2021 Pinkbike Awards: Mountain Bike of the Year Winner

Dec 30, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  


Mountain Bike of the Year Winner

The finalists for the 2021 Mountain Bike of the Year were the Trek Top Fuel, Rocky Mountain Element, Norco Range, and the Transition Spire. It's a varied batch, one that runs the gamut from bikes that could be contenders in a cross-country race to burly beasts with handling that's very, very close to that of a full blown downhill bike.

When the dust had settled, there was one bike that stood out from the rest. The winner is....







Norco Range


Norco didn't make any concessions in their quest to make the Range an absolute gravity fiend, and those efforts paid off. It's a bike with an unwavering focus on delivering stability and speed in the gnarliest terrain, with extremely well balanced geometry and a high-pivot suspension layout that allows it to make short work of the chunkiest tracks.

The Range epitomizes the trends that we saw this year in the enduro and downhill worlds, a shining example of the direction things are headed in the near future. When it comes to geometry, Norco remain at the forefront thanks to their size-specific chainstay lengths and head angles – the smaller sizes get shorter chainstays and a slightly steeper head angle in order to maintain similar handling characteristics across the board. In addition, Norco's online Ride Aligned setup guide is one of the best out there, which makes it easier for riders to get their bikes dialed in as quickly as possible.

Don't overlook the fact that the Range can be pedaled back up for another lap, either. No, it's not the lightest bike in this category, but its geometry creates a comfortable, upright position that's ideal for spinning out the miles before dropping in for another run.

At the end of the day, it's the Range's downhill performance that gave it the edge over this year's Mountain Bike of the Year contenders. We all ride for different reasons, but there's no denying that going downhill as fast as possible is one of the best aspects of mountain biking. The Norco Range doesn't seem to have a speed limit, a key factor that led to the decision to award it the 2021 Mountain Bike of the Year title.










260 Comments

  • 198 27
 The Hawaiian shirt is a dress code violation, Henry…

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 156 3
 But Robin, didn't you see the expense form? I should be saying thank you, really. The team at the local charity shop have been trying to shift that blazer and shirt combo for years. I hope it doesn't affect your bottom line.

Be safe be well,
Your loyal underling
  • 8 6
 @henryquinney: gawds my eye. It looks like something you’d get at an ABC store after too many Mai tais at Dukes.
Be safe and dress well
Your fashion maven
  • 16 0
 Fashion advice from a mountain biker. Ummmm.....yeah.
  • 7 0
 I do like that Levy left the crumbs on his lapel from Tim Horton's
  • 31 2
 @henryquinney: appreciate you boys looking out for me. Keep an eye out for your Be safe be well branded spandex arriving in the New Year!

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 6 0
 @oldfut: there’s no such think as too many Mai tais at Dukes.
  • 1 0
 @oldfut People don’t just walk down the block and go to Arnold’s?
  • 3 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: if you made it to Arnold’s from Dukes you didn’t drink very many Mai Tais .
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: levy got the lord Suggs look.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider: priceless solid advice, sir!
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney: you love the Spire…but what do you think about the 150 Sentinel (also very light with good geo numbers)?
  • 72 3
 Norco is on fire lately! First the Sight, then the Optic and now the Range - their team designed some excellent bikes in the last couple of bikes.
  • 8 0
 If I was Norco, I would ask for the woman and two dogs trophy (are those Borzoi's???). Way more people would ask about it than whatever the real trophy is.
  • 4 3
 @rrolly: Borzois are the shit! it's like Dr Suess designed a dog! so f*cking rad....
  • 10 14
flag funkzander (Dec 30, 2021 at 11:51) (Below Threshold)
 the optic is a nice bike but no frame set over here and press fit bb is a nogo for me personally. had a aurum dh bike in 12 or 13 and liked it.
  • 4 0
 It's kind of good that they don't sell the frameset in europe, otherwise I would be tempted so much.
@funkzander - pressfit is bearable, have a pressfit bike for 2 years now and nothing happens. Would prefer threaded, but you can't have it all.
  • 2 0
 [deleted]
  • 1 0
 @conoat: i have a chi-weenie, half chihuahua half dachshund. talk about a dog that looks like it was designed by dr seuss
  • 5 7
 I’m a Norco fan for sure. I had the first gen sight which was a killer 27.5 bike.

But, their warranty service stinks, and they don’t support their USA shops that well.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: If you were a Norco?
So if you were multiple men and women simultaneously cooperating to reach common goals under the payroll of an economic entity...
Wait what? That's not how to imagine.
  • 4 0
 @sonuvagun: huh??? If I was Norco, not A Norco. You one crazy sonuvagun.
  • 3 0
 @rrolly: ahhhh, my bad. Now it's clear. Big Grin
  • 1 1
 @thechunderdownunder: first gen sight was 26"
  • 2 1
 @mr-moose: don’t think so, but all I know for sure is after I cracked my frame Norco took over a year to get me a new one. Had a similar situation with the Range. Now I can’t even find a local shop that carry’s them. They don’t support their shores well enough down here. Hard to get enough bikes to sell even before the pandemic.

I’m not doubting that the Range deserve mountain bike of the year at all. But I know why I probably wouldn’t buy one.
  • 3 2
 Now if only their pivot bolts would stop snapping and be available for purchase
  • 1 0
 *last couple of years
  • 1 0
 It's funny because it's ironically tacky but if you ever been to the Norco office it would fit right in.
  • 1 0
 @thechunderdownunder: model year 1 was 2012, I had the 2013 version which had some very minor tweaks but essentially the same frame. 2014 was gen2 and the first year with 650b
  • 1 0
 @mr-moose: my 2014 Sight is still going strong. What a fantastic bike. Mostly riding my 2019 Sight now, which has also been so good.
  • 1 1
 @mr-moose: I was dying to know that for sure.
  • 39 0
 And just like that, my Spire will always be a little less fun. Wink
  • 16 0
 As a Range owner, I thought the Spire would win due to a seemingly broader focus.
  • 4 4
 @pb-kg: That's BC-bias for you.
  • 1 1
 @Muscovir: I live in Los Angeles, but ok.
  • 6 0
 @pb-kg: I think he’s saying pinkbike has a BC bias, not you.
  • 3 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: Oh, derp.
  • 43 5
 Well done Norco team! Crushed it AGAIN!
  • 99 0
 Somewhere out there is some lucky soul looking contentedly at their Optic and Range leaned up together in the bike storage, a beam of warm sunlight illuminating their smug little jerk face.
  • 8 34
flag ORAORA (Dec 30, 2021 at 9:31) (Below Threshold)
 You misspelled that, the name is written as Antidote Smile
  • 62 5
 @ORAORA: I will always stand behind my belief that people with Antarctica flags have the worst comments and takes
  • 8 1
 @mobiller: I've already argued with one jealous friend because of this. He kept on with something about how the Enduro is 8lb lighter...
  • 16 4
 @mobiller: I am that lucky soul, and my Range and Optic are all snuggled up together waiting for the snow to melt so that we can get back to business.
  • 2 1
 @adybee7: great choices! I picked up a Shore before the Range was available. I am thoroughly impressed by it, but all this Range hype makes me want one in a bad way!
  • 3 0
 @adybee7: have an optic (such a fun bike) and have been tossing up buying a Range or building up a VHP16. It's a tough decision!
  • 6 1
 @jaycubzz: special mention to UK flag holders every time their is mention of water bottles, avoiding riding muddy trails and wide range cassettes.
UK born and bred sporting the US flag for 10 years, some of my former compatriots should probably travel a little before sounding off online.
  • 26 1
 @jaycubzz: most penguins are fine in person but, put them behind a keyboard and they become total d!cks.
  • 6 0
 @pb-kg: Yea but 8lbs is like you get a whole extra regular frame thrown in there for free on the Range... What a bargain!

Enduro riders be pedaling up hills thinking where is my extra 8lbs of weight. I think I got jipped...
  • 4 0
 @mobiller: You're quite literally talking about @dkidd
  • 6 29
flag eugenux (Dec 30, 2021 at 16:12) (Below Threshold)
 point 1. so, the website with the most trail and enduro type riders cheris a bike that can't do a thing their current bikes do, being practically a pseudo-dh bike and being used as such by the Norco's racing team. right..

point 2. the nominees were from the last two test fields.. but, what about the rest of the bikes launched and tested this year?, pure garbage bikes, right?

point 3. the winner is the winner beacause it is good at what is SUPPOSED to do??!, other bikes in this category do something different than what they were supposed to do or what?

point 4. Canadian local bike-brand?, yes, just a coincidence.
  • 20 0
 @eugenux:
point 1: wat
point 2: do you expect them to award a bike none of them rode? that would be pretty dumb.
point 3: its a tough thing to compare across categories, but the intentions are pretty clear here - award the bike that best achieved the performance of its category. bonus points for innovation and execution.
point 4: the last 8 winners came from Santa Cruz, Trek, Transition, Trek, Commencal, Norco, Specialized, Norco . Just stop.
  • 5 0
 @pb-kg: dont worry, they're probably wasted anyways.
  • 6 0
 @eugenux: Just because other brands didn't win doesn't mean they are "pure garbage" bikes. Last year a giant won so that defeats your comment about them favoring local brands right there. Did you ever think Norco might actually deserve the win instead of going on some clownshoe rant all because your favorite bike didn't win.
  • 4 10
flag eugenux (Dec 31, 2021 at 10:10) (Below Threshold)
 @mhoshal: no, sorry, I did not; that's a dh bike in disguise with minimal extra pedal capacity over a true dh bike...and outside NA, it is so expensive it simply does not worth it; and as good as it might be, there were many(MANY!) other bikes in this category that had been launched this year; yet they choose only the ones from their two last field tests; and I'm not ref to bikes they did not tested no, I'm ref to bikes that were tested by pb editors and reviewers.

I think it is time for pb editors to try and view bikes from normal mtb-ers, as 99% of the world's mtb riders do not live in BC or west Canada nor do they have DH tracks as regular riding trails. I understand why it would be good on Kaz's back yard but, that's the exception not the rule; and, as as said previously, Norco's prices outside NA are a joke, especially for a brand that does not win anything in order for them or for pb editors to say that their frame is the best in the world, in 2021, and award it as proof of that.
  • 6 1
 @eugenux: it's not that serious bro
  • 6 0
 @eugenux: Weird that pinkbike, a website based in Western Canada, would review bikes based on how they perform here. Why are you so butthurt about a private company choosing what they think is the best bike this year?
  • 3 0
 @eugenux: if you wanna see the type of bikes you want reviewed go to Kevcentrel on YouTube.
  • 4 7
 @mhoshal: no, actually my 7k euro bike would say something different. You don't understand, it is not a problem with Norco per se but, it is the way they make the nominees selection. I could argue that a bike like the new Jekyll is a much better bike and also the tester said that a 2 year old design bike is better from every point of view, including against the clock, then the Norco... and still, the Norco is the bike of the year. I hope pb team is enjoying their check because there is no other resonable explanation; if it quacks and walks like a duck, in most scenarios, it is a duck.
  • 18 0
 @eugenux: I'm going to have to respectfully challenge you on you assertion. If something walks and quacks like a duck it could be pretty much any member of the Anatidae family such geese and swans who, technically quack even if it sometime sounds a little honky. Cranes, herons, pelicans, cormorants, and even some raptors can make similar sounds that are vocalised in a manner that would classify as a quack.
  • 3 1
 @eugenux: dude don't cry. Yes, there is some hometown love, and the Norco stoke is real right now... but if you rode here, you'd also know the Range is perfectly suited to what we do! Yes there has been some incredible bikes produced this year, but. This is Pinkbikes bike of the year, not Romanias.

