The results are in! We surveyed 1,123 mountain bikers to determine the best mountain bike products of 2015, and these are the winners! (Jump to commentary below.)


MTB Trends in 2015

This year we asked a couple questions about the most innovative products in the market, and here’s what you said in order of popularity:

  1. Shimano Di2
  2. Bell Super 2R
  3. SRAM Boost 148
  4. RockShox RS-1
  5. Schwalbe Procore
  6. Trek Stache

A few of these items were announced or even started shipping back in 2014, though many of them are finally making their way out into the real world.

Several survey respondents replied with trends in the MTB market instead of MTB products, so here is a round up of the trends that were mentioned the most:

  1. 27.5 wheels and tires
  2. Plus size wheels and tires
  3. 1×11 drivetrains
  4. Dropper seat posts

Again, none of these trends started in 2015, though clearly they are on the minds of many mountain bikers this year!

Newly Top-Rated Mountain Bikes

There are a few new names on the top-rated mountain bike lists this year, notably in the trail and fat bike categories.

We also added a new bike category for “plus-size” rigs, so it will be interesting to see how this changes next year. For now, the Trek Stache takes the top spot despite being one of the newer bikes on the list.

The Drivetrain Debate

Sure, the Shimano / SRAM debate has been raging for several years now but I’m talking about the big question for 2015: 1X or 2X (or 3X!)? Well, according to our survey, 1X drivetrains hold a slight edge over their portlier 2X brethren this year, but it’s ever so slight (42% and 40%, respectively). Add in the 3X holdouts (or new converts thanks to Shimano’s brand new 3×11 option!) and the 1X riders are certainly outnumbered.

Still, the overall favorite in the drivetrain configuration category is 2×10, and it will be interesting to see how this holds over time. It’s also interesting to note that last year, SRAM was the preferred drivetrain brand but this year, Shimano is on top, perhaps thanks to their new Di2 and 11spd offerings.

Lopsided Victories

There were a few categories where the top product (or brand) simply blew away the competition. The most obvious example is in the helmet camera category where GoPro destroyed all comers, but there were others as well: Clif bars in the snack category, Thomson Elite in the stems category, and the Fox Float in the shock category. WTB snagged 4 of the top 5 slots in the best saddle competition, Garmin nabbed 4 of the top 5 GPS slots, and Oakley had 4 of the top 5 in the eyewear category. And Specialized had a bike in the top 5 of all 6 bike categories we polled (not to mention placing in 7 additional categories as well!)

It’s also interesting to note a couple “write-in” candidates that appear on this year’s list of the best mountain bike lights and GPS units. “Cheap Chinese Lights off Amazon,” as one respondent put it, are popular with riders, snagging the #3 spot in the light category. And in the GPS category, it would’ve been a sweep for Garmin if not for the iPhone (Android phones got a lot of votes too.)

More Information

You can find links to Singletracks member reviews and in-depth editorial coverage of each of these items right here. The following is a list of links to the top products in each category.

Which products or responses to the 2015 gear survey surprise you the most?

# Comments

  • k2rider

    I wonder what percentage of people live in areas where they don’t have “easy” access to all brands. I know when I travel around, smaller cities tend to have dealers that sell Specialized or Trek and maybe one other brand. The ones that feature Specialized have Specialized helmets, shoes, socks, seats, tires and on and on so choice is very limited. On the flip side of that, finding a Pivot or Ibis dealer isn’t always so easy so there are a lot less owners of this bikes. You’re not going to vote for the Ibis Mojo HD3 or Pivot Mach 6 as the best endure bike if you haven’r ridden one. I expect Specialized to win this survey every year until I die.

    As with any survey of this type, most people are going to vote for what they own. Not that that doesn’t make sense as many people don’t know about anything other than what they ride. I’m guessing a very tine percentage of the MTB market travels to Fat Bike Festivals to demo numerous bikes or products. A perfect example of this is seen with the rear shock survey result. A huge percentage of the bikes sold are specced with Fox rear shocks of one form or another and I’d bet my house that 98% of those bike buyers have never tried the Cane Creek which is vastly superior to anybody that has ridden both. I will have to say that the 2016 Fox “EVOL” shock is vastly better than previous years but still not as good as the DB Inline.

    • Jeff Barber

      Good points. Some people may have only ridden a single set of brakes but they’ve run through half a dozen different saddles until they found one that worked for them (or vice versa.) Availability also definitely plays a role so some of what we’re seeing is the “best selling” products bubbling up rather than the products that are the “best performing.”

      Still, it’s probably safe to say that few, if any, of the products on this list will disappoint!

    • Joel DH

      I totally agree with the cane creek shocks comment k2rider. You also brought up some very interesting points too. Thanks for sharing…

  • fixxit

    Re: Clif Bars:

    Up until a couple years ago I used to eat many Clif Bars then I read a journal article on the levels of arsenic in brown rice syrup. If you value your health read the ingredient list on a Clif Bar and then do a bit of research. I contacted the Clif Bar company twice for comment, their responses were meaningless.

  • Joel DH

    I’m not surprised Specialized one in the best XC, Trail and Enduro bike categories. I would like to know the most popular (most commonly owned) bike in each category though. I really don’t often see many Specialized bikes out on the trails. Whats up with that?

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