Inside Sam Hill's Move to Team CRC/Nukeproof

Dec 31, 2012
by Mike Levy  
 
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Interview:
INSIDE
SAM
HILL'S
MOVE


December 23rd's announcement that Sam Hill would be decamping from Team Monster Energy-Specialized for fresh scenery likely became the single most talked about press release of the 2012 mountain bike season, if not ever. Yes, there were many hints and whispers floating around both the industry and the internet over the last few months, and those who are embedded in the trenches of the race scene were aware of murmurs as far back as the previous year, but the move came as a bombshell to many. We caught up with Nigel Page, the man who runs Hill's new Team CRC/Nukeproof program and who played a vital role in bringing Hill to the team, and Sean Heimdal, the team manager with whom Sam has spent the last decade with.


Team CRC/Nukeproof team manager, Nigel Page.
Nigel Page (pictured at right) may not be a name that riders who are new to the sport will recognize, but the British rider turned team manager has been a fixture on the World Cup scene since his days as a professional in the early 2000s. And while his time triggering the start beam at World Cup races around the globe may be behind him, he is still continent hopping as the manager for Team CRC/Nukeproof, the outfit that just made headlines by signing legendary Australian downhiller Sam Hill. Page was instrumental in bringing Hill onboard the UK-based team - he even shipped his personal Pulse prototype for Sam to test - so who better to talk to about the move than Nigel himself.


    Nigel, Sam Hill signing to ride for Team CRC/Nukeproof has to be one of the biggest transfer announcements in years. How did it all begin?

Nigel: Well, I usually go over to CRC mid-season to have a chat with the main guys involved about how the team is doing, how much it is costing, and where we want it to
head for the future. Everyone decided that for how much the team costs CRC and how much work and effort goes into it, we were just missing a rider that could both podium regularly and get good media exposure for the team. Having said that, all the riders we had are great and all capable of top tens and getting onto that World Cup podium. Matti Lehikoinen was the rider we had for that role. Matti is really high profile and everyone loves him, but unfortunately he hasn't been able to do what he is capable of due to the horrific injuries he has sustained over the last few years. I have loved working with Matti. He has become one of my best friends and I am really going to miss working with him next year.


   Matti certainly leaves some big shoes to fill on the team. How did you go about doing that?

Nigel: I made a list of riders that would be available for the 2013 season and the riders we thought would fit into the team to step us up to that top level. Back at the races, I spoke to the riders on that list to let them know we where looking to hire a guy for 2013. I was really pleased with the response that I got from most of them, and they all mentioned that the team looked great and that the Nukeproof bike both looked good and was a bike they thought they could win on. Once the race season was over and everyone went back home for some down time I got speaking to Sam a bit more. His contract with Team Monster Energy-Specialized ran out on December 31st and he was keen for a change. I didn't go into all the details with Sam of why he fancied a change, I just wanted to make it happen for him to ride for Team CRC/Nukeproof. Negotiations started and I was able to come up with a package for Sam with CRC that everyone was happy with, and then it was a case of Sam trying out the bike to see if he thought he could win on it.


Hill on the 2012 Nukeproof Pulse during filming and testing of the new bike.

    And how big of a factor did the new Nukeproof Pulse play in Sam's decision to sign for the team?

Nigel: Before we shipped a Pulse for him to try, Sam said that riding the bike would be the deciding factor. I think that a few of his continuing sponsors wanted him to have a go on the bike before he made any big decisions, which I agree was probably the right thing to do. I was quietly confident that he would like the bike, especially because he had mentioned to me that he thought they looked great when they were first revealed mid-season. However, I must admit I was still a bit nervous because the only guys that had ridden the bike at that time were the team riders and a few designers. Plus, Sam was coming off of a great bike that had essentially been custom made for him. The Pulse has some different geometry and characteristics from what he has been riding, so we were fully aware that we might need to tweak a few things for him, and we had already looked into how we could do that with the current design.


    Getting Sam on the Pulse for testing must have been a challenge given that his current contract had not yet expired and there were so few examples of the new bike in existence.

Nigel: Yes, these things took a lot of time to plan and work out, and Sam needed to try out a Nukeproof Pulse before the end of the season. He is a very professional guy and respects his previous contract so he made sure to test the bike at a secret location and on a quiet day when no other riders would see him. As we only have a few Pulse frames (they are still prototypes for 2013 production) the only medium frame we had to spare was my personal bike. SRAM were very good to get us some BlackBox parts to put on it before we shipped it off to Sam to try out.


The Pulse pictured above is still in the prototype stages, but Hill is reportedly a fan of how the bike performs. This will be the first single pivot design that he has raced on during his professional career.


    How did that initial testing go?

Nigel: I had an email sitting in my inbox from him first thing in the morning the day after I knew Sam was going out on the bike for the first time. He said he had ridden the bike, loved it, and couldn't believe how much speed it carried through the rough sections, which is something I also noticed when I rode the Pulse. He also said he felt like he could win on the Pulse, and so the deal was agreed upon.


    Talk about waking up to good news! Did Sam ask to change anything at all?

Nigel: After a couple more rides on a pretty different set up, a new frame, different bars, different tires etc..., Sam asked if it was possible to try out a few tweaks to the bike to make it feel more like what he was used to. Of course we were willing to do this. RockShox sent him a slightly shortened shock that dropped the bottom bracket a touch to give Sam a lower position, and we sent him a higher rise set of Nukeproof bars and told him it was easy to change both the sweep and bend. The Pulse has a 1.5'' head tube and we have our own angle-adjusting headset cups, so the bike's head angle is easily tweaked to suit a rider. Ali and Dale, the designers back at Nukeproof, were looking at how to make these changes for Sam when he e-mailed me after some back-to-back testing with the stock and modified Pulse bikes. What was really cool to hear was that he had decided he preferred the bike as we had it originally; he liked the stock bottom bracket height and loved the higher rise stock Nukeproof bars. So that was great to hear and confirmed we are all doing the right things at Nukeproof. Happy Days!

bigquotesI'm very excited about riding for team Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof. They are very positive towards downhill racing and I know they are going to put in 100% just like me. I'm really looking forward to getting to the races under the Chain Reaction Cycles tents and hanging with the team. 2013 is going to be a good year. - Sam Hill

    That must have been a huge relief. There has been a lot of internet chatter comparing Sam's previous bike to the Pulse that he'll be on for the coming season.

Nigel: I love reading all the forum comments from the 'experts' that know everything about everything. Everyone who is involved with the team at CRC and Nukeproof are all passionate and experienced riders and racers who love bikes and the sport. We all have input into the design of the Nukeproof bikes and what we want. It is a great position to be in because we can make a bike exactly how we want it to be and what we want to ride. We don't start off with a bike and then change things. I think because we have such great people working on everything, things happen quicker and better than they may with other bike companies, but the Pulse frame that the team rode for the second half of the 2012 season is a first prototype and it came out pretty much 99% perfect. Amazing really! Although a lot of the design was done and tested with the Nukeproof Scalp frames.

The Move Analyzed

DID HE JUMP OR WAS HE PUSHED?

Speculation as to why Sam signed with Team CRC/Nukeproof has been rife with anonymous internet posts citing reasons ranging from Hill being straight up fired, a large carrot in the shape of a bag of money being dangled in front of him, to Sam simply wanting to shift to a new setting. What many posters seem to be forgetting is that Hill's contract with Team Monster Energy-Specialized ran out at the end of 2012, thereby allowing him the freedom to pursue other avenues if he so chose to. Every team manager also knew this, and you can bet that Hill was the subject of many a private discussion behind closed doors. We'll likely never know how Team Monster Energy-Specialized team manager Sean Heimdal's offer to retain Hill's services compared to others on the table, but we'd wager that Hill likely had a number of offers from different teams to chose from. He didn't jump, and he certainly wasn't pushed, but we're betting that the reserved Aussie knows that an entirely new setting might be a key element in re-igniting that shockingly fast yet clever riding style that typified his most successful years.

