Every issue we pose a question and get various people to answer it…
DIRT ISSUE 133 – MARCH 2013
Words by Mike Rose. Photo by Victor Lucas
We’ve really never had it so good you know. Tyres that grip, suspension that works, lightweight components that (hopefully) don’t break, disc brakes, 10–speed gears…I could go on. But what is the greatest mountainbike product of all time?ANDY GOWAN EUROPEAN DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING MANAGER FOR ONE INDUSTRIES EUROPE
That’s a pretty easy one for me, and a relatively recent development – dropper seatposts. There isn’t really anything that has so dramatically changed my riding. They basically just increase the fun factor of any ride by huge amounts, they really help with the flow of the trail and the ride as a whole. No need to stop to drop your post or put up with being punched in the stomach/nuts in the middle of a tricky descent.
I suppose they make even more sense now, with the current crop of genuinely capable trail bikes – a super–efficient XC bike one minute, and a balanced DH ripper the next – all from a little push on a handy lever. Sure, they’ve been very quickly adopted by gravity enduro racers, and some DH riders from a performance point of view, but a big proportion of riders aren’t racers of any type and do it for a giggle – a dropper post takes that giggle to a belly laugh.
OK, so early versions were of dubious quality and longevity, but still worth the extra bit of maintenance for what it brings to the ride. Kind of a moot point now though as there are so many functionally great posts, with durability as good as any other part on your bike. The ever increasing choice of price points also makes them accessible to all riders too. What’s not to like?JAMES MCKNIGHT BIKE MAGIC WEB EDITOR
The product–advance that pleases me the most is not the suspension fork, tubeless tyre or hydraulic disc brake; although obviously I appreciate that without them our sport would not be what it now is. There are in fact two products that have stolen my bike–geek heart and they have both done so in the recent past. They are simple, effective and vital. With their invention the entire sport of mountain biking breathed a sigh of relief.
Just why we have been riding with derailleurs constantly smashing into the chainstay on descents and our knees straining to near implosion on the ups for so many years I cannot fathom. Thank God for the ‘clutch’ that is now installed in my rear derailleur, and also for the dropper post that means the seat height can be adjusted at the flick of a switch. Both have been developed exclusively for the mountain bike and both are incredibly obvious and simplistic…in hindsight anyway.PETE SCULLION ORANGE BIKE MARKETING MANAGER
The two products that really stand out in my mountain bike experience are the pioneers of what has become widely accepted in one or more mountain bike disciplines. Picking a single product was too difficult for me.
The Michelin Comp 16 started the soft compound tyre craze during the heady days of 90’s downhill racing. The hype surrounding these tyres now seems a little over the top, but they really were game changers. Nowadays, it’s possible to get a skinny 2.1” mountain bike tyre in a compound not too dissimilar to that seen ‘back in the day’. Tyres are a massively important, but often taken for granted, as they are the only component that contacts the dirt and the pneumatic tyre has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.
Since I started using mine in 2009, my Leatt neck brace comes with me on any ride with a full–face helmet. It seems weird to me to ride without one and having fully tuned mine up, I barely notice its presence. After a few hefty crashes onto my head, I can attest to the fact they do the job admirably. Leatt have set the standard for everyone to follow.