Pinkbike Poll: What Was the Greatest Advancement In Mountain Bike Technology?

Nov 19, 2021
by Matt Beer  
1989 Mantis Valkyrie
This 1989 Mantis Valkyrie is equipped with a Hite Rite, a primitive dropper post that came into existence before suspension or disc brakes. Why did it take so long for someone to marry an office chair hydraulic cartridge and a seat post?


I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this topic, but I was recently reminiscing about the bike I owned twenty years ago, which had me thinking about how far mountain bike technology has come and what is now considered the norm on bikes in 2021, if you can find one.

It all began for me with a 1999 Kona Muni-Mula that I was lucky to get my hands on after my parents agreed to match my funds collected from yard work. I won't get too nostalgic, but even for a 14-year old kid, weighing 45 kg soaking wet, things broke; rims and cranks bent, chains bounced into unimaginable places, head angles were scary steep and stems were obnoxiously long, not to mention the terrible control points like cast pedals, slip-on grips, and plastic tires. I loved that blue bike, despite over-riding it. I know other veteran readers are scoffing about the troubles they faced further back in history, but a steady stream of mechanical mountain bike tech has started to plateau.

In case you haven't caught on by now, mountain biking is a mainstream sport and it's been an imperative step for the demand in technology at a base level. There are knee-high kids bouncing down bike parks after school, YouTube stars are rocketing 30-meter gaps on a daily basis, and downcountry bikes are as capable as some freeride machines from 2005. World Cup downhill races are now consistently decided by hundredths of a second, heck, even qualifying is an achievement for a privateer because the equipment is top notch. The top pros are barely keeping a leg up on the field as developments are prototyped so rapidly.

Bikes like the 2001 Norco Shore were built for the growing freeride scene, but were actually enduro bikes in disguise with a clunky 1x drivetrain, telescopic post, and hydraulic disc brakes governed by large rotors. There was still some refinement needed to say the least.
Now we were getting somewhere - my favorite bike I've owned. This custom built 2006 Intense Uzzi was reliable, albeit heavy, allowed me to do almost any type of riding with confidence. It featured a dual crown fork, platform shock, wider range 11-36-tooth cassette, UST rims and tires, and although it had a full length seat tube for climbing, reliable dropper posts were just out of sight.

New enduro bikes are available for $3,000 that don't disintegrate over a weekend of riding and have all the fixings: dropper posts, lock-on grips, air suspension, hydraulic brakes, tubeless tires, and wide-rang 1x drivetrains that hold the chain in place without a guide. Even bottom brackets and hub bearings are tremendously more reliable than before. Modern geometry lets beginners feel like heroes tackling local trail networks that used to be reserved exclusively for a diehards, all on budget. Sure, things still break, but for the number of riders pushing bicycles to the upper limits it's incredible when you stand back and observe from the outside. To cast a parallel, it's like when the whole ski industry moved to parabolic skis. Everything clicked and the masses caught up. We as mountain bikers have it very, very good right now.

RockShox's wireless electronically controlled suspension, Flight Attendant, adjusts compression circuits based on the bike's inclination.

All of that trickle-down technology seems to be drying up though. So, where do we go from here? The next chapter, electronic integrated. In our digital era, it's the next logical step - like it or not. We've seen small gains in the last few years with Shimano's Di2 drivetrain, then small odds and ends appeared like the ShockWiz suspension app, but RockShox's new wireless electronically controlled suspension, Flight Attendant, is soaring into the future of premium bike technology. The system gives the best performance downhill while seamlessly monitoring the dampers based on inclination, free of any wires.

Battery powered, wireless motor-controlled components are the furthest advancement to date, but do they edge out something as simple as soft compound, tubeless tires, the only point of contact between the bike and the ground, or is there a more polarizing part that changed the game for you?

What is the greatest advancement in mountain bike technology?




385 Comments

  • 344 3
 Whoever voted for boost needs to schedule a psychiatrist right now.
  • 115 2
 Right now there are 12 votes for boost, and I want to fight all 12 of those people
  • 30 0
 @wareagle4130: some people just want to see the world burn.
  • 73 7
 I completely agree with you... super boost for the win!
  • 62 1
 Front suspension has made MTB better more than anything else.
  • 5 0
 13 people are taking the piss
  • 21 1
 Whomever put boost on the list needs a whacking.
  • 18 0
 @wareagle4130: Prob just one guy using all of his xmas advent calendar proxies.
  • 8 1
 @Someoldfart: Sponsored by Trek
  • 7 1
 I was looking for SuperBoost in the list...
  • 19 1
 23 other guys and I voted boost just to cheese everyone off. Although it doesn’t seem boost is the scourge it once was in the comment section. I would have voted for eBikes to really throw everyone in a tizzy, but it wasn’t an option. We all know the real innovation is lock-on grips, anyway.
  • 16 7
 @Explodo:

I’d rather have a dropper than suspension on either end.

Granted, I have suspension on both ends and a dropper, but if I were given some kind of ultimatum…
  • 9 5
 Disc brakes should have been its own category... you can have disc brakes and not be hydraulic. Remember cables? Also, how is the clutch derailleur not the obvious winner? I can't remember the last time I saw someone use a clutch to change gears After that I would agree disc brakes and then suspension. 12sp and Boost would absolutely be last.
  • 20 0
 31 now. I don’t see the point of giving them any more free data.
  • 5 0
 @DHhack: This guy gets it
  • 10 0
 @Explodo: this... What went through the mind of the writer to include boost but forget suspension forks?
  • 11 0
 @hllclmbr: I've got a rigid fat bike with a dropper for late-fall/winter biking, and I would fight you if only my wrists and knuckles didn't ache so bad.
  • 3 1
 In defence of boost, all of the others fall somewhere between mildly significant to massively significant. Boost is the only one that could be deemed insignificant so it demonstrates how bikes have progressed to such a point that even minute changes are wholly considered. Boost is the least significant of course, but also the most because it shows how modern bikes are pretty much there.
  • 1 0
 @hllclmbr: ok.....rigid fork and rear suspension! go! lol
  • 1 0
 @Explodo: Genuinely shocked it wasn’t an option in the poll…
  • 2 0
 How about those few that feel a hole in their frame has been the greatest advancement of all time?
Seriously? “Dude, step away from the glass pipe.. But I guess now you can take it with you!”
  • 4 0
 Has to be "other" (i.e. space for a water bottle cage)
  • 4 0
 @DHhack: I voted boost for this very reason. Outside wants our free data and they want to charge us? Get effed
  • 1 0
 @wareagle4130: Already 69. Nice.
  • 2 0
 @Explodo: agreed. But that wasnt an option!
  • 1 0
 I'm wondering who the hell would pick lockon grips lol
  • 151 7
 Any one who chose geo over brakes clearly grew up never riding with rim brakes.
  • 20 34
flag vinay (Nov 19, 2021 at 13:22) (Below Threshold)
 Can't deny geo does a lot for how a bike rides. Seems to me properly set up hydraulic rim brakes in the dry can be good enough depending on where you ride. But geometry matters everywhere.
  • 21 1
 @vinay: so for the 3 months of the year they are kinda alright.
  • 14 2
 The poll specifically mentions *hydraulic* disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes are still decent. Also, rim brakes are sort of OK if you live in an area without a lot of rain.
  • 2 6
flag wburnes (Nov 19, 2021 at 13:58) (Below Threshold)
 Also depends how steep your local terrain is. If its mostly mild xc trails, you might not need any brakes at all tbh, on some of my local trails I would be comfortable without any brakes.
  • 32 1
 It was a tough choice, but riding bikes in the late 80’s with 110mm stems and steep head tubes that would put you in a pre-OTB position any time you went down a hill any steeper than 10 degrees, made me choose geo.
  • 23 0
 Bent rims and vee brakes were a constant battle. Discs were a game changer.
  • 6 6
 Meanwhile bmx guys are shredding without pretty much anything, including breaks.
  • 36 0
 @BikesNRussets: I only ride with breaks on long rides .
  • 7 1
 I actually thought about brakes versus geometry but my choice ultimately goes to geometry bc (maybe I’m over thinking this poll a bit) but the question was about mountain bike advancements, not just advancements generally. Because of this I exclude all trickle down items like suspension, brakes, tubeless tires, etc bc they seem to come from other obvious industries like motorcycles or automotive. This left me with dropper post and geometry, and between the two I’ve personally benefited most from geo over the dropper but only slightly. Maybe 51/49 against dropper but just barely.
  • 2 0
 Rim brakes weren’t too bad. After you spent the week fiddling with them to get them working right, they more than managed to handle the suspension and bikes of the time. The power and modulation was of course nothing like even the cheapest hydraulic disc setup today, but for mtb trails and bikes of the era were good.

I think that says a lot about how much of a subsequent influence they’ve had on mtb. I ride stuff on my “short travel” trail bike that would have been next to unrideable on DH bikes of the rim brake era.
  • 1 1
 @zyoungson: and think about the tech changes that were allowed by development of disc, carbon rims, rim shapes, designs, and tubeless. Without disc, we would be without a lot of other technology advancements on our bikes.
  • 11 0
 All of you drunks saying rim brakes are decent? I have a commuter with rim "Vee" brakes, they're set up right - and they suck. I grew up in the 80's and 90's riding full rigids with rim brakes, poor geo and chains slapping away with seatposts too high to descend with and too low to be good for your knees. IMO, the Hayes Hydraulic was infact the turning point for aggressive MTBing.
  • 2 0
 Brakes are the most important to me but i chose geo because i cannot get comfortable on a bike that's too short for me whereas i can usually get accustomed to bad brakes even if i dislike them
  • 2 0
 I think you need both. Disc brakes would be the last thing I would give up but geo has to be next, then probably 29" wheels - because a rigid 29 singlespeed with discs and manual sest post is still a ton of fun.
  • 1 0
 @wburnes: Paul Klampers are supposed to be great.
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: .agura hydraulic rim brakes were OK. You still needed straight wheels but at least they worked.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: I had HS33’s for a while. They were better brakes than the bikes of the time could use. I lost count of how many rims I went through back then. The damage that would trigger a replacement is probably what I ride with for hundreds of kms today. The shape of the wheel being a key factor in braking performance was IMO the biggest flaw in all rim brakes.

I still have some first gen xtr V brakes on a hard tail commuter bike (it also has carumba cranks, first gen dmr V8’s, purple ringle qr’s, kore stem, azonic bars and a 98 z1 bomber) and they work beautifully but do take more work to maintain than discs. When I run out of pads or rims I will probably retire the bike and hang it on the workshop wall.
  • 4 2
 Anyone who’s been riding for longer than 20 years knows it started with short stems and wide riser bars then soft compound wide tyres and then the main event the induction of disk brakes and suspension everything else was just seasoning.
  • 6 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Not sure if you are being serious but that’s not quite the order things occurred in Canada.
  • 4 0
 CHoosing Magura HS 33 with modern Geo anytime over 90ies 71HA 72 SA Roadies Geo on 26 HT with 203 mm Saints
  • 1 0
 Agreed rim brakes work best when your rims are straight. Seems like quite a few do have bad experience with rim brakes when the rims weren't straight anymore. How wide were these? I've only got one HS33 brake, on my mountain unicycle (which uses the trials mount, so no boosters or anything needed). Not sure exactly how wide the rim is but I'm running a 24x3.0" tire and the rim is for fatbikes so relatively wide. It's straight and I think it is pretty hard to make it not straight considering how wide it is. Short lever stroke, easy to lock up the wheel with a single finger. So yeah, if you're running proper wide rims I suppose you should be fine with hydraulic rim brakes. Whether you can get them in 27.5" and 29" these days I'm not 100% sure.
  • 2 0
 @fatduke: I had to login at work to give you an upvote
  • 2 1
 @mtnbkrmike: yeah man deadly serious we used to ride 1 inch threaded steerers with 600mm flat bars and 150mm stems, madness. That was the first major step, short stems and wide riser bars followed by decent tyres, then suspension forks and then disk brakes. Disk brakes being the biggest game changer.
  • 4 0
 @homey78: Geo isn’t really that important. After a few rides you get used to it and it feels normal no matter how weird it is. You’ll never get used to cantilever rim brakes, four finger levers and chrome plated steel rims.
  • 2 0
 @zyoungson: I second this, also vee brakes in the wet were worse than average no matter what pads you were running..
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Agreed. Disc brakes were the main event.
Since suspension isn’t in the list but better air suspension is, I’m assuming in this thought experiment that suspension is available. If you had to go back to riding a bike and parts that were available the moment decent disc brakes were, geo is less of a thing unless you’re 6’2” or taller. You could get a hard tail that’s an XL designed for a 2” fork and put a 4” fork on it, put the shortest stem you could find in the day which was about 50-60mm and you could get riser bars then too, so most of your geo problems are solved. The rest of the things on the list I could live without as long as I had discs; although I’d miss the dropper.
  • 1 0
 i'd rather ride a rigid doctahawk with a coaster brake than skip LLS geo.
  • 1 0
 @nullzwo: Coaster brake is just beyond the limit for me. Only rear wheel braking and unless you pedal forward, you have little control over where your pedals are. But other than that, I'm surprised how braking seems to take priority for so many. Geometry matters for cornering, climbing, jumping... When I was riding a shorter reach bike, I just couldn't get my body in the right position for the very steep climbs as my kneepads bumped into my handlebars. And when cornering, it was pretty hard to maintain grip over the rear wheel as I was so much over the front. I've always tried to get a low top tube (hence the short reach I had to cope with as proportions were different back then) but if you get an old Stumpjumper with a horizontal top tube you can no longer shift your hips sideways in corners. Even on my current 2018 frame I asked for a lower top tube and shorter seat tube than standard geometry for the same reach, but it seems recently some brands are finally catching up with their stock bikes. So yeah sure reliable and predictable brakes do help but just being able to brake but not properly balance the bike in corners, climbs, jumps and descends is too much of a compromise.
  • 1 0
 I was still using v-brakes on one of my bikes right up until 2017. I weigh 85kg and never had any issues. Rim brakes are never going to outperform the best discs but I have ridden hydro discs that were worse in both feel and power to the V's I was running (Avid Arch Rivals). The problem with rim brakes was that they were a limiting factor in the deign of frames, rims, suspension and tyre choice. Most of the issues people had were actually from poor setup and maintenance, rather than it being a groundbreaking feature and that's probably why manufacturers were still specing V's 10 years after discs had become widely available
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: "Geo isn’t really that important" ????

I'll just leave this here. German downhill racing circa 1993. "Schadenfreude"
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzZkKE9Z35g
  • 88 5
 It has to be disc brakes, and not just for the stopping part, without them we would not have big wheels, fat bikes, better fs geometry, etc ....
  • 31 49
flag Ac282 (Nov 19, 2021 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 The poll days hydraulic discs. I'd rather use cable avids than go back to using tubes off road.
  • 15 0
 @mrkkbb 100% agree. I think Hydraulic Disc Brakes allow greater control at higher speeds, that is what helped push the need for better traction for larger/wider tires, and then better control with longer, lower and slacker geometry.

Tubeless tires is important, but on the sideline when you consider the above. I would say dropper posts are way more important than tubeless tires. The trails I ride I can ride with tubes or without - it doesn't change the enjoyment of the ride, but take away the dropper, some of the trails would be miserable if I didn't have one.
  • 13 2
 I agree but I voted for dropper post. Mostly because I find the dropper post to be a more innovative advancement.
  • 9 0
 Nah- you don't need disc brakes if there is no suspension on your bike. The first air forks still had brake posts and it was OK.
  • 7 0
 @chrsei: I know a few Single Speed Rigid riders that would strongly disagree....
  • 7 0
 It's another one of those poles that needs multiple answers. Imo good geo,brakes, suspension and a dropper are what makes modern bikes great. Tires, tubeless, wheel size and 1X are the icing on the cake. Some of the other stuff might be nice but you wouldn't notice too much if it was gone.
  • 8 1
 V-brakes. Hydraulic are awesome, but the biggest improvement in one step was going from standard cantilever to V-brake
  • 5 7
 Arguably hydraulic brakes isn’t even mtb technology. It should be geometry hands down.
  • 7 1
 @Kmccann137: Imagine modern geometry without a dropper post though. I stand by my vote for dropper as the greatest and most innovative advancement.
  • 2 1
 @TheStabbyCyclist is exactly right here because hydraulic brakes and suspension, and to a considerable degree, short reach, slack angle steering geometry, have all been adapted from motorcycles where they'd been invented by the 1950's, and so arrived as mature technology that could be adapted to bikes without any conceptual leaps. That's why the 1998 Hayes brakes for example arrived and worked perfectly right away, even though Hayes was mostly making brakes for forklifts at the time. And if you look at the Marzocchi Bomber as a great advance, it was because it was more like MX forks than earlier attempts. But the dropper post is unique to mountain bikes and I can tell you, having owned a Hite-Rite in the 80's and been around for the development of telescoping seat posts, that it was not at all obvious, and it led to great advances in frame geometry. with the steeper seat angles and enabling longer front ends.
  • 15 2
 @TheStabbyCyclist: um we just used to raise and lower our seat manually.

Same result. So dropper was more a convenience than a technology.
  • 5 2
 @fabwizard: Oh, I'm well aware. It's not much of a game changer for people that pedal up fireroads but on techy, undulating trails a dropper is basically a necessity. Otherwise you're constantly compromising somewhere because no one is going to raise their saddle for every little climb to lower it a few minutes later.
  • 1 0
 @TheStabbyCyclist: 100% with you on this one.
  • 7 3
 @TheStabbyCyclist: Not buying the dropper post shenanigans. You could always stop and lower the post (inconveniant but it worked for a generation). However most people could not ride the stuff they do today with geometries from the 80s/90s.
  • 2 0
 @chrsei: I would give up my suspension and gears before I get rid if my disc brakes.
  • 1 0
 @Kmccann137: also Paul Klampers (cable discs) are supposed to be quite good.
  • 2 0
 @The-Foiling-Optimist: fwiw Hayes was suppling Harley, so that's probably where they pulled the brakes design from. My original purples sitting in a box probably could be installed without a bleed and still work fine.
  • 1 0
 @Kmccann137: where you think the idea for geometry came from?
  • 3 1
 Modern geometry wouldn't be possible without disk brakes. Long-Low-Slack is basically all about speed and this speed would not be controllable otherwise. And the large volume tyres required for keeping traction at those speeds wouldn't be possible with rim brakes either.
  • 5 0
 @TheStabbyCyclist: innovative? Dropper technology is basically just adapting well known, highly engineered, office chair technology.
  • 1 0
 @Dabbo:

If you are thinking dirtbikes then no. I dont just consider low, slack and long but also modern leverage curves, anti squat and anti rise. Those values are unique to mtb because a bicycle is a human propelled device.
  • 76 2
 It's hard to describe the visceral horror of pulling on a cantilever brake so hard the lever starts bending, but you just keep going faster and faster down the mountain. Disc brakes are the biggest improvement in bikes, they're so good even the roadies started using 'em.
  • 26 0
 "the brake boosters .... the do nothing!!!!!" - McBain
  • 16 0
 then you hit a tree, taco your front wheel (hey - rims were made of cheese back then) to the point banging on a rock only gets it to the point of clearing the fork and not the brake. So you do the rest of the ride with only a shitty cantilever rear brake and get a fantastic lesson on why the front braking is so important, as he ride then become defined by a series of poorly controlled skids (tires were made out of superball rubber back then). Ask me how I know...
  • 3 0
 Now that I have disks it's the first I've used one finger braking. Less pressure required and they work consistently in rain too.
  • 5 0
 This made me laugh really hard. I had a near death experience when I was like 8 on a 20” rockhopper with basically non-functional cantilever brakes that let me launch off of a switchback.
  • 7 0
 Just the sheer pain of a miles long rough descent on cantis. My god, I thought my forearms would explode, or I wouldn't be able to hold on a second longer. Kids these days - they got no idea how good they got it!
  • 3 1
 Can't decide what was worst,the total lack of power or having to adjust them every single day.
  • 2 1
 @DeepInTheForest: Brake boosters do nothing, but they look damn fine doing it.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: I'd almost managed to banish those memories!
  • 1 0
 @DeepInTheForest:

They really did absolutely nothing.
  • 1 1
 I've had this happen more with hydro discs than with rim brakes. Fork oil dripping on a rotor resulting in normal level feel but zero power is more terrifying. More recently I had a hose coupling split which, again, resulted in unexpected zero power. I agree that discs are better than rim brakes but the negatives of rim brakes are massively overstated.
  • 3 0
 @lacuna: i had avid ultimate vbrakes. They definitely stopped a bike, but nowhere close to the 4pots I have now. I've never had this oil on the rotor issue in like 15 years of hydraulic diskbraking.
  • 34 1
 As someone who rode a rigid mountain bike in the early nineties, took a long break, and then returned to the sport about a decade ago, I have to say that disc brakes and reliable suspension have made the biggest differences. Back in the day, riding through a muddy puddle could absolutely throttle your braking performance, or not, it wasn't always predictable.

I'd take a 26" bike with no dropper post all day, over a rigid bike with a dropper and rim brakes.
  • 1 1
 I agree, mostly. It seems like most of the responders have never ridden a rigid MTB. You would probably bend a rim, maybe both and flat a tire, if you tried riding up a 4" curb at 10kph without unweighting the bike. The ability of suspension to keep your tires on the ground and you on your bike trumps all other MTB advances on this list. As for brakes, I'm not going back, however my 1997 Avid rim brakes have better modulation, consistency and more stopping power (albeit with far greater effort) than my 2010 Avid Elixer's or my 2019 GX's.
  • 34 1
 Answers will depend on when a rider entered the sport. Some here have only known disc brakes and therefore wouldn't have experienced things like u-brakes.
  • 15 15
 Eh, I still think a dropper could be transported to any era and have the largest impact in comparison to everything else listed.
  • 1 13
flag kroozctrl (Nov 19, 2021 at 13:36) (Below Threshold)
 @Brave1i1toaster:

Exactly, the only reason why I didn’t choose hydraulic disc brakes is because do you see that shit on bmx or dirt jumpers? Like until someone makes a gyro that works with hydraulic disc brakes, dropper post will still be the most revolutionary to me.
  • 10 1
 @kroozctrl: "Mountain Bike Technology" Maybe I'll get some flak for it, and I love BMX and dirt jump content, but they are not mountain bikes.
  • 4 0
 My friend as a kid had squeaky rim brakes back in the day so naturally he oiled them to improve the squeaking. Then proceeded to go to the top of the biggest hill to try them out on the way down. Last time he tried that!
  • 3 1
 @mdinger: I went down a trail on my breakless bmx, it was so fun!
  • 5 0
 @kroozctrl: when have you seen a dropper on a dirt jumper though?
  • 2 0
 Brake technology is huge but it seems like the natural progression. Modern bikes basically wouldn't exist without brakes and it simply seems inevitable that stronger brakes would eventually be developed. The dropper post doesn't seem so inevitable. Can you imagine still having QR post collars and having to get off an adjust it after every climb? I know my riding style changed at lot when I got a dropper.
  • 1 0
 @BikesNRussets: yeah, I've tried that too. A tree is a very effective breaking aid.
  • 3 0
 @BikesNRussets: Bwaahahahaha! I did the exact same on a 10 speed in 1987. WS-40 on the rims, then off for a ride in Lakewood, CO. (I was a young teenager; dont hold it against me!)

Almost didn't see 1988!
  • 4 0
 @kroozctrl: hydraulic gyros do exist. Check out trick stuff’s “Trixer”
  • 5 0
 @kroozctrl: The Trickstuff Trixer is a hydraulic gyro. Also, lots of current dirt jumpers have a hydraulic disc brake. Your move.
  • 3 0
 @Lucasrobinson123: Haha, beat me to it by a minute.
  • 4 0
 @Brave1i1toaster: you don’t even need a dropper, I’d rather not ride than go back to rim brakes.
  • 4 0
 @Brave1i1toaster: Yall realize that you could put your seat down before dropper posts were invented
  • 29 1
 Front suspension isn't on the list? WTF? Those of us who've been riding for ages can tell you...rigid SUCKS for bombing. Front suspension was a game-changer in ways like no other. You can haul ass with a good fork on a hardtail, but that's not true of no suspension at all.

Front suspension made riders 200% faster. Rear suspension made riders 50% faster.

Is this a poll for what "other than front suspension" was the best advancement? Are you guys just so young that you can't remember what it was like to bash around on a rigid fork?
  • 4 0
 Yeah, I would have gone for front suspension too if it didn't make the explicit mention of it being air sprung. I've had good experience with coil sprung forks too. But as a hardtail rider who stands up when he rides, I think front suspension is so important. It doesn't matter when the rear wheel skips a little, but it is so good to be able to drive the front wheel into the ground and make sure it stays on track when you need it to. Plus legs can take a beating but arms hands and wrists are only have a fraction of that strength.
  • 4 0
 Totally agree. Wish that was on the list. Coil vs Air doesn't matter as much when the other option is no front suspension at all. My first RS Indy's were game changing. I agree that hydraulic brakes are pretty amazing now, but if you were looking for tech that got you down a mountain faster and smoother, I'm taking front suspension with non-hydraulic brakes vs full rigid with hydraulic brakes every time.
  • 2 0
 Totally agree! I even did a word search for "fork" to see if I missed something. Suspension forks were a bigger advancement than just about everything else combined! I voted for other since suspension fork was not a choice.
  • 2 0
 What about just SUSPENSION? Sure, I've got a Yeti ARC and love it (along with my Following MB). Both are worlds ahead of my old 1989 Specialized fully rigid bike! I would still be reasonably happy if I had V brakes, 3X drivetrain, and 26" wheels, AS LONG AS it came with at least a good suspension fork; even better if it had decent rear suspension.
  • 4 0
 I wanted to vote for suspension rather than air suspension. But I think if they were going to be more specific it should have been “hydraulically dampened suspension”. The difference going from an elastomer fork to a fork with a dampening circuit was a greater leap for a lot riders than rigid to elastomer.
  • 3 0
 @Afterschoolsports: this is what I was expecting also. Suspension with good damping is easily the single thing I'd pick. If they changed hydraulic disc to just disc, it would be a hard choice again.
  • 1 0
 ^yup. Rigid is not nice. I do not miss my 1991 KHS Montana Comp. Can't imagine riding it now. Full suspension is really nice, but not a deal breaker.
  • 1 0
 Word
  • 16 0
 My guess is the responses here depend a lot on the age of the responder. If you were never around during the pre-disc-brake days, disc-brakes probably don't seem that important. If you never experienced trying to adjust a QR seatpost while moving, you probably don't think droppers mattered that much. If you never experienced the 8-speed drivetrains that needed adjusting after every. single. ride. And often in the middle of a ride, you probably don't understand the benefits of a reliable drivetrain. I'd be interested to see the results where people get to choose their top 3 instead of just 1.
  • 4 0
 Oh, I thought the modern 12sp drivetrains were more finicky to set up than 8sp instead of the other way around. I admit I have no experience with 11sp or 12sp, just caught it from what I read here. I only have experience with 9sp and 10sp and 8sp Microshift for a bike I built for my daughter. I don't have reliability or stability issues with any of them as long as it has a clutch mechanism (which even the 8sp Microshift has).
  • 4 0
 @vinay: I think the comments about 12 being finicky are from people who don't know about derailleur alignment tools. With a straight hanger (not by the eye "straight") even some of the cheap 12s drivetrains are more reliable than any. I only ever have to straighten my hanger when I hit something hard enough. The cable tension is set when I install a cable and I don't recall having to touch it until I need a new housing.
  • 1 1
 @vinay: Correct. As Al Pacino said in Heat "You can always trust 'the word'. I've changed my last three bikes from 12x to 11x. And I own a DAG and know how to use it.
  • 16 2
 V-brakes used to suck in the wet so bad. Disc brakes allow you go go faster for longer. Obviously they'd suck without a good set of tyres but I'd rather ride a rigid with discs the a full sus with v-brakes.
  • 16 0
 V-brakes sucked? You should have tried cantilever and all the rest...
  • 42 0
 @singlespeedman: Cantilevers? You should have tried under the chainstay U-brakes...

And get off of my lawn!!!
  • 5 0
 It’s funny I remember when Vs came in after the older cantilever shape. They seemed awesome powerful enough and whilst I weighed about as much as a pair of downhill tyres back then I thought they were awesome. Dropper post though? Absolutely genius
  • 32 1
 @ReformedRoadie: Chainstay U-brakes? You should have tried the penny farthing spoon brake. Literally a spoon shaped piece of metal pressed into the top of the wheel. I tell you- you'd pick up speed by the ol' typewriter factory and wouldn't stop till past the third corn plot by Jenkin's Magic Snake Oil wagon.
  • 1 0
 Apologies for the confusion everyone. I meant v, u, canter and spoon brakes. Like Brewster's millions 'none of the above'.
  • 3 0
 @snl1200: pah, you young people with your fancy spoon breaks don't know how it was to break a Laufmaschine with your shoes.
  • 6 0
 @Konyp: Luxury. To stop me velocipede I had to throw myself off, wait for me body to stop ragdolling, then get up and find the wreckage of me 'pede. Then when I got home me da' would slash me to death with knives.
  • 1 0
 In my opinion, on a wet steep track, a 90s rigid bike retrofitted with hydraulic discs would beat a 2021 full sus retrofitted with cantilever rim brakes down the hill all day long.
  • 9 0
 Nitpick, but cable actuated disc brakes aren't great, but still better than rim brakes. So I can't vote "hydraulic disc brakes".

I love my dropper, and when I recently broke the cable I was pretty miserable riding a 170mm bike with the post up. But my XC bike is rigid post and I still enjoy that bike too, so I can't vote dropper.

Tubeless is great, but I almost NEVER puncture the tires on my trail bike with DD tires. My XC bike with EXO, sure. I could be just fine running tubes with DD tires. Not as enjoyable, but still plenty fine.

No electronic anything makes my ride better.

I have enjoyed every wheel size I have ridden. I prefer 29, but I like them all.

I converted a bike to 1x without a clutch or narrow-wide. A home made chain guide saved me a lot of headache.

I have enjoyed bikes with 1x 10, 11, and 12. 1x I liked, the 12 on back is a minor improvement.

I never use a climb switch.

My E29 is has a coil front/rear. I don't need air.

Carbon is just an incremental improvement, but not necessary. I saved my aluminum E29 frame as a backup.

My favorite XC bike so far had a QR rear.

Part of the reason I upgraded my E29 from Al to carbon was for the storage, but that was just a convenience, I still had great rides with stuff strapped to the frame.

In desperate times I have had people give me some crap tires. Soft compound is nice, but maybe it is my local, but the knob shape made the bigger difference.

I vote for geo.
  • 5 1
 A vote for geo is a vote for droppers. Modern bikes are designed around the seat being able to drop out of the way, try to ride a 78 degree bike with the seat up and you won't have much fun.
  • 2 0
 @levon: I even said that, when I said I rode my E29 with the seat up for a few hours the other night. But I don't need a dropper on my XC bike, which is still modern geo.
  • 3 1
 I applaud your concise and logical argument but you're forgetting that the development of modern geometry was largely guided by the introduction of the dropper post. In light of that, I feel like you've proven that dropper post is the only correct option here.
  • 2 0
 @TheStabbyCyclist: Every bike I have owned has had a height adjustable seat post. In pre-dropper times people just lowered their post before a technical section and then put it back up before the hills or flat bits. All a dropper does is automate the process. Removing front derailleurs has been far more critical for geometry but even then it's been more down to manufacturers being brave enough to try something new.
  • 2 1
 @lacuna: You clearly ride much different trails than I do. I'm constantly using my dropper; and yes, I've been mountain biking since before dropper posts existed. So I'm well acquainted with QR post collars. It's simply not the same and it's not just a minor inconvenience. Not having a dropper post would completely change how I've become accustomed to riding. As I said elsewhere: the dropper post isn't much of a game changer for people that pedal up fireroads but on techy, undulating trails a dropper is basically a necessity. Otherwise you're constantly compromising somewhere because no one is going to raise their saddle for every little climb to lower it a few minutes later.
  • 1 0
 @TheStabbyCyclist: I didn't say that I don't have, or use, a dropper post. My point is that I think it's value as an advancement to mountain biking has been massively overstated here. There is no trail that can't be ridden without a dropper post, or having to stop to manually adjust a fixed post. I agree that in some situations there would be a compromise between pedalling efficiency and comfort/control if you didn't move your seat height but it still isn't a revolution. I also don't think it's as universally beneficial to mountain biking as good geometry; I have no interest or need to put a dropper post on my rigid 29er or on my dh bike but they're still mountain bikes that are improved with modern geometry but that would not be improved with a dropper post.
  • 1 0
 @lacuna: I think the Dropper Post is the 1 thing unique to Mountain Biking that's massively improved Ergonomics.

You now have a machine that can instantly adapt to going downhill or uphill. It keeps the human in the right position to maintain their flow.

Mine is currently knackered (because Reverb) and while I still ride everything (with a QR), it's a royal pain in the arse.
  • 7 0
 I can't believe all those votes for the dropper post. I mean, it's great and all, but compared to everything else on the list, I'd take so many other things and use a QR collar and manually move my post. It's a great advancement, but compared to tires, brakes, suspension and geo, it's not even remotely close. I don't get it.
  • 3 0
 "not even REMOTELY close" check mate jilzard
  • 1 0
 @blob425: Yes...that was intentional Wink
  • 1 0
 Yep, totally agree
  • 6 0
 I like a lot of that stuff, but riding is about fun, and realistically the things that are most important to me about mountain biking are the people I ride with, and the times we share, and also the trails and places we ride. I think trails might be the thing that has improved most about mountain biking! And I guess good beer and food nearby most riding areas!
  • 5 0
 It wasn't a choice but reliable 1x drivetrains changed my riding experience. I can't tell you the number of broken chains, ruined derailleurs, and poorly shifting drivetrains I have dealt with in my 20 years of riding. I wanted to front derailleur to die 20 years ago. With 1x12 and a narrow wide chainring, I can't tell you the last time I go-shifted, dropped a chain, or broke a chain. It really minimizes the walking out of the woods factor.
  • 2 0
 Agree, good 1x drivetrain is a huge improvement, not just the clutch derailleurs or 12s. Don't forget the old getting your chain stuck in the useless heavy chain guides and ruining a pair of gloves pulling it out...
  • 1 1
 I've never had a chain come off my 2x since they invented clutch derailleurs, so I don't get this one. Having less gears seems like regression.
  • 6 0
 As a life long goathead dodging SoCal high desert rider, it's tubeless for me.
  • 2 0
 I live in socal and ive never been out there in the high desert except when driving to vegas lol. I need to go check it out properly
  • 1 0
 @mariomtblt: Really cool stuff in both Palmdale and Rosamond.
  • 3 0
 I think Finite Element Analysis and CAD/CAM has been one advancement in mountain bike technology and should be on this list. This has been the biggest advancement in allowing frames and components to become lighter and more reliable. I think geometry would have eventually gotten to where it is today with enough trial and error iterations, but without the advancements in computer aided design and stress analysis, bikes would still be heavy and overbuilt and likely still just made of welded together tubes. By designing bikes to be lighter and stronger, it has allowed them to be pedaled longer, and ridden and raced faster which has driven the need for other advancements.
Some may point to examples like Isak Leivsson racing a homemade welded steel bike at WC as CAD not being important. But I would still argue that computer aided design is what helped speed up the advancements in geometry and suspension design with more rapid design and prototyping. Now that we have the knowledge of what geometries and suspension pivot systems work well, they can be replicated without it.
  • 1 0
 I have to agree that the longevity of components has massively improved, people ride harder than ever but things rarely break like they used to. I can't remember the last time I saw a taco'd wheel or a snapped crank arm.
  • 3 0
 I wish we could rank them as I think they all impacted the sport. I am a fat guy that sweats A LOT. Lock on grips were amazing when I first got them. I still rank disc brakes and the dropper ahead of them but it would be close to my top 5. I guess seeing everyone's top 5 would be interesting 1. Disc Brakes 2. Dropper 3. Modern Geo 4. Tire compounds 5. Lock on grips
  • 1 0
 Why are lock on grips even on the list? They were ok back in the 90’s when you couldn’t take your brakes or shifters off without removing your grips but now you don’t need to take your grips off for any reason there’s no point riding lock ons.
  • 1 0
 Definitely agree on the top 3, but i feel like people forget that not so long ago a typical ride involved dropping your chain every rock garden (thank you clutch derailleurs and narrow wide) and fixing/replacing a tube on the trail or back home due to slow punctures (thank you tubeless).
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: two words; wet rides. I grew up riding rigid, rim braked, inner tubed bikes with push-on grips. Nothing ruined a ride more than getting a loose grip and no amount of hairspray, lacquer, alcohol or whatever other homebrew concoction people suggested ever could properly withstand a wet ride.
I'd take fixing a pictured tube over the grip going all 'twist-throttle' on me any day.
  • 1 0
 @gibbon-on-an-orange: I’ve run the same set of longnecks for two years in the Lake District and they haven’t moved at all. I use spray paint which fills the void between the grip and the bar so there’s no space for water to get in.
  • 3 0
 Interesting to see all the dropper post votes. At 48, I finally moved to a dropper post this year. While I like it and I wish I had it years ago when I rode nastier technical terrain, I definitely would give it up before I ditched modern geo, disc brakes, tubeless tires or 29er wheels. I guess if you started riding with a dropper then it's hard to imagine not having them.
  • 1 0
 As a 41yo reentering the sport after 8 years off, I think dropper posts have fundamentally changed the way I ride more than anything else. Instead of stopping to lower the post I can do it on the fly, I can drop the post to clear a small climbing section and then keep climbing, I can drop it mid high speed sweeper on a flowing trail.
But I voted for disc brakes. I can’t believe roadies are complaining about having disc brakes.
  • 3 0
 I have a 4 way tie unfortunately.

Tubeless - Used to spend half the ride changing flats
1x drivetrains and clutched derailleurs - No more dropped chains and trying to figure out which chainring you’re in.
Disc brakes - Hey, I can stop when it’s wet now!
Dropper - No longer have to wear hot pants to not catch the nose of the saddle on your crotch.
  • 4 1
 Tubeless tires
1- Better traction both up and down means more power and control
2- First line of defense/ suspension. Contact and feedback from the trail
3- Rarely do flats occur allowing longer rides on sharper terrain without interruption

Next would be hydraulic disc brakes
1-Wet weather riding became not only safer but possible
2-No more flats from heating up the rim

3rd would 29" wheels. Physics don't lie

The rest don't matter

What else would you like to know
  • 4 0
 Nobody has mentioned threadless headsets?
Threaded crap and quill stems were a disaster for mountain biking!
How about allen headed bolts?
Cartridge bearings?
Aluminum rims?
Cassette type freehub bodies?
  • 1 0
 Remember when there was serious discussion about whether torx would replace Allen bolts on bikes
  • 1 0
 This! When we first started in the 90's we had to bring two massive headset spanners on rides as the headset would come undone constantly. See also cup and cone hubs!
  • 1 0
 @KrisLord: Shimano still use cup and cone hubs. I’ve got some on my current ride!
  • 4 1
 I recently took my old 90s race bike for a ride.
The xtr v brakes worked ridiculously well. more power than many disc brakes
the geometry was weird (shit) but I adapted and went fast.
the shocks were pretty crap, the tires were too small too hard and of course I pinch flatted. even at 40 psi.
The 3 x gearing was pretty nice for the road ride to the trail head. . 24 36 48 T up front 11-28 in the rear.
I'll pull my seatpost QR if things get really gnarly.
stem too long bars too narrow whatever....I still ripped.
but i didn't have spds on it...as the old time pedals didnt work with any shoes I had.
this made my ride shitty. For me it's clipless pedals. the amount I have adapted. to riding with those is ridiculous. with spds I can ride smoothly over a picnic table. without, I'm smashing on every 2nd log with a miss timed heave hoe of the bike that requires far too much body positioning change for small hops.
I grew up rigid steel bike with cantilever brakes and thumbshifters.
spd pedals were and still are the single biggest improvement in mountain biking for me

without that single item my ride sucks
  • 2 0
 I agree. Every now and then I try to ride in flats, obviously forgetting how horrible it was last time.
  • 2 0
 I agree with everything you said apart from the spd bit! The idea of riding with spd's terrifies me
  • 3 0
 Clearly Pinkbike is the greatest advance in mountain bike technology! Back in the day when you wanted to argue about bike tech, you could only do it with your immediate buddies, but now you can argue with people all over the world!
  • 3 0
 Come on, why so few votes for tubeless? For me that’s the most important advancement. Plenty of folks riding tubes here? I just set up a bike with Avid Speed Dial 7 levers and some good pads, power and feel are excellent, I could use this on an Enduro or DH bike no problem (if that was an option at all). And geometry, yes, frames used to be too small to allow the use of 35mm stems, I mean, I still used them but it was kind of cramped. But I would rather have all that than having to use tubes.
  • 1 0
 Also where I ride there isn't much of the ondulating technical terrain that would require a dropper post, you can just climb to the top of the hill, lower the seat manually and descend. Dropper posts have never been extremely important.
  • 4 0
 Someplace in the list should have had threadless headsets. Without that design, frame design, from capabilities and geometry(or the ability to tweak) would have never evolved.
  • 6 1
 I may be a bit old-school, but for me the top three are:

1. Suspension Forks
2. Dropper Posts
3. Aheadsets
  • 10 8
 Anybody who does not say “tires” at once has not been riding mountain bikes for very long. It’s absolutely incredible how those were improved in the last 30 years. Give me a rigid fork, non-dropper post and rim brakes any day, but please don’t make me ride those early day mountain bike tires ever again.
  • 1 0
 Yep, also a huge advancement. When I had my 2003 Gary Fisher, I was amazed at the grip of newer tires. Stuff I wouldn't attempt on my old bike.
  • 2 2
 I'm pretty sure I'd prefer a modern FS with a dropper and shit tires over a fully rigid bike and no dropper with good tires.
  • 2 0
 I was also looking for tires but I assumed casing development and softer compounds all kinda came together when tubes left the equation, so now I don’t know whether to say tubeless or soft compounds

Tires will dictate what you’re able to ride imo, everything else can be compensated with either skill or a little adjustment (disc brakes are a close second but *good* rim brakes can be manageable, needing perfectly true wheels still sucks for mtb though)
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: I think it's softer compounds, and a wider contact surface. The giant tread blocks on newer tires flex much more than old ones.
  • 3 0
 Of course you can’t fit those wider grippy tires on a bike without disc brakes…
  • 1 0
 @Mike-Jay: A cantilever brake allows for relatively wide tires. And even narrow tires with today’s casings and compounds deliver a lot of grip. Every gravel tire has way more grip than any mountain bike tire from 20 years ago.
  • 4 2
 It's Geometry for me. If you took away all the advancements from the past 30+ years I would still ride a longer, lower, slacker steel 26" hardtail with no suspension, dropper, or disc brakes. I'm glad 71HA 73SA, short reaches, and 120mm stems are a thing of the past (except for gravel bikes lol).
  • 2 0
 Yes modern geometry is great but the speed, stability, and performance means nothing without the brakes. Trying to stop with fingers that pumped out and stopped functioning 6km ago and a slightly slick rim that now just slides the honking, lurching rubber stopper... no beuno. For me all of the other things are great but disc brakes added the control that mountain biking needed to progress. There is no longer, lower, slacker without the control to benefit from it.
  • 2 0
 @snl1200: good point - disc brakes and suspension are tied for 2nd for me. I think the opposite argument could also be made. That if you’re riding rowdy downhills on late 80’s geometry you wouldn’t have the same level of control being pitched over the front wheel with a squirrelly short wheelbase.
  • 2 0
 As a tall guy I agree. I would choose a modern geometry bike with rim brakes over those super old bikes with modern disc brakes. Yeah, rim brakes are bad, but not that bad.
  • 2 0
 I picked modern geo. I couldn’t pick hydraulic disc brakes because I had a bike with hydraulic rim brakes and they were almost as good, so that was a pretty minor performance jump. #2 is dropper posts because modern geo doesn’t work without it. #3 is “big wheels” - 27 or 29, doesn’t matter.

My 2c
  • 2 0
 Back in the day I transitioned from BMX to a couple of different mountain bikes. Both were cheaper brands to see if I wanted to make the transition. I hated how they felt. Nothing felt correct. The bars and angles all felt awkward. That is why I said geometry. After a 20 year absence, I bought a hard tail 3 years ago to get back into mountain biking. I can get around limited suspension and oddly enough, limited brakes. I may not be riding as fast as I would with hydraulic but I do think I would still be riding. That may have to do with location. I am located in MN. No big mountains here. Max is 2000ft or so. A bike has to feel comfortable for me to ride and geometry does that.
  • 4 1
 HYPERGLIDE !! NONE of us, would be shifting gears under pressure smoothly without it. Making everything else in the whole world ever including your dropper posts, oil filed brakes and fancy shocks irrelevant
  • 1 0
 I sense a bit of irony there and I definitely wouldn't say it's the most important, but definitely underrated! Jumping between drivetrains I cringe every time I shift on ones without hyperglide after getting used to it.
  • 2 0
 Indexed "trigger" shifting should definitely be on the list! Taking your hand off the bar to shift sucked.
  • 2 0
 Digital training aps have to be up there, just something like strave or trail forks change everything. 15 years ago with a flip phone being stuck deep in the woods is a thing of the past. opens up massive amount of trail options for all types of riders. In theory the more the merrier.....
  • 2 0
 I've ridden quite some nice retro bikes, and the thing that spoiled the ride most were flat tires. This fact alone discouraged me from riding them more often, treating them more as some collectors' piece. I'm guessing people are traumatized by cheap low-end versions of this other stuff, and can't imagine the high-end retro stuff being much better. I was stunned by how much difference the brake pad compound and rim surface quality made and even see the same ringing true for disc brakes.
  • 2 0
 Dropper, been riding mountain bikes non stop since the late 80's. V brakes were good in the dry. I hated front D's, rode 1X9 for years. Tires are so much better now, its night and day. Geo, tubless... That said, the dropper is the biggest game changer.
  • 2 0
 Poll omits the obvious: Suspension forks. Strong, reliable open bath coil sprung forks.

Marzocchi stepping into the ring with effective front suspension turned the industry.

