Top 10 Singletrackworld.com reviews of 2021

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Tyres, jackets, hardtails, full sussers, purple things… the 10 most popular reviews on Singletrackworld.com in 2021 makes for some compelling reading.

Especially for us as we begin continue to fine-hone our tech content plan for 2022. Without any further ado, here are the reviews that got you all excited last year (this year?)

1. Michelin Wild Enduro tyre review

What tyres for the top 10? Why, these knobbly numbers from the Bibendum crew of course. Seems like plenty of people were interested in hearing about a tyre that wasn’t from Maxxis or Schwalbe.

Overall verdict: “There have been a few tyres that I have ridden on recently that have really impressed but the Michelin Wild Enduro REALLY impressed me, enough so to earn them a Singletrack Recommended award! The safe and predictable steering will have you leaning over harder and faster than before, and when it comes to winching back up the trail you’ll be happy for that fast-rolling rear.”

2. Propain Hugene Performance review

Somehow a Propain didn’t get listed in our recent Best looking bikes of 2021 feature. Better luck next time Propain. They are certainly one of the more aesthetically pleasing bike brands out there.

Overall verdict: “It’s clear that Propain has been listening; the 2021 Hugene is longer, has a steeper seat angle and you can now choose between a couple of different bar rises, directly answering all the issues Ross raised. One thing that hasn’t changed is that the Hugene remains a really fun bike to ride, and it’s become my go to bike for mucking about in the woods. It’s also made me question quite a few things about my other bikes. Do I need quite as much travel, or do my tyres really need to be that knobbly. I imagine that slightly grippier tyres and better brakes would broaden the scope of this bike quite dramatically, and make many riders take a second look at what they think a trail bike should be used for.”

3. Microshift Advent X drivetrain review

It’s no surprise to see a drivetrain high up the list. For reasons of value, as well as supply chain woes, there were lots of folks interested in alt. drivetrains in 2021.

Overall verdict: “You might ask would I run Advent X over SRAM or Shimano kit and that answer does depend. I would run Advent X over SX or NX, and from a price point of view perhaps Deore, but I think that’s the wrong question. Instead, would I be put off a bike if it was built with Microshift instead of one of the bigger names? No, absolutely not, it’s a great shifting system that has proven to be durable and is pretty lightweight. Will I be running Advent X on other builds? Yes, 100%.”

4. Fox Flexair Neoshell Water jacket review

It’s something of truism in mountain bike media that, along with grips, you can never review enough waterproof jackets. Everyone who rides a mountain bike needs a jacket. And it’s so hard to track one down that suits your particular requirements.

Overall verdict: “If you’re the sort of rider that is out in all weathers and conditions and wants to stay fully dry then you may find Neoshell to be slightly lacking. But if you want a comfortable jacket that is usable from Autumn through to the start of Spring in a range of conditions, and don’t mind the price, then it would be worth a look.”

5. Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Coil fork and Bomber CR Coil shock review

In most parts of the world, 2021 was known as The Year Of Covid (Part Deux) but in the mountain bike world the past 12 months shall go down as The Year of Coil. Weight weenies and infinitely adjustable springs be damned. We want traction and we want it all the time, thanks.

Overall verdict: “It seems crazy to think that products priced at £849 and £349 are budget or mid range options, but that’s where we are. As it is, there is simply nothing budget or mid range about the performance of either the Bomber Z1 Coil fork or Bomber CR shock. Sure, they might be less adjustable than some top end suspension, but I would argue that this simplicity means you can just focus on riding your bike and having fun.”

6. Pole Taival review

Perhaps powered by the unavoidable innuendo potential of something with ‘purple’, ‘long’ and ‘hard’ in its meta description, the Pole Taival has punched way above its weight to end up in our 10 most popular reviews of 2021. Fnarrdtails FTW.

Overall verdict: “If you’re after a hardtail that can give a short travel full-suspension bike a run for its money then the Taival is the one to go for. You’ll love its agility and its stability at any speed makes it a great climber and descender.”

7. Stif Squatch review

Honestly, you wait months for a neat looking hardtails and then two show up at once. Hot on the purple anodised heels of the Pole Taival is the Stif Squatch.

Overall verdict: “Stif’s Squatch takes a lot I liked about the Morf and brings it into 2021 with big wheels. An incredibly sure-footed 29er, excellent up and down. If you get a Squatch as an alternative to your full suss for winter, you might just end up reversing which one you call ‘the big bike’.”

8. Giant Reign Advanced Pro 2 review

Just to prove that it’s not all leftfield hardtails and wet weather kit that interests the Singletrackworld audience, here’s a very mountain bikey mountain bike from one of the big brands. Courtesy of the ever-effusive Sanny, this is very probably the longest review of a Giant Reign in the whole world.

Overall verdict: “In the right hands and for its intended design purpose as an uncompromising Enduro race bike, Giant have come very close to delivering a bike that lives up to its billing. It is an undeniably fun bike to ride and really comes alive when ridden hard and at speed. The bike looks utterly gorgeous, the suspension works in that no fuss manner that you don’t quite appreciate until you sling your leg over another bike and realise what you are missing, while every component proved reliable throughout the duration of the test.”

9. Saracen Ariel 30 review

Like night follows day, the long travel enduro brawler from a big brand (Giant Reign above) is followed by a mid-travel trail bike from a mid-tier brand. The Saracen Ariel has always been a favourite of Singletrackworld, ever since its debut back in er… 2010?

Overall verdict: “For the money, I think it’s brilliant. If you wanted, you could up-sell yourself to the Ariel 30 Pro at £2999 but there’s nothing actually ‘wrong’ with the base Ariel 30. If I didn’t get sent fancy bikes to test all the time, it’s the kind of bike I can see myself buying and really enjoying. (Though I’d probably get a medium…)”

10. Stooge MK4 review

A last gasp effort sees the final score of full sussers vs hardtail being 3-3. Which is a fair enough indication of both us lot here at Singletrackworld staffers as well as the general consensus amongst our users. There’s not many of us dyed in the merino wool MTBers who don’t own a hardtail of some sort.

Overall verdict: “Riding it is a very immediate physical sensation – I’m constantly aware of my body working, the power it puts out, the points of weakness. There’s something about that immersion in the experience of riding, of what the trail and the bike are doing under me, that’s quite absorbing. It’s not about everyone else, or timed leaderboards, or bike settings. It’s about rattling down a rocky descent, feeling my body guide the bike down the trail, and giggling out loud. The freaks might be on to something: fun.”

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