The latest issue of MBR is out now, and as ever it’s 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 MBR June 2022.
On the Cover
The Kenevo SL enjoying its Easter holidays, in the Surrey Hills. Photographer: Phil Sowels
Play can seem frivolous, a luxury, a distraction from more pressing concerns but honestly it’s the very essence of mountain biking… or it should be! We’re not riding for a reason, we’re riding to have fun, and with that comes a host of biological and mental benefits that have us functioning better. We look into how, why and when, and discover there’s no reason to feel guilty for messing around in the woods, skids really aren’t just for kids, so just get out and play
Winter on the West Kernow Way
The West Kernow Way is Cycling UK’s latest off-road, long distance loop. It takes in many of the highlights of the western half of the Cornish peninsula, linking rugged coastlines, old miners tracks, bridleways, byways and quiet lanes to escape tourist hotspots and discover the area’s beauty, history and culture. Ideal for those long days of summer, shame we tackled it in the teeth of a winter gail then. Expect plenty of type 2 “fun” then.
Bikes and gear
Hottest new bikes
The world is awash with new bikes right now, pushing the boundaries of performance ever onwards… and we’ve ridden five of the most interesting to showcase. Check out YT’s Capra MX Uncaged 6 with its big hit coil shock, the new Santa Cruz Megatower that now features downtube storage, Orbea’s Rallon M-Team enduro bike with souped up sizing and geo, the relaunched Canyon Spectral:ON CFR with more battery than ever, Moustache’s Samedi Game 11 e-bike with the brand’s own Magic Grip Control shock, and a new bike brand and bike in the shape of the Rock Machine Blizzard.
It’s sign off time for the most expensive longtermer we’ve ever trailed: the Kona Process 134 Supreme. Ben Smith delivers his verdict after a year in review; is electronic shifting, carbon everything and top end suspension worth the investment? Plus updates on JD’s Specialized Turbo Keneo SL Comp low-power eeb, PB’s Giant Reign E+ 1 e-bike, and James Bracey’s Focus Jam 6.9
What happens when you take a sub-1,400g XC wheelset and bolt it on to an enduro bike? We fitted some from Silt to find out (taking careful note of the unlimited free crash replacement programme and return address). Plus we try the latest Endura Hummvee flat pedal shoes, Spank spoon stem, Giro Xnetic women’s glove, Fox Enduro Pro knee guards, Rapha trousers and jersey, Pendle car rack, Koo Supernova glasses, the Kenda Karma tyre and more.
As bikes become more competent we inevitably end up riding faster, and on jankier trails too. Helmet designers have taken note, increasing the protection and venting on offer while simultaneously reducing weight. We’ve got a dozen on test to help you get your head in the right place: eight traditional open face designs from the likes of Troy Lee, Giro, Bell and more; and four full face options from Fox, TLD, Leatt and Giro.
As ever we’ve taken the newest bikes available and put them through their paces to help you find the perfect bike for you and your riding.
- Canyon Spectral:ON CFR
- Focus Jam 6.9
- Giant Reign E+ 1
- Kona Process 134 Supreme
- Moustache Samedi Game 11
- Nukeproof Scout 290 Pro
- Orange Switch 7
- Orbea Rallon M-Team
- Rock Machine Blizzard 50 297
- Santa Cruz Megatower C GX AXS RSV
- Specialized Turbo Kenevo SL Comp
- YT Capra MX Uncaged 6
Buzz: Fit and Fast
Boosting your grip strength is important for more than just a heart hand shake, it’s vital to staying on the bike and in control when things get rough and rowdy. Increase your power here and you’re also much less likely to experience the dreaded arm pump, scourge of many a Alpine rider or gravity racer. Jonny from Fit4Racing walks us through the moves needed to beast your forearms.
Skills: Challenging yourself
As a new rider, every destination you head to and every trail you ride is a new experience, and your progress is exponential. All too quickly that direction can tail off, and if you’re an old hand at the sport you can find your riding plateaus without progress. Andy Barlow from Dirt School has some ideas on keeping moving in the right direction, from creative riding to maximising your time in boring settings, like a fireroad.
Buzz: Enduro bikes go downhilling
The World Cup downhill season kicked off last month, and with it the appearance of enduro bikes dressed up as gravity machines. We take a look at the Forbidden Dreadnought, Norco Range and Orbea Rallon to see if your humble enduro bike really can cut it on the world’s toughest tracks.
My best trail
Longtime staff writer Jamie Darlow revisits the Colorado Trail for a nostalgia trip and a reminder of what mountain biking really is.