Ben Lacelles - love him or hate him he is a personality; opinions with sugar coating are not held back with Ben but thats what I like most about him and why he is one of my biggest influences.
He has been on a bike almost longer than I have been alive and as much as it irks me to say it has more natural skill than almost anyone I know.
Ben has a very good understanding of WHAT makes a bike work well and WHAT doesn’t and although we really have no bearing on the industry in any shape or form I think its good to get peoples opinions and draw our own thoughts on them. Ben comes from a BMX background - and because of this I think he ‘gets’ riding - Go have fun and turn the fucking timer off.
Who IS Ben? Give us some history on your background in bikes!
I’m just a bloke who likes to ride bikes. I’ve been riding since I was 3 & I’m 36 now so I’m not sure on how much history you want!
I got my first BMX for my 5th birthday & it’s been a hell of a ride since then! I’ve had a stab at everything from BMX racing, flatland, Real Street, park, bowl, dirt jumps, mini ramp, vert ramp (I suck at it) & about 5 years ago I got my 1st Mountain Bike (Norco Aline Park) & have never looked back!
I started out riding a bit of flow/downhill type stuff & got the opportunity to upgrade my bike & stepped up to a 2012 Trek Session 88, that thing just blew the doors wide open for me! I got right into racing & got to have a heap of fun riding with a bunch of new friends! Now I’m riding more Trail/AM type stuff on a Trek Slash 9.8 & every time I ride it’s just an awesome time!
Does your BMX background change the way you ride or the way you have your bike setup? That seems like an obvious question but I think the answer will be interesting.
Yeah look, It definitely does have an effect on the way I ride, that’s for sure!
I mean think about the fact that, a BMX has 20” wheels, steel frame & no suspension! I used to huck those small wheeled death machines off some pretty dumb shit & at a high rate of speed!
Now look at my Slash, 27.5” wheels, 150mm of travel front & rear, a carbon frame so the whole bike weighs about the same as BMX’s I used to ride, & 11 gears so I can go 5 time faster than I could on the BMX!
So now I hit dumb lines at max speed & I’ve got a fair amount of safety due to suspension, to help get me through when shit goes “UH-OH”, well 9 times out of 10 it helps.
As far as Set-up, I just run a short stem with a 30mm rise bar, but that’s fast becoming the norm on a trail bike, & I run flat pedals, So piss off.
Why are you so damn good at picking colour schemes?
HA HA HA, who knows!!
My old man is a panel beater by trade, maybe I get it from him!
Colours are something that I’ve always had an eye for, I just know what I like I guess!
Trail building - you have done a fair bit in your time and that makes you worthy in my books. It’s easy to rake some leaves up and call it a berm; tips/hints/advice on building?
USE YOUR BRAIN!! I’ve seen so so many poorly thought out ideas that really could have been amazing, but people just don’t use their brains to think about it first!!
I’ve ridden sections that would have been A grade sickness, but the knob who “built” it just raked up piles of sticks & leaf litter, called it a berm, then pissed & moaned when I blew it to bits on the first run through!
It’s this simple, if it took you 10 minutes to build, you did it wrong.
A good quality berm should take you a MINIMUM 2 hrs of building, & even then it’ll still need work!
If you take the time to build your lines right, you’ll get the ultimate satisfaction from the time you spent doing it right when you rail it hard & fast that first time you hit it!
A good mate of mine named Ben Bloomfield builds the sickest sections at “Moe Pines”…. THE sickest, & he spends day’s just working one small section, just so it works perfectly, that’s dedication & people need to learn that, that’s what it takes!
What’s your preferred terrain to ride - is it different to building? You may build nice flowy loops but love blasting the steeper stuff in the Victorian Alps.
I’ll ride anything! (That had a lot different meaning when I was younger!)
I mean, let’s be honest here, riding uphills just sucks, but I still do it!
I really have no set preference really, Rocks, dust, loam, sand, mud, grass, if it’s got trail about it I’ll ride it!
My one real love though, fast & steep! FEAR = FUN
How has social media and applications such as Strava affected trails? Is it a potential tool or a hindrance?
Well, I actually used strava on Sunday, just to map how far we went, but just until I can afford a Garmin!
There are some absolute strava hounds around, they pretty much just use it to champ everyone & make their profiles look like they’re the sickest guys getting amongst it!
Truth be told, they just go ride remote fire roads that no one would ever go to so they can crank up their KOM,s!
Apparently, riding for fun isn’t cool these days.
5 years is the average business model these days; but where do you see the MTB industry moving toward in the next 2 years? Do you think BMX has any influence on the MTB scene considering BMX is older but seems less mature.
Like I said earlier, I’ve really only been around the MTB scene for about 5 years but, a SHITLOAD has changed since then!
Look at Downhill for example:
2010: 26’wheels, Alloy frames, rims, bars & cranks, Coil suspension(except world cups), 9 gears, DH tubes & no such thing as AM/Enduro.
2015: 27.5” wheels, Carbon frames, rims, bars & cranks, Air sprung suspension(everywhere) 11 gears 1X, tubeless etc.….
It’s probably at the point where it’ll taper off for a little, but you just never know!
Your local scene - apart from maybe being more socially interactive how can it be made better? Legalising trails? More trails?
Yeah definitely more trail!
But honestly these days, for me, it’s more about who I’m riding with than where or what.
Speaking of scenes what is the BEST thing about your area and the worst thing about it?
Best: You can drive for an hour in pretty much any direction, & find something to ride.
Worst: Every time we build something awesome, moto’s destroy it.
Destinations are the aim of the game in my mind - where do you NEED to get to before you hang up the boots?
Queenstown NZ and somewhere with a Volcano.