Pinkbike Awards: Product of the Year Nominees

Dec 16, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Product development was back in full swing for 2014, with accessory, drivetrain and suspension makers racing to show prototypes in summer of '13 and the production versions of their masterworks as early as February of this year. Product debuts were announced weekly, which made the spring and summer months the busiest travel season on record for Pinkbike editors. As we compiled our list of worthy candidates, however, we noted that many of those first-ride and first-look firework shows were staged for items slated for 2015 - which begged the question: “Which products actually released in 2014 stood head and shoulders above the crowd?” Pinkbike’s selections for “Product of the Year” were chosen from five different product categories and if one casually scans the list: a tire, disc brakes, cycling shorts, a floor pump, and a wheelset; he or she could be excused for yawning. Riders who have experienced our five nominees, however, will no-doubt be excited to discover which will earn top honors, because each became an overnight success at the moment of its release.

MTB Awards


Schwalbe Magic Mary Tire

Schwalbe’s Magic Mary isn’t a fast rolling tire, but it certainly rolls fast enough to win races. Its pointy, soft-compound tread is sculpted to blend the qualities of a wet-weather spike with the edging performance of a dry-condition downhill racing tire, and its casing is tough. Regardless of what Schwalbe’s original intentions were for the Magic Mary, it instantly became the first choice for downhill and enduro racers’ front tires and history may prove that it was the most blacked out product ever used in mountain bike competition. We joked with Schwalbe’s design team that the German tire maker should have either left off its large white hot-patch labels, or included black, wide-tip Sharpie pens in the Magic Mary’s shipping boxes, so teams who were sponsored by competing tire brands could more easily conceal them. Are they that good? Would you risk your paycheck to win a race? If you count the number of EWS and WC DH competitors who ran Magic Mary tires in 2014 (We did), the answer is a resounding, “yes.” Magic Mary’s performance is undebatable.



SRAM Guide Trail Brakes

SRAM’s response to the industry-wide consensus that Shimano’s XTR and XT Trail brakes with Ice-Tech heat control were head and shoulders above all of their competition was to set their disc brake design team to work developing a new system that could equal or surpass the performance of their Japanese rivals. Guide Trail brakes represented a return to the basics, in that the master cylinder used the tried and true side-port engagement strategy instead of Avid's proprietary Taperbore system. The rest of the Guide story is about listening to feedback from top riders and addressing their needs with technological improvements. In short, a lot of hard work and design revisions took place before the team signed off on the job.

The result was an all-new brake that had impressive power; best-in-class feel and modulation; the easiest reach and contact adjustments we’ve experienced; and enough fluid in the reservoir to ensure that you can confidently run the pads to their wear limits without pumping air into the hoses. Guide Trail brakes are the first SRAM-branded stoppers, and a braking system that can stand as tall as its industry leading XX1 drivetrain.



Specialized SWAT Bib Shorts

Spandex bib shorts as Product of the Year may seem like a stretch (had to say that), but nevertheless, Specialized has integrated the storage capacity of a small hydration pack and the stash pockets of a short into one very functional, padded undergarment that can be concealed by a conventional baggy short and jersey. SWAT stands for “Storage, Water, Air and Tools” and that is what PB’s editors have been stashing in the slim vertical pockets which are sewn into the rear of the bib shorts. There is room for up to three water bottles (admittedly, three bottles is not all that comfortable, but it’s possible), or one bottle, some food, a tube, an inflation device, a small wind shell and your mini tool. Jersey pockets have never been a secure enough place to stash heavy or bulky items, and hydration packs, with their confining straps, have been a love or hate accessory for many riders. Specialized's SWAT bibs get the nomination because they integrate storage close to the body in a comfortable, cycling-specific garment that many riders already prefer over conventional short liners. SWAT bibs have spawned a new wave of alternative stowage strategies among clothing makers.




Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Pump

Eco-friendly, human-powered, and brilliantly conceived, Bontrager’s TLR Flash Charger floor pump has a reservoir that can be pressurized up to 160psi and released to seat the beads and air up fussy tubeless tires. Nearly all tubeless tire reviews mention whether or not the reviewer required an air compressor to finish the job. Those who have wrestled with tubeless installation without compressed air at hand have probably been scarred by the frustration. Many home mechanics have electric compressors and some resourceful ones fill cheap compressed-air storage containers with hand pumps to accomplish the same task as the Flash Charger, but after using Bontrager’s solution, both alternatives seem frivolous. Pump up the reservoir, flip the red handle and boom - the tire is seated. If more pressure is necessary, the hose is already hooked up to the tire and some additional pump strokes will top it off. The Flash Charger is quiet, it needs no electrical outlet, it stores in the same space as any floor pump, and it can be a huge timesaver at the races or on a road trip. Bontrager’s TLR Flash Charger is one of those simple; “Why didn’t I think of that?” ideas that is sure to find its way into most mountain biker’s workshops.



Ibis 741 and 941 Wheelsets

Ibis entered the wheelset business with a powerful statement: a carbon fiber rim that measured 41 millimeters wide with an inside dimension of 35 millimeters. Its tubeless ready bead design incorporated a hookless flange that allowed more carbon to be concentrated there to add a measure of impact protection - protection that Ibis claims to be up to 500-percent greater than at least one of the premium carbon rims that it tested for comparison. Truly lightweight, super-wide rims for trailbikes were first introduced by Syntace in aluminum, and the concept has earned a growing following for the lateral support and cornering stability that they give to the tire.

Ibis earns this nomination for embracing the concept, first by co-sponsoring Derby rims, the start-up company that developed much of the technology that went into its 741 and 941 designs, and second for introducing the concept to mainstream mountain bikers by producing a durable wheelset that weighs only 1650 grams, at an attainable MSRP of $1299 USD. While the most recognizable brands timidly offer wheelsets with “wider” rims, which are arguably improvements over the 23-millimeter inside-measurement de-facto standard, Ibis courageously offers what it and many others believe will eventually become the go-to for mainstream riders: the 35-millimeter-inner-width trailbike wheel.



