Opinion: Does Downhill Have Nowhere Else to Go?

Feb 8, 2018
by Richard Cunningham  


Occasionally, someone throws a video at me that captures my imagination. The latest was a 30-second short of Candide Thovex skiing a freestyle line that resembles your basic Red Bull Rampage run – until he double back-flipped over a ridge and into oblivion. I was impressed by how massive his line was, but what really got my mind going was how fluid he was from start to finish – on sticks. I wanted to be that guy. When I watch someone hit their line at the Red Bull Rampage, I am equally impressed, but not in the same way.


The Candide Thovex edit.

I don’t care too much for cold weather, or downhill skiing, for that matter, but I appreciate mastery of the form, especially when speed and outdoor sports are the subject. “Mastery,” though, is not a word I would use to describe downhill mountain bike riding.

I know some, maybe most of you are going to lose your minds after that last sentence. What about Semenuk or Gwin, or any one of the mind-blowing videos that pop up each week? Have I somehow slept through the last 20 years of amazing progression? I have not. Before you grab your well-worn flat shovels to settle the score, bear with me and read to the end.

What I am saying here is that, as a sport, we haven’t been around long enough to hone our skills or our technology to approach the same apogee that skiing presently enjoys. To be fair, skiing as a recreational sport has been evolving since 1850, alpine skiing since the 1920s. Mountain biking, by contrast, has only been evolving since the late 1970s, and downhill bikes were not readily available until the mid ‘90s, which suggests that we have a ways to go before we reach our full potential.

Kurt Sorge's winning Rampage run has big moves and remarkable flow.

Our sport is certainly not lacking in talent or technology, but I am sure many riders would agree that, at their highest levels, there is a palpable difference between the speed, amplitude, and flow of ski versus mountain bike. When I watch skiers hitting big mountain free ride lines or competing in World Cup downhills, I lean into the action. I expect a clean run. When I watch the Rampage or a World Cup DH, I do so with a measure of anxiety. I anticipate a crash or an equipment failure. The doom filter erodes the experience.

Gold medalist Beat Feuz scorches the downhill at St. Moritz.

So, I get it, downhill skiing is not the same as downhill cycling, but we are not all that different either. We ride similar lines, we share many of the same tricks, and often ride the same mountains. We ride different mediums and use different tools, but essentially, the two sports are joined at the hip. My reasons for comparing the two is to suggest that, unlike snow sports, downhill mountain biking suffers from an identity crisis, which may be retarding its progression.

Cody Townsend owns it.

One of the reasons that skiing has progressed to such a high level is that the sport and its technology evolved in a vacuum. Nobody started alpine skiing because they really wanted to be a motocross racer. Skiers were not burdened by physical and technical limitations handed down to them by cross-over sports, which suggests that their upward progression is open-ended. Nobody knows where the limits are, because there is nothing to compare it to. They still glide on two sticks like their asymmetric cross-country ancestors, but the performance of today’s equipment is insanely adapted to the task. Stable at speed, crazy maneuverable and truly an extension of the rider – all without the benefit of conventional steering, suspension, or brakes.

Danny Macaskill's performances on a trail bike exhibit a balance of skill and flow.

Downhill bikes evolved from cross-country mountain bikes and in the shadow of cross-over sports like BMX and motocross. While all three genres lent us a form of expression, they also imposed limitations upon the progression of the sport. Every aspect of a cross-county bike is still mirrored in the design of a downhill bike, just elongated and beefed up. Slopestyle and freestyle tricks are borrowed from BMX and much of what we see in competition is judged as such. There is not much variation between freestyle moto and Fest - one is a little bigger and more fun to watch. Take away the berms and downhill bikes can barely make it around a corner at speed. The one flat corner on a DH course is where much of the action happens… just like Supercross. Race courses and gravity trails may look tough, but they are also tailored to compensate for the deficiencies of the machines.

Blaine Gallivan makes it look easy.

Mountain bike downhill has become so iconic that it may be impossible for us to conceive that it could evolve in a dramatically different direction, but that is exactly what I am suggesting here. Consider, if you can, how gravity bikes, race courses, big mountain, and freeride would have evolved in a vacuum. Without the influences of cross country, BMX and moto, a downhill bike may have developed into a coaster, without any drivetrain at all. Who knows what wheel size it would have ended up with, or what the tires would look like. I’d love to carve flat corners like a boss. Would it have a saddle? (It’s not like skiers need one). And, there is the question of suspension: maybe less travel, combined with built in flex? We may never know.

Brandon Semenuk's performance in "Raw" transcends the formulaic expressions of BMX.

We don’t know what a real downhill bike could be, because we assumed it should look like something familiar. The same goes for how we ride them. We have yet to discover what freestyle mountain biking could have evolved into because we assumed it should look like BMX, only bigger, and it does. Downhill racing and big mountain looks a lot like we are riding motorcycles without engines, because, except for pedals and a bicycle seat, we pretty much are. It’s no surprise then, that trailbikes have evolved to the point where their descending capabilities now rival downhill machines. Once we figured out the pedaling part, all we needed to close the gap were two-ply tires and a 63 degree head tube angle. Downhill bikes don’t seem so badass anymore.

Candide Thovex takes freeriding to a new level.

Downhill is evolving at a crawl, and more travel and a different wheel size aren't going to provide the breakthrough moment it needs. To master this sport, we need to reassess every aspect of it. It will take imagination and innovation from both riders and designers to distance downhill from enduro – and even more so, to progress slopestyle and freeride out from under the shadow of their seminal influences. It could happen. It could be brilliant. I’d like to see the day when my skier friends post must-watch mountain bike videos on their home pages in January.

Aaron Gwin's style and intensity suggests the precision of World Cup Downhill skiing.



512 Comments

  • + 299
 I think Downhill Mountain Biking evolution is a lot slower because the consequences is much higher than Ski-ing. Jerry's can go 50 km/h and face plant on deep snow and walk away, do that on a mountain bike and you'll probably need to be hauled in an ambulance.
  • - 138
flag fernrob (Feb 8, 2018 at 13:33) (Below Threshold)
 This is way off base. At the upper echelons of each sport the athletes are amazing but the inherent terrain risks in big mountain skiing and body limit pushing risks of alpine race skiing are far greater currently than DH mountain biking or rampage. This may change down the road but top skiers are pushing near death boundaries as evidenced by people crossing the line and actually losing their lives. It happens every year in skiing. I struggle to think of a mountain biker that died pushing the limits. As for the rest... the average Jerry going an average speed on skis is far more likely to result in an ambulance visit than the average biker going the average speed.
  • + 123
 @fernrob: do you ski/snowboard? if i would give you 100 bucks to pick between doing a backflip on an mtb on dirt vs doing a backflip on a sk/snowboard on snow, which would you pick?
  • - 93
flag fernrob (Feb 8, 2018 at 13:42) (Below Threshold)
 @onetrykid: That's hilarious. I live in a ski and bike town. I skied today. You are talking about one trick to one person. The article is about entire sports. Send me a PM message with your paypal account info and I can invoice your for the $100 NZD.
  • + 52
 You don't seem to know much about skiing and accident rates.
  • + 74
 @fernrob: you didn't get my point. how many more people will try backflips on snow vs backflips on dirt? people trying more things lead to progression of the sport.
  • - 96
flag fernrob (Feb 8, 2018 at 13:56) (Below Threshold)
 @onetrykid: No, you are missing the point. The article is not about one trick, my comment was not about one trick. The backflip analogy isn't even comparable. You just like to argue.
  • + 51
 @fernrob: No $100 for you, because you didn't actually answer the question. Which would you pick?
  • + 31
 @fernrob: one trick leads to the next thus progression and evolution. wait, you didn't come to the comments section to argue??? why the f*ck are you here then? :p
  • + 65
 @dsut4392: I'd definitely pick the skiing. Before I could carve properly on skis I hucked my first backflip and stomped it. That was after only 4 years of skiing. After 6 or 7 years of biking I wouldn't even think about it
  • + 8
 not very positive feelz for a dedicated gravity oriented herd. what are ya up to, rc?! sneaky test marketing? hehe
  • + 12
 @fernrob: just wrong
  • + 11
 @dsut4392: Skiing for sure.
  • + 73
 The snow makes everything smooth and even. It is softer than stones and you glide over it when riding or if you fall.
You just can't compare these sports properly.

Skiing is very sensible when it comes to weather conditions or location.
Where is the highly developed equipment here?
Or where is it uphill?

A bike is much more versatile. Can handle lot's of terrains if there are simple trails in a variety of weather conditions.

Two very different sports.
  • + 1
 Completely disagree.
  • + 27
 You can't compare car racing and jet flying either.
  • + 58
 @fernrob I agree with you man. I don't understand these arguments below. I don't think comparing the progression of skiing to biking a fair comparison, at all. The terrain for skiing is limitless, you don't even need much snow, and access is so much easier. From the thousands of companies around the world that offer heli service or cat service, to the ability to skin miles in a day without a trail. Biking requires man power to build trails, jumps, etc. The guys for rampage get out there days in advanced and a handful of them this year still didn't have time to finish the lines they would have liked. I live in Jackson, WY and we lose skiers every year from avalanches, and even "jerrys" just going normal speeds into a trees, yeah you can walk away from a powder fall easier than a mountain bike fall; but fall on hard pack snow its an ambulance you'll be taken away in. The comparison of the two sports' progression is a far reach.
  • - 1
 double post
  • + 5
 @fernrob: Exactly, but i think we're unlikely to get there (fortunately).
We saw it with Bender - one guy willing to get ragdolled for trying stuff that people said "you can't do that". Suddenly people are able to hit those same drops on their hard tails!

Skiing progresses because people push the boundaries hard enough to die. Do we want that for MTB? I don't know that I do. People risking higher percentages of death or injury in search of the elusive "banger" that will secure or launch their career?
  • + 9
 @nouseforaname: I think a lot of people are able to push the limits of the sport these days, but in different directions. We have Rogatkin throwing down the biggest spins ever seen on a MTB, the Fest Series making jumps that the best of the best qouldn't have dreamed of hitting 5 or 6 years ago, Semenuk redefining the limits of style and steeze. I like the way that this sport is pushing in different directions, I just wish that all the directions I could think of in 10 seconds weren't freeride/slopestyle slopestyle
  • + 9
 @onetrykid: It takes a long time and a lot of devotion to get to the point of back flipping on either. I have no desire to get to that level on either.

My opinion Jerry's get hurt less on snow vs. Jerry's on the dirt, but then it seems to flip the other direction with advanced athletes, far more snow related deaths, when people push boundaries because snow just sin't as predictable and generally far less safety gear.
  • + 24
 @fernrob: I agree with you re injury numbers and likelihood, but I don't think it relates to the inherent terrain risks.
I think at the pointy end of pushing the boundaries, the decision on the bike is much more binary than on skis.
People die pushing the limits on skis because of the 100 previous times they pushed the limit and got away with 'failure' without consequence. People don't push the limits as much on the DH bike because every 'failure' causes physical pain.

The relative size of the population of skiers vs MTBers is also a factor, there are SOOOO many more skiers out there at every point on the skills and balls curve that the absolute number of injuries is bound to be far higher.
  • + 13
 @Brightside: No, you can compare. Like Richard pointed out, one sport feeds the other. I am a better skier in part because I now see the mountain differently which is a direct result of biking & vice versa. Certainly the medium & mode are different, but there is definitely uphill. I backcountry ski, the climbs are far more difficult than anything I've ever done on a bike. Ski's are far more versatile than a bike, I can go up & down slopes that I or most people would never attempt on a bike, I don't need a trail or even clear terrain, I can pick or choose at will mostly where I want to go. If you have ever lost an edge on a steep, icey slope I can attest that it is not softer than stones & a hell of a lot scarier. On top of all that you have to be hyper aware while skiing as the white monster is lurking somewhere & will take the unwary, unlearned without discrimination. Highly developed equipment? Skiing has it in spades, like biking if you compared equipment from 25 years ago you would wonder how we ever made it down the mountain. The one thing I would disagree with Richard on is fluidity, I watched a video of Sam Hill going down a slope, it was poetry in motion. Both sports are awesome, both have differences of course but overall they are closer than they are different.
  • + 2
 @c25porter: I dissagree that a basic backflip can be used as any meter of skill other than to do said backflip.

You only need straight line speed, a jump and commitment.

Regarding what sport hurts more people it's all about speed really. You go a lot faster in snowsports so Impact energy is higher.
  • + 3
 @onetrykid: sure, snow is less scary and consequences might be less but maybe it's just easier to do backflips on skis than on a bike? Many good skiers (not pros by any means) are now doing double backflips - not so many on bikes, even pros right? That one trick comparison is just not right.
  • - 2
 @fernrob: you are very wrong. Just to name a couple of mtbikers. Aug 23, 2014 · Annefleur Kalvenhaar,  @ meribel and Will Olson Aug 2 at crested butte EWS, are just two in recent memory that died after a crash. Kelly mcgarry was riding uphill, I believe and collapsed. RIP
  • + 31
 I think someone at pinkbike told RC what trolling is
  • + 3
 @jlb1: easier or harder it doesn't matter, which would YOU try for 100 bucks? another question then, which would you try, 10ft drop on ski/snowboard to powder or 10ft drop on an MTB to a groomed transition? Trying leads to progression.
  • + 6
 @YoungGun13: You couldn't carve on skis after 4 years??
  • + 2
 @Gnarbuckler: maybe he's a 5 days a season rider.
  • + 3
 @Brightside: It is uphill when people go ski touring. Most backcountry skiing is done this way.
  • + 3
 @onetrykid:

While I do ski and did both. While it is harder to back flip a bike than skis, skiing is more dangerous. World cup ski racers get killed on a semi regular basis. World cup mountain bikers I'm not aware of any deaths.
  • + 4
 @onetrykid: I can drop 10ft on skis all day long but not close to trying it on my bike, you're right. Trying leads to progression alright but you would have to compare say, people trying a 10 ft drop on skis to trying a 3ft drop on bike, etc. 10ft on skis does not need super skills, the same on bike is rather hard - I doubt there's (proportionally - there's clearly more skiers out there) more people trying 10ft/skis than 3ft/bike.
  • + 9
 @hamncheez: low hangin fruit for sure.

early feb click bait


lowest common denominator.
  • + 11
 LOL I wonder how many of the people responding can ski at a competent level. Based on the responses I feel like most would be lucky to get down a groomed run. This post and comment thread is hilarious.
  • + 2
 @jlb1: a 10ft drop probably requires the same set of skills as a 3ft drop on an mtb. you're not doing it because you know it hurts if you make a mistake. 10ft drop to powder doesn't hurt as much if you mess up.
  • + 5
 @wideload46: you hit the nail on the head. I’ve been extensively involved at the retail and testing level for skiing, snowboarding and cycling for a pretty long time now and they all work hand in hand to give you a better view of the mountain.

I can pump natural terrain easier on a bike because of snowboarding. While I see bigger and better free ride lines thanks to mtb.

The other point I think a lot of people and rc included are missing is... look at the things deorfling is doing or any of these other true back country riders. It’s a page directly from freeride skiing and snowboarding and it’s freaking beautiful.
  • + 2
 @DGWW: I know uphill with skis. But that is not skiing for me. More like walking with skis on. Absolutely no fluidity.
@wideload46 perhaps your perception of skiing as the more versatile sport is caused by the fact that you live in Canada. You guys have a lot of snow and sure skiing is something very more important than here in central Europe.
  • + 2
 @onetrykid: there are far more skiers worldwide than mountain bikers. It stands to reason by numbers alone more skiers will attempt a back flip than mountain bikers. Downhill ski racers are also going more than twice the speed of downhill mountain bikers. You're obviously not watching the skiers and snowboarders pushing the limits of the sport if you think mountain biking even compares. Cam Zink's back flip pales in comparison to the amplitude that the big mountain skiers are pushing and in terrain that has many more complications involved. Have you ever heard of a sand or dirt avalanche?
  • - 5
flag RichardCunningham Mod Plus (Feb 8, 2018 at 19:53) (Below Threshold)
 @wideload46: Agreed on Sam Hill, and there are others, but Skiing has much greater numbers.
  • + 5
 @lifeofloon: "Have you ever heard of a sand or dirt avalanche?" Yeah they're called landslides...

You just compared Zink's back flips to big mountain skiing. You are among many idiots commenting on this.
  • - 7
flag bradineson (Feb 8, 2018 at 20:26) (Below Threshold)
 This is possibly the dumbest comment I've ever read.. Ignorant fuck.
  • + 5
 The chances of dying are much greater in Skiing. If you are a pro and ski long enough there is a great chance you will die in an avalanche. The sadness that revolves around the big mountain sports is way above what mountain biking is about at the moment.
  • + 5
 @onetrykid: you forget one thing : skiing is a mass sport compared to mtb. Just look at ski resorts in summer and winter. There's a significant difference.
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: skiierman strikes again
  • + 1
 @c25porter: It really doesn't. I skiing with a 4H group years ago, we built a (very) little kicker in a bowl above one of the runs and had people who've never done them before landing flips within an hour.
  • + 1
 @Gnarbuckler: I could, but I'd always been more of a freeskier so I was better at shredding through moguls than I was on an open run
  • + 1
 @onetrykid: I'm more of a 50-60 days a season rider, I just switched between skiing and snowboarding a lot which restricted progression for both
  • + 4
 @Brightside: spot on! This is a nonsense article.
  • + 1
 @lifeofloon: Ever heard of a mud slide? A DH bike recently ran the steepest ski race course and hit 100kph. All he had were some studs in his tyres. Lets see Thovex race down Val di Sole on his skis...
  • + 0
 I have hiked/climbed in thick snow on several occasions for many hours. The climbing up part is tough but descending even just in boots is far easier than hiking down the same rocky slope with no snow. You can jump, slide and even glisade in your boots. Its low impact fun. Therein lies the massive difference between skiing and mountain biking.
  • + 5
 @headshot: The biker was still significantly slower than the skiers though
  • + 2
 @EnduroManiac: Both have their risks but I can tell you mountain bike crashes hurt more. Rocks much harder than snow and easy to get tangled in bikes.
  • + 15
 @BenSandle: ever dropped to flat onto a hard piste in a non-upright position or rag dolled on powder at 50 mph, or hit a rock/block of ice under the snow at speed or an unexpected crevasse? I can assure you that even if you manage to ski away after, you can feel the hits in your muscles, joints and spine for the rest of your life.
Equally you can crash on a bike into soft leaves and get up giggling.
You can easily paralyze yourself in both. I don't get why we have to generate conflict from a position of ignorance (hang on, that's how almost all conflict is created...). It's bad enough having a fake war between skis and snowboards, without bringing bikes into it. More love for all that is fun, less self-affirming point scoring.
  • - 3
 @BenSandle: Packed snow is almost as hard as a rock. A rock can be hidden under fluffy snow. You can get your pole in the face on a landing and that can nicely blow your smile forever. Jumping with skis feels more natural and easier than with a bike where you have to master the front and rear suspension movement. So yes, backflip on a bike is possibly trickier. But consequences are not much different, sorry.
  • + 0
 @YoungGun13: And Thovex wouldn't even make it to the first bend at Val di Sole. My point is that this is an inane comparison of two very different activities.
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: when was the last time you heard of a mountain biker triggering or being swept away in a landslide? Oh right alternative facts for most of this group. You're right there no comparison to Zink's man made step down back flip to someone on skis hucking back flips off completely natural 100+ footers and landing on raw natural terrain. Keep slinging those childish insults it really shows your character.
  • + 38
 in next opinion article: does big wave surfing require more balls than downhill biking? Does ironman require more mental strength than Enduro? Mega shark vs Giant Octopus? Hurricane Irma vs Sharknado? Dr Jack Stonesmith of Calgary Olympic Mastery Training Center confirms: the result of latest research shows that Apples have more Vitamins than Oranges
  • + 2
 Ok, who downvoted love and being nice? Speak up.
  • + 8
 Did RC even consider that on skis you're landing on a surface area 50x bigger than that of a set of tires?
Plus even hard pack snow has more give to it than dirt and rock. Combine that with a slippery surface and you can get away with a lot more. If you believe in MIPS as a technology, than snow is a giant layer of MIPS covering the mountain. No disrespect to extreme ski or boarders, I'm as impressed with the accomplishments of them as any other dangerous sport, mtb inclusive.
  • + 1
 @fernrob: apparently I'm the only one, but I totally agree with you
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: i only ride double blacks
  • + 10
 @hamncheez: Considering his troll polls, cheap click-bait articles, and lame irrelevant comparisons like this one; RC is without a doubt the biggest troll on pinkbike.

