Celebrate the end of the decade by looking back at the best bits of the decade, whether they’re bikes, tech, racing, or riding stories
Part two looking back at the most important MTB moments of the past decade. The last 10 years have provided us with a tumult of trail highlights.
Mountain biking never stands still, it’s constantly changing in almost every way, from the bikes and technology we use, to the trails we ride and the influences on us from events and races. Over the last 10 years we’ve seen such flux in our sport it’s become very easy to get used to it, blasé about the amazing evolution happening right under our noses.
The greatest mountain bike moments of the decade: no’s 10 to 2
10. Stealth dropper posts
You could get a dropper post for your bike in the noughties, like the Maverick Speedball and then the Crank Bros Joplin, the trouble was they just weren’t very good. Or very reliable. Then in 2010 everything changed when RockShox brought out the Reverb — now you could raise and lower your saddle without the need to fiddle with a QR clamp.
9. Danny MacAskill
Danny MacAskill bridged the gap between niche and mainstream, showing the general public just how impressive two wheels could be. Over the last decade, Danny has done seemingly impossible things on his bike, like riding a hay bail in A Wee Day Out, back-flipping between buildings in Cascadia, or jumping off Edinburgh Castle in Way Back Home. But for us the best moment came when he blurred the lines between trials and mountain biking, taking on The Ridge — it also contains his best trick, bouncing off and over a wire fence.
8. Red Bull Rampage
Red Bull Rampage remains to this day utterly bonkers, and every year it’s amazing and surprising to find it hasn’t been banned (again): Some of the world’s best riders take turns to roll off a cliff in Utah, and outdo each other for style, skill and pure guts on the way back down. Double backflips over canyons, 360 step downs, caveman drop ins, vertical chutes, Red Bull Rampage has got it all.
7. Enduro takes centre stage
Finally a racing format that appealed to the weekend warrior, enduro racing combined the best descents, with relaxed climbs and a social element to create a form of competition that closely mirrored the format of your average Sunday ride. Yes, it got a bit up itself with goggles and open face helmets and bum bags and hash tags, but at its core, enduro racing still packages up all the best bits of mountain biking and lets you brag about beating your mates in the pub afterwards.
6. Tubeless tyres
They may be messy, stubborn and sometimes maddening to set up, but the adoption of tubeless tyres has proved a godsend for most of us. Hello to lower tyre pressures and more grip, goodbye 90 per cent of all punctures, and twin tubeless with the lightweight tyre inserts of recent years and you have a near bombproof set-up.
5. The rise of ‘modern geometry’
It’s such a simple and effective idea, it seems so obvious now: cutting the length out of your bike’s stem and putting it into the top tube instead. Instantly you had a better riding position, further behind the front axle so you were less likely to go over the bars. Mondraker pioneered the theory in 2014 with its Forward Geometry concept, with a diddy 10mm stem that looked bizarre alongside a frame that appeared oddly long, but when we tried the concept it was a game changer. Within a year, the rest of the bike world was taking note, slowly making their bikes longer, lower and slacker. Nothing has been more significant in improving the performance of today’s trail bikes and enduro bikes.
4. Trail ownership
The decade was dominated by austerity from the politicians, spawning a funding crisis for trails across the UK. In stepped local communities, volunteer groups and private enterprise, wresting control of their trails from local authorities and helping smaller riding spots and trails flourish. Think Leeds Urban Bike Park, the work of Ride Sheffield and most recently, the adoption of the Golfie Trails by the local riding community in the Tweed Valley.
3. Strava turns every ride into a race
Loved and loathed in almost equal measure, this ingenious app tapped into our competitive nature, letting us race our mates without ever having to swallow a brave pill and actually strap a number board to our bike. Controversially, Strava also brought out the worst in people, meaning trails were straightened and corners were lost, while it also allowed riders to discover all the best trails, however sensitive, and wherever they were in the world.
2. Right to roam Wales
This one hasn’t actually happened yet, but it feels like we’re getting close to land reforms in Wales that could give the country open access rights just like Scotland’s Right to Roam. Just this year the Welsh Government agreed to consider letting us ride on footpaths and open access (CROW) land.
Stay tuned next week for our no.1 Greatest Moment of the Decade.