Pinkbike Industry Awards - The Winners

Jan 9, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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pinkbike mtb awards 2013



Industry Award Winners

Pinkbike's Industry Award winners were chosen by PB staff and by key insiders, who argued their points between beers and late night stints at the keyboard until we agreed, sometimes reluctantly, on four selections that left pivotal imprints upon the sport in 2013. Judging only by numbers, like sales-volume, race wins, attendance, OEM spec or gross revenue, would have made it simple to pick the winning nominees from our four categories, but the mountain bike industry is fueled as much, perhaps more, by passion as it is for profit. Evaluating attributes like influence, progression, innovation and motivation, forced us to dig deeper. We chose the Game-Changer, the Comeback, the Innovator and the Most Improved, based upon the potential of each to inspire others to do similar deeds. For without inspiration, how could the mountain bike have grown from a beach cruiser with a derailleur and decent brakes to the marvelously engineered off road vehicle it is today? Without inspiration, how could a sport progress from Repack to Val de Sole? And without passion, how could a cult following of balloon-tire trail riders alter the landscape of cycling and become a global business - all in only three decades?





Game-Changer of the Year

EMBA's Enduro World Series


Majority votes decided the lion's share of this year's Pinkbike awards, but the Enduro World Series won the Game-Changer category unanimously. Enduro racing in one form or another has been growing steadily in Europe and North America. The promise of a competition venue that mirrors the kind of riding and the type of terrain that most of us aspire to - on the bicycles that the majority of us prefer to ride - has been long in coming. The fact that enduro courses are staged for pros and amateurs alike is even more compelling. When Chris Ball helped unite Darren Kinnard, Crankworx events manager; Fred Glo, French Enduro Series founder; and Enrico Guala, Super Enduro founder to form the Enduro Mountain Bike Association, and then produce the EWS as a global racing venue, they ensured that the soul of mountain biking would burn brightly within Enduro racing for the foreseeable future. The EMBA and its Enduro World Series serves up authentic mountain biking to real riders without dumbing it down or artificially amping it up to placate corporate interests and spectators. An International competition venue founded and operated by riders to benefit riders - that's a game-changer.
bigquotesEnduro is mountain biking.
- Fred Glo: French Enduro Founder

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Most Improved Brand of the Year

Kona Bikes


Kona Bikes earned the win for Pinkbike's Most Improved Brand of the Year by our own votes and by an overwhelming popular vote throughout the Pinkbike community. One need only to peruse a catalog from Kona's recent past to appreciate the leap that the Northwestern bike maker has made in both modernizing its designs and also for their new relevance to contemporary mountain biker. The Operator DH bike, for instance, emerged as a World Cup level competitor from the ashes of the nearly fossilized Stab Supreme. Viewing the two designs together gives one the impression that the Operator landed fully formed from outer space. It is hard to believe that it did in fact come from the designers at Kona. When the Process AM/trailbike was released, it proved that Kona was on a tear.

The Process demonstrated that its team had a strong understanding of the three wheel diameters and where each option made sense in its range. That said, it was more than fresh frame designs and a competitive range that caught our attention. Typically, to instigate such a profound change, bike companies fire half of their staff and inject a new team of marketing and design personnel - or they sell the brand to a more interested buyer. Kona, however, made its turnaround from within. They added Chris Mandell to head its mountain bike division, but for the most part, Kona's recent success was metamorphosis. Which strongly indicates that most of the staff still shreds and also explains why the first three designs to emerge from the new and improved Kona hit their core audience in the heart - DH, freeride and all-mountain. Welcome back boys.

bigquotesWe've always thought that everything in cycling develops from the grassroots level.
- Jacob Heilbron: Kona Co-founder

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Innovation of the Year

SRAM X-Sync Narrow-Wide Chainring


Hyperbole has distorted the word, "innovation" to the point where its use in the context of cycling is almost exclusively in reference to grandiose inventions. Less provocative creations, however useful they may be, are most often described as, 'simple improvements.' On paper, SRAM's X-Sync chainring tooth profile would definitely be tossed into the later category. The entire concept can be related in a single phrase: "The chainring's teeth are shaped to match the widths of the chain links" - almost as exciting of a read as a three-page paper on rubber compounds. However insignificant it may seem, SRAM's innovation - the adaptation of the narrow-wide chainring tooth profile as a method to guide the chain to and from the front sprocket from a wide variety of angles - proved to be the missing piece in the single-chainring drivetrain puzzle.

Pinkbike chose SRAM's X-Sync chainrings for our Innovation of the Year Award for a number of reasons. We believe strongly that single-chainring drivetrains are the best solution for most mountain bike riders. Until SRAM perfected the narrow-wide concept, though, the only reliable method to prevent the chain from derailing when the gear selection or terrain caused extreme chain angles was to install a chainguide. We acknowledge that many riders don't hear the constant zeeb zaab zeeb zaab noise when they pedal, nor do they notice that even the best chainguides look like they were purchased from the Legoland gift store - but that's OK. The rest of us, however, would prefer a quiet, cleaner looking and more elegant solution. SRAM's X-Sync chainrings do such a good job of keeping the chain on that they eliminate the need for a guide of any sort for all but the most aggressive bike-handlers - and thus destroy the last barrier standing between rank and file riders and the widespread acceptance of the one-by drivetrain.
bigquotes...In the future, we may well mark its debut as the silver bullet that killed the front derailleur.

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Comeback of the Year

SR Suntour


The sport of mountain biking owes much to Suntour. The Japanese drivetrain maker was instrumental in assembling the first production component group when the mountain bike was in its infancy. Suntour's show of support was desperately needed at that moment in time, and it could be argued that it was the availability of a mountain bike-specific component group and not a bike brand that launched the fledgling mountain bike industry. Suntour's dominance in the 1980s was a brilliant, but short lived flame.

When the sport reached its zenith in the early 1990's, the name had all but passed into obscurity. Resurrecting a brand in the hyper-image-conscious society that we call the bicycle industry is a monumental exercise in labor and humility, but it can be done. Suntour joined with Sakae Ringyo to become SR Suntour and began the long march back to mainstream mountain bikes, armed with an enviable working ethos, a modest ensemble of affordable OEM components and a brand new suspension factory. With the announcement of SR Suntour's 25th anniversary in 2013 came the news that it had become the largest supplier of bicycle suspension forks in the world.

We chose SR Suntour as the winner of our Comeback of the Year Award because their storybook return was not the product of a Manhattan Avenue marketing campaign ramming a bunch of slightly better than average products down our throats, levered by a handful of World Cup podiums, earned by a mega-million-dollar Jumbo-Juice team. Rather, we picked SR Suntour because they became a suspension powerhouse by working hard and by innovating, improving and supporting their products - and because they understand that technology is only of value to those who can afford it. SR Suntour's conservative approach reflects the ideals of the original Suntour factory in Japan and assures us that SR Suntour will become the long-awaited third power in the mountain bike suspension game.

bigquotesTo achieve long-term success, one must earn it and be humble,
and all will work out in the end.

- SR Suntour credo

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Must Read This Week

119 Comments

  • + 115
 Good job to Suntour and Kona for making stuff I'd actually ride.
  • + 38
 Not going to lie… I disliked Kona. They just seemed to be entry level and ugly bikes. But now they are a winner! Really like there designs/concepts with their bike lines.
  • + 19
 Agreed! Now I am just waiting for Canyon to step it up with Fabien on board. If they succeed in making amazing bikes at that price (instead of boring Trans-Alp poo decorated with expensive toys), then the MTB industry as we know it, will tremble: Trek, Roubaix, Fox and many more will have to rethink what they are doing.
  • + 13
 Roubaix©®...ha ha. Good one.
  • + 4
 "Most improved" and "Comeback of the Year" seem to be awful close in purpose. Aren't they both kind of the same thing? Regardless, Kona is actually making bikes I wouldn't laugh at if someone asked if I wanted to ride one, so that's pretty swell.
  • + 3
 comeback implies that the company was down before. Kona's comeback kind of started in 2012, though
  • + 1
 ^ I'd say that still applies to SR Suntour though... ^
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns it will take a long time before people buy bikes direct. They can tackle the giants but it will take a lot of time for people to change their ways.
  • + 31
 The new carbon Operator have sold out with in one month here in China. We are so glad to see our new products have got recognition from riders. Keep it up and congratulations for other winners!
  • + 8
 you guys have really got your shit together, whoever the new design and marketing team is now, give them a raise!
  • + 2
 Haha! They must be very happy to see this. I guess the board has already done this!
  • + 4
 Like was said... You guys really have it together. I've had my new Kona for the last few months and no bike I have had has taken the abuse this one has and lived to ride another day. LOL ! Flawless ! Many kudos to the Kona family. Live long, ride even more !
  • + 2
 Thanks guys. I'm sure there will be more surprises from our HQ! Just sit tight and ride!
  • + 15
 I run 34t Absolute Black narrow wide chain ring and I don't know what's the fuss about. I installed it, went for two rides and nothing happened. Now seriously - SRAM! Thank you for narrow wide chainrings! That is a game changer like few other! I could finaly take that irritating lower roller and destroy it with violence!
  • + 2
 Do you also run a clutch mech?
  • + 1
 yeeees... what is the purpose of your query?
  • + 3
 I want to upgrade as I'm sick of the guide on my mojo making crap noise. I run saint 9 speed short mech...
  • + 4
 I was so happy to ditch my MRP X2 guide. Not only was it noisy, the chain still came off a few times, and the pulley bearings seized after a few wet rides. I am on a RF NW ring. Works fine, but I did have to adjust the clutch on my SLX Shadow + to maximum stiffness to prevent chain loss. Its basically bomb proof now.
  • + 1
 woodyc - I haven't tried it with my old X9 mech without clutch but the internet is full off people claiming they haven't dropped chain with regular mechs even on hardtails (original XX1 and Absolute Black, I think someone was succeeding even with Wolftooth). Buy the chain ring first and then you'll see. You have two made in UK, Works Components or the better looking Absolute Black. I will be soon buying a X0 crankset then I will run the spiderless one and if Absolute Black doesn't make their own ones I will go for the Works Components as their Spiderless one looks bloody amazing. For comparison I was running that Hope CG with clutch mech before and I was dropping chain all the time. Same with MRP without lower guide. Those narrow wides do work incredibly well!
  • + 2
 I was thinking about trying a raceface ring then if the chain does drop then add a stinger or similar. I'll give it a whirl I think. Cheers Waki!
  • + 2
 WAKIdesigns, Absolute Black = bike porn! Future purchase right there!
  • + 4
 To anyone who has used multiple narrow/wide rings, does it matter which brand I get, or are they all functioning equally well? I'm leaning toward raceface.
  • + 3
 It no matter.
Piece of advice to consider. Consider sticking to regular narrow/wide chainrings even if you can go spiderless. It makes switching rings on my XO much easier for XC epics or DH days without removing the crank every time.
  • + 1
 Running a Raceface N-W 34t and an XT 786 derailleur on the rear end on my Kona Abra Cadabra. They work just brilliant. I don't think I even need a chainstay protector now. Big Grin
  • + 1
 I have the raceface 30 t with sram x9 rear clutch mech. It's unbelievably light,feels like it's going to snap in your hand. But it's actually bulletproof. I've ridden some extremely steep bumpy tracks and never dropped a chain
  • - 10
flag Protour (Jan 9, 2014 at 7:35) (Below Threshold)
 It's not that big of a game changed cause you can't run it with a front derailleur, so riders who like to do all day rides with lots of big climbs are left out. The industry still has a long way to go so there is no need to brown your nose up srams dirty cheap plastic corporate ass. Real progress begins when both derailleurs end.
  • + 4
 has anyone tried with a 9 speed setup? and protour. who cares. it gives people options. so you want to take away everyones options and ways to customize their bikes best suited toward what and where they ride? hail protour...
  • + 2
 Has anyone else tried running one of these rings alone on a 9 speed set up?
  • - 7
flag Protour (Jan 9, 2014 at 7:53) (Below Threshold)
 Works fine. I know 1x is fine for people who like to hike or get spun out, or not do long rides, and if that's you go for it.
  • + 3
 I'm currently running a 1 x 9 with a race face n/w and it works very well. As an experiment I also wanted a clutch mech and went with a zee 10 spd paired with a SRAM 9 spd shifter and has worked since day 1. No adjustements needed in a full season of variable conditions. So I think I might have hacked the 1 x 11 concept into a 1 x 9 format. I'l probably upgrade eventually but for now all's well. I use a 12-36 casette with either a 32 or 30 T race face front n/w ring. I went to a 30 T since I I started riding more climby trails. I'm a happy camper.
  • + 3
 i ride a 34t RaceFace NW with an old 9sp x9 (obviously clutchless) setup, and drop the chain somewhat regularly in technical terrain. given that I'm not racing, though, it doesn't bother me all that much to take a quick breather and toss it back on the 'ring. I'm planning to upgrade to a clutched derailleur and 10sp at some point, but the ol' 9sp setup just keeps working for now...
  • + 3
 @markripper I don't want to take away anyone's options, if 1x is for you go for it.

Riders who like to ride steep climbs and ride all day with a wide gear ratio and not have to hike are the one losing options. Because now some companies are designing frames without the option to even mount a front derailleur.
  • + 4
 prortor. I use 3x9 on my hardtail xc bike. I have no worries lol but i always like to try new things. Props to you for assuming what someone does/has by the questions they ask.... I am considering getting a ten speed wide ratio cassette and one of those nw rings. would be pretty cool to see how it works for what I do.

any more stupid complaints about nothing?
  • + 1
 Somebody on here once said that any hill that you cannot cycle up with a single 32t, and a 36t out back, is probably a hill that you're better off hiking up anyway, and I strongly agree.
  • + 2
 Why do you agree with that strange logic? Because hiking is slower, less efficient, less physically challenging, a poor way to train, and wears out your cleats?
  • + 1
 Maybe we're not all hardened epic wilderness riders like yourself. I currently ride single 36 up front and 9 speed cassette. I struggle only on the steepest climbs round here. My asthma holds me back and a last resort push is better than gasping my way to the top. I'm going to try a 34 ring to see if it takes the edge off... Enjoy your climbing.
  • + 2
 Man, I was REALLY hoping that the XD Driver Body would take "innovation of the year"... ya know, because it allows me to spend a fortune on a drivetrain, and is another extra $100 I get to spend to make said drivetrain work correctly. Plus, everybody gets SO excited about driver bodies. (heavy sarcasm for you less-humorous Pink bikers out there).
  • + 1
 My buddy's new Raceface NW ring seems to have quite a bit smaller teeth than the Wolftooth NW ring. Not sure which is closer to SRAM's X-Sync Narrow-Wide Chainring design. Would have thought longer teeth would be better, however both seem to work just as well for now to keep the chain on.
  • + 2
 It's funny that the debate between the advantages and disadvantages of 1x vs a double nearly always ends the same way: with 1x riders justifying hiking up the hill because their gears are too hard.

I think the sport has lost its soul. The advantages of a double really come into play on the longer all day rides. Because you have the ability to use easier gears all day longc your legs can be alot less worn out the 3rd or 4th climb up the mountain. I'm talking about epic days where you ride 6 or more hours. The double more than makes up for the 1 pound penalty in these situations. Long live long rides.
  • + 3
 Well, if I get to Vancouver (I plan to do it in 2 years) then I'll show you how to climb anything on 1:1 ratio Smile . If you are young, you should give it a try on at least 32t on 11-36 cassette. Try it out for two weeks, but you must take the front mech off the bike so that you can't have an incentive to shift to granny.