For understanding how they determined BOTY: m.pinkbike.com/u/mikekazimer/blog/2021-pinkbike-awards-rules-and-guidelines.html
  • 1 0
 @eugenux:lol @ minimal extra pedal capacity. Just a guess, you've never ridden one. I've done multiple 5k' days on it without issue. Probably wouldn't want to do 8-9k, but decent sized rides are fine. You're crying about winning bikes being BC biased, ignoring the fact that a 150 all-around, 125 trail bike and DH bike won the last 3 tests. Your points don't hold up under scrutiny. It's the reason you're getting downvoted.
  • 4 4
 @subwaypanda: gold comment!, I'd wish I could up-voted more than once!, cheers and a happy new year!
  • 1 0
 @subwaypanda: Humans also imitate ducks all the time
  • 3 0
 @eugenux: Im comparing DH focused Enduro bikes atm and the Jekyll is Inferior to the Range in almost every aspect.
You get the disadvantege of an Idler for a "High" pivot on the Jeykll that is just high enough to give a little rearward axlepath above the SAG point bevor going forward trough the rest of the travel.
Leverage Ration is almost linear.
The geo.. in Large the Reach is a little short for my liking in XL the Seattube is way too long. and the gravity cavity thing... you better never have a stone flying in there or your Shock is f*cked.

If you want to sacrifice pedal efficiency with the extra drag of an Idler pulley the Rear Suspension should be worth it. It is on the Range, it isnt on the Jekyll.
  • 3 0
 @eugenux: I believe KAZ lives in Bellingham, WA. That's neither BC nor western Canada
  • 33 4
 AWWW CRAP... I thought for sure you'd pick the other one and I just ordered...

Now I have to cancel and scramble to get a Range... $^%$%#!%$@#%$%!!!!

Smile
  • 12 22
flag danstonQ (Dec 30, 2021 at 10:21) (Below Threshold)
 Do you sometimes decide things on your own?
  • 89 4
 @danstonQ: I used to, then I got married
  • 7 3
 @danstonQ: woosh!
  • 8 0
 @yami951: Yep, "Let me ask my wife what I think"
  • 4 11
flag weebleswobbles (Dec 30, 2021 at 14:17) (Below Threshold)
 @codypup: whilst you are there grab your balls out of her purse
  • 3 1
 @weebleswobbles: There's a whole YP channel for that activity.
  • 14 0
 My wife and sometimes don't agree on things so we often compromise and do what she wants
  • 2 0
 @preston67: as long as she wants to ride bikes that's acceptable
  • 1 0
 @weebleswobbles: Its not all stars and rainbows, trust me. **Please don't read this Honey.**
  • 2 0
 @tankthegladiator: nor is it all puffy white clouds , sunshine and rainbows either!
people need to toughen the f@ck up! (That could be the reason for still single) Cheers and Happy New Year!
My new dropper seatpost and pedals just came gonna do some wrenching and some riding and drinking.
  • 1 0
 @weebleswobbles: enjoy dude, wishing we were riding right now - not covered in snow!!! *cheers!
  • 34 7
 As a Range owner, I totally agree with this selection. What a ridiculously fun bike to ride.
  • 13 2
 Heck ya it is ! Funnest bike I've had the pleasure of owning so far
  • 11 2
 It’s so god damn fast. The hype is real.
  • 4 0
 Does the lower pivot below the BB have any issues with rock strikes etc?
  • 4 0
 It’s Fast as Fock!! I got mine to just above 34lbs with lighter carbon bits
  • 5 0
 @Danmcdan: I've hit mine a few times on slow speed log hops and stuff, but it has been less of an issue that I thought it was going to be. As the suspension compresses, that lower link moves up, so when you're actually riding the bike (sagged, using the suspension) the link is further away from the ground than it looks in photos. The one scenario that I have wondered about is steep rock rolls with a very abrupt roll in (the kind you'd be worried about hitting a chain guide on). I haven't ridden anything that has been problematic yet (and I ride lots of rock slabs), but that's the one situation I could see it being an issue.
  • 2 0
 @Danmcdan: At slower speeds when you're not very deep into the travel, yes. I hit it a bunch in my first couple weeks of ownership, but somehow it's not a problem any more.
  • 6 0
 @vanillarice19: Read that as 'lighter carbon bolts' and nearly fell off my chair!
  • 4 2
 So many haters out there... 6 downvotes because you said a certain bike is fun to ride??? Have fun out there!
  • 10 4
 @danielomeara: this confirmation bias circlejerk is pretty swell!!!
  • 14 5
 @vanillarice19: 34lbs AFTER lightening it up! LOL
  • 2 3
 @vanillarice19: 34 lbs after lightening! My all aluminum park oriented Shore is *only* 3 lbs heavier with tubeless exo casings and light weight pedals.
  • 2 0
 Any Range owner knows how the pivot is situated in relation to the idler ?
It looks concentric but I guess it isn't as that wouldn't result in good AS values.
  • 2 1
 @vanillarice19: what does "just above" 34lbs mean?...lol 35lbs 15oz?
  • 7 7
 @jbrown-15: if a bike is 35 lbs, and rider is 160, or a bike is 28 lbs and the rider is 167 lbs... I've never understood this fear of a bikes total weight.
  • 4 0
 @jbrown-15: 34.8lbs with pedals, DD rear, Exo front tire
  • 3 3
 @tankthegladiator: but why would you ever run exo casing on a Shore?!? Or at all?
  • 5 0
 @vanillarice19: That's a light one! Mine is 39.1lbs and she trucks! Full cushcore, 223mm rotors and a 220mm dropper, saint pedals. That's pre water bottle hahaha
  • 3 3
 @getschwifty: sorry man, they're actually Exo+ Assegai. They roll noticeably quicker than DD or DH casing and I've had one flat in 5 years of running EXO+. Sped the bike up a whole bunch!
  • 11 2
 @tankthegladiator: That's amazing! How did you get ahold of EXO+ tires 3 years before they were even released!?!
  • 1 0
 @adventuresbycole: threw some $$ at it..
half pound weight savings going from 34.9 to 31.8+shim dropper, removed chainring guard, 28t XX1 cranks, Carbon hoops bar and saddle.
  • 3 2
 @gnarnaimo: man, I ride bikes - and buy the parts the work for me. My current tires say EXO+ and I feel like I've always been buying these. If they changed them, great. They're still fast and no flats!
  • 2 0
 @Danmcdan: Yes the lower link can get caught on log rolls when moving at a crawl. I've scraped the cover plate half a dozen times and crashed when being caught twice. Because I was going slowly, they weren't bad crashes, the bike just slipped out sideways. You learn to avoid or pre-empt features and bunnyhop, press or off-weight in these situations. It hasn't been a problem for me at speeds fast enough for the suspension to be absorbing the terrain (faster than a slow jog).
I wish it wasn't an issue, but it is. It's not a deal-breaker for me.
  • 1 0
 @ozhuck2flat: most bikes you run less sag to avoid BB strikes. I am running 33% 400lb when Ride Align suggests 430lbs and the extra bit of sag causes the bottom lower link to raise up higher than say 28-30% sag. Haven’t noticed any harsh bottomouts yet and haven’t struck anything with it yet but I only have 120miles as I’m still recovering from injury
  • 2 1
 @vanillarice19: I found Ride Aligned settings to be far too firm. At their suggested set up spring 2021, I was 20% sag in the rear for the Shore. I see they've changed their suggested set up for my weight/height winter 2021, reccommending a 50lbs softer spring. According to TF tuned, I need to drop 150lbs in spring rate. I will split the difference at 100lbs less aiming for 30% sag for next year.
  • 2 0
 @tankthegladiator: Interesting! I usually set my Sight slightly firmer than RideAligned (the shock at least), but I also found that running a 50lb lighter spring weight (and matching fork pressure) on the Range felt better.
  • 2 0
 @tankthegladiator: I had the opposite experience actually. Using the "pro" setting I found the shock setup to be pretty good (maybe a touch soft, but pretty close, no harsh bottom outs), but the fork was too soft. I ended up going about 15-20psi more than recommended, despite the fact I was running one more volume spacer than recommended. I also might add another volume spacer as I do occasionally get some hard bottoms outs in sections I probably shouldn't.
  • 1 0
 @tankthegladiator: because wrestling an extra 7lbs around all day gets exhausting. think about it....how many dynamic moves do you make all day on a big ride? thousands? mannys, pumping, pull/push, etc....at the end of a 4000ft/20ish mile day, do you want to have ridden the 35lb bike to make that final sketchy descent, or have been on the 28lb bike all day?
  • 1 0
 @conoat:

This is exactly correct: Body weight and bike weight cannot be combined into one total weight because one uses muscle ( energy) to push pull the other and the reverse is not true. Try lifting weights by losing five pounds and adding five pounds to all your reps in your workout, and see how you feel. should be the same, buts it’s not…
  • 1 0
 @Saidrick: Agree with you here. I'd add that while body weight, bike weight, and system weight (body+bike) all have independent and codependent effects on climbing and descending characteristics as well as suspension performance its pretty difficult to evaluate a bike by looking at the effects of any single variable on any single attribute. The Range is a handful at lower speeds because of its weight (which is inseparable from its suspension implementation), but it turns into a huge plus at even moderate speeds when the suspension is working to keep you from needing to push the bike through square edges, etc. You're working harder at low speeds, but way less once you're rolling. Just my experience, busting PRs all over the place on this particular bike.
  • 2 0
 @pb-kg:

I agree, big heavy bikes stomp on bike park dh’s. That’s why my dh bike is 40 lbs. However, my trail bike is 30lbs and my gravel bike is 20lbs. The weight difference is easily noticeable, the climbing time differences between the gravel bike and the trail bike are minutes apart on the same fire road climbs.

My point is that weight is very noticeable and
people buying this bike should be riding bike park level downhills / double black diamond trails to justify the weight.

If they are not riding crazy steep trails, the bike will make the trails feel boring ( muted). It will be like riding on the road, in the forest. Bike reviews always seem to forget to mention this because their local trails are crazy steep and , usually, are bike parks…
  • 1 0
 @vanillarice19: heck yeah! Mine being an XL does not help my case. Once the hoops are shot I plan to do we are one carbon's. That dropper weight savings is great, probable the cheapest pound you can skim
  • 1 0
 @eblackwell: I'm the same as well man. "Pro" setting but 50lb heavier spring and 15psi more in my fork with 3 volume spacers. Ride aligned settings are quite soft IMO and the range is definitely faster and more maneuverable with a stiffer setup
  • 25 0
 What, no brass ring for the Ghost Riot?
  • 16 0
 Nice bike. I was a little surprised the Spire didn't take it but hats off to the team at Norco !
  • 4 4
 Spire is a do it all bike. Range is next level when descending plus you can change the rear link and shock to make it a 195mm DH bike.
  • 1 0
 @vanillarice19: glad to see these comments. Was thinking this article would highlight the Spire & was seriously debating scoring a frame to build up, changing up from a 2019 Capra (which I love) but wondering if maybe the Spire is prob just too similar to the Capra vs. the Range. Seems like the Range is fine to both pedal up (prob just as slow as the Capra) and bashing some park, which is always more fun on a big bike. Dunno why I was thinking the Range was considered lumpy...just so many bikes reviewed & discussed on PB podcast & here that its hard to remember it all I guess but thanks for the reminder.
  • 1 0
 @vanillarice19: put that absurd formula nero 29er 180mm fork on it or just go full 200
  • 1 1
 @vanillarice19: who is making aftermarket links for the Range already??? Want to know more!
  • 3 1
 @sasquatchclyde: Some made their own like this guy.
www.vitalmtb.com/community/MTByNOT,43216/setup,44674

WRP is making one also Mullet dropouts
  • 18 1
 Waiting for the comment of the year
  • 40 14
 its really not the same without waki
  • 8 0
 @adrennan: i was just wondering about him, what happened? I stopped looking at pb for awhile and on return, no more waki
  • 21 14
 @adrennan:
True. It's better.
  • 18 20
 @Archimonde: negative, it's becoming like Reddit. people mindlessly downvoting content they don't like instead of having a discussion. eventually any forum becomes a chamber of ideological ignorance for the party majority that frequents the page.
  • 1 0
 @pargolf8: +1, where's he at?
  • 12 4
 @Caligula1620: You think downvotes were the reason Waki left?
  • 10 2
 @boozed: ya probably, most of his comments were insanely dry and tongue and cheek, so via text I could see how people just misunderstand bc of the medium and downvote. and why bother trying to make a couple quips if people just downvote bc of their perceived offense. look how many downvotes you and I got lol, I didn't even think we wrote anything contentious.
  • 3 0
 @adrennan: probably at the pub having a pint
  • 4 1
 @adrennan: glass raised to waki
  • 3 0
 Looks like we’re not getting comment of the year. Pretty sure the number one comment was something not very nice about Outside.
  • 1 0
 @Rageingdh: what a shame not to get a comment of the year any more....
  • 1 0
 @Rageingdh: www.pinkbike.com/news/the-20-top-pinkbike-comments-of-2020.html

just for some memories...
Maybe they drop it next week, the articel in 2021 was postet at the 15. of january
  • 2 0
 @Hamburgi: pretty sure I’ve already read all 20 top comments of 21 throughout the year but it’s definitely fun to see them again.
  • 28 12
 So many Santa Cruz and Yeti owners are going to be crying about this.
  • 18 2
 Did yeti release a bike this year??
  • 11 5
 @GumptionZA: They released that stupidly expensive e-bike.
  • 45 7
 @Muscovir: True true, but they didn't release a mountain bike, just the moped.
  • 9 1
 @GumptionZA: To be honest I thought Yeti released the 165 this year but I may have mistaken that for when the delivery year was if you ordered it last year.


My sincerest apologies

Fatduke
  • 11 12
 SC owner, not crying because my SC does not have a PF BB. Dealbreaker for me.
  • 4 2
 @MT36: I've owned and tested bikes with both PF and threaded BB. I made a big fuss about PF being shit, but with the right tools PF is easy to install / remove. And I seem to have longer BB life with PF, probably because it's easier to align the bores of PF than the threads.
  • 6 0
 Idk. The people that I’ve known who have owned a SC have really liked them. There are so many good bikes out there.
  • 5 1
 @ViolaVesperlin: yep just the electric moped
  • 7 0
 I don’t know. I do t have a Yeti or and SC or a Norco for that matter. I’m pretty happy with my bike regardless of whether it’s bike of the year or not.
  • 16 2
 If the ultimate mountain bike is a downhill bike, and this is basically a DH bike that can climb, it makes sense to me. Good choice PB
  • 2 0
 They've picked a bike which pushes the envelope and which would be near the top of the "love to try" list for a lot of us, and which apparently rides exceptionally well downhill. Rather than a competent take on an existing bike.
I have no issue with that, but I'd be very wary of buying one after reading about various mechanical / design issues which sound like it might be difficult to live with.
  • 25 14
 I am sure it is a great bike. However, it seems to me this is the right bike for a very small percentage of mountain bikers but here it is, winning bike-of-the-year from the most influential MTB website. I know the PB editors talk on podcasts etc. about not living in their own PNW bubble, but then actions like these speak louder than words.
  • 22 6
 The plains of Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana aren't a good place for this bike. Or mountain biking. But in places where there is mountain biking this bike thrives. If you want to read about gravel bikes, Gran Fondo is a decent site.
  • 12 1
 If you consider the entire global population, some cheap, utilitarian commuter is probably the ideal bike for the most people. I don't think it matters how useful it is across our entire community. These guys ride a ton of bikes and said "this is the most impressive/fun/capable/surprising bike we rode this year." Fair enough. it could've been a DH bike or an XC hardtail.
  • 13 1
 Maybe this article is telling you something? Could be time to move?
  • 7 3
 @wyorider: you are making my point for me; being on this high horse on what constitutes "real" mountain biking.
  • 7 1
 @theedon: Me and many others quite enjoy the mountain biking we have here in North Georgia / Western North Carolina. Those super long, low and slack bikes aren't exactly made with us folks in mind, but we get by nonetheless :-)
  • 4 1
 Now I will see myself right out on my barely rideable 66 deg HTA trail bike :-D
  • 5 6
 @gth802s: uhhh. Yeah. Mountain. Biking. In the mountains. Gravel bike with a 71 head angle is fine for more modest needs-this isn’t the website for that.
  • 3 2
 @gth802s: +10mm fork travel will solve that. And likely make the bike ride a little better.
  • 4 1
 @gth802s:

I went down a trail in N. GA this Monday that was right up there with the some of steeper and techy-er trails of in the Dark Divide area between Mt St Helens and Mt Adams. Great stuff.

