Video: What it Takes to Win a Reality TV Show: An Interview with Pinkbike Academy Season 3 Winner

Dec 12, 2022 at 10:07
by Christina Chappetta  

Christina Chappetta, professional athlete and judge on Pinkbike Academy Season 3, catches up with this year's winner, Max Grayston, to find out what it takes to win a mountain bike reality TV show, a pro contract and $30,000 cash, and what he plans to do next.

Pinkbike Academy Season 3 is available for FREE on Outside Watch or the Pinkbike YouTube channel.



Huge thanks to the brands who made this show possible!
Orbea, Shimano, Fox Racing, Maxxis, Outside, Garmin, Big White, Stans, Insta360, MRP, Funn, Ride Concepts, SDG, North Shore Racks, ODI, Rimpact, and Squirt.

Author Info:
christinachappetta avatar

Member since Jul 6, 2012
34 articles

  • 104 1
 It is just weird how not straightforward the show is with the reasons someone could win. Personally if they would have chosen candidates with similar followings then it would have been more interesting. I wish Eric would have won but the selection criteria was strange and even called out my Tarmo in the last episode.
  • 45 19
 Yeah its almost like reality TV shows are BS! OMG what a shocking revelation! LOL
  • 21 0
 @scott-townes: to be fair if you care enough to watch the show you can’t help but become invested in the contestants as people. So being outraged at perceived unfairness is a normal reaction.
  • 31 0
 For Tarmo to have to ask that question says everything that needs to be said.... and PB editing it into the show was really weird.
  • 10 0
 @scott-townes: I am not sure anyone is shocked but the over emphasis of overall package to then edit in Tarmo commenting about previous followings was just strange. It would have been a better look to not include that and not mention the overall package shit. Keep your knickers untwisted my fwend.
  • 14 0
 @kingbike2: It was just super strange to effectively have Tarmo and Eric be the pretty clear favorites in almost every respect but then to suddenly have the criteria that basically followers and social media were the main deciding factors. Well obviously, the largest following pre-show would win. Would have been nice to know that ahead of time lol
  • 26 0
 @DBone95 , @scott-townes They might have put that in the episode as a way of letting us know they weren't really happy with the final decision either. At the end of the day, Orbea is the one picking who they are going to sponsor, not Pinkbike. I'm sure Orbea knew who they were going to pick before the other contestants even got on a bike. It was a very simple marketing decision.
  • 6 0
 @Planet-26: You know, my wife said the exact same thing and I have to admit it makes sense.
  • 16 26
flag scott-townes FL (Dec 22, 2022 at 14:24) (Below Threshold)
 @kokofosho: I didn't watch a single episode. Its just funny seeing how much time you guys wasted watching something obviously pointless and now you're upset about it.
  • 7 0
 @kingbike2: I care enough to read the comments and was outraged at whatever everyone else was outraged at in the comments.
  • 17 0
 @scott-townes: even funnier to watch someone waste their time commenting (multiple times no less) on something they deemed pointless.
  • 5 0
 @scott-townes: you my friend are adorable.
  • 9 0
 There seems to be a big miss this season. I’m obviously an armchair quarter back here, but it may have made more sense if Orbea initially mentioned the type of rider they were looking for and PB chose the cast based on this criteria. Especially since the last two seasons were more race focused, viewers and people auditioning were likely expecting the same criteria. Therefore, the cast and events would have been similar to Max, which would have resulted in a more complete product. More clarity on all ends.

From your friendly neighborhood armchair expert.
  • 1 0
 @kokofosho: Every year I watch PBA I can already tell who will be the winner based off the amount of followers they have on social media platforms. Now that could be influenced by the behind the scenes stuff from the show or it may be coincidence, but ultimately the winner has to be marketable an the complete package for what the sponsors are looking for that season.
  • 2 2
 I think it’s so funny that season one started with some really solid sponsors and now they are down to insta360 cams and MRP forks… things have gone really down hill. The quality of the insta360 cameras is absolutely garbage! Hopefully they can bring the show back to its former glory but I doubt it. Especially with Outside behind it now.
  • 3 0
 Just saw the ending last night. What a crock, lol...
  • 82 1
 PBA Season 4: This season on Pinkbike Academy we'll take 10 absolute newbs, outfit them with the latest downcountry e-bikes and Insta360s to see who can create the BEST Friday Fails compilation. The winner will get a t-shirt and a 300 page compendium of comments from the Pinkbike public comment peanut gallery.
  • 16 0
 This at least sounds more entertaining.
  • 8 0
 I would turn off my Ebike filter and watch hell out of that.
  • 86 3
 Seems like 50,000 instagram followers’ll do it
  • 53 8

