Vital MTB's The Inside Line Podcast - Episode 8, Jose Gonzalez, Director of Suspension Development, Trek Bicycles 26

A knowledge of suspension and passion for mountain biking that runs deep.

Vital MTB's The Inside Line Podcast - Episode 8, Jose Gonzalez, Director of Suspension Development, Trek Bicycles

Jose Gonzalez has been involved with mountain bikes and mountain bike suspension almost as long as the products have existed. Coming from an extensive motocross background with Kawasaki, Jose found a love for mountain biking and suspension development in the early years of Manitou. He and his team developed some of the most important suspension products of the era, which helped turned mountain biking and world-class MTB competition into a true performance sport. Since 2006, Jose has worked with Trek Bicycles as Director of Suspension Development at his small-but-efficient laboratory in Valencia, California. He and his team work with Trek bike designers in Waterloo, Wisconsin, to engineer high-performing full-suspension mountain bikes like the Remedy and the Slash.

Jose has a knowledge of suspension and passion for mountain biking that runs deep. We discuss past product development, working with riders like John Tomac, and the future of mountain biking with topics like changing product standards and 29-inch wheels in downhill applications. Get ready to geek out with one of the innovators of our sport.

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  • MatadorCE

    4/27/2017 10:38 AM

    Another great episode. Don't agree at all with the way Trek thinks about bikes and there is a reason why I'm not drawn to any of their products. Sounds like these guys would love for every bike to have proprietary and frame/model specific parts so that you have to buy a complete bike anytime that there is a change. Not a sustainable business model IMO.

  • lsemple

    4/23/2017 5:27 AM

    Great show and really insightful, but it’s a shame they try and justify the refreshing of kit every three years as being driven by technological innovation/restraints. That statement is disguised business greed imo. If they kept standards the same, it would be an arguable point, but they change standards deliberately to force sales so it’s clearly b*ll*cks. It's just going to ruin the sport at the mid-level and stop people buying for long periods, so ultimately counterproductive. Messing with standards stops riders from being able to "rolling upgrade" which forces them to buy new frames, forks, wheels etc; this ultimately damages the component market as people are better off buying a new bike as its usually cheaper to start again. I’m still riding a hardtail, with 100mm travel, 3x9, 135 OLD and 26 inch wheels. I don’t need to upgrade as it works fine for me, but I would like to upgrade. However, I’m not spending thousands on a replacement that will have obsolete standards within 3 years, try 10 like my current bike lol. They should spend more on lobbying, trail building, sponsoring and justifiable innovation and less on faux-innovation to line pockets… I guess business people ruin everything in the end.

  • kidwoo

    4/21/2017 7:05 PM

    Thanks a bunch for talking to Jose spomes. Probably the best one yet! I think he's out in left field with justifying boost because no way that exists over the 150-ish standards in 5 years (and he probably knows this) because everyone with a dh bike already knows all they had to do was move to a 157/20mm standard and get even better benefits on the goals. But super cool hearing his breadth of experience.

  • LowLow

    4/20/2017 11:24 AM

    Great episode. Great questions. One constructive comment...consider minimizing saying "okay" or similar phrases while the guest is talking.

  • sideshow

    4/20/2017 10:48 AM

    All about it. Nerd levels were high while listening, definitely geeked out a bit.

  • krisrayner

    4/19/2017 9:26 PM

    I get was Jose is saying about basically rotating out your bike every 3 years. But even for the avid rider that becomes an expensive proposition, especially with the continual changes and looking at buying complete builds. I'm a picky guy and few complete builds measure up to what I want. In the end buy/build a bike you like and just ride it

    Thank you for the continuing thoughts from racers and industry insiders.

  • jeff.brines

    4/20/2017 6:57 AM

    I thought about this too . I don't think its that expensive all things considered. Your bike will still have a decent salvage value at the 3 year point and when you look at cost/yr to own the bike considering the use you got (at least for a guy like me) its pretty reasonable.

    This of course assumes you go for the "sweet spot" of price vs performance ($3.5-6K)


    4/20/2017 8:56 AM

    Also compare this to other rich guy lifestyle sports, like golf or skiing, and it isn't so bad. It sucks, but it's pretty comparable on a year to year basis. Especially compared to riding or driving anything with a motor. If I ever hear someone say the common refrain of "$10,000 for a [totally tits/dialed in/top of the line complete carbon build with carbon wheels and fancy everything] bike? I could get a 450 for that much!", I'll die.

