Why do intermediates ride? Why are we interested in mountain biking? What are our concerns? Do we care about racing which is about 90% of the marketing in the MTB industry?
I’ve been in many hundreds of conversations out on the trails with intermediate riders. The following list seems to be what most intermediates want from mountain biking:
- Exploration and adventure on scenic trails.
- Improved health and calorie burn.
- Safety and control at relatively slow speeds on technical trails.
- Fun and satisfaction as the bike makes it easier to achieve higher technical skills.
- Comfort for longer rides.
- Highly reliable components and less maintenance or break-downs.
- Pride of ownership and brand status among peers.
The numbers are only for a count and are not a ranking. The importance of each value proposition varies by individual.
Notice that I don’t include racing. The MTB industry infatuation with racing is not important to maybe 80% of the riders. It is probably hurting the industry a lot by distracting marketing from what is important. Imagine of 90% of car marketing showed racing scenes when the vast majority of car buyers aren’t interested.
What if the bike and component companies designed their products for the average user, who in MTB are intermediates? Would the products be better for intermediates? Would they be a better fit with the benefits we seek? Notice that the car industry doesn’t give us racing hand-me-downs. They design products for the average customer, along with premium cars for those who want them. They keep the whole racing thing almost separate.
I don’t know the answers but I suspect that the mountain bike industry doesn’t either. Otherwise why would they post endless clips on Facebook and other media of their bikes being used by top racers? Why so little posted about what we care about?