The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 40 - The Pinkbike Awards Explained!

Jan 12, 2021
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
New year, new look, and no more phallic microphone. Art by Taj Mihelich.

The Pinkbike Awards are our way of highlighting the people, performances, events, and gear that stood out to us over the previous twelve months. Categories include Mountain Bike of the Year, Value Mountain Bike of the Year, Suspension Product of the Year, Component of the Year, Value component of the Year, Innovation of the Year, and a bunch of others that we talk about in episode 40. We also explain our nominations for each category, why we chose each winner, and answer some of your questions from the awards articles.

Mountain Bike of the Year Nominees
Mountain Bike of the Year Winner
Component of the Year Nominees
Component of the Year Winner
Suspension Product of the Year Nominees
Suspension Product of the Year Winner
Value Mountain Bike of the Year Nominees
Value Mountain Bike of the Year Winner
Value Product of the Year Nominees
Value Product of the Year Winner
Innovation of the Year Nominees
Athlete of the Year Nominees
Athlete of the Year Winner
Performance of the Year Nominees
Performance of the Year Winner
Comeback of the Year Winner
Pinkbike Awards Rules and Guidelines

January 12th, 2021

"But the thing I own didn't win!"

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
Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks
Episode 39 - Predicting the Future of Mountain Biking

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 17 1
 So no more phallic microphone... but in the upper left you put in a puckered bu.... nevermind I get it now.
  • 13 0
 That's a grim looking bu... donut.
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: a veritable Pandora's Box of responses to that one...
  • 1 0
 Glad I wasn't the only person thinking, "What's with the anus?"
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta got robbed in that picture. We need her added with a hockey stick.
  • 11 0
 "Guarantee someone comments that we’ve traded the penis microphone for the butthole donut." - me in the Slack channel, January 7th, 2021.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Maybe it's just Taj's way of telling you the podcast has gone to shit. Only joking.
  • 7 0
 The only people who hate on the SWAT/TWAT hole have never ridden a bike with one. I can do 20 miles now with no hip pack or backpack while still having all the tools I need to fix my bike and enough food and water to stay nourished. I love it.
  • 18 0
 I make fun but it does make all the sense in the world. For me and the riding here in BC, the biggest plus of SWAT/TWAT is now I have a place to put my jacket instead of tying it around my waist like I'm in an American Eagle catalog.
  • 3 0
 If only there was a way to design a bike with a removable , custom made frame bag so you could have the option of adding it to your bike or not...
  • 1 0
 Why would anyone hate that? There is no downside, so why bother disagreeing? Personally I don't care but if a bike comes with storage I won't say no.
  • 4 0
 Why the hate for Fat Bikes? I live in Edmonton and put away the Full Suspension mountain bike in November and don't get back on it until April. It's 5 months of fat biking for a lot of non-coastal northern climate folks. It would be great to get bike and product reviews for real world snow riding (not just someone ripping a DH track with a few cm of wet stuff on it). Things important for riding here are; loose snow traction, packed/ice traction, float on fresh stuff, pogies, winter bike boots, lights etc.

