The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?

Jul 21, 2020 at 15:45
by Mike Kazimer  
Art by Taj Mihelich

Levy wasn't able to make it to this week's episode - rumor has it he went out on a Grim Donut ride and never returned - so we made sure to talk about all his favorite subjects without him, and to use the word 'stankshun' as often as possible.

Modern bikes are better than ever, but that doesn't mean there's no more room for improvement. In this episode, Brian Park, Christina Chappetta, James Smurthwaite and I discuss what could be changed to make mountain bikes, and the sport as a whole, even better. Grippy tires that don't go flat, inexpensive bikes with good geometry, investment from larger corporations, and building a more supportive, inclusive riding community were just a few of the suggestion that came up.

Give it a listen, and let us know what you think needs to be changed in the comments below.


Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever else you get your podcasts.




THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 15 - WHAT'S HOLDING MOUNTAIN BIKING BACK?
July 2nd, 2020

Expensive bikes, tires that still go flat, so many standards...and no Mountain Dew sponsorships.

Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?


249 Comments

  • 250 11
 Real talk. This might sound selfish but I'm glad mountain biking is challenging and has a high barrier for entry. Riding in peace and quiet away from crowds of people is one of the greatest appeals and I'd like to keep it that way.
  • 23 0
 Amen to that.
  • 23 1
 Yeah agree, I wish surfing was like that too... Frown
  • 128 10
 I second this. Mountain biking is an extreme sport at its core, and going mainstream means dumbing it down. We already see this happening with trails getting nerfed, or young able bodied people getting ebikes.
  • 101 0
 To me, it's the idea of doing something difficult and reaping a hard-earned reward that makes MTB appealing. Running, martial arts, surfing, adaptive sports, and mountaineering/rock climbing are a few others that follow the same vein, but each is unique in its own right. Ultimately, these are not celebrations of one individual’s victory over another, but celebrations of mind over matter. That's why these endeavors can’t ever reach “mainstream” status. They require a specific environment, at least basic equipment, and a willing, engaged participant. A balance between these inputs cannot be found in all places at all times congruently - like mainstream things can be. The value of these activities is derived from their exceptional and difficult nature, not their regular-ness. Attempts to force the sport into the mainstream can only erode that intrinsic value.
  • 28 1
 hahah totally agree, but I have to say, that there is also a lot of young people out there on Walmart bikes or hardtail steel bikes with lots of talent, that ride a lot better than a lot of the rich kids with fullsus bikes. Thats talent not reaching its full potential just because of $$$ sadly.....
  • 46 2
 Agree. Which is one reason I never go to bike parks. Lines & hoards of people are the antithesis of what MTB'g is to ME.

Granted, I know there is some cool-ass shit I'm missing out on trail wise. But I hate people enough in general that I don't care.
  • 19 15
 Price of bikes and poor wages for riders is what’s holding the sport back
  • 32 3
 @dirtbag-tyrel16: A $400 hardtail from Specialized, Trek, or Giant isn't holding anyone back. That shiny new iPhone or Nike's aren't holding anyone back and they are sold by the millions
  • 16 2
 Totally agree. When something goes mainstream, its value is lost. Let mtbing remain obscure, let it be for the few and not the many.
  • 5 0
 It's also scary sometimes, which means posers and the feint of heart need not apply. Works for me!
  • 15 26
flag hbar314 (Jul 22, 2020 at 13:25) (Below Threshold)
 Agreed. With crowded trails you get more people complaining about the music coming from my enduro fanny pack.
  • 5 1
 I can't agree enough. I miss my quirky, dorky, outcast solitude. The same goes for climbing, jebus
  • 50 0
 @hbar314: I'll assume you're being sarcastic, but people who ride with Bluetooth speakers are super duper annoying.
  • 10 0
 Yeah. You been to a ski hill lately. Its fuckin bonkers here in WA. Last winter some resorts stopped selling day tickets. Meaning you had to order them days in advance. No thanks.
  • 9 1
 MTBing is fun and while it desirable to have high barriers to entry, there are many benefits to the sport if it gains more popularity. More people involved equals more support for trail building and general MTBing infrastructure and less opposition. More people equals, more demand for more supply , which allows companies to achieve economies of scale and reduce costs for the end consumer. More people involved increases opportunities for more people to earn a living in the sport they love. More people involved increases opportunity for more riding buddies.
  • 20 4
 @ryane: Actually, those cell phones, labeled clothing, video games, these are holding people back because those "things" are far easier to master than participating in a sport, as well, they are much safer and more mainstream.

There was a time when the "thinkers" of the world (Greeks) believed that more leisure time would lead humans to engage their minds and bodies ... they were wrong. Humans are inherently lazy.
  • 15 1
 RC nailed it in his interview in the downtime podcast, I think. www.downtimepodcast.com/richard-cunningham (@approx. 1h21min). Mountain biking is probably a peak right now – we have parks, can use shared access trails, and in many places can even ride what used to be hiking trails. If mountain biking were to become even more mainstream, it will bring with it a fundamental change to how trails are shared between user groups.

I know this sounds selfish. I'm in favor or reducing the entry hurdles to biking and getting more people into the sport – but we have to be conscious that it will bring with it some restrictions to keep the sport alive.
  • 5 0
 @grizzlyatom: extremely good post sir
  • 4 3
 @nurseben: what? are you the new Waki?
  • 5 0
 @grizzlyatom: one of the most articulate statements I’ve seen in over a decade on Pinkbike.
  • 4 14
flag tbpdsk8 (Jul 22, 2020 at 15:19) (Below Threshold)
 thats pretty selfish bro, but to each their own. If more people bought the bikes and gears everything would evolve at a faster rate. To me the mountain bike culture is wack. My background before MTB is skateboarding and Soccer. In those sports you want to see the best do their thing. But in mtb people are content seeing a middle of the road middle age guy living in his mansion and his hacks. Instead of the fastest most creative riders. I dont get it, but I dont debate it. To each their own.
  • 8 2
 It’s quite selfish and elitist but I tend to agree. It depends a lot on where you live and ride too. I think often those most interested in “growing the sport” are those most interested in growing their income. I truly love mountain biking for many reasons, but in the end it’s not important that anybody do it, including myself. It is pure privilege.
  • 5 1
 @BiNARYBiKE: it is privilege. my 2014 self would lose his mind if he knew 2020 me spent 4000 on a bike.
  • 3 5
 @krka73: sounds like you have some issues you need to address. People are great, really where would we be without them ?
  • 8 1
 The mainstream is where mediocrity thrives, take music as a great example: the most popular music is the least complicated and least original type of music. If MTBiking becomes mainstream then the trails will be built or “fixed” for the average rider.
  • 2 0
 I agree, doubt the park riders agree. Me, my bike a couple of my core riding buddies and some fast AF, tech trails.
  • 8 2
 It's not selfish; not everything needs to be accessible to the masses.

More bikes, runners, etc on the trails don't necessarily mean the sport will progress. Where I live (Marin), people are constantly bickering over any new trail that's built, who can use it, who can't.

Mostly I've had positive experiences, but there are a lot of unhappy people around, and lot of them are vocal about it. I'd say in this area there is a lot of money and a ton of trails, both of which improve access and maybe that easy access is also what leads to negative vibes and incidents on the trails.
  • 4 0
 Truth. Nothing beats the alone time, away from the crowds.

"Wherever the crowd goes, run the other direction. They're always wrong." - Charles Bukowski.

Is Bukowski telling me to peruse my dream of building a 38''/34'' mullet bike?
  • 1 0
 @ybsurf: it is in February
  • 4 0
 @hbar314: people dont understanding your level of sarcasm is just beyond me.
  • 2 1
 So true. I was big into snowboarding for about 10 years and then it exploded and I just couldn't/didn't want to deal with huge lift lines, even during the weekday.
  • 3 0
 @LagunaSunrise: no I think it's a 16"/26" mullet
  • 6 0
 @riklassen: If you think that more people will equal costs being reduced, you will be massively disappointed.
  • 2 3
 @SlodownU: increasing demand doesn’t lower costs??? I guess I should’ve paid more attention in my economics class...
  • 2 1
 @unrooted: Not when it comes to MTB
  • 2 2
 @the-one1: I always forget how stupid the rest of you dipshits are, and that even the most obviously sarcastic comments have to have a sarcasm tag.
  • 1 0
 @bhoodlum: you should look into the backcountry. Although even that is starting to get crazy depending on where you live.
  • 2 1
 @makripper: really you havent been south island during a good swell, or even chesterman and surfing in general meaning in tropical country as well. Unless you go camp in remote location big crowds will wait for you.
  • 1 0
 @ybsurf: i sure have! And it's been dead mid winter. Jordan river and Tofino. Summer is busier lol. I lived on the island for a few years. Even when I was in Australia surfing there, what is called "busy" is nothing like the surf spots in Cali.
  • 2 0
 @grizzlyatom: Don't forget skateboarding.
  • 1 1
 Spoken like someone with lots of money
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: Totally agree. Glentress in the scottish borders is an exellent example of just that. It has increasingly become a family playground rather than a fun involved bike park.
  • 1 0
 @TreeBeak: We have a lift access DH spot that gets more business from families who want a mediocre view from the top, even though there are lots of riders. Hard times for the hardcore!
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: I guess the balance is that it keeps the masses away from the good stuff outside the bikeparks Smile
  • 1 0
 @4thflowkage: It was extreme until FLOW TRAILS happen!
  • 1 0
 27.5 and 29ers bicycles made that high barrier $$$$$$ happen! Don't forget the $200 a bicycle hammer!!
  • 1 0
 Unpopular opinion. Yeah it is selfish. The more people and kids interesting the sport the better. More trails, more everything. The sport is hard to get crowded anyway, on a one way trail.
  • 1 0
 @danbgbg: ....most trails are NOT 1 way...
  • 1 0
 Agreed. These days it’s hard to find parking at hiking trail heads. This is never the case when I go mountain biking.
  • 94 5
 £100 shorts
£150 shoes
£200 helmet
£50 tyres
Constantly marketing £6k 35lb mini DH bikes to people who ride 15km round a trail centre twice a month.
  • 5 2
 THIS
  • 16 2
 Well, I mean the Yeti SB165 is an all-mountain bike and the trail centre is on the mountain, right? And the weight savings on those enve rims will come in handy on the gentle rollers.
  • 18 1
 @igxqrrl: I ride mtb for over 20 years an never paid neither of those price tags... you can go around that easy...
  • 7 7
 @brajal: Not everyone can rock the Y-front/flip flops/hollowed out melon look and get away with like you do.
  • 56 1
 Its up to the riders to determine what kind of bike and what kind of gear you need, pinkbike comments have this idea that companies make people buy stuff and its absolute nonsense. You say their marketing mini DH bikes at people who don't need them, yet at its core marketing is about making your name and brand known to the people/audience who values the traits of your product, but it's up to the consumer to decide what their needs are. Everyone is aware there are used markets available, and its up to consumers to be informed on what they need prior to making big purchases. Also, every brand has entry level products that are marketed as such and pinkbike literally did a whole field test dedicated to budget bikes and entry level bikes, yet I still saw countless people moaning on PB and instagram about how $2k isn't budget. If a sport isn't in your price range, that's unfortunate, but I know countless people that have been able to enter the sport this year on a budget and enjoy themselves, my girlfriend included. Yeah MTB is expensive, but so are most sports and hobbies, that's life for ya. If you feel you need a $6k mountain bike great do it, if you think that's ridiculous, also great, do your thing, but this gatekeepy culture that people who have nice things are inferior needs to stop, god forbid someone new to a sport buys themselves nice things cause they can afford it. Plus if they never use it, someone lucky gets a good deal on the used market, win win.
  • 9 0
 @LAM: Exactly. When was the last time you saw the base-model car from any manufacturer reviewed or put in the ads they show? Yeah, you CAN buy a $20,000 F150, but the one they show in the ad is always the Crew Cab, 4WD, 3.5L Ecoboost, Platinum Edition that goes for $80,000.
  • 18 4
 @LAM: At it's core marketing is about selling you shit you don't need under the pretence it will make you happy.
  • 6 4
 @LAM: Fly fishing is my other main hobby, and it's generally viewed as an expensive hobby. But I can buy a Echo Carbon XL/Lamson Liquid combo for a few hundred bucks and have a rig that lasts years of hard fishing, with a full lifetime warranty to boot. I own many much more expensive setups of course (rods in excess of a grand, not including reel or line), but the point is that it's possible to have a legit fly fishing setup for a reasonable price. I wish I could recommend a good mountain bike that will last years of hard riding to people new to the sport, but you really do get what you pay for and below a couple thousand the bikes are just not very good. Pretty sad state of affairs.
  • 9 2
 @TheLoamDeranger: Man I'd like to agree but I just can't. I can buy a mountain bike for what I view as a reasonable price, but I can't buy a really great car with good tires and gas and insurance for that same price. Not everything is created equal sadly. I bought my current bike, a 2014 Kona process 153 DL in 2017 for $2500. I can still sell that bike for about $2k meaning it has cost me $500 (obviously not including maintenance and repairs) to ride my 2014 bike for 4 seasons and while I spent a fair bit on replacement parts, I also ride way harder and am way harder on my bike than someone new to the sport is or would be. That bike has given me 1 day a week for 3 summers at a local bike park, countless rides around my local spots, bike trips through the PNW of the US and Canada and hours and hours of enjoyment. Everyone has their priorites, but that price to me is entirely reasonable and I have no issue paying to do what I love.
  • 3 0
 @LAM: well said. Buying used and going for a mid level build certainly means you can ride a great bike for a few hundred in depreciation a year. I bought a 6 month old giant trance advanced in 2017 for 3k. In this covid market, I could easily get 2500 for it, if not the same 3k (missus maintenance and upgrades of course). Before that, I had a process 111 that I lost less $500/600 on after two years of hard use. It does take a lot of experience to buy used well though. I try to help newer riders find good used bikes.
  • 6 1
 I started as a poor 15 year old on a crappy 8 speed Deore Specialized P.2 with my skate shoes, no padded shorts, bmx helmet, and bald tires. I rode more in those days with crap gear than I do now. I even used more crappy gear when I rode BMX. Price is not a barrier to this sport.
  • 8 0
 @TheLoamDeranger: "years of hard fishing" hahaha. A fly fishing rod doesn't have to support many times your body weight, isn't a significant safety liability if it breaks, has VERY few parts to it (and only a couple of moving parts), has generally very simple parts, doesn't have significant demands on strength to weight or even weight as a whole, and you honestly think that's a reasonable comparison to something as complex as a mountain bike? Even if nothing else, there is SO MUCH MORE material in a bike than a fishing setup. Not many people flinging 35lbs of fishing rod around.

LAM is on the money. Mountain bikes are pretty complex pieces of equipment, but nobody's forcing you to buy anything outside your budget. High end bikes are built with a lot of the same materials and tech that are used to build F1 cars, rally cars and planes. You can buy a brand new $600 bike in the same way you can buy a $15,000 car - it'll get you from A to B, but it won't be a rally car and will break if you thrash it off-road. But in the trail/enduro market for example, what you get for $2-3k now is actually a legitimately better bike than the best bike you could buy 12 years ago.

Furthermore though, nobody owes it to you that you "should" be able to afford a sport. I don't complain that I can't afford car racing or heli skiing or whatever - that stuff just costs a lot of money and if you don't have the money you can't do it. It's not a defect in the industry.
  • 5 1
 @Socket: I've got a nice bike and a decent bike, so no complaining from me personally, but I've also been at this many years and am somewhat desensitized to sticker shock. It's newer folks who have a hard time swallowing the cost of a decent bike. I mean sure, just settle on a Walmart bike or a sub-$500 box bike from Cube and mountain biking is cheap and accessible for most, right? Hope you don't have ambitions to really thrash that thing though, because it likely won't hold up to the abuse for long.

Anyway, I don't really care who rides a bike or who doesn't. I hate crowds.
  • 1 0
 I'm not sure these are limitations to anyone who is truly passionate about the sport. As @grizzlyatom put it so eloquently, at the heart of the sport is mind of matter. Expensive helps reduce the matter side but not the path. I have been riding for 21 years and did not have a pair of bike shoes or shorts until 3 years ago. It didn't stop me from racing, or putting thousands of km's on my low end bike. I am now in a position to have nice things including a nice bike, but if my financial position dictated, I would drop it all and find a cheap hard-tail to shred on. It would not remove me from the sport.

That being said, I do have gripe with the unnecessary cost of bike items and maintenance cost when you do end up with a decent bike. It's pretty easy to amass a $1000 bill during winter maintenance.
  • 1 0
 @Adamrideshisbike: I had a newish Commencal meta then bought a mint condition 2009 Specialized sx trail for just $465 this year, why, because I always wanted one. I put on my bars and 1by10 and it whipped my expensive new Commencal. I sold that and got used to the extra 5lbs of weight. Still going hard all over BC.
It’s up to the buyer if they want to get sucked into spending big money.
  • 2 0
 @LAM: u a G
  • 5 0
 @LAM: Yes, it seems that pinkbike comments request you to price your bike according to your skill level. You are only allowed to ride a 7k bike if you are pro. My skill level is about a 3.5k Canyon. Not even a 4k Commencal, I do not shred hard enough. My skills will never go up, buy my disposable income did. So I am riding Yetis and whatever. And I like it.
  • 56 3
 Are we sure mountain biking would be better if it were more 'mainstream'?
One could argue that it could open up more riding spots , but the recent increase in riders due to Covid has proven that more people riding can equal more overcrowding ,parking hassles , and concern from other trail users (hikers,horseback riders,etc).
  • 40 0
 the only ones asking that question are people from the industry...
  • 4 1
 this...
  • 2 0
 @jzPV: Asking what donhjr said or what the article asks? Because industry 100% want mountain biking to be more mainstream (which might be what your saying) .
  • 10 1
 I see your point and definitely resonate with it at times,, but to offer something of a counter point... I'm involved with the trail building efforts in my town and I'll offer my perspective. Mountain biking has helped me tremendously to deal with stress, build healthy habits, meet new people, support local businesses, and more. This is something I truly want to share with my community because I think it will make it a better place and slowly, over time, make people healthier, happier, and better all around. So yes, I work very hard to grow the sport, build trails, and get more people on bikes - especially people who may be excluded because of the high cost of entry, because I think they may also have the most to benefit from involvement. When there's a big influx like there has been during covid, there's going to be growing pains, but at least in our community I think more riders will ultimately bring with it more pros than cons.
  • 3 0
 "If you build it, they will come" the Field of Dreams cliche... but flipping this around "if they come, you must build it". As in if the crowds start to overrun a riding area, it's an indication that more trails can be built, and probably ought to. MTB is a great sport and there is tons of land for this sport. Good for kids, families, and communities... Of course this is just a simple way of looking at it, so much more depth to this discussion. BUT one fact is that there is something irreplaceable about being able to enjoy riding without the sense that there's anyone in front of or behind you, that you're riding through a natural world undisturbed... More trails is the answer, it has to be in some kind of direct proportionality to overall participation (because no one gets into the sport to constantly be aware of and cognizant of other riders). I show up to my local trails, NO CARS in the lot: ok cool A COUPLE OTHER CARS: Ideal. FULL HOUSE WHOLE FAM DAMILY: much less than ideal
  • 11 0
 @jfleming10: Great point. However with the experience in my community, I'm somewhat less optimistic. There was and is a very small group of dedicated people who build (illegal) trails and maintain them. These trails are the reflection of their "vision" and are in parts quite hard to ride with big, non straight gap jumps. Enduro bikes and ebikes have led to a huge trend since and tons of people use trails in that area, most of them don't care at all about maintenance or even trail etiquette and treat these delicate illegal trails just as a bikepark. Some lines were even altered to be easier, jumps were torn down and build smaller (and worse), which is ridiculous. If I can't ride something I build my own line or practice until I'm able, but I won't ever destroy the work of others. Some guy who is not originally from here even led journalists from magazines around these trails and they printed a story with GPS files! That was followed by a huge influx of riders from other regions and it all went downhill from there...officials closed trails and put up signs with threats of fines and everything. Even if there will be a legal trail center, which the ranger told us is unlikely, I doubt these original difficult lines will be tolerated. So for us and a handful of others all the work was pretty much in vain because of mountain biking becoming mainstream. Without a proper plan how to realise legal mountain bike areas in the state and enough space to adequately build trails I won't see a difference here anytime soon.
  • 7 0
 @jzPV: In our city, the more people involved, the more the municipal government wants to keep it "safe and inclusive". Nice words to anyone who doesn't want challenging trails.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, coulda fooled me with the implication that mtb isn't mainstream now... especially with the influx of covid riders. My local has never been more blown out.
  • 1 0
 @jzPV: @jfleming10 - We had a very similar situation happen here as what happened to @jzPV Small spot for dirt jump trails. A couple lines that were challenging but nothing like Catty/Posh/East Side. With Covid we saw a big increase in people finding the spot. Instead of telling them to get lost we build a roller / pump / table line that so many people enjoyed and it cultivated skill and interest in riding bikes. But the knowledge of it became to big and the trails were recently plowed. It was great to see new riders of all ages (4-50) trying something new but also frustrating that very little knew the etiqutte or respected the amount of work that was done and care put into the spot. I'm sure you guys know that making the big stuff is easy. It's the little roller/table line that took most of the work as you would have to make constant updates based on where you would see tire tracks going. IMO, difficult lines are what make riding as awesome and unique as it is. It gives better riders something to enjoy, mid-levels riders something to improve upon and beginners that excitement to get into riding. And all riders should respect the levels others are at.

@jfleming10 - I wish more towns were like yours. You list the reasons why they should be unfortunately many do not have that same outlook. Meanwhile there are plenty of courts and fields for ball sports and skateparks for skateboarders (all of which are great but...)
  • 29 0
 1. It is hard. Even lift service riding is hard. It is way more physical than lift service skiing.
2. It is expensive as heck.
3. There is so much freaking gear (see #2 above) that the barrier to entry is quite high.
4. A lot of mountain bikers want to keep it that way... (e.g. some might say flow trails are boring sidewalks and we don't need more folks crowding the trails...)
  • 26 20
 Agree with #4. I'm totally cool with newbies, we all were once, but I really don't like "families with little kids" all over the damn place. Had two different fams with like 5 or 6 yr olds on a big fast Blue flow trail last week. And of course they were stopped in the middle of trail bc they were in way over their heads. Lovely.
  • 24 6
 @mybaben: I have never seen a family with little kids on a black or double black holding up traffic.
  • 24 5
 @mybaben: You don't like them? Sounds like you need to rethink your perspective. Big blue flow trail sounds like a good trail for all. Gotta push yourself as a rider sometimes, which is what these families might have been doing. Have you ever ridden a trail where you've had to get off your bike and check stuff out? And if they made you have to stop to wait or slow down that is fine. Plenty of riding to be had.
  • 10 2
 @acrowe: lol. So true. Not even on a blue jump trail. It's almost like blue trails are meant for novice riders and are not always the best place to come flying down at full pace.
  • 16 6
 @mybaben: I dunno man, seeing a family with 6 years old hitting a blue at a bike park is pretty rad.
  • 7 0
 @mybaben:

Families are out with their kids because there no playgrounds, little leagues or amusement parks to take them to right now.
  • 5 2
 New flow trails and boring because the build them as lame XC trails and call them flow. Another problem is that trail difficulty ratings are totally off. Green trails have been labeled blue etc. This leads to beginner riders and non mountain bikers to believe that they are more skilled than they are. When they ride other trails properly rated and they can't ride them this leads them to making the trail easier and/or change the trail rating is enough people complain.
  • 1 0
 1. I guess it depends on the bike park, but out of the three lift serve places I have been, all of them had easy options that even a novice can ride.
2. $40 lift ticket is like 1/3 the price of Disneyland. If you add in the cost of renting a bike, probably still cheaper than "the happiest place on earth". A $500 bike and $50 helmet is all you need.
3. Bike, helmet, what else is needed?
4. I mostly pick unpopular trails. Usually they involve lots of pedaling, so I get away from people.

@acrowe: I nearly ran over a kid, guessing 10 years old, with no supervision on a black trail this weekend. He got to the first rock garden and stopped. If I was there 5 seconds later he would have been out of sight until it was too late for me to stop. This happens to me on that same section of trail probably every 10 times I ride it. That is just that ONE spot of the trail. That doesn't include the next 5 minutes of trail that I am being held up by more novice level riders, which I consider the price I pay for going to an amusement park (bike park).
  • 2 0
 @WestC0astWanderer: I honestly agree that trail ratings are kind of screwy. Some bike parks order the difficulty of the trails within the various categories, so there will be 5 blue trails, but the easiest blue trail is listed first and the hardest at the bottom...

Around me, the variation in what is considered a "black diamond" is absolutely nuts. Some black diamond trails have massive slabs, huge roots, and gnarly drops... others have like a few rocks after the corners...

It's hard for a beginner to know what they are getting into.
  • 1 0
 @bikekrieg: This is why I got one of those annoying cow bells for my bike. If I see others at the trailhead whom I do not know, I flip the bell on for the fast sections. Just today it saved me from nearly running into someone hiking up the trail with their bike, a couple hikers, and some new to the sport types checking out line choices. It might not be great for my peace and quiet, but it gives other trail users time to respond to my coming down the trail, and I don't have to bail at the last second while hoping that I don't run anyone over.
  • 1 0
 @WestC0astWanderer: this is a hot topic in my area. There is a lack of consistency between trail systems that is a real hazard for beginner and intermediate riders, and an annoyance for experts. It seems apparent that the ski area model with four categories isnt really sufficient.

The whistler method of labeling flow/tech/xc is a good start, and I'd like to see it in more places. I think part of the problem is the grading criteria aren't necessarily capturing what makes a trail difficult, and some trails have had their ratings bumped up (presumably) due to being more remote or more committing, as opposed to actually requiring bike handling skill.
  • 1 0
 @CaptainBLT: Generally trail ratings are specific to trail system. My local spot we follow the imba system. some of the blues are actually harder to clear but the only trails with truly steep downhills, larger drops (even if optionial) and heavy exposure are labeled as a black. if they did that at my other main spot everything but one trail would be labeled black And it would be impossible to discern the actual progression of the system. There the labeling is purely at the community’s discretion.
  • 26 0
 Definitely geometry, once a 57 HTA becomes the norm, people will ride bikes again
  • 2 0
 This guy is onto something
  • 37 14
 Nobody wants to say it...its an upper middle class white sport....just like skiing. Look around at any ski resort...all those faces are white, and its not from the powder snow, it's from the green in their bank accounts. Sadly MTBing is the same.
  • 8 10
 Its always about race..
  • 3 0
 Come to nz. Theres all kinds of people riding flash new or cheap old bikes here. Dont have to buy in to the new shi7.
  • 4 4
 @Thirty3: It's the flag in your bio - there's a reason race plays into it like it or not.
  • 4 11
flag Thirty3 (Jul 23, 2020 at 6:27) (Below Threshold)
 @tempest3070: You think that all Americans are racists? You're full of shit if thats the case. Its the propaganda machine that warps the minds of the weak to make people believe that Americans.. im sorry only white Americans (only white people can be racists, obviously) are racists.
  • 4 2
 @Thirty3: No one is immune to propaganda including yourself. What do you even mean by minds of "the weak" lol
  • 1 0
 This is not at all the case where I live.
  • 6 0
 @Thirty3: it’s not about race but rather income level. It just so happens that the highest earners globally are white. No shame to feel about it, these are systemic issues biking cannot solve on its own but it’s ignorant to ignore it.
  • 6 0
 @Thirty3: When you have long standing systemic racism that leads an entire group of people staying in a lower income class, it suddenly becomes race.

The local, retired, pro basketball player is one of the few black mountain bikers I know.
  • 4 0
 It's definitely an upper class white sport. I don't know how that can be argued. Hopefully that will change and open up to folks that don't have as much free time and expendable income. That is a change I could support.

There does seem to be a lot more females riding then when I started 20+ years ago which is pretty cool.
  • 29 4
 What's stopping mountain biking from becoming more mainstream?

1. It ruins your bank balance
2. It ruins your body
  • 15 0
 Wait what?

Here in Switzerland its totally mainstream.
After the lockdown, ive never seen so many people on a MTB and on the trails

We've got a lot of problems in our forests right now, with the hunters, rangers, forest owners etc...

and the chairlifts are over filled with people.

thats how i see the scene in switzerland
  • 10 0
 I am at a level where it's great for my body (except for my horrific looking shins), but that might change once I start going to bike parks regularly. As far as bank balance, coming off motorcycles it's a (slight) improvement!
  • 1 0
 @Hamburgi: And here Mt Stromlo has never been so busy in winter.
  • 20 0
 why the hell would we want it to become more mainstream? i'd rather ride uncrowded, pristine trails than overcrowded, worn down trails any day of the week. the key factor here is how the sport affects its surroundings, the natural world. if we keep the environmental impact low, Nature can return the favor by providing us w/an unspoiled playground of peaceful beauty within which to help maintain sanity in a COVID-ridden insane world.
  • 17 0
 If I wasn't already into mountain biking, reading the Pinkbike comments section would probably put me off starting.
  • 8 0
 Def not a place to go for beginners.
  • 2 1
 Pinkbike comments put me off of riding more often than not. I've been riding for years, Pinkbike gives me the impression that 90% of the riders that aren't in my local are crybabies.
  • 2 0
 @RonSauce: If PB represented all riders certain brand positions would be flipped. The vast majority of mountain bikers aren't as Levy puts it “Pinkers” or whatever he said. PB is the squeaky wheel.
  • 12 0
 What's this fascination with making mountain biking mainstream? Not everyone is cut out to mountain bike. People might come in and dabble in the sport for a while. They will go buy a $5k bike and all the gear and an expensive bike rack to match. Then after a season or two when they find out that it takes a lot of time and physical commitment, they slow down or stop riding. I've seen this happen many many times in the 12 years I've been riding. The guys that get hooked will continue to go ride, whether solo or in groups. The guys that stop riding only rode when it was a social event. They would never go out and ride solo.
  • 6 0
 Then they discover mobilitEbikes........
  • 2 0
 This is always pushed by the industry in sports like this. Basically the big companies want us all to be part-time salesmen, full time sport embassadors for them. They give you a hyped up "support the industry" or "do it for the culture" talk and act like you are getting some profit shares.

Keep in mind the NFL is still currently making efforts to be even more massively popular. 90% of the population can be fans and they will still push for the last 10.
  • 12 0
 Look, I understand that talking shit for sporting purposes is kind of the point of the PB comments. But come on.

Sure, MTB can be expensive. But let's be honest, many people are turned off by the outdoors, not to mention quasi-backcountry, and hard physical exertion. Others aren't into "solo" pursuits or competition with oneself, but prefer team sports. I have quite a few buddies who had no problem dropping a couple grand on decent enough bikes, but they never ride them. They'd rather play basketball, softball, jiu jitsu or whatever TF, or just plain sit on their asses. That's totally OK. Not everybody has to ride.

I think we could just as easily ask why trail running or hiking aren't more popular, and there is zero financial barrier to entry there -- you just need a reasonable pair of shoes and a water bottle for a day hike (and a trail, of course)....

Moreover, if you really want to make a difference, get involved in NICA or something like it if that's an option for you. Getting kids out there is a sure fire way to ensure the future of the sport. Help the team build up a rideable loaner fleet. Most of the kids we see sign up for the season after one practice, and will convince their parents to buy them a bike for the second season after riding a loaner for the first. We have about 30% girls on our team, people of color, etc. Most of these kids are not on $2000 bikes and don't have to be.

Also, from a quick web search, NICA claimed 48% annual growth in number of riders and 39% growth in number of teams between 2009 and 2018. And there are a shitload of people all over our local trails of all stripes. The sport is growing best I can tell...
  • 1 0
 As an ultra runner...I totally agree. While I have worked into some decent gear over the years, it wasn't always that way. I did a triathlon on a free bike and crap shoes. Ran 50 miles on a pair of shoes I paid $50 for and used a hand held bottle. Cost of entry is nearly nothing.

