Propain has announced that it is ‘suspending’ its factory downhill team for 2023, joining Norco on the list of major brands absent next season. As Pivot driver and crew chief Bernard Kerr points out in this week’s Making Up The Numbers podcast, there are still a lot of unknowns about what the 2023 season will bring under the new setup. Will it be good business for riders and teams to see them show up at the races? Or is it too late in the day to start making plans and we haven’t yet seen more teams saying they will be absent next season?
Propain has a strong roster of Freeride athletes, so there’s probably a lot of potential to build brand coverage outside of the Factory team setup. Its 2022 line-up was quite young and successful, so will these riders get a chance to land new places in other teams – or have they already? Be sure to tune into Making Up The Numbers for all the team rumours. Here is Propain’s press release in full:
It really pains us to say this, but the PROPAIN Factory Racing Team will be taking a break in 2023. It was certainly not an easy decision, and we want to explain why we have to do it.
Since 2016, we were part of the Downhill World Cup with our first professional team, “PROPAIN Dirt Zelvy”. Still driven by the thrill of competitive racing, three years later in 2019 we had big plans for this team and we took it more seriously than ever. We changed the team structure to operate under the name “PROPAIN Factory Racing” with the primary goal of becoming a Top 10 team at World Cups.
Three years later, the whole world has changed again. We don’t want to blame everything on the pandemic, but it is an important part that has changed not only our environment but also PROPAIN itself. We are a growing, owner-managed company in southern Germany and are just starting to get our hands on markets outside of Europe. Over the past three years, times have been hectic and stressful as we tried to conquer the growing demand for bicycles and simultaneously increasing delivery times for all kinds of bicycle parts. At that time our minds weren’t focused on a World Cup downhill team, but we pushed on and 2022 has proven to be one of the most successful years for the team.
It certainly didn’t make the decision any easier, but with better riders it also means more responsibility, time and effort to invest. The competition for good riders is always high, and in the end we couldn’t keep the existing team in its current configuration.
In 2023, the Mountain Bike World Cup will change with more stops around the world in a shorter period. We made this strategic decision to take this time to build a strong team for 2024 and focus all of our energy and power on our customers to ensure we are building the best bikes for ourselves and our friends. We will spend the coming year recalibrating and setting the stage for 2024 to return fully recharged.
We would like to thank our athletes, the whole team with team manager Ben Reid, our sponsors and of course all the fans for the last seven years of racing downhill world cups with PROPAIN. It goes without saying for us that we care about our team members and keep them on track for 2023 through our relationships with our industry partners and co.
Ben Reid, team leader:
“I can honestly say it has been a pleasure leading the World Cup team for PROPAIN for the past 7 seasons. Meeting company owners Robert and David for the first time in 2016 and seeing their passion for building the best bikes for their friends was immediately something I felt proud to be a part of. Two extremely hard-working, down-to-earth mountain bikers who run their business on fairness and loyalty and it’s really no surprise that their business has become what it is today. It was an easy partnership because our goals of developing the best race bike for the team were very aligned and everything the team needed was achieved. As I prepare for the 2023 season, this news came as a shock at first, but after chasing the World Cup circuit for the past 21 years of my life as a driver and manager, I welcome this opportunity to focus on other projects and although not as a team manager I hope to stay involved with the brand as the PROPAIN guys have really felt like family and there really isn’t other bike that I prefer to ride. From the riders we have had over the years, staff and sponsors, thank you all for being a part of it.
This is not a goodbye, we will be back!
– PROPAIN bikes
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