Elmar Keineke Interview | Endtroducing
Who is Elmar Keineke?
A 36 year old guy who loves all kinds of bikes with fat tyres.
Where do you live?
In Hagen, Germany. 45 minutes away from Cologne.
What is your job title?
SRAM MTB Marketing Manager Europe.
How did you land the job with SRAM?
I have been working at TRUVATIV for a while. I came to SRAM after they took over TRUVATIV and I was in the lucky situation to get involved with all the SRAM brands. Working for the company that makes all the cool stuff that you would normally buy (or dream of) is just great!
What is your connection with Nicolai?
Back in ´96 I got my first Nicolai. It didn’t perform like I thought it would, so I decided to visit the company and see what they could do. I meet Karl Nicolai in his garage. He put on stronger chainstays and worked on the shock, that bike was perfect afterwards. A couple of weeks later I was riding in his racing team. In 2001 I started my own company and decided to run my own racing team with Nicolai as the one of the main sponsors. We’ve always worked together very closely and I was able to give a ton of input mainly on downhill bikes, geometry and suspension. It’s really great to see how your ideas work if a smart engineer makes a frame out of it. Today SRAM takes all my time, but I still ride Nicolai bikes.
Where is your favourite place?
A place where I can ride bikes.
Where is your favourite place to ride?
It’s hard to say. It depends on the time of the year, on the weather and on the bike I want to ride. The French Alps are great.
When are you most happiest?
At dinner with my wife after a day of riding.
What makes you angry?
What makes you happy?
Getting a new bike.
What’s the best piece of advice that you have been given?
Stop dreaming about it, do it!
What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever given?
Don’t invite me to the pub.
What are your extravagances?
I can never have enough bikes and gear and all that.
Who do you admire?
What’s the most important thing in your life?
What is your greatest fear?
Rain all summer.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Get a coffee and read a mountainbike magazine.
What’s the last thing you do at night?
Surf the web to find the latest AMA motocross nationals race results.
What things do you always carry with you?
Cell phone and credit card.
Do you have any regrets?
I’ve never learnt to train hard and I started riding motocross too late. I missed some lessons in school and went riding BMX instead, but that doesn’t seem to be a big issue now.
What’s the most important lesson that you have learnt?
Always wear a helmet! I learnt that after casing the second set in the back of our house, face-planted and went straight to hospital to get 25 stitches in my face. How stupid…
If you could have dinner with three famous people (dead or alive) who would they be?
Snoop Dogg, Michael Schumacher and Rick Rubin. That would be fun!
Who is your favourite rider?
What is your favourite bike product of all time?
TRUVATIV Holzfeller cranks.
What is your least favourite bike product of all time?
Spinnergy composite wheels.
What’s your favourite motto or saying?
“It ain’t a crime if you don’t get caught."
What saying do you use too much?
What bike are you riding at the moment?
A Nicolai UFO ST.
What one thing would you change about yourself?
Get rid of my love handles.
What are your weaknesses?
Uphills, beer and food.
What does the future hold for you?
If you could figure that out for me…
What do you see for mountainbiking in the future?
There is still some potential in suspension but it’s not far from perfect. Frame design combined with new materials and manufacturing processes carries the most potential. If you think about saving weight, there is no way around composite materials. Drivetrain components can also change a lot in the future. Freeriding brings a lot of new things. The riders push the limits, new competition formats, new products and the best way to bring outside sponsors to the sport.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a guy who truly loves and lives mountainbiking.
Elmar Keineke is a talented and busy man. He is a racer (he has just taken third place in the Masters 2 category at the European Championships), team manager and is the mountain bike Marketing Manager for SRAM Europe…so he’s pretty busy then. And he’s been around forever (well it seems that way), and of course is a super cool guy.[series]