Every day the team at Singletracks works to bring readers articles, stories, reviews, and if you must say it… content, that readers enjoy. It’s not an easy job — not that we’re complaining. But, with so many different channels and news outlets at our fingertips every day, drafting up something that’s intriguing and readable isn’t easy. Fortunately, we love mountain biking and we love writing and we’re up to the challenge.
Editor’s note: We rely on our readers’ support to produce great articles like the ones that follow. If you’re not already a Singletracks Pro supporter, please consider stepping up for just $3 a month. Not only will you feel good about giving back, you’ll also get to enjoy Singletracks ad-free!
These stories aren’t necessarily the ones you loved the most, or the ones that mattered the most, but they are the reviews, news, and features that readers clicked on the most in 2021. We’ve got a smattering of reviews, tech insights, and cultural commentary which depict our most widely read articles of the year. If you missed any, give them another chance. If you have a favorite, let us know, and drop a comment with what you want to see more or less of for 2022. Happy New Years!
A quality mountain bike priced at $500 might seem like a pipe dream, but Schwinn delivered a decent bike for the money, complete with a dropper post, mechanical disc brakes, and wide-ish handlebars. Singletracks Editor-in-Chief Jeff Barber reviewed the Axum and found out how much value the historic brand could pack into this department store bike.
Mountain bikers and Toyota go hand in hand, and what good are friends if we can’t occasionally roast each other a little? We examined Toyota’s social media and marketing gaffe in this short “news” piece and had a little fun at their expense.
What would you say the most game-changing innovations in mountain bike technology have been in recent history? Geometry and dropper posts have been crucial in letting all of us explore our speed just a little bit more. We probed the industry to dig deeper.
Traditionally the thinking around 175mm crank arms was that more leverage meant more power, and on a road bike that may be true. But for most mountain bikers, a shorter crank length means fewer pedal strikes and easier acceleration. Both can make a huge difference on technical terrain. Writer Richard Shoop talked with crank arm manufacturers and bike fitters to find out if longer crank arms are necessary for mountain bikers and why 170mm or even 165mm crank arms might better suit us.
E-bikes can turn the most technical of climbs into a fun challenge, but if those technical climbs are actually built with downhill riding in mind, it can make for a dangerous situation. Singletracks Tech Editor Gerow calls on e-bikers to consider the climb for safety’s sake.
Uncomfortable and limiting mountain bike geometry can be felt much more succinctly on older hardtails, and that may have led to some riders swearing them off. Good news: They’re better these days.
Apple’s Air Tags, released this year, open up all sorts of tracking possibilities. Air Tags can be tethered to a set of keys or a dog collar to find them quickly. In theory they could also be shoved in a steerer tube to track a bike in the event it’s stolen. We decided to test the idea for ourselves.
Ahh, the question that is often as old as the bike itself. Mountain bikes are expensive, no matter how you dice it up and sometimes there’s no way around that fat price tag. Is saving a chunk of money on an older bike worth it? Not always…
High pivots were undoubtedly one of the biggest trends in mountain bike tech this year. We were fortunate to spend some time on a couple of high pivot bikes and features editor Matt Miller shared his experience with the latest in suspension design.
Earlier this year, Matt also spent some time on the gearbox-equipped Zerode Taniwha to get a feel for what it’s like to ride a bike without a derailleur. It’s hard to say if gearboxes are the future, but there are some clear advantages over external drivetrains.
While the zeitgeist has steered more people toward shorter-travel bikes, Gerow discusses the merits and advantages of over-biking.
Well, it might be apparent by now that Singletracks readers like hearing about old mountain bike tech, especially in the context of today’s bikes. This time, we catch up with Nic Sims to hear what happened when he raced this 1994 carbon Specialized Epic Ultimate twenty-something years later.
We were treated to an excellent edition of the Summer Olympics, despite looming coronavirus concerns, and the XCO race was one for the books. We previewed a few of the Olympic-worthy bikes ahead of the race and checked out a few unique paint jobs.
This piece is a deep dive on grease and oil because that’s what keeps our bikes going. Wet lube, dry lube, or wax, it can all get pretty confusing. So we spoke with Kate Courtney’s right-hand mechanic and found out what he recommends for a frictionless winning recipe.
A familiar bike turned up on a mountain bike meme circulating across the interwebs, and the message might be quite poignant. Have we made mountain biking way easier for ourselves? If you were to ask the commenters under this meme, the answer would be a resounding “yes!”
The MTB Trails That Helped Popularize Copper Harbor Have Been Shut Down. However, Relief May Be in Sight
Copper Harbor, Michigan has been one of the country’s most esteemed mountain bike destinations for years, but the county has taken issue with some of the trails that gave rise to the destination. We dug in to find out more about the liability concerns that prompted the closures, and how the trails club has been shut out of their assessment on the trails all while trying to keep the trails an attractive place to ride.
As mountain bikers dedicated to fun times on two wheels, we all need to take a more deliberate approach to riding when we age. We spoke with Rowan Minnion, an exercise physiologist for some recommendations on what we can do to be our best year after year.
This story has only picked up steam in Colorado’s Front Range since we reported on it early this year. Jason Evans and Phil Bouchard are planning to build a lift-served bike park in Conifer, a small mountain town outside of Denver. Neighboring residents are adamantly opposed and argue it would change the character of the neighborhood for the worse.
The Palisade Plunge is the newest point-to-point, shuttled, epic trail in the US. Different folks have different expectations about what the trail holds. We got an early ride on the Plunge and spoke to COPMOBA about what it took to make the dream a reality.