Deep Woods - Where Did the Bikes Go?

Dec 13, 2012
by Mitchell Scott  
 
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Make no mistake; the Red Bull Rampage is one of the sickest sporting events in the history of all things sporting. It’s nothing short of incredible. Wild. Nuts. Inspiring. Did I say wild? Add another nuts in there too. And of course, quite obviously, there’s a lot that goes into it: organization, promotion, safety, production, documentation—the list of variables is endless, complicated and logistically impossible. Considering the remoteness of the location, the savage nature of the terrain and the exposure of the athletic endeavors, it’s a wonder no one dies, spectators included. Its longevity and contribution to the sport is a true testament to the riders and Red Bull to be sure.

But there’s something missing here, something fairly big.


It hit me hard that beautiful sunny Sunday back in October. I was hanging out at my house, playing ping pong outside in the garage with my kids, safe as safe could be, just two miles away from Kurt Sorge’s place here in the Kootenays, watching it all go down. It all seemed a little surreal. The fact that there were tens if not hundreds of thousands of viewers like me, all over the world, watching Rampage 2012 in real time seemed extra surreal. And I, of course, being a life-long mountain biker, having been to the Rampage once before, was savoring every radical minute of it.

But after a while I began to develop an irk. An undeniable scratch. I was beginning to see an obvious omission from the event I was so enthralled by. Over time this irk increasingly started to piss me off. After a couple hours or so of coverage, I hadn’t seen or heard one critical reference to a huge player in this, the pinnacle of mountain biking. No one, not the announcers, the producers, even the athletes, were making any noticeable effort to talk, showcase, or display one of the most important players in this whole Rampage spectacle. The bikes.

Wil White was a crowd favourite this year

Let’s back up a few years. In the late 90s, an event like the Rampage would have been impossible. Quite simply, the talent, evolution and verve of the world’s top riders wouldn’t allow for such airborne frivolity. And people definitely would have died. Why? Bike technology. It is, without argument the number one reason why we’re at where we’re at.

Frame design and composite material development, suspension performance, strength to weight ratios, everything that goes into a bike in 2012 is light years away from where it was 10 years ago. Why has the level of riding grown so exponentially year to year at the Rampage? It simply has to be attributed to bike technology and performance. This is to not discredit rider ability in any way shape or form. But let’s be straight: no 35-pound, super nimble, mega plush, impossibly strong, 200mm travel mountain bike, no Rampage 2012. It’s that simple.

Gulevich leaves his mark.

So why not throw a few bones to the bicycle companies and component manufacturers? Watch motor sports' coverage and the vehicle plays a big role in the announcers dialogue. Athletes are constantly referencing their rides when interviewed. Watch Rampage, however, and I couldn’t recall a single mention of a single bike or component manufacturer. Not one. No bike profiles, no “Trek rider Brandon Semenuk…”, no, "my Specialized Demo was the bomb!" Nada. You’d think there would be at least one or two asides, which Red Bull and NBC do such a good job of. You know, the filler stuff that makes events like this more palatable to the masses, like in the World Series where they show you how the Louisville bats are made, or where the baseballs come from. Vignettes they call them. And, well, to be honest, if we’re all in this together, if we want to see our sport grow and prosper, then we have to support all facets. More vignettes please.

Semenuk stomped his huge transfer cliff drop in practice. It was breathtaking to watch shoot. one of the gnarliest lines ever

Throw on top of the anonymity pile the fact that most bike companies lack any real opportunities for exposure on athletes themselves—it’s very hard to make huge logos on relatively small bits of equipment like tube sets and forks. Not to mention, most top athletes' invaluable helmet real estate is pre-sold to energy drink sponsors (most of which don’t spend nearly as much on athletes as bike sponsors do but won’t allow other sponsor logos on the helmet). Even head tube badges are obscured by Rampage number plates. True pros like Kurt Sorge do a good job of branding their jerseys, but when the dust washes off, of all the companies involved with pulling off an event like the Rampage, it’s the bike companies and component manufacturers who get the least amount of exposure.

scrubbed out whip

Which, in the context of what we’re all trying to do here is pretty lame. You would think companies like Red Bull and NBC would want us to prosper from exposure like this. You would think athletes would be more motivated to get their bike and component sponsors as much exposure as possible. And of course, Rampage brings the sport huge exposure, I'm not refuting that. But if I’m a kid watching all of this action go down, and I’ve never ridden before, and I have no clue what companies are involved in this spectacle (aside from the title sponsor), what happens then? If I’m watching surfing (and I don't surf) I know that Kelly Slater rides for Quicksilver. If I don't mountain bike do I know Kurt Sorge rides for Giant? Probably not.

After watching the Rampage coverage on NBC this past weekend, it was the same story. Great angles, epic shots, and lots of vignettes. But even the one bike piece, which featured Bearclaw going through his Specialized, he didn't mention one bike brand name. He didn't even say the word "Specialized."

Darren Berrecloth also soaking in the last rays of the day everyone is looking forward to seeing him ride his line tomorrow.

Which begs the question, why? Why not profile these incredible inventions? The amount of collective research and development has easily crept into the tens of millions of dollars since the dawn of our sport. It’s been going on for decades. From hydraulic brakes to complex valving systems, carbon frame development to space age alloys, virtual pivot point linkage systems and multi-durometer tire compounds, the list of innovation is huge. All put together they are the vehicles of great opportunity. How many motor free vehicles allow riders to comfortably shred otherwise impassable mountain slopes? Backflips included.

I’ll tell you how many. None.

Rheeder s foots and tire prints mark his trajectory for a terrifying ridge top bar spin

So why do high profile events like this seemingly ignore them? Why aren't they celebrated instead? These are revelations of thought and invention. The world needs to know about them. Put yourself in the mind of the casual mountain biker, or the young kid who’s never even ridden a mountain bike before. Ask yourself if this broadcast is doing a good job of explaining to them what our sport is all about.
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168 Comments

  • + 5
 Nice!!! I didn't see this post before. Thanks for bringing it back.
  • + 6
 Yea, while watching both the live coverage, and the Signature Series, I had this page open and constantly checking the bikes.
  • + 4
 Love this; like they said above, thanks for bringing it back. I definitely missed this the first time around. Smile
  • + 23
 Ahaa i was hoping someone would post this. but still its a pinkbike article,who goes on pinkbike, the dedicated bicyclist. iv been using pinkbike for years and people still ask me what site im on all the time.,so its not likely a someone just getting into biking or the regular joe would see that article. Which is the point of this article.
  • + 4
 It could be possible that redbull would not allow it without charging a huge price for sponsors. I know for crashed ice that if you had a sponsor on your jersey the sponsor had to pay red bull big bucks or u had to change your jersey.
  • + 2
 @bathman They can at least say what bikes are the riders riding. They do that on the Hard Enduro coverage's. I cant believe that KTM/Husqvarna/Yamaha/Husaberg pay a ton of money for just mentioning the names.
  • + 2
 I think we should make a website which covers more gear like bikes, parts and shit and everone cold brag about their gear being better than gear of others or which gear would be better..... oh wait!
  • + 0
 ...ya, lets brag about our shit
  • + 5
 Um.... there was a section in the NBC coverage with Bareclaw showing off his bike and how it was built up.... That shit about Red-Bull making people pay to have logo's is pretty piss poor though, as if Red-bull is the only thing making the event go off. When riders start riding cans of red-bull down the mountain with red-bull brkes on them, FINE, but untill then, get off the greed bandwagon RB and accept that without the other companies THERE WOULD BE NO EVENT!!!!!
  • + 1
 Rundown on specialized bikes used at rampage
m.redbullusa.com/op/rbcom2/us/mcat/video/1243290964310
  • + 2
 Specialized: $500m+ annual revenue
Trek: $600m annual revenue
Giant: $1.13b market cap
Shimano: $6.3b market cap

I agree it would be nice to hear some more about the bikes but the reason we don't is not the chump change Red Bull charges for sponsorships and co-branding.
  • + 2
 @tehninjo0: I agree, it's not Rebulls fault that they didn't have more coverage on the bikes, I just think it's pretty bullshit to charge money for someone's logo show on anything in frame.

Clearly Oakley threw down some serious coin, but in a sport that;s so tech and heavy, and literaly would not exist without that tech, to be that stingy and fiicky is just pretty.... well it's pretty duchey' IMO. Especially when their logo is on every riders bikes and they didn't make those bikes. I hope the bike companies made RB pay to have their logo's on their frames, I mean isn't that kind of the same thing??? I also always laugh hen I see them getting shots of everyone drinking their shit on screen as if actual athlete's are just drinking RB constantly and then racing/riding... maybe I'm just old, but if I tried that shit I'd be puking all over the place before I ever got on my bike. I can handle like ONE and I'm good for the day (it's not exactly healthy to be drinking that stuff in that kind of heat either)
  • + 3
 @The-Medic I hear you, 'energy' drinks are definitely canned poison. Worse yet if you look at the target consumer you will notice that it's pretty much the rolly polly 10 year old boy through the I smoke cuz it's against the rules 17 year olds who gobble that stuff up..

But as far as the coverage of the bikes goes, I'm more inclined to speculate that there is a distinct lack of expertise on the commentators' part. Talking about what you rightly point out to be some very sophisticated high tech equipment takes someone who knows what the hell they're talking about and at the same time is able to deliver that to a broad NBC viewing audience..

Look at coverage of main stream sports (Football, Tennis, Golf, Nascar, etc). You usually have at least one or two retired athletes up there yapping.. well.. in our sport the number of retired athletes is still relatively limited just by virtue of the fact that it is a very young sport. At the same time it is still a niche sport so any retiree will think twice about trying to build a brand as a commentator in a sport with a handful of headline events a year if there are tons of other more prospective options in product development, coaching, etc.
  • + 2
 Totally agree... I think the commentators would have been totally lost trying to explain these bikes. I can just see it now "so... here's the handlebars... I think this is called a 'forks'... That's the seat.... OOH look when you sit on it it squishes up and down!!!..." hahahahaha.
  • + 2
 but wait, I thought forks are for eating with?! hah
  • + 1
 Yup... exactly Wink hahahahahaha
  • + 17
 A fair article, it does raise the point that we as obsessed mountain bikers all know what parts and frames people are running and we give a nod of the head to that and buy their products if they perform well. But what people just watching they don't! I'd much rather see bike companies logos in events but the reality is redbull makes most of its massive proffits from sheer exposure in extreme sports.
  • + 16
 Also a good place for them to do mass marketing, there's no place you can push the bike's limit than rampage. See Doerfling broke his 888 at quarter pipe transfer in 2010 and survive with suntour rux in 2012 definitely boost up consumer confidence towards Suntour.
  • - 3
 Or a loss in confidence for Marzocchi- the 2007 888 would have had more chance in surviving than the 2010 model because the manufacturing quality took a real dive. I've known 3 people to own the 2010 888 and they all say they're sh*t!!
  • - 1
 'They all say...' ever ridden the fork yourself? For a long period of time? Or owned one? The 2007 model had less burly lowers /arch, so I doubt they'd be stronger. It's fair to say any fork could have broke on that transfer. Not just because it was a Marzocchi. Besides, Marzocchi did have a poor few years, that is true, but itwas mainly the models made in '08-'09 that were affected. And lastly, it's rich, someone coming from Norfolk (the flattest, lowest part of the UK, for those who don't know, great for boating holidays, turkeys, but the worst place in the Uk for mountainbiking by a country mile) to be talking sh-t about stuff like that isn't it? You may have a few cheese wedges to play about on but no real terrain to actually go 'MOUNTAINBIKING'.
  • + 4
 I thought about buying a pair until I saw that the lowers on the 888 08/09 model ovalised horrendously so it always felt like your headset was hanging out. I haven't owned any BECAUSE of that reason. Yeah Norfolk is flat- but I have car you idiot! At least I don't make up a random profile just to hand out abuse- thought about getting a life?
  • + 5
 ^^^^ Handbags out!
  • + 7
 NO ONE has the right to knock Bernard Matthews.... NO ONE!!!
  • + 1
 On mainstream exposures in the USA like the Rampage, the writer of the article is totally right. However, the Rampage is just the one event that stands out in the USA, I would say that most people around the world that watch mountain biking thru modern media channels are probably watching UCI World Cup Downhill that is webcasted or featured on some TV stations. During those event sponsors and bike companies get much more exposure and credit for the results than they did at the rampage.
  • + 4
 Didn't bearclaugh have a whole little segment to talk about his bike?
  • - 3
 Ok, 'Gavlaa'. One minute you were saying how shyte '10 888's were. Now it's magically changed to '08/'09 that had the problem. Brush your teeth, your breath reeks of Bullsh-t. 'My mate said... then he said.. so these must be shyte' Any product can break, no matter how engineered materials used etc. So, please tell us, how did this mysterious ovalising happen then, or did you just make it up????
  • + 11
 Oooooooooh- I'm sorry Dad I said the wrong year!! It's basically when production first went to the far east rather than Italy- the exact date escapes me I'm very sorry to let you down. Yeah I made up the ovalising- I work for Rockshox and they pay me £££s to trash talk the opposition. I also orchestrated the 9/11 attacks with the US government, shot JFK from the grassy knoll and chased Diana into the tunnel. Twat.
  • + 2
 Classic English and Irish hahaha no disrespect intended but damn!!
  • - 1
 I like pancakes!!!
  • + 3
 bigheadknowall...... dont be dissing the east of england bud! :p we may not have mountains but we do have some amazing dirtjump spots,bmx tracks an even some secret freeride spots. for instsnce we got a 18ft drop at my local spot (an thats actual feet not pinkbike feetSmile )

and of course we can load up the car an travel Smile
  • + 4
 This whole Marzocchi vs Suntour cat fight is real interesting and all, but (and please correct me if I'm wrong) weren't the 08/09 Marzocchi Forks outsourced to the same factory that Suntour was being built in? So essentially an 08/09 Marzocchi had the same quality as an 08/09 Suntour. I've also heard it rumored that alot of Suntour's current product line isn't a far cry from Marzocchi's in design and quality. IF that's true, then in a round-a-bout way wouldn't the 2010 Marzocchi not be very different than a 2012 Suntour? So whether they're crappy or not (I personally love my 888's but they're a 2006 model) isn't this whole argument much like arguing over which shade of blue the sky is?

