You’ve probably freewheeled down a steep hill or two in your time, and had a great time doing so, but trust us when we say, true downhill mountain biking is much more extreme, and tons more fun.
Christmas is coming up quickly, and before we know it we’ll be celebrating a brand New Year. It’s around this time that many of you will begin planning resolutions and making promises to yourself for 2014.
A common New Year’s resolution is of course to lose weight, but going to the gym regularly can be difficult to keep up, and besides why should you pay loads every month when you’ve got your own personal exercise machine right there in your home? We’re talking, of course, about your bike.
2013 has been one heck of a year; highlights include seeing Froome win the Tour de France and more recently watching Wiggins being knighted for his amazing contributions to the sport.
But for every cycling success, there are countless numbers of failures. Some are simple trips and falls, others are over-the-top accidents which look like they could do some serious damage; all of them are gut-wrenchingly hilarious.
So take a break from whatever you’re doing, gather your friends round your screen, and join us as we take a look at some of the best (and worst) bike fails from across the web this year.
Splashing out on a new suspension fork for your bike can cause you headaches. Forks vary massively, depending on the type of bike, the amount of movement allowed, the shock damping ability and the weight.
The amount of cash you could be required to spend can run into hundreds of pounds, or even top a thousand. It’s important you select the right fork for your bike, and that you know what to look for when you’re buying one.
As far as sports go, mountain biking is already pretty extreme. Hurtling down hillsides with nothing but a thin metal frame and two wheels between you and the surrounding environment makes for a pretty thrilling experience.
For some though it is not extreme enough. Many bikers look to up the ante by searching for increasingly more challenging routes, which is why we’ve put our heads together and come up with a list of some of the craziest cycling destinations. From the intricately technical to the downright insane, these routes are enough to make even the most seasoned pros think twice.
First a quick disclaimer: Merlin Cycles in no way endorse or encourage riding the routes mentioned, many of which are extremely dangerous.
1. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
For many people cycling the Cliffs of Moher means a pleasant ride set against a luscious and breath-taking backdrop; but to others the cliffs have another, much more risky side.
Possibly one of the most dangerous routes we’ve ever seen, the path along the cliff’s edge is a location that’s been previously branded “the most terrifying mountain bike trail on earth”. With strong sweeping winds and narrow causeways jutting out over the jagged cliff face, this is one that’s for extremely skilled cyclists only.
There’s a reason that local authorities don’t approve of cyclists taking this route. Stick too close to the edge and you risk catching your pedal on the rocks and throwing yourself off balance; too close to edge and you risk… well, let’s just say it’s a long way down into the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Porcupine Rim Trail, Utah
The Moab may be the most famous trail in Utah, but Porcupine Rim is definitely the more extreme. Featuring a terrifyingly technical downhill singletrack, the Rim is a 15 mile trail across the rocky Utah desert.
The hefty three mile climb up the ridge at the beginning of the trail pays off with awe-inspiring views across Castle Valley. It’s the descent which makes this track really stand out, taking you down 3,400 feet across pokey outcrops and dizzying cliff edges. This one definitely isn’t for beginners.
3. The Manali – Leh Trail, India
Another amazingly challenging cycling tour, the Manali-Leh trail takes cyclists through the heart of the Himalayas. Travelling on a track that spans over 340 miles; cyclists will have to combat against constantly changing environments, including luscious green wildlife and sparse rocky roads. The end result is an unparalleled high-altitude cycling experience.
4. Monarch Crest Trail, Colorado
It’s not the technicality of the trail which makes it so extreme, it’s the length. Stretching out over 35 miles of lush Colorado scenery, it’s an incredible journey with plenty of climbs, descents, rough patches and switchbacks to keep things interesting.
Only for those who are in it for the long-haul bring supplies and prepare for a long day. Oh and watch out for thunderstorms!
5. Sprain Ridge Park, New York
This intense, entirely rider-built park is filled with some of the trickiest technical trails you’ll ever find. The combination of jagged outcroppings and disruptive log piles mean you may never get a chance to pick up proper speed, but it’s an exhilarating ride nonetheless.
Check it out in this video below:
6. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, Canada-United States
If you thought the Monarch Crest Trail was long, then you truly haven’t seen anything yet. The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR for short) a 2,745 mile tour from Alberta in Canada to the New Mexico border in the US, it’s the longest off-pavement route in the world.
To make it even more extreme, most of the route is not signposted, and riders will have to battle unpredictable mountain weather to make it across.
7. Dragon’s Back, Wales
This is one of the oldest and best among Wales’ numerous man-made mountain biking trails. Whilst it isn’t as technically difficult as the rest of the tracks listed, it will still pose a challenge with its stamina-breaking climbs and slick, narrow downhill tracks. The rewards are definitely worth it though, with spectacular views across Snowdonia National Park.
8. San Pedro de Casta, Peru
Made famous by extreme cyclist Alejandro Paz, the San Pedro de Casta is a mountainous region 10,500ft above sea level, and makes for one hell of a white-knuckle ride.
The death-defying downhill run involves a steep decent along an increasingly narrow track littered with scarily sharp rocks, all inches away from a vertigo-inducing drop.
Check out his daring decent for yourself in the below video:
9. Trestle Bike Park, Colorado
Colorado is such an awesome place for cycling that it’s managed to make it on to this list twice!
Nestled within a Winter Park resort, Trestle Bike Park is a sight to behold. When the summer comes and the snow disappears, the cyclists come out to play. Open from June to late September, the park is home to plenty of races and events. It also features some amazing pro-only tracks, including the Hot Wheels Slopestyle Trail, which features huge jumps from rickety wooden ramps.
Words can’t really describe, so take a look at this video instead:
10. The Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
An epic journey filled with jaw-dropping sites, this trail is considered one of the world’s best by trekkers, and is becoming increasingly popular with the mountain biking community.
Biking across the 10th highest mountain in the world is understandably tough, but with descending dirt trails, technical singletracks and views like the ones in the picture, the ride is definitely worth it.
Did we miss anywhere off the list? Have you ridden a trail more extreme than any of those mentioned above? Let us know in comments section below.
If you’ve got footage of yourself riding any of the above routes, or somewhere just as extreme, then get in touch today. We’d love to showcase your greatest runs, quickest times and thrilling trails, so if you think your video is extreme enough then we want to see it.
The lovely folks over at Cycling Active have reviewed the Sensa Catena 29er bike in their May 2013 edition and we are thrilled that they found it as good a bike as we do! Getting a brilliant review and clocking up a 91% test score, Cycling Active were impressed with the build quality, the components, the ride and feel of the Catena and not to mention the price – Currently just £525.00 at Merlin Cycles.
Check out the full review and more in the May edition of Cycling Active.
While you would never guess it from looking out of the window at the moment, we are rapidly approaching the mountain biking season (UK Specific joke there).
So while the snow continues to make a nuisance of itself, why not check out our range of Mondraker mountain bikes? There was a bit of a rush on these earlier in the year, not surprising at these prices, but we still have a few left.
Offering sensational spec at these prices, the Mondrakers are an excellent value, great looking range of mountain bikes, with some having quirky nods to the cutting edge Mondraker designs – eschewing traditional frame builds.
From entry level bikes, to professional grade XC bikes check out the Mondraker range over at MerlinCycles.com
Mondraker Ventura Sport – £422.00
Mondraker Podium Pro – £1,105.00
Mondraker Lithium RR LTD - £3,899.00