BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- A crew from the most popular mountain bike magazine in the country wrapped up the bike testing portion of its two-week trip to Northwest Arkansas in Bentonville Wednesday (Oct. 19).
A crew of ten editors, writers, photographers and videographers from Bike Magazine has been test-riding 35 of the most-anticipated mountain bikes of 2017 on trails in Bella Vista, Bentonville, Rogers, Fayetteville and Eureka Springs.
"[Northwest Arkansas] is becoming really well-known for mountain biking and it's about time we came here," Editor Brice Minnigh said. "I don't think I've ever seen a place that's had so much trail put in so quickly."
The testing crew includes seven men and three women.
"Some of the trails here that we've been testing on are smooth and flowing," Gear Editor Ryan Palmer said, "Other trails have lots of roots and rocks that are sort of randomly placed to make them more technical, so you do have a lot of variety here."
Both Minnigh and Palmer agree the variety makes the area appealing to every kind of rider.
Minnigh said the magazine sent out a scouting crew to the area three months ago and since then 50 additional miles of trails have opened in Northwest Arkansas.
"Everybody is putting a lot of time and effort and money into mountain biking, which we see as them realizing that it's a great tourist attraction to get people into the sport and into this area," Palmer said.
The testing done by the crew will be compiled into Bike Magazine's Bible of Bike Tests issue, which will be released in January in print form and online. The testing issue also includes video round-table discussions and videos of the bike tests, which Minnigh said will likely all be viewed a total of a million times.
"It's become the most widely-respected buyers guide in the industry," Minnigh said.
But, the issue is about more than just bikes and gear, it is also about the place where the bikes were tested.
"There will be people that will just come [to Northwest Arkansas] just because they've seen us, they've seen our issue and they've seen our videos," Minnigh said.
And that is something Bentonville-based trail building company Progressive Trail Design is not complaining about.
"We've been working for years out here just trying to make as much progression as we can," Hardy Clyatt, who works for PTD, said. "For [Bike Magazine] to show up wanting to ride our trails is really awesome. It's an honor for us."
PTD has built several trail systems in the area, including Slaughter Pen in Bentonville, the Back 40 in Bella Vista, and Lake Atalanta and the Railyard Bike Park in Rogers. They are also working on the expanded master plan for trails on Mount Kessler in Fayetteville.
"We're all mountain bikers at heart," Clyatt said. "We do this because we love it and for our community to embrace it and to make it explode to the size that it has, is really breathtaking for us."
The Bike Magazine crew will spend the rest of their time in Arkansas videotaping some round-table discussions before they head back to the west coast.