Over the past year, members of the Singletrack team have ridden awesome trails all over the world, on some of the most awesome bikes, and we’ve tested the most awesome kit while wearing the most awesome gear – all just for you. What an awful job. But in this veritable tidal wave of delight and glee, what stood out to our testers? What was the cream of the crop? Which places, bikes, gear and clothing put pep in our pedalling and added steam to our shreddies?
So here’s Jamie’s choice picks from 2015 –
Bike – Liteville: 301
From: Liteville, liteville.de // Price: €2,288.00 (frame & shock)
Last year I spent a fair bit of time lusting after the new breed of slacker, longer-reach/shorter back ended 29ers. And the bike that has both built my confidence and rewarded this rider with close shaves in equal measure, is the Liteville 301.
Ours was built as a mixed wheeler (29in front/27.5in rear) or ‘scaled sized’ trail machine of epic proportions. A bike packed with cool details and thoughtful engineering, it has proved adaptable, light and slack (enough) for most people’s perfect trail riding duties. It has reinvigorated and literally transformed my riding attitude. Want to know more? Here’s the full de-brief.
Gear – Lupine Lighting Systems: Neo 2
The nuclear lighting arms race is certainly changing the availability of affordable, reliable night riding kit. The Neo 2 provides a welcome foray for Lupine into the fiercely competitive price-conscious section of the lighting market. Suited for helmet mounting, the little Neo 2’s CNCed aluminium head unit casing has proved robust, waterproof and easy to use, with operation handled by a single press button. Everything in the package is so well thought out and all mounted up at under 200g out on the trail, it’s perfectly suited to sit on the helmet top.
With 700 lumens at full power it is never going to provide the definitive answer in mountain bike lighting, but importantly it delivers a very usable, wide beam spread. If you’re looking to ‘buddy up’ your set up, or for those night-ride newcomers, the Neo 2 feels like an ideal long-term solution for someone starting to explore the joy of the dark and dangerous with about £150 of their hard-earned to spend. Subscriber’s, the full review is here.
Gear – Camelbak: Palos 4
In the past few years out on local hour-long blasts, I’ve increasingly been enjoying riding without a backpack. I’m not sure whether it’s to do with freedom of movement up top, or airflow, but it just feels so damn good.
The Camelbak Palos offers a compromise I like very much. You get Camelbak’s tried and tested reservoir in a 1.5L lumbar format and 4L of total storage, on a webbing style click-fasten belt. There’s plenty of zipped features and adjustability, including pockets with nicely moulded toggles.
I’m definitely a fan of getting the weight nice and low and for rides that don’t require lugging tonnes of gear, this is as much as I want to carry.
Place – West Yorkshire
Another year with a young family means slightly fewer time commitments and more freedom to pedal, so I’ve been exploring locally. Settling in a new place, there are new trail networks to unearth and pleasures to be found on the doorstep.
We all love the adventure and scale of big trips away but riding local challenges this year has allowed me to hone skills and techniques, set targets on trail sections and put me back where I need to be: on the saddle, out in the hills of Yorkshire and grateful to have moved to a place blessed with an epic mix of the post industrial and environmentally diverse. Sourcing local knowledge and linking trails has become a methodical pastime of both choice and necessity. Win.