Pinkbike's Top Stories of 2021

Dec 20, 2021 at 3:26
by James Smurthwaite  

In a year that has seen us post nearly 5,000 stories from the world of mountain biking, some of them grabbed your attention more than others. Based on page views, here are the ten top stories from the news feed this year:

1. Jolanda Neff Criticizes Pauline Ferrand Prevot for 'Stupid Move' at Tokyo Olympics

At the biggest XCO race for 5 years, longtime rivals Jolanda Neff and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot led the race in the first lap and the pair approached the Sakura Drop at high speed, Neff following closely behind Ferrand-Prevot. Just as both were committed to the ramp, Ferrand-Prevot braked before rolling it, while Neff was forced to drop off the side at low speed.

2. First Look: Lal Bikes' Supre Drivetrain Splits The Derailleur In Half Before It Happens On the Trail

It would be fair to say that mountain bikers everywhere have had a bad experience with a derailleur at one time or another, which is what drove Cedric Eveleigh of Lal Bikes to create the Supre Drive, a drivetrain system that separates the two functions of the standard derailleur (shifting and tensioning the chain), while also placing the purpose-built derailleur out of harm's way. The Supre Drive's four key elements are durability, efficiency, chain damping, and a lower unsprung mass, all on a high pivot suspension platform.

3. Final Results from the Val di Sole DH World Championships 2021

Greg Minnaar is a man on a mission here. 40 years old and just 1.5 seconds back in 4th

The World Championships returned to Val di Sole with some huge results. Myriam Nicole had a perfect run in the Elite Women's race to fly into first place by nearly five seconds. Marine Cabirou laid down one of the most impressive performances as she fought through her injury from Les Gets to cross the line in second place. 2020 World Champion, Camille Balanche, didn't match her winning run from last year, but she still walked away from Val di Sole with the bronze medal after a great run on the tricky course.

The Elite Men's racing provided plenty of drama as Greg Minnaar took his fourth World Championships title. Benoit Coulanges came close to taking the top spot, but he would have to settle for the silver medal as he came across the line 0.227 seconds behind Greg. Troy Brosnan rounds out the top three riders and was the only other person to come within a second of Greg Minnaar's winning time.

4. First Look: All New 2022 Scott Spark - The Next Generation of Integration

Olympic years often mean new XC bikes as brands pull out all the stops to give their racers the most advanced tool for arguably the biggest prize in cross-country racing. The Spark, now in its fourth generation, was initially launched in 2008. Since then its won several World Championships, a pile of World Cups and even Olympic golds.

With that in mind, Scott introduced the all-new, completely redesigned Spark product range. The range includes the RC race bike, the 900 trail bike, and the Contessa, as ridden by Kate Courtney This bike immediately looks very different from its predecessor, but that's not to say it doesn't look like anything else.

5. Shimano Introduces New 'Linkglide' Drivetrain Technology with Bold Longevity Claims

Linkglide was not designed not to be the lightest weight but instead to prioritise durability and shift performance. It also represented something of a fork in the road for the brand’s drivetrains. Hyperglide+ remains the lightweight fast shifting performance range, while Linkglide will sit alongside their current offerings, as opposed to replacing them.

Shimano claims that their testing shows that Linkglide cassettes are 300% more durable than prior Hyperglide cassettes, and three times less degradation to the cassette should mean fewer chain skips, more mileage, and better shifting long into the cassette’s lifespan.

6. Why Shorter Cranks Are Better (According To Science)

There aren't many win-wins in mountain-biking, but shorter crank arms could be just that.

Most bikes have crank arms between 170 and 175 mm long, and it's been that way for a long time. Some brands spec 170 mm cranks on their smaller sizes and 175 mm cranks on the larger sizes, and you can even buy 172.5mm cranks aftermarket, suggesting that the ideal length for pedalling ergonomics, efficiency, power and ground clearance must be somewhere in that range. But there's a fair bit of published science on crank length which tells a different story.

7. Review: The 2022 Specialized Turbo Levo is the New Benchmark

Last year, Specialized's Stumpjumper EVO took home the Pinkbike Mountain Bike of the Year award thanks to its versatility and high level of refinement. As the follow up act, Specialized have released an electric version of that bike, the third generation of the Levo. The two models aren't completely identical – for one thing, the Levo runs a mixed wheel setup – but the numbers are close, and the intended use remains the same.

