Team CRC Mavic Leave Downhill Racing to Focus on Enduro

Jan 2, 2018
by Chain Reaction Cycles  
Sam Hill

Following Team CRC Mavic's hugely successful 2017 season when Sam Hill was crowned the Enduro World Series Champion, in 2018 the team will be focusing all their attention on racing the EWS with three team riders: Sam Hill, Elliott Heap and new rider Kelan Grant.

Team CRC Mavic will be taking a step back from the UCI Downhill World Cup this year, but the team will continue to work closely with Nukeproof to help develop their downhill products.

bigquotesWith the success of downhill legend Sam Hill at the 2017 Enduro World Series, we’re going to be concentrating on enduro in 2018. With an awesome mix of natural, diverse tracks, plus all the tactics and new venues, the EWS has given Sam a new lease of life. Nigel Page - Team Manager


Elliott Heap remains on the team after some great results in 2017 as a first year elite rider in downhill. This year, Elliott will focus on the under-21 category of the Enduro World Series. Elliott won the Irish round of the EWS in 2017.

CRC
Team CRC Mavic dominated at the EWS round in Wicklow with Elliott Heap winning the Under-21 race, Sam Hill narrowly missing out on first in the Pro Men category and Nigel Page bagging second in the Masters category.

We’re excited to welcome Belfast-based enduro ripper Kelan Grant to the team. His super positive attitude is backed up with some fantastic results in the UK and Ireland, taking wins at the 2017 Ard Rock Enduro, Tweedlove and Red Bull Fox Hunt. Kelan is also the reigning Irish National Enduro Championship.

Here's Kelan winning his qualifying heat at the 2017 Megavalanche on board his Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro:


For Team CRC Mavic, concentrating 100% on one discipline is the right thing to do. After ten amazing years of competing in the UCI Downhill World Cup with some great results and great times, we’ve decided to take a break from downhill racing at World Cup level for this year to concentrate on the EWS and a few other select events.

Now focussing on enduro, we have to say farewell to young ripper Mike Jones, who’ll continue to pursue his goals in downhill. Mike is like part of the family and has had some amazing success as a part of the team with two World Cup podiums, numerous top ten finishes and a fourth place at the World Championships in Andorra.

CRC
CRC

We wish Mike all the very best for his future and know he will reach his goals! Thanks Mike, it’s been awesome to have you around.

The team remains as Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic, with SRAM, RockShox, Muc-Off, MRP, 100% and Mudhugger as team sponsors. We are very excited and proud to announce we will be partnering with Michelin tyres for 2018. Michelin are probably the most iconic tyre brand in the world and have some amazing enduro tyres and plans for the future that we can't wait to be involved with.

Look out for more news and info about the team after our team camp in February 2018.

We are really excited for a new chapter of the team to begin, bring on 2018!

Cheers, Nigel.

Must Read This Week

149 Comments

  • + 124
 “...will be concentrating on enduro” will be the quote of 2018, I reckon.
  • + 69
 Next year: "...will be concentrating on e-enduro"
  • - 20
flag russthedog (Jan 2, 2018 at 3:37) (Below Threshold)
 because its cheaper
  • + 16
 When enduro is an olympic sport I will be happy.
  • + 25
 @russthedog: not too sure it is cheaper to run an enduro team but DH sales are absolutely tiny compared to the enduro market.

@brodoyouevenbike: DH was never going to make it to the Olympics but I think there is a fair chance that enduro could in the future.
  • + 4
 @russthedog: I very much doubt it's cheaper. 8 rounds instead of 5/6 and in much more distant locations.
Pro team riders still need similar support too
  • + 19
 Also, I very much doubt that Enduro will ever be an Olympic sport. It can't even get recognition from the UCI, and I suspect the UCI has a huge sway into Olympic cycling decisions
  • + 35
 @Racer951: keep in mind though that DH racing is not just about selling DH bikes. There is a trickle down effect just from brand exposure. Same way that big motor companies sponsor race teams. Ford, Chevy, and Toyota aren’t selling their customers race cars are they?
  • + 0
 @sino428: See lower down - full discussion going on about this very subject - Its not that anybody doubts the trickle-down effect, just that Enduro is probably better value for money than DH right now.
  • + 23
 @brodoyouevenbike: why would you want it to be an olympic sport?
  • + 0
 @Racer951: It may or may not be cheaper to run an Enduro team than a DH team, but it's most definitely cheaper to run an Enduro team than it is to run both simultaneously.

If teams like CRC are already sending mechanics and spare parts to EWS races for 1 rider, it's a no brainer to expand the team, especially when that 1 rider is Sam Hill.

You are correct in the market size. Even if Enduro doesn't get the viewership of DH, people buy the bikes because of EWS results. You virtually never saw a Yeti around here until Graves started dominating, followed by Rude. Now every yuppie in line at Starbucks has switched from Trek/Spec to Yeti. Those guys know who leads the EWS, they have no clue who Aaron Gwin is.
  • + 18
 @maxyedor: never saw a Yeti? bwahahhahhahh!!!!
  • + 0
 @maxyedor: truth. yeti sales are through the roof.
  • + 6
 @russthedog: No, because more people actually buy Enduro bikes.
  • - 1
 @Racer951: sales is 100% the reason. yeti did it first, i'm surprised more teams haven't ditched the WC teams to increase their EWS team sizes to maximise bike sales.
  • + 1
 @sino428: By the same token, Ford, Chevy and Toyota race GTs, Tourings Cars and NASCAR, they aren't in Formula 1 anymore. They left for much the same reasons as teams slowly leaving Downhill, it's a very expensive way to make a very specific machine that doesn't really translate to mass produced technology anymore.
.
DH doesn't have the same pull it had ten years ago either and certainly not what it had twenty years ago.
  • - 3
 @sino428: trickle down from DH WC to the rest of mtb in last years : high range 1x drivetrains, dropper posts aaaaand 29rs....if Gwinn, Minaar and Hart would leave WC DH we would know about UCI only from the history books
  • + 1
 @uskas: I wasn't really referring to the actual trickle down of parts, although some of the technology does start off in DH and works its way down. I was just talking about the exposure, in that people see the high end DH bike much like a race car, and it creates and image of the brand which can help them sell lower end unrelated products.
  • + 0
 @sino428: never heard of trick(le) down marketing before
  • + 11
 @uskas: droppers do not come from DH. Niether do 29ers or even high range 1x's for that matter. Try again.
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: search for irony on Google please
  • + 7
 @uskas: my sarcasm meter blew up these holidays. Need a new one.
  • - 16
flag drivereight (Jan 2, 2018 at 9:06) (Below Threshold)
 Enduro still suck! It's for washed out DH riders! Will never be an Olympic sport! Welcome to 2018! New Year, same bitchin from everyone!
  • + 3
 @sino428: I doubt very highly anyone purchases a Camry after watching NASCAR.
  • + 1
 @drivereight: Regional Enduros have been dumbed down so everyone can participate! Downhill is the only discipline that requires actual skill.
  • + 6
 @MX298: yep, no skill required for trial or slopestyle. At least you found your tribe.
  • + 10
 @IllestT: Screw the Olympics, screw UCI. Would like to see better TV coverage of the Enduro races and more venues, & more races per year! How about more money for the pro riders! In the USA pro baseball, basketball and football players make millions of dollars. It all happens because of good TV contracts. Mountain biking needs better coverage of the sport and videos segments on riders personality & video segments on bike checks.
  • + 8
 @fruitsd79: So then why does Toyota bother with NASCAR? Last I checked Toyota isn't selling any 850HP race a cars to the general public are they? You might doubt that anyone purchases their Toyota because of NASCAR, but Toyota's marketing department (which know way more about the subject that we do) certainly thinks they do.
  • + 1
 @uskas: Huh? the first 29ers were noodle trail bikes 1st and foremost, DH was the LAST discipline to convert. High Range 1x? Pfft! What downhill racer needs a 9-46 cassette? They don't climb, but yes I'll give you the fact that 1x (not high range) came down from DH.
  • + 1
 @uskas: Maybe you should do some research then.
  • + 5
 @RideTahoe707: to you and all folkes that have any doubt : I was sarcastic....very.
  • + 1
 @drivereight: this guy is on the money it's guy xc rebranded ????
  • + 3
 @drivereight: I’m sure you mean that the WC curcuit is full of same old washed up tracks! Welcome to 2018! new Year same boring WC tracks.
  • + 1
 @MX298: I disagree with this. I've raced in the Scott Enduro Cup before, and I do not feel that it has been dumbed down. Sure, it's not the hardest race out there, but it isn't an easy series.
  • + 1
 @BentonRidesBikes: that's my point, (unless your Richie and not Benton) to have an average rider able to race the courses! How many WC downhill courses you think you could ride down let alone race down?
And @uskas actual races . . . . .
  • + 2
 @uskas: lol.... i got it. ... thing is with marketing its a stab in the dark scattergun technique that only serves to feed itself. I can honestly say at the age of 40 i have never ever bought anything i saw on television. But that Does not that mean companies should not advertise at all. They need to advertise so as not to lose airtime to the opposition. Advertising is meant to reach 10s of millions of people in the hope that 1% gets suckered in. So in effect DH is important for a brand as a whole rather than the specific model of bike such as a demo 8 or whatever.
  • + 3
 @forkbrayker:
I don't know about marketing, I also do not necesarely buy what the top guys are riding. I like to take the most educated guess I can and for this I read a lot of reviews and tests and so on.
If more people would do the same effort (for everything, not only biking) instead of following hypes to feed their ego there would be more fairness in the world.
Anyway, if I look at what improved available options for me a lot lately it's mostly EWS, not WCDH or anything UCI related.
I still watch WC DH because I also like riding downhill (not the gnarly stuff these guys are racing on), of the TV format and some really strong characters that race there. But I think with some better EWS coverage (cable cameras, drones , whatever) the WCDH (and UCI together with it) could become redundant. And I don't see why the EWS tracks could not contain some really gnarly stuff that could be avoided only by big time losses (smart chosen chicken lines).
  • + 1
 It's a shame for fans. EWS coverage is awful. You get some nice photos and raw footage, but it doesn't feel like watching a race at all. I can't imaging how you could make it bearable for casual fans. Just look how stoked everyone was to see Sam Hill at DH world champs, it's because there you actually got to see him race.
  • + 5
 @Racer951: If curling can be an Olympic sport we'd probably have better luck getting e-enduro accepted. Despite all the ridiculous marketing spin on enduro it's still pretty cool. Look what they did to "mountain biking" to make it Olympic-ready - do you want them to wreck enduro too?
  • + 3
 @Racer951:
Why the F enduro need Olympic crap?
  • + 1
 And 2020...'we'll be leaving enduro for E-cycling series.'
  • + 1
 @fruitsd79: but the newer camrys have been lookn more and more like the race cars..fake aero bits etc
  • + 3
 @Racer951: If you seriously think its more expensive because of a couple extra flights, baggage allowance and nights accomm then you are only looking at a small part of the picture.

