Marintroducing: Matt Cipes
Marin's own Full Suspension and Aggro Hardtail Product Manager Matt Cipes joins us for the first installment of Marintroducing, a series where we get to know the faces behind the bikes you ride.
- Name: Matt Cipes
- Follow Matt Cipes:
- Location: California, USA
- Riding with Marin since: 2014
How would you describe yourself to a visitor from another planet?
I am a simple man who likes to have fun, ride on two wheels, hang with friends and get a little rowdy from time to time. Let’s go get a beer!
What’s your background in cycling?
My first memory of two wheels was on a 1986 Spaulding SPX 3000 BMX. I would go hiking with my dad in the mountains and lug the bike to the top, then turn around and ride back down. At high school, I got to ride my first proper MTB and I went on to Chico State Uni where I discovered the cycling team and starting racing.
In school, my focus was on manufacturing so that I could give myself the best chances of an industry job, but racing downhill was always plan-B if that didn’t work. I’m more about fun than suffering!
My skills elevated quickly and after representing Chico State at Collegiate Champs for several years, my good buddy convinced me to race Sea Otter and Dear Valley Norba National. I raced expert DH, Super-D (what enduro used to be called) and Dual Slalom and got some great results.
From 2005 to 2007 I started taking racing very seriously and it was a strict regiment of pump track every night after work, DH laps on the weekend and all the Earthed videos playing constantly. It was good times. I made it all the way to Semi-Pro and then had a major crash racing DH.
That crash was not good. It took a stretcher team with 12 people in six-man shifts to carry me down the steep DH track and I scored a separated sacroiliac joint on my left and right side and a fractured tail bone. It was an 8-month recovery.
That was when I went from aspiring DH racer to industry insider.
How did you get involved with Marin?
Everything that I did up to the point of being hired brought me to Marin Bikes and it’s been a killer ride!
My degree and racing history helped me land my first major industry job, a suspension tech at Specialized in 2008. From there I learned about forks, shocks, dampers, dropper posts and all things technical. I went on to the Specialized product team for high-end mountain bikes. After 7 years there, we said our goodbyes and I started the journey with Marin Bikes.
It’s been pretty amazing to be allowed the opportunity to restore the glory of one of the first names in mountain biking.
What do you do at Marin?
My official role is Full Suspension and Aggro Hardtail Product Manager. I also help to ensure our global support staff have all the resources to keep our riders riding. The main role I have is to make sure your mountain bikes are fun to ride and match up to your needs.
I like to consider a product manager as the conductor of an orchestra. I just help guide one of the best teams ever to make great bikes for the people. It’s the best.
What's the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is knowing that I’m making a product that enriches someone’s life.
It feels really good to finish the day knowing that what you do makes people happy.
What was the best day at Marin you’ve had so far?
I would have to put the Mount Vision launch at the top. I met the marketing team in Germany and we grabbed the launch bikes in Munich then road tripped to Italy to spend two days ensuring the bikes were ready for launch.
We spent two days shuttling in Punta Ala with some absolute legends and then we went up to Tuscany for three days with the media. It was a lot of work, but so much fun!
What inspires you to do your job at Marin?
In life, you have to stay hungry and never settle. We can always do better.
That drives me every day to do better and make better bikes.
What bikes do you own and which is your go-to bike?
My go-to bike on the weekend is a 2017 KTM 250 XCW.
On weekdays, I get the pleasure of riding test bikes and I end up changing my main MTB based on the development cycles. The only two Marin bikes I own personally are an Alcatraz and a Nicaso RC for running around town. My favorite bikes in the Marin lineup are the Alpine Trail XR and the Alpine Trail E2.
Describe your riding style with a movie title
‘When in Doubt Air It Out’
Favourite post-ride meal and beverage?
Any hot, tasty food that’s served with a strong IPA.
Tell us something unusual about yourself that people might not know?
I have a steel plate on the front of my pelvic bone.
How many people do you know with a steel plate above their junk?
What’s on your desk?
Cut open forgings, digital callipers, MTB Action magazine, grip prototypes and a fresh box from Fox with a new shock to test!
What was the last book or magazine that you read?
‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’, which is a precursor to the Hunger Games books.
What have you learned from your time at Marin that you’d share with the world?
Don’t be scared to leave what you know if you want more. When you make the jump, your life will be all the better.
If you could put an announcement on a billboard for every cyclist to see - what would it say?
BE NICE TO PEOPLE AND GO RIDE YOUR BIKE.