Travis Pynn, master of all things technical, nailed the front hop / nose wheelie feat of acrobatics in this lovely ad with a stunning background captured by Carl Gooding. What you don't realize about the shot is that directly behind the rock - where things look to fall off, they really do, and they fall off into a smattering of menacing rock shards rearing their heads upward toward whatever falls off the rock. Susie Weaver, who directed and orchestrated the shot, remembers reminding Travis that he had the skills to get the job done. There really is no get ready zone on the rock - you're up, on your bike, then somehow balancing on your front wheel. Travis, stud that he is, nailed it.
The Primal Raptors were sweet. First released in 1.95s then later 2.1s in 1997, they had big slabs of blocks that seemed to last forever. My friend had a '97 Gary Fisher Big Sur and I was mighty envious of his cream colored 2.1 Primal Raptors that came stock. He was quite lucky they didn't wear out - that cream color, really tied the bike together. I was on some Ground Controls that also refused to wear out, try as I might. Siping on the Primal Raptors helped create more working edges for cornering on the otherwise sparsely laid out big blocks.
The other excellent thing about this ad is that it showcases what's great about Marin and Mount Tamalpais - protected land. Go up to the same spot today, 13 years later (the ad was shot in August of 1995) and the vista from shard rock will look the same, very little development has happened looking in that same direction. Look behind you and what do you see? Trees. But if you were to be able to see through trees, with special powers, you'd see San Francisco not too far away. There's quite a lot of protected land awfully close to a decently sized city.
So next time you're musing over your track stand skills, just think, Travis balanced on his front wheel with rim brakes over a precipice while staring threatening rock spires right in the face, not bad. Enjoy the following 1996 Catalog shot - scant weights even back in '96.
and the Catalog it came from: