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Editorial

MTB Media and Spy Shots

Words Cam McRae and Pete Roggeman
Date Feb 26, 2021
Reading time

Those of us who work in mountain bike media often see new products before they are released to the public. Companies find it useful when we publish accounts and opinions of new products after "putting them through their paces" or in extreme circumstances even "putting them to the test," and not only because we love clichés. We strive to make these accounts useful for riders who might want to pick up these products.

Occasionally I've signed an NDA, but for the most part it's an unspoken agreement to respect the embargo date in exchange for this advance look. We have occasionally mixed up a release time, or shown something inadvertently, in the 20 odd years we've been doing this, but we take the confidence we've been entrusted with quite seriously, and do our best to respect the company's release date.

When we have screwed up, we have mostly been politely asked if we can fix the problem or to endeavour to prevent similar mishaps in the future, but we've also been chewed out like 4th graders caught pulling the fire alarm. Independent of the response, we generally feel quite sheepish about releasing early, and not just because most of us are men.* We also know it can be a pain in the ass for those in charge of releasing the information and it could have a lasting effect on our reputation in the industry. And frankly, we don't like to be dicks, even accidentally.

*to be clear this was perhaps a too-veiled reference to poor male sexual performance, rather than some male code

It gets a little trickier when a user uploads or embeds an image or video and a manufacturer asks us to remove it. Luckily that doesn't happen very often to us, but when it does we generally ask the user if they wouldn't mind taking the image down. We can't be much more persuasive than that because it doesn't contravene our forum rules, and taking it down without asking them would be unethical.

Pinkbike has to deal with this more often, and recently a user posted an image of a bike he didn't recognize on the back of a vehicle in the Parkgate Mall parking lot at the bottom of Mt. Seymour, an area that's often crawling with smelly mountain bikers wearing flat brims and flannel.

The image was apparently posted on the weekend and by Monday morning word is Devinci, who it seems were the manufacturers of the outed bike, were alerted about the photo. Presumably Devinci asked that the image be kept off the PB front page, but in the end there was an article written about what the bike.

Most of the content involved educated guesses, and this is further speculation, but it seems likely this is a bike eventually headed for production, rather than an early mule being used to evaluate kinematics for some far-off model that may never reach the showroom.

The question within media circles is, does Pinkbike do anything wrong when they ignore the unwritten agreement that has more or less always existed between bike companies and media outlets? In an era when it's virtually impossible to create content about mountain bikes without having a cozy relationship with those who work to produce the products we ride, it's a little refreshing from my perspective to see a media outlet go against a company's wishes. On the other hand, if companies who drop the biggest ad dollars are spared this sort of treatment, that doesn't seem fair. I also have no knowledge of whether or not this is the case. Undoubtedly, it's kind of interesting when the boat gets rocked, but the collateral damage is certainly unfortunate.

The dude* who took the photos and posted them on the internet didn't break any laws, and if you aren't in the industry you likely think he's done nothing wrong, despite the undeniable stench of TMZ. The bike was being ridden by someone I know, and he concedes he didn't do enough to conceal it, but it also may be the photo was taken before he was able to get out and remove it from the rack, rather than the bike having been left for some time. If that's the case it feels a little predatory, but again, entirely legal.

*he is a dude and someone did some sleuthing and unearthed his name and photo

You might wonder why most bike companies care so much about release dates. A few, like WeAreOne seem to follow their own rules, but most find it essential to be able to control the message, which necessitates controlling the timing. Since Pete Roggeman has worked in marketing, both at what was then Ritchey/Syncros, and at Rocky Mountain, I asked him to present that case.



Bike release dates are carefully planned for a variety of reasons, some of them unforeseen, unless you’ve been privy to the dynamics that exist between brand, distributor, and retailer. This case is a bit different since a test mule doesn’t necessarily mean a bike is close to production, but the impact can make its way through the chain, starting with the retailer, whose inventory of a given bike model can be rendered stale by a leak and therefore loses value (except right now, when Covid has all of a sudden elevated the resale value of 26ers to Tacoma-like levels). A similar impact is made on the distributor (if there is one), who has to help manage those retailer relationships, and the brand, who might suffer an erosion of trust with either or both of the other two.

Also, and this is where I realize I may lose some of you… I like to think that our little industry still respects the people doing their best to bring us good bikes to ride, and that sometimes adherence to an unwritten code may be one of the things that separates us from some of the cynical and selfish actions that spoil other relationships and industries. Call me naïve if you like, but I prefer to cling to an ideal construct of an industry still full of people who start businesses in garages, where relationships outweigh quick wins.

I wouldn’t judge you if you think everything that happened was as it should be, but I will say that if that’s the way we’re all headed, you’d better buckle up for increased prices, less pre-production quality control and durability testing, and an erosion of trust between brands and media. Bye bye colourful personalities and bikes, hello platitudes.

– Pete Roggeman


For our part, it doesn't seem like much hardship for the riders who consume mountain bike media to wait to see bikes that may be destined for production, while it seems to be a royal pain in the ass for the company whose product was compromised. And it's also not great for those who are employed evaluating early prototypes, if they think they have to be on high alert for spies at every moment. A photo the same PB user took, of another pre-production bike, suggest that he was lying on his belly underneath a truck when he took the photos. Really? This seems a little much to me. Does mountain biking really need paparazzi? Beyond that we're leery of doing something simply because it will generate clicks.

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Does this seem like an unusual angle to you?

Another sticky point, at least from a media perspective, is the fact that we are at any given time concealing products that companies have given us, which makes this feel a little hypocritical to me. If you are willing to disregard a company's desire to conceal a product, because a consumer posted a photo, why not post the stuff you are holding? You know, revealing the products you've been trying to ride and evaluate, while at the same time keeping hidden from consumers?

The area at Parkgate, referred to as 'the dumpsters,' often sees prototypes and is heavily frequented by industry types. Generally everyone's okay with turning a blind eye, which might explain why the rider entrusted with the Devinci felt a little too safe. I can understand it though and it's amazing what people miss. The local SRAM marketing staff were riding AXS on the North Shore for months and they'd often get questions about their bikes. The funny thing was, they were riding Zipp carbon wheels with the Quarq TyreWhiz, and everyone was so mesmerized by the blinking red light, not a single rider noticed the wireless derailleur.

If I'm riding something before it's released and someone asks me about it, I will generally do my best to answer questions I'm able to, without compromising anything sensitive, and I've never had to dive on a bike to prevent a photo being taken. Sadly, I may have to start doing that.

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Comments

lkubica
+7 ZigaK tashi FatBear Suns_PSD Nologo Tremeer023 Angu58 bananowy Neil Carnegie
lkubica  - Feb. 26, 2021, 2:08 a.m.

