1 Question - The Biggest Mistake That's Been Made In Mountain Biking

Jul 5, 2015
by Mike Levy  
 
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All of us have made a few good mistakes during our time on earth, some of them being far worse than others. For instance, people get their head and hands tattooed, which is a minor error in judgement compared to the time Shimano tried to make brake levers double as shifter paddles. Different shades of wrong, you see, as the first example only makes one person look silly, while the latter managed to make an entire group of cyclists look pretty foolish.

But what about the bigger picture? What about the errors that might have literally changed mountain biking as we know it? We all love this sport, I know, but mistakes have been made and sometimes it pays to look back and have a think on them so we don't tattoo our metaphorical head more than once. This isn't a 'sit in the corner and think about what you've done' moment, however, but more of a look back at some of the most impactful blunders and bad choices that have been made in our sport.

Below, nine industry rainmakers weigh in with their opinions as to what they each believe was the worst mistake of all.


1Question graphic




Bryson Martin - Owner and Founder, DVO Suspension

The thirty-plus years that Bryson has been embedded in the mountain bike industry have seen him focus on pretty much one thing and one thing only: suspension. Twenty-two of those years were spent at Marzocchi, where he played a major role in bringing to life the Bomber series (including the game-changing Z1), the RAC, Monster T, Shiver, 888, and many more. Suspension nerds everywhere had their eyes rolling into the backs of their heads when Bryson announced that he was leaving to found a new company, DVO Suspension, and he's followed that announcement up with the release of both the Emerald downhill fork and the Diamond mid-travel offering, as well as a few different shocks.

bigquotesAfter being in the bike biz since 1980, this was a hard question to funnel into one solid answer, but I have to say that the mountain bike market really took a tumble after the UCI took over the racing program here in the USA. I'm sure there were other contributing factors that accelerated its demise, but the UCI had a lot to do with it.

I recall all the incredible World Cup downhill events that we had through North America, large crowds, great outside sponsors like Chevy Trucks, SoBe drinks, Volvo, Volkswagen, etc. Sure, the market took a bit of a dip in overall popularity here, but without any large and officially sanctioned races happening, with the exception of Windham in NY, racing and the overall market really took a hit. For local racers wanting to someday be part of the World Cup downhill circuit, moving to Europe is the only option, and that alone makes it very difficult for our young juniors and first year pros to accomplish it. I have a junior development racing program with Incycle and these kids dream of being the next Aaron Gwin, but the caliber of events and depth of World Cup style tracks are mainly in Europe. Geographically, this makes getting your feet wet and honing your skills very difficult, and attending the amazingly LAME Sea Otter Classic won't get you closer to being a UCI DH contender.

Maybe it's time for some of the large bike manufacturers to get together and equally fund a new high-quality racing program similar to the iXS DH Series in Europe. Maybe then the UCI might realize that the USA has an equal right to have more WC racing here.

The market is here, the riders are keen, we have amazing locations, the mountain bike was invented here, so whats the deal, UCI?






Ken Avery - Vice Pres, Marketing / Product, Vittoria

While Ken's name might not be familiar to some outside of the industry, he's the man who's largely responsible for one of the most widely used Maxxis downhill tires in recent times. Fast forward a handful of years and Avery is now working to bring the Vittoria range up to speed, with a number of new models recently being released.

bigquotesTo say that this is a mistake is tough, as I like to think that we learn from experiences, but my nod for the biggest mistake is the lack of a unified set of industry standards.

Typically, as an industry grows, trends are established and things become more streamlined. This brings prices down, makes products easier for consumers to understand, and brings stability to an industry. Especially in the past few years, the only ''standard'' in the bike biz seems to be change. Admittedly, in an industry founded on individuality, change pushes the evolution towards better gear, which makes the riding more fun. However, disorganized change can be crippling. With three (primary) wheel sizes, endless axle combinations, rim widths, cassette interfaces, bar diameters, head tubes, etc, it's a lot to keep up with.

This is especially true for independent bicycle dealers who are expected to stock parts and service riders who could have any number of combinations of the above. For new riders looking to get into the sport, it's daunting. From a product design perspective, it's a challenge in that tooling costs alone have risen, not to mention the added cost of overhead. Want to make a simple wheelset for trail use? Prepare to produce, stock, and service a minimum of six variations, not including cassette drivers and rotor compatibility. All of this adds cost, as well as complexity, neither of which helps. Hey, at least it keeps it interesting, right?






Craig Glaspell - Bicycle Global Marketing, Troy Lee Designs

Craig ''Stikman'' Glaspell's career has seen him go from working as a shop mechanic in Redondo Beach, California, to wrenching on the National and World Cup circuits for some of the quickest racers in the around. He's keeping things a bit more local these days, although he's still working with the fastest racers out there as the Bicycle Global Marketing man at Troy Lee Designs.

bigquotesMy view is a racing one, and it's about the fragmentation of racing. Events like Sea Otter, while not having optimal courses for enduro, cross-country, downhill or slalom, at least gets the entire cycling family together. This is needed for the sport and the industry to grow. Splitting all the sports up and getting away from big World Cup triple-events and big festivals with racing has slowed progression in every regard. There is strength in numbers, and the larger multi-discipline events are what spawned growth.

Let's get all of mountain biking back as much as we can and stop splitting up race series across the globe.





Gary Fisher - Chief Consultant On Everything Great About Cycling, Trek

You think you're an OG? Gary was right in the thick of it when this whole mountain bike thing was taking off in the mid-70s in California, and he's still around today. His earliest off-road creation was based on a Schwinn Excelsior X from the 1930s, complete with brake levers taken from a motorbike, three chain rings to allow it to be ridden up the mountain, and drum brakes to replace the coaster brake. Gary went on to start Gary Fisher Mountain Bikes in 1983, and the brand would be acquired by Trek ten years later, which is a long way from the time he was suspended from road racing in 1968 because his hair was too long.

bigquotesIt was the early nineties and mountain bikes were on fire, and ESPN and the X Games were hot to show the world. Riders were making big money and endorsements were rolling in. I was on the board of trustees at NORBA and we did something totally wrong - we cheaped out! The courses we used were whatever we found, ranching roads, hiking trails, and nothing really fun to ride or to watch someone ride on. And the television production was the lowest bidder takes all. The shows were boring and a big failure. The advertisers ran! NORBA was dead.

I am so grateful for the new courses, riders and contests! I knew there was an outrageous sport in there!





Leigh Donovan - Downhill World Champion, MTB and BMX Hall of Famer

Leigh's success on two wheels started early, with a National Championship BMX title that eventually led her to 26'' wheels (remember those?) many years later. Nine National Championships, a World Championship downhill win in 1995, and a 2001 UCI World Cup Championship all came later, along with inductions into both the Mountain Bike and BMX Hall of Fame. You'd have a hard time getting any of those stats out of Leigh these days, though, with her new focus being ichoosebikes, a skills camp that's aimed at introducing more women to mountain biking.

bigquotesFrom a racer's perspective, I'd have to say that putting cross-country in the Olympics was the single biggest mistake that has been made in mountain biking.

Once that happened, the dynamic of the sport changed. The cross-country racers became the focus for the governing bodies and the gravity athletes became the stepchildren. Before this happened, teams had both cross-country and downhill racers traveling and staying together, and it was a family of racers. We weren't defined for what category we raced, we were just mountain bike racers.

The separation between the categories confused corporate sponsorship and ended financial relationships that we have yet to regain twenty years later.





Joel Smith - General Manager, X-Fusion

Smith is an industry veteran, with a half decade spent at Mountain Biker Magazine that came before nine years at Manitou, five owning and running Tomac, and now as the General Manger at X-Fusion Shox. There's also the small matter of him still being able to tear the legs off of racers half his age, which makes him one of the few industry heavyweights who can hold his own behind a desk and behind the handlebar.

bigquotesThe biggest mistake in our industry has been our cynicism (unfortunately, I am one of the worst offenders). We are too cynical to come together in a serious way to tackle issue like trail advocacy, parts standardization, safety standards, legislation, etc, so we just continue to work independently and mostly counter-productively as if we are all secret NSA organizations that are protecting our respective turf.





Vernon Felton - Senior Editor, Bike Magazine

Vernon has been penning reviews and other editorial for Bike Magazine since 1998, which means that you've likely read something by him during that time, especially considering that his thoughts have also been featured in everything from Adventure Sports magazine to Playboy. These days you're also likely to come across the Bellingham-based writer's refreshingly opinionated column, 'The Web Monkey Speaks', on Bike's website, where he sounds off on everything from land access issues to our complete lack of fashion sense.

bigquotesI cried when Gwin won that World Cup race without a chain. Cried like some giant, man-baby, it was so beautiful. I can't get enough of racing... Hell, it's why I named my first daughter ''John Tomac''. That might make her dating life awkward, but we all have our crosses to bear. Yep, love me some racing, but I also believe the bike industry's biggest mistake was to sink so much money into professional racing for so many years and, relatively speaking, so little money into trail advocacy and development. How many companies had team managers, masseurs, fancy big rigs, World Cup teams and national series squads? Now, how many companies fielded full-time advocacy directors? I can count them on one hand - that's downright shitty.

Racing is inspiring, but all the shiny trophies in the world did nothing to grow our trail systems or increase access to the many places we still can't ride. If Julien Absalon wins his seventh World Cup Overall title this year, will it actually make mountain biking any better for you?

We're in a better, more balanced, place these days. I see things like the Bell Built grant program and I know we're on the right track. Still, we need to increase our investment in the one thing that actually makes riding better for riders - trails.





Richard Cunningham - Tech Editor, Pinkbike

How do you sum up RC? You probably can't, but the fact that he's done everything from manufacturing and selling his own mountain bikes in the early 80s, to designing and building his own plane gives you an idea as to how he likes to spend his time, and to this day you're still likely to find him doodling a new component or figuring out a way to improve an existing one. That way of thinking suits him well as Technical Editor here at Pinkbike, as it did for so many years when he was at Mountain Bike Action, and, as you can see below, all these years in the industry definitely hasn't dulled his opinionated ways.

bigquotesBurn me at the stake, but the greatest shortcoming of the sport has been its religious adherence to the belief that professional competition is its ultimate expression, and in the same breath, that television coverage is somehow going to be our great salvation.

History is my witness. Every time our sport has enjoyed a massive growth, it has come from grassroots riders. Every time an aspect of our sport has plummeted, it occurred shortly after it was reorganized into a professional venue and amateur riders were excluded from participation. Every time a lifestyle sport has been produced for television, it blows out the flame. The X Games burn through ''extreme sports'' faster than San Diego sailors burn through toilet paper after a weekend in Tijuana. Red Bull only needs one fatality to go poof and leave the FMB holding an empty bag. And, the Olympics? Name the cross-country winners since Atlanta and in BMX without naming Anne Caro. Who got second place at the last three Rampages?

Amateur racing survives, of course, but the lifeline has been cut. Cross-country, downhill, 24-hour events, trans-alpine, freeride and bikepark were massively popular and massively attended - right up until the moment that they were ripped from the hands of average riders and turned into pro-only venues. It's a bitter pill to swallow for those who believed they were part of a movement only to be locked out of the game and sidelined as spectators. Before you start wrapping sticks with linen and dipping them into kerosene, I recognize that professional racing and freeride competition has its place within the body of the sport, but only as an appendage. It never has been, nor ever can be, the heart and soul of mountain biking.

Racing itself is not the issue here, and Strava is evidence enough that there is a racer in almost every one of us. Mountain biking, however, is a lifestyle sport and as riders we need to perceive ourselves as being part of the whole.





Charlie Sponsel - Pro Racer, Top Robot

Some might say that Sponsel is an eccentric that sits on the fringe of the cycling industry, while others would tell you that he's leading the charge when it comes to spitting truth. Either way you look at it, Charlie isn't one to hold back when he writes his often rambling yet completely sensical diatribes on whatever topic he feels needs to be addressed. All this usually goes down on the Team Robot blog (put aside a few hours if you end up there), but it seemed right to turn to him again given the subject matter. Oh, and Charlie also races in enduro and gravity events to mid-pack finishes for Felt Bikes and Gravity Components.

bigquotesThat's an easy one. The worst mistake in the history of mountain biking is the industry's recent obsession with ''growing the sport.''

In industry circles it's taken as gospel truth that more consumers is always better. ''A rising tide floats all boats,'' they say, and that logic has been used to justify any and all efforts to attract new mountain bike consumers, no matter how marginal these consumers may be, and no matter how disinterested they may be in the actual act of mountain biking.

''If we can attract new riders, we can finally do XYZ policy initiative,'' they say. With ''new riders'' apparently being the self-evident solution for everything from slow revenue-growth at your favourite bike brand, to race support, to trail access problems in your riding community. Obviously the reason XYZ bike brand had to cut your favourite rider off the downhill team is because they didn't sell enough SLX-equipped hardtails. The reason you can't have a new jump trail at your local riding area is because there aren't enough green-level beginner loops. ''If only we could attract more new riders, then we could finally do [fill in the blank with your preferred pipe dream].''

Mountain biking is a beautiful thing. It's also an inherently dangerous activity, but it rewards you in proportion to the risks you take. Point down the hill and you go fast. Let off the brakes and you go faster. The less you brake in turns, the more speed you carry out. Want to catch some air? You'll have to leave the ground first. Risk is as essential to the sport as wheels or handlebars. If you don't want to skin your knee, get lost, get hypothermia or bonk from time to time, you never want to risk wearing a cast for a few weeks, and you want your trails smoothly groomed, straight with good sight lines, well-marked and not too fast or pointed downhill, maybe you should take up jogging or spin class instead of mountain biking.

And yet these are exactly the sort of marginal consumers that bicycle manufacturers, trail builders, and bike parks are drooling for the chance to ''bring into the sport.'' I have no problem with more people riding bikes, and I don't even have a problem with growing the sport. But the idea of lowering the bar or dumbing down mountain biking to make it more appealing to marginal consumers who could just as soon be in Zumba class? It's insulting, it's offensive, and it's counter-productive.

Mountain biking is amazing. It's so much fun that it's basically ruined my life. From my first trip to Whistler I was hooked, and despite countless crashes, flat tires, wrong turns, rainy days, concussions, broken bones, surgeries, and more losing race results than I'd care to remember, I keep coming back to mountain bikes, and I probably will for the rest of my life. And hey, no one had to dumb it down for me to get hooked. Let's sell that idea instead. Let's sell mountain biking as its real self instead of some spoon fed, bite-sized harmless fitness/healthy outdoor lifestyle-based shadow of itself. And guess what? If you don't want to skin your knee, there are lots of other healthy outdoor lifestyle sports out there for you, like rollerblading, geocaching, or frisbee golf.

Lets market our sport honestly so we can attract like-minded individuals instead of trying to trick disinterested potential consumers into a slower, safer, dumber version of ''Mountain Bike Lite.'' Maybe if we do that we can enjoy riding with passionate, knowledgeable, dedicated lifelong consumers instead of weaving through mobs of weekend warrior working dads trying out a new alternative to spin class. And out of those two demographics, bonus points if you can guess who gives more money back to the industry.





Did one of them nail it? Is anyone out to lunch? Let's hear your thoughts as to what you feel has been the biggest mistake in mountain biking.


Must Read This Week

373 Comments

  • + 158
 I liked what Charlie Sponsel said. I love mountain biking and (almost) everything that comes with it, but with events like Red Bull Skygate, that got a lot of riders injured for nothing, the sport is damaging its own best interests. I think that the sport should be kept community based and friendly and driven by people, not sponsorship demands. Personally, I think that letting in big companies like Red Bull was the mistake. That's not to say that they don't help because they have pushed our sport to a whole new level. I just want mountain biking to be fun for everyone. Rant over.
  • + 24
 I love italics
  • + 40
 We will never let Chinese Fake Redbull do the same staff in flaming mountains.
  • + 16
 To be fair, strange events have always been a part of MTBing and focusing on another one of these one-and-gone events is a waste of time. Athletes are not forced to take risks beyond their comfort zones and unfortunately in every event regardless of discipline, someone can get hurt. I like reading the different perspectives and feel that the whole UCI deal along with NORBA killed racing in the US is a very valid point. Making it a showcase instead of a legit sport is part of the growing pains but I'd rather have weird, strange events instead of a massive and serious competition structure that kills any creativity or fun in the sport. What's not killing MTBing = FEST SERIES!
  • + 12
 Sponsel is the problem - the 'elitest' mountain biker who thinks he's all 'hardcore' and knows nothing of accounting or business practices. He reaps all the benefits, but doesn't realize where revenue comes from. Those weekend warriors pay for the racing teams. They give the design teams the budget to race and innovate. And guess what, he reaps all the benefits. New bikes that are capable of things one could only dream of 10 years ago.

So, do you want a fringe sport where companies scrape by on thin margins, closing doors is common, and where there is little money for racing and innovation? Or do you involve families and weekend warriors, and get city & county boards onboard with building new trail systems. Who sits on land ordinance boards that can really make changes? Hipster mountain bikers or those 'working dads'?
  • + 31
 I think they all nailed it actually.
  • + 36
 Industry Standards all the way!
  • + 50
 @motard5
Totally disagree. This sport is not very accessible- it's not obvious how to choose/set up a bike, where to go as a beginner, what aspect of the sport you're gonna love, how to operate the damn thing... almost every mtb'er i know loves it because they were introduced by an MTB 'ambassador' that made sure they had a great first season.

Advertising to non-MTB'ers attracts casual fitness enthusiasts, and might sell some Stumphoppers, but it doesn't help the sport since those poor folk are left stranded on fire roads with toe clips, shitty FS bikes, road rash, and novelty cushy shorts. They don't become weekend warriors, they become garage ornament owners. Weekend warriors are enthusiasts' friends.
  • + 28
 haha. l have been a weekend warrior mtn biker since about 1987!
  • + 14
 boost standards and fatbikes
  • + 22
 Redbull was the best thing that ever happened to actions sports, sometimes they have some crazy ideas that dont pan out but theyre also responsible for the sickest events in every action sports dicipline.
  • + 56
 " And hey, no one had to dumb it down for me to get hooked. " f*cking AMEN man , when I started riding 15 years ago no one was making trails easy and smooth for me or my friends but it didn't stop anyone of us from being hooked for the rest of our lives.

We need to stop wrapping people in bubble wrap for the future of mountain biking , even the UK is hooked on this protective style of building right now which worries me that our crop of world class riders may be affected because there are not demanding enough trails about , or that kids are being fooled into thinking what they are riding is actually a mountain bike trail...
  • + 13
 @bigburd What you say is true. But with more people enjoying nice safe trail centre riding there will always be a % of these who branch off and build real trails.

Take the FoD for instance. The trail centre has trails, but the entire forest is riddled with amazing trails which are unmarked. Some of them far better than the advertised routes, and all of these trails are a lot more natural, and far less bubble wrapped.

There is no all weather surface on the natural trails, if you can ride some of that clay in wet conditions you can ride anything.

You just need to know where to look. Strava has been a big help for those who want to find something new, unfortunately it doesn't allow for more of a route description and grading. Hopefully trailforks can take this to the next level.

Bubble wrapped trails are great if you are new to an area too, its nice to know if your time is limited that you can get out and escape the in-laws without having to roll everything first in fear of the unknown.

There is such a balance required, the future of the sport is children. The earlier they can start to enjoy it the better they will be. Bubble wrapped trails really help the younger generation get into it, and reassure the parents that it's ok. So they do it more, and get better, then find the harder stuff or build it.

Best thing about MTB, is if what you want to ride isnt there, you can probably build it somewhere! Find trail centres too easy or boring, get your mates together and make something rad and scary as hell.

Unfortunately when a sport does gain more momentum (like MTB in the UK - it's way in advance of the setup here in France) you will always get the people who do it for the wrong reasons. They wont stick at it, and their brand new Bronson C will quickly gather dust in their tripple garage, next to the R1 they bought cos it was cool.

MTB is what you make it. We need tracks of all levels for all people.
  • + 14
 Fair points but the problem is that only easy trails have been getting made officially for years now , where is the progression ?

There is none , which is why so many of us are forced to build illegal trails to get our fix , and yes there will always be unofficial trails around but these are getting fewer and fewer as more and more riders are happy riding these cookie cutter no brainer , gravel tow path trails.

Long live the local built trail !
  • + 2
 We all need harder trails and variety. Try making something really tech and steep at the FoD and it will be over in 5 seconds and consist of 3 features Smile There just isn't the height difference.

Have you ridden at Revs? or Rheola, or even the Black Mountains is getting good. There's also local grass roots uplifts and events all the time (British Cycling used to list them last year before I left to find some long steep trails).

Obviously they are lots less since the insurance issues - which is to me the thing killing the hardcore less accessible trails and really hurting the sport's progression. Only the bigger corporations and corporate money making ventures (like BPW) can afford to have things permanently in place and that always makes it more sterile and it's all about the shareholders.
  • + 1
 it was fun when it started,all riders slow or fast got a chance to feel it,then UCI came along and broke up the fun.
  • + 1
 Should have dismount and push through that rock section I have no confident. Now with the scratches on my sparkling kashima-coating, all I can wish is to turn back the time.
  • + 1
 What happened to that red bull six man downhill race that was supposed to be happening this year?
  • + 2
 @scottzg
I totally agree wit you, but a country like Korea that mtb is not a popular sport, those "working dads" play an important role in the bike industry. Hope someday in Korea those weekend warriors can play that role.
  • + 21
 I think the question here is how the 'real mountainbiker' (which in my opinion is just populist rhetoric) is affected by the weekend warrior.

IMBA style ""flow trails"" aren't exactly challenging for the experienced biker but how do they stop you from building and riding steep and loose tracks? Same goes for the bikeparky stuff. To use a European example, in return for the beginner and ""flow"" lines at the Winterberg park you get the IXS line which is as natural as they get. Near my hometown the government built an XC route which closely resembles a highway but locals built little alternative lines through it with lots of natural and off camber stuff.

These weekend warriors might have a different attitute towards biking, seeing it as a form of exercise and a way to get out of the city rather than the sole object of their existence but how is this 'insulting, offensive and counter-productive' to the 'real' mountainbiker? You aren't forced to ride with them, share trails with them (see above) or frequent the same shops, are you? And keep in mind that it's only bike riding, I have no problem to go for a spin with a casual biker if (s)he has interesting ideas on politics or works in a similar field; there's way more to a person than just his take on mountainbiking. Being an elitist dickhead gets you nowhere.

And I am no economist but it only seems logical that a larger number of riders drives prices down and technology up. I highly doubt we'd have these 3k enduro bikes nowadays that you could win a DH WC on 10 years ago if it weren't for all those 'weekend warrior working dads'..
  • + 3
 Agreed. Norba disgusted me so much I threw away my license. Why be part of something that doesn't care? UCI too. Funny how their name has "International" in it and they cock block the one country that invented a large part of cycling. Guess they don't need America. I saw so many talented riders like the trumpores, George ryan, Lars Tribus and many others who couldn't find a proper way to race world cups because the UCI had so many bullshit restrictions. While I know I'll never compete at their level seeing these guys and gals give everything to do well only to get shot down by shitty policies was downright heart breaking. Back then none of the courses were dumbed down either. You showed up and either rode the course or you didnt. Ironically I see almost every world cup racer wearing less padding and protection now, so are we really making the sport "safer" to help the riders or is it to help pad the wallets of big corporations?

UCI aside one movement I'd love to be a part of is local sponsorship.
  • + 7
 Sponsel makes some good points, and he is certainly giving us the internet badass take. When he says he really fell in love with mountain biking after his first trip to Whistler, am I correct in assuming that he spent a fair amount of time in the bike park on that trip? If so, I find it ironic that he would be so concerned about "tricking" people who aren't really interested in mountain biking to try the sport via manicured, standards built, controlled trails...
  • + 3
 Charlie Sponsel is fkn right man!
  • + 3
 Charlie nailed it
  • + 7
 I have to agree with @motard5 , elitism hurts the sport a lot, it keeps the newcomers away from being comfortable to try harder things, there's always the group pidgeonholing everything and saying "your bike is an XC bike, you are not supposed to hit that jump on that bike", or "you started the sport too late, I did win x number of BMX circuits when I was a kid and that's why I am now entitled to ride my 200mm DH Banshee". Pathetic
  • + 8
 There seems to be a lot of hate on 'big companies', namely Red Bull. While I don't disagree Skygate offered little to nothing to the sport of mountain biking, Red Bull as a sponsor has been the single best thing in the name of televising UCI races. I make a point to buy a can of Red Bull when the races are on to show my financial support. Why? I clearly don't have the money to go see the races in person. If Veron Felton had his way, we'd all be living out of VW mini busses following the circuit like it's 1969 Woodstock all over again. But that's not reality, and have we already forgotten how inconsistant and limited the coverage was with Freecaster TV (RIP)? I'm not saying all decisions made by Red Bull have been in the best interest of the sport, but it's a company. You can't expect it to be - which brings me to my second point. It is not bicycle manufacturer's responsability to build trails for you. That's not their responsability, it's yours! Ford doesn't build the roads you drive on. Have we all become so lazy as to expect everything to be handed to us? Ugh. Get off your ass an go form a trail committee that reflects the goals and vision of your local area. So has corporate sponsorshop and UCI World Cup resulted in the construction of new trails near me? Nope. Has it prevented me from doing so in any way? No again.
  • + 7
 Charlie nailed it. He's not knocking part timers, dads, or weekend warriors. Anyone who loves the sport - has passion for riding, is welcome. I agree, with two caveats. First, I'm not sure I would have plopped down $3000 for a mountain bike 15 years ago in my early twenties, without knowing if I even liked the sport first - I'm happy to have seen prices come down and quality massively improve. Second, there should be room for beginner/newb trails - that IS important for anyone starting the sport who isn't young, male and stupid, as probably most of us were when we started. I took my wife on her first intermediate downhill trail yesterday, and every part of the trail I was scared she would crash, she laughed instead. She's hooked now - on the way home she said: that was way more fun than running! I never thought she'd get there, but there it is...
  • + 2
 Agreed
  • + 1
 There is enough bubble wrap around here to keep a three year old busy for forever
  • + 2
 Growth obsession wad a great point, abd the uci was an even better one, outs the whole need to make it mainstream that kills the chilled out vibe of mountain bikers having fun and thrashing around with buds on a dirty trail. Abd electronic shifters. Good those are fucking stupid. Hahaha, cool gadget, but mountain biking fur Pete's sake, work your thumbs a bit, admire the beauty of perfect mechanics in a manual shifter!
  • + 3
 The worst decision in all of mountainbiking was killing freeride. Ever since enduro and 27.5'' is the new shit everyone seems to only watch the clock when the ride. There aren't even a handful of freeride bikes around anymore. The reason why we all started, the fun part of mtb, has slowly died
  • + 4
 Nothing is stopping you using a modern dh or enduro bike.for freeride surely? Free ride bike swere just shit DH bikes or heavy enduros anyway , the fest series seems to be doing fine
  • + 3
 ridethree- since when did you need a "freeride" specific bike to freeride? We used to do that on hand-me-down XC bikes.
  • + 2
 You don't necessarily need a freeride bike. All I'm saying is that all of the new bikes seem to be designed for racers. There is just a very small amount of new bikes that are designed for fun. You can obviously have a lot of fun on a race bike too but race oriented bikes shouldn't be a manufacturers only focus
  • + 0
 Eh? lots of bikes are designed for fun. My Trek Slash for example is incredibly fun.
  • + 1
 yeah sure... trek homepage: "This ride is built to dominate: the mountain, gravity, your limits, the guy with #1 on his numberplate. Throw Slash down the most technical descent, fly back up. And win."

ridethree is somehow right... a race geometry is for racing and a freeride geometry should be built for jumping, dropping, manualing...
BUT there are still freeride bikes ( kona 167, scott voltage ) and you surely can use a enduro bike for doing "freeride stuff"
  • + 3
 Who knew a description on dealer's site completely dictates how the bike should be ridden... you've gotta stop taking marketing BS as complete fact. Also it will help to stop thinking that if a certain bike is designated as a good racing rig, that its only specific to racing because the head angle is so-and-so degrees, etc.. Guess what? You can DH even with a hardtail!!! OMG!! The world has just opened up! Maybe "free" riding was never your thing to begin with?
  • + 1
 Best pinkbike article I have EVER read.
  • + 2
 go home scott
  • + 4
 sorry,but nothing is free in this world we live in,so just ride what ever bike you feel good on,life is short and fast.i'll ride a HUFFY if it works to bring happy fun times.
  • + 3
 Boost standards can suck it. Don't care what anyone says about my fatbike. I love the damn thing
  • + 1
 Scott, you said lots of bikes are "designed for fun," but the bike you point out is clearly designed and sold as a racing bike. You could have chosen another bike from Trek's lineup, such as any of their "Trail" or "Sport" bikes, which are described as more general purpose bikes. Any bike can be fun, but that doesn't have to be why it was designed.
  • + 1
 ^ And you missed my point completely only to re-state it at the end of your post. Well done.
  • + 0
 GUYS PLEASE MAKE a forum for your conversation.
Your clogging up my dash. :/
  • + 0
 Ignore it ?
  • + 1
 @jaame it got cancelled i think. I was really looking forward to it. That other one in the states somewhere happened. I watched it, seemed ok i guess. Apparently the tickets being sold were very expensive. I think that killed it.
  • + 1
 I didn't miss your point, scott. I was trying to ease your hostility. I guess you're just mad at the world. Maybe take up single speed or something. Get some aggression out
  • + 0
 ^ Its the internet, bud. and you're reading way too much into it.
  • + 79
 The no1 mistake in MTB? This is 2015, evolution of a mountain bike has improved all elements of the bike and grew many fine branches called disciplines of the sport. Since I started riding around 1998, the understanding of the sport has changed completely, we know for instance that a bike with 100-160mm of travel, either fully or HT, with right choice of components can be used to ride anything in a very effective manner. Yet the core of entry level bikes has not changed by a tiny bit. Vast majority of sub 500$ bikes, (Caldera, Rockhopper) you know those that sell best and are bought by people coming into the sport (speaking of growth) are dumbed down copies of XC racing bikes, and how come a XC racing bike is a good all-round bike?! IT does not cost more to make a bike with "modern" geo equipped with bigger fork, wider bars and shorter stems. The quality of the bike in 2015 is still judged in 90% by what level of drive train it runs, alivio or XT, which is stupid and every average level rider knows that. When Wallmart bikes will look like dumbed down On-One 456 or Prod privee, we will be able to say that MTB matured.
  • + 17
 I've always thought that same thing.. Why do all Walmart bikes have the same shotty outdated geometry? They could easily produce a bike with the same numbers as a YT Capra, just with cheaper materials.
  • + 21
 Yup, it doesn't cost more to build a safer, more fun entry level bike. Newbs need a slacker head angle and shorter stem more than a pro enduro rider. Blame the dental lobby.
  • + 9
 Seen the broken capra thread? If they knock them out with any cheaper materials they will melt in Iight rain
  • + 15
 No way. 100-160mm of undamped notchy travel is worse than 60mm of undamped notchy travel. Slack geo that works at high speeds is worthless on a bike path. It's a bummer that there's no 500$ 456 to sell your noobie friend on, but he's far in the minority and is much more likely to understand that alivio is 'better' than acera.

The no1 mistake in mtb is that beginners want to ride them on the road.
  • + 7
 Even on above Walmart level bikes, it's surprising how few modern geometry bikes there are. We need more adorable fun bikes that let new riders have the best experience.
  • + 6
 @scottzg
The fact that they stay on roads and paving would be a strong indicator that they feel unsecure and unstable on their xc-geometries, wouldn't you say?
  • + 3
 You hit the nail right on the head! In Bulgaria most manufacturers now have amazing bikes for about 3-400 euros with more than capable components. You can get 26/27.5/29 for the same price Smile
Also me, having not eaten for an entire school year in order to buy my first big bike, I started DH/FR with a simple frame, XCR fork and very good V-brakes. I invested the most in wheels and one tire. Cockpit came a year later and I had so much fun! Nowadays marketing seems to reign supreme. People still think the XCR is a bad forkbecause of all the ones left behing neglected literally rusting away.
You do not need a Zee/Saint, a Sora/Tiagra does the exact same job. I ride the current Deore cranks and the have outlasted a couple of my friends's older XT ones. The same goes for the current Deore and SLX brakes, you cannot beat them! Just think and buy because you know it's good not because they say so in the ad. And Walmart should step their game up, they are charging way too much for outdated and uncomfortable designs.
  • + 6
 It's true that the cheaper stuff is very good these days. I'd hold zee up as an example of that, except the brakes which are not cheap. You don't need anything more than the mid range to enjoy biking just as much. It's been said a lot, you'd be better off spending the extra on holidays, riding lessons or prostitutes.
  • + 4
 Also, compared to WC class components of yesteryear, the Boxxer RC now is better than the 2009 WC in every way! My SLX 2014 are stronger than the first Codes. I do ride exclusively old Sun Ringle rims and old Alexrims, I do not trust any of the new brands Smile
  • + 5
 in the end this is a grass roots, lifestyle sport so "growing" this sport is difficult, not everyone wants to be hurt, dirty, sweaty, etc.....so there is a small percentage of the population who would even be interested in this sport in the first place. More people will not come to this sport in droves no matter what is done. there is no saviour out there nor do we need one, its a sport for certain individuals and I agree with those who mentioned lets bring it all together at events, and with all the disiplines at one venue, there will be way more people, and we will beleive that our sport is popular and growing!!!
Or dont beleive the hype and just go ride and race your friends and have the time of your life and let your addiction spread to others like a junkie in a crack house with a dealer giving out free samples of the new and improved crack!
  • + 5
 Beep boop.
  • + 4
 I've seen a similar phenomenon on the bike shop sales floor -- ask about a certain bike with longer travel with slack geo and a short stem and the guy says, 'oh yeah that's a great bike but you don't need that much travel around here.' Well, aside from the fact that you don't know how I ride, if I am getting that spiel then beginners are likely getting shuffled into these shorter travel XC geometry bikes being told that as a beginner they don't need more travel (and the slack geo and short stem that comes with it). Well, beginners benefit a lot from more travel (I know I did!). Downside is weight, but slap reasonable wheelset/tires on there and you have a good solution. I also blame 'roadie friends' for telling people they should get a 'fast bike' with clipless pedals. In conclusion, bike companies, culture/habits on the sales floor, and roadie friends.
  • + 3
 @jasdo , don't even get me started. I hate those purists believing that everyone should start out on a hardtail or on a BMX. I was one of them and that was because I knew nothing about riding a bike but I had lots of opinions. It is the motivation and right practice that makes the good rider, saying that some kid will never learn to ride because he got a DH bike too early is plain retarded. Off course it is stupid to be a noob and buy 6k+ bike but all round machine, with 120-160 travel will not hurt. Just give someone a wide starting point and they will be able to go in some direction from there.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns Starting on a hardtail brings nothing but positive things to a rider. You learn to control yourself and the bike better, smoother lines and transitions in difficult moments. You learn to be delicate, yet strong and brave. I have many friends here who started on a FS and keep breaking parts left and right because they just huck everything and do not realize they came up short or crooked etc. I started on a BMX, then a stiff MTB, which later got upgrades like a Suntour M5000 and nice wheels. It was a comfortable bike with very nice geometry so I could ride whatever I pleased. Now, I still actually prefer riding my hardtail opposed to the big rig, weird Smile The truth of the matter is, you do not need a big fs bike as a starter bike. It is the same with everything, you learn how to walk, then run. You get a small first car for cheaper insurance and getting the hang of it, then go all V8, because with great power, comes great responsibility! Smile
  • + 2
 Fereza - I have simply seen too many riders who got better than me in a matter of two years, while I am riding for almost 20 now. What makes you good is quality time on the bike in quality places. Just because someone starts on HT does not mean he will rip better than a guy that started on FS. Pump track, BMX track will surely boost your skill level but it ain't about a bike. Only thing that HT taught me is that with right skills you can ride any sht
  • + 3
 I have to disagree. Riding rigid teaches you skills you will never learn on a fully.
  • + 3
 Like what? Razz
  • + 1
 I have to also agree to a certain degree with you, WAKI. Since I am from a country, where MTB is still thought of as Tour de France, we just had some forest trails and that was it. We did not even know about dirt jumping Smile . Now, I came to Germany and there are also these 13-15 year olds who shred harder than Freddy Kruger. The weird thing is, most of them are,completely useless on a HT. And also, having yours and my age in mind, we are not the lucky ones. I started biking when a good rigid fork was the equivalent of todays Pike. There weren't any budget tires or parts for that matter. Now they have everything, that is alao a factor!
  • + 2
 If you take a rigid bike to bmx track or pump track then you will learn more than on a fully, but if you take it to the woods, the only thing you will learn will be death grip
  • + 1
 my first bike was a DH, and my first ride was the canada cup race at Mont tremblant and I was 38 years old, 5 years later I am riding and racing almost 5 times per week and for your info I no longer come last, sometimes I get a podium, still looking for the top step.......but sorry the HT argument is really stupid and based on opinion not fact!!!! so science up guys after all its 2015!!!! never rode a HT and dont really want to, and definatly dont need too to become better rider that for sure.
  • + 1
 I also know three guys who used to be on top of HT DH in Poland for a few seasons, sometimes beating half of the field of elite guys on fullies. Everyone was propheting that if you give them fullies they will rip World Cups. They got their fullies, yet none of that happened, they have barely moved up in elite.
  • + 2
 That's only remarkable in that nobody seems to realize a capable hardtail is fkn rad.
  • + 1
 I'll just leave this right here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UArCzWdbxG8
  • + 39
 Charlie and RC nailed it. Funny I think that because Charlie is such a racer head but screw racing
  • + 20
 Yep, I am glad that there are people who share the view of "why exactly should we make our sport grow?" I asked this question on numerous occasions here on PB and never got any reasonable answer other than: influx of money. It is counter intuitive, but money does not solve much, just like Richard pointed out. Nearly every single local community created organisation in the world has gone through the model presented in South Park about Starbucks, for fks sake even Facebook groups created for the sole purpose of meeting for rides go through this pattern. As soon as some organisation becomes popular it blows a bubble with needle aside with laser etching on it saying: "management of growth". We grew, we got the money, what's next? The reality is that, aside of funds, and skillful management, the participants must remain active, they must remain engaged and show minimal initiative to act on their own, form small groups to act - it happens way to easily that you join a "club", you lash out 20$ per year and you expect sht to happen, throwing demands and vague advices. Then in every organisation, even middle sized local one, you will find a douche who seeks admiration and power, through his mouth, not hard work. The dumb inactive payers will be more likely to listen to the well spoken big mouth than to the guy scraping his hands to blood on the shovel. Football is the ultimate example, where a great simple game, engaging kids into mental and physical training and excellence, ends up as a sport driven by major corporations that don't want you to play, they want you to passively stare at a mix of 22 metrosexuals and thugs, broken with the most expensive commercial time on television. There is research (Barry Schwartz) proving that there is a threshold where increasing budget (or salaries) ceases to increase creativity, productivity and efficiency of work. What's more when you cross the threshold, the results go down. I guess @TEAM-ROBOT could write a PhD about it with case study of IMBA.
  • + 11
 Everything RC said. Want to see absolutely amazing racing? Look at this year's Tour Divide. No registration, no prize, no race sponsors, the clock runs 24hrs/day. Today 3 "amateurs" race the final 150 miles of a 2800 mile unpaved route. They started 14 days ago. Forget the Tour de France fiasco. Similar examples exist in the gravity disciplines, where passion and skill outweigh a racer's need to meet the right people and jump the right corporate hoops.
  • + 1
 What those Tour Divide athletes can do to themselves- pure torture- is amazing. But in the end, it's not at all representative of the sport as understood by most riders. It's a road race, paved or not.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns Your comment made me remember an interesting video I saw a while back explaining what really motivates people to do great things. www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
  • + 10
 Agreed. RC nailed it, and so did Vernon. Give the people bikes and trails, but let the define 'fun' for themselves. It's all about innovation and progression at the grassroots level. It's the same in other lifestyle sports. I was a competitive freestyle skier back in the day, but then FIS came in sucked all the fun and creative expression out of our events. Thankfully a breakaway group of skiers like Mike Douglas, JP Auclair, and Sarah Burke pioneered freeskiing and saved us from the slow death of FIS sanctioned events. At the same time, freeskiing sold more gear, lift tickets, and got more newcomers into the sport than any FIS event or ESPN broadcast.
  • - 2
 I still want to see the best racers and riders in the world compete ao I have something to aspire to. And get excited about, not just who won my local rag tag fun no pressure event (laaaaame)
  • + 2
 Ken Avery and RC's ideas hit home with me.

As RC said, "..... as riders, we need to perceive ourselves as being part of the whole."...

which becomes increasingly difficult the more the market is diversified and the more that increasingly marginal innovative standards are adopted piecemeal.. since this (in Ken's words)....

".... adds cost, as well as complexity, neither of which helps"..... producers or consumers alike.

Mountain biking to me is grassroots; local races, mates' rides and general cameraderie. Recent movements in the industry are anything but promoting grassroots biking.
  • + 1
 The GT golden marathon race series was pretty fun- that was a cool grass roots event. Of course, it's not a thing anymore...
  • + 37
 When my kids get sick, I blame the UCI. They are the metaphorical virus that we must extinguish before all is lost.
  • + 7
 I thought it was 29ers... I killed a dozen people owning them by now... Our local pumptrack is actually a graveyard. Ok, I'll go to Switzerland then
  • + 1
 The whole idea of 29er: "It's easier on a 29er!!"

Hey, lets smooth out the trails and make them too while we're at it!
  • + 7
 The only thing that gets easier on a 29er is riding fireroads. Other than that, if someone thinks it is "easier" he must suck at riding. It is just another type of bike, you still need to do the job
  • + 27
 Wow!! Just wow!! I've read through all this and I'm now so tempted to chip in and break down every cock up I've witnessed in MTB since '86. However, none of those past mistakes could hold a candle to the clanger that's being made right now. The MTB industry is so busy trying to tell us which wheel size / width we should be riding that they've completely lost touch with their customer base. If any of you Industry guys are reading this, STOP!! Go back to the very beginning of this article and read it again. Once you're done, read through each and every comment. Why? Because those comments are the voice of your customers. Are they crying out for different wheel sizes / hub spacings? NO!!! They're talking about the places where they ride their bikes (your products!). When riding a UK Trail Centre, the differences between riding one of your 2010 models and one of your 2016 models are arguably negligible. Does that mean you've just wasted years and thousands on product development? Well, no, But, it could be considered that your innovations would be put to better use if only you'd have the foresight to invest in the places your customers are going to ride?
The Mountain Bike Industry is not, never has been nor ever will be a bigger part of MTB than the riders themselves. If all of you were to bankrupt and close tomorrow, people would still go out and rag their bikes through the woods. As years went on, individuals would pop up who could service, fix and replace parts on those bikes. This would go on until individuals became companies and later, corporations. Thus, we would spawn you again. The MTB industry is only in existence because of us, the riders and builders.The first among you to "ask the riders what they'd like" instead of "telling the riders what they want" will be the last ones to drown whilst the rest of you continue to drill holes in your own boat......Asshats!!!



Twas on this, the seventh day of the seventh month 2015 that GNAR Bike Park's chances of industry sponsorship were quashed.
  • + 3
 ^^^ truth Smile
  • + 27
 biggest mistake is trying to make downhill racing more motocross like with fast none technical sections and massive jumps... remember champery? the old leogang track? old val di sole track? ... also is happening in bike parks.. they are running everything Frown
  • + 8
 I think you have a point. I know it looks good on screen but do we really need all these berms, big jumps and smooth sections?
  • + 3
 +1000
  • + 4
 Downhill racing is at the Height of its Power in that format, more people know about DH Racing nowdays than ever before, it is also motivating people to go buy bikes, not only DH bikes. Modern format is actually a hybrid of what you mentioned and old style DH tracks, which is good since it requires Athletes to be totally fit and also to have balls to go down big drops, like the one Fearon failed to ride.
  • + 23
 BOOST.
  • + 13
 yes, make my carbon wheels with 142x12 DT swiss hubs obsolete, so I can buy a bike with aluminum rims and shitty stans hubs and tell me that it's stiffer than my carbon wheelset?
  • + 3
 You hit the nail on the head!
  • + 7
 you are so correct, the continuing renewal of standards twice a year is just a pathetic marketing push that leaves people with obsolete parts that a few years ago would of been top of the range
  • + 15
 How is it that Moto seems to have a ton of big Red Bull Sponsored Pro-Only events that pays their athletes well, they can still have plenty of opportunity for grassroot type stuff, yet we can't seem to achieve the same thing for MTB ?
  • + 18
 Three letters. UCI
  • + 5
 Moto has always been on another scale of world-wide popularity, organization and growth than MTBing also with about a two decade head start and no massive drop in popularity throughout its history... its not comparable.
  • + 6
 Offroad motorcycle sales are down almost 50% over the 10 year trend. 250K a year before 2008, currently around 125K.

MTB is for fat dads, and sissies usually. I pass 90% of riders, and I'm not fast. I get smoked like a f*ckin cigar on the trail by shredders.
  • + 9
 I think less motos are selling because there are more regulations on where you can ride and what you can ride, especially here in California.
  • + 1
 That can't help sales, but its mainly trended around the collapse of the US economy. Also all motorcycles took that huge dip, on & offroad, dual sport, etc.
  • + 1
 ^ The recession definitely didn't help but it doesn't really compare to what happened to MTBing where the sport almost died out in the US after the bubble burst.
  • + 7
 Might have something to do with $10 000 Dirt bikes!!!!! Motocross went from a family friendly cost effective motosport in the 80's to an outrageously expensive hobby starting around 2000. 4 strokes have not helped the sport either, too expensive to produce, too expensive to maintain. Mountain biking could learn a lesson from moto and begin moving away from using high cost materials like carbon fiber and components that are way too complicated, get back to using cost effective steel and basic components that promote function and reliability. If you don't agree think about this, how many $5000 + mountain bikes could you find 10 years ago, 15 years ago or longer??? The cost of the sport is out of control and it will be the biggest nail in the coffin when all is said and done.
  • + 3
 Access to riding is huge in Moto as well. In the last 2 weeks we've had 3 practice tracks close locally, 2 were related to noise and the other because of insurance issues. In our area there are no Off road riding areas so unless you have your own track or have access to a private track your pretty much screwed. Same goes for Mtb, without a place to ride no amount of technical wizardry will save the industry from dying another slow death........solution...... buy an IMBA membership and get involved. The industry needs to be more proactive, at least 1% of gross sales should be invested in trail and bike park development, in the end its an investment in their own survival.
  • + 1
 ^ Very good points. There are plenty of places to ride in NE but we've seen this happen with tracks closing. In another sport, Sprints, all the dirt circle tracks are disappearing, making way for school recreation areas. It does have a massive affect on the sport itself when you don't have a place to actually do it.
  • + 0
 Look at the numbers. They were great until 2008.
  • + 0
 I think 2008 changed a lot of attitudes about spending in the US, it was certainly a wake up call and you saw where peoples priorities were and they certainly weren't at the motorcycle dealership. It was around 2009 / 2010 that you started to see a resurgence in 2 stroke motocross bikes, Ktm lead the charge for new bikes but the real push was for older bikes that could be brought back to life. The simple fact was that they were cheaper to buy, maintain and modify and if your being squeezed out of sport you love because of soaring costs those benefits are music to your ears. I ride dirt jumps mostly but I'm in the market for a xc bike right now, I can't even consider spending the money they want at the bike shop for a "reasonably" equipped aluminum hardtail. I've started looking for an older (5 to 10 years old) bike with full xt or better with a decent fork and a nice overall spec, I'll spend half or less than what they want at the dealer and get 5 times the bike. Just like a 2 stroke it won't have the latest or greatest technology but it will do the job and do it for a fraction of the cost, to me that makes more sense than feeding an out of touch industry that doesn't really understand how frustrated consumers have become.
  • + 14
 charlie sponsel got it right. i am sick of seeing green beginner loops, skills areas and dumbing down of trails. there was none of that when i learnt to ride and i got on just fine. riding dumbed down trails will only slow down your progress.
  • + 5
 Then don't ride the beginner loops? Complaining about a trail type that you don't like existing seems like a waste of time. Hey, I don't ride black diamond XC trails, but it can certainly see the value of them.
  • + 28
 Building a beginner loop is one thing. Dumbing down a trail is another topic.
  • + 5
 I don't disagree. Being upset because other beginner trails and skills park exist, as djtc was saying, is ridiculous though.
  • + 12
 It's not so much that people get mad that beginner skills parks exist it's that, like in my home town of camas. For example, trails get built with beginners at the for front. What happens to the people that want a black diamond run? Or a double black? We have to go illegally build trails to keep us or them going, they are to busy catering and using grant money for beginner stuff when really the double black and experienced weekend warriors are buying the parts and riding daily and keeping it going.
  • + 5
 Those bell imba vote for your favorite project things pinkbike posts are what always comes to mind. Let's build a 3 mild "DH" trail on a hill with 300 vert ft And "fix" all the existing trails in the area buy taking out the rocks. That's not helping anyone.
  • + 6
 Around here, building beginner loops means tearing down existing loops. Adding bull51t flow and getting rid of the roots and rocks.
  • + 6
 Charlie is spot on, but try making an argument about progressive riding- or promoting advanced trails anywhere but Pinkbike. We're creating a generation of lifetime green/blue level 'fitness bikers', with little desire or incentive to improve their skills. To ride without focused skills progression, put quite simply, is to experience but a fraction of the fun and reward this great sport has to offer. It's only skimming the surface. I want other riders to experience more and to promote progressive riding and advanced riding opportunities. VERY difficult message to convey without sounding elitist or without offending people by suggesting they should want to improve.
  • + 6
 Dam right DJTC. in England it's a real problem. All the original for mtb ers by mtb ers trails are being dumbed down for the family types on asda (Walmart) bikes who don't want it to be challenging or the slightest bit dangerous or they will sue everybody and everything
  • + 4
 Easy but fun trails are good for trying to get your GF interested in MTB.

Prime example: blue at FoD, blue at Glentress.

Would I ride them if I wasnt there with her? Probably not.
Am I glad they're there, so she can get an idea of the fun available on a MTB early in her introduction to the sport? Hell yes.

Blue runs which are nothing but fire-road loops are doing nobody any favours.
  • + 0
 word up! @Motoracer31 same shit happens in nz.
  • + 6
 There could be some OG's around BC who would argue that the Whistler bike park trails that got Charlie hooked on the sport during that one trip were actually dumbed down, manicured versions of the raw trails that they really love to ride.

Maybe Charlie doesn't have it right?
  • + 0
 Charlie doesn't have it right. You'll never get new double diamond trails by opposing green or blue trails, or 29ers or fatties. All the "hardcore" riders who think they hold the right to define the sport are wasting their efforts at exactly the wrong time. Go all in to find a spot for the masses or the "marginal consumer" and your more likely to be rewarded by the masses honoring your needs.
Exclusivity will not help your concerns, not sure if there is any example of when it has. Charlie is wrong.
  • + 2
 Blue trails only feed more blue trails, since only a VERY small percentage of riders will choose to progress unless their local trails demand it. I could build blue trails all day every day, and just HOPE someday the masses will want more? Blue trail rider doesn't understand why a trail should exist that he cannot ride. To build an advanced rider base and trail building momentum, one must incentivize progression.
  • + 5
 Charlie is right if it's led to the dumbing down of trails. Nobody is against the noob loop, but don't get rid of the gnar! It's that simple, but guess what is happening in a lot of places? Good stuff is mowed over with those tiny little tractors to look like dirt sidewalks.
  • + 3
 @lccomz - You're right: some trails at whistler have been dumbed down, but they've also put in effort building bigger and gnarlier trails, to make sure the full spectrum exists. The right way to do it, IMO.

@AllMountin - I know so many people that enjoy the sport for reasons other than progressing, riding more difficult trails, and pushing themselves. Many, many riders enjoy the sport for exactly what green and blue trails promote: fitness and the access to outdoors. In fact, I've heard from plenty of people that they felt pushed away from the sport because of the elitist and high-level aspects of the sport, and only realized its value when they ignored those and rode for their own reasons. The thing I like the most about mountain biking is how inclusive it can be: bikers generally get along with bikers, no matter their reasons for riding. Advocating for fewer beginner and intermediate trails (which get a large majority of the traffic) at the risk of not having as many advanced trails is counter-intuitive to the notion of being inclusive.
  • + 2
 @Idhbaker - I think you may have misinterpreted part of what I said. I think Whistler Bike Park is awesome. I think there is a need for trails like B Line just as much as there is for Goat's Gully. I think they are doing things right too.

My point was that Sponsel likely got hooked on the sport riding the lower mountain trails of Whistler. Just the kind of trails he seems to imply being opposed to.

I wonder what Charlie's day job is. Like, how does he pay his bills for real? Because if he's actually earning any semblance of a salary spreading his perceived self importance and elitism on his blog or occasionally on Pikebike or Vital I would say that right there is one of the bigger mistakes within the bike industry.
  • + 1
 I totally agree!
  • + 0
 Its an uphill battle to stop dumbing down existing trails. The masses prefer easier trails and land managers prefer lower liability. I would love to see more unauthorized shovels puttjng back the rocks and uncovering roots and tearing berms apart.
  • + 2
 Why all the hate on greens and blues?!? Hell, when I hit the trails early on a Sunday afternoon after a night of partying I'll ride those green and blues for an hour or so before getting on the gnarly stuff. If I don't get myself in the "zone" and get my reflexes back, I'll just end up in the emergency room. Kind of lame to watch summer go by in a body cast... Besides the main goal of MTB is to have mot**r f**kin FUN on EVERY ride! Long live trail variety!
  • + 2
 I dont remember Charlie naming any specific trails at Whistler. He didn't even specify whether or not he even rode the bike park.
  • + 1
 @Mosierman, you're right Charlie doesn't specifically mention what trails in Whistler got him hooked on riding during his first trip. I assumed two things: 1- Charlie rode the bike park because I think most newb Americans who vacation in Whistler for the first time do, and 2- I know Charlie has been in fact riding for a while and if you remember, the Whistler Bike Park was confined to the lower mountain for the first few years of it's existence. My guess would be the Garbo zone opened to summer bikers in around 2004.

I could be completely wrong on both these assumptions, but I doubt it...
  • + 1
 Most of you disagreeing with Charlie aren't really understanding his point.

There is zero balance in these so-called "grow the sport" efforts. They are entirely, 100%, devoted to the introduction of mountain biking to people who are likely to be scared away from mountain biking. Which is why every new trail initiative is a green or a blue, along with the sanitization of legit trails for other bullsh*t reasons like "drainage."

IMBA is a religious cult. They've developed these feel-good, clap trap slogans about trail rights and advocacy, but nobody ever questions the efficacy of creating legions of half-interested mountain bikers. There is no data on it. But here's what we do know (as in, most readers here can personally attest to this truth): shitty gravel covered flow trails with 17 switchbacks and zero gnar would have never gotten us hooked on mountain bikes. So why the actual f*ck would we promote this garbage now?

Charlie is right. People don't need bubble wrap and kid gloves to fall in love with this sport. If they do, it's the wrong sport for them. End of story.
  • + 0
 @jlf1200 Your wrong about "entirely, 100%" efforts made towards beginners or there being "zero balance". Bell Helmets had an effort recently which built a trail I rode Saturday called 'the Overflow". It is a double diamond and it is wicked and it is less than 2 yrs old. Efforts on the west coast are different from efforts in the rest of the country, most of the people who have sided with Charlie are from your area: Cali, Oregon, Washington, BC. etc.

Slamming IMBA or efforts to grow the sport aren't going to help your cause. Just look at all the people who have agreed with Charlie, like you. Not one person offered a solution, not one single idea from any of you, just pure moaning and crying.
  • + 1
 ok heres an idea. tell new comers to the sport its quite difficult, they may want to wear some gloves and a few pads and man up. waste of time beginner trail problem solved.
  • + 2
 @jlf1200: You are 100% right. While deadtime may point out that some double diamonds are built from time to time, there is still a lot of "sanitation" going on and "drainage" is always a big claim.

@deadtime: Everyone has offered a solution. Build the green and blue BUT LEAVE THE EXISTING BLACK ALONE! It really IS that simple and it's really not moaning or crying.
  • + 2
 @deadtime The solution is implied in the statement against the status quo. Build trails for mountain bikers, not people who might be interested in trying out this mountain biking thing just long enough to go drop $1k at the bike shop for a bike that will most likely collect dust in the garage.

Slamming IMBA actually does help my cause. IMBA is too often treated as divinity and is rarely if ever questioned by riders who blindly support them, so it usually sparks a conversation where someone will say something like "now that you mention it, they've backed down from most land disputes in my area and every trail they've built recently kinda looks like a sidewalk made out of dirt."

It sounds like Bell made something good happen in Michigan. There are rare instances of goodness on the west coast as well, but not enough, and the dumbing-down trend is strong right now. Questioning the philosophy of growing the sport at the cost of actual mountain bike trails isn't "moaning and crying" just because you don't understand the argument or it simply doesn't apply to you.
  • + 14
 Discontinuing 26" wheel bikes.

