SR Suntour just released their 2014 lineup of “Gravity ambassadors,” which I think is a fancy way to say “athletes” or “team.” I’m not sure, because these “ambassadors” come from many regions all over the globe and it’s alternatively possible that in addition to racing these ambassadors will be engaged in direct diplomacy with other sovereign nations on behalf of SR Suntour.
Maybe the Gravity Ambassadors also get those little flags you put on the front of your car. Oooh, oooh, and diplomatic immunity, too, so you can kill people and get away with it. That would be awesome.
Diplomacy or not, there are still exactly zero racers or race teams on the list. Freeriders have two requirements for suspension: it goes up and down, and it doesn’t kill them. While I grant you that real suspension performance is required to do the things James Doerfling does on a daily basis, I would also say that the binary feedback of “it killed me” or “it didn’t kill me” isn’t much to go off of in terms of product development.
Eric Carter is still racing, but he ruled himself out years ago. Do you remember that Fontana bike check on Vital a couple years back when he was still on GT, and he said he always runs 45 psi front and rear?
45 psi front and rear indicates that you either:
A) Live in Socal
B) Live in another universe where 45 psi in a front tire would do anything other than rattle your fillings loose and knock you off any line you would ever want to hold
C) Weigh 450 pounds and 45 psi is equivalent to the 25-30psi most of us run.
If you are a racer and you can run 45 psi in the front tire of your downhill bike and can still win, more power to you. Give that guy an extra medal, heck just give him the medals you were going to give second and third place because they got smoked by some guy riding a steel drum for a front wheel. On the other hand, if you’re a test rider and run 45 psi in the front tire of your downhill bike, I will be religiously avoiding the products you provide feedback for.
So that leaves you with Guido Schugg who doesn’t race anymore, and this guy:
Things he’s got going for him as a test rider:
- Actually wins races, and is competitive at the highest level.
- Doesn’t ride for a bunch of joke companies.
- Has a name I can’t remember how to spell. Remi? Remy? And is it Absalom or Absalon? Some of the best test pilots in the world have names I can’t spell or pronounce: Volliouzz, Spangolo, Barrel. Correlation or causation? I don’t know. Those guys are also all French.