Brilliant or Bullshit? – Pinkbike Poll

May 11, 2017 at 15:07
by Vernon Felton  
I'm not a fan of "classic" mountain bikes. I mean, I feel a twinge of nostalgia every once in a great while, but I'm not one of those guys who sees the past through rose-tinted glasses. I rode a whole lot of those "classic" bikes and, man, they sucked. Bikes have gotten loads better over the years and we have technological progress to thank for that.

Anyone remember when riding rigid wasn't just a hipster lifestyle choice but the only choice? Yeah, screw that. And screw cantilever brakes and bull-moose bars and all manner of web-toed, inbred components from the "good old days".
Brilliant or BS poll
"Einstein and Barbie" by Indi Samarajiva.

Progress is good. Great even. But this doesn't mean, by the same token, that every glossy Next Big Thing that gets labeled as "progress" or touted as an "innovation" actually merits the lofty accolades. There are just as many half-baked ideas that get trotted out and sold to the masses as there are groundbreaking inventions. The interesting thing is that there's often a fair bit of disagreement between riders over which products are great and which products are greatly overhyped.

To that end, I've compiled a list of products, "standards" and technologies that have been heralded as significant breakthroughs over the course of the past couple of decades.

Which ones are truly brilliant and which ones are merely bullshit?


What has been the most significant technological innovation of the past couple decades?



What has been the most overhyped technological "innovation" of the past couple decades?




322 Comments

  • + 322
 I really wanted to pick boost for the overhype but at least there is *some* small amount of technical merit....But Pressfit BB's can die in a fire.
  • + 112
 Can confirm CREAK ! that press fit CREAK !bottom brackets CREAK ! are pieces of sh... CREAK !
  • + 10
 I really though strava would have the most.
  • + 56
 Pressfit BBs are terrible, does anyone hype them at all though? Seems to me that manufacturers, knowing full well it's a step backwards designed just to lower manufacturing costs, just try to not bring attention to them and hope people won't notice them.
  • + 3
 I have 1 bike with a press-fit BB and despite it being absolutely fine with no creaks in 2 years it's still my choice. Even the manufacturers very quickly scaled back the hype once the bad stories became widespread! Everyting else has some merit to it for the end user but PFBB's don't.
  • + 12
 @andnyleswillriot: Strava is great. It just works for running and cycling. Even if the times are weird for some tracks I can still use the distance and calorie measure. Sure I can use samsung health too but I find Strava to be better. I could live without but i am glad I have it

Boost - yeah i have that on both ends of my bike I think and as you can tell i don't notice or care for it. Never really noticed it but that's not necessarily a bad thing as it hasn't made my ride worse.

Pressfit BB - creaking after 2 months. I had my downhill bike that i used to powerwash all through winter when the weather was bad and I have only powe washed my new bike like 3 times. And it creaks so bad. I don't really know what they are as I can't be bothered to read up but I know it's really annoying and seems pointless...
  • + 9
 yeah, just changed my first Pressshit BB after a year of riding. Now I hope I can sell my bike before it starts creaking again.
  • + 21
 But have press-fit bottom brackets really been hyped?
  • + 25
 Press fit is garbage. Honestly, I think the only purpose for press fit was so bike frame manufacturers could maximize profit by not having to cut threads in the frames.

I had 1 BB92 frame...creaked after 1 month of riding. Installed a new BB...started creaking again after a month. The only thing that got it to stop was a +$100 Wheels Manufacturing BB with threads in the middle of the shell.

So now, not only did I NOT see the cost savings from the mfgr not cutting threads in the frame (frame still cost me 2200 new)...but I had to pay over 100 bucks for a BB to stop the frame from creaking. Thanks industry...
  • - 5
flag andnyleswillriot (May 12, 2017 at 13:40) (Below Threshold)
 @oli99: I know I'm healthy because I'm healthy. Don't need a dumb app to tell ya that haha plus it spoils secret trails all the time
  • + 28
 You forgot the Storage for Weed And Tools
  • + 38
 Where's the option for 'modern geometry'? Bikes that fit right and handle well.
  • + 13
 As annoying as it is, Boost doesn't actually make a bike worse. Press Fit Bottom Brackets on the other hand...
  • + 10
 Picked boost first, then spotted press fit bb and had to switch.
  • + 8
 if anyone has seen the new scott e-mtb, boost 148, xt Di2, plus sized tires..... the list goes on. I think there's a reason scott hasn't released it on pb.....
  • - 5
flag mhoshal (May 12, 2017 at 15:01) (Below Threshold)
 @prenderville: learn how to take care of your bearings better!!!
  • + 8
 @Pedro404: They did to start with, lighter, stiffer (haha), easier to use (double haha) more reliable (HA BLOODY HA). I remember reading lots of guff about how PF the move to a PF bb had made this frame x-grams lighter and improved power transfer by making the BB area13.37% stiffer. I also remember lots of stuff about how PF bb couldn't be stripped like threaded one and other rubbish like PF bbs allowing the use of 30mm spindle cranks, something apparently impossible with BSA. None of that hype lasted too long though.
  • + 1
 @Pedro404: my first pf bb in my demo was great as soon as sram brought out a new design for them I've had nothing but creak and cracking. Not sure what that was all about, the new one has like inner cups moulded to the dust cover? Thought the old one was better with just dust cover and no inner cup, couldn't fault the old one actually liked it
  • + 1
 amen brother...fck pressfit BB
  • + 17
 @mhoshal: It has nothing to do with bearing maintenance. Most bike companies just can't hold a tight enough tolerance for a bearing press fit and many times the press fit surfaces are not perfectly parallel to each other which leads to creaking. A bearing in a bb has a press fit tolerance of about 0.0005 inches. I used to be a bike mechanic and I am now a machinist. With all the knowledge gained from my work experience I made sure that my current frame has a threaded bb.
  • + 1
 That was easy..haha
  • + 16
 I have to say the most beneficial advancement in technology has been the brakes!
  • + 3
 @Pedro404: Pivot hypes the shit out of theirs. It reads as total bullshit. Because it is.
  • + 1
 @TheR: i would say so, lots of companies have claimed that the increased stiffness is worth it. haha they are wrong, there isnt much worse than a creaky bottom bracket. the Wheels Manufacturing threaded bb92 cups are the only good answer, but what was ever wrong with the standard 68/73 shell with threaded cups..... nothing
  • + 5
 @scbullit36: yes to all of this. the press fit system is the worst thing. as a mechanic for over 10 years now, i can say there hasnt been much other than the press fit bottom bracket that has had me scratching my head asking myself "why". well maybe the wonderful fox CTD cartridge that was bunk right out of the box on 50% of the trek, scott, and giant bikes we were selling at the shop when that came out.... isnt the bike industry fun?
  • + 0
 @ShreddieMercury: Stash Weed And Things. You added "for"
  • + 8
 Everyone knows the WTB PadLoc grips are the most important innovation. Before these, no one ever cut slices out of their handlebars.
  • + 3
 i prefer threaded, but the purpose 'advantage' of a press fit bb is that it is lighter and stiffer than a threaded bb. again, i prefer threaded - just pointing out there there is some technical merit to press fit bb.
  • - 1
 I seriously considered going for press fit BBs, but there are limited applications where they make sense. DJ/street and BMX frames where a dent in the BB render a threaded BB unuseable still work with press fit. But here we're talking about steel BB shells where you can install the BB with a hammer and the old bearings.
  • + 1
 @TheR: exactly, they kinda just appeared....
  • - 3
 I have pressfit on two carbon bikes, an Intense 275 and a Giant road bike. Never had a spec of trouble. You cant cut threads into carbon for a start but after that its just about installing it well. As all bb's are pressfit in some capacity, its not really a biggy for me Im afraid.
When that list has Strava and power meters on, pressfit does not even come close surely!!??
....and who thinks droppers are over hyped? They have clearly never ridden one.
  • - 2
 As a boxer as well as a freerider pressfits are great for reasons of simple and impossible to fuck up
  • + 3
 @andnyleswillriot: Strava utterly ignorable though - other stuff, not so much.
  • + 2
 @WasatchEnduro: This along with the dropper post is the best thing about modern bikes. I'd rather ride modern geo rigid with dropper than suspended old school XC style with fixed seatpost.
  • + 1
 And they seem to be alot more expensive for what you get. Last threaded bb i bought was £15 for a saint one. Lasted a year of british abuse and a very wet week in morzine and ran fine when i sold the bike. ( was also only £5 for the tool if i remember rightly) too get a decent pressfit I need to buy hope and then spend £50 quid on tools to fit it correctly.
  • + 5
 @andnyleswillriot: I wouldn't say strava gets any hype at all. It just is what it is, nobody pushes it. Because of strava I have found tons of new trails right near me as well as connecting with people I would have possibly never met unless by coincidence.
  • + 3
 My last pressfit BB lasted me three years before I had any issues, and I rode it lots.
  • + 4
 i found creaking issues disappeared once I started using loctite bearing adhesive on the BB shell during install
  • + 1
 @dave-f: BMX bottom brackets still creak in my experience
  • + 1
 @Fix-the-Spade: it makes bikes substantially better. It shortens cs length and increases strength.
  • + 1
 @dtrotter: Q factor can be improved while maintaining a large bearings as well. Many things like the pf bb, boost, and integrated headsets allow changes to the geometry and construction of frames that would otherwise be impossible using old manufacturing techniques. Most of these changes feed 2-4 other changes no one takes into consideration when hyping or dissing a specific technology.
  • + 2
 Many, many threaded BB's creak! The hype is, the hate for PF30/etc. My e13 is the bomb. I'm also a mechanic, I have had to overhaul ALL types of BB's to stop noise. Wider spindle, better chain, many benefits to PF, yet threaded is fine also! "Don't believe the hype!" PE
  • + 2
 This is why I picked Pressfit BBs... that and I don't get my panties in a twist when the MTB industry introduces a new thing.
  • + 1
 @andnyleswillriot: me too, but I picked power meters because I can think of little else that seems more useless.
  • + 126
 Disc brakes, its disk brakes!!!!!! Not dropper posts! Those things are top ten material, not a top five item. I've done some crazy shit with a seat up my ass! I'm not hating on droppers, but there are more important innovations than a dropper
  • + 13
 Totally valid. The dropper vote was surprising.
  • + 7
 I don't get this one at all - Droppers are nice and all, but hardly ground breaking.
  • + 13
 @sevensixtwo: Agree. People really, really love their droppers, myself included. It's the first thing that comes to mind from behind a keyboard. But throw them down a steep trail on a klunker and ask what "recent" tech they want first, and it probably won't be a dropper. Disc brakes and modern geo (HTA!) would probably near the top.
  • + 3
 Totally - I was surprised that they did list disc brakes.
  • + 0
 Totally agree. Bikes that are fully rigid single speeds can be fun - but not with rim brakes. Oh, and quality of tires - rubber quality in the 80's and 90's was horrible.
  • + 8
 I agree, disc brakes are the single innovation that has had the biggest impact on mountain biking for me. Nothing else is close. (Dropper posts are second though)
  • + 9
 I would ride a bike with rim brakes before I gave up my dropper.
  • + 9
 I commented on the initial poll so I'll say it again with a qualifier:

The list, as usual, is woefully inadequate for the target audience...ie. DISK BRAKES ARE MISSING.

Ergo, based on this list, when I think of "significant", I think of something that has the biggest impact to the most riders. I'm a middle-aged, averagely skilled hack who's been in and out of biking. You could give me anyone's bike and I'll throw a leg over and try to ride it anywhere as long as it had a dropper...I don't worry about my hydro-formed GT as much as I worry about my Command Post working or not. Gets used every ride and makes them all more enjoyable.

@vernonfelton must be taking disks for granted...kinda like I do. I recently sold a '96 Blizzard with Avid Archrivals on it. If you want a reason to like Tektro disk brakes, get that Blizzard up to speed. If you can get it slowed down, it'll also pierce your eardrums.
  • + 3
 Haha crackin me up man, so true. It's surprising disc brakes weren't on there, they are so crucial -- if I had to pick between a dropper/non-dropper and discs/v-brakes, I'm taking the discs every time regardless of the type of riding. That said, I do think the dropper could be anywhere else in the top 5, i.e. 2-5. I'm just trying to think of things that really change the way I ride my bike; if you've got skills, you can shred on a hardtail, you can jump, huck, etc. but to me a dropper really gives riding a bike long distances over varied terrain a completely different feel and even changes the way you think about riding. It's obvious, but never having to step off your bike in order to always have the absolute most ideal seat position for what's in front of you is hard to overstate. But I'm still with ya on the discs, cheers ; )
  • + 2
 @steelpolish: eveything else on the list (except for electronics) is just a refinement to an existing technology. The dropper represented a totally new, game-changing technology.
  • + 31
 @iammarkstewart: Just a brain fart on my part. Yep, disc brakes shoulda been on there. Agreed.
  • + 6
 @vernonfelton: All good. I'm a Pinkbiker...can armchair quarterback a poll with the best of 'em. ;-)
  • + 2
 Disc brakes and Proper Geometry. You can go faster and stop.
  • + 2
 I went down the list and every single item I could live without. Not droppers, they changed the game for me. Disc brakes were not on the list but I still put the dropper up there with them.
  • + 9
 @Thustlewhumber: No way. I had my dropper off my bike all winter but there is no way I would ever ride without discs. I would rather ride without a brake at all than go back to rim brakes. Plus my rims don't have braking surfaces.

I would even ride a rigid single speed without a dropper before I gave up my discs.

YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY MY DISCS FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS.
  • + 7
 @vernonfelton: I think you put yourself in the clear by stating that this was 'innovations' of the last decade. Disc brakes have been around way longer than ten years.
  • + 1
 @biggerted: so have droppers and air suspension etc. Disc brakes are now really good and reliable.
  • + 1
 Hydraulic Disc brakes, I was shocked not to see Disc brakes as an option.
  • + 2
 @mntbiker: disk brakes have been around for 20 years now so it think its just more recent advancements.
  • + 1
 @Gregorysmithj1: Other than the poll references "the past couple of decades".

Coincidentally, your math is spot on. Over-hyped you are not.
  • + 0
 @steelpolish: This.

I actually went to the trouble of fitting one to my Cube 140mm full sus, and I haven't used the dropper once in anger in the year since.
  • - 1
 @bvd453: "The dropper represented a totally new, game-changing technology."

Nonsense - we've had quick-release seat post clamps for donkey's years, and just used them. Only difference was less "on the fly" adjustment.
  • - 1
 @KeithReeder: my thoughts exactly. Theyre great for XC rides where you don't want to stop but when sessioning you set and forget
  • + 1
 Discs are like tires or a handlebar, not an option ! So no reason to put it in the list unless we also start putting wheels or drivetrain in the list lol.
  • + 1
 @Thustlewhumber: That's because you're an idiot.
  • - 2
 @steelpolish: completely agree like does anyone realize you can raise and lower seat in under 5 seconds with a quick release and light weight savings sdg seat and post weight like 290 grams the dropper post alone weighs twice as much as seat and post from sdg the convenience isnt worth the huge price and weight penalty for me
  • + 7
 the dropper post is the thing you never thought you really needed until you had one and then had to go without
  • - 1
 @reble375: I guess everybody rides differently - personally I don't mind getting off the bike for a second. Same thing with all of the crazy low gearing. I don't mind hiking a bit up a steep hill.
  • + 4
 @deadmeat25: Cmon dude, really?

I've ridden an old Schwinn with rim brakes recently and still had good momentum management, but I was wishing for a dropper the whole time.
  • + 1
 @Thustlewhumber: Totally. I have a steel hardtail with modern geometry and Paul Comp v-brakes. Strava times are really close to my carbon race bike. Just not when it's wet...
  • + 1
 I think people have forgotten how shit wet canti's are. Even with four finger braking you still weren't stopping. Brakes and suspension have got to be the reason we ride faster now. Knowing we can stop and actually stand a chance of the suspension working even if it is cold. Greasing the shit out of the judy's. Ha ha total rubbish. But better than fully rigid.
  • + 1
 @Balgaroth: Evidently, you haven't experienced the assortment of rim brakes... I've run all of the following over the years: side-pull, u-brakes, cantilevers, and v-brakes; and I would say disc brakes (which have become very good within that last 10 years) are huge.
  • + 2
 @mtbracken: mate I did cantilever and v-brakes, still have some on XC bike and they are fine in dry conditions. Of course i prefer my Codes but either way it's not new tech. My 2004 stinky came with some HFX Mag which were doing great so to me if it was already good 13 years ago it aint no new hyped tech right ? On all the recent tech only the dropper was useful in my eyes, especially on those transition trails going up and down with sometimes steep short downs. Back then you would take them high saddle but that would spoil all the fun and stopping to drop your post for a 5sec down every 2 mins ? No way. If even XC riders are adopting droppers despite being pure weight winnies it shows it all.
  • - 2
 To be honest I actually voted dropper posts as being overhyped. I think every mountainbiker should be able to ride standing up hence benefits from having the saddle low and out of the way. But I doubt it goes the other way. That I'd benefit from riding a high saddle, let alone to be able to raise it on the fly. Currently loads of companies (seatpost manufacturers, suspension manufacturers as well as new companies) are in a rush to release their own brand dropper post and are getting a lot of attention in the media. So yeah, there is a lot of hype there and I think it is more than it deserves.
  • + 1
 @vinay: and vica versa good riders can ride anything with the seat up.
  • + 0
 @fartymarty: Well yeah, good riders can ride anything, full stop. This wasn't quite the point I was trying to make. I think product improvement can help the rider in different ways.

One is to ease some of the challenges that inherently come with riding a bicycle on dirt. Modern suspension and tyres for instance do that for grip and control. Of course that doesn't mean modern riders need less skill, it simply means they can take on other challenges which you couldn't even get near with a classic Klunker.

