It seems like just 8,760 hours ago, we were posting the What's In and What's Out list for 2016. Despite the world possibly coming to an end in 20 days, we're optimists, and have ensured you're prepared for another tour around the sun with an emphasis on keeping those knobby two wheels in the dirt!

​What's In

  • Dicking about. Be a goon, have fun with your buddies, fall over, then repeat. You'll become a better rider for it. See also 50:01.
  • Short-travel, hard-charging bikes. Don’t talk to us about wheel size anymore, talk to us about suspension quality, weight, angles, and geo. For 90% of what most people ride, this is the ticket to a more rewarding ride.
  • Electronic suspension tuners. The rise of easy to use data acquisition systems is coming, and your bike will likely ride better than ever in 2017.
  • Honest marketing. Transparency rules all.
  • Not Instagram. Look up one entry.
  • Impeccably built trails in videos. Beautiful trail building complements incredible riding so well.
  • Loam slalom. Find a loam stash, invite your buddies, cut in some quick turns, prepare for non-stop smiles.
  • Goodies designed by women, for women. Companies are starting to make the right choices.
  • Boutique brands doing rad things. Several up-and-comers are set to really stir the pot this year, and big brands will likely take note.
  • Transforming your trail bike from mild to wild. Stock builds are sweet and all, but there's unrealized potential just a few key upgrades away.
  • Backwards compatible upgrades. Want life-long customers? Start here.
  • Condensed product lines. Make a few things really well, not the other way around.
  • American downhill racing.
  • Stories. Real ones.
  • Honing in your jump skills. Heading to the local jump spot will take your trail rides to the next level. It all crosses over.
  • A little more travel. Watch for 160mm travel race bikes to gain a little this year.
  • Damping. Lots of it.
  • Loosedog
  • Owning a BMX bike and riding it once in a while. For the price of a dropper post or even a pair of pedals, you could get your skills honed.
  • Servicing your suspension. Learn how to do a basic service on your own, but work with the Pros for bi-annual overhauls and to really dial things in.
  • Quick engagement hubs. Can you hear the beautiful purr? It's all around us.
  • Pro rider vlogs that make you feel like you're hanging around your sorta creepy, but fun uncle.
  • Street-ready riding apparel. Flashy kit might look good in photos, but man is it nice to be able to walk around in public after a ride without changing.
  • Jack Moir
  • Enduro bikes. Ironically, in a time when the quiver-killer has actually been invented, the word has all but disappeared from the brochures. Marketing was really ahead of its time on that one.
  • Bike parks. Yippe-ki-yay MFs, errybody’s building one!
  • Pumptracks. Thanks Claudio!
  • Kirt Voreis. Always. We can't wait to see what he's cooked up this year.
  • Tires. Big tires, small tires, fat tires, plus tires, mid-plus tires, not-quite plus tires, bigger-than-usual-but-smaller-than-the-ones-in-the-brochure tires, sticky tires, knobby tires, fast tires, slow tires, wide tires, narrow tires – it’s a freaking amazing time to be a mountain biker! Now stop complaining, pick a tire that works for you and go ride your bike.
  • Flat pedals. See “Clipless Pedals” section in What’s Out.
  • Train gaps. Forget road gaps, step up or get out.
  • Canal gaps, river gaps, ravine gaps – see train gaps.
  • Fanny packs. They’re here, deal with it.
  • Going packless. There are more options than ever for those looking to ditch their packs and rediscover the freedom of shredding your favorite single without carrying half your life on your shoulders. Are you sure you really need that size 16 special order hex wrench for every ride? Maybe your crank will only come loose NEXT ride?
  • World Peace (and harsher punishments for parole violators). ACTUAL CRICKETS.
  • Sam Hill. Because, SAM HILL MOTHERF#%KERS.
  • Carbon everything. Have you seen the Bike Check section lately???
  • Shootouts. Reviews are nice and all, but everybody wants to know which one you’d actually take home to meet your parents.
  • Riding in new places. Mountain bikes are rad not only because they shred but also because they take you places. We’ve seen amazing riding destinations pop up everywhere, so don’t be afraid to book somewhere new for your next riding trip.
  • Vital’s forum. C’mon on in, we don’t bite!
  • Fork bumpers doubling as cable guides. This used to be a neat standout feature, and now it’s becoming standard on a lot of DH bike. We think that’s a good thing.
  • Tubeless tires that air up with a floor pump. The days of ghetto tubeless with BMX-tube-rim-strips and gas station air compressors is thankfully a thing of the past.
  • #VitalRAW. Never fails.
  • Capable kids' bikes. Little shredders everywhere. We can’t wait to see what the next generation brings to the sport!
  • Artsy edits. Sure, they can be horrible, but if done right (weird French one) they can be incredible (Lapse).
  • Ankle braces. We’re getting old.

What's Out

  • Losing legends and friends. RIP.
  • Plus-size. 2.6-inch tires are a far better solution for this type of rider.
  • Flimsy sidewalls, regardless of tire size or diameter.
  • Convertible full face helmets. Were they ever in? Unless you're Cody Kelley, you can't pull it off.
  • Messy, noisy cables. Electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing is cheap. Tidy it up!
  • Airline bike fees. It's cheaper and easier than ever to ship your ride beforehand.
  • Stem spacers and flat bars. Buy yourself a proper riser bar.
  • Wasting time looking at or posting to Instagram.
  • Chamois shorts. Ditch the diaper. You don't need it. @larsnbars (Vital handle, "ride") and his crew was on to this many moons ago.
  • "Us too!" products. Just stop it. Make it better or don't bother trying to cash in.
  • Weird-ass conspiracy theory comments about Vital (or any other legit editorial MTB site) getting paid by brands for positive product reviews. If we were rolling in Benz's and giving ends to our friendz's, maybe you'd have an argument. All the "influencers" you blindly follow on Instagram or YouTube who say "this day was so much better thanks to (insert product here)," should be on your suspect list.
  • Using wheel size to define a bike. Pretty soon, it’ll be just another number.
  • The front derailleur. C’mon guys, just let it go. It wants to be in a happier place anyway. Do you think it’s fun being the only bike part still used by old dudes to get up hills way too slowly?
  • Super-long reach. It raised some eyebrows and may have sold some bikes, but it’s time to dial it back in. Find a reach number that works for you and be a dick about it.
  • Torx bolts. It’s not catching on guys, can we just go back to having the same bolts hold our shifters as the ones holding our handlebar and stem? Want to reduce some weight? THROW AWAY A WHOLE TOOL YOU DON’T NEED ANYMORE. *not all Vital staffers agree with this, but it's funny as hell, so we left it in.
  • 2mm hex bolts. Single-use items have no place on a bicycle! Can’t we just all agree that if it’s less than 3mm it’s for making clocks and not bikes? #hamfistersunite
  • Dropper posts that fail. Seriously. It’s 2017. We just want a thing that goes up and down and doesn’t break. If we can make 27-pound enduro bikes that go a whole season without spontaneously combusting at the sight of the first rock garden, we can nail glorified office chair technology that’s been around since 1961.
  • Internal cable routing. It may look good but the bike shop murder rates are also up. #choices
  • Press-fit bottom brackets. They now make threaded versions of press-fit BBs to help solve the issue that press-fit BBs caused in the first place. Excuse me?
  • Clipless pedals. Sam Hill won an EWS wearing the world’s heaviest flat pedal shoes. Deal with it dirt roadies.
  • Boring XC. See “Nino Schurter” as an example of what to do.
  • Tradeshows. I mean, we love busting our backs at Eurobike as much as the next guy, but c’mon, it’s time to bring back the glory days when these things were actually used to introduced new MOUNTAIN BIKE products and get people excited.
  • Pinch flats. We have wider rims and better tires. What’s your excuse?
  • XC races labeled as Enduro races.
  • 7-race World Cup seasons with no US races. We can always dream, can’t we?
  • Trump (on the topic of dreaming)
  • Cables routed under your down tube. This seriously needs to stop.
  • "Imperial" shocks. Metric is the future.
  • Not making a 150mm (or longer) dropper. If you’re going to design a dropper, start at 150mm, then offer 125mm and 100mm.
  • Lower rollers on chainguides. Sure, your DH bike looks kind of funny without one, but with narrow/wide chainrings being pretty much the standard spec on most gravity bikes, is it really necessary?
  • Super short chainstays. They’re fun and playful, but we’ll take stability any day.
  • Single crown bikes without a bottle cage mount. 
  • Standards. Just throw them all out and let’s have anarchy. It works for the car industry, moto industry, and basically every other industry on the planet. You know you're buying complete bikes now anyway, so ride your bike, as it is, out of the box. Upgrade it for a year or two, then start over. If you still long for standards, we have some 26-inch wheels with 9mm QR axles that we can sell you at a reasonable price.

