Mountain Bike Action, June 1994


Here’s the cover of Mountain Bike Action from June of 1994. We don’t remember who most of the riders are in the cover photo, but that’s Toby Henderson, the founder and CEO of Box Components, in second place in this photo. Toby was our number one test rider for much of the 1990s. He got on so many magazine covers as a result, that we heard back then that he was the highest paid rider in the sport for a while.

Toby recently shared some details on how much he was earning in his prime: “It varied throughout the years, but I was most proud of how much press I was getting, and I was being paid by that amount of press,” Toby told us. “Some of the best years were around 350 grand plus my wins, I think one year, total bonuses equated to about 100 grand. In BMX about 250 grand one year. But I did that for 20 years. It was a bit slow between BMX and MOUNTAIN BIKE, but my goal was to get back up to my BMX days and I exceeded that as my MOUNTAIN BIKE career developed. The last year raced I just wanted that 20th year, that was important to me.”

Toby was a test rider/cover star for so long that he was one of the most recognizable faces in the sport. He used to stipulate in his sponsorship contracts that he had to be allowed to continue being a test rider for Mountain Bike Action, since being in the magazine all the time was the reason he was so well known and so valuable to his sponsors.

Toby was also one of the top mountain bike riders in the world and one of the top downhill and dual slalom racers in America for most of the 1990s.

Before he got into mountain biking, Toby was one of the top pros in BMX, as well. MBA’s John Ker recalls how he and Toby were sitting in the same row on an airline flight one time, either going to or coming back from a big BMX race in the U.S., and a skinny kid about 12-years-old came walking down the aisle. Toby said to John something like, “Keep an eye on that kid. He’s going to be really good.”

John made a mental note to remember who the kid was. It was Brian Lopes.

Within the next 15  years or so, Lopes was recognized as one of the greatest bike riders in history, with one publication even going so far as to say that Brian Lopes was the best bike rider in the world. He may well have been just that. Brian ended up with a long list of U.S. National, UCI World Cup, and UCI World Championship titles to his credit.

As the old saying goes, “It takes one to know one.” Toby was a great rider, too, and he knew talent when he saw it.

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