SUMMER / ISSUE 23
WE OFFER NO MARKETING BS; WHAT YOU CAN BUY IN YOUR LOCAL DEALER IS THE SAME FOUND ON THE WORLD CUP CIRCUIT.
MYST TEAM – £3,299.99 MYST PRO – £2,899.99 MYST X – £1,599.99
CONTENTS / ISSUE 23 6 - FRESH OUT THE BOX
42 - MAKING HISTORY
Fresh products to land at WideopenmagHQ
Rare Management’s Mike Jardine and
“Steve Peat ventures over to
Catalonia for some pre-season
46 - CAPE TOWN
manual fails and all round good
8 - GIMME FIVE Quick fire high fives with Sam Hill.
A squids eye view with Milky.
racing. Sun, beers, epic nose times with friends made for one hell of a trip!” says Duncan Philpott.
10 - THE BIKE INDUSTRY DOESN’T OWE YOU ANYTHING
52 - HANNAH BARNES BIKE CHECK
Ric McLaughlin laments upon a growing
We spent a day heli-biking in New Zealand with
misconception. Via a poor knowledge of Star
Hannah before taking a minute to chat about
her new Yeti SB66c.
12 - STEVE PEAT’S FORT WILLIAM WORLD CUP WIN
54 - JAMAICA FAT TYRE FESTIVAL 2014
Ladies and gents, the King of the Bill, Steve Peat
56 - THE STORY OF THE FORT WILLIAM DOWNHILL TRACK
and his 2005 Fort William home win.
Foss Forster – Nevis Range, Bike Track
16 - FLIGHT OF THE CONDORS
Mark Scott at Round 1 of the Enduro World Series in Chile.
58 - BRENDOG BIKE CHECK We talk Fairclough's Scott Genius LT World Cup
20 - LOAM, XC BIKES AND JUSTIN BIEBER WITH...
DMR rider/product designer Olly Wilkins and
60 - JORDAN ENGLISH
World Cup superstar Brendan Fairclough.
We catch up with the young gun shredder.
24 - GETTING A LEG OVER
64 - THE VENGA BUS DON’T STOP HERE NO MORE
Monet Rose Adams talks girls in the sport..
Ric McLaughlin reckons Fort Bill was once the
20 - KYE FORTE
best party on the World Cup circuit. Has the
An introduction to our newest team shredder.
UK’s rowdiest MTB party cleaned up its act?
34 - WIDEOPEN IN PORTUGAL
68 - PRODUCT REVIEWS
Three years on and we’re back with Ride
We get an in depth look at some of the products
Portugal to check out just how far Portuguese
here at Wideopenmag HQ.
mountain biking has evolved…
40 - ELBOW GREASE With Will Weston. Wideopenmag is a free quarterly UK mountain bike magazine that’s available in print and online. We’re dedicated to showing off the wealth of talent that the UK mountain bike scene boasts. We are free. Visit our website at: www.wideopenmag.co.uk
THIS MAGAZINE IS FREE
Don’t miss the story of his World Cup win at Fort William later in this very issue. Cheers for the photo
WELCOME Welcome to Wideopenmag issue 23 and to the first ever issue that has met its deadline - we must really be hitting the big time eh? Why the sudden spurt of punctuality? Well … we’ve taken a bit of a step up this year. We’ve decide that rather than just going to the Fort William
wideopen UK BIKE MAGAZINE
World Cup to get drunk and heckle pros, we’re going to take it a bit more
seriously. We’ll still get drunk and we’ll still heckle pros but we’ll also have
magazines to give out for free and we’ll be there to meet you guys in the
flesh. We’ll also have Team Wideopenmag riders Rich and Jay on the hill
our big green tent in the Expo Village, we’ll have a massive stack of print
racing against the world’s best. It’s a bit of a big deal for us and we’re bloody excited. So – to celebrate – we’ve pulled together a bit of a ‘Fort Bill special’ with a few articles dedicated to the greatest race on the World Cup circuit. We’ve got a story written by Steve Peat about his hard-earned World Cup win at the ‘Fort and we meet a few of the faces behind the race. It’s our little tribute to our favourite event in the UK and it means
we’ve had to stop rinsing off to the trails and knuckle down to meet a print
Of course, it’s not all about Fort William; we’ve got the usual mix of funny, stupid and inspiring stories from the UK and the rest of the world. We chat
to Brendan Fairclough about the World Cup and trail bikes, Mark Scott tells
RIC MCLAUGHLIN, SZYMON NIEBORAK, MATT JONES, MARK
us about the first Enduro World Series in Chile and we take a look at a load
SCOTT, MATT WRAGG, OLLY WILKINS, BRENDAN FAIRCLOUGH,
of our favourite products, including two (reasonably) affordable downhill
MONET ROSE ADAMS, WILL WESTON, ADAM PRICE, SCOTT
bikes. As always, everything in the mag is produced by die-hard mountain
LAW, PETE SCULLION, MIKE JARDINE, LESLEY BECK, STEVE PEAT,
bike fanatics with no stock photos, no advertorial and no bullshit. It’s all
MALCOLM FEARON, WARWICK PATTERSON, ORANGE BIKES
created with love by mountain bikers.
ARCHIVE, SAM REYNOLDS, SAM PILGRIM, HANNAH BARNES, PERRYN LYDFORD, FOSS FORSTER, JORDAN ENGLISH, OSCAR JOHN
So fingers crossed we make the deadline! If you got this mag at the World Cup from us then great to meet you! If you picked it up in your local bike shop, ordered it through the webber or you’re reading it online on your computer or your phone then cheers also, hopefully we’ll meet you on the trails another time eh? However you got it – tell us what you think online with #wideopenfortbill
NEWTON-MASON ESQ, KAT VANES, JOHN OLDALE, MIKE KOOLEN DISTRIBUTION WIDEOPENMAG IS AVAILABLE IN PRINT AT QUALITY BIKE SHOPS AND EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE UK. BIKE SHOPS CAN ORDER COPIES FOR FREE FROM WWW.ISON-DISTRIBUTION.COM WIDEOPEN IS ONLINE FOR FREE AT WWW.WIDEOPENMAG.CO.UK FIND US ON WEB: WWW.WIDEOPENMAG.CO.UK
JAMIE AND THE WIDEOPENMAG TEAM.
TWITTER: WWW.TWITTER.COM/WIDEOPENMAG INSTAGRAM: WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/WIDEOPENMAG
All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher.The publisher or editor accepts no responsibility for the consequence of any action taken based on any information, opinions or advice contained herein. The opinions and view expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers or the editors. The publishers and editor cannot accept responsibility for errors in articles or advertisements or for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, or illustrations.
For a season of cycling with
Lorenzo Suding (Italian Downhill Champion)
www.exceptiosportshop.com www.socksupermarket.com /exceptiosport
FRESH OUT THE BOX
fresh out the box
THE FRESHEST PRODUCTS TO LAND AT WIDEOPENMAG HQ.
LOOK OUT FOR OUR VERDICT IN THE NEXT ISSUE
Bird Zero £350.00
A 650b hardtail frame designed in Britain
after a successful crowd funding campaign.
The guys have big plans for the future and
We had a good look at the ION range
this is just the start, the range is based on
at the Bike Place show and came away
good angles, sensible specs and good value.
impressed - we’ve just had a bunch of
mens and ladies clothing through to check
DMR V12 £49.99
out. First impressions are very good, great
This legend of a pedal is now 18 years old
colours and good quality materials. More
and the guys at DMR decided it was time
for a revamp. It’s now got a bigger platform,
lower profile and less weight with that classic concave feel. At 430g for a standard pair and 350g for magnesium with a cromo axle you can’t go wrong.
RSP Plummet Adjustable Seatpost £99.00
Quite possibly the best value adjustable post out there. The Plummet is rock solid and for the price is pretty much faultless. The lever isn’t super pretty, you’re restricted to two levels of ‘drop’ and it’s 50g heavier than a
Endura Xtract Jacket £54.99
Reverb but for £100 we’re not going to lose
A super lightweight, packable waterproof
Exceptio Socks £4.99 - £14.99
too much sleep. Great performance on the
from the experts at Endura. Soft touch
No-one likes sweaty, sore feet. Exceptio socks
trails so far.
fabric with an athletic cut, Endura jackets
have a great mix of socks in all different
have always done well for us but will this
lengths and colours to suit everyone. With a
be more of the same? Seems like the ideal
nice breathable material and reinforcement in
jacket for British summertime.
all the right areas these are comfy as hell.
ION K-Pact Knee Armour £50.95
Ritchey Trail 650b wheelset £520.00
Super comfy armour from ION, they
A set of wheels for 1627g is pretty impressive,
won an award at Eurobike for these
Fox Airline glove £99.00
especially when you consider a 15mm front
and we’re keen to find out why. The
The Volt is a classic day pack - 10 litres of
axle, 21mm internal width and those rainbow
protective pads inside are designed
storage for your sandwiches, rain jacket
stripes on the rim to remind you of the Ritchey
to move as you pedal but still offer
and any spares you want to bring along
heritage. Will they stand up to the abuse from
protection whilst the perforated
and a 3 litre water bladder for hydration.
overestimating our ability? Time will tell.
neoprene offers a bit of airflow to
Super lightweight but tough materials
keep the weight right down and a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
gimme five! sam hill
E M M I G FIVE! L L I H M SA N CA N PH PO TT / @ D U N CA N PH IL U D : TO O PH
IL PO TT
What the hell can you say about Sam Hill? He redefined what it meant
And how about 5 years from now – what do you want to have made
to go fast on a mountain bike, he rewrote the rule book on downhill
bike geometry and he spearheaded a new generation of fast Aussie
Hopefully still be fast enough to be racing my bike and getting podiums.
riders. Time to give Sam Hill a high five!
I’d like to make my family a little bit bigger and be enjoying life with the people I love.
What are the 5 most important things in your life at the moment? My family, my bikes, being healthy, training and being happy.
Who would you most like to high five in the world and why? Kenny Powers cause he’s a boss. (Google it! - WO)
Describe your 2013 season in 5 words. Didn’t reach all my goals.
You’ve got one day to spend £5 million – what would you do with it? I’d have to give some to charity, help any family and friends that need
Give us 5 words that describe your current state of mind.
help. Probably buy something nice for my wife and then get some land
Focused, determined, happy, hungry, excited.
with my own private downhill tracks.
How’s the knee? Can you give us a quick idea of what you’ve been
You’ve got 5 days of freedom with no racing or training to do and
up to in the last 5 weeks with it?
plenty of cash to spend. What would you do?
I’ve been working on getting my knee stronger again. I’m back on the
I’d take my family and friends to some amazing tropical island and just
downhill bike now and slowly getting back up to speed.
enjoy hanging out with everyone without any worries.
So 5 months from now the season will be almost complete - what
Last one, what advice would you give to your 5 year old self if you
do you want to have achieved by then?
could go back in time?
I want to still be strong and healthy, have won a few World Cups and be
I’d tell myself to hold onto being a kid for as long as I could.
in the World Cup points lead. Sam rides for Team Chain Reaction Cycles, Nukeproof, Monster Energy, Troy Lee Designs, FiveTen, Leatt, SRAM
E B L A SCHW AD
: STERLING LORENCE NANAIMO, BC STEVE SMITHX PHOTO
The bike industry doesn’t owe you anything
THE BIKE INDUSTRY DOESN ' T OWE YOU ANYTHING
WORDS: RIC MCLAUGHLIN / @RICMCLAUGHLIN PHOTO: JACOB GIBBINS / @JACOBGIBBINS
RIC MCLAUGHLIN LAMENTS UPON A GROWING MISCONCEPTION. VIA A POOR KNOWLEDGE OF STAR WARS. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far... Actually, it’s this galaxy. The
the navels and hemp-soaked beards sparked an image - a hippy ideal.
same planet in fact. Anyway, a load of hippies rode their bikes down a
This was about bikes - man’s noblest creation, man! It’s an image still
mountain in California and our sport was born. The legend has been
promoted today as well; ‘shred the trail’, ‘search out the ultimate back
told many times - the smell of free love, burning coaster brakes and
country’ etc, etc, etc. The problem is that we all focus on the ‘bike’ and
various herbal medicines presumably hung heavy in the air.
not the ‘industry’ part of the term ‘bike industry’. The clue is literally in
But that was nearly four decades ago. Some of those in attendance
went on to start bicycle companies which along with a ragtag bunch of
Companies produce products to sell in a marketplace to make money
sporting goods manufacturers and road bike brands went on to form
- that’s about as basic as capitalism gets. Now, I’m not saying that Mike
the bike industry as we know it today.
Sinyard gets his hat put on inside some great steaming metal egg before
Wheel size - it was everywhere in 2013. But it served to highlight a
plotting to vaporise various things á la Vader (he may do, I’ve never been
growing trend which seemed to self-perpetuate and echo around the
to Morgan Hill). What I am trying to say is that the bike industry doesn’t
lower half of the internet, where comments and hate collide. The bike
mind being perceived as a commune of harmless drop-outs hoping to
industry was conning us.
make the world a slightly better place one pedal stroke at a time, but it
What would be the perfect way to sell a load of new bikes? Get your
is, nevertheless, an industry.
customer base considering the new format (29ers), then a year or
The whole wheel size issue wasn’t a con or evil plot hatched by a pasty
so after it has taken off; release a new slightly smaller, slightly more
fellow in an out-sized dressing gown - it was the commercial holy trinity
attainable one (650B). It was like that bit in Return of the Jedi when
of invention, marketing and economics.
Darth Vader looks out of his window and breathes enthusiastically at the
We need to remove the rose-tinted glasses and take the wilting daisy
freshly rebuilt Death Star. A small rebel alliance of companies attempted
chains from around our heads and start looking at and respecting the
to make bikes that could fit both 26” and 650B wheels but ultimately, we
industry for what it is. I personally believe that the bike industry has a
all knew that they’d be a specific entity requiring us to part with a lot of
massive head start on many big shadowy empires in that at least it’s full
wedge if we wanted one. How could they, the ‘oh so trustworthy’ bike
of people who love a sport.
industry, betray us like this?!
Just as that crap actor with the robotic hand and his mates Harrison
It occurred to me though that maybe the problems lay further back in
Ford and that giant dog, believed in something better than the Empire,
time than the moment the erstwhile armchair pundits ordered their
they also had to recognise the realities of a world without it. I don’t think
29ers and in doing so felt ‘duped’ by the bike industry/evil empire. The
we should attempt to overthrow or even rage against the Empire. I think
problem lay with those aforementioned crusties (some of whom are
that we should accept it for what it is and that’s something a lot better
now multi-millionaires and decidedly uncrusty) hurtling down Mount
than most empires.
Tam all those moons ago. The bell-bottomed trousers, shirts open to
Steve Peats Fort William World Cup Win - 2005
Steve Peat's Fort William World Cup Win - 2005
WORDS : STEVE PEAT / @STEVE PEAT PHOTO S: MALCO LM FEARON / @MALC OLMFE ARON WARWI CK PATTER SON / @FORM ULAPH OTO
ORANG E BIKES ARCHIV E
PHOTO: MALCOLM FEARON / ORANGE BIKES ARCHIVE
2014 Fort William is a very special race. Stand in
good. I remember that before heading up for
and it was in front of home fans. Winning in
the race village on finals day and you’ll be
my run I had a sip of wine with Steve Jones
front of the home crowd makes it way better. I
in no doubt that you’re at the beating heart
from Dirt Magazine at lunch.
had tried a few times to get the win at Fort Bill
of mountain biking, the absolute epicentre
and things hadn’t gone so well. I love winning
of the sport at that point in time. Steve
“What the hell are you doing?!” he asked
any race, but the feeling that day was easily
Peat knows exactly how special that race
“Just being normal mate!” I replied and we
the best feeling I have ever had crossing a line.
is. He battled for a Fort Bill win for 4 years
laughed, it helped me to relax. I like to do
It all made it more dramatic that I was last
straight before finally giving the home
things that are fun and that, right then, was
man down too.
crowd what they wanted. Ladies and gents,
the King of the Bill, Steve Peat and his 2005 Fort William home win.
I don’t mind the other wins, some countries I don’t remember anything too specific from
are better than others but Scotland, and
my race run, just that I was confident the
Fort William to be more specific, is the place.
My win at Fort William back in 2005 has a
whole way down. My bike felt awesome, my
Anyone who has won there since will tell you
special place in my heart. I’ve been travelling
lines were working good and I knew qualifying
that. They don’t have to be from the UK, they
to Fort William since I was a bump in my
had played into my hands. I had qualified
will still get a big cheer, but if they are from the
mum’s tum. We used to go up every year for
fastest and I was the last man to leave the
UK they better be ready!
the Scottish Six Day Trials and we did so until
start hut. Some people get more nervous
I was 16. A few years later I started travelling
when they are the last guy down the hill but
Thanks to Steve Peat, Malcolm Fearon,
up to ride mountain bikes and I’ve gone most
I had been in that situation many times so it
Warwick Patterson and Orange Mountain
years ever since, usually twice a year for the
was more normal for me. Don’t get me wrong,
Bikes for making this story happen.
World Cup and the British Nationals.
I was still nervous but I turned it around and used it to my advantage. The crowds were
The World Cup there is a different beast to
so loud from the moment I left
any other; it’s basically my home race and
the start hut. That’s one thing
the fans are more special. The feeling I got
that I do remember about that
when I crossed the line and won a World Cup
winning run, I left the start hut
there overwhelmed me. My good friend Brian
and people were shouting “GO
Lopes told me that when I crossed the finish I
ON PEATY!” and it gradually got
looked spaced and I wasn’t myself! It was pure
louder and louder with each
emotion from the crowd - twenty thousand
corner I hit.
Follow Steve online with @stevepeat.
people were cheering, stamping their feet, banging anything and everything that they
I burst into the arena at the
could find. It was unreal. It’s something I’ve
bottom of the hill and I was
never witnessed in any other sport and it will
overwhelmed by the noise and
never leave me.
the pure passion of the crowd. It wasn’t until I watched the
At that point in my career I was on top of
replay that I realised just how
things and I wanted to win everything still. I
loud it was and how much it
wanted the World Cup overall. I wanted the
meant to everyone. I have such
elusive World Champs win, I wanted National
loyal and cool fans and sponsors
wins, National Champs wins - everything. I
and it really showed in that
don’t want to sound greedy but when you’re
win. I was just blown away and
on top of things the winning feeling is what
wasn’t sure what to do with
keeps you up there.
myself, the feeling of any win is quite special, but that win
Once I got to the top for my race run I did
was something else. The hours
my usual warm up. I had my gel and drink at
and days following it were just
the usual time and I got off the bike with 5
huge feelings of satisfaction and
minutes to go and rode my race bike around
also gratitude to everyone who
a little bit and did a few wheelies and skids,
cheered for me.
just trying to stay relaxed and focussed at the same time. Downhill is such a mental
Why was that win so special?
game and even more so when you’re trying
It’s Fort Bill ain’t it! It was special
to impress your home fans, but that day I felt
because it’s a home World Cup PHOTO: WARWICK PATTERSON / ORANGE BIKES ARCHIVE
Steve Peats Fort William World Cup Win - 2005
raphy: Sarah Barrett (Jess Stone - Trek Coventry) Photog
JESS STONE AY TO THE PODIUM & M A H A R G S E INN MATT SIMMONDHsU,GGER TO HELP THEM SEE THEIR W ALL TRUST MUD Team) ison Saracen Downhill (Matt Simmonds - Mad
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Flight of the Condors!
FLIGHT OF THE CONDORS!
MARK SCOTT AT ROUND 1 OF THE ENDURO WORLD SERIES IN CHILE
Ever since it was announced that the Enduro World Series was visiting
We did actually do some racing whilst we were there too. Chile has
Chile I’ve been buzzing. It’s a new race venue, a new country, a new
some of the weirdest yet amazing trails I've ever ridden and definitely
some of the best I’ve found in the world. There was full-on volcanic sand that was crazy soft to ride, there was dense forest and there
I made the trip with Sam and Joe Flanagan and Greg Callaghan - a
was everything in between. Stage 2, 4 and 6 were the epics. Each
bloody top set of blokes for an adventure! Because we were paying our
had a huge hike to get to the start and all were about seven minutes
own way the trip was going to be just as much about the experience
in length! I was buzzing to be racing deep in some of the craziest
of travelling to a new part of the world as it was the race. We only had
mountains I’ve ever seen with volcanoes in the background and
six days there so we had to make the most of our time and I think
Andean condors flying over head! They’ve got the biggest wingspan of
we really did as much as we could! We packed in a road trip down
any bird in the world according to Google.
the centre of Chile (the longest country in the world!), we put our 4x4 thoroughly through its paces up a volcanic mountain and enjoyed
Racing was over two days and it started well. I was 23rd on the first
some of the best riding we'd ever done … all surrounded by relentless
stage and 22nd on the second which was the longest and most
banter from start to finish!
physical. Stage 3 didn’t go so well, I had a silly crash and twisted my bars up and lost about 10 seconds - but I was still well in the top 30
Me and Sam were in charge of booking the accommodation and hire
overall. Stage 4 was another favourite and was just turn after turn.
car and surprisingly our logistics went pretty smoothly. The flights were
Watching head cams back after the race it was so difficult to recognise
simple, our bikes turned up and the hire car man met us at Santiago
anything, there were millions of turns and they all looked the same! I
airport. It was a solid start to the trip. We loaded the 4x4 full and hit the
scored another decent result with a 26th on that one and 29th on stage
road south for a 6 hour drive to the race venue.
5, which was a really tricky, awkward one. I hugged a few trees and had a little mechanical on that one but nothing too serious. Stage 6 was
We arrived at our accommodation to find a little log cabin in the
the final one, and was all the way from the top of the mountain to the
foothills of the Andes only about 7km from the race venue itself, it was
bottom. It was pretty much all downhill charging through epic moon
mint. Wednesday was bike-build day but before anything we had to
dust and rocks, into a hellish steep middle section and then down into
test how capable the 4X4 was with a swift donut test and some serious
the loamiest woods ever at the bottom. It was brutal on your arms and
uphill terrain. It passed but only just! After our pro-rally-driving course
it well and truly finished me off. I struggled on the bottom half and
we got down to business and had a little ride up to the venue and
lost a bit of time but still bagged a solid 32nd on the stage, taking 28th
found some cool trails that weren't getting used for the race, so we
overall. It was my best Enduro World Series result to date and gave me
got our bikes set up on that. Our next door neighbours for the week
loads of confidence for the rest of the year! Next stop Tweedlove!
were the GT team so we adopted Martin Maes as one of the lads. He was cool to ride with and his English swearing vocabulary must have
Mark rides for Wideopenmag - he’s supported by Nukeproof,
increased tenfold after a week around us! Andy, Marc and Angela
Camelback, FoxMTB, Fenwicks, Conti Tyres, Mud Hugger, Hope
from GT were also a massive help in keeping our bikes running (as
Technology, RoostDH, Five Ten, MRP.
privateers it was a huge boost, cheers!) Sorry to Marc Maurissen who was mentally scarred after Joe took him out whilst riding the waterslide completely naked. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time!
PHOTO: MATT WRAGG / @MATT_WRAG G
PHOTO: SZYMON NIEBORAK / @DELAYEDPLEASURE
RIDER: DARYL BROWN / @DARYLBROWNMTB
emulsion / SZYMON NIEBORAK SUMMER
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SRP ÂŁ139.95 - Black only
Loam, XC bikes and Justin Bieber with...
Loam, XC bikes and Justin Bieber with... MILKY DROPS IN TO THE SURREY HILLS FOR A RIDE AND A CHAT WITH DMR RIDER/PRODUCT DESIGNER OLLY WILKINS AND WORLD CUP SUPERSTAR BRENDAN FAIRCLOUGH. INTERVIEW & PHOTOS: JACOB GIBBINS / @JACOBGIBBINS
Milky: So where do you normally ride round here then? Bren: Alright, so we’ve got quite a few places round here. There are a lot of dirt jumps and XC trails. Some are up Peaslake, some are up Leith Hill and we’ve also got Hindhead. Most of our runs round here are like 30 to 40 seconds but I guess that’s why we just ride them to death. Olly: Yeah it’s all less than a minute and that’s why it’s all thriller and no filler - it’s all turns, jumps and fun shit. If I go somewhere with wideopen, flat out, straight sections I don’t know what I’m doing. All of our trails are packed with shit. Bren: Yeah it’s just turn into jump into turn into jump.
olly wilkins brendan fairclough
Milky: Is there a certain type of soil round here?
Olly: Anyone else you want to slate whilst you’ve got someone recording
Olly: Fuckin right dog!
Bren: Absolutely. That’s why most of our trails involve lots of roost and
Bren: I think you’ve just got to be keen and obviously we’ve had good
have mainly loam based names.
riders in the past that have pushed it on.
Olly: First of all we’ve got The Cutty Professor, we’ve got Memory Loam,
Olly: It’s Steve (Peat) really isn’t it? What would have happened if there
Payday Loam, Loam and Away, Lomely...
wasn’t Steve Peat? It would just be Rob Warner and we’d all litter and
Bren: All Mulch of a Mulchness …you get the idea.
just say “fuck” every other word. Ah shit … I do that. Bollocks.
Milky: And do you think that UK racers are so fast because they ride
Milky: So … why did we go to the Loman Empire today and not
short tracks over and over?
Peaslake today? You guys are really well known for riding there.
Bren: I think that to be able to ride in the UK you have to have a lot
Bren: Just for the sake of mixing it up I think Jacob. The Loam Colosseum
of get up and go and it’s not easy. You’ve got to deal with all different
is literally five minutes from my house.
weather conditions and places where you can ride aren’t always easy
Olly: Also other people ride at Peaslake and where we rode today is
and accessible. If you want to ride downhill you’ve got to actually want to
very much just our gang. It’s just fresh loam so it’s not as affected by the
do it and have your heart and soul in it. It’s not like if you live in Whistler
weather. Mulch of a Mulchness was running lovely today.
- how many downhill riders come from Whistler? How many come from all these places where there are bike parks? Look at Germany, there are no good downhill riders from Germany. WIDEOPENMAG.CO.UK
Loam, XC bikes and Justin Bieber with...
Milky: So this winter Bren are you in the gym hard? Have you got a trainer? Are you just doing what you normally do and having fun in the loam? Bren: Uh … I’m not doing what I normally do. I’m putting a bit more effort in than usual and I’ve got a training ‘partner’ which is Olly Wilkins. I haven’t really got a trainer as such. Over the years I’ve got help from here, there and everywhere and me and Olly have just been smashing it pretty hard and getting it done. Olly: It seems to be a big focus in interviews talking about how Bren doesn’t train. What the fuck do you think he does? What does anyone think happens? Bren: Bad ass isn’t it? Olly: I find it pretty annoying; I can’t imagine how annoying you must find it. Bren: It sucks because I do put a lot of work towards it and focus on it, especially this year with how shit the tracks are and how boring they are - you’ve got to be even more on it with the pedalling I’m afraid. I’m just getting on with it really. Milky: Have you looked at this season coming up? Are they going to play to your strengths? Bren: The first three are definitely not my strong tracks but you’ve just got to crack on with it. I’ve got Scott behind me with a cross country bike that we’re going to use for the first two rounds, the Genius LT, I’m pretty excited for that and then hopefully get on the downhill bike for Fort William! Olly: So you’re using an enduro bike for the first two rounds of the Downhill World Cup Brendan? Milky: Which races are they? Are you running normal size wheels? Bren: Absolutely yeah, it’s South Africa and Cairns. I’ll have a 27.5 wheel on the front and a 650b on the back. I’m mixing it up a bit. Olly: You run a smaller tyre though don’t you to bring it down to 26? Bren: Yeah, I like to run low profile tyres… anything else you want to ask? Milky: I’m thinking … something about media commitments? Bren: Oh yeah, me, Olly Wilkins, Christian Fairclough and Ben Baker are going to do an edit in Madeira come the end of February so do keep your eyes and ears open for that. It’s going to be a hell of a banger. Milky: What’s the deal with your clothing brand S4P? Bren: What, you haven’t heard? It’s a multinational empire, it’s about to take over the world. Olly: Basically when we started in 2008 we’ve just been sponsoring the people who party the most, homeless people. We’ve got a team of 5 internationally. Bren: We’ve got a couple of homeless in New York, a couple in London, a couple in Barcelona. Basically, we just sponsor homeless people for clothing. Olly: Yeah, I mean, the homeless thing hasn’t worked all that well … but we’re going to ramp that up next year and double the team and fund more and I think it’ll pay off eventually. Bren: Well you can use your half of the budget for that, I’ll probably just keep saving up and get Justin Bieber in a t-shirt. Olly: Oh yeah! He wins! He’s done well lately hasn’t he? If you’ve got your hands on a copy of Wideopen Justin and you’re reading this, feel free to get in touch with us. I’d be interested doing a couple of t-shirts at cost for you! Maybe actually cost plus 10%, we’ve got to watch the pennies. Bren: That’s a wrap I’m afraid...
Getting a leg over
SUMMER WINTER SPRING
Getting a leg over WORDS: MONET ROSE ADAMS / @MONETADAMS I must confess I’ve always been quite confused by the idea that to be a racer you first must learn to separate your ‘girl’ self from your ‘biker’ self. When I first got on a bike and hurled myself down a track, I was also very serious about dancing, fully indulged in terrible noughties fashion and most certainly loved the colour pink. I still do, and I feel no shame in it. Growing up in the industry means that attitudes towards you change as you get older but having my female tendencies challenged every weekend throughout my teens provoked an interest in to why this happens. It was a distraction for me to engage in ‘girliness’ apparently, though as an adult now I have a pretty good idea of who was being distracted. I became very aware of a women’s power in a male dominated sport and how difficult it can be to use this in a positive way. Is it the nature of the sport? Or is it simply because mountain biking is still a relatively pubescent environment fuelled by lad points rather than UCI points. I looked to other sports such as surfing and skiing for answers and found similar smoking pits of debate and top female athletes tiptoeing around the subject of sexualising sport so as not to taint their serious reputation. But is this helping; does the female have to be separate from the athlete? Or should everyone just grow up and accept that a woman riding a bike does not stop her from getting dolled up and being beautiful, or on the flipside, automatically make her butch. I don’t think an adrenaline rush is against girls’ nature, it’s something a lot of girls are hooked on once they get to experience it. I think most
slightly smug if their Instagram picture got a gazillion likes and sponsors
girls are brought up with different activities to choose from. Most girls
will definitely appreciate it. This is why athletes such as surfer Alana
just don’t consider riding a bike down a hill in the first place, which we
Blanchard are so vital to the growth of extreme sports. She illustrates
owe a lot to our parents for. Most top riders have been riding with their
perfectly that you can be girly and talented and that one does not have
siblings and fathers from a young age.
to be sacrificed for the other. It’s all very well hooting about how these athletes should be rated on their sporting talent and not their ass, face,
No, we shouldn’t have to try and separate elements of our lives and
followers or other talents, but they are also pushing the sport... they
being an athlete does not mean sacrificing your femininity. If anything it
are REAL. Real women doing real sports, genuine role models in a world
enhances it and means we don’t have to stick bits of silicon all over us to
where such a thing is all too rare
be socially acceptable. Market research suggests that females respond better to a role model This summer I kept a careful eye on the question of how female athletes
athlete whose lifestyle is exciting as opposed to someone who just wins
are perceived and how they should portray themselves. A lot of the
lots of medals. Bike companies are choosing to not have female racing
negativity is actually coming from women themselves. The problem
ambassadors as a result of this, and whilst I see how this economically
with ‘feminism’ is we are all liars and women themselves are guilty of
makes sense I don’t see how that helps encourage or invest in the
double standardizing when it suits them. No matter how down to earth
future. There’s only a handful of world cup level athletes who are
or ‘modern’ you are, I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t feel
properly supported, and even less at national standard. The question I
ask is how can you honestly expect a World Cup female to be anywhere
circuit, British Cycling say that there’s been a rise of over 63,000 more
near her male equivalent when she’s unable to dedicate all of her time
women riding bicycles since 2012. We have never had a better platform
to living and breathing bikes, instead having to study or work to support
to build momentum from - cycling is still the fastest growing sport in the
herself. Yes girls who race bikes seriously will look up to men as much
UK and half of the population is female. In 2014 lets work towards more
as they do girls, but most women (the ones who are actually spending
gender specific events as a stepping-stone towards women integrating
their salaries on good bikes) couldn’t give a hoot about who is leading
into cycling, not segregating permanently. We need more mid level
the men’s world cup series. They want to ride and improve and not feel
support for riders across the mountain bike industry, and more
like aliens, they want living examples that the products they are buying
inclusion of women in professional teams.
work for them - they need more female role models. Not to mention the countless daughters, girlfriends and sisters who must pick up bike
I feel like the most important thing that needs to change however is
magazines and be immediately put off by the testosterone dripping
people’s daily attitudes towards women in sport. We live in a sex-
from the pages.
obsessed culture so girls and a pretty face will always sell - don’t be a hater, up your game. And boys, get rid of your double standards and
After such a great year for women’s cycling with new women’s specific
accept that it’s possible for us to like the same things as your girlfriends
publications, more athletes and journo’s than ever spreading the stoke,
or sister… now, can someone help me change my tyres?
Rachel Atherton being short listed for sports personality of the year and our new Junior world champ already a serious contender in the elite
INTERVIEW: CHAZ CURRY / @ROOTSCYCL EWORKS PHOTOS: IAN LEAN / @IANLEANPHO TO
A few Facebook messages and one wrong phone number later, I’m sat on the sofa at Kye Forte’s bike shop ‘Pro Cycle Centre’. It’s a warehouse in his home town of Newton Abbot and is half bike-shop, half ramp-park. Kye has just returned from doing a week long show at the NEC and looks chilled and at home in his creation. We grab a coffee and sit down for a chat. So Kye Forte. Age? 32! Grand Old Man! Yeah, rockin on! So what makes Kye, Kye? Hmm… I dunno, my love of riding and my determination I guess. Are you a pretty determined chap? I’d say I’m a pretty determined chap. Actually, I’d say I’m insanely determined. I guess it’s just a love of riding; it’s been my life since I can remember.
to America and I had offers on the table, but after being there for a couple of months (on tour) it made me realise just how cool home was. I’ve got good mates here and to leave all that behind was just one When did you realise that you could take
somehow. So it was sort of a plan on the back
riding your bike to the highest level?
burner, but really I was just focused on making
to travel and I can see myself staying here, I
When we started in BMX racing, I was always
it at that time.
not. Then one day I thought “You know what?
So the day you won a BMX National was the
So you’re back in your home town and
Give it a go” and ended up winning a National
biggest point that changed your career and
you’ve started a bike shop, what made you
and that was all I needed. From that moment
pushed you to being who you are today?
decide to do that?
on I took a different approach and went from
Yeah I would say so. Remembering back I
I guess being pretty involved in the local scene,
making up the numbers to being a contender.
just loved riding my bike more than anything.
working at Decoy (local Dirt jump spot. ed) and
It just went from there really. A couple of
Every kid has dreams of becoming a world
establishing the skate park with Nicki from
national titles, British Champs. That’s when
champion or being a pro but the reality of it is
the local council. The real trigger of it was, like
you start thinking “I can carry this on and be a
that there has to be one day when you take it
you said, travelling the world, experiencing so
pro”, I was about 16 then, something like that.
a lot more seriously. My brother was the one
many cool bike shops and seeing what those
getting the results; he was the one winning
shops brought to the local scene. Our local
Have you ever thought about what you
national titles. Getting that result kick started
shop had changed hands and wasn’t quite as
would have done if you hadn’t made it
me. I was sponsored at that point but that was
it had been. After putting so much work into
what kicked it on and got me a proper deal.
the local riding community I wanted it to be
step too far I think, for me. I still get
a ‘mid packer’. I might get in the final, I might
Yeah there was a moment. I did two seasons
run the way it should be and not just someone
of racing pro and the results just weren’t
So you’ve travelled the world, but like many
making money off the back of everybody’s
there. I was back to being a mid-packer again,
of us Devon Hobbits, you have chosen to
hard work. We’re still trying to achieve that
struggling to get results and make finals. At
come back to the shire. Why did you make
original goal but we’re getting somewhere
17 I just wanted to ride with my mates, not
do sprints or go to the gym. At that point I
I don’t know, I’ve always just loved home. I’m
went to college. I did a sports science diploma
real close to my family and I’ve got brothers
You also run your own events and coaching
and the plan was that if riding didn’t work
that ride, my sister even rode. I got married
business called ‘MBE’. How’s that working
out I’d do something more like a personal
pretty early on to a local girl and I’m still
trainer approach, involved in physical activity
married to her now. We thought about moving
Yeah, that’s really good. MBE was spawned
2014 And you organised the Empire of Dirt BMX
me and my brother hired some downhill
competition right here in your home town
bikes and went for a shred and our eyes were
opened! A couple of years passed and I still
Yeah that was pretty wild. The whole Empire
didn’t have a bike, then Nick at Charge Bikes
saga was nuts really. To have 30 of the world’s
sorted me out with a hardtail and that was it!
best BMX’ers in your home town on a course
Next was like ‘I’ve got to get a full suspension
that had taken me, my mates and my family
bike’ and Dan Atherton hooked me up with a
months to build and create and they (the
pretty sick bike. At the time I didn’t quite know
riders) were just fizzing on it was the best
what he’d given me, but it just felt so good!
feeling ever. I’d say that was one of the high
Now I love it and to be honest I probably
points of my career. I remember the night
spend as much time on my mountain bike as
after the event the sense of achievement was
just massive. Then to see the event go on to a 20,000 sell out crowd in London was just sick!
We worked with Laurie Greenland last year and he always swore that BMX skills were a
And last year you broke the BMX high jump
massive boost for downhill. Is that true do
record in Bristol. Was that something you
had always wanted to do?
The jumping helps a lot. I went to Revolution
That came about through a show. We did
Bike Park and was riding those jumps with
it purely as a crowd participation thing and
Dan (Atherton) and it was just like riding big
you could see the heights going up. Then
dirt jumps. But I think the fact that I have done
out of people forever asking me “Kye, can you
afterwards we measured it and realised we
motocross, motorbike trials and BMX racing
come and do a show here?” I spent a ridiculous
had probably unofficially broken the world
from an early age is what has helped me - not
amount of money getting a kick ass set of
record anyway. So we set about setting up a
just the freestyle.
ramps built - if they want a show then they’re
proper ramp, then Samsung approached me
going to get a show! We’ve done shows at the
about doing an advert and they just jumped
I think I first saw you racing at Gawton in
Olympics, we’ve got a really loyal client base
on it. We were jumping pretty much seven
2013 and you went on to do a season of
and it keeps me busy. It’s loads more travelling
metres! It was wild!
downhill racing from there right?
but it’s fun. You get to travel with your mates,
Yeah! Since then I have been doing as many
bust out some shows and everyone comes
That’s a hell of a thing to do! So you rocked
as I can really. BMX takes priority as it’s how
home with a bit of money in their pockets. It’s
up at the start line at Gawton last year.
I make my living but I did three BDS rounds
something I can see continuing long after I’ve
Have you always ridden mountain bikes or
last year. My best result was second at Fort
is that something you’re new to?
William which I was pretty psyched on. Then
Well, no! I’ve not always ridden mountain
I’ve just been trying to do some of the local
So you’re one of the Red Bull family, that
bikes. Being a freestyle BMX’er I wasn’t that in
ones. The last couple of years I was racing
must be pretty cool?
to it – mountain biking was almost a dirty word
a lot of motocross and with one thing and
Yeah it’s pretty rad! Red Bull is such a good
in our game. So I think it was out in Whistler,
another, it’s expensive and kind of hard to
brand to ride for. The amount of opportunities I’ve got through them is unbelievable! When I first signed for Red Bull it was like a different brand but it’s grown so much over the past few years, it’s so desirable to ride for them now. I’m so lucky to be on it. Have you got to mix it up and spend some time with other Red Bull athletes? Yeah loads! You get to meet so many people. Obviously I know the Atherton’s well, I’ve known them from the days of BMX racing. I know Dougie Lampkin pretty well, I’ve yet to go trials riding with him but you get to meet some proper, well, celebs in our world. It’s pretty rad and most of them are pretty genuine. It’s a different world really.
keep competitive when you’re on and off the bike. Downhilling is just way more accessible. Yeah the bikes cost a fortune but going out and riding doesn’t cost a fortune, you just sling it in the van and go. As long as the tyres are inflated and the brakes are working, you’re all good! And now you’re on the Wideopen team – how’s that working out for you? Yeah it’s working out awesome so far. Apart from landing on my head in the welcome to the team video! I have only done 2 races officially on the team - Stiniog BDS & Fort William. I had 2 second place finishes, so I’m happy with how it’s going. Support from the team has been amazing, especially seeing as both tracks have been so hard on the bikes. It’s great having proper team support and the Nukeproof’s are so nice to ride. The mood can sometimes get a bit tense in the pits but I’m always impressed at how chilled you are under pressure. Is that fair? Are you cool as a cucumber on race day? Well for me the whole downhill race scene is still so new, I’m just stoked to be at the races and getting involved. I would hope that years of competing at pro level BMX contests has given me a bit of an advantage when it comes to contest related stress. I am usually a little more flustered than I appear though. Racing is fun for me but I’m competitive like all the other riders and want to do well. And what have you got planned for the rest of the year? Can you give us any insight into those secret projects of yours? Well I’m going to continue with the remaining BDS rounds & National Champs. I’ve got a video project I have been working on which basically involves some big jumps in the woods that I have been building for a while now. Having just test ridden the first couple sets I’m really looking forward to starting filming. Other than that I’ve got some big events on the BMX this summer and a potential MTB event I want to host as well. Always busy.....! Follow Kye on twitter and Instagram with @kyeforte
PHOTO: DUNCAN PHILPOTT / @DUNCANPHILPOTT
RIDER: CRAIG EVANS
emulsion / DUNCAN PHILPOTT SUMMER
E M U L
S I O N WIDEOPENMAG.CO.UK
wideopen in portugal
PORTUGAL WIDEOPEN IN
BACK IN 2011 WE DISCOVERED THAT PORTUGAL’S ALGARVE IS AN INCREDIBLE PLACE TO RIDE BIKES AND SOAK UP SOME SUN. THREE YEARS ON AND WE’RE BACK WITH RIDE PORTUGAL TO CHECK OUT JUST HOW FAR PORTUGUESE MOUNTAIN BIKING HAS EVOLVED… WORDS: MARK SCOTT / @MARKSCOTT 259
PHOTOS: JACOB GIBBINS / @JACOBGIBBI NS
wideopen in portugal
Back in January I packed my bags, hooked up with Rich Thomas, Milky
drop that fires you straight into a big hip jump. We had to call in some
and Sam Flanagan and flew out to Ride Portugal for a bit of winter
of Portugal’s top lawyers early in the day after Tahnee Seagrave cased
shredding in the sun. We were in for a treat as it would be our first
the living daylights out of it! She was the first to hit it though and went
chance to sample the ‘Wideopen’ track that Brian from Ride Portugal had
straight into a head wind so we’ll let her off!
been slaving over for months. He had promised the lads he’d build them a track when they visited a few years back and after months of digging in the hot Portuguese sun it was complete and ready for us! Our trip started in Faro where we quickly transferred to Lagos and then up to Ride Portugal HQ. All of us except for Rich that is, who managed to miss his flight and almost get arrested after falling out with Easyjet over baggage allowances! After an extra 24 hours at home and seventy quid to change his flight, he was back on track for Portugal. Ride Portugal’s HQ is a real nice place - quiet and out the way with everything you might need. It’s got a workshop to keep your bike running sweet and even has its own DH track and some dirt jumps to have a play on. It was a great base for the week but with a fresh track to explore we didn’t spend much time sitting about. We got the bikes built, in the van and up the hill to sample the new track. To give Brian credit, he’s done an awesome job of the track. We’d heard that he had built some great tracks back home in the UK (Cwm Woods in North Wales anyone?) and his Portuguese effort didn’t disappoint. There are jumps, pinned rock gardens, super fun switchbacks and some of the best, loamy dirt imaginable! Half way down there’s a big ladder
“Whilst the boys were filming I thought I'd give it a shot and brag about it later. As soon as I got onto the wooden take-off the wind stopped me dead, but there was no time for stopping, I just hit it and prayed I wasn't going to headbutt the stem too hard! I cased the living hell out of it!''
During the week Brian showed us loads of tracks and we got a feel for just how much work he has put into them. There are so many good hills in the area and every track has tons of features, all in pristine condition. Since Wideopen’s first trip to Ride Portugal back in 2011 he has spent months grafting away, sending hundreds of man-hours into scouting and track building. With about 10 World Cup level tracks within an hours’ drive it’s the perfect setup to smash some pre-season runs and get up to speed! It was unfortunate we didn’t have more time as we could have definitely explored more but hopefully we’ll be back at some point, that is, if Brian and his business partner and girlfriend Nancy will have us again!
wideopen in portugal
need to know • Ride Portugal are based just outside Lagos, in south west Portugal. • They can cater for downhill or all mountain riders with 30+ trails in the area • Flights to Faro are available from loads of UK airports • Trips are half-board (breakfast and lunch) and include transfers, accommodation and guiding. • It’s £279 for long weekend (2.5 day’s riding) or £535 for a week. • Lagos is a fun tourist town with heaps of bars and clubs. Give the local ‘Medronho’ (fire water) a sample if you fancy missing the next morning’s riding! • Visit rideportugal.com for more info
Elbow Grease! Will Weston
SUMMER So Will - tell the people who you are will you?
elbow grease! will weston
I’m Will Weston, I’m 17 and I’m from Wolverhampton. You left a big factory team at the end of 2012 and went fully privateer in 2013. How was that? It was hard, but it made me a better rider. When you’re on a factory team everything is taken care of. Your bike is cleaned for you, there are no money worries and you have all the spares in the world. When racing as a privateer you have to organise everything yourself from flights to race entries to accommodation. At 17 and alongside exam stress it can all be a bit much and in honesty at times I struggled. You have to worry about your bike making it to the start line every run - little things like running higher tyre pressures than you’d like and avoiding big holes just so your bike will make it to Sunday. You see factory boys smashing the rough lines at race pace and you just can’t afford to do
INTERVIEW & PHOTOS:
that until race runs, and that puts you at a big disadvantage. But that
JACOB GIBBINS / @JACOBGIBBI NS
said, the privateer lifestyle makes the wins even more special and it taught me a lot about organisation and bike maintenance. That helped me out in a big way. I learnt a lot from being on a factory team and I’m grateful for my time there - but I’m enjoying racing more than ever now!
“the privateer lifestyle makes the wins even more special 42
2014 Going privateer meant that you had to completely build a season of racing from scratch - including World Cups - how did you manage to make that happen? Without any teams backing me I had to build a team of people around me that would allow me to race at the level I wanted. Joe Ferrari at Devinci/ Haven helped out a huge amount, and all of the smaller sponsors I had did their bit, and I’m thankful. Some people can afford to race as a privateer at World Cups but my family can’t. Big G (my old man) does everything he can, and its rad. My brother Gareth (who also races) helps out when he can, and is always there for emotional support but financially it is a struggle. We managed to get out to three World Cups, and I say ‘we’ because it really was a team effort. My best finish was at Hafjell with an 11th and I was top 80 overall. I enjoy them more than any other races and it’s wild competing at something I have been watching since I was a nipper. I’m hoping to improve even further this season, but only time will tell. At the end of 2013 you claimed that you were going to quit social media for the winter. What was that all about? Sick of the lolcat videos?! Yeah I planned to do it over the winter so I could concentrate on school work. I didn’t plan on making a big deal out of it though; I didn’t want it to seem like a cry for attention! But attention is just what I needed, I got on a few sites because of it and NS bikes phoned me a few days later to discuss riding for them! And was it worth the stick you got? Yeah! I don’t really mind what people think of me too much! Nobody was seriously offensive anyway; they were just taking the piss! I’m happy with where things are now so it’s all good! So you’re on NS bikes for 2014, how did that come about? It happened through Hotlines, who are the NS distributor in the UK. They needed a rider to represent them who would get some decent results but they didn’t have the budget for a massive name.
maths, further maths, physics and psychology at school as well as racing and training so that’s the major struggle. It’s like balancing spinning plates! Who would you say are your main rivals? The top 15-20 UK racers in Junior are unreal; I have respect for them all. Even beyond that there is talent and potential, but specifically I don’t pay too much attention to what other people are up to, I like to focus on myself. And what are you aiming for this season? I’d like to crack the top 10 at a World Cup in Junior and race World Champs but mainly I just want to have a good time riding my bike, that’s what it’s all about, keeping the stokeometer topped up! And what do you reckon will get the stokeometer into the red this season? What are your plans and what are you getting really excited for I’m looking forward to getting my AS level exams out the way! After that I’m travelling out to America for the first time. Racing my bike over the pond will be great fun even if I don’t perform, but I fancy my chances. The three World Cups leading up to World Champs in Norway might be the only ones I can do due to exam clashes, so I am going to have to go hard! One way or another I will have the time of my life, and I am counting down the days!
It seemed to be a good fit. And does that extra sponsorship take the pressure off? To an extent yeah. I have a great team behind me and a bike I can trust that I know will get me on the podium. Financially it’s still very tricky but we will get there with a bit of elbow grease! I study WIDEOPENMAG.CO.UK
MAKING HISTORY RARE MANAGEMENT’S MIKE JARDINE AND LESLEY BECK INTERVIEW: PETE SCULLION / @PETE_SCULL ION PHOTOS: JACOB GIBBINS & GARY WILLIAMSON
So what is Rare Management? Mike: Rare Management is a small company that specialises in hopefully doing fun things in sport. It’s all sport-based, be it skiing, mountain biking, climbing, essentially we’ll do anything sport. Events, logistics and shows and organisation like that. How did a small company like Rare Management take on a huge event like the Fort William World Cup? Mike: It all really started because of Crawford CarrickAnderson (Scottish downhill racing legend - WO). He was racing on the World Cup circuit and we were all up at the opening of the original downhill course in Fort William. We knew the guys at Nevis Range really well from skiing and Crawfy said, “Hey, you could run a World Cup here.’ So we sat down with the guys from Nevis Range and thought it would be worth finding out a bit more about it and we ended up submitting a bid for the World Cup in 2002. We didn’t get the bid because the calendar was full but then in November of that year we got a call from the UCI saying actually they did want us to host a World Cup because Japan had at that point pulled out. So, we had 6 months to pull it together having never done a World Cup before. It worked and we’re still doing it.
“We were going to take an oxyc etaline torc h to
it, or put t he digger arm t hrough t he van...”
How did you manage the challenge of organising your first World
retail, acrobatic aeroplanes, whatever, you’ve always got to try and come
Cup? Was there a lot of experience you could transfer across?
up with new things that will engage with people and give them a bit
No, to be fair the UCI have a very good organisation guide which
more interest. That’s why it’s good having partners that want to come in
allows you to just follow that and get a good heads up. I think the fact
and bring new things. We’ve had some fantastic partners over the years.
that Lesley and I have strong backgrounds in sport, having attended
We’ve always looked to bring in new people like Monster and Dare2B,
major sporting events, and in Lesley’s case, competing in these events,
for this year there’s some really exciting things we’ll be doing with Red
Olympics and World Champs etc, you have a vision of what an event
Bull. This year is shaping up to be another event where you will be
of this scale should be like. We were quite clear on what we’d like to
able to do so many things through the week other than just watch bike
achieve and in that first year we were very lucky in that we had good
racing. It’s more than just a pure enthusiasts’ day out, everyone can
support from SportScotland and that allowed us to put in place all the
appreciate and enjoy the sport and activities. Also, there’s
things we thought were important. Also, I think the timing was just
the atmosphere. When there’s a good, supportive, noisy
right. There was a big rise in downhill in particular, there were strong
crowd it feeds on itself and creates an environment and
British performers, as there is now, and there was a lot of pent up
ambience. Being there at the finish area at the end of the
demand from people to come and see the best downhillers in the world
day is just... a great feeling, every year. It doesn’t matter,
somewhere in the UK. It seemed to touch a nerve with the fans and was
it’s always brilliant. Sure when we get British winners it’s
a very successful first event and as a result of that we kept going.
that much better, but even when it’s Sam or Greg or any of the others it’s still a very special occasion. That’s one of
As the saying goes, the second album is always the most difficult,
the great attractions as well, there’s always a chance that
how do you go about keeping it successful? The Fort William World
a Brit will be up there, if not on the top step, then at least
Cup has been voted the best event on the calendar numerous
on the podium. We worked it out the other day, but the
percentage of British riders on the podium at Fort William
Well the core of the whole thing is the event. You have the top guys
over the years is pretty high.
racing downhill and new names coming forward so there’s always a degree of excitement about ‘this year’s World Cup’. You just have to
The week of the event, what are you most likely to
build on that. I think the core things include looking at the course and
be seen doing? Usually I see Lesley in the office, ask
trying to build in new features, keeping it refreshed. There’s only so
her for another parking pass and she rolls her eyes
much you can do with the course on the hill but we’ve been lucky that
disapprovingly at me!
the course has seen some significant changes over the years. Pushing
The main thing is problem solving. Ideally, once the
it forward and finding new features generates a level of excitement as
event is under way you want to be able to put your feet
people can talk about the new course. The other thing is all the support
up. If you’re able to do that, then it’s all working. But the
activities around it. So it becomes more than just spectators coming to
reality of it is that it never happens. Except hopefully,
see the people flying down the course and racing hard. There are also
usually, during the last half hour of the event, there’s
lots of other things to see and do. Whether it’s audience participation,
nothing more you can do, it’s out of your hands almost.
