The Singletrack Staffers pick the standout products and locations from their riding year. This article was originally published in Singletrack Magazine Issue 140.
The year has felt a little like approaching that nemesis feature on the trail: you roll up to it full of optimism, then at the last minute pull on the brakes in an attack of ‘nope’. Whether it was a ping that put paid to yet another plan, or a shipping container that didn’t arrive as expected (by now, perhaps, that should be ‘as expected, a shipping container didn’t arrive’), we had plenty of interruptions along the way. However, our northern hills had an unusually dry summer, so we managed a decent spell of short-sleeved riding on our doorstep, and there were a few chances to get further afield that we grasped and enjoyed. Like that trail feature, once we cleared it, the elation at meeting friends, riding new trails and generally enjoying bikes was all the sweeter.
Andi – Tech Editor
Another crazy year, but not quite as crazy as the last. It has been a challenge to get in test products, thanks to the ongoing cycling boom, but it has been awesome to see more riders on the trails. This year I also discovered gravel riding, which much to my surprise, is a hell of a lot of fun!
Crankbrothers Stamp Flat Shoes
For years Five Ten were considered the champions of the mountain bike flat shoe world, but in my opinion that dominance finally ended in 2021. Other shoemakers have slowly been catching Five Ten for years now, but in 2021 I tested two pairs of shoes that I feel surpass those Stealth rubber shoes. The first pair of shoes to really woo me away from Five Ten are these, the Crankbrothers Stamp flat shoe. For Crankbrothers to launch a range of shoes – a company better known for component development – was a pretty ballsy move, but the fact that they’re genuinely great shoes is even more impressive.
Being a maker of both shoes and pedals, Crankbrothers has developed the sole of the Stamp to work with their Mallet flat pedals – I tend to ride with either Nukeproof Horizon or Burgtec Penthouse MK5 pedals, but the Stamp offers incredible grip with either.
Compared to other shoes, the Stamp isn’t quite as stiff in its flat pedal format, but it is incredibly comfortable to ride and walk in, making it a great shoe for sessioning fun sections of trail over and over again. The sole is quite durable and it offers great traction even in rough terrain. The shoe upper uses a really high-quality synthetic material which offers a little water resistance and cleans up really well. There is a simple lace system to keep the shoes in place with a neat pocket on the tongue to hide the lace loops out of the way. For riding in cooler weather the Stamp is a great choice too with just enough padding to keep the chill off, without the shoe turning into an impossible to dry sponge.
An honestly great shoe, and one comfortable enough to be worn both on and off the bike.
Read Andi’s full review of the Crankbrothers Stamp Flat Shoes here:
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