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Back to the Old Skool…

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 16/02/2011 13:43pm

When MBUK first started back in 1988, the scene was a little different to it is now…

Rooting through a pile of my back issues the other day, I found a few cool things worth mentioning. Maybe this can be a nice little regular spot. There’s a really interesting history on the MTB scene, and we’ve been lucky enough to see it unfold in front of us.

MBUK- Sep 1990

That’s MBUK Tech Director Steve Worland on the cover there- Steve’s been testing bikes since the very beginning and has ridden more bikes than most people have ever seen…

Herbold- H-Ball. Looking Moto with a tiller instead of a stem.

And check that ‘All that Jez’ coverline, referring to stunt rider Jez Avery. Who’s still about now!

Nick Craig- November 1992.

Known then as Nicky Craig.

Riding for Peugeot, and in a DH race- no kneepads, just lycra shots, XC helmet, Goggles and Full Dainese Armour!

The Peugeot DH bike was a renamed Fox bike, with a steel/alloy mixed material frame.

MTB pro- September 1994.

Recognise the cover star on MBUK’s old sister magazine? It’s non other than ex-Trials superstar Martin Hawyes, who now works for Fisher Outdoor, in particular with Norco bikes.

Hawziee is still an awesome rider, and we’ve been riding with him in some really cool places around the world.

And check out the cover line- Bikes do LESS damage that feet. I might resurrect this and get a little militant to the red sockers out there…

MTB Pro Feb 1995.

MBUK’s sister magazine, with Brant Richards on the front cover. Brant used to be a Dep Ed/Tech Ed on MBUK many moons ago, is the creator of On One bikes and is now working under the Shedfire guise on the Ragley brand. Great guy, incredibly enthusiastic and talks rather fast…

John Tomac.

He was always ahead of the times. Check out his custom painted Bell helmet, with Troy Lee peak, as painted by Troy Lee Designs.

The Tomes always looked fresher than fresh, and had the skills to pay the bills. Be it stringing the field out on a punishing climb, or making them look like novices on the downhills.

John Tomac is still an incredible rider, and with close friend Joel Smith (son of the infamous Motocross Racer Malcolm Smith), has an incredible range of bikes on the market.

Tomac- way ahead of his time.

Martyn Ashton and Martin Hawyes may have been two of the coolest MTB Trials riders around- and Martyn Ashton still is, but they weren’t always super cool!

In their early days as young whipper snappers they brought experience from Moto Trials and 20in trials bikes on to bigger 26in wheeled bikes- and kicked off a huge craze. Without them, it may not have happened- and certainly not to the level it has.

Luckily, Martyn Ashton has matured in to a fine looking fellow. Well, someone in our office certainly thinks so…

Martin however, well, the years have been… shall we say kind?

Messers Ashton and Hawziee. A long time ago.

Little Deb Murrell- even smaller than our man Rob Weaver- on her radical little Formula 1 carbon fibre bike, with her British made Quasar leading linkage fork, which looked staggeringly similar to the Girvin Vector fork that Brant is running on the MTB Pro cover…

Pint sized Deb Murrell on her Formula 1

Dave Hemming, if I’m not mistaken, taken at Puddletown Forest in the early ‘90’s. I was stood on the outside of the turn by the ‘Ski Jump’, and we could hear his Tioga Disc Drive rumbling way before we saw him come in to view.

If you look closely the purple sticker on his helmet, you’ll find it’s the cape from Coleman the Cow in the Mint Sauce cartoon, in the strip where he appears as the Fabulous Fantastic Formidable Fuchsia Freishen.

Dave’s also was wearing a cut up Gul wet suit as a pair of kneepads. It could be that Dave forgot his regular choice of Hammer pads, but more than likely, knowing Dave, it’ll be because they vaguely matched his Ringle bottle cage…

Dave 'Pee Wee' Hemming. Named so because of his likeness to Peewee Herman, or for another reason..?

Jason McRoy set the pace for UK riders- he oozed style and grace on a bike where others looked frankly amateur.

Even when not racing, JMC have it everything and was a monster on a bike. You definitely wouldn’t want him to be chasing you down on an XC race…

The late JMC, with what he did for British mountain biking may be gone, but he’s sure as heck not forgotten.

When JMC had fire in his eyes, he was going to catch you. Out the way, severe skill coming through...

Sam Humphreys now rides for Charge bikes when he’s not rescuing cats from trees or living up to the ’80′s housewife fantasy of being a hunky fireman. He’s a sterling guy and another one of those riders you really don’t want to be behind you as he’ll push you until you drop. The GT Xizang was one of the nicest frames ever- essentially a titanium version of the Zaskar, and oh-so-sexy…

Bad to the bone.

Remember Grip Shift?

Some things are certainly best forgotten. And these early units, despite being incredibly sought after, we’re frankly crap. You needed bionic wrists to change more than a couple of gears in one hit due to the huge throw on them, and if they were muddy/wet and/or your gloves were, you could forget changing gear. Rubbish, thank god they’re long gone.

Grip S**t?

Remember Cosmic Trail? I’m sniggering writing this, even though I went out and bought a bunch of this stuff. I think I had the frame bag, saddlebag and fannypack… Oh yeah!

Now Jez Avery is a name that still hovers. He made Team Hot Pies famous, held the bunny hop record for ages, appeared on You Bet on a couple of occasions, rode for MBUK, refused to eat anything on photo-shoots except hot sit down meals and popped a Switzerland Squeaker at every opportunity.

Reckon his forks look bent here?

Insert own caption...

And extract the urine from his clothing choice you might, but he was with the times back then. He’s wearing Axo Pony MTB specific riding boots- which later came in an SPD version with the Axo Mission sole. Remember the Mission? What a shoe…

His riding Jersey is Bean Bag, and I’m assuming his trousers are too. Although they do look like the kind of thing weightlifters wear…

Squeaking his way to the gym, ready for some power lunges...

Many people have been kicking up a fuss about Alpinestars making an appearance on the MTB scene, but they’ve been involved before, but with bikes as well as clothing.

They used to make a great shoes, which was white with fluro paint flicker- although cost a bomb. Most people had the Carati Sport version, which was a cheap copy…

Check out this whip though- the Alpinestars Al Mega, with huge oversized tubing. At the time, this was one super desirable bike!

More, next time. Hope you liked this little nostalgic blog of random stuff found on my desk!

Over and out, Doddy.


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