Cross-Country World Cups Were Viewed by More People Than Downhill for the First Time in 2018

Nov 29, 2018
by James Smurthwaite  
Image by Piotr Staron

The 2018 cross-country World Cup series attracted more viewers than downhill for the first time ever.

Red Bull saw a rise in viewership of 50% across all live mountain bike broadcasts in 2018, but cross-country benefited the most, gaining the most overall viewers.

With shorter races and thrilling battles all year, it’s no surprise that more viewers tuned in to catch the action. There’s also no doubt that cross-country’s viewing figures have benefitted from the introduction of the short track series this year, meaning two broadcasts each race weekend.

Christoph Tritscher, the mountain bike World Cup manager at Red Bull Media House said: “I think this is to do with the development of the sport in cross-country in the past six or seven years. The races have got a little bit shorter, which helps TV, and on the other side we have the new people coming up, especially on the women's side. You have a whole bunch of women who are competing on a high level so this year we had fascinating races.”

Image by Piotr Staron

There’s a hidden secret to the success of the cross-country too. While downhill is mainly growing in traditional mountain bike markets like North America and Western Europe, cross-country is reaching new markets thanks to the exposure of the Olympics. Christoph said: “One big market is also Brazil, especially last year with the Olympics. Of course, we can't rule out Henrique Avancini who is quite popular in Brazil. I talked to him a lot of time this year and he told me he's not the Neymar, Neymar is a different level of course, he's more of a down-to-earth celebrity in Brazil.”

In response to this news, Martin Whiteley, the teams' rep for World Cup downhill, has asked Red Bull to broadcast the downhill qualifying next year. A rehash of the rules would see the top 60 men and top 10 women run their qualifying in reverse order with one-minute gaps to create a broadcast worthy product. This has not yet been confirmed by Red Bull.

Martin said: "We'll spin the top 60 around so the number 60 comes down first, down to number one. There will be one-minute intervals because at 30-second intervals you could have nine riders on track, which is impossible for the cameras. At least with one-minute gaps you might have three or four on track but you can cross over to where someone had a bit of an issue.

"There's always this stuff, especially on Pinkbike: "why is so and so so far down, what happened in his run?" and I think it's just a lot easier to bring that story live in qualifying. And also, my argument was cross-country ratings had gone up, which was great for cross country but a lot of that was due to the fact that they'd introduced a new event, short track, so they were getting two days of coverage, why aren't we?"

The live broadcast is the biggest draw for sponsors so seeing both series grow is great news for the sport and athletes. Hopefully, this trend will continue in 2019 and beyond.


231 Comments

  • + 277
 Down-country for the Olympics
  • + 14
 Isn't that enduro?
  • + 82
 @riccardoleumann: No, that'd be up-duro.
  • + 52
 Jesus, someone stop him!
  • + 10
 I came here to blame this on Levy and down-country but he beat me to it. Damn!
  • - 8
flag davidmcdias (Nov 29, 2018 at 16:00) (Below Threshold)
 @riccardoleumann: depends on much pills they take Wink
  • + 7
 The Short track races are changing the sport for good.
  • + 20
 how about 4x?
  • - 15
flag WasatchEnduro (Nov 29, 2018 at 16:33) (Below Threshold)
 #fakenews
  • + 13
 @endurocat: Short track and the ridiculous desire to cater the sport to television audiences.
  • + 3
 Two new bike classes introduced by media in the past few years - "Down-Country" by Mike Levy, and "Groad" by Caley Fretz. Don't know if I should punch or congratulate them...
  • + 8
 You mean like Cross Country but times would be taken separately for racing to the top, riding down, eating a donut, drinking a latte? Like Enduro but the rider has to be even more all round?
  • + 12
 @WAKIdesigns: better make sure that latte doesn't have banned substances in it...


Too soon?
  • + 9
 @mikelevy: Up-duro: An enduro format with only uphill stages timed?
  • + 4
 @mikelevy: up duro.... That sounds like some thing that is sexual and I am too old to understand or get!?
  • + 3
 @BenPea: only Jesus himself can stop Levy and his Downcountry crusade.
  • + 4
 @fartymarty: Somone tell Gwin he needs to have a talk with Jesus.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: Jesus talks with Randy.
  • + 0
 That’s dope!
  • + 1
 @thedriftisreal: don't talk about 4x, you just make me upset :'(
  • + 1
 @Keit: upduro is already covered by using 1ply tyres on 160 bikes, "saving energy" on the climbs only to burn the brakes and cause tinitus to everyone in a mile radius on the way down.
  • + 0
 @clink83: too soon. but it would be more fun with brownies and munchies.
  • + 5
 @mikelevy: viewership brings exposure. Exposure attracts sponsors. Sponsors bring $ for teams and athletes. Like or not, the $ is necessary for long term viability of professional racing.

As long as TV brings “modest” changes to the racing side of the sport I don’t see it as being ridiculous at all. Need to be careful how the sport caters to TV, but fundamentally I don’t see how it is ridiculous.
  • + 1
 @endurocat: So true...
  • + 1
 With mandatory seat bags?
  • + 1
 Is that down-country on acoustic bikes?
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: 'Ridiculous'? I thought someone in your position would understand more about how sponsoring works.
  • + 1
 @thedirtyburritto: I understand it well, of course. What I don't agree with the sport's constant desire to be mainstream, that's all. I think that push has died down a bit compared to 5 to 10 years ago. We're so concerned with how the non-riding public sees us.
  • + 138
 Bring..........back..........slalom! Can see the whole course/easy to film, Head-to-head racing, Fast paced, crowds are just as pumped.

Waiting on my down votes
  • + 57
 Slalom does not endorse Super Boost 29ers, sorry.
  • + 15
 Booo 4X 4 life
  • - 25
flag me2menow (Nov 29, 2018 at 14:17) (Below Threshold)
 Is "Waiting for the down votes" like some kind of reverse psychology signal for attention? Doesnt even make sense in this case
  • + 1
 @me2menow: No, it's because inevitably a handful of folks love to down vote then berate the person making the post because they said something the down voter doesn't agree with .
  • + 28
 bring back 4x so Troy lee designs brings back the D2 open face
  • + 1
 Sry no down vote 4 u
  • + 14
 You will not get downvoted by the sensible citizens of Pinkbike for this. Dual Slalom and 4x/Quad Eliminators are the most stoke-inducing form of racing to watch
  • + 1
 uh... crankworx.
  • - 2
 @ryanandrewrogers: True, Crankworx and Sea Otter gets a pass
  • + 2
 @lkubica: when I read this your comment was rated +48 which is some kind of sign. So I made it +49 a new standard
  • + 0
 This, but 4x
  • + 5
 It depends on the form off course, but Slalom seems like a much better idea than 4X, simply because it requires less preparation. The course can be arranged quicker and cheaper than a 4X track on any slightly sloping field around the WC venue. Also until now 4X had a big problem with it's credibility in terms of skills and athleticism required to compete. If you look what BMX SX racing is, how big stuff they are jumping on "kids bikes" with 8 lads or gals on track in one heat, the vast majority of 4X tracks built until now seem laughable, considering you ride on a bigger bike with suspension. No wonder BMX racers were so good at it and the only reason they weren't particicpating more and absolutely dominating was that 4X was interfering with their tight BMX racing schedule. Just like Enduro can be accused as a great sport for retired downhillers, 4X can be a sport of retired BMX racers. Many pros have said it, 4X tracks should have been built bigger, gnarlier with more rough stuff incorporated into them. But that would make 4X tracks the most expensive courses ever made for Mountain bikes. Also many WC venues are in the middle of nowhere. BMX tracks, as big as they may be, are often located around big cities so that people living there can use them on daily basis. 4X? Not so much. Since 4X track that would live up to standards pro riders wanted them to be at, would be gnarly as hell, Bike Parks have little incentive to build some of their own, since majority of their clients will not ride them. Quite simply, you would have Crabapple bits sized jumps set tight between difficult corners, Joeys would be dying in flocks. Put a Joey on DH bike on DH WC course and he'll make it in one way or another riding around features - 20-30ft gaps? How about no... and if you build chicken lines, then how would that differ from all the "flow trails" they can ride in the park? If you wanted to make it challenging for 4X pros, you would make it impossible for 99.9999% of population. As if current 4X tracks weren't impossible for them already. Sorry if you are a park rat sending it sideways on A-Line and you think you are damn good, it may not be enough for a proper 4X track.

The necessary terrain drop and size of the thing requires mountaineous terrain and that is not often found around big cities, (where plots are expensive to make things worse) hence... sorry, that is a one hard nut to crack. I loved 4x but...
  • + 1
 @me2menow: actually... yes
  • + 86
 The women's cross country racing this year was the best racing I've seen, period. A 45 year old beats a 25 year old. Batty and Langvad elbowing into the singletrack. Neff recovering after 2 flats, and just edges out Batty for the win. And the technical sections! Just awesome.
  • + 0
 Well, maybe as a Canuck, not so great that Neff edges Batty for the win?! Wink
  • + 5
 True! I got way more excited watching this than DH races... Although, watching Martin M take that win was a wake up call for everybody -not just the spectators.
  • + 11
 First year elite Kate Courtney taking women's World Champs on the last lap was pretty epic, of course I was cheering for Baty but seeing the first American woman in a long time (90's?) was pretty cool.
  • + 2
 Absolutley. I couldn't agree more. Is the best Women's racing in cycling on the planet right now. The races were excellent.
  • + 2
 There's just something engaging about watching head to head battles. It's more difficult for the fringe fan to get excited about a time clock on it's own. The women's CC field was awesome this year.
  • + 43
 So if I'm reading this correctly crosscountry isn't exactly getting more views entirely they are just combining numbers from short track and xco and comparing it to just 1 days worth of dh? I would like to see actual viewership numbers from each event individually.
  • - 10
flag employee7 (Nov 29, 2018 at 14:18) (Below Threshold)
 I read that the same way. There were twice as many xc events and more gross viewers. Viewers per dh race are then roughly double for either of the xc events. Ps xc viewers are gross.
  • + 4
 It's a little vague, but it sounds more like true viewership is up due to all of the new international fans due to the growth of the sport overseas.
  • + 8
 as they say, you can prove anything with statistics. Either way it's a good thing that mountain biking is gaining in popularity.
  • + 6
 Not only that, I run RedBull Tv at the shop frequently and if I play a bike movie or show, 9/10 times after that finishes it goes directly to an XC broadcast. But when I go to seek DH broadcasts most of them are recaps and not even replays. This would highly construe their numbers, let alone there are twice as many XC races between XCC and XCO.
  • + 38
 Just because Emily Batty!
  • + 71
 + Kate and Yolanda.. Either way. Women's XC is easy on the eyes.
  • + 10
 Nope - Kate
  • + 28
 Women's XC racing has been more exciting, but lets not make this a complete sausage fest please....
  • + 6
 There are a few cuties in the mix this year. I'm curious to see numbers for viewership on the men's race vs. the women's race. As shallow as it is, it means more eyes on mountain bike racing, which is good!
  • - 3
 I love women racing and I wish your comments were true... but I would be surprised if even reaches 20% of the male race viewers. I would like to see how these numbers are calculated... 50 % increase of what? It is all marketing bs language to sell ads at higher cost.... the number of people at the venues is still the same.

DH vs XCO? Gwin (American) out and a big slice of the audience is off.
  • + 9
 @RedRedRe: I watch the women's races over the men because there's good action. The men are usually fighting for second. The women's race is always a crapshoot. Plus, Jolanda, Yana, Kate and Maja are all much more easy on the eyes.
  • + 10
 I miss Jenny.
  • + 3
 @PNdubRider: RIGHT!? So much.
  • + 6
 @PNdubRider: Hopefully she will be back next year. She won this years nationals in her comeback so I hope we can se her in the swedish colours next season.
  • + 1
 @Bergsmannen: Oh really?! That is great she is back to competing. I never really saw much information on what happened and I wasn't sure if she was done racing or not. Such a tough way to follow up an Olympic Gold season with her sponsors and family issues. Really hoping she comes back strong!
  • + 0
 Quite frankly if you are a man and watch mens XC over womens then I am sorry for your woman. Your libido must be looking like a drop stem on a XC 29er. That is because mens racing is plain boring, you can blame Nino, girls deliver much better show in every respect. I wouldn’t watch mens races even if I was a gay nimpho. Also, sorry to be even more sexist towards guys but if some girls struggle with some descent or tech section I have no problem with it, but when I see dudes in top 10 ride down rockgarden stiff as if the seat got all the way up their arse, it is just pathetic. There is not a single cake in the mans field. Maybe Marco Fontana looks shaggable. There are some real studs in DH and in Enduro, but XC... pfff
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Let it out, this is a safe space. I'm sure you have allies here.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: You are an idiot.
  • + 4
 @UPBike: Did I press on a spot? Do you need prostate massage? Was it the carbon seat on a carbon post?
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Just calling it like I see it : )
  • + 2
 @UPBike: Yes, she is training and racing again, really nice to see her back on track again. I think she is planning to run her own team next year.
  • + 33
 People tuned in to XC by mistake trying to find the downhill race.
  • + 1
 Guilty.
  • + 20
 I think the XC is more interesting to watch than downhill. Having all the riders on course at once is busier and you can see the racing tactics. With downhill I really just want to see the recaps of the top 2 or 3 racers and it doesn't matter if it is a few days later.

I know that "I" don't reflect the opinion of the masses, but the Redbull viewership stats don't surprise me either.
  • + 6
 you may like Megavalanche. here is a link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2gwFkCU1Q4
  • + 4
 Lucky for you they are starting a mass start race series
  • + 5
 even better. UCI dh mass starts next year! Mad max style
  • + 3
 @friendlyfoe: It's called the RedBull FoxHunt. It's absolute carnage and amazing. Wouldn't mind a whole season of that.
  • + 2
 #Makechinesedownhillgreatagain
"Whada da fuka isa Chinese Downhill"-
Hotdog
  • + 1
 ^ Chinese Downhill. Do this but with bikes and spikes.
youtu.be/_Qe3HBqFhTU
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: "There is only one way..."
  • + 23
 Head to head racing is always more exciting to watch then time trials, not surprised.
  • + 2
 And it also helped when UCI fcks the starting sequence.
  • + 4
 if you look at what they are saying, DH will have more viewers per event - XC just has double the events.
  • + 1
 By that logic, Nascar would be more exciting than WRC.
  • + 19
 Wow! Didn't see that one coming, though I suppose it makes sense on many levels. More technical courses featuring big jumps and drops, shorter races, a crazy deep and competitive women's field alongside a men's one featuring Schurter v. van der Poel just makes for good watchin'. DH kinda seems past its prime, I dunno, cross country races are held on courses similar to the trails that the vast majority of consumers actually ride, it just seems more relevant and interesting.
  • + 9
 Exactly what I was thinking, XC used to be just steep trails, now it’s getting so much more technical and including riders who send it, it’s finally getting interesting, no wonder viewership is up!
  • + 5
 Yup. I also think XC is just easier to relate to. The video coverage for DH tracks is pretty weak and frankly its kinda boring just seeing one dude ride a course with little context. Lets be honest...I only watch the top 10 guys anyway.
  • + 0
 please tell me i read that wrong and you didnt just try and claim xc has more technical courses than dh edit: i think i did read it wrong nevermind
  • + 10
 Past its prime? DH increased its viewership by 50% in one year by doing nothing different. It took a 2nd event and a 2nd day of broadcasting to increase XC by 50%. Also, DH is still way more popular in the more expensive advertising markets of Europe and the US.
  • + 5
 @noahr2011: No...saying the XC courses have become more technical than they were in the past making it more interesting to watch.
  • - 2
 @noahr2011: you could argue that XC courses are harder than DH considering the equipment differences between the two.
  • + 2
 @MikeyMT: Thought that might be an unpopular opinion here on PB but I have to agree. Just watching riders blast down the course one at a time is pretty dull. I don't have much interest in watching more than 2 or 3. At least in XC you're watching a head to head race. I'm still probably happy to just watch the last 20 minutes or so, but that's way more DH than I care about.
  • + 1
 That was a poor evaluation
  • + 1
 @MikeyMT: Yep. 100%. XC is racin the entire time, the DH race starts when they get to the top 10. Honestly I love both disciplines and watch the both religiously so I’m just glad to see mountain biking as a whole gain popularity. But it’s nice seeing XC get the coverage it deserves
  • + 1
 @plume: I am glad to see the sport growing, there is no way that DH is less fun to watch compared to XC, and they must be making up numbers on the amount of people watching the sport I would like to see the real numbers. however the new short tracks do look like they would be fun to ride I just don't think its fun to watch its like road racing I guess I am just not into it. I think full speed steep tech on a big bike and only getting one run to win... man its so good to watch
  • + 2
 @robG413: I get that. PB did an article on how mountain bike race fans are different than most sport fans as we actually participate in the sport in some way. My guess is that you rode more DH than XC terrain where I tend to ride (and race) more XC style trails so I can more easily relate to the XC performance these girls and guys give. Something to be said for pinning it on the climbs and the descents. Something to be said for chasing the perfect 3 - 5 minute run too of course. Glad there’s increasingly great coverage of both disciplines
  • + 12
 I’ve gotta say the women’s cross country this year was great racing. I watch both deciplines, and enjoy both of them, but it does get tedious watching the same winner all the time in either event so it’s always good to have super close racing rather than the Nino/Rachel domination.
  • + 9
 Hardly surprising given that it's half way to road cycling, which is head and shoulders above XC and DH in terms of popularity. Also, people like Olympic stuff. It's shinier and slicker and it's on their TVs. Alas, watching someone go downhill with the seat up annoys me intensely for some reason.
  • + 11
 "We dig into Red Bull's 2018 viewership numbers" Where are the numbers...? Would be interesting to see the actual view count.
  • + 2
 Second!
  • + 12
 Not gonna lie, been digging the XC lately.
  • + 9
 Tons of kids racing NICA, ie High School XC in the states. That has to have an impact on viewership!
  • + 5
 I was thinking the same thing. I wonder what the viewership age was.
  • + 10
 XC is becoming the new enduro.
  • + 2
 How? I like Enduro much more then the other two but I don't watch anything. f*cking ride my own bike instead...
  • + 10
 Rob Warner's announcing sure helped.
Give that man a raise.
????????
  • + 6
 Not sure why those ???? are there.
  • + 13
 Warner is good to listen to. I admit it. He makes XC seem cooler.
  • + 1
 @flyin-ryan: the question marks replace emojis
  • + 2
 He is reasonable to listen to and has some fun bits and he is more family friendly than "ROBS DIRTY BUSINESS" .
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob7rW6Q1v3M
  • + 3
 Is that where the real Warner went?
  • + 1
 What will the sport do when Rob inevitably retires? Heaven knows his liver can't last much longer...
  • + 0
 @BenPea: I miss the non family friendly Warner. This is why XC is winning.
  • + 3
 @Boardlife69: If you understand French, Gracia on the FR channel is a better option nowadays. Hell, I've even gone over to the German one in desperation in the past, to get around the Claudio problem.
  • + 6
 Is this just live or does it count watching the recorded version? I never watch live but watch most of the races after the fact. XC was by far more interesting this year with the level of competition and the courses actually resembling something I would want to ride.

