Component of the Year: NomineesAfter twelve months of traveling around the globe to trade shows and product launches, and countless hours of real-world testing, Pinkbike's technical editors selected three products that made a lasting impression over the course of 2015. There's everything from an ultra-reliable dropper post to the first electronic drivetain for mountain bikes, but the one consistent theme is that all of the items chosen can help improve a rider's experience out on the trail. Of course, in some cases that improved performance does come with a high price of admission, which is why we'll also be announcing our choices for the Best Value Component award in the near future. Until then, read on to learn more about the nominees for Pinkbike's Component of the Year.
Shimano Di2 XTR Drivetrain
Shimano is the first company to bring electronic shifting to the mountain bike world with their Di2 XTR drivetrain
, freeing riders from the possibility of muddy, gritty cables affecting shift quality, and ensuring perfect gear changes, no matter how ham-fisted your shifting technique may be.
Worries about battery life proved to be unfounded (we only needed to charge it twice in five months), and the water and mud the drivetrain was exposed to didn't affect its performance in the slightest. Di2's high price places it out of reach of most riders, but that's usually the case with emerging technology, and it's not unreasonable to imagine that it will eventually end up being available at a more affordable pricepoint, especially once SRAM returns fire with an electronic gruppo of their own. Schwalbe ProCore Tire System
As advanced as mountain bikes have become, flat tires still haven't been completely eradicated, even at the highest level of the sport. The advent of tubeless ready tires and sealant has certainly helped, but it's still possible to lose air or even pull a tire completely off a rim, especially while cornering.
That's where Schwalbe's ProCore
dual-chamber system comes in. The system (one of the nominees for Pinkbike's 2014 Innovation of the Year) uses a tire-within-a-tire design that effectively locks the outer tire into place, virtually eliminating the chance of pulling the tire's bead off the rim, even at ridiculously low pressures. It's not an entirely new concept, but it is the first time a dual chamber system has been readily available, rather than being reserved only for elite racers.
ProCore does add 200 grams of weight to each wheel, but if that extra weight means the difference between finishing a race or being forced to make the walk of shame down a track those grams become pretty easy to justify. While it may not completely eliminate flat tires, it's one step closer, and for that Schwalbe's ProCore system earns a nomination for Component of the Year.9Point8 Fall Line Dropper Post
For trail and all-mountain riders dropper posts are here to stay, and the days of trying to get through a technical descent with your seatpost halfway to the moon are fast becoming a distant memory. There are a number of good
dropper posts on the market, but not nearly as many great
ones. Reliability is still the biggest hurdle, and both cable and hydraulically actuated systems have their share of quirks that keep them from being 100% perfect. 9Point8's Fall Line
dropper post was a standout performer this year, offering excellent reliability thanks to its cable-actuated hydraulic brake design. As an added bonus, there are multiple remote options, making it easy for riders to get their cockpit set up exactly the way they want. Other than being a little tricky to install, once it's up and running the Fall Line is as trouble free as it gets, making it one of the few posts that to earn a place in the great
Click here for information about the judging and selection criteria for Pinkbike's Year-End Awards.