  • zooey

    4/20/2017 2:10 PM

    Don't tell that to your life insurance company. Short life... nice knowing ya. I liked that "your bike's too small" blog post of yours.

  • kidwoo

    4/21/2017 6:20 PM

    Dude, please. Skis are like 500 bucks if you don't just walk into Shifty Lou's full retail shop in December.

    Not even close to the same universe. Bindings about 200 bucks (and of course you can move them between skis, as well as the boots). And umm psssst: (bikes aren't motorized vehicles, they should be cheaper). I mean I can get a sweet 450f dirt bike for what All mountain bikes across the entire price range cost (which is $10,000).

  • jeff.brines

    4/21/2017 7:39 PM

    Ehhh. I'll give you (backcountry) skiing is cheaper but there is less going on mechanically by a long shot.

    Bikes are items that need to be kept up to work right and have a lot more likely to wear out. Skis not so much. God forbid I start comparing it to sledding...

    End of the day, $1500/yr to ride bikes isn't terrible. Look how much most people spend on beer alone in a year after all...

  • kidwoo

    4/21/2017 7:45 PM

    JB: whens the last time you owned a $3500 bike?


    4/22/2017 2:57 PM

    Woo, most people don't live in Truckee or Reno, so they actually have to drive their asses to the ski resort and often times pay for lodging and food in the process. Plus 99% of people get ski passes, which are expensive as shit. Yeah, maybe I'll grant that backcountry skiing is cheaper than being some asshole who wanders off the street and pays full pop for an MTB at a shop, but that's apples to oranges. Folks who ski backcountry exclusively are uber uber advanced skiers, and the equivalent to that guy in mountain biking absolutely, positively does not pay retail. If you don't pay retail for bikes and you sell them every year or two, your yearly cost is actually pretty low.

  • kidwoo

    4/21/2017 6:25 PM

    I agree with you Kris and thought the same thing when he was discussing it. Dropping 4-6k every 3 years when a lot of times a shock and maybe a new fork is most of the advancement, is hard to swallow.

  • BK1771

    4/19/2017 8:00 PM

    Spomer - really enjoying the Podcast. I think I remember you mentioning you're into surfing lately. Have you checked out "The Wire" by Firewire and Chris Grow? There's some great stuff there that might give you some ideas for this industry too.

  • sspomer

    4/19/2017 9:35 PM

    i have listened to a couple of those and they get me stoked. the dan mann one specifically. i'm stoked about the interviews lined up at sea otter this week. some quality industry people and athletes coming up!

  • MPH24

    4/20/2017 7:47 AM

    Awesome! The Pod is excellent and I've really enjoyed it.

    One thing that would be a nice add, would be in the description to outline the major topics with a time stamp. Often times I don't have time to listen to the whole hour or so in one sitting. It's nice be able to block out 20 minutes here and there so you don't end up stopping mid-story. Bill Simmons does this pretty well as an example.

    Keep up the good work. Great having this Pod in the lineup now!

  • MGilbertson

    4/19/2017 6:41 PM

    It's really amazing to hear about the history of mountain biking from someone who was involved in the early days of innovation in the sport. Thanks for the Podcast!

  • zooey

    4/19/2017 5:34 PM

    Your "ya's", "uh-huh's" and "okay's" are awkward.

  • sspomer

    4/19/2017 6:04 PM

    thanks. super constructive.

  • zooey

    4/20/2017 2:04 PM

    Reminds me of when I try to explain something to one of my friends, who kind of fades off since they got info overloaded, hoping the explanation ends soon, instead of asking for clarification.

  • kidwoo

    4/19/2017 8:33 PM

    Your FACE is awkward

  • gfw

    4/19/2017 5:21 PM

    This is the best series in MTB media by far, keep it up!

  • ALF

    4/19/2017 4:48 PM

    Rad Podcast. Great job with the questions, Gordo!

  • JCL

    4/19/2017 11:08 AM

    Excellent stuff.

  • Who is A A Ron?

    4/19/2017 11:03 AM

    This was the most interesting one to me thus far. Can someone call Tomac and just have him tell stories!?

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