3 Things I Hate About You (Bike Industry)

Words Cam McRae
Date Sep 18, 2016

If you missed the first part of this series click here…

I asked a relatively small selection of my industry friends for a response to my question: What do you hate about the MTB industry? I chose from the ones who A) have been around awhile and B) aren’t generally shy about sharing their opinions. I affectionately called them crusty, and I meant it as a compliment.

The fine people on my list can see the humour and absurdity of the acronyms and superlatives bike companies use to part riders from their cash. Of course it’s ridiculous. Let’s not take it too seriously.

I had no idea what sort of responses I’d get to this question, but what surprised me most was the variety. For the most part people had their own distinct complaints. I have no idea if that is a reflection on the business or the people who work within – but I think it’s probably a good sign. If there was one massive overarching problem afflicting this sphere that would be a very bad sign.

Here are three more responses.


Amanda Batty – Professional Rider

Your ‘Sports Ambassador’ Marketing Program Sucks
… And it’s killing the pro athlete economy.

But hold up.

Before I get my gears all heated up and this rage train rolling, I’m going to lead out with the following disclaimer: if you are a former pro or legend or master at your craft, this does not apply to you. To my heroes, my gods, my ever-ass-kicking MTB monsters, this does not apply to you. To the men and women who have shaped mountain biking and sports culture as a whole and who still hold important positions and play key roles in our industry, this does not apply to you.

Amanda Batty isn't keen on poseurs.

Amanda Batty isn’t keen on poseurs.

Y’all are invaluable assets that mountain biking (and the outdoor industry in general) couldn’t replace or replicate if our very future depended on it… You are and always will be the best ambassadors of rad, Missy, ACC, Cedric, Bender, etc etc. So.

To the rest of you, as Han Solo says, ‘hold onto your butts’.

This little ode is going to be dedicated to the laziest of marketers and brand managers on the planet. My rant today goes out to every advertising director, marketing master, social media manager, and every goddamn program director out there who has given rise to the wave of mediocrity that is the plague of unproven and untested ‘brand ambassadors’.

‘Brand ambassadors’ are not random folks stoked on your brand. ‘Brand ambassadors’ should be your ATHLETES. But the entire lot of you have taken minor grassroots support as rule and law, and you’ve turned it into a full-fledged lawless gig for the stupid and the mediocre.

Your rampant and unrestrained abuse of the word ‘ambassador’ has not only killed the progression curve inside of outdoor sports, but it’s destroying the pro athlete economy and the bottom lines of thousands of legitimate pros.

Y’all are fucked.

Your lazy marketing not only sucks. You’ve created the economic bubble equivalent of ‘creative for exposure’ inside of the outdoor industry. You’ve elevated mediocrity above excellence, and you’ve maintained the cycle by endorsing and supporting unearned opportunities for those who will cannot do the job of a pro athlete.

How have you done this?

I’ll say it again: your shitty ‘ambassador’ programs.

To read the rest of Amanda’s passionate thoughts on this subject, click here…


Dimitri Lehner – Editor Freeride Magazine (Germany)

What I hate about the MTB industry?
First thing: The mtb industry is not relevant and important enough to really hate anything.
There are some things I do not approve for example that the industry pressed 650 B in the market and that they try the same with 29 now or that everybody sugar coats everything.
Nobody has the guts to really say: that sucks.
Like Bikeparks in Europe.
Most of them really suck which slows down our sport and is less fun of course.

But overall I really like that we work in that business. That we don’t sell weapons or screw people over or be part of some nasty business but instead we make people happy.

Dimitri showing off his Bobby Root-inspired manual skills circa 2005.

Dimitri showing off his Bobby Root-inspired manual skills circa 2005.


Todd Seplavy – Product manager for Ironhorse, Specialized, Evil Bikes and others. Currently at GT.

In the words of Peter Griffin, “You know what really grinds my gears?”…virtually everything! At this stage I feel like every little nuance of every little thing in bike world is under a microscope from all sides – consumers, dealers, distributors, media, athletes, brands, etc etc etc. It’s a never ending point vs counterpoint, a relentless tit-for-tat that drives me absolutely bonkers! At the end of the day we all need to step back and look at this mess we’re all swimming in and realize we are not working on nuclear disarmament or peace in the Middle East, we’re talking about riding bikes and having fun!

Let me try to touch on a couple topics. The first is that everyone seems to have an opinion, and of course their opinion is always right! There’s way too much hate going around – wheel sizes, enduro, Strava, backpacks, eBikes – you name it and someone is getting into an argument in bike world over it right now. As Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb the Music Industry!” sings “The shit that you hate don’t make you special.” Let’s all accept that whilst you personally might not like a particular product, subculture, genre, or what not that someone out there certainly does. Be happy with your own product choices and stop bagging on those who make a choice different than your own personal choice.

I’m a product nut and I used to spend a lot of time on forums soliciting rider feedback and combing the comment sections for ideas and direction. I have pretty much stopped doing that because by-and-large the commentary now is just nitpicky and often outwardly negative. Maybe it’s driven by the quick news cycle and the constant drone of social media? Whatever the cause, it’s a huge bummer because I want myself and my product team to be that much more connected to the consumers actually riding the bikes and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to dig out the true gold nuggets out there and put them into use.

Overall, if there’s any one particular topic that’s been getting at me consistently for the past couple years it is the failure of the bicycle industry to go after and bring in new consumers. How about marketing to other demographics outside of the typical “urban/suburban upper-middle class white dude?” How about women? How about people of color? How about those of a lower income? How about the LGBT community? These are all potential riders and we just plain ignore that they exist!

We as an industry allow sexism and misogyny in marketing and events to continue unabated. We as an industry say we want more women to participate in the sport, yet other than a select few people (who often seem to get labeled as simply SJWs), who from the top levels of the industry of the media are calling out the ad campaigns and lack of equality in competition? Bringing more women into mountain biking is about more than making a range of bikes or having a demo ride day.

I go up to Whistler or Kingdom and have certainly seen an increase in women out there, but was that promoted by the bike industry – nope. That pretty much came from those groups of women just giving the guys the middle finger and doing it themselves. Then, we as an industry expect to just go and hitch-up our wagon to that. Well fellas, why don’t we chip in and stop with the exclusionary bullshit?

We are now watching the industry do the same thing with kids bikes and riding. Sure the industry chips in to NICA because it’s racing (and we don’t get enough of racing amiright!), but what else are we doing other than making a whole lot more expensive bikes for dads to buy for their kids? (Note: I’m just as fucking guilty here on this point if anyone saw Connor’s bike at Crankworx!)

I travel the country and the world and see lots of different types of people, most all of whom we exclude from the sport. We go and moan about how sales are flat or how retailers are closing. Well, when you target almost exclusively to a demographic that is shrinking what exactly did you think was going to happen?!? Other people exist out there who would love to participate in our sport and who’s money is just as valuable!

In case you just want a product related hate of mine, it’s the term and practice of “new standards”. Enough of it. Stop the insanity. Please! I get it, we want to make stuff better, but does it have to be literally every 9-months? Can we like maybe space it out over a few years perhaps? Every time I read a comment about an “industry conspiracy” or “planned obsolescence” I quite literally LOL. The “industry” can’t figure out how to work together or have cooperation on anything product standards-related.

This is just the chasing of the incremental performance :cough:sales:cough: gain. We have nothing truly inspiring to sell so we sell on a couple percent more stiffness or a few more millimeters of clearance. As a respected colleague calls it, “Flat market thrashing”.

I’m stepping off the soap box now, I need more coffee!!

The many faces of Todd Seplavy.

The many faces of Todd Seplavy.


Any of these on your list?

Trending on NSMB

Comments

get-over-yourself-amanda
0
get over yourself amanda  - Sept. 22, 2016, 7:24 p.m.

Having looked up Amanda's race results she's about as fast as an expert man. So she's as fast as and expert man but wants pro level compensation? Pro comp should be for the best of the best, that's how it works.

Reply

Brocklanders
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yahs  - Sept. 22, 2016, 2:48 p.m.

Wow! Amanda posted my comment on Twitter. I feel so special.
All the cursing and swearing she does, what a great role model.

Reply

wacek-keepshack
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Wacek Keepshack  - Sept. 22, 2016, 10:46 a.m.

Quite frankly? I thought that problems of folks on Pinkbike were hard to understand. After reading each answer: my brain went: Jesus Christ: this is how that load of bullcrap I leave every day on pinkbike must sound to people… First off Amanda, this is the issue of scarcity of resources on the planet MTB, gravity MTB in particular: if you, with your race record and mediap resence, were a roadie, your salary would be higher than what I make as an architect in one of the world's most expensive countries. And yes, especially if you were a male (just a remark on irony, no malice involved). Pro Tour team spends probably more on water bottles than Syndicate on travel expenses. The second issue: as I argued a bit with Stacy Kohut, athletes are a bit like contemporary artist: they are not necessarily important for the well being of a society. Yes I am all aware of all the externalities of the impact of sport medicine on society, but… you are just… entertainers… and that means it goes wrong rather quickly, where sport gets so popular that it motivates people to sit on the couch, drink beer and shout dumbest remarks at the screen. And the recent shift in social media, is Hannah Barnes or Wyn Masters recognized for her their results? Nooo, but their instagram is cool to follow. Stop feeding it and you're out, no matter how hard you work out. Sam Hill, ACC? Complete opposite of that. Who's to judge? Company picking bad ambassadeurs? It's their money, a simple as that.

Then Dimitri - bike parks in Europe suck? Really? Where were you 5-7 years ago, when there's been Leogang, Portes Du Soleil, Livigno Verbier and fricking Winterberg - in 2005-08 mountain bikers were as welcome in European Ski resorts as a fart in a Sputnik. What is this? A rant by an average park rat BRAH from Pinkbike who can barely do an X-Up but shts on Pietermaritzburg not being a real DH track? Remember where you come from, be happy people let you on a lift with your bike. The dream of Whistler at Garda lake? I recommend giving a ring to Ben Walker from Scott and asking him about every single trail he built, they are fricking awesome.

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amy-shepard
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Amy Shepard  - Sept. 22, 2016, 10:53 a.m.

Do you have any idea how much female pro road riders make? (Hint: many are paid $0 and there is no minimum salary for women's pro teams) . They get paid pennies compared to their male counterparts (though domestic pro teams also have no minimum salary and still male shit). Comparing the budget of a pro tour team is apples to oranges and only further diverges from reality when you look at how little the top female riders are paid, regardless of discipline.

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wacek-keepshack
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Wacek Keepshack  - Oct. 19, 2016, 11:32 a.m.

Erm, I have mediocre awareness of how little female athletes make in MTB. And my best guess would be: almost nothing. So don't put me on some other team. I am on your team. But going after twats like "brand ambassadeurs" isn't solving anything, because the whole idea of "athlete" is messed up from the very core and that push for what is possible is exactly what keeps women down. Nobody but your fellow mates cares for how hard you work when result is not the best in the world regardless of gender. That one gender has more testosterone and thus more muscles: faster, better, harder, stronger. World's made that way, just like Earth circles the sun. Do I envy my female boss for being a more motivated and organized person? Hell Fk I do, she's better organized, speaks better, writes better, knows how to get the client to spend more money, she digs that game. She got money from her parents to buy a sweet house, her partner has his own company, they are way better off than I will ever be. Should I kill myself because we are not equal? Should i leave my wife and kids to pursue being better than she is? If you are into faster, better, harder, stronger, then whatever you do, there is a price to pay. And if you never get on top, nobody will ever give a tiniest damn, but 5 people closest to you. As someone said: Rampage, where are the girls?

Reply

ryan-m
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Ryan M.  - Sept. 20, 2016, 2:07 p.m.

Cam,

Could NSMB write a story covering the issue Amanda is talking about? I would be interested to see/hear about this and the implications.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - Sept. 20, 2016, 4:52 p.m.

This isn't the sort of thing that is directly in our sphere Ryan but I think it would be interesting to hear some counterpoints and others that confirm Amanda's point. I have been approached down here at Interbike with some other perspectives on this already and I could perhaps hear from those people.

Reply

ryan-m
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Ryan M.  - Sept. 20, 2016, 6:59 p.m.

Thanks guys. Yeah I know it's not really in the scope of NSMB but I thought you guys have really done a good, balanced job that was really sensitive, respectful and thoughtful to all parties (Tina Kraal comes to mind) and I'd love to read about it. I think that whether it be the "show hotties" at interbike or diluting professional sponsorships through use of "ambassadors", it's the kind of thing that there's a culture inside of cycling that's generally accepted and hurts women. I looked at Amanda's pinkbike post on her blog and was kinda blown away by all of it. Granted it seems Amanda doesn't stray from an argument, but I think she's got a point here.

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Lacy Kemp  - Sept. 21, 2016, 1:57 p.m.

Again- another topic I'd be keen to weigh in on. While I'm not a professional athlete, I am a professional writer and producer. This goes WAY beyond just the athletes. Brands often will use content from people because it's free, and undercut paid writers and researchers for free content. If the stuff they get for free is better, than more power to them. But if it's just someone writing poorly about their super sick bike experience and passing it off as great content, it destroys any real creativity that comes from the media. Bottom line: if you WORK for something and it's good, you should get paid for it.

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Amanda  - Sept. 22, 2016, 11:18 a.m.

Thanks for a good comment, Ryan -- although I wasn't speaking specifically about how it effects women, I do agree. However, this is a much larger conversation about the dilution of a skilled labor force by promoting free labor. Whether it's pro photography, pro writing, pro athletes, pro videographers, this issue exists inside of the bike industry to no end. As I am, however, only a meager pro athlete who has been told "why would we pay a pro when some girl on Instagram will do it for free?", I can only speak from a limited perspective and how I feel that it hurts the wider athlete and promotional market, especially when we have serious, solid pros retiring at an unprecedented rate.

Yes, we live in space that promotes cult of personality and few old-school pros have the time or patience to create that in a new medium (social media), I feel that most brands are failing pro athletes. There are brands who have specifically hired lackluster 'pros' who are good at social media instead of hiring and promoting actual pros who can win competitions AND who are good for business. Is there space for everyone? Absolutely. But is everyone getting accurately compensated at this point commensurate to their level of risk? Not even close. Do I believe that there are still pros who 'have it all'? Yes.

Perhaps that's my weakness here. I still believe in well-rounded athletes who can act as athletes and ambassadors, who use their athleticism and personality to promote the brands that support them. I believe in them because I know too many of them… who are leaving the sport because they can't make ends meet.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 20, 2016, 5:12 p.m.

For sure this isn't the last of this topic. But thanks for expressing your interest, it does seem like it's worth some extra attention.

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johnny
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Johnny  - Sept. 19, 2016, 11:36 p.m.

Amanda does have some legit points, but she doesn't really give any specific examples of "ambassadors" so it is hard to see how much of the pie that the "ambassadors" are taking besides a $300/ pop comment. I looked up a few of the biking Ambassador programs and they all seem to just promote biking.

Berrecloth turned the MTB world upside down and has is probably sold more bikes for the big S than anything, but I am willing to bet that the big S lawyers get paid more for consultation visits to discuss owning the rights to three lines in parallel than Darren did in a year. I understand the need to protect your business but some things got a little out of control. My point is that the pie is probably being eaten up by bigger mouths than the "ambassadors".

This "Pro athlete economy " doesn't exist without someone willing to support it. The bike industry needs to sell products in order to survive and is going to look at ways to sell more products. I would think that giving away t-shirts and getting a bike sale would be worth looking into if I ran a company.

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Jerry-Rig
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Jerry Willows  - Sept. 20, 2016, 12:02 p.m.

I would like to know if the Coastal Crew would be considered as "Ambassadors"? Rampage riders? Maybe the pros need to market themselves better?

Reply

johnny
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Johnny  - Sept. 20, 2016, 5:26 p.m.

Exactly ! Where is the line between ambassador/poser and legitimate pro?
Companies don't get an annual bonus by how many podiums their riders achieved. They get paid through the sale of product plain and simple. Racers, Freeriders and 'posers' are all doing the same thing. They are promoting/selling a life style.
The Coastal Crew are a rad bunch of dudes that clearly have a good time living the life they do. The bike the ride has no bearing to how they live their lives. This isn't the old days where some bike companies no matter how much cash they had still put out a shitty bike. If you are looking for a DH, DJ, Enduro, Unicycle etc…. each bike company is going to have something that will more than meet your needs, and it come down to personal preference. That preference might be who you look up to or would like to be associated with. Even if you will never get more than two feet of air, if the bike you choose associates a feeling of the Coastal Crew ripping it up and having a good time than they have done thier job.

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Amanda  - Sept. 22, 2016, 11:42 a.m.

@Johnny: sorry for not elaborating. Haven't been able to respond to every comment without wanting to blow my brains out, but clearly, I should have prioritized which ones got answered. By 'brand ambassador', I mean athletes who are SPECIFICALLY referred to as 'our brand ambassador, so and so'. No, the coastal crew doesn't count as the 'brand ambassadors' I'm referring to. Those guys SHRED. They're athletes. I mean… Come on. They're also an excellent example of athletes who are insanely awesome athletes and great ambassadors for the sport; not only do they shred, they make people want to get out and ride. They push limits, they inspire and they absolutely spread the best parts of riding bikes with friends: fun. Isn't that the overall goal? I think so.

Second, sorry for my lack of clarity. I apologize for that, because it's led to a lot of hurt feelings. Put plain and simple: I don't think everyone is a celebrity, and we need to stop celebrating mediocre shit. 'Brand ambassadors' are awesome. In the world of marketing, these are supposed to be people who actively educate and are paid to promote a brand at trade shows, public events, etc. In MTB, however, they've become the norm of the semi-pro who is questionably reputable, at best. At the end of my blog, I specified how it uniquely hurts racing, but I didn't quantify how a public user of Instagram might be compromised by the lack of differentiation between a pro and a brand ambassador. Say you log in to social media one day and your favorite company is hyping up someone you've never heard of before… This person has gotten flow from said company for a while and their new video is now being promoted by said company, but this person doesn't seem to have much in the way of skill or results, yet you sit there and wait for the video edit to be over, while you wonder how the hell you ended up watching this ridiculously terrible footage.

Suddenly, you think to yourself "shit. This is terrible. how is this person possibly pro?!" They're not. But they're being promoted in limited airspace as a pro, and the promotion often doesn't come with a claim about how this 'friend' of said company isn't, in fact, a professional athlete. So the expectation of pros suddenly drops, because if THIS person can get internet fame (for whatever reason), why should new pros go above and beyond to push progression?

It doesn't matter to this company that technically, this person isn't good at what they do. It doesn't matter that they're not advancing the sport, or inspiring people to get out. What matters to this brand is that this person just gave them this free video while wearing the brand's t shirt, and while it's not the best, it'll do. And it was free!

So: person who isn't the best gets free exposure for being mediocre. Brand pushes it because they'd rather have 'free' than 'great'. Mainstream accepts it as what MTB is because they can't differentiate between legitimate brands and athletes and non-legitimate brands and athletes. Thus MTB gets an influx of people who come into it because it looks easy and 'cool' instead of what it is: bicycling down a goddamn mountain.

With this influx of new flesh, everyone is so excited… Until the lawsuits start. Until little brad and Denise decide that it's too hard and demand easier trails, or they drop out of the sport. And when they go, all of the money and growth and projections that were made because of the 'cool' factor… It goes with them. And it bankrupts everyone who's been inside, working on it forever, who didn't think the ambassador thing was such a big deal.

Oh, and did I mention that in this new economy, as pros who can win and who are pushing progression (such as Lauren Heitzman and Anne Galyean and Wil White) look around them and can't get airtime for their content (because they have to work to pay their bills and because good content costs money), they leave the sport as a pro and just ride on the weekends? They stop racing and competing or putting out edits, because.. Why should they? Brands love the new, cost-free 'ambassadors' who are providing free promotion and mediocre content and who have taken over the market because every brand is doing it now. And it becomes a cycle. Free content takes over. Pros don't get paid to produce good content because good content = risk on their part = medical bills and broken equipment = having to make a living to pay for medical bills and broken equipment = what's all of this work for anyway when there are so many Jerrys (sorry, actual Jerry below) who don't know the difference and brand who will promote whatever?

THOSE are the brands and ambassadors I'm talking about. Nothing worth anything is free.

Reply

TooSteep
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Ian St.Martin  - Oct. 6, 2016, 12:24 p.m.

"Thus MTB gets an influx of people who come into it because it looks easy and 'cool' instead of what it is: bicycling down a goddamn mountain.

With this influx of new flesh, everyone is so excited… Until the lawsuits start. Until little brad and Denise decide that it's too hard and demand easier trails,…"

That is crazy.

There are millions and millions of untapped customers for brands to sell their wares to, who would absolutely love getting outside into the woods and rolling around some beautiful smooth loam. The untapped potential for growing mountain biking is staggering. More than any other endeavor I can imagine.

But you think mountain biking should only be for people willing to take on high levels of risks that also have a large budget for medical bills? That is crazy. It eliminates millions of people with, you know … lives.

If you're only marketing/selling to people who are willing to pre-allocate rehab time into their schedules, then you're going to keep chasing your tail fighting for a tiny pie.

Think comfortable bikes with big wheels, big tires and efficient suspension, ridden on low-risk trails in beautiful locales. And you open your market to millions more customers. That's where the industry and marketers should be going if they want to sell a lot more gear. I have no idea where pros or brand ambassadors fit in to this, but I do know that the attitude that it 'must' come with a high degree of risk is unnecessarily limiting.

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senormartillo
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SenorMartillo  - Sept. 19, 2016, 9:07 p.m.

Good to see that the bike industry also fails the SJW standard. What exactly is a bike for LGBT anyway? Or a bike for "people of color"?

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walleater
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walleater  - Sept. 19, 2016, 10:55 p.m.

The article quite clearly states the lack of marketing of bikes to these groups, not creating an LGBT specific wheel size.

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gavitron
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Gavitron  - Sept. 20, 2016, 10:34 p.m.

How is marketing bikes to LGBT people any different from marketing them to anyone else? Most bike ads I see just show bikes. Should they be going out of their way to show obviously, stereotypically gay people on them?

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walleater
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walleater  - Sept. 20, 2016, 11:01 p.m.

As someone who generally hates marketing, you are asking the wrong person. But considering most marketing involves watching some dude ripping down singletrack that 99.9% of the worlds population couldn't even dream of getting to, it's not surprising that mountain biking attracts a pretty narrow section of society.

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gavitron
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Gavitron  - Sept. 20, 2016, 11:04 p.m.

It's an expensive sport, it's always going to attract a relatively narrow section of society. Are you suggesting that MTB marketing is specifically weighted towards exotic travel destinations? I feel like most of the MTB- related trips people take cost a fraction of what they paid for their bike.

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Brocklanders
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yahs  - Sept. 19, 2016, 5:10 p.m.

Your ‘Sports Ambassador’ Marketing Program Sucks

… And it’s killing the pro athlete economy.

A good friend of mine raced DH pro and was ranked top 5 in Canada years back. He said he didn't race for the money, there wasn't any. Still looks like that is the case today.

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 19, 2016, 5:01 p.m.

Personally I don't go to races, race or watch races on TV/online. I watch the odd video edit of pros riding and doing tricks, but it wouldn't be much pain if that went away. Supporting normal folks who ride their bikes a lot and spread stoke is just fine by me. Out of 100 riders I know 4 or 5 race nothing they do impacts my enjoyment of my local trails.

I'm not convinced what's great for racing is great for the masses so I'm not sure there is that much trickle down effect vs. building equipment for fast weekend warriors.

Maybe there is some benefit to racing that I am not seeing, but it seems pretty much irrelevant to me.

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walleater
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walleater  - Sept. 19, 2016, 6:19 p.m.

It's the top level racers who are heavily involved in testing and have input in design. Plus I have to wonder how many bikes Santa Cruz would sell if their marketing mainly just involved someone doing handstands next to their bike with a nice view in the background,

I overheard one brand ambassador once admit that they did not know how to set up their rebound damping! If someone came up to them on a trail and asked about the suspension performance on their bike I'm not sure what the answer would be….."Awesome Bro!" ?

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 19, 2016, 6:39 p.m.

I don't buy that top level racers are crucial for mountain bikes to exist. I'd even suggest that the focus on racing isn't beneficial for the average trail rider who does not need their bike to do the things that are required for a racer to be successful.

Pinkbike had an anecdote the other day about a pro who's bike was always setup so poorly it was the butt of everyone's jokes. Clearly he would not be the guy you want to setup your suspension. The fact that one person is a goof proves nothing other than if you get enough people together you'll get a few goofs.

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walleater
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walleater  - Sept. 19, 2016, 7:35 p.m.

I get that you don't care about racing (I don't any more other than watching the World Cup DH) but would Yeti have gotten the success they had without John Tomac, Missy Giove, Myles Rockwell etc? How about all the endless Orange 223s that were bought off the back of Steve Peats sponsorship? Robbie Bourdon and Dave Watson hucking Konas off cliffs? Iron Horse Sundays and Sam Hill? Did Mondraker and YT hire Danny Hart and Aaron Gwin because of their brooding good looks and their ability to stare at a far off mountain while having their picture taken #outthere.

Brand ambassadors could be awesome if they were documented helping trail building (or just be trail builders), helping in the community in some way such as coaching. Normally though it's just an edit that we've seen a million times before, some posing and a million hashtags. Is that really worthy of the title 'ambassador'?

Rocky Mountain deserve some props for hiring great people who might not be at their fastest any more but have a huge amount of respect from the community. I'd call Tippie and Simmons genuine ambassadors for the sport.

(Re bike set-up, pretty sure you are referencing an XC type bike and XC racers are renowned for having weird set-ups. Whatever it takes to get them to the top of a climb fast though as that's all that matters)

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Faction
0
Derp  - Sept. 19, 2016, 7:39 p.m.

Like it or not, racing or competition is the backbone of any "sport". It drives the development of high end products that ultimately trickles down to the average Joe. That's no secret.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 20, 2016, 4:14 p.m.

No one's buying a bike that's known to be "good enough for the average trail rider". In any sport, or for consumer goods, the 'proven by professionals' or 'at the top level' means the consumer can be confident that no matter how good they are (or think they are) or how hard they are on their gear, someone, somewhere, has put it through something even worse or placed higher performance demands onto it.

The unique thing about bike racing vs. say auto racing is that bike consumers can buy the exact bike being raced at the top level within a year of it first appearing on a race course, whereas a lot of motorsports equipment is unattainable (and there exists a greater divide between existence and need at the consumer level).

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matty
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Matty  - Sept. 19, 2016, 2:19 p.m.

Todd Seplavy - "I’m a product nut and I used to spend a lot of time on forums soliciting rider feedback and combing the comment sections for ideas and direction. I have pretty much stopped doing that because by-and-large the commentary now is just nitpicky and often outwardly negative. "

Lessons my my current and previous employer, when there is nothing to do, politics and BS fills the gaps. I think bike spec is so good these days that there is actually so little room for genuine complaint that rubbish like you are referencing occurs to fill the gap. You probably know as well as I do that most of these cassette-lockring-spec-checking trainspotters aren't actually in the market for a new bike anyway.

That said, the complaints that a bike isn't something that it is not really grind my gears. Whats that? if only the Epic had 6″ of travel and bigger brake rotors it would be a great enduro bike? sure it would mate.

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tehllama42
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Tehllama42  - Sept. 19, 2016, 12:44 p.m.

It sounds like what Amanda is talking about are the brands just tossing swag and bro-deals at riders who would be buying their stuff anyway IN LIEU OF supporting professional athletes or the progression to professional in racing - basically trying to crowdsource as much of their PR stuff as possible, as cheaply as possible, and the opportunity cost there is that they aren't supporting elite level athletes the same way, or supporting grassroots racing they way they could.

Who knows, the economic argument probably is that the short-term money grab of 'anybody with a smartphone and an instragram account is now a brand ambassador' will work out great, and spending that money saved on padding the cash picture of the company to ride out rough patches or have resources to spend hopping on literally every bandwagon is the fiscally sound one - but it sucks. It's basically trying to bring the indie music model to an equipment sport.

Amanda has accurately put the blame on the lazy brand management approach that has gone to the extreme of leveraging social media to the point where it's eroding even the grassroots racing scene, in an era where new disciplines of racing are exploding in numbers, the downside of that is still noticeable.
I'd be fine with lifestyle brand ambassadors alongside professional athletes that help develop products, and show what's possible. When the former cuts into the ability of the latter, especially without something akin to the 107% rule (see: FIA F1 racing) where anybody who can't hack it doesn't roll out on race day, then the resources that should be spent getting a semi-pro racer or junior racer into a ride where they can develop and succeed are getting spent on somebody whose primary expertise is managing hashtags.
This is worse on the women's side, and I suspect that's why she's so willing to drop that hammer - as a female athlete competing at the elite level, it has to be absolutely sickening to have a sport with completely objective performance measures (can't argue objectivity with a stopwatch) still have an influx of funded athletes who simply aren't at the same level, but can make every single race. It DOES hold back the truly good women athletes when that sponsorship money goes to less skilled people that might have more symmetric faces for media, but the free pass these companies get leads to crap like Danica Patrick having big sponsored rides, while the likes of Sarah Fisher and Erica Enders-Stevens having to win on their own merit while under-funded in another equipment sport just to get a spot at the table with real sponsorship money.

Sorry for the motorsports analogies, but I've followed that for longer than bike racing.

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nat-brown
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Nat Brown  - Sept. 19, 2016, 2:16 p.m.

Indie music model!

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Lacy Kemp  - Sept. 19, 2016, 2:31 p.m.

See: women in surfing. Same shit, different day.

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Amanda  - Sept. 19, 2016, 9:38 p.m.

Two words: THANK YOU. Thank you. That's it. ❤️ Excellently said.

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nat-brown
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Nat Brown  - Sept. 19, 2016, 10:21 a.m.

I think Dimitri has captured it best for me: None of this stuff is that significant. I'm not trashing these articles though, and I appreciate reading the different points of view. Some are well inside the industry in a way that's revealing to a hack like me.

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ryan-m
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Ryan M.  - Sept. 19, 2016, 9:56 a.m.

Amanda,

I hear what you're saying. Without pro's pushing the limits of what's possible, the sport becomes stagnant. The companies who benefit from that progression/risk taking should be fairly compensating, insuring, and looking out for the well being of their athletes (and the athlete's families) that are sticking their necks out for them (don't get me started on redbull, either). Replacing with/Outsourcing to "brand ambassadors" isn't cool.

That said, I think there's still a role for the so called "brand ambassadors". I rarely race, I mostly just go out to shred and have fun. I imagine the majority of folks buying bikes aren't racers, we're just folks who are mediocre, may never race in our life, and work a 9-5 to pay for the chance to shred the local trails next weekend and burn our vacation time/savings riding trails away from home. Seeing similar riders getting out there and doing the damn thing on instagram or whatever is intelligent marketing.

Screwing the hard working, risk-taking, truly professional athletes who got you this far is total bs, but it's not the fault of a bunch of Instagram- wielding millennials that the companies are giving them some swag to do stuff they'd probably be doing anyway. Hell, if they gave me free stuff to snap a few shots of myself riding/drinking while wearing it, I'd totally do it.

Maybe the true purists/elite pro's aren't the only people who are allowed to get industry support. If companies are screwing their elite athletes, that's on them and they suck for doing it. But hating on the mediocre riders who are "unskilled beneficiaries of corporate charity" as "fathletes," kinda comes off as elitist. Hating on the corporate assholes who made the call to cut the pro's budget is one thing, but ease off on the "fake-pro's" thing. We're all somewhere on that progression, and the industry is allowed to support folks who are trying to make that next step.

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dominicbruysporter
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DominicBruysPorter  - Sept. 19, 2016, 10:44 a.m.

I think she's talking about how it dilutes the value of the top level sponsorship. If they're getting their exposure dollars done at grassroots, then what's the incentive to also pay insurance and travel and contest fees to someone who might not even get decent coverage at the event?

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Brocklanders
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yahs  - Sept. 19, 2016, 4:46 p.m.

I see Amanda's point. From a marketing point of view, a company will get way more exposure giving bro deals/swag to local non pro riders. It gets the brand out there better than on the back of a pro racer that I personally have never heard of.

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ryan-m
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Ryan M.  - Sept. 19, 2016, 4:46 p.m.

Re: dominic
I see your point, and cutting out the core of the sport, the folks who work their asses off to be elite in favor of someone who just shows up and wears/rides what their given is really crappy. I totally agree, it does dilute the value of top level sponsorship. If you ride at an elite level then you should get paid commensurate with your ability.

Sadly, even the bike industry employs corporate assholes who think of bikes as widgets and sponsored riders as expendable labor. These are the same folks who probably made a living outsourcing jobs overseas too.

Re: Tehllama: Very well said, and that makes a lot of sense. Much like every other industry who outsources and screws their most experienced employees, the bike industry has another thing in common with corporate America: Women getting the shaft in the workplace. The disparities in income, sponsorship, and representation among women in the outdoor/cycling scene are really sad, and you would think that a sport that is generally full of fundamentally decent people would be more serious about fixing that disparity.

Re:seen it all
I'm not an ambassador or anything. I pay to ride my bike. The only thing I do to push a company to do anything is to spend my money….I'm undeserving, sure, but is it ok with you if my LBS gives me a discount on a bike and a jersey because I'm halfway likeable and wear their jersey at the trailhead, their shirt at the trail workdays, and try to be a decent person when I ride? At what point am I allowed to get something I don't deserve? Chill.

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dominicbruysporter
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DominicBruysPorter  - Sept. 22, 2016, 8:32 p.m.

Seriously. I mean, regarding your point about women getting shafted, the Canadian girls have been owning the XC circuit this year and i hear nothing about them. I know it's not slopestyle, but it's not trampoline either.

How did we go downhill from the '90s? One of the best known names in DH racing was MIssy, but today Rach is either crushing it, or suffering from a lack of competition, and we barely hear about her or see her.

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nopow
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Nopow  - Sept. 19, 2016, 3:14 p.m.

Ryan M. Name another sport similar to mt. Biking where non-competitors and unskilled get "swag" for being an ambassador? I traveled the (pro-grt) national circuit this year with some young fast and skilled kids! They work their butts off learning courses, susp. Set-up, fitness, getting use to different climates and dirt (rocks) while interacting with bike companies and going faster then "fathletes" could ever imagine! For no money! They are the ones that push companies to improve their stuff. . . . . Not you! Racers want stuff that works and lasts, they NEED to finish a run! You? Not so much. That is why I would NOT buy anything you "ambassador"! For every bro deal I see to an undeserving rider is just one more product I will NOT buy or use! Amanda is correct!

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Brocklanders
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yahs  - Sept. 20, 2016, 10:37 a.m.

Get off your high horse. MTB racing is a tiny market, this self entitlement piece is laughable.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 20, 2016, 4:18 p.m.

Every outdoor sport has examples. I can name them, but it'll just sound like I'm naming every sport. Try and name one where it isn't the case. This conversation includes the mtb industry, but by no means is restricted to it.

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gavitron
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Gavitron  - Sept. 20, 2016, 10:55 p.m.

Yeah pretty much any other sport, e-sport, video game, or other new fad or marketing thing has swag and ambassadors. Those kids "working" their butts off at their chosen sport that they enjoy, how many bikes were they selling? How many people went out and spent cash on parts or accessories because of them? What is it that they should be paid for? Being awesome? Sponsorship is not a meritocracy, it's a popularity contest. Not saying that's a good thing, it's just the way it is. Race results are a great way to achieve that popularity, but if someone is able to do just as much to get a company's name out there and inspire others to try their products, without ever having stood on the podium themselves, who are you to deny them? When it comes down to paying someone to evangelize your products for you, is riding skill the only thing that matters, or do you want someone who is also able to engage with others in a positive way that will improve your image?

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johnny
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Johnny  - Sept. 21, 2016, 4:58 p.m.

What is an undeserving rider ????? For someone like Amanda, that is a rider in the lower end of her circuit for someone like Rachel Atherton or Tracy Hannah that person is Amanda.

People need to get a start somewhere so when is it OK to start giving them a break.

If an undeserving rider is getting some stickers and t shirts is something that warrants a boycott of that company what does a pro rider that belittles people and has no time for the peasents beneath him deserve? I know which company wouldn't see my money. (Not directed an anyone in particular just an example).

Also almost every company gives stuff to people for many reasons it's known as buzz marketing.

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Jerry-Rig
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Jerry Willows  - Sept. 19, 2016, 9:18 a.m.

I have to agree with Todd… I know lots of people who want to upgrade their bikes but are sitting on the sidelines with all the "standards" and shit sizes going on. Incremental changes every year is just stupid and hurting sales. Industry needs to get together and get things sorted.

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dominicbruysporter
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DominicBruysPorter  - Sept. 19, 2016, 10:46 a.m.

Man, try finding 20mm hubs these days.

How the heck did that dry up?

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walleater
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walleater  - Sept. 19, 2016, 12:42 p.m.

Yeah, 110mm x 20mm had all bases covered circa 1999 but we've had to put up with hubs going narrower and now wider again. I'm sure a thinner walled 20mm thru-axle wouldn't way significantly more than a thicker walled 15mm one. AAAArrrgghhh……

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tehllama42
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Tehllama42  - Sept. 19, 2016, 2:20 p.m.

Yeah, now I want to do a custom frame just so I can run 20×110 front and 12x157mm rear. Those dimensions already exist, make sense, and can gorilla- proof fairly affordable OEM wheels… yet we're trying to get there on a 9-month turnaround cycle 3mm at a time.

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Jerry-Rig
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Jerry Willows  - Sept. 21, 2016, 9:05 a.m.

there's more clamping force on 20mm and the weight difference is negligible. 15mm is a standard that didn't need to happen.

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jerry-hazard
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Jerry Hazard  - Sept. 19, 2016, 8:15 a.m.

Han Solo never said that

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Brocklanders
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yahs  - Sept. 19, 2016, 8:47 a.m.

Agreed.

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Amanda  - Sept. 19, 2016, 8:55 a.m.

That's why I thought it was funny (?). Incorrect and not even* remotely related, but entirely miscredited. Sorry for word partying.

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mikekoot
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mike kootnikoff  - Sept. 19, 2016, 12:39 p.m.

the funny thing is, you are the epitome of grass roots and image. You don't get race results. You have some instagram followers but not enough for anyone to really care. Is that the real reason you are so upset? Do you get paid enough money from sponsors and race wins to not have to work? if the answer is no, then you are a brand ambassador and not a professional. Brands need relatables as well. Seeing brandon semenuk doing crazy stuff will only sell so much TLD gear. If you see it on someone at the trailhead and strike up a conversation with the guy/gal and they are stoked on it and help you find a place to buy it then that's a win. increasing awareness = win

if some dude has 100k followers and has amazing pictures and stories, I fully support that. He is doing what he loves and can provide businesses with a degree of exposure. how is that a bad thing?

ahh, mondays. the perfect day for some typical MTB industry BS irony.

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Amanda  - Sept. 19, 2016, 3:06 p.m.

I like how you're going off of a race page that hasn't been updated in a while, but, for the hell of it, I'll correct you. I do race, have done reasonably well this year and, my first pro year out (2013) was ranked second in the nation… To whom? Jill Kintner. In 2014, same thing until I was injured on the WC. 2015, had a double spiral fracture of my collarbone/shoulder. This year? Came out of a torn LCL + pneumonia, took 5, 4, 4, 3, 15th, 3, and then 1st… Starting in June. So we're looking at a handful of top-5 performances, a top-15 in a 30-deep international field (Crankworx) and a history of setting myself apart by creating and promoting sustainability in the industry and beyond. Not only that, I've funded women's racing programs since 2014, mentor and support younger girls at races and beyond, have been published and recognized in mainstream media (yahoo, business insider, glamour mag) for my efforts inside of MTB and the outdoor industry AND put on free camps instead of charging the industry 'sports ambassador' rate of $300/pop. Did I mention that I've also been on numerous panels and advisory boards for profitability inside of the cycling industry, as well as consult as a day job? Just because YOU are ignorant of my efforts or history as a pro athlete doesn't mean there are none. It means that you're another mouth on the internet not refuting what I'm saying (or the economic truth behind it), but my credentials or 'right' to say it. … Okay. eyeroll

Are you kidding me? That's the worst ad-hominem attack ever. Try again, pal. (Also: for the record, I am getting paid, because I am a business person. Creating a profitable business model is what I do. Sorry that dissatisfies you. #sorrynotsorry)

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mikekoot
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mike kootnikoff  - Sept. 19, 2016, 3:10 p.m.

Lol good job. Maybe you'll be pro by 50.

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Amanda  - Sept. 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

Thanks, Mike. I'm so glad I have your well wishes. It means sooooooo much to me. In fact, I wake up every morning and think "what can I do today to make the meaningless masses approve of my efforts and validate my existence as a human and an athlete?" It makes my world spin, so thanks for giving me a reason to live -- couldn't do it without all your love. ❤️

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Amanda  - Sept. 19, 2016, 3:18 p.m.

I genuinely hope to see you out at the next few races, crushing times and souls in the men's field… Or in your role as an industry professional who's making a difference. Or at all. Best of luck, sugar.

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oldmanbike
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OldManBike  - Sept. 19, 2016, 4:53 p.m.

Hey NSMB. We all know that little douchebag commenters like this never do this to men, and they always do this to women. So why do you (and PB, and the rest) just sit back and guffaw every time they do?

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Faction
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Derp  - Sept. 19, 2016, 7:42 p.m.

You're a complete moron.

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JBV2
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james  - Sept. 19, 2016, 7:45 p.m.

you do know who she is right?

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nopow
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Nopow  - Sept. 19, 2016, 9:26 p.m.

Amanda, this is great. All this coming from GUYS that could not event qualify for a pro-grt.

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Amanda  - Sept. 19, 2016, 9:36 p.m.

Probably because they know I can certainly hold my own, and that I'm not scared by some pussy who hides behind a computer screen… 😉 Thanks for this comment, tho -- not everyone feels welcome to comment, and that's gotta change. However, with more comments like yours, the Internet is getting more awesome. Thanks for standing up.

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oldmanbike
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OldManBike  - Sept. 20, 2016, 6:01 a.m.

I know you can, and I'm not here to protect you. Everyone who reads this poison gets the message about how women get treated in our sport and on this site, every time.

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Amanda  - Sept. 20, 2016, 9:52 a.m.

Sorry. Bad time for irreverent humor. :/ You're right and I agree.

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oldmanbike
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OldManBike  - Sept. 20, 2016, 10:03 a.m.

Never a bad time for irreverent humor.

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nat-brown
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Nat Brown  - Sept. 20, 2016, 10:22 a.m.

Hey @oldmanbike:disqus. Perhaps you have this view because of a back-and-forth we had here a good year ago, I'm not sure, but I think you make a big assumption that anyone in particular is guffawing here except for @mikekootnikoff:disqus. Maybe. I think it was harsh and rude, but it doesn't seem like an entirely unjustifiable opinion to me, even though I don't share it. I disagree that people don't say this kind of thing about men too. I am not of the opinion that women have it just fine in north american culture, or in mountain biking, but I do have the impression that you and I don't agree on the details. Again. (When you questioned the title of the article about a chilcotin trip several months ago, I was right with you though.)

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oldmanbike
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OldManBike  - Sept. 20, 2016, 11:56 a.m.

Nat, your opinions always seem thoughtful and smart, even if I don't always agree with you.

My view is that women in our community (and beyond) often get targeted with online personal attacks like this that men rarely get. And I think letting that shit stand, and stand unchallenged, comes at a price to NSMB and a price to our sport. But I said my piece, and if I haven't persuaded you, it won't be the last time.

(Since you ask, I didn't have last year in mind, but I was thinking of recent your-women-readers-both-just-gagged headline gems like "Bicycles That Give You Wood" and "Retire the Bike or the Girlfriend?")

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Dirk
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Dirk  - Sept. 20, 2016, 12:54 p.m.

I've never found Amanda to be anything but a person who fully understands who she is - limitations and all. I don't think you are correct If you think this is her complaining about her own program. And you'd be far more successful in your arguments if you spoke with even a tiny bit of respect.

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jerry-hazard
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Jerry Hazard  - Sept. 20, 2016, 12:57 p.m.

Lol, no need for sorry… I just missed the "joke". As a "Brand Ambassador", I have a different point of view, not sure I can articulate it effectively. We'll see. Either way, thanks for sharing your thoughts, interesting!

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mikekoot
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mike kootnikoff  - Sept. 20, 2016, 1 p.m.

She doesn't deserve my respect. Biting the hand that feeds is stupid. If she had a more professional attitude like Rachel or Tracey then she would be way cooler and maybe crack 10k instagram followers. She was basically run off of pinkbike for this trash. I guess some people never change haha

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nat-brown
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Nat Brown  - Sept. 20, 2016, 1:18 p.m.

Cheers. I'll let the 'wood' headline pass because of the pun, and at least it only ignores the existence of women rather than exploits them.

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nat-brown
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Nat Brown  - Sept. 20, 2016, 1:19 p.m.

Biting the hand that feeds takes courage in my view.

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Dirk
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Dirk  - Sept. 20, 2016, 1:46 p.m.

Even if you don't respect somebody, you can still treat them with respect.

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Amanda  - Sept. 20, 2016, 4 p.m.

Mike, I've given some thought to your very distinct breed of hate, and I always find it rather laughable that the guys who are so outspoken about the outspoken bitch on the Internet (aka, hand biter) are usually the ones with the real beef. So I took the liberty of using the fancy google machine to look up the guy with the unique last name and SHOCK AND AWE, the motherfucker happens to be just THE SINGLE TYPE OF RACER I POINTED OUT. In fact, my pal, you're the one shittiest fucking percent in that you even ran whole promotional programs in the past on your social media accounts, all while up- talking the fuck out of yourself all of 2012, 2013, 2014 and beyond, but you never actually got anywhere with it because you can't go anywhere with utter shit. So you're not just an Internet dick, but an entitled dick who resents folks for calling it like it is. Sorry about that.

It seems to be less about what I'm saying and more about your self-rage. Sorry about that, too. I'm deeply sorry that you don't like my brand of aggression (or that it doesn't benefit you) or that I don't know my place as a woman on the Internet. I'm also very sorry that your impotent rage about your paltry race results (and ineffective HookIt marketing) have led you here, to this special and beautiful place, where you've decided to shit all over something.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 20, 2016, 4:52 p.m.

I don't disagree that women get treated more harshly in situations like this, but we should also be careful about whether or not gender is a culprit. You are invoking gender, when neither of the protagonists did. My first instinct was also to voice support for Amanda, but here's a different take: if I stand up on her behalf when I wouldn't for a guy in the same case, is that sexism in reverse? Kootnikoff said some deplorable shit and turned the beginning of a counterpoint into a personal attack, thus throwing his argument out the window. Amanda argues at only two levels: aggressively, or vociferously. It's her style. She knows it sometimes elicits that kind of reaction. I'm not defending that, however, Amanda is a big girl and she can (and did) defend herself. Does she need my help telling Kootnikoff he's an asshole if she did such a good job of it on her own?

Here's another question: what do you think would constitute not letting that stand? Are you saying you think comments like his should be deleted or do you have something else in mind? We certainly do speak up when comments don't sit well with us, and I was planning to say something in this case anyway, however you, Nat, and others did stand up in Amanda's defense. So, when is it still necessary and when is it just piling on?

I'll also address your objections to a few of our article titles in a comment below. "Bicycles That Give you Wood" being held up as sexist or misogynist is going to take some pretty impressive argument on your part to gain traction with me. Language is ever-changing and I frequently hear women talk about things as giving them a 'boner' or 'lady-boner' or 'giving me wood' and conversely, guys that say something 'makes them wet'. So, knowing as you do that we take an irreverent tone, and assuming as I do that that is one reason you read our content, would you rather we just stick to boring titles like many other sites out there? Shall we just sanitize our content completely? Retire the Bike or the Girlfriend…I do see how that could be taken as sexist, but the content of the article should have dispelled that. Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. The Chilcotin piece you and Nat referenced…I am not remembering that one, please remind me.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 20, 2016, 4:53 p.m.

That's 100% correct. But for the record, we support you and think that was a series of dick moves by MK.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 20, 2016, 4:54 p.m.

Again, though, do you think it would be better to just make comments go away, or let people read the discourse and maybe learn something along the way?

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 20, 2016, 4:55 p.m.

We've been following the comments closely, of course, and it's generated a lot of discussion amongst us. While I agree that there is a disparity between the amount of abuse women and men take online and otherwise, nothing in the comments in question invoked gender. That doesn't mean that wasn't a motivator, but it's speculation to posit otherwise.

Lumping us in with other sites and accusing us of sitting back and guffawing is at best inflammatory, and at worst offensive and unfair. I'm going to challenge you to back that up, or retract it.

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nat-brown
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Nat Brown  - Sept. 21, 2016, 1:06 p.m.

It was by Omar, and it had popping my cherry, or something like that, in the title. I wasn't horrified by it, but I did realise that I didn't like the title before @oldmanbike:disqus brought it up in the comments. I'd always noticed that Omar was somewhat disrespectful in the comments, and I think that factored in to me deciding to not write comment about it (probably should have stuck with that approach a few months ago). The other factors with me not really wanting to take issue with it were on the grounds of it being common outside of MTB too, and not being especially bad. In combination, those last 2 points basically add up to me not wanting to criticise nsmb specifically for something that's a much broader problem. Obviously I have criticised nsmb on here before, and I've generally felt it was well received.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 21, 2016, 6:15 p.m.

Nat, I respect your feedback. But here's an honest question: is "popping a cherry" really something people find offensive? I know the origin of the expression but I don't associate it as being gender-specific. I definitely appreciate the input here, but I also gotta say that while my interpretation of what's appropriate has changes over the years, I still often find myself gagging over what 'is' offensive vs. what 'could be' just because someone is able to make a connection.

So, really honest question. Is that really offensive, or is it a reach?

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - Sept. 21, 2016, 6:25 p.m.

Crickets from Mike Kootnikoff. Definitely his best move so far.

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johnny
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Johnny  - Sept. 21, 2016, 6:51 p.m.

Did Mike Kootnikoff delete some posts? As I read through the posts and Amanda personally attacks him way more than he does her. Not defending him, but they were both dicks yet there are a lot of Amanda supporters.

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nat-brown
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Nat Brown  - Sept. 21, 2016, 7:36 p.m.

Hey Pete. I'm a bit busy with guests and might not be able to eat into my work day the way I sometimes can (haha), so it might take me a couple of days to reply. I'll try to avoid a war and peace type response too 🙂

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Brocklanders
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yahs  - Sept. 21, 2016, 10:38 p.m.

No he didn't, I was thinking the same thing. He called her out. Looks like she has quite a following so be careful. I don't watch pro racing, so had never heard of her. Looked her up, read some nice stuff her ripping on some crippled guy on pink bike last year by using his disability against him. She doesn't have my respect sorry.

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mikekoot
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mike kootnikoff  - Sept. 22, 2016, 10:44 a.m.

There's no hate for you, you don't even deserve that either.

You are the one typing in caps-lock. this is pretty funny to me. someone claiming they are a professional and being a turd on the internet. Do you see Aaron Gwin or any real professional stooping to this level of bs? is there a reason why they don't? yup. because they are professional. I like to ride mountain bikes, that is all. LOL at you forever at this point. you are your own worst enemy.

ps. I went to some races for fun a couple years ago. thanks for reminding me that I should go try it again 🙂

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mikekoot
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mike kootnikoff  - Sept. 22, 2016, 10:51 a.m.

I would treat you or anyone else the same way if they had the same attitude Pete. You can't generalize it and label it as a female vs male issue. the issues I brought up are quite standard.

being a professional athlete and having a professional attitude isn't an opinion. it's fact based. you are either a professional or you are not. I think it's pretty black and white.

If this is the standard of professional in the MTB industry then I think that we are heading in the wrong direction. give me 20 nice ambassadors for 1 asshole professional any day.

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Amanda  - Sept. 22, 2016, 11 a.m.

'Ripping some crippled guy on PB'. Perfect summary of a situation you clearly didn't read through, and excellent use of a word that marginalizes disability even further. Apparently, me calling someone out for being an asshole (who happens to be in a wheelchair) comes second to calling someone a 'cripple'. eyeroll Are you kidding me right now with this?

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Amanda  - Sept. 22, 2016, 11:03 a.m.

Good lord. Apparently, this is just one more lose/lose/lose situation. Perhaps making a list of everything I've ever said or done and providing accurate and fact-based context (including screen shots) to every action is in order.

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Brocklanders
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yahs  - Sept. 22, 2016, 12:58 p.m.

You love the fight Amanda, I get it.
Hope all works out for you.
cheers

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Amanda  - Sept. 22, 2016, 1:11 p.m.

Nope, I just understand the irony of some guy trying to call me out using far more derogatory language than I ever have or ever would. I just hope (for your sake) that calling Kohut a 'cripple' doesn't come back to haunt you as much as you'd like my calling Kohut an asshole to haunt me.

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Amanda  - Sept. 22, 2016, 5:34 p.m.

You're absolutely right. I was a dick. I often am, and it's actually really fucking awful. I react too easily, too harshly and too frustratedly to really get stuff done, and what's the point of all of the rage anyway? There is none. What we need less of is frustration and a whole lot more sharing of plain ol' stoke. That goes a lot further than personal attacks and meaningless bullshit.

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Dirk
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Dirk  - Sept. 22, 2016, 6:53 p.m.

Ya. I'm pretty sure he deleted some posts.

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johnny
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Johnny  - Sept. 22, 2016, 8:40 p.m.

No worries. If the world was all alike it would be a boring place.
I truly believe that nothing really gets accomplished without a little discomfort. If everything was comfy and complacent why would we ever see a need to change things.
Shit now I'm getting all deep and heavy, even the voice in my head is lowering a few octaves. Carry on folks I'm out.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 25, 2016, 10:17 p.m.

Mike, my comment wasn't directed towards you, and I specifically said I thought it wasn't gender-motivated. And before calling people asshole professionals…check yourself, dude.

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dominicbruysporter
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DominicBruysPorter  - Sept. 19, 2016, 10:45 a.m.

what was that character's name anyway?

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