Mountain Biking: Who Needs Brakes?

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, May 1995

Mountain Biking: Who Needs Brakes?
By Todd Balf

French downhiller Christian Taillefer isn't known for his success on the summer tour, but put him on the iced-over speed-skiing course at Vars, France, and he's a sonic blur. Taillefer again proved his fearlessness last February at Bike Speed 95 as he beat a field of four and reclaimed the mountain-bike speed record, accelerating to 111 mph. "The most difficult part was getting into my suit," joked Taillefer, who wore a skintight outfit and rode a bike with aerodynamic motorcycle-style fairings that encased the frame tubes. The previous record holder, Eric Barone, managed no better than 103 mph, even though he eventually removed his front brake in a desperate (and questionable) effort to cut wind resistance. Italy's Giovanna Bonazzi, the 1993 women's downhill champion, set a women's speed record on her fourth and final run with an 89-mph descent.

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