This month's Star Letter

This month’s Star Letter is from a 80s MTBer recently returned to the offroad fold and is startled by the changes in bike tech.

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It’s not about the bike

I admit it. I picked up a copy of last month’s mbr looking for inspiration after an absence of buying it for a while. Having been an ardent mountain biker since the late 80’s my off road riding has unfortunately fallen to the wayside a little bit with inevitable work and family commitments. I hoped that a catch up with what’s happening in the mountain biking scene would spur me on to get out and ride a bit more. 

What surprised me most in reading almost every page of the magazine were the obvious scientific and technical advancements involved in everyday kit. 

I know Sir Dave Brailsford and his marginal gains have been a hot topic in recent years, but I didn’t realise it had filtered down to your average off-the-shelf product. 

Grips isolated by air pockets, force-distributing wheels and magnetically-charged drivetrain particles. All on one page!
I’m almost embarrassed to admit I still ride a bike with 26in wheels.  

When I started mountain biking the most high tech thing was that my pal’s Gary Fisher had a ‘CAD- Computer Aided Design’ decal on the top tube. My helmet was a monstrous single piece of polystyrene made by Trek. Not a MIPS or WaveCel in sight…  

I’m not taking the purists’s stance and bemoaning the technical advancement of bikes, kit or riding. As long as people get out there and ride I’m in favour of it. I just hope that when I get back out there I’m not going to get looked down upon because my top only stretches two ways, and not four!

– Euan Williams

Ed – Mountain biking has always been concerned with developing better equipment – Gary Fisher is a prime example of someone who pushed design and engineering from the very first time he rode a klunker down Repack to the day he hung up his purple trilby hat. What always remains constant, however, is the satisfaction and enjoyment of wheels in the dirt, whether they’re 26in or made of force-distributing nano-magnets.

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