Those of you that are business types, care to share with everyone what the largest cost in most businesses is?
  • + 4
 the car racing analogies are inaccurate. F1, Le Mans, and the like have given us plenty of trickle down technology... traction control, ABS, dual clutch transmissions, paddle shifting, hybrid systems and regenerative braking, overhead cams, valve and cylinder designs, carbon fiber body/structural design, fuel economy developments, performance disc brakes, fluid dynamics and aerodynamics, active suspension and active aero, variable valve timing, impact and crumple zone designs... its where raw development and boundary pushing ideas are formed.

you don't need to buy a race car... a lot of stuff found its way into your mom mobile already, just in a shittier form. if a bike and its components can survive DH/Freeride and react/perform well with that environment, it can survive being owned by a normie or being put on an Enduro/XC/Trail bike.
  • + 2
 @brodoyouevenbike: Enduro in a way is a mix between the uphill XC and the DH if we don't look at the timing side of things. Just replace XC with enduro in the Olympics.
  • + 1
 @Sweatypants: spot on. There's a good couple of articles on this in the 25years of dh mag from dirt. Basically the summary from all the experts is its now more a marketing f1 version of the sport as opposed to the technical f1 that it used to be.
  • + 48
 Can we stop calling a bike team 'family'? Please?
  • + 23
 some of them actually are families tho ...
  • + 17
 @leopaul: sure dude, just like your mom’s paying you 8 grand to be at thanksgiving dinner
  • + 3
 Or most jobs, for that matter.
  • + 7
 @pargolf8: I think he means the Athertons or the Cougoureuxs
  • + 2
 @trek81615: I agree but most corporations are using this term. It really does devalue the word.
  • + 38
 Heads up UCI...start listening to riders and teams or more will follow CRC/mavic
  • + 16
 We just need a few more major teams to pull out of UCIDH before they even notice that they are standing alone in an empty room.
  • + 26
 Can't EWS just also start a DHWS? I am assuming EWS is not governed by UCI.
  • + 3
 @MTB-Colada: you are correct.
  • + 11
 UCI = FIFA = Corruption

