What's In / What's Out - Mountain Biking, 2018

For those of you who were born after the internet was invented, Goldilocks was a character in a book (a thing made out of paper that didn't light up) about how everything should be just right. Not too hard, not too soft, not too warm, not too cold - basically, Goldilocks was an annoying, spoiled little brat who wanted everything in the world to be juuuust the way she likes it. Funnily enough, the bike industry seems to be arriving at its own Goldilocks moment for 2018, as years of trial and error have eventually led us to a point where things are settling down. Or are they? 

What's Out

  • Making stupid, aggressive, ignorant comments on the internet. Seriously, who even talks like that in real life? (This article would "of" counted as a one of those comments except it's not in a comments section. Phew.)
  • Racing downhill.
  • Dropper post quality problems. Yeah, we know we said this last year too. That's why they're called "problems."
  • Pinch flats.
  • Plus-size tires. FINALLY! The next big thing turned out to be just a bit less big than predicted, as regular 2.5-2.6 tires stole the show instead. Good news for all you early adopters (aka "suckers"), if you chose your bike wisely, you can still run it as a 29er and not have to suffer the humiliation of falling off the band wagon.
  • Whining about how "enduro is just a racing discipline, you should call it mountain biking." It's a word that started life as a racing discipline and has been almost universally adopted as the perfect descriptor for getting rowdy and then climbing back up for more. We told you so, too.
  • Sam Pilgrim (well for a lot of you...maybe not for us. See What's In below)
  • Horrible rap lyrics in bike videos. We just want to get stoked on riding, not hearing about what some bros are going to be doing to their hoes all the time.
  • Not e-bikes. Those equipped with a crappy spec list should die already, however. They're not doing the category any good.
  • Not digging trails.
  • The 29er DH bike debate. HAHA, YEAH RIGHT!
  • Trails remaining secret.
  • Web edits that feature great riding and great cinematography. Sadly, no matter how much roost you fling and how shallow your depth of field, nobody watches them anymore.
  • Web edits with a six-figure budget that took 2 months to make and required 18 people to travel 27,000 miles with literally tons of gear to ride somewhere "unridden" for a total of 19 minutes. Put that money toward a public bike park on the moon.
  • Adjustable geometry. Who runs any bike in the less-rad of two available settings? Just do it right, bike designers.
  • Asking if product X comes in 26. (Have we said this before?)
  • VLOGs. Two-minute action edits are too long already, what makes you think anybody is going to put up with ten minutes of you talking into a camera? 
  • Riding with chamois.
  • Punching people on podiums.
  • Remembering any bike photo or video you saw 48 seconds ago.
  • Going into debt for bikes. If you can't pay for it up front, no joy from a ride will ever conquer the weight of that outstanding balance hanging over your head.

