How Much Do Professional Mountain Bikers Get Paid? - Pinkbike's State of the Sport Survey

May 4, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  

In some major sports such as soccer, Formula One or even road cycling, athletes' salaries are common knowledge and published annually. In mountain biking, this definitely isn't the case. How much a rider gets paid in downhill, enduro, slopestyle or xc is often a closely guarded secret that gets even more obscured as earnings are mixed in with bonuses, prize money and sponsorship fees. It's often not as simple as saying rider x will earn y dollars in a given year as their pay is often heavily tied to their performance.

To try and get a better picture of how much riders are earning, we included remuneration as a section of our State of the Sport survey.

One thing to note is that rider pay does not equal the total money a brand has spent on that rider. Regardless of the rider's remuneration, the total investment from a brand to go racing with them on an international stage is significant; it's easy to spend $50K+ per rider on travel, accommodation, food, fees, mechanical support, etc. for a season. Especially with EWS where the travel is extensive. There are instances where racers take a lower dollar figure to get on a factory team versus a higher wage and managing all their own independent deals (and sleeping in vans).


The most interesting results from the remuneration section of the survey are below. We offered any rider that had finished in the top 40 of their discipline in the past two seasons the opportunity to take part in the survey, for more information on the riders surveyed, click here. Note, junior riders have been removed from all the below calculations and some riders declined to answer this section.





Additional reporting: Henry Quinney

The Big Picture

The largest cohort of riders (27.3%) surveyed earns between 0-5,000 USD from mountain biking and we also know from a separate question on the survey that around 21% of riders don't get paid at all. Bear in mind we have removed juniors from this part of the survey and we also only surveyed the top 40 ranked riders from the past two years in each discipline. This means that it's almost guaranteed that some of the riders you see on a broadcast of an event aren't earning a penny for being there. If we switch from the mode to the median, the average is marginally higher with the average rider getting paid $10,000-20,000 USD per year.

One other conclusion we can draw from this data is that riders either get paid relatively well or not that well at all. So, while 51.65% of riders earn less than $20,000 USD, nearly a third of pro riders get paid more than $40,000 USD per year and nearly a quarter earn more than $50,000 USD.

Some riders are able to transcend the sport of mountain biking and their relative celebrity means they can begin to earn a significant wage through non-endemic sponsorships. We know that a handful of the biggest riders in the sport are pulling in more than $500,000 USD but as several riders declined to answer this question, only one person confirmed making more than that amount. For the sake of anonymity, we have removed that person from the remaining graphs (although we have included them in the calculated averages) and won't be disclosing any more details about them.


Of all the riders surveyed, just under half (49%) were able to earn their full living from mountain biking without having to supplement it with another income source, while 21% told us they earn no money from the sport at all. As for the remaining riders, 16.2% said it was more than half of their total income while 13.6% said it was less than half. This means in total, 51% of riders have to have a second income stream.



Pay By Discipline
 

So what happens when we break down the numbers by discipline? Well, a number of things stick out, firstly, it seems that the patterns of pay are pretty consistent between disciplines. We can see that the majority of riders earn either very little or quite a lot with a dip between the two in the middle. The two disciplines that don't follow this pattern are slopestyle and cross country, where it seems like there's a fairly consistent pay scale across the sport.

Based off the numbers it appears that slopestyle riders get compensated the best, but it's worth noting that this comes from a very small sample size of only 18 riders.
Median wages:

Cross Country: 30,000-40,000 USD
Downhill: 5,000-10,000 USD
Enduro: 10,000 - 20,000 USD
Slopestyle and freeride: 40,000 - 50,000 USD

Mode wages:

Cross Country: 50,000 - 100,000 USD
Downhill: 0-5,000 USD
Enduro: 0-5,000 USD
Slopestyle and freeride: 100,000 - 250,000 USD

The other striking fact is how many professional top-40 enduro and downhill racers are paid less than $5,000 per year. For the enduro riders, it's almost a quarter and for downhill, it's nearly half. We have another article coming that will explore exactly why downhill riders seem to be paid less than other disciplines despite being an incredibly popular form of racing among fans, and a clear proving ground for the sport's halo products.

The discipline with the fewest riders not being paid is cross country. While mountain biking doesn't have the same minimum wage requirements of road cycling, it does appear that the culture of riders being paid for their racing has carried over to XC. Whether it's due to being an olympic sport, its competition with road cycling for top athletes, or something else isn't clear.



The Gender Pay Gap

There does appear to be a significant gender pay gap in mountain biking. For a start, a lot more top 40 women are earning less than $5,000 USD for their riding - 32.4% for women vs 23.4% for men.

There also seems to be a very clear ceiling for women's pay that's lower than the men's. For the most part, female pro mountain bikers' pay tops out at about $50,000 - $100,000 while some of the top paid men are paid significantly more than that.
Median wages:

Men: 20,000 - 30,000 USD
Women: 10,000 - 20,000 USD

Mode Wages

Men: 0-5,000 USD
Women: 0-5,000 USD

The reasons why women haven't been able to break into the higher brackets of pay with as much regularity as men are varied and complex, but issues surrounding media coverage, exposure, purchase influence, and prevailing attitudes within the sport all play a part. We'll be exploring this further in other articles and tracking it throughout the years as the survey continues as an annual event.



What makes up a pro mountain biker's pay packet?

Mountain bikers' contracts generally don't just include one round figure that they cash in at the bank every month. Most pro riders will have some sort of base wage but they are incentivized to increase their pay through bonuses that may include anything from results to social media posts to magazine front covers.

In fact, of the nearly 200 riders we surveyed, only 21.9% of them earned all their money through a wage alone. The largest group of riders (33.3%) earned 60-80% of their money through a wage but this was followed by 28.6% of riders who don't earn any money through a wage. This could put riders in a truly precarious position if an injury (or global pandemic) means they are unable to complete any of their bonuses.




What do sponsors value?

We asked riders what their sponsors value the most in an athlete and the majority of riders (50.5%) said that it was consistent results in their chosen discipline. A further 13% of riders said it was strong one-off results. If you ever wonder why athletes get so nervous at each event, this is a good illustration of why - nearly two-thirds of them will be trying to justify their wage over the next few minutes or hours and they generally get less than 10 chances a year to do so.

Other high-scoring qualities for riders include an active social media presence (23.2%), face-to-face interaction with the public (6.1%) and media coverage from events (3.5%).

Again please note, this is what riders believe their sponsors value. It may not reflect what their sponsors actually value. Anecdotally, we hear that very few sports marketing people are willing to spend much on top 40 athletes if they don’t bring something else to the table—strong social media presence, sick style for the catalogue shoot, a good relationship with a distributor in a key market, etc. Maybe we'll have to do an anonymous sport marketing managers' survey as well next year.



Do pro mountain bikers think they are paid fairly?

So, we've established that the majority of mountain bikers aren't making a fortune, but do they think their pay is fair despite this? After all, for most of these riders, being paid to ride your bike is a dream job, and they may be willing to give up the higher salary a 9-to-5 grind might bring in exchange for the lifestyle of a pro rider. For a lot of riders, there's more to their profession than simply earning a pay packet. The thrill of competition, the ability to ride their bikes full time, the equipment, and the travel that come along with it all factors into their career choices. Mountain bikers are also aware they aren't packing out stadiums, but equally their job carries a huge amount of physical risk and sacrifice.

We asked riders to respond to the statement, "I am paid fairly for what I do" and the responses are a mixed bag. 29.1% of riders agree to some extent, 43.4% disagree to some extent and the remaining 27.6% of riders answered the question neutrally.

When we break this down further, it won't surprise anyone to learn that the responses seem to track riders' wages. The largest amount of disagreement came from riders who earned 5,000-10,000 USD, where 89.48% of riders didn't think they were being paid fairly.





The results on this topic are interesting, and it's a subject worth digging deeper on. How much brands should be paying athletes that may or may not be influencing purchase decisions will be a major discussion point, but the big takeaway for us is that racing remains incredibly privileged. Even when they “make it” on the World Cup stage, many of these racers are depending on family support to pay for their racing. Stay tuned for further thoughts on athlete pay in the near future.

What do you think? Are pro riders paid fairly? Do you really buy products because of a rider placing top 40? Is the sport losing out on talent because of its lack of opportunities?


Editor's Note We rely on athletes' trust to carry out this survey, any attempts to identify riders will be deleted from the comment section



585 Comments

  • 946 77
 The gender pay gap isn't real in mountain biking. Men choose high paying disciplines like slopestyle and cross-country. But women on the otherhand choose lower paying disciplines like women's slopestyle and women's cross-country.
  • 196 44
 I was ready to get angry after the first sentence. Then I read the second and third, and I see what you did there. nicely done.
  • 32 30
 Actually surprisingly to see the 80cents to the dollar wage discrepancy hold up so well in the sponsorship world. I would have though it would have been a bigger gap.

*baseline personal view is that there shouldn’t be a gap
  • 327 81
 @usedbikestuff: Ultimately, when you control for all things, there is no gender wage gap (on average). A wage gap doesn't make sense. If I can get the same value while paying someone less, why wouldn't I? Why wouldn't there be all-women accounting firms, where they can have an extra 20% margin over other firms? The truth of the matter is that out in the economy, women leave and enter the workforce more often than men. If you compare never married women to men, they make more. Never married women to never married men, the women make more there as well.

In the cycling industry, sponsoring a woman simply isn't the same return as sponsoring a man. The ratings are lower for Womens DH- significantly lower. I wish this was otherwise- I don't skip the womens broadcast, but thats what it is.
  • 133 16
 @hamncheez: Nailed it Hamncheez. People don't like hearing that a bivariate analysis is not enough to truly understand what is going on here.
  • 27 2
 @hamncheez: thanks Milton
  • 52 96
flag usedbikestuff (May 4, 2021 at 10:20) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: saying it isn’t a thing doesn’t dismiss it being a thing. The bureau of labor statistics seems to conflict starkly with your opinions and I just did a quick google search to find their numbers. I don’t get paid to understand those things nor am I an economist.

As far as what you get with sponsorship, 2020 is a great example of still getting something for paying athletes. For every Danny hart post, I saw twenty Emily batty posts. Which sponsor got their money’s worth. Pink bike’s survey would be better to split up the “what my sponsors care about” by gender. Gwin is fast and all, but I’m not buying Kenda any time soon. Being fast is not the be all end all.

Be there. When you wake up and scroll… be there. When you take a dump… be there. When you go to sleep and death scroll…. Be there.

For better or worse, I’m only one thumb flip away from Batty’s sponsors being seen by my eyeballs and in this Facebook day in age that means more than any race win if I were a sponsor.
  • 108 50
 @usedbikestuff: Source from the BLS please? When you control for all things, like years in the workforce, hours worked per week, years in current field, etc, there is no wage gap.

Women on average choose lower paying professions. Within each profession, women tend to get paid less than their male peers because they leave the workforce more often (typically for child bearing) and have fewer years experience. They also work less hours per week (typically for childcare), put in less overtime, work in less dangerous areas, work after hours less, etc. This is changing as women have fewer children, and start bearing children at older ages. Even now women graduate college at much higher rates than men, and in another decade as these graduates build their careers, the simplified, top level analysis of the mythical wage gap will nearly disappear.
  • 11 2
 maybe female rippers will not sign a DH or slopestyle contract for the few shekles that are offered. I mean just think about it maybe a handful of females are paid less than half riding the same events.
  • 52 78
flag pcledrew (May 4, 2021 at 10:46) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez:

1. Your argument as hypothetical business owner actually supports the reason why there is a pay issue. In your hypothetical situation, perceived value drives offered salaries down, because as a business owner you'd expect less return on your cost if you're a bigoted arse.

2. I like how you say it doesn't exist, then neatly carve out a statistical fishbowl in which it seemingly doesn't, without evidence I might add.
  • 99 43
 would you expect the 85th best rider in the world to make as much as the top 5 riders in the world. if the answer is no why would you expect a female, who would not even be able to compete in a junior male race, to make as much as a male just because of gender. A female slopestyle rider in not going to generate the same profit that a male slopestyle rider generates for their employer so why pay them the same. Equality of opportunity not equality of outcome.
  • 48 12
 @hamncheez: very true... also, taking into account supply and demand when it comes to sports. For instance, the viewership of the WNBA is abismal when compared to the NBA...so the pay should reflect that. But in other sports like tennis...the viewership is fairly close between men's and women's so the pay is closer. Equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome.
  • 43 112
flag Almostredbike (May 4, 2021 at 10:57) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: when you control all things? What sort statement is that? Total bs! I so hope you are trolling cos that crap you wrote is so misinformed it’s laughable.

Maybe that are elements that relate to you f*cked up culture and its perpetuating pseudo christian misogyny

Just to take one of your many total bullshit comments: Within each profession, women tend to get paid less than their male peers because they leave the workforce more often (typically for child bearing) and have fewer years experience. Bullshit! Paid parental leave e.g. Norway, no issue. Why do women have to look after the children? Me caveman! Me provider!

Take any other point and apply to a more development nation and they fall apart.
  • 12 14
 @littermac: You have to consider how the employer is making money off the rider? Are they promoting gear/clothing etc? Then consider that 50% of the population is female and female riders are buying gear based on female pro riders recommendations, not male pro riders. So a female pro could be making = amounts of money for the employer. But in reality, there are less female than male pros, so each female pro is actually promoting to a larger share of the market. Most events are free to attend (Crankworx for example) so the public aren't paying to watch slopestyle males or females, the money made is from what the pro promotes for the brand (employer). and girls in biking (and other sports) is a huge and growing demographic and if you wanna be stereotypical, women spend more on clothes than men, so are likely a larger share of the consumer market, even though there is way less choice in the female lines.
  • 4 7
 Ha! Was going to post an angry comment until I got the joke. :-)
  • 31 12
 @hamncheez: spot on. Dollars chase ROI. People seem to think that its about equal pay for equal 'work', but its really about equal pay for equal economic performance.
  • 22 0
 In netball, men get paid way less (if at all) compared to women's netball.

Its all about supply and demand.
  • 35 14
 @Almostredbike: When you take time off of work, no matter the reason, when you return your productivity typically drops. If a racer takes two years off to have a child (like Rachel is doing, and my respect for her has never been higher) you won't be as fast as before, but more importantly your marketing value has dropped. Take Gwin- he was injured in mid 2018 and stopped winning. Its comparable to if he had to take time off- his value to his sponsors dropped.

Even in countries that have equal paternal/maternal leave laws, women tend to take more time off for child bearing than men. And thats ok! Theres more to life than sitting in a cubicle 45 hours a week making your boss rich. Women live longer, healthier, and tend to be happier than men precisely because they work fewer hours and fewer work-years.
  • 30 12
 @Madfella: In modeling the wage gap is too big! Women make way more than men! We need equality!!


/sarcasm>
  • 1 0
 I would bet the "gender pay gap" in this sport is the best across all sports. I was very surprised!
  • 15 4
 I don't believe there is a women's slope rider worth sponsoring at a high level. I believe the difference between men and women in slope should be similar to gymnastics or figure skating. It's a technique sport, not a power or size dependent one. In figure skating, they all do the same stuff, but women typically do one less rotation than men, and less amplitude. But the level is very close in most respects. Someday women will shred like Semenuk, and at that point they should be paid like him.
  • 18 2
 @chazzaster: its unlikely that 50% of dollars spent are from women, let alone 50% of riders are women unfortunately. How many ladies have you seen at the trails with 8k+ bikes and fully kitted to match vs the men? Not many.
  • 36 12
 @littermac: Ultimately, its not a matter of who is "faster", its who brings more value to sponsors or riders directly. For instance, one of the best paid mountain bikers out there doesn't even race- its the Seths Bike Hacks guy. He makes more from his youtube channel than 99% of sponsored racers.

The fact is, mountain biking is a male-dominated sport, and men tend to look for advice on what they should buy from other men. Men tend to prefer mens sports (women tend to prefer watching mens sports too). How much of this is cultural vs innate nature, and how much of this should be changed is debatable. But thats the reality- the demand for high paid womens athletes among sponsors is less because demand for viewing womens athletics is less.
  • 23 2
 It is all about ratings and selling product. That is why women models make 148% more than male models. I totally fine with that. I wouldn't want to be a model. Lol.
  • 20 32
flag dirktanzarian (May 4, 2021 at 12:17) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: Great job! You've used the results of inherent biases to prove that there are no inherent biases.

Honestly, there probably are some pretty smart organizations out there taking advantage of some of the gender pay challenges. I would imagine most of them are approaching it from a "wow, there are lot's of women out there that are great candidates that aren't getting opportunities!" perspective rather than the "wow, we can really cut back on our salaries if we only hire women" approach you are alluding to.

And, you know...I wonder why the women's ratings are lower, right? "Hey, this year, we're going to cut our broadcast down to the top 2.5 riders. We'll show you the top 2, but if you're in 3rd we're only going to bother if you're sponsored by Red Bull." No representation. No interest. No future.
  • 29 12
 @dirktanzarian: Its the other way around. They cut the broadcast time for women because the ratings were so low.

The bottom line is, the wage disparity can mostly be explained by hours worked per week. If we simplified things and measured everyones pay based on hours worked, as if we were all hourly employees, then the wage gap would nearly disappear. Its hard to argue that someone shouldn't be paid more when they work more hours per week.
  • 43 9
 @dirktanzarian: 'inherent bias' is one of those left wing ideas that gets trotted out cause it produces feelings, yet falls apart when it meets a set of facts that don't give a rip about feelings. What @hamncheez did was give you factual/rational rebuttals. Show me the system of inherent bias, it's rules and it's tenets and I'll happily war against it with you, but really all you got it "well...there must be inherent bias".
  • 20 0
 probably because people don't watch women's racing as much?
  • 9 17
flag TheSuspensionLabNZ (May 4, 2021 at 12:46) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: is this Jordan Peterson?
  • 19 37
flag sturn (May 4, 2021 at 13:01) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: Classic “where’s your data?” Where’s your data on lower returns when sponsoring women in mountain biking? All you mentioned was women’s DH ratings.
Looks to me like you’re using silly economic theories to justify underpaying women. All your points above are odd and outdated.
Have you told your mom and all the women in your life about your theories on the gender pay gap? They might be a good sounding board, might even provide some real world insight.

Here’s my data and a bunch pre packaged rebuttals. www.epi.org/publication/what-is-the-gender-pay-gap-and-is-it-real/#epi-toc-18
  • 8 7
 @hamncheez: This has a way of coming across as saying women do not know their own true value and accept a lower wage because that's what they think they are worth or that they are desperate and will take whatever they can get. I seriously doubt either is true. I don't think the turnover of women in the workforce has anything to do with the observed wage gap. I would also ask why are ratings for women's racing lower? Is just because of a lack of competition? If so the industry should be recruiting a larger field, and frankly men's and women's should be limited to fields of equal size. Now I do wonder if women have better ratings in some disciplines like XC perhaps, than men, or if men are favored across the board simply because the bulk majority of mountain bikers are, sorry to say, still men.
  • 17 12
 @hamncheez: Rather sad that, to be a mom, is basically a penalty working against you in the workforce. I'm not sure that I would agree that women choose lower paying professions, I think they may be forced by circumstance to accept lesser paying professions. Funny how we complain about slowing population growth and lack of skilled workers, yet we penalize women for wanting to have children and have a respectable career. What gives?
I would also add that Overtime should not be a measure of one's commitment to their elected profession. Overtime is simply a tool for an organization that does not know how to set reasonable deadlines for the workforce that they have. A well-managed organization does not need overtime to deliver to its clients.
I would agree though, men seem to have a greater willingness to accept risk; maybe we're just dumber and have so sense of self preservation (we did start the mountain biking thing first).
You may be right about your projections though, their a lot of women rising through the high paying ranks due to the heavy promotion by parents in the 1990's and 2000's for girls to go to school. I think we've got another decade or so though before the wage gap really disappears and that'll come from more women being in leadership roles or simply as hiring managers.
  • 6 0
 @littermac: You're assuming coed racing. It's a known fact that men are generally bigger, stronger, and faster than women. The two sexes are just genetically built that way. Makes no sense to measure their performance directly against one another as that would be unfair. Racing isn't about absolute numbers anyways, it's about relative performance. Comparing a 120lb woman against a 180lb man is not going to be the same even if they're of equal fitness and muscle build. "A female slopestyle rider in not going to generate the same profit that a male slopestyle rider generates for their employer" why not? Should be no difference as far I'm concerned. If they can both lay down the same tricks, then it's a fair game.
  • 7 3
 @hamncheez: Ok, now that is hilarious and so true. A ripped male model has no chance against a busty, toned, blonde bikini model. Weird how that works.
  • 10 8
 @whitebirdfeathers @hamncheez Rather than discounting the women’s category entirely perhaps it would be a better idea to support it. As more women start riding the women’s field will grow, the racing would be closer and it would receive more coverage for sponsors.

I’m a guy so can’t say for sure but suggesting that women should have to compete against men in the same category to be paid equally seems like a great example of an attitude that would discourage them from joining the sport or perusing a racing career.

I agree it must be difficult for sponsors to justify paying men and women equally at the moment but rather than just trying to justify the gap surely the thing to do is to support women’s categories and promote their side of the sport more. Two equally exciting and well covered races a weekend wouldn’t be a bad thing.

It’s mad that this is the top comment on one of the most popular mountain biking sites. Think about how it’s portraying the sport.
  • 7 13
flag roadieinmtbclothing (May 4, 2021 at 13:36) (Below Threshold)
 @Almostredbike:Make me a sandwich.
  • 14 3
 @manuelandphillipe: I hear you but...
men will always be faster, go bigger and go gnarlier. The fastest women's time in most events is usually not even as fast as the way junior boys times (true for cycling, track, swimming etc), and while you can say "women are going bigger in slopestyle all the time" (which is true) when you start with very small tricks you've got a long way to go to reach rampage and crankworx men's level. So sure, if you had all the money in the world you'd support both equally, just because it's fair. But since there are many dollars attached to it, you go with the bigger, faster, gnarlier...just like in pretty much every other sport.
  • 3 0
 @Hayek: hayek...ur one of my fav authors!
  • 5 0
 The wage gap is there, for a lot of real world reasons. It doesn't account for quality of life though. What brings more value to life when you're on your deathbed? Time with family, bookoo bux, having a slightly nicer bike than your friends?

We all as individuals, men and women, need to choose paths that bring the most benefit to ourselves and to those around us. A wage gap, which clearly exists, is not the problem we need to solve. The world is becoming more equal in opportunity over time. As everyone gets all up in arms over making slightly more or less than anyone else, people get wrapped up in the wrong things. Life is about quality, not quantity....

inb4 more money makes you happier. We don't need to be millionaires to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.
  • 1 7
flag bulletbassman (May 4, 2021 at 14:19) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: maybe in high skilled or educated jobs. But when it comes to service industry the wage gap is huge in both management and hourly workers.
  • 6 0
 I'd like to see the correlation between concussions/spinal injuries incident rate and pay.
  • 2 0
 @chazzaster: but women are not promoting to 50% of the population and neither are men, I know a lot more males that I follow MTB than women.
But saying that I agree with your statement about woman spending more a higher ratio of female riders I know do have decent kit compared to the same ratio in the males. But there’s a lot of ways these arguments can be swayed.
  • 43 6
 @sturn: The Economic Policy Institute is a left-leaning political think tank. Very biased. I read the article (its not a study, its not peer-reviewed). It dismisses multivariate analysis, and just states "it [modern, statistical multivariate analysis] cannot capture how discrimination affects differences in opportunity."

Here is the Bureau of Labor and Statistics own report, the most relaible source for data. You'll notice the tone difference between it and your left-leaning activist article- it doesn't try and push a political agenda. It just publishes the data: www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-databook/2019/home.htm

It finds that women more often work part time. Part time workers, no matter the gender, make less (they work fewer hours) AND they make less per hour. Regardless of gender.

It finds that for full time workers, men work 14% more hours per week (see table 22). That alone accounts for most of the perceived 20% pay gap.

I shouldn't have to talk to my wife, daughters, sister, or mother about the pay gap. Science is science, no matter who is saying it. The data is there. The economic theory is there. My gender doesn't matter.

Once again, your source is a biased political think tank pushing an agenda. I read it, and if you want I can PM you a line-by-line rebuttal of that article, but this comment is already too long.
  • 9 3
 @bulletbassman: That is not what the available data suggests.

It all goes back to the Hedonic Wage model- when biases are strong enough to show up in the data (the classic thing to study was discrimination against Jews in the 1920s America) you can model it. You can put a price on peoples preferences for discrimination. If I pass up a Jewish candidate at my company, and hire someone less competent simply because they are not jewish, that costs me in a dollar amount that can be measured. There is no such data today that can demonstrate a gender wage gap in any area of the US economy.
  • 19 5
 @SuperHighBeam: We do not penalize women in the workforce. Mother Nature, or physics, or God or Gods created the universe such that when you don't do something for a while you aren't as good at it. If a saleswoman, who works 100% for commission, takes time off to have a child, when she returns her wages will be lower than her peers (both men and women) who did not take the time off because she will make fewer sales. Is this discrimination?

The fact is that women bare children and men don't. Our society is structured such that working moms take more time off for childcare than working fathers. I don't see anything wrong with this- the point of work is to enjoy life, we don't have life to work. This is why women live longer, healthier, more fulfilled lives than men.
  • 19 2
 @SuperHighBeam: You are completely misrepresenting what I'm saying. Women do know their true value (in mountain bike racing).

All racers are essentially salesmen/women, and women racers sell less. Look at this comment section. Is there a single woman commenting here? No, because mountain biking is dominated by men, and men are more responsive to other men selling them products. This is true of all sports.

I have kids. Nowadays, in the USA, kids are equally supported and encouraged to do sports. 5-7 year old boys and girls participate in organized sports at the same rate. By High School, 5 times as many girls have stopped participating. Girls, on average, don't enjoy sports in the same way boys do. Its just what it is, and thats ok.
  • 5 1
 @manuelandphillipe: Where did I discount the womens category?
  • 6 1
 @hamncheez: yeah you didn’t to be fair, my bad. Was originally just replying to whitebirdfeathers but decided to tag you in as well for the attitude bit.
  • 4 0
 @iridedj: I was thinking the same thing. @chazzaster made statements as if they were a matter of fact, but the statements didn't even make logical sense. This is a big problem in social media and main stream media... people writing their opinion as if it is undisputed fact.
  • 11 1
 @hamncheez: Fine points... and really they extend to all types disparity claims. When you consider all of the factors, a true disparity rarely ever exits. But gotta keep the narratives alive!
  • 2 7
flag manuelandphillipe (May 4, 2021 at 15:23) (Below Threshold)
 @preach: It’s a tricky one isn’t it, there’s obviously a very limited amount of money in the sport. What’s to say men will always go bigger and gnarlier though? I agree in certain disciplines men have a physical advantage so may always be faster over a race/race run. Women’s races can still be as good to watch though, watching riders on the limit posting split times within a second of whoever’s in the hot seat is exiting regardless of overall speed.

In disciplines like freeride women can surely be as good as men. It maybe just hasn’t happened yet because the sport is still growing.

Not bike related but Michele Mouton(rally driver) is a really good example of a women who was at the top of another male dominated sport. I’m sure that before she came along people said that women could never be as quick, basically just because it’s not happening at the moment doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
  • 6 29
flag riklassen (May 4, 2021 at 15:30) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: lots of tired tropes and assumptions here , its like I stepped into the 1950's reading your response. Starting with your assumption that women choose lower paying professions or choose to leave workforce for child rearing.

Nothing to do with systemic barriers to entry to some industries or that the man in the relationship is unwilling to take time off to raise the child.
  • 6 0
 @aharms: This is a nice thought... probably limited to a small percentage of adults, but still nice.

It also makes me wonder if there is anyone tracking the "work/life balance gap". If these overpaid men didnt work so much, and took more personal time... then we could close both the "gender pay gap" and the "work/life balance gap".
  • 20 4
 @riklassen: I have not used a single trope or assumption. This is data. Women take more time off for child rearing, and take longer maternity leave. That is data.

Your only valid point is that in partnerships, it may be true that men are less willing to take time off for child rearing (like picking kids up from school every day or staying home with a sick kid). Its also patronizing to assume women are all cowards, dominated by their husbands. Its so paternalistic to say women who choose happiness and home life over a cubicle must have something wrong with them. I don't pretend to try and tell men or women what to do. I will say that data shows working extra hours, and/or making more than $70k a year does not increase peoples happiness.
  • 1 24
flag riklassen (May 4, 2021 at 16:29) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: hahhahah your response is too funny and to be expected from someone advocating, women choose to work lower paying jobs etc.
  • 20 0
 @riklassen: You should start your own racing series. Then you could pay everyone exactly the same regardless of how they actually benefit your company financially.

I mean you seem to have all the answers about how to spend other people’s money.
  • 3 19
flag sturn (May 4, 2021 at 17:11) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: and you’re not biased?
  • 19 0
 @riklassen: this is a correlary and nothing more, but it does describe much of the variance that explains thr behavior of this central tendency: my wife is an architect (and incidentally kills it on a bike) and she made the decision this year to step back from work and focus on our two children. That was her decision, and she decided that the time with kids was much more important to her than the forgone income. She will make much less as a result, and that is what she wants and chose to do. She will show up in data as being paid less than her male counterparts working in architecture, and this because of her decision to focus on her children. Good on women who choose this, because it’s a thankless job. We fixate on GDP, wages, etc. when those measurable statistics do not tell us anything about actual living standards, mental health, happiness, or the like. The focus should be on making sure men and women are free to make the choices that they want and that will make them happy.
  • 12 1
 @sturn: facts aren't biased homeboy
  • 2 11
flag IamtheNIGHTRIDER (May 4, 2021 at 18:17) (Below Threshold)
 @pcledrew: I'm with you, predicating labor value on rigid gender roles is ridiculous. It's easy for people to sit there and say well it's simple supply and demand or that women make the choices that lead to wage disparity, but its just an inherently flawed logic.
  • 2 0
 @usedbikestuff: start exclusively buying the products women use and that'll probably happen.
  • 10 0
 @IamtheNIGHTRIDER: What exactly are you saying? I see a bunch of words, but I don't see any meaning. What makes it an inherently flawed logic? What logic do you propose in its stead? I think critical theories have their place, but they aren't prescriptive, so I'm left scratching my head wondering what logic you're evangelizing for here.
  • 3 8
flag mkpfaff (May 4, 2021 at 23:02) (Below Threshold)
 @Hayek:First, it’s laughable that anyone could consider a conversation on the pay gap to be anything but utter nonsense when it’s focus is f*cking professional mountain biking. It’s a complete outlier. The pay gap is real. People here are dancing around it’s root, not making a sound case against it. Second Fredrich Hayek was a rubbish economist. Nevertheless, you make a point worth noting. There should perhaps be systems place that help to level the field, so that one’s social standing does not preclude them from living a dignified and reasonably comfortable life. For instance raising a child should not be penalized by the market. It should be exalted. In economic terms it’s a no brainer.
But please, your talking about rich folks mountain biking!
  • 11 8
 @hamncheez: women often take more time off than men to raise children BECAUSE they are paid less.
  • 3 1
 @usedbikestuff: Well we know you haven't been following Emily for her results over the last few years...
  • 4 8
flag IamtheNIGHTRIDER (May 5, 2021 at 0:44) (Below Threshold)
 @Hayek: I thought it was reasonably clear, but your right, it never hurts to be explicit. When an employer decides to pay a women less than a man because they assume the woman will want leave her job to care for children at some point, that employer is using rigid gender roles as way of valuing labor. While this example is really crude it represents a really good starting from where you can start to think about all the potential consequences of that logic. @FatSanch sums the idea up nicely a little further down in the thread. I understand that wage disparity in sports can be attributed to a lot of other variables. However, I think we can all agree that women deserve equal pay for equal work, regardless of what logic you use to place a value on that work.
  • 3 8
flag fssphotography (May 5, 2021 at 3:14) (Below Threshold)
 One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the off balance sheet transfers of wealth and money from men to women. Typically the average female will probably have more dinners and drinks bought for her than the average man over a lifetime, if we average that number out say $20 per week of accumulated drinks and or meals paid for, just for being a girl, say between the ages of 20-60 over 40 years, that means the average women will probably accumulate $41600 of extra benefits off balance sheet.

If you add into that divorce payments and the like ( cough - Melinda gates) you will see that the off pay balance transfers that take place are much higher and should be taken into account to determine a more accurate gender pay gap.

Of course these are only ball park figures and nothing should be taken as science. It is worth noting that the younger generation has more equal attitudes to this slightly provocative but observed suggestion above.

Expectations and cultural bias should be also calculated in all this analysis, Things are becoming more equal, but we need to wait a while until the 30+ generation die off and the current more equal younger generation takes over.
  • 6 1
 @hamncheez: on the flip side...at least women specific bikes generally get the better color schemes.
  • 1 0
 Angry about what? @adamszymkowicz:
  • 6 7
 @mkpfaff @FatSanch @IamtheNIGHTRIDER Please, anyone please show me the data! Where does the idea of the pay gap come from? There is no data to support it! We shouldn't have to keep providing the data to disprove it- its up to you to provide the evidence that it does exist!

I can chase down evidence after evidence to prove that its very unlikely that Bigfoot exists, but the crypto-zoologists will always insist that Bigfoot is real because its hard to absolutely prove a negative. The same goes here. It is up to the person proposing the hypothesis to prove it, not the other way around. Someone, please, provide some data that women get paid less for the same work.
  • 6 0
 @chazzaster: In my admittedly limited experience women don’t make up 50% of the ‘serious’ MTB community. I’m lucky enough to live an hour from Highland Mountain, and whenever I go it is a ‘bro-fest’. There are a handful of women riding but it’s easily 5:1 men to women. Same at local trails for the most part. Why that is I can’t say. I do know just from our circle of friend with similar aged children (10 and under), the boys are building jumps and ‘sending it’ on the their MTBs and BMXs, the girls are ‘cooking’ virtual meals and playing house on Roblox. Is that the children or the parents?
  • 5 2
 @iridedj: picking up on this, for the women that are riding high end bikes / gear, how much of it was selected and purchased by a male partner...? My wife wants a comfortable saddle, it’s up to me to find it...
  • 2 4
 @hamncheez: I'm sure there are a lot of facts here, but is it the whole truth (and, I know, you didn't say it was)? Some of your analysis seems to be saying that a 40yo woman is the same as a 35yo man, if the woman took 5 years out of her career to care for her children. This would appear to indicate that during her 5 years of child rearing she did not 'grow' or learn new and valuable skills and / or knowledge that can be applied in the workplace. It also assumes that a workforce of all men or all women would be as good as a diverse workforce of mixed gender (and other differentiators).
I am a big fan of data and statistics; however, they often require thoughtful analysis and input from individuals to best understand the causes and potential solutions.
  • 1 0
 nicely done. i like what you did there
  • 5 3
 @jdsy2154: When did I say a woman did not "grow" if she took 5 years off for child rearing?

Again, to boil it down, if we look at industries that compensate partially or entirely with commission based pay, anyone who leaves the workforce for a significant period of time, and then returns will have lower pay FROM THEIR COMMISSION meaning fewer sales. Sales is a long process, where you have to build up contacts in your CRM, work with them, check in with them, and funnel them down to potentials, to clients, and eventually close the sale. If you take time off, you have to build your sales funnel all over again. This is both true for sales and a great analogy to anything you're doing. If I'm a programmer (I actually am) and I start a new job or return to my old job after significant time off, I have to relearn whatever program I'm programming for. I have to learn the latest security updates/vulnerabilities. I have to read about the latest libraries or techniques. If I'm a delivery Person I have to relearn my routes.

I never said anything about a homogeneous vs mixed gender workplace. The data on that is pretty bad, so I don't think there is good evidence one way or the other.
  • 9 2
 @tunafeesh: yup, when you've got no facts/stats to back up your position, resort to name calling...classic lefty/wokie move.
  • 7 1
 @mkpfaff: I don't think you would find a single person on this site that would stand here and make a normative argument in favor of pay inequity for any group -- it's simply nothing that anyone agrees with. But saying it is real is fraught. We are dealing in epistemological processes and systems rather than onotological ones. It's challenging to say anything is epistemological objectivity. I think the only thing people are trying to say here is that gender and pay is a complex topic that the media likes to claim is simple, and no social scientist worth his/her salt would agree with that. You just cannot boil pay variance down to a single covariate. I've never once seen total explanatory power in a single covariate -- it's an econometric and mathematical impossibility -- but journalists and politicians usually aren't great econometricians. Identity is a massively complex topic in social science and even gender as a covariate is simplistic. I'm not defending inequity of any kind. Our economics tend to ignore the subjective and normative. But I am saying that gender does not and cannot wholly explain the variance in pay. It may explain some of it, but even that is inconclusive in social science literature as gender covaries with additional traits that may also explain some portion of that variance. Social science is massively complicated -- each and every coefficient and covariate can turn into an infinite regress.

But stop giving the market ultimate power. The market is not structured to reward certain things -- it relays information about the price and scarcity of goods. Child rearing and thousands of other activities (including your and my ability to ride our bikes, or how we cook, or play the piano, etc) fall outside of the market and thankfully so. Not every whit of our lives needs to be accurately priced by a market.

Also, what on earth does Friedrich Hayek have to do with this discussion and who are you to say he is a rubbish economist? Is it is work on price theory and information that you disagree with?
  • 4 0
 @tunafeesh: solid argument there.
  • 8 2
 @AllMountin: "one day women will shred like Semenuk". yes, and on that day, the best man will shred like 2x Semenuk's. I just don't get why we won't have an open discussion that is entitled, "women and men are very physically different and will never be equal in physical strength or ability"
  • 2 0
 what is a man and how do I know when I see one?
  • 4 0
 @tunafeesh: Actually, I wrestled in high school and college, and can assure you that my neck is not skinny nor like a toothpick.

Also, what kind of sandwich? I'm going keto right now to lose some of the dad bod, but if its really good like a pastrami on rye I'll make an exception.
  • 4 1
 @hamncheez: "If you compare never married women to men, they make more. Never married women to never married men, the women make more there as well."

It very well may be true, however claims need citations.
  • 3 1
 @hamncheez: Citation needed*
  • 1 1
 @conoat: well said sir, well said.
  • 4 2
 @CaptainSnappy: this is PB, not RhodesChat.edu. if you think he is wrong, go prove it.
  • 8 0
 @ALargeCat: @CaptainSnappy Mariko Lin Chang, who ironically was trying to prove there was a gender pay gap, did a study on it in 2007, but its an academic publication so its behind a pay wall. You can still google summaries. But as far back as the 1970s, Thomas Sowell, Economist at Stanford, found the same thing: "As far back as 1971, single women in their thirties who had worked continuously since high school earned slightly more than men of the same description," Sowell wrote. "As far back as 1969, academic women who had never married earned more than academic men who had never married."

His publications are also behind a pay wall thats typical for academic journals. So way back, at a time when a woman couldn't get her own credit card without her husbands signature, the labor market still valued competence over preference for discrimination. If you pass up a woman candidate for a man of lesser competency, just to suit your internal bias/preferences, you incur a cost. Your competitor who then hires that woman is at a competitive advantage. Most people are not willing to reduce their income to suit their biases. This is why, empirically, its very, very hard to find evidence for discrimination anywhere where there is a relatively free market .
  • 7 0
 @hamncheez: Add Claudia Goldin, Harvard feminist, who also has spent decades searching for the wage gap, only to conclude that women, on avg., value "temporal flexibility" moreso than men and this manifests the most at the high end of career progression:

freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast
  • 6 0
 @carters75: I know right? All these people who have it all figured out about how to run a racing series and pay everyone $100K and turn a profit and have paid paternity/maternity leave, and amazing healthcare, etc. who somehow missed out on their calling to run a racing series and all the people who actually run racing series are total idiots (and sexists/racists, etc.). How does that happen?
  • 4 9
flag bonkmasterflex (May 5, 2021 at 10:12) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: You've literally just said there isn't a wage gap, then explained why the wage gap exists and is perpetuated in the same paragraph...

There scientifically IS a wage gap (look at the numbers) because women aren't given the support and chance to make the same wage. The end.
  • 8 2
 @bonkmasterflex: The "wage gap" is commonly understood to describe the following: man and woman working exact job with exact qualifications, competence, etc. (i.e., "like for like"), and the woman gets paid less than the man. Using the common understanding, there is no "wage gap" - at least in terms of it being a statistically significant phenomena (i.e., individual cases likely do occur, but are illegal and subject to prosecution).

The "wage gap" is not commonly understood to mean that we compare say a female part time teacher and a male partner in a law firm working 100/hrs a week. However, the "wage gap", as it is common presented in the media (and beyond), takes the lawyer/part time teacher comparison and grossly misleads the public by implying that its a like for like comparison. Only when you dig deeper do you discover that this is not true.

The "wage gap" is therefore rightly pilloried as a myth.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: www.yalescientific.org/2013/02/john-vs-jennifer-a-battle-of-the-sexes

This would count as evidence on the bais against women
  • 4 2
 @Tayed639: That is an interesting study. Similiar things have been done with job applications/resumes where the researchers used stereotypical "white" names and stereotypical " black" names (like Jay-Quan or something). They had similar findings.

The really interesting thing is that both of these don't actually result in lower employment rates or measurably lower compensation rates. There certainly is more room to study this, and why these reported responses differ from actual, observed actions.
  • 5 2
 @hamncheez: From what I've read, this has to do with the flaw in studying "implicit bias". Despite all the enthusiasm for the topic among activists, no connection between implicit bias and actual bias can be shown. This suggests that people may harbor biases but that once the rubber hits the road, those biases do not manifest in any appreciable way. And that's about the best I think we can practically expect.
  • 6 0
 @burnermtb: Yes, as I've said above, the Hedonic Wage Model puts an actual dollar value on peoples biases.

First off, it is my personal belief that we are all biased. We all have racist attitudes to some extent, and none of us are angels. That being said, not many of us are willing to spend money to practice our bias in the workforce; so few of us are that the bias does not show up in actual income/wage data.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: it’s not just your opinion — it’s a fact of the human condition.
  • 2 4
 @fssphotography: it's truly amazing that someone can be so utterly clueless of the fact that they are a complete mysoginist and speak as if they have something insightful to say. Sorry to break this to you, but many women accept "free" drinks and dinners in order to avoid getting raped or murdered. And let's not pretend you aren't expecting something in return.
  • 4 5
 @hamncheez: ok, well aside from the raw earnings data which is just a Google away. Here are a couple independent assessments

www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/03/22/gender-pay-gap-facts

www.epi.org/publication/what-is-the-gender-pay-gap-and-is-it-real

www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap

Now of course you can find other independent reports that disagree with these, but even the census reports a roughly 18% difference between men's and women's salaries (in a comparison of year round full time work). And if you look at reports from other governments you'll see really similar numbers. Here's an excerpt from a review of the subject from.

"According to data of international comparison, using the percentage of female wages to male wages, the gender wage gap in China was estimated to be 82.7% in 2002 (Song et al. 2017), while the same indicator in 2015 stood at 81.1% in the USA, 82.3% in the UK, 81.3% in Germany, 88.0% in Sweden, 67.6% in Korea, and 72.2% in Japan (Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training 2016)."

www.census.gov/library/working-papers/2020/adrm/CES-WP-20-34.html

ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/document.cfm?doc_id=48082

labourmarketresearch.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s12651-020-00279-5

I'm not an economist, so I'm not going to claim to be an expert on this, but I mean its pretty clear there isn't some big conspiracy out there women really do get paid less than men, and yes that is a problem.
  • 5 2
 @hamncheez: Agreed. And you can see it in many different ways. Think about how many people quite literally, deep down, pretty much despise many of their colleagues. Yet they come in, in day in, day out, do their job side by side with folks they'd never hang out with and leave with relatively little problem. I'd go so far as to say that basic employment dynamics are the best way that we've yet devised for people from wildly different backgrounds to cooperate, even if at the expense of having to squelch some negative feelings for others. Everything from employees protecting their own own interest (i.e., "I'm not going to lash out, lest I lose my job") to employers protecting theirs ("I'm not going to act on my biases against my own interests") tends to work against our biases actually manifesting; which is really the only relevant point.

I agree with you. Everyone has some measure of bias merely though observation and pattern recognition - which is normal, healthy, and impossible to get rid of (nor would it be desirable to do so). What we strive to do is discipline ourselves to take on both a "public" and "private" role. In your public role, you have to take on broader considerations besides mere rank bias.
  • 2 2
 @burnermtb: bro, you sound like a rational upstanding dude. props to you.
  • 6 1
 @IamtheNIGHTRIDER: Yes. There's a roughly consistent 15-20% raw earnings gap between men and women.

This is an irrelevant statistic and is not what most people think of when they think of the "wage gap". Most people do not consider it "gender discrimination" when a full time grocery store clerk is paid less than a male partner in law firm working full time any more than they would if the law partner were female and the clerk was male.

People are concerned the most about gender discrimination, which is illegal, and that's what they think of when they hear "wage gap". So, it's grossly misleading when the raw earnings gap between all men and all women working full time is trotted out to imply rampant gender discrimination. That's not what these studies imply.

The best, most accessible understanding of the "wage gap" can be found here:

freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast

I invite all those curious about the topic to listen. You don't need to be an economist to understand this. And that's why this topic is so imminently frustrating. Peoples' basic grasp of statistics is so lacking that massive numbers of people can be easily misled and manipulated.
  • 6 2
 @IamtheNIGHTRIDER: I'm not sure how many times I have to post this, but within the same fields, both full time, men put in more hours than women. They put in more overtime. They work more nights and weekends. They take less time off.

Male sales people sell more stuff than female sales people. Is it because they are "better" at sales, or is it because women have better work/life balance?
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: "Bias"... what an over used narrative. Of course everyone has bias, and it cant be, nor should it be suppressed. Its a core survival mechanism. Every living organism on this planet has natural bias... and it is by design.
  • 6 1
 @Baller7756: Yeah, most people do not think deeply about this issue. Bias is fundamental to human survival. In short, the universe contains an infinite set of variables. Human beings cannot process infinity. Therefore, human beings (and all living organisms) evolved to generalize and recognize patterns. Go look up "stereotype accuracy". There's a weird presumption that our biases are always wrong. You will find that humans are actually damn good at stereotyping. The issue is what do we do with our biases? In reality, the vast majority of people manage them quite well and in ways that do not harm others. Occasionally, we don't. In those cases, we regulate it. That's the best we can expect.
  • 8 2
 @hamncheez: I applaud you for engaging with the bumbling idiots who are tripping over themselves, without evidence or sources, to conform reality to their demands and rebuff the nice summary you gave up top. Disclaimer: facts won't convince those who don't value them.
  • 4 1
 @ultimatist: dude you rock
  • 4 0
 @IamtheNIGHTRIDER: two comments in and I don’t understand what you’re talking about when you refer to “that employer is using rigid gender roles as a way of valuing labor”. Everyone here is talking about whether a single independent covariate — gender — has full explanatory power over variance in the dependent variable — pay. What we’re talking about here is central tendency. What you would see in the data is this behavior manifesting itself in aggregate, and that using statistical controls for hours, occupation, education, age, zip code, traits of agreeableness, promotions, manager reviews, time off, maternity/paternity leave, etc. ad nauseum, you would see that the variance in pay boils down to a single covariate: gender. People are saying that this is a statistical impossibility, and it is. Gender May explain a very small portion of that variance, but it does not possess full explanatory power. Anecdotally, certainly some employer out there may at one point do that to one woman — and shame on that employer — but that does not constitute a statistical basis of discrimination based on gender. The explanatory power of the independent variable is shared among many, many coefficients and covariates, many of which are exceedingly difficult to measure.

And don’t even get started on rigid gender roles. That assumes strict homogeneity by both gender and employer. We’re dealing with epistemological processes. Roles and expectations are socially embedded, and those informal institutions they are embedded in are far too nuanced to be able to assume homogeneity in preferences, behavior, etc. across an entire gender.
  • 1 1
 What about the athletes who don't technically compete??? They put out video content... Why aren't they counted in this???
  • 1 1
 @aharms: I agree we don't need to be or aspire to be millionaires. Men and Women, though, should get compensated the same for the same job. Now, that said, I think it is fair to expect more of men than women in athletics/sports because men are generally bigger, faster, and for some odd reason, more willing to take big risks. Some will disagree with this sentiment though and think that women should be paid less since they cannot perform at the same level as men; that is awfully sexist though.
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: So your whole argument for justifying a wage gap between men and women is that women frequently step out and then step back into the workforce because they choose to have children. That would make sense, except, there are plenty of women that do not have kids or that took a very nominal break in the career to have kids and they still get paid less than their male peers. I'm sorry but if you've been working just as long and as hard you should get paid the same, not less. The data would seem to indicate that the gross majority of women are underpaid, not just the women that stepped from work for an extended period (more than say 6 months at a time) to have children. Men drop out of the workforce too for a variety of reasons, albeit less frequently than women, and yet the employment gap does not seem to impact their market worth. Your absolutely right about skill atrophy though.
  • 3 0
 @SuperHighBeam: I dont want to speak for @hamncheez... he/she has proven to be more than capable. However, that was not the "whole argument". The base of the point as I interpreted the posts, was that the large majority of men work more hours per day/week/month/year and have longer careers (for what ever reason(s)). This is responsible for the data used to push the wage gap narrative. @hamncheez specifically mentioned data that indicates women without children and who have worked equal time actually make more than men.

Do you really think that an employer would purposefully pay an equally qualified woman less than her male peers?
  • 4 0
 @SuperHighBeam: have you read any of my comments?

Several people have said I'm justifying a wage gap. Can you provide any evidence there is a wage gap?
  • 2 1
 I don’t think that’s true for all professions, although for some I have heard it to be the case. It’s like saying sexism isn’t real. There might be less of it and in some cases none, but to say it doesn’t exist is just ignorant @hamncheez:
  • 2 0
 @enduroNZ: when did I say sexism doesn't exist?

What evidence do you have for a wage gap "in some cases"?
  • 3 0
 @enduroNZ: as per typical you extrapolate that since some people may be sexist... That there is systemic sexism. One doesn't equal the other. Anecdotal is not empirical.
  • 1 2
 @Baller7756: I did see that @hamncheez specifically mentioned data that indicates women without children and who have worked equal time actually make more than men. In everything I have read on the subject, this generally has not been true. There are surely outliers, but for that circumstance, the statistical majority of women have been underserved.

"Do you really think that an employer would purposefully pay an equally qualified woman less than her male peers?" Yes. Why? That is the foundational question here. Data out there would seem to indicate this is the case more often than one would expect. Now I do think it is worth mentioning that rarely do two people possess the exact same career progression. This complicates the value proposition of employees as how to equate or compare the value of experience. Time alone is not an indicator of experience. Personal drive, ambition, attitude, interest, and commitment all play into that. Let's be honest, too, we all stretch the truth a bit on resumes to make us look better that we really are (many shades of gray there).
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: I have read all of your comments. I could provide evidence of a wage gap, but I would rather do something else. I have read plenty of articles and reports on the matter backed by extensive data but I do not archive or chronicle them and do not wish to dig them up.
  • 1 2
 @enduroNZ: Exactly. It's not an even distribution across all professions, but rather more common in some than others. Seems to be more prolific in white-collar work or even just STEM jobs.
  • 1 5
flag bulletbassman (May 10, 2021 at 12:35) (Below Threshold)
 @SuperHighBeam: don’t feed the trolls. Morons will be morons. He’s an idiot citing bad information that suits his biased beliefs. You can provide all the facts and examples you want and he’ll just keep beating his drum citing whatever new purposefully biased statistics he can find.

But he’s not spewing hate so who really gives a shit if he prefers to ignore reality.
  • 1 2
 @preach: pairing one's own experiences with the compiled results of others is not strictly anecdotal evidence. That is a random collection of data verified against the results of an empirical study. You are right though, if you only go off of only your personal experience and jump to a universal conclusion, that is a false extrapolation unless your personal experience is evaluating people from all walks of life which is unlikely. So you're right and you're wrong with this statement. Acknowledgment of systemic problems stems from aggregate collection of anecdotal experiences that indicate the same narrative, which leads to a more thorough and structured empirical study.
  • 3 0
 @SuperHighBeam: You don't have any data that supports a wage gap that is credible. Editorials or articles are not data sources. I cite the BLS. Thomas Sowell, in his work, included data from outside the US, but I don't know what his primary sources are.

The point is that no one can produce evidence of a claim of sexism in compensation. To accuse anyone of discrimination- a horrendous act- is a pretty big deal. And to so casually reply, when asked for evidence of the accusation, with "I could provide evidence of a wage gap, but I would rather do something else" is pretty evil in my estimation.
  • 4 0
 @bulletbassman: What bad information am I citing? Is the BLS bad information?

"You can provide all the facts and examples you want" what facts or examples have been cited? Not one. Just editorials espousing a political idea, not a factual report.
  • 4 0
 @SuperHighBeam: " results of an empirical study" once again, there are no peer reviewed empirical studies that can find a wage gap.
  • 4 0
 @bulletbassman: dude name calling is what you do when you don't have any evidence.
  • 1 4
 @preach: a life long experience in the service industry which is rife with wage differences and sexual discrimination. I’ve watched amazing female workers get paid less and have no opportunity to move up purely because their sexist boss. All while having to deal with constant discrimination their male counterparts do not have to deal with. I’ve spent most of my career mentoring females I respected and have multiple times have basically had to tell them you have no future here cause your boss is sexist and will never promote you or pay you fairly.

The shit my mom has had to put up with in her career. The shit my 27 year old sister has to put up with. Her boss hired his unqualified son to be her manager meanwhile he gives his daughter an allowance to stay home. You’re gonna say her boss doesn’t have any biases when it comes to hiring or wages?



This country is not remotely close to equality and none of ham and cheeses “sources” are quality. Every single government study shows women are paid less. The vast majority of independent studies show women are paid less. But if a couple of dumbass men want to use this thread to reconfirm their own biases you can feel free. Luckily it’s in my right to call you a moron and I can explain myself as little or as much as I want. People have tried civil discourse so I’ll just tell them not to bother trying to polish a turd.
  • 4 0
 @bulletbassman: it's still anecdotal as you are one person
As am I who's had an opposing experience
  • 3 0
 @bulletbassman: "Every single government study shows women are paid less", " The vast majority of independent studies", can you link these studies? Or at least name them?

Can you define "paid less"? If you work fewer hours, and receive less annual income as a result, would that count for your definition of "paid less"?
  • 1 2
 @preach: WNBA takes it to a whole different level...they not only pay less in absolute terms tied to the revenue, but they also pay the players a lower percentage of the league revenue. So even if WNBA made 1/2 of what the NBA takes in, the players would never see even 1/2 what the men make. I dug way into this a couple years ago when my daughter started getting serious about basketball. Starting pay for a WNBA player is insanely low. As in most other jobs that require that much skill and commitment pay better. My former brother in law played ball overseas for the same reasons the women do...he was making pennies on the dollar in US minor leagues. queenballers.club/basketball/wnba-salary
  • 1 3
 @preach: There is still bias in the workplace, and women are often treated differently because they are women. The gap is shrinking but it is still there, largely in part because some of the myths perpetuated (too much time off work, not as committed, don't work after hours) since I was a kid and women were aggressively joining the work force. The only place where you can be sure it isn't present is in careers with fixed pay scales (military, LEO, govt sector) but even there, these lingering myths can make it harder for a woman to advance. I used to manage a team of @ 1300 globally for a massive company, and saw this play out often. There is still a "good old boys club" in the US. Luckily we are making progress and I hope that my daughter is not impacted by the same bias some of her female relatives were. Though there are some industries that favor women, or where women are on a very level playing field.
  • 2 0
 @SprSonik:What are you talking about, 97 percent of all nurses and associated power positions held by females, as is dental hygiene, massage therapy, teachers and a plethora of other high paid professions where men are excluded by a matriarchal system horrifically biased against men. The vast majority of jobs wage is negotiated if you are uncomfortable with your current wage quit....go get a different job, demand to be paid more, if you are worth it to the company they will pay if not you will be looking for a new job. I have worked my entire career in female dominated workplaces and will tell you there is no chance of a male getting a supervisor position.
  • 3 0
 @SprSonik: you're missing the main point. The WNBA has less than half of the viewership and attendance than the NBA. Women don't watch sports, and men don't watch women's sports.
  • 2 0
 @preach: Less than half? Try 1/50th of the ratings.

@SprSonik Your points may be valid. They are a good hypothesis. There just isn't any data out there to support it.

I've begged people in this article and the new one specifically about womens pay in the sport for ANY evidence of a pay gap when the proper things are controlled for. I have yet to see it. Just a few editorials trying to say you don't need to control for things like hours worked or years experience.
  • 1 3
 @hamncheez: "You don't have any data that supports a wage gap that is credible", no I just haven't presented any references. Editorials and Articles that draw conclusions from referenced data sources are sufficient. I'm too lazy to go an dig up of the evidence. I trust those who are reporting scholarly articles that have reviewed the data to have made accurate conclusions. I guess I'm evil then...whoop-dee-do. Onto the next pinkbike article. I'm not sure why I even bothered responding.
  • 1 3
 @hamncheez: I beg to differ. There wouldn't be extensive volumes of articles pointing to referenced data if that were the case.
  • 3 0
 @SuperHighBeam: I can find extensive volumes of articles claiming the Earth is 6,000 years old.

I'll repeat: Can anyone please send me some credible evidence of a wage gap? Please? I'll even settle for dubiously credible evidence that I can at least read and address.
  • 1 4
 @hamncheez: Lol. Sure there may be articles, but with references that back them up, ha yeah right since there are none. Nice try!
  • 2 0
 @SuperHighBeam: #tool. #wokie
#leftieNoBrain
  • 2 0
 @SuperHighBeam: So thats a no
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: Of course that's a no. That guy was just spuing media narratives and stating his manipulated opinion as fact. Lots of that going around these days. Dont know who to blame... his laziness, or the institutions that peddle their personal and political opinions as facts to the masses.
  • 4 0
 @SuperHighBeam: Really, the "wage gap" is not an issue. Most [good] feminists acknowledge this. It's only activists keeping it alive b/c they have to in order to stay relevant.

There are relevant sociological conversations to be had that are perhaps tangentially related to gender, bias, etc. in context of this issue. But, gender pay discrimination is not one of them. The issue of gender pay discrimination been studied extensively and for a long time. The data is actually very "rich", as Claudia Goldin (Harvard feminist), describes it. The conclusion is that gender pay discrimination occurs, but is statistically rare. For that which does occur, it is illegal and can be prosecuted. If you are aware of gender pay discrimination cases, I would invite you to contact your local equal opportunity employment agency (every state has one). You don't even have to pay for a lawyer. The government investigates claims for "free."

If you want to talk about possible "bias" in this context, you should be focused more on why men and women make markedly different career/life choices at the group level. I will warn you, however, that when you do that, do not be surprised if you do not find the bias you're looking for or any definitive answer really. The question of "why" any one person or group of people do anything has vexed scholars and philosophers for millennia. Some questions are perhaps unanswerable - at least in terms of a universally understood consensus.