Will MTB be free of UCI one day ? EWS, would you please launch it already !!! yes the DWS !!!!
  • + 28
 DH is dead. Long live DH.
  • + 20
 "DownHill is Formula 1 of cycling" like Fabien Barel said; and it always will be
  • + 41
 @karasmce:
Except DH can actually be exciting...
  • - 6
flag St1234 (Jan 2, 2018 at 6:55) (Below Threshold)
 26 inch are dead too
  • - 5
flag aliikane (Jan 2, 2018 at 12:12) (Below Threshold)
 DH is still awesome, but mostly only park guys can really rock the DH rigs. Can't really ride DH rigs much outside the park.
  • + 1
 Id be interested to see the viewership #s: livestream and/or replay past years.
  • + 1
 @karasmce: And look what happened to F1.
  • + 12
 Until there's some kind of DWS or at least a departure from national federations that are indifferent at best about growing the sport, this is probably gonna be happening a lot.
  • + 14
 Where is Mike Jones going? He's a top lad. I hope he gets a spot in a top team with a top teammate.
  • - 22
flag Grimes1405 (Jan 2, 2018 at 6:01) (Below Threshold)
 Who?
  • + 6
 @Grimes1405: That ones getting old
  • + 4
 Agreed, one of my favourite riders.
  • + 14
 I wish CRC could just concentrate on getting the right shit in the box they're sending to you!
  • + 11
 As a business you want exposure for your products - I reckon DH bikes are a very small part of total sales for most mtb businesses. So it seems logical to promote your product where the majority of your sales take place.
  • + 5
 cmon not this subject again please. UCI WC DH is the most effective at advertising and promotion any brand in mtb. MArque products still sell other models. UCI WC DH attendance sells enduro bikes. DH bike sales has nothing to do with it. EWS riders and teams will also therefore generally be cheaper therefore brands will find it easier to afford an EWS participant. Probably not the case here as the team is just following what Sam Hill wants to do which makes sense. But normally thatd be the case.
  • + 4
 @russthedog: I beg to differ - I agree that having a successful DH team will help sell bikes (and not just DH models), but I also feel that having a successful EWS team will help sell bikes. Even though your monster DH model is the 'ultimate' bike in your range, you can't ignore that the DH market is small. Anyone who is using racing as something that influences their purchasing decision is hardly likely to look only at DH results or ignore the EWS results IF they are buying the enduro/trail bikes that dominate the bike market (particularly when these are the bikes likely to be most relevant to their riding).
FWIW I enjoy the EWS but personally think the DH WC is better to watch - the format of the racing makes it easier to present. I can honestly say though that I didn't take the DH results into consideration for my current bike, as it isn't from a team that competes in the DHWC...
  • + 4
 @slimboyjim: "you cant ignore the DH market is small" - do you mean DH bikes or DH viewers? More people watch DH than any other type of MTB event? That alone means most marketing impact. Just the fact that you know your bike isnt from a team shows this. I wouldnt even know 90% of who EWS competitors are (Im an MTB tragic and admittedly more DH focussed as a spectator but ride "enduro" mostly) - look at the Orbea press release as an example!

This is just marketing man, best exposure and branding wins. Therefore DH > EWS. Ask a marketing guru or advertising guy and theyll say the same - part of my role is being a marketing guy so I have some perspective into how they think. Not that Id call myself an expert - the more I learn the more I realise I dont know.

Im not saying having a team in the EWS doesnt get you exposure, Im saying its nothing like DH.
  • + 5
 @russthedog: expsure and actual buying decisions are two different things. I love watching the DH coverage, but I do not have a DH bike.
Logistically, enduro is difficult to cover. But even aside from racing enduros, the bike setup and products run in the EWS can/does influence what I buy for myself.
  • + 1
 @ReformedRoadie: im not talking about dh bike sales. Please read what i wrote again. Many people who do not have a dh bike, or ride dh, are influenced by wc dh. Even xc and road guys are!

Im glad your purchasing is influenced by ews. Good for you. Do you want to know what influences my purchasing?
  • + 4
 @russthedog: I dont agree with this and I have had real exposure to some DH teams and brands in the industry so I am not talking from pure opinion - I appreciate you are into marketing but the bike industry maybe isnt big enough for this effect to take place, real-world exposure to the customer just isnt as big as you may think unless you have the top few on your team roster.

