One Question: Does Mountain Biking Need the UCI?

Sep 25, 2017 at 4:33
by Matt Wragg  
When we posted the news that the UCI had elected a new president, the comments were filled with people expressing their distaste for the UCI, that they felt that our sport does not need them. So we put that question to a few people involved in the highest levels of racing in our sport to find out whether they agree.


One Question Does Mountain Biking Need the UCI


Chris Ball – EWS Managing Director and former UCI technical delegate

As the man at the helm of the EWS, our sports premier racing series that falls outside the UCI, Chris is at the very sharp end of this discussion. As a former UCI technical delegate for World Cup DH he has worked within the organisation, so understands its strengths and weaknesses better than almost anybody in the sport.


bigquotesAll sport needs governance, direction, and leadership. The UCI for their part often do an excellent job and like all of us have a million and one restrictions and complexities that are seldom seen. Cycling is a massive activity, with multiple Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines that span so many different sporting cultures, health, and recreation. To get all of that right all of the time is pretty much impossible. Putting aside the details of how certain segments of our sport are run, overall of course mountain biking (a form of cycling after all) needs fair and transparent governance by the UCI. Could mountain biking be a bigger and more important part of the UCI? Of course it could, and should be, but regardless of that, having a world governing body is ultimately a necessary thing to have.

We at the EWS believe that working for the sport first is the most important thing and that of course means working with the UCI to some degree. That doesn’t mean though that we need to do it in traditional terms, and although we talk regularly and share a lot of mutual respect, we’ve not managed to work out the detail that we believe will be in the best interests of enduro. But, absolutely we’d like to be part of the change the sport needs, and lead on it, along with the UCI, helping to educate them in what the sport wants and needs, rather than oppose it simply for opposition sake.







Si Paton – BDS series organiser 2007–2017

Si Paton has shaped the UKs DH race scene for a decade now, taking the struggling national series and transforming it into one of the world's premier national race series.


bigquotesMy answer to that is quite simple, 'Does the UCI need mountain biking?' The answer is quite simple and, as proven, no. We only have to look back to the World Championships at Champery in Switzerland 2011 when it was announced that Rocky Roads, a Belgium internet based company, appeared from virtually nowhere to sponsor the UCI MTB World Cup. If due diligence had been performed with regards the tender process and looking into the background of the company we wouldn't have seen a title sponsor disappear halfway through the season after rumors of unpaid bills.

We do need a governing body, somebody has to run the show, just note that even if Brett Tippie and Steve Peat were running it, people would still complain, but that is just life and the UCI should work with us to ensure the further development of mountain biking. Please let me finish with this, who at the UCI has such a dislike for 4X? Last years 4X World Championships had more viewing figures than the downhill, 4X needs to come back and we need to keep XC and drop XCC, OXO or whatever that new disciplines called! 







Gabe Fox – Canyon Factory Racing team manager

Gabe is one of the stalwarts of the DH scene, from his early days of managing the famous Cove Bike Shop in Vancouver and co-founding Sombrio, he was the man to first take Steve Smith to the big show. He has been on the road with the World Cup circuit for more than 15 years now, making him one of its longest-standing members.


bigquotesYes, mountain biking needs a governing body and I feel that the UCI gets abused a bit too heavily by the keyboard warriors on topics which they don’t understand. A lot of the decisions which the UCI makes are made in conjunction with the teams and riders representatives. A governing body like the UCI, which takes care of the Road, MTB, Track, carries huge logistical challenges in scheduling, venue selection and a pile of other topics. I do think there is lots of room for improvement on many things, but regardless, the 2017 World Cup season was one to remember.







Fred Glo – The Godfather of enduro

Fred is the man who invented the modern discipline of enduro with his 2003 race, the Tribe 10,000. From there he went on to run the French Cup, and in 2011, negotiating with a certain David Lappartient, became the first enduro national series to be recognised by their federation. Today he is also a founding member of the EWS and sits on the EMBA board.


bigquotesThe question is not do we need UCI, but more do we need a split or conflict with the UCI if they want to do something for enduro? So of course my feeling is to try to find a compromise with the UCI but without any compromise regarding the sport, because we've done a good job thanks to the EWS and Chris Ball, our general manager. I personally had a good and constructive experience with David Lappartient six years ago when we signed the agreement between the French Enduro Series and the French Federation. The base of the deal was simple and he told me, "You know enduro, the sport, much better than us and we trust in what you're building and we want you to keep your hands free and we don't want to change anything." After six years I can tell you that this is what happened in France and it was a win-win partnership. So, if Mr. Lappartient followed the same strategy and attitude now leading the UCI, we should be able to at least have some good constructive discussion.






Nigel Page – Manager of the Chain Reaction DH team and former World Cup racer

After a full decade at the helm of the Chain Reaction DH team, Nigel is one of the longest standing team managers on the circuit. Before that he was a well-respected World Cup DH racer for many years, coming up alongside riders like Steve Peat and Rob Warner.


bigquotesThis a difficult question to answer. It's easy to agree with all the internet warriors and people being negative on the UCI as they seem to be much more interested in road cycling, track, and other non-gravity disciplines, which I am sure they are, but without the UCI we probably wouldn't have the Downhill World Cup. Sure, if someone like Chris Ball and his team came along and decided to run a world DH series it could work, but what would happen if that team then decided they had had enough? What if another team weren't ready to step in and run it? Or if a big sponsor came in to pay for a World Series? What if the budget changed direction after five years and they ditched the program? Could we end up not having a world DH series?

With the UCI at least we seem to get longevity with the series. Sure, they could do a better job, especially promoting the sport better to get a big sponsor like they used to have in the late 1990s when it was on Eurosport. This would also help with prize money which I believe is a joke for what the worlds best riders are doing on their bikes and the risks they are taking. If someone like the Crankworx series decided to do eight rounds and had the DH as one of the main attractions on the weekend then this could work without the UCI but they would need to improve their TV coverage and introduce drug testing etc. The Crankworx ethos would potentially suit World Cup DH better than say the UCI with XC racing alongside it.

I also think rather than adding in a new XC discipline like the UCI have for next year with the four rider short track it would have been way better to add in a giant slalom event on trail/enduro bikes and try to push the worlds best DH riders to go head to head, which would be great for the industry and the fans. As much as the UCI have a negative effect on downhill sometimes they still have to get credit for the many years we have had the World Cup DH series and the World Championships. The UCI just need to listen to the teams and realise MTB is as important as road biking! 







Tracy Moseley – Faster than you

DH World Champion, 2x World Cup overall winner, 3x EWS World Champion; those are just the headlines for Tracy's 20 year career at the top of the sport. She is one of the fastest women ever to ride a mountain bike and after stepping away from full-time racing in 2016 she has become one of the sports best ambassadors too.


bigquotesWell this is not an easy question to answer as like many things in life there are many pros and cons and this is no different. Mountain biking compared to road racing has a much shorter history of racing and working with the UCI, and is in many ways a very different sport. You don’t need a team to race with or groups to ride with or clubs or facilities to go mountain biking. The club structure does not really exist for mountain biking in the same way it does for road riding, and often mountain bike riders are solitary animals who may meet up with a few friends and plan a ride, but there isn’t the need for a solid structure or environment, so naturally the thought of a national governing body or a UCI saying what you can and cant do and putting rules in place for MTB is often met with much resistance.

Along with the fact that in the UK, still now, enduro racing in the eyes of British Cycling has been ignored and almost a denial of its existence, and certainly no mention ever of any success we have had as a nation in it so far… So for someone like myself that already frustrates me and makes me not want to be in favour of any governing body getting involved in our sport, but I still do believe some structure and ultimately a neutral party is needed at times to bring fair play and a sense of control and regulation to any competition.

The EWS series has evolved at a staggering rate and that is down to the work of a very small team of people, and ultimately they are making all the decisions and directing the path of that sport. In many ways its amazing and its success is probably testament to the fact that there has been no governing body telling them what they can and cant do, but in time as the sport grows more and more, I think it will be too much of a task for just a few people to continue to govern and control. Making sure we always have fair play at races, that doping control is considered, that rules are adhered too, all of these things become more and more important when the level of racing grows and riders with big money contracts are up racing against each other each weekend. I’m not saying the UCI or our commissaries always make the right or the best decisions but I do believe an outside party away from the race organisation is needed to be able to control the growth and keep the competition fair. I dont know what the best solution is at this stage, but I do think its right for the opportunity to work with the UCI to be considered and all options looked at for the best of the sport...






Darren Kinnaird – Crankworx General Manager

As the first full-time member of staff for Crankworx in 2007, he has spent a decade shaping and pushing the festival as mountain bikings premier celebration of all things two-wheeled.


bigquotesWe've had nothing but a great working relationship with the UCI at Crankworx. Much like the FMB with Slopestyle or the EWS with Enduro, they provide an overarching structure for DH and XC that allow athletes a pathway through the sport. Without this structure, it would be difficult for athletes to progress up to the top levels of the respective disciplines. 






Peter Van den Abeele – UCI Deputy Sports Director and Head of Off-Road

While Peters name may not be on the tip of many gravity riders' tongues, his riding career was an illustrious one. After winning the 1984 Open World Championships in BMX he went on to race cyclocross professionally, before competing in XCO at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. Today his role at the UCI makes him the head of all their mountain bike affairs.


bigquotesIt is important to note that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the only world governing body for the sport of cycling recognised by the International Olympic Committee. Therefore, the UCI is the sole entity responsible for drawing up regulations and calendars, for ensuring that mountain biking remains on the Olympic Games programme and, more broadly, for developing the discipline worldwide.

It is with that mission in mind that the first UCI World Cup series was created back in 1991, with downhill added to the programme in 1993. Over the past 27 years, the series has gone from strength to strength and now offers unprecedented exposure for the discipline and for those taking part. The best possible testimony of the wealth of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is the level of investment provided by Red Bull Media House. No other mountain bike competition benefits from such support. In 2017, the series has reached 5.7 million viewers around the world, an increase of 97% compared to last year, making mountain biking the most important sport for Red Bull.

But mountain biking is not only about the World Cup and World Championships for the UCI. With the help of its World Cycling Centre, the UCI is organising mountain biking training camps all around the world, making sure the discipline flourishes in all corner of the globe. For instance, one such training camp organised last year in Thailand was attended by dozens of riders and coaches. The UCI also promotes gender equity through mountain biking with equal conditions (participation and prize monies) offered to men and women in UCI World Cups and World Championships.

Finally, thanks to the UCI’s constant presence on the ground and through the UCI Mountain Bike Commission, we listen to the community. The feedback we receive from teams, riders and organisers concerning our involvement in mountain bike and the benefits of our work for the discipline is truly positive.



242 Comments

  • + 259
 So you asked a bunch of people who's livelihoods depend on not pissing off the UCI, and they all made sure to say 'mostly yes'?

shocking.
  • + 60
 We call this ethical reporting
  • + 12
 if the topic exists it means that already a lot of people are talking about it, if things keep going this way, the EWS staff will most likely start a DWS and then start taking MTB from the UCI completely.
  • + 64
 Yeh they should ask the average joe who barely manages his relationship and social life to argue about a sport he follows from his mancave. /s Things are a little more complicated than "big corporations" "f*ck that" "we can do it on our own", at the end of the day you still have to manage people sell tv licences, get sponsors, profit and sustain a business. well, grown up stuff.
  • + 31
 should've asked sam bloody hill
  • - 1
 fuuuuuck the UCI. Theyre like the Hastings of cycling. Your time is numbered
  • + 19
 Chris Ball depends on Zero Point Zero of UCI support or involvement for his livelihood.
  • + 63
 I've never understood the idea that we "need to grow the sport". For what?? I like that our sport is small. I like that I know most of the mountain bikers in my community. I like that most professional mountain bikers are extremely approachable and are just like the rest of us. It feels good to be part of something that not everyone gets but the others that do are almost instantly your close friends.
My opinion is that we 100% DO NOT need the UCI. I don't care if mountain biking grows. I don't care if mountain biking is in the Olympics. I don't care if mountain biking is on TV. Mountain biking is more than a commodity to us. It's a lifestyle. F the UCI
  • + 15
 Rampage, Fest Series, EWS, Foxhunt, Hardline, Stell City DH, right of the hat, please join in and and add as much non UCI events as you like.

To me it seems like mountain bikers are completely capable of doing their own thing and doing it very well so that it resonates with both riders and spectator. What more can a event has? Aura of officiality granted by discredited unpopular dinosaur organisation?
  • - 3
 @theedon: Although I agree somewhat, don't forget that more money in the sport also means more finances into R&D for better bikes. But yes, the sentiment that everything has to be bigger to be better is a bit wrong, in my opinion.
  • + 8
 tracy moseley--faster than you...
  • + 1
 @Weens; Spot on!
  • + 24
 @stikmanglaspell: Nobody questioned here, apart from Peter, relies on the UCI for their livelihood. Darren certainly doesn't, neither does Fred or Tracy and both Nigel and Gabe depend on a world-class series for their teams to race in, not the UCI. But that shouldn't stop people decrying this as a conspiracy.
  • + 1
 @t-stoff: you mean greedy up stuff?
  • + 3
 Brace yourself, whiners are coming.
  • + 1
 @t-stoff: Exactly what I was thinking after reading the first comment..........Well done sir
  • + 1
 @t-stoff: Or in other words, nobody could ever do it better than the established system in place?
  • + 4
 @stikmanglaspell: You mean ex-UCI Technical Delegate Chris Ball? Yeah he probably learned nothing about mountainbike event organisation while being payed by the UCI to aid the smooth running of events for 5 years.
  • + 2
 @mattwragg: Thanks for pointing that out. Right off the bat, the whole premise of the OP seemed pretty assumptive.
  • + 4
 @mitochris: That money isn't getting to R&D departments directly from UCI. It's getting there because people are watching stuff and getting stoked and buying stuff.

But I'll bet that more of that stoke comes from the various movies that have been put out over the years. Stuff like NWD, Three Minute Gaps, and even Not Bad more recently.

But whatever people want to say, the current UCI rules are becoming invasive, increasing controlling, and more exclusionary.

And there are still far fewer events in a year that every single other world based racing series! For comparion...
2010 MotoGP season had 18 rounds!
2015 F1 had 19 rounds!
NASCAR Sprint series has over 30!

