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Value of the Year Nominees


While you can’t judge a product by its sticker price alone, very few of us are surprised when we read a review stating that the latest, uber-gucci widget performed passably well. Well, of course it did. If buying a fork or a wheelset bleeds your bank account so heavily that it means you’re guaranteed to retire penniless and broken, then, no shit, it better cure cancer, bake you a soufflé every morning and make riding your bike a magical experience. The big surprise is when something doesn’t cost an arm and a kidney, yet still proves awesome.

A good value is truly a priceless thing, which is why we’ve been wracking our brains for the best values this year.

Fine tuning your suspension can feel as manageable as building your very own nuclear reactor in your kitchen--particularly when your rear shock is bristling with damping adjusters. Cane Creek’s Dialed app takes the hassle out of fine-tuning any of the company’s rear shocks. And its free. Shimano's XT M8000 group isn't free, of course, but it’s a proven performer that can be had for a third of what top-rung, 1x groups would have cost you just a few years ago. The M8000 single-ring group is showing up as standard equipment on a whole lot of new bikes these days. There’s a reason for that. And then there’s Trailforks—the most comprehensive guide to trails all over the world. What'll it cost you? Nada. As in, nada damn thing. If you have a smartphone, it's yours for the taking.

Which of the three is the Best Value of 2016? Here's the rundown.












Why it's nominated:

With great power comes great responsibility. Reverend John Cumming or Winston Churchill or Uncle Ben once said that and the same general principle holds true for suspension tuning. To wit, the more fiddly bits your shock or fork has sprouting from it, the more diligent you have to be when it comes to diddling about with said bits. Maxxing out all those dials does not equal instant on-the-trail bliss. In fact, doing so is a great way to make a brilliant bike feel like absolute crap.

Cue Cane Creek’s Dialed App, which walks you through every step you need to take to fine tune your Cane Creek shock. Yes, other companies (including Fox) have produced tuning apps before, but none are either as in-depth or intuitive as what’s on offer here. The app (available for both iOS and Android smartphones via iTunes and Google Play) contains a base-tune library for 6,000 different bike models and counting. Once you’ve selected your bike model, you can breeze through the base-tune process in a few minutes or you can let the app guide you through a fully custom tuning process based on your own riding style and preferences. You can save your suspension-setting profile in the app in the event that you want to revisit and tweak them further on down the line. Cane Creek also has online tutorial videos, linked up through the app itself, that show riders how to set sag or make air volume adjustments.
Cane Creek Dialed App



From the First Look
bigquotesThere's no doubt in my mind that this sort of app is going to be a boon to any rider who is even the slightest bit curious about what the dials do on their Cane Creek shock, and I'm a bit surprised that other suspension companies don't already have something similar out. - Mike Levy









Why it's nominated:

SRAM effectively made front derailleurs obsolete in 2012 with the debut of its XX1 group. In the process, they helped simplify cockpits, nearly eliminated dropped chains and gave frame designers something to rejoice over. Prior to the proliferation of single-ring drivetrains, engineers had to make front derailleurs get it on with short rear ends and increasingly-fat tires. It wasn’t pretty. It took Shimano a lonnnng time to bring a 1x drivetrain to the market and even longer to offer the reasonably affordable, XT M8000 version with its 42-tooth bailout gear. But it’s been worth the wait. Dollar for dollar, it’s hard to beat XT M8000. Perhaps impossible.

When it rolled out of the gate last year, XT bore a sticker price of $424.94. That tidy bundle bought you the 11-speed cassette, 1x11 crank, rear shifter and rear derailleur. Much to the consternation of many bike shop owners, riders soon discovered they could pick up this group for a good hundred bucks less from countless online retailers. Last time I checked, there was a guy in town selling $300 XT drivetrains from the back of his van, alongside his extensive collection of “limited edition” velvet Elvis paintings. The new XT group has a way of getting around. But people aren’t just snatching up this group because it's wallet friendly; they’re buying XT M8000 because it's an absolute workhorse, sticker price be damned.
Shimano M 8000 drivetrain review

Mud, grit, dust, horribly-timed upshifts--we've subjected this group to all sorts of abuse and it just keeps on keeping on. This flavor of XT is reliable, the shifts are solid and satisfying, the lever feel is excellent and the ability to drop down two gears at a time with a single push of the lever is a definite benefit. Not having to buy an XD driver body? That's also another big plus, even if it means you're rocking an 11-tooth cog instead of SRAM's steeper 10-tooth offering. The company's recent introduction of an 11-46 XT cassette also adds a bit of relief for riders logging big miles over big mountains. It ain't Eagle, sure, but then again, look at the price tag... Shimano was late to this single-ring party, no doubt, but at this price it's hard to find fault with what they finally rolled out.


From the review
bigquotesAs far as durability goes, the M8000 upholds XT's reputation of being a set-and-forget drivetrain, and it's required minimal attention since the day it was installed. - Mike Kazimer









Why it's nominated:

Do we feel a bit douchey and self-serving by including our own app in this trio of best values? Yes. And no. Here’s the thing, Trailforks is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive guide to trails and trail reports anywhere. The Trailforks app launched in September of 2015 with a database of 30,000 trails. In less than a year’s time, the number of trails that you can scout before even leaving for your ride has more than doubled. As of press time, you’ll find descriptions and ride guides for nearly 70,000 trails in 77 countries around the world. More than 200,000 people have downloaded the app to date, and with good reason….

Let’s say you’re traveling to a new town and want to know where to ride; with Trailforks on your smartphone (Android or iOS) you can instantly find all the trails in the area and, thanks to the app’s heat map feature, you can instantly see which trails are the most popular. You can also get detailed data (length, elevation profiles, etc.) on any trail, including the latest conditions. How tacky is that loam today? Are there downed trees from last week’s storm? Trailforks has ride descriptions and, in many cases, pictures that give you a glimpse of what’s in store.
Trailforks app feature screenshots

On the trail, Trailforks guides you through the ride. Since its geo-location features work offline as well, you can always find your location on the trail map, even when you’re not picking up a cell signal. And we’re merely skimming the surface here when it comes to features. Trailforks is, simply put, awesome. The fact that it costs you absolutely nothing to use is just the icing on the cake. Yeah, it’s our own app, but we’d include it no matter who made it. You can download it at the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).


From the First Anniversary Post




So, which of these three items is truly the best value of 2016? We're still wrangling over that question ourselves. Stay tuned for the answer.




Click here for information about the judging and selection criteria for Pinkbike's Year-End Awards





177 Comments

  • + 271
 XT. No question
  • - 74
flag nhrider16 (Nov 14, 2016 at 12:49) (Below Threshold)
 xt versus gx?
  • + 86
 A COMPLETE XT drivetrain cost less them some high end rear derailleurs.
  • + 66
 XT is much higher quality and finish than GX. Bang for the buck XT over GX any day
  • + 53
 Yes, because the the other two nominees are apps. It is the parts and bikes that matter. The two identified apps are fantastic, but they are completely secondary to actual bike products that we ride. You can't really compare the work of app-development with R&D and manufacturing of parts and frames. Different beasts. There should be a "Best App" award, but keep the rest separate.

XT ftw...no arguments.
Should include GX and another high value item, perhaps RaceFace Affect line or some other component line for a proper eValuation for this field.
  • + 8
 @vsong: yeah i dont get that. How come SRAM is more expensive?
  • + 44
 @jdendy: For those of us that work in the industry, the XT pricing is great and all, but Shimano is screwing us bike shops over with it. Bike shop cost is what everyone else is buying it for online, so "Cheap" is perspective. Yeah, if you could buy SRAM GX at bike shop cost from CRC then it would be a great value too. But SRAM is taking care of bike shops while certain fishing pole companies don't really care it seems like.
  • + 14
 @shsfreeride: Def agree there. I worked in a bike shop for years, very frustrating. However, if GX and XT are the exact same pricing, XT every time, zero exceptions.
  • + 6
 @shsfreeride: I have many LBS but I cannot support them when buying from german sites a whole drivetrain group for half the price... its a shame but there is nothing to do to fight it
  • + 40
 I have a feeling I will get negproped for this, but I lost respect for local bikeshops quite a while ago as they no longer offer any customer service or reasoning for using them. Long lines to ask a simple basic question, mandatory requirement to book the thing in for a full service when you just want a bolt loosened, lack of selection in a shop of anything other than fluorescent commuter stuff etc. And all this in a time where a lot of people struggle to justify the cost of a lot of bike parts. Give me cheap online deals any day!
  • + 1
 @jdendy: because it's SRAM..
  • + 1
 @shsfreeride: i see an xt groupset is about $330 on CRC. What is the bike shop MSRP? Also is shimano pricing lower than SRAM on OEM products?
  • + 16
 I think the Radon Swoop 170 1x11 that was reviewed recently should be in here. Solid bike with Lyrik and Vivid at that price point? Nothing even comes close.
  • + 10
 Thank jeebus for XT and Shimano. Making an expensive sport slightly more affordable, despite the best efforts of the bike shop owners, who we see commenting above...
  • + 5
 @georgy291: Man I hear you on that one. I stopped going to bike shops for 5 years because of crap customer service and pricing. When I moved however I did find a great shop that competed with prices, even some online pricing and had great customer service. But unfortunately I had to move cities before I discovered them. Everywhere is different. I still have to use online sites for parts or gear sometimes though. My bank account and my wife are happier that way.
  • + 5
 Trailforks for sure!! What a great tool to find killer new trails. XT isn't gonna do you any good if you don't have a place to use it.
  • + 1
 just a thought yikes didnt know what i was getting into thought drivetrain versus drivetrain would be better than app versus app
  • + 3
 @nhrider16: It's crazy I know!! With all these awesome drivetrains (I currently use XO1 on two of my bikes).....we need to find places to use them. TRAILFORKS gave us that tool. How cool is that!! and it was FREE!!!!
  • + 3
 The Commencal Meta v4.2 for sure. Less than 3k for a 170mm Lyrik? No question
  • + 2
 @nhrider16: Nope. XT all day.
  • + 5
 @Joebro1995: So well said.

