This is amazing RockShox Vivid R2C on Pinkbike

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:

So yeah, these riders might be able to tell the difference.

If you can’t tell the difference between these two graphs you’re not pro.

I didn’t even write this to talk shit. Really. It’s just a fascinating marketing strategy, and I’ve never seen anything like it. And like I said, I have no idea how the new shock rides. For all I know, it could be the sweetest thing ever. Of course as a Fox athlete I’m supposed to say that the our products are 32% stiffer and 59% more awesome, so there’s that, too.
I guess I’m struggling to communicate what I want to say, so I’ll let Pepper Brooks take it from here:
“It’s a bold move, Cotton. Let’s see how it plays out for them.”

9 thoughts on “This is amazing

  1. as a Robot your inteligence circuits should be over heating about now. 2:41 in RockShox tells you you the shock f0king TALKS – dude who wouldn't want a talking damper? immagine connecting that sh*t with your iPhone and having Siri tell it to pump faster? OMG I'm applying for my UCI license right now….

  2. HAHAHAHA! HOLY SHIT. I spit my breakfast on my computer. Just watching that desk jockey call out 97% of all mountain bike riders was enough for me to want to be a Rock Shox athlete for life. They finally got the fucking memo. In order to be the best you have to say you're the best until you're delusional to the point of forgetting that there's a chance that you might be the guy in the public library talking to aliens in a chat room.

    Congratulations, you figured out how oil and metal work together. Now you have to get on your pedestal and scream that you just reinvented mountain biking. I'm sure the feedback you got from guys who break their helmets enough to have to make a conscious effort not to drool reinforced your confidence in your squiggly line graph. Now all you have to do is sell the shock to the 3% of mountain bikers who already don't buy anything.

    In a world where cat 2s get there race entries paid for, do you think the pros scraping money together to make ends meet over a season are going to buy a shock that costs as much as a plane ticket? No. You're trying to sell something in a market where the potential buyer feels entitled to the best equipment at little or no cost, easily substituting the best shock ever for something that's proven reliable in the past.

    I have a better idea- why not only sell the shock to engineers? Those guys will definitely pass the credit check or whatever that list is, and the best part is they eat that technical bullshit up. But, have you ever ridden with an engineer? It feels like you're riding with your high school math teacher. Yeah, your angleset definitely effects your shock ratio or whatever, and you could definitely design a better bike then whatever you just sponsorhouse'd. Now hit your head a few more times so you can forget that you're still not hitting that double that everyone else in your class is hitting.

    Anyways, I commend Rock Shox for putting a trade embargo on sucking. Honestly, it's a very solid move on their part. I, too, am tired of seeing 13yr olds with their tricked-out bikes colored like a bag of shittles on daddy's dime. I'm just butt hurt that I can't get one of these shocks until 2-3 years from now when they're on pinkbike for $200. For the record, I will die a little on the inside when I see a rando-South American-urban-DH'r with one of those bad boys on a carbon v-10 walking out of the Pan Pacific.

  3. I'm genuinely curious to see how this plays out. I wonder if they just alienated an already small market or if people realize it's hype/spin/a joke. Bold move for sure.

  4. boobay (780, not 740) gets his ride on as much as any other dude with a job (this therefore blots out all trustafarian dh'rs who are mega pro [blue line])

  5. Nr1 – don't you think that their marketing department, through many years, might have gathered enough data about their current and potential clients that allows them to determine what is their level of skill. You are yet another bike-troll demanding scientificaly accepted quantitive methods of research – I thought you are a free wildfire flying through woods at 2013 Rockshox worthy speeds, not a beige, binocularized engineer, part time scientist.
    Nr2 – for most of what I saw on internet forums, most people are upset that someone tells them that they are not good riders. That is a crime indeed, truth burns the ass, especially of a woose.
    Nr3 – To me any marketing is good and at the same time any marketing is bullcrap. Because I learned a thing or two about the art of marketing that thrives on wank-side of our characters, it is perfectly understandable for me thatpeople are upset, because they prefer that someone lubricates their dick with slow-mo movie with gay music behind and then sucks it telling how much they try to make our riding better. That opens our ass so that sales department can stuck a kashima coated penis in it, so that we love the feeling. You know, exactly a year ago Cedric said in press vid for new Fox 40 – it made 6 seconds faster – nobody said shit…
    Nr4 – because there is so much buzz, and people like you write so much, it means that it was a great marketing strategy. And because so many people are upset it means that… They won't feel the difference…

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