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Fashion Over Function in Downhill Mountain Biking?

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2/7/2010 9:34 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/7/2010 9:40 AM

Hi Guys

Can anyone who has an interest in downhill mountainbiking to please help me out by filling in the questionaire at the following link.

Please be as honest as you can be when answering the questions.




2/7/2010 3:27 PM

Just did mine. I hate skinsuits and think it does nothing for the image of mountain biking. I also think that lycra should be banned from XC - some nice riding shorts and a jersey would be much better. We aren't roadies and we need an image all to ourselves.... do you think surfing would be as cool as it is if they stuck to wearing speedo's???


2/7/2010 5:32 PM

daymz: i really hope that you are joking. i really, really hope you are joking.


2/7/2010 5:39 PM

not joking at all. Maybe about the jersey stuff for XC but hate skins suits and hate MTBers lookng like roadies.


2/7/2010 6:46 PM

The ONLY reason to wear anything other than Lycra while riding is because you are concerned about the way you look. If you are competing at a high level, should you really be that shallow?


2/7/2010 7:15 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/4/2011 5:10 PM

^Or because it is comfortable? The only reason you find riding in spandex comfortable and practical is because that is how you have been brought up. If you take a random guy off the street for instance and put him on a bike with the [a]clothes on his back, [b]a nice set of casual and breathable riding shorts and shirt, or [c]a full set of tight spandex, he is going to be most comfortable in [b]!

And YES if you are competing at a high (pro) level you should be very concerned about your image to the public. What a pro wears, influences the entire sport. If skiiers would still be wearing tight flared ski pants and nylon jackets with hideous neon colors in them or even one piece jumps suits, would they be as "cool" of a sport with kids as it is in 2010? Not even close. The comment about surfing above is right on the mark... the people who want mountain biking to go somewhere in the near future should be thinking of these exact points so that maybe some day the shallow consumer might accept us onto their TV's/X-games/Olympics/etc.


2/7/2010 7:46 PM

I personaly do not agree with the ban, however nor do I like the way that our sport was going where people were starting to abuse the gentlemens agreement to do with tight fitting clothing. I think the whole skinsuit deal at worlds was fine. Worlds is a one off, prestigious event that means the most to any rider who has won it. Should we really be stopping people from trying to get their absolute best result at worlds?
My other problem is that the kits that are worn at worlds now look terrible. With countries only supplying the shirt, nations do not look like a TEAM as all riders are wearing different shorts, and quite often ones that do not even match the national jersey. Was the new ruling on skinsuits thought out well? My view is that it wasn't. It would have been fine to bring in the ban but have an exception for worlds, a system that was working fine as it was.

just my 2c


keepin' it loose since 1993

2/7/2010 8:01 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/4/2011 5:10 PM

The bottom line is the better you make the sport look the more sponsors (especially sponsors from outside of the cycling industry) are willing to pay and without financial backing there will be no progression.


2/7/2010 8:27 PM

that was kinda biased. it didnt really asked why you thought skinsuits were good/bad. i felt like it was kinda pro skinsuit.



2/7/2010 8:29 PM

the look or aesthetic relates to the mindset of the riders. with cross country, the mindset is training, calories, heart-rate, vo2, rest, taper, train, train, train.... all that necessary horseshit that you have to keep on top of if you want to be a top-level xc'er. with that, fits the aesthetic of tight-fitting clothes (or shaved legs, which provide no aerodynamic advantage to a guy who spends 80% of his race riding up a dirt hill at less than 10 miles an hour)...lycra "works" with the uber-healthy, bronzed and ripped thing.

downhill is different. there has always been a connection to bmx and other x-sport styles. which are not about lycra. unless you count those guys that used to lay down on the long skateboards and wipe out into hay bails all day. baggy, and padded fits A LOT better with BMX-downhill...bmx never went the route of lycra, why should downhill?

there is an irony: because of the much higher rates of speed and the races being decided by tenths of seconds, lycra would probably actually give downhillers WAY more advantage than xc-ers. maybe this is why greg herbold used to wear lycra in the early days??? but that doesn't mean we should permit it in the sportt. just the opposite, and here's the REAL reason why:

SAFETY. --a lot of pros don't wear pads but we should be encouraging as much use of pads as possible and thus support an aesthetic that makes it look much cooler to where them. as far as i'm concerned, neck braces, shoulder, elbow, ankle pads etc. should all be mandatory. and make it mandatory to NOT to wear is down with a cool look and with a look that works with pads. this is a fucking dangerous-ass sport and we should treat it that way. wear pads. don't support lycra.


2/7/2010 8:54 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

This is stupid. If you think professional downhill racing isn't about: "training, calories, heart-rate, vo2, rest, taper, train, train, train" and all that other "necessary horseshit" than you have been living under a rock.

Sure, bike skills are a way bigger factor in downhilling, so DH isn't as singlemindedly focused on conditioning. But what the hell do you call developing bike skills? If it's your job, I call it training.

Looking cool is sweet, but you know what else is sweet? Cutting down on drag and anything else that allows you to WIN. When you try to write a law to outlaw something that's obviously performance enhancing, people will do crazy things to get around it. See: Fabien Barel at the 2009 World Championships.

Fine, make it illegal at World Cups, but at World Champs? Seriously?

P.S. John Lawlor makes awesome bike movies.


2/7/2010 9:24 PM

look at Football, MMA, Wrestling, Swimming, Skiing, Tour De France, Ice skating ect.
they all wear clothing similar to skin suits for the sake of competitive performance, and all maintain appeal to the spectator. i dont think it should be manditory, maybe some people are to modest/uncomfortable to wear one. alot of people including myself train/try really hard, and spend alot of money setting up a dialed bike all to win, yet some controlling fool thinks its necessary to regulate what i can wear? LAME.


2/7/2010 10:27 PM

Lycra and skinsuits will be hip again within 3 years....quote me on that!


MRP - VP of Business Dev.

2/7/2010 11:15 PM

Every time someone on here says skin suit,this is the first thing that pops into my mind.[LINK TO IMAGE]The only use for lycra I can condone is for blood n guts xc racing.In the real world,baggies with pockets save the day.I could only imagine what would have happend to Tomac if he crashed at speed in that suit.


2/7/2010 11:47 PM

Fashion: the latest and most admired style in clothes and cosmetics and behavior.

Just so we have this clear. Fashion is what you make it. I don't find baggy clothing attractive at all. When I commute I always peg my pants cause I hate getting grease on them, I hate it when they flap in the wind, I hate it when they rub against my bike. I'm not advocating skinny jeans and tight v-neck t-shirts from Italy. Let's be honest for a moment, most people, guys especially have no clue when it comes to "fashion". I wear clothes that are comfortable, fit well, and look good. This rubbish about the "image" of the sport suffering from skins suits is lame.

When I'm doing any kind of physical activity I prefer unhindered movement, tights do that. and hey, you can still wear pads over your lycra skin suit. Winners don't look dorky. If you're worried about what other people think of you, pick a different sport, nobody can see you when you play WoW.

I'm with messy on this. I train to win, telling me to wear the same clothes as everyone else is lame. I don't graze the pastures, why should I dress like a sheep.


2/8/2010 12:17 AM

How can the skin suit naysayers sit there with a straight face talking about the image of the sport and the skin suit is bad for it, when they go and wear some of the ridicously coloured pyjama suits that seem to populate DH at the mo. I mean seriously.


2/8/2010 12:38 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/8/2010 12:39 AM

lycra is fast.

baggy is comfy.

pajamas are for sleeping.

downhill mountain biking has a soul of its own.

lets go fast and big.

wear what you want.
screw em all!


Then: NW
Now: Breck
Kids: 2
i ride all the bikes.

2/8/2010 12:46 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/4/2011 5:10 PM

Horse's for course's whatever floats your boat.. riders should be able to wear what they want.. obviously safety is a factor. but the UCI should not be able to outlaw spandex..
The funny thing is.. kids rolling up to trails in super skinny jeans is getting just at stupid as wearing a skin suit..


2/8/2010 6:38 AM

lawn dart, GetSoMesy, and TEAMROBOT: agreed.


2/8/2010 6:53 AM

i wish the skinsuit ban was removed. racing is about fastest top-to-bottom, not how you look during your run, IMO.


2/8/2010 7:05 AM

Yeah, I really think they should not ban skinsuits for Worlds. Personally I dislike them, and while I do understand people saying that DH needs its own image to be more popular and appealing as a sport to the press and sponsors, I also understand the advantages of skinsuits and lycra to reduce drag and make you go faster.

I say, at the world championships, the most important one-off race each year, they should be approved so everybody has that edge.

I completely agree with the "bend the rules" comment above, this years worlds was ridiculous, Barel and Sam Hill and others, WITHOUT knee pads and lots of people with some kind of spandex riding shorts, that were tighter than Megan Fox's A$$...

That is what for me is incredible, they ban skin suits, yet they don't do anything about the basic protection and coverage that all racers should be wearing...


2/8/2010 7:43 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

sspomer wrote:

i wish the skinsuit ban was removed. racing is about fastest top-to-bottom, not how you look during your run, IMO.

If it's about fastest top to bottom (which it is if your goal is to win), what does everyone think of Trek's wind tunnel testing pre-worlds last year? Nearly every other racing sport has performed similar tests to improve their race times, and their mods were along the same lines of lycra vs baggy.

I'm kind of surprised how non-scientific our sport really is when it comes to racing. As a curious engineer, I'm all for it.

Protective gear is a personal choice, and should remain that way.


2/8/2010 8:09 AM

Damn. The link's not working for me.


John Pentecost// International Sales Pivot Cycles
Skype// john.pentecost72

2/8/2010 8:30 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/4/2011 5:10 PM

More of this look would be welcomed.....
Less of this look....


MRP - VP of Business Dev.

2/8/2010 9:48 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/4/2011 5:10 PM

Even in terms of fashion.... Am I the only one who thinks some skinsuits can look sick? Some of the most iconic images in DH are riders in skinsuits. Check the link for Lawlors survey, Ben Reid and Sam Hill. They are two of the most stylish riders on the circuit and the best riders to watch, they're on the same turn, same race... granted Hill was a bit more loose as he's about to go down but he looks f**kin rad.

I was as big a fan as Palmer as anyone when he came on the scene. I think he attitude, baggies and style suited exactly where the sport was then. It was all beer, partying and that kind of lifestyle. Is it just me though or has it moved on? Riders have trainers, psychologists and do everything they can to succeed at what is essentially a time-trial. Skinsuits is just part of professionalism for the highest level of our sport.

As much as I really love MX and the 'X-Games' sports, IMO we look to them too much for inspiration when, in terms of the event we actually do, we're much closer to DH skiing.

Just my 2 cents..


2/8/2010 10:43 AM

DH has to be the only sport in the world where top level competitors will forgo an advantage at the highest level of competition because they think it looks gay. I don't wear a skinsuit because I don't really stand to win anything, but at a world cup race where a win or a good result equals real world dollars for the racers, you are a vain fool to give away time in the name of fashion. Sure the ban equals the playing field, but i would rather see the fashionistas get punished.


2/8/2010 11:23 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

i agree with mtbcut. DH shouldn't align themselves with the "X" crowd. Anything racing the clock has to look uniformed and "professional" as a whole in my opinion. I don't care for the lycra "look" either and follow everything dirt/moto. The only events that wear dirt/moto gear that are against the clock are things like enduros, rallies(baja,dakar..) where nobody sees you til your filthy on the podium. X games is gated & subjective judging comps. let the fastest guy win & let the clock be the only judge!

I hope the UCI gets some cohesion on this at some point.


i wanna ride like Jay Adams skated

2/8/2010 12:24 PM

HI Guys

The survey will close tonight at 12 midnight.

Thanks to everyone who helped out by filling it in.

John Lawlor


2/8/2010 12:32 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

The "super Mario" muscle suit was epic, no doubt.

I think it should be allowed. Like someone said, we are closed to DH skiing, than X-games. let the flip spin huckers wear baggy clothes, the serious racers should be about doing what is the absolute fastest method to get down the hill, wind tunnel testing and all.

For those that hate lycra, they've probally never even ridden in it. I can't imagine doing an XC race without wearing lycra. It is so much more comfortable than anything else. Grow a pair and quit worrying about how your skinny legs look in tights.



2/8/2010 1:12 PM
Edited Date/Time: 4/21/2016 10:18 AM

My thought, I think as far as downhill racing in mountain biking,it should be up to the competitor! what he or she want's to wear is the competitor's decision.It should not be controlled by the uci .If you want to go fast and take an advantage.I'm sorry to say your going to be faster with a suit.Yeah it looks silly.but it is an advantage. I have been a ski racer most of my life. and with a suit it is a 1 1/2 sec or more faster on a min&1/2 GS course than if you were wearing warmup's run for run. so to me it is a no brainer.( RACING IS ABOUT THE FASTEST TOP TO BOTTOM. PERIOD!!!!!!!! )