No offence to bike shops, but ultimately isn't it most important that CONSUMERS are well looked after? How can you fault Shimano for doing that?
  • + 2
 @jon123rjk: No offense taken. When Shimano decides to look after it's North American consumers as much as SRAM...,, I'll support them. Shimano is a great product. But little North American support.
  • + 1
 Seriously. XT is king. Have no idea how many miles I've put on mine, but... a lot. It just works.
  • + 0
 @jon123rjk: Of course, and that is the goal for any good bike shop out there... but a bike shop can only look after their customers if they are making enough money to keep the doors open. Shimano's pricing makes it nearly impossible to support them from a bike shops point of view because it ends up costing the bike shop money in the end just to have it in their store. And because of this, the consumer see's it as the bike shop trying to rip them off because they won't stock the "consumer friendly" priced product. The online industry is just devaluing the industry to the point where no one is allowed to make profit to survive or to advance without being seen as ripping someone off.
  • + 2
 @jon123rjk: Cheers. Wouldn't know that from the downvotes though.

Its sad to see the bike shops doing poorly, given that its the life blood of local scenes. But the reality is that mountainbiking is a bloody expensive sport. Way out of reach for the majority of the population, almost elitist. The more accessible mtb is, the better it is for the sports growth.

If I had SRAM components, when part of my drivetrain broke, I wouldn't have been able to afford a replacement. But thanks to Shimano, I could. No amount of bike shop morality pleas can change the fact that I just want to ride my bike.
  • + 3
 Love my XT drivetrain however I have to complain about the asymmetrical holes, why did they have to avoid the well established 104mm standard and use something special...
  • + 3
 @winko: I agree with you, but I avoided the issue by going with a Raceface crank and NW chain ring.
  • + 6
 @georgy291: Can't prop you enough for that. Any local bike shop near me just panders to the weekend towpath family cyclist or commuter, it's all heavy steel 27speed Meridas with bells and kickstands along side cheap luminous Lycra roadie tops and fingerless gloves.
I needed four chainring bolts a few weeks ago. Chainring bolts. Did they have any? No. Did I have to basically point to some on a stock bike for the person at the counter to know what they were? Yes. I've given up with them now. Online is my only option.
  • + 0
 @shsfreeride: For those of us who are customers paying with our hard earnt cash, retail price is far more important to me than trade price.
  • + 2
 @kmsports: I wish trailforks could expand to the UK and Europe. It was brilliant in Canada when I was there for a trip this summer
  • + 4
 @mkirk05: I disagree. Bike shops need to decide what they want to offer and change to the competition in the market place.

One of my LBS has stopped stocking parts beyond tubes etc. Instead it offers bikes and mechanics services at a reasonable price and in a timely manner. You supply the parts from your preferred online retailer and they will fit them for a reasonable price. Works very well.
  • + 1
 @georgy291: You are 100 percent correct my friend.
  • + 13
 It all comes down to differentiation and outdated business models. Admittedly, I buy the vast majority of my bike parts online. Why? Because 1) it's cheaper 2) wider selection 3) I don't have to leave work early to make it to the shop 4) I can install the part myself and 5) frankly, I get better after-sales support from online retailers. I've also gotten to the point where I usually have like 5 or 6 spare tubes hanging around, along with CO2 cartriges, sealant, valves, an extra derailleur hanger, and cleats.

It seems to me that the business model of the local bike shop is starting to fall out of touch with the all-in dedicated mountain biker market. So here's a question to you bike shop people out there:

