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.
Hannah – Managing Editor
After a year of keeping my wheels firmly on the ground and being very cautious after partially dislocating my shoulder in 2020, this year I found myself looking down trails I know I can ride and saying ‘nope’. A concerted effort through the summer has pushed me back into the realms of ‘I wonder whether I can…’, leading inevitably to my first crash post shoulder injury. Getting up and riding on (and crashing again, and getting up again) has helped me get over the feeling that I’m fragile and breakable, and has re-instilled a sense of bounce. I’m heading into 2022 hoping to stay away from injuries and get back to progression.
Nukeproof Scout Pro
Why has an alloy hardtail turned my head this year? Not something steel and niche, or an in-another-world on-another-pay-grade carbon fantasy bike? Well, it’s the way it makes me forget that I’m on an alloy hardtail. As I clatter down trails hopping from rock to rock, or dropping in down steep chutes and off rutted steps, I chase friends who are riding the kinds of bikes I think I’m riding: steel and carbon full suspension bikes, beasts with shocks and travel and a few thousand pounds more in technology and maintenance needs. Easing up and cruising along, breath coming in clouds of warmth, heart pumping, there’s an added glow of satisfaction as I sit up and remember that I’m ‘only’ on a hardtail. This lightweight and agile 140mm 29er has got me up and over endless hills on cross-country slogs, as well as down many a fun descent. It goes where I want it to go, forgives just enough errors to instil confidence, but retains enough feel to make for an engaging ride. It’s a bike I want to ride until I reach the ragged edge of my skill set, back off just a little, recover, then go again.
Read the full review of the Nukeproof Scout Pro in Issue 137 of Singletrack Magazine:
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