Why crawl when you can bounce?
May 10, 2014 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Rock bouncers can climb incredibly steep terrain, but on this day, none of the 30 entrants made it to the top (with 20 of them rolling over). Here's a documentary style video showing some runs and interviews at Cable hill.
posted by 445supermag (37 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, I bet that's not a whole freaking bunch of fun...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 1:12 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's no wonder they couldn't make the end of the run, they were supposed to be going DOWN, not up!
posted by HuronBob at 1:22 PM on May 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I got the same feeling watching this that I get watching somebody approaching a slightly iced-over hill in the winter, when they slow down at the bottom of the hill to be careful and then about halfway up realize that they don't have enough speed to compensate for the lack of friction.
posted by ardgedee at 1:41 PM on May 10, 2014

They're doing it wrong. You could ride a bike or walk right up that hill.
posted by photoslob at 1:45 PM on May 10, 2014 [8 favorites]

By the crowd's reaction, I'd say the guy who "won" was the fella that ended up vertical, with the bonus engine fire at the end.

Truly a sport where you get an "A" for effort.

Seems like the folks who realized that they weren't going to make it and let up were met with relative silence. If you're going to fail, do it Spectacularly!

(Also, the blue buggy from the kid's video seemed to fare the best as far as distance gained).

My only experience to anything even close to this was renting a tricked out Jeep to do some "easy" rock crawl trails. As a complete novice, there were a few moments where I was praying relative speed, horsepower and traction would win out over center of gravity (they did), but I'm sure it had more to do with the suspension of the truck than any driving skills I was employing. And this is at around 5 MPH.

But Bouncing on the other hand... *shudder* I'll leave that to these guys....
posted by Debaser626 at 1:49 PM on May 10, 2014

Watching that first video, I get the same thoughts as when I watch old Group B rally footage: "HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, WHY ARE YOU STANDING WHERE THAT CAR'S ABOUT TO BE?"
posted by indubitable at 1:53 PM on May 10, 2014 [8 favorites]

it's like an inverse Fuel-Economy Challenge.
posted by facetious at 1:57 PM on May 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Some of those drivers don't appear to understand friction at all.
posted by srboisvert at 2:22 PM on May 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

physics: 1
weird frankenstein vehicles that don't belong in a perfectly nice forest: 0
posted by SpecialSpaghettiBowl at 2:31 PM on May 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

On the (mild tangent) of iced-over-road driving, a few years ago I was acting as caregiver for an old man in the North Shore area of Massachusetts, and he heard an ad on a local restaurant show for an eatery a few towns distant that was running an all-you-can-eat Steak Tip promotion. So the next time he had an appointment in that general direction I put the address in my GPS afterward and followed the directions it gave me.

...until I came to Beaver Pond Road, which was marked private, looked more like a Fire Trail than a road, and was covered with a reflective layer of ice. I stopped just short of the "trailhead" and looked at my landlord for confirmation. Finally, he says "Are you going?", and I, suffering from a terminal self-esteem deficit, pulled forward.

The van was not four-wheel-drive, and I had no snow tires, but I had been born and raised in Vermont and somehow retained an instinctual understanding of how that road might yet be navigated: gather just enough momentum on the downhill to manage the next uphill while remaining mindful of any curves.

When we made it back to an actual road I turned to my landlord, sighing in audible relief... only to discover that he'd had no idea how close we'd actually come to disaster. It turns out that he'd been losing his distance vision for a few years, which wasn't apparent since he spent most of his time in the familiar environment of his home. He hadn't even realized that the road was marked private.

The Weathervane Tavern was rather disappointing, by the way; it wasn't remotely wheelchair-accessible, and my landlord was not impressed with the steak tips.
posted by The Confessor at 2:56 PM on May 10, 2014 [7 favorites]

They're doing it wrong. You could ride a bike or walk right up that hill.

This is true. We assumed that giant mecha walking robots would be invented by a future military, but no, they'll be invented by one of these guys.
posted by anonymisc at 3:18 PM on May 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Austrian version of this. The commentary really makes it.
posted by patrick54 at 3:32 PM on May 10, 2014 [7 favorites]

Then there are the kings of trial: The big Tatra's...

posted by Djinh at 4:16 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh lord these videos give me Trials HD flashbacks so bad. I don't think I've ever been this vicariously frustrated in my life. JUST GO OVER THE THING GOD DAMN YOU
posted by passerby at 4:36 PM on May 10, 2014

The Austrian version yt of this. The commentary really makes it.

Indeed: "Don't girlie out now, keep going!"
posted by Dip Flash at 4:57 PM on May 10, 2014

I don't think they're ignoring friction as much as momentum. I mean, the purple car at 3:00 in the second video had way more friction and torque than he could use, but that didn't help him when he was trying to get his wheels to ram him through (what was effectively) a wall. The only way he could have gotten over it was to bounce, or perhaps take it at an acute angle. Anyway, it looks like a whole lot of fun.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:33 PM on May 10, 2014

Some of those drivers don't appear to understand friction at all.


I don't think they're ignoring friction as much as momentum.

