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  • Writer's pictureMo Awesome

Is Racing Dead? ARI Bikes is Making Bets That It's Not...

Team racers Kailey Skelton, Nik Nestoroff, Jake Snow, and Justin Fierro

The year 2024 was supposed to be a catch up year for most bike brands. Model updates that had been delayed due to the chaos in the bike industry over the last few years were set to be rolled out and we were all cool with that. New bikes are fun, and after a pretty uneventful 2023, we would take anything we could get, regardless of how subtle changes were. What no one saw coming was Fezzari bikes going into full extreme overdrive-mode and choosing this to be the year they would do a full rebrand to ARI Bikes in order to take the next steps of growing the business internationally. 

Unfortunately for them, part of the excitement of doing a rebrand was slightly tainted by allegations of “astroturfing” in a press release which were seemingly disproven upon further investigation. Professional mountain biker Kyle Strait would share his sentiment of the situation, mowing down his “astroturf” in support of ARI Bikes in a recent Instagram post found here.

Why in the world is Kyle Strait commenting on the matter? Well that is because shortly after announcing the rebrand to ARI bikes, which is a big enough investment on its own, ARI would go on to announce the signing of Kyle and Rachel Strait, another very impressive move in a year where most companies seem to be taking a more modest approach. Clearly their new downhill bike has them feeling inspired to further enter the freeride space in addition to their current rider Kurtis Downs. 

Now one can say a full company rebrand while also announcing 8 new bike launches in 2024, as well as the signing of an athlete set to compete in Red Bull Rampage would be enough food to put on your plate, but ARI bikes clearly has the hunger of a young Michael Phelps this year. In a year where racing seems to have taken a back seat when it comes to most companies marketing budgets, ARI bikes is saying “hop in the front, we are going racing”! 

They recently announced a full factory racing program with some very fast athletes and an impressive list of brand partners. We get press releases all the time and you can read the press release at numerous other sites. Wanting to give you more than just another copy and paste, we reached out to the ARI bikes race team and spoke with team racers Nik Nestoroff and Justin Fierro on more info about the team and their thoughts on racing! 

Team Sponsors include: Ari Bikes, GoPro, Sram/Rockshox, Pearl Izumi, Kenda, 6D Helmets, DT Swiss, Crank Brothers, and Renthal

Interview Starts: 

Mo: Hey Nik, so awesome to see this race team come together! I know this has been a long time in the making, can you let me know a bit more about ARI Factory Racing and how it came to be? 

Nik: Thank you. Yeah! It’s been a long time in the making. Everyone from myself to Joey, Jordan, Chris, Tyler and everyone else at Ari has helped out in more ways than one to get this thing rolling. After the success I had last year racing independently for Fezzari, we decided that with the new rebrand and everything going on with Ari we just had to create a full factory team! 

Mo: You guys have some super awesome talent. Who picked everyone for the team and what does each person bring? 

Nik: It was a mix between myself and everyone at HQ. We definitely wanted a fast woman so my girlfriend Kailey being a two time national champ was perfect for that spot. We also wanted a younger pro that I could help mentor and compete with and I’ve been good friends with Jakob Snow for quite a while now, so he was perfect for that position. Justin Fierro is going to be racing e bikes and completing a four person team for us which we’re pumped about! 

Mo: Were you guys all pretty involved in choosing brand partners for the team? Are there any partners that stand out the most to you guys? 

Nik: All of our partners stand out to us and we’re super pumped to be working with them. Our title sponsors ( aside from Ari ) are GoPro and Sram/Rockshox which are obviously massive heavy hitters in the cycling world. So that definitely gets us all pumped to race! 

Mo:  Is racing dead or alive? What does racing mean to you guys and why do you think more companies should invest into it? 

Nik: Racing is alive and well. Here in America we are pushing hard to bring it back to where it was in the 90s and in the NORBA days. The Big Mtn Enduro Series and the Monster Energy pro downhill series are doing massive, massive things in the space. There are so many big MTB brands in North America and I think they should keep pushing it because racing in my opinion is the best way to develop and validate product.

Mo: I know each one of you guys is pretty active on social media. Do you guys have content plans for the year and how important is social media in racing? 

Nik: Social media is huge! Your guys’ channels showcase how important content creation and influencing is in the sport. I think if you can not only be a racer, but also content creator/influencer it provides such a massive amount of opportunities for you and the brands you partner with. 

Mo: If you had to give every person on the team an award, who would win what? 

Nik: Kailey is Team Mom for sure! She’s alway cooking, cleaning, and taking care of us. 

Jake is Team Grom! He’s always smiling, eating way too much food, breaking things and making us laugh haha. 

Justin: The Glue to our team! With his years of working in the action sports industry and competing. He’s always there for advice, guidance, and keeping us rolling! 

Mo: Anything else you would like people to know about AFR?

We’re a team of positive individuals dedicated to racing and results while still having a good time at the races!! 

Athlete spotlights: 

Name: Nik Nestoroff

Years Racing: 16 of the 24 I’ve been on this planet. 

Home Town: San Diego, CA

Favorite Type of Trail: Steep and Deep!

Favorite Race: Crankworx Whistler! 

Least favorite trails: Anything that requires as much pedaling on the way down as the way up haha. 

Fun fact about you: I dig and build trails as much as I ride them! I feel like I create a deeper bond with the sport and Mother Nature when I build trails. It’s cool to give back and see people stoking when they ride a trail I worked so long on! 

Why is Racing important to you: It gives me something to dedicate my life to and something to strive for each and every second of the day. I honestly feel it helps all the other aspects in my life. 

Name: Justin Fierro 

Years Racing: 10 years 

Home Town: Riverton, UT

Favorite Type of Trail: my favorite type of trail and super fast, rough trails, with some fun corners and jumps. 

Favorite Race: US Open

Least favorite trails: steep climbs! 

Fun fact about you: I’m a type 1 diabetic. There’s not many of us out there in the MTB racing world and it’s cool to be able to share my knowledge and experiences with other diabetic athletes. 

Why is Racing important to you: Racing is important to me because it motivates me to be the fittest and healthiest I can be. I also love it because it’s almost like meditation for me. When I’m pinning it on a race run, I’m not thinking about anything else in the world besides riding my bike as fast as I can.

For more info on the team:

1 commentaire

S Chas
S Chas
25 mars

Love the content, and love what ARI is doing. Good write up and easy read.


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