Cheers!
  • + 2
 WAKI's right. Super low gearing is a convenience but not a necessity. Take off the granny and you'll get stronger. It's mind over matter.
  • + 3
 @conv3rt and WAKI... its not a convenience! If it works for a rider simply depends on where and how you ride. I used to live in the Alps and did miles and miles of really long steep uphills and came down even steeper trails. With that XX1 setup I would have had to hike all the way up and would have had no pressure on the crank all the way down therefor it would not have been a fun ride and that why we all go riding in the end. We enjoy it!

Now i live in SoCal and 90% of the terrain I ride I would classified as not even close to steep. The uphills are hardly more than a few miles so suddenly 1x11 works!

Do you get it? its where you ride and how you ride! there is no single correct answer!
For Christs sake, even on MotoGP bikes they change the gearing from track to track even though they are always flat circles and they have more horses than even the strongest mind could possibly put int your calfs!
  • + 1
 I live and ride with long steep climbs all around. There simply isn't any other choice. I'm not a fitness freak and I don't have to hike the climbs. I've ridden decades of granny gear and was racing the 24hrs one year when my granny stopped working (bent tooth). I rode the rest of the race in middle and have never looked back. I treated it like a game. If I can get up the climbs, even the crux ones that you may not get every ride, with one ring, then why fix the granny. It does mean that you have to pick your gear ratios more thoughtfully. It's more about the ratios than anything. Plus I simply got stronger over time. You do trade off the high gear in my case but it's too techy to get up to speed around here. I'm not telling you what to do just telling you what works for me. Not to even mention single speed racers. Those guys are crazy.

Moto GP is a race. They set the bikes up to win. You could still ride the whole track on pretty much any bike. By the way the Doctor, Tornado, and Kentucky Kid is worth watching (MotoGP documentary). It's mad.
  • + 1
 Michi bretz, I do agree with you about the fact that it is a lot about terrain and I'd add the rider physionomy, regardless of fitness/strength level. But XX1 gives you same range as most 2x10 setups, it is just ridiculous. Then I find it completely false (and many say it) to say that one may even need 22t granny for 34 or even 36t cassette.I am 100% convinced by my own experience that no steep on no surface requires such low gearing, it is ineffective as you ride so slow that very few aM bike geometries can allow you to steer your bike. Then if itgets too steep you will wheelie it out and it is impossible to have sudden bursts of power to get over obstacles. Gear ratios close to 1:1 are not about convenience they are about motivation to stay fit. Most XC racers I know run xx1 now and they used to run 26-38 or 28-40 front chainsets on 2x10
  • + 1
 I don't have any problems steering my 66 degree head angle am bike up technical terrain in my granny. Simply sit, spin, and stay centered. I also grip my grips tightly and try to drive my back wheel into the ground for traction.

I've never understoodwhy people say they have problems steering their bikes up steep terrain, or had problems with their front wheel coming off the ground. ... simply steer your bike straight, and don't pull up on the bars, twist the grips back for traction instead.

Virtually all the top world cup xc pros still use doubles, so it is accurate to claim most of the strongest riders in the world prefer double over 1X. 1x is for the weaklings that don't mind hiking as long as their bike looks "dh". Just kidding, like Waki said whatever works for you.
  • + 13
 N/W is just great!! no front DR, less shifters, no chain devices, less weight, everything more simple! great improvement!!
  • - 1
 1X means not as wide of gear ratio and too big of gaps between shifts sometimes.

Run a 28: Get spun out on nearly all the fast downhills, but maybe be able to climb most of the climbs you did in your granny ring.

Run a 32: Will occasionally get spun out on the downhills, but will definitely be hiking up more climbs, especially if its a long day.

