Wise Words | Kelan Grant.

Wise Words is our interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.

We’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!

Wise Words this week comes to you from none other than Mr. Kelan Grant.

Member of the ever-growing rapid Irishman club, Kelan Grant also joined the exclusive ‘Team Wideopenmag rider that made it onto a factory team’ club as well. He’d enjoy a long old stint alongside Sam Hill and co. before moving onto Rotwild Gravity Team for 2024.

How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?

I’d like to think I’m the guy that’s always on time but maybe my friends would say otherwise. Always been a lover of big spins, I struggle to go out and just do a handful of runs so I’m always the one keen for one more run or one more lap to keep the spin going.

I like to keep the group rides fun, changing the guy at the front, loads of shouting heckling on the tracks and plenty of questionable lines and moments just to mix things up when on the trails. I’m not shy of doing my intervals and training when out with my mates, so its pretty common to see me slabbering and breathing hard past the group ride over and over. The job needs to be done and I am stoked to do it.

What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the bike industry?

An e-bike. This year I changed my goals and ambitions and racing strategies. I will race e-bikes at a World Cup level. It wasn’t an easy decision but it’s how I feel the sport is moving. Now joining the Rotwild Gravity Team I couldn’t be more stoked. I do more descending practising skills and having fun on my bike than ever. Also being the fittest iv been coming into a new season.

I’ve always used e-bikes as a tool, I understand the stigma still hangs heavy over them, but for me I’m fully converted and its changed how I ride and the amount of time I spend riding. There’s something about it and would recommend it to anyone fit or fast, it’s just a good time.

I also have a small stop watch that fits on my handle bars. I use this more less every ride. And it’s been a game-changer.

What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?

Nothing crazy for me. In terms of set up I do tend to have one of my brake levers lower than the other just from old shoulder injuries but I’m trying to get out of that habit. I’m super picky with what I wear. Sounds silly but coats that are too baggy and even short sleeves with gloves annoys me for some odd reason.

What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?

It depends what you’re after as a rider. If you want to be a racer at any level stay consistent and work hard. Set yourself achievable goals and routines and stick to it. Some days it’s easy, some days its hard, that’s the nature of the beast. “If it was easy everyone would be doing it”.

Progression is rewarding but its hard to see day to day but being consistent over time you will see some eventually. And its worth it. Some advice that I feel spreads across any mountain biker racer or novice is just have fun. Yes everyone says that but it’s true. We started this sport for the enjoyment and the love of riding. Keep it fun ride the spots that make you happy and surround yourself with people that want the same outcome.

To be honest I haven’t received much bad advice in my life I would always be open to someone’s opinion and advice but if you have a goal or something you want to pursue and you truly believe you can do it don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. As my dad always said “Just go for it”, give it a crack and what’s the worst that can happen really?

If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?

This one’s easy. 2019 Tasmania Australia with my old team, Chain Reaction Cycles. We had a few days before the EWS so we went and sampled some of Derby’s finest trails. Stoke was high and the camera was out. We found a short jump track it was about 30 degrees and after a long winter in the slop it just turned out to be the best day ever. Pagey, Elliott, Sam and myself just rode countless laps of this jump line shouting Rick Mellon. No reason why but it just turned out to be one of those best days ever. There’s a video in YouTube somewhere.

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Another stand out day for me was finally turning my friends back into mountain bikers. The guys I started riding with eventually fell into road racing and got to a very high level. All on Pro Continental teams but they’re pretty much refused to ride mountain bikes anymore. Maybe it was a fear of getting injured. Anyway after maybe 4-5 years of consistently trying to get them back riding they did. I lent them a few bikes and boom they were hooked once again. Now these guys are my main riding group once again. Now every ride with these guys is close to a best day ever.

What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?

I feel some times with bike set-up I jump the gun. After a run I have a feeling what I need to change. So maybe I would change spring rate or air on the front and back maybe a clicker here and there. Now I’ve learnt to ride a set up for some time and make small adjustments one at a time. Instead of impatiently jumping to what I think would be best for me, taking my time and just maybe along the way you might learn something and end up miles away than what you originally thought was the right answer.

I would encourage people to play with they’re set up. There isn’t really a right or wrong answer but for sure watching guys out on the trail they have plenty of small adjustments to make that will improve there everyday riding for free. Me personally I don’t think I’ve wasted a lot of time with anything one thing.

I would advise most mountain bikers not to get sucked into these crazy trends you see in the bike industry. Just because its new and different doesn’t mean its always better, I often see people on a bike 2x to big for them because this was the next big thing, longer slacker wider wheel base etc. but of course as the trends do its come full circle and we see people coming back to smaller bikes again. Ride what makes you happy and comfortable on the trails and normally that makes you faster.

How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?

Some days the motivation isn’t there but the show must go on. Not everyday I train I’m super motivated but I know I will doing it either way. Think that’s part of being a human. I know deep down my competitors across the world are not skipping any sessions so this gives me a kick up the arse to get it all squeezed in.

When I’m deep in the hurt locker and the mind wanders I do think of family and friends that have helped me get to the position I’m in today. Them believing in me makes me want to push and work harder just to make them proud. That’s a motivating win for me.

What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?

There’s not much about riding and racing I don’t like. I don’t often complain at races or venues when there’s a bad track or the conditions are not what we all expected. If you had a stopwatch out and a few cones on a road being the super competitive person I am I’d probably have a good time doing that.

What makes me happy is riding stuff that’s supper technical and hard to get down with my mates. Normally a super wet, steep track that not many people ride and trying to get down it clean in a train with your mates. That gets the stoke levels pretty high.

What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?

There’s not much I would change. History is history. Everything happens good or bad we learn grow and move on. If I had to pick one it would be those horrible time trial helmets they recently brought out for road cycling on the pro tour. We could easily live with out them right now.

What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?

I would love for the UCI to put some effort into making enduro the respected sport it deserves to be. The sport itself is huge, people normally buy enduro bikes and the market backs this. I would love to see it packaged in a way where my friends and family at home can follow easily and watch it on TV like the rest of the cycling disciplines. I understand this is much harder to do regarding the logistics of the sport but it’s possible and would love to see it grow and get the recognition it deserves.

Who else should we ask these questions to?

Probably ask my old team mate Sam Hill he always has a wise way with words even know they would be close to funny one word answers he would provide a hell of a lot more insight than me.

You can keep tabs on Kelan’s adventures on his Instagram feed here.

You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.