2017 Pisgah Mountain Bike Festival- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    2017 Pisgah Mountain Bike Festival

    Anyone heading to the festival this year? I will be getting there this evening and demoing Saturday/Sunday. I got one of the campsites by the creek rather than in the field, and am going solo... so if anyone needs a spot to plop a tent lemme know!

    Looks like we got...

    -Transition
    -Santa Cruz
    -Ibis
    -Yeti
    -Scott
    -Intense
    -Niner
    -Canondale
    -Surly
    -Reeb

  2. #2
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    Think I am going to ride Saturday and then drop in there for a beer and check out the scene for a bit

  3. #3
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    I'm itching for a ride so bad...but I just moved into a house and my to-do list is enormous as we unpack. I don't think I'll be able to make it down.

  4. #4
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    Well I ended up having a good time. I got a ride in on the Tallboy 3 (rocket ship uphill), Ibis Ripley LS (My new Love), Bronson (hated it... think the fox 36 had all of that harsh stuff going on), and a sb5.5 (fun bike, but more than I need I believe).

    The festival was pretty cool, but I wish they had more going on in the evenings. The bikes had to be back by 6pm, and after that there was really nothing besides a pretzel food truck and 4 dollar oscar blues cans. There was live music, but it wasn't really bringing in a crowd at all. Some community events/activities in the evenings would have really set it off.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudderNutter View Post
    Well I ended up having a good time. I got a ride in on the Tallboy 3 (rocket ship uphill), Ibis Ripley LS (My new Love), Bronson (hated it... think the fox 36 had all of that harsh stuff going on), and a sb5.5 (fun bike, but more than I need I believe).

    The festival was pretty cool, but I wish they had more going on in the evenings. The bikes had to be back by 6pm, and after that there was really nothing besides a pretzel food truck and 4 dollar oscar blues cans. There was live music, but it wasn't really bringing in a crowd at all. Some community events/activities in the evenings would have really set it off.
    Thanks for the report. I really wanted to make it to try out the new Smuggler SBG but had other plans get in the way unfrotunately.


    I was recently debating between the TB3 and the Ripley LS and ended up with a Ripley LS V2 that I really like. Was your Ripley test ride your first on 2.6 tires and if so, what did you think?

    I'm headed to Cyclofest this weekend in CLT to try the V3 Ripley out as well as a TB3 setup plus in addition to some fun hardtails. Unfortunately Cyclosfest is smaller this year and doesn't get all of the Pisgah MTB Festival brands such as Transition and Yeti.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCTerp View Post
    Thanks for the report. I really wanted to make it to try out the new Smuggler SBG but had other plans get in the way unfrotunately.


    I was recently debating between the TB3 and the Ripley LS and ended up with a Ripley LS V2 that I really like. Was your Ripley test ride your first on 2.6 tires and if so, what did you think?

    I'm headed to Cyclofest this weekend in CLT to try the V3 Ripley out as well as a TB3 setup plus in addition to some fun hardtails. Unfortunately Cyclosfest is smaller this year and doesn't get all of the Pisgah MTB Festival brands such as Transition and Yeti.
    No problem!

    I rode the Ripley LS v3 with 2.6 nobby nics on it.... I'm currently obsessed with that tire size. She spun up very quickly, and was a blast pedaling up technical terrain. I'm sure the carbon hoops helped, but I saw no down side to the 2.6 rubber. The main ride I did on the bike was up Club Gap, over Buckhorn Gap, and then down Bennett Gap. So, I put her through some rowdy terrain and was more than pleased. The bike was nimble, and the nobby nics hooked up everywhere. This is notable, because I've had nobby nics before and was not a fan. If I could have any bike right now I'd say the ripley with 2.6 rubber without any hesitation. To say i'm stoked on that setup would be an understatement, haha.

    I would really like to try out a TB3 with a 130mm fork in 29er mode.

  7. #7
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    Was my first trip down there and I was a bit disappointed in the festival itself. The "shuttles" were a bit lame. They just took you from the field to two different trail heads in Dupont to ride a loop and get picked back up in the same spot and driven back to the field. Great if you want to demo different bikes back to back but not so great if you want to ride a lot of trails. Was nice to have the guides and the two loops were fun but still only two and fairly short. We ditched on Sunday and did our own shuttling at Pisgah.

  8. #8
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    I agree with that! I did one shuttle on Saturday morning and was pretty frustrated at the pace of everything, so I found some guys and shuttled pisgah for the rest of the weekend. Definitely the way to go.

  9. #9
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    So, the "Pisgah Mountain Bike" festival was in DuPont? Weird.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    So, the "Pisgah Mountain Bike" festival was in DuPont? Weird.
    Yeah it was on the reeb ranch. Last year they had shuttles going to Pisgah, but this year the vendors wanted the bikes back more quickly... so the shuttles only went to DuPont. I realized that the time limits were a joke pretty early on, so just started going into Pisgah and doing my thing. Not gonna lie... the festival has a ways to go. This is only their second year doing it, so I'm hoping some constructive criticism gets back to them. Overall I got what I wanted to out of it. 3 days of bike demos for 85 bucks is not to bad at all.

  11. #11
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    I also attended the festival. It was okay, but overall, kind of a let down for someone coming from out of town with all the travel costs associated. Beautiful location, and great riding at DuPont, but since I'm already familiar with the trails at DuPont, the (very) short guided rides just didn't make sense to us. Cool if you wanted to demo a bike, I guess. I did just that on Sunday, and the Niner dudes were pretty cool about letting me keep the bike for a slightly longer ride.

    Not sure what i was expecting, but longer group rides would have been fun, and a more festive atmosphere would have helped. Maybe music all day, more food options, maybe more activities going on on the festival grounds ...

    I know it's only the 2nd year of the fest, so I understand they're still growing. As much as I wanted to love the festival, I'm not sure if I'd go back. I'll certainly continue to visit Brevard and Dupont/Pisgah though.

  12. #12
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    Is the Couch Potato race part of this event?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Don't Surf View Post
    Is the Couch Potato race part of this event?
    No that is put on by Blue Ridge Adventures...

    http://www.blueridgeadventures.net/couch-potato/race-3/

    It would be cool if the PMBF had more to offer than just Demos. It needs races, more live music, and more to offer folks that arent interested in just Demo'ing bikes. Its a "festival" to celebrate all the awesomeness that is cycling in the Pisgah area.

    Hopefully it grows and gets better because we need something like that here. Anyone who has ever been to Sedona MTB Fest or similar events knows the potential...
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    No that is put on by Blue Ridge Adventures...

    http://www.blueridgeadventures.net/couch-potato/race-3/

    It would be cool if the PMBF had more to offer than just Demos. It needs races, more live music, and more to offer folks that arent interested in just Demo'ing bikes. Its a "festival" to celebrate all the awesomeness that is cycling in the Pisgah area.

    Hopefully it grows and gets better because we need something like that here. Anyone who has ever been to Sedona MTB Fest or similar events knows the potential...
    I agree with this 100%. I was expecting a lot more activities to be going on. It was a bummer how basically the whole thing was over when you turned your bike in at 6pm. I went alone, so luckily I found a cool group to drink a few brews with around the fire.

    A bunch of the people I talked to said they were going to try and send in some feedback related to having more going on at the festival. Hopefully they will listen.

  15. #15
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    Yeah it has a TON of potential... Pisgah? October? I mean that is all you need! haha...

    The event is put on by the folks at the Bike Farm w/ Oscar Blues and I dont know how much time, energy, and resources they have to host an event like this. It seems Burning Can is OB's main event for the year and I imagine its alot of work for a few people to take on.

    Maybe if SORBA, Oscar Blues, Pisgah Conservancy, local component manufacturers and all the other cycling entities in the area put their collective resources together it could be something.

    Not saying thats easy cause its not but it would be rad...
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  16. #16
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    Yikes! Glad I missed this one. I'll just plan a week to get lost down there instead. Hope it livens up some next year.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Yeah it has a TON of potential... Pisgah? October? I mean that is all you need! haha...
    October is a perfect time but also somewhat of a curse for those wanting to travel for the festival. With it being the start of leaf season, finding rentals can be a challenge if you're looking for more than a camping spot at REEB Ranch.

    I had a look before I had a conflict that prevented me from attending. Doesn't sound like I missed much.

    I did have a couple of friends attend last year and they had similar feedback. They did say some of the vendors were a bit irritated that the bikes were out so long. But that happens at any demo event unfortunately no matter what the vendors ask of test riders. Last year at Cyclofest, a guy returned a Tallboy3 after four hours and couldn't believe they were irritated with him...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Hopefully it grows and gets better because we need something like that here. Anyone who has ever been to Sedona MTB Fest or similar events knows the potential...
    I did not go to the Pisgah MTB Fest, but I did go to the Sedona MTB Fest earlier this year. I have been going to the Brown County Breakdown/Epic in Indiana for many years (couldn't make it this year, though). That festival has been going for over 10yrs.

    For the community aspect of things, the Brown County Epic wins over Sedona hands down. They've got a well contained entertainment setup with campfires, a music tent, and the title sponsor is a brewery, who provides 4 beer tickets to every adult registrant of drinking age (basically good for the 3 nights of the festival). They brew a beer specifically for the event. They bring their beer in a tap truck and pour pints of 4 or 5 different brews. They even bring food on one of the nights. You can buy more beer if you want it, but it seems every event attendee brings their own from home, too, so lots of people have extra beer tickets. Most camping is right next to the entertainment area, so it's easy to participate. The riding there is good and fun, though it may lack some things that Sedona and WNC do offer. There are not any shuttles, but the main trailhead is RIGHT THERE so you can ride out from camp and hit the trails. There are more distant trailheads you can shuttle to if you want, but most people ride out there if they want to hit those trails. There's probably around 200mi of trail available to ride between the trails on state and federal land, as well as 2 nearby private properties. A number of different folks offer various group rides and skills clinics and stuff, so there are different things to do if you don't want to demo a bike. Demo bike selection is limited compared to Sedona and Pisgah, though. Lots of brands don't get represented in Indiana, so they don't bring a truck out.

    I'll be returning to this one in the future. I have lots of friends up there, and it's just a fun time.

    Sedona lacked that community feel, IMO. It's not helped by the fact that the official "event" camping area is small, expensive, and lacks showers. Event attendees end up scattering to the wind in various hotels, airbnb's, and whatnot. I ended up in a campground in Cottonwood, which was a great place to camp with my teardrop camper, but made my feeling of "disconnect" from the festival even worse. I even made the trip out there with a group of about a dozen friends. We rode together quite a bit, and a couple of my friends who were there were part of Trek's contingent, so we did some of their stuff, too. But nobody was staying anywhere near each other. The festival grounds closed awful early, and even if you wanted to hang out with friends afterwards, you didn't have many options because so many of the restaurants in town closed super early, too.

    Sedona did some things well, though. The park where the festival is held is great. Really nice permanent concert facility (music all day, but fairly lightly attended). A bike park right there, and a major trailhead a short ride through a neighborhood away. Most of the demo trucks tried to funnel demo rides through there to keep the fleet rotating often. The shuttles there are done extremely well, unless your group ride ends late in the day. Our return driver forgot about us at one of the trailheads farthest from the festival grounds. They took care of us in the end, but the best thing about the shuttles was that they went to pretty much all of the major trailheads. I really appreciated the demo opportunities for things OTHER THAN bikes, too. Five Ten had demo shoes, and I got to try out the Freerider Pros. Osprey had demo packs (my wife took one of those out, and ended up buying one). There were some others, IIRC. I liked that they had a number of food and drink options, but they pretty much just covered lunch. IIRC, the festival grounds closed at 6pm, so if you were riding late (I almost always was), you had to fend for yourself. And of course the trails there are super cool. Scenery you just don't get from thickly wooded rolling hills.

    I'm not sure I'll go back to the Sedona MTB Fest. Sedona is definitely worth more visits, but the lack of community and evening fun at the festival proper was kinda meh for me.

    If I was offering suggestions for ways to improve an up-and-coming mtb festival, it would be to find ways to improve community. Find ways to get people together and having fun celebrating bikes and the place you're all having fun together. Goofy games and events are one way. Races might be another. Especially if there are pro level races where mortals can just have fun watching. Group rides. Clinics. One thing about Sedona I thought was great had nothing to do with the event organizers (I think). A lot of the demo trucks organized their own events during the festival. Like I said, one of my friends was part of Trek's contingent and she led group rides. Other demo trucks did the same. Others had clinics or raffles or had a pro/former pro lead a ride. They got creative and that was cool. And most of them have a pretty easy way to pull stuff like that off. Almost all of them have sponsored riders, or unpaid product ambassadors...people who have a commitment to the brand. It's totally not that hard to get them to bring one or two of those people out to your festival.

  19. #19
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    I went last year with the intention of demoing bikes. I didn't go this year because I didn't want to pay for the privileged of buying beer and just looking at demo bikes. PMF needs to offer more if they are going to charge just to get in the gate. Like was stated above, the organizers need to look at successful events and provide a similar experience and not just the Reeb Ranch. Nothing special there.

    They could combine with one of the races that take place in the fall or change venue to one of the group campgrounds in Pisgah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-roken View Post
    I went last year with the intention of demoing bikes. I didn't go this year because I didn't want to pay for the privileged of buying beer and just looking at demo bikes. PMF needs to offer more if they are going to charge just to get in the gate. Like was stated above, the organizers need to look at successful events and provide a similar experience and not just the Reeb Ranch. Nothing special there.

    They could combine with one of the races that take place in the fall or change venue to one of the group campgrounds in Pisgah.
    Now there is an idea! If the festival was held at Davidson River Campground that would be raddddd.... probably would be hard to take up the whole campground in October though when they already own the whole Reeb Ranch.

    ... although everyone that was demoing Nomads, and talking about getting rowdy on Ridgeline might be in for a bit of a surprise...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudderNutter View Post
    Now there is an idea! If the festival was held at Davidson River Campground that would be raddddd.... probably would be hard to take up the whole campground in October though when they already own the whole Reeb Ranch.

    ... although everyone that was demoing Nomads, and talking about getting rowdy on Ridgeline might be in for a bit of a surprise...
    He means group campgrounds, like cove creek. DRC, would never allow such a thing. Cove creek would be a great spot, really, but I'm sure all manner of legalities, and what not would make that difficult. As of now, the event definitely sounds pretty lame.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudderNutter View Post
    Now there is an idea! If the festival was held at Davidson River Campground that would be raddddd.... probably would be hard to take up the whole campground in October though when they already own the whole Reeb Ranch.

    ... although everyone that was demoing Nomads, and talking about getting rowdy on Ridgeline might be in for a bit of a surprise...
    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    He means group campgrounds, like cove creek. DRC, would never allow such a thing. Cove creek would be a great spot, really, but I'm sure all manner of legalities, and what not would make that difficult. As of now, the event definitely sounds pretty lame.
    Yah, I'm not sure what attendance at the PMF was, but Sedona was in the thousands this year. That certainly contributed to the "disconnected" lack of community feeling I had. Where are you going to put thousands of mtb riders? The Brown County festival I mentioned gets attendance levels around 500-ish riders. Which is still logistically difficult to deal with putting everyone. That festival uses a park that has a huge grassy field that gets used for parking, and camping gets set up in the swimming pool parking lot and surrounding grassy areas. So the event camping doesn't interfere with the regular campground that gets hammered due to leaf season. The event is too big, even, for the normal group camping area within that park. Which gets used a lot by scout groups and families and such, so fitting people in would be hard.

    Based on my experiences with other fests, Reeb Ranch is probably the best location for the main entertainment and camping and whatnot to keep stuff contained. Not sure how many people can really fit there, but I'll bet that it's more than you can fit into a typical group camp setting. IIRC, the "official" group camp used for Sedona could only fit fewer than 100 people. Plus, for entertainment and demo trucks and stuff, there's power and mobile connection concerns that would be more challenging to deal with farther out in the NF.

  23. #23
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    Yeah I agree that the Reeb Ranch is the best location. The event was missing some community feel to it... but honestly I still had a great time. I got to demo a lot of the bikes that I wanted to, and meet some cool people to ride/have a few beers with. I'd go again for sure if I happen to be in the bike market... or even if some of my buddies happen to be in the bike market I'd love to tag along. It's really a good price for 3 days of demos, considering the field camping is only 10 bucks a night.

  24. #24
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    They had a huge turnout this year, Friday seemed to be busier than anyone expected and I'm sure the event will improve year to year. I hope people don't write it off as "just demos", based on one attendance, but I do agree that they need more going on in the evenings and in the downtime to keep people interested. I think as the event matures, you'll see more of this type of thing. For locals in particular, the demos were pretty much the only draw to the event.

    There were originally shuttles planned for Pisgah, but my understanding is that they were scrapped because the bike companies wanted people back sooner rather than later. Apparently last year, people vanished with the bikes all day and they were having trouble getting demos, hence the rules on staying close and limited timeframes this year. It seemed loosely enforced, but the rules make sense, it sucks to pay $75+ for a festival and not be able to demo bikes because a handful of riders took off with them all day. I wish people could be more conscious of the time they spend on bikes during demo days and am a bit disappointed that it was an issue. My understanding also is that this rule change was made at the last minute by the demo drivers, so there wasn't a lot of time to compensate for it and threw everyone off guard.

    My hope is that next year, they'll find some workaround that appeases the demo folks but also allows you to venture further than DuPont with the bikes. I am pretty sure everyone was disappointed by this and something will be worked out for next year.

    I was surprised at how many people thought the shuttles were to more than just the trailhead and were shuttles to avoid climbing, even by people that ride here regularly. This seemed to be a disappointment to a lot of folks, but I always thought it was pretty evident in their advertising of the event that it was to the trailhead, not to avoid climbing. I think maybe they should call it something different since everyone thinks "shuttling" is being taken to the top (or close to it), to reduce confusion on that for next year.

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