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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 102 > OUR PICKS OF THE YEAR

OUR PICKS OF THE YEAR

Over the past year, members of the Singletrack team have ridden awesome trails all over the world, on some of the most awesome bikes, and we’ve tested the most awesome kit while wearing the most awesome gear – all just for you. What an awful job. But in this veritable tidal wave of delight and glee, what stood out to our testers? What was the cream of the crop? Which places, bikes, gear and clothing put pep in our pedalling and added steam to our shreddies?

RICHARD

Mondraker Foxy Carbon (1)

From: Silverfish, silverfish-uk.com // Price: £4,699.00

We get the opportunity to ride many bikes, a lot of which are ultra desirable and the vast majority of which ride amazingly. During 2014 I swapped and changed bikes on a regular basis; I never has a bike that I could tweak. This meant running tyres that sometimes weren’t totally suited to the terrain I was riding on, or being stuck with a stem or bars that weren’t quite right. But I had this one for a while…

I’m picking this bike because I truly think it helped me progress my riding. The immense length may not be every one’s cup of tea, but I quickly fell in love with it. It just requires a slightly different riding technique; you need to work it a little more.

And oh, but she’s pretty; the whole thing looks very sleek. The stealth carbon is finished off with a few subtle decals. I had the pleasure of riding the SE version, which is a high-end race-ready bike. And on it I’ve had some of the best races results of my short racing life so far, but more importantly I had a bloody good time trying to go fast. Grip is delivered in skip loads during cornering, climbs and under braking. It’s a real pleasure to ride.

Fox 36 Float FIT fork (2)

The Fox 36 was a comeback and a half for Fox; fewer long travel bikes were being specced with Fox forks. However, my long termer Foxy Carbon was specced with 160mm 36s. These fork are as stiff as I will ever need. They’re available in all wheel sizes with a specific chassis for each size, meaning even 29ers get a stiff, responsive fork.

It’s the adjustability that places these forks at the top of my gear list. Yes, some riders won’t need a burly fork like these, but if you like riding fast you can get all the feel and support you need. Low and high speed compression damping along with rebound – that you can actually feel work on the trail.

Great forks: loads of tweakability, fine support and fantastic traction. Love ‘em.

Les Arcs (3)

For those that don’t know, Les Arcs is situated in the French Alps, in the Savoie area. The lower slopes down toward Bourg St Maurice are covered by a stunning 300 year old Swiss stone pine forest. The resorts are purpose built for the winter ski seasons and aren’t beautiful, traditional alpine villages – but the view distracts you rapidly. Possibly lesser known as a bike venue, when compared to the likes of Morzine, there are still bucket loads of trails here. If you’re only a bike park junkie it might not get your juices flowing, but the off piste trails are to die for. Higher mountainous, rock filled slopes can be linked into some mind blowingly technical steep trails. And with the pine covered slopes, huge amounts of loamy fun can be found. I had the absolute pleasure of riding the Enduro2 race this year and it has left me with a huge thirst for more.

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About Singletrack

Here at Singletrack Towers, Wordsworth's words on the death of his son perhaps capture some of our feelings on Jenn's death: ...he is taken from me—yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it. We've tried to do as Jenn would have wanted, and got on with doing what we do in every issue: bring you an array of adventures, features and product reviews to inspire you to ride your way through the winter. However in this issue we also pay tribute to Jenn and hope that it gives you that extra bit of oomph to get out there and get doing. We bring you: Singletrack Heroes - it could only be our own Jenn. Written by her husband Tom Hill. The Great Divide - one of Jenn's most popular articles, and one of her many amazing riding feats. We reprint this article in full. Mark's Mountain - Mark says 'no more maybe tomorrow' and heads of to the Alps to go up, up and up... The Matterhorn - Swiss cheese and chocolate pale into insignificance as Daniel Klawczyński finds himself face to face with the mighty Matterhorn. We join him as he explores the epic trails on all sides of this classic mountain. We Work Here - Hope​ Technology​ - Go green with envy as Hopetech invites Sam Needham to tour ​its factory. 24HR Pedal People - Chipps takes a look at the sleep deprived world of 24​hr​ racing​ and how it has evolved over the years​. He gets advice from the experts, including Guy Martin and Jason Miles, and puts their knowledge into practice​ by pitting for a soloist rather than riding for a change. ​ Classic Ride - Rachel Sokal and Olly Townsend head to Nottinghamshire to bring us a classic ride full of ​a​utumn ​c​olour. Bike Test: The Middle Ground - Bikes with 130-150mm rear shock travel. Where do they fit? Are they neither here nor there, or is this a happy medium? Low Carbon Adventure - Chipps and Beate go on holiday without costing the earth.
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