2018 Pinkbike Awards: Mountain Bike of the Year Winner

Dec 20, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  

This year's contenders for Mountain Bike of the Year included everything from a nimble trail bike to full-on downhill race machines. What's the reasoning behind grouping such different bikes together into one category? Well, for one thing, many of today's bikes don't really fit neatly into one pre-determined segment. There are so many sub-genres that it makes more sense to take a look at all of the bikes that we spent time on this year, and select the standout contenders from there.

That's how the Ibis Ripmo, Yeti SB130, Santa Cruz Bronson, Commencal Supreme DH 29, and Norco Aurum HSP ended up in the final round, but as we all know, there can only be one winner. And the winner is...

The Commencal Supreme DH 29 turned heads this year, in part because Amaury Pierron was a blur aboard it as he raced his way to the World Cup DH overall title. The bike's big wheels and high pivot suspension layout make it a dowhill rocketship, and the fact that Commencal's consumer direct sales model gives it a relatively affordable price tag is the icing on the cake.

The aluminum-framed Supreme DH 29 is the evolutionary result of the 27.5”-wheeled bike that Commencal revealed back in 2015. That first iteration had plenty of potential for speed, but the geometry code hadn't been cracked yet, and its extremely short reach held it back. That's no longer the case, and the longer reach and 29” wheels of this year's model create a formidable machine that's ideally suited for tackling the roughest tracks around.

As Paul Aston wrote, “The stiff but not harsh front end, combined with a fairly flexible swingarm, allows enough give at the rear wheel for fantastic tracking and line-holding through rough and off camber sections, without the springiness found with some carbon bikes.” Traction is the name of the game when it comes to holding a line at race pace – if a bike is overly stiff it's more likely to get deflected and bounced around, rather than slicing through the chunder like a hot knife through butter. That exactly what the Supreme DH 29 does, and the stable, comfortable, and fast ride that it delivers is a large part of why it earned the Mountain Bike of the Year title.

The Supreme DH 29 is also a good representation of the state of the downhill world: 29" wheels are here to stay, high pivot suspension designs are experiencing a comeback, and the fact that a bike can't be bought in a brick and mortar store doesn't mean it doesn't have podium potential. The Supreme DH 29's success between the tape will undoubtedly inspire other manufacturers to do some off-season tinkering with frame designs as they prep for next year, but in the meantime, congratulations are in order to Commencal for winning the 2018 Pinkbike Mountain Bike of the Year award.


  • 274 28
 i dunno lloyd, the french are assholes...
  • 9 4
  • 95 4
 Though Commençal is actually Anndora.
  • 18 0
 True !
  • 53 69
flag vincentlegare2 (Dec 20, 2018 at 8:41) (Below Threshold)
 trump isn't?
  • 6 3
 @ReformedRoadie: still a funny comment by rocky
  • 18 0
 a little placed called Aspen....
  • 53 21
 @vincentlegare2: for the record, most of us don't like him either...
  • 3 0
 @RBalicious: without a doubt, thus the FTW
  • 20 0
 @airsoftesneeto: where the women flock like the salmon of capistrano!
  • 24 51
flag jamesdunford (Dec 20, 2018 at 9:25) (Below Threshold)
 Man, I hate comments like this. I'm an English guy, living in France. Yeah, some people are difficult - but they're a great bunch. That's coming from someone who doesn't even speak French.
  • 56 1
 @jamesdunford, but have you seen Dumb and Dumber?
  • 25 0
 Where the BEER flows like wine...
  • 14 0
 Harrrryy! Your hands are FREEEEZING
  • 28 1
 "Any interesting breeding"?
"No, mostly doggie style".
  • 12 0
 Will you look at the buns on that one! Yeah, he must work out
  • 19 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Andorra is a split custody child, shared with our ex wife, Spain. Our sausage wasn't spicy enough for her. Whore.
  • 7 16
flag Karakoram77 (Dec 20, 2018 at 12:02) (Below Threshold)
 @ReformedRoadie: Thanks for classing over the ignorance above - and with a correct accent, too. I’m dead certain that Yoann could teach us all about being a nice dude and chill riding companion. Can’t see Loic being a jerk either! The flippant should go to Normandy or parts of rural Quebec, among other places. Then they might understand warmth and hospitality.
  • 2 0
 @BenPea: Like Liechtenstein's cousin? Though double the population...
  • 8 17
flag Cashman39 (Dec 20, 2018 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 @tipsword: that's funny because he was voted in. I've never seen a country sooo upset about a decision THEY made. 'Merica
  • 10 2
 @Cashman39: The majority didn't vote for him.
  • 8 2
 @Cashman39: well there's this little place called the United Kingdom you might want to read about. And France. It's on fire. After the president won 66℅ of the vote. I've already moved to higher ground. If the Germans lose the plot, we're all effed.
@ReformedRoadie: Yeah, ish. Apparently Liechtenstein has a king who isn't Cedric Gracia and the second highest per capita in the world. But they definitely haven't got any shady shit in their vaults. They ride yetis btw.
  • 4 0
 @BenPea: I ride a Yeti, though it is an 2014 575 made out of metal...
Fun fact - Andorra has the highest cigarette consumption per capita in the world.
  • 6 1
 @hospital: the majority doesnt vote
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: None of us are immune to lazy clichés. But I remember when the 575 was a dream bike with marshmallow seat stays.
Very cheap ciggies in Andorra and great yew's cheese.
  • 2 8
flag jonnycanfield (Dec 20, 2018 at 13:25) (Below Threshold)
 I wonder who @rocky-mtn-gman voted for?
  • 4 10
flag CaliCol (Dec 20, 2018 at 13:53) (Below Threshold)
 @tipsword: then why is he POTUS? Yeah, yeah, collusion blah blah blah
  • 4 2
 @jamesdunford: it’s a movie quote.
  • 23 13
 Peaple who voted for Trump are assholes...
  • 1 8
flag POWsLAYER (Dec 20, 2018 at 14:28) (Below Threshold)
 @vincentlegare2: @vincentlegare2: i can honestly say im not the least bit surprised Putinbike would down vote the sh*t out of you for making a relevant af comment.
  • 18 2
 @POWsLAYER: A Dumb and Dumber quote shouldn't automatically turn political in a comment section of a mountain bike website.
  • 6 1
 @CaliCol: It's called the electoral college, Trump did not win the majority vote.
  • 4 13
flag thesharkman (Dec 20, 2018 at 18:17) (Below Threshold)
 @mongoose24: I did, and I will in 2020 as well!
  • 5 4
 @hospital: daylights saving shouldn't be a thing either yet here we are. He's a French Canadian who obviously has zero idea wtf you children are referencing. The bikes aren't even French so even the line is irrelevant tbw
  • 2 0
 @drunknride: Living adjacent to Capistrano, I can't WAIT for the salmon to return every year! Is it right after the Swallows, or just before? They swim upstream from Doheny, right?
  • 4 0
 Went to France this last summer. Country was amazing and the people were amazing. Can’t wait to go back. Still a funny comment though.
  • 4 1
 @POWsLAYER: Commencal has Amaury Pierron, Remi, and Myriam Nicole. They are some of the best riders in the world and are all French so yes this joke is relevant. Next time we'll DM you if the joke is inclusive enough. Go ride and clear your head. lmao dear lawd
  • 4 4
 @shami: obviously he did! Still butt-hurt that Hillary didn’t win! Get a life!
  • 2 9
flag CaliCol (Dec 20, 2018 at 22:58) (Below Threshold)
 @mongoose24: I am willing to bet that I am more educated and have a better job than you.
  • 5 0
 That John Denver is full of shit, man.
  • 4 2
 @mongoose24: Snowflake much?
  • 2 0
 A*sholes are everywhere!
Just saying...
  • 1 0
 @CaliCol: Incorrect assumption about those who do not like our current POTUS. Most of us didn't like Hillary either, for similar reasons.
  • 2 0
 @herzalot: fair enough.
  • 3 0
People who voted a different way from yourself are not a*seholes. It's that kind of thinking that creates problems.
  • 3 0
 Samsonite, I was way off!
  • 60 2
 Way to go Pinkbike! Keeping it to the dh/freeride roots this site was founded on. Love the pick.
  • 5 0
 Pinkbike was built on the huck life
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: I miss the old Huck Your Meat t-shirts
  • 55 3
 Where is the “downcountry” bike of the year?
  • 8 0
 Mike Levy clearly wasn't allowed to vote for this one.
  • 2 0
 It's in Reno apparently!
  • 52 0
 hmmm....dunno.....the e13 front rim and tire decals aren't even lined up.
  • 72 0
 Shit, we need to rethink this whole thing.
  • 23 4
 I'm an old guy over 40, yes I have a yeti, an I like more enduro type riding... but I have to say I went to whistler a couple times these past few years, picked up a DH bike and I really would do that type of riding any day of the week and this bike is such a good pick. it looks awesome, I'm sure it rides awesome. I'm 5' 7" so I like 27.5, but I see why big guys like these 29" wheels more, or maybe I just suck when I ride them... good choice instead of a high dollar enduro all-arounder.

