Things to expect from the weird and wonderful world of MTB media in 2014.
More coverage than ever before
With nearly two million viewers watching the redbull.com/bike coverage of the 2013 UCI World Cup, the amount of people tuning in to enjoy the pinnacle of mountain bike racing looks set to grow. The broader debate is now whether the sport actually needs the previously Holy Grail-like TV coverage it has traditionally always craved. Modern video streaming technology and portable media devices may be heralding in a new dawn.
Every bike journalist's worst nightmare: the bottom half of the internet! Expect plenty more accusations of corporate back-handers, angry wheel size debates and occasional pleas for calm and 'why can't we all just get along?!'.
See above. There will be a lot more chatter this year about the size of our wheels. Expect things to flare up when someone wins a World Cup aboard 650B wheels.
Good reviews/Bad reviews
Reviewing bike products is a tricky business practiced by few, excelled at by fewer. For every in-depth destruction and evaluation we fully expect a dozen or so regurgitated press releases padded out with lazy adjectives such as 'rad' and 'gnarly'.
Print's continued struggle
Despite the relative boom in cycling, bike magazines are largely still struggling and 2013 saw the closure of both Paved and Privateer. Despite printing costs soaring we did see the emergence of some smaller, 'indie' mags such as the UK's Wide Open Mag.
Not Bad was a much-hyped and potentially extremely important movie to emerge from 2013. It was short in length and cheap in price, widely accessible on iTunes. Is this the future for the bike video? The quality of online videos is so high now that film makers are having to come up with new ways to persuade viewers to swap cash for content. Extended edits with big names and big production values may just be the way forward.
Extended edits with big names and big production values may just be the way forward.
Tyres hitting trees
Did this originate from the snowboarding film, Art of Flight? Possibly, but 2013 saw a lot of rear tyres brushing things mid-air in slow motion. It hasn't achieved the comment fury of the Scandinavian Flick yet so we expect the trend to continue into 2014.
Boring interviews with young riders
Young people, by their very definition are difficult to interview as they haven't generally seen much of life yet. But when you combine the monosyllabism of teenagers with the burning desire to appear to be pro-factory cool, dullness can ensue. "Qualifying went well, hopefully I can go faster in the race," Insightful stuff.