People love WC DH racing and it is a marketable sport as a whole but that doesnt translate to it being a good place to cross-sell other types of bike, the EWS on the other hand doesnt need to cross-market, the mainstay of the performance bike market is trail / enduro bikes - exactly what they ride in the EWS so people care about what the guys are using there.

DH bike sales are tiny compared to other types of riding and unless you have a rider that is either a huge personality on / off the bike like Ratboy / Brendan or a consistant winner like Greg / Gwin you would be suprised at how little exposure brands are getting - Who remembers what bike 12th place was riding?

Marketing of course takes many other forms, of course association to WC racing is great for adverts, prestige and to prop up the image that the products are good enough for the highest level but for smaller brands etc WC DH is still competed in for the love of it as much as anything else.
  • + 3
 @russthedog: for the past 10-15 years your marketing views are bang on as there's only been the decision to push money towards dh or xc, but times are changing. The growth of enduro is sure going to put a spanner in the works, plus social media.

If you look at say Hill and Nukeproof on insta they combined haven't got as many followers as Gwin for example, DH still rules the roost for the minute...
  • + 2
 @russthedog: I think we're in agreement overall and perhaps I didn't verbalise myself too well?

I agree that having a DH team gets you known, and that as the pinnacle of our sport it is always going to be good marketing. As marketing it IS more powerful than EWS at the moment.

However, my point was that I felt you were underselling the influence of the EWS somewhat, and perhaps overselling DH. The EWS is now a big thing and when it is so applicable to most people's riding I think anyone who uses racing results to inform their purchase will likely look at EWS results as much (if not more) as DH results when that is applicable to what they ride. Those who don't use racing results to inform their purchase will of course be reassured by picking a bike from a brand they recognise (Aaron Gwin will have bought Yt a huge amount of credibility this year for example), and having a DH team is in my opinion a good but relatively small way of achieving this (compared to advertising, Internet reviews, availability in stores, etc.). I think that the level of influence that the DH WC isn't what it was due to a number of factors. I might be wrong (I'm only speaking for myself as you say), but when I look at the hype of Sam Hill and Jared Graves competing in WC events with enduro bikes, I can't think of many DH bikes getting that level of exposure and coverage. That is one example of why I feel there is more of a parity than you suggest.
  • + 5
 I come from many years in the whitewater kayaking world and it's the same way there. Everyone gets excited over the videos of the guys surfing the biggest waves, running the biggest waterfalls, and paddling the hardest scariest looking rapids that can be found. The reality is that none of these companies could survive if they only made whitewater kayaks. Even the sales from the whitewater kayaks designed solely for easy whitewater that most kayakers partake in couldn't do it. They need the basic flatwater recreational kayak and fishing kayak sales to make the whitewater kayak market even possible. There may be more mountainbikers than whitewater kayakers but many more bike companies in the mix making those "recreational" bike type sales even more important for the long term prosperity of the bike industry.
  • + 1
 @russthedog: Nor am I talking about DH sales. I did't mention anything about DH sales. I am talking about how I can actually buy the stuff EWS guys are using for the riding I (and I assume a large portion of PB readers are) am doing.
You really think there are XC guys out there going into shops on Mondays to buy Tallboys or Highballs after Minnaar wins a WC DH? Please.
  • + 0
 @ReformedRoadie: not xc racers that look at every gram but as for your average joe, yes. That is how marketing works! People by into the hype of riders or makes then buy accordingly!
  • + 5
 @willaasss: Im not sure about that either - you really think there is that much cross-genre advertising taking place?

I would say people have definately gone out and bought more 5010's, hightowers, nomads etc because of ratboy pissing about on them and doing a few EWS races this year than because Minnaar wins WC DH races on a V10.

You think anyone buys the Trek enduro bike (bike of the year for some) because of DH racing? No chance.

Im not saying it doesnt make both brands appealing and make you want to buy their products but its more of an overall brand image creation that directly working to get customers to buy bikes.
  • - 1
 @Racer951: Without a doubt, Outside of us obsessives here on pinkbike who mull over every finer detail people buy what they think is cool. And cool comes from the athletes or racing.

Why do you think the top of the range slash is red like the session? It looks good yes but there's more to it than that!

The syndicate effect has been selling bikes for cruz for years, rat going a slightly different path hasn't hindered anything i imagine but santa cruz still put together a full team in his departure because the average joe who doesn't know 50/1 will spot the syndicate...
  • + 6
 Show me an EWS run thats half as exciting as Gwins MSA run. DH is still legit.
  • + 3
 @Racer951: how popular do you think 50to1 would be if ratboy didnt win WCs?

