Mountain bike technology has improved drastically over the last few years, but prices for the highest end items have risen as well. We're living in a time of $3,000 wheelsets and $10,000 bikes, prices that are out of reach for many riders. Luckily, there are still good values to be had, and the bikes that are situated in the middle tier of a company's lineup now rival what was at the very top end only a few years ago. The same goes for components, and many of today's mid-range products are capable of outperforming what would once have been the best of the best. The nominees for this year's Best Value Product award ran the gamut from brakes to helmets, but all of the choices were worthy contenders for the title, items that offer a high level of performance without breaking the bank. Of course, there can only be one winner – read on to find out who will be taking home this year's title. Best Value Product
OneUp Components Wide Range Drivetrain
The last few seasons have seen single front chainring setups rapidly gain popularity, spurred on by SRAM's introduction of their 1x11 drivetrain. The addition of a 42 tooth cog to the rear cassette creates a wide enough range of gears that ditching the front derailleur altogether is a much more feasible proposition. In fact, a number of manufacturers have released bikes that aren't even compatible with a front derailleur, a sure sign that 1x drivetrains are here to stay. Currently, the biggest issue facing riders considering making the switch to a 1x11 setup is the cost. SRAM's base level gruppo (cassette, cranks, chain, and shifter) retails for $898, and as for Shimano, well, they're still playing catch up, and their 1x11 gruppo hasn't trickled down past the XTR level yet.
That's where OneUp Components comes in. They realized that it was possible to create a wide range drivetrain by removing the 15 and 17 tooth sprockets from a 10 speed cassette and replacing them with a 16 and a 42 tooth sprocket. The result is a cassette that has 90% of the gear range of a 1x11 setup at a fraction of the cost. OneUp wasn't the first company to venture down this path, but the price ($90 for the two sprockets) and availability moved their product to the front of the pack. The company hasn't rested on their laurels either, and the addition of the RAD cage
, which improves the shifting performance of a Shimano derailleur when using a converted cassette, along with their own line of narrow-wide chainrings, means that everything you need to get rid of the front derailleur for good can be purchased from one company, all for less than $200. For offering a simple way to reap the benefits of a 1x drivetrain at a fraction of the cost, OneUp Components earns the Pinkbike Award for Best Value Product. www.oneupcomponents.com