News In Brief

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It’s our end of week news roundup of all the little interesting things that have been happening in the World of Mountain Biking…

Power Balance bands officially nonsense

It turns out that a hologram embedded inside a rubber wristband doesn’t actually improve your sporting performance, at least according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Comission, who forced the company to post this statement:

“In our advertising we stated that Power Balance wristbands improved your strength, balance and flexibility. We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974. If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologise and offer a full refund.”

We’re quite disappointed here as we were looking forward to launching the Singletrack Strength Stretcher, which we were certain would help with wealth, health and sexual success – ours at least. That boat has sailed. Oh well.

Hovis and Victoria Pendleton make snacking brown bread

The Olympic cyclist has unveiled her secret to keeping off the sugary treats over the festive season and it’s Hovis Wholemeal bread. They’ve developed a unique Stop Snacking Facebook app (available at after independent research revealed that 86% of women found eating Hovis Wholemeal for breakfast prevented them from snacking in-between breakfast and lunch.

Raceface release super light single rings

The Vancouver based company have created a range of lightweight 7075 alloy, 4mm thick single chainrings in their BC factory that come in four different colours, are reversible for mild or wild graphics. The 32T ring weighs just 29g and RaceFace say that it’s lighter and 20% stiffer than the e13 guide ring, making it the lightest DH ready ring out there.

KCNC release tapered headsets

Superlight component manufacturers KCNC have created two new headsets for the latest tapered standard(s). The PT1860 integrated headset will cost £31.99 and the F13 semi-integrated will be £37.99. They use sealed bearings and all the colours of the ano-rainbow are available.

TSG to support the Freeride World Tour

The protective equipment maker has signed a three year deal to support the worldwide freeride series, which will kick off 2011 with the Vienna Air King on the 2nd and 3rd April. The Tour aims to be the overarching freeride series in the style of the TTR World Snowboard Tour, providing athletes and event organizers with a tangible world ranking system and guidelines for course design, judging and safety.

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Comments (29)

    disgraceful picture of vicky pendleton and her shapely legs!

    no wonder so few women use this site


    Re the Power Balance story –
    Perhaps you should inform your readers that this story relates exclusively to the local AUSTRALIAN Power Balance distributor who admitted making misleading claims in their advertising/promotion and has taken action to redress the situation.
    The UK distributors have not made any such claims and are happy to honour the 30 day money back guarantee (which the product has always had – interesting that no reporters see fit to mention this!). The product is best seen as a “try it at no risk” item backed up with a full money back guarantee.

    I do hope you’ve cleared that photo with TJ 😉

    There are two VPs?? Oh lordy….

    R.E. mudpup and Power Balance.

    Am I wrong in thinking that you might have some financial connection with this quackery? Apologies if you don’t, but I couldn’t help wondering.

    Certainly encourage me to eat more bread!


    Then again, Victoria’s ace really, and we all know it!

    Hi Gasman
    I work for the UK distributor to the bike trade – the press in general are putting an unfair slant on the reporting. If the facts were known then PB wouldn’t sound like such villains so i just wanted to add a little balance to the report (did you see what i did there:-))
    BTW I am more of the opinion that its a placebo thing because i’ve seen first hand loads of people showing improvements in various areas but i dont buy in to the offficial hype. Not trying to start another bunfight though.

    The test they use to demonstrate the powers of the powerbalance band are a trick and the salesmen can be hugely confounded with the simple variation of reversing the order of the exercises in the test. The trick is taught to the salesmen as it’s one o fthe best ways of convincing the subject they are experiencing something real when they are not. It’s a trick. It’s an old trick and the product provides nothing but a placebo. The value merits and morals of selling an over priced product (the price is hugely important in carrying off the trick) that the manufacturer knows to have no measurable effect beyond placebo is a matter for debate. What is not open for debate is the effectiveness of the device when under proper and very simple scientific scrutiny. The product is based on a psychological trick in order to part gullible people from their £30.

    I was called by one of the european distributors of this product in an attempt to get us to sell them in our online shop.

    Distributor – “You should stock these bands. They are amazing!”

    Me – “What’s amazing about them?”

    Distributor – “The margins are fantastic!”

    Retailers of this product who know how the trick works are immoral in my view. I work here. I am also a physicist by training. This product is quackery. My address for any litigious representatives of the manufacturers is on our contact us page.

    Not even going to bother Mark.
    As i’ve said before, i’ve never been taught any tricks and i’ve seen plenty of people who feel they get a benefit whether through a placebo or not – thats good enough for me to think there is something in it.
    Free your mind and your *** may follow.

    Those royal mail powerbands are great, and you can pick them up for free scattered on every pavement in the UK.

    “i’ve seen plenty of people who ‘feel’ they get a benefit whether through a placebo or not – thats good enough for me to ‘think’ there is something in it.”

    Riiiight! Says it all really.

    the best “news in brief” ever…….!

    Where can I get one of those STW bands from? They’re not in the shop. Do they come in different colours?

    now there are two V. Pendleton’s i want to be the filling in a V.P sandwich….

    “The UK distributors have not made any such claims and are happy to honour the 30 day money back guarantee (which the product has always had – interesting that no reporters see fit to mention this!). ”

    no UK website, and plenty of spurious claims made by the US site that you are pointed to when going onto

    I’ve seen the Power balance guys at work (paddle round the pier festival in brighton this year), and the claims they were making to potential customers were shameful.
    Products such as these (and to be fair to power balance they are not alone – check out for some more ridiculous quackery) should be made to show detailed evidence, or state clearly that they are simply a placebo in all their promo material and direct selling. Well done to the Aussies in my opinion – I wish our competition commission would do the same.

    Not having a go at you mudpup, but the product and it’s claims stink.

    mudpup, which distributor do you work for?
    I’d like to avoid their products.

    If the only justification is a placebo effect then anything could do what the band does. I might rub some magical dog shit onto my arms because I believe it will make me better.

    There’s two simple explanations of any of the reported positive benefits these bands produce.

    1) The trick/demonstration by the salesperson – It’s an old trick that’s been similarly used to demonstrate the properties of other quack products like crystals.
    2) The careful pricing of the product. £30 on a product that is clearly just a rubber band implants on your subconscious the belief in the product on the grounds of ‘it’s expensive so there simply must be something in this thing that works’. We as humans would rather believe that than, ‘It’s clearly a rubber band so the fact it’s £30 must be a con’.

    The power of price on the selling of a product should not be underestimated. If this thing cost $1* then most people simply would not believe that something so cheap could have any great benefits. Cheap simply does not equate to effective when it comes to products – in a subconscious sense of course. I’m not saying cheap products can’t work, just that our minds tend to over emphasise the benefits of a product that hurts the wallet.

    The same effect has been measured in research done on painkillers. In tests, branded painkillers are reported by the users as more effective than cheaper supermarket own brand versions of the exact same drug – even though chemically they are identical. Significantly, even when the users are told that the drugs are exactly the same they still report that the branded and more expensive product gives better results. The placebo effect is really quite amazing and very very powerful.

    Ben Goldacre’s book, Bad Science is a much better investment than one of these bands. Anyone who has £30 to spare on one of these bands should surely have enough spare cash to blow £6 on this book first. He explains the amazing effects of placebo much better than I can.

    The fact the placebo effect is so amazing and some people report benefits from using these bands does not, in my opinion, justify the sale of these things by companies who’s only aim is to extract as much money as possible by using dodgy sales techniques and an understanding of the psychology of human behaviour. It’s still exploitation of the highest order. proper Emperors New Clothes.

    Any distributors and retailers still selling these things should seriously question their own ethics when it comes to what they are prepared to do to extract money from the public.

    * This is the price that has been offered for these bands if ordered directly from the far east factory in minimum quantities of 1000.

    Nevermind all that rubbish Mark – where can I get this magical dog shit that Mafiafish has got?

    I love my XTR levers but any benefit must be placebo effect…

    How big are her feet?

    I CANNOT believe you lot.
    can you all just hush the power balance noise, and appreciate Vicki in all her lovelyness.

    Her more devilish persona wins my vote 😀

    I can’t believe TJ isn’t here bemoaning the lack of moral decency of the STW staff and their sexist taste in news articles.

    As for Power Bands, if you’re stupid enough to buy one, you didn’t deserve to have the £30 in the first place…

    Is there any relationship between wearing a power band and opportunities of a frisky nature with the lovely Miss P?

    It’s a shame the Australian advertising ruling didn’t demand more robust language.
    £30 for a wristband and some words. Have a glass of water instead. It might have come into contact with something that increases balance, power and flexibility and might have an unimaginably large effect on your abilities. cf the ‘homeopathic bomb’ (

    Phew, at least snake oil works…

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