Down The Trail – Some of The Strangest Bikes We’ve Seen

Our October 1998 issue featured some of the stranger bikes we’ve seen in a while. Most of them were about to hit the market as ’99-model-year bikes.

One of the most interesting articles in the magazine was one about overcoming fear that was written by Katharine McCoy, who introduced the article by talking about her own fear of the monsters that she thought were under her bed when she was little. In the article, Katharine shared some useful tips for overcoming fear. She also shared some confessions of mountain biking fears from some of the top riders of the era. Some of those fears were really fascinating to read and helpful for the strategies the riders revealed.

Multi-time UCI world champion downhiller Anne Caroline-Chauson shared one of her biggest fears when riding: “Sometimes I am scared of something, like steep courses when it is raining. When I am scared of a section, I try to go slower in practice, and then start to take it faster and faster till I feel that I can do it.” 

The legendary Brian Lopes shared some of his fears too: “My biggest fear is losing—and I haven’t overcome that. Sometimes when it rains and there are these slippery roots and technical sections, I get scared. What I do is take them one step at a time, stay calm, try to flow through it, not panic and don’t make any abrupt moves. Then I move on to the next section and do the same thing.”

It’s comforting to know that even the best riders in the world can get scared when they see a super-challenging section ahead of them, and it’s great to hear how they cope with those challenges.

“The Palm”: Shaun Palmer was near the peak of his career in 1998 when he showed up on the downhill course at the Grundig World Cup event in Big Bear, California, that year.
Tough break: Unfortunately, Palmer crashed and broke his collarbone at the Big Bear race.
If looks could kill: The 25-pound Haro Extreme EX-3 offered a 7005-aluminum frame, 4 inches of front and rear suspension, a Shimano XTR drivetrain and a RockShox SID fork. The price was $2400.
At his prime: Brian Lopes was the fastest rider of the 131 elite men who competed in Big Bear’s World Cup downhill semi-finals, edging out France’s Nicolas Vouilloz by less than a second. In the finals, however, Spain’s David Vazquez would take the win, Lopes would finish fourth and Vouilloz would end up 12th.
The best: France’s Anne-Caroline Chausson won Big Bear’s elite women’s World Cup downhill race by a margin of 8.4 seconds over second-place finisher Missy Giove. Cheri Elliott took third.
Gary Fisher Joshua F1: “For ’99, Gary is getting his first chance to jump on the lightweight, full-suspension bus,” we said back then. The Joshua F1 weighed 23.5 pounds and offered a RockShox SID SL fork and remote-adjust rear shock.


Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.

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