Editor’s Note: Here’s another in Mtbr’s series of Best Gear picks for 2017, this time coming from Seattle-based contributor Paul Andrews. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.
Quarq ShockWiz Suspension Tuner
For the average mountain biker, shock adjustment technology has entered master’s-degree territory. Getting air pressure, sag, rebound, and compression to align requires far more than a rider weight guide. Enter Quarq’s ShockWiz. Fastening to the fork crown or shock chamber, the 45-gram widget has a short hose that screws into the air valve and tracks pressure changes throughout a ride (multiple sessions are best). The data is then analyzed for four categories: aggressive, playful, efficient, balanced. Yes, it’s a bit spendy, but the ShockWiz makes a great shared-expense purchase among you and your bros for ongoing use, or can be rented from some bike shop. Full details here. | Price: $399
MRP Ribbon Fork
Fork technology has been kind of stagnant for a while, but Colorado-based MRP (formerly White Brothers) came up with some unique new wrinkles with the Ribbon suspension fork. It’s stiff but light (4.2 lbs. for 29, 4.15 for 27.5), offers no-adapter-needed 180mm post mounts as standard, and the Ribbon’s dual-chamber positive-and-negative design and Ramp Control cartridge eliminate tedious spacer fiddling in favor of on-the-fly tune-ability for every type of riding. There’s also a bleed valve to release air buildup, and MRP cleverly reversed the arch brace to reduce crud collection. Admittedly it has a high fiddle factor — but we love the opportunity to really fine-tune things for that firm yet supple feel every rider lusts after. The Ribbon added up to an innovative package available in multiple travel options for both air and coil. Learn more from the Mtbr first look. | Price: $989.
BikeYoke Revive Dropper Post
Dropper posts entered build-a-better-mousetrap territory in 2017, and BikeYoke managed to set itself apart with the Revive. Its twin-chamber design offers more reliability via oil-filled inner and air-sprung outer chambers, reducing the chance of air seeping into the hydraulic line (the bane of conventional designs). If air does invade, the post has a valve below the seat clamp to reboot (“Revive”) functionality. The post’s slimmer collar offers more clearance, the clamp adjust screws are angled for easier access with an Allen wrench, and the post works in sub-zero temps. Available in 125mm, 160mm, and 185mm travel lengths at standard 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters, the Revive isn’t particularly light 465-590g (although Ti versions are lighter) or cheap. But it comes with the gravitas of German engineering. Learn more here. | Price: $375-$450
CushCore Flat Defense
With its coned profile that spreads and buttresses tire sidewalls, CushCore distinguished itself from other tire inserts through improved lateral stability and trail feedback. The foam soaks up right-angle hits and off-camber deflections, reducing trail chatter and handlebar vibration. Setup can be a bit tricky and there’s a 250-gram weight penalty per wheel, but it’s worth it for CushCore’s boost in confidence, especially railing berms or pounding chunder. Learn more in this Mtbr first look. | Price: $149
AirLok Bike Lock
Bike theft is never preventable. But it is deterrable, the caveat being a loss of convenience. Striking a happy medium, HipLok came up with a versatile wall mount that can affix to concrete through custom hardware, offers hardened steel framework, and as a side benefit, looks good in three available colors when it isn’t altogether inconspicuous. It fits most (not all) frames, has rubberized coating to prevent frame rash, can be used indoors or out and comes with three coded keys. As a victim of eight bike thefts over the years, I figure scumbag thieves will move on to an easier target. More details here and a cool video here. | Price: $145