Our June 1998 issue featured some unusual bikes. One was the Intense Uzzi, the main bike on the cover. Another was the Denali electric bike, which was designed by Ely Schless. The third bike, if we can really call it that, was more like a giant surfboard with a bicycle frame mounted on top of it that riders could use to pedal on the water. We also had an interview with Ned Overend, the 1990 UCI world champion, who, at 42 years old, had just retired from racing full-time. Nevertheless, he was still racing in the pro class at many U.S. events. What’s even more surprising is that Ned still races in the pro class sometimes today…at the age of 62. In our interview with Ned, he mentioned that Specialized only had one U.S. cross-country racer, Todd Wells, who was just getting started in what would be a very long and successful pro career.
In another interview, the late Steve Tilford bemoaned the state of World Cup racing in the late 1990s. He (and many other American racers) believed that the European road race teams were bringing performance-enhancing drugs into cross-country mountain biking. Tilford’s suspicions proved to be correct. A number of top European cross-country racers would be found guilty of doping over the next few years.
Accusations: The late Steve Tilford shared his belief that performance-enhancing drugs had entered the mountain bike racing scene. Said Tilford, “I would say that to be a top-10 rider on the World Cup circuit, you would be in the minority if you weren’t taking a prohibited substance. I am not accusing anyone, but I can’t see how the speeds that they are riding just got that much better.” Not long after that, a number of top European racers were busted for drug violations.
The Surfbike: Mountain Bike Action staffer Sean McCoy (a former pro surfer) was more than happy to try out the Surfbike, which was designed so bike riders could do some of their pedaling on the water in the warmer months. We found the Surfbike much too likely to tip over when the rider stopped pedaling, but we still had fun testing it.
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