Will Baby Boomers Kill MTB?

Words Seb Kemp
Date Jun 3, 2015

Recently I read a quote by an industry insider that said something along the lines of, “this is aimed more at an older audience; we need to attract the older demographic because they have the money.” This seems to make sense. More money coming into mountain biking from consumers with more disposable income means more money spent on bikes and gear and trips and trappings. And that means everyone who makes their living from these businesses (and others, like the media, for example) is going to feel a little less lost at sea. And for us, the riders, that means that if the value of bikes being sold goes up, companies will be able to invest more in developing better bikes and technology. And this will enrich our riding experience because, like my father used to say, better is better.

So, getting an older and more affluent demographic into mountain biking is exactly what’s good for mountain biking, right?

Well, while I will not refute any of the logic of what the first paragraph states (and not just because I penned it myself and I’m a narcissistic scribbler), I don’t think it’s entirely true. You see, while these more mature, richer riders might bring fatter wallets to mountain biking, they might not necessarily bring that essential spark and passion that is necessary to light the fuel that causes the boom-bang in the engine that keeps the wheels moving. Perhaps we also need youthful enthusiasm and delinquent exuberance to balance out a potential future full of conscientious adult recreation?

What I wonder is if we try and convert the kind of demographic that would usually age into more careful and impassive activities then what will mountain biking be like in the future (Pete Roggeman recently suggested ‘Riding Is Not The New Golf’)? What will mountain biking look like in twenty years if the industry focuses its marketing attention on these passive consumers? (By that I mean people who aren’t checking the websites each day, who don’t know the names of all the top pros or live and love biking like it’s their first and last love. Instead people that own a mountain bike but identify as mountain bikers as much as they do as car valet professionals just because they wash their car once a week.)

How will our trails look if the focus (and funding) becomes building nice trails that our fathers, mothers (and grandparents) will enjoy rolling around? Safe, easy, sterilized trails? And what happens if the focus of  bike production is aimed at bikes that are so brilliant but so expensive that only those with six figure incomes can afford them? What happens to the next generation of bikers if the only ones able to get into mountain biking are the lucky ones that have rich parents or grandparents? And if we don’t have young blood replenishing the source will it dry up and wilt?

As much as we need the wealth and sophistication, wisdom, knowledge and the modicum of discerning level-headedness that an older audience brings, don’t we also need the devotion and passion and angry innovation that the younger generation provide? We need the world’s fastest racers, the fearless Fest Series guys and the kids that dig lonesome booters in the woods with one eye on a grander future. We need more homespun, DIY, punk rock, hardcore, furious zealots to keep things interesting.

Now, I’m not bagging on the elderly (I’m certainly closer to that end of the spectrum) because there’s plenty of righteous, passionate, cut-me-and-I-bleed-chain-lube mountain bikers that have been around the sun more times than the number of bikes they’ve owned (just) because perhaps these are the people we need to shine a light on where we have been and where we should go, beyond the glint of dollar bills (if dollar bills were shiny that is).

A wealthy, prosperous future might be good for everyone but is it good for everything?


Does the bike industry spend too much energy bending over for boomers with fat stacks of cash?

 

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Comments

scott-silvers
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Scott Silvers  - Feb. 5, 2016, 10:44 a.m.

When I got into this sport in the late 80's, there were NO old AARP mtb'ers in the sport. There was no market for more 'mature' riders….What we have here is mountain biking having to figure out how to deal with the 'first adopters' of this sport, and all of the implications.

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bodinky100
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Bodinky100  - Feb. 4, 2016, 5:54 p.m.

I'm 50 and I rip it hard and don't care who knows ha ha..everyone has the right to ride, everyone!

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ron-callahan
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Ron Callahan  - Feb. 4, 2016, 2:16 p.m.

Uh, Beavis???…. Baby Boomers INVENTED mountain biking. Gary Fisher was born in 1950, Joe Breeze in 53 and Tom Ritchey in 56. The sport as you know it would likely look much different if it hadn't been for these innovators doing all that they did.