We've all spent a lot of money getting our bikes sorted and in the next couple of years 26" will be niche!
  • + 5
 Amen
  • + 5
 If you wait long enough, that 26" wheel-set will be worth a fortune! I do agree with you btw.
  • + 15
 Surely, the real culprit is the threat of litigation?
  • + 3
 Weirdly in Australia its actually the perceived threat of litigation - protection is actually quote good
  • + 10
 I read through a lot of that, then got to the description of weekend warrior dads, couldn't say who by and don't care. I am a dad and yes I ride at weekends because during the week I'm working to pay the bills, I've ridden a mountain bike since 1987 and I wasn't a dad back then so don't assume I'm a prick on a Walmart bike now just because I got older, fuck off.
  • + 3
 Yeah that comment may have been a little asinine. Been riding 20 yrs since the teens, now a dad like many of my other riding friends. Ironically I ride more now than ever, it's just morphed into 6am rides several days/wk before work. About the only thing that can get me outta bed that early.
  • + 9
 RC nailed it. I started mountain biking in 88 and I ride 4 days a week minimum and don't know who won any of the World Cup races. A local race will stir a bit of interest in me and I aim to ride our local enduro. Watching pro racing because I mountain bike makes as much sense to me as watching NASCAR because I drive a car.
  • + 3
 I'm sure you enjoy the technology that is largely driven and tested by racers. I love the idea of a mass conglomerate of mediocrity that would ensue from a no-racing environment. Pro level racing is very relevant to you, you may just not know it.
  • + 1
 I agree with RC and I think that what he said ties in to a bit mistake USAC is currently making with the changes to GRTs this year. It's great that they are trying to make the schedules more consistent between races, but they cut practice time for all classes substantially (especially Fridays, which used to be open practice for the most part). Their idea is to help breed riders that are prepared for the limited practice at WC events. What about the other 99.8% of riders there who want to use the opportunity to practice on a novel course to get better and not have to worry about losing most of a practice session over a mechanical?! Talk about discouraging people from participating by taking the fun out of it. Never mind the fact that they only let 60 men and 20 women compete in the main race and the rest get cut in qualifying now.
  • + 8
 The biggest mistake is evidenced by the 'experts' PB gathered to answered the question, yet none of them agreed.
Why? Because they're all only concerned about their own little niche.
CLEARLY, the BIGGEST screw-up(and there HAVE been many), is the bike industry's FAILURE to agree on ANY standard.
Hell, ISCG tabs.. There's barely any difference between ISCG and ISCG '05, yet there they are.
Why is it that you can go buy an MX bike and you don't have to worry about various-sized brake adapters, 31.8 or 35mm stems/bars, or [now] F-I-V-E different wheel sizes(26, 27.5, 29, 27.5PLUS, 29PLUS)? And that's just to name a few...
Because the bike industry as a whole is SO concerned with getting you to buy new EVERY YEAR, they've literally gone NUTZ trying to come up with the latest craze, with the new *PLUS* wheel sizes being the latest fad.
With all the rags being more industry mouth-pieces than un-biased, H-O-N-E-S-T, independent new-sources, the flag is solidly bent in the wrong fricken direction, and isn't likely to change any time soon.
Thus, we'll keep getting 'buy this NOW' shoved down our collective throats for the foreseeable future.
  • + 1
 The same goes for seatposts. If you buy a new bmx frame you can just use your old seatpost and seatclamp. There's no problem to find a fitting seatpost, only because your new frame has 30.6mm and your old one is just 30.2mm.
  • + 8
 Charlie is way off the reservation. Look back 10 or 20 years ago and compare how many riders we had then to what we have now and then remember the vast difference in amount of trails of all levels available to bikers. There is no comparison, bike trails have exploded everywhere and there is no shortage of gnarly ones out there. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that a few of those casual riders on easy trails will discover their passion for biking and progress to become high level bikers that will also help push for more difficult trails that will actually get used. Power in numbers, not elitist cock sucker attitudes.
  • + 27
 Trail dumbing is for roadies. The fact it's happening to formerly gnar trails is what pisses people off. Leave the singletrack ONE tire width wide. Leave the rocks and roots just where nature put them. If you can't handle obstacles and lifting your front wheel to off a drop, go ride on the road.
  • + 2
 this guy.
  • + 1
 Awesome. With the power in numbers we get more trails, and the overwhelming majority of them are rubbish. Same is happening everywhere. I put the argument to you that there are actually not enough gnarly trails in existence. In western Australia advanced riders constitute 15% of all riders, and black or above trails are 2%. Its great being an advanced rider here (sarcasm). And guess what keeps getting built? I'll leave you to answer that one, I'm no rocket scientist.
  • + 10
 I hate motherf*ckers that cut out roots, WTF??
  • + 7
 Most of the 'gnarly' trails are illegally built, because the previous 'legal' trails got tamed down and smoothed out in order to follow IMBA's guideline on trail-building, just how CS stated it. The explosion of trails is just you finding trails and if they are legally sanctioned they are rarely 'advanced' (if ever), and follow the same old '10%' grade rule which removes a vast majority of technical features (but hey, switchbacks-r-us). Aside from private land (ski hills for example), there have been zero official trails built here in the last 10 years that are actually advanced (and not even gnarly, just 'advanced'), and when I look back 10-20 years (I've been building here and there that long) the trails were substantially more technical even if less in numbers. It's the 'renegade' builders that are still building wicked trails, and the ones that get built because 'numbers bro', don't compare. Period.
  • + 0
 Again, how many of you where riding 10-20 years ago? It would seem if you are complaining about trails, you definitely were not. Good trails where almost non existent that we were actually allowed to ride on. Now there are trails everywhere and many places have trails so difficult with challenges that were completely unheard of a decade or two ago.

I've mostly ridden in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Wyoming, and biking hit these places a lot earlier than most and we still had very dismal options for trails. Now the hard part is deciding what type of riding we want to do and where we want to do it.

I am happy to see plenty of beginners getting into the sport even if it means a lot of really groomed up trails. Now people are forming trail building associations in areas that you would never have thought possible. I live in Wyoming now and it is really important that as many people as possible get into the sport since our populations are so small and rural and luckily, it is already happening.
  • + 4
 Like I said, I've been building here and there for over well over 15 years (riding actively as an avid mtber since 1997 when I could afford a 'real' bike, a specialized hard rock chro-mo rigid bike). I've seen first hand great trails get dumbed down, features removed and every semblance of technicality gone from 50km of network. Enough so that I bought a CX bike to ride them! One thing to consider is your parallax. Your vantage point, if you will as maybe that's how the experience was for *you* 10 years ago, but here it wasn't the same. Now the trails that are challenging technically are usually renegade builds (or 'overnight' renegade features on sanctioned trails). Wyoming is a world to itself.
  • + 6
 I've been racing, riding and building since 2004. My experience is like @atrokz - nothing like @ironbender at all, sorry dude.
  • + 2
 20years riding 16 building. My experience is like @atrokz
  • + 2
 Well like I said, in the areas that I have riden, the amount of trails of all levels that have been developed over the last two decades has been absolutely amazing. I don't understand the elitist mentality that your trail has to completely cater to your desire when everyone has different desires. Trails you think are difficult are considered weak by someone else complaining that it should have been routed off of the 10 foot drop off. Frankly, I feel sorry for anyone here that cannot enjoy a trail because some roots were removed. Also, I am surrounded by places that have plenty of trails that are beyond my ability, so rather than sit around and cry all day about how easy a trail is or 27.5, etc, you can just go out and ride the fucking expert shit. Maybe your local areas are not like that, but in the western half of the US, there is absolutely no room to be bitching and moaning.
  • + 3
 Oregon is in the Western half of the U.S. and I assure you, there is plenty of room to bitch and moan about recent trail trends here. Same with Colorado. And California.
  • + 3
 " I don't understand the elitist mentality that your trail has to completely cater to your desire when everyone has different desires"

Shouldn't the same be said for removing natural things, features or even types of trails, in order to 'cater' to someone who's earlier on in their (assumed) progression as a mountain biker? Especially when it's considerably easier to avoid an obstacle or trail rather than ride one that isn't there any more.

I agree that having all kinds of trails is what makes mountain biking as fun as it is. Imagine F1 at one course or DH at one track. And therein lies the problem, where every 'sanctioned/official/funded/etc' trail I've seen thus far are made similarly, to a pretty tame (regressive?) standard.

Which brings us back to my first point: Nowadays the good trails on public land are generally built outside of a rule book. We have a great set of decent sized jumps and drops through our 7km loop that routes through crown land. There's no way a trail built officially would include such features or even be the same trail. It's cool that you feel challenged by whats around you, but many peoples experiences aren't the same.
  • + 8
 Under chain stay U-Brakes........ Campy mountain bike groups........ Gel filled Lycra saddles........ Farmer John's......... Grip Shift no longer working with Shimano derailleurs......... Zebra striped spandex....... Frown
  • + 1
 Under chain stay u-brakes...lmao! Classic! I remember those. Died a quick death.
  • - 3
 Yeah!!! You forgot v brakes, suspension, spd's, full fingered gloves, baggy shorts, and those damned bar ends!!!!
  • + 3
 Yeah man, suspension totally sucks.
  • + 2
 Hey leave the Zebra spandex out of it . Jez Avory was a legend ....
  • + 1
 V brakes work well but look dumb. Kinda like a lefty or so I hear.
  • + 1
 unrooted- I had TOTALLY forgotten all about fricken bar ends, yet from the early Y2k's through the end of the first decade of the new Millenium(2010) I COULDN'T ride WITHOUT those damn things on the end of my bars. Riding with my hands on the bars themselves had become way too alien.
Although I've ridden MTBs since the mid-late '80s(first 'REAL' bike was a Miyata), I remember going from a Trek 990, to a Liquid 20, to a Fisher Pro Caliber, not even knowing what 'style' bike I was on, and how much travel I had.
Because I bought my bikes from ONE store over the decades, all I needed to do was walk into said store and tell 'em I needed a new bike. Bingo Boffo and 20 mins later, and I'd be out the door on a new bike I LOVED.
Now days, if you walk into a store, heck just a YEAR after your last bike purchase, and if you need 'help', it's gonna take the sales schmeizer an hour JUST to go over the newest wheel size(s), never mind why you NOW want a longer top tube and a shorter stem, whether you prefer a 1x11, or 1x10 with the 42/16t combo, or if you just wanna say SCREW IT ALL, and grab the 80lbs DH bike with an electric motor
  • + 7
 Biggest mistake was suggesting any particular style or brand was "dead". People loved to ride what they had whatever parts/brand of bike they had. Biking was fun on any size wheels and nobody was wrong. The 26 is dead thing turned this industry into a WorldWar that's really taken the fun out of it for us who never gave 2 shoots about gear/bike/weight/etc. and we were pretty dang good on the garbage we loved
  • - 4
flag RLEnglish (Jul 6, 2015 at 20:32) (Below Threshold)
 I cannot prop you enough
  • + 13
 if only they'd gone 650B 30 years ago when they had the chance...
  • - 3
 beat me to it
  • + 0
 Ken Avery speaks the truth
  • - 2
 27.5 wheels click -1 if you like them couse i believe they are the slap in the customers face !!!
  • + 3
 I'm honestly surprised that this comment is so far down the list!
  • + 2
 I second that opinion!
  • + 6
 Rc for the win (irony about competition).
Grassroots groups connected by pb/other industry groups can make a utopia.
I am personally fine with growing the sport. More rides means more public support. Look at what it has done for Utah. More trails every year. And New York is finally starting to add trails too. You want more legal trails, gotta have more legal riders.
  • + 6
 Half my friends who ride, got into riding by buying lower cost Hardtails. The other half and myself included bought a second hand full sus and then replaced the worn components, ultimately building bikes out of them. The guys who initially bought lower budget Hardtails soon learnt that they could get far better bikes by doing what we were doing. I though that this was a great way of getting into mountain biking as you had to learn some bike mechanics and maintenance skills. When I go up my local trails kids are still doing the same. In the Uk it seems that the only people I know that are actually walking into a bike shop and purchasing a new Full Suspension Bike are going higher end and doing it via a finance arrangement. I don't know anyone below 40 who has bought just gone out and bought a new bike. Depending on your individual financial circumstances, think this can put people at odds with Manufacturers who are trying to market full bikes as their bread and butter earners. That said, love it or hate but it the availability of differing sized wheels is an innovation, just maybe not one that new riders can get excited about until they can afford to buy the bikes second hand.
  • + 1
 All true and valid... love approach you suggest (buy second hand or cheap, and upgrade as you go, and as you discover what you like and where to make changes), and it used to be pretty normal, but fear this is being killed off by the wheel/hub/headset/BB ever changing sizes/standard whirl... which is probably helping to sell all new expensive bikes on finance. Great for those that want to take the route of buying in at the top, but is it better for the industry as a whole? Is it better for riders? Does it introduce a greater risk of buyers regret? Are people putting off, or even giving up on, their next bike improvement because of the ever changing whirl of sizes and interfaces?
  • + 10
 Biggest mistake.... People believing the marketing hype...!!
  • + 6
 "Progression" is the worst thing to happen to mountain biking. It has put people who enjoy a sport in a pit and made them argue. Fueled by the likes of pinkbike articles around 26 v 650 v 29. E bikes v normal bikes. 9 speed, 10 speed, 11 speed. Nothing bit positive reviews of the new, insinuating that the old is no longer any good.
There have been some great introductions. The clutch mech, narrow wide.... all small changes to existing compatible tech and not the push to get riders to spend their hard earned on new wheel sizes, new frames, complete new drive trains or even a bike with a motor.
We should keep MTB simple, making to many options with lots of misinformation just confuses the masses.
Road did it right when they started the revolution and set the rules in stone. CX do it right. Therules are set in stone. It's just MTB where we are not big enough for the governing bodies to care too much where we keep introducing unnecessary change for the sake of sales figures.
  • + 1
 Yup, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
  • + 10
 In a couple years we all will be saying "e-bikes"
  • + 6
 Well E-bikes is not supposed to be a standard. E-bikes cater to the handicapped crowd, I mean Martyn Ashton could use an E-bike at the moment
  • + 8
 Ive seen several comments from people who are in wheel chairs excited by the prospect of going riding again thanks to Martyn Ashton and the prospect of using E-bikes
  • + 2
 Stupid e-bikes. Had one zoom pass me up the steepest section of hill on my weekend ride. I havent been overtaken on this trail since the first week I rode it... 4yrs ago. Had that little whining electric sound, next time I hear it coming up behind me, Im'a clothes-line this bloke.
  • + 7
 @Ronworth E-Bikes are stupid and lazy if the person riding it is actually fit enough for a regular bike but for people who wan't to mountain bike but can't due to physical handicaps or limitations E-Bikes make total sense.
  • + 1
 My knees and back are getting increasingly ckufed and I can foresee a time I'd be interested. Or I might just decide **** it and sit on the sofa eating cake.
  • + 1
 What happens to your broken down body when your bike breaks down? Are you going to lug your 40lb e-bike out of the middle of nowhere to safety?
  • + 1
 I'm not that bloody knackered! I'd do what I do now, just ride dh tracks where I can park near by. Riding down is no problem but the push back up is hard on my knees. If a 'e' dh bike became available that meant a quick and easy pedal back up and wasn't too compromised on the way down, maybe with easily removable battery and motor for uplift days, I'd certainly consider it.
  • + 7
 The mass exodus to 650B wheels has been the biggest step change the industry has ever seen, but has brought the least benefit to the everyday rider.
  • + 5
 I think everyone nailed it to a certain degree but I have to hand it to Bryson and Gary Fisher that UCI's exclusion of amateurs and pretty much the entire United States has been a huge mistake. The Untied States is massively populated with potential consumers who think road bikes and the Tour de France are the only type of cycling there is. Imagine if all of those customers were awakened to mountain biking. Trail advocacy would explode. Profit margins for mountain bike producers would soar. I don't know. I think UCI has really missed the boat with their euro-centric thought process.
  • + 1
 It's not just mtb. The uci has 3 protour road races that I can think of in the US. In Europe, they have the big three, the TdF, Vuelta a Espana, and the one other one. Plus the spring classics, the Dauphine etc. i'm not making much sense I know. But they have so much more racing in Europe that it makes it hard for juniors to get their bike start here.
  • + 5
 Buzz words , the "Have to have a different bike for every style of riding" and brand snobbery . I remember when a hard tail with 100-130mm fork and decent brakes was enough to race DH , XC and trials or to just go ride your bike . When I go to bike parks now on my '98 Zaskar I get funny looks from younger and newer riders and comments like : "You can't ride that down there it's not the right bike" .

Pah ! it's got wheels that spin , brakes that stop when I go pully pully on the levers and 50mm of fork travel . I'll ride it down what ever the f*ck I want and it wont break like your Cannondale and there aren't a million of them like your specialized hardrockepicstumpwank . It doesn't have trick parts (well ok it does have parallel linear pull brakes) .

I've had new riders in the sport point and laugh at my 120mm stem and 505mm bars . I've heard them say "huh huh he hasn't got a real bike."