Stay tuned for more PB MTB Awards nominees all month.
Must Read This Week

209 Comments

  • + 144
 It wasn't much of a ground-breaking year in this category but these are actually all solid choices except for the brakes. Giving SRAM an award for some solid and reliable brakes is like giving BP an award for not having a major environmental disaster this year. Consider that for every set of supposedly reliable Guide brakes out there(I'm assuming they are still made by the notorious Tektro?), there are probably at least 50 or 100 sets of Elixers that are just waiting to fail; the most unreliable and warrantied product in mtb history.

I would actually give the award to the Special Ed project because I hate backpacks. But great tires and an 'it's about time somebody made that' pump, also.
  • + 4
 Agreed.
  • + 13
 If these brakes combine the modulation of Elixirs with the reliability and power of Shimano, they are definitely the best brakes on the market. I haven't tried them, so I can't say if it's the case, but if it is, I'd say that's worth the nomination.
  • + 20
 Not my Elixirs. Pure crap
  • - 1
 thank you captain obvious
  • + 16
 I got a pair of guide rs's and they have been reliable, silent, and powerful for about 4 months now with no problems. I recently got some rsc's for my tr250. I can't wait to try them out!
  • + 68
 Maybe I should go out and buy a lottery ticket because I have owned at least four pairs of elixirs and have yet to have an issue.
  • + 9
 How long will people keep crucifying Sram for the terrible brakes they stopped making 3+ years ago (until they came out with the Trail brakes).

That being said, the Guide brakes are not worthy of this list because their not incredibly groundbreaking, they use the same calipers as the Trail brakes. (They are amazing brakes, just not revolutionary)

My vote would be for the pump. It's a great for people without access to an air compressor.
  • + 8
 have any of you actually ridden these brakes? Because I have, they are amazing and do not fail, the new lever design feels really nice and modulates even better, I have ridden formulas, and shamanos in the past and I have and so many issues with them and my buddies xt the cervo wave broke and the lever dose not extend, and my guides are the first pair of breaks that haven't failed on me. So I don't understand why you hate on the Guides.
  • + 11
 don't knock something until you've tried it, ive got some sram guide rs brakes and they are awesome
  • + 4
 I owned first Elixir 5 and they were just fine until seal in master cylinder started to fail so the brake was sucking air into the system. No biggie though, will buy some spare parts. Then the really funny thing happened: there are no spare parts available for 3 year old brake. No seals, no brake lever and the prices for small parts were as high as new complete Zee brake lever. I switched to Shimano Saint/Zee and that's how you solve problem with spare parts to Avids brakes.

Another thing is Avid Bleed Kit - yes it works very well but it was goddamn expensive comparing to syringe and very cheap Shimano funnel.
  • + 6
 I've been riding Avid brakes for years and never had any trouble with them, I bleed them every then and now (which you should do with every brand) and prefer the feel and modulation.
Once I bought some Shimano Saints and they kept overheating all the time and I hated the levers. After just a few weeks the seals were damaged and I sent them in. I didn't see them for three month (during which I rode my old Avid Juicy 7 brakes trouble free, as I didn't have any others), then the front brake came back and I was told they didn't get a rear brake from me (they were in the same package). I was lucky and the shop were I bought them gave me a new set, as they were super embarrassed.
Last year my Avid X0 Brake came with damaged seals (never rode them, noticed it when bleeding), and 2 weeks later I had a brand new set of X0 Trails, as they didn't get any X0's fast enough!

That's just my own experience, but I think all this Avid bashing is just because people can't service their bike and then think it's the company's fault.
  • + 8
 Yeah, I think the award is "Best New Product" not, "Man I have a chip on my shoulder from the last 5 years but this new product is incredible but I am still upset so I won't give it props".

The guide brakes are freiking sweet man. try them. They deserve a spot on this list.
  • + 4
 I have a pair of Elixir CR, XO, 1's and Code R. They are all very reliable brakes. None have ever failed, though the levers can get mushy if you have a bad bleed. Once you have a good bleed (and the trick is the lever reach adjustment during the bleed) they are maintenance free. I had a piston stick on the 1s once though. The Code Rs are insanely awesome, with great modulation and incredible stopping power.
  • + 0
 I've had multiple juicy 3's n 7's, always trouble free, loved em. Last bike I bought came with Elixir 1's, and they're total junk. SRAM won't even put Avid labels on their new brakes, for obvious marketing purposes. That's how bad their manufacturing/design was before they decided to make positive changes.
When your (arguably) most important component of a bike is unreliable to a point of it being a safety concern, and not from lack of maintenance, then you'd best expect a reasonable amount of "crucifying" for a number of years
  • + 5
 I've been a Shimano disc brake man since they released their first disc brake and thought they couldn't go wrong, but as power has increased the need for modulation has too, so it was time for a change.
This year I bought a set of RSCs and could not be happier with them, awesome power, modulation and adjustability. I was able to shorten the hoses without a bleed, and they are super clutter free on the bars when combined with XX1 & reverb.... nothing to moan about here, I love them
  • - 1
 if shimano puts out crap and sram puts out crap, which of the two has the most unsatisfied customers then? i've had a myriad of shimano brakes, no complaints. i've had avid juicy's and they were great. and then i had spez demo which came with elixir brakes and my faith in sram has been shattered. never again will i be buying sram brakes. its that bad. guide brakes being on this list is like saying sram has finally come up with brakes that work, not really ground breaking.
  • + 6
 How long have people been riding the guides for now ?
  • + 2
 I have trouble with people claiming reliability for such a young product. It might work well, but it is still full of the juice that eats rubber and paint. Through in that the blead kits are intentionally proprietary and not cheap and I am turned off. I liked my avid elixer cr's but the fluid is just a bad idea.
  • - 2
 Mate, did you happen follow the "HowToBasic" tutorial instead of the ones made by Sram?