What's In

  • Wider tires - but not THAT wide. As Plus crawls under a rock to die (insert Hallelujah chorus here), behold "Plus-lite" - aka a "mountain bike tire". 2.5 - 2.6 is the new black, and the good news is, you can enjoy it on your regular bike.
  • Wider rims - but not THAT wide. Goldilocks got it right again: no need to go overboard with it, ~30mm internal is where it's at. Vital-tested and approved.
  • NICA (for the parents) - We heard one story of a large team that had as many coaches as riders - aka 20 dudes telling their bosses, "sorry, I have to bone out early today because I have to coach my kid's mountain biking team."
  • Putting something in the water of Utah that breeds ludicrous style.
  • Longer reach - but not THAT long. We're looking at you, Pole.
  • Flat pedals. We said this last year too, and we offered Sam Hill's 2016 EWS race win as evidence for how right we were. Well, fast-forward one year, and the same Sam m$%#rf$^^#ing Hill went and won the whole damn series. Still on flat pedals, still rocking the world's heaviest flat pedal shoe. Still not giving any f$cks.
  • 25-pound, 120mm-travel speed demons.
  • Digging trails.
  • Road trips with your buddies.
  • Dicking about (it'll always be in).
  • Partying on and around bikes. See Transition.
  • Aluminum rims. Your bank account can't handle the alternative.
  • CushCore. It really does make a difference.
  • Supremely shreddable 140mm travel 27.5 bikes with 160mm forks. See Pivot's Mach 5.5
  • Any remaining SRAM 1x11 drivetrains at deep discounts.
  • Riding pants. Because they're finally comfy.
  • Backcountry adventures. Go get lost somewhere without cell service.
  • Servicing your suspension and custom tunes. Care for your bike.
  • Shootouts. You love 'em, we're gonna keep making 'em. Legit back-to-back comparisons are where it's at.
  • Singlespeed DH bikes.
  • #USDH (yeah, we're gluttons for punishment).
  • Podcasts. You wanted the inside line, we gave you The Inside Line.
  • Wide-range 1x cassettes. OK so Goldilocks is still on the fence about the whole 12-speed thing, but there is no doubt that 500% range is where it's at. Or even more.
  • Boost. It's not in because it's better, it's just in because it is. Look at any 2018 bike for proof.
  • Brands going direct.
  • Coil on your trail bike. If you have the right bike, that is.
  • Full-length mountain bike movies. We're "gambling" on them being in anyways.
  • Seth and Phil. Every other YouTuber is just trying to be them and boring us to death in the process. 
  • Saxx underwears. Seriously. Only took gordo two years to heed the word of larsnbars.
  • Super grom shredders (kids under 10) taking over the world.
  • 180mm travel park bikes. There's more on the way.
  • Sam Pilgrim - In 15 years when he can hardly walk from hucking himself for our entertainment, hopefully he'll have a fat stack of cash on which to rest his battered dome. And in 15 years non-e-bikes probably won't exist. They'll probably be self-riding, too.
  • Not even realizing that 87.3% of the posts on Instagram by your favorite rider are just ads written into their sponsorship contracts.
  • Unfollowing everyone but @kirtvoreis_allride, @vitalmtb, @jerryoftheday, @heavyequipmentnation, @drunkcyclist and only your real, actual friends on Instagram because you finally realized that Instagram is just one big-ass, modern banner ad and you can get plenty of banner ads that aren't trying to lie about being banner ads here on Vital. Don't worry, we'll cover the rest of Insta for you in Social Scoop.
  • Wondering why Fabio Wibmer wasn't racing Red Bull Hardline.
  • Internetting less, riding more.
  • Kick-ass bikes for not a lot of money.
  • #moarpublicbikeparkz
  • That Airdog drone!
  • Hoarding bikes like this guy.

What's in or out in 2018 for YOU?

Vital MTB Poll

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  • Kieran_Vaughan91

    1/11/2018 3:10 AM

    I love my Plus size boost hardtail though! ??

  • mcv84

    1/7/2018 2:16 AM

    Out: listening to music. In: podcasts!

  • aw_gooner

    1/5/2018 3:01 PM

    I ride bicycle.

  • bicibicivelo

    1/3/2018 11:21 PM

    What are these comfy riding pants?

  • traildog

    1/3/2018 10:49 PM

    Super Insightful and Full of Comedy- But, come on, isn't adjustable geometry making you feel that much more rad than whatever chum actually would ride in the high/steep position? And isn't relativism what being rad is really about? Also, in some parts of the country we periodically go on big rides over many many mountains (In for 2018), sometimes with chainsaws, and on these rides not hitting all of the rocks with your sick flat pedals (with a little extra seat angle to boot) is really nice. And I get to feel altruistic for helping you in turn be much more relatively rad. Adjustable geo: IN!

  • Angu58

    1/6/2018 11:36 AM

    Exactly. Adjustable gel is great, especially the few bikes that change the suspension travel as well as hta, sta, and bb height.

  • manhattanprjkt83

    1/3/2018 1:36 PM

    I always love this list at the end/beginning of the year, well done.

