MBUK is for anyone who loves riding a mountain bike. It doesn’t matter about age – we’re all big kids at heart here. We want to help you ride wild and free, pushing the limits on your bike. We’re for those who ride with tons of attitude and aggression but mainly like riding a bike for the sheer hell of it. That’s what we try and reflect in everything we do.
We’re a team of passionate mountain bikers and want to bring you the most exciting, interesting and insane things from the world of mountain biking. Every month in MBUK we aim to bring you the best places to ride, help you to fix your bike, show you the right products to buy, improve you riding skills and be inspired to go out and ride your bike more. Our years of experience as the market-leading UK mountain biking title makes sure you know that you’re looking at information you can trust.
Our testing team has been at the forefront of the industry for nearly 30 years, testing bikes, components and kit at every price point across a range of mountain bike disciplines. Here’s how we do it…
How we test
Our process starts with a detailed product check in the workshop. We strip and rebuild bikes and products, checking for any problems. Next we hit the trails… hard! We test in real riding conditions for the complete picture. And finally we re-test with another tester.
Why our tests are the best
Our test team is made up of the most respected bike and kit testers in the world. We have unrivalled knowledge and experience, and spend a vast amount of time making sure we get it right. We tell you the truth and aren’t influenced by PR or advertisers.
About our test team
Our Technical Editor in Chief, Rob Weaver, gets new products in as soon as they’re available and coordinates all the testing through our vastly experienced band of reviewers. Our main bike tester, Guy Kesteven, has ridden more than 3,000 bikes over the past 26 years.
A brief history of MBUK
Launched back in 1988 by our founders Tym Manley and Chris Turner, Mountain Biking UK has built itself on being at the forefront of the UK mountain bike scene, pushing the boundaries of how and where mountain bikes can be ridden but always with a big emphasis on having a good time doing it. Through the sport’s glory days of the ’90s, sales were at a high and the profits it made were pumped into helping to promote the sport – launching the successful Bike Show Live, Team MBUK (the magazine’s own professional downhill and cross-country team), MBUK Urban Tours and MBUK.com, which later became part of the now hugely successful BikeRadar.
MBUK’s done some mad features over the years, including riding a bike out the back of a plane at 6,000ft, landing and riding away; jumping through a massive ring of fire in an MBUK skinsuit; taking on the Marines… and getting well and truly whooped; creating a huge ramp for 30ft lake jumps – and always being pestered by an ever-present bike riding sheep!
It’s a heritage we’re proud to continue, and more recently we’ve gone mountain biking in underground caves, e-biked up and down Everest in a day, fatbiked across frozen lakes and ridden down active volcanoes, to just skim the surface. We wouldn’t still be going strong without the support and following of our loyal fanbase – so why not join them and see what you’ve been missing out on over the years? You can subscribe to MBUK here.
Meet the MBUK team
Danny Walter Editor-in-Chief
At the helm of MBUK for the past 10 years, Danny’s the one who makes all the big decisions. Like what cake we should be eating with this morning’s coffee and whether a second pint will encourage a more productive lunchtime features meeting. Often says he’s too busy to come out riding with the boys when in truth it’s because he can’t quite keep up with the more youthful, faster guys on the team (and Jimmer). Tends to ride more with his kids, who he knows he can still boss on the trails. Although that’s becoming more of a struggle these days too.
James Costley-White Operations Editor
A stickler for detail, JCW fine tunes everything we do. He’s our chief wordsmith and fact checker, and keeps the whole MBUK crew in order. But don’t be fooled by his calm, disciplined work structure because when he hits the trails he really lets rip! JCDubs loves to pick out the rough lines and then smooth them out into a well-paced, flowing ride. Er, a bit like he does with the words you find in the pages of MBUK, maybe…?
Alex Evans Features Editor
Has a hand in most of the features and content you read in MBUK. Al has form as a downhill rider, having taken part in a World Cup, where he had a big old crash and quickly started rethinking his career. The race circuit’s loss is MBUK’s gain, because he’s still got the pace and the style to ride with the best – which he frequently has to do for all our features. We reckon he’s got another World Cup in him too! Go on Al, you know you want to! Notable odd habits are not drinking tea after 3pm, going to bed by 9pm and wearing weird novelty socks at all times.
Ed Thomsett Staff Writer
Ed is the young ‘un on the team. Keeps us in check with what’s actually cool and regularly whups all our asses out on the trail, although Al often has something to say about that. Seems to flit between being uber-healthy and ride-focused to recovering from wild late-night parties and being badly hungover. But then he’s young, that’s what he’s supposed to do, right? Ed writes lots of our stuff, so is always out and about meeting the stars and riding in exotic locations. He’s just got back from Stroud, where he rode with a bloke called Dave.
Robin Weaver Technical editor-in-chief
A riding encyclopedia of bikes and kit, Rob spends one heck of a lot of time travelling the world for the latest product launches and organising how and where all our gear gets tested. Super-stylish when it comes to riding, and indeed beard grooming, Rob has no fears when it comes to hitting the trails with the industry’s best. Loves nothing more than a team ride round our local spots trying to avoid Art Ed Jimmer’s casual nakedness.
James Blackwell Art Editor
Our very own Tasmanian devil, with a fascination for stuffed animals, Jimmer is a supercharged ball of energy who appears to speak his own language at a speed that few can understand. Fortunately he translates most of this into spectacular features designs and the banging covers you see every month in MBUK. He’s just as frenetic on the trails, always keen to do the most runs, in the quickest time possible. Often results in highly entertaining crashes but he’s back up quick as a flash and ready to go (and crash) again.
Matt Orton Deputy Art Editor
Design whizz Matt has a beard. A very big bushy beard. And tattoos. So naturally he’s well into fatbikes, adventure rides and bikepacking. Not even joking. He throws himself at ridiculous energy-sapping endurance challenges all in the name of adventure, be it sub-zero snow rides or treks in baking temperatures across the biggest mountains he can find. He may not always be the first to cross the finish line but he always comes back with the best stories.
Guy Kesteven Senior tester
Lives on a bike pretty much, somewhere in the remote wilderness of the Yorkshire Moors. Guy is our testing supremo and has become legendary within the bike industry, having been at it for well over 20 years. When he’s not testing bikes, he’s analysing components in his workshop, plotting the best set-up for his next ride. Sleeps and eats while riding, occasionally can be heard shouting “Ey uuuup!” to his family as he passes his house on his infinite local loop.
Jonny Ashelford Workshop manager
They call him The Spannerman. They don’t actually, they just call him ‘Jonny’. Jonny’s second home is the MBUK workshop where he builds bikes, strips them down (checks Facebook) and rebuilds them to make sure they’re ready for testing. Has all the casual, laidback characteristics of a cool British Columbian freerider, despite actually being from Twerton, Bath. Has the same effortless, casual style on the trails or dirt jumps. He’s a big kid at heart who just loves mucking about on his bike.
Mint Sauce Legendary sheep
The longest-serving member of MBUK. And he’s a cartoon sheep. Says it all, eh? Mint has been with us right since the early days. Loves riding the patchwork landscapes of the South Downs on a continual search for his beloved Summer, while nonchalantly avoiding the clutches of Death. Not one to be swayed by the fads and trends of the mountain biking industry, Mint serves as a monthly reminder as to why we all love to get out and ride.
Max Darkins Route guru
Was almost christened ‘Maps Darkins’ for his love of plotting a good route. If there’s a patch of the UK to be ridden in the best way possible, our routes guru Max will find it. Max does all the wrong turns, nasty uphill sections, getting lost and caught out in the weather for you, so you can be sure you’re taking on the best route possible when it comes to your next big ride. Hurrah for Maps, sorry, Max!
Al Bond MBUK team rider
A race machine. Al’s here for one thing and one thing only – to race downhill fast in the name of MBUK and to win a few enduros along the way. Al has taken his role of brand ‘ambassador’ to another level by hosting elaborate formal dinner parties in his back garden, where he only serves pyramids of gold-foil-wrapped chocolates to his guests. He’s still waiting for his first guest.
Tom Marvin • Seb Stott • Ric McLaughlin • Steve Behr • Russell Burton • Andy Lloyd • Dan Milner • Joe Rafferty