If people hate on this for not picking an all-arounder, then they either have not gone to a good DH park and enjoyed, or they are doing it wrong...
  • 22 8
 But are you a dentist?
  • 8 2
 @MikeyMT: You're asking the real questions.Yeti owner, not a dentist. It can be done.
  • 8 0
 @MikeyMT: No... I type a lot though Smile
  • 13 0
 @level4designs: professional pb commenter, cool!
  • 7 10
 Not hating on this as it looks like a pretty dialed ride - but having a DH bike as Bike of the Year seems a bit off, as DH is something that only a few percent of people who actually ride their bike in the dirt participate in... While PB doesn't pay much attention to the XC category (which has also gotten to be a bit niche) the Trail and Enduro/All-Mountain categories are where virtually EVERYONE participates in to some extent - c'mon - even DH guys usually have a trailbike of some sort in the quiver. I know a few people who own a DH bike, and use them a few times a year at a resort - but many of them now rent a bike as it's not worth buying a $5K and up bike for only riding a few times a year. Perhaps classes of bike - Trail, Enduro/AM and DH. And then let both the Readers and Editors vote for the best of all the classes?
  • 12 1
 @ATBScott: Dude, it was BIKE of The Year; not Style of Riding of The Year. DH rules and if you're honest with yourself you will know it is the descent that we all live for. Stick a rowdy DH sled under you ass and rail down the roughest f*cking hill and try to fight that grin at the bottom. DH FTW!!!!
  • 2 0
 @CRAFTY-P: Yep... If you don't enjoy going down more than going up, your doing it wrong. It's like saying you like cold showers over hot showers.
  • 17 2
 Another sound choice. IMHO Pinkbike nailed the winners of both bike and value bike of the year.
  • 10 1
 nailed the winners... If only this were the Miss Universe competition.
  • 12 0
 Makes sense, was incredibly successful as a race bike and inspired a comeback of high pivot bikes, apparently it rides damn well too.
  • 1 0
 IIRC it was also the first DH 29er to market.
  • 13 0
 Aluminum is the new carbon!
  • 13 5
 Interesting, out of the contenders the winner is maybe the least versatile. Strangely I can see this might actually lead to LESS controversy. Do one thing and do it well! ...those long valve stems tho...
  • 8 0
 E13 two part valves - worth the money and the length.
  • 1 0
 They do come in 2 lengths and are very nice valves. In this picture the rear one still has the core removal tool screwed on making it look exxxxtra long
  • 1 1
 Is it really that interesting? The award's not called "Bike most likely to appeal to a wide audience of the year".
  • 1 0
 @Dhminipinner: Yes since most bikes sold in 2018 outperform every type of bike available ~5 years ago at doing almost everything, they picked one that only does one thing better. A lot better for sure but you can still only use it for one thing. Not good or bad but...interesting. After all my post isn't called "tortured amalgam of every other pinkbike reader's opinion".
  • 7 0
 I don't ride a DH bike too often and would prob be on something like a Slayer if did. But, damn if this bike isn't one of the most beautiful bikes I've ever seen. Insanely good looking. Maybe it's just the photo work but wow.
  • 2 0
 Commencal really seems to know their hydroforming. They manage to make their forms almost carbon-like.
  • 7 1
 Whew! That sound you hear is the collective sigh of all the bros out there Pink Bike didn't pick the Yeti "AKA Dentist Bike" as Bike of the Year. This bike "only" costs $4,700! Practically theft! You don't need to be a dentist to afford that, just an engineer. Or middle management.
