Pinkbike's State of the Sport Full Release

Apr 27, 2021 at 5:46
by James Smurthwaite  
Welcome to the 2021 Pinkbike State of the Sport Survey. This anonymous survey is designed to help shed light on key issues affecting the professional field and elite competition. We surveyed the best riders in the world to hear their thoughts, ideas, concerns, and criticisms on mountain biking in 2021. We invited any rider who had finished in the Top 40 overall of their chosen discipline in either of the previous two seasons in either XC, enduro, downhill, or slopestyle & freeride, as well as notable non-competition riders and highly ranked juniors. We then published them in full and publicly. To read the introduction to the survey click here, and to see all the other currently published SOTS articles click here.




Throughout the past week, we've been releasing data from our State of the Sport survey. We've specifically drilled down into the stories that we believe are the most interesting and impactful but the Survey covered a far wider range of topics than those we have already presented. As promised earlier in the week, below we have published the full results from the Survey. Please note, we stopped short of sharing individual responses as we promised athletes anonymity and relied on their trust to gather this data. As with other articles, any attempts to identify riders in the comments will be deleted. With that said, here are the full results of the Pinkbike State of the Sport survey.

Section 1 - Demographics

What is your gender?


Male: 121 (61.1%)
Female: 77 (38.9%)


What is your age?


Junior: 9 (4.5%)
18-20: 35 (17.7%)
21-25: 53 (26.8%)
26-30: 67 (33.8%)
31-35: 29 (14.6%)
36+: 5 (2.5%)

Which continent are you from?


Africa: 1 (0.5%)
Asia: 3 (1.5%)
Europe: 123 (62.1%)
North America: 46 (23.2%)
Oceania: 23 (11.6%)
South America: 2 (1%)

What is your primary cycling discipline?


Downhill: 71 (35.9%)
Enduro: 65 (32.8%)
Cross Country: 39 (19.7%)
Slopestyle or Freeride: 21 (10.6%)
Other: 2 (1%)

What position did you finish in the overall rankings of your primary discipline last year?


Top 5: 45 (22.7%)
Top 10: 42 (21.2%)
Top 20: 47 (23.7%)
Top 40: 24 (12.1%)
41st or higher: 15 (7.6%)
N/A: 25 (12.6%)

Section 2 - Media & Filming

How many followers do you have on your main social media account?


0-10,000: 89 (44.9%)
10,000-25,000: 47 (23.7%)
25,000-50,000: 20 (10.1%)
50,000-100,000: 25 (12.6%)
100,000-250,000: 11 (5.6%)
250,000+: 6 (3%)

Why do you use social media?


To Make Myself More Valuable to Sponsors: 171 (86.4%)
To Make Content With and For My Fans: 137 (69.2%)
I Like to Speak to My Fans Directly: 58 (29.3%)
I'm Contracted to Do So: 71 (35.9%)
To Use My Influence in the Mountain Biking Community: 86 (43.4%)
Other (answers included because they enjoy it, for inspiration and to be creative): 7 (3.5%)
(Note, multiple-choice question)


I have to make content to maintain my income


Strongly Agree: 46 (23.2%)
Agree: 81 (40.9%)
Neutral: 49 (24.7%)
Disagree: 19 (9.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 3 (1.5%)

I enjoy making content for social media


Strongly Agree: 22 (11.1%)
Agree: 83 (41.9%)
Neutral: 71 (35.9%)
Disagree: 18 (9.1%)
Strongly Disagree: 4 (2%)

Social media reach is more important to me than traditional media coverage (e.g video on Pinkbike homepage or Photo Epic appearance)


Strongly Agree: 7 (3.5%)
Agree: 40 (20.2%)
Neutral: 87 (43.9%)
Disagree: 60 (30.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 4 (2%)

I have had to create more content because of the effects of COVID-19 on the mountain bike industry


Strongly Agree: 44 (22.2%)
Agree: 95 (48%)
Neutral: 38 (19.2%)
Disagree: 17 (8.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 4 (2%)

I have considered leaving competition to create content full time


Strongly Agree: 4 (2%)
Agree: 26 (13.2%)
Neutral: 16 (8.1%)
Disagree: 66 (33.5%)
Strongly Disagree: 85 (43.1%)

Social media has a negative impact on my mental health


Strongly Agree: 18 (9.1%)
Agree: 77 (38.9%)
Neutral: 42 (21.1%)
Disagree: 50 (25.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 11 (5.6%)

Section 3 - Home Country Support

My home country gave me an advantage compared to others


Strongly Agree: 12 (6.1%)
Agree: 45 (22.7%)
Neutral: 50 (25.3%)
Disagree: 60 (30.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 31 (15.7%)

My national governing body supports its athletes well


Strongly Agree: 5 (2.5%)
Agree: 19 (9.6%)
Neutral: 34 (17.2%)
Disagree: 67 (33.8%)
Strongly Disagree: 70 (35.4%)

It is affordable, without industry support, to compete abroad


Strongly Agree: 1 (0.5%)
Agree: 15 (7.6%)
Neutral: 30 (15.2%)
Disagree: 98 (49.5%)
Strongly Disagree: 54 (27.3%)

It’s easier for Europeans to compete at an elite level


Strongly Agree: 59 (29.9%)
Agree: 83 (42.1%)
Neutral: 30 (15.2%)
Disagree: 23 (11.7%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (1%)

To race in my chosen discipline, there were opportunities to get the necessary points in my home country


Strongly Agree: 7 (3.5%)
Agree: 68 (34.3%)
Neutral: 21 (10.6%)
Disagree: 58 (29.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 29 (14.6%)
This doesn't apply to me: 15 (7.6%)

Despite opportunities to get points in my home country, I felt I had to go to another country to get the necessary points


Strongly Agree: 28 (14.1%)
Agree: 53 (26.8%)
Neutral: 34 (17.2%)
Disagree: 45 (22.7%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (1%)
This doesn't apply to me: 36 (18.2%)

Section 4 - Rumeneration

Is mountain biking your sole income or do you have to have another job to support yourself?


I don't take a wage from mountain biking: 42 (21.2%)
It's less than 50% of my income: 27 (13.6%)
It's more than 50% of my income: 32 (16.2%)
Full income: 97 (49%)

What were your total earnings from mountain biking last year?


0-5,000 USD: 56 (29%)
5,000-10,000 USD: 20 (10.4%)
10,000-20,000 USD: 28 (14.5%)
20,000-30,000 USD: 16 (8.3%)
30,000-40,000 USD: 14 (7.3%)
40,000-50,000 USD: 15 (7.8%)
50,000-100,000 USD: 25 (13%)
100,000-250,000 USD: 13 (6.7%)
250,000-500,000 USD: 5 (2.6%)
500,000+ USD: 1 (0.5%)

How much of your income from mountain biking comes from a guaranteed salary?


Less than 20%: 55 (28.6%)
20-40%: 12 (6.3%)
40-60%: 19 (9.9%)
60-80%: 64 (33.3%)
Around 100%: 42 (21.9%)

How much of your income from mountain biking comes from prize money?


Less than 20%: 135 (69.9%)
20-40%: 34 (17.6%)
40-60%: 7 (3.6%)
60-80%: 4 (2.1%)
Around 100%: 13 (6.7%)

How much of your income from mountain biking comes from other bonuses?


Less than 20%: 126 (65.3%)
20-40%: 44 (22.8%)
40-60%: 13 (6.7%)
60-80%: 9 (4.7%)
Around 100%: 1 (0.5%)

How much of your equipment is provided to you free of charge?


Less than 20%: 12 (6.1%)
20-40%: 13 (6.6%)
40-60%: 15 (7.6%)
60-80%: 35 (17.7%)
Around 100%: 123 (62.1%)

How much of your travel costs are paid for by your team or sponsors?


Less than 20%: 59 (29.8%)
20-40%: 9 (4.5%)
40-60%: 11 (5.6%)
60-80%: 23 (11.6%)
Around 100%: 96 (48.5%)

How much of your accommodation costs are paid for by your team or sponsors?


Less than 20%: 62 (31.3%)
20-40%: 2 (1%)
40-60%: 9 (4.5%)
60-80%: 21 (10.6%)
Around 100%: 104 (52.5%)

I rely on good race or event results for my livelihood


Strongly Agree: 39 (19.7%)
Agree: 90 (45.5%)
Neutral: 41 (20.7%)
Disagree: 21 (10.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 7 (3.5%)

I am paid fairly for what I do


Strongly Agree: 6 (3.1%)
Agree: 51 (26%)
Neutral: 54 (27.6%)
Disagree: 60 (30.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 25 (12.8%)

Which do your sponsors value most?


Good one off results in my chosen discipline: 26 (13.1%)
Consistent results in my chosen discipline: 100 (50.5%)
Media coverage from events: 7 (3.5%)
Active social media: 46 (23.2%)
One successful 'Must Watch' video part: 1 (0.5%)
Photography projects: 0
Regularly produced YouTube content: 3 (1.5%)
Face to face interaction with the public: 12 (6.1%)
Product testing and feedback: 3 (1.5%)

Section 5 - Physical and Mental Health Support

Enough is done to ensure rider safety at races or events


Strongly Agree: 11 (5.6%)
Agree: 80 (40.4%)
Neutral: 45 (22.7%)
Disagree: 53 (26.8%)
Strongly Disagree: 9 (4.5%)

I have felt pressure to come back early from an injury


Strongly Agree: 21 (10.6%)
Agree: 45 (22.7%)
Neutral: 50 (25.3%)
Disagree: 64 (32.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 18 (9.1%)

I am worried about the long term effects of concussions


Strongly Agree: 59 (29.8%)
Agree: 81 (40.9%)
Neutral: 40 (20.2%)
Disagree: 15 (7.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 3 (1.5%)


Enough is done to educate riders about the harms of concussions


Strongly Agree: 4 (2%)
Agree: 45 (22.7%)
Neutral: 42 (21.2%)
Disagree: 89 (44.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 18 (9.1%)

I would be adequately financially supported in a case of a serious injury


Strongly Agree: 9 (4.5%)
Agree: 45 (22.7%)
Neutral: 42 (21.2%)
Disagree: 62 (31.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 40 (20.2%)

I take out private insurance of some kind in case of injury or loss of earnings


Agree: 140 (71.1%)
Disagree: 57 (28.9%)

There are enough measures in place at events to make me feel safe enough to push my limits


Strongly Agree:11 (5.6%)
Agree: 89 (44.9%)
Neutral: 66 (33.3%)
Disagree: 28 (14.1%)
Strongly Disagree: 4 (2%)

All venues have adequate accident response


Strongly Agree: 4 (2%)
Agree: 45 (22.7%)
Neutral: 57 (28.8%)
Disagree: 70 (35.4%)
Strongly Disagree: 22 (11.1%)

I felt safe racing or competing during the COVID-19 pandemic


Strongly Agree: 27 (13.8%)
Agree: 83 (42.6%)
Neutral: 36 (18.5%)
Disagree: 19 (9.7%)
Strongly Disagree: 9 (4.6%)
I did not race or compete during the COVID-19 pandemic: 21 (10.8%)

Section 6 - Opportunities and Equality

How much do you feel you have been taken advantage of in contract negotiations?


Not at all: 32 (16.5%)
A little bit: 79 (40.7%)
Significantly: 56 (28.9%)
Very badly: 20 (10.3%)
Extremely badly: 7 (3.6%)

During contract negotiations, I had a good idea of my own value compared to my peers


Strongly Agree: 10 (5.1%)
Agree: 71 (36.4%)
Neutral: 48 (24.6%)
Disagree: 50 (25.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 16 (8.2%)

Speaking English significantly benefits a rider financially


Strongly Agree: 60 (30.5%)
Agree: 91 (46.2%)
Neutral: 43 (21.8%)
Disagree: 3 (1.5%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

eMTBs have a place in the competitive mountain biking scene.


Strongly Agree: 19 (9.7%)
Agree: 72 (36.7%)
Neutral: 54 (27.6%)
Disagree: 30 (15.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 21 (10.7%)

I have witnessed or experienced sexism or sexist language at an event


Strongly Agree: 22 (11.2%)
Agree: 48 (24.5%)
Neutral: 45 (23%)
Disagree: 49 (25%)
Strongly Disagree: 32 (16.3%)

I have witnessed or experienced racism or racist language at an event


Strongly Agree: 8 (4.1%)
Agree: 28 (14.4%)
Neutral: 36 (18.5%)
Disagree: 78 (40%)
Strongly Disagree: 45 (23.1%)

I have witnessed or experienced homophobia or homophobic language at an event


Strongly Agree: 11 (5.6%)
Agree: 20 (10.2%)
Neutral: 47 (24%)
Disagree: 75 (38.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 43 (21.9%)

I have witnessed or experienced transphobia or transphobic language at an event


Strongly Agree: 16 (8.2%)
Agree: 35 (17.9%)
Neutral: 43 (21.9%)
Disagree: 62 (31.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 40 (20.4%)

Section 7 - Women's Section

I have experienced sexism in the sport of mountain biking


Strongly Agree: 27 (35.1%)
Agree: 22 (28.6%)
Neutral: 11 (14.3%)
Disagree: 14 (18.2%)
Strongly Disagree: 3 (3.9%)

There is a gender pay gap in mountain biking


Strongly Agree: 41 (53.2%)
Agree: 23 (29.9%)
Neutral: 9 (11.7%)
Disagree: 3 (3.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 1 (1.3%)

I would support legislation to diversify the professional field. Ie. an elite UCI trade team must have at least 2 of the following: a male, a female and a junior


Strongly Agree: 32 (41.6%)
Agree: 26 (33.8%)
Neutral: 12 (15.6%)
Disagree: 5 (6.5%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (2.6%)

The course should be the same, irrespective of gender


Strongly Agree: 41 (53.2%)
Agree: 25 (32.5%)
Neutral: 8 (10.4%)
Disagree: 3 (3.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

Section 7 -Junior/Under21/Under 23 Section

I’m happy with the current rules around the junior/U21/U23 to elite transition


Strongly Agree: 2 (6.7%)
Agree: 20 (66.7%)
Neutral: 2 (6.7%)
Disagree: 3 (10%)
Strongly Disagree: 3 (10%)

Such a defined transition between junior/U21/U23 and elite makes racing harder for younger riders


Strongly Agree: 6 (20%)
Agree: 12 (40%)
Neutral: 3 (10%)
Disagree: 9 (30%)


There’s appropriate financial aid for juniors/U21 riders/U23 riders


Strongly Agree: 0
Agree: 2 (6.7%)
Neutral: 4 (13.3%)
Disagree: 8 (26.7%)
Strongly Disagree: 16 (53.3%)

What proportion of your total expense comes from sponsors?


Less than 20%: 8 (27.6%)
20%-40%: 2 (6.9%)
40%-60%: 1 (3.4%)
60%-80%: 7 (24.1%)
80%-99%: 5 (17.2%)
100%: 6 (20.7%)

Section 8 - World Cup Downhill

How many men should qualify for Elite World Cup finals?


20 or fewer: 0
20-40: 4 (4.8%)
20-60: 4 (4.8%)
It should stay at 60: 29 (34.9%)
60-80: 44 (53%)
80+: 2 (2.4%)

How many women should qualify for Elite World Cup finals?


10 or fewer: 2 (2.4%)
10-15: 10 (12%)
It should sat at 15: 16 (19.3%)
15-20: 37 (44.6%)
20+: 18 (21.7%)

If my national series was more prestigious or better funded, I would rather attend that


Strongly Agree: 19 (22.9%)
Agree: 14 (16.9%)
Neutral: 23 (27.7%)
Disagree: 21 (25.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 6 (7.2%)

The current protected rider system ensures fairer racing


Strongly Agree: 4 (4.8%)
Agree: 34 (41%)
Neutral: 20 (24.1%)
Disagree: 16 (19.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 9 (10.8%)

I like the current weekend practice schedule


Strongly Agree: 4 (4.9%)
Agree: 43 (52.4%)
Neutral: 13 (15.9%)
Disagree: 14 (17.1%)
Strongly Disagree: 8 (9.8%)

I think bikes should be more regulated


Strongly Agree: 0
Agree: 16 (19.3%)
Neutral: 28 (33.7%)
Disagree: 32 (38.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 7 (8.4%)

Skinsuits should be allowed at World Cup level


Strongly Agree: 1 (1.2%)
Agree: 5 (6%)
Neutral: 20 (24.1%)
Disagree: 22 (26.5%)
Strongly Disagree: 35 (42.2%)

There should be double headers in coming seasons


Strongly Agree: 23 (27.7%)
Agree: 28 (33.7%)
Neutral: 14 (16.9%)
Disagree: 12 (14.5%)
Strongly Disagree: 6 (7.2%)

The current UCI points allocation system is fair


Strongly Agree: 1 (1.2%)
Agree: 24 (28.9%)
Neutral: 33 (39.8%)
Disagree: 14 (16.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 11 (13.3%)

A venue shouldn’t hold a race on the same, largely unchanged track, year after year


Strongly Agree: 21 (25.3%)
Agree: 25 (30.1%)
Neutral: 16 (19.3%)
Disagree: 16 (19.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 5 (6%)

Performance enhancing drugs are a problem in downhill racing


Strongly Agree: 2 (2.4%)
Agree: 8 (9.6%)
Neutral: 24 (28.9%)
Disagree: 41 (49.4%)
Strongly Disagree: 8 (9.6%)

“Mechanical doping”, using a hidden electric motor, is a problem in downhill racing


Strongly Agree: 2 (2.4%)
Agree: 3 (3.6%)
Neutral: 7 (8.4%)
Disagree: 38 (45.8%)
Strongly Disagree: 33 (39.8%)

The racing is, in general, fair and honest


Strongly Agree: 26 (31.3%)
Agree: 47 (56.6%)
Neutral: 8 (9.6%)
Disagree: 2 (2.4%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

Section 8 - The Enduro World Series

Enough practice time is allocated at enduro events


Strongly Agree: 10 (14.3%)
Agree: 52 (74.3%)
Neutral: 4 (5.7%)
Disagree: 4 (5.7%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

Enduro racing should be totally blind


Strongly Agree: 3 (4.3%)
Agree: 5 (7.1%)
Neutral: 9 (12.9%)
Disagree: 26 (37.1%)
Strongly Disagree: 27 (38.6%)


Shuttling should be allowed in training for enduro events


Strongly Agree: 6 (8.6%)
Agree: 31 (44.3%)
Neutral: 18 (25.7%)
Disagree: 9 (12.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 6 (8.6%)

The races, in general, should involve more shuttling and chairlifts


Strongly Agree: 9 (12.9%)
Agree: 14 (20%)
Neutral: 15 (21.4%)
Disagree: 23 (32.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 9 (12.9%)

I am concerned that riders who live nearer to a race venue get more track time and, as a consequence, get an advantage


Strongly Agree: 10 (14.3%)
Agree: 40 (57.1%)
Neutral: 11 (15.7%)
Disagree: 7 (10%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (2.9%)

The choice of a full or open face helmet should be down to rider discretion


Strongly Agree: 0
Agree: 4 (5.7%)
Neutral: 4 (5.7%)
Disagree: 39 (55.7%)
Strongly Disagree: 23 (32.9%)

Penalties are fair and consistently applied


Strongly Agree: 2 (2.9%)
Agree: 20 (29%)
Neutral: 15 (21.7%)
Disagree: 24 (34.8%)
Strongly Disagree: 8 (11.6%)

I think bikes should be more regulated


Strongly Agree: 0
Agree: 6 (8.7%)
Neutral: 22 (31.9%)
Disagree: 34 (49.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 7 (10.1%)

The current points system is fair


Strongly Agree: 1 (1.4%)
Agree: 45 (64.3%)
Neutral: 14 (20%)
Disagree: 10 (14.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

Performance enhancing drugs are a problem in enduro racing


Strongly Agree: 2 (2.9%)
Agree: 32 (46.4%)
Neutral: 17 (24.6%)
Disagree: 16 (23.2%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (2.9%)

“Mechanical doping”, using a hidden electric motor, is a problem in enduro racing


Strongly Agree: 2 (2.9%)
Agree: 1 (1.4%)
Neutral: 14 (20.3%)
Disagree: 44 (63.8%)
Strongly Disagree: 8 (11.6%)

The racing is, in general, fair and honest


Strongly Agree: 6 (8.6%)
Agree: 50 (71.4%)
Neutral: 12 (17.1%)
Disagree: 2 (2.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

Section 8 - World Cup Cross Country

What is your preferred style of racing?


