Down The Trail: Highlights Of The Last 20 Years



MBA, June 2001.



Our June 2001 issue looked at the top new bikes and products, including the latest full-suspension bikes from Cannondale.

One of the best articles in the issue offered some tips from Toby Henderson on how to get and keep sponsors. Here are a few of his tips: “Match your bike to your helmet to your uniform and to the race rig. Pick a color scheme and/or theme and stick to it with everything you do for at least one whole season.”

Here’s another tip from Toby: “Speak highly of your sponsors at all times no matter what. You chose those products. Live with them and love them. Be positive in all situations involving your racing career. Don’t bad-mouth competitors’ products. Trash-talking is definitely unprofessional.”

Here’s another: “Take only the parts you need. When they are free, return them when you’re finished with them. If you bought them, do not resell them. This is a lost sale for the company and less money for your long-term goal.”

How well did Toby’s plan work? Very well, apparently. “I made a lot of money,” says Toby. “I was well into the six-figure range when I was riding with Giant,” Toby recalls. “In my 20 years as a pro racer, I have had only seven different title sponsors. During my last year of racing, I had 21 paying contracts. Combined, these contracts earned me the most money ever paid to me in a single year!” Toby added this at the end: “I attribute my ability to get and keep sponsors to understanding the importance of long-term relationships. Take my advice seriously, and it may take you as far as it took me.”

MBA, June 2006.


15 Years Ago

Our June 2006 issue profiled former Olympian Travis Brown and his Trek single-speed, which had a 29/26-inch wheel setup.

Brown came to national prominence in 1996 when he battled the legendary John Tomac at Park City, Utah, in a cross-country race. The two racers swapped the lead seven times before Brown finally overcame Tomac. That was when Brown scored his first national win. In 1999 he won America’s cross-country title, earning a slot in the 2000 Olympics. By 2006, Travis was a huge advocate of the mixed-wheel, “mullet” setup, but it failed to catch on with the public at that time.

We also did a shootout between two Gary Fisher bikes—one with 29-inch wheels and the other with 26-inchers. While the 29er was better over the bumps and through soupy mud, the 26er offered better climbing, sharper turning and quicker acceleration. Though our feelings would change a few years later, after the 29-inch bikes’ geometry improved, we preferred 26-inch wheels that time. Today, 26-inch wheels have nearly disappeared from the market. Nowadays, 29-inch wheels rule the market, with 27.5-inch wheels a close second.

MBA, June 2011.


10 Years Ago

Our June 2011 issue featured Canada’s Wade Simmons on the cover, shot in Simi Valley, California, on a trip where he visited the MBA offices.

We had a special section where some of the top riders in the world shared their tips. The tipsters included the great Julien Absalon; world champion Maja Wloszcsowska; Canadian superstar Geoff Kabush; trials star Hans Rey; and American stars Georgia Gould, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Kyle Strait, Willow Koerber, Ruthie Matthes, and Melissa Buhl.

Absalon, who would go on to win seven World Cup XC titles, five UCI World Championship titles and two Olympic gold medals, shared some of his tips for success, including these: “First of all, my opening piece of advice is that you have to enjoy the bike. Pleasure and passion are my ‘engines’ on the bike.” He also advised, “Check your tire pressure before each outing. Use between 27.5 psi and 30.5 psi for tubeless tires and from 29 to 32 psi for pneumatic tires.

Hans Rey had seven tips. One of them was this: “Ride bigger, wider tires if you want more traction, safety and control, as well as a plusher ride. This is especially recommended for hardtail riders.” One of his tips for international travel was this one: “Don’t Google the internet too much on your phone. Your roaming charges will be higher than your airfare.”



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