Phew. Thankfully by the time you finished reading that long-ass list, it's half way to 2018. RIDE ON, SUCKERDUCKS!

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31 comments
  • the_owl

    1/3/2017 7:18 AM

    You forgot 'Whats out" rants in your whats out section. Did you copy and paste from last years rant?

  • adrennan

    1/3/2017 6:48 AM

    I fell victim to the XC race labeled as an enduro race. I am not fast uphill. You shouldn't be able to win an enduro race on a 100mm hardtail 20 pound xc bike.

  • sideshow

    1/2/2017 6:59 PM

    Out:
    - really bizarre color grading in videos. (Photos too, but it's been less prevalent)
    - calling yourself a "pro" because you get [name a bike thing] discounts and hold and Elite race license i.e. the "SponsorHouse Effect" from 2007. You race in the Elite category, to potentially win money - if it's not your job, you're not a professional.
    - serious interviews.

    In:
    - Gearboxes.
    - better cold weather riding tech (5.10 EPS)
    - fat bikes in New England
    - Team Robot!?!?!?!? I'll take Beige Wolf if Charlie is too busy. Krunk Shox is doing some solid work off-line though.
    - Small-run Print, always.
    - Quality v. Quantity.

  • TRex

    1/2/2017 2:16 PM

    T-10, T-25, and T-35 are all bikes need.

  • neil.carnegie.1

    1/2/2017 7:50 AM

    So with you on the dropper post stuff. I assume it must be harder than it looks to make one that works but I'm darned if I know why.

  • silvbullit

    1/1/2017 8:10 PM

    Sorry, fannypacks need to be out. Who says a backpack needs to be filled to the brim? One multitool, tirelevers, tube, car keys, hydration. Done. If you are riding like a Don then your bike (that you likely bought or upgraded somewhat based upon weight) is dancing and bobbing like a desparate prostitute and the core of your body is the most stationary...So where is the smartest place to keep the shit people are taping all over their bikes? We complain if a bike doesn't look "clean" and then tape eyesores all over it...

    Oh and standards being out...Nothing would kill off the little companies like proprietary everything that is only possible to accomplish with a big budget. How many Moto manufacturers are there? Not many.

  • The Enginerd

    1/2/2017 12:20 PM

    No way, fanny packs hold the essentials and don't give you a sweaty back

  • qldmtb1

    1/1/2017 5:21 PM

    I agree with most of this, but I'm not sure about carbon everything in the "what's in" list. It might be just me, but it seems like a lot of people are sticking with, or going back to alloy, there was even some nice steel DS bikes that came out last year. And of course there was Sam Hill smashing it in the EWS on an"old fashioned" alloy bike.

  • kleinblake

    1/1/2017 5:33 PM

    Martin Maes won the last EWS on an aluminum frame as well. It's not exceptionally unusual

  • neil.carnegie.1

    1/2/2017 7:48 AM

    Carbon has to be up there for most overrated thing in mountain biking surely. Some of the bike of day builds make me wonder if they ever actually get ridden....

  • Allen_Gleckner

    1/1/2017 9:52 AM

    Best article of the year

  • krisrayner

    1/1/2017 9:47 AM

    I want to know some reliable places to ship a bike through. Likely doing some overseas travel this year

  • xc2dh99

    1/1/2017 9:26 AM

    If short chain stays suck, explain to me your 2014 orbea rallon review "stability of a dh bike ".

  • adrennan

    1/3/2017 6:49 AM

    I don't get this one either. The balance has 420mm chainstays and I never doubt stability on it. unless they are enduroing on bmx bikes

  • nug12182

    1/1/2017 6:48 AM

    please just kill pressfit in 2017!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Roots_rider

    1/1/2017 10:32 AM

    Gonna catch flack, we need another standard. Yes, seriously. Threaded BB shells that are a larger diameter. 30mm spindles are a plus, threaded bbs are a plus. 30mm spindles in a normal BSA, huge negative....

  • Colin McCarthy

    1/1/2017 1:47 PM

    already exists with T47

  • Roots_rider

    1/1/2017 2:19 PM

    Damn, surprised I missed that. Hope to see it gain traction. Be great to see a few phased out in option of that.

