Singletracks Best MTB Reads [March 2021]

The Singletracks staff and our contributors spend a lot of time every day, week, and month drafting up gear and bike reviews, and informing readers with breaking news and press releases. All of us try to devote an equal amount of time diving into the culture of mountain biking, digging into news and trends on a deeper level, and connecting with the mountain bike organizations and advocates who make our riding happen.

March is a good month for mountain bikers for a lot of reasons. Spring has started and the weather starts looking better – for most of us anyway. Those conversations of hope around beers and a fire that took place in the dead of winter start to look like vacation blocks on a calendar. Lunch rides and after work jaunts become a reality. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

In March we looked at tech trends like the lengthening and shortening of crank arms and the ever-lengthening of wheelbases and reach. We spoke with some amazing female athletes and one of the industry’s best photographers, and covered trail openings in Arkansas. See all of this month’s stories below and enjoy April.

Reader Bike Check: A Mountain Bike Built for Building Trail

Some people like trail building so much that they have a dedicated bike for it. Check out Eric Unger’s beefed-up Salsa Mukluk.

Are Trail Bikes Still Getting Longer, Lower, and Slacker? MTB Geometry, in 2021 and Beyond

Are trail bikes still getting longer? Singletracks EIC Jeff Barber took a look at the always-changing geometry trends and spoke with some industry reps to gauge where head angles are leaning these days.

5 Times Women Made Mountain Bike History

Juli Furtado’s determination built an amazing career which is now memorialized in one of the most popular bike brands out there. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot earned UCI rainbow stripes across road, CX, and MTB disciplines in the same year. Anne-Marije Rook interviewed five women who made MTB history. Read about some of our sport’s best highlights.

Color Me Anodized: A Close Look at How Alloy Bike Parts Are Coated to Prevent Corrosion

Hope pro 4 hubs

Anodization was discovered in 1923 in Japan and was found to be a great way to prevent corrosion on aluminum. It’s also a great way to make your bike stand out, hence the large amount of colorful components in the bike industry. Singletracks tech editor Gerow learned all about anodization. Soak in the information and your view of hubs like the Hope pictured above will take on a whole new meaning.

Are MTB Crank Arms Too Long? Here’s Why They Might Be Slowing Us Down

Which cranks came equipped on your bike, and what length were they? There’s a good chance they were 170 or 175mm long, whether the frame size was a small, medium, or large. Richard Shoop spoke with a bike fitter and an industry rep and read through available research to find out why crank lengths have been seemingly standardized, perhaps to riders’ detriment.

No Local Bike Trails? Here’s How to Fix That

One question we get a lot from readers is “how do I get a mountain bike trail built where I live?” Even though mountain biking is bigger than ever, there are still plenty of towns that don’t have a mountain bike trail. Singletracks EIC Jeff Barber has some answers which should point amateur advocates down the right trail.

Pro Skills: Robin O’Neill Talks How to Become a Pro MTB Photographer

You love mountain biking and love photography. How do you merge the two to make a living out of it? Robin O’Neill talks about how she made a career out of mountain bike and adventure photography and shares her tips for cracking into the industry.

Calling All E-bike Riding Friends: Please Don’t Climb DH Tracks

Downhill trails: fun for descending, fun for climbing on an e-bike. When the two happen at the same time, it can be a dangerous mixture. Here’s a call to keep it safe.

Saved by Conservationists, Funded Through YouTube: Berm Park in Canton, NC Will be One of a Kind

Selth Alvo of YouTube MTB fame promised his followers he’d build a bike park for them. At first he hit dead ends, but then the perfect piece of land opened up. What could have been a motorsports track will now be a public bike park called Berm Park at Chestnut Mountain in Canton, North Carolina. We dig into the great back story.

A New World-class, European Style XC Race Course Lands at Centennial Park in Arkansas

By taking cues from the Europeans and making it their own, the folks in Northwest Arkansas have made a legit, UCI-points-worthy XC and CX racing track to attract pros and spectators, bringing more eyes on the natural state.

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