The Pinkbike Podcast: Does Mountain Biking Need Its Own 'Drive to Survive'?

Apr 9, 2024 at 10:42
by Henry Quinney  
photo
New art by Taj Mihelich.

Romain Dompnier and Madison Wallinger, who are part of the production team behind Redbull's Race Tapes, explain what goes into a season of in-depth mountain biking coverage, the power of archetypes and how race coverage can help the sport grow.


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.

Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, Megaphone, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.


Music Corner

Dario's pick:


Mike's pick:


Alicia's pick:


Henry's pick:



Author Info:
henryquinney avatar

Member since Jun 3, 2014
336 articles

64 Comments
  • 34 4
 No.
  • 5 0
 Also no
  • 5 0
 Nein.
  • 3 1
 Watched a few episodes of whatever it's called......it's hot garbage.
  • 24 1
 I’d rather gatekeep the sport and try to convince others that it’s more fun to go golfing.
  • 5 1
 Forget golf... Pickleball will save us, although now with their ebikes they can go play pickleball after their ride ...
  • 1 0
 @pink505: but golf is so incredibly expensive it won’t leave any funds for a decent mtb.
  • 12 0
 Nah, no more reality TV crap please. MTBing is a small niche hobby/sport, why keep pushing to make it into a corporate money cow.
  • 3 0
 so CEO's can make more money.
  • 13 4
 I would say yes. More sponsorship dollars with flow into the sport and athletes would get paid more. It would have to be hosted by Rob Warner of course.
  • 9 0
 This last season of Drive to Survive is as unwatchable as an F1 race - so no. F1 cars are cool. The on track product is rubbish. MTBs are cool. The on track product is cool.
  • 7 1
 100%. Any sport that needs a Netflix series to make it interesting isn’t a sport I’m interested in watching.
  • 3 0
 @oatkinso: Agreed - seems like homey's are trying to make drama where there's none (or not that meaningful drama) - which is what drama queens do. Its more BS clickbait junk that obsucres - rather than clarifies - what mtb is (imo). There's drama enough and more then enough in any downhill race (minus UCI's BS semi's now...that's for ruining it UCI) or XC - and if that's not enough for peole then I dunno what they want... maybe mtb is not for those types. Clickbait drama is whats ruining us, not making us like each other, like sports or whatever genuinely - its fake that makes people think they like something when they've just eaten too much sugar.
  • 9 0
 No, don't give the warner brothers/ discovery more shitty ideas
  • 8 0
 Hey pb make your question a poll, I like clicking things
  • 4 0
 No, not really. MTB racing needs better promotion from all teams, riders, races, etc

The only series that gets proper coverage is the World Cup - and that's behind a paywall. Take the last weekend; US Pro Cup XC races from Fayetville.....no live stream at all. Italian XC races from Nalles - no stream......In 2024 that's just not good enough.......

You wonder why there are so few outside sponsors in MTB - there's a reason right there. Road racing is hoovering up all the sponsors as there are races almost every week from January to October.......

MTB is the poor relation - and can't find a way to fix this.
  • 6 1
 WC DH is not F1, end of story. Please stop trying to turn it into it. There's just not enough money in the sport, and that's not a bad thing...it keeps it more grass roots and fun...let's not take the fun out of it all eh?
  • 4 0
 You said it my man, and I literally laugh out loud every time I hear the F1-MTB comparison... The two are so completely far apart that I have to question the logic of anyone making the comparison. It's like comparing spaceshipsl to rickshaw racing. MTB is moslty solo or friends & in the woods. THATs what makes it fun: easy & low rent vs F1... cars which none of us actually have.

F1 culture is entirely opposite of Mtb - uber modernist spacecraft-racecraft, ultra intense competition in flat paved areas, dumping all over competitors, the endless smell of burning rubber & exhaust, flat concrete urban wastelands long denuded of nature & fossil fuel guzzling modern cars w/ drivers at completely inhuman ear-drum blowing speeds...and that's fine. Meanwhile MTB is insanely slow, even downhill, in comparison - foot-powered & all of the racing takes place in the woods and natural areas with birds & wildlife, wild places, especially mountains and hills.

F1 is about as close to mountain biking as Warren Buffetts income is to the rest of us - combined... just not even in the same realm.
  • 4 0
 All the teams do an excellent job of putting together documentary style cuts. I love watching them. But they are really team/brand specific. PB does a great race recap after every race. So i always feel up to date on each race. So we got coverage, just not cohesiveness.
  • 4 1
 Yes. Drive to Survive put F1 closer to people who were not really fans and became fans after watching it. I personally know several people who became fans and are now F1 followers DTS put F1 more relatable and has put more drama. And this is what people watch - entertainment. F1's value increased when DTS happened. When entertainment comes, money follows as more people will buy the product and this is great for riders who deserve to get paid higher in this high risk, short career sport. The business model needs to evolve.
  • 3 0
 Here's a biz -model for you. Juke the company that already had a process & was showing DH and XC to the planet for free on their own station for a decade and sell it to some hacks that brought you Ancient Aliens, Shark Week, and Pawn Stars. The - make people pay $10 a month for it on an obscure app in year one (but never release the data on subcribership) and then shut that app down and then tie it to another app in year 2 no one's ever heard of that you have to add onto existing cable service, and charge $30/month
$140 / year WITH ads - for (get this). Seven. Whole. Races. How's that supposed to "bring mountain biking to the world?" Who's gonna subscribe to that?

Granted - this is not your point at all... I'm just going on b/c 2024 DH raciing just got 3x as costly for fewer races - with ads - and why would most riders want to do that, much less anyone else on earth that's never heard of downhill or XC? IE - this is a bogus biz idea. Seems like the heads at the top of the mtb-biz model don't even have their fingers on the pulse - meanwhile Redbull is grasping at straws using drama-queen filmers to get wrench some drama out of some riders to get more people around the world into mtb - when they're not even hosting the kingpin races any longer (so, out of good will?).

Is there even a biz model in the house here?
  • 2 0
 As a long-time fan of motor racing, what interests me is the technology. What seems to interest DTS viewers is the interpersonal drama. We are not the same.
  • 4 1
 DTS is cancer to F1. DTS F1 fans have zero knowlegde about the sport, they are fans of the fake dts drama.
  • 3 0
 Nice to have Lettuce back on the pod. Regardless of how you feel about DH getting a reality program, this is a really excellent interview from Henry, the contrast between the Romaine's first visit and this one is incredibly telling of the pretty rapid improvements Henry's made as a host.
  • 4 0
 @dirtbaggraeme Absolutely - Lettuce is so much fun, and I'm glad to hear a bit more from him this time around. Thanks for the comment, I really appreciate it.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: Thanks for being willing to challenge the interviewees. It’s something that’s often sorely missing in the podcast world.
  • 3 0
 No, no it doesn't. As a 20+ year viewer of F1, I can tell you that DTS has damaged F1 immeasurably. It has created a very toxic fan culture that is driving people apart. DTS creates narratives that simply don't exist in reality.
I really don't think we want that for mountain biking.
  • 3 0
 Great interview @henryquinney, but I'd love to know, what is this boombox show called, where and when can I watch it? If this was covered in the interview I must have missed it.
  • 2 0
 Race Tapes Free on RedBull TV
  • 3 0
 Seriously... the fact that this wasn't published in the description of the Pod is very strange.
  • 2 0
 @ridedigrepeat: Ha that's fair, I'll add a little bit. It's in the subheader, but if you're on mobile you perhaps would not see it.

Cheers!
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: Thanks Henry! Really been loving the Pod lately. You, Alicia and everyone have been stepping it up with the quality of the interviews.
  • 6 1
 Drive To Survive basically ruined F1 so I’d say no
  • 3 1
 F1 ruined F1 with their stupid hybrid engines, cost cap + super restrictive regulations, 2021 Abu Dhabi bullshit, unpunished sexually abusive team principal, superstar 3x driver who seems to care more about sim racing than actual racing, and the fact that the teams are a literal cartel and won’t allow an 11th team on the grid because they’re too greedy.
  • 1 0
 @loudv8noises: I don't watch F1 any more since we lost it from FTA TV. Bit of a parallel there, perhaps...

(also the one-sidedness for the last 10+ years, the awful sound of the cars and the awful sound of David Croft's voice)
  • 4 3
 So, I've seen mountain bikes in "generations". If you step into my tardis with me, you will see that as a 14 year old shop rat in 1985, with my mullet, Van Halen T-shirt, cut off jeans and black and white checkered Vans, mountain bikes were so big that even my potbelly uncle and my athletic aunt bought a pair of Schwinn High Sierra mtb's. The fancy chrome one piece bar/stem, half paint/half chromoly frames, not what ever came in the 90's, $1900+ USD in 1985!! I was all about BMX freestyle then, so mtb, blah.. In 87-88, mtb's were about sorted in the bike models, ie, kids bikes, road, BMX recumbent, cruiser, MTB. The buzz for mtb by 1989 was pretty much gone. Then, 1991 showed up and mtb sprung back to life. Gone were the Moose bars, heavy lugged steel bikes, in with the lightweight ceramic alloys, mixed material lugged bikes, welded butted steel frames and some exotic plastic fiberglass stuff called carbon fiber. Suspension forks were options, rear suspension was becoming a thing. It really started to blow up. We had a national series in the USA and it became HUGE in the coming years! The who's who of racing would even show up and race 4x by 2003! National, hour long, TV coverage a week after the events, sometimes the next day!! MTB's seemed to be everywhere. In 1990, I had to put down the BMX bike due to injury and when I stumbled back outdoors in 1991, and that's when I picked up a mountain bike. I still dabbled in BMX, but.. I loved carving on downhill single-track and loved racing more, especially the gravity side of things. 50+ mph on a hardtail with a 50mm fork, a seat to the sky, cantilever brakes and a 110mm stem with 625mm flat bar and bar ends, in the mud and or rain? Uh, yes please!!! (Yeah, still have that frame and fork. Not a chance in Hades!!!!) Even ski hills through out the midwest offered their terrain in the mid 90's. But, by 1996, the guys I rode with in 1991-2 had stopped riding. The ski hills closed. It became quiet. Then, with films like Kranked and NWD, a new breed of rider popped up in 98-99. The freerider. Things were built, again, ski hills that closed a few seasons ago, re-opened with stunts and jumps. It was back, not exactly the same as the first 2 waves, but it was there. But then, something strange happened. The racing suffered as race entry's slowly started to drop and something called money disappeared. At some point, the National series just kind of disappeared. Right after that, the freerider movement was killed off because of injuries and illegal trails. Then, it became very lonely. I felt like PeeWee out in the woods in 2009. A loner, a rebel. Just me and my bike. Only my tire tracks were on the trail, week after week. Then, it slowly started to grow in 2011 or so. Something called a 29er was rolling around. Year after year, it'sbeen growing. I don't know where we are at now, if it's a dip or dive, but this is my 4th generation of riders. Best part of version 4, so many women are out there now. Even riding solo!! Something that was rare in the 90's. So, do we need tricks and gimmicks and a marketing team to try and drive to survive? No. You just have to wait for the next generation to pull it to the next one. BTW, since I started riding mtb in 91, 3 of the 20-ish guys I rode with, still ride today. For me, it's been an interesting ride so far. Speaking of which, gotta go ride before the rain comes.. or do I... Wink
  • 1 0
 It was the couple of episodes of Baywatch that helped the new 90's wave of MTB. So rad! I started around 90 or 91 in Jr. high.
  • 1 0
 I think the point is that Netflix's reach vs the current platforms and even Redbull, is just more massive. Maybe putting a series like "Between the tapes" into Netflix will invite more people to watch it. And when more people watch, more sponsors come, and riders get paid better.

