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Our 2021 Bike Stoke: Rigs, Components & Community

What We’re Most Excited About This Year

As we roll into the ‘21 season, we’re getting hyped not only for the rides ahead but for everything we’ll bring with us and who we’ll see out there. To get the inside scoop on what’s shiny and new, we sat down withBrock Price—a born-and-raised Utah mountain biker who spends his days researching, riding, and writing about all things bike as one of Backcountry’s Senior Copywriters. See what we’re most excited for and what you can expect on the trails and roads ahead. 

Mix & Match

This year, bike manufacturers are shaking up wheel sizes and perfecting the unexpected combination. 29ers have been dominating the MTB world, and with the ST version on the scene, “you get the rollover benefits of the 29in wheels but the playfulness of a shorter-travel bike,” Brock says. 

With a custom build feel in a manufacturer-spec’d bike, Yeti’s SB115 and Pivot’s Trail 429 are carving out a “down-country” niche for XC bikes with more travel and progressive geometry. Along those same lines, we’re expecting (dare we say hoping?) manufacturers to start spec’ing mullets (29” in front, 27.5” in back) from the factory—a nod to riders who’ve added business to their 27.5” party for years.

Bikes of yesteryear get a modern tech treatment, like hardtails and a return to alloy frames. Likewise, E-bikes aren’t entirely unfamiliar, but they’re continuing to get lighter and more efficient. Brock even claims, “modern e-MTB’s feel closer than ever to a regular mountain bike on the descent, while maximizing the fun factor by cutting down on climbing time.” Be sure to check about local restrictions, but maybe give one a demo if you haven’t.

Upgrade Utopia

If 2020 was the year of the bike, 2021 is the year of the upgrade—and the industry is pushing the tech envelope. As the bike shortage continues, riders are choosing to customize their rigs and upgrade their accessories instead of replace their bikes. Opportunities abound, from wider handlebars and ergonomic saddles, to a new dropper post or just some fresh tread. Some of our favorite new components? Foam grips from Wolf Tooth (we’re all about damping that vibration), and 38mm forks from RockShox and Fox that open a whole new world of stiffness that maximizes control while braking and improves tracking when navigating rock gardens and berms. 

On-body accessories that have us stoked include ANGi technology that connects helmets to GPS technology and Fox’s newest hip pack. If you don’t want to wear your gear, we’re seeing Specialized and OneUp lead the charge in on-bike storage. We’re all about function over fashion, but when we can have both, oil-slick coloring gets our vote. Stay tuned for more of our suggestions for upgrading your rig with the top components and accessories of 2021.

Bike Boomers

Many people are returning to or starting out on two wheels—the industry is growing at an unprecedented pace! Matching the surge, more bike parks, pump tracks, bike lanes, and trail systems are emerging and growing across the country. Whether the increased access or the uptick in riders is the chicken or egg, we couldn’t be more stoked. 

As rider numbers increase, we’re seeing more diversity as well. More families are hitting the trails together (we’re seeing everyone from baby groms in a shotgun seat to riders with 80 years in the saddle out together), while underrepresented groups are starting to get support from organizations like The Black Foxes and Grow Cycling Foundation.

Whether you’re ready to join the boom or upgrade your current steed, our Gearheads are here to help. Connect by calling 1-800-409-4502 or using our chat feature now.