No, not the shock, although I’m sure that it’s MIND BLOWING and EARTH SHATTERING in it’s EXTREME NEWOSITY AND TOTALLY SUPERIORNESS, just like every other new product that gets released by every other company.
What’s amazing is their marketing strategy:
“This new shock represents a big improvement over the old one, but the old shock was so good we’re confident that 97% of riders won’t be able to notice the difference.”
Okay, fair enough. It’s a bold claim, but I suppose it’s possible. For example, can 97% of riders really tell the difference between 3C and super tacky? Probably not. Of course, you can’t prove any of that. Who knows how many people can actually differentiate between tacky tire compounds or rear coil shocks with negative springs? It’s anyone’s guess, so if I said 36% and you said 3%, we’d both be equally supported in our claims.
The only way we could settle our dispute would be to take a representative, random sample of 200 or so riders from all ages, skill levels and riding styles, and see if they could tell the difference. Of course, they would HAVE to take the shock and ride it for the sample to be relevant, and they would HAVE to ride the old shock, too, so they could assess the difference. Without doing that, it’s all just guessing, and I wouldn’t invest too much based on those questionable numbers. It would make about as much sense to base a sales strategy on that guess as it would to invest in U.S. housing in 2007 because “everyone says it’s so hot right now.”
“So we’re only selling the shock to UCI registered pro riders. If you’re not on this list of UCI pros, you can’t get the shock because you won’t even be able to tell the difference.”
Oh… bold move.
I guess my biggest question isn’t the even the 3% number. I’ve never ridden the new shock or the old one, and these guys designed it and test rode it a million times, so this time I’m going to go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt. My question is directed at their breakdown of who can tell the difference between the two shocks. I’ve prepared these two graphics to illustrate their theory:
Have you ever met a pro racer? I have, and I can tell you that pro racers break down pretty neatly into these two categories:
Super naturally talented riders who could ride a tricycle down the hill faster than you, but have no idea what their bike is doing, couldn’t tell you what “tire pressure” means, and sure as hell couldn’t tell you what all those blue and red knobs on your fork do:
I like to call these riders “race winners,” and they probably couldn’t tell the difference between the new vivid and loaf of day-old bread wedged in their linkage.
The other pros are the sorta/kinda talented riders that work really hard to overcome the deficit. It doesn’t work, so these riders always get beat by the naturally talented riders by like 10 seconds every time. Desperate to escape the downward spiral of depression and unrealized dreams, these less-talented riders focus obsessively on their bike setup and try to justify and rationalize their getting repeated losses by saying “I just need to dial in my bike a little better” when in fact it’s just that you suck: