Flying around the world to ride and write about new bikes sounds like the dream, and it is, but there's more to MTB press camps than you might think. Today's show sees Brian Park, Sarah Moore, Mike Kazimer, and I explain the ins and outs of press camps, from flights, presentations, star athletes, huge crashes, to how they can cost an insane amount of money, and whether the media should even be going to them at all.
We also recount some of our most interesting camps, like the time Kazimer flew to Sweden for two days to visit Mips (which he mixed up with POC in the podcast) and ride a rib boat to a lighthouse. From a bike brand's perspective, Sarah Moore tells us about organizing a press camp and having none of the bikes be available at the last minute; while Brian reveals just how costly a high-end press camp can be, which really blew my mind. And speaking of blowing it, I share a story about the time I cartwheel through a vicious rock garden while testing the new Tomac Supermatic 120 back in 2011. Oh, and John Tomac himself happened to be watching from about fifty feet away.
Got questions? Put 'em in the comment section below and we might answer them in a future podcast.
THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 102 - SHOULD MTB MEDIA BE GOING TO PRESS CAMPS? Feb 3rd, 2022
Flying around the world to ride other people's bikes is weird. And fun, but also weird.
Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.
Be safe be well,
Be safe be well,
Honestly, if I pay someone, it will be Paul Aston or alike, not Robin, sorry.
Be safe be well,
Let's face it we are all acting like a bunch of angry gatekeepers! That said it makes for interesting reading in the comments.
Nah, I agree with @TheR Sure, PB can use data collected to make a *best guess* on how to roll something out, but that does not automatically mean that it will be successful. It's been said dozens of times--what makes PB is the comments section, followed by the buy/sell, followed by PB staff personalities. I don't want to watch Levy shuckin' and jivin' his way through some scripted advertorial, and I think Kaz would rather ride gravel before having to do so. Commentors called out when Chapetta did a Trek comparison when she's sponsored by Trek.. even though it was literally marked as a Trek advertisement.
People can spot BS. Sneaky shoehorning of an Outside+ brand into PB leaves a bad taste for some, and at least does not go unnoticed for others.
As for all the other stuff you’re talking about, it’s unrelated to this particular point. That’s not what I’m discussing.
Anecdotally with race cars and motorbikes, never in my life, have I seen a more meticulous people, that will build something so mechanically amazing and top notch, and then tear it all down and totally redo the engine setup or suspension design/geometry 15 times, before they'll just spend the couple hundred bucks and powdercoat their wheels one single color so it actually looks like a decent, finished car and not some scrap heap... than engineers.
The two sides compliment each other most times, not recognizing this goes back to the "socially inept" part above. At least have some introspection about yourself and what you do and what you don't do.
The motorcycle industry is by far the WORST offender of any of that. There are so many mega talented welders and fab dudes that have zero business, actually running a business, and they're terrible at it, and it hurts their name, and product, and future profitability. Seen it so many times I couldn't even tell you.
Also, I've never wanted planned obsolesce, I'd say most "business types" do not want that. I DO want something that doesn't experience 4 months of delays for redo's to the spec drawings though, and something that doesn't sit in procurement for 12 months when it should have been 2 because nobody followed up on it, and something that does pay the contractor an extra 20% in inefficiency claims because an engineer forgot to coordinate materials or resources properly. Those would do just fine in my dream world. Enjoy the park!
Step 2: click around until you figure it out.
Thanks Mike & the rest of the team for writing the articles that I read. I plan to continue reading some, but not all, of Pinkbike's stuff.
It seems they have no real value or relevance beyond reconnecting with old friends and getting a holiday.
You hear that the bikes/product are talked about over a seminar/sales pitch. Then the next day you all have about 20-30mins to ride a poorly setup bike on trails you dont know. Then go home and type something for the "magazine" to sell the thing. And that your opinion is skewed, as a too damning write-up will not see you with future invites.
Ps paywall sucks. Whether it's $1 or $10 the barrier of entry managing another subscription is a pita.
The excitiment of seeing a real article typed up and not just a shared video, quickly vanished.
Send my apologies to Martin Whitely that I couldn't read his piece on uci teams.
I was also taken aback because it was the least friendly trailhead I had ever encountered in, at the time, 26 years of riding.
The temptation to have some long-form written articles over shreddits had me lay down my $24 for the year.
So far I'm impressed with Beta's articles and their spread of topics.
demand access. don't ask.
Cheers guys, cheers.
It can also be a huge public service: If PB posts a "meh" impression of a new bike, with a disclaimer that it was at a press camp, and somebody else posts an absolutely glowing impression at the same time, but doesn't acknowledge the press camp, it helps the reader understand which outlets are beign honest. You guys have talked about there being some "shillnalists" out there in a few previous podcasts, this is a step you can take to actively hurt the ability of those people to pretend to be unbiased.
They say "Nope, I don't have any bias after accepting a cool trip/experience/large bar tab from said company."
The issue is that even if you think you aren't being influenced, you are. A physician accepts a pen from a drug rep and is more likely to write a prescription for that medicine. The physician will tell you they are not influenced because they are so well educated they couldn't be influenced, but the data does not lie - many studies have shown this to be an issue - even if they only get a pen!
Hubris indeed if you think a trip doesn't influence how your thoughts, beliefs and articles are altered afterwards
Oh, you convinced me that aliens actually do exist @mikelevy - and we are them. Who could possibly be more high-tech for their primate boots and not only know less (individually and collectively) about the very planet that sustains us or how to actually live on it without having a tantrum than - humans? The most alien being to ever live on earth....
Stockholm have so much good mtb trails, some of which have very good potential to really test the riders protection.
And they put you on a lame RIB "shake the fillings put of your teeth" "sightseeing" and some glamping.
They say you can never be a prophet at home so maybe I'm biased, but I really don't appreciate POCs marketing. They are not swedish owned anymore anyway, sod off.
What’s the roadmap?
What is going to be paywalled?
Is there a mechanism to have the data we have to pb removed from outsides database?
Where is the awesome content beta promised?
If there was ever a time waki was needed.
I remember talking to one of your devs about Trailforks during that acquisition and boy-howdy has this strayed from the vision.
I understand some of your concern - this has become a community to a lot of people and change can suck - but I've been working here A LOT longer than the large majority of users who are posting accusatory comments like yours about the possible changes to Pinkbike, so put yourself in my shoes. If you think we haven't been honest, you always have the option of not coming here. We share what we know when we know it.
Re the sale, it did feel like we as a community were taken advantage of/misled in the lead up. The survey on socioeconomics and buying habits which was posted the week before the sale is something I would never have filled out for the benefit of a US hedge fund. That was underhanded as the sale had to be a done deal by then. For an oddball canadian company, f*ck yeah, take my data, sell to me, but their shareholders can go kick rocks. I was also totally down with the trailforks plus accounts, despite having had a convo with a dev while mapping trails during beta re keeping it free as a gift to the community that made PB what it is. Again, servers cost, no problem, bought my premium membership like so many others.
Looked at in hind sight, this, plus the cycling tips purchase and so many other things were clearly laying the groundwork for the sale, and as a long standing community member, it feels really crappy. PB is one of the last places I know of on the internet that still has the internet 1.0 flavour - just a community of kooks who were the customers, instead of a product that wealth is extracted from for a faceless shareholder. The comments section hasnt been infiltrated by nazis, and you can still make an offside joke within reason. For what its worth, I think you guys all deserve a pay day (hope you got yours), and I would have been happy to pay a membership or whatever keep PB independent, while ensuring you could all to afford cars made this century with airbags and a back seat and sized for an adult. I bet a lot of other users here would have too.
Regardless, the sale happened, I know this place cant keep being what it was, but gods do I hope it doesnt turn into what facebook has. The unannounced changes, the ominous statements that some content will always be free, and the lack of clarity or direction do not help anything. I think I (and I expect a lot of other folks) would love to have the Outside admins come in and do an AMA. After all, we are the product they sell to their shareholders, and while my 2 second ineffectual attempt at organizing isnt going to change anything, without the users this site is worthless. If things continue and NSMB or someone else puts a little effort in people will leave. It would be cool if outside could give all the frogs a little heads up re just how hot the water is going to get.
Should we trust what media companies tell us when they have a story about a product from one of their advertisers?
Should I only buy products if the only research I’ve done is read their companies websites information about the product?
Should I only give my daughter what she wants to eat?
But here’s where things get weird. If you stop and take a break after passing, and then pass again, and do that like 3-4 times on a climb it will get old and the rider working their butt off on the regular bike will get tired of this.
Also, if you’re slower on the DH, please get the heck over for the more skilled rider on the ‘normal’ bike, especially if they were nice enough to let you pass one or more times on the climb.
That’s it. Thanks!
As well as transparency generally being good, it gives the reader insight into how the bike industry works and an understanding of the limitations of what they're reading.
On the question of should press camps even exist - probably not for various reasons.
Not least because of the clueless write-ups which follow them on some MTB media outlets. Some of which I suspect "pay" their contributors with review gear and free trips.
Perhaps you also thought that, but didn't want to "punch down" by saying it?
Ah, are you guys still under the impression that any of this is on the up-and-up? Is that why you're so mad about someone else cutting the checks with the Outside thing? They're so good at it they get the writers to defend them. Come on! Nobody writes this shit for free.
It's Squid Pro Quo. Accept it and move on. Free yourselves!