Also, since mountain size is evidence for skill and knowledge I'm from the middle of the Rocky Mountains and therefore outclass all of you (Nepalese and Alaskans excluded).
  • + 1
 907 forever!!!
  • + 1
 Wooo Marlfox87 just passed out a serving hahah!! The Wasatch are simply SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 18
 Our bikes are awesome devices, but technology is no substitute for skill. You often hear people say, "it's not the bike; it's the rider." I'm with that.
  • + 1
 i'll believe what you're saying when a professional rider can put in exactly the same time down a trail on a bike (including all components) from ten years ago compared to one made in 2012. the fact that people say "it's not the bike; it's the rider" only holds true because all bikes are so similar these days. there is just very little technical advantage to be gained from a change in bikes. lastly, technology is definitely a substitute for skill. i bet that a huge percentage of people who ride couldn't do exactly what they do on a different bike, and that's before you start whittling down the disciplines to ones which need a specific type of bike.
  • + 4
 But skill can not make up for a huge deficit in technology. To take your argument to the logical extreme, do you really think they would be doing that on penny farthings?
I know that's a ridiculous example, but, it shows that there becomes a level of tech' at which skill is no help. So, naturally there must be a minimum standard of bike the riders need to be able to ride the way they do. And that's what the article is saying.
That at this level the bike and the rider are in a symbiotic relationship, they both need to be of the same level, otherwise one is always holding the rider back. And while this is true, the article says, the manufacturers should get the same exposure as the riders, because its almost half their victory or failure too.
Its exactly the same as it is in F1, without a good car and a good driver you will not win consistently, so both deserve recognition. In biking it seems that people are happy to criticise the bikes and components when they fail (Arron Gwin at World Champs with his brake failure) but like to pretend the bikes dont help, and that it's the rider who counts when someone does well...

I love biking and am amazed by the skill of the pro riders and the sport. But, I also love the technology, how much time is spent on it, and how well it works how well it has been thought out, its nice to give credit where credit's due...

Just my £0.02 though.
  • + 2
 Well your first example includes the same rider. So new tech might allow the same rider to go faster. I agree. Put a new buyer or even an average person on new FS tech and pit him against a Jinya (recent edit chromag rider) on a hardtail. I wonder who would be faster. I think in that case the rider would be the determining factor. I totally agree modern bikes are very performance similar. It seems at times we might choose a bike based on things like appearance and then find techy reasons to justify the purchase. But I still hold that tech does not replace skill. If it did, I would simply need to put down cash and instantly be more skilled. I other words I (being an average rider) could buy a decked out V10 and on that same day keep up with Steve Peat on a DH track. IMHO skill is talent + practice and increases over time. Each rider's potential is different.
  • + 2
 I think skill can bridge big gaps in tech but you're right there has to be some understanding that we're talking about mountain bikes and not plastic tricycles. To me the statement means that the rider is more important in the overall equation than the bike is. And I'm not bashing on the tech. I believe I said bikes are awesome.
  • + 6
 I think we can say it this way: this equipment has allowed these guys to do what they were doing on Rampage 2012. It also helps average blokes do more with the same bag of skills, it also keeps them riding and I can judge that by deterioration of my home XC trails. 4" and 5" bikes along with 29ers have allowed really really poor riders to penetrate trails and areas that were inaccessible for them before, because trails were simply too difficult to ride so it wasn't fun at all for them. Now it is, you don't even need to raise your ass from the saddle which would give you spine disfunctions and chronic hemoroids 10 years ago. And I have no doubts about it - bike tech since 2002 has went a really really long way and made it more...

yes exactly, more what? And that is the question, that is something you can't measure, it's eteric, yet true. "Fun" should be the word, "more fun", but I can't say that with honesty, as I remember many, maaaaany great fun moments from the board of my Wallmart HT, and I can feel really miserable on one of my 3 pimped up bikes. I can suddenly feel fulfilled on easy path in the rain and depressed while watching the sunset in the best bike park because I did not stood up to my own expectations. Ultimately I can feel super happy by learnign to pump on asphalt, and depressed by clearing 12m double because I wanted to whip it, and I am scared. It is not the skill, not the place and not the bike that makes me truly happy, but mindset. Sure tech helps me to get there but... it's solely useless on it's own. More trust I put on it, less joy there is in riding it.

So I say: Bike tech made things MORE ACCESSIBLE, what you do when you get on it, is a different story.
  • + 1
 Same problem in this area... 29ers and lighter 5" travel trail bikes have led to people of mediocure skill/fitness routinely riding terrain (instead of it being the once a month weekend epic group ride adventure) and trails that any sort of breakdown or injury will lead to some serious headaches on getting them out of the woods. This has also led to more advanced trails being made in this area over the past decade, and they're built to such a quality degree that we're having hikers / orienteering clubs using them and either getting lost, or bitching at the mountain bikers for interrupting their orienteer race. It used to be the other way around (mountain bikers poaching hiker trails) and its just all sorts of ironic to us older folks in the sport locally. I'm just worried what's going to happen when 650Bs eclipse 26ers as the default mtb wheel size for most trail riders and take away the advantage I've been enjoying the past four years. Wink
  • + 3
 Im with conv3rt. People are celebrating their bikes too much nowadays, that they forget what is really important... No, your sub 24 pound dj bike will not get you there... Hardwork and skill is! Rampage should celebrate the heroes that are on top of the machines, the bikes are already discussed and discussed and .... throughout all the year... But yeah, brands would love to sell more dh bikes to 10 year olds, who should be riding a hardtail or a bmx. Im not dissing technology, which is awesome, but sometimes people lack judgement, really...
  • + 0
 @deeight - buahah do you have orienteer races as well? and mushroom pickers popping out from nowhere? Big Grin In general I am not telling people (anymore) that they should stop riding if the can't. I see the increased popularity as a potential for establishing a legal body protecting bikers against idiots (be it authorities or angry hikers laying logs on the trail, stretching fishing lines over it) but most of all: protecting trails and nature against bikers Smile
  • + 1
 Well the main trail area for the capital region now, which is in city owned forest land, exists over what used to be a municipal dump/landfill as well as colonial-era farms/land grants. There's lots of old "junk" out there that can be pulled out and used to sabotage the trail riding for cyclists, and there's been reports this year of old spools of barbed wire being on the corners of trails sections where there was none before for example, right where a rider might go down or at least, drift into if he takes the corner sharp/wide (depending on direction of travel). Its for damned sure mountain bikers didn't put it there to make the trail more exciting.
  • + 10
 Cynical answer: because when you get to the level of major TV broadcast coverage, it doesn't matter one bit what the details are; they would produce the same show with whatever available big visuals, superficial 'personalities' of the participants, exclamations from commentators, whether it's action sport of the month, celebrity wedding, gruesome crime, (faraway) natural disaster. The customers of TV companies are the advertisers. NBC sells a guess at how many consumers will see 90 min of programming to corporations X Y Z, who care only about maximizing their exposure. What in the world does that have to do w/ bikes? You can conclude that bike frame and component companies weren't NBC's customers. That's just how TV works. You only start to see smart commentary and viewer-friendly extras (like the computer-generated lines on an American football field to show line of scrimage, 1st down, etc), when the TV producer thinks the advertisers think the viewers demand it. Get it? That's when freeride will be mainstream... Friday Night Freeride w/ (retired) Old Rad Guy, (retired) Slightly Younger Rad Guy, and Cute and Incredibly Knowledgeable So I Don't Look Token Woman at a desk, explaining how a flip-whip actually isn't as difficult as.......
  • + 1
 ... yea... more true than cynical.
  • + 1
 Great article! Basically it's aimed at non-bikers. We're all going to watch it anyway, a month ago on the internet. They know we're interested in bikes but bikers probably account for a small percentage of their target audience. What they want to do is just get anyone to watch it. Joe public doesn't care about bikes. Total shame, because in F1 and MotoGP they are always telling you about the machines, tyres, everything. I would love more of those asides too, like the author of this article.
  • + 8
 I think the answer is very simple. Rampage was aired on commercial TV, which survives on revenues generated from advertising. Companies pay big money to air ads in commercial breaks or to have a prescence on prime advertising space at the event its self. The TV production company have to tightly control who gets what exposure to ensure those that have paid for it get what they expect. Regardless of whether or not the event would even be possible without the bikes and the companies that have spent so much money developing them, if any bike company wants coverage and exposure on a major TV channel, they're going to have to pay for it. These TV companies are not in the business of giving away advertising for nothing.
  • + 4
 This gets to the heart of things. Broadcasters are beholden to the sponsor (Red Bull) who you can bet did everything they could to corner the attention market that day. Having said that, noone talks about the sticks hockey players use when they score (assuming they're not locked out!).
  • + 1
 Athletes that are in skiing sports take off one of their skis and show the companies logo while the camera looks at them awaiting their score. Although lifting a bike into camera view would be very challenging compared to a ski.
  • + 2
 I agree with this 100%. Its all about the commercial aspect. Like you said, it would be nice to profile a bike or two but which ones do you profile? Is it fair to say profile Claw's specialized, or McCaul's GT, and leave the rest out? How is that fair to the other companies? Its this way in any sport. The sponsors of the event get the commercial time. The broadcasts rarely highlight the equipment. To me its on the rider, who is sponsored, to promote the product. Its up to them to plaster their sponsor's name on their jersey, to make sure you can see the bike on camera during an interview or on the podium, to mention the sponsor in a victory interview etc.
  • + 2
 Agreed. 100% riders job to push the promo of their sponsor. Whatching guys like, for example, James Doerfling (I think it was Doerfling, correct me if I'm wrong) rocking the course wearing nothing but a tank top, when instead they could have been wearing a jersey with a big fat Knolly logo, was a real big mistake. Not to mention, any time a rider gets interviewed, their response to the very first question out to start out with, " Well, firstly I'd like to thank my sponsor, Company X, and, to answer your question......".