WHAT ARE TEAM CRC/NUKEPROOF GETTING?

Hill is still a rider that would be near the top of any team manager's wish list, which begs the question of just how the he has gone from piloting a Demo 8 down World Cup tracks to joining the Team CRC/Nukeproof roster. That isn't to take anything away from his new team or the Nukeproof Pulse downhill bike that we'll soon see him on, but rather simply admitting that the move is surprising. Or is it?

Online giant Chain Reaction Cycles clearly have deep pockets and are committed to the competitive element of the sport, and what better way to raise the profile of the Nukeproof name - a company owned by CRC - than to sign the most influential DH rider of this generation? Both Matt Simmonds and Joe Smith were flying the CRC flag last year (and will be back for 2013 as well) and put in some very respectable runs, but it's a given that having Hill on the team is going to sell more bikes in a single year than Simmonds and Smith could give away during that time. Then there is the development factor. Hill isn't known for having the same hypersensitive touch as, say, Nicolas Vouilloz, but no one can argue that any bike he has spent time on has been transformed from a somewhat questionable race-specific rig to a proven podium contender. Word is that the Pulse is a very respectable machine, and Hill didn't sign on the dotted line until he had some time on the single pivot, linkage activated bike beforehand to confirm that point, but you know that Nukeproof is looking forward to the feedback that Hill will provide to them. Will the Pulse be sporting a slightly shorter rear end and lower bottom bracket height when it hits production? Don't bet against it.

Regardless of whether Hill is or isn't the rider he was back in 2007 and 2008, or if it's the competition that has closed the gap since those dominating wins, there is no denying that the Australian isn't the jaw dropping force that he once was on a World Cup track. The days of him laying down mid-course split times that were several seconds up on the competition while coming through sections visibly quicker than other world class riders may be gone, but there aren't many that would bet against him standing on top of a World Cup podium again at some point in the future. This is especially true when it comes to any steep, technical, and muddy track, a well known forte of his, but Hill's ability to put the power down efficiently has been underestimated by many. Split time comparisons between Hill and other riders show that he has steadily improved in this area compared to seasons past, which, not coincidentally, has been in accordance with Hill's rising results last season. 2012 was also the first in a few years where Hill was able to compete injury-free, having sat out the majority of 2010 and part of 2011 due to knee and shoulder issues. The competition has only gotten faster during his downtime, with the likes of Gwin pushing the sport to new levels of speed and consistency, but Chain Reaction Cycles clearly have faith that Hill will once again be able to contend for the top step of the podium. They aren't the only ones, with both SRAM retaining him on their BlackBox race program and Troy Lee Designs continuing their support as well.

Do we think Sam will win another World Cup race? Yes, we do. But even if he never stands on another podium, Chain Reaction Cycles have made a smart choice by bringing him on board. The exposure he brings to the brand is immense, with the every race fan well aware of what Hill has both done and is capable of. Roll on 2013.

Action from the 2010 MTB World Championships at Mont Ste Anne Canada. Photo by Fraser Britton
Sam, pictured here with his father Merv at the Mont Sainte Anne World Championships, a race that he won after returning from both a major knee surgery and a shoulder injury.

    What are the chances of seeing him aboard a carbon fiber Pulse at some point next season?

Nigel: I think that you will have to wait and see on that, I'm afraid. I think our aluminum Pulse is good enough to compete at the highest level at the moment, and the weight of the bike is really good also.

    What can you tell us about Sam's mechanic, Jacy Shumilak. Will he be wrenching for Sam again in 2013?

Nigel: At the moment we are keeping Brooks on as the main team mechanic. Brooks does a great job, he is a fantastic mechanic and top lad! Carl has had to leave to team to concentrate on his bike shop in Glasgow, which is a shame, but thanks to Carl for the last few years with the team. I have spoken to Jacy, so it's not out of the question at this stage but I honestly don't know.

Sam Hill is rapidly climbing back into the role of podium threat. Thanks in great part to this man Jacy Shumilak
Will Jacy Shumilak, Hill's longtime mechanic, be joining him in on Team CRC/Nukeproof? As shown in motorized sports, the rider/mechanic relationship is an important element in the entire package.

    Don't many of Sam's long term sponsors conflict with the equipment used by the team last season?

Nigel: Well, all of the contracts that we had on the team expired at the end of 2012, so it really wasn't such a big deal. We had already agreed with SRAM that the team would be on their full lineup: RockShox suspension, SRAM drivetrain, Avid brakes, and Truvativ running gear for 2013. Sam keeps his Monster Energy helmet deal, TLD clothing deal (which the whole team will run), Five Ten, and SPY, which are all companies CRC deals with so it all works out really well. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our continuing sponsors for 2013, as well as all of our past sponsors that have supported the team over the last five years.

    What do you think were the main elements of the Team CRC/Nukeproof deal that brought Sam over from his previous team?

Nigel: I think that is a question for Sam, and I honestly don't know the answer to that. Just the whole package was right for him, I guess. I think a lot of people believe that CRC have just paid over the odds for Sam, but we are honestly paying Sam what he is worth and what any other big team would expect to pay for a rider of his caliber.


    The news of Hill signing for Team CRC/Nukeproof was actually embargoed until January 1st, 2013, but a certain German website let the cat out of the bag early, thereby forcing Pinkbike and others to also post the announcement long before it was intended to be public knowledge. This surely must have caused a bit of a shit storm on your end...

Nigel: Well, when planning something as big as sponsoring Sam, a few people and certain sponsors have to know about it, so you never really know if anyone mentions it to anyone else, but it was all going pretty well until a particular website posted it up before the January 1st release date! I guess these things can happen. I didn't send out the press release myself, and I haven't dealt with an embargo before, but I would have sent it on New Year's Eve because you can't trust everyone. I have definitely been watching too many secret agent movies! I will be honest, I was really pissed off that this happened. It was just embarrassing and I didn't want to piss people off as contracts run to certain dates and we should respect those. We are all here to try and make our sport and industry better. I sent out a few e-mails apologizing that this had happened, and yes, Geoff Rogers from Specialized sent me a nice reply being really cool about it, which was really good of him. Specialized is one of the largest and best companies in our industry so it was nice of him to take the time.

Matt Simmonds and Joe Smith
Both Matt Simmonds (left) and Joe Smith are likely to only get faster throughout the season thanks to sharing pit space and track time with Hill.


Hill's 2012 CRC/Nukeproof Pulse. While much of the running gear is similar to last
season, the Mavic Deemax wheels and Schwalbe rubber are two big changes. Expect
the 2013 team issue bikes to differ slightly. Photo from Hill's Instagram

    Returning riders Matt Simmonds and Joe Smith are great riders in their own right. Do you think that some pressure will be taken off of them now that Hill is on the team?

Nigel: This is one of the most exciting factors for me. Both Matt and Joe are fantastic riders, really fast and both are focused. Having Sam on the team will be great for them both, and I am hoping it will give them that missing link to make it to that top level consistently. The pressure will be off, and I think that will also help them achieve the results that I know they are capable of. They are both focused and motivated themselves, and now Sam is joining us, so they should be even more so. We have a great team of three riders, and both Matt and Joe are great lads and I think that will help Sam.


    Where will we first see Sam, Matt, and Joe aboard the Nukeproof Pulse in 2013?

Nigel: We will be doing the full UCI World Cup series, the BDS rounds for Matt and Joe, and as many BDS stops as possible for Sam, which I will work out over the next month or so when I plan his flights and travel. Sea Otter may end up being the first race, but to be honest, it all depends on when bikes, parts, and kit arrive.