2014 Problem solving is what I do. It could be any number of things, you can never pre-empt what will happen. There are the usual ones though, parking, volunteers not turning up, timing issues, injuries and accidents, weather. It’s literally problem solving and dealing with the last-minute issues. Oh, and doing all the things you should have done weeks and months ago. Doing all the things the night before, despite the fact over the last 12 years you’ve told yourself next year will be different. This will probably be a hard one to answer, but of the 12 years’ worth of the Fort William World Cup, do you have a stand-out moment? Loads! Peaty’s World Cup win for sure, that was such a special moment. I think 2012 was a great year as there was just such a great vibe about sport in general and it was dry as well! Tracey Moseley being up there with the Olympic torch. The World Championships in 2007 was a stand-out for many reasons. It was horrible, an absolute nightmare
Lesley: All those are great moments, but for me, last year was pretty
and easily the toughest thing we’ve done, so it was a stand-out for that.
incredible when Gee and Rachel Atherton won. Especially as it’s been
There were some really great moments that made it stand out as well.
such a long time coming for Rachel. The year before she was 2nd, and
It’s really difficult to pick single events out. Have you got any stand-out
I have never seen anyone so upset at being second. I really like the fact
that winning was absolutely everything to her and that was genuine anguish at being second the year before. That was hairs on the back of the neck stuff last year. Maybe not as much as Peaty, but yeah, a special moment! Disasters? One of the worst ones was the World Cup finals in 2005. We had all the overall series trophies and I’d locked them in the van for safe-keeping. I’m terrible for losing keys. It was Saturday afternoon, and I thought, ‘Let’s go get the trophies. Where are the keys?’ They were in this Transit… All this time I was trying to find a way into this van. We had the wing mirror off as we’d heard you could take the wing mirror off and pull a wire to open the door. We’d phoned the AA and the local garage and the police came out. So many people were trying to get into this van. By that time it wasn’t even going to have windows, we were going to take an oxyacetylene torch to it, or put the digger arm through the van. We just couldn’t find a way. It was just one of those stupid things. Then I went to another van that hadn’t been used all day, and the keys were sat on the passenger seat! That was almost a disaster.
cape town! a squid's eye view
N! E TEYEOWVIEW. CAA PSQUID'S WORDS & PHOTOS: JACOB GIBBINS / @JACOBGIBBI NS
MILKPRO’S ADVENTURE TO CAPE TOWN WITH SAM REYNOLDS AND SAM PILGRIM. I am very fortunate to make a living from shooting photos and videos of mountain biking, something I love doing. Some days however are better than others. Some days it’s wet, cold hillsides or hot, stuffy studios and others … well … others are really good. Back in February I had twelve days that were definitely better than others. The brief was pretty simple. Fly to Cape Town in South Africa and film a video with Sam Reynolds and Sam Pilgrim for Monster Energy. We would cover the Monster Energy Night Harvest dirt jump comp, get the guided tour from Cape Town’s Super Adventure Club, surf, hit the beach and even hook up with Brendog and Needles to shoot some downhill. Mainly we were just going to film Pilgrim and Reynolds doing what they do best, all over the place. Think ‘This Is Peaty’ but with two hoodlums named Sam instead!
LEFT: Back at Potato Trails, Reynolds gave us a sweet table out of the big wall ride/sub box that marked the end of the course. The trails had everything from huge trick jumps, technical trail lines, stunning berms and wooden features. ABOVE: Reynolds and Pilgrim, both about as far from home as they can get.
cape town! a squid's eye view
RIGHT: We couldn’t ride every day and with a quiet afternoon we decided to check out some of the local wildlife at Boulders Beach. As the name suggests, it was covered in huge, round boulders all scattered across a pure white sand beach. The penguin didn’t take too well to people trying to touch him, but he seemed content enough to hang out with us. I would be too if I got to live there all the time. That beach is going to take some beating this year! BELOW: Another thing Cape Town is famous for is surfing and when you’re on a trip with Monster Energy you get the very nice Matt Bromley to take you out on the water. He’s a world class surfer, a local to Cape Town and a totally sound chap to have as a guide. He took us all down to this empty beach and we rode without seeing anyone else for the entire afternoon. Once again Pilgrim added surfing to the list of things he is annoyingly good at and Reynolds made up for a lack of skill with buckets of enthusiasm and willingness to eat shit trying to improve!
ABOVE: Our first evening in Cape Town and we checked out the Uni Trails. Compared to what Sam and Sam are used to riding they were pretty small but they seemed fine for a quick session to loosen up after travelling. We rolled in as the light was fading but the Sams were so keen to ride we couldn’t hold them back. With just ten minutes of light left I threw some flashes down and got snapping! Here’s Sam throwing down a proper table. Lots of people claim they can do them … but few people can master them like this. Style personified right there. RIGHT: This photo just screams “fun” at me. A MX bike, endless sand dunes, all your mates and a truck blaring out music - it was fun. Whilst Pilgrim seems just as happy riding a moto as he does his NS, Reynolds (photo’d here) is very much ‘all the gear and very little idea’! Either way, both had the time of their lives. After 3 hours in the dunes, we blew some stuff up, had a fireworks fight and headed back to town for a BBQ. WIDEOPENMAG.CO.UK
cape town! a squid's eye view
One of the main reasons for the trip was so Sam and Sam could ride in the Monster Energy Night Harvest dirt jump comp. The comp was a floodlit jam that took place at Potato Trails - a private set with the most amazing mountain back drop. The trails were pure works of art and looked like God himself had gone to town building a dirt jump paradise. There were categories for BMX and MTB and the mix of bikes and styles made for a great and really varied night. This photo is of an unknown BMXâ€™er boosting the big hip on the first straight in the last moments of the evening light.
hannah barnes and her yeti sb66c
YETI SB66C ND HER HANNAH BARNES A
INTERV IEW: JAMIE EDWAR DS / @JAMIE _WIDEO PEN
So Yeti for 2014 after years on Orange. How does that
2014 IS A BIG ONE FOR HANNAH AS SHE
It was a big change for me, both in terms of the bike
MAKES THE MOVE TO YETI AND RACES THE
set-up and with new people too. I'd been with Orange for
ENDURO WORLD SERIES. WE SPENT A DAY
on the team, which was a really nice way to start out and
HELI-BIKING IN NEW ZEALAND WITH HANNAH
four years, and up until the last year my brother Joe was I learnt a lot from him. A new bike, new sponsors, and new people was a big change. Before moving to Yeti, I'd
BEFORE TAKING A MINUTE TO CHAT ABOUT
only ever ridden an Orange, so I was really excited for
HER NEW YETI SB66C.
bike felt awesome from the word go, it just felt right and
the change and stepping on a new bike was great! The I instantly loved it!
When did you get the new bike? Did you build it up
Will you run the bike as it is all season, or will you
yourself or do you have support with your bikes?
make changes as the year progresses?
Between my brother Joe, my dad Denis, my boyfriend
I generally like to leave my bike the same all season once
John, and myself we built up my SB66c on Boxing Day.
I get a setup I like. In Enduro racing, you have limited
It's always good having lots of people to help, although it
time to practice, and I would rather spend my time
often means conflicting opinions on cable routing etc. as
learning the course than fiddling with my bike. Obviously
everyone has their own way of doing things! I generally
I will change tyres according to track conditions, and to a
maintain my own bike, with some help from Joe, Dad or
lesser extent suspension settings too, but as a rule I like
John if I need it. I don't have a mechanic, that's far too
to keep things the same.
big time! It's obviously a 26" bike - were you tempted to try a And what about set-up… are you particular with
27.5 or a 29?
setting up your bikes?
I have ridden both 27.5 and 29 bikes in the past and
I'm pretty hands-on during the bike build process, I set
found that all wheel sizes have specific advantages
it up how I like it during the build, then on the first few
depending on conditions. For example, while I probably
rides I'll tweak a few things. Once the initial set-up is
wouldn't ever race a 29er in Enduro, my first choice for
done, I don't tend to change much after that.
the 24 Hour Solo World Champs is the Yeti ARC hard tail. My current 26” bike is awesome, but if Yeti come out with
It’s obviously quite a different bike to your Orange,
a 27.5 Enduro bike then I would love to give it a go.
have you had to change your style of riding to suit the new bike?
Are there any components on the bike that you're
I haven't had to change my riding style that I'm aware
particularly loved-up with?
of. Riding the SB66c felt natural right from the start. I
My Schwalbe tyres have been incredible in every
do feel more confident and smooth, especially on really
condition I have ridden in this year. The Magic Mary I
technical riding. My SB66c is also 4lb lighter than my last
tend to run on the front is such a confidence inspiring
bike was, which makes a huge difference to how the bike
tyre, and I love no-braking into turns knowing my front
wheel has tons of grip!
So where have you ridden the Yeti so far since you
Is there anything one-off on the bike that's not
generally available to your average Joe?
I've mostly ridden my new bike in New Zealand, as I'd
Silverfish put some sweet pink stickers on there to
only had it at home for a couple of weeks (in which time
personalise it for me, but apart from that you can buy
we had heavy rain/snow/gales!) before we headed away
everything else I run.
for the NZ summer which was perfect to ride loads of new trails and get lots of miles in on the new bike! We
Last but not least, where do you want this bike to
head home next week, so it will be nice to be back in the
local woods riding trails I know like the back of my hand.
I want this bike to take me all over the world, to both races and adventures on amazing trails old and new!
Jamaica Fat Tyre festival 2014
JAMAICA FAT TYRE FESTIVAL 2014
WORDS: JOHN OLDALE / @JOHNOLDALE PHOTOS: MIKE KOOLEN At any normal bicycle event, the opening
as much as it is about riding some of the
the day revolves around riding between 3
statement “we are politely asking you to
best trails in the world. With accommodation
and 5 shuttled trails. That’s not to say you
not run GPS or strava this week” would be
ranging from a few nights in a resort right
are banging out DH runs, but instead you get
met with a whole world of grumbling and
through to wooden huts on the beach, no two
driven to a relatively remote location on a
complaints. But this event is different – the
nights are the same. The organisers Jonathan
ridge somewhere high above the ocean and
Jamaica Fat Tyre festival isn’t about who has
and Andy are long time Jamaican ex-
you then get lead down a variety of trails to
got the fastest time or done the most runs, it
pats who are in deep with the locals, and
the ocean. Trails that range from super high
is about showcasing Jamaica and its incredible
hence have access to trails and sights that the
speed access routes for small villages to super
yet varied culture. Jonathan Gosse who is one
average resort go-er would never see let alone
tech singletrack that more often than not will
half of the organisation committee behind
25 people on knobbly tyres. A prime example
go straight through the heart of a remote
the event then went on to explain that the
of this was day four when Jonathan casually
mountain village. During the opening speech
reason for the remark was due to the fact that
mentioned we were off to Strawberry Hill for
Jonathan also mentioned that at any one point
we would be riding predominantly private
lunch. “Sounds great” I thought to myself,
you will never be further than 50 yards from
trails on farmers land. It doesn’t take much
little did I know that Strawberry Hill is actually
either: Red Stripe, marijuana or Reggae music.
imagination to figure out what some Jamaican
a 5 star hotel on top of a hill overlooking
He’s not wrong; several times we would be an
farmers would have lurking in their crop fields.
Kingston. The property is owned by record
hour into a trail having not seen a soul, we’d all
Whilst the likes of Crankworx, Mega Avalanche
producer Chris Blackwell, and he had casually
stop for a photo opportunity and from deep in
and various other high profile events go
left platinum record awards from anybody
the jungle you would hear the booming sound
about their business of strutting their stuff
who is anybody on the wall of the dining
of Reggae. It all adds to the amazing vibe that
on internet sites. The Fat Tyre festival is more
room. Turns out he also loves what the guys
surrounds the festival.
humble and down to earth. Organised by
are doing with the festival and not only lets a
The SMORBA crew aren’t just exceptional
annually by SMORBA (St Mary’s off-road bicycle
bunch of sweaty/stinky riders swan around his
guides but their hospitality hits the nail on
association) it still manages to bring in heavy
exclusive property, but has also allowed them
the head time after time. I can’t honestly
hitters from the riding community. Evident in
to build one of the greatest trails I have ever
remember one time when we got to the end of
the fact that a few of the guides are riding ex-
had the pleasure of riding right out of his hotel
a day in the saddle and they wasn’t someone
superstar bikes and kit that have been left on
there to greet us with a massive crate of ice
the island to help keep the “stoke” going.
To be fair though, I shouldn’t really highlight
cold Red Stripe. Or the time we rode an hour
Spanning over 7 days of actual riding, and
the Strawberry Hill experience as a one off,
down a hill to an incredibly remote beach
heavily endorsed by the Jamaican Tourism
seeing as every single day of the festival is
(accessible only by foot or bike), but sure
board the week is there to showcase Jamaica
stupendously epic in its own right. Typically
enough there they were with a BBQ going
2014 and freshly made juice from the fruits
Fuelled up on the compulsory fried
John Oldale is Brit with a funny accent,
growing on the beach.
chicken, rice and peas; we set off for yet
earned from a few years of living
Highlight of the trip for me had to be
another hour of descending not only
in New Zealand, working for Avanti
the conquest of Blue Mountain. We
one of Jamaica’s finest but possibly the
bikes. His claim to fame is that he
started out at about 5AM with a Land
World’s finest trails!
designed the balance bike that the
Rover shuttle from Sea Level up into the
I could spend the rest of eternity prattling
Kiwis just gave to Prince George on
Coffee Plantations that dominate Blue
on about Jamaica Fat Tyre Festival, but in
the recent royal visit. John now lives
Mountain, from here it was a 3 hour hike-
my allotted 1000 words, i’ll leave it at that.
in Bristol in the UK and works for Fox
a-bike up what appeared to be a super
However I will say that this trip is so good
technical trail. Arriving at the summit
it is actually worth selling kidney to raise
was an experience in itself, and to be
funds for it. What are you waiting for?
honest I am not sure anybody felt they had the energy to ride back down what appeared to be a trail that would require skills that wouldn’t be amiss in an Akrigg Video. However after a few Summit Red Stripes, we dropped into the trail and it was immense. What seemed to of been a scramble going up was in fact a bizarrely flowy trail that brought nothing but grins to faces. After 35 minutes of descending Jamaica’s highest peak we stopped for an impromptu lunch at a coffee plantation.
The story of the Fort William downhill track
THE STORY OF THE FORT WILLIAM DOWNHILL TRACK. FOSS FORSTER – NEVIS RANGE, BIKE TRACK SUPERVISOR PHOTO: JIM SMITH / @RIDEROOTS Let’s start with a bit of early history. The track was originally
is much easier as there’s a road that we can use but anything
thought up by local bike shop Off Beat Bikes with the intention
above that gets much more logistically challenging! Most of the
of getting national and international events happening. It was
work further up the mountain is done with hand shovels, picks,
built, planned and paid for by Off Beat Bikes, Nevis Range, the
mattocks, pinch bars and gorilla buckets. For some jobs we can
Forestry Commission, Specialized UK, the National Lottery,
use a digger which is mint but that’s only on the lower quarter
Highlands & Islands Enterprise and a local club called the West
of the hill where we can get access. If someone has invented a
Highland Wheelers. It was called the ‘Off Beat Downhill’. Our
flying digger that costs about £150 please let me know!
first major event was the Avalanche Cup in 2000, although
The weather is normally the driest in May and the lime we use
back then the Motorway section hadn’t been finished and the
on the track can start to dry out too much around this time
race finished at the far end of the car park. Fabian Barel won
and blow away. We have to use water butts and watering cans
to keep the dust down and berms together! This can be the
Rare Management made an unsuccessful bid for Fort William
most stressful challenge of race weekends as we have to get
to be a World Cup venue in 2000 but after the race in Japan
loads of hoses up onto the hill and get water out of the burns
was cancelled they were given the chance to put on a DH and
and onto the berms to get them dampened down. I don’t
4X World Cup. We built the new 4X track and Motorway section
mind this too much though as it means that it’s dry rather
in 2001 and the first full use of the track was for the National
than raining! That doesn’t last long though and as we head
Points Series that year. Steve Peat and Fionn Griffiths won that
into June we get hit by midges and some of the 12ft of annual
rainfall. Conditions sometimes get pretty challenging in the
Pretty much since that race we’ve had Scottish Regionals,
rain, hail and wind!
British National races and World Cups every year with the
Running up to the World Cup gets pretty frantic and we have
World Champs in 2007 too. We also have events like the No
to work hard to get the main work done. Once we’ve got that
Fuss 12 Hour Endurance Downhill. This all means that the track
covered a lovely team of race volunteers arrives and the track
gets thumped every year!
gets a good grooming and is made to look pretty. We’ll get the
There are two or three of us in charge of getting the track
track marked out, get poles in place and pad certain sections
ready. We close over winter and try to winterise the track using
of the track for safety. The wooded sections and any other
sandbags to keep water off and keep it under control. In late
specific race lines are finalised at that point and made good.
March the snow clears and we start to repair and prepare. We do an initial preparation of the track and put new material in
On race weekend we have a roaming team of shovels and
places where it’s worn. We have to airlift the material in (we
any specific problems (which are always in the woods) are
shifted 80 tonnes on the day of me writing this!) and it’s then
attended to. In 2011 it was all hands on deck as the new line
shovelled by hand and used to rebuild as much as we can. We
through the woods into Big Doon was wet and a flipping
also have to whackerplate everything to get it into shape. This
nightmare with track work and injuries. Injuries are tough
is pretty full on as we have to get everything open and running
on the hill. The red trail is the worst as we normally have to
for May 3rd when the season starts.
stretcher riders off the hill with 8 rescuers. It’s easier on the
Once that’s done we start looking to the World Cup and
race track as we can use the gondola. But – if everything has
decide what changes we want to make to the track and see if
gone to plan – on race weekend I can normally have a beer!
there’s time to build them. Time is tight and we have to decide
Unless there’s a disaster our job is usually done by that point
whether it will work or not! Working on the bottom of the track
and we can relax and enjoy seeing the hard work pay off!
Brendan Fairclough's Scott Genius LT World Cup race bike
Brendan Fairclough's Scott Genius LT World Cup race bike INTERVIEW: JACOB GIBBINS / @JACOBGIBBINS So Brendan, do you want to talk us through the general build and kit of the bike? So yeah, it’s a Scott Genius LT. We’ve decided to ride it for the first two rounds of the World Cup as it’s 170mm travel, a kind of do it all bike. It’s a lot lighter and pedals a lot better than my downhill bike. So we
What about gear shifters?
thought we’d use it for the flatter tracks, the not as rough tracks at
Oh yes. We’ve just opted for a Shimano XTR front shifter to operate the
the beginning of the year. Obviously we’ll be going straight back to the
rear shock lock-out system as it’s just a little bit easier to get to obviously
downhill bike for Fort William but I felt that this would probably be the
when you’re head down sprinting. So that’s the only real change really,
best bike for me as pedalling is not my strong point and obviously with
apart from that she’s pretty stock.
these tracks being extremely pedally, I thought I’d better go for the lighter, better bike for me. So that’s what I’ve chosen. I’ve tested it quite
So you’ve obviously been riding on the bike a lot this winter trying
a lot, I feel good on it and I’m looking forward to riding it in a couple of
to get used to it. Is there anywhere that you’ve ridden it so far
where you felt the bike couldn’t quite keep up or do you think it’s quite capable?
What’s the general build of the bike? Talk us through the bike from
Yeah we’ve done some testing. We did some in San Remo in Italy and
the front to the back.
that’s kind of regarded as one of the roughest tracks in Europe, well a
Yeah it’s just got the Fox 36 fork on it and the Fox Float-X rear shock. It’s
lot of people do testing there. And the bike coped really well there. It’s
a bit more heavy duty so it doesn’t heat up as much. Then just pretty
not what we needed to do you know, it’s way far and beyond what we
stock really, what you can buy from the shop really but with heavier
needed to do. South Africa is not really that rough and we don’t really
duty tyres on it, and we’ve got the Saint derailleur and cranks. Just a
need to deal with that. But the bike coped well in San Remo so I think
bit heavier duty but it weighs under 30lbs so it’s going to be perfect for
if it can cope there it can certainly deal with South Africa and Cairns.
South Africa I hope.
We pushed it to the limit and it dealt with it perfectly. After riding there we got some settings and we just went harder and harder with more
Are you running anything that the public can’t buy or anything
compression as we didn’t need to deal with the big bumps. It’s going to
that’s on test?
be a rough ride in South Africa with how high speed it is and how we’ve
The bike that you see now is all pretty stock but we might be getting
got the bike set up but I think the rough ride is going to be the fastest so
some special bits and bobs in South Africa when Fox turn up. But as of
that’s what we’re aiming for.
now, it’s all pretty stock; you can go and buy the bike and everything on it. I’m not sure that there’s anything really on there that’s very special.
Are you going in for flat pedals, clips, dropper posts – anything like
Apart from the rider (laughs)
that? I’m really hoping to ride SPD’s there, it’s not what I normally ride but I’ve done it before and don’t see why I can’t do it again. As I say it’s got a minute of pedalling in the middle of track and from what I hear clips are 30% more efficient so hopefully that will work for me. If you could have one bike to do everything on, what would it be? It would absolutely be the Genius LT. 170mm of travel, I’m riding a World Cup on it, it’s perfect for UK downhills and then you can just lock the shock out and it’ll climb perfectly well and you can ride it on your local cross country track. I think if you live in England and you want one bike that’s absolutely the bike you need, you know you can go to France, do France on it, go to Whistler and have fun in Whistler with it. So for me that’s 100% the bike I’d choose. If I could only have one bike that would be the one.
Obviously the first two tracks this year are
But definitely in my opinion enduro has taken up the
complete cross country tracks in comparison to
downhill tracks. Why don’t they do an enduro round
what a World Cup track should be like. What are
in South Africa and Leogang as opposed to a downhill
three tracks you’d like to see back on the season
track? Why don’t we do downhill on downhill tracks
calendar next year? Ones that would suit Brendan.
and enduro on enduro tracks?
Yeah ok, ones that would suit me… I really like Maribor, that’s a really cool place to go, the track was
If you look at places like Val di Sole, that track
awesome. Champery is obviously the steepest, craziest
is just loam the whole way down and it changes
track on the circuit, always a good fan of that one.
every single day practice comes round but
Schladming, I think that’s a favourite of everyone’s you
everyone loves it - more of those and less flat
know. Anyone who rides downhill has had good fun
there, its good dirt, good little fun jumps and stuff. You
Obviously it’s just my opinion and I’m sure there’s a
know just the natural, long, rough, steep tracks are a
lot of people going the other way but in my opinion
favourite of all the top riders really. But it seems like
we have enduro to fill that void between downhill and
they’re going in the opposite direction and going to
cross country so why don’t we make enduro crazier
some bike park tracks so I guess I’m going to have to
and better for the spectators and better for the riders.
change my style of riding or just, I don’t know really.
Cross country can stay the same, downhill can stay the same and then we can have enduro to fill the void
Why do you think they’re going that way?
in the middle like I said. Keep downhill going downhill
I think they’re going more that way because it’s more
and keep cross country going cross country and
accessible for everyone to ride and if you build a
enduro can be the bit in the middle. That’s my opinion
loamy steep downhill track they don’t tend to last very
though and obviously there’s going to be people who
long and they don’t cope with weather very well. And
don’t agree with me but yeah, there you go.
I guess they’re quite dangerous for the normal guy. WIDEOPENMAG.CO.UK
JORDAN ENGLISH INTERVIEW & PHOTOS: SZYMON NIEBORAK / @DELAYEDPLEASURE
Jordan, welcome to Wideopenmag.
In 2010 I began to get a condition called
Can you introduce yourself to us,
arm pump which a lot of motocross
riders have experienced. This is when
Hi, my name’s Jordan English, I’m 17
the lactic acid in your arms builds up and
years young and I’m from Poole down in
your muscles tighten and you physically
can’t hold on to anything with any strength. As the year progressed my arm
It’s hard to be a mountain biker when
pump worsened and I was diagnosed
there are no trails and decent jumps
with a condition called compartment
where you live, and I haven’t started
syndrome which got so bad I ended up
driving yet so my riding life is full of
not looking forward to riding, so at the
travelling - on the train, in the car or
start of 2011 I quit and started mountain
cycling miles just to have fun on my bike.
biking. I began to get the love and
That’s the only reason I choose to ride
passion back I once had for motocross
freestyle - there’s no better feeling than
but for freestyle instead!
flowing through a nice set of jumps and landing a trick you have been trying for
I began riding with Blake Samson and
Ray Samson. These two were a massive influence for me, and they taught me
What and who were your influences
how to do tricks and how to perfect
to start mountain biking and why
them. Watching Blake and Ray throwing
massive flip whips and three whips made
When I was 6 years old, my Dad
me want to be better. Then in 2012 Blake
introduced me to motocross and I
hooked me up with Animal Clothing and
started off on a little PW50 racing for
we worked out a sponsorship. Now three
Ringwood Motocross Club. I started
years down the line I have four amazing
winning races and by the end of my
companies backing me all the way;
second year I was school boy champion.
Animal, Lazer helmets, a company called
I continued to race motocross for the
‘Jimmy’s Iced Coffee’ and I am also now
next 8 years winning championships, and
riding for Nookie Bikes, who are going to
ultimately having the best time of my life.
supply me with the best bikes ever!
How does having such amazing sponsors at a young age help your riding? I think of it like a CV - having Animal on there shows you’re determined and you have a passion for what you do. You don’t just get things handed to you in life, you have to work hard and I do my best at everything I try. If companies are willing to offer their help to me then the least I can do is return the favour and help them out as much as I can. I think this is what really makes some riders stand out, the ones who are willing to try and work hard and give as much help as possible. It really helps me being only 17 as well, I have my whole life ahead of me and if everything goes to plan I’ll be taking my bike everywhere I go. I still want to be doing back flips and front flips in ten years! Is it hard for young and upcoming riders to break into the scene? I watch videos from a few years back
and I can’t believe how much the sport has progressed; now you see
Prevail Skatehouse which has a foam pit and is only a ten minute ride
riders doing tricks I can’t even get my head around. There are so many
from my house, and also Buckland Rings in Lymington. It’s only a one
talented riders out there and we all want the same thing, to be on
hour train journey from my house so it’s the perfect place to take new
the top step of the podium, to have the best sponsors and to be the
tricks to dirt.
best. When you’re a young up and coming rider, you just need to be as productive as possible, everyone goes on the internet these days, if you
I guess you see yourself primarily as a dirt jumper; do you ride
want to get spotted you have to make the effort. You get out what you
other disciplines too?
I’ve only recently starting full time work so my aim is to save up for a different kind of bike, maybe a full suspension bike for a bit of downhill.
Where is your favourite place to ride and what’s your favourite
I do love riding a bmx, they’re good to get the feel of tricks on and then
take them to the big jump bike. A year ago I competed in a cross country
Holdshott Trails is ultimately my favourite place to ride; all the guys get
race called Oktoberfest. Me and Blake were team mates and I really
together there in the summer for BBQ’s, beers and massive sessions.
enjoyed it so maybe I’ll think about getting a XC bike for some evening
My training ground has to be split between two places, the first one is
riding in the sunset.
2014 Where do you get the motivation to keep on
Crankworks is the biggest contest out there.
pushing your limits?
That’s what pushes me, if you dream big you go
I don’t really know how to answer this one!
big and that’s the goal.
My motivation comes from inside me and my passion for biking, I just love to go big and land
What is your favourite trick and what do
big tricks. I get so much motivation from my
you want to learn next?
mates as well, when you see your friend land
Since I started riding freestyle I always
something it just makes you want to land the
dreamed of doing front flips. I remember when
trick you’ve been trying for ages, and when you
I tried my first one, it was straight to dirt - as
can take that trick to contests and land it in
I took off I threw myself forward and just let
front of everybody that’s even better.
go of the bike and landed straight on my face. Luckily I didn’t hurt myself but it sure made me
So what are your plans for this year?
wait until I had a foam pit to try them in.
This year I’m going to be competing in the Dirt Wars UK series, I have plans to film some edits,
The trick I want to learn next, because of my
and some big projects with a friend which is
love of front flips and being a big fan of Brett
still in planning. I’ve had a photo shoot with
Rheeder, is a front flip bar spin. I’ve tried a few
Szymon Nieborak for Animal and have talked
into a foam pit and can’t get my head around
about some more so that’s going to be amazing
them, but I’ll try and try until I get them - maybe
and I’m also hopefully filming a video with
if you’re ever at a Dirt Wars contest you might
a friend for Jimmy’s Iced Coffee! So it seems
see me try one!
like it’s going to be a great year once the good weather eventually comes! Be sure to keep
I’d like to say a big thanks to all my sponsors
checking PinkBike for all my edits and videos
who are backing me all the way and are
this year! Earning money and riding bikes - how
helping me out, also my Mum and Dad and
much better can it get?
all my mates for pushing me and everyone who’s there to back me up.
