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Has Cycling as an Extreme Sport reached its Peak?

hardmmlmc09hardmmlmc09 Posts: 3
edited March 2015 in MTB general
I am doing an independent project of my choice as part of my sixth from studies. I am doing it on the topic of cycling as an extreme sport and if it has reached its peak both in bike technology and riders ability. I am trying to gather some personal opinions to include in my project, so i would be happy to hear what your thoughts are on this topic.

Thanks Matt

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  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    1 - Mountain biking is not an extreme sport, unless by mountain biking you mean Red Bull Rampage type stuff.
    2 - No.
    3 - End of thread.
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Mountain biking has a long way to go. Riders are constantly pushing the limits and technology keeps moving forward.
    Take a look at the Redbull Hardline video.
  • Bike technology? No; not even close and probably never will be. Bicycles have been improving for over a century and there's no reason to expect there isn't another centuries worth.
  • For every separate part of technology on a bike there's diminishing marginal returns.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    It's a good question. When you watch Rampage you do have to wonder how much further they can push it before people start getting killed. Same goes for some of the more daring videos you can find were people are riding along ridiculous ridges with perilous drops just inches away.

    And with bikes, it's hard to imagine any sort of revolution. Evolution is more likely.

    So, on both counts, no, neither riders nor bikes have reached their peaks. But, from here on it will be incremental and there won't be a development in the order of going from rigid to suspension. Riders with ride a bit faster and jump a little bit further. Gears changing electronically, and suspension adjusting itself electronically will become commonplace, geometry will get refined, bikes will get lighter and sometimes manufacturers will find new ways of selling us the same thing over and over again.

    One way of thinking about it is... Bikes from 25 years ago are pretty rubbish compared to the best of today. Will the best of today be as rubbish beside the bikes of 25 years from now? Looks aside, I doubt it.
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  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    I agree with Cooldad, if you're talking about the activity folk do in their spare time it's not an extreme sport. I'm not sure we'll ever reach a peak in bike technology or rider ability either. Poor choice of words - a plateau is more realistic - where stuff/people can't get better, can't see we'll actually regress though.
  • oodboooodboo Posts: 2,177
    njee20 wrote:
    can't see we'll actually regress though.

    We already have though, 3x down to 1x, fat bikes, cx.... :twisted:
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    There have been some major advances in engineered materials recently but they are only made in laborotories at the moment. Once they are developed to a point where they can be used in a production enviroment there could be some huge advances in bikes getting lighter and stronger.
    The derailleur gear system is a weakness which will one day be replaced.
    Materials and manufacturing processes will allow much more intelligent suspension. The coil and air spring are both very crude and could be much improved when technology allows.
    Tyres could be completely resistant to punctures.
    Brakes could be improved to remove the need for bleeding.
    There will never be huge advances in technology in one hit because its more profitable to trickle out new technology to keep people upgrading constantlly each year.
    I honedtly think that in 30 years bikes will be vastly better than they are now. If you asked people 30 years ago whether bikes now would be vastly better than what they had then they wouldnt have expected much.
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    njee20 wrote:
    I agree with Cooldad, if you're talking about the activity folk do in their spare time it's not an extreme sport.
    I never really know What classifies as an extreme sport, is high risk of death a requirement or just high risk of injury? Some people class surfing as a extreme sport (I don't think it is) but it's definately no-where near as extreme as downhill mtb. I agree though for the vast majority cycling is not an extreme sport.
  • 10 foot+ waves is extreme sport. DH is extreme sport. I think it really is properly upping the anti on if you'll get paralysed or die which makes the classifications
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    Without being an absolute pedant it depends what you mean by 10ft, if you mean actual wave face then no way, if you mean a surfers 10ft which equates to wave faces of 3x the height of a person, then it's approaching it but still not really in Europe (in Hawaii etc where the waves are way more powerful then yes). I guess it's in the eye of the beholder as well: dh is certainly an extreme sport in my book but maybe if you asked a top dh-er they'd say it was just riding their bike.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    10 foot+ waves is extreme sport. DH is extreme sport. I think it really is properly upping the anti on if you'll get paralysed or die which makes the classifications

