Is it the Bike or the Rider that Wins the Race?



Ibis Cycles have released the below video of Robin Wallner riding their new 29er enduro race machine – the Ripmo.

The thing that caught my eye about this release wasn’t the video though, it was the description….

“Early this winter, the Ibis Cycles Enduro Team descended on Santa Cruz, California to visit Ibis HQ, meet new teammates, and begin testing a new long travel 29er codenamed the Ripmo.

Within a few days of testing, the team came to a unanimous decision. They wanted to race the new bike at the EWS and the results speak for themselves. At the season opener, Robin Wallner and Bex Baraona had their best performances to date.”

New bike = best performances to date (Bex finished 4th and Rob 3rd).

The debate over the part technology plays in human performance is a complicated one but Ibis are making a clear suggestion of where they feel the improved performances of their riders has come from. There’s evidence out there to support their view too…..

In 1972, Eddie Merckx set the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour at 30 miles 3774 feet. By 1996, Chris Boardman had recorded a distance of 35 miles 1531 feet. In 1997 though, the UCI changed the rules to state that anyone wanting to hold the record had to use similar equipment to Merckx. The result? Boardman tried again and achieved just 32.8 feet (10m) further than Merckx. This remains the current record.

In 2016, researchers at the University of Sheffield looked into who the greatest Formula One racing driver of all time was. They’re conclusion was Juan Manuel Fangio. As you can see below though, their conclusion was also that the winning combination in a Formula One race is 80% car, 20% driver.


This is a debate that’s got more mileage in it and so something we’ll look at again but it seems technology has a bigger part to play in what we do than some of us would like to admit.

If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.



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