Glad hydraulic brakes made the list at least, considering some of the other inane nonsense included.
  • 5 4
 I've ridden some of my older bikes a bit recently. While they're certainly worse in almost every way, they actually get along alright. Then I tried descending on my modern 170mm enduro bike with the seat still up at pedaling height and just about fucking died. So yeah. Dropper posts. No question.
  • 8 1
 quick release seat collars existed before droppers.
  • 1 0
 My noticed my cable frayed with only two strands left, and the set screw stripped. I decided to just do my ride with my GF anyway and ride my enduro bike XC style for the night. I survived, but, that sucked. My XC bike doesn't have a dropper either.
  • 5 0
 Modern steep seat angles will make riding with a rigid post terrible. Old bikes weren't quite as bad with the seat up.
  • 1 0
 @Ac282: I rode those old bikes, back in the day, and they are pretty terrible with the seat up. The only way I survived the 90s was the quick release seat post clamp.
  • 1 0
 @ShredTilBed: sure. But then I have to stop everytime the trail points downhill.
  • 1 0
 @toast2266: Just keep the saddle down. Then of course if both the climbs are super long (so you'd prefer to climb seated) and the descends are long too chances are you stop at the top and bottom too. Of course if you're happy with your dropper then by all means be happy. But it seems to me if climbs are super long and steady or instead only a few minutes so that it doesn't make any sense to sit down, dropper posts don't even change that much about the ride.
  • 1 0
 @toast2266: Telescopic seatposts are great for ondulating terrain, but not absolutely essential for mountain riding. Trails try to "milk out" as much elevation as possible, so you'll be climbing and descending the whole mountain. So in 4 hours of riding you might raise the seat 5 times and lower it another 5 times while you're having a little rest from the long uphill, doesn't really get in the way of anything.
  • 2 0
 You forget the fact that non-telescopic seatposts are actually dropper seatposts as well, they just simplify the adjustment process.
  • 1 0
 @toast2266: Doesn't everyone stop at the top of the hill for a biscuit anyway?
  • 1 0
 @lacuna: I can adjust seat height faster than you can boil a kettle for tea. But yeah, unless you're the slowest of the group you're usually waiting for others at the top before roll down. Unless people are racing and in particular if people come from a road cycling background. The TdF people have impressive ways to keep riding when eating, drinking, pissing and shitting. That said, if you can do that then it seems pulling out the allen key and adjusting a seatpost while you keep climbing must be a breeze.
  • 3 0
 One generation before disc brakes: v-brakes.

The change in stopping power from cantis to v-brakes was way more consequential than v-brakes to disc brakes.
  • 1 0
 @nosmallplans Agreed. And aftermarket options like my Brooklyn Machine Works Snot Rockets were even better, or the Magura hydraulic rim brakes I had on a Foes LTS for a while in 94. Dropper post is such a game changer, I challenge anyone not saying it's their choice to ride XC height and see how it feels. Or XC height with a QR and see if they really can change height and keep a straight saddle without stopping or crashing.
  • 2 0
 Been riding since 1995. Did not have that experience in the least...like...at all. Maybe if you are talking mechanical disks, but even then, just ride in the wet.
  • 2 0
 Cantis could have good power if the cable connecting them was as short and close to the tire as possible. And disc brakes took a very long time to reach the power of v-brakes. In fact, I just installed some v-brakes on an old bike, with levers that allow the adjustment of leverage, and the braking power does not seem inferior to any existing hidraulic disc brakes.
  • 3 0
 personally, i think the suspension fork as a whole is the answer to the question, closely followed by disc brakes and modern geo
  • 1 0
 Ignoring the obvious such as the wheel, the ratcheting freehub, and metal welding; there is a good argument for dripper posts, modern geometry, and reliable air suspension. But for me it has to be tubeless tyres. The benefit it has brought to all mountain bikers is difficult to overstate.
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty sure most people would not be able perceive the difference between riding tubes and tubeless until they got a puncture. I do like the benefit of not worrying about punctures but I wouldn't say it's changed how I ride.
  • 1 0
 @lacuna: I run much lower pressure today than I would in the days of tubes, so in that respect the difference in ride feel is obvious. Punctures were a constant threat and would affect maybe 1 ride in every 5 or 10. These days it's exceedingly rare that I get punctures even running much softer pressures. It not only makes bikes ride better, but the increase in durability makes mountain biking more enjoyable too.
  • 2 0
 I would love to see a hardtail with modern geometry go up against an old fully suspended bike with upgraded brakes, rims and tires. It would be interesting to see which is faster across different types of terrain
  • 2 1
 Sure sure, the question is what is the greatest thing to 'advance' biking, but to all of you youngish peeps that answered hydraulic disc brakes thinking they were possibly innovative... they were at best inevitable and also around on cars(1920s) and motorcycles for decades(1960s)

Totally agree with the dropper post, but I'm surprised more didn't answer tire compound. I think tire construction across every industry has come leaps and bounds other than still being round, well Maxxis is struggling a bit with that lately Wink Being that its the only thing that connects us to the ground, I see this as a major advancement to biking and a testament to what people are capable of 'safely' riding these days. 2 cents
  • 1 0
 Had to vote "other" because I think the greatest advancement is suspension designs that don't suck and generally do everything well. I'd rather slap an old shock on a modern suspension design than a modern shock on an old suspension design. 2nd choice would be reliable hydraulic disc brakes, and 3rd would be dropper posts.
  • 1 0
 guys, it's suspension for sure. imagine a low long slack downhill bike with a rigid fork. that would be crap! suspension is the thing that makes us able to ride tougher and more challenging terrain, and it's also had a ton of innovation and improvement thrown at it.
  • 1 0
 Ha amazing amounts of comments on this one.
I believe I first start riding "Mountain Bikes in 1983....." on a Miyata Ride Runner, MEC crew bike of choice at the time.
And that was in real mountain terrain, poaching Parks Canada Trails, though it wasn't considered a poach at that time.
The Hite Rite was a minimal advancement, challenging to get it right on the fly.
One day travelling through the States I saw a Rock Shock fork in a bike shop. It was on my Rocky Mountain in an hour.
Front supspension was definitely the most progressive advancement of the early times.
I look back at the old ophotos and shake my head. So stoked to still be part of the Mountain Biking evolution
  • 1 0
 "Hite Rite, a primitive dropper post that came into existence before suspension or disc brakes"

So I have a clunky 70's department store cruiser (Coast King is the brand), and it has a Shimano disc brake in the rear (also Positron shifting). I don't know exactly when Hite Rite came out, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the 70's. Also didn't old Schwinn choppers have primitive suspension forks?
  • 1 0
 Lock-on grips an improvement? Ha ha..1x12 reliable? Bottom brackets better than before? I doubt there is any modern bb that can match the good old square taper un72! Modern bikes rides a lot better,but more reliable,not. A modern steel HT ,1x11 NO electronic components ftw
  • 1 0
 I just watched a YouTube video by Driver 61 about normal people trying a Formula 1 car for the first time. None of the non-professional drivers can ever get close to the limit of the F1 car, as they are held back by their skill, fitness, and fear.

I got my first mountain bike in 1991, and the main thing that held me back, and all the other kids back, was the lack of good brakes. No matter what situation we put ourselves into, the cantilever or V brakes would fail long before we could reach the limits of our control or our bravery.

The fastest riding we could do was down forest access tracks, and we’d hug the inside corners, knowing that if anything went wrong we’d have to whole other side of the double track as space before we hit a tree.

Every aspect of riding was dictated by how bad our brakes were.

The first 15 years of my riding was in Teesdale, and this summer, after 15 years of living in Germany I returned to Hamsterley Forest with my 2021 Orbea Occam… and the difference was night and day! Now Hamsterley Forest is full of community-built trails and has a downhill bike park, none of which would be even remotely safe enough for the public to ride without reliable brake technology.

Without good brakes, nobody will reach their highest level of skill or enjoyment. Lack of confidence in stopping power will hold everyone back. Trust me, I rode mountain bikes in the 90’s, and I was an idiot kid who would huck to flat from any height… as long as their was a long enough runout area.
  • 1 0
 For me it had to be dropper posts. No bike ever fit me correctly before droppers. I have the torso of an XL frame but the inseam if a 2xl. I am 6'2 and my riding buddy is 6'5. When he would borrow my bikes he would have to lower my seatposts. I was never able to jump or comfortably take drops until the droppers arrived.
  • 1 0
 Well, i saw it all coming since my first mtb in 1991. This is a really tough question, but I look at my bike and imagine riding it tubes maybe without the dropper, but I would never go back to v-brakes!!! Hidraulic brakes are the great!!
  • 1 0
 I am always surprised by the way dropper post get the credit for the modern mountain bike. What can a dropper do that a quick clamp can't. Don't get me wrong they are nice but I am confused when they are put on price point bikes. I guess this has to do with enduro racers not being able to stop and lift their seat? My point is geometry could have change without the dropper.
  • 2 0
 For THE improvement, it has to be disc brakes. I'm 55 now and have been riding since the mid-70s. If you can't effectively stop your machine/control your speed, all else is moot.
  • 2 0
 Someplace in the list should have had threadless headsets. Without that design, frame design, from capabilities and geometry(or the ability to tweak) would have never evolved.
  • 1 0
 There were always brakes. The early disc brakes weren’t all that great. Disc brakes were not revolutionary, they were evolution. Dropper posts were radically different and drastically changed the riding experience for the better.
  • 1 0
 I used to run 40 (yes, 40) psi to prevent pinch flats. Otherwise I'd pinch every ride, sometimes multiple times. Like riding a jackhammer, and traction? Hah.

So tubeless tires it is, for me. I can stop fine with rim brakes, I have bikes with no suspension that are still very fun, and I can live without a dropper or 29" wheels. The tubeless you can pry from my cold, dead hands.

