Mountain Biking is Funny

Mountain biking is funny.

It had been a long day of digging at the Red Bull Rampage a few memorable years ago. Myself and a few others were cooling our heels as I shared the ongoing saga of Sensus and Ergon. Rachel Strait, wife of Mr. Meaty Paw, chimed in, “You guys are bullies. What’s the deal with that?”

My reply was sincere but just as immature as my intentions, “They started it.”

For context, we need to rewind some years back to the second coming of my days as a downhill racer. Signed on to the Northstar local team, it was my duty to attend the full race series, plus a few more, in the name of promoting Vail and all the sponsors. One day, as I sat in a blaring white kit, the shorts too long for my legs and the helmet that could have been a co-lab between TapOut and the Metal Mulisha, it dawned on me: I’m a high school teacher in my 30s. Why am I doing this? The only thing on my bike that wasn't sponsor-related and that I actually used by choice were my Sensus Swayze grips.

I tossed this idea at Cam Zink, owner of Sensus: let me push these grips to the masses. Let’s take these boxes out of your garage and out to the resort. He thought it was awesome, and in no time I was hustling his excess TLD gear and grips out the back of my 1991 Volvo 240 station wagon. Instagram started catching on around then, so I started an account. What started as “Sensus Agent,” soon became the Sensus Grips account of today and we started pushing the platform. The account slowly grew and became a handy tool for promoting Cam’s burgeoning brand. A handful of years down the line, Ray Syron joined the team and brought a “team mascot” element to the office. A million ideas a minute pouring out of his head and mouth, I grabbed a few of them as they floated by. The challenge: how does one market the brand without, ”marketing” it.

Ergon didn’t get that memo. Just a few years prior, they had released an enduro-specific grip. In their defense, they were just jumping the same enduro shark as they rest of the industry. Not too different to the other e-word we all seem to be so mad about. The stage racing format had become a marketing buzz, giving way to a plethora of enduro-specific products and plethora of *retired* pros coming back to focus on the discipline. The format, the racing, the hype and the marketing made such an impact that you can regularly hear riders referring to “enduro trails,” or “riding enduro,” even though it's really just good, old fashioned XC riding (pedaling up and ripping down). In the deepest throes of the rise of enduro, hearing about an "enduro grip" was the breaking point. I was with Sensus, we were in the grip industry, and it was the job, no, the duty, of Sensus to call the hard-working German folks to task.

We started with some basic put-downs: “Jorie Lunn doesn’t ride Ergon because he’s not a nerd.”

That little social media post some two-and-a-half years ago, inspired a rash of comments, mostly laughing. A few, however, were rather sore, insulted, about the post. With that, we knew we had a winner: somewhere in the gutter. In the months to follow we would fire off the occasional shot over Ergon's Instagram bow and perhaps slap a few Sensus stickers on their Sprinter vans at events. We even began to hear back that we had Ergon’s attention. They were confused, and strangely enough, not super impressed. Go figure.

Egron would however, get the last laugh on Sensus.

The latest run of their seats now feature a new slogan embossed on the underside, “Designed by Nerds.” Touché Ergon. Well played. Like I said, mountain biking is funny. -B.Radly

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