Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Best and Worst of 2012

Thought i'd do a roundup of whats good and bad from 2012. I did it last year, so its time for a new list. So, whats the WORST and BEST stuff of 2012 - lets take a look:

The Best (in random order):

Willingen Bikepark (Germany)
It might just have 3 real lines, and the Freeride line doesn't actually have much to do with freeride. Hell, even the lift is a bit awkward. But boy is this place fun to ride. This bikepark hosts lines that are very conscious about the fun-factor vs tech factor, this is particular true when you see the DH line; Its rough, but full of tables and jumps as well. And if the name "Willingen" sounds familiar, well that's perhaps because its actually been host to the DH Worldcup. The 4X line is beautifully sculpted, almost engineered,  and as mentioned before, the Freeride line is fast, and buckets of fun to ride. Highly recommended place to visit.
(click to enlarge)

Mavic Crossmax SX
Strong, lightweight, reliable - pick 3. Yup, the Mavic Crossmax SX has you covered. There is no way that you are going to destroy this wheelset, or mess up its reliability. I have put alot of riding into these hoops, without a single issue. The fact that it comes in at just 1763g only adds to the praise. This wheelset is  my best gear of 2012, highly recommended.
 (click to enlarge)

Aggressive snow-riding
Riding in snow. What used to be a chore, got turned around 180deg into something that's actually FUN. What it took was a different approach to it. I used to ride established trails, and just plow through it. In the beginning of this year I ditched that, and began to go rogue. I found an awesome area with sweepy banks and hills and began to "carve" my lines. Although a bit rough, before I knew it, I was jumping, dropping, and downright shredding in the snow. It takes alot of energy, some trailspotting, and time, but the reward is that its loads of FUN.
(click to enlarge)

The Worst (in random order):

The 27.5" standard, and the All Mountain segment.

"I would have cleared that climb - ÍF my tires where 1.5" bigger."

"I would have been way faster on that descend - ÍF my tires where 1.5" bigger."

"I would have cleared that gap - ÍF my tires where 1.5" bigger."

Ever heard anyone say that? Well neither have I. But for 2013 and 2014, that extra 1,5" in wheel size is apparently a MUST have for any AM biker according to the bike industry. I am of course talking about the 650b or 27,5" standard. Pretty much every major player in the bike industry will focus on 27,5" bikes for their AM segment, and its kinda funny that they all get that idea at the same time...that must be coincidence right? *WINK WINK* 

Don't get me wrong, 29" tires makes a lot of sense for something like XC and trail riding, and I guess that 27,5" could find a spot somewhere between XC and AM, but to suddenly declare 26" to be obsolete and impotent, is making me think that somethings fishy in the bike industry.

I am asking you this; whats wrong with 26" for AM? Aren't we solving a problem that doesn't exist?


Trail design
Copy & and paste from last year:
I don't know where you ride, perhaps you are lucky, and have some sweet trails to ride, designed by some passionate mountain bikers. I'm afraid that I'm not in such situation. I continue to see poor use of terrain, features that are badly executed, a lack of continuity, and overall ill design. The quality of the official trails in the country I live in, is mind bugling poor, and there are no excuses for it to be this way. A thick fog of conservatism has corrupted the official trail building scene, and pretty much nobody does anything about it - because nobody really questions it. This picture wraps it up nicely:
(click to enlarge)

Short term reviews
A trend I see at established and commercial mtb websites, is the trend of short term reviews. Well I guess that makes sense for some products, like energy bars, or perhaps a cycling computer. But to short term review a knee protector, or an adjustable seatpost (a segment that's notoriously known to fail after LONG term use) just does not make sense to me at all. Bodyarmor, adjustable seatpost, wheels, frames, suspension products, all deserve LONG term testing. I know the end consumer expects to know how a product performs even after 2 weeks of use as well. Luckily, All Mountain Next got you covered ; )

I'm not mentioning anyone particular *wink*, but boy does one site come to mind. Superficial reviews? Poor journalism? gotcha!


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  2. about Trail design - still you are lucky, here in Poland we have completely "zero" trail and i don't think that anything will change in next 100 years :-)

  3. I hope that's going to change someday for Poland, the possibilities are huge in Poland for xc, AM, FR and DH.

    And I think skilled Polish riders are getting more and more recognized outside of the country, that could perhaps speed things up a bit.