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The Courage to Create

Innovative in a focus on ride quality, but nothing new has happened in road since aero, a few season ago.

Rollo May in his book, The Courage to Create, speaks about the darker side of creativity—about the demons that people face who take it upon themselves to forge something tangible from an idea that was once beyond the scope of their peers.

May points out that in its conceptual form, an idea can be perfect, but with each step of the creative process, that brilliant, idealized vision is compromised as the inventor struggles to express it through his or her personal limitations and those of current technology. To be creative, one must be able to face continual disappointment, knowing from the beginning that the end product can never match its idealized form. Knowing that it could have been done better. All of us are creative by nature, but less than a handful in a hundred have the courage to create.

Our sport often mistakes cleverness for creativity. There is little risk to be clever. There is no downside to conjuring up ways to make an existing product lighter, stronger, faster or more attractive. When asked, almost every mountain bike rider would describe next year’s ultimate bicycle or product in reference to the ones they currently like, only much better, and perhaps in a different color. Most of us conceptualize the future by projecting a composite image of familiar things that we desire - which makes us easy prey to clever products masked as innovation.

On the contrary, the risk of failure or rejection for a groundbreaking product is close to 100 percent. One must identify a p...