Singletracks Best MTB Reads: September 2021

Photo: Jeff Barber

The Singletracks staff and 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 rides possible.

This month we wrote about mountain bike culture, and how it plays into our relationships, language, and social dynamics. We explored questions around ever-changing standards and mountain bike evolution, how to turn a good ski destination into a good mountain bike destination in the Northeast, and what the future looks like for cyclists in Afghanistan. Check these stories out below in case you missed them the first time around.

Technical is Mountain Bikers’ Dirty Word

Technical seems like a strange word to apply to bike trails. Then again, maybe it’s not. Singletracks editor-in-chief Jeff Barber weighs the dirty word technical and all the nuance that comes along with it.

Cheers to You, Group Ride Navigator

Taking a group or another person out on a quality mountain bike ride isn’t as easy as dragging your index finger across a map or a smartphone. Mapping a good route is the product of planning and it’s not always as simple as it might seem.

The Story of the Clever SwitchGrade Saddle Angle Adjuster

The SwitchGrade saddle angle adjuster was made to give even more clearance between a rider’s saddle and shorts. Read how Noel Dolotallas came up with the idea for this clever little saddle gadget.

There’s no Avoiding Spider Web Season on the Trails

Yes, this is the stuff nightmares are made from but since Halloween is right around the corner we thought you might want help getting in the spirit. Jeff learns us up on what spider season on the trails is like in his neck of the woods.

Rooted Vermont: Business Up Front, Party in the Back—And All are Welcome

As a mountain biker, you might have mixed feelings about gravel, especially if you’ve paid attention to greater gravel news lately. The Rooted Vermont race however aims to keep the inclusive and casual vibe of gravel in its competition – at least at the tail end of the start line.

Should I Mullet My Mountain Bike?

With all the mixed-wheel rage right now, you might be asking yourself, “should I mullet my bike?” Your parents might retort with a quip about jumping off a bridge or something like that. Jeff takes the question and asks how deep the water is, and if there is a reward for jumping. Actually, it’s more of an evaluation of the consequences on geometry after altering the wheel size, but still an important one to read if you are in fact thinking about mixing your wheel size.

Can My Mountain Bike Work With a Different Fork Offset?

Quick, here’s another heavily weighed upon tech question: Can I use a different offset on my MTB and what are the ride-altering effects? Singletracks tech editor Gerow writes about reduced trail, increased trail, and what happens using a different offset than what your MTB is intended for.

Life Partners as Trail Partners: A case for Dating Mountain Bikers, and Taking Lovers Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers have found true love twice when they find a partner they can enjoy their favorite passion with. Gerow reflects on riding with a partner and the joy that comes from the interwound relationship.

The Future for Afghan Cyclists is Uncertain, But the Dreams Are Still Lucid

For cyclists in Afghanistan, especially female cyclists, their future on two wheels is as uncertain as ever now that the Taliban has regained control. Farid Noori of MTB Afghanistan is remaining resilient in his dream to help Afghans see their country on two wheels.

Transforming a Great Ski Destination into an Even Better Mountain Bike Destination in Maine

The Carrabassett Valley in Maine has long been a great ski destination, but thanks to a passionate mountain bike community and local business and government, the area has turned into one filled with bikes during the summer.

What Makes a Hardtail Hardcore? A Look at Suspension and Geometry

Hardcore hardtails have become the norm in the rigid-rear mountain bike world, and geometry and fork travel largely determine whether a hardtail is “hardcore” or not. Jeff takes a look at what the numbers look like these days.