February's free Mountain Bike Action wallpaper download is in memory of Johnny Roy Bottema, who passed away recently after a fearless battle against cancer. Johnny Roy and his "Beach Cruiser" were shot by Mr. John "I'll miss you JR" Ker in our studios in 2002. He last appeared in our March 2012 issue. That story is at the bottom of this page.
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Mountain Bike Action
is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that's
12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking).
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This is the story that appeared in our March 2012 "Down The Trail" column:
Johnny Roy Bottema used to work at mountain biking's ground zero as the factory mechanic for the Intense Racing Team. When Australian downhiller Chris Kovarik was winning 2001 World Cup events, Johnny was the man dialing the machinery. Ten years ago we featured Johnny’s dream bike built "to ride down to the beach on weekends," he joked, but this was no beach cruiser. Ten years later the bike looks cutting-edge and race-ready.
He still rides it to the beach on weekends to blow people's minds. He knows that he's going to meet a ton of people, and the conversations always seem to start with, "Whoa, buddy, where did that bike come from?" John just smiles and answers, "I saw it in a dream."
The frame’s geometry is changed by the shock position. The head angle varies from 65 to 68 degrees, while the bottom bracket can gain an inch in height. The wheelbase can increase by half an inch, and suspension ratios are also adjustable. Access to the shock is gained by removing a lightweight carbon fiber panel that attaches to the frame with Velcro fasteners. How else could JR get enough surface area to apply the Intense decal? Shimano’s twin rotors provided more sudden stopping power than mountain bikers wanted, so the company switched to single discs rather than releasing these to the public. A compressed air tank mounts below the frame to power the shifting needs for a whole weekend of racing. How well did the system work? Brian Lopes used it and is bummed that Shimano is not pushing technology forward (at least for him). The transparent shifter hose gives away the fact that the rear derailleur is powered by air pressure. While dismissed as a gimmick by many people at the time of the system’s introduction, the Airline system offered real benefits.
The bike had nine inches of rear wheel travel, a Manitou X-Vert carbon fiber fork offering seven inches of travel and an early prototype of 2002 Intense M1 frame.