There was no shortage of new products and tech unveiled this year. I had the opportunity to try my share of shiny new bike bits. Some offered more style than substance, others were truly innovative and the best of the bunch became items that I've ended up bringing with me on most of my rides.
Here's a look at my top-five new products of 2017.
- The best Christmas gifts for mountain bikers
- The best Christmas gifts for gravel and adventure cyclists
SRAM GX Eagle
In 2016, SRAM disrupted the drivetrain market with the introduction of XX1 and XO1 Eagle. These premier 1x12 groups silenced many 1x naysayers and nearly sealed the mountain bike front derailleur in its tomb.
I write nearly because with these wide-range groups came massive price tags that made 12-speed prohibitively expensive for many riders. That is, until GX Eagle was unveiled in early June.
GX Eagle offers the same range as SRAM’s top 12-speed groups for a fraction of the price. There’s a weight penalty, to be sure, but the performance is very good for the asking price.
When it comes to bicycle locks, every rider must weigh the pros and cons of security, weight and convenience. The Ottolock has become my go-to bicycle lock for use in low-theft / high-visibility areas.
It may look like a rubberized zip-tie, but under its colorful exterior are multiple layers of steel and Kevlar bands.
It’s available in 45, 76 and 152mm lengths. The 152mm-long version weighs in at just 235g.
It’s light and incredibly compact, making it the perfect lock to use for quick trips to the grocery store, coffee shop and even a bit of bar-crawling.
- £60 / $75 / AU$98
- Buy from ottodesignworks.com
Orange Seal tubeless sealant
There’s no shortage of tubeless tire sealants on the market and I’ve used nearly all of them. Orange Seal has become my go-to because of its performance on the trail and cleanliness and convenience in the shop.
It’s been effective at sealing small cuts and keeping cactus thorns from ruining my rides. The easy to use applicator included with each bottle makes for easy tubeless setup, and sealant top-offs much less messy. Just unscrew the valve core and add as much as you need to get rolling.
WTB Resolute tires
I’ve been a proponent of gravel cycling for many years. In 2017, the category finally got the attention it deserves. I’m also glad to see so many great tires come to market to support riders with a strong vitamin G habit.
One tire that really impressed me this year was WTB’s Resolute. This voluminous 700x42mm tire is WTB’s answer to riders asking for a sturdy, high-volume tire for rocky roads.
The Resolute is available in 650b and 700c version. I’m partial to bigger wheels, and have found the 700c Resolutes at home on chunky gravel roads. These treads can also hold their own on flowy singletrack, too.
If you live in an urban area filled with stretches of singletrack, these tires are a great way to link together roads and trails.
- £39.99 / $49.95 / AU$68.99
- Buy it now from Amazon
Sweet Protection Bushwhacker II
The Bushwhacker II has become one of my favorite new trail helmets of 2017.
It sits low around the wearer’s head to offer plenty of protection. Airflow is decent, with 17 strategically-positioned vents.
There are a couple creature comforts that I came to value in the Bushwhacker II.
I’m not a fan of visors that sit excessively low. Thankfully, the Bushwhacker’s adjustable visor sits well outside of my line of sight.
I also quickly came to appreciate how easy it is to securely slide my sunglasses in the back of the helmet on steamy rides.