Pinkbike Poll: How Do You Decide Which Discipline to Race?

Mar 5, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  
Sam was on fire today while he and Richie pushed each other to their absolute limits
Enduro clearly has appeal for downhill crossovers like Sam Hill. What about those of us who are more... average?

As enduro has grown over the last decade and bike companies continue to pour money into that corner of the market, downhill seems to be taking the backseat, especially at the grassroots level. These are changes most of us can point to anecdotally, but I wanted to find some numbers to see exactly what is happening.

In terms of racing, it’s not hard to see why enduro is so popular. It’s a participation sport, whereas downhill is more of a spectator sport. Enduro is approachable in that anyone who has a trail bike can sign up, while downhill races can be pretty intimidating for those who don’t have a dedicated downhill bike. And then there’s the time element: You put in all the prep work, travel to a downhill race, practice the course, get all the lines dialed, fly out of the start gate… and then it’s over in 3 minutes. I completely understand how for a typical rider, it's probably appealing that enduro offers more racing for the entry fee and effort.

I don’t have a problem with downhill racing. Far from it. I think downhill racing is crazy fun, and in order to keep the World Cup level robust, we need to support grassroots and feeder downhill series' so up-and-coming racers can work up to the big leagues, and so there's even such thing as up-and-coming downhill racers.

Still, there's an undeniable shift. Back in 2014, in the early days of the EWS, downhill racers outnumbered enduro racers in a Pinkbike poll. That changed dramatically by 2020, when apparently every Pinkbike commenter, their neighbor, and their dog self-identified as an enduro racer.

But these are all just my opinions, so let's hear from you. Do you race enduro? Downhill? Both? Why?



Do you race enduro or downhill?



Do you have access to regional enduro racing?



Do you have access to regional downhill racing?



If you race primarily enduro, why? (Answer all that apply)



If you race primarily downhill, why? (Answer all that apply)





What affects your decisions around racing? (Answer all that apply)



How close do you live to the nearest lift-access bike park? (Driving time)



What could make you change disciplines? (Answer all that apply)



If you started racing enduro in the last few years, what's the story?



I'm more of an enduro person, myself. Did the floral Crocs and I-don't-know-how-to-be-in-public expression give it away?



171 Comments

  • 120 0
 My "other, let you know in the comments" comment, is that to view the results of each question you have to click on an irrelevant answer. So like for many of the PB polls, I choose the most unlikely answer.
There needs to be a view results without clicking an answer function

How about a button "none of the above, but I still want to view the poll results"
  • 37 0
 This is a really good point and potentially invalidates all previous polls.
  • 3 4
 @fullfacemike: I'm sure PB will filter out responses if first answer was "I don't race"
  • 4 0
 @turnercj65: If they were planning to go through the trouble of fixing it on the back end that would indicate they were aware of the issues on the front end and would have fixed them prior to implementation. I hope.
  • 19 2
 Yeah that should be fixed now.
  • 6 1
 I was hoping for a "I tried a few Enduro races, but DH is better" on the "what would get you to change" question.
  • 3 1
 @anthony3vans: my "what would get you to change" answer (as far as actually buying a bike to really compete in Enduro instead of using my downcountry bike) would be to have "Impossible Climb" like Moto Enduro stages for time bonuses/deductions
  • 73 0
 I showed up to the 1994 NORBA National at Mt Spokane at age 12 and raced XC and for the first time, DH. Greg Herbold sat next to me on the DH shuttle bus, we chatted between video takes of The Fat Tire Journal, and then he took a run with me and stopped to show me all his best lines — the World Champion throwing away a precious practice run to show a 12-year-old his secret racing lines. After that, I was hooked on downhill. It was pretty much like Michael Jordan or Dennis Rodman stopping their playoff game warm ups to show you their best moves — totally unreal. And then Hans Rey sat next to me on the shuttle bus the next run. I ended up turning pro in DH at 18 in 2000, beating many of my childhood heros like John Tomac and PNW legends who taught me to ride, like Bart McDaniel and Casey Northern, along with other PNW pros like Andrew Shandro, and Rich Houseman. Such a cool scene back then. I’m hopeful we’ll return to that vibe someday.
  • 15 0
 Greg Herbold at that 1994 Mt Spokane race: www.pinkbike.com/photo/20233954
  • 8 0
 That is a FANTASTIC story. Hats off to HB.
  • 3 0
 @WRCDH:

"Hairball" Herbold - great story.
  • 12 0
 @vetprowanab: @suspended-flesh: Thx! HB is a great guy for sure. I had a similar experience at the 2019 Whistler Crankworx Dual Slalom — Lauren, the Crankworx organizer, wasn’t quite able to create a paracycling / differently-abled racing category in time for the 2019 event (as I suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury while snowboarding at Whistler in 2004), so she let me ride in the pro DS, as that was the last category I raced in at a Joyride / Crankworx event (plus, the amateur category schedule didn’t work with my schedule). Thomas Slavik was so cool and nice, and he totally lusted after my 1997 Troy Lee Dayton that I wore for fun as a throwback (commenting that they were $1000 USD in the Czech Republic back in 96/97). And Mick Hannah was super cool as well — commenting that my D521 wheels where his all-time favorite, also noticing my XT 4-piston brakes (as I threw together a large/long 2007 Turner 4X frame with 2000-2010 parts). Same with Bubba Warren, Elliot Heap, Matthew Sterling, Kialani Hines, and others...they were all so nice (and they were clearly excited to be riding a real, super fun dual slalom track), and they were also stoked for me to be out there racing with my mega skinny SCI legs, despite me not being up to proper pro speed / watts / acceleration (but they took practice runs with me anyway and treated me like I was one of them!). It was also funny to see Bas Van Steenbergen and his team manager Eric Carter (who rode a similar Turner to the 4X World Championship in 2004 along with many other wins) looking at me, bewildered by the whole kit (which was entirely throw-back, for fun). But anyhow, it was the best vibe — everyone was stoked on the super fun / fast / techy / semi-old-school Dual Slalom track. The whole event reminded be of the golden days of downhill and dual slalom from 94-04 (albeit Whistler had a much smaller crowd at the new Blackcomb DS location), when DH/DS was the main event and when it was still a spectacle in the world of sports and in the fringes of pop culture.

Here are some pictures from the 2019 Whistler Crankworx Dual Slalom, as well as some other older pictures from Whistler and Mt Spokane:
www.pinkbike.com/u/WRCDH/album/Whistler-Crankworx-Dual-Slalom-2019

Also, here’s maybe my third practice run with Thomas Slavik (on maybe his 5th or 6th practice run). You can see the difference in acceleration considering his pineapple-size calves and my skinny forearm-size spinal cord injury calves. Hopefully we can get Dual Slalom or XC or DH into the Paralympics in 2024 though — I got smoked by these top guys and would’ve just barely qualified for the pro women’s race. I was also unable to ride for 7 months after — debilitating ankle tendon strain from riding too hard without much rest. Every run was agonizing due to the ankle strain of sprinting, standing, and railing corners with SPD’s with an SCI. I should’ve run flats where I can stand more centered over the axle...and/or taken fewer practice runs. I couldn’t even sprint to the line during qualifying, nor stand after, as it hurt so bad, ha! Such are the occasional pains of spinal cord injuries =P. At least I can still do 2-3-hour XC rides and 1 or 2 peak-to-valley Whistler DH runs (stopping every 90 seconds or so to rest the weak calves / hams / glutes). But yeah, I can’t wait for UCI and/or Paralympic MTB Paracycling racing!
www.pinkbike.com/video/532679
  • 5 0
 By the way, if you watch that video above ( www.pinkbike.com/video/532679 ), consider that in addition to the difference in top-pro vs differently-abled strength, my 25/28psi Maxxis Minion Maxx Grip DH tires and wheel setup was 3.5 pounds heavier than Thomas Slavik’s higher pressure (30/33psi) Minion / Minion SS Maxx Terra EXO 26” setup with DT hubs and rims — which made a MASSIVE difference on track. My wheels/tires were straight up slow. No one knew what the track was going to be like, and I would’ve run a light setup like his had I known! www.pinkbike.com/photo/20234300
  • 2 0
 And I can’t forget the amazing influence of another childhood downhill hero, NORBA Pro downhiller (and former owner of The Downhill Zone) Darren Brown — he totally took me under his wing after I saw him on the cover of Mountain Biking magazine in 94 or 95 and saw in the caption that he was from Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle. I looked up his number and called him and asked if he’d coach me — but he said the best thing would be if I just went downhilling with them and he invited me to ride...and it sure was...a total dream come true and the best times, trails, riding, learning, and training. Darren was (and is) a madman on the bike, often causing a rock avalanche behind him when riding...colloquially known as a “D.Brownvalanche.” Darren really helped make the PNW one of the hotbeds of downhill in the 90’s, helping foster a thriving local, but somewhat underground, scene.
  • 2 0
 @WRCDH: Thanks for sharing! That turner with that saddle looks very righteous imo
  • 2 0
 Great story! Started in 94 too, same age!
  • 2 0
 @J1BB: @likehell: @suspended-flesh: @vetprowanab: Likewise, I might have gotten the owner of CushCore, Adam Krefting, into downhill racing at first (I can’t quite remember the details now though!) — but I know I certainly helped get him more into it from 95-98 when I was racing DH a lot, when he was a bit more into XC at first.

