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25 years of MBUK – the more things change…

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 10/05/2013 12:00pm


Looking back with a guest blog by Neil Cain

MBUK has been on the shelves since I bought my first ‘proper’ mountain bike (a 1989 Specialized Rockhopper) and was my source of information during those early days of splatter-paint Konas, toe-clips and thumbshifters. It introduced me to things I desired – such as Onza Porcupines and Bula hats – and things I couldn’t afford – such as purple quick releases and suspension.

Mountain biking at this time was growing fast and quickly became a source of travel inspiration. Magazines showed us the golden chalice of great trails AND great weather, as well as articles testing the latest rigid e-stay Funk in Greece, Jason McRoy (RIP) and Dave Hemming tearing up Spanish mountainsides with Zak Tempest (whatever happened to him?), and Saracen adverts featuring bottle-rack festooned Kili-Flyers in the Amazon. All of these gave us glimpses of amazing adventures that were within grasp.

Technology was moving quickly too. Sometime around 1994 Mint Sauce was testing a purple and black Trek 9500 full bouncer on the South Downs, I was lusting after a Trek Y-Bike (although a Why? Bike is probably more appropriate) and Susie DeMattei rode a Mongoose Amplifier to victory, a bike featuring a new fangled idea called a Horst Link – the first time a suspension bike won a major race. It was a time of massive revolution rather than evolution in mountain biking and MBUK was a window into this exciting, brave new world.

Fast forward to the present day and mountain biking is more about nips, tucks and tweaks. Things actually tend to work, so we’re having to resort to arguing about wheel size. Trends, bike ‘standards’ and magazines have all come and gone, and MBUK has weathered the storm. We also have the internet which has changed what’s written; thought-provoking articles and long-term reviews take precedence over news, as this is quickly posted online by both stalwart journos and opinionated armchair warriors.

But like it was back in 1989 – and if you look carefully past the online machoism and bravado today – bike conversations, be they online or face to face, still often start with those immortal words: “Have you seen that article in the latest MBUK?”

Happy 25th MBUK, and thanks.

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