Modern MTB movies often have viewers questioning the laws of physics, but that wasn’t always the case as this early Spanish off-road video illustrates.
Behold 17 minutes of mountain bike shredding from a by-gone era, before flips, whips and combo tricks were the norm.
The riding was done by brothers Juan Ochoa and Juan Manuel Montero, both very strong and clearly talented, riding fast and manualing between full body sprints and righteous endos.
Credit needs to be given to those early MTBs for taking the abuse. It’s inspiring to see fully-rigid steel hardtails, which were basically glorified road bikes by today’s standards, with brutally steep head angles, laughably narrow bars, and wholly inadequate cantilever brakes, getting hucked to flat, sent down stairs, and shimmying up rocks.
Who here remembers this era of bikes?
Now we're here
Granted, Brandon Semenuk has so much insane talent he could probably ride one of the rigid hardtails from above and still blow minds. But luckily for everyone he doesn't have to.
The bikes at Semenuk's disposal, basically the bikes available to anyone today, are so advanced and so far removed from early mountain bikes it's barely even the same sport.
Looking at Semenuk's Trek Session through the lens of the 90s is like seeing a spaceship. There's a full carbon frame, 200mm of precision-tuned, air-sprung RockShox travel on each end, a SRAM drivetrain that likely weighs a half a kilogram less, and tires that feature computer-drafted knob shapes and don't have tubes inside. Anyway you slice it, it's an incredible machine.
Still fun either way
I'm grateful for new bikes and the technology they're packed with. It truly does make riding more fun. But I also know it doesn't really matter. As the first video illustrates, even if mountain bikes remained stagnant, riders everywhere would still be pushing boundaries and having an amazing time.