I think you have unintentionally touched a very interesting topic of how independent media can really be. Someone naive would think that media are there for consumers. Take those spy shots - they are good for me as a consumer, since I can hold a little and buy a possibly better bike. It is bad for a company, but I do not care really. But you, the bike media, unfortunately (for me) must care about companies, since they are you real customers, not us.

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SilentG
+17 Mammal Luke Kozakiewicz Andrew Major Jerry Willows cxfahrer goose8 LWK Mr.T Luix tashi werewolflotion dave_f Neil Carnegie Derek Baker Paul Lindsay Tremeer023 Angu58 cornedbeef bananowy
SilentG  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:18 a.m.

The flip side of this is the need to have content to drive visits and clicks on a site.

COVID and everything that has come with that seems to driven this on some MTB sites like PB where the majority of content is largely video, pretty superficial in depth, and even, if you are cynical, conjured up to create drama and churn.

Very noticeable on some sites where reviews have gotten to be few and far between and most of them feel very cookie cutter/slim on details or technical analysis.

I can totally see the interest and allure of scoops or what is positioned as a scoop as it is done with a wink and a handshake but on the other hand it feels like pointless speculation and even stirring the pot to maximize churn and drama like tossing some raw meat in to the shark tank and filming the mayhem in the comment section.

Lockdowns have spurred appetite for content and a dearth of content at the same time - the lack of races, industry events, and winter in the northern hemisphere depletes some content and what used to be the low lying fruit. Some sites are taking the French lines so to speak to create content and if that gets results then it is all the more appealing and easier than digging in to something and providing depth of analysis and insight.

The Internet has those tendencies anyway and I think the past year has helped form some paths that various sites are taking and for my preferences the results are mixed and quite annoying at times.

Get off my lawn!

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+3 Luke Kozakiewicz Andrew Major werewolflotion
Cam McRae  - Feb. 26, 2021, 7:47 a.m.

Very well said.

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mtmc99
+5 Cam McRae Luke Kozakiewicz werewolflotion thaaad Neil Carnegie
mtmc99  - Feb. 26, 2021, 5:54 a.m.

A couple of things:

They definitely should have editted that photo to remove the phone number/company name, especially in the front page post. In both the Vital forums and the Pinkbike comments people were able to identify the rider with ease which just feels wrong.

In the case of of the photo of the bike on the rack, it seems like leaving a bike out in the open like that makes it fair game. There was just no attempt at secrecy there.

The photo of the Norco, if you feel you have to sneak around to take a photo that seems like a clear acknowledgement that what you are doing is wrong. New bikes have to be tested so inevitably folks are going to see them. To me if the company is making a bit of an attempt to keep it under wraps we should respect that and keep the sighting to ourselves.

Reply

mrbrett
+6 Cam McRae Luke Kozakiewicz Niels sticko hambobet Angu58
mrbrett  - Feb. 26, 2021, 6:10 a.m.

Alternative viewpoint: I find the sleazy "spy shots" content irritating. I skip it. What productive content is possibly going to come from a potato-pic of a bike on a rack?

Now, if you had a piece about crazy genetic monster prototypes on a factory tour with some high quality images I'm all in.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+4 SilentG mrbrett sticko Angu58
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 26, 2021, 9:16 a.m.

I'm with you. The TMZ type stuff is complete garbage. Speculation for the sake of it, nothing useful or helpful. Just a post of a bike. Maybe it's best left to social media/forums at best? Frontpage content though, unless a media outlet aspires to be TMZ, leave it alone. Tech media I visit for information on design tools (camera sites too) often do the same; 'Spy shots of the latest iMac show incredible new design.' Bugger off! Until there's actual information on the product and not some computer rendering claimed as a spy shot, I don't care.

The image of the Norco used here is a great example of someone doing something they knew was cheeky at least, and probably wrong, as @mtmc99 said. That image was taken from the opposite side, and beneath a nearby car as Cam suggested. The individual that took the photo never approached the guys working on it to say hello, ask questions or anything. One of the individuals working on the bike that day said that's what upset them the most about the situation. Go say g'day and have a chat rather than sliver around like a snake.

With the claimed Devinci, the same user took the image and I'd guess didn't try to say hello to the rider or anything. Ken makes a great point below on the shot being taken while the rider wasn't present as well. Maybe Devinci allowed it as a marketing tactic? Other brands have done with spy shots before but without knowing the full story, we're only speculating. Either way, the reason brands have used it as a marketing tactic is usually because there's now an avenue created for it. Leave it to forum speculation, please, that's all it is. Doing some research, speaking with suspected brands and writing about that would be heaps better imo.

Reply

Vikb
+9 mrbrett Cam McRae evasive Peter Carson goose8 jaydubmah Chad K Skooks Angu58
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 26, 2021, 6:28 a.m.

I've got no opinion either way on this issue. I saw the PB article headline the other day and never bothered clicking on it because I just don't care about some grainy spy shot of a prototype bike I am not going to buy. If I was in bike buying mode and it was likely to be a model I was keen on I would have read the article. If I was forced to choose a side I would say the testing/R&D process needs to be done with more care to prevent people taking photos vs. the riding public at large not taking photos when they see something cool at a trailhead. That's just because the former process involves professionals/industry insiders who are compensated to develop bikes and the later are just the largely clueless riding public who have mostly never given this issue a second thought.

Any MTB media site could just include in its "Terms and Conditions" for posting to the site that pre-production/prototype images/video are not allowed and will be taken down without notice if posted. Given we consume/participate on these sites for free that seems like a reasonable condition to agree to and I would assume in the course of a year we'd be talking about a handful of posts that would be affected so not some wide ranging impact. This gets around any ethical concerns about how site users are treated and preserves the desired expressed here by Pete to respect the MTB company R&D process.

Reply

craw
+8 Cam McRae Mammal AJ Barlas cxfahrer Kenneth Perras Pete Roggeman Chad K Doug M.
Cr4w  - Feb. 26, 2021, 7:13 a.m.

You had me at shuttling Seymour with guys in flat brim hats and flannel.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Doug M.
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:58 a.m.

Yep. So good.

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xy9ine
+10 trumpstinyhands Pete Roggeman Poz Chad K Sandy James Oates Andrew Major Merwinn Nologo Doug M. cornedbeef
Perry Schebel  - Feb. 26, 2021, 5:24 p.m.

though adding something in reference to tacomas would be *chefs kiss*. 

random / related - i saw 4 (!) cement gray tacos while rolling through the deep cove brewing parking lot the other day. the reality of the stereotype, it's comical.

Reply

Poz
+1 Merwinn
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 9:07 p.m.

Dakine tailgate pads?

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Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - March 1, 2021, 8:15 a.m.

Or EVOC

Reply

Mjmiller613
+4 AJ Barlas Cam McRae Pete Roggeman ianterry
Mjmiller613  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:13 a.m.

