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Are Global DH Bikes Sales Falling?

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10/19/2020 8:12 PM

Over on the 2021 Team Rumors forum there is talk about how bike companies are selling very few DH Bikes worldwide on an annual basis. I'm very interested in this topic, but feel it is best to keep it separate from Team Rumors.

Someone mentions a company that only sold 500 DH bikes globally last year
Another said one brand sold 800.

I hope someone can get references for those claims, for validity's sake.

So are DH bike sales really falling? If so, why? And should we even care if they are?

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10/19/2020 8:39 PM

I think 500 is extremely low, likely 800 bikes for bigger company's maybe, but considering the amount of fresh new bikes I saw last year at Canadian champs and how many bikes whistler eats per year, 500 would only feed half of Canada. Rental fleets alone in BC would take up 200+ I'd estimate.

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10/19/2020 8:45 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 8:07 AM

I think the awnser to that question is yes which breaks my heart that the bike industry has convinced everyone that enduros are just as good! I love my DH bike and I love watching DH racing as it’s the pinnacle of our sport! Every rider needs to try a DH bike at least once, I hope they never die because a DH bike at a park or DH trail is an amazing thing!

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10/19/2020 9:23 PM

rockchomper wrote:

I think the awnser to that question is yes which breaks my heart that the bike industry has convinced everyone that enduros are just as good! I love my DH bike and I love watching DH racing as it’s the pinnacle of our sport! Every rider needs to try a DH bike at least once, I hope they never die because a DH bike at a park or DH trail is an amazing thing!

I agree 100%

While I don't live near a lift park, and none of my local trails require a DH bike, but my favorite trails to ride are more fun on my DH bike than my enduro bike. I feel like the industry has done such a good job of selling enduro bikes to the DH crowd, they have shot themselves in the foot for DH bike sales.

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10/20/2020 12:02 AM

Will we see more manufacturers moving to aluminium only?

-Mondraker is aluminium for 2021
-Specialized is aluminium only for now
-Commencal is anti carbon

From memory, they both cited ride quality & performance as the reasoning, but the cost of multiple molds will soon add up.

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10/20/2020 12:33 AM

Maybe the "DH is the formula one of MTB" isn't such a simplistic saying after all. After the grim donut video, I read a few comments saying brands should build up race specific one off bikes... Looking at those numbers it seems to almost be the case. A DH bike for the race team, a handful of enthusiasts and some rental shops (which always seem to be giant/scott in Europe).

Imagine if the EWS were able to put on a better live show to match UCI DH (which I don't see happening), barely any DH bikes would get sold.

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10/20/2020 1:17 AM

I live within 1.5 hours to Schladming, Leogang, Saalbach and other parks. I had downhill bikes since 2006 (and raced "downhill" back in the 90s on modified XC-bikes). But starting about 5 years ago almost all of my friends got rid of their downhill bikes. I'm 45 years old now - so not the typical downhill rider. But also much younger friends (like 30) sold their downhill bikes.

The parks and mountain bike regions wanted to bring more people to their parks and regions - not only the "hard core downhill biker". And they had to build tracks to combine the already existing tracks in their regions. And all these new tracks where made to suit beginners, too. So in my region there are maybe four tracks where I would definitely prefer a downhill bike. Maybe 8 where both enduro and downhill bike would be fine. But at least 15 where a downhill bike is just too much and less funny than an enduro bike. And when we drive a little further there are some enduro bike regions where a downhill bike would be completely wrong. Some also with very interesting "old school downhill tracks" which are nowadays perfect for enduro bikes. And as we come from this era we still like those tracks a lot.

On TV downhill is still very interesting and joyful to watch. (And recently I also like watching the XC races a lot). But it would be a huge effort to bring enduro racing to live TV. So I hope that downhill racing will stay an important tool for marketing and the brands keep investing in their downhill racing teams.

And actually, when looking at all this downhill racing on TV and thinking about the downhill tracks in Schladming or Leogang I'll really thinking about getting a downhill bike again.

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10/20/2020 2:35 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 2:37 AM

In Hafjell Norway they have a fleet of probably 150 DH bike for rental. They restock around every second year. So even to account for a small region as Norway, they must sell 50-75 DH bikes each year. So I would imagine that the numbers that float around is a bit small.