I hope Red Bull gets the rights to the enduro series and finds a way to make it work. It doesn't need to be live take a day and edit the footage I will avoid spoilers if the coverage is good. Give each rider a helmet camera and pull the footage together the night after they race.
  • + 5
 XC racing is great to watch. Warner and Bart are great commentary and engage with a lot of the riders.It gives a great insight to the race and riders, feels like I personally know some of them. Red Bull coverage is big part in the resurgence of XC. Since the 90’s coverage of XC might be a few minutes recap on Eurosport.
  • + 10
 One word...Yolanda...
  • + 18
 Another... Jolanda.
  • + 6
 @jclnv: Luca Shaw agrees
  • + 1
 @WolfStoneD: they should both meet half way, that is race Enduro
  • + 5
 I would personally prefer to race and ride downhill/park, but would prefer to watch filmed feeds of XC over DH races.

In terms of watching DH or XC in person, both are great.
  • - 3
 I couldn’t think of anything more monotonous than watching an xc race , no dh run is the same !
  • + 2
 Watching the same section in a downhill race can also be pretty boring. If you're not into head to head competitions and prefer to see people send/bomb features, then I could see why watching a group race like xc doesn't have it's appeal
  • + 6
 I admit to watching both this year. It was exciting. My wife joined in as well and even some of our kids. Yes please, bring on televised DH qualifying!
  • + 6
 Great coverage of the xco racing, love every minute of it. Keep up the good work Red Bull!!
  • + 3
 Like many others here, for me the womens XC competition has been the best competition by far. Of course I like to catch at least the top 10 DH runs, but most of the broadcast is not that exciting. The mens XC is about as exciting as watching F1 during the Schumacher years. Maybe Red Bull should pay Nino to slow down.
  • + 6
 If Avancini was like Neymar he would fall off his bike after every (clean) pass
  • + 2
 Well... In my city years ago we had a good DH scene, with 5-6 races per year and 30 competitors each one... but now there is 2-3 races per year and not exceeding 30 competitors... And since 5 years the XC races are 6-7 per year and 300 racers for each race... DH is dying or XC has become stronger??
  • + 2
 Would be extremely curious to hear stats on what percentage of viewers of both DH and XC are mountain bikers.

I find WC DH to be fascinating, but I don't think I'd appreciate the same subtleties of line choice, risk management, and technique if I hadn't raced DH myself.

On the other hand, XC shows you battles, strategy, and overtaking in real time - things that 1. you don't have to be a mountain biker to appreciate and 2. much more closely resemble more popular racing sports like Supercross, F1, and NASCAR.

Could it be that as the global audience for MTB widens, viewers are opting for the sport that's easier to appreciate?

An anecdote that supports this idea: when showing non-MTB friends WC DH, I'll sometimes get comments along the lines of "...So you just watch different people ride down the same hill for two hours?"
  • + 5
 Not surprising, more people ride XC than DH. Unless your downcountry in Pinkbike land.
  • + 5
 Anyone involved in the NICA scene knows XC is paddling into a giant wave........
  • + 3
 I think the NICA riders over the next ten years will definitely influence the US market. Almost all these kids are on carbon HT and since mom and dad can ride with them. CHa-Ching money is available for bikes, accessories, and racks for the family truckster. NICA is great for the market. The whole range gets bought. 1st year riders go Alloy and spend $750-1500. 2nd year and up go carbon and get "KITTED".
  • + 1
 @trails801: KITTED lol
  • + 3
 Not surprising from a South African viewership point of view, 90% of our fast growing bike market here is marathon and XC focused because we don't have any big ski lift type bike parks and have sun all year round.
  • + 5
 I'd love to gee my hands on the data behind this.. and then hand it over to Eliot Jackson.
  • + 2
 This isn't surprising. As a spectator, XC racing is a lot more fun to watch.

The time trial format of DH means you are essentially watching the same run 40 times in a row. The tiny differences between each racer are over the heads of anyone not deeply involved in the sport, and even if you understand what's going on it's really only interesting on a technical level. The "battle" between racers is purely abstract, and other than the clock you have no way of comparing different riders. The most thrilling moments are, like NASCAR, the crashes.

