The products that changed mountain biking forever
By Matt Skinner, What Mountain Bike | Thursday, April 7, 2011 11.50am
Did the Mountain Cycle San Andreas make the list? You'll have to buy What Mountain Bike to find out! BikeRadar
What Mountain Bike magazine’s new issue – WMB121, May – is on sale now and includes a list of the 50 Greatest Products That Changed Mountain Biking, penned by Steve Worland.
To get your juices going here are 10 bikes and products that have made the cut, in no particular order. But what else do you think should be on the list? Check out the new issue to find out if yours and the team’s thoughts tally up. Enjoy!
AMP Research/Horst link
When it was introduced in 1990, this four-bar suspension design with chainstay pivot did the biz by overcoming many of the pedalling issues associated with other designs of the period. It lives on under the Specialized banner (who bought the US patent from AMP's Horst Leitner), and is also licensed to many others.
Well ahead of its time (early ‘80s to be precise), Bullseye pointed the way for crank design 20 years later.
Remember when a CamelBak was just a bladder in a sleeve? You could have it in plain black or a posh purple splash/spray design if you were flash. They did have a tendency to swing about until CamelBak added waist and sternum straps but since then we’ve not looked bak [sic].
The first real multi-tool. And damn cool. We also fondly remember Pedro’s Milk Lever tyre levers made from recycled milk bottles. They looked scarily like Milky Bars, especially if you were tired and confused.
The twisty shifters had a few rivals – principally Sachs’ Wavy Shift – and they didn’t revolutionise mountain biking per se but they did provide a viable alternative to Shimano and laid the foundation upon which the mighty SRAM developed. Some riders still swear by ‘em, and the colour coded Mud Paw grip covers added another element of bike colour coding possibility.
By today’s standards the original eyewear looked like cut-and-shut goggles, but Oakley were the first to get serious with our vision. It made a difference too, and over the years decent lenses and frames have stopped countless flies and bugs, stones, twigs and other assorted airborne kipple from gamming up our eyes mid-descent. Hurrah.
Energy food in a golden foil? It was almost like Willy Wonka’s Wonka Bar but with carbs instead of chocolate. They were chewy – not chalky – and reduced our number of ‘squashed banana in the back pocket’ fails.
Shimano indexed gearing
Yep, the big blue S get a look in with one of the most significant developments in mountain biking: indexed gearing. There are still those who pine after the classic XT thumbies with both indexing and friction shifting options, but the indexing allowed riders the luxury of not having to back off while changing gear.
No list would be complete without the inclusion of one of the first (together with Univega’s Alpina Sport) production mountain bikes, the Stumpjumper. Its name may confuse the hell out of non-bikers (Stunt-jumper is one common mispronunciation) but its continued success and evolution has proved that mountain biking’s fathers didn’t birth a fad but a genuine and lasting sport.
The pinnacle of rim brake evolution gave – for the time – incredible stopping power and reliability. Importantly, it meant that 'death grip as you pulled on your cantilever brakes and hoped with all your might that you'd scrub off enough speed to make the turn’ moments were a thing of the past. Phew.
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For the full list of the 50 Greatest Products That Changed Mountain Biking, buy issue 121 of What Mountain Bike Magazine, on sale now. To subscribe, click here.
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