And yet...trails are empty. Americans don't like to work.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: Seems most will work to cook up excuses. lol

I was a dirtbag trail runner for years, then a dirtbag mountain biker (in ragged out running gear, $20 helmet and $600 bike) and I'm now a reasonably equipped trail runner and mountain biker. And, yes, once you get a 1/2 mile past the crowded trail head and the smell of perfume and hairspray (always cracks me up), you can have the trails mostly to yourself.

Of course YMMV.
  • 9 0
 Bike pricing. Quality/quality control in relation to bike pricing, which is out of whack. An almost psychotic focus on geometry and bike fit (extra long, low, slack) that only works for mountain bikers with pre existing skills in the sport, designers and product managers that don’t represent the general public at all. So/so access to trails for the majority of people. Access issues more generally. Suspension set up that makes little sense to most riders. There’s a lot more, this is just a start.
  • 9 0
 I've never been cashed up. I've always managed to keep a decent bike under me. You make sacrifices in other areas - I've driven many cars that were worth half what my bike cost, but I didn't care. Money isn't stopping people riding MTB.

Most people are too lazy to get off their arses and put effort into riding a bike up steep hills, get dirty, risk injury, etc. Nobody wants to work hard for anything anymore - E-balance bikes for f*cks sake, we're breeding it into kids as young as possible now. I'd like to see MTB become LESS mainstream.

The problem with something becoming popular is it attracts more people. Law of averages says more of those people will be wankers that I don't want to share anything with. Trails get more rubbish on them, people don't say hi or stop to help if you have a mechanical, trail ettiquette and general MTB comeraderie goes out of the window.

There is a train uplift where I live that has operated for decades without issue. In the last few years, it has become rammed with teenage lads who couldn't give a f*ck about anyone else on that train or if the access gets taken away or not. They leave rubbish all over the place and piss other passengers off with anti-social behaviour that is then linked to MTB.

I've been following Moto GP for many decades - the Valentino Rossi effect has seen a great example of what happens when things get "popular". Crowds who know nothing about the sport, just turn up to support their hero, slate the rest of the riders who beat him and even cheer when rivals crash?

Anybody remember anyone cheering when Loic Bruni or Aaron Gwin launches himself into orbit? Let's keep it that way!
  • 2 0
 Casey Stoner wuz robbed!
  • 3 0
 @roma258: Stoner was one of the OG Aliens.
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: For sure, it would have been so cool to see him mix it up with Marquez the last couple of years. Rossi's been cooked for a solid 5 years and Lorenzo lost his juice. It's been a boring couple years, though now some contenders are finally stepping up....and Marquez broke himself.
  • 7 0
 Like what everyone else is saying...compare MTB to most any ball sport. All you need is a ball for soccer, a ball and a bat and gloves for baseball, a ball, decent shoes, and a hoop for basketball...Then factor in the space requirement - most of those sports only require the space of a small park for the game to be entertaining for a long while. An entertaining trail center requires significantly more space (indoor bike parks, pumptracks, and dirt jumping excluded - this did say mountain biking after all). And I don't think I'm alone when I say that I don't want MTB to become any more mainstream than it already is...trails are way too crowded now with E-mountain bikes making it an easier sport and with COVID taking away everyone else's first 10 choices of what they would rather be doing with their free time.
  • 5 0
 @billyballa33 - cheap and minimal space requirements - this is why I thought street trials would become more popular. You can get a bike for cheap and ride anywhere, even in a garage or basement. BUT, it's not easy and it takes a LOT of practice, and for most, that's a high barrier. Trials seems like the best thing for skill development other than riding on a pump track, but pump tracks are scarce.
  • 2 0
 @albert03: I agree. When I have more time in a year or so when life settles down a bit and my little kids are a tad older I’m going to get a trials bike. I like practicing some of that type of riding on my regular mountain bike but don’t have the time to do that and ride for fitness...trials skills are so useful and very cool IMO
  • 2 0
 I agree with most of what you said, but I take issue with the ball-sport part. One thing all ball sports require is another participant, which tends to be easier to find in densely populated areas. One of the big reasons I started riding bikes was cuz the next nearest kid to me was miles away.
  • 8 0
 mountain biking got that much more closer to being mainstream due to covid. try looking for a mountain bike at your local shop.
  • 9 0
 that is 100% accurate!!! I never see so many people on the trails in my life in México, seriously I miss the time when only a bunch of guys where outthere in the wild
  • 1 0
 It’s a supply chain issue... that’s why most bikes won’t be back in stock until the end of the year
  • 1 0
 @Zimbaboi: definitely both. LOTS of people who are bored wanting to ride a bike, and less of them available. My GF was in the market for three during Covid to keep her and her kids busy (and seeing how much I like it).
  • 7 1
 Saying that expensive bikes will stop ppl to get to biking is nonsense. I started 8 years ago on $600 hardtail, just because. Rode it for year and realize i want more, so i saved another $600 a get $1200 used full suspension. Ride it for year and I really like it. So i saved another $800 and get another used $2000 better bike. Next year i pitched another $1000 and got brand new $3000 base model Stumpjumper, which serve me well for next 5 years..... now Im on $6000 Enduro.

Just to put it in perspective, that $800 i saved every year is equivalent if one coffee a day. Yeah, I dont drink coffee.
  • 3 0
 Wait,does that mean you sold all your bikes for a the same price you bought them?!
  • 3 0
 @nozes: pretty much,.. always did good service on them, upgrade a bit, and 7 years old bike does not loose that much value...
  • 1 0
 @Spiral23: Good job! Most of us are happy just to make half of what it was worth new after a few seasons.
  • 2 0
 @nozes: thats why my bikes are usually used, same for cars
  • 6 0
 No need for a podcast on such a simple question. #1 people are lazy and riding a bicycle is too much work. The's world's population is 50%+ overweight so riding a bike is too hard. By the way you just had a video about 12 speed drivetrains...that is called LAZY. Therefore you have you answer. You have to be in shape to enjoy mountain biking...most aren't willing to put in the time and effort. SIMPLE!
  • 5 0
 Fatter people go up slow but go down faster......
  • 9 4
 PRICE, all day long.

I have multiple friends wanting to get into mountain biking right now, and all of them are shocked at prices to the point of it being an obstacle to getting into it. Most people aren't willing to spend $4-5k on a bike, much less $2-3k, if they aren't sure they'll like it.

Most of those people, if they've taken the jump, have bought a direct-to-consumer bike with base spec (or one notch above base spec).

Same goes for the non-mtb bike world. Almost all of my friends who've tried using an electric bike more often instead of their car have bought from Rad Power bikes.

Price is the biggest barrier hands down. And I hate to say it, but bike shop markups are a big reason for that price obstacle. If more people bought direct, and it was easier to buy direct, more people would be mountain biking and using bikes for their daily needs instead of cars.
  • 8 0
 Maybe in your friends case this is true. However, most people saying this type of thing have £1,000 I-Phones, 65" wide-screen TVs and new shiny cars on lease. It's all about what you choose to spend your money on. I choose to spend my money on bikes and I do that by not spending money on other things. Can't have everything unfortunately.
  • 1 0
 Stop trying to convince your "friends" that they need a $2000 bike?

You don't need that kind of bike to enjoy riding. Put any first time mountain biker on a $10,000 bike and they still wouldn't have a chance of keeping up with me on a sub $1000 bike. So why convince them to spend all that money?
  • 5 0
 I think it is mainstream anywhere where there is good mountain biking trails. Have you noticed the percentage of minivans with serious bike racks in most communities on Vancouver Island.
It is expensive but cheap compared to any sort of power or sail boating or ATVs or Camping Trailers / RVs
  • 5 0
 1. Lack of trails. I wouldn't be biking if it wasn't for the addition of a new trail system here. Professional built trails are friendlier.
2. Danger. I've taken many friends out on their first "real mtn biking adventure." They never wanted to go again.
3. Learning Curve. Many people get discouraged when they're afraid of a 3ft rock drop and see others flying 15ft in the air.
4. Price. So you want to start biking? You better be sure because you just spent thousands on equipment. Speaking of which... rentals should be cheaper. How am I supposed to try out new bikes if they all want $100+/day for a rental.
5. Mainstream Media. Let's face it, some people just watch biking like NASCAR - to see the wrecks.
  • 3 0
 I can relate with #2.

It's also the perceived sense of danger as well. I know a lot of people who will never give mountain biking a chance because they've heard "mountain biking is dangerous".
  • 1 0
 @MrGouda: I'd say they're right seeing as in the last year I had a broken elbow and torn rotator cuff from separate wrecks. My two riding buds are out right now (broken foot, dislocated hip). That's just the way she goes!
  • 8 0
 The price to play is a steep barrier to entry for many.
  • 9 0
 Yup, look at ubiquitousnes of BMX a few decades ago. Single speed, steel, cheap. Every kid was on one.
  • 5 0
 super happy its not mainstream! I hate people and I love biking. the less the better! core friend groups, tight knit crowds, solid riding groms. I'd rather not dilute the hardcore die hard. That's what skiing is for!
  • 4 0
 Any sport where you can get hurt and releases adrenaline will never make it into the mainstream. Even skiing, as popular as it is, is a sport for the few. Thankfully for the trails not everyone was cutout for MTB (and there's nothing wrong with that)
  • 4 0
 I grew up just north of Boston and was lucky to have some amazing trails right outside my back door. I'm in my mid 30s now, and I can tell for sure that the character of people you bump into now is not the same as when I was in my teens. Growing up, any mountain biker you'd come across seemed down to earth and generally stoked to see a fellow mtb'r. Now... I can't tell you how many times I don't even get a hello back. It seems to me that now there's a bit of an elitest entitlement when on the trails. Regardless, I'll still be out there riding till my body can't do it anymore.
  • 8 1
 Not enough mountains.........¿
  • 8 2
 Seriously tho.... overly sanitised trail centres with nerfed out trails
  • 3 0
 @nojzilla: that’s depressing
  • 2 0
 Agreed. Years ago I used to live in an area that was pretty flat and had very few interesting trails or features so I had ZERO interest in mountain biking ... until I moved to BC! Once I tried biking on trails on a mountain I was hooked!
  • 1 0
 Where I live its pancake flat but, we used to have miles an miles nice tech an flowy forest single track made from left over moto enduro races. Almost pump track like. When lines got too muddy, (it rains a LOT here so we ride in the wet) instead of repaired they are replaced with contractor built flat lifeless gravel all weather paths that take 3 or 4 attempts to get running any where near safe an then another 4 or 5 years for the gravel to bed in (NO exaggeration) by that time the trails are dead again.Ive volunteered with the local trail club but they're hands are tied by the forestry comish that really have NO clue what makes a good trail.
Yeah its depressing
Even when travelling to the hills of the Welsh holy land, many forrestry trail centres are the same.
Thank fk for some locals only lines Wink
  • 6 3
 8K for a bike when you could buy a new KTM 450 Enduro for the same price. I think the EFI, and fast revving engine might have a little more advanced tech built into it as well for the same price. Having stated the silliness of bike prices I still buy them because they are a lot of fun but not everyone can see that.
  • 4 1
 Price, hands down is the number one reason. Second issue is that the best riders aren't being pushed or marketed. its pretty much the only sport I know were youtubers are the top dogs instead of the fastest ridersor the riders that are pushing the limits of what can be done on a bike.
  • 3 0
 "its pretty much the only sport I know were youtubers are the top dogs instead of the fastest ridersor the riders that are pushing the limits of what can be done on a bike."

That's a good point. I think the lack of traditional infrastructure (TV contract, large crowds at events) leaves kind of a void that Youtube and Red Bull kind of fill in. But that makes it more personality driven than necessarily performance driven. Basically you're relying on the stars to create their own content, instead of having a whole ecosystem to create content around the stars.
  • 1 0
 It's not like youtube personalities are being pushed by anyone. They made videos,their audience found them, and the sponsors followed. It's really the fault of the riders not capitalizing on that. Sam Pilgrim did and he has a huge channel. I love rampage and world cup racing but the youtube personalities reach a completely different audience which helps introduce new people to the sport
  • 1 0
 @vntim: like I said. Its the only sport where people rather see middle of the road riders, like bkxc or those mo and Hannah . I mean , i do understand why people see them " they are at a level I can attain and I can relate to them". Yes, youre correct.. Sam pilgrim is amazing also skills with phil is super legit and I enjoy watching him. They make me wanna push myself. But different strokes for different folks.
  • 7 0
 It is mainstream Mike!
  • 9 0
 This, absolutely, at least in pioneering communities. Mike lives and rides here in Bellingham - frankly, it's hard to find another sport that's this mainstream. I'd say we have a lot more mountain bikers than tennis players or golfers now, and even though we're right down the highway from Mt. Baker, I'd be surprised if there were a ton more skiers than mountain bikers in town.

If you're at the hardcore high end of the sport, testing 8k bikes for a living, it's probably easy not to notice that - but the fact that our trails association (WMBC - be sure to donate if you come visit) is about to break ground on a 140 stall parking lot on the south side of Galbraith is a pretty good indicator for where things are going. Or that there is a very successful coaching company (March Northwest) putting on summer MTB camps for probably close to 200 kids this summer (and that's after reducing group sizes and capacity for COVID) - and that they have built a team of a couple dozen teenage coaches locally. Or that we have 8 bike stores that do significant MTB sales volume. Or that we now have a set of dirt jumps, two dirt pump tracks, a Velosolutions-style asphalt pumptrack about to open, and a number of other pumptrack projects in progress.

All that in a mid-sized college town with plenty of other recreational opportunities. It's so mainstream that our elected representatives decided to devote significant resources to a recreation easement on Galbraith. It's a virtuous cycle - we get more people into the sport, we end up with more trails (both because those people contribute time and/or money, and because the numbers are so big now that we are an important stakeholder group when it comes to planning and access), which feeds an ecosystem of local stores and services and volunteerism, which broadens opportunity for more people (and more diverse groups of people) to get into the sport. And then you look around other communities in the PNW and you see the same thing.

Sure, all the dedicated high-end stuff costs a lot of money. But compared to skiing/snowboarding, or wakeboarding, or horseback riding, the barriers to entry are pretty low. The shit-eating-grin-per-dollar ratio is one of the more favorable ones among action sports, and because the sport is year round (at least around here) and not all that conditions dependent (unlike, say, wind/kitesurfing or skiing), it's a pretty reliably awesome thing to add to your quiver.

Nope, it's not as cheap as running, or hiking, or recreational soccer or softball, but do claim it's not mainstream is a hot take that's about a half decade past its expiration date.
  • 6 3
 @g-42: Yes 99% of the faces are white, and they drove their 2019 Tacoma with a Recon rack to park in the dollar lot.

Its only mainstream for upper middle class white people that live in upper middle class white towns. I fall into this category too , but c'mon guys...lets be real.

(full disclosure I have not finished the podcast episode yet)
  • 2 1
 @g-42: I mean that sounds great, it really does, but I hope you realize you live in a bit of a bubble, right? I mean come on, how many medium sized college towns have not one, but two decent sized mountain bike manufacturers headquartered there? As far as the vast majority of the rest of the country goes, yeah MTB is definitely still quite niche. But it's growing by leaps and bounds. Coming from the motorcycle world, the dynamism and energy behind mountain biking is off the chart (meanwhile motorcycles are slowly dying).