In XC though the battle is immediately apparent. If someone is in front of the pack, they are leading. When two racers are elbowing each other side by side, it's obvious even to someone who knows nothing what is going on. The tension builds as the laps to go drops and fatigue sets in, and it makes for a great story.
  • + 1
 XCO coverage has improved, Red Bull are putting the effort into providing a much better experience for the viewer, and it is paying off... the racing is exciting, both the woman's and the men... DH unfortunately is suffering, it is not the same level of coverage, large areas of the course are not covered by cameras, a lot of guesswork is in place for when there is an off, or a loss of time... i will still watch DH, but i definitely feel it is lacking... Now enduro is somewhere where there could be massive improvements, love the reports via PB, but its not live, perhaps an area where Red Bull could have an interest ? And as a footnote, Warner with either Claudio or Bart is a massive reason it seems to work...
  • + 4
 Trickle Down Theory! The courses were exciting, and the riders who had the best bike handling skills did well.
  • + 1
 It only makes sense, we humans love a neck to neck battle and xcountry has been bringing that with a bunch of humans on the same track. Throughout history, it's in the dna. While downhill, it's just clips of the best features the track has and racing against the clock.
  • + 1
 I have to say I think that the two events cater for different audiences. I try and catch both streams, and although I'm more of an XC rider I always prefer to watch the DH, especially with the new riders coming forward this year! I also love watching the EWS highlight shows! All in all it's awesome coverage for mountain biking.
  • + 1
 I wonder who would be faster if they made all the downhillers do a downhill run and then a cross country course and combined the times and vice versa with the cross country racers? All things equaled, combined and then averaged, who would be all around faster mountain bikers? The downhillers or the xc ers?
  • + 2
 If it was just combined time, then the XCers would dominate. If it was a points system then things might get more interesting.
  • + 4
 Keep making courses more technical and interesting, and I'm sure this trend will continue.
  • + 1
 Always thought they should do a steep 4x style race with dh bikes and 2 identical courses built next to each other. Two competitors get a run on each track simultaneously against each other. 2 runs, 30 seconds long or so, then elimination of slower combined time. Would be great for TV watching, interesting to watch assuming the track is stupid steep and gnarly, and also create publicity around dh similar to how xc short track boosted xc publicity.
  • + 4
 Emily Batty Jolanda Neff Kate Courtney 3 reasons to watch WC XC
  • + 3
 It's called the Batty-Courtney-Neff effect.... until DH can match that, it dont stand a chance :-)
  • + 3
 More views...more hotties. More hotties...more views. It's a pretty basic primal thing.
  • + 5
 It took off this year.
  • + 0
 "but a lot of that was due to the fact that they'd introduced a new event, short track, so they were getting two days of coverage" - Bring back dual slalom!! Make it mandatory to compete in DH. Way more exciting to watch than a qualifying event that doesn't really matter and people aren't going 100%.
  • + 3
 Can we have the viewing figures please? Interesting to see the difference to when it was on Freecaster and Eurosport.
  • + 1
 I went from an Epic 29 to a Stumpy 29, I’m faster everywhere on the Stumpy, climbing with a slacker head angle is not a problem. If you watched how Neff dominated the downhills it’s just as important as the climbing.
  • + 0
 Not surprising... no one f*cked with the start list and who we got to see.... Oh and the fact there were some unbelievable races in both the mens and women's category, especially the women's! OH MAN WHAT A YEAR IT WAS! Is it race season again yet??
  • + 1
 OH MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 4
 I’m super into xc since the new season of the « Fast Life ».
  • + 0
 Maybe it's just been long enough since the Armstrong days that there's an entire audience out there that doesn't understand about doping? I know those of us around in the 2000s just can't watch endurance pedaling anymore, but there's a decade of viewership with fresh optimism who don't know there's still no test for autologous transfusions.
  • + 1
 Make the downhill event first! By the time I was done watching 5 plus hours of cross country coverage, I realized I used up all my free time for the weekend already lol
  • + 2
 Just like skiing, if you can’t ride up the hill, you’ve got no business going down!
  • + 0
 No doubt that some of the women in downhill are absolutely smokin', but it's not nearly like XC. Just look at Neff, courtney and Batty. Downhill will catch up but sex sells and it only arrives with new generations.
  • + 1
 You can also factor in Gwin and Minnar not featuring in some races. Both those dudes have large fanbases. Then, you got some of the most exciting races in Women's XCO.
  • - 1
 I will always prefer to watch the DH races first. However, once I finished watching the downhill races I also watched the XC races. I imagine quite a few downhill riders would tune into both. However, I doubt XC guys would watch the DH races. I know most riders around here prefer paved mountain bike trails and wouldn't appreciate the skill necessary for downhill. They still think of downhill guys as fat and lazy running people off the trail drinking red bull. Which is far from the truth. Either way some of the XC courses were pretty gnarly and the races were fun to watch.
  • + 2
 So many horn dogs on this site, XC is coming back! It just to a break with the lazy AF millennials
  • + 0
