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Oct. 4, 2016, 1:30 a.m. -  Bagheera

#!markdown This article confuses me, and I’m not sure it’s my lack of English causing the confusion. First off: I like the way Amanda Batty has of putting things, and I usually agree with her. If I don’t, well, shucks. Now to the point: 1) Is grassroots racing really the same as this „brand ambassadorship“ everybody got their chamois in a twist about? This guy is racing, at a respectable level. You need a racing scene for talent to be able to emerge, no-one is going to organize a race for the top-ten riders alone (stuff like RedBull Hardline being the exception). So, if he gets a deal on a bike, does that really undercut the pro athletes? He’s no teenager scraping together funds for a bike, but still, DH racing is expensive. Plus, the deal he describes is nothing huge. 2) I’m pretty sure Richie Rude could have won the EWS on a Reign, a Nomad or an Enduro, just as Danny Hart could have been world champion on a Glory, a V10, a Session or a Demo. So their wins prove the bike is capable, not much more. Now if some fast guy at a race (or on the trail) who still has to pay for his bike explains to me why he has chosen exactly this bike, and maybe even lets me take a spin/exchange bikes for a lap, i twill influence my decision which bike to buy a lot more. Yeah, I like the Syndicate, but I also like the fact that SC sponsors some local riders, and they’re far more likely to influence me than Steve Peat. And yes, I’m sure the Syndicate is way more important for the development of bikes and our sport than these locals. But can’t both have their merit ? But, to get back to point one, I’m convinced the « grassroots sponsorship » is not quite the same as the « sports ambassadorship », though there is some overlap. Side note: Bike guides: If a guy (or gal) has shown me awesome trails all day long and handed me my a** while doing so, I’ll listen when he/she speaks favorably about his/her bike, especially since these bikes usually work hard ond don’t get racer-level TLC. So, yes, it makes sense for companies to give them deals on bikes. These are hard-working people, and quite a few racers support themselves by working as guides.

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