Run a 36: Rarely get spun out, but never able to climb up anything steep or long.

Pick your compromise, I'll keep my double thank you.
  • + 4
 If you can't climb with a 32 up front with a 42 in the rear, you have sissy legs Protour.
  • + 2
 Jay "Dawg" I only run a 34 in the rear, with 26 & 36 up front.

Some of the fastest riders on the Enduro World Series are still running doubles. It's not for everyone, just those who like a wider gear range, less big jumps between gears, and the ability to enjoy longer rides more and stay on your bike more without hiking. Its a 1 pound weight penalty, so no weight weenies either.

I wonder if you are the guy I passed the other day cause you were spun out in your little 32?
  • - 1
 I run a 1x10 with a 32t F and 36t R and your not going to spin out around here. The dudes that weren't on 1x10 on the EWS were probably sponsored by Shimano. But 2x10 is great is you have sissy legs.
  • + 4
 I guess i have sissy legs.
  • + 1
 Single ring with good ratios of 11 speed is great and shouldn't have you struggling to find the right gear. The only thing that makes my legs weak is the price. X5 and X7 soon please SRAM although I guess we won't see that until they have some competition.
  • + 1
 One thing that's nice about having 2 gears up front is the ability to drop a ring for a short, steep, unexpected climb. Much easier to shift once than 5 or more times to get to the equivalent gear. That being said, the extra weight and noise does make it hard to justify a 2x set up. I would never run it without a bashguard of some kind though, it would get crushed pretty quick without some kind of protection.
  • + 1
 randybadger- SRAM has stated that the XX1 and X01 technologies won't come any lower due to how much it costs to design something like the rear derailleurs needed. Sad to say, you're looking at the only options for 11-speed mountain biking right now
  • + 1
 SRAM forgot to add to that statement with until an alternative is available and we are forced to compete.
  • + 1
 I really hope Shimano comes up with something that will really have SRAM struggling to develop something new.
  • + 10
 Kona has done a great job of shedding their past reputation. Gone are the days of putty filled dents and magic links! For me the Process shows their commitment to creating some really innovative stuff. The NW rings also deserve a lot of attention. I am interested to see where frame design goes now that the FD no longer needs a place to be mounted!
  • + 7
 I bought a raceface narrow wide chainring and was very impressed with how well it worked. I run no clutch, and no chainguide at all, and I've had no drops. I may not be doing huge drops, but as a pretty average trail rider who does ride some decent terrain, I'm impressed. My bike is so much cleaner now, I love it.
  • + 2
 I'm headed that way as well with converting my Transition Covert 26 from 2X10 to 1X10 using the RaceFace n/w chain ring and one of the new WolfTooth 42T cogs in the rear for when I am climbing the steeps. It will be an interesting project! Glad to hear that your experience has been positive.
  • + 3
 It's awesome. Pair it with a clutch derailluer and I don't see the need for a chain guide unless you're doing serious AM riding.
  • + 2
 Rolling the RF N/W 30T myself, and it was one of the best things I ever did! My OneUp 42T is set for delivery at the end of the month so I can make some of these steep mountain climbs feasable in the snow. I love that chainring so much I bought two!!
  • + 2
 I'm stoked to hear all these positive comments, I just ordered a raceface 32 n/w and the 42 OneUp!! Thanks for reassuring me that I made the right choice!
  • + 7
 If this is the 2013 awards why are you talking about Konas 2014 process lineup? The 2013 only offered 26er wheel sizes on the process.

