All these got 10/10
Here are the twenty five of the best mountain bike products that received a 10/10 rating from us in 2017.
It’s the end of the year and it’s time to reflect on what stuff stood out for us in the past twelve months. These products are the standout items in a year jam-packed with testing.
2017’s Perfect Products
Crank Brothers HighLine Dropper Post
We can’t fault the HighLine — it’s light, reliable and cheaper than the RockShox Reverb and Fox Transfer. It’s taken a while, but Crank Brothers may have finally cracked the dropper post.
Pacenti PDent handlebar and stem
PDent’s elegant design brings something truly unique to the whole steering geometry debate, and we rate it very highly.
Rex Low Friction chain lube
As with most of these high-tech lubes, you do have to be methodical, cleaning and lubricating every link, but if you can be bothered with all that, we reckon Rex lube is one of the best out there.
Specialized Body Geometry SL footbeds
Aside from the extra comfort, the footbeds also make you feel more stable and planted on the bike, so whether or not you get sore feet, they’re well worth checking out, especially as they’re only £20 a pair.
Shimano MW5 boots
Some boots you can just pull-on and forget they are there, with every function and practicality covered to the point that they just blend into the background.
Crank Brothers Mallet DH pedals
Ignore the DH label because this is the best caged clipless pedal for trail riding and easily deserves top marks.
Shimano ME7 SPD shoes
We rated the old M200, as one of the best enduro race-style shoes available at the time, but the ME7 has taken the best bits of those and improved on them. It’s grippy, comfortable and so far it has proved tough and durable. If you’re looking for a shoe suited to enduro or fast trail riding, this is currently one of the best.
Upper Downs Neo jacket
For a brand new enterprise, launched on Kickstarter only last year, Upper Downs has managed to produce one of the best waterproof mountain bike jackets we have ever come across.
Dainese Trail Skins 2 knee pads
All the tweaks and improvements do add £20 (compared to the old trail Skins) to the price but the Trail Skin 2 is still very good value because it such great quality. It’s also comfortable, breathable and has the right level of on-trail protection for risk takers and the accident-prone.
SRAM Eagle XO1 groupset
Wider gear range, quieter and smoother shifting, greater durability, same price as the current XX1 and XO1 groupsets and only marginally heavier.
SRAM Guide RE disc brake
The Guide RE isn’t really designed for trail bikes but since it costs the same as the cheapest Guide R brake, only adds 35g in weight, is rock-solid reliable and packs Code power levels, it’s our test winner regardless of intended application.
Buttshield is one of the first chamois products we’ve tested that we can actually feel working and for a full day on the bike, not just 15 minutes at the start.
Hiplok Z-Lok Cable Lock
The Hiplok Z-Lok is such a simple idea and as with most such things, it becomes almost indispensable. Whilst it might not give the reassurances of a proper lock, it’s perfect for preventing someone casually walking away with your pride and joy at the refreshment stop.
Giro Switchblade helmet
At £250 the Switchblade is more expensive than the similar Bell Super 3R but it feels more substantial, and still good value considering you’re getting a single helmet that can be both worn on your regular weekly ride, as well as days out at the bike park and holidays in the alps.
Milkit Compact 35 tubeless system
Compared to rival valves and injectors, Milkit is £10 more expensive but there’s no mess, it only takes a few minutes to check the level in both tyres and it eliminates valve clogging. If you run tubeless it’s a must have.
SDG Bel Air 2.0 saddle
The SDG Bel Air 2.0 carries on where the original left off. Supremely comfortable, light and robust; there are few saddles to top it.
It doesn’t look like much but we’ve used the Separator constantly over the last few months, transporting bikes in the MBR Vito, covering a bike in our own cars, even as a changing mat after a big ride. In fact we’re sure there are other uses that we’ve not even thought of yet.
Sun Ringlé Düroc wheels
With four rim widths and all the hardware included in the box for any drivetrain or hub configuration the Sun Ringlé Düroc has all the bases covered and is a killer value for money wheelset. Factor in the excellent build with a ride quality to match, and you easily have the best wheelset on test.
Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5in WT tyre
With increased air volume, this 2.5 can be run a few psi lower, upping comfort and conformity, and laying down more rubber, so grip levels have really ramped up. With the Maxx Terra Minion slapped on the front wheel, continuous predictable grip is almost never ending right up to properly wet conditions.
Fox Proframe helmet
You can pedal in it without feeling like you’re on a turbo trainer in a sauna, it’s light enough that you don’t feel restricted in your movement and it offers better protection than an open-face trail helmet. For days in the bike park or trips to the alps it’s the perfect foil. For full-face protection with open-face ventilation, we’d take the Fox Proframe.
Schwalbe Rock Razor tyre
The Rock Razor nails it – the huge air volume enables lower pressures for good comfort, the casing doesn’t flex too much laterally and there’s a surprising amount of stopping power.
Exposure Maxx-D light
A best-in-test beam pattern with only a subtle hotspot and smooth transition from a wide foreground to distance, light weight and eye burning power, then throw in some natty design features and you have a product that is hard to beat.
Exposure Joystick Mk12 light
The Joystick has been around longer than most in the world of mountain bike lighting, but there is barely a year gone by that it hasn’t been tweaked and improved in that time. These days it is just as small, light and unobtrusive as ever, but the Mark 12 now pushes out a thoroughly impressive 1000 lumens for an hour and a half. Amazing when you handle this feathery light, but absolutely solid unit.
Five Ten Freerider Pro shoes
Compared to the base model, you’re be paying £25 more for the Pro, but this shoe is a real step-up in terms of build quality, and easily worth the up charge. It’s also more substantial and solid feeling, and that’s despite being over a 100g lighter. If you ride flat pedals and want a shoe that grips we’d always recommend Five Ten, the difference now is the company has finally built a trail shoe that will go the distance.
SRAM GX Eagle groupset
GX Eagle brings exceptional shifting and an impressive gear range to all the existing benefits of the single-ring drivetrain, and it does it all at a genuinely affordable price point.