The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks

Dec 30, 2020
by Mike Levy  
Art by Taj Mihelich

The end of the year means two things: it's time for a bunch of resolutions that definitely won't pan out, and every website doing a bunch of questionable best-of lists. And while our annual Pinkbike Awards are our official way of recognizing some of the year's most impressive products, people, and events, each editor also puts together a list of their personal favourites from the past twelve months. Thing is, we pretty much all disagree with each other, which brings us to the theme of today's podcast.

Sarah Moore's favourite products of 2020
Dan Sapp's favourite products of 2020
Mike Levy's favourite products of 2020
Mike Kazimer's favourite products of 2020

Episode 38 sees Mike Kazimer, Sarah Moore, Dan Sapp, and I defend our 2020 best-of picks. Who's out to lunch? Who nailed it?

December 30th, 2020

Editors defend their 2020 best-of picks.

Hosted by Mike Levy (usually) and featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike Podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction
Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer about Field Test Enduro Bikes
Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro

Author Info:
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Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 14 1
  • 2 1
 I wonder if anything will ever be said about that.
  • 3 1
 @Explodo: what do you expect them to say? I mean, the only thing they can say that anyone would buy is, "Yeah, we are stupid. sorry. the Salsa was as good as the other two bikes."

they won't eat their ego like that.
  • 1 1
 @conoat: I just wish I knew the reason. I'm aware they're unlikely to say anything about it unless forced to do so, but they won't have any pressure at all if we just pretend it didn't happen.
  • 1 0
 @Explodo: omg why is this so serious??? Buy whatever bike you want to, obviously you know that they all reached the same spot why does it matter if levy mentions it.
  • 1 0
 @bike-lair: Since I come to PB specifically to find out about bikes, I'd like to know how much weight I should give their recommendations. Hell, maybe Levy doesn't really like Ohlins never know.
  • 16 1
 @conoat: Yeah, we are stupid. sorry. the Salsa was as good as the other two bikes. Smile

I dunno why the video wasn't more clear, we were burned out after a ridiculous year. @mikelevy why did we blow it?

But uhhh also, for the love of god please don't put real weight into our impossible climbs. They're literally just broscience for fun, and a reason to do some tech climbing.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: Thank you. I just wanted to hear what was up...and it's winter and I can't go ride so I had nothing better to do.
  • 1 0
 @Explodo: Opinions are like a*sholes...everyone has one!!
  • 1 0
 @curendero: And they all stink...
  • 5 1
 Although I really like the podcast, I haven't had the chance to keep up with every episode. So far, have there been any extended discussions regarding technical climbing?

This may be wrong, but from what I can tell, technical climbing was at one point something everyone valued as a skill, because many of the cool descents were only accessible via a hard climb. It seems now that most emerging MTB destinations have exclusively fire road climbs or very easy machined uphill singletrack, and existing destinations are allowing their older tougher climbs to become deprecated in favor of these easier climbs.

Is riding up weird root balls and rocks on track toward becoming an obsolete, or at least a very niche, skill? Or are there enough areas where the tech climbs can't be rerouted (like Pisgah Nat Forest) to keep it mainstream and useful? What role does the evolution of XC racing and the popularization of Enduro play in the (perceived) widespread departure from technical climbing?

I know this was briefly touched on in an episode early this summer, but it was only for a minute. I'd appreciate hearing a full discussion dedicated to this. Also if anyone knows of discussion of this topic outside of the podcast (all I've found is this, I'd be really grateful for a link!
  • 6 0
 So I did a little more homework, and you all definitely talked about this more in Ep 11 than I gave you credit for. Sorry for basically repeating the question you answered then.. If you could delete comments on PB I'd delete this one, but we'll just have to settle for ignoring me Smile
  • 5 0
 I'm just waiting for my Grim Donut shirt after I mounted a Hans Dampf tire inside out @mikelevy

Happy new year all !
  • 7 1
 i'm fully onboard with the skinwall hate.
  • 5 0
 Yeah man, I survived the '80's once already....
  • 2 0
 Hans Dampf has the same tread as the 2018 update, but now there’s a new super trail casing. The lightest version for 29x2.35 is 1075g stated.

For a lighter trail tire that’s under 1000g I’ve been really liking the e-13 trs trail ‘race’ which is around 970g
It pairs well with a trail bike for long days and some aggressive riding. It’s a true 2.4

I also still like the dhr2 2.4 exo front and rear... actual weight 1015g

I’m in NW Arkansas where there’s a lot of ‘loose over hard’ in addition to straight up gravel that’s tough on tires.

I run through 3+ full sets of tires per year between my 2 bikes.
  • 2 1
 I gave up on light tires for mountain bikes a while ago. DD casing out back on both my bikes. EXO or EXO+ out front is O.K.

For me, I just hate running tubes. DD casing I replace when the tread wears out.
  • 1 0
 @lukeshort7: Second this. Light tires feel great, but they can't feel great if they don't hold air.
  • 1 0
 I should clarify- I’m typically wearing out tread before I destroy my tires... I’ve gotten the occasional puncture in DD as well as exo casings.

For shuttle days I prefer the DD, and it’s not bad as a rear tire all the time...

But there are some good options between 850 and 1050 grams that are more fun for longer rides and still hold up well under my 155lbs for fairly aggressive riding.

I think my riding style and weight matches Levy’s pretty closely which is why I jumped in on this specific conversation

By no means am I suggesting that riders who prefer DD or heavier tires should change up.
  • 1 0
 (Two part) Question for a future podcast: would you rather ride a full suspension bike from five years ago, or a brand new hardtail? Does current geometry make up for lack of full squish?

I was browsing the Buy/Sell section and noticed the price points for the above mentioned bikes tend to coincide so this is possibly a consideration for people shopping bikes.
  • 1 0
 It sounds like Kaz has had PTSD since is 15 year old self wore his undies under his shammy. Post Traumatic Shammy Disorder is a terrible thing, and clearly Levy does not understand!
  • 2 0
 Book rec: Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake. One of those books that changes how you see the natural world.
  • 3 0
 We need more saddle sore content in 2021.
  • 1 0
 Does the mention of the Esker mean we might see a full review on it soon? I would love to hear impressions, especially since it is on the East Coast.
  • 1 0
 The Power Broker is an outstanding book and Robert Caro is a wonderful writer. @MikeKazimer check out his 4-part biography of LBJ. That should keep you occupied for a while!
  • 2 0
 +1 for the Silky Big Boy!
  • 1 0
 Mike vs Mike, Only two Mike enter, and only one Mike leaves. Only Mike can win this epic best of shoot out.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy 2020 Pink Bike Awards: MTB Products that SHOULD be! Riding glasses that you can clean with dirt.
  • 1 0
 I saw a Structure in the wild. On the back of a car in Calgary. It was unmistakable.
  • 2 0
 Yep. I saw one on the back of a car at the Horse Shoe Bay ferry, headed to the Sunshine Coast. I'll never forget that, it's basically like spotting a UFO. Even took grainy photos that nobody will believe.
  • 1 0
 The Edward Norton movie he made based on that book is awesome.
  • 1 0
 I wish this was a consistent download on my iPhone.
  • 1 0
 Book Recommendation: Fooled By Randomness by Nassim Taleb
  • 1 4
 More Christina, less Sarah
  • 1 0
 Just make sure Levy is there. When he's not there, I find it gets hella dull.

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