8. Ridden & Rated: 11 of the Best New Men's Riding Pants

The heavy, MX inspired pajama pants of the mountain biking past have given way to fitted, light-weight, breathable pants that have all the mobility and performance of thermal lycra tights, but offer the more robust performance of purpose built mountain bike apparel. Below you'll find eleven pair of mountain bike specific pants ranging from pedigreed downhill race pants to pants designed specifically for cool weather pedal missions to a pair of pants that'll keep you warm and dry when Mother Nature throws everything at you.

9. Tom Van Steenbergen Broke Hip Sockets Into Multiple Pieces, Femur, Lower Vertebrae & Shoulder in Red Bull Rampage Crash

Tom Van Steenbergen was on a heater of a run at Red Bull Rampage after front flipping off his massive drop, a stunt that earned him the coveted Best Trick Award. After stomping the trick, he went deep on a back flip on the following step down and took a heavy crash.

Medics immediately surrounded him and quickly took him off location on a spine board. Now, he has posted an update from the hospital on his multiple injuries, which include breaking his left and right hip sockets into multiple pieces, breaking a piece off the top of his femur, breaking a piece of his lower vertebrae, and separating his shoulder.

10. Mountain Biker Stabbed by Hiker After Right of Way Dispute

Bellingham stabbing car park

A mountain biker in Bellingham was stabbed after a right of way dispute on the Stewart Mountain Trail in Bellingham. A post on the Whatcom County Sheriff Office Facebook Page reports that deputies were called to a trailhead car park in the 3500 block of Y Road on the afternoon of March 6 after a report of a stabbing with several parties involved.

A group of hikers had been hiking down the multi-use, bi-directional trail when they encountered a mountain biker going up the trail. It appears that neither party was willing to yield and an argument broke out over who had right of way.


  • 79 2
 I completely forgot about Linkglide. I'm guessing it'll be in stock just in time for the 2024 season?
  • 5 1
 I never saw or heard about it... I missed 4 out of 10 on the list...??? Smile

  • 3 0
 From July you can actually buy it via big online stores.
  • 2 0
 I’ve been keeping tabs on it closely. It’s available in Europe! Unfortunately Shimano restricts shipping to Canada and we can’t get it from the LBS. Hopefully soon
  • 43 1
 can't wait for the top comments section!
  • 4 1
 +1 for that thought. It is the only end-of-year roll up that I really care about
  • 42 1
 Outside+ wasn’t the top story of the year?
  • 5 0
 That's what I would've guessed...
  • 49 2
 1660 comments on that post and it didn’t make the top ten in views? Not buying it (nor a subscription lol)
  • 6 0
 I think the editors have blocked that one from their collective memory.
  • 1 0
 @kylar: they haven’t gone all in on Outside-related news, that's for sure:
  • 3 0
 Missed out on the top 10 by about 9k views: ,
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: Do you think PB should have a most commented article list? The Outside takeover surly has to be in the top 10, No?
  • 1 0
 Think you're looking for the comments of the year list. Wink Question is, will they do a 2021 list?
  • 21 0
 linkglide seems to be the drivetrain 90% of riders need but god is it hard to get ahold of, id gladly sacrifice a bit of shifting performance it it will last me 3x longer
  • 55 5
 that's what she said.
  • 5 1
 keep in mind its extremely heavy, quite obviously pointed toward the ebike crowd. cassette weight doesnt matter a ton, but at nearly 300g heavier than slx, its something to keep in mind. the weight gain is worth it for the amazing looks to me though
  • 20 1
 Sakura Drop was a brilliant addition to the Olympics lol
  • 15 0
 was it added ? some racer may not have known before the race lol
  • 13 0
 It's not the drop that was added. It's all about the bridge that was taketh away.
  • 11 1
 @mi-bike: changing the course in any way after racer's are "officially" allowed practice runs is pretty F''d up IMO...
  • 6 0
 @stiingya: mvdp burner account?
  • 12 0
 TVS - how is he doing? Have not seen any updates on here. I dont do IG or follow anyone on social media. Hope his recovery has been going well. dudes a warrior .
  • 10 1
 Yeah he’s up and moving around recovering well.

