Video: Are Mountain Bikers Faster Than Roadies? Madison Gets Two National Champions To Find Out

by 2

Ready for the challenge

Ever wondered if the time you make up on the descents would be enough to give you enough head start on the climb back up to the top? Or are you a climbing god who’s merely average at descending. It’s always a fun challenge to think about – and if you could get two riders of similar talents, you could put it to the test.

Luckly, when you’re Madison Cycles, you can do it for real. There’s no worries about whether your downhiller is downhilly enough and your climber is good enough on the ups when they’re both frickin’ British National Champions at their disciplines…

matt walker vs connor swift
Who’s your money on?

And so, on a glorious blue sky day, Madison pitched Downhill MTB British Champ and Madison Saracen rider Matt Walker against Connor Swift, the current British Road Champion and Madison Genesis rider in a head to head to find out who is the best all-round racing cyclist in the country.

Road racer doing a jump
Who said that roadies can’t jump?

The plan was simple – both riders would get near-on identical bikes to race on and would take part in each other’s discipline. First a downhill run at Cwmcarn, with the winner’s time being given as a handicap to the other rider when the competition hit the tarmac.

matt walker madison genesis
Matt Walker showboats less if he’s going for the win…

Needless to day, Matt Walker is a pretty fiercesomely fit rider and he was pretty confident at putting himself against Connor Swift on the road bikes. Likewise, Connor doesn’t just ride road bikes all the time and he’d even scoped out the course in advance to give himself as much of a boost as he could against Matt, who recently stepped on to the podium on both of the first two DH World Cups of the season.

Both riders would be racing head to head down Ace of Spades at Cwmcarn for the first of the challenges. The following day, it was the turn of Connor Swift to try to wipe the smirk off Matt Walker’s face on the epic climb of Gospel Pass – Wales’ highest paved road.

Could this have been the winning move? You’ll have to watch the video!
That rider up front with a bit of a turndown? Yep, he’s a road rider…

And then the tables turned and Connor got to line Matt up against Gospel Pass… A good gate start isn’t necessarily going to help you here, Matt.

Matt, that’s not going to win you the race…

Who won? Are modern DH riders that strong these days that they can rival a road racer? Are road racers all-round skilled enough to descend quickly? You’ll have to watch to find out.


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (2)

    That was ace. Props to both of them for giving it a go!

    Good to see that someone picked the litter up

Leave a Reply