Your prices are high. Your selection is low. Chat windows with people 1000 miles away are competing with your customer service ability. The "emergency items" are cheap enough online to buy in bulk and keep in my closet. You open at 10:00 a.m. and close at like 4:30 during the spring and fall which makes it ludicrous for anyone who can afford to mtb to make it to your shop. Amazon is actually a faster way to buy parts. With YouTube and my own set of tools I can do all of my own maintenance. No offense, but as a consumer, what, exactly, do I need you for again?
  • + 1
 @nhrider16: Why did you get downrated? Pretty reasonable question. Would love to see the side-by-side from PB. I had a lower-end X1 (the aluminum stuff right above GX) bike for a while, and it felt great. Could hardly tell when I swapped out XX1.
  • + 3
 @chrismac70: I think this is the future of bike shops. High end bikes sit forever and don't make money. Same for high end parts. Stock entry level bikes, common replacement parts, and focus on good quality service.
  • + 4
 @georgy291: I have to agree with you. I live in Calgary were a major local cycle shop drives around to the trailhead in a pimped out half semi/truck so its employees can 'test ride' the latest kit. I went in to said shop to buy some shimano brakes. I explained that I knew they have overhead and such and so i know you generally cant match online prices ($200) but i would like to support my LBS and certainly they can do better than $400. $360 was the 'best' they could do. Unfortunately for them and the other LBS that was the last time I ever went in one...
  • + 3
 @mkirk05: So if I walked in to a bike shop and they don't have it in stock whilst charging me more than online pricing why would I pay them more only for them to order it in anyway and me having to come back again to pick it up when I can just order it my self delivered to where is easiest and cheaper?
  • + 1
 @TheDoctoRR: i think I know the shop you mean, and ironically, they won't likely miss your business at all. But that's a great scenario, as there are enough people in Calgary happy to pay full pop. I worry more about smaller towns/cities with fewer or only one shop. Still, the internet has changed things. Markups of 100%+ are not sustainable, particularly for wear parts (tires, grips, chains, pedals) and dumb parts (things anyone can install -stem, bars, seat, etc).
  • + 4
 @chrismac70: there's a legendary mechanic here that has quit running shops and now works out of his garage. People bring him the parts they bought online, and he puts his forty years of wrenching to work. He has never been happier, nor made as much money (no staff, no losing on inventory, no rental on shop space). He has a huge, cult-like following.
  • + 1
 @chrismac70: To me that makes perfect sense, but too many Bike shops would turn their nose up at you because you did'nt buy the parts from them.
  • + 64
 Let's talk about Cane Creek:
This is what happens when you get a company run by people who actually care about the people enjoying their product VS a company trying to keep their shareholders happy while boinking the customer....
  • + 46
 The Cane Creek Headset Fit Finder is one of the best tools from the last 10+ years. As a mechanic I use it all the time.
  • + 18
 @seraph: The SHIS naming system for headsets was genius too. Every brand seemed to have a different name for the same headset (is it a Semi Integrated, Zero Stack or a Frustrum headset?), now 8 characters tell you exactly what size and type for the top and bottom of the headtube. Complete life saver for mechanics all around the world.
  • + 3
 @seraph: The SHIS naming system for headsets was genius too. Every brand seemed to have a different name for the same headset (is it a Semi Integrated, Zero Stack or a Frustrum headset?), now 8 characters tell you exactly what size and type for the top and bottom of the headtube. Complete life saver for mechanics all around the world.
  • + 4
 Let's be honest it's the only shock that needs a tuning app. All the other brands of shocks are way easier for regular people to get a good feel out of them.
  • + 6
 @jflb: Most other shocks don't have the degree of adjustment. Fox is just now catching up with their explosive X2 shock, which allows for HSC/LSC/HSR/LSR. As far as RS is concerned you are most likely stuck with the stock damping, typically mid/mid.
  • + 3
 This is great as well..... I use Cane Creel headsets and rear shocks on most of my bikes.
  • + 2
 @jflb: That's exactly why they made the app, to encourage "regular people" to understand what each dial does, and make their bike ride better than it used to. They don't want you to ride a "good" shock, they want you to ride the best setup you can get out of your shock.
  • + 48
 An app for the best value? let alone the pinkbike app.... at least they admited its a "bit douchey"
  • + 9
 My country is not even in the list so its useless...
  • + 14
 Have you used it? It's free and bad ass.
  • + 36
 @b-wicked: www.trailforks.com/region/estonia

Useless it is not! Estonia is on the list, feel free to add your trails for all to enjoy.
Contact me if you need help adding them.
  • + 2
 I just moved to a new coast, and found the single tracks website pretty helpful to find new trails.
  • + 1
 Trailforks saved my ass on sunday.

Three times.

Following carins on slickrock, especially ones that go on/off ledges and turn frequently is bad enough. Being able to download a gps map and see when I'm off trail is a beautiful thing.
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: yes I've used it to draw out a route to see distance and elevation but I use real maps when I ride. I still don't see it as a worthy submission for best value but that is not my call.
  • + 2
 @markholloway: I want to add some trails of Chile in the app, how can I do it?
  • + 3
 @markholloway: When will there be a Windows app? No use for me and my phone so far...
  • + 1
 @pmiddletonz: Sent you a PM..
  • + 1
 @konamann: I am not on the Dev side of things but my understanding is there is no Windows app because Trailforks is built around Google Maps (Google Play services) which Windows Phones does not support.

@canadaka maybe able to give you a better answer.
  • + 1
 @markholloway: thank you i'll do my best. Tho MTB is in semi illegal status here...
  • + 37
 "Do we feel a bit douchey and self-serving by including our own app in this trio of best values? Yes." Lol, happy they beat users to that. Still a kickass app and should definitely be in this article.
  • + 23
 Trailforks!!! I've discovered tons of new trails and routes, and my stoke for riding has dramatic increased (did not think this was possible) because of this app. This takes the cake for me. Bit of a learning curve, and not all trails are on it but thats where YOU come into play. We have bikes because they are fun to ride. What is riding without trails!?

oh..... AND ITS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 15
 Ok, but please don't post my secret trails on the internet.
  • + 11
 @VtVolk: oh the old New England non-sharing of gnar attitude...... Sharing is caring!
  • + 0
 @VtVolk: omg ur so core, man.
  • + 3
 @charles0210: I'm happy to share. I'll even show you around. Some things are just better kept low key and low tech. It's less a concern about sharing the gnar and more about the extra (sometimes too fast) traffic on very quiet dirt roads, protecting delicate relationships with landowners and neighbors, etc.
  • + 2
 @VtVolk: I can absolutely respect not posting due to delicate relationships with landowners as to not impede on trail access but if people don't know of trails, they are not ridden/maintained. If trails are not ridden/maintained, they overgrow and are lost with time. Small core groups can be great in building new trails, but that certainly doesn't guarantee longevity. So if access is not pulled from the landowner, turnover of the core crew will allow secret trails to be consumed by nature.

