Extremely light yet super tough, mountain bikes have undergone a high-tech metamorphosis since the "horrible" days when the likes of Cadel Evans used to hump a heavy aluminium work horse along a dirt track.

A much older model of the Specialised mountain bike

The new bikes, weighing less than 10 kilograms with the frames built to withstand any sort of abuse a rider can dish out, have already helped Australian riders like junior world champion and Commonwealth Games hopeful Cameron Wright achieve more than Evans did on a mountain bike.

Former mountain bike competitor Donna Dall, who now coaches Wright, said new generation mountain bikes were remarkably different from the "awful" beast she had to race 20-odd years ago.

Evans, the 2011 Tour de France champion, rode similar sorts of two-wheelers in the 1990s during his early days as a mountain biker.

"It was horrible," Dall said of her old bike.

"I've got one in the roof and I'll bring it down occasionally and have a ride on it and it just feels awful, and I cannot believe the feats that people like Cadel Evans used to do on those bikes — just amazing."

"They were a lot heavier back then, just awkward to ride."

A 2018 edition Specialised mountain bike

Dall described new mountain bikes as phenomenal, saying they allowed riders to push the boundaries more than ever before.

They are made of specially engineered carbon fibre, weigh less than a small child and are designed, optimised and tested using computer programs that fine tune aerodynamics and performance.

"They've changed incredibly," Dall said.

"Back then they had 26-inch tyres. We're now on 29-inch wheels.

"The actual construction of the wheel has changed from aluminium to carbon, which makes the ride a lot smoother, a lot faster — sometimes it feels like it's free speed."

Games contention

Dall believes Wright has the same killer instinct as Evans.

Wright recently won the Junior Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns while riding one of the latest bike models.

"It [the bike] is next level," he said.

"From the previous year models, it's just completely different, it's not quite as aggressive as a cross-country race bike, which actually makes it a lot better for a cross-country race bike."

Dall said Wright had already achieved more than Evans did on a mountain bike.

"Cadel never won a world championship, but he did win several world cups," she said.

"Cam has come out and won a world championship."

Wright, 17, is hoping his new bike can give him an edge as he aims to make the Australian team to compete at next year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Top of the mountain

"Comm Games is obviously an open category so I won't be racing everyone my age — they'll be quite a few years older than me, so that will be an experience in itself," he said.

"If I make it there it would be an experience."

Dall said making the team would set Wright up for future international competitions.

"I have no question that Cameron can win an elite world championship," she said.

"He just needs to keep focused but enjoy it and keep having fun."

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