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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 120 > BACK TO THE FUTURE

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Sanny dusts down his old ‘90s race bike and takes on the quintessential Peaks route. Was the bike as good as he remembers, or is it a case of distance lending enchantment?

UK ADVENTURE

Cast your mind back. What was your first mountain bike? Mine was a Raleigh Maverick in a deep burgundy colour. With fifteen of Sach’s finest Rival gears, Weinmann alloy rims, riser bars and a stubby BMX stem, I thought it was the absolute business… right until I broke it after many happy rides. By the time I came to replace it with quite possibly the best twenty-first birthday pressie ever, an Orange Prestige with full Suntour XC Comp groupset, the mountain biking landscape had changed dramatically. Developments and innovation were firmly aligned with the burgeoning race scene. Stems got longer, frames and equipment got lighter almost to the point of fragility (hard to imagine that the idea of drilling out cranks to save weight seemed like a good idea), while a whole raft of small companies got in on the act with ever more blingy and, of course, expensive parts. Looking back on that era from the comfort of my modern IKEA sofa, a thought occurred. With a burgeoning retro bike scene where the truly dedicated (or slightly deranged?) slavishly recreate classic bikes of the era, were the bikes actually any good?

Given how much technology and design has advanced, can one of the blingiest bikes of the ‘90s hold a candle to today’s machines? Or are we merely looking back with misty-eyed fondness to an era when we were making memories despite the bikes we were riding? Only one way to find out.

That’s a whole slab of retro, right there.
150mm Syncros tiller stem is so aero.
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About Singletrack

Editorial: Chipps is in an upbeat mood and thinks that things have never been better. UK Adventure: Land of the Midnight Sun: Pete Scullion heads to the northern tip of Scotland in search of midnight sunlight and spectacular trails. Column: Don't Call It A Heatwave, Just Call It Summer: Fearing the weather will turn, Chipps is worn out from riding day after day after… International Adventure: Uncharted British Columbia: e organisers of the BC Bike Race lay on this increasingly spicy taster menu of Canada’s finest trails. Classic Ride: North York Moors: Where better place to start a ride than Fryup? Olly Townsend takes us on a tour of technical trails that he can’t quite believe are legal. Bike Test: Beyonduro: To infinity and beyond… well, maybe just 170mm. Dean Hersey tests out three huge travel bikes from Nukeproof, Santa Cruz and Whyte that are not just for riding downhill. Trail Hunter: Quantock Hills: James Vincent revisits old friends on new trails in the Quantocks and remembers how much fun it is to ride without having to carry your bike. International Adventure: Trans Angeles: Hans Rey, Missy Giove, and Timmy C. from Rage Against e Machine go on an all-star ride across Los Angeles, from the mountains to the ocean. UK Adventure: Tyke Packing: Barney defeats the lightweight, solitary, point of bikepacking by taking his young children with him. We’ll let you decide if this is a how-to guide, or a list of reasons not to. UK Adventure: Back to the Future Sanny goes on a trip down memory lane, and his body reminds him why modern bikes are a good thing. Last Word: The Same Sort of Different. Hannah thinks that the world can be a more interesting place if you ride a bike. We Just Work Here: Who we are, what we do and who we would trust to build us a bike from scratch.