If you could choose one location to ride and a pro rider to go there with you, where and who it would be? Ah the dream question! The top of the roll in at Crankworks Whistler with Brett Rheeder. He is such a flowy rider with so much skill, and
The Venga Bus don’t stop here no more
THE VE NGA BUS DON’T ST OP HERE NO MO RE
Where I once saw a South African fan head-butt a pilled up youth across the entire width of a pub, people now politely dunk at bowls of nachos. In terms of celeb spotting, your only chance is spotting the occasional Monster cap bent quietly over a plate of pakoras in the Cafe Mango curry house. Fort William now resides at the start of the season, not the end. Over the last few years, placing a round the weekend directly after it has pretty much robbed the town of its post-race atmosphere. The pros need to pack up, ship out and stay lean - there’s no time for getting into it with the locals or throwing shot glasses blindly across the room. I had to wait until the end of season party at Leogang last year, in the Après Ski bar, to see, shall we call it ‘revelry’ like it again. People literally
RIC MCLAUGHLIN RECKONS FORT BILL
hung from rafters, drink was openly pilfered from the bar and a squad
WAS ONCE THE BEST PARTY ON THE
illegally joined the party through a toilet window.
WORLD CUP CIRCUIT. HAS THE UK’S
I hope I’m wrong. I usually am but with yet another back-to-back round
ROWDIEST MTB PARTY CLEANED UP ITS ACT?
of bouncers went into melt down when they found tens more had
scheduled after the Fort this year (Leogang, coincidentally) the relative quiet of a storm which once was may just linger a little longer. There are of course, a lot of other things that need sorting in mountain
WORDS: RIC MCLAUGHLIN / @RICMCLAUGHLIN PHOTO: JIM SMITH / @RIDEROOTS The music stops and the lights go on. “If yous lot don’t stop smashing glasses then yous are all getting chucked oot, ok?!” For around five seconds the assembled ranks of the guts of the top twenty downhillers in the world bow their heads like admonished schoolchildren. There’s a nod of ‘Right then, ok’ from resident DJ (DJ Skinbo) who, in a move almost completely at odds with the situation, jumps back into the mix with The Venga Boys hit, ‘The Venga Bus Is Coming’. From the opening chords the place promptly re-erupts - more glasses are smashed, a team manager is hoisted to head height and passed around the bar and a conga line forms to celebrate the fact. The locals look on partly in fear and partly in awareness that this could be the greatest party that has ever rolled into town. This was the International Bar at around 11pm on 9th September, after the Fort William World Cup of 2007. It was the first World Cup I’d ever covered as a journalist and I was awestruck by the fact that I was even with these people never mind drinking with them. Ever since that night, I’ve driven past the battleship grey, bunker-like pub denoted only by a red Tennents ‘T’ above the door and smiled. Seven years later though and the party is over. Where I once encountered a well-known trials rider attempting to drink a stolen bottle of tequila through his eye, there’s an empty tin of lager rattling down the street. Go into either the Grog and Gruel or the Ben Nevis on any night of the weekend and you’ll see the usual clumps of waterproof jacket and flat brimmed cap combos of guys all now nursing their pints quietly.
biking but someone really needs to get a petition going to make Fort William the last round on the calendar again, then book DJ Skinbo and get the shots in.
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PRODUCT REVIEW / Saracen ariel 152
S AR ACE N
ARIE L 152 TESTED BY: PETE SCULLION / @PETE_SCULLION
A month or so has now passed since I took possession of the 152
matching the Fox 34 to the near perfect pairing of the Fox Float-X
(now christened Lady Ariel!) and what a month it’s been. From day
shock. A quick stop to see Phil at In Gear UK and the bike started to
one speed was easy to come by and after some initial fettlings I could
really let her fly.
Churning up steep, loose climbs at Aberfoyle while desperately trying
Straight off I opted to replace the standard spec 2.4” Maxxis Ardents
to keep Stu Thomson in sight seemed almost comical. Regardless
for the tried and tested Continental Trail King 2.2 Protection. Black
of whether I was seated or not, holding a smooth cadence, or
Chili naturally. The only hindrance to descending speed really was
mashing it out of the saddle, I could not get the rear tyre to relinquish
PHOTOS: ANDY MCCANDLISH
Saracen ariel 152 / PRODUCT REVIEW
traction. With the CTD adjusters on both fork and shock fettled to my
piggyback means the shock was cool and ready for more.
preferences, the suspension was only helping me skyward. A decent
Living with the bike has been a joy as well. We all know that bikes these
array of gears offered by the wide-range cassette (11-36) and 32T single
days are brilliant, but sometimes something in the spec list is a wee bit
ring also helps winch you up the steepest of inclines, while the sensible
cheaper to meet the price point. From experience this is usually finishing
head and seat angles mean the front stays glued.
kit, wheels or the front-mech and cassette. The only real issue I’ve had
It was the way the Ariel handled the descent once at the top that really
is getting the internally routed KS Lev Integra dropper-post to the right
impressed me though. Everybody rides to the top because there’s a
height without putting too much slack in the cable where it sits inside
descent to follow, nobody can deny that. This trail was narrow, laced
the seat tube. After a quick chat with Saracen, it was reassuring to hear
with chattering rocks and soaking wet to the point of having nearly no
that this will be resolved for the coming season’s bikes. The front end
grip. Rarely have I ridden a bike that picked up speed through constant
does feel fairly high out of the box, but the trade-off here is that you
small hits. The only other bike that offered that experience for me was
get an uncut steerer. If you plan to change the forks out, this is very
a DH bike that is no longer in production. But this is not a DH bike.
good news. Brakes that run mineral oil (in this case Shimano Deore with
Steaming into sharp, flat and off-camber turns with the aforementioned
180/160 rotos) don’t work as well as DOT when it’s cold and wet, but
speed, I was now confident enough despite the conditions to really
for any big mountain forays, they will manage the heat so much better.
throw the bike into the trail. With my weight forward on some off-
Swings and roundabouts.
camber slime, I was fully expecting to be thrown out the front door, but
This is a bike that is solid, reliable and high performance. The limit of its
it never came. No surprises, just a rear wheel that dutifully followed
performance has only yet to be found by the limitations of the organic
the front. Impressive as well was the soaking wet Float X shock. Even
bit that sits atop it (that’s me). Some solid training and more hours out
in foul conditions, brakes and shock usually dry out due to heat, but
on Lady Ariel will get me ever closer but I doubt I’ll be able to fluster her.
the low(ish) leverage ratio and the large oil volume afforded by the
Oh, she’s quite the looker as well I’d say!
PRODUCT REVIEW / vitus escarpe
Vitus have come a long way since their beautiful aluminium lugged,
V IT US
ESCARPE TESTED BY: OSCAR NEWTON-MASON
PHOTOS: JACOB GIBBINS / @JACOBGIBBINS
carbon tubed road frames of yesteryear. Whilst the Escarpe bears the same name as these classic beauties it’s an entirely different beast modern angles, lairy colours and an affordable price tag with sights set on dirt rather than tarmac. I’ve ridden some awesome trails on the Escarpe and it has put a smile on my face through every wheel rotation. It’s best suited to fast, fun, flowy singletrack descents. The geometry is dependable so trying lots of cheeky gaps and inside lines feels fun and easy. It’s a tough choice where to tear the legs off the bike or just cruise and enjoy the trail! Modern geometry is a big factor in how well the Escarpe rides. The long top-tube complements a short stem and wide bar set up. The frame, shod with 650b wheels feel really stable at high speeds whilst still being easy to chuck around. The wheel base and size works very well in the rough rocky bits whilst remaining nimble, feeling like there was more like 160mm than 140mm travel. The rear suspension seems to give a good compromise between pedalling efficiency and sensitivity. The four bar system thankfully doesn’t wallow mid-way through the travel as you might see elsewhere and gives a consistent, progressive feel. The aluminium frame, combined with a bolt through rear 142x12mm axle feels fairly stiff in landing and cornering. The RockShox Sektor Gold RL fork (with tapered
vitus escarpe / PRODUCT REVIEW
£1849.99 steerer and 15mm bolt through) is also surprisingly stiff whilst still
be weight, out of the box it’s pretty light but add a dropper post and a
remaining lightweight. On the trails it offered good, solid performance
beefier set of tyres and it’s quickly not the 30lb bike you’ve started with.
and was plush enough. Same for the Rock Shox Monarch RT shock - it’s
It’s no fatty - but it’s definitely not the lightest bike out there. I guess the
not the poshest shock but it does the job well enough and offers 3
looks could be a bit sleeker too when competing against what else is on
positions for pedalling, descending and climbing.
the market - but that’s up to you to decide.
At a measly £1849.99 the spec of the Vitus is great. You can’t complain
All in all though everything I’ve said against this bike is a matter of cost.
with Shimano SLX shifters, XT front and clutch rear derailleurs combined
If you want the fanciest looking bike in the world you’ll pay more for a
with an FSA V-drive chain, all of which give a nice smooth silent shift. SLX
frame than you will for a complete Vitus. That alone feels like enough to
brakes on 180mm rotors are excellent and have work flawlessly since
settle any argument against the Escarpe. Buy it and you’ll be getting a lot
day one. The wheels are light meaning the bike accelerates well and
of quality components and a great ride to match.
feels light on the climbs. I didn’t have any issues but I would probably want to run a slightly beefier set up if I was keeping the bike any longer. What didn’t I like about the bike? The attention to detail could be better, particularly given Vitus’ heritage and seeing burrs left on bolt holes let the bike down a bit. Not a huge issue though. The main one would
PRODUCT REVIEW / Identiti Mogul
L U G O M
TESTED BY: JACOB GIBBINS £899.99 FRAME ONLY
I have had the Identiti Mogul for a few months now, ridden it in pretty
the bike. The head angle is a sensible 64degrees and the Vivid shock is
much all kinds of terrain that the UK has to offer and so far I can’t think
excellent but the shortness of the bike does hold it back. I’m sure if I
of any times it has let me down. It’s a bike that has been built for the UK
had spent some time fiddling with setup I could have made it ride like a
and for riders that might not have mega-bucks to spend. At £900 for the
dream but I would rather just pull the bike right out of the box and get
frame with a Vivid RC2 shock it certainly looks like a good deal.
into the start gate.
The bike we had to test didn’t have a standard out of the box build kit
That said, the Mogul never made any promises of being the next world
on it so I won’t dwell on the parts but it did have a really good build with
cup winning bike. It’s solid, it doesn’t feel like it will fall apart after 6
Halo wheels, Boxxer forks, Hope brakes etc and I didn’t want to change
months of solid use and it’s fun to ride. The price with a Vivid shock is
anything on the bike. That’s the same kind of build kit that 90% of people
excellent and if the shape of the bike works for your style and your trails
would put on this frame and it all just worked.
then you could well have a blast on it.
I spent a few days up at Triscombe riding the Mogul and one thing that became clear pretty quickly is how much the bike loves being in the air. With its short back end (443.2mm) and fairly short wheelbase (1138.4mm) it rides a lot like a shorter travel bike but with the extra comfort the travel of a DH bike gives it. To give you some idea of what that means, the Nukeproof over the page has an almost 60mm longer wheel base than the Identiti. It felt nimble and easy to throw about on tight tracks. I rode it at a spot on the outskirts of Bristol with lots of jumps, berms and mellow tracks and it was great. It felt like a dirt jump bike with downhill bike travel. Set it up firm and send it off some drops and it will be in its element. This is where I see this bike rather than as a downhill racer, or at least not if you plan on riding steep or super rough tracks, but for places like Woburn (rest in peace!) or more bike park inspired tracks it would be great. When the tracks got a bit faster or steeper the Mogul did start to feel a bit under pressure and you really noticed the shorter wheel base of
nukeproof scalp / PRODUCT REVIEW
p l a sc
£1299.00 FRAME ONLY
As you probably know, the Scalp isn’t a new bike. Nukeproof launched
feels stable at speed when riding big, rough, fast tracks and still nimble
it a couple of years back as their World Cup race bike and (with the
enough to weave through the trees on tight, Welsh hill-sides. The
help of the Chain Reaction Cycles team) tested and refined it into a
Scalp’s 209mm of travel has swallowed up some huge cases and turned
very successful bike. When Nukeproof introduced the all new Pulse DH
potentially run-ending wobblers good. The RockShox Kage isn’t the
bike they decided to keep the Scalp in the line-up and sell it as a more
most high tech shock out there but it’s easy to set up and should do you
affordable, wallet friendly option. The Scalp as you see it now is the
for everything unless you’re racing hard and want lots of fine tuning.
exact same bike that the CRC team raced throughout the World Cups,
It is the RC model though so you do get rebound and compression
just with a more every-day list of components, most notably RockShox’s
adjustment, rather than just the basic rebound found on the Kage R.
Kage rear shock instead of the Cane Creek that it used to come with.
Reliability is pretty important with downhill bikes and I haven’t had to do
I’ve had the Scalp for a good few months now and ridden it all over the
anything to the Scalp to keep it running other than pump the tyres up
UK and in Malaga for our annual escape to the winter sun. I’ve taken
and lube the chain. I had a chat to Team Wideopenmag’s Rich Thomas
it down all kinds of terrain from tight, muddy and rooty to fast, long,
who raced a Scalp for 3 years at British Nationals and World Cups and
rough and loose. I’m no Sam Hill but I can hurtle down a track quick
he told me.
enough to keep up and not once has this bike felt out of its depth. It
“The Scalp is a really low maintenance bike – the main thing to remember is just to keep on top of greasing the main linkage bearings. Once you get the hang of stripping the linkage down that’s a thirty minute job that you can do at home with basic tools. You probably only need to do that a couple of times a year and the bike will run great. Other than that, it was an easy bike to maintain and race”. I don’t really have anything negative to say about the Scalp. It’s not the lightest bike ever but then it’s a downhill bike isn’t it? It’s solid, the angles feel great and it’s never let me down. I changed the stem for a lower-rise one and I swapped out the Avid brakes for something more powerful. Other than that I rode it hard, had a blast and didn’t have to spend any time keeping it maintained. Can’t get better than that can you? The full bike as you see it here will cost you £2499 which feels like great value to me.
PRODUCT REVIEW / flare lunar jersey / hope retainer ring
FLARE LUNAR JERSEY Cash money: £49.99
This jersey is the product of a new company started by Hannah Myers to redress the balance and get more stylish, functional women’s mountain bike apparel into the market. Starting with jerseys and vests, the range now includes shorts, tees, hoodies and some men’s offerings too. Hannah wants Flare to be collaborative and cater for women and men which is an approach I admire. So the jersey…mine was XS, approximately UK 8 and was pretty true to size. I did find the arms were quite tight but actually found this to be a plus - when I rolled them up on hot days, they stayed up for the duration of the ride. I did love the bright colours and print which takes inspiration from Art Deco and Japanese fans (very cool!). One downside, and probably the only one, is that the fabric is quite delicate. I noticed wear marks from my pack hip-belt after just a couple of hours riding and a couple of pulls in the fabric too. But that said, it is designed as a lightweight jersey and it is ideal for warmer days when you don’t need an extra layer but still want your arms covered. The Word: Super colourful, lightweight and fun to wear – just watch the durability of the fabric. Tested by: Fiona
HOPE RETAINER RING Cash money: £45.00
This is Hope’s take on the narrow/wide trend pouring through 10 speed drivetrains at the moment. The concept is simple - alternating width teeth on the ring engage with the similar sized gaps in the chain to limit it falling off. I’ve got the 30t version here which is frankly mad - with a 40t ring at the back it makes going up hills crazy easy. In practice this works brilliantly, with a clutch mech at the back to increase chain tension and limit slap the chain hasn’t fallen off once. Despite deliberately trying to bounce it off, it’s hung on dearly. I’d probably be tempted to run a minimal top guide ‘just in case’ but so far it hasn’t been needed. The Word: If you’ve got a clutch mech this is the next sensible upgrade - bin that chain device and save some grams! Tested by: Jim
one-up components 40t sprocket / deuter compact air exp 8 sl / PRODUCT REVIEW
ONE-UP COMPONENTS 40T SPROCKET Cash money: $90.00
There are so many of these on the market now but the idea is simple, nudge a 17t out of your 11-36 cassette and put a 40t at the top. Single front ring and away you go. With the 40t setup was very straightforward and I’ve had no issues since. One-Up charge $90 for a 40t and $100 for a 42t. Personally I’d go for the 40t - much less hassle to fit (Saint and Zee mechs don’t like 42t) and if you need more range, build up those legs!! The Word: A solid, dependable sprocket to give you more range which will work with any 10 speed mech. Tested by: Jim
DEUTER COMPACT AIR EXP 8 SL Cash money: £80.00
The Compact Air EXP 8 SL is part of Deuter’s quite impressive range of bike packs. The SL denotes women’s specific, but to be honest, this really just means it has a slightly shorter back length and narrower shoulder straps – it would be equally suited for a shorter guy. I’ve been testing the 8 litre version and it really comes well equipped for a long day out on the trails: mesh back system, hip belt pockets, internal tool pocket, side compression straps (which you could stash pads in), an expansion pocket to give another 2l of space (you could easily get a light rain jacket, food, tools, map etc in this), rain cover and a pretty nifty mesh helmet carry which tucks away when you don’t need it. Out riding, the pack was very comfy and the wide hip belt makes it really stable. The mesh back system also helps you getting too sweaty on hot days. My only niggle was the hydration sleeve is quite small and the hole for the hose is a bit fiddly – my Osprey 3 litre bladder was almost too big. Overall though, it’s a very useful bag for longer days on the trail. The Word: Jam packed full of features, this pack is tough, durable and very comfortable to wear on longer rides. Tested by: Fiona
PRODUCT REVIEW / helmet mini test
HELMET MINI TEST We’ve rounded up a bunch of enduro style helmets to test - they’ve all got more coverage at the back and sides of the head than a traditional XC lid and are built to protect rather than offer the ultimate in aerodynamic performance. Over the last few months we’ve put them through the wringer to see what gives.
TROY LEE DESIGNS A1
Cash money: £110
Cash money: £129.99
Bell say that the Super takes its styling cues from the classic Custom
Does this need any introduction? I’ve loved Troy Lee styling since I first
500 motorbike lid and to an extent I can see what they’re on about - it
got into MTB and the A1 is no different. Admittedly it’s taken them a
certainly looks unique. Personally I felt the helmet was a bit too bulky
while to get into the all mountain helmet game but they’ve established
on my head but that may be the extra protection at the temples. It is
themselves well with this one. The looks are classic TLD - take your pick
however still a very comfortable helmet, the Speed Dial system tunes
from a whole range of colours from matte black to gold flake sparkles.
the fit nicely and it doesn’t shift around while riding.
Neat little touches like the anodised aluminium screws to secure the
With 25 vents it has more than enough air movement and the neat
visor really lend a quality feel.
rubber damped GoPro/light mount that fits into the centre vent has
The lid itself has been well thought out - 16 decent size vents draw air
been the standout feature for me, making life a lot easier than trying
over your head, in particular I’ve noticed the two either side of your
to velcro things onto weirdly shaped areas. The visor tilts up, allowing
forehead really cool your brow - aided by cut-outs in the visor.
you to store your goggles out of the way on climbs, a good or bad thing
Inside the retention system does a good job of keeping it stable on
depending on how you feel about goggles and open face lids!
your head and the low profile pads are comfortable enough without
The Word: one of the more unique designs out there, if you run a helmet
becoming sponges for sweat. Whilst it probably doesn’t come down
cam or lights regularly take a serious look at this lid.
the head quite as much as the Bell, it still lends you that secure feeling
Tested by: Jim
which is all important when it comes to protecting the grey matter. The Word: Classic Troy Lee styling and comfortable feel make this lid a
GIRO XARA Cash money: £119.99
stand out on the trails. Tested by: Jim
Trying to find a helmet that wasn’t covered in pink flowers, butterflies or just plain black has been a nightmare. So when the Xara from Giro
arrived in matte white with a subtle silver pattern I was sold and little
Cash money: £129.99
did I know it also had a hot pink lining. Result - one happy lady!
The Parabellum is a distinctive looking helmet, the bright blue version
We all know there’s no real difference between men’s and ladies
we’ve had on test has been the marmite of this test. The big visor tilts
helmets, it’s all in the size and the colour. The Xara is a breath of fresh
back to allow goggles to sit underneath but in reality isn’t actually that
air - feminine, light and subtly stylish so those of us that don’t want to
big when it comes to blocking the sun out - it just starts further back
look like a boy on the trails no longer have to.
up the helmet and could do with being a little longer. MET have been
Enough of the pretty though, let’s get down to the details. 17 vents
in the helmet game for years and this shows in all the little touches -
kept me cool without a sweaty head even on the warmest day and the
the optional GoPro/light mount fits nicely in the centre vent without
RocLoc5 fit system is easily adjustable and very comfortable. It feels
affecting cooling too much.
light on the head and after a while I just don’t notice it. The only issue
A look at the front profile of the helmet shows some huge vents all
I’ve had is that the chin strap seems to sit strangely so it feels like it’s
directed to capture the airflow and channel it right at your scalp, it’s
twisted, even though it’s not. Not a problem once I’m out, just when I
pretty clear that MET are based in nice warm Italy. The gel padding at
first get it on.
the front directs sweat away from running down your face which is
The Word: Overall I was very impressed and even though it’s not the
cheapest out there it’s well worth the money and I would totally recommend
The Word: If you like the styling you’re onto a winner here, comfortable and
to a friend.
Tested by: ‘Lady’ Kat Vanes
Tested by: Ian
helmet mini test / PRODUCT REVIEW
THE AFTERMATH It’s very clear to see after doing this test that there is little to separate
The winner? I loved the Super for the ease of mounting a light to the
helmets these days apart from that crucial styling. All the lids we’ve
top and both Giro and MET have put a lot of thought into their design
tested have been a similar price and had no major drawbacks, some
and come out with sleek looking lids. But it’s tough to compete with the
are better for integrating with helmet cams and lights but others focus
timeless Troy Lee moto styling and for that, the A1 gets my vote.
on getting the basics right. All the retention systems have been largely similar and offered a comfortable fit for riding - I’m very glad to see
But what do you think?
the old system of swapping different thickness pads has been entirely abandoned.
PRODUCT REVIEW / Cycleops Turbo Trainer / Endura Hummvee Convertible & shorts
CYCLEOPS FLUID 2 TURBO TRAINER Cash money: £284.00
Turbo trainers are always a topic for heated debate - I’ve tried rollers but just couldn’t get on with them. And the only time I’ll use a turbo is when it’s simply too wet, miserable or icy outside to tempt me into the elements for a spin around the block. Using fluid resistance makes this turbo very quiet, however it comes at the price of not being able to adjust the resistance - except for changing gears on your bike itself. The Fluid2 is pitched more at steady speeds and whilst you can get out of the saddle and pedal, it just doesn’t seem right on this, or on any other exercise bike in my mind. It’s built very solidly and looks set to last longer than the bike perched on. A great training companion if you can’t really be bothered getting kitted up to go into the great wide open. The Word:If you’re after a turbo trainer to last many years this is the one - perfect for training at home or warming up at the races Tested by: Jim
ENDURA HUMMVEE CONVERTIBLE Cash money: £85.00
I like a gilet, for riding it makes a lot of sense - keep your core warm but vent out the heat where it’s not needed. But sometimes the British weather takes hold and you start feeling the chill, so you now need two jackets. Or not. This jacket has sleeves which zip off at the front and have poppers at the back to transform it into a full on waterproof. I was a bit dubious that the gaps that aren’t covered by the zips would let the cold and rain in but somehow they don’t - even on the wettest most miserable commute you can imagine. For £85 quid, Endura are right on the money here. The Word: The best of both worlds - an ideal jacket and gilet for spring, summer and autumn. Great price too. Tested by: Jim
ENDURA HUMMVEE SHORTS Cash money: £50.00
Some bike shorts come up for crazy prices sometimes and I’d almost expect them to ride themselves home. These Endura efforts are £50 and whilst not the lightest shorts have shrugged off crashes onto slate without so much as a tear. I’ll admit - I took the liner out straight away and never wore it. I hate the things, but the shorts are designed to be worn both with and without. Plenty of zipped pockets and a couple of side vents to keep you cool - a great pair of shorts for those not keen on the moto/disco pyjama style. The Word: If you don’t want the in-your-face factory look these shorts might be just what you’re after. Tested by: Jim
710ml Camelbak Podium bottle / 800ml hopetech bottle / PRODUCT REVIEW
BRING A BOTTLE
710ML CAMELBAK PODIUM BOTTLE The Podium is dripping with features whilst still leaving you change out of £20 to buy a couple of beers after your ride. It has a soft and self-sealing bite value that makes drinking on the trail a pleasure and avoids annoying drips. There’s also a large mouth for easy filling and to help with packing ice inside, a twist-lock on the valve to double-secure it against leaking in your kit bag. Personally, that’s a really useful piece-of-mind feature as I’ll often ride with it in my bag with my camera kit. It’s also made out of fancy “Tru-taste” material meaning it doesn’t taste plasticy. Sure, the Podium is more expensive than most bottles but at only £8.99 it doesn’t break the bank. If there was a competition for water bottles, the Podium would take the top step.
800ML HOPETECH BOTTLE There’s nothing at all high-tech about the Hope Tech - it’s just massive and super cheap, holding enough water for rides up to a couple of hours. The valve and bottle top are standard stuff and sensibly Hope have kept it transparent so you can keep track of what you’ve got left. Just be aware of the size of the bottle - it’s pretty massive so might not fit inside all frames. Smaller versions are available if you need them though.
TIPS TO AVOID THE SQUITS: Just like that old bottle of Buxton on your dashboard or those puddles on the trail, the trusty mountain bike bottle needs to be treated with respect. We’re not saying your bottle is a ticking time-bomb of leptospirosis but it is a magnet for grot if you don’t look after it. Give your water bottle a proper clean as soon as you get home after every ride. Camelbak and others sell dedicated cleaning kits but a thorough wash out whilst you do the dishes and a proper dry should be fine. Be aware of muck that sprays off the trail on to your bottle - it’s usually fine but a cordial of water and sheep shit isn’t the ideal supplement for an athlete. And don’t forget, the best water bottle is a fairly new one that has only had water or light squash in it. Keep a stock of a few of them, keep them fresh and change them regularly.
GRANITE CHIEF 2 DT 27,5" DT custom-made model 2.478,49 £
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GENIUS LT 700
THE SCOTT GENIUS LT 700 TUNED IS THE ULTIMATE ENDURO MACHINE. THE TUNED VERSION BOASTS A SUPER LIGHT HMX CARBON FIBER FRAME. WITH A CUSTOM FOX NUDE SHOCK WITH BOOST VALVE, A CUSTOM 170MM FOX 34 FORK, OUR PATENTED TWINLOC TECHNOLOGY, IN COMBINATION WITH TRACTION CONTROL, ALLOWING FOR THREE WIDEOPENMAG.CO.UK TRAVEL/GEOMETRY SETTINGS AND SRAM XX1, THIS BIKE IS READY TO TAME ALL MOUNTAINS.
710ml Camelbak Podium bottle / 800ml hopetech bottle