I grew up riding extensively with Adam Krefting, the inventor / founder / owner of CushCore, between 1995 and 1998 — we went to the same high school and we both rode hard (and Adam Schaeffer who owns The Downhill Zone bike shop in Issaquah, WA, likewise went to high school with us). Below is Adam Krefting on my 1994/95 Intense M1 in 1996 or 97 at the famous Oakridge, Oregon MTB festival and races. He had an Alpinestars rocker-link bike with Judy fork but chose to race my Intense M1 after I got injured. The refurbished 1994 Intense M1 team frame (sold to me as a complete beautiful bike with new parts by Jeff Steber) was spec’d in this picture with: 4.5” travel RST Mozo Pro fork, 27” Azonic bar, King headset, Mavic 261 rims, Nuke Proof carbon front hub, XT rear hub, Ringlé front skewer, Kore stem, XT V-brakes, XT M737 drivetrain, Topline cranks, Intense big ring, Bullet Bros chain tensioner, Tioga Psycho TT tires, SDG Kevlar saddle, Control Tech post, and Shimano M747 pedals.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/20238280
  • 2 0
 @WRCDH: just going through my old mags.. read them religiously back in the days.
  • 2 0
 @likehell: Hell yeah =). Gosh, some of them were / still are so fun and interesting to read, particularly the 90’s CNC machining, the innovation, the early world-class aerospace-inspired composites, the military-grade engineering as aerospace engineers first crossed over into the MTB world, etc...those mags used to be ram-packed with content and extraordinary pictures. I currently have a stack of Mountain Bike Actions, Plush, MBUK, a German mag and many other 1990-2004 mags and catalogs on my night stand — much healthier and better to fall asleep reading than using a bright backlit mobile device to look at Pinkbike =P
  • 2 0
 @WRCDH: 100% true! So much cool stuff in there! =)
  • 1 0
 @likehell: Speaking of 90’s magazines and dream bikes, here’s my 1999 Litespeed Tellico in action — one of the most fun bikes I own for riding on my easier local XC trails (and I often drop my riding buddies on their new $7000 bikes when on it on these trails!)...definitely more fun than any bigger newer 27.5 or 29 trail bike I’ve been on there (but that’s because I still remember how to ride old bikes hard without destroying myself — someone who didn’t grow up riding them might be terrified and not ride old bikes well). On newer bikes, these trails are too easy, and actually slower, due to suspension / heavier weight / heavier wheels / slower tires, etc. Plus, old hardtails can make some of the trails feel extreme, whereas they’re just a bit ordinary on a newer trail bike. I would need either 30% more watts or e-bike-level-speed on those trails to have the thrills I get on a 90’s hardtail...plus the responsiveness and agility of an old bike (and the frequent adrenaline rushes from old-bike antics) just makes it a more lively, engaging experience. www.pinkbike.com/video/532712
  • 1 0
 @WRCDH: Haha, I still remember taking out the Judy XC of my Barracuda for one more fireroad XC course.. rode some rooty trails the week before with my rigid fork.. that was hard!
Technically I am still the reiging XC champ of my hometown, as the race has not been held since the 90s lol
For the trails we actually ride the new bikes are actually quite eye opening compared to the old ones, but I get what you are saying.
These days you get the same thrill when you ride gravel bike on easier trails!
Just 2 years ago I bought a Super V from 95 for the retro Dual Race I planned since a few years ago.. but it didn't happen yet.
  • 35 0
 I am a firm believer that downhill is a necessary disciline for the sport in many ways, but few people should actually race it seriously (or exclusivley), the bikes are expensive and quite impractical, the courses are quite demanding and the actual time spent on the bike is little. I would probably sign up for a local, non-pro DH race if there were races on courses that were more chill, accesible and cheap to participate. All races in my local area are quite serious and tightly scheduled, if someone just set up timers and charged a couple bucks at the local trail head, as-many-laps-as-you-want-best-time-counts format then I would probably race DH on a weekly basis.
  • 8 0
 Everyone should have a weekly Race series close by.. over here that is XC where you can basically race local most weekends.

But something more gravity would be better Wink
  • 3 0
 Sounds like you're describing enduro to me.
  • 4 0
 My local club went to a 'best of two runs ' format to increase ride time. A big improvement.
  • 3 0
 Our local uplift occasionally picks a trail to tape and allows you to borrow timing chips, which is pretty cool
  • 1 0
 @sourmix: that's really cool!
  • 24 0
 Looks like we have another Pinkbike editor to add to the Levy/Kazimer "dork" pile. DH racing is sick and you arguably ride waaaaayy more --> multiple practice laps, seeding, race run, plus the fact that YOU'RE IN A FRIGGIN' BIKE PARK WITH YOUR BUDDIES ON A CHAIRLIFT WITH MULTIPLE OTHER TRACKS TO RIDE. Ya the race is only one run, but you're smashing laps with good people both on and off the actual race track.

Anecdotally, DH is doing fine and is not suffering at the expense of Enduro. The sport has grown so much that there is plenty of room for everyone. I'd say the current state of regional/local DH is better than it was 10 years ago and is not being cannibalized by enduro whatsoever.
  • 15 0
 DH and Enduro are like pb and j. Complementary.
  • 3 1
 @peleton7: For many years I rode DH, Enduro and DS on the same bike - an 'Enduro' bike. They really can nearly do it all. Now i have a DH bike for the 'real' DH races, but in reality, very few courses require it.
  • 1 0
 Yes DH seems to be doing fine. In BC and PNW there are NW Cup and Dunbar Summer Series races.
I can usually get 10 / 11 races a year. Most races are at bike parks and you can get enough laps in.
I have never left a race thinking I didn't ride enough.
  • 5 1
 @suspended-flesh:

I would say that any "proper" DH track requires a real DH bike in order to consistently and safely lay down competitively fast runs. Sure you might be able to lay down a smoker run on your Enduro, but unless you're sandbagging hard, I bet you're rolling the dice and riding on the ragged edge.
  • 1 0
 @peleton7: XC is the bread. DH and Enduro is the main subject :p
  • 2 0
 @skimtb1: True but 'DH' races like the Sea Otter and some underground series don't have proper courses or enough elevation. Lift-served DH races are another story. I did suffer on the ragged edge for years, crashing, broken bones, etc. at ski resort races. No more.
  • 3 0
 The DH racing scene might be alive and well in some places, but enduro has definitely “taken over” in other places. I live down the street from a bike park that used to have a DH race every year. They haven’t had one in several years, and now host a couple enduro races every year. ????‍♀️
  • 20 0
 It seems like XC and DH racing formats are easier to organize as you don't have as many checkpoints/timing stations to put people to monitor. I find racing enduro is more fun and in general the format attracts more entries when the races have been offered but there is often a lack of volunteers to assist.
  • 10 0
 True, we had Enduro races here with 600+ riders on 6 stages, that is like 6 mini DH races on the same day to organize.

To organize myself I like the simplicity of a Dual Slalom.

And massive thanks to everyone organizing any sort of race!
  • 4 1
 For similar reasons I've stopped racing enduro - too much cheating and the time you got at the end could rarely even he compared to others. Downhill is much better from this perspective, do I pay to race dh and ride enduro for free with mates
  • 24 1
 Enduro- don't have to be as fit as XC and less chance of killing myself than Downhill really hits the sweet spot for me.
  • 6 0
 Agree. I try to keep my risk-o-meter just below "season ending injury" and way below "career ending injury" so enduro is it for me too. You can dabble in enduro and have fun.
  • 1 0
 @SpokeGuy: well said on the risk-o-meter, with ya there for pretty much everything I do anymore! Raced some downhill in early 2000s and had a blast before getting away from mtb entirely for a while. Now I don't race but would love a weekly beer league at my local - preferably DH, but would try enduro...right now there is just a fairly serious regional series with only one local stop each so I just ride for fun and look forward to resuming bike park tailgating soon...
  • 1 0
 The less chance of death may depend on what races you do. Plenty of the races I have done include trails that are also used for dh races.
  • 1 1
 eh. I don't know about the lack of need of fitness for Enduro. Most of the CES races have some really silly stages at most of the venues that require a flat(or uphill even) multiple minute flat out pedal fest. You have zero chances at a podium unless you train like a dirt roadie in the off season. I had a number of races last year where I took stage wins on the steep "DH" stages but lost the overall to the guy that could put down 800 watts for 2 min on the shitty stage with a 200ft vertical climb in the middle of it. I am not bitching. It is what it is, and I don't have the time or inclination to train that hard for something I just do for fun.

Perhaps some grassroots Enduro series are doing it better than CES. I would love to see enduro go back to being 5 truly gnarly descents. Likely won't happen in this day and age with the organizers both trying to make the racing more approachable to medium ability riders, as well as keep from getting sued. I bet it actually gets demonstrably worse in the next couple years with the covid explosion in MTBing.
  • 12 0
 I just don't get why we always speak for racing while 99% of the riders don't race. What would we race? 29ers are 0.5% faster, so perfect for racing and so on, and so on. While I only ride because it's fun, gives me the most joy in the world and I love being in the mountains and playing in the woods. So what would I race? Absolutely nothing. But I would throw a leg over a DH bike the moment you ask, because I'm sure it's super fun to ride one.
  • 3 1
 I've always been the same, until recently anyway.

I've always ridden purely for the fun and enjoyment of being in the woods. I've never cared at all for racing and the stopwatch as I feel that sucks all the fun out of it.

But recently, I got into xcm (marathon) racing.

I've never been properly fit, find exercise boring and watch too much of life from the sidelines.

Xcm has given me a reason and goal to be as fit and healthy as I possibly can, and there are plenty of big events across the country every year I can train for, discovering new places to ride.

Something has also to be said about stepping into the arena and being counted at something in life.

And lastly, n+1.
  • 5 0
 @Ktron: It feels good that only a few riders race. It's exhilarating and can be scary, frankly. There is a certain honor and camaraderie to it. Perhaps a piece of tin for the garage wall. It's addictive and I'm whore. Not getting any younger - time to throw down before the sun sets.
  • 11 0
 The format I'd really like to see more of as an amateur is the Angel Fire style enduro/DH/park races where you can ride the stages in any order and do as many re-rides as you like. I think that's a great format for amateurs, although it probably makes medical support difficult.

I'd also like to see more 1-day enduro races where Saturday is practice and Sunday is race. The 2-day sat/sun format is tough for amateurs because you need to take off work on Thursday or Friday to practice.

More casual local after work races would be great too. Where you just show up and race at 5:30 without having to drive anywhere or give up your whole weekend. Make racing quicker, cheaper, and more accessible to compete in instead of these whole weekend destination events that require a bunch of planning, time, and money.
  • 12 0
 My experience with enduro racing has been, a large group comes to the area, sets up courses on our favorite trails, then they leave the trails blown to hell and sucking for the rest of the season.
  • 16 5
 XC doesn't exist? There are two Enduro races an hour away in different directions, but a dozen good, technical xc events. Ride them on your trail bike, they are still good fun.
  • 11 2
 This wasn't about XC, it's about the affects of Enduro and the other gravity sport...DH. XC sees plenty of entrants and most likely isn't in question as DH is.
  • 3 0
 For many of us XC exists on RedBullTV - I don't want to die out there, so I stick with DH, DS, and Enduro. XC is for crazy fools.
  • 9 0
 I'd never pay to race Enduro anymore. It's just my normal bike riding ruined by other people and pressure. XC racing is always going to be my option. The races here in Scotland are technical, completely different to a regular MTB ride and since the shortest one I do is 6 hours you get more for your money.
  • 1 1
 @lukeb:

Yeah but to win you would have to have done it in 15 minutes ha ha!
  • 11 0
 I only race the scooterists to the skatepark
  • 10 0
 "Having the skills to not be too embarrassed" hit really close to home regarding why I don't bother dh racing.
  • 5 0
 Bet your wife doesnt say your embarrassing the family when you come in 3rd to last.
  • 2 0
 Go faster - racing is life.
  • 3 0
 the worst is when someone catches you in a long stage, my worst fear when racing, other than eating it hardcore lol
  • 9 0
 @mariomtblt: no it is worse when they catch you in a short stage.
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: ha totally right
  • 2 1
 @fabwizard: you can guarantee that the first question any non-biking relatives will ask when they find out you have been in a bike race is, where did you finish?