He gets paid for it while the comments section falls into the endless void of his manipulative traps. ????
  • - 2
 @lifeofloon: "someone on skis hucking back flips off completely natural 100+ footers and landing on raw natural terrain."

hahahaha, good lord you have zero clue. Skiers don't huck backflips off 100 footers. Going that big in general is incredibly rare because its physically impossible to stomp and ride away from a cliff of that size. But yeah keep on posting about something you have no idea about while pretending you do. It really shows your character.
  • + 5
 @bcmrider: Absolutely agree. Even the smoothest DH course is going to be much rougher than skiing. Try riding it on a rigid bike if you disagree. We are limited by the traction of our tires and the ability of our suspension to absorb impacts. When a skier does a massive drop they're landing in 10 feet of powder. When Bender did the jah drop he landed in gravel and rag-dolled so hard he nearly broke in two, on a bike with 12 inches of travel. I think athletes are pushing both sports to their absolute edge, but I think the limiting factors in both are very different.
  • + 4
 @KrangerRudy: "Even the smoothest DH course is going to be much rougher than skiing"

Tell that to someone on the FIS WC DH circuit.

"When a skier does a massive drop they're landing in 10 feet of powder"

Tell that to someone on the FWT.

God damn, who knew there were so many gapers that rode bikes.
  • + 3
 Yeah, this seems like the obvious answer. Much lower consequences with a ski crash. As usual, RC is clueless.
  • + 0
 @scott-townes: you obviously don't ski or follow skiing as much as you worship the mountain biking gods that are clearly the most bad ass of them all in your eyes.
  • + 5
 @fullbug: agreed. RC is almost trolling in this article. Often I like his unique perspective/take on things. This one left me wondering why put so much effort into writing an article like this. The comparison doesn't work.
  • + 5
 @BenPea: I’m sorry for being a fkng sociopath but that was fkng hilarious. Hey everyone, heeey, what? I broke my ankles, what? I brok my ankles... long pause... aaaaaah!!! Or that dude from Teton Gravity research doing 255ft drop going into the snow like a fkng dart. Oh ooooh... I laughed... I know these guys are professionals but at some point they just go a bit too far ahead of themselves which brings them to the level of an absolute noob standing at th top of th ski lodge roof thinking: hold my beer, what could possibly go wrong. Some ski movies just remind me of that episode of Southpark when Cartman became a psychic after jumping from the roof
  • + 1
 @onetrykid: wow you pretty ignorant or dumb!
  • + 0
 @fernrob: silly MTB ers they have no clue how dangerous skiing is!!!
  • + 1
 @dsut4392: bike!!! by far!!!
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: while I agree no one is really hucking flips off 100ft it is physically possible to ride away from drops that big. The current world record is somewhere in the ball park of 350ft. As long as the landing is steep enough the impact isn’t as severe.

Now I’m not saying any Joey is going to go do that but it can be done.
  • + 2
 @Brightside: Heyyy, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia are also central Europe and anyone from those will disagree that MTB is more important than skiing and ask those in southern Germany, same.
  • + 1
 also one thing to mention is that with ski you stay entirely to the ground, with the bike you stick about 1ft out, there is a tip over from above
  • + 2
 DARKFEST !!! Nuffield said ????
  • + 1
 @headshot: Are you talking about Thovex on a bike or on skis?
  • + 2
 @allenfstar: I'm not sure what your point is but that Fred fella who set the 350ft. cliff record did it accidentally, he skied down the wrong line. It was literally a miracle he survived. A lot of people said Jamie was lucky to live after his 210ft. world record drop from the season before that.

@lifeofloon - You think its a normal occurrence for skiers to backflip 100ft. cliffs... you are a complete gaper.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: "I’m sorry for being a fkng sociopath". No you're not, it's your core business.
Don't worry, skiers know what they're doing. You've just gravitated to the silly stuff, the ski Benders.
Can't argue with south park. The garrison/ trump series might have broken them and the audience though.
  • + 1
 Not sure why this got downvotes..
  • + 0
 @headshot: you are a f*cking idiot.
  • + 0
 @headshot: you are a f*cking idiot.

I double posted. Still. You are a f*cking idiot.
  • + 2
 @jmd2drsrbtrrthn4: Okay thanks. Kisses for you xxxxxx
  • + 6
 @RichardCunningham: It would be interesting for you to pop these questions to some of the guys who are currently pushing the sport in mtb. Say tell Cam Zink, hey your world record breaking backflip or 360 were not that impressive. Tell Gwin his chainless run wasn't as smooth as you would have liked it to be... ask them WHY they are not pushing as hard as in skiing. Let's see what there answer is. I genuinly would like to see this interview, Im not trolling or anything. And maybe then ask a skier and surfer.
  • + 2
 Clearly anyone that is elite minded will think their chosen sport is it. Not sure many in this world can ski a World Cup downhill at race speed. Skiing on a groomed slope at 70 miles per hour looks easy on TV. And the same for World Cup downhill mountain biking it looks easy, but it is not. It seems @fernrob is getting flamed due to mountain biker bias. I see his point both are risky, but skiing in a no fall zone with avalanche hazards, unseen rocks, one little hidden ice bulge that is it.
  • + 2
 @onetrykid: if you think snow Is painless your terribly wrong
  • + 0
 Ok I'll play RCs game. Well snow is less painful, much less painful and if you can't get it then you have some smartning up work to do, because you sound stupid as fk. How many people with families do you see on ski slopes and how many in bike parks?! Next, considering you know almost nothing about skiing and riding bikes, if you see a 1m tall, 3m long speed jump on a ski slope and you go at it at 20km/h, the chance that you will get hurt is small. If you do it on a bike, it's quite likely that you will hurt yourself. Please stop mentioning people who are virtually idiots jumping off cliffs at Rampage to people who are virtually idiots who jump off 300ft cliffs on skis. You are not one of them, so it's irrelevant. If you go to a ski park you'll crash a lot and look silly. If you go to a 4x track which has smaller sized jumps you'll fk yourself up on the first jump. If you can't get the concept of friction and then bumps, go back to school.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: You should learn how to ski first, you friggen gaper. What NFL jersey do you wear on the hill? Also Levis or Strauss?
  • + 0
 @scott-townes pfff, I wear my dads slalom overall from 80s with leather padding on shins and a wooly hat
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: ok, and what do you wear during the day?
  • + 4
 My experience with snow sports is limited. Two early October days in New Zealand (so it was early spring already) I went up Mount Ruapehu with some friends, rented some gear and as I happened to be the only one with zero experience I got an instructor for half a day. After that I was off. I had a blast yes but I'm not going to say I was any good. I was properly sliding for ten seconds at most. My goggles got all fogged up so I couldn't distinguish between powder and ice (and the odd exposed rock). Because my hoodie was much longer than the jacket I borrowed it got all soaked. First day the lifts weren't running due to fog and winds so we climbed up every run, second day I learned how to get on the lift ass side down. So that got me even more runs in a day. Bloodied face, several proper blows everywhere (should probably have borrowed a helmet too) but still smiling.

It wasn't too different to my introduction to mountainbiking (though I did get myself a helmet back then). Literally after less than one km on my bike. "Shall we ride down that?" Steep 45deg bank covered in slimy mud with some exposed roots and obviously some trees to steer around. "Yeah, let's have a go". Sessioned it for a while, crashed every single attempt. "It is not really a beginner section of trail really." "Well I am a beginner, but it was good fun."

Thing is, you can do both activities on several levels (of skill and risk, which are not the same). Obviously I moved on with mountainbiking so I can merely compare my beginnings with mountainbiking to when I first went snowboarding. And it really isn't too different. Both can be challenging, harsh and fun.

If anything can be limiting, it is looking at others and denigrating their own performance. What if runners would go like "Hey, have you seen this youtube video of the Tour de France? These guys go so much faster and longer than we do, we'd just as well stop". And yes sometimes it is good if ones perception of own performance matches reality but very often I see this as counterproductive. So as a kid you may have been building jumps to hit on your bike, skateboard or whatever you ran. It must have felt huge, didn't it? Now what if some freckled teen would have hung on a bench there all the time, recording your attempts. Then rub it in your face and compare it to some amazing edit he's found on youtube (yeah some mixing of time and space here). It doesn't help. And I believe this is actually the thing that limits most teens (and possibly also adults) at learning anything at all. They're so much comparing their performance to the perfect picture that they'd rather not try at all than fail.

However, this seems to be exactly what RC is going like here. "Until you can get even close you what you see in this other sport, there is no reason to be excited about what we see in DH racing." This is not going to get anyone anywhere. The other statement is plain false too. Ski sports don't develop in a vacuum. Many tricks I see there aren't too different from inline skating or waterskiing. Same goes for snowboarding which obviously has a link with other board sports.

The one thing I do agree with is that if some fixed elements are released from the "DH bike" it opens up new possibilities. But let's not forget it is due to UCI regulations that some of these are in effect. Requiring similarly sized (diameter) front and rear wheels, a working drivetrain with at least seven gears... There is probably much more regarding the steering and saddle and stuff like that. And many companies are probably wary to release an expensive new bike that is not even certified to compete in UCI sanctioned events. Liteville does it because they thrive on their good name instead of race results. But many other companies need to have their product showcased at the races hence have no choice but to make something the UCI condones.

TL;DR: Yeah sorry...
  • + 3
 @vinay: 715 words. I'm not even mad, that's impressive
  • + 1
 @YoungGun13: he beats me... he cares
@vinay: "comparison is a thief of joy"
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: You're just in it for the trolls, aren't you?
  • + 2
 @YoungGun13: mainly for laughs Wink that inevitably involves trolling
  • + 3
 @vinay: Quality and quantity. And sense.
Everything is rooted in gymnastics when it comes to tricks. When it comes to just going down the mountain, you can only ride on what's in front of you. In all these sports, everyone's hitting the limit of safety and some are paying with their lives/mobility. Anything can kill you if you hit it fast enough, whether it be snow, water, dirt or rock.
@Waki: quick point about families in ski resorts. It's a traditional and Olympic sport and has been for generations. I know a family who ride park in the summer with their five year old. Who's to say that won't become a bit more normal in the future? You do make valid points though. At equal speeds, dirt is going to mess you up more than snow (no one wears a full face for skiing). But that doesn't mean you can't do yourself as much damage if you really put your heart into it!
  • + 2
 @YoungGun13: Among his madness there is often hidden sense. Smart-trolling if you will.
  • + 3
 @BenPea: The type of full face we wear in mountainbiking seems scary for snow sports. The way snow grabs you, it seems like it could cause some rotation that would make even Kali gasp... That said, I didn't experience this on the gletcher at the Mega. Crashing indeed was a pretty painless (though inevitable) experience.

I was in Sweden last summer and in several places (Isaberg Mountain, Idre Fjall etc) it seemed mountainbiking really was a family thing. Maybe more on the groomed berms and jumps than the more rocky stuff but obviously the same goes for snow sports.

Yeah awareness of your body and where you are is essential, no matter what your activity. Both my girls have rings or a trapeze (I can switch it whenever they want) in their own rooms, we've got one of these areal yoga cloths in the living room (easily the most fun form of yoga I've done) and a big trampoline in the backyard. No matter what sports they pick up later in life, this will help them if they start doing anything that involves speed and/or jumps.
  • + 0
 @vinay: whaaat when were youbat Isaberg?! That is one hour drive from my place
  • + 0
 @vinay: also how does snow grab a MTb fullface that it doesn't grab a regular ski helmet? Particularly those slalom mouth guards? I get it that it can dig to snow if you are really unlucky but, in most cases, I don't think it's a problem. Having got a pole into my mouth once, somehow not loosing my teeth, and having 2 FF helmets in the wardrobe... I won't be buying a ski helmet.

BTW for what it's worth: mr Seth Morrison

www.lastfrontierheli.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Last_Frontier_Bell_2_Blake_Jorgenson_PS_50-1024x681.jpg

PS. I am a full on Gaper, know nothing about skiing.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: It must have been somewhere second half of July last year. I was on a trip with girlfriend and kids and as mountainbiking is more my personal hobby than something I have successfully dragged my family into I didn't cram the car with my bike, gear and tools. But I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. The sections of mountainbike trail I saw when hiking seemed fun. Obviously many of the groups of riders I saw got off at the sections that seemed interesting (though as it was dry it didn't seem too hard) but yeah, the riding possibilities looked really fun. The kids had been heckling me to take them riding so in the next resort (Säfsen, near Fredriksberg) I rented some bikes for them and coached them on the pumptrack and skills park. Next stop was Orsa (near Mora) and the final stop (Idre Fjall) again had a pretty big mountainbike park. Not sure about the raw natural trails. What I've seen was mostly surfaced stuff probably again aimed at beginners and families. It seems they're really pushing it to get summer tourism going. So yeah, I get that for their economics it is good to target a certain summer activity at an audience they otherwise only see in winter as they already have the facilities. Even if mountainbike park riding wasn't that much of a family thing, if it helps them keep a steady income they will make it a family thing Smile .

As for the helmet in snow, yeah it is probably nonsense. I was surprised at when you crash with a snowboard your board just slams stuck in the snow so you'll learn soon enough that the standard approach of letting yourself roll once to get back up doesn't quite work. My reasoning was that if it grips the edge of board like that, it might also do with the sharp edges of a MTB full face helmet (unlike the bullet-type helmets). But as I said, I haven't experienced anything like that when actually riding snow with a big MX helmet (Sixsixone Flight) so it probably just doesn't happen.
  • + 1
 @vinay: ah, I wasn't in Sweden in the second part of July. If you were in Isaberg and took them all the way to Idre Fjäll, and haven't visited Hafjell instead - you are a bad father, and considering how much more scenic are Norwegian landscapes - a bad husband!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Yeah, I know. They're all still mad at me. My girlfriend planned the trip though Wink .
  • + 1
 @BenPea: As long as smart-trolling isn't smart like a smart car is smart I love it
  • + 1
 @vinay: Are you related to J.R.R. Tolkien? These long comments seem reminiscent of a LOTR description of a field of grass
  • + 1
 @YoungGun13: If charging more money for a car half the size, with half the amount of materials, half the performance and half the space of a proper car isn't smart then I don't know what is...
  • + 1
 @BenPea: Charging twice the price for half as many rings on a crankset?
  • + 1
 @BenPea: It's almost like the bike industry is as backwards as the car industry
  • + 258
 After reading this, the one take away I got was that Richard obviously doesn't ride DH bikes a lot, if at all.

If you are riding a true DH track, then the point is that it requires a DH bike. If your local riding spot, that happens to have a downhill incline, is faster on a trail bike, then it's not a true downhill track.

'Take away the berms and downhill bikes can barely make it around a corner at speed.' - If you had a lot of experience with a DH bike, and experience riding proper DH tracks, then you'd know that on a great deal of 'flat' corners, a DH bike will most definitely be quicker (french alpine DH tracks are the perfect example).

'The doom filter erodes the experience.' - Totally disagree with this. Seeing an athlete push themselves to the absolute limit is an incredible thing to watch. I don't want to see a guy casually stroll to the finish line and win, I want someone who is visibly giving everything they have win a race, they are putting the extra effort in to win and in my opinion, deserve to be rewarded with a good result if they manage to hold it together.

The future of DH is hindered by one thing only - the race tracks. DH bikes have undoubtedly reached a plateau, not to say they won't continue to progress, it just means focus may be put on to smaller advances rather than things as significant as disc brakes or the introduction of suspension. There's still room to grow. If Sam Hill and Steve Peat are saying dh tracks have become boring, I fail to understand why the UCI isn't listening. Yes, it has a huge amount to do with money, tv coverage, etc. But I'd prefer to watch 3 sections of Schladming in the piss wet over every single second Leogang any day. Dh bikes are the pinnacle of the sport, and they should be tested by the worlds best on the worlds hardest tracks. If I wanted to watch guys sprint along a fire road, I'd watch Cyclocross, and I will never start watching cyclocross...
  • + 26
 +1000

ty.
  • + 14
 I tottaly agree with you. What is really hindering the progression of DH is the lame ass tracks. Back in 2005 on those shitty bikes with 26" wheels, crap suspension and frame geometry the tracks were pretty hardcore, but nowadays the bikes are way better but the difficulty of the tracks remains more or less the same.

World Cup DH needs more Champery/Andorra/Schladming type tracks, other wise it will stagnate completely. I don't see much improvement to be made on the bikes(besides suspension) so changing the tracks is the only option.
  • + 132
 @ali-chapple: "Richard doesn't ride DH bikes a lot, if at all"

Back in about 2006 Richard wrote an article in his magazine about how DH bikes shouldn't be allowed on 'normal' trails as they wrecked them. He said they should only be allowed on dedicated DH trails. This was accompanied by a photo of a DH trail - the DH course at Sea Otter LOL!!! I was flabbergasted when he joined PB.
  • + 24
 @iamamodel:
Ahahaha, pls guys, we need to upvote this comment to the top.
This is pure gold!
I always wondered what the heck that guys business was on this site.
  • + 10
 'Aaron Gwin's style and intensity suggests the precision of World Cup Downhill skiing.' - Barf
  • + 6
 @iamamodel: holy shit that's gold...sad that it also isn't surprising at all...
  • + 17
 So perfectly put. Thank you for pointing out the bit about flat corners.