Thanks for writing this. It's an interesting conflict where PB will post spy shots submitted if something is being ridden in the open during a race, or in the wild, but not of their own which they are testing and respecting an embargo. As far as ad dollars are concerned, I feel that they are in a position where they can post anything because they are "too big to fail." The journalist in me says, "screw it, post the story." But you make a good point that there is a tighter community in the MTB world. I think it comes down to news value. PB seems to want to keep people on the page with new, intriguing content, but is there actual value in the story to readers? If they are considering buying a model in a shop, and find out that there is a new model on the way, then I'd say yes there is, to that reader, but it also alienates shops who might have a tough time selling it after - probably not this year though.

Reply

Jotegr
0
Luke Kozakiewicz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:23 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

kperras
+8 Perry Schebel Jerry Willows Dave Smith Andrew Major Sanesh Iyer AJ Barlas Mammal Pete Roggeman Neil Carnegie bananowy
Kenneth Perras  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:27 a.m.

It's fairly simple for both scenarios. 

For PB, they will do what ever is in alignment with their own interests. If this prototype was a Specialized, it would have been taken down quickly, or never put up at all; the repercussions to PBs ad revenue is more important than the views. I'm not sure what Devinci's response was but based on the test rider's subsequent reaction over the following days it's not positive. However Devinci might not be have a big enough stick to waive at PB. 

For the leeker (inside joke), he knows it's wrong but doesn't care. Here's the litmus test: that photo would never have been taken if the test rider was present. Says it all right there.

The general reaction in the comments was pretty indicative that most people are unable, or unwilling, to put themselves in someone's else's shoes to fully understand the ramifications of their actions. 

The best part is the most parroted defense is that the bike should have been better hidden. We've all heard that argument before and know it's wrong.

Edit: I should note that my stance on the reasons for the front page article is opinion only. I could very well be wrong since the only facts I do have is that the test rider is upset about the leak and wishes it never happened.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+1 4Runner1 Mammal Dave Smith Tremeer023 bananowy
Jerry Willows  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:55 a.m.

Great article and comments.  I got no skin in the game but I think it's really lame posting photos up to stroke one's fragile ego and even lamer is PB (@BP) for posting it imo.

Reply

tashi
+4 Jason West Sandy James Oates WheelNut Tremeer023 bananowy Joseph Crabtree
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 1:43 p.m.

Why is it “wrong” to take that pic?

What reproductions have there been for the rider or company, and if they are significant, isn’t it up to them to do a better job hiding it?  Seems like one of the worst places in the world to ride a prototype and keep it hidden...

Reply

LoamtoHome
+2 tashi 4Runner1 Merwinn bananowy
Jerry Willows  - Feb. 26, 2021, 3:27 p.m.

there are prototypes there on a regular basis...  do you think @tonkatruck would take a photo in front of the rider?   It's a douche move.

Reply

tashi
+1 Kenny Skooks bananowy Joseph Crabtree 4Runner1
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 5:05 p.m.

Why?

What negative consequences have resulted for the rider or company from this photo?

Reply

tashi
+1 bananowy
tashi  - Feb. 27, 2021, 5:43 p.m.

Holy cow, I just noticed the upvote/downvote feature and “Joseph Crabtree” sure knows how to smash that downvote button!

(And my fingers are too fat to operat those arrows properly, sorry y’all)

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Kenny
+6 luke_sky Skooks Nologo sticko Tremeer023 bananowy
Kenny  - Feb. 27, 2021, 10:19 p.m.

Either way, if you're driving around the parkgate/old buck area with your "secret bike" in full view on a rack on the back of your vehicle,  your secret bike is not secret any more. Plain and simple.

Sorry, not sorry. The world does not need to somehow compensate for that type of poor judgment.

-ride from Hyannis or a dozen other less exposed entry points

-put the bike inside the vehicle

-stick a blanket on it.

Shit, I don't know, but seriously. Parkgate is my local shopping area and I sure as hell check out whatever bikes are hanging on racks as I go through. Not in a creepy way, I just like bikes. I'm sure I'm not the only one. If there's anything to be shocked about it's that it doesn't happen more.

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Captain-Snappy
0 Tim Coleman bananowy
Merwinn  - March 1, 2021, 8:21 a.m.

I get your angle but taking a photo of a prototype and posting, a la TMZ, it is another thing, IMO. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. I love seeing the prototypes in the flesh, but too many TMZ-style pics would ruin future opportunities to see more.

Reply

Timmigrant
+1 sticko Cam McRae bananowy
Tim Coleman  - March 3, 2021, 1:33 p.m.

I really like this perspective, but it seems so foreign. Are you hypothetically saying that someone might be able to enjoy looking at something without posting it to Instagram? Weird!

DaveSmith
+7 Jerry Willows Sanesh Iyer Peter Carson Mammal werewolflotion Pete Roggeman Tim Coleman sticko cornedbeef Joseph Crabtree bananowy
Dave Smith  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:28 a.m.

Nice article and good to see some counter-commentary of substance. 

But leaks happen in every industry. The automotive industry goes to great lengths to hide body styles and like the bike industry they have tried covers, paint and all manner of things over the years only to attract more camera lenses. The solution is just more secrecy which makes it harder on the manufacturers and their test-pilot ambassadors to put mules through their paces so we can enjoy a fully refined and tested end-product. 

IMO: This particular instance just stinks of attention seeking behaviour by a dude who enjoyed his 7.5 minutes when he popped a shot of the Norco a few months ago and then decided to claim the remainder of his famous-15 when he spotted the possible new thing at PG.

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tashi
+1 Jason West bananowy Joseph Crabtree
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 1:40 p.m.

What about his post has given you indication of his mind-set?

Couldn’t he just have seen a cool, unknown bike and thought others would think it was cool too?  Why accuse him of being “attention seeking”?

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cam@nsmb.com
+3 Dave Smith 4Runner1 AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman thegoodghosts Merwinn bananowy
Cam McRae  - Feb. 26, 2021, 2:59 p.m.

Check the PB comments. His first comment is something like, “I wanna get paid for the next one!”

Reply

tashi
-1 Jason West bananowy Joseph Crabtree 4Runner1 thegoodghosts
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 3:03 p.m.

I mean, it turned into a couple front page articles from “major” mountain bike websites, in other industries media that type of thing is worth some money. 

Sounds like photojournalism to me, no?

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+1 bananowy
Merwinn  - March 1, 2021, 8:22 a.m.

I think it was tongue-in-cheek... at least it took it as that.

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DaveSmith
+1 AJ Barlas thegoodghosts bananowy
Dave Smith  - Feb. 26, 2021, 3:11 p.m.

Read his comments. He couldn't be any more clear.

Reply

tashi
0
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:57 p.m.

These sound important, got a link?

Reply

tashi
0
tashi  - Feb. 27, 2021, 1:07 p.m.

It’s on Vital too?  The drama!

lukovitch
+3 Dave Smith Grif Andrew Major thegoodghosts bananowy
Lukovitch  - Feb. 27, 2021, 3:57 p.m.

Vital didn't put it on the front page like PB did, but gives you an idea of the character of the bloke who posted it. He even created his own thread instead of posting it with all the other rumor stuff. There are some interesting photos of what is speculated to be a BMC that hasn't got nearly as much attention as this photo. 

I think if you leave an unknown bike out in the open like that it's fair game, but it's the way this guy has gone about that leaves a bad taste in people's mouths... hence a discussion on etiquette.

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mhaager2
+4 Kenneth Perras Jason West Briain tashi Niels bananowy 4Runner1 Joseph Crabtree
Moritz Haager  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:56 a.m.

I'm going to take a different angle on this, by not commenting on whether taking the photo was wrong or not. Instead my thoughts are why do bike companies care if people see these or not in the first place? I know it's not just bike companies either.  Remember when that Apple employee left his prototype phone in a bar accidentally?Secrecy around consumer products is a bit over the top IMO. Most of the time what is coming has already been predicted with astounding accuracy, and most new products are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  When was the last time a product release genuinely surprised or amazed you?  Also given the rapidity of product release cycles these days its hard to argue that your competitors could react in a timely and meaningful manner to spy shots of your product. I think these industries need to take a step back and reexamine the big picture before getting all bent out of shape.

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cam@nsmb.com
+4 Jerry Willows Peter Carson werewolflotion 4Runner1
Cam McRae  - Feb. 26, 2021, 9:28 a.m.

Buzz is one thing Moritz, but did you see Pete’s points? One of the big issues in a normal economy is having your dealers’ current inventory devalued. Right now shops could sell just about anything though.

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mhaager2
+2 tashi Kenny bananowy Joseph Crabtree
Moritz Haager  - Feb. 26, 2021, 10:27 a.m.

Yeah I did see his points but again, there is always the latest and greatest coming down the pipe.  Spotting a prototype in the real world or online really does not give you any information as to when its coming.  It really also does not give you much info about how it actually rides or even if its better than the previous iteration.  I obviously don't know for sure, but I really doubt that (even without the current situation of increased demand and decreased supply) that a spy shot like this is going to have a measurable impact on sales of current models. If there is data to dispute that then I'm happy to stand corrected.

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tehllama42
+3 Kenny Tim Coleman bananowy
Tehllama42  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:38 p.m.

I can see that argument, but when MY release cycles are basically known in advance, all you're possibly doing is reminding those with a short attention span that there's always a new model coming... knowing the scale of those changes might actually be quite nice.

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Kenny
+9 tashi Dude@ Nologo Todd Hellinga Niels sticko pedalhound demo7_rider bananowy
Kenny  - Feb. 28, 2021, 8:35 a.m.

The inventory devaluation argument is a straw man. 

You know what devalues existing inventory? The constant incremental forced obsolescence perpetuated by the industry in order to try to keep the consumerism machine pumping and keep people buying new bikes. 

If you wanna update models to be half a degree slacker with a slightly different leverage curve every two years to keep people buying new bikes despite devaluing any prior model stock, because the net result is still worth it because you sell more bikes, then just call a spade a spade and move on, but to blame spy shots as some major contributing factor to inventory devaluation, when measured against the self-inflicted devaluation the industry itself creates is a little out of touch. 

Might have been more true in the days of old, but these days most people checking out spy shots are also pretty aware of the typical model cycles and what bikes likely have updates inbound.

Bronson 3 is probably a good example. Nobody needs a spy shot to know that bike will probably get an update inside the next year and I'm sure those bikes are harder to sell as a result.

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grambo
+1 bananowy
grambo  - March 2, 2021, 11:40 a.m.

This. Enthusiasts looking at spy shots already know if the bike company is running 2/3/4 year product cycles and when an update is likely due. The people walking into bike shops to buy from the floor inventory and use the advice/expertise of shop staff are probably not looking at spy shots or anticipating new models (and because bikes are so good, they probably don't care much if a revision comes out next year, too busy enjoying their sweet ride).

The reaction is overblown here. I still don't understand why they don't do testing at a more low key riding area on weekday mornings? If they want to do shuttle runs could just go to Cypress on a Tuesday morning or out to Vedder, unlikely anyone will be taking pics then.

Also that Norco has had full pro high res shots from races going back to Psychosis, NZ DH series etc.

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JeffEgan
+6 tashi Stretch Dude@ Nologo Niels bananowy
JeffEgan  - Feb. 26, 2021, 10 a.m.

Maybe I'm cynical but I just always assumed in this world of viral media that these "spy photos", on larger websites, were part of companies marketing plans.  It always seemed strange to me that there were far too many legs placed directly in front of the suspension linkages. The Norco is a good example.  Devinci seems to be getting a lot of press for a bike that has no identifying markers saying it's theirs.

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tashi
+4 JeffEgan Stretch Dude@ Nologo bananowy Joseph Crabtree
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 3:10 p.m.

This. 

It’s pretty clear that mountain bike media depends on the marketers for their content still so it’s always pretty funny to me when they try and pass this stuff off as some sort of “leak” when it’s clear that they wouldn’t run it without getting the thumbs up from the bike company first. 

This article just spells that relationship out explicitly.

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cam@nsmb.com
-1 bananowy
Cam McRae  - Feb. 28, 2021, 9:40 a.m.

There was no thumbs up. All digits were down but they posted anyway.

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UFO
+2 tashi bananowy
UFO  - Feb. 28, 2021, 10:13 p.m.

The irony in this is that based on past performance, some brands do use these 'leaks' as part of their genius marketing play followed up with a long term media review/release several (or the next) days after. Though it appears in this case missteps were taken, I can appreciate both sides.

I'm just going to say if you make the bed, get ready to sleep in it too. It's not up to Joe Consumer/Photographer to figure out and keep track of which brand is on which side.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Feb. 28, 2021, 9:40 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

UFO
0
UFO  - Feb. 28, 2021, 10:12 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

DemonMike
+3 Jason West Sandy James Oates Kenny
mike  - Feb. 26, 2021, 10:01 a.m.

Seriously thou. You pull into a parking lot. A bike is on a bumper rack on a car. You really think one is trying to hide it? Regardless of the fancy wrap distorting the basic shape. You don,t also show up at a popular riding spot. And not expect to be spotted. I have bumped into a couple test sessions. They admitted what said product was when asked. Politely asked not to say too much. Or post any images. When that happens respect is honoured. And the ride continues on as if nothing was seen or talked about. This is a era of mass multi-media. Not many are not filming or taking images of their daily bike adventures. As of late I have stumbled across 6 to 8 riders videos. Almost everyone of them I have seen on the trails. Either while I was riding or swinging a tool digging. For me I love seeing new products. If they make the grade perfect , if not oh well onto the next idea. Today's instant multi-media IMO can be a savoury for some companies. The ability to instantly create interest has never been greater. Curious if the design will create enough interest. Leak a quick video and share a few images. On the right channels they get thousands of hits in minutes.

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LWK
+9 Peter Carson SilentG Jerry Willows AJ Barlas Cam McRae 4Runner1 Pete Roggeman Chad K Nologo Tim Coleman bananowy
LWK  - Feb. 26, 2021, 10:16 a.m.

I think NSMB behaves like the mature kid in the sandbox on this topic, trust you'll keep it that way.

As others have said above, the "spy shot" stuff is completely useless speculation.  I get it that its maybe sorta fun at some level but without any actual info its just empty gossip, at best.  PB, Vital forums, etc seem to have that (large?) niche well covered...

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Onawalk
+4 jaydubmah ianterry Niels bananowy
Onawalk  - Feb. 26, 2021, 10:50 a.m.

Don't be upset Devinci, use the advantage you have here to pivot the planned marketing in your favour.  Shit happens, how you choose to roll with it defines who, and what you are.  In reality, I have no idea how Devinci is reacting to this, but I have hopes.

There’s an information hungry society out there right now, that might be as big as its ever going to be.  There’s absolutely no issue with diluting last years product line, in fact this might very well drive more sales, certainly more interest in Devinci’s product line

I hadn’t given Deviinci much of a thought lately, Canadian company, make great bikes (or so I understand) sponsored one of the greats, (Long live the legend that is chainsaw)......But this, talk about re-invigorating interest!  

As far as the legitimacy, etc of spy shots, and whatnot, who cares.  Live by your moral compass, and let it guide who you are.  Some people enjoy the content, some dont, easy peasy, either consume or don’t.  No sense in being too judgmental about a community of supposed grown ups who ride bicycles around in the forest while whooping and hollering like crazy people.  

Enjoy yourselves, Be good to one another and Jesus Christ....Have Fun.

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Briain
+1 bananowy
Briain  - Feb. 27, 2021, 9:03 a.m.

Great response was going to post something similar. Everyone has a phone in their pocket nowadays. I also do see any damage done unless you were trying to patent a suspension design.

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andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - Feb. 26, 2021, 10:55 a.m.

In some instances it would be good for the manufacturers to create some hype and interest in a new bike if it’s a type of bike they don’t already sell. Like a Santacruz road bike. But I can certainly see the negative affect on sales of current bikes if it’s a new improved version of existing stock. Maybe prototype bikes should simply have a frame decal of some unavailable brand. Just put a Canyon decal on it. They don’t sell through shops anyway.

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Poz
+6 Andy Eunson Todd Hellinga werewolflotion ianterry Nologo bananowy
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 11:31 a.m.

I’ve got a bit of a different take. If there is an industry gentleman’s agreement on this then PB was in the wrong for putting it on their front page. 

That said that gentleman’s agreement does not extend to consumers. The guy who took the photo can’t be harangued, he saw a cool bike and posted it to social media and it got attention. Some people dig that attention I suppose, that is the main draw for social media as it were  

And really if a company is testing a product or trying to keep it quiet they should know better than go to one of the most well known and frequented riding spots at a normal time. BC is huge, no shortage of places they could have gone to keep it better under wraps. But to go to the base of Seymour, openly, with a high proportion of fanatical riders in the area you are exposing yourself to risk - Whether or not that is right or wrong it is a reality.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Jerry Willows Poz bananowy
Cam McRae  - Feb. 26, 2021, 3:03 p.m.

Do you think crawling under a truck to take a photo of a bike that isn’t in an obvious or unmonitored spot is cool too?

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Poz
+5 Todd Hellinga ianterry Cam McRae jaydubmah bananowy
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:07 p.m.

No the under the truck one is funny if anything. Attention seeking even. 

I haven’t followed the comments on the other site but I’m reading here that apparently the guy has financial aspirations. Ya I don’t agree with that. But maybe it’s tongue in cheek.

As a car aficionado, Cam, would you refrain from taking a covert photo of a Porsche under wraps? I can’t say I would. I’d probably post it to Instagram too so my friends could get a look (but I only have a 100 people I’m connected with, so ya) 

The point I’m getting at is two fold  

1. People are looking for content on this sport, there is no racing and this stokes the fires  

2. I appreciate this article and where it is coming from but it’s really an industry-bro complaint because you all know each other. Most of us aren’t bros in the industry, myself included, and are not aware of the secret handshakes and silent agreements. Hell I don’t even own a flat billed hat, I just funnel my money into the industry. 

In my line of work(software) when we test unreleased products with users there are explicit rules on what can be shared and how. 

TL;DR 

1. Maybe the guy shouldn’t have done that  

2. PB definitely shouldn’t have posted an article on it 

3. The onus sits on the brand to do a better job if they don’t want this to happen. That’s just common business sense.

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xy9ine
+6 Poz tashi ianterry WheelNut sticko Stretch
Perry Schebel  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:59 p.m.

alas for better or for worse, in our current media hungry / saturated reality, any assumptions of privacy out in the public realm are naïve. if product development secrecy is *really* a priority, you simply don't allow this kind of potential exposure. this isn't an entirely new phenomenon, so shouldn't come as a surprise.

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Poz
0
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 10:40 p.m.

Indeed, it’s 2021 I can’t go to the grocery store and expect privacy. Everything is recorded and everyone has a recording too. I don’t like it necessarily but it’s a reality I know we live in.

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pete@nsmb.com
-1 bananowy
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:37 p.m.

I don't disagree with your points above or below. But let's remember that this wasn't a single isolated test session and one of my points (perhaps not made clearly enough) is that an important element of the test process (there are many stages and elements) is long term testing in an environment where the product is properly challenged. There are trails on Seymour that are some of the best in the world for testing long-travel trail bikes. That makes it convenient for brands as well as media to test stuff there. And a test rider needs to log a lot of laps in order to pass on valuable feedback. Expecting a tester to play cat and mouse day after day is not realistic unless, again, you want the cost of many testers to be covered by the cost of your next bike. I get the consumer viewpoint here, but take a longer view and imagine repercussions a bit more carefully. There's a reason why most testers aren't full time employees: that would be a lot of extra salary for a brand to absorb. 

