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mountain bike magazine

mountain bike magazine

EXCLUSIVE STORY | Fourteen Inset | 5 HOT EVENT | 4th National DH Championship | 12 RIDER PROFILE | Devender Thakur | 21 EPIC TRAIL STORY | Escape to Nepal | 25 20 INCH EXCLUSIVE | Its Just a stem | 32 FRESH JUICE | iXS Cleaver Knee/Shing guard | 35 HOT EVENT | XCO in Cairns | 40

ISSUE 21 | MAY - JUNE 2014

New pump track in Gurgaon, Himalayan Mountain Bike Festival coming next month with 2 mountain bike races and expo and what not‌ We are excited to see lot of stuff happening around and It’s time to kick off our new issue. Ride along with Vinay, Piyush and Ajay as they bomb the local trails in Pune. El Yak shows some epic photos from the 4th National Downhill Championship in Nepal. On the other side Becky Cavaliere a passionate mountain biker who moved to India recently shares her latest MTB holiday trip to Nepal, A place full of epic trails with which we are all familiar with and very much in love with. The list goes on. Enjoy our twenty first issue and let us know what you think.

Vineet Sharma

Founder, Editor-in-Chief |

The Team: Editor in Chief: Vineet Sharma Deputy Editor: Vinay Menon

Contributing Editors and Photographers Ajay Padval, Piyush Chavan, El Yak Mountain Biking,

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #410, Sector: 10 Panchkula (Haryana). 134109 - INDIA. ........................................................ This magazine is intended for free distribution and is only available through our web portal. E-mail us for more details. ........................................................ Feel free to write or contribute. E-mail at: |

Becky Cavaliere, Red Bull Content Pool, Steel City Media.

BMX Agent: Dipak Panchal Himalayan Trails Minister: Naveen Barongpa

Cover Photo by: Vinay Menon | Rider: Piyush Chavan | Location: Pune, INDIA

A new season has begun with a bright ray of action. The Pune crew got in 2014, airborne. Dighi, our primary hill for flight lift offs saw new features in the dig. Our old trail needed fun boosters to get in some funky times. Heres an account of what the first quarter of 2014 looked like.

Words: Vinay Menon | Photography: Ajay Padval, PiyushChavan, Vinay Menon


Part I: What better way to step into a new year than some good ol cliff hucking! With busy shovel hours, our crew of Cephas Joseph, Piyush Chavan and myself got a new road gap sculpted. A new line riding off an old trail the ‘Dighi Group Day’ gap is around 35 feet or so. With a slick fast run in into a dirt lip and a landing zone with a steep top and rocky run out, this new gapper we planted on the hill was our door into the new year! After a speed check it was game time as I cranked towards the launcher. A 2 Second hangtime and boom! Landed and rode out clean! Good welcome for a new season.


With the new ‘Dighi Group Day’ gap in the bag, it was Piyush’s time to air a new one. Skipping the gaper for now, the young gun decided to test out the ‘Vital Drop’. A 15ft cliff drop with a rocky run out. This drops been on Piyush’s mind for over a year and he finally bounced up to go for it on 1st Jan. The rock cliff in the afternoon sun saw P-ush go off the lip and sail out clean! FR MTB MAG | 7


Part II: Through the good Pune weather, everyone from the gang stepped up in some way or the other. Another new addition on our Dighi hill is a dirt set! This new launcher called in for some air dancing. As the summer temperatures are reaching its peak, our mountain bikes are itching to hit the dry dirt. Races, travels and new gear make the list for this season. With a high fiving start we are sure 2014s going to be a braaaped one.


Words & Photography: “El Yak Mountain biking (”


In the most thunderous biking spectacle that tested the true grit of racers, National Downhill Championship set the trails in Hattibana blaze on March 15th Some thirty-odd riders and a fleet of spectators flocked to Hattiban in the fourth edition of National Downhill Championship held on March 15th. Though it’s seen a good share of downhill races in the past, the serene hillock on valley’s southern front came a buzz once again as Elite, Open and Junior category racers gave their best performance rolling and jumping through the harsh trail. Organized by Nepal Cycling Association in collaboration with the government, the much awaited event adhered to international racing standards and policies set by Union Cycliste Internatinale (UCI), the global cycling body.


Participants included experienced riders from Kathmandu, Dharan and Pokhara, while international cyclists from Yak Attack (XC race around Annapurna that concluded a few days prior) also got a shot. It’s worth a mention that confident 9-year-old cyclist Pranav Pokharel gallantly rode through the trail, thoroughly impressing the audience. With a time of 02:41:06, winner Rajesh Magar made a podium debut in the Elite category with a significant margin over El Yak’s Mangal Lama,2nd, and Life Cycle’s Shakar Yakthumba, 3rd.


National commissar Ajay Narsingh Rana stated this downhill event was the deciding factor for the national downhill team, which would represent Nepal in various international racing events. “Our riders had evidently prepared very hard for the event and we’re glad it’s turned out as expected. They’ll definitely be a formidable team participating in Indonesia later this year.”



Race organizers did a fine job of pulling off a national-level event quite smoothly, well acknowledged by all the riders. “The trail has improved since I last raced here in January,” said Magar, winner of the race. “Though it’s not as technical as international ones, bigger jumps and road gaps have made it more exciting and challenging. The effort put into details by the organizers definitely shows!”



Downhill biking started drawing attention in Nepal since 2007, and in a very short time has catapulted this high-risk sport in the limelight of adventure industry. Thanks to NCA’s active interest in promoting the sport, Nepal is gaining its due reputation as a mountain biking mecca slowly but steadily, with an ever increasing number of valley dwellers taking it up as a hobby!

Elites Category winners: 1 - Rajesh Magar | 02:41.06 2 - Mangal Lama | 02:44.11 3 - ShakarYakthumba | 02:44.95 4 - TenjingGurung | 02:45.13 5 - ParmeshworPokharel | 02:51.13


Nick Name: Appu Hometown: Kullu. Favorite Drinks: Orange Juice. Music: Rock FR MTB MAG: When did you start racing? DEVENDER: In Dec 2012 Trails n Dust mountain bike challenge, Manali. FR MTB MAG: Who inspired you to get in the world of mountain biking or who are your biggest influences in the sport? DEVENDER: Mr. Naveen Barongpa inspired me a lot. FR MTB MAG: Describe your riding style. DEVENDER: My riding style is cross country and I like technical uphill and downhill tracks and muddy tracks.

Interview & Photography: Vineet Sharma FR MTB MAG | 21

FR MTB MAG: Your greatest achievement to date: DEVENDER: Overall champion of MTB Shimla 2014, 3rd place in Trails n Dust mountain bike challenge, Manali 2012, 7th place in National championship 2013 FR MTB MAG: Tell us more about your current bike and what makes it so special? DEVENDER: My current bike is a Giant Talon 27.5 1 , the special thing about this bike is that it has new wheel size and it is light and efficient on the climbs.


FR MTB MAG: We have seen you racing regularly for a while now and you won the recent MTB Shimla. Do you wish to race more often? DEVENDER: Yes! I’m excited and want to compete against the world class riders in the upcoming races. FR MTB MAG: What are your favorite types of trails and riding zones in India? DEVENDER: I like single tracks and technical trails anywhere. FR MTB MAG: If you could ride with your favorite rider anywhere in the world, where would you go and with whom? DEVENDER: I would like to ride in South Africa with Julien Absalon the former world champion.


FR MTB MAG: What are your current and future goals in life and what are you doing to achieve these goals? DEVENDER: I’m looking forward to compete in the World championships and I am training hard every day and getting good support by few good people. FR MTB MAG: Any shout outs to sponsors, individuals who supported you through your mountain bike journey so far? DEVENDER: Currently I am sponsored by Sprint Giant , I would like thank to my sponsors who has supported me and sponsored me a good bike to compete on.


Words: Becky Cavaliere | Photography: Rich and Becky Cavaliere


Our itinerary in Nepal was arranged by Mads Mathiasen from Unique Trails, and our local guide for the week was Prayash Tamang. We flew to Kathmandu, then to Pokhara, then to Jomsom on the 3rd day. Now we were in the Himalayas—the views were stunning and the air was thin! We hopped on our bikes and rode 10 km from the Jomson airport to Kagbeni, where we would stay for 2 nights.

My husband Rich and I just returned from a 9 day trip to Nepal, where we spent most of our time adventure biking high up in the Himalayas. We are American expats who moved to Gurgaon, India seven months ago for Rich’s job. Our local mountain biking has been limited, and we were excited to ride some true mountain singletrack. It seems like everyone in the mountain biking community has heard about and/or seen videos of the great riding in Nepal (i.e. Where the Trail Ends, Strength in Numbers), and as soon as we decided to move to India we knew Nepal would be one of our first MTB destinations. You see, we are semi-professionals….not at mountain biking, but at traveling the world with our bikes. In the past 7+ years we have biked in Costa Rica, Chile, South Africa, Peru, Dubai, Oman, Canada (3 times), and much of the United States. Mountain biking and traveling are our 2 favorite hobbies, so all is right in the world when we head to the airport with bikes in tow!


A 30 min. jeep ride to Muktinath preceded our rides for the next 2 days, and the singletrack through the Lupra valley and then beyond Jomsom on the 2nd day was definitely a highlight of the entire trip— countless loose, steep dirt switchbacks in the morning were followed by tight, rocky, exposed trail in the afternoon. The thrilling sections almost made us forget the grueling climb/ push up in the gusting wind after lunch!

We spent the night in Tukuche, where we were rejuvenated by a homemade pasta dinner served by the warm fire at our inn, the Dutch Bakery. The next ride began with fun, undulating trails that were often rocky but included lush, green sections as well, as the snow capped Himalayas began to fade away in the distance. Then, we flew down 18km of jeep road that made us appreciate our dual suspension bikes. We weaved in and out of the rocks and boulders in the rode and caught a lot of air throughout the day. That evening we relaxed in the hot mineral springs in Tatopani and enjoyed our last night in a village tea house.


After a short road ride, we arrived in Beni and then drove in a jeep for 2 hours back to Pokhara. An awesome day followed. First we shuttled up to the World Peace Pagoda, then rode a fast, challenging downhill trail all the way back into town. Next, we hopped in a van with several other tourists and headed up above the Pokhara lake again, this time to go paragliding! It was our first time, and although I caught a bit of motion sickness in the air, it was quite exhilarating. Now it was time to head to the airport and return to Kathmandu.


On our last day, we rode with both Mads and Prayash on some of the Kathmandu valley rim trails. We were a little surprised by how many tough but great trails can be found just outside Nepal’s capital city. Some sections were padded with huge pine needles and others with bamboo leaves, both of which added a slippery dimension and upped the challenge level.


Overall, we had a great week of riding while also experiencing the unique culture of Nepal. Riding through all the small villages where we had to navigate through tight corridors, animals, villagers, and lots of rocky steps was another highlight of the trip and for us is what truly set this mountain biking adventure apart from others.


Words & Photography: Dipak Panchal

Well I used to say that until I got my hands on a stem of a shorter reach and it changed my perspective of “any stem does the job” to “hell no I cannot ride a 50mm on my flatland bike no way” this read will change your views about the good ole stem you got there. my riding improved significantly the very moment I rode with a shorter stem, once you play around with a few lengths and figure out which one suits you right, you would be doing those 180’s and 360’s like nobody’s business. There are a lot of brands and styles available around, I personally used the odyssey elementary stem on my street bike, my flatland bike carries a custom made stem which was tailor-made for me in India by the amazing Psynyde bikes. The key to have a non slip bar is the correct tightening of the stem cap. It’s pretty easy but most of us tend to mess it up and later cry about having a bar that keeps moving. The stem cap fastens down the bars with 4 bolts, the bolts need to be tightened in a X pattern with equal amount of torque on all bolts, while keeping a check on the gap in between the stem body and the stem cap, there has to be equal amount of gap on top and the bottom of the bar. it’s that simple. FR MTB MAG | 32

Once done you move to the steerer clamp, once you guide the stem on the steerer tube tighten the compression bolt to pull the headset together and get the bars in line with the front wheel, now you can start tightening the pinch bolts on the stem one at a time, do not over tighten any bolt!!! Just get it to the sweet spot and leave it there. or you can also use a torque wrench and tighten it according to the torque values recommended by the respective brands. Some popular brands have engineered the stems way beyond imagination, the award winning elementary stem tightens itself with jus one bolt and internal wedges making it the most knee friendly design. All American manufactured brand of stems have a SAE standard threading which is measured in inches vs the ISO standard on all the non USA made stems. Most of the newer generation stems are strategically machined in order to reduce weight without compromising on the strength and tolerances of the materials. Likewise handlebars also have a medium depth diamond knurling to keep everything rock steady and in place once everything is tightened correctly, so you can enjoy all your drops, 360’s and bails without worrying about the bars would move. Brands that we would recommend are. Odyssey, S&M , Profile. Street stems are generally meant to be thrown around and take up a lot of heavy pounding all day long, so they have to be made super strong to withstand all that thrashing you’re gonna treat it with. They are normally made out of 6061 or 7075 aluminum, a 4 bolt front load or top load cap design that clamp the bars and a twin pinch bolt behind to clamp the steerer tube secure. There are various clamping options and designs available across various brands and some eye popping colors. Available in a range of reach options to suit your height and TT length. Recommended length would be 50mm to 55mm on a TT range of 20’’ to 20.75’’ and also 21’’ in some cases.


A flatland stem is not too different from a street stem, the only difference is the reach of the stem. Due to the constant flipping of bars during tricks the flat stems have a shorter reach to give the rider the same feel when the bars are flipped around, they can be anywhere between 0 offset to 28mm reach depending on the riders preference. Flatland stem are a bit lighter than the street stems and have the same options of top and front load as well as clamping. Some of the flatland riders use flatland specific handlebars that have stems integrated to save weight and give a 100% same feel on both sides of the bar. I use the Psynyde sharptune stem which is a sweet 24.3mm. Most of the new-gen riders are running standard 50mm reach stems these days so they can mix a lot of street riding moves to flatland.

Having the correct stem simply improves your control and confidence on the bike, resulting in frequent nailed tricks and a smile with no missing teeth ď Šď‚ make sure you tighten the bolts correctly, re-check and always wear a helmet when your riding. so go ahead, try out a few stems go out and ride, shoot some pics and send them our way, we’ll be happy to post them.


Words: Vinay Menon | Photography: Ajay Padval, Vinay Menon


Safety is primary when you consider playing with gravity on two wheels. In the occasion of a bash down, a good knee/shin armour is your health insurance. The difference between a week off the bike or coming out of the mud battle laughing is something the leg armour would play a key role in. IXS has made a mark with their innovative lightweight protective gear for the downhill/ freeride warriors. Earlier in the year we got into their ‘Cleaver’ Knee/Shin armour and spent a few weeks on our local descents. The hardshell ‘Cleaver’ has some new features in a light weight package. Bigger vents on the shell help keep the temperatures low inside. The straps to fasten the armour are soft with a well merged Velcro patch. The Cleaver includes some new features like the tough flexible rubber padding between the knee and shin shell. The sides of your knee are also well protected through smaller foam patches held snuggly with a mesh sleeve. Another highlight is the silicon lining around the knee zone which keeps the armour from slipping down while pedalling, something that otherwise happens once things get sweaty and grimy.


The smaller details that have gone into making the ‘Cleaver’ make it a good buy. Though not cheap at 99Euros (Rs.8400/- approx), this top of the line IXS Leg armour is a feature rich protective gear to have inyour race kit. The IXS ‘Cleaver’ is available in 3 colour options – Black, White (tested) or a Green shell. In size: S through XL, M (tested)

• 360° all around breathable “AeroMesh TM”, moisture wicking, anti bacterial. • “SqueezeBox TM” - specific developed and patented joint system for optimised fit and move ability between knee and shin • “ArmadilloDuo TM” - high quality double injected protection shells made of shock absorbent polypropylene • Skid Protection - tear resistant Nylon layers prevent protection zones from cracking • “NockOut TM” - shock absorbent padding along the leg, upper leg and knee sides as well as in all vital zones • “SideTap TM” - integrated side padding • “LoopLock TM” - fasteners. maximum security and adjustability, decompression • Silicone - non slip, no creep • +/- 550g (pair)


This month we check out a smart hydration pack for smart women mountain bikers out there. The women’s specific Raven 10 offers a lower compression strap to stabilize the load making this the ideal pack for mountain bike rides lasting 1.5 to 3 hours or a great day hiking pack with hydration.


• Women’s specific shoulder straps, waistbelt and torso sizing • Lower zip compartment for quick access to tool pouch • Lower compression strap to stabilize load • Removable roll-up tool pouch

Words & Photography: Vineet Sharma


The bag makes sense as it features Blinker Light Attachment, a Direct Access Zip which makes it easy to load and unload your reservoir for filling or cleaning. One quick zip and the reservoir slides in or out. The front stretch mesh pocket is also there for stashing extra gear. What we really liked was the removable, roll up Tool Pouch which is quickly accessible. The bag also comes with a Lid Lock which can quickly secure a regular MTB helmet. The 3 liter reservoir is nicely shaped and looks very durable too. Overall the bag finish is good and priced at $120 | apprx INR 7216.


Eva Lechner (ITA) and Julien Absalon (FRA) win the second round in Cross Country Olympic of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. While Lechner was able to control the women’s race from start until the finish, Absalon had to fight harder to celebrate the victory after having a puncture in the second round of the men’s race.


At the beginning of the women’s race, Eva Lechner (ITA) and Jolanda Neff (SUI) took the lead. Behind them co-favorites like Julie Bresset (FRA), Sabine Spitz (GER) and Tanja Zakelj (SLO) tried to keep up with the pace of the leading duo. At the beginning of the second round Neff dropped behind Lechner and got overtaken by several riders behind her. It seemed that the winner from Pietermaritzburg struggled with the hot conditions and the extreme humidity on the track. It was veteran and former Olympic Champion Sabine Spitz from Germany who capitalized from Neffs problems and took the second position. She was followed by Emily Batty (CAN) and Irina Kalentieva (RUS) to join the battle for the podium. Meanwhile Lechner was able to pull away from her followers to lead with a secure gap of over 01:30 min. On her way to second place, Spitz had a puncture and had to let Betty and Kalentieva pass her. Although the German tried her best to catch them again she finally ended up in fourth place. On the last lap Eva Lechner could even take out the gas to fully enjoy the ride to her first victory of the season. Emily Batty finished in second place 52 seconds behind the Italian. Irina Kalentieva took the third position 01:07 behind Lechner. In the overall standings Jolanda Neff kept her lead with 350 points followed by Lechner (330) and Betty (300).


Right after the start of the men’s race, three riders crashed in the middle of the field. Luckily all of them could continue their hunt for World Cup points. It seemed to get another Suiss affair although World Cup leader Nino Schurter didn’t even compete in Australia. So it was Thomas Litscher and Mathias Flückiger who made the pace on the first two rounds. Behind them co-favorites like Julien Absalon (FRA), Marco Fontana (ITA) and Australian Daniel MacConnell followed with a small gap behind the leading Suiss duo. But out of a sudden Absalon had to go slower into a downhill part caused by a puncture on his front tire. After getting a new tire he was immediately on the hunt again. Bad luck continued and it was Thomas Litscher who had to give up his leading position due to another puncture. He dropped back into seventh position and Mathias Flückiger now lead with a gap of over 30 seconds on his followers. Julien Absalon soon caught up with fellow Frenchman Maxime Marotte to chase the young Suiss in the lead. At the beginning of the last lap Absalon and Marotte could already see Flückiger. Julien Absalon didn’t hesitate then to increase his speed. So he left his fellow Frenchman Marotte behind and even overtook Flückiger on the long climb. Although the young Suiss tried to follow Absalon, he soon saw that the French was just too strong that day. It was the second consecutive win of the season for Julien Absalon who also had taken the victory at the first round in Pietermaritzburg. Mathias Flückiger finished in second place 16 seconds behind the winner from France. Maxime Marotte completed the French-Suiss podium crossing the finish line 24 seconds behind Absalon. Australian Daniel MacConnell crowned his strong performance on home track with the fourth place, Jose Hermida Ramos took the fifth place. In the overall standings, Julien Absalon increased his lead by holding at the maximum of 500 points in front of Maxime Marotte (320) and Mathias Flückiger (310). The next Cross Country Olympic competiton will take place in Nove Mesto (CZE) on May 25th.


freerider mountain bike magazine


: Robert Rankin, Location: Annapurna Circu

Rider: Dawa Sherpa (, Photo

Profile for Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #21  

Issue #21 - May 2014

Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine #21  

Issue #21 - May 2014