Best October MTB Reads: Tomorrow’s Riders, Taking the Plunge, and Dialing in Fit

Photo: Matt Miller

Welp, that went fast. Summer 2021 is now fully in the history books. Our summer reading finished up with a story by Singletracks‘ contributor Maureen Gaffney, who found out if we should or shouldn’t ride during wildfire/smoke season. It’s worth a full read, and there’s a happy bottom line to that question.

Two of our writers celebrated what they love about riding bikes with their kids in the same story, and we went on a picturesque fall ride on Colorado’s newest epic trail, the Palisade Plunge. Read that one if you want to know what the 32-mile ride is like. We also covered two programs intended to bring mountain biking to a greater audience, with one in Atlanta and one in Denver.

Singletracks tech editor Gerow explored the ups and downs of bottom bracket height and cleat placement, and experimented with bar width for the full summer, taking away some interesting conclusions.

There’s even more in this Best Reads “issue” so check out all our features below to make sure you didn’t miss anything on the site.

What Two Parents Hope Their Kids Will Learn Through Mountain Biking

In honor of Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, two parents encourage us to share mountain biking with children in our local communities.

Expect the Unexpected on the Palisade Plunge, Colorado’s Newest Epic Trail

The 32-mile Palisade Plunge, which opened in Western Colorado this summer, challenges mountain bikers and their expectations.

Thrive Outside Atlanta is Making Mountain Bikes and Trails Accessible to More Riders

This month the City of Atlanta celebrated a new program at the Southside Park mountain bike trail system as a part of the Thrive Outside Atlanta initiative.

How Bottom Bracket Height Affects Mountain Bike Handling

Mountain bike bottom bracket height affects how “in” versus “on” a bike feels, and also how the bike fits.

How Wide is Too Narrow? A Season of Handlebar Width Experimentation

Sunn Kern EN 29

Wider mountain bike handlebars are better, until they’re not. Gerow experiments to see how narrow he can go while still maintaining control.

Being on a Scholastic Mountain Bike Team Taught Me the Right Lessons at the Right Time

A student athlete shares five lessons learned training and racing mountain bikes over five seasons.

When is it Too Smoky to Mountain Bike?

With wildfires and smoke seemingly becoming more common, we ask an expert how to determine when conditions are healthy enough for riding bikes.

Lucky To Ride is Breaking Down Mountain Biking Barriers

Lucky to Ride in Denver, Colorado gives kids who otherwise might never be exposed to mountain biking a chance to ride.

Max Commencal Talks Women’s Race Teams, Alloy, and Money

Max Commencal is enthusiastic about the athletes he works with, and you will often see him hugging riders at the finish line of World Cup downhill races.

Clipless Cleat Experiments: The Fore and Aft of It

Gravity riders tend to favor a rearward cleat position, so I decided to see how it feels on the trail.

2021 Red Bull Rampage in Glimpses and Frames [Photo Essay]

Photo highlights from the 20th Red Bull Rampage freeride mountain bike competition in Virgin, Utah.

Mountain Bikers Do It Multiple Times a Year, Not Just Once Every Four

Mountain biking is one of the few sports that brings together the best athletes from around the world every year.

Cosmic Dirt: Designing MTB Trail Apparel for Every-Body

Two riders take a critical look at mountain bike apparel fit and aim to outfit more trail friends.

How to Choose a Good Dirt Jump Bike: We Ask Industry Pros

We ask three insiders how to select the right dirt jump bike for your desired riding style and terrain, and what makes one bike better than the other.

The Advantages of Starting on a Hardtail: Real Versus Imagined

Whether it’s a rite of passage, a less-expensive way to test the waters, or an opportunity for building skills, mountain bikers have opinions about starting on a hardtail.

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