Absolutely agree about course design too. Between parks getting dumbed down and more and more people trying to convince themselves they ride a trail bike as hard as a downhill bike hearing people say that downhill is dead or stagnant makes me taste bile.

Downhill bikes, north shore free riding, it captured my attention because it was people doing things that were far, FAR beyond the limits of the bike and previous limits to human performance.

This article is just out of touch with the reality: there's a next step in downhill, right on the horizon, and it's right up there with Bill Brigg's first descent. Downhill has also progressed at breakneck speed compared to skiing. Watch Sam Hills riding 10, 15 years ago vs now and you'll see that things have changed on a fundamental level, and who would have ever thought riding better than a circa early 2000's Sam Hill was even possible.

Love your response, plus n+1
  • + 7
 @XC-SCRUB: Your last paragraph sums it up. More gnar tracks please. How good was the Val di Sole world champs?
  • + 1
 Maybe they're looking for top speed g outs that only the big bikes can handle. If they make it too dangerous that only the badasses need apply (hardline for example), how many newbies or females would WANT to race. Speed is dangerous as well, but I'd be scared for some peeps hitting up tooo knarly of stuff. Even Enduro is friggin dangerous at the speeds they're hittin nowadays.
  • + 4
 I agree on most of the stuff in that first post apart from the “DH bikes are the pinnacle of the sport”. That’s like saying skiing is more professional than DH biking... About the tracks, I think it is ironic that it takes such a bloody effort to make a track like Leogang while th whole thing would be way more interesting to watch if they just took a ski piste and put some slalom poles and a few wooden jumps on it, if they are really into how eqsy it is to telvise an event. Also with all the respect to suck his balls Steve Peat the Legend, he built Lenzerheide, him along with Minnaar are possibly two guys out of the whole bunch who are suited to ironed out mega bmx tracks. Not saying they have less skills, hell no, they are gods on bikes, but they do have best record of winning on venues with flat out speed ang huge airs
  • + 3
 @XC-SCRUB: I think changing the tracks and making them more difficult again would force progression to speed up. In our tunnel vision we think hey the suspension is the only thing we can change but if the tracks are difficult enough and riders are breaking parts, not finishing, etc. it will have engineers really thinking, hopefully outside the box, and should lead to more and faster progression of the sports technology
  • + 6
 I think the new direction for opinion pieces is "Make a silly comparison". Why skiing? Why not bobsledding or those squirrel suit guys? The whole evolved in a vacuum argument is off as well. Alpine/DH skiing evolved similarly to MTB, there are cross-country skis, DH skis, ski jumping, powder, moguls, freestyle skis etc, what would a DH ski look like if those others didn't exist? It's a silly question, but they probably wouldn't. DH bikes are still bikes, that's the point. Just like DH skis, they evolved for a specific use case. If they had evolved without the context it wouldn't be a bike anymore. The similarities of Motocross and other offroad motorsports helped speed the evolution of DH not hinder it. Evolution in a vacuum is slow. Don't go back and rethink everything, learn from others that have faced similar problems.
  • + 5
 For pure spectator value I agree. But if you want to have people actually participating in the sports in any number to stay sustainable making tracks more gnarly is not the answer.

Their is already a huge problem with accessibility to DH riding, it's is not a sport most people can just hop on a bike and do, it is "Exclusive" to experienced riders with good equipment in locations where tracks are available. There are relatively few mountain bikers, of them their are even fewer riders who could or have the interest in riding a proper DH track. Make tracks more gnarly you get less grass roots participation but you will have fun watching the 50 people on the planet who can ride said tracks even if it is just a side show like Rampage.

In my opinion DH is hurting because of it's exclusivity and inaccessibility to more riders not because of TV ratings. Also why enduro took off. Most riders can imagine riding the trails they ride everyday at high speed and competing, very few want to ride or can ride a legit DH track as they stand right now.

We did this in the 90's when riders bitched about tracks not being difficult enough, that is when freeride exploded and numbers and participation numbers at the races when from a few hundred riders per class to less than a hundred total competitors.

Sustainability is being a viable sport not an exclusive extreme side show for 50 people.
  • + 0
 @iamamodel: I think this was in 2010. The nazi wanted dh bikes to be marked so that rangers could identify them.
  • + 1
 @me2menow: That may have been a subsequent article, but the one I refer to was written when I lived in California (2006 to 2009) and attending Sea Otter, which is why I remember it. The issue was the first one after the Sea Otter of that year. The cover was about nine bikes and riders in a row, brownish grassy landscape like SoCal in the Summer.
  • + 4
 @iamamodel: the cover was about niner bikes and it had an article written by RC against DH?

Sounds like a quality issue......lmao

PB has some really awesome content, but nowadays I feel like the remaining 95% is just cancer for weekend warriors.
  • + 2
 100% agree. The modern DH bike IMO is fully capable as is and hasn’t progressed into something else because it doesn’t need to... the tracks and venues are not enough to utilize the bikes to their full potential. That’s the problem
  • + 116
 I get what you're saying but skiing didn't progress in a vacuum. This thing called snowboarding came along which highly influenced the design of ski equipment and also the style of the tricks the freeskiers were doing. Skiers didn't use to "grab" their skis in the air, or hit rails, or ride halfpipes...etc.

Still a great read and all but I could not resist.
  • + 12
 Yes the style was a major influence. But people did tricks on skis 80 years before the snowboard even was conceived. It did look more like gymnastics though...
  • - 47
flag RichardCunningham Mod Plus (Feb 8, 2018 at 13:48) (Below Threshold)
 @tsn73 Yeah, but it took a hell of along time for snowboards to progress past skate. Same dynamics. Snowboarding looked (and was) pretty foolish until it progressed into its own form. BTW, that notch was first done by a boarder. .
  • + 36
 @RichardCunningham: I have a solution. We'll just start over with palmer crushing races, skinnies on the north shore, and bender hucking cliffs in the desert alone again.

To know where we are going, we must remember where we've come from.
  • + 1
 My first skateboard was a Black Knight with clay wheels.
  • + 20
 RIP Ski Ballet
  • + 31
 Snowboarding saved skiing from itself by breaking traditions and self imposed restrictions on what skiing could and should be. 80ies skiing freestyle was held back by competion formats and rules. The freeride element that came with snowboarding did for skiing much the same thing as the freeride element did for mtb.
  • + 9
 @RichardCunningham: and skating got its start from surfing. One could argue snowboarding got its start from surfing as well.

It’s a good thing snowboards we’re able to utilize ski building tech. Helped increase pace of development
  • + 40
 @RichardCunningham: The type of skiing that Candide is famous for (mainly freestyle, some freeride) has only really existed for about 20 years, with the notable advent of the twin tip ski. This is more or less the same timeline as freeride MTB.

The fragmentation of MTB disciplines is actually pretty analogous to skiing. 30 years ago neither had Freeride, Slopestyle or Big Air. Now they both do!

Skis back in 1990 resemble skis now about as little as a MTB does.
Back then ski design was inherited from piste racing: narrow (no float in powder), non-parabolic (harder to turn), with no twin tips (can’t ride backwards). Meanwhile MTBs were evolved road bikes: they had less travel (no float in rough stuff), steep head angle (impaired handling), with no disc brakes (can’t stop nevermind go backwards).

Both sports have evolved massively in the 25 years I’ve spent doing them. I love them both but there’s no way MTB is somehow “behind”.
  • + 3
 THe biggest thing snowboarding did for skiing was to get skis that had sidecut and stronger camber (and reverse camber for pow skis). This make skiing infinitely more enjoyable, and not just with center mount twin tip. Rental skis have the strongest sidecut of any type of ski.
  • + 37
 @Altron:
Exactly.
As i read that article i was crossing his list of points in my mind like "not true, not true, not true..." because literally all the comparisons suck.
Skiing and mtb are so much alike in their progression i´m flabbergasted how someone can be so blind to reality and write that article above.

And for the part about skiing and it´s apparent perfection and mastery.
I think that´s a personal problem RC has. I for one, when watching a high profile downhill racer, am astonished by the mastery with which they ride on the brink of loosing control but manage to tame that wild beast that is their bicycle. As a skier i can appreciate a perfectly carved race turn, but then again it´s a totally different medium. We could do the same thing in dh if we were to ride on paved roads. There goes the perfect cornering technique, no problem at all. The fact that a dh run looks more wild/aggressive than a skiing run is just blinding the author because in reality they both do the same thing, they ride on the edge in order to shave off miliseconds of their run time. The expectation of impending doom probably stems from the fact RC can relate more to the crash element in biking than skiing. For me as a skier, the fact that after a fall the ride will go on until the skier hits a net, lamp post or tree makes for quite the same feeling when watching a ski run. Hitting the deck is as present in skiing as in bike riding and it´s never fun. Also in downhill and especially freeride there was an era when that aspect of riding was strongly marketed as it was basically the whole image of the sport. Tough guys doing seemingly impossible shit on their bikes. RC (just as many other bikers) probably never left that era completely behind.
However i would strongly argue there is a huge difference between athletes in this day and age like Semenuk and the heroes of the past like Josh Bender. Now compare Semenuk and his riding to Bender. There you have your perfection.
  • + 5
 @hamncheez: While you are correct about side cut, you are wrong about camber and reverse camber.
Reverse camber in skis actually goes back over a century, more recently it was brought back into the spotlight by Shane McConkey and Volant (the Spatula), Stephan Drake (DPS founder) is credited for making the first modern, production rockered ski. That tech was later adapted by snowboard designers/mfgs.
  • + 5
 @Loki87: slow clap
  • + 4
 Dont forget that big mountain ski lines that we see on video are primed to shred any where from a few days a year to sometimes once every five years... A ski line with perfect conditions folks can do amazing things, with boiler plate conditions they would hack it up or it may be unskiable.. DH biking on the other hand, rain/dust/snow folks will rip those trails/lines relatively the same.. Conditions are the number 1 dictator for skiers, whereas mtn biking is basically weather proof
  • + 1
 @Hyakian: snowboarding first adopted reverse camber on a massive scale. As well as first brought it from being a powder specific tool to on piste and park conditions but to be fair that happened largely in part thanks to companies like k2 that make both skis and boards.
  • + 13
 @slickwilly1:
RC should watch some Freeride World Tour videos and not just highlight reels on facebook.
The faces those guys ride on are often enough generally f*cked up conditions and the riding under such circumstances is nowhere near as perfect in execution as that Candide video above.
The Candide video is only comparable to one of Semenuks recent projects which were all meticulously planned in advance and ridden on specifically designed courses with perfect execution.
As you say, dh racers get it done under all conditions and the media likes to promote this. DH is promoted as wild and raw. It´s also the one thing that makes it special.
In skiing, powder and perfect turns is what inspires the viewers imagination, not hucks to boilerplate that would kill a normal human being, so that´s what they shows us.
That article speaks of a very onesided view on the subject and a general lack of research and involvement.
  • + 2
 @Loki87: Exaktly that. Freeride World Toure is nowhere near clean skiing... it's still damn mindblowing to watch but it does not resemble the clean deep-pow videos you see today.


@RichardCunningham: Downhill skiing is happening on slopes. very very clean, perfectly shaped slopes. No wonder you see them gliding so well. Put some Andorra-sized rocks in their way and see how it goes... No comparison possible for me.
  • + 4
 @Loki87: It sounds like some of Candide's snow-free edits made RC question what is possible on bikes. Kudos to him for raising the debate.
So, how about the difference between Candide tricking skis on sand or grass and Cam McCaul dropping into a snowy Corbets. Why did the skier have so much more flow on dirt and the bike line look so damn janky on snow?
It all comes down to the medium/physics: one glides and one rolls.
so...why didn't Cam McCaul drop Corbets on a frickin ski bike?!

the wheel is holding us back! we need hover bikes. Zero friction machines!
  • - 3
 Snowboarding didn't have anything with the design of skiing equipment other than wide clothes. It was actually the other way around skiing infuenced the design of snowboard equipment.
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham: It probably helped skiing to evolve the fact that there are many more people skiing/snowboarding compared to riding MTBs and has a cheaper starting price point. Don't know about the difference in US or Canada between the two sports but in Europe MTB will never be as big as skiing - it's called alpine skiing for a reason.
  • + 4
 @jzPV: yeah but 80 years of trick progression resulted in the Daffy so it wasn't really progression.
  • + 3
 @feeblesmith: Bullshit. Glen Plake, Mike Hattrup, and Scot Schmidt saved skiing in the late 80's. They started the regolution, not snowboarding.
  • + 3
 @McNubbin: Word, Blizzard of Aahhhs in 1988.
  • - 1
 @McNubbin: Snowboarding was getting big in the late 80's, skiing had been stagnant for decades. Like it or not snowboarding forced skiers, like Plake and Schmidt, to reexamine there style and step up their game. You also can't deny all the factors that have come from snowboarding to make skiing better and more appealing; deeper sidecuts, wider skis, etc.. not to mention the style; grabs, riding fakie and carving and slashing instead of the quick back and forth disco turns skiers used to do.
  • + 1
 @McNubbin: totally
  • + 1
 I also don't understand why skiing as seen as this non-evolving sport with plateaued technology. The invention of rocker technology, the widening of the average ski and the presentation of the new AT bindings that just came out. The ski technology has led to every single video posted in the article.
  • + 1
 @shami: Wrong again. In the mid-late 80’s snow boarders were wearing the same lame 1-piece suits as the skiers were, doing lame tricks. Plake and the crew moved the entire big-mountain game up, snow boarders followed their lead, everyone owes these guys a debt of gratitude. I was actually around to watch it all happen.
  • + 1
 @McNubbin: Maybe you didn't see the Tahoe pioneers like Terry Kidwell and Shaun "Mini Shred" Palmer in the mid 80s.
  • + 83
 When i introduce people to WC DH via Red Bull coverage, first off the are shocked how they have never seen anything like this, and on how much they love the Commentating , in combination with it being maybe the most exciting form of racing they have seen. Best of all, they are into it, like, legit N 2 IT! We watch the whole thing together and they are actively engaged ! The people i am referencing have little to no attachment to the sport other than knowing me, but they are into. Personally, i feel like its a sport that deserve more coverage and more money flowing in that direction.
  • + 3
 I completely agree. I've watched some myself and was amazed at how awesome downhill biking is the partake in AND watch!
  • + 31
 this is possibly the worst comparison ever, seems simply like an excuse to write an article hahah...
  • + 3
 China. Just saying.
  • + 12
 Whats wrong with sports being influenced by other or similar sports for progression? I mean as long ad it's not gaining influential support from curling...
  • + 21
 I agree. f*cking stupid article, regardless of whether it's an "opinion". Self-sabotaging, if nothing else.

Where do we go from here? We need more participants and more spectators in the sport, ergo more money in the sport and more mountains accommodating the sport at the elite level (think Whistler-- not these halfassed, tired and poorly maintained runs that remain the same year after year). It's always baffled me how mountains get significantly less participation for a sport that uses the same infrastructure in a nicer time of the year.

I think our problem is that we as insiders are turning our backs to DH, favoring enduro out of sheer convenience. Hard to blame people, considering how much bikes cost. Maybe the industry just needs to bring DH bikes to the market at the most entry level imaginable so more people can entertain the purchase of one for each member in their family. The bike industry lacks any vision for the future of mtb aside from e-bikes, so mind that.

And if you're not impressed by a rampage run anymore, the problem is you.
  • + 9
 @Keyboardkilla: what this guy said. utter nonsense, especially after being asked to 'read till the end'.
  • + 10
 @mergleman: There IS something that all sports can learn from curling:
It's tradition that the winning team in curling buys drinks for the losing team. This is true from the lowest levels to the Olympics (my neighbour has the Silver medal to prove it.)

Cheers!
  • + 6
 RC: If you're HTA isn't too steep, and you remember to use heavy tires, trail bikes are the same as DH. "It’s no surprise then, that trailbikes have evolved to the point where their descending capabilities now rival downhill machines. Once we figured out the pedaling part, all we needed to close the gap were two-ply tires and a 63 degree head tube angle. Downhill bikes don’t seem so badass anymore."
Me: lol
  • + 1
 @POWsLAYER Yup. The point isn't to be floaty, flowy, and smooth like the type of skiing RC is talking about. The gnarliness of the trails, and the difficulty of getting down in one piece... that's a big attraction.
  • + 1
 Same here, we have air horns, old rims and handlebars, etc around the house for downhill race days. I am the only person watching that rides.
  • + 2
 Ha. This describes my GF perfectly. She hadn't been on a bike since high school - we're in our 30's now. I made coffee and turned on the first race of the '16 season and she was mesmerized. All of a sudden she's following Rachel on Facebook? And has a crush on Danny!? And when is the next race????
  • + 69
 Sorry but this is the worst comparison I've ever read. The two sports are not as nearly alike as this article suggests. skiing=mostly smooth/compliant surface, MTB=rocks & roots. What if the MTB line of the year was a straight chute with no jumps, gaps or turns? YEAH RIGHT!! Big mountain skiing hasn't required nearly the amount of technical innovation as DH, because it's not nearly as demanding. A skier can wad up a 100 ft drop into a tuft of powder and laugh about it (assuming their not covered by an avalanche). A 30 ft case on a bike puts you in the hospital.
  • + 24
 If only my stupid coworker would have shut the hell up and let me finish my comment, I could have been first!
  • + 7
 @charmiller: you can type 10 line pinkbike comments at your job and you're complaining?
  • + 12
 @colincolin: If that's a measure of satisfaction then I want waki's job
  • + 3
 Assuming they know whats under the snow. A lot of the danger in skiing is that you are riding blind a lot of the time and have to trust whats underneath and around you is 'safe'.

Do you mean big mountain skiing is not demanding physically or on the equipment?
  • + 2
 The real problem here is that winter lasts too long, so people haven't ridden their bike in a while. It makes them worry about silly things like the comparison between skiing and mountain biking. If this snow stuff would just melt already and people could just go for a ride, all issues would be solved.
  • + 1
 nonsense. 100 ft drops aren’t laughed off.
  • + 47
 Disagree about the fully capable enduro bike, when I went from 180 single crown to full 200 DH rig, that set up gave me so much more confidence to attack stuff that I would tip toe over with caution before. There's NO feeling like smashing though rocks at warp 10 on DH rig knowing that the bike will take anything I can put it through
Where is DH headed? Super G style? Maybe but.....
f*ck that would be boring. Fast yeah.. But, Watching riders all hit identical lines for a few hundredths of a second separating the whole field? High speed wipe outs keeping the blood thirsty arm chair fan happy.
Nope
Give me more tech, more lines, more riders with individual styles all picking their own way down a multiple line track.
Bigger wheels making things faster but straitened out is no the way to go
  • + 29
 Every time I read that the new enduro bikes can rival a DH bike .. Just no.... If you truly think that then you have not ridden a properly set up DH bike or you are catering to what the industry is trying to sale. Just stop..
  • + 14
 agreed. It seems that people who claim that Enduro bikes are virtually DH bikes seem to have not been riding a DH bike since some time. They simply compare a 2018 Enduro bike with a rather old DH bike or whatever they remember. Well, the matter of a fact is, DH bikes have by average 2 inches of travel more and 2 degree slacker ha. They are stiffer, sturdier, more durable, may even have better damping. For the lack of a better expression: you do the math RC.

Enduro monsters like 2018 E29 give you a possibility of having a capable trail bike that will gladly go to a bike park from time to time if you prepare it a bit. But as far as Park Rats go, you have to be insane not to use a DH bike if you can put a dozen of lift assisted weekends per year.
  • + 10
 I think the biggest thing missing here is that yes, you can ride a good enduro bike and have fun on DH trails, and you aren't a ton slower than a DH bike, but its a ton more dangerous, your body gets beat up a lot more, and your bike gets worn a ton more. Most people don't race, and most DH bike owners don't race, but if you try and put a whole Whistler season on anything without a dual crown your hands are going to get micro fractures and your bike will be trashed.
  • + 9
 @BeerGuzlinFool: YES! coming from a BMX back ground I laugh at how much of mtb.. Hell even road. Is Marketing Hype!
For example..
Look at a set of ski's, or even a skate board or( street) bmx. Yeah they have technology but, very little moving parts. Not a lot apart from weight to factor in on performance
Now compare MTB with wheel size, hub width,3 types of tacky tyre, geo, dropper, carbon ally steel, air coil tune travel
Etc etc etc, the list is endless
All marketing hype for riders to go out an spend £$€ on the latest greatest speed enducing standard.
It honestly makes me laugh.
Sure, felling comfortable on the right bike for the job and if you have one bike for everything an enduro is a good choice but,
MAN mtb marketing is a joke
  • + 2
 For me it is tyres that let DH down. How many times has tyre technology ruined a good race run.
  • + 12
 @fartymarty: for me comparison of skiing to DH is plain ridiculous. It sounds like yet another idealistic onanism where one who is sceptical (or feels minority complex wishing his sport could live up to his unrealistic expectations ) finds a rather stretched object of comparison that he personally glorifies. Simply put, grass is always greener on the other side of the street. And I feel RC is guilty of it here.

We ride on rocks managing far more details than skiers. We simply do more than our brains can manage and the winner is often a dude who can deal with this chaos better. Yes if you are a professional runner or swimmer or road cyclist you can dissect every single detail of your movement but we have way more going on in our zone of action than they
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: As I see the parallels.

Surf = Surfing, skate, snowboard and ski.

Ride : MX, BMX, MTB (and all its guises).

IMO both trains as separate and don't cross over (altho BMX and skate use the same environments). Each train borrows from the other elements in the train and continues to evolve.

Agreed re the brain. Our brain has to process a whole lot when riding. This is why I find riding very de-stressing and you can't think about anything else apart from the task in hand. This is why I find winter riding a good de-stresser as you are also processing grip (mud, roots), ground conditions, gears and shitty shifting. On skis or a board you are only processing the terrain and snow conditions - things we do anyway.
  • - 3
 As I see it the big difference between surf and ride is the use of hands. Riding the hands are active where as surf they are passive.

The active use of hands / arms means further involvement of the brain.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Chains too (although it doesn't always stop people errr Gwinning)
  • + 2
 Also something to consider is Cam Zinks roumered 150ft gap/back flip...
And Sam Reynolds Dark Fest updates. Building 60-80ft jumps an saying I think we could easily go bigger........
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: As a long time surfer (45 years) who took up mountain biking five years ago, I would say the thing was for my body to learn that It can’t bail out and survive without injury; broken bones, torn skin, many bruises and a dislocation later, I think physically I am just starting to get it. Personally I think I would need to have been doing both skiing and downhilling with obsessive passion before I could properly do the compare and contrast trick. But I would call that long tracking shot of Semunek from a few years ago a perfect example of land surfing. Perfectly beautiful and completely understood as such by any surfer I think.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: in skiing, your hands and arms are an integral part of the shapes you need to make with your body to ski well, especially off piste. You should actually lead with and be centred around the chin, arms and upper torso and anything below the belly button is basically suspension. The poles are almost like floating handlebars, but the kinematics are obviously different. Physics will always be physics, however, and you don't get good at these sports without full body coordination.
  • + 2
 @BenPea: you use your hands amd arms in a similar way as surfing or skating. I agree that you need them but not to nearly the same level as riding a bike. You could ditch your poles and still make it down the mountain where as on a bike it's not possible (at least for a mere mortal).

Riding you need 4 points of contact where as surfing, skiing, boarding and skating you only have 2. It's the extra brain processing that Waki speaks for the extra 2 limbs that IMO makes riding more taxing on the brain.
  • + 1
 @OldOtter: I surfed a bit back in NZ and agree you do bail more surfing than on a bike but it is because you can and get away with it. I am teaching my kids to ride and they fall off a lot. When you are young it doesn't hurt as much as when you're older. I guess you learn that falling off hurts and should be avoided. Saying that if I have full body armour on it hurts a lot less but I only use that when riding proper DH. Plus I guess you can get good at falling off which I am definitely not. If you look at what the Rampage gyys get away with it is amazing. If that was me they would have to scrape me up to put me in the body bag.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: have you ever tried paddling out into a lineup without your hands?
  • + 1
 @korev: E-board
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: jet ski like the big wave surfers in Hawaii do.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: those lazy fks runing wave access
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: difficult to compare. In skiing your brain has to process not having any brakes, as well as thinking 50 meters ahead rather than 10 (ballpark figures). If you're on the limit in either sport, your brain can't relax for a second. Both are special, it's like choosing between my kids. Difficult, unless one of them has pissed me off severely.
@WAKIdesigns: mouahaha
  • + 45
 Somebody fire Richard Cunningham already. The guy sounds like some grandpa screaming from his rocking chair.
  • + 8
 God bless
  • + 10
 it's incredible that RC is writing this garbage instead of the "Now that was a bike" column. If the only goal he has at this point is to be out of touch and stir up controversy I'd prefer Amanda Batty. At least she stirs thing up in this century.
  • + 1
 I think we need to stop commenting on his articles before he gets fired...
  • + 0
 I think disagreeing with someones thought process is fine. Saying they should be financially penalised and/or loose their job is not.
  • + 1
 @johncee: you mean the one where he reviewed his own mantis design saying now that was a bike. For shame RC..for shame
  • + 44
 yikes. someone published this garbage fire of an article?
  • + 40
 Pretty slow month. I couldn't disagree with this article more! The difference between flipping a 50ft drop on skis and a mt bike is if you mis calculate you could die on a bike. DH bikes have motocross brands designing various important components. DH and Motocross are very transferable, but it's not like Ryan Villopoto is going to cross over and dominate the WC DH series. There's loads of opportunities to improve DH bikes, one example is for wheel and tire manufacturers to improve the failure issues that plagued the top riders last season.
  • + 7
 "at their highest levels, there is a palpable difference between the speed, amplitude, and flow of ski versus mountain bike"

Yeah, that might have something to do with the 2ft of pow that freestyle skiiers can land on. And I understand the question of what DH would be like if it developed in a vacuum, but I don't care to know the answer. Look at ski jumping for example. Sure, the athlete has two skis on, but what connection does it really have anymore to the kind of skiing an average joe will do. Neat to watch, sure, but I don't look at it and go "I could do that".

Sure, DH bikes are purpose built race machines, but they still have a direct connection to the bikes that the rest of us ride, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
  • + 6
 In moto you don't have to choose between fast and strong.
  • + 5
 @BenPea: you don't in skiing or DH either......You're forgetting the third vector, which is price. lol

fast, strong, cheap. pick any two!
  • + 3
 @conoat: Cheap isn't particularly relevant to WC DH racers. Look at the number of flats. Why aren't they running 2kg tyres and 1kg rims? Too sluggish.
  • + 1
 @conoat - I have to make a meme with Good fellas pic:

“Mountain bikes - Light, durable, cheap - pick two” as if there was cheap hahahahaha
  • + 37
 With all due respect, this reads like it was written by someone who doesn't ski, and isn't particularly familiar with ski technology and the progression thereof.
  • + 6
 I wholeheartedly agree.
The points he makes are ridiculous and disrespectul as well, trying to reduce the capabilities of todays pro riders to little more than "being lucky to not wipe out on race day" while in reality the difference between a on edge skiing race run and a dh race run couldn´t be any smaller.
  • + 11
 It's not just skiing where the ignorance lies, I think it is also written by someone who hasn't raced a season of DH.
  • + 10
 @iamamodel:
He probably hasn´t even touched a dh bike in the last 10-15 years.
  • + 9
 This reads like someone who doesn't ski or mountain bike. Maaaybe someone who spent the 90's and early 00's doing gear "shoot outs"
  • + 31
 I disagree with RC. Skiing was not in a vacuum. Snowboarding came out, and snowboarders started blowing minds with tricks adapted from surfing and skateboarding. Skiing was stagnant until it adapted a lot of those tricks, and a lot of snowboard-like technology, such as wide planks and radical sidecuts. Halfpipe skiing? Would that have ever happened without snowboarding doing it first?

And at the end of the day, a bike is kind of a bike. It has two wheels and pedals. I think if you gave a team of engineers a huge budget and two wheels, and told them to get down a mountain as fast as possible, they'd still come up with something like a bicycle. You can imagine that maybe they'd do something like a luge or bobsled if the course was smooth enough to allow it - but it'd still basically be a recumbent bike with a fairing.

And finally, WC DH is frickin' dope. Some of the most exciting racing you can see. And I'm not a DH'er.
  • + 8
 @Pinhead907, I couldn't agree more, apparently RC is unaware of snowboarding and the influences it and skiing have on each other.
  • + 7
 @shami: skate was the big influence to snowboarding and that evolved from surfing. Surfing has then borrowed back from skate / boarding and on it goes. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Ditto bikes. We borrow from BMX, MX and they borrow from us and it keeps evolving and you end up with guys crossing over. DH is just a small but important part of the equation.
  • + 2
 @pinhead907: could not agree more!
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: I agree, I started snowboarding back in the 1980s because I was a skater and almost all of the early snowboarders were skaters too. My only point was that skiing does not exist in a vacuum and that it is heavily influenced by snowboarding. Technology wise though snowboarding was able to use existing materials and construction methods that came from the ski industry.
  • + 28
 Why must this be asked? People still watch soccer, footbal, basketball, and baseball. Sometimes it's not about the progression of the sport on the whole; it's a matter of appreciating the art of the rider/player.
  • + 10
 Perfectly put. This article got me angry and your smooth reasoning is medicine for my mind.
  • + 3
 @spankthewan: very well put, even better by not mentioning the word "bike"!
  • + 24
 This has so many logical fallacies in it I wouldn't even know where to start. People are constantly designing radically new bike concepts and they typically fail. There are only so many combinations when your goal is to connect two wheels together with a seat somewhere in the middle.
  • + 1
 You forgot RC does des question the seat on his mind-concept-bike! This leaves room for the most radical new mind blowing bike thing ever maybe...
  • + 20
 It's kinda like saying "is F1 racing dying?" - just because the sport has established a format, that doesn't mean its dying. Downhill continues to be the testing ground of a lot of groundbreaking technology, and athletes continue to get stronger and faster. More people can relate to enduro so that's taking some viewership, but the sheer speed and intensity of downhill will always have my attention.
  • + 6
 What I was thinking as I read the article. F1 is the true comparison to DH. The highest level of competition. F1 has and will face challenges and DH is no different. Both use machines completely irrelevant to everyday commuting but the technology that is developed trickles down whether you notice it or not. I'm generally fond of RC but this article was garbage.
  • + 2
 @Powderface: Agreed. DH has even trickled down to road as they use disc brakes.

Man and machine verses the clock, it's a time tested winner.
  • + 19
 This makes no sense. Developed in a 'vacuum'? There is no such thing. The whole point of biking is to ride a bike. Could you design some other vehicle from scratch that would go down the mountain faster than a bike? Maybe, but then its not a bike.

And no pedals? That's called a scooter, not a bike. Sure the most talented downhill rider in the world won a race with no chain, but generally there are still parts where pedaling makes you faster. And people still can use a seat to help control the bike even if sitting is a rarity. And how does this even make the bike faster or better not to have a seat? How about we put a motor on it; oh wait. This is all so much non-sense.

If you have an actual IDEA about how to progress technology, then let's here it; don't drone on about some alternate history tale where the first time a bike was thought of was to go down the side of a mountain fast, blast through the gnar, or throw tail-whips and back flips with abandon. The fact is that bike technology is pretty much at its peak. This idea that there is so much more potential on the equipment side of the equation is not based in reality. We've reached the point for all cycling disciplines where only small refinements can be made at this point. That last thing there was to really figure out was geometry, and this barrier was finally cracked in the last couple of years, and has probably swung too far in some cases and will be reigned in a little to the ideal. Anything more radical than a refinement would have to be qualified as a different vehicle altogether. Just look at the things typically discussed: gearbox drive train, electronically managed suspension, electronically managed shifting, lighter & stronger materials, etc, etc; these are all just refinements.

And comparing what you can do on a bike vs what you can do on skis because they are both done on mountains also makes little sense. Why don't we do that for bikes and roller blades? Imagine how more capable roller blades would be if they developed in a vacuum and not in the shadow of roller skates and ice skates. If anything, the existence of bmx and motocross helped accelerate the technical development of mountain bikes.

You phoned this one in dude. But if you are really being genuine about this, go ahead and build something that will be faster down the mountain. You used to build bikes for a living. Come out with something that cannot be ignored as an alternative to the modern downhill bike. You'll make millions.
  • + 5
 Spot on. I can't remember where this came from, but it was a group of people walking with the head of the company and they are all telling him all the stuff that is going wrong, and he stops them all and says "I don't want to hear problems, I want to hear solutions!"
  • + 10
 Well written and to the point.

Shall I add we are debating the opinion of a guy who thinks 180 mm rotors are inherently better than 203 mm ones because they stay true longer?

Asking RC a word about downhill racing is the same as asking me to say what's wrong with chess.
  • + 2
 @iamamodel: if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the trouble.
  • + 16
 I’ll forever have the moment of watching, live, the image of Ulriche Maier’s lifeless body ragdolling to a stop after she lost and edge and hit the fence in ‘94, burned into my memory. David Poisson and Max Berkhart last year. Sarah Burke in snowboarding halfpipe, all the folks that die in avalanches every year. The list goes on and on and on and just continues to get longer. Just because it looks smooth, and snow looks forgiving doesn’t mean it is. I think RC on some level understands those simple premises, of course, but I think he has perspective in MTB (being involved since the beginnings) that gives him a healthy respect and fear when he sees heavy stuff being done on a bike, but he lacks this perspective and experience as it relates to skiing, being that he’s not as closely connected and doesn’t have as many relatable experiences to act as touchstones. If he did, it’s likely that he’d feel the same gravity and concern watching freeskiers, snowboarders, and WC DH ski racers that he does watching Rampage and the like.
  • + 4
 Couldn't agree more. All these people commenting "oh but you can laugh off a 100-ft drop into a lil' pow stash" like they know what that feels like... And I agree that RC would likely have the exact same doom filter when watching FWT runs if he had more personal touchstones in that realm. I'm a snowboarder first and mountain biker second and the more I get myself into burlier lines and big-mountain territory, the more puckered I get when watching Jones and Rice send their shit from my couch.
  • + 2
 And shit yeah the avy danger adds its own layer to that doom-filter. FWT is more avy-controlled but there are plenty of pucker-inducing avy close-call clips in big-name ski/snowboard movies to get stressed about.
  • + 15
 I don't really understand this column. Mountain biking is what it is, and it will take its course. Where, exactly, do you want it to go?

"What I am saying here is that, as a sport, we haven’t been around long enough to hone our skills or our technology to approach the same apogee that skiing presently enjoys."

Yeah, well, assuming that's true, give it time. And if that's the point he's trying to make -- that is, give it time -- then what's the argument?

Some of the other stuff he mentions is like arguing why you can't hit a home run in football. Because that's not the game, man.
  • + 11
 "Some of the other stuff he mentions is like arguing why you can't hit a home run in football. Because that's not the game, man."

Spot on, bud.
  • + 1
 lol, genius!
  • + 2
 He makes a lot of arguments about "if only mountain biking had evolved in a vacuum and wasn't influenced by XC, BMX and moto..." But it didn't evolve in a vacuum. That's the reality, and there's nothing you can do to change that, short of being a completely different sport. You know, what if we had four wheels instead of two? Then it wouldn't be mountain BIKING, now would it? It would be something entirely different. If if and buts were candies and nuts... It's all irrelevant. Hes' dealing in the hypothetical, not in the reality of "progressing" the sport, whatever the hell that means.

As for riders not honing their skills to the same apogee skiing presently enjoys... Have you seen the latest Semenuk video? They posted it a few days ago. That's quite the apogee, in my opinion. What else can a guy do beyond being absolutely brilliant on a bike? That's where the envelope has been pushed. It's way beyond what it was 10-20 years ago. And in 10-20 years, innovations in technology and realization of what can be done will be beyond what it is now.
  • + 18
 Written someone who doesn't understand either sport
  • + 14
 The only thing i know is that DH bikes are the ones that put the biggest smile on my face at the end of the day..both riding it or watching wc races.. Downhill is the formula 1 of bikes..
  • + 1
 same
  • + 13
 With advances in stem cell research science will be able to create athletes whose necks are twice as thick, spines are more rubbery and they will be able to graft extra balls into the part of the brain that dictates self-preservation. Until then, we'll just have to marvel at the all-out awesomeness that is professional DH racing in its present, skullballs-less state. Amen.
  • + 2
 Unless you're Danny Hart then yours are already too big to sit down (at least according to Prof. Warner)
  • + 12
 I feel like the guys at Pinkbike write these articles as a drinking game. They write clickbait and pick what responses they think they’ll see in the comments and drink when they see the ones the other writers think they’ll see.
  • + 6
 They should all be in a coma by now.
  • + 12
 Trail bikes and Enduro bikes are not close to a downhill bike. Just because a ford truck can drive on a race track, doesn’t mean it’s a race car. The same is true with bikes.

After having ridden 6” trail bikes and dh bikes at ski resorts the difference is clear. On a 6” bike my body is done by 2pm. The dh bike lets me ride until the lifts close at the end of the day.

