Opinions of Kyle Klain - Well, that's a wrap. 2016 has come to an end with a whimper and we're off, bravely, into 2017. A lot happened this year (even an election, believe it or not), but we are going to focus our thoughts on 2016 from a bike shop perspective.
While the sh!t has been hitting the fan across the globe, there's quite a lot to be thankful for in the mountain bike world. Here's a few that come to mind:
Long Travel Bikes - Holy cow have these machines gotten good! It wasn't that long ago we would scoff at pedalling up the Winsor on a 160mm full suspension bike, but today it seems not only possible, rather encouraged. While suspension linkages haven't really advanced, we have seen the long, slack, and low geometry take hold and combined with much more tuneable air shocks... Um, can we get a hallelujah? Oh, and Rocky Mountain Slayer.
Dropper Posts - Nothing has changed our riding more than dropper posts, with the exception of maybe disc brakes....ok and tubeless. Anyways, dropper posts have been one of those inventions we can't live without, but with a large caveat: they usually fail. In the backcountry. No cell phone reception. That seems to have been changing. The Fox Transfer, the new Rockshox Reverb, and the Race Face Turbine have proved to be solid performers and we couldn't be happier. Oh, and now up to 200mm? Hell yes.
More Trails - Looks like the Forest Service and BLM are listening and are now considering new options on the mountain. Singletrack trails are like single women; you've never heard anyone complain of too many being around. Combine that with the efforts by the Commenweal Conservancy in Galisteo Basin, the Fat Tire Society doing work in Nambe, and Glorieta churning out new, techy trails, who can complain?
So we're going to bite our tongues and stay on topic here. That is, until Mike figures out how to edit this post...
More New Standards - As a consumer the advances in technology are mostly a benefit. Sometimes things like BOOST come around and ruin that. Ironic, isn't it, that Boost was developed by Trek for stiffer wheels and to make clearance for 3" plus tires. Okay, but this is coming from the company that puts aluminum rims on their AM bikes because the carbon hoops were 'too stiff' and then the bike with 3" tires (Stache) has an elevated chainstay. WTF? Sadly, that is just one of many that our mechanics need to constantly stay educated on. Thanks bike industry....
Shimano B2B - Seriously, what is wrong with you Shimano? We love the finish of your products, they typically wear like iron and perform great. So why did you decide to screw the bike shop and the consumer? Side note to our customers: we keep our doors open because we make a little money on parts. So when Shimano undercuts that and leaves you ordering parts off of Amazon, well...screw em.
The Grave - Sad year in the world of mountain biking. Between Steve Smith, Kelly McGarry, and Dave Mirra to name a few, it's been a rough year for us who watch social media and care about our community. Be thankful everyday to get on that bike and ride.
While some were good and some were bad, there's always those that leave you thinking 'meh'.
1x12 Drivetrain - We admire the range, we admire the giant-ass dinner plate cog in the back, and we admire the shifting, but seriously...where are the gearboxes? I think we've reached the point that going beyond the 'turn it up to 11' cliche is getting a little silly. Isn't there a better way?
Racing - Listen, we love to help our racers and races where we can, but participation has been pretty pathetic. Where's the new faces? There's a lot of good to the community being involved with these events, let's hope 2017 is looking better. Oh, and Big Mountain Enduro, can we please not go to the towers twice this year? Pretty please?!
Fat Bikes - I'm just putting this here to piss off the Fat Bike Illuminati. Yeah, what now?