Team Monster Energy-Specialized manger, Sean Heimdal.
A California native, Sean Heimdal (pictured at right ) has run the Team Monster Energy-Specialized program as the team manager since its inception, as well as the Iron Horse/Mad Catz outfit prior to that. Hill's departure to a new team for 2013 marks the first time in a decade that he won't be racing for a team managed by Heimdal - an incredible stat that speaks volumes about how much time the two have spent together over the years. We caught up with Sean to get his take on Sam's exit from Team Monster Energy-Specialized and what the future might hold.

    Sean, first things first, will we see Team Monster Energy-Specialized for the 2013 season?

Sean: Some final details are being sorted so I can’t comment on whether there will be a “Monster Energy-Specialized” team at this time. Either way, Specialized will have a great World Cup program and Monster Energy will also continue to support athletes and programs globally.


    What about those persistent rumors of Specialized pursuing a factory-based effort next year...

Sean: Specialized have always had a factory team within the Monster Energy program, and we’re working together to find the best direction for 2013. It won't be much longer before there’s a definitive direction for everyone and it’ll be an exciting season nonetheless.


    It sounds like there is some big news to come. Speaking of news, Sam's departure leaked earlier than intended. Did this cause on any trouble on your end?

Sean: Yes, the news went public a little early and it was fun reading all the guesses going on @teamrumors. For us, it's been known for some time that Sam wouldn’t be coming back onboard for 2013. He’ll definitely be missed within the program, but we’ve known each other for so long, he’ll never be too far away... I know he’ll be over to poach a sandwich and/or an icy cold green!


    Can you expand on the situation regarding Sam leaving the very successful Monster Energy-Specialized outfit?

Sean: Sam’s contract was up for renewal and I believe he was at a point in his life where some changes were needed to light the spark again...A fresh start without everything being so routine, and to create a new challenge within himself. I’m one of his biggest supporters with a belief that if a healthy and hungry Sam Hill shows up, he’ll consistently be back on the podium.

Hill in his Iron Horse days during the '08 World Champs in Italy. He would finish
3rd after a massive crash within sight of the line.


    So he wasn't poached?

Sean: No, he wasn’t poached and everyone was given an equal chance to continue on with each other.


    At what point in time did you suspect that Sam might not be returning to the team?

Sean: The subject dates back to end of 2011 season when he was looking at other options until finding something that suited him this off-season, and Sam personally delivered the news to me.


    Sam has been with your team for many years. Do you feel like any bridges have been burnt during his departure? Maybe no exchanging of Christmas cards this year?

Sean: No bridges burnt, and we’ve never sent each other Christmas cards, so why break tradition? All good.


    In your eyes, what are the benefits of Sam joining Team CRC/Nukeproof?

Sean: To be completely honest, the only benefit I foresee is a “fresh start” for Sam because there’s only one Jacy (Team Mechanic) on the circuit and no way they can make a sandwich as good as mine.



    What elements of the Monster Energy- Specialized sponsorship and support package do you think Sam will miss most?

Sean: I’d like to think he’ll miss just about every element from the program, but he wont be too far away from us in the pits, so the transition will be a lot easier...It’ll be interesting to see how the transition goes while working with unfamiliar surroundings and without the Championship proven Specialized equipment.


    What advice and tips can you give Nigel Page as Sam's new team manager?

Sean: I’d say the first thing is that media want the “first scoop,” and don’t distribute press releases until they’re absolutely ready to go out =)! Otherwise, Nigel has been around a long time, he’s just signed on Sam, and I don’t think I’ve got any advice that would improve the direction he’s been going as a team manager. Good luck and see you all at the races! Lastly, I want to thank all our fans, supporters, sponsors, media, and photographers for all their support over the past eleven years where Sam’s been for ten of them... Yes, a decade of Sam Hill onboard this program has ended, but let’s get excited about some upcoming hungry fresh new talent mixed with veterans, making the 2013 racing season more exciting than ever!



Interview questions by Mike Levy and Si Paton
Photos by Colin Meagher, Fraser Britton, MTBcut

230 Comments

  • + 188
 It's clear that Sean and the Specialized team aren't really happy with this situation haha.
  • + 66
 I think from what I read it became too much of a "job" than anything. We all know that Sam was making good money at Spec, but if you lose your passion for what you love...Is it worth it?
  • - 48
 all its about a money?
  • + 53
 I came away with the opposite impression - Sam and his previous team were happy with the past but both also knew that it was time to try something new. Nothing wrong with that.
  • - 142
 Specialized essentially let him go cause they didn't want to pay him the big bucks anymore, this was the "situation" they wanted.
  • + 191
 OMG its Protour!!!
  • + 14
 I think after having almost seasons out because of big crashes on that bike he just needed to ride something new. But Jacy better continue on with Sam!
  • + 12
 One thing I can foresee is the Pulse BB gonna be lowered 5mm in 2014.
  • + 109
 Is it 'just me', or is EVERYONE waiting to see that video of him on the Pulse in testing . . . . . .

It's January 1st, 2013...... So technically, we can see it can't we ?
  • + 21
 I think Monster Specialized is losing quality, they should innovate, like contract with Holly Feniak, for ex.
  • + 24
 "Speculation as to why Sam signed with Team CRC/Nukeproof has been rife with anonymous internet posts citing reasons ranging from Hill being straight up fired, a large carrot in the shape of a bag of money being dangled in front of him, to Sam simply wanting to shift to a new setting."

Pinkbikers, this means YOU!
  • + 9
 Anyone got any idea how much (roughly) he's being paid? I've always wondered how much Atherton et al etc get paid but I've got no idea really
  • - 18
 if I had to guess I'd bet they are paying him between 50 to 80 Grand per season. Pretty sure Specialized was paying him at least a couple hundred grand, which they were unwilling to continue to do. Hard to believe Specialized paid Palmer almost 800 a year back in the day, but they missed his best years also.
  • - 9
 50 to 80 grand a season!? Hahaha.... HAHAHAHAHA.... man you're a special kinda poster. Judging by what I know in terms of sponsors and paying their top athletes for a specific sport, a sport a bit better paid than WC DH, you're in the ball park of 10k-30k... and I wouldn't be shocked if I overestimated it. The money is coming from energy drinks and other endorsements, not the factory. Their main job is taking care of the team's racing equipment and providing them with the best equipment.
  • + 21
 Scott, you have to be waaaaay off. I'm sure that Sam made much more than that. Look at the homes of these top level racers. Look at their possessions. Even the top level freeriders are making more than that. Ever seen Bearclaws home and property? How about Semenuk? Gwin, Atherton, and the other top ten guys are making a lot of money. The rest of the top 30 may make what you are claiming.
  • - 3
 Hahaha, you might want to re-read my post, bud. We're talking about just the FACTORY sponsor, not all his endorsements combined... reading comprehension does the mind good.
  • + 5
 According to Wikipedia, Palmer was getting $300,000 on the Specialized team. Pretty crazy pay for a fringe sport back in 1997!
  • + 5
 Not gonna lie, those new frames are sexy as hell
  • + 0
 i doubt he was actually paid $300,000 dollars but i would believe that with all of the items that were given to him that the valu eof those items and what he was paid is around that.
  • + 3
 I'd believe it. Greg LeMond negotiated the first million dollar deal in road cycling back in 1990, and that was his salary. Not a million, minus all the sweet stuff we give you...
  • + 0
 pretty sure downhill will be like moto , when your at the top and constantly fighting for podium, of course you will get some money , but no way anywhere near 80k a year. All the toys you see these people with will most likely be through sponsorship deals and not bought by the people themselves , its just good marketing !
  • - 5
 So... Red bull/Specialized Team Atherton?
  • + 2
 Gt already announced next year team, which is same as this year + dh and enduro junior riders
  • + 6
 Palmer was paid $300'000 with a MountainDew/Specialized contract ( according to wikipedia) kind of like Sam's contract which was Monster/Specialized. Palmers is still standing as the highest paid mountain biker at the moment until someone releases how much Sam is getting or was getting , but frankly I don't want that to happen. I want them to be known for their skills on a bike and love for the sport and people not caring about how much money they make.

I would imagine when he first signed with Specialized it was a great salary though as he was destroying everybody and as Palmer said in a video about him
"He made everyone get fast again".
So he was the one that everyone had their eyes on and everyone wanted.

If you make it to the top of any reasonably sized sport there will be money to be had but I don't get why people care about his salary. I just want to see him destroy the competition and smash everybody. That's what your thinking about when watching a race not
"I wonder how much he's getting paid"
  • + 2
 how could you possibly have any idea how much they were paying him, or anyone else?
  • + 7
 People love to know how much pros get paid cos then they can sit back and think..."If I had started riding when I was 10....I could be on that much now." OR even better when your young and you love riding and your parents say you will never earn a living from it.......just need to point to the top pros. No one actually cares that they earn that much, its just trivia.
  • + 1
 watched a WC commentated by Cedric and Warner 2 or 3 years ago. CG stated that the top 5 make "about 300 000 euros" cash, that's overall though, bonuses, filming, etc etc. but it drops off extremely fast outside top 5 territory
  • + 2
 ^ and I guarantee you the smaller slice of that comes from the factory itself. People have no idea how much other sponsors or endorsement deals pay out, especially if they preform well... and people always seem to insanely overestimate how much some get paid. Only a rare few either make enough to live comfortably after, or to do their own gig once their short careers are over.
  • + 1
 10 -30k! It's A Lot more than you guys think! Supposedly Tomac was nearly a million dollar boy back when MTB bucks were plentiful. Minnaar was rumored to be getting 500K from Honda - a pittance for them. You think Santa Cruz is n't shelling out the dough to him or Peaty? When they get results - their salaried is paid hand over fist in brand exposure and sales! Sam wasn't getting the results, and no doubt he was a big ticket item. He knew this, and he knew he needed a fresh start to reignite that spark.
  • + 3
 pretty sure if sam was getting a few hundred thousand a year from monster/specialized most of the hundred thousand part would be from monster, cycling overall isn't known for its large payrolls and monster is a bigger company then specialized, anyway I expect him to be getting far more from crc
  • + 3
 When Tomac was popular MTBing was at an all time high and that's nothing like it is today. Honda paid out the ass because it was their break out attempt into mtbing and at the time moto-x was at a high point so they had the money to dump millions into a new bike/internal gearbox as well as a baller WC team to see if they could break into another market (similar to what Coreupt did with their new company and team in skiing a few years ago and just like Honda, they disbanded their interests only a few years in). Also it's mother effing Tomac, he's a legend and his son is well on his way as well. Ask him how bad the moto-x industry is doing, haha. Sam's a big ticket item for sure but again I really think you guys are overestimating how much the factory teams are shelling out for their riders right now... Hell maybe Specialized couldn't fill his quota for pay and that's where Nuke stepped up to scoop him up or they just offered more because it's not uncommon for that to happen despite Nuke is smaller than Specialized... who knows. Just for the nuts out there, this is completely speculation on my end... we could only know if Hill himself told us but that won't happen and to be honest, it's none of our business although it's really fun to speculate, haha.
  • + 4
 I remember reading an interview with Mick Hannah where he mentioned that the top DH athletes salaries are in the range of $50,000 - $300,000 www.jobshadow.com/interview-with-a-professional-mountain-bike-racer
  • + 4
 You know $50,000-$300,000 is a pretty broad spectrum.
  • + 4
 I have a vague recollection of reading in AMB magazine (early 2000's) about Sam getting signed up for $400k waaaay back when he first went pro for an international team. I have no idea if that was all tolled between the team and other sponsors and I have no idea if that was for a season or the total for a multi-year contract. I don't think these guys can realistically be asked to continually risk their lives for our entertainment and then get paid less than they could make sweeping the floor somewhere.
More importantly than how much he's getting paid - Sea Otter, wtf? Why aren't we going to see Sam on the new bike at Mt Buller for the first round of the Australian season at the end of the month? Too soon? How about Australian Champs at Stromlo at the end of Feb? I don't care how many BDS rounds he gets to. Surely he's not happy about missing the entire Australian race season.
  • + 5
 holy shit we have salary experts....i didnt know wikipedia was 100% accurate 60% of the time
  • + 3
 wow scott-townes your arrogant over nothing! minnaar was on about 200k last year from santa cruz alone! And sams initial move to specialized was on a similar figure. I highly doubt CRC are paying much less than 80k.
  • + 1
 @chyu She already rides for specialized. Thats why she's on a demo and there is also a photo of her on the podium in a spec jersey.
  • - 5
 Gloryhp- I didn't know that speculating on something that I clearly said I don't know for sure about is being arrogant. Time to take control of those hormones and relax you dum dum poop head. lolol
  • + 2
 Scott Townes you're talking a lot of sense. I think most people have a really unrealistic idea about how much these blokes make. I'm interested in how much they make because I'm kind of envious of them being pros on one hand, and on the other hand I think I'm probably making more than most of them doing a boring job. They're not doing it for the money I don't reckon. If you want to make it as a pro, drop out of school to practice. If you want to make a lot of cash, work hard and ride two hours a week for fun.

To quote Sick Mick in that interview someone posted the link to:
"My first season I made about 30,000 usd, but my base salary was 10,000. I had a very successful season and did well with bonuses and prize money."

Base salary $10,000. And how many people lie about how much money they make? A lot. And they always say it's more than it really is. I'm not saying this is a lie, I absolutely believe the $10k. What I am saying is, I'll believe the big numbers when I see a contract for myself.

Anecdotal evidence about pro rider buddies don't cut the mustard kids.