I find this Avid bashing to be quite amusing, sometimes even funny, but I'm yet to understand the real problem people keep talking about.
Got a pair of 1st gen Elixirs when they came out and ran them for 3 or 4 years with no fuss. Now I have a pair of Codes and they are a blast! Infinite stopping power no matter how long the descent is... Just bleed them right and they will never fail.
  • + 5
 The very fact that it seems 50/50 between good/bad experiences shows how f*cking awful the quality control was , every set of avids I had were a f*cking nightmare , and half the people that think they dont have probs actually do , " feel my brakes " they say , so I do and 1st thing I notice is how damned spongey they are !
  • + 2
 I got about 50 miles on my sram guides (came with my new fatbike) I like them so far. Honked like crazy for first 10 miles but now are pretty silent. Modulation is good, braking power is good. I would say the lever pull is slightly harder than my XT's. I still like my shimano's better..
  • + 2
 There seems to be this camp of Elixir defenders who claim that it's our fault the brakes suck because the rest of us just need to learn to bleed our brakes "properly". Here's the thing: if a product is so difficult to maintain "properly" that most bike mechanics can't do it, that's actually just straight up bad design. The other possibility is that most of us do know how to bleed brakes, and you just were lucky enough to get good ones. That scenario indicates bad quality control. Either way, bad product. How SRAM convinced product managers to spec those brakes year after year will always baffle me.

Edit to keep it a little bit related to the article: whether considered they're innovative or not, the Ibis wheels are what I would most like from this list.
  • + 5
 I think pb is saying good SRAM brakes are an innovative idea.
  • + 1
 @toooldtodieyoung
I'm with you.
I give a shit if those new brakes work fine. I made the decision not to get Sram's brakes some time ago. I don't like headache.
  • + 0
 @toooldtodieyoung I truly believe that the taperbore Avid brakes are as good product as any other brakes. From my experience I have found out that the spongy levers usually came from poor bleeding and not from faulty products. I'm sure there were lots of faulty Avid brakes, but I think that all this hate came from a different design that bike mechanics actually didn't know how to approach when bleeding. Because the taperbore Avid don't have an oil reservoir like other brakes do, the bleeding procedure has to be more careful and no shortcuts should be taken. It's a different design so it's normal that they have a different procedure. Most mechanics just didn't bother to take 5 minutes out of their lives to watch a tutorial.

I can compare this situation to what happened with Banshee a couple years ago, when they used bushings instead of bearings: you either maintained the bushings properly with the right procedures or your axles were prone to wear off too soon. Banshee got tired of people complaining and released a new model with bearings which was an instant success.
Avid Guide are kind of the same thing... They took the best out of Elixir and had the conventional oil reservoir. It adds some weight but also adds reliability.
  • + 2
 @Amukinado You answer yourself. Products whose service is usually complex or unknown don't succeed and people end up hating them. When I buy something I don't want to have to take a special course and spend my time learning how to use it. Every product must be intuitive. But other than that, Sram's brakes, from my experience, were sooo faaaaar from Shimano and Hope in performance. I don't know how the new model works and, as I said before, I don't care either. I'd rather spend my money on brakes that I do know they work.
Sram knew its brakes were crap anyway.
  • + 3
 If you produce a brake that is "as good as" the market, that is not innovation. That was my take away from the PB review. May be a good product, but clearly not deserving of an award.

The Elixirs are for the record, crap. There are a lot of you saying that they are good. If they were so good, why would SRAM move away from the design all together? Why would so many bike brands offer SRAM drivetrains with Shimano brakes? If they didn't cause problems for some individuals, you got lucky.

@AlexH691 - shorten the hose without a bleed. I call BS. How do you cut the line without getting an air bubble or two in there?

The current bread of shimano brakes were a huge leap forward when released and are still my go-to brake. They also have lower end models (SLX) that are lighter than XT and reasonably priced. You really can't beat or complain about that. It terms of modulation, yeah they take some getting used to if you switch. They do bite like crazy when new. But you can also downsize the rotor to increase modulation if that's your priority.
  • + 1
 @MrPink51 I put a set of Guide RS's on my rig and cut the hose reinstalled and yes it felt fine. Like you stated though I opened the system and fat chance of having no air in the system. I bled it and was supprised that I only got a tiny air bubble out of the system. Because I was suprised I did it again and had no air. While a small air bubble can cause serious problems I was suprised it was not spongy and the small amount of air in it. I still think @AlexH691 should bleed his brakes. Having both Shimano saints, xt brakes and SRAM now. My Guides far surpass the feel and perfomance of the Shimano brakes. I can understand where everyone is coming from though After so many years of poorly made and even worse quality control. I will say that since I don't have a ton of time on these brakes I can not speak about reliabilty at this point. I can say I dont regret my purchase at this point.
  • + 3
 People, stop buying them if you don't like them. You're like the people who go out to eat and say "Every time I come here the service is terrible!"

Go somewhere else then, and let go of it already.
  • + 1
 @maxlombardy : tough to avoid when they're OE spec on just about every complete bike for several years. Nobody I know has ever purchased new Elixirs in the aftermarket.
  • + 4
 @Amukinado : that's a fair assessment, and some good points. Perhaps the design is only bad in the context of parts spec on run-of-the-mill bikes. I figure the brakes that come on a $2000 bike should be so simple to maintain that the kid who sweeps the floor at the LBS should be able to do it. If they were high end, FRO products, then maybe we would have looked at them differently.

Banshee probably could have reasonably expected their resellers to take the time to know how to maintain the bikes since the shops chose to stock them. Even then, though, it would depend on how effectively they communicate with their resellers. (Banshee bikes going to non-dealers for service would be a problem in any event, though.)
  • + 2
 The Guides are spec'd on the new V10s so we will see how everyone likes them very soon.
  • - 4
flag mrchrisj (Jan 23, 2015 at 7:24) (Below Threshold)
 The SRAM Guide R came with my new Enduro - they are disappointingly pants. The combine the squidgy leaver feel of an Elixir with the squeel and poor performance of a Juicy. And yes, I've run all of those I mention. SRAM brakes are years behind Shimano.
  • + 54
 Nothing in this list seems particularly worthy of best product...
  • - 29
flag lumberjerk (Dec 16, 2014 at 17:16) (Below Threshold)
 so tell us all your brilliant and oh so obvious products then, mr. so cool.
  • + 44
 What does the lumber on your name stands for?
  • + 0
 I feel the same way. But then again, I can't think of any real groundbreaking products that came out this year either.
  • + 1
 New ground breaking products? Wasn't that what the most innovative product category is for?
  • + 12
 One-up components with their R.D. Cages for shimanos. They're becoming good at modififying a part to fix an issue the big guys won't do.
  • + 4
 BigballmcCall well said.
  • + 3
 @BigballmcCall I think I may be in the same camp as you. My big ass wolftooth ring and 13T lockring sorted all my gearing issues on my 29er 1x10 setup and I didn't have to buy a $500 cassette to do it. I find myself sorely disappointed with Sramano and their lack of interest in what is so obviously important to 1000s of riders.Thanks to these companies I can keep buying cheap ass XT cassettes & chains online and getting up my steepest climbs without issue.

I kinda think the ibis wheels are a pretty big deal too. 1300 bucks for big wide light wheels that are strong and cost less than ENVE rims? Sounds pretty good to me.

Oh yeah, and that pump rules (theoretically).
  • + 43
 Oh! That pump is definitly product of the year for me. Have been waiting for a product like that since I started ghetto-mounting tubless setups on my bikes 15 years ago! About time!
  • + 11
 I did not even know it existed!
  • + 8
 I bought that pump and it is one of the best MTB products I've purchased. I like it so much I bought a second one to give to my riding buddy as a present - he had bought himself a $500 compressor mostly to do the same job. You can use it late at night prepping for a race without waking up the neighbourhood. The hose is long enough to pump tires while they are in a stand. It works great at seating tires. The head works without fuss on both presta and schraeder. It is perfect for race mechanics/pits. The only downside is the gauge goes from 0 -160 which means you cannot see the difference between, say, 24 and 26 psi, but I use digital gauge anyway because I've never found an accurate pump gauge. Yes, it is more expensive than you average pump but last year I purchased a Birzman pump and it turned out to be so useless I had to buy a new pump - thank God they released the Flash Charger in the meantime.
  • + 5
 The pump looks a great & thanks for the review lamamodel. I have a compressor but that's no use when I'm away from home and need to change a tyre... great work Bontrager creating value by solving 'customer needs' not just creating customer wants
  • + 1
 Where can you buy it besides a Trek dealer? I'd be interested even though I already have a compressor.
  • + 1
 DITTO, dunlap. Almost tempted to go tubeless now.
  • - 1
 Why, what did you guys come out with this year?
  • + 12
 dont beat up on Marzocchi, what did they ever do to you? You uncultured swineball
  • - 1
 I'm not trying to diss, I'm just asking. What products did they come out with this year that deserve to be here?
  • + 11
 It's okay Marzocchi. We can still be friends.
  • - 3
 Seriously, are you gonna answer the question?
  • + 13
 sheesh @mnorris122 badger much? this has nothing to do with us. We came out with our 350 NCR platform but I am not here to tout it or even our company. I actually originally had a statement about the SRAM brakes but I redacted it with a "meh face" because I could not fully erase the comment.
  • + 7
 I want to know what that comment was. Inter-industry warfare ftw
  • + 1
 Well, the meh face implied that you thought that one of your products should be listed here. Whatever.
  • + 1
 no, no @mnorris122, just a little friendly industry warfare.
  • + 26
 Do you people thrive on negatively?
  • + 22
 Negativity! ya dingus, get out of here and never come back!
  • + 1
 For your Health!
  • + 3
 Yes, this is the internet!
  • + 7
 its true. when the internet was invented everyone thought it would bring information sharing to all of mankind.

Turns out we mostly just use it to be massive dicks to each other. Have you SEEN the comments sections on youtube???
  • + 2
 Youtube comment are the most entertaining thing on the internet ! You could have a video about the sun rising and setting every day , and people would still throw shit at each other !
  • + 4
 It's been said that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the internet, we know that's not true.
  • + 2
 Funny how the Comment Section is referred to as the Internet
  • + 15
 Can i get an award too?
Built that Pump myself for 40 bucks with parts i collected on my way home from work and other than trek's mine even is available...

www.pinkbike.com/photo/11731282

Ok, i admit, 40USD only works if you have a 3d printer, a "harborfright tools" store and "play it again sports" aroudnd where you live but if anyone has a printer i am more than happy to share my .stl files for replication....
  • + 1
 Good work! I always like to see 3d printing projects as I believe it is going to be future in a lot of industries. The days of being charged crazy prices for cheap plastic parts will come to an end for those who like to tinker.
  • + 1
 yes and no. If i would be in the toy business i might get worried but as soon as you need structural parts the whole 3d printing thing with those plastic extrudes is a bit uncontrollable. The extruded parts you can do with those printers have extreme directional strength properties which might be used to ones advantage but are mostly just a pain in the ass... a real thou pricy injection mold will still have its justification for a long time to come...
  • + 3
 Yeah, it will take a while before it replaces some processes but for stuff like upper chain guides I can see it being useful. I saw some people post some on reddit and they say they work great. There are videos on youtube of guys working on making parts for complex stuff like assault rifles with some relative success. We aren't there yet but I think we will see significant avances in our lifetime.
  • + 2
 oh yes, its fun doing little parts like that. I have chain guide and a dropper remote in the works. Both printed with laser cut carbon parts for where more strength is required. The cool thing is that you can build hollow plastic parts which can't be done in any other fabrication method and are super light. Wish i had a laser-sinter machine around to do metal parts too but those are still very very very expensive. One day there will companies selling the files for download and you print your spares at home...
  • + 13
 Magic Mary. Set it and forget it tire. Run it year round. No issues with shedding knobs. I just bought a spare to have around. True game changer for me, and yeah, I have two DHF Minions hanging on my wall. All the Minion fanboys can neg prop me, I don't care.
  • + 3
 I am not gonna neg prop but in Colorado the magic Mary really isn't that great because it is so dry here. If I lived where you do it would definitely run it but they don't deserve product of the year.
  • + 1
 I totally understand that, but you have to consider the source. As all comments on the board. In my neck of the woods they seem to do just great all your round. Clay, roots,…

I love them in the Pacific Northwest.
  • + 1
 And, dk, I do appreciate your response.
  • + 2
 Funny you say that @vw4eve, I ordered a fresh set of DHF SuperTacky and while waiting picked up the Magic Mary and installed to prove it... the DHF are also hanging on the wall now, new..... and might stay like that for a long time.
  • + 3
 Magic Marys do work fantastically for my local conditions but after the sharpe edges wear off the knobs they lose a lot of their bite. The minion also last at least x3 as long in dry conditions so could be considered to be much better value.
  • + 3
 Really good grip but only lasted 2 weeks on the back of my bike and that's not even their softest compound (trailstar) Sorry schwalbe you won't be getting my money again, not rich enough to keep replacing tires that often. A minion exo 3c would last me a whole season just to compare
  • + 2
 Magic Mary front and rear in the Pac NW for fall/winter/spring, Rock Razor on the rear in summer time. Love 'em.
  • + 1
 Of the products in this list the Magic Mary wins hands down. For 2015 they'll be out in a 2.5 size!
  • + 1
 I love my magic marys. Superb all around tyre. I found in the alps my muddy mary's wore at the same rate as my minions the year before. If you live in drier climes maybe try finding some big bettys or wicked wills
  • + 17
 Where Zum Zum? Totally original ideas deserve recognition.
  • + 11
 I got the brakes and I think they're good. Not product of the year, more like correction for the last five years. How Often did Formula, Shimano or Hope made major changes like Avid did during the last half decade? Modulation is very good and power is almost equal to my XTRs.

Those MagicMary are great tires though, but they don't last very long out here in Colorado compared to other big name brands.
  • + 12
 These brakes just came out, not really proven yet, and product of the year? How much does SRAM pay you guys?
  • + 1
 But they been testing them for a while now and from others I've talked to it's been pretty reliable. The Pike was a game changer and is now the benchmark. I don't think these are either one, but it's a solid product that meets the benchmarks.
  • + 2
 Schwalbe tires NEVER last - handing Schwalbe an award for continuing to pump out shoddy quality goods is like handing SRAM an award with the stipulation that they go back to producing the old Elixir design...
  • + 1
 I liked the brakes. Got to ride them a little this summer and they have that Avid modulation I like with some well needed power increase, MSRP is also great compared to a lot of "high end" offerings. It's a good product but it's a sad year for MTB if they're making it on the "product of the year" list.

As for the pike being a game changer, I got to ride that one too and I liked it but I found it nowhere close to being as much of a gamechanger as most reviewers are claiming. I tried the CCDB inline and I found that one brought a lot more to the table than the fork.
  • + 13
 What about procore? Thats the real innovation. Restyled juicys are not innovative.
  • + 12
 @hamncheez - Thanks! Procore was nominated for Innovation of the year earlier this month: www.pinkbike.com/news/pinkbike-awards-innovation-of-the-year-nominees.html