But there's still a long way to go to reach the kind of virtuous cycle you're describing, at least in most places where people live.
  • 1 0
 @roma258: Yep, it's a bit of a bubble - but it's only ahead of the curve by a few years. Open up Trailforks for Washington and Oregon and zoom out - there are a lot of trail systems (as in, full-on clusters of trails being developed by a local trails association) where there weren't before. Bellingham, Hood River, Darrington, the Methow, Leavenworth, Tiger Mountain, Duthie - that's the preview. I used to live in Austin, TX in the late 90s. MTB was definitely fringey; now there's a riding community in a place that's pretty unforgiving (too damn hot much of the year; limestone and sharp spiny plants and rocks everywhere; not a lot of public land to build on), and geez, there's now a lift served bike park in the Texas hill country serving both Austin and San Antonio. Duluth, MN is now a hub for mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 @MikeyMT: We've got a long way to go before MTB is truly inclusive; yet the same can be said for all kinds of sports people would consider "mainstream". And there's progress on that front, which (as it is in all outdoor recreation), and while it is pretty slow and totally insufficient, it's a start. There's mainstream as in basketball (zillions of YMCAs, boys and girls clubs, school playground pickup leagues, what have you) or rec soccer - that's not the kind of mainstream MTB will ever be. But then there's the outdoor rec version of mainstream, like hiking - and I'd argue that MTB is rapidly going in that direction.
  • 1 0
 @g-42: I agree with you. More trails and better bikes are helping. i thought Christina made the right point about scene (and Kaz's take is simply wrong), dude-bro scene is not inclusive and toxic in general.
  • 4 0
 Because there aren't local dirt jump spots everywhere.......and also that pesky health "insurance" cost that we Americans have.
  • 2 0
 I am all for getting more people into the sport. however in countrys such as the UK I have a feeling that more starting riders = more accidents and falls which equals stricter health and safety regulations around trail centres. My local trail centre got revamped and what used to be a rough rooty red trail with some small drops is now a flat gravel (still red) flowy pavement.
  • 6 1
 Where are the good hardtails? Let’s try and start noobs in the right direction from the start!
  • 4 2
 Agree. I think everyone's FIRST MTB should be a HT (child or adult), I don't care where you live.
  • 3 0
 When everyone else just wants to ride the trails you built and share them with everyone but never help out maintaining them I think you have every right to be possessive and not angry when everyone else is a parasite!
  • 4 0
 A lot of people prefer to spend money on things/experiences that pamper them, not things that get them sweaty, dirty and possibly hurt.
  • 5 0
 1. It's HARD. 2. It's EXPENSIVE. 3. It's RISKY. We love it,but it's not for everybody. And that's great.
  • 3 1
 Get rid of changing standards. Make real standards that stand the test of time. Make stuff last. Holy fuck I'm living in fantasy land. Make them 15 percent stiffer. New and improved with a price tag to match. Sustainable there's a good marketing word. And stiffer. Stiffer is always better. Don't listen to riders request. Tell us what we need! Now ! Your old stuff is junk.
  • 1 0
 I agree with this.. I heard the term 'forever bike' recently and id love that to be achievable
  • 2 0
 Trying to get rich of every bike part and bike is a major reason for holding back mtn biking in general, as far as the racing allowing males to race with females has totally delegitimized the sport, sorry you can’t have it both ways, living in a fairytale and trying to be taken serious don’t mix,
  • 2 0
 Amazing how many people list "cost" as the barrier. You can buy a starter bike and all your gear for less than the price of a fancy new phone. That is about your priorities, not the cost.

I drive an 8 year old economy car and use a $100 phone.
  • 3 0
 Pricing but also the snobbery that says if you buy a sub 3k bike you don't deserve to be any where other that the blues at the local TC.
  • 11 1
 @fatduke - I'm actually seeing more reverse snobbery - as in, people getting down on people who ride very nice bikes despite not having EWS-level skills.
  • 1 0
 Thats slowly creeping in here too.
  • 2 0
 I will say though that 15 years ago when I'd see a car go by with a bike rack, it was usually carrying some walmart priced bikes... nowadays, I usually only see pretty nice bikes...that's a huge change.
  • 1 0
 The cost is the main issue . In many outdoor communities dirt bikes and quads are more popular because if you are gonna spend a few grand you might as well get something with a motor on it. Another issue is proper access to trails in many American cities and suburbs. Portland Oregon is a great example in that there is an incredible bike scene and loads of great riding if ya can drive but very little in trails for a grom to bike to. I moved away before the gateway green project which I’m sure helped but Powell butte was a very physical ride and there are a ton of hikers stopping ya on the way down. The one place kids can ride within a half hour of me is totally inaccessible unless you live Within one of the very close neighborhoods as it’s all severely dangerous roads I wouldn’t want a kid to bike on.
  • 1 0
 on the question on why wide range 9speed are not bought more is simple : they are not put on entry level bike when they should be. I'm pretty sure people would prefer a box three prime9 vs Sram SX. 9 is also not about simplicity but weight, the box 1 9speed casette is only 365g
  • 5 1
 The bike industry pushing 10-15k gravity oriented superbikes for riders who ride trails suitable for 100-120mm bikes.
  • 2 0
 How bike theft is handled in Canada vs the US.

Police don't seem to care about investigating property theft in the US, and _might_ show up if you can verify that someone has your bike.

Canda?
  • 3 0
 In Vancouver and Toronto bike theft is a cottage industry and police will not actively investigate. The only time a stolen bike is recovered is when the owners find it listed for sale and sets up a sting .
  • 4 0
 Definitely the lack of GRIM DONUT test rides.
How can bikes progress to their full potential?
  • 2 1
 Stop comparing bike prices with motorcylce prices. Who wants to buy a motorcycle? We are not deciding between buying a motorcycle or a bike. We are here because we want to bike.

You may as well compare the price of bikes with pianos because I want a piano (not a motorcyle). Or with how many trips to Aruba will tha tget me? Because I'll go to Aruba before buying a motorcyle. I will NEVER buy a motorcyle so stop comparing the bikes we are interested in to "oh, you could buy a motorcycle XYZ for this". Who bloody cares!?
  • 1 0
 Mountainbiking is about as mainstream as i would like it to get. The fact that PB´s most commented articles are basically people being a dick about tyre inserts, wheel sizes and industry standards shows how far the fruit has fallen from the tree - sram´s consistent success selling increasingly granny geared transmission (another thing to be a dick about) is another pointer that we are already attracting enough freds. JRYB.
  • 1 0
 Most have already comment on the crowded/crowd/larger groups on MTB, gave some thumpsup, and I think most ahve hit the nail.

The one thing I would like to focus is tires!
MTB tires are very high price, compared to what I get on the MX/Enduro world.
Offroad tires aren't suppose to last miles. It should grip, it should avoid punctures, and that's it.
Sure it would be nice to have a light tire. But not if it won't last enought!

My last MM (purple strip), just made a big hole near the center knob, and the only way to reapir, was an old side strip from a tire, and some windcreen glue. This is wrong! I shouldn't have this type of faileur on a NEW tire!
I also ride that specific trail on my moto, which is almost 8x heavier, and about 2x faster (on that trail&direction), and never ever had a problem!
Moto tires are between 45 and 70/80 €, it last around 1k to 2k (I don't wear till the wire!), while mtb tires are between 30ish and 60ish... and can file under a few hundred kms!

Also wheels on moto last... the entire life of the motorcycle! Also with suspension!
Moto tune or send to tune their suspension, but the majority don't change their suspension, while on MTB... some (many) change... and suspension needs further maintence and after some rides starts making strange noises (headtube/ crown).
I won't enter into frame noise, and busted fram bearings, becuase it's almost the same!

1) make bikes last longer (with that tight feeling)
2) make tires that can last and don't flat every now and then
3) give value to bikes, so that in 1year, owners don't lose 50% of what they paid



Ps- regarding low price mtb, everyone can start on 26 old models. There are still plenty of parts, and bikes cannbe found between 400 and the 900€ mark. Sure it ain't the last updates, but sure it can whiststand te abuse and are good to learn and evolve
  • 1 0
 Brian Park and his anti bike shop rhetoric is holding biking back. Do you really think a new rider is going to have a positive experience getting the right bike from Walmart or Online, get a bike built properly get pointed in the right direction, maybe get introduced to the local bike club... I don’t know who did what to you back in your bike shop days, but they aren’t all as PTSD inspiring as the shops you’ve dealt with!
  • 1 0
 I feel like a lot of people forget that they were once the new guy. MTB culture is weird. We don't know the first thing about the strangers we encounter on the trail, but we judge them immediately. I'm guilty, I'll admit it. I used to be the guy who see's a Yeti and mumbles some joke about a dentist. I then realized how ignorant that made me sound. I don't know these people. For all I know, they saved for the lat 5 years to buy the bike they've always wanted.

