Revised Racing Calendars
Racing looks to be back on the table for DH, XC and Enduro.
While many events have unfortunately been cancelled, the UCI announced its new calendar for 2020 racing. DH and XC World Cup races will begin on the 5-6 September in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and continue all the way to 29th October - 1st November with the final round in Lousa, Portugal, which was initially meant to be the opening round. Many of the venues will now feature two rounds back to back on the same race weekend, something not seen before and something that could throw in some surprises in performances. In total there will be 7 rounds held in 5 venues for the DH and 5 rounds in 4 venues for the XC. The World Championships for both DH and XC will be from 5-11 October in Leogang, Austria.
The EWS also announced its revised schedule for racing kicking off on August 30th in Zermatt, Switzerland, and concluding in Farellones, Chile, on November 14-15th. The EWS series manages to maintain five rounds with the additional Trophy of Nations event happening on the 26-27th September in Finale Ligure, Italy.
Speaking with riders and team mechanics, it's going to be a wild few months once the racing resumes, with no doubt everyone looking forward to getting back at it. I for one am excited like a kid at Christmas and can't wait to see all the bikes, racing and fight for the titles unfold.
Understanding how and why our bikes bounce gets easier.
Video content has exploded during the pandemic with many media outlets who were usually relying on being in the thick of the races for content now getting creative on keeping regular content coming out. While there is a ridiculous amount of rubbish on the internet, things like the Dialed series from Fox have been a gem for anyone looking to go in-depth inside their suspension inner workings, setup and even how to choose the right suspension part for your bike and needs.
And without blowing our own trumpet too loudly, we're right in the middle of the Behind the Numbers
series on trail bikes. So far, we've looked at the Commencal Meta TR 29, Norco Sight and Unno Dash. With two more bikes to come and a round up article to put all the suspension curves in one place there's still plenty to get your teeth into.
Every rider and their dog share a look inside their professional rider life.
That same lack of time between the tape is making racers from all over the globe look to the internet to keep their social media presence alive and make up for the lack of advertising that they would otherwise be doing on the race track. But it's not solely about the social media presence. Riders like Brendan Fairclough have been finding ever interesting and hair-raising ways to keep themselves entertained and their roof tiles living in fear. His home Rampage and dirt jump build videos are entertaining to say the least and another show of how damn good a rider he is.
Other racers like Jesse Melamed have taken to showcasing their local trails and breaking down their race craft to show how to discover racing lines and learning how much faster they may be. Vali Holl
takes you on a more all-encompassing look behind the scenes of some of her days out riding and training.
And then there's always Yoann Barelli
and his Into the Gnar series, which still blows my mind that someone can do that speed on a bike and put understandable and entertaining sentences together. A special mention goes out to Joe Barnes
for his absolutely hysterical lockdown videos too.
Bike Shops & Sales
Sales and service revenue is up as bike popularity soars.
It would seem that bikes are experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Daniel Sapp
chatted to brick and mortar bike shops about the impact that the coronavirus has had on them and they all report astounding sales numbers while their local areas have been on lockdown and people are either not working or looking at alternative ways to commute and do recreational sports. Bike brands are also reporting huge sales numbers with some brands even having to take measures to allow them to keep things in control while the orders flood in.
We can only hope that this bicycle boom isn't followed by a sharp drop, as those new bikes find their place in the shed and begin to collect the cobwebs. More riders not only drives the industry but also helps to show the potential financial gains available to regions when they invest in bikes as a recreational and touristic venture. Fingers crossed.
The biggest party for many athletes, and fans, gets cancelled.
Another big hit to the mountain bike world came in the cancelling of Crankworx Whistler, the first year that there has not been the infamous festival since 2004. The decision had to be made with the continued ban on gatherings of more than 50 people to try and keep the virus under control. This was due to mark the 17th time Whistler had held the Crankworx event and the racing, partying and general buzz around the town during the event will be sorely missed.
While many would be sleeping off hangovers, Crankworx Whistler also catered to children and youth riders, hosted several female-specific riding clinics, and generally showcased lots of the latest and greatest bikes and products as well as being a platform for photographers and videographers to make a name for themselves. 2020 was also set to be the 10th anniversary of the Red Bull Joyride.
The knock-on effects of the cancellation will likely be felt for a while, with a drop in income that the town would normally see from the thousands of visitors during Crankworx. Some of you commented on the lack of brake bumps that would ensue the cancelation. And while I'm not a fan of brake bumps either, it's sad to see one of the flagship events on the calendar not to be taking place this year. We'll look to 2021 with crossed fingers that Crankworx Whistler, along with many, many other events and festivals, will take place. We did an interview with Darren Kinnaird
on the cancellation.
The frighteningly fast Canadian takes a big hit.
While out riding on Mt Prevost on Vancouver Island, it's been reported that the young gun Magnus Manson has suffered a really nasty crash incurring a broken leg and cracked pelvis.
For anyone who's currently out injured, and to Magnus, we wish you all a speedy and full recovery.
Employees at Brands
Companies scale down their workforces in the wake of the pandemic.
Despite bike sales booming, we've seen many a company in the industry report that they have had to let some of their staff go. Specialized announced the firing of 46 staff members, 7% of its workforce. Dakine closed its office in Hood River and relocated to Southern California, laying off 39 staff members in the process.
While it's hard to speak for each individual company all over the globe, it seems that a lot of companies over in Europe had to reduce their budgets in order to qualify for assistance from the government to weather the financial storm, with unfortunately some of that budget cut coming from reducing the number of staff.
It's a hard pill to swallow for the industry, brands and individuals, especially during a time of apparent growth in sales in many segments of the industry. Some notable brands, however, have reported sales being down in the first quarter of the year. Shimano reported a 15% drop in year on year sales in its bike division, while Fox's bike division was down 1.8%. Fox reported that a shift in timing of OEM orders was the culprit as the impacts of the coronavirus had impacted the supply chain and brands had pushed bike launches and orders back.