    So walking down the pavement is extreme? Kills a lot more people than surfing or DH. Indeed road riding and racing kills more people than DH, even taking cars out of the equation.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Downhill isnt an extreme sport. Racers need to be fit and very skilled and mentally cool. The extreme sports types (Monster energy drinking, Troy Lee wearing, all mouth) who try downhill usually end up badly hurt.
    I used to do a lot of rock climbing and that was the same. The public image is typical extreme sport. I met a few extreme dudes who tried climbing, last I heard two of them were dead.
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    That's why 'extreme sports' is such a stupid term. Most of them are only extreme to people who have never done the sport - hence why I consider dh extreme :-)

    I imagine pissing around BASE jumping with those flying suits is extreme in anyone's book though!
  • just to clarify when I say "cycling as an extreme sport" I am referring to events such as Red Bull Rampage and Hardline, although i do need to state what I mean by extreme sport. Thanks for your views and opinions it is really interesting to see what other people think and has really helped me out.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I certainly wouldnt class big freeride events as extreme sports. The riders spend so much time on each feature they know exactly what they are doing, theres no "hit it and hope".
    There are bigger things to come than hardline. Rampage features just get bigger every year and the tricks get more complex.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    The stuff like Red Bull and similar are like Formula1. 0.0000001 % of MTBers do stuff like that, it sells magazines, energy drinks, skinny jeans and gets hits on youtube. Otherwise it has about as much relevance to mainstream hobby MTBiking as the aerofoil on a Maclaren does to a Fiesta 1.4
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  • njee20 wrote:
    10 foot+ waves is extreme sport. DH is extreme sport. I think it really is properly upping the anti on if you'll get paralysed or die which makes the classifications

    So walking down the pavement is extreme? Kills a lot more people than surfing or DH. Indeed road riding and racing kills more people than DH, even taking cars out of the equation.

    Try and find the holes, just putting forward the examples. Clearly you need to look at the deaths/serious injury per capita / miles vs the same where comparable in the sports
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    That'll still make road racing more dangerous than DH
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    The risk of death is much more likely for road cyclists than any mountain bikers.
    Broken bones are a lot more common for mountain bikers. Personally, I usually break at least one bone a year, sometimes just a finger or toe but never worse than an arm and couple ribs in one accident.
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    Though if we go for deaths and injury/illness as the metric for extremeness then darts/snooker and the associated smoking and drinking must be pretty extreme!
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Broken bones are a lot more common for mountain bikers. Personally, I usually break at least one bone a year, sometimes just a finger or toe but never worse than an arm and couple ribs in one accident.

    You got evidence for that? If we're talking competitive I reckon road is still more dangerous. General riding I agree though.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Roadies definitely win on gravel rash. Strange thing is most of the roadies I know wont try mountain biking because they think its too dangerous.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    Roadies definitely win on gravel rash. Strange thing is most of the roadies I know wont try mountain biking because they think its too dangerous.

    I think its the lack of control that scares roadies yet 1.5 tonnes plus of metal driven by some numpty who is texting at the same time is something no one can control. Yet risking a broken bone because a tree root jumped out in front of me doesnt bother me because I know I can ease off or get off and the risk is gone.

    Everyones risk assesment is different I suppose.
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Tree roots are not my favourite things at the moment. Three months recovery from a grade three separated shoulder after I mashed it in to a root :-(
  • MaroMaro Posts: 226
    I don't think it's reached a peak or a plateau but perhaps it's starting to curve that way, both in terms of technology and rider skill level, I love that it's still being pushed though.

    I think the terms "adventure sport" or "adrenalin sport" better decribe mountain biking and many other so called extreme sports.
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  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,001
    Tree roots are not my favourite things at the moment. Three months recovery from a grade three separated shoulder after I mashed it in to a root :-(

    Would you swap a tree for a White Van doing 50 in a 30 zone. I will take the tree everytime :wink:
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I will take the roots over the van but given the choice I would prefer to land in a pile of busty beauties.
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