Edit: "They must sell", meaning the big brands. So total DH bike sold in Norway would be 50+

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10/20/2020 7:49 AM

I wonder if the same thing will happen to XC race bikes.

IMO the race categories (DH and XC) are getting so refined that they aren't the most fun for the non-racing rider. That said, the tech bits and racing is great right now. Even if you're an XC rider, the Stumpy EVO, Spur, Etc. is going to be a more fun and comfortable bike. Even the new Yeti ARC is probably too slack for the professional racer but is a great hardtail option for the average XC rider. For me, it's hard to push a DH bike to the limit or fully utilize the ended design for some of modern sleds. I simply can't push the bike that hard anymore which is why I am on an enduro bike now.

I could see some companies moving to AL for their DH bikes but from a marketing perspective the materials story of carbon (if that's what you are using elsewhere in your assortment) is an important story to tell via your race programs.

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10/20/2020 8:07 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 8:15 AM

MPH24 wrote:

I wonder if the same thing will happen to XC race bikes.

IMO the race categories (DH and XC) are getting so refined that they aren't the most fun for the non-racing rider. That said, the tech bits and racing is great right now. Even if you're an XC rider, the Stumpy EVO, Spur, Etc. is going to be a more fun and comfortable bike. Even the new Yeti ARC is probably too slack for the professional racer but is a great hardtail option for the average XC rider. For me, it's hard to push a DH bike to the limit or fully utilize the ended design for some of modern sleds. I simply can't push the bike that hard anymore which is why I am on an enduro bike now.

I could see some companies moving to AL for their DH bikes but from a marketing perspective the materials story of carbon (if that's what you are using elsewhere in your assortment) is an important story to tell via your race programs.

I wouldn't say racers are the only ones enjoying DH bikes, I quit racing as it stresses me out and cost alot. BUT! Even not racing I find my DH bike WAAAAAYYYY more fun than my enduro! I can get more laps on the DH bike, I can take lines I cant take on the enduro, Im more confident on the DH, Plowing through everything is super fun, it saves me from so mistakes that would have hospitalized me if I was on my enduro! I think fun is more up to who you ask not what your doing. I mean we know this is true because there are hardtail guys who swear by them based off of "fun". But im probably partial becuase I live within an hour of three bike parks and that famous trail you always see Gwin and other pros riding in edits is 40 minutes from my house. I hope that DH bikes dont Die, but if they do youll find me on a slacked out, dual crown, long travel enduro!

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10/20/2020 8:11 AM

Sir HC wrote:

Will we see more manufacturers moving to aluminium only?

-Mondraker is aluminium for 2021
-Specialized is aluminium only for now
-Commencal is anti carbon

From memory, they both cited ride quality & performance as the reasoning, but the cost of multiple molds will soon add up.

And much cheaper prototyping. Especially since many brands entirely outsource the engineering side of their carbon molds.

I think what’s driving the switch is a cheaper end product more than prototype investment. Brands can get a pretty long run out of a reasonably designed dh frame. But I’d guess the vast majority of dh sales are rental bikes and park rat teenagers (my buddy buys new bikes for his teens but is riding a old Jedi himself.). I don’t think that clientele necessarily wants to or can afford more for a little less weight.

I probably won’t ever have a dh bike tbh. My enduro bike is too capable and I’d probably get more out of a hardtail, dj, and a short travel trail bike than I would a dh bike because of where i live.

That said the dh bike is for me the most fun to ride by far. But I really only get to ride one maybe 10 times in a good year where I can ride my enduro bike everyday. I can even ride it from my house to the trailhead to the bar and back to my house. I’d have to be in a really different financial situation or live right next to a sweet bike park to ever justify buying a dh bike. And I’d have a Even harder time justifying spending more on one as opposed to less

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10/20/2020 8:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 8:52 AM

Something else to think about- if 1/2 of DH bikes are going to rental fleets- why do the renters have to deal with WC winning geometry?




How about this 'rental' spec DH bike with geometry more friendly for a family from Iowa to cruise the green runs on?


*66deg head angle with 0mm stem = same 'safe' distance behind the front wheel with less floppy steering at 7mph

*140mm cranks to never hit on the ground when you're coasting with 1 crank pointed straight down

*Single speed- geared to pedal from the rental shop to the lift and from the lift to the start of the trail. Focus on not crashing- don't worry about shifting.

