I was truly shocked this week at the comment-driven attack on this new bike from UK brand, ARBR
. I saw a prototype in the flesh three years ago, and I thought it looked stunning: part Honda
, part Zerode
, part spaceship. This week saw the Saker come into fruition with the official press release; the first time we were able to delve into the facts and numbers of this unique machine. I had conversed previously with Robert Barr/Arbr and was anxious to see his dream coming to reality. When the PR arrived in my inbox, I envisaged the article erupting through the internet with welcoming and envious comment.
We can only imagine that Robert has spent years discharging blood, sweat, and tears into the process of bringing the Saker to market. It's likely he's invested a serious wedge out of his own pocket, sacrificed countless hours of time, late nights and weekends to deliver to you his dream, his baby, his vision, and his artistic sculpt of material. If you believe the PR, there is a huge catalog of history, research, knowledge, expertise, and testing that has created a bike Robert confides in to give the ultimate performance.
But, f*** all that – short tempered, keyboard bashing warriors did not hold back, cold hearted bastards with not a care in the world. A tirade of abuse directed at this voiceless chassis because many people deemed that it "didn't look very nice."
Some comments were so harsh, that if pronounced face to face to a fellow human being would result in a frontispiece more grotesque than their language.
I have always carried a flame of hope that we were inside the sports and performance world, but these wretched words embossed confirmation on a deep suspicion – that we are truly in the fashion industry. Comments flowed with zero know of how it may perform on the trail. Just imagine if the Saker turned out to be the fastest, most efficient, lightest, best handling, most playful and grippy bike in the world. The perfect fit and geometry for every rider in every instance. A bike that makes the impossible possible and turns the MTB world on its head. What if?
This would dish up some fast-food dinners of grisly words, or would it? Maybe people do
only care what it looks like, maybe we are in the fashion industry? The carpark and cafe becoming catwalk, covering up truths that lay hidden out on the trails.
Personally, I am more interested in performance, where a bike allows me to go, the feedback it delivers into my nervous system from the trail. You cannot regard the bike from a perfect tangent at 90º when you're shredding root and rock, blood diluted by adrenaline and eyes focussed on the next ridge, precipice or clinch.
This boils down to the question – do you buy your bikes and products based on looks?