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27 MIN READ TIME

GOOD OLD DAZE

WORDS BY ANTHONY DE HEVENINGHAM

Every few years mountain biking seems to be gripped by retro fever, whether it’s updated lookalikes of classic bikes, in-depth magazine articles, or Facebook groups full of pictures of mushroom-hatted riders jumping out of the bomb hole at the Malverns Classic. One of the things I like about this particular point in human history is how accessible the past is. I love exploring the culture of years gone by, cackling over kitschy vintage adverts, watching films where the thrills are provided by unconvincing stop-motion animation rather than unconvincing CGI. My living room is dominated by a stack of dogeared vinyl. But as far as I’m concerned, the endless reminiscences about Flexstems and pictures of Paul’s Components rasta mechs can do one.

You see, I missed out on all this stuff the first time round. I came to mountain biking late in life, when it was already fairly mainstream and knowledge was just a mouse click away. My formative rides were often at (spit…) trail centres. My first set of Bombers weren’t the classic orange Z1s, they were MX Comps with all the sophisticated internal engineering of a tube of Smarties. And my bikes aren’t classics, they’re just old.

Unlike an old piece of music, a vintage film poster, or a classic cocktail, you can’t really experience the retro mountain bike scene today. Say ‘whisky sour’ and I start salivating slightly. Say ‘snowflake wheel’ and I unconsciously check that my front teeth are still intact.

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About Singletrack

International Adventure: Patagonia – Barney travels to this remote region of Chilé to find some killer singletrack – and a fair bit of dust. We Work Here: Rocky Mountain – We take a trip to the distant (but still very wet) shores of North Vancouver, to see the inner workings of one of Canada’s oldest mountain bike companies. UK Adventure: Dances with Wolves – Andy McCandlish takes a chilly trip down memory lane with Ed Oxley and Andy McKenna. UK Adventure: Riding Through The Seasons – Sanny extols the virtues of riding all year round. Room 101 – Mark is the ultimate arbiter of your submissions to our Room of Shame. Classic Ride: Capel Curig – There’s more to Snowdonia than a few trail centres and a mountain. Grouptest: Wider Wheels – The Grinder team put six sub-£500 wheelsets through the mill. Bike Test: Flat-out Race Bikes – We take a look at three nose-to-the-wheel speed machines. Through the Grinder – A plethora of promising products, assessed by our accomplished assemblage of trusted and true testers. Grinder Bike: Pivot Mach 4 Carbon – Chipps takes a long look at Pivot’s swoopy carbon trail/race monster. 15 Years of Spine Lines – To celebrate our 15th year, some of the best – and the weirdest – of our Spine Lines. International Adventure: Suisse Rolling – Jérôme Clementz takes a busman’s holiday in the Swiss Alps. The Last Word – Antony de Heveningham wonders if we’re actually in the golden age of mountain biking right now.