Best Mtn Bike Gear of the Past Decade (Ep.13)


  • Most Influential Mtn Bike, 2000-2009 (3:10)
  • Most Influential Mtn Bike, 2010-2019 (11:45)
  • Most Influential Components (20:00)
  • Best Mtn Bike (24:10)
  • Best Components (36:25)
  • Biggest Mtn Bike Gear Trends (46:40)
  • Best Product of the Decade (41:11)

Of the entire past decade, what was the most influential bike or bike part? What was the best bike or component? What were the biggest gear trends? And what was our selection for the Best Product of the Decade? We cover all of this and more with Noah Bodman and David Golay.

And in the Comments Section below, we’d love to hear what you think was the most influential or best gear of the past decade, and why.

Noah Bodman, David Golay, and Jonathan Ellsworth discuss on Blister's Bikes & Big Ideas podcast the best and most influential mountain bike gear of the past decade (2010-2020)
Blister reviewer, Banks Kriz, riding down to town on the Lookout Point trail, Crested Butte, CO.

17 comments on “Best Mtn Bike Gear of the Past Decade (Ep.13)”

  1. Pretty spot on in a lot of places. I’d note a few things on “most influential”:

    I think there has to be mention of the 29er-renaissance and particularly notable bikes in that category.
    * The original Specialized Enduro 29. First successful big travel enduro 29er.
    * Evil Following – Started the “downcountry” trend?
    * Kona Honzo – Even though they mentioned the Canfield version in the podcast, I think if you asked companies who did this first it would be the Honzo.

    And any of the above could be considered one of the best bikes at the time they came out. All were considered long low slack

    Most influential / perfect component.
    I was surprised there was no mention of the Rock Shox Pike RCT3 with the first charger damper. This was the first with the bladder style damper (I think) and everyone was copying it after. No?

    I definitely agree with the wide rims/tire movement being big. I’d point towards Stan’s or Derby rims being the leaders here.

    • There were a ton more bikes we could have brought up, and those are all worthy contenders. I think the Canfield that Noah brought up did beat the Honzo to market by a year or two, though it certainly didn’t sell in anything like the same kinds of numbers and you could definitely argue that the Honzo had a bigger impact as a result.

      Fox was well ahead of RS on the bladder dampers though. That started with the first RC2 damper in 2005ish, though that version had the bladder at the bottom of the damper. Fox flipped it around sometime around 2010-11, and the Charger damper that came a little later looked an awful lot like that revised RC2.

      • Hmmm, well I stand corrected on the damper side. I just seem to remember around the time the new Pike came out in 2011ish that forks got AWFULLY good after that compared to what was before. With the Fox 34, and 36 that followed being pretty darn close to what we have today.

  2. For best invention of the 2000’s, I would say Stan’s tire sealant. It made tubeless tires mainstream. I would take tubeless tires over either dropper posts or 1x drive trains because the benefits of either do not matter if you have to deal with a pinch flat.

  3. I can’t quite get on the DHF boat for most influential component from 2000-2009. The explosion of disc brakes on bikes in the 2000s changed the industry. To use the Spesh Enduro that was mentioned as an example, it was a rim brake bike in 1999. In 2001? Discs. Now perhaps the mandate was for a specific product and I’m being pedantic. But like the 1x drivetrain dominated the changes of the 2010s, better stopping and the speeds it afforded riders in 2000s changed MTB design forever.

    I think modern frame design is inextricably linked to the advent disc brakes, 1x drivetrain, and dropped post.

    A small error later in the show around 37:05, David mentioned the Fox DHX2 as comfortably the best air shock he’s used. The DHX2 is Fox’s coil. I assume he meant the DPX2, or perhaps X2. Either one are terrific stock air shocks.

    Since you asked at the beginning of the episode for us to comment. I’ll say that disc brakes becoming THE stock option on all mountain bikes in the 2000s, and 1x drivetrains in the 2010s. The most influential bike of the decade has to be the 2017 release of the Transition Sentinel. Yeah it was in the later half of decade, but they were the first to convince us that steep seat tubes, slack head angles, 140mm+ travel, and 29ers were where trail bikes were going. Almost every manufacturer from the boutique brands to the big names followed suit.

    And here’s to a prediction that lightweight full face helmets will take over the helmet market in the early part of this new decade. Cheers fellas, great episode.

    • Damn, I must have misspoke. I was getting awfully tired by the end of recording this one. I meant the Float X2, thanks for the catch.

      Disc brakes were an undeniably huge development in the 2000s, but I had a harder time crediting a single, specific product for them taking over. The Hayes HFX Nine might be the closest, but they weren’t alone in that time period (and let’s be honest, kind of sucked). The OG XT 4 piston was a better product, but didn’t sell in anything close to the same numbers.

  4. I think it’s worth recognizing the influence of factory direct brands like YT and Canyon. They’ve had a massive impact on getting people on higher spec’d bikes.

    • Good point!

      And, the explosion of (Free) internet based Content. Before 2010 you had to buy a magazine to hear an editor lamenting or praising things like geomtry changes or spec. Now, itks all over the internet for free, as soon as a new bike is out in the wild.
      I think this has had a huge effect on accelerating trends like ‘long, low and slack’.

  5. Great show, I agree with almost everything. But the fanny pack stuff is hilarious, listen to Weird Al’s ‘White and Nerdy.”

    You missed some trail / XC influential products with impact for East Coast conditions and less daring rider styles. My two cents on your topics:
    Most Influential Mtn Bike, 2000-2009 (3:10)
    — Gary Fisher 29er hardtail
    — honorable mention: Specialized Epic won UCI XC races first (Santa Cruz Superlight handled better)
    — honorable mention: Surly Pugsley fat bike
    Most Influential Mtn Bike, 2010-2019 (11:45)
    — a most honorable mention to Trek Stache
    Most Influential Components (20:00)
    — honorable mentions to WTB Nanoraptor 29er tire and Pacetti Neo-Moto 27.5er tire
    Best Mtn Bike (24:10)
    —honorable mention to 2016 Pivot Mach 429 Trail
    Best Components (36:25)
    —honorable mention to Stan’s Arch MK3 29er rims
    Biggest Mtn Bike Gear Trends (46:40)
    Best Product of the Decade (41:11)
    —honorable mentions to ESI grips, Strava, and WTB Volt saddle

    Thanks for the great work!

  6. You guys blew it. By far the best thing that happened to mountain biking in the last decade was BLISTER REVIEWS!!!

    Other than that, you guys did good for the most part. Here is my random list of best things in MTB in no particular order:
    – Good geometry
    – Dropper posts
    – 1x
    – Good Tires (tires and casings got SO much better)
    – 29ers (with good geometry)
    – Pike ruled the decade

    By the way, I know you guys are fanboys (me too) but most mountain bikers have no idea who Guerilla Gravity and Canfield are or seen one in person, so for me it’s hard to see them on the list, influential or not.

    For the next decade? Ebikes. Haha, Yep. Get over it.

  7. I would like to mention the first YT Capra. It was a great bike that you can still ride today and doesn’t feel bad (the top version came with BOS supspension. Remember BOS?). It stood at the start of good enduro bikes and all the enduro bikes that came after were measured against the Capra.

    Even though direct consumer brands like Canyon, Rose and Radon where already popular in Europe at the time and also made decent bikes with great specs for the price, the YT Capra gave the whole direct to consumer model a boost.

  8. Gear boxes and fanny packs were a little off theme and totally irrelevant in the context of either best or most popular??
    I was left scratching me head a little as to how the Shimano XT disk brakes can’t be singled out as a stand alone best product of the past two decades. Almost everyone who bought a bike that didn’t have them spec’d as standard wished they had. I had my first XT brakes in 2004 and in 7 years of Swiss alpine enduro riding never had to bleed them once. Now several generations later I hardly know a single rider who would choose anything else to be spec’d on a new bike.
    The pike fork was a revolution not in terms of new tech but it wiped the floor with Fox for so many years and really changed trail riding. It didn’t even get a mention.

  9. Pretty disappointed that there was no discussion about why any of this gear or trends are better vs what had come before.maybe give 1 second on why “long,low,and slack” is the be all and end all of geometry. There are usually pluses and minuses of gear and trends a little mention of that would have been useful

  10. Yeah Noah.
    Chris Porter – Mr. Longer / Lower / Slacker (with “longer” also applying to balanced length chainstays. So many designers miss that advantage.)
    His G1 is a belter.
    Engineer Marcel Lauxtermann at Geometron Bike / Mojo Rising gets an hon mention too, for bringing Chris’ ideas from concept to reality.
    Now Chris has done it again with the MORC “Mojo Offset Reduction Crown” which makes for a better behaved 40 (ask the WCDH race teams who are using it) and includes a version to “dual crown” convert a Fox 36. nice idea.
    I think Hope were pretty much the first to put practical discs on a mountainbike – in the mid 90’s and, yeah, a revalation.
    Stans tubeless, another winner.

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