Show some love for those that aren't on the west coast...
  • 2 0
 So much THIS!
  • 1 0
 @Bolivar9611 @reckhard We joke around but don't actually hate fat bikes at all. It's just that we don't get much snow here at all, and it doesn't stick around when we do get it. And we have more mountain bikes to ride than we have time to ride them. I used to have a full-suspension Salsa fat bike in the shop that I absolutely loved despite never riding it in the snow - I used it to explore some awesome moto trails that would have been even more unrideable on a normal bike.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Hey Mike, I totally get why you don't ride or have much interest in the best bikes for snowy trails. If I lived in Squamish I wouldn't have a fat bike either. My comment was more in the hopes that Pinkbike looks at expanding their technical reviewers to include more trail condition diversity...
  • 3 0
 Hey I have a general question. Why is a mtb with a 29 inch wheel up front and a 27.5 in the back called a mullet? I'm not an expert in hairstyles, especially those of the 1970s, but isn't a mullet short in the front and long in the back? AKA all "business" in the front and a "party" in the back...oh, maybe that's why?
  • 7 0
 I feel a PB podcast t-shirt coming into the shop.
  • 17 0
 Excellent idea: "The right amount of stupid" front and center.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: tchotchkes and marzocchis
  • 4 0
 I like Levy a lot, but the graphic would be slightly cooler if Sarah, James or Brian was front and center...totally subjective I guess, sick team anyway you slice it
  • 5 2
 it would be hilarious if they put james front and centered, i like the guy, but he just reads the news
  • 1 0
 I mean he is the host
  • 4 0
 You know what would be funny, for next year, do a poll, and then NOT give the award to the most voted for product. Just imagining the outrage is giving me a semi right now.
  • 6 1
 That’s what happened for the Video of the Year. There’s a viewers’ choice poll winner, but we awarded the win to who we thought deserved it most.
  • 2 0
 a thought for next year. why not have the winner from the year before in the competition the next year so there is more for us to compare too. that way we know if something not new for that year is still possibly the better option
  • 1 0
 Yup, def something we've talked about might do in the future. Excellent idea.
  • 2 0
 In re: to a used Hummer being better than a new Tesla... the podcast "How To Save a Planet" has an episode "Are Electric Cars Really Better for the Climate" that discusses the common questions around buying a new electric car vs a used combustion engine, its impacts on the environment both short term and long term, a coal powered grid, battery manufacturing and recycling, etc. It has some really good insight worth checking out if that interests you.
  • 1 0
 beyond his awesome name, Pidcock is sick. Forget the eMTB if that offends you... he is U23 XCO champion, U23 road third, and was second in cyclocross worlds (senior not u23) to freakin' mvdp. so great name and he is better than all of us at most everything and only 1.57 m tall! so say it with me... Pidcock
  • 1 0
 I would love to hear from industry experts for their opinions on the Alternative Manufacturing techniques nominated for innovation of the year. Especially in regards to the environmental impact and scalability of these options versus the status quo. 15 years as a manufacturing engineer in addition to working as a machinist makes me very skeptical of machining a frame from a solid billet of aluminum, and while 3D printing portions of the bike is certainly feasible, there are significant unique engineering resources required for every frame made, which will have a massive impact on price.
  • 1 0
 Hey @mikelevy, big fan of the podcast out here in New Zealand. Got an #askpinkbike question for you. Just wondering what your ideal down country tire setup would be from the maxxis range to suit a scott spark #downcountry build?only state maxxis as they are the easiest tires to source here as some other brands are more difficult, cheers
  • 4 0
 I should be a shoe-in for the Average award - 31, 2 kids, and riding 2014 Turner in West Michigan maybe 2-3 times a month.
  • 1 0
 I really wouldn't just assume that if Specialized had figured out a way to put swat in their aluminum frames they would have done it by now. It could be as simple as that they just want to reserve it as a premium feature for the carbon frames only. Also if the aluminum frame is the value option why would they spend more on manufacturing it?
  • 1 0
 Guessing. Aluminum frames typically have drawn tubes. Adding extra material around the 'port' to strengthen it (assuming it is even practically possible to safetly cut out enough material) would involve a complex (expensive) butting profile. Or welded on gussets. It's trivial to add extra strength to high stress regions with carbon fibre composites, it's like one of the biggest advantages of such composites.

Double wall downtubes?!?! It's made rims not shit, maybe it'll work for aluminium frames with holes in them.

Still just guessing though. Actually thinking about it, you could probs just weld on a thicker plate with a flappy door. Carry on.
  • 3 0
 @dirtyburger: thicker tube technology, aka TTT™.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: not unlike the current meta TT (with a large opening cut away for the shock); just thick alu. granted, at 8lbs (no shock), it's not a pinnacle of weight optimization, but this kind of thing shouldn't be too difficult to accomplish at a price point.
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: I believe Trek may already be using that "TTT" on their aluminum Slash 8 with i typed this, i heard you say it on the podcast. disregard.
  • 1 0
 Great job as usual.

I think that in awards for whole bikes, it shouldn't just be "new" bikes in the running. At the very least bring last year's award winner into the mix if it is still in production. There may be some component changes, but I think a bike and value bike of the year award should consider all bikes that are available to purchase, not just what was new for that year.
  • 1 0
 for your future e-bike podcast here are some good materials on the e-bike energy consumption and net carbon emission.
this breaks down carbon output from manufacturing, supply chain, and also calorie consumption required by the rider

More ammo for @mikekazimer Wink
  • 1 0
 two questions for you guys and gals. First one @mikekazimer ; you rave bout the Commnecal Meta TR, do you think its significantly better than the Meta AM because of its balance of suspension/pedaling? Or are they equally awesome and the TR just fits your riding style and terrain better?

