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Top 21 stories of 2021: Our most popular posts about Tires, bicycle drivetrains, Best of, & WTF

Ready to kick off the new year with more rides and good times? Before you pop that bubbly, let’s take a look back on our top 21 posts for the year. This is always an interesting roundup as it’s purely based on what stories get the most traffic for the year. While some stories are a safe bet, others may surprise you (and us).

1. Tire width & Rim Width

This story is from 2016, yet it has remained glued to the top of the list. We’re still finding a few companies slow to adapt to wider rim standards, especially in the gravel space, but for the most part, the trend is wider-is-better. To a point. What is the right ratio? This post provides a solid starting point to figuring it all out.

2. A new take on the rear derailleur?

Is the answer to a more durable rear derailleur splitting it in half? the Lal Bikes Supre Drive imagines what if, and gained a ton of attention in the process.

3. What are the best XC mountain bike tires?

Tires are one of the easiest ways to make a big difference in performance for your bike. After all, they’re the only thing between your bike and the ground. These are some of our favorites for the XC mountain bike category.

4. Danny MacAskill rides a bike on a wind turbine

Danny MacAskill. On a wind turbine. Enough said.

5. Jack The Bike Rack

A relatively simple take on the front bicycle rack, Jack the Bike Rack installs and removes without tools. Impressive.

6. Are 36″ wheels the future of mountain bikes?

36″ wheels aren’t new. We’ve seen this massive wheel size pop up regularly, usually as the preferred wheel size for cyclists who could play in the NBA. But 36 Pollici envisions the big wheels for regular performance use and introduced what could be the first carbon 36″ mountain bike in the process.

7. A better tubeless valve from 76 Projects

This one is interesting since it was posted shortly after the Reserve Fillmore Tubeless Valve story. For whatever reason, the 76 Projects valve story got a lot more traffic, but it’s safe to say that better tubeless valves are of interest to many.

8. A hollow derailleur cage pulley worthy of Tron

We’re pretty sure that even if the absoluteBLACK HOLLOWcage added nothing in terms of performance benefits, people would still buy it. Because… look at it!

9. Convert any bike to an e-bike with Swytch conversion kit

E-bikes are quickly taking off in the states. So it’s not surprising that a system that allows you to convert a bike you already have into an e-bike got a lot of clicks.

10. The best bike pumps of 2021

Need a new floor pump? These were some of the best that we’ve tried recently.

11. The best mountain bike lights of 2021

The same goes for mountain bike lights.

12. The best bike chain lubes?

Best Bike Chain Lubes: How to make your bike faster, quieter & smoother

Admittedly, saying something is the “best chain lube” is a little like saying your friend makes the best chili. There are some objective measurements like measuring wattage saved, but there are many other subjective details like how difficult it is to apply, how clean it leaves the chain, what kind of build-up it produces on the chain and the gears, how quiet it runs, and how long it lasts in various conditions. Not to mention how expensive it is, and whether or not it requires special equipment or tools to apply. As such, these are some of our favorites (though my personal favorite is the Dumonde Tech Classic Original).

13. The top 10 safest helmets as rated by Virginia Tech

What’s the safest helmet? There are a lot of variables that make that almost impossible to say. But in terms of the helmets that have tested the safest from Virginia Tech, these were the top 10 at the time of publishing in July. Note that there are already some changes with new helmets tested including the Specialized Tactic 4 MIPS which took the spot for the safest MTB helmet.

14. New XT & Saint flat pedals from Shimano

Shimano’s new XT and Saint flat pedals are now a lot lighter, and hopefully typically durable as we’re used to from Shimano’s pedal line.

15. Patent Patrol: New shift levers from SRAM?

Is SRAM about to redesign their eTap shifters? This patent suggests they could.

16. Shimano unveils 12-speed wireless shifting Dura-Ace and Ultegra

It’s not much of a surprise that Shimano’s new Dura-Ace 12 speed news was a big hit. What was a surprise was the addition of Ultegra in the launch making it the first time the two launched at the same time.

17. The Specialized Chisel hardtail review

For every $12,000 mountain bike out there, there are more affordable bikes that are getting really, really good. Jordan was impressed by the $1,900 Specialized Chisel’s potential, and apparently so were many of you.

18. Mountain Bike Tires explained

See above on tires making the ride. If you need to know the basics when it comes to mountain bike tires, this is a good place to start.

19. Best Mountain Bike Grips of 2021

No hands are alike, but these are some of our favorite mountain bike grips for the year.

20. 2022 Scott Spark hides the shock

The new Scott Spark gets a radical new Bold look (and performance), which was enough to make it very popular on the site.

21. #Vanlife comparison with 2019 Winnebago models

It wouldn’t be a top 21 list without some sort of #vanlife content, right? This one is from 2018, so its place on the list is the sole result of search traffic, but if you’re considering a Sprinter-based camper van build-out, it’s worth a read!

Want to see how these stories compared to 2020? Check out that list here.

Here’s to a better 2022 filled with unforgettable adventures and catching up with friends! All of us here at GravelBikes wish everyone a happy new year!



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