The Bikes of Kali Camp

The Bikes of Kali Camp

Sitting around the campfire at Kali Kamp I recognize almost no one. Sure we spent the day turning pedals together, but all the faces were new to me and now I’m at a loss for who’s who. So I’ve reverted to the age old technique of identifying everyone by asking “hey, what bike are you riding?” This not only makes it easy to identify who they are and how they ride, but supplies hours, upon hours, of mutually entertaining conversation. 

“How much travel does that bad boy have?”

“How wide of bars are you running?”

“Did you try the same bike in the 29er version?”

“How much tire pressure did you run today?”

“How do you like those brakes?”

“That paint job really brings out the color in your eyes, did you do that on purpose?”

I may not remember a single persons name from Kali Kamp, but I will never forget the blinged out paint job on that Ibis Ripmo. Or the dude running the Trust fork on his Santa Cruz. Or how the one bruh ripped the deep and the steep on that hardtail Kona. Or the...


Bobby McMullen, of RideBlindRacing: Santa Cruz Bronson

Tire Pressure: 19 front, 23 rear. 

Pedals: Flat pedals

Handlebar width: 790mm 

Brakes: Magura M7

Suspension: Coil and Air shock 

Weight: 29 pounds

The Why: It’s just f#@$ing fun

I ride the best, Santa Cruz. I’m very fortunate to be supported by such a great company.

“Quite honestly, throughout my life, anytime or any place I can throw my leg over a bike and roll in some dirt it’s truly far simpler than a favorite trail."

Andy Friesen: Santa Cruz Tallboy

Handlebar Width: 810mm 

Pedals: Flat

Brakes: XTR 

Suspension: Air shocks

Weight: 28 pounds 

The Why: I love how the whole thing goes together. So good. 

“The Tallboy is an awesome trail machine for cross country, moderate downhill and is good for mixed trails.”

Jason Aven, of Kali Protectives: Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon 

Tire Pressure: It depends on the terrain. If I know it's going to be a lot of climbing and or rolling singletrack, that is not too technical, I will have them at 25-30 psi. For technical and choppy stuff I tend to ride between 21-25 psi.

Handlebars: 760mm bars

Pedals: One Up platforms. Long story short, I broke my leg just above the ankle trying to clip out. When trying to go back to it, I just didn’t care for the hassle of getting out of cleats when I had to do sharp turns.

Brakes: Shimano XT Disc Dual Piston with 180 size rotors, front and rear.

Suspension: Fox Float DPX2 read shock

Weight: Maybe 29 lbs 

The Why: As a heavier rider the suspension and linkage combo make it more forgiving and compliant to my climbing and descending needs and does not compromise the ride. When riding the Pivot it is almost like I am one with the force.

"When I ride on dirt, the only thing I’m thinking about is the line I am taking and the desire to repeat the section so that I can find that sweet spot. If it is chucky, than it is the most challenging and it forces me out of my comfort zone. Being forced out of my comfort zone keeps the ride more alive and exhilarating. I just want to ride the line again over and over again so that it becomes second nature and the fear of failure subsides."

Kevin Talley, of Grizzly Cycles: Kona Honzo ST

 Price: “I can’t say how much the bike costs, because my wife would kill me.”

Tire Pressure: I'm running Mynesweepers inserts and 16-20 psi, depending on the trail.

Handlebar Width: 800mm 

Pedals: Shimano XT clipless

Brakes: SRAM Guide RS

Suspension: DVO Sapphire 34, set at 140mm of travel. 

Saddle: Deity Speedtrap

The Why: Hardtails are more fun. More sketchy but more fun. I enjoy anything on two wheels, however my favorite type of mountain biking has to be rough technical downhill terrain that really challenges the limitations of the bike. 

“I am pretty sold on modern 29ers. Now geometry has made them just as playful as the smaller wheeled offerings but the bigger wheels just offers free speed, as it rolls over everything. I really want to ride the new 29" Kona Operator CR downhill bike because I haven't ridden a 29" downhill bike yet.” 

Eric Brecheen, of Kali Protectives: Ibis Mojo HD4

Tire Pressure: 18-19psi

Handlebars: 740mm

Pedals: Shimano XT Trail

Drivetrain: SRAM Eagle 

Suspension: Air shocks

The Why: Ibis is a cool local company with good products.

"I mostly ride technical trail, gravel (on dirt singletrack), loaded travel bikes, E-city commuters, and cruisers with mounted kid-seats. A cargo bike might be in the future too. I would have tried to tune the suspension better and let some air out of the tires. The bike did well but the pilot sucked. Don’t blame the bike."


Debbie Helm, of JRA Bikes and Brews: Trek Fuel EX 9.9

Tire pressure: 15psi

Pedals: Eggbeaters by Crankbrothers

Brakes: XTR brakes

Suspension: Air

Weight: 22 pounds

The Why: It is a nice all around bike and great for someone that weighs less than 150 pounds.

