Issue #183 of Australian Mountain Bike is on the shelves, with a new look and a slightly new size! As a first, we are also running a cover shot from Falls Creek - but not from summer. Dean Lucas is on the cover popping over a snow patch, part of a shoot with Matt Rousu. Like most Australian elite athletes, Dean is at home this winter. And Matt interviewed him in the magazine about how his season plan was looking, and where it is now, during this winter at home.

While we have other news including updates to the UCI World Cup (which has since seen a further update), details on the latest Shimano Deore group sets and a great giveaway offer from Krush, we get into the meat of the issue after the regular columns like X Factor and Gravity Check.

As a reminder, the AMB Photography Awards presented by Shimano are well and truly open to enter, with four categories, an overall title and a best young photograpeher title. There's $5000 cash money to win plus a full Shimano XTR M9100 group set, plus a Shimano Deore XT M8100 group set to win. We asked head judge Tim Bardsley-Smith to put some tips together if you're struggling to select some photos to enter. 


Jack O'Hare from Summit Trails kicks off some of our feature content with his Speakers Corner submission. Jack and I had been in touch regarding the ongoing forestry of old-growth forests in Tasmania. As a trail builder, Jack sees the benefit of mountain bike trails in the forest, and how that can bring an economic benefit to a smaller community. And while forestry does it as well - it only does it once! It's a good thought about how mountain bike trail building can be a sustainable practice while still providing an income to a community.

Rob Gunstone hit the trails and contacted Thredbo, Falls Creek, Jindabyne, Bright and Mount Beauty about coping with bushfires and COVID-19. A double hit to these locations who rely on us turning up through summer and autumn to ride trails and have a holiday.

But, all is not lost, and Rob found the downtime should make for one cracker of a summer in 2020/2021. We will ride again!

How was lockdown in your area? Australia didn't have a hard lockdown like many countries, but our ability to travel to ride trails was diminished. Shuttles were a no go, and riding with a bunch of mates just wasn't possible. We asked four riders about riding their trails that were closest to home. And while they might not be the trails that they want to go and ride when domestic and global travel restrictions change, they've been ones to keep the mountain bike vibe strong so far.

Just how sustainable is the mountain bike industry? That's a heavy question, but after so much of Australia was burning in summer, and global warming was at the forefront of the news, it is something worth thinking about. All of Issue #183 was done with reduced impact in mind. Sure, the magazine is still printed on paper and trucked around the country. But no one got on a plane or travelled far from home for any of the stories. And in the final major feature I spoke to brands like Chris King and Revel Bikes to hear about how they operate to take a step towards greater sustainability, and being part of a positive change. There's lots of small things you and I can do as well, to make sure our mountain bike playgrounds continue to exist for decades to come.

We also have a couple of fresh new bikes tested, such as the Specialized Levo SL Expert.

With Revel Bikes now available in Australia thanks to Off Road Bikes Online, we were lucky enough to get the Revel Rascal 29er trail bike for review. Here are Tim's first thoughts:

I dig deeper into Ride Aligned and how that has impacted the design of the Norco Optic C3 I have on test, but also how it is shaping all the new bikes that Norco are producing.

The final test of the highly tunable Fox 34 Factory Grip2 is in the mag, along with a review of the eMTB ready Hutchinson Toro Koloss tyres.

After not noticing any flats, it was time to wrap up a review of the Peaty's Tubeless sealant and equipment, as well as finalise the review of the very impressive Microshift Advent X 1x10 drive train.

There are also reviews of the Hammerhead Karoo GPS, Stan's NoTubes DART puncture repair tool, and the nifty Abbey Bike Tools Wash Buddy.

Jared Rando has some #protips about braking effectively, which is super useful not just for new riders, but those of us who have been riding for ages but need a refresher. 

We asked our resident dietician to explain what sort of carbohydrates we should be eating, and Fiona Herron submitted a delicious recipe for a pudding that ticks plenty of nutrition boxes.

For those who want to get more out of their riding, don't miss the strength training feature from Anna Beck. Anna has listed some exercises that are easy to do at home without access to a gym or weights equipment. As Anna has says, they're fast and easy to do.

Chris and Joe from Summit Cycles also have a guide on setting up your own workspace at home. From some ergonomic tips through to tool selection it's a must-read if you're developing your own workshop.

Issue #183 is on sale now, and if you sign up to subscribe, you can even enter to win a brand new set of RaceFace R36 carbon wheels thanks to Sola Sport!