-Walt
  • 1 0
 Having grown up riding MTB I have experienced the rim brakes days, QR seat posts instead of droppers, horrible air (and coil) suspension and the horrible geometry especially for taller individuals.
We have finally reached a point where I think a progressive bikes in a size XL is actually a size XL. I remember how short and steep the 90s and 00s bikes were. Someone that used the size XL had a incredibly awkward time just trying to fit the bike and balancing it between not going over the bars and not wheeling everywhere. For the first time in MTB I actually feel like bikes fit me, that's why I personally think geometry is the most important advancement.
Yes the geometry is also dependent on things such as droppers, good hydraulic brakes and good suspension, but those things are also dependent on the geometry, since you wouldn't be nearly as confident or fast with 90s geo and those things. I see why people would vote for them though and they have all contributed a lot to the modern mtb.
  • 1 0
 Dropper post. As a sometimes rigid SS rider I don't need suspension or hydraulic disc brakes (Paul Klampers ftw) but a dropper makes the ride so much better

And to all the folks discussing the move from cantis to Vs to discs....I switched to Maguras in about 1991 and enjoyed 15 years of great rim braking until moving to discs in about 2006.
  • 1 0
 For all the people saying disc brakes, how many have ridden a full rigid? If you have then you would know that without suspension none of the other advancements would have been necessary. Don't even try and say road bikes have disc brakes and are rigid because that's mostly marketing hype. Yes discs on road are nice if you regularly commute in wet conditions, but rim brakes also work just fine if using the proper compound.
  • 2 0
 I’ve got 2 fully rigid hardtails - would not want to give up the disc brakes or the droppers.
  • 1 0
 Hydraulic Disc brakes are a no brainer, dropper posts make downhill oriented bikes comfortably usable for going uphill or over long distances without having to interrupt your ride every other minute. Highly efficient as well. However lock on grips got way too little attention, imagine slipping on your bars all the time or having to use bar tape. Horrible, I know
  • 1 0
 Definitely hydraulic brakes. The faster you go, the more braking power you need to stop. Once you overcome that limiting factor, then it comes down to suspension for maintaining grip and tires. Dropper posts is a silly answer. It's a nice thing to have, but it's no advancement. You used to be able to use a QR lever on the seatpost to drop and raise.
  • 1 0
 It has all been said but why not add comment #346 to the pile just because. I'll stop and drop my seat manually....I can live with mushy brakes if I absolutely have to but don't ever put me back on a bike with a short top tube and hyper steep head angle. Just think about how terrible that would be. Geometry was the easy answer for this kid.
  • 1 0
 It's a tough one fore me... I've always said disc brakes FTW, with decent forks up there too... But...as I can choose just ONE item, I went disc brakes! I smash about on a rigid singlespeed..don't miss the forks, don't miss the dropper...but the decent braking is a MUST!!
  • 1 0
 While I love disc brakes, parallel pull XT/XTR v brakes were pretty damn good. Yes they weren't awesome compared to hydraulic discs, especially with a warped rim, but they absolutely blew under the chain stay u brakes and crappy cantilever brakes out of the water.
  • 5 0
 Disc brake. Easy.
  • 3 2
 Dropper posts. I really don't think I'd be into mountain biking if droppers weren't a thing. There's too much undulating terrain where I live and I'm not about that high post life.... because of my #BMXbackground.
  • 4 1
 Narrow wide chain rings are a significant innovation. Losing the front derailleur was also very helpful.
  • 5 0
 the wheel?
  • 1 1
 None of those advances mean anything if a bike doesn't fit right. It's taken 30+ years and brands are only now starting to realize that XS people are different from XXL people. Kudos to Geometron and Nicolai who have been doing it right forever.
  • 2 2
 If you split 'hydraulic disc brakes' into 'hydraulic brakes' and 'disc brakes', would one of them still be in the lead? I'd argue that the 'disc' portion was a massive improvement with little draw-back, while the 'hydraulic' part was more of a refinement which introduced new challenges.

Hey Shimano brake users: your bite point wouldn't wander if you had cable-actuated brakes.
  • 1 0
 Yes, disc brakes would be in the lead. As they work with gyros. Dirt jumpers are still mtb. If the list had it split, I would choose disc brakes. But since it targeted hydraulic disc brakes. I chose dropper post.
  • 2 0
 I've used all sorts of brakes, both bike and motorcycle. I even had a Honda CB200 with a cable front disk brake. Hydraulics are more reliable than cable, hands down no question. But they are easier to screw up, so people call them unreliable.

I'll take wandering bite point over having to stop mid-descent and adjust my brake pads, any day. But I don't have too (buys Hopes).
  • 1 0
 You need to swap your mineral oil and bleed your brake with putoline hpx 2.5w. It solves the issue. I spent way too much time figuring that one out...
  • 4 0
 Why isn’t Outside’s purchase of Pinkbike an option?!
  • 2 0
 Whoever voted for 12 speed drivetrains, boost hubs and electronics, you are most welcome to keep sipping the sweet sweet blue.
  • 1 0
 I feel like it's time for a Pinkbike field test. Gotta get a fully rigid bike with hydraulic disc brakes verses a full suspension bike with v-brakes and see which one is faster.
  • 2 0
 SUSPENSION!!!!!

Any of the items listed are secondary to suspension.

I don’t think many would prefer a full rigid bike with one of the options listed.
  • 1 0
 Wher's the option for general durability? If none of this other shit had ever been invented, I would still be super happy to be riding a bike from 1999 if it just wouldn't break constantly.
  • 2 0
 I've been riding mountain bikes since 1993 disc brakes and soft compound tires would have been a game changer on a bike back then.
  • 5 6
 When there was differant types of bikes. Slope, freeride, DH, all with 26 so you could dirt jump and ride steeps on the same bike Smile Ever since then bikes have become way less versatile with bigger wheels and stupidly long/slack frames, restricted to pedalling uphill and riding basic generic trails. There's steep lippy jumps that have worked great for decades but suddenly they need to be rebuilt because everyones on 29" xl trail bikes trying to ride park.
  • 1 0
 I’m with you. I still prefer a smaller wheel despite being a tall rider. When my mates on XL 29” bikes come to my farm for a ride, they very quickly remember how nice a more compact bike with smaller wheels handles. One run down the tight technical stuff and they want to go ride my flow trails for the rest of the day.
  • 3 0
 Disk brakes. Huge advancement.
  • 2 0
 Well considering you can only go as fast as you can stop.... there is only one clear winner here.
  • 2 0
 Was looking for the 1x drivetrain answer... major item missing from the list....
  • 1 0
 Yea, I agree. Though the option to run 1x was always there but the gear range wasn't. I had a bike set up 1x with a 32t ring and 11-34 cassette. It was good but limited.
  • 2 0
 I read 12 speed as 1x if that helps
  • 1 0
 @johnny2shoes -- yeah but this technically is incorrect. I could not care less for 12 speed. The true revolution was going to 1x Smile
  • 2 0
 The green bike is the perfect candidate for the Vintage MTB festival next year: vintagemtb.org
  • 3 0
 Where’s Sticky Rubber flat shoes on this list?
  • 1 0
 I was looking for this too. Getting my first FiveTen impacts was a complete revelation for DH racing. I truely wonder if we would have ever had the crop of progressive flat pedal racers without them (Hill, Rennie, Kovaric, Pascal, Fairclough, Fearon)
  • 3 0
 Clipless pedals should have made the list, maybe not #1 but top 5 for me.
  • 2 0
 HDB and *reliable* droppers are bliss, but I'm surprised clips weren't proposed here
  • 2 0
 As of this writing, 35 people voted Lock-On Grips advanced mountain biking more than moving away from V-Brakes.
  • 2 2
 Voting dropper post over disk brakes? Either you never had to ride cantilever/v-brakes, or you live in relatively flat country and avoid anything steep.

When I got my 1st disk brake in 1998, the game changed!
  • 2 0
 Dropper posts are to me like suspension lockouts. I always forget to use it. So I voted for disc brakes.
  • 1 0
 Hydraulic disc brakes where by far most turning point; dh bikes do not use droppers. Hydraulic brakes allowed riders to push limits so industry can push as well
  • 2 0
 This poll makes me want to build a bike frame with all 90's components, but with modern geometry and see how it rides.
  • 1 0
 Modern geo then hydraulic brakes then suspension then dropper posts (i ride mostly dh so it's not high on my list) then 12 speed drivetrains
  • 2 0
 Well it wasn't Mullet Bikes that's for sure. That should be under 'Worst fad of all time'
  • 2 0
 26 reasons I got out of mountain biking, and 29 reasons I got back into it.
  • 2 0
 Who ever thinks lock on grips was the greatest advancement in mountain bikes must’ve had quite the charmed existence.
  • 2 0
 It's impossible to pick just one option in this list. Reliable suspension Decent tires Disc brakes Dropper posts Geometry
  • 3 0
 I'm looking for the "suspension" option...
  • 1 0
 This is classic modern day rewrite history. Pink bike did not include the suspension fork. The suspension fork is the the greatest mountain bike advancement.
  • 2 0
 Lock on grips is the first choice and the obvious answer here.
  • 2 0
 Bar ends are back my friend, see that previous article. Mind the gap! Wink
  • 2 2
 It's gotta be tubeless. My old schwinn homegrown rigid was significantly more capable on tubeless 2.4's than it had any right to be.
  • 5 7
 1) Tubeless. Not getting flats every few rides and having reliable grip is a revelation compared to crappy, slow rolling tubes tires

2) Dropper. Puts the seat out of the way when it needs to be. Beats getting (another) nasty sternum punch on steep descents.