However, I still agree with the premise of the article. I don't think talking about bicycle technology would need to be done in a brand specific way that would undermine potential advertising revenues. Just put out some generic info for the masses about the type of bikes being ridden that make the rampage possible.
  • + 3
 doerfling is wearing a 'unit' tank top. he rides for unit, so he is promoting one of his sponsors.
  • + 1
 I'm with you stever.... they could certainly do some kind of info segment on the general technology. Like a general look into the concept of long travel bikes, dual crown forks, hydraulic brakes etc. That would be something useful on say the NBC broadcast where there are people watching who probably have no idea any of this technology exists on bikes.

But the writer of this post was actually mentioning that the broadcasts should include brand specific stuff. He's saying that bike companies should get some exposure. I agree that would be nice, but when you have a field of riders all riding different brands/components how do you provide equal time and do it fairly? Which again was my point in saying its the riders job to get their sponsors products noticed.
  • + 1
 I am surprised that company logos were not blurred out or masked if they were not paying advertisers. It would have been very cool to get an equipment overview along with rider profile on each run. More to highlight the variety of equipment than to promote sponsors.
  • + 1
 That would be taking it pretty far. The only time I've seen that extreme is at the Olympics. They are real anal about the size of logos that riders wear and will actually disqualify riders or make them tape over things.
  • + 2
 The way I see, companies get to hype their "technology" year long on websites like this one, straight to the people who actually care. I don't really pity them for not having all that much coverage at this one particular event. If they thought it was worth it, they'd pay for it, like spesh probably did with that vignette.

And I'm really not a big redbull fan so correct me if I'm wrong but redbull shells out a whole lot of $$$ to make unique events that pushes the boundaries of the sport. They don't do it for the sport but for the sheer marketing value, that's a given... but you don't see a lot of bike companies bust their ass that hard to make that kind of stuff happen (they don't have redbull's budget, that's also a given). So as far as I'm concerned, redbull can do whatever they want with their events and it's up to the bikers to push their stuff when they get the spotlight. That's what they get paid for after all.
  • + 7
 I'm quite stunned, two very well put points - I never looked at the case this way. I can feel that author has really thought it through, it is very honest. Sometimes I like to read some "deeper" articles like RC on clips or Mike Levy on short travel bikes. You can't just live on rad and sick. I love that it is s focused and doesn't take counter arguments into consideration in this text, I must learn from this Big Grin Stuff on Energy Drinks is very interesting!

The only thing where I find it a bit over the edge is that riders of Rampage 2012 don't really have a significantly better bikes than those from 2008. Comparing to 2002 yes, but 2008-2012 is the golden age of marketing and blurry innovation, especialy in gravity segment (did I say golden like Kashima?). At the same time I would like to point out from the bottom of my humble heart that we, world fastest forumers are vastly responsible for slowing the rate of development - Technology such as composites were always there since 1990s, it's just that we were not ready for them. It took time to scare the demon of Catastrophical Failure from our minds, it also takes time to kill the big wheel complex.

Big shout out to The Members of the Industry!!! - thanks for making our rides a bit less tiring and a bit more fun - sometimes a bit is more than a lot - I'm in peace now...
  • + 1
 I think you have a good point. Especially since they aren't competing against themselves from 2 or 4 years ago, they are competing against each other. Talking about how awesome their bikes are isn't relevant to the competition since the bikes aren't what separate the riders.
  • + 1
 That's a far stretch saying that bikes haven't changed that much since 2008. It's actually amazing how much the bikes have changed since then. Even my 2012 Demo feels way different than my friends 2010. My 2008 Devinci Wilson is literally not even close to the quality and geometry of my new Demo. Bikes have completely changed since 2008. I think that the manufactures finally have it figured out now, just making things lighter. Components haven't really changed much, however the bikes have changed drastically.
  • + 1
 dualsuspensiondave - I meant on the Rampage, and I can't really believe that with the current bag of skills, Bearclaw would have much different result on 2008 Demo and current 2012... oh he rode a Status! DH bikes changed a lot? depends how you look at it, geo - yes! a bit, actualy a bit more than regular bread chewer can appreciate, technology behind alu frames? - no. Especialy the weights, heh, Demo II was a really burly overbuilt bike made to last, they just made it a bit more crispy for 2010. Trek for instance went over the board with their Session 88 making it basicaly an AggroXC, barely AM strength frame with DH geo. It's a coke can, just as 9.9 is being confirmed more and more often to be a shampoo bottle. The true tech came with CF DH bikes. Alu on its own? Do you know that 7020 alloy was created in 1936 and used in Zeke fighter in Japan? Should give a little perspective on technology, development, innovation and all other fancy words...
  • + 5
 I think people are over-analyzing this. The producers of shows like these are out to sell an image and the "extreme" brands that go with it. These shows are never about substance or diving into the culture of the sport. For them, they just need to scratch the surface enough to sell the product, anything else is superfluous and a drain on the production budget. At least the sport is getting more exposure and people can see that there is more to it than lycra, toe clips, bar ends and 3 inches of suspension. But if Trek or whatever brand wanted to front the cash to do a product spotlight, I'm sure they would have happily obliged.
  • + 4
 Rider budgets are being cut left right and center from almost every company you think deserves more exposure. Half of the people you consider as God-like riders are being paid next to nothing to risk their lives for this show-biz and represent their brands. I hardly think these companies need any more focus drawn to their multi-million dollar patents when their "top pros" make 15 G a year....
  • + 4
 I hear of everyone complaining about the coverage but as a child growing up mountain bikeing I dreamed of seeing a mainstream mountain bike on TV give them time there new to TV, also people can ride without 35 pound uber expensive full squish bikes some of us can still ride freeride on a hardtail
  • + 6
 Like that? You can rock Rampage on a hardtail like any of those boys did on their full suspension uber-bikes? I'd pay good money to see that.

