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bro:

  1. short for brother.
  2. a male friend (often used as a form of address).
  3. a young man, especially one who socializes primarily with his male peers and enjoys lively, unintellectual pursuits.

In the late 1990s, and at the height of its latter-day usage, the term “bro” was threatened by “dude” when the wildly-popular cult classic, The Big Lebowski, was released. Yet, no matter how many copies of this twisted comedy-thriller found their way onto the shelves of young film aficionados, through the doors of college dorms, and into the sock drawers of high schoolers across the country, “bro” was not forgotten. In 2005, bros grew tired of “bro” and replaced it with the Hawaiian (and therefore much cooler) version of “bro,” “brah.” Ten years after “brah” hit mainstream, bros released the third (and most current) slang-within-slang iteration of “bro,” “bruh.” All three terms share the same meaning and can be used interchangeably.

Historically, bros were mostly confined to college fraternities. They wore tennis visors backward, frosted the tips of their hair, and popped the collar of their Polo shirts. Bros walked around house parties with a red cup in-hand, hot girls in-arm, and said things like “Yaaaaaa!”, “Wooohooo!”, “Let’s party!”, and “Whatup, Bro!” Today, bros still exist in the typical frat-form, but have also evolved through time, taking on different social sports like snowboarding, wakeboarding, motocross, and yes, mountain biking.

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Not all bros ride mountain bikes, but some mountain bikers are definitely bros. While today’s bro/brah/bruh-mountain bikers (henceforth known as bro-brah mountain bikers) may not do any of those things historically attributed to the typical bro, they still maintain particular qualities, a distinct aura, and a certain air about them creating a unique sub-culture of mountain bikers.

Over the years of close observation, furious data collection, and reaching out to make contact with the bro breed, I’ve found them to be mostly harmless–some even lovable–and have even gone so far as to call myself “bro” from time to time.

If you are still reading this, you are either a closet-brah seeking moral support, an out-bro checking facts, or a wanna-be bruh in need of further light and knowledge. Whatever your purpose, I invite you to review these simple guidelines to becoming a bro-brah mountain biker.

Bro Bikes

1. A new bike purchase shall not be less than $5,600.

  • Bro Tip: it is less than bro to buy from the any of the “Big 3” unless sponsored, which then makes you Pro, not Bro
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Photo: Michael Paul

2. 80% of a new bike purchase shall be upgraded within one year of ownership.

3. Rear travel shall be no less than 150mm.

4. Strict adherence to the principles of LLS (long, low, and slack) including, but not limited to:

  • Head tube angle no steeper than 66.5º
  • Chainstays no longer than 425mm
  • Bottom bracket height no taller than 345mm
  • Stem no longer than 50mm

5. Of the following, no less than four shall match in color: hubs, stem, grips, saddle, cranks, seat collar, pedals.

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6. You will henceforth detest the following: fat bikes, e-bikes, flat bars, stems over 60mm, tires smaller than 2.3 inches wide, and any component older than two years.

7. While bros prefer carbon, it does not significantly augment you brohood.

8. The width of your handlebars is directly proportional to broness (760mm minimum).

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Bropparel

9. Glasses are acceptable as long as it’s not coupled with a full face, but no one will question your broship in goggles

  • Bro Tip: get goggles with the nose piece

10. Make matching shirts for your posse and give yourselves a name like:

  • (insert hometown) Shredders
  • Triple Threat
  • Wolf Pack
  • Trail Slayerz
  • Broback Mountain
  • Bro Tip: bros aren’t typically very creative here.

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11. Body armor must, on every ride, be equal to or more than knee and elbow pads.

12. Lycra chamois bibs are allowed only if underneath a pair of baggies.

  • Bro Tip: baggies shall have an inseam no shorter than 15 inches.

13. Convert to a fanny pack and call it a “shuttle” pack.

14. Plaid flannel only after Labor Day.

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15. For the time being, NO white socks. Even when not riding. I mean it!

  • Bro Tip: just be prepared when white socks make a come back.

16. You must own at least one product from each of the following companies:

  • Troy Lee Designs
  • Dakine
  • Chromag (because it rhymes with “Bromag”)

17. While the functionality of gloves will never be denounced, consider going gloveless for Instagram photo shoots (see below).

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Brocabulary

18. While it is beyond the scope of these guidelines to include a comprehensive list of brospeak, here are the essentials.

  • Bro, Brah, Bruh: see article introduction
    • Bro Tip: When addressing a fellow bro, “Whatup, Bro?” is now, “Suh, Bruh?”
  • Dialed: a piece mountain bike equipment, gear, an article of clothing, or really anything that has to do with you, the bike, or the ride that has reached a state of perfect harmony for the purpose it was intended.
    • Bro Tip: for each ride, select at least three items (e.g. wheels, brakes, trail, fanny shuttle pack, the sun) and exclaim to your posse how dialed they are.
  • Stoked: used to describe the absolute height of one’s happiness, second only to “so stoked.”
  • Sketchy: generally used to describe an unsafe section of trail presenting a high probability you’ll eat shit, but could also be used to refer to anything deceiving.
  • YOLO: abbreviation for “you only live once.”
  • Now, practice squeezing as much bronacular as you can into one sentence:

Bruh, my fork was feelin’ so dialed that when I rolled up on that super-sketchy gnar I was like, “YOLO”!!!

Strive for Social Media Greatness

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19. Get an Instagram (IG) account, cycle all of the following types of photos, and live by the IG code: if you didn’t Gram it, it never happened.

  • a photo from every ride
  • a photo of your bike leaning up against a trailhead sign
  • a photo of your bike draped over a tailgate
  • a screen shot from GoPro footage (bronus points for chest mount photos)
  • a photo of all bike upgrades

20. Select no less than 10 hashtags per post.

  • Bro Tip: hashtag every company that had anything to do with the making of your bike, gear, and apparel.

21. Get a GoPro and do all the things GoPro people do.

Miscellaneous Brohavior

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22. Roof racks are dead. Henceforth, you will haul your bike with a hitch-mounted rack or in the bed of a truck.

  • Bro Tip: drape front wheel over tailgate.

23. No less than 5 stickers on your car (glass only, bruh!) in support of your favorite companies. This is like hashtagging old school

  • Bro Tip: always place stickers in an unassuming way.

24. You must know stuff about motorsports (or at least pretend to).

25. Whenever possible, ordain others to the brohood.

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Whether broggadocios, bro-curious, or a closet-bro riding a life of secrecy, you will encounter certain attitudes detesting the bro lifestyle. Don’t let this brophobia get you down. Align yourself with like-minded bros, adhere to these steps, and welcome any and all who seek acceptance into the brociety.

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# Comments

  • kay oh

    I agree. Nothing in 2017 will ever be more informative (or life-altering) than this post.

  • chobbs

    My New Year’s resolution just became clear. So Bro in 2017!

  • Joel DH

    How many of these do you have to be/do/have to be considered an official bruh? I have, like, 8 of 10.

  • Aaron Chamberlain

    Bruh, you forgot to mention that a bro must refer to their bike as a “rig” or “sled.” And you don’t ride trail systems, you ride “zones.”

    When you get supplies for a bro trip (beer, bacon, gummy worms, etc.), you’re picking up “broceries.”

    • Joel DH

      On the money bro!

    • bikerboy13

      Yeah nailed it!

  • Dclabonte

    Bruhs only ride 27.5s – which are NOT called 650b. 650b is a roadie term and not in the brocabulary. Also, no matter how old the flannel is, no bro would be caught dead on an ancient 26er (see new bike / upgrades above), and 29ers are too short-travel / too SC to have the correct broittude.

    Best article! Now I’m so stoked!

    • bikerboy13

      Yeah totally????

  • Dclabonte

    ^^^ “too XC to have the correct broittude”. Dammit, bruhs don’t make those stupid mistakes!

  • FatbikesAre

    Fat bikes rule the trails 6 months of the year across the vast majority of Canada. Pizza Cutters, when you come across them are usually in ditches. wrapped around trees and generally wallowing in our icy/snow covered winter wonderland.

    Bros ride fatties.

    • bikerboy13

      Or burly dialed Haretails with no less than 130mm..

  • bikerboy13

    Me end my brah’s call descents sick and epic.. to major words in our brocabulary

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