  • 24 33
flag scott-townes FL (Dec 22, 2022 at 10:48) (Below Threshold)
 Seems like no one should go onto a reality tv show if they're expecting to form a legit career not based on whoring themselves out on social media. WHAT A TOTAL SHOCK
  • 20 5
 @scott-townes: 50,000 people don’t care to see what I’m doing on a bike so I can’t hate on him. Congratulations, Max!!
  • 18 7
 But those 50,000 follow him because of his skills. It would be different if he had the followers because (s)he "hot".
You either get them by being skilled, or in the case of far too many because the person is good looking, and often a chick (and that's obviously not to say women can't ride, or all women are like this. So don't even go there with the sexist bs, you know exactly who I'm talking about). Just being honest. I didn't watch the season so I can't say whether he should have won or not, but he certainly deserves every follower he has imo, and more. He rips
  • 5 10
flag scott-townes FL (Dec 22, 2022 at 14:25) (Below Threshold)
 @kyleluvsdh: hahahahahahaha
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: my comment was just in response to the title of the video - don’t think “what it takes” is that big of a mystery
  • 6 0
 I get it but ultimately a reality show to find a fast or potentially fast racer and give them a contract and team support to see what they can accomplish is interesting, a show to find an ambassador/content creator, not so interesting, at least not to me.
I hope they come back with something better next season.
  • 6 14
flag owl-X FL (Dec 23, 2022 at 6:54) (Below Threshold)
 @kyleluvsdh: congratulations on calling women “chicks” in your preemptive defense of your sexism. That’s impressive.
  • 10 1
 @owl-X: you are awarded 1 scold point.
  • 2 11
flag owl-X FL (Dec 23, 2022 at 7:08) (Below Threshold)
 @TwoNGlenn: thanks. I’d like to cash it in and transfer it to your daughter.
  • 6 0
 @owl-X: bringing the kids into it, eh?
  • 6 0
 @owl-X: Tell me you're from Washington State, without telling me you're from Washington State xD
  • 1 5
flag owl-X FL (Dec 23, 2022 at 9:33) (Below Threshold)
 @TwoNGlenn: certainly. What else is there?
  • 2 6
flag owl-X FL (Dec 23, 2022 at 9:38) (Below Threshold)
 Strange time to suggest a word game, Kyle. None of the women in your life enjoy being called chicks.
  • 1 0
 @Trail6: ..... Verstappen? /S
  • 8 0
 For all the talk about “full package,” seems like they picked the guy with only about 2/3rds of the package. I guess Tarmo only had that much as well, but it seems like it would be easier to teach a racer to grow his social media than it would be to get a free ride guy to race faster. I don’t know.

It seems like they set out from the beginning bound and determined not to pick the race guy. They were going to pick the social media influencer no matter how many hoops they had to jump through to justify it.

Since that was the case why not make all the contestants content people? Don’t even race. Just make it a content competition for the season.
  • 78 4
 Congrats to MOTOMAX, but this season left a bad taste in my mouth.
  • 12 7
 Yeah, also I am super curious what a freeride guy will be riding now, orbea clearly doesn't have a dh/freeride rig.
Hopefully he won't go the same was as remy , yoann and all those guys hitting their lines on Enduro bike with small helmet (facespank)!
  • 3 0
 honestly if they said from the beginning that they are looking for a social media/ content creator athlete, everyone will have think differently !
And then it is fair and Max deserve the win for this category ! I think the blame is more on the concept of this TV show than on the result.
Max sounds an awesome guy and he will make great content and showing more about the sea to sky area, which is good.
Also everyone is surprised because Orbea isn't freeride at all !
  • 49 8
 how much value does a mid-pack EWS rider add to a brand like Orbea vs. a free-rider that can produce interesting content and be marketable? To me feels like outside of top 5-10 EWS riders significantly more value created by riders such as Yoann, Remy, etc. I am more keen to buy a Propain based on Remy's awesome shreddits or Yoann's into the gnarr than if they were in 28th place at EWS-Whistler. Agree though, show had to clearly hide how much faster Tarmo was in the end. Adjust each year challenges / format based on what the sponsor wants in the winner?
  • 13 9
 This PBA season really showed racers don’t sell bikes. And if they do the ROI is hard to figure out / justify during an economic climate full of budget cuts.