-gtg611a
  • 12 1
 If it's not the best bike for Bentonville it shouldn't win, obviously. #mountainbikecapitaloftheworld
  • 5 4
 @ksilvey10: All I was trying to say is that this bike seems too specialized and designed for a relatively small number of riders to win MTB of the year. Having said that and given this some more thought, maybe we have reached a point where bikes have gotten so good over the years, and it takes one that highly specializes in one area to attract attention and potentially win these sorts of awards?

But the flipside is that being bestowed these awards by influential reviewers like PB must certainly drive the industry to develop new products that cater to such influential reviewers and their coveted awards, and the reality is riding conditions are very different across geographical regions. It seems most manufacturers are then driven to develop new bikes that cater to influential reviewers' tastes, resulting in these new breed of down-country, slack/long/low, etc. bikes that do not necessarily work for a large number of riders and their options keep diminishing by the day because manufacturers know these reviews hold a lot of weight and help with the sales. Pretty soon, riders in Florida will all be forced to ride bikes with 65 deg HTA and 78 deg STA that might be great for steep / techy terrain but suck when it comes to flat terrain with frequent turns (I rode my trail bike in FL over the holidays; it was not really enjoyable).

Rant over... Would love to ride in Bentonville AR sometime though :-)
  • 4 0
 @ksilvey10: what the shit. Self proclaimed mountain bike Capital.
  • 6 1
 @gth802s: steep angled, short travel bikes that are fun on tame trails aren’t going anywhere. Having lived out west all my life and pedaled monster 50+ pound
freeride bikes around for years just so I could get the downhill performance I want, this new crop of bikes that climb really well and descend even better is a huge develop and they deserve all the praise they are getting. Don’t underestimate the amount of riders in the world on big mountains. They’re not just in BC.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: tell me more about the dark divide. Are they moto or bike trails?
  • 1 0
 @Rageingdh: moto trails. Trenched out and burly. Hike-a-bike up. Hang on for dear life on the way down.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: thanks for the info. I just found the area on the map. That is definitely in the middle of nowhere. I drove through the Cispus valley to Mt Adams in 1998 when I worked for the forest service as a young buck. Beautiful area. I’ve been told the moto trails out of Randle are pretty good too. We’re pretty lucky to live near such nice places. New Years resolution, get out of my backyard more often!!!
  • 2 0
 @ksilvey10: Huffy? Wal Mart bikes for Wal Mart trails.
  • 12 0
 Should've been Greg Minnaar!
  • 5 0
 Congrats Norfolk! The awards are always fun to watch every year; cool to see who, or what has been achieved in the past year. It’s unfortunate that we can’t hear a word Henry is saying :-/
  • 7 0
 Wooohooo! The little Canadian company that could.... again! So stoked on this one!!!
  • 8 0
 WooHoo, way to go Engineering Team at Norco! Great leadership DC!
  • 5 1
 Is it just me or is it so hard to hear Henry in any video he is in? Makes it so hard to watch. It was one of the reasons why I stopped watching GMBN and now it is so hard to watch the videos on PB. Can someone turn up his mic???!! They have to notice this when they are editing these vids right???
  • 5 1
 Shimano hubs, pressfit bb, cheap cranks, 40 lb weight - looks to me like this bike will need some work once you get it if you want to ride it more than one season and be happy with it. That is unless you have SWorks money or you have always been happy with what comes out of the box. This bike when compared to other lighter, bettered speced, bikes in this class is not the best at it’s intended use of a combination of downhill performance plus pedaling efficiency. You can’t tell me a bike with an extra foot of chain and another friction point in the idler pedals as well as one that doesn’t. All the geometry in the world doesn’t make that up. We all like to look at burly park bikes but the best bike of the year?
  • 2 0
 What's wrong with shimano hubs? Other than perhaps a bit of weight, they are reliable and easy to service. I have two sets of XT hubs that have been great, and very affordable. Genuinely curious if there's some known issue with them I haven't heard about
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: less points of engagement than many folks who would shell out up to 7k for a build may like, still better than dt swiss 370s
  • 1 0
 @padirt: fair enough. I care more about reliability and positive engagement than fast engagement, and they helped me keep what could have been a 7k build closer to 6...
  • 4 0
 I was really expecting the Element to win. I think the Range is a good choice though. Certainly a bad ass bike. Good for only like 5% of riding terrain though. I bet in the right places the Range is just insanely good.
  • 3 0
 I was waiting a couple years for this bike to come out. Then when it did, although I loved most everything about it, I didn't love the thought of climbing with it. Hence I went with the divinci spartan. Similar design, sacrificed some stability for a a bit better uphill performance.
  • 4 2
 its like Best in Show, I’d never own.a Whippet or some yappy purse dog, but if its the dog closest to the breed standard it wins deservedly….the Spire is like the dogs i own, Labs and more Labs, bc they do everything wo complaint, they love me on my off days and are beautiful!
  • 8 3
 Didn't see that one coming.
  • 29 4
 Those who rode the Range did.
  • 6 1
 That is a stunning mountain bicycle.
  • 4 0
 What's the Range of qualifications needed for winning best bike? Apparently high-pivot was one of them.
  • 1 4
 Good bike where PB reviewers live.
  • 5 0
 @ces1965: next year's winner will be a Ghost Riot Full Party after reviewers speculate it could work well somewhere they don't live.
  • 1 0
 Gotta say, looking at the numbers in linkage, I'd say it's almost the "perfect" bike for gravity oriented riding.
I quickly did it with a side picture so it's surely not perfect, but pretty much all numbers seem right : About 25mm of rearward wheel path, lot of progression, AS around 100-140%, AR going from around 110 at sag to 30% at full travel, not much KB thanks to the idler, low CoG, low standover, short seat tube, probably enough tube for a long dropper, and there's even space for a water bottle... and without a lower chain guide.
I wonder if it could not "simply" be pushed to 200mm of travel because the shock has a +-50mm yoke.
Or maybe the next iteration could. This would close the gap between EN and DH.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney As in another MTB-mag the Simplon Rapcon 170/165 made the "best Enduro bike of 2021", and as this comforts my austrian heritage proudness a little bit ... ;-) I'd love to see a pinkbike test of the Rapcon!
Would it have won this bike of the year contest? I don't think so. Nevertheless, your (and Sebs) thoughts on it would be super interessting to me. Cheers, and have a great 2022
  • 1 0
 I like qbensis!
  • 4 0
 Does anyone have a list of all the previous winners?
  • 1 0
 I was curious also. 2015 Trek Remedy 9.9 2016 Transition Patrol Carbon 1 2017 Trek Slash 2018 Commencal Supreme DH 29 2019 Norco Optic 2020 Stumpjumper EVO 2021 Norco Range Amazing how the comments are same throughout the years, ha
  • 3 1
 170mm Single crown Trek Session with a dropper and a superboost rear wheel with a 12 speed? Pinkbike want to make a comparison video?
  • 7 3
 Oh yea. The 13 people that own this bike are super stoked!
  • 2 0
 It wasn’t “the one you already have” given that you can’t actually get a new bike right now, or at least not one that isn’t kitted in the 10k bling?
  • 6 6
 Since the dreadnought was spawned from the same mind, as is very very similar, I am taking this as a win (since Forbidden can't pay to be a part of the PB shootouts).

Won't lie though I expected Rallon and Instinct to win it.
  • 3 0
 Is the Virtual HP on the Range the same as Forbidden’s?
  • 6 0
 They are so very different. Forbidden is a single high pivot. The range is an upside down four bar with an idler.
  • 6 7
 @theedon:

Here is how I imagine that the whole birth of Forbidden went down:

My guess is that the Druid was the Sight, and the Dreadnought was the Range. Something happened that lead Owen to take his ideas and leave Norco to start Forbidden. When he did, Norco was in a tough spot and that is why the HP Sight was never released (maybe Norco didn't like the result and Owen wanted to make it anyway - who knows). Then he made the Dreadnought and Norco was f*cked because they had the exact same bike. They got into a dispute, Owen kept rights to his design, Norco changed as little as they had to on the Front triangle, did some looking around, and found another HP layout that worked - in this case the Antidote Darkmatter. Bang, they put them together to avoid copyright, and you have your range, and both bikes were release far later than expected while it was being resolved.

It was also odd to me that Lewis Buch swapped brands in the middle of it all. I suspect Norco approached him and explained that they thought Forbidden was going to lose said dispute, and "poached him."

Entirely speculation, based on things I have heard from various people... I think something along those lines is not far off, though.
  • 3 1
 @Matturalistic: you just put my thoughts into intelligible words.

One virtual IPA on me.
  • 10 0
 @Matturalistic: when does the documentary come out?
  • 1 2
 It’s a single pivot all be it a fancy linkage driven one @theedon:
  • 5 0
 @Matturalistic: I'm not sure how it works in the bike industry and at Norco in particular – and I'm not a lawyer despite playing one on the internet – but a lot of engineering and design companies have clauses in their employment contracts that claim ownership of all IP developed by employees while working there. Some even go as far as to claim anything related to the industry that the person works on even in private, but I'm pretty sure that kind of overreach is legally questionable.

If Owen was designing something specifically for Norco and took it with him when he left, well that's something I would not want to have to defend in court. However if some years ago he proposed a HSP bike and Norco turned it down then you'd think he's probably okay.
  • 2 4
 @boozed: Yeah and those are the details that I do not know at all. I'm just trying to put it all together in my head, and this was the most logical conclusion that I could come up with. I know that he was behind their DH HP bikes, so it leads to me to believe he was the driving force for the rest of the line to go there as well.

Another possible scenario could simply be that Norco did not want to move to HP this soon, and Owen knew of other brands in the market that were developing their own, and did not want to loose his opportunity to get a foot in the door - Thus, left to start Forbidden. Norco had some sort of "blueprint" or philosophy knowledge and the Range was put into practice, only to have Forbidden put their foot down, and force a change in the design. As payback, Norco poach Lewis Buch, Forbiddens ace in the hole from a marketing stand point (his youtube was blowing up at the time), and then look toward the Darkmatter for "inspiration."

That does not include the romours I heard about the Sight, though... Unless there was never any turth to that, to begin with.

One of the two is correct, I'm just not sure which.
  • 1 1
 @Matturalistic: Yeah it's certainly an intriguing story and I also hope we learn the truth eventually
  • 5 2
 @Matturalistic: Only issue with the story is that the Forbidden's are not great (sorry not sorry) and the Range just won bike of the year...
  • 1 0
 @MikeyMT: How do they actually compare? I'll never get to ride a dreadnought in my size, so I'm interested if you can share a link to a comparison review.
  • 1 0
 @MikeyMT: I love the Dready, so preference.
  • 4 0
 @MikeyMT: that said I also think the Range looks fantastic. I need to ride one (and will soon as the shop here has them now). I'm not fussed about which bike is better, I'm happy with my choice on the dreadnought, either way... even with the flaws I've noticed:

1) chain rub on rear swing arm (seat stay portion) that could have been avoided in design, and adds to the already noticeable drag in smaller gears.