 Maybe Red Bull should spend some money and licence a better streaming video player and pay someone some more to fix their app. I know that I missed half the races this past season because their video player blows.
  • + 1
 Maybe they should buy the rights to stream the world champs from the UCI so that everyone can watch it. Only viewable on pay tv here & it pisses me off!!! I’m confident there are thousands (if not tens of thousands) like me in select countries around the world who miss out just like me & it just becomes a massive letdown to the DH season.
  • + 2
 I think this is a healthy sign for mtb in general. It's the XC/AM rider that makes the industry go.
  • + 2
 How much is this a due to woman's vs. men's XC? I bet you it's all because of the ladies.
  • + 3
 Lmao the circle jerk is real
  • + 2
 Road helmets and skinsuits with the constant smell of Veet in the air has mass appeal
  • + 1
 The women were awesome to watch this season. Every race was competitive and exciting. The Mens races were boring! The gun goes off and you already know who is going to win.
  • + 1
 XC is way more relatable to most people and relatable sells product. Plus it's fun..
  • + 2
 Straight up masochists with roadie helmets, no dropper & no knee-pads.
  • + 1
 HEH @jamessmurthwaite has only joined PB and is already stirrig waters Smile Brave Man
  • + 1
 Makes sense to me, I watched all the DH and all the XC, so by their logic I watched twice as much XC.
  • + 1
 Would be nice to see actual numbers? 50% of what? Quite curious how many of us there are out there...
  • + 2
 Any numbers, figures? I would love to see them and think by myself.
  • + 2
 still no info how much people watched... Wink
  • + 0
 Yeah…and people still listen to Nickleback and we elected an absolute buffoon for president. Numbers don't prove it's cool.
  • + 2
 People still listen to nickleback???
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: Yes…the same people who voted for Trump.
  • + 1
 It's Short Track.....hardly an XC! Some Downhill tracks are even longer!
  • + 1
 That's because XC is neat.
  • + 1
 XC and Cycloross are dope!
  • + 1
 Put it all on TV. All of it.
  • - 3
 Oh the irony! Punk turned pop and hipsters went mainstream perhaps DH will become trendy again, how embarrassing for those who love our niche sport and how fantastic for those who want to push their non related products on bored couch potatoes.
  • + 1
 Because of one reason; Jolanda Neff
  • + 1
 We're just getting older !
  • - 4
flag BenPea (Nov 29, 2018 at 15:45) (Below Threshold)
 Demographic shift on pinkbike over 20 years. Lots of old fuckers. Perfect for transitioning from human mountain biking to XC and to the electric variety. People of North America, the rest of the world is guinea pigging e-pinkbike for you. Brace yourselves for that firewall to come down, you'd better start building that new one quick.
  • + 1
 I take it they did not share the actual numbers?
  • + 1
 Awesome news ! . . . Also , dont care one bit
  • + 1
 One thing’s similar with Neymar and Cross Country...
  • + 2
 Need more Cathrovision!
  • - 2
 Red Bull should put some money behind a long course downhill comp. You know, like having a few downhill stages with some untimed transfer sections between them. That'd be awesome!
  • + 2
 Thank Nino.
  • + 0
 ...qualies would be great????
  • + 1
 Make XC great again!
  • + 0
 What is downhill??
  • + 0
 Beginning of the end
  • - 3
 gross
  • - 2
 I still dont understand old school geometry on xc bikes though Smile
  • + 10
 On a loop you spend about four times as much time climbing as you do descending, so if you had the choice of changing a bike so that it was either 2% better at one or the other,but not both, you choose climbing. Climbing is not just about weight.
  • + 3
 I still cant understant why people buy bikes that cannot climb Smile
  • + 7
 @iamamodel: That - plus the climbs come before the descents, and the technical descents tend to not be great for passing. So if you can optimize your climbing, you end up in front of your opponents before the descent and have some control over positioning from there on out with tactical riding.
  • + 2
 @iamamodel: SBG style geometry allows for both improved climbing due to longer CS, proportional front center, steeper seat tube and also has better handling characteristics. I bet that the industry will adopt new and improved geo in both DH and XC bikes.
  • + 2
 @Skarhead89: It is just about what people like to do best. Some people prefer to winch themselves to the top on a fire road or something similar, and then tear down the mountain on 80% of a downhill bike. Not difficult to understand, just maybe different from your perspective.
  • + 5
 Hold on!! All the new XC bikes are looking really fun to ride. No they aren't 66 HA but they are slacker, longer and short rear ended. Plus they aren't 30 + pounds. Think of them as 100-120 mm 24-25# weapons. Everyone wants a go at that.
  • + 5
 Its not old school geometry, its geometry that works for XC racing. You don't see people pedaling DH bikes on trail rides, I don't know why people on here think you should race XC on enduro bike geometry.
  • + 8
 Many of these XC guys probably ride faster downhill on their "old school" bikes than most of us on much bigger bikes...
  • + 2
 You are definitely not alone. I also don't buy into this whole 'you need a different geo to climb'. I have never had any trouble on any climb with my 140 mm bike, comparing to a XC hardtail, except for the weight and the squish stealing watts.
  • + 2
 @xvire: there is a huge difference between a 140mm bike an an XC bike, in not sure how you could not notice a difference. That said, if you're not actively racing riding an XC bike doesn't make a ton of sense.
  • + 1
 @clink83: no, there definitely is a difference, but most of it is because said 140 mm moving underneath with every pedal stroke
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