With all that said, again, I totally respect delicate land access issues. And if you feel that's a big issue, don't post. However, definitely post if you can. The more people riding the better!

(Sorry, this topic is near and dear to me; my local trails recently had houses and highway built on them. These were not popular trails so the "community" voted to build on them, despite being in a designated public use park. I didn't even know it was up for question until the area was leveled. Don't let this happen to you)
  • + 2
 @VtVolk: In my experience Trailforks has done a great job of respecting different user groups and not getting in the way of the land issues that are common in our sport. As it's a wiki it is hard to have full control over that but if you ask for trails or areas to be withheld from the app I believe they will do that.
  • + 15
 I don't really feel like this is the best award for apps, it just doesn't fit. That being said, I do thin that trailforks deserves some kind of award. it's just plain awsome
  • + 3
 I half expected the Marin Hawk Hill to be on here.
  • + 2
 @Triber66: It oughta at least get an honorable mention, but I think they're considering it a product for next year.
  • + 14
 XT is straight up cheap compared to SRAM and seems to work better. They also made an 1x11 that didn't demand a whole new driver too.
  • + 11
 I was on the Sram train ever since the reliable X9 and X0 9speed, 10 speed and 10 speed clutch configurations where out. I just recently built up a new enduro bike this season. I decided to do the 11 speed XT drivetrain, seeing as the price was very reasonable while Sram was asking what I think is preposterous for a shifting system. Not only is the m8000 group price friendly, its functions incredibly and is very durable. Additonally, the M8000 brakes are bad ass, how you could even bother with Guides is beyond me.
  • + 1
 M8000 brakes are good now that they have done a running change to fix the lever. If you were unlucky enough to get the first run of them you will have to fight Shimano to get them fixed because they don't want to admit they did something wrong. I wasted to much time bleeding and paying people to bleed them, then I find out it's a common problem... sorry Shimano, buying SRAM from now on.
  • + 12
 @wibblywobbly: yeah, its nothing like those years of taperbore bullshit sram got you to buy.

shimano brakes are king.
  • + 1
 @BoneDog: @BoneDog: I actually like the lever feel of the taperbore brakes.. when bled correctly its the best lever feel out there bar none. I hate the new guide RSC's and went back to my XO trails. Granted, I have to bleed the brakes once a year but it doesnt particularly worry me, been doing it for my motos for years.

As for shimano brakes, every pair I've ridden on have felt wooden, they work but there is no modulation and just zero feel as to what is happening but each to their own (this includes saints).
  • + 4
 Hope brakes rule. Magura brake I also hear kick major ass too
  • + 3
 @panzer103:

Maguras are nice. When they work. Which is rarely
  • + 1
 I'm running the xt drivetrain and guide rsc brakes, best combo I've ever ridden. Bleed them recently after 1.5 year of riding and the oil that came out was clear as new, no issues at all and power is killer!
  • + 7
 XT is, in my opinion, unbeatable. Though it is still somewhat pricey, the price to quality ratio is unbeatable. For someone who constantly breaks derailleurs, having a well-functioning drivetrain that can be replaced quickly without breaking the bank is a no-brainer, unless you want to run single speed, which is only for a certain niche.
  • + 4
 pricey? Could you ever get a 2x10 for that cheap?
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: Just for reference, this is coming from a teenager on an extremely limited budget
  • + 2
 @jcscottmtn: Ok, try and find a complete used 2x10 drivetrain thats not hammered for the price of XT new.
  • + 10
 Surely Commencal or YT should win this hands down every year?
  • + 1
 Vitus beats both those brands for value, even more so now the £ collapsed.
  • + 1
 Surley Surly wouldnt the first Shirley but for boutique steel frames they are good value.
  • + 7
 XT is the best value-wise as it is an actual tangible group set, but Trailforks is a solid call. A bit douchey? Maybe. More rad than it is douchey? For sure.
  • + 8
 OneUp's bash guide and upper guide brings the cost of these parts back to reality. Their quality seems to be on point too.
  • + 7
 I don't care if it is a douchey pick, TrailForks is amazing. I had a ton of fun using it during my trip to Moab this year.
  • + 3
 Trailsforks is something you can use if you use Shimano or Sram drivetrain, and any shock, it doesn't matter... its the best thing! I use it in my 2 weeks trip to British Columbia and it was amaizing! You can download the maps and use it without internet connection. Simply amaizing! Go Trailforks!
  • + 3
 Two phone apps vs a Drivetrain that gave all of us riders a great affordable option over SRAM that worked on standard freehubs which allowed even a rider with an older bike have access to the latest tech... I'd say XT wins by a landslide but the last time a large group of people all though that.... Well...
  • + 3
 M8000 is definitely a good deal for a modern and complete drivetrain. But until people can consistently backpedal in their granny, it shouldn't be winning any awards. You have the best engineers in cycling, and you can't figure this out?
  • + 3
 Adjust your chainline if you can't back pedal in your granny... Take a BB shim and slim it down to half or even more, install and voila, back pedal paradise.
  • + 1
 @ErnieK: Yes. I run XT/Saint 1x10 with very short stays and have full back pedal ability in my 40T at the back. It can be done.
  • + 0
 What does this have to do with XT? It's not a problem of a particular drivetrain, it's a problem of the 1x11 chainline. I have one XTR bike that does it and one that does not, and every XX1/XO1 bike i've ridden has done it. I also rented a GX bike this summer that had the problem.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: Any idea why this should happen with 1x11 drivetrains?
  • + 3
 @headshot: I have XT 1x11, just adjust the chainline inwards a *little* at a time (via sanding a BB shim) until it doesn't drop the chain to the smaller cog when back pedaling. Really, every bike build should be tuned for this.
  • + 2
 @headshot: Yes, it's the extreme chainline caused by the offset of the Chainring vs the large cog combined with the sheer size of a 42t+ cog. Take a look at the angle of the chain as it engages with the large cog sometime...you can see the teeth just barely make it inside the wide links, and don't make it inside the narrow links, causing a drop.
  • + 3
 XT for sure.

This year i bought both an XT group set / brakes and a CCDB inline.

XT: Quite possibly the smoothest, cleanest shift ive ever had on any bike. always reliable, perfect gear ratio on the 1x11 and ive only dropped the chain once since owning it. and all that for £450

CCDB: Great shock, great adjustability. Completely changed the peeformance of my bike. i couldn't quite figure out the app though. However, thats probably just me being an idiot.
  • + 6
 Cane Creek: Value until it breaks over and over.
  • + 1
 I feel your pain. Have to send in a shock for the second time. Fingers crossed Cane Creek gets it dialed. The customer service was been fantastic though...
  • + 4
 XT M8000. I've been running the shifter and RD now for almost a year and has rarely needed adjustment and just does the job well time and time again.
  • + 1
 Dialed App is great in theory, but I have two Banshee bikes with CC shocks and every time I try to load the bike model it just gets stuck and won't let me move to last option in menu/set up...contacted them and got nowhere, unfortunately, after multiple emails back and forth. Awesome they got it out to CC owners, but bummer in my case. Any similar issues out there??
  • + 1
 Hey @teenwolf! Sorry to hear you are having trouble give me a shout: info@canecreek.com - ask for Andrew. Let's get this sorted for you.
  • + 1
 XT for the win, always loved the XT quality and value. A little disappointed that my new bike came specced with SRAM NX but hey it's SRAM so it's is made of cheese and will fall apart in no time and then I can get XT back in my life
  • + 1
 Trailforks has allowed me to ride trails I never knew existed. Not all of us are in the local bro club, and often like to explore solo, and enjoy riding new just because exploring is fun. Trailforks has completely changed the way I ride. XT is just an update on a classic. It's great, but it's not revolutionary like Trailforks. I can't believe how many people think a drivetrain that didn't really bring anything new to the table is innovative. Sure, slightly cheaper, simpler, better, lighter, more reliable... but not the best value (because the TF app is FREE!). Nothing like trailforks existed prior to it. But to be fair, I guess if you never ride new trails or explore, then it doesnt have much to offer... in which case the CCDB app should win (because it's also FREE!).
  • + 1
 XT M-8000 for the win.... set up the complete group-set at the beginning of the season, enduro series run, and training... absolutely faultless.... ok, junked the XT bottom bracket for the saint version, and stuck on an OneUp expander (46t) and oval front ring, but save for this everything else has performed without complaint.... and the on-line deal last Christmas was awesome ! My one small niggle is the cost of vented pads specific to Shimano, been able to find cheaper on-line, but still a lump of change, and they do not exactly last a lifetime, i have spent almost a third of the initial investment just in replacing pads...
  • + 1
 All good choices but i go with XT!!
i went to a LBS to tried to buy the XT set and they where charging me $900 no labor included. i was willing to pay up to 550 because i wanted to support LBS. However they stated that if i wanted to do it with them that is what i have to pay. I order it online and save a lot of money, for many of us is the only way to go. Great product Shinamo!
  • + 1
 @TheRaven Your constant praise for Shimano Products has swayed me to try out the XT 1 x11 group set. I have only ever used SRAM products and am currently on a full X1 drivetrain with Guide RS brakes. So next year I'll ride a full Shimano XT kit and see for myself if it is better or just different.
  • + 1
 I opened the article wishing I would see budget friendly bikes that could rip and still leave beer money in your pocket. Too bad all we were blessed with was a very nice drivetrain and a couple nice but misplaced apps. Apps should have their own article and place. More parts and complete bikes next time please.
  • + 5
 Trail forks for the win !!!!!
  • + 4
 lol pink bike nominates its own product!!
  • + 2
 Race Face Chester pedals should be on here. Not only are they half the price of comparable pedals but lighter too. They should be on every bike that needs OE pedals.
  • + 2
 That's a solid pick.
  • + 1
 Can't even begin to quantify the difference Trailforks has made to my riding experience - and in return, I've tried hard to contribute back with reports and photos. Trailforks FTW!
  • + 4
 Trailforks IMO, cheers Pink Bike ????
  • + 3
 Most enjoyement on trails for least amount of money. Trailforks big time! Helped out a ton while traveling. Thanks PB
  • + 4
 And the PB award for best MTB website goes to... pinkbike.com OMFG!
  • + 1
 "With great power comes great responsibility. Reverend John Cumming or Winston Churchill or Uncle Ben once said that..." Weird I was just reading "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" and this exact same joke was just made
  • + 1
 Really? The author mentioned John Cumming and Uncle Ben from Spiderman in that book? Weird. There are actually about a hundred people who roughly said the same thing before Marvel Comics really popularized it for our generation. I was aiming for the widest range of personality types with the whole attribution thing....
  • + 4
 Wonder if Candy Crush will get an honorable mention.
  • + 1
 the CC app would be great if it also printed out an RA# for when you need to return your Inline for a full cost rebuild. #binderdundatdidn'tgetanyt-shirt
  • + 1
 Has anybody found a decent non-brand-specific suspension tuning app? I'd love to find something to at least record setups, that isn't basically a glorified notepad.
  • + 2
 I've been on XTs since the early 90s.....nothing has changed! Shimano has earned my loyalty for nearly 3 decades.
  • + 2
 Surely, one can find BOX components cheaper than XT from the back of a van somewhere?
  • + 1
 I vote Trailforks - very well built and very well administered. You guys put a hell of a lot into MTB world so it's well deserved kudos...
  • + 1
 Cane creek app great bonus to the shock. XT actually a fantastic bang for your buck. Trailforks well it's free so does it count? Still a fantastic app
  • + 1
 Two out of three products are apps...why dont you create an own category for the three best mtb related apps?

