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Mountain Bike Rider April 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.

United Kingdom
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mtb goes to town

With hindsight, mountain biking was probably not the ideal choice of hobby for someone growing up in London. Too young to drive, for my dirt fix I had to make do with laps of Hampstead Heath, with one eye out for police patrols, and the other focused on trying to spot dog eggs. At weekends I’d head further afield, taking the tube to the Chilterns, or the train to the Surrey Hills, riding from sun up to sun down on nothing more than a couple of Tracker bars, before struggling home covered in mud across Waterloo Bridge into a headwind. Frankly, being an urban mountain biker sucked. I’m pleased to say that things have changed. Towns and cities across the country are slowly waking up to the fact that providing trails…

fork wars

RockShox and Fox dominate the suspension fork market just as Apple and Android do with phones, taking the lion’s share of sales, both OEM and aftermarket. Or so it’s been in the last decade, but things could now be changing as the competition gets hotter in terms of both performance and price. There are now an astonishing 10 alternative brands vying for a slice of the market, so here’s a quick look at their features and functionality and what makes them worth considering. MRP RIBBON Like the Cane Creek Helm and Öhlins RXF, the Ribbon (£849.99) is now available in a coil-sprung version. You get three springs in the box and there are a further two (extra soft and extra firm) available aftermarket. Travel is internally adjustable in 10mm jumps and the…

shift change

Wireless technology is everywhere. Simple things like Bluetooth headphones or a wireless mouse can provide small freedoms, while the smartphone in your pocket is both liberating and enslaving in equal measure. Now imagine a bike without gear cables or wires. No sticky or frozen shifting. No frayed housing. No cable rub and none of the frustration that comes with internal routing. Factor in accurate, effortless shifting at the push of a button and the extra security of an encrypted wireless system and it sounds like a bike from the future. DRIVETRAIN AND POST Well, as of April this year it will become a reality as SRAM introduces Eagle AXS, the first wireless mountain bike drivetrain. There’s even a wireless electronic RockShox Reverb AXS post to accompany it. Pronounced ‘access’, the cutting-edge wireless drivetrain will…

hot stuff

MOST WANTED LAPIERRE EZESTY E-bikes that ride like normal bikes. That’s the holy grail for many of us — Specialized came pretty close with its amazing Turbo Levo that proved light enough and lively enough to almost fool you into thinking it was the real thing. Now Lapierre could be one step closer with its new Fazua motor range, bikes designed to be ridden as e-bikes but with a removable battery and... wait for it... motor too. The eZesty AM has a completely redeveloped frame where the shock passes through an interupted seat tube, driven by a rocker link and the chainstay. Plenty of e-bikes look like bikes with electric motors slung underneath them, but the eZesty is built around the motor and battery which sits inside the down tube and above the…

mountain passes

NAN BIELD, LAKE DISTRICT 16km (10 miles) There’s no shortage of high passes in the Lakes but this remains our favourite due to the amazing singletrack descent. From Sadgill (Landranger 97/NY483056) climb N up the rideable Gatesgarth Pass and drop to the S tip of Haweswater. Singletrack leads SW from here, steepening radically to become a carry at Small Water. It’s then a scramble with your bike to the top. Drop S all the way to the road and then follow a good track E to hurdle a final hill to the finish. GPS download po.st/NanBield Ride time 3-4 hours Why ride it? Steep, techy singletrack, big mountain pass Where to eat? Wilf’s, Staveley BEALACH AN SGAIRNE, SCOTLAND 32km (20 miles) You’ve got to work hard for this one, first with a technical track that seems to…

the secret of progression

We all like to see improvement when we go riding. While a new piece of kit, or even a new bike, might be a good way of buying confidence or control, the real satisfaction comes from genuinely recognising that you’re getting better. It doesn’t have to be painful or take the fun out of what you’re already doing; just set a few key areas where you’d like to see improvement and keep track of your progress. Here are a few areas that you can work on with handy tips to always ensure that you’re moving forwards. TECHNICAL SKILLS It’s the time of the year where every trail you ride is covered in features that will lose you control: wet roots, slippery cambers, polished rocks. The trick is to go back to basics.…