The other is to remove burdens and inconsistencies. Hydraulic (disc) brakes do that. One of the main advantages I felt was that when you release the brake lever, the actual brake actually eases off instantly. So you don't have to cope with what your cable feels like on any given day. And agree with me or not, I feel like a high seatpost is a burden in many cases. It is a bit in the way on certain sections of trail. The good riders you talk about have found their way around it. Heck, this is how I started out too. I learned that if I wanted to be good I needed to be able to ride down steep sections clipped in and with the seatpost high (hanging low behind the saddle). Sure I could do it but I still crashed loads. Kept at it, crashed even more. When made the shift to platforms and dropped the saddle when out on the trails, I was having more fun instantly. I may have lost that particular skill of riding clipped in with the saddle high, but I can take on challenges which were otherwise simply way out of my reach.

Reading through my post, it may become a bit blurred. Maybe it depends on which challenges you actually want to work on and which you see as more of a burden. And it is different for everyone and everywhere. Pedaling up vs e-bike, high saddle vs low (or dropper), agile geometry vs stable etc.

There may be one technology that in several ways has been brilliant for mountainbiking and that is the internet:
- Sale over the internet (by brick and mortar shops and dedicated webshops alike) helps both the rider find their rare outdated spare parts as well as the shop to finally get rid of it.
- Allow smaller manufacturers for a niche market sell their product. Companies like Starling and BTR come to mind.
- Allow athletes to market themselves, independent on which team they're on.
- Allow veteran athletes run an online coaching program. Student riders get to benefit from all the experience and insights, the veteran athlete can have a sustainable career without having to put his health and safety on the line in the way that paid his or her bread and butter during the earlier career. Ryan Leech comes to mind, Timo Pritzel was also planning something if I recall correctly.

Of course there are massive downside, but I view what I mentioned above as largely positive for all those involved.
  • + 1
 I'd have a hard time deciding between tubeless tires and discs. They're both pretty key to modern bikes. Dropper posts... not so much. They're probably not even in my top five.
  • + 2
 @fartymarty: Rigid SS with discs and a high post is definitely preferable to even a modern FS MTB with rim brakes.
  • + 0
 @PAmtbiker: For me the only really revolutionary part of tubeless is Stans sealant. I ghetto mine and can do with any rim tyre combo.
  • + 2
 I agree with everybody that discs should have been on this list (i think that omission was an oversight) and I also agree that I'd probably take discs and no dropper over bad brakes with a dropper. But Droppers did more to change the way I ride with one part swap than any other single part. Everything else was an evolution. The first suspension honestly wasn't a whole lot better than rigid. The first disc brakes weren't nearly as powerful as the last of the magura hydraulic rim brakes, that could literally crush a rim.
  • + 48
 How about non-roadie geometry?

Changes to geometry, a dropper, bigger wheels, better suspension and 2.5" tires have changed the game significantly. And nobody cares about your fu$%ing Strava time but you.
  • + 2
 Nailed it!!!
  • + 1
 Yup.
  • + 14
 I don't use strava to keep track of my times, but rather just to see how often and where I have been riding. It's got a purpose for the super competitive, but its also nice to have as just a simple log of your rides with very little work.
  • + 7
 @ratedgg13: Totally... I think tons of people (myself included) use it just as a general ride log rather than trying to rip down every single trail all the time in order to get the best time. That's why it's annoying when any mention of Strava is followed by a bunch of comments about how terrible it is. Yeah there definitely are the type of guys that are ripping down trails and almost killing hikers, dogs, other riders, etc. but I think those guys are the minority by far.
  • + 3
 I was looking for geometry category also. That's truly the biggest game changer. All the other stuff counts, but hypothetically you could have all the latest technology on an old skool geo frame and your ride lines/speed would still be old skool.
  • + 1
 Yes and disc brakes.
  • + 4
 @JDFF: You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.
  • + 1
 I'm surprised they didn't include this. It was the most significant change in my opinion. Not wheelsize though. People probably wouldn't notice the difference bewetween a 650b and a 26-bike with modern geometry. Pinkbike-writers are you even trying? Under which rock did you live over the last years?
  • + 1
 @ratedgg13: "but rather just to see how often and where I have been riding."

You need Strava for that?

Seriously?
  • + 1
 Yes, geometry, dropper posts and then tubeless tires.
  • + 30
 3 people actually voted for press fit BB's as being the most significant technical innovation over the last couple decades. Now if these 3 people can see themselves out of the cycling industry that'd be great.
  • + 3
 Trolls will be trolls...
  • + 4
 @wheeled: must have hit that button by mistake. Its 13 people who are either blind, work for sram, or never assembled a bike in their lives.
  • + 3
 A good game is to try and pick the answer that will have the least number of votes. Phil wood crankset for me please.
  • + 2
 @atrokz: aside from all the issues with pressfit, installation is a nobrainer.
  • + 24
 Some options I find were missing:
- No-roadie geometry (long & slack)
- Wide bars + short stem
- Hydro disc brakes
- Anti pinch-flat systems (Procore, Huck Norris, etc.)

I also find questionable to put together 31.8 and 35mm handlebars. The former was a great improvement over 25.4mm, and is seems the later offers not benefit.
  • + 0
 35mm gives more stiffness and cuts some weight. Whether either of those are benefits, especially in handlebars is another matter.
  • + 15
 Dropper posts are the most significant changes of the past few decades??? My a$$. Don't get me wrong I think their a great addition. But best? Hell no. I rank suspension as number 1, disc brakes as 2. Those are the only things that have really made a difference in bike capabilities in the history of them, along with frame tech and better geometry.Droppers haven't enabled you to do any more than before except for not stopping to lower your post. Which sucks, but it hasn't changed cycling. Same goes for everything else on the list mostly
  • - 1
 Call BS on the suspension thing - watch a bmx video and tell me how much suspension you see, and how much that lack of suspension has inhibited riding over the last 20 years. Same for brakes. The thing that makes the biggest difference in capabilities of a bike is, and always will be - the rider. I don't think anyone is saying suspension, brakes and all are NOT significant....
  • + 8
 I've seen bmx videos, and was a bmx rider and racer myself. It's badass. Of course it's the rider. Besides that though, and since this mostly a mtb site, suspension has made a huge difference. Rooted rocky and rutted trails, suspension makes a difference. By your logic how does a dropper make more sense then suspension then? Wtf are you doing on a bmx bike actually using the seat? Further, let's put you on a ridgid mtb with rim brakes but with your MAGICAL dropper, and me with a standard post but suspension and disc brakes. Or let's not make this about you and me, As this is in fact an opinionated question. Let's put a pro on a ridgid rim brake bike with your magical dropper and time him on a enduro course. Then put him on a fully suspended bike with discs but standard post. Hmmm, I wonder which will do better...


@jerryhazard:
  • + 4
 @jerryhazard: I second the validity of suspension thing, although not as #1. You can ride a MTB on pretty much any terrain suitable for BMX (perhaps not while doing all the same tricks, but that's not the point), but you can't do the opposite with a BMX. It's when you encounter THAT type of terrain (and speeds) that the quality suspension makes the difference.

Either way...it's NOT dropper posts. They're a nice addition, but brakes, geometry and the ability to machine more complex parts are what have REALLY made the difference between what I ride today and what I rode in the 90's.
  • + 3
 @jerryhazard: I hear you when it comes to BMXs and no suspension, but i remember going down single track and rutted out farmer lanes on a fully rigid mountain bike "back in the day" and give me suspension any time.
  • + 3
 @jerryhazard: bmx is similar to a pump track where as its a smooth track and the jumps and obstacles have smooth transitions on the landing. take a bmx bike down a dh coarse and let me know if youd rather have a dropper or suspension and brakes that work.
  • + 1
 " I rank suspension as number 1, disc brakes as 2"

And you are correct, sir.
  • + 3
 @jerryhazard: "watch a bmx video and tell me how much suspension you see"

Utterly, utterly irrelevant.

Might as well argue that we don't need suspension because horse-riders don't use it.
  • + 1
 @jerryhazard: This is what someone who genuinely has no idea that they're a moron looks like.
  • + 16
 Would say hydro disc brakes but not on the list. Have to go with tubeless. None of the other top choice are potential ride ending issues. Flat tire = end of ride or Gwin it out.
  • + 14
 Or, you know, repair the flat on the trail in ten minutes.
  • + 9
 Agree on the Hydros. Though Disc brakes at all were a huge change. I chose Hydroforming as frame design went bonkers for a while with the new potential for "non-traditional" designs. May have been sloppy for a few years and produced some scary looking designs. That said, so many of the frame designs we see now wouldn't have been imagined, in the pre-carbon dominated the world of Mtb, without aluminium hydroforming.
  • + 0
 @Pedro404: But what about his Strava times?
  • + 1
 In 1973 Shimano came out with a set of hydraulic disc brakes. They weighed 8 lbs so not hugely popular. Being that they said the last couple of decades the fact that disc brakes have appeared on bikes since the early 50's I would think rules them out. I would say the first appearance of the start of modern disc brakes was 1997. Which if we go by that then yes I totally agree.
  • + 14
 Boost spacing isn't about boost spacing. It's allowed for shorter rear ends, better geo, and stiffer wheels. The fact that it's leading as the most over hyped shows that most people don't understand what boost is.
  • + 4
 What about the Canfield Riot?
  • + 24
 Short chainstays isn't better and you could get the same result without boost. Plus asymmetrical rims or asymmetrical rear triangle could be used to make wheels stronger without a wider rear axle. Boost is BS and it is only the first step...next year we will be introduced to super boost or whatever they want to call it. Heck 20mm axles are making a comeback but in boost form...
  • + 3
 @handsomedan: what about it?
  • + 0
 You can easily build a 26-27.5 up to 160 mm travel frame with 125 chain stay ... and nobody goes shorter than that now that boost is on the market.
  • + 3
 Shorter rear end, you could probably gain a couple more mm from a 1x optimized frame with a 142 hub, but yes I'll give you that. Except if you don't want shorter rear end ... I wouldn't mind some 445mm chainstays on my enduro bike (already with "long" chainstays, at 437mm)

Stiffer wheel ? Well it's not happening right now.

