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 Summer 2022.
On the Cover
Life-affirming riding, on the Vitus Sommet 297 up Ilkley Moor. Photographer: Mick Kirkman
Trailblazers: Trail Collective North Wales
Mountain biking in Wales is on the edge of something big, the new Trail Collective North Wales has actively engaged with Natural Resources Wales and landowners to make sure mountain bikers are represented… and that we’re not going anywhere. We head along to find out how it’s been done and what the venture is yielding in terms of trails and access.
Breaking down barriers, part 2
Last year Aneela McKenna was one of the stars of the Trailblazers series. We learnt how this extraordinary Scottish Asian rider was focusing her own lived experience into educating and enabling the people, brands and organisations that make up the mountain bike industry, on how to create a space more welcoming for all. Now one year on, have we seen real, positive change in the mountain bike community? She’d say so.
Bikes and gear
RockShox has reworked the Lyrik and Zeb forks, as well as the Deluxe and Super Deluxe shocks, adding a new Charger 3 damper with independent high-speed and low-speed compression adjustment, Buttercups bumpers, a DebonAir+ spring, and loads more – check out our first impressions. Plus we ride a Cube Attention SL budget hardtail, and BMC’s Fourstroke LT One XC race bike
Privateer has a stonking new special edition version of the 141 bike, with an Ohlins RXF36 fork and a TTX2M coil-sprung shock – the idea is to muscle up its riding performance and take it from trail bike to do-it-all bike. We’ve got one on longterm test this year to see how it performs. Plus updates on the Sonder Signal steel hardtail, Giant’s Reign E+ 1 e-bike, the Specialized Turbo Keneo SL low power e-bike, and the Focus’s Jam trail bike.
Hope has a new version of its excellent Tech 4/E4 brake, with a longer lever and tweaks to the calliper. Is it an improvement? Plus we test Ride Concepts’ Tallac, it’s the flat pedal shoe equivalent of a mud tyre, with lugs galore and an appetite for adventure. Also reviewed is a silky smooth merino riding jersey from Patagonia, Smith Leadout PivLock glasses, and loads more.
Tested: Knee pads
Crashing happens, but it doesn’t kneed (get it?!) to be a big deal for your patellas if you’re wearing the right protection. There are dozens of different knee pads on the market, with varying levels of protection, so to help you make the right choice for trail riding we’ve whittled it down to the 10 best – they all feature a pull-on or sleeve design that’s light and comfy enough to ride all day in, yet feature decent padding to save you some skin should the worst happen. We’ve also got the best advice on what to look out for, if you’re thinking of buying a pad not on our list – it’s a Must Read.
With a 29in wheel at the front and a smaller 27.5in hanging out the back, the MX or mullet bike is 2022’s zeitgeist, with World Cup downhillers and enduro shredders adopting the mullet look. And for good reason, it could well be the ideal blend of top-end pace and agility. So this month we’ve got the three best-value, top-performing 175mm travel bikes around, all from direct sales brand they are: the Canyon Torque Mullet CF 8.0, Vitus Sommet 297 AMP, and YT Capra Core 3 MX. Find out where to spend your money.
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.
- BMC’s Fourstroke LT One
- Canyon Torque Mullet CF 8.0
- Cube Attention SL
- Focus Jam 6.9
- Giant Reign E+ 1
- Privateer 141 Ohlins
- Sonder Signal ST GX
- Specialized Turbo Keneo SL Comp
- Vitus Sommet 297 AMP
- YT Capra Core 3 MX
Buzz: Fit and fast
Getting faster and stronger on the bike isn’t all about smashing it in the gym or sessioning the trail, says Jonny from Fit4Racing (although naturally you won’t get very far if you’re not doing at least one of these!). Try tweaking your lifestyle too, drink more water, sleep better, get your head in the right place and you’ll start seeing results in your riding – check out the rest of our life hacks for more ideas.
Skills: Jumping with control
Last month pro coach Andy Barlow from Dirt School showed us how to master the basics of jumping: This month it’s all about using that skill not to boost it high (that comes later) but when to absorb a jump to stay low. He’s also broken down steps to the enabler skill you need to do it: the manual. Put all that together and you’ll be able to ride trails better, keeping control but absorbing the upslopes of rollers before driving your weight into the trail where it counts.
Buzz: The evolution of freeride
Freeride is on the up, events like Rampage, Formation, Darkfest, Crankworx and loads more are showcasing what the world’s best riders can do on extreme terrain… and now the UK has its own party too. Called the Evolve Jump Jam it’s a women only event that mixes pro riders, kids, weekend warriors and everyone in between. We went along to Revolution Bike Park in North Wales to take part.
My best trail
Andrew ‘Needles’ Neethling has spent the past 20 years racing downhill. Now retired, he builds trails, rides for fun and looks stylish in photos as brand ambassador to Scott, e*thirteen and more. Check out his fave trail.