Super pumped!
  • + 3
 It'll be product of the year in 2015 when it comes out. I really can't imagine anything better coming out.
  • + 2
 SintraFreeride, you can buy it easily on r2-bike.com
  • + 2
 yeah! i've been waiting for this. and i can't believe its already available. thanks for the heads up mitcos!
  • + 1
 I stand corrected.
  • + 1
 @schwalbe
Is there a uk release date on procore yet?
  • + 7
 Bibshorts with pockets as Product of the Year? Seriously? The mind boggles...
The cycling jersey with pockets was invented over 100 years ago for a reason: it's far and away the most functional and accessible place to put stuff you don't want to strap on the bike.
This has got to be the most surreal moment in the history of bro-brah lycra denial: modify a century-old garment so you can pretend you're not wearing it, then wear a whole 'nother, prettier outfit over the top, so the other girls don't make fun of you.
If you're not comfortable enough with your manhood to wear bibs & a fitted jersey with pockets, go baggy & wear a backpack: function will be inferior, but who gives a sh*t about performance, MTB is all about fashion, right?
  • + 2
 Jersey pockets are great when you'r riding road bike (only one spare tube+patches) or doing circles in your garden in MTB/Cx. But when you are doing proper trail and/or mountain riding it's a no go, backpack is mandatory.
  • + 1
 Bibs are awesome but I wear baggies over them for 2 reasons. I don't want my nuts freezing off and I definitely don't want to ride out with half an ass cheek hanging out because I crashed which I often do.
  • + 2
 Also, that bib puts a lot of material in one of the areas I tend to get sweaty the most, at that point I'd much rather use a bottle cage if I really wanted to avoid backpacks altogether.
  • + 5
 Floor pump does seem like a great tool to have for the road. But for home, you can buy an electric compressor and air line with $120 and use for everything else. I was expecting a better list, overall I don't see any of these as winners.
  • + 2
 As someone who seated tubeless tires professionally in a shop and has personally ridden tubeless since 2003, I've had virtually no good luck with this Bontrager pump. I've failed on the last 5 of 6 tires. The first tire I tried was new on a Reynolds am 26" carbon rim and after 5 chambers (42 pumps to reach full pressure ) and it as a fail. I have better luck with 20 gram co2. What a waste
  • + 5
 Im running big bettys right now. although i love the tread, seems that schwalbe side knobs have no strength/longevity to them. they all started cracking within 3 or 4 rides. another rider warned me that schwalbe tires have weak side knobs but i wanted to see for myself. once these tires wear down, im going back to maxxis and never looking back...
  • + 2
 totally agree, went through 2 hans dampfs. HR 2's a better tire. Although pretty sure id pick any tire before I bought those bib shorts haha
  • + 1
 super gravity hans dampfs? if not, try again
  • + 2
 Don't judge Mary by the actions of Hans. Her knobs are solid.
  • + 4
 no there really not, it depends which compound you get. i got a vert star mm and my mate got a trail star, both brand new before we went to les arcs for a week in august. he had to throw his in the bin when we got back! I've been riding mine ever since. The trail star compound is shite in all there tyres.
  • + 4
 how often do people buy race/sticky compound tires and complain about longevity? I bet alot
Now I know that even Snakeskin-y "tougher" Schwalbes don't last as long as many other tires under hard chargers in rough and rocky places, but they are usually still lighter/stickier...
I ride Schwalbes in a not-so-rocky place and they last fine...for an every day trailbike in a place with many sharp/rough rocks, i'd probably reconsider.
  • + 1
 I have had the same problem with my Marys..knobs started cracking after about 6 hours of riding...bring on the DHF/DHRs. That being said, the Marys hook up like no other here in Socal. And thats for a front..in Socal the typical setup would be trail star in the front and pace star in the back. In comparison, my trailstar Dampfs lasted almost a year, no cracking, just normal wear.
  • + 2
 The Vertstar compound wears evenly no knob tearing unlike the trailstar compound.
  • + 2
 From what I hear Schwalbe are working on the issue
  • + 2
 @Medacus they already fixed it... try super gravity.... I have at least 150 rocky chunky miles on a 2.35 rock razor in the back and it is holding up great. 150 of the exact same miles on a trailstar HD and the side knobs would all be hanging by a thread or already ripped off.
  • + 1
 Well I used Magic Marys in trailstar with a supergravity casing and still had problems ripping off knobs just like I had with last years Big Betty trailstar with DH casing. Hopefully the 2015 tires will do better. Will test the pacestar compound on the rear and see how it lasts.
  • + 1
 the super gravity doesn't fix the problem, the compound is still the same so the knobs still fall off. as a couple of us said, you need to buy the very star, it wears evenly and its a beast of a tyre.
  • + 3
 It's not my intention to ruin these spectacular and awesome Christmas Season Awards, but most of the nominees are Pinkbike advertisers, possibly the most important ones. Sometimes it seems that there are only two players in the industry: SRAM and Specialized. The other manufacturers only hire stupid people unable to think up such interesting stuff as the Specialized SWAT Bib Shorts.
It seems logical that PB wants to make them happy every year, because they fill with many dollars its bank account after all. But...... for God's sake, Specialized SWAT Bib Shorts? One of the best products of the year? Really?
Everything has its limits.
  • + 2
 Nailed it. Really the bib short...... If anyone is stupid enough to wear that they could probably just put their water bottle up their own ass.
  • + 1
 @danno527 have you tried the SWAT bib?
  • + 1
 No I haven't. What I do know is that if I had to go over the bars I would rather to it with a litre of water and tools in my small camelback than with a 750ml plastic bottle and tools directly over my spine. Plus I don't need to reach around to get a drink.

Also the "have you tried it" argument is pretty weak and always has been. I can make a judgement based on my riding needs, abilities and problems. I don't need to try meth to know its a terrible decision, same goes for the ass bib.

I understand why a roadie would like them over jersey pockets but for MTB?? Really?
  • + 1
 Good point. I was once like you and thought I wouldn't use it at all. I thought it would be uncomfortable, bounce around on my back, be a nuisance on the descents, etc. However, after I tried it for a few weeks it was starting to click. Now before my rides, I drink a large glass of water and then have a full bottle for the ride and its more than plenty of water. To say that a backpack protects your back may be true but its kind of a false sense of security. If you crash hard enough its not gonna matter what is on your back. I don't know, I just think the SWAT bib idea has always been there but it needed to work out the kinks. I think the kinks have been figured out and people are becoming more and more aware of how "freeing" it is and how nice it is not to have a backpack for every ride.

DISCLAIMER: On big big rides (ie. over 4000 ft) I will no doubt have a pack, but for everything else I am gonna take my SWAT)

Shred on!
  • + 3
 Believe the hype. The new Guide brakes are legit, the way I gauge a product is by how much I have to look, adjust or maintain them. The less the better. Since installing my guides I've done nothing to them and they are still running perfect.
  • + 1
 When did you install them, last week?
  • + 1
 June buddy.
  • + 2
 Haha it's so funny that everytime there's an article about Avid or Sram brakes people will start this same discussion.

But don't you guys think that Sram actually knows about the problems they had with alot of Avid brakes and actually did something about it with the new Sram brakes? (just sayin')
  • + 2
 Not sure why these products are even comparable? Tire, Pump, Fanny pack bibs and a wheelset? wtf..
I love the Mary's. They wear fast in harsh rocky terrain but so do any sticky compounds. DHF's don't bite as well in soft or wet conditions, there really isn't a comparison. Not the tire for super hard pack that gets baked in the sun all day, but for everything else I've been super happy. Hard to beat finding a new tire that gets you excited during the ride.
  • + 1
 Can't wait to run the Derby wheels on my remedy when I build it in a few more weeks. I think they deserve to be on this for pushing the product to price ratio. Nobody else is offering carbon mountain bike wheels that are backed for that price. As for the pump, who cares. Mount your tire and head to the lbs and have them mount it, unless you live in the middle of nowhere. Which if so, you likely already own a compressor. Big shorts are laughable, should nominate a fanny pack. And as for sram brakes... they suck because sram only retool their machines so often. One batch is great then they degrade over time and start to fail at least was the case with taperbore.
  • + 1
 The Flash charger pump is not even available. I tried to buy one cause i liked the idea but no chance. not directly at trek, not in nay other store
built on myself instead for 40 bucks...

ep1.pinkbike.org/p4pb11731282/p4pb11731282.jpg

if anybody wants to copy my pump, you are welcome...
  • + 1
 uh... weird. first id did not show up, now it did twice... sorry for double posting... PB why cant we delete posts???
  • + 1
 Avid hate runs rampant. I've had 6 pairs of Avid hydraulic brakes, and the only issue was with an Elixr CR Mag breaking in a crash back in 2010. I then ran a pair of Elixr 5s on my DH bike completely problem-free and on an almost daily basis in-season from 2010-2013, and only switched to a fresh set of Codes because they were unused. I barely even bled the Elixrs. Other than that, I've run XO Trails (perfect) and a few different sets of random Elixrs on XC bikes. Again, zero problems with any of them. My XTRs felt like an on/off switch, and my Formulas, although not quite "junk" don't instill confidence like the Avids.
  • + 1
 The SWAT bib's pad/chamois/taint tickler is horrendously bottom-of-the-line. The quality falls below the company's Comp offering. It feels like a Brillo pad and retains more moisture than a sponge. Thankfully my local dealer was taking returns on the SWAT bib when endurance racers voiced concerns. High mileage concept but with low quality reality. The pocket idea is good for those who need or want it. Pearl Izumi is coming out with a similar product but with a much higher-end chamois and the cost is very un-PI like (reasonable). Look for it in a month or so.
  • + 0
 The SWAT is a pretty hilarious choice. I think it's pretty well established they pretty well have to mention specialized (Dirt Rag blog anyone?). That being said, I do have them and they are a nifty product for the pockets. They are also probably the cheapest bibs one could buy...for a reason, they have absolute worst chamois. WTF were they thinking?
  • + 0
 bib shorts, no doubt in my mind. Those things have significantly changed how riders ride. Everyone carried camelbaks, now look at everyone. Lots of people are realizing how much water they actually drink/need. You will only see more and more people using SWAT bibs or using similar products.
  • + 13
 Google "cycling jersey." Pockets where you can reach them. Product of the Year in 1910.
  • + 1
 velo that was hilarious! velo FTW
  • + 1
 have you ridden with a swat bib or vest? Im guessing you havent, because a cycling jersey doesnt hold a candle to the bib. You dont know what you are missing my friend.
  • + 1
 I think people stopped carrying camelbaks because of enduro fashion. Most people I see without packs or saddlebags aren't carrying anything, they're just hoping nothing goes wrong with their bike.
  • + 2
 not so much a fashion thing. just really nice not to have to wear a backpack in 100 degrees SoCal weather... at least for the shorter rides
  • + 1
 roval traverse fattie sl are much better than ibis, already broke two ibis rear wheels, once the hub (I think they updated the hub now) and once the rim Razz ....
fatties SL have hold up very well until now!
  • + 1
 MRP Decapitator gets my vote. A huge debate this year was "Why 1x?" and this product fired back as the absolute most important reason to get rid of that front derailleur once and for all.
  • + 5
 #GUIDEBRAKES
  • + 9
 #DOWNWITHHASHTAGS
  • + 4
 #yournothelpingthecause
  • + 5
 #itsyou'renotyour
  • + 1
 #quititwiththehashtagsprettyplease
  • + 4
 Would also make a good little mobile potato cannon air source.....
  • + 4
 "At an attainable msrp of $1299." Mkay.
  • + 1
 Attainable is not "affordable". It means "vs $2700".
  • + 3
 Imagine it like a woman just out of your league. Attainable?.. yes.. affordable? Not a chance.
  • + 1
 Massive Fail! Ten years from now nobody will remember this pump, yet we will all be laughing about the days when we rode 23mm wide rims. Wide rims are a game changer.
  • + 1
 is it just me or does it seem like all the new drive train components such as Sram 1x11, replacement 42t rings for cassettes and Narrow wide chain rings should be on here?
  • + 2
 2013 I think
  • + 1
 That and Derby rims. The original wide carbon. Not enough advertising $$$
  • + 1
 Mind you If you're at home that, Pump... Get an Air compressor, it'll be a better investment in the long run. However, awesome for on the road use.
  • + 1
 Amen
  • + 1
 try the vertstar compound. It wears evenly unlike the trailstar compound.
  • + 1
 Sram guides??? No.

Perhaps a wheel set? Or even bib shorts?