Not to mention how fast parts will wear out if you take a trail bike to the ski resorts on a regular basis.
  • + 11
 Watch the biking industry come up with another dumbass label. Downhill will become Downduro. Maybe they will Make All Mountain Downhill? Or Downhill XC?

This will generate all kinds of bikes, that will look identical and function the same but will be marketed at different crowds.

Can't wait to get my Downduro bike!
  • + 5
 @bartb You should copyright those terms before Cannondale steals them.
  • + 3
 @jaydubmah: Well i think Hibike is even closer, building an eBike called XDuro
  • + 1
 @konamann: what the f*ck
  • + 10
 Too bad downhill skis weren't designed in a vacuum. modern ski rocker tech was borrowed and refined from water skis. The only real difference in progression comes from 3 main sources IMO.

1) The # of people who take up alpine skiing far outnumbers the number of mountain bikers.
2) As stated in the article, skiing has been around literally hundreds of years longer, and at a competitive level, decades longer.
3) the consequences of entry level mountain biking are much higher than entry level skiing.
  • + 2
 Yup, totally agree...Ski is now a family activity and hundred of kids (as young as 3) are taking ski classes on the weekend (and it cost nothing to buy used equipment). I don't see that happening during summer on DH trails.
  • + 11
 Would love to know just how many articles got chinned off in favour of this complete nonsense. It's like comparing running to skateboarding - tenuous at best, at worst,, well
  • + 10
 With all due respect, RC I think at the very least you’re way off base here and at the very most you don’t know what you’re talking about. Additionally, you use words like “us” and “we”. You’re not one of us. True, you’re an industry guy with years of experience and you’ve thrown a leg over a DH rig more than a few times, but you’re not rooted in the subculture. Therefore it would be remiss to assume to speak for us.

Furthermore, if spectating DH makes you feel scared or anxious, then maybe, just MAYBE... DH isn't your thing. To those who ride, it's that unpredictability, that unknown that makes it interesting and drives us. NO, we don't want to see our fellow human beings get hurt, but this ain't a game of Hop-Scotch.

What drives DH riders and racers? It’s that search for the elusive perfect run. It’s similar to what surfers describe in that search for that elusive “perfect” wave. If you understand the sport (DH MTB) than as a spectator you GET this. Watching a rider using all of their skills, talent, physical fitness, and cunning to pull out a miraculous save from bobbling it in a tech section, or watching a rider simply operate on another level (Sam Hill Champery ’07, Sam Hill Val di Sole Worlds ’08 until the crash, Vouilloz, Peaty winning Worlds in ’09…) is the true HEART and SOUL of DH.

For some reason you’ve latched on to this rather inept equivalency between skiing and DH MTB. This leads you to ridiculous statements like:

“Would it (DH MTB’s developed in a vacuum) have a saddle? (It’s not like skiers need one). And, there is the question of suspension: maybe less travel, combined with built in flex? We may never know.”
- OK… so, you ARE aware that a seat is ALSO used as a control surface to aid in steering/cornering, RIGHT? Maybe that’s why you’re having so much trouble with cornering.

“My reasons for comparing the two is to suggest that, unlike snow sports, downhill mountain biking suffers from an identity crisis, which may be retarding its progression.”
- I don’t think that DH MTB suffers from an identity crisis so much as you truly don’t understand the sport (DH MTB).

“Nobody started alpine skiing because they really wanted to be a motocross racer.”
- Nobody started riding DH because they wanted to be a motocross rider either.

“Take away the berms and downhill bikes can barely make it around a corner at speed.”
- Sam Hill, Chris Kovarik, Nico Vouilloz, would kick your ass for saying this and Peaty and Minnaar would laugh their asses off.

“Without the influences of cross country, BMX and moto, a downhill bike may have developed into a coaster, without any drivetrain at all…”
- Then it isn’t a “bicycle” at all is it? It’s a f*cking scooter. (*sigh*) DH mountain biking would STILL have a drivetrain. Why? Because technical aspects of the track will inevitably slow you down, because the track isn’t and shouldn’t always be like a glorified bike park – that a proper DH track should have variety: tight technical sections, steep mixed with less steep sections, mud, loam, gravel, rocks, roots, drunk, nude, Aussies screaming at the top of their lungs. These are the things that make it interesting for us and therefore necessitate PEDALS. This is the HEART and SOUL of DH.

“Downhill racing and big mountain looks a lot like we are riding motorcycles without engines, because, except for pedals and a bicycle seat, we pretty much are.”
- OK, so this is a trope often expressed by people outside our culture (DH). “It looks like a moto”, and “HEY, where’s the engine on that thing?” It’s practically become a meme of our subculture. On the surface, they look similar, but in depth they are not. Again, this is another poor comparison. I see a trend here.

“Downhill is evolving at a crawl, and more travel and a different wheel size aren't going to provide the breakthrough moment it needs. To master this sport, we need to reassess every aspect of it. It will take imagination and innovation from both riders and designers to distance downhill from enduro – and even more so, to progress slopestyle and freeride out from under the shadow of their seminal influences…”
- Why the hell couldn’t you lead with this in the first place?! –haha- This is the most cohesive thing you’ve said in the entire article. Totally agree – there needs to be more technical development in our equipment. Eliminating derailleurs would be a good place to start. Clutch derailleurs are the scourge of uninhibited suspension performance. Don’t believe me? Ask Barel. He’ll tell you. Putting a stop to the industry continually jerking off with “standards” would be great too.

“I’d like to see the day when my skier friends post must-watch mountain bike videos on their home pages in January.”
- Christ, you REALLY don’t get DH, do you? This was exhausting.

Bottom line: if you want to improve the world of DH, in the words of Jim McRoy (yes THAT Jim McRoy – Jason’s father): “…it takes someone with dedication… if you don’t give back (to the sport)… it’s just going to die… if you have somebody who has achieved something and can pass that on to the future generations – absolutely invaluable.”
  • + 2
 nice stuff man
  • + 14
 dumb
  • + 8
 Personally, I think there needs to be a definition of 'progression' which isn't quite covered by the article. Where do we see sport going as 'progression'? The bikes these days are extremely capable, any lines you shown on snow have their equal counter parts on 2 wheels.

So what is it meant by 'progression'?
  • - 12
flag RichardCunningham Mod Plus (Feb 8, 2018 at 14:25) (Below Threshold)
 @georgy291 Fair question. What I mean by progression is that, while it may be hard to imagine that the best riders of this moment will be surpassed in the future by technology and talent. (witnessed by the comments here) It will happen. Looking back, my perspective dates from the beginning of the sport. I am absolutely in awe of what mountain bike riders are doing today. Rampage or Fest would have been beyond my wildest dreams..What will today's riders of the moment see when they look back 20 years? From where we are at this moment I expect downhill and freeride to progress well beyond where we are today. This op-ed is a challenge to begin to imagine how that progression may take shape.
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham: In the last century there has been an explosion in "progression" in all aspects of human endeavour and we tend to assume this will continue indefinitely. It's human nature to want to constantly improve things. The reality though is that sometimes we do finally reach something that is very near perfect and in this case can't be progressed much further in any direction without compromising the original nature of the thing.
  • + 15
 @RichardCunningham: you sir are below threshhold. Please rethink your comments and try again
  • + 4
 @weebleswobbles: What is he even saying? Did he learn how to write from IMBA? Lots of words, but no point.
  • + 1
 @weebleswobbles: probably the only time I will have more upvotes then a moderator.
  • + 8
 I've been away from this sport for the last 20 years. Back when we'd race downhill on saturday and then cross country on sunday at the same location and you had a fair shot at winning both. ....The progression since then is absolutely breathtaking DH mountain biking has become so much more legit than any other sport I've seen..... The berms and flow of BMX the tricks and amplitude sometime surpassing FMX. and SUPER nasty rocky technical trails that used to be impossible to ride.. This shit got LEGIT! The fact that RC is comparing this sport to downhill skiing means like the bikes of 20 years ago....He's totally lost his relevance.
  • + 1
 agreed/ rc has lost his mind. you really cant compare the progression of mtb to skis. for one global warming supposedly cut in and candid thovax is still kicking it.. hmm is al gore the front of global whining propaganda.. anyways rc needs to man up and ride a dh bike properly if he cant understand why dh is still progressing... this original article is trash.
  • + 10
 Alot of these bike parks are being dumbed-down to the likes of bumper bowling. Filling in gaps, gaper down ramps on drops. Etc. If anything it needs to get rowdy again.
  • + 2
 that's right. bring it back to old school riding.
  • + 3
 I blame A-Line, especially the original version. Videos of MTBers becoming jumping and cornering gods on safe tables and huge berms made every MTBer around the world froth at the mouth. When I raced DH BITD there were no bermed corners. If there was a gap jump, it was a double. DH tracks were made with a saw to clear branches and a rake to clear the leaf litter. And that was it.
  • + 1
 Exactly. It is precisely why people think enduro bikes are as capable as downhill bikes, the reality is they aren't riding them on downhill tracks.
  • + 12
 Pink bike you fucked up on this one
  • + 10
 Two completely different sports.
Two completely different set of consequences.

Next up: Why isn't ice hockey more like soccer?
  • + 2
 "Next up: Why isn't ice hockey more like soccer?"

First thing I though of was this sort of behaviour from soccer players:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3HebsWpZ1Q
  • + 13
 more Hardlines
  • + 2
 This
  • + 10
 Yet another terrible article by RC Please stop printing his drivel pinkbike..
  • + 7
 Does anyone else think RC just got some strong weed and had some kind of vision and then wrote this? This article had so many garbage points. It wasn’t even stuff that was a well founded opinion. More like some drunk guy rambling about conspiracy theory’s that is entertaining to listen to just to see how crazy he is.
  • + 10
 Richard's to be expected regular pedantic drivel post does not disappoint. Commence the outrage.
  • + 6
 I think one of the biggest problems with DH is actually the addiction to the ski industry and it's resorts... yes it works well for ski resort to invest the money to keep things going year round in the accounting department and some have turned it into an art form. But most resorts don't care about DH, we're just filler until they can get back to business which means we don't get the best lines on the hill, have to deal with clear cut ski runs (you can only do so much to make riding down an open field interesting) and miss out on some terrain that while subpar for skiing could be killer for DH riders. I like that we're starting to see more and more year round mtb parks where the sport can grow and progress like bike park Wales. But I would love to see some actual professional level investment and infrastructure put into to a well located DH resort and see the kind of attention and pull it could derive. Some place like the front range just outside Denver where there isn't hardly any snow for skiing but you could build a killer bike park cut through forests and rocks fields 30 minutes from downtown. With a massive population at your door step and already extremely healthy local mtb community something like that with a real lift system could easily become the center of a whole new level of progression in the sport.
  • + 1
 Good point. Perhaps the ski resorts could build MTB trails with the goal of also using that line for skiiing, like a semi-tree run line.
  • + 3
 @iamamodel: have you skied bike lines on snow? They're flat! Likewise ski lines are too steep to ride on a bike in the summer.
#rollingresistance
  • + 1
 @rookie100: I haven't. Oh well. Thanks for the info.
  • + 6
 Maybe if UCI wasn't in the way, the riders and teams, sponsors and smaller host areas would have more room for imagination. Courses could get gnarlier, different stuff could get added in, subsequently, bikes would adapt accordingly. But right now, the regulations, the costs and the accompanying limitation and lack of new courses (ahem, looking at you Leogang), keeps it at such a point where bikes and things DON'T need to evolve because they are performing already.
  • + 8
 A little of an apples and pears comparison. Bicycles require so many different parts, compared to 2 sticks, that its another technology altogether.
  • + 3
 Exactly. That's exactly what RC is saying. What if the downhill bike had been created in it's own vacuum away from other bicycle technology. It probably wouldn't even be a bicycle. We can toss out the drivetrain point since we're talking about downhill aspects of both sports, but skis/snowboards don't need suspension or brakes because they were originally designed to compensate for the lack of that technology. They are, as RC points out, a much truer extension of the athlete than any bicycle. Ankles/knees/hips are your suspension and you've gotta figure out how to turn those edges into brakes. What if a downhill bike wasn't a bike at all, would DH MTB be further "progressed" than it is now? Guess it wouldn't be called DH Mountain Biking then, which sort of makes this whole conversation a wash anyways.
  • + 1
 @jcrrr13: Is Norbs going to have to fight against the overrun of rollerblading at Whistler again?
  • + 6
 Richard, I respect your many contributions to the sport, but this article just seems like click-bait. First off, the comparison: skiing evolved in a vacuum? No, if you think about how skiing has changed from the 80s (downhill, ski-dancing, freestyle, long thin skis, moguls as the marker for cool), you'd realize that skiing hasn't been in a vacuum for the last 40 years: snowboarding showed up and re-defined how you ride a mountain from 1990 forward. Skiers have responded in kind, and the "cool" skier of today looks much more like a skateboarder or snowboarder in terms of how they ride a mountain. Candide Thouveux's creativity comes way more from Jake Burton than it does from Alberto Tomba. So...skiing, vacuum: no.

As to whether downhill mountainbiking could have grown-up differently or if it could look way different had it not evolved from cross-country. Absolutely, yes. It's taken 25 years to evolve these bikes away from rigid hard-tails, and now the evolution is working backwards: roadies and cross riders are finally adopting disc brakes, carbon frames (of all styles) have greatly benefitted from DH companies adopting the material and pushing it to its limits.

I think your most valid point is about that IF downhill had come up outside of traditional cycling, perhaps frame designs and suspension systems really would be a lot different. Probably. Maybe you should put your engineering hat back on and see what you can come up with?
  • + 8
 Dumb article, basis is lame, went nowhere. You should start writing news for Yahoo.
  • + 5
 So Salty and Crusty. There was a time when I enjoyed Richard's rambling bumbling style in MBA, Why! This is just awful, it is like one new low after another RC. I think RC might be looking into putting out a line of big wheeled geriatric balance bikes for the Rounded Lip Box Jump Slope-ish No Style League. Isn't that what everyone really want DH to be?
  • + 5
 Worst thing I've read on pinkbike. These are two completely diffrerent things. The only things they have in common is the mountain and the speed. I love both sports, but c'mon, it's NOT the same thing. Next article : Difference between jogging and bobsleigh ?

The reason why DH is going down right now is because the tracks are getting wider, easier, more bike park. It's cool to do a run or two on these kind of trails but where are the good old trails, sketchy, technical, scary even at low pace ? People are getting into Enduro because it's the old DH we knew PLUS you need to be even more in shape. Enduro is the real reason why DH is going down. DH Riders don't want to ride in slopestyle tracks so they get into enduro. DH is still there, it just changed it's name !
  • + 8
 skiing died in the 90's, and exists today thanks to the energy of snowboarding
  • + 3
 So did it die, or does it exist? Last Friday, the ski to board ratio where I was seemed to be about 20:1.
Board shapes crossed over. Cool, now people don't need a snowboard to enjoy powder. Is there a problem?
  • + 9
 I do wish RC had somewhere else to go.
  • + 5
 this next from @RichardCunningham with DYIairplaneACTION "Do homemade airplanes have anywhere else to go." Airplanes - They aren't submarines are they now?
  • + 5
 Isn’t putting some requirement for the sport of mountain biking to “progress” just copying all of these other sports blind tumble down the mountain of progression at all cost?

I have skied and raced DH MTB since the early 90's and have seen the sports “progress” Certainly they have progressed if you are judging progression by having ski/bike porn films made every year that blow minds and sell new skis. I have also seen just about every famous pioneer of free skiing die in the last 20 years. Not to mention the endless numbers of amateur skiers who die every year trying to be like them.

Is that what we “need” to have for you to feel MTB has progressed? Are we only going to be happy when our few hero’s are lucky to last a decade “pushing” the sport? Will we only be progressing when Gwin, Semenuk, Zink and MacAskill are dead chasing the limits for our entertainment and to make people feel the need to buy a $10K bike every year? I would rather be talking with these guys 20 years from now about the glory days then eulogizing riders like them every year, like we do in skiing.

Arne Backstrom, John Brenan, Sarah Burke, Doug Coombs, Fredrik Ericsson, Allison Kreutzen, Kip Garre, Jim Jack, Aaron Karitis, Magnus Kastengren, Shane McConkey, Chris Onufer, Jamie Pierre, Steve Romeo, Chris Rudolph, Tony Seibert, Andreas Fransson, JP Auclair...
I just get tired and sad of listing the ski hero's we have lost.

Mountain biking does have it's own roots Richard and you know them. It was the freedom and camaraderie of people coming together through a sport they loved. Sometimes competing, sometimes showing off to one another, but it was original mountain bikers disdain for the the artificial commercialism of other sports. People rode MTB because they loved MTB not to think that they are somehow changing the world risking their lives. Us old timers know that history and remember the sport slowly becoming less of a family of outcasts wanting to be different into a sport following many of the same traps as other sports and this desire to progress at all costs is just another idea stolen from other sports.

Pushing the sport until our hero’s are dying is not progression. If that is the only way to get more riders or sell more overpriced bikes forget it! Mountain biking being a beautiful sport is not dictated by sales numbers or bike porn video segments it should be gauged by peoples love of the sport. I love to ride, my friends love to ride I don't need to feel some forced pressure to risk my life to call myself a mountain biker.

I enjoy being able to run into my heroes from the 90's and talk with them about riding, they still all love to ride. Hans Rey, John Tomac, Myles Rockwell, Missy Giove, Brian Lopes etc I didn't feel like the sport was not progressing back then because these guys weren’t dying. Richard, do you remember how we felt when “earthquake” Jake Watson died? Is the sport only still “cool” when things like that become so commonplace that we get used to it, like skiing?

If you can't get inspired by the sport of mountain biking anymore and it's pace of progression, perhaps that tells you more about yourself rather than the sport. I happen to still have my mind blown watching Gwin, Semenuk, Zink and MacAskill do their magic and would like to continue to watch them for years to come until they are old mentors and ambassadors for the sport.
  • + 4
 Skiing would be laaaaaaaaame if it wasn't for snowboard tech and influence.
Like seriously, imagine they were still riding long straight sticks with no sidecut. No halfpipe, no slopestyle, no grabs. Onsies!
Downhill borrowed a lot from BMX and moto and has gone on to give a lot of tech to other sports. Road bikes have disc brakes, through axles and tubeless tyres now!
Cross pollination is good.
Downhill racing is exciting to watch because of the doom factor.
Jumps have been getting bigger and the edits more impressive.
Freeride has evolved from big drops with janky style to Semenuk smoothness.
I see no stagnation or identity crisis!
Just need to sort out some of those World Cup venues....
#bringbackschladming!
  • + 9
 What a retarded article.
  • + 4
 Successfully provocative and divisive click-bait article designed to keep you here and provoke you to post your opinion, thus influencing you to return to the article repetitively to check if others have validated your opinion by clicking a button. Thus feeding the very marketing monster which we all love to hate. Welcome to the machine.
  • + 7
 RC promotes for Patagonia, the very Company that’s against Mt. Biking access!
  • + 5
 WOW.. Mr cunningham what say you?
  • + 4
 This is divide and conquer bullshit.
None of the sports mentioned are less risky, edgu or enjoyable than the other.
Its pretty lazy to ask why dh bikes borrow from motox. I mean why would getting down a mountain on wheels be anything like riding other machinery at speed over rough terrain?
This article is ascii for the sake of it.
  • + 2
 If you look at it that way, this piece of crap it's just a beach head to accept ebikes at UCI DH events.
  • + 4
 Isn’t putting some requirement for the sport of mountain biking to “progress” just copying all of these other sports blind tumble down the mountain of progression at all cost?

