In 1985 Mammoth Mountain host- ed the first lift-accessed downhill mountain bike race on the planet.
The Mammoth Kamikaze started at
the top of the 11,053-foot mountain
and dropped some 2000 feet in
elevation. Riders would hit speeds
of close to 60 miles per hour on the
course. It was the fastest and scariest
mountain bike race in the world. The
Kamikaze was a huge success, and
it set the standard for downhill bike
races for years to come.
A LITTLE HISTORY
In the early days of our sport, riders
used the same bikes in their cross-country races that they rode in downhill,
with the occasional exception of adding
bigger chainrings to the bikes for the
Full-suspension bikes didn’t really start
catching on in mountain biking until the
1990s. Rear suspension was used mainly
in downhill events before then. Suspension
travel was typically limited to 2 to 3 inches
in the early days, although those figures
soon started climbing. As downhill racing evolved, more travel was added to
the bikes and racecourses got rougher.
Soon, riders who wanted to race both
cross-country and downhill started needing
two bikes if they wanted to stay competitive
in both events. Most top riders began to
specialize in one event or the other.
The battle for glory at