10 Stupid Trends In Mountain Biking- Past, Present And Future

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Words by Jared Rando | Images by Damian Breach

There’s no doubt that the mountain bike world loves a good trend. Mountain biking is such a tech driven industry and trends come and go as we move from the greatest thing to the next greatest thing to the next greatest thing.

As mountain bikers, we love it. Anything that makes us go faster and our riding easier is pushed to the limit and then quickly dumped when the next bit of technology comes around.

More often than not, it starts with the racers and then progresses from there. You see, racers are odd creatures who think that if something works, then more is better. If more is better, then even more is better again and if you do more than all your competitors, then you will definitely beat them.

This brings us to the first stupid trend which didn’t help anyone beat anyone if you ask me-

1. Super low bars (past).

This first started with the DH crowd and came in at the same time as super wide bars. It got to the point where people thought that flat bars were a good idea for DH bikes. Flat bars have no place on a DH bike and if you tell me that your flat bars are better on your DH bike, then good for you.

But it’s not limited to DH racers anymore. 29ers have brought with them a whole new realm of bar set up ridiculousness, and I’m seeing it more and more, and to me it’s definitely not cool-

2. Negative 25 degree rise stems (present).

This one really makes me mad. If you really feel the need to have your bars 10cm lower than your top tube, then I’d suggest you are on the wrong bike. This is by far the dumbest looking bike setup trend I’ve ever seen and yes, it’s a trend because in 3 years, everyone who is doing this is going to realize they look like idiots, their bikes handle like crap and it will come to an end. I hope.

Fortunately though, some of these extreme trends have already come to an end and here’s a list of some of my favourite, stupid trends of mountain biking’s history books, some of which (unfortunately) are still with us-

3. 24” wheels (past).

That’s right, before everyone convinced that 26” wheels were too small, people were convinced that they were too LARGE. Give me a break.

4. Biopace Chainrings (past, present, future?)

Yep, round chainrings are a dumb idea. Let’s make them oval and wobbly. Shimano figured out it was a bad idea two decades ago but some still persist and chances are someone ten years from now will tell me that their oval shapes chainrings are the best thing since 29” wheels.

5. Narrow Bars (past).

Like 24” wheels, before our bars were too narrow, they were too wide. This stuck more with the early Dirt Jump / Skate Park crowd of mountain biking and was a carry-over from BMX. Just think about all that wasted aluminium from cut down bars.

It could have gone into something cool like…….

6. Remote Shock Lockouts (Past, Present).

Do you really need that much shit on your handlebars? Thankfully this one is on the way out. After all, it’s really not that far to reach the top of your forks or your rear shock. I saw a guy the other day with a front and rear shock lockout and a remote dropper lever all on his bars, and about 3kg of cables connecting it all.

7. Bar Ends (Past).

Bar ends were kind of cool. Only mountain bikers would think of attaching more handlebars to their handlebars.

8. 3” Tyres (Past).

Remember the Nokian Gazzaloddi? That was ridiculous. Still not as ridiculous as those stupid Pugsley bikes though.

I’ll save the last two to try and pick some future trends. Things that don’t seem out of place now, but will in the future. I know I’m going to cop some flak for this but I’m just calling it as I see it-

9. 29” Wheels.

Yes, I said it. I like 29ers, I own and regularly ride them and I like them. But, I think that 5 years from now, we will be riding a different size wheel. That’s all I have to say about that.

And finally, the last spot on the list goes to, the one and only…….

10. Strava.

Gotta love Strava, but I have covered that before.