Or moan-tain biking, if you will
Mountain bikes have been around for over 40 years yet there are still some aspects of it that can be tiresome and frustrating. Here are the worst culprits.
1. Slack seat angles
Now that head angles are generally at an acceptable degree of slackness and reach numbers are getting there or thereabouts, focus inevitably turns to another line in the geometry table. Seat angle. Once you’ve ridden a decently steep one (75°+) it’s hard to go back to slacker seat angles and not be really preoccupied and distracted by how inefficient your riding position is. Seriously, we’d much rather be on a 15kg bike with a steep seat angle than a 10kg bike with a slack one.
2. Cure all suspension design hype
There is no perfect suspension system. There can’t be. Riders are people and all people are different. You will ride differently to me and as such you will be better served by a different suspension system and setup than I am. With suspension design, you have to have to rob Peter to pay Paul; solving one suspension ‘problem’ means you just create another elsewhere. Most experienced mountain bikers have settled into one of three camps these days: single pivot, 4-bar, dual short link. Let’s hope that marketing departments stop with the one-size-fits-all approach soon too.
3. Oil slick finish
We’ve not even got to end of 2019 and already the sight of 2020 components in ‘oil slick’ finish has us rolling our eyes. The only exception to this is the classic Andrey Lacondeguy DMR Vault flat pedal (above). Leave oil slicks for the roads please.
Super high end, mega expensive mountain bikes used to be wild, wacky and cool. Nowadays they’re all looking pretty much the same as mid- and even entry-level models. Safe bling. Bring back the madness!
5. YouTube shreddits
We have Instagram now people. Ditch the short format for YouTube and give us double digit minute short films with a bit more heft to them please.
6. Bikes without bottle mounts
AKA the continued tyranny of road cycling standards. Water bottles are a pain to fit inside a full suspension mountain bike’s front triangle. If only some brave pioneering soul would come up with a new design of water bottle and bottle cage that somehow took up less inflexible shape. Come on bike industry!
7. Tubeless faff
Sure, tubeless is approximately 25,000 times less faffy than it used to be. But surely it’s not just us who are bit miffed with having dried sealant over everything: bunged up valves, lifting-up rim strips, rim surfaces covered in it, numerous splattered clothing garments now rendered ‘for decorating DIY only’, spending more money annually on sealant than we ever spent on inner tubes etc etc.
8. Bike weight
I weighed my bike the other day. It was heavy. Or should I say ‘heavy’. Heavy is such an anachronism in mountain biking. In reality my bike weighs just right. I’m certainly not interested in spending several hundreds (thousands?) of pounds on it to make it 10% lighter. Have a look at the bike weights of Enduro World Series racers. That will make you feel a whole lot better about your bike’s weight. P.S. never weigh your bike. No good will ever come of it.
9. Drooping knee pads
Frequently pausing to hitch up your pads is something that’s somehow become a fact of mountain bike life. Can somebody sort it out?
10. The faff
This is the big one. This is the Achilles heel of mountain biking. The pre-ride faff. Where a lot of other seemingly similar pastimes (road cycling, fell running etc) involve getting dressed and… that’s it, mountain biking seems to involve an inordinate amount of pre-ride sorting out. The thing is though, it doesn’t have to. It’s one of the very best things about the recent trend of ditching backpacks and stowing things on your bike instead. No more finding, assembling, checking and filling a hydration backpack with all your stuff. It’s all on your bike, ready to go. Get dressed, fill a water bottle, go ride.