Me? I'm 48. Built my bike from scratch. Love flow and technical trails. Had a heck of a good time riding Trestle Mountain Bike Park a couple of years ago.

And, last but not least, remember that innovation at the top of the sport drives the trickle down of technology to lower price points. If the old rich guys aren't buying the top of the line stuff, there will be no incentive for the bike companies to continue to innovate and sell more new stuff (and bring last year's top of the line tech down to lower price points).

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grant
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Grant  - Feb. 4, 2016, 1 p.m.

Our emphasis should be on Kids bikes now. Lets see the manufacturers step up and start building kids bikes that rock and dont have shitty forks and gears that won't shift. Nice little bike for under a grand to get them stoked that does not weigh a ton or cost $$ like a Little Shredder. From a 54 year old kid.

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jesse-wolfe
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Jesse Wolfe  - Feb. 4, 2016, 11:24 a.m.

Funny thing, I'm getting up there (I'm 53) and found myself bitching about Canyons bike park putting "roll-offs" on all my favorite mandatory air jumps. I was torn up by the younger riders saying that it was to get more inexperienced riders on the trails, therefore bringing income to the resort for improvements. There should be trails out there for the sake of trails. If you're not good enough yet to ride one, stay to the tamer trails until you're good enough for the bigger stuff. If gramps isn't good enough for a trail, he (or she) should stay to the easier ones and know enough to stay out of the way. It shouldn't matter your age, but your ability. Lead, follow, or very out of the way, so baby boomers, if you're not good enough for that 6 foot drop up ahead, please be aware that you may be in the way for us who are.

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litespeed74
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litespeed74  - Feb. 4, 2016, 8:32 a.m.

Just get out and ride! Everything else is fluff….

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litespeed74
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litespeed74  - Jan. 7, 2016, 7:45 a.m.

It seems like less people enjoy the challenge of riding uphill. I still love tackling a long grueling climb. Especially if it's ultra rooty, rocky etc… Coming down just feels that much better. Plus it keeps my ticker healthy.

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brente
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brente  - June 24, 2015, 4:01 p.m.

I'm dam near 60 and I think flow is the new disco something to scoff at and laugh at the lack of skill it takes.

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stevo-reno
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Stevo Reno  - June 7, 2015, 4:28 p.m.

I'm 51, riding 3x's a week aggressively for fun , I'm only a reckless intermediate. Almost ALL my mtb buddies are 20 to 35 years old they dig me they don't mind that I am slow when compared to their advanced and expert level , so what , we love the same thing. I volunteer & work on trail maintenance days. I know who Gee is, I what R B Rampage is, I know were the A Line is, I know what the Kamikaze DH is , I know were Mnt Saint Ann is , so F'ing what , no one really cares, Your either fast or Your not , in shape or not, attitude is everything, so just ride

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jamie-hamilton
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Jamie Hamilton  - June 6, 2015, 1:23 p.m.

Ok so I'm 44, been riding for 20 odd years, still do my best to push limits as I did in my youth. Plus I spend equal amount of time digging & introducing new riders to the joys of bumps & scrapes. I don't blow wads of cash on gear I'm not actually going to use. So where do I fit then?

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terry-hills
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Terry Hills  - June 4, 2015, 5:24 p.m.

I am one of those baby boomers you speak of. I am a 56 year old women who loves nothing more than to get out to Whistler and rip dirt merch. or A-line. I may make more money than a 20 year old but I but that doesn't make the price tag of a bike any less painless. I agree with Captain Leroux on all points. And you are welcome, because I was one of those kids riding on the Shore paving the way for the sport we have now.

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borntoride
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borntoride  - June 4, 2015, 1:15 p.m.

I'm all for seeing older folks get out and exercise, but I would echo the author's sentiment about what that group of riders might do to recreational trails. The nicer more expensive bikes make for an easier ride, and older riders with money and time to attend planning meetings will push for easier, more accessible trails. AARPers are the biggest lobbying group in the country, and it's very frustrating as a 30 year old to have to keep dealing with the mess that group has made of the job market, housing market, and even recreational sports arenas. If you can't hack it on a technical trail on a hardtail, then stick to shuffleboard. Boomers love to rag on the younger generations and say we are lazy and don't want jobs. Thanks for trashing the planet, sinking the economy, and staying in the job market longer so we have to take lower paying jobs and put off paying off our enormous student loans! Mountain biking is our way of escaping all that bullshit, and we would appreciate if you didn't clog up the trails!

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Pediclescrew
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Big D  - June 4, 2015, 12:21 p.m.

It hasn't hurt the soul of skiing. As someone pushing fifty who was riding the shore before it was "the" shore and who was skiing whistler when there was no blackcomb I say the more people introduced to a sport means the more advocates you have and the more trails there will be. Look at how mainstream skateboarding is, we all pine for the old days and we love to be able to tell everyone how authentic we are (like I just did) but do you really miss the days when there was nowhere to skate? And when we had no real bike trails on the shore? To me it is a simple but true equation, more people having fun = more fun. Bikes for everyone!

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richie-trent
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richie trent  - June 4, 2015, 11:26 a.m.

The most fun I ever had on a bike was my first, full-rigid singlespeed. Now we have old dudes riding $8k bikes on groomed cart-paths.

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ChampfT
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Chris Cogsdil  - June 4, 2015, 1:26 a.m.

When the industry started screwing with BMX and trying to "legitimize the sport" by striving for the olympics, asking the UCI to make BMX racing better for the olympics sake, BMX racing on the local level really started to suck, so we left. What happened was an underground movement of young BMX freestylers, street, park, and dirt jumpers who started their own companies to build the products that they wanted to ride. Do you think they gave a crap what old people were buying?
They got tired of corporate mag reviews camouflaged marketing and kissing the industries asses, and started making 3 minute web clips for you tube and vimeo and began a whole new way to make living riding bikes ( or at least a way to pay for their bike habit) the youth can take care of themselves.
I make good money as a 43 year old, but I'm still offended at any bike over $6000. I'd rather buy a $2-3,500 complete with the frame I like, gradually upgrade the parts until it's worth the $6000 or a bit less and turn my nose up at the unimaginative rich guy on the s-works or $10000+ bike with a pike, db inline and Enve wheels.
So those old people that buy an Sworks or Santacruz with the envy upgrade as a status symbol, they will be selling that for $4800 next season which gives the youngsters time enough to save for that 2015 santa cruz v-10 that was gingerly ridden at whistler for one vacation weekend.

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naveed-nasir
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Naveed Nasir  - June 4, 2015, 11:54 a.m.

Great comment

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marshall-williams
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Marshall Williams  - June 3, 2015, 8:23 p.m.

The sport is expensive enough to get into if you want the proper gear. Most people who might be interested don't want to drop 4 digits + on a proper bike in addition to helmets, pads, etc. Let's not forget replacement parts from those technical trails. Even second hand frames are still out of budget for occasional riders let alone trying to build on top of that.

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mark-karlstrand
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Mark Karlstrand  - June 3, 2015, 7:55 p.m.

I'm all for this marketing strategy. Once they go on a few rides and take a fall or two I'll be buying that hardly used top of the line bike off craigslist for pennies on the dollar. All I have to do it swap out the big fat gel saddle:P
But seriously, how could this approach possibly work out? I'm just in my mid forties and I can already feel my body parts starting to wear out. They expect folks in their 60s-70s to take up MTB as a fun hobby, not likely says me. Not that they couldn't or shouldn't but I think the majority of people don't consider taking up high impact sports later in life. I'm sure the data would show quite the opposite.

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jerry-bauer
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Jerry Bauer  - June 3, 2015, 4:37 p.m.

ummmm with Gary Fisher in his 60's, its safe to say baby boomers invented mountain biking…everyone else is the johnny come latelys

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wb
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Wb  - June 3, 2015, 12:55 p.m.

