Behold the Pink Mistress


My name is Lee McCormack. Some of you know me as the Lee in Lee Likes Bikes. I’ve been a cyclist my whole life, starting on a BMX bike in 1974. For the past 22 years I’ve dedicated my professional self to understanding how bikes, bodies and trails work with each other to create fun, Flow and beyond. There are many ways we humans can transcend our ordinary lives and realize our potentials; mountain bikes are my favorite.

My obsessive, tireless work has created the world’s only fully integrated approach to bike fit, bike setup, riding skills, mental skills and physical training. “Lee’s Kung Fu MTB System” is simple, logical and extremely effective. It comes from my experience as a rider, racer and teacher; successful careers in informational graphics and software design; and my very unique way of understanding the world. At my best I don’t know mountain biking. I am mountain biking. I am made to do this work.

Some highlights from my bike career:

  • Coached more than 10,000 riders of all levels, including some pros you know and myriad happy riders you don’t know. I might have worked with you. Hi!
  • Trained 2,000 volunteer coaches to run youth mountain bike teams as the head trainer for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), New England Youth Cycling (NEYC) and Colorado High School Cycling League.
  • Published thousands of free articles on technique, training, mindset and equipment.
  • Received millions of free video views.
  • Written and published 11 books with hundreds of thousands of readers.
    • Mastering Mountain Bike Skills in 3 editions
    • Welcome to Pump Track Nation in 2 editions
    • Dialed: the secret math of the perfect mountain bike setup
    • Pro BMX Skills
    • Teaching Mountain Bike Skills
    • F6 – off-bike mobility and strength
    • Pump Up the Base – off-season base fitness
    • Prepare to Pin It – in-season peak fitness
  • Invented, patented and sold the RipRow training tool.
  • Started the worldwide pump track movement with the book Welcome to Pump Track Nation and numerous track designs and builds.
  • Created the world’s only logical system for dynamic mountain bike fit. “Lee’s RAD MTB Fit” is detailed in the book Dialed.
  • Won lots of races in many disciplines. I was Cat 1 national downhill champion in 2004. That year I took 8th at masters downhill worlds. If I cared to keep them, I’d have a box filled with medals from national-level events in downhill, slalom, 4X and Super D. 3rd at the pump track world championships in 2010. As an endurance racer I climb mid-pack but really excel on the downhills.
  • Learned to ride better and better over the years and — this is the coolest part — learned to enjoy it more and more. I can access a sweet Flow state any time I want. When I’m really dialed in, I can take my consciousness beyond that to the most joyful and perfect state you can imagine. And I teach people how to do it themselves! This isn’t a bad job, eh?

The keys to experiencing fun, Flow and beyond are appropriate fitness, skills and mindset, mated to a mountain bike that fits your body and riding style. Until now I’ve been fitting people on mainstream bikes. However, industry trends are making that harder to do well.

Bikes have gotten longer and longer. The number we care about when assessing bike fit is frame reach. On many popular bikes, the current size smalls are longer than the old larges. This means riders below about 5’8″ (173cm) are having a hard time finding bikes that fit well for real mountain biking. That’s almost half of men and most women. Insane.

As part of the “longer and slacker” trend that sells bikes these days, mountain bikes have become harder to control. Can you slam into a huge rock and not be thrown over the handlebars? Maybe. Can you maneuver through a tight switchback? Unlikely. Can you enjoy a nice Sunday ride without pain? No.

Bike companies have to build bikes that sell. I talk to people in the industry. Some know the current trends make the bikes harder to ride, but none of them can risk losing sales, so they all have to check the same boxes when it comes to geometry, wheel sizes, suspension and other features. (Did they tell you the new carbon blah-blah is stiff yet compliant? Wow!)

Bike companies do not care how you fit your mountain bike, and hence how well you enjoy it. For example, why does every size come with the same handlebar width? I’ve talked to people at every major bike company. I’ve asked them directly about the logic they use to match bikes to humans. There is none. I’ve asked them, OK you say I should be on a size Medium. What about that medium frame fits what aspect of my body? No answer. The mainstream bike industry has no logical approach to fitting mountain bikes to humans. They really don’t know.

And they do not care. Following the post-COVID crash, all the bike companies want to do is empty their warehouses. They will sell you what they have, whether it’s good for you or not. That’s how it works at that huge level. But not at this tiny level …

I know dynamic mountain bike fit better than anyone, and I know what real people need in a bike. It’s not the crazy longer/bigger/gnarlier shit the industry is selling us. From my knowledge and experience, I know how to design a bike that fits your body and actually helps you ride more easily, safely, confidently and faster, if that’s your goal.

For the longest time I said no way, I’ll never make bikes. I thought I could trust the industry to have it covered, and Who am I to make bikes?

Well … the industry doesn’t have it covered. And I am Lee Freaking McCormack: the ultimate polymath mountain bike nerd! I finally drew up my geometry and had Waltworks build me a bike.

Behold protoype v1, the Pink Mistress:

The Pink Mistress was named by my best friend, partner and love of my life, Elyse. The Pink Mistress from Mistress Cycles. I love it.

Production bikes will be more refined, but this steel single-pivot beauty proves my theories about fit and geometry. Many people have ridden this bike. They all say:

  1. Wow the front tire is hooking up!
  2. I feel like I’m inside the bike. I feel so confident.
  3. Why does climbing feel so easy?
  4. Lee everything you say sounds crazy, but damnit, it always works.

Ha! I didn’t set out to disrupt the mountain bike industry. I just want ride in joy and help other people do the same. But the fact is, even with the best of fitness and skills and mindset, your bike has to 1) fit your body and 2) be designed to be ridden, not sold.

So here we go. I am starting Mistress Cycles. These are the only bikes in the world that are designed by a true expert in bike/rider dynamics, and that come with an entire system for sizing, fit, technique, physical training and mindset. We’ll build a rad community too.

I have the sizing and geo worked out to fit riders from 4’10” to 6’8″. A famous chassis designer is working on the suspension now.

This blog will capture the adventure.

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Let’s do this!


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