Opposites Attract

Heading to the little-ridden Alpine trails of the Austrian Tirol, we ride two wonderfully different high-altitude destinations that both showcase the stunning riding available in this mountain paradise better know to the Brits for its skiing. The first is the bike park berm and jump-littered resort of Sölden, while the other is the old-school natural-feeling trail-tracked resort of Lermoos.

Alex Evans riding in Lermoos, Austria
Postcard perfect views and trails to match in Lermoos, Austria. Credit: Andy Lloyd
riding berms in Solden, Tirol, Austria
Berm baby berm! Find out what Solden in the Tirol region of Austria has to offer. Credit: Andy Lloyd

Bike Park Valhalla

Inspired by watching pros scorch its World Cup downhill course, Ed sets off to discover Norway's Hafjell bike park for himself. What he finds is an incredible variety of trails, from swooping runs of berms and jumps to a vast hidden network of natural singletrack waiting to be discovered.

Trond Hansen rides Hafjell Bike Park
Legendary Norwegian freerider lays it over in Hafjell Bike Park. Credit: Andy Lloyd

Beyond the Braking Bumps

Deep in France's Grand Massif, Alex Evans revisits a past trail-blazing adventure with mates – only this time with better bikes, fitness and guides – using resort uplifts and links to seek out the thrill and adventure just waiting to be discovered beyond the bike parks and managed trails of Morzine, Les Gets and Samoëns.

Alex Evans, Morgane Charre and Chris Kilmurray riding in Morzine
Between the big alpine resorts are some real backcountry gems to discover. Credit: Andy Lloyd

Wrecking Crew

The Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders is one of the UK's premiere riding spots, ride in any direction and you're almost guaranteed to come across a trail. We jumped in the MBUK van and headed north, where we met up with a band of super-quick locals- Mark Scott, Ruaridh Cunningham and Katy Winton for a tour of the best Innerleithen has to offer.

More like this
Mark Scott riding with Ruaridh Cunningham and Katy Winton
We ride Innerleithen with a crew of some of the fastest Scots in the business. Credit: Andy McCandlish

Halfway House Hardtails

We ride four £750-800 hardtails head-to-head to see just how good a trail-ripping ride you can get for this highly competitive price point mid-way between £500 and £1000. Read how Norco's Fluid 3 HT, Calibre's Line 10, Marin's Bobcat Trail 5 and Canyon's Grand Canyon AL 4.0 fared under head bike tester Guy Kesteven's discerning gaze, and which bike comes out head and shoulders above the rest.

Rafi Richardson rides a Canyon Grand Canyon Al 4.0 at Hamsterley Forest
We've tested four affordable hardtails and found that one shone above all the rest- find out in this month's issue. Credit: Mick Kirkman

Trail Forks Grouptest

With a fork upgrade one of the best ways to transform the trail-riding capabilities of your current bike, we test 10 of the latest 140-170mm upgrade options so that you can pick the right one for you, your bike and the type of trails that you want to ride. Dive in to discover which trail forks pick up the MBUK gongs for Value, Most Wanted, and overall Winner.

mountain bike forks
We've tested 10 of the best trail forks. Credit: Mick Kirkman

And loads more tested kit

In this issue you'll also find in-depth tests of the latest and greatest packs, cranks, and helmets that our testing team have been riding, six of the best bib liners with storage – so you can unpack the backpack, as well as updates on the crew's long-term rides, including Ric's Mondraker Dune, Ed's Canyon Sender CF 8.0, JCW's Scott genius 940, Rob's Whyte G-170 and Ben C's Nukeproof Mega 275 Pro.

Ed Thomsett rides a Canyon Sender CF 8.0 downhill bike
Staff Writer Ed's been out trying to find the limits of his Canyon Sender CF 8.0 longtermer. Credit: Steve Behr

How To

Tips, advice and tricks from the experts this issue include a step-by-step guide to spring cleaning your bike after the worst of winter, maintaining good posture for confident, balanced riding with Pro Ride MTB coach Olly Morris, how to learn the backflip in the foam pit in (relative) safety with ex-DH world champion Manon Carpenter, as well as how to look after waterproofs and fit volume spacers to a rear shock in the latest instalment of Grime Time.

Manon Carpenter backflips into a foam pit in Rampworld skatepark Cardiff
Learn how to get inverted with ex-World Champ Manon Carpenter. Credit: Jacob Gibbins

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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.