    The 'end' of plus made me laugh, it's absolutely losing some steam but I really don't think it's going to go away. I have never been a huge proponent but here in the rocky east coast mess it seems plus have a pretty big following for slow speed trails, big tires work well for some of the trails here...Seems like a very regional thing...

  • dan.wojo

    1/3/2018 12:18 PM

    I really hope that starting comments using "this!!..." is on the way out this year. It is way over used and grates on me badly. Maybe I'm getting too old.

  • kleinblake

    1/7/2018 3:52 PM

    This. I agree. You’re right. So much this

  • dohnee

    1/3/2018 8:16 AM

    "stupid, aggressive, ignorant comments on the internet" - proceeds to ignorantly bash plus tires and those who choose them lmao. And youre still on the enduro debate? Thats so 2016. I'm not even through whats "out" and its pretty evident y'all are of a bunch of opinionated and ill-informed pricks. DH is out but SSDH is in? sheesh.

  • bizutch

    1/3/2018 10:02 AM

    If you find flaw in all things VitalMTB,you're more miserable than I am. And I am one angry son of a gun. :D

  • nick.malyshenko

    1/3/2018 3:18 AM

    Thnx, that was fun to read;

    Boost and Sam points made my day )

  • Oldranger

    1/2/2018 8:20 PM

    What’s is for 2018: #gnarscale rating system. What’s out: shapes and colors - those are for kids.

  • tbarnesarc

    1/2/2018 7:32 PM

    "Seth and Phil. Every other YouTuber is just trying to be them and boring us to death in the process."
    Spomer you have to be trolling on that one. Those "Randy's" from Trailpeak kill it, so does Eric from BCPOV, lenosky's Trail Boss is rad and Ryan from the LoamRanger is also a fun watch. If you were serious then don't be such a grumpy youtube snobby pants! haha! Funny list nonetheless.

  • Jonzilla

    1/2/2018 1:07 PM

    "does this come in 26"
    Yeah if you ram 26 in it stop giving a damn

  • ThomDawson

    1/2/2018 12:52 PM

    Seriously. Knowing that you’re not supposed to know that you’re being advertised to is the worst thing in the world.
    While I’m here - reach and wheelbase will get shorter, downsizing will get cool again. Partially fuelled by 50:01.
    Oh and for the record I run my Scout with offset bushings to raise the BB. Is that the less rad setting? I don’t think so. Long, low and slack is done.

  • dirty_biker

    1/2/2018 12:10 PM

    Drunkcyclist FTW!! That is a great group of IG folks to be bunched together with. Thanks! Cheers!

  • DubC

    1/2/2018 11:44 AM

    NICA (for the parents) - We heard one story of a large team that had as many coaches as riders - aka 20 dudes telling their bosses, "sorry, I have to bone out early today because I have to coach my kid's mountain biking team."

    ....more like "I get discounts for bikes from all those brands if I just say Im a coach?"

  • sspomer

    1/2/2018 12:39 PM


  • bizutch

    1/3/2018 12:21 PM


  • the_owl

    1/2/2018 11:32 AM

    every year this same thing. One uber leet hipster bike rider listing wha he thinks is cool. I look forward to reading this to get a chuckle. You know whats out? this list. Its tired, put it out to pasture.

  • Allen_Gleckner

    1/2/2018 1:00 PM


  • dohnee

    1/3/2018 8:36 AM

    The whole goldilocks reference kinda proves how stale and outdated this community is

  • scarface

    1/3/2018 9:15 AM

    you whining all over these comments kinda proves how stale and outdated your sense of humor is

  • Schilly

    1/2/2018 11:32 AM

    This was gold. Killing it as usual dudes!

  • 'size

    1/2/2018 11:22 AM

    "Asking if product X comes in 26. (Have we said this before?)"

    yes you have, yet it still gets said because...#26aintdead.

  • ccolagio

    1/2/2018 10:23 AM

    has vital had interbike out yet?

  • Tristan_Mayor

    1/2/2018 9:43 AM

    Also OUT: a whole plethora of new standards. We'll put up with Boost as long as that's it for a while

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