MBR November 295

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 November 2023.

Thank you for the ride

It feels weird writing this, but after 26 years and 334 issues, this copy of MBR will be the last. Although there are many of you loyal readers out there, the dramatic rise in print, paper and distribution costs in the last year has made producing a physical magazine unsustainable. 

I’ve been here for 270 of those issues, and at the helm for 101. But like any great journey, the stats only tell a fraction of the story. It’s the experiences and the people I’ve met along the way that really stand out. And in the same way that every amazing trail is full of ups and downs, there has been plenty of hard work, and a fair bit of stress, but the rewards and the buzz have been intense.

MBR issue covers 2023

The last 10 covers of the 334 print issues of MBR magazine

At the risk of sounding like one of those cringy awards speeches, there are many people I’d like to thank for their help creating the magazine over the years. Not least staff members Alan Muldoon, Jamie Darlow, and Ben Smith. Then there are all the contributors, former colleagues and previous editors; you’ve all played your part in making mbr a brand that’s deeply embedded in mountain biking culture. 

And, of course, I’d like to thank you, the reader, for all your support over the years buying the magazine. Whether a casual reader or devoted subscriber, it’s been wonderful having you along for the ride. But wait, as one path ends, another one begins, and for mbr an exciting new chapter is just starting. Alan, Jamie, and I will now be concentrating our efforts on producing the same great content entirely online, both at mbr.co.uk and on our YouTube channel @mbrmagazine. Expect more of the best testing, advice, and insight in the business, with weekly videos and daily news. It’s an exciting new direction for us, and we’d love you to join us. 

Danny Milner. Editor, MBR.

Adjustable trail bikes November 295

Alan Muldoon and Ben Smith catch the last of the summer sunshine. Photo: Callum Philpott

On the cover

Adjustable trail bikes:

Geometry is a fickle beast, what’s right for one rider, or ride, is wrong for another. Specialized and Trek know this all too well, so the latest Stumpjumper Evo and Fuel EX trail bikes offer multiple points of geometry adjustment. But which will morph into this month’s trail bike test-winner? Turn to page 78 for the fully story, along with stunning shots from the ‘golden hour’ photoshoot at the Forest of Dean.

Adjustable trail bikes November 295

We pitched the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO against the latest evolution of Trek’s Fuel EX

The 5 best new places to ride this autumn

Dyfi Insta360 Flowline trail

Dyfi Insta360 Flowstate line squeezes in a ton of features in its 2km length

Ride the freshest loam, the sharpest tabletops and the biggest berms this autumn. We highlight what’s new at five key riding destinations. Put ’em on your list!

Laggan blue trail

The new blue trail means that Laggan in no longer exclusively the hangout of experienced riders

Gearing Revolution

Forget high-pivot idlers, Geometron goes back to the gearbox with a Pinion drivetrain on its latest G2 model.

Geometron G2 Pinion

Geometron’s latest G2 with Pinion gearbox. Photo: Andy Lloyd

Technique – See the big picture

Dirt School’s skills supremo Andy Barlow takes everyday advice and finesses it for optimum deployment on the trails. Part 3 in his ‘Best Advice’ series. Five pages packed with knowledge to help improve your riding technique.

Technique – Andy Barlow Nov295

Best Advice part 3 – Andy Barlow weeds out the good from the bad tips

Bikes and gear

Bike Test 2

Second of the double-header bike tests, this time with a focus on XC race bikes. It sees Specialized and Trek butt heads again, with their full-suspension, full carbon short travel flagship models, the S-Works Epic World Cup and the all-new Supercaliber 9.9 XX AXS Gen 2.

XC Race Bike Test opener

The Specialized S-Works Epic World Cup battles it out with Trek’s flagship Supercaliber 9.9


Ben looks back on the last six months aboard his premium-spec Scott Genius ST 900 Tuned while PB sings the praises of his Canyon’s huge 900Wh capacity battery. It’s month two for both Sean’s Norco Fluid FS and Guy’s high pivot Forbidden Druid and James gives his final verdict after a year on the Pivot Firebird Pro.

Forbidden Druid Guy

Guy’s Forbidden Druid longtermer is turning into a test-kit-workhorse


First Rides

Danny gets a first taste of SRAM’s entry into into the e-MTB arena, the long-awaited SRAM Powertrain. This system marries motor and transmission for a match made in heaven.

Mick Kirkman heads to Dyfi Bike Park to try the Atherton AM170 M1 and Jamie gets to ride Privateer’s all-new (and first) e-bike, the aluminium E161.

SRAM AXS Powertrain

SRAM’s all new Powertrain is a fully integrated system

Group test: Riding Pants

Not exclusive to winter outings, a good pair of MTB trousers can be a year-round trail tool, as well as looking cool to boot. We rank the latest riding pants on the market from 7mesh, Canyon, Dharco, Fox, Rapha, Scott, Specialized, Troy Lee Designs and YT.

Rapha Trail Lightweight pants

Rapha Trail Lightweight pants are one of ten pairs of riding trousers tested


Danny, Mick and PB have all been busy, with plenty of new tech, hardware and riding clobber tested: Cane Creek DB IL coil shock, Canyon flat pedals, Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M Race tyre, Specialized Gambit full-face helmet, OneUp Carbo E-Bar and Rapha’s Lightweight Trail T-shirt are highlights, all scoring 8/10 or above and taking a spot in MBR’s comprehensive buyer’s guides.

Bikes in this issue:

  • Atherton AM170 M1
  • Canyon Spectral: ON CFR
  • Forbidden Druid GX AXS FX
  • Geometron G2 Pinion
  • Norco Fluid FS A1
  • Pivot Firebird Pro
  • Privateer E161
  • Santa Cruz Heckler SL
  • Scott Genius ST 900 Tuned
  • Specialized S-Works Epic World Cup
  • Specialized Stumpjumper Evo Elite Alloy
  • Trek Fuel EX 9.7 XT Gen 6
  • Trek Supercaliber SLR 9.9 XX AXS Gen 2