Top 5 quietly brilliant MTB products

The bits that score big on performance and value

Take a look at our top 5 quietly brilliant MTB products

Here at BikeRadar we’ve tested literally thousands of mountain bike products, some are good, some…. not so good. But some products come to be known as true greats among the off road community, scoring big on performance and value.


So here are five quietly brilliant mountain bike products we think deserve some attention.

Shimano SLX M675 disc brakes

Shimano’s superb SLX M675 brakes

BikeRadar’s top tester Guy Kesteven has probably ridden more mountain bikes and components than anyone on the planet, living or dead, so when he gives a rare 5-star review to a product, you need look no further.

Case in point: Shimano’s SLX M675 brakes, which represent amazing performance at a price that’s affordable to all.

Sure they may not have all the bells and whistles of pricier models, but what they do have is — and we quote — “predictable, reliable and responsive braking.” What more do you really want than that?

Mudhugger front mudguard

Mudhugger’s effective front mudguard

Riding in the mud can be pretty fun, but it eventually takes its toll on your bike and eyes. This means you need a good performing mudguard to fend off the worst of the slop.

Mudhugger’s front mudguard is top of the list when it comes to a great performing product, offering almost total isolation from mud and water.

By mudguard standards we think it looks good too, blending in nicely with your front tyre. Coupled with the low weight of 83 grams, that means you can fit and forget the Mudhugger.

It’s available in plain black or you can upgrade to some striped decals for a nominal extra cost.

SRAM GX groupset

SRAM’s bargain GX groupset makes the list

SRAM changed the game when it first released the XX1 one-by-eleven groupset; only problem, it was very expensive.

But as with everything in cycling, the technology eventually trickles down to more affordable price points and now we have SRAM’s GX groupset.

Once again it scored high in BikeRadar reviews, with an almost identical feel to SRAM’s higher tier groupsets. Sure it might weigh a touch more and lack some of that bling carbon fibre we all crave, but when all you need is reliable workhorse shifting that will go the distance then you can’t go wrong with GX.

Specialized Butcher tyre

Specialized’s Butcher has always been a favourite of ours and we’re looking forward to shredding on the new 2.6in version

No matter how sweet your ride is, poor tyres are a sure fire way to stifle its overall performance. There are lots of great tyres out there, but perhaps the best at combining performance and value is the Specialized Butcher.

It’s got everything you’d want in a brilliant tyre; tacky compound, tubeless ready and admirable puncture resistance. Our only reservation was that it wasn’t available in trendy larger widths.

Well, it looks like our prayers have been answered with Specialized releasing a 2.6-inch version of the Butcher. All this for a reasonable price? Sounds good to us.

Shimano PD-M520 pedals

Shimano’s PD-M520 pedals are unbeatable for the cash

Last but by certainly no means least is the humble Shimano M520 pedals. They’ve been around for a long time, being loved by mountain bikers the world over for their insane value and performance.

The cleat mechanism is basically the same as Shimano’s uber pricey XT and XTR models and once clipped in, it’s hard to tell them apart. If you shop around you can find the M520’s WITH CLEATS for not much more than the cleats sell for on their own.

Crazy value in an industry where prices are going higher and higher. If there was ever a product that encapsulates the essence of ‘quietly brilliant’, the M520 pedal is it.