It strikes me that this entire endeavor is, at a certain point, stupid. It's like college dorm lounge bong session idiocy. At a certain point, we have to just live and accept the world for what it is. Life is actually short and should not be spent in pointless abstractions. Most normal people today understand that no individual man or woman should be stopped from their dreams but, obsessing over why women and men, as a group, navigate the world differently and assuming that if they do, some pathology must explain it, is just neurotic.
  • 1 1
 @burnermtb: Very well stated! I have nothing more to add to this discussion. You have summed up the situation pretty well. The wage gap in most cases is a non-issue. The rare cases that tend to garner all the attention tend to be in higher-level positions which are inherently far less numerous by default. Tangentially related to this discussion, I look forward to the day when we as a society are not secretive about our compensation levels and when employers do not hide what they pay their employees. Transparency goes a long way in raising morale amongst a workforce.
  • 1 3
 @Baller7756: "stating his manipulated opinion as fact" Please, c'mon. This is a difficult topic to accurately characterize with generalizations since those generalizations are easily taken out of context. Wage gaps do exist in niche parts of the economy. I will accept your claim of laziness. Commenting on Pinkbike takes far less time than it would take for me to go and dig up the literature that I've already read to support my arguments. I have better things to do with my time than spend hours digging up data to support an inconsequential discussion on Pinkbike. I'm not wrong, but I've probably not done a good job of explaining in what circumstances I am right.
  • 3 0
 @SuperHighBeam: Transparency sounds nice in theory but in practice, it may not be desirable. I think the only way you could ever do it, and avoid turning the workplace into an intolerable, unending brawl, would be if all employers instituted mandatory and defined pay structures (similar to like say how the Feds do it). But, if you did that, then you'd be both seriously undermining your ability for higher pay and also greatly constraining the flexibility of businesses - particularly small businesses - to develop economic models that are sustainable. In addition, there are lots of businesses that do not lend themselves well to defined pay structures - like say sales. Sales, and many other areas of business, heavily rely on incentives which are, by design, intended to create pay "gaps" between employees. This is because in sales, you WANT inter-employee competition to encourage more sales.

Without evidence of widespread pay discrimination against women, and with a ton of evidence that women and men make different career/life choices, I think transparency is a solution in search of a problem.

Perhaps the better "solution" here is less policy based and more cultural based - and something which I think many PB members could get on board with. Maybe what we should be doing is accepting the choices of women as, in fact, their free choices derived from their agency and LISTENING and LEARNING from women, not measuring them against men and then searching for an "enemy" when they don't exactly "match up." Maybe we need to be actually tolerant of actual difference and actual diversity. When I do that, the central message women are telling me is: "work is not the only important thing in life, maybe you should spend more time doing something you love, like mountain biking." Huh...
  • 4 0
 @SuperHighBeam: "Wage gaps do exist in niche parts of the economy" Which niche parts? Can you name them? What data do you have to support this conclusion?
  • 1 2
 @burnermtb:

With Glassdoor and Payscale now frequently broadcasting compensation for various positions, I feel like we're virtually at the point of standard transparency. I can't imagine how much time is wasted by job applicants to go through a vetting process only to step away from a job prospect just because compensation was a question mark left to very end and found to be underwhelming or unattractive. "Maybe what we should be doing is accepting the choices of women as, in fact, their free choices derived from their agency and LISTENING and LEARNING from women, not measuring them against men and then searching for an "enemy" when they don't exactly "match up." I'm all for this so as there aren't complaints about pay disparity because of their choices. I guess it bothers me that we penalize women for having children, but as a country we need women to have children to sustain or even grow a population, but we also need to respect that many if not most women want to have a family AND a career. It may breed jealously amongst men, but perhaps motherhood should be incentivized (to an extent, say two kids) and compensated for the first 2-3 years of a childs life (i.e until they have weaned). Seems a rather unfair choice for women to have to choose between.
  • 1 2
 @hamncheez: I'm done here.
  • 2 0
 @SuperHighBeam: you never began bruh, facts care nothing for feelings
  • 4 0
 @SuperHighBeam: I think it's not helpful to look at things like this as "punishment". For example, I used to work in a big city where I made more money. I hated it, though, because city life wasn't for me - I couldn't mtn bike as much as I wanted, for example. So I moved to an area where, among other things, I can mtn bike often (I will be riding a bunch this w/e). But, I took a pay cut. But, it's also more affordable, my hours are more manageable and I now own a home and have a kid on the way. I don't look at the pay cut as "punishment", rather a tradeoff that came with costs and benefits.

We have to get out of this mindset that work = good, family = bad. This is implied by the idea that trading work for family is "punishment". It's not. It's a tradeoff and one which more women than men appear to be willing to make but, I would argue, more men should be willing to make too (within reason, of course - someone has to work). Work is not "good". It's not "bad" either. It is, however, necessary. That is the more healthy way to look at work.

I think this is the byproduct of equality activism. In order to sell an equality movement, you do actually have to "sell" the thing you're advocating to be equal to. So, in this context, what happened was that effectively, "work" got romanticized into this trope of like say a bunch of dudes sitting around in fancy offices drinking scotch and hitting on the secretary. But, if you think about it, this was never true for the vast majority. Work, for most of human history, was back breaking labor (working in coal mines, for example) and men doing those jobs were quietly miserable and missing their families.

At the same time, there's always going to be someone willing to do that miserable thing and for that, they should be paid more. And we need those people. So, for example, if a female lawyer wants to charge $1K per hour for her services, she can't say "sorry, can't take your 4:00am call, I'm taking care of my kid". This is not b/c we're "punishing" her, it's because there's someone else (typically a man) willing to take the 4:00am call and get paid $1K/hr for his troubles. And that person will have the benefit of a "better" career BUT at the expense of having to work at 4:00am. That's the harsh truth of the "top"...the worse your job is, the more you get paid. Most people have it backwards in their minds.
  • 1 0
 @burnermtb: Im like 98% in agreement with what you have said here. As long as your decision to exchange income for family time doesn't include you now partaking in any government assistance programs. Essentially wealth redistribution from those still committed to higher income and wealth building
(for family security) while sacrificing family time to do so.
  • 429 2
 Stay in school, kids.
  • 33 1
 @dolores: roadie mostly
  • 21 1
 @jaydawg69: shaved legs
  • 20 1
 (no wonder riders are earning their 'salary' from YouTube ad revenue)
  • 9 42
flag likeittacky (May 4, 2021 at 10:25) (Below Threshold)
 Don't listen to him its a brainwashing program and i'm not gonna pay for your College bail out for you to get a degree and probably for something you will wind up not even using ! You want You pay for it!!!
  • 20 0
 Kiddos, get a worthwhile degree with upwards mobility and good earning potential. Colleges will gladly take your 50K to 200K and give you a worthless degree that goes nowhere.
  • 3 0
 so basically you have to be a super human. compete at a high level in mtb and also have a second career to live comfortably.
  • 3 0
 @kawkaw: like fabien barel for example
  • 2 2
 @likeittacky: That's a good point, no society could possibly benefit from a more thoroughly educated populus. smh

Unironically, access to education has been restricted for literally a thousand years. In medieval times only the richest people could read. The same thing happens today where the best degrees are prohibitively expensive to obtain, that's based on family income and intelligence less so. It's bs and we need to move past it.
  • 5 0
 @aharms: It's true that the historically "best" degrees are prohibitively expensive, but it is no longer true that you need to go to Harvard to be successful. Millions of people can attest to that. If anything, the Ivy League brand name is becoming tarnished.
  • 1 0
 Be curious to know about how riders manage paying their taxes. Especially if you're getting paid from various international companies in different currencies etc.
  • 1 0
 @burnermtb: That's true, good point
  • 1 0
 @burnermtb: High tech companies used to pretty much only hire graduates from Ivy Leagues. Then they found out that many of them couldn't do the job well. So, now the high tech companies base much more on work experience and skills rather than the school you graduated from.
  • 268 19
 I would say most likely they are all paid "fairly". It's all voluntary, you are paid what you are worth to your employer or sponsor. If someone else thinks you are worth more, they pay you more. Fair.

Now are they paid a number you'd expect based upon their ridiculously high-level of skill, effort and time they've put into their craft? Now that's a whole different story.
  • 145 3
 This is a well thought out, nuanced take and it's making me uncomfortable.
  • 11 1
 And risk envolved, and age period.
MTBers are competitive between early 20ish to 30ish?
  • 34 4
 In a truly free market that had no collusion, open access, many options for anyone, no bias, then yes, you would be correct. But the totality of human existence seems to point that such ideal situations in society rarely ever come together. In this situation (professional mountain biking), I tend to agree with you, but in general, I think the stated philosophy is wrong and harmful to society as a whole.
  • 19 2
 "Fair pay" is such a subjective term. On one hand their job takes more skill and more practice/training than most. Compared to athletes or entertainers (thats what they are, really) they are underpaid. On the other hand being a pro rider or athlete in general doesn't really contribute to society the way many other peoples jobs do. Its quite a frivolous pursuit.

Yupstate is bang on though. To make it black and white, "fair" is what the market will determine is your worth and if the entire job market says your worth the same amount, then you are being paid fairly.
  • 3 15
flag vhdh666 (May 4, 2021 at 10:53) (Below Threshold)
 Yes @yupstate 's thoughts are good. But I partly disagree regarding the 1st thought: they're probably paid fairly compared to their own gender. Cross-gender it's not fair
  • 33 5
 @bikeparkmemes: I really dislike the 'doesn't contribute to society' argument. It's a really cheap and easy way to devalue the worth of someone and the work they do. If you are interacting with society in a positive way you are contributing to society. It's a very close cousin to 'well anyone could do that job, so for that reason it shouldn't pay very much.'. The job still has to be done, and many of these 'anyone could do them' jobs are essential to society. Mountain bikers inspire people to ride themselves, get in shape, get outside, challenge themselves. Seems pretty valuable to me. It is both entertainment and art, and these two things I would argue are essential to society.
  • 2 1
 @shawndashf1: that's great, thanks!
  • 10 2
 @FMHUM: I honestly think there is collusion in mountain biking. I've assumed this since hearing a few podcasts and watching a few videos in which riders noted that companies ask them to keep their pay quiet. It seems brand managers like to talk amongst themselves, but hope the same isn't occurring among riders.
  • 4 6
 The pro’s prove the bikes work at the highest level usually by risking life and serious injury and most of them are doing it for parts and entry. The amount of money they sell these products for and how much these companies make from selling these products, it’s a joke how little they pay their professional athletes that’s train all year around usually with a second job to make ends meet.
  • 3 1
 @jcc0042: just like the work place. the management knows the employees wages, but no good comes from employees talking about their wages.
  • 21 0
 Not nearly cynical enough for me. Smile In my experience working for various companies, they often think you ARE worth more than they're paying - They may even *know* you're worth more! - But they think they can *get away with* paying you less.
Because they don't believe you'll have the balls to actually leave, amongst other reasons - Not least of which is that employees seldom share salary information with each other. We don't like to speak publicly about what we get paid.
And this only hurts the workers, ultimately. I wonder how many of these pros know what other sponsors are actually paying riders in their discipline? Or even their own team mates?
  • 3 0
 That's the problem with choosing to do something really cool fire s living. They're are always finds of people willing to do it for free? Can there be 1000 Aaron Gwins? Nope, but you can pay one of them and then have one of the thousands of kids able to stay within 10 seconds of him ride for a few sticker and juice box and feel like they've scored the mother lode.
  • 7 1
 @thenotoriousmic: I would still say its "fair" though. Risking life and injury is their choice and if it wasn't worth it to them for the money they are paid, they could stop. Heck I do alot of product testing risking my life and inuring myself all the time! The manufacturers don't even know I'm doing it and I pay them! LOL that sounds unfair!

Now something like medical or beauty product testing on animals?? That's product testing that really isn't fair and they don't get a choice. :-(
  • 8 0
 @shawndashf1: except the difference is that this job doesn’t haven’t to be done. The value added from a pro is the question. In terms of ticket sales for events, then yes they are required. This is why big league unions have a share of ticker revenue.

The value added to a bike brand itself is the question, does anyone buy a slope style bike in actual numbers? No. Does Rogatkin doing a million rotations take skill? Hell yes.

Would I sell more bikes on a shop floor now that Miranda Miller is on Kona? No.

They are performers and that frankly isn’t a job that is paid by the manufacturer solely in really any other performance. Be like Fender paying Bruce Springsteen’s wage.
  • 10 0
 @shawndashf1: like bikeparkmemes said, pro mountain bikers are essentially entertainers. And entertainment is very clearly valuable to society.

But the dollar value of that entertainment is proportionate to how many people you're entertaining. And mountain biking is pretty niche in the grand scheme of things.
  • 2 0
 Problem is the employer never tells what you could do to be worth more, or why you are worth what they are offering.
  • 2 0
 @TDMAN: I beg to differ. It would seem the 40ish class is the fastest and most competitive in XC. 20 and 30ish for SS, DH, and perhaps EN for sure although the 40ish may be dominant in EN too.
  • 4 0
 @bikeparkmemes: All sports and athletics are frivolous. They merely bring pleasure and enjoyment to the monotony that is common folks' existence. You're right they are entertainers in their own regard.
  • 3 0
 @shawndashf1: The overall valuation of professional biking is proportional the size of the audience that follows it, which pales in comparison with other well paid athletic venues. More people simply watch futbol (soccer), baseball, basketball, cricket, rugby, tennis, or volleyball. Perhaps that better comparison is motorsports, but the same still applies larger viewship for Moto GP, Formula 1, WRC, NASCAR, etc. or better yet action sports such as Wakeboarding, Snowboarding, Paragliding, Skateboarding, perhaps even BMX. Mountain Biking is still just a tiny niche. That could however change in the next couple of decades since the rising generations are more action sports focused that traditional sports focused.
  • 3 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I think is has more to do with viewership. If more people watched professional mountain biking, the riders would get paid more. Most mountain bikers just want to ride their bike and do not get into tracking professional racing. Unlike say the average basketball player which likely to keep track of their favorite NBA team. Mountain biking just hasn't risen to that level yet.
  • 19 4
 I would say most child laborers in Bangladesh are all paid "fairly" to make my shirts and underwear. It's all voluntary, they choose to work, and they're paid what they're worth to their employer. If another employer thinks their labor is worth more, they'll pay the child laborers more. Fair, right?
  • 3 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: Ouch. You're probably right though. We are willing to buy the clothing made in parts of the world where child labor is likely present simply because the clothing is inexpensive and we like to think that child labor was not instrumental in that t-shirt even though it probably was. Blinders to the outside world.
  • 15 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT:
That’s a really bad comparison. These racers are all extremely priviliged people, who manage to earn money with their hobby. These people also had numerous other potential career paths, but they chose the uncertain life of being an athlete in a fringe sport. The children in Bangladesh basically have the option to work in a sweat shop, steal or work in the sex industry. Comparing the two shows a total lack of perspective.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam: ok, although I think 40ish are on the far end of the scale of the normal distribution. But ok
  • 5 0
 I'm responding to this in hopes that young people starting their careers don't fall into this bullshit line of thinking. Some employers make a real effort to pay people market value, but there are many employers out there that will gladly pay people below what they're worth. Talk with your friends and co-workers about salaries, it can be uncomfortable but it's better to know. Specifically in this case there are just too few people to have an efficient labor market. I'm sure there are lots of pros getting paid less that it would take brands to hire similar talent.
  • 2 1
 @cvoc: Sure, but Robot's comment still keeps things in perspective. At the end of the day, talk to your co-workers about how much money you make and check out your union options. If someone gets pissy about talking about how much they make, either they have something to gain or they know they don't deserve to make more money than you do.
  • 3 0
 @SuperHighBeam: I was thinking more about this and being from Canada myself I grew up with pro sports being nfl/nhl which have huge dollars. But even if we leave those leagues. Look at CFL or like a Europe league for hockey. Average player in the cfl makes $54k a year. I knew of plenty that were landscapers in summers.

Living in NZ now, rugby is huge but even still the biggest players get paid about the league minimum for NHL. Look at their jerseys, plastered in sponsors, still nothing like the big shows we have.

So perhaps the issue we have in this article is that very few athletes in the world make insane cash and $50k a year to play a sport and travel the world is a fair salary.
  • 4 2
 @brianpark, @yupstate : This doesn't seemed like a nuanced take at all. It is a very company/capitalist/(american?) centric point of view. I'd argue that there is only a couple hands full (if even that) of riders in mtb that have any leverage over companies. Those will be payed "fairly" (whatever that means) because they can use their leverage in contract negotiations. The vast majority of riders is (from a company point of view) entirely replacable. These riders have little levarge because they have to compete with a increasingly large talent pool that is willing to do the job for little money.
So the company is not going to pay those riders what the they are actually worth to them, because they don't have to. Because there are so many people willing to do this job underpaid, they just have to pay them that.
Supply and demand of mtb rider/jobs is very skewed, so the companies can basically decide the prices if they want to.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam:

Mid to late 30s seems to be the golden years. Never too late to become a pro biker. Seems like you need to establish yourself in life first. Looking at these wages, I’d be lucky to ever turn a profit mountain biking. It would all be reinvested into gear and travel it seems
  • 4 0
 @wolfsberg: but if a job is extremely easy to fill, that would imply the wage is adequate to attract applicants. Arguably, the wage could be lower, if you have people lined up trying to get the spot!

Professional sports have a tendency toward winner take all compensation. Organizations like the NFL explicitly structure their contracts to make sure the worst teams get a cut of the profits and better opportunities to hire (draft) players, to preserve competition. Even then, dominant teams pop up.

The problem with pursuing a career in athletics is there isn’t ever an unfulfilled demand for the best athlete. When the sport grows, the number of people trying to take the spot grows faster than the number of opportunities to be the best. It becomes a prisoners dilemma, to stay in that elite few you must sacrifice more than everyone else, take greater risks, etc.
  • 2 1
 @FMHUM: Very strong observation. I love free markets, when they're actually free. The illusion of free markets when in fact there imbedded and powerful interests who tilt forces in their own favor, is often what we end up with.
  • 1 1
 I mean, aren't all professions "voluntary"? Thankfully nobody forces us to do our jobs, other than the basic need to put food on the table and shelter over our heads. The more fortunate among us get to do work that's fulfilling and well compensated. But the notion that you are paid what you're worth to your employer feels hopeless naive? You are paid what your employer can get away with paying you, in most cases. We don't really know what kind of money is being generated in professional mountain bike racing, but looking at professional team sports, those players are represented by pretty strong unions that make sure that the players get a healthy cut of the profits they generate. I don't think anything resembling that exists in the mountain bike world.
  • 2 0
 @wolfsberg: Best I can tell, you just solidified @brianpark and my point for us. As @CaptainBLT also emphasized. Not much else to say.
  • 4 0
 correct. all the way around. what something is worth is determined by the buyer, not the seller. what you feel about it, is pointless.
  • 3 0
 @conoat: It's 2021, feelings are all that matter, not facts!
  • 1 1
 @conoat: In economics, value is determined by the buyers and the sellers in a mutual bargaining process. The formal term for this process is "Supply and Demand." Sellers can raise prices in the market by excluding others from selling, ie a monopoly or cabal, or lower prices by flooding the market with goods, ie the recent oil war between Russia and OPEC. Governments can raise prices through taxes and fees, ie cigarette and alcohol sin taxes, or lower prices through subsidies, like America's artificially low dairy and meat prices.

When we think about mountain bike racers or clothing workers in Bangladesh "selling" their labor to employers, they have the ability to raise prices in the labor market by organizing and refusing to work at lower wages. So I'd say workers feelings about pay do matter in the marketplace, and I'd say professional athletes and textile workers are both great candidates for unionizing.
  • 1 2
 @bonfire: Hi bonfire. I understand your point, but sport athletes won't be competitive after some age, and then what? Youtuber? Supermarket?
I understand that money can only be channel to athletes, if there is money, but some athletes are worth their value through competition, and how they expose the products
Being more risky than sitting in the desk, and that it will be for a limit time period (let's say between 20 to 35), I would say athletes salaries should be equivalent to desk salaries.

A Pro Athlete, with results,should have a salary equivalent to Marketing Manager, or even higher, if they bring VALUE to the company.

Unless your family can support your desires, it's a risk that must be though out.
Not all reach the high level
Injuries can bring life changes

I can't imagine the sacrifices some make to do what they do.

What I'm trying to say,is that athletes should earn money to sustain a certain level of living, through their lifes.
  • 2 1
 @TEAM-ROBOT: until it actually happens we don't know if the value is there though. Right now mtb racers or textile workers are very replaceable. You could have a $1000 iPhone but if someone is willing to sell new ones for $500, then your phone is only worth that much right now. So sure these groups could unionize and say double their income. Or they could all be replaced with others who accept the current wages and that's it. Now if they were to successfully unionize and double income then we can say they weren't being paid what they were worth. Right now it's essentially worthless speculation, and a lot of it is just "feelings" lol.
  • 2 1
 @DylanH93: By that logic, I guess any talk of unionizing is "worthless speculation" until a union magically pops out of thin air.
  • 2 1
 @TEAM-ROBOT: essentially, yes. You really can't say either of these groups are underpaid currently. They're simply paid what their supply is worth. I'm all for unionizing, but it works a lot better when your knowledge is scarce and not easily replaceable. You've got tons of up and coming racers who would gladly take their spots if these guys decided they won't work for this rate any more. Supply is huge and demand is limited. Plus I doubt most of these guys are doing it for the money, they do it because they love mtb and it allows them more time on their bikes. Life isn't all about money. Plenty of people settle for a lesser paying job that's more fulfilling and that's okay. Everyone's obsessed about the exact amount of money people make when life is a lot more complicated than that.
  • 2 0
 @TDMAN: I don’t disagree. But pro-athlete isn’t really a useful career choice in general. Like I have said the scale is tiny here.

The amount of young men who play American football from the age of 6 to 24 is in the millions. High school’s sell season tickets in some towns. Lots of guys have blown a knee in their final year of high school to never play again. It’s a risk of the sport. Marketing manager is an open field, you need to lure marketing managers in general. If the job is between say Microsoft or Trek, they’re going to have to pay similar to attract similar talent.

Being a pro mountain biker is exactly the opposite. Tiny niche, very specific. Short career length. Unless you play it like a college athlete. Look at Bex Baraona, she has a mechanical engineering degree. Now a promising career as an athlete, when that time is up. An engineering job for a brand, possibly one of her current sponsors is possible.

Pro sport is harsh. I knew an NFL kicker and his life story was utterly insane. No guarantee contracts, so if you miss a big kick on a Sunday, you could be packing your suitcase on Monday without even a pat on the back. He lived on less than $50k a year in utter fear he would one day have no job. Which happened, thankfully he banked as much coin as he could. But now just has a normal office job, chats shit at the water cooler.

The concerning part of this, was today’s release about injury cover. That is what I find gross. The amount of fundraisers and give a little campaigns or raffles on pinkbike to fund pro-athlete recovery/surgery is utterly pathetic. Those injuries are direct results of their job. If I get injured at work, I am covered by several programs - some government and some private.

Watching a brand raffle off product to raise $10k for an athlete is gross and pathetic. Those brands should be shamed. If one of their employees got injured they would have to cover it. But athletes are contractors for the most part, and that is sketchy.

Phil Gaimon, has a funny anecdote about when he raced road on the Blissel team. The only time he was an employee. He had all the same benefits as a regular employee and got a regular paycheck. Far as I know, that is unique in the industry.
  • 1 0
 Some very decent perspectives voiced in this thread. Not to throw a grenade into the room and walk away, but I noticed a certain angle not being addressed here--where are those calling out the workers who are *over paid* for the work they do? That perspective always seems absent from these discussions. It's always we need more, more, more money, or the business exists as an entity primarily to pay my salary...but somehow the person that risked their personal financial standing and is on the hook for paying salaries is always the a**hole?

To be clear here, I'm not trying to carry water for the Walmarts or the Amazons of the world. I'm thinking of companies with fewer than 500 employees. I'm speaking about the admin assistants that set appointments and sit in on Zoom meetings all day (on mute) while watching Netflix and still take home 45k/yr. with paid healthcare. We tend to leave those people alone. Why? I guess I just find it curious. No one is chiming in and saying 'Half a million a year to ride a bike?! That's too much..' [Not my take, but just as an example].

Speaking to the original topic, it's hard for me to say how much a pro is worth to a brand. Lots of factors at work, but one thing for sure is that sponsorship =/= charity. It's an investment for a brand and they are looking for ROI (and that may manifest in many forms). It does warm my heart though that generally speaking, the MTB community recognizes the effort and risks taken at the highest levels of our sport, and wishes for the pros to be compensated well for such efforts. Here's wishing all the pros a healthy and fast season!
  • 1 0
 @mikealive: Globally, I think you can make an argument that people in the top 20 OECD countries are overpaid. Within the sport of mountain biking, it's extremely hard to make that argument. Aaron Gwin might seem overpaid for his results if he's earning a million a year and clawing to get on the podium, but do you have any idea how much product that guy sells? His job isn't riding a bike, his job is moving product, and he does that. Do you know anyone who wanted TRP brakes before Aaron Gwin? What about Onza tires? How about KENDA TIRES?!?!! Are you kidding me? No, I'm not worried that any athletes in our sport are underpaid. They get what they get because the marketing departments know it's worth it. Having been inside the beast, I can pretty much promise you they don't get one penny more than they're worth.

Similarly, if a company is paying someone $45k to set appointments and sit in on Zoom meetings on mute, apparently the company needs someone to set appointments and sit in on Zoom meetings and $45k is the market rate for such a position. I'm not stressing it too much. For instance, most large companies have whole multi-million dollar departments that lose money and eventually get scrapped, so I think they can risk "overpaying" an admin by 15%.
  • 85 2
 I never imagined the average mtb pro life to be lavish, but this is way worse than what I expected. This graph shouldnt have to go below 20.000$ a year, but thats where over half the riders are.
  • 70 0
 Having seen several of my friends become and then cease to become professional skiers, snowboarders and mountain bikers over the years, I wasn't surprised. My couch still holds their various shapes (I imagine, as I have a real job, I have been able to purchase new couches over the years).
  • 29 0
 A lot of the riders in that below 20,000 a year bracket are likely the ones who have a bike and travel sponsorship type deals without monetary reward or no sponsorship at all. Basically privateers and privateers with free bikes. They have very little influence on the buying habits of the public but racing or events is a hobby for them rather than a job. A single top 40 result in the last two years qualifies you for the survey so there will likely be a lot of people in this dataset who had just one great result but would usually place well outside the top 40. Anyone for whom mountain biking is a full time job should be making far more than 20k of course but this survey wasn't limited to pro riders. It would be interesting to see the same data limited to riders with more than, say 3 top 10 finishes so it is basically only the pro riders.
  • 4 0
 @Patrick9-32: And some of them can make it big. Think Jamie Edmonson. I remember watching an episode with Cathro last year where Jamie's dad was saying they had received everything from bikes to clothes to gear... but no money. Jamie kills it in the short season, especially at Lousa and he gets a deal. I'm sure he is not making huge salary but the kid took his summer hobby, albeit a very serious hobby, and turned it into a real job. We do have to remember that even though mountain biking is becoming ever more popular it is still SO small compared to other sports so the market can only support a few highly paid riders.
  • 11 0
 On the other hand, I suppose most of the riders with sub 20k$ a year contracts are young riders who are in it for a few years while they still live with their parents, who do it for the thrill while they can. Then they move on to a different, more « standard » career and life, with their heads full of great memories.

If we only accepted, say 50k$+ contracts, then that would set the return on investment higher as well, cutting opportunities for some 2nd and 3rd level riders to live an interesting experience. We can’t expect sponsors to pay big money for some kid on the WC circuit with a 76th place. The return is just not there and no one gives money away in the business world.
  • 4 0
 These results are higher than expected. I'd kind of conceded that on the top 5 pros earn enough for it to be livable, but it's better than that. Basically, you have to be in the top 25% to earn 50k plus...given that top 40 per discipline were interviewed. That's top 10 worldwide for $50k.
  • 2 0
 @t1000: Yes absolutely. There are many doing it for the thrill, like Nina Hoffman. She is a top level female rider but she is finishing up her masters in psychology. She may have opportunities in the sport, but she also obviously has a career outside of mountain biking in mind.
  • 4 0
 @Patrick9-32: Agreed, including "any top 40" skews the results. I'd love to see some correlation analysis on factors like world rankings, social media engagement, years pro, etc to truly see the factors related to pay.
  • 2 0
 I think there's a lot of grey area here. I mean it only reflects take home pay probably. They're getting a lot that isn't monetary. Most have all gear paid for of course, and are given plenty of extras that they can sell at the end of the year. Like a few 5-10k bikes they can sell when they get next years models, along with lots of spare parts etc. Also, many especially xc racers spend time at training camps or similar for parts of the year, where their room/board are covered. I'm not saying they're paid well, but the numbers alone don't necessarily tell the whole story.
  • 2 5
 This graph shouldn’t go below 50k tbh. People need a living wage. Major joke. How can someone be a proffesional and only be making 5k a year.
  • 2 0
 @Patrick9-32:

Here too, That would be interesting to see.

Depending on the nature of the upcoming promised ’data dump’ at the end of the week, it may be possible to crunch those numbers and come to (probably dubious in my case) conclusions!
  • 2 0
 Many riders racing alongside uni, so sub 20k while studying not bad at all
  • 4 0
 @ryanakins8: but why? It’s not like the rest of us get to go pursue some niche passion and demand high wages to do it, no matter how gifted we are. A few people make that work, but by and large, we all end up doing something that pays the bills, whether it’s our passion or not.
  • 2 0
 Brings into question what the definition of professional is.
  • 1 1
 @NaturalSponge: The accepted definition is usually someone who gets paid to do that activity, regardless of the amount and whether they need to supplement that income with other jobs. I feel like it should be reserved for those who are able to fully support themselves with their mountain biking though.
  • 2 1
 @Hayek: I already answered your question, because people need a living wage. Why does that have to be so hard? If you are working in any capacity full time then you need a living wage. If it's a side gig, then fine I get that. but I'm assuming a lot of people are pursuing this full time, or would like to. Other athletes get who sit on the sidelines of major sports get paid way above a living wage so why not at least pay a living wage to riders? It's not like the companies that sponsor them can't afford it.
  • 2 0
 @ryanakins8: I mean I’d love it if they could be paid more, and I’d love it if I could be paid more. I’m a calf-wrangler by trade and I ride for Wrangler jeans, and I’ve got a bunch of top-40 finishes across the country on the county-level rodeo tour. Wrangler only pays me $6,300 per year (plus travel expenses), but they won’t pay me any more than that and I’ve tried to renegotiate my salary more than once but they say I’m just not generating enough revenue for them to justify it. This is my chosen profession, and they’re a multi-million dollar company. I should be paid more. They should pay me more. Don’t you agree?
  • 87 6
 so they asked Gwin, he told them, then removed him from the survey so that you couldn't figure out the one guy that's making $1m a year from DH. lol
  • 9 59
flag hi-dr-nick (May 4, 2021 at 9:34) (Below Threshold)
 Gwin was loaded from birth, though.
  • 39 0
 @hi-dr-nick: i heard the total opposite.
  • 3 2
 came here to say this
  • 15 0
 Reckon Gwin makes more than Nino!? Especially given that this data is from the last two years, I'd be surprised if he was even the best paid DH racer. How does the data handle crossover athletes from CX and road too?
  • 44 1
 @L0rdTom: its quite common knowledge that Gwin has demanded a large amount of money for sponsorship deals, and he would be the first to admit that too, he's very open about it. He thinks that riders should be paid that much, the are promoting a brand and driving a huge amount of sales at Gwin's level. How many more YTs do you see since he signed for them? "Gwin went specialized so I did too", it's actually a true thing, people buy what does well at races
  • 8 0
 @melonhead1145: more importantly how many intense bikes do you see?

(Answer: None they are all in the garage with blown shocks..)

Vaguely remember him claiming his team were taking a million years ago when he was winning. Reckon Intense are paying that for a podium-hopeful?
  • 13 0
 @L0rdTom: I believe gwin took a percentage of intense to join so he’s now part owner. Could be wrong though.
  • 60 1
 @thenotoriousmic: You're right

Some see Gwin as greedy, but he probably single handedly raised DH racers pay across the board. Not only did he put eyes on the new Redbull broadcast more than any other racer, it gave other racers the courage/ammunition to negotiate higher compensation. I think this will be Gwins lasting legacy- helping racers start getting good pay for the risk they take and the skill they bring to the table.
  • 4 1
 @thenotoriousmic: yeah Gwin put a load of money into intense. I don't see many intense, but I think they may be hard to get hold of in the UK, probably see a lot more in USA and Canada, but he also hasn't had great results on Intense yet, if he wins a few races it bet they start selling a lot more.
  • 4 0
 @hamncheez: agreed, it’s the modern day Palmer effect.
  • 3 0
 @melonhead1145: Live in Colorado - don't see any fwiw.
  • 6 0
 @hamncheez: he’s not greedy his peers should be on similar money. Typical mtb companies, take as much as possible and give the little as possible in return.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: amen to that
  • 6 0
 @melonhead1145: definitely a regional thing, I live in southern California and see couple of Intense on every ride.
  • 9 0
 @Idontknowwhy: Agreed. When I lived in SoCal saw tons of riders on Intense and Ibis. Now that I'm in Washington state it's Transition, Evil, and Santa Cruz.
  • 6 0
 @melonhead1145: @melonhead1145: Honestly don't recall seeing any YT's over here in BC before Gwin made the move. I'm sure there were a bunch but I did not notice. They're everywhere now. Love him or hate him, Gwin gets a LOT of attention. Hope he gets back to form this year, so much fun to watch when he's full on!
  • 9 0
 @Jvhowube: It’s Colorado. You can hardly even pick out a tree with all the Yeti’s crowding the view.
  • 2 0
 @tvan5: Well, to be fair, they weren't really available in North America until right at the time Gwin signed with them...
  • 1 3
 @L0rdTom:

Gotta love the myopic viewpoint. That’s like saying “I don’t see any Orange bikes in California.” Speaking of which, I bet Orange County sells more bikes alone than the entire UK. Intense bikes are everywhere on the West Coast, and are a great company.
  • 5 0
 @SvenNorske: So you think a US county with a population of 3 million has a larger riding population than a European country of 67 million? Get real.
  • 3 0
 @SvenNorske: I think the UK may be slightly bigger than you imagine cousin
  • 3 5
 Gwin is definitely not making even close to a million dollars per year anymore. I doubt he's making even half that now. His lasting legacy is that he was the sports most dominant racer that never won Worlds, unfortunately.
  • 9 0
 @hamncheez: I see Gwin and admire what he's done. Look behind the initial numbers and he's actually a very shrewd businessman. Have you noticed how his partner brands end up being specified on the bike brand he's riding for at the time? Gwin brings verifiable sales uplift to his partners (looking outside in, I'd wager he views them as business partners and clients, not sponsors) so is able to demonstrate value and demand the proportionate payment. Look on his LinkedIn profile and he talks about the actual dollar value of deals he has brokered.

Fair play to him. Hopefully as he mentors more riders, he teaches them how to sell themselves, structure business deals, and elevate their own value, so we don't see the frankly embarrassing numbers in these salary surveys for much longer.
  • 2 0
 @L0rdTom: I’m pretty sure I saw Gwin in a podcast recently where he said he made a million a year from all his different sponsorship deals.
  • 4 0
 @andyrm: like when we all laughed that gwin was going to use tektro brakes and now loads of people run tektro brakes.
  • 4 3
 @commental: maybe not just orange county, but California as a state, accounts for 50% of all MTB sales in the US. and the US out sells all of Europe by a 3:1 margin. So, Orange County is a lot closer to selling as many bikes as the UK as you might want to admit. lol.

Source: was a sales manager for several brands in CA for years. what CA does in regards to bikes, the entire world does eventually.
  • 6 3
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I love watching you stomp on your own dick, over and over again. LMFAO. you have to be a troll acct. no one can be as daft as you, and still manage to operate a computer....
  • 2 1
 @commental: American exceptionalism...
  • 5 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: All coming from an internet troll who has zero accomplishments, zero income, zero job, zero relationships and cowers behind a keyboard in your mommies' basement.....
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: ah that makes more sense TBH. I knew Gwin had a lot of influence but there was a crazy surge in YT's around here.
  • 2 9
flag DoubleCrownAddict (May 5, 2021 at 12:05) (Below Threshold)
 @DH1977: That was years ago when he was with YT. They probably paid him nearly most of that million a year, used him, then dumped him when they saw his decline coming.
He's essentially finished as a podium threat based on the last couple years but can still get some top 10's. Pretty awkward career considering all his religious babble at the beginning, contract controversies with Trek and YT, and the bike problems with specialized.
  • 7 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I was wondering why you were hating on Gwin so much, he's a pretty likeable dude. Then I got it.. YT. That evil evil brand that he helped promote. Now I understand your dislike for Gwin. Down with yt!!
  • 3 1
 @jjhobbs: I thought Brits are known for their ability to decipher sarcasm ‍♀️

Honestly though having lived in both places Brits are a bit out of touch on how vast the difference is between the US mtb scene and their own. Sure, Chicksands or whatever might attract a bit of a “crowd”, but there are literally hundreds of trailheads across CA, AZ, OR, WA etc. packed to the brim, bristling with incredible riders and bikes. You drive anywhere CO and west, it’s not uncommon every time you are driving to spot at least a couple vehicles with an MTB or geared up for one. I can count the times on one hand you’d see that driving in the UK.
  • 2 6
flag DoubleCrownAddict (May 5, 2021 at 20:30) (Below Threshold)
 @DylanH93: I don't dislike him, but it's hard for me to have intellectual respect for overly religious people. But not his fault, was probably brainwashed into it as a kid. Also not completely his fault he never won World's, Shimano brakes get some of that blame.
  • 1 1
 @DylanH93: at least DCA is consistant(ly crazy)!
  • 1 3
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Not really a Gwinn fan myself either. I respect his riding and what he's accomplished in the sport, but listening to him talk in a few vids turned me right off of him as a person. It started with his religious babbling and progressed from there. I'm sure if he knew of me that he wouldn't like me much either, so I guess we're even? LoL

Not that Gwinn gives a shit about some punter like me on a bike forum...

LoL
  • 4 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I wasn't even aware he's religious, and who cares? What do you define as overly religious? I've never heard him even mention it.
  • 3 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Gwin definitely isn’t finished as a podium threat. He’s had a few rough seasons but he’s still the biggest threat in DH. Not a Gwin fan myself don’t hate him ether but if he’s not the best he’s still definitely top three.
  • 1 0
 I would guess that Nino Schurter is highest paid male mountain biker. He has been at the top for so long, always at the front of races on TV, he is the defending gold medalist, and I would bet he is a household name for most European MTBers (chime in here Euros!). The MTB community knows Enduro and Downhill with Sam Hill and Aaron Gwin obviously being the other two potential high earners, but I would question if the non-bike community knows those names. I would think European road riders would all know Nino, but wouldn't know any DH/Enduro riders. XCO is the closest to road riding. It is actually one of more exciting disciplines to watch on TV for the AVERAGE viewer because of the drama (DH takes the top for me of course).

For females it is probably Jolanda Neff.
  • 3 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Dude, he won a chainless race! When will that ever happen again? Worlds happens EVERY YEAR!!!
  • 2 0
 @dr-airtime: Gwin's chain less run got picked up by loads of non bike channels like Ladbible, People are Awesome, Sportbible and more, I seem to remember reading it had over 100m views once all the aggregates were added up. Huge media reach and so while his name may not be front of mind to non MTB fans, I can guarantee there's been massive eyeballs on. Which naturally adds to his value.
  • 1 2
 @dr-airtime: That was perhaps good biggest achievement, and I have him credit for it in my derailleur hater blog:

www.pinkbike.com/u/DoubleCrownAddict/blog/derailleur-failure-and-why-its-time-to-evolve-beyond-them.html

I'm not a Gwin hater, but he was very religious in some of his first big interviews years ago. I hope he does win world's but seems very unlikely.
  • 3 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: fun fact, Gwin is still making over a million a year and he's still very religious... and you're still a sad lil joke of a man that people laugh at.
  • 1 0
 @dr-airtime: someone got mad at me somewhere else in this post for not knowing a single pro xc racer and suggested being banned from pinkbike for not knowing who nino is despite XC not really getting any coverage on here at all in the 20 years I’ve been on here. I did know who is from various videos he’s done with like Claudio but didn’t know much about him like the fact he raced XC.
  • 77 0
 What percentage of the high earners have energy drink helmets?
  • 14 0
 A valid question. tup
  • 7 0
 Came here to say exactly that. Thinking it would be substantially higher, especially the Red Bull atheletes.
  • 3 0
 That shouldn't be reflected in their salaries though. That should though be reflected in the pie-chart about guaranteed salary source though (unless I'm reading that wrong where the numbers are just talking about a salaried paycheck). I don't know about nowadays cause I've been long removed from the insider info, but in the 2000's in pro drifting, there was hardly anyone on a straight salary from a factory automaker or like a salaried driver for a team to just show up and drive. A majority of them were paid in little chunks from a dozen or so sponsors, and then adding that up could amount to a 6 figure salary or so depending on how you played it. There was a few guys getting salaries + personal sponsorships, but it was rare. Not sure if this is like that or not, but if not family money, it would explain how some of these people live according to their social media. There's some nice houses, cars, land, etc... floating around that would imply more than a few of these people piece together a decent scratch for themselves, even if a straight up salary does not imply that. Without knowing the people though, who knows. I know Semenuk gets paid. I know CG has family business money in Andorra. But look at dudes like Brendog, Remy, Yoann, Phil Metz, McCaul's, Lacondeguy, Aggy, etc... these dudes seem to live pretty nice lives off, if not sponsorship monies, I dunno what else. Its not like they're mansion rich on video, but still... nice houses, nice cars, some toys, a nice life... Their houses and such wouldn't correlate with only earning $5k obviously. Figure even if you could piece together $80-100k with sponsors and youtube hits, you could live fairly comfy in a mtb'er lifestyle.
  • 2 0
 @Sweatypants: My point here is that the 20 billion dollar private company that owns a F1 team will not think twice about a few million in cyclist salaries to snap up a few of the top athletes in each discipline. No knock on the riders, they did the work and hit the lottery. Want more money to pros? Get more huge companies, auto manufacturers, telecom providers etc in the mix. That may come with more racing exposure. But when one of them buys the broadcast rights and monopolizes the content, all else are out by default.
  • 3 1
 Oh for sure. Getting companies not directly related to the industry is always going to be the jump off. Most everyone who's anyone now, their main sponsor is the bike company they ride, the tires, and then an energy drink. All still pretty direct besides the energy drinks. I haven't looked at a Trek or Specialized P&L, or any of the others for that matter, but it DOES seem weird to me that these companies still can't provide more. Its one thing if you're a hand welding small time frame maker somewhere with 12 employees, but it feels weird to me that a Trek or Shimano or SRAM can't shell out $100k per person. At least for the ones in the Top 20 of each discipline, then tier it down from there. Maybe they run a much tighter ship than I think they do. Maybe not. I know that even in the beginning of US pro drifting when everything was just jumping off, Falken threw down some fairly generous amounts of money. I gotta imagine Maxxis makes a sizeable amount more money than Falken does as a company. If each business unit is a separate subsidiary though and operates independent with budget and revenue, that could also mean something there. That's another thing I also don't know, but as an umbrella... Michellin, Continental, and Maxxis probably have a dickload of money. If they keep the mtb line segregated from the automotive and powersports lines, maybe not so much to throw around. *shrug
  • 1 0
 Top earners are definitely Red Bull Athletes. It is annoying the interviews at the start of every Red Bull covered MTB Event (DH or XCO) are always the Red Bull Athletes (Kate C. , Tom P., Pauline F-P, Evie R. , Alvacini, etc) but that is because it is a Red Bull event. Must work out to higher overall salaries from the additional helmet sponsorship.

I'm willing to look over these Red Bull focused interviews since the coverage is free and quite good of course!
  • 68 0
 Maybe it's a wee bit better now, but the old joke, "What do you call a professional cyclist? Homeless." still seems all too applicable.
  • 80 0
 The winter flipside being, how do you get a snowboarder off your porch? Pay them for the pizza!
  • 70 4
 Go to school, start a good career, be able to buy all the latest and greatest parts your heart desires. The odds of you making it big are ridiculously low, then if you do make it big, making a sustainable income is even a lower probability.
  • 2 1
 @Simann Good perspective.
  • 1 1
 100%
  • 50 0
 I did that and now out of nowhere I'm suddenly 40 , if one of my kids had a bit of talent and wanted to put off real life for a bit to chase a dream I'd tell them to go for it .
  • 39 0
 As someone who did just that and started a career with decent salary at age 22 i say follow your dreams and start your career at age 30 if it doesn’t work out. Sure you won’t retire as early but you will never get back your 20’s
  • 1 0
 Surely it depends on how talented you are, either in sports or studying. Typically you would have a rough idea of your talents by the age that competition and studying gets serious.
  • 1 1
 it requires, talent, determination and most importantly $$$$$$$$$$$, lots of it.
  • 11 0
 Did that, still buying GX by choice.
  • 7 0
 If to you mountain biking is about buying mountain bikes then yes chase the corporate ladder and buy bikes to your heart's content. If mountain biking is about riding your mountain bike, and the experience's that come along with that (friends, travel, happiness), don't spend the majority of your waking time behind a f'ing desk!
  • 3 0
 @alxrmrs: GX and SLX are where it’s at.
  • 65 0
 So cool to see this info being studied and published. Thank you, Pinkbike—I think this will be good for our sport.
  • 40 0
 Now do a survey of pinkbike users!
  • 2 0
 I second this.
  • 33 0
 Question #1: Are you a freaking genius? Answer: 98% - Absolutely 2% - Prefer not to answer.
  • 28 1
 Vital mtb did one a few years ago and it turned out the average vital reader is a 40 year old male with heaps of disposable income. I wouldnt expect a drastically different result for pinkbike.
  • 19 0
 Depressingly the average take home pay of a Pinkbike reader is probably higher than the surveyed professionals.
  • 2 0
 @L0rdTom: and they all want to be like the surveyed professionals but just don’t have the skills!
  • 33 0
 With this survey, Pinkbike has certainly just done more for empowering mountain biking athletes than anything I've ever seen. There are countless videos and articles complaining about low athlete pay and contracted censorship of pay disclosure, but this is the first piece that I have seen that actually arms the athletes with the same information that marketing managers use to keep pay down. Bravo Pinkbike!
  • 5 1
 It actually might make it worse - "Hey pay me more money, nobody is making good money in mtb, we deserve more!" "Well, sorry, no... see because now that we know that no one actually makes any money, why would we pay you more?? What are you going to do, go to XYZ brand who will just pay you the same shit money? Good luck with that."

The Sports Marketing in this sport is just so immature... what these athletes need are sports agents who are pros at getting brands to see why their athlete deserves "this much" money. A huge part of being sponsored (and even getting sponsored in the first place) is learning how to market yourself and show how and why you're worth money to a brand. As a pro, you should be looking at everything you're doing and equating it value to your brand/brands and how it'll influence your "worth". If you're not... you're not really a "Professional Athlete", you're an armature.

It would be interesting to not how many of these athletes have some idea or training in how to market themselves and/or use an agent. I'd bet that only those top few people really earning the big bucks are using agents/agencies.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: Yep, it could make it worse. Information is a double edged sword. Or all of next year's contracts might just include a clause not to participate in anonymous surveys.
  • 5 0
 @islandforlife: It is pretty well known that brands have been talking for years between each other, this information isn't new to them. I

t's only the riders who have disclosure censorship.
  • 4 0
 @islandforlife: i have to disagree: the best situation for an employer who wants to keep salaries down is when its employees doesnt have a clue about what they are supposed to be paid. Employer then has complete power and employee would not even know it’s being underpaid

Im with Lord Tom, applause to Pinkbike for doing this.
  • 2 0
 @Jolinwood: What I've found is that generally, people in my industry talk to each other and get a sense of what some people are paid. The problem is, the information and/or rumours that spread are generally the "one offs" like "Did you hear how much Greg over at XYZ Company makes!" And of course every time someone spreads the rumour, the amount increases. So without any true knowledge people often have unrealistic and inflated expectations of what the average salaries are and then expect to get paid that much. And when they don't, they feel like they're being treated unfairly.

In my industry we do salary survey's every couple of years for this specific reason. Of course we already have a good general idea of what the salary ranges are across the industry, but what the survey allows us to do is get specific with employees.

Before the survey, the only reasons you had when turning down requests for raises was something along the lines of "budgets and worth", which after a couple years just sounds like bullshit and helps to reduce overall moral and productivity, especially when they have these rumour based salary expectations floating around in their heads. But after the survey we're able to get specific, say and show them "Well here's the industry average for your position and you make this much...based on your performance and goals blah blah blah, we're going to keep you at your current salary". It's much more credible information... typically the employee has a much better understanding of why they make what they do and have less resentment towards us for not giving them a raise. They often feel better knowing that, no, we aren't vastly underpaying you for the same work as Karen over at Acme Unlimited.

Now I should say... there is a lot more nuance and gray area involved from individual person to person and this tactic is more generally meant for those employees asking for raises who don't deserve them and/or believe everyone else makes more money than them and they should get a raise as a result. We do reward and provide raises to employees who deserve them or, for whatever reason, their salary has slipped to the lower end of the average for their position (and this is in addition to our annual company wide inflation based pay bumps).

Either way, more information gives us more power, more options and we can speak more credibly to our employees... while still denying wage/salary increases. Because generally, when employees don't have that information, it seems that typically they always believe they're at the lower end and everyone else is making more than them and so are constantly asking for more. I'm sure it's a similar situation here as well.
  • 32 0
 It's interesting that a sport that costs so damn much to participate in, has some of the lowest paid professional athletes..

It seems there would be a case for a large manufacturer to cut a bunch of their bullshit marketing costs then maybe charge an extra $50 a bike and then use that budget to create a super-team of top riders across disciplines (including YouTuber's) by simply paying them a much higher than average salary + performance, placement and media bonuses.
  • 3 0
 I've been really surprised by this disparity as well. Good topic to point out.
  • 1 0
 most likely a good percentage of the lowest paid pros are riders that are financing their racing careers with family business money which of course will not be reflected on the charts.
  • 7 1
 If you think cycling is bad, check out motorsports. As this saying goes "how do you become a millionaire race car driver? Start as a billionaire"

Until you reach the top echelons of motorsport, "professional" drivers are paying for their seat, or for their own team.
  • 9 0
 You bring up a good point about bikes being very expensive yet the pros in the sport do not make much money, but in my experience the average bicycle consumer has no idea who Aaron Gwin or Nino Shurter or Richie Rude is.
A huge problem problem is mainstream TV coverage, which is why the EWS deal with Discovery is such a big deal and a step in the right direction for pro MTB athletes to be more well known. For sponsors to justify spending money on athletes those athletes need to be cared about by the consumers (Another reason why athletes need to care about social media). Redbull Tv has been great, but its still really only reaching the people who are seeking MTB coverage.
  • 1 1
 @maxxx: True, but in MTB... the top 10 downhill and 10 ten Enduro and top 10 slopestyle riders are making shit compared to the top 10 F1 drivers or 10 ten Nascar drivers or top 10 WRC drivers. At least in motorsport, when you reach the top levels... you do get paid. In mtb... maybe a couple people, but that's it.
  • 2 0
 @woodlandplayer: Ya, it's interesting. but again I think that's on the brands. In other forms of sport, they realize how much of cash cow competition marketing is and they themselves pour tons of money into evolving their respective sport competitions into something worthy of proper broadcast rights and creating a show the masses would be interested in. In mtb, the brand just sit by and hope someone else will put it together for them. But without a proper budget and support, the show is shit so no one watches and there's no revenue or worthwhile exposure. The mtb industry is so immature (from a business and sports marketing perspective) and seems to be constantly chasing it's own tail.
  • 4 0
 @islandforlife: You're not wrong. Not to say professional rider don't deserve much more, but the viewership of top level motorsports is in a different league altogether. I know I'll get downvoted for this, but top level racecar drivers are a household name, top level mountain bike riders aren't.

The best known names in mountain biking among the average citizen aren't the guys at the top of the podium, they're the guys putting out viral videos.
  • 2 0
 @maxxx: Oh ya for sure... and that's sort of what I mean. The brands need to step up and and take an active hand in pushing their sport forward. I don't see mtb ever being close to the same level as top level motorsport series'... but it could, and should be a lot better for pro mtbr's.

And you're right, it's the Youtuber's that are showing brands what could be done. It just goes to show that there is a strong market for "good" mtb content... but the brands and the industry isn't providing it. I don't think the brands even fully comprehend how much value they're getting out of these youtubers. And a number of them are flipping bike sponsors almost every year because there's no value in the sponsorship... yet it seems the sponsors playing it with a pretty heavy hand.... then they get dropped.
  • 2 0
 As much as we love it and as much as it's grown over the past few decades--it's still *very* niche. I'm actually surprised to see that even a small percentage of the higher wages exist.
  • 1 0
 $50 a bike? you could really only get away with that on bikes in excess of like $2000. maybe. how many bike brands do you think are selling over 500,000 bikes a year that retail for over $2000? the answer is zero. lol

there just isn't the money in cycling that people think there is
  • 22 0
 I'd be surprised if salaries of top riders didn't go up significantly if they became public knowledge. I am sure the brands and sponsors would fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening though.
  • 10 0
 So just like every business? Hi Glassdoor.com
  • 5 0
 Katy Winton mentioned on the downtime podcast that she and other pro riders are contractually not allowed to publish their salaries. Pretty scummy practice if you ask me.
  • 2 0
 @Upduro: not sure what labor practices are like near you, but this is pretty common practice when you read the small print in most employment contracts.
  • 22 0
 Seth bike hacks and Paul the punter are probably reading this glad they picked up a camera instead of attempting slopestyle tricks
  • 9 1
 Probably too busy figuring out what to do with the ridiculous amount of money they earn to read this, but in any case i imagine there are lots of people trying to become the next Seth whose chances of achieving that are as low or lower than the racer trying to be the next Gwin.

Most of us will just never hit that level of financial and/or competitive success in anything. That's life ‍♂️
  • 5 0
 That was supposed to be the little guy shrugging emoji at the end
  • 7 0
 @n734535: That's life man.
  • 22 2
 Well that was a good way to make my teacher think I was looking at something important, while I really just wanted to waste time.
  • 24 8
 get used to asking people if they want to go large or want fries with that.
  • 21 0
 You definitely don't go pro in mountain biking for the money!
  • 26 0
 If you’re in it for the money you probably won’t go pro in any sport!
  • 10 5
 @toad321: except for football (soccer)! Overpaid actors.
  • 1 0
 @Mr-Gilsch: yea not really, they are only overpaid because of large tv money mostly, and there is obviously a lot of demand to create that money, if people really don’t want them to be paid that much then don’t watch it

And for most of the world pro football is the dream of the majority of boys and so it is the very few who make it pro and it’s even fewer who make insane amounts.

Also being pro in any sport is extremely difficult and mentally taxing, it’s not the great fun easy thing everyone thinks it is
  • 2 0
 @toad321: then on the other hand I know of people who play in the German 5th (or something) league local football that get more than some above mentioned Top40.

But I agree, don't watch it, don't support it.
That Messi guy gets 4€ per second of his life haha.
  • 14 0
 This is super interesting. But, one area that I would disagree, being that I have been a Team manager of a pro team and currently work with pro athletes. The questions "What do your sponsors value most?" You can tell that this was answered by the athlete and not the sponsor. Sales are the number 1 reason for sponsorship, product development being number 2 results are at least 3rd. Winning is great, but if that winner is a jerk, not personable or gives NO feedback that person is not worth as much as a mid-pack racer, that is great with feedback and people love!
Kids, learn how to communicate, learn how to "sell" without "selling", be polite, be personable, do not be an elitist snob. Overall, great information and super interesting. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 This advice pretty much goes for any job. Being the best or top at something will only get you so far without those other soft skills.
  • 15 0
 "21% of riders don't get paid at all"
I thought the definition of "professional" was getting paid?
  • 2 0
 Ya, this whole serious of articles (which is cool by the way) depends on the definition of "professional." Pinkbike ought to nail that down.
  • 2 0
 You're just, like, taking this too literally, man!
  • 13 0
 I guess Sam is the lone Enduro rider above 250k
  • 1 0
 Richie rude?
  • 3 0
 @MartinKS: are they factoring in his pharmacists salary?
  • 13 0
 I've never been so happy to NOT be that good on a bike.
  • 3 0
 I think you are an awesome rider and improving every day.
  • 9 0
 "If we switch from the mode to the median, the average is marginally higher..."

Are we talking the median of the averages or the average of the medians? What is the mode of the averages of the medians? Have you considered the skew of the kurtosis?
  • 2 0
 What do you mean?
  • 4 0
 Here's a guy that once took a stats class.
  • 12 0
 My unprofessional cyclist salary seems to be somewhere around -$10k to -$15k.
  • 1 0
 Sponsored by Visa? You MUST get some cash back dividends? If not, you need to negotiate a new contract!
  • 8 0
 Last week I became the 240th fastest out of 13,720 on Strava from Low Dalby to Dixons Hollow. That feeling is priceless, I still feel like a comple legend now. Imagine racing on a weekend while millions of people are sat on their sofas watching you on a live feed, some feelings you just can't put a price tag on.
  • 3 0
 You are in the top 1.75%. If you get 137th or better that's top 1%. You can do it man!
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: Thanks for your motivation man. Once our heads are down and our chests are pounding we are all professionals at heart.
  • 8 0
 I once won a gift card for a solid 3rd place in a local DH beer league that was for our local pet shop and I was able to get a free bag of dog food with it. I also splurged and got the good expensive dog food. So there's that......
  • 10 0
 Well, I guess I'm not going to be a pro then. Oh wait, that wasn't gonna happen anyways...
  • 7 0
 How is no one talking about the pure numbers? Percentages are good to see up to a point but when you're talking about less than 158 people are paid, that's a very small sample size so it really begs a larger discussion. Who's paying them and what's it actually worth to a company? Because it's clear A LOT of people ride mountain bikes and NOT a lot make a living doing it. Is it better to sponsor a trail network and dump money into that and see more people reap the reward? or to have your bike (or energy drink, etc) win the race or be 10th or 150th?
  • 1 0
 I like this idea and I imagine great for local dealers to sell bikes, however paying the best riders in the world pushes the engineers to make the bikes that you and I ride even better year on year, which then generates revenue year on year.
  • 7 0
 Most of the riders are not employee, but freelance, so on top you have to deduct charge and taxes... which mean the actual income is often way less. It's also make big difference depending on which country you are from.
  • 7 0
 Dean Lucas was talking about that. He finished top 10 at a World Cup race and got like 800 bucks in prize money. Then it got taxed to death and ended up being like 300 bucks. He was saying that he can make WAY more in prize money racing Aussie national race series than WC races. Bigger prize packages isn't really the solution, but it's a sad testament that someone who is Top 10 in the world at something walks away with less than a 1000 bucks from an event. Especialy when you consider the scope of those events and the amount of money going into them and the amount of money they generate for those economies. Then the actual athletes get paid shit.
  • 2 0
 @Hogfly: That anecdote sounds exactly like BMX in the early 90's... when that sport was considered "dead". I hope MTB buttons their stuff up and can take advantage of the recent bike boom.
  • 2 0
 @Hogfly: the hell?! The guy that got 1st overall at our regional enduro race this past weekend got $500...
  • 2 0
 Here is a point from somebody more than aware ! Good call @loizorider!
  • 6 0
 With the increasing popularity of MTB (RedBull says it's their fasting growing segment of viewership and were blow away by response to the Real MTB), will the market start to adjust?