Stick to the topic. It's not about arguing with the author -- it's about discussing how our bike companies aren't getting the proper amount of brand-specfic coverage they need in 'mainstream' events to prosper and grow and develop more amazing technology.
  • - 2
 Well, if you bring a 'crew' to build lines, you could do it on a hardtail in theory.
  • + 2
 russ morrell lol
  • + 1
 ya just build a wooden ladder bridge all the way down Big Grin @bigheadknowall
  • + 3
 Excellent article and wonderful questions -- every single one of them. Thank you for pointing this out for us... I can easily say that I would never be riding at the level I'm riding at if it weren't for my lovingly crafted bike, courtesy of GT, Fox, Enve and Shimano. Their technologies make my love affair possible.
  • + 3
 Agree with most of it. However, I have a question. maybe it's happening that either other advertisers or the TV chains themselves forbid bike brands to showcase themselves in this kind of events? TV is all about the money. Whomever pays the most is mentioned the most. If bike companies don't want to pay, they won't play.

It's no consolation, but this also portrays in the Road racing scene. Only the people following the sport knows who rides what. Teams are named by the main sponsor (rarely a bike company, go figure). For example, if a rider of Garmin Cervelo is mentioned, most likely commentators just mention the first name of the team liike "Garmin", or "Nissan-Leopard", "Astana", "Saxobank", etc. and it looks like even in mega-bucks events like the TdF bike brands are just happy with the exposure in specialized media.

So it may be that cycling as a whole are missing to get the exposure they want, but I happen to think that it also has to deal with buying TV spaces which bike companies may not be able to afford.

And then there are cases when cyclist themselves complain about exposure... like the outrage in public opinion that Specialized caused by providing a bike painted in bright red with the biggest possible by the rules Specialized logo to their riders in the Olympics as opposed to the more traditional custom of riders having a country color paint scheme (I'm not defending spesh, I loath them, but they were just acting to expose themselves, which goes in line with the thinking of this article).
  • + 1
 Really, really good points!
  • + 3
 There is a mistake in this article: "After watching the Rampage coverage on NBC this past weekend, it was the same story. Great angles, epic shots, and lots of vignettes. But even the one bike piece, which featured Bearclaw going through his Specialized, he didn't mention one bike brand name. He didn't even say the word "Specialized." Claw says "Specialized Status" at the end of his bike check so this argument is not a great one sorry.
  • + 1
 I didn't get a chance to se the NBC coverage yet, but in response to mcdog and anyone else who wonders, don't all Specialized bikes have their name on EVERY tube on their frames?
  • + 1
 You're right. Some people think that the pro riders have to act like more corporate sports althletes, but is this a good way to promote our sport? For exemple isn't it boring to ear every MX pro riders after a race saying "Thanks (...) and (...) and (...). My (....) bike was perfect." And if they see a camera they drink water in an energy drink bottle...come on guys I still thinking that we can promote Freeride MTB with the core personalities we have. This is just my point of view...and I'm a marketing guy!
  • + 3
 So right. You don't even have to really explain stuff to the viewer, just give them enough information to make them want to delve further into it! If you just say the bike is a Giant Glory they'll wanna see pictures of it, they'll think it's an unheard of machine when it's really the reality of many mountain bikers. Excellent article, and I wholeheartedly agree.
  • + 3
 remember downhill bikes back in the 90s? 5 inches of travel, elastomers, 110mm stems, 25 inch bars, Cantilever brakes, 2 tubes per tire, 3 chainrings, AND A JIS SQUARE TAPER BOTTOM BRACKET AND CRANKS THAT BROKE ONCE A MONTH?!?!?!? 2012 BIKES KICK ASS, Thanks Mitchell.
  • + 1
 You left out the pie plate diameter chainrings needed to hit 100kmh speeds on the straights...
  • + 1
 28-38-48 now that was a crankset!
  • + 3
 I for one am glad it hasn't gone the way of motocross and super sponsor driven competition. I hate watching interviews of MX when they drop sponsor names any chance they get. They don't win just because of the gear.... all riders at this level have THE best gear! At this level of sport it is the skill of the rider. Remember Rampage of old where they are wearing jeans and T shirts... now it's full sponsor kits. That's enough commercialization for me.... Let's leave it to the spectacle of Rampage and the love of riding without bringing in any more product sponsorship/ name dropping. I also realize the sport would not have progressed to this level of viewership (NBC) without heavy sponsor involvement.
  • + 2
 So why not throw a few bones to the bicycle companies and component manufacturers?

Why? Bike and component manufacturers make a decent return already on overpriced bikes and components. If they want exposure they could always pay red bull for some advertising, they don't deserve charity. Mountain biking is an expensive sport.
  • + 1
 And the more money the manufactures make, the lower the prices become for us. That's business.
  • + 2
 Bit of a pointless article, its about target markets. People are unlikley to buy a $10,000 bike unless they are already involved in the sport to some degree. People who are involved know the bikes anyway. Waste of sponsor money to tell people things they already know.
  • + 2
 The majority of people that watch this sport and plan on spending thousands of dollars on equipment already have their finger on the pulse of the industry. Also, marketing is more effective when it's not shoved in your face. Bikes are easily identifiable enough and I bet I'm not the only one who takes note of each bike - especially ones that perform well.
  • + 2
 Agreed. I've been riding for 20+ years and every time I have watched Rampage I think the same thing. Winter X-Games here at Buttermilk Mtn. does a pretty great job every year explaining equipment, gear, innovations, skis-boards-snowmobiles and the like. The village area at the base of the mountain that hosts all the sponsor tents is fantastic. Add in the fact that the entire event is FREE of charge, and to encourage younger athletes & viewership it has become an alcohol & smoke free event, the focus is squarely on the athletics. Maybe Rampage can take some notes, at least on the sponsorship side, from Winter X-Games. The folks at Aspen Ski Co. and the X-Games offices really have turned the games into one of the best sporting events I have ever been to. The event is entirely focused on the Athletics and thus a natural accompaniment to this are features on the equipment that makes these athletic events possible. Love Rampage, just want to see it keep growing!!!
  • - 1
 I see what you are saying but its hard to compare these two events. An event like X-games takes place at a resort and draws a big foot crowd. Its a place where there would be alot of people even if there was no event. They need to have all that extra stuff like the village, and the sponsor tents to compliment the actual event. This just isn't possible for an even that is basically in the middle of nowhere Utah.
  • + 1
 I hear ya, very true. Hopefully as it continues to grow they will find a happy medium somewhere between what they currently do and X-Games.
  • + 2
 AMEN!
The irony is the energy drinks that get so much attention (Red Bull included) have nothing to do with the sport. Might as well be the Viagra Rampage (except that sounds more like the actions of an old man who is no doubt going to prison. . .) for all it has to do with anything. Who made the parachute of the dude who just did a skydive from space? Not Red Bull. They just supplied the green. Hey, lets have an ATM rampage!
I bet there are kids who think that Monster makes Kawasaki. What a sad joke. Everyone gets co-opted by the "lifestyle" companies and forgets the people who make it possible. Maybe it's because it is easy for a poser to pick up a can of goat piss and pretend to be cool while real riders put the pedal down, regardless of what they drink. I hate energy drinks. I love the Rampage, but I'd rather see it sponsored by Maxxis or Trek of someone who has something to do with the sport.
  • + 2
 Just a comment, Kelly Slater doesn't ride quicksilver boards cause they don't make surfboards, He rides al merick (or at least the last time I checked which was quite awhile ago). Quicksilver is an apparel company. So that may not be the best comparison. Just sayin...
  • + 2
 when we watch a F1 race o the starting grid they announce.... jenson button in the mclaren mercedes....the whole time i was wondering why are they not talking about the bikes. i think there was an opurtunity to bring some people into the sport if they had. someone missed the ball for the good of the sport.
  • + 2
 I couldn't finish the broadcast, not because i was out of time but because the commentary was BULL SHIT! We are mountain bikers not f*cking foot ball players! I would hate to see the FMB next year be this main stream. I saw a add saying txt this number to win a Specialized bike….the f*ck. I just hope mountain biking stays how it is now ride,build, and have fun.
  • + 1
 I gotta say, I race mx, mountain bike for fun. The truth is, I never watch podium interviews because all they do is rattle off a laundry list of sponsors. It drives me nuts, I want to hear how the track was, what was something you like something you didn't like, how did you feel when you and villopoto were battle, not just, thanks to monster energy, pro circuit, kawasaki, dunlop, excel, thor, scott, shoe, alpine stars, traxxas, cycra, rental, bel ray vans, unit, volcom, specialized, mitch, bones, the whole team, my gf my mom my dad, the guy that laced my shoes and the guy that puts my tear offs on and the guy that prepared my breakfast this morning. I mean I agree with the article, it makes a valid point that somebody that might be interested in getting into the sport, may have a slight bit of trouble finding some initial info. But I would take these interviews of a rambling list of sponsors that is so long the riders can barely remember. I mean seriously theres so many it defeats the purpose. I think the riders actually talking about the event makes more of an impact. Hey, that guy that won, Sorge killed it, put his name in google and find out he rides for giant. People that want knowledge will get, if they want to find out a good deal about the sport and learn about all this technology, which won't make any difference in how a new rider rides until after they have some time under their belt, they will. Once they start riding they will learn.
  • + 1
 Remember this, Red Bull isn't in the business of selling bikes. Also, I am sure Red Bull payed a pretty penny for that two hour time slot. And, I am sure they recouped some of that with the 3 or 4 Specialized commercials that aired during that time.

Red Bull markets an "extreme lifestyle" and also they want to promote a video they helped produce... Well, Rampage is extreme and WTTE got plenty of plugs...

On the upside, freeride mountain biking got two hours of network TV coverage... Is that so bad?
  • + 1
 I agree that bike companies should get more exposure and I like this article, but I have to point out that the author does a great job of making his own argument for action sports in general when he says Kelly Slater rides for Quicksilver (not Channel Islands surfboards) – that’s like saying Semenuk rides for TLD (not Trek). I wish that it was part of red bulls agenda to promote mountain biking and get more people out riding but that is not what they are trying to do.
  • + 1
 Thats business bro, to have their names spoken on tv the bike factories need to pay for it and i dont think a space on any red bull event are so cheap. But anyway, i really dont care about tv saying or not who made the bike x or y, coz in the end the whole tecnology without a rider is pointless...and if anyone are interested about the sport they can search for.
  • + 1
 Rampage is just content marketing. And content marketing advertises the product (Red Bull) indirectly. Red Bull allows riders from other sponsors to participate but the main reason they do these events is to advertise their energy drink. They probably will allow a rider explaining his bike when he sips on a can of red bull but I don't think they will be okay with ads from bike companies until they take over some costs of the event directly.
  • + 1
 Was a good article. And yeah I did notice that no one really spoke highly or thanked the technology of there bike sponsor. Its crazy how far it has come from the narly one line drops of the rampage to now fully linked lines. I think theres a fine line between what the normal public thinks of this event. They either dont understand it and find it crazy which is understandable or they think its cool and dont understand it still lol. Lots of the mtn bike community wants our sport to grow mainstream cuz that means more bike parks, and events, and bike shops that carry products that we actually want not road or xc stuff. I kinda want it to get bigger cuz then hopefully SOCAL and other states will jump in and build a gravity park. Yeah I kinda hate the normal ski/bunny/aspen/ABC/NBC/dsiney owned ESPN dbag reporter talking about our sport like hes a rider himself but hey that has to happen inorder for it to get big.
  • + 2
 "How many motor free vehicles allow riders to comfortably shred otherwise impassable mountain slopes? Backflips included.

I’ll tell you how many. None."

Split boards and backcountry skis come to mind...
  • + 1
 Outsiders to mountain biking can't appreciate every component like you can. Everyone knows what a surfboard is. Everyone can knows what a baseball bat does. Most people don't know what a bottom bracket, headset, crankset, etc is. To be honest if I were flipping through the channels as a non mountain biker and came across Rampage I'd say "oh sweet i'll come right back to this when they stop talking about what grips they use and start throwing themselves off of a mountain."
  • + 1
 Yay, let's turn our sport into shameless brand promotion! That's one of the things I like most about the sport is that when the run is over, the athletes aren't swamped in brand promotion or going on about how their gear (which is really no different than anyone else's) is so much better. I can't wait for the 2013 RedBull Monster Amp Gatorade Rampage brought to you by Specialized, Trek, Fox, Rockshox, Fox (again), Kenda, Troy Lee.............
  • + 1
 Brandon Fairclough was (i believe) rideing the status instead of the demo. he was the only one who had an advertisement for his bike company. i think that they used that instead of a demo so people would see it, know what it does and then look it up and notice how decently priced that bike is compared too all other dh bikes. (i mean for anyone who has never heard of dh a 6000$ bike sounds like a riddiculouse amount of money for a bike)
  • + 1
 Just have to tell you that he hasn't been riding for Specialized for over a year.
  • + 1
 i have the same shoes like the tread in the dirt in the last picture Smile and thats what makes it an awesome sport. not everyone know about it and they dont have dumb commercials. nascar. everyone know about it some people hate it. they have way to many commercials bout it. and then like all the riders would become more worried about sponsor and advertisments then their riding
  • + 1
 What ever happened to setting aspirations and goals of what could be? These events provide goals and dreams for many, and entertainment for the rest. If you don't think these events have a place in their respective sports, keep your narrow minded opinions to yourself and go ride your big wheel.
  • + 1
 That's quite thoughtful actually. As a big enthusiast trying to get the most out of my bike,it makes me feel proud to speak about my rig,because I know for sure It's what allows me to do what I do,and makes me enjoy it so much. Just looking at the bike shows me how much thought went into its development,and when you see the details mechanics fiddle with at the world cup,it is the same tenths of seconds as the differences between Minaar and Smith or anyone else. Obviously all the top racers would kill it on a hardtail,but would they win the world cup,joyride or rampage?
  • + 1
 I really need to know what underwear and socks these guys are wearing? This is important stuff, I mean when I get on my bike I feel comfortable riding on the road and cross country, but when I get to my down hill bike something just doesn't feel right. And I'm convinced it's my socks and underwear that's holding me back from hitting those big 8 foot drops and 35 foot doubles. If I could just find out what socks underwear these guys are wearing I am certain I could be a top contender it next year's Red Bull Rampage. So for 2013 let's leave no stone unturned and get the announcers talking about shirts and underwear and what laundry detergent the riders use and fill air time with useless nonsense instead of talking about what is actually happening.
  • + 1
 not that the announcing was that good to begin with! It definitely needed an episode of Rob's dirty business...
  • + 1
 Thanx for calling me out mitch lol, for the record I talked about the brands and referenced back to the old days on the shore a bunch. The tv companies always cut that stuff out. Why? I'm not too sure but definitely bugs me as well.
  • + 1
 I'd love to see them get an ex-pro, or a mechanic from a team as a 'pit-side' commentator just like in F1, where they can interview various team members, managers, riders, monkeys and get their first hand feedback about their products and the event. But the problem with this I would suggest, is that it would reveal how much bike marketing is just a load of bull rhetoric (advertising speak). Bikes themselves are highly technical, but they're also becoming siblings of one another, using the same standards, the same hydroforming, even the same forks and shocks! Any commentary from people within the teams would be full of rhetoric and would have no value to a viewer; "Our bike / product is so amazing/rad because [insert generic cliché and repeat per interviewee]".
  • + 1
 Those who discuss this article are aware that your Fox/RockShox/whatever fork is so important, that you need this exact feel of your pedals and that you couldn't shred like that on different rims. I can say that I don't have a clue on what all those details would be in, say, Formula 1. I never watched one F1 race, but can't prevent from seeing news snippets from that sport, so there I can be compared to that kid the author mentions above. -- Bottom line: Bike advertisement needs to be focused on the frame to reach the non-bikers' short attention span, but we are (for good reasons) not happy with that simplification. Just an unfinished thought...
  • + 4
 The irony. He talks about bike improvements, while using a photo of Wil White on a 40 pound tank.
  • + 1
 I agree with the author. Let's think about it this way- more bike manufacturer exposure means, potentially, more sales. Yes, prices could follow demand, but what if local shops were able to sell more bikes, stock more merchandise, and order higher-end bikes to showcase on the floor and actually sell them? I think it would be great for our LBS and for us. More resources would then be available for R&D and better bikes would result. The catalyst needed is a little exposure to the less-informed masses who just might find life on two wheels is exactly what they've been longing for. That means more people wanting local trails- a growing voice for city's and land managers to hear and consider as seek to have more and better places to ride.
If you appreciate something, brag about it. I always compliment people's bikes, but I go out of my way to say something about a Giant FS because I love my Faith. People do the same thing with cars, motorcycles, dogs, horses, clothes, watches, tattoos, plastic surgery, goofy scarves, music, etc...
It's okay for us- athletes included- to show our bikes some love publicly.
  • + 0
 No direct offence man, just for for your and others information, and general feel of the economy:

Spend a lot so someone finaly spends on you is a very attractive idea that unfortunately fails in the bigger picture - just make the cash flow, the more the better and we will all feed on it as Anemone do on plancton. I mean it is a kind of nobrainer isn't it? What can be more obvious? But then I will tell you that it is actualy good that Sandra destroyed New Jersey because now people in construction have lots to do. Jobs are surely created! Rescue teams have hands full of work, maybe they will get better fundings next year, maybe they will save more people thanks to new technologies.

Back to biking: Basicaly if you crack your frame - it just couldn't be better! We should all do it now - take an axe and smash your bikes! all of you! The industry will grow as never, and you won't like your bike it next year anyways beause of new ivds and press releases Smile You see, we don't get to watch the pile of garbage we generate this way, and whether you like it or not, it is WE who pay for cleaning this garbage in taxes. Money that could go for health care for instance... or for forest administration cost... maybe if they had bigger budget, there would be more bike trails?

Maybe the money you spend on that bike could be used on some investment you could make hm? How do you manage your budget? How much you eat of it, how much you spend on things of choice, how much you give away, how much you invest to become that wallstreet shark one day, a shark who knows exactly how this world rolls!

Sorry if I ruined it for you but at least know this that, Milton Friedman who surely watches us all from above, he is very proud of you Big Grin
  • + 2
 You're giving my comment much more analysis than it deserves. I'm not making a political statement on consumerism or taking advantage of natural disasters. I'm just saying that if we do more than share videos of our favorite riders backflipping at Rampage and let people know more about the machines we use to accomplish such feats, more people might take the bait and have their lives transformed by mountain biking in they ways ours have been. Athletes talking more about their bikes and why they appreciate them might be the push someone needs to get off their couch and buy their first mountain bike. All I suggest is that giving more nods to bike manufacturers seems like a positive way to educate the masses and intrigue a few more to give mountain biking a try. The results might be a more crowded trail here and there, but the louder voice for trail building might be more easily heard by land managers. I suggest a plausible, albeit hopeful, result of just a little more exposure.
  • + 2
 Also, suggesting people purposefully trash their frames and buy a new bike as stimuli for economic growth is cycnically hyperbolic. An athlete's nod to their bike sponsor might just spark some curiousity and send kids (young and grown) to their local bike shop in search of that new bike.

Again, these are just a few possible positive outcomes to showing our bikes some public displays of affection.
  • + 0
 Ok I kind of agree on my overanalyzing (as I usualy do) I just started a thought, and unfortunately a lot of people dig it the way I described. Then I don't agree with you that we should grab people to the sport, I did it with at least 5 persons, and... with at least 3 of them I shouldn't, it did not bring them anything but spent money on stuff they don't use. One must find what he likes and feel drawn to it, then it is sincere nd can be fruitful for other riders. World is already full of FB heroes of all kind... I'd like to see passionate and respectful people, but what can I do...
  • + 1
 Ya you would think the riders would have seen enough supercross races to have the sponsor name drop line down pat. Thanks to my mechanic john smith, my trek session intense gt santa cruz v10 etc ate up this terrain like the weaties I ate earlier.
  • + 1
 I agree with the article. How many times did you hear about the "Oakley Icon Sender" throughout the broadcast? Probably thirty times, but aside from the 2 minute blip that went over how the bikes they use aren't Canadian Tire bikes, there was almost no mention of them at all. Now, I know Red Bull and Oakley would've paid a good chunk of change to get so much publicity off the event, but they completely overshadow a lot of the important pieces. Even just calling out the name of the bike and a component or two would give at least some credit to the bike and component manufacturers.

I know the commentators weren't the best, because they don't call this type of event, but they really made it very boring to watch. Maybe next time they could include a prelude type section for the first half hour on the effort that goes into the trail building for an event like this (not just the 2 minute clip they showed,) or at least an introduction into the sport.