  • 7 0
 Full support! Like this choice, this has to be one of the most talked about bikes at the moment, obviously had a great season, AND it looks great.
  • 2 1
 It looks like the daddy long neck of mountain bikes.
  • 5 0
 @CaliCol: Funny that... he's potus because a lot of people vote with their angst and not their brains... Thanks for the reply, I've never heard from a unicorn before (far right in Cali is unheard of... and for the record, I'm a conservative, I just prefer to vote for people that actually aren't lying narcists with strong sociopathic tendencies).
  • 5 0
 At 6'5 I was psyched when this thing hit the market, and after a summer in BC and fall back in Europe I can solidly say this bike is everything the reviews say. Can't wait to start racing it this coming season!
  • 4 0
 Field Test reviewers came back from a day of riding the supreme DH and had this to say "seat angle could be steeper and the head angle could be slightly slacker so it feels a bit more stable on the descents"
  • 8 3
 I knew it. Since Ripmo is everybody's darling, Commencal was an easy guess.
  • 4 0
 I'm totally not the target demographic for a DH bike, but that thing is badass, and you can't argue with the results the team have gotten on it. Definitely a worthy win.
  • 1 2
 Nah. You know your 130 is better. It's just gonna take you more places. If you're into downhill, though, this is a killer bike. I'm just not, so that's where it ends for me.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: Better for me for sure, but I get why the Supreme won.
  • 2 0
 For once i agree with this, I had a chance to demo one at Cannonball the other week, amazing bike to ride, miles of improvement over downhill bikes 3-5 years ago (I know, i have one) and im glad that the pick wasnt just an enduro bike like what everyone else would have picked
  • 6 1
 Hang on, what about the Spartan. Oh wait . . .
  • 7 0
 65 degree headtube angle. Awful for descending. ????
  • 5 0
 Congrats Commencal! (now give us Supreme SX 29 next)
  • 2 0
 Would love to hear why they discontinued the Supreme SX. And yes a 29" would be awesome!
  • 2 0
 @Jolinwood: Pretty sure it's just too niche. A DH bike that can be pedalled isn't the most popular category. I realize that sounds like enduro, but enduro bikes are really beefy trail bikes, not DH-lites.
  • 2 0
 I have a Supreme SX and absolutely love it. Have considered throwing a 29" 160mm fork from my trail bike on there...that would be a blast.
  • 1 0
 Meta AM 29. It’s like an SX but can climb well
  • 4 0
 holy .... A non plastic bike wins the mountain bike of the year award! On Pinkbike!!
  • 8 4
 It’s all downhill from here
  • 10 10
 Yea, that's cool and all but it would be nice to have a DH bike of the year and then a non-DH bike. We don't need 80 categories but even in the automobile world you get car of the year and truck of the year. I'm sure this is a great bike and all but I think almost 100% of riders have interest in trail bikes, even those folks that do ride parks, but overall, a much smaller % care about DH bikes.
  • 3 1
 "What's the reasoning behind grouping such different bikes together into one category? Well, for one thing, many of today's bikes don't really fit neatly into one pre-determined segment. There are so many sub-genres that it makes more sense to take a look at all of the bikes that we spent time on this year, and select the standout contenders from there."
  • 2 2
 @Jolinwood: Well, its just my opinion. And for me, if you start having too many categories then "winning" doesn't mean all that much. I'd like (again, my opinion) a category for bikes that go UP AND DOWN and a category for bikes that just go DOWN.

