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Mountain Bike Rider May 2019

Published by Time Inc. (UK) Ltd mbr is the UK's leading magazine for trail riding, mountain bike enthusiasts. Published since 1997, mbr aims to inspire readers to just get out and ride! with every issue, by providing the very best expert advice about where, what and how to ride. Every edition delivers the ultimate mix of inspirational riding features, with extensive bike and product reviews, along with superb advice and reader involvement - plus free pull-out route guides.

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trail bike of the year 2019

If you’re thinking of buying a new full-suspension bike this year, you’ve come to the right place. This month we reveal the results of our Trail Bike of the Year 2019, and this year choosing the two winners was harder than ever before. Our test encompasses both popular wheels sizes — 27.5in and 29in — and a price range that spans from £2,200 to £3,400. There are the direct-to-consumer brands that can only be ordered online and shipped to your door alongside traditional marques you can walk into a shop and ride away on. And while they show just how broadly the humble trail bike can be interpreted, all of them, without exception, can be ridden incredibly hard and none of them failed to put massive smiles on our faces.…

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big picture

The final challenge facing competitors at the end of three days’ racing at the NZ Enduro was a crowd favourite. Organisers had cruelly placed the finish line on the far side of a freshly flooded stream about 15 feet wide and about two feet deep. Being a blind race, no one knew how best to cross this obstacle. In the end it took Steve Peat with a monster hop ’n’ pop to prove the creek could be cleared in one single leap, which inspired a few others to give it a go. Sven Martin Beach vibes are never far away from the dusty trails of Punta Ala, Italy. Home to the very first Enduro World Series round way back in 2013, it’s still the perfect place to combine your trail-riding hit with…

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forbidden ridden

First time lucky? The Druid is the founding founding model of a new company called Forbidden Bikes. Formed by ex-pat Owen Pemberton (based on Vancouver Island) and Ali Beckett, this fledgling brand has created something remarkable with its first bike. With a full carbon frame that looks as slick as anything from the likes of Santa Cruz or Yeti, on-point geometry and sizing, 29in wheels and the trendiest suspension layout around, it’s not bad for a first go. OK, so it’s better than not bad, it’s outstanding to behold such a polished and well-heeled machine within two years of starting up a company. It’s puzzling too, until you understand that the man behind the design is UK-born Owen Pemberton. Owen used to work at Norco, and designed the current Aurum downhill…

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high pivot hype?

Amaury Pierron won the World Cup downhill overall last year on a Commençal Supreme DH and Sam Blenkinsop had his best season to date on the Norco Aurum HSP — is it a coincidence they were both on high-pivot bikes? Probably. That’s the hype, anyway. What we do know is that high-pivot bikes create rearward axle paths (the Druid extends by 9mm), which in theory makes the rear wheel move up and out of the way of bumps, while you keep moving forward. It causes plenty of pedal kickback though, because as the suspension extends it pulls the chain back on the top of the chainring, which in turn rotates the pedals backwards or locks them out. And this is where the idler comes in, minimising the growth and kickback…

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satanic versions

We keep banging on about how modern enduro bikes are now more capable than ever before. Well Evil has plainly been thinking along similar lines recently because it has just released a new Berserker model based on its Wreckoning LB and Insurgent LB enduro frames — pumping up the spec to ensure it can suffer the nastiest downhill tracks and harshest bike park abuse. So what’s prompted this move? Is it merely a way to save the development costs of a full-blown downhill bike? Perhaps that’s part of the reason, but the fact that Evil racer, Luke Strobel, has been winning downhill races up and down the Pacific Northwest coast on a Wreckoning LB 29er with a dual-crown fork seems to prove that it is no sheep in wolf’s clothing. A limited…

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gripped and sorted

PIRELLI SCORPION Pirelli has called upon over a 100 years of innovation to produce its first-ever mountain bike tyres. Taking its name from Pirelli’s all-conquering motocross tyres, the new Scorpion range consists of four distinctly different tyres. Rather than splitting the tyres into discipline-specific tread patterns and compounds, an approach Pirelli thinks can confuse riders, the brand has adopted a terrain-first designation. Riders can choose from Hard, Mixed or Soft terrain tyres as well as a rear-specific version, all of which are designed to work in both wet and dry conditions. A single SmartGrip rubber compound is used in all tyres that Pirelli says creates a tyre that works consistently regardless of wear. Currently available in 2.2in and 2.4in and only for 29ers; a further 2.6in width and 27.5in diameter will…