The fact that we have so few tells me we're doing something wrong!
  • + 1
 could not have put it better.
  • + 7
 @theedon: Yes!!! Just like surfing. . .... used to love it more as a kid, but now - everyone surfs and you can't get in the water without getting frustrated or getting in a fight. Mountainbiking is an escape and most mountain bikers are cool and will show you their local trails, and where to get a beer after. If it gets too big it will loose that aspect.
  • + 3
 It's almost as if there's not an easy answer for every discipline of mtb...
  • + 9
 @Weens
Not me son, I stood up, stood tall, all 5ft 6ins of me!
  • + 2
 @mikeyb76: Totally agree with you. Used to turn up at the beach after work and find like 30+ people out back, not that fun trying to get a wave.
Have the bike in car, and disappear into the woods-perfect
  • + 1
 @BDKR: Where did I say that the money from the UCI goes directly into R&D? Of course it is because people get stoked and buy stuff. And more people getting stoked means more money to the companies. I agreed with @theedon that the believe that everything has to be bigger to be better is misconstrued. I also agree with @mikeyb76 and @bigbear that a manageable size is better than just insane numbers of riders. E-bikes are already bringing lots more riders to the trail than a couple of more DH events can do.
  • + 1
 boooooring....
  • + 72
 Snowboarding didnt leave the grassroots level until we decided to drop the FIS and do our own thing. Shaun White was (at one point) the second highest paid athelete in the U.S. Thats a Baller$ salary right there. We CAN do the same, but it would be easier and better to get the UCI to do it our way or else we create the MTBI and sail to the moon. It will soon get to the point where the UCI needs MTB cause no one gives a rats ass about road cycling anymore. Lance Armstrong made sure of that.
  • + 63
 I would love to see your source of where you cited Shaun White being the second highest paid athlete in the U.S!
  • + 46
 "...no one gives a rats ass about road cycling anymore". Sorry, who says that?
  • + 47
 @starpak: Everyone knows they're all doping, and the teams are such corporate bullshit. Who DOES care about road racing?
  • + 3
 @fumetsu: extreme athlete maybe?
  • + 12
 @starpak: I hate road bikes.
  • + 30
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Unfortunately lots of people do. Just no one I relate to. Everyone and their mom knows what the Tour de France is. But as soon as I drop the words World Cup DH.. people think I'm talking about soccer.
  • + 3
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Who mentioned anything about doping and "corporate bullshit"? What I said is "who says that..." - TDF is the world's greatest sporting event and as far as I am concerned this is ROAD cycling. This is what I said - in the sense that it is indeed popular and obviously "someone" is giving a "rats ass". I do not follow road racing either but at the same time I am not getting pissed off. Also, I am not judging the doping side and all just stressing out a fact. Should I not?
  • + 34
 @shawnca7: That's the real problem, football is taking too much of DH's glory! DOWN WITH THE BALL KICKERS!!!
  • + 26
 There is no way Sean White made as much as ARod, Kobe, or and starting quarter back in the NFL.
  • + 16
 @nug12182: I hate roadies but as a commuter I don't hate their bikes. Their even getting disc brakes now. Just need to change the bars, shifters put some suspension and a dropper on there and some different tyres.....
  • + 5
 @shaowin: - the dude had sponsorships that you wouldnt even believe - cheerios, trident gum, a sneaker and clothing line at Target, burton, etc... He was making tens of millions of dollars at one point. Not to mention how many Gold medals he's won at the olympics... Remember, even as a young skateboarder during the 90's XGames era, at like 12yrs old he was doing doubles vert with Bob Burnquist and was already making ridiculous cash. Yes, at one point, he was making Tiger Woods type money.
  • + 3
 There definitely needs to be a highly respected governing organization to give our sport the credibility it deserves, btw we deserve way more. We're talking DH in the Olympics etc. Historically the UCI has not been a favorable option for MTB but we are kind of in a jam. All other cycling discipline's are controlled by them and Olympic coverage hopefully will get $$$$ in these riders account. Bottom line why in the freaking hell in xc and downhill skiing in the Olympics but no MTB DH???????? $$$$$$
  • + 3
 over a billion people watched le tour last year
  • + 6
 @NYShred: per google, his net worth is $20,000,000.00 with an annual income of $2,000,000.00.

Kobie on the other hand has a net of $350,000,000.00 and pre NBA Lock out was making $25,000,000.00.

No small amount of money for anyone but they are not even close. Even as main stream as snowboarding and skateboarding are these days it's still no comparison.
  • + 6
 Oh and Tiger woods is worth $740,000,000.00 and still pulls in an annual salary of $45,000,000.00 even after his fall from Grace.
  • + 0
 Very uncool of you to just spout off blatant lies. FAKE NEWS!
  • + 15
 @hamncheez: I googled it, and it (my monitor) said 3.5 billion people watch it every year. I'm no rocket surgeon, but that sounds like THOUSANDS more than 5.7 million watching the World Cup DH.
  • + 8
 Snowboarders to get to the Olympics still had to go thru the traditional way of qualifying for the Olympics thru a National Federation.

The Red Bull support in sports and extreme sports is very unique as it gives a untraditional access to professional fees and awards.

It's hard to grow a sport without youth development and being able to plug a youth team or club into some sort of sporting and social structure that provides for development pathways that feeds the athlete to an elite level or helps them maintain a recreational level.

To change any sport that feeds to the IOC, it becomes about votes.

IOC sports function in a global governing structure that focuses on the sport, the sports rules, technical, officiating, discipline, marketing/sponsorship and developing the sport. In Canada it looks somewhat like this -

- IOC ( WADA at the national levels looks after drug control)
- UCI International Sports Federation/World Sports Governing Organization
- UCI Conferences ( usually continents or some geographical formation of several National Federations/Member National Authority/National Sports Organization
- Cycling Canada, National Federation composed of Provincial/Territorial Associations/Trade Teams (pros?)
- Cycling Provincial/Territorial Associations composed of Open Clubs/Trade Teams (pros?)
- Open Clubs

The keys to making the above structure function is votes, membership fees and marketing/sponsorship. Why? They are the copyright holders of the rules.

Each level has a vote to the next level up. Pro teams get a vote too for their side of the sport.

Each level gives a part of their registration/membership fee to the next level up. Sort of the same for sponsorship too if the organization above wants a cut they will ask for it.

Key reason sports connect to the IOC is TV and marketing rights. The TV and marketing rights money the IOC makes every Olympic cycle is pushed downwards to the respective sports in that cycle. Hence IOC to UCI, then to UCI Conferences and finally to Cycling Canada

At the National Level, athletes if they are on the National Team or are independent but get top results in required qualifiers, they will access to Athlete Assistant Program (APP) where they get about $1800 a month

The Cycling Canada gets funding from the Sports Support Program (SSP) and if they host they can get funding from the Hosting Program (HP)
canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1491492035784

Further Cycling Canada can get money of Own the Podium (OTP) for the Olympic cycle
www.ownthepodium.org/Funding/Summer-Sports-2016-2017


All of the above are Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) that have volunteers guiding paid staff until you hit the UCI and IOC where the big volunteers now become full time directors and get paid

Reason IOC and International Sports Federation are in located in Switzerland is due to the NPO tax laws and administrative laws. Basically the laws are pretty lax and non-transparent. FIFA was a good example of how bad it can and they are talking about billions of dollars in the bank
  • + 24
 @chubby5000: there's no way half of the planet watched the tour
  • - 1
 @shaowin: Thats cute that you think google is a legit source of information in todays world. xoxo
  • - 9
flag pinnityafairy (Oct 19, 2017 at 16:55) (Below Threshold)
 @nug12182: I only hate road bikes when the ignorant Rider wants to ride right in the middle of the road and hold up traffic. I believe that the bicycle always has the right of way on the street unless the Riders and arrogant a******. Unfortunately I always see Road bikers being arrogant a*sholes.
  • + 2
 @NYShred: true, but the source Forbes is still very much a trusted source of accurate financial news. So ya...
  • + 2
 @shaowin: insane amount of money! Can’t even fathom those numbers. Man, would be cool to make 1/10th of that annual salary in my lifetime. Haha
  • + 1
 @starpak: *worlds most boring sporting event. fixed that for you
  • + 5
 @fecalmaster: xc mtb in the olympics was shit, im sure they would make DH look like a joke
  • + 1
 FYI, the $20M figure was from 2012. Shaun White is now worth $40M. Still not even CLOSE to second most earner in the USA.
  • + 6
 Where is snowboarding now? Most snowboarders hate the fact it became an olympic sport!
  • + 4
 "no one gives a rats ass about road cycling anymore"