Here is the problem that I see. Nobody rides trails that are root and rock infested. Like back in the day everyone wants groomed trails. I know I am no spring chicken anymore. The evolution of mountain biking has been all the big places like the north shore that have inspired. A lot of riders and bringing in older riders is only going take away from what mountain biking really is. But that is just my opinion. Please stop with the overly groomed trails. Mountain biking for me is about pushing the limits of you and your bike and seeing just how burly you can get in the middle of nowhere.

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - June 3, 2015, 6:21 p.m.

All we have is root and rock infested trails on the major trail networks on Vancouver Island. Buff is very rare.

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rm1
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rm1  - June 3, 2015, 10:26 a.m.

I work in a bike shop and I have discussed this topic with many of the customers. I would say that if you think the trails (UK) are not that good or could be better is due to this older generation, then I would say that's wrong…

A big problem with trail building and mtb improving as a whole here in the uk is due to this new claiming culture and land owners having the fear of being sewed. Health & safety didn't exist years ago as much as it does now and its this crap that stops people from improving at a faster rate. I would suggest the laws have to change in order to favour any land owner in my own opinion so the sport can progress better.

If you fall off its your own fault no one else's!!

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Captain-Snappy
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Merwinn  - June 3, 2015, 10:52 a.m.

Unless the stunt you were riding collapses, I would mostly agree.

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michael-miller-sr
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Michael Miller Sr.  - June 3, 2015, 10:09 a.m.

I'm not sure of the demographics in your area but in SoCal we have just as many older (40+ ) riders as younger maybe more so. Hell, I'm 60 but ride with a wide range of different ages.We almost all end up riding together. Most of us, even the younger crowd don't ride to be "cool" ,we ride because we freekin love it. Age groups won't kill mountain biking but division of the groups based on age, sex, creed or race might. Age has very little to do with riding ability, the more mature guys/gals will ride about anything the younger set does too.

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rvoi
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rvoi  - June 3, 2015, 9:33 a.m.

I keep hearing… "video killed the radio star"

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JVP
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JVP  - June 3, 2015, 9:27 a.m.

You're missing the point. The real question is who is out there throwing dirt? I'm part of a crew including baby boomers who build/maintain a lot of trail. When they retire, they build even more, because they can. And no, they don't want to ride easy stuff. It's fine. It's good. These "old people" have got soul.

Sure some soft riders will drift into the market, but they won't last. No biggie.

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drewm
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DrewM  - June 3, 2015, 10:27 p.m.

100%.

Live Like Vic

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dfiler
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dfiler  - June 3, 2015, 8:52 a.m.

"So, getting an older and more affluent demographic into mountain biking is exactly what’s good for mountain biking, right?"

This might not be the right way to look at it. The older and more affluent demographic is already into mountain biking. They invented it and have been here the entire time.

The industry isn't looking to create a new customer base. They're catering to the same riders who now are later in their careers and can afford more expensive bikes.

But yeah, we need the passion of youth. Maybe I missed it but the industry still seems mostly fixated on that segment. Just look at the content on the most popular bike sites. Look at who sponsors the most popular mountain bike contests. Etc…

To me it doesn't seem like an either/or scenario. Both seem quite well supported by the bike industry.

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blackbird
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tw  - June 3, 2015, 8:49 a.m.

I think most of the old guys are squeezing their fat asses into road shorts and heading out on their road bike.

The "old guys" I see on Fromme are tougher, meaner and more capable than I am (at the ripe old age of 46). As much new as old equipment amongst this crew.

For the diehards the new equipment is nice and might be good to have. But these guys haven't killed the ski industry. I don't think they will kill the bike industry.

The bike companies will let their own hubris take care of that.

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woody
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Woody  - June 3, 2015, 8:45 a.m.

Chasing a dying demographic is a short term glut, not a long-term business plan.

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Captain-Snappy
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Merwinn  - June 3, 2015, 10:55 a.m.

Tell that to Moses Znaimer.

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db79467
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db79467  - June 3, 2015, 8:38 a.m.

I think the article confuses two forces at work in our sport - the industry and the people that volunteer and build the trails. We have a huge advantage over the road bike crowd in that we control what types of trails people ride. Giant and Specialized make bikes to be ridden on our trails. I know they assist and support those efforts, but they do it through our volunteer organizations. And we all have a say in that. 6 inch bikes are the norm in my neighborhood because my local organization is building technical fast difficult trails.

As for the price of bikes, companies charge what people will pay, not what bikes cost. A top end S-works road bike is about the same as a top end S-works mountain bike - do you think the mountain bike has the same amount of tech, development, manufacturing costs, and third party components? No way. You think a $10k Bronson is twice as good as a $5k Bronson? Not at all.

We're at the mercy of manufacturers with the little things like axles, wheel size, and materials, but what really matters is a $3k bike in 2015 is loads more capable than a $3k bike in 2007 - hell, a 2015 $3k trail bike is more capable than a 2007 DH bike. That's what's important, and by continuing to invest in our sport through trail building, the majority of the participants - not the purchasers - will continue to be in control, and that's good for the sport.

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paintball-barrel
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Paintball Barrel  - June 12, 2015, 9:03 p.m.

not to mention, 3k in 2007 is like 5k today after inflation. now that's value!

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redfish11
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Redfish11  - June 3, 2015, 8:12 a.m.

It's really time for the younger generation to stop taking "selfies" (gay term) and get over themselves. I'm 48 and I ride just fine. If I'm riding to slow - run me over because I'll do the same to you. Go home, play your video game - (I'd beat your ass on that too) and cry to some else who gives a shit!

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - June 3, 2015, 8:38 a.m.

What's this about gay?

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blackbird
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tw  - June 3, 2015, 8:52 a.m.

He meant ghey.

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Faction
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Derp  - June 3, 2015, 9:15 a.m.

selfies are homosexual? or the word selfie is homosexual? can you beat the younger crowd at being homosexual too?

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israel
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Israel  - June 3, 2015, 7:48 a.m.

36 years old, and i love to ride, sometimes fast sometimes not that fast. I get your point but hey, bikes are not getting cheaper, neither components, and the best way to own a good bike is paying for it.

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muldman
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muldman  - June 3, 2015, 7:45 a.m.

Hmmm, the MTB industry was started by baby boomers. The YOUNGEST baby boomers are in their mid 50's right now. They are retiring en masse. It's the Gen X'ers with the money and power right now. At my last race the largest category was Masters 40+…

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captain-omar-leroux
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Captain Omar Leroux  - June 3, 2015, 7:45 a.m.

Sounds to me like people are just worried about their sport not being cool anymore. The argument about "bikes getting more expensive" is bollocks. High end bikes are getting more expensive because they are more high end. If you can't afford top of the range, deal with it. Today's Deore equipped bike is as good as an XT bike from 5 years ago… Carbon frames are far more affordable today than they were 10 years ago. And if the trails aren't challenging enough, up the ante and go ride an old single speed, fully rigid klunker, like the Baby Boomers did when they invented the sport.

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ew
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EW  - June 3, 2015, 3:05 p.m.

right on captain!!

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sam-whittingham
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Sam Whittingham  - Feb. 3, 2016, 11:51 p.m.

I was going to respond but you hit my feeling perfectly oh captain, my captain. I have always found it ironic that the same people who complain about mountain biking getting too "easy" are still running the latest and greatest trail smoothing machines. Trails too easy? Go hardtail and save some money. Still too easy? Singlespeed, rigid fork…. I still take my 1983 Ritchey into the woods when I'm feeling like I need a tech cleanse.

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0
Tom  - June 3, 2015, 7:31 a.m.

Young kids these days sit in the dark and text. When my generation dies, so will mountain biking.
Kids these days are pussies. If we ever found ourselves in another ground war, we would lose.

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patrick
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Patrick  - June 3, 2015, 8:08 a.m.

Tom, there will be no next ground war. The next war will be fought on the internet with which this next generation will destroy the enemy, and unlike the previous generations, cities will not be destroyed, thousands/millions of people will not die, and the cyber soldiers will hucking their meat off stunts in the forest instead being hunkered down in the mud.

People said the same thing about the younger generation in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. etc.

Now get off my lawn!

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Faction
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Derp  - June 3, 2015, 9:19 a.m.

100%. I LOL at every generation of old people saying the same thing. You know what, if you actually talk to the younger generation, they are a very bright bunch. They won't be the ones who will keep destroying the earth or each other. Not only that but they look for solutions and don't blame others, like you are doing. We are in good hands.

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david-reid
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David Reid  - June 3, 2015, 9:31 a.m.

Ha! I was driving my son and his friend to ride a xc trail (fred-tinder-yer mom in Squamish). The conversation in the back made me realize that my biases were wrong. This is what I heard "I like technical way more then flow trails, Icy Hole is one of my favorite trails", "I love climbing", "slabs are cool". If anything I learnt that old school is new school once again. Oh, and these boys build and maintain trails and are 7 and 8 years old. Have hope, the older we get, the more we forget what we were like when we were young. The next generation is awesome.

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Henry-Chinaski
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Henry Chinaski  - June 3, 2015, 9:53 a.m.

Yep!

Great topic and writing, but I think it underestimates the size of the human spirit. For every rich boomer weekend warrior buying 10k bikes, there is a hungry kid watching videos of some dude in Squamish and dreaming of the possibilities. Bring a group of young kids to a trail that they’re comfortable with and watch them look for the roughest terrain to ride. Everybody wants to be the winner, and the lone responsible adult is screaming at them to stop braiding the fucking trail. Maybe I’m an optimist, but no amount bike marketing or landowner disapproval is going to quell those spirits.

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0
t.odd  - June 3, 2015, 9:35 a.m.

you've clearly never had your ass handed to you by whistler groms.

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jprime
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jprime  - June 3, 2015, 9:39 a.m.

Hey Fb friends! Check out this cool selfie I took #newhair #war #guns #death

styletho #yolo

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Captain-Snappy
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Merwinn  - June 3, 2015, 10:47 a.m.

It will be the smart kids that figure out that iPhones are a simply a tool and are pretty boring when it comes down to it, because they're mostly relying on someone else to create the content. Like watching TV 99% of the time… yawn.

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Faction
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Derp  - June 3, 2015, 12:14 p.m.

I see way more middle aged people texting and buried in technology. Most teens and early 20's I know (a lot as I owned a skateshop) aren't on electronics very much at all.

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marko-kozlovic
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Marko Kozlović  - June 11, 2015, 10:24 a.m.

not really true, me and my friend go mountain biking every weekend, teens would like to try mtb, but it's too expensive if u aren't doing it seriously… a start mtb (not some supermarket shit) cost 400$+, any many of us can't afford it… im really in sport, but im spending all my pocket money on parts, i haven't money for anything else, so u really must love it to do it (exept if your parents ride, than is a different story)…

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jerry-greer
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Jerry Greer  - Feb. 4, 2016, 4:24 a.m.

Parents are the problem, not the kids! You can't blame them for their lazy ass parents. I'm a 52 years old shredder with an 8 year old girl that loves her Commencal Ramones 24″. It up to us parents to guide our kids…

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Captain-Snappy
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Merwinn  - Feb. 4, 2016, 6:20 a.m.

Too much of a generalization for me. You might as well say all Irish are drunks and all Scots are cheap. All three are just stereotypes based on limited interactions with a tiny sample set.

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grant
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Grant  - Feb. 4, 2016, 1:03 p.m.

I'm Irish and I am a drunk. And my Scottish buddy next store is the cheapest bugger going.

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Faction
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Derp  - June 3, 2015, 6:18 a.m.

Hence the 'need' for 27.5+. Gotta keeps pops rolling ever more secure (and slowly).

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0
Tom  - June 3, 2015, 6:06 a.m.

It is quite clear that bikes are being marketed to the wealthy and it easy to be inside the sport and think that this new rider will kill the soul of getting out and riding your bike. I found the article and it was intresting to see that people outside the sport are thinking the same as those that ride bikes!

