Mountain Biking Through The OZ

Saddling up for the inaugural Outerbike Bentonville

WHEN HUSBAND AND WIFE Mark Sevenoff and Ashley Korenblat first visited Bentonville for the International Mountain Biking Association’s 2016 World Summit, they could tell it was something special. And as founders of Outerbike—a mountain biking expo that hosts demo events in cycling meccas like Moab, Utah, and Crested Butte, Colorado—they would know. “Our eyes, and everyone who was at the conference, really got opened up to what had been happening [in Northwest Arkansas] and all the new trails and all the development around town,” Mark says. Now, two years later, they’re bringing Outerbike to the area’s OZ Trails.

Over the course of three days, cyclists at Outerbike Bentonville will have the opportunity to try out the newest bikes and equipment from brands like Specialized, Giant and Orbea by putting them to the test on Northwest Arkansas’ acclaimed trail systems. Whether you’re new to mountain biking or you’ve been riding for years, there’s a bike and a trail at Outerbike that’s perfect for you. Wanna take a spin? We’ll get you in gear.

GETTING TECHNICAL AT COLER PRESERVE

For Coler, you’re going to want a bike that can handle its technical, rocky sections and man-made stunts, Mark says. That means you need a bike with a suspension system that can compress, or “travel,” enough to absorb any impact from the trail. Typically, the best bike for this kind of course would be a long-travel bike, and Mark recommends a bike like Evil Bike Co.’s The Wreckoning with its whopping 160 millimeters of travel. “It can take a lot of abuse whether it’s super rocky downhills or big 10-foot-plus jumps,” he says. “It’s not gonna go uphill too fast. It’s not going to win any cross-country races. But it’ll definitely take a lot of abuse.” Other options? The Ibis Ripmo, Specialized Enduro, Transition Sentinel or the Pivot Firebird would be great picks as well, Mark says: “You’d have the extra capability of those style bikes to boost some of the larger features and get away with it.”

PEDALING AT SLAUGHTER PEN

“Since the trails [at Slaughter Pen] have a variety of easy to more challenging trails, a trail bike with 130 to 150 millimeters of travel could be your best bet,” Mark says. Trail bikes are kind of middle-of-the-road, do-anything bikes because they’re capable of handling many types of terrain. “It can go to Coler and do big jumps,” Mark explains. “It can do lift serves at a ski area. It can go down rocky stuff. But it also usually pedals pretty well.” Such models include the Spot Mayhem, the Kona Process 134, the Scott Genius or the Specialized Stumpjumper.

SETTLING IN AT BACK 40

If you’ve got your sights set on an epic ride like the 22-mile Back 40 Loop, you’re going to want something light. Your best bet? A cross-country bike. “Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, a light bike is always easier to ride,” Mark says. Cross-country or “XC” are also known for their efficient pedaling ability, and tend to be more comfortable if you plan to be in the saddle for a while. Mark recommends Yeti’s SB100, The Revival from Underground Bike Works, the Orbea Occam or the Jet 9 by Niner.

Outerbike Bentonville will be held Oct. 26-28. Whether you want unlimited demo rides or you plan to BYOB(ike), your Outerbike Bentonville pass includes lunch each day, access to the event trails and daily shuttled rides. Still riding training wheels? Join the party as a spectator. Register for all three passes at outerbike.com.