If you spend a little time getting to know the local riders - which includes a ratio of industry people that is disproportionately high compared to most riding hot spots (other than places like Squamish, Whistler, Bellingham, California, Colorado, certain places in Scotland, Italy, France, NZ, etc) it shouldn't be hard to connect dots: as a bike nerd you have an opportunity to cozy up and eventually get your own private inside line. OR you can make a bid for fleeting fame TMZ-style but risk outcast status. If you're a true mtb nerd it's an easy decision in my view. The first and second time you walk up and introduce yourself you may feel awkward but despite the implied clique vibe people may perceive, the riders here are super friendly and everyone loves bullshitting about gear, especially if the question asker can establish an appreciation for discretion. 

I understand the motivation but it shows a real lack of vision and anticipation. It's a small, tight industry. If you want to be a part of it in one way or another, a little bit of discretion goes a long way. Failing that, watch the industry close ranks and get used to the feeling of the cold shoulder.

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Poz
+6 tashi ianterry Grif WheelNut grambo jaydubmah bananowy Joseph Crabtree
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 9 p.m.

Pete you are coming from your insider point of view again. It’s not wrong but it is skewed. You proved a point by saying it’s small but tight. That’s the definition of difficult to access, cliquey, and bro culture. Your defending that. What I am getting at is many of us aren’t aware of these unwritten rules. The cold shoulder is already there. 

I’ll use an example. I’ve been MTBing for over 25 years now and in the early days I learned the importance of trail etiquette with non riders. I continue that now and teach the same to my kids and try to educate new riders at the same. All these years and I had no idea there were unwritten embargos on products.  I just assumed those were NDAs  like every other industry on the planet  

MTB has always had that challenge as a culture - it’s part of the whole extreme sport culture like surfing. “What I do is cool, but you can’t do it”. 

I don’t live in the LM anymore so being a part of that insider culture isn’t an option. Trying get an “in” isn’t easy. It’s taken me several years to get known at my chosen LBS to get a little extra help when needed. And to be fair when I do see a pro on the trails (there’s a couple here in Vernon) I am more concerned about squeezing in a quick ride between work and kids than trying to get the lowdown on the industry or getting an inside scoop. Some people don’t care or have the time to spend to jump through the bro hoops. 

I’m not defending the guy, or PB’s, actions. To be clear. And honestly I don’t give a crap about spy shots like this. But this article and most those defending it have exposed a circle the wagon phenomenon.

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Poz
+4 tashi Grif Neil Carnegie Pete Roggeman
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 9:01 p.m.

I forgot to add that ultimately the onus here sits on the media. If they didn’t accept the image from the original poster very little would have happened.

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Poz
Pete Roggeman  - March 1, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

I'll concede basically everything you're saying, and especially that last part. We reap what we sow and if there's no place to publish that photo, that behaviour goes away or at least gets confined to someone's social media account.

What I originally wrote for this article was longer (we had to cut it way down to fit) and it began and ended on the theme: "maybe I'm naive, but ..." followed by a rundown of why I hope this industry still has people both inside and outside of it who aren't primarily motivated by greed and cynicism.

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FlipFantasia
+7 tashi Dave Smith Poz grambo Niels sticko bananowy
Todd Hellinga  - Feb. 26, 2021, 11:57 a.m.

thanks for confirming it's a devinci?

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Ddean
0 tashi thaaad
Ddean  - Feb. 26, 2021, 12:12 p.m.

Something is wrong when a random bike on the back of a truck is noticed to be different than the millions of currently marketed bikes.

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tashi
0
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 1:33 p.m.

Bikes are all so close to each other these days, with the guys I know it’s almost like the more experienced the rider the less they care about the emerging tech. None of us in my crew give two shits about spy shots, much less unproven “new” models.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Feb. 27, 2021, 2:35 a.m.

I'm in that group who doesn't give two craps about the latest and greatest plastic wünderbike and even less so about spy shots. It's only once the bike has been raced and tested I'm more interested. Most bikes are pretty good these days so I'm not going to get my knickers in a twist about something new.

Also if a bike does catch my eye in the carpark I sure as hell want to talk to the owner about it even if I can't photograph it.

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Poz
+1 bananowy
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 1:33 p.m.

Is it though? It was in an area with a high proportion of people that pay attention to stupid details such as colour of hub, handle bar width, and yes pivot location and type. There are no shortage of people in our community that can name the year of a model based on a colour or suspension design. 

High single pivots are hot right now and there are only so many on the market. If there is one out there that isn’t a known quantity like a Forbidden then it’ll draw the attention of the keen eyed.

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FlipFantasia
+1 bananowy
Todd Hellinga  - Feb. 26, 2021, 3:19 p.m.

yup, if I saw that bike on the back of a car I'd take interest too.

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Shoreloamer
+6 Peter Carson Poz werewolflotion Cam McRae Niels Tim Coleman
Greg Bly  - Feb. 26, 2021, 12:21 p.m.

Fart jokes and tabloid media can be found in Pink Bike. 

Keep is classy Cam. And you do. 

Keeping a bike a secret before it's released is marketing. I have no understanding or luv for marketing. After a year or two on the market parts prove themselves. Then I spend my hard earned cash.

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tashi
+3 Evil_bumpkin demo7_rider bananowy
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 1:30 p.m.

Interesting article, even though I have almost zero interest in “spy pics” or the rapid fire product cycle that’s taken over the bike biz. 

My takeaway is that y’all in the MTB media are still dependent on the manufacturers for content so you can’t anger the advertisers.  Therefore you’ll help them hide stuff, no matter where they’re displaying it. This leaves you as a part of the manufacturers marketing machine and your readers know it.

If you want to be seen as independent from the manufacturers and developing MTB media as a credible source of journalism, you’ll you’ll make decisions that reflect that.

Personally, even though the industry person with the prototype probably doesn’t want a pic taken, I really don’t see a problem with doing that. It’s not hard to hide the identity of a bike.  It’s in public.

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cam@nsmb.com
+2 tashi Niels
Cam McRae  - Feb. 26, 2021, 3:13 p.m.

Those are the kinds of decisions we’ve been aiming for over the last 20+ years. It’s not for me to say how successful we’ve been but the feedback we get from both readers and the industry is increasingly positive year over year. You are right though that it’s tough and every day is a battle to ensure the truth takes precedence over the dollar or any bro factor. It’s an insidious process and without constant vigilance it takes over quickly.

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Poz
+6 werewolflotion Pete Roggeman Chad K Cam McRae Mammal Niels
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:30 p.m.

FWIW, I think NSMB strikes a perfect balance and what makes it what it is. 

I think it’s the only site I’ve consistently been to over the last 20 years other than maybe google.

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pete@nsmb.com
+3 Sanesh Iyer Poz Niels
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:39 p.m.

Shit, we should put that on a t-shirt or something.

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Poz
+3 Cam McRae Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 9:03 p.m.

I’m still waiting for the “i begrudgingly ride my bike uphill for the downhills” 

I have a OG Commit or eat shit T-shirt from the early 2000s that I still wear!

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fartymarty
+1 Pete Roggeman
fartymarty  - Feb. 27, 2021, 5:16 a.m.

I'd buy that T-shirt

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Poz
Pete Roggeman  - March 1, 2021, 9:39 a.m.

We should probably bring that slogan back. It extends to so many things beyond MTB and the older I get, the truer it seems to be.

Poz
0
Poz  - March 2, 2021, 9 p.m.

Yes it should be! I’ve used it a few times recently for non biking issues. 

Although recently I found myself trying to explain it to my 8 year old that read the back of the T-shirt.

tashi
+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 5:14 p.m.

Yep I think you do a good job and appreciate you taking the risk to write about it.

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werewolflotion
+4 Cam McRae Jerry Willows Pete Roggeman Chad K
werewolflotion  - Feb. 26, 2021, 2:39 p.m.

Of all the comments on here, I agree with Pete Roggeman's the most. I don't want that future. I've got prototype blood all over my hands because I am very, very guilty of looking at spy pics when I come across them, but I would never take one myself and certainly wouldn't do it without talking to the rider and asking if they were cool with it (in which case, if they were and wanted a leak, I would be guilty again for being over the moon about it lol). 

Even when I see pros out for their daily ride, I try not to stare and I definitely don't try to engage them. Just let them enjoy a ride where they aren't racing or creating content. Maybe just a quick glance as they disappear around that first corner, and that's probably how we should treat these stealth bikes/riders, too ; )

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:44 p.m.

Thanks. Let me say one thing: don't ever be afraid to chat up a pro (obviously sometimes they're in a rush etc) or someone on a sick looking bike thst may be a proto. One of the best things about our sport is that we get to share the playing field with the best, and we also get to rub shoulders with them. That doesn't happen in football or baseball. 

And bike pros know it. So if you see someone, say hi! They are real people that usually love to engage and talk about bikes, coffee, beer, whatever. Sure, don't stare or be weird, just say hi Wade, what bike are you riding and what trail are you loving these days? They're well-trained to handle those questions and love chatting to other riders.

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Tbone
0
Trevor Hansen  - Feb. 26, 2021, 9:12 p.m.

Wade and VanderTom talking to noobs

https://youtu.be/aL8uUyifkrM?t=80

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mrbrett
0
mrbrett  - March 5, 2021, 7:49 a.m.

That was Al Pacino?

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T-mack
0 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae Joseph Crabtree Kenny Evil_bumpkin bananowy
T-mack  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:02 p.m.

Imagine being a music fan in the early 90's, you're walking by a studio or apartment or whatever and hear Nirvana rehearsing Smells Like Teen Spirit for their upcoming album 'Nevermind'. You sit there and record through the door then put it on cassette and mail it to the local news station to play on air before they have the chance to release the album. Fuck them though right? Should have been quieter and not jammed in the epicenter of 90s grunge rock, free world etc etc. Before one of you warriors says they were practicing on private property or try to win an argument with me, I'm only trying to show some perspective here.

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Poz
+4 Chad K Pete Roggeman Paul Lindsay mrbrett bananowy Joseph Crabtree
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:21 p.m.

I get what you are saying but I think a better analogy would be imagine Nirvana in the back of a pickup truck in a busy stripmall practicing

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T-mack
0 Joseph Crabtree bananowy
T-mack  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:25 p.m.

Regardless, Its lame that someone would record that and then run to the radio station because they have a hero complex.

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Poz
+1 tashi bananowy Joseph Crabtree
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:28 p.m.

Is it hero complex or is it someone just jazzed to be able to share with their community? 

I’m just playing devils advocate. I have no skin in this game.

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T-mack
0 Joseph Crabtree bananowy
T-mack  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:32 p.m.

Yup fair, we're just talking. I think when people snap a pic and then post to IG or whatever are doing it for the reasons you mentioned. When someone crawls under a truck or snaps a pic while driving by then sends it to websites, then jokes about being paid, thats different.

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Poz
0
Poz  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:34 p.m.

Funny thing is I thought the under the truck Norco was staged until today. But yea the being paid thing is greasy.

tashi
0
tashi  - Feb. 26, 2021, 5:02 p.m.

And here it is. 

If you’re an industry bro than this is “obviously” douche behavior. 

If you’re not than you have the other interpretation is seems. 

Most of the industry bros I ride with are pretty casual about this stuff - they know the public is stoked about the gear (and how mush they rely on that stoke to sell the new stuff) and they know that they really aren’t doing what it takes to have it under wraps.

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pete@nsmb.com
-1 bananowy
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 26, 2021, 8:46 p.m.

That's a really good analogy. And the extension I'm trying to provide is that rather than blowing them up, you could say hi, ask when that song is being released and...often that story ends with free tickets and maybe a backstage pass...

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Kenny
+2 Skooks bananowy
Kenny  - Feb. 28, 2021, 7:41 p.m.

Maybe in the case of the Norco but not the devinci. It was right in the middle of parkgate which is pretty much a rolling MTB fashion show. Probably the single worst place you could be if trying to keep an MTB under wraps.

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agleck7
+3 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae grambo
Agleck7  - Feb. 26, 2021, 4:56 p.m.

Props to those SRAM dudes. Intentionally running low tire pressure in order to get a red blinky to distract from the AXS! Genius!

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andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Feb. 27, 2021, 12:16 p.m.

Except you don't even have to run low tyre pressure - you just program your TyreWiz for a higher pressure than you usually run and then the red blinky is "look at the light look at the light" and your tyres are still bang on. Oh and they totally forgot to notice the AXS (or hear the servo changing gears).

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sanesh-iyer
+6 Pete Roggeman ianterry Mammal Andrew Major Inclag Cam McRae 4Runner1 bananowy
Sanesh Iyer  - Feb. 26, 2021, 6:13 p.m.

The greatest irony of this is that we always hear the trope "bikes aren't designed for the north shore, that's why our failure rates are higher," and now we may see less testing. Fantastic.

I think Ken makes a good point, it's either an editorial or marketing stance. The shitty things are playing both sides of the line... Just play it equally for companies big and small and stick to it. I understand both sides, but the core thing is consistency to me. 

I agree that the OP gets some sort of weird kick out of it. Also, not blacking out the company and plate?! Wtf. That's a jackass move.

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jdw103
+1 bananowy
Jason West  - Feb. 27, 2021, 8:25 a.m.

Leaks could be stopped if a company wanted them to be. Companies need to monitor social media, who they employ and have severe repercussions to flighty employees or riders/testers who stupidly drive around and park with a prototype bike on the back of his car, if it was not meant to be a marketing ploy. To go a step further companies need to have private test trails to test on if security was that big of an issue. I mean how ridiculous is it they we're having a discussion about some guy who took a photo of a bike ridden at a bike park in the summer. Car companies and the military take their security and leaks seriously. Take a lesson bike companies

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inclag
+7 jaydubmah tashi ianterry Evil_bumpkin WheelNut pedalhound bananowy
Inclag  - Feb. 27, 2021, 12:07 p.m.

In my industry confidentiality begins and ends with the company responsible for the product's development.  You want to keep something under wraps, that's on you.  Personally, IMO, any finger pointing should begin and end with the companies and individuals that allowed for an unwanted 'leak' to occur.  Blaming others is skirting responsibility.

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the-prophet
+2 WheelNut bananowy
the prophet  - Feb. 28, 2021, 12:05 a.m.

There can be an actual reason companies hide early prototypes, or for sure want to. It has to do with patents.

As I understood it (at least for US patents) if a patent has not been granted yet, and a picture of it is "leaked" and out in the world, it can cause problems with enforcing or granting the patent. It basically starts some sort of regulatory clock and can leave the door open for other companies to "steal" the idea before the patent is granted and locked down.

When I was at a certain big S company, they brought the entire engineering group and all product managers into a meeting with a slew of lawyers to discuss/explain this very thing. New parts/prototypes were to be covered at all times when in public with tape or other means so the details of the "part" in question could not be seen.

So yeah, it's on Devinci for blowing it if anything special was seen. They should and do know better. Don't blame the media, or the bike paparazzi dude.

It's not all marketing BS and stealing of thunder from the product launch, just most of it. :)

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linden44
+9 Evil_bumpkin tashi ianterry Skooks WheelNut grambo jaydubmah MTB Scotland bananowy
Spencer Lindenberg  - Feb. 28, 2021, 7:28 p.m.

I feel pretty strongly about this one, as I work in the alpine ski industry. If a bike is in public, it's fair game for spy shots, and companies have to be aware of that.

I strongly dislike the 'bro' or 'insider' MTB culture and am happy to see it degraded and diluted. As someone who took up the sport in a serious fashion later in life (mid 20s), I find the insider culture to be probably the biggest barrier to the expansion of the sport. I live and ride in Michigan, where MTB is popular and growing, but by no means on the level of BC, Colorado, etc.

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tehllama42
+1 bananowy
Tehllama42  - March 1, 2021, 4:36 p.m.

That's a solid statement of how I feel - if it's out in public, you just accept that spy shots are part of the game, and making it a point of misdirection is part of it.

If you have something cool enough to justify somebody uploading pictures of it, then find a way to leverage that.

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Suns_PSD
+3 WheelNut pedalhound bananowy
Sun Hester  - March 1, 2021, 7 p.m.

Literally dozens of people give a crap. Oh brother,  no one cares. 

It is incredibly naive to think that you have some inherent right to photographic privacy of a bicycle sitting in plain view out in public. Give me a break.

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BadNudes
+9 Cam McRae Sanesh Iyer Todd Hellinga ianterry Poz Inclag Niels jaydubmah bananowy
BadNudes  - March 2, 2021, 2:04 p.m.

I can't understand anyone who would pass judgement on the photographer. You might think it's a bit scummy to be taking secret photos from under a truck, but I'd argue MTB media has created and stoked excitement for exactly this kind of content by publishing countless stories and photos of prototypes seen at races, factories, trailheads etc. Some stories even encouraged by brands in order to get people excited ahead of a new release, and even then written with the air of revealing some secret. To expect the public to understand and respect an industry insider unwritten code when it comes to these stories is not realistic. 

John Q. Public reads PB or Vital and every day sees his community getting excited over secret photos of prototypes; of course he is going to take and post one when he sees the opportunity. I don't even see an issue with him "wanting to be paid for the next one". I get the feeling he is just being cheeky there, but professional photographers and journalists presumably get paid while making similar contributions. At most, you could say it would have been a decent thing to introduce himself before taking the photos. Maybe, but not doing a decent thing is not the same as doing an indecent thing, and you'd have to be pretty naive to expect the public to behave at a standard of always doing the decent thing.

Companies that value their secrecy need to have measures in place to protect it. Media outlets need to be clear and consistent in what they will or will not allow public to post, and in how they handle photos of prototypes in general across all brands. Some comments above me suspect that if it were a Specialized or Trek, PB would not have brought the photo to the front page out of respect or fear of retaliation, but because Devinci is a smaller brand they ran with it. I doubt that's completely true, but if so that would be pretty depressing and would throw journalistic credibility out the window. I get the stench of this kind of brand-directed journalism (as opposed to consumer driven) from PB so often that it's hard to care about most of what I see there. NSMB is top-notch in my books as articles are obviously written with the end user in mind, and journalists' personality and preferences shine through even when they don't align with current trends.

Bottom line is the industry exists because of consumer interest. The industry needs to adapt and react to the consumers' desires and behaviour in order to serve them as best they can, not the other way around.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Sanesh Iyer
Cam McRae  - March 2, 2021, 3 p.m.

Solid points and well expressed.

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syncro
+3 Niels Todd Hellinga bananowy
Mark  - March 3, 2021, 5:09 p.m.

File this under meh. It's been a thing in the automotive industry for years so now with mtb's being as expensive as they are it should be no surprise that spy shots are getting posted. I can say one thing for sure tho, it is liberating as hell to not be worrying or obsessing over every last little latest and greatest detail that comes out of the mtb industry.

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WAKIisback
0
Wacek Keepshack  - March 4, 2021, 10:43 a.m.

I appreciate most content on NSMB, particularly Dave Tolnai stuff, but you guys are starting to lose touch, sorry. You are overintelectualizing a simple thing by dressing it up with high values, speaking as if you were a part of some elite inner circle. Bloke took a prototype and strapped it to his car for everyone to see. It wasn’t a mistake, it was a major incompetence. It’s no big secret that quite many folks in the industry, including riders, may be amazing riders but they are not the sharpest tools in the box. Not the nicest either. Stop picturing the whole affair as if there was some grandiose ecosystem where everyone shares smiles and lives for the love of the ride, and now it gets corrupted. Companies and people get busted. Working as an architect with projects where actual security of many people can be put at risk, where millions may be lost by a slip of a tongue, I can say that this is some silly wrk in the park of confidentiality. Dude did a damn stupid thing, take it on your cheat like a man or call your mom to whipe your butt Period.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - March 5, 2021, 6:35 a.m.

Waki - Good to have you back, 

Maybe it was a masterstroke from said bike manufacturer as it has created a shit ton of comments on both NSMB and PB and even a PB podcast on it.

Plus it's not devaluing current bikes sitting on shop floors because there aren't any - at least not in the UK.

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MTBScotland
+1 bananowy
MTB Scotland  - March 8, 2021, 2:44 p.m.

NSMB need to get a grip on reality here.  If you take a product out into the public you loose all your claim to privacy.  This "call out" is seriously bad journalism and click bait that directs travel to your site.

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