Heavy, terrible geometry, poorly assembled and with brakes that required the full four fingers to activate, they still provided the catalyst. All it took was one proper off road ride to decimate the bikes and inspire a lifelong passion.
Once a decent MTB had been acquired in 1991, it was no longer enough to simply ride around the woods. Racing looked like where all the fun was at and even if not racing, a place to see the newest pieces of kit and explore this brave new world.
Starting off in XC it was only a short five years before we moved into racing downhill and by the nature of youthfulness, also into dirt jumping and back into BMXing. Bikes were torn apart, customised, singlespeeded and in the case of the BMX, brakes removed entirely. It was all new with no concern or regard for what should be done. It was there to make it what you will.
Often it was the bikes that were launched that shaped the way we rode. The Spooky Metalhead gave us a love of dirt jumping, street riding and singlespeeding. The Intense M1 had us hooked on downhill. We moved from DH racing and dirt jumping back into XC racing via singlespeeding due to the Santa Cruz Chameleon and then have continued to pin ball our way around mountain biking ever since, never settling in one place.
Sure we also road bike, ride cyclocross, race track and still BMX but for us mountain biking is our roots. It's what got us hooked. It's shaped our view of cycling. It's in our blood.