Best Value Product NomineesShow of hands—who likes spending unnecessary amounts of money on gear? Absolutely no one. Well, aside from that rare individual who’s come to Pinkbike fresh from installing a golden toilet in their garage…. But speaking for the majority of human beings, value matters. Most of us want to feel like our money is well spent. The three products here are, in our opinion, three of the best values of the year.
Are there less expensive products than the Huck Norris, X-Fusion Manic and Bontrager Line Pro 30? Certainly. This, however, is not an award for Cheapest Product of 2017—we’re looking to find the 2017 product that delivers the best bang for your buck. Here’s why these three nominees made our list.
Why it's nominated:
Nothing banjaxes a ride like flatting a tire. Best case scenario, you waste five minutes repairing a slashed sidewall or installing a tube. Worst case scenario, you find yourself walking out with both a mushy tire and a ruined rim. The market, consequently, is rife with products that seek to eliminate the dreaded pinch flat. There are carbon wheels that are said to be unflattable. And there are a growing number of inserts and liners that promise to end pinch flats and their associated ills. Huck Norris is one of the latter. The product debuted with an outrageous list of claims—it'd stop pinch flats in tubeless tire sets ups, prevent your rim from being dented, make installing tubeless tires easier and even eliminate the need to use an air compressor while installing tubeless tires.
Here's what Paul Aston found during testing: Huck Norris works really well. Yes, the foam tire insert from Finland adds up to 240 grams of weight to your wheels, but it still weighs less than many other flat-protection devices, is fairly easy to install and, in our testing, allowed us to ride ridiculously low pressures on technical trails without either pinch flatting or denting our rims. It's not "cheap", but if you're not prematurely replacing tires or flat-spotting expensive rims, you are
saving money in the long run. From the review:
Why it's nominated:
What are the odds that someone sees this carbon wheelset in the nominee line-up and immediately rushes down to the comment section to call us a bunch of silver-spoon sucking, elitist, out-of-touch jackasses? The odds are damn good. But bear with us for a minute. If you want a carbon wheelset, there are relatively few options out there that match the value of Bontrager’s Line Pro 30. We live in a world of $3,000 carbon wheels, which are at least $2,000 more than most of us think a set of carbon wheels should cost. Enter the $1,200 Line Pro 30s—which come in both 27.5 and 29-inch varieties, sport a nice, wide profile (29 millimeter internal width) and feature a quick-engaging, six-pawl hub.
The Line Pros are not the first carbon wheels at this price point. Specialized (Roval) and Ibis both beat Bontrager to the punch on that score, but the Line Pro 30s tick all the right boxes—good price, nice and lively ride quality, great durability and they play well with the latest crop of wide tires.
Not everyone needs and/or even wants a carbon wheelset. There are plenty of great aluminum wheels out there that sell for less. If, however, carbon wheels are
something you’re considering, the Bontragers present a strong value.From the review:
Why it's nominated:
For many of us, dropper posts stopped being an optional “upgrade” years ago; they’re a necessity. Unfortunately, plenty of dropper posts still suffer from less-than-stellar reliability. That’s a bitter pill to swallow when you’ve blown nearly 400 bucks on a post that suddenly refuses to drop or rise.
X-Fusion’s Manic certainly isn’t the lightest post out there (621-grams, plus another 46-grams for the remote), but Mike Levy found the $199 dropper post to be exceptionally reliable, easy to install and smooth in operation. The post gets kudos for an excellent thumb-paddle remote, which pairs well with just about any brake lever and is silky smooth in operation. Should you need to replace the Manic’s guts, you’ll be happy to know that the post is easy to service and that replacement hydraulic cartridges only lighten your wallet by 25 bucks. From the review: