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Graham Agassiz, Ethan Nell & Ace Hayden Off YT

Dec 28, 2023 at 13:53
by Sarah Moore  
Graham Agassiz tearing up Kamloops on his YT.

Graham Agassiz, Ethan Nell and Ace Hayden have all been dropped from YT Industries ahead of the 2024 season. The three freeriders announced the news on Instagram today. Nell says that his entire career he has been on YT Industries, while Hayden was on the brand for eight years, and Aggy has been riding YT for the past three years.

Graham Agassiz in the Coast Gravity park BC
Photo of Aggy by Sterling Lorence for Dakine

bigquotesAfter three years it’s time to say goodbye. Thank you YT for the support and opportunity. I wish everyone I met and worked with all the best moving forward, see y’all in the new yearGraham Agassiz

Photo of Ethan Nell at Proving Grounds by Peter Jamison

bigquotesMy entire career I’ve ridden a @yt_industries. What a wild ride full of good times it’s been. Unfortunately we have now parted ways. I appreciate all the good memories and support! Thanks guys. #pleasesomeonesponsormelolEthan Nell

YT INDUSTRIES Ace Hayden on Vancouver Island British Columbia Canada
Ace Hayden. Photo from YT Industries

bigquotesAfter over 8 years, I will no longer be riding for @yt_industries // A massive thank you to everyone for everything over the years that have come and gone and still remain, there’s so many people that made my life special. Thank you for showing me the world.Ace Hayden

Could the rumour that YT is making room for a certain Austrian downhill World Champion be true? If that's the case, could we be seeing more cuts to the brand's extensive roster before the end of the year?

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Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,467 articles

  • 69 1
 Wow it’s hard to be a pro mountain biker in 2024. Sponsorships drying up all over.
  • 3 0
 If you can buy a not-entry-level ebike on sale for less than $4k, you know there’s some financial turmoil going on. I’m not surprised to see all the riders without contracts… it’s not the riders.
  • 9 6
 They all getting dumped for vali??? Some companies are doing some really dumb shit.
  • 19 1
 @ShredDoggg: Devil's advocate here - Do the 3 offer the value to the brand that Vali has built? Capitalism is dog-eat-dog with winners and losers just like racing. Unfortunately, we're all racing to the bottom.
  • 20 1
 @suspended-flesh: Right!? I know all of Vali's sponsors but thought Agassiz was still on evil.
  • 5 1
 @sspiff: you mean Kona?
  • 1 1
 @pnyberg: he was on Kona for I think the bulk of his career, then evil, then YT.
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: he was on evil before yt
  • 1 0
 @sspiff: Aggie on evil was best Aggie.
  • 1 0
 Harder to be a mountain bike company in 2024…
  • 1 0
 @Durtwrx: I mean I have no idea what aggie rides - and don't really care. That said Aggie is a beast and slays on whatever bike he is on.
  • 32 8
 I find this so sad.

The industry had record setting years three years running. We are going through tough times, and people are getting kicked off pro teams as if they never even mattered. Show some loyalty, show some respect, and work together through this.

