This month we embrace the dark season to bring you a 15-strong lights grouptest. With outputs ranging from 1,600 to a whopping 6,500 lumens, find out which shine bright and which stay in the shadows. We also hit up BikePark Wales by night, to discover how wild one of the UK’s best riding spots can be once the sun’s set.


We've got a comprehensive lesson in bike geometry, so you can learn how all the angles and lengths affect exactly how a bike behaves, plus riding adventures in Iraq and on the Silk Road ultra-endurance race. In addition, we have an environmental message from Rachel Atherton and advice on how to warm-up like Tahnée Seagrave, plus we shred Gwydir Forest in Snowdonia and Cheddar in the Mendip Hills.

Charge of the lights brigade

Get the lowdown from our lights-out ride at BikePark Wales, where we find out if riding one of the UK’s most fun venues can get even more exciting after hours.

The team head out to BikePark Wales to see just how much fun night riding can be. Photo: Andy Lloyd

Geometry lessons

Our resident tech guru Seb Stott gives a fundamental lesson in how bike geometry works. What do all those various angles and lengths actually mean? How can you make sure your next bike fits you perfectly? We unravel the mysteries to put you back in control.

With bike geometry constantly evolving, we give you a lesson on the in and outs of geometry, and how it affects your bike's handling. Photo: Steve Behr

Trail lights grouptest

Whether you’re preparing for your first night ride or getting set for another season of twilight adventures, having a high-power light is essential, helping you ride faster and more safely. We test 15 front lights, across a range of budgets and power levels, to help you pick the best for your bike.

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Whether you're a beginner or night-riding pro, a high-powered light is essential for riding fast, and safe. Photo: Andy Lloyd

A world apart

Iraq may not be the first place you'd consider for a mountain biking destination, but the Kurdish region is full of wild backcountry and formidable peaks. Does that make it any good for riding though? Dan Milner and Aaron Gulley go on a scouting mission to find out.

Iraq may not be your first thought for a riding destination, but the Kurdistan region is abundant with peaks and wilderness. Photo: Dan Milner

Mile-munching trail bikes

What happens when you blend cross-country speed with trail bike security? We find out, as we put four short-travel trail bikes from Cannondale, Intense, Scott and Specialized to the test.

What performance can you get out of a short-travel trail bike? We put four to the test to find out. Photo: Mick Kirkman

Gwydir Forest

Located at the gateway to Snowdonia National Park, Gwydir is an MTB classic. Formerly called the Marin Trail, and also known as Betws-y-Coed, it's been a Welsh cycling hotspot for 15+ years, and it’s easy to see why. It features action-packed trails over a 25km span, with tons of variety to suit all tastes.

An MTB classic on the edge of Snowdonia, we head to Gwydir Forest to check out the wide range of trails on offer. Photo: Laurence Crossman-Emms

Free gift

Our cover gift this month is a stylish MBUK beanie – an after-ride essential to keep the winter chill off your bonce and your helmet-hair covered up!

Keep your pate nice and snug with an MBUK beanie, your free gift this month.
Look sharp, stay warm and hide the helmet hair


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Luke MarshallTechnical writer

Luke Marshall is a technical writer for BikeRadar and MBUK magazine. He's been working for both titles since 2018 and has over 20 years of mountain biking experience. Luke is a gravity-focused rider with a history of racing downhill, previously competing in the UCI Downhill World Cup. Educated to a degree level in engineering and with a penchant for full-throttle speed, Luke is more than qualified to put every bike and product through its paces to bring you informative and independent reviews. You'll most likely find him on a trail, enduro or downhill bike riding the off-piste tracks around south Wales and the south west of England. He often makes an appearance on BikeRadar's podcast and YouTube channel.