3) Tires holding up, seat out of the way-having brakes that actually work (and don’t slowly weaken your rim from use) makes carrying a LOT more speed possible.
  • 1 0
 Dropper post will change the way you ride as you never have that moment of thinking "should I stop and us my qr to lower my seat for this", you just drop and get the most out of every section. However, it doesn't change what you CAN ride like good tyres or brakes can.
  • 2 0
 Slogans like "Business here and party there"
  • 1 0
 I voted dropper posts but tubeless tires and inserts made dropper posts practical.
  • 3 0
 What? How so? I had tubeless tires looooooooong before I had a dropper post, like 15 years.
  • 2 0
 Dropper posts over geometry? seriously?
  • 3 0
 Boost spacing lol
  • 1 0
 Went seat post and not disc brakes because they weren't unique to mountain biking at the time.
  • 4 2
 e-bikes and short cranks... too easy.
  • 2 0
 I’m gonna go with “the wheel” Best innovation in bicycle history.
  • 2 0
 Yeah and for cars too. I can remember when they had invented the car, but hadn't perfected the wheel yet. They just bounced up and down....
  • 2 0
 NOT ONE MENTION OF THE the COMPONENTS ROTOR GUARD...SHAMEFUL
  • 1 0
 Other.... use of suspension on a mountain bike. Otherwise, envision the 1989 Mantis Valkyrie huck to flat.
  • 3 0
 Round wheels
  • 1 0
 According to the advertising banner it must be Hyperice, Kate Courtney uses it……..groan!
  • 1 0
 Hype Rice?
  • 1 0
 What could possibly have changed since the last time this poll was held, a year ago?
  • 3 0
 shorter cranks
  • 1 0
 And here's me expecting to see a whole article expounding on the wonders of the wheel.
  • 1 0
 Umbrella corporations....all those disconnect Outside of the industry now in industry...brilliant!
  • 1 0
 How about the game changer bike? I vote for the Santa Cruz Nomad V1. I still have mine and its still great.
  • 1 0
 Wish I still had mine, amazing bike of the times
  • 3 1
 Other: clipless pedals...c'mon!
  • 2 0
 Hmm, good one
  • 1 0
 Is that an IRD seatpost I see on that sexy Mantis? God I loved those bikes.
  • 2 0
 Still have the Uzzi Vpx!!!
  • 1 0
 In the last decade (I voted disc brakes), coaching and dropper posts have made MTB a more fun, safe and accessible activity.
  • 2 0
 The Hite-Rite, no question. Then maybe the Mt. Zefal frame pump.
  • 2 0
 With a suspension fork and good tires a bike becomes an MTB.
  • 2 0
 Cartridge bearings for hubs, headsets & BB's
  • 2 0
 How is suspension not an option?
  • 3 0
 Yes. 2.25 tires, suspension fork and clipless pedals were pretty big advancements, long before hydraulic brakes and drop posts
  • 1 0
 I want pictures of Alan Millyards bikes in this article just to remind us he sorted drivetrain issues 15-20 years ago
  • 2 0
 Nobody said clipless pedals?
  • 1 0
 I've got 1 full suspension bike and 2 rigids and they've all got dropper posts.
  • 1 0
 No Girvin flex stem? Like going from DC to white light...ok, well at least in to the Ghz...alright KHz.
  • 2 0
 Boost is the greatest advancement In mountain bike factory earnings
  • 1 0
 Other: The miles of smiles the changes in tech have brought to millions of people!
  • 7 6
 2010 had it all figured out, since then every "advancement" is a gimmick
  • 1 0
 Bring back the Uzzi! A M279 with dropper and 12speed would be mint AF
  • 1 0
 I still have my uzzi slx frame. It's a thing of beauty.
  • 1 0
 Bar ends for aggressive squid rides around town!
  • 1 1
 the quality and manufacturing processes for Carbon Frames have increased significantly from the Cannondale Crack'n Fail days
  • 1 0
 those Bullseye cranks are cool
  • 1 0
 Astromical pricing…people can’t afford to buy bikes = greener
  • 1 0
 1a. Reliable air suspension 1b. hydraulic disc brakes
  • 1 0
 Surely its the comments section its been responsible for so much
  • 2 0
 Online message boards
  • 1 0
 Hutchinson green tubes!!!
  • 3 1
 Index Shifting!
  • 1 0
 Dropper post and hydraulic disc brakes
  • 1 0
 Geometry and dropper posts.
  • 1 0
 Where’s the Hammerschmidt option???
  • 3 2
 EMTBs are the biggest change I've seen in fifty years.
  • 1 0
 29" wheels should be higher on the list and have way more votes.
  • 2 2
 Why can't we split our votes? Toss up between Boost and Thru-Axles for me.
  • 1 1
 Dropperpost for sure, everything else was already around, on motorcycles for example and had just to be downsized for MTB.
  • 1 0
 Tubeless! I had one to many flat tires in the days of my youth
  • 1 0
 How is "suspension" not a straight option. Or knobby tyres..
  • 1 0
 29er wheels...that was a standard from like 1900
  • 1 0
 Z1 bomber back when Rock Shox was elastomer crap. Changed the game
  • 1 0
 Has to be hydro disc brakes. 100%.
  • 1 0
 Index shifting/hyperglide, #1 hands down.
  • 1 0
 Dropper post..?? You must be joking ??
  • 1 0
 Broken frames
  • 3 4
 Geometry, geometry, GEOMETRY...... and probably a little bit more of geometry; DEFINITELY!!!
  • 1 0
 on board storage lol
  • 2 2
 i vote motor.....hahahahahahahaha
  • 1 2
 the greatest advancement in mountainbiking to the masses is surely Outside taking control of Pinkbike
  • 1 2
 Dropper. Anything besides dh and bmx we're just dirt roadies for the longest time. You can't change my mind.
  • 1 0
 Its yours...nobody needs to...lol
  • 1 1
 Hit boost to boost it artificially...
  • 1 1
 Ever changing bottom bracket standards!
  • 1 1
 Long, low and slack cant be on the list without steeper seat tube angles.
  • 1 0
 1xdrivetrains?
  • 1 1
 Definitely grip shift for the win
  • 1 0
 No Bar Ends!
  • 3 2
 27.5 wheels
  • 1 0
 Rim inserts.
  • 1 0
 The wheel.
  • 1 0
 Rear suspension designs
  • 1 0
 Flavored vodka
  • 8 9
 Has to be dropper posts.
  • 18 3
 Yeah but it's actually disc brakes
  • 2 2
 Nah. Droppers are great and all. But I've a rigid steel singlespeed with carbon post that absolutely slays (even with the seat up my bum) compared to bikes of yesterday. Solid trail geo mixed with quality 29x2.35 tubeless tires at 19 psi and solid disc brakes are what comes to mind as the difference
  • 1 1
 @blackpudding: they are pretty good but I used to ride some sketchy stuff on rim brakes that disc brakes wouldn’t improve that much.

Being able to flow and ride a trail without having to compromise in saddle height or stopping to adjust it, that just can’t be beat.
  • 8 4
 Anyone voting for anything but disk brakes is too young to remember what riding mountain bikes with v or canti brakes was like.
  • 2 2
 @banj: you wrong. I grew up riding rim brakes in Prince George in the late 90’s.
  • 3 1
 @blackpudding: Agreed, assume anyone not saying this does not live where it rains. With rim brakes, I would wear rim sidewalls to the point of seeing daylight through them every winter. And not fiddling with rim brake pads to get the toe-in juuust right to avoid squealing has freed up a few hundred hours of my life to ride instead.
  • 3 1
 the option to lower your seat was always there, just needed a quick release lever or a multi tool. Dropper posts are amazing but they weren't the only way to have a lower seat. they just made it easier.
  • 2 0
 @banj: Nope. Been at it since '89. My early 90's V's, Snot Rockets, and Magura Hydraulic rim brakes were pretty damn good, especially in the dry. Dropping the post at will? Priceless. And don't gimme that QR crap. Had that. Try doing it on the fly while keeping the saddle straight without crashing. Yea...no.
  • 2 0
 @Chuckolicious: I'm only suggesting that geometry is something that ALWAYS is effecting how you ride the bike. The seatpost is only an inconvenience sometimes
  • 1 0
 @letsgoridebikes18: sounds like we're of a similar vintage. Are you still on a hardtail? I guess the unwritten thing here is that discs allowed the development of full suspension platforms, wider rims/tires...
  • 2 0
 @blackpudding: nope, I’ve been on all kinds of full suspension bikes over the years. I’m not saying disc brakes aren’t great, they are, just for me, a dropper post has improved the riding experience in a more significant way.
  • 2 1
 Clearly, none of you punters have experience riding trails before the advent of Scott Unishock, the first suspension fork. Dropper posts, hydraulic brakes and 2"+ tires are all useless without a suspension fork. But this option is not listed which is why this survey is stupid
  • 3 0
 @frankieknuckles: I think you miss the point of the survey. Suspension gradually came about. Yes, my first bike was a Stumpy rigid. After almost 2 years of that the first Rock Shox, black with the pink letters (still got it) came about and I got it. Never looked back, though tried a bunch of stuff, like Pro-Flex, first Canondale Headshock, etc. But the dropper post was a full paradigm shift in one go. You didn't have dropper posts, then you did, in their full glory. Yea, some tweaks have come about over the years, but the first ones worked basically perfectly and did the exact same thing any modern one does today.
  • 3 0
 @Spencermon: But geo has very gradually evolved over many years. Dropper posts were a sudden paradigm shift. One year we didn't have them, next we did, and they were basically 100%. I think that's the kind of change the survey is looking for.
  • 1 0
 @Chuckolicious: that's fair. I just read it as the biggest impact change, even if it wasn't sudden.
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