"He waited in the car with the engine running"

After Image: our fave people choose their fave photos. This time it’s the turn of suspension guru Chris Porter and the legendary Cannondale Fulcrum DH.

>>> 12 things you’ll remember if you were a mountain biker in the 90s

Words by Chris Porter

As editor of the now defunct MBi magazine, the offer of a Cannondale Fulcrum DH bike for a studio photograph was never going to be just a ‘static’ pic. Clive Gosling was working for Cannondale at the time and arranged to loan us the bike for a day in the studio to shoot the radical suspension and drive system.

However, just before we took delivery of the bike, our in-house studio had an emergency shoot for a woodworking magazine that took priority over our booking (nudge, nudge). So I told Clive we would need it for an extra day, meaning we would have the bike for just under 36hrs.

Clive agreed, but he was clear on two things:  “ABSOLUTELY no riding this bike. And ABSOLUTELY no technical photos showing how the drive and suspension system works!”


Of course, what everyone wanted to know was how it worked and how it rode. So, I had our photographer, Paul Bryant, waiting in the car with the engine running, and soon as Clive had dropped off the bike, we drove straight to the tunnel and caned it to the South of France. Up early next morning on the Montagne Saint Victoire around 12 hours after picking the bike up in a frosty but beautiful spot for some epic photos.

We floored it back, got it into the studio, shot some time-lapse photography of the suspension extending with a really slow rebound setting, and managed to hand it back to Clive in pristine condition (save from a little less rubber on the tyres).

We had many mad dashes to the south of France at MBi, but this was the one to define them all. Sorry Clive! But, I guess you knew we would?

Where: Aix-en-Provence, France
Who: Chris Porter
When: February 1999
Photo: Paul Bryant