Best Hardware Nominees: Singletrack Reader Awards 2017

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This is the category for the best bit of mountain bike hardware, accessory, component or gadget that makes mountain bikers’ lives better. We had nominations for everything from mudguards to bells. The finalists could be said to share something in common – bringing high end performance to the masses:

Sixth Element Wheels

Sixth Element Wheels
Carbon wheels for mortals

Graham started this company with the aim of offering carbon wheels built to the same standards as the market leaders, but at a much lower price point. Wheelsets start at under £1000 with Hope hubs, and are built to order. For an extra fee you can even have the decals made to the colour of your choice, although the stock green decals are designed to go with almost any bike. Despite being relatively new to the market, we’ve seen them on many bikes out on the trails, plus under a handful of sponsored riders, and we’ve got some on test ourselves too. Not only do people speak highly of the product, they also praise the service behind them, so they’re also up for the ‘Best Online Service’ Award.

SRAM GX Eagle

Many gears, not quite so many pennies.

Last year saw SRAM XX1/XO1 Eagle nominated for this category, and just 12 months on we’ve got the new GX Eagle up for this award. Bringing true wide range 1x gearing to the masses, this is less of a trickle down of technology and more of a torrent. The GX Eagle groupset uses the same enormous 12-speed 10-50t cassette ratio as the shinier X01 and XX1 groupsets, delivering a 500% gear range that laughs in the face of the poor front derailleur. Priced at almost a third of its higher spec antecedent, we suspect that this will tempt many riders onto a 1x set up. And if you’ve already checked out our first ride review, you’ll understand just how big of a deal this new groupset really is.

SunRace MX80 Wide Range Cassette

Wider than a wide thing.

Although wide-range 1x drivetrains offer many benefits, having to shell out for an entirely new drivetrain can be a pricey proposition. Enter SunRace. With a growing line of wide range 9, 10, 11 and 12-speed cassette options designed to increase your available gearing, SunRace has likely got an option that can be combined with your existing drivetrain, without need for new shifters and derailleurs. The 11-speed MX80 we’ve been testing features a humungous 11-50t ratio that aims to deliver close to the same range as a 1×12 setup. They’re priced keenly too, which is particularly appealing for high-mileage riders who wear through consumable drivetrain parts on a regular basis.

Hannah Dobson

Hannah came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. Having worked in policy and project management roles at the Scottish Parliament and in local government, Hannah had organisational skills that SIngletrack needed. She also likes bikes, and likes to write.

Hannah likes all bikes, but especially unusual ones. If it’s a bit odd, or a bit niche, or made of metal, she’s probably going to get excited. If it gets her down some steep stuff, all the better. She’ll give most things a go once, she tries not to say no to anything on a bike, unless she really thinks it’s going to hurt. She’s pretty good with steri-strips.

More than bikes, Hannah likes what bikes do. She thinks that they link people and places; that cycling creates a connection between us and our environment; bikes create communities; deliver freedom; bring joy; and improve fitness. They're environmentally friendly and create friendly environments.

Hannah tries to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

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