mbr january 2021

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The latest issue of MBR is out now, packed full of inspiring ideas and routes to help you find new places to get out and ride.

What about the magazine itself? Here’s what you’ll find inside…

On the Cover

Hard to ride, harder to pronounce, easy to love: Sgurr nan Coireachan, Scotland. Photo: Pete Scullion.

Editor’s Choice 2020

We’re pretty discerning reviewers here at mbr, of the hundreds of products we test each year only a few dozen are good enough to earn a perfect 10 score: they must offer genuinely exceptional performance to turn the heads of our seasoned testers. Those that do however earn their place in our Editor’s Choice awards, which pulls together the best of the best, the kit and bikes we can’t find fault with and that we’d splash our own money on. Time to find out why the Nukeproof Reactor and Evil’s The Following are two of our favourite bikes this year, how Crank Brothers killed it with its Synthesis wheels, and why the Lyrik is still our favourite fork.

First Rides

The new Specialized Status 160 shrugs off its meagre pricetag and proves that good design and clever component choices can still deliver a great fun bike. Plus we ride: Cotic’s new 140mm travel trail bike, the Jeht, complete with 29in wheels and de rigeur steel frame: The new Bullit from Santa Cruz, the brand’s second e-bike this year, now with more travel and the latest Shimano EP8 motor: And the new carbon-framed version of Vitus’s brilliant Escarpe VRX trail bike, now with a choice of wheel sizes and revised geometry.


This month we introduce a new bike to the longtermer stable, the Giant Trance X, with 20mm more travel than the and the first time we’ve seen a flip chip on this range. Plus Jamie gets his Cannodale Habit prepped for winter, we find out just how Laura managed to crack the frame on her Scott Contessa Ransom, and PB sums up the pros and cons of the Bosch display aboard his Radon Render.

Bikes in this Issue

Cannodale Habit Carbon
Cotic Jeht Gold Eagle Launch Edition
Evil The Following
Giant Trance X
Nukeproof Reactor
Radon Render 9.0
Santa Cruz Bullit CC X01 RSV
Scott Contessa Ransom 910
Specialized Status 160 Base
Trek Procaliber 9.7
Trek Rail
Santa Cruz Hightower
Calibre Bossnut
Transition Spur
Vitus Escarpe VRX

Skills FAQ

What do skill coaches get asked day in, day out, by their padawan? We ask Dirt School’s Andy Barlow to let us in on the most commonly asked questions, and how to tackle those problems: from how to keep your speed in corners, to the perennial “why can’t I jump?”

The modern skill set

Ideal technique has changed hugely over the years, from the 90s upper body movements to today’s stable torso and angled hips. Andy talks us through the changes, and what it’s allowed us to do as a result. Most importantly, he shows us how to put those good reference points to use and learn top notch skills.


There’s nothing like riding a new trail for the first time, so this month we’ve brought you five new great places to ride for 2021. BikePark Wales has a old trail made new, in the shape of the reworked A470 jump line: a long-distance trail around the South Downs, a pump track and mountain bike trails in Hampshire, The Verderer’s in the Forest of Dean gets a makeover, and the Dyfi Bike Park in Snowdonia is well worth a trip.

New rider routes

Whether you’re new to the sport, showing a beginner the ropes or fancy a less strenuous ride, we’ve got five natural routes to follow, promising a taste of mountain biking without the leggy bits. Complete with digital download for your GPS device.

My best trail

Matt Wragg has spent a decade getting as far away as possible from the nine-to-five city job he used to slave away at. He now spends his time taking photos, writing and of course riding. Naturally then, his favourite trail is little known and even less ridden.