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 May 2022.
On the Cover
Rocky, Lakeland testing on this month’s bike test winner, the Forbidden Dreadnought. Photographer: James Vincent
Thank you, mountain biking
What is it about mountain biking that’s so bloody good? It’s the kind of question non-riders ask you now and then, so this month we take a deep dive into the sport that makes us tick, and try and carve out an answer. We reckon the experiences we have on our bikes make us resourceful, skilful, and ultimately happy people, sometimes willing to take a calculated risk and always willing to experience more from life. What do you reckon? Write in and tell us.
Åre is Sweden’s version of Whistler, the epicentre for the vibrant Swedish ski and outdoor scene. With one of the largest bike parks in Europe, adventurous trail riding and vibrant bike culture, this little mountain town is a bike destination to put on your bucket list. Mattias Fredriksson returns to his old stomping grounds to show us around.
Bikes and Gear
Trail bikes don’t have to come with 150-160mm travel, Canyon reckons, and to prove it the direct sales giants have launched the new Spectral 125, with minimal travel and aggressive geometry ideal for big terrain. Will it prove under gunned or slot nicely into the new breed of short travel rippers doing the rounds? Plus we ride the mixed wheel size Evil Insurgent MX 29 and the Santa Cruz Chameleon hardtail.
PB has been suspension fettling on his Giant Reign E+ 1 e-bike, cracking open the shock and fork to remove tokens and realigning the floating axle on the Fox 38 in search of a more supple ride. JD gets a shot in the arm with a Range Extender battery pack for the Specialized Turbo Keneo SL Comp low-power eeb, Ben fits new bearings tohis Kona Process 134 Supreme short travel trail bike, James Braces gets a coil shock on the Focus Jam 6.9, and Sean delivers his final verdict on his Nukeproof Scout 290 Pro hardtail.
On test this month is the Marzocchi Bomber CR coil shock for riders in search of more grip and comfort at a modest price. Plus we review the Bryton’s Rider 420 GPS, Leatt AllMtn Jacket 4.0 V22, Specialized Supacaz ePedal, Ryobi’s Cordless Power Washer and the Fox 36/38 XL Mudguard.
Tested: Track pumps and shock pumps
Every rider needs a track pump, it’ll help you quickly and easily inflate your tyres and seat a tubeless bead too. And unless you’re riding exclusively on coil-sprung suspension front and rear, you’ll need a shock pump to dial in your sag too. We’ve got six of each on test, from budget models that do the bare bones to tactile masterpieces, hewn from wood and CNC’d from alloy.
Bike test: High pivot idler enduro bikes
High pivot idler bikes have proven their worth on the DH stage, now they’re the zeitgeist design for enduro bikes too, but can they offer the same kind of advantage? Does decoupling chain forces from the suspension really pay off under braking? We’ve got two rippers to figure it out: on test is the GT Force and Forbidden’s Dreadnought, the former a mid-pivot 4-bar design from California, the latter a single-pivot layout from Canada.
Bikes in this Issue
- Binary Maniak 21
- Canyon Spectral 125 CF9 30
- Focus Jam 6.9 75
- Forbidden Dreadnought XT 96
- Eminent Haste 20
- Evil Insurgent MX 29 GX 34
- Giant Reign E+ 1 70
- GT Force Carbon Pro LE 100
- Kona Process 134 Supreme 74
- Nukeproof Scout 290 Pro 74
- Reeb Sqweeb V4 21
- Reichmann Senduro 20
- Specialized Turbo Keneo SL Comp 72
- Santa Cruz Chameleon R Al 29 38
- Tora EVH 21
Buzz: Fit and Fast
Wrapping up Bulletproof Training this month is the upper back and neck, both responsible for keeping your head still and your vision clear when riding a bike. The muscles there in are responsible for a lot of stability then, so it makes sense to keep yours strong and pain free, Jonny from Fit4Racing talks us through the process.
Skills: Stepping it up
There comes a point when you want to up your game. Perhaps it’s that trail feature you’ve always wanted to tick off, but never dared. Or progressing up to a red-graded trail from those fun blues you’ve stuck to for so long. Skills legend Andy Barlow has the best advice, on keeping your composure, checking your body positioning and balance, spotting the best lines and actually drawing up a game plan to achieve your goals.
Buzz – Skem trails
It’s all about taking mountain biking to the people, rather than people to the mountains this month – we head to Lancashire to check out the Skem Trails, two short but sweet elongated pumptracks (or super condensed trail centre tracks) packed with a quick succession of jumps and berms, tightly wound within an impressively small area.
My best trail
Oisin O’Callaghan, MTB prodigy from Ireland and now with the YT mob, takes us back to his home trails.