The hundreds of thousands who turned out at this years worlds, and those in 2015 might want to dispute that (we'll ignore last year, camels having never really been fans of any cycling disciple). Also, most of Europe might not agree with you.
  • + 1
 @oldfaith: spin to win
  • + 0
 @fumetsu: sorry, I meant to say second highest paid from endorsments. First was Payton Manning I think. Still thats damn impressive.
  • + 0
 @nug12182: Am happy for you.
  • + 1
 @wiscobiker: Hey, thanks for that. Already feeling better.
  • + 1
 Username checks out
  • + 3
 @Jimmy0: I read on wikipedia that eleventy billion million people watched the Tour de France (whilst wearing spandex), so it HAS to be true.
  • + 0
 @bigtim: ROFL!!!!!
  • + 1
 @Jimmy0: @Jimmy0: uh yes there is. My computer screen just said so.
  • + 1
 @choppertank3e: and geometry. Road bike geometry is the WORST! Bikes handle like crap!
  • + 1
 @SintraFreeride: Downhill offroad maybe but, even old road bike geo climbs better and on road where the forward position can make use of the extra traction I never had any problems as long as I dropped my seat. I would be interested in trying modern MTB Geo on a rigid bike for comparison.
  • + 0
 @NYShred: so we should all go to the library and check out the encyclopedia?
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: Apology accepted! You still didn’t cite a source? Where are you getting this info from?
  • + 2
 @choppertank3e: Road bikes need slacker headangles, steeper seat angles, longer chainstays and most important much, much longer top tubes thus giving a decent reach! XXL road frames have 450mm reach!!! These are bikes that ride on wide roads at average speeds of over 30km/h.
  • + 2
 @SintraFreeride: better shorten the stems to go with the reach and slacker angle. Sounds like a great bike for bringing back Red Bull road rage.
  • + 3
 @SintraFreeride: But the HA isn't the main factor on road, fork rake plays a much bigger part than on a mountain bikes. Also when talking reach you have to take account for the stem length, STIs and bar height - eg while my Mondraker Foxy may have had a 473mm reach, with a 30mm stem at 503mm that's combined (although this isn't precise, stem angle reduces that number slightly). On my road bike I run a (relatively) short 90mm stem, so that's plus the 395mm reach, to 485mm combined. Factor in the fact that most of the time I ride on the STIs 40mm or so ahead of that and you start to see how comically short most MTBs have been in terms of overall cockpit length. On top of that, on the road you are much lower, which effectively increases that distance to the bar.

That all said, I actually agree with your idea - I set my road bike to place myself behind the front axle when descending (a classic 110-130mm road stem will put you ahead of the axle), low BB, discs, wider tubeless tyres, wider rims and a 1X setup. The short chainstays is a drafting and power transfer thing, but the current generation of "gravel" bikes is starting to head more in this direction.

Have a look at Whyte's range of gravel bikes, they go further than almost anyone else in this direction.
  • + 1
 @fumetsu: I recall at the 2010 LOlympics in Vangroovy; White was listed as around 20 Million USD in earnings.

What ever happened to him?
  • + 2
 @SintraFreeride: the UCI hads strict rules that keep road bikes too short and too heavy
  • + 2
 @mattwragg: Yeah I am well aware how roadbikes achieve fit by running longer stems on XL bikes with slacker seat angles as well. I just find it stupid. Plus road bikes ride at higher average speed than mtbs so they lean more in corners rather than turning the handlebar thus negating steep headangles! Not even trials motorcycles have such steep headangles and they ride at very low speeds and generally upright!
I propose the following geometry:
67º headangle, 75-78º seatangle, long chainstays 440-460mm, reach 450-530mm with 30-50mm stems. I also think dropper posts could be useful in races for the decents (more aero and more control over the bike).
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: Yes I know but that doesn't mean you can't make a roadbike for the masses which isn't restricted by those rules!
  • + 3
 @SintraFreeride: Hmmm, you're giving me an idea for a story. I'll make a call Monday...
  • + 2
 @SintraFreeride: @hamncheez: @mattwragg: So UCI regulations are hampering design?

I can't say I know what the head angles are on road bikes, but my time on motorcycles (sport bikes), is hearing what you are saying here.

A steeper head angle was/is a great thing for a sport bike, but there is an upper limit which always results in instability! Couple that with years of mass centrailization, shorter wheel bases, and increasing stiffness, you ultimately wound up with bikes that were far more high strung than others. CBR900RR (Fireblade) and TL1000S come to mind.

From their you of course wound up with steering dampers and other tricks like steeper head angles combined with longer swing arms. None of which can be easily accomplished on a road bike.

Whatever the case, there is a very real possibility that perhaps the UCI is worried about the bikes getting faster so they are keeping slower via regulations or restriction on design.
  • + 1
 @BDKR: and weight, UCI actually specifies the minimum weight a bike can be and they get weighed to ensure compliance.
I would love to know their stance on disc brakes, something that MTB has had for years and is now mature technology in the industry is only just making its way onto roadbikes (why was it bike companies that refused or was it UCI saying nay that held it back.)
  • + 3
 @BDKR: The UCI has no input on the bike design itself, they merely set a minimum weight, which in and of itself is/was a good thing. Racers tend towards the limits. Always. So the logical conclusion of that is that racers ended up on progressively lighter bikes to the point where they became structurally unsound. I was reading a blog by a pro roadie yesterday and he was talking about hitting 120km/h on the descents - imagine the consequences of hitting a pothole or something on a too-weak frame at that speed... There is an argument that the minimum weight should be updated as manufacturing techniques have progressed, that maybe the UCI have been too slow there, but the weight limit itself is a very good thing.

The steep geometry comes from the pro peloton, in no small part to aid drafting as it has such a huge impact on the racing - if you look at the power numbers Uran and his team put out for the TdF, on the flat stages his teammates put out 400-ish watts at the front to protect him from the wind, which is a savage amount of power to hold all day, while he coasted behind at around 180 watts, which most keen amateurs could easily hold. That meant he was fresher for the next mountain day.

@Hooch73 The UCI are in the process of allowing disc brakes, but it's the riders that are pushing back - "we don't need more power", etc. They should sound like familiar arguments to 90s MTBers.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: Ahhh.... Good intel! Thanx for clearing that up. :-)
  • + 1
 @BDKR: Matt Wragg is right- a longer stem puts the front wheel closer to you, which makes it easier to draft, and shorter chainstays make it easier for your teammate behind you to draft. However, the UCI has wheelbase length limits which put wheelbases even shorter than they need to be for drafting, making bikes have long stems and steeper HTAs than they need to be. This especially hurts taller riders. Its archaic rules from some of the most stubborn people in existence, comparable to the ski industry in the 90s.

Manufacturers are pushing disc brakes on road bikes, but riders are resisting since disc brakes aren't as 'aero' and you might loose a watt or two if you have a crosswind.
  • + 2
 @mattwragg: I would like to here Chris Porter's thoughts on a geometron roadbike Wink
  • + 3
 @hamncheez: UCI rules state 1800mm in length, which means my Canyon Sender is well within than limit, so for road racing it's a non factor. Article 1.03.12: www.uci.ch/mm/Document/News/Rulesandregulation/16/51/61/ClarificationGuideoftheUCITechnicalRegulation-2017.01.01-ENG_English.pdf

There is actually an interesting reach/CS regulation, that puts CS between 350-500 and front centre 540-650.

In practice, these limits only limit how short a road bike can be, while extending to cover DH, so length is as you will for the road, within reason.
  • + 3
 @SintraFreeride: There is an interview with Chris Porter where he complains that mountain bikes with short reaches paired with longer stems is a holdover from road biking, and that he thinks road bikes would handle better with shorter stems, but then he says that UCI rules prevent wheelbases from getting tool long. @mattwragg this is where I got that rule from, although now i can't find the video anywhere, so CP might have been mistaken or my memory might be off.

That being said, I used to work at a bike company that had some pro riders, and this one girl who worked there always complained that her Obrea mechanic put her on a ridiculously small frame with a 130mm+ stem (she won USAC nationals in CX one year, so shes a good rider). She constantly fought him on the frame sizing, saying it felt like she was going to die on any moderate descent. The old school mechanic was obsessed with 'fit', using numbers from a chart rather than rider feedback. She was very happy when her team switched sponsors and she went up TWO sizes on her road bike. The road bike culture is really whacked sometimes, and we mountain bikers need to make sure we don't make the same mistakes.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: thanks for the repy, I was wondering who was pushing back on this, having ridden a road bike in Sydney, without disc brakes I gave it away as the brakes felt to soft when trying to emergency stop to avoid hitting a car or some idiots car door he just opened.
  • - 2
 @gonecoastal: 20 Million in earnings wouldn't come close to 2nd highest paid athlete in the US, but is still extremely high and probably one of the highest paid in winter Olympics.

Honestly he has been around for a while and just getting old. I think he has some brand involvement with apparel, but that's about it.
  • + 3
 @fumetsu: give it a rest, bud. No one f*cking cares.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: I knew the UCI restricted geometry but had no idea the level of this insanity until I read that document!!! I find the front center max limit as being rather silly 650mm! With 450mm chainstays the bike would have a wheelbase of 1100mm. Not particularly long. And saying a bike longer than that won't be maneuverable is utter rubbish! If I get some extra cash together I will have a custom road frame built.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: @mattwrag; So apparently that 1800mm is max wheelbase allowed right? Put in perspective, 1800mm is nearly 71 inches! My 26" 2011 Kona Operator has an overall length of nearly 75 inches. I'd image a large or XL 27.5 DH bike is even longer.

So while there is plenty of allowance per the rules in regards to overall length (and therefore wheelbase), it's actually the focus on power transfer and drafting that's pushing the design right?
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69:
www.forbes.com/2009/02/17/shaun-white-tony-hawk-business-sports_0218_action_sports.html

White’s endorsement take is greater than any baseball or football player outside of quarterback Peyton Manning.
Thats only in endorsments not net earnings.
  • + 29
 "We listen to the TV production company with more attentiveness than most other voices involved, because they are in a monopoly position, thanks to us." is what the UCI spokesmuppet meant to say

It is what it is, and I love my RB coverage, but wouldn't it be nice to get some honesty sometimes?
  • + 6
 Also strange that, given what he said, RedBull weren't given the contract for filming the World Championships.

See also 4x World Championships, in which the UCI's media partner (such as it was) took a massive shit on the sport. Still pissed off about that!
  • + 23
 The answer is simple: NO! Chris and Si and Nigel and Gabe are too class acts which the men in suits in the UCI don't quite deserve. If the UCI had any genuine respect for MTB and the gravity side of it, then we wouldn't be talking about so many f**k ups like the ones they provided us with. A lot of them are sheer gratuitous and it proves that there is little transparency in the decision making process. Any decent entity which is interested in a certain activity would at some point ask some questions about what they are doing and seek honest answers, to see where they stand. In this case, UCI, as a governing body, in order to grow the sport, should maybe be aware about their image in the communities where the fans/their customers are and maybe make changes related to what those people like/need. It's like if tthe UCI was a bakery and they served you shitty bread every day, but you know that they could make delicious bread that would cost just the same. You keep telling them to change their recipe for the better, but they keep ignoring you. It's kinda like that... Oh, and please listen to the riders more? PLEASE!!!

Oh, and Gabe, I love you man, I truly do, but please take note that those ”keyboard warriors” that you are referring condescending to are most likely some of the most passionate fans of the sport you are in, so be decent and don't belittle them like that! Thank you!

Mx
  • + 2
 The sports needs a regime change... perhaps the empire of chaos with their bureau of negligence can start a witch-hunt in the UCI, like they did at FIFA, and put a guy more friendly towards MTB.
  • + 2
 the UCI is mob, we are athletes, very simple.
  • + 2
 Belittle? Keyboard warrioring is a noble pursuit.
  • + 17
 Here's a bag of apostrophes. Please go and put them in the article. Thanks.
  • + 17
 like asking does america need trump and everyone saying 'well, we need some form of governance'
  • + 2
 THIS You deserve a beer man!
  • + 9
 apparently Mr Fox('Gabe") needs a slap upside the head from a glove with the words, "Yo asshat, the'keyboard warrior(s)' happen to be your biggest customer(s). From bike purchasing to MTB racing patronage, and PURPOSELY purchasing product from YOUR sponsors. Don't bite the hand that feeds you" written on it(would need to be a BIG glove obviously, but that would only be a good thing).
  • + 1
 Phuck yeah!
  • + 1
 You mean the same keyboard warriors that refuse to pay full retail, want to know what happened to their awesome local bike shop that shut down, yet order their parts off CRC in the next breath?
  • + 1
 @Cam86: Not speaking for YoKev, I mean the same keyboard warriors that refuse to buy new when they can buy used (because mountain bike pricing is just plain dumb), don't insist on all the "kit", don't buy "Enduro" pads, haven't completely re-tooled all their 5hit for 27.5 or 29 in the past three years but then still ride around the gnarly tech stuff at the local loop, and aren't thousands in debt just so they can have a fitness bike, trail bike, enduro bike, and a DH bike.

Most of the local shops around here can suck it! Most of them period. The real truth is that there is a new business model. While I don't see ANY LBS's shutting down around here (which makes me think you are a butt-hurt LBS owner) I do see smaller places now that aren't retail heavy and focus a great deal on repairs and updates. AND THEY ARE ALWAYS BUSY.
  • + 9
 just give DH a proper 12 race series that makes sense and I'm sure we'd be stoked on the UCI. Better tracks that the pro's are into, not pond jumping back and forth all over, a proper WC "tour" and I'm sure we'd all be happier (the fans, sponsors, riders etc etc).

I think if the UCI hired the right crew, w/ DH and Enduro as their only focus, lowered their "fee" to hold or host a WC, and let this crew run and get more sponsors, run the schedule etc, it could only help.
  • + 8
 New tracks in really new places like Africa, Asia or South America would be great.
  • + 9
 @NWMatty Haha that's like asking politicians to take less money and give up some of their power.

Would love to see a 10 to 12 race series, I mean c'mon 1 race in North America that's just pathetic.
  • + 4
 Sadly a 12 race series would really put the budget hurt on many teams currently on the WC. Even some "factory" teams would be complaining about the yearly expenses nearly doubling. These issues are more complicated than you think. The ROI on a WC Team has a limit in the current MTB market. This can change but this is the current landscape.
  • + 4
 @Joeypalmer: yes, but if a dedicated crew where to go out, organize, seek outside sponsors, run these events, advocate local mtb races/clinics/team shop rider appearances etc etc, the cost would be offset. Oh and lower the fees UCI charges to these resorts to bid or hold an event. 12 races? Pro roadies usually have 60+ event days per year, MX guys go 15-25 events, pro bmx racers used to do 20+ weekends. It can be done.
Oh and yes it's pathetic we have 1 WC in North America.
  • + 1
 @NWMatty: Yeah,but all of those have $$$. DH world cup teams haven't got the budgets of the 90's golden era,when every brand wanted to get their name on a new and exciting extreme sport. Those days are gone. DH is dying,and the UCI is not the only to blame.
  • + 4
 @NWMatty: your first sentence...that has to happen first. It’s harder than you think to get outside the industry sponsors. Until people outside the industry know and understand the potential there is no hope of expanding the series. This is partially why we need to embrace the UCI and Rebull. We need to max out our current situation before we expand into new territory. If MTB continues to grow like that UCI chap claimed with respect to viewers then Redbull will push it even more and when people start to recognize racing DH more then the outside money will come. It’s all a machine and we have to push now as well. As riders we should bring our passion for the sport to our selling story for outside industry sponsors but we must not forget that to them it’s a numbers game and they have no passion for the sport. Show them value and they will show us the money. Always remember that NFL and MLB professionals 50 years ago lived modest lifestyles. To bring money to the sport you need corporate and bringing more corporate big money will ultimately change our sport. If you think the UCI is bad try a Fortune 500 company running your team. Perhaps a newer tech company would be fitting. Enough talk already
  • - 3
 Riders would get kidnapped for ransom money in South America haha @greglikesspecialized:
  • + 1
 @nozes: Is DH dying really?
  • + 1
 @Joeypalmer: While I believe 1000% that money from outside the industry needs to come in, I don't for a moment believe the UCI is our only chance of making this happen.

And if current trends (not what they say) are any indication, it's not going to change much.
  • + 9
 Time to do it our own way, the UCI has waaay too much going on with Road and CXC to give MTB the attention it needs. Breaking it down barney style-Road and CXC are cash cows for the UCI - MTB is not. They don't feel they need to give MTB the attention we think it deserves because, in their minds, the cash is elsewhere. Why invest all that time and effort into something when you already have it made elsewhere?

If we get an organized body whose soul purpose is to grow and exploit the disciplines of MTB to generate revenue, then MTB has the potential to become a truly profitable sport for athletes, sponsors, and venues.

Money talks and the UCI is just following the cash cows right now.
  • + 1
 DH1 series - same topic - Its not gonna happen in next few years and probably never - unfortunately
  • + 8
 "The best possible testimony of the wealth of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is the level of investment provided by Red Bull Media House. No other mountain bike competition benefits from such support. In 2017, the series has reached 5.7 million viewers around the world, an increase of 97% compared to last year, making mountain biking the most important sport for Red Bull."

This was by far the most important part of the article in my mind. 97% growth in WCDH streaming viewership in a year! That is HUGE growth and bodes well for future investment by RBMH and title sponsors. Great news.
  • + 1
 While I agree that growth as such is a good thing, it speaks nothing of the demographic that's watching. I can still walk into a food joint, bar, down the street, or into a bike shop and the vast majority still have no idea that a mountain bike race was on! Funny also the number of people that would like to try DH, but find it difficult to find where live events are being played. And Redbulls problems over the last couple of years with their platform was no help!
  • + 1
 @BDKR: Ok that's true, but the very fact there is basically 100% growth inside a year on viewership is huge. Will it be as big as soccer/football? Of course not, but growth is good for everyone.
  • + 1
 @gramboh: I personally would rather see a 50% increase in growth AND a 50% increase in the number of events!
  • + 7
 It's telling that the UCI's representative in this article first lists that the UCI is the gate keeper to the Olypmics as the reason mountain biking needs the UCI. I say, forget the Olympics. Mountain biking isn't an Olympic sport and it would be better off with out the giant beaurocracy of the UCI or the Olympics. The model set forth by the EWS and all the great grass roots races out there is the way forward.
  • + 5
 I thought the same thing. Once every every four years a few dozen MTBers will get to race at the Olympics. They are the only ones threatened by the removal of MTB from the Olympics, not the millions of the-rest-of-us MTBers.
  • + 7
 ”I feel that the UCI gets abused a bit too heavily by the keyboard warriors on topics which they don’t understand.”
Don't dumb us down mofo, people talking here and many others don't doing it are the very base of the sport, the ones paying for the products that the companies you manage make, the ones paying licences to national federatios, we are real mountain bikers!!

Can't stop seeing the similarities with snowboard and FIS on this topic.
XC fits UCI, it's just the off-road version. Gravity needs a different set of skills, commit to different things too, and ultimately is practiced by people with a different mindset.
Probably road or CX don't even question the neex for UCI, like skiers don't question the need for FIS.

There should be a global governing body for gravity mtb, but that body ain't the UCI. It has to be a body founded by and for gravity riders, not roadies thinking of us as an add on.
  • + 1
 You couldn't be more right about the mindset. It's more akin to skateboarding and snowboarding! I felt right at home in it having grown up skating in the 80's and doing some snowboarding in the '90's.

And the FIS isn't the only time this kind of shake up has happened. AMA Superbike racing in the '90's went through this. It ultimately resulted in the AMA getting their crap together (for a little while at least).

Gabe is all the way out of line here! After all the love he got from the community after Stevie's death, how is he going to turn around and tell the good majority of those same people they are lesser!
  • + 10
 Why did you not ask Rob Rosskop, Pinkbike?
  • + 1
 He is back skating
  • + 2
 @donpinpon29: skateboard is a great model to look at what would become if UCII dropped mtb. There would just be a bunch of series, like Crankworx and EWS and the ones with the biggest purses would get the best riders. But there would be no international ranking system. Generally, it's thought the winner of the Vans bowl series must be the best bowl skater, but thats because it pays the most and has the Red Bull TV coverage.But then again, X Games is the biggest single bowl event worldwide and it's completely separate.
  • + 8
 The sport of mountain biking is much more than just racing. The title should read "Does mountain bike racing need the UCI?"
  • + 1
 Much in the same way that road cycling is much more than the Tour de France and racing.

Guess the real question is where a sport's governing body needs to govern and where can the sport just be a sport where people interpret it however they please?
  • + 1
 And the answer is still no!
  • + 5
 Most of the answers are so political, polite, diplomatic. I do not like governing bodies made of people who are interested in their chairs more than in the sport they should support. Happened in snowboard will happen again. I like EWS the way it is, I do not want to see enduro or DH as Olympic discipline either. Happy for someone to have different opinion, but at my place my trails are for me and my friends and I like it they way it is.
  • + 5
 UCI has its pro's with having a structure and path way to progress in different levels of competion however with them having the main draw card for the Olympics mindset it's a bit out dated...if thats their main focus. The UCI and Olympics both need to open their ear holes and start listening to what the riders & riding community enjoy.
  • + 5
 I’m not convinced by any of the above!
It’s time for a change. The UCI has its good points
But I think, it’s suffocating MTB.
The new rules seem to be aimed at protecting the big corporate sponsors; and thier riders, by making it harder for the privateers to qualify; which is such a shame. As that’s been one of the appeals of the sport. For me; The DH World Cup will lose some of it’s magic; without the David and Goliath aspect.
I personally! Would like to see a brake away series.
As I think body’s like the UCI and BC for that matter;
See the gravity sides of MTB; as a side show, to the main event.
  • + 8
 Well you know the old expression... Nope
  • + 4
 Once upon a time there was a local event here in Oregon where we as riders would get together and have a bit of fun timing ourselves against one another. The man that organized the thing is a good friend of mine. It was mostly a who's going to beat who and who's going really fast type of event to sort that out and talk some shit over beers and a camp fire. Eventually the weekend we all enjoyed catching up became something more than expected. At least to me anyways. I missed a few years of it. And without a doubt I did miss it. After a few years I had the time to get back and it was a shit show of people. The man that organized it realized that he was not in a good place for it to keep going. He had to much to lose. Insurance and shitty people that need someone to blame someone for an accident and financial gain took the lust right out of it. I respect his decision very much. I don't respect the people that found the event and took advantage of it!
  • + 1
 Unfortunate the way these things are. I've done a bit of organizing in the past and I've seen this kind of thing happen over and over again.

I used to go to Laguna Seca during the winters when teams would show up and do some pre-season testing. Toyota before getting into Indy car racing, Marlboro Yamaha back in the Rainey/Robers days, etc.... Laguna itself was considered a park, but you weren't getting through the gate on those days without signing waivers!!!!
  • + 6
 "This would also help with prize money which I believe is a joke for what the worlds best riders are doing on their bikes and the risks they are taking."
-I agree
  • + 4
 It is easy to say MTB does not need the UCI, but I am quite sure if The UCI decided to drop MTB or there was a parallel organization, MTB racing would struggle for a few years. Just see what happened to 4X after it got dropped, it ishardly a relevant sport today.
It works well for Enduro because the Enduro organization grew with the sport. But establishing a governing body for existing disciplines as DH and XC and operate on the (of course far from perfect) level of the UCI is a big task.
And a big YES for giant dual slalom! In my eyes, moving from DS to eliminator to 4X is what killed gated racing.
  • + 5
 Clearly the PB comment section should take over the DH series with all the genius' we have frequenting the site. How are there not like 10 different robust DH series with all the brilliance being exhibited here?
  • + 4
 the UCI gets abused a bit too heavily by the keyboard warriors on topics which they don’t understand

the UCI gets abused a bit too heavily by the keyboard warriors on topics which they don’t understand

the UCI gets abused a bit too heavily by the keyboard warriors on topics which they don’t understand

the UCI gets abused a bit too heavily by the keyboard warriors on topics which they don’t understand
  • + 3
 UCI, Olympics, etc... all suck big time. These type of organizations have ruined all cool sports they have been involved in. Take for example mogul skiing or snowboard, their rules killed all creativity. Now you are supposed to fit certain number and type of tricks into your run to please judges. We don't need them. Mountain bike should be an amateur sport.
  • + 1
 For half pipe it used to be rad to watch, tons of new tricks and shapes being thrown. After the Olympics its all 'amplitude and rotations' and its basically just how many rotations you can do. It turned to shit and I stopped watching entirely because it became boring.
  • + 3
 Dear Pinkbike:
Please ask the riders of the sport whether or not they think the UCI is needed in the mountain biking community, excluding the XC realm.
I, and hopefully the rest of the community, feel that would be a better place to start rather than the people whose jobs and livelihoods are dependent on being chummy with the UCI.
E.G. Steve Peat or Josh Bryceland to name a couple.

Kind and loamy regards
- A Generic Keyboard Warrior
  • + 2
 "In 2017, the series has reached 5.7 million viewers around the world, an increase of 97% compared to last year, making mountain biking the most important sport for Red Bull."

Very interested in verifying this. Such a large increase (essentially DOUBLING your viewership in LESS than a year) is virtually unheard of for any media publishing company, including the likes of YouTube and Netflix.

I wonder how they came up with these numbers.
  • + 3
 awkward moment member of the uci praises the uci.
that’ll be a no from me. yes it might be difficult without the uci but instead of worrying about lack of money, draw up a better strategy.
  • + 6
 Go ahead. Form the Downhill World Series presented by Monster Energy.
  • + 2
 The UCI should stick to what they really know about, and that's road cycling. Every cycling sport with a need of Nobby tires should be organized by a separate Organisation with people who actually know about the sport. Or does a former Moto GP Organisator do the planning for an MX event...?!
  • + 2
 Mountain biking is indeed a lifestyle as well as a sport. The same can be said for road cycling but it’s just a different sport. As in, very different. As in chalk and cheese. The primary difference is in the psychology of the participants. I have never ever woken up in the morning, ran into the shower to shave my legs, got dressed in brightly colored spandex, grabbed the lightest weight spindly bike money could by and then ran out to play in traffic. Barring a severe brain injury I don’t ever see myself doing it. Conversely a hard core road cyclist will never ever wake up in a tent next to their bike get dressed in yesterday’s sweaty riding gear, put on body armor, and a full face helmet, throw a heavy pack on their back, grab a burly 25-30lb bike with big wide aggressively knobbed tires and take off down a trail that includes 4 foot plus drops, exposure, and whatever kind of potentially bone breaking gnar they can find. They are different sports. Ridden by people with different mindsets on completely different machines. While the above imagery is painting the stereotypical extremes, and is a bit tongue in cheek. It’s given to illustrate a point. It’s not that the UCI is bad necessarily. It’s that they’re inadequate in representing our sport because they don’t have people at the very top that are passionate mtbers. They have passionate roadies at the top of the organization. They need to educate themselves and listen to us. The first step towards that would be having top people in the field of our sport sitting on the board next to the top roadie people. Leaving the Mtb decisions to the Mtb division.
  • + 2
 "The UCI also promotes gender equity through mountain biking" - Peter Van den Abeele

This is why

"The top 60 men elite, top 15 women elite and top 20 men juniors from the qualifying rounds qualify for the finals." - Article 4.5.027

Equity? 60 vs 15 vs 20?
  • + 1
 This probably has more to with the numbers of entrants in each category being different. There is a much wider spread of podium botherers in the elite men than the women's racing will ever have unfortunately. Otherwise you could just say all women who enter qualify, regardless of race pace, just because there are less of them, just to try and equal the sixty qualifiers in men elite.
  • + 1
 Yes but at the same time limiting to 15 gives no hope to some women that would like to participate. They know they could train hard enough for top 30 or 60 but not top 15. Yes, it will give a better show because you will only see the 15 best but you're just saying that if you can't make it to top 15 don't even botter trying. We're still talking about only 15 worldwide. We're already strugling to get women into the sport and limithing them to such a low number will only make it worst.
  • + 1
 @lRaphl: look at the time difference between the podium women racers and the rest of the (too small) field, they are WAY off pace. I'm all for more girls and women riding, don't get me wrong, it just seems that there aren't enough fit-enough or skilled-enough riders to full it out to equal the elite men. There will always be a ton more guys pushing to get into a race than women because cycling, and mountainbiking in particular, is male dominated.
  • + 1
 @rokboy: I know there is a big gap in speed in the women feild but if you don't give them the chance to have some exposure, they wont get any sponsors. Without sponsors, there will be even less women being able to compete. I'm not saying that it should be 60 like for the men (at least for now) but 15 seems ridiculously low to me.
  • + 1
 @lRaphl: Did you miss the bit about all junior women that start a seeding run qualify for finals?
  • + 5
 I almost single handedly blame the UCI for the decline of DH as a world class sport.
  • + 1
 Yeah...been going to WC/NORBA downhill events since the early 90's. It's amazing how much slower Aaron Gwin, Danny Hart, etc. are. Too bad it's not a world class sport anymore.
  • + 1
 You have many who agree sir. Not the only reason, but one of the larger ones.
  • + 4
 "add in a giant slalom event on trail/enduro bikes and try to push the worlds best DH riders to go head to head",

Yes please
  • + 4
 I suggest going a stage further and having four people racing. The racing could be called 4X.
  • + 2
 Back in the day gravity riders would race the DS one day and the DH the next. But after a while those with a DH focus wouldn't race DS because they didn't want to get t-boned and lose their chance to race the next day. So then the gravity racers were split into specialists - DH racers and gated racers. The same split would happen again.
  • + 1
 @wallheater: ROFL!!!!
  • + 2
 If one of my employees asked me about an issue and I responded with "you wouldn't understand", that would make me a f*cking douche. I would (and have) responded with real answers and have offered to pay them to learn another persons job so they would have real perspective. Article has mostly BS answers to the question
  • + 1
 HA! NEED the uci? One of the most corrupted sports governing bodies, right behind FIFA...now that's rich!
The uci should be be abolished and those in charge past and present put on trial and then in prison for massive felonies. Charges include but not limited to: Financial fraud, deception and conspiracy to cover up/destroy evidence.

The uci is a nefarious, draconian enterprise that has been and is bribed like a $2 blowjob whore...

cycling in general does NOT need the uci at all. It's like F1 does NOT need the FIA or football need FIFA, etc.
These are oligarchic, criminal agencies formed by non-working elites who's main goal is to extract and extort money from anyone and everyone possibloe, while degrading their respective sports.

If enough athlets had stones and boycotted, these entities would cease to exist, just like governments. But as we know, most people are sheep and statists at heart. Dangle the carrot...keep them busy, distracted and just content enough not to revolt. It's human natures flaw and those scumbags who run governing bodies and governments KNOW this.
So they exploit it to the maximum. "Meet the new boss...same as the old boss..."
Hey uci... get f*cked. ;-)
  • + 1
 UCI is like FIFA, a money driven organisation. Both of them received money from Dubai to give world championship there.

In road cycling the funny thing is that power isn't in the hands of UCI, ASO owns most of the races (TDF, Paris Roubaix, Vuelta, Giro...) and can make its own if they don't like what UCI asks. It already happened when TDF got out of Pro Tour. So UCI is quite powerless in road.

Sadly there isn't an equivalent to ASO in MTB
  • + 1
 The thing is : many armchair comment warriors bash the UCI for things that aren't in UCI control. As a governing body the UCI provides a template of rules and directions but many things are still in the organizers/sponsors/riders hands.

I'm not saying there aren't bad things done at the UCI level (corruption has always been a problem in these sort of orgs) but that doesn't mean MTB would be better without it.

The only thing that I hate about the UCI is that stupid rule that forbid a rider with a UCI licence to attend races not UCI sanctionned. It is mostly ignored by amateurs but that doesn't mean that rule is good.
  • + 1
 The UCI seem to be more focused on road biking than MTB and will not have anything to do with slopestyle,enduro,or any of the other good forms of MTB. Dont get me wrong I love DH but it would be good to see more coverage of other displines like what RedBull do.
  • + 1
 Simple Answer:
NO not the average Person,what do you think how many People ride Trail,Enduro and/or FR/DH and dont even know they exist.
For the WC Contenders and all who are involved the Answer might be YES but they could do without the UCI if they really want to.
  • + 1
 I guess it's like the whole brexit thing. Nobody knows what's going to happen or if it'll happen at all!! As a sport we'd manage without the uci but it'd be a difficult few years finding sponsors for race series and getting the right organisers and rule makers. Maybe a better question would be how could we improve the uci to benefit the sport.
  • + 4
 “The UCI keeps mountain biking in the Olympics” oh you mean the favored child of mountain biking you twat.
  • + 3
 I'm not interested in seeing DH in the olympics at all. Like fs ski and snowboard, it just don't belong there
  • + 1
 @ismasan: I don’t necessarily disagree, rather making a point about the negligence of the UCI when I comes to 4x and DH
  • + 5
 Do whales shit in the woods?
  • + 7
 does the tin man have a sheet metal cock?
  • + 3
 @rocky-mtn-gman: ha ha ha im gonna use that
  • + 4
 @rocky-mtn-gman: Uh, yes? Dunno, never looked but he is made of metal. Are you saying that mountain biking does need the UCI? I'm confused.
  • + 2
 @rocky-mtn-gman: Does Pinocchio have a hickory dickery?
  • + 1
 No but Lean is killing off the scene.
  • + 1
 @billreilly: I think that you and @rocky-mtn-gman are confused as to how these turns of phrase are supposed to work. Phrases like, "Does a bear shit in the woods?" and "Does The Pope wear a funny hat?" are meant to elicit the answer, "Yes".

The question posed here was "Does mountain biking need the UCI?" When you both answered in the way that you did it means that you think, yes, mountain biking does need the UCI. Think about it. Of course you're entitled to your opinion and if you think that mountain biking does need the UCI, fine. If you think that mountain biking doesn't need the UCI then you answered the question wrong.

OK, I'm done.
  • + 1
 simple : NO ! Complex : in a fair world the UCI would be the mother and father of all cyclists around the world, in the past years seems they'r interested only on road cycling....sorry for that, but we are all humans and must share roads and woods in the same manner.
  • + 2
 I compare this with ski and snowboard. Snowboard(same with freestyle ski) was attached to FIS ... and problems begins ... for athletes and also for the image of sport. Stay away of UCI mtb
  • + 5
 DWS 4 the win ... We want more rounds and new venues
  • + 3
 It's about time someone asked the question. It's not always about having the answers, but asking the right question.
  • + 1
 It's massively conflicting - from outside I'd argue I'd prefer no UCI involvement, but many of those involved in the sport are arguing for it. I don't know what I think, bar that I want them to leave the EWS alone...
  • + 1
 What is the alternative? Who is capable and willing to put together a series that could rival (or best) the UCI WC?
I'm all for the evolution of our sport,but I don't see downhill going the EWS way anytime soon.
  • + 2
 Not sure about the UCI, BUT we do need more 'Riding the Tatshenshini' style adventures/videos put into Mountain Biking cause thats what its all about...
  • + 3
 NO ... absolutely not , dont need it , dont want it , its a nuisance more than anything
  • + 2
 Questions should have been 'could DH continue and maybe flourish with less uci envolvement like EWS and 4X euro series have done?'
  • + 1
 Wrote up a topic about USAC in USA and UCI overlap here 7/30/2016 8:59 PM www.vitalmtb.com/forums/The-Hub,2/Time-to-Say-Goodbye-to-USAC,9339?exclusive_forum_user=false&page=2
  • + 1
 This article hasn't changed the way I view the UCI. I still dislike them for favouring road racing. I think the UCI needs to be restructured for mountain biking.
  • + 1
 I just don't like seeing race won by less than a second. I would love to see bigger time gaps on newer tracks. But that happens with time I guess.
  • + 1
 Whenever I see those lightweight carbon bikes I feel bad with my aluminium frame enduro. 14 kg, no less - it should be a law! It is how UCI works right?
  • + 3
 Next question: "Does the USA cycling need downhill mountain biking?"
  • + 2
 Does MTB care about the Olympics? If not, then you dont need the UCI. Do the Olympics even matter anymore? I'd say not.
  • + 3
 Balanced views? Please pinkbike stop this nonsense immediately.
  • + 1
 There needs to be a governing body, yes, but the UCI doesn't need to be it. I actually would prefer if they weren't involved in any aspect of MTB.
  • + 3
 well said on the 4x SI PATON
  • + 4
 nope.
  • + 2
 There was a time when mountain biking did. But it isn't that time anymore.
  • + 2
 short answer: no, long answer: f**k no.
  • + 1
 The question should be does professional mountain biking need the UCI, the sport itself is perfectly healthy without it
  • + 1
 I think some people have forgotten why 4X was dropped - it was just too damn hard and expensive to build the tracks.
  • + 2
 You should have asked Sponsel !!!
  • + 2
 Yes, it would be nice to know how he Felt about this issue.
  • + 1
 Should have ran a poll for this but I think they know what the results would have been... NO.
  • + 1
 I would like to second Si's implied nomination for Tipper and Peaty to run mountain biking.
  • + 1
 In short NO. They are corrupt and sorely ineffective.
  • + 1
 A restructuring of uci ya
  • + 1
 The french didnt invent enduro. Finns did. The french just made it bigger.
  • + 1
 Please elaborate
  • + 1
 Repeat after me we are all individuals!
  • + 1
 We need UCI just like we need paid toilets.
  • + 1
 how is the UCI doing things in comparison to it's predecessor?
  • + 1
 Ask Peaty...
  • + 1
 No.
  • + 1
 One simple answer, no!
  • + 1
 Fuck UCI
  • - 1
 Does the UCI come in purple? or Rootbeer? Or 29er?
  • - 1
 I thought the UCI invented mountain biking?
  • - 1
 As much as the world needs trump !!!! We dont fk them off
  • + 1
 Make America great again!
  • + 1
 Hillary for Prison!
  • + 1
 Build the wall!
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