Most riders are accepting a low rate of compensation in exchange for living the dream.
  • + 1
 Maybe Sam has been smart and negotiated and percentage of CRC's sales. 20% of the net take from Pulse sales, and 50,000 quid?
  • + 0
 Well the big thing these kids aren't taking into account is the miserable state of the economies of not only the U.S. but the EU as well and how that affects the industry as well... it's understandable but man people need to pull their heads out of their rectums. I know for a fact that for the past few years people who raced nationals quad series who made plenty of money before the recession now race local/regional because the nationals don't pay as well. It's all dependent on the sports but if one sport's money starts drying out due to widespread economic issues, you can guarantee that other's are as well, including mtbing... and its funny to see them comparing the current situations to those of many years past, hahaha. That's always entertaining. "It was like this in the late 90s so it must be the same now!!!" (again all speculation on my part, not arrogance on any end, lululz!)
  • + 0
 What you may find is Specialized provided the bikes, mechanic, support etc and the salary was paid by Monster. The top ten guys can make a living but as soon as you fall out of that bracket you are having to pay to fund your profession. If only we could have 2% of the salaries from the drug cheating road bike discipline the DHers pockets would be deservedly fatter. It would be a great day for DH to break away from the UCI, sadly that won't happen.
  • + 1
 roadies aren't paid much either, domestiques can start at $20,000 a year, look up how road bike teams work and you'll see dh teams are a much better deal
  • + 3
 What about the fact the top riders are on $5-$10m per year?
  • + 1
 Finnrambo- pinkbike kids know better than anyone else, there's no use. Every professional UCI racer makes BANK because most of them are factory sponsored. Jeeze I thought everyone knew that! Hell half of them were millionaires their 3rd year in!
  • - 3
 Goose- I'm sorry but that's... that's just wrong.... Where'd you get that fact? From the abyss of your anal cavity?
  • + 2
 The point I'm making is the value of the average salary/endorsement in DH is way below road cycling. DH riders are not on a better deal. Save your condescending kid talk for a kid.
  • + 2
 Evans? Drugstrong? What do you think LA was pulling in from factory/endorsements? O'Grady is on seven figures.
  • - 3
 Sure bud... next time make your point instead of saying something incredibly stupid then saying your point after you're called out for posting something incredibly stupid. Wink BTW on your first post, I agree, DH needs to break away from the UCI. That is poison.
  • + 1
 the top guys are paid alot yes but theres far worse, look what hockey/football/basketball athletes are paid! but the average roadie is on a pretty shit salary just pointing that out, the domestiques in the tour de france are making less than a $100,000 a year (if they even make it to europe) so stop pretending they all have an amazing deal and mtb gets the shit storm
  • + 1
 If the DH manufacturers were unique to DH it could be on the cards. As three of the largest DH manufacturers/teams are Giant, Trek and Specialized I can't see it ever happening given they are significantly involved in road cycling and wouldn't want to upset the UCI. BTW are you one of the moderators on comments or merely a self appointed self righteous keyboard warrior?
  • + 2
 I do agree on UCI tho, they overall should just not be around, they're useless for road and mtb
  • + 1
 Finnrambo even a miserly domestique salary of $100k would be far a greater wage than rider number 80 for the DH finals on race day.
  • - 1
 Roadies are paid a lot more, that's accepted. The market is much bigger than MTB. Tour de Lance is an exception but I remember he made $46m in a season a few years back according to Forbes magazine. That year it was the same as Rossi, which I was pretty amazed by, considering Yamaha sell a shitload of units at very high prices compared to bicycles.

According to the affidavits given by all TdL's teammates, the UCI have a guaranteed basic salary for tour riders. Can't remember what it was, but it wasnt bad, 30-odd thousand Euro I seem to remember.

Gee lives in a big house, but there's three of them paying the mortgage and I don't think they're from a poor family either. Danny Hart rides a scooter and lives in a tiny house in the north of England. He's obviously not getting P.A.I.D. Bearclaw has a big house and a load of land but I gather that's pretty cheap in the middle of nowhere on Vancouver Island.

I'm with Scott Townes on this one.
  • + 1
 Haha, a brief glimpse before he disappears ahead of everyone!
[Reply]
  • + 50
 People are over analysing this, props to Pinkbike journos this so far is the best release from Sam and CRC as well as Specilaised, that said things change, I dont think a spark is needed for Sam, injuries are hard on you it takes time to come back from serious injuries at any level, with someone like Sam no doubt even harder with all his success and full on life changes, it will make him even stronger going forward regardless of how he does, you cant take away his achievements. What he needs most is better tracks, with the exception of one or too, over the last couple of seasons the tracks and the number of World Cups over a season are lacking, even Champery was severely dumbed down compared to 07 and with Schladming gone for now thats a massive blow to technical riders like Sam, also stoked his key sponsors have stayed with him props to them. Personaly I dont care why Sams changed,, I just wish him and CRC all the best for 2013 and hope WC DH racing can expand maybe take on a bit of what Enduro is showing what can be done with great courses which is what people want, everyone wins and the best riders like Sam can show what they can do, rip it up in 2013 yeah boi, I do dig the looks of the new bike too looks sic with Sram kit.
  • + 25
 Very good point about the tracks.
  • + 3
 Gotta agree with this, I just can't see Sam winning on pedally tracks like South Africa or Leogang. I definitely think his chances are good next year on tracks like val di sole, champery and even fort Bill. I'd love to see sam back on top!
  • + 1
 Agree about the tracks. There's no doubt that Sam is one of the best technical riders in the world, on his day, in the right conditions, he is unbeatable. However, 5 out of the 6 world cups next year he has podiumed at in the past, and 2 he has won at. I'd say he's got a very decent shot at the overall next year!
  • + 3
 Well outside of the World Cup the BDS have just announced he'll be racing Llangollen. You want to see him on steep and technical, you've got it right there! That track is insane, I can't wait to see what he puts down against the UKs best!
  • + 1
 Hopefully Brendan will race it too, heck, we might as well make it a world cup.
  • + 3
 Agreed. I have to say that from both a rider and manufacture standpoint, this is the most class that we have ever seen in our sport. This is amazing that both rider and manufacture showed that they were emotionally connected even when business is involved. Transitions like this is what helps our sport move forward in a positive manner. I can't wait to see Sam pin it on his new bike with success, and for the continued success with Specialized and their rider's.
  • + 3
 i agree - this is a very well done interview/expose'
  • + 1
 Sam hill at llangollen would be awesome , one of the sickest tracks around IMO
  • + 2
 Sam Im sure will decimate all at Fort Bill or even llangollen, Working with CRC he will probably spend alot more time in the UK.
  • + 1
 @Meveric very good point about the tracks...

Great interview too.
  • + 1
 Manix you're right. He'll spend the whole summer in the UK I reckon, and practice at the Fort for two weeks beforehand like Danny Hart did last year. I can't see it happening, but I would LOVE to see him back on the top step again.
  • + 1
 I reckon he still has it in him, maybe not in his first couple races but once he has bedded the bike in a bit, the change could be just what he needed.
[Reply]
  • + 47
 Sam and Specalized are like bacon and eggs they just go together ill be a shame to se him leave, But best of luck on the CRC team! They didnt sound convinced that a carbon would be the best idea
  • + 47
 Sam and Ironhorse were like bacon and eggs in that era too. If he returns to his former self, he'll dominate no matter what the sticker says on the bike underneath him.
  • + 65
 Bacon is amazing by itself and so are Eggs so i think we can sleep easily tonight.
  • + 4
 I'd be looking for some blanched spinach and some tomato as well...on some toasted ciabatta, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar....Farque...if Sam does well this year it will be awesome for CRC...they seem a great bunch of guys...Pagey's a lovely fellow...
  • + 9
 @dave-m - Nailed it. Sam = Iron Horse at one point, and some who have followed Hill since his very early days will remember him being on a red Intense as a Jr back in Australia (although that was likely a distributor-level sponsorship, I'm not sure). Give a few seasons on the Nukeproof and see what happens.
  • + 2
 same was said with Ironhorse ffs!!
[Reply]
  • + 34
 "To be completely honest, the only benefit I foresee is a “fresh start” for Sam", "It’ll be interesting to see how the transition goes while working with unfamiliar surroundings and without the Championship proven Specialized equipment.", "don’t distribute press releases until they’re absolutely ready to go out!"

Wow, in my opinion, those remarks lack class. Sounds to me like The Big S is pissed at Sam and are trying to "get even" by insinuating CRC/Nukeproof make an inferior product. They should be thanking Sam Hill for making the Demo what it is today and putting them back in the DH game! Nigel Page seemed to be gracious to past and present sponsors, and genuinely apologetic that the news got leaked.
  • + 12
 I said 'wow' as well, haha.
  • + 32
 I know, right? The "championship equipment" part really got me. Sam Hill is what made it championship equipment! They should be kissing his ass for selling so many Demos for them!
  • - 9
 I can see why he said champ equip, just think he didnt need to. The Demo is a kickass bike, no doubt about it. They still could've made the Demo without Hill's input, just wouldn't be the numbers we have now. From it's inception in late 2010, only the DHR is close in terms of numbers, spec. bb height, iirc... All others are within 'normal'.
  • + 11
 I think that what Sean is trying to get across is that Sam, Jacy, and the team worked hard to make the bike exactly how he wanted it, and that it will be interesting to see how he takes to the new ride. Sam is known as a very particular rider, and his mechanic Jacy even more so, which goes a long way to explaining the comment. There isn't anything sinister there in my mind.
  • + 2
 I understand everyone wants/tries to be neutral and unbiased as possible. IMO Nige's remarks/comments are moar those, vs. the other guy...
  • + 21
 The rider wins the "Championship", not the equipment.