Studies like this help out, but it's crazy when you hear the old heads talk about the "glory days" when DH racing was actually similar to F1 with huge hospitality trailers for teams and people still deep in the field making close to 100k. Of course, you also had a lot of corporate sponsorship from outside the MTB world back then (car companies and such). Not sure they're interested in getting back into it in that way any longer. But damn... it would be nice for the athletes.
  • 5 0
 When I raced as a kid, I actually gave up racing Jnr category for this reason. You'd show up at the weekend, race your pants off, take crazy risks and then go back to stacking shelves at the grocery store on the weekdays. F@ck that!

Only those making podium at a very consistent level could even remotely be seen as pro. The rest of us were either in school, or working part time and training every spare moment we had. Was still fun though!
  • 2 0
 @iridedj: out of interest, did you end up with a career outside of MTB?
  • 2 0
 Same story as a sponsored skater. I was dripping in swag, all my entry fees were covered, parts were free or discounted. Still worked 40 a week so I could eat food. I dont regret it, it obviously wasn't a financial decision.
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: I did. Now run a creative company.
  • 5 0
 If I was talented enough to be a top pro mountain biker, I would still not do it unless it paid at least triple my current, stable, fair-paying job in the trades. To be away from home that much and not have any confidence of continued future success - it's actually a crazy thing that professional racers even exist.
  • 7 3
 being a legend in my own mind I pay the sponsors for the products I rep on my tours in Jamaica. Yepp I am spomnsored by Giant, Juice Patties Negril, Dakine, Maxxis, Schwalbe, Fox, Grace Foods, Wabba's Weed Adventures, Santa Cruz, Ibis, SHIMANO, Stan's and Orange sealants, Rasta-Ade, Coral Seas Negril, Rick's Cafe and of course the Blue Hole Mineral Spring and Coral Seas Cliff. That said Lupine USA gave me some lights and Gears Racing Canary always has my back.
  • 4 0
 Dear Canadian Parents... instead of pumping tens of thousands into your kids never-going-to-happen hockey career maybe invest in a bike and a trainer... the cost/return ratio, despite ridiculously low salaries, is probably far better!
  • 5 0
 for some clarity, the sponsorship that we are talking about. Is this pay specifically from the frame sponsor? or is it including all of their other sponsors as well?
  • 21 0
 Riders were asked, “What were your total earnings from mountain biking last year?”
  • 3 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: yikes, not sure how i missed that one. thanks!
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: do you think Covid may have had an impact on the results? Races did go ahead but perhaps the shorter season led to less pay overall?
  • 1 0
 I imagine that alot of the riders that "aren't getting paid" or are getting paid small amounts, are still getting free equipment and probably travel expenses covered. The cash in is to cover anything non bike or race related
  • 5 2
 I also factor in all the "perks" that some of the pros get. Constant supply of clothes, sunglasses, watches, car leases, road bikes, enduro bikes, xc bikes, shoes, hoodies, hats, and everything that comes along with it. Stuff the average racer would have to spend big bucks on. So if they are taking in $50K as a salary, they might also be getting $50K in supplies, and I would imagine, all travel and expenses covered. Might even have meals covered the days before and during race weekends. And massages, and probably even some of their nutrition. Not to mention the feeling of celebrity that comes along with it all in their local areas. I'm not saying they never have to spend a penny of their own money, but the top 20 riders in each pro category could probably eek out a heck of a fun few years! Then go back to the real world, and have some great memories.
  • 1 0
 @iridedj: but a desk jockey could earn as much and still have money left over for bikes and watches and travel etc. No-one should go into pro riding without education, skills or experience or something to fall back on / some kind of exit strategy.
  • 6 0
 Wonder how many people shocked at the low pay would be willing to drop 30 bucks to watch a livestream each race.
  • 7 4
 Although the pay is pretty crap you really get to live out a true dream (for many) riding your bike, traveling, having the best gear, etc..

If you can eat and have healthcare I'd take $20K and all the free bike stuff and trips I can manage, over $55K sitting in a cubicle slowly dying any day. The cubicle dweller is the real victim here.

I've joined the successful and working these days, but at one time I pursued motorcycle racing because it was a dream, not because I ever had a chance of earning a decent living from it. Wouldn't take it back either. In fact if it wasn't for my kid I wish I could be transported back there right now, massive pay cut and all.

Don't feel sorry for professional riders, you should envy them for living the dream, at any salary.
  • 12 1
 "but you're living the dream" is just an excuse companies use to pay you less. we deal with the same thing in the arts. Just because people are passionate about what they do doesn't mean they deserve to be paid less. They still have work to do, its not like you get to do whatever you want whenever you want it...nand there's constant pressure to perform. if anything it takes your passion and turns it into a job which removes a lot of the fun and carelessness of it. When you turn your passions into your profession you end up doing what you love but on someone else's terms...it has its plusses but it isn't all a dream.
  • 1 0
 @IsaacO: YEP.
Every time i read about someone struggling trying to make a living out of their passion, I remember how ispirational was, in my late teens, reading Munari's "Arte come mestiere" (Design as Art).
it helpet me an awful lot in clearing my path through my early professional life
  • 1 0
 @IsaacO: especially since when you go the DIY route and use IG, YouTube or tiktok people seem to crap all over you if you get any sort of sponsorship.
  • 3 0
 The earlier post showed that DH and enduro racers were by far the biggest response groups. That gets at two points: 1) Pinkbike is probably best connected to these rider groups, and is more likely to get a response from them. 2) There seems to be more inherent randomness in who finished in the top 40 of those two sports in a given year, meaning that more DH and enduro riders likely received the survey and season standings may not be as good of a proxy for rider quality in those disciplines.

The former could cause issues if the low-response-rate groups saw higher caliber athletes be more likely to respond, resulting in incorrectly high salary numbers.

The latter could cause issues if the samples for DH and enduro capture more lower-tier riders.

Overall, I would like to see the distributions across rider quality by discipline so we can understand how bias may be playing a role.
  • 5 0
 well matt jones is daily driving a GT3RS and lambo huracan, and he barely rides contests. I'd say slopestyle youtube content creator is the way to go.
  • 5 1
 Global results for "I am paid fairly for what I do":

Strongly Disagree or Disagree: 80%
Strongly Agree or Agree: 20%

It's called life, hahaha.
  • 2 0
 Ain't that the truth.
  • 4 2
 IMO if you're a professional mountain biker, you should be earning no less than $50,000 annually. The pro's claiming to be earning 0-$5000 must not have any sponsors are racing either just for fun, or have just entered the category and are looking to be picked up for sponsorship.
DH riders apparently get hosed, which is funny because so much focus is placed on DH racing, well at least UCI World Cup anyways. Perhaps being a pro DH rider isn't as big a deal as we all thought.
I'm not surprised slopestyle/freeride brings in the big bucks. Big risks and showy performances that are spectator friendly make it easy to draw a big crowd. Hard to do that in DH since the tracks are so long and often very obscured by natural obstacles. That is however interestingly contrasted by the pay in XC and EN. Maybe its because those segments are more relatable to the average mountain biker. EWS may also have the benefit of being the hip new kid on the block.
Something definitely needs to change to resolve the gender pay gap, that's embarassing.
  • 1 0
 Far more xc and enduro bikes are sold than dh bikes. It's where the money is for the big brands so they can then pass that down to the riders
  • 1 0
 @rrsport: And yet, DH racing is much more popular to spectate, so it seems, than XC. That also doesn't explain Freeride and Slopestyle, but perhaps in those venues it less about moving product and more about brand exposure through sheer viewership numbers.
  • 2 0
 You can say that a lot of people in different sports don't make money from it, they do it from free will etc. But this is the TOP 40 pros in each dicipline. Most of them don't make more money on a whole year then what a single new mtb costs. Most ordinary 9-5 desk jobs in the mtb industry pays more then what the pros gets paid. That makes the prices of new mtb's these days even more disgusting.
  • 2 0
 Has anyone seen a similar survey for pro skateboarders, bmx, or other action sports? I imagine that in skateboarding and bmx there's the x-games tier of rider pay and then a big drop-off down to much lower numbers, but would love to see the data.
  • 2 0
 @BangBrosBike and gwin should lit just hang it up...he shouldnt have gotten paid at all past couple years...literally is like on coast mode to retirement in that ridgetop playboy mansion of his....I think hed rather crapily play his vintage fenders than mtn bike...He has no fight or heart like Palmer did, have no clue why he is on Intense...Gwin is like the exact OPPOSITE of Intense LOL
  • 2 0
 If we could only get this survey completed by a bunch of the attractive women who dress in tight cycling clothes and pose with bicycles on Instagram. I mean, they look fresh and smiley in their selfies, hair is perfect, make up is clean, white amazing teeth, sweat free brand new cycling costume, an amazing view from the top of the climb that they drove to. I bet they make more than pro cyclists....hahahaha
  • 2 0
 The majority of the respondents to this survey are not professional mountain bikers. They are privateers who can likely shred the hell out of a bike, who have been able to pick up some donations from interested parties to pay for some stuff.

If I had a hobby building chairs and sold 10 throughout the year for a profit of $5000, I wouldn't go around telling people my job was building and selling chairs.
  • 7 1
 Huh.
  • 2 0
 It sucks when you have been ranked in the Top 100 of your discipline and don’t make anything at all. I didn’t do it for the money, but that doesn’t change the fact you still need money to survive.
  • 3 0
 There are people that spend more on MTB, just for swag, than so many athletes earn per year! Something is really wrong here...
  • 5 0
 250k slopestyle.... wow! thats insane
  • 4 0
 Makes some sense because a lot of those guys are major marketing machines for the companies they represent.
  • 7 0
 I've heard that a Canadian rally hobbyist doesn't even participating any slopestyle competition and still manage to get contracts to ride for some of the biggest bike companies on the planet so...
  • 3 0
 @ts080: oh that's just B.S.
  • 1 0
 Some of the big guns have agent Ie:rasolution
These guys are doing the job !
i don’t think it’s the same with DH and enduro...
  • 1 0
 Are slopestyle riders better paid because there are fewer participating at the top level? Supply and demand? Any thoughts @jamessmurthwaite - I know you mentioned it was a sample of just 18, but presumably there's a smaller overall pool than DH?
  • 2 0
 @chakaping:

My take is slopestyle is covered by multiple media outlets and has wide appeal viewer-wise... groms might not watch UCI XCO, but the people watching XCO will watch slope events as well.
  • 1 0
 it would've interesting to see the answers connected to each like: how many of the riders who earn less than 10.000 DO have a guaranteed salary.
or, the amount of riders earning over 100.000, and do not have a guaranteed salary.
  • 4 0
 how is $5000/year a professional anything? That's mowing lawns in high-school money.
  • 1 0
 Slopestyle now the new high paid discipline! Gone from dirt jumpers begging and stealing for parts and living out a bag to being reasonably paid for the injuries they get etc! Shame downhillers and enduro riders aren't getting as fair a wage tho
  • 1 0
 I'm cherry picking somewhat, but 2 sections stood out:

1/ Only 25% of riders are making a livable wage (IMO) of $50K to 100K USD.

2/ Re "I am paid fairly for what I do"

Only 29% are in the "Strongly agree" and "agree" categories, and the remainder are a mix of Neutral / Disagree / Strongly Disagree. Those are poor numbers, but in line with what I expected.

I'm guessing the following, but MTB racing doesn't enjoy the vast TV revenue that other sports enjoy, probably because it's not that interesting for most and hard to capture well for that TV audience.
  • 1 0
 This is typical of most action sports. There aren't full fans that show up to races, watch everything they can on tv...and not own a bike. Every fan is a participant to some level. You have little outside draw, and even the fan/participants don't like everything.
  • 1 0
 Not taken into account is all the industry and sponsor hookups for various products that factors directly into how much money they have to spend in their daily life. Like, if a pro rider gets 4-5 free bikes per year then they don't have to worry about spending $5000 per bike and can cut $20-25,000 in bikes off of their yearly spending. That stuff adds up.
  • 1 1
 That doesn't follow. They ride those bikes for their employer if they had to pay for themselves i hardly doubt that they would use 25k worth of bikes. Also you never own all of em. I don't know how it is in the US but in principle the labor culture and the laws here in Europe is that your employer gives you the tools for the trade.
  • 1 0
 Imagine if your job factored in your tools for the job as part of your pay...
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: A lot of bike shops require that you use your own tools.
  • 1 1
 @neoides: You understand that $25k worth of bikes is literally only a few mid-range bikes right? Most intermediate and pro riders ride bikes worth upwards of $5k each.
  • 1 0
 @seraph: as many jobs do, but wouldn't it be crazy if you were sponsored by a tool company who expects you to keep their product front and center...and charged you for the tools to do you job.
  • 1 0
 What the are worth and what is paid are two different metrics. Privateers or amateurs would never pay that much out of pocket for kit. Also what sponsors give you is often taken back at the end of the season.
  • 1 1
 @neoides: Privateers consistently spend $5k per bike in my experience. Maybe not all at once but eventually the bike becomes worth that much. And sponsors taking the bike back at the end of the season is irrelevant, it still means they don't have to buy a bike for the season.
  • 1 0
 Maybe I’m sponsored and didn’t know it... I also make $0-5000 from riding each year... but there’s no -5000, it’s just $0!
Though, I suppose, if I factor in parts, maintenance etc. this could be where the -$5000 comes in.
Dam, I just walked myself through the woods... guess I’ll pat myself on the back now.
Cheerio mate!
  • 3 2
 When the US Women's National Soccer team's equal pay lawsuit was in the news in the US, I did a little experiment with some of the women in my life, whenever it came up in conversation and most expressed how unfair they thought it was. I asked them if they could a.) name the professional women's soccer league (NWSL); and b.) if they could, name a single team in the league. Not a single one could answer both (most couldn't answer either). I kept thinking...if women can't be bothered to watch women's soccer, then what are even talking about here?

Anecdotal, of course, and there's much to be discussed about marketing, etc. but I think it does start there. I can remember when men's soccer was an absolute backwater in the US. But, there was a very dedicated - almost obsessive - mostly-male fanbase doing everything they could to build the brand to what it is today in the US; which is actually quite healthy and growing. And it's not as if MTB'ing - even in the best of circumstances - is a marketing powerhouse. Despite it's growth, it's still niche and requires fans to resort to watching live streams on Sunday morning and reading Pinkbike. It's just that, there's a ton of men who will to go pretty nuts in spending on sports.

This is especially stark, considering that women make up over half the population and have more earning power than ever and this is more pronounced the younger you go (where women are out-earning men). They could spend their money on professional women's sports. And this is an end run around the "problem". Really, even assuming something "unfair" was going on (the evidence of which is lacking), a goldmine cannot be denied - and does exist in some cases (women's tennis, for example). The best way to "defeat" sexism is to go around it.

But, on balance, women don't spend on professional women's sport - or at least, nowhere near the same rate as men do on men's professional sports. This could perhaps change. Maybe it will. But, it's a long grind. Ask any fan of a sport that is in the backdrop. Most importantly, however, is that the change has to start at the ground level. If a critical mass of women aren't watching/spending on women's sports, should we be surprised that men aren't?
  • 1 0
 @iridedj: And the tragic thing in your vox pop survey is the USA is the best women's soccer team in the world.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: It's a mixed bag. The women's world cup is very popular in the US, among both men and women. I imagine that if I did the same "survey" asking to name a famous US women's player, I'd get better results. However, after the world cup, interest falls off a cliff. This is also consistent with what I've read and observed about female interest in professional sports. There appears to be less sports "obsession" among women, who instead tend to focus their interest in the occasional "big" event (like the world cup, Olympics, etc.).

The "problem" with this is that there's no viable business model based solely off of major tournaments every 2-4 years. Successful sports leagues very much depend on that steady stream of money being pumped in by fans willing to grind it out for the long haul. There's just no comparison, in terms of long term financial benefit, between say obsessed ManU fans storming the pitch b/c they're upset with the ownership and "hey, the world cup is on, this will be fun!" This is why, historically, marketers have obsessed over the 16-40 male demographic...within this demographic, you have a high concentration of potential lifelong, obsessed customers. And it makes sense...think about how much money a single lifelong ManU fan in England probably spends on ManU.

Unless and until female professional sports viewing habits radically change to look something like it does with men (which is possible, but seems unlikely anytime soon), it will always lag far behind in terms of money.
  • 1 0
 @burnermtb: I guess it comes down to where someone wants to put their money. For example, the worldwide annual spend on cosmetics is half a trillion USD. Now I'm not saying that women account for that entire amount, but... there's no eye-liner in 'team'.
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: Right. And women make more money in the beauty/cosmetic fields. There's a huge "pay gap", for example, in modeling, which favors women. And the revenue is the important factor. Consider that women's tennis equalized prize money pay a long time ago, despite the fact that the games, to this day, are technically not equal (men play best of 5 sets, women play best of 3). This is because women's tennis generates as much or more in revenue. So really, you can even set aside all of the more impassioned arguments about athletic ability (which are important) and get around it all simply by putting your money where your mouth is. Women, collectively, have huge buying power. In fact, I've read that women drive the vast majority of consumer decisions. It's the ultimate "liberation" in a sense, b/c you don't even have to worry about the "bad man", you can just go elsewhere. It's just that women and men, at the group level, have markedly different consumer habits. So, if your base line for "inequality" is any imbalance between men and women, then you're going to be chasing ghosts for the rest of your life.
  • 2 0
 @burnermtb: You'll get no argument from me. I work with demographic data for a living, even specialising in remuneration for a few years, and to see the gender wage gap shown as proof of discrimination or that women get paid less for doing the same job, is professionally annoying. If there is discrimination then it is so small and hard to prove that no-one has done it empirically yet AFAIK.
  • 1 0
 The large problem with the sport is that it's essentially run as a charity right now - it lives and breaths off sponsorships.
Teams do not churn any actual profit, unlike other professional sports teams that have the ability to license merchandise or sell home venue tickets.

Why are the majority of title sponsors all bike manufacturers?
Because that's the base of the small market watching the sport. The sport needs to add a compelling value proposition to MTB to lure those big sponsors outside the bike realm. This is where the high value money is made. Until then, MTB will be just like the dozens of other lesser known sports where the top level athletes are doing it mostly for the love of the sport.
  • 1 0
 I would imagine salaries for a pro rider are just a tax legal/ token gesture compared to the potential product endorsements. I wonder what kind of royalty a rider gets for helping develop a tire, Greg Minaar and the Maxxis Assegai for example. As far as the gender gap, i would think it is a function of the percentage of bikes/bike parts sold to men vs women. Maybe? Just thinking out loud.
  • 1 0
 Colin Bailey should be a millionaire!
  • 1 0
 Most of the customer service phone jocks made more money than the pro riders when I worked for that big bike company...I was in the marketing department and I definitely did too. But money isn’t everything. Getting to ride a bike every day is payment enough for many—you ever spend five years looking at excel sheets and going on conference calls with your dumb polo shirt tucked in? Jobs suck, that’s why they pay you to do them. Riding bikes (in any capacity) sucks so much less than a job job.
Anyways whatever. The riders should unionize.
  • 2 0
 Unionization may not work - if there was one industry where a bunch of 'scabs' would happily jump in to replace the pros, it's mountain biking. Especially the freeride and social media side of the sport.
  • 1 0
 If pro riders are making such small salaries how are they living such lavish lifestyles? Looking at their social media you would think they we’re getting paid millions with all they’re belongings and jet setting around the world
  • 1 0
 I want to race F1 so i can make a lot of money..... I feel i should get equal pay because its the fair thing to do. Sure its likely i wont ever win.... But its only fair i get paid just as well isnt it? What about my dreams!
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: Exactly you are spot on and this statement will always be spot on forever, abs truth... I dont get how the majority of jokers on this site (esp the male riders) dont understand this...its quite mind blowing how they just dont get it....NBA vs WNBA enough said. lol
  • 1 0
 “You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your f*cking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

-MTB industry to MTB riders wanting to be paid.
  • 1 0
 The moment you realize that most of them are riding a bike they can't afford. I just hope the wage question was clear enough that riders knew they were asked how much they make in a year versus how much they make in a month.
  • 1 0
 A lot of interesting data, but I am a bit surprised (and at the same time not surprised) how much these athletes are convinced they are paid for their results. That is probably true for a top 5 rider, but if we are talking about someone who is never doing a top ten, surely anything but consistent results is what a sponsor is interested in. I seriously hope someone like Wyn Masters is not only paid for his results but for all the effort he puts into his videos.
There are a few graphs that would really be interesting in this regard:
- pay vs. ranking (obviously there would be some clever way needed to keep anonymity)
- pay vs. followers
- how do pure YouTubers compare against racers in pay?

