The yearly game of musical chairs.
The internet message boards tend to light up in the off-season as eager fans search out hints about where their favorite riders might end up next. What's that? Rider X stopped tagging their sponsor in an Instagram post, and Rider Y was spotted on a different bike model? What does it all mean?
We do know that Danny Hart is off Mondraker, Cody Kelley is leaving Yeti, Brook Macdonald and Anneke Beerten are leaving GT, Sam Pilgrim will be e-biking
, and that's only the tip of the team announcements iceberg. The first few weeks of the new year will bring about a flood of team announcements, putting an end to the speculation, but it was fun while it lasted.
29" Downhill Bike Fans
Commencal is the first to market with a complete 29er downhill bike.
2017 saw a wave of 29”-wheeled downhill bikes hit the World Cup circuit, but they didn't end up dominating like some thought they would. They didn't exactly flounder, either, and you can bet that next season we'll see even more teams rolling into the pits with fleets of 29ers in tow. Commencal announced their new Supreme DH 29
in the middle of December, the first complete 29er downhill bike we've seen launched by a large brand.
Yes, Trek has their Session 29, but at the moment it's only available as a frame and fork only. With the Supreme DH 29, for $5,399 USD riders will be able to purchase the aluminum-framed speed machine and head for the races.
Which riders will be on 29ers for the 2018 World Cup season? We'll know in a few months - the first race takes place on April 21st in Croatia.
Arguing in the Comments Section
Pinkbike Awards provide plenty of fuel for the fire.
Along with the team rumor-spreading, December also provided nearly endless opportunities to rant and rave in the comments section, thanks to the yearly Pinkbike Awards. With 14 categories ranging from Bike of the Year
to Enduro Race of the Year
there was something for everyone to voice their feelings about.
After all, if it's too cold and snowy out to ride, you might as well stir the pot of internet comments, right? Personally, I'd recommend reading a book or catching up on some bike maintenance projects, but voicing strong opinions is a time-honored Pinkbike tradition, and commenters had a banner month in December.
Kevin Robinson dies at the age of 45.
The cycling community suffered another loss with the sudden death of Kevin Robinson
. Best known for his first-ever double flair in the 2006 X-Games, K-Rob inspired countless riders over the course of his 25-year career.
Thanks to his high-flying, hard-charging style, Robinson won multiple major competitions, including four gold medals at the X-Games. After retiring in 2013 his focus shifted to doing commentary for ESPN, working as a motivational speaker, and founding a non-profit to help underprivileged athletes. Never one to back away from a challenge, he returned to the spotlight in 2016 to set the world record for the longest power-assisted bicycle backflip. His friendly, approachable nature earned him strong following around the globe, and his presence will be missed for years to come.
Under the Bottom Bracket Cable Routing
Rocky Mountain Recalls 2018 Altitude, Pipeline, and Instinct Models.
Rocky Mountain issued a recall in December that was caused by what seems like a small detail - the routing of the brake and derailleur housing under the bottom bracket shell. According to the CPSC recall notice, "the brake cable housing was not secured properly during manufacturing, which can cause brake failure, posing a crash hazard to the rider."
In other words, without a zip tie to hold the brake and derailleur housing together, and enough slack between that housing and the frame, issues can occur. Luckily, it's a quick and easy fix
, but I'm sure it's not the way that Rocky wanted to finish out their year.
Daylight in the Northern Hemisphere
Night riding season is in full swing.
December is a tough month to be a mountain biker in much of the Northern Hemisphere. Long nights and short days makes it hard to motivate to get out for a ride, especially if those trails are covered in snow and ice.
Plus, there are all those holiday treats that need to be eaten. The good news? The shortest day of the year has passed, which means that soon those lights will be able to go back into storage and the sun will return, bringing with it dry trails and a much-needed dose of vitamin D