'um, 96th' - and with that, the conversation is over.
  • 1 0
 @johnnyboy11000: I usually get the what happened didn't you used to be competitive why are you doing it if you stuck
  • 2 0
 @mariomtblt: I experience both - it's not bad to pass or get passed - that's racing.
  • 6 0
 Other for why I switched to enduro from DH: licensing. USA cycling is a pain in the ass, and prevents people from self assigning to appropriate categories. To race the expert course you have to maintain an annual license regardless of the number of races you do, so tons of experts end up racing in sport class where daily licenses are allowed. This makes it way harder to earn the podiums necessary needed to upgrade to expert. With only 7 races in a typical regional series, there aren’t many opportunities close to home to earn upgrade points. It’s frustrating when 4th place in sport is often mid pack or better in expert when on the same course. It sucks.

Self assigning allows you to race where you think you belong. Most people want to race in the fastest category they can be competitive in, or just with their friends. Very few are actually chasing podiums, and people who sign up for the wrong category can easily be reassigned by the organizers if you don’t have stupid licensing rules preventing people from exercising judgement.
  • 6 0
 Interesting poll for sure and the comments are great! Simple solution, we host Showdown events where racers race both on the same day. Enduro start at 8/9am and DH run in the afternoon. Twice the fun and a bigger community to party, er race with.
  • 5 0
 The problem with racing for me is it's mostly driving, no matter the discipline. Then ya know, there's that weather thing, which is a real wildcard in my region no matter the time of year. And the places I like to ride, they're not nearly as fun when it's jam-packed with people. I live in a city, I ride to get away form other humans and lines for things.
  • 6 1
 I kind of feel that Enduro is the most accessible for the weekend warrior, it's a mix of fitness and a bit of gravity fun. I like bombing down hills at warp speed (to me at least) but also enjoy the somewhat cardio aspect of the climb to the next stage.

I haven't been to an XC race for a while but there was always an elitist road bike kind of vibe when I did go, like I didnt have the lightest bike or the tightest kit.

Likewise for DH, i always felt like I wasnt the sickest bro out there on the massivest chunder taking the sickest line. Bro.

I like to think that enduro brings the best of the gravity and XC world together for us mediocre people. It still has that alternative vibe that is MTB and to me its the purest form. It's like riding trails with your mates but in a race format
  • 1 0
 That's funny, when I raced XC the biggest concern was whether you helmet had a ponytail channel and everyone was baked.
  • 1 0
 @Raivkka:
That race sounds a lot more fun than the ones I went to then!
  • 7 0
 Racing Enduro lets me drink beer with my friends during the day and my fiance thinks I'm getting exercise.
  • 7 0
 You should definitely check out cyclocross.
  • 5 1
 I don't know if it's just a wrong interpretation on my part, but sometimes I see some stories or polls like this where the whole structure is geared to favor that the answer is Enduro or that the person thinks about the benefits of Enduro, I don't see the negative points. I also believe that very soon this research will be replaced instead of downhill, they will put e-bikes and I believe they are the future.
  • 3 0
 @SpokeGuy: future PB polls:

Question 1 - On a scale from 10 to 10 where 10 is the most hatred, circle the number that represents how much you hate e-bikes? 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

Question 2 - Which is your favourite discipline a) enduro b) enduro c) enduro or d) enduro?
  • 4 0
 I would race DH-duro but I’ll say no thanks to enduro racing with all that pedaling. I would love to see a series where you race one DH track 2-3 times in a day and combine your times or even better 3 DH tracks and combine the times. It would be lift served and run on proper DH tracks not blue flow runs. I know I’m dreaming.
  • 4 0
 Big mountain enduro charging racers during Covid and not allowing refunds for cancelled races. They raced an event locally and cancelled half the riders last lap a few years ago. No refund of course. Also Ritchie rude smacks on amateur comp which is lame.
  • 5 0
 I race downhill (even though I'm shocking butters at it) because it feels like the pinnacle of the sport. The chance to go the fastest you possibly can. And I love that.
  • 3 0
 My son and I race whatever is reasonably close to home that fits the family schedule. Angel Fire, Moab, Winter Park, Vail, even Bootleg Canyon once. Enduro vs DH doesn't matter. We love both. Backcountry or bike park. Doesn't matter.
  • 3 0
 I grew up in Ohio and could race XC and Enduro 12 weekends or more out of a season. All races were low-cost and nearby. I moved to Western Colorado about 4 years ago and have been essentially unable to race since. Races are so disappointingly inaccessible here.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like you should move back to Ohio
  • 3 0
 I don't find enduro to be fun. Either you take a lift and sit around, or you pedal up and sit around. Takes all day to ride 4 trails.I can hit those same trails and much more on my own time.

I race XC because I show up, put everything I have into my race, then I am done. I can collapse and die, go home, go ride more (usually the first option), but I am not just sitting around waiting for my turn.

DH is basically the same, except just one trail (which I am fine with), just hurry up and wait.
  • 2 0
 I was the same until Family got in the way of training. Now i am not fit enough to finish an xc race but I can enduro np.
  • 3 0
 In Colorado, DH races converted to Enduro Races. We went from full on DH bikes and all protective gear to our enduro bikes with little to no protection going just as fast or faster on the same courses we raced DH on. But at least you were on your bike for most of the days. Not like DH and a 1 hit wonder. But I still do miss that DH magic....I'm not sure there are any DH races in CO anymore...
  • 4 1
 So its just DH or enduuhhro only huh?
Ridden bikes in one form or another all my life. Big wheel to Joe Kid to a bit of XC racing in the late 80's. Back to BMX (Street an park) then getting to beat up I nearly called it a day.... 2007 I still wanted a bike to get aboot on so, I thought I'd buy one of those big BMX type MTB's I'd seen around an in shop windows. Little Internet browse an I find out they called DJ bikes, some are DJ&4X bikes.
Whats 4X?
HOLY FK! I WANT TO DO THAT!!!!
That one little view of 4X racing birthed a new passion for riding revived a new vigor for bikes within me. I got my Cannondale Chase an signed up to the UK NPS 4X series. Buying Dirt mag getting a PB account. Loading up the car an hitting the road again. Making new life long friendships. I got into DH/FR an a DH/FR bike. I now, in my 40's have stopped 4X but, still training an riding as much as I can. 4 pretty specific bikes. Waiting for covid to end so we can hit the road again. Meet up, camp out ride bikes. HELL I even nearly bought a road bike!

And I owe much thanx an LOVE to 4X for that. Without discovering 4X that day I would've missed out on massive portion of LIFE
(just not the road bike bit, that was covid induced. FK that)
  • 3 0
 Raced few tomes in enduro - did not liked, u wait shit ton to start, then results... I had much better experience with street jams that we had 10 years ago - pure fun, do whatever you can or willing to do
  • 5 0
 Downhill cause I'm a shit climber. I honestly wouldn't make it to the top lol.
  • 1 0
 Enduro is the XC of DH. I can barely make some of the transfers. That's probably why i was always a DH racer. Climbing sucks.
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: I can see the appeal. It's a challenge and rewarding to be able to climb to the start of the descent. Plus it's pretty badass to fly down DH tracks at mach speed on 150 to 170mm bikes. Personally idgaf. I'm in it for the fun and the descents only lol.
  • 4 0
 option: racing is stressful, i tried enduro at my local trails and still sucked so i retire after my first and last "race" "season"
  • 3 1
 I like Enduro because our local race scene has a difficult and "easy" category. Downhill is a single very difficult category. The easier category allows for a wide range of abilities and participation by everyone whose keen (with a baseline ability).
  • 2 0
 I've considered racing enduro because that's what's available near me, but I'm nowhere near the fastest guy in my town, so I have no illusions that I'd do remotely well in a regional race. And I'm 40, so the prospect of injury when trying to push to go fast isn't appealing. I do enough damage to myself just trying to beat my own PRs.
Downhill looks fun, but the nearest park is 5+ hours away. I'm sure I'd be a much better rider if I had one within an hour.
  • 2 0
 Its a culture thing and its especially a money thing in the grassroots field. Growing up we could afford one bike and if that was going to be anything it was downhill. I find the money changes the type of people you have entering the sport. Growing up we were just thrasher kids, nothing else mattered but how gnarly and how intense we could ride. But than again our bikes were cheaper and our bones healed faster lmao
  • 2 0
 Started DH racing as a teenager and then stopped as I got to full time work. Don’t get me wrong it’s bloody fun but losing an entire day to get if lucky a handful of runs for an absurd cost just didn’t stack up when you’re already time poor.

Having more enjoyable “enduro” trails that didn’t mean thrashing a shuttle car also made the decision easier.
  • 2 0
 I'm dead smack in the middle of midwest flat lands. There is no enduro or dh races. It's xc or nothing. My local trails hold an xc race/ mtb festival one weekend a year. It's fun to participate in the casual group. It keeps me motivated to push myself to stay in shape for the race every year.
  • 2 0
 If Racing earns you a living, this does not apply. If you do not earn a living racing then race everything you can. Road, XC, Gravel, Downhill, Enduro, Endurance events, do it all! You will go more places, meet more people, have more fun and have more stories. Live life to the fullest.
  • 2 0
 I race Enduro because it's safest.
DH needs body armor and commitment to a line. Enduro doesn't usually have drops and gaps that a novice can't roll.
At 200+ pounds, XC could kill me, too. Even if my heart doesn't explode, the spandex would pop me like a pimple.
  • 5 0
 I just wish there were more DH parks and Enduro races near me Frown
  • 2 1
 I would totally race DH but most of the trails on the east coast are more suited for enduro and trail bikes. I’m hoping to get a DH bike in the future but until DH races get cheaper, I can’t see myself transitioning from full enduro to a mix or full DH.
  • 4 0
 Yeah, even at 62 I wanna race but can't seem to get fit enough or injury free to wanna enter a race
  • 1 0
 It takes a hefty commitment when older. I think if they had more casual races then more of the >50 crowd would participate.

