Rolling the Dice

Alex Bond rides the Red Bull Hardline in North Wales
MBUK team rider, Al Bond, sends it at the Red Bull Hardline! Credit: Ian Lean

The Red Bull Hardline is a unique event, blending downhill racing with an exceptionally challenging track that takes riders over seriously technical jumps and drops on one wild ride down the mountain. MBUK's team rider, Alex Bond, took to the mountain for us: "The track is so gnarly and the features so big that every time you drop in, you feel like you're rolling the dice. When you've only got a 50:50 chance of making it down in one piece, it's pretty daunting."


Sussed out

Suspension set-up is something a lot of riders struggle with, but you don't need a physics degree to get your bike working better. We talk you through the basics – and show the difference a bit of expert help can make. Taking Staff Writer and DH extraordinaire, Ed, and trail-focused Art Editor Jimmer along to Sprung Suspension in the Forest of Dean for a day of set-up proved to be invaluable for both riders. Finding out what they were doing right, and at times, very wrong, certainly helped their riding improve.

Sprung suspension service mountain biking suspension
Jake Ireland, who runs Sprung Suspension, gives our Ed and Jimmer's shocks a thorough revamp. Credit: Steve Behr

The Hard Way

A 79-mile ride across the Highlands? Doesn't sound too difficult – until you add a ton of camera gear, diversions down steep singletrack and riding one-handed. Tommy Wilkinson, a man who openly admits he wants it all, went on a mission with two friends to find 10-minute descents, stunning scenery and stories he could recount to his mates down the pub. But rides that are long and challenging yet still enjoyable can be tricky to find. Grab a copy of the mag to find out more about this Scottish epic...

Neil Stewart and Brett Penfold carry their bikes up a steep climb on the Great Glen Way
Tommy Wilkinson and friends ride the Great Glen Way in Scotland. Credit: Tommy Wilkinson

Root Manoeuvres, BikePark Wales

Alex Evans and Ed Thomsett ride the new root manoeuvres trail at BikePark Wales
Ed and Al loved the new trail at BPW! Credit: Andy Lloyd

Rooty by name and nature, BikePark Wales' latest trail is a natural-feeling wake-up call for those expecting an easy ride. MBUK staffers Ed and Alex were given a run for their money around the new trail by BikePark Wales boss Rowan Sorrell and trail builder Mike Beasley.

Bike test, how to and much more

We review 2018's trendsetting bikes from XC whippet to e-bike monster. Although this isn't a head-to-head bike test like usual, because they're all such different machines, that doesn't mean the testing has been any less stringent. So, whether you want a 100mm-travel hill-climbing featherweight or a 170mm mini-DH bike, we've got something for you. In our How To section we give you the best tips and advice on boosting your skills, with everything from racing your mates to jumping obstacles. Not only that, we've reviewed six rear lights, 14 sets of knee pads plus loads more.

Alex Evans, Ed Thomsett and Sam Robson all race each other at Sheffield dual track
Racing your mates is a right laugh! Give it a go the next time you're out on your bike... Credit: Andy Lloyd

Free beanie!

In this issue, we're also giving away a free MBUK beanie to keep your head warm when the temperature plummets!

MBUK issue 349 of MBUK comes with a free beanie hat
Free with this issue – a beanie hat! Credit: Alex Evans

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Alex EvansSenior technical editor

Alex Evans is BikeRadar’s senior mountain bike technical editor. He started racing downhill at the tender age of 11 before going on to compete across Europe. Alex moved to Morzine in the French Alps at 19 to pursue a career as a bike bum and clocked up an enormous amount of riding. Hitting those famous tracks day in, day out for eight years, he broke more bikes than he can remember. Alex then moved back to the UK and put his vast knowledge of mountain biking to good use by landing a job working for MBUK magazine as features editor. Since working for MBUK, Alex’s focus has moved to bike tech. He’s one of BikeRadar’s lead testers and knows how to push bikes and products to the limit, searching out the equipment that represents the best value for money. Alex is also a dedicated eMTB rider, and still dabbles in racing of a sort, doing his best to top the Strava leaderboard on the steepest, gnarliest and twistiest trails the Tweed Valley has to offer – just for fun, of course. Alex is also a regular on the BikeRadar YouTube channel and BikeRadar podcast.