Well done, Max. Best of luck!
  • 50 1
 Sign them then. Don’t host a sham “competition”
  • 57 0
 And if they structured the show as an influencer competition rather than a racing competition it would be fine. They changed the intention of the show without changing the format to suit and created a meaningless ballsup.
  • 5 0
 @Starsky686: don't you think brands/Pinkbike get value also from the show itself? here we all are arguing about it after all haha. Engagement has value!
  • 4 0
 @Starsky686: and forgo all of this engagement and impressions? That sounds like thousands of missed impressions / marketing gains.
  • 8 2
 @dalrose: so content for the sake of content in other words. Engagement in this way has short term value but it's not sustainable. This season was "the island boys" of pinkbike, interesting only to the braindead and repulsive to everyone else.

I watched the first two seasons with relative commitment. This season I watched only when I was bored I didn't get through one episode without skipping most of it, and skipped straight to the end of the last one because this season just lacked anything to keep my attention. I doubt I'll attempt to watch another season. Not much value in it as far as I'm concerned.
  • 16 1
 @wolftwenty1: Just my opinion, but I would buy a bike from a professionally backed racer before I'd buy a bike from a random person hucking on IG. ....
  • 2 2
 @cky78: that’s fine and all but there is no way to measure that. For better or worse the instagram reach is measurable / defensible for ROI calculations.
  • 5 4
 @st-alfie: 99% of PB and bike media is content for content sake. Don’t be so naive. The show has always been whack…but clearly has had enough engagement to continue the investment. PB isn’t doing this shit ‘just for fun’
  • 3 1
 @wolftwenty1: genuinely curious how IG followers are a measurable criteria... I guess I just don't "get" social media. lol
  • 1 0
 @cky78: it’s not just social media. In short you and everyone else had a digital profile that follows you all around the internet. Things like following certain accounts, clicking though on certain Links, etc is measurable. Then these companies extra plate conversions and make assumptions on how ‘reach/engagement’ impacts sales. I love loic but him standing on a podium has no measurable ROI. Bigger issue here is that it’s largely measurement for measurement sake and it’s somewhat accurate at best. That said when it comes to budget time execs like to see real measurement around things that are classified as ‘performance marketing’. Racing support is an investment in brand marking which is a long term play and you have to believe in brand in general. Many execs at companies don’t see it that way.
  • 2 0
 @wolftwenty1: what business does anything "for fun"? quickest way for a ceo to get fired by board or shareholders haha.
  • 6 1
 @wolftwenty1: content for content sake would suggest that there is no ambition behind a media project, so I would disagree. I would say almost all content falls into one main category, marketing. If the marketing isn't done with some sort of integrity and substance it risks alienating the audience from that brand. The comments would suggest that Orbea has put off a reasonable portion of the pinkbike crowd in this very way. I'm sure they'll continue to make money off it, but if their marketing showed they had some passion for the sport rather than just the business, they would make money without pushing any of the market away.

