The year is almost over and it’s time we look back and consider all the bikes, components and gear we’ve tested in 2014. It’s always tough to choose favorites, but choose we did, highlighting our favorite products of the year in the new issue of the magazine. We asked each editor to choose the product they are most looking forward to trying in 2015, and these are their choices.
Over the next few days we’ll be rolling out our favorite Bikes, Components and Gear, as well as looking ahead to 2015 at some of the items at the top of our must-try list, so keep checking back to see the rest of the 2014 Dirt Rag Editors’ Choice awards.
Chosen by Tech Editor Eric McKeegan
The Smuggler is admittedly very close to the Process 111, which is probably why I’m so interested in riding it. Transition transitioned to a Horst Link–style suspension design for 2015 and redesigned its whole trail-bike line. With a 130mm RockShox Pike up front, 115mm of rear travel, and 29-inch wheels, this bike should be a ton of fun to get in over my head on.
Shimano XTR Di2
Chosen by Online Editor Adam Newman
I’ve put plenty of miles on Shimano’s excellent road-going Di2 prod- ucts, and I can only imagine the technology will translate perfectly to the dirt. Simply put, it shifts better and faster than any mechanical system ever could. Shimano has also chosen to keep the front derailleur around for a while, though it auto-shifts on its own so you only need a rear trigger shifter. This will help clean up the spaghetti noodles of modern cockpits. Yes, it is expensive, but trickle-down versions will eventually reach us all. I can’t wait.
Giro Feature MIPS helmet
Chosen by General Manager and photographer Justin Steiner
Prior to testing the Stego helmet, my go-to lid was Giro’s Feature. While I still love the look and fit of my Feature, the added safety of Stego’s MIPS gets the nod these days. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when Giro recently announced the Feature MIPS for the incredibly reasonable price of $95! Previously, the Stego MIPS was the most accessible all-mountain-style helmet, with POC’s Trabec Race MIPS demanding $230. Kudos to Giro for bringing MIPS to the masses. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Feature MIPS.
Industry9 Pillar carbon wheels
Chosen by Art Director Matt Kaspryzk
I love the way I9 wheels sound. I love how quick they are. I also love the color options. This year, as I build up another personal trail bike, I’m keeping an eye on their new Pillar Carbon wheel system. With several build options and compatibility for contemporary drives, they promise to deliver performance and lower credit scores.
Niner BSB 9 RDO 5-Star Ultegra Di2
Chosen by Editor Mike Cushionbury
In the last year or so, my idea of what the perfect drop-bar bike is has changed. No longer am I concerned with the lightest, most aero crit racer; instead I’m interested in all-day comfort and off-road capabilities. But that doesn’t mean I want a casual upright position or “recreational” frame feel; I still want high-level performance for occasional ’cross (and, more often, gravel) races, fondos with timed KoMs, and long-distance train- ing all from one bike with just a tire change. In light of this, Niner’s BSB 9 RDO seems the perfect match, with its disc-brake-specific carbon frame, 15mm Maxle fork dropouts, dual bottle-cage capabilities, and high-performance geometry. Add in Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 parts and this is a capable tool for just about anything.
Read all our choices of the best new bikes, gear and components here.
The Editors’ Choice selections originally appeared in Issue #181. Pick up a copy here or better yet, order a subscription, and help support the independent mountain bike forum.