2021 Pinkbike Awards: Value Products of the Year Nominees

Nov 29, 2021 at 20:30
by Henry Quinney  


Value Product of the Year Nominees


If last year's events blindsided the cycling industry, 2021 could be seen as the concussion that arose as a consequence. It seems that many of the people who found a new passion for cycling certainly haven't evaporated into thin air and demand for bike parts is still very high. Not only is it harder to source parts to keep your bike running, but also it's had a knock-on effect of increasing lead times as companies balance both trying to increase volume as well as factory closures. To say it's been a wild ride would be something of an understatement.

Despite those challenges, several products that emerged this year that offer plenty of bang for your buck. We've not only seen a whole host of value trail bikes but also some great products that might just save you money while replicating the performance of far more expensive equipment.









Why it's nominated

When aiming at a certain price point, compromises have to be made. For us, when it comes to a fork there are some key areas we want to know we can rely on. For instance, an aggressive fork should be stiff with a very useable range of adjustment. Compared to those values, something like weight doesn't seem that important. This won't always be the case, of course, and it depends upon the application, but for a big burly fork such as the new RockShox Domain it seems entirely appropriate.

The Domain uses a Motion Control RC damper, which features external slow speed adjustment, and is meant as a budget counterpart to the Zeb. It also has 38mm stanchions which is made of a heavier 6000 series aluminum. Cross-compatibility is key, though, and it not only accepts the same lower seals but you could also retrofit the higher end, and more expensive, Charger 2.1 damper.

The fork weighs 2540 grams. This makes it around 300g heavier than the Zeb, but it is also around half the price. If you compare it to the Fox 38, which weighs 2430 grams, the comparison is even kinder for the Domain.

For $549 USD you can get a fork that offers decent small bump sensitivity, a stiff chassis and, as reviewer Mike Kazimer put it, is "Free of any traits that immediately distinguish it as a budget-oriented fork." It's these reasons why it's very worthy of a nomination.






Why it's nominated

The Rimpact Pro tire inserts are something of a shoe-horn into this year's nomination. However, after we conducted our insert group test this year, we felt it thoroughly deserved its place.

The Rimpact Pro shares many of the same qualities of other inserts but there are some things it does very differently. Firstly, it uses malleable, dual-density foam that's got a taller profile than most other insert options. Not only this, but the foam has non-Newtonian qualities that ensure the more you push it, the more support it gives. Not only was it our pick in the first half of the test where it was all based on trail feeling, but it was also proved to be one of the most resistant to impact when we put them on an impact jig. Then you factor in the weight and becomes apparent that, per gram, it was light years ahead of some of its competition.

Now all of this is all very well and good, but why does it make the value product nominations? Well, it does all this and it was the cheapest on test at $99 USD for a set. So not only does it offer genuinely class-leading performance, it also manages to do so at a lower weight and cost. That sounds pretty good to us.






Why it's nominated

The Delium tire range was launched in the autumn of this year. It's a complete range and boasts non-nonsense terminology and as well as a variety of casing and tread patterns.

The tires that really caught our eye were the Versatile Adventure and the Rugged Adventure models. And, before you ask, Rugged Adventure isn't the name of an upcoming podcast where Mike Levy talks about a trip to Chilliwack gone wrong. Instead, both of these tires are available in 2.5" width as well as their All-Round and Reinforced casings. We've currently got the Versatile in for a test in the All-Round casing and it's been very impressive.

So, are these just copycat tires? They've just mirrored whatever the best current tires are and we're lauding it as a breakthrough? Well, yes and no. Firstly, lots of other companies have tried to "make a Minion" with varying degrees of success. Often, they might look right, but can suffer from unsuitable casings or rubber that just doesn't give us the grip we want. Delium manages to offer genuinely comparable performance, but at $45 per tire in the All-Round casing is so much drastically cheaper. That is important and the brand's pricing, as well as simplified terminology, make their nomination a no-brainer.







Why it's nominated

I think if we've learned anything over the last twelve months, the best fork, insert or tire to have is probably the one on your bike and, for your sake, we hope it holds up. One bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and a bike you enjoy riding a few times a week is worth five that are half a degree slacker but subject to a rolling six month delivery delay.

Here's to riding.










104 Comments

  • 128 3
 What, not mike bear tires?
  • 92 3
 I'd like to nominate Being Content.
  • 17 0
 If you're not content without that new part, you'll never be content with it.
  • 1 0
 You know what they say. Contentment is free riches.
  • 55 5
 No Outside + subscription?
  • 37 0
 I don't think I've seen a Domain in person.
  • 1 0
 I don't think what I have either
  • 2 0
 Agreed. Everything out there is pikes or yaris.

Why aren't there more "budget" bike options speccing these rather than yaris?
  • 1 0
 Maybe next year as oem on e bike and entry level enduro bikes?
  • 1 0
 @rory: They've not had time to come through as OE yet, I assume.
  • 3 0
 @rory: maybe because they weight a ton while not providing any benefit over a Yari for riders below 200lbs ?
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth: but ebikes
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: no idea, I do ride MTB and MX but you speak nonsense to me there.
  • 2 0
 Cause domain for 160+ 29 bikes, all other's get yari / 35

Based on yari experience - it is decent fork, however uber progressive, and eventually damper upgrade will be needed, other that no complains
  • 1 0
 @nickmalysh: progressivity is due to the poppet not opening early enough, simply shim it to make it open earlier and that will be fixed. And if you want to dive deeper you can mod the piston a little bit and add a shimstack to control the damping curve properly.
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth: i did corresponden tuning, still was not near close to chardger, and moved to the fox, honestly night and day (us price, so not applicable to eu for the price performance ratio)
  • 14 2
 Value of the Year?

Friday Fails is still free (and always should be)!!!

Otherwise I’d say Deftraps. Not new, but a cheaper, better TMac pedal. Same big, supportive platform, rear entry pins you can actually remove after rock strikes.
  • 2 0
 Deftraps are excellent pedals.
  • 21 8
 Domain haha. Motion Control in this travel range and intended use is basically Rockshox laughing in their customers' faces. Cheaper than a Zeb? Sure. Value? Nah.
  • 9 0
 You get downvoted for sure, but you're not wrong... When you get over 90% market share (together with Fox) and have bike manufacturers in a stranglehold by forcing them to buy all SRAM parts or forget the heavy discount, you can get away with crappy dampers. What makes the Motion Control Domain better than a comparably priced Suntour or Manitou fork? I know the latter two usually provide better air springs and dampers for the same money. Is the chassis that much better?
  • 13 1
 @Mac1987: I honestly don't get the up/down votes sometimes. Mo-co dampers are usually universally shat on in the PB comment sections and for good reason. But today is the day everyone magically loves them and they're great value.

Motion control needs to die a swift death.or at most get fully relegated to some 80-100mm Judys or whatever comes stock on very, very entry level bikes. The Domain has up to 180mm travel ffs; it's meant for some serious speeds and terrain. That damper has no place there.

You're damn right Manitou and Suntour should take its place in this value list.
  • 15 0
 Also, here in Europe a Mezzer Expert is 478g lighter with better air spring and damper for €100 more. That seems like far better value to me.
  • 2 0
 @Mac1987: Hear hear
  • 6 0
 You could get away with Motion Control on the Revelation because that segment isnt pushing too hard. If you used the Yari for the terrain it was intended for, you would reach the limits of Motion Control real quick. I cant imagine using Motion Control in a big Zeb fork situation... but I guess you can always upgrade the damper at a later point?
  • 6 0
 I had a MoCo Boxxer and it was awful. I upgraded to Charger and it improved the fork tremendously. Perhaps that’s why it’s a value, because you can upgrade to Charger? I also freely admit I have not tried a newer version of MoVo and maybe they are better now.

Personally if I was going budget I’d get the Marz with grip damper, but it is more expensive.
  • 5 0
 @thustlewhumber: Agreed. Mo-Co is sort of fine for absorbing single bumps spread far, like the odd lone root or rock on an otherwise smooth path. The moment you throw repeated impacts at it, it can't keep up at all. Make said impacts the size you use a 180mm travel 38mm stanchion fork for and it will 100% suck.

It's the nature of that damper design and it can't be changed (not that RS have changed anything in it since forever). They need a completely different damper.

We can upgrade dampers but we could also get good forks out of the box for the same price if we stopped pretending only two suspension brands exist. If OEMs and end users stopped buying crap maybe RS would do something about it - they have the resource. As it is, they're taking clients for a ride and laughing all the way to the bank because they can.
  • 2 0
 Heck zeb rc is cheaper than domain right now
  • 2 0
 The real question is why do Rock Shox bother having so many different dampers in their forks?
Two versions of the Charger 2.1, the IFP Charger, Moco & the TurnKey crap in the cheapest forks.
Moco should be the starting point for trail bike use (it's OK in a Reba IME), and I agree it shouldn't be seen on freeride/enduro bikes.
  • 1 0
 MoCo can be either improved DIY to get something decent at a super low budget or can be made to work great with drop in cartridge like Novypart Splug, Fast Up, and some german suspension tuners offer similar products. It would still he cheaper than a Zeb/Lyrik especially if specced on your bike built and arguably could work better than either since you would have a custom tune to match your riding style, body weight or speed.
  • 2 0
 @Balgaroth: so you're saying Zeb/Lyrik are overpriced as well? I agree
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth: Can motion control be improved DIY on Recon Silver?
  • 1 0
 @RoscoeGang: no idea since I never opened one. There is a lot of info on the Yari forum on Mtbr.
  • 1 0
 @RoscoeGang: I don't believe there are drop-in replacements for 32mm RS forks, because Motion Control is already the 'high-end' option (with Turnkey being the low-end one). Whether you could modify the Motion Control damper? Probably, but not many people seem to have found it worthwhile to try so, because of the limited potential of the damper.
  • 8 4
 $40 Rockbros polarized riding glasses off amazon FTW. I feel bad for anyone stuck trying to market the $200 versions from the regular brands.
  • 3 0
 I do like these but my head is a bit wide and they really hurt after more than 30 mins. They also don't fit with my full-face. Otherwise I agree with you.
  • 4 0
 @darlos-finest-son This x100. Or Tifosi, or any other $40-60 pair of glasses with good optics for a good price.

