Singletrack Reader Awards 2020 The Winners Revealed!

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It’s time to reveal all the winners of the Singletrack Reader Awards 2020 – your independent mountain biking awards, as voted for by you.

It’s with some sadness that we’ve had to forgo the traditional meet up, presentation and celebration, but with some very find trophies on their way to the lucky winners and the worthy finalists, we hope there’s not too much of a shine taken off the news.

Here we go with the big reveal. Grab yourself a party hat, a drink with a cherry in it, and have your own moment to celebrate your winners.

Best Software

Winner: Nukeproof Blackline Trail Pants

Finalists: Fox Speed Frame Helmet, Adidas Trailcross Mid Pro Shoe

Best Hardware

Winner: Shimano Deore Groupset

Finalists: Nukeproof Horizon Pedals, Rockshox Zeb Fork

Best Bike Under £2000

Winner: Sonder EVOL SX

Neil Sonder

Neil says: After getting runner up for the last 4 years It’s amazing to finally get a win at the Awards, and to do it with what is my favourite bike so far is even sweeter! The original Evol was a really fun 27.5” trail bike that I absolutely loved so reworking it into the 29er Enduro-Lite bike it is now was a bit of a gamble, good to know that people love the results as much as I do!!

Finalists: Merida Big Trail, Vitus Mythique

Best Bike Under £4500

Winner: Privateer 141

“Apologies for the awkward mugshots, like most companies a lot of us have been working from home for a while now – be it scattered across the south coast, Mike & Paddy up north or Rich sunning himself in New Zealand (not that we’re jealous…).

First and foremost, thank you to all the readers who voted for Privateer. Up against strong competition, it’s humbling to have the 141 recognised by the very riders we set out to serve in the beginning. We’re at the start of a very exciting journey, one we hope you’ll join us in as we couldn’t do this without your support.

Secondly the photo above only shows a small selection of folks involved getting bikes from concept to a rider’s front door, thank you to everyone who played a role, you know who you are.

From all of us here at Privateer and The Rider Firm family, we wish you a very Happy New Year. Hopefully 2021 is a little easier for everyone and we can see you out on the trails again soon!”

Finalists: Nukeproof Reactor, Specialized Status

Best Bike Over £4500

Winner: Commencal Meta AM 29 Ohlins

Finalists: Salsa Spearfish, Santa Cruz Megatower

Best eBike

Winner: Specialized Levo SL

Georgia from Specialized says: “We just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone for voting for the Levo SL in the ‘best ebike of the year’ category for this years Readers Awards. We are all absolutely delighted and humbled to receive this special award. We just love to see riders enjoying the outdoors and are proud we are able to share the stoke of the Levo SL with so many of you!”

Finalists: Canyon Spectral:ON, Merida E160 9000

Best Image

Winner: Stormstatic Lockdown Cover

Finalists: Pete Scullion, Norwegian Glacier, Grant Gunderson Issue 133 Cover

Best Video

Winner: Specialized Stumpjumper EVO

Specialized says: “Wow, two in one awards ceremony! What can we say… we are extremely grateful! This video blew most of our minds too, and we are extremely happy to hear so many other riders out there enjoyed it as much as we did. The ultimate goal was to inspire others to get out and shred no matter what, alongside showing the new Stumpjumper Evo in all its glory! We’re thrilled to receive this award and we hope to share the Stoke with you all!”

Finalists: Commencal & Shimano with Killian Bron – Our Tour de France, Santa Cruz – Get Creative With Your Surroundings

Best Author

Winner: Carly Frame

Carly says: “Shit the bed. This is very cool. I didn’t know that my mum had that many different email addresses.”

Finalists: Adam Boggon, Barney Marsh

Best Bike Shop

Winner: 18 Bikes, Hope

Simon says: “It’s been a tough old year, but we’re chuffed to win the award! Huge thanks to everyone who nominated and voted for us. Despite this year’s difficulties, we’ve seen the best side of people – with staff, customers, reps, delivery drivers and employees at our suppliers all going above and beyond. Along with being able to get out and ride, that’s been what’s kept us sane this year!”

The team is pictured celebrating in the only suitable way for 2020, on Zoom:

  • Top row left to right: Matt Bowns (co-owner and framebuilder) Simon Bowns (co-owner and shop manager) Leaon White (workshop and hot sauce purveyor)
  • Bottom row left to right: Dan Hearn (workshop and world travelling photographer) Leo Elkins (workshop and hub manufacturer)

Finalists: Look Mum No Hands, London, Riders Cycle Centre, Skipton

MTB Personality of the Year

Winner: Gowaan Gals

Finalists: Greg Minnaar, Mike ‘Puffa’ Jones

Best Trail Centre

Winner: Glentress & Innerleithen (The Tweed Valley), Scotland

Finalists: Dyfi Bike Park, Wales, Revolution Bike Park, North Wales

Singletrack Legend Award

This is the only award that isn’t subject to a public vote and instead is selected by the Editorial team at Singletrack.

Winner: Charlie Kelly

Whether you believe that mountain biking started on the slopes of Mount Tam, or the forests of the Pacific Northwest, or some muddy fields in the UK, the term ‘Mountain Bike’ was first recorded when Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly registered the name of their company as ‘Mountain Bikes’. Along with business partner Tom Ritchey, these three little pigs of the mountain bike world chose their paths. Tom Ritchey built his house of hand built and brazed steel, eventually growing into the Ritchey company still popular today. Gary Fisher built his house from mass production, aiming to bring mountain bikes to the many – and as part of Trek he can claim to have achieved that. The third little piggy, Charlie Kelly, after starting the first mountain bike company with Gary Fisher, and then organising the first races (the legendary Repack), he chose the path of print media, starting ‘Fat Tire Flyer’, the first ever mountain bike magazine.

It’s this that earns Charlie Kelly the award of Singletrack Legend for 2020. In a year when two further printed mountain bike magazines were lost, and as we eye up our 20th anniversary year, it seems appropriate to celebrate the creator of the first ever written celebration of mountain bike culture. Charlie describes his time working on Fat Tire Flyer as the most creative endeavour he ever did. As his own boss, he was free to cover the things that he was interested in, and did little to court advertisers. His antipathy towards reviewing bikes or attracting advertisers can be seen in his ‘Universal Bike Review’. It’s perhaps little surprise then that of the three little pigs of mountain biking, Charlie has not made his fortune in the bike industry. Indeed, he didn’t even make a living in it, eventually turning his hand to professional piano moving – which is perhaps not so different to bike racing ‘You get to travel across the country in a truck with your friends, and then you do something that takes just a few minutes and people think is amazing’.

Pianos might have been his profession, but Charlie never left bikes behind, riding much as the rest of us do – with friends, in the hills, from home. Of course, his old time friends, including Joe Breeze, are often happy to send him a bike or a frame to play out on, so it’s perhaps no surprise that there’s no room in Charlie’s garage for the huge collection of MTB memorabilia that he collected over the years. That archive of magazines, adverts, catalogues, fliers and much more resides in a storage unit, and after retiring from the piano business Charlie set about turning some of that historical record into a book – Fat Tire Flyer: ‘Repack and the birth of mountain biking’.

Promoting the Fat Tire Flyer book took him on the kind of sofa surfing promotional tour that might better befit a young privateer than a founding father of mountain biking, but that’s another part of the reason that Charlie gets our Legend Award. For no reward other than the adventures, the fun, the stories (of which there are many) and the chance to meet people, Charlie has helped create a culture that keeps so many of us in the sport today. For those of us that ride not for medals, or FTP targets, or glory, we have Charlie to thank for being there at the beginning to help create something that we can all feel part of.

Raise your glasses to Singletrack Legend Award winner 2020, Charlie Kelly. As is the tradition with presenting the Legend Award, we were a bit sneaky and tricked him into thinking he was going to talk to us for a podcast. Which his did, so maybe we weren’t that sneaky. Listen in to hear his reaction, and some more tales from this year’s Singletrack Legend.

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All our winners will be receiving a fine trophy to display in their home offices, workshops, or perhaps maybe one day staff rooms. Congratulations to them all, and thank you all for voting.

Author Profile Picture
Hannah Dobson

Managing Editor

I came to Singletrack having decided there must be more to life than meetings. I like all bikes, but especially unusual ones. More than bikes, I like what bikes do. I think 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. I try to write about all these things in the hope that others might discover the joy of bikes too.

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Comments (4)

    Well done everyone, mostly to the TWEED VALLEY on best bike park. It really is valley of the bike people

    It was fun being prompted to look back at good stuff from the year, think about it all and show our appreciation for good people doing great things and a lovely, positive way to wrap up the year reading the reactions from the winners too – congratulations to all And thanks to all at Singletrack for doing what you do The toughest year in so many ways for many of us (and not least the fight to keep magazine publishing afloat), having a sense of community at distance has meant a lot.

    Congrats to all the winners but most of all to Charlie Kelly. I cannot recommend Fat Tire Flyer enough to anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure.

    You need to give Carly a second prize for best winners acceptance speech.

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