Hot off his victory in the final round of the Welsh MTB series, securing the series title in the process, it’s safe to say that Max Gibbons has made a big step up this season. At the age of 19 he has time on his side, and with only 4 years of focused training and racing behind him, the progress he’s made this year is a sign of things to come.

Epic Cycles has always had a policy of supporting riders. In the past this has been based around teams, but going forward we’re looking to support individual talent. Young, old, male, female, and across all disciplines. Max is one such talent. A name to watch out for in the future, this is the first step on a journey to international MTB success for Max.

Phil Weaver, owner of Epic Cycles, talks of how Max came to his attention. ‘Max had been riding successfully for local team Ludlow Brewery RT, and this is how we first noticed him as a MTB talent. When he came to the shop to enquire about the purchase of a new bike, we knew this was a rider we wanted to support. Talent development is always something we’ve been passionate about, and Orbea was the perfect fit for this.’

Not only do Orbea have some of the best equipment in the XC market, but they also have a talent identification programme.

Operating through local dealers they provide an environment where riders can develop through U23 racing and transition into the elite senior ranks. So we at Epic Cycles provide mechanical support as well as nutrition and spares, and Orbea provide exceptional bikes and a team of talented riders for Max to develop alongside.

Speaking of his move to Orbea Factory Racing Max says ‘Riding for Orbea this season has made a huge difference to my performance both because of the top quality bikes that I have access and a great team around me, as well as the brilliant support from Epic Cycles on the bike set up and keeping it well maintained.’

The Orbea Alma has been the weapon of choice for Max this season. On it he has ridden to multiple victories in the Welsh MTB series as well as the overall title, a podium place in the Regional Championships, and multiple top ten finishes across the National MTB series.

As is true across all disciplines the bike is a crucial ingredient in the recipe for success, but this is perhaps even more true when it comes to the MTB. Orbea are fast becoming the best in the business when it comes to XC performance. Max comments ‘The set up and the bikes are so important when it comes to MTB racing and you have to have the perfect balance between lightweight and fast for the climbs and also agile and comfortable on the descents, which the Orbea Alma definitely is.’

With the majority of the XC season now completed, there’s only the Midlands Championships and the final round of the National MTB Series to go. Max is hoping for strong finishes in both races to secure his Elite MTB license for next season, and if his results throughout the previous races are anything to go by it looks like he’s well on his way to making this happen. ‘My results this year have definitely boosted my confidence as a rider and I’m looking forward to a few weeks of training before my last races of the season.’

Watch out for Max over the coming years as a name high on the list of future British MTB talent. Once he’s completed the last races of this season he will be transitioning into CycloCross and he’s definitely one to watch there as well.

‘Max has been a pleasure to work with, and there’s nothing we love more then to see a talented rider be given the opportunity to blossom as Max has this season. He’s made a big step and we’re sure this is just the beginning for him.’