"I like to beat the guys on the downhills. When I am riding my bike, it makes me happy."

Xavier Lasselle, of Crazy Bear Bikes: Ibis Ripmo

Tire Pressure: 18 front, 25 back 

Handlebars: 780mm 

Pedals: Clipless, the most comfortable 

Brakes: Hope E4 

Suspension: Air shocks

Weight: 31 lbs. 

The Why: The frame is gorgeous, it is designed by a lady and you can see the difference. It climbs as good as it goes downhill.

"I could talk to you about my bike for hours."

Gene Hanson, of Grizzly CyclesKona Process 153 

Tire Pressure: 27-28psi

Handlebar Width: 780mm 

Pedals: HT Supremes. I love them, my calves don't. 

Brakes: SRAM Guide 

Suspension: Air shocks

The Why:The Geometry of the frame and it’s pretty color. 

"I love a challenge and the thrill / fear of testing my limits and boundaries. I love the progression of mountain biking. You can ride the same trail over and over and not get bored if you are truly pushing your limits. You can go faster, jump higher, or pick a sketchy line. I can see myself on a mixed wheel bike next. The frame geometry and the handling characteristics of a “Mullet” bike are intriguing to me."

Jon Sacks, of Kali Protectives: Pivot Mach 6 

Tire Pressure: 24 psi front, 26 psi rear. I find I get too much sidewall deflection when I run crazy low air pressure.

Handlebars: 780 mm. Short stem and wide bars for the win. 

Pedals: Shimano XT clipless. I’m old school.  Plus, I love my sidi shoes. They are the only Italian leather shoes I can justify.

Brakes: I ride Shimano brakes, because they work, always. 

Suspension: Fox front and rear.  Even a Fox dropper post. 

Weight: My bike weighs too much.  I don’t know the weight of the bike, but in my travel bag it’s at 50 lbs, even on the airline scale.

Saddle: WTB saddle, because no matter what bike I’m riding if it’s got a WTB saddle. It feels like home. 

The Why: It’s black, it rips, and it was designed 12 miles from my house. 

"I like trail riding cause it’s what mountain biking was meant to be. Riding in Santa Cruz never disappoints. My bike climbs great when someone with a killer set of lungs and legs is on it."

Vince Gest, of JRA Bike and Brew: Intense Primer

Tire Pressure: 20 psi up front, 22 in the rear. 

Handlebars: 780-800mm, too wide.

Pedals: Clipless

Brakes: Shimano XT: 4 piston in front, 2 piston in the rear.

Suspension: Air shocks

Weight: 29.5 lbs.

The Why: I love the rear shock, because it has really good tunability to how I ride.

“My bike is excellent and all around well-balanced.”

Alain Lanusse, of Kali Protectives: 2019 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper

Price: “A kick in the ass and a free ride home.“

Tire Pressure: Usually trail riding I’m about 25-28ish front. 28-32 rear, but all depends on conditions. Balancing traction and ability to stop burping the tire in heavy carving action.

Handlebars: 780mm bars, cut down to about 760mm.

Pedals: Old school Shimano M424, with the plastic platforms. I was flat pedaling for a while on the trail bike, but I'm back to clipless for efficiency and control.

Brakes: SRAM guide. (Thanks Rick Wilk.)

Suspension: Ohlins trail coil rear prototype and Ohlins front. (Thanks Brad B.)

Weight: No idea on weight it’s not heavy with a carbon frame and carbon wheels so it does climb pretty dang good. It’s a trail bike, not an XC bike, so as long as it gets me down the hill in one piece that’s all that matters.

The Why:  I would change nothing about his bike.

"My style of riding is descending for sure. Steep, rooty, rocky, technical, flowy, jumps, loam, berms, and racer style meets moto. I didn’t always enjoy the rocks and roots coming from a BMX race background and groomed tracks… but I learned to really appreciate it the more I would travel to ride Whistler and learn better techniques and now I just love rocky, rooty steep sections."

Brad Waldron, of Kali Protectives: Santa Cruz Bronson

Tire Pressure: 30 psi, it keeps from flatting

Pedals: Chromag Dagga. I ride flats because I like the flexibility when I’m going downhill.

Drivetrain: Shimano XT

Suspension: Fox shocks

The Why: The favorite part of my bike has to be the saddle, because when I’m on it I’m riding. But, I wouldn't change anything. 

"My preferred style of riding is Enduro, as I love going downhill. But know I need to stay in shape, so I’ll suffer through the up to get to the down. I always liked more descending and less cross country. When I tried 29, years ago I did not love it. I keep hearing it has gotten better, so I would like to give a 29er a go."

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