Guy Kesteven

Author: Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven has been testing bikes to their limits for 17 years. In the process of testing literally thousands of bikes and components, he’s marathon raced supermarket bikes, podium placed in Enduro downhills, frozen to the marrow on cyclocross sportives and mangled himself at the Mega Avalanche. Whether it's aggro trail bikes, aero time trial weapons or any bike in between, the experience and expertise of Guy and his northern UK test team lets him put every pedal stroke and bar twitch totally in context with a bike’s competitors, its development history and a cerebellum crushing amount of hard earned long term data.

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Patience is rewarded   eventually


This super light fork certainly needspatience from its owner because it takes forever to break in. Even after acouple of months it still stayed locked over small bumps like a platform fork,and full travel is a rare treat.

Fat or thin  short or long  there s a stem for you

Your choice of stem on a mountain bike determines your riding position, and that in turn has a big effect on the bike's handling. Here's how to get the right stem

Devinci Frantik 1


Over here, Devinci bikes don't yet have the presence of Kona, Rocky Mountain or Cove, but bikes such as the new single- crown Frantik show that they know what they're doing when it's really going off.

Manitou Stance Kingpin


Manitou's entry-level triple-clamp fork isskinny looking, but smoother and more heavy duty than you might think. The170mm stroke uses coil springs and Manitou's well proven TPC damping to givereasonably consistent suspension.

Impressively puncture resistant summer XC rubber


There are loads of ways of designing tyres either by using computers or making pro riders go round and round in circles across different terrain (or both), but we really like Specialized's pragmatic approach to their new cross-country tyres. The Chunder XC basically looks like a skinny, worn out version of their Chunder DH tyre. It has the same tread pattern, but the paired centre knobs are really low, so they roll super quick. It sits on a supple, lightweight 1.9in carcass too, so acceleration is easy andinstant. The side knobs are full size though, so if you get them onto their edges there's plenty of bite for creating your own berms.

Low weight  easy to set up seatpost  only available in 27 2mm


Woodman produce nicely made, well priced bike bits, like this post. The shaft is genuine carbon - not fi bre-wrapped alloy like some - and it even has extra plugs inside to reinforce the clamping zones.



FSA posts come on loads of bikes and they're also well worth a look in their own right. The shaft is forged and then machined from a single piece of alloy to leave it thicker at the front and rear for strength.

Stiff and remarkably light


Fox's monolithic 40 fork has set newstiffness standards. The massive 40mm legs make them relatively stiff oversmall bumps, but once they're moving the titanium-sprung stroke feels great.

Specialized Big Hit FSR II


Specialized's Big Hit bikes has won over numerous Freeride/DH fans over the years. But does an even lower price point and style friendly single crown fork mean that it's going keep riding high?

Strong  but slim enough to fit into tight gaps


These Soma tyre levers have a steel shank running right through their plastic body to provide extra strength, but they're still thin enough to slip into tight gaps and get tyres off.

RaceFace Deus SL


We wondered what on earth RaceFace were thinking when we first saw their seatposts with cantilevered collars, but they've proved themselves superb seat shafts.

Specialized Decibel


When it comes to sleek cool racing helmets, the Decibel is hard to fault - even though it's been kicking around for a while now. It's lightweight with a great vent and airflow system, and also deep internal channels so you never overheat. It comes with a fixed position visor, which can easily be removed for the racer look. With so much material removed, Specialized have included a carbon inner skeleton - which they call the Matrix - to keep things strong. The retention system is simple and straight forward and with the straps attached directly to this it means they're thankfully tangle-free. A classic.



Based on the Dr Jekyll 4 Cross frame, Mr Hyde is longer, slightly slacker and lighter to create a super tough hardcore hardtail. Unique transmission and even wheel size adjustability make it a truly 'do anything' rig, too.  

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