Mountain Biking UK

Mountain Biking UK February 2020

Mountain Biking UK has got all the latest news, kit and exclusive info on the newest and best bikes. The MBUK Wrecking Crew testing team are out there right now, riding new bikes and products to destruction, to give you expert reviews you can count on to be brutally honest. We live to ride - and that's what makes MBUK Britain’s best-selling bike magazine.

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1 min

In a discipline that prioritises fitness over fun and ‘gains’ over gnar, Nino stands out – not just for his palmarès, but also his willingness to throw in a cheeky whip mid race-run Twenty-one years. That’s how long it’s been since we last had a rider in full Lycra on the cover of MBUK (or at least that’s what a quick skim of the archives suggests). And even then, said rider – none other than loudmouth downhiller-turned-presenter Rob Warner – tried to make his skintight jersey look more badass by ripping off the sleeves (see left). I’m surprised it’s been so long, because while our main focus here at the mag is on the more adrenaline-fuelled side of the sport, we’ve regularly dipped our toes into cross-country riding and racing over…

1 min
alpine dreamin’

Winter is well and truly here, but it’s not dank and rainy everywhere, as this shot from French photographer JB Liautard shows. He and young-gun DH World Cup racers Hugo Frixtalon and Mattéo Iniguez headed up to the bike park in Les Deux Alpes for some late-season laps. “For a few years, I’ve watched the trees develop these stunning colours, but I’ve never managed to capture it,” JB explains. “So, when Hugo invited me along, I had to take my camera.” This killer twos-up whip shot was the snap of the day and only took two takes, despite both Hugo and Mattéo sending it into the same tiny lander. JB was suffering with toothache too, worsened by the altitude. “It was worth it though,” he says. “I got a photo…

1 min
from mild to wild

It’s been a long time coming, but The Summit skills development area in Swinley Forest has finally opened. This dedicated coaching zone resurrects Swinley Bike Hub’s dream for a freeride area, after the original project had the brakes put on it midway through construction. The new facility has been designed for everyone, with easy rollers, big berms, progressive jumps and a 220m dual track all packed into the 10-acre space. There’s even a 40ft tabletop and a couple of monster wooden drops, which are definitely not for the faint-hearted! Tom Reynolds – brother of pro freerider Sam – is the head skills coach at Swinley and was a driving force behind the build. “It doesn’t matter what level you’re at,” he says. “You’ll find something here to ride and plenty you…

1 min
the next big thing

Last month’s news that Shimano had filed a patent for a gearbox drivetrain got us thinking about the evolution of MTB tech. Gearboxes are an obvious next step, because we’ve developed the humble rear mech to the very limit of its capacity and gear range. They’re not revolutionary – brands such as Zerode and Nicolai have been designing around Pinion gearboxes for years – but a big player like Shimano getting involved could really drive things forwards. Let’s face it, it would be a good way for the industry to sell us new bikes, at a time when things seem to have finally settled down somewhat. As the images above of Specialized’s 2009 and 2019 Stumpjumper Comp models show, MTBs have changed massively over the past 10 years. We’ve now got…

1 min
coming out swinging

Jared Graves is one of the most talented mountain bike racers of all time, having been both enduro and 4X world champion. When he revealed in September 2018 that he’d been diagnosed with a brain tumour, the MTB community was shocked. Thankfully, Jared is now well on his way to making a full recovery. We caught up with him to find out a little more about what’s he’s been through and his plans for the future. “In some ways, I was really lucky, and in others, not so,” Jared tells us. “I had none of the typical symptoms, like major headaches. It wasn’t until I started having seizures that I knew something was off. I had surgery on 18 September 2018, followed by radiation treatment and chemo, which ended in June. “Things…

1 min
the new king of downhill?

Troy Lee Designs’ iconic D3 downhill helmet is over a decade old now, and eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted that the TLD-sponsored riders at Red Bull Rampage this year were wearing some subtly different-looking full-face helmets. That, together with the rumours swirling around about a fresh lid from the Californian brand, means something new is coming – and we’ve been able to get our grubby mitts on it! In return for letting us be among the first to ride in the new helmet, Troy Lee have sworn us to silence about the name, technology and just about everything else, for now. But as you can see from the shadowy shot below, it retains the classic TLD finned silhouette that helped make the D3 such a sought-after lid on the downhill circuit,…