Bike of the Year 2018

Throughout the winter, our testers Rob Weaver and Tom Marvin have been flat out, riding a huge selection of bikes, in order to bring you what we believe is a selection of the top (sub £3,500) bikes available now. The bikes have been split into two categories, Trail refers to those with 110-140mm of travel, capable of anything from ripping around the woods, to all-day missions and Enduro means big, burly 150-175mm travel rigs, built to descend flat-out, but still climb back up. Once a top five was established for each, we headed to the sunnier climes of San Remo in the Italian Riviera for a final showdown. The suspension pummelling rocks, brake burning descents and savage climbs were the perfect for dissecting the finer points of each bike and allowed us to draw a verdict on which is worth the money. All is revealing in the mag!

Robin Weaver rides the Canyon Torque
Dropping into Northern Italy's fast, rocky trails on the Canyon Torque- one of the contenders we tested for our 2018 Bike of the Year. Credit: Matt Wragg

Through the lens

Full-length mountain bike films are few and far between these days, especially ones about downhillers, as World Cup racing becomes ever more serious and professional. GAMBLE is the film project that's set to change that, taking a selection of the sport's most charismatic riders and letting them run wild outside the tape. Filmed in exotic locations around the world, we join the crew in South Africa, for behind the scenes look at the filming of Greg Minnaar's segment. Discover what's it's like to be on set with one the other greatest riders of all time and find out more about the backstory behind the film in this month's mag.

Greg Minnaar rides a dusty corner on his Santa Cruz V10 in Stellenbosch, South Africa
We get up close and personal with Greg Minnaar as he films for GAMBLE- the year's most hotly anticipated downhill film. Credit: Duncan Philpott

Mille Johnset

Norway's Mille Johnset is one of the fastest rising talents in women's downhill racing. We meet up with her in Hafjell Bike Park and discover that this is a seventeen year old girl who doesn't shy away from going fast and ain't afraid of going big.

Mille Johnset poses with her Trek Session 9.9 in Hafjell Bike Park
The teenage girl with skills way beyond her years- meet Mille Johnset. Credit: Andy Lloyd

Grizedale & North Yorkshire

This month's Wrecking Crew heads for Grizedale in the Lake District fells. On the tail of our guides Adam Brayton and Katherine Sharp, we discover what this rugged trail centre has to offer and discover all the hidden local lines. If you'd rather get away from it all though, then check out our Big Ride feature on Baysdale in North Yorkshire. Expansive moorland views, natural rocky singletrack and a real feeling of exploration awaits.

Adam Brayton does a jump at Grizedale trail centre
World Cup pro Adam Brayton shows us the lines at Grizedale trail centre. Credit: Duncan Philpott

Get bike park ready

Trail and enduro bike are seriously versatile these days (as our Bike of the Year test proves), but if you want to get the most out of one, especially on gnarlier terrain, it's worth making a few setup tweaks. In our How To section we give advice on how to get you and your steed ready for a day in the park and what to do to ensure maximum fun on the day. We've also got riding tips on how to power out of berms and give you guidelines on how to take killer photos with your phone, so you can show all your mates how rad you got!

Ed Thomsett rides the Kona Process 153 in Tignes, France
Get your trail or enduro bike feeling dialled, for a pasting in the bike park, both home and abroad. Credit: Caleb Smith


Bike of the Year testing doesn't mean we've skimped on other testing this month. May's mag has a grouptest on trail riding jerseys, individual reviews on DT-Swiss and Spank wheelsets, Vittoria and Bontrager tyres, Thule and Evoc hydration packs and protection from Endura, Scott and O'Neal. Keep up with what our test team have been doing and what they like and dislike about their test bikes in our monthly Longterm Rides section.

Grouptest on 15 trail riding jerseys. Credit: Russ Burton
Grouptest on 15 trail riding jerseys. Credit: Russ Burton

This month's free gift is a performance riding socks from Lezyne. You'll find a pair on the cover of every mag.

Lezyne MBUK socks
Say goodbye to stinky feet with this month's free gift.

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Ed ThomsettContributor

Former Mountain Biking UK features editor Ed Thomsett is a downhiller at heart but has been riding bikes of all types since a young age. He's raced both nationally and internationally in downhill and enduro, and has spent several summers living in the Alps and Canada, riding, roadtripping and living the dirtbag lifestyle. Now Ed calls upon his years of experience riding bikes to the limit as a writer and reviewer for MBUK and BikeRadar. He's also an avid trail builder and has scraped out numerous steep and technical lines in the woodlands of his native North Yorkshire. These days Ed will happily turn his hand to any discipline and believes the sign of a good week is when every bike in his shed ends up muddy by the end of it.