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Hans Rey and Shimano take a look at the evolution of mountain biking

Hans Rey
(Image credit: Shimano)

While mountain biking is still a fairly new sport a lot has changed in its short life span. Huge innovations in riding styles and tech have gone hand in hand to shape the sport into what we know it as today. But in all the excitement of wireless drivetrains and sensor-packed suspension tech, it's easy to forget where the sport has come from. 

In fact, the introduction of the first commercial 29er tire, the WTB Nanorapter, in 1999 is closer in time to when Specialized Stump-jumped onto the scene and the effective birth of mountain biking than the present day. And when you consider that pretty much everything on our modern bikes, from geometry to components, that we take for granted out on the trail has been developed and optimized since then, it really hits home at how quickly mountain biking has progressed over the years.

Hans Rey rolls down a rock face

(Image credit: Shimano)

Mountain bike legend Hans Rey has seen it all, having raced and been an ambassador of mountain biking for over four decades, he has seen every trend and pioneered a few of them too. The German trials and early freeride star has been a long-time sponsored rider for Shimano, who has sponsored Hans Rey since 1988 - coincidently the year I was born!

In this video, Shimano catches up with the mountain bike pioneer for an e-MTB ride and a rummage through his garage and memories of mountain biking in the old days to see just how far mountain biking has come in the last 40 years.

Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro and, most recently, gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotlands wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect and the muckier side of Cyclingnews 


Rides: Canyon Strive, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg