The new issue of Singletrack Mountain Bike Magazine has just come out. Within it is listed my favourite stuff of 2010 as part of the “Editors Choice” feature. Here’s what my long shortlist looked like before I boiled it down. Just thought you might like to know…
Cannondale RZ One Twenty
I called this 120mm travel full suspension bike the “best all round mountain bike ever made”. I still stand by this statement. It was not over-excited hyperbole. Great uphill. Great downhill. Great along-hill. You really don’t need anything else for 99% of the time.
My favourite hard-riding bike of the year (and the last few years for that matter). Don’t think of it as a heavy 140mm trail bike. Think of it as a Mini-Downhill bike that you can ride around all day and will cope with everything you can throw at it.
Singular Cycles Pegasus
Shock! Horror! A 29er in my Editors’ Choice. It’s not here as a token industry-pleasing big-wheeler. It’s here because I think it’s the best XC hardtail I’ve ever ridden. I don’t really “get” hardtails very much anymore but the Pegasus is an experience worth having.
Norco LT 6
Just a bloody good fun bike. Fun on a fun stick. Adjustable travel and geometry depending on your terrain or mood. Slack, low and cushy (158mm travel). Or steeper, nimble and firm (137mm travel). Extremely well specced with suitably dimensioned “All Mountain” bits.
Magura Durin SL
It was great to return to the shorter end of suspension travel and find that the days of wibbly, notchy, lock-it-out-and-leave-it suspension forks are long gone. Here’s a 100mm fork that doesn’t bob, doesn’t flex, isn’t afraid to give you full travel, and doesn’t mind you battering it over rocks.
Effetto Caffe Tubeless Conversion System
By now, you either ride Tubeless or you never will. If you do like to dabble in the world of no-inner-tubes, this system is the easiest to live with (setting up, tyre changing, sealant re-using etc etc).
Geax Saguaro TNT 2.2
Extremely fast tyres that aren’t lethally sketchy when you ask them to do something fun. Nice working edge to them. Decent volume for traction and comfort.
Continental Rain King 2.5
Despite their soggy name these tyres are great for aggro riding in lots of different conditions. Continental must have put some voodoo into their new rubber compound; these are super grippy, sticky tyres that somehow also last for ages and ages. A giant leap forward in MTB tyres.
Giro DJ Gloves
Just my favourite pair of gloves. Giro are branching out into all sorts of apparel. Here’s hoping all their stuff is as good as these.
Camelbak The Capo
Out of all the myriad hydration packs I have the pick and choose from, it’s The Capo that comes out most frequently. It holds much more than you first think from its 11 litre capacity and it spreads the load around the pack extremely well. A reliable ride partner.
Yes, Twitter. A mass pub conversation involving whomsoever you wish it to (and sometimes you really should converse with that nutter in the corner). Invaluable for keeping up to date with bike news, organising rides, posting “I’m on this trail” pics, giving advice, arguing the toss. Karmically, you get out what you put in.
Rhyd Ddu Path, Snowdon
Who knew there was a Third Way down from Snowdon’s Summit? Well, probably quite a lot of people. But Rhyd Ddu was new to me. Longer than either the Llanberis or the Rangers Path. Seriously challenging. Extremely varied. Shatteringly rewarding. And there’s still Pete’s Eats at the end.
Tracy Moseley, World Champion
After 13 attempts she finally did it at Mont Sainte Anne, Canada. I don’t think there’s many folk who’ll bet against her keeping the stripes next year too.
Fort William Downhill Endurance Marathon
Six hours to do as many runs of a World Cup DH course as you and your bike can survive. Uniquely insane. Surprisingly social. Everyone should experience it at least once. Next year’s event is on July 23.