A local 2019 race course (Vedder MTN classic) was 15km but 700m elevation gain, and this was the short course. That climb is going to be tough, as well as the descent too.
  • 2 1
 I grew up racing XC, road and track. I've tried a few enduros and they're fun.....but the entry fees are prohibitive and getting competitive times means taking a lot of risks. I've got enough scar tissue/memory loss etc. from racing road (cars are the MOST dangerous feature on a racecourse) that I don't see the value in taking those kinds of risks when I'm 20 years past thinking I have the goods to go pro.

That said, enduro has led to the development of bikes that are awesome. Near XC bike climbing-decent for a bike park day. It's the discipline that reflects how riders want to ride......at least if you have some mountains nearby.
  • 5 3
 What affects your decision around racing? **Day the race is on. I do not race on Sunday for religious purposes, which means that if there are 2 day enduro stage races I won't do them.
  • 3 1
 Similarly, I never raced AutoX even though I really wanted to when I had a sporty car. The events were always on Sunday mornings. It's a valid reason, and anyone downvoting your comment or mine needs to check their head regarding freedom of religion. It is a human right.
  • 2 0
 @AndrewHornor: I fail to see how someone downvoting your comments "needs to check their head regarding freedom of religion". It's likely they just think that's a dumb reason, not a negation of your rights, and I say this as someone that belongs to a church that's always crying unnecessarily about freedom of religion.
  • 2 0
 @ryd-or-die: the thing is, when someone tells a person their faith-informed decision is dumb, it degrades their faith. And what other reason could there have been for anyone to downvote the original comment? Ok, it isn't a rights issue - I overstated my case. It does matter, though, to respectfully allow others to make their own decisions for their own reasons.
  • 2 0
 The only common discipline here is XC marathon. Except for a few fun events held by bikeparks that aren't really races, Enduro and DH fields are much more competitive und usually require a one day license.
  • 1 0
 I hadn’t raced a bike until into my 30’s two years ago. The difference for me was the improvement in bikes. A bike that I could ride everyday and was relatively (compared to a DH bike) cheap. Then the introduction of more races in my area put me in a position to enter races. Only a few a year that are within a few hours drive. But that was the big change for me.
  • 1 0
 Risk of injury was the main reason I switched from downhill to enduro. I moved to a new country and didn't want to be hitting road gaps with no friends and family around. I never hurt myself too bad racing, my biggest injuries have all been stupid accidents, but I remember one DH where about half the guys in the club ended up in hospital with broken bones... Enduro isn't that much safer at the top level, but as an amateur, if you ride a lot you can get good results without going out of your comfort zone.
  • 1 0
 Parks are too far away to practice DH or Enduro. There is a few jump trails within a 2 hr driving distance but they’re short and once you hit those gap jumps it becomes more of the same. For some odd reason I have no interest on watching races, it’s kind like watching a golf tournament to me.
  • 1 0
 I raced the second annual enduro at Demo, the first that was open to anyone after they pioneered it the year before. And it just was the least fun ride I've ever done at Demo. Not that it was bad, but the simple hype about enduro is the race format closest to a day with your budz is just not working for me. Some XC races are brutal even for amateurs, but most of the funnest races I've entered were XC. As fun as dual slalom though different. And BMX racing takes the cake for how well organized everything is, practice and race runs and the cost of entry and bang for your buck, if you've just gotta have head to head competition as part of your biking experience.
  • 1 0
 I raced dh a long time ago and some xc before that, it was fun, but regular riding is more fun. Would race Enduro now but I don't have time to ride enough to be in competitive shape that I want to be in,, and it costs more than I am willing to pay especially while in my dad bod. Kids take much of my time, maybe in a few years they will get more into mtb.
  • 1 0
 I don’t currently race enduro. I’ve been racing BMX lately as that is what my son does. As he gets older if he wanted to try enduro or any other discipline I’d happily jump into any event with him. In my youth I raced road, XC, and cyclocross.
  • 2 1
 Enduro has its place and a lift assisted park is not it. Spending your day climbing under a lift to get to stages is silly. Bad format killed downhill. A dh race at a resort should be multiple runs on different tracks. Enduro is cool and it reflects real mtb skills but dh is a different game.
  • 1 0
 "What affects your decisions around racing?"

I voted to explain this in the comments. I haven't raced since the early 90's, but wouldn't mind doing something light and FUN. Watershed park (Delta BC) used to have races held by SORCE bike club

And short loop of the Vedder Mtn classic might be interesting. But it takes a considerable amount time and energy to train and compete even at a mediocre level, so it's has to be fun.
  • 1 0
 My "Other" reason to race only enduro: I feel like I don't have the head to race DH and not enough fitness for xc. And that alongside with the fact that I can't afford multiple bikes are the main reasons why I'll be sticking with enduro for now. But if I could somehow afford to have a DH bike and time and money to go to those races too....maybe it will be my middle age crisis thing Smile
  • 1 0
 Enduro is just like riding with your friends. Racing just the same but with formalised times. And I'm not prepared to do the mental work required for downhill competition anymore.
  • 1 1
 Honestly if i could find a bike shop to loan me a dh bike for a week i would go to dh races, but its hard to justify buying the dh bike to just be a few soconds faster over my enduro rig, and probably end up riding my enduro rig 99% of the time when im not racing anyways.
  • 4 0
 Ebike hill climb is the future
  • 1 0
 Agreed, so much fun
  • 2 1
 Try racing enduro few times, did not like, you are wasting so much time before start and waiting results - insane;

I did remember nice and warm street jams 10 years ago or so, people having fun, do trick’s and have beer
  • 2 0
 Downhill is just plain fun. And, I am lazy and Enduro would require I actually get up the hill at a decent clip if I want to 'win'.
  • 2 0
 Im out of shape and cant get motivated to get in shape. I love riding but hate working out. And I have a family that I focus my attention on. Thats why I dont race more.
  • 2 0
 Raced enduro last season as there were no DH races due to COVID. Now we have a DH season this year, no bloody way am I peddling up hills for racing
  • 2 0
 What could make you change your discipline?
NOTHING!! I LOVE BEING DOWNHILL PILOT !! ps: in my country there is no bike park with lift.
  • 1 0
 Decision of racing: push my riding beyond my confort zone, and riding unusual trails (blind) with lots of people doing the same stupid (amazing) stuff ;l
  • 1 0
 I dont race DH because I dont want to break my XC bike. Its a Full suspension so still good enough for not coming in last in enduro.
  • 1 0
 Enduro bikes for all that I need (DH races and some enduro races). I search polyvalence and the enduro bike give me this perfectly!
  • 1 0
 moved from gravel racing to enduro and I learned that I suck at enduro lmao. got 55/68 last race in Vail Lake (Cat 3 Beginner). Gwin was there which was cool
  • 4 0
 4x forever
  • 2 1
 Don’t race because I can ride the same trails for free or I could if there wasn’t a lockdown ????

They cost far too much to enter
  • 2 0
 There is actually very little gravity (includes Enduro) racing in northwest Oregon, even before Covid. Frown
  • 3 0
 At this point I will take any race. Let's just make em happen this summer!
  • 2 0
 I don't get racing. Ok, so you're the 7th fastest person in your age group down a course this weekend. Now what?
  • 2 0
 Its fun. Next week you can push for 6th fastest. Also, if you care to, you can see how fast you actually are not just what you claim. Why keep score at anything?
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: If it's fun, that's reason enough.
  • 4 0
 I only race park
  • 1 0
 i live in flat northern va but back in high school i was like yo dad can i get this frame and some of these parts and then i had a downhill bike and i started racing
  • 3 0
 Because Sam Hill!
  • 2 1
 Seems like PB is using another article to collect data to sell to sponsors.
  • 1 0
 still waiting for the day when the organizers will let me race dh on my xc hardtail
  • 5 7
 Interesting poll. But I don't race and have no plans to. I've been riding for 20+ years, both trail rides and DH. But I've never really been all that interested in racing beyond a once in a blue moon kinda thing. I ridden with PLENTY of fast people who race. Some of them pro racers. So, I know I ain't slow. And I've been told many times over the years how I ride fast AND make it look stylish. Personally, that's the only affirmation I need.But maybe that's just me.
  • 20 1
 weird flex but ok
  • 1 0
 @swenzowski: Not a flex at all honestly. Just don't understand what the fascination with racing is! To each their own tho!!
  • 2 0
 @tmwjr777: "I ridden with PLENTY of fast people who race. Some of them pro racers. So, I know I ain't slow. And I've been told many times over the years how I ride fast AND make it look stylish. Personally, that's the only affirmation I need." -tmwjr777

100% a flex but it's OK
  • 2 0
 @tmwjr777: 'I am very fast and stylish' is a flex and 'I'm going to tell you that I don't race in an article aimed at racer's event choices' is weird . Combine both and there you are.
  • 2 0
 I like downhill because of how many practice laps you can get in a weekend
  • 2 0
 I live in boulder, so trestle bike park is super close to me
  • 1 0
 One of my riding buddies is all but exactly the same speed as me, so every ride with him is a race.
  • 1 0
 I mean why isn’t physical shape and skill a deciding factor for racing or choosing which category.
  • 1 0
 Races are always held on Sundays, and my Sundays are already committed so I can't/don't race on Sundays.
  • 1 0
 I race enduro because I get to spend the whole day riding with my kids and a crew of friends.
  • 1 0
 Looks like majority pinkbike viewers are close to lifts! 6 hour away to a lift here ;-(
  • 1 0
 Some of these need to allow multiple answers...
  • 2 0
 Not fair guys, not fair.
  • 4 2
 Sad XC noises.
  • 6 0
 Username doesn't check out
  • 1 0
 "if you race primarily... " questions should be checkboxes.
  • 5 4
 No need to pay money for racing. I race every single ride, Strava FTW!
  • 2 0
 I like to use strava to see how stupidly fast I’m going on jump trails at my nearest bike park lol.
  • 2 0
 I like racing slopestyle
  • 1 0
 Brought up in downhill sorry (dragged up in downhill lol)????
  • 1 0
 Run what ya brung on races that are run.
  • 1 0
 Apparently XC is no longer a thing here
  • 2 0
 It never was a PB thing until XC racing got somewhat interesting - especially the women.
  • 2 0
 I still don't race
  • 2 0
 I only ride park
  • 1 0
 The only discipline I ride in are the "Be home in an hour!" races......
  • 1 0
 I don't do races..... I just shred trails!
  • 2 2
 Easy..don't race ..why does every joey think they need to race
  • 1 0
 I race them all !

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