I have skied and raced DH MTB since the early 90's and have seen the sports “progress” Certainly they have progressed if you are judging progression by having ski/bike porn films made every year that blow minds and sell new skis. I have also seen just about every famous pioneer of free skiing die in the last 20 years. Not to mention the endless numbers of amateur skiers who die every year trying to be like them.

Is that what we “need” to have for you to feel MTB has progressed? Are we only going to be happy when our few hero’s are lucky to last a decade “pushing” the sport? Will we only be progressing when Gwin, Semenuk, Zink and MacAskill are dead chasing the limits for our entertainment and to make people feel the need to buy a $10K bike every year? I would rather be talking with these guys 20 years from now about the glory days then eulogizing riders like them every year, like we do in skiing.

Arne Backstrom, John Brenan, Sarah Burke, Doug Coombs, Fredrik Ericsson, Allison Kreutzen, Kip Garre, Jim Jack, Aaron Karitis, Magnus Kastengren, Shane McConkey, Chris Onufer, Jamie Pierre, Steve Romeo, Chris Rudolph, Tony Seibert, Andreas Fransson, JP Auclair...
I just get tired and sad of listing the ski hero's we have lost.

Mountain biking does have it's own roots Richard and you know them. It was the freedom and camaraderie of people coming together through a sport they loved. Sometimes competing, sometimes showing off to one another, but it was original mountain bikers disdain for the the artificial commercialism of other sports. People rode MTB because they loved MTB not to think that they are somehow changing the world risking their lives. Us old timers know that history and remember the sport slowly becoming less of a family of outcasts wanting to be different into a sport following many of the same traps as other sports and this desire to progress at all costs is just another idea stolen from other sports.

Pushing the sport until our hero’s are dying is not progression. If that is the only way to get more riders or sell more overpriced bikes forget it! Mountain biking being a beautiful sport is not dictated by sales numbers or bike porn video segments it should be gauged by peoples love of the sport. I love to ride, my friends love to ride I don't need to feel some forced pressure to risk my life to call myself a mountain biker.

I enjoy being able to run into my heroes from the 90's and talk with them about riding, they still all love to ride. Hans Rey, John Tomac, Myles Rockwell, Missy Giove, Brian Lopes etc I didn't feel like the sport was not progressing back then because these guys weren’t dying. Richard, do you remember how we felt when “earthquake” Jake Watson died? Is the sport only still “cool” when things like that become so commonplace that we get used to it, like skiing?

If you can't get inspired by the sport of mountain biking anymore and it's pace of progression, perhaps that tells you more about yourself rather than the sport. I happen to still have my mind blown watching Gwin, Semenuk, Zink and MacAskill do their magic and would like to continue to watch them for years to come until they are old mentors and ambassadors for the sport.
  • + 4
 I don’t think any of us would like it if DH was something completely different. It wouldn’t be biking. We love biking because of its diversity. You can get a good mid travel enduro bike and go do dirt jumps, park, Cross-Country, DH, freeride and even trials( like Fabio Wibmer and Danny Macaskill). We love biking because of the different things we can do with our bikes. So I don’t think changing DH to be completely different would help the sport.
  • + 4
 To say that mountain bikes are limited in development by related sports but that skiing is not is ridiculous. What about nordic skis, slalom skis, waterskis, ski-blades, snowboards, splitboards, tele-skis, monoskis, all of those? It is clear that RC knows nothing about skiing. Also, this article was very hard to follow, and I'm not sure I understand the point he was after at all.
  • + 7
 I dunno, I think the UCI and venues are holding back progression potentially more than the sport itself.
  • + 8
 This article is stupid
  • + 3
 Why does everything have to go to this ridiculous end to make people happy. Rampage isn't big enough. It's too groomed. Blah blah blah. People aren't happy until people start dying. It's ridiculous. DH doesn't really need to go anywhere. It'll continue to advance as athletes get better and technology improves. What we need is more events in North America. Less crappy courses like worlds. Events like that will kill downhill. It was a joke. The rest of the year was pretty damned good.
  • + 3
 As a kiddo growing up skiing and mountain biking my old man would tell me “if you’re not falling you not trying hard enough” I ride because I love the feeling of pushing my limits, if I fall hard I get up and try again, once I stick a landing it’s the best feeling in the world. No matter what you are into or how old you are or big you go, it’s the feeling of achieving what you never thought you could do that drives the evolution of the sport and ourselves.
  • + 3
 I'm not a great skier. I learned as a little kid but switched to snowboarding as a teen and then didn't do either for years once I had to buy my own lift passes. Then two days ago I went skiing in great powdery (for the northeast) conditions. My buddy and I took to a forested hillside and even found the summertime single track the bike park uses.
It was like hell. I know that better skiers could have had more fun, but Kennedy and Bono hit trees and died on skis and I am not a great skier.
Skis can make any open slope feel like a perfectly sculpted trail, and every carve can feel like railing a berm like a pro it is true, but when it comes to chasing single track through the woods and picking lines through rock gardens I'll take wheels.

That being said, if someone wants to design a bike specifically for carving down a slope I'll give it a go.
  • + 1
 Singletrack on skis is virtually brakeless, it can be totally insane
  • + 3
 One thing i love about downhill racing compared to other racing is that there is a good amount of innovation and technical things you can actually understand and maybe experience yourself. When you compare it to skiing there is a lot more technology in downhill bikes when you compare it to the formula 1 the technology is way better explained.
  • + 2
 Yep, making skis is more like sculpture, chemistry and advanced carpentry. Not really tech tech.
  • + 7
 Go home Richard Cunningham, you are drunk.
  • + 2
 He probably already is home, and just shouldn't type this crap
  • + 3
 May I point out: The reason that skiing has more flow might, just might, be because with smooth groomed powder, no brakes, etc. it's designed for flow. Mountain biking is a whole other beast, with rocks and roots and general nastiness. DH WC tracks are NOT the flow trails at the local park... smooth, machined, and devoid of any kind of obstacles.
  • + 3
 Judging the sport from a spectators perspective is problematic anyways. The progression is happening regardless if you watch it on a screen. The groms see whats going on now at the elite level and have it dialled with style way sooner than the older generation. It's a natural progression that can't be stoped. Nice trolling Richard.
  • + 7
 I don't really get the point of this article
  • + 4
 For you to click on it and RC make $. But hopefully you'll get into a useless long-term debate with somebody and he'll multiply his earnings.
  • + 3
 Sorry bud, but DH MTB and DH skiing do NOT 'share the same lines'. Apparently you haven't seen much DH skiing, cuz if you had, you'd realize that your average DH ski track is FLAT. Because of their extreme speed, they get air over dips that your skis would never leave the ground on at 'mortal' speeds.
DH MTB however runs on/over terrain that in a lot of cases, you can't even walk down with out something to hold onto., crazy-large rock gardens, holes, ruts, jumps/hits of every size/dimension/shape, and the condition of the ground on which this stuff is on, can change over the course of minutes from hard pack, to slimy ice'like mud. And where a DH bike gets air, unlike skiing, if you were to hit one of the obstacles at a slower speed(which would simply have you sticking to the ground on a DH ski run), on a DH WC course, you'd eat shit.....MASSIVELY, as WC DH jumps are NOT made to be rolled
If you want to have something to compare it to, try MX/SX, Trials, or Enduro(the motorcycle variety). The vehicles are a lot more similar than a DH bike vs/ skis, and the terrain is a lot more similar too.
  • + 2
 I think putting more races in the calendar (new places never ridden before... countries... continents) will open more doors for our sport, but.... real tracks, nothing artificial.... remember Sam Hill... we need more media deffinelly, Redbull do a lot but we need more channel sharing.... live. About the bikes deffinelly I think they evolutes a little bit to fast, now after the 29rs maybe monster T will back who knows.... Just my opinion dont take it to serious... Wink
  • + 2
 Trail bikes have been the focus because that's what sells the most. They really haven't evolved that much since 2012 or so. The Stump Evo 29 had similar geometry as the new bikes, except for maybe the seat tube angle. The Specialized SX Trail and Enduros from 2006 had 66 or so head tube angles with a Fox 36. Really it's weight that has decreased and bullshit standards that have increased. DH bikes have changed just the same in weight and being more slack. Also DH has not often fell for bullshit standards. The DH crowd doesn't fall for it. DH is the more purist side of mountain biking really. The changes have to actually help, not just rape the consumer.
  • + 1
 Bingo
  • + 2
 I enjoy watching DH whether it's evolving at a crawl or not. What I'd like is to see the broadcasting of DH evolve a bit quicker. I want better perspectives, follows, and the broadcast in general. I don't want GoPro POV's piped on to the TV, but give me more than "here's a camera at zone 1, now zone 3, now zone 4, now zone 6... and done". Figure that out. Skiing/Snowboarding figured it out with follow cams in the x-games (probably not going to work for DH). Showing DH to non-enthuisists, they are like "wait, what's going on? is that the same guy? how fast is he going? I could do that. That's terrifying."

Make broadcasting better, let the riders ride.
  • + 2
 dude you are dreaming!!!!! in the next 10yrs dh bikes will have abs front brakes and electronic suspensions. ski's are basic and dont have half the moving parts of a dh bike so of course ski's can advance faster when all you have to do is tweek the shape and sides. also skiing has not come that far. went from wood ski's to fiberglass BIG DEAL!!! mtn bikes have gone from steel, titanium, carbon and aluminum. and thats just the frames!!! also what about when racers loose brakes and chains and still finish the race. let a skier loose a pole while racing. compare a world cup GROOMED ski course to a rough rugged possibly pouring rain world cup dh course. skiing groomed courses is for pusses sorry. if it aint backcountry powder or heli boarding then it aint no skill. #SNOWBOARDFORLIFE
  • + 2
 I don't see why relating to moto and bmx influences is a wrong thing, the mountain bike is the perfect tool that mixes in with both genres. The best thing that mountain biking has to offer is the diversity of different disciplines that the sport has grown into. Lets just name a few: dh, enduro/trail, slopestyle, speed and style, xc, four cross, pump track, dirt jumping, park, street and trials to name a few. That's the beauty of mountain biking is that there's such a variety of types of terrain to ride, you can't say that about skiing. I mean you have a mountain with snow that you need to descend down that basically all there is to it, without that mountain your not skiing its that simple. All I am saying is that the purpose of the mountain bike is to ride every type of terrain that this beautiful planet has to offer and the mountain bike is the perfect tool that can do it all! Of course dipping into other sports like bmx and moto is a natural thing for mountain biking because they all are two wheeled machines! Mountain biking will still constantly progress its technology and capability of what a pedal bike can handle through some of the most retardedly, epic lines that we have yet to see in the coming future. For me I feel like skiing has already seen its peak, as for mountain biking there's still so much to look forward to in the future I can't wait to see where this amazing sport has to offer!
  • + 3
 To be honest skiing technology isn't that flash. Manufacturers change the sidecut, width and rocker a bit, put new graphics and call it innovation. Boots are pretty much the same as 20 years ago.
  • + 2
 Downhill has tons of room to grow and progress on so many levels:

1. Exposure: There are so many people out there that still have no clue what downhill mountain biking is. Even Pinkbike doesn't air full DH runs on some tracks, and I don't even know of a single TV station even broadcasts any DH. Compare this to E-Sports. Think about this, ESPN has more coverage of competitive video games than downhill mountain biking!

2. Accessibility: Access to trails, rider classes and group rides can still improve. The entry point of downhill mountain biking needs to be lowered. New bikes, helmets, pads, etc. are still way too expensive for most people. Even trying to find a person or vehicle to shuttle you and your DH bike to the trail can be a chore. Also, if you're a kid who can't drive and doesn't live by a mountain, you are at the mercy of your parent/ sibling/ friend or whoever has time to take you.

3. Technology: New materials and manufacturing techniques will make bikes in the future lighter, stronger, more efficient, and more reliable. I'm still waiting for that mythical gearbox mountain bike that weighs only 10 lbs, with on-the-fly adjustable suspension, silent brakes that NEVER squeal, and dropper post that works 100% of the time

Long and short, DH still has plenty of room to grow and still has lots of untapped potential. Also, obligatory "Freeride ain't dead"
  • + 6
 Not to be dry but who says it has to go anywhere... Mic dropWink
  • + 2
 Cover the mountain in fluffy 2-4m deep powder then see how fast the Rampage/DHWC riders shred.

There are only a a few salient points in this article imo.....the main one being addressed by the very first reply.

I think the content machine at PB might be running low on caffeine/skittles...?
  • + 2
 In the August 1995 issue of MBA, @richardcunningham poses the dilemma "Why have mountain bicycles changed so drastically in one decade? Why have road bikes remained the same for 100 years?" The answer then was something like "Road racers lack vision greater than an individual's athletic prowess." Downhill bikes are designed in the context of racing and are no longer free to be "springboards into the unknown."
  • + 2
 I think this is the first time I've ever commented on a Pinkbike article - and it looks like a lot of folks agree with what I'm about to say. This was absolute nonsense - clearly written by someone who has very little experience in DH bike racing or skiing. The comparisons drawn are so flawed, I don't even know where to begin... February must be a really slow month for rational, bike related op-eds!
  • + 2
 I understand what he says about the anxiety and anticipation of failure ruins/dampens the experience for him, but that's part of what I think makes downhill and free ride so much better. These riders are taking themselves to the absolute limit, and so when they succeed, its so much a sweeter victory. That's what makes it so much more impressive on one side to me.
  • + 5
 wtf? Only crisis i see is @RichardCunningham still being allowed to write articles... seriously
  • + 6
 Downhill as only one way to go. It's downhill
  • + 2
 Provocative article, but I am not sure I agree with all the assertions. Addressing the conversation above, skiing and mountain biking are my two favorite sports. Skiing is easier by this metric; I'll ski anything in bounds, but some of the black runs in the bike parks give me pause Smile .
  • + 5
 I usually enjoy articles by RC, but that one was terrible. I think he's taking full advantage of the new laws in CA.
  • + 2
 Reading these comments, this culture has its head so far up its own ass its not even funny. This article is nothing more than engagement clicks/click bait - stirring the pot. Downhill isn't going anywhere. Crashing hurts no matter what sport youre doing. Push the limits, get sideways, 26 aint dead, long live chainsaw, send it, dropper posts are stupid and carbon can kiss my ass.
  • + 5
 The main progression I'm looking for in our sport is that certain journalists involved with it will stop talking shyte.
  • + 2
 At the risk of dipping my little toe into the piranha infested waters of the Pinkbike river I do agree with RC in regard to the lack of development with DH bikes. Why limit travel to 200 or 220mm? Why not 300mm?? Why use 2.4 inch Maxis Minions when you could be using 3.5inch tyres??? The Trek Session has a rear wheel path that moves upward and forward during compression. That's in exactly the the opposite direction that you want it to go and compromises the seat tube angle. Zerode's DH bikes have shown us that rearward wheel paths are far more efficient. How about 300mm rotors why we are at it??? Has anyone ever ridden a 250mm 29er trail bike?? Why not?? Imagine how much fun that would be. Improved pedal kinematics indicate that anti-squat can be managed independently of the amount of travel on a particular frame. So why shouldn't we have access to 300mm travel trail bikes? The whole industry is just so incremental in terms of advancements. How many companies don't have a 130mm 29er Horst Link bike on the market?
  • + 1
 Easy there bud...
  • + 1
 interesting and pertinent to the article, thumbs up!
  • + 6
 Pretty much all that's been done before. There were 3" tires, the V10 had 10" of travel, etc. They reeled that stuff in because the tires were too wide and didn't corner well, too heavy, rode like shit. More travel didn't make it better, just got hung up on more things, etc. It's pretty well just refinements now. If anything, just about everything has been tried before on DH bikes. There was even a 12" travel bike out there at one time. DH is the F1 of biking, it's all about refining.
  • + 4
 @dualsuspensiondave:
Correct.
All those things have been done and have been dropped because of their physical limitations.
Even when not considering weight, wide tires on a bike do have their disadvantages, for example in deeper mud where they tend to swim and not grab.
long travel is hindered by the fact that it has to be within the limits of the bikes geometry. You can´t have low bottom brackets and ultra long travel. It turns out a low BB is much more relevant to good ride characteristics, so ultra long travel got tossed aside.
300mm rotors have been done. Aside from some freaks of nature and morbidly obese people, they are simply not needed in most cases and have been dropped due to our collective concern about weight. They could however be brought back and be relevant in some niche cases, i´ll give you that.
Regarding wheelpath. The verdict on whether it is really more efficient is still out. It´s not like there is any real scientific data out there on the subject regarding specifically bicycles. From personal experience i can say that the advantage is nowhere near as pronounced as some try to make it seem. There is however a distinct difference in handling due to that fact that the chainstays do extend under compression which feels weird to a lot of people. So this one really comes down to personal preference more than what is objectively better.
In conclusion, while i hate the industry and their unnecessary forced incremental improvements with a passion, i must say that there really is a plateau for bikes that we have reached. There´s only so much you can do to a pedal bike without making it into something entirely different and that makes that whole argument about "vacuum development" pretty much redundant.
  • + 2
 As someone whose experienced snow once his whole life, I think this is a pointless, retarded 1st world bitching comparison. Ask Canidide Thovex if he'll happily hit the Andorran DH WC or if Beat Feuz would do Rampage? And your ski buddies aren't posting MTB videos, 'cause they're 'skiers', I don't post ski videos to my MTB groups, 'cause it's f*cking irrelevant.
  • + 2
 @Richard Cunningham

"To be fair, skiing as a recreational sport has been evolving since 1850, alpine skiing since the 1920s. Mountain biking, by contrast, has only been evolving since the late 1970s, and downhill bikes were not readily available until the mid ‘90s, which suggests that we have a ways to go before we reach our full potential".

Skiing may be progressing for far longer than mountain biking but back in the 1920 there were no social media. What I mean is that the actual timeline might be smaller for the case of mountain biking but with social media spreading around the net new lines and techniques and innovation and big balls, the spread of ideas, pushing the limits, and the knowhow created in this much smaller time frame could be equally weighted to the progress made in skiing from 1920's until 1990's.
  • + 2
 People couldn't bitch enough about 29ers coming into DH, and RC is calling for a radical evolution of a DH bike? Can you imagine the uproar if it had no drivetrain and no seat?! Maybe the glacial pace of bike configuration is partly due to the manufacturers making these infinitesimally incremental steps (DUB cranks, Boost spacing) instead of coming up with something truly new and innovative.
  • + 2
 Its pretty simple really and if you're not a skier and a mountain biker, which you admit to it seems, you wouldn't understand. You can rag doll for 500 vertical feet after f*cking up on a gnarly ski line all while walking away... Im not saying everyone does and I'm not saying it doesn't hurt. What I am saying is it's hard to imagine someone rag dolling 1/10th of that distance after crashing on a bike without getting f*cked up. People die doing both, and my argument totally ignores avalanche risk but still its different when you fall on skis than when you fall on a bike.
  • + 2
 I guess you miss Kamikaze,RC?
Downhill always had a identity problem. Early 90's was a bit BMX ,mid 90's to 2000's was a lot of MX...but I think it has found it's identity,even if it's not what some people want. It's still bicycles. It always be just bicycles going down hills. Maybe with robots riding them at some point in the future.
  • + 2
 Check out the gut on that DH skiier Beat Feuz (in the start hut and at the end). You would never get a fat lad winning a DHMTB worldcup these days. The sports can't really be compared. Both are of high consequence but you slide on snow/ice and rockgardens tear you to shreds.
  • + 3
 Enduro and Flow Trails fucked MT.Biking! Enduro made everything expensive, flow trails made riding boring! Most of the local raw trails are now groomed and the skinnies have all been removed!
  • + 2
 Who cares? We're a subculture that need not compare ourselves to skiing, skateboarding, snowboarding or whatever. When I go to ride I meet more people and make more friends than any surf trip I've been on, snow trips or whatever. It's a hardcore sport that draws a tough crowd with one thing in common and that binds us together.
i'm going to throw it out there..... we're better than them.
  • + 1
 The average skier does not ride the same kind of lines DH bikers ride. Tight woods runs with tons of rock are the norm here out east whereas smooth roller wide as hell runs are where most skiers gravitate. I ride stuff on my mtn bike i wouldn’t touch on my snowboard. Snowboards are simple and rely so heavily on rider input and there is very little safety net. No huge suspension to suck up mistakes or braking while maintaining a line. Even with woods skiing you have to plan way ahead and be super aware. It’s the same with bikes to a degree but there’s way more tech on my bike. Completely different sport and it’s not meant to be perfect or a spectacular to watch in most cases. It’s just good and dirty fun. Hell what is “evolution” in the world of bikes making it so easy to ride that it takes less skill. Were in a good place right now and my bike feels dialed.
  • + 1
 The 'identity crisis' notion is spot on. A major cautionary tale is the bmx industry... tied to skateboarding at the hip, but tied for too long as "skateboarding's lil brother" and ultimately bmx suffocated from lack of differentiation/identity. Skateboarding and bmx riding may seem obviously different to us here, but the style and attitude and dress were almost identical for new riders. They look the same-> Which one's more popular & cheaper?-> Skateboarding-> I'll learn that one-> BMX withers. Though all is well and growing for MTB at the moment, the situation feels eerily similar; MTB's current situation being "motocross' lil brother". Just a cautionary tale, for both riders and brands to ponder.
  • + 2
 I feel like these opinion pieces are meant to be inflammatory and that obviously works and I appreciate the dialogue that many of them bring, but this one does not seem to have a direction that I can decipher.
  • + 4
 I'm thinking a 2mm longer axle size is the evolution that downhill bikes need for this year.
  • + 1
 Downhill Mountain Biking is at risk on the east coast. Maxxis pulled out this year from being a major sponsor and left the east coast series hanging. Maxxis has been great but it is apparent that we relied solely on them to support our racing. US cycling does not even list very many sanctioned events for downhill these days. Seems the events that are taking place on the east coast are small groups with little to no sponsors. Pinkbike Help!
  • + 1
 the real question should be: "how does RC sit down with balls that big to post this on PB?" well done @richardcunningham indeed “taking it to the next level will not be easy”: if anyone could actually pull this opinion off it would be you. of course everyone knew that when they got to the comment section it would be nothing but a "wtf was he thinking?" shit-storm, but to me that is missing the point of the article. I think the point of your opinion piece basically comes down to an important design theme: “thinking outside the box”. I'm not as savvy of a bike builder as you to even envision what the bike or the track would look like in your vision, but for a split second I had a vision that it would be somewhat comparable to a metaphor of not trying to use bigger and bigger rockets to get to mars, but to completely re-design the notion of a rocket, (somewhere along the lines of multidimensional space travel vs using bigger gas tanks). This is an interesting article, I wish more people had genuine innovative ideas that were relevant, instead of the typical banter and hate. Thanks for your big balls.
  • + 1
 Why didn't he write this about XC? Where does XC mountain biking go from here? He is known for writing drivel that is anti-DH. It's disturbing at a minimum.
  • + 3
 Don't choke with those big balls in your mouth
  • + 1
 @weebleswobbles: don't worry we won't sit down
  • + 1
 wow, haven't disagreed more with an opinion of an article on pinkbike... was not so much an enjoyable read either. 1st, the consequences of a crash on a DH bike are not comparable to the ones on skis at all. 2nd, imo skiing hasn't evolved in a vacuum, at least not for the past 15-20 years where it has progressed so much more than before. once snowboarding came up, skiing adjusted their equipment to be able to carve like snowboarders do. same goes with the freestyle skis for park, and the wide ass powder rocker skis. imo these different style evolutions only came, because skiers wanted to be more like boarders respectively wanted to be able to do similar stuff like boarders did...
  • + 5
 This article is complete crapola! Long winter up there boys?
  • + 3
 To be honest, who really gives a rat's ass if the sport reaches a pinnacle in progression. Just get out and riding your f*cking bike :0
  • + 1
 I have 2 thoughts on this.
!. for true progression of the sport some of the rules need to be relaxed...example...for a bike to be raced in world cup DH it has to be available to the public within a year of it first being raced...(or something like that). So the bikes can never truely progress as rapidly or wildly as we would like. Never again could we have something like the Honda RN01s that come in and wow us and open other manufacturers eyes to something truely revolutionary and mild altering.

and 2...this one is gonna get me hated on but the DH tracks are being dumbed down. Its all about speed these days. Bring back the gnar of old like the truely awesome tracks like Champery and Schladming. Back when tracks REALLY tested the skill of the riders, finding sneaky lines no one else has seen and really pushing yourself Sam Hill said the same thing in a recent interview...hell its one of the reasons he left DH and went to Enduro.

Just my 2c anyway.
  • + 1
 Very interesting read but i don't think you can compare them so directly, saying that a DH bike could be radically different to a enduro or XC bike seems odd other than the fact DH probably doesn't need a seat, cross country ski and big mountain are still very similar, the skis still basically look the same just tweaked to suit the purpose (just like different bikes) i'd also say that if a DH did evolve into a totally different beast it would be because its faster on a race course and if a certain design was faster then id guess enduro and trail bikes would also follow that route (just tweaked to still go uphill) so the bikes would still be very similar, maybe we could move further away from the road and moto routes though.
  • + 4
 This is just click bait. An opinion for the sake of having one. The two sports are poles apart. Incomparable even.
  • + 2
 Poles apart? I see what you did there.
  • + 1
 you start talking about freeride skiing and MTB, then ends by downhill.....topic is Does Downhill Have Nowhere Else to Go? well downhill bikes are still getting better and better and there is not such a big move in skiing dept at first, at second, I don´t know about any MUST WATCH video from downhill skiing, but I do in MTB DH
  • + 1
 This is one of the dumbest f*ckin articles I’ve ever read. Thinking back to RC’s time at MBA I’m not surprised by his ridiculous take on things. What’s worse though is the he said she said I’m better than you commenters on here. I thrive on conflict and derision and I’m good at it but this is leaving me feeling perhaps a little long in the tooth so to to speak.
  • + 1
 You've got it sdrawkcab - cross country mountain bikes evolved from downhill bikes. Remember the history of the Repack Races and Joe Breeze's first downhill-specific bikes. "Modern" geometry bikes still mimic that original technological marvel, they just have full suspension and brakes that work.

As for the future, the bikes are near their techo-limits. What will make us go faster are the major improvements in safety gear that are about to make us look like comic book superheros and keep our fragile endoskeleton intact.
  • + 1
 @fernrob no offense dude but you got it all wrong...you can compare the progression between MX and DH but putting skies in the mix is just so wrong...you know SNOW and DIRT are kinda different....and i did skies a lot before getting in to DH...i received training from top national trainers...snow is hard yes, but you kinda can walk of a high speed crash if you don't slide in to a tree or a fence or whatever....on dirt you take the hits a lot harder i've crashed on both at high speeds.My personal opinion is that DH needs TV coverage to get more people involved...then bigger sponsors...more money for R&D..more for the athletes...and BAM...PROGRESSION!
  • + 1
 Downhill progressed a lot during the limited time period it exist as a sport. The reason is that it didn’t started from zero but evolved from other bikes. Also skiing is the sport that is not evolving....!! Downhill bikes have gone through major changes and will undergo even more. This article is totally disconnected from downhill reality.....
  • + 1
 SORRY but... aren’t we going the wrong way round? How could a bicycle ever look like a motorbike in the first place if they didn’t even exist when the first two wheeled, man powered machine was invented?

Actually bicycles inspired someone to put an engine and go faster, further, you name it. It is possible that this relationship has been reciprocal since then but what’s wrong with it?
  • + 1
 I remember mid 90's at southern Cal big bear full every weekend and races every possible spot around LA and almost all bikes stores used to have DH bikes , but if I'm not mistaken after the accident in big bear in one the races, everything went downhill , it took to long to recover now very rare you see DH bikes at the stores it is nice to see a lot young riders at bigbear these days but we need I think some kind of racing body like Fontana days to make it stick and grow again.
  • + 3
 This conversation reminds me of this old joke...

Q: Why are faculty meetings so contentious?

A: Because so little is at stake.
  • + 1
 More bike parks and lift assisted trails will be a solid start. Moving in the right direction, but damn it's slow.

(I'm not even going to mention the bike type that shall not be named, which is currently stealing away important r&d time.)
  • + 1
 Surely you should be comparing the diciplines. Downhill mtb vs downhill skiing, not DH vs everything to happen in skiing. Free ride mtb vs big mountain skiing, slope style vs slope style. I’d say their pretty even all things considered. If the point in DH riding is speed and style, you can’t argue with the progression of downhill
  • + 1
 I know there is a participation difference but DH is quiet clearly much harder and has more consequences in failure then snowsports. Just look at womens comp; you have a whole freeride, slopestyle tour in snowsports whereas in MTB no disrespect to women competitors as I myself can't do any of these things but the wouldn't be able to get down rampage or through a slopestyle course let alone trick them.
  • + 1
 For the progression of downhill racing i really do believe it'll come down to the track difficulty. If tracks are made more challenging and demanding, thats where progression is made. On some WC tracks it seems like they are racing pavement princesses down a bike park and others DH bikes seem well fit for the task. I do believe since our sport is young that coverage and media is important to grow our sport and allow it to develop, but really do believe that if we are to progress, DH needs to be challenged. Once again, that's hopefully where engineers and riders will be forced to evaluate things and develop from that point on.
  • + 1
 The question is. Why change it? I love it just how it is. Got my first dh specific bike back in 96. Before that i rode my hardtails to pieces. Why cant people be happy with how it is. Instead of wanting new new new new all the time. I will ride my dh bikes for as long as my body will lett me. For the area i live in with lots of very rough terrain. A dh bike gives me reliability and confidence i like. I allso have a enduro bike. For most of the trails it is simply not good enough.
  • + 1
 Very good article! we recently reach the summit of the highest volcano in the world (first ascent and descent) the Volcano "Ojos del salado" of 6.893 mts with our bikes!! Few year ago the people never think that that would be possible but it is! and we are now with a new concept that is "bigmountainbike" and is the perfect convination of "hig mountain sport" and the action of MTB. And is getting bigger all the time! Here in Chile we have amazing and huge mountains! is just you need the motivation and vision to go to the next level. now we are planing to go to Mt. Aconcagua (6.962 mts) the higest Mountain in America and never climbed by bike!.
Next level is #bigmountainbike !!
  • + 1
 Damnit, people are soo mean in the comment section..

Tbh I get you and other than the majority of the other commentors I think comparing it to skiing is a great Idea. I also think that the current limits of mountainbiking are much tighter than those in skiing mostly due to the tracks. Building an mountainbike trail is much more effort than just having one Candide Thovex using a whole ski resort the way he interprets it himself. And I am not going to start talking about the crazy spins they do wherever they can or the size of the jumps they are easily floating over. It sometimes seems much purer and simpler than mountainbiking. Just look at the equipment, you named it before.
But it has also been mentioned in the comments that bikers may be a bit more hesitant due to the crazy risks of injuries. I probably do not have to go over this again as everything has been said about that and I certainly can agree with it.

I just would like to mention that mountainbiking is still a beautiful sport. People seem to forget that you think that as well, which you certainly do. And it does not have to be a bad thing that it is a mixture of several sports.. it simply took the best of them all Big Grin
I might contradict with myself if I say that we should not compare things in that way while Ive said before that I liked your comparison. But that is not what I meant. I still think it is a good comparison. But I am of the opinion that we do not have to look at other comparable sports and underprice MTB.
We can simply enjoy it as it is and no matter how fast it is progressing or not it certainly is one of the most fun things out there. You can let go of any worries about the sport.. just ride and even if it was the most stupid end simple thing ever.. if it is as much fun I will never stop doing it for sure.
This certainly is no complex evaluation but I think this is enough, as simple as it is. And it certainly is beautiful in it's simplicity.
@RichardCunningham
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham This sport seems to not progress because the riding has not. Rampage is still the same, the downhill courses are still the same. Companies have made bikes that can now do all of the terrain with ease if guided by the right rider. One event that pushes boundaries it seems is RedBull HardLine. Few riders opt out of the race because of the fear of dying. Its demanding on the equipment and rider, its the next step to the sport, bigger and faster. If the sport does go this direction, equipment will start being innovated to work in this type of event to handle it.
  • + 1
 The argument that technology is holding mountain biking back as a sport is not that good to begin with. To suggest that DH ski technology, which hasn't undergone a significant change in decades - is a premise that supports this argument is remarkable only in the profound laziness its reasoning.
  • + 1
 Well done to create an intense discussion. One aspect I don't see being really developed in these comments are that sounds valid to me it that DH bike (like everything) is not developed in a vacuum. It's obvious for everything but it's important to recognize it because it should help designers to question the solution we use. They are often inherited from legacy and we might get caught in design that are not the most efficient then the sport is being shaped by these limitations and we enter in a vicious cycle. Sometime it's good to reassess the situation. Could we ride different type of terrain with different bike..
Downhill is especially an interesting subject, it's one discipline when pedaling is not the most important function of the bike when bike have always been developed around this primary function. Do we really need all these gears (and could we have tracks designed without the need of pedaling so much). Is light saving that important for DH? What is the function of a seat of dh bike, maybe another shape could be possible (remember the old tioga dh seat). Do we need a seatpost? what;s about a BB droppper? tire pressure control? Ans why do we still have so many flats? It feels better than before but it's far from being perfect..There is still a lot to invent if we accept to challenge the status quo..
  • + 1
 The comments here are a typical example for how out-of-the-box thinking is difficult to grasp for many. Why do most people get lost in the details of RC's opinion? "it's not really the same lines as skiing" "he said dhers dont need a saddle" And who cares what he said in 2006, people can change.

Overall he questions the status quo, and in some ways for good reason. That's never a bad thing. The first step, were his ideas to become real, would be a push for a chainless DH series, and boy wouldn't that be awesome.
  • + 1
 Questioning whether bikes could be different and be used differently if it wasn´t for moto X, because BMX started at the same time as mtb, so it has never limited it, is one thing. Questioning how far you can push it on dirt, vs snow or water is just nonsense stupid!
  • + 1
 I must say that that was my first time watching a Danny MacAskill video. The guy is inhuman... I'm jealous of that skill lol. I was about to cite moments, such as 2:39 or right after 4:10, or 4:50, or all of the times he sat on his rear wheel and hopped some big gap, when I was like "Wait... WHAT did he just do? Oh no he didn't...". Then I realized that virtually the whole video was like that. New big fan. The videos were worth reading through the article.
  • + 1
 RC you are such a god damn hack. Do you think about the shit you write !?

"It’s no surprise then, that trailbikes have evolved to the point where their descending capabilities now rival downhill machines."

- I'm sorry my trail bike is amazing, but once you get on a DH track my DH bike leaves it for dead. Utterly for dead. When did a WC racer last win on a trail bike? Oh wait....

"Take away the berms and downhill bikes can barely make it around a corner at speed."

- What the hell does this have to do with anything? This is literally a function of physics and applies to almost any vehicle with wheels. Isn't that the whole point, that it's meant to be technically challenging!?

I don't understand the comparison to skiing at all. This is like saying "Baseball is in crisis because people play Hockey"



None of these comments are surprising given you've said DH bikes should be limited to DH tracks and that disgusting article you wrote in 2014 basically calling all MTBers to ditch or bail on riders who don't bring spares.
  • + 1
 I am a vet motocrosser and just got into DH a few years back. Motocross evolved from street bikes no different than DH from XC or even a basic bicycle. I don't think you can question or reinvent just let it evolve. As a mxer I have thought downhill could adapt the e-bike tech and then you could theoretically go bigger and faster. I love DH because I love MX. Both badass sports for the brave only. Embrace these sports but let them evolve naturally. No need to second guess anything. Definitely always open to new concepts, some survive some don't. I am intrigued by these new ski bikes. I am a skier too and quite honestly it hurts my body way more than the bikes or motorcycles. Downhill is not dead.
  • + 1
 What if skiing pages have the same article about skiing compared to MTB? Here is posted Candide and his mindblown tricks, they post Semenuk´s newest edits. Revel.co inovates in every edit again and again. Progress in downhill is slower, when you look at Sam Hill at Val di sole 2008, then at Gwin at Val di Sole 2013, there is hardy a difference, if any..for people who are not into these things.
  • + 1
 I think you're forgetting the fact that skiing was an original idea, and whether we like it or not, mountain biking is one of the most modern iterations of the sport of cycling to date- not its own sporting discipline. Of course a downhill bike will resemble a bmx, a road bike, or even a cruiser bike to some extent, because really, we're all part of one big massive sport.
  • + 1
 Honestly who gives a sh*t. I don't ride down hill because it's the fastest evolving discipline of mountain biking. I do it because I enjoy it and have fun. Rather than analyzing the sport and writing an article about it, just ride your f*cking bike.
  • + 1
 I kinda agree that DH is plateau-ing these days and it has a lot to do with tracks and bike parks not really progressing. I think we got too comfortable. The equipment can only progress if it is being challenged. I would love to see more tracks like hardline. Identity crisis, I'm not sure, I think these days we have more a real mtb culture. I have always felt uncomfortable with the influence of other sports. I ride mtb because that what I like not because I can't ride a dirt bike however influence from other sport is also what give new ideas and push the sport further, I'm not sure it's a limitation. Early BH bike had a lot to do with moto, i'm not sure that making dh bike look like a xc bike was a requirement. It kinda feel stable now because the tracks are actually well established!
  • + 1
 Dh needs to get back to the roots of gnarlyness and bottom outs. Look how hard bmxers throw down compared to dh free riders. No one takes a hit these days, everyone taking really smooth hits w smooth landings. Hi danger but low risk. Look at rampage. Look st everyone riding dh trails with their enduro bikes these days. We are pussys. I remember watching videos of people on 4” or less dh Bikes send 20ft cliffs
  • + 4
 does enduro mtb have anywhere to go, every video i see they bike up a mountain and ride singletrack down.
  • + 4
 Over analyzing takes the fun out of everything. We are, after all, just riding bicycles for fun. I hope.
  • + 1
 I think there is merit to this article but not from the rider perspective or machine. In our short time as a sport, we have gone from hauling ass on a beach cruiser to launching massive cliffs in the Utah desert on the latest in technology. Where the sport needs to improve is in the type or racing and more importantly the filming of those events.

