The Best MTB Gear of 2011

At Interbike next week Syd and I will be previewing the newest MTB gear for 2012 which means it’s time to look back at the top gear of 2011. Our “Best of 2011” list is based on your reviews over the last 12 months and includes 2011 model year products and older. Here are some highlights from the 2011 list (you can view the full list here).

29er Mountain Bikes

The Gary Fisher 29er mountain bikes always seem to come out on top and with good reason. With a solid component mix and well-honed geometry, these are great bikes for anyone looking to ride big-wheel bikes. Winner: Gary Fisher Cobia. Runner-up: Gary Fisher Hi Fi Plus 29 (FS).

AM, FR, and DH Mountain Bikes

The winners and runners-up from these three categories are a diverse group – six titles, six brands.

All-mountain – Winner: Ibis Mojo SL. Runner-up: Ellsworth Rogue.

Freeride – Winner: Jamis Parker I. Runner-up: Kona Stinky Six.

Downhill – Winner: Airborne Taka. Runner-up: Banshee Legend MK II.

Trek Bikes Rule…

… according to singletracks members anyway. Trek snagged the top spots in both the hardtail and FS mountain bike categories yet again with the 4300 and Fuel EX 8, respectively. Including the Gary Fisher 29ers, Trek pretty much dominated the major mountain bike categories.

Less is More

Surprisingly a few of the “best” products on this year’s list feature pretty basic technology. The mechanical Avid BB7 disc brakes are a perennial favorite thanks to their simple, rugged design. And the GMG Magicshine Special 900 light, with just a single brightness setting and a basic reflector, eeked out a top finish this year, due in part to its economical price tag.

Classic Designs

The Shimano M520 pedals are the top pedal this year thanks to their classic design and reliable performance on the trail. And like the M520s, the WTB Velociraptor tires won back-to-back “best of” titles based on a tried and true design. Even the Camelback M.U.L.E. hydration pack is on top for a second year in a row – and it was getting 5-star reviews back in 2005!

Drivetain Split

We’re not sure what to read into this one but the top cranksets for 2011 are both from Shimano while the best shifters are from SRAM. Perhaps folks running hybrid SRAM / Shimano drivetrains are onto something…

Major Brands Still Dominate Certain Categories

Looking for the best shock, front or rear? Look no further than Fox Racing, the winner and runner-up in both categories. Garmin continues to dominate the GPS category, though surprisingly none of their cycling-specific units cracked the top two spots. And Camelbak held onto the hydration category despite inroads by innovative brands like Osprey and Hydrapak.

For those who are curious about how this list is generated, here’s the short explanation: We compute a score for each product based on the average member rating, the # of people who own the item, the # of people who want the item, and the total number of reviews. Don’t agree with our members’ picks? Review your favorite items now to influence the 2012 list!

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