Xt has my vote
  • - 1
 I wasn't too impressed with the XT M800 drivetrain on my bike. One tiny tap on a rock and the derailleur fell apart. Also the clutch stopped working after 4 months riding. Sram's not perfect, but their derailleurs are much more reliable imo.
  • + 1
 "Sram's not perfect, but their derailleurs are much more reliable imo."

- nobody ever
  • + 1
 This has not been my experience. At all.
  • + 1
 @miff: Their old 10 speed XT was definitely more reliable, but their new XT derailleur is made of plastic. Not good plastic. Not bashing XT, just saying in my experience, the new XT has a few issues because it's a new design.
  • + 0
 @Max-Lesoine-Moab: Also not my experience.
  • + 4
 Trailforks FTW !!
  • + 1
 Trailforks! I know the fans of fishing equipment company won't agree, but Trailforks is the winner over here.
  • + 1
 Best Value? Pretty sure FREE wins here. Thanks PB for an awesome app and feel FREE to were your own Crown now Smile
  • + 2
 "I nominate myself!" says the Trailforks guy
  • + 1
 I'm using all of those on my main bike so guess I made the right decisions.
  • - 2
 I dont get all these people loving the XT drivetrain, ok Im running the 1x10 shadow plus (not the new one) setup on my balfa and hate it immensely, constant shifting issues, seems to chew through cables quickly, rear derailleur cage bends easily. I bought it of CRC cheap (full thing for the cost of an XO type 2 derailleur) but it really is horrible and am sticking with sram from here on. I guess a drivetrain is better than none but I dont get the hype.

I do however like the idea of a SRAM 1x11 using the shimano 11-46t cassette (as the cost of the SRAM cassettes is absurd).
  • + 1
 I feel like the only thing worth the money is a sram x1 casette. I prefer it over the xt m8000 by far. Xt m8000 is much better than the 10 speed. It's comparable to the 10 speed XTR as far as shift quality and ergonomics
  • + 1
 Maybe you need a new mechanic?

I don't think I could MAKE an XT drivetrain have that many issues if I tried.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: No mechanic will stop the lower cage from bending out of shape (without it actually impacting on anything). Chain tension is correct, checked throughout the travel. Just appears as though the cage is made out of swiss cheese.
  • + 1
 @MrZ32: Uh...sure they will. Actually you alluded to it perfectly in your comment - no mechanic can stop a cage from being bent on impact with an obstacle, sure. But a good mechanic sure as hell can make sure a cage doesn't get bent due to mechanical issues. Making sure clutch tension is set correctly, the chain is sufficiently long for suspension travel, that the bike is shifting properly ( so the chain doesn't jam in, below, or over the cassette), maintaining proper chainline, and also maintaining proper spoke tension so the wheel doesn't deflect into the cage (seen this happen on multiple occasions causing serious damage to the derailleur).

So yes, a mechanic has everything to do with this, and cheese has very little. There are millions of XT derailleurs out there and only a handful of cages being bent.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: I believe you have missed the point entirely.

Same setup with the xo derailleur has been flawless (carbon cage), the xt derailleur has not collided with spokes (on freshly built wheels), cassette or anything (b-limit correct), no impact marks or damage on it. Chain tension is perfectly adequate and due to the suspension design there is bugger all (if any) chain growth.