This reads as nothing more than "three dogs taken to the pound after peeing on the carpet once." I desperately hope all three have something lined up on the other side.
  • 24 2
 Just like all the employees getting laid off at these brands around the world, I doubt the pen pushers actually care. They just care about the how profitability numbers at the end of the day. These sponsored folks are no different, just another expense at the end of the day, unfortunately. It's sad.
  • 11 0
 the problem is the brands invested all their extra earned money in the record settings years into new inventory thinking the same sale trends will continue, only to have demand drop off a cliff and now stuck with tons of inventory and no cash to pay riders or race teams. Hopefully, through 2024 most brands can make it back to baseline.
  • 19 0
 @avg-roadie: bike people have never been known for their business prowess
  • 6 3
 @sherbet: Hopefully when/if you own a business, you'll treat your workers that well (and still own a business).
  • 11 3
 Unfortunately, if it comes down to a decision between going bankrupt and closing up shop or dropping some sponsorship salaries, there’s an obvious choice.
  • 1 0
 @mcfadden999: unfortunately, that is correct. And why you see some brands with any type of business sense sky to the top and become the "big dogs". Or build something good enough to sell to a corp and cash out.
  • 7 0
 @mcfadden999: business people have never been known for their bike people prowess
  • 6 0
 I think it's also time to come to the realization that being an athlete in this sport perhaps is not as sustainable as we thought and does not pay the bills. Graham is from BC where arguably you would need a annual household income of 100K after taxes to even afford to get by with the family or pay the mortgage down with the current scheme of things. I can guarantee you these guys are not getting paid anywhere close to that yet they are risking life and limb. It's a glory sport and sadly one that doesn't pay well when it comes to risk and reward factor and often times a sport that doesn't love you back. You really have to love it and breathe it on a daily basis to be an athlete in this sport and not care about making enough. I love this sport so much and will continue to support it but I just wish the money actually went towards the athletes more and not the greedy corporate side. That being said, business is business and always will be at the end of the day, there is no such thing as loyalty when it comes to this unfortunately. Very normal for bleeding company to lay people off vs risking financials.
  • 3 0
 @fullsend604: idk these freeride guys have some pretty baller homes, there’s more money out there than racers. It’s just that the frame sponsor normally paid most of their way and now the bike co’s are in trouble so they’re having to scramble. They’re actually prolly better positioned to readjust in the future since they can lean on their other sponsors to make up what they’re losing
  • 10 2
 Agreed. It's pretty despicable. Bike companies made insane profits multiple years in a row, and now one bad year and they're abandoning riders left and right. I'll definitely keep in mind which companies were good to their people when looking for my next bike.
  • 1 4
 @jayacheess: Breh. Right and left? C'mon.
  • 2 0
 @fullsend604: YT supports something like 30+, riders. If they pull support from Dylan Stark, I'll sit up in my chair and flip dual birds.
  • 5 6
 @suspended-flesh: I'm not going to try to explain to someone with the intellect of a child why a company might see long-term value in taking care of its people, even if it means bleeding some money in the short term.
  • 2 9
flag suspended-flesh FL (Dec 28, 2023 at 23:27) (Below Threshold)
 @jayacheess: Huh? Thanks for the DV - hope it made you feel something.
  • 5 2
 @suspended-flesh: You edited your previous comment to look less like a douche, I guess?
  • 2 17
flag suspended-flesh FL (Dec 28, 2023 at 23:31) (Below Threshold)
 @jayacheess: Yes, I did. Keep making Fentanyl for us Southern NA folks. Thanks for the second DV.
  • 2 0
 It is super sad. I have watched Aggy’s part from Strength in Numbers probably a hundred times. In my experience though any niche sports industry job is just so fickle. Almost nobody has made a real living from these sorts of careers. There are always cycles in business. MTB will probably bounce back, but the bikes were so overpriced the last two years I think it’s a good thing for recreational riders and probably good for the sport in the long run.
  • 3 2
 @suspended-flesh: You guys get the vast majority of your fent from domestic sources. The amount they estimate coming across the border from Canada is less than 1% of what's being used in the US. Fear mongering about 'super labs' in Canada - which are labs primarily supplying our own domestic market - is specifically about deflecting, and placing the blame elsewhere.
  • 1 0
 @Canadmos: I think a big part of the problem now is so many of these bike brands are owned by large corporations and not themselves. They are all answering to share holders now and the only thing that matters to them is making more money for themselves at any cost
  • 3 0
 Pay was low during the good times to save for the bad times supposedly. Bad times arrive and they get fired. What happened to financial responsibility on behalf of the company? Pretty juvenile business practices in my world.
  • 1 2
 @s100: think mountain biking is such a young business that they saw a huge growth spike and saw it as the new normal, cooler heads should have prevailed but they didn’t.
  • 1 0
 @fullsend604: The problem is most of the bike industry isn't making that much money. Corporate would like to be in the greedy profit hoarding position but most are just barely scraping by. Look at the pay for corporate jobs in the bike industry and it is significantly less than similar positions in other industries.
  • 2 0
 @mcfadden999: I don’t. It has been around since the ‘80’s and young business like Tesla that are only 8-9 years old saw this crapshow coming and put away cash and used the downtime to retool and hire and build the new factory in Germany, expand the one in China and build the fourth in Texas.

The blame lies with the individual CEO’s of each company. Not the ‘industry’.
  • 1 3
 @s100: cars are an old business
  • 2 0
 @mcfadden999: so by deduction you are saying that business in boom/bust cycles can only be done by old business what are older than the 4 major boom/bust cycles that mountain bike industry has been through?
Bold strategy Cotton.
  • 2 2
 @s100: just saying premium mtb companies are newer on the scene and they never saw boom and bust like they did in the govt manufactured covid era. Cars are a poor example anyway since they’re not really luxury goods like bikes are
  • 2 0
 @mcfadden999: Lots of the bike companies got locked into long term deals with factories and suppliers. They had their hands tied to ensure they had products when the supply chains were backed up and demand was at an all time high. I am sure there will be more bankruptcies in 2024 as their cash flow will be unable to meet their supplier and factory invoice demands.
  • 3 0
 @Kamperk87: cmon man that is so reasonable and reality based. Can’t we just instead assume that all business leaders in the bike industry are very bad and stupid and it’s their fault our favorite riders are out of a job? Enough with the nuance already.
  • 12 3
 I'm not mega into Freeride, but maybe going underground/ quiet aka FEST style goes against sponsors wishes. Brendog & Pilgrim are doing well by being out there on YouTube, insta etc.... Obviously adding a certain Lady to the DH team fuel's the fire.
  • 12 0
 You just broke the first rule of FEST series
  • 14 1
 Agree. You can’t release one video every two years in a world where an influencer will release 50 videos a year for a half-off bike
  • 7 1
 @downhillbrill: Except I know what Fest is, but I've never heard of Ace Hayden
  • 3 0
 @TimMog: He played guitar in black sabbath
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: He was the fingertips who made a career on its own?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Those fingers tickle brake levers like a fretboard,
  • 11 1
 Damn forget Ethan even existed lol. Havnt seen a single video part or anything in what feels like years
  • 5 1
 Kinda funny to read comments about people being pissed that Freeriders are getting dropped for Racers, Racers getting dropped for Influencers, Influencers getting dropped for Freeriders and all bike companies are evil for dropping riders to make sure they make a billion-dollar profit.
  • 3 0
 can it be, that most of these manufacturers are bought by investors and they just cut some costs which havo no direct financial impact?
I see this often when consultants analyze a company on dara, but not on culture..

(please do not block me PB its a question no criticism)
  • 1 0
 I don't remember If ist was a buyout but the founder of yt isn't running yt anymore
  • 1 0
 @dark-o: Yup.... kinda like that I guess. Flossman is like CVO (cheif visionary officer or something like that).
  • 2 1
 All are being bought out by people that ride 29’ers.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: Ahhh, the old "pick a wheel size and be a dick about it". Classic
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: I wish I could pick a wheel size but everything is now wagon-wheeled. Apparently, folks with deep pockets (new target audience) needed them.
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: The dick move is replacing a fun wheel size with a heavier, boring wheel size to attract more douches w/$ to mtb. It’s pretty gross.
  • 1 0
 @dark-o: Flossman is back at the wheel as CEO.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: So complaining just for the sake of complaining? There are still 27,5 bikes around or is 27,5 too big?
Maybe the 24x2.6 will make a late but great comeback as the suckiest tyre size in the bizz
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: you can still make changes to a mullet bike and transform it to a 27,5 bike? I really dont see the problem? If you like smaller wheels - then support the brands who make them.
Canyon for example.
Bird Bikes
Canfield bikes

Just to name a few....
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: You seem to be in deluded. Almost everything is 29. I’m complaining because big wheels are for chumps in denial of their chumpiness. Go find another sport to make lame.
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: If you rode plus size 24 (24x2.75-3.0) and thought it sucked, you sucked. Probably had a dual crown hardtail.
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: Make changes to a mullet? Have you ever heard of geometry? Low bb? No, you can’t just throw smaller wheels on bikes designed for larger wheels. It’s pretty simple, really.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: lol. Did you sell all the butter and lost all the money? Damn shame.
Nah man. Plenty of 27 bikes out there but yeah there are more 29ers.
Of course you can put a 27,5 wheel on a mullet. But you need to do some changes to make up for the smaller front wheel. It's not rocket surgery. I believe in you - and so should you. Go build yourself an awesome small wheeled bike bike a prove to the Internet that you are right and everyone else is wrong.
  • 1 0
 @PerNyberg1Bn: Nah man? Wtf are you even word salading about? I’ve been a mechanic/shop owner since 2004. You’re probably a millennial, lol. You seem like you don’t know what you don’t know.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: Chill breeeva. Ive been wrenchin since before you could walk. So I know What I am talking about. Seems like you just stuck in your old ways breeva. Gotta chin up and enjoy life or else you be just grindin them lemons too hard, eh.
Like stated above. Instead of bitchin and whining about brands not doing what you want then to do. Embrace the brands that do. Or better yet - build your own bike? Or get a custom frame from Marino. Cheap AF and you can get them small wheels and XC head angle of your dreams ❤
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: East coast I take it.
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: Yeah definitely young af with that logic. Build your own.. Yeah lemme get my jigs ready. While you send me hearts with your black fingernails lol
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: I can ride a bike with xc angles, unlike your generation. Look at my profile and weep, 1995 bike in 1997 making you look bad today
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: Amp B3 with a manitou ti-buldge FS making you look bad in 2024! 3” of crap travel, my boy
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: Dude. Ride whatever. No one cares. If you are happy - than that's great. Keep up the..whatever it is you do ❤
  • 1 0
 @pnyberg: I care what I ride! That’s the whole point, genius. I feel like I’m dealing with a toddlers attention span.. Heart-sending jackasses like you are taking over, and so I have to figure out how to convert a lame bike to a fun one. It sucks. Quit being soft, please.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: what I meant was No one, except you, care what you ride. Get over yourself. Chin up and enjoy life ❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • 6 1
 Woah.. sponsored riders are dropping like flies
  • 3 2
 This is the industry's fault. For becoming greedy bastards during the covid false growth rate. Instead of thinking financially responsibly, they thought all that inflated growth bullshit was the new norm. Now they're all hurting - sucks for the athlete's but the companies deserve it. Get what you SOW!
  • 4 4
 People need to re-think what it takes to be a sponsored rider these days i feel. Posting the odd insta banger every few days to sub 20K followers shouldnt really be enough to get you a free ride (no pun intended). Not when there is everyday joes with 100K plus youtube subs posting weekly content. Agree with it or not, its kinda the way it is now.
  • 16 0
 The bumblers have risen and are taking over!
  • 1 0
 This is a tricky thing for sure. I mean how much value does a influencer that does not ride at pro-level really give a brand? I mean what they review have zero impact on what I will purchace.

"Oh so you like those really expensive wheels that you paid a symbolic sum for cuz you are "independent". Or are really hyped on that 10 000 usd ebike? Shiny toys that you paid fu*k all for - and your stoked on it? Well I'm sold!"

Can't we just not do this influencer shit anymore? It is very water out and there are so few that actually make content worth watching and most do not...
Are there product that do not have a lot of reviews online and you have one - sure go for that review and give some basic info about it. But when the 30th person in a row say how freakkin cool this new deraillure THAT YOU CAN STAND ON ...than well...*sigh*

Look at Froride. A man that really doesn't aspire to become a big influencer but puts his honest opinion out there - for good or bad - in a way that actually makes me entertained while watching it. THAT is great content.

Please, no more click bait shit vids that feedsthe algoritm - but is really shit to watch.

Wanna grow the brand? Grow the sport? A slice of a bigger pie? Well than make som grass roots contributions that actually matters - yeah money from the bottom line to create something that lasts and pay dividends in the future....
  • 2 0
 @pnyberg: The reason companies sponsor riders is to get attention on the product. The money goes to where the attention is and everything these days is social media. I'm not saying it's right, but your average person curious about mtb can relate way more to an average YT influencer than a WC DH racer doing 40mph and sending 50' gaps.
  • 1 0
 @motts: for sure. I have been working with marketing for over 10 years and have my own marketing company. I just see a disconnect in what people actually interact with and get influenced by and what businesses throw their money at....
  • 12 12
 I bought a yt this fall and have no idea who these guys are. Spec for the price sold me on it, not sponsored riders.

I can’t say that any sponsored athlete sways my purchasing decisions for any sports that I do or watch.

Maybe companies are seeing that they have overvalued that aspect of marketing. Which is exactly what sponsoring a rider is.
  • 6 0
 I bought my son a YT earlier in the year, and then we got to meet Jack Moir and Kasper Woolley at the US Open where my son did his first enduro event on the exact same stages as Jack and Kasper who were really encouraging. Add to that listening to the Down Time Podcast interview with the CVO and Chief R&D guy from YT and I didn't hesitate going with another YT when my son needed to move up a size.
  • 2 1
 @ChiefSilverback: Well done ya old gorilla
  • 4 1
 Making room for Valentina?
  • 7 0
 I bet she’s getting a big check.
  • 7 2
 Let's face it with all the podiums she wins, over a year she's worth these three added together.
  • 2 2
 @karatechris: not if nobody watches World Cup DH, not to mention if there is even a series by the time the season rolls around. 6 races aren’t really gonna move the needle
  • 8 9
 Companies are finally realizing that sponsored people don't really matter ..when's the last time anyone bought something because someone was wearing or riding or whatever with that said product...oh yeah.. lemmings.. quit buying stuff .we all have plenty of shit.
  • 3 0
 People do it all the time. It’s one of the main drivers of the skateboard industry.
  • 1 0
 Well..I guess kids are pretty influenced on what their heros ride...no wonder the trike sales have skyrocketed since Pilgim made his
  • 5 2
 They don’t offer anything to the company.
  • 1 0
 wow! are the good ole" days gone.? is marketing and money taking over the enjoyment of just RIDING and making money. sorry to hear! good riders. seems like a good company!?
  • 2 1
 Next announcement…”Graham Agassiz has signed onto Canyon Bikes”
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Aggi still rides bikes.
  • 1 0
 What about Dylan stark?
  • 1 0
 He's still good for now....
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