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What's In / What's Out - Mountain Biking in 2021

Vital MTB is excited to launch their annual What’s In, What’s Out for Mountain Biking in the year 2021 list. Our editors (all 3.1 of them) have comprised this prognosticating pile of putrescence for a number of years and are proud to carry on the tradition once again.

Getting snarky about e-bikes or losing sleep over rim width is tougher to do these days, what with how the world is and all, but we'll do our best to make you doubt and re-consider every life and riding choice you've ever made. After all, that's why we're here. Happy new year, suckerducks!

What’s Out for Mountain Biking in the Year 2021

  • Bikes, parts, gear. Saddles are the new toilet paper apparently. While no brand will speak on the record, we're definitely eating the popcorn and watching the show right now.
  • Selling the bike you have in your hands right now.
  • Trying to sell your 2016 bike "hardly ridden" mountain bike for $5,399 as a "great deal" on craiglist because it was $6,400 new.
  • *Bro* deals, EP (employee purchase) or any other incentive for working in the bike industry. Sorry friends, that's full retail for you.
  • Telling your team rider, the night before a huge race, that they won't be on the team next year.
  • COVID-19. We hope…
  • Riding on weekends. You work from home now, you can squirt out for a Wednesday spin before lunch.
  • Making negative comments on the internet. We’re all for having opinions and sharing your experiences with your fellow riders, but if all your posts are negative, maybe they are more about you than they are about the post topic.
  • All wheelsizes are out. From now on, they are just wheels.
  • Seat angle concerns if you're 6'1" or shorter.
  • Head angle concerns.
  • Wide rims.
  • Mullet effectiveness debates.
  • Mouth breathing.
  • Saying [insert bike color here] is out because just having a bike is in.
  • Working in digital media. If you ever thought to yourself, “I should really start a [insert media form here]”, you shouldn’t.
  • Big heavy e-bikes. With some e-bikes now well under 40-lbs, why put up with anything else?
  • Underbiking. Apparently this was just a ruse created by dentists to rattle everyone's fillings out in hopes of attracting new patients.
  • Online retailers doing bike "reviews" of products they want you to buy from their store.
  • Squares on Instagram. How about just uploading the actual photo the way it was shot. If you shot medium format on a Hasselblad, it's cool.
  • Kids on phones.
  • Letting Silicon Valley algorithms determine what's meaningful for the sport we love.
  • Groomed trails?
  • Saying "yew" or "yah boi!" (gordo is f'd).

What’s In for Mountain Biking in the Year 2021

  • Those hoarders at Veloswap that, for some reason, kept 41 old saddles, a pile of 26" tubes, 37 V-brake calipers and 52 square taper bottom brackets. They're the bike shops' new best friends.
  • Seeing your non-mountain-biking neighbor on the trails because they're riding mountain bikes now. HELL YEAH!
  • Hardtails. Even though Underbiking was conceived by dentists, hardtails are pure and any dental work required as a result of riding them is welcomed.
  • Bike maintenance. Since there are actually no more bikes in stock also for 2021 already, you’re going to have to learn how to eke a few more miles out of your trusty steed. Dentists the world over are already cringing at the idea of having to ride their 2020s for a whole actual season. #butitssodirtyalready
  • Trail work or donating to your local organization.
  • Lower-priced bikes and products that actually work.
  • Upgrading your existing bikes with after-market gadgets.
  • Riders making it happen on their own with awesome, creative content.
  • Dirt jumping.
  • Nose breathing.
  • Tools on – or in – the bike. It’s all about stashing as much stuff as you can on your rig or on your person, and there are a bunch of clever solutions that now let you do just that. #ditchthepack
  • Backpacks. Yep. We know what we just said, but somebody has to bring the 14 extra spare tubes for all the packless *friends* stranded out in the woods, all while complaining (rightfully) that no one is prepared
  • Coil shocks.
  • French downhillers. We thought they would be out for 2021, but no. It seems they are still in – and that’s BEFORE the return of Amaury...
  • Greg Minnaar. In fact, we’re going to award Greg with lifetime “What’s In” status.
  • Gee Atherton not giving one single &$%*. Mind Blown. Again.
  • Racing drones. RED slomo is so 2019.
  • Big heavy ebikes. Real talk, if they can’t lap Whistler Top Of The World at least a couple of times, what’s even the point of having a battery?
  • Downduro! If nothing else, the name seems to really irritate the internet commenters, so we’re gonna make sure it sticks of course.
  • Reading.
  • Big, beefy forks. Set it. Send it.
  • Composite flat pedals. There are some really good ones now, and none of them break the bank.
  • Being nice to the employees at your friendly local bike shops! They can't speed up overseas raw materials production, adjust the value of national currencies or prevent cargo ships from sinking, so, even though it's a bummer the bike service queue is 3 weeks long or your new bike won't be in for a month, let them know you appreciate what they do for our communities!

What's in or out in 2021 for you?

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