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Nobody can deny that 2014 was an exciting year for mountain biking, and that shines through in our Bike Check section as well. Our readers have submitted a whopping 5000 bikes to date, 360-odd of which have had the honor of being selected for Bike of the Day this year. Well, there's a further distinction up for grabs, and that is nomination to the exclusive and oh-so-prestigious 5 Banger Bike Checks club! Admittance to this secret society takes more than just a nice bike - the bouncers here will throw you out if your cables are too long. So to the 5 that made it, congratulations. To the rest of us, at least we get to peer in through the windows, and that ain't half bad either!

The Balancing Act

Black is definitely the new black. Canfield's new Balance looks to offer the perfect mix of uphill hoist-ability and downhill shred-ability, and this proud owner kept the balancing act going when it came to the build too. With parts that are ready for anything without requiring hiding from your banker or taking shameful walks to Weight Watchers every Monday morning, this rad rig is proof that you don't have to go all-in on the exotic materials front to knock out a sick build. This murdered out mountain slayer was our Bike of the Day on November 28, 2014.

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Emeralds and Jade

When it comes to rare rocks, emeralds and jade are about as exotic as it gets. And besides the fact that the stuff works really well, DVO's forks and shocks certainly know how to make an entrance too. Subtlety was not the name of the game with this Santa Cruz V10, built to talk the talk but most certainly also to walk the walk. From the DVO-specific color Spank parts to the carbon wheels, all the components were chosen with care. We'll even look past that wonky pedal in the portrait. This jaw-dropping jewel was our Bike of the Day on May 23, 2014.

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Orange Crush

It's easy to get a color scheme wrong, and sometimes it doesn't turn out quite like we would have imagined. No such problems in this case. If you own a shop that prides itself on sweet builds, this is probably the least you would get away with anyway. From the ubiquitous Pike to the excellent Cane Creek DBair CS, this all-mountain annihilator is dripping with nice parts, and liberal use of carbon has kept the weight to a very respectable 29 lbs. This Knarly Knolly was our Bike of the Day on June 29, 2014.

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The Clean Sweep

Clean is a word we hear a lot in reference to bike builds. In reality, many try but few come close. This shred sled is repainted and decal-less, and the minimalist approach to the rest of the build just further outlines the aggressive intentions. One look at this menacing machine and you know it was built to haul the freight. With a parts list that leaves nothing to imagination and little to chance, this Nukeproof Scalp will shake off a summer of park riding and come back for more next season. It was our Bike of the Day on February 9, 2014.

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Evil Is As Evil Does

2014 is the year of the 26-lbs enduro bike. And not some weight-weenie version that will fold up under the first drop either - we're talking about machines that will take a pounding and shrug it all off like so much dead weight before the next climb. This carbon concoction will deal with anything you can throw at it on the way down, while putting bikes with less travel and a far less sturdy build to shame on the way back up to the next run. It is the Ultimate Uprising and it was our Bike of the Day on October 21, 2014.

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Want your bike featured for Bike of the Day? Upload a Bike Check and cross your fingers!

Stay tuned for more Best Of 2014 features coming your way soon!

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