2) very poor weak coating/lacquer on the paint.

3) Not enough clearance between the cassette and swing arm, causing the chain to also rub around the drop out area and do damage.

No bike is perfect, but the Dreadnought does everything that I expected it to do and I'm enjoying it so far. I'm on the East Coast as well, so it's more than just a downhill sled, for me. I rotate between it and my Wideangle when I need to, and for sure a 130mm lightweight trail bike would be faster in these parts, no bike has made me smile as much as the Dreadnoght, so far.
  • 2 0
 @Matturalistic: I have only ridden A Dready twice but I did own a Druid with a cascade and angle set so it was not too far off.

I agree with your three points - in general the frame was just not very refined...lots of rubbing issues, constant noise (not from the idler but from the pivots)...in 500 miles I had to tear the bike down 3 times chasing creaks. That mixed with the rear axle issues (that Forbidden did address, but still) and the fact the tune on the shock just never felt right had me sell the bike after just 6 months of owning it.

When the biked worked, it did work well, and I must say it climbed VERY well...even with the angle set (64 HA) and Cascade link (142mm). My theory on the Forbidden bikes is that the tunes on the rear shock suck...they are too small to warrant a custom tune from any of the manufacturers and I think it needs it given how unique the suspension design is - I think Owen knew this and its why he even changed the stock tune on the DPX in 2020 (still was not right).

Pretty annoying to have a 800$ shock and all 4 settings wide open for the bike to feel any good...you lose any adjustability and just feel stuck. Look on MTBR...lots of the same complaints...frankly the bike was crap without the Cascade link...

I hope they can figure it out and wish them well but for me...I want to ride, not constantly tinker with the bike just to get stuff not to rub that should not have been rubbing in the first place.
  • 2 1
 I don't understand how they can repeatedly indicate what a shitty climber it is when they picked it as bike of the year anyway. Wouldn't the best bike of the year at least be something of a decent trail bike?
  • 7 4
 Congratulations to the antidote team for designing such a good bike.
  • 3 0
 I guess the bike that is available should be bike of the year...
  • 1 0
 The Spire is so good, I was hoping it would win. But its so hard to find one right now as it is, winning would only have made that worse.
  • 3 0
 Thought the Spire had ridden away with it.
  • 1 2
 @mikelevy, there must be too many similarities between all the DC bikes to consider one of then. I get it, you've made a lot of vids about this block of bikes and the nuance isn't there anymore. Where I live, the Norco Range and bikes of that magnitude are too much work for the average 250-300 foot descents. I feel Norco needs to lend its Xc/DC/trail bikes the similar gift of making people want to ride them exclusively because they're so good!
  • 4 0
 Which is very much true if the Optic already.
  • 1 0
 Optic won 2 years ago and it's still one of the best trail bikes out there. There's definitely room between it and the Revolver, though.
  • 3 1
 love the geometry on the norcos... high to low headtube and that shock positioning ahhh
  • 3 0
 Can't really go wrong with a Norco, any of them!
  • 1 0
 Stoked to see a high-pivot bike rounded enough to be this liked. Curious about what the evolution of the high pivot will look like.
  • 2 0
 But I thought even the pros were admitting idler pulleys were just a gimmick? Could this be even better without one?
  • 1 0
 Cool to see a DH bike win bike of the year! Past years it felt like DH was getting pushed to the side but full stoke to see things coming back!
  • 3 1
 Hell yes can’t wait to shred mine in the future
  • 1 0
 You COULD have spent a little more time to find a trophy with Dachshund aka sausage dog representation?
  • 3 0
 Only 40lbs?
  • 2 0
 You spelled Norco Torrent S.1 wrong....
  • 2 3
 I don't 'get' this bike. It's carbon, but not much lighter than the Shore. There's linkage design seems complex and fiddly, like it will collect dirt and hit rocks on the exposed lower link
  • 3 3
 Apologies if this question was already asked, but what are the comparisons to the Range, vs. the Forbidden Dreadnought? They seem to be almost identical.
  • 5 0
 I've ridden both back to back and they ride very differently. The Range has more travel, and the frame feels much stiffer. On the trail the Range feels faster, and more fun, while also being more stable and planted.
  • 2 0
 In theory:
The Anti-Rise numbers are very different due to different suspension types.
The high single pivot dreadnought comes with anti-rise at SAG ~125% that lowers to 100% at full travel
The 4 Bar design of the Range has ~100% Antirise at SAG and it lowers to 20% at full travel.
The low Antirise deeper in the travel allow the range to have a very supple suspension under rear braking.

As far as I know, The range is the only High Pivot Enduro that has Antirise figures far lower than 100%.

Antisquat is around 100% at sag on the Range and around 120% on the Dreadnought.

Rest of the kniematics are quite similar, both bikes have excelent leverage curves and no pedal kickback due to the idler.
  • 1 0
 I have been trying to buy a frame for the last six months. It is nearly impossible to find! Super frustrating.
  • 1 1
 they reflected on the Forbidden fruit, pinkbike thought Norco is better. bah! . Suprised its not a Specialized.
  • 1 0
 the year of the high pivot!
  • 1 0
 the latest Jedi has my vote
  • 1 0
 What's the meaning of the statue?
  • 1 0
 That seat tube molding is pretty gross.
  • 1 0
 Typo… congrats Norco
  • 2 1
 Seriously.
  • 1 2
 I think we all saw this. High idler mullet 32/26 BC built endurohill rig destroyer!!!! /buzzword
  • 1 1
 Of course it’s a high pivot…
  • 1 0
 @bikenation you did it
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