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lucky_jim_in_exile
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Lucky_Jim_In_Exile  - June 3, 2015, 5 a.m.

Well Santa Cruz would have to market their bikes to anyone with money (young or old) and they have done a great job Santa Cruz being the bike of choice in the over biked capital of the world - Surrey Hills. I always get a laugh out of articles like this 'the old guys' show me a youg rider these days and 9 out 10 times I'll show you a kid who got a bike bought for them by mum and dad. I'll show you a kid who's big contribution to mtb development is novelty frame colours and colour coded parts.

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slimshady76
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Luix  - June 3, 2015, 4:54 a.m.

I'm more concerned about the impact this older-age aimed campaign will have in the youth barely inserting themselves in the sport. Since the industry is trying to look appealing to this fat wallet sector, both bikes and componentry are getting more and more expensive. When I transitioned from being a casual rider to what I consider a legit mountain biker 15 years ago, 350 bucks bought you a mid/upper level fork, with what was considered long travel at the time, proper hydraulic circuits and a decent chassis. Now you have to pile up at least twice that amount to get almost the same performance. And I don't think you can blame that price increment on the inflation. In fact, I think inflation makes just the smaller portion of it.

See, in 2001 here in Argentina we had one of the worst economic crisis you can imagine. Almost 53% of the populace was under the poverty line, and at the same time one of the major newspapers publishes an article in its economy section where they interviewed the CEOs of the three major sport brands (Adidas, Nike and Reebok). They all coincided in something: those brands had to increase their prices up to 200% because (according to their marketing research) for the average consumer expensive equals quality and status. I think the same logic can be applied to those older guys exhibiting their brand new all-carbon all-XTR steeds next to their Audis in their garages. And unfortunately that's driving the prices sky high, both for the top tiers and the bottom line models.

Don't get me wrong, I'm aware of the trickle down policy Shimano carries on for the technologies they present in the XTR line in the subsequent years. But I still don't think you can follow the overly walked path of "they have to pay for future innovation, hence the price increment". That's plain old BS. Companies are planning their product lines up to five years from now, and the research they have to perform to bring a new product to the market has been paid long ago. And then again, the lower prices get expensive every year, not just the top-of-the-line ones.

Also, the media reviewing just the $10K models doesn't really help at all. The brands clearly hand down their best junk to you guys because they want everyone to feel like there's no other way to ride, anything inferior is just unrideable. Marketing consists of creating a need where there wasn't one. Be honest, do you really need BOS suspensions, ENVE wheels and a XX1 gruppo to enjoy the trails?

So, in a nutshell, I'm afraid the MTB culture is getting dangerously ruled by the "if you can't afford it, then don't do it" motto. Some kid somewhere will bust is ass working for a bike he simply can't afford to maintain if he rides daily. A $200 cassette and a $70 chain every three or four months can lead him to prematurely giving up the sport, simply because he was told he wouldn't be able to perform up to his true limits unless he has all the flashy bits bike fashion dictates are en vogue now.

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chugbutton
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chugbutton  - June 3, 2015, 6:49 a.m.

Absolutely. If my insurance hadn't paid out when I broke my Slash, I probably wouldn't have got another bike. Too expensive now. And I'm in my 30s. How does a kid without rich parents get into this sport now?

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paul-watt
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Paul Watt  - June 3, 2015, 7:35 a.m.

Easy! You buy the bike the rich guy is selling a year and a half after he bought it for 25% of what he paid for it.

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chugbutton
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chugbutton  - June 3, 2015, 8:32 a.m.

True. 25% of a hell of a lot must still be quite a lot to a kid.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - June 3, 2015, 9:19 a.m.

Good comment, Luix. For the record, we have been testing lower-priced bikes in recent months, and many companies we speak to are keen to send them to us as well - so maybe that's a change you'll be able to appreciate. My current long term test platform is a Nomad, but right now it's running SRAM's new GX1 group - their new lower-priced 1x drivetrain. We're making an effort to test bikes and parts that cost less, but it's good to hear from readers that that's also something you want to see.

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slimshady76
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Luix  - June 3, 2015, 9:38 a.m.

Hey Pete, thanks for your answer. I noticed NSMB is almost the only website testing mid to lower class bikes, and I thank you guys for that. And since you want us to provide feedback, these pieces showing a critic view of the bike scene always catch my attention.

It's nice to see this great communication platform called internet serving more than serialized videos of "bros shredding the gnar", and helping us to debate what do we want or expect for the future of the sport. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my daily quote of rad videos, but I'm still more interested in the possibility of exchanging opinions with people in the other side of the world. And I believe you guys do us a fantastic favor by firing up a discussion via these little opinion pieces.

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t.odd  - June 3, 2015, 10:02 a.m.

I just received a 26″ Transition Suppressor with a mid range spec too to test for NSMB, so look for that coming soon too.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - June 3, 2015, 12:15 p.m.

Thanks for the feedback, Luix.

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simplicityofjoy
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Simplicityofjoy  - June 3, 2015, 2:33 a.m.

Thanks Seb, nicely written. I am not quite sure if this, lets call it a movement, hasn't in fact started already. I grew up riding bikes on hiking trails in Europe and when I got older, drove to a park twice a year. My trails had roots, rocks, steepness, exposure and they let me grow naturally. I progressed due to the nature of trails and what they wanted from me. Today, I live in Australia, many new trails are manicured, full of berms (berms are fun don't get me wrong) and many are built due to the need of catering for everyone. Funnily enough we had some new trails built in my area, technical ones due to being in a National Park where machines didn't get into and rocks weren't allowed to be taken away from and people (riders) started to complain that they are too hard. They are blue ones, if at all but some don't seem to realise that mountain biking is all about progression. There will always be trails that you are not comfortable to ride on the first time but thats what our sport is about, you grow on these trails, you get a better rider, you fall and get up again. The crowd you are talking about though seems to have a demand for trails that they can ride once a month without even trying something new. Many roadies come into the sport around here, nothing against them I own all kind of bikes, but they are often the type of cashed up guys the market seems to like so much. Riding ten grand bikes with squeaking chains (bike needs a service of course) and complaining about roll offs they can't ride or what I like even better, that they didn't expect to be there. Anyway, I'm staying positive, mountain biking needs passion and people that don't have it, will soon enough end up with ten grand bikes in their garage next to their golf clubs and the treadmill they never use.

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michael-miller-sr
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Michael Miller Sr.  - June 3, 2015, 10:17 a.m.

We (older guys) hate sanitation of the trails as much as the younger guys. Here in SoCal, the black diamond and double black diamond trails are the by far the most crowded ones. We ride the chunk and love it! Drops and gnarly tech riding are what most of look for (on our 10K bikes).

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naveed-nasir
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Naveed Nasir  - June 3, 2015, 1:56 a.m.

I read an article recently about the future of our sport and Santa Cruz bikes head engineer Joe Graney touched on this new demographic of older, more affluent and politically connected people.

It's not really something distant in the future, it's here and now. It's the gentrification of a sport that was started by a counter cultural movement which was the antithesis of a corporate mentality.

Hell, even Gangster rap got monetised by suits with an eye on making a buck, mountain biking is no different, when this new demographic gets bored of mountain biking and takes up hover boarding, then we will emerge from the underground to repeat the cycle.

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - June 3, 2015, 8:42 a.m.

Great comment Naveed!

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cleansooke
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cleanSooke  - June 3, 2015, 9:59 a.m.

Don't forget the ones who were into gangster rap when it came out are in their late 40's and early 50's now. Even some of the people who were getting into it were in their 30's when it came out are pushing late 60's now. You can still hear public enemy or nwa blaring from my car and I'm 50.

Don't think just because you're "old" you're tired and "safe". I know guys that charge on their mtb, surfboard, skis, snowboard, race cars etc and are way older than me.

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