There are quite a few 135mm-wide hubs that still have a better geometry than most boost 148 hubs (including the most common brands, like Novatec, Hope, SRAM, DT Swiss ...). So in theory yes, IF the hub was properly optimized, then the wheels would be stiffer. But right now, no.

Wheels have gotten stiffer because the rims evolved quite a lot and got wider, stronger and stiffer than what you could get 5-10 years ago (I'm just considering aluminium rims there, the carbon has allowed for some extra stiff rims).
  • + 7
 Why the f*ck did these companies go to Boost 148 and not just do Boost 157 like Pivot did with their switchblade? People love the f*ck out of the switchblade. It seems solid too. Oh wait the comlanies will move from 148 to 157 and f*ck us all over again in maybe 2 years... Thanks pivot for being real.
  • + 2
 How does it allow for shorter rear ends?
  • + 1
 @Pedro404: It moves the cassette slightly outboard, and that allows you to shorten the chainstay ever so slightly without needing an extra wide crankset (otherwise the chain would be too close to the tyre)

A bit like the problem on fat bikes, where they required wider and wider hubs and crankset to allow for even wider tyres
  • + 2
 What progress has boost made to geo? As far as stiffer wheels - lace-up some Derby/Noble/Nox wheels with Sapim cx spokes and you'll get all the stiffness you can handle.
  • + 5
 @FLATLlNE:
Short rear end, stiff bike with 29 inch wheels and non boost 142 x 12 rear. It can be done without boost...
  • + 2
 My feet already rubs on my Non-boost chain stays. Imagine it will be a lot worse with boost and super boost. Btw, I wear size 10 shoes for reference.
  • + 1
 @handsomedan: Totally. Banshee and Kona have done it too. But I suppose many will say that boost should build a stiffer wheel. Rightly or wrongly, I can't comment.
  • + 3
 I'm sad i can only downvote this once.
  • + 1
 Agreed.My bike has 420mm chainstays(29) with the old 135 hub, does anyone want any shorter than that?? Seriously, barely roll weight back with a pedal stroke and you're into a wheelie easily.


@handsomedan:
  • + 0
 Also no plus tires without boost.
  • + 0
 @SintraFreeride: "you could get the same result without boost."

Irrelevant. It's still "why Boost", and Boost delivers in respect of its design intentions. Nobody has EVER said it's the only way, to deliver, but it DOES deliver.
  • + 1
 @ride4austin: That's down to poor form in your riding style, not your shoe size.
  • + 8
 Disc Brakes hands down. Tubeless (and much higher quality) tires are great, suspension has come so far, dropper posts are great...

But you still see people having fun on hard tails with tubed tires and no dropper. You know what they have on all their bikes? Disc Brakes.

Anyone else remember when if you started going fast downhill you couldn't slow down until you either reached the bottom or crashed? Not stop, mind you--slow down.
  • + 12
 DISK BRAKES, more important than suspension, dropper posts are #2,
  • - 1
 I imagine disc brakes aren't listed because there is no argument that they are overhyped. The are a clear innovation with true value. The point of the list, is that every item in the list can be argued as hype vs real value adder. Disc brakes....I don't think anyone will argue. Are a true value adder.
  • + 0
 Disc brakes for sure, then good reliable suspension air/coil, good tires and then mabye droppers.
  • + 2
 "DISK BRAKES, more important than suspension"

Nope.

I've done all of the combinations over the years, and I can say from experience that full suspension + V-brakes is a waaay more appealing combo than no suspension and disks: in fact no suspension slows you down so much that canti brakes are enough.
  • + 5
 Under :What has been the most significant technological innovation of the past couple decades?" - I couldn't see an entry either for stickier wider rubber for tires. Remember the IRC Missile?

Also a worthy contender - Disc brakes. Although more specific for wet weather riding
  • + 2
 I would like to see the "disc brake" option in a poll for roadies... once upon a short time there was a company called Sikorsky cycles. They made great looking highly customizable carbon XC bikes with state of the art carbon layup and suspension system It was like 2011. One of their clients ordered a bike with rim brake bosses... and to make it worse, no disc brake mounting. How would you like sending 3k+ $ on a frame like that? I cal it fkng commitment
  • + 4
 Bigger, stickier rubber that doesn't weight too much is a big one...Disc brakes are huge, good call Lee. I went with the dropper post as the "don't wanna live without" pick.......Overhyped, I went with 27.5....barely any difference from 26, if we had 26/29 options we would be just fine. : )
  • + 2
 @loopie: I went with the 27.5 as well. Pure marketing BS. I also picked the dropper post, but I would have picked the suspension fork had it been there. Disc brakes sure.
  • + 2
 @loopie: Agreed on 27.5. Barely discernible from 26, yet somehow the industry convinced everyone to bin their 26ers. I don't have an issue with how 27.5 rides, but the unnecessary obsolescence of 26 is pure crap.
  • + 1
 @DMal: I agree, the performance difference between 26" and 27,5" wheel alone is impossible to be estimated. There is however, a noticeable difference between a complete 27,5 bike from 2017 and 26" one from 2012. By average geometry and suspension will be better on a modern bike. At least a trail bike. I don't ride DH bikes so it's hard for me to tell but taking an educated guess straight out of my arse I would say that most DH bikes changed very little.

Nonetheless "the industry" (or how most of us online warriors verbally dress up a non existing greedy corporation who's supposedly only goal is to grab our money and ruin our sport) didn't convince people to go from 26 to 27,5. There was no other option since 26 were stopped being produced the moment 27,5 went in. By average XC and DH bike owners change their bikes often like every 2 years because they are whiny btches who think a change there or there can improve their pitiful race results. So it's a goven that market got filled with 27,5 bikes. There is no conspiracy or mass migration of hype eating lemmings. The stuff simply moves around in the food chain.
  • + 8
 Gimme a hardtail do it all bike anyday of the week (coming from the guy who owns a dh bike)
  • + 6
 Most of the answers are innovations from the last 5 years. Not Couple of decades .
  • + 0
 Is this how you deal with your long travel guilt? Drop your mental crutches of the past and rise man!
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: it's how I deal with making the wrong decisions. I laugh at myself
  • + 1
 @prenderville: I like to laugh at myself too, I like and can make myself laugh. God save the people who cannot see the idiot in the mirror
  • + 4
 I think the 35.0 bar standard is horrible. The only improvement is a small amount of weight, but manufacturers have had to work hard just to make their new 35.0 versions feel as good and not overly harsh compared to 31.8s that didn't seem to have a negative.
  • + 4
 press-fit bottom brackets, tapered head tubes, Boost hubs, E-MTBs, oversized (31.Cool handlebars, Strava, electronic drivetrain/suspension & anything else i missed here are summarily superfluous. the bicycle itself is an inherently simple design: cable actuated components, cup/cone or sealed cartridge bearing interfaces for fork & bottom bracket plus human power for propulsion. disc brakes & full-suspension were both logical evolutionary steps forward. composite frames & components (not necessarily wheels) also make sense. head tubes could've stayed straight, handlebars could've stayed 25.4, DH wheels were wide before the newer "wide rim" fad ever existed. it's all indicative of a money-hungry industry developing new technology (mostly impractical) for consumers so they'll come back & buy next year's "new big thing."
  • + 2
 *31.8
  • + 4
 I started riding mountain bikes way back in 89'. I worked at shops for 5 years before that. The bikes and components were subject to everything. Water, mud, sitting, sun. Good chance the wind damaged them too. I think the single greatest innovation is the quality. If you aren't hucking to flat every ride, the things last. Rims last for several seasons, not months. Bars last for seasons, not 5 rides. The brakes stop actually stop you, not decide they are on lunch. Frames seem to last, not crack after 6 months. I do have a 93' Spec M2 that has 32k CC, DS and DH miles on it hanging in my garage though. I never bought into the light weight stuff back in the day and still broke things. Cranks, pedals, stems, seatposts, I broke at least one of them. A dropper would have been nice back when, but you couldn't stop. Or jump. Or blow out a corner. Or plow through a rock garden. As a whole, it's a far better world today than back in the early-mid 90's.
  • + 3
 Overhyped to me is excessive marketing promises missing the mark. 27.5 seemed to be the biggest industry fueled cash grab I've ever seen. Seems to have been a success, based on how revitalized the industry is now. I can't honestly say there's anything significantly superior that could be attributed to the wheel size alone; just seemed to be where all the development money went for further refinement, considering all the worries that 26 was one foot in the grave.

Flat tires are a huge bummer, and riding high pressures is a huge bummer too. Solving both, and improving the ride, with so much peace of mind that you can even ditch the spare tube and pump... tubeless was a godsend.
  • + 3
 DECADES people! and you all are picking dropper posts? What a bunch of newbs! If the question was about the last 3-5 years, then maybe I could see dropper posts being near the top. But DECADES?!?!?. You all really think in the past 10-20 or maybe 30 years that the best technological innovation for a MTB is a dropper post? Obviously we've got a bunch of young people here that have never ridden a bike with 60mm of exhilarating elastomer suspension!
  • + 1
 I still remember my excitement at the prospect of the first ride of my Univega Alpina 5.5, after swapping the rigid fork for a Manitou Mach 5 SX - 63.5mm of elastomer travel, no less: actually quite long travel for XC at the time.

Which was around 1996...
  • + 3
 How can more people say that carbon fiber frames were a more significant innovation than Hydro formed aluminum tubing? Didn't hydro formed aluminum completely transform the way bikes could be built and designed?

No offense to carbon, its greats stuff, but it didn't really change the game. Carbon and aluminum bikes for the most part share the exact same designs, one just being made out of a light stronger material.
  • + 1
 I agree I'm one of the one's who voted carbon as being over hyped... boost is dumb but's hardly hyped it's just more of a hey look a new standard thing... carbon frames on the other hand... every time I company launches a carbon frame or wheels they make it sound like they out gunned nasa in r&d and that this new carbon frame that is replacing the old aluminium one will make you walk on water... but then they tell you that it doubled the price of the bike... I will fully admit that carbon rides well and am even looking at buying my next bike in it (or a least the wheels), but it does not make you twice the rider, twice as fast or twice as fun as an aluminium frame so how on earth can they try to hype it so much?
  • + 4
 I'm surprised tubless is not the top good thing, I mean, remember getting screwed in the middle of nowhere after hitting ONE large enough goat head? I do, and it sucked, life is before and after tubeless!
  • + 1
 It's because it's still not perfect. For me tubeless is a bit of a mess and need air compressor. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't feel comfortable to do the switch. Not like the cars/motors when you have only a tire and don't care about your tires getting flat at all. It still can happen, but not very likely.
  • + 3
 Very few of any of the items listed are truly innovations. Evolution and refinement, yes, but not real innovation. Bicycling tech and design has made incredible leads forward in refinement and application of technology from related industries. Few things have been truly innovated by the bicycling industry.
  • + 1
 In my opinion the dropper post(yes I know a quick release seat collar works in a pinch) is a true innovation, I never want to ride without one.
  • + 1
 "Bicycling tech and design has made incredible leads forward in refinement and application of technology from related industries"

Isn't that the definition of innovation? Sounds like you're thinking of invention in which case yeah, almost no industries invent. Industries are born from inventions and survive by making their products better. You know, innovating!
  • + 0
 @Triber66: dropper post schmopper post.

just go to the bike park
  • + 1
 @Sardine: invention is is a wholly new idea, totally agree. Innovation requires a new or unique application to solve a problem in a new way. Droppers, innovative. Carbon fibre tubular construction? Borrowed. Disc brakes? Borrowed. Drive by wire? Cogs and pulleys... ancient. Suspension and tires? Trickled down. Bikes are awesome. Just not overly innovative, imo.
  • + 1
 @Sardine: damn, need an edit button. The drive by wire and cogs and pulleys statements aren't intended to be related. (And I am curious of the history of the derailleur... )
  • + 0
 @robwhynot: By that logic, if you've ever sat on an office chair, the only innovation present with a dropper post is the remote lever present on the handlebar. Heck, the same companies (like wintek) make the gas assemblies for both anyway.

Dropper posts: borrowed
  • + 3
 Best list should include - Reliable disc brakes, Non-square taper cranks, wide handlebars, bike parks, advocacy groups, Enduro Over hyped - short chainstays, super slack head angles, Enduro, the lightweight fad, moto clothing,
  • + 3
 Droppers? Thought this was 20 years! This is an age gap thing. Try riding downhill on canti's, no suspension, long reach stems and super narrow bars and tell me a dropper is what you need. What evs.
  • + 2
 Using the last couple decades is far too broad, this really should be narrowed down.

I picked hydroformed tubing. That has allowed the constantly changing geometries of bikes to be manufactured rather easily, and has allowed some aluminum bikes to stay at a decent price point. *Cough* Commencal *Cough*

Also, Press fit bottom brackets are bad and they should feel bad
  • + 1
 It has also allowed them to keep the weight down by using different shapes. Otherwise we would all be riding around on bikes made from round and square tube. Looking at that long of a timeline I had to agree.
  • + 2
 I love MTB, but what I hate is the lack of maturity this industry shows, it rips off its base of consumers as simple as sheering sheep, unlike dirtbikes that have matured to a point and standardised most of the basics where everyone can make a living and develop technology, you have a std 19" for MX and 18" rear for off road dirt biking for example, it's easier for bike shops, online stores and for consumers to work with! Costs to some degree are less pendulum year on year, it's not all roses on dirtbikes, politics, forced agendas on BS emissions that don't exist but are marketed the hell out of to justify classes, but the stds thing atleast is pretty sorted, MTB has a problem its self created and can't shake and more importantly is putting the sport more and more at risk for the future, of course the sheep won't listen the gate opens and they just walk through, even when the guillotine is coming down they still say it's all good it's progress! stupid is as stupid does!
  • + 2
 I can't believe the author slams cantilever brakes but not put in hydraulic disc brakes as one of the poll items for the most significant innovative advancements for the past 2 or more decades. I guess we take the brake system for granted but it's come a long ways since the evolution of rim brakes took place from the 80's through to the early 2000's. I was going to choose the dropper post, but I can live without it.
  • + 4
 @CSharp, I can't believe it either and I wrote the sumbitch. Yeah, I meant to put it in there. To everyone who is stating that disc brakes should have been in the poll, I hear you. Cheers.
  • + 2
 @vernonfelton: imagine riding Boogieman or the old North Fork trails with U-brakes or improperly toed in LX cantis. Argh
  • + 2
 @leelau: I have no friggin' idea how you guys survived that era on those bikes and products!
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: vernon - didn't know any better really
  • + 2
 Rigid, steel, straight-drive mountain bikes with 2.5-2.35mm aggressive 29 inch tires and a shortish stem (~70mm) and widish bars (~750mm) are the best all around mountain bikes out there today. You can ride 99% of all bikeable terrain with that bike and it's generally faster than all other bikes and you'll have less to maintain. Bikers are lazy and soft and want to that magic pill for everything. Keep it simple. Get fit. Learn how to rally the f*ck out of a bike. Bike more and spend less time discussing what gear is going to make the bike better. The quicker you come to the realization that cars r coffins, every "innovation" in mountain biking is a compromise, and you need to ride or die, the better off you'll be.
  • + 3
 For best inovation I really wanted to say indexed gears but the option wasn't there. If you weren't riding back in the day of non indexed thumb shift then you have no idea just how amazing indexed gears are
  • + 3
 The best thing that happened to MTBs was the elimination of road bike standards. Too many things to list but if you have been in the game for a while you know what I'm talking about.
  • + 2
 Personally I would have picked disc brakes for the most significant product, I reckon I could have an enjoyable ride on a fulyl rigid bike like the old days, but the canti brakes were really bad. Even back then there were over hyped canti products.
  • + 1
 "but the canti brakes were really bad"

V-brakes brought a MASSIVE improvement.

And still weren't disks.
  • + 3
 They forgot the Trailforks option...those guys are the answer for me! Really getting people out there! Even without dropper posts people would be drawn to explore..and this is so easy now thanks to them!!
  • + 1
 Looking back, mountain bikes were pretty shitty. Almost all of the "technology" and "geometry" that slowly lets bleed into our hands as mountain bikers each year has existed so long ago in motocross. Hydraulic brakes, air shocks, low psi tires(tubeless), a raked out and slack front end. I think it is a testament to how lame we all are as consumers and how hard it must have been to come up with shit like cannondale's headshock or gold like dropper posts.
  • + 1
 My first bike was a hardtail with an elastomer Quadra21r, Next up was a full suspension with a generic fox coil shock in back and a Manitou ti-sprung fork with 80mm of travel. Next came an OG Bomber Z1. Having riden all that over the last 20 years, the quality of long travel air suspension today is by far and a way the biggest game changer - even over disk brakes and dropper posts.
  • + 1
 I voted for dropper post, but I do feel like the one innovation that's more important is the advancement of rear suspension kinematics: Short dual links Switch Infinity, Horst-link variants... etc. I love being able to leave the rear shock wide open for both descend and climb.
  • + 1
 Basically all of the 'innovations' listed are merely systems engineering and design exercises.

Material science, chemistry, manufacturing innovation, and computer science are the core innovations which have allowed for some of these systems to have been developed/iterated to the points where they are at now.

From my perspective, if we are constraining ourselves to only what PB has listed, then the most impactful item and closest to an actual innovation, would need to be hydroforming since this didn't really take hold within mass production till the 90's in the auto industry.

If I had my druthers, I would say that the microprocessors, computers, automation & sensors, and improvements in high speed tooling and EDM processes have been far more impactful innovations to cycling.

From a systems engineering improvement (not innovation), I would say that the dropper seatpost is a larger iteration and leap forward than using a different material and changing geometry of components.
  • + 2
 Disc brakes ftw. Not on that list but proper stoppers for sure. Dual wall rings lighter than the Great Wall of china. And helmet. For the love of god Helmets man. The old ones where heavy or sketchy.
  • + 1
 Fake Poll. I am not going to vote on any these secondary items... waste of time. Throw the poll away and start again with disc brakes added.. Nothing else comes close to disc brakes for making bikes safe and fun off road no matter what the weather!
  • + 0
 FFS, read the comments - this has been covered off umpteen times, and Vernon agreed before you wrote this, to add disk brakes.
  • + 1
 I said tubeless, thinking from a downhill / free ride mess about point of view as in ~1999 my bike was good, I'd happily ride it today, it was a Kona Stab with BETD long travel plates so loads of sag at the back and Boxxer 151's with a drop crown that slackened the bike up even more probably ended up similar geo to modern Enduro bikes, it had Hope Pro Closed brakes with that little dial you could spin to adjust, BigUn hubs and I rode tracks at that time with no issues that are still in use today (Aston Hill Black Run and Cwmcarn Y-Mynydd spring to mind as ridden both in the last year). This was a bike old enough I bet a lot of pinkbikers were not even born, with that in mind I understand people not saying 'disc brakes', they have been around a long time. Biggest issue back then for me was grip and punctures - the level of grip & reliablity modern tubeless tyres offer is in another league to what we had back then.

Thinking the last decade I'd go with dropper post, I held out until about two years ago I felt I just didn't need one, I rode with my saddle low enough to not be a total pain but high enough to sit on a fair bit. Once I tried a dropper, man did I change my mind, I'd possibly swap suspension (I do mostly ride hard tail still anyway) for a dropper on an XC or trail bike,it just makes it so much more versatile.
  • + 3
 I really dont understand why dropper posts came out 1st.
No way would i ever choose a 15+ years old bike with a dropper post over a new one without a dropper.
  • + 1
 Insanely expensive carbon wheels, carbon frames, boost, plus, bigger wheels, pf bbs, boost. God knows I've tried it all. None of that shit made me any faster. Powerful Disc brakes, Dropper posts, Quality suspension, Better Geometry, Tubless tires, good 2.3 tires, 1X drivetrains. Have all helped though. Powerful disc brakes and dropper posts made the most dramatic improvement though. Taking minutes off lap times. Major improvement in handling and control. That lead to more confidence and more speed.
  • + 1
 I allways tend to stay a few years behind with the latest thing. Wait for the bugs to be worked out an improved. I'm still waiting on the perfect dropper.
Wait to see which ' latest technologies '. Technology? Yeah maybe electronic shifting, suss controlled an GPS.
Which will even stick around or be completely forgotten when people realise industry hype is infact, sales an marketing bullshit. Like boost an plus over tapered, 1X an droppers.
Which new fads will be pushed to extremes an then wound back in, which I predict for forward geo.
And remember, an it still amazes me how gullible mtb'ers are when it comes to this.... NONE of this stuff will make you a better faster rider.. NONE of it..
OK maybe droppers Smile
Yep droppers but, I voted for electronics cos they're actually technology......
  • + 4
 I'm I the only one who wanted to leave the Innovation poll blank and check all of the Overhyped buttons?
  • + 2
 Nope. I agree. My gripe is "Single-ring drivetrains for non-DH bikes." I wish our knees lasted as long as these components. I would guess that there are not many people actually riding the Slick Rock Trail in Moab with their 6 inch of travel, bigger wheels, fat+ tires and 1x whatever drive trains. The very sport of Mountain Biking has changed along with the tech. I feel some of it is for the worse. I love riding DH jumping as much as anyone. But, I really miss slowing hopping through & over technical rock features and being able to stand up & pedal, to charge uphill. It's the "climbing up a mountain" part of mountain biking that has really been left behind. Everything has become so specialized that you need 3 bikes for one ride.
  • + 2
 "Everything has become so specialized that you need 3 bikes for one ride"

@Seawild66: I disagree a bit here, from an anecdotal perspective at least. I ride a '17 Nomad and it is big a squishy and an absolute savage of a bike to point down hill. But it also pedals pretty well, especially considering the aggressiveness of the thing.

I pedal up more on this because I can then get to more aggressive trails and have a blast going down. I think the trend in ~160mm bikes is awesome has it gives pedal-ability for getting there and exploring places, as well as the awesome performance descending.

Before (years ago), to have a big aggressive bike you would either be pushing that bike up the hill or getting shuttled.
  • + 1
 @cgdibble: I see your in S.D. So you probably ride Noble. Downhill. A very nice ride, minus the rattlesnakes. I have an Enduro and also love it for it's DH abilities, but also live close to Fruitia, Moab and most of the CT. All places with busty little/big climbs that have kicked my ass and made me wish for the ability to stand and crank. I guess what I really need is a dependable rear shock that locks completely out.
  • + 1
 really, dropper post over long travel air sprung suspension? If someone asked you right this second you can choose between a bike equiped with a dropper post and 50mm elastomer suspension vs. a 160mm air sprung enduro machine without any dropper post. you would choose the 50mm elastomer special???


We were happy when dropper post started proving themselves useful, but oh man where we ever happy when the first fox 36 float hit the shelves of the from of an OEM SX trail....
  • + 4
 Most significant innovation to me is disc brakes. Being able to stop and not only slow down makes a huge difference.
  • + 1
 Just rode my 2001 bullit with Manitou air shock, Hayes disc brakes, no dropper QR wheels front and rear on a ride I do pretty frequently on my modern bikes. Rocks, roots, lots of flat corners, nothing really steep though. Geometry was the only minor improvement I could notice. Suspension worked fine, wheels felt stiff enough, brakes stopped fine. Once I adjusted to the difference, I was no slower aboard the old steed. The single pivot actually felt pretty damn good.

That being said, my usual gripe is that mtbs has always been on a deathly slow march from road standards to the parameters of a Moto when Moto had it right so long ago. They have had roughly a 64 degree head angle since the mid 80's and have stayed pretty much the same...hydraulic disc brakes, proper suspension curves, wide alloy rims...we could have miniturized a 1990 cr250 and been nearly done innovating right there in 1992.

And that being said, mtbs were pretty damn good in 2005. They weren't any heavier and they had the same travel and the coil forks with air assist we're buttery as hell. They were short and upright so we would hang off the back and pray. Much like I do now. Tapered headtubes seemed to be when manufacturers figured out they could render things obsolete with non-compatible standards and we would still buy the bikes. So it has been a trickle of innovation since then with no regard to consumer backward or forward compatibility. (Btw, dirt bikes still have a smaller headtube than mtbs and do just fine.)

The innovation is miniscule improvements in performance and mountains of placebo. But we all bought into it anyway and as a result, I can get some kick-ass 26" mtbs for my kids for pennies on the dollar.

And the fast guys here and everywhere could still whip your ass with a mid 2000's mtb so don't kid yourself.
  • + 1
 Exactly!! Dirt bikes have gone through many of the same changes mtb sees but years before. Some companies (Yamaha) even seeing the benefit of coil sprung forks over air with their sss gold mine. Some people try not to see the similarities between the two but they're easily there. Mtb has also arrived around a similar head angle, going from steeper to slacker.
  • + 1
 Most significant for me is definitely the thread less head set, even though it's an old idea. I ride 20" to 650 and I would run caliper brakes befor going to quill stems and threaded head sets. The worst is Strava....dick heads cutting corners and riding like an A-hole to feed their ego.
  • + 1
 Ive got a pressfit yeti and a threaded Santa Cruz.. Santa Cruz creaks horribly.. not a peep out of the yeti.. i have no problem with pressfit headsets or bottom brackets. Also bb and cranks are a lot cheaper to upgrade/replace.. forks and wheels are pricey, screw boost and the plus bikes it rode in on!!
  • + 1
 Dropper posts are an amazing idea, I'm saving for one as we speak. I think the biggest problem with them is the companies know they're a great idea, and charge 650$ for them. There's perfectly good entire bikes worth 650$, how can a seat post be worth that much!?
  • + 4
 Carbon fiber that costs 10x more and then cracks and bye bye frame, on 500grams difference in weight (just get fitter)!
  • + 1
 Disc Brakes! Many riders today have no idea how bad cantilever brakes were back in the day. When V-brakes came along, I thought it couldn't get any better. When I bought my first full suspension bike (Giant XTC), it came with discs. They impressed me even more than the boing-boing. It also came with tubeless wheels but... the brakes!!!! Power AND (even more importantly) control. Muddy rims? Who cares!
  • + 1
 It's not on the list but internal cable routing would get my vote for most overhyped advance. For me tubeless has to be the best innovation as it just means more time riding, less time faffing round fixing punctures. Dropper posts are a great innovation but not all of us are blessed to live in steep enough terrain to warrant them.
  • + 1
 Long travel air suspension? Really? I mean R-E-A-L-L-Y? How about good damping in the first freaking place?! And then we can worry about this weight shaving nonsense that air sprung suspension actually is, for everything, save XC/Marathon racing... I mean, actual racing. Not getting pumped cuz you finished the race. This category of achievements can be put together with riding down a world cup track with one foot clipped out and taking all the chicken lines. You are top mtb journalists for fks sake howcan it even go through your mind?!
  • + 3
 I think they mean modern suspension for trail/AM bikes in general. Dampening is obviously part of that. But right now, you can get a ~4lb fork that performs better than a DH fork a decade ago. Modern suspension rules.
  • + 4
 I think people voting long travel air suspension mean that they are selecting that because there's no option for just suspension, or that's what I hope is going on. You know, because suspension has made one of the biggest differences in what bikes are capable of
  • + 2
 @jerrytek: damping is not a part of, it is everything here. Air springs themselves haven't progressed much, damping on the other hand has improved a lot. In 2010 if you wanted grip, compliance and almost no brake dive you had Fox36 and 40, that was it. These days stupid Rockshox has it. Cane Creek double barrell redefined shocks, the first dampers to compete with it appeared around 2014, no matter coil or air. It's just ridiculous to point spring type. Especially one that all makers call: "we achieved coil like characteristic". All that for 2lbs in total on fork and shock at price of lowered reliability and non consistent feel.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns:

Yeah, of course. But they work as a system. Its not like they mentioned "air springs in modern air sprung suspension. At least that was how I read it.

Your argument is sorta like "modern brakes aren't important, its the calipers!" One is part of the whole.
  • + 1
 @jerrytek: it does specifically say long travel air sprung suspension. I agree the spring (air or coil) do work together with the damper, but they do have seperate functions each need to be tuned to work with the other. i believe that most of the technology is in the damper not a coild up piece of metal or air tight chamber.
  • + 0
 @jerrytek: I get what you are saying but they did specifically mention air sprung. To use your brake analogy it would be like saying: are disc brakes with floating rotors a major improvement in mountain biking technology?

What about the chassis? Modern Lyrik's chassis weighs almost 1lb less than the chassis of 66RC2x or Totem from 2006. Is Lyrik robust? Hell yea. Weren't 66 forks failing just as any other forks? Hell yea
  • + 1
 "How about good damping in the first freaking place?!"

It's OBVIOUS that the question relates to PROPERLY FETTLED, EFFECTIVE suspension, and it's a given that it would mean good damping.
  • + 1
 I'd actually like to take a step back and say the most significant technological advancement for bikes over the past few decades had almost nothing to do with bikes. I think the refinements and cost decreases in 3D CAD and FEA software allowed for the rapid pace of tech development across industries, and without it a lot of the tech we see today would have been considered too much risk. It was the advancement in the tools we have available that allowed for almost all the things listed. Have to agree with someone else and say that press fit bb can die in a fire though.
  • + 6
 Brake discs!!?
  • + 1
 All of the things mentioned change the way a bike rides to some extent.

IMO going tubeless is much more a convenience thing vs performance. For me, anyhow.

Boost? Have never even thought about it or it's "advantages".

27.5, 28 at al... same.

Suspension for sure helps things out. But it didn't make the impossible possible, again - for me.
  • + 1
 In fairness alot of this stuff has lead to marginal gains. What has actually made us get quicker is a combination of this stuff. Love my dropper post and it has made life easier, but it hasn't made me quicker dh as you could always stop and put your post down.
  • + 4
 Exactly what I've been saying!! But everyone on here thinks a 80s rigid stump jumper with a dropper would be the best thing ever
  • + 1
 @robertg620: Not everyone - just the children...
  • + 2
 Maybe people misread it as couple years instead of decades?
dropper posts are cool and all but i'd rather have lightweight suspension with dampening than move my seat up and down without stopping.
  • + 1
 Hydraulic disc brakes, negative air chamber, light Freeride bikes (now called Enduro bikes), dropper posts, simpler drivetrains and overall improvement in build quality of components, Those are the real improvements for me.
  • + 2
 Where are all the components from 5 years ago? I havent used anything on that list so I couldnt vote... and I still love riding my bike.
  • + 3
 Can we send this to the "industry" so they stop making everything a few mm wider?
  • + 1
 The industry only has a few manufacturers now. I just built a wheelset with Octane One rims and realized that my brother's Spank rims are identical in every way, except the sticker.
  • + 1
 Modern geometry, proper suspension damping, hydraulic brakes. Remove these and all the other innovations like wheel sizes, hub spacing, single ring, pressfit all look like a joke.
  • + 1
 I'd say geometry changes are really the biggest advancement, though I suppose modern suspension is up there. Carbon parts, though good for knocking off a few grams on a race bike, cost way more than their worth.
  • + 1
 What the poll results really show is how unnecessary most of the things on the list really are. Boost, press fit bb's, whell sizes etc. Have all been ways to suck money out of the consumer.
  • + 4
 Modern geometry is more important than any of those things.
  • + 1
 how modern are we talking? Because this "modern" geo schtick feels like a past 5yr catch phrase, whereas my 2009 enduro was perfectly capable and was priced incredibly reasonably.
  • + 1
 I love "classic" DH bikes but yes they were very 'bobby/swampy' so the biggest innovation for me would be 'frame design that removes peddaling influence' such as the VP design on my 2012 Intense Socom.
  • + 2
 “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”


― Victor Hugo

All of those choices were a joke besides E-bike (the OBVIOUS answer)
  • + 0
 From the list i went with 29er wheels as the biggest advancement. simply for the fact that it broke us away from 26" wheel mold that dominated the market for so long. Without 29ers, I don't think we would've seen 27.5.

Overall, i think disc brakes were the biggest improvement. you can go a lot faster if you know you can stop.
  • + 3
 3 people voted that dropper posts are the most overhyped....make yourselves known so we can shame you
  • + 15
 Hi!
  • + 6
 Schurter was probably one of those too. No shame on him.
  • + 6
 Can't say it was my choice for most overhyped. It was for sure no where near my choice for most significant though. Not even clsoe.
  • + 0
 Bring it on, Junior...
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: what was more significant to you?

Dropper Posts are such a huge quality of life improvement; truly baffles me that some people don't see value in them, let alone don't use them.

I suppose if you're an XC guy through and through and like to ride with a full height seat at all times...but that is a rare breed.
  • + 1
 @nvranka: tons of things. I think it depends how far back you are considering. I think droppers are great, a total ease and comfort piece. They aren't necessary though. Not even close.
  • + 2
 To the current 36 that say tubeless tires are 'Overhyped' you've obviously never ridden tubeless. Changes my riding life! For the better.
  • - 1
 Ridden - and ride - tubeless, and my recurring thought is "meh..." - I appreciate the convenience, but although I didn't select it, it IS overhyped.

A life-changer it is not.
  • + 1
 @KeithReeder: Guess it depends on tire selection and riding style. It most definitely WAS a riding life changer for me. I've had '0' flats since conversion, and believe me, here in AZ thats a chore in itself. And I am running 12 psi less up front and 11 less in the rear, traction has improved immensely. LOVE it.
  • + 1
 @jdsusmc: tubeless to avoid flats is valid

Running low pressures has never made sense to me unless you ride smooth tracks or at a slow pace...I already blow up wheels here and there at 28-30psi in the rear
  • + 4
 Overhyped = Hates the most
  • + 1
 Holla' out to the 125 and counting that voted for 1* drivetrain as the most overhyped.
Mountain bikes need mountain gears when riding in the mountains.
  • + 3
 "Einstein and Barbie" are bullshit!
  • + 3
 They forgot to put metric shocks on the list.
  • + 2
 Where is the "anything SRAM has put an acronym on in the past few years" option?
  • + 2
 Oh god I'm going to get a large popcorn and will be reading the comments for the next few hours!
  • + 3
 since the e-mtb is not mtb at all...
  • + 2
 Only 162 other people feel that 1x drivetrains are over hyped....guess the Marketing BS machine works then.
  • + 1
 I love polls but this is pretty vague. Tubeless plus-sized tires have probably been the biggest step forward for hardtails, not so with anything else.
  • + 2
 I think that suspensions and disc brakes are the most significant innovations
  • + 3
 We're being TROLLED by PB, don't answer that!
  • + 2
 Biggest improvement of the last few decades: Disc Brakes. Being able to slow down is awsome.
  • + 1
 Absolutely.. without disc brakes all other advancements would be hindered. You cant go faster without the amount of control that disc brakes give you.
  • + 1
 Without a doubt it has to the development of long travel air sprung suspension, without that happening we wouldn't even have the droppers everyone's raving about.
  • + 1
 So happy I jumped off the technical marketing hype bandwagon years ago. Reading these posts are both informative and comical all in one!
  • + 2
 Over hyped marketing in general from all major brands is fucking annoying
  • + 2
 Fuck y'all with your shitty air forks. All I want is a 160mm coil fork
  • + 2
 You PB guys really want to start a fire ?
  • + 2
 I'm not going to ask where you got the Barbie.
  • + 1
 Classic bikes ftw. 2005 Cannondale Prophet forever! Or at least until i can actually afford one from this decade...
  • + 1
 Have you ever seen a real brilliant and bull's shit same sizes to use theese words together?
  • + 1
 Running a push coil rear shock on my Wreckoning... not interested in long travel air sprung suspension ever again.
  • - 2
 I'm surprised that Boost was the most overhyped category. If done correctly there is plenty of merit to it's advantages for now and in the future.
Pressfit BB's were a complete waste of time. Nothing like having multi-thousand dollar bikes with creaking/problematic BB's. Even Santa Cruz stayed away from this and went with tried and true methods.