A big 'F OFF' to you, Specialized! Nearly all of Sam's wins came on an Iron Horse anyways.
  • + 3
 I think the Nukeproof pulse will fit sam well. He said he liked it in its original state without his adjustments. And not going to lie, I think the pulse is one of the best looking and cleaner looking bikes out there.
  • - 10
 And Iron Horse is no longer a brand, they would have been gone a long time ago without Hill. Specialized, not so much. Specialized is still rider owned and operated with the best customer service, and some of the best bikes on the market period. You got hate? Send it to Trek for their lackluster customer service and tin can bikes that break in a heartbeat. Sweet looking and performing bikes until they break because Trek would rather have a light bike than a strong bike.
  • + 3
 "best customer service"

Hahaha! *snort*
  • + 1
 @scandiumrider ... did you not see the 3+ minute video from Specialized where they are gushing praises for Sam Hill?
  • + 3
 You its pr, right?
  • + 5
 @Joeypalmer: the one where everyone expected a "rest in peace Sam Hill" message at the end of it? Yeah I saw that one...
  • + 1
 Good comment, f'k you Specialised, and learn how to spell. They're obviously sorry to see him go hey.
[Reply]
  • + 28
 I would really like to hear from Brosnan about this. From what I understand Hill has been somewhat a mentor for Brosnan, its a shame to see them split.
  • + 5
 Yeah, I'm interested in Troy for 2013 also.... there has been no new's, rumors or anything about him. But I think the next two years for Troy will be big and consistent. Best luck to all the racers in 2013
  • + 3
 troy and sam are my faveriot DH riders and i loved them as team mate! it will be interesting seeing how troy will go without sam, i hope they still keep contact and keep rideing together, i would love to see a video with them on there bikes together just ripping shit up! good luck to both the boys in the upcomeing season i hope to see them both in the top spot at some stage!
[Reply]
  • + 14
 Nuke proof got him cause they wanted a top dog promo machine. Look at all the other world cup teams they all have a top dog rider and co rider no t to take away from the number two spot on a big team Huge props But we all know who is top dog on trek,Santa Cruz and so on. Sam opens doors for the crc team that they didn't have before. And that alone is worth his salary Sam has made a pile of cash and I don't think the move is about money He wasn't motivated when he went to specialized cause he had nothing to prove And the cash that they gave him would make your head spin. This time hopefully he is hungry to win Cause you know gwin,minar,gee and all the others are coming in swinging in 2013 Good luck Sam and crc
[Reply]
  • + 12
 Regards Sean's comments I originally approached him and along with Mike Levy put those questions to him. Initially I never thought he would comment let alone answer in detail the questions we threw at him. He took time out over the Christmas holidays to answer every question for you guys to read so for that we must thank. What General-Lee says above Is correct, the deal was over and everybody's happy and moved on and remains professional at all times.
  • + 4
 Props and Kudos to you and M.L, Si. Basically if I didn't read from this site, I wouldn't read at all...... Oh, and Happy New Year !
[Reply]
  • + 10
 So Sam is still on the blackbox program and still running Rockshox. I was looking foward to seeing him kill it on Marzocchi Frown But I think he's going to do great things this year. Bring on Sam Hill re-domination!
  • + 6
 Don't know what happened with his paint scheme this year...
  • + 2
 Hill could have resurrected Marzocchi! I'm sure he's signed onto the black box program for life though...
[Reply]
  • + 7
 It's great that everyone has their bike brand loyalty. Nothing wrong with that. But for all those comments that the Demo is trash, it breaks, sucks compared to a Glory or Session..really? Curious how many people on here have actually ridden/owned all those bikes to make legit comparisons. How many people have ridden a 2013 DH bike from anyone? Are there really people on here that have the 10 grand to have bought an S-Works Demo and ridden it/broken it to say it's trash? I highly doubt it. And as the saying goes...if you actually make enough money to buy a 10 grand bike, you probably do not have the time to actually 'ride' it.

Cheers to Sam, hope to see you back on top and in #1 spot. Gwin is boring.
  • + 1
 Wise words.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Is Sean Heimdal seems a bit crusty about Hill's departure? According to Sean H. the only benefit will be the fresh start and Sam will greatly miss every element of the Moster/Specialized team. Sam Hill should have a great new gig with his new team and I think that a fresh start will also greatly benefit whatever Moster/Specialized becomes.
  • + 12
 That was a tough question for Sean to answer and I have to give him props for speaking bluntly.. he certainly could have issued a canned response that would have made everyone at the table smile. Having said that, I doubt very much that he meant anything by the comment.
  • + 5
 Agreed, Mike. The guy believes in his team and the products they use and he was honest about it. I'd rather not read another paragraph of unnecessary, extra political-correctness. I appreciated it. Have a good day, everyone!
  • + 14
 About Sam missing the 'championship proven Specialized equipment'. Ahhh actually Sam was the person that made that equipment 'championship proven'. Without Sam it is just regular specialzed equipment
  • + 3
 All these comments about Sam and his hunger, or lack there of. I can remember a bunch of 2012 photos of a portly Sam Hill who looked like he was plenty hungry enough. Maybe a little too hungry.
  • + 0
 I reckon there's a chance of Monster binning Specialized and jumping to CRC with him, or some other team as title sponsor. Obviously they haven't signed up yet hey.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 I think this is a great move for the industry, a bike shop competing with the manufacturers. The Nukeproof is a bike designed by racers for racers, this is clear when you ride one. Interesting that Sam noticed how well the Nukeproof carries speed over the rough stuff. When changing from the V10 to a Scalp, this was the first thing I noticed. The stability at speed was the next thing.
  • + 1
 Y'know, I have to agree with you here -- if Sam is noticing good differences in his equipment, that can only lead to good things, I think. Wish him all the best.
  • + 3
 @Betsie...great point about a bike shop/supplier being able to compete with a manufacturer.

CRC buying the Nukeproof brand name and proving that a "non-manufactuer" can build a high quality, affordable bike that one of the greatest riders in the world is willing to compete on is a testament to the business CRC has built.

The proliferation of this business model can only be good for us consumers & weekend warriors.
  • + 0
 He's not going to say it's shit is he?

What are Specialized that CRC are not? They both do the same thing. Pay some engineers to design a bike, pay a factory in Taiwan to make it, pay some marketing people to sell it.

CRC and Specialized are one and the same.

How do you know they aren't made in the exact same factory? It is disrespectful for that bloke from Specialized to mention the equipment at all, given that Specialized don't actually make anything.
  • + 1
 Specialized are a bike manufacturer, CRC are a bike shop...
CRC use a Nukeproof bike.
Both are small t medium enterprises in the big wide world.
CRC revenue was around £109m in 2011
Specializd revenue was around $500m in 2011

I work in R&D for a very large company just now, but have worked as design engineer in, small, medium and companies where a large company has bought the R&D department including certain IP and invention disclosures to gain market share etc.
I have a small idea of the differences in small to large companies, which in the bike world is Nukeproof to Specialized.
  • + 1
 Specialized are not a bike manufacturer in the sense they don't actually manufacture any bikes. Rather, they pay a third party factory to manufacture bikes for them. I'd call them a design brand.

CRC is a shop which owns the Nukeproof brand. CRC and Nukeproof are therefore the same entity. They also pay a third party factory to manufacture bikes for them. The only reason they bought the Nukeproof name is because they needed a brand, rightly believing that no one would buy a "CRC" branded bike.

So what's the difference? Revenue?

My point is, neither of them manufacture anything per se. I don't rate Specialized any more highly than I do CRC. They probably have the same number of engineers directly employed to work on their DH machinery.

I'm not looking for an argument. Rather I'm pointing out that neither of them make anything themselves, so Specialized have no right to believe themselves to be better than CRC. Bigger yes, better no. If they paid them enough, CRC could no doubt buy all Specialized's R&D guys. Then would Speicalized still be superior? A company is its people. CRC can obviously afford some good engineers these days. Specialized is a lot bigger, but they also have a much bigger range. I don't see CRC selling road bikes, hybrids, tri bikes etc...

I would buy a Pulse over a Demo every time. I know the Demo is a great bike but it's also over priced, no doubt because of the name on the head tube.
  • + 1
 @jaame...you're missing the point.

You are correct, that Specialized is not a bike manufacturer and they they sub out all of the manufacturing of their bikes. There are really only a couple of factories in Asia where almost all bikes are made.

The point is, that CRC creating a new business model and being able to produce high quality, affordably priced bikes under the Nuke Proof brand name can only being good for consumers. It will hopefully expose the ridiculousness of what Specialized charges for their bikes and force them to lower prices to stay competitive.

If CRC can figure out a way to market Nukeproof bikes and sell them direct to consumers, without local dealers (bike shops), then they will be putting pressure on the rest of the industry to adapt and keep up.
  • + 1
 Different companies use different models, but you would be amazed who designs what in the real world.
You don't think Apple designs and makes the i-phone do you......
Next American wrestling will be real Smile
  • + 1
 I know that Apple pay someone to design their stuff, then pay a Taiwanese company (Foxconn) to manufacture it in China. Apple is a total rip off too, and I'd never buy any of their stuff.

CRC have a great idea and I'd back them over Specialized. Specialized bikes are very nice, but they are a rip off.
  • + 1
 @donch15 Intense still builds in America. That was one of my main reasons for choosing my M9 last summer when I decided to build/buy a new DH ride. I almost bought a Jedi as I know the Canfields and I love the engineering in the frame. But in the end I chose to buy the Intense because it's made in the USA. That used to mean more than it does today, but it still means something to me.
  • + 1
 What it means is, it's overpriced and not aligned properly.
[Reply]
  • + 9
 hi'll dominate this year, specialized or nuke proof...Hill is talented.
  • + 20
 That pun is just so wrong.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 This may come as a surprise to some of you but not everything in life has a soap opera story line. It's well documented that Sam's contract had expired. Maybe, just maybe it was time for something new for him. Surely there's enough enough people here who can understand that sometimes it's not always so simple to quantify the reasons why. CRC are pleased to see Sam arrive, Spesh don't seem pleased to see the back of him and sometimes.......well, mostly........it just is what it is.
  • + 1
 The drama queens have been watching too many "reality" shows again... You're right. It was the end of a contract, and beyond that, not much matters. The rest of this is speculation and nonsense.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Sean Heimdal seems a tad bitter about losing Sam, like some other kid came and packed up the toys he wanted and removed them from his sandbox. Maybe this move for Sam will result in five more world champs.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Great interview in my opinion. Sheds some light on the situation which is great.

The sales of Nukeproof really will go through the roof after people read that interview about them and how much Sam loved it. I really hope he does amazing this year and gets back to the very top.

But boy , Heimdal was coming across pretty pissed with the whole situation , Even though he said
"No, he wasn’t poached and everyone was given an equal chance to continue on with each other"
If that's true he has no right to be pissed.
  • + 1
 he may not be that bothered its hard to tell from reading text how people are feeling i got the impression heimdal wasn't happy but sometimes i read text back that I've typed and it can seem angry even though it wasn't meant like that
  • + 1
 Yeh it is hard to tell how he meant it without facial expressions and tone of voice , just the words he chose make it sound like that.
  • + 1
 Regarding advice and tips I think that the following statement was pretty telling.. To me the outside observer it looks like Sean is pretty bitter while doing his best to downplay it.

"Sean: I’d say the first thing is that media want the “first scoop,” and don’t distribute press releases until they’re absolutely ready to go out =)!"
  • + 1
 If I were him I'd be worried that Sam is getting back to form and could potentially destroy the sales of a bike Specialized probably relies on for bringing in a lot of money , with a lesser known brand.
  • + 1
 They know that Hill is singlehandedly capable of selling containerloads of bikes. Maybe the Specialized guy is thinking about his year end bonus (or lack thereof) now he's let Sam Hill get away!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I think some of you need to remember that Heimdal is a representitive for Specialized and the Specialized brand, and his answers very much reflect that. 'Condescending' and 'crusty'??? Please. This is still business and the man is on point and on message for the company he represents.
  • + 3
 It a tough question for Sean to answer and I have to give him props for speaking bluntly.. he certainly could have issued a canned response that would have made everyone at the table smile. Having said that, I doubt very much that he meant anything by the comment.
  • + 4
 But on the other hand Nigel Page is in the same position of having to be "politically correct" etc etc but came across 1000 times better than Sean. The lasting impression of this interview (whether intended or not) is CRC=awesome, Spesh=bitter and corporate. Now we all know CRC has some serious money and is just as business minded but that is un fortunatley the lasting impression
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Was just looking Sam up on youtube. Found this vid that Specialized put up yesterday. Pretty classy send-off I'd say.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF_UO60hZ1E

Can't wait for next season. Exciting times ahead.
  • + 1
 Posted that before scrolling down to see that it was also posted on PB too. Oops. :0)
  • + 2
 Helluva class sendoff from Specialized!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I think Sam will really suit nuke proof and the bike it's self looks bad ass with those black box boxxers. I hope Sam has a good season
  • + 1
 Why do you think Sam will suit Nukeproof so good? Please share.
  • + 3
 Stylish fast rider on a stylish fast bike , what can be wrong ?
  • + 1
 Couldn't you say that about any other world cup level bike?
  • + 1
 redalp could probably be raced at worldcup no problem, tell me how thats stylish
[Reply]
  • + 5
 so which german mtb website are they talking about? i seriously dont know -.-
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Wow the Demo haters are out in force... Sam helped design the bike so I highly doubt he didn't like it, given Specialized built him whatever he needed. No need to be down on the brand that has done more for the modern version of the sport than any other... Tear it up Sam and good luck in '13!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 That's probably the biggest news in all 2012. I didn't expected such a revolutionary move for Sam and CRC. I think it's really great and both will gain good things from it. My congrats to Sam and to Nigel. Cheers guys
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Maybe this isn't the most apt analogy

But isn't going from a Demo 8 to the single pivot Pulse, like transitioning from racing a quad-cam Ferrari to a pushrod engine?

That being said, look at what Chevy's managed to do with a "lowly" pushrod engine. Maybe Nuke Proof is on to something with a well evolved KISS principle.

Any arm chair engineers out there that can help me with this?
  • + 2
 I was gonna point out the corvette's multiple le-mans wins over the ferrari 430 gt3 cars but you corrected yourself for me Wink well played sir
[Reply]
  • + 1
 fresh start for sam, but not the end of his career this is like a new born and personally i didn't see sam going very motivated to win after the brake up with iron horse so this new fresh start is a new chance to say hi to the podium again! ^^ sam is so talented and we all see sick videos of him doing records and making fly the sport to a new level, when i met this sport i saw cedric gracia on the rampage, sam wining,bearclaw doing crazy stuff on nwd series, anyway ..... videos come over the years, as well as championships and definitely sam and other riders like cedric or peaty,matti,gee, or greg are part of the championships and now the sport is going pretty fast to new talents,new victories also new materials and developing are giving new benefits to all of us not only pro racers .so best wishes to sam this year ;DD
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's a job after a few years, just like any other job you loose the drive and love is gone. You push threw injury and dissapointing results and the pressure to win never lets up from your sponsor especially when you get a check every month. I'm sure Sam made a good decision to go for a fresh start
[Reply]
  • + 1
 'It’ll be interesting to see how the transition goes while working with unfamiliar surroundings and without the Championship proven Specialized equipment." a little hate there?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 This interview deserves a soundtrack....maybe "Iron Maiden - Run to the Hills"
[Reply]
  • + 4
 maybe hill went to nukeproof because he didn't like the carbon demo...
  • + 5
 Well look at mike hopkins..... what the hell happened there.... but this may be for the better.... look at what happened when gwiny swaped teams....
  • + 8
 It's not the bike it's the rider!
  • + 3
 I'm quite aware. Nobody is going to know exactly why nukeproof got him this season...the bike being the least likely one!
  • + 4
 Yes but having the influence of a different team and riders can set a new mindset and atmosphere for the rider
  • + 1
 Interesting point...
  • + 10
 A party atmosphere will work better for Sam, instead of being followed around by a scientist, ready to weigh his stools...
  • + 1
 i dont see why this is any different to his previous signing when he went from ironhorse to spec, at that stage specialized hadnt had a dedicated race team for ages and were no where near the biggest bike company like they are today. so i dont see what all the fuss is about, considering nukeproof are a great bike company, and we all know sam wouldnt ride a bike he didnt like
  • + 1
 Specialized was one of the largest bike companies way before Sam joined the team.. Sam just really put the D.H. Division of Spec. Over the top. Something that crc is hoping for I'm sure.
  • - 2
 The carbon Demo is only about 50 grams lighter than the aluminum Demo anyways, he probably didn't a difference.
  • + 3
 @ Protour: The weight difference between a carbon and aluminum bike has very little to do with the benefits of the carbon bike.
  • + 3
 May I ask where you are getting the 50 gm number?
  • + 2
 I doubt that Sam didn't like the bike that he and Specialized worked together on developing. And seriously, who in their right mind would kick a S-Works Demo out of bed? Haha.
  • - 2
 It's a decent bike but alot of people complain that the FSR design is a mushy peddler, especially if you run flat pedals like Sam does. Single pivot bikes are generally more responsive, but not as active. It's a trade-off and alot of it is personal preference. Jason, thats what the scale said, ok, it might have been closer to 55 grams.
  • + 5
 The Carbon Demo frame is 300-400 gms lighter than the alloy frame. Something is seriously amiss. Feel free to PM me and let's get to the bottom of this.
  • - 3
 Well, if you work there you're probably right, it was just what I heard someone that claimed they weighed them. How many grams does a coat of paint weigh on a DH bike? Sometimes there are variances in that...
  • + 3
 @Protour: So two comments ago that was what your scale said...and now it's what you heard from someone who claimed they weighed one???

So go back down to the basement of your mom's house and leave mountain biking to the real men.
  • - 3
 No Douche15, never said it was my scale, go back to school and learn to read. My point is that the weight loss between aluminum and carbon was minor, probably not noticed by Sam at all. They probably made it extra strong the first year to make sure it wouldn't break. then they will take another few 100 grams off of next years and get more suckers to buy the new one.
  • + 3
 Your "point" is invalid since the 50g number was incorrect from the beginning. Most people would not consider 400g minor.
  • + 3
 @ AmateurHour:

"Jason, thats what the scale said, ok, it might have been closer to 55 grams."

That is literally what you said. You then said that it might have, "been closer to 55 grams", further intimating that you weighed it yourself.

It's pathetic users of this website like you, that claim to be experts and make up information and lie to try and create credibility, that ruin it for everyone.

Like I said, go back to the basement of your mom's house and keep trolling loser.
  • + 3
 No use in telling Protour how things are in reality. He's a Specialized hater without legit reason. I don't understand how anyone that actually rides can hate on a brand that started from nothing, and had the right combination of service, quality, marketing, and some of the best employees in the business who actually ride. No corporate slugs, just passionate riders that are good at what they do. I speak from experience, not what someone made up and spread on the internet.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I feel like Hill was tired of being compared to his "apprentice" Troy and he wanted to be back on top. So hey I dont blame him. I would have thught spez would have kicked the younger guy but guess Hill needed a new start.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 no more renthal for sam????
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Specialized, this is just a fan boys dream but, could your pretty please sign with Fox Racing, SAINT, and RedBull please? Why not have a fresh start with fresh sponsors! Razz *wishes*
[Reply]
  • + 2
 At first I thought he was a bit crazy to leave them, but I actually think he's doing the right thing, should be a rad year of racing! Good luck to him
[Reply]
  • + 3
 That's the most reading I've done in a while, Good luck Sam can't wait to see you back on the top step.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Chill with all the inter team drama, Hill moves on, Specialized gets another rider.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Sam Hillis rides like Shawn Palmer. Just halin ass, he (sam or shawn) better than...... it doesn't matter what they ride. Its all hart.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i think it was time for a new start for sam new goals and a new horse for him to get out of the mist.best wishes and come back soon
[Reply]
  • + 4
 sick new bike
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I liked Nukeproof before they were cool!
  • + 1
 SAME HERE MAN!!!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Whos taking SAMs role in the team??
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hill is making the a great move. Iron Horse...Specialized...NukeProof... Who cares, Hill has skill!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'm just curious about Flat Pedals on that rear end. Will we see a clipped in Sam?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 A change is as good as a rest !
[Reply]
  • + 2
 great interview and best of luck to sam for 2013
[Reply]
  • + 1
 carbon is not everything he may know he can win on the nuke and winning is better than money
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Anyone know how long Sam's new contract is for.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 does anyone know who matti lehikoinen is going to be racing with next year now that sam hills in?????
[Reply]
  • + 1
 How much would a big name like Sam make? Just out of curiosity....
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It's shame .... The Carbon Demo it's out !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i think that the demo is a bit better
[Reply]
  • + 1
 WHEN CAN WE SEE THE VIDEO ? SAM'S UPLOADING MORE PICS FROM IT ON INSTAGRAM
[Reply]
  • + 1
 great article. I'll be going to bds if sam is riding Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thanks we really need to know what really happened! thanks!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i just can say,''Good Luck Driver'' Smile
[Reply]
  • - 2
 easily the most stupid story I've seen on this site. an interview on why he left, really? his contract was up and a higher bidder came in. story over. incredible how this site dwells on the mundane.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The new Pulse looks alot like a Transition Tr450.
  • - 1
 but its beter
  • + 3
 Please explain why it's better...
  • + 1
 It can survive a nuclear attack.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I still prefered to see him on the good old Sunday 3
  • + 1
 Same here, how good would a carbon Sunday be.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 HaHa! exciting days upon us, can't wait and see what happens
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I guess the Demos are losing the stripes...
  • + 4
 Stripes can be run forever, only have to win once, technically.
  • + 0
 not if your company has any integrity. oh wait this is a specialized a company that sues everyone for no reason at all. Specialized does not deserve much credit for Sam Hills career, he only won 3 big races on a Demo. Sam Hill deserves credit for putting the Demo on the map.
  • + 1
 The current line of Demos does NOT display the WCS stripes.
  • + 1
 Protour, awful lot of hate there. Are you that way IRL or just on the internet? Just curious. I happen to love all of my Specializeds and I have never bought one because somebody else rode one or not. I ride them because I love the way they ride.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 best wishe's to sam and is new team
[Reply]
  • - 1
 i would have loved to seen him with smith or gwin.
[Reply]
  • - 3
 OMG! Did they just find the cure for AIDS ?
[Reply]
  • - 1
 is a big mistake
[Reply]
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