How does he get a cute little puppy to cuddle with in the hospital? They wouldn’t let me have a cute little puppy when I bruised my kidney after my devastating toilet racing crash.
  • 4 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: ...I mean, he is TVS after all. TVS gets puppy.
  • 6 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: Actually, what we can't see is Chuck Norris cuddled up on the other side of TVS. The puppy is the lucky one.
  • 14 1
 Eclectic list. Some make sense, but others don't? Riding pants ridden/rated wtf?
  • 3 2
 Based on views
  • 6 0
 @rrolly: Yeah, I know how to read (well, mostly). Just seems odd that the pants one received the 8th most views!
  • 4 0
 @kcy4130: well, I can tell you that I read that 12 times while shopping for pants.
  • 4 0
 That story likely benefits from a huge Google search boost that keeps traffic flowing to it all year whereas something like the Jolanda story is only relevant for a few days.
  • 13 0
 An article about pants was a top story of 2021?
  • 4 2
 Heck yah. Do you know how often I see people ask what riding pants to buy? A lot of people actually do come to Pinkbike for the reviews and not the drama.
  • 5 0
 Pant for the really has driven people crazy....
  • 6 0
 What I find really surprising about this is I never ride in pants (outside a short commute to the office), don’t own a pair of riding pants, and personally have no use for riding pants. And before anyone says, “Well I guess you don’t live and ride during the winters in the North Pole…” No. No I don’t.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: I have shin guards I wear with my knee pads when it's cold out... works great! When I lived in Wyoming I would wear thinner XC Ski pants a few times a year. But even then I mostly wore shorts! Smile
  • 3 0
 Riding pants were on trend, they're too expensive to buy without researching, and that article is so extensive it would have come up in almost any Google search on the topic. I'm guessing the views accumulated all year rather than the one or two days it would have been on the front page.
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: Yeah, between my shorts and knee pads, I just wear longer socks and I’m good. Not too much leg exposed. But then, I pretty much hang my bike up between December and March, just to take a break. I don’t ride too much in cold weather at all.
  • 2 0
 everyone loves a good pants off
  • 4 0
 My theory is that XXX was somewhere in the text
  • 10 0
 11. The list of winners for all that Advent giveaway stuff.
  • 6 0
 Pants being in the top ten proves we are all just trying to look at other riders butts.
  • 7 0
 Jolanda Rules!
  • 2 0
 Damn that's crazy I knew this site had turned into a gear worshipping cesspool of Strava using tech nerds but seeing all this lined up really proves that Pinkbike and Outside have all but given up on the culture and turned into MTB Action magazine, cranking out the latest round of boring bike reviews and stuffing the remaining culture deeper into the underground in exchange for that sweet magazine dough.
  • 3 0
 Linkglide has been amazing over the past six months use. I’m now running it on three bikes.

Also surprised to see nothing about MVDP on the drop.
  • 4 0
 Bellingham battle of the EDCs: OneUp vs PM2
  • 3 0
 Bugout is the winner
  • 3 0
 Will this article be the most popular of them all?
  • 1 0
 I like the "first new look at the spark" we could just go to the bold page from a few years ago and have the actual first look at the "spark"
  • 3 0
 The 2nd most-viewed bike review was an ebike.
  • 3 0
 What the shit
  • 2 1
 The closest anything from this list comes to freeride is TVS's injury report. That makes me sad.
  • 3 2
 Outside+ definitely should have been on that list. It had the top up voted comment ever in PB history
  • 1 3
 Proof again that drama gets views. It is human nature so accept it even though it is lame. What I find interesting is that even in a male dominated site the readers respond this way. I wonder what part of the brain this stimulates?
  • 1 0
 Are you suggesting a link between “human nature” and “male dominated?” Say more…
  • 2 1
 And the big story just came out about how the Canadian Gov tracked everyone's cell phone during lockdown. Yikes
  • 2 1
 Govern me harder, daddy!
  • 1 0
 It would interesting to cross reference these articles to the top ten articles based on number of comments posted on them.
  • 1 0
 I just upvoted that life advice frrom Marcencinitas on Tom's atricle its at 999 now someone else go be 1000
  • 2 0
 Still no story of Kyle Warners injury?
  • 1 0
 That was immediately the article I expected to be in the top 10...
  • 2 1
 Riding pants? Seriously? Riding pants?
  • 1 0
 For me it was Florent Payets balls
  • 1 0
 What ended up happening with the stabbing story?
  • 2 3
 Surely the racist french bloke was a huuuge story, or was I it a storm in a tea cup with a shelf life of the front page
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