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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