  • jeff.brines

    1/1/2017 6:44 AM

    "Super short chainstays. Sure, they’re fun and playful, but we’ll take stability any day."

    [Insert that heart eyeball smiley emoji here]

  • Roots_rider

    1/1/2017 10:29 AM

    I was going to tag you in this for that reason there, knew you would be smiling inside for that one, haha.

    On the note of "plus tires" and 2.6" tires. - maxxis "2.8" measures 2.55 wall to wall, on a 35mm ID rim. So what are their 2.6s, relabeled 2.4s?? A WTB convict or breakout in 2.5 on a 30-35mm rim measures barely over 2.5. And schwalbe is similar.
    Things that should be out for 2016, not knowing how to label your shit correctly, that's so #2011 #getittogether

  • traildog

    1/1/2017 11:42 AM

    the specialized 2.6's (maxxis factory) measured bead to bead the same as conti trail king 2.4, which, in fairness are the biggest casing 2.4 you could previously find, but still. A moment of silence for numbers that mean something, please.

    edit: i wrote specialized 2.4 when I meant specialized 2.6. Woops!

  • The Enginerd

    1/1/2017 6:42 PM

    With regards to actual tire sizes, I've measured a lot of them and am curious about your Maxxis 2.8 measurement.
    On 40mm inner width rims, after at least 24 hours of stretching, and measured at 20 psi with an inner tube, I measured 2.70" and 2.67" on two different Maxxis 27.5 x 2.8 tires. They have a tolerance on sizing, and tend to come in a little undersized, but 2.55" is pretty far off. Were your measurements immediate upon install, or at a low pressure? Not saying you're wrong, just curious of the details.

    The Maxxis 27.5 x 2.6 tires I have measured on i35 rims were 2.50" and 2.52", measured at 30psi with an inner tube, after about 24 hours of stretching.


    I do agree that more accurate tire labeling would be nice. To their credit, Maxxis is a lot better than they used to be. Those 2.8's are the farthest from true sizing I have seen from them on any semi recent design.

  • Roots_rider

    1/1/2017 9:08 PM

    Agreed on their sizing. Have gotten much better since they came out with 2.4s and such. Measurement is from a Rekon+ that is set up tubeless, been sitting on the shop floor at 20-30psi for close to a month now. Had it sitting next to a Mojo 3 with 2.8 schwalbe nics. The difference surprised me, so pulled out the calipers and started comparing. I could see them getting a bit bigger after riding but not that much. On the bike it doesn't look like a true "plus" tire. More like a higher volume 2.5 on a wide rim. Wtb etc...

    *nothing against their tires, always liked how they ride. Mixing it up lately though

  • The Enginerd

    1/1/2017 10:04 PM

    Good to know. I wonder if the 5mm of rim width makes a significant difference on those tires.

  • panzer103

    1/1/2017 6:18 AM

    Seriously, you brought up Trump!? People who bring up Trump are out... Its a mountain bike website. Please leave it as such.
    Besides that I agree pretty much with your insurance and outs. I do like my spuds though. Cheers to a totally rad new year!

  • kleinblake

    1/1/2017 11:16 AM

    It's a mountain bike website, not a safe space

  • Colin McCarthy

    1/1/2017 1:30 PM

    OMG, internet troll iz president elect, I'm soo triggered.

  • will-burr

    1/2/2017 6:55 AM

    "political comments on MTB sites = out". Now go ride 400 intervals as punishment.

  • onenerdykid*

    1/1/2017 2:29 AM

    I fully back the BMX idea. There's generally a very evident line between riders who grew up on a BMX bike and those who didn't. My only problem is that I don't bounce anymore when I fall...

  • adrennan

    1/3/2017 6:52 AM

    i just took bmx back up this fall. pump tracks and skateparks are so fun on the little bike. I don't understand the guys hitting huge dj's on such tiny bikes though.

  • aliikane

    12/31/2016 10:35 PM

    My predictions for 2017. Road bike one inch droppers (yes, revolutionary speed demon) Hinged handlebar ends that flip up and turn into bar ends (beat downs on climbs against the XC racer with my DH bike) Flip down LCD screens on helmets so I can look at my sick GoPro edit while I'm riding, yo. @bikemanufacturers, you're welcome for my billion dollar ideas. #gamechangers.

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