Click: the switch in your head flips. From now on, euphoria and adrenaline take control. You hit jumps, soar through the air, and rail berms as you heed gravity’s call. It’s only when the brakes have cooled down that you realise your mind was occupied with nothing but the sensations of this moment, this trail, this experience.

That feeling of switching off the constant chatter in your head and fully embracing the flow of the trail is indescribable. You enter a trance, and you feel unstoppable, until your face hurts from smiling and the trail comes to an end. All your thoughts and problems are just wiped away. To reach this zen state, you need complete faith in your gear. Especially in your brakes, because they’re more than just your safety net when things get sketchy.

The latest issue is available now in our free magazine app. If you haven’t installed our app yet, now’s your chance to download it for free in the App Store (iPhone/iPad) or in the Play Store (Android-Smartphones und Tablets).

Trails keep getting more demanding, bikes keep getting more capable, and we keep getting faster. To reign it all in and stay in control, you need powerful stoppers. That’s why we pitted the 14 most promising MTB brakes against each other over the course of several months. We compared them head to head on some of Spain’s best trails, made them glow red hot in rigorous laboratory tests, and bled them in the workshop until there wasn’t a single bubble of air left. But how does theory differ from practice, why are the most powerful brakes not necessarily the best, and what impacts braking performance the most? You can learn more about it in this issue’s brake group test.

If there’s one thing that was absolutely unstoppable in 2023, it was Manuel Lettenbichler. With 6 out 6 race wins, the Red Bull KTM Factory rider scored the perfect season and was crowned the FIM Hard Enduro World Champion, back to back. When he’s not dominating the hard enduro scene, you’ll find the likeable Bavarian blasting down the mountainside aboard his YT DECOY, which is how our paths cross. We spent two days with Mani in the Austrian mountains, pushing our limits, revving engines, and entering unknown territory. Caution: it gets loud, dirty, and electric.

10 years ago, we conducted the world’s first downcountry group test, escaping the cold German winter and testing the 8 hottest models of the time head to head in California, ushering in this new bike category with a bang. Capable and fun XC bikes are still on trend, and we’ve pitted the three hottest models currently on the market against each other in our latest group test. Which bike is the most fun, which type of rider will get the most out of each one?

Light eMTBs are also on the rise: almost all bike brands worth mentioning now have one on offer, and there’s an endless range of intended uses, suspension travel, and motor concepts to choose from. Our editor Antonia hit the trails with a few light eMTBs in tow to find out if they might be the perfect mountain bikes for women. Looking beyond the stereotypes, we immersed ourselves in the world of light eMTBs, from the perspective of female riders.

The eMTB boom is unstoppable, and it’s slowly arrived in North America. But would you believe that the world’s mountain bike mecca – Whistler – still has a huge amount of untapped eMTB potential? That’s because the biker’s paradise is still on the back foot when it comes to embracing eMTBs. We met up with Whistler local Seb Kemp and explored the area’s untapped potential with the assistance of our e-powered mountain bikes.

Excited? These (and many more) stories are just a few clicks away. If you’ve already installed our free app, simply open it and download the latest issue right now. If not, first download the free app from the App Store (iPhone / iPad) or the Play Store (Android Smartphones & Tablets) and then download the latest issue in the app. All you’ve got to do then is sit back and enjoy (ideally with a cold beer or a delicious cup of coffee)! #qualitytime

Cheers, Peter

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Words & Photos: Peter Walker

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!