So to me the biggest mistake are buzz words and divergence of riding styles . To stay "Cool" you aren't allowed to wear Lycra and ride skinny bars , hard tails are not "suitable" for trail riding . Bollocks to that !
  • + 5
 haha you haven't got a real bike put some shorter stem and wider bars, it is better, simply. No offense but I bet you are much slower than them and could be having more fun on a modern hardtail.
  • + 1
 Funny you say that . At Bikefest this year I was lapping faster on My Zasktar faster than guys on full sus XC 29ers . I was also hitting lines they couldn't due to having narrow bars so fitting between trees better . I have loads of fun as it makes "easy" trails a challenge . Over coming that challenge is fun in itself . I breaths life back into trails that seem dull . I'm in the middle of building up a charge DJ bike ATM .
  • + 5
 Stupid 1 meter wide, overly manicured, flat surface, luge/toboggan bike park trails are ruining mountain biking for me, if you can comfortably ride it on a bmx or even a road bike it doesn't deserve to be called an mtb trail, a lot of good lift assisted prime hillside is wasted with these stupid new gravel bed 'flow' trails.

That and endless different standards, that needs to stop!
  • + 4
 So many big mistakes being made... Standards are one thing, true. But I guess trail advocacy is the biggest issue tbh. Other sports are facing similar issues, but the way Mountain Bikers handle it is unique. We ignore laws, but complain when they are enforced. And we don't put a ton of effort into changing that, while we do put a ton of money into not improving our bikes a bit. Where other sports have a governing body that seeks to help those doing the sport, we have a governing body that only cares about money, plus a dozen new-found independent groups that seek to do everything soooo much better - which then focus on one single aspect of the sport and forget about anything else.
  • + 4
 - without reading all of the comments section, I'll add my 2 cents; lack of STANDARDIZATION is going to kill much of the momentum in this industry. I can't afford to continually make changes and my bike won't accept some of those changes so it makes me mad when they make changes year after year after year. Should a part wear out, I can't count on the industry to supply what I need to continue to use the same bike, forcing my hand to buy something else which SUX. And the LBSs have got to hate it, too - they can only stock so much inventory which limits their more experienced customers' needs to make changes on the fly without having to order (find on eBay / Craigslist) parts. Whether you grow the sport or not, it's already pretty big with lots of trails coming into existence due to local clubs, but we have to ride something and it can't always be a new rig......
  • + 4
 For Me it's the ridiculous number of "standards" if you can call them that .. I'm a 42 year old BMX'er that started riding DH a year ago .. I have always built up my own BMX's and would consider myself to be mechanically compenatnt.. But with Mountain Bikes there is no such thing as a standard ! everything is a different shape size width .. headsets BB's wheels it never ends.. It means that if you have something that's not the current trend then you will probably NOT be able to get replacements easily from local bike shops and therefore have to go online.. I hate buying online but sometimes if I need a part in a rush there is no alternative ..

create standard stick to them stop looking for the next big thing that usually turns out to be nothing more than a minor step forward.. give the little guys in the local shops who provide a very REAL and valuable service to beginners and experts alike a chance !
  • + 4
 Provocative point, Charlie Sponsel. I got my first mountain bike in 1984 (I was 25). I was one of the "weekend warrior working dads" disparaged, but managed to pass a love for the sport onto my son. Now my children are grown and I ride five times per week. As an advocate for our sport, I go out of my way to be supportive of beginners I encounter on the trail. Doing or implying anything else is truly a big mistake.
  • + 4
 I wasn't going to post but all this complaining about the dumbing down of trails got to me. First off sure the ratio of GNARLY trails to easy trails has decreased, but the overall number of GNARLY trails has increased. Second if your going to put public money into a trail system it had better be easy to maintain so it isn't gone in 5 years and guess what GNARLY steep fall line trails with lots of roots and rocks erode and are a nightmare to maintain and are usually dead trails in 5 years. That doesn't mean they aren't fun and don't have a place in the sport, but they aren't appropriate to be built with public funds. Third a good easy trail that is built with thought, ie. not just a fire road can be super fun at all levels. Challenger at Silver Star bike park in BC is the perfect example. Finally easy trails do bring new riders into the sport, and adds diversity to the sport, ie. women and children, which means the continuation of the sport. Yes not everybody who rides an easy trail will decide they love mountain biking and continue on, but some do and isn't that the whole point. TLDR Easy trails are not bad for the sport
  • + 3
 i think it's a problem when a community of people become and elitist mass of pretentious pricks. that's what really kills the sport, IMHO. i'm an above the average rider if compared to the normal mtbiker with an hardtail, doing enduro and DH. That said i've got my ghost and still can't hit all the features that are trown at me. that said, starting to moan because the sport is becoming more accessible to more ppl doesn't make any sense to me...it seems like we are going to hipster out mtb, so that we could say "ah, i was doing this before it was cool". If you gotta prove that, if you really feel the need to stand out the crowd in that way...that's a problem. Your ride makes you stand out, not whining on the internet about "the good ol' times."
  • + 4
 The e-bike. You know the bike that has been made to make rich people go in the bike shops and go riding with less effort. You know the bike that is back on the tracks where riding motorcycle is illegal for the past 20 years. But that destroys the trails the same. You know the bike that make not good riders going faster that what they are able to, and then they crash and it's another bike injured at the hospital. You know the bike that can go so fast on walking tracks and scared people walking. You know that bike that is going to make use ride only on mtb track, and that is going to make us look bad in the mountains. But thank you for making old people thinking that they are not getting older on strava!
  • + 4
 Charlie. I've always loved mountain biking because it wasn't very popular, hated organized sports but loved riding because nobody was telling me how to do it, I just learned and got better over time because I'm passionate about it as a lifestyle. You can't fight what's happening, it's not just a bike industry problem, it's human nature to screw up something awesome. Still ride old school tech trails.... Still crash a lot... Still spend all my money on my steed... Girlfriend is still jealous of my sexy bike....still have a smile on my face every ride, thank you mountain biking, you will stand the test of time.
  • + 7
 More or less what Charlie said...Its the same thing as "Growing the sport". Except I'll use less words...
Profiteering.
  • + 3
 Quality over quantity and the sport grows naturally as it should and deserves to for how rad it is. But in America we focus too much on quantity over quality....and this is the problem. MTB will grow again of course...but if we keep focusing on the quantity, it will pop again faster than Charlie making Lopes cry playing DHD.
  • + 3
 If you rode the shore 10yrs ago, you know it's practically paved now compared to what it use to be. You need beginner runs, we all started there, but you have to keep the gnar...gnarly. The industry standard is a huge issue too, the Chris King hubs on my wall are proof of that.
  • + 3
 The increase in price for literally everything in the industry, until the point where you are choosing between a car or a new bike, I think that's a major factor that most people do not want to admit that is stumping the growth of mountain biking. Maybe thousands of people want to join the mountain bike community, but it's just too expensive to do so. I speak from experience
  • + 3
 Too many standards and new tech that actually makes no difference except as a marketing tool. Read reviews from a few years ago. No mention of rear wheel axle flexing on a QR 135. Now if any bike, even a 26er does not have one, its mentioned. Never mind that it could be tyres, air pressure or the terrain...Then there are the reviews of the same bike by different people that contradict themselves on this very point. Screw in axles on a XCO bike - makes no sense to me considering the time it takes to change a wheel... While I have some sympathy with Sponsel's take, which is deliberately OTT I think, its exaggerated. In this country we are a marathon nation and only now starting to see trails that resemble those in Europe and the USA ie technically challenging and not dumbed down. We still have a long way to go however and the general technical standard of average joe riders in events like the Cape Epic is pretty woeful. Fitness and skills make a good rider, not one or the other and there are still too many people who think they have the skills when they don't. Maybe every bike should come with a free training session...
  • + 3
 Everything said here buy these people about trail building have been solved here in Washington. Over here we have a organization called the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. This group was created by people who were sick of the government tearing down there poached trails. They have created racing leagues for new riders to be so easily exposed to the sport and have an awesome time riding. Also what Charlie said about trail building, they don't give a sh*t about that. we have some very challenging trails here, probably more than easy trails. As far as I know washington is probably the biggest expanding mountain biking state in the usa do to the Evergreen Mountainbike Alliance and the ski resorts opening trails.
P.S. I only live ~4 hours from whistler bike park
  • + 3
 Team Robot for NAILING IT. Part of the appeal of actual mountain biking is the fact that it's something most people can't do because it's "too dangerous". Most legitimate riding zones in my home city are now 100% fully wack. Builders there design trails that their girlfriends/wives can ride (don't even get me started). Together with touchy-feely "outdoor lifestyle" trail organizations, they've accomplished their dream of making the city a big, sloppy wet dream for the whole REI-paleo-crossfit-"adventure" race-glamper-granola-patagonia-poser crowd who can go experience "mountain biking" on these dumbed-down snoozefest trails without any real risk or danger. Gimme a f*cking break.
  • + 5
 How about those brake levers with integrated shifters. Those were a mistake
  • + 1
 They're okay for Hybrid bike use cause they keep all the clutter down.
  • + 1
 Gripshift for instance...
  • + 2
 All valid points. In ten years you will see TV viewership down 75%. With streaming content, people are leaving the television set. Without corporate sponsors, these race events will disappear, as the TV rights will be gone,. The only way mountain biking will grow, is if people can make legitimate businesses out of mountain bike tracks/parks. Golf did the same thing over the last 15-20 years. There are golf courses everywhere now, and you can even go play in your jeans and tshirt. But do we really want mass commercialization for MB'ing? It means cheaper products, but our trails will be over run with novice riders. There is a place for that, but it needs to be managed properly..
  • + 2
 The industry is making it's biggest mistake right now in it's clamor to build electric bikes. Any good will from other mountain users will be eroded beyond repair and " mountain" biking will be banned from all back country , open mountain venues and forced to exist in dreary dull dumbed down trail centres.
Then it's finished as a sport
  • + 6
 No one said Gopro videos?!?
  • + 2
 Indeed. "Hey everyone! Look how rad I am!".
  • + 4
 I'm not a fan of the whole 'Be a Hero' bollox- but I do love the fact that we have so much more crash footage now!
  • + 2
 Charlie Sponsel is right on. The actual popularity and growth of the sport is its largest detractor from my point of view. Yep, it is an entirely selfish point of view - I own up to that, but honestly the large crowds of new riders showing up at what used to be quiet local trails have chased myself and many others away. I used to dig and enjoy it. Now I cringe at the wanton destruction of trails while the vast majority of "urban" riders don't lift a finger to help maintain. Now I have to drive much further to get away from the crowds - which is a big part of the enjoyment of the sport for me. Yep, its definitely the crowds.
  • + 4
 I've just realised that Richard Cunningham, is NOT the Richard Cunningham i know from the UK MTB press/Dirt/RedBull commentary. What a bell I am.
  • + 2
 I think that the biggest mistake in mountainbiking is something that manufacturers, retailers, AND riders share a responsibility for, and that is building a culture of elitism and dissatisfaction into the sport. The industry and bike shops thrive on convincing people that whatever they happen to be riding is no good, no fun, and should be replaced with whatever the newest thing is. Instead of a sport for people to participate in and enjoy, it has become an arms race. Bigger, badder, faster, and MORE, MORE, MORE MONEY! You aren't a real rider unless you are riding the newest, most expensive gear, AND complaining about it's shortcomings. Being happy with what you ride and where you're riding makes you a "noob" or a "weekend warrior", etc. The sport should be about RIDING BIKES, not finding reasons to hate the bikes we have and looking down on anyone who doesn't ride where/when/how we do. Mountainbiking should be about HAVING FUN, not listing the reasons why we aren't having fun and making shopping lists of other parts and bikes that we will ALSO be dissatisfied with. JUST GO RIDE, fer heaven's sake, and quit crying about all the shit you can't do on your bike and all the shit you can't afford!
  • + 2
 Bryson, R.C., and Gary all hit the same nail on the head. Cheaping out on the races we once had, moving what racing there is outside of the U.S., and what little events we do have here are mainly 'invitational' (pros only). Essentially everything possible to ensure no growth of the sport other than smaller events here and there and grassroots racing. There needs to be a shift back towards home. Focus on the talent we have here and cultivate it. Grow the community, the family. Make the world jealous of OUR scene, instead of us staring longingly at our monitors at events across the globe.
  • + 2
 Personally feel there have been numerous ones and since I have been into it since the Ross mt. hood and the MB-0 days...I feel the lack of using alternate metals is a large weave that was missed, yes stainless and titanium are costly to work with and get correct alloys for specific duties, but I feel it should be revisited...most likely not going to show on many shop floor bikes, but high end offerings should look into alternate metal sources.
  • + 2
 I was expecting quite variable answers from all but it's interesting that the movers, shakers racers & journo's all feel roughly the same thing. However, in my cynicism as a weekend warrior is if all the same thoughts are felt why isn't anyone doing anything about it?!

I also did feel a bit like Bryson felt a little put out that Murica wasn't the cradle of MTB still. As it diversified and some of the worlds greatest racers across all disciplines XC, DH, Jump came from the EU, USA and beyond it would only make sense that and to enable fairness that the World series of racing had it's World cups held in the locality that wins the most points. USA or EU both have amazing choices for riding. Side note; the World series in baseball only seems to have USA teams in it? To me that kind of denotes the narrow mindedness of sports organization. Bikes have a global presence and should be repped equally globally.
  • + 6
 Craig Glaspell seemed to hit it on the head for me .
  • + 2
 As someone that now rides a shinny new 650b bike, the dumbest thing I have seen is 650b bikes and the death of 26.
What is the advantage of 650b? Nothing all I have noticed are the wheels are a little bigger and the bike is not as snappy and fun to ride. Why did 26 get thrown under the bus for this 650b crap? Dumbest thing so far.
  • + 2
 I agree with Richard. Huge praise to Bell for their new Bell Built program. I live in Bend, OR with easy access to hundred's of miles of amazing trail thanks to COTA (Central Oregon Trail Alliance). If I travel a little north I've got access to hundreds of miles of amazing Enduro oriented trail thanks to North West Trail Alliance. NWTA Alliance has been heavily supported by local bikes shops like Fat Tire Farm to help develop the Mt. Bike Scene (improve their sales & support services).

www.oregonlive.com/clackamascounty/index.ssf/2013/11/sandy_ridge_mountain_biking_tr.html

I wish more bike companies would focus on supporting local bike shops to develop local mt. bike economies. This can be as simple as helping with the organization of trail events through swag & product discounts for volunteers or provide trail experts and economists that can help support local shops & trail groups work with local government for land use approvals.

I heard a sad story the other day - I went back to my college town of Bozeman, MT expecting to hear about an amazing Mt. Bike scene only to hear from a shop owner that it SUCKS. I was told there are multiple groups fighting over what to do with no central organization - hence the local shop owner told me his mid-high end Mt. bike sales have been flat for years. Wouldn't it be great if a company sent in some trail experts to help organize these towns to get an organized trail group up and running - after 5 years they just might have 30+ miles of local trail to attract new mt. bike buyers.
  • + 1
 Vernon is right. It's all about the trail. Put most anyone on a well constructed piece of DH trail and a Walmat Huffy and they will be hooked. Without trails this sport is nothing. Problem is that it's way easier to buy better bikes, than it is to build better trails - so riders focus on, and post about buying bikes, instead of building trails. A shame. There was actually a recent post from a rider wondering how he could prevent getting sore, blistered hands from riding! Maybe swinging a pick and shovel?
  • + 1
 If we were to sideline big companies from Mountain biking e.g. Red Bull Would there be rampage, where the trail ends, what would half of the Fmb and dh riders helmets look like and half the decent biking vids on utube. Fair point how they have screwed us up in places but they have also done us a TON of good.
  • + 1
 RC nailed it. I race the same courses as experts at a local event recently, though a couple fewer laps because I'm a 50 year old man with no aspirations of going pro. I've been riding for over 25 years, and not planning on moving up, but love racing my peers. The semi-pros/ "experts" at these events pre-ride in front of racers in lower classes during their race... awards are late and treated as afterthoughts because the pros are starting and the awarders want to watch their friends, the photogs for the event only take pics of expert classes, and the prizes for sub-expert classes were the free swag for everyone even spectators at the previous events. Granted, in a way, the sub expert race classes benefit from the trail setup and grooming, but in another they are being ripped-off by promoters of amateur racing focussing on pros alone and making everyone else, who pays the same reg fees feel like they are in the way of the main attraction.

Either just have pro races, or try to spread out the attention/prizes just a bit, a little more equity in prize distribution, break up the cliques, and respect for the "lower class" riders who ultimately pay the bulk of the bills of the shops and manufacturers promoting the event by buying bikes and equipment.
  • + 1
 I totally agree with the fact that trail advocacy has been missing in the process of developing mountain biking in the whole globe but...what about all this fragmentation and "naming" of activities, trails and whatever connected to this "mountain biking" think? It's just mountain biking, and we like it!!!
Peace
  • + 1
 smith and felton- hopefully you live in an area with plentiful trail access, but here in san diego we simply need more trails. too little has been done to organize sponsors in this direction. the tribe mentality thing jut isn't working. kudos to their points. i'm surprised strava was't mentioned as an issue. for trails alone it's done more to dumb them down, a la sponsel, than anything i've ever seen. often done by riders with a single vision of seeking kom status but rarely taking into account, or knowing, what they are doing. besides destroying habitat for better sight-lines around turns, turning trails into bowling alleys often results in issues of erosion and trail sustainability. additionally starva has exposed hidden trails, which are now closed. as mentioned above, we already have too little trail access due to the multiple small parcels that most trails traverse making legal issues a long and losing process, stravatizing existing trails and getting the good stuff other people spent their time building closed are two huge strikes to me. the final strike for the out is the regression of mtb hospitality by the strava e-racers who are the antithesis of the spirituality of mtb riding, which is akin to soul surfers. as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses.
  • + 1
 I agree with Leigh Donovan but for BMX. The tracks are now variations using the same modular components. BMX tracks used to be works of creative ideas and pride of the local riders who built them. The jump with too much kick. The flat corner. the variable set of rollers. Dirt tracks that required Comp IIIs versus the slicks they ride now. Bring back the Jofa !!!.
  • + 2
 Riders sharing illegal trail data(strava/utube). Spotlighted huge "problem" to landmanagers.
Resulting in closures, huge discussions/agreements/MEETINGS, and big $ for flow trails=diff bikes.
  • + 1
 "Mountain biking is amazing. It's so much fun that it's basically ruined my life".
I have called in sick to work, missed family events, bribed and cheated my way onto trails since my first lap on B-Line. Its been a beautiful road of dark nylons, picking dirt out of my nails and trying to find a perfume that goes with chamois and a haircut that will handle a helmet. I don't care what I ride, where or with whom. I just want to be on a trail with my bike.
  • + 1
 Biggest Mistake? Encouraging novice mountain bikers to buy clipless pedals. That's the quickest way to reduce the fun factor, retard the skills progression, and leave that bike hanging in the garage after an injury. Every entry level/mid-range bike should come with a decent pair of flats.
  • + 1
 Curious? Would it help to actually make it a "WORLD" cup race series? I was just playing this ancient game called California Speed World Racing haha' A game based on racing in different tracks around the world starting with Cali USA.
I imagined what would it be to have contenders race in different parts of the world? Europe, US, North America, Middle East? well maybe not the Middle East but around the world? I imagined racers bombing down Mexican mountains in Durango or dropping down drift popular mountains in Japan. I guess it would be a logistics nightmare and even harder for new racers to join in due to the overwhelming cost of yearly around the world travel, but it would be damn cool too see!
  • + 1
 Why did the interviewer not do this with Garry Fischer.
Grab Garry by the front of his shirt and shake him around screaming with spittle flying out my mouth.
Hey Garry just because you dress like a clown why did you and Trakalized decide to turn XC into a 29" wagon wheel riding circus! That then turned Enduro into a 650b riding circus that now has turned the whole bike industry into a big ff%cking circus.?
Seperating the bike tribes worse than ever 29ers vs 650 and the death stroke of 26!
You mo-fo have turned this into a sectarian war! Shia, Suni and Kurds look on at us in PITY!
It has undermined the average Joes confidence in buying any new bike, in fear of things that were once never thought of .
Can I find a new fork for this tire size in the future? Willl my new bike have any resale value? Wil I buy this only to have it be the OLD standard next week?
Shaking that old clown violently I would of demanded some accounting for this monstrous screw up, he should feel some shame.
Looks like a session meme? Oh please spare me I have seen cooler logos on a packet of laundry detergent.
I would not wipe my dogs but with one.
Is everyone doping in that company? I this what it's like at a meeting in planet Trekalized.

JOHN: Pass that syringe, hey looking at this power point it seems quartery sales are down. Now let's create some new thing new to boost the bottom line any idea everyone? hands go up.
JOHN : yes Jimmy -
JIMMY: How about 28 inch wheels.?
JOHN: No it's too soon we just did 27.5 the consumers won't go for it they will tear us down.
Another hand goes up,
JOHN: Yes Tommy.
TOMMY: What if we call it 27 plus?
JOHN: Great Idea!
  • + 5
 This is easy. Outrageous cost for a mtn bike.
  • + 2
 Amen!
  • + 1
 Avid hydros +1 haha,...but technically, all MTB companies and affiliates have grown since the intro of MTBing. You learn from the big mistakes. Doesn't matter if the mistake was made by you(rs) or another company that didn't have the correct strategy/quality/presence. Love all the small biz's that have formed/grown from it -- Deity, Chromag, Sensus + the small overseas co's like Hope and Renthal.
  • + 3
 Biggest mistake in the MTB world was Robbing Norbs!

*I didn't read the article, so I don't know what I'm talking about. But brah that shits hella long!*
  • + 1
 And how about mediocre bike shops? In my experience, the smaller the shop, the better the service. At some shops I don't get a word if I'm not there to buy a f*cking $6,000 road bike. Nevermind I've been riding longer than some of their employees have been alive.

And to beginners the cycling world is intimidating and the gear required to get started (bike, accessories, rack, etc) can be overwhelming. Help the customer get off the ground instead of clipping their wings from the beginning.
  • + 1
 Overseas production has killed it for me. I love the mountains. I love skiing and riding my bike through them. Doing it on shit produced by someone who doesn't care about the mountains I love is just WRONG. Companies trying to act all grassroots and local while still producing almost all of their products overseas is almost worse. Counting on us all being sheep with the wool pulled over our eyes with great marketing and fancy colours. Shame in it all. Long live real manufacturing.
  • + 1
 The biggest mistake has been the recent trend of bike companies adhering to model years. 15 years ago most bike companies did not have new colors/graphics for their bikes every single year. Bikes remained in their lineup until innovation or designs warranted a change. The creation of model years has caused manufacturers to be much more careful about having surpluses in any models and ultimately has contributed to the rising costs of bikes.
  • + 1
 Sponsel is spot on, and you can really see what he's talking about in boulder, Colorado--where dumbing down the trails for newbies and rich lawyer XC weenies on $10,000 Specialized Epics is a way of life...

harden the FK up and ride, or pick a different sport.
  • + 4
 Stop the hate on wheelsizes. Just please continue to make tires for everyone and let us continue to ride our bikes.
  • + 1
 I'm sorry but the industry standards argument annoys me and has done ever since the ever over dramatised wheel debate ensued. If everything was set to a 'unified standard', be it axle sizes, wheel diameters, rim width, whatever, how would any innovation, development and progression take place?

The mountain bike industry is just that, an INDUSTRY. It must make money in order to continue to exist. If the argument that we don't care how fast we go doesn't concern the 95% of us that don't race (myself included) is valid then who cares if the industry brings out new, expensive standards? Just don't buy it and carry on having fun. The whole "If it ain't broke don't fix it" argument is incredibly naive, it would never happen and if it did it would see the end of the mountainbike industry

I bought my canyon ex about 6 months before 650b pretty much became the norm on every single new bike coming out. Ask me if I care. Next time I buy a bike it'll probably be a 650b, as it is probably superior to 26 inch (another argument for another day) but I'm not going to change it out until I need to. I absolutely love my bike! No one forces you to buy the new standards of components that comes out but it drives the development of our sport so I say bring it on.
  • + 4
 Richard Cunningham nailed it. Been saying it for years. Are you listening PinkBike?
  • + 1
 Roadies. Roadies dictating bike design was the worst thing to happen to mountain bikes. If only a really persistent and cleaver BMXer had fallen into the mountain bike scene in the right place around 1988 to slap around the road bike inspired mountain bike designs of the day. Long stems. short top tubes, steep angles, bars much higher than the seat. I also fault the 29er with perpetuating the situation. It has taken years to reclaim the sport from that madness.
  • + 1
 I'm going to write from experience here and comment about what I know. I'm admin for the northeast quarter of Pennsylvania at Trailforks. Mountain biking trails in this region are difficult. Most are rocky, glorified hiking trails. The kind of trails where 5mph is an average time. Many trails you could walk faster. Trails around here were built by a small number of people—for a small number of people—and for a specific, technical riding style.

When I read internet complaints about "dumbing down trails," I can't relate at all. That hasn't been my experience. Where does a cycling nirvana like that exist—where trails are "too easy?" Where I live and ride, it takes much more effort to build a fast, flowing trail than to build a rock garden. Where I live and ride, I would absolutely welcome a greater variety of trails. Around here, what counts as "variety" is trail names with different synonyms for "rock."
  • + 1
 I understand that the UCI is far from perfect and agree it is Eurocentric. And for selfish reasons I would like to see a WC course established near the U.S. West Coast. But the last three World Cup seasons and World Championships have been utterly mesmerizing! The shear number of riders, from all over the globe, riding for different teams that have posted wins or gotten close has kept me engrossed and on the edge of my seat. This top level of DH racing has never been so exciting. I don't understand all the vitriol poured on the UCI and would argue they are doing a great job with the DH races they manage.
  • + 1
 If a venue and sponsors WANT to put on a race, they are welcome to apply to the UCI to do it. As far as I know, no one has done that. In comparison, the UCI gets to pick and choose from a surplus of bids in Europe. Well, aside from Scott Tedro, who wants to hold a round of the XCO WC in California next year.
  • + 1
 Ah the yearbook of our lives. The laughs, ooes and ahas. Evolution is a messy game. Hindsight can be as useless as foresight. More often than not at the end of the day are all looking at a bunch of asses, they don't call it hindsight for nothing. I don't think we really know what we want. Ever get what you really wanted? It can really suck.

My biggest mistake is somewhere between wanting to give my left nut for a 2050 bike and the one I'm on now.
  • + 4
 i have to say the biggest mistake are the FUCKING prices like are you kidding me
  • + 0
 charlie sponsel for president!
finally someone shares my thoughts...
also glad the "standard" issue got mentioned. just yesterday I tried to install my new DB inline, until I realised the eyelet is wider than the competition so neither fox nor rock shox bushings worked... just why?
  • + 1
 Because you're german man! They're picking on you!
  • + 4
 Agree with DVO Founder, UCI biggest mistake!
  • + 4
 26" seems to be... For so many years the wheels were wrong size!
  • + 5
 Charlie nailed it.
  • + 3
 Charlie nailed it! if only more people in the cycling industry would think like him!
  • + 3
 American bike designers designing bikes for the UK conditions without ever seeing mud.....
  • + 2
 Have you ridden/seen the East coast, Southeast or Northwestern trails in the US?
  • + 1
 No, Only Colorado, which Bikes are designed in those areas?
  • + 0
 What's with all of these articles that make us reflect on bullshit that we never really cared about until we saw it in the news feed? Who cares what ruined mountainbiking, who started mountainbiking, who's got new tits or which company is on bed with the other? I just ride bikes, man.
  • + 1
 @mrfitz424 I was attempting to pen my response to this article, Then I read your post, and thought, well I needn't bother, you already summed it up perfectly.
  • + 5
 PB want articles that generate involvement- they're like a gossip magazine- all they give a shit about is number of clicks and comments- that's the info they take to potential sponsors to get them to sign up for advertising etc. That's one of the biggest mistakes in MTB as far as I'm concerned. We were lucky to have a great website that supported freeride and DH that was basically a resource for riders into those disciplines. Now it's a generic, sold out bullshit version of it's former self where it's more interested in just talking shite and generating $$.
  • + 1
 @gavlaa -> then get the f*ck off of it and go ride your damn bike.
  • + 1
 Errrr.... I'm stuck in front of a computer for the next 10 hours at work- unfortunately riding isn't currently an option. Why don't you follow your own advice?
  • + 1
 @gavlaa -> I did ride that morning before work...... of course when at work biking remains on the brain which is why I troll PB.
  • + 4
 Who writes a whole article in italics? @mikelevy
  • + 3
 "It's so much fun that it's basically ruined my life" I want that as a sticker on the back of a van
  • + 4
 > named my first daughter ''John Tomac'

wow.
  • + 1
 Bastard award of the year 2015! Big Grin
  • + 2
 For me it is manufacturers focusing on bikes with better race performance, whereas most punters just want bikes that are fun and easy to maintain.
  • + 1
 dont get hung up on all the hypothetical problems, been mtb'ing since the late eightys and the choices and trails have never been better what ever you want its there. takes over your life though ,in a good way
  • + 0
 There are loads of things to bitch and moan about like wheel size, different standards, kit that doesn't work, Cannondales, walkers, the weather, blah blah, but Charlie speaks about the only things that really matter. That and the threat of litigation and what that leads to.
  • + 3
 Charlie, please run for president.
  • + 3
 hubs new standards !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #bullshit
  • + 2
 @Charlie Sponsel: Just make sure you read what the other dads wrote. You're too young to have children
  • - 1
 I think the biggest mistake in mountain biking are people trying to get everyone and their mom into it. The more recent insurgence of riders has brought the overall skill level of the average mountain biker down. Our MTB clubs are now full of newbies who just want to ride flow trails, because they lack the talent or ability to ride technical single track. The MTB clubs work with local public land, and we end up with neutered trails. The trails in my area get easier and easier, and to have a technical piece of single track is frowned upon. No where is safe either! I was riding the bike park this weekend, and stumbled across an entire family of gapers on hard tails riding a blue run. They could barely ride it and were putting themselves and other riders in danger. I understand there is no way to prevent people from getting into riding bikes, but that doesn't mean we need to recruit our friends at every opportunity.
  • + 1
 if they are newbies how do you expect them to be able to go down advanced trails? i guess you have been a beginner too....
  • + 1
 There is WAY more beginner terrain in the areas I have ridden than advanced. I dont mind entry level stuff... just lets not make it ALL that way.
  • + 1
 The World Cup should go England Germany Canada USA CHina Brazil Australia South Africa Or something like that It has not been in Japan for 14 years
  • + 3
 Vernon Felton, spot on as usual!
  • + 3
 When they stopped making Drop In
  • + 1
 Wow, how the fvck do you pick just one?!!!! O.O

Sponsel really nailed some good shit.