To me the biggest surprise is how well slopestyle/freeride riders are paid, and I am almost sure a lot of that is because of YouTube.
  • 1 0
 I think the way to go from this point forth is profit sharing from broadcast rights. I wouldn't know how to structure this but as soon as more stabilised profit income can go into the sport, the more money the riders can see.
  • 1 0
 most pro riders still have day jobs.
The best advice is unless you can go straight to the top like Gwin then go ahead
otherwise, build a good career and salary and buy all the bikes/parts/travel you want.

Personally im nearing 30 with what i would say is a happy salary and can buy whatever bike and travel to any event I want.
I had many many sports friends who showed alot of promise, they spent untill late 20's trying to get money out of it, now they struggle just to live with a job packing shelves or serving fast food.
  • 1 0
 Looking at the trends on the bar charts there is only 1 male athlete paid 500k+ and competes most likely in dh or slopestyle... slopestyle being the big surprise there really, with a big upward trend toward the higher end of the pay bracket
  • 1 0
 I found the article interesting, for sure. I always wondered how much folks make in MTB, and this did a decent job of answering that question. I'm not surprised most don't make much... although I think it's a positive that you've got 30% of respondents making more than $40k. Good for the folks making top dollar, too!

One thing that's come out the comments... I'm really struggling to wrap my head around people feeling like there should be some minimum floor that MTB athletes should be paid. The only way there's anything wrong with the pay, is if bike companies are banding together though back door channels and coming to agreements not to pay athletes more than x value (i.e. collusion against the riders by the industry). Otherwise, they're being paid what the market has deemed they are worth, in the industry they've decided to be in. If they continue on with that career, then they're agreeing to work for it, by choice, and choices carry consequences (both good and bad).

Long ago, I was a bike mechanic, at my pinnacle including working on pro riders bikes (in their off seasons, to be fair). I absolutely loved it. I've always said I'd have done it forever if it paid the bills, but it really didn't- So, I made a choice to change careers. But, for those years I chose to be broke, and it was worth the joy of it all... of course I felt I deserved more, but it was that joy that kept me on board. I'm sure a lot of riders feel the same way. It's OK to accept low pay if you deem it worth it based on other value. For me, when it came down to it, I made the choice to go get more money so I could build a family, it cost changing careers. I surely don't love my job now like I did then.

These individuals make their choice daily. The market pays what it pays- each individual can make the decision to keep at it, or not. I guess the answer to getting paid more is 1. be better, 2. unionize (which has its own costs & difficulties), or 3. go do something else. Sadly, loving a job doesn't qualify you for making whatever we on the internet deem as "fair".
  • 1 0
 It's actually somewhat better than I feared. Actually surprised that the top Slopestyle riders make money, if you look at a solid pro as Alex Alanko I get the feeling he's severely lacking in sponsors and he probably isn't the only one.
  • 1 0
 I would've have loved to have a seen a breakdown of the pay rates by numbers of titles held or number of Top 10 Finishes in the last 5 years.. It'd be interesting to see if there are outliers of folks who despite getting paid well, might have not won a championship at the highest levels, but just merely placed consistently good, or have really good social media. Like, what do Gee and Dan Atherton make in comparison to Rachel? What does Ratboy make now that he's not racing WCDH? How does the National Champ compare to the World Champ? Does a fall from grace drastically impact salary?

I thought the "where do you get your money" and "what do your sponsors look for" data points were particularly interesting.
  • 1 0
 To cover this subject as a whole, the basic (and universal) principles that determine what an athlete makes comes down to is how big or popular a given sport is in general because this will equate to revenue, what pay terms the athlete negotiates with their sponsors and how popular said athlete is in their sport. Typically, athletes who become widely popular on social media with consistent content stand a better chance at either keeping their current sponsors or having a much easier time gaining new sponsors for the next season despite not necessarily getting top results.
  • 1 0
 After reading these analysis several things come to mind but oje is a suggestion and the other is a question.
Suggestion - there should be a riders’ union that would guarantee a base pay
Question - what about the teams? How much does it cost to set up a team? I’m sure we will be surprised
Another question - how much are team managers making?
My two cents
  • 1 0
 Statistically speaking, there is only one "outlier" making more than 500,000/year (I wonder who that is), so that the rest 99% make less than half a million a year (the text is wrong as for the charts, it is only one, not a handful). That would make mountain biking a sport where pros make less than 50,000/year (on average for all disciplines together, getting the five statistical outliers making 500,000 or more out of this average). So mountain biking is a sport of the poor really, but the bikes are getting more and more expensive for the general public every year. Hmm...interesting.
  • 1 0
 Money paid is directly proportional to how enthusiastically and well a racer sucks industry c*ck. A little talent helps ,too. I've heard it said that the phallus of the mighty "red bull" tastes exactly like sucking on a penny. Go figure.
  • 2 0
 I assume "professional" means they ride in the elite category, or does it mean they've ever made money from biking, or sponsored riders, or...?
  • 8 0
 @brianpark:
Cool article, but, why call them "professional" if the only criterion for including them is a top-40 finish? Normally a "professional" is someone whose profession is the activity in question. The people making a few $K/year total from MTBing aren't MTBing as a profession.
  • 1 0
 @SJP: Finally! Thank you! My test would be the occupation you put on your tax return.
  • 1 0
 @SJP: Why would you want to kick those guys and girls while they're down?
  • 2 0
 @SJP: To be fair, they did include the graph about how much MTB contributes to their annual income- but I agree with you here. Really, the 50% who said MTB is 100% of their income are the real pros. I'd love to see that group broken out seperately, because I believe that would give the true feel for "how much do pros get paid". You could even include the "more than 50% comes from MTB" folks, I think.

As it stands now, including the 35% of who make 50% or less of their income in MTB, makes it more like "how much do people who are exceptional at mountain biking get paid". Their results being included definitely skews the outcome. 21% of respondents "don't take a wage from mountain biking"... why are they included at all? That's the opposite of being a pro, heh.

Still interesting, no doubt.
  • 1 0
 @SJP: exactly. In my mind, professional is the one that gets majority of income from certain profession, be either mtb or any other profession. Someone getting few 100 or 1000 bucks a year and is getting majority of money to live from either his/her parents or from other job, is not professional in certain profession. It's nothing bad, but "standard" what is professional is pretty clear, and it's same in other areas too so not strictly depending on mtb only.
  • 3 0
 Be interesting to compare the wages to the "What do your sponsors value most" comparison.
  • 2 0
 Let's get avg. salary of Spesh/Trek/Giant/GT employees (and throw in highest earning and lowest earning at the company) and see if we don't get any interesting results
  • 3 0
 Whenever I find money on a trail ($35 one time!) - I always say that day I'm a paid professional!
  • 2 1
 The marketing department gets paid more than the riders. It's pathetic. The amount of $$$ they charge for a bicycle these days and they don't even give the riders a fair wage. Sickening.
  • 2 0
 Real question is whats the gender pay gap for bike theifs? Do women bike theives make $0.80 on the dollar of their comparable male degenerates??
  • 1 1
 If you are a pro-racer you should get a decent salary for living all year round independently of gender. Then if you generate more on terms of selling bikes, merchandising, other sponsorships, that is great. But if you don't make 100% of your Life needs you cant be consideres a pro, just an amateur Who needs to get another job for leaving. Being a profesional means you make your leaving bases on what you do. And that is not fair for such a life of sacrife independently if you are a man ir a women
  • 1 0
 This survey would’ve been fascinating if based during the 90s big money hey days!

Palmer - yeah I get paid, then I don’t so I’m wearing jeans and I’m deleting my insta bitches (whatever that shit is)
  • 1 0
 PB- awesome content, however please reconsider chart design (absolutely killing ming and eyes to understand them)
Also it is better to use AGwin on the first char as last column
  • 1 0
 What price do we put on being able to race/ride mtbs? People are giving up 'normal jobs' to pursue a MTB lifestyle, all the more better if you break even or better financially
  • 2 0
 if you do something for money but don't make enough money to live on, then whatever earns you that money is not your profession.
  • 1 0
 Interesting As President, Biden will be making USD 400,000 annually. We can compare riders to footballers etc in terms of wages, but someone, lets say its Gwin, it might not be, earns more than the president.
  • 1 0
 Anyone else surprised to see how little sponsors still seem to appreciate social media presence? This seems pretty behind the times. Do people really still follow racing more than youtube/instagram/etc?
  • 1 0
 Not to sound any way but I’d like to point out that in many places 40k yearly income would put you below poverty line after deductions. I mean, just deduct rent & healthcare from that and it’s already down to 22k.
  • 1 0
 As a long passed grind told me when I was young: “fair is for kids.” You choose to try to make a living in this sport, deal with the reality that this article sheds light on.
  • 2 0
 Lol another pay gap dumpster fire.

After reading about the US women’s soccer team joke....I just can’t be bothered to give a shit.
  • 3 0
 This really quite interesting...
  • 3 0
 I guess professional didn’t mean you get paid.
  • 2 0
 *doesn't
  • 1 0
 long gone are the big trucks in the pits and 6 figure salaries / lavish parties for the Sponsors... the good life for pro's was a short time period
  • 3 0
 Would like to see this with road bikers thrown in too
  • 2 0
 The top road guys (Froome, for instance) are making well off the graph above. Most of the domestiques are likely right in the 50-100k mark if they're regulars in the Grand Tours/Classics. I would be interested to know what the mountain bike pros do with prize money; in the road world it's typically split amongst the team (including mechanics and other support persons).
  • 5 0
 @jmusuperman: I think the prize purses are pretty laughably small at most MTB events.
  • 1 0
 @Hogfly: Epic Rides events seem to be the only ones with good size prize purses, and that's why they attract top pros, besides that they're usually pretty fun and unique courses instead of a bunch of laps on a short course. At least in the US.
  • 1 0
 @Hogfly: Pros usually get sizable bonuses from their sponsors for winning (or placing well). Money motivates most people. So the prize purse for pro races is usually just a formality. Whereas at more local and amateur races where a decent size prize purse will make more racers attend, it's larger and less of a formality. At least, that's how it seems to me.
  • 1 0
 there are guaranteed wages in the pro peleton's two top categories. Its c.30K for Proteams and c.50k euros for Worldtour teams. Teams have to put up a bank guarantee at the beginning of the year that they cant touch, and if they default the riders get paid from the guarantee. there are roughly 25 riders over a million. With Sagan and Froome top earners.
  • 1 0
 @jmusuperman: It's not useful to speculate. Domestiques riding for pro tour teams make a lot more than 'likely right in the 50-100k mark' and I do know this for sure. Road biking is king as far as dollars go in the biking world. TV and broadcast rights are an actual thing, crowds are huge, non-endemic sponsors are plentiful - at least compared to other disciplines in cycling. It's not even close.
  • 1 0
 @roggey: meh, I was guestimating from reading Phil Gaimon's book. I was figuring that the road world saw a lot more dollars than the mountain world.
  • 1 0
 @roggey: teams or riders do not get any of the tv rights directly if at all. Only through start fees etc. I was saying what the minimum guaranteed wages are. Pay often doesn't go with results, and the prize money is quite high as well (as a domestique you can make up to 10-60K in a a single grand tour). Further all the prize money gets put into a closed bank account and gets distributed at the end of the year.
  • 2 1
 "Editor's Note We rely on athletes' trust to carry out this survey, any attempts to identify riders will be deleted from the comment section" - Aaron Gwyn.....
  • 2 0
 It's Gwin the mountain biker; not Gwyn the Author.
  • 1 0
 Trying to make a job from what other people will pay to do is always hard. This is coming from a former professional stock car driver.
  • 3 0
 I would love to know the riders that make up the 500,000 plus
  • 2 0
 I'd like to see a comparison in real dollars of pay packages now versus the boom years of 90s mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 I probably wouldn't consider someone a true "pro" if they make less than a minimum wage job. Really more of a hobby that generates some side cash.
  • 1 0
 If you dont want to be paid like a mountain biker........dont be a mountain biker. The pay gap though is disturbing. This needs to be fixed.
  • 3 0
 Moral of the story: keep your day job.
  • 4 0
 so less than a dentist
  • 3 0
 According to Instagram, every mountain biker is a professional
  • 1 0
 From a purely economic standpoint, enduro is where halo products are developed, not DH. I'm sure Fox sells many more Factory 38 forks compared to 40s.
  • 1 0
 Consistent results in my chosen discipline 52.36%
So Troy Brosnan is taking home way more than anyone else in DH? Propably not
  • 2 0
 was social media (insta gram and youtube) earning factored in here?
  • 1 0
 So basically if you going to take up an international sport go do soccer or F1.
  • 1 0
 Are you saying Baseball isn't international? LMAO.
  • 2 1
 @noplacelikeloam: Not really. You only making money if you play in the MLB which is US only.
  • 21 23
 At the end of the day being a pro mountain biker is still a pretty unnecessary and noncontributing occupation to society. It's basically just riding a bike and marketing to a very small percentage of the general population. I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, but I'm really not going to lose any sleep over the meager pay these guys get.
  • 15 4
 Wow, that's a naive worldview.
  • 6 0
 @ROOTminus1: I'm sure freetors is totally performing a super critical function for the survival of the species. Frankly, IDGAF how low his pay is though.
  • 4 0
 True enough, but you could say the same thing (unnecessary and noncontributing) about a hedge fund manager. Pretty sure their salary distribution graph would look a lot different. Baseball player if you want a closer comparison.
  • 9 1
 Same goes for the majority of jobs bud. Nobody needs McDonald's but can I please get a McCurry, freetors.
  • 4 0
 While you are not completely wrong, I offer this: Pro Mountain Biking is an entertainment venue. They inspire us as riders and sometimes as people, they show us what can be done and motivate us to more. They also make us happy; happy about their success and even our own. Happiness these days is in high demand and short supply. I would say that they do make a contribution to society, and often a positive contribution.
  • 2 0
 @freetors now do hedge fund managers
  • 2 0
 Like a lot "celebrity" professions, your job is essentially a salesperson. Same can be said for social media "celebrities".
  • 1 0
 Yea I mean... caring for rescue animals, creating art and music, studying the human condition and psychology... could all be said to do the same. There's a difference between benefit to society or enrichment for the world and doing something only for monetary benefit. Those things don't generate income or profit in a general sense (or outside of a small percentage of their use and participants), but they make being human better.
  • 2 0
 Well, they're helping keep others employed designing and making bikes by helping to sell more bikes. Not sure what contributing to society means in your worldview, but there's more to life than providing food, shelter, and medicine. People need something to do. Their job is to help keep others employed by selling more bikes.
  • 2 1
 Think of how many really expensive mountain biker these guys sell. Someones making a lot of money of these guys risking it all and not giving them their fair share of the profits.
  • 2 0
 I wouldn't lose any sleep over it either and whenever i next buy a new bike i won't be terribly concerned about what the athletes riding that frame get paid, but it's nice to know and maybe something of a reality check for anyone who wants to be a professional mountain biker.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: The ones who are actually selling bikes are making good money. No one buys a bike because the guy riding it finished 28th at the last WC.
  • 2 0
 Who else is in the 0-5000 category? I too make nothing off MTB racing!
  • 1 0
 I'm in the -5000-0 category. I actually have to pay money just so I can ride bikes. Totally unfair.
  • 1 0
 The best way of appreciating that crappy minimum wage job..... is to spend a year in poverty as a fulltime racer.
  • 1 0
 And how fairclough compares too danny hart, hasn't got the results in times but definitely more viral on social media
  • 1 0
 I hope Brendan's made enough to retire from royalties on the Deathgrips alone.
  • 3 0
 Brendog got robbed!
  • 1 0
 I think these types of articles are good for the sport. Please keep these up!
  • 1 0
 I'd spend my sponsorship dollars (if I had any) on Kate and Emily, much more star power than Nino.
  • 1 0
 Go watch a world cup race live and you'll see that is not the case. Kate and Emily have plenty of star power, and good on them, but Nino is the most successful XC racer of all time, and his longevity, fan base, and consistent top of the pack results put him in a special place as a recognized athlete among XC race fans. He's celebrated as one of Switzerland's most popular and successful athletes. Most Swiss know who he is. Most Americans and Canadians are not aware of who Kate and Emily are.
  • 1 0
 Would be interesting to see a sim. survey of folks working in the industry (excluding bike shops).
  • 2 0
 Good to see us hacks earn more than the pros, finally a winner.
  • 1 0
 How do you make a small fortune in mountain biking? Start with large fortune...
  • 2 0
 How much do mechanics make?
  • 1 0
 Probably not enough, because they're hard to market. Except Jordi of course! They should hire him and Loris as a combo package only!
  • 1 2
 The girl mtb'rs still have the option to start an OF's ... this would def bring the pay gap well in their favor...the guys wld look like peasants if this happened, no way their OF accounts would have many followers
  • 2 0
 So what I understand is Loic Greg & Gwin are taking all DH money
  • 1 0
 I assume Loris and Pierron are also up there (perhaps not Pierron, but he will be if his contract ends) due to consistent results . But that's probably it.
  • 2 0
 I have paid all my bikes working as a trail guide,and earn a little money.
  • 1 1
 How can XC riders make bank over everyone else? I wouldn’t pay to watch them do things I can do, whereas the downhill racers are gnar
  • 2 0
 As the article mentions, the discipline is closer to road than DH in culture.
I'd also suggest that it's more mature as a discipline (in terms of years, but perhaps also attitudes).
  • 1 0
 I'd be curious in knowing what kind of viewership the two disciplines get. I would think XC has significantly more views. If that's the case, that means getting paid more.
  • 1 0
 A proper survey that wants results doesn't offer Neutral as a option. Make people pick a answer.
  • 1 0
 Probably why a lot of pros still have careers/jobs outside of biking.
  • 3 0
 or their family business is paying the racing bills.
  • 1 0
 Pro baseball players were the same way for a long, long time
  • 1 0
 Good to see sam hill being paid the grip of money he's owed.
  • 1 0
 Well, that is sure interesting.
  • 1 0
 Sad to see such low % is prioritized to testing equipment.
Opposite of F1.
  • 1 0
 The pay scale seems to be similar to Pro MMA
  • 2 0
 “Bear in mind...”
  • 1 0
 And here I am paying other people money so I can ride my bike
  • 3 3
 Based on the survey and this comment section the state of the sport is super sexist and deeply upsetting.
  • 1 0
 Should have become dentists...
  • 1 0
 Wow, unless I was in the top 5% I couldn't feed my dog on that!
  • 1 1
 "Professional mountainbikers" that are making less than $5000 a year.
Isn't that just being unemployed?
  • 1 0
 Y'all really raised the bar on these charts!
  • 3 3
 two dudes in 500,000+ are bruni and gwin
  • 4 0
 I would think Minnaar has been taken care of quite well through his career as well.
  • 2 0
 @neimbc: ah yes forgot about him
  • 1 1
 Lesson learned: stop downhilling, start slopestyling and identify as male.
  • 1 0
 For the downvoters: no this wasn't serious advice...
  • 1 1
 Injury rehab costs are gender biased. Nor should pay be.
  • 1 0
 *aren’t…
  • 1 2
 It is definitely not fair that mountain bikers get paid so little.
  • 1 1
 Blah, blah, blah......
  • 2 5
 Lol didn't even read the article came straight to the comments
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