TOO RICH FOR MY BLOOD
I’ve had enough of your $8000 bike reviews. I’m apparently not your target audience. I’m out.
Tim Marsh Via e-mail
We struggle to wrangle lower-priced bikes from the bike companies; they often refuse to send them to us. It seems they’ve figured out that the top-end “halo” bike will not get a bad review other than us saying, “It’s too expensive.” We’re as frustrated as you are with this, and it’s something we wrestle with every month. If there are any bike-industry types reading this, hopefully they will get a clue that very few people can spend more on a bike than they do on their car.
ROOM FOR E-BIKES TOO
I grew up riding BMX in the ’70s and ’80s, graduated to motocross and then started mountain biking in the late ’80s.
I have been riding ever since. I recently bought an e-bike (Haibike AllMtn 8.0), and I am a full convert to the e-bike trend. I cannot believe how much fun it is. I thought I would write an article talking about the switch and try to address the resistance to the e-bike movement amongst U.S. riders—or at least explain why I love it so much. I have no financial interest in e-bikes. I am not associated with any biking manufacturer. I am just a regular dude who loves mountain biking.
Dustin K. Finer
Los Angeles, California
LETTER FROM ONE OF THE OG RIDERS
I have had the privilege of seeing mountain biking grow over nearly four decades—from a few free spirits on repurposed old bikes to the amazing worldwide sport it is today. I was already an adult with no BMX background when mountain biking arose. I now live in a world where there are adults who started with BMX as soon as they could ride, then moved into full-suspension mountain bikes and had parents willing to put such bikes under them. They have taken the sport further than any of my generation could have imagined.
A long time ago, my friends and I felt that the downhill time trial was the fairest form of DH competition, but we didn’t realize right away that losing a DH race is almost as much fun as winning it. There was no “podium” for us, and we didn’t see the winner’s photo in a magazine. What each of us wanted was an empty trail in front of us and no other riders to complicate the mission. Downhill gives you that, and you do with it what you can. Is there any other sport that keeps the adrenaline flowing as long as a DH race does?
Over the years the equipment and skills have evolved, and the racecourses have evolved along with them. Even though I am one of the original DH racers on the planet, and even though I am now mounted on the finest equipment my sponsors can supply me with, my skill set is no longer sufficient to ride a modern DH course top to bottom. Forget racing it; I couldn’t even complete it.
What’s not to love about that? Charlie Kelly
Somewhere on the trails in NorCal
“TACO TONY” SPEAKS HIS MIND
I was throwing some stuff away and came across some old MBAs from the ’90s. It’s pretty fun walking down memory lane to the glory days of mountain biking. Back then, we could ride all the trails because they hadn’t banned us yet. Guess I should apologize. My brother and I probably helped with the banning. We were kids having fun. Sorry.
Back to the mag; I keep seeing you crying that the “manufacturers won’t send us entry-level bikes.” So, go get some.
Do they have to send them for you to do a test? Seems to me you guys need to go maverick a little bit, and if that angers some manufacturers and they don’t send you the $10K bikes—well, are you trying to write a good magazine or get free stuff? Also, I miss the product shootouts. Back in the day, I think you were a little more willing to pit RockShox against Manitou, winner takes all. Time to step up, boys.
Taco Tony Via e-mail
We really wish we had the budget to take you up on your suggestion, but we have a tiny budget with a small staff that lives mainly off of Del Taco bean-and- cheese burritos and the free samples of energy bars and gels that are sent to us. (That’s not an exaggeration.) It’s not about us trying to score freebies. We’re truly trying to find the mix of bikes that matches what our readers want to learn about. Fortunately, several of the companies out there listened to our complaints, and we can expect more affordable bikes in the months to come.
As for the shootouts, we agree with you; those are awesome articles. The only problem is that 20 years ago there were actually clear winners and losers. Now everybody seems to be making really solid products. If we put them in a shootout, we’d almost always have to declare a near tie, and that doesn’t do much to inform you about what you should be buying. Instead, we explain what the product excels at and what could be improved. Not to say we won’t be doing shootouts in the future— we will—but they’re certainly much harder to put together these days.
Thanks for being a loyal reader, and we won’t tell anybody about your earlier childhood escapades.
“Trailgrams” tip of the month:
Don’t start a backyard pump-track project without realizing how much work it is. We can’t believe the number of riders who don’t realize it requires a ton of planning, design and labor to install—and even more upkeep when it’s finished. If you’re not willing to plan the project out, you’ll more than likely end up with a torn-up backyard instead of a sweet track.
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THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.