Look at social media amd compare popularity of WC to EWS athletes.

Name 25 EWS athletes and then name 25 WC athletes.

All the above show how superior WC DH is as an exposure tool in what is a marketing driven "sport".

Most of you are talking about sales, which is related to marketing but theyre not the same thing.
  • + 2
 @russthedog: I won't disagree with you that part of Rats popularity is down to his WC racing, but I could argue that now he's stopped racing he seems more popular than ever? He now gets lots of coverage at any EWS events he attends, even though it is not his USP...

I think that a lot of this argument is difficult when we don't have figures to say what success each form of advertising has - clearly CRC believe that their EWS team has bought them better marketing value than their DH team (and I would broadly agree with that decision based on what I remember from the year) which has driven this decision. This will vary team to team - Yt has had excellent success in DH this year and I'd argue that their investment is good as I said earlier.

To summarise it very much depends on the team and it's not as simple as the 'dh is best' argument that is being presented by some. The very fact that there are people on here who no longer view DH as being as relevant to their purchasing (which is what drives marketing) I think displays a shift in attitude, and only time will tell where that takes us...

All the best!
  • + 0
 @slimboyjim: doesnt really matter if hes more popular than ever - where did the foundation come from? Thats the power of exposure and brand.

People who say DH is no longer relevant to their purchasing are confusing sales and marketing and I challenge them that when tested they are more impacted by marketing (and DH-centric marketing) than they think. Im not sure I understand what you mean by purchasing drives marketing? Do you mean that is what determines marketing success? Current overall sales for a brand would certainly indicate marketing strategy effectiveness holistically but to say "I bought a bike and didnt refer to DH or DH marketing at all therefore the DH marketing isnt relevant to me" demonstrates a lack of understanding.

If you refer back to my first three points (Ratboy = foundation, social media, athlete knowledge) these go to some of the fundamentals of marketing which are basically:
1. Who are my competitors?
2. What do we do better or different to our competitors? (What do they do well?)
3. How do we find a target audience and tell them about us? (this implies understanding your potential customer base to some extent and some awareness of value in your product/ service)

So exposure is key, you see? If more people know you, win.
If fewer people know your competitors, win.
If potential customers are aware you do some things well, win. Note this may just be "image" and not product only (example - if YT is seen as a "cool" brand - win.
etc
etc

The only real way to measure effectiveness of a marketing strategy is overall sales, and any quantitative data you can get on campaigns. This last point is why social media is so good for companies ie "this campaigns had 34 likes, and reached 1000 people".

If you review the fundamentals of marketing UCI WC DH beats EWS, its that simple. Some people might say "Hill won the EWS on the Mega therefore Im buying one" - but the reality is thats rare in MTB because most products now are good - hence being a marketing driven sport. Im more likely to buy a Santa Cruz that an Alutech, and thats because of marketing.

The one caveat is if a brand has a specific product that speaks very directly to a target audience. Pole or Geometron are good examples of this. People really want the product for the products sake. As you can see from above this is also a form of marketing to some extent but the competition component is much reduced, therefore exposure is reduced. this is when you have a genuine (or perceived genuine) technical difference. Example Tesla.

Anyway Im ramblign and run out of steam
  • + 1
 @russthedog: thats a lot of text to get through, very hard to prove any points you are making too...

You will get your answer over the next 5 years where we see what direction DH will go, if riders will stay / go to enduro, how many young guns come up into the sport to replae the old guys and where the teams / brands position themselves.

Are there as many young guns coming up as before? (sub 20)
  • + 1
 @Racer951: Im not sure if any of it is proveable...its mostly just current marketing theory - if you looked up marketing basics or something on the net itll say the same thing.

And yes, the juniors depth and competitiveness is about the same as last ten years. DH is still "sexier" and more adrenaline fuelled than other types of MTB and it also has a good global pathway for entry so itll probably stay strong for the foreseeable future. Regarding the young guns, Enduro needs a global pathway to really stabilise that part of the sport.