My new fridge that cools my beer. Or my new shovel for building trails?
  • + 1
 Wide rims for the win. Been running the derbys for 4 months now. Big gain in traction. And they come in 26"
  • + 1
 I am pretty excited in the shimano XT brakes with ice tech. Nice price for strong brakes with light weight..
  • - 2
 The Magic Mary is terrible in semi hard dirt. Its such a uni-dimensional tire that it should never be on a "product of the year" list. The ground has to be super soft for the knobs to not fall over in corners. Everyone has an opinion I guess :/
  • + 2
 I ride in the southwest, with plenty of hard packed dirt, and they work great.
  • + 1
 shimano deore brakes should be in this, they are absolutely fantastic for the money
  • + 1
 not 2014
  • + 2
 2015 aftermarket alivio with servo wave.
  • + 1
 That's sad when the product of the year, out of all those nominated, should be a pump......of all things.
  • + 2
 Schwalbe Magic Mary - lasted 4 weeks.
  • + 0
 How much extra does it cost to get product of the year? www.churchoftherotatingmass.com/2014/12/02/are-we-not-journalists-part-2
  • + 5
 @toast2266 - As being nominated for two awards we can assure you, we didn`t had to pay any "entry fee" or had this offered in response for advertisement. However, you are right! Other magazines want us to pay for entering their awards, which we don`t do so we don`t take part. PB is not getting a $ for our nomination of Magic Mary and Procore which makes it a fair award for every company.
  • + 0
 @schallbe Your tires are great, but at that price point they should last.more then a few weeks..oh and your customer service reps are awful..I have an email string to prove it. I was a huge fan, but now I am a hater.
  • + 2
 @egourdin67 - As you know, tire wear depends on various factors such as rider, rider weight, compound, riding style, etc. Also our products are available in many different options. Quite a complicated product which makes it easy to maybe pick the wrong tire and compound for your riding. However you maybe are not satisfied and want to give it another try, make sure you pick the right tire and compound for your riding and terrain (visit www.schwalbe.com) and go for the 2015 models as they come with a modified compounding on all TSC tires to improve the sidestuds without touching the wetgrip of our TSC. In case of any question you can always send us a mail or contact us via facebook.

Who have you been in touch with? We have an office in Victoria (Schwalbe NA) but you can also contact our HQ in Germany via mail: info (at) schwalbe.com.
  • + 2
 Kudo's for directly addressing the tough crowd here at PB.
  • + 1
 When will procore be available???
  • + 1
 YEs. But more harpack or loose?
  • + 1
 Why is there no kashima coated dropper posts?
  • + 1
 Richard

Is there any downside to wide rims?
  • + 2
 Yes. There are downsides. You gain a little weight, and that is why carbon seems to be the best material. The widest rims, like the 35mm inside measurement ones from Spank, Ibis, Schwalbe and Derby, move the tread up to the top of the tire, which is actually better for cornering, even with a flatter tread like the Maxxis High Roller. One problem is that the casing starts to become wider than the edge of the tread on some tires and if you ride rocks and roots, sometimes, when the tire loses grip, it slides off onto the casing and the tire instantly drops into an unrecoverable skid until the tread locks onto another feature. (a little dramatic, but you probably get the point). The second potential problem was mentioned by Syntace on its website: Some tread patterns have a wide gap between the edging tread blocks and the intermediate ones. Syntace reports that the casing can pinch flat on the rim flanges when a rock strike lines up with the flange and the unprotected casing. I have not experienced the pinch flatting scenario with similar tires, but Syntace's testing methods are among the most thorough and their reporting is transparent, so I assume their information is golden.
  • + 1
 When it comes to your life trust in a Saint.
  • + 1
 "ICE heat control"??? Huh?
  • - 1
 Specialized SWAT Bib Shorts u f'ing kidding me! yeh i want to reach around my back to grab something. Right!
  • + 16
 Are your arms really short or do you lack flexibility?
  • + 0
 Maybe if i rode a road bike where it's smoother, yeh no.
  • + 3
 I know I only drink from my camelbak on the gnarliest downhills.
  • + 1
 none of the above
  • - 2
 Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Pump Pancake Compressor. And they can be had for the same price.
  • - 2
 Ive ridden magic marys, and i still think the minion dhf is wayyyy better..
  • - 1
 Please elaborate, I ride dhfs now but might go with marys
  • + 9
 marys might be better for like a week, but minions last longer and straight up have more grip. braking is very similar between the two.
  • + 3
 My 60a minion still looks new after hundreds of miles of riding
  • + 2
 depends on the terrain ,more hard pack minium all the way, maybe the new DHR2 ,syndicate guys run them front and rear. loose terrain go with magic , i have ridden dhf, no riding on my dh bike magic front and dhr2 back and a lote more combination of tires, and probably my favorite for all conditions except the really loose ones is the muddy mary, is a lot more all rounder, like the minium dhf but better
  • + 0
 Agree, don't waste your $ DHF sticky and ride like a boss. This is an odd 'product of year' list of products. Did Sram actually fix their crappy brakes?
  • + 1
 Yea I was very disappointed. They just don't work at all on hard pack. In the wet loose or lome they are the bomb but for a littel dust on top of hard pack they were awful. I do have to say tho they last a lot longer than the dampfs.
  • + 4
 Would go with High Roller 2 Exo myself
  • + 3
 Back to back on a freeride bike (7"/26), which sees everything from trail to bike park duty in the wet and dry, I'd say both the Magic Mary and Minion DHF (super tacky) are nice tires. They're both soft and grippy in corners and knobs show wear quickly but the Magic Mary doesn't fly apart in 100 miles like Hans Dampf or Nobby Nic. Neither is fast rolling but the Magic Mary is faster. In combo with the Rock Razor out back (summer) or Hans Dampf in rear (winter) The Magic Mary in front out performs a Minion DHF by a noticeable degree. Product of the year? hmmm... Significant? Yes.
  • + 3
 they are different tires for different things hard pack go minium ,or something of it's kind loose magic mary's As simple as that!!!
  • + 1
 Anybody put in some time on the 3C Maxterra Shorty? Looks like an alternative to the Magic Mary if it plays nice.
  • + 3
 I bought magic Mary, till now i'be ridden highroller II Wink
I'm curious about the magic Mary Smile
  • + 2
 cool! so im not even gonna try these magic mary's then. gonna stick with good old minions.
  • + 1
 @thinnumor

There's something about Mary...


But! High Rollers for Life.
  • + 1
 @mountguitars , how is the ground where you ride?
  • + 1
 ^ that depends. with so many trails and variety of terrain and being close to british columbia, i'd say its a mix of everything (roots, rocks, shale, dirt). one thing i don't do those is ride when trail conditions are muddy.
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