Still loving the fact kona won (there are 3 process bikes in our house as well as two old school kona hard tails)!
  • + 1
 Yeah, all these awards are a jumbled mess. Fury gets dh bike of the year and its never been available to public, but DVO not even considered for suspension of the year even though it's available to public. I'm surprised they didn't pick Cairns 1996 as the DH race of the year.
  • + 2
 Why would DVO be considered? It is an expensive high performance piece of equipment that is still totally unproven. Even if it turns out to be amazing it is still too expensive for most riders, so I don't think it will change anything.
  • + 2
 Enduro 29 is pretty expensive, it won bike of the year. CG tested the DVO all year, other racers were winning races on it.
  • + 1
 You're right , expense probably isn't a good argument. I guess what I mean is that even if DVO is fantastic it will be only an incremental improvement rather than a real game changer. Though I suppose it could set off a storm of inverted forks next year if it is all that.
  • + 4
 I don't think that SRAM should be given the credit for this particular award. Yes yes, they did come up with a great Narrow/Wide design, but it only works with their components (you have to run a SRAM XX1 chain or the 'ring won't fit). However, the award should be given to companies like Raceface. Their design works with current chains as well as multiple companies (SRAM, Shimano, etc.). And it is MUCH less costly than the chainrings produced by SRAM. Just my two cents.
  • + 2
 SRAM would get super pissed if Pinkbike gave an award to a company that basically took the same idea and made it affordable and accessible for the masses. They pay a lot for all that marketing.
  • + 1
 I can agree with that completely. Even if it is a similar idea, which one would the masses prefer to have (which would also show which has a larger impact).
  • + 1
 @ jlevandoski Where did you hear that the XX1 chainring requires an XX1 chain? I ran a 10-speed chain, XX 11-36 cassette, and non-clutch X0 rear derailleur with a XX1 chainring for over a year before I had enough pennies for a full XX1 setup. It worked great; no dropped chains. In fact, if I were building another bike on a budget, I would do another XX1/10-speed setup. My point is this: XX1 X-Sync NW chainrings absolutely do work with SRAM 10-speed chains, and they work very very well too.
  • + 1
 @nickle- They were not designed to work with the chains, that's the problem. The XX1 and X01 chainrings have alternating + and - cnc'ed to the cog. The XX1 chain has that design that fits on to and basically grips the ring. While a SRAM or Shimano 10-speed chain "fits" onto the 'ring, the chain doesn't have the + and - design, which prevents the chain from essentially gripping on to the chainring, completely defeating the purpose.
  • + 1
 @jlevandoski Perhaps that is the case. SRAM may not have intended the XX1 rings to be used with non-XX1 chains, but I'm telling ya, SRAM 10-speed chains work exceptionally well with XX1 rings. Zero dropped chains after more than a year of use with a 10-speed chain, a non-clutch rear derailleur, and no guide. That's a solid testament to XX1 rings.
  • + 1
 @nickle it may be so, but what about the less expensive options that do just the same thing?
  • + 2
 Haha! I was 3/4 when the nominees were announced. I still think folks have their head in the sand re: the Canon go-to-market model… maybe when they're shipping to NA PBN will realize just how much this could affect the LBS and industry in general.
  • + 5
 Proud to be repping Kona since day 1. Now I'm riding a 2014 Supreme Operator
  • + 1
 How did Suntour disappear? I thought they had made more suspension forks than any other company in the world for quite sometime.

Granted they were for cheap walmart bikes, but in order to make a comeback I would think you would need to not be number one already.
  • - 1
 Good point, not a comeback at all. I think they are pretending its a comeback from when the company was just Suntour, which was a similar company in name only. SRSuntour used to make garbage now they make decent forks. its been a gradual progression but they are really stepping it up in the last few years.
  • + 1
 SR Suntour could really give the suspension "establishment" a wake-up call in the next year or two, which can only be good news for the consumer.
  • + 1
 suntour was ALWAYS SR suntour. prortoror you're useless! 1987

• SR SUNTOUR was established by Sakae Ringyo Company with a capital investment of 45,000,000 NT$ in Tokyo, Japan.

and they still aren't that great if you've tried one..
  • + 0
 Markripper, you need to stop your desperate attempts to criticize me because you only make yourself look stupid in the process. Remember how i embarrassed you on the Chinese accumulating gold? Now this:

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SunTour

They weren't always srsuntour, for most of their existence they were Suntour. They became SR Suntour in the 80s and then started all over again in 95. Your welcome for the history lesson.
  • + 1
 Are you on drugs?
  • + 2
 Arguing over Suntour?! Whatever next..... ? LoL.

