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
Danny Milner carves through Surrey’s tropical rainforests. Photo by Roo Fowler.
STATE OF OUR TRAILS 2021
The past 18 months have seen mountain biking booming, with more riders taking up the sport and more old hands returning. That’s great news, but how are our trails coping, are they cracking up under the pressure or are riders putting back more than they take away? Keen to find out, we got in touch with riders and trail groups around the country to try and get a snapshot of the state of the trails here, now, in 2021.
Forbidden’s new bike is the Dreadnought, named after a brutalist battleship it’s designed to blow the competition out of the water, using a high-pivot idler to reduce pedal kickback, a rearward axle path to take big hits and 154mm travel. Is it any good? It’s First Ride time to try and find out, alongside Focus’s Thron, a bikepacking-come-trail- bike, and the Mondraker Crafty with real-world riding data.
HOTTEST BIKES FOR 2022
We’ve put together a list of the 12 best up-and-coming bikes for 2022, from XC and down-country whippets to full on enduro bikes, and everything in-between. With the Raaw Jibb, Pivot 429 and Guerilla Gravity Trail Pistol, to name just three, there’s definitely no shortage of scintillating new hardware coming onto the market next year. And with a bit of luck, they might actually be available to buy!
PB has the new ‘Shigura’ brake mod up and running on his Haibike Allmtn 6 e-bike this month, splicing an SLX lever onto a Magura caliper. Now the wheels are falling off though, almost literally. Meanwhile, Ben Day switches to flat pedals to try and stop his lower limbs getting tangled up in the Vitus Escarpe, Ben Smith gets beaten up at BikePark Wales on his Kona Process, and Sean discovers that the Nukeproof Scout’s one- stop-shop SLX drivetrain beats a more eclectic approach to speccing a bike.
For less than £135 you can get a fully functioning drivetrain, with wide-range cassette, clutch mech and silicone-coated shifter paddles from Taiwanese brand Microshift. Called Advent X it could be the answer to the great component drought of 2021. Plus we review the Dainese Trail Skins kneepads, ION K-Sleeve Amp pads, Scott Stego Plus helmet, Five Ten Freerider Pro Primeblue shoe, Stan’s NoTubes sealant injector, the Park Tool Bleed Kit, and loads more.
TESTED: BAGGY SHORTS
The baggy short should sit in the top drawer of any mountain biker. It’s also the first line of defence if you take a tumble, and the latest most modern shorts come with a host of performance benefits. Check out 10 of the best from the likes of Rapha, Endura, Fox, Troy Lee and Sweet Protection.
BIKE TEST: XC RACE BIKES
You could win Olympic gold on the Blur or the Spark, because they really are built for it. We’ve picked two of the newest thoroughbred XC race bikes and put them head to head. On test is the Santa Cruz Blur XC CC XO1 AXS RSV and Scott Spark RC WC AXS – both have full carbon, super-lightweight frames, electronic shifting, and 100mm travel. Let the Games begin!
BUZZ: FIT AND FAST – UNDERSTANDING FATIGUE
Fatigue is usually the limiting factor on a ride. It makes sense to try and understand what brings it on, argues physiology expert Dr Shaun Phillips from Edinburgh University. He breaks down the causes of fatigue, from the climbs to the descents, the terrain, the temperature, what you eat and even how well you’ve slept the night before.
CHRIS AKRIGG’S E-BIKE SKILLS PART 2
Stop spinning those wheels on tough climbs and listen up! Trials wizard and mbr coach for the month Chris Akrigg talks us through his e-bike climbing techniques – how to moderate power, alter body position, and get maximum grip and fun out of your ride.
DARE FAMILY BIKE PARK
Dare Valley Gravity Family Bike Park has a clunky name, but this smooth new family bike park is a must-see for new riders and those with kids. Nature reclaimed the hills above Aberdare for its own and among the bucolic beauty is a new blue trail and stonking trail centre, all accessed via Land Rover uplift.
MY BEST TRAIL
Bernard Kerr – famous for his stoppies, his manuals, his LSD vlog and his sublime talent on a downhill bike – chats about his favourite trail, Rude Rock in New Zealand.
BIKES IN THIS ISSUE
BMC Fourstroke 01
Focus Thron 6.9
Forbidden Dreadnought XT
Haibike Allmtn 6
Kona Process 134 Supreme
Mondraker Crafty Carbon XR Mind
Nukeproof Scout 290 Pro
Santa Cruz Blur XC CC XO1 AXS RSV
Scott Spark RC WC AXS
Vitus Escarpe 29 CRS