There's a ton of differences between F1 and mtb but also some similarities. DH is your test bed for components R&D which is also for F1 where R&D plays a huge part and brands that succeed there are more likely to be trusted or recognized by consumers.
  • 2 1
 It's an interesting topic... I think the answer is, mountain bikers don't want a DTS style show. But the reality is, those shows get people who are interested in mountain biking, but maybe not racing involved by putting some pretty easy to digest personalities on the screen, and that's much easier to engage with, and connect to the riders. By doing this, other sponsors come in to the sport, riders get paid properly, we get better tiers to the sport, and it should be broadcast properly. And again, the riders get paid properly. Just saying no doesn't improve things in my mind. I think the trick is, don't take the piss like they do with DTS. Do it like the stuff Ben Cathro and team has been doing, that was absolute quality, told a good story, enough to keep you watching, really made a connection with the riders, and had a genuine level of integrity to it. Add that to some Jason Camisa Haggerty level graphics for some of the explanation stuff, and I think it's a winner!
  • 1 0
 Agree! Watch Race Tapes Season 2, that's exactly what it is Wink !
  • 2 0
 F1 has an app that is literally flawless, where you get TONS of racing content for only $11/month.... It's easily the best value I've ever experienced for a media product.... Mountain bike racing needs something like THAT.
  • 1 0
 I think the idea that 'If MTB had it's own Drive 2 Survive' would mean huge increase in viewership/sponsorship is a vast oversimplification. Others have said it, but F1 was already huge globally, and D2S just attracted a different audience.

If anything, Race Tapes might be as close as you will get, seeing as every other edit/series is paid for/produced by existing teams or manufacturers. Lettuce himself made this point, that they are 'more' independent' than others, and are more happy to call a spade a spade - and who doesn't love a rivalry or some Connor McGregor sh1t talk to spice things up?! (As independent as Red Bull can be with all their sponsored athletes). I liked the series though!

Having said that, and hearing how harsh @henryquinney thought the Finn Isles episode was on Finn, I sat down to watch, waiting for the sparks to fly... Then, nothing, nada, just some stuff about Finn maturing, and improving his mindset, and how he's on a journey to greatness. I WANTED BLOOD GODDAMITT!! :-)

It was more awks watching Bruni call Loris a bitch - but that was fascinating too. We're a niche sport, and journos are often close to riders, so I get it, being impartial and calling it how you see it might mean no access to a team next season.

Now if someone could show me the footage of Greg being told he didn't have a new Santa Cruz contract, live shots of when Ratboy and Gee had a fight, Palmer and Peaty calling out the French, etc etc i'm all in. (SORRY got caught in some nostalgia there for a sec).

Maybe MTB is just generally too nice - not 'professional' enough (yet) for life changing money to make the stakes high enough for athletes to hate on others?! I'm sure the drama is there, just hidden by camaraderie and respect?
  • 2 0
 No, they tried it with track. Nobody cared. They tried it with road. Nobody cared. F1, like it or not, is much more appealing to nearly everyone.
  • 4 0
 no it does not
  • 4 0
 Please god no
  • 1 0
 I feel like this already kinda exists with Redbull “Race Tapes” series?? Was on the front page a few days ago.
  • 1 0
 This is literally a podcast interviewing the creators of Race Tapes my guy
  • 1 0
 @Junker92: hahaha I got got by the clickbait!
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney Puck Pieterse is born 2002, so just 21 when winning the overall.
  • 2 0
 That's a fair shout. I realised after we recorded. I think it still stands as an observation, even if it's not as clear-cut as I suggested. I just think the sports are so different, and didn't feel the comparison was exactly like-for-like. Thanks for listening
  • 1 0
 as long as it is not with warner bros
  • 1 0
 Upchuck, hell yeah. Keeping that Atlanta heavy on top.
  • 1 0
 Fair do's to Henry for speaking his mind.
  • 1 0
 Just needs Rob Warner back...
  • 1 0
 We need more RedBull Fast Life
  • 1 0
 wow that music, hope no one actually listens to that kind of stuff.
  • 2 2
 We've already got the Pinkbike Academy. What more do we need?
  • 1 0
 3 minute gaps
  • 10 13
 Mountain bike needs to get off the e-bike delusion. E-bikes are what they are: motored-bicycles, and are simply destroying the industry.
  • 7 6
 Call the Whambulance
  • 4 3
 You don't like them because you don't see the point. That's fine. But my e-bike kept me in the game when I broke my wrist and helped me stay fit. They help people get into the hobby who otherwise wouldn't have done, that's a good thing in my opinion.
  • 4 2
 And yet the woods are full of people on them enjoying doing the same thing as the rest of us! In fact I go round my local trails on mine and repair damage, fix drainage ( which is a lot in the UK) and remove fallen trees...yeah E-bikes are killing mountain biking.







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