Hard-core mountain bikers in the ’90s tended to thumb their noses at downhill riders. Mountain bikers bragged that they were self-contained, efficient, backcountry travelers, while the downhillers needed gravity to get down the hill, transportation to get up the hill and full-time mechanics to keep their complicated machines in one piece. That’s hardly true today, as the downhill racers on the World Cup circuit are some of the most finely tuned athletes we know of; however, 20 years ago, downhill bikes were essentially engine-less motocrossers that could barely be pedaled on level ground. These are the gravity machines of that era that ruled the chairlifts.
The gear: O’Neal outfitted our riders with the gear for our downhill testing. It included plenty of padded garb that would soften the impact of the inevitable get-off. The kit included a Qranc QamaQaze helmet, Zeal Rapt goggles and Answer Accelerator shoes.
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