Last year I "won" an XC race....well really I won my age group in Cat3 which had like 7 people in it. That's alot different than "winning" the race. I guess having XC, OTHER and DH categories might be ok too.
  • 2 1
 @yupstate: uhm yes, and what the author writes is that this DH bike didnt just beat the 7 other DH bikes, it beat all the bikes in all the categories. But dont worry im sure next year an enduro bike will win as usual!
  • 2 0
 Now don't get me wrong as I have ridden A-line in whistler on a downhill bike but this just seems weird a DH bike wins this award.
  • 4 0
 The year of aluminum!
  • 4 2
 Has to be done by categories, it is not that complicated: trail,enduro,dh. Even xc if you want
  • 2 0
 glad this won its not often that people can hop on a bike and have it shave off time on a race run!
  • 1 1
 Wow.. In an age where Enduro bikes are capable of riding pretty much any bike park run, thus the retail DH bike market has all but flat-lined, PB chooses a DH bike as its 'best' choice. Interesting.
  • 1 0
 See, if they would have made any of those enduro bikes with seats a little steeper and head tubes a little slacker they might have won instead... Smile
  • 5 4
 I feel like there should be categories for bike's of the year. I mean why no XC bike in the running?
  • 22 10
 Because System of a Down Country
  • 25 6
 Because this is Pinkbike, not an XC site?
  • 4 11
flag colincolin (Dec 20, 2018 at 8:15) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: Got syndrome of a down?
  • 4 0
 Pinkbike only tested two XC bikes this year that I can think of and both were borderline trail bikes
  • 10 0
 @Patrick9-32: Pinkbike sounds like a Womens XC site anyway, so your point is funny.
  • 3 0
 @src248: Downcountry bikes are cross country bikes for Pinkbike users the way I see it. Certainly not aimed at XC racers.
  • 6 6
 Down-Country syndrome I like it...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: There is a certain toxicity towards xc bikes on this site
  • 3 2
 @metaam: yes, as soon as there is one it gets forked up
  • 3 0
 Carbon schmarbon
  • 1 0
 great shout! i don't own or plan on owning a dh bike (did do for ten years) but that thing looks on another level.
  • 3 1
 Hmm, the readers didnt agree. gave the Yeti than 30% more votes
  • 1 0
 CX bikes are 29er too! I hear they are much faster than any Mt.Bike! Some even have motors!
  • 2 0
 didn't line the tires up with the rims 0/10
  • 1 0
 I ordered one right away, I gonna go really slow on this one next summer Smile
  • 3 3
 You know they wanted to choose the Bronson but could not because the hole Field Test deal...
  • 2 0
  • 10 10
 "What won bike-of-the-year on PB??"
"Some DH bike"
"Ohhh, that stinks" *starts pedaling uphill
- Almost everyone
  • 1 0
 What bike came in second?
  • 2 1
 Too expensive, should have been the Enduro Evo.
  • 2 1
 Expensive means nothing in a best award. If it's the best, that's it.
  • 1 0
 She choked on a supreme pizza
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 hmm k'
  • 2 3
 So when everyone seems to be banging on about stiffness being great, they choose the bike of the year because its flexy...
  • 2 1
 PB - Pink Bitching
  • 1 0
 Good pick
  • 1 0
 Well deserved.
  • 1 1
 I have literally never seen a Commencal in person...
  • 1 0
 they are popular in florida
  • 1 0
 Happy to ride with you here in Toronto! Give me a shout.
  • 2 1
 Would be cool in 26"
  • 5 5
 I'm glad it's aluminum.
  • 3 4
 "Pedals like a _______, descends like a __________."
  • 2 3
 Seems like the rioting worked after all. Tres bien!
  • 9 2
 Nice!!! Your knowledge about the geography and world is spectacular! I envy your capabilities to read news etc.
  • 1 1
 #CaucasianSpring ?
  • 1 0
 @nall3fin: are you surprised?

Ask your neighbour if they get ever mixed up with an other european country...?
  • 3 0
 @squarewheel: Sure my neighbour has mistaken. Heck! I have mistaken! But the difference is that I do not make statements publicly, which makes no sense at all. Anyway, commencal earned this win!
  • 5 5
 27.5 ain’t dead
  • 2 2
 Didnt he win on 275?
  • 2 3
 how did this win?
  • 9 0
 I suspect PB editors sat down and talked about it, listed the merits of each nominee and then agreed on the winner. Don't thank me. *flies off into the sunset*
  • 2 4
 Is DH a thing?
  • 1 0
 It is a thing. DH bikes are less of a thing though.
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