There’s no doubt that full suspension is a godsend when tackling rougher trails. It helps soak up all the bumps and drops that otherwise your body would have to absorb on its own. But one of the big questions we often get asked is whether the suspension you’re getting on a bike under £1,500 is a benefit or more of a hindrance. Poor suspension can buck you around more and reduce overall control, so it’s worth knowing how much you need to pay before you invest a hefty sum of cash and potentially buy the wrong option.
In this month’s biketest we focus on four bikes from Giant, Cannondale, Norco and Polygon, which all come in at around £1,500, to help guide you to the right buying decision.
Our test team have also been busy putting 15 sets of single-ring cranks through the mill to see which can stand up to the demands of modern day riding, plus they’ve been looking at what the best track pump is that you can buy as well as giving their expert opinions on loads more new gear.
We’ve been out for some pretty full-on adventure rides this month – they don’t come much more intimidating than a multi-day trek across Lebanon. Here’s a snippet from our epic adventurer Dan Milner’s travels…
“Perhaps it’s the echoes of hunters’ shotguns or the fact that on our first morning in Lebanon we’re already lost, or maybe it’s just nerves, but either way I can’t help but smile at the surreal comedy in our predicament. “What the f**k are we doing?” I laugh. Laughter makes good stress relief and it’s infectious. Before long my two fellow riders, Tibor Simai and Kamil Tatarkovic, are belly laughing too. “Oh,” I add, “Apparently we have to watch out for landmines too.”
A little closer to home we team up with Flanagan brothers Sam and Joe to get their top tips on how to have your own midweek mini epic. Using the beautiful Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales as their backdrop, the boys show you how you can feel a million miles away from your working week even if you can’t wait till the weekend.
And it doesn’t stop there, as we’ve also been to Slovenia. Perhaps not the first place you think of for a mountain bike adventure, but we discovered a whole variety of glorious trails in seven days of exploration.
There are some really useful riding tips this month to help you tackle wherever your next adventure takes you. Top mountain bike coach Joe Rafferty shows you how to soar over step-ups, making that tricky transition between the lower take-off and higher landing spot. Also, learn how and when to brake hard safely, organise a great biking holiday and make a recovery shake, and check out our complete step-by-step guide to riding BikePark Wales’s excellent Popty Ping ‘blue+’ jump trail.