My opinion is that with such good coverage of WC DH itll actually get stronger overall but with a more limited field - ie bigger budgets, big names but if youre not competitive you wont get a look in and have to race something else (second tier DH series? EWS?). Going back to the exposure thing its just too good for spectators.
  • + 1
 @russthedog: Agree with a lot of that, the DH field is already being reduced with smaller qualifying numbers, not something I disagree with really, motosport has a ladder you climb too, some make it and many dont.
  • + 1
 @lifeofloon: water you talking about meeeaaaann?
  • + 1
 @russthedog: Thanks for the detailed explanation/debate! I agree with a lot of what you're saying, including that DH is probably the best way of promoting your brand via a halo product that will not sell on great numbers but show your technical prowess as a manufacturer and make you a recognised and supported brand. I will however stick with my argument that things are changing and other types of marketing are becoming more prevalent. At the moment marketing is still fairly DH-centric, but I think that is gradually changing. The sway that the EWS has for a brand new series is crazy, whatever you think of it! If what you said was true for every brand then there is no way Crc would ever dream of giving up on their DH team, and there would be a lot of other manufacturers with DH teams. Perhaps it is a gamble that will fail, but I don't think they'll be the only team to go that way?
On your side of the coin I get that there are a number of manufacturers who wouldn't dream of not having a top level DH team (Trek and Specialized in particular)...
I'd counter that with the argument that, like you say, marketing can be directed at certain niches or groups, and that much of our sport is now categorised in some way or another (every 10cm of travel seems to have it's own category these days!) - there are many successful brands of which we are all aware that have never had a DH team (or haven't for a significant time) and we don't associate with DH.

In relation to my comment about marketing being driven by sales I was referring to the fact that the point of marketing is to achieve sales, but I see your point that it is somewhat chicken and egg as a company may put additional money into marketing because of poor sales as well as continue a 'successful' campaign that has generated many sales. Yes there is an element of getting your brand known, or better known than your rivals, but if that doesn't lead to sales then if it's pointless IMO.

Ps. I love DH and wish it continued success!
  • + 11
 "Enduro is a great participation sport and downhill is a great racing sport." G. Minaar
  • + 9
 They probably has to scrap the team to pay Sam's bonus and increased salary for next season.
  • + 6
 ACRONYMS.....Everyone's got em! WCDH, EWS, CRC, MSA, DWS, UCI, NASCAR.... I got one...BUFFET- big ugly fat fuckers eating together
  • + 6
 Massive shame no crc downhill team but you can't blame them. This is a bit ominous to me, I hope it's not a trend.... and the UCI's response is what?
  • + 1
 frankly though they really didnt do much the last year anyway. Surely there will be some trend like this as a team who wants to reduce costs will go to EWS. Product may not be as good for marketing, but itd be cheaper for sure.
  • + 2
 @russthedog: plus mega sales outnumber pulse sales by 27:1 apparently. Money coming in from bike sales helps!
  • + 2
 @russthedog: I seem to recall one of the CRC guys putting with another team at MSA or somewhere like that in 2017 because the rest of the team didn’t travel - seemed like they were sort of sacking it off right then!
  • + 3
 Wonder what the young lad Elliott thinks of it? Either way he prob doesn't have a lot of choice in terms of what the team does (maybe similar to Richie Rude when Yeti sacked off their DH programme but that worked out pretty well for him). Class young rider, hope that it's the direction he wants to go in.
  • + 4
 Possibly the first of a few to go this way over the next couple years?? Possible budget constraints on teams and bigger travel bills likely to impact the ability to do both well
  • + 5
 Cant say im suprised, crc presence wasnt even felt on the circuit in 2017, didnt even notice em
  • + 1
 Shame it had to happen. CRC was an easy business to support because they funded a WC race team and I got enjoyment from watching their involvement in the sport. Win-Win. Nobody watches EWS (is it even possible to watch it live?), and removing themselves from the premier mtb event is a shame.
  • + 1
 Sings “the day that downhill died”. I wonder when all the teams out there “suggest” to switch to enduro from dh because it sells. This is in by no means against the legend Hill and I’m glad he has a new lease on bike life. But I foresee dh bikes no longer existing in 5 years.
  • + 2
 Probably due to not much success in DH and with winning the EWS, really not ideal as at least 2-3 riders have lost a DH ride for next season. DH need more not less but i can see the logic behind it, if only i was minted.
  • + 5
 Stevie Wonder saw this coming...
  • + 1
 I watch all WCDH events and love every second of it.

So here's a question.....Why doesn't EWS present their events like DH? I mean at least for the viewers. Make the courses for the pro's a little bit more tech. Fully cover all the DH parts like a DH race.....hell, have the riders start out of a gate for each round. If it takes too long, just show the top 10 or 15.

Probably a huge undertaking......just spit balling here...
  • + 2
 People complain that there's not enough camera coverage to truly appreciate a 3min DH race run (and I agree as more cameras would be better), so scale that up to a 2/3 day event over 50-100x the distance in a remote location. It's just not feasible, and why I think DH will continue to be the better spectator sport of the two.

Drones may help over the next few years but the footage isn't that exciting as the cameras are mostly too far away from the action to make it engaging.
GoPro's and the like will help but the possibility of live feeds is a LONG way off (maybe technically impossible) and each feed will be very much the same - good for recaps and such to show different racing lines/crashes/etc but not so great to sit through 2/3 days of!
Either way you'd need a massive increase in staff and technical equipment at each round and this would, I imagine, be prohibitively expensive for the EWS.

It's a shame as it's what we all would like - better coverage of all Mtb disciplines.
  • + 1
 @slimboyjim: I definitely think it can be done though, just look at something like the Dakar rally, that goes for nearly 2 weeks and covers a whole continent and still has great entertaining coverage
  • + 1
 I hope there aren't more teams that are going to follow CRC's example. WC DH is one of my favorite things to watch. I'll admit that I lost a some interest in it when Sam left it, but I still watch it for some sick riding from GM, Gwinn, Hart, and a few others.
  • + 5
 Sam asked for a raise - they went full Enduro.
  • + 0
 CRC is mimicking it's customers. As more and more people decide they only need an Enduro bike, they decide they only need an Enduro team.

I remember a time when the right number of bikes in the stable was N+1, now so many people seem to think it's just 1. Shameful.

Want to save downhill? Get a downhill bike. Buy enough 4X bikes and we might even get 4X back!
  • + 4
 The chief accountant rules. fucking hell.
  • + 3
 We live in a World where Yeti don't make a downhill bike. The soul of the industry never recovered.
  • + 4
 Well done Kelan Grant getting on the team - absolute weapon and top bloke!
  • + 4
 Well..this is a really sad news..i have enough of enduro everywhere..
  • + 1
 Will miss the chainreaction pit and burger party for sure on DH race. tough choice. all the best for this new year of racing for the team..on enduro
  • + 0
 Try not making a turd of a DH bike. Only reason they gave up on DH is because they couldn't get a winner on their bikes. If they had World Cup wins, they'd be singing the praises of DH.
  • + 1
 been a lifelong Sam Hill supporter and CRC customer and this sucks, enduro is cool on its own, but I’m bored of this hate on DH because of the uci sucking so bad.
  • + 2
 That is the longest DH I've ever seen...looks like they passed through 2 time zones! Great ride Kelan.
  • + 0
 That's why DH stopped, the bikes were getting so long that there is no Aluminium or carbon left for any more frames.
  • + 2
 what a line:

"Thanks Mike, it’s been awesome..."
  • + 1
 I have a dream, that one day pro-cycling program will drop road cycling and move all resources to start downhill program.
  • + 1
 Video is awesome. Signature Sam Hill charging through crazy tech sections at warp speed.
  • + 0
 That's soooooi enduro, some company's don't have the balls to stay with DH. So they are no longer part of our family. More companies to support out there
  • + 1
 I blame the Wiggle merger. They f'd up my only CRC order since then and I won't bother again. And FUCI too.
  • + 2
 Would way rather watch dh than enduro
  • + 1
 It should be "Team CRC leaves DH"
  • + 1
 E bikes only at dh wc. But only ride UP the tracks. Lightest jockey wins.
  • + 1
 Is it me or did I NOT see the word Nukeproof in the story?
  • + 2
 AFAIK CRC owns nukeproof. I think it wasn't in the team's nane even
  • + 2
 Sam Hill is a legend.
  • + 1
 Nevermind. I saw it. Just missed it in list of sponsors at end of article
  • + 0
 Feeling sad and disappointed!!
  • + 0
 f*cking sad state of affairs you Gaylord’s
  • + 1
 But Nukeproof is CRC?
  • - 1
 UCI = FIFA = Corruption = Sport destruction = Very rich few fat guys in f basel enjoying champanhe
  • + 0
 What the f*cking f*ck is going on!?...
  • - 1
 Will crc still make DH bikes?
  • + 6
 No but Nukeproof might.
  • - 2
 Until Sam Hill gets invited back to the Worlds and schools the whole field on his Enduro Bike
  • + 0
 Sam Hill. Ftw.
  • - 3
 #UCIDHisdead
  • - 2
 yooo
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