Despite threats of a downpour, the sun shone on the third BikeRadar Demo Day at Bedgebury Forest over the weekend.
More than 130 riders turned out to get a taste of scores of different bikes, from the UK’s biggest and best distributors and bike brands.
Fisher Outdoor brought their Norco range, and German brand Rose rocked up with a converted VW van, complete with deafening sound system and a rack of Rose and Red Bull bikes. Scott also proved popular with riders on the day, and there seemed to be something for just about everyone.
As well as the trusty Demo Days staff, the Mountain Biking UK team were out in force, rocking up in their shiny new Mercedes Vito Sport van. Mercedes also brought along the Ashton Diamondback Mercedes Vito Sport for riders to check out.
The short, but sweet course was hosted by Bedgebury Forest Cycling Club, who also provided marshalling on the day and have more than 280 members. The route took in some twisty singletrack, some impressively gloopy mud, and even the opportunity to get a little air.
Club secretary David Coppins said: “We all ride from here on Saturday morning club rides, and Wednesday night rides.” David, who took up mountain biking four years ago when he quit smoking, normally rides a Specialized Stumpjumper but had his eye on a Lapierre on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Terry Lee, from Ashford in Kent, got stuck in with a Rose Jabba Wood. He said: “I come here every weekend. We’re off to Afan next week.” Terry had a £2,000 budget in mind for his next purchase. “I’m in the middle of picking a new bike. The Rose was quite nice,” he said. Terry’s job means he can ride most afternoons, so although he's only been riding a year or two, he's a committed rider.
Friends Seb Scillitoe, 13, and Will Lewis, 14, from Leith Hill, were enjoying a day out in the woods. Will, who normally rides BMX, had brought along his Specialized P1, while Seb was ringing the changes from the Kona Stinky he normally rides by trying out a Lapierre Froggy.
Helen Worboys and Gael Barnes had come all the way from Bristol for the Demo Day. The pair have been riding for almost three years and are regulars at Leigh Woods and Ashton Court in Bristol, although they’ve also ridden Cannock Chase and Cwmcarn a fair old bit, and even holidayed in Whistler, the mountain biker's Mecca.
Helen said: “We've got hardtails and part of the reason we don’t go out as much as we’d like is the technical stuff is harder on the hardtails than the full-suspension bikes. Having ridden today, we’re both thinking about getting full-suspension bikes."
Peter Maullin from West Moreland was contemplating buying a 26in-wheeled bike after trying out a few on the day. Peter normally rides an On One Scandal 29er, but it was the Lapierre 514 which really made him smile on the tight twisting singletrack at Bedgebury. He said: “I normally ride on the North Downs so I was looking at 29ers like the Lynskey Pro, but I’ll buy a 26in bike for coming to places like this – probably a hardtail.”
James Potter and Luke Robbins, who both ride Specialized Rockhoppers, had traveled all the way from Windsor to check out the bikes on offer. Even a combination of an early start, due to the clocks going forward, and a hangover weren’t enough to dissuade them from coming. James said: “The great thing is there’s no bike to pack up or clean off at the end of it. And the guys we spoke to know so much about their bikes.”
Alex Boys, from Morden, was out to give his new Specialized Demo 7 build a good thrashing. Alex started at university in Plymouth recently and has been enjoying the downhill at Gawton in Tavistock. He said: “I started riding dirt jumps when I was about 11 and used to race four-cross at Chicksands. Since I moved down to Plymouth I’ve been getting into more downhill type riding.”
There are two Demo Days left, at Coed y Brenin in Wales on 11 April and Glentress in Scotland on 18 April. Find out more here and book your bikes now!
Scroll down for a mini picture gallery of the day...
Rose and Red Bull were new to a lot of riders, and attracted a lot of attention
Scott brought in a huge fleet to choose from, including their popular Genius models