XCO: 35 (97.2%)
XCE: 0
XCC: 0
Marathon: 1 (2.8%)
Other: 0

I enjoy racing all the different race distances


Strongly Agree: 12 (33.3%)
Agree: 17 (47.2%)
Neutral: 2 (5.6%)
Disagree: 3 (8.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (5.6%)

I like the current weekend practice & race schedule


Strongly Agree: 5 (13.9%)
Agree: 17 (47.2%)
Neutral: 6 (16.7%)
Disagree: 6 (16.7%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (5.6%)

I wish the XCO and XCC courses were more technical


Strongly Agree: 2 (5.6%)
Agree: 8 (22.2%)
Neutral: 12 (33.3%)
Disagree: 7 (19.4%)
Strongly Disagree: 7 (19.4%)

I wish the XCO races were longer


Strongly Agree: 4 (11.1%)
Agree: 4 (11.1%)
Neutral: 11 (30.6%)
Disagree: 14 (38.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 3 (8.3%)

The uncertainty around the Tokyo Olympic Games has had a negative impact upon my training


Strongly Agree: 2 (5.6%)
Agree: 9 (25%)
Neutral: 16 (44.4%)
Disagree: 7 (19.4%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (5.6%)

The uncertainty around the Tokyo Olympic Games has affected me financially


Strongly Agree: 3 (8.6%)
Agree: 10 (28.6%)
Neutral: 10 (28.6%)
Disagree: 10 (28.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (5.7%)

I support the Tokyo Olympic Games being held in 2021


Strongly Agree: 21 (58.3%)
Agree: 9 (25%)
Neutral: 3 (8.3%)
Disagree: 2 (5.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 1 (2.8%)


I think bikes should be more regulated


Strongly Agree: 8 (22.2%)
Agree: 3 (8.3%)
Neutral: 14 (38.9%)
Disagree: 9 (25%)
Strongly Disagree: 2 (5.6%)

“Mechanical doping”, using a hidden electric motor, is a problem in XC racing


Strongly Agree: 3 (8.3%)
Agree: 1 (2.8%)
Neutral: 19 (52.8%)
Disagree: 5 (13.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 8 (22.2%)

Performance enhancing drugs are a problem in XC racing


Strongly Agree: 3 (8.3%)
Agree: 10 (27.8%)
Neutral: 14 (38.9%)
Disagree: 3 (8.3%)
Strongly Disagree: 6 (16.7%)

The racing is, in general, fair and honest


Strongly Agree: 9 (25%)
Agree: 18 (50%)
Neutral: 4 (11.1%)
Disagree: 5 (13.9%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

Section 8 - Slopestyle & Freeride

What is your preferred style of event?


Competitive dirt jump and slopestyle: 9 (40.9%)
Competitive freeride and big mountain: 3 (13.6%)
Non-competitive dirt jump and slopestyle: 0
Non-competitive freeride and big mountain: 10 (45.5%)
I don't take part in many events, I focus on media and videos: 0

In general, the courses at FMB events are well designed


Strongly Agree: 0
Agree: 6 (27.3%)
Neutral: 9 (40.9%)
Disagree: 7 (31.8%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

At an FMB event, there is typically enough time allocated for practice


Strongly Agree: 2 (9.1%)
Agree: 3 (13.6%)
Neutral: 14 (63.6%)
Disagree: 3 (13.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

In general, judges score riders fairly at slopestyle and freeride events.


Strongly Agree: 0
Agree: 10 (45.5%)
Neutral: 11 (50%)
Disagree: 0
Strongly Disagree:1 (4.5%)

The choice of a full or open face helmet should be down to rider discretion


Strongly Agree: 1 (4.5%)
Agree: 13 (59.1%)
Neutral: 4 (18.2%)
Disagree: 3 (13.6%)
Strongly Disagree: 1 (4.5%)

I have felt pressure to drop in at an event despite not being comfortable with the conditions


Strongly Agree: 10 (45.5%)
Agree: 4 (18.2%)
Neutral: 6 (27.3%)
Disagree: 2 (9.1%)
Strongly Disagree: 0

Rampage should include labour intensive, man-made features


Strongly Agree: 4 (18.2%)
Agree: 7 (31.8%)
Neutral: 6 (27.3%)
Disagree: 2 (9.1%)
Strongly Disagree: 3 (13.6%)

Performance enhancing drugs are a problem in slopestyle and freeride


Strongly Agree: 0
Agree: 2 (9.1%)
Neutral: 6 (27.3%)
Disagree: 8 (36.4%)
Strongly Disagree: 6 (27.3%)

Competitive events are, in general, fair and honest


Strongly Agree: 3 (13.6%)
Agree: 8 (36.4%)
Neutral: 9 (40.9%)
Disagree: 1 (4.5%)
Strongly Disagree: 1 (4.5%)

Select Comments From Respondents
bigquotesI would love to see the sport become more accessible to people with lower income. That being said, is this even possible considering the cost of owning and maintaining a bike?


bigquotesIn freeride, invites for events are too subjective. It's hard for new riders to get into events, and riders who have good relationships with organizers are grandfathered in. It's biased and we want to see accountability and transparency rather than just letting your buddies ride.

bigquotesSelection criteria for World Champs should be obvious and based on results, rather than a panel.

bigquotesI'd like to see less focus on social media value (aka how many followers does athlete "A" have). I think social media is a great tool, it can expose new and upcoming riders and share someone's story. However, I feel many companies utilize it in a cheap and easy way which leads to less authenticity from people and fewer opportunities for less social media-driven riders and talent.

bigquotesI would definitely like to see more support both on coaching and economically from my national team. Today it’s close to zero. They say “there is no budget”.

bigquotesWe should have better insurance for athletes. They do offer insurance, but it’s not good at all.

bigquotesMake it easier for athletes to race oversees instead of making them jump through hoops just to be able to ride bikes. Athletes have enough on their plates without governing bodies trying to stop them.

bigquotesFederations should divide funds in a more fair manner, there is a huge gap between Olympic vs non-Olympic disciplines. With COVID, they made an effort which was the first time they actually gave money out since I started DH.