No one ever said anyone was doing this just for fun. We all realise its advertising and to suggest anything but is retarded. That doesn't mean that people can't see through the bullshit.
  • 2 0
 @st-alfie: fair enough. It’s all bullshit if you ask me. None of these projects have ambition beyond marking and selling more. Once you just accept that ask yourself…perhaps it wasn’t targeted at you.
  • 2 2
 @dalrose You hit the nail on the head. Yeah, Tarmo was definitely the fastest competitor. But the most marketable? No... If you're racing and consistently finishing among the top 10 fastest riders on the planet. Yeah, race results are enough. But if you're a mid-pack elite racer, you better bring more to the table than just racing. Sponsors are looking for who's marketable. Not just who's fast.
  • 3 1
 @wolftwenty1: I agree to a certain extent, although you can definitely tell the difference between marketing done solely by paper pushers and marketing done with input from people that are passionate about what they are trying to sell. Orbea seems to be of the former variety.
  • 4 2
 Nae idea who max is but Remy, Pilgs etc have the content market sewn up and the money is in YouTube views for the rider, not sure what Orbea hoped to achieve but looking at the comments it's seriously backfired on them. The loss of their already minimal reputation due to the outcome of this series must be a bad for Orbea to see.
  • 1 0
 @wolftwenty1: thanks for taking the time to explain further.
  • 1 0
 Yeah and Max's content is the same hits that Yoann and Remi do. So why wouldn't Orbea look at that and think thats the man for the job because they're seeing how much attention those two get.
  • 2 0
 @st-alfie: idk dude, there are good you tubers who make amazing content and litterally just f*ck around talking nonesense to fill in the 30 mins to get more ad revenue, they make a lot of money thanks to that and its quite sustainable aslong as you can keep veiwers you can keep earning.
  • 2 0
 @inside-plus: there sure are. All made possible by the braindead f*cks I mentioned earlier. Simple people allowing simple people to become successful.
  • 1 1
 @st-alfie: Nah not at all lol. The actuall content is really good. They just fill it with faf becasue YT pays more for longer videos. If you watch HeavyDsparks vids, they're full of BS like them putting fuel in their vehicles, eating, talking about where they're going to eat, talking about what the videos gonna be about and on and on, while the content itself is still really interesting, they've got to fill in time to make longer vids since it pays more.
  • 3 0
 @inside-plus: yeah I've come across heavydsparks stuff. All that shit makes it unwatchable to me, so I dont. I have no interest in seeing people go about their mundane everyday tasks. I have even less interest in sitting through all the rubbish just so they can make money from filling their videos with it. It's a slippery slope down to the Kardashians from obnoxious content like that. If people didn't support it it wouldn't be so prevalent and the internet would be full of people's watch-worthy activities without all the bullshit.
  • 39 3
 I reckon that Specialized and Santa Cruz dropping Lifestylers and Instagrammers to concentrate on racers to promote their products speaks volumes more than Orbea's late on the gnarly bandwagon attempt to sell bikes along the Sea to Sky.
  • 37 2
 How do you think the pitch meetings went when Outside tried to sell this show to a network? Outside "We got this really great competition reality show, you race bikes to win 30,000 sponsorship" Any random network "Sounds really cool! The fastest racer wins, right?" *awkward pause* Random network "...Right?"
  • 35 4
 Tarmo was the best mountain biker.
  • 10 19
flag suspended-flesh FL (Dec 22, 2022 at 11:36) (Below Threshold)
 The best Racer, you mean. Max has the FR chops for days. Cam had even seen his clips.
  • 18 5
 @suspended-flesh: max can chuck his meat for sure… but my little sister has better body position and bike control…
  • 11 4
 @huculaker: OK, but technique can be learned. Some are born to huck meat, some aren't. I guess Orbea was looking for a rider to expose their meat, so to speak.
  • 5 21
flag sanchofula (Dec 22, 2022 at 12:12) (Below Threshold)
 No one cares about being the best mountain biker except Tarmo. Winning in the business world is not about winning races, it's about presenting a product in a way that improves the sale that product. You are the best rider in your own mind.
  • 3 12
flag tmwjr777 FL (Dec 22, 2022 at 13:03) (Below Threshold)
 @sanchofula: Boom! 100%!!! It seems strange to me that more people don't seem to understand this. It's about marketability and selling product. Unless you're consistently finishing among the top ten fastest riders on the planet, race results aren't enough. You gotta have a marketable personality and provide marketable content. It's just how it is nowadays.
  • 3 0
 @tmwjr777: I wonder how many people bough Commencal Supremes for the race results vs the affordability vs technology etc?
  • 10 0
 @tmwjr777: Wasnt the whole point though to give someone the opportunity, training and support to take them to the top 10? Jesse didnt just jump to #1 in the world, it took years of grind and support to get there.

Also, perhaps his marketability in NA might be low, but he opens the brand up to an entirely new market with his Finish roots and other European markets.