*1 brake lever actuating both brakes- up to 60% front, 100% rear. 160 front rotor, 220 rear. Can't flip the bars- ever.

*seat and frame geo made to ride seated most of the time. Longer Chainstays? Steep STA?

*what else? built in selfie stick? cup holder for a starbucks?


haha you know this is the future of DH bikes!!!!




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10/20/2020 8:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 8:50 AM

I can't afford two bikes, so I bought one which I can pedal and also do 99% of what I'd ever want to do at the bike park. Could I go faster on a DH the one or two times a year that I make it to the lifts? Yes, but it's simply not worth the outlay. I would be willing to bet that there is an enormous number of people who have recently gotten into or re-entered the sport (myself included,) who are just like me.
EDIT: By comparison, I'd be willing to bet that the enduro bike has taken over a lot of the sales that would have once gone to a cheaper trail and a cheaper DH bike.

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10/20/2020 11:03 AM

Dave Camp, this will be a real product within 10 years. Including the built-in selfie stick.

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10/20/2020 11:29 AM

Yes, the numbers discussed are close. It's a difficult segment sales-wise. I have to imagine the number of top-end DH bikes going out the door at full margin is miniscule. But, I also think the market for $3-4k DH bikes will grow in coming years as bike park riding continues to expand and consumers seem to be moving towards mid-travel bikes for their daily-drivers.

Yes, enduro race bikes are getting really good at DH, but often at the expense of general usability.

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MRP - VP of Business Dev.

10/20/2020 11:51 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 12:11 PM

NoahColorado wrote:

Yes, the numbers discussed are close. It's a difficult segment sales-wise. I have to imagine the number of top-end DH bikes going out the door at full margin is miniscule. But, I also think the market for $3-4k DH bikes will grow in coming years as bike park riding continues to expand and consumers seem to be moving towards mid-travel bikes for their daily-drivers.

Yes, enduro race bikes are getting really good at DH, but often at the expense of general usability.

No one needs real #overthemountain #epicdayride usability..just a perceived one.

Also, a big shout to this forum's system; lost the best part of 40 minutes writing a reply with compeling(IMO) arguments pro and against dh bikes, future sales and future racing(references to the past(history of the sport), geos, diff articles on the subject).

Read it twice to be sure it is as good as I'm personaly capable from a syntax pov...then I clicked 'submit'...and the message "you have been atutomatically logged out" filled my phone screen and, at the same time, my heart with a big no. of effffffs!

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10/20/2020 11:52 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 11:59 AM

50 for all the brands? If the big brands sell 500 bikes per year and there are 10 brands like that, that's 5000 bikes already.

It's simple. Of course a trophy truck will be better at Baja 1000 than an F-150 Raptor. Or a Subbie Outback. But on the school run and going to vacation? And doing the grocery runs? People don't use trophy trucks for that. A weird analogy where the trophy truck is the DH bike and the Outback is a trail bike. For the majority of people it's enough, even if they sometimes beat the crap out of it off road (occasional park visit). And trust me, they can take some abuse and be fun as hell doing it! smile (not as fun and insane as doing buck fifty over huge holes in a trophy truck, I grant you that, but for something that takes you to work the next day - if you don't kill the clutch drifting in the snow - it's damn good fun!)

But yeah, make custom bikes and sell them off as a limited edition for a high price, numbered even. I think it should do even more for the marketing that what is done currently. And for the people that still want a DH bike? Do a park/DH bike that's maybe even a bit cheaper. That would kill off the grassroots scene though, so it's a double edged sword...

Just to add, I've actually never ridden a DH bike and am told (and I believe) that they are much different to enduro bikes. Which is logical. But like most people it just makes zero sense to even look at one and I'm too lazy to go through the faff of renting one, when I can do the bikeparks I actually like riding with my 150 mm trail bike. I don't do jumps, I'm not much of a fan of berms, so what would I gain with a DH bike? In the rough stuff I'll be a bit slower and that's it? On the other hand I do probably 70 % of the rides starting from home, pedalling all the way to the uphill, up and down and then back home again.