(Sorry, I meant to say SR Suntour). ;-)
  • + 1
 Lol ^^^
  • + 0
 Not arguing, simply pointing out that marktripper is wrong. ... again. Suntour, biznitch.
  • + 1
 no. you haven't. kid.
  • + 5
 Please finish your review of the Kona Process 153.
  • + 3
 Its insane! Tons of front grip(hr2), really poppy and stable. Feels like a dh bike going down..best sizing out there...climbs: Didnt seem to bob w/monarch plus locked mode but I def felt the heft climbing steep compared to mygoat like 2010 gt force carbon.
Allowed me to attempt and clear areas I would walk the gt away from. (160 pike-hat tip)
Needs carbon tho.
  • + 4
 Proud to be a kona owner since my very first bike.
  • + 3
 All very well deserved winners. Particularly pleased to see Kong up there.
  • + 25
 Right up there on top of the Empire State building in fact! Wink
  • + 2
 lol typos can be the worst sometimes.
  • + 2
 Designers take note of konas sizing as this IS modern geo! Wow, a large is actually large! 18.5 reach, 24.7 tt, with a 40 stem.
  • + 3
 Now plz make kona process 153 in carbon so I can climb it all day. Needs to be 28ish without carbon hoops or cranks.
  • + 3
 i've always ridden konas, i can't wait to see how one of the new processes compares to my old coilair
  • + 1
 So what's the difference between the "Most Improved Brand of the Year" and the "Comeback of the Year" categories? Seems that either company can fit in either category.
  • + 2
 Difference is ad purchase dollar$? One goes above the other on the page, like film credits. =)
  • + 2
 I totally agree, the idea is essentially the same with both.
  • + 3
 I own the 153. Best bike I ever rode. Where is the review pinkbike?
  • + 1
 I thought that the narrow wide thing wasnt new, just forgotten and that sram had dug it up again as it doesnt work with 2x or 3x drivetrains?
  • + 3
 SR Suntour, Sweeeeeeeeeet!!! Congrats to all the winners.
  • + 1
 Great picks! Having a great time checking out the SR Suntour Rux. Great 'out of the box' fork, regardless of the price point.
  • + 2
 Kona operator is so damn sexy, deffinitly my dh bike of choice if i had the loot.
  • + 0
 Don't see why kona gets cred for finally catching up with the times good job for making a look alike glory or session not impressed with the choice this year pb
  • - 2
 is that a joke ? Kona most improved brand just because they moved into carbon ?? As much as I like this brand there is nothing new about them. Guys we need to give DW link MTB milestone award or some othe innovations instead of pure populism - "lets go carbon"...
  • + 1
 So so sorry for being right about ews and kona and x sync everybody. My apologies.
  • + 0
 Awww, are you waiting for someone to give you a hug and tell you how smart you are? Why don't you write an essay about your prediction and ask your mom to put it up on the fridge!
  • + 2
 Why yes actually. How did you know? After a long debate about it, i was drained and gave into everybody else's opinion, but it turns out i was right! Answer your question? Good.
  • + 2
 That new operator is so sick
  • + 2
 I think you mean "Madison Ave marketing campaign".
  • + 1
 Rear mech with a clutch is workin in full suspension bikes like a platform is useless for dh
  • + 1
 My DH bike would prolly be a lot quieter with a clutch. But there's always the I-pod solution . . .
  • + 1
 Am pretty stoked on all of these winners - thoroughly deserved!
  • + 1
 here it is 1979 original patent
www.google.com/patents/US4174642
  • + 1
 Anybody else think the operator looks like a gambler?
  • + 1
 I thought it looked more like a Session...
  • - 3
 KONA!!!???
BITCH PLEASE!!
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