Wade Simmons' Pipedream
Wade Simmons has been in the free ride game since the beginning. His mark has been left on our sport through an extensive catalogue of images and video segments, showcasing his creative ability to conquer lines with unmistakable style. Simply put, Wade’s career has been driven by his desire to do something different. While watching the archived footage of himself riding in The Moment, he couldn’t help but get nostalgic on the bikes that helped make his career.
Bikes like the Pipeline, Switch, RMX, RM7, and RM9 were the tools of Wade’s trade. To him, these were the bikes that had soul. The “Thrust Link”, “NE 3”, and “3D Link” were some of the iconic technologies that helped make these bikes special. This was at a time where adding linkage plates to everything was the obvious solution.
Wade is what we call an “ideas man.” Fueled by Wade’s creativity, Rocky Mountain Bicycles decided to build a very special bike, founded on nostalgia and designed to modern day standards. Tapping into some of his old favourite lines, this is a story of Wade Simmons’ Pipedream.
Gussets and linkage plates were an iconic look of the early 2000's. Riders like Wade were beginning to push mountain biking in a new direction, and the frame designs were changing to meet their demands. From 49mm straight head tubes to adding extra gussets for flair, the Pipedream embodies the renegade spirit of freeride.
Many of the early Rocky Mountain freeride bikes had a feature that allowed you to mount the rear shock in 3 different locations. This was known as "NE 3", and required 2 linkage plates on either side of the shock with a cross-brace to stiffen everything torsionally. While having a bit of fun with cross-bracing designs, the NE 3 Man was born.
The 3D Link was a CNC'd feature on our full suspension bikes of the late 90's and early 2000's. Platforms like the Element, Edge, and Slayer all had versions of the 3D Link, which made it a natural addition to Wade's Pipedream.
The Rocky Mountain Bicycles Development Centre is located at the foot of Vancouver's North Shore mountains and is home base for all of our product development. It's here that we weld our prototype frames, test new ideas, and fine tune the details. Longtime Rocky Mountain Bicycles welder, Al Kowalchuk worked on this custom project, delivering an incredible finished product.
The Godfather of Freeride, Wade Simmons.
Rocky Mountain is proud to have been involved with the feature film, The Moment. We would also like to say a huge Thank You to Wade Simmons for his continued inspiration and dedication to freeride mountain biking.
Presented by Rocky Mountain Bicycles
Featuring Wade Simmons' Pipedream
Frame Development & Design by Tom Ferenc, Lyle Vallie, Joe Kerekes, and James Mallion
Welding by Al Kowalchuk
Frame Preparation by Billy Chang
Paint by Harald Strasser at Toxik Design Laboratory
Magic Unfolding by Big Score Audio &
Voytek by The Heavy Eyes
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
A Film by Scott Secco
Featuring Wade Simmons
Produced by Stephen Matthews
Guest Appearances by Darcy Turenne and Rocky Mountain Bicycles staff
Sound Design by Keith White Audio
Typography by Mike Taylor
Archived footage by Todd Fiander, Christian Begin, Bjorn Enga, Darcy Wittenburg, and Jorli Ricker
Photography by Margus Riga
Special Thanks to Fox Suspension, Race Face, and Shimano
Four generations of freeride: the 2017 Rocky Mountain team
We're excited to announce that Wade Simmons, Thomas Vanderham, and Geoff Gulevich have all renewed ties with Rocky Mountain for 2017. They join the returning Carson Storch to round out our freeride program. The team will ride the Slayer, Maiden, and Altitude—and Carson will get a custom slopestyle bike cooked up in our North Vancouver prototype shop.
Wade Simmons, the Godfather of freeride, said “I’ve been with Rocky Mountain over 20 years now, and I’m stoked to be continuing on the program. We’ve got some fun adventures planned and I’m looking forward to sending it into the coming years. I need to show these young punks a thing or two!”
Thomas Vanderham continues to push the boundaries of big mountain riding, with appearances at select FEST events and in several film projects on the horizon. His precision and focus have also made him invaluable to the Rocky Mountain engineering team, and he works closely with them to develop and refine our bikes.
Geoff Gulevich maintains his globetrotting ways, with plans to log a ton of airmiles in 2017—both on and off the bike. His “Gullyver’s Travels” series will take him off the beaten path, and hopefully not feature too much male nudity.
Returning this year is Carson Storch. The young American athlete had a breakout year in 2016, with a podium spot and best trick at Rampage, and we’re fired up to see what he has in store in 2017.
After a long and storied career at Rocky Mountain, Brett Tippie is moving on in 2017. The Director of Good Times has been an iconic member of our family, and his signature laugh and unparalleled stoke will be sorely missed. We wish you all the best in your future endeavours Tippie, and we’ll see you (or at least hear you) out on the trails!
Rocky Mountain helped usher in the birth of freeride, and we’re proud to have every generation of freeride represented on our team. They continue to push the sport and inspire people to get out on their bikes—we couldn’t ask for better ambassadors for our brand.
Love the Ride,
—Rocky Mountain Bicycles
Photos by Margus Riga, Paris Gore, and Ale Di Lullo.
Carson Storch Podiums at Rampage
Congratulations to Rocky Mountain's Carson Storch! The Bend, Oregon freerider took home 3rd Place at the legendary Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, Utah. He also claimed the Best Trick award for his massive mid-course 360 drop.
Return to Raw
This year's Red Bull Rampage saw a return to the raw, natural landscape that it was known for in the early days. With the blank canvas of a new venue, Carson teamed up with three other riders to build a massive feature with terrifying exposure—unlocking a line that event organizers had previously called impassable.
From there, Carson and his dig crew of Dustin Gilding and Calvin Huth split off from the other riders and chiseled out a landing for a huge mid-course drop, and dialled in several more significant features on the way to the bottom of the course.
"My line here at Rampage has a bit of everything. Steeps and exposure up top, big jumps and high speed lower down... a load of stuff I want to ride, so I'm happy with it." — Carson Storch
We wanted to do something special with Carson's bike for Rampage, so we worked with Painthouse Customs to create this 'Americamo' painted carbon Maiden. The design is inspired by the "dazzle camouflage" used on WWI naval ships.
He runs his Maiden in the slackest Ride-4 position, and with the Equalized geometry set up to use 26" wheels.
After eight days of building, it was time to put tires into dirt. With a steep, technical top section, tons of style, massive tricks, and a strong finish, Carson had all the elements of a great Rampage run. He would end the day in 3rd place, behind Antoine Bizet (2nd) and Brandon Semenuk (1st).
The judges were also vehement that he was the clear choice for Best Trick with his massive mid-course 360 drop. HUGE.
"Can't believe I ended up on the podium with third place, and took best trick. Such a crazy day! Thanks so much to my diggers, friends, family, and sponsors. I was riding for you today Kelly [McGarry]!" — Carson Storch
Congratulations to everyone who rolled through the Rampage start-gate this year. Healing vibes to the guys that got injured out there, hope to see you back soon! So many heavy moves went down, and the sport progressed by leaps and bounds yet again.
The late, great Kelly McGarry was a mentor and friend to Carson, and he'd have been so proud of his ride. A result like this has been a long time in the making for Carson, and we're beyond fired up for him. Already can't wait till next year!
2 Fat 2 Furious: A Fat Bike Freeride Film
We had way too much fun last year shooting our first fat bike freeride video, so we knew we had to do another this year. The goal of 2 Fat 2 Furious was to only ride things that would be harder or impossible on a regular bike. From waist-deep powder to drifty sled tracks to packed down jump lines, the boys achieved just that.
Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Noah Brousseau got rad on their Blizzards all winter, and we're excited to show everyone the result.
"We were having fun ripping around on the snowmobile tracks but looking at all the pow chutes surrounding us it was only a matter of time before we were dropping in—we just had to figure out lines that were steep enough to stay afloat!" — Wade Simmons
The whole gang. Our only regret is that Ludacris was too busy to make it out.
Noah Brousseau found out that there are limits to float. Turns out.
Even the Godfather crashes now and then.
This was the first time any of the boys had hit a proper sized drop on a fat bike. Worked out better than expected!
"I was pretty confident on the 3, it was just hard because I was scared to carve off the lip." — Noah Brousseau
Too much fun, now get out there and freeride your fat bike!
Bike: Rocky Mountain Blizzard
Shot at the Coquihalla Lakes Lodge, Kamloops Bike Ranch, and Coastal Mountains, BC
Filmed & Edited by Liam Mullany
Additional Cinematography by Harrison Mendel
Produced by Liam Mullany & Brian Park
Photos by Robb Thompson & Kaz Yamamura
Special Thanks to Cory Leclerc, Bobby Brown at Maxxis, & Eric Simmons
Music: Jet Trash — Baby C'mon
Welcome to the Team Carson Storch
We are proud to sign Carson Storch to our freeride program. The two-year deal will see Carson compete at a full schedule of slopestyle and freeride events across the globe. He will also be involved in several high profile film projects.
Carson is unique because he rides at such a high level in both slopestyle and big mountain—and he tears it up on trail bikes too. He’ll be a great ambassador for our brand.
"Rocky Mountain has always represented freeride, and is a company that I am proud to ride for," said Carson. "The bikes are awesome, the team is awesome, and they have been very welcoming. I'm happy to start a new chapter in my career with them."
Carson had the opportunity to work with our engineering team to build a custom slopestyle bike in our North Vancouver prototype lab. He will ride a carbon Maiden for the Red Bull Rampage and other big mountain events, as well as a carbon Altitude for trail riding.
We have a deep history in freeride, sponsoring the first freeride team back in 1995. Carson joins Rocky Mountain alumni Wade Simmons, Thomas Vanderham, Geoff Gulevich, and Brett Tippie.
Cheers bud, welcome to the team!
Introducing the Maiden
After nearly four years of development, we’re proud to launch the Maiden. With the freedom to design on an extended schedule, it represents the cutting edge of our technology. Its all-carbon frame was designed from the ground up to perform at the highest levels of World Cup racing, bike park blasting, and big mountain freeriding.
- Travel: 200mm (F), 200mm (R)
- Full carbon frame, link, chainstay, and seatstay
- Optimized for 26” or 27.5” wheels with Equalized geometry
- Four bar Smoothlink suspension
- Pipelock collet axles lock into the frame for stiffness
- Oversized Enduro MAX type bearings for longer bearing life and higher load capacity
- Integrated frame protection: molded downtube guard, shock fender, chainstay protector, and bolt-in fork bumpers
- Di2 electronics compatible with internal stealth battery port
- Internal cable and brake routing
- PressFit BB107 bottom bracket, drop-in IS42|52 headset, 157mm axle spacing, ISCG-05 tabs
- Sizing: S/M/L/XL
We tested a wide range of suspension systems during the Maiden’s development. Many four-bar downhill bikes have very low rising rates (<20% slope). They have good support at sag, but require harsh-feeling higher spring rates or progressive air shocks to avoid bottoming under advanced riders. On the other end of the spectrum, some virtual pivot bikes have very high rising rates (>70% slope). They have great small-bump sensitivity and don’t bottom out easily, but they wallow and lack support at sag.
The Maiden’s rate curve sits between those two extremes with a 40% slope. It starts low enough for small-bump suppleness, ends high enough to avoid bottoming, has good rider support at sag, and allows the use of a lighter coil spring. We also tuned the progression to rise at a near-constant rate for more predictable response and more effective shock adjustments. The result is lively, supple suspension performance. It eats up chatter, pops off lips predictably, and reacts well when pushed aggressively.
Pedaling & Chainstay Growth
The Maiden puts power to the ground efficiently, thanks to a high level of anti-squat (75% with 27.5 wheels at sag) and well-supported suspension.
Chainstay growth is minimal (26mm with 27.5” wheels or 21mm with 26” wheels), and we pushed that growth deeper into the travel to further improve small bump performance while achieving the axle trajectory we were looking for.
Our engineering team spent a lot of time improving traction and control under braking, because more efficient braking makes you faster. Our patent- pending Autonomous braking resists both compression and extension under braking—remaining active through the majority of rear wheel travel and allowing the bike to react to ground forces rather than braking forces.
The Maiden achieves its braking characteristics by balancing anti-rise (35%), caliper counter-rotation, and instantaneous inertial brake transfer values. Our virtual swingarm begins far behind the bike, lengthens backwards through infinity as the bike compresses, and ends in front of the bike. This long virtual swingarm is the key to avoiding the “grip-slip” phenomenon displayed by other bikes, especially single pivot designs.
The effect is striking: there’s more travel available to soak up terrain under braking, there’s more traction, and there’s less hand-fatigue. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
We worked closely with our gravity athletes throughout the bike's design and testing phases, and drew on Thomas Vanderham's personal settings for the bike's low centre of gravity, balanced reach, and aggressive geometry.
Adjustability & Adaptability
There are advantages to both 26” and 27.5” wheels in DH applications. Rather than just putting larger wheels into an existing design and compromising steering dynamics, we created the Equalized Wheel Concept. By using a headtube spacer in conjunction with a second rear axle position, this system allows riders to choose their wheel size while maintaining optimal BB height and fork trail.
We tuned our new RIDE-4 system to adjust geometry while affecting the suspension curve as little as possible. This allows for subtle track-to-track geometry changes in 1/4° headtube angle increments with minimal effect on your shock tune.
Can You Freeride a Fat Bike?
We have to admit, we were hesitant about the fat bike trend that's taking the bike industry by storm (pun intended). There were definitely a few raised eyebrows in the office when we started designing and testing one.
Wade Simmons was an instant convert though; "everyone thinks they're so f@#&ing cool and serious, but it's really just about having fun on your bike anyway." And soon enough, the other guys stopped returning their test bikes on time.
FAT FREE came out of a few days of experimenting and shredding the Blizzard in BC's coastal mountains. It opened all our eyes to the spectacular terrain that's available for fat biking, and it proved to us that the only limitations for these bikes are our own preconceived notions.
If it was ever even a question, the answer is yes. You can and should freeride a fat bike.
Riders: Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, & Brett Tippie, with appearances by Andreas Hestler & Fraser Vaage.
Filmed by: Liam Mullany, Connor Macleod, Chris Fisher, Brian Park, Fraser Vaage, & Andreas Hestler
Music (Main): "Outta Mind" by Night Beats, courtesy of The Reverberation Appreciation Society
Thanks to: Black Tusk Snowmobile Club, Tony Cailes, & Dylan Auld
Photography: Fraser Vaage & Brian Park
Visit bikes.com/blizzard to check out the Rocky Mountain Blizzard. We built it for aggressive, trail-style riding on snow, sand, and other soft terrain.