In an intriguing shift, Yeti has completely eliminated the World Cup Downhill race series–and downhill racing as a whole–from their pro team racing schedule for 2014. Instead, they are focusing solely on Enduro racing, with their pro racers competing in the Enduro World Series, the Big Mountain Enduro series, and the Oregon Enduro Series.
“Racing has been the cornerstone of our product development for over twenty-five years,” said Yeti President and co-owner Chris Conroy. “We are excited about enduro racing and have athletes that are uniquely suited to the discipline. Focusing on enduro racing will allow us to concentrate our marketing and product resources exactly where enthusiasm is growing from our sponsors, supporters, and customers.”
Their focus on the Big Mountain Enduro series, since Yeti is a title sponsor, makes sense. Also, much of Yeti’s bike lineup is ideal for Enduro-style riding. However, with a world cup downhill bike in their lineup as well, this transition is a bit surprising. Still, “World Cup DH racing isn’t done for Yeti Cycles, but our focus in the near-term is on enduro racing,” said Conroy.
Will we begin to see more bike brands and factory teams embrace enduro whole-heartedly, or at least feature enduro as a major component of their racing strategy? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: enduro, probably more than any other mountain bike race format, is on the rise.