Meet WMB Test Team
Our combined expert experience amounts to over 150 years of riding, testing and writing about mountain bikes and gear, with thousands of bikes, components and trails ridden.
The result is that we are recognised as the very best at slicing through the marketing hype and guiding you through the often baffling maze of bike and product types to find exactly the right ones for you and how you ride, whatever your budget.
Steve Worland, Technical Director
Steve is long term proof that you can get a buzz from any bike at any time, provided your attitude is right. He’s almost evangelical in his passion for pedal power and is equally accepting of absolute beginners and the most potent forms of bike snobbery. You’re just as likely to see him flowing his way through the local singletrack on a £300 starter bike, a rigid forked singlespeed, a cyclo-cross bike or a £5000 superbike. He can succinctly explain the pros and cons of each while in the same breath explaining why the bike only ever plays a supporting part of the joy of riding.
Years Riding – 45 Years Testing – 25
Matt Skinner, Editor
Matt places the blame of his infatuation with bikes firmly and squarely on the shoulders of his brother, from whom he was first infected with the biking bug, and bought his first proper mountain bike from – a 1989 Kona Cindercone. 17 years on and Matt’s not lost the love for all things two-wheeled; if anything, it’s got worse with age. Becoming a bike journo for the simple reason that he couldn’t make his mind up as to what subject to specialise in after studying English and Sport Science at Loughborough, he has yet to regret his indecision. More concerned about finding good value, reliable kit than the latest bike porn, his ‘mechanically challenged’ mindset is, he says, an essential tool in his analytical arsenal in order to eke out the finest fit and forget kit from the high-maintenance prima donnas.
Years Riding – 17 Years Testing – 7
Guy Kesteven, Bike Test Editor
Guy’s early years of rough stuff riding over the North York Moors transferred into ‘proper’ mountain biking when a battered Peugeot ATB fished out of Exeter shipping canal led him onto Dartmoor, a job at the local bike shop and a life of mud and mechanical mangling.
Addicted to excessive exercise, fanatical about ferreting data and autistically analytical about every aspect of riding, he’s found his perfect therapy in thrashing bikes of any price or type to their limit on a daily basis. More punk now than when he had a pink mohican, whether it’s a global mega brand bike or a garden shed light, as long as it makes your riding better he’ll rate it, and if it doesn’t he’ll slate it.
Years riding off road: 26 Years testing – 14
Justin Loretz, Product Editor
In the spring of 1987 Justin squeezed past two mud spattered mountain bikers – the first he’d ever seen in the doorway of Avon Valley Cyclery. He knew his road bike days were over, by August he was on fat tyres. More than 20 years later, 19 of them testing
and writing for MBUK and WMB mags he’s still like a kid at Christmas when he’s got the chance to ride his mountain bike for a few hours.
He’s raced local, national, international cross-country events including solo 24-hour, and even a couple of World Cup downhills in his time, so he knows what it’s like to suffer, and importantly what bits genuinely help make things easier and which are just hype.
Ours is an amazing sport, one of self discovery, one full of genuinely nice, grounded people (it’s hard to accept pain like a rider has to and be a big head). “If,” as he says, “I can help you have a better mountain bike ride by pointing you in the direction of some good kit, then my job is done.”
Years riding MTB’s – 23 Years testing –19
Jenn Hopkins, Tester and Ride Guide guru
Jenn has been riding bikes for as long as she can remember and the transition from her first battered blue and yellow, rigid-tyred toy to the current faves has been mostly seamless, from her point of view anyway. Along the way she’s dabbled in most forms of bike-related play, up to and including racing a singlespeed tandem which ranks very highly on the list of stupidest ideas of all time.
She likes white socks, rocks, very very long rides, autumn, beech trees and Battenberg cake; she will also quite happily spend an entire day trying to convince you that close-spaced, small block tread patterns on a high volume, non-tubeless carcass are the correct sort of tyre for every occasion.
Years riding – 20+ Years testing - 5ish?!
Seb Rogers, Tester and Photographer
Seb says his love affair with bikes and riding all began thanks to a break-up with an ex at uni. Rather than spend his time moping down the union bar, Seb skipped lectures to rack up huge miles on the South Downs and then drink his local bike shop’s tea. He’s never looked back.
A perfectionist by nature, Seb’s often to be heard these days complaining that he’s not as fast as he used to be. Then again – as many people have pointed out – the huge camera bag he insists on taking on most rides could have something to do with that.
Years riding – 20 Years testing – 14
Mike Davis, Bike and Product Tester
Mike discovered mountain bikes in his teens, at which time he was handily living on the edge of the Peak District. Long, steep and rocky rides quickly became the norm and even now he struggles to think of anything less than a full day out as a “proper ride”. University years spent riding bikes and exploring the then-fledgling internet led, largely accidentally, into a career that’s seen him work on numerous mags and websites.
Now plying a freelance trade, Mike’s perfectionist tendencies mean that no product deficiency slips by. Never happier than when out on a bike, he’s inspired by the new things that are always just around the corner, be they trails, events, skills, bikes or gear.
Years riding – 20 Testing since – 1994
Dan Milner, Photographer & Tester
There’s not many places left in the world that Dan hasn’t ridden – or shot – bikes, and that’s for a reason. Dan got stuck into his love affair with the mountain bike back in the mid ’80s and the flame of passion hasn’t dwindled yet, leading him to seek bike-orientated adventures further and further afield to capture the aesthetic beauty of singletrack riding.
Twenty years of mountain bike design evolution has merely mirrored Dan’s own rising appreciation of the evolving possibilities today’s mountain bikes offer and as a Cristalp and Transalp marathon veteran he’s ready to admit that his once hardened XC-style has a definite all-mountain twang to it nowadays.
Based in the French Alps for over a decade now, Dan has a challenging testing ground for any bike or component right on his doorstep.
Years riding - 35 (MTB 25) Years Testing - 6
Owen Coutts, Tester
Owen is the latest recruit, testing, riding for photoshoots, acting as voice activated light stand and being in charge of the kettle, are top of his current duty list. Having spent his youth trying and failing to mimic his hero Hans “No Way” Rey, he now realizes that the longer the ride the more fun it can be, it’s also more fun to fix pinch flats with a great view rather than in the back garden.
He’s played with all sorts of bikes from rigid singlespeeds to big bouncy freeride steeds even racing Downhill in the frozen North of Finland. He’s obsessive about bikes, reading about them when eating and dreaming about them when sleeping.
Years riding off road – 16 Years testing – just the one.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 at 3:49 pm and is filed under Buyers Guides, Knowledge, What Mountain Bike. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.