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Land Rover Bikes, Carving Trails With All the Grace of a Classic Defender
So far on Land Rover month, we've showcased the very first Land Rovers, the most important civilian Land Rover in the Range Rover, and a military Land Rover that was pretty shabby at taking an IED to the face.

Land Rover Bikes, Carving Trails With All the Grace of a Classic Defender

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Now, feast your eyes on the Land Rover line of Mountain Bicycles. That's right, prepare to take your love of all things Land Rover along a trail far too narrow for even the smallest 90 series Defender to fit through without wedging itself between two trees. Of course, designing and mass-producing a bicycle is an incredibly far complicated process, even for the makers of the world's most refined 4x4s.

Many people may not know that Land Rover actually has a long and storied side-history designing performance-oriented bicycles. It's a practice that, at the very least, dates back to 1995. A time when Land Rover was undergoing one of the most polarizing transformations in the history of 4x4s.

The Range Rover halo vehicle of the lineup had only stepped foot on American soil in the last ten years by the mid-90s. Even by Classic Range Rover Standards, it was a far cry from what it used to be. Gone were the plastic dash and rubber floor mats. In their place were plush leather seats, hand-cut wood, and tons upon tons of electronic gizmos.

What does this have to do with Land Rover Bikes? Well, it's easier to understand when viewed from a holistic perspective. Land Rover, and the Range Rover especially, were targeting clientele altogether different from what it once was. The cosmopolitan North American or European upper-middle-class family with two working parents and a daily school run to keep up with.

What do these people like to do most of all when they have spare time away from their big-city tech, legal, and finance jobs? You guessed, they go out riding on their bikes, high up in the countryside where they can forget about their jobs.

Away from the cutthroat daily grind back in whichever metropolis they call home. Land Rover's plan was to be the go-to place for your child hauler and your weekend toy even if it made Land Rover fans of older set seeth with resentment and many other less than positive emotions.

The very first product of this line of thinking came in the aforementioned year of 1995. This bike was designed by Pashley Cycles, a nearly century-old British bicycle manufacturer based out of Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It was essentially a collapsable variant of the longstanding Pashley Cycles' Moulton APB (All Purpose Bicycle).

The bike featured a leading link front suspension with adjustable damping and stroke. It was a serviceable little street bike. One that fits perfectly in the cargo compartment of a Defender 110, 90, or a Range Rover, with room to spare galore.

But a side street princess like this was a bit too monofunctional for Land Rover's tastes. Because to more Land Rover bikes follower soon after which catered more to the specific needs of Land Rover owners. As different as they may have been from days long passed.

The bikes in question were the XCB V-20, aimed primarily at younger riders, and the larger, adult marketed Land Rover XCB D-26, also available as the M26 with hydraulic rim brakes, front suspension, and a reinforced suspension seat pillar. By mid-2004, Land Rover sponsored a 25 model strong collection of high-performance bicycles for a multitude of different uses.

Familiar names like"Defender," the "Discovery," and the "Freelander" were represented among the lineup. Each bespoke model carried a unique layout, geometry, gearset, and wheel/tire options suited to different terrains of all sorts. The "Discovery" was an all-rounder bicycle that sat comfortably in the middle of the spectrum between a street and mountain bicycle. It was perfect for urban city pizza deliveries as much as it is to woodland bike trail tom-foolery.

"Defender," meanwhile, was most suited to rugged terrain and off-road trail pursuits, unlike the "Freelander," designed purposely for a strictly urban lifestyle. All bikes are made from lightweight aluminum robust enough to get the job done.

After a brief hiatus in the mid to late 2000s, Land Rover put their moniker on a Bicycle once again starting in 2010. This time around, the bikes were built in conjunction with the UK cycle specialist 2×2 Design Team to bring the next generation of Land Rover bicycles to the market.

Land Rover's maintained a steady yet subtle presence in the performance bicycle space ever since. With just as many different types of bikes under their belts as they do models of 4x4s, it's a part of their operating space that more or less advertises itself. Check back for more from Land Rover month right here on autoevolution.


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