Never liked the shift of the xt to begin with (same wooden feel as their brakes but worked correctly) but yes it bent quickly, whereas the XO setup that replaced it never gave any grief to this day. Hence why I have been less than impressed with XT gear and dont get why others love it so.

To be fair, the bike would probably suit saint strength derailleurs but the XO does the job perfectly hence my reservations to XT.
  • + 1
 @MrZ32: No I get it, I just don't see how your one experience with an oddball problem with one derailleur is enough for you to say that no one anywhere should "love" the drivetrain.

Also, none of what you cited means that it's the derailleur's fault that the cage bent. Cages don't bend on their own, and the XT cage is no less strong than any other alloy cage (obviously the carbon XO is not going to be subject to bending but that's a different subject altogether because it's more than twice the cost of the XT unit). The reason I brought this up is that I have a riding buddy who has had the EXACT same problem with the EXACT same derailleur. He discovered he had a bent cage too, exactly what you described, everything was fine with the drivetrain, no marks at all on the cage, etc. I re-aligned the cage and then watched it happen again about a month later as he simultaneously skip-downshifted while taking a very rocky turn before a climb. As the cage extended, it collided with a spoke and because he was not moving very fast, he stopped before the cage got bent. We would have never known what happened if he had not been able to stop...would have just felt like a branch or rock hitting the derailleur. His wheel was true and everything shifted fine. But it still happened.

Again, millions of XT derailleurs out there, only a handful of bent cages. I've seen mysteriously broken XO1/XX1 cages too but I don't blame the derailleur for it.
  • + 2
 OneUp chain-guide deserves some mention here.
  • + 6
 OneUp chain guide
  • + 1
 An app that saves your bike trip and could also save your life...and it's free? Trailforks hands down.
  • + 1
 If it was the cane creek DBCoil CS i would go for that over the XT drivetrain
  • + 0
 Softball payola bike reviews are one thing, but nominating yourself in a contest like this is icky. Really icky. You should know better.
  • + 1
 The derailleur is the closest the average person will ever get to being The Terminator.
  • + 1
 XT is massive value for the money
  • + 1
 I feel like this was an advertisement for the apps
  • + 2
 Shimano XT for the win.
  • + 2
 Slx?
  • + 0
 mtbproject.com and their app does everything I want and better than TrailForks IMO.
  • + 2
 This might be shocking to you, but there are plenty of trails outside the US, contrary to what that website says.
  • + 1
 @meesterover Curiosity has me wondering, what is it that MTBProject does better than Trailforks? This isn't meant to be a negative post at all, I'm truly curious.
  • + 2
 @markholloway: I'm not @meesterover, but I'll give my answer.

1. Living in CO, MTBProject is more comprehensive. I'm sure this is the reverse if I lived in BC (or anywhere outside of the US)
2. The suggested rides linking a bunch of trails in an area together is a big help. Sometimes they're going the "wrong" way over what I would prefer, but if I have not been somewhere before, it's good to know at least one person's opinion on which direction is preferable.
  • + 1
 @feldybikes: Trailforks actually has more trails on Colorado, 2,648 vs 1,878. Yes not as many routes, but Trailforks has many other unique ways to discover ways to link a bunch of trails. View users ridelogs, trail popularity coloring, heatmaps, ride planner.
  • + 1
 I just received a message from Brent. I found MTBProject to just be more on an inclusive package. I will type up some details here shortly when I have a moment. It is cool that you are concerned about the feedback for your app to make it better. I am short on time right now, but would like to give some serious feedback that you could use to improve it (I also do software for a living, so I understand wanting to make it better).
  • + 1
 @canadaka: Because of the way each app counts trails, I wouldn't read too much into the pure trail count. 1) It seems Trailforks counts FSRs whereas MTBProject generally doesn't. Also, they seem to just plain add things up differently. See these two spots of Fruita, for example. MTBP has at least one *extra* trail (B02-A04), yet a lower count which may partially be due to the region size.

www.trailforks.com/region/fruita-1464164211/?lat=39.31000154117708&lon=-108.67610726928712&z=12&m=trailforks

www.mtbproject.com/directory/8011440/18-road-trails

But I didn't realize TF had heat maps,etc. Thanks for pointing that out. I'll check it out.
  • + 1
 Still waiting for that sub-$100 good quality dropper post...
  • + 1
 If you're willing to pay a bit extra and your bike can take 30.9mm post, then check Giant Switch dropper.
For the price it's awesome - easy to install, verstile (it's both external and stealth in one) strong, reliable and requires minimal maintenance.
I'm 130kg and I've been running it on my hardtail for the last 6 months. Haven't had a single problem with it.
  • + 1
 All bloody good nominations if you ask me! They should all win. Yay!
  • - 2
 Trailforks doesn't have squat in the Boston area. If we want to find out what people are riding, you should have nominated Strava.
  • + 8
 @newenglandrocks: Give us a hand and start adding!
  • + 2
 Strava 4 life
  • + 1
 Or move the fuck out of Boston. Also, delete Strava. It causes retrograde ejaculation in lab rats. Just some ideas to consider.
  • + 0
 XT mos def.!
2 outta 3 are apps? Are you kidding me?
  • + 0
 xt
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