As 2016 winds down, it's time to look forward to new advancements in mountain biking. Here are some of the model year 2017 products and general trends that our team of mountain bikers is most looking forward to riding in the year ahead.
Liv Hail – Aoife Glass, women's cycling editor
The brand new Liv Hail is one of my most hotly anticipated products for 2017.
This 160mm-travel aggressive trail bike is designed for the rigours of enduro racing, with some pretty bling kit at the high end of the range. It’s also one of an increasingly rare number of bikes with a geometry specifically designed for women. Liv bases its bike geometry on data gleaned from a global body dimension index, refined with comprehensive testing from riders and racers. I’m very interested to see how this bike feels in action on big terrain!
More affordable 1x12 drivetrains – Josh Patterson US technical editor
Focus Vice – Reuben Bakker-Dyos, videographer
Coming from a road and cyclocross background, I naturally gravitated toward hardtail 29er mountain bikes, but I found fear was a major barrier in progressing. So with the assistance of a Focus Vice, I’m hoping to gain confidence when the trails get steeper and the terrain gets gnarlier. With the 120mm travel shock, 130mm travel fork, burlier-than-I’m-used-to tyres and a SRAM NX groupset, the Vice is a middle-of-the-range trail bike perfect for building skills.
More aggressive 27.5+ tyres – Seb Stott, technical writer
Fat is fast. But when it comes to plus tyres, there is a distinct lack of toothy tyres on the market.
Much like when 29ers first came on the scene, it has taken a while for tyre makers to capitalize. Fortunately, Maxxis' evergreen Minion DHF should soon be available in a 2.8in version. That sounds like quite a recipe to me.
Shimano Steps – Tom Marvin, technical editor, What Mountain Bike magazine
Whether you like or loathe them, e-bikes aren’t going anywhere soon, and 2017 looks to be the year when e-bike componentry starts to take off.
From dedicated drivetrains to brakes and tyres, 2017 will see a lot of e-bike targeted products coming to market. Shimano has jumped on the e-bike bandwagon with the Steps E8000 motor. We’ve seen it demoed on various launch bikes, but as yet, availability has been very limited. As such, I’m looking forward to finally getting a ride on the new motor, to see how it compares to the established motors from Bosch and Yamaha.
Nicolai Gemetron – Rob Weaver, technical editor-in-chief
While it's not exactly new, 2017 will be my first chance to spend a decent amount of time aboard one of the most talked about bikes out there, the Mojo Nicolai Geometron.
A lot of bike brands have tweaked their geometry to the tune of "longer, lower and slacker" over the past couple of years, though few have come close to the extreme numbers Mojo's Geometron boasts. I'll be aboard the smallest bike the company makes, which still has staggering reach of 485mm! (That's longer than most brands' XL models.)
I'm intrigued to see how I'll get on with the extra length in reach, the longer wheelbase and the slack head angle, and whether or not it'll work for me at a less than gargantuan 5ft 8in. I also have high hopes for the suspension, too. As it's what Mojo specialises in. Watch this space for a full report soon!
Fox Live Valve – Jon Woodhouse, technical editor
Mountain bike suspension is slowly creeping into the digital age, and Fox’s (currently unavailable) Live Valve system looks like the most advanced system yet.
Using sensors on both the fork and shock, it promises to adjust damping on the fly at both ends to suit the terrain conditions, something never done before. If it works as well as they promise, it’ll be mind blowing.
Cannondale Scalpel – Joe Norledge, videographer
Cannondale's all-new Scalpel is the MTB product I'm most looking forward to in 2017.
For an XC race bike, the geometry is pretty slack, which – combined with a dropper post – could make a great race/trail bike. I've been lucky enough to get a SRAM Eagle-equipped Scalpel as my long term bike for 2017 and will be interested to see if it lives up to the hype.
Giro Privateer – Jack Luke, staff writer
My current mountain bike shoes — the previous generation of Giro's Privateers in the handsome gum sole — are looking extremely tired after close to two years of abuse. I've dragged them through innumerable Scottish bogs, worn them for countless hours of gravel rides, and commuted in them daily in between all of this.
While I've been very pleased with the shoes, I'm looking forward to trying the newest generation of the Privateer. Giro has done away with the vented toe box and simplified the upper, both of which are said to improve weather resistance and durability — no bad thing, given the excessively hard life that my shoes lead.
Long-travel 29ers – Ed Thomsett, staff writer, Mountain Biking UK magazine
For 2017, long travel 29ers are what I’m getting most excited about. Having always been into the more gravity oriented side of riding, I used to think that I’d never want a 29er, but I’ll openly admit that my opinion has changed.
Now bike companies have got the geometry dialled and made the frames and wheels stiffer. I’m excited to reap the benefits I’ve heard so much about. The only thing that remains to be seen is if my new longterm test bike, the Specialized Enduro Elite 29, has the same ‘fun’ factor as my old 27.5 bike.