If they're happy, why do we even care?
  • 1 0
 I would like to see what a bike would look like without the restrictions of patents on parts, frames or suspension? Companies like SRAM and Shimano who buy up patents to stop developments is common knowledge. Specialized who's FSR patent is a great example, now expired is a common suspension platform as it works well and has been adopted by many frame manufacturers. A more Open source approach would indeed result in better bikes with less compromises. Just as a hypothetical exercise, what would a bike look like if it didn't have the restrictions of patents? What suspension layout, gears, fork technology would be used? For example;Treks APB on a switch infinity frame? Would this be an example of what is holding mountain biking back?
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer I think you guys missed one of my bugbears with MTBs - namely the poor bearing life we experience in a lot of full-sus frames, particularly the tiny bearings in the rear of many four-bar frames.
Perhaps it's something you wouldn't pick up on if you're always riding test bikes? But it's rare for frame bearings to still be running smooth after a year, and then it's a major ballache to change them or an expensive job to pay someone else to.
I know most riders solution is not to check them and just assume their bearings are still OK, but there has to be room for improvement here.
  • 1 0
 Regarding Cannondale/GT product timelines, I listened late so I hope this isnt completely missed.
I work at a shop that does snow and bike in Colorado. There was a comment made how snow goes on sale around Christmas and how, similar to bikes, that's the "beginning" of the season. Well, it might be towards the beginning of the riding season, but at least here in CO our selling season begins in late August. And actually for the last 3-4 years our first price drops havent been till nearly spring break in late February. Not to mention we generally start our selling season about 90% stocked on the coming season's newest product. Bikes on the other hand, we end our season receiving the newest gear, and effectively start the season with what is more or less nearly "last years" bikes. Its backwards. The other problem comes with ordering stock. What we order and receive in April for high end bikes is basically all we get till the end of July, when customers have already made their purchases. Because the drop is mid summer we spend at least a month of peak selling season struggling with in demand models because last years stock is gone and the new stock is not available yet. The whole program is basically 3-6 months behind. Its rough for shops to start a season with the informed public knowing that the new bikes are only a couple months out and we never really have much of a chance to sell bikes as current. I understand that there is a significantly more complicated supply chain for bikes compared to snow. But other than new component launches those peripheral brands have been making their foundational products long enough to start stepping up timelines. We just need the major brands to motivate them to do so. The Treks and Specializeds out there being the ones that order from the component brands hold the leverage to push their timelines of delivery. Will it take a year of no "new" parts to jump the timeline? Maybe, but right now seems like a good opportunity. We have had a massive dump of new stuff, I dont see many major changes in the next year, so let's run with the most recent Shimano, Sram, RS, and Fox as OEM for just a bit longer than we might have otherwise and fix this timeline to the benefit of shops and to the benefit of the industry.
  • 2 0
 1. Expense, duh. 2. Trail quality and accessability to handle more people. 3. Risk 4. Physical conditioning 5. Other things going on ...
  • 2 2
 What's Holding Mountain Biking Back? Simple... Either a lack of access for places to ride and/or a lack of mentors/inclusive group rides/classes/etc to properly teach and bring in eager new riders.

Here in the NW, there are numerous examples of communities where those two barriers have been worked through and largely diminished. And what's the result? Mountain biking is totally mainstream in these places now.

I don't buy the whole "mountain biking is too hard for most people" argument that gets tossed around. People are resilient- if you show them a damn good time on a bike they'll keep coming back for more despite the challenges. The problem is it needs to be easily accessible (ie nearby)– and let's face it, for most it just simply isn't.
  • 3 0
 Cost, personal and financial.
  • 2 0
 the #1 thing IMHO is price! people can get motorcycles for the price of a MTB. and they keep getting crazier and crazier.
  • 2 0
 Id say its held back by ridiculous pricing, durability, model years and hype.
  • 1 0
 Access to trails, cost, and it's a high intensity sport. Plus you don't actually want crazy growth, steady growth is almost always better.
  • 4 3
 Too many people between the people making the bike and the customer... Guerrilla Gravity to the rescue. Pick up the phone and talk to the person building your bike.
  • 1 3
 Buy GG, be part of the solution.
  • 4 0
 You tubers
  • 4 3
 What's holding mountain biking back from being mainstream? Snotty attitudes from testosterone-injured not-quite adults and the resulting negative perception.
  • 1 0
 People are scared to buy their first bike, plain and simple. It's a lot of money, and maybe the grim donut would ride much better.
  • 3 0
 “What’s up pinkers!” - please no
  • 3 1
 I would like to see the population that mountain bikes to represent the diversity of the communities it proximal to.
  • 1 0
 when big money/salaries and more tv coverage come to this sport, whether its FR, DH, etc, then more kids will take to it. thats what happened with other sports
  • 2 0
 Mountain biking will always be held back in areas where few if any "good" and legal tails exists.....very simple
  • 2 2
 100% it comes down to the elimination of handcut, technical gnarly downhill trails that have a high chances of hurting people. The mountain is being taken out of mountain biking
  • 1 0
 When the manufacturers stop supporting 26in bikes and people starting in the sport having sticker shock @$8-$10K bicycles that cost more than their car!
  • 1 0
 I miss a transcript. Replayed a few times now, still hear "Dan Saps" did a review of many dropper posts but Google reveals nothing so guessing I got the name wrong.
  • 2 0
 Those almond bearclaws are tasty.
  • 1 0
 Right? I think the plastic wrapping must give them extra flavor.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I think it's sitting for months on the shelf till someone buys one.
  • 2 0
 No grim donut video is what's really holding mountain biking back.
  • 2 0
 Screw Red Bull, give me that Mountain Dew sponsorship
  • 1 0
 MTB is booming because of Covid, yet also being held back by Covid as there is no competitions....
  • 1 0
 Question for next week. Why do bikes still come with that little clear plastic plate behind the cassette.
  • 1 0
 Does Brian not realise that everybody is allowed their own opinion and doesn’t have to like everything he does?
  • 1 0
 Mountain biking isn't mainstream? Huh. I guess perspective depends on where you live.
  • 1 0
 Can we have Christina joined by local legend Ben Cathro please.

(You may need subtitles though)
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't send a 10-stair gap with a £150 BMX bike, please don't try this at home!
  • 2 5
 Bike costs being dictated by Fox/Rockshox, Shimano/Sram. I know that these companies have a perceived level of quality with consumers, but I'm surprised some of the bigger brands don't ever try to take the reigns here. I'm personally waiting for gearboxes to show up before I buy another bike.
  • 2 5
 I have heard it said that "mountain biking is the new golf," which is pretty accurate imo. Like golf you can spend a whole lot of money on stuff that to a non-golfer/rider would seem crazy expensive but you can also try it out fairly cheaply as well. (see how easy it is to get a decent 10 year old bike on the buy/sell or kijiji)

Unlike golf, most trails are (usually) free to ride, you don't need to commit 5 hours of your day to play, and you get a great workout; so why wouldn't more people want to get into it! I think, the more riders the better, as economy of scale will bring prices down while building demand for more new trails to explore.
  • 4 0
 Most people don't like to exert themselves. And economy of scale for MTB hasn't been working. There's more people riding now then ever, yet prices just keep creeping up.
  • 6 0
 Golf is easy, it can be watched as well as played, it's less work, and it's see as being more "refined".

Mountain biking is hard, painful, and dirty.

Golfers don't mountain bike.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: mmm Peaty, Needles, Stevie Smith (rip).... All golfers
  • 1 0
 @jemscott: It's like people can't enjoy different sports eh
  • 2 1
 PinkBike comment sections...
  • 2 0
 PRICE MY DUDE
  • 2 0
 This was fire as F*ck.
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: WTF happened to the old Waki?
  • 1 0
 i dont know man, all i know is he deleted his account, i guess he trascended beyond the realm of pinkbike comment section...
  • 1 0
 I'd say the delay in the grim donut being released...
  • 1 0
 Second question- is geometry free or are the cost just hidden- R&D.
  • 1 0
 Why are we still lining handlebars up by eye?
  • 2 0
 FLOW TRAILS!!!
  • 1 0
 ok in terms of a clean looking bike, the new sentinel???
  • 1 0
 Good internal cable routing
  • 1 0
 What’s holding you guys to show us the next part of the Grim Donut?
  • 1 0
 Keep Christina on the podcast!! Super appreciate her input!
  • 1 0
 Thank God for Christina, or it would be just three mostly dead guys.
  • 1 0
 Quality control
  • 1 0
 upload this to YT also
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