegas on I-15. Once in Vegas, after exit 42 just hop on I-515/I-11 south and take that to Nevada Hwy 93.
Once in Boulder City, you access Bootleg by taking a left turn on Veteran’s Memorial Drive and another left on Yucca Street.
Mountain biking family
DVO Suspension Winter Gravity Series

MTB Races & Shuttle Service

900 Canyon Road
Boulder City NV 89005


Check the website for several mtb races and events through the winter months.


Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park Trail Map

Bootleg Is A Warm MTB Winter Wonderland

We visited Bootleg Canyon for the first time a little over 3 years ago as an escape from Salt Lake City’s dreary and cold “Inversion” season. Inversion is a cleansed word describing SLC’s pollution problem and this usually occurs in the months of January and February.

The novelty of being in the sun, enjoying 50º-60º temperatures, AND riding mountain bikes with the family in the dead of winter is strong incentive for loading up the mini van and hitting the road. More than once, the weather has been so favorable, we have camped at nearby Lake Mead in January and February. It can be windy at times with gusts reaching well over 20 mph. For optimal riding, be sure to check the weather in advance.

Bootleg Canyon bike sculpture
Camping at nearby Lake Mead - MTB road trip to Bootleg

When you approach the zone via Canyon Road/Yucca Street from the “downtown” area, you’re greeted by a wonderfully crafted metal mountain bike sculpture designed by a local shop by the name of Ornamental Iron Works. The bike is about 12 feet long x 8 feet tall. And, because it’s a mountain bike, it featured faux full suspension. The sculpture is an appropriate preface of what’s to come. Some of the trails at Bootleg require big-time skills.

Be prepared to ride at Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

Be Prepared To Ride At Bootleg

Riding Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park will make you better – but you better be prepared! The terrain can be steep, exposed, and sharp rocks grace almost every trail. Be sure your bike is in excellent working condition. You are going to need your brakes and suspension, so make sure they are ready to go. Make sure your tire pressure is correctly set – or at the very least, you will get a flat. You could also tear a tire, dent a wheel, or smash a derailleur.

For first time visitors, we recommend wearing a full-face or enduro helmet with removable chin bar when riding Bootleg. Gloves are also a must. Knee-pads, elbow pads, butt-pads, neck braces and chest protectors are also common protective gear at Bootleg Canyon. These should be a requirement if you are going to ride the downhill trails.

We would strongly recommend a full-suspension mountain bike for riding Bootleg. If downhill mountain biking is your specialty, there will be plenty to do.

Mountain Biking With The Family At Bootleg Canyon

There are no lifts to get you to the top of the trails. You can pedal, self-shuttle, or get a paid shuttle on most weekends. The graded, unpaved road from the base of the hill next to the restrooms and large parking areas is most commonly used to reach the top of the mountain. If you are going to the start of the downhill trails, you will hike-a-bike for about .25 miles up from where the graded road ends.

Pedaling up to Bootleg MTB trails
Bootleg Canyon shuttle

Some of the trails at Bootleg Canyon are challenging to say the least. If you are going to ride here with smaller kids, an adult with at least strong intermediate skills needs to pre-ride all the trails you intend to ride with the little ones. There is plenty to keep a young family busy, but it will be best if you plan ahead and make your itinerary based on your group’s riding ability.

When you are at the top of the graded road, you can see Las Vegas. While looking at the city, the hike-a-bike trail to the downhill trails is on your left. And, the trail Boy Scout is towards your right.

There are options for getting warmed up when riding Bootleg with your family. To get acquainted with the dirt, take a ride on the trail Desert Cruise and return to the base area on the River Mountains access road/trail.

Boy Scout and East Leg

When you’re ready to dial it up a notch, head up Red Mountain Access Road via pedal power or shuttle and try East Leg. Or, head to the top of Red Mountain Access Road and ride Boy Scout. Both Boy Scout and East Leg are gobs of fun and are rated as intermediate trails.

Boy Scout is one of our personal favorites because it’s features consist of everything we like about riding mountain bikes in the desert: fast corners, challenging but passable technical sections, tough turns, narrow lines, and even a few climbs. When you ride this trail over and over, you’re going to get better at mountain biking. You will ride it a little faster, clean a technical section with a bit more flow and finesse, transition to a climb in the correct gear, and so on.

kid on full-suspension bike at Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

Inner Caldera, West Leg, Girl Scout, Mother

Other intermediate trails include Inner Caldera, West Leg, Girl Scout, Mother, and a handful more. Explore these trails. Have a good time riding in this Southwest mountain biking mecca. Similar to some experts no longer calling Pluto a planet, the IMBA once designated Bootleg Canyon as one of its EPIC rides. Once you visit and ride Bootleg in person, you can judge the retracted designation for yourself.

Mother and son riding Inner Caldera trail at Bootleg Canyon MTB park
Mom rides Bootleg Mountain Bike Park with young son

Downhill Trails

The trails Sidewinder, Snake Back, and Ginger are a few of the advanced downhill trails in the park. These tracks are tough. There’s a reason why all the pictures of the downhill trails only feature the kids. Mom and dad just don’t have the skills for these.

You get to the top of the downhill tracks by shuttling your downhill bike or pedaling your trail bike to the top of Red Mountain Access Road. Then, you have about a .2 mile hike-a-bike/pedal to the start zone. All the downhill trails split off of Sidewinder. If you can ride the fist 150 feet of Sidewinder, you’re going to have a good time on these downhill trails. Again, ride within your skill-set and hunt out the downhill trails that make you happy.

Kid with protective neck brace on downhill mountain bike trail - Bootleg Canyon
Riding downhill mtb trail at Bootleg Canyon
Riding the hourglass on a full-suspension enduro bike at Bootleg Canyon

Racing At Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park

In the months of January, February and March – you and the family can race at Bootleg Canyon. Enduro, Downhill and Dual Slalom races are offered to riders age 6 and up. “Downhill” Mike Scheur is the Race Promoter for the events and his team does a great job running the show.

Downhill Mike Scheur

Downhill Mike, Says…

“Bootleg is great for families because there are so many there. If there was only one family at our events, it may be hard to convince others to come. However, these families seem to know each other and are very welcoming to new families just getting into the scene. They not only make you feel welcome and at home – but they are helpful as coaches and as resourceful as one can become for the sport and way of life.”

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Mountain biking mom
Downhill racer

These races are a lot of fun and a great way to ease the winter-time blues. Last year, our whole family raced one of the enduro events. You may even see some of the pros. Mountain bike racers Rachel Strait, Logan Binggeli, Cody Kelley, and Mitch Ropelato often make appearances here to kick off their seasons. Even World Cup overall champion downhill rider Aaron Gwin shows up once in a while to get his groove on. For more information and registration, visit

Current Trail Stewards And Other Features At The Bike Park

“Brent Thomson was not alone in his efforts when building trails”, exclaims Mike Scheur. “Dan Haskin is the acting Trail Boss at Bootleg. His brother Jeff and others started on the trails back when the sport was in it’s infancy. The local bike shop, All Mountain Cyclery and Dan Haskin have been providing maintenance and building some new stuff, too. Our crew, Bootleg Canyon Gravity Racing, works on all race trails before and after each event.”

Mountain biking kid on wood skinny
Bootleg Canyon Welcomes You - sign
Advanced jump line at Bootleg Canyon mountain bike park

Near the main base area, there are a few jump lines you’re free to session. Just treat it like a sledding hill and be on the lookout for oncoming downhill traffic prior to dropping in. Northeast of the base area, there is a see-saw feature, wood skinnies, small gap jump and a couple more senders. North of the metal bike sculpture near the entry of the bike park, there is another advanced jump line. On your left as you enter the park, there is a pump track.

Bootleg Canyon Truly Offers Something For Every Mountain Biker

With it’s proximity to Las Vegas, Bootleg Canyon is very accessible compared to many other riding destinations in the Southwest US.

This zone has earned its place on our winter month road trip itinerary year after year. We eagerly look forward to riding its challenging and unique terrain when the temperatures drop at our home and the local trails are covered in snow. When you visit Bootleg, you’re going to have plenty to do. You can easily enjoy a long weekend with the family so you can experience all this great zone has to offer mountain biking families.

We highly recommend visiting Bootleg Canyon with kids for families that want to get some sunshine in the winter months. Check out our Trails and Destinations page for more ideas for family mountain biking adventure.

Make Tonight Free Mountain Bike Movie Night

Free MTB Movie Night - Dec 13, 2020

Have you seen all of these before? Here’s a list of movies and a very exciting 2019 women’s XC race you can watch for free online today. We’ve chosen a couple of old favorites as well as a film released just a couple of months ago. Get the popcorn going and enjoy.

Women’s XCO finals – Albstadt 2019

Women's XCO Finals - Albstadt, 2019

Brutal climbs, wet woodwork, and greasy trails vs. some of the best women XC racers in the world. Click on the ‘Women’s XCO Finals’ tab on the right from a desktop to see the race.

Purple Mountains

Ok. We’re sneaking in a movie from professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones. He takes on exploring climate change and how it has become a politicized, money driven issue.

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Ryan Leech in Kranked 6 – Progression

Ryan is the ageless O-G of the North Shore and trials riding. This is a bonkers clip from 2006. Take a look at his online mtb coaching site, too.

The Flying Squirrels and Radical Rippers

Learn about a youth development mountain biking group for girls based in Bellingham, Washington.


This one always chokes dad up because of the little kids at the beginning. He clearly remembers being at the old Whistler skills parks when the kids were still on a balance bike and 20in bike. Created by Scott Secco and Ryan Howard – this was part of a past Dirt Diaries film contest that took place during Crankworx Whistler.

Danny Macaskill – Industrial Revolutions

Mom found this one years ago. The music and cinematography are on par with Danny’s riding.

Bontrager Avert Women’s Mountain Bike Rain Jacket Review

Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket Review - featured image

Lightweight enough to toss into your pack with your other gear, but with enough protection from the elements, the Bontrager Avert Women’s Rain Jacket will keep you dry on rainy days and warmer on those slightly crisp rides. MSRP is $169.99 USD and you can get it on the Bontrager/Trek website.

Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket Review - featured image

Available in three different colors, olive, black and cardinal red, as well as an array of sizes ranging from extra small to double extra-large – this women’s jacket was designed for durability and comfort.

Water beading upon the Bontrager Avert Women's Stormshell MTB rain jacket
Hydration pack on the Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket
Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket Review

It’s made of Stormshell waterproof fabric that has a 37.5 membrane that keeps you dry. The material is very breathable, ensuring that you won’t overheat on those hot, muggy days. With that said, the light protection that it provides makes the Stormshell jacket a great warm outer layer should the weather cool off a little while you’re out riding. After all, it’s rated for between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the temperature down even more with a a base layer like the Bontrager Vella Women’s Thermal Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey.

The jacket weighs less than half a pound. Normally, I just stuff it into my hydration pack, but it folds up well into the built-in pouch, too. The hood is compatible with various helmets, so you don’t have to make a decision between keeping your head dry or protected. The roll and click BOA adjustment system is a great amenity for this women’s rain jacket.

Hood over mtb helmet on the Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket
BOA hood adjustment system - Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket

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Hood down detail - Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket
YKK Zipper and seal tape detail - Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket

There are two pockets that both zip shut, giving you an extra place to keep your valuables. Plus, the semi-fitted style allows for plenty of movement without bulk, so you won’t have to worry about the jacket getting bunched up when moving on the bike. It’s comfortable when I wear a hydration pack as well.

On the bike with the Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket
The Bontrager Avert Women's Rain Jacket is flexible and comfy

My Experience With The Bontrager Avert Women’s Mountain Bike Rain Jacket

I have been using this jacket all season long and it’s been my favorite for cycling, running, and walks when the weather has been less than ideal. It’s small and light enough that I hardly notice it when it’s in my hydration pack. During a couple of NICA team rides that ran a bit past dusk late in the season, I simply dug this out when the temperature fell and was comfortable on descents at elevation.

During a heavier than expected rain storm in Moab last spring, the jacket performed very well. The YKK AquaGuard zipper and taped seams stopped water from getting inside and I really like the over-sized hood. The elasticized sleeves and waist cord are still springy.

Thanks to the Bontrager Avert Women’s Stormshell Jacket, you won’t have to wait for those perfect sunny days to head out on the trails.