2017 proved to be a big year for mountain bike technology. While it was difficult to narrow it down, these are the innovations that shaped the mountain bike world the most in the last year.
Long-travel 29ers: While many companies have attempted
to build 29er trail and enduro bikes in the past, nobody was
really able to make it stick. We reviewed one several years
ago and described it handling corners “like an 18-wheeler
trying to make it through a McDonald’s drive-thru.” Well,
those days are past us, and the new crop of big-travel, big-wheel machines finally handle well. Heck, even many of the
top pros on the World Cup downhill circuit are using full DH
rigs with huge travel and “wagon wheels” and winning. To
say that these bikes are here to stay is an understatement.
Long-travel dropper posts: When dropper posts were
first introduced about a decade ago, they revolutionized
riding forever. Until now, though, they were always limited
to a few inches of travel. This left riders with improved
clearance but without the ability to truly put the bike into
“rally mode” with the saddle completely out of the way.
The newest posts are available with travel up to 150 and
170 millimeters of travel, which can slam the saddle all the
way and let you shred.
Suspension tuning: Suspension companies have
drastically improved the air springs that most trail and
enduro bikes use to make them feel more and more like
the plush coil springs we all came to know and love
years ago. They’ve also introduced and made available
very easy-to-use tuning options, like air-volume reducers
and compression and rebound dampers, which make
your suspension ride like the pros’ without the help of
a pro mechanic.