All I know is the answer to all our problems, MORE MACDUFF!!!
  • + 2
 I think the biggest mistake is not setting a standard on bottom brackets while there was still a chance.
  • + 3
 Biggest mistake, greastest success: Calling #Enduro to MTB.
  • + 2
 The importance of "Portage" in designing a bike .

That was sold to us as important at one time :-)
  • + 2
 the introduction of a myriad of new improved "standards" has pushed me from the sport
  • + 1
 bloody good read.cheers pink bike...as with the "whats youre excuse" article aswell....could read stuff like this for hours.keep up the good work
  • - 1
 Charlie spoke the TRUTH like a champ! I was assaulted by about 12 riders and an off duty sissy cop! At trails I had been riding for over 11 years on an everyday basis. I was butting heads with a trove of "noobs" that had been riding a total of a year or so. The push to legalize this tiny 2 mile loop was so f*cking stupid. The dirt is clay from canal dredge with a canopy, very unique spot. All drops and jumps, pristine for building at will. That came to a stop with one man buying a house in the area and with his 200$ hard tail and 4 mos of riding experience decided he knew what was best for this place. He followed the "proper channels"! Just like that the place was lost. It was now up to a group of 5 "noobs" with a total of under a year of riding and no skills to decide what went in and what was removed. I'm 49 yrs old. My first bike at 3 my first dirt bike at 7 and racing bmx by 1976. Mx B rider to this current day. And more hours behind a front loader building whoops and large doubles for mx than most. But now I'm not allowed to pull a rake across these trails or I will be trespassed by trail master. Glenn Hawks, a real sausage smoker! Happy to say myself and Beau Svancar fought 12 guys and off duty cop til the cop saw it wasnt going his way,and was gonna have his ass handed to him on a platter. True story. And now I don't ride there. 2 miles from my home. Big f*cking thx for growing the sport Mtb industry! If your thinking about getting into Mtb DON'T. It's not for you, trust me! Go f*ck off "noobs"
  • + 1
 did you literally have a physical fight with them? they sound like a*sholes
  • + 3
 but thinking about it...maybe you shouldn't tell new people not to get into mtb...im sure not every "noob" is a dick
  • + 1
 Amateur-hour "trail builders" who garner all their knowledge from imba youtube videos are dangerous people. Next thing you know, there will be an article featuring your "dangerous, unsustainable, and unsanctioned" trail on the local advocacy page, and the heroes from the group who nobly turned it into a yawn-inducing homogenized suck-fest. You know, for the "community".
  • + 1
 Cool story, pinkdog. Though I'm sorry for your loss. Hey man, you're close to Brevard so I don't feel too sorry for ya!
  • + 1
 If they hadn't dumbed mountain biking down for the masses they never would have got away with this 29er and 650b shit.
  • + 2
 I agree with a lot of this especially the dumbing down of trails
  • + 1
 just hit them faster
  • + 2
 Couldn't agree with Charlie more
  • + 2
 MOUNTAIN BIKING HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER.
  • + 0
 the biggest mistake? 29ers. in all seriousness I think Charlie had a very good answer in regards to the "growing the sport argument"
  • + 1
 Vote plus if in you don't know the difference a hiking path and a bike one. Where I live there isn't !
  • + 2
 I'm surprised that nobody said SRAM.
  • + 0
 Very easy for me. The biggest mistake is the industries obsession with carbon fibre and the obsession with massively over charging for it .
  • + 5
 your the one obsessed with carbon you never stop moaning about it on every thread!!!
  • + 3
 Avid brakes.
  • + 2
 I solemnly believe that my government is killing mountain bike industry.
  • + 3
 29er !
  • + 1
 The UCI, at least for dh, though "new standards" every other week is pretty bad to
  • + 2
 pro·pri·e·tar·y parts
  • + 2
 None of those guys mentioned the recent stupid trends.
  • + 2
 Loved this "It's so much fun that it's basically ruined my life."
  • + 2
 Everybody should stfu and build their own trails.
  • + 1
 They all missed it. Nothing for the kids. Will never be what it should be because of that.
  • + 1
 "Mountain biking is amazing. It's so much fun that it's basically ruined my life."

Spot on.
  • + 2
 No RedBull - No WC Downhill Coverage. Can't blame them for that!
  • + 2
 FOX CTD! I'll never forgive you for that crap fox.....never.
  • + 2
 Suspension stems
  • + 0
 BIggest mistake has not arrives yet..I'll give you a hint...it rhymes with e-bikes
  • + 1
 I think they are all pretty much spot on.
  • + 2
 RC well said.
  • + 1
 introducing electricity !
  • + 2
 Press Fit
  • + 1
 @mountainbiker-finn how do you stop them?
  • + 2
 27.5 inch wheels
  • + 1
 What about the introduction to 'Enduro'?
  • + 1
 I cant believe no one mentioned the Girvin Flexstem...
  • + 6
 We're talking about the worst things in MTB, not the best!!!! Ha ha.
  • + 1
 life saver when used with rigid forks
  • + 1
 " I'm faster than you" posers.
  • + 1
 Charlie Sponsel nailed it for me , big time !!!
  • + 1
 Good points from the rainmakers!
  • + 2
 WORD TO VERNON.
  • + 1
 The only acceptable answer is fat bikes. Fat bikes ruined everything.
  • + 1
 I'll have you know that rollerblading is a very dangerous sport
  • + 2
 All of the above
  • + 0
 Sponsel speaks so much truth - exactly how i feel
  • + 1
 Different wheel sizes have not killed the industry or the sport, so for all of those concerned, get over it. Lefty forks have had no impact on the sport either, design changes always have little effect on the overall health of Dirt Biking. I think Enduro riding is really bringing the sport back to what it should be: Slaying a trail faster than your friends.

The "f*cking" prices are a reflection of the f*cking R&d in addition to the "f*cking" promotion, the "f*cking" materials and the "f*cking" education for proper maintenance and adjustment Shimano brings to a product so that PPL may accuse something like a STX derailleur of "Sucking" even though it is a pretty well thought out and significant improvement over previous generations.
  • + 0
 GARY FISHER FOR THE WIN~!!!!!
  • + 0
 Don't let hikers kill ruin our fun.
  • + 0
 Wait...there was a mistake made?
  • + 1
 Charlie! All right!
  • + 1
 the internet
  • + 0
 Mtb is dead, rollerblades are the future of extreme sports! Just kidding.
  • + 0
 Lefty Forks. For the love of god just let it die already.
  • + 2
 Hilarious!
  • + 0
 SHIMANO AIRLINES!!!
  • - 1
 Richard Cunningham, hands down is the best answer in this article.
  • - 1
 Surprised no mention of internet sales killing good bike shops.
  • + 0
 Everybody wanting to buy stuff cheap is what killed bike shops- the internet just made it possible. We used to have customers come into the shop, hold a product and ask about it.... then go and buy it online. Bastards.
  • + 0
 Everybody has always wanted to buy stuff cheaper, what moron would want to spend more if he or she did not have to? But the Internet has created a bit of a "Wild wild west" in which MAP's are not enforced because manufactures just see a nice, shiny sale to some random supplier, and do not give a f*ck that it may put proper bike folks out of business. MAP is supposed to be controlled, and the manufacturers don't care if they see a lot of dollars coming their way from a retailer in Ireland...
  • + 6
 How about the 5h1tty LBS that does crap for repairs, has a bad attitude, and thinks we should support just because they are local? Surely that should've been one of the big mistakes listed.
  • + 4
 @BDKR - Nailed it. There are far more bad IBD's than their are good ones (at least in USA). Shop owners have self-righteous attitudes that consumers are obligated to support them just because they're local, the minimum wage teenagers wrenching on bikes doing a hack job, shitty inventory because they only stock what sells (hybrids for old people), no compromise on exorbitant pricing, etc.
  • + 6
 The internet does not kill bike shops; bike shops kill bike shops. Coming from the powersports parts/accessory industry, I can tell you that if you have it IN STOCK and you know what you are talking about, you will sell it. Some times you have to cut a price to make a sale. Of the 95% of people that will hit you with "its cheaper on the internet" and you have them show you the price, meet them in the middle, and you make the sale! Plus, because you had what they wanted in stock, they will come back and tell their friends. People like to do business with people. If you have to order it EVERY single time, and your customer service is lack luster, they do not see a point in paying the premium. I managed to sell 4 million a year in accessories. The bike shop I help out at on Saturdays has adopted this mentality. We have it in stock most of the time, and most of the time people simply buy it. Occasionally I have to cut a price to make a sale, but it is well worth the return.

I suppose the next thing to answer is "how does a small bike shop amass an inventory of parts and accessories to battle the internet on a tight budget?" The simple answer to this is start at the basics. Carry the things a consumer expects you to carry. Grips, chains, derailleurs, stems, handlebars, pedals, bike racks, tires, seat posts etc. Make your bike shop easy to shop, and be friendly with your customers. As your business grows, so should your inventory. Eventually you will be able to stock forks, shocks, frames, dropper posts, and more exotic pieces. Before you know it, your product mix is broad and you have the sales/revenue to justify it.
  • + 0
 Sorry Teethandnails but you're way off- at least for the UK market anyway. I couldn't meet them half way as it would mean selling at a loss. Yeah I had the item in stock but when a customer can buy the item online for cheaper than I was able to buy it into my shop then what could I do? That's the buying power of Chain Reaction for you.

People do not want to deal with people- it's one of the main reasons the internet is such a success as it means we can buy things and get them delivered to our door without even having to talk to anyone. Look at 'Just Eat.com' for example- they operate by allowing people to submit an order to their local takeaway without having to call them and speak to them. They're huge now.

What makes things worse are companies like Canyon and YT who deal direct to the consumer- yeah it's great for the end user as they get their ride for less- but they're cutting out a link in the retail chain which is hitting shops too. To be honest I'm glad I got out of the industry when I did. Now I can just ride my bike and enjoy it and I earn double the money in half the time at work.
  • + 0
 Well, i'm not in the UK market, I am in the United States. So... what you just said might be true for an English consumer, but not the US consumer. We are a market that is dominated by immediate gratification. They want it now. My room mate uses a local bike shop that charges him full retail when he could buy from my bike shop 45 minutes away at a friendship discount. He wants it now, and cannot be bothered to wait. Many of my customers coming in looking for a deal from Jenson or Chain Reaction understand the difference between OEM and Retail packaging, and the ones that don't we explain to. "If you buy an oem fork from Jenson, you don't receive replacement seals or a shock pump, and I have this fork for you today and I can install it by tomorrow so you can ride this weekend." Boom... its a sale. The funny part is I am a British subject lol.
  • + 5
 @gavlaa: I think you would be surprised at how many people want a relationship with their local LBS. And if not to buy parts, at least to install some of them. A good percentage of us just don't know enough to be completely independent of the LBS. Hell, I know I don't. I still can't install a derailleur so guess where I'm going?

But because I know and trust the guy in the shop that does the work and doesn't say stupid 5hit, I'll support him. If he gives me good advice (when I ask) and stands behind his work, he's worth his weight in gold. This is the shop that doesn't care where I got the parts and doesn't care that my frame was bought on Pinkbike and the wheels from a different shop in a different state.

I do go to that shop and buy things. But not for everything!

The real truth is that the biking industry needs to figure out how to make bikes for less than motorcycles. A lot more new 5h1t will move off the racks when that happens.
  • + 1
 @teethandnails -> you had me at "bike shops kill bike shops"
  • + 1
 @teethandnails is mostly wrong...and @gavlaa has a point for sure, but Crap bikeshops will kill crap bikeshops, you are right there.

I doubt anybody is looking at this still, but I want to stress the original post of "Good" bike shops out there, I did not mean the Deeekhead that starts a shop and thinks everybody owes him because he is local.

I have been a tech for 20 years and the fact that there is no certification process like the auto industry breeds some real hacks, but...The real complaint I have is with the fact that most of the guys I was in shops with in the "old days" were in the shop making min. wage were there for the discount. This drew in proper bikers, not salespeople laid off from a department store, not a shit mechanic that had "Clients".

They rode, broke stuff, and only cared about keeping there act together so that they could eventually turn PRO and make a living out of racing. I made a living out of being a good mechanic and have traveled the world on USAcycling's dime because of it, not my plan, but still was a shop guy's mission. So trust me, guys come to my shop asking the difference between BB30, BB386, Italian 70mm, Shimano pressfit 86, and Trek's BB90...and they buy their stuff online in the end. (What does this 1.370 mean on my bike?)


Nowadays E.P. pricing is meaningless, and because overseas internet stores will have a product listed cheaper than what an AMERCAN retailer can purchase it for means we suffer. It is basic outsourcing, the consumer is not to blame, the shop is not to blame. It just sucks, that is all I was saying.
  • + 2
 @stutzy I am not talking out my ass, I work in a shop as well. Maybe where you are your shops don't have anything in stock and are too cool for school, but our shop does stock pretty much everything you need to build a ground up bike. I also have worked in the motorcycle business and ran a big parts department. If you have it in stock, and your are good to your customers they will most likely buy in shop. If you are like most shops and have nothing in stock and are too cool or too elite to talk to the average joe coming into the shop, then you will fail. This isn't complicated, its basic retail theory. There will always be that group that either doesn't set a foot in a shop (unless they are in dire need) or will ask you questions all day long and then buy it online... and that is down to them. You can run a successful bike shop if you follow retail basics. Customer Service + Product Availability + Price = Success. But you can go on living in your 20+ years "back in the olden days"
  • + 1
 I know you don't think you are talking out your ass, but it is quite clear to me that you are. If you were not intimidated by actual first hand experience you would not have to try and insult someone that has been in the business much, much, longer than you and has seen the landscape change.
  • - 3
 Pushing wemon out of the sport.
  • + 3
 brace yourself for the storm.
  • - 2
 A heartfelt Thank You to Charlie Sponsel!
  • - 1
 29'er. or enduro. unsure
  • + 1
 you hate us cuz you ain't us
  • + 1
 You hate us because we anus.
  • - 2
 29" wheels, mark my words, it's the beginning of the end!!
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