If you ask any Mountain biker which event they’d like to watch or (for the very brave!) compete in, chances are they will say ‘Crankworx’!
Originating in the famous ski resort of Whistler, Canada it has now gone ‘global’ with events in Rotora - New Zealand, Les Gets - France and Innsbruck - Austria. The centrepiece is still the founding event, with 150,000 North Americans and visitors from all over the world making the pilgrimage to this now ten day MTB festival. It features eight live streamed events on Redbull TV, including dual slalom, Downhill, Slopestyle for men, women and children, with over 100 entries in the kidsworx races alone.
Although the event is synonymous with its blue riband Slopestyle and Downhill race competitions, for many much of the attraction is being able to take your own bike (or hire one) and ride the myriad of exciting trails, set out for all abilities. It was to this backdrop that Öhlins decided to attend two of the events to showcase their ever growing MTB portfolio including their new Universal range, and let the real experts (the riders) experience the products in a real environment.
The MTB team from Sweden attended Crankworx Les Gets, France at the start of the summer and launched their new RXF36 fork to an excited specialist media group. However the weather wasn’t kind to the event, with torrential Alpine storms washing out much of the paddock and resulting in the headline event, Slopestyle, being cancelled.
Crankworx, Whistler turned out to be a very different affair, held in great weather as the core group teamed up with Öhlins USA and legendary UK MTB component suppliers Hope Technology with a display stand near the main ski-lift station, which the riders ascended before their fast descents.
Öhlins MTB Product Specialist Alex Boyle explains, “Our prime position meant everyone heading up the mountain came right past and got an eyeful of our stand; fans, tourists, Pro downhill racers and riders from all over the world. Some were seeing our products for the very first time, others finally seeing the product in the flesh after reading rave reviews in the MTB press. We also had some cool show bikes from Canfield Brothers and Evil Bikes, high-end machines which really intensified the ‘wow factor’. We then moved to a different site for the second half of the event as scheduled but we still had pride of place in the Hope display as they were so impressed with the RXF34 fork and TTX shocks they kitted out their brand new bike, the HB211, with both for their Whistler bike launch.
Our new spot saw us teamed up with Suspension Werx who had just become an Öhlins dealer based out of North Vancouver. We were now right in the middle of the main Expo area, nestled between some of the big players including Specialized, Santa Cruz and GT. We had live sales every day and Suspension Werx had a daily parts run from their shop, which meant riders could get what they wanted ‘next day’. Specialized Canada also came to the rescue for one customer with one of our cartridges so we could fit it before he returned home to Brazil!
Whistler Mountain has a reputation for damaging bikes and bodies, and so it was this year with the Specialized team losing more than half their staff to various trail related injuries. Not one to be outdone Jeff from Öhlins USA suffered two cracked vertebrate in a crash and had to head home early due to his injury but thankfully he made a full, speedy recovery.
Summing up the experience Alex said, “It was a great event for us and we learnt loads about the best positions for sites with help from our partners. We had lots of really positive conversations with riders, with many saying that they were excited we had entered the market and bringing much needed quality to the aftermarket field.
It was also great to hear from racers and staff from the bike builders and even Hope, saying not only did they love our products, they paid their own money to buy it for their own machines! Special thanks to James, James and Alexi from Suspension Werx for the hospitality, we definitely plan to be back at Crankworx!”