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10/20/2020 12:04 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 12:16 PM

our 2020 audience survey data (over 10k participants - thanks to all who took part!) - e-bikes up 8.2% from 2014, DH bikes down about 10% from 2014. same riders switching genres?
https://www.vitalmtb.com/features/10-000-Mountain-Bikers-Respond-2020-Vital-MTB-Survey-Results,2946

Photo
Photo

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10/20/2020 12:51 PM

also what i think is going to happen is that more and more enduro/freeride bikes will be able to be ridden with a dual crown fork (like the new norco shore or the capra). with 20mm more travel they have similar axel to crown length, so this should be possible without messing up the geo. would be nice for a day at the park and the rough stuff. AND way cheaper than a full bike

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10/20/2020 12:52 PM

Eoin wrote:

Maybe the "DH is the formula one of MTB" isn't such a simplistic saying after all. After the grim donut video, I read a few comments saying brands should build up race specific one off bikes... Looking at those numbers it seems to almost be the case. A DH bike for the race team, a handful of enthusiasts and some rental shops (which always seem to be giant/scott in Europe).

Imagine if the EWS were able to put on a better live show to match UCI DH (which I don't see happening), barely any DH bikes would get sold.

UCI rules don’t allow for non production, one off bikes

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10/20/2020 1:06 PM

dh racing should be like Photo
Alternatively, they should race 180mm (maybe dc-ed)enduro bikes and call it a day!

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10/20/2020 1:15 PM

I have a feeling we are going to see a huge drop in all bike sales next year. This year the bike industry had a huge spike in bike sales 90% of which were are beginners who I am guessing wont stick with the sport very long. I think some of them will stay leading to and overall growth of our sport but if I had to guess, out of those 90% i'd guess only 25% stick with it. I love DH and I love my DH! I don't mind the industry pushing enduro's as its the right choice for most people I just really wish the industry would quit lying to people and saying enduro's are just as good as DH bikes because your comparing two objects with different jobs (apples and oranges)

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10/20/2020 1:28 PM

The issue for 2021 is that there are apparently no components in stock to build bikes, so even if people want to buy them, none can be made and sold.

As for bikes, yeah, more of the upper 'monstrosity'. As for non-production bikes, like I said, make and sell 20 frames and call it a day tongue It0ll be exclusive, expensive and will have a big marketing reach. Everybody would drool over the 5 Honda RN-01s sold, if they sold 5 bikes.

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10/20/2020 2:04 PM

Another problem with the tendency towards enduro: where should the future downhill rookies come from? A few years ago when the first enduro race series started here in Germany and Austria there was almost no one in Austria who wanted to organize national downhill races. The big parks surely not as they don't want to loose two days of ticket sales when they have to close half of the park. And the effort is not worth it for max. 100 downhill racers. So how should the youngsters learn how to ride when they only ride their enduro bikes on flow trails on sunny days.

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10/20/2020 2:31 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 2:32 PM

rockchomper wrote:

I have a feeling we are going to see a huge drop in all bike sales next year. This year the bike industry had a huge spike in bike sales 90% of which were are beginners who I am guessing wont stick with the sport very long. I think some of them will stay leading to and overall growth of our sport but if I had to guess, out of those 90% i'd guess only 25% stick with it. I love DH and I love my DH! I don't mind the industry pushing enduro's as its the right choice for most people I just really wish the industry would quit lying to people and saying enduro's are just as good as DH bikes because your comparing two objects with different jobs (apples and oranges)

Why do you believe that?, considering similar geo, 20mm of travel makes almost to no difference.
And no, the enduro bike is not a bike with 150-160mm..no, that is either an agressive trail bike or a enduro type racing bike - racers have other requirements than us, the mere mortals -
For me, an enduro bike is 170-180mm, enough travel for the park, big wheels for going fast, slack&low geo for going even faster.
I have a pretty similar geo on my actual trail bike(29er 130-150), to my former 2016 enduro bike(27.5 160-170); I'm older and weaker but the speed is the same.
Apply this to DH and current big enduro bikes. 63s HAs, WBs bigger than most of 2019 dh bikes, 20mm less travel. Do you really think there is a difference?, with a sc, maybe there is, maybe there isn't; the whole ideea is, geometry dictates the speed and the capability of a bike, not 20mm of extra travel.

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10/20/2020 2:40 PM

The analogy between Formula1 and DH is interesting because a lot of common sportscars benefit from the developments and engineering that went into F1 and other top-level motorsports. I mean, Mercedes does only produce only a dozen of F1 power units per year yet puts hundreds of millions into it.
I don't mind low sales for DH bikes if they are used as a platform to experiment and allow riders like Bruni and Hart's to push the limits of what can be achieved into a bike.

IF (!) it can actually be trickled down...

I miss DH bike but I know I will never find the terrain nor have the skills to fully exploit it... Nothing replace à DC fork though.

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10/20/2020 2:48 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/20/2020 2:49 PM

rockchomper wrote:

I have a feeling we are going to see a huge drop in all bike sales next year. This year the bike industry had a huge spike in bike sales 90% of which were are beginners who I am guessing wont stick with the sport very long. I think some of them will stay leading to and overall growth of our sport but if I had to guess, out of those 90% i'd guess only 25% stick with it. I love DH and I love my DH! I don't mind the industry pushing enduro's as its the right choice for most people I just really wish the industry would quit lying to people and saying enduro's are just as good as DH bikes because your comparing two objects with different jobs (apples and oranges)

EugenM wrote:

Why do you believe that?, considering similar geo, 20mm of travel makes almost to no difference.
And no, the enduro bike is not a bike with 150-160mm..no, that is either an agressive trail bike or a enduro type racing bike - racers have other requirements than us, the mere mortals -
For me, an enduro bike is 170-180mm, enough travel for the park, big wheels for going fast, slack&low geo for going even faster.
I have a pretty similar geo on my actual trail bike(29er 130-150), to my former 2016 enduro bike(27.5 160-170); I'm older and weaker but the speed is the same.
Apply this to DH and current big enduro bikes. 63s HAs, WBs bigger than most of 2019 dh bikes, 20mm less travel. Do you really think there is a difference?, with a sc, maybe there is, maybe there isn't; the whole ideea is, geometry dictates the speed and the capability of a bike, not 20mm of extra travel.

Just realized the perfect example.

Propain Spindrift with Zeb fork. 190-180mm bike(could just as well be 180-180), loong(but not that long, maybe with the long pos CS), low, best served in a mullet form. Now really, how much slower do you think you'd be on such a bike?, or how much faster on a dh bike?

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10/20/2020 2:59 PM

As someone who has been fortunate enough to ride and own multiple DH bike over the last 15 years, I hate to see them fade into the background. Although it makes sense, as most people may only own one or two bikes and to have one that is relatively dedicated to summer chair lift season may be tough to justify.

I've owned some pretty sweet current model 170mm enduro bikes but nothing beats a triple clamp fork with 200mm of travel at both ends when the "true" DH terrain is in front of you. Three times I've sold the DH bike and said a new enduro will fill the void. It never works! I just end up with another one down the road.

With bike parks catering to the new school flow and jump lines, and trying to attract a wider audience, the need for DH bikes is clearly less. But for those of us who are fortunate enough to own them, you'll have a hard time convincing us that an enduro bike is "good enough" when the going gets rough!

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10/20/2020 3:05 PM

EugenM wrote:

Just realized the perfect example.

Propain Spindrift with Zeb fork. 190-180mm bike(could just as well be 180-180), loong(but not that long, maybe with the long pos CS), low, best served in a mullet form. Now really, how much slower do you think you'd be on such a bike?, or how much faster on a dh bike?

How much faster do you think you would be on the Propain Spindrift (190/180) compare to the Propain Tyee (170/160)?

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10/20/2020 3:09 PM

Twowheelneal wrote:

As someone who has been fortunate enough to ride and own multiple DH bike over the last 15 years, I hate to see them fade into the background. Although it makes sense, as most people may only own one or two bikes and to have one that is relatively dedicated to summer chair lift season may be tough to justify.

I've owned some pretty sweet current model 170mm enduro bikes but nothing beats a triple clamp fork with 200mm of travel at both ends when the "true" DH terrain is in front of you. Three times I've sold the DH bike and said a new enduro will fill the void. It never works! I just end up with another one down the road.

With bike parks catering to the new school flow and jump lines, and trying to attract a wider audience, the need for DH bikes is clearly less. But for those of us who are fortunate enough to own them, you'll have a hard time convincing us that an enduro bike is "good enough" when the going gets rough!

Are bike parks getting rid of their rough trails to build new flow trails?

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