Also for everyone, a would you rather I thought of (late to the game). Top end version of the best suspension ever made but set up absolutely terrible, wrong pressure, too little rebound, etc, or the most budget low quality suspension set up absolutely immaculately?
  • 2 2
 Thank you for another episode guys.
This episode highligthed Pinkbikes scepticism and lack of knowledge for e-mtb's. Which I find wierd. Love it or not, but those bikes are here to stay. As the dominating (?) global website of mtb content I find it unpoffessional actually. I mean, accustic mtb's sales are declining, and e-mtbs are growng FAST. I'm not sure about sales numbers in US/Canada, but here on the other side of the pond (Europe) e-mtb's are soon to be the dominating kind.
To weight my opinion, I can add that I'm the puchsing manager of the largest bikeshop in Norway, and has 20yrs of experience on all sides of the bike biz.
I was an absolute hater until last year. When UCI annonced that they're lanching a e-XC on top of their e-WES I realized the battle was lost. I had to make a dissision. As I saw it, I had two options: Keep on hating and quit my dream job, or take a deep dive into the subject and learn all there is to learn about e-mtbs. I chose the latter. I strongly encurage @brianpark and his team to do the same.
Strong words I know, but it's all meant in best effort.
Keep up you great work.
  • 1 0
 For the record, I'm generally pro-eMTB and we're doing a lot more with them these days. Even a Field Test this summer.

I'm sure we said some ignorant shit about eMTBs in here. We know what we don't know, which is why we don't award an eMTB of the year, or anything like that.

If you're talking about my frustration with the racing side, I just think we as an industry can be more creative than racing being the only way to do marketing. eMTB is a non-endemic, grassroots thing, and that's what I find promising about it—it's accessible and fun. The racing side is so forced and corporate, because the industry doesn't know how to do anything else.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy @mikekazimer what are your go to mid-ride and post-ride snacks? Does eating lots of donuts and drinking monsters make you faster?
  • 1 0
 If you want to have a rocket engine, you need to feed it rocket fuel, hence the Monster.

But in all seriousness, I can't stand bars and energy gummies and energy gels - f*cking gross. That said, the only time I do live on gels in while racing XC. It's the most effective and no chewing. For day-to-day riding, I usually bring dates, small pancakes, or maybe a chocolate bar of some sort; it depends on the ride and my motivation. Post-ride is a recovery shake of some sort and a big plate of whatever healthy food my partner cooked up. I joke around a lot about food and drink Wink
  • 1 0
 @brianpark can you transition this podcast to include video as well? Totally love the podcast and this would take it to the next level
  • 1 0
 Maybe! We'll see once we can get into the new studio.
  • 1 0
 27:52 - sounds like Levy may be alluding to a new FOX air spring? Hopefully it'll be backwards compatible like the Debon air spring if that's the case.
  • 2 0
 if redbull used the AWS Elemental they could make a VOD right as the live stream is coming in, tsk tsk redbull
  • 1 0
 Loved the old “Advocate of the Year” award in prior years and would encourage a comeback of that category.
  • 1 0
 Yup, great idea.
  • 3 0
 RIP phallic microphone
  • 1 0
 I'm sure I've heard Seb Stott say Stank-shun on his old podcast, so I look forward to that becoming a new industry standard.
  • 3 0
 I keep pushing for it but it hasn't caught on yet.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: maybe you've gotta start yelling it like a drill sergeant, instead of ATTEN-shun, yell out STANK-shun. Then the stinkiest of the stankiest Pinkers all have to stand up, or raise a redbull in salute. I should stop now... I don't want that at all.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I'm doing my part.
  • 1 0
 Listening to the podcast now and wondering how much influence pinkbike has in the industry?
  • 2 0
 Any word on the advent calendar updates?
  • 1 0
 Looks like a MillenColin postcard
  • 2 1
 I'll wait for the video version.
  • 1 0
 I would gladly review Fat Bikes!!!
  • 1 1
 Fuck you. I ride an old aluminum Stumpjumper.

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