Knowing nothing about this activity (beyond what can be gleaned from watching the video), I'd bet a lot of money on these guys understanding more about what they're doing than any of us do. People develop know-how mostly by doing. Needless to say, one might be able to just watch one video and determine that they're all doing it wrong...but I'm going to bet on actual experience and know-how...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 5:54 PM on May 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think what they need is a way to move the center of gravity of their vehicles on the fly.
posted by srboisvert at 6:51 PM on May 10, 2014

The main video seemed like an out-take from Idiocracy: all speed, high centre of gravity, and precious little control. And those poor fucken trees; guess there's no automatic protection of woodland where that was filmed.

Those Tatras had the right idea: low centre of gravity, lots of driven wheels, individual tyre pressure control, and enough torque to stay in the one place and move the world under you.
posted by scruss at 7:51 PM on May 10, 2014

Then there are the kings of trial: The big Tatra's...

Tatra is one of the most fun companies in automotive history. They live in their own little universe of ideas, and make vehicles that are beautiful and performant in amazing ways. From their pre-war streamliners, which absolutely influenced Ferdinand Porsche and Preston Tucker, to the utterly nuts T700, which took their rear-engine, rear-wheel drive model, and made it look like a Saab while still working like a Tatra, which is to say, incredibly fast and luxurious in weird, weird ways.

Then there are the trucks. They made their bones with air-cooled V8 and V12 diesels - they were the only things the Axis had that could come close to the Americans' go-anywhere, do-anything cargo motorpool, but because they were Czech, they were used sparinly with sneering reluctance. Then after the war came the T813. Every military truck in the modern day looks like the T813, because it is ideal - strange, but ideal. While every military cargo-hauler tries to look like it, none of them operate like it, because it's really, really weird.

The T813 is 8x8, eight wheels, all powered, with four-wheel steering, and a huge, honking air cooled V12 diesel. It will run on fuel oil (diesel) mixed with gasoline or jet-fuel (kerosene), which is as boggling as it sounds. The driver sits ahead of all eight wheels.

Well, let me tell you, weird works. It will go over anything you put in front of it, and then crazy Chzechs go and hot-rod the fuckers for shits and giggles. Then they race them over ten-foot-deep quicksand pits and up 50º grades strewn with logs and boulders.

The best part yet - they're still independent, being auctioned off to private investors after the equally odd DAF bought them and went bust, and still weird, making air-cooled Euro 5 compliant diesel engines for increasingly retro-looking 8x8 trucks, and selling out their entire production capacity every year.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:18 PM on May 10, 2014 [6 favorites]

The Confessor: I don't suppose that on the way back, you took nearby Myopia Hunt Club Road?
posted by brambleboy at 9:05 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

This post is lacking the "car parkour" tag that it's clearly deserving, based on inevitable comments in every single previous bicycle trials thread.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 9:58 PM on May 10, 2014

I'd never heard of rock crawling or bouncing until a month or so ago, I was hiking one day and on a rock outcropping, I turn a corner and see about 15 people looking down and talking intently. They were engaging in competitive radio-contolled rock crawling. Both sizes of rock crawling seem like fun.
posted by not_on_display at 10:32 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


That certainly would have been fitting, wouldn't it?

Thanks also for reminding me of one of the more amusing news stories I read when I lived up there: Myopia Hunt Club's attempt to use what many saw as a loophole to lessen their property tax liability. The "conventional wisdom" was that, especially given the club and its membership's relative affluence, the attempt was rather, well, nearsighted.
posted by The Confessor at 10:37 PM on May 10, 2014

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
But I'm pretty sure he'll be able to hear my vehicle from his house.

posted by not_on_display at 10:38 PM on May 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

A guy I went to high school with has a business building rock climbers and other custom vehicles. Here's a pov vid of him doing a hill climb
posted by Divest_Abstraction at 10:54 PM on May 10, 2014

Slap*Happy, I know right?

And not just eight driven wheels, but fully independent suspension on all four axles! That's pretty much unheard of for truckt of such size...
posted by Djinh at 1:30 AM on May 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

This post is lacking the "car parkour" tag
posted by bamdad at 1:41 AM on May 11, 2014

A sport of brawn, not finesse.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:58 PM on May 11, 2014

Have you ever driven anything anywhere before?
posted by indubitable at 5:26 PM on May 11, 2014

Backwoods/adventure motorcycle. Finesse is what keeps it upright. Oh, and hiking trailhead access in a FWD "sporty" car. That was entirely about finesse. Very low clearance!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:12 AM on May 12, 2014

My little car (Daihatsu Mira) has a 660cc motor, front wheel drive and very low clearance, but it also has a very short and very narrow wheelbase and it doesn't weigh much (800kg with two passengers). Put a pair of snow chains on the front wheels and it can tiptoe from lump to bump in places a tiny city car just shouldn't ever be seen.

But it doesn't ford rivers well.
posted by flabdablet at 6:54 AM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

smcameron: That Mad Dogs & Englishmen video is (unintentionally?) hilarious: Watch manly 70s Englishmen drive through the mud with their wives!
posted by pharm at 7:06 AM on May 13, 2014

That big 8x8 Tatra is cool and all, but I don't see it doing anything an Unimog can't do with equal aplomb...
posted by stenseng at 2:04 PM on May 13, 2014

Not knowing what a rock bouncer was, I was kind of hoping the links were to videos of kids trying to bounce up incredibly steep terrain on one of these. I'll admit I was a little disappointed at first but then they videos turned out to be entertaining in their own right.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:18 PM on May 13, 2014

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