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Old 12-10-07, 08:40 PM   #1
patentcad
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Is there really a decline in MTB popularity? If so, why?

My LBS (Piermont Bicycle Connection, Piermont NY) tells me that MTB sales are soft, road bike sales strong, and this trend seems to increase slightly each year. Hmmm. I'm a long time Road Nazi, but I've always wanted a Ti MTB, so I'm trading my 1999 Jamis 853 Reynolds Dragon hardtail for a Bikes Direct Motobecane Fly Ti. Lots of good MTB riding within 5 miles of my home. The Piermont store is closer to Manhattan (I'm 50 miles away from NY City) so the MTB opportunities are more limited there, plus it's on the OCP Manhattan Road Bike Weenie trail to Nyack, with an endless stream of Road weenies passing through.

So don't blame me. I just purchased a new MTB @ age 50, and the motivation that will give me to explore all the singletrack around here intrigues me. I like the simplicity of a hardtail, and the zing and cushiness of Ti. Perfect setup for me. I'm not the kind of woods rider who's going to take big air @ 25mph. I go alone, I ride my own pace. Even when it's not on the trail I use the knobby tires whenever potential icy/snowy roads makes riding 700c road bike tires a bad idea (that's about 10-20x each winter around here). I've owned an MTB now (and ridden them in the woods on occasion, sometimes regularly) for about 20 years.

What's up with that? Is that an industry-wide trend, or just a phenomena particular to my LBS? My overall sense is that MTB riding isn't as popular as it was 12-18 years ago.

One of my favorite aspects of MTBs has always been the tech schwag factor. The coolest cycling crap is always on the MTB side. All road bikes today owe their geometries to MTBs which introduced sloping top tubes 20+ years ago. Off road cycling conditions provide an extreme proving ground for ELS (Expensive Lightweight S***).
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Old 12-10-07, 08:45 PM   #2
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maybe "soft sales" are misleading.

Seems like the MTB market is so divided between entry level, hardtail, full suspention, fully rigid, 29er, 69er etc. Sales are maybe just all over the place. I've seen plenty of new, nice mtb's cruising around on campus. Much more so than bike shop road bikes.
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Old 12-10-07, 08:55 PM   #3
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maybe "soft sales" are misleading.

Seems like the MTB market is so divided between entry level, hardtail, full suspention, fully rigid, 29er, 69er etc. Sales are maybe just all over the place. I've seen plenty of new, nice mtb's cruising around on campus. Much more so than bike shop road bikes.
It certainly is more diverse than 10 years ago. Amazingly so. I have friends who swear by dual suspension, single speed, 29ers, etc. I like a light hardtail with gears and 26" wheels.
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Old 12-10-07, 09:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Pete Fagerlin View Post
Some facts:

"Road bikes, which fell 4 percent in sales and units shipped, remains the dominant market category representing about a third of supplier sales. "

"Mountain bike sales are down 3 percent from last year. The category now generates only 35 percent of suppliers’ overall sales. Full-suspension bikes, which have been slowly climbing over the last few years, were up 17 percent."
That's contradictory. Road bikes are purported be the 'dominant market category' with 33.3% of sales ('a third' according to the cited source) while the MTB segment 'now generates only 35% of overall sales'.

Huh? Last time I checked 35 > 33.3.
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Old 12-10-07, 09:37 PM   #5
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Sales in most everything is down this year due to a
depressed economy.
So a 3-5% decline is not bad.
Many markets are down 10-30%.

I ride Road and Mtb, but my heart s in the Mt Bike.
The road bike is OK, but I can see the same asphalt and trash while in my car.
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Old 12-10-07, 09:47 PM   #6
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who cares?
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Old 12-10-07, 10:01 PM   #7
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I wonder (if there even is a significant decline) if it would have to do with fewer people buying mt bikes for non mountain biking purposes? Many people buying entry level hardtails would, frankly, be better suited with a hybrid for their riding down the local MUP a few times a month.
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Old 12-10-07, 10:02 PM   #8
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who cares?
+1. MY God rides a mountain bike, tho I do train some on the road.

One interesting thing, and who know what this means, if anything, is that of BF participants online, the ratio of MTB/Road is usually 1/4 or 1/5.
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Old 12-10-07, 10:42 PM   #9
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Fine with me. That would keep the trails uncluttered.
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Old 12-10-07, 10:47 PM   #10
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of BF participants online, the ratio of MTB/Road is usually 1/4 or 1/5.
the ratio is about 1/2 for mtn/foo.. scary isn't it.
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Old 12-10-07, 10:51 PM   #11
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I live in Montreal, Canada and my LBS owner claims his mtb bike sales were 10-15% down last year. His high end road bike sales were up.

I bought a Litespeed Pisgah last year and put 6,000km on it at age 64. Great hard tail.
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Old 12-10-07, 11:01 PM   #12
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the ratio is about 1/2 for mtn/foo.. scary isn't it.
I don't have time in my life to waste to go to Foo. I waste enough here. Does Foo mean fools?
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Old 12-10-07, 11:01 PM   #13
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Who cares about anything bicycle related besides us? And even some of us don't care. Silly bike weenies.

BF Apathy RULES.
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Old 12-11-07, 10:02 AM   #14
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It sure seems robust in MI. Granted, I don't own a bike shop so I can't contribute figures but the trails seem to be busier than ever. Maybe my scheduling is off from before and I'm hitting prime times now. I used to be able to go to a local trail and not see anyone. Now, I always see at least one person. Races are equally surprising. Many newbies coming out and trying it. That has to bode well for the sport.

Does this abstract evidence mean anything? Not really. It could just mean that more people are riding what they currently own not resulting in sales of bikes. Perhaps component purchases are up as people keep their current bikes and up grade bits and pieces. That may be the next question of the bike store; component sales for road v. mtb.

But of course, this leads to the other question that premised the first: do bike sales equal popularity? It seems once a bike is purchased, it is an asset that may be used at any time. Sure a bunch of us weenies like to upgrade and make a hobby out of it, but how many don’t.

It was also alluded to earlier, what of “hybrid” bike sales. This segment is probably increasing in sales, and was mentioned, may be more appropriate for a majority of prior mtb sales.

Oh, there I go again, pontificating and writing way too much.
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Old 12-11-07, 10:23 AM   #15
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Fine with me. That would keep the trails uncluttered.
exactly.

more dorks on the road and less on the trails. less damage to the trails, less garbage, less noise..........i can go on and on.....

I dont want the mountain bike sale to drop so much so that the incentive for new innovation would go down. cause that would be bad for the sport. but, I think fewer but more dedicated mountain biker would make the sport and the trails more enjoyable.
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Old 12-11-07, 10:42 AM   #16
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Seems to me there was, in North America, but trends are shifting?? I think G Fisher has it about right, even making allowances for obvious self/corporate interest:

http://www.cyclingnews.com/mtb.php?i.../gary_fisher07
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Old 12-11-07, 11:35 AM   #17
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Not here.
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Old 12-11-07, 12:39 PM   #18
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Not here.
+1 on that...and not just in Whistler/Van. A growing trend in BC more resorts open over the summer for lift-accessed gravity riding and these places (and other places) have great big mountain riding as well. BC Tourism is really helping with the push. Wish we could do the same thing here in Alberta but most of the ideal resorts are in a national park.
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Old 12-11-07, 01:22 PM   #19
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Not here.
Isn't Whistler the new Center of the MTB Universe?
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Old 12-11-07, 01:24 PM   #20
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Isn't Whistler the new Center of the MTB Universe?
If it's not ... it's close.

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Old 12-11-07, 01:56 PM   #21
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+1 on that...and not just in Whistler/Van. A growing trend in BC more resorts open over the summer for lift-accessed gravity riding and these places (and other places) have great big mountain riding as well. BC Tourism is really helping with the push. Wish we could do the same thing here in Alberta but most of the ideal resorts are in a national park.
Sorry, yes, by here I meant BC. In general every ski resort is, or is thinking, of using the whistler template to build a revenue stream in the summer. Its booming in every corner from dh to fr to xc to roadies. They modify the template accordingly and then rock out.

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Isn't Whistler the new Center of the MTB Universe?
Obviously a matter of opinion, but yes I believe it is. Its was more or less inevitable. With the way our insurance works, the legal system and how personal responsibility is viewed, resorts have more leeway to make full fledged resorts without the fear of being raped by dumbasses who can't stay upright on a bike.

That and almost everyone is an "athlete" per se.
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Old 12-11-07, 05:06 PM   #22
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+1 on that...and not just in Whistler/Van. A growing trend in BC more resorts open over the summer for lift-accessed gravity riding and these places (and other places) have great big mountain riding as well. BC Tourism is really helping with the push. Wish we could do the same thing here in Alberta but most of the ideal resorts are in a national park.
I would be so happy if there was some summer development on the AB side, but I don't see it happening. Nakiska flirted with the idea in the late 90's, but didn't follow through. Fernie has done a pretty good job using the Whistler model, but even this past summer they stopped doing trail maintenance on-hill. I understand that Red Mountain near Rossland is going to ramp up their on-hill riding significantly, which means I should just buy property there now.
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Old 12-11-07, 05:58 PM   #23
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Isn't Whistler the new Center of the MTB Universe?
Whistler is the center of the everything universe.

Sure hope what you're saying about Red Mtn. is true, pinkrobe. That's less than 3 hours from home (and only an hour more than Silver Mtn.)
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Old 12-11-07, 06:24 PM   #24
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I would be so happy if there was some summer development on the AB side, but I don't see it happening. Nakiska flirted with the idea in the late 90's, but didn't follow through.
Fortress has potential with the smaller scale operation and it may help them get going with their winter operations too.

I do environmental impact assessments for large-scale developments for a living...I should really look into the regulatory requirements/hurdles regarding summer operation of the resorts in Banff. If it is feasible, I don't see why the resorts wouldn't go for it. Plus, the riding at Sunshine would be amazing!

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Fernie has done a pretty good job using the Whistler model, but even this past summer they stopped doing trail maintenance on-hill. I understand that Red Mountain near Rossland is going to ramp up their on-hill riding significantly, which means I should just buy property there now.
Wasn't the IMBA at FAR for a day? I was pretty sure it was one weekend I was there this summer. I didn't notice a lack of on-hill trail maintenance but I wasn't there as much this year. I spent a lot more time at Kickinghorse and Mt. 7.
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