bigquotesMy national governing body needs to recognise enduro as one of the main competitive cycling disciplines and contribute towards EWS Trophy of Nations with jerseys & entries? They should also have 1 registered National series instead of multiple national series.

bigquotesIn reference to my national governing body, as an athlete I would love to have access to free nationalized healthcare. I rely on my parents' healthcare currently. Additionally, in my country, there are land access issues for cycling that can make it more difficult to have space and trails for more people to ride and access the sport. I would love to have more access to land for recreation but understand it is a complicated issue.

bigquotesIn general, I would love for the big media platforms to do a better job helping women promote women riding/racing. It's gotten a lot better over just the years I have been racing, but it's hard being a female to get support to make it to the races and we are working hard on getting better racers and better riders in general. I think we have done a good job at doing that and you see more and more women being able to be full-time riders but, having some more backing from media platforms and the industry I think would help us raise the level even higher! I would love to go to a race and get respected for what we do by also the industry and other male racers.

bigquotesBetter junior development for downhill to help young riders get to the point where they feel capable of competing at the World Cup level (before they front the money to travel to Europe), especially for girls. Any amount of funding/ support for privateer athletes who have qualified to race World Cups (achieved the necessary UCI points). Support/ coverage of downhill athletes and races (focused on Olympic sports). More opportunities in the US to earn UCI points and more high-level races to serve as a stepping stone to international racing. Right now, it’s a huge leap to go from US downhill racing to World Cup.

bigquotesThe bike industry is going in the media direction and away from racing and competition. I feel that this is the wrong approach. I think you need both but racing and competition should be the primary. There are hundreds of people that can look good and ride as fast as Loic Bruni for 5 seconds but can’t get in the top 60 at a World Cup or EWS. The big media platforms have all the power and exposure on these platforms is valued way too high right now. This is making it very hard for the riders to get paid. When I go on a video shoot, the videographer always gets paid but I never do because the exposure is supposed to be worth it. Fans want to ride on the same stuff as their favourite rider, not what somebody ripping a trail for a minute is using. All companies are making good products these days so a good rider can make anything work for a video. That is not the case in competition. Racing and competition is where you see what product is actually working the best. Also, the bike industry is growing rapidly but riders aren’t getting paid more. The fact that nobody knows what each other are making is really hurting the riders and keeping a lot of money in company's pockets right now. People should know athletes' salaries. That’s one of the easiest things that could help athletes right now.

bigquotesI'd like to see more support and opportunity for youth, development, and privateers in the US. More USA Cycling and UCI sanctioned events could be a starting point for this, in addition to development trips to Europe and other highly competitive events. A more effective funnel from development programs, local events, and high school leagues into the national and international racing scene. Making this pathway into the World Cup racing scene more feasible will help grow the sport in a number of different ways!
Treat riders less like medal pursuing robots. Wider pool for younger riders, more focus on long term development and investment into future rather than who's winning here and now.

bigquotesUSAC is decently good with development when it comes to juniors, but once you’ve aged out there is little support. It seems like nobody trying to break into the World Cup/international racing scene has any idea what’s going on - it’s difficult to figure out what you’re actually supposed to do to get overseas. Also, the qualification processes for certain events, like Worlds, have been unclear in the past. There needs to be a clearer pathway for success after racing as a junior, or for people who didn’t have the opportunity to race as a junior.

bigquotesI would love to see more money go into the downhill in NZ, we put our lives on the line for a simple medal not even money to pay our gas to and from events and when you come from a very poor background it's a struggle and added unneeded stress when all I want to do is race at the best of my ability.



97 Comments

  • 75 5
 Being 100% social media free for the past 7 months has brought back the absolute enjoyment of riding and not feeling like I need to put content out to get likes. Seriously reminds me of when we were kids without phones and shit. Pure freedom.
  • 155 0
 I gave you an upvote just to hook you back in with that rush that only social media can provide.
  • 3 0
 :Like: :ThumbsUp: :RT: :#: :Reply:
  • 7 0
 Liked, subbed, joined the #notificationsquad
  • 16 0
 @reindeln: damn you that felt good! Getting all social media back now, it’s like crack.
  • 10 1
 Isn’t pinkbike still social media?
  • 5 0
 @ryankxf: Everyone watching as you now create three different persona accounts on Instagram, and one is for your dog.
  • 8 1
 @Waldon83: have you ever considered that we have our own accounts posing as humans? The canine revolution is coming. We’ve infiltrated your tok tiks and instantgraham stories. We’re coming for your likes and clout. Beware the social media wise canines.
  • 1 0
 @IamTheDogEzra: you’re telling the wrong person. I don’t have Facebook or Instagram. Threw them in the trash two years ago, now I just Pinkbike
  • 67 0
 What! is yer quest? What! is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
  • 30 0
 African or European?
  • 16 0
 @Dopepedaler: I don’t know…
  • 19 0
 @usedbikestuff: wuuaaaaaaaagh!
  • 18 0
 @usedbikestuff: You need to know these kind of things if you want to be king.
  • 9 0
 look, strange women lying around in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!
  • 5 0
 Ni!
  • 8 0
 @projectnortheast: You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.
  • 5 0
 @krka73: ekki-ekki-ekki-ptang
  • 3 0
 @projectnortheast: Bloody peasant!
  • 3 0
 @vw4ever: SUPREEEEME executive power is a mandate of the masses not some farcical aquatic ceremony!
Look if I went around saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bink had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd put me away!
  • 1 0
 @projectnortheast: Fake News, Dennis!
  • 3 0
 @projectnortheast: come see the violence inherent in the system! Help help! I’m being repressed!
  • 24 0
 Performance enhancing drugs are a problem in XC racing

Strongly Agree: 3 (8.3%)
Agree: 10 (27.8%)
When other people take them or I have too many: 14 (38.9%)
They’re working great: 3 (8.3%)
How on earth is this a problem: 6 (16.7%)
  • 28 0
 Where is the CSV? Frown
  • 2 0
 I was looking for the sale thing..
  • 24 0
 Big fan of a full release.
  • 17 0
 Speaking of which, who is the one rider who strongly agrees with skinsuits?
  • 10 0
 @BenPea: Loris Vergier Big Grin
  • 7 0
 @BenPea:
Ben Cathro
  • 1 0
 Better out than in.
  • 6 0
 @BenPea: what you’re asking is, who has the biggest length and girth ?
  • 33 1
 @Waldon83: dick pound
  • 1 0
 Rachel Atherton once openly said she secretly wished it was allowed
  • 2 0
 The name in the envelope is... "Loris Vergier".
@Waldon83: guess what "verge" means in French.
  • 10 1
 Were they trying to make the article longer than the comments section?

How many actually read through the whole thing? (be as honest as your last car salesman with your answer)
  • 11 0
 4 hours 32 minutes, 2 bathroom breaks. I finished every damn question and I regret nothing.

Edit: Not really. I read about 10 questions and scrolled to the comments.
  • 14 6
 With an ordinary engineers income I make it into the top 20 of elite mountainbike salary. Something’s clearly off here. Anyone competing at this level in sports should be rewarded accordingly.
  • 25 0
 Consider following question:
What do you do for a living?

A) I build bridges, make necessary processes more efficient, manage people and tech stuff
B) I'm quick on a bike and people like my Instagram

While I agree that many pro mtbers are severely underpaid especially compared to popular sports - that's exactly the thing. Mtb just is not as popular as Football or Moto GP.
  • 2 0
 Well, the same for me but as long as MTB is not as popular as soccer the income will not be there... By the way, i like doing bike races too, so i want someone to pay me for doing it
  • 3 1
 The market (aka people, free of coercion, spending their money on goods and services they value) should decide.
  • 6 0
 I find the percentage scale interesting. You have 60-80% and next is Around 100%. Why not just put 81-100%? If I were taking it, I don't think I'd consider 85% as "Around 100%." Also, I know it's not scientific, but clearly defined options are helpful. Options like 20-40%, 40-60%, and 60-80% are confusing for those with 40% and 60% - which do you choose?

Either way, interesting to see the responses and opinions.
  • 5 0
 Fantastic piece James.

A great reminder how small the community of mountain biking (competitive world scale racing) really is in relative terms.

Although I have to admit, this helped me decide today, not to skip outta work and go for ride. I’m like “ holy shit, I’m over the hill... like several hills over... maybe I’ll compete a tad harder at work since they’re interested in paying me more then 90% of my mountain bike hero’s... ....at least till mid afternoon.... then I’ll pretend I’m Sam Hill on my poser bike for a few hrs... but I’ll know I have appropriate medical / life insurance should I carcass from my 8ft gap jumps.. ”.
  • 4 0
 Anyone else start reading this thinking it would a survey of the demographics of Pinkbike (or mountain biking for that matter) only to realize it wasn't when you got to the question "What position did you finish in the overall rankings of your primary discipline last year" which was then subsequently followed by media?
  • 1 0
 @WildboiBen: Glad it wasn't just me.
  • 4 0
 I've been skateboarding for 35 years and riding bikes on trails with my kid for 2 years. I'm really glad skatebort people never got this sophisticated with their data. Being oblivious allows me to pretend skateboarding treats its people better........but I know, I know.

BTW, did you know one of these pinkbike articles made the Slap forum? If that makes sense to you I say- Holy hell boys, we crossed streams and survived.
  • 2 0
 I hadn't heard of Slap, but I looked it up and found that article. Interesting read from the skater side. Ty for helping me kill a few more minutes at work.
  • 3 0
 Help me out if I’m wrong here but there’s 4 primary disciplines plus 2 people in other then there’s 45 people who finished top 5 overall in their primary discipline, that math doesn’t work, there is only 22 possible top 5 places based on the answers to primary discipline, that’s a lot of people either telling porkys or getting it wrong which makes me question every result.
  • 6 0
 Hi @maglor.

It's a bit of a confusing one but there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, please remember to consider both genders and that we also asked juniors, and three of those disciplines have their own junior overall series. Secondly, we also asked athletes who finished in the top fourty overall in either of the last two seasons because of the pandemic. That means that may or may not have competed in last years overall due to covid-19. I think it's possible that people answered from their last full complete season, albeit in 2019, and that could give us this large number. Hope that helps.
  • 5 0
 Seems social media is a double edge sword for some. Tops up income at the sacrifice of mental health.
  • 5 0
 Humanity is roadkill on the information superhighway.
  • 7 2
 Jeez if this was a multiple choice questionnaire then I hope they got paid for the week it took to fill it in.
  • 20 1
 This survey is too f*cking long

Strongly Agree: 197 (99.5%)
Agree: 1 (0.5%)
Neutral: 0 (0%)
Disagree: 0 (0%)
Strongly Disagree: 0 (0%)
  • 3 0
 @awaite: with a 0.5% margin of error
  • 6 0
 Someone's gotta teach the pb editors how to make charts.
  • 4 0
 Ironic how a lot of people reading this are supposed to be making charts at work Big Grin
  • 2 1
 Regarding the questions: "I think bikes should be more regulated" It would be interesting to know what the would the riders the have not been neutral like to see more or less regulated. I have no idea. Like wheel size? Minimum weight? Limit the materials? No one-piece wheels?
  • 1 0
 Maybe go the road biking route and no custom non available to public parts. But personally I like the innovation that can come from things like that
  • 5 0
 Mechanical Doping? How much of a thing is it in reality?
  • 2 0
 In DH where many people have podium'd without a chain, its not an issue. In Enduro I wonder if there might be a benefit during transitions to deliver riders fresher to each stage, and the potential benefit in XC is very real. The UCI dropped a 6 year ban on a Belgian cross racer in 2017, and that's just like short track XC with drop bars
  • 3 1
 Time to ban 175mm cranks
  • 3 0
 Two riders in both DH and Enduro races seem to think it's a big problem. I wonder if they're same people and also what they know.
  • 4 1
 Saw “full release” in the article headline, came straight to the comments.
  • 2 1
 I wonder how dorky skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, skiing, and bmx would be if they were mostly about racing. I’m thinking very few would watch, probably just the olympics. Kind of like mtb racing.
  • 2 0
 Slopestyle was also included in the survey...
  • 3 0
 Skiing is very much about racing, they more or less introduced the freestyle disciplines after the success of it in other sports. Also FIS WC added parallel slalom because people liked it in snowboarding.
  • 2 0
 Most of the sports you‘ve mentioned are mostly about racing. Maybe it‘s more of a Europe thing as I don‘t know how popular these are in the US, but skiing, snowboarding and surfing are most popular for their competitions in EU. There‘s always a freeride/-style side as well but even there it‘s getting more conpetitive with events. For me the key is media coverage and accessibility. It‘s crazy to see how much coverage and investment surfing has seen in the past years for example, with Samsung etc sponsoring the events, using drones, jet ski and water cameras and a full broadcasting and livestreaming architecture around it. Everything available on all social media channels (not only RBTV).

For MTB (DH) I would wish the juniors and women got the same amount of support and attention as the men. Even though the level might be different, it would help push the competition. Seeing the women DH elite races getting closer and closer and seeing new names in the top 10 lately is making it super exciting to watch. Enduro needs more coverage in general for sure and CX, well... Compared to the crazy coverage of road cycling, I guess it’s the same ol „market regulates the interest“, but I feel media could do more for the industry to make things more equal and divers.
  • 1 1
 @molokel: no surfing races over here, not sure how that works. Competition, sure. I’m specifically referring to racing technology. I think slalom still happens and it’s fun to watch. But you really don’t see skateboard slalom racing technology trickling down to boards that aren’t made for racing. Skateboarders aren’t obsessed with their skateboards, they’re obsessed with skating and the board is a tool.
I think no matter where you live, racing in the sports I mentioned doesn’t account for much of the overall user group. Most people don’t race.
  • 1 0
 @SickEdit: how many more freeride and all mountain skis are sold than race skis? Globally, most people aren’t racing, if so it’s short-lived.
And aside from material advancements trickling down, do you see people skiing around on skinny racing skis? Not a lot of trickling down in form, because freeriding with race skis is like freeriding with wagonwheels. Possible but just not as fun. Yet all we see are wagon wheels.
  • 1 0
 Most pro´s you meet and industry influencer types always act humble and seem to have never forgotten they are getting paid for something that started as their hobby. I´d question any other motives for being a pro.
  • 3 0
 "bikes should be more regulated" big F tha, this is not motorsport, enough with this shit BOP
  • 2 0
 Too many pie charts, and not enough pie charts - so you defiantly know I read the whole article now.
  • 1 0
 You all asked a a lot of tough questions, good onya. A lot to think about there. Hopefully the pay gap catches up with the industry. Keep on keep'n on!
  • 1 0
 Would riders like a bigger events/series in the winter(up north)? Get some races around the equator and in the southern hemisphere during their summer? Or is that too much?
  • 2 0
 Is that one guy who strongly disagrees about contest judging norbs?
  • 1 0
 The only thing I learned from this that has any relevance to my life is the meaning of "Oceania"
  • 1 0
 I've never heard of slopestyke??
  • 1 0
 You are not going to want to good that on a company machine
  • 1 0
 Well, that took up a lotta space..
  • 1 0
 Why is it easier for European riders to compete at an elite level?
  • 2 0
 Most races are in Europe, apart from MSA and infrequent visits to USA, NZ, Aus, and sometimes SA
  • 1 0
 Found this very compelling. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 35+ is 2.6%? Was this a survey for children?
  • 2 0
 It was for top level professional athletes. That would probably be there in most fitness based sports
  • 1 1
 Gonna to wait for the Longterm Recap.
  • 1 0
 Agree.
  • 2 2
 Fixed -- 500,000+ USD: Awin Gwin (0.5%)
  • 3 0
 I dunno, could be Kate Courtney, Emily batty, Nino schurter(?), Greg minaar, loic Bruno, Richie rude etc etc

I imagine it’s someone who is at the top, wins a lot and has a good social media following
  • 1 0
 Downhill numba one!!!!
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