Just my $.02
  • + 3
 if you had good commentators who mountain bike giving insight into the technical details and explaining things coupled with the prelude you talked about building up to the event and then cuts through out the event of interviews/discussions with riders about their bike set up why they are running certain components and more pov footage would make the whole event more entertaining and easy for non bikers to watch
  • + 0
 'You live in a world of make believe with unicorns and fairies'. Can I please join you it seems awesome there?
  • + 2
 I agree. I felt they were way too critical the whole time. I watched it live and thought, "THIS IS RAMPAGE! THEY ARE FREAKING RIDING OFF OF CLIFFS! EVEN IF IT ISN'T A FIRST PLACE RUN, BE STOKED, MAN!"
  • + 1
 KHS should have used everything in their power to get a mention that Binggeli "was riding on a different and fairly new 650b wheel size that some in the industry did not think would be strong enough for this type of event. KHS has pushed the limits of freeride mountain bike technology by being the first to run this larger alternative wheel size at Rampage."

Like 650b or not, imagine what that would have done for the image of KHS for all those viewers.
  • + 1
 Think about it though, anyone who knows or cares what a 650B even is, probably already knew what Binggeli was riding by reading websites like this.
  • + 1
 Why BMX is AMAZING! So many of those guys came out of the BMX world- seems like the plush bikes definitely allow them to go bigger, but lots of guys learned those tricks without suspension and where absolute precision is essential. I am just amazed by it all.
  • + 1
 Im not advertising expert but im almost certain that the lack of mention of the bike, their technology and brands is not due to the lack of reason, creativity or knowledge from the marketing departments from Trek, Specialized, Giant, Fox, etc. Im sure those guys are able to pick up the lessons from other sport events that televised. And Im also certain that the networks are pushing them to add more logos, make more mentions during the events since that how they make their money. I think that it shows how bike and bike components companies are not ready to spend their money on this type of setting. they might just be waiting a little longer to take action.
  • + 4
 I really enjoy your blog posts Mitchell. Well said.
  • + 1
 This article is a direct example of the bigger problems/issues with this sport and industry. I commend the author for his time and efforts, but can't help but feel that the big picture is still being missed.
  • + 1
 Which is...?
  • + 0
 "everything that goes into a bike in 2012 is light years away from where it was 10 years ago" Um... no. It's 10 years away from where it was 10 years ago. Suspension, composites, brakes and such have come a long way in 10 years. This is true. The new bikes out there are amazing but bikes are still bikes. Nothing is radically different.
  • + 1
 Bikes are radically different actually.
  • + 0
 Couldn´t agree less ... yes, of course the bikes developed quite a fair bit, but you can´t say that the technology is what pushes the boundaries. You need great athletes to develop great technology, and you can´t take either one out of the equation.
In addition, I think you have way more branding today than what you had ten years ago. Just look at all the shirts, caps, sunglasses ... branding is everywhere. And as someone already said - it´s all about your target group. People who watch an extreme sports broadcast probably already know about the brands that they are interested in.
Oh, and by the way, Bearclaw did say "this is my Specialized Status" in the NBC coverage, it´s at 52:30 min ...
  • + 0
 You could be riding the most awesome rig in the world but at the end of the day the riders feel like they have just hucked off a cliff and the people at home want to experience that, and hear about why and how the hell they had the courage.
  • + 1
 Idk...I saw the first ever bike commercial of my life during the Rampage coverage. They threw the Specialized commercial in just about ever commercial break. ...they tried.
  • + 0
 Spec is sponsoring the coverage. But what about the other bikes?
  • + 2
 Darren berrecloth? Right before his second run it has a short clip on his specialized.
  • - 1
 How many other action sports show a lot of what they are on? Wakeboarding competitions don't go into huge detail how Shawn Murray rides Hyperlite, and no one announces what skis Bobby Brown rides on when doing a triple cork 1440. And how many people complain about the advertisement aspect when a big name bike company hosts an event?
  • + 12
 That's exactly the point of the article. You could apply the above argument to any of the sports you have just mentioned - none of them give appropriate credit to the gear manufacturers that allow athletes to perform at the level they do.
  • + 6
 I agree. I'm not familiar with american television, but I have to say, watching the Rampage coverage, there are too damn many commercials. If I just hear one more "Casio Jizz Cumando" commercial I'm gonna flip! I'm just not used to that. I don't see that many commercials on Euro-Sport or one Extreme Channel. Instead of more bike marketing I'm bombarded with cell phones, web sites and energy drinks. With incompetent announcers. I'n my eyes the Rampage coverage was fail, not even close to the hard enduro coverage's (Hare Scramble, Romaniacs, Sea to Sky).
  • + 4
 I think the biggest issue is, sponsors like RedBull (not hating on them) will come in, put on and event like this, and use it as a marketing tool to show off their "extreme sports." They'll toss around a few cans of energy drinks to help out the fans, but they really take all the attention away from the companies that are a lot bigger part of biking than RedBull is. Although it does help the sport showcase some of the extreme riding, it really takes away from the more dedicated companies in biking.

I'm not against be events like this, I just wish there was more credit given the companies that deserve it, not just a publicity scheme for giants like RB.
  • + 2
 I'd really like, that before each first run, the athlete would say why he has chosen the components he had chose. fore instance Why did the claw ran a Crossmax SX upfont, why did some run singlecrowns. What kind of setup they run, etc. etc.
  • + 3
 @Bowen1911: I'm not too much into watching Ski races. But one thing I know: The moment the rider hardly came to stop behind the finish line, he pulls off his Skis and presents the bottom side with the brand name to the cameras. You could do the same with the bike.
  • + 1
 Yea I really wish there was more commercialism in the sport... oh wait that sounds ridiculous.
  • + 1
 Great article.. Kelly wears Quicksilver but surfs Channel Islands (aka Burton) boards..
  • + 1
 should the title be more like 'Deep Desert' or something like that, just a thought. Apart from that pictures are sick!
  • + 3
 Interesting point.
  • + 2
 Rob Warner talks about the pros bikes all the time during WC events.
  • + 1
 yeah! excelent. Love it Smile
  • + 1
 I miss protour. Im sure he would have something amazing to say.....
  • + 2
 Amen!
  • + 1
 La premiere photo ! Elle tue !
  • + 1
 o.o"
  • + 1
 Excelent article.
  • + 1
 quiksilver.
  • + 1
 Here, Here.
  • + 0
 I don't know why you would want to ask for more advertising.
  • + 2
 More pertinent ads. Remember the internet before Google? When I was a kid it just wanted to sell me natural male enhancement. I actually get advertised bike parts now.
That is Red Bull is though isn't it? Emotional male enhancement.
  • + 1
 Enlarge your handlebar!
  • + 1
 The more money that the manufactures make, the lower the prices become to us. The more people that get involved in MTB potentially opens up more trail systems and progression with the sport.
  • + 2
 Pretty sure bikes are priced according to how much people are ready to pay for them more than according to how many they sell.
  • + 1
 Both things describe aspects of demand. it's true that if top knotch bikes become mainstream the industry will grow and new competition will bring down prices. You can see it happening with high end commuter rigs already. At the same time, simply selling more bikes could lead to rising prices too, since increased demand with constant supply makes prices climb.
  • + 1
 It's all about gross profit margin. Selling more bikes would only raise prices if the manufacturing cannot keep up, this isn't the case in the industry currently.
  • + 1
 "The more money that the manufactures make, the lower the prices become to us."

I think I hear advertisers laughing.
  • + 1
 that looks awsome
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