As proof, adding Enduro to the mix increased sales of bikes, participation in competition, and general excitement (as is witnessed by the coverage in the media and on forums). As further proof, the video coverage of enduro is brutal. You cant watch enduro from the far side of the planet like you can DH races. 4 cross and Speed and Style races are barely mentioned Does 4 Cross even exist anymore? You wouldn't think so based on media coverage.

Skiing on the other hand has incredible coverage - from the air, from the ground, on the web. Also, skiing has great production around many different disciplines - free ride, slalom, dh, cross, etc. In the mountain bike world we can claim great coverage in DH and major events (e.g. Crankworks), and then okay coverage in other disciplines or non-existant in some.

The more people that watch a sport, the more want to participate, the more chance we continue to see progression. R-dogg watched videos of the Claw and got motivated. Storch watched the brothers McCaul and all of us (whether you like him or not) watched Lopes on TV.

There are a few innovations that hopefully will change this and grow both awareness and participation:

Drones - follow-me technology seems pretty advanced. Why isnt it used in enduro? It would be incredible to watch Rude, Graves, et al from a follow-me shot.

The Internet - turns out, distributing content is pretty easy these days. Smile

In summary - more variation in events and better coverage.

I'm going riding now...
  • + 2
 ou know you´re wrong when the whole PB comment section unanimously dsisagrees with you and even the 2 people who try to look smart by agreeing with you because "they get the point" do so reluctantly XD
  • + 4
 Ah, you see, enough of us here still love downhill. We'll keep it alive, and a few may even keep it progressing. Cheers!
  • + 1
 Bikes have come close to their peak in regard to geometry, shocks, components, materials, etc., I think most of us can agree on that. Anyone who thinks DH has hit its peak needs only to watch a few Fest Series videos to realize that the limits get pushed every day. I know this isn't completely practical for DH racing, but slowly introducing new elements has always been the way of progression. The future of the sport depends on great builders pushing their limits, and great riders willing to find exactly where those limits are. Sky is the limit. IMHO.
  • + 1
 To me, the objective of downhill (in its racing form) has always been to go as fast as you can from point A to point B. That's how the risk / reward equation is balanced. You don't get a time deduction for line choice, tricks, jumps or how cool your bike looks. Its simple: be the fastest on the day and you win. Progression (in the competitive form of the sport) can only be about getting faster. Either using skill (technique and or fitness), technology, or changing the courses so riders can achieve that end. I guess the question is not: is downhill progressing (because it is every year) but rather is the downhill still relevant?
  • + 1
 Not really sure what it is the author is trying to compare- back country skiing to Rampage-- o.k. I see that. Downhill racing to UCI downhill racing? O.k. But to intermix the two in the comparison is a mistake. Also remember that snowboarding has broken away from the downhill ski world, and may be a more apt comparison to something like Rampage, and certainly for the Danny McCaskill videos.

When it comes to the straight downhill vs. UCI downhill comparison, there are similarities- both are about getting down an alpine hill as fast as possible, BUT in this respect I think MTB has actually one BEYOND skiing. I love skiing and will watch it, but how many runs in a race can you watch a person blast down a fall line that includes some turns and jumps and steeps, with those being the only challenges to the racer?

By contrast, it would also be rather boring to watch a mountain bike run down the exact same ski race courses. Simply put- downhill skiing gets boring after a bunch of runs on television. Instead, MTB downhill races present challenges to racers in the form of both fall line AND obstacles, and it is those obstacles that form the biggest challenge to the equipment. I am a skier and put very simply- ski equipment on downhill racing courses does not have to be slammed into rocks, tree roots and the differences in conditions skiing typical only require different wax and sharpness on edges. Soft snow, hard snow, or ice- thats about it. MTB downhillers get loose dust, mud, or hardpack.

The challenges of those obstacles plus course conditions for MTB could plainly be seen for anyone who watched Fort William and the mud in the woods last year, or Mont St Anne in a driving downpour.

I would conclude that downhill MTB has jumped past downhill skiing in the "interesting" department because of that, and that snowboarding developed in part because folks were bored going- and watching- racers take the runs down rather open, albeit steep, race courses. UCI MTB downhill should be an Olympic sport- it is very entertaining.
  • + 1
 If Mervin Manufacturing made bikes I'd buy one. Ski's made a huge leap in Tech after they entered the ski game, maybe they could figure out a way to make bikes that rip from eco friendly material. Or maybe I should, maniacal laugh
  • + 1
 Personally I enjoyed Free ride bike films a little more raw and for me it wassnt about sculpted 70 ft drops or gaps but more about riding natural lines smoothly and hitting smaller or sometimes larger gaps with flow intermingled that were more natural like big Mountian skiing. Same for DH racing were riders were battling though a rough tight steep section of somewhat natural trail vs the massive berms/gaps of the new Moro style DH racing....just my opinion tho i agree with the article
  • + 1
 How many downhill skiers are placing in World Cup events after 2-3 years in competitive alpine skiing? Okay then, how many DH riders are competitive in UCI events after the same amount of time? The depth of competition in the two sports is not comparable, particularly at the women's and junior levels.
  • + 3
 Cant wait to ride my downhill bike sunday now. Smile Smile
I love it from all angles
  • + 0
 I think bikes are unique in that they are human powered. There's a lot of thought that goes into making it viable transportation. They're kind of like a super power attachment to a person that's willing to work. If you go elsewhere you may as well have 2 wheel gyroscopic drones that do 1000 flips and land. It's a personal accomplishment tool, and directly associated with the rider's competence, and well being. I'd say the downside only comes from people who are incompetent, and mad about it, myself included.
  • + 4
 This shit is why I hardly come onto this website anymore
  • + 2
 How about everyone get off of their couches and either go biking or skiing and stop whining and nagging !!!!!

You all sound like a bunch of Bi?ches seriously
  • + 2
 Does this article have a point?... other than "Skiing is better then mtbing and wouldn't it be fantastic if we had built in flex and no drivetrains"
  • + 0
 I would have a lot more time for this dross if it came straight out and said most WC dh tracks are crap instead of some half baked half cocked nonsense about “progression”. The writing in this article was bad, based on a bad take articulated badly.
FEST is rad, slope style is not as good as bmx, DH bikes don’t need chains, as Phil Atwil proved leogang is a joke, Semenuk is incredible, hardline is pretty comparable to kitzbuhel.
Skiers and MTB riders of all levels from first time midlife crisis no hopers to Thovex/Gwin/Semenuk grade are having an absolute blast and at the very top of the game the level of commitment, application and execution are very similar and are bleeding across disciplines and down the ability ziggurat.
  • + 3
 I want to say what the principal told Billy Madison, but fear being downvoted..
  • + 0
 I thought about it and I agree with @RichardCunningham. The coming death of downhill is going to be opportunity for it to be reborn in a fresh and exciting way.

All the money is going in to enduro bikes and 170mm Nomads/Firebirds/Capras/etc that descend better than the down hill bikes five years ago. Lift serve riding seems to be growing but people seem to be buying fewer dedicated DH bikes.

Shimano has essentially given up on Saint. The coming crop of 29er race bikes are going to be so purpose built for racing that an even smaller number of riders will buy them. With few people buying them, the price will be even more expensive and the death spiral begins.

As interest wanes in DH, those that are left are going to take it in new and creative directions. UCI rules might stifle the innovation at first, but creativity and technology will out in the end. DH will end up super niche and even more different than any other kind of racing - motorcycle hill climbs seems to be the be the best case scenario.
  • + 4
 You're higher than Snoop Dogg at the Source awards if you believe any of those new 170mm bikes descend better than a DH bike of 5 years ago. I had a 2012 Demo and a Newmad recently. That DH bike would crush any of those new 170mm bikes and come back for more. There's nothing like a DH bike for descending.
  • + 2
 @dualsuspensiondave: Wait until Gwinn shows up with a Capra with a Fox 49 if you don't believe me.
  • + 2
 @wibblywobbly: The dual crown fork will make a big difference. I've actually owned both as I told you and on a proper DH track, those 170mm bikes are about 30 seconds back on a 3 minute course. Take a look at last years Windrock race where they have a single crown class on the same track. The times are 30 seconds apart for the top in each class. With the same riders at best 20 seconds apart. At the Pro GRT this year, I guarantee that Minaar isn't showing up on a Nomad. The problem is, most of the guys on here have never even seen, much less ridden a proper DH track to know.
  • + 1
 @dualsuspensiondave: I don't disagree with you. I have put in enough laps to know the difference between a real DH bike. But other than just arguing to argue since it's the internet, how much different will the V10 29 be from the Nomad 29 that Santa Cruz should have brought out a year ago. Other than a dual crown, I bet the numbers will be similar. The dual crown is key. I guess my point is, DH bikes have to get more radical and purpose built (like RC was saying) otherwise people will buy an enduro bike which is 90% of the way there. Since that is all most people will buy, that's all we will be able to guy.

A regular DH bike might not make me faster (though it's more fun and forgiving) but in the hands of the right person it's a whole other level faster
  • + 3
 Try and win Hardline or rampage on an enduro bike..... Give DH bikes some credit here
  • + 2
 I must say cross country skis are like cross country bikes and downhill bikes are like downhill skis...You can send it on any of them!!! Now #GETTHEf*ckOUTSIDE
  • + 0
 A little bit surprised that NO ONE gets the point RC's trying to make. I guess people aren't really used to doing much lateral thinking these days.

On another note, I do disagree in one regard : Skiing didn't develop in a vacuum. There was a period in the 90's-2000's where skiing was HEAVILY influenced by (you guessed it) snowboarding. Hell ,snowboarding may have even saved the ski industry by injecting some much needed accessibility and showing them how to once again capture the a young demographic. A lot of what we see as modern skiing owes its roots to the skater-punk stepchild that was snowboarding in the 90's.
  • + 3
 Snowboarding mos def saved skiing in the late 90's, 00's. Skiing was a rich old persons sport and dying a slow death when slopestlye snowboarding came in and gave it CPR
  • + 1
 I don't know why you're downvoted for this. It's 100% true. Snowboarding stuck the proverbial rocket up Skiing's ass.
  • + 1
 DH mountain biking is great to watch and participate.
What was the question again?
I like watching tennis too.
But really who cares.
Dh mountain biking is awesome and here to stay.
  • + 2
 I don't give a crap if RC is impressed or not. Everything is easier on skis, then harder on a snowboard, then harder on a bike. So many BS opinions! Except mine.
  • + 4
 downhill is dead. long live downhill
  • + 1
 If it was a coaster with no drive train, it wouldn't need pedals and thus, wouldn't be a bike. Maybe you're thinking of scooter or stroller racing?

And btw, the trail is named "Smoked Bacon" not "Otter" or "Otter Drop"
  • + 0
 #1 Difference is that you can try most anything imaginable on skis even if you're a goon and stand a chance of walking away from your mistake because snow is either fluffy or slippery.

Dirt is massive piece of unmoving sandpaper and pain. You glibly get a couple shots at walking away from a bike as you "progress"
  • + 2
 I think everything was said, but...

WHEN you crash on snow its mostly SOFT!
WHEN you crash on dirt/stone its NEVER SOFT!

Thats the reason why its a difference!
  • + 0
 Say what you want, our sport is conservative and has always been. Suspenion? Useless. Disc brakes? Will never work. Bigger wheels? For roadies... Like Richie, I wonder what a bike built from scratch without external influence would look like, and what it could do.
  • + 2
 It was called mantis and was ugly as fook
  • + 4
 Ugh, another self maligned hand-wringing article. Who cares.
  • + 0
 The ideea that is see it's like freeride beeing "dead" in the past....enduro 160 made posible everything untill dh, so no need for freeride bikes. No this Super-enduro bikes, bike park bikes, freeride bike, enduro bikes with 180 mm of travel are making posible to climb and go downhill for the majority. So this article express , imho, that downhill isn't evolving as it should. (agree with some comparison with skiing, but definately not a good one).
  • + 1
 Downhill is everything about riding. It has it's own spirit which is the master of all levels. It's the soul of downhill/free ride that drives enduro, all mountain, and even XC.
  • + 2
 Agree 100% Everyone of my friends that has watched W/C DH Loves it and is blown away! More mainstream yes!!!
  • + 4
 Click bait
  • + 2
 Lost track of the point of the article once I started watching the Candide Thovex edit. Wow.
  • + 1
 Progression needs to be defined. And also of interest might be this: www.outsideonline.com/1926916/remembering-skiers-we-lost.
  • + 1
 - Take away the berms and downhill bikes can barely make it around a corner at speed. Incorrect. There are loads of non-berm corners on most downhill race tracks.
  • + 2
 It's all downhill from here, I think. It's not like we can go UP the hill, right?
  • + 2
 I think Richard wrote this article to just get a reaction out of everyone ???? he knew the comment section would blow up!
  • + 2
 Where´s Team Robot when we need him!?!?!
I would love to see his reaction to this! :-D
  • + 2
 How big is the contact patch afforded to the skier as opposed to a cyclist?
  • + 1
 I think elements like "North Shore" are element of MTBing evolving in a vaccum...

As well as BMX and MOTOX, Trials as it's influence too....
  • + 2
 Is the comparison of sking to downhill or slopestyle? To say there is has been slow progression at Rampag is delusional
  • - 1
 The difficulties inherent in the activity and its equipment is what makes it a sport. If it were easy anyone would/could do it. I am/was a good golfer. You want to talk about equipment making a sport difficult, lets talk about golf! haha ANYONE can ride a bike and do it well, albeit under easy conditions. That cannot be said about golf. Just saying.
  • + 3
 RC... STFU
  • + 2
 I didn't understand any of it but I agree. Primarily, thanks for the vids.
  • + 2
 I did not know anyone stilled used skis. so fucking 70's.
  • + 2
 I can appreciate the art of the argument that you are creating here
  • + 1
 I, for one, wouldn't like anyone dying while he's supposed to entertain me...
  • + 2
 Travis Rice did it before Townsend.
  • + 1
 Explosive diarrhea is a more violent and loud passing of watery stool, as it is expelled along with excessive gas.
  • + 1
 WATCH THIS VIDEO THEN DECIDE WHICH SPORT HAS COME FURTHER IN THE LAST 20 YEARS

www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQuCJLlxyZo
  • + 2
 A dual crown Capra is the future of DH
  • + 1
 I Think @RichardCunningham that your spending too much salaried time trying to work this off season.
  • + 1
 I think Richard Cunningham that your spending too much salaried time trying to work this off season.
  • + 2
 anyone know how to downvote an article?
  • + 2
 I think the real question here is: Does RC have nowhere else to go?
  • + 0
 The time of skiers downloading Mtb videos has long been upon us. Kelly Mcgarry's Rampage backflip has nearly 40,000,000 views.
  • + 3
 wheres waki?
  • + 3
 Old man yells at clouds
  • + 4
 So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. ... The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time.
  • + 1
 @TerrapinBen: grandpa Simpson haha!
  • + 2
 Downhill, while exciting, is soooo...one dimensional.
  • + 2
 The troll, click bait game here is hard!
  • + 1
 And if you don't want peddles, a drivetrain or a saddle, get a luge?
  • + 1
 How many Pacos' posting never rode downhill?
  • + 1
 East coast ice > West coast pow
  • + 1
 So, downhillers are still the bitches of the lycra brigade? I like that.
  • + 2
 Yawn
  • + 1
 F*ck Snow / F*ck Dirt - Let's go Urban Downhill
  • + 2
 Looks like uci heard your request. Enter Losing, croatia.
  • + 1
 so wait, dh skis have evolved more than dh bikes? idk
  • + 1
 It's all downhill from here.
  • + 1
 Now let's write an article about curling and skateboarding please.
  • + 1
 Haters gonna hate. Hate, hate, hate, hate.
  • + 1
 Another shitstorm with subject: Let's kill downhill. f*cking hell.
  • + 0
 Only way is get to the old tracks, let riders show off and have a great show!
  • + 1
 cause Candide doesn't ride bikes!
  • + 1
 Downhill mountainbiking has nowhere else to go but up.
  • + 1
 I crash equally well doing both sports, and they both hurt. A lot.
  • + 1
 Ask Mike Hopkins. He does both.
  • + 1
 Rather crash on the Swiss wall than dirt merchant.
  • + 1
 Your out of your mind DH 4ever!
  • + 1
 DARKFEST !!!! Nuff said ????
  • + 0
 nobody in this comment section understands the comparison to alpine ski racing and downhill, including rc
  • + 1
 thanks for the links to some cool ski vids
  • + 1
 Bring on the e-bike 31ers way faster than 29ers
  • + 1
 that drop in the second video was too much for GoPro mount.....
  • + 2
 Is it April already?
  • + 1
 It can only go downhill from here..........
  • + 1
 As long as I can buy new DH bikes DH will not die
  • + 0
 NORBA should be back, good times
  • + 1
 NORBA still exists it's just called USA CYCLING now!
  • + 1
 This is trolling, right?
  • + 1
 G-g-g-gay
  • + 1
 fest is best!!
  • + 1
 Great videos!!!
  • + 1
 "still"
  • - 1
 Once again RC thinks outside the box. Keep it up.
  • - 3
 That was a great read.

"The doom filter erodes the experience.'

I've never seen it put to words before, but that is my feeling while watching mtb
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