BIKE Magazine’s Top 9 Mountain Biking Features of the Last Decade


As the decade winds down, we reflect on some of the most impactful stories and videos of the past 10 years published in the pages of the magazine and on Distilling a decade’s worth of images and words into one ‘listicle’ is nearly impossible, so this isn’t exactly that. Instead, our list includes a mix of most viewed, most read or stories that shaped the direction of our content as we progressed through the decade. Join us for a trip down memory lane, and we hope you’ll ride along with us for the next 10 years.


This article originally appeared on and was republished with permission.

The Future Is Digital

In 2014, Joey Schusler, then a relatively unknown filmmaker and adventurer, came to Bike with a content proposal for a feature story and accompanying film that would document an attempt by he and two buddies to circumnavigate Peru’s Huayhuash range on mountain bikes. But it wasn’t the print magazine he had in mind for the platform to showcase his work, rather his team would build it into an interactive, four-chapter parallax scrolling feature that incorporated words, photos, video clips and maps to be posted on At the time, the feature content on Bike’s website paled in comparison to its print counterpart, but the seeds for change had already been planted. This was the era of the New York Times’ “Snow Fall,” which showed how powerful a tool the web could be in exceptional storytelling, and became the industry standard for in-depth online journalism.

We published “Huayhash” in April 2014, and it quickly became our benchmark for how we wanted to publish features online in the future. It was our first (and to-date arguably best) foray into publishing digital features and signaled the start of a slow philosophical shift from ‘print-first’ and the leftovers go online, to viewing as a viable outlet for prime photos and words. Even now, almost six years later, the Huayhuash film remains our third most viewed YouTube film of all time, with more than 400,000 views.

Photo: Courtesy of BIKE Magazine

Grieving Legends

The last decade delivered significant loss, as the industry grieved the deaths of three of its most beloved riders. In early 2016, the death of Kelly McGarry, the perpetually smiling Kiwi who became a household name with his 72-foot backflip over the canyon gap at Rampage in 2013, shook the mountain bike world. McGarry, then just 33, died of a cardiac arrest while riding in his native New Zealand. His spirit lives on through the Kelly McGarry Spirit Award, which goes to one rider at every Rampage who best embodies Kelly’s larger-than-life personality and positivity.

Just three months after Kelly’s death, mountain bikers were dealt another bout of sadness when Canadian downhill champion and World Cup racer Stevie Smith, then 26, died from a brain injury suffered during a crash while riding his enduro moto near his hometown of Nanaimo, British Columbia. Smith first came on the scene through his touching segment in “Seasons,” which showed the teen’s mom shuttling him for hours as he worked toward his goal of making a career out of mountain biking. Sure enough, he quickly cemented his legendary status by becoming Canada’s DH Champion and winning the DH World Cup Overall in 2013, the first Canadian to take that honor. Smith’s legacy lives on through the Stevie Smith Memorial Bike Park, which opened in Nanaimo in 2017.

And less than three months ago, another shock: freeride legend Jordie Lunn sustained a fatal head injury in a simple crash while riding in Mexico. Lunn’s steadfast spirit and seemingly fearless riding style over his long 20-year riding career made him a fan favorite and his loss was felt far and wide.

Photo: Courtesy of Haruki Nogochi/BIKE Magazine


Blueprint was the brainchild of former Bike gear editor Vernon Felton, who aimed to dig deeper into the developmental side of new technologies by talking to the often behind-the-scenes folks who spearheaded such innovations, using the long-form video format. We launched the first Blueprint in February 2013 on the R & D behind the new Specialized Enduro 29, the first big-wheeled iteration of Specialized’s popular all-mountain bike. With more than 245,000 views, it became one of our best-performing videos of the decade. And though we went on to produce another eight Blueprints over four years, none performed as well as that first peak behind the curtain in Morgan Hill.

Photo: Courtesy of Corbis/BIKE Magazine

Beautiful Idiot

Our most-viewed video ever on YouTube and with good reason, “Beautiful Idiot” takes you on a ride through the mindset and motivations of those who feel driven to pursue greatness, how it can feel to fall short, and the consequences of reaching a lofty goal when the struggle to get there has defined you for so long. Featuring professional freeride mountain bike rider Brett Rheeder, and produced by Grain, a partnership between filmer Harrison Mendel and photographer Robb Thompson. If you missed it the first time around in 2018, find the full feature and film here.

Photo: Courtesy of Robb Thompson/BIKE Magazine

Let the (Multi-day) Adventure Begin

Bike’s roots are planted in its destination stories, with words and images that aim to uncover trails and culture in distant lands, and to inspire our readers to explore the world, or even their own backyard, on their mountain bikes. But historically these stories were facilitated with help from a guide who would lead rides and arrange logistics. That started to change in early 2013 when then-editor Brice Minnigh joined a self-supported, multi-day bikepacking expedition through Afghanistan’s remote Wakhan Corridor which became one of many such trips we would document over the ensuing years as bikepacking became a major focus for the magazine.

Photo: Courtesy of Dan Milner/BIKE Magazine

The Bible of Bike Tests

Technically The Bible of Bike Tests started 11 years ago, but our version of a buyer’s guide certainly has dominated our gear-related resources over the past decade, as it’s evolved from a once-yearly mega-bike test to a year-round endeavor with multiple Bibles released digitally throughout the year. Since we started in 2009, we’ve grown from a print-only product to producing dozens of Roundtable Reel videos to accompany written reviews, as well as orchestrating a robust social media presence, both during testing and to promote the individual reviews. In the process, editors have had to transform from faceless writers to on-camera personalities with skin thick enough to handle the YouTube trolls.

Photo: Courtesy of BIKE Magazine

Gathering Storm

There’s never been a time in the short history of mountain biking when trail access wasn’t a hotbed issue, at least not in the American west. But when Vernon Felton embarked on the production of “Gathering Storm,” the Wilderness debate had hit a fever pitch. Mountain bikers in Montana were losing 178 miles of trail previously in a Wilderness Study Area and some of Idaho’s most pristine backcountry trails, in the Boulder-White Clouds region of Sawtooth National Forest was about to be off-limits to riders due to a new wilderness designation. Felton’s in-depth reporting of this sensitive and timely subject allowed Bike to keep its proverbial finger on the pulse of one of the most important topics in our sport.

Photo: Courtesy of BIKE Magazine

Lines in the Dirt

Two years after Felton’s original stories, the access issue was as contentious as ever, and writer Devon O’Neil tackled the tense topic from another angle in his four-part “Lines In the Dirt” series, highlighting the impacts of trail loss on the ground in Northern California, Montana and Massachusetts.

Photo: Courtesy of Jay Goodrich/BIKE Magazine

The post BIKE Magazine's Top 9 Mountain Biking Features of the Last Decade appeared first on Men's Journal.

Comments are closed.