Hans Rey – MTB Legend joins the SR Suntour Werx Team
Hans ‘No Way’ Rey is a name that needs little (if any) introduction. His competitive trials riding career may be 30+ years in the rearview mirror, but his adventure riding, inquisitive nature, and constant evolution as a cyclist live on. Hans has firmly cemented his name in mountain bike mythology alongside such legends as Joe Murray, Brett Tippie, and Richey Schley. At 56, he may be no spring chicken, the experience and enthusiasm he still brings to the sport far outshines the date on his birth certificate. And here’s the thing: he’s not done with bicycling anymore than bicycling is done with him. Hans is constantly evolving and reinventing himself and works tirelessly as a bicycling advocate with projects like his Wheels for Life charity and (more recently) his Urban Adventure Video Series. Hans was originally born in Germany, but now resides in Laguna Beach, CA and recently joined the SR SUNTOUR family.
After over a year of various travel restrictions we finally managed to meet up with Hans in Livigno, Italy this summer to create this video and get some fun shots for the story. After meeting Hans in person we had a few days to chat and learn more about what makes this mountain bike legend tick.
How often do you ride?
“I ride about 4 – 5 times a week.”
What kind of riding do you do?
“I mix it up with different bikes and disciplines, and also rotate between traditional/analog bikes and ebikes. Naturally, I go on trail rides on my local trails in Laguna Beach—those trails require skills and endurance. It’s straight up and straight down! Sometimes I go to bike parks (a perk of the job!), and sometimes I freeride or do some gravel.
Do you still ride trials?
“I try to ride my trials bike once a week.”
Hans, with a background in trials, what does suspension mean for you and for your style of riding?
“Traditionally trials riders prefer not to use suspension, since it can work counter productively when not set up properly. But I always wanted my street trials bikes to look like a real mountain bike, therefore I always ran suspension forks. And I quickly discovered that a suspension fork can give you a certain advantage if the set up is correct and the timing of the rider’s moves is in sync. The same is true for my style of flow riding. Even when climbing technical trails, I never lock my suspension: I want it to be active in order to have maximum ground contact and control. I especially appreciate it on my ebike—I love riding and climbing technical terrain with this new toy, particularly where trials skills are required. Especially on ‘widow maker’ sections of trail, where riders challenge each other to see who can climb higher/further. I love that kind or riding. And good suspension gives me the traction and control to excel in that kind of challenge.
Two of your favorite places to ride are Laguna Beach, CA, and Livigno in Italy. What do you like about riding in these places?
Laguna is a special place for me: it’s where I became a mountain biker. Before that I was a trials rider. But also Laguna is home to one of the oldest mountain bike clubs in the world—the Laguna RADS. Thirty-five years ago, when I first came to visit the US, I was lucky enough to meet them and they took me in and we started mountain biking together. The riding in Laguna is steep and technical, which was a perfect fit for my trials background. And we still ride every Wednesday night. The pace is always fast, and the fun factor is guaranteed. I love it!
My home away from home is in Livigno in the Italian Alps, near the Swiss border. I ride primarily at the Carosello 3000 Mountain Park – I’ve been going there a few times each year for the past 15 years, and together we have built an El Dorado for any kind of cyclist. But in general, Livigno is a fantastic place to ride. They have several bike parks and trail centers, but also they have back country, Transalp routes that utilize really old WWI and WWII smuggling routes, and there’s an incredible and supportive infrastructure in the area that caters to bikers—Including bike hotels and bike only facilities.”
Do you have a favorite trail there?
“My favourite trail is actually a tour called ‘The Tutti Frutti Epic’.”
The Tutti-Frutti Epic?
“It’s a bucket list ride! It is a one day tour that consists of 10 superb trails, that traverses 50 km and descends 12000 ft vertical. It’s all connected by a gondola, so practically no uphill riding and it’s the most breathtaking alpine experience with views, Italian food, and all the la dolce vita you can imagine!”
What is your vision for the near future of mountain biking?
Ebikes are the newest kid on the block, they are great and we need to integrate them in our existing trail structure, which means we have to respect what others have created and we need play by the rules – because there is a lot at stake if we don’t do our part. By this I mean that as more people discover the cycling and the outdoors we need to guide them and lead by example how to minimize our footprint and to get along with other trail users.
As a sponsored athlete, what do you want to achieve with your partners?
I love working with partners that support my vision and want to improve our sport. Brands like GT Bicycles and Adidas…I’ve been working with them for over 30 years, as well as many other sponsors that have supported my career.
And what I want to achieve is to make mountain biking as good as it can be…and that takes more than the best products. We need advocacy to grant us access. We need infrastructure. We need to promote culture and lifestyle, and we need to respect what we have, practice good trail etiquette, and be good stewards of what we have. And for that we need good ambassadors. And that’s what I want to do: be a good ambassador, to lead by example so more people can enjoy cycling, whether they’re new to the sport, on an ebike, part of one of cycling’s many subcultures, or have been riding for years.
Video Location: Livigno Carosello 3000
Produced by: Whyex
Photos by Hoshi Yoshida
Words by Colin Meagher, Mark Larson and Hans Rey