Orbea keep saying they're looking for a long term relationship, but Evan Wall produced the goods but was not kept on. This shows me what they say and what they mean are not the same thing.

Tarmo could very well be a top 10 finisher in 2-3 years with some development and a solid team around him, but I guesse Orbea will never know...
  • 8 3
 @huculaker: your little sister has better body position when chucking meat? Maybe youre a bit too close to your sister, or maybe I'm reading too much into this.
  • 3 1
 @st-alfie: nah she keeps her wheels on the ground, not sure what you’re after there sir!
  • 4 0
 @st-alfie: *spits out coffee*
  • 20 0
 personally, i’m appalled that they didn’t hold a Rose Ceremony to announce the winner.

PBA academy takes itself too seriously. More humor, less pretense.
  • 1 0
 It’s pretty clear in that last episode that they were struggling to find new ways to keep the elimination dramatic.
  • 16 2
 I am a 4X Orbea owner. I can say that after the way that they handled the show this year, that I am disappointed. They have lost some brand love from myself, and I expect from other brand advocates in the they way that they ran the show/competition.

I would also argue that DH/Freeride is not their heritage, and while they are trying to expand their brand appeal, they are trying too hard. @orbea stop trying to be something you are not. Seems like less than $30K of market research and focus groups could of told you that.
  • 17 0
 Please make your embedded YouTube videos not autoplay. Thanks.
  • 15 0
 At least Specialized and Shimano picked up Tarmo.
  • 4 0
 Sooooo would you take an enduro or a rallon....i think that's what its called. Well done Tarmo, enjoy being on one of the biggest companies out there, you shred buddy!
  • 15 1
 Does Orbea know they could have sent a DM to him without making a whole show about it?
  • 5 0
 Love the blurred image on the homepage where you can clearly see the color of the bike which to anybody who watched would be a giveaway. Next season I would love to see everybody do all the challenges and have a scoreboard so the competitors can know where they stand. It would also be nice if the stage times were published instead of shown in the corner of the screen for 2 seconds. Especially this year when they rode the course twice, great chance to show progression. Alternatively it would be rad to do this with people who suck and see how far they could progress in a week with some coaching.
  • 7 0
 Called it, Motocross Background everytime. Prediction for 2023, YouTube Manual Tutorial background is the new BMX/Motocross Background
  • 1 0
 Wooden Wheelie Machine Background
  • 5 1
 I am blown away that Pinkbike created the whole pretense of a reality show only to then ignore the result of the 10 challenges. Clearly Tarmo dominated the entire competition and seemed like a great guy as well. Maybe Orbea could have two different categories in the show and actually make each one competitive. Max is a great rider but really difficult to listen to as a brand ambassador. I feel like he is up there speaking and everyone isn't 100% sure why he is there. He's not going to race EWS because that's not his specialty. On the otherhand the entire purpose of the academy up until now has been to race EWS.
  • 1 0
 I haven't watched a single episode of this crap, but you present what appears to be a logical argument so here's an upvote
  • 8 5
 It seems Orbea is straddling this line of, being in the "business of selling bikes", where the purpose of their race team is for "social media exposure", since "at the end of the day, it's a business".

I think you have to be careful as a company having that philosophy. For me it doesn't sit right. People want to support brands who value a core racing pedigree. This season calls into question where Orbea's true values as a company lie. And yes I know, they do have good riders on the roster like Maes.

But this "at the end of the day, it's a business" mentality that wove through this season, was just really uninspiring.
  • 6 3
 "People want to support brands who value a core racing pedigree."