All the excuses for having Pressfit were offset by poor crank designs, endless and confusing spacer kits, creaks and other noises and being pushed to spend gobs of money on even more expensive BB "solutions" only to end up with the same problem.
  • + 3
 Brakes and geometry
  • + 1
 I have cattle dogs that bark and bite my tires if i stop riding, so dropper posts are the greatest tech ever for me.
  • + 1
 I wrote about this stuff a while ago:

www.peterverdone.com/gamechangerz
  • + 2
 Press fit?? Freaking kiddn me?
  • + 1
 Disc brakes would have earned my vote for most significant development.
  • + 1
 Disc brakes should be on the first poll, shirley?
  • + 1
 at least from all this we now have 15mm axle's on road bike's
  • - 1
 So "May" bad month - PB f@cks up this poll by not having disc brakes as an option. Pretty sure nobody thought long and hard on this one.
  • - 1
 Before you'd even written your whiny little hissy-fit, Vernon had held his hands up to accidentally missing out disks. Try reading the comments next time, princess...
  • + 0
 Definitely figuring out how to make slack bikes climb well. Opens up a lot of potential for shredding.
  • - 1
 Tubeless Tires all the way. Then suspension. Then Dropper. The first two allowed us to got fast, and without going fast the dropper wouldn't be that valuable.
  • + 4
 Do you really think Tubeless took things to a new level of technology? I absolutely agree on the second two but I don't see how tubeless is making people significantly higher performers.
  • + 3
 @steflund: yeah too true. My trailside hand pump skills have gone for a ball of **** since tubeless came in.
  • + 0
 Before tubeless—tires were really frail and hard. Slow cornering, high drag, and no reliability.

@steflund HAHAHA
  • + 5
 Yeah, tubeless tires over suspension and good brakes. That makes total sense. Screw suspension and stopping, I can run a few psi lower on my tires!!!!
  • + 1
 @robertg620: Disk Brakes are over 20 years old, and not on the list.

Suspension is definitely a big one, but it's wouldn't do much good sitting on the sidelines fixing flats. Screw low PSI...
  • + 2
 I see your point, but I'd rather ride suspension with a few psi higher than ridgid with lower psi, but more power to you if you shred it ridgid!

@sevensixtwo:
  • + 1
 @steflund: I voted for tubeless tires myself. Regular "suspension" wasn't on the list, and I do agree that dropper posts were also a significant contribution to the way we ride.

I don't think people actively think about it a lot, but a lot of riders used to get flat tires regularly. Now it is a rare occurrence, usually once or twice a year for most people. They also provide much better grip and are standard on all performance bikes nowadays, regardless of suspension travel. I think they're a subtle but massive contribution!
  • + 1
 Knock on wood, but I don't have too many flat tire experiences. I don't run thin tubes, I run 29 2.4's at 22/23 psi front and 26 rear and really don't have too many problems, I've learned to ride with the less grip and let her slide. I'm not one of those people that gets ecstatic over hero dirt, I'm fast over good or bad dirt. I'm leaving some grip and rotating mass on my table, I know




@thepwnstar39:
  • + 1
 Other than dropper post, I think all of this stuff is overrated.
  • + 6
 Yh fair. Air sprung suspension is absolutely useless
  • + 12
 I look at droppers and wonder how that is the most significant development. They are great, and make things easy. If they didn't exist, we could all ride exactly the way we do with them, with maybe a few more stops to raise or lower a quick release. Are they great? For sure. Are they the most significant development of the last couple decades. No chance.
  • + 1
 @jaha222: Air forks are great, especially with some of the new dampers but I agree with you- I still run coil rear on both my enduro and freeride bikes. Tried air but it's too much hassle
  • + 1
 @jaha222: airsprung suspension is all about weight. It's the dampening and rebound control that makes suspension really work.
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: I don't know, it's either dropper posts, or incremental improvements, and I could do an incremental improvement by not drinking alcohol, and pooping before I ride.
  • + 1
 @Kramz: I always poop pre-ride. More due to fear of stinging nettle than any perceived performance upgrade though...
  • + 2
 @VwHarman: My main point is, have you ever lifted one pound, let alone ounces, or grams, to be fair I'd rather just have a 'heavy' bike that works. There was a joke by a comedian, probably my favourite joke I've ever heard, and he said something like, "If you're lifting the 2 pound weights, you probably don't even have enough strength to open the door to enter the gym". I feel similar feelings about bicycles, my fat ass would probably be the main thing slowing me down at this point, not the bicycle.
  • + 1
 @Kramz: Switching from a coil sprung fork to an air sprung argyle on my dirtjumper was the biggest change in weight i could have felt on that bike.
  • + 1
 That was easy...hitn the seat switches yo
  • + 0
 Another vote for disk breaks, the sport would never be at the level it is without them.
  • + 2
 I hate when my disk breaks but love disk brakes. (Sorry Dano-01, I couldn't resist! Yes, I am a snarky person. It is one of my many failings.)
  • + 1
 Integrated Shifting is still the best invention in the last 3 decades
  • + 1
 NO HYPE but offer more advantage SEALED DRIVE?
  • + 0
 did yall forget metric shocks? Talk about Hype!!! They offer no performance advantage.
  • + 1
 Metric is a buzz word, yes. The physical size of the shocks regardless of the unit they are measured in does offer a performance advantage as well as a service advantage. P.s. The whole world should just hurry up and go metric, imperial is an outdated impractical system.
  • + 0
 @Ridebikes131: Remember, there are two types of countries in the world: those who have sent people to the moon, and those who wonder how a country dumb enough to use the most jacked up unit system could achieve something that monumental despite themselves.
  • + 1
 Great topic, btw!
  • + 0
 Dropper posts and tubless tires no question...
  • + 1
 Yep. Most take not getting a flat for granted now. I remember carrying several tubes and a patch kit just to finish ride. The dropper is self explanatory.
  • + 1
 metric shocks!
  • + 0
 Almost 1000 pinkbikers still ride 26ers.
  • - 2
 Droppers, FTW, by a mile. by a light-year.
  • + 3
 By a mile over suspension and disc brakes? i don't think so, that's like saying remote control was the best thing to happen to television, not color, not screen size, not high def or anything that actually changed tv. Droppers haven't change cycling or what a bicycle is capable of at all, they make a great convenience though. It ain't that hard to lower a post manually, but I can tell you it's hard ride gnarly trails with no suspension and disc brakes.
  • + 2
 @robertg620:

Yup, by a mile - I think so.

Disc brakes didn't change what a mountain bike is capable either. Can wheelie with discs, u-brakes, canti's, even coaster brake.

My friends and I rode gnarly trails on every bike we've had since our GT's and Haro's, before mountain biking was even a thing. Brakes never kept us from trying things or upping our game. However, we always stopped to lower out seat posts when it was appropriate. Not having to stop to do that is priceless.

(Riding gnarly trails is hard by definition.)
  • + 2
 If you did, I give you props. I've done some of that myself and it does take talent. Nobody does that anymore, I've tried and nobody wants to do that.Separates real talent vs a bad riders skills masked by suspension. ????????

@jerryhazard:
  • + 1
 Those ??????? We're supposed to be a thumbs up

@jerryhazard:
  • - 3
 @jerryhazard: Agreed. Thinking back on my original Yeti 575, it had a coil fork that I swapped to air and that really didn't change much (I'd argue the stiffness of the 20mm axle made a bigger difference by a long shot). It had mechanical discs and swapping to hydro wasn't a big step up and a well adjusted rim brake really only suffered badly in the wet. Going from tubes to tubeless was a nice convenience but really hasn't changed the ride other than not changing a flat out a few times less every year. Getting my first Gravity Dropper on that Yeti was a total game changer for me, absolutely transformed the way I ride most trails. Sure there are still the odd ride comprised of a long extended climb followed by long descent that may have just needed a QR but for most trails I ride it changed everything.
  • + 2
 If you're 12 years old and have absolutely no other experience, I imagine that'd feel right...
  • + 1
 @Catch22: you are a waste of a yeti if you think rim brakes and tubed tires wouldn't change your ride.

Strava is stupid, I remember when biking was about having fmpqun with your buds.

Boost is brilliant and you're all just pissed that your current carbon wheels aren't boost otherwise we'd be all over it. I see no mention of the 150/157 fiasco of 2013, why? Because it was an improvement. So is boost. Not only does boost strengthen frames, hubs, and entire wheelsets, but I allows us to run the wide large diameter tires we all want in the super short chainstays we've been dreaming of. If you don't understand how boost effects you cs-bb junction you shouldn't comment on the subject.

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2017. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.210037
Mobile Version of Website