Safety glasses that some love around here make me want to puke because of the distortion. $200 glasses are... $200 glasses.
  • 5 1
 @bananowy: Distortion makes tame trails really challenging.
  • 7 0
 @AndrewFleming: DownCountry glasses?
  • 2 0
 Apart from fogging up pretty quickly, they do everything else really well. With a flat nose it's nearly impossible to find glasses that stay put, and somehow the cheap rockbros don't move at all when riding. Super happy with them. FYI, mine are the red/black photochromic ones.
  • 2 0
 @bananowy: I nabbed a pair of safety specs of a mate the other day and couldn't work out why I felt sea-sick the whole ride!
  • 1 0
 they re not even z87+ rate, and total crap, you are protecting your eyes and face with googles or eyeglasses
  • 1 0
 @nickmalysh: This may be true and it would be nice if there were certified. However, we all know certification is expensive and just because it's not certified doesn't automatically mean the glasses wouldn't pass test if you did go to certify them. Also, FWIW I'm not sure POC or other high end glasses are certified to that standard either?
  • 1 0
 @darlos-finest-son: not advocating for POC, and z87+ certification are designed about harsh working conditions (construction ) however in case this is not a googles, I prefer certified classes for MTB / SKI purposes, also you can find 50$ Pit Viper's the corresponds certification
  • 7 3
 +1 on rimpact. Been stoked on their pro inserts

this pump holder also makes my list: jankcomponents.com/products/jank-edc-sideloader
  • 3 1
 Looks like a cool product, but $30 US for a plastic pump bracket? That's hardly a value product when there are similar ones out there for like $5.
  • 3 0
 @bishopsmike: oh I tried a $5 one first and the pump fell out all the time. So maybe there are better $5 ones but this one has been well worth the $30 for me
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the love @mtbthe603 !!! @bishopsmike: that $30 one is for very specific frames with low clearance like the Spire. The standard one is $25 for what it's worth. It's definitely a niche product but people keep picking them up so I keep printing em'
Cheers!
jankcomponents.com/products/jank-pump-holder
  • 5 0
 What, no microshift? For $200 you get a almost bombproof drive train with a strong clutch
  • 4 0
 Iirc microshift has been nominated in the past. This is typically for products released this year.
  • 1 0
 Just bought a lyrik select plus fork for £499 from CRC , it is the 2020 version with the B1 airshaft and a charger 2.1 RC damper , I needed it to replace my 2021 lyrik ultimate and it is way better with the B1 airshaft.
I used the ultimate for 18 months and the select plus is better and £400 cheaper , you can get a good fork with out spends big bucks !
  • 1 0
 Article probably refers to NA product MSRP prices, so may not be relevant in your region
  • 3 1
 "Rugged Adventure isn't the name of an upcoming podcast where Mike Levy talks about a trip to Chilliwack gone wrong."
Hahaha! That's too bad.
  • 3 0
 Mike Levy turned his back on Chilliwack. Probably doesn't even like the smell of cow poo anymore.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney you should have a captain hindsight award for the companies that did a U-turn
  • 1 0
 What do any of these tire inserts look like once they've been sloshing around with sealant for a few months? Does everything just weld together inside your tire?
  • 3 0
 Mine look about the same, but the sealant can make them a bit of a pain in the arse to separate from the tire.
  • 3 0
 yea my cushcore doesn't absorb any sealent at all.
  • 4 0
 I’ve been using the Tannus Tubless Armour inserts for a couple years now. They look about the same as the day I bought them. Used to use CushCore but they cut up to shit after a season or two of smashing and need to be replaced.
  • 1 0
 How in the F did you get them installed?@islandforlife:
  • 1 0
 @oregontrail67: Tannus Tubless Armour?? Easiest one… I can do it without even taking the tire off, only have to break one bead, shove it in there as you rotate and I don’t even have to dump my sealant.
  • 1 2
 Shoutout to Delium Tires!
Not $$$ure how you were able to get a review but, nonetheless, we're excited to see fellow riders have more reasonably priced options.

From a RIDER-OWNED startup without a huge advertising budget to a huge tire factory backed startup, welcome to mountain biking and congratulation$$$ on the nomination!
  • 3 0
 If I didn't know any better, I woulda thought you guys aren't actually stoked on Delium's nomination at all.
  • 2 0
 @ripridesbikes: Puzzled by some things surrounding the nomination but honestly stoked that there's reasonably priced options for mountain bikers that will allow fellow riders to get out & ride.
Riding shouldn't be so expensive.
  • 2 0
 @VersusTires: Nothing wrong with calling that out, it reminds the rest of us to keep one eyebrow raised when reading reviews online.
  • 2 0
 Shoutout to Mike Bear Tires! Best tires out there hands down, buy five of these tires for the price of one tire.
  • 3 2
 Realistically what differences can be expected of a 6000 series fork in comparison to 7000 series?
  • 2 3
 All I know is that every 7XXX Al fork I've had creaked like a mofo... but no 6XXX series has yet to. Might be just me though.
  • 3 0
 I'd expect weight, mostly
  • 2 0
 7000 = stronger material, therefore lighter fork of the same strength.
6000 = weaker material, therefore heavier and stiffer fork of the same strength. The latter point is probably why they're less likely to creak (press/cryo-fit interface being stiffer)
  • 2 0
 Cheaper one has more metal to achieve the same strength so is heavier and stiffer.
  • 8 6
 Why wasn't Outside+ mentioned on this list???
  • 19 3
 To make it on the list the product needs to be a good value for what you pay
  • 3 1
 Lucky larger. Tastes like shit but it’s still beer and 1/4 the cost
  • 2 0
 It's larger than life
  • 2 0
 Rimpact..................
  • 1 0
 Where’s the review on the Delirium tires already? Looks compelling but they really need rear specific tires IMO.
  • 1 0
 Delirium is better name than ass&gay.
  • 5 7
 Rimpact sucks. Waste of $$$ in my experience.
  • 1 0
 Was gonna score a set & compare to Cush but have you tried Cush as well? Reason I ask is that Cush is one of the few that specifically states it has a damping/ suspension effect, which I fully can attest to after riding an exact same set of wheels with & without (trail vs. park/DH set of tires) - but Cush is insanely difficult to install.

Anyway, assuming you did deflate yr tires a bit tho? With Cush I can drop 2-3 psi per tire pending trail conditions & style. Dunno...maybe that has nothing to do with it (?)
  • 3 1
 @Mtn-Goat-13: cushcore is almost as easy as just tubeless install. You jut need to the beads into the central channel of the rim on both sides before inflating. I hesitated putting one in my rear wheel for a couple of years because I’d heard it was hard.

Then I got one and it wasn’t. Probably do the front soon too.
  • 2 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: Cushcore isn’t as hard to install as people say. Be deliberate, take your time, use the tricks that everyone talks about—push the bead into the center, have a spritzer bottle of slightly soapy water around—and it’ll go on no problem.
  • 4 0
 @BrambleLee: @wyorider - Problem is I have asym wheels (inner rim groove is not centered). I watched the Cush vid, used the trashcan / soap setup - even up to 4 levers and I just can't do it on my wheelset (Ibis) - it assumes the grove is centered. Even my goto shop hates me for them - they can never do a same-day tire install b/c of the Cush. Even took to my buddy who (like you says his were easy) but while I watched him easily install his, he could not install mine at all. It seems that when the inner rim groove is not perfectly centered it really does take 2 people to do this and way too long...its a beast on these wheels.
  • 1 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: easy to mount, in the garage/shop, make sure tire is warm, soap spray bottle. I tried mounting the tire first and seating it then open one side up and sliding the insert in. Worked pretty good. Whole different story on a cold day miles from home/ the car.
I do like the support of cushcore, no squirm which took a bit to get used too at first.
  • 2 0
 @CantClimb: Been using them for a while now. I don't have the same experience.
  • 1 0
 Its only 45 minutes, a couple $20 cush core tires levers, lots of soapy water, no DD tires, and hardly any cursing. Super easy, i cant believe everyone doesnt use cush core.
  • 1 0
 @JonnyTheWeasel: Think I had some of the first ones. They may have improved.
  • 1 0
 @JonnyTheWeasel: Soaks up sealant
  • 1 0
 @thustlewhumber: DD tires, under 10 minutes a tire. Easy peasy.

At least on a Dt rim.
  • 1 0
 @skiwenric: Apparently less so on Asym-rims tho, my comment above...same w/ shops too. They all hate my setup.
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