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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many of you, I'm sure, know about the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) booting UCI out of the Tour and their desire to start a new international cycling body. For those that don't research the Tour de France power struggle and you'll get all the info you need. They've stated interest (and have gotten positive responses) in taking over The Tour of California, The Giro d'Italia, the Veulta Espanol and a number of other major road bike races. They believe that they can regulate road biking more effectively. I'm inclined to agree with them. They are making no secret of their intentions of taking over most of the big UCI road races. Everyone knows that these races are the biggest source of income for UCI. I'm not sure how much if any of that money makes it's way into the mountain biking and bmx racing programs. If it's a significant amount then this could deal a huge blow to UCI mtb and bmx programs. I could also see significant members of the power structure of UCI jumping ship when they lose control of some big road races. So how do you guys think this craziness is going to affect international mountain biking?
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I don't think my biking is going to be affected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jayem said:
I don't think my biking is going to be affected.
If it takes a significant amount of money out of the sport and, thus, begins a decline cycle in the sport I believe it very well could. If the number of new riders, new riding spots, and total sales of high end bikes begins to decline it could affect everyone's riding. That's why I was curious to hear other people's take on it.
 

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Mr. Blonde said:
If it takes a significant amount of money out of the sport and, thus, begins a decline cycle in the sport I believe it very well could. If the number of new riders, new riding spots, and total sales of high end bikes begins to decline it could affect everyone's riding. That's why I was curious to hear other people's take on it.
No, I'd argue that this racing crap turns away far more people from the sport, because those involved with racing believe that "you have to race" if you mountain bike or if you're serious about mountain biking and being competative. Screw racing. Screw how shops and people tried to emmulate all those XC racers with their little ill-suited-for-off-road bikes and the entire genre of XC racing.

You're right that racing may be affected...but I don't care about that nor do I think it's nearly as big a deal as you're making it out to be. People will always race and there will always be races, but pushing the issue turns people away from the sport IMO.
 

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wanna dance?
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UCI sucks. Good riddance.

Maybe then we'll finally be able to build some safer, better performing cyclocross bikes, & see some real innovation in the road & track disciplines.
 
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HotBlack said:
UCI sucks. Good riddance.

Maybe then we'll finally be able to build some safer, better performing cyclocross bikes, & see some real innovation in the road & track disciplines.
hey hot black, please expound on "safer, better performing cyclocross bikes".

i just recently bought a 'cross bike and the braking leaves much to be desired...
 

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Jayem said:
No, I'd argue that this racing crap turns away far more people from the sport, because those involved with racing believe that "you have to race" if you mountain bike or if you're serious about mountain biking and being competative. Screw racing. Screw how shops and people tried to emmulate all those XC racers with their little ill-suited-for-off-road bikes and the entire genre of XC racing.
+1

Racing can be intimidating, especially to those who just want to ride the bike. Plus, the emphasis on racing, I think, leads many to end up on bikes that are not ideally-suited to their physique and riding style.

Mikeb: I believe the issue with UCI and brakes is that the UCI specifically does not allow disc brakes on cyclocross bikes. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
JonathanGennick said:
+1

Racing can be intimidating, especially to those who just want to ride the bike. Plus, the emphasis on racing, I think, leads many to end up on bikes that are not ideally-suited to their physique and riding style.

Mikeb: I believe the issue with UCI and brakes is that the UCI specifically does not allow disc brakes on cyclocross bikes. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on that.
Yall are missing the point. It has nothing to do with racing. Racing is the biggest source of publicity and one of the biggest sources of income in cycling. When you tell an average person that you're really into mountain biking what do they often ask? "Do you race?" Without a certain amount of publicity and money growth slows and the sport loses it's footing a lot of places. Less resorts can justify a summer bike program. There are less local events. High end bike sales decrease and subsequently prices go up. I thought someone would have a decent response here but apparently there's a lot of uninformed people here.
 

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Mr. Blonde said:
...Racing is the biggest source of publicity and one of the biggest sources of income in cycling.
I don't know those assertions to be true. Perhaps they are. Perhaps they aren't. I have no proof either way. Without proof, or at least strong evidence, I have to keep an open mind as to the basis for your subsequent argument.

It is true, I think, that racing is one way -- but not the only way! -- to raise the profile of mountain-biking. I've seen that first-hand. A club formed a few years ago in my town around the idea of holding a once-a-year race. And I've observed that politicians and business people, and other influential people seem to be more aware of biking as a sport than perhaps they used to be.

But is that race-oriented publicity really all that good or important for those of us who don't race? Does it give people a skewed impression of bikers and what we want? Are there better ways to raise the profile of mountain-biking? Isn't the fact that you believe that a problem in the race world will somehow affect my enjoyment of biking indicative of the same sort of skewed impression? Do I need to somehow promote racing even though I don't like to race, just so that I can have a bike to ride and a trail to ride on?

I guess at the end of the day, I just don't find it in myself to care. I've barely heard of the UCI. I've never heard of the ASO. I'm certainly in no position to influence either organization. There's no sense in worrying about what I can't change.
 

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I don't agree with you Jayem. People come to sport just because of racing. Maybe not that they will race on their own, but because sport got popular. And only way to get sport popular is through races. Cycling in general is not really all that popular, and mtb is even worse, but if you look at average, there's more people riding xc bikes or road bikes then heavy FR bikes. I'm not saying I'm right about this, but I'm pretty sure TV coverage of road and xc races have something with it. People identify with racers they see on screen, and even if they don't race themself, they go out to be like those guys.
So racing is basic of all this. If racing would be gone, percentage of cyclists would go down. You might say it's cool, because trails will be more empty, but it's not as easy as this. There won't be any development anymore in bike industry, bikes will be harder to get, LBS will be much more rare, and on the end, prices will go far up, because they will need to get money back. And now they get it with selling X bikes, then they would need to get it with selling 1/10th of X bikes.
But there's also another point... once you have more contact with UCI, you start to wonder if they are serious or not. They actually do act like they don't care for cycling, for racing, for non-racing... it feels like they are there to get their salaries and that's only thing they care about.
 

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First, let's put it out there:
Who's better known -- Lance Armstrong or Wade Simmons/Richie Schley/Ned Overend?
So much for racing not being an attractant.

Now, to the real question....
UCI/ASO will only affect PRO MT. BIKE RACERS, not the rank-and-file, everyday shredders who get out there for other reasons than money. The only INDIRECT effect this has had is that I don't watch the Tour anymore. The UCI/ASO catfight is half the reason; Operation Puerto is the other half -- WADA/USADA has gone witch-hunting due to that. No fun, no more.

But I still ride every day -- for my own passion.
 

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primoz said:
...There won't be any development anymore in bike industry...
Not quite.

99.999% of the time, racing has nothing to do with developing new or existing products. I know we've all been saying "Race-tested", for decades, but here's a little secret... it doesn't mean anything. The truth is, products are tested in labs, not on race courses. By the time a racer goes out and rides one of our new bikes, it's done. No company in their right mind is going to send a winning racer out on an unproven bike. It's dangerous, and you stand to lose far more in reputation when it fails than you gain when it doesn't.

The only input racers have on new products is "I like this" or "I don't like that". Usually, we nod our heads, but the truth is, their opinion matters little. Most of the time, these details are entirely down to personal preference, most of the time, there are very good reasons that designs are the way they are, and most of the time, we've already asked a hundred average joe test riders what they think, and their opinion is what matters, as it is they who we are selling to, not the racing elite. 99.999% of the time, racers get whatever R&D happens to be making, like the market does a few months later.

Cyclocross bikes and racing is limited in no small way by the ineffective braking of vantage-style brakes. Many mfg's have been petitioning UCI for years to try to get them to drop the ban on disc brakes, to no avail. Racing without brakes is unsafe, and makes everyone ride on the edge of control. Very dangerous, and very stupid. And before anyone jumps off on the tangent, yes, discs can be made both light and to be quick in a wheel change. Then there are about a million little rules about everything from front center dimensions to how far lugs can reach down frame tubing, etc... it's entirely restricting to innovation and better performing bikes, essentially in an effort to keep bike racing "looking" how the board thinks it should look.

There are brilliant designs on the shelves of most MFG's, waiting quietly for a day when a high-end bike that isn't UCI legal will sell. I have no idea if the new organization will have any bearing on this, but I like to think so. Then again, I've sworn off road completely, so what do I care?
 

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Facts, please....

Mr. Blonde said:
Yall are missing the point. It has nothing to do with racing. Racing is the biggest source of publicity and one of the biggest sources of income in cycling. When you tell an average person that you're really into mountain biking what do they often ask? "Do you race?" Without a certain amount of publicity and money growth slows and the sport loses it's footing a lot of places. Less resorts can justify a summer bike program. There are less local events. High end bike sales decrease and subsequently prices go up. I thought someone would have a decent response here but apparently there's a lot of uninformed people here.
Racing is the biggest source of publicity and one of the biggest sources of income in cycling? I'd love to see your facts on that. I'm not sure how racing generates income for cycling. I suggest that Walmart generates massively more income selling bikes than racing generates. I could be wrong, of course. The only real publicity that I observed coming from racing was when Lance was in the Tour. And of course Floyd being busted because it was covered on Sports Center. But hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?

You're speaking in specific generalities. When I tell an average person that I'm really in to mountain biking, they've never asked whether I race. Most of the time, I'm asked "where do you mountain bike in Kansas City. There's no mountains within 10 hours of here." Racing doesn't come up. Riding on trails does.

It's been a while since I picked up a magazine other than Dirt Rag, but I don't recall race results being posted in them. I couldn't tell you where to go to get race results (USA cycling.com?) . I couldn't tell you who races for whom.

A vast majority of people who ride bikes don't know or care about racing. The minority that do race do so locally and compete against local studs or the occasional pro that happens to live within a proximity of the race venue. Those people may follow racing at the UCI level. A small majority actually follow the UCI sanctioned events, especially in the United States. Unless it's a *ball sport or golf, there's not a large interest.
 
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ken in KC, i used to do a radio show at a small station in san francisco during the mid to late nineties.

at one time, i was actually able to talk to somebody at USA cycling on the telephone in regards to faxing me race results for me to bore my audience with on a regular basis. whoever it was faxed me one or two pieces of paper i could hardly read and that was it.

i don't remember what exactly i was told when i called USA cycling back, but i do recall the attitude of indifference.

the san francisco chronicle usually prints a nice article about the sea otter clasic a few days before the event but there are no follow up stories the monday after not even xc pro race results in the sports page. is there anybody working for NORBA or USA cycling responsible for geting those results to newspapers like the chronicle?

probably not.

i guess what i'm trying to say here is that unless our sanctioning body gets the word out to the general public about the events, nobody but hard core riders and racers are going to care about mountain bike racing.

that's my two cents based on my experience.
 

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I guess everyone's experience varies. On EVERY occasion that I've talked about mountain biking the question of racing comes up. When a focus on racing left Ft Hood, so did the club and most all activities.

Ken in KC said:
Racing is the biggest source of publicity and one of the biggest sources of income in cycling? I'd love to see your facts on that. I'm not sure how racing generates income for cycling. I suggest that Walmart generates massively more income selling bikes than racing generates. I could be wrong, of course. The only real publicity that I observed coming from racing was when Lance was in the Tour. And of course Floyd being busted because it was covered on Sports Center. But hey, all publicity is good publicity, right?

You're speaking in specific generalities. When I tell an average person that I'm really in to mountain biking, they've never asked whether I race. Most of the time, I'm asked "where do you mountain bike in Kansas City. There's no mountains within 10 hours of here." Racing doesn't come up. Riding on trails does.

It's been a while since I picked up a magazine other than Dirt Rag, but I don't recall race results being posted in them. I couldn't tell you where to go to get race results (USA cycling.com?) . I couldn't tell you who races for whom.

A vast majority of people who ride bikes don't know or care about racing. The minority that do race do so locally and compete against local studs or the occasional pro that happens to live within a proximity of the race venue. Those people may follow racing at the UCI level. A small majority actually follow the UCI sanctioned events, especially in the United States. Unless it's a *ball sport or golf, there's not a large interest.
 

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I know development is done in labs not on races. But reason why there is development are racers and races. Do you think we would see all those carbon and titanium bikes, if they wouldn't be done for racers? Do you think we would get electronic derailleurs, if they wouldn't be done for racers in first place? Ok with this one, it's still not out for public yet, but Shimano is promising them in next year or two, if I remember this right. And if we stay with mtb, do you think we would get 1.2kg forks, if they wouldn't be done for racers in first place.
Things get developed in lab, but in first place for use on races. Only after that, they get into distribution for normal people.
PS: I know those stickers "race tested" are just that... stickers, which has nothing to do with reality. But because of that, people are ready to pay more for same product :)
 

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mikeb said:
i guess what i'm trying to say here is that unless our sanctioning body gets the word out to the general public about the events, nobody but hard core riders and racers are going to care about mountain bike racing.
Uhh, even if you got the word out about events, I still wouldn't give a rats a$$ about racing. Why do I care about a bunch of riders fighting for pole position with eachother on a trail? I'd rather go ride somewhere else.
 
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Jayem said:
Uhh, even if you got the word out about events, I still wouldn't give a rats a$$ about racing. Why do I care about a bunch of riders fighting for pole position with eachother on a trail? I'd rather go ride somewhere else.
FYI, i have not raced since 2000 and will highly likely never race again.

i feel the same way about it now as you do.:thumbsup:

i was just relating my experiences and opinions.
 

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primoz said:
But reason why there is development are racers and races. Do you think we would see all those carbon and titanium bikes, if they wouldn't be done for racers? Do you think we would get electronic derailleurs, if they wouldn't be done for racers in first place?
Nope. We make lighter, stiffer, stronger, smoother, longer travel, etc... because if we can, and don't, somone else who can will. We make more and better gear every year because of competition amongst other manufacturers, not amongst racers. We want to have the flashiest, lightest, stiffest, blah blah blah, because that is what sells. As long as people keep buying the products we make every year, we'll keep making them bigger and badder. Racing is as critical to this as drinking beer and playing horseshoes across a campfire, which is to say, it gives a particular group of consumers a reason to buy the stuff, but that's about the end of its usefulness. Racing is all about marketing, not product.
 

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If the ASO can do a better job.. get more interest.. and eventually boot the UCI then who should worry. In the end there will still be high end races.. and trickle down technology.

I do wonder if the ASO could do a better job..
 
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