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June 24, 2005


Chris Lesser

Devil's Advocate says:

All bellyaching aside, you can't blame Giant for trying to target that "punk downhiller" demographic. They're bike riders too, man. It's a huge market.

Run an ad of a DH'er off his bike curtseying right-of-way to some hikers. That's sell bikes.

"It's cool to appeal to young, aggro, freeriders and sponsor teenagers that throw bikes over cliffs." It's pretty cool to actually throw your bike off a cliff, transition smoothly and keep on bombing down the hill, too. That's what the ad is capturing, and pretty well I might add.

IMBA's stellar trailbuilding and advocacy efforts notwithstanding, let's not alienate one of the fastest growing and most exposure-getting demographic the bike industry has.

Was that ad shot at a pristine heavily trafficked single track or at a ski mountain? Either way, it's not an SUV. You said yourself it'd be fun to party with these guys. Cycling is a big tent, don't bogart the shade, man.

Jonathan Maus


Thanks for calling me out on this. I'm not trying to "Bogart the shade." Really. I promise. I'm a non-denominational bike lover. Just trying to point out that "punk downhillers" - regardless of the marketing opportunity they represent - pose a problem for mountain biking's image and our industry on the whole.

I don't think we should promote and glorify irresponsible trail use, even at risk of alienating an "exposure-getting demographic". I know it's hard for the industry to look at the extreme riding gravy train objectively, but I think our eagerness to promote this element of our sport is not a good thing.

Mountain bike parks are awesome. I'm all for them. But the reality is that not everyone can ride in them so they end up terrorizing their local trails and ruining it for the rest of us.

Here's a compromise. All mountain bike ads should include IMBA's "Rules of the Trail" symbol and/or a little message like "We strongly encourage responsible trail riding. Please consider riding in designated downhill areas only."

Back in Santa Barbara, we got donations to create stickers with the "Rules of the Trail" symbol on them and tried to get the local shops to put them on every new mountain bike they built.

This is something that should happen industry-wide.


Brother Jon...preach on...preach on!!! Amen!! Halleluiah!!!!


the bicycle culture is a diverse one....
for the DH crowd to get the "punk rock" label may be wrong..
"punk" as in "punk kid" but not as in "punk rock"
I know... I was once a "punk kid who listened to punk rock"
now I am an old man that likes his easy listening

the DH/Freeriding crowd does need an education...
actually.... we could all use a little education
DH/Freeriding crowd go wide one single track
they seek out obstacles that are off trail
when they find an obastacle they ride it, the jump it, they land it and create a barren wasteland

it is like grazing elephants...
nothing survives in their wake

there needs to be some education...
there needs to be a balance...

part of it is youth...
when I was young and punk I thought nothing of trail maintenance...
but now as an old man I try to think "bigger picture"

so often I encounter a freeriding posse (sp?) and they all go off trail to let me pass
I appreciate them letting me move through the XC sections of trail fast
please do not go off trail and kill the vegetation on my account
that would be bad for all of us... especially the plants

it blows my mind to see what these guys can do on their bikes
I am always pumped to see people who are pumped
I am all for those guys pushing the limits of the sport
we need to all keep in mind the effect of our actions

I agree with the idea of a SURGEON GENERAL'S style warning on ads
(snowboarding is sort of the same way.... riding rails... jibbing trash cans... all that stuff is frowned upon at the resorts.... but it appears in all the ads)


in the early 80's with my dyed hair and Doc Martens...
if someone asked if I was punk I would respond,
"no... I am post-punk... punk rock happoened in 1977"

that Blink 182 Mall Rat stuff...
is that punk?

is she punk?

bubble gum punk maybe... but clearly not punk rock


You sound like a whiny old school mt biker in florecent lycra to old to progress with the sport. Step aside and stick to your fireroads and singletrack a 10 year old can ride."Punk downhillers"? Musical preferance is one thing and downhilling is another. You sound jealous and bitter cuz you decend like your grandma and your to old to learn new skills. And if your thinking I'm bias, I'm not. I race downhill, xc, road, tri and off road tri. Downhillers arent stupid. They appreciate the use of trails and maintain them just like anyone else. Your just intimidated when they fly past you and make you feel inadequate cuz your a wuss and an over the hill weenie.

Road Dog

I crossed this forum while searching for a web page to Buy/Sell Mountain bikes… I have read all the commentary to date and hope that we the people who ride bikes can unit… In case some of you have not noticed there is a war raging against all bikers across this great country there are cities, counties and even State’s taking a negative stance to all cycling… I have been riding for a long time and have seen much change in my area pro and con in the Cycling world… I don’t believe that all the biking wows come from just the DH riders in general it’s more the “Jack Ass” who gets a bike or it could be a skate board, snow board or what ever the sport they are just a “Jack Ass” in society… We need to group, educate, and work out our differences quickly or the equestrian groups, environmental groups, and others who oppose cycling in general will get all trails closed… Don’t kid yourself they are organized have political powers to be and money to back their ideas on how the open lands of this country should be controlled…

Granted bike manufactures are possibly not using the best ad campaign but when money is the game responsibility may take a second seat… I too ride different types of bikes mountain bike, cross bike, single speed, and a road bike and you will find that same “Jack Ass” on any of these bikes pissing people off… Many motorist dislike roadies so when any measure or vote comes along about cycling it’s no wonder how they might vote…

So, boys and girls before we start shooting at each other look and see the real opposition and use your energies in a “positive” way to help promote our sport all segments of the cycling sport so we have trails to ride tomorrow…

Matthew  Burns

Downhillers are not "punks" at all it takes tremendous skill to ride what they ride. Just because they go balls out does not make them unaware of trail maintanence and etiquette. Have you ever seen the amount of time and planning that goes into downhill courses and features? And since when does "downhill" or "freeride" hurt trails??? Don't animals walk on vegetation? I know over the years I have had some bad crashes and fallen hard into plants and they seemed to live, so I don't understand how riding a bike kills forests. When was the last time you actually saw a fellow rider with a dh whip in full body armour riding xc trails? Jonathan I don't know where you ride but your fragile xc trails do not sound fun.

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Also I don't think that it is the most accuracy ad that I've ever heard. but you have to think that the catch phrase has to be short and simple.

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Its from the producers who want so desperately to cash in on the image they produce extreme riding slogans no different from what the manufacturers use to sell cars.

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