How does the body and technology transformation accelerate the growth of popularity in the downhill mountainbiking sport?
Everyone has heard of Red Bull. It’s an energy drink that is known to have it’s brand plastered on some of the craziest and wildest stunts in action sports. One of their recent additions? Red Bull Rampage. This name is said with awe and dignity around the downhill mountain biking community. Anyone who wins this competition or even participates in this goes down in history. People around the world will know their name and will know that they made it down some of the knarliest mountains on Earth.
What is so special about Red Bull Rampage and why is it such a big deal? Red Bull Rampage is where all of the top downhill mountain biking guys participate in a contest in Utah. They climb to the very top of the mountains and then ride their bikes all the way down. There has been more than one year where a rider has had to be carried down the rest of the mountain. The latest record made at this competition was a 72-foot backflip – over a canyon.
An excerpt from an interview with Mike Hopkins, a rider who had a nasty crash during the last competition, about the consequences of being a professional and taking their skills to the next level: “Rampage represents the highest level of our sport. As everyone knows, when you are dealing with an event that represents the pinnacle of anything, the consequences are huge. This year definitely had a different feel to it. We are all there to showcase what mountain biking is to each of us and to define — and in some cases redefine — the limits of what is possible.”
Red Bull Rampage is the latest evolution of downhill mountain biking. How did we get here? Charlie Kelly talks about the evolution of mountain biking and the first race that ever took place. He makes it clear that this isn’t the first time that someone had taken a bike down a mountain. However, he does specify that this is the first time that they made mountain biking into an actual sport.
“The Repack Downhill initiated the biggest change in cycling of the 20th Century, and helped turn a quaint hobby into an Olympic sport.” Kelly states. The new bike was a 50-pound, Schwinn Motorbike frame was the state of the art in off-road bicycles back in 1977. It cost about $400 at the high price point. Today the best of the best bicycle is arguably the Trek Session 9 with a carbon fiber frame. It weighs around 23 pounds, depending on how you build it and costs around $9,000. There are specific ways to get this type of bike. According to bicyclewarehouse.com, you need to figure out what type of riding you are doing, the type of suspension you want, the type of tires, wheels, handlebars, seat, pedals, tubes, brakes, and frame you want. Mountainbiking has come a long way since jumping on a regular old bike and riding down the hill. They really work on how to get down the hill as fast as they can and as efficiently as they can. The way the technology of this sport has evolved is truly amazing.