What makes the Swiss bike brand BMC tick? Matthias Schmid (product manager MTB), Jonas Müller (engineer), Guillaume Farin (engineer and enduro race team support) and Adrian Zahnd (marketing) make up part of the crew.
DIRT ISSUE 143 – JANUARY 2014
Words by Steve Jones. Photo by Steve JonesDirt: As a team you work with different sports, people from road to XC to enduro. How do the people from these different areas of the sport compare and contrast?
Guillaume: Road racing is a very different world from enduro racing. Road riders have an enormous amount of race days per season, their training sessions are long and they need to plan recovery very carefully. This means there are not many days per year, especially during the season, to work directly with them. They also get a lot more coverage, especially in mainstream media, and they get it through results. This means they absolutely need to concentrate on bringing their best performance, that is their part of the job. They are surrounded by a team of press officers, mechanics, performance directors etc. That take care of a lot of tasks.
MTB riders on the other side have learnt that promoting themselves and their sponsors is part of their job. They need to work to get the coverage, and winning races is just one important part of it. So they need to balance the training and recovery part with their other duties, which every rider does a bit different. I would say the difference between the different riders is bigger than between the disciplines, even though in general enduro riders still need to work harder to get the coverage, and they are aware of it. The other main difference to road racing is that there is still a lot more freedom when it comes to equipment. This also means most riders are very willing to test new material, provide us with their own ideas for improvements and can give valuable feedback.Is it all about racing for BMC?
Jonas: For sure racing is the most important inspiration for our work. We all have a racing background, Matthias from XC, Guillaume from DH, enduro and marathon, Adrian from road and triathlon, myself from DS and 4X. But when we are not racing, what we do most of the time is pedaling up to one of the mountains surrounding our office and then blast our way down, as I guess most riders do. A few years back we did not have a name or race discipline for that. So we had to create the original Trailfox without a racing discipline for it, but with the background of all our experiences in racing different disciplines. Fortunately now the Trailfox has found a home in enduro racing, which again inspired us to make a better bike.Talk about image and the BMC brand.
Adrian: The BMC brand as we know it today is not much older than 10 years, so BMC is still pretty young, but with regard to its age the brand awareness is big – mainly due to our extensive sponsoring activities. BMC is a strong brand and known for high–end products. Being different in the bicycle industry is not simple but I think we actually are different and we like it that way.Discuss the place of optimization in a transient market!?
Matthias: The bike industry is driven by innovation, and lots of people try to make bikes better. But not every ‘next big thing’ we have seen during the last 20 years has proven its benefit under real conditions. The challenge for us as an innovative and technical brand is to develop actual improvements for the rider and explain them in an understandable way. We are convinced that it is not about creating as much innovation as possible just for the sake of being innovative, but rather about developing true improvements when they actually make sense.A press camp is pretty much like a football team? What’s the difference?
Adrian: I think that hits the nail on the head. However, in a football team the coach can kick ass if he’s not happy with the players. Obviously the journalists are guests and not football players so you can’t treat them in a similar way. In the end it’s always a fun experience and you got lots of stories to tell when you’re back home.