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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. Here’s what you’ll find inside…
ON THE COVER
Aneela McKenna on home trails in the Tweed Valley. Photographer: Finlay Anderson.
Trailblazers: Annela McKenna
Aneela McKeena is on a mission to change things for the better in our sport, for decades she’s been promoting the importance of diversity and inclusion so that people from every walk of life feel welcome. We head out for a ride in the Tweed Valley to find out how mountain biking can adapt to the new normal and enrich the experience for all of us.
How green is the bike industry?
Mountain biking goes hand in glove with nature, it is the very basis of the sport – where would be be without the forests and the hills to shelter and support our trails? But with the world facing a climate crisis, how at risk are these precious landscapes? How much are we, as mountain bikers, contributing to and accelerating their decline? Time to find out.
Now in its third generation, the Specialized Turbo Levo is back, with multiple geometry settings, better sizing and improved reliability – we check out whether the e-bike benchmark has just been raised that little bit higher. Plus, first rides on the Radon Swoop enduro bike, Trek E-Caliber XC e-bike and the latest Atherton trail bike.
There’s a new bike and a new longterm test pilot, Sean White and the Nukeproof Scout 290 Pro – both are hardcore and both love tearing up the descents. We’ll see over 2021 whether this Pro model of the Scout hardtail with its luxurious 140mm Lyrik fork is up to the job. Plus updates on Benji’s Giant Trance X 29, Ben Day’s Vitus Escarpe CRS and PB’s HaiBike AllMtn e-bike.
On test this month is the latest and greatest XC fork, the RockShox SID, with more travel, new chassis and damping. Plus we test the 100% Surpass kneepads with CE Level 2 protection, Wahoo’s new Elemnt Rival smartwatch, the Crankbrothers Mallet E Boa shoes, Scott’s Trail Hipbelt bumbag, Topeak’s famous Alien multitool and loads more.
Tested: Pedals – flats and clipless
We have a foot in both camps, testing both flat and clipless pedals (not at the same time, of course) to bring you the best pegs for your bike. The mountain bike world is awash with new flat pedals right now, with each manufacturer trying to hit that sweet spot of perfect thickness, shape, size and pin placement – we’ve tested four aluminium models, and four plastic pedals for new riders or those looking to switch to flats with less expense. There have also been some changes in the clipless pedal space, Crank Brothers has a new version of its famous Mallet caged pedal, and there’s a new half flat, half clip system from HT to try.
Bike test: Lightweight e-bikes
Lightweight e-bikes might lack the range and sheer grunt of their full powered brethren, but they offer one big advantage – ride feel. Get the weight down and you can make an e-bike feel like a regular MTB, so the theory goes. To test that out we’ve got the Lapierre E-Zesty, equipped with a 250W Fazua motor and 250Wh battery, all removable so you can run it as an enduro bike too. It’s up against the Specialized Turbo Levo SL, a year after its launch the bike now comes with better suspension, a Specialized SL 1.1 motor and 320Wh battery.
Ride slow to get fast
Sounds counterintuitive, but to get faster and fitter on your bike you’re going to have to slow down. Or at least, mix up your pace, going steady on most of your rides before smashing it when the time is right. Easier said than done though, time pressures, natural eagerness and the fear of missing out on good riding all conspire to keep the pace high – Fit4Racing’s Jonny Thompson has the solution though, he shows us how to keep our cool.
Get back out there
It’s been a long old 12 months, but now with the nation hopefully returning to some kind of normality it’s time to get back out there and ride with your mates again. Don’t demand too much from yourself first time out though, argues Andy Barlow, follow the Dirt School roadmap and you’ll be back to your best in no time.
Losing against Litter
More riders, more adventures, more trails: sounds great for mountain biking, but after a year of increasing outdoor activity across the UK our green spaces are awash with rubbish. Trash Free Trails has a plan though, reconnecting people with nature and stemming the flow of trash once and for all. Check out how you can help your trails and woods, with some spring cleaning.
My best trail
Kiwi Veronique Sandler moved to the UK seven years ago, she loves riding her bike, dogs and digging jumps. But you’ll probably know her best from the VISION movie, shot on her very own Vision Line at Revolution Bike Park.
Bikes in this Issue
Giant Trance X 29 2
Haibike Allmtn 6
Nukeproof Scout 290 Pro
Radon Swoop 10.0
Specialized Turbo Levo Pro
Specialized Turbo Levo SL
Trek E-Caliber 9.9 XTR
Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS