The Great Canadian Gong Show, otherwise known as the inaugural BIKE magazine Gear Guide, has officially commenced.
We've summoned the best and the brightest of next year’s crop of bikes and gear to Whistler, BC, home of some of the best and the, given the season, wettest trails on the continent. We chose Whistler because it has enough terrain in its town trail system to hit every type of trail we'll need for everything from racer-boy singletrack to burly all-mountain. And, of course, for its best-in-the-world bike park. So far it has pissed rain every day, but we've gotten out for a few scouting rides and we've got the majority of our test bikes built and (mostly) sorted for the abuse we'll heap on them in the coming weeks. (Thanks again to the one-man Team Ireland Formula One pit crew).
It hasn't been easy getting our hands on such a wide array of 2010 bikes, especially given that the calendar insists it’s still 2009. We’ve been verbally abused by incredulous marketing managers from nearly all the major manufacturers, and BIKE may have been erased from Christmas card lists from across the industry. But through all the teeth-pulling and customs-wrangling we've managed to get just about every bike on our collective wish list lined up for the special issue.
Official testing starts Monday, and the finished product will be on newsstands (and in the mailboxes of BIKE subscribers) by the third week in January. This effort represents a first for BIKE—an extra issue almost entirely dedicated to next year’s bikes and gear.
In addition to dozens upon dozens of exclusive first-look bike reviews (everything from XC to DH to mutant BMX bar bikes), this Bonus Issue will profile Whistler's much overlooked town trails, comprised of endless miles of all manner of primo-grade singletrack. We'll also be poking around Squamish, Pemberton and beyond. Stay tuned for more reports from the front.