|I felt like this was where it all started for me and I was just going home. I wasn't searching for a mountain bike deal, but I've always kept in touch with my family at Intense.|
It seems that Shaun Palmer has two reputations: the mega-talented, self-anointed king of action sports, who arguably set a lasting path for downhill style; and the party animal who knew no boundaries. How does Palmer factor into the history of Intense?
The Palmer years were magical times for Intense. The core of our brand was established back then - our heritage. The combination of Shaun's outrageous style, on and off the track, and the very different-for-the time M1, set the mountain biking world on fire. We can't forget that moment in history and we need to continue to tell the story. It helps to define who we are and what we are as a brand.
So, if PB were a fly on the wall, how did the conversation go that led to the decision for Intense to hire Shaun Palmer?
I have stayed in touch with Shaun over the years and had told him that he always has an Intense frame waiting for him. I have felt over the years that he was one of the people responsible for putting the brand on the map and I have always wanted to give something back to him in some way. I think the timing was finally right and we are looking at a bit older and wiser Palmer who has realized that he loves riding bikes and the simplicity and freedom it brings - and that it was time to go full circle.
Chris Kovarik and Claire Buchar have been instrumental in the brand ambassador role as well-respected riders, personalities and coaches. But, Shaun Palmer bringing up Intense's next generation of young gravity racers? That should be interesting to watch.
Shaun will be taking more of a brand ambassador role, but it doesn't end there. I have some product development projects lined up that will be perfect for him to put his thumbprint on. This is a side of Palm that many may not know. He is a thinker and a tinkerer who knows how to make things work and work better. That relationship worked really well in the past for us.
There will also be a continued series of cool artsy videos, "The Palmer Chronicles," that we will produce similar to the launch video. He will be a big part of the Intense experience. It is all part of a dream, not a plan.
How does it feel to be back in the thick of the mountain bike biz?
I'm pumped to see all my old friends, and come back to it in a different arena. Not being under the pressure of racing and winning is a different feeling and it's good. But, why does everybody want to party with me still?
How did the Intense deal come down? Did you get a phone call out of the blue, or were you on the hunt?
We both came together at the same time. I felt like this was where it all started for me and I was just going home. I wasn't searching for a mountain bike deal, but I've always kept in touch with my family at Intense.
We understand that you will be assembling a hand-picked development team which you will be mentoring.
Yes, that is true, and that is what I'm most excited about. It should be spread out too, with some different disciplines, like slopestyle, DH and enduro. There's lots of young talent out there who should get a chance to ride at a higher level. The possibility for some of these guys to ride a hand crafted bike that can work for them will be huge.
Is there any chance that you will be making an appearance or two on the start line?
That's not my focus at the moment, but if I'm testing bikes and riding through the winter, there's a pretty good chance. It's in my blood.
The folks at Intense say that the new Palmer is tanned, rested and ready for business. Is that true?
I guess you could say that. I'm a little older now and ready to do different things in the mountain bike world, but it's not like I'm hitting the tanning bed and getting ready to race f*ckin road bikes.
If all goes to plan, if there is a plan, what would be the dream outcome of your partnership with Intense?
To have Intense win a World Cup DH title would be the ultimate dream from my end.
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