They do? I can't imagine this is remotely true for 95%+ of the people who buy mountain bikes.
  • 3 0
 Max; congrats! Pinkbike; that season was lacking direction, content, flow and any sort of relevance. I think Its time to go back to the drawing board... It was better when you were helping emerging riders instead of buying Insta followers. Max is rad though... just offer him 30k for his followers next time and make a season of actual content.
  • 9 7
 Must admit I was not surprised about the results. From a business perspective Max and Eric were the obvious choices followed very closely by Brittney. Orbea wants to sell bikes in the PNW period. They need an ambassador who is gonna be at races/events and putting out really awesome content like Yohann and Remi. This was the best group of contestants to date. The format of super short episodes was horrible. I like katie and cam but the prior format was way more enjoyable to watch. Honestly kinda miss Jason. This group of riders are Probably faster than any of the other contestants and also very outgoing personally. Totally agree with whomever said unless your top 5 you’re not really selling any bikes. Tarmo is fast and hopefully gets picked up by a race team.
  • 2 4
  • 1 0
 Nailed it.
  • 3 1
 I hear they have this guy called Geoff Gulevich who might be doing that in the Instagram world already. Kinda like saying Orbea already have Marten Maes
  • 2 0
 Here's what I don't understand: IF Orbea wanted someone putting out content like Yohann or Remi, why not just sponsor one of them? Yohann and Remi already have a pretty solid following. Or maybe BC POV? This, to me, seems like a "plug and play" solution, rather than a PBA which has left some people bitter.

IF Orbea really wants to sell bikes they need to be more readily available in Local Bike Shops.

As far as PBA is concerned, well, I wanted to see these people ride. They really did not focus on that at all.

just my humble opinion
  • 2 0
 @WillStax: They have complex ride/sponsorship deals already and also have their own choices to make.
  • 4 1
 Seems like a nice guy and great rider who is worthy of a pro ride. BUT, I don't know how you conclude that he won on the show. Tarmo clearly performed better in all of the challenges.
  • 1 1
 It's not a race but an overall meritocracy.
  • 4 0
 Hey pinkbike more auto play but more volume and start all videos with the PH theme. Please.
  • 3 1
 well, in the end, it doesn't really matter who won I guess.. I just wish the show was a little bit more about riding bikes, than all the other bullshit... make it longer and see the shreds, don't wanna see the rest
  • 1 0
 Laughing out loud about blurring the thumbnail for this article. Not sure if y’all noticed, but every contestant had different colored bikes.

As I went about my busy life and somewhat looked forward to the finale when I had time, I was pleased to have it ruined by this idiotic choice knowing the slowest guy rode a green bike.
  • 2 0
 Sure, but if someone watched the show closely enough to memorize the color of bike each contestant was riding, then they probably already know who won the thing.
  • 3 1
 also, is no one gonna talk about that crazy saw tool hanging over their heads? is that tool designed to remove e13 bottom brackets?
  • 2 0
 Could not take my eyes off that thing...whatever it is.
  • 2 1
 choosing the winner in an unfair way i bet was done by design. get people to think its unfair raises their engagement, this is my theory. otherwise the whole thing is much less interesting
  • 1 0
 It‘s a shame, Yarmo had Not wone!! Such an good Rider !!!
At least the next Downhill or Enduro World Cup will win Not the fastest, but the rider with the best „social Media“ !!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Not enough actual riding. No personal investment in the characters. And a media company prioritizing media production makes sense I guess, but is a bit disappointing. This season was a big miss.
  • 4 1
 Moto Max. E bike only athlete?
  • 1 1
 I don't doubt this is part of their ploy with him, and could be a good fit like Flo racing EWS-E and doing well could help sell some bikes. But he will do it in US and Canada. If people don't understand how big e-bikes are with the moto world it may explain why they are so baffled with his selection.
  • 2 0
 pinkbike still showing max’s roost photo in this video like they didn’t know it’s shit
  • 1 0
 Pathetic this year. Gonna give a miss next year for sure. Time is short and the way they conducted it this year was definitely a waste of time.
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike Huck to Flat Season 4!
  • 5 3
 They know you can buy followers…. Right?
  • 3 0
 Social media is GOLD!
  • 2 0
 He was so close to DOOM AND DEATH in the pov on the rock lilly pad.
  • 1 0
 Winner take all next time. Ribbons for the losers. The clock don’t lie. Arbitrary BS….whatever.
  • 2 0
 the winner has a instagram background!
  • 5 8
 not one of you arm-chair warrior douche bags have congratulated MAX.. A well deserved and fair win. the orbea guy even said he had what it took to get in and bring in a new